Latest posts by Senor Weaselo (see all)
- BattleBots Beat: Last Chance Saloon – September 20, 2018
- BattleBots Beat: Building Bracket Bona Fides – September 13, 2018
- BattleBots Beat: We Are the World, We Are the Fighting Robots – September 6, 2018
So here we are, the third and final installment of our bot-by-bot preview of this season’s BattleBots. Twenty or so more robots, some may never make it to the fights, some may never make it to TV, some might actually win a fight or two or the whole thing. This final set of twenty includes a former heavyweight champion who skirted the rules, two longtime rivals who unfortunately didn’t get to square off last season, and the robot who probably showed the most testicular fortitude last year. Let’s get this show a-rolling, shall we? In case you forgot anything, here are the first and second parts of this preview.
Preying Mantis: What are you? No seriously, I see no wheels, so you have to be a walker. An honest-to-goodness walker? Good luck. It says it’s a grappler but I don’t see the grappling bits. I have no idea, and I feel like this won’t actually work. Or if it does and makes it into a battle it’ll get outclassed by pretty much everything. However, infinite points for the builder’s name, Sasha Robocop.
Razorback: Made one appearance, got trashed by Icewave in the first fight of the season, honestly could/should have still won the fight because the wheels were moving while Icewave was catching on fire. Still would have to be worried about the armor, because I don’t know if that actually got solved. Honestly doesn’t look like it. Come on, veteran builder (Zach Bieber built El Diablo and El Diablo Grande), you know armor is important.
Red Devil: I’m worried about tracks that don’t have wheel guards, so I’m hoping that wheel guards are available against spinners. Not the first new bot this year with a lifter/saw combination (see Ambush) so, I don’t know, I’d rather have the saw come down than the lifter come up.
The Ringmaster: Even though Captain Shrederator and The Ringmaster look similar, there’s a difference between a ring spinner and a full-body. The Ringmaster’s spinning part is attached to the edge of the robot and spins, which makes it less spinning mass than a full-body but should make it a little less likely to break down the entire robot if something fails. Still have to be worried about bouncing around if you hit someone the wrong way but maybe there’s a little bit more pushing power if things go south. I don’t think it’s related to the Ringmaster from the Comedy Central days because it’s a different builder.
Road Rash: That’s a real tire, isn’t it? Someone’s gonna have a bad time with the fire that everybody has these days. The grappler/angle grinder combo however is a nice mix, as you grab and it can just drop in and go to work. You know, what I think the lifter/saw combos should have instead. I just can’t take you seriously if that’s a real tire. Even if you have real armor behind it. Especially if you don’t. (Their caps apparently say “Make science great again,” don’t worry.)
Rotator: Twin horizontal spinning discs. Similar in that respect to ChromeFly, but there’s no drone in sight! And it’s invertible. This robot may do okay, even if i don’t know whether the having two discs just means that each one is half as effective as it could be due to weight. I mean it did work for 13 Black somewhat well in Robot Wars, I’m just questioning it.
SawBlaze: Another grabber and sawer, but I think the giant scoop instead of the clamp itself helps, because you don’t have to time two things (the clamp/lifter and the saw coming down). It reminds me of one-time middleweight finalist S.O.B… I could see this robot being not terrible and maybe winning a couple of fights.
Skorpios: Competed in the qualifier. Looked pretty good, but then basically went straight ahead into the giant screws on the side of the arena, couldn’t move backwards, got stuck, and spent the rest of the fight trying to use its saw to get out. They couldn’t do it in time and got counted out. Shame, it looked cool, and the builder has the other leader in the clubhouse for best name (Orion Beach).
Son of Whyachi: That’s one-time heavyweight champion Son of Whyachi to you. A bot that kicked so much ass they had to change the rulebook because its camshaft propulsion counted as a walkerbot and the weight bonus it entailed and then it won the Nut. They had to change the rules to say the camshafts were too much like wheels, take away the bonus, and kicked S.O.W. to the superheavyweights. Then it did this.
(Whoops.) But this version of S.O.W. demolished its opponents in the qualifier, and looked good doing it. The spinner part weighs 120 lbs.. We all want to see a rematch of S.O.W. and Nightmare, one of the most iconic fights in BattleBots history. Watch it now. It’s on Youtube. It’s short.
Splatter: From an alternate in S1 to a spot this year. Part lifter, part vertical saw. I honestly don’t know if that works as well as the many clamper/saw combos because if your opponent is lifted away from you you can’t actually get the blade in to strike. So I guess I like the idea but am iffy on the execution.
Stinger: Maybe not quite in that first tier of favorites with Tombstone, Minotaur, Icewave, and Bronco, but a major contender because Matt Maxham’s one of the best drivers in the business and Stinger like his predecessors is a spinner killer (taking down Captain Shrederator and Warhead last year) and could potentially beat any of those three spinners in the first tier. (Bronco less so, see the gif in Bronco’s write-up again for details.) It looks like there’s no three-prong version of the lifter, just the two-prong and the plow, could be that they couldn’t fit all the lifter versions in the promo shots. Has a longtime rivalry with Tombstone in their non-BattleBots 220-lb. incarnations, Sewer Snake and Last Rites, so if that happens the Internets will be excited.
