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
Welcome back to the Beat! This week, we have what Kenny Florian calls a “minefield of explosive robots.” There are THREE robots currently sitting at 3-0, and at least one of them will go to 4-0, as Bronco and SawBlaze face off. We have the unstoppable force against the immovable object. And that’s the opener. To the fights!
Tombstone vs. DUCK!
Tombstone: 3-0 (W, KO 2:22 over Minotaur; W, KO 1:09 over Gigabyte; W, KO 1:14 over Whiplash)
DUCK!: 2-1 (W, JD 3-0-X over Free Shipping and Mecha Rampage; W, KO 1:50 over Reality; L, KO 2:15 to Bronco)
What hasn’t been said about Tombstone thus far? 3-0, 3 KOs. The only thing at stake for the defending champ in this fight is a third straight top seed, as Bite Force and Bronco are the other two vying to knock off the Hardcore Robotics horizontal spinner should it falter.
Of course, the other one looking to do that is DUCK!, a 250-lb. version of Whoops!, which did just that to the 220 lb. Hardcore Robotics horizontal spinner at RoboGames 2017. Roll it!
The main difference between Whoops! and DUCK!, other than the all-caps of the larger bot, is that there is no active weapon rule in RoboGames, so Whoops! just has a plow. But it worked, because Newton’s laws of motion. And that exploitation of the Third Law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) worked for Whoops! in this fight, and it worked for DUCK! against Mecha Rampage and against Reality. Okay, it didn’t work against Bronco since it’s a totally different set of forces and that doesn’t take being perfectly wedged between two walls into account, so as a result DUCK! sits at 2-1. A loss here would have them on the bubble, and probably would chafe Hal Rucker a bit because DUCK! is meant to be a Tombstone-killer.
To counteract, Tombstone had on its shortest blade for this fight, for stability, control, and for mitigating the recoil. Hitting the plow up front won’t do very much; to stop DUCK! Tombstone has to get around to the wheels and take at least two of them out, since DUCK! has shown it can drive down to three wheels. Ray Billings and co. (with the hoodies, apparently) are anticipating a three-minute fight. And they never expect a three-minute fight.
Tombstone was able to get up to speed, and with the opening exchange knocked a triangle of plow off of DUCK!, but the lifter was unflinching and just pushed Tombstone blade first into the wall. Tombstone was in the middle trying to spin up but DUCK! was just running headfirst into the bar. Knowing the headfirst strategy would lead to bad things, Tombstone went for the serpentine approach. Meanwhile DUCK! was also moving in a serpentine manner, whether in reaction to Tombstone or in response to the blows I’m not sure. Either way the champ’s serpentine went better because DUCK! lost a wheel, and sensing the loss of mobility the two robots played chase the tail, with Tombstone trying to get around back to get another wheel and DUCK! being the tail. It did some damage, but from it you could tell the recoil did a bit to Tombstone as well because it wasn’t as chipper as at the beginning of the fight. Remember, its frame was severely warped after the Minotaur fight, and lucky for them that Gigabyte was a quickie, and Whiplash, though furious, was also fast. Tombstone even stopped moving for a second, which led DUCK! to hobble into the blade and lose a second wheel, actually, and some other bits. And DUCK!’s two wheels left were on the same side, so like a NASCAR, it could only really turn left. (My apologies to the NASCAR fans.) And a third wheel just fell off, so there was one wheel left on the DUCK! wagon.
But Tombstone wasn’t moving. The bar was humming, but the wheels weren’t. The ref gave the “You have to show me some kind of movement” warning that they give before the count, and probably right before that count started, Tombstone finally spun around. Apparently Tombstone was having some intermittent receiver issues and it only got worse from the vibrations of the weapon spinning, so they had to kill the weapon to get drive going.
A few seconds later the lights signaling the killsaws were active went off, and DUCK! went right over one, and all of a sudden that killed whatever momentum it was driving on, trying to use the lifter to move, but that wasn’t enough. Tombstone escapes with the KO in 2:37, although the weapon might have been sacrificed for the drive at the end of the fight. But they’ll have time to repair that for the playoffs. The only question is, will they be the top seed going in?
Petunia vs. Yeti
Petunia: 2-1 (W, JD 3-0 over RotatoR; L, KO 2:00 to Monsoon; W, KO 1:16 over Captain Shrederator)
Yeti: 2-1 (W, KO 1:24 over Witch Doctor; L, KO 0:35 to Icewave; W, JD 3-0 over Bombshell)
The winner is pretty much in, since they’ll go to 3-1. The loser will have to sweat it out. Out of the two I think Yeti would have the slightly lesser sweating, but either way, it would be butt-holding time. Yeti’s going for the all-out offense, so yay that, Yeti smash!
