BattleBots Update is supported primarily through community support and crowdfunding, this project makes virtually nothing from ads. If you enjoy this project and are able please consider backing it on Patreon or Ko-Fi, thanks!

[Antweight Anarchy series 1 is available online here.]

Welcome back to Antweight Anarchy Update. Last week we saw the “redemption” rounds where robots who’d fallen in the first round melees went one-on-one against each other to see who’d be able to advance onto the semifinals where the initial melee winners were already waiting, and who’d be cast off into the nightmare of the upcoming robot rampage rumble to see who’s going to get the upcoming wildcard slot in the tournament brackets.

Anthony is probably the most photogenic person on the planet.

We’re at the semifinals of Antweight Anarchy series 1 now so now we’re going to see those initial melee winners face off against the robots who were able to tough it out through a redemption round to stay in the game. Just as a refresher the robots who survived the first round of melees were Rusty, Scrappy, Minotaur, Witch Doctor, Hit, and Tombstone. All six of them will be returning to the arena to face off against either each other or one of the winners from the redemption rounds. The winners move on to the heat finals. The losers? They automatically qualify for the big pot o’ robots known as the Rampage Rumble to fight for the wildcard spot.

You see, nobody really dies in Antweight Anarchy… it just looks and feels that way.


RUSTY vs. SCRAPPY

RUSTY

Weapon: Wedge

SCRAPPY

Weapon: Overhead swinging axe

This is about all Rusty can do to Scrappy, ram the hell out of it.

Up first is a match between two robots who actually won their respective melees. I was anticipating this to go “melee winner versus redemption winner” across the board but nope. Maybe these were all randomly drawn, I have no idea. Proving me wrong that Foxic is a cursed design in any and all iterations is Rusty, a miniaturized version of – you guessed it – Craig Danby’s Foxic. Anthony Murney is to Foxic like that one sole person who listens to an unknown band on Spotify. Whereas the real deal has a lifting arm incorporated into its face Rusty is just a stout wedge, but this wedge proved to be the end of SMIDSY and was also key in tossing Diotior into the pit in its melee.

Meanwhile on the opposite end of the build quality spectrum we have Scrappy, an overhead thwack bot armed with an axe that I believe is made from a broken Tombstone Hexbug toy. It would certainly explain the name. While this robot might look like a tossed together mess from a failed hack project, which I think it actually is, Scrappy was able to tough out a melee victory of its own when Donald Thump crashed into it and died followed by Scrappy taking pot shots at Airstrike. This continued until Airstrike slammed Scrappy into the corner, died, and entangled both robots resulting in a “double KO” that Scrappy was determined to be the winner of. Crazier things have happened in the sport of robot combat.

Regardless of what the chunks of electrical tape might imply, Scrappy has little to no traction in the arena; when Rusty rams into it it’s able to effortlessly shove Scrappy around and at one point nails a straight T-bone onto one of Scrappy’s big ass wheels. Scrappy hasn’t so much as even tried to swing its axe though I’d imagine it’s going to do fuck all in this scenario given that Rusty is one of those bulkier 3D-printed robots I’ve talked about before. Outclassed and outgunned all Scrappy can hope to do is outdrive Rusty but let’s be real here we all know Anthony is behind the wheel of Rusty and he’s probably logged enough hours on that thing to be a goddamned pilot.

Until THIS happens, talk about a damn “god shot”.

Stephen notes that every time Rusty attempts to attack Scrappy it winds up just driving underneath it but at this point I don’t think Rusty is in this for the control game. It knows it’s not going to be able to shove Scrappy around, it has a wedge not a fucking cattle catcher. Rusty is just accumulating aggression points with the judges by repeatedly banging into its opponent and denting up its chicken pot pie container hub caps. Scrappy, still in “outdrive mode” goes for the pit trigger but accidentally swings its axe meaning it’s now stuck on the goddamned hazard. Rusty finishes opening up the pit by ramming into Scrappy’s ass which eventually frees the robot from the side of the arena.

