NERC Sportsman’s Class Reform Notes

Monday, May 8th, 2017 @ 4:38 | Bots

[Note: This post was originally directed towards a specific audience and contains a lot of jargon and insider knowledge of the robot combat scene. Don't ask me what anything means.]

The NERC 30lb Sportsman’s class currently faces a few challenges with regard to defining its direction. In my opinion, the root cause comes from the builder base having mixed priorities and interpretations of the intent of the class. Here are two interpretations I think are the most common; particular concerns with the competitiveness of the class recently will be addressed with the subjects.

The Sportsman’s Class is to encourage nontraditional, creative designs in contrast to the polarized wedge-vs-spinner nature of the open classes

Nominally the reason why the 30lb Sportsman’s class was created in the first place. We can generally agree that the rise of extremely competitive spinner weapons came with the decreasing cost of Chinese brushless systems and lithium batteries during the middle and latter 2000s decade. This meant that in the open arena of most builder-run events (no hazards, no pits, pushouts, or other match-affecting devices), it became extremely easy to store large amounts of KE, and the only way to defend against KE was to armor up and build more compact robots with less exposed features.

Consequentually, robots with weapons which required less dense designs became extremely disadvantageous to build. The current balance of the sport is extremely noticeable in all weight classes running in the US. In particular the insectweight classes, the 12lb class and edu-league dominated 15lb class, and the 220lb Heavyweight class suffer the most from the “meta” (highly competitive strategy favored by a large percentage of participants) of a compact design with a spinning element.

It’s interesting to note in particular the 30lber scenes in other countries. In the UK, the Featherweights circuit is dominated by flippers and to a lesser degree, wedge-hammers. The UK featherweight arenas are generally elevated inside of a larger protective Lexan enclosure which only has 6mm polycarbonate (Robots Live), as well as having a pit hazard. This outright prevents high-KE weapons from becoming established, and the elevated stage allows more out-of-arena wins.

The UK meta is the fast flipper as a result. Video of FRA Championships 2016 rumble – notice the presence of US-style compact drum and vertical disc weapons, but they did not dominate the rumble for the vast majority of the time. The winner was a beater-drum design, but arguable it won on durability as it was one of the only robots left working at the end. Note as well as the presense of numerous flippers and inactive wedges (7 each, out of a field of 22).

Australia also has a growing Featherweights class as well as a 30lb-Sportsman’s class with similar rules. In their standard 30lb class which features an open arena, they have similar levels of design polarization. These videos from their National 2016 competition shows a greater prevalence of compact VD/drum weapons (as well as one midcutter style bot), comprising 6 of the 8 first round matches.

Robowars Austrailia also operates a 30lb Sportsman’s Class. For their upcoming event in 2017, this is the field of entries:

We compare the design trends with the most recent entries from Motorama 2017:

And actually from the featherweights at Motorama 2017:

Compare this with the Featherweights of Motorama 2005:


We note the following design trends:

  • That on the whole, the Austrailian (as well as the UK feathers, which don’t have a centralized registration system I’m aware of) tend to be less slab-sided and square with enclosed wheels.
  • Conversely, no matter if Featherweight or Sportsman, the US builds have been generally more square/flat sided with much less pronounced protrusions and a tendency to have doubly enclosed wheels
  • This tendency of US Featherweights really goes back – over 10 years. Many of the current crop of builders who started the 30lb Sportsman’s class and participate in it had entries in Featherweights in the mid 2000s.

(Note that a lot of Motorama entries are missing descriptive photos – we are relying a lot on the fact that we know what the entries ended up looking like here. Videos of Motorama 2017 are available here.)

Generally, designs with non-right angles are harder to make robust, as right-angle joints are stronger and simpler. Designs with protruding elements are also harder to armor and in a field of KE weapons, tend to have those features removed quickly.  As a result, those builders used to fighting against KE weapons will tend to keep using tried-and-true methods even in other weight classes and Sportsman’s Class – build what you know.  In my opinion, you can continue to go back through the history of robot combat (e.g. Jim Smentowski’s event photos from old-Battlebots) and see the variation of shapes and topologies become more streamlined and simplified as early as old Seasons 4 and 5.

I therefore conjecture the following:

  • It’s really the rise of high KE weapons which has forced designs to polarize between those weapons and the armor that can fend them off, not because competitors generally enjoy making wedges.
  • The open arena nature of most builder-run events has favorited KE weapons over other designs historically, since it’s easy to run away and spin up, and there’s nothing to hide behind.

