It’s Update time once again! We’re getting into BattleBots: Champions, a miniseries shot during the most recent season kind of like how Bounty Hunters was taped during season 10. For some stupid reason Chris and Kenny keep talking in such a way as to imply that this miniseries is a brand new season of the show when it’s obvious this was filmed concurrently with the most recent series. I guess because this is airing so long after the previous season they’re talking like it’s a thing of the past? Anyways I’m sure it’s not confusing when a clearly damaged Duck and SMEE are rolled out and the hosts just brush off their visible damage from previous heavy-hitting fights. Television.
Last week saw Hypershock rise to the occasion and absolutely obliterate all comers. Duck, Valkyrie, Mad Catter, and finally the bounty robot Gigabyte. Wheels, parts, and weapons were flying all over the goddamned place as Will Bales cruised into the final tournament where the Golden Bolt awaits. This week sees the return of Double Jeopardy and its pneumatic cannon. The robot was absent from the most recent season but made it in time for Champions. It’s scheduled to fight Ribbot in a hilarious mismatch of a bad draw. Malice and Slammo will have to set aside their friendship to see who’s got what it takes to advance into the later rounds of the brackets. Shatter will need to find Pain Train’s weak point and stab it for maximum damage else it risks getting its plastic armor chewed up. Finally Huge will be on defense as Deep Six rolls in to try and cleave the behemoth in half.
Waiting at the end of these brackets and acting as the “bounty” robot is none other than Donald Hutson’s Lock-Jaw who won last year’s bounty bracket against Beta. Lock-Jaw had the firepower and tenacity to take on a whole bounty bracket but it went 0-3 this season. Is that going to affect its ability to defend its title?
DOUBLE JEOPARDY vs. RIBBOT
Speak of the devil up first is Double Jeopardy in the hot seat. This is a robot that has taken some time off to be redesigned and rearmed and the last time we saw this robot a couple of seasons ago it was only capable of firing off one solid steel slug before being reduced to a push bot. One bullet sounds pretty crappy until you realize this single shot was able to do things like sever Gamma 9’s hydraulic line and kink Lucky’s flipping arm out of place. There’s some real firepower on display here and now Double Jeopardy has three shots in its cannon; the cylindrical slug and two large ball bearings. Competitors who say they’re unafraid of Double Jeopardy are morons who haven’t yet been blasted point blank by this thing. You’d be wise to be mindful of the goddamned cannon. Is it enough to disable Ribbot though? Perhaps with a lucky shot Double Jeopardy can damage Ribbot’s spinner. It’s got three chances.
Ribbot is the robot that I think stands to win this bracket; it’s got the deadliest weapon and David Jin knows how to wield it effectively. It’s easy to underestimate Double Jeopardy but it’s also easy to underestimate Ribbot because it looks like a dopey ass frog. That’s intentional. Part of Ribbot’s strategy is to get opponents to see it as a write-off because it has the goofy frog shell and the silly paint job and the exposed wheels… but it’s all an act. Ribbot’s undercutter (and other configurations) can do some real damage. In the main tournament Ribbot took out Defender by KO, tore the wheels off of Overhaul, and crippled P1 before kicking it up onto the Upper Deck for a signature finish. That’s a 3-0 all KO’s qualifier in case you weren’t paying attention. Ribbot qualified as the #2 seed but unfortunately this pitted it against Hydra who was out for blood. Ribbot’s race for the Giant Nut ended here when Hydra slam dunked it to ruin its drive system.
Part of the reason why Ribbot is equipped with its undercutter is because that weapon also comes bundled with a hearty steel plow to protect the robot’s front end. It’s the only configuration for Ribbot that uses such a defense and with Double Jeopardy out there rootin’, tootin’, and shootin’ it’s probably a wise idea to armor up. Double Jeopardy drives to the right and positions itself diagonally atop the inactive Killsaws. Ribbot comes out of its square and starts sizing up Double Jeopardy. Evan and Bryce Wooley said their target is actually Ribbot’s exposed drive chains so if Ribbot were to try and juke to the left or the right it’ll be opening its drivetrain up to attack. There’s a stalemate brewing and the only logical option for Ribbot is to man the fuck up and take what’s about to come to it right on its chin. Double Jeopardy lets loose with the boomstick and just Kurt fucking Cobains the entire head off of Ribbot. The shell disintegrates. It’s gone. The metal slug rips through the plastic and the force of the air being expelled from the cannon blows all of the chunks back toward the blue square.
It’s as impressive as it is hilarious but it’s also ineffective. That shell is just decoration so no meaningful damage has been done to Ribbot. Double Jeopardy effectively wasted a bullet. Not knowing how long it takes its opponent to reload Ribbot just dives forward and kicks Double Jeopardy into the back wall ripping up its front end and tearing away its left side panel. Double Jeopardy takes another blow to its front end and so far it looks like the front is the side of the robot with the most armor because the panel hasn’t yet been torn away like fucking tissue paper. Double Jeopardy tries to get out of the corner but Ribbot sticks its disc into the exposed left side of its opponent and hits the wheels inside. Double Jeopardy again tries to get away but Ribbot gets in its face and this time very nearly tears the front plow off of the gunslinger. If you look around on the arena floor you’ll see the slug and a ball bearing rolling around so either Double Jeopardy misfired and launched all of its fucking ammo in one shot or the secondary ammo is falling out of the robot from being jostled around.
Ribbot is out for blood and kicks Double Jeopardy over toward the other corner of the arena and rips away its right side panel for good measure. Double Jeopardy with a crippled left side of drive tries to maneuver around but swings wide instead opening up its damaged left side to attack. Ribbot dives right in and wrecks Double Jeopardy’s shit; chunks of Colson tires come flying out signaling that not a single fucking wheel remains on the left side now. Double Jeopardy looks dead but after a few moments resumes trying to move. It’s got no wheels left on its left side and there are parts just hanging out held on by a couple of wires. Ribbot takes this as an invitation to kick Double Jeopardy’s teeth in a second time and does exactly that; Ribbot’s disc slices into the right side of Double Jeopardy and takes off the front wheel along with severing the welds holding the corner of the robot together.
This hit is enough to put Double Jeopardy out to pasture. I kind of saw this coming a mile away because if the shitty clusterbot The Four Horsemen was able to take out Double Jeopardy with their pissant spinners then something of Ribbot’s caliber was clearly going to spell disaster. Double Jeopardy is out of the running for the Golden Bolt but as of the writing of this article its application for the upcoming season of BattleBots is “pending”. We may just see the best this robot has to offer yet?
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
SLAMMO vs. MALICE
Up next is a battle that’s anyone’s game; there isn’t a robot with a clear path to victory here so this should be an interesting one. Craig Danby’s Slammo is introduced first and this is a robot with a powerful weapon… when it works… but the robot just consistently fails to live up to the hype. That’s because it’s a Danby robot and these things are cursed. His workshop must be on top of an ancient burial ground or some shit. Slammo opened its season against Hypershock and wound up losing a side of drive after Hypershock dialed up the heat. Considering Hypershock fucking mauled Gigabyte it’s easy to understand how Slammo lost the match. What isn’t easy to understand is how Slammo lost to Switchback, a newcomer with some growing pains. Neither robot was 100% for that fight but Switchback was able to land in a few shots and Slammo wound up dying on its own. I’ve seen Slammo work; it was at the Robotica event in Houston a few weeks ago where it was aggressive and handsy with everyone it fought. I don’t know what’s wrong with Craig’s robots where they just fail when there’s a camera pointed at them.
Malice is a compact little machine with a killer horizontal spinner. The motor powering Malice’s weapon is about the same one seen inside of Tombstone so if you need a barometer to compare power against there you go. Malice is powerful, compact, and maneuverable… but that hasn’t exactly translated to wins. Much like Slammo this robot is plagued with gremlins. In Malice’s first fight this season it fought eventual champion Tantrum and after a single weapon-on-weapon hit Malice’s spinner crapped out. Malice fought Jackpot next and was dominated to the point where it lost a side of drive and was counted out. Jackpot died too, but Malice died first. Hoping to avoid an 0-3 season Malice then went on to fight Blacksmith and we finally got to see a glimpse of what this machine is capable of. Blacksmith’s new Power Hammer weapon was splayed open, its disc flying across the box, and Blacksmith was beaten so savagely that it caught on fucking fire. This was enough for Malice to make it into a play-in fight for the main tournament but it lost to Skorpios and thus failed to qualify.
As the fight starts Malice’s weapon looks like it’s in no hurry to get up to top speed which could prove fatal against the nimble Slammo. On first contact Slammo shunts Malice to the side and the force of Malice’s weapon causes the robot to topple over upside down. I’ve said this before regarding invertible horizontal spinners but this could be bad for Slammo because now Malice’s blade is higher up off the ground; there’s less of Slammo’s wedge to engage with meaning those grappling arms are in danger of taking a shot. Slammo corrals Malice into the wall with its bulldozer plow and slows Malice’s spinner down. This is a perfect time for a suplex but Slammo doesn’t have the right angle to attempt one so all it can do is shove Malice around some more. In doing this Malice’s weapon starts spinning again and the robot flips back over to its original orientation. Now Slammo’s arms are in moderately less danger than they were about five seconds prior. Slammo rams Malice into the wall and tries to bring down the Pulverizer on it but it’s a miss. No suplex either, but Malice is flipped over against the wall. Grappling arms on high alert again.
For some reason Slammo’s plow doesn’t come back down as intended and the robot starts waving it back and forth causing Slammo’s chassis to pivot backwards onto its wheels. Malice’s blade is busy getting up to speed. Now’s not the time to be flashing your balls to Malice, Slammo. Malice takes advantage of the situation and expertly snipes Slammo’s right tire ripping it off. That’ll surely show Craig Danby not to use those little foam Malice discs as hub caps. When the camera zooms in on the loose tire you can see it’s some kind of cast metal and it separated right at the stress point in the center of the wheel. Slammo starts doing donuts with its one remaining wheel and begins fucking up the paint in the blue square. Malice is bumped away by Slammo’s plow and the spinner reels up onto its back. As Kenny Florian explains Malice has previously lost battles by getting stuck in this position which is why there’s a little nub poking out of the back of the robot to prevent exactly this from happening. Rumor has it that piece is called the butt plug but you can’t say that on Discovery Channel.
For a brief moment Slammo might have this in the bag and it tries to scoot over to Malice to take advantage of the situation. Instead of grappling onto Malice and sneaking in a suplex Malice spins down its weapon to reduce its gyroscopic forces and on the way down kicks Slammo’s left grappling arm visibly bending it to the side. Despite this Slammo refuses to die and continues to swing and sway around trying its best to bounce Malice away with its plow. Malice comes in and gets close enough to Slammo’s last wheel to rip the foam disc off of it nearly spelling disaster for the grappler. Slammo survives for now but starts getting pummeled in the corner near the blue square’s hammer. Malice lands another shot to Slammo’s side wheel and very nearly rips it off a second time but the edge of Slammo’s plow takes the shot instead. Malice darts away to spin up its weapon but the spinner looks tired; the weapon is spinning up slowly and whenever Malice bumps into Slammo the weapon stops spinning with no real bite to it. We’ve seen this time and time again with unreliable spinners.
Malice has all the time it needs to back away from Slammo and get its bar spinning properly and it starts trying to do this until Slammo swings in and scoops up the robot. Malice’s spinner starts grinding on Slammo’s only surviving grappling arm and we’re seeing no action from it or Slammo’s plow. Slammo appears to be trying to slam Malice into the wall before raising its plow and that’s exactly what we get. It’s not a high speed muscular crash but it’s certainly some control points for Slammo if this goes to the judges. As Malice comes down from the slam its spinner connects with the left wedge of Slammo’s plow, which it had previously sliced into about 30 seconds prior, and knocks the entire side of the plow off right at the point where the metal bends. Knowing Craig this is probably Hardox steel that he ordered from England (he likes to brag about how affordable it is compared to the same stuff here in the USA) so this is some heavy shit being clipped off by Malice. Make no mistake this is no easy feat.
Slammo is completely splayed open like a cooked lobster. It’s plow is all the way back, its grappling arms are dead, it’s missing one side of drive. The whole thing is just fucking pathetic now. Slammo spins around in place just trying to make it to the buzzer but Malice has other plans. Malice cruises on in and is able to snipe Slammo’s other wheel and finally rips it off. With no more wheels Slammo is KO’d and the ref starts counting it down. Chris Rose says Craig gives Malice a standing ovation. No dude, he was already standing up this whole time. That’s not how ovations work. Anyways Slammo is sent packing and Malice advances on to face Ribbot in the next round.
WINNER: Malice, KO
PAIN TRAIN vs. SHATTER
If there was ever an embodiment of “all talk, no walk” you’re looking at it with Pain Train. This is a heavyweight robot built by someone who’s brilliant with three pound robots but that level of success hasn’t translated over. Pain Train is a two-wheeled drum spinner like Minotaur and Copperhead but Pain Train doesn’t operate anywhere close to the levels we’ve seen from those two bots. That said there’s still some power in its weapon it just has to hit something with it. And also be working, that’s important too. Pain Train took an early exit this season after being thrashed hard in back to back KO losses. Deep Six sank this robot in about a minute by popping off its top lid and then throwing it onto the screws for its guts to pour out. But hey, that’s Deep Six what do you expect? Next was Yeti and Pain Train was able to do some damage to Yeti’s wheels but Yeti still took the upper hand and knocked Pain Train silly. More parts went flying out of the robot’s dead husk. There’s a lot of rebuilding that’s been taking place with this robot so far, maybe the team has sprinkled some magic fairy dust into the robot for this event.
Lots of people say hammer bots suck but that’s because they’re too busy watching Beta never fire its hammer. Shatter is over here doing all the hard work in making a name for the design in modern day BattleBots. Shatter’s weapon is a chain-driven axe that comes down with enough force to dislodge internal components and bust off light armor panels. Shatter opened the season with a brutal victory over SubZero by stabbing its axe head down into the flipper’s mechanics and scoring a judges’ decision. Shatter then swapped out its axe for a big ass toothed sword for its match with Blacksmith and expertly cut Blacksmith’s weapon chain with the attachment for an impressive win. Shatter’s real drawback if anything is the fact that its wins come from decisions, not knock outs. Shatter qualified for the tournament but lost in the Round of 32 to Riptide who rearranged this robot’s ass and left it for dead in the corner. Lots of “failed to qualify” and round one loss robots peppering this event…
Remember, Shatter has those goofy wheels that let it drive at odd angles so don’t be surprised when you see it dart around sideways. It opens the fight by letting Pain Train come to it instead of charging out to meet its opponent in the center of the arena. Pain Train’s drum is spinning and it clips the corner of Shatter tearing off some of those ablative shiny plates but also successfully flinging the hammer bot away. Pain Train goes in for seconds and hits Shatter’s left front wedgelet and it appears to actually bend the wedgelet on its hinge because the little wedge seems unable to fall back down into place. A follow up shot sees this hinged piece of armor getting torn off and chucked behind the bots. Pain Train continues its assault in Shatter’s face and I’ve gotta agree with Chris Rose here this is the best we’ve seen Pain Train perform. Also much like Chris I feel that we both jinxed it because as soon as we compliment Pain Train’s aggression and efficacy the robot’s drum spins down and dies. You had one fucking job, Pain Train. One.
With Pain Train now something more akin to Uncomfortable Caboose it’s open season for Shatter’s axe and that axe immediately starts coming down with some force. There are some swings and misses but when Shatter connects it’s connecting well. Pain Train is such a compact robot that it doesn’t immediately look like there is damage being done to it but watch the top armor panel as the glare of the arena lights reflect off of it; there are clearly some dents in the robot’s lid already. Shatter’s not piercing Pain Train’s armor but it’s swinging with enough force to deform the metal in certain spots so you know it’s imparting a significant amount of force into the robot. It’s plausible that these impacts can knock something loose or disconnect a wire. Stranger things have happened before. Pain Train has no rebuttal for these attacks. It has nothing in its playbook as a backup strategy not even a rear-mounted wedge or something. The robot is basically a moving target for Shatter now and Shatter is eagerly pursuing its prey around the Battlebox taking pot shots whenever it gets the opportunity.
At one point in the massacre Chris Rose suggests Shatter might start aiming for the wheels. I doubt it, Chris, Pain Train’s wheels are those solid rubber ones and I don’t think Shatter’s axe would do much aside from rebound off of them. I get the suggestion though, Chris and Kenny have to fill time in this one-sided fight to make it seem exciting. They have to still play devil’s advocate and suggest ways that this fight could go because that’s their job. Not everything is a Tombstone battle. Kenny Florian compliments the defeated Pain Train by saying this new robot is at least tougher and last season’s Pain Train wouldn’t have survived one hit. I’d make fun of Kenny’s remark but he’s probably fucking right. Pain Train is just a garbage tier robot and even though it’s doing “better” this season it’s still not winning any fights. Maybe Deep Six and Yeti were bad draws — bad enough that Pain Train didn’t get a third qualification fight — but this robot needs to be brought back to the drawing board before we see it make it into the main tournament. Evan Arias has done just that by the way, his prospective entry for the upcoming 12th season of BattleBots is something called “Shreddit Bro”. Here’s hoping it’s better than Pain Train.
The clock winds down on this fight and the judges unanimously go with Shatter. All those hits added up to a victory for the hammer bot and it goes on to face the winner of the next match.
WINNER: Shatter, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
DEEP SIX vs. HUGE
Deep Six is a crowd favorite robot and I’m sure you can guess why. That massive blade is four feet long and weighs 80 pounds. It used to weigh 110 pounds but builder Dustin Esswein dialed it back not because he wanted to or anything but because of BattleBots passing what’s known as “the Deep Six rule” stating that spinning weapons cannot weigh more than 80 pounds. (Unless it’s a shell spinner like Gigabyte in which case there’s a higher maximum weight.) The reason for this is simple and Chris Rose reminds us all of it; Deep Six famously carved a hole in the arena floor back in season 9 and this took for-fucking-ever to repair. It also did the same thing to the safety test box outside of the pits. Deep Six doesn’t knock out other robots, it murders them. This season we saw Deep Six dismantle Pain Train with extreme prejudice. It went on to fight SMEE and struggled in that match because it couldn’t properly hit SMEE because its opponent was too low to the ground. SMEE eventually ripped a tire off of Deep Six and left the spinner stuck in the Killsaws for the win. Deep Six then fought Minotaur in a fight that had the potential to be explosive. It kind of was, but for the wrong reasons; Deep Six backed into the wall and hit the arena on the backswing causing the robot to fly into the air and land on its ass. Minotaur took advantage of this and scored an easy KO.
Deep Six struggled this season because its firepower is too great, but it stands to potentially win this battle because it is one of the very few counters to its opponent’s design, Huge. Huge showed up back in season 8 and was an instant hit. Nobody knew how the fuck to deal with this thing because you just can’t hit it. Huge’s claim to fame is its massive damage-absorbing UHMW and Tegris wheels. They’re so big that the robot’s chassis is at least two feet up in the air. Nestled in the center of the robot is a massive spinning cleaver that just decimates other robots. Huge may have lost to Riptide in a one in a million hit that saw Huge get stuck behind the screws, but it rebounded nicely and scored two back to back KO victories afterward. Retrograde was Huge’s first victim and the fight ended with Retrograde on fire in case you wanted to know how well it went for Huge. Huge then battled Switchback and just tore the robot’s unique weapon apart; belts and shit were hanging out of it by the end of the battle. Huge was scheduled to fight Uppercut in the main tournament and this is where things went wrong because Uppercut’s weapon was high enough to hit Huge. This understandably was bad for Huge and the giant robot was eliminated.
As the fight starts both bots get their blades spinning but Deep Six’s looks like it’s running a little slow. No matter however because the robots collide and Deep Six lands a hit to Huge’s left side that pretty much sets the tone for the entire fight. In this opening exchange of blows Deep Six knocks looks Huge’s drive belt from its left wheel. This leaves Huge with only its right side of drive so all the bot can do is spin around and drift. Since Huge gets so little traction in the arena it’s able to successfully scoot around but it’s already downhill for the big boy. Another stray blow from Deep Six sends Huge reeling through the air. With Huge relegated to just spinning around in place, and with Jonathan Schultz still figuring this out, Deep Six has ample time to spin its blade up to top speed. Deep Six floors it on the weapon accelerator and comes in for another hit. This time as Deep Six’s weapon connects with Huge it slices into its Tegris wheel like nothing and embeds itself in the material.
