BattleBots Beat: Just How Much Tech Can Be Wrecked?

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

That’s a double meaning in the title, due to my laptop being out of commission. Whoever said “hard drive error,” you win! You don’t win anything specifically or corporeally, or even my eternal love and admiration and gratitude. Just know that when your Disk Utility notes your S.M.A.R.T. system says “failing,” that’s generally bad. And worse if it says everything is fine and then it still says that.

Homestar Runner reference? Everyone take a drink!

Hopefully I can back up the important things. My music compositions have been backed up (okay, they’re on my Dropbox) but some of my other documents have yet to be added to that. Also some pictures for House of Pain and some screencaps I was planning for future use. And some other stuff. But there’s work to be done, so with that we are back into the Beat!

Last time out Icewave ripped a robot in half, ‘Muri—wait, who cares about the other stuff, Icewave ripped a robot in half. I regret to inform you that nothing quite like that happens, but we do have a pretty spectacular-looking though in hindsight not as damaging as you’d think knockout. So stick around to right now!

Overhaul vs. SawBlaze
We lead off with a grudge match! If you look at the Season 1 team picture of Overhaul you’ll notice a whole bunch of people. Also Overhaul didn’t have its paint scheme yet, which is related. You can also note that instead of Equals Zero Robotics, the team is JACD Robotics on the 2015 season robots page. Yes, also related. the four main builders of Overhaul were (in team name order) Jamison Go, Adam Bercu, Charles Guan, and Dane Kouttron. Well, the four of them as you’d guess split ways and “MIT All-Stars” (Chris Rose’s words) split into four teams. Charles Guan got to keep Overhaul, Adam Bercu built Brutus, Dane Kouttron was part of the team that built alternate/rumble participant Road Rash and now built Valkyrie this year (though Dane isn’t listed, so who knows) and Jamison Go built SawBlaze.

As for the robots themselves, Overhaul is a grappler in the nature of S1 champ Bite Force (as opposed to vertical bar Bite Force), or S1 Lock-Jaw, or S2 Warhead dragon mode, and some other robots I don’t need to mention. It is a two-time wild card, losing a controversial decision to Lock-Jaw in S1, then returning and beating it in the first round of the bracket before falling to said champ Bite Force. In S2 it got stuck on someone else’s screw from a prior fight against Cobalt before getting its face smashed in by BETA in the first round proper. SawBlaze somehow got more screwed than that, doing all the work in its qualifier fight with Razorback but losing because it broke its saw on Razorback with the first hit or so. In a split decision. They went way too overboard with the primary weapon bit two years ago, I mean it’s still important but now SawBlaze wins that fight with the revised scoring, I think. SawBlaze did win the matchup between these two last year, however, as there was the “MIT Rumble” between these two bots and Road Rash (because Brutus got fucked up by Tombstone), which it won via decision. SawBlaze’s giant dustpan shape means that there isn’t a whole lot to hold and with the reach of the saw it would have an advantage in a toe-to-toe clash.

And that’s basically what happened. Sharpened wedgelets and odd “unicorn horn” thing on the grappling jaw of Overhaul be damned, SawBlaze got in quickly (I think Overhaul hit a seam too, because they are unlucky), scooping Overhaul up and taking it to one side of the Box, then towards their operated pulverizer (the giant hammers at the corners), which they used to pin Overhaul so they could get the saw going and unleash a beautiful display of sparks. From then on it was Overhaul retreating trying to find an angle, but unable to escape SawBlaze’s scoop and saw, and Jamison Go giving a little bit of trash talk as SawBlaze controlled from start to finish. (They’re still friends IRL, don’t worry.)

Oh, and I think Overhaul’s wedgelets got stuck on the arena sidewall leading to the end of the fight. Which was probably for the best, because SawBlaze had already gotten through a solid chunk of that jaw including a motor and a full three minutes might have seen it come completely off, which would have been remarkably impressive. No need though, SawBlaze by KO in 1:32.

Whiplash vs. Hypothermia
This is an interesting one. Whiplash kinda didn’t do so hot two years ago, losing to Warrior Dragon in the qualifiers and then an exhibition rumble where it got torn up by RotatoR. Call it a combination flywheel lifter/hammer, depending on the situation. Hypothermia is the great Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin’s return to BattleBots. Basically it’s one of his wedgebots with grappling arms that can lift. Call it old school/new school, as Team Toad has been competing almost as long as Whiplash’s driver Matt Vazquez has been alive. He’s 19, yes I know I’m slacking, we went over that last week with End Game and to a lesser extent Vanquish.

It started like age and experience would get the first blow, but after Hyperthermia briefly had Whiplash in its grasp Whiplash was able to get a hit on Hypothermia to quickly turn the tide. And then shortly after they were able to get the left tire. And a one-wheeled Hypothermia is target practice, barely mobile as Whiplash could try to go for the right with impunity from all angles. Whiplash wins one for the new school by KO in 1:25.

