Welcome to the 2019 BattleBots Beat Midseason Roundtable Spectacularmathon! I’m still Senor Weaselo. Joining me today for this panel are…
The 30 million track wunderkind, he works at KDFO during their popular Request Line show, DJ 3000!
DJ 3000: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. I JUST HOPE THAT THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PANEL WON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE YETI DID.
Senor: No, you should be okay. Good to have you behind the mic this morning instead of behind the scenes.
DJ 3000: IT’S ABOUT TIME, IF YOU ASK ME.
Senor: Yup. Also joining us, a three-season veteran of modern BattleBots, Season 2 quarterfinalist, and competitor at the BattleBots Challenge this past June at the Amazon re:MARS event. She’s also the host of Chomp Chat, covering all things robotics. Ladies and gentlebots, it’s Chomp!
Chomp: THANKS SENOR, IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK BEHIND THE DESK, MY HAMMER’S DOING GREAT!
Senor: Yes, of course. As we know, you’re sitting out this season because you’re either a big sister or an aunt, I’m not sure which. But congratulations to you and to Zoe of course. Is it hard to help take care with the hammer arm?
Chomp: I USE MY HAMMER AS A ROCKER, BUT THEY DON’T LET ME SING, AND I DON’T KNOW WHY. (VERY out of tune) “ROCK-A-BYE BABY, ON THE—”
Senor: Okay, okay stop stop stop! Thank you.
And lastly, Mechadon once again could not physically make it through the doors, so joining us is a different veteran from classic Comedy Central BattleBots. One of the three best heavyweight bots to never win a championship, this Christian Carlberg robot is the eternal winner of “You call that a knoife? This is a knoife.” The OG spinner killer, this two-wheeled bot competed in all five Comedy Central seasons of BattleBots, reaching the Season 3 and 5 semifinals and the Season 4 finals, and never lost to a spinner in that time. Somewhere in my house is a toy I got from McDonald’s of this bot where I got to recreate its clashes with BioHazard. It’s OverKill!
OverKill: Wow, that’s some introduction, thank you.
Senor: Okay, before we get into the roundtable, we have a fight to make up:
Ribbot fights better than it looks, which doesn’t sound like the greatest compliment but with a foam frog on the top it looks like one of the for the lulz bots. It couldn’t do very much against Kraken, but showed its stuff against End Game, seizing that fight early and sending the New Zealand spinner around. We haven’t seen its horizontal spinner setup, and we still won’t, as it’ll be going with its vertical spinner and wedge for the third fight in a row.
On the other hand, less-heralded third Team Whyachi bot Falcon has had one fight, a split decision loss to Breaker Box in a battle of veteran teams bringing their less familiar robots this time around. (More on Breaker Box in BattleBots when we actually see it again.) It didn’t look too great in that fight, doing basically nothing until the last minute or so where it inched around to get a couple hits on the Team Nightmare bot. Apparently the drums have a 9-second spin-up time. That is an eternity.
Both bots went wide and just missed each other the first go-around, but met the second time, with Ribbot sending Falcon into a somersault, and then bearing down on the tiny-looking double drum spinner as it still tried to get its bearings. It took a second or two, where Ribbot backed away and might have run over some of its own foam because there was some white stuff around the floor. Further pissing off the cleaning crew was Falcon taking off a leg. It does nothing for the robot apart from being easy to tear off. It did give Ribbot enough to get a run on Falcon and send it spinning some more across the Box from the side before another weapon to weapon hit sent the drums spinning as well. It did cost Ribbot its other leg, leaving the wheels a bit more exposed. But it was a little easier to work with, as Falcon was down its front drum, colored black. The rear drum, colored white, was still spinning as Team WPI noted it in terms of where to attack Falcon.
With that in mind, and with Falcon’s drive diminished the way it was, Ribbot could go weapon-on-dead-weapon, but it could also get around to the side and hit Falcon that way. Ribbot had a little bit of drive issues, maybe with some of its foam strewn about the floor, but Falcon was having even more of an issue and was more of a sitting duck than flying falcon. There was a slight twitch in movement but not nearly enough to continue the fight. Ribbot wins by KO in 2:26.
