Welcome back to BattleBots Update. So far we’ve seen a lot of action in BattleBots: Champions but now it’s time to find out who’s securing the last place in next week’s Giant Bolt tournament. For the first few episodes of this miniseries we saw former Bounty Hunters champions get demolished left and right as new winners claimed a sweet ass medallion and a ticket to compete with the greats. Skorpios broke the mold and stopped that trend last week. This week, by process of elimination, I already know the gatekeeper robot is going to be Witch Doctor, this season’s runner-up. Given what we know about Andrea Gellatly and her team it’s a safe bet to put your money on the doc for this episode.
For the final set of qualifier brackets in Champions we’ve got some familiar faces and some underdogs that might shake things up a bit if they get a lucky opportunity. Perfect Phoenix, who didn’t compete in the main season this year, makes a special Champions-only run that starts with a battle against SubZero. Charles Guan’s anime waifu bot Overhaul stares down a tall order with Black Dragon as its first opponent. Whiplash returns after an early and somewhat BS tournament exit to face Hijinx. Finally, Chuck Pitzer and his crew somehow managed to put Ghost Raptor back together and it’s fighting the equally mechanically unsound Captain Shrederator.
The winner of these brackets gets an opportunity to take down a legend in Witch Doctor and out of all of them I think Whiplash might be on the warpath to the Golden Bolt. We’ll see how it all shakes out as soon as Chris Rose stops talking.
PERFECT PHOENIX vs. SUBZERO
Formerly known as Brutality, a championship-tier robot from Bite Force’s builder Paul Ventimiglia, this robot has seen new life under new ownership as Perfect Phoenix. It’s named after a Beyblade. I’m sure Paul is thrilled. For a robot that’s a former champion it certainly hasn’t performed like one and I think that’s because it’s old tech from 2009 in dire need of modernization. Perfect Phoenix skipped the main season this year because its driver Tyler Nguyen is only 13 years old and his parents wouldn’t let him miss potentially three weeks of school to participate in BattleBots. Ain’t that some shit? The kid’s only going to be 13 once. Fuck school. Nobody gives two shits about your middle school endeavors once you graduate. (Source: Me. I finished school and I can confirm no one fucking cares except tryhards who peak in high school.) So anyways Tyler was only able to get a couple days off from school and that’s it. I guess something is better than nothing. Still a raw deal though; if I were Tyler I’d dye my hair and listen to loud emo music to rebel against my parents.
SubZero is one of two pneumatic flippers still alive and kicking in BattleBots. The other is Lucky and we saw how great their performance was last week so the bar is set real low for SubZero here. In a post-Bronco age one of these two chucklefucks needs to rise up and become the new premiere compressed air flipper. This season was a rough one on SubZero seeing the robot ultimately go 0-3. It all started going downhill when the robot fought Shatter and the team overpressurized their weapon system. Apparently that’s a thing you can do. Because of this SubZero’s flipper jammed shut and wouldn’t fire at all meaning it had to fight like a wedge against a robot with a massive stabbing pick axe. SubZero was drawn to fight Bloodsport next and we all know Bloodsport woke up on the wrong side of the bed this year because it just started killing fucking everything. Bloodsport tore up SubZero’s drivetrain and left the robot for dead. Finally, SubZero fought Hijinx. This could’ve been a turning point for SubZero because Hijinx isn’t the strongest spinner in the field but somehow Hijinx ripped off part of SubZero’s armor and KO’d the beast itself.
Logan Davis seems confident that he can get SubZero across the floor and under Perfect Phoenix. It takes Perfect Phoenix maybe a second or two and its chopper blade is already up to speed. Unlike a lot of spinners Perfect Phoenix’s weapon isn’t driven by a belt or a chain but rather a gearbox. This gives it a lot of direct power but also puts a lot more wear and tear on the motors. It also causes the blade to jerk around and stop suddenly like when SubZero rams into the spinner to slow it down. SubZero gets the flip it needed on Perfect Phoenix but unfortunately for SubZero its opponent lands on its wheels instead of on its ass. The fight continues and SubZero takes a shot to its front right wheel that dents the hub and slightly bends the wheel inward. SubZero knocks Perfect Phoenix over into the arena wall and goes for another flip but again fails to invert Perfect Phoenix and instead just throws off part of the armor plating on its flipper. SubZero rams Perfect Phoenix yet again and the spinner bounces away unscathed.
SubZero goes for a fake out maneuver that briefly opens up its backside to Perfect Phoenix and the robot very nearly loses a back wheel by trying this stupid trick. I’m talking like inches from disaster here. SubZero keeps trying to get in Perfect Phoenix’s face but the little black hinged wedge on the spinner’s front end is doing a respectable job defeating SubZero’s leading flipping arm. The drone Spitfire cruises down and blows fire onto Perfect Phoenix’s spinning blade which achieves fucking nothing. I’m silently hoping that the air disturbance generated from Perfect Phoenix’s weapon sucks the drone down into it; it’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen Spitfire gore on this show. SubZero eases into Perfect Phoenix again and its flipping arm catches on Perfect Phoenix’s wedge and leads the arm up into the weapon causing SubZero to get thrashed and violently spun around. This hit also knocks loose the right plow segment of SubZero’s face. Perfect Phoenix lands a glancing blow to SubZero and this plow chunk just perfectly falls off. It doesn’t get thrown across the box, it doesn’t get splayed apart. It just falls off like a Lego piece. Beautiful.