So of course it was Petunia going for the early box rush as Yeti sidestepped to get its drum up to speed. The lifter forks were down to try and keep Petunia’s wedge from getting under the drum. And something worked, because Petunia overbalanced and nearly tipped over right onto Yeti’s drum while trying to get to the front, and then bounced the other way to let Yeti attack the bottom. Petunia escaped, but this was the point in the fight Greg Gibson most likely went “F**k it, Yeti smash,” pushing Petunia back into a wall and tipping it over and hitting the tip of the crusher. And once that happened even the lifter forks went up just to have the drum get a better bite on the wedge. A couple more flurries of drum shots from the Alaskan Assassin showed something leaking out of Petunia to boot, and the Dutch crusher’s arm confirmed it was hydraulic fluid as it feebly lowered one last time. Yeti wins by KO in 1:54, making them a good bet for the top 16.
Monsoon vs. Axe Backwards
Monsoon: 2-1 (W, JD 2-1 over Red Devil; W, KO 2:00 over Monsoon; L, KO 0:54 to Son of Whyachi)
Axe Backwards: 1-2 (L, KO 1:30 to WAR Hawk; L, JD 2-1-X to Deviled Egg with Basilisk; W, KO 2:15 over Ultimo Destructo)
Okay, either there was stuff out of sequence (very possible) or people messed things up, because Axe Backwards isn’t 0-2 in the episode order, since they beat Ultimo Destructo in a thrilling (nope) bout. Meanwhile, Monsoon is 2-1, having been destroyed by Son of Whyachi in its most recent fight. 3-1 with a loss to a destructive overhead spinner isn’t too bad, but a loss to Axe Backwards here would be a tough one to swallow. Which means Axe Backwards can play spoiler.
Monsoon went with a new weapon bar, since the previous one got warped to all hell from the force of Son of Whyachi’s hammers. They tested it by hitting Axe Backwards right in one of the wheels and flipped the full-body drum over. Then they did it again, putting Axe Backwards on the screws, though it rolled off. After that it didn’t really matter too much. Axe Backwards looked like it had been italicized due to the camber in its wheels, and although the weapon was spinning, the drive was dead. That was fast. Monsoon wins by KO in 38 seconds—yes, you read that correctly—and holds serve.
So, this season is it for Warrior, the kinetic flipper. Next season Team Whyachi will replace it with a hydraulic (wait what?) flipper, named Hydra. They’re keeping it mostly under wraps but they did post this video. They claim it can flip 50 times over the course of a three-minute match, so that’s a lot of flips, and judging by the height of that basketball hoop it would be maybe only slightly less power than Bronco has. I mean, Warrior SKF (the rebuilt version, since the original Warrior in Season 5 was a plow) has been competing since 2009, in the Pro Championship. And the concept of storing the kinetic energy with the disk to power the flipper is very interesting, but a bit complicated and it’s only seemed to work occasionally. Meanwhile, Warhead, also debuting in the Comedy Central Season 5, has its signature spinning dome head (now re-attached since its fight with Minotaur), which can do the headstands and the dancing and all that. They got a glamor shot of it and everything! Apparently in the warm-up they started off in the headstand position. And they crashed. Come on, guys, it was bad enough that Kill-E Crank-E gained traction to kamikaze Razer into the pit in the reboot, now you’ve lost magical headstand/break-dance fighting abilities too? Though that might be because they said they cranked up the power, which probably makes the headstand tougher to control. Speaking of control, Simon Scott noted that because of how low Warrior is to the ground they have to lower the articulated head more than they’d like, which increased the gyroscopic forces and makes it harder to control.
And lo and behold, as the two robots came together, Warhead got a shower of sparks on Warrior’s wedge, but was sent skidding and nearly overturned while turning. In prior seasons (okay, the Comedy Central season and Season 1) they would keep the wings up for hits like that, so that yes, like Chomp they’d go onto their side, but the wings would self-right (quick poll, cooler srimech, Razer or Warhead, I do go with Razer due to the infamous “Razer salute“). They don’t attack wings up anymore, instead hitting with the wings down. I think I asked them why in an AMA a while back and it was so that way hopefully they wouldn’t topple over, since it takes a bit of time to re-right.
