Vex tournament reform < IMPORTANT >

Hello members of the forum. This is a major problem. It has to do with alliance selection in short fields (tournaments with under 48). I went to the middle school California state championship and with only 27 teams and 27 would go because they added a ninth seed. Now I know this a special sencino but still even 24 out of 27 going is ridiculous . In the end bad teams tag along with 1st and 2nd and go to world’s and the rest are screwed. This is lessened in larger fields the 1stV8th was competive in the high school who had 76. To fix this I suggest 2 teams alliances or four 3 team alliances for fields 24-48. This will help some of the middle teams not get robbed while some team in 18th goes to worlds. Please support this so maybe we can make a change before the manual comes out.

I wouldn’t say that bad teams tag along to win a tournament. A tournament is won through cooperation of all robots in an alliance. There is a lot of random aspects that go into how a team is ranked at the end of qualifications (schedule, VEXnet drops, etc.).

I will use the Wisconsin State tournament as an example. My team was picked by the 1st overall team after qualifications. We were ranked 23rd/40 after a day with a very difficult schedule and some VEXnet issues. After we were picked 1st, I could tell that there were people watching questioning the pick. After we were picked, for our second alliance pick, I pushed hard to select a team that was ranked 39th that had only won a single match all day. I knew that this team was much better than their ranking indicated. People were really starting to question our alliance’s selections :smiley:

When we started to play in the elimination rounds, I loved seeing some jaws drop in the stands, when we won our matches and especially when our third alliance selection consistently manhandled some good teams. People started to realize that you cant judge a team by its ranking. (2W in Gateway Worlds :D)

Long story short, I don’t believe that a team is less deserving of a worlds invitation because they were selected as a second pick, rather than being an alliance captain, or ranked higher after qualifications.

Check out our elimination matches on Dakota Bayer’s YouTube page. Final 1 was particularly intense :wink:


That can be true but still not everyone should he on the finals. There usually a few like that but ranks can also be true. I also believe it lowers lower seeds picking ability having 8th picking between two teams is just messed up.

I actually like the fact that all teams (or nearly all teams) have the ability to compete in the elimination rounds at smaller tournaments. There is more to robotics than winning tournaments, as I myself can remember the days of being near the bottom of the rankings :slight_smile: that was an awesome learning experience and a great motivator to get better.

Also, this should have much less of an effect on qualifying for Worlds as the Worlds qualifying events are big tournaments (in WI at least), or through the global skills rankings. In these tournaments, not everyone does get a chance to make it to eliminations, so the lower seed captains have more of a pool of teams to choose from.


It’s something we face in arizona. Usually, the 8 alliances will be composed of two good teams and one mid-low team that is just the best of the available choices for second picks. These second picks were usually very simple robots that could serve as pushbots. Certainly the second place alliance has a robot more deserving to go to worlds than the second pick of the first place alliance usually, but I don’t know how you would change that.

How big was your state tournament this year?

44 teams. Only reason I know that is we seeded 44th.

Yeah, that’s a problem. But Arizona State worked out well this year, in my opinion…

There were about 40-50 teams I think. We had 6 qualifying slots. Regardless of actual specific examples, this is generally a noticeable issue in vex, and the only way to fix it would be a reformation of the way worlds slots are given out, but it would be even less effective if they did that.

Large elimination brackets are definitely an issue. The cutoff to eliminations at higher-stakes events such as States or Nationals needs to narrow down the field significantly. I think having more than half of the attending teams in the eliminations is excessive.

With elimination brackets that are too large, a team that did well in qualifications (such as the captain of alliance 8) can easily find themselves in a worse position at the start of QF1 than at the start of the event itself. That’s pretty messed up, in my opinion.

There’s also the issue that elimination brackets involve a lot more variance than qualification rounds. VEXU Worlds has suffered from this in previous years, with strong teams being eliminated before the quarterfinals due to bad luck. One example is MNU in Gateway - they were rank #3 playing rank #19 in the round of 16, and thanks to an unfortunate series of events they ended up being disqualified twice in the match. There was probably no other way MNU could have lost that match, but playing large elimination brackets allows freak events to determine the outcome of the competition.

For events where the stakes are lower, large elimination brackets are good because they allow more teams to participate.

