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tickle tickle

We’re now half way through BattleBots: Champions and so far not a single “legend” robot has been able to hold their ground against the sea of challengers. Most recently we saw Glitch just sorta Mr. Magoo its way through the brackets and sucker punch Rotator so hard that Rotator shit its guts out and died. The fights have been anything but boring though and the surprises and upsets are part and parcel of robot combat, you never know what’s going to happen when the green light drops. That said there are still two more qualifiers to complete before the Golden Bolt brackets are locked and loaded so let’s get on with the show and find out who the bounty bot is.

The opening fight of the episode sees Big Dill fighting Bloodsport. Big Dill is another one of those robots who was absent from the main season and is only competing in Champions, though its designer and driver Emmanuel Carrillo could be seen as a driver for Jager. Blade, the South Korean Tombstone, is matched up with Kraken in a fight that sure to see someone getting their ass bitten. Deadlift is going to try and bench press Blacksmith but will have to be mindful of Blacksmith’s new “Power Hammer” weapon. Finally, Switchback has been patched up from its run in with Huge and will be facing off against Lucky who’s also presumably been patched up from its bad draw against Tantrum. All of these competitors will be after one another in order to see who squares off against this episode’s qualifier boss, Skorpios.

Skorpios was the winner of the Icewave bounty bracket last season after a strong showing in the main tournament too. Luck hasn’t been favoring the legends but if any robot could hold its ground I’d say Skorpios could probably do it. Maybe?



Team Food Fight

Weapon: Lifting forks


Bots N’ Stuff Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Stepping on Legos = major owie

Much like how Double Jeopardy was in last week’s episode but absent from this season’s main tournament fights so too has Big Dill skipped the Giant Nut tournament in favor of cameoing in the Golden Bolt event. Maybe Big Dill arrived late. Maybe it wasn’t ready in time to compete in the main season. Whatever the case Big Dill was present for taping and is here to vie for the latest and greatest in BattleBots trophies. Big Dill’s weapon is a massive lifting fork capable of easily entrapping and raising opponents up. Last time we saw this robot it was able to stab Atom #94 and Perfect Phoenix for a couple of wins however against some of the deadlier spinners this robot faltered and fell apart. Big Dill has seen greater success outside of BattleBots where it competes with a yellow paint job under the name “Banana Runt”.

I mentioned Perfect Phoenix a second ago and Bloodsport is that robot if it were properly modernized and realized. (Perfect Phoenix is a rebuild of 2009 BattleBots champion Brutality, so it’s old hardware.) Bloodsport is armed with an overhead helicopter blade reminiscent of the glory days of robots like Hazard. It hits hard, it follows through, and it wins fights. Out of the gate this season Bloodsport was given a tall order by being drawn to fight Whiplash, which it lost, but it rebounded against SubZero by winning the fight by one of its trademark KO’s. Bloodsport wrapped up its qualifiers by defeating Claw Viper in a brutal fight that saw Claw Viper’s lifting weapon get completely thrashed. Bloodsport was onto the Giant Nut tournament but unfortunately fought Minotaur in round one and Minotaur’s design is a hard counter for bots like Bloodsport. Bloodsport was absolutely humiliated though it did survive the full three minutes. It’s the little things, I guess.

What a dis-ASS-ter.

Big Dill goes for a box rush at the start but Bloodsport dodges to the only open side of the arena. You can thank the giant shelf for fucking up peoples’ options in dodging box rushes. Bloodsport is getting up to speed and Big Dill corrects its orientation and goes for a quick lunge at Bloodsport. This isn’t Justin Marple’s first rodeo so he’s expecting shit like this and cleanly backs out of the way. You’re 0-2 on attacks now, Big Dill. Might want to think about prepping for a doomsday hit because that storm is coming your way. Bloodsport is now up to top speed (and then some) and cruises in to slash at Big Dill’s face. Before the fight Peter Abrahamson pointed out the little Legos that are welded onto Big Dill’s front plow and how they’re at the perfect height to absorb blows from Bloodsport. That doesn’t seem to matter much because Bloodsport rails Big Dill hard enough to send both bots spinning in opposite directions. Big Dill seems okay after the attack and has its lifting forks raised to keep them out of danger. Bloodsport comes in for hit #2 and bounces off of the glued on Legos. This puts Bloodsport nicely onto Big Dill’s plow right in front of the screws.

Going for the hazard is the obvious play for Big Dill so it scoops up its opponent and drives toward the screws in the red square. Bloodsport’s weapon is hitting and bouncing off of Big Dill’s raised lifters this whole time and eventually Bloodsport’s blade clips the big sprocket helping drive Big Dill’s weaponry and you can see the chain just snap off of it and fall limp. Big Dill has lost more fights than it’s won in BattleBots but this is the first time that’s happened. Bloodsport coasts off of Big Dill’s plow and bumps the screws. Big Dill says “fuck it” and still tries to drive its opponent into the hazard but it almost looks like there’s more damage done to its weapon than that hit made it seem because the forks look like they’re just loose and ready to fucking fall off. For some reason, possibly because its weapon is now dragging on the floor, Big Dill has problems backing away from where it is in the arena. It scoots forward and rams its dead forks into the screws in front of it and you can just hear this shitty hazard start grinding loudly as it seizes up. Chris Rose says the screws should reverse to let Big Dill out but yeah fat fucking chance man those things are straight up broken.

