Grobots - Tournaments - Top Nine

The Top Nine is a king-of-the-hill tournament: each iteration contains only the best nine robots from the previous tournament, plus one challenger. This concentrates the good sides, and shows how a side performs against good opponents, rather than how well they can eat helpless targets.

The tournaments are run in a standard 10x10 world with ten sides for at least 200 (previously 100) rounds. There are considerable variations in the results, which could mean 100 rounds is not enough. This could also be due to effects sides have on each other - with only ten sides, replacing one can substantially affect the others. So don't take the results too seriously.

Current Top Nine

SideAuthorDate Added
Segregated Eaters 3Matt Burkholder12 December 2004
Move Zig! 3ziggystar16 June 2006
Weird Men DMatt Burkholder30 December 2006
The LunacyDavid/Warren22 April 2012
Active 9Warren22 April 2012
RK BerthaWarren7 August 2012
Faithlessfmb3 June 2013
ISIfmb3 June 2013
MiceSzeety14 September 2016


I started with the top ten sides from a larger tournament: Active Large, Active 3, Commune 6, Productive 5f, Productive Plus 2, Eventually 12, Wiser, World Toad 3, Intoxicated 3g, and Teledont 7. These sides were selected for their performance against a larger, weaker set of opponents. They proved not to be the best sides against each other; four of them were quickly replaced by other sides which had fared worse against a larger field.

2 April 2003initial ten sidesTeledont 7 and Eventually 12Active 3 in first place.
3 April 2003Business Cycle 4 and Gunner 2Gunner 2
3 April 2003FeudalWorld Toad 3
3 April 2003Not Quite Wise 2Feudal
3 April 2003BacteriaIntoxicated 3gBacteria is resistant to missiles.
3 April 2003Vaccine 2BacteriaProductive Plus 2 in first place.
3 April 2003Intoxicated SmallVaccine 2
4 April 2003Ants 5Ants 5Active 3 was second to last!
18 April 2003Eventually 12Intoxicated SmallEv is back. :( Survival is down to 19%.
30 April 2003Missile BacteriaEventually 12Missile Bacteria in first place.
26 May 2003Not Quite HarmlessActive 4Not Quite Harmless in first place.
29 May 2003SuckerActive LargeUpdates: Productive Plus 3, Business Cycle 4f, old Not Quite Wise.
27 June 2003Ring of Fire 2Sucker 2Updates: Sucker 2, Wiser 2, Commune 8, Missile Bacteria 2.
28 June 2003Active 5Productive Plus 3
28 June 2003NoffeeWiser 2
29 June 2003Gunner 2Not Quite WiseGunner again :(
14 July 2003UntouchableActive 5Overall survival 41%, Active 15%.
14 July 2003Revenge KillerNoffee
17 July 2003Feudal 2Gunner 3Updates: Not Quite Harmless 3, Ring of Fire 3, Gunner 3.
12 August 2003Wise MenFeudal 3Updates: Commune 9, Untouchable 2f, Business Cycle 5c, Feudal 3.
16 August 2003Noffee 2Business Cycle 5c
29 August 2003Teledont 8Missile Bacteria 2
30 August 2003Productive Plus 3Teledont 8How come the Productives are still working?
6 October 2003Gunner 3Ring of Fire 3
23 December 2003Eventually... 13Productive 5fUpdate: Revenge Killer 2.
5 January 2004Bacteria 4Noffee 3Updates: Productive Plus 4, Eventually... 14, Noffee 3, Gunner 4. Productive Plus 4 in first place.
11 January 2004Commune PlusWise MenUpdate: Untouchable 3. Commune Plus in first place.
11 January 2004Frog Celestial 2Bacteria 4Untouchable 3 in first place.
22 February 2004Revenge GardenNot Quite Harmless 3Untouchable 3 in first place.
22 February 2004Wise Men 2Frog Celestial 2Untouchable 3 in first place.
21 April 2004Business Cycle 6Gunner 4Untouchable 3 still in first place.
7 August 2004Wild MenRevenge GardenUntouchable 3 still in first place. Survival down to 32%.
11 December 2004Weird MenEventually... 14Updates: Wise Men 3, Business Cycle 7. Untouchable 3 still in first place (29% to Productive Plus 4's 19%).
12 December 2004Segregated EatersWise Men 3Untouchable 3 still in first place.
12 December 2004Wise Men 2Wild MenIt looks like Wise Men 3 was a downgrade.
13 November 2005Grudge 4Weird MenSegregated Eaters in first place. Overall survival 28%; error > 2%.
14 November 2005ShepherdsGrudge 4Untouchable 3 18%, Shepherds 17%. Overall survival 36%.
16 November 2005Wise Men 2 (without José)Wise Men 2Untouchable 3 in first place.
11 April 2006Walled CityShepherdsUpdates: Commune 10, Untouchable 4, Commune Plus 2. Segregated Eaters in first place.
3 June 2006UnproductiveRevenge Killer 231% survival.
16 June 2006Move Zig! 3Wise Men 2 (without José)Update: Segregated Eaters 1.1. Move Zig! 3 in first place.
22 July 2006Shield + Cowards 2fUntouchable 4Update: Walled City 2.
30 December 2006Weird Men CProductive Plus 4Updates: Unproductive 2, Segregated Eaters 2.
22 September 2007CyclopsBusiness Cycle 732% survival. Move Zig! 3 in first place.
5 January 2008Revenge Killer 3Commune 10Update: Segregated Eaters 3.
11 January 2009Adaptive 4cCommune Plus 2Updates: Revenge Killer 4, Weird Men D.
13 September 2009Massive Beast 2 CopiaWalled City 220% survival.
5 January 2010The HordeUnproductive 2
21 April 2012ARG 1.1Shield + Cowards 2f
22 April 2012Active 7Adaptive 4cReplaced Massive Beast with The Lunacy, to limit the number of variants. 15% survival.
7 August 2012Blaster BerthaCyclopsUpdate: Active 9
3 June 2013FaithlessARG 1.1Update: Revenge Killer 5. Replaced Blaster Bertha with RK Bertha.
3 June 2013ISIThe Horde
14 September 2016MiceRevenge Killer 5Unarmed one-type side!

