Welcome back to the Beat! Last week, there were a pair of controversial decisions and neither of them were Chomp’s fight. Also three robots went 0-3 crippling their chances of making the big end-of-season playoff bracket. This week, we have all sorts of crazy matchups, including my favorite-looking bot, Warhead. And it’s about time they showed up—Team (fine, BattleBots website, Team Warhead) was the last team to arrive which is why they’re finally getting their first fight in now, and they’d definitely want things to go better than their last robot competition, where Razer got kamikazed by members of the old Pussycat team (their nemesis before the classic fights with Tornado happened) in the first season of the already-defunct reboot of Robot Wars—they were there for just that first one and determined that was it for the legend. Probably for the best, I would’ve been concerned if they fought Carbide for instance; at that point Razer was close to 20 years old, built in 1998 and the internals were largely unchanged, similar to Warhead in the first new BattleBots season. And Ian Lewis was a judge for King of Bots and got a laugh when crusher-bot Scorpion damaged its own crushing jaw trying to get the squeeze on its opponent.
Anyway, tangent over. Onto the fights! Oh, first up:
E7 bonus battle: Deviled Egg vs. Axe Backwards vs. Basilisk
Deviled Egg: 0-1 (L, KO 2:22 to Sharkoprion)
Axe Backwards: 0-1 (L, KO 1:30 to WAR Hawk)
Basilisk: 1-0 (W, JD with Double Dutch over Parallax and Bale Spear)
Two of these robots lost by knockout, but at least they were televised. Basilisk’s tag-team fight had a CGI T. rex step in and cause havoc for a Jurassic World commercial. Apparently it didn’t do very much in that fight. Nobody impressed very much, Deviled Egg was out before the 2:22 mark, that’s when Kraken was counted out, WAR Hawk did some serious damage to Axe Backwards, and apparently Basilisk’s flipper didn’t do anything in the tag-team match, Double Dutch took one of Bale Spear’s wheels out early and that essentially was the action.
As for this fight, Basilisk and Deviled Egg came together quick, trying to get the upper hand, while Axe Backwards stayed back. This was a sound strategy, because as Deviled Egg and Basilisk jockeyed for that opening strike and the momentum that would follow, in came Axe Backwards charging after something, and that something happened to be Deviled Egg’s backside. Their second hit on Deviled Egg actually managed to flip the steampunk drum spinner over Basilisk. And if I tell you that was the only flip in this fight, you can guess that’s not too good.
Basilisk had troubles throughout. They paused for a moment (by a pulverizer, dangerous strategy) to let the two spinners go at it, or mostly have Axe Backwards chase Deviled Egg around. But the fight turned a little. Deviled Egg, hanging in there, losing its steampunk panels, which were more cosmetic than anything BTW, but still fighting, grinding into the now-returning Basilisk. Meanwhile Axe Backwards had a faint emanation of smoke, and started going into the spinning thwackbot mode. Which is great and all, but they didn’t have their axes attached so it did basically nothing, other than bounce on top of Deviled Egg and one point.
Deviled Egg kept grinding away on Basilisk, doing some damage to the back and the sides, and Basilisk… well, Basilisk tried, I think. Chris Rose called it the Glass Joe of BattleBots, so… oof.
The fight ended—it wasn’t the greatest—and Axe Backwards kept spinning, this time thinking of it as a victory spin. But after that first minute it didn’t do too much, so it was going to be a tough call. In the end it went to a split decision, and the judges gave the nod to Deviled Egg 2-1 over Axe Backwards. And none for Basilisk, bye.
Yeah, KOs in rumbles are still confusing to mark down. But both these robots did it. I’d say it’s been a tough 0-2 for Mecha Rampage, as Christian Carlberg’s new bot went up against the tankiest things there in the first fight and the second was over before they had a chance. Meanwhile Double Jeopardy is currently more there as proof of concept as the cannon weighs like half the robot’s mass. If and when there is a season 4 we’ll have a sleeker, more dangerous Double Jeopardy.