A tug of war ensues that results in the robots spinning around each other trying to get loose and eventually Deep Six rips its weapon out of Huge’s wheel and starts preparing for yet another mega hit. Deep Six gets going while Huge is left aimlessly spinning around in the middle of the arena and Deep Six finally comes in for the kill shot that uppercuts Huge into fucking space. This is like a Hypershock hit from last week; Huge goes soaring into the air and comes crashing down on the spire of the Upper Deck shedding one of its two weapon belts in the process. The hit isn’t without consequence however because there’s a giant belt now on the floor and there’s only one robot that could’ve come from and here’s a clue it’s not the robot that just ate the curb of the shelf. Deep Six starts having serious trouble revving its weapon up with only one belt and its chain left. The chain isn’t even for attacking either, that’s the low-gear option that allows Deep Six to self right so really there’s only the one belt left and it doesn’t appear to be enough to spin Deep Six’s killer blade.
Huge crashes into Deep Six and stops its blade from spinning. Huge’s blade also stops spinning and this impact causes the last belt powering it to come loose and hang slack on the robot. Huge is shedding belts like a fat ass gaining weight and somewhere in the fray manages to stick one of its protruding axles in Deep Six’s weapon bracket. The robots separate again and Deep Six becomes a control robot, completely against its design, and starts muscling Huge around the box. Deep Six isn’t built for fighting this way and you can tell because its tires are spinning so hard against the floor that fucking smoke is coming off of them. Deep Six successfully traps Huge in the corner and whacks its axle with the Pulverizer a couple of times before backing off and trying to get its weapon going again. Huge’s weapon is dead and so is one side of drive; Deep Six’s weapon isn’t spinning at top speed but it’s at least spinning. This is presumably to show the judges that the robot is still for the most part fully functional because there’s only about thirty seconds left on the clock and Deep Six has this in the bag unless something gets dicked up.
It’s clear skies for the vertical blade of death though and the judges call this one in favor of Deep Six. I had Deep Six pegged to win this fight but I wasn’t expecting a control battle to break out in the middle of it. At least we know Deep Six can shove dead weight around, here’s hoping the much more mobile Shatter puts up a good fight.
WINNER: Deep Six, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
MALICE vs. RIBBOT
We’re onto round two of the Golden Bolt qualifier for this episode. Going back to the top of the bracket we have Malice and Ribbot looking to bring some serious firepower into the arena. Malice went up against Slammo in round one and had some trouble getting around Slammo’s huge ass wedge at first but with a little persistence, and Slammo malfunctioning as usual, Malice was able to snipe one tire off of Slammo to reduce its mobility and followed that up by ripping the other one off to make it even. Slammo barely stood a chance. Ribbot on the other hand was staring down the barrel of a gun compliments of Double Jeopardy and although its frog head got blown away that was all superficial damage and Ribbot retaliated by getting all up in Double Jeopardy’s business with its spinning undercutter. Double Jeopardy is one of those bots where all the weight is in the weapon not the armor so it came as no surprise that entire chunks of its fucking frame were ripped out by Ribbot.
Both bots have changed out their weapons for this fight; Malice is using its “Big Red” spinning disc and Ribbot has armored up and equipped its lighter vertical blade. Ribbot may have the lighter weapon here but it still hits just as hard as right off the bat Ribbot bites a whole ass chunk out of Malice’s disc before catching the robot at a good angle to toss it upside down. Ribbot is on top of Malice though and lands a hit that appears to knock loose one of the anchor pins that keeps Malice’s chassis together. We’ve seen these come out of the robot in previous seasons such as when Gigabyte laid down some punishment but Ribbot is already knocking them loose. Ribbot lands another shot straight on to Malice’s left wheel and kinks it inward at an angle. This is enough to seize the whole side of drive leaving Malice with only its right tire functional. Malice is clearly struggling to move and after a few seconds Chris Rose makes the eagle-eyed observation of “is Malice already having problems with its primary weapon?” Yes Chris, that is the problem current plaguing Malice. You fucking dolt.
Ribbot takes advantage of the situation and spins up its blade again making contact with the backside of Malice and tossing it into the air and upside down. Ribbot’s blade looks a little worse for wear however; both belts are still attached to it but it almost feels like it’s suffering from that “no bite” problem that we’ve seen time and time again. It takes Ribbot some time to get up to speed in a meaningful way. Malice is being thrown around and has struggled to move for at least thirty seconds now and Kenny Florian is hopping on the “let’s talk about Malice’s shitty weapon” train. Neither host seems to notice that Malice only has one goddamned wheel. Ribbot powers down its blade and starts nosing Malice around with its armored plow prompting Chris to say we’ve got a bit of a “grudge match” here. That’s not what that means, Chris. Did the hosts get blasted by the Clueless Beam or something? Because they are exceptionally out of it for this particular match in a manner we haven’t seen since the 2015 and 2016 seasons back on ABC.