Anyway, Warhead went for another shot on Warrior, drove right over it, hit the wall, and… well that’s problematic, Warhead broke its dome on the screw casing. And also a wing, but more importantly a third of the dome just broke off, leaving the robot unbalanced when it spun. And it still did spin the motor, trying to get shots on the top of Warrior. That is probably not good for the internals. They also used their good wing to just spurt all the fire, because in this setup the wings shoot fire. Because fuck it, why not?
Lost in this was that Warrior’s spinner mechanism had totally died, making the flipper useless, making it essentially a wedge. I think this happened on the first hit, actually, where you saw something venting out of the top. So it was a pushing match, and due to Warhead bouncing around, neither robot could gain much leverage on the other. And this stalemate went on for most of the fight, although I think Warrior was immobile for the last 10 or so seconds, rendering Warrior Dragon (okay, it was Warrior & Meddler, no Dragon, but the point is single robot vs. robot as a whole) immobile if the buzzer hadn’t sounded.
This was a tough fight to judge, and it was a split decision. And for what seems like the umpteenth time, it was Naomi Kyle as the judge in the minority—I think Derek Young was once for Monsoon and Red Devil, but seriously, it seems every time it’s her—and Lisa Winter (Plan X, Tentomushi) and Derek Young (Complete Control) going for Warhead as the winner. Either way, Warhead goes to 3-0 and has a decent shot of making the top 16, though their spinning dome from the beginning is toast. RIP Warhead’s spinning head, 2002-2018. I shall press F to pay respects.
Bonus fight: Tantrum vs. Mecha Rampage
Tantrum: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0 over Battle Royale with Cheese)
Mecha Rampage: 1-2 (L, KO to DUCK! and Free Shipping; L, KO 0:52 to Whiplash; W, KO 0:56 over Double Jeopardy)
I could’ve sworn they mentioned Tantrum had an unaired fight on Reddit, but apparently not. Or they have and it hasn’t been listed on the site. The fight against BR w/C was over within about 15 seconds, then they flipped the burger back onto its presentation side and that was about all the action in the fight. Mecha Rampage has had more action then that, as it showed it could do some damage against Free Shipping and Double Jeopardy. The Whiplash fight was an outflank and perfect flip on its side leading to the loss, and it lost that rumble because it was slightly very on fire. It happens from time to time, as we’ve noticed.
Tantrum had two fists on the robot, one on each side, that they didn’t have in their first fight. This would be a little extra armor on the sides to protect from that big spinning pod of Mecha Rampage. However, they were slow from the get-go, where they could have tried to rush Mecha Rampage to prevent the weapon from spinning up. Instead they took the brunt of the first hit, and the armor was okay, as it also was after the second, Tantrum remained slow. The third hit knocked one of those fists off the robot, and at this point, Tantrum wasn’t mobile enough to continue fighting, barely moving back and force. Mecha Rampage wins in 59 seconds, evening their record at 2-2.
Main event: Bronco vs. SawBlaze
Bronco: 3-0 (W, KO 1:19 over Bombshell; W, JD 3-0 over Lock-Jaw; W, KO 2:15 over DUCK!)
SawBlaze: 3-0 (W, KO 1:34 over Overhaul; W, JD 3-0 over Reality; W, KO 2:07 over Mohawk)
Well, this’ll be a doozy. Bronco’s setup for this fight is ridiculous. It has the armor on top, which looks like old wheel guards from the first season, and is also used for hammers, plus it has the anti-vertical spinner pwangers on the side to prevent SawBlaze from scooping it up, I think. Meanwhile, SawBlaze has someone with lasso skills. And someone in the stands with a Cromulon sign, points for that.
The two met in the center, and SawBlaze actually turned around and hit Bronco with the back part of the saw, but that didn’t help either bot much. One of the worries of SawBlaze is it has a lot of nooks that the flipper might get under, and also it occasionally wheelies. They got their front back down but it was right in the path of Bronco who flipped SawBlaze off the wall that protects the teams, where SawBlaze landed upside-down, the saw noticeably bent.
