Senor’s BattleBots Beat: Go for 3!

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

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Welcome back to the Beat! Last time out, the Dutch had a rough go, Chomp learned about the foibles of technology, and we met a robot that had a… pneumatic fist as its weapon, and the Internets responded as you’d expect.

Fister Roboto Bale Spear does not make an appearance in this episode, but we do have three robots looking to go 3-0 and virtually lock themselves into a spot in the top 16 season-end tourney that will determine the Giant Nut, including a pair of 2-0 robots fighting each other. So, onto the fights! Well, after a quick thing regarding the cold open. Two questions:
1. Why is Faruq Tauheed Jenkins driving a forklift?
2. Why am I NOT driving a forklift?

Okay, now onto the fights!

Son of Whyachi vs. Lucky
Son of Whyachi: 0-1 (L, KO 0:41 to Brutus)
Lucky: 0-1 (L, JD 3-0 to Skorpios)

It’s a pair of robots looking for their first win of the season. Son of Whyachi was overturned and upset by Brutus in its first fight, as their strategy worked to perfection against the spinning hammers of Team Whyachi. Meanwhile, Lucky got all cut up from Skorpios.

After that first fight there were reasons to be concerned on both sides. S.O.W. lost by being flipped, so naturally their second fight was taking on a flipper. Meanwhile you have to have some sort of defense for that massive spinning weapon, which Lucky made up for by having a sacrificial wedge at the back and the full wedge in front of the flipper instead of wedgelets on each side.

Lucky tried to box rush and get around before Whyachi’s weapon could get up to speed. It did not go according to plan. Shards of the wedge went everywhere as time and time again Lucky tried to come in and would get its whatever mangled. Then both bots would get sent spinning from the force of the blow. But Son of Whyachi’s weapon kept spinning, and if that continued there wouldn’t be too much Lucky could do. Lucky struggled with drive, but was still just barely mobile after the two spun out a couple more times. So Son of Whyachi came in for one more shot and took a wheel and wrecked its right side. Well, Lucky wasn’t mobile anymore, so it was Son of Whyachi by KO in 1:34.

SawBlaze vs. Mohawk
SawBlaze: 2-0 (W, KO 1:34 over Overhaul; W, JD 3-0 over Reality)
Mohawk: 0-1 (L, KO 2:43 to Gemini)

A fight between a pair of robots that attack from above… and with fire! So that sounds like a pretty interesting and even matchup. Except SawBlaze has been one of the stories of the season, going 2-0 with a pair of dominating victories after arguably getting robbed by the active weapon aggression rule of last season in its loss to Razorback (the saw broke on the first hit and even though SawBlaze scooped the whole fight, because the weapon didn’t do anything and the wedge didn’t count, Razorback won). Meanwhile, Mohawk was winning its fight over Gemini and the broken-down Kraken but stopped working. That happens too often to it. But now Max Bales is also sporting his own mohawk, given to him by the guy on the Monsoon team who has a mohawk while Jack Barker (End Game) and brother Will (HyperShock) looked on. (Will asked if their mom was cool with it, and apparently she was.)

As for the robots, SawBlaze was a little worried about their forks which had taken some damage in the Reality fight, which Mohawk hoped would work to their benefit. Also hopefully to their benefit was a pair of Kevlar padding on each side of the web they called a “no cutting zone.” It apparently does not fall into the entanglement rule, even though that change in material was meant to dull SawBlaze’s saw.

It was Mohawk charging SawBlaze… but that just made it easy for SawBlaze to get under the crusher, and take Mohawk to the rails, where since it was now pinned they could use the saw. I think that change in strategy from last tournament to this is part of what’s made SawBlaze so strong. If you recall from last time, Jamison Go made the mistake of trying to land the saw on Razorback while Razorback was moving. It broke the saw, which cost SawBlaze the fight because that meant that Razorback won all the damage and aggression points even though it did fuck-all. So SawBlaze took them to the rails. And then took them to a pulverizer. And then was able to get purchase on Mohawk’s back and cut into that, because there was no “no cutting zone” there.

