BattleBots Beat: Beyond BONKers

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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Hello, and welcome back to the Beat! We are doing absolutely nothing special for the 4th of July, so there.

Last time out Rikki watched the fights so I didn’t have to! Or get to. I’m still most of the episode down. Either way, he did a good job. Also Bite Force took Yeti through the Garden of Punishment, Hydra didn’t handle Free Shipping with care, and Monsoon won the Rackers Memorial Trophy. This week we’ve got the immovable force vs. the irresistible object, the cutest fight on paper of the year (maybe throw in Tantrum too), and also Tombstone vs. SawBlaze. Which is not the same as the first of the three. With that, onto the fights!

DUCK! vs. Cobalt
DUCK!: 1-0 (W, KO 0:52 vs. Bombshell)
Cobalt: 1-0 (W, KO 1:08 vs. SubZero)

Yes, the ole vertical spinner, born from champions, that ripped SubZero a new one against the tank king that won’t die unless you take all its wheels off or launch it out of the arena, that actually did an offensive thing in its fight against Bombshell, yay DUCK!

Cobalt’s wedge is extremely low, as it scrapes the ground thanks to a magnet at the front of the wedge. How low it is worked to great effect in This is Fighting Robots after all. In wedge vs. wedge it probably has the advantage over DUCK!’s lifter. And both teams were looking for an all-out blitz. There was no box rush by DUCK! as they let Cobalt spin up, a bold strategy. It worked out because DUCK! did get some purchase slightly around the wedge and got a bit of a push with the beak. But they tried to get a lift which missed and led them to be wide open, and it was Cobalt getting the first flip of the fight. And the second. And the third. And a shot off the drivers’ pods scaring themselves. And a couple more, including one that looked like DUCK! got eight feet off the ground. Please again note that this is with a vertical disk. Cobalt was trying to go out of the arena with it, but instead had to settle for bending and then ripping off the plow. Cue the Chris Rose face!

Courtesy of Chris Rose’s Twitter!

Yeah, that’s long become a meme. And yes, DUCK! was still working, still driving, still quacking along. Cobalt was slowing up, but still launched DUCK! another, I don’t know, 10 feet in the air? We’re talking Bronco and Hydra territory here, from a vertical disk. This thing’s gonna be in the tournament, it’s just too badass.

And then it hit a seam and a broken piece in the floor and got stuck. No, seriously. It got counted out. DUCK! wins by KO in 2:18 and people got really pissed about the floor affecting the outcome of the fight, because that was Cobalt’s fight. They are working on getting a new floor for Season 5. That shit costs a lot of money. They’ve posted some tests of materials for it. Someone call Deep Six and Tombstone for tests.

RotatoR vs. Bombshell
RotatoR: 0-1 (L, JD 3-0 vs. SawBlaze)
Bombshell: 0-1 (L, KO 0:52 vs. DUCK!)

Both bots had tough first showings. RotatoR’s disks apparently spun so hard in testing that it hit the wall and broke itself. That’s generally a problem considering robot combat is a full-contact sport (for the robots). Meanwhile Bombshell still didn’t figure out how to self-right with its vertical disk. And that was the better of the two options, they said, as the horizontal spinner (is it their undercutter again?) had more issues than the vertical disk when upended. RotatoR went back with its single bar configuration and forked wedge, which is still not its point. I mean the point of the name is that the two spinners give it symmetry! Either way it means these two quarterfinalists are both in must-win mode, or have to go through with the Desperado tournament.

Bombshell came in hot, and though it wasn’t a full rush it was enough to get RotatoR on the back foot and Bombshell the initial shots, outflanking RotatoR which couldn’t get the bar around just yet. But either something jarred with the drive or something because Bombshell turned sluggishly which allowed RotatoR to get composure back and be the flanker and not the flankee, finally hitting Bombshell from the side, flipping it until it flipped itself back using the disk’s momentum. Well, the srimech works better but you should still have a regular damn srimech. Not that it mattered because that one shot killed it. RotatoR wins by KO in under a minute and Bombshell’s reliability woes continue.

Nelly the Ellybot vs. Rainbow

Both of these colorful bots make their debuts! Rainbow is the first BattleBots competitor from Russia, as Team Unicorn (yup) hails from St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, Nelly is a scale-up of the featherweight of the same name, and though the telecast said that Sarah Malyan and her team are new, that is not the case. Since she was on the team behind HIGH-5 after withdrawing Nelly for Series 9 of Robot Wars. And built featherweight Nelly which was fairly successful in the King of Bots featherweight competition. And is a producer and presenter on Bugglebots. And is an admin/Kween of the leading robot combat meme Facebook group, Shuntposting (of which I’m a member though my mememaking skills aren’t up to snuff). So the Internet rooted for many BONKs. Or at least the hardcore fans.