Survival increased rapidly as bad sides were removed, and has usually been 30-35%.

Some results

If you can't beat them, join them

(7 August 2012) Active deals with the Massive Beast derivatives by dodging their shots. Big Bertha copies their distasteful strategy of seeding with a large long-range fighter, and dramatically improves on Active's performance. I'll miss Cyclops, though.

RankSideAuthor ScoreNonsterile
1Blaster BerthaWarren 45.9%49%32%27%21.8%93%35%
2Active 9Warren 27.2%30%44%47%16.7%91%23%
3The LunacyA madman 5.2%7%72%76%8.4%78%7%
4The HordeDavid and Midnight 4.6%6%69%81%9.4%77%7%
5ARG 1.1David 4.5%4%80%77%6.9%87%10%
6Segregated Eaters 3Matt Burkholder 3.1%4%74%84%5.5%66%5%
7Revenge Killer 4Warren 3.0%4%67%87%8.6%68%4%
8Move Zig!ziggystar 2.8%5%67%83%5.8%51%3%
9Weird Men DMatt Burkholder 2.3%3%65%91%7.0%74%3%
10CyclopsWarren 1.3%5%58%89%9.8%27%3%
Overall (1025 rounds):12%63%68%189%


(5 January 2008) Finally, the last of the original sides is gone: no more Commune! Well, no more two versions of Commune, anyway - Commune Plus is still around.

SideAuthor ScoreNonsterile
Move Zig! 3ziggystar 18.3%38%32%43%9.0%47%13%
Revenge Killer 3Warren 16.0%34%21%57%15.6%45%13%
CyclopsWarren 13.1%48%20%41%15.1%28%11%
Segregated Eaters 3Matt Burkholder 11.1%25%38%59%7.1%39%13%
Unproductive 2Devon 9.2%32%28%55%11.1%28%13%
Shield + Cowards 2fAlexander (aka nfwu) 9.1%29%60%27%5.2%31%4%
Walled City 2Warren 8.5%25%38%60%10.0%32%12%
Commune + 2Devon/Warren 7.1%18%49%66%8.2%38%8%
Weird Men CMatt Burkholder 5.3%26%26%65%10.3%18%9%
Commune 10Devon 2.4%10%44%83%8.5%23%5%


(30 December 2006) 300 rounds (why not?). Survival is still falling. Especially Productive Plus' - it suffers greatly from sharing the corners with three other sides.