Senor: So first question, Ribbot is now 2-1, do they have a chance of making the top 16?
DJ 3000: I DON’T SEE WHY THEY COULDN’T BUT THEY WOULD NEED A WIN AGAINST ANOTHER GOOD BOT.
Chomp: STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE AND STRENGTH OF VICTORY IS IMPERATIVE IN THE SELECTION COMMITTEE RANKINGS. LOOK AT 2018 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS UCF WHO DIDN’T GET TO PLAY.
Senor: You are right there. I’m assuming it’s Greg and Trey, but who else is in that selection committee?
Chomp: WHO KNOWS THE MEMBERS OF ANY SELECTION COMMITTEE?
Senor: That is a good point, Chomp, we’re still not sure who’s in the BCS committee, the NCAA tournament committee, the Better Business Bureau, and others. I imagine Greg Munson, Trey Roski, producers, maybe Peter Abrahamson, probably not the judges. But are they your favorite for Rookie of the Year?
OverKill: I’m actually going to say the best rookie’s been the Chinese bot, RailGun Max.
Senor: That’s true, RailGun Max is 2-0 and has proven to be really destructive with its wins over Mad-Catter and Shellshock. But is it a soft schedule of new bots that’s the cause of it or will that kind of damage translate either way?
Chomp: WHEN A TEAM PUTS UP 50 POINTS ONE WEEK AND THEN SCORES 6 THE NEXT, IT STILL AVERAGES 28 POINTS A GAME. THAT BEING SAID THAT’S STILL A LOT OF DAMAGE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH FLEX TAPE YOU USE.
DJ 3000: I THINK BOTH ROBOTS HAVE A GOOD CHANCE FOR THE TOP 16 AND IT’LL COME DOWN TO THOSE TWO. I DON’T COUNT QUANTUM.
Senor: DJ 3000, I don’t think any of us were counting Quantum in terms of rookies. For one, BETA was not under the banner of Team Hertz even with John Reid as co-captain, but under the banner of Team Robo Challenge, the Cooper family team, and Grant was co-captain of the Season 2 quarterfinalist. For two, if you’re the reigning champion of one of the major televised robot fighting shows in the world today and built the House Robots so you couldn’t compete in Robot Wars, I think that automatically disqualifies you from rookie status. Also they built the House Robots, that’s really cool.
DJ 3000: EVEN THOUGH OYES ROBOTICS WON FIGHTING MY BOTS BEFORE BATTLEBOTS AND YOU COUNTED THEM AS ROOKIES?
Senor: I haven’t seen Fighting My Bots televised, though that final is on the Youtubes. They were fighting Diotoir.
OverKill: Wait, Diotoir? Seriously?
Senor: Yes, the normally on-fire pride of Ireland. That Diotoir.
OverKill: Wow, good for him. I heard… interesting things about him from the British robots in the pits. Like how they’d always put Sgt. Bash in with him to increase the fire chance.
Senor: Point is Quantum doesn’t count. If anything would you call it one of the more disappointing robots of the year, based on its 1-2 record?
OverKill: BattleBots hasn’t seen that kind of crusher success since Razer, and that was even before me. And it was mixed success, it went 3-3 in head-to-head fights.
Senor: Is that just good driving by opponents Lock-Jaw and Death Roll, bad driving, bad strategy? Team Robo Challenge mentioned they had a light wedge and a heavy wedge for BattleBots, as opposed to just the heavies for KoB due to how many 2v2 or rumbles you have to fight and they basically always have a spinner of some sort, but I imagine they had the heavy wedge on for both Lock-Jaw and Death Roll.
OverKill: Maybe a little of both? Crushers need a lot things to go right in a fight because their weapons are relatively slow, and they’re finicky machines. Razer wasn’t Razer even in Robot Wars championship competitions until the season where it all worked and he won the title. It was all the side competitions, All Stars, international championships. Definitely good driving from Lock-Jaw and Death Roll though, I mean, Donald Hutson is the guy, Dreadnought couldn’t believe how perfectly Diesector’s jaws fit between its disks.
Chomp: OVERESTIMATING YOUR WEDGE STRENGTH IS THE SUREST WAY TO GET PUNCHED IN THE MOUTH, AND YOU HAVE TO WONDER IF THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED A BIT.
