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[Antweight Anarchy series 1 is available online here.]

Hello and welcome back to BattleBots Update. I took a break last week because I was out of town visiting the Houston Arcade Expo and definitely not doing things like spending your Patreon money on Rampage art prints (the game not the robot) signed by the dude who designed it, or getting my own copies of Rampage signed by him too. But now I’m back one autographed Rampage poster print richer and I realize I don’t have the wall space in my tiny ~500ft/sq apartment to hang it up. Thunder Alley strikes again.

Photos taken moments before disaster.

But speaking of Thunder Alley we’re getting there in this week’s Antweight Anarchy recap. We’re at the heat finals, one step below the Grand Finals. That’s a proper noun I guess. The winners of these next three fights advance into what I assume are the “Grand Semifinals” to be joined by a fourth robot, the winner of the upcoming multi-way melee redemption rumble. For the losers of these fights it’s off to the melee with them but the winners will be locking in their spots in the finale. There’s no turning back now.

The field has been whittled down to mostly our 3D-printed “real” robots such as Rusty, Hit, and SMIDSY, though Tombstone and Diotior – both Hexbugs – have managed to cling on and ride this out. Finally there’s Sting, the wildcard, because we’re this deep into Antweight Anarchy and I still don’t know what the fuck Sting is actually made from. Up first though is Rusty and Tombstone.


RUSTY vs. TOMBSTONE

RUSTY

Weapon: Plow

TOMBSTONE

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Look at all that not-damage being done!

Both of the robots in this fight qualified straight away without needing to come back through the redemption rounds for losing their opening 3-way melees. Rusty pitted both Diotior and SMIDSY before moving onto the semifinals where a one in a million lineup on Scrappy resulted in the thwacker going down the pit as well. Tombstone on the other hand hasn’t had the easiest path. Well, aside from its first fight where Demon Dragon fucking died in one hit and the other opponent was the uncontrollable Swarm. I’m referring to Tombstone’s fight with Mantis where it lost one of the weights on its weapon and spent the entire fight visibly shaking and gyrating around; it managed to tough out a win though, so that’s all that matters. It’s the little Hexbug that could.

For all the razor blades and pennies glued onto Tombstone’s weapon I don’t think any of that bullshit is going to save it from Rusty whose thick plastic chassis makes it immune to Hexbug weapons, even souped up ones. Tombstone is immediately slammed into the wall setting the stage for the fight we’re about to see. Tombstone’s bar is making contact with Rusty constantly but as you can see no damage is being done. Stephen says Tombstone’s strategy is going for Rusty’s tires. Well, Rusty’s tires are behind a veil of rigid plastic. Unless they’ve swapped out Tombstone’s motor for a brushless one I don’t think that dinky little red plastic bar is going to be able to shatter the plastic armor of Rusty. Those tires are safe. Guaranteed.

Fucking smooth.

Rusty intentionally bumps the pit button signaling that it’s about to call its billiards shot, meanwhile Tombstone retreats and tries to spin and whip around with its weapon going to land a flurry of blows. Tombstone seems unafraid of the pit in general as it cruises around with its blade spinning even as Rusty relentlessly pursues the spinner and slams it into the wall. Both of Tombstone’s rear panels snap off but this shouldn’t be construed as legitimate damage as these are supposed to pop away as part of the Hexbug’s “features”. Still though that just gives you an idea as to how much force Rusty is throwing around if it’s able to knock loose these panels using nothing more than a wedge painted like a stupid fox face.

The fight moves into the corner near the pit and Tombstone visibly tries to get away from Rusty knowing that it’s going to lose a pushing battle with the furry robot. Tombstone very nearly drives itself into the pit, a move that Rusty tries to capitalize on about three seconds too late because as Rusty powers forward to try and finish the job Tombstone has already backed off leaving Rusty to slam itself straight down the hole. Amazing. This was a fight with Rusty’s name written all over it, a battle against a shitty Hexbug toy, and because of driver error the Hexbug toy is now moving on to the Grand Finals. Someone shoot me.

WINNER: Tombstone, KO


HIT vs. SMIDSY

HIT

Weapon: Flipping wedge

SMIDSY

Weapon: Lifting wedge

“Sorry mate, I definitely saw you.”

Hit is a robot that’s all business and if you’ve got it pegged to win this series of Antweight Anarchy I’d be right there with you, this is a robot that kicks ass first and takes names later. It’s undefeated after demolishing the clusterbot Betas and throwing Sting around in its opening melee and advanced onto the semifinals where it achieved the first out of the arena flip in the series by taking Greed and punting it the fuck outta here. SMIDSY as stated earlier lost its opening melee to Rusty and had to slum it up in the redemption rounds where it too smashed the Betas to pieces because that shitty multibot was basically “automatic points”. This allowed SMIDSY to get back into the brackets where it pitted an under-powered Witch Doctor to make it this far.

This is going to be the closest we’re gonna get to a proper antweight battle on this show because these are two robots that are essentially viable competitors. They do-si-do in the middle of the arena before SMIDSY grinds Hit over toward the wall. Hit retaliates by firing off its flipper and doesn’t quite invert SMIDSY causing Stephen to question the power of the flipper. Motherfucker we’ve seen that flipper throw someone out of the arena, it didn’t flip SMIDSY over because it didn’t have the right leverage. Chill out.

And this is why you don’t place bets on Antweight Anarchy.

