BattleBots Beat: Oh Yeah…

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, Witch Doctor played American air hockey, Shatter! came down upon Wan Hoo’s head, even if they didn’t make sure they were dead, and Whiplash tanked Son of Whyachi enough to flip it over. This week we have a continuation of changing partners, many types of fire, and hey, Bronco’s back! About time, what took them so long? But first we have some fights to backtrack, so onto the backlogged fights!

Ep. 3 bonus fight: WAR Hawk vs. Petunia

This was their first fights each, and neither of us actually watched it, and WAR Hawk does make an appearance later in this one, so we should probably do it. WAR Hawk won last year’s vertical spinner 15-seed jamboree (unofficial name) and with it got the honor of being tossed around by Bronco many times. (More on that later.) Its minibot, WAR Stop, took over the mantle of minibot with fewest fucks given after the retirement of Shaman by the Witch Doctor squad. Dutch crusher Petunia had a decent first year, going 2-2, but never really recovered from the hits it took from Monsoon that gouged the armor and severed the hydraulics. And now with Quantum it’s in danger of being the “forgotten” or the “other” hydraulic crusher, or even more so, just the other crusher since pneumatic Kraken is also there, and more photogenic with the fire.

Both bots came out fairly slowly, as Petunia went wide to try and get around the flank, and WAR Hawk of course had to start spinning up. The first real useful thing of the fight was actually WAR Stop coming from behind to get around and under Petunia, and once it got under, had the torque and the power to drive around and actually move Petunia. Leverage is a thing! And because of that Petunia actually only had one wheel on the ground and WAR Stop could get a hit from the back and roll Petunia onto its front. Petunia said they could self-right, but crushers normally have slow srimechs and Petunia’s is no exception which meant WAR Hawk could push it around, then as Petunia got onto its wheels to pop back over hit it again to put it back onto its back, and though it could drive like that WAR Hawk could score points until one hit did pop Petunia right-side up, but with its back turned meaning WAR Hawk could get another couple hits. It looked like Petunia lost drive but while at it WAR Hawk could get another hit to flip the crusher over and right under the pulverizer to boot, where it stayed to be counted out. WAR Hawk wins by KO in one of the best usages of minibots we’ve seen in BattleBots.

Ep. 4 bonus fight: Death Roll vs. Foxtrot
Death Roll: 1-0 (W, KO 1:35 vs. End Game)
Foxtrot: 0-0

When we saw Death Roll, it bounced and flounced and trounced and then got a couple good hits on End Game and flipped it over and shorted it out. So it’s 1-0 in a fight it was getting dominated in, but hey, turnabout is fair BattleBots. It has its srimech on for this fight, and yes, it’s a beefy arm with a knoife. I look forward to someone else’s being a beefy arm with a spoon for the BattleBots game of knifey-spoony.

Foxtrot we haven’t seen before, and we didn’t see on TV its Season 3 predecessor, Predator. Which is itself a new version of Craig Danby’s Robot Wars bot Foxic. Combined the three of them make Foxtrot Heavyweightbot who just goes to the BattleBox to do a robot fight.

It’s three robots in not quite a trench coat! Someone made the joke, then they went with it. It’s also their sticker.

They all suffered from the Danby Curse, a malady by brothers Chris and Craig Danby where the bot does great in testing and then once it’s in the arena shits out and moves about six feet. Seriously, check Predator’s fights on the Youtubes. Combined it might have travelled the length of the Box under its own power. Which is 40 feet.

Or they do this, in the case of Chris Danby’s Apex.

Dammit, Facebook video.

So the good news, the fight began and Foxtrot moved the length of the box! Progress! And it took a couple hits and then Death Roll stopped moving for a second before shuffling away. The two robots met again with Death Roll grinding at the fox-head plow lifter but nothing did until it charged, caught Foxtrot a little more flush and actually jammed the lifter up a bit. Which also caused Foxtrot to stop moving. Dammit, curse strikes again. Meanwhile the beefy Trogdor arm on Death Roll goes up in celebration. Death Roll wins by KO in 53 seconds and moves to 2-0.