How this relates to the issues facing the 30lb Sportsman’s Class is also heavily influenced by the attitude of the builders competing in the class. The next commonly-cited upside of the 30lb Sportsman’s Class which gets brought up is:

The Sportsman’s Class exists as a reprieve from the extreme competitiveness of the open class where people can run their robots for longer or build and operate less ‘serious’ designs repeatedly


One important side effect of completely eliminating high-KE impact weapons from the field was that Sportsman’s Class bots tended to have longer careers in the US. For example, Upheaval competed in Motoramas 2006-2014 with only one major rework; similarly, Gigarange has competed in almost a decade of Motoramas consistently. Überclocker 2.0 ran from Moto 2009 to 2012, and 3.0 from 2013 to 2015 (as well as several non-Motorama events in that time).

Looking through registrations of Motoramas past, it seems far more common for 30lb Sportsman bots to retire because of builder retirement or outright design retirement (e.g. Upheaval, Clocker 2.0, Nyx 1) versus being dismantled beyond repair in a single fight or tournament. I think a large part of builder retirement in the “in-between years” of ~2004 to 2014, prior to the revival of new BattleBots and Robot Wars, was due to builders simply quitting after their last tournament where they lost to a high-KE weapon and had nothing easy to salvage or repair; this was especially true of the higher weight classes (60-340lb) which were more expensive to rebuild.

The class has grown the most in recent years from builders who already have a Featherweight entry, and either decided to build a Sportsman’s Class entry to try other ideas or had their Featherweight damaged beyond repair in a match and wanted to try something different. Some new bots have been build specifically for the class with the understanding that they’ll get to run longer with less intensive damage. On the whole, it shows that a lot of builders are becoming weary of the repetitive neature of the current open-arena meta of spinners vs. armor.

New builders are also generally more attracted to building designs which are known to be competitive, or the most people have advice and tactics for. Conversely, existing builders will often build to survive tournaments, which means in the Featherweights they either tend to build successful KE-based designs or heavily armored bots with extensive spare parts or replaceable modules (at least one of which, for instance, might be a large slab of steel). In comparison to the UK featherweight and Austrailian 30SC classes, the US has less new builders who start out under its limited ruleset. More often these days builders begin in the 1-3lb classes, where the competition is extremely spinner-vs-wedge skewed, and build upwards from there, whereas the Australian 30SC has a higher percentage of new builders. We associate this with an increase in the amount of “unconventionally shaped” designs.

In a short conversation with Steven Martin, the organizer of Robowars Austrailia, he said this about their current state:

The attitude and outlook about the Sportsman’s class, in my opinion, are extremely similar between us and Steven. The consequence of the builder demographic in the US is that the builders who participate in the open class take their competitiveness with them into the Sportsman’s Class. If there is a “design meta” in the compact KE weapon vs. armored plow, then the “competition meta” is build-to-win versus build-to-entertain, one of the stated goals of the Sportsman’s Class. This is also an important point to relate back to the issue of high-KE weapons dominating in the arena.

The reason this “competition meta” still exists is because the tournament is run exactly the same as Featherweights and the rest of the event: A double elimination bracket with a single first and second place winner, etc.  coupled with the same kind of prizes. In other words, there’s no explicit incentive to build something that doesn’t win, even in the 30lb Sportsman’s Class, as you’re not otherwise going to get more than 2 matches (possibly both of which you lose). The judging guidelines are still the same as the main tournament. This is one element which I think causes the Sportsman’s Class to be as competitive as the open Featherweights class.  What happens in this case is the argument for Sportsman’s Class is at least in part defeated by the perverse incentive that is still building-to-win.

(It’s actually interesting to point out that the 30lb Sportsman’s Class has a different design-meta also: The fast lifter/flipper. Nyx, Überclocker, and Upheaval are among the most consistently winning entries.)

From the other side of this proposition is the influence of the less serious nature of the competition. Because the matches are less likely to result in your robot being damaged beyond repair in one or two hits (as is common in the open class), it’s a chance for robot that nominally fit the rules, but may not be geared towards excitement, to flourish. This has been demonstrated recently by the increasing number of simple lifter designs which would be quickly defeated in the open class, but also are technically Sportsman-legal. See the Motorama 2017 roster: Gigarange, Lil’ Bale Kicker, Ralph, and Coup de Gracey are all considered part of this. These are all bots which should do better in the open  bracket if KE weapons were not extremely overpowered; it could be argued even further that designs like Nyx and Upheaval can be considered the same.

