"Turtling" Strategy

Here is a flaw in the game manual that is going to be very annoying soon; the “turtling” strategy. I hope this is fixed prior to states because it is a loophole and way to broken: VEX tipping point Masuk HS final 12/18 "turtling up" strategy 😂 - YouTube
The video above shows it in action. There is quite literally no counter to this and GDC should fix it asap. What do you guys think about it tho?


Not true. These teams played smart and won. The other alliance had access to the tall goal and could have scored rings on that for extra points. Also, the blue alliance should not have let go of the neutral goal at the start of driver. The red robots were able to score rings and the blue robots couldn’t. Red alliance deserved to win.

On another note, how could the GDC “fix” this? Limit teams to 1 goal capacity? It is a good strategy.


Moreover, this was already a topic on VEXforum - so nothing new.


The GDC wants tall mogo bots to be competitive. This strategy becoming popular will only make tall mogo bots more competitive - defenseless scoring with both opponent bots are just chilling on the platform. Why would GDC want to change it if it is leading the meta to their intended result?

Currently, I feel like the game is stuck in a local optimism in terms of strategy. Or in human worlds, being in a meta which counters itself. Let’s see if the development of this strategy will push us out into developing different designs.


This is 100% legal? These are gonna be some boring games…

Why is this not legal?

And it is only boring if you have one alliance not able to do anything.

Looking at the video, the blue alliance actually still can win it. They have 2 of their own alliance goals and the tall goals.
But too bad the blue alliance can’t score on the tall goal. And looks like they were not attempting to park as well.

So how is it the red alliance’s or the strategy’s fault?

And extrapolating to worlds, I would imagine that alliances will be fighting over the neutral goals (i.e. it will not be as easy to get the goals as in this vid). And even if one of the alliances manage to secure the 2 neutral goals, but when they start seeing their opponents scoring on the tall goal, trust me, they will not remain turtle anymore. They will need to rush out to play defence.


Going off of 9Motor Gang, if the blue team had just simply gone for rings on the alliance mobile goal and parked one robot with the 3 mobile goals they had, they could have easily won.

Here’s what I got on a scoring app :

There are 8 rings on one red alliance mobile goal and 3 on the other. The blue mobile goals have 8 rings on one and 6 on the other. Correct my ring count on the red mobile goals if I’m wrong, but blue could have actually easily won if they took the time to score rings while red was turtling and parked in the last 30 seconds. Furthermore, red alliance couldn’t even defend against blue scoring rings without un-turtling. Given all of this, the strategy is intimidating at first, but easily defeated if you play it right.


Hey! One of the teams (871X) from the aforementioned match there. Our ring mech… let’s say it wasn’t in a working state. We certainly tried.

But honestly, if both teams go for rings, which red definitely had the capability to do, one extra mogo is a decisive advantage. This strategy is brutally oppressive at locals, or at least at tournaments where the robots aren’t super developed yet. Even at WAVE @ WPI, we saw this work.

Your scenario (not to throw any shade!) is dependent on the fact that red doesn’t go for any rings whatsoever. But this is highly unlikely if both sides are aware of each other’s capabilities. It’s nearly impossible to counter, even with “proper play”. Anything that blue can do, red can do as well while turtling.

Slight disagreement… even at worlds finals, I’d bet that one alliance is going to get 2 mogos in auton, or both alliances get one a piece, leaving the last mogo to get fought over and eventually stolen by one side (right?) Then turtle. Then no counter. Then same problem, over again.


I agree, except they may have made it a little too hard. Tall mogo bots, as discussed in previous posts, are heavily dependent on tall mogo CONTROL. It would be laughably easy to just code an auton against a tall mogo bot that just outpaces them and grabs the tall mogo before they do. AND they can turtle after. Tall mogo bots don’t counter this strategy, and so far, I haven’t seen anything that will.


Not true at all.
@ezl has done up the points to show that blue still stand a chance to win, even with red scoring rings.

My mentioned scenario was based on what happened in the video - and it is a fact that the red alliance left the tall goal for the blue. Just that the blue didn’t make use of it.

Not true again. The “fight” for goals will definitely be more intense and drag over a longer period that what happened in the video.

And of course by worlds, most teams will be going for at least 2 goals during auton (in fact, teams in Singapore are more ambitious than that)
Your robot needs to be versatile and your game play need to be more adaptable. Eg. If the opponents has control of 2 neutral goals, what should I do? If it is one tall and one neutral, then what should I do? Etc.
Here’s the importance of meta-gaming - so that you will have a solution to most of the possible scenarios.
But of course, you will need to have a robot that is versatile enough to carry out all your solutions.

But of course, end of the day, if both the robots in the alliance are gonna lose control of all the 3 neutral goals, can’t score rings, and can’t park, then the alliance don’t deserve to win. It is as simple as that.


counter is high load rings. on hte middle goals it counters

The point I think he’s trying to make here is that even going for 2 goals, some team is most likely going to be faster than the other in auton. Which makes most of the matches basically unplayable. Tall goal bots are extremely off-meta for a good reason, that being it is super reliant on the tall goal being in their possession (and not having the opponents knock it over or descoring in whatever way).

In that particular situation, sure, tall goal bot might have helped. But in many others, probably not.

Also, the point there was red didn’t fully load their alliance mobile goals. I’m sure that if we had put rings on ours, they would probably have done the same.