Ribbot has four wheel drive and is able to tractor pull Malice all over the place but it seems that Malice’s seized wheel is adding too much friction against the floor leaving Ribbot to spin its tires and lock up when it tries to push. Malice’s weapon starts working again albeit at a lower speed and as Malice is shoved into the wall the blade eats the spike strip and stops spinning. When this happens just take a look at the visible bites that Ribbot previously ate out of this thing. That’s gotta be solid fucking aluminum or something and it just looks like someone dragged their finger through an iced cake. Chris Rose has just now noticed that Ribbot’s weapon is powered down and he hypothesizes that maybe it’s out of commission. Kenny says this should even up the scorecards. I should also point out yet again that there are two people watching and commentating this battle and not a single one of them has noticed Malice only has one side of drive. It’s been literally like a minute. A whole ass minute. The scorecards are anything but “even” at this point.
Malice takes a couple of whacks from the Pulverizer as Ribbot corrals it into the corner of the box. Malice is just stuck back there because it can’t maneuver out. Ribbot is on its ass the entire time shoving it into the wall, the corner, the side of the Upper Deck. Whatever it can get Malice into Ribbot is shoving its opponent there. Malice’s disc starts spinning up to speed but every time it gets going Ribbot just shoves it into the wall and expends all of that disc’s energy into the spike strip. Malice does eventually land a shot to Ribbot’s front plow but it’s so heavily armored that the plow just causes Malice to bounce away. Neither host has noticed Malice’s drivetrain problems but it seems one of the refs has woken up from his nap and has spotted an issue. He threatens to count Malice out unless it can show proper movement. There’s not enough time left in the fight for a knockout count though so Malice will be saved by the buzzer but we all know how this fight is going. Malice takes another pop from the Pulverizer for good measure and the fight is sent to the judges.
Presumably the judges noticed that Malice only had one side of drive and attributed some damage points to Ribbot because of it. As far as control and aggression goes it’s blatantly obvious who scored all the points there. Ribbot is declared the winner and advances into the bracket finals.
WINNER: Ribbot, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
DEEP SIX vs. SHATTER
I like Deep Six. There’s something about a robot that is so obviously a case of “we put all of our stat points into Attack” that just makes it special. So much weight is invested in that blade that there’s literally a middleweight robot controlling it because there’s so little left over. The blade used to weigh almost half the total weight of the fucking robot. Imagine that for a second. Deep Six isn’t the most reliable of bots but when it lands a hit hoo fucking boy you better check your pants afterwards. We saw Deep Six take a fight with Huge to the judges thanks in part to Huge’s Tegris wheels jamming up Deep Six’s spinner but this time around there’s no special layered carbon fiber on Deep Six’s opponent to get in the way. Shatter on the other hand is both the best and worst robot for Deep Six to fight. Best because there’s a lot of ablative armor to tear off, but worst because Deep Six has little to no top armor so if Shatter swings its axe just right it can come crashing down through the lid of Deep Six and damage the electronics. Shatter gave Pain Train a death by a thousand cuts in the previous round, now it’s got a much taller order ahead of it here.
Shatter leaves its square to confront Deep Six but you can tell there’s a lot of reservations with Shatter’s drivers because they aren’t sure how to handle Deep Six’s firepower. The axe isn’t swinging, the main chassis of the robot is swinging around constantly facing Deep Six. As Deep Six turns to face Shatter the force generated by its spinning blade causes it to reel up to one side and Shatter takes this as a moment of weakness and floors it forward. Shatter starts to push against Deep Six and is too close for its axe to be of any use. Deep Six’s blade starts shaving sparks off of the top of Shatter and it’s at this point where I think Shatter’s driver Adam Wrigley realizes this is a stupid ass idea because that’s right where Shatter’s weapon chains are and Deep Six might be able to dig right in and immobilize Shatter’s axe from the get go. Shatter swings its axe and throws Deep Six off of it to get some distance and as Shatter spins around to get away the back of its axe catches Deep Six’s spinner and the whole robot becomes a fucking gravity singularity for a moment as it’s violently tossed and flipped around by the 80 pound blade.
Shatter flips back over while Deep Six is momentarily getting back up to speed and tries to use this time to land some critical blows onto its opponent. It misses and Deep Six whacks Shatter again throwing it into the air and causing it to land hard on its front corner. Deep Six is still getting is blade back up to speed and Shatter tries to attack wide from the flank and instead connects with Deep Six’s blade and is yet again thrown by the wayside tumbling through the air and flipping over. Deep Six stays on the attack and Shatter is starting to look a little weary from all this flying around. Shatter’s ass gets caught by Deep Six’s blade and the robot is once again heaved into the air. Shatter continues to stay in Deep Six’s face knowing that the period right after taking a hit is potentially a window of opportunity because Deep Six’s weapon needs to warm back up. Shatter gets underneath Deep Six again as its opponent is turning in place and fires off its axe. The weapon catches Deep Six as it’s lifting off the ground and slams the spinner back down onto the floor causing it to jerk downward and immediately rebound backwards across the box losing one of its two weapon belts in the process. Meanwhile Shatter is thrown in the opposite direction to the far corner of the Battlebox.
Deep Six recovers in the corner behind the Upper Deck and flips itself back over using its “low gear” setting on its weapon (that’s what the chain is for as opposed to the belts). The spinner recovers and makes its way across the floor over to Shatter who is looking a lot worse for wear; Shatter is seemingly immobilized in the corner after that massive attack. Adam Wrigley thinks he’s caught on the floor because he can see all of the wheels spinning from where he’s standing. I think taking all those fucking blasts from Deep Six probably warped the fucking frame or something and now the robot is sitting unevenly on the floor which is a problem when you have fancy wheels like Shatter does. Shatter fires its axe to try and free itself from the floor and you can just see how twisted and bent out of shape the weapon on Shatter is. It looks like a fucking carrot you’d find at one of those stores that specializes in imperfect produce for poor families. Shatter eventually beings to wriggle around and starts moving sideways so Deep Six comes in and smashes Shatter in the face.