I contend that the greatest signifier of build-to-win’s importance in the 30lb Sportsman’s Class in the US is that absent the high-KE designs in the Featherweights, most of the Sportsman’s Class entries will perform just fine in the Featherweights tournament. This is troublesome; if you want Mechadons fighting Obwalden Overlords, you have to go a step farther than just prohibiting certain designs, because other designs will take their place in a time-honored race to the top format.

Herein lies the conundrum: At the same time we would like to make 30lb Sportsman’s the “exciting” class, we also want to make it the “easy” class. The bottom line is it’s basically impossible and also unfair to compare Sportsman’s Class to the Featherweights open bracket on the basis of competitive excitement, as it runs counter to both aforementioned goals of the class. (Note: These might not be explicitly stated desires, just sentiments I’ve heard or seen reflected in 30SC-style contests nationwide)

It is therefore my stance that…

To reform the 30lb Sportsman’s Class, you need to break the “Meta”, the element which forces people to cluster around a competitive edge. The hard part lies in deciding which meta to counter.


Historically, I’ve been opposed to changing the design meta by legislation. The current Sportsman’s Class rules prohibit wedges (sloped surfaces within 1 inch of the floor) as well as impose RPM limits on kinetic energy weapons (“All devices rotating more than 360 degrees must not exceed 400 rpm”). However, both of those rules then have somewhat ill-defined caveats for lifter forks and plates and the like; spinning sawblades are also generally exempt from the RPM limit. Several recent attempts at reforming the rules have centered on defining better what these grey zones are, with maximum/minimum sizes of the lifter, or requiring the robot to pass a functional inspection at the event (cut-not-fling a test weight for saw blades, do not wedge under a certain test block with a fixed ground clearance, and so on).

I am not a supporter of this approach. First, while you do change the robot shape to eliminate “undesirables”, it then becomes which shape under the rules will still be the most optimal one. By (for example) limiting the width and length of lifting forks, those who would want to build lifters have an exact guideline to follow, knowing their future opponents will have to adhere to the same guidelines. By limiting the size and speed of sawblades, it’s now advantageous to always pack the largest one. It’s my opinion that design limitations actually erode the creative foundation (conjecture #1) of the class in favor of increasing the outright competitiveness.

Rules legislation has in fact resulted in “optimal” designs for different environments; in the realm of auto racing, the most legislated competitions are Formula 1 and NASCAR. Teams spend immense amounts of money in R&D attempting to optimize their car under very limited and regulated circumstances. One of the most important aspects of both auto racing series is in fact trying to ‘skirt the rules’ without visibly violating them, or being caught. In the realm of robotics, task-based competitions with a limited budget and limited BOM variety like the FIRST Robotics Competition are good examples.

While we would prefer our sport to help inculcate some engineering knowledge into its participants, we also have many good examples of what a purely engineering-driven competition looks like, and it is my belief that it counters the spirit of the 30lb Sportsman’s Class. Essentially, if you remove one design from the pool, others will simply take its place, or the designs will evolve to the new local maximum of effectiveness. The more design rules are laid, the more points of contention and Well Technically exist.

One positive example of design meta changing is the Plastic Ants class. In this relatively new class, the only materials permitted to be used in the construction of the robot beyond fasteners and some mechanical parts like axles and hubs must be made of common consumer & engineering plastics. The destruction level is greatly reduced, and it has become both a newbie-friendly class at events it is run at as well as a breeding ground for unusual designs such as bristlebot drive, omnidirectionality, etc.

This is not to say design limits are completely ineffective – some times they can be practical. For instance, kinetic energy limits are fairly easy to enforce by creating a weight-to-RPM table. Obviously the result won’t be 100% accurate due to varying MOI of different weapon shapes, but as robot weapons can really come in only a few shapes anyway, it’s an “in the range of” type decision.

For 30lb Sportsman’s Class, I support modifying the competitive meta as much as we can in lieu of making the design requirements more strict. Because the creation of the 30lb Sportsman’s Class was driven in part by intent, I strongly think intent also has to be an element of the competition. This can be done in a few ways:

We can change the tournament structure such that outright winning isn’t necessarily rewarded

Recently, local small-class events have begun experimenting with alternative tournament structures. The goals are mixed, but generally the idea has been to give people the most fights they can, against different opponents, and have fun versus win every match decisively. Two examples of these kinds of events are PCT SWORD Fights and MassDestruction, where 3-way battles, rumbles, and round-robin & Swiss tournaments. At MassDestruction, for instance, entrants are guaranteed 4 rounds of fighting through the Swiss tournament, with a smaller elimination tournament following for the top-ranked bots. At PCT SWORD, 3-bot fights are used.

