Latest posts by Senor Weaselo (see all)
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Welcome back to the Beat! Last time out, we had Tombstone and Bronco join Bite Force in the lofty realm of 4-0 robots. We had Warhead’s longtime spinning dome break. The same dome that did this! (Fight starts at 3:45)
And that fight, due to the damage to Nightmare, led to a new tooth on Nightmare’s disk for the heavyweight rumble, which sheared off after hitting another robot (I believe it was Junkyard Offspring), and breached the roof of the BattleBox, and they were worried it landed in the audience and cancelled the rest of the rumbles that season (which ended up being the last season), and that’s why we don’t have true rumbles in the new seasons of BattleBots—we haven’t had more than four robots in the arena, and that was a tag team fight. But there haven’t been more than three factions in at the same time due to that rumble.
This week’s a little different. This week has five exhibition matches, that have nothing to do with the postseason rankings or standings or whatever you want to call it when they determine the tournament. Apparently it was filmed after the selections. This is a much simpler format, tried and true. USA vs. The World! Onto the fights!
For Blacksmith, it’s been a tough season, getting a pair of top-tier robots as bookends, with Bite Force at the beginning of their season and Minotaur as their fourth. In between was a win over The Four Horsemen that was less whack-a-mole and more bullying, and near-steal against Witch Doctor, pushing the voodoo princess onto the screws in the dying seconds in a last-ditch effort. So they went 1-3. Warhead should have one more fight, and at 3-0 that one remaining fight could be the difference between them being in or out. They are down to the dinosaur head, though, which makes them a fairly good control bot, because again, there is a fucking lot of fire coming out of that dino head. Just in general, between Blacksmith and Warhead this fight will just be a shit-ton of fire.
And what do you know, both bots come out weapons blazing, complete with Beavis and Butt-Head impressions by the announcers.
If you really care, it was Chris Rose as Beavis, Kenny Florian as Butt-Head. Anyway, Blacksmith fired the hammer a couple times, but it came down once and then Warhead grabbed Blacksmith by the hammer, using jaw and flame until they had to let go. When Blacksmith was free they continued to try and hammer away, and got a few clean shots, first only hitting with the shaft, then landing the hammer head.
And this was the essence of the fight. It was Warhead’s control, grabbing Blacksmith by the hammer, and pushing and shoving into the wall. It was Blacksmith, swinging the Big Time Hammer as often as it could, getting hits here and there, especially getting towards Warhead’s neck later on in the fight. But I think the weapon motor started to go, as there it looked like there was some faint smoke emanating out of Blacksmith, and it seemed like the hammer slowed up in the last few seconds. Either way, it went to the judges, and in a fun, close fight like this, of course it went to a split decision. Warhead takes the split decision, and though Kenny Florian, and even Warhead captain Simon Scott, thought that Blacksmith had the slight edge, control and strategy were a given to Warhead I think. So it comes to the two damage points and aggression, and I think that Warhead narrowly gets the aggression point. Hell, the damage might have been split if that was indeed smoke coming out of Blacksmith, so I might’ve gone 4-1. Either way, a fun fight, a close fight, a good opener as Team World takes a 1-0 lead.
Captain Shrederator (USA) vs. Vanquish (World)
A fight of triumphant (hopefully) returns. For Captain Shrederator, Brian Nave returned from China after piloting Shrederator Tiger Claw to a fourth-place performance in This Is Fighting Robots. Nicholas Nave is actually the one currently living in China as we speak. It hasn’t been the greatest season for the Captain, going 0-3, losing each fight by KO, whether by the robot being beat by the opponent (End Game, Petunia) or because physics is a fickle mistress (SubZero). Vanquish, on the other hand, returns from the dead when it got broken in half by Icewave, its only fight thus far, and it’s pretty late in the season. Also it returns with googly eyes all over the plow. Don’t know why, exactly, but hey, why not. I also have to give Faruq his due for this fight, because any time you make a “Look at me, I am the captain now” reference, god damn.