The ref says he’s seen enough and starts to count Shatter out but Shatter is still kind of mobile. The BattleBots rules are total dogshit when it comes to showing “movement” and how that’s defined (or not defined depending on how you want to look at it). Shatter is covering a significant amount of distance by swinging its axe and jostling itself sideways but apparently this isn’t good enough for the ref who decides to count the robot out anyways. I know Shatter was mostly dead and there’s no way it could turn this fight around but I still feel that if a robot is moving outside of its own circumference by any means then that should count as mobile. That’s not what the rules say because the rules are more confusing so Shatter is counted out and Deep Six advances to the bracket finals to face Ribbot.
WINNER: Deep Six, KO
DEEP SIX vs. RIBBOT
I can’t say I didn’t think Deep Six would make it this far, but I’m still surprised. Given the way the brackets were set up I definitely saw Deep Six dominating Huge and then when it came to Shatter the fight was either going to be against that robot or a rematch with Pain Train. In both cases I predicted Deep Six as the winner because we all saw what Deep Six did to Pain Train in the main season, good fucking lord. I guess I’m mostly just impressed with the effectiveness of Deep Six’s weapon. It’s nice to see a “novelty” robot like Deep Six work as expected and deliver the killer blows that we all know it’s capable of. Ribbot on the other hand has been performing as expected; again I’ve got Ribbot pegged to make it to the showdown with Lock-Jaw. Double Jeopardy posed a unique threat to Ribbot but ultimately the cannon was not enough to silence the frog and the rolling thunder of Double Jeopardy went down in seconds. Malice was a different ball game but ultimately Ribbot landed the god shot on Malice’s tire and killed the drive on that side meaning the rest of the fight was a blank check. Now? Unless Deep Six uppercuts Ribbot to death I foresee Ribbot using that undercutter to take out Deep Six’s wheels.
Ribbot fires up its spinner and is up to speed in a couple of seconds while Deep Six hangs back in the red square as its massive cleaver gets spinning. Ribbot moves forward but then turns away from Deep Six and drives in a loop because Deep Six is too close to the side of the arena and Ribbot needs its opponent to be in the middle of the box for its strategy to work. Ribbot coaxes Deep Six out of the starting square and immediately begins driving circles around Deep Six looking for an opening. Deep Six isn’t going to give Ribbot one and continues to spin in place always turning to face the frog bot. Ribbot continues to pace around and tries to get at Deep Six’s exposed wheels but just can’t make it around the spinner fast enough. Deep Six marches forward and eventually Ribbot fucks up and very nearly gets caught in Deep Six’s front arms. Ribbot tries to back away but Deep Six pushes forward and its blade connects with Ribbot’s face chipping some pieces off of its heavy steel plow and smashing up the decorative frog shell. These are points for Deep Six and Ribbot has no response but to drive the fuck away from this mess and resume its strategy of speeding around in circles… because so far that’s worked really well for Ribbot.
About 30 seconds pass without any damage whatsoever. Ribbot is still doing peelouts in the arena and Deep Six is pursing its prey. There’s a near miss with Ribbot and another one with Deep Six where the spinner lunges forward but misses and exposes its wheels to Ribbot but neither flop results in carnage. Ribbot flees and just continues to fucking drive in a goddamned circle until Deep Six fucks up on driving and the robot starts turning to face Ribbot, stops, and then starts turning the other direction. This opens up Deep Six’s backside for attack and even though the blade can still reach Ribbot on the backswing the frog decides this is as good of an opening as any and blasts Deep Six in its ass. The resulting hit causes Deep Six to flip out of control and land in the blue square while Ribbot sheds its front left wheel. Ribbot gets underneath Deep Six and carries it to the screws where Deep Six’s stabilizing bars prevent its wheels from touching the ground. This is similar to what happened when Deep Six fought Minotaur and Ribbot is here to take advantage of the situation. Deep Six’s left wheel is at the perfect height to be clipped off and Ribbot scoots in for some critical damage and tears it off.
Deep Six is down a wheel but its weapon generates so much fucking gyroscopic force that the robot can still reel up onto its good side and roll around on the floor. Ribbot continues to avoid Deep Six despite having a couple of openings to nab the other wheel on its opponent. Apparently Deep Six moving around by utilizing the force of its weapon is good enough for the referee. Too bad for Shatter, I guess. Gotta love those inconsistent applications of the rules! Despite losing a wheel Deep Six very nearly careens into Ribbot to do some damage but Ribbot runs away and avoids its opponent. Should this go to the judges it’s going to be a hard call because Deep Six is clearly the aggressor even with only one goddamned wheel. It’s not meant to be however because with only about 30 seconds left in the fight the tread on Deep Six’s surviving tire burns up and comes loose leaving only the plastic hub which doesn’t make any contact with the floor. By running away and avoiding Deep Six, Ribbot was able to cause the spinner to wear down its drive system and skate away with a mildly controversial KO win. It’s a shame for Deep Six because even though I didn’t see it progressing beyond this point I like to be surprised sometimes.