Bearing that in mind, a 5-lb. slug hitting you at close to 200 mph is still bad for your robot if it hits in the right place, and to combat that Mecha Rampage put up a target. Hey, if they hit the target they miss the robot, right?
Well the fight began and Double Jeopardy fired and landed a hit, not on the target but on the middle weapon pod on Mecha Rampage! It was spinning at this point and it continued spinning, so it was about to not go very well for the Woolley twins. They’re kind of a sitting duck with no weapon. So Mecha Rampage just went to work tearing at the sides of Double Jeopardy, especially the left side. A wheel came off any everything. Mecha Rampage wins by knockout in under a minute.
Now, as we were…
To say it’s been a disappointing first half of the season for these two robots is a disappointment. HyperShock, still best known for the rake—included in the HyperShock toys!—had technical issues against Bite Force leading to getting gutted, and got a win against Battle Royale with Cheese, which is not saying very much because right now I’d rank BRw/C ahead of Predator but behind the nonexistent Mystery Bot #56, which is not Swamp Thing from the Will Bales box kart promo cut in case you were wondering.
Meanwhile Free Shipping, looking like a nerfed version of Original Sin due to the forklift, a slow, bulky weapon that fucks with the self-righting, has had it rough, in part due to the forklift being a slow, bulky, weapon that fucks with the self-righting. It lost to the only robot that might be more of a tank, DUCK! in its first rumble (and Mecha Rampage damaged it), and then fought the unorthodox HUGE where the aforementioned forklift was useless and got mangled and torn up and they couldn’t lift it anyway. For the HyperShock fight, the forklift forks have been replaced by a wedge or a plow. (It’s a little rule-skirty, but I’m guessing it just attached to the forklift and worked or else they wouldn’t have been allowed to fight.) Since it’s Gary Gin and Forrest Yeh (of Ragin’ Scotsman fame), you know that wedge will probably hold pretty well. And you know that thanks to this being Will Bales and Gary Gin this’ll be a driving clinic. Seriously, three fantastic drivers are participating in this fight, and Forrest Yeh isn’t even driving.
Of note and concern is that due to the Bite Force fight HyperShock had to fix stuff with its armor and as a result due to weight only had one lifting arm attached. I don’t know how that will affect their self-righting but it definitely can’t be for the better.
HyperShock did get that first hit on the side but something was off with the vertical spinner. It wasn’t quite all the way up to speed, or it was taking too long to spin up. Either way, HyperShock had to play the stall tactic, bobbing and weaving and circling like a madman. And it was working in terms of avoiding the ramp… until they went for the ramp and went over. So it was up to seeing if the one-armed man could get over. Nope, not really. I’m not entirely sure why, because there was a moment where they self-righted and then flipped right back over. And when they flipped back over they ended up totally turtled because there were no wheels on the ground. This also meant that Free Shipping could use its flamethrower with impunity to melt the tires and/or roast HyperShock. And it worked, because HyperShock started to smoke, the tires started to melt, and the count-out began. Free Shipping gets the upset win in 2:26, and HyperShock at 1-2 is in some serious trouble, new Battle Rake or not.
After two spinners, Red Devil finally gets to use its claw, which if you remember Jerome Miles (the actual builder of Red Devil) used to great effect in the upset victory over Witch Doctor last tournament. That means for All Black Robotics (the team piloting Red Devil due to Jerome operating Dragon King in China) it’s their first time using the claw. Meanwhile SubZero finally got its first BattleBots win thanks to outlasting Captain Shrederator. And they brought back their drone, Spitfire, which led to more mocking about drones only dying a glorious death from Chris Rose and Kenny Florian. Remember that.
Red Devil charged SubZero to start but SubZero got the first flip and with it the momentum, leading to another four flips. If you were wondering, no, it’s not in the same stratosphere as Bronco in terms of throwing robots into the stratosphere, but four flips is pretty vital, even though after the first two the flipper was already showing some wear. Meanwhile, Spitfire came down for a look and promptly crashed, earning more ridicule.
Once Spitfire crashed, coincidentally, Red Devil got its feet under it and finally got a grab on SubZero and started sawing away. The claw could do good work grabbing the side of SubZero, but the armor held up well enough—there were sparks but no visible cuts. After two grabs the tide was turning. And on the third the two bots battled over the now-operating killsaws and SubZero was backed into Spitfire. And, uh, this happened.
Well that’s properly fucked. Anyway, Red Devil got more grab in, time ran out, and Red Devil won by unanimous decision. And pour one out for Spitfire.
Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen these two. Sharkoprion’s only fight was the second episode of the season, and it was a rumble. Meanwhile Warhead is making its debut, as they were the last team to arrive. But they’re here, and two of the prettiest-looking bots in the competition go to do battle. Two of the art bots, if you will.
I was surprised that Warhead said they were going to go with the big grabbing jaw, the dinosaur head, or its “Evilution” form. I also don’t understand why it’s a dinosaur head because with the giant spinning dome it looks like a dragon. So I would have expected a dragon head. But I expected the horizontal spinner, because they seem to have the advantage over vertical saws like Sharkoprion. It’s not quite rock-paper-scissors, it’s more… sword-lance-axe from the Fire Emblem games, where there is or seems to be an advantage but it doesn’t make it an auto-win. But they went with the big dinosaur head that clamps and grapples and apparently has four flamethrowers inside of it which is a fucking lot of fire.
Warhead and Sharkoprion locked horns at the beginning, not quite weapon to weapon but weapon near weapon. So they couldn’t stop the blade, but the two robots could circle and Warhead, which had the bite on the shark, could start using those flamethrowers.
And this was a lot of the fight. There was a moment they got more of a lift but then Sharkoprion’s vertical saw could get a cut in and put a nick or two into Warhead’s armor. But while they were doing that Warhead was melting their tire. It was a nip and tuck fight but it was very impressive driving by the British vets.
Sharkoprion then tried to spin around, using the tail like a flail, but the fin started flopping and started to come off. The robot was just too long to get around on Warhead and in the last few seconds one of those tires started to come off, melted by the heat of those flamethrowers. According to the team Sharkoprion was too hot to touch for a good half-hour.
I was surprised that it worked, but Warhead wins by unanimous decision in a fight where both teams definitely had a blast.
Well, there’s no way this fight goes three minutes. Monsoon’s big vertical blade did heavy damage to Red Devil and set Petunia slightly very on fire. Meanwhile, after getting toppled over by Brutus, Son of Whyachi did what it does best and tore Lucky up. Powerful vertical vs. powerful horizontal, yeah, this is ending knockout one way or another.
After a first hit both bots got sent back, the second hit flipped Monsoon and damaged its pivot. So Monsoon was in trouble. There was another hit that sent Son of Whyachi flying a few feet high and I briefly had visions of the Poison Arrow fight in my head but Son of Whyachi was fine and Monsoon’s weapon was totally dead. One last shot sealed it as Monsoon was sent flying and belts and other chains or something came out. Yup, I was right. Son of Whyachi wins in 54 seconds. And if you want to see it, we have Botcam! Here’s the fight from Monsoon’s point of view.
Well, the first hit before the camera got knocked off. Damage report, according to Monsoon? Well, the LiPo battery smoke meant they had to be there for an hour with the extractor fans taking the smoke out of the arena. Due to the timeframe, all the batteries in the robot at that were a total loss as was some of the wiring, and Son of Whyachi managed to bend 35mm-thick Hardox 500 steel to the point that that particular weapon bar couldn’t be straightened and was retired. Son of Whyachi did get a hammer and one of the titanium arms damaged, so both bots took hits, even if one got the worst of it.
Officially, that Lock-Jaw flip was 11 feet high. But the biggest flip on Bombshell was 12 feet high. And there was actually a bet with the crew about whether Bronco would flip a robot off the lighting fixtures. Those are 16 feet high. I say Bronco vs. The Four Horsemen should do it. Or Bronco vs. Gemini.
Meanwhile, DUCK! has been the little robot that so far has. It outlasted Mecha Rampage and Free Shipping, and took what Reality was dishing until the Dutch drum just died. So it’s definitely a spinner-killer. Being made from a single block of aluminum’ll do that. The one problem? Bronco is not a spinner, and in the robotics game of rock-paper-scissors (or again, swords-lances-axes may be better) lifters beat wedges. So Hal Rucker’s robot may be up against the wall. Although actually they don’t want to be against the wall. Against the wall could lead to over the wall. In the middle you’re safer against going over and out. Inertia Labs only estimates there are 15 flips or so in Bronco’s flipper but they don’t plan on needing all of them.
DUCK! started by going right over the flipper, but no damage was done. Bronco fired and missed, popping itself into the air. Then they missed again, flipping over and having to self-right. DUCK! could try and push, but it was far more important to stay in the middle to get to the pushing. But then Bronco got a flip in. And DUCK! did at least a double, maybe even a triple, with a twist, with an estimate of 9 feet of height, because the Internet calculates this. But DUCK! was fine, still game to continue.
But then another big flip came in. And then a smaller one close to the screws. And another right on the screws. And one last flip to get them perfectly behind the screws, like any item falling behind the radiator. DUCK! can’t get unstuck from that one, so with a KO in 2:15, Bronco joins the 3-0 club.
Now, that does it for the first half of the BattleBots season. Okay, there’s an episode 10 bonus fight between the 2-0 but untelevised Ultimo Destructo and the 0-2 but has been televised Axe Backwards. Now, the Discovery feed takes two weeks for the one-week event of Shark Week (beats me) before coming back for the last ten episodes. Leading that off is a sudden change of plan.
Eight robots “down on their luck” will fight a single-elimination tournament, the desperado tournament. Some of these robots are 0-2, or 1-2, or 0-1… maybe even 0-3! Here’s the bracket they showed us:
All right, let’s see what we got here: we’ve got Lock-Jaw vs. Kraken. Seems reasonable. Then, Valkyrie vs. Hypothermia. But wait, isn’t Valkyrie 1-1 on the year? Then, Mystery Bot 56 vs. Gemini? Wait, Gemini’s 1-0, and Mystery Bot doesn’t actually exist but in this case, La Machine may be a stand-in for Lucky, the actual robot believed to be competing there.) Then Gigabyte vs. Double Dutch—Double Dutch is 2-0 too even though its tag-team fight wasn’t particularly special, nor was its victory over Gamma 9 that was also unaired.
Anyway, what’s at stake for these eight robots is an automatic trip into the final 16. That’s right, win three fights in quick succession and sit back and not have to worry for the whole second half of the season. Now, you may wonder “Why not X/Y/Z/Chomp/HyperShock/Captain Shrederator/Bombshell?” I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Okay, with HyperShock it’s because they filmed the tournament BEFORE this episode, so it was still 1-1 at the time. But if I had dictatorial desperado powers though I’d maybe go along the lines of: Lock-Jaw (1-2), Lucky (0-2), Bombshell (0-3), Chomp (0-3), Captain Shrederator (0-3), Hypothermia (0-2), Mecha Rampage (1-2), Free Shipping (0-2 at time of filming), and Blacksmith (1-2). Not seeded that way, but that would be my eight. However this tourney would give some lower-profile bots a chance to shine, which my eight does not have, so I guess we’ll see what happens. I’d say look out for Lock-Jaw and Gigabyte, but that seems too obvious.
As for the next two weeks… next week I’ll think of something, and two weeks from now I already know what’s planned, I just have to do it. Can you handle the wait? …Listen, I can try to make it sound like I’m being the least bit flirtatious, right?
All right fine, ’til next time.