Current Meta

General purpose thread discussing what is and isn’t currently meta. This can stray from robot design to driving strategy or even skills routines. I think it’s also important to judge meta viability in terms of a gradient rather than a definite yes or no.


I’ll start off with addressing strafe drives. Traditional tank drives on goofys have dominated for most of the season, but recently I’ve noticed a few teams shift to mecanum or even 5m h drives with diffs.
How important really is strafing, and is it something that will become necessary for late season autons/increased deposit speeds, or will tank drive continue to be just as competitive?

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Personally, I’ve found that the X-Drive makes maneuvering around towers much easier, as well as making adjusting for stacking easier. I don’t think this will become meta, however, due to strafe drives taking up motors that could be used for a better lift or tilter.

I think cube locks, keeping the cubes in the tray while the lift lifts upward, will become a late season meta. When looking at some China matches, teams often had 3-4 cubes in their trays at the end of a match. Cube locks could allow tower scoring while still keeping cubes from the opposing teams. 2114X has also shown how a cube lock helps in skills, setting the first 200+ point skills run.


Assuming 4m tank drives, switching to mecanum or x doesn’t require additional motors so either could still be viable. H is the only one that needs an extra motor. Interesting didn’t think too much about maneuverability outside of deposits.

Yea I absolutely agree with the cube lock. 7k has one too, and along with the obvious skills applications, being able to hoard and play towers in match at the same time is a huge advantage. Towers aren’t really being utilized in China currently, but I think once teams start to pick this up, we’ll see a significant spike in tower play.


How often are teams using 4 motor drives? For a DR4B tray, a two motor lift is preferred, from what I know, which would only leave room for a three motor drive. At that point, wouldn’t a booster wheel be better suited to not burn out the drive as quickly when going forward? I may be wrong on the lift motor count, please correct me if I’m wrong.

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Our team personally built a 2m lift db4 tray at the beginning of the season, and had a lot of trouble with our 3m drive (booster over h). I think a 3m drive could be viable in regions which don’t play a lot of defense, but for competitive areas, a 4m drive is a must.

I do think a 1m lift db4 tray is quite viable, but with tray capacity easily reaching 12 now, stacking on stacks doesn’t make too much sense, so lifting the tilting mechanism is also kind of pointless. A lot of teams have switch to a hybrid which only lifts a first stage, and has the rest of the tray and tilter mounted to the base. This design can tower swap, and play towers with more than 1 cube in tray, but goofys with cube clamps can also now do this. Tower swapping hasn’t proved super useful yet.


Sorry this is out of topic, but can you link a video or image of a cube lock because I have a traybot but do not know what they are.

First seen here

In all match footage here I believe


I completely agree with the hybrid DR4B tray being more than viable, especially in more competitive regions. Combining a hybrid DR4B tray with a cube lock would help even more with tower swapping, since cubes could still be chambered without having to lift them as well.

Among higher level teams, I could see this being meta, but the combination of the cube lock, hybrid DR4B, and a strafe drive may be too difficult for the majority of teams to do. Personally, I thing goofy trays, or a very similar offshoot will stay the meta, with the occasional hybrid tray popping up here and there.


Cube clamp db4 tray hybrid I like it. Sadly I’d have to agree about goofy not going anywhere anytime soon. Simplicity kills and it’s just such a simple bot to get working. The only other design I see being competitive is the 6 capacity db4 cube clamp, with passive intake mechs on the clamp so the stack doesn’t have to be set down for each additional cube. I think this design has potential, but it just doesn’t compete with the hybrids. Clamps have a slightly harder time with towers, and probably have about the same stacking speed, with a small advantage to the tray hybrid.

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Would hybrid DR4B trays still be able to deconstruct stacks? From what I’ve seen, that’s a huge advantage that DR4B trays and clamp bots have.

I’m more curious about tray length metas by the time worlds rolls around. In my opinion, 12 or 13 is the highest reasonable stack height, so three full 7 length flipouts and a telescoping or plastic fourth stage? Or will the majority of teams have 9-10 cube trays? In my opinion, there will likely be a lot of 11-12 cube trays, a nice midway while still having competitive stacking potential.

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As in intake prebuilt stacks? They’ll probably be able to do 4, but not more than that.

Yea my guess is 3 stage plus telescopic for match, and maybe just 2 stage plus telescopic for skills. Telescopic vs. extra flip is also an interesting preference, but I think now that telescopics have gotten close to frictionless, the added maneuverability is a big deal.


Yeah, I would definitely agree with telescoping being the meta.

To bring up another topic, I think that wallbots will be impractical to use at worlds. If teams can get two good stacks up in auton, that would leave only one more to stack in driver, which will be very quick by worlds. By the time a wallbot moves over to the opponent’s protected zone scoring area, all three stacks may already be stacked, rendering wallbots useless in competitive matches in my opinion.


What do you guys think about trays that lift on four bars? (One example of this is 5225a) They seem to be a good balance between the complex tray and the dr4b tray because they are faster/better at descoring than a complex tray (intakes are higher above the tower so they have a better angle), but they don’t throw off the robot’s center of gravity as much and they don’t take up much space. Also, they are of course able to hold a large amount of cubes, so they are good for towers. I’m really interested in seeing what other people think of this design because my team has a complex traybot currently and I am wondering if complex trays will still be competitive at Worlds.
Here’s a video of 5225a:


This is an excellent topic and I’m wondering why we haven’t seen more of these robots yet. I agree this is a really good balance. I thought when I first saw that bot a couple weeks back that I remembered it couldn’t reach mid-height tower but clearly it can.

I think the 4-bar is harder to build, because you’ve gotta lift the tilting mech, so for simplicity’s sake most opt for 2 bars. In terms of performance, I think the 4-bar performs better than a standard two bar, but a two bar with cube clamp is more efficient than a 4-bar. It makes more sense to lift 1 cube at a time and reload in between towers than to lift 4 cubes (random number) at once and drive from tower to tower with lift up. Driving with an extended 4 bar, while safer than driving with an extended db4, still makes your bot susceptible to heavy defense and I’m concerned with tipping.

The biggest pro to the 4 bar is tower swapping, which we haven’t seen become a prevalent strategy quite yet, but I think still has potential. I’m hoping later season when there are consistent 8 stacks in auton both deep zone and small zone, teams will have to resort to towers to differentiate themselves, and tower swapping might be an important design consideration. However if the game moves in the direction of China finals (unlikely given that defense is completely undervalued in those regions, and makes a huge difference) and towers become obsolete, I see no reason to use a four bar over a two bar with clamp.


Y’all realize that a cube clamp on a dr4b tray is literally useless, right?

On a standard DR4B tray, I would agree, they aren’t useful. On a hybrid DR4B tray, where only part of the first stage lifts up, it can hold the remainder of the cubes in the tray.


Oh that’s what a hybrid was. Sry, now that I look back I sounded a little rude.

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No worries! Glad to clear up confusion.

I’m yet to understand how the tray lock system works, I’d really appreciate if someone gave me a brief overview :grin: