[BattleBots: Bounty Hunters is available on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update, a website that has lived a hell of a lot longer than I initially assumed it would. This project will never truly be finished. I look at the mountain of robot combat events from the past that I’ve yet to cover as well as those on the horizon and I just feel a sense of being overwhelmed that I cannot make a stupid analogy for. Anyways I’ve been doing this song and dance for a long time. Long enough to score several thousand followers on Facebook, and long enough for Reddit’s community to gradually turn on me and get tired of these weekly article posts. You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the next persona non grata. Well guess what, I just forked out $249 for a lifetime pass with this website’s premium theme so that means you’re stuck with me. Ain’t no one gonna break my stride.
We’re taking a look back at the first season of BattleBots: Bounty Hunters in these articles and so far the action has been intense. Out of the previous four episodes we’ve seen three challengers rise to the occasion and knock out a legend for a slice of a shared $25,000 prize purse and there’s only been one great to defend its title. That of course was Tombstone because who else would it be? Tombstone has enough firepower to sink a battleship so it’s no surprise that Ray Billings dipped his finger into the icing on the fucking cake and called dibs on a primo slice of it.
Up next on the docket is Witch Doctor however, a robot that made it to the 2019 season championship and was also the winner of the Amazon re:MARS exhibition event that was held between seasons. Witch Doctor has also defeated Tombstone so if there was ever a reason to pull up a seat and watch the carnage this is it. Among the eight robots gunning for the bounty prize are heavy hitters Valkyrie and Malice with Huge rounding out the bottom of the bracket. We’ve got Tracer… again… as well as an appearance by Extinguisher and Slap Box, two robots we didn’t really see much of in the main season. SubZero is also here to be our token flipper.
EXTINGUISHER vs. VALKYRIE
Extinguisher began its life as a pitiful hammer bot that could barely swing its fire axe weapon if its life depended on it… and since this is BattleBots its life really did depend on it. It lost to clusterbot The Four Horsemen. Twice. This season the robot came back beefier and bulkier and ready to do some fucking damage and in its season debut fight against Perfect Phoenix this robot wasn’t about to take any bullshit. Extinguisher charged out of its square making a line drive straight for its opponent. Extinguisher missed by a fucking mile, smashed into the wall, and stopped working. Then Gigabyte destroyed it in its second fight. Extinguisher was looking like it was about to go 0-3 for the season because it was next up against Gruff but due to a drivetrain failure on the part of Gruff Extinguisher actually won the fight. It didn’t perform well enough to qualify for the main tournament however so it was still eliminated.
Valkyrie on the other hand has performed respectably this season. It didn’t win the Giant Nut or anything like that but this is a robot who won the Most Destructive Robot award for the ass kicking it dealt out to Rotator in the qualifiers. Valkyrie also got a stroke of luck when Tantrum’s batteries wore out and gave it a free win in a fight it was otherwise losing. Speaking of losing though Valkyrie was no match for Whiplash who mopped the floor with the spinner and never let it get up to speed. Valkyrie still qualified for the tournament however and went on to demolish SubZero until the gods of fate laughed in this robot’s stupid face and gave it a rematch with Whiplash. This went about as well as you’re probably imagining it.
To help deflect Valkyrie’s blade upward Extinguisher is equipped with some titanium wedges on its front end instead of its usual plow. “Titanium?” I hear you say. “These must be good!” Yeah well not really because in like a hit and a half both of them are torn off like they were stuck on with fucking packing tape leaving Extinguisher with just a titanium bumper and nothing else. Even worse that titanium bumper has a lot of ground clearance meaning it’s not actually going to stop Valkyrie’s weapon in the slightest. Still, sacrificial or otherwise those plows allow Extinguisher to spin up its dalmatian spinner and deliver a punch to Valkyrie’s face that results in the blade getting stuck in the robot so it’s a respectable hit. This hit also looks like it kills Extinguisher’s weapon so it looks like one shot is all the robot gets before it becomes a mobile punching bag for Valkyrie.