Episodes 5 and 6 we’ll see later, since Episode 6’s is now a week behind and I have rehearsals on Wednesdays, and then get late dinner/bubble tea with Senorita Weaselo. So with that, onto the current fights!

Hydra vs. WAR Hawk
Hydra: 1-0 (W, KO 2:05 vs. Free Shipping)
WAR Hawk: 1-0 (W, KO 1:53 vs. Petunia)

Told you WAR Hawk would be back. I don’t need to talk about it because I just did. Hydra meanwhile managed to flip Free Shipping enough to knock out the lifter and then enough over to leave it on its back. So in the comparisons it’s about similar to Bronco’s Free Shipping fight which ended in the Bronco signature, the OOTA. And these two’ll probably be compared until they square off against each other. But it’s another common(-ish) opponent, so that’ll further things.

The two main bots took their time getting to each other, and like in WAR Hawk’s first fight, it was WAR Stop doing a meaningful thing, getting behind Hydra to keep it in place to allow WAR Hawk to shave some sparks from Hydra’s side. It looked like Hydra was employing a similar strategy to the Petunia fight, up until WAR Hawk got stuck in a killsaw hole, Hydra came off of WAR Stop, and got a nice big launch sending WAR Hawk skyward, even if on its wheels. But the blue square combination was undaunted, as WAR Stop got under again and this time WAR Hawk could tear up one of Hydra’s corners, but this popped it off the minibot which meant it could come back in and land another big flip and this time WAR Hawk was on its back. It could drive but it was seriously affected by this since the disk couldn’t spin. Hydra could line up for the OOTA and got the flip but missed splattering WAR Hawk off the Lexan… because an entire half of the robot came off. At first I thought this was armor, but it was actually one pod of a modular robot. WAR Hawk is made of three pods (two drive and one weapon) mounted together. So from the first two flips, the mounts began to fail. Hence, one pod coming off from that flip. And then the other two pods coming apart from the next flip. And then fuck it, flip the weapon pod. And also WAR Stop. Anyway Hydra wins by KO in 1:36.

Sidewinder vs. Skorpios
Sidewinder: 1-0 (W, KO 0:48 vs. P1)
Skorpios: 1-0 (W, KO 2:37 vs. Copperhead)

After a surprising KO win over Copperhead (surprising due to its nature), Skorpios fights a second snakebot, this one the interestingly designed Sidewinder. To quote Chris Rose, it looks like the “love child of Tombstone and Free Shipping.” It has a wedge in front and to its left side it has a mounted horizontal weapon bar, and due to just how asymmetrical it is is more than likely the oddest looking robot in the field. Yes, over Mammoth, HUGE, and Axe Backwards. Yes, well behind anything Mark Setrakian ever built besides The Master in the all-time standings. Its first fight was against front-hinge flipper P1, made by the team the built Parallax which had only two non-televised fights last season, including the Jurassic World commercial fight. And since this was also untelevised that makes them 0 for 3! They’re also 0 for 3 in the fights themselves after losing a wheel and getting KOed. But this is about Sidewinder, which means that that weapon bar has some sort of power as we’ll get to see just how much.

Skorpios went with its more concussive disk rather than its saw configuration, hoping to flank the slower Sidewinder and go after that weapon bar, so they didn’t think it had too much. They started off not by getting a good flank but by getting under the wedge and attacking from that angle. It was a decent idea but that bar could still make contact with Skorpios, but it survived Icewave so I like their chances. I like their chances even more after the bar came off the mounting. So now it was Skorpios vs. a wedge bot. No matter, Sidewinder was still mobile at this point, though it was predominantly running away because the faster Skorpios could catch up to it, pin it, and occasionally get the disk up to speed and continue the concussive force. And then Sidewinder started smoking.