Nelly went to the John Reid School of Waiting for a Good Hit which was a slight issue when Ranbow got around and hit the mace arm first, which held up pretty well. They tried coming in for a little bit more of a frontal shot and the good news was that I think the Hardox wedge worked in deflecting the blow, but the bad news was it deflected it upwards right into Nelly’s plastic face and took off one of her eyes. And we kind of wish it hadn’t. (Yeah, I went P.D.Q. Bach for this one.) It didn’t get better as the wedge worked okay but the type of plastic is definitely not the good against horizontal spinner kind. Yeah, Nelly lost the other eye and most of the rest of the shell. Chris and Kenny were dismayed, but Rainbow wins by KO in a little over a minute and Agent Orange-supporting incels rejoice. No, actually they did. I mean, Chomp’s not around this season so there’s gotta be someone to be their salt target.

Quantum vs. Lock-Jaw
Quantum: 1-0 (W, JD* 3-0 vs. Blacksmith)
Lock-Jaw: 0-1 (L, KO 0:48 vs. Tombstone)

Quantum scared the shit out of everyone with that Blacksmith fight. So everyone is put on notice that it doesn’t matter what armor you’ve got, Quantum will bite through it like it’s butter. The only thing is to not get bit. Meanwhile Lock-Jaw got bit by the Ray Billings death spin, and even if it sounds nice and you get a Bolt for it, defending your Desperado title isn’t exactly something a Giant Nut contender wants to be doing. Maybe if the field expanded to 24 and the Desperado champ got the 8 seed (and the last first-round bye that goes with it in a 24-bot bracket), but that’s about the only reason I can think of. (Hey, Greg and Trey, idea for Season 5?)

Quantum came out and hit a seam. Not a great day for British bots against the floor. Lock-Jaw was able to give it a slight pop for that before slipping away before the teeth could come down. And the forks could at least level with Quantum’s wedge as it got another shot and briefly had the crusher do a handstand with the wedge before going to work from an angle. And because Lock-Jaw was coming from about 45 degrees or so the jaw couldn’t come down on target, just missing the wheel or the front. It got a solid shot and Quantum got stuck on a seam again doing a burnout. Yeah, that’s tire smoke, as Lock-Jaw lined up a strike from the side, flipping Quantum over. And maybe it wasn’t tire smoke, because its srimech didn’t self-right. No Desperado this time, as Lock-Jaw wins by KO in a little over a minute, and like Tazbot, defangs a fearsome crusher. If anything, this win’s more impressive, since Razer wasn’t Razer just yet.

Kraken vs. Blacksmith
Kraken: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0 vs. Ribbot)
Blacksmith: 0-1 (L, JD* 3-0 vs. Quantum)

It seems that after Blacksmith getting its armor bitten into by the current crusher king, they decided, “Hey, how about another crusher?” I don’t know why. Probably because fire.

Meanwhile, Kraken bit into the foam of Ribbot, and nearly through the foam to the chassis, continuing to build on its late-season progress in 2018. And showed off fire. A little late because apparently their fire trigger is only to turn the fire off? That doesn’t seem right. Or safe. No seriously, how did that go through safety?

Anyway that fire wasn’t immediately working, but the fire on the Big Time Hammer©®™ was. Kraken was taking a little bit more of a direct line, and it has a little bit more height, so the hammer was actually making contact rather than going right around the jaw like against Quantum. So as the teeth came down Blacksmith was able to repel and escape using its hammer. Blacksmith was then able to use its front forks to get under Kraken and use the hammer arm as the ol’ front-hinge flipper and roll Kraken over. It was able to re-right but took a few hammer strikes in the process. Both bots were undeterred as Blacksmith kept firing and Kraken was able to use the wedge portion and push Blacksmith, even if because of the hammer they couldn’t really get a good chance to bite down. And Blacksmith could still sometimes get under and roll Kraken over and stick the hammer and the fire in Kraken’s mouth. It wasn’t until about the midway point of the match where Kraken could finally get a handle, and right by the hammer where it couldn’t knock the mouth away. It couldn’t get a puncture but they could push them towards the pulverizer before they had to let go (and it took a second attempt where Al Kindle was wondering if it was going to happen).

As the fight wound down it was Blacksmith frantically firing the hammer and getting a piece of Kraken more often than not, but Kraken got a hold and a push in the dying seconds. It still wasn’t enough to actually pierce the armor, but that was the last thing that happened in the fight before it went to the judges. In a split decision, Blacksmith gets the victory. Do I agree? Well, in damage I go 2-1 Blacksmith (neither bot did a whole lot, in aggression I go 1-1 because even if Blacksmith had a slight edge I asked BattleBots a while back if slight edge meant 2-0 and they said razor-thin margins still could be 1-1 which is why they’re thinking of a 7-5-5 scoring for next year (I’d go 3-2 Blacksmith in that one), and in control I also go 1-1. It was a very even fight but that lack of a puncture, the lack of crushing power by Kraken, cost it in the fight in my eyes, since I have it 4-3 Blacksmith.