The robots slam into the wall and immediately sparks shoot out from Extinguisher’s underside because despite the robots being locked together Valkyrie’s weapon has been spinning this entire time. Because Valkyrie’s undercutter can easily get underneath Extinguisher’s amazingly poor ground clearance it wastes no time at all just destroying Extinguisher’s front tires. I’m talking tread, hub, everything. These wheels fucking blow the hell apart and cascade all over the arena. In the fray however it appears as though Extinguisher’s weapon came to life again because the right front panel on Valkyrie gets torn away. As the panel comes loose it looks like it’s just part of the shower of wheel chunks and debris that comes off of Extinguisher but no that’s actually damage from Extinguisher’s dog spinner so nice work I guess? The hit cost you both of your front tires so I don’t know how many more times you can pull that stunt off.
Leanne Cushing starts coaching Valkyrie’s driver to get at Extinguisher’s wheels because without its front ones the robot is just spinning and swaying around uncontrollably. The weapon also appears to be out for all intents and purposes; I think it’s trying to spin but it’s not doing a damn thing because Valkyrie probably clipped it and fucked something up. Extinguisher starts losing tread off of its back right wheel and Leanne just gets bloodthirsty over it like she’s been overcome with hatred of fire trucks or something. Valkyrie smashes into Extinguisher and finishes off the back right wheel leaving just the back left and only a couple seconds later the majority of the yellow tread is peeled away from that tire’s hub leaving nothing for Extinguisher to ride on. The robot still tries to move and drive around but there’s only plastic and a few chunks of rubber making contact with the ground. This robot’s fucking dead.
Valkyrie achieved what most of us expected it would and Extinguisher is sent packing.
WINNER: Valkyrie, KO
PAIN TRAIN vs. SUBZERO
Up next is a battle between a rookie heavyweight and a rookie team captain. The rookie heavyweight is first in the form of Pain Train who’s one of those super compact drum spinners that looks like it should be a middleweight. See also: Minotaur and Copperhead. However unlike its contemporaries Pain Train has struggled to find its footing in BattleBots this season with a loss to the suplex king Slammow by KO and a loss to SMEE where Pain Train’s front eggbeater spinner imploded and flew off of its mount. The producers didn’t even give Pain Train a third qualification fight because they were all “what’s the fucking point this thing won’t advance anyways”. Real classy stuff, you know. Hopefully Pain Train’s been repaired since the SMEE fight because any loose bolts will spell disaster for it once SubZero launches it ten feet into the air.
SubZero is not a rookie robot but team captain Logan Davis is a rookie captain this year. He’s been the pilot of SubZero for a while now but when the robot’s original builder Jerry Clarkin decided to fold his hand and bow out of robotics it was Logan and “the crew” who put their funds together to buy SubZero and keep it in the family. This means SubZero’s got the same team it’s just Logan is acting in a more forward capacity. SubZero lost its opening fight to Jackpot because again like I said Jackpot had a breakout season and won all of its qualifiers. SubZero was then paired up with Grabot and heaved that thing into the air until it fucking broke then did the exact same song and dance with Sporkinok. This meant SubZero qualified for the main tournament… but Valkyrie was laying in wait to spring a trap and destroy this machine. Considering we just saw Valkyrie beat the holy hell out of Extinguisher you can kind of imagine in your brain meats how that fight went.
As SubZero comes out of its square it makes a dire almost rookie mistake by turning away from Pain Train and exposing its backside to it. Against any other robot SubZero would’ve just been slapped on its ass so hard the ripples would’ve covered its whole body but because this is Pain Train we’re talking about here SubZero is able to get away while Pain Train tries to drive in a straight fucking line. Spitfire, SubZero’s drone, swoops in to spray some flames down on Pain Train and although the drone has got to just be for show this means Spitfire lands the first hit of the goddamned fight. The fucking drone. Pain Train gets up on SubZero’s front end but there’s no flip because Logan Davis doesn’t want to feed his robot’s flipping arm into the spinner on Pain Train; he said before the fight opening up your corners to attack is how you lose to a design like Pain Train so his strategy is more conservative here. I guess no one told Logan that Pain Train sucks and that he doesn’t have to hold back.
SubZero is driving literal circles around Pain Train which basically means at any point the robot can make a sharp turn to attack and shove Pain Train wherever it wants to. It just so happens SubZero’s target are the blue square screws. Pain Train continues to drive like a shitty beetleweight drum spinner kit. Kenny says SubZero is showing respect for Pain Train’s weapon and I think he’s right; Logan still has it in his head that Pain Train is going to hit like Copperhead or something and that’s a valid fear, one that should dissipate the minute Pain Train actually does hit the front corner of SubZero and literally fuck all happens. Pain Train’s weapon appears to stall for a moment before spinning back up and as SubZero carts the robot around from behind it finally lets loose a flip after crashing Pain Train into one of the control boxes of the screws. This collision seems to fully disable Pain Train’s weapon meaning it was good for negative one hit.