But the smoke cleared! And then Skorpios drove it towards the pulverizer and used its saw to remove the entire front wedge, so Sidewinder was down to zero weapons and more than zero electronics hanging out of the front of the robot as it got dragged around. Guts or at least one electronic part may have come out. Yes, this led to a count out eventually. Skorpios wins by KO in a bit over 2:00 and moves to 2-0 on the year.

Valkyrie vs. Ragnarök
Valkyrie: 0-1 (L, KO 2:14 vs. HyperShock)
Ragnarök: 0-1 (L, KO 0:44 vs. Monsoon)

Well this wasn’t an ideal start for either robot. For trendy tournament pick Valkyrie, a loss to speed demon HyperShock put it behind the 8-ball. For Tim Rackley’s Ragnarok, the Rackers Memorial Trophy fight went about as bad as it could have since everything stopped working. The plow wasn’t too bad and they’ll need it against Valkyrie and their spinning disk, Dr. Teeth. Unfortunately the shock or the whatever didn’t work too great, which they’ll need to work on. They probably won’t get flipped though.

It wasn’t too much of a rush by Ragnarok as Valkyrie got to spin up, and the wedge on Ragnarok absolutely did its job, as it tanked Valkyrie’s hit and send the undercutter upwards and flipped it over. So it was looking good for the British team… except when Valkyrie bounced and hit its weapon right into the gears for the axe. So the gears were fucked, the axe was bent, and it lost drive from it too. We get no Tim riot, because he was just gutted, to use the British term. I mean it’s been a Murphy’s Law of things, the guy took a knee from it all in his interview with Kenny. (Cue “IN AMURRCA WE STAND FOR BATTLEBOTS” jokes). Valkyrie wins in, like, 25 seconds.

Free Shipping vs. Yeti
Free Shipping: 0-1 (L, KO 2:05 vs. Hydra)
Yeti: 0-1 (L, JD 3-0 vs. Bite Force)

Call this the battle of fewest fucks given. Greg Gibson’s decided that Yeti’s forks, as nice as they’ve been, actually get in the way of YETI SMASH, so he’s removed the forks and put an extra motor in the drum. Or as he put it, “Let Yeti be Yeti.” Gary Gin is clearly just waiting for BattleBots to just let him enter Original Sin, even if at a 220 lb. limit, because Free Shipping’s lifter is an entirely external part of the robot. It’s definitely not the best use of space, but it allows easy removal for RoboGames… 2020? We hope? Maybe? Please? David Calkins? Chris Rose said that Free Shipping is Original Sin’s next iteration, but come on, this is clearly more of a Marshawn Lynch “I just have an active weapon so I don’t get DQed” version than the next iteration. It’s hard to improve upon perfection and all. Here’s its plow setup beating Touro Maximus last year to win another RoboGames.

For what it’s worth, Touro Maximus has had the most success of the rest of the RoboGames Big Four (the other two being Hardcore Robotics’ Last Rites and Team Plumb Crazy’s Sewer Snake/Evil Plunger), and actually won the first fight to set up this winner-take-all (RoboGames is double elimination).