Perfect Phoenix senses a weak point on SubZero and goes in for the kill slicing off SubZero’s front right wheel and bending up its flipping arm. SubZero tries to fire its flipper and succeeds in heaving its leading wedge into the goddamned scaffolding. With only three wheels SubZero keeps on the attack desperately trying to slow down Perfect Phoenix’s blade and only succeeds in getting its entire right side splayed open and what’s left of its flipping arm bent to hell. Somehow Perfect Phoenix lands a shot the deflects SubZero in such an odd way that the massive flipper tumbles over backwards? Fucking physics, man. SubZero lands on Perfect Phoenix as it rights itself and this seems to be the miracle shot that the flipper needed because Perfect Phoenix starts smoking and its weapon finally dies. That’s what a gearbox-driven spinner gets you in 2021. This is now SubZero’s moment to flip its opponent over and end this fight. Unfortunately SubZero’s flipper looks like the aftermath of someone trying to hide evidence of a murder using a fucking wood chipper so this monkey paw wish isn’t going in SubZero’s favor.
Neither robot really has a weapon anymore but Perfect Phoenix is staying on top by acting as a wedge. SubZero could be doing the same but unfortunately its face looks like a botched shotgun suicide so what’s left of that plow isn’t going to do much. At one point SubZero even gets shoved into the wall and starts smoking itself. It’s hard to tell where this smoke is coming from but it looks like it might be motor smoke coming from something that’s seized up or just straight up burned out. Ray Billings over on Perfect Phoenix’s team is already asking the ref if they’re going to count out SubZero. Bro give it a fucking rest SubZero is still moving around. Perfect Phoenix continues to shove SubZero around until the robot spontaneously stops moving. Now the ref steps in like a dick and asks Tyler if he can show controlled movement to which Tyler snaps back “I’M DRIVING”. God damn they don’t make television like this anymore.
Perfect Phoenix does eventually come back to life because as we all know the harder you jerk the transmitter sticks around correlates directly to how urgently you need the robot to wake up and start moving again. SubZero actually does crap out and stop moving but there’s less than ten seconds left in the fight so it’s going to be saved by the buzzer. The fight goes to the judges but let’s be real here, SubZero is mangled. Despite losing its weapon half way through the fight Perfect Phoenix is ruled the winner and SubZero ends its 2021 season with a depressing 0-4. Maybe next year, guys.
WINNER: Perfect Phoenix, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
OVERHAUL vs. BLACK DRAGON
Charles Guan is a man of many talents. Such talents include bot building, anime, and selling tacos that he wasn’t going to eat. He debuted with his robot Overhaul in the very first season of the reboot all the way back in 2015. When the initial dream team split up the following season Charles stuck with the robot to make it his own. What we got is a lifter with a 2-12 record so… like, not the best thing in the world in other words. Still, Charles believes in his robot and has built and rebuilt Overhaul to be stronger and tougher each year including taking a two season break to improve the design. This season Overhaul was fed to Ribbot right out of the gate and pretty much lost the fight by one hit knock out. Overhaul met Blip in round two and Blip was able to get underneath Overhaul’s front jaws and throw it through the air with ease. Overhaul was getting bodied so badly that the rubber on each of its rear tires split and came off. Eventually the robot landed hard on its claw and this disabled it leaving it upside down and unable to self right. Overhaul didn’t get a third qualification battle because no one in production saw the fucking point.
There are two robots from Brazil and both of them are motherfuckers. Minotaur was still in the main tournament while Champions was filming but Black Dragon took an exit in the Round of 16 meaning it was available to fight here. Black Dragon is just vicious; we saw it disable Icewave’s spinning blade and shove the once legendary robot under the Pulverizer for a quick KO win. Black Dragon had bad luck against Rotator that saw the dragon’s leading plow get severely damaged but the team regrouped and won their third qualifier against Claw Viper by sniping its back tires and hindering its mobility. Advancing onward into the Round of 32 Black Dragon met Mad Catter and had an absolute throwdown. Of all the Round of 32 fights this one was the one to watch. It came down to a split decision in favor of Black Dragon, that’s how close it was. Sadly the high would not last long because Hydra was next in line and Black Dragon just could not win the ground clearance game nor could it maneuver around to Hydra’s vulnerable sides. Hydra dominated the fight despite being suspiciously immobile and took the win from the Brazilian team.
Black Dragon immediately snags itself on the arena floor with its big ass ground-scraping forks. It looks like the plan was to dodge a potential box rush and keep some distance between the two robots at first. Kinda obvious though considering the robot telegraphed its opening move by the way it was positioned. Also that fucking shelf just ruins the “dodge the box rush” strategy because there’s literally only one way you can go. Overhaul closes the gap and Black Dragon swings wide; its forks are too long and Overhaul is able to slide its front claws underneath the spinner and upend it easily. Black Dragon can drive upside down but this isn’t ideal because now its giant stupid forks are going to fold downward and prevent its spinner from hitting anything. Who the fuck designed this attachment? Anyways Overhaul is absolutely not letting up and is able to get behind the upside down Black Dragon, bite down on it, and lift it up. In case you were wondering how much force is behind Overhaul’s bite you can see the steel tooth on the top claw literally digging into the underside of Black Dragon. It’s not biting through it, but that’s not what it was designed to do so shut up.
Most grappler bots would go for the suplex right about now but Overhaul isn’t “most grabber bots”; instead Overhaul just picks up Black Dragon and body slams it into the floor repeatedly. I think the goal here is to shake something loose inside of Black Dragon but I doubt that’s going to happen to something as bulletproof as the Brazilian robot. Still it’s damn impressive and even though Black Dragon gets away from the assault after a couple of slams Overhaul is right back on its ass trying to pick up Black Dragon and drop it behind the bumper things next to the screws. You know those things, the pinball flippers that never move when they’re supposed to? (Like I dunno right now?) Overhaul has to let Black Dragon go at some point as per the rules so when it comes time to unleash the dragon Overhaul does go for the suplex and slams Black Dragon against the floor. This might not have been the smartest move. Most impressive? Yes. Smartest? Not quite; now Black Dragon is back in its normal orientation. It’s a much easier target for Overhaul when it’s flipped over. Overhaul should’ve just backed away, chased it down again, and then repeated the whole “slam this son of a bitch into the ground” strategy.