Earlier I mentioned that Rusty was in this fight mostly for the ramming game because it can’t push Scrappy around but fuck me Rusty catches Scrappy from the side hard enough to knock the robot up and onto its side. This rolls Scrappy right onto Rusty’s face in plain sight of the newly opened pit and Rusty just fucking floors it and throws Scrappy straight down the hole. I was expecting this to go to the judges and we’d get to see that dog again but no this one’s a slam dunk for Rusty who continues its winning streak and advances into the heat finals. Meanwhile Scrappy isn’t out, like I said all of the losers are going straight to the big bot rumble near the end of the series.

WINNER: Rusty, KO


BANE vs. DIOTIOR

BANE

Weapon: Outer spinning shell

DIOTIOR

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

I don’t know if this the Hexbug spinner doing the work or not, but god DAMN.

And now since we had two robots who both won their opening melees we have two who lost said melees and had to get here via the redemption round. Bane was dumped into the pit by Witch Doctor in its melee but not before knocking off the two little plow pieces from the front of that robot. That was superficial damage because those are the pieces that are supposed to come off, but still it’s impressive that Bane’s “shell spinner” even has the muscle to do that. Bane was matched up against Airstrike in its redemption fight and Airstrike was literally dead on arrival. The robot barely moved at all. Bane just took pot shots at it until the fight was called, and now here it is.

Diotior might prove to be a tough opponent for Bane because in actuality Diotior is just a repainted Witch Doctor Hexbug. You know, the same robot that dumped this thing down the pit in the melee rounds. Diotior’s plow also seems to be modified so there’s nothing for Bane to knock off of it and reduce its effective range. Diotior was in the first fight of the series against Rusty and SMIDSY and was the odd man out in a battle that was really between two proper antweights. Diotior got caught on the lip of the pit and was eventually shoved into it by Rusty sending it to the redemption battles. There it faced Donald Thump who was really just all talk and who also wound up driving itself into the pit. You know, regular Donald Thump stuff.

It looks like Bane is trying to just slam into Diotior and shove it around straight away because the robot doesn’t even try to get spinning at the start of the fight. Again I should remind you all that Bane is actually a sit-and-spin robot, it can just sorta translate around the arena while spinning when the driver fidgets with the controls just right. It’s not quite a shell spinner but not quite a “melty brain” design, it’s just a dome on top of something incredibly fucking fast. Eventually Bane spins up near the pit trigger and gets knocked around by Diotior as you can probably guess.

COME ON, DO IT.

Bane looks fierce as it spins but really a lot of these robots are quite toothless. You wouldn’t want to stick your finger near Bane but it can’t really damage the solid plastic of a Hexbug toy. As such Diotior just ricochets off of it and Bane does the same. This ping-ponging continues for a few moments until Diotior spins off of Bane and slams face first into the pit button, dropping the hazard. Bane keeps spinning around but very nearly falls into the pit and you can see the moment the operator stops spinning the robot around like a fucking maniac and tries to figure out which why Bane’s directional indicator is pointing.

Bane finds an opening and scoots away to the far corner of the arena where it gets spinning again and Diotior predictably chases it down and keeps ramming into it. Stephen says Diotior’s not afraid of the weapon on Bane. Well no shit it’s Bane not fucking Gigabyte. Diotior does a solid job of dragging Bane back toward the pit but ultimately can’t finish the job. Eventually Bane gets jostled in such a way that its shell catches the lip of the pit and one of its teeth dig into the corner. The robot is high centered and teed up for Diotior to sink this easy putt but Diotior gets a baby dick about the matter and backs off, eventually letting Bane fall into the pit on its own as its weight gradually shifted and the robot toppled downward.

Not an impressive victory from Diotior, but a win is a win. Diotior advances onto the heat finals.

WINNER: Diotior, KO


MINOTAUR vs. STING

MINOTAUR

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

STING

Weapon: Mace

Sting absolutely destroys Minotaur in a single shot.

Finally we’re at a pairing of a melee winner and a redemption winner, starting first with Minotaur who really didn’t have to work all that hard to get to where it is right now. Paired up against Greed and Two-Headed Death Flamingo, both robots with underwhelming drivetrains and lack of weaponry, Minotaur just mopped the floor with the opposition. Greed took a shot to the ass that knocked it out and Two-Headed Death Flamingo was just thrown and dragged around all over the place before it wound up stuck on the pit button and counted down. As a Hexbug toy Minotaur easily had the upper hand, but now as it’s facing off against whatever the fuck Sting is we might be in for a real battle.