BattleBots goatse

As Big Dill gets stuck in the screws Bloodsport comes in and chops into its opponent’s backside and visibly fucks up the back left wheel and part of the rear armor panel on Big Dill. This hit doesn’t free Big Dill from the screws either. I don’t know if Bloodsport is trying to do the sportsmanlike thing of helping its opponent out of the hazard or if it’s just on the hunt for cheap shots but the second time Bloodsport comes in and hacks at Big Dill it manages to rip Big Dill’s entire ass end off and hurl it across the floor. The ref starts counting down Big Dill and the editors cut to close-up of the dead robot where you can see its back wheel turning but it’s raised off of the floor on account of being jammed into the hazard. Big Dill’s minibot won’t get out of Bloodsport’s face and it seems like the two robots are actually fighting each other. Bloodsport ends the battle with a second left in the KO countdown by whacking the minibot and just throwing it across the goddamned floor. There’s no telling where that thing ended up but that’s at least the second time this season that Bloodsport has murdered a child.

WINNER: Bloodsport, KO



Team Robogym

Weapon: Clamping/lifting arm


Team Half Fast Astronaut

Weapon: Hammer saw

Dueling flamethrowers!

Deadlift is what happens when the bros at the gym all watch BattleBots together and then decide to build a robot of their own. The result is a grappling & lifting robot that’s supposed to have a flexing bicep as the grappler arm but in actuality it looks more like a clubbed penis. Yes, I am aware of that one episode of Always Sunny where this is a literal exact punchline. Deadlift gets around though; it competed in not one but two Bounty Hunters events last season so you know the team is tenacious and that’s a good thing! This season however Deadlift was one of those robots that didn’t even get a third qualifier because it had done so poorly that the producers didn’t see the point. Deadlift rematched against Jackpot, a robot it had previously defeated in Bounty Hunters, and failed to make lightning strike twice. Icewave really struggled this year but Deadlift was the spinner’s first win after a particularly hard strike caused Deadlift’s battery connectors to separate rendering the whole robot immobile.

he finna do it

The phrase “BIG TIME HAMMER” was coined for Blacksmith. Yes that was just an offhanded remark from Chris Rose that I turned into “a thing” using this platform but it sounded cool and a flamethrowing fucking hammer is the perfect definition of “big time hammer”. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done even if that meant pigeonholing Blacksmith into a certain expectation. I said it best a couple seasons ago but Blacksmith puts asses in seats. This season the big time hammer was redesigned into what’s now officially called the “Power Hammer” and it’s basically a hammer saw like what Skorpios and Sawblaze have except Al Kindle has kept the flamethrower aspect alive in the hammer so it can slice opponents open and then burn their insides. That kind of worked against Free Shipping where Blacksmith won a unanimous decision but it failed against Shatter when Shatter worked some magic of its own to bring out a fucking sword to cut Blacksmith’s weapon chain with. Blacksmith rounded out its season with a battle against Malice in a slam fest that went on for three straight minutes and saw massive destruction at the hands of Malice; Blacksmith was tore the fuck up. I’m talking power hammer splayed open, front plow banged up, the robot on fire. The works. Beautiful. Also Blacksmith didn’t win and failed to qualify for the primary tournament.

Blacksmith just fucking sends it.

Blacksmith’s plan is to just throw punches where opportune. Deadlift’s strategy requires it to get underneath Blacksmith. Deadlift fails on the outset when Blacksmith’s front forks defeat Deadlift’s wedge meaning the gym bot is in for an uphill battle. Deadlift is immediately brought into the wall by the drivers’ booth as Blacksmith tries lining up a shot. So far Blacksmith’s power hammer is lacking in the “power” category because its spinning disc is doing a whole lot of fucking nothing; it’s having issues getting going. That doesn’t stop Deadlift from straight up panicking when it’s pressed against the wall however; Deadlift is trying to get away so badly that it’s literally burning fucking rubber with its back tire. Blacksmith revs up the power hammer and lets loose with a blow that dents in the armor atop Deadlift’s left side. The robot was already kind of driving like shit to start with but if there wasn’t something wrong with Deadlift’s left side of drive there probably is now.

Deadlift gets away toward the center of the floor and Blacksmith comes in to graze the tip of its grappling dick with its power hammer. Both robots have their flamethrowers going which means somewhere in the season I forgot Deadlift had one. Again. Blacksmith sizes Deadlift up and goes for an across the box slam and takes Deadlift into the wall hard enough to very nearly topple the whole robot over. Chris Rose says Blacksmith almost dropped Deadlift out of the arena. Maybe a couple seasons ago, buddy. There’s slanted walls all around the arena perimeter now so shit like that can’t happen anymore but no by all means go off Chris you’re the person they hired to commentate these fights.

One final hit for the judges.

Blacksmith is keeping Deadlift against the screws and the only time Deadlift is able to move away from them is when Blacksmith backs off to try and slam Deadlift into the wall but accidentally drags Deadlift out with it. There’s just nothing going on with Deadlift in this fight; after that first exchange something caused its right side of drive to shit itself and the robot has had nothing offensively this whole fight and now the timer is appearing to signal the middle point of the match. Blacksmith again takes Deadlift into the screws and drops the power hammer carving into the plastic padding of Deadlift’s front right corner. The ref says he’s finally going to count out Deadlift but apparently he’s waiting for Blacksmith to stop engaging before he starts the count. Look you fucking doofus, is Deadlift in or is Deadlift out? Blacksmith fucking with Deadlift should have no bearing on whether or not the robot is mobile. If the robot is incapacitated call it incapacitated. I swear these rules make less sense as the years go on.

Not a lot is happening in this fight aside from Blacksmith parading Deadlift around to every corner of the floor and slamming it into one of the short corners of the Upper Deck. Blacksmith throws another punch that really digs into the front of Deadlift with some bite and visibly fucks up part of the robot’s armor padding. Deadlift is just along for the ride. With only a few seconds left to spare Al Kindle decides to really earn that soon-to-be 3-0 judges’ call by popping Deadlift one last time… and Blacksmith’s weapon belt flies off. Good thing that happened 2:59 into the fight and not, you know, on the first fucking attack otherwise this fight probably would’ve been “cut for time”.

WINNER: Blacksmith, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Team Midnight Invention

Weapon: Vertical spinning discs


TKO Robotics

Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm

When Switchback works it works GOOD.

It’s always a treat when someone brings something new to the table and that’s what Greg Needel has done with Switchback. This is a robot whose weapon is an array of spinning discs acting as a sort of drum mounted onto a pivot point capable of rotating a full 360 degrees around its axis. Think of it as “Suitcase Chomp” if Chomp’s 360 degree hammer was a spinning weapon instead. The weapon is so heavy that this robot is essentially a middleweight with another middleweight attached to it as the weapon. Switchback tested its design against Gruff in its first fight but had some gremlins to deal with when the robot was flipped over. Theoretically Switchback should be able to right itself using its weapon array but this proved not to be the case due to a mechanical failure. Switchback returned for a second match against Slammo that was pretty underwhelming; neither robot seemed to be operating at 100% but Switchback was able to outlast its opponent and score a win. In Switchback’s final qualifier fight it met Huge and this fight could’ve really gone either way because Switchback is uniquely able to strike Huge where it hurts. This didn’t matter in the end though because Huge destroyed Switchback’s weaponry and left the robot for dead.

Hailing from Canada it’s who else but Lucky. Lucky has participated in most of the reboot seasons of BattleBots and has done “okay”. It’s not shocking the world with its pneumatic flipping arm but it’s also not a total write-off. Lucky’s first fight was against eventual champion Tantrum and Lucky very nearly had this fight packed up when Tantrum got stuck on the wall. Lucky freed it however and that proved to be a bad move. Lucky was repaired and armored up for its fight against Blade and after knocking Blade into the wall, causing Blade’s weapon to break, Lucky shot a free throw with the robot that landed it on top of the screws for a KO. Finally Lucky fought Mammoth and its flipping arm was acting more like a fist here because it literally socked one of Mammoth’s wheels off and then threw the entire fucking robot onto its side for a KO win. That was almost three KO’s for Lucky which would’ve been its best showing to date but it just had to dick with Tantrum.

And when Lucky doesn’t work… it looks like this.

Lucky is wise to avoid Switchback’s weaponry; we haven’t seen it do serious damage but you don’t want to be the one to find out what it’s capable of. Also you just don’t want to give them free shit from the judges. Matt Olson, the RC car champion behind the wheel of Lucky, tries some fancy maneuvers in the box to juke and dodge around Switchback but it’s all for naught because Switchback catches Lucky on its side and whacks it hard enough to seize up the front right wheel on the flipper. Lucky fires and misses with its flipping arm and the arm gets jammed on the way down. Fucking, how? Switchback didn’t even hit that! Lucky is visibly having problems driving around and now Switchback has also decided to crap out like we’ve always seen it do.

The ref watching Lucky waits for the robot to break down and start smoking before he says anything but eventually the countdown starts for Lucky. Switchback comes back to life while Lucky is being counted out so you know they’re not going to try any funny shit like ruling this a “double knock out” or whatever. Not the turn I expected this fight to take. Thanks for letting me down, Lucky.

WINNER: Switchback, KO




Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade


CE Robotics

Weapon: Pneumatic crushing jaw

when u eat teh whole bag of pop rocks

I love BattleBots’ international competitors. Except for Lucky. Canada doesn’t count. Coming from South Korea, the land of Gangnam Style, is Cheog Gyu Hwang and his robot Blade. Blade is a hybridization of Hypershock and Tombstone bringing the look and flair of Will Bales’ robot with the sheer killing power of Ray Billings’ former champion. It’s a heavy hitter and is finally here after a COVID postponement caused it to drop out last season. Blade’s first ever opponent on US soil was Skorpios which was a slaughter and not in a good way for Blade; Skorpios just decimated this thing and whaled on it for three straight minutes. Cheog gave the Skorpios team a piece of armor after the fight with “freaking hurts” written on it in Korean, that’s how bad it was. Blade could’ve stood a better chance against Lucky but you already know how that fight went because I just talked about it. Blade’s last fight was with Dragon Slayer and it was finally a knock out win that Blade was looking for. Sadly it was too little too late however and Blade didn’t make it into the main tournament.