Black Dragon is actually on the evasive for this leg of the fight because its right fork is stuck in the upright position meaning Overhaul can defeat the dragon’s front wedge and get easy lifts in. Overhaul gets two such lifts that very nearly flip its opponent back onto its lid but there just wasn’t enough leverage on Overhaul’s side of this. Black Dragon has had its spinner going this whole time but has amazingly not landed a hit yet. This fight is already half way over. Black Dragon is finally able to make a pass at Overhaul that hits the left side of the robot and tears up the chunk of impact absorbing plastic on Overhaul’s bumper and also yanks part of the tread loose from the front left wheel. This hanging tread causes Overhaul to start bumping up and down as it drives meaning its front claws won’t always be in full contact with the floor. Now Black Dragon has an opening to cause some real damage. Black Dragon strikes again this time tearing that entire chunk of impact plastic away. It begins.
So far Black Dragon’s damage has been minimal but it makes a rush at Overhaul and is able to catch it sideways and tip the lifter up against the spike strip next to the screws. I’m not sure what part of this attack does it but this hit kills the entire right side of drive for Overhaul. Overhaul starts flexing its lifting claw back and forth to try and tip itself back over and Black Dragon watches on cautiously. Black Dragon knows it’s behind in this fight so if this is a potential knock out it’s going to just take the win here and not risk sending this to the judges. Unfortunately for Black Dragon, Overhaul is able to get back onto its wheels so Black Dragon jumps right back in tearing up tire treads and attacking Overhaul from the back. Overhaul gets stuck on Black Dragon and winds up getting slammed into the Upper Deck and as Overhaul tries to scurry away Black Dragon hops right back up Overhaul’s ass and hits the robot hard enough to cause it to do a complete fucking flip in the air. For some reason Chris and Kenny are talking about ducks now.
Overhaul gets taken to the far corner of the box and Black Dragon proceeds to kick its teeth in. Overhaul’s left side of drive is spinning fruitlessly because it’s missing so much tread that the robot can’t go anywhere. Its clamping jaw lifts up and down but it looks like the middle biting part is all fucked up because it can’t raise back up to open the jaw. Black Dragon was able to pile on all this damage in under a goddamned minute. I’m telling you this machine is a murderer. The countdown clock appears to signal the end of the fight and despite a surprisingly strong showing early on Overhaul’s record sinks even lower to 2-13. It’s not a bad robot (okay maybe it is) but it just hasn’t been able to spread its wings. Maybe the robot just isn’t anime enough.
WINNER: Black Dragon, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
HIJINX vs. WHIPLASH
Hijinx is a robot that has competed in two seasons of BattleBots so far and both times it reached the Round of 32. It lost there, but it still qualified so at least the robot can make it past the first cut. Speaking of first cuts this robot’s season got off to an embarrassing start when against Mammoth – a fight that Hijinx stood to potentially win – one of its wheels just fell off on its own conceding the win to Mammoth by KO. Hijinx fought a controversial match against Kraken where the robot spent a lot of time upside down and seemingly unable to drive properly. Being turned upside down at least let Hijinx hit Kraken on its head which seemed to give Hijinx the edge on damage points for the decision. SubZero was Hijinx’s third opponent and I kind of already broke down this fight but the gist of it is that SubZero fucking sucks against horizontal spinners and lost by KO. In the Round of 32 Hijinx would fight Sawblaze and this was going to be the end of this robot. The writing was on the walls. Sawblaze karate chopped the fuck out of Hijinx and tore of whole ass armor panels and even ejected a drive motor from Hijinx’s chassis. I guess the team was able to put this shit back together though because here’s Hijinx one more time.
Next is one of the robots that a lot of people had pegged to win the Giant Nut. We all know how that panned out. It’s Whiplash. After graduating out of being cast aside as an alternate competitor for the first couple seasons of BattleBots Whiplash immediately started taking ass and kicking names. It’s never not made a deep tournament run… until this year. Whiplash fought Bloodsport in its season debut and wore down the killer spinner to wind up leaving it for dead on the Upper Deck in a showing of control unlike anything we’d seen so far. Then it battled Skorpios in a relatively shitty pushing match that saw both robots’ forks and wedges keeping them too far away from each other to actually do anything; Whiplash won that by split decision. Whiplash then had a repeat of its Bloodsport fight by battling Icewave and flipped it over to leave it for dead. This is all fine and dandy, and was a 3-0 showing, until it fought Cobalt in the main tournament. Whiplash got stuck in the Upper Deck and Cobalt took this opportunity to carve Whiplash a new asshole and this hit devastated the lifter bot. Whiplash wound up losing by decision after some bullshit about not being able to stop the fight to free it from the wall and “double KO” and whatever the fuck else. I can’t cram it into one sentence.
Hijinx is putting a lot of faith into its tail fin for this fight and actually leads in with it while its blade gets up to speed. This rear fin scrapes the ground whereas Whiplash’s fixed plow is slightly above the ground as to not snag on imperfections in the floor. Hijinx actually gets underneath Whiplash and for a moment both robots stop moving; Whiplash is clearly stuck atop Hijinx and starts waving its lifting arm around to free itself and Hijinx is just not moving. At first I thought maybe Hijinx’s drive system is only strong enough to pull its own weight and nothing more but then Hijinx starts actually moving so whatever I’m wrong I guess. Hijinx tries to back Whiplash into the Upper Deck but the screws don’t get any purchase on Whiplash. All that ends up happening is one of the Ramrods in the floor pops up and stops Hijinx’s blade. The robots separate and Hijinx starts spinning up to speed again with Whiplash in pursuit. Whiplash again gets tripped up by Hijinx’s rear fin before finally jamming its arm into Hijinx’s blade to pop the spinner up in the air.