Sting is based upon the popular Robot Wars competitor Stinger; two big fuck off wheels and a mace on a stick that it can bash, smash, and thwack with. It can attack from all directions meaning there’s no real way to come at this robot without getting whacked. As you might imagine Sting is hard to control and that’s why it went to the redemption rounds, its mace got hung up on the pit and Hit shunted it down the drain. Sting came back strong however because it was paired up with The Swarm meaning it was basically going to win by default, it was just given the privilege of bashing up some mini Hexbugs in the process. Between these two robots I think Sting just might have the upper hand because its mace can keep Minotaur at bay.

Right away this fight gives you an idea of just how massive Sting is. I know Scrappy from the previous fight is technically larger, but god damn. Mintoaur is tiny compared to this thing. I know Minotaur is just a Hexbug, but Sting seems like it’s made from a toy of some sort too. I know it’s gotta be repurposed from something because it just has that “look” to it, but because of the modifications made to whatever Sting used to be there’s really not much for Minotaur to damage except maybe bending up the spikes on the mace. Mintotaur on the other hand, by virtue of being a Hexbug, has a whole lotta shit that can be popped off and with one massive whack Sting busts off both of Minotaur’s side panels and its upper lid reducing it to a completely field-stripped common Hexbug.

Mintoaur takes a smack to the face and dives into the pit in shame.

Now the only thing that lets us know that this is Minotaur in the arena is the golden drum spinner, the rest of the chassis is just clear plastic with little nubs where the armor panels are supposed to click into place. Sting has turned Minotaur into a lame ass kit bot spinner like the kind that absolutely plague the beetleweight division. Minotaur tries to stay aggressive but it’s already too far behind on points to make up for anything, that “damage” while superficial basically tilted the scale in favor of Sting as soon as it happened. Minotaur gets stuck on the pit and nearly misses falling in by a split second as Sting rams into the button to open it.

Minotaur manages to successfully avoid the pit but it fails to dodge Sting’s incoming spin attack that smacks the drum spinner sideways and knocks it down the hole. Minotaur, center pocket. During the post-fight replays Stephen ponders what Minotaur’s side panels were held on with. “Magnets?” He asks. Yes, Stephen, that is absolutely correct. I think this was supposed to be a jab at the expense of the Hexbug designs. I hope it was.

WINNER: Sting, KO


WITCH DOCTOR vs. SMIDSY

WITCH DOCTOR

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

SMIDSY

Weapon: Lifting wedge

ARE YOU READY FOR A NON-STOP FIGHT OF THIS???

Another pairing of “melee winner” versus “redemption winner”, this time we have Witch Doctor and SMIDSY. There’s technically two Witch Doctors running around in Antweight Anarchy because one of them is named Diotior, but this is just the stock Witch Doctor Hexbug with no special modifications made to it. Witch Doctor was matched up with Bane and Mantis and struggled a bit to get its bearings in that melee but wound up knocking Bane into the pit, after losing both chunks of its plow, and very nearly had Mantis down the pit as well after a long drawn out battle of Witch Doctor constantly getting ensnared in Mantis’ front prongs. Mantis never once got a good bite however, and at one point its weapon may have broken, so the fight was given to Witch Doctor.

SMIDSY meanwhile had to make it here through the back door because in its opening melee it was matched up with Rusty and Rusty just reamed the fuck out of this robot like there was no tomorrow. Due to the differences in plow shape and how they transmit energy, and potentially even simple ground clearance too, Rusty just kept getting the best of SMIDSY and eventually nudged the beefy lifter into the pit. Of note however is that Diotior was also present in that rumble and I just got done introducing Witch Doctor by saying “there’s two of them and one is named Diotior” so technically this is a rematch pitting SMIDSY against a design it’s already fought. This ought to be both interesting and a bloodbath.

The two bots lock heads immediately and right away SMIDSY’s custom drivetrain overpowers the stock Hexbug drivetrain of Witch Doctor. SMIDSY attempts a lift but it seems that while it’s able to shove Witch Doctor out of the way its wedge is not actually underneath its opponent. The robots meet head to head several times and each time SMIDSY is able to out-muscle its opponent but its wedge is doing fuck all. Previously I hypothesized that SMIDSY’s wedge was losing to Rusty’s because of complicated physics and whatnot but this time I think it’s just straight up higher off the ground than Witch Doctor and that’s bad because SMIDSY gets a little too trigger happy on the sticks and manages to ride up atop its opponent.