SideAuthor ScoreNonsterile
Segregated Eaters 2Matt Burkholder 24.9%50%20%37%10.8%48%20%
Move Zig! 3ziggystar 22.7%51%23%34%13.0%44%15%
Shield + Cowards 2fAlexander 11.0%34%47%36%7.4%32%6%
Walled City 2Warren 10.5%29%33%57%11.9%35%13%
Unproductive 2Devon 8.1%27%22%65%12.0%27%13%
Weird Men CMatt Burkholder 5.9%28%23%63%11.2%20%10%
Commune + 2Devon/Warren 5.8%14%37%77%10.1%38%7%
Commune 10Devon 4.5%15%41%75%9.8%27%6%
Business Cycle 7Matt Burkholder 3.4%16%46%70%9.5%18%8%
Productive Plus 4DvF and Devon 3.1%9%77%61%4.2%34%3%


(4 June 2006) Notice how much closer the scores have become. This is partly due to an increase in fortification, so Segregated Eaters no longer does so well. I don't understand the drop in survival. 150 rounds, so errors are 2.4%-4.5% - comparable to the differences between scores.

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalEarly
1Productive Plus 4DvF/Devon 14.2%29%61%26%7.4%50%9.3%
2UnproductiveDevon 13.3%45%31%34%9.9%29%11.9%
Commune Plus 2Devon/Warren 13.3%30%33%55%11.3%42%9.5%
4Segregated EatersMatt Burkholder 12.0%36%29%49%9.1%30%12.2%
5Walled CityWarren 10.8%36%29%49%11.2%30%12.6%
6Wise Men 2 (without José)Matt Burkholder 8.5%33%17%60%11.0%25%16.4%
7Commune 10Devon 8.3%25%39%59%9.9%30%6.9%
8Untouchable 4Warren 7.9%25%41%58%9.1%30%6.1%
9Business Cycle 7Matt Burkholder 7.5%29%44%48%9.3%24%8.5%
10Revenge Killer 2Warren 4.1%21%26%71%11.8%18%6.8%

Segregated Eaters' score is not survival * fraction because fraction counts sterile survival, which happens fairly often for this side. The identical death rates for Walled City and Segregated Eaters are a coincidence, not a mistranscription.


(11 April 2006 - wow, I haven't updated this for two years) Weakening forcefields has, predictably, hurt all their users. Shepherds has fallen off the top 10. Here are the results in graph form:

This doesn't tell the whole story, because currently graphs count all scores after elimination as zero. So sides like Segregated Eaters, which often wins by elimination, don't look very good in the graph. Also, this is a graph of biomass, not biomass fraction, so sides which get a high fraction by killing rather than growth don't look good. The top line in the graph above is Commune Plus 2, because it grows large. Segregated Eaters took first place by fraction, but is one of the lowest lines on the graph.

Back in business

(21 April 2004) The new version of Business Cycle, in addition to being fun to watch, kicked off Gunner. Yay.

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalEarly
1Untouchable 3Warren 22.1%64%8%30%14.3%34%54%
2Productive Plus 4DvF/Devon 21.1%45%48%13%9.7%47%44%
3Commune PlusDevon/Warren 13.6%40%24%47%10.9%33%47%
4Commune 9Devon 10.1%38%23%51%10.9%27%37%
5Business Cycle 6Matt Burkholder 9.0%56%19%31%13.5%16%21%
6Wise Men 2Matt Burkholder 8.0%39%13%55%11.4%18%14%
7Eventually 14Devon 5.9%20%50%60%5.9%28%25%
8Revenge Killer 2Warren 4.7%27%29%62%10.4%16%7%
9Revenge GardenDevon 3.1%16%36%75%9.2%17%10%
10Gunner 4Warren 2.2%10%65%71%3.7%23%0%

I included the Efficiency statistic ((biomass - seed) / income), but it doesn't seem to be useful.

Musical missiles

(23 December 2003) The newly upgraded Eventually scores surprisingly well. Notice Gunner and Productive's tied score, and how close their tiebreaking survival is?

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
1Revenge Killer 2Warren 29.0%63%10%30%15.2%46%0%
2Untouchable 2fWarren 18.2%66%8%28%13.3%28%38%
3Commune 9Devon 13.6%44%12%50%10.5%31%55%
4Not Quite Harmless 3Warren 9.1%70%2%29%13.9%13%0%
5Eventually 13Devon 9.0%33%35%49%7.9%27%100%
6Wise MenMatt Burkholder 8.0%27%15%68%9.6%30%8%
7Productive Plus 3DvF/Devon 4.2%13%58%69%6.4%33%100%
8Noffee 2Warren/Devon 3.7%33%7%65%10.3%11%25%
9Gunner 3Warren 2.5%12%38%81%6.4%21%100%
10Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 2.5%11%57%74%6.3%23%100%