SubZero: Unfortunately doesn’t have freezing powers. It’s a flipper. Looks fine, I guess, but in the trailer it was getting spun out from a hit by Icewave. So that’s not a good sign.
Tombstone: I’ve mentioned this robot more than a few times because it is the king of the current spinners, named Most Destructive Robot last season, and probably remains the favorite to take the title this year. Tombstone is simple. Large horizontal bar spinner spinning, something to hold the batteries and motors and make sure nothing happens to them, and two wheels to move that all around. If the bar is spinning after three minutes, the other robot is probably in several pieces. If not (like the final against Bite Force) then Tombstone is probably in trouble.
Ultraviolent: Got wrecked by Son of Whyachi in the qualifier, didn’t leave its starting box.
Ultimo Destructo: Uh, BattleBots, that weapon is not a launcher, it’s a spinning bar. You’re thinking of their superheavyweight from the Comedy Central days, Techno Destructo. It’s low to the ground, which means the blade’s low to the ground, so it’s probably somewhat stable and it’ll hit everything. It’s invertible so that’s always a good thing to check off. And it’s a veteran team so it presumably works! Those are three important things. It could win a fight or two, depends on how powerful that blade is.
Warhead: HOLY CRAP THE HEAD! IT HAS A HEAD NOW! All right, Senor, calm down. The winged dragon Warhead took it on the chin last year, getting two awful match-ups in Bite Force and Stinger, both repelling its big spinning dome head. So they went and gave Warhead jaws as an alternate weapon. The head may or may not also be able to spit fire, and it may help for the moments where Warhead gets flipped either wings down or on its back. (The wings are normally its self-righting mechanism but they were at odd angles where they couldn’t easily get up, especially in the Stinger fight.) I hope the vet wins a fight or two but I don’t see it making a deep run, which is a shame. Warhead’s one of my favorites, and his older brother, the previously mentioned Razer, was the best robot in the history of the British Robot Wars show (which is also coming back, HYPE. Possibly with Razer, EVEN MORE HYPE). Warhead did win Best Design last year, so there’s that.
Warrior Clan: Team Whyachi’s other robot. The minibots from last year are replaced by a drone this year, which considering what Nightmare did to the minibots might be an improvement. The spinner gives energy to the flipper, and it didn’t do too much in terms of damage but the flipper was able to catch Nightmare at the right time and flip him over. (Team Whyachi 2, Team Nightmare 0.) The fight against Ghost Raptor it got snuffed out quickly, and between the two Team Whyachi bots I think S.O.W. has the better chance of going deep in the competition.
Witch Doctor: The best multibot of the bunch, with its smaller wedge/flame companion Shaman who charged at Bronco with great robo-testicular fortitude. Witch Doctor’s spinner is surprisingly powerful, and out of the wild cards from last year’s competition (Witch Doctor, Chomp, Warhead, and Overhaul) it had the best showing. After losing to Bronco in the prelims, it tore up Overdrive and broke Tombstone’s blade in two. Unfortunately when that happened it was flipped over, and due to having an extra large plow to tank Tombstone’s hits (because Shaman was having problems), it couldn’t self-right, so the still drivable Tombstone won the fight. But no fear, Witch Doctor has a srimech now! I could see Witch Doctor making a run if everything falls right. It’s one of the few bots that could knock off Tombstone (and if it lands the right way during their fight, it does last year). That’s enough to warrant discussion right there.
Wrecks: Still doesn’t have wheels. Still runs on gyroscopic tendencies. They didn’t get a walker bonus. I hope there’s some speed there now, but I doubt it. I predict one and done. Heck, the red and black paint job’s a step back from the green dinosaur-like paint last year.
Yeti: It’s a drum spinner, but there’s forks in the way? I’m guessing they act like a wedge to get to the drum? Eh, I don’t think they needed the forks. Also for some reason I’m worried about the wheels, but in a way any robot with unprotected wheels you have to worry about them getting sheared off.
And there you have it! I have no idea about who fights whom, so I can’t give you a bracket prediction or anything, but I mentioned Tombstone, Minotaur, Bronco, and Icewave as the robots I think are most likely to go all the way, with plenty of other bots who could barge in should any of them falter (defending champ Bite Force, Son of Whyachi, Witch Doctor, and Stinger are probably that next tier, and all sorts of upstarts could surprise). The thing about BattleBots is (with the exception of the first round wild cards) it’s single elimination and one wrong shot from the hazards can change an entire fight. The screws last year ended plenty of fights (from the weakest hazard to arguably the scariest), the killsaws can still carve up the underbelly of a robot, and the pulverizers are still giant hammers. And in robot combat, something can just randomly malfunction, and here you don’t get a second chance. There will be upsets, there will be carnage, and there will be me sitting anxiously at my TV on June 23rd waiting for the Box to lock, the lights to come on, and for it to once again be robot-fighting time.