Witch Doctor makes a fatal mistake, Mr. Candy Ass.

Witch Doctor starts to cruise around with SMIDSY but SMIDSY floors it forward and using only its back tires is still able to overpower its opponent and drive them back into the wall. SMIDSY eventually falls loose of Witch Doctor’s lid, the two robots lock heads for the fiftieth time, and Witch Doctor gets backed into the pit trigger. Stephen suggests that SMIDSY might want to get its lifting wedge into play and that amuses me because if I can tell that SMIDSY’s wedge isn’t working then I know he can too. There’s not a chance in hell that Witch Doctor is getting flipped over in this fight, SMIDSY is just going to keep locking heads and stopping at Witch Doctor’s dickless vertical spinner.

With the pit open Witch Doctor drifts just a little too close to it and part of its plow falls off. The robot high centers itself on the edge of the drop off and SMIDSY is more than happy to come in and do the needful. That’s one Witch Doctor down and with Diotior still in the running there’s a chance we might get to see a double repeat of this battle if SMIDSY meets Diotior in the heat finals.

WINNER: SMIDSY, KO


GREED vs. HIT

GREED

Weapon: Wedge

HIT

Weapon: Lifting wedge

Were you expecting anything different from Hit in this battle?

Here’s a one-sided fight for you all, a remote controlled skateboard toy versus a complex lifting machine. Greed is the skateboard, by the way. Not sure if its long slender chassis gave that away or not. Greed shouldn’t even be here to be honest with you, it was KO’d relatively quickly by Minotaur in its opening melee and when it was sent to the redemption rounds it was paired up with Demon Dragon who just sorta died after landing one hit. Dare I say it but we should be seeing Demon Dragon versus Hit right now, not this crappy little wedge that can barely push its own weight. Everybody boo Greed so we can cyberbully it into retirement, I’ve inadvertently done that with some robots I think.

Meanwhile Hit is the standout robot expected to win this battle. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Hit since it was in one of the earlier episodes and won its melee but if you need a refresher just know that this is the robot who throws everything around. This is the robot who in a matter of less than a second disabled half of the Betas multibot. This is the robot who then spent the rest of that melee throwing Sting around like it was nothing until Sting’s mace caught the pit and the robot fell in. Hit’s flipping wedge is so powerful that it broke the adhesive keeping its aluminum floor scraping wedge after only a couple of pops. Greed meanwhile has no weapon and cannot drive upside down.

“Later, brah.”

Who has the lower wedge?” We are asked. I think we know, and it’s not the robot who just did a complete sideways flip into the fucking wall. Pay close attention to the second flip and you’ll notice that the tiny little drive pod that controls Greed just comes off leaving an immobile husk of a Circuit Board Hexbug and a very neatly folded origami wedge. Stephen notes the “thing” that fell off of Greed but I don’t think he’s going to name what it is since that would break the illusion. Meanwhile Hit is attempting to go for an out of the arena flip on Greed’s carcass and falls just short of it. Hit lines up again from the back, lets loose, and this time the lightweight paper chassis flies out of the arena. That’s an Antweight Anarchy first!

I mean that was just the purely cosmetic chassis of Greed and not the entire robot with its drive pod still attached but whatever, I’m satisfied with that win; the out of the arena flip turned this dud into a great spectacle.

WINNER: Hit, KO


MANTIS vs. TOMBSTONE

MANTIS

Weapon: Grappling jaw

TOMBSTONE

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Early disaster for Tombstone?

Guys, this might be the last we see of Mantis and I’m saying that purely because of the box cutters glued onto its opponent’s weapon. Mantis isn’t a Hexbug, it’s not a toy, it’s an original robot… but it’s not a very good one. Mantis went out in the melees by judges’ decision even though it ended the fight stranded on the edge of the pit, its opponents just couldn’t finish the job in time. It bounced back from the redemption rounds because it was paired up with Two-Headed Death Flamingo which was basically an unarmed blank check of a robot with a shitty drivetrain. There are a lot of places where Mantis can grab Tombstone but sadly all of these places are on the front of the robot where the spinner is, but if Mantis can hook its grappler in there it might stand a chance.

Tombstone is Tombstone. Whether we’re talking about the real deal from BattleBots or just the Hexbug toy it’s busting heads left and right. Tombstone’s melee saw it drawn against The Swarm and Demon Dragon so right from the start we knew who was going to win that battle. (Hint: It wasn’t the collection of vibrating Hexbugs or the clumsy walking thing that broke down after one hit.) Most of the Hexbug toys in this series are unmodified, but not Tombstone. As you can clearly see in its introductory photo the robot has some added “oomph” to its spinner in the form of a piece of box cutter and a penny for weight. I initially thought adding this crap to the spinner would impede it and slow it down too much but if Tombstone’s first fight taught me anything it’s that I was definitely wrong about that.

NO ENTANGLEMENT DEVICES!

Mantis absorbs a couple of blows to its face from Tombstone and so far looks to be in good condition. It dawdles around near the pit button while Tombstone gets its blade up to speed and as Tombstone comes in for a hit the super glue holding on one of its blade’s pennies gives way and pops off, reducing the overall value of the robot by £0.01. Now destabilized, Tombstone starts violently shaking as its weapon spins. Don’t tell me this is how Mantis is going to steal a victory, not this hunk of crap.

So far Tombstone is able to hold its own and continues to throw punches despite losing part of its weapon. Hits are landed all over Mantis’ perimeter and I feel like the super thin plastic of Mantis ought to be weak against the literal razor sharp box cutters on Tombstone’s blade but so far it’s holding up. In the slow motion replays though you can definitely see the blade punching holes and digging into the armor. If there was ever going to be a fight where we see someone lose armor panels in this show, this is it. For fuck’s sake Mantis even gets its forks caught in the pit trigger area again. I guess the problem is these Hexbug toys are built so children don’t inadvertently put their own stupid eyes out so Tombstone’s spinner doesn’t have as much bite as it should.

The sixth or seventh time Mantis has gone for the pit trigger.

Mantis has spent this entire fight getting blindsided by Tombstone and for a split second actually gets Tombstone onto its forks in such a way where it could lower its clamping jaw and hook it into the weapon struts of Tombstone. Does this happen? Fuck no, Tombstone gets away and continues to cleave into Mantis’ ass. Mantis goes to the pit trigger and by my count attempts to open it at least four times but this robot is so weak that it can’t even activate the button. This just lets Tombstone whale away on it until the clock runs down and the fight ends.

The judges, in whatever capacity they actually judge fights on this show, rule in favor of Tombstone because it was the only robot to land any hits at all whatsoever and anything else would be literal insanity. I don’t know where Mantis came from, it’s a nice effort, but I think the builder ought to ask Rusty and SMIDSY where they bought their drive motors from.

WINNER: Tombstone, Judges’ Decision


Yep we’re not leaving without a screencap of this.

And that’s the semifinals of Antweight Anarchy! Remember, all of the robots who won a fight in this article are advancing onward to the heat finals, which we’ll see in the next post, and all of the losing robots automatically qualify for the mega bot redemption rumble near the end of the season. You may have noticed that there are only six robots in the heat finals meaning there will be three robots remaining in the “grand final” and it’s kind of hard to do a tournament bracket with three robots. That’s where the rumble comes into play, the winner advances all the way into the grand finals. Is that a little OP? Probably, but it’s not my show it belongs to the guy with red marker dots all over his face.

As the field dwindles you can see the tournament gravitating toward those “3D-printed” custom robots because they have such an edge over their Hexbug opponents. Rusty, SMIDSY, and Hit are all examples of robots that are simply sporting better tech than the opposition. Diotior and Tombstone are the only remaining Hexbugs, though I think their time is limited now. Sting is a bit of a wildcard however. Like I said it’s clearly made from something but the robot itself is so wild that it almost doesn’t matter because it’s fighting in a league all its own; Sting might be the dark horse to keep an eye on because you can’t quite know what this thing is up to.

That’s going to do it for BattleBots Update this week, thank you for checking out this article! As always Google AdSense is a naff effort so if you’d like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. (And if you want to support Antweight Anarchy, here is their Patreon.) BBU stickers for your bots and toolboxes are available from Redbubble, and make sure you’re following BattleBots Update on Facebook. We’re almost at 4,000 and I don’t believe that’s real.

– Draco