SMIDSY boldly backs into the pit button thinking it’s got this fight where it wants it and the hazard drops. Hit careens into the front of SMIDSY but when it fires its flipper it gets no purchase and misses its mark. Hit attempts to flip SMIDSY again and this time SMIDSY’s lifting wedge bumps Hit’s flipper out of alignment so when the robot goes for attempt #2 it’s another miss. Even worse though is this missed flip puts Hit directly on top of SMIDSY and neither of its two wheels are touching the ground. SMIDSY immediately floors it forward and arcs to the side banking on the weight of its opponent to draw it toward the recently opened pit.

SMIDSY very nearly misses its mark but as soon as Hit hovers over the pit the entire robot pivots on its corner and drops the flipper down into the drink. I’ve gotta say I’m impressed with the efficacy of SMIDSY’s wedge in this fight considering it did fuck all in its opening melee. This was the first proper battle SMIDSY had since that melee because I’m not counting anything with the Betas as a fight. Credit where due I thought Hit was going to have SMIDSY up and down and all around, possibly even getting SMIDSY stuck on the wall, but SMIDSY prevailed with some nice driving and a weapon that actually worked this time. Good show, at least it’s not another Hexbug winning.

WINNER: SMIDSY, KO


STING vs. DIOTIOR

STING

Weapon: Mace

DIOTIOR

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.

Unlike the previous two fights this one features two robots who both had to fight their way back from early losses. Sting was taken down by Hit’s incessant flipping fetish. It was given what amounts to a Bye round when it faced The Swarm because none of that robot was human controlled allowing Sting to just bash it into oblivion. It met up with Minotaur in the semifinals where one choice blow caused all of Minotaur’s body panels to come off and the robot was eventually bludgeoned into the pit. Diotior was pitted by Rusty in its opening battle but it too was basically given a Bye when it faced an ill put together Donald Thump who was mostly DOA. In the semifinals Diotior squared off against the shell spinner Bane and with some luck bumped the spinbot into the open pit.

Sting floors it forward as usually is the case and catches Diotior’s front plow knocking the robot over. Sting is all kinds of invertible however so this isn’t a problem, this just prompts Sting to start spinning around wildly where it lands a hit that pops Diotior right in one of its dumb googly eyes. Diotior continues to pursue Sting and gets whacked again and again as Sting’s mace whips around maniacally. This is probably scoring damage points for Sting but aggression points for Diotior since I have no idea how a thwack bot can be “aggressive”.

Again credit where due Diotior is holding up remarkably well for being a reskinned Witch Doctor Hexbug. I don’t think it has detachable wheels because if it did surely we’d have seen one of them pop off by now because Sting keeps landing blows to the front corners of Diotior right where its wheels are and Diotior is content to just keep attacking and shoving its plow in Sting’s face. Diotior looks like it tries to go for the pit button and misses, then regroups and mashes its face into Sting’s slugger again because it likes the punishment.

Sting just casually having a Bethesda Moment.

Both robots are bouncing around like this was some kind of fucking air hockey table or something and Sting winds up spinning wildly near the pit button. Diotior again tries to hit the button but somehow it just keeps fucking missing the damn button and instead bumps into Sting again taking more damage in the process. Sting crashes into Diotior a couple of times and flips over and Stephen is trying so hard to make us believe that this is all the doings of Diotior’s “vertical spinner” but even in the replays we can see it’s just Sting’s tire catching Diotior’s plow and destabilizing the robot.

Diotior finally opens the goddamned pit after what feels like twenty attempts. In the process of doing so it takes a hit from Sting which causes its pissant spinner to seize up reducing Diotior to more of a push bot than it already was. Sting also seems to shift gears and stops spinning around and instead tries smashing down on top of Diotior by chopping back and forth with its mace. It’s landing hits but I’m pretty sure any damage that it would be doing is being absorbed by the gaudy fur Diotior is wearing. Diotior manages to pin Sting against the wall a few times because of this new tactic but the clock runs down on this fight and sends it to the judges.

The judges rule in favor of Sting on the basis of damage and aggression. Again, no idea how a thwack bot shows “aggression” but okay.

WINNER: Sting, Judges’ Decision


Is “photogenic” the right word for this?

That’s it for the heats of Antweight Anarchy, next time we rejoin the series it’ll be Grand Finals time. But before we get to the Grand Finals we first must handle the 15 robot rumble between all of the robots who’ve been eliminated thus far. This includes Rusty and Hit so they’ll no doubt be the bots to watch for alongside such perennial favorites like Betas, Donald Thump, Greed, and Two-Headed Death Flamingo. Expect the pit to fill up, and expect carnage. Whoever wins this rumble will advance onward straight into the Grand Finals so there’s quite a bit at stake here.

But speaking of the Grand Finals we know three robots who will already be in there and that’s SMIDSY, Sting, and – somehow – Tombstone. Yes a Hexbug toy has managed to sneak into the Grand Finals and resisted elimination by way of its opponent massively fucking up and driving into the pit. The fourth competitor will be determined by the rumble, but next time a champion will be crowned. Although a couple of heavy hitters went down in this episode it wouldn’t surprise me if one of them came back by way of winning the rumble, which I might add will be hell on earth to write about because there’s 15 goddamned robots in it. Where’d the crew even get all the people to drive these robots? Bot building nerds don’t just have 15 friends hanging around that they can call on to come meet up one day for shooting a show.

Anyways that’s it for this installment of BattleBots Update. If you enjoyed it please consider supporting this project by way of a monthly pledge on Patreon, or a one-time donation through Ko-Fi. (You can also support Antweight Anarchy as well, here is their Patreon.) If stickers are more your thing then boy howdy does Redbubble have an unlimited supply of them for you. And remember to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook in case I post any personal updates!

– Draco