An alternative tournament structure for 30lb Sportsmans would mitigate some of the 2-loss concerns (i.e. in a sea of lifters, a bristlebot would still quickly be defeated). A Swiss tournament would gaurantee a certain number of fights (the elimination thereafter is optional), while 3+ robot fights would cause the instantaneous competitive meta to change as the strategies of more bots come into play. By guaranteeing more matches, some designs which are most definitely considered ineffective (such as true-walkers, tethered projectiles, jumping robots, etc.) would become more appealing for people to try; this has the compound appeal of potentially encouraging people who take the event less seriously, or who just want to build for fun i.e. adding a small element of assbots to the competition.

I consider this the easiest-to-implement change which minimizes the impact on existing designs, rules, and arenas alike, which is why it’s listed first here. The only potential downside is at large general-public events, it may be harder for the public to follow the bracket. Mixing 3+ robot matches with a regular one-on-one elimination tournament might also disrupt the perception of the event. However, it’s my and other builders’ experiences that at an event like Motorama, people are not following the bracket anyway and are only there for good matches. Events like PCT and MassD simply assume this is the case, and that the builders are furthermore just there to get some good matches in.

Otherwise, absent of dedicating an entire event towards the 30lb Sportsman’s Class, and switching between two-bot fights and 3+ bot fights, we could also consider an different judging system for the class only.

The judging for the 30lb Sportsman’s Class should be weighed differently from the open class, with an explicit discouragement of passive behavior.

This kind of approach is the purest from an “intent-of-class” perspective, but is also the most controversial (and for good reason). It wanders closely to the BattleBots 2016 “active weapon rule” controversy, where several bots in the tournament lost due to a clause in the rules which said they must use their primary weapon in the match, and is unpopular with builders for that reason. While it did have the effect of eliminating bots which were primarily wedging and pushing, the announcement of the rule was sudden (at the tournament) and the enforcement was considered by some competitiors to be unfair. Furthermore, the BattleBots rule was criticized because in an open competition with a proliferation of KE weapons, they had effectively eliminated the ability to defend against them. The design meta was forcefully tilted in favor of KE weapons, as not even using armor to slow them was considered aggression or damage.

I believe such an intent-based judging approach CAN be effective if it is disclosed in full beforehand, and my favored interpretation is actually not that much different than what ended up happening at BattleBots Season 2. The key lies in the already limited nature of the 30lb Sportsman’s Class. There are no Tombstones to defend against, so it is more fair to encourage builders to attack  strategically versus trying to stop a kinetic weapon with brute force.

For our purposes, “passive activity” could be defined as pushing/wedging/pinning in lieu of use of the robot’s weaponry. This does bring up an important collateral to consider, which is what happens if the robot weapon(s) break(s) and it has nothing left to do except push.

The implementation difficulty of this approach is twofold, as you have to create criteria to decide when a robot is engaging in ‘passive’ activity, as well as ensure those criteria will be hard to interpret differently between judges. Rarely do builder-run events have consistent judges throughout the match, and people swap in and out almost at will. It would help to have judges which have been 30SC competitiors themselves, but the robustness of the guidelines will help mitigate the subjectivity.

Lastly, what I think will bring about the greatest sea change in designs but also be difficult to implement with existing infrastructure is:

Changing the nature of the arena will effect evolutionary pressure on existing and new designs.

All of life as we know it responds to environmental pressures, and so do robots. As discussed previously, the current open-arena with no hazards, pushouts, etc. is the idea place for storing up lots of kinetic energy over several seconds (run away to spin up) before you become effectively unapproachable. The advent of high-powered electronics has only made the window of opportunity for countering a spinner smaller. Arguable, the open arena itself was originally a response to the extremely cluttered arenas of BattleBots and Robot Wars i.e. ‘No house bots, no hazards, no bullshit’, and the continuing motivation is ease of setup and low cost of maintenance, since all of the arenas are maintained by their own builder base without significant investment from outside sources.