With Pain Train a sitting duck SubZero goes for the alley oop and tries to chuck the robot behind the glass but instead misses and just free throws Pain Train at the Pulverizer. This is SubZero’s Pulverizer but it doesn’t seem like the team is interested in fucking around with the hazards. You know who would be interested though? A dedicated hazard operator. Yeah, I’m not going to let that die. Chris and Kenny start hyping up an ensuing finisher from SubZero for like twenty seconds but the killing blow never comes making them both look more like idiots than they already do otherwise. Pain Train can’t seem to get out of the corner it’s stuck in and eventually the robot’s drive system just sorta gives out on its own without much input needed from SubZero. SubZero just hangs back and lets the KO countdown happen to take a free win… straight into an upcoming rematch with Valkyrie.
WINNER: SubZero, KO
TRACER vs. MALICE
We’ve already seen Tracer in a previous Bounty Hunters episode; much like Deadlift this robot also gets to double dip and sign up for another bounty bracket presumably because spots needed to be filled and Tracer wasn’t too damaged from its previous outing. Honestly Tracer was probably winning its previous bounty bracket opener with P1 by ripping a wheel off and landing a hit to P1’s underside that may have disabled its lifting wedge but even with three wheels P1 was still too much for Tracer to out-drive so P1 managed to advance onward leaving this robot in the dust. Tracer usually has a minibot however the team has decided to take a page from the bounty boss Witch Doctor and turn their minibot into extra front armor just for this battle. Malice can hit like a son of a bitch.
Malice debuted this season to much acclaim as it immediately established itself as a motherfucker. The compact spinner was drawn to fight Axe Backwards in its first ever fight and the carnage from that battle is still shown in highlight reels to this day; Axe Backwards had its tires shredded and its flamethrowers destroyed causing the full body drum bot to erupt in a plume of fire and then come to a complete halt and die. Shatter was up next and this could’ve been a tough match for Malice if Malice didn’t immediately decapitate Shatter’s axe and leave the robot with a shitty little whacking stick. The fight was won on a split decision but it still showed that you don’t fuck around with a spinner like Malice; this thing’s weapon is powered by the same motor as Tombstone’s weapon except Malice is like a personal pan pizza version of Tombstone’s blade. Malice lost to Mad Catter after being knocked up onto its ass but it still advanced into the tournament where it put up a formidable fight against Gigabyte but ultimately lost when its drive got damaged.
Both robots spin up their weapons and Malice draws first blood by swinging in and blasting the front right corner of Tracer. Jason Woods said the front of his robot was “indestructible” but to me it looks like part of the front of that robot is splayed open just a bit. Maybe you ought to consider a different choice of wording? The two bots dance around each other neither one wanting to get involved with the other’s weapon and Malice lands another sideways shot. This comes at the cost of Malice’s weapon belt meaning that “Big Red” disc is now just a goddamned hood ornament. This is Tracer’s fight to win now but without provocation Tracer just starts devouring its own weapon belt before Malice comes in and takes a hit that flips it over.
Great. Now both weapons are dead and we have ourselves a bona fide potato fight on our hands. The bots lock heads and it looks to me like Malice has the stronger drivetrain despite only having two wheels to Tracer’s four and Tracer’s also the one with a fucking wedge on its front end too. Malice shoves Tracer toward the corner of the Battlebox and as Tracer backs up it looks like it gets its back corner stuck on the spike strip. Tracer gets free and Kenny Florian says Tracer could have the advantage in control since it has a wedge. I guess he hasn’t been watching this fight because Malice is the one tractor pulling all over the fucking place. Chris Rose chimes in to fill time by reminding us of how the judging criteria works because he’s assuming this snoozefest is going to go to the judges.
Mercifully it appears that the first hit of the fight from Malice may have actually caused some damage internally to Tracer because the robot starts spinning around in place unable to go anywhere. It’s pivoting around its front right wheel so I guess while the armor was allegedly “indestructible” the shit behind it definitely was not. Bunny Sauriol eventually just tells Malice’s driver to lay off on the sticks and let Tracer get counted out because there’s no need to put any further wear and tear on the robot’s motors by pushing against an opponent that’s clearly dead in the water. The ref takes note of Tracer’s predicament and counts the robot out. Gee what a great idea letting Tracer show up twice in the Bounty Hunters specials!