Having a robot that can stack goals, do tall mogo rings, and alliance rings AND possess two mobile goals is extremely hard or even impossible to build, just because of space constraints.

I’d love to see someone prove me wrong!


You are not understanding what some of us are saying.

Again based on the post by @ezl - if you notice, there isn’t even a need to score rings on the tall goals, just on the 2 blue alliance goals.
But you do need to be able to at least carry the tall goal and put it on the platform.

And also, once the red alliance see the blue scoring rings, they will have to “unturtle” themselves. And this will be the opportunity for the blue to try to snatch the neutral goals.

The point is - if the red remains turtle, the blue is able to win. If the red unturtle, the blue will also stand a chance to win.

Another way to look at this situation is this - if after the red unturtle, the blue are still not able to dislodge the neutral goals from their grasps, or the red is still scoring more rings than the blue, then don’t you think the red truly deserve to win?

If the blue can’t score rings, can’t carry goals to platform, can’t park, then I am sorry - no strategy will help.

And btw, since day 1 of game release, it is already clear that it will be a game of goal rush. So again, nothing that was shown in the video was surprising.


there are certainly ways to beat an opponent who has the goal advantage, but the fact is that if they get to the point where they have more goals then you, and they play the rest of the match well, they have a much higher chance of winning than you do, and that’s just how this game goes. You can still win, especially if you have better robots/strategy than your opponents, but if they got the most goals in the first place you probably don’t.


That’s actually a great point to bring up! And no shade/offense was taken :). I think these kinds of matches where they turtle are going to vary. So for my point I’m about to make, we’re going to make a scenario that a match starts off like the original poster’s link, and that blue has two robots that can score rings like red.

Red grabs two neutral mogos and the autonomous ends with blue only having the tall neutral. The thing now is that one of the red robots has to decide whether or not to go for rings and risk being blocked from turtling, or immediately turtling and having fewer rings. Furthermore, not everyone will be able to get 8 rings on the alliance mobile goals in the autonomous with a neutral mobile goal. I’m not saying that it’s entirely not possible, but it is more likely that the red alliance wouldn’t be able to have everything by the end of the autonomous period to allow them to immediately turtle.

Now, a very important thing to bring up is that this strategy is definitely more oppressive at local events with varying skill levels. A high-skill alliance could easily fly through the bracket and win the tourney with a consistently winning autonomous, and that is a point for concern. However, I see that being less of an issue at worlds. At worlds, I would guess that, for the most part, both alliances will be stuck in the middle hanging on to neutral mobile goals because of relatively similar quality autonomouses. Turtling would almost certainly appear in worlds matches, but they won’t be as unfair as the one in the original video. I feel like the chances for a full turtle will rarely appear; and when they appear, the score will most likely be close because of the skill levels. Honestly, I’m willing to bet that there is a robot that can at least stack rings on the low branches of the tall mobile goal at worlds. Having that, the blue alliance in the scenario could win given all of the right conditions. Scoring of that scenario:

Obviously, the scoring still shows that it’s pretty hard to win against a full-fledged turtle. We could very well see an alliance oppressively win at worlds using the turtle strat, but, as mentioned before, the likelihood of this is very low.

If I were to look back at the original video with @soar’s new insight, it’s a fair point to say that blue had no chances of winning. It’s quite an unfortunate situation that demonstrates the unfairness of turtling at a local level with a large skill gap. Despite blue’s situation, they did their best, and I commend them for that.

So, is turtling unfair? Yes and no. Most likely yes, at a local level, but not at the worlds level. Both sides have their merits, and it’s not a simple question to answer.

As always, please point out any shortcomings to my argument! I’ll be glad to re-evaluate!


I use this strategy almost every match. Instead of my alliance holding two and my robot doing the same, we actually hold 3 and sit in the corner with 2 against the corner walls and one in a centralized 2 bar that lifts the goal mostly within our robot. Our alliance only has to get one goal. We then park with all three in the last 30 seconds. This leads to frequent wins, including 4 local tournaments but very, very boring matches for me and my drive team.


The blue team however had only had one bot to do ring intake and simply the bot with ring intake couldnt grab 2 goals. Now he could have just set one down and grab the other but to do all that by himself with the other bot only able to grab goals would have taken to long. I think this “turtling strategy” is a viable option to less competitive designs as they have little way to combat this. But for more competitive bots I could see this strategy fail easily.

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Should note, the blue alliance’s clamp just didn’t have the goal in the right place at the end of Auton, they immediately closed the clamp but it slipped from the goal because the auton fight knocked out out of where it needed to be. Nothing they could really do.

Of course, this loops back to the usual. If the blue robot has built a little different for that, or wrote a different auton, maybe something else would have happened so :man_shrugging:

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Keep in mind that the Turtle strategy can be defeated. I have watched inexperienced teams thwart the plans of a strong turtle team. It amazes me how many experienced teams watch it happen and don’t make any defensive moves to counter.

I will say that once the robot locks down against the wall and ramp it is difficult (still possible) to counter but until they get into position they are vulnerable. Time to watch some game film and practice your defense.


True. I tried this in Semifinals, but our back claw that is normally really secure was out of place, so the opposing alliance managed to grab our alliance goal about 10 seconds into the match. I think that If that didn’t happen, then we most likely would have won that match. Your robot needs to have secure claws for this strategy, or someone is probably going to steal a mogo from you.

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