Cones vs. Bonuses

Ok, time for the VEX debate of the week: Strategies seem to be going towards two general models: one that goes for smaller stacks to increase the number of cones or even surrendering the auton bonus for cones and strategies that try to secure the bonuses, such as reverse stacking, stacking stacks as tall as 17 high, and of course the good old 20 pt auton. So the question is: which strategy is better, cones or bonuses?

That depends on the nuances for your gameplay and function; if the bonuses give you an advantage you could not gain by cones, or vice versa. Personally, I would say for VexU cones basically equate bonuses, but for VRC, it just depends.

Here’s the thing: 3 cones >1 highest stack. For that reason, after a successful 2/3 cone auton in the 20 point and winning it, there isn’t really a point for adding more cones. The bonus in the 5 point zone is only useful if your opponent isn’t putting the mobile goal in the 10, because why go for a 5 point bonus with only 5 points guaranteed when you have 10 points guarenteed?

However, I will argue that the stationary goal is often neglected. I do believe that not many people stack on that, so one or two cones on it is pretty beneficial. Also, although it doesn’t matter that much, having the 10 point highest stack is nice.

In short, besides the auton bonus, the 10 point and stationary are my favorite ones.

It’s kind of similar to stacking a cone on the stationary to parking. In some cases, it would be more valuable to stack and achieve the high stack bonus or even out the stack height so no bonus would be achieved on either side than park.

Personally I think a medium strategy is best. If you have to stack more than 15 cones or so to get the 10 pt ditch it. With the stationary, if you can snag it with two or three cones, do it, if not, avoid it. If you can reverse stack a couple on the 20 pt and snag a bonus, do it. But if you really have to fight for these bonuses, just ditch it and go for cones.

Honestly, it depends on how people play in your region, I’ve seen people win matches without any high stack bonuses because they had a lot more cones stacked. But if everyone is stacking around the same number of cones at the same speed in your region high stacks would be a little more important.

I think some where in the middle is good but I think it really depends on your opponents capabilities. If you have done scouting and you know they prefer to not get the 20 pt. autonomous, then maybe that’s when you whip out your 24 point routine. I think the best part about strategy is it is almost always situational.

I think the auton bonus is huge. 10 points is the equivalent of 2 high stack bonuses (out of a total of 4). Using this knowledge, sacrificing a mobile goal to the 20 pt zone to win autonomous is absolutely worth it even if it lets your opponent get the high stack there because while they’re busy overcoming your stack in the 20 pt zone, you’re gaining the advantage in all other zones. The only scenario in which the auton bonus isn’t worth it is when your opponent gets all 4 high stacks (if they get 3 and you get the auton bonus, everything equalizes because they gained 15 pts from bonuses and you gained 10 + 5 because of auton and one bonus), which if you’re a decent team will not happen.

tl;dr → Never surrender the auton bonus unless 1) it will affect your ability to collect ALL 4 BONUSES, and 2) you’re 100% certain you can get all 4 of those bonuses.

You also must account for the fact that it will still take anywhere from 7-20 seconds to put a mobile into the 20 point if you don’t score it in autonomous.

the thing with the 5 point bonus is you get the same amount of points with a high stack in the 5 then you d with a mobile goal in the 10. So unless your opponent has something in the 5 and you are able to put something there to deny them those 5 points then the 5 point high stack is useless imo.

If it comes to this, it just makes the auton bonus all the more necessary. Because there’s essentially one less high stack bonus, it makes it harder to overcome the auton bonus using stacks.

Although side note, if I know I will have the high stack in the 10 pt zone, I will always place in the 5 pt zone just to deny them the possibility of high stack in the 5. Since I get the bonus it’s the same as a 10 pt mogo (as you mentioned), but it has the potential to deny the opponent some points. A lot of teams don’t understand this and it’s kind of annoying lol

I had to explain that to our driver so many times for him to get the point.

Same here. Part of the reason I’m starting my own team next year. I need to know that whoever drives my bot knows exactly what they’re doing and how to do it right.

Oh, our driver is pretty good at what he does, he just couldn’t wrap his head around the thought that 5=10 in this case.