WINNER: Malice, KO
HUGE vs. SLAP BOX
Proving that it had Tegris wheels before the 2021 season it’s Huge. This season was a mixed bag for the behemoth because right out of the gate the showrunners wanted to see Huge versus Mammoth and in that battle Huge managed to get one of its wheels stuck outside of the arena meaning it was knocked out despite severe damage done to Mammoth. Huge then met Hydra in a fight that is burned into the collective memory of the entire BattleBots fandom because Hydra used that fucking cattle catcher attachment to corral Huge into the corner and then park there “because it wasn’t breaking the rules”. Huge caught a break against Kraken and we finally got to see some damage and despite its losing record still went into the tournament where Whiplash was waiting for it. Starting to see a pattern emerge here with bots who made it into the main event?
Slap Box is living proof that bad luck exists in the field of robot combat. Generally speaking someone has to be the first to fight Tombstone, right? Well that responsibility fell upon Bryce Yankauskas with his lifting robot Slap Box. Despite coming out with shock mounted armor and a big flat spatula to ward off Tombstone with this robot was still utterly destroyed in its rookie outing. The repairs were severe and there was only enough time left for one more fight for Slap Box this time against Sharko. This fight was memorable if only because Sharko bit down on Slap Box’s lifting arm and just would not fucking let go even when it was raised into the air and roasted by Slap Box’s flamethrower. Eventually Sharko was tossed onto its back where it struggled to move and it was counted out. So it wasn’t a total loss for Slap Box and now the team is here at Bounty Hunters to try their luck again.
Slap Box has been in three fights so far and it’s shown us a custom lifting arm for each fight. You can’t say these guys didn’t come prepared to rumble. This time around they’ve got like a stingray barb that hooks backwards with the intent being to jam it into one of the holes of Huge’s wheels and then hook it in there. Slap Box tries to engage with the plan but in literally the first hit Huge busts off Slap Box’s rear left tire (the blue one). Slap Box seems a lot like a more colorful Duck though so it can still drive around and it’s still trying to get in Huge’s face and stick its barb up Huge’s ass. Slap Box also has a minibot that serves no purpose other than for Bryce’s younger sister to beg for mercy when Tombstone threatens to kill it. Slap Box raises its arm up a bit and catches Huge’s chassis and gets a little lift but Huge falls down and knocks a dent into Slap Box’s face.
Slap Box’s team knows their robot is the perfect height to be cleaved into but they’re still on the sticks and lifting up Huge with minor flashes of control. Eventually by the law of probability one of these lifts will result in Huge getting snared by the barb on Slap Box’s lifting arm. Until then Huge is just going to keep taking pot shots at this thing until the clock runs out. Slap Box is doing a respectable job of staying in the fight and for some reason Huge is just shedding chunks of tire tread from its wheels. I doubt this has anything to do with Slap Box I think these particular tires of Huge are just put together like utter shit. Slap Box continues with the gentle lifts but nothing major; the robot is also running around with its fork flat against the floor. I thought the plan was to jam it in between the spokes of Huge’s wheels and trap the robot that way? What do I know, I’m not the genius who painted their robot by covering my hands in paint and slapping the hood of the bot a hundred times.
Huge continues to roll over Slap Box doing residual damage each time until finally Slap Box starts making some strides with its weapon; it gets a solid lift on Huge that ends with the barb of its lifting arm hooking onto the outer axle of Huge’s wheel. Maybe not the grapple that Slap Box wanted but one it’s going to take regardless. There’s under a minute to go so that presumably means the Killsaws are active now but I don’t see any popping up. There’s also the Pulverizers that Slap Box could drag Huge to. In the end Huge just spins its wheels around so violently that it shakes loose of Slap Box’s hold and what could’ve been a major turning point in the fight instead turns out to be a wet fart.
Slap Box starts noticeably slowing down and begins driving like its batteries are dying. Huge comes in and busts off the left side of wedge forks on the front of Slap Box with one hit and with another makes a body shot that peels up Slap Box’s front armor. With ten seconds left to go Slap Box just dies in the middle of the arena and this affords Huge the ability to rev its blade up to top speed and smash into its opponent tearing off Slap Box’s orange wheel. One could argue this was a close fight on control and aggression but this single hit in the last few seconds of the fight is what stacked the deck in favor of Huge. Next time go with MaxAmps batteries or something, I hear those are pretty good (until they get punctured then they get really good).