There is plenty of precedent for insectweight arenas that have arena hazards which mix up the fight, but do not cause outright destruction of the bots (something the BB and RW arenas did regularly, leading to the psychological aversion). I’ve even built one for one of the Atlanta arenas. It’s a 12″ diameter spinning flat disc which has sandpaper bonded to the spinning portion; it will grab and spin bots, and maybe sand their wheels down a little, before rising up and causing them to escape in some hard-to-predict direction.

Understandably, in-floor mechanisms like pits, flippers, or spinning turntables will add significant cost & maintenance and furthermore requires an elevated arena structure to support it. While arenas have been purpose-built for this (e.g. the UK arenas), existing US builder-run events will be hard-pressed to use this approach.

I technically don’t even like pits, as they also contribute regularly to accidental match ends when one bot ends up in it (or bounces into one) and can’t escape the pit.

Another approach with precedent is purposefully leaving arena floors beat up to add a semblance of terrain. This approach is used explicitly at Robot Battles events where the edges of the stage risers are purposefully left unmaintained, and arguably at most events implicitly as the floor material gets more and more gouged and damaged. While at Robot Battles this has successfully deterred low wedges multiple times, it does so inconsistently, also foiling many types of active weapons and forcing attacks to stop and bots to reposition away from a problematic floor seam.

One untried way to add some variation to arena terrain is replacing floor panels (typically 4 x 4 foot or 4 x 8 foot panels of wood and/or steel) with “something else”. This is the approach I favor for a future event of my own. The “something” in my case would be some low flat-topped pyramidal structures, probably welded out of AR400/500 plate. The edges won’t be so steep as to cause everybody to get high-centered, perhaps 10-15 degrees at most, but it would offer some strategic changes and open up the possibility of new match modes (e.g. capture-the-hill, domination) with multiple bots, which I think is super interesting to explore.

Such an approach won’t work well if it’s interspersed with other weight classes in the same arena, unless it’s announced well in advance that all weight classes will be sharing the same features. Otherwise there’s an additional logistics problem of transporting the terrain in and out and replacing the stock floor panel just for a few matches.

I’ve also thought about the idea of adding an “arena toy” to the mix. It could be a small weldment of steel tubes weighing approx. 30 pounds, something easy to grab onto by any bot with a moving lifting arm or grabbing claws. Or it could be as simple as a stock iron anvil or a truck tire. These wouldn’t be difficult to remove for open class matches, and would add some unique strategic enhancements.

Ultimately, most of these terrain and hazard ideas are supposed to shake up the strategic game in order to affect designs. It actually is another way of targeting the competitive meta more than the game itself. I don’t emphasize terrain when talking about rule changes because of the difficulty involved in changing aspects of arenas – it’s something I will gladly “put up or shut up” on when I run my own event. That said, prepare for #RAGEBOTICA to have some weird floor tiles.

Example Rule Implementation

A phrase I learned from one of my professors back in grad school was “If you bring the whine, so must you bring the cheese”. That means offer suggestions for change or improvement along with your complaining. For how much I complain about things, I actually try to open with suggestions for alternatives before really busting out the complaint cannon. So here we go! A lot of this is plagiarized from the current NERC Sportsman’s Class ruleset, Battlebots rules, and Robot Battles rules.

0.0 Spirit Rule: The spirit of the Sportsman’s Class is to encourage creative, unique designs and strategies. The rules are not exhaustively written to account for every possible circumstance. You should not design your bot to push the limits of the rules. The Event Organizer reserves the right to disqualify a robot under this clause should it appear to exploit the intent of the rules. If you have any question about the legality of your robot, you should probably make it more interesting.

First things first. I love spirit rules. WE’RE HERE TO HAVE FUN! They’ve actually done a good job of keeping Robot Battles franchise events running smoothly. This spirit rule does have a few teeth in that it allows EO discretion for admitting bots. I think 95% of current active 30lb Sportsman’s Class bots won’t have any issue here.

x.0 Active Weapon Requirement: Your robot must feature at least 1 active weapon. An active weapon is defined as an independently powered device that can seriously affect the operation of another BattleBot. If your bot does not enter the arena with a functional, effective weapon, you will forfeit your match.