Kraken does some breakdancing.

Chris Rose introduces Kraken by saying it’s only failed to make it to the buzzer in a fight once “this decade”. Wow dude this was taped in 2021 that’s a time span of exactly one fucking year. Impressive! I think more impressive is the fact that Kraken is one of the robots who’s beaten Ribbot but whatever. This year was a bad year for the bitey bot though because in Kraken’s first match it met Rotator who blew this thing to fucking pieces. Kraken’s air bag exploded violently causing the robot’s whole goddamned head to deform and fall apart. The same thing happened while fighting Hijinx when the spinner’s bar met with Kraken’s head. This time Kraken even lost a tooth and you know those things are built to be rock solid. This was kind of a shitty fight but someone had to win and that was Hijinx. Finally Kraken met Glitch and since you know from last week’s show that Glitch is now 7-0 I don’t think I need to explain what happened here; Glitch kicked Kraken right in the ass and caused its drive motors to die.

Kraken kind of gets a false start but it doesn’t leave its square so I guess no one cared enough to reset the fight and take it from the top again. Whatever. Blade is up to speed in mere seconds and starts trying to do its signature move of ducking in and swinging around. Kraken’s Matt Spurk knows about this strategy and he said his plan was to back off and do the same maneuver. I don’t think it works when your weapon is a biting jaw. Blade lands a hit that cuts open the mouth of Kraken followed by another shot that worsens the gash. After these two back to back strikes Blade looks like it just dies by the Killsaws but apparently it was fine; it was either intentionally bracing for an attack from Kraken or it was stuck on the floor like our friend Glitch is wont to do. In any case Blade cruises away and rips apart the stuffed narwhal that fell off of Kraken’s minibot.


Kraken changes up its strategy and starts trying to lure Blade over toward one of the corners of the arena near the shelf but Blade isn’t buying that bullshit and knows not to get involved. Blade takes out its frustrations on the mobile part of Kraken’s minibot and turns the little bot into, uh, ticker tape? Kraken gets out of the corner and goes for Blade and takes a whammy of a shot that throws the robot onto its goofy ass head. Kraken can self right, just give a second. The robot rolls around on one wheel before falling onto its head and rolling back down letting the rest of the chassis flip forward in the process. If Blade really wanted to be effective it would’ve come in and decapitated Kraken while its head was on the floor. Maybe we would’ve seen another airbag explosion. Instead Blade just casually waits to get in Kraken’s face and winds up getting its rear plow hooked on Kraken’s teeth.

It’s not a good grip but Kraken does have one of its teeth down around the back plow of Blade. Kraken looks like it wants to slam Blade into the wall near the drivers’ booth but then it stops, turns around, and heads back toward the Upper Deck where Kraken tries feeding Blade into the screws. Blade hasn’t spun down its blade either which is something most drivers would do to avoid destroying their fucking weapon – something Blade is intimately familiar with – so the robot is just jerking around as its weapon comes into contact with all sorts of shit. After jostling around Blade’s blade starts ripping apart the outer rubber of Kraken’s left wheel. Since Kraken is still driving forward into the screws this just results in Blade making a total fucking mess and ripping off a thousand little chunks of foam and spreading them all over the place.

Kraken is in this still somewhere.

Kraken could easily right this wrong by letting go of Blade but this is the first bite Kraken’s gotten so Matt wants to hold Blade for as long as possible for maximum control points even if it costs him the damage points he wasn’t going to get anyways. I mean, I guess that’s a sound plan? There’s more damage points than control points though so good luck getting the math to work in your favor there. Blade is eventually released and returns with a shot that goes into the gap torn into Kraken’s plow and strikes the right wheel visibly bending its axle. This kills the tire completely. Are the refs going to say anything about it? I’ll leave that for you to discover. Blade sorta crabwalks up to Kraken and sticks its weapon down its opponent’s throat and manages to tear off the rest of the damaged “tongue” part of the robot leaving Kraken with no wedge. Another volley of shots sees one of the struts of the front wedge get torn off meaning all that’s left is a baseplate and a chunk of twisted metal.

The refs never counted Kraken out (surprise surprise) so this fight goes to the judges. To the surprise of no one the winner is Blade. After the fight Matt Spurk makes the emotional reveal that Kraken is to be retired so we just witnessed the robot’s last ever fight. Matt has later said Kraken will be redesigned so the robot’s current state is confusing but whatever the case is Matt I know you’ll bring something excellent to the next taping.

WINNER: Blade, Judges’ Decision (3-0)




Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade


Bots N’ Stuff Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

For all you Bloodsport haters out there.