Senor: How would you fight Quantum, Chomp, given the hammer bot it faced didn’t fare so well?
Chomp: MY SIZE WOULD COME INTO BENEFIT HERE BECAUSE IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR QUANTUM TO GET ITS JAW AROUND MY HEIGHT.
Senor: And if you fall over?
DJ 3000: WHEN YOU FALL OVER?
Chomp: YES, THAT WOULD BE A PROBLEM. IT WAS A PROBLEM AGAINST SKORPIOS AFTER ALL, AND WE’RE STILL WORKING ON MY JUMPING FOR NEXT SEASON. THERE WERE SOME BOX GREMLINS THAT WERE PART OF IT AS WELL. THAT JUST HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US. ALSO, HEY, ONE OF US HAS A GIANT HAMMER AND ONE OF US DOES NOT.
Senor: Yeah, DJ 3000, watch yourself over there. Let’s talk about Skorpios while we’re at it. 2-0 is one thing, and I know one of the fights was Sidewinder which wasn’t exactly on everybody’s short list of contenders, but 2-0 with 2 KOs? And one of the fights was Copperhead which is definitely not a bad robot? It would have made the tournament last season had it not lost its weapon to RotatoR, but is this the year where Skorpios becomes a force?
OverKill: There weren’t too many of these dustpan bots or saw bots in my day, but S.O.B. went all the way to the Season 5 middleweight finals. And part of that was everything broke right, Hazard was on the other side of the bracket. But it’s shown it can take on spinners and now it has a bit more of a power option, it beat Lock-Jaw in the BattleBots Challenge even if Lock-Jaw was having some mechanical bugs, I think it already is.
Senor: Yeah, both dustpan bots have that more powerful disk for this season. I didn’t think it would work as well as it does, especially in Skorpios’s case, but on the other hand I’d been wondering what it would be like if Dead Metal had Matilda’s flywheel instead of its saw, so good to see that it does indeed work. And as I said, it works better for Skorpios, the one-toothed disk, SawBlaze had some problems with its dragon weapon. So which one at this point is more dangerous?
OverKill: I might have to go with the more compact, more defensive Skorpios. No disrespect to SawBlaze, it’s still trying to figure out some things this season, with the rubber plow for spinners, with the dragon weapon, but Skorpios has it figured out.
Chomp: THERE HASN’T BEEN A DROP-OFF BETWEEN ORION BEACH AND ZACH LYTLE AT THE CONTROLS, AND THAT’S REALLY IMPRESSIVE.
Senor: Some say Orion Beach should have been awarded Best Driver last season, even though there was no Giant Bolt for it. So there not being a drop-off is really a compliment for Zachary Lytle.
There are definitely other positive surprises—HyperShock, Cobalt being that good, Hydra being that powerful, Texas Twister’s 2-0—but on the flip side, biggest disappointments? And you can’t say Bombshell.
(All three bots pause.)
Senor: We already know it’s Bombshell. The Season 2 runner-up followed its… let’s say, controversial Season 3, by being the first robot to go 0-3 this season with losses to DUCK!, RotatoR, and Cobalt. And I don’t think the Last Chance Rumble’s going to save ’em this time, because the Chaos Corps are not the defending runner-up. We’ll get to the defending runner-up later by the way. But who else has disappointed?
DJ 3000: FOR ME IT’S PROBABLY LUCKY. I WOULD ADD SUBZERO IN HERE BUT IT’S ONLY FOUGHT ONCE THIS SEASON THANKS TO THE COBALT EVISCERATION, BUT THEY’RE SIMILAR POINTS. THEY’VE BOTH BEEN COMPETING WITH THIS ITERATION FOR THREE YEARS AND LUCKY ONLY HAS ITS DESPERADO RUN TO THE FINAL LAST SEASON TO SHOW FOR IT, A TOTAL OF TWO WINS. IN LUCKY’S CASE, WHAT WORKED SO WELL WITH ZIGGY IN THE LATE 00’S HAS NOT WORKED NOW.