As for this fight, Free Shipping went to flank Yeti and got a decent amount of success, using the wedge portion of its body to keep Yeti bouncing. Yeti couldn’t get real purchase on Free Shipping and its smashing was a bit wild, though it could occasionally get some sparks on Free Shipping’s side. The good news of Yeti being a bit bouncy was that Free Shipping couldn’t get a flip, really only getting a lift or two onto Yeti, which though Yeti’s invertible, would count as aggression points and would affect the drum spinning. It’s hard to narrate fights like this without video since there’s not a ton of damage being done, just Original Sin running under to bounce Yeti up, or actually getting it stuck enough to get a run towards a wall and get a lift. Until it missed with the lifter and hit the drum which sent it flying backwards, but that didn’t disable it as Free Shipping continued to try and at least get one flip on Yeti, rather than have Yeti go over on its own. (Again, more points.) It had one where Yeti flipped itself over and back, and one where it actually did get a successful flip, but mostly it was lift and put down. Free Shipping went for another and either the lifter got jammed backwards or stopped because it stayed backwards, and rather than stop Yeti’s momentum as it charged Yeti charged and hit the housing for the lifter, so now it actually was disabled. Not that it stopped Free Shipping, now a little bit closer to its Original Sin form. Which wasn’t the worst thing because it took a box run with Yeti on top and a tire popped off the Alaskan bot. And also because Original Sin too strong pls nerf. So Free Shipping spent the last minute of the fight trying to just do what Gary Gin normally does, and did it as he does though Free Shipping also lost a tire. Yeti hit two different killsaws to end the fight, which went to the judges, and Yeti wins by unanimous decision.

I’m a little surprised it was unanimous so let’s go to the extremely unofficial Senor Weaselo scorecard. Damage: Yeti obviously wins, so the question is 2-1 or 3-0. This is the part where I don’t have the judges’ book to distinguish what the difference between 2-1 and 3-0 is, so let’s just say they both lost a wheel though Yeti’s did more to limit its stability than Free Shipping, but we saw the lifter’s primary weapon get destroyed. So I’m going to say 2-1 for Yeti for the reason that its mobility was more hindered. Aggression I think it’s fairly split, where Free Shipping did try to use its lifter at times, but Yeti charged hard with its drum as well. So split it. Control, I’m going to say Free Shipping controlled much of the fight, except for the little bit where Yeti broke the lifter but that’s not enough, 2-0 Free Shipping.

Shit, you guys, I have it 4-3 Free Shipping. Point being I can understand why Yeti won, but I am surprised it was unanimous. But Yeti goes to 1-1 probably based on damaging the lifter.

Gruff vs. Copperhead
Gruff: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0-0 vs. Gemini & Marvin)
Copperhead: 0-1 (L, KO 2:37 vs. Skorpios)

Fun fact, that RoboGames 2018 I showed you? Gruff finished third, losing only to Original Sin in the winner’s final and Touro Maximus in the consolation final (after beating it earlier in the winner’s bracket). So clearly it’s pretty good. Copperhead had early things to figure out in its loss to Skorpios, as it’s not as simple as “take Poison Arrow and shove everything into a new bot with slightly different stuff.” I mean, think of how Minotaur’s done with a bigger drum!

Gruff started off by being able to get behind Copperhead, going for a lift. It missed and Copperhead’s resultant return fire flipped Gruff over and had it right under the pulverizer. And as it got its bearings back, thanks to the second pop from Copperhead before the hammer shot, a familiar sound returned. Hey, drum death hum! We’ve missed you! It’s not Minotaur’s but we’ll take it!

It didn’t mean Copperhead could get a big shot in though as Gruff was already back on the attack, trying to get a lift or a clamp or something. And it got a lift, and pinned Copperhead to the wall sideways and for a second it looked like that would be it for the fight. But Copperhead was on its wheels so it could drive towards the wall to free it.

Gruff’s forks were taking hits as they normally were going front to front, but Copperhead wasn’t the quickest moving and would occasionally gyro dance itself over, and this instability meant Gruff could try and use its flamethrower to whatever effect it could have. It meant that Gruff could try to get in there and control the fight, but miscalculated and paid with a majestic flip from Copperhead’s drum, a full backflip, as Copperhead could now come in and draw sparks and roll Gruff, and it was suffering the effects, as its drive was definitely diminished. But Copperhead was having issues too, gyrodancing, hitting a killsaw and flipping over. Meanwhile Gruff had started to smoke heavily as the final seconds ticked away. It went to the judges, and it was a split decision for Copperhead. I’m surprised off the bat that it was a split decision, so let’s go back to the Senor Weaselo unofficial fight card!