Now, what I think is also important is a way for event organizer discretion for cool drivetrain-based bots, like melty-brain (translate while spinning in place) technologies and unique gyroscopic-based drives, which have long been locked out of the Sportsman’s Class for not really being an active weapon. This, in my opinion, is actually quite easy to address. For example,

x.0.1 Active Weapon Exemptions: Under certain circumstances, the event organizer may permit a robot without an active weapon to enter in the Sportsman’s Class. These exemptions will typically be reserved for unconventional locomotion methods. All robots who wish to use this exemption must be approved by the Event Organizer prior to registration.

This would let your bristlebots, gyro-waddlers, and melty-brains (what a sentence) into the class. However, some of these bots also use that main gyroscope/vibration source as a weapon. We’d still not allow that so they’d have to come up with some independent weapon if they want to play:

x.1 Kinetic Energy Restriction: All weapons of a robot capable of rotating continuously are defined as spinning in nature and will be subject to a kinetic energy restriction enforced via rotational speed (RPM) limit. The RPM limit shall be [Jim’s big premade table here. I think it’s completely reasonable]

Alternatively, we could keep the existing “400RPM” wording (or any other speed; while I do not like magic numbers in rules, you have to start somewhere) with an exemption for commercially-available saw blades:

x.1 Kinetic Energy Restriction: All weapons of a robot capable of rotating continuously are defined as spinning in nature and will be subject to a maximum rotational speed (RPM) of 400 RPM, with the exception of commercially-purchased unmodified cutting blades (e.g. saw blades, abrasive cutting wheels, sanding discs and drums) which may not be lower than 1.0 TPI (teeth per inch) in tooth count. Variable TPI blades shall be considered at their lowest effective TPI.

I proposed this TPI lower limit after observing and getting opinions on what sawbots were too ‘flingy’ – meaning the teeth were so large they dug in and transferred energy like a KE weapon instead of cutting. This TPI basically covers every saw blade that would be reasonable to use in a bot like megatRON, Gloomy, Pitter-Patter, and other saw-on-a-stick style bots. It only really eliminates very coarse wood-ripping blades, dado blades, and things like edger/trimmer blades for cheeky interpretation of “commercially purchased, umodified”.

In this case, only the Forrest and Freud saws would be against the rules. A 7″ blade would be permitted to have 24 teeth, for instance. A 12″ saw would need to be a 40-toother or up. And for anyone who wants to make some kind of bandsaw bot? That’s quite a lower bound to hit…

Moving towards the judging aspects now. This is ideally where we’ll take care of the “wedge and not-quite-wedge problem”. By design, this proposed rule implementation permits wedges and sloped surfaces as well as traction-breaking corrals, forks, spatulas, and the like.

x.1 Judging Guidelines

x.1.1 Definition of Passive Attacks A passive attack by a robot shall constitute using horizontal and inclined surfaces on the robot to impede the motion of an opponent robot. Passive attacks include, in the absence of Active Weapon use: pinning, ramming, wedging, or using your robot to high-center the opponent robot.

x.1.1.1 Scoring of Passive Attacks Passive attacks alone will not count towards Aggression, Damage, or Control points. Only passive attacks used in conjunction with the robot’s Active Weapon(s) will be considered in Aggression, Damage, and Control points.

Passive attacks will be discounted in considering attacks. Basically, you can spend the entire match wedging someone around the arena and still lose. I don’t think the typical guidelines for match scoring (1 point each for aggression, damage, and control) need to be repeated here. I some times explain the three to people who are confused about them, such as what’s the difference between aggression and control, as the following:

  • You can be constantly beating at your opponent but never have influence direction of the match. Likewise, you can keep your opponent at arm’s length for the whole match but not do much with them beyond that.

One is aggressive but lacks control – someone who keeps running into Clocker’s waiting grabber only for me to toss them around and then they come back again is being aggressive but it’s arguable I have control of the match. Similarly, a spinner weapon who keeps beaching upon an effectively designed wedge to make a few sparks and run away is facing much the same issue; provided the wedge isn’t just sitting around waiting to be hit (lack of aggression)

I think this is pretty clear for what constitutes a passive attack. Obviously, there will be a gray zone still, and it could be argued either way for wording and stated intent.


The 30lb Sportsman’s Class has a noble goal and a lot of ambition and potential, but we should all take a step back to appreciate what has led to its current mixed role in promoting the sport. I think overall changes to the structure of the weight class, whether in design rules or in competition rules, is important to keeping designs fresh and the class entertaining and welcoming. We should heavily consider adding new tournament formats and arena elements to make maximum use of existing designs, and encourage new designs to follow a more open and intent-based ruleset versus specifying mandated design elements.







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