More good fighters

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
1Revenge KillerWarren 29.2%61%5%36%15.9%48%25.5%
2Commune 9Devon 14.3%45%23%42%10.2%32%13.7%
3Untouchable 2fWarren 12.9%48%14%44%11.2%27%10.6%
Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 12.9%29%33%57%10.5%44%7.8%
5Not Quite Harmless 3Warren 10.0%52%6%45%12.3%19%6.1%
6Wise MenMatt Burkholder 9.0%29%16%65%9.5%31%13.5%
7Missile Bacteria 2Devon 3.4%28%4%71%11.3%12%5.4%
8Ring of Fire 3Devon 2.9%16%43%72%5.5%18%2.2%
9Business Cycle 5cMatt Burkholder 2.8%22%24%71%6.0%13%8.2%
10Feudal 3Devon 2.6%20%29%72%7.4%13%6.7%

Not at all harmless

(26 May 2003) 333 rounds (forgot to set a limit), but who cares?.

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
1Not Quite HarmlessWarren 24.7%80%5%16%14.5%31%9.4%
2Missile BacteriaDevon 22.7%54%8%42%12.8%42%15.2%
3Commune 7Devon 11.6%41%21%48%9.9%28%10.9%
4Not Quite Wise 2Warren 10.3%52%16%38%13.3%20%7.5%
5Productive Plus 2Daniel von Fange/Devon 8.7%21%57%51%7.8%42%7.4%
6WiserWarren 8.2%49%15%42%13.6%17%12.1%
7Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 5.7%14%67%57%5.5%40%4.6%
8Business Cycle 4Matt Burkholder 3.3%22%38%65%6.0%16%7.7%
9Active LargeWarren 2.4%9%30%88%8.3%28%16.2%
10Active 4Warren 2.3%11%33%83%8.3%20%8.9%


RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
1Missile BacteriaDevon 31.2%60%4%38%14.6%52%17.6%
2Commune 7Devon 13.8%45%20%44%12.4%31%11.6%
3Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 11.7%19%64%47%7.0%62%6.3%
4Business Cycle 4Matt Burkholder 9.1%25%44%55%7.2%37%9.3%
5Productive Plus 2Daniel von Fange/Devon 8.9%17%60%57%6.7%52%7.1%
6WiserWarren 6.6%38%25%49%13.3%17%9.4%
7Active 3Warren 5.5%24%24%68%9.9%23%11.6%
8Not Quite Wise 2Warren 5.1%32%15%62%14.9%16%6.5%
9Active LargeWarren 3.9%11%26%85%9.6%36%17.8%
10Eventually 12Devon 3.9%8%77%65%4.4%49%2.7%

Bacteria getting kicked off

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
FractionAverage value:
1Productive Plus 2Daniel von Fange/Devon 17.8%26%56%41%8%68%23K26K
2Active 3Warren 16.3%42%16%50%10%39%40K18K
3Commune 6Devon 16.2%35%29%51%9%46%22K12K
4Active LargeWarren 11.3%31%26%58%9%37%47K21K
5Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 10.0%18%64%50%6%55%12K22K
6Not Quite Wise 2Warren 9.3%46%12%48%15%20%15K33K
7Business Cycle 4Matt Burkholder 7.0%17%37%73%7%41%16K14K
8WiserWarren 6.2%36%13%59%13%17%16K29K
9Vaccine 2Devon 3.2%28%7%70%14%11%14K40K
10BacteriaDevon 2.6%18%20%77%8%15%1332K

First Round

RankSideAuthor ScoreSurvivalDeath ratesEarly
FractionAverage value:
1Active 3Warren 18.7%32%34%52%13%59%20K16K
2Active LargeWarren 18.2%21%17%75%16%87%34K20K
3Productive Plus 2Daniel von Fange/Devon 16.6%20%67%39%9%83%13K18K
4Productive 5fDaniel von Fange 12.5%15%71%48%8%83%8K17K
5Commune 6Devon 9.7%23%43%60%11%42%9K15K
6WiserWarren 9.1%18%25%76%16%50%9K26K
7Intoxicated 3gDaniel von Fange 4.2%5%70%83%7%85%16K9K
8World Toad 3Devon 3.9%7%60%82%8%55%9K12K
9Eventually 12Devon 3.7%4%87%69%3%94%3K11K
10Teledont 7Matt Burkholder 3.3%6%61%85%7%55%9K12K

(April 2, 2003) There are several strange things going on here:

So don't be too disappointed at the sort of sides included here, or too quick to conclude that violence rules Grobots. Things should improve.

Grobots by Devon Schudy and Warren Schudy
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