Damage? Definitely for Copperhead. I’m not sure what damage was done to Copperhead other than superficial, but there could have been some internal. Gruff had damaged forks plus was starting to smoke, so for now I’ll say 2-1. Just for simplicity’s sake. Aggression? I think you split it 1-1 since both bots showed aggression in spurts. Control? Also split it 1-1 for that same reason. So I have it 4-3 Copperhead, at least, since I was being generous to Gruff on the damage. So I’m not sure how but I did have the right robot win.

HyperShock vs. Monsoon
HyperShock: 1-0 (W, KO 2:14 vs. Valkyrie)
Monsoon: 1-0 (W, KO 0:44 vs. Ragnarok)

Two of everyone’s favorites square off. HyperShock nearly box rushed its way to beating Valkyrie while Monsoon toppled Ragnarok for bragging rights. Will Bales notes that he’ll probably not do that one for this fight because Monsoon’s weapon doesn’t take half an eternity to spin up. Granted, Tom Brewster said “avoid them for 8 seconds,” but that’s faster than 9 seconds, progress.

It was not the hyper box rush, even though of course the mad RC car got further along. The two went face to face though not weapon to weapon and both took hits, but Monsoon’s swinging weapon axle was already swinging to the point where it was basically wheelieing. HyperShock took advantage to flip Monsoon over which meant they were attacking the back for a moment, rolled it over, and then Monsoon’s weapon arm was entirely separated from its rest of it. Will Bales knocked it away (with the back of HyperShock) to see if Monsoon still moved. It was not, so Monsoon got counted out. HyperShock wins by KO in 41 seconds and moves to 2-0. Even Season HyperShock is here, Odd Season HyperShock is not!

Main Event: Bronco vs. Bite Force
Bronco: 0-0
Bite Force: 1-0 (W, JD 3-0 vs. Yeti)

There’s Bronco! We were wondering when we’d see the Sausalito Stallion, and there it is, taking on the defending champ. Bronco’s got its traditional anti-vertical pwangers, in addition to a set of forks on the front to try and slow Bite Force’s wedgelets, and presumably more power, because hell why not.

The two top tier bots squared off slowly, and as soon as Bite Force came within sort of range Bronco fired the flipper. Key words, sort of range. It wasn’t in full range, they were a bit too quick, didn’t get under Bite Force, the arm was up above the vertical bar, and Bite Force sheared off the spatula, the plate that Bronco uses to actually get under the robot. I think the forks actually made it tougher to get the flip in because Bite Force didn’t go over them, it was a bit of a stalemate. Either way in meant Bronco was in trouble and had to try and use its rear forks to get under Bite Force, a tall order at best. So Bite Force worked on the sides, pruning those pwangers to try and get to the sides or wheels. Bronco was also a bit sluggish, maybe from it being the one smashing the Lexan wall. The forks were getting caught in killsaw wells and Bite Force was just pushing it around. Part of the brilliance of Bite Force is its relentlessness and it was on full display here. Though Bronco was able to get free at this point it was prolonging the inevitable as Bite Force kept working the pwangers before getting the rear left and getting a couple more hits before Bronco gave out. Bite Force wins by KO in about 2:20, and adds Bronco to a list that includes all three runners-up/the other champion (Tombstone, Bombshell, and Minotaur), plus semifinalists Whiplash and Ghost Raptor. Out of the big boys in BattleBots, it’s still the biggest and baddest.

So that does it for this week. Next week’s main event is supposedly a grudge match between Tombstone and RotatoR but I have no idea what the grudge actually is. So if anyone can tell me, thanks. Until then, 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

DAMNIT! Why, why have I been so lazy about writing up the Eli’s Slumber Party Mixtapes?

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

I made the mistake of watching most of this very late last night so I remember practically none of it. And I wasn’t even (that) drunk!