This is a battle I was expecting to see. So far with the exception of Switchback making it through the first round the brackets are going as predicted. We just got done seeing Blade absolutely shred Kraken to bits. Kraken’s ass was kicked so badly that the team retired the robot. Maybe they were planning on doing that anyways but Blade gave it one hell of a send off. Blade did win its fight with Dragon Slayer but that was over pretty quickly so the Kraken fight was the first time we’ve seen Blade go three minutes and slaughter someone. If this is what Blade can bring to the table I like it. Meanwhile Bloodsport had a relatively easy win over Big Dill that was dangerous at first because of Big Dill’s leverage but that proved to be its downfall when Bloodsport clipped the lifting mechanism chain of Big Dill rendering the robot’s weapon useless.

Both spinners get their respective weapons up to speed and you can tell from the size and weight difference that Bloodsport takes a couple seconds longer to fully get going. No matter though, Bloodsport is out of its square and darting toward the open half of the arena to give it some space to warm up while Blade hangs back in its square to rev up. If I were Blade my strategy would be to use my rear plow to slow down and potentially destabilize Bloodsport and then whip around with the cutter to deal some damage. That appears to possibly be the plan here because Blade deflects Bloodsport once with its plow. Unfortunately Blade also looks like it’s driving like shit again for some reason and the robot is acting like it’s lost one side of drive or something. It probably hasn’t, it’s just too low to the floor. I could’ve sworn BattleBots fixed the arena and invested in a brand new floor after bots like Tombstone and Deep Six shit all over it in seasons past.

Blade Status: BUTT MANGLED

Blade is spinning around in place but Bloodsport is out for, well, blood. The helicopter spinner comes in for another shot and Blade deflects it again but this time Bloodsport hits Blade on the side of its rear plow. This causes Blade’s rear plow to splay open from its hinge and if you watch closely you’ll see parts fly out of the open part of Blade’s back when this happens. I’m not an expert (actually yes I am) but it’s my assessment that this is what we in the biz call an “uh oh”. Blade’s rear plow has been knocked downward by the force of Bloodsport’s hit and it seems to be jammed as if its hinge is broken. When the cameras cut to a close-up of Blade you can see its wheels are spinning but because they are so small the wedge is acting like a kickstand and is propping Blade up off the ground just barely high enough to keep its wheels from touching the floor. Everything else on Blade works fine; the blade is spinning, the self righter waves helplessly. The problem is the robot is high centered on itself and now it’s being counted out.

Bloodsport holds off on going in for round three because Justin Marple knows Blade’s weapon is a motherfucker. We all saw the Kraken fight. As the ref counts Blade out we’ve learned one thing this episode about Bloodsport: it’s very good at destroying asses.

WINNER: Bloodsport, KO



Team Midnight Invention

Weapon: Vertical spinning discs


Team Half Fast Astronaut

Weapon: Hammer saw

Blacksmith rips a whole ass chunk of Switchback off.

Up next are two robots who also won their first fights but had two completely different showings in that opening round. Switchback is in the red square and is here because it managed to defeat Lucky in a single blow. I don’t know whether that speaks to the power behind Switchback’s weapon or the shitty build quality of Lucky. The answer is somewhere in the middle. Switchback plowed into Lucky’s side going full blast and caused one of the flipper’s wheels to seize. That was enough for a KO. Blacksmith in the blue square is here because it absolutely dominated Deadlift and won by a convincing decision. Deadlift just couldn’t get anything going in that fight and was subject to three minutes of non-stop power hammer action. The more I read that the more it sounds like a porno summary so let’s just move on.

Switchback takes a page from the Glitch school of fighting and charges at Blacksmith only to wiggle its ass in its face at the end of the dash. Blacksmith could’ve just driven straight into Switchback but not many drivers are expecting the fake out so Blacksmith cuts a wide turn around its opponent to ensure that the disc of its power hammer is at maximum speed before it comes in to do some damage. Switchback actually draws first blood as the bots dance around in the middle of the arena and if you look closely that side panel that Switchback hits is bent up on the corner now. Perhaps we’ve been underestimating Switchback’s weapon? Blacksmith is able to use its heavily armored front end to get underneath Switchback and using nothing more than inertia kicks the orange robot into the corner and under the Pulverizer. I can’t explain inertia to you but I can repeat the phrase from Bill Nye the Science Guy that “inertia is a property of matter”. I miss Bill Nye on BattleBots.

Blacksmith ventilates Switchback’s asshole.

There’s no communication between Al Kindle and his teammate who’s laying on the Pulverizer button because the hammer keeps dropping non-stop and Al is trying to score points of his own with Blacksmith’s weapon but winds up hitting the Pulverizer instead. Eventually he gets an open shot and lets loose on the trigger and Blacksmith’s power hammer connects with the right sprocket powering Switchback’s weapon pivot and obliterates it sending the chain flying off. Switchback is in trouble and because it’s so fucking top heavy Blacksmith is able to use its leading front forks to get underneath Switchback and tip it over. Switchback is able to right itself using its pivoting weapon arm but it’s missing a chain now so it might not be strong enough to lift the robot up. That proves to not be the case and Switchback slowly flips back over as Blacksmith throws another punch that chews into the struts holding Switchback’s weapon sprockets in place. Look at the absolute chunk of metal that gets ripped off of the robot here. If you had any doubts about the new power hammer now’s the time to shut the fuck up.

