BattleBots Beat: Two For One

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! Last time out, DUCK! laughed at Bombshell while getting some sweet revenge, Shatter! lost its head, BattleBots went full fucking Beyblades, and I learned you can’t embed video directly onto the site but in my defense I am finishing these at an ungodly hour and I didn’t want to put them on Youtube.

This week we’ve got the debut of the second robot from China competing, two new Team Whyachi robots, because at this rate they’re going to be half the field, and a fight between teammate’s of one of last year’s BattleBots rookie darlings. In addition, fitting in with the theme, Rikki is here to report on the fights, because between errands on Friday and rehearsal on Wednesday I’m not going to get a chance to see them, write on them, and still go to bed before noon. Hell, maybe not even finish the post by post time at that rate. I’ll still be around to give color commentary on the bots themselves. With that, onto the fights!

Skorpios vs. Copperhead
Ah yes, the classic scorpion vs. snake fight. Skorpios appeared in the future dispatching both Chomp and Lock-Jaw in the BattleBots challenge, and last season would have likely made the top 16 had their weapon not been ripped off by RotatoR beyond the point of repair. Meanwhile, Copperhead is a new bot but from a returning team, Caustic Creations, the team behind Poison Arrow, the robot that helicoptered Son of Whyachi in Season 2.

Yes, ABC with the typo.

Or the robot that got coin-slotted into the screws by Bombshell in the Season 2 quarterfinals. Either way, after that performance back in 2016 it’s good to see them again and see what they can do.

Take it away Rikki!

[Astonishingly handsome anchor steps into camera frame.]


Hi folks.  I’m here to provide my uniquely handsome insight into the robot fights.  Before I get started, I want to get in a dig at Captain Shredderator – THIS ROBOT CAPTAIN SHREDDERATOR I CALL HIM DONALD TRUMP CAUSE HE’S REALLY NOT THE GUY YOU WANT GOING TOE TO TOE WITH THE CHINESE.  

This fight started out a little slow, as Copperhead’s drum took a while to spin up.  Once it did, though, it looked and sounded like a clone of my personal favorite Minotaur.  Skorpios took advantage of their opponent’s seemingly limited driving abilities and spent a good chunk of time dancing out of Copperhead’s reach.  Collisions between the two seemed to favor Copperhead, who sent Skorpios flopping around a bit, and a few sparks flew from exchanges of Copperhead’s drum spinner and Skorpios’ saw blade, but mechanical issues piled up for Copperhead, who eventually seemed to lose its ability to move, and was subsequently counted out.

Bloodsport vs. Lucky
It’s the ol’ kids vs. vets matchup. Bloodsport’s the upstarts in this one, as the team formed from VEX events, both competing against each other and with each other in high school and college. And now they’re on the big stage of BattleBots with Bloodsport, their overhead spinner. I like how they’ve got the Gigabyte/Ziggo full body spinner antenna just in case, because overhead spinners are by nature not invertible, and most don’t have a way to self-right. Meanwhile Lucky returns for a third season in BattleBots, though they’ve yet to make the championship bracket, a decently long way away from the halcyon days of Ziggy in the super heavyweights where it basically shut down the division by winning the last five RoboGames championships. Rikki?

Oh God, Lucky.  It’s basically Bronco, if Bronco were terrible.  Bloodsport features a “University of Utah” sticker, so I guess it’s name is a tribute to the Mormons’ second most reliable form of birth control after abstinence? Once the fight began, Bloodsport got a few good shots in against the hapless Lucky, whose flipper broke almost immediately, but then its primary weapon seemed to go down.  Which seemed to open the door to Lucky pushing it against the arena obstacles, but about thirty seconds later it spun back up again (builders’ guess was that it was overheating) and Bloodsport was back in command.  Eventually Bloodsport managed to tear off Lucky’s front wedge and from there coasted to an easy judges’ decision for the win.  

Free Shipping vs. Hydra
Apparently that’s gonna be a thing this year, Free Shipping vs. flippers. In the future BattleBots Challenge it got to face Bronco which took it out of the arena. As far as this season’s Free Shipping vs. last season’s, the lifter’s more lifter and less forklift, which has to be a good thing in terms of speed, reliability, and the ability to self-right, which we saw to better extent in that Bronco fight, even if it lost.