Chomp: IF YOU TOLD ME THAT AT THE MIDSEASON BREAK MINOTAUR WOULD HAVE THREE LOSSES I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU. IF YOU TOLD ME THAT AT THE MIDSEASON BREAK MINOTAUR WOULD EVEN HAVE TWO LOSSES I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU. IT’S FOUGHT A TOUGH SCHEDULE AND WILL PROBABLY GET THE SAME LAST CHANCE RUMBLE TREATMENT BOMBSHELL GOT BUT THE FACT THAT THE DRUM WASN’T WORKING REALLY SET IT BACK THIS YEAR. THESE DRUM SETUPS I CALL ICARUS BECAUSE THEY FLEW TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN AND HAVE GOTTEN BURNED.
Senor: Ooh, that’s a good one.
OverKill: I will kick it old school like I should and go with Captain Shrederator. Like DJ 3000 said with Lucky and SubZero, it’s been going on for a few seasons now where this edition of the Nave family’s shell spinner gets some nice hits and then cuts out, like what we saw in the Wan Hoo fight, where it was dominating until it wasn’t. What makes it even more surprising is that Shrederator Tiger Claw’s done so well in King of Bots and This is Fighting Robots. I know Tiger Claw’s a newer version and they only had like three days to get the Captain ready because a team withdrew, but this is one of those drawing board things. The full-body spinner isn’t dead, if you see Gigabyte, Megabyte, and Tiger Claw, but that needs to be fixed.
Senor: Okay. Onto the more rapid-fire stuff to finish it off. Fight of the Year so far?
DJ 3000: THE DESPERADO FINAL WAS A BRILLIANT DISPLAY OF DRIVING, AND TWO BOTS THAT JUST DIDN’T QUIT. IT’S TOO BAD MINOTAUR HAD TO LOSE THAT, THOUGH BLACK DRAGON DID WIN THE FIGHT.
Chomp: SPEAKING OF DRIVING BATTLES, HOW ABOUT FREE SHIPPING VS. YETI?
OverKill: Yes, that was the closest we saw to Free Shipping going full Original Sin.
Senor: Because it is Original Sin.
Chomp: WITH A LIFTER!
Senor: Yeah, technically. OverKill, your thoughts?
OverKill: I have to give some love to DUCK! surviving Cobalt’s onslaught, especially because there should have been no way it should have survived it. And then it wins on an absolutely crazy thing happening with Cobalt getting stuck on a seam. But that was an amazing fight to see.
Senor: Okay. Second question, KO of the Year so far?
OverKill: I can’t believe the pure power bots have these days, where modular robots are getting broken by the power. And I’m not even talking about RailGun Max doing it against Mad-Catter, but flippers can do it. Hydra vs. WAR Hawk was amazing to see, seeing a flipper powerful enough to break pods apart. It’s not quite the same as Icewave breaking Vanquish, because that was a full robot, no pods, but it’s a flipper doing it.
DJ 3000: WE GOT SOMETHING LIKE THAT WITH DEEP SIX, AND I KNOW IT WAS AGAINST AXE BACKWARDS BUT THEY SAID THEY TOOK A MOTOR OUT AND THEN WERE RUNNING AT HALF THROTTLE. AND IT BROKE THE DRUM OPEN, AND KNOCKED OFF THE WHEEL ON THE OTHER SIDE. THAT IS POWER.
Chomp: I COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT MAMMOTH ACTUALLY WORKED AND TOOK A ROBOT AND TOSSED IT OUT OF THE ARENA LIKE IT WAS A BOUNCER TOSSING OUT A ROWDY BARFLY.
Senor: Poor Axe Backwards, on the receiving end of two of those KOs. The full-body drum has not worked, and it hasn’t worked better this year.
Next, we have our Main Events from the next two weeks. First up, Whiplash vs. Witch Doctor. Both bots are 2-0, who wins?
Chomp: WHIPLASH. BUSTED NUTS ROBOTICS NOTED THE DIFFICULTIES IN FIGHTING WHIPLASH, WHERE THEY NEED THE SOLID TOP ARMOR BUT THEY ALSO NEED THEIR PLOW SO THEY NEEDED TO MAKE MODIFICATIONS TO MAKE WEIGHT, AND I THINK IT’LL BE A MASTER OF NONE SITUATION.
OverKill: Driving matters, and Whiplash has been on a rail these two fights, I take Whiplash.