Switchback is dazed in the corner and quickly makes the mistake of driving over the chain that it shed a few moments ago. Switchback doesn’t have the ground clearance to do something stupid like this so it winds up getting partially high centered on the dead chain. Rather than capitalize on this moment Blacksmith holds back possibly because Switchback’s spinner is up to speed and pointing in its general direction. Switchback’s weapon operator says “everything’s good we’re all operational” and almost immediately the fucking driver casts a shadow of doubt on that as the robot lurches forward and expends its weapon energy into the Upper Deck. Blacksmith takes this moment of weakness as an opportunity to come back in for an attack and lands a shot to Switchback’s backside that visibly slices right through the top armor. Is that just straight up aluminum? Against something like Blacksmith??? Blacksmith keeps Switchback in the short corner and very nearly tips it over a second time. Blacksmith lines up another shot and takes it this time really getting into Switchback’s ass and ripping a huge gash in the robot. That’s two new assholes Blacksmith has given Switchback but the robot refuses to give up.

“Go on, fucking DO something.”

Blacksmith shoves Switchback back under the Pulverizer for some more humiliation before landing a glancing blow to Switchback’s powered down weapon that does minimal damage. After this run Switchback is able to crawl its way out of the corner and get back into the ring. It even lands another glancing blow to Blacksmith that kicks the hammer bot backwards and possibly even causes Blacksmith to start smoking a little bit, though I think that might be from Blacksmith overexerting itself in the fight which we’ve seen happen before. This hit also appears to kill Switchback completely though because it backs into the center spire of the Upper Deck and just sorta stops moving altogether. Given how much damage Switchback has taken, especially those blows that cut straight through the armor, it’s hard to make an armchair determination as to what killed the robot but I’m assuming something got kicked loose in that hit. Blacksmith doesn’t know this though and goes ahead and cuts the other chain off of Switchback’s weapon pivot. If Switchback were still alive that would hinder it greatly but there isn’t much you can do to a corpse to disarm it considering it’s already fucking dead.

Switchback’s driver acknowledges that the robot is dead and the ref counts it down. That’s Blacksmith and Bloodsport in the bracket finals just like I said. I don’t get paid enough to do this shit.

WINNER: Blacksmith, KO



Team Half Fast Astronaut

Weapon: Hammer saw


Bots N’ Stuff Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc

Blacksmith attempts to attack the “Replay” graphic.

The winner of this fight will face off against Skorpios. Of the two robots in this match Bloodsport is the one with an axe to grind because it’s beaten Skorpios before. Because its opponent Blacksmith attacks from the top you can see Bloodsport is equipped with its large disc-like spinning blade because the added metal of the disc both adds weight to the weapon so it hits harder and it also acts like armor. Bloodsport has had quick victories so far but this fight will definitely test what it’s made of; there won’t be an easy two hit victory like Big Dill and Blade here. Blacksmith on the other hand is also outfitted with a new attachment, the plow we saw in its fight against Malice. Look for Blacksmith to charge at Bloodsport, slow it down, and then attack with the power hammer. Blacksmith has been in top form this episode with dominant wins over both Deadlift and Switchback but this one also won’t be an easy road either.

It takes Bloodsport two hits before we see a significant attack from the spinner. That’s it. The first hit just puts a scratch in the front plow of Blacksmith but on the second one Bloodsport catches Blacksmith from behind the curved edge of its plow and this throws the robot over onto its head. Blacksmith self rights, Bloodsport loses one of its two front wedgelets. No idea what the team uses to hold those things on with but maybe next season they should try bolts. Blacksmith is blowing fire constantly but it’s not swinging its hammer because doing so would put it straight down into a spinning weapon and we’ve seen how that pans out for the big time hammer. Blacksmith is trying to hold its ground when it goes head-on into Bloodsport but there’s enough kinetic energy in Bloodsport’s spinner that Blacksmith inevitably gets spun around and this opens its backside up to attack. We all know what happens when there’s an exposed ass in Bloodsport’s vicinity. Bloodsport lands a shot to Blacksmith’s backside and visibly peels away part of the side armor where it meets the back.

Oh no it’s going CRITICAL

Blacksmith is lucky it still has its weapon after that back attack. The robot floors it across the arena to meet up with Bloodsport and hits it hard enough to pop Bloodsport into the air. This doesn’t stop Bloodsport’s spinner so Blacksmith isn’t going to swing its hammer but it does continue driving forward to try and flip the spinner over. This fails and Bloodsport winds up ripping a massive gash into Blacksmith’s right side panels that’s sure to piss off Blacksmith’s Nuclear Blast sponsor. Blacksmith bumps Bloodsport a couple more times and lands another shot that pops Bloodsport up a few inches. Kenny Florian notices the giant fucking gash in Blacksmith’s side and calls it out thinking this is the hit that caused it. Oh what I would give to just have a quiet mind that isn’t racing with thoughts like what Kenny clearly has. Bloodsport lands a hit that spins Blacksmith around and follows this up with a secondary hit to Blacksmith’s ass a second time. Bloodsport gets too close to the arena wall however and Blacksmith finally takes the opportunity to attack.

Chris Rose calls the shots out as Blacksmith makes it to two with a third glancing hit before Bloodsport gets away. Obviously little to no damage has been done to Bloodsport considering Blacksmith is just hitting its giant fucking steel spinner but at least it’s putting some points on the board. The two robots resume colliding with each other in the middle of the Battlebox and as the one minute warning approaches you can see Bloodsport slowly getting worn out; the spinner is still going but it slows down a lot easier and at some points even powers down momentarily. Blacksmith takes it into the wall at one point and the hit is enough to stop Bloodsport’s weapon entirely, though the robot is able to dart away and get going again. Bloodsport is tired and this last minute of the fight is where Blacksmith has to turn it around to even out the scorecards. Blacksmith answers the call by taking Bloodsport into the screws behind the red square.

Bloodsport trying to attack from the ropes.

There’s a little under a minute to go and we spend at least half of that time at these fucking screws. Blacksmith slams Bloodsport into the hazard and the screws slowly chew Bloodsport up on top of them all while Blacksmith is slap chopping away like it was trying to sell you a shitty As Seen On TV product. Blacksmith backs away presumably because of the “no pinning” rule and the screws reverse. Bloodsport gets caught on its one remaining wedgelet and can’t get down from the hazard. Blacksmith has given ample time to satisfy the ref so it goes back in and slams its opponent back into the hazard. The screws pull at Bloodsport dragging it back up onto them again until the robot bounces loose and finally gets away. That was a major page turner in this fight for Blacksmith and I’d say we’re staring down a really close battle. Imagine the look on my face then when it in the last ten goddamned seconds Blacksmith shoves Bloodsport into the wall but is early on the trigger and winds up bringing its hammer down on Bloodsport’s spinner while it’s still going top speed.

Blacksmith’s weapon fucking explodes. The fight ends. The last thing the judges see is Blacksmith’s power hammer bracket going spread eagle and its disc falls out while its belt is thrown across the floor. Somehow it’s still a split decision and Jason Bardis once again is the judge in the hot seat who wasn’t paying attention. He was too busy staring into the eyes of that little replica of Dr. Inferno Jr. and imagining the days when he was once a BattleBots champion.

WINNER: Bloodsport, Judges’ Decision (2-1)



Bots N’ Stuff Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc


Bot Bash Party Crew

Weapon: Hammer saw

Who even gets the points for this hit?

Here it is, a rematch between Bloodsport and Skorpios. The last time these robots met was in season 10 where Bloodsport won by decision. Will the score be settled? Or will Bloodsport simply be the next robot in line to punch their ticket over the husk of a fallen gatekeeper? Bloodsport made it through the tournament mini-brackets by eradicating Big Dill, Blade, and Blacksmith. The first two fights ended with knock outs in under a minute but the latter went to the bell and resulted in a split decision. Bloodsport doesn’t play too well against heavily armored plows and that’s exactly what Skorpios is packing for this match. Skorpios has been getting better and better each season so just because it lost to Bloodsport a season ago doesn’t mean it’ll lose again this year. Skorpios started out the season with a win over Blade so brutal that even refused to post footage of it. That would be Skorpios’ high point however because Whiplash was up next and we all know how well fights go when they start with “Whiplash was up next”. Skorpios lost and went on to fight the newly rebuilt Yeti and lost in a close split decision. Because of its pedigree however Skorpios was still considered for a play-in for the 32nd seed and defeated Malice to claim the spot. This meant that it would fight the #1 seed, End Game, and Skorpios was promptly put out to pasture once more.

Skorpios goes for… a pin. How exciting.

Bloodsport starts the fight by darting toward the drivers’ booth to hopefully dodge Skorpios. This would be a good strategy if Zach Lytle didn’t just say “he has nowhere to run” noting the existence of that stupid shelf before the fight. Skorpios is onto Bloodsport’s shit and shunts the spinner away. Bloodsport lands a couple more glancing blows to Skorpios’ face but little damage is done and it’s almost as if Bloodsport’s weapon isn’t operating at 100% because I can see it visibly slowing down. I know this robot came into this fight with only one wedgelet for some stupid goddamned reason but if the robot is still worn out from the Blacksmith fight that doesn’t bode well for its chances here. Skorpios doesn’t fuck around, it fucks around even less than Blacksmith and Blacksmith already takes no shit from anyone. Skorpios eventually catches Bloodsport on the little hooks of its front plow and stops the weapon. Skorpios spins up its own disc and goes in on the attack as Kenny Florian misspeaks and calls Bloodsport’s weapon a “try-again blade”. I think the word you’re looking for is either “triangular” or “tri-tipped”.

Much like Blacksmith we aren’t going to see Skorpios dig through Bloodsport’s giant steel weapon disc; these hits are purely for show and to score some points with the judges. By pinning Bloodsport against the wall and attacking successfully with its weapon arm Skorpios is winning control points and maybe a damage point or two on technicality. Bloodsport gets away from the wall and dodges into the corner which is kind of a bad move because it’s stuck in the corner now and Skorpios is on it a second time landing some glancing shots with its hammer saw. Skorpios’ weapon is looking a little weak though and not just because it isn’t damaging solid steel; it looks like the disc isn’t even really spinning all that fast. This thing is chain driven so there’s not a belt slipping or anything. Guys, just rev that fucking thing up it’s literally that simple. Bloodsport again gets away and spends some time grinding sparks off of Skorpios’ face but neither robot seems able to damage the other. Skorpios gets another pin and now it’s just attacking with a disc that isn’t even fucking spinning. Come the fuck on.

Bloodsport cocks up the weapon of Skorpios.

As Bloodsport gets away for the third time Skorpios’ hammer saw fails to retract meaning both the disc and the pivoting mechanisms are somehow fucked despite this robot literally having all the time in the goddamned world to get ready for this fight. Bloodsport gets spinning again and Skorpios has no choice but to lead in with its plow hammer saw there or not and it takes a shot that bends its weapon at a near 45 degree angle. Somehow the disc still “tries” to spin but all it does is twitch a couple of times every few seconds. We might be looking at another Rotator scenario where the spinning disc of Bloodsport just hacks the whole weapon arm off of Skorpios. Despite having a bent and dead weapon Skorpios is still the robot in control of this fight as it successfully ensnares Bloodsport with its hooked plow and takes it right back into the wall. It goes for a pin for as long as it’s allowed to before it has to let Bloodsport go.

Skorpios putting its trophy on the shelf.

Chris Rose says there’s a minute to go. Kill me now. This fight sucks. Bloodsport is doing fuck all and its weapon stops when Skorpios so much as touches it and Skorpios’ weapon was dead on arrival I’m just going to say that; it wasn’t spinning with any sense of purpose from the start of the fight and Bloodsport did zero damage to it in order to make it fail. It just sucks. Bloodsport keeps revving its spinner up despite it doing no damage and the robot not having the speed and maneuverability to hit anything important on Skorpios. Eventually with about 30 seconds left on the clock Skorpios T-bones its opponent and carries it straight to the Upper Deck where the screws on the front of it grab hold of Bloodsport and drag it up atop it. Again, more control points for Skorpios. Bloodsport hops off the side of the shelf and Skorpios scoots around the bend to catch it and shoves it back against the wall. Skorpios spins around and starts going for an across the box slam to add some flourish to the end of its battle but the clock runs down before it can finish this move and the ref tells Zack to knock it off.

This one is another split decision and I guess I can sort of justify that considering Skorpios’ weapon did fuck all and wound up getting bent out of place by Bloodsport. We all know that disabling someone’s primary weapon rules above all else in the eyes of the judges but in actuality there’s more nuance to a fight. I know the producers don’t want pushing matches but sometimes even with the fanciest weapons in the world that’s what you wind up with. Eventually these morons will realize that this cannot be avoided and should not be penalized. Until then enjoy this split decision.

WINNER: Skorpios, Judges’ Decision (2-1)

Al Kindle eats a Warheads candy for the first time.

We are four episodes deep into Champions and we’ve only just now seen our first gatekeeper lock-in their place for the Golden Bolt tournament. Hypershock, Ribbot, and Glitch all defeated their bounty bosses and Bloodsport had the potential to do the same considering it’s beaten Skorpios before. Given how heavily the judges are supposed to weigh primary weapon damage Bloodsport came ever so close to making lighting strike twice. Zach Lytle has been talking a lot of shit about the legends that have made it into the Golden Bolt event but bro if you are going to stand any chance against the likes of a rematch with End Game you better fix your fucking weapon because no amount of love taps is going to defeat anyone who’s made it into the bracket so far. Skorpios is in there but the team really need to troubleshoot their robot because they’re not going to be underhanded a tired opponent like Bloodsport again.

I have it on good authority that next week’s show features Witch Doctor as the gatekeeper because that’s the only robot remaining from the Bounty Hunters events that hasn’t shown up yet (Tombstone is already in the Golden Bolt tournament because it’s a former champion). So knowing that when the editors cut to next week’s bracket it’s easy to make some predictions about how things will pan out. Whiplash is in this next episode because of its early season exit at the hands of Cobalt so that’s my pick for bracket winner. Black Dragon is a close second and in fact since they are on opposite halves of the brackets it wouldn’t surprise me to see Black Dragon versus Whiplash in the bracket finals. Against Witch Doctor however I think Whiplash has the edge if only because Whiplash can win the ground game against Witch Doctor. Andrea Gellatly doesn’t want to use forks on her robot because she’s all about weapon contact, however Matt Vasquez is more than okay with putting stupid floor scraping shit on his robot and I think that will be the determining factor here. So you heard it here first folks, Whiplash for the win.

That’s it for BattleBots Update this week. One more Golden Bolt qualifier to go before the main event! And then no more BattleBots until they tape another season! Don’t worry I’ve got stuff planned for this website in the meantime. (Also be sure to check out Antweight Anarchy if you’re not already, the show is on its third series and they’re already a couple episodes in.) BattleBots Update is a for-the-fans project and is supported almost entirely through crowdfunding. If you’d like to lend a hand toward the operations of this website you can do so monthly with Patreon or as a one-off with Ko-Fi. Additionally there’s BBU swag on Redbubble. Be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.

See you next week!

– Draco