For this fight Captain Shrederator went with an older, less tapered, more vertical shell. I’m not sure if it’s because Petunia punctured the shell in the previous fight or what, but it is indeed a different shell. I would have thought the shell we’ve seen all year would work better against a wedge, thanks to its own slight wedge shape, so maybe that is the reason.
Whatever the reason, it was useful, as Shrederator was getting sparks on Vanquish, but it was getting pushed around a little bit and bouncing off walls. And the plow’s fine if it’s just sparks being shaved off, that’s not real damage. So it seemed like this fight was going to have to swing one way or the other by a big shot, whether on Vanquish or whether the recoil.
It was the a little of both. Shrederator hit off the lifter just right, popped up, and landed right on one of Vanquish’s wheels, tearing it off. And that was it, whether that means Vanquish can’t drive on three wheels, or it crippled the drive internally, Vanquish couldn’t move. Captain Shrederator wins by KO in 1:37, and Team USA ties the score, 1-1.
Red Devil (World) vs. Kraken (USA)
Hey, wait a second. All Black Robotics may be Canadian, but Red Devil was made by Jerome Miles and DT Robotics in Utah! The robot’s still listed as from Utah on the website! Apparently that doesn’t matter though, as Red Devil is part of the World team as a result of its adopted Canadian team. Red Devil had an interesting up and down year, and is on that 2-2 bubble. The KO win over Brutus definitely helps them if it’s between the two of them for a final spot, but the loss to Valkyrie really hurts. Meanwhile, pneumatic crusher Kraken hasn’t looked particularly great, with its best performance being the KO loss to Lock-Jaw in the Desperado quarters. They controlled significant portions of the fight, but ended up turning turtle and that was it. At 0-3 they may have one more fight after this, but they will certainly not be in the tournament, so this is their big chance to make some noise for the state of Florida. Three of the five Team USA robots hail from Florida. Make the necessary jokes.
Red Devil had their claw against Kraken’s jaw, and surprisingly at the opening exchange Kraken essentially did to Red Devil what Red Devil did to Witch Doctor in that impressive 3-30 upset last year. It was a perfect grab onto Red Devil’s tread, and though it didn’t look like it did too much since Kraken’s pneumatic crusher doesn’t seem to be amazingly powerful, it got the perfect shot, because when Kraken had to let go Red Devil’s drive on that side was shot; that tread couldn’t move.
Red Devil’s weapon was still find, and did get a flip on Kraken. But Kraken wasn’t totally off its wheels (unlike what happened in the Lock-Jaw fight) and they added a spike to the top of the head, so they were able to self-right this time around, where it grabbed Red Devil again pushing towards the screws.
This was Kraken’s best fight of the season, which granted doesn’t say too much, but throughout the crusher was able to grab and hold and control and push Red Devil around from all angles, and was able to take Red Devil to all the hazards. For Red Devil, it’s a good thing these fights didn’t count, because Kraken wins by unanimous decision and gives the USA a 2-1 lead.
HyperShock (USA) vs. Reality (World)
A pair of drum spinners face off, although at this point HyperShock is more twin vertical disks connected rather than a true drum, but that’s still drum-like. Both robots are 1-2 thus far in their campaigns, but out of the two I’d say Reality has the better chance to join the 2-2 bubble if it wins its final regularly scheduled fight, since losses to SawBlaze and DUCK! aren’t too bad and a win against Lucky’s pretty good, as opposed to HyperShock’s losses to Bite Force (no shame) and Free Shipping (that one does hurt a bit on account of it not being Original Sin and all) and win over Battle Royale with Cheese (with counts for absolutely nothing). It’s been a disappointment for everyone-except-the-camera-crew’s favorite cure for/cause of blindness (Will Bales wanted the camera crew to hate them for the color scheme, and they had to adjust the white brightness for the camera), as reliability issues have plagued HyperShock yet again. Also the tires are too bouncy to handle the 22 mph top speed and Will Bales doing his best to smoke the tires. The Dutch team Reality is, as you’d expect, a little more reserved than the squad from Miami.