Meanwhile, Hydra is another Team Whyachi bot, meant to replace Warrior Clan. It is a hydraulic flipper, as opposed to pneumatic (Bronco) or electric (Lucky). Here’s them flipping an ATV. Sorry it’s via Facebook but it’s what we got.

In terms of power, yes, it may rival Bronco, but it’s all about what happens when we see it in action. This fight I’ve actually found somewhere on the Internet, so hey, I can do this one!

Hydra is very low to the ground. Low enough that it hit a seam and had issues for a second. Free Shipping had a brief traction moment, or tried to go around because you can’t take a flipper on head-on and then realized Hydra was struggling. Either way, Free Shipping got the opening push, though it couldn’t lift Hydra and the flamethrower wasn’t shooting flames for the first few seconds, until after the two bots separated. Then they took turns getting under each other, though neither bot could get a lift or a flip. Hydra did take one swing, but missed and it looked like something came off its own side. Free Shipping continued to push but couldn’t get its own lifter to get enough under. It backed off and that was a mistake because Hydra finally got under and Free Shipping did a double backflip. It looked like a solid 8-footer. So yeah, in that Bronco neighborhood, though not yet. From there the tide turned, as Hydra got another one to put Free Shipping on its back, and the lifter wasn’t self-righting. Rather than go for the out of the arena shot Team Whyachi left Free Shipping in the corner unable to get enough leverage to self-right even if it could. Hydra wins by KO in just under two minutes.

Monsoon vs. Ragnarok
The fight for what I call the Rackers Memorial Trophy. Memorial even though he’s not dead of course.

Monsoon, of course, was last year’s best rookie bot, making it to the quarterfinals before being upended by Minotaur, and winner of the Founders’ Award, the award given out by Greg Munson and Trey Roski for conveying the spirit of BattleBots. Nobody on the team was more spirited than largest bloke/mohawk haver/loudest yeller Tim Rackley. Well, for this season Tim, who was the weapons operator for the team that built Robot Wars Series 9 grand finalist Concussion, got his featherweight crew, Team Smushed Banana, rebranded it as Team Ragnarok, and they built two-wheeled axe bot Ragnarok. So naturally this would be their first fight, taking each other on. Rikki?

The intro for this fight was probably the most fun of the night, thanks to an exciting matchup and some good showmanship by team Ragnarok.  The fight itself turned out to be a dud, though – Ragnarok couldn’t connect with any of his hammer shots, and once Monsoon’s vertical spinner got up to full speed all it took was a single shot to upend Ragnarok.  Despite a sportsmanlike effort by Monsoon to nudge Ragnarok back upright, the latter was completely shot and the fight ended by knockout.

Mad Catter vs. Rail Gun Max
A pair of new bots take each other on. Mad Catter is actually from Team Bad Kitty, the team behind the robot of the same name that competed in the Gears Awaken rumbles back in Season 2. That robot, a reskin of VDD, Vertical Disc of Destruction. Or at least team captain Martin Mason was on that team. That robot didn’t do too well, doing approximately fuck-all and losing to Black Ice because Skorpios immediately drove into and then tried to cut through the screws.

Rail Gun Max is the second of the Chinese robots making their debut in BattleBots. It is an “egg beater” drum spinner. Egg beaters differ from classic drums because the middle is hollowed out or cut out completely to save weight. I’m not sure what pros and cons are between conventional drum spinners (like Minotaur) and the egg beater variety, but I saw more egg beaters than drums in Bugglebots, for instance, where you’re building 3 lb. (okay, 1500 grams because Britain) beetleweights. Rikki?

I’ll let Jim Ross cover what happened here:

Mad Catter literally got split in half.  It was pretty brutal.  Like a dismembered zombie, Mad Catter kept flipping around, but the ref mercifully counted him out and ended the fight.

Breaker Box vs. Falcon
I was talking to one of the guys at the watch party in Brooklyn last week, and we agreed that the robot that you first think of when you think classic BattleBots is Nightmare, the heavyweight bot with the giant vertical disk. We talked about Nightmare a fair bit because Adam joked he accidentally pulled a Slam Job with Blue at King of Bots, when they fought vertical spinner Two BBQ. He actually showed the guy who built Slam Job and the way they showed it on the channel actually synced up well with the original. Here is the original, one of the great moments in BattleBots. (Fun fact: Nightmare was also incapacitated from this hit, and did not win by KO since it was a double KO, but won via 25-20 judges’ decision.)