The person operating the hazards for Hijinx’s team drops the Pulverizer on Whiplash and tries to pin it down in place for a cheap shot but Whiplash isn’t having any of that bullshit and shakes itself free of the hazard. Hijinx resumes its attempts to get up to speed but Whiplash is able to get in from the back corners of Hijinx to stick its plow into the blade and slow it down. Hijinx is using a thicker blade for this fight and I’d like to imagine it can do some damage but against something like Whiplash you’ve gotta bring firepower like the shit Tombstone has to do any meaningful damage. This is just going to be three minutes of pussyfooting around. Whiplash is able to prop Hijinx up and rams it into the wall backwards while using its lifting arm as a makeshift clamp. Just think if Whiplash actually used its fucking spinner for once this season it could perform its “backhand” attack right now. Hijinx gets away from the wall and spins up only to expend all of its kinetic energy into Whiplash’s fucking plow again. Chris Rose says Hijinx’s weapon has slowed down “momentarily” so I guess they’re telegraphing that the weapon is toast. Nice. This fight is going to suck.
Whiplash gets Hijinx up against the wall near the drivers’ booth and flips the spinner over completely. No action from Hijinx’s weapon. Hijinx finds itself ensnared on Whiplash’s plow and flips back over under the force of being pushed around only for Whiplash to pin it against the wall and topple it back over yet again. If this wasn’t dominant enough to score all the control points in this fight hang on a second because Whiplash takes Hijinx to the screws by the blue square wherein we find out that Hijinx is the perfect length to get its entire fucking chassis stuck in the length of the screws. Hijinx is flipped back onto the screws and it looks like the robot is trapped but when the screws spin down the other way the spinner is freed. Hijinx eventually gets knocked to the side and flees from the scene while its blade actually starts working again so I guess it was wrong of me to jump up Chris’ ass over telegraphing things. You can’t fault me, I’m usually right when I pick out the hosts’ commentary like that. I’ve only been writing this blog for six goddamned seasons with these jokers.
Hijinx is spinning again and lands another reverse shot to Whiplash’s front end. Kenny Florian says Whiplash’s plow is looking beat up. Uh dude, no it’s not. There’s some scuffs in that gaudy yellow paint but that thing is structurally solid as a rock. Hijinx has done literally fuck all to it. Whiplash battles with Hijinx in the center of the arena and the Killsaws pop up to scramble Whiplash’s balls. Unless someone can correct me – and I know you fucking people are out there – this is the first time we’ve seen every hazard come into play in a BattleBots fight. Whiplash took a hit from the Pulverizer, Hijinx got popped by a Ramrod, Hijinx was shoved into the screws, and Whiplash just got sliced by the Killsaws. That’s everything, not counting the deck because that thing is an eyesore not a hazard. In the final ten seconds of the fight the Killsaws really take their frustrations out on Whiplash’s genitals but the fight clock winds down and sends this one to the judges.
I think Orion Beach at the controls of Hijinx demonstrated some great driving early on by keeping that tail fin aimed at Whiplash but when it comes down to control points I’ve gotta go with Whiplash. Damage is a complete toss-up because neither robot is exceptionally damaged at all so unless the judges are going to jizz over the paint scrapes on Whiplash I think it should come as no surprise when their verdict is returned and Whiplash is given the win.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
GHOST RAPTOR vs. CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR
What a sight for sore eyes this is. Ghost Raptor somehow coming back into the ring after being literally erased from history in its final qualification round. Ghost Raptor hasn’t had the best run at BattleBots with its deepest tournament run being back in season six when the show debuted on ABC. It’s been downhill ever since. Ghost Raptor’s first opponent this season was Glitch and after damaging its front end on Glitch’s spinner Ghost Raptor didn’t really seem to be “in” the fight. Then again neither was Glitch who just sorta aimlessly drifted around and kept getting stuck on the floor. The judges ruled Glitch as the winner based on damage and that was it. Ghost Raptor was then scheduled to fight Cobalt and if you watched the main tournament this season then you know how this panned out. Ghost Raptor came out swinging and lost a couple of tires early on. Then Cobalt picked this thing up and slammed it into the wall following through with its vertical slicing blade and just eradicated Ghost Raptor. Ghost Raptor was broken up into at least four distinct chunks all of which were shooting sparks out of every orifice on the machine. Somehow Chuck Pitzer repaired this thing. The man’s a fucking legend. I would’ve just given up.
Captain Shrederator is probably the most hardheaded robot out there. It’s showed up for every season of the show’s reboot, including the times when the team said they weren’t coming, and performs. Not well mind you, but it’s here. Captain Shrederator doesn’t have as bad of a record as I’m making it out to be (6-14); it’s no Overhaul but it’s still not exactly the best. The problem with this machine is that it’s unreliable. Brian Nave even says it himself. He also says his team was out doing “Vegas things” the night before this match meaning they were either gambling or watching strippers. Anything to get out of having to work on Captain Shrederator I guess. What’s crazy is this was probably Captain Shrederator’s best season yet because in its first fight the producers tried to feed it to Tombstone but Captain Shrederator actually caused Tombstone to break a tooth and self destruct in a fiery blaze. The high didn’t last long though because against Gigabyte the robot broke down after like two hits so it was back to business as usual. The clusterbot Jager was Captain Shrederator’s third opponent and because this was one big ass spinner versus two dinky little shitty robots the massive spinner obviously came out on top. This meant Captain Shrederator actually qualified for the main tournament, but Rotator ended the spinner’s run prematurely by ripping both of Captain Shrederator’s teeth off and ruining its shell.