DJ 3000: DRIVING MATTERS, BUT WITCH DOCTOR CAN DEFINITELY TAKE THE HITS FROM WHIPLASH, SO AS LONG AS THE FUEL LINE DOESN’T RUPTURE AND CATCH ON FIRE I’LL TAKE WITCH DOCTOR.
Senor: Okay. I think it’ll be close but I’ll take Whiplash by decision. The week after, Round 3, Bite Force vs. HyperShock. Can the lunacy of Will Bales finally get one over the calmly relentless Paul Ventimiglia?
Chomp: IF THE DRIVETRAIN LASTS THREE MINUTES, THEN YES. HYPERSHOCK WAS WINNING THAT FIRST FIGHT BACK IN SEASON 1 UNTIL THE DRIVETRAIN DIED, AND IF THAT HADN’T HAPPENED THAT CHANGES BATTLEBOTS HISTORY. DO THEY LET PAUL TRANSFORM BITE FORCE INTO A VERTICAL IF HE ISN’T THE CHAMP?
OverKill: Be that as it may, Bite Force is a better bot and even if Will Bales has a Best Driver award from The Rakening, Paul Ventimiglia winning with the Season 1 Bite Force shows his own driving acumen well enough. It won’t be a repeat of last season with the rubber mounts, but I predict Bite Force makes it 3-0, by KO.
DJ 3000: SECONDED.
Senor: Yeah, HyperShock started to smoke it in the Valkyrie fight, I don’t think it has the reliability to go three minutes with the champ.
Next up, how about a game of in or out? We’ll avoid 2-1 bots because those are pretty simple “win and you’re in” scenarios. First up, Son of Whyachi. Won over HUGE, lost to Whiplash. In or out?
Chomp: IN. WHIPLASH FOUGHT IT PERFECTLY, BUT THERE AREN’T TOO MANY ROBOTS THAT CAN DO THAT.
OverKill: Yeah, in. I’m perfectly fine that I didn’t have to face it, and I was a fight away from doing so.
Senor: That would have been an interesting fight, but that Son of Whyachi–BioHazard final was an all-timer.
DJ 3000: IN. THEY’LL TAKE ON SOME LOWER-TIER BOTS TO GET IT TO 3-1.
Senor: Okay. Next up, the Brooklyn squad, with Shatter!. Also at 1-1, losing to Witch Doctor but beating Wan Hoo, in or out?
OverKill: It’s going to be in one of those 2-1 vs. 2-1 fights I think, where the winner’s in at 3-1 . Are we counting Last Chance Rumble as in or out?
Senor: Uh, good question. I guess for the purposes of this call it out unless otherwise noted.
OverKill: Out it is then.
DJ 3000: CALL IT OUT THEN.
Chomp: SEEMS ABOUT RIGHT.
Senor: Next up, Bronco. Already off to an 0-1 start losing to Bite Force, the stallion’s got its work cut out for it. Will it get there, in or out?
OverKill: They’ll give it a softer schedule to get it to 3-1. Bronco’s one of the most popular bots around, Inertia Labs is one of the most well-known teams, they’ll make it.
Chomp: LOSING TO BITE FORCE, WHIPLASH, AND WITCH DOCTOR DOES NOT REMOVE IT FROM BEING ELITE, CONTRARY TO WHAT THEY SAY ON THE INTERNET. IT’S STILL GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE THE TOP 16 EVEN IF IT ELIMINATES THEIR ROOM FOR ERROR.
DJ 3000: TOP 16 YES, GIANT NUT CONTENDER NO. THE PWANGERS DON’T WORK.
Senor: Have they won a fight with the pwangers? They clearly don’t work at preventing vertical weapons from getting to the side.
DJ 3000: DIDN’T THEY WIN ONE?
Senor: Maybe? Next up, and these are Last Chance Rumble or out, Minotaur. 2-3 after the Desperado Tournament. They’ll be in it, right?
DJ 3000: OH YEAH. RUNNER-UP AND IF THEY WIN THEIR LAST FIGHT THEY’LL BE 3-3.
Chomp: WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE FLYWHEEL IS GOOD FOR THE DRUM, OR SOMETHING. MINOTAUR WILL BE IN THE RUMBLE, WIN OR LOSE.
