Senor’s BattleBots Beat: Hit of the Year Already?

Senor Weaselo

Senor Weaselo

Senor Weaselo plays the violin. He tucks it right under his chin. When he isn’t doing that, he enjoys watching his teams (Yankees, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers), trying to ingest enough capsaicin to make himself breathe fire (it hasn’t happened yet), and scheming to acquire the Bryant Park zamboni.
Senor Weaselo

Welcome to Senor’s BattleBots Beat, the best BattleBots review series that posts on Thursdays… that doesn’t routinely mention a “Bad Dragon.” (Just a hunch, don’t Google that one at work. Or at your family computer.)

Last week, we had some fantastic fights and rumbles, and Tombstone and Minotaur nearly broke the BattleBox. What’s in store this week? Well, we have more fan favorites, and new bots from all over the world. BTW, if you didn’t watch this episode or the last they’re both available on the Discovery Channel website, though you may have to click a couple things to get to it. Also there’s probably other, uh, shall we say, less-appropriate means. Anyway, with that out of the way let’s get to it, shall we?

Icewave vs. Vanquish
In the first ABC season Icewave (named such because of the internal combustion engine that powers their weapon) was considered one of the scariest robots to face due to its powerful horizontal bar, and it took a shit-ton of ingenuity by Chuck Pitzer’s Ghost Raptor to “de-ice” it. In the second season, guess how many televised fights it had? Yes, zero. After an uneventful qualifier against SubZero it did a hell of a lot of damage to Nightmare but lost drive so it lost the fight. Vanquish is one of the British robots in the field, with a big plow which doubles as a lifter. Captain Jack Tweedy is the youngest builder in this season of BattleBots, at the age of 21. Yes, I’m slacking. On paper if the plow holds up this would be a good matchup for Vanquish, for in robot rock-paper-scissors wedges are the rocks to spinners’ scissors. (Paper in this situation are flippers.) Icewave countered by going with a shorter blade, because Icewave can’t self-right. Of course, if it’s spinning right it doesn’t particularly matter. Also it sounds, as Kenny Florian put it, like a ’69 Camaro.

Icewave was able to get to enough speed quickly to be effective, even if not all the way. From the first shot the two robots spun around and the blade took out one of the left wheels of Vanquish. Which that limit to Vanquish’s mobility Icewave could actually get up to full speed. And… god damn. Not even a Noob Noob one, just… wow. Let’s see if I can find a picture. Oh, better, a GIF, thanks Reddit!

Yeah. That may top Nightmare’s hit on Slam Job AND Son of Whyachi’s on Nightmare in terms of one-hit KOs.

So Icewave managed to separate both left wheels and the lifter from the rest of Vanquish thanks to shoddy welding (Jack Tweedy said it, not me) and a perfect hit. And then moved around a little but the Vanquish team said something along the lines of

Without the crying though, obviously. Vanquish was vanquished, torn in half by Icewave, who wins by Mortal Kombat Brutality KO in about 50 seconds.

RotatoR vs. Petunia
RotatoR is the dual spinner that lost to Witch Doctor in like 45 seconds. Maybe less time than that. Petunia is a crusher bot from The Netherlands that claims 10 tonnes of power. That’s tonnes as in the metric, not tons as in the imperial. Since it’s a crusher I must immediately compare it to the eternal king of crushers, Razer, or the new crown prince, Spectre (from King of Bots), and I think its wedge is a little too high for it to have its maximum effect. A lower wedge means robots would drive up it and then the jaw would be able to get to more of the tastier bits. And since we’re comparing robots to older British robots, RotatoR has reminded me a bit of 13 Black.

Onto the fight, RotatoR’s upper disk was the perfect height to take on Petunia because it went right over most of the wedge and could do a little bit of damage. The one problem was that after those first few hits the weapons died. And from there the fight turned. Petunia was able to get the squeeze on RotatoR a couple of times to win points (the scoring is 2 for damage, 1 each for control, aggression, and strategy; don’t know if I mentioned it), but it wasn’t able to really get too much of a breach on RotatoR’s top armor. RotatoR went for the other patented 13 Black strategy to try and defend itself—that’s to spin around and hope that its disks hit something. And so it went until late in the fight where Petunia had a hold on RotatoR, lifted it up, and took it to the killsaws, which took one of the wheels out. That was enough to swing the fight for Petunia, winner by a unanimous decision.

Red Devil vs. Brutus
Hey, that’s not Red Devil’s builder Jerome Miles! And that’s not DT Robotics, aka Team Duct Tape!

No, it’s not. They’re in China, one of the teams competing in This is Fighting Robots, this iteration/spin-off/whatever angle it is of King of Bots. There are no images of their robot Dragon King on the interwebs except for this one, so who knows? But unlike Team Nightmare or Team Hertz or some of the other teams in China, they recruited All Black Robotics to take the helm. You may know them as the team behind Lycan last time out. Where Lycan decided it was a good idea to attack an already immobile robot in a rumble, and broke itself on said immobile robot which was still spinning uncontrollably. Which is how Mohawk of all things managed to win over Lycan and Invader.

Brutus is no longer the subject of all those jokes about it having guns, because it doesn’t have guns anymore. Granted the guns were totally for show and did fuck-all, but it led to Call of Duty MLG jokes, so… yay we’ve matured a little? Also Faruq gave them a Hamilton-themed intro, so congratulations Mr. Miranda, you can add BattleBots to the list of pop culture you’ve made it on.