Captain Shrederator leaves it starting square trying to spin up to speed but Ghost Raptor, now equipped with a big ass plow, is ready to stop it. Ghost Raptor also has its weapon back and gets its blade roaring at full speed. Captain Shrederator’s shell weighs over 100 pounds and it’s solid metal so I doubt the thinner and lighter blade on Ghost Raptor will do much to it but hey any hit is points scored for the sabertooth cat. Captain Shrederator spins up and careens into the Upper Deck which slows it back down and lets Ghost Raptor come in for a free hit or two before it tries to get away and spin back up. Ghost Raptor is taking all the pot shots in the world because Captain Shrederator is doing fucking nothing but apparently Chuck didn’t do that good of a job putting his robot’s weapon back on because after a particularly solid blow Ghost Raptor’s entire weapon blows the fuck apart and goes flying across the box. God damn it, Ghost Raptor. Do you want to lose to Captain Shrederator? Because this is how you lose to Captain Shrederator.
Chris Rose loses his shit and exclaims how Captain Shrederator has broken Ghost Raptor’s weapon but really it was self-inflicted damage; Ghost Raptor just hit a hard object with a weak weapon and the weapon broke. Captain Shrederator did nothing to break the weapon except exist. Calm your tits. Captain Shrederator is still getting bullied around the arena by Ghost Raptor and its massive plow and the spinner takes a shot from the Pulverizer on its way into the corner. Captain Shrederator deals a glancing blow to Ghost Raptor and this apparently fucks up something else because I haven’t drawn any attention to Ghost Raptor’s fire farts in this match but now they’ve become a problem because the flamethrower comes loose and ignites the entire fucking left side of Ghost Raptor. This is literally like a D-tier Ben Stiller comedy at this point. Come the fuck on Ghost Raptor even in your damaged state this is a win on a silver platter. You just had to have the flamethrower back and look at what all that wasted effort has done.
Ghost Raptor still corrals Captain Shrederator into the short corner and as Captain Shrederator tries to get away it bumps into the side of the shelf hazard and loses a whole goddamned weapon tooth. Captain Shrederator wasn’t even spinning it literally just bumped the wall and a whole ass chunk of the shell split and broke off. Can we just have neither of these robots win? Because neither one deserves to at this point. Ghost Raptor is consumed by fire and still driving around and Captain Shrederator is trying to spin back up but is obviously way off balance and shaking side to side as it spins. Ghost Raptor’s fire starts to sputter out and the robot traps Captain Shrederator into the other short corner this time the one with Ghost Raptor’s Pulverizer. Captain Shrederator gets laid into by the hammer with hit after hit being dealt and Chuck Pitzer watching on sarcastically. After taking several hits from the Pulveirzer Captain Shrederator finds its opening and darts out of the corner around Ghost Raptor.
Captain Shrederator starts trying to spin up again and smacks Ghost Raptor away but as the spinner continues to try and get going it’s like magnetically attracted to the fucking wall or something because it rebounds into the screws and then seems to crash into the spike strip all while trying to spin up. I’m going to attribute that to being uncontrollable due to the missing tooth. I’ll give Brian Nave the benefit of the doubt here. Ghost Raptor manages to successfully nudge Captain Shrederator all the way back into that same short corner a second time before the fight ends. No hazard hits this time but it’s still impressive driving coming from a robot whose weapon noped out and whose fuel tank detonated like it was getting fisted by Uppercut.
Presumably on the grounds of control of the fight and aggression shown the judges determine Ghost Raptor to be the winner, ending the robot’s massive losing streak.
WINNER: Ghost Raptor, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
PERFECT PHOENIX vs. BLACK DRAGON
Perfect Phoenix is a bit of an unknown quantity at this point even though we’ve seen it fight like four or five times. Does it still possess the knock out power that it once did when it fought under the name “Brutality”? I’d say given the right match-ups it does; we just saw Perfect Phoenix lacerate SubZero by tearing off a wheel, peeling back the side armor, and mangling the flipping arm. Perfect Phoenix can still destroy opponents when given the opportunity but it seems to suffer greatly from reliability issues. In its fight with SubZero the robot wound up burning out one of its two weapon motors and its weapon gearbox seized up. Tyler talks about the rebuild before the fight and how he has to run with a lighter and shorter weapon bar because of the missing motor (you can see the hole in the robot where the burned up one used to be). Tyler also mentions that Perfect Phoenix is approximately 160 fucking pounds. That’s underweight by almost 100 pounds! Perfect Phoenix might as well be a middleweight now. Props to Tyler and Ray for putting the robot back together but I doubt that dinky bar will do anything to Black Dragon.
Black Dragon is hard to kill. This is a robot that has made a name for itself by surviving and winning a Desperado mini-event and also delivering some choice knock out blows to otherwise rigid robots. It actually was on the back step in its fight against Overhaul when the lifter robot was able to flip Black Dragon over, bite down on its underside, and slam it around but all it took was for Black Dragon to get reinverted onto its wheels and it shredded Overhaul. Overhaul had the upper hand early on but couldn’t follow through. It showed a moment of weakness and Black Dragon just pounced. In less than a minute Overhaul was suddenly missing tread from its wheels and a whole ass side of drive had locked up. Black Dragon needs just one opening to destabilize an opponent and get them vulnerable and then it’s all over. Don’t fuck with Brazil, basically.
We know Perfect Phoenix is already playing with limited cards here because of the weight disadvantage but it looks like its front wedge can’t get underneath Black Dragon’s. Both appear to be scraping the ground but I guess since Perfect Phoenix’s is on a hinge and isn’t just the chassis itself riding on the floor it loses when Black Dragon runs into it. Whatever the case it doesn’t matter because when Black Dragon rams Perfect Phoenix into the spike strip that entire front wedge gets torn the fuck off and tossed aside. Perfect Phoenix is now a shitty remote controlled helicopter that can’t fly. Its tiny blade can spin up in literally a second but it has no reach and it’s not going to hit Black Dragon without a little leverage, leverage that the robot now no longer has even a remote chance of getting. Black Dragon takes Perfect Phoenix across the box and rams it into the wall near the red square and causes the little robot to defy physics by flipping ass over head while its spinning blade is going. Sparks are thrown all over the place as the gyroscopic forces warp Perfect Phoenix’s blade and cause it to hit its own fucking chassis.