WINNER: Huge, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SUBZERO vs. VALKYRIE
It’s rematch time! These two robots have met in the past and it didn’t end well for SubZero. In order to try and stave off Valkyrie’s killer spinner SubZero is equipped with a full on angled front plow to better deflect its opponent’s weaponry. SubZero defeated Pain Train in a mostly lackluster fashion and with only a few flips so if there’s something wrong with that flipper the team sure as shit had better fixed it because they’re going to need all the firepower they can get. Valkyrie is in top form for this fight because we just saw it eradicate Extinguisher via a brutal KO that saw pretty much all of Extinguisher’s wheels pulled off and the robot’s weapon inoperable. Valkyrie is going with its big two-toothed disc for this match which is specially designed for attacking heavy armor. We’ll see if it can get through SubZero a second time.
SubZero goes for the box rush but misses as Valkyrie dodges to the side. Valkyrie’s spinner is now up to top speed so all SubZero can hope for is that its armored plow works as intended. Valkyrie rides up SubZero’s wedge and starts gyro balancing on its end. This is bad for Valkyrie but great for SubZero and the flipper wastes no time taking advantage of the situation, getting under Valkyrie, and just heaving it at the fucking wall. Valkyrie’s disc makes contact with one of the screw control boxes and this sends the robot spinning up into the air along the arena wall and falling behind one of the bumpers. Holy fucking shit.
SubZero immediately shoves Valkyrie into the corner where the Pulverizer is and drops the hammer. SubZero goes for another flip but its flipping arm is caught in the spike strip so all this does is cause SubZero to do a goddamned somersault in place. SubZero regroups and comes in with another flip that nearly wraps Valkyrie’s ass around the Pulverizer’s pole but the robot falls down from there upside down only to be whacked again by the hazard. Valkyrie lands one blow to SubZero that spins the robot around and kicks its front flipper panel loose but that doesn’t affect the structure of the weapon; SubZero can still get in there and let loose.
The two robots bash and smash together and as Valkyrie coasts out of the corner one of the team members of SubZero nudges Logan Davis and points out that Valkyrie isn’t moving anymore. The weapon is spinning full blast but it looks like something is jacked up with the drive system because the robot is just sorta aimlessly crawling around. The ref starts to reluctantly count Valkyrie out before eventually finishing the countdown meaning SubZero has settled the score and officially KO’d Valkyrie. Valkyrie’s team are all swears and no-no words after the fight. Fred Moore can’t believe it and we get a great close-up of his face that I’m sure no one will turn into a meme.
WINNER: SubZero, KO
MALICE vs. HUGE
This fight has the potential to be a mismatch but it also has the potential to be a shredfest too it’s just going to depend on how the weapons play out. Malice is back after a merciful KO over Tracer in a battle where it landed all of two fucking hits before its weapon crapped out. For this fight Malice is equipped with added top armor to protect against Huge’s attacks and because of this the team has to use their “Purple Pain” weapon on the robot because it’s lighter. This is the same setup Malice used against Shatter so it’s nothing new; we just know from experience that the Purple Pain weapon sucks. Huge on the other hand hasn’t changed much aside from the team’s choice of weapon. They’ve gone with what amounts to a “one tooth” blade because of how the weight is distributed across the mass. Jonathan Schultz says his target is Malice’s weapon pulley and since that’s right front and center it could be an easy target with a solid cleave.
The light goes green and almost immediately Malice’s spinner is at top speed. This is the benefit of using a lighter mass for the spinner as opposed to the heavier red disc that we’ve seen. Huge on the other hand is taking some time to get going but that doesn’t stop it from meeting Malice in the center of the box for a crash. Malice takes a shot to the front and slips completely underneath Huge damaging both of the massive robot’s rear floor struts in the process. You can see them just visibly cracked and broken. Tegris is more rigid than the UHMW plastic that Huge normally uses and rather than warp and take the hit from Malice instead the braces just straight up fucking snapped. Not good considering those struts are what keep Huge moving. Malice follows through with an attack to one of Huge’s wheels and rips a deep gash in the material.