OverKill: It might get teamed up on in that rumble because of how dangerous it is, but it’ll be the favorite. And potentially set up a hell of a 1-16 matchup.
Senor: That’s a good point. Let’s see, other bots from the Desperado that have a slight chance at the rumble. WAR Hawk? 2-2 after the Desperado, possibly one fight left, wins against Petunia and Ragnarök, losses to Hydra and Black Dragon. In or out of the rumble?
DJ 3000: I THINK IF THEY WIN AND GO 3-2 THEY’D BE IN, BUT IF THEY LOSE AND GO 2-3 THEY’D BE OUT.
OverKill: Yes, I think they’d be in at 2-2 as well if they don’t have another fight. They have a lot to lose with a fifth fight, and not too much to gain.
Chomp: BATTLEBOTS IS LIKE THE GAME OF THRONES SOMETIMES, EITHER YOU WIN OR YOU DIE.
Senor: How about Gruff? Has some work to do at 1-2, but those losses were a split decision to Copperhead and a fluky KO to End Game where the forks got stuck in the killsaw slots.
OverKill: Why is that a thing that happens now? Bots didn’t get caught in the killsaw slots too often, except for that time Diesector got a hammer stuck and let the killsaw cut it off.
Senor: One of the craziest fights ever because of that. I think part of it is because the killsaws are entirely computer-operated now due to game show laws. I would have thought they would have popped up in that time though, so it actually hurt Gruff this time. Anyway, in or out?
OverKill: Oh, it needs a win to get in, 1-3 definitely won’t cut it, and holding at 1-2 won’t either.
Chomp: THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT.
DJ 3000: AGREED.
Senor: Okay. Fight you want to see? Even though we probably won’t get the Whyachi rumble, like I wanted.
OverKill: Any time two classic teams square off is a fun matchup, so how about Texas Twister vs. Captain Shrederator? Phrizbee-Ultimate vs. IceBerg was one of the great fights of the old years and it would be a fun rematch in my eyes.
Chomp: I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR A BATTLE OF MIAMI FOR THE LONGEST TIME AND WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN IT AND WE PROBABLY WON’T THIS YEAR, WITCH DOCTOR VS. HYPERSHOCK.
Senor: Potentially if they both win that third fight because then you have two 3-0 bots fighting for seeding, but we’ve determined the panel’s going for the other bot in each scenario and in terms of 2-1 bots suqaring off they might want to avoid some of that.
DJ 3000: MAMMOTH VS. HUGE? THE BIGGEST FIGHT IN THE BATTLEBOX.
Senor: I’d give the edge to HUGE in that one. Okay, let’s wrap it up. Who wins the Giant Nut? Personally I’ll take Cobalt. As long as they can avoid getting stuck on the floor, they’ve been the most impressive robot in my eyes in terms of what that disk can do.
Chomp: I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN BUT THAT’S A BIG THING WITH THE UNEVENNESS OF THE FLOOR WHICH IS WHY BITE FORCE HAS THE HINGED WEDGE THAT NO ONE HAS SEEMED TO SOLVE. SO WHY NOT TAKE BITE FORCE AGAIN?
DJ 3000: HYDRA HAS LOOKED LIKE THE CLASS OF THE FLIPPERS, SO WHAT IF IT WINS THE TITLE? IT HAS BRONCO’S POWER BUT SEEMS MORE WIELDY, AND BRONCO’S MADE THE QUARTERS AND SEMIS EVERY YEAR.
OverKill: I’m going to also take Bite Force, since it has the offensive capabilities as shown in the past, but it also has that defensive capabilities, it has that spinner-killer pedigree. It hasn’t lost by KO and it’s beaten every spinner it’s fought, and that includes Tombstone, Minotaur, Icewave, and Yeti. You’re going to have to go the full three minutes against it.
Senor: So there you have it, four picks from our panel. I’d like to thank you all for being here, DJ 3000, Chomp, OverKill, and thank you. We’ll be back next week with your regularly scheduled Beat, so see you then!
Apologies to Zoe Stephenson & The Machine Corps and Christian Carlberg and C2 Robotics.