Somehow Perfect Phoenix survives the assault and continues to peter around. Black Dragon pops it into the air again but Perfect Phoenix stays right ways up and lands on its wheels. Black Dragon looks like it’s going for another box rush attack but stops just shy of the wall and lets Perfect Phoenix coast around. That massive hit we saw earlier did something to damage Perfect Phoenix’s drivetrain because the robot is just sorta hobbling around without driving straight. The ref leans in and tells Tyler to get his shit together and somehow this kid genius can use his telepathic powers or something to get his robot to drive in a straight line. That’s impressive, but it also signals to Black Dragon that the fight is still on. Black Dragon comes in for another couple of light blows that pop Perfect Phoenix around before corralling the robot onto its wedge and slamming it into the center spire of the Upper Deck. Black Dragon puts the whammy on Perfect Phoenix so fucking hard that the robot very nearly flies into the goddamned scaffolding. The whole thing. We’ve seen bots like Hypershock chuck debris into the arena ceiling but never has an entire whole ass robot been ejected into it. Hydra just got beat the fuck out because there’s a new height record in BattleBots and you just saw it get set by Black Dragon kicking a 160 pound shitbox into the air.
Perfect Phoenix lands hard on a corner and again miraculously lands on its wheels but the whole robot is fucking toast. The blade is completely bent on both sides, the chassis is visibly warped, and it even looks like the robot’s one surviving weapon motor is in the process of giving up the ghost. Black Dragon stamps its card for the bracket finals and I hope Ray Billings kept the receipt for Perfect Phoenix.
WINNER: Black Dragon, KO
GHOST RAPTOR vs. WHIPLASH
Ghost Raptor really is a ghost. This is the animated corpse of the robot formerly known as Ghost Raptor. Cobalt absolutely eviscerated this machine back in the main season but Chuck Pitzer still took up the offer to participate in BattleBots: Champions and rebuilt his robot. It reportedly took him two full days of nonstop work with his team but he did it and the result is pretty damn good considering what we saw happen to this machine. Ghost Raptor’s flexible chassis and pivoting weapon have all been locked down because those parts were destroyed. This means Ghost Raptor cannot self right nor can it raise its spinner up to avoid contact while getting it up to speed. Despite these setbacks it was still tough enough for a win over Captain Shrederator but that’s not saying much. Ghost Raptor’s going from a 3/10 opponent to a 9/10 in this fight and the difference just might give Chuck, if you’ll pardon the shitty pun, whiplash.
This is the first time Whiplash has been eliminated so early in the main tournament. At least it’s early enough for the team to still have the opportunity to participate in this consolation contest because out of all the bots we’ve been seeing in the qualifier episodes of Champions few look as formidable as Whiplash. This is a robot that can probably take on the champions straight up. Whiplash and Ghost Raptor have a commonality in that it was Cobalt that ended both of their seasons and both robots have been restored to a mostly working capacity. Whiplash seemed to get it easier than Ghost Raptor but we still saw Cobalt carve a slice straight though Whiplash and into its drive motors. Whiplash opened the episode with a win over Hijinx that was pretty much expected to happen even though the fight was kind of boring. I blame Hijinx for bringing its low-T weapon into the arena.
Speaking of low-T weapons take a look at Ghost Raptor’s blade which is barely even turning. Granted we did just see this weapon self-destruct against Captain Shrederator but god damn the thing barely even makes one complete slow rotation before Whiplash is on the robot’s ass and shoving it around. And on the subject of asses it’s good to see Chuck has his priorities in order and has repaired Ghost Raptor’s ass blasting capabilities. You know, the same flamethrower that malfunctioned in its previous fight and lit the whole side of the robot ablaze. Whiplash expertly pivots around Ghost Raptor and shoves it into the screws behind the blue square. Ghost Raptor with all of its flat sides is the perfect target for the hazard to chew up and the robot is quickly drawn onto it. Whiplash raises Ghost Raptor up again and tilts it backward and it might as well have happened in slow motion but Ghost Raptor topples over backwards and lands on its head.
If Ghost Raptor’s chassis wasn’t locked down the robot would be able to pivot its spinner module around to get back onto its wheels but that part of the robot couldn’t be repaired in time for these fights. Instead the robot just sits in the blue square while Whiplash waits for the countdown. An effort was made. According to an AMA on Reddit this is Ghost Raptor’s last fight. The sabertoothed cat dies not with a bang but a whimper. Rest in rip.
WINNER: Whiplash, KO
WHIPLASH vs. BLACK DRAGON
The bracket finals are a rematch of a semifinal battle from last season. Whiplash won the battle and made it to the championship to face End Game, will this be Black Dragon’s chance to settle the score? Whiplash seems dead set on not using its fucking spinner because here it is with the plain ass lifting arm for the Nth time. The robot is also sporting some hinged forks to hopefully outreach Black Dragon and allow it to lift it up and over. Whiplash has beaten both Hijinx and Ghost Raptor using its expert control, and that’s what happened when these two bots met last time, so we’ll see if Matt Vasquez can make lightning strike twice. Meanwhile Black Dragon is back sporting its longest forks like we saw in its battle with Overhaul also with the intent to outreach Whiplash and get underneath it to deliver a blow with its hefty spinning drum. Whereas Whiplash is all about control, Black Dragon is all about destruction; this robot ripped apart Overhaul and threw Perfect Phoenix into the goddamned ceiling. The team is hyped up and ready for this rematch to say the least.