Well, everyone was disappointed when Jim Smentowski didn’t compete in BattleBots last year, instead fighting at This Is Fighting Robots with Wrecker, essentially a re-skin of the bot he’s brought to BattleBots this year, his flagship bot outside of BattleBots, Breaker Box. It is primarily a lifter/plow, although this time around Jim Smentowski’s got interchangeable weaponry. Nightmare was around to watch,

(and give Ginsu a piggyback ride) Photo

and there is a picture of Team Nightmare with Nightmare on the BattleBots page, so we might get to see it for an exhibition match? Maybe? Nobody’s telling.

Meanwhile, Team Whyachi’s got a new robot. Again. Although this one is just a scaled up version of their previous middleweight. Falcon is a drum spinner with not one, but two drums. The last time these two teams fought was their first Season 1 fights, where everyone still thinks Nightmare was robbed of a wild card.

The time before that was of course the famous Son of Whyachi-Nightmare bout in Comedy Central’s Season 3.

The hellraisers had an underrated importance in that fight. Anyone, flash forward to this one. And now Rikki.

Falcon’s dual drum spinners should have been able to chip Breaker Box to pieces, but it was completely unable to get itself into position to do any damage.  It actually happened more than once that Breaker Box got its wedge so far under Falcon that the latter ended up caught on top of the former.  This was ultimately a messy fight, as Breaker Box’s lame weapon and Falcon’s lack of maneuverability held both of them back.  It went to the judges, who awarded the win to Breaker Box, but really everyone was a loser in this fight. 

Bonus fight: WAR Hawk vs. Petunia
A pair of bots returning for a second season after variously successful rookie campaigns. In WAR Hawk’s case, it ended up getting to the tournament, even though I wouldn’t have expected it at first glance. It got revenge on Brutus for its lone loss in the 2018 fight cards in that 15-seed Vertical Disk Rumble before losing to Bronco, so yeah, pretty good year. Petunia had an okay year, going 2-2, beating RotatoR and Captain Shrederator but losing to Monsoon and Yeti. Sir?

My feed doesn’t have the bonus fights so…I guess I’ll use my “pass” on this one. 

Main Event: Bite Force vs. Yeti
A pair of DFO fan favorites in the main event. Band Leader Bite Force won a second Giant Nut and has lost exactly one fight in three seasons of BattleBots plus the BattleBots Challenge in its future, where it looked lethal as ever in taking apart Icewave and Whiplash, It’s just a well-engineered robot, with numbers rivaling Hazard. To our knowledge (pending all Season 4 fights) Bite Force is 17-1, not including exhibition rumbles. Hazard went 17-1 (again, not including those middleweight rumbles) in its four seasons. Fine, if you want just the vertical bar version, it’s 12-1.

Yeti’s not that successful, but the loquacious robot once again made the tournament, though it couldn’t build upon its semifinal appearance in 2016, this time losing out to Whiplash in the first round of 16. Much has been wondered about its new design, namely the exposed weapon chains with the number of hammer bots in the competition this year, but this is the first chance to see the Alaskan Assassin in action and see how it works. One last time good sir!

This matchup is kind of like the Rex Ryan-led Jets vs. the Patriots.  Yeti is the enthusiastic brawler, while Bite Force just emanates cold competence.  Bite Force’s vertical spinner generally got the better of Yeti for most of the fight, which was slowed by the robots getting stuck together.  Ultimately the fight went to the judges, who gave Bite Force the decision based on its clear dominance from start to finish. 

That does it for this week. Obviously thanks to Rikki for filling in on the fights, and hopefully my schedule lightens up even slightly more than the last week so I’m not an episode down in perpetuity. Or I take time to do stuff and get the necessary things for Discovery Go (which BattleBots is available on). No, we never got a DVR. The main event for this coming week is Tombstone vs. SawBlaze and from the commercial editing, it looks like there’s a moment where that anti-spinner wedge does enough of its job and at the least pushes Tombstone around. No clip on whether the saw actually gets to come down on Tombstone but they’re not gonna show that if it does happen. But we’ll get a chance to see it. And we’ll 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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