As for the fact that

that’s how it’s *supposed *to work. Think of it like this: the captain and pick #1 slots on the champion alliance are for the teams who did most of the work of winning the competition. The pick #2 slot is a sort of spot prize for a team who did well but couldn’t have won the competition themselves. That’s usually how it works out, with exceptions like 2W at worlds 2012 being due to insufficient scouting or teams playing a “sleeper” strategy.

This “spot prize” way of doing things is really important for a competition that wants to encourage participation. It gives teams who aren’t in the top 10% of the competition something to strive for, and it gives newer teams a reason to compete. Without it I think you would see a lot of teams simply going home after their second or third loss, rather than playing on right up to the end of the qualification rounds.

No matter the size of the tournament we tend to stick to the 8 alliance playoff format here in BC. (We had about 40 teams at the Provincial championship, so there were plenty of teams to choose from.)

What we will do at qualifying events (usually 40-50 teams) is run a consolation final. With a four field set-up we can run the championship elimination rounds on two fields, and the consolation finals on the other two.

After the alliance selection for the championship side we re-do alliance selection for the consolation side.

This gives the teams more matches, and gives less experienced teams the opportunity to learn what it is like to be an alliance captain or to play in the elimination rounds.


I like this idea, even though it does consume more time and requires at least one extra field to run matches on.

This doesn’t fix the problem. OP is complaining about Worlds spots. This just lets more people play for fun.

It could still be part of the solution. A lot of events seem to run large elimination brackets so that the teams who don’t get selected for an alliance have something to do. The method dtengineering mentions allows events to provide matches to lower-ranked teams without including them in the official elimination rounds.

I’ve always understood this, and it makes sense that the tournament format encourages this. However, what I have always wondered is, does it make sense to continue using this format at a State, National, or World Championship?

Consider that if at worlds, rankings corresponded directly to how good a team/robot was, all divisions were of approximately equal strength, and all teams did alliance selection perfectly, considering 5 divisions, the teams on the world champion alliance would be two teams out of the top 10 robots, and then the 81st robot (5*16 + 1)??? This has never made sense to me.

I understand that rankings aren’t perfect, and accordingly the winning third alliance members are usually a “diamond in the rough” so to speak, but it still doesn’t make sense to me that this team deserves a championship title more than say, the third best robot at the competition?

I feel honored to say we were the team whom you guys so graciously selected! We are a relatively new team who is just beginning to gain some steam! First off I would just like to say that we cannot thank you enough. You guys opened up a whole new world of opportunity for our team.

Our robot 6001C (Chuck) was built by our freshman to be as simple as possible and still maintain effectiveness. It focused solely on defense and exposed the key aspect of this years game which is to control the cylinders. At first many of us, among other teams, were slightly shocked when 1200 and 1200F selected us to be there partners. We asked ourselves HOW and WHY US?!? This is why I love vex! There is a reason the third pick exists and it is to give less experienced teams the chance to gain experience!

Can’t wait to have a great time in Anaheim I hope to see you all there! :smiley:

This is my point at state and above of this should stop (especially when your state has 27 teams)

NV states was run with 2 team alliances and it was glorious. By State National or World Championships people shouldn’t have the failures tat make a third member necessary at early events.

I think the same logic applies at all levels of the competition. Three-team alliances mean more teams in each division have a chance of winning the division and then winning worlds. This makes competing in World Champs more attractive for teams who maybe qualified for the first time, or who haven’t had good results at Worlds before. It improves the Worlds experience for those teams, and it makes World Championship qualifications a more enticing prize for *all *teams competing in State or National level competition, not just the ones who know that they would be in the top 10% of the field at Worlds if they attended.

I think the “rags to riches” possibility that three team alliances provide helps teams stay engaged even after they realise that they no longer have a chance to become a top team by the end of the season. The dream of being able to take those second-pick performances all the way to the World Championship might be an important part of that.

1200F and 1200B will be there, but not 1200. I am much too busy that week :(. It was awesome playing with you guys and good luck at Worlds. Email me at… Id like to talk about the Worlds competition with you guys!!

In my opinion, two team alliance make more sense for tournaments with less than say, thirty teams. At the beginning of this year I attended a tournament with twenty-four teams in which there were three team alliances. The entire second round of picking didn’t matter because there were no useful robots left.

With more than thirty teams, three team alliances make more sense to encourage new teams, forgive bad luck, etc. At a venue like worlds there are enough capable robots that all of the second round picks are very good, and usually only slightly below the captains in terms of ability.