The starting clock graphic can’t even fade off of the screen before Whiplash is already underneath Black Dragon and flipping it over. Black Dragon is shoved against the spike strip and flips back over but already the deck is stacked against the spinner. Kenny Florian says the fork setup on Whiplash is working out, this means it’s time for something to go wrong so Whiplash gets tripped up in the Killsaw slots. Thanks, Kenny. Black Dragon is rolled over again after Whiplash frees itself and manages to land a couple of shots while upside down. The hits force Black Dragon into the air and the second one knocks loose one of the little “bunny ears” that prop up the robot on either side of its weapon while upside down. In a general sense this means that Black Dragon is going to dig into the floor when it turns. Also Kenny thinks this is a belt even though it’s quite obviously something else. Then again the fucking shelf is in his direct line of sight so maybe he really did think it was a belt based upon what little he could see from his vantage point.
Since Black Dragon only has one upper strut to brace against the ground with it winds up falling into the Killsaw slots and the robot gets stuck for a few seconds. Black Dragon alternates between reversing and driving forward until it eventually unsticks itself but Whiplash was content to just see if this was yet another easy KO. Whiplash gets on Black Dragon again and apparently Whiplash’s lifting arm is the exact perfect size to slot in behind Black Dragon’s weaponry because Whiplash is able to jam it in there and lift the whole fucking robot up over its head. Whiplash tries to drop Black Dragon off at the Upper Deck but it really has no way of getting Black Dragon off of its lifting arm. Still, they flash the red lights of the deck a couple of times for good measure anyways. Whiplash is out here stealing every fucking control point the judges can give out. Black Dragon falls off of the shelf and speeds away trying to get its bearings but in doing so it just arbitrarily shits out a belt. Kenny seems to not really notice this because he’s already said Black Dragon lost a belt so there’s no need to point it out again because that would just make him look silly, right?
Whiplash again gets its lifting arm stuck in Black Dragon’s weapon cavity and tries to go to the Upper Deck a second time. Black Dragon catches the lip of the middle spire and falls off of Whiplash’s arm. Black Dragon finally lands right ways up but its weapon is now too weak to really do anything. Black Dragon needs to wedge itself underneath Whiplash and start taking back some control points if it wants to win this fight. Whiplash isn’t about to let this happen however so Black Dragon gets corralled onto its forks yet again and the robot goes for an across the box rush back into the fucking shelf again this time jamming Black Dragon into the screws and letting its ass get chewed up. The robots separate and Whiplash chases its opponent down and flips it over for like the third or fourth time. I’ve lost count. Black Dragon trips onto the Killsaw slots again though now since we’re in the last minute of the fight the robot runs the risk of getting hit by them. Picture me on the edge of my seat only to be let down by Black Dragon wriggling its way out of the hazard again. Also Chris Rose keeps saying “Killsaw slits”. Can we not say “slit”? That word is like, weirdly sexual.
There’s about fifteen seconds to go and Black Dragon keeps driving into Whiplash’s face but this aggressive fight strategy really isn’t paying off because Whiplash just keeps using its lifting arm to roll the robot around and do whatever the fuck it wants. The clock winds down on this fight and if you’re surprised that Whiplash wins you might need to get your head checked.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
WHIPLASH vs. WITCH DOCTOR
Whiplash secured a victory in its previous fight against Black Dragon, which was a rematch, to make their record against the Brazilians 2-0. Now it’s entering another rematch where it actually lost the first time around: Witch Doctor. Whiplash has been nothing but on the top of its game this entire episode. It is once again foregoing its usual “vertical spinner tucked inside of a lifting arm” look to just fight like a pure control bot. Guys if you were going to do that from the start why even bother putting the fucking spinner on for all that B-roll footage and your official season photos? You promised me a spinner and all you’ve done is bring a lifting arm. It’s working, but it’s still a let down. So far we’ve seen Whiplash use its surgical precision to take down Hijinx, Ghost Raptor, and Black Dragon without even taking so much as a scratch. The robot that probably did the most damage to Whiplash was Hijinx and all that was cosmetic damage to its plow. Whiplash is bringing out the forks again, it’s done fucking around.
Meanwhile Witch Doctor isn’t using forks of its own. I knew this would be the case. Andrea Gellatly is all about bringing in her robot’s weapon and not about out-forking people and all this other pussy shit. You might scoff at that but Witch Doctor finished in second place again this season. Clearly something is working. Witch Doctor opened the year with a victory over Duck which isn’t impressive because a five year old with a hammer could’ve done the same. Witch Doctor met End Game next and suffered a loss but its qualification round finish was bolstered by being fed Rusty for an easy win. In the main tournament Witch Doctor fought Mammoth and disabled both sides of drive in seconds. Copperhead proved to be a tougher opponent but one solid slam to the snake bot seemed to kill its drive system so that was another win. Now in the quarterfinals Witch Doctor found itself with a controversial win over Minotaur that I’m not even going to bother retreading in this paragraph because it’s way too complicated but just know that the refs did some dumb shit and people were pissed off that Witch Doctor won. In the semifinals Witch Doctor shredded Sawblaze’s tires and all the way into the championship fight Witch Doctor was looking good… until Tantrum hit the robot’s baseplate and bent a tiny piece of it outward which hindered Witch Doctor’s driving. It was one of the lamest ass finals in the history of the show. Anyways Witch Doctor fell just short of the Giant Nut yet again so you know the Gellatly’s are going to be gunning for that fucking Bolt.
Chris Rose says Witch Doctor looks to be having a problem sticking on the floor. With what, Chris? The invisible forks that Andrea Gellatly stuck on at the last minute? If anything Whiplash looks like the one hitting seams in the floor but honestly to me this looks like two robots in a finals match-up trying to eek out what the other’s strategy is and not wanting to commit to a move until their opponent flinches first. This is next level shit here. Whiplash eventually gains the upper hand by darting at Witch Doctor and getting its forks into play. Witch Doctor gets pushed into the wall and takes a light shot from the Pulverizer but its upper rib cage armor just deflects the hammer like it’s nothing. Witch Doctor responds with a glancing blow that actually catches one of Whiplash’s forks and bents it straight up. Now Whiplash’s whole front end is fucked because that stray fork is going to get in the way of its lifting arm. Whiplash still has its impressive drive system though and that’s currently overpowering Witch Doctor just slightly. Witch Doctor is backed into the screws of the Upper Deck and as Whiplash raises its lifting arm up Witch Doctor catches it and ricochets all the way up onto the hazard doing a perfect goddamned backflip in the process. Off camera the three judges hold up signs reading “7”, “7”, and “8”.
