"We decline" on alliance selection increasing?

Across the last few years you seldom heard “Team 1234 declines the invitation”. This year I’ve heard it more and at a recent event there were six different declines.

  1. Are there more declines because of the two team alliances?
  2. Are there more declines because teams are doing a better job of scouting? (ue the 3rd captain’s robot is a junkbot that go to the top by a very lucky schedule)
  3. Are there more declines and followup picks by a “sister team” so both of you can go to States/Regionals/Worlds?
  4. Whats the highest number of individual declines you have seen this year (ie Captain 3 got rejected 4 times before someone said yes.
  5. What’s the highest total declines at the event this year
    (Don’t care about prior years)
1 Like

It could be because there are more alliance captains, and therefore it is more likely that the person declining will be able to become their own alliance captain; so, more people have the opportunity to decline.

It could also be that this game lends itself more to carrying than past years.


This year, qualifications are very random because it’s much harder for one team to carry a weaker alliance partner. In years like Skyrise and NBN, most points were scored in an area of the field that was too small or too inefficient to fit 2 robots, so 1 robot was responsible for maybe 75% of the final score of the alliance. Conversely, this year, all 4 robots play intense defense and offense the entire match, and a weaker alliance partner makes it nearly impossible to win. As such, the robots that end up ranked 1st after qualifications aren’t usually the strongest robots, and teams are much more likely to decline. At least that’s the trend that I’ve noticed.

The most declines I’ve seen at the same tournament to the same team is 4. I’m sure there are tournaments in other regions that have had more, but that is the most I’ve personally seen this year.


Also certain strategies may come into play. A heavy offensive robot may want a mor defensive robot to balance it out, and may decline another good scorer that is easy to play defense on.


You can’t accept an alliance invitation after you have declined one.

Pretty sure a middle school team was declined around 8 times at one competition. Pretty awful. It seems like every competition I’ve been to at least one ineffective but lucky team was in the top five.


I can agree that declines are increasing. At out home tournament, I was the one seed and picked our club team. The two seed then got declined by at least 6 teams, maybe even up to 8. The reasoning, the robot that was the two seed was essentially a chassis bot and had such an easy schedule. Sometimes rankings are skewed in vex, and teams are ranked higher than what they should be, and sometimes lower than what they should be. It also can be because some teams feel they pair with certain types of robots well. For example, we are a flywheel bot and we feel we pair well with a catapult robot.

It’s frustrating at times with rankings, but it adds some fun parody, and is sometimes interesting to watch.

As long as you say “we respectfully decline” or something on the lines of that, I don’t see anything rude with that. I usually try and tell teams I’m not interested in pairing before selection, and if they try and pick me that’s their loss. Luckily that hasn’t happened yet, but who knows what will happen at worlds.

1 Like

If you’re not an alliance captain then you can’t.

You can decline if you are going to pick.

ie: I’m the 4th captain, sister is 20th. 1 and 2 pick me, I decline, on my pick I can pick my sister.

Saw this happen at the 2019 google middle school signature event. I think a team was declined 5 times.

Interesting question, I’ve seen lots of picking a third alliance partner to carry them to State or World events, so this might be an artifact of not being able to drag along a third partner anymore. If this is going on, we should see more eliminations of high-ranked alliances as their partners are not the strongest possible teams.

Old guy story: one year team a team had locked in a spot to Worlds via skills during the state championship, and had also finished very high in the rankings (first, maybe?). Their first alliance partner was another strong team from their club, and then they picked a pretty weak team from their club as the third partner. I asked them later why they did that, as their club policy has always been, “pick who will help you win, not who is your friend.” Their answer was that they were going to Worlds anyway, and Eliminations then became about getting their friends there, too. I actually find it hard to fault their logic. They did well enough that all three were invited to Worlds.

It seems from watching the past few years that the good teams (ie - alliance captains) are getting smarter and have strategies. Because of this, unless the higher ranked team works well with the lower ranked team, they will follow their strategy. I know in our case, the girls usually had a strategy set on what they wanted to do with a couple teams and they executed that strategy, based on which team ended up being available.

I’m chalking it up to growth of the event and smarter kids.

Somewhat related to this, there seems to be much less 1 picking 2, 3 picking 4 and so on. I’ve seen top ranked teams picking people much farther down the line as a partner. Someone not associated. But they see something in the team where they compliment each other, so they become partners.

1 Like

My experience is that the number of declines is up a little. Here in Wisconsin, we never have an event with less than 6 qualifying rounds and most tend to do 8. That does a better job of filtering the field and a less than top-notch robot will get somewhat exposed. There are still cases of a team being carried above their actual capability (or pushed below their capability) and the good teams recognize the situation. The two team alliances, in my opinion, place a much stronger emphasis on good scouting. In my event on 2/16, my C team and my E team finished ranked 1 and 2. E declined C because they did not feel that they paired up well and chose the #13 ranked team, then proceeded to be the Tournament Champions.

1 Like

I was at a high school tournament where about 6 or 7 teams declined. It was sad. One of the teams did not understand the rules and was allowed to accept.

1 Like

One of the things I’ve noticed this year verses prior years is the EP wants to get the elimination rounds started and the tournament over with. This leaves almost no time between the last Qaul match and selection. Teams have no time to negotiate with their first choice let alone figure out alternate selections. I will concede there are some teams that wouldn’t know who to pick regardless of the amount of time you give them.


One time I straight up saw a team representative go up to the mike and say “no” before walking off.

1 Like

I think at one tourney i was at the 2nd seed got declined about ~9 times due to the nature of this game and how march scheduling works.

At our state championship, everyone was going to be able to make the eliminations. But the last place team declined an offer, not realizing that it meant no one else could pick them. As a result, the 2nd-to-last team didn’t get to be in the finals because there was no one to pick, even though it was the last place team’s fault for declining

1 Like

Honestly, that’s a mistake on the part of the tournament runners, if they did not clearly explain to the team that this meant they were done. I’ve heard referees say this as, “Knowing that if you say no, you cannot say yes to anyone else, and your day is done, understanding all of this, do you want to change your answer?” Very few teams stick to their “no.”


At a recent tournament we had finals completely change because of this rule. The #2 seed wanted to pick the #4 seed but they declined so they picked somebody else. Then the #3 seed wanted to pick the #4 seed but couldn’t so they picked the #6 seed. This wouldn’t have been a problem but the #4 wanted to pick the #6 as they were from the same school so the #6 got into an alliance with #3 and we, the 5th seed went with #4.This rule should be more clearly stated as it can really effect finals.