HyperShock’s weapon started to spin up as the speedy bot circled around looking for an opening. And they got one, driving around, flipping Reality over with their weapon, taking the Dutch drum to the corner and the pulverizer, and taking the early initiative of the fight. And then you know those reliability issues I mentioned? Yeah, those happened again. HyperShock started to smoke, and Reality got out of the corner and pushed HyperShock back. But that was short-lived as Reality got popped back up thanks to HyperShock’s weapon still spinning away.
And then the Tron-cycle bot stopped. Sure a tire was a little damaged but… goddammit, not again, you crazy Nerf gun-slinging bastards. I’m gonna go be sad now. Reality wins by KO in 2:05.
SawBlaze (USA) vs. End Game (World)
Your final fight and your rubber match is a potential playoff preview, since nobody knows exactly what will happen except the people who are legally not allowed to talk about it since they were there. SawBlaze is a lock of course, going 3-1 and only losing a decision to Bronco. And while End Game is only 2-2, the bot from New Zealand should be in pretty good shape considering it had a fairly tough schedule, facing three teams that in all likelihood will make tournament appearances, a schedule up there with the big boys.
Interestingly enough for this fight SawBlaze went for the trident, which means we still haven’t seen their plow attachment. I’m a little surprised, unless that means it’s specifically meant to be a horizontal spinner deterrent for just Tombstone and Icewave. End Game armored up a little more on top, and added two little plastic strips to the front wedge to try and keep SawBlaze’s clutches at bay.
And look at that, the little plastic strips worked or at least stalemated, which meant SawBlaze couldn’t get the scoop to get the saw going, and to make matters better for End Game they were soon able to get enough leverage to get their disk into play and damage the middle prong of the trident. And End Game was able to flip SawBlaze over with a strike while SawBlaze wheelied, and a chain came out of something or someone—more on that in a bit. It took some breakdancing by SawBlaze to self-right (SawBlaze vs. dome spinner Warhead vs. Stinger dance contest/rumble for Season 4, come on).
At this point it seemed like End Game was up in the fight, but SawBlaze kept pushing and though the plow was not working very well thanks to the damage to it they were able to figure a way to get the saw working and got a shower of sparks (I think it was weapon to weapon actually), and more importantly use the green flame to at least get something going on End Game, although I think some of the sparks were self-inflicted thanks to the tine being bent up and everything. More importantly they had End Game in the corner, gaining control and at least some aggression. And from this it seemed like End Game had a little bit of driving problems, while SawBlaze started pushing End Game around. While still wheelie-ing. They got behind End Game and used the flame to try and get at the exposed motors. There was no shower of sparks, but it was still effective, as SawBlaze found a way to push End Game around some more and really take hold of the second half of the fight. Though some shards off the back of SawBlaze were shaved off in the dying moments, it seemed that End Game came to a stop right on the killsaws after dealing another hit with a couple seconds left and with SawBlaze bearing down its neck.
This was gonna be a close one. End Game dominated the early portion but SawBlaze took over late. End Game did all the pretty damage, but I think on rewatch that that chain that flew off was one of End Game’s drive chains, since both weapons were still working and it seemed that right at that moment was when End Game’s drive seemed to diminish. In which case I think you have to split damage. Either way, it went to a split decision, and the winner was SawBlaze and Team USA. Until rewatching the fight I was surprised at the decision because
- Naomi Kyle was actually part of the majority decision instead of the dissenting vote for once.
- Derek Young went for the damage bot instead of the control bot, as seems to be his normal trend (he was the dissenting judge), and
- Until that re-watch and realization where the flying chain came from I thought it was SawBlaze’s weapon chain, and would have taken End Game with the fight due to the aggression being pretty even, but weapon aggression outdoes not-weapon aggression.
So yeah, there you have it. Team USA wins 3-2.
Anyway, next week starts taking us towards the do or die. It looks like we saw Warhead taking on Whiplash (and it looked less than good for Warhead considering it was on its back in one shot), a rumble that involved Free Shipping swinging a robot around “like a whip,” which I’m not sure whether that’s legal or entanglement, and the main event I believe is Minotaur vs. SubZero. Minotaur could use a win, given that it’s 2-1 and surprisingly for Minotaur hasn’t won either of those fights by KO. So the fight card looks fun. See you next week!