FTC League Play with 3 advancing teams

Last updated: 2016.10.01

In another article I gave an analysis regarding League Tournaments having four advancing teams; this article looks at events having only three advancing teams,  It ends up looking very different to me.

An event with only three advancing teams can arise with from small events such as a 12-team league advancing its “top 25%”, or even the “top 30%” of a 10-team league.  In each of these cases the league is slated to receive only three advancement slots.  However, the “25%” and “30%” advancement figures mask what truly happens in a League Tournament where only three teams end up advancing.

The 3-team advancement outcome

As in my other article, this analysis is based on the official FTC advancement criteria as given in Section 4.8.2 of Game Manual Part I. It all ends up being fairly straightforward:

* The Inspire Award Winner, Inspire Award 2nd place, and Winning Alliance Captain all advance.

* The Winning Alliance 1st team selected advances only if the Winning Alliance Captain also receives Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd. It happens, but it’s by no means certain.

* The Inspire 3rd team advances only if both of the Winning Alliance teams received Inspire 1st and Inspire 2nd. Count your lucky stars if this ends up being you.

* None of the other awards advance.

Yes, a 3-advancing team event means that a team can be on the Winning Alliance — even undefeated through all matches — and still not advance.

Impact on Alliance Selection

An event where only three teams advance can have a very definite impact on Alliance Selection.

If your team is in line to be an Alliance Captain (i.e., it is one of the top four ranked teams), and a higher-ranked team asks you to join their alliance, you may very well want to consider declining the invitation so you can become the captain of your own alliance.

If you accept the other team’s invitation and they don’t win Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd, then you don’t advance even if your alliance ends up winning the tournament.

If you think by declining and forming your own alliance you may beat whatever alliances they and other higher-ranked teams come up with (remember, they all get to pick before you do), then being (Winning) Alliance Captain means you get to advance.

And if you’re not in line to be an Alliance Captain when Alliance Selection rolls around, then your only path to advancement is to win the Inspire Award or Inspire 2nd place yourself, or lobby to end up on the Winning Alliance with an Alliance Captain that does win one of those awards.

The bottom line

Advancement opportunities are extremely limited in an event advancing only three teams.  At first glance advancing 3 teams from a 10-team event may seem better “percentage-wise” (30%), but a 20-team event advancing 5 teams (25%) or even just 4 teams (20%) has many many more opportunities for advancement.

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