End Game vs. Ribbot
End Game: 0-1 (L, KO 1:35 vs. Death Roll)
Ribbot: 0-1 (L, JD 3-0 vs. Kraken)

Ribbot did a little bit during its debut, since it bent Kraken’s teeth a little, but that was in between getting chomped on frequently. Meanwhile End Game dominated its fight against Death Roll, sending it bounding, bouncing, spinning all over the place, but took one hit, got flipped over, and died. They do need to work on that reliability. But hey, we get vertical vs. vertical since the interchangeable Ribbot went with their vertical disk set up. Color me surprised.

Ribbot had a little bit of traction issues, but End Game wasn’t charging, allowing themselves to spin up. The two bots met to a shower of sparks, and Ribbot lost some foam, which doesn’t mean anything. But a weapon to weapon exchange finally came, with End Game initially charging but dodging a frog leg, and getting flipped off the wall though sticking the landing. But it looked like Ribbot took the worse of it internally since it looked like its disk slowed, as End Game could damage the frog’s forks and send it flying. This jolted the disk back and slowed up End Game though, as the worm turned again. But Ribbot had some diminished movement as well as it became a battle of attrition. End Game was at least doing some gyrodancing but was going backwards, away from the action before totally stopping and getting the count. Ribbot wins by KO in a little under 2 minutes. End Game will go to what looks like an increasingly stacked Desperado tournament.

Bonus fight: Death Roll vs. Foxtrot
Death Roll: 1-0 (W, KO 1:35 vs. End Game)
Foxtrot: 0-0

So because of the 4th of July being the day after Science decided to show some sort of apocalypse show. So we don’t get to see this until next Wednesday. Mehhhhh.

Main Event: Tombstone vs. SawBlaze
Tombstone: 1-0 (W, KO 0:48 vs. Lock-Jaw)
SawBlaze: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0 vs. RotatoR)

Well this one’s a good one. SawBlaze’s fight against RotatoR didn’t really test its spinner setup, but this one certainly will. And Jamison Go is excited for the challenge, to say the least. Like, Thor “BRING ME THANOS” excited. No seriously, he hit the blue button and yelled “Bring me Tombstone!” Because even if Tombstone’s not the king, Ray Billings’s bot is the face of this era of BattleBots, even if the show played him as the heel in the ABC days. I mean it’s pretty easy with a black robot with a death theme.

SawBlaze rightly came for the box rush which did enough to shunt Tombstone as it came with the bar. Tombstone came back around and SawBlaze was able to come from the side and at least only get an indirect shot, and Tombstone bounced from the recoil, enough for SawBlaze to at least scoop and drive to the wall. This is the part where Ray turns the motor off of the weapon so he doesn’t kill it going into a wall, and they weren’t direct bar shots going into the walls. Crazy enough the thing that got Tombstone free was either a well-timed or poorly-timed attack by the pulverizer off of SawBlaze. I’m not sure who used it, but I’m tempted to say it was a Tombstone operated corner? It meant that the bar could get up to speed, and though it couldn’t do much to damage the wedge while spinning off that plow it hit the side and sent SawBlaze spinning and looked like it did damage to the right wheel. And that meant SawBlaze was in trouble because Tombstone could try and attack that right side, damaging the plow on that right side, tearing a piece clean off. SawBlaze could do enough to keep its face mostly in front to protect that wheel getting totally taken off for a while, and Tombstone actually hit the piece that hadn’t been torn off and got sent up, dancing on one wheel and the bar, which probably doesn’t help the already mentioned floor. Which didn’t help SawBlaze because now Tombstone could get a good angle to the still-mobile left wheel and strike that and incapacitate that wheel. All SawBaze could do was bring the saw down. And get sparks on itself, so I guess maybe not. Tombstone wins by KO in about 1:15.

That does it for this week. Tomorrow’s main event is supposedly Minotaur vs. Gigabyte, and some think that last year’s runner-up Minotaur falls to 0-2 and has to go through the Desperado tournament. Which, if that’s the case, means that it will be absolutely stacked, whenever it is. 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

Either way, he did a good job.

Also, you lose your credibility when you blatantly lie to your readers like that.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

That was quite possibly my favorite episode of Battlebots ever.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

It was really, really fun. Every fight was interesting in its own way. I still can’t believe DUCK was able to take that level of punishment. It was basically the robot version of Homer Simpson from the boxing episode.

yeah right

Earthquake!

That was a good one too.

ballsofsteelandfury

Yeah it was!

I actually felt that. Overall, pretty smooth though. It felt more like a rolling wave than a strong shock.

yeah right

The water in my fish tank was sloshing back and forth.

ballsofsteelandfury

The most annoying part is the news coverage because they basically go to random people and ask them what they think.

Random people never provide fun answers.

yeah right

This may require drinking earlier than normal.

Gots to calm mah jitters.

yeah right

Nelly the Ellybot will be even cuter with some battle scars.