Last updated: 2019.12.07
An event with only three advancing teams can arise with from small events. It’s tempting to look at advancements in terms of percentages (3 teams from a 15-team event is a 20% advancement rate), but that masks the reality of what happens at a 3-team advancing event.
The 3-team advancement outcome
As in another article I wrote a couple of years ago, this analysis is based on the official FTC advancement criteria as given in Game Manual Part I. An FTC event with a 3-team advancement ends up looking like:
* 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.
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, or lobby/hope 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.