Then in all the taking Mohawk on a tour of the arena, they managed to tip it over, and have it in such a way that the crushing arm couldn’t do anything to get it free. It was in that corner, you know, where Bronco likes to flip its opponents because there’s space that’s over the wall and out? So Mohawk was on its side around there so it couldn’t use the wall to pop back up, and I’m not sure if it has a srimech otherwise (maybe the hairs have something to do with it). After SawBlaze got one glowing saw attack in on Mohawk’s bottom (phrasing), it was clear Mohawk was stuck, and in one of the more impressive ways to tip someone over, SawBlaze of all robots becomes the first to go 3-0 with a KO in 2:07.

Whiplash vs. Mecha Rampage
Whiplash: 1-0 (W, KO 1:37 over Hypothermia)
Mecha Rampage: 0-1 (L, KO? to DUCK!)

I’m not entirely what to call for Mecha Rampage. If you remember it was absolutely on fire in its first fight, in that Free Shipping and other events set it on fire. So DUCK! won by JD over Free Shipping, but maybe Mecha Rampage was deemed out? I’m not entirely sure what the bookkeeping is for this which sucks because dammit, I want my books in order! On the other hand, Whiplash (2016’s Splatter 2.0) surprised at least me by beating Hypothermia and Michael Mauldin convincingly and by KO.

Mecha Rampage has a lot of spinning mass, as that middle pod, the weapon pod, is half the robot’s mass, and the whole thing spins. So if it got up to top speed, it would hurt. Naturally the way to counter this is the box rush, to immediately run into your opponent to stop that mass from spinning. So the plow around the lifter worked wonders for Whiplash, stopping Mecha Rampage’s spinning pod. Then they used the lifter part of the lifter-saw combo, pushing Mecha Rampage to the side, and flipping it. The good news for Mecha Rampage was that it’s invertible. The bad news was that they were by a wall and Whiplash flipped them again, and this time they were stuck on a side, and as the pod wasn’t spinning at the time its momentum couldn’t flip them over. And that thing’s big and dangerous enough and this is the second fight, you just leave them there. Which is what driver Matt Vazquez did. So that was all. Whiplash moves to a surprising 2-0 with a KO in under a minute.

Chomp vs. Overhaul
Chomp: 0-1 (L, JD 2-1 to Warrior Dragon)
Overhaul: 0-1 (L, KO 1:34 to SawBlaze)

Neither of these debut fights for some now-old hands went well. Chomp’s technology ended up making it predictable against Warrior Dragon and it got one, maybe two shots in en route to the most controversial decision of the season, even though she still lost. Overhaul, instead of getting hilariously unlucky, got thoroughly dominated by SawBlaze which cut deep into the clamping jaw, to the point it sawed into the weapon motor.

One of the big things before this fight was Chomp’s srimech. If you remember, Chomp fought in the previous episode. So between those two fights they found a way to re-fit the Season 2 righting wings over this season’s pistons. So on the one hand they lessened the autonomy (which is still in its infancy for this big of a robot) but had to make it redundant. Meanwhile, Overhaul had a hard hat on. At some point there will be a picture of it on the internets. It’s pretty adorable. I’ll make sure to post it when I see it.

Overhaul got the first strike, tipping over the notoriously unstable Chomp. They were unable to get the suplex but were able to get Chomp on the screws for a spell. And then things went south for Chomp. Even more surprisingly, it was the autonomous stuff! Or errors. Like (according to the team) forgetting that in the velocity model when a robot reaches Chomp they won’t go through her, so the Auto-Chomp function wasn’t firing the hammer. Or a solid 20 to 30 seconds where Chomp was firing at robots that weren’t there. That was actually attacking the apparently robot-lookalike screw holders. Eventually this got more fixed and the team took control in case Auto-Chomp didn’t auto-chomp but still missed because you have to process not firing the weapon, and then fire the weapon. Meanwhile when Overhaul wasn’t dodging errant hammer strikes it was actually attacking Chomp and trying to take it to the hazards. There was a second attempt to the screws and then finally going to the killsaws to do damage that way.