Witch Doctor jumps off the side of the deck and gets right back in Whiplash’s face with several spark-filled exchanges that are just begging to see another fork get twisted upward. Nothing happens though and Whiplash starts pushing back against Witch Doctor to try and get it into the wall again. Witch Doctor is showing everything you need to make a stand against Whiplash; it’s fast and is able to put some distance between itself and Whiplash and then spin around quickly to attack. Whiplash’s bent up fork is starting to act more like a spike trap though and Witch Doctor gets sidelined by the lifter and is pushed around in circles because Witch Doctor’s own drivetrain is fighting against Whiplash’s. Whiplash takes Witch Doctor into the corner of the Upper Deck and very nearly flips it over but Witch Doctor lands on its wheels and immediately goes on the attack. Whiplash takes a hit that pops it into the air slightly and Witch Doctor uses this to set up its infamous “one, two” style attack that Matt Vasquez talked about before the fight. Witch Doctor tries to land a second hit to Whiplash’s tires but the robot is able to get away and cause a miss by literal centimeters.
Witch Doctor starts bullying Whiplash again and as Whiplash tries to back away the robot swerves and opens itself up to a side attack. Witch Doctor capitalizes and finally gets a good angle on Whiplash. It’s trying to hit the wheels but Whiplash is turning into the attack to resist it and Witch Doctor can’t quite reach. Whiplash is also slowly getting pushed into the short corner near the deck and Matt Vasquez knows this isn’t where he wants to be so he tries to make a quick maneuver to get out of there. In doing so he commits the cardinal mistake of letting Witch Doctor hit you from the side and Witch Doctor kicks its opponent hard enough to blow off a fucking wheel. Whiplash also gets rolled over and amazingly the robot is just dead. I guess somewhere in all these face-to-face hits Witch Doctor was able to dislocate something in Whiplash’s lifting arm because we should be seeing this robot self right but instead it’s fucking dead.
Whiplash fought some expert battles to get here but Witch Doctor once again wins this rematch and makes its way into the Golden Bolt tournament. This fight could’ve gone either way and had it continued as it was for the last minute this probably would’ve been a heated split decision. Whiplash clearly had the control points by getting Witch Doctor onto the shelf and everything but Witch Doctor was never not getting in Whiplash’s face with its spinner earning the aggression points in the process. That lone bent fork on Whiplash could’ve been the deciding factor on damage. No joke. I guess we’ll never know though and Andrea and her team couldn’t be more happy that some bullshit fluke hit didn’t knock them out of the running again.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO
It feels like just last week I was cracking open these episodes and starting with the very first one where Hypershock dismantled Gigabyte and broke the arena sign in the process. But no, we’ve actually been through five whole episodes of this miniseries and the next one is the grand finale where all of the slugfest winners face off against each other and the BattleBots champions in an eight competitor bracket that’s definitely going to be something to write home about. Unfortunately they don’t provide the brackets at the end of this episode like they’ve done for all the previous ones so I have no idea who is getting paired up with who. I like to make some predictions at the end of these posts but I guess I’ll have to be less specific and more general instead.
I don’t think Glitch’s miracle streak will continue. Not in the echelon of robots it’s reached now. There are so many powerful spinners that Glitch’s armor, which we’ve already seen get shed relatively easily, will not withstand the likes of Tombstone or Ribbot. Skorpios is a great control bot and while it might make it through one round I don’t see it reaching the Golden Bolt. Sure it’s beaten Tombstone in the past but can it do it again against this newly rebuilt version? Will its hammer saw actually work? Hypershock is a bit of an X factor here because we know in the recent Amazon re:MARS exhibition event it won the whole shebang and actually did some significant damage to Tombstone in the process. Hypershock just might be a bot to watch and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it reach the finals. Witch Doctor is all business and I think its heavily armored front end will help it out against bots like Tombstone but with End Game lurking I don’t think it’ll win a rematch. Finally for Ribbot I think as long as David Jin makes the right calls with weaponry and attachments we might see this robot hop its way into the finals. Serious chance that this amphibian will win the title because it’s been on the verge of greatness for a couple of seasons now.
As for the former champs I think End Game stands to be the one to beat. End Game is the most diabolical of them all and hits the hardest and has the most maneuverability. We’ve already seen End Game take out two of the robots participating in this event. Ribbot did manage to beat End Game a few seasons ago however so I’m keeping that in mind; if those two bots meet again it’ll be a bloodbath. Tantrum is probably second in line to go all the way if only because it has very rigid armor and has the uncanny ability to get opponents stuck on top of it. Tantrum’s weapon is a piece of shit but it’s still a great control bot. Plus its wheels are tiny and kept behind all that armor, no one’s going to reach those. I’ve got Tombstone last in line but only because we know this robot is a glass cannon. It hits like a freight train but it’s also very capable of knocking itself out; it did exactly that against Captain Shrederator and Mammoth, two robots that aren’t necessarily top tier competitors. Tombstone has the power to seriously mess up Hypershock and Ribbot with their exposed wheels, but we know how that Amazon event went so it’s a real toss up.
The Golden Bolt finals are next week and I already can’t wait. BattleBots has also stated they plan to film the next season in mid to late October so that means I’ve gotta get ready for that too because I plan on being there. Never a dull moment here at BattleBots Update. If you’d like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Additionally there’s some swag on Redbubble for you to peruse. Also be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next week!