The clashes continue with another shot to Huge’s wheels until Malice drives underneath Huge again and Huge makes a deep impact on Malice’s front that clips the weapon belt. Looks like Jonathan got the hit he was trying to line his robot up for. The cost? Huge’s floor braces. Malice completely rips one of them off and snaps the remaining one in yet another location. These things are like broken bones now and you can see right away Huge is unable to really drive around; when it tries to drive forward its entire chassis just spins around and the broken rear leg folds against the pressure of being braced against the floor. Huge’s maneuverability is completely beyond fucked by this point and Malice, with no weapon, is now taking control of the fight by shoving Huge around sideways.
The robots separate and although Huge’s bar is still going the robot itself can’t drive in a straight line. I want to say Malice could just hold off again and bait a count out but David Rush (Malice’s driver) is all about aggression. He’s the American version of Minotaur’s Daniel Freitas. Huge, unable to really move, coasts backwards into the screws and its bar hits one of the control boxes next to the hazard. This causes the bot to jump upward into the air and one of its wheels gets caught behind the screws. We’ve seen Huge go out like this before but this time the robot fights against being stuck behind the hazard and is actually able to climb out of it. Malice is waiting right there to continue slam dunking Huge wherever it wants. The robot literally takes an entire lap around the fucking Battlebox just to bring Huge right back to the same corner with the screws where it got stuck a second ago.
Kenny Florian can’t seem to figure out that Huge’s missing/broken legs are the reason why it’s doing fuck all when it comes to driving; it’s not because there’s chunks of bike tread missing from the wheels there’s plenty left for Huge to drive on. It’s the legs you moron. Didn’t you fight in MMA tournaments or something? Sweep the fucking legs! Chris Rose points out Huge’s weapon is taking a while to spin up and that seems to be a recurring issue with the robot; it’s good for like two big hits and then Huge just gets “tired” and its weapon loses its bite. Malice is driving into it with nary a fucking care in the world and the blade just abruptly stops when it hits the robot. The only thing that happens is Huge gets sent rolling backwards into the wall because again there’s nothing left to brace against the floor and help the robot push into the hits it’s delivering.
With less than ten seconds left on the clock Malice gets underneath Huge again and starts shoving it around this time toward the screws by the blue square. We’re talking like two seconds left on the clock now but Malice is able to hook one of Huge’s wheels behind the screws a second time. With no time left in the fight Huge ends the battle stuck on a hazard. During the post-fight portion of the match where the judges are deliberating Huge tries to spin itself out of the hazard and it’s not able to this time. Had this happened with more time on the clock this would’ve been another KO for Malice. Instead it goes to the judges who return a favorable verdict for the dead spinner largely on the grounds of control and aggression and possibly even some damage points given what happened to Huge’s rear struts.
WINNER: Malice, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SUBZERO vs. MALICE
You wanna talk about two different paths to the bounty finals look no further than these two robots. I would say SubZero worked for its wins in a more muscular way by outdoing its opponents’ firepower. Pain Train brought nothing to the party and was unceremoniously tossed around and left to die when its drivetrain just spontaneously gave out. Valkyrie came out swinging however and SubZero was in a do or die situation so it just threw Valkyrie at the glass and that resulted in the robot ricocheting into the Pulverizer where SubZero just went all-in and kept throwing Valkyrie around until someone on the team noticed Valkyrie had stopped moving. Malice on the other hand has gotten here largely without a fucking weapon because the robot’s spinning disc kind of sucks balls. It defeated Tracer in a fight where Tracer’s weapon also died followed shortly by part of its drive. Then it was on to Huge where Malice was able to do enough damage to its opponent before its weapon died to pretty much leave Huge a sitting duck waiting to be pushed around.
Kenny says to watch for the box rush because that’s been SubZero’s strategy for the past two fights but that’s not what we get when this match opens. Instead the robot veers right and hooks back around presumably to try and get a side shot on Malice who is driving straight ahead. The attack fails and SubZero is left fleeing from Malice to try and line up another shot. Malice is actually faster than SubZero so as SubZero runs away Malice chases it and nails it right on its side which rips off SubZero’s front left wheel. SubZero is still mobile kind of like how Slap Box was but Malice is quick on the attack and bites SubZero on the ass to rip off its other left wheel leaving nothing but the right. SubZero is damaged but it can still scoot around and it avoids Malice by trying to get back into the center of the floor.