And then… oh Christ, Overhaul got stuck again? Well, it stopped moving for a bit. And Chomp got a couple free shots in the dying seconds. This did get Overhaul moving again, though the drive was clearly crippled. What happened was the front right wheel came apart early (possibly an imperfect cast), Chomp nearly sniped ANOTHER chain, this time just missing Overhaul’s left-side drive chain, but probably helping the entire left drive motors fail, which led to shorting out the receiver which shut the whole robot down with seconds left. Also this led to internal fire. Team Equals Zero mentioned that if this had happened like 10-15 seconds earlier, they would have been counted out, and Chomp would have managed to win another match in improbable fashion. But they survived, and it was Overhaul holding on to get the unanimous decision.

Here is some of that opening and closing of the fight, courtesy of BattleBots botcam.

Bonus rumble: Deviled Egg vs. Axe Backwards vs. Basilisk
Deviled Egg: 0-1 (L, KO to Sharkoprion)
Axe Backwards: 0-1 (L, KO 1:30 to WAR Hawk)
Basilisk: 1-0 (W, JD? with Double Dutch over Bale Spear and Parallax)

I’ll be honest, there’s a decent chance I don’t watch this on Wednesday, as I’ll be in rehearsal and then out with friends afterwards. So consider this a placeholder for now, in which case I’ll see it when I see it. It will be recapped eventually. And put the pictures in.

I am awake and sober enough to notify you that Deviled Egg won this rumble, because again, bookkeeping purposes. How will have to wait until next week. Because I don’t know how either!

Main event: Bite Force vs. End Game
Bite Force: 2-0 (W, JD 3-0 over Blacksmith; W, KO 0:36 over HyperShock)
End Game: 2-0 (W, KO 1:22 over Captain Shrederator; W, KO 2:01 over Lock-Jaw)

I did not think that Lock-Jaw KO was in 2:01. Either way, this fight I obviously did watch. Out of all the vertical spinners these two have been the most impressive. Both robots seem extremely likely to make the top 16, the only question is how high they’ll seed. Kenny Florian even called it a playoff atmosphere.

The two robots came together with enough time to spin up, and the first hit was impressive as both robots recoiled. But the second shot was more impressive. End Game did a backflip and everything! And landed it! Even more surprising it seemed like Bite Force took the full force of it. He wasn’t moving.

But instead of going for one more hit Jack Barker and End Game drove around. It was a combination of a few things. One, they didn’t want to accidentally start Bite Force back up, because if something was jarred out of place it can be jarred back in. Two, they didn’t want to break themselves. 2A, that backflip had damaged their weapon functionality a little bit. And three, sportsmanship, because these parts cost a lot of money and both of these robots will in all likelihood have at least two more fights.

1 and 2 I understand, but 3 backfired, as Paul Ventimiglia moved around the viewing area, and actually a little past it, though I guess still legal, and after a moment Bite Force had started back up again. Paul said post-fight they restarted the radio, so I guess it was a brief receiver moment. The fight was back on, and another couple hits flipped End Game over for the second time. Again, really cool. But this time they didn’t stick the landing. The disk wouldn’t start back up since one of the motors was shot from the hit with Bite Force, and they don’t have a dedicated srimech other than the disk working, so it’s Bite Force who survives this one, winning by KO in 1:02 and moving to 3-0. And yes, there is botcam once again supplied by the BattleBots Youtube channel.

So that does it for this week. And I am personally pumped for tomorrow, because it’s the nostalgia show-down we love. It’s Bronco and Lock-Jaw. Inertia Labs and Mutant Robots. Their super heavyweights (Toro and Diesector) dominated the division, winning three of the six super heavyweight championships (Toro in Season 4, Diesector in 2 and 5). But Toro and Diesector never fought. Instead, their heavyweights fought twice at the very first BattleBots tournament in Long Beach in 1999, back when fights were 5 minutes and the bracket was double elimination. Rhino, IL’s pneumatic ram before they turned the ram and realized they could throw robots in the air instead, and Tazbot, Mutant Robots’ pivoting pickaxe, split their two fights. Tazbot won the first fight via decision, and Rhino won the second fight via KO in 3:56. Yeah, it was a different time. Compared to these days the fights are pretty tame, mostly just ramming. I’m pretty sure Tazbot got stuck and that’s what ended the second fight. You can see it for yourself but I swear I have nothing to do with what you search for on Youtube.

Anyway… that about does it. 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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Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

I’m liking SawBlaze a lot. That fork design seems to work a lot better than traditional wedges do.