That should’ve probably been the fight right there, if Bronco had let things lie. But Bronco flipped SawBlaze back into that wall, scaring the ever-loving fuck out of people not named Jamison Go. Bronco was clearly going for the hat trick at this point, and when SawBlaze was in the corner after another flipped it looked all but certain. But SawBlaze was able to self-right and get out of the way of the corner, where Bronco got a fourth flip in, this time getting some height on it and re-overturning SawBlaze to line Bronco up for a cross-box run to try and go to the other side and go out that way. Instead they only hit the second panel of the wall. That’s five! So yeah, Chris, after landing on it a couple of times SawBlaze’s saw was damaged, as Bronco got a sixth, rolling SawBlaze. Bronco missed the next one and SawBlaze wedged a prong in between one of the armors where they could make a run for a ram, since the saw wouldn’t spin. They broke apart before that but came back together and spun for a bit before coming back apart. But the next exchange had SawBlaze actually get the better as they could push Bronco to the wall, and at this point, that and the licks of flame were all SawBlaze had, though Bronco was able to defend (7).
They met in the center of the arena and started spinning, and SawBlaze’s outer wheel (since they have double wheels on each side) started to dangle off. They broke apart as Bronco flicked the flipper before the two would have to be crowbarred apart, but the pop back up led to SawBlaze having Bronco in their grasp where they could actually push them, though the saw arm didn’t come up to try and burn at Bronco.
The rest of the fight had the two gesturing back and forth, without one last big push it went to the judges.
And there were gashes in the Lexan from SawBlaze hitting it. There are pictures, and the replay showed it too. It wasn’t from the saw, but the fork of SawBlaze that did the damage. By the way, I love how the ref flinched, the rest of the team flinched, Jamison Go, nerves of fucking steel, did not move. But yeah, the results were pretty clear, Bronco wins by unanimous decision and becomes the third robot to go 4-0, while SawBlaze likely loses its chance at a top-4 seed.
Let’s do a BattleBots Beat Bubble Watch again!
Locks: Lock-Jaw (4-2, Desperado champ), Tombstone (4-0), Bite Force (4-0), Bronco (4-0), Son of Whyachi (3-1), SawBlaze (3-1), HUGE (3-0)
In as of now: Icewave (2-1), Monsoon (3-1), Yeti (3-1), DUCK! (2-2), End Game (2-2), Minotaur (2-1), Whiplash (2-1), RotatoR (3-1), Skorpios (2-1)
In the discussion, fights remaining: Warhead (3-0), Witch Doctor (2-1), WAR Hawk (2-1), Gigabyte (2-2)
In the discussion, no fights left: Valkyrie (3-2), Red Devil (2-2), Brutus (2-2), Petunia (2-2)
Call me crazy, but I think Warhead needs to run the table to get in after breaking its dome, as right now their “best win” was probably the Sharkoprion fight, being Sharko’s only loss and winning by unanimous decision with the control-oriented dino head. I’d say their fights have been entertaining enough, which is a deciding quality in the book, but they might need 4-0 to get it done. And I’m hearing conflicting things about whether Gigabyte has one more fight. They have officially 3 Fight Nights, since the Desperado tournament counts as one, but they were asking them questions like their season is done, so I’m not sure. They’re back in the “fights remaining” for now though.
And all right, let’s argue some stuff here between the three 4-0 robots, Tombstone, Bite Force, and Bronco.
Tombstone: 4-0, 4 KOs
Bite Force: 4-0, 3 KOs
Bronco: 4-0, 2 KOs
Okay, first off, I’m gonna say Tombstone gets the top seed. It’s the only robot with 4 KOs, it’s wrecked its opponents, the floor, almost itself in the Minotaur fight, just everything in or near its path. That seems cut and dry.
It’s more Bite Force vs. Bronco for the 2nd seed that’s up in the air. I think Bite Force gets the KO advantage thanks to having 3 to Bronco’s 2, and because it was working right for all four of its fights. Remember, Bronco and Lock-Jaw were marred by some sort of gremlins, not sure what. Bronco does have the strength of schedule this year—Bombshell is a common opponent, DUCK! and End Game kinda cancel each other out, but Lock-Jaw and SawBlaze out-do Blacksmith and HyperShock, even if Bite Force did get the KO on HyperShock and Bronco didn’t finish off either of those two opponents. But I think I’m gonna say Bite Force over Bronco by the slimmest of margins. I imagine the argument for Bronco could continue with “End Game had Bite Force on the ropes, surely that takes points away,” I mean really there’s no wrong answer between the two and if chalk holds they’d fight in the semis either way.
Next week is supposedly an exhibition week, where fights do not count in the standings from what I’ve heard. It’s a “USA vs. the world” style showdown. I’m pretty sure that’s where the Blacksmith-Warhead fight shots are coming from, and obviously that would explain the dino head on Warhead since it doesn’t have the spinning dome anymore. Unfortunately the fight card comes out after this posts, so I’ll just have to confirm it. See you next week!