As SubZero struggles Malice cruises in and does some face work on the flipper and blows off its front armor panel. The hit sends Malice reeling and its disc clips the Spitfire drone who was flying just a little too low and the dinky piece of shit crashes over near the drivers’ booth. But more importantly Malice winds up on its ass again just like it did in its battle with Mad Catter in the main tournament! There wasn’t even a hot fix for this to prevent it from happening a second time, no bolt or piece of metal jutting out from the back or anything. Guys, this is day one shit. Bunny tells Malice’s driver to shut the weapon off as he wiggles the robot back and forth because otherwise the gyroscopic force of the spinning disc will keep the robot upright. The problem here is the residual spinning Malice’s weapon continues to do even after it’s been shut off. It’s enough to keep the robot stranded on its ass and you can see an improvement in the rocking once the disc slows down but there’s not enough time to even see if Malice can get down from there period. Malice is straight up out. Next time try a butt plug.
WINNER: SubZero, KO
WITCH DOCTOR vs. SUBZERO
This has been a nightmare season for Witch Doctor but the robot is still a bounty boss. I’m sure you noticed the lack of flair on Witch Doctor’s weapon discs and that’s because in Witch Doctor’s first season fight against Hydra they broke. Then in its next fight against Kraken the replacements broke. This left the team with nothing so it took the efforts of three other competing teams to get replacement discs made for Andrea Gellatly and her crew at the last minute. Finally they got their new discs made of a stronger steel alloy and were able to bust apart Slammow allowing the robot entrance into the main tournament. Witch Doctor stomped out Skorpios but wound up losing to Sawblaze which is basically the same fucking design so I don’t know what happened there. The team has had all the time in the world since then to prepare for this one final fight of the season however and I’m sure they’ve got some frustrations to work out.
SubZero goes wide again to try and get to Witch Doctor’s sides but with Mike Gellatly at the controls of Witch Doctor we all know that’s not going to happen. Witch Doctor keeps it tight and SubZero nudges against the front of the robot and fails to slide its flipping arm under it. Witch Doctor pivots in place and catches the front corner of SubZero which flips it over. This isn’t an issue for SubZero because it can use its flipping arm to self right. What is a problem however is Witch Doctor laying in wait for exactly this to happen because as SubZero flips through the air Witch Doctor makes a pass at it and just rips SubZero’s fucking guts open. Look at the size of the goddamned gash that Witch Doctor makes in SubZero as it lands.
This causes SubZero to land on its head again so it tries to self right one more time and Witch Doctor tees up for another hit. SubZero lands on its wheels and it’s just completely dead. Witch Doctor throws another punch that flips SubZero over and as the robot tries to right itself for the third time Witch Doctor cruises in and slices off the robot’s front left wheel. This hit is so perfect that the fucking wheel snipes Spitfire out of the air and causes it to crash down near the blue square. Witch Doctor turns its focus to attacking the downed drone for shits and giggles before parking next to the now self-righted SubZero waiting to see if it makes another move. Dude there’s like a motor hanging out on SubZero, it’s missing a wheel, and I think its flipping arm pneumatics are now jammed. This fight isn’t going anywhere except straight into Witch Doctor’s win column. Good job making it this far SubZero but like, you weren’t going to win this one.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO
Witch Doctor makes like Tombstone and defends its bounty, only the second robot to do so. SubZero fought valiantly, and with a little bit of luck, but it looks like the luck ran out for the icy flipper because Witch Doctor made short work of it as soon as there was an opening. This is the reason why Witch Doctor was a runner up in the 2019 season and why the robot is so feared in the pits. Witch Doctor is a sleeper success story, a bot that many teams overlook whether unintentionally or not that just shows up and kicks ass out of nowhere. Given that I’m writing these articles a little bit late I guess I can also point out how Witch Doctor was also the runner up in the 2021 season which again just goes to show you how this robot is on the precipice of greatness. Future Giant Nut material for sure.
There is only one bounty left to fight for and that’s Son of Whyachi, another former champion though this time from the glory days of the Comedy Central run of BattleBots. Son of Whyachi hasn’t been able to replicate the success it saw all those years ago but does it have what it takes to defend its status as a legend and defeat the bounty hunter from its bracket? We’ll find out in the next post. Or not because these episodes are a year old and you’ve probably already seen them. I doubt anyone skipped Bounty Hunters because they were waiting on my dumb ass to write about them.
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See you next week!