The Four Horsemen vs. Gamma 9 vs. Double Jeopardy
So for the longest time there were no flamethrowers in robot combat. Except for Sgt. Bash the House Robot. Because he could screw the rules. But then those rules were relaxed for competitors, and robots were allowed flamethrowers, even if they seemed to be more for show than anything with the exception of the last iteration of Complete Control which did a number on Bombshell. There’s never been ordnance in robot combat though. No, Brutus from 2016 does not count.

Until now. Double Jeopardy is the first shooting robot, at least in BattleBots. No idea about Robogames, or China, or anywhere else. It fires a 5-lb. weight at 190 mph. Unfortunately due to the time constraints (again, the six weeks or so from design to shipping affected nearly everyone, now that BattleBots is where everyone says it should have been next season will almost definitely fix that), their cannon weighs about half the robot. So due to weight restrictions, they only have one shot… in hindsight, Faruq, this should’ve been the Hamilton reference robot, not Brutus. Because they can NOT throw away their shot. (Note to self, next time I need to reference “Ten Duel Commandments” or something.) Also, one-shot shooter robot? Let’s make its first fight a rumble! And have one of them be a multibot! That’ll end well!

The multibot is The Four Horsemen, so guess how many of them are in the BattleBox at one time from the picture? Yes, the answer is three, very good. The way the Four Horsemen works is that depending on the opponent (or opponents I guess) they can alter their configuration, either the three spinners (War, Famine, and Pestilence) or two of them and the wedge (Buttercup), and not have to worry about it as much if one of the spinners comes down with a case of the explosions or something. It can’t be crazier than the last multibot idea Ian Watts (as in Bigger Brother, former Robot Wars runner-up) had. How’d that go again?

Oh, right. Not well. There was Son of Whyachi involved. And possibly a supernova. Embed via BattleBots Update.

They went with War, Pestilence, and Buttercup.

Gamma 9 is from Gamma Brigade, who built Gammatron, which was… unique. It was a walker, which meant it got a weight bonus, which is how Son of Whyachi won the Comedy Central Season 3 heavyweight title and then had to compete in the super heavyweight division. They then built Gammacide, which Gamma 9 looks more like. Gamma 9 has a crusher, although considering they said it boasts about 1,500 lbs., that’s more grapple than crush to be honest. I mean it would hurt me but I’m not made of metal.

And Gamma 9 came out in the center of everything, attacking Double Jeopardy while one of the Horsemen went to work. And then Double Jeopardy fired the cannon point blank at Gamma 9, and we weren’t sure what we had seen. Did it hit square? Did it glance off? Apparently according to them it took out the crusher, and that is true, Gamma 9’s jaw didn’t really work for the whole of the fight. Unfortunately Double Jeopardy also doesn’t have much of a wedge or anything else. So after that they were kinda defenseless. And one of the Horsemen took a wheel out and enough of the drive out, as Double Jeopardy got stuck on it. So Double Jeopardy looked cool but was immobile. And it was 1 on 1 again. Okay, 3 on 1. War and Pestilence did their best to damage Gamma 9 and did moderately well but the bigger bot could easily bully them into the corner or into the wall and via attrition tire them out. Buttercup the wedge was doing nicely, but if the two spinners were immobile it wouldn’t matter, if most of the robot is immobile then the whole thing is. But as Gamma 9 was finishing off War or Pestilence, can’t remember which, it also conked out or got stuck. So both robots were saved by the bell, with the only thing standing Buttercup which wouldn’t have been enough by weight to matter. So it went to the judges. Who had their first split decision of the year for… The Four Horsemen. And I have to say I agree with the majority. They were more aggressive and controlled the fight more, so if damage goes 1-1, well that’s 3 for the Four, and that’s enough. It would have been nice to see the scorecards, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

WAR Hawk vs. Axe Backwards
A pair of rookie bots that have vertical spinners doing battle. Which in hindsight sounds fairly run-of-the-mill, I guess. WAR Hawk has the stylized name because the team is Western Allied Robotics, or at least I assume it’s that. Team captain Rob Farrow was a BattleBots notable as he had a lightweight with one of the best names in the history of BattleBots: Death By Monkeys. WAR Hawk is a standard-looking vertical flywheel. Axe Backwards is interesting though, as it is technically a drum spinner. Except that whole middle of robot spins. Like everything that isn’t the wheels and the little axes at the back which can be used as a last-second thwackbot maneuver if shit goes south. In a way it’s a full-body drum spinner, so points for the concept. The one potential problem, however, is that the teeth of the drum can’t protrude wider than the wheels or else that would become the wheel. Which is probably bad. Also those wheels are pretty nice targets, which two-wheeled bots always have to beware of.