Anyway, the two bots quickly met in the center, and as Brutus started to spin up it was clear something was wrong. Brutus started to smoke as a weapon motor went, and with that opening Red Devil could attack, once Ravi Baboolal could figure out how to drive this thing. Once that happened though, Red Devil controlled the fight, attack from the top, and even fancier, scooping up Brutus and attacking the wedge. It wasn’t the same as the magic smoke Jerome Miles’s driving got from the fight with Witch Doctor, but it took its toll and Brutus’s drive motor eventually crapped out, so it’s Red Devil with the KO in 2:24.

Captain Shrederator vs. End Game
Another international showdown! Captain Shrederator is a full-body spinner (so the whole shell of the robot spins) that represents ‘MURICA. Unfortunately we don’t get the full ‘Murica from Team Logicom, as Brian Nave is also in China with another version, Shrederator Tiger Claw. (Not giving them points for the name category.) So it’s his son Nicholas at the controls.

End Game is from New Zealand and sports a very large wedge and vertical disk. Jack Barker, like Jack Tweedy of Vanquish, is also 21. And has won international titles, Like China’s Fighting My Bots! So they have experience.

From the beginning End Game showed how much power that 50-lb. disk has, as the gyroscopic forces from the flywheel started to do the thing where the robot actually lifts up while trying to turn. Minotaur and Nightmare do it too. When they finally got sorted and the two bots went head to head it was clear that End Game got the better of the exchange as pieces came out of the Captain and it had mobility problems. It couldn’t drive nearly as well and because of that could never get back up to speed because End Game was back on it. After cornering the Captain, End Game ended the fight with one solid shot that lifted and flipped over the star-spangled spinner. If it’s spinning properly it doesn’t need a srimech, so it does not have a srimech. Which means once it’s turned turtle there’s nothing it can do. End Game wins by KO in 1:15, and then called out Tombstone, so to quote Craig Charles many a time, “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.” Yes, phrasing.

Main event: Witch Doctor vs. Yeti
The main event pitted two fan favorites against each other in each of their first fights. Witch Doctor earned its stripes by looking really cool, managing to put up a fantastic fight against Tombstone in the S1 quarterfinals, where it would have won if not for the plow at the front making it so their srimech wouldn’t work because Tombstone broke its bar on them, and Shaman, the 30-lb. minibot that gave absolutely zero fucks and spit an unholy green fire in its last iteration. Unfortunately on that last one, Shaman is gone, but in its place is a sweet as all fuck ribcage armor/srimech. So glippity gloppity, glippity gloo, the Voodoo Princess is back to put a spell on you. (For the record I have no idea if Andrea Suarez or Witch Doctor is the Voodoo Princess in question, so let’s just say… yes.)

Yeti was one of the breakout bots from Season 2, and was the closest thing we have to a fighting robot equivalent of the Sex Cannon. Because the strategy was along the lines of “fuck it, attack.” No armor? Fuck it, attack. Didn’t pack any spare tires because they were alternate to the alternate? Fuck it, buy some of Bronco’s spares and then attack. They were a far better representation of “YOLO” than anything Drake’s done. And with that strategy they made it to the semis and went a full three minutes with Tombstone. Well… now they have spares.

What they didn’t have is remembering the green light, because they were still fucking around with the lifting forks when it said go. And then it was just an absolute brawl. Yeti did get the first shove, using those lifting forks to push Witch Doctor towards the screws, and the drum of Yeti took one of Witch Doctor’s tires out. And that was just the beginning of the two going toe to toe. Those lifting forks on Yeti got mangled, but Witch Doctor’s rib cage took damage and they smoked out a drive motor. They kept brawling, but Yeti is just a tank with its Alaskan aggression, and it’s Yeti with the win by KO in 1:24.

Oh, and then Witch Doctor got completely redesigned and rewired due to the drive motors burning out. During the competition. Seriously.

Also I entirely approve of both Mike’s and Andrea’s shirts. And with that, that’ll do it for this week. No bonus fights, instead there was a “botopsy” segment about how the builders can get their robots back to tip-top shape after some of the damage they take, featuring Bombshell (drive motor), Minotaur (chassis damage and bolts getting sheared off), SubZero (flipper and frame damage), and Vanquish (weld failure, being the Batman to Icewave’s Bane). We do know, again, there were no forfeits, so everyone’s robots were fixed.

As for what’s next, I haven’t heard what the fight card is just yet for tomorrow, but what I’ve heard is that the main event is a rematch, as Bite Force will take on HyperShock. These two tangled in the first round of the Season 1 championship, and HyperShock had Bite Force on the ropes until the drivetrain started to go and Bite Force escaped en route to the Giant Nut. Is it true, and if so, will the spinner Bite Force have the same luck as its original iteration, or will HyperShock get some revenge? Guess we’ll have to find out. See you next week!

Senor Weaselo
Senor Weaselo
Senor Weaselo plays the violin. He tucks it right under his chin. When he isn't doing that, he enjoys watching his teams (Yankees, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers), trying to ingest enough capsaicin to make himself breathe fire (it hasn't happened yet), and scheming to acquire the Bryant Park zamboni.
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Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

DAY-AMN! That thing with the swinging blade looks awesome! And an internal combustion engine? Tell me more!

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Someone needs to set that Icewave/Vanquish brutality to this soundtrack:

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

The fights are awesome, but my absolute favorite thing about Battlebots are the crowd shots.

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The dude with the hastily made “ROBOT” sign is just perfection.