2017 Champs Recap Part 1: Lifting off in Houston
Now that everyone has had time to relax and get settled in, it’s time to wrap up this 2017 FRC Steamworks season. It’s been a great year and Steamworks was a very exciting game. Throughout the season, we saw the level of play rise as each week passed with some unique strategist showing up at District Championships. But what about at World Championships? What strategies did teams use to win their divisions? Let’s take a look and break down each division, starting with the Houston World Championship.
Turing didn’t get a lot of attention due to it being the weakest of the division but don’t let their 0-5 record on Einstein fool you. That alliance was very powerful and hit above 500 points twice and came close 3 other times. They were constantly getting better and better throughout the division eliminations. Of course, their performance wasn’t going to be enough to win it all on Einstein but I feel that if they would have been able to perform closer to their performance in the Divisional playoffs, they would have won at least 1 or 2 matches.
If I had to pick an alliance that would have challenged Newton before we got to Einstein, my vote would have been on Carver. They had the firepower to put the same numbers and could play some very good defense if needed. The divisional winners or the finalist could have competed with Newton on Einstein. They had 2 of the best shooters (987 and 971) that could shoot on par with 118 and 1678. Their partners were both very good at gear cycling so the 4 rotors wouldn’t have been a problem at all. They could have made for some exciting matches.
Everyone was there watching Newton once their divisions had been decided. There wasn’t one available seat for the finals. 118 and 1678 put on a show for everyone. Their toughest matches were in the finals where they didn’t break the 500 point mark in the first match and only won by 9 points. They had a pretty solid strategy that looked to be unbeatable even on Einstein.
Many thought 4613 would come out of the division after their amazing regular season run but the alliance lead by 604 had something else to say. Their quick 4 rotors plus defense strategy managed to be the difference maker to shut down the high-powered alliance lead by 4613. The #5 did run into communication issues in the finals but the #3 seed was just too good. Hopper did manage to get 3 wins on Einstein but that’s where it came very noticeable that you needed at least a shooter to have a chance of winning it all.
Your Houston Champs had a tough time getting out of the division finals. The #2 seed put up a pretty tough fight but couldn’t hold off the shooting of 973. 2468 played some very good defense the slow the shooting down of 973 but getting 30+ kPa in auto made their jobs easier during teleop. Having to not worry too much about shooting and have a fast climb meant that 973 could focus on gears throughout and then finish off the pressure in the last 30 seconds. Even with the missed climb in the first match, they still managed to get the win thanks to having 52 kPa.
Galileo was very similar to Hopper with the winning alliance not really having a shooter. The final match was won without even having 4 rotors engaged for both alliances. Once they got to Einstein though, their inability to shoot kept them from keeping up with the top alliances of Newton, Roebling, and Carver.
Einstein had some great matches with a lot of different strategies being showed off. Many alliances didn’t change their strategy for Einstein, which makes sense. You don’t want to make a lot of changes to the plan that got you there in the first place. Newton was the clear favorite as no one was able to compete with the two accurate shooters in 118 and 1678. Roebling and Carver had something to say about that as it came down to Match 15 between Newton and Roebling. Newton was sitting #1 and had locked up their place in the finals, while Carver was sitting at #2 holding a slight lead over Roebling at #3. Roebling needed a very good match to sneak ahead of Carver for the final spot and Roebling played their best match of the weekend to get it. It also led to the most exciting match of Houston champs as everyone was out of their seats. The final matches, of course, didn’t really live up the hype as Match 15 did but Roebling’s ability to get over half the pressure in autonomous and having fast gear-bot partners, led to them giving Newton the toughest challenge and eventually winning the world championship. While Newton was able to do the same, they just couldn’t keep up with the speed of Roebling’s gear robots and eventually, penalties cost them Finals Match 2. Roebling’s consent play and strategy of 1 shooter, 2 gear robots, was the key to winning them the Houston Championship.