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
RIBBOT vs. LOCK-JAW
Ribbot the frog bot had a rough time in the main tournament by being ranked so highly and Hydra sneaking in the back door with such a low seeding. It was a recipe for disaster and Ribbot was out in the Round of 32. That just gave David Jin and his team time to prepare to kick ass in this special event and that’s what we’ve seen. Ribbot always has the right weapon for the job and we saw surgical takedowns of Double Jeopardy, Malice, and even Deep Six. Lock-Jaw is a bit of a wildcard here; it’s the “boss” robot because last season it climbed the ranks to take out Beta in a Bounty Hunters special but this season it lost all three of its qualification battles and failed to reach the main tournament for the first time in Donald Hutson’s career. Copperhead and Lock-Jaw got into a real tussle and the snake edged out a win by split decision. Hypershock put up a solid fight and eventually kicked Lock-Jaw out of the goddamned arena. Blip just had the ground game and used its flipper on Lock-Jaw non-stop for three solid minutes. So it’s weird because Lock-Jaw is here after winning so many fights but it’s also lost every single fight this season. Ribbot is a hard challenge and Lock-Jaw is equipped with its rear plow to defend against it. We’ll see if it’s enough or if Lock-Jaw smokes itself out yet again.
Lock-Jaw starts things off by backing into Ribbot as expected with its plow. In two bites Ribbot busts off each of the far corners of that fucking thing. Look, I get why the plow is triangular. It’s supposed to resemble the geometry of Lock-Jaw. The problem with that is you have weak ass ends of the plow where the triangle shape tapers off. Now Lock-Jaw is left with a chunk of metal sticking out of its ass and that’s it. Just use a giant fuck off rectangle next time, Donald. Ribbot disposes of the majority of Lock-Jaw’s plow and immediately starts getting to work on reaching the wheels. Lock-Jaw squares up and hits Ribbot weapon-on-weapon and the resulting impact somehow twists Lock-Jaw in such an awkward way that the robot flips over. This is not where Lock-Jaw wants to be; now what’s left of its plow is useless because the tip of the triangle is pointing downward offering zero protection and its front end is higher up off the floor. Ribbot T-bones Lock-Jaw and slices into its wheels ripping up the rubber and the hubs revealing that Lock-Jaw doesn’t even use foam-filled wheels. For fuck’s sake, man.
Ribbot starts circling the wagons on Lock-Jaw and cuts into its opponent’s wheels again and again with each pass. Lock-Jaw lands some hits with its own weapon but they just keep bouncing off of Ribbot’s more durable and sturdier front plow. In a matter of seconds Lock-Jaw is left with four fucking flat tires two of which appear to be seized up. Ribbot makes one more pass at Lock-Jaw and twists up one of the last remaining “working” wheels and Lock-Jaw dies in front of the Upper Deck. The ref tells Donald he needs to start moving or he gets counted out and Lock-Jaw is just dead. Ribbot goes in for one last attack during the countdown to humiliate the legend and the match is called for Ribbot. Lock-Jaw ends this season losing every single goddamned battle that was thrown at it and Ribbot advances on to the main Golden Bolt event with Hypershock and the former champions.
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
I hate to say it but I wasn’t expecting Lock-Jaw to beat Ribbot. I really wasn’t. I had Ribbot as my predicted winner and I was right about that. Props to Deep Six for making it as far as it did though, like I said it’s always great to see a one trick robot do its “trick” so successfully. Deep Six’s absolute beating of Shatter is legendary. The force behind that weapon is second to none. A vertical Tombstone, literally. With Ribbot and Hypershock advancing into the main event the champions might want to start worrying; these are two robots with something to prove. They were both eliminated early on in the tournament and this is their moment to shine. So far… they’ve been shining pretty fucking bright.
Next week’s brackets are revealed at the end of this episode too and looking at the participants I don’t really see a clear “winner” in the mix. I suppose Uppercut is a safe bet because we’ve seen the carnage that robot can bring especially when there’s a fuel tank involved. Icewave is another potential choice but it’s up against Free Shipping and I know Gary Gin is a master of driving and control so I don’t think Icewave will have what it takes to trump that. Glitch is also here and Glitch really surprised a lot of folks when it burst onto the scene and dominated Hydra in what was supposed to be a rigged pushover win for the flipper. Glitch has been trending upward with its performances and since the robot had to forfeit the main tournament after not being able to get ready in time we’re still yet to see what this robot is fully capable of! So there are a lot of potential winners in this bracket; an Uppercut versus Glitch bracket final would certainly be interesting.
That’s a wrap on BattleBots Update for this week. I’ve got to say I’m enjoying the Golden Bolt event so far. Since these were taped in between the primary tournament bouts a lot of the heavy hitters are absent. For example, we’re not going to see Hydra in this event at all. This gives a fair second chance to other teams who either didn’t qualify or were eliminated early to show us what they’re made of and I think that’s pretty damn cool. Who would’ve expected Hypershock to rise from the dead and absolutely demolish Gigabyte the way it did? I certainly didn’t that’s for sure.
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See you next week!