So with a 110-lb. drum that they say can get up to speed in 1.5 seconds, it’s no surprise that Axe Backwards gets the better end of the opening weapon-to—nope, Axe Backwards goes flying into the air. then WAR Hawk went for one of those wheels and succeeded. At first it was just left hanging by a thread but they were able to entirely disconnect the wheel. So a one-wheeled Axe Backwards was in trouble. Barely mobile, it tried to use those axes in the previously mentioned thwackbot style. For their efforts WAR Hawk flipped them repeatedly with their own disk, and at that point the fight was a foregone conclusion. WAR Hawk wins by KO in 1:30ish.

Main event: HyperShock vs. Bite Force
HyperShock: 0-0
Bite Force: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0 over Blacksmith)

Yes, you can indeed color me surprised that Bite Force has had two fights in the first three episodes. It means we’ll only see it a couple more times before it probably gets into the tournament. The win over Blacksmith was convincing as it showed an effective weapon (even though still not as reliable as they’d like as it did eventually falter) and championship driving from Paul Ventimiglia. Which makes sense as he is a champion and all and the S1 version of Bite Force was all about effective driving.

Speaking of color, HyperShock! If you don’t remember HyperShock it was decent in Season 1, dominating its fight against—hey, Bite Force, so this is a rematch!—until the drive crapped out. But it shined in Season 2 when they brought a rake into the BattleBox. AND IT FUCKING WORKED.

GIF via Giphy, but it’s not hard to google “HyperShock BattleBots rake”

And for this, Will Bales and Shenanigans & Co. won the Best Driver award for Season 2. Also Most Memed Builder on the BattleBots subreddit, just ahead of Ray Billings though currently behind Chris Rose and the guy on the ads for Flex Seal.

Back to color, can we just say, like, god fucking damn, HyperShock is very yellow? Neon yellow? Tron lightcycle yellow? Also they got racing suits to match the robot. I love everything about that sentence because that sentence sounds totally bonkers, but that’s actually what they’re wearing. Also both Will and the robot page like my comments and jokes on the HyperShock page, which means absolutely nothing but I will take my nerd cred. (Adam Savage responding to a comment of mine is still the clubhouse leader. Second is Grant Imahara letting me know that Deadblow is safe and sound and hanging in his shop.)

/Takes this time to add the “Jeez Senor you need to get laid” tag

All right. the rake was not on HyperShock for this fight, as there is no Bite Force drone. But either way Will Bales will carry the rake in for the main event. Because it’s The Rake. Everybody loves The Rake.

/Takes this time to consider a “No seriously Senor we fucking mean it that joke was terrible” tag
//Considers against it

HyperShock’s Achilles heel, however, has been reliability issues. So when one member of the team asks if anyone saw those sparks as they’re driving the robot around in the pre-fight test, it’s half “Fuck it, YOLO” and half “Oh son of a bitch, here we go again.” Apparently the robot moving was building a static charge inside it leading to radio interference. HyperShock was a Van der Graaf generator, which is cool and all, but it’s less than ideal to bring a Van der Graaf generator to a robot fight. Which Bite Force took advantage of, managing to win a weapon-to-weapon exchange, damaging HyperShock’s weapon and/or one of the self-righting arms a bit in the process and flipping it over. Then coming in for the kill was pretty cool. The slow-mo (no idea if it exists on the Interwebs yet, probably?) showed it was a three-hit combo that hit wheel, weapon, and top cover of HyperShock. And they were silly and used rubber mounts for the first fight. So the top came off and the battery encasements flew out. Also Bite Force ate some of their wiring. As seen here. Which is captioned on HyperShock’s Facebook page: “As far as we can tell, someone eating out your electronic entrails does not count as entanglement.” This is true. So unfortunately it’ll have to be Take 2 with Troncycle mode, as Bite Force wins by KO in like 36 seconds, becoming the first bot of the year to go 2-0.

The bonus content was something about the fight card, whether it’s about the builders setting up for it (bring spares) or how they came up with the idea I’m not sure, since I was working. And it isn’t a fight. As for what’s on tap next week, we get another clash of historic spinners as Tombstone squares off against Robotic Death Company’s Gigabyte. We may also get Skorpios vs. Lucky, which they’ve been throwing around in trailers and footage. And I will once again write this whole thing on the desktop probably because first things first is how borked is my hard drive, after that I’ll see where my steps are. I apologize in advance for the delay of the next House of Pain.

All right, Weaselo out.

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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BrettFavresColonoscopyRikki-Tikki-DeadlySenor WeaseloBeerguyrob Recent comment authors
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Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

It starts with robots eating electronic entrails, and next they’ll start going for old people’s medicine. Make sure your Old Glory premiums are paid up!

BrettFavresColonoscopy

I wish those robots could hurry up and focus their efforts on Fox News viewers.

Beerguyrob

Great overview, but sadly disappointed that the opening to use Wreckx N Effect’s “Rumpshaker” was not taken.