[BattleBots: S10 E2 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update. Last time on the website-forward-slash-show we officially kicked off the season about six months late because once again I had more important matters to tend to when the show was first airing. These “more important matters” were things like complaining to my doctor about why my medications were doing fuck all. Yes, that took six months. Actually we’re still on the clock in that regard because the next time I see him we’ll be having the exact same conversation. That will be in… July. Man, isn’t state-funded low income healthcare just the tits?
Political soapboxing aside, last episode kicked off with a battle for the ages when Whiplash took on Sawblaze and died from being karate chopped to death. We also got to see Fusion, Team Whyachi’s latest fire bomb, and the newly “de-designed” Captain Shrederator which is still just as bad as the modern one. Finally we got to witness End Game’s team put their money where their mouths were and take on Tombstone whom they called out a couple seasons ago. I was expecting a bloodbath and that’s what we got, I just wasn’t expecting Tombstone’s blood to be what was shed all over the screws and inner polycarbonate panels of the arena. End Game kicked Tombstone in the balls so hard Tombstone’s eyes popped out and in their place was his balls, it was that intense of a fight.
This week’s fight card sees some returning favorites like Huge, Mammoth, Kraken, and Black Dragon (winner of last season’s Desperado event). But we’ve also got some new blood in the ranks in the form of Claw Viper aka “the poor man’s Complete Control” and Tracer aka “Diet Bite Force”. Now I know we’ve got Hydra and Witch Doctor down there in the main event, and don’t get me wrong I’m sure that’ll be a ham sandwich and a half, but there’s something more important to point out about this week’s fight card. Fucking Ghost Raptor is officially back. I have waited many years for this moment, and now all I have to do is wait another five minutes because Chuck Pitzer and his team are up first so let’s just skip ahead to the good part. I wasn’t paying attention to Chris and Kenny anyways.
SHATTER vs. GHOST RAPTOR
“Shatter had a 2-2 record last season” almost sounds incorrect until you go back and review its fights and remember how the team constantly had trouble with their weapon clutch. Having opponents like Minotaur and Witch Doctor didn’t help either, even though they did almost squeak out a win over Witch Doctor when the robot just arbitrarily fucking blew up. Adam Wrigley has brought his robot back with what I assume is an even more refined hammer and he’s still using the shiny ablative armor that his robot’s name was inspired by. Unfortunately for him during the pre-fight twitch test Shatter manages to lose about 75% of said ablative armor when it tests out its weapon. Shatter will be starting this fight sitting in a pile of broken glass, an interesting strategy. Hopefully none of that gets sucked into its special Mecanum wheels.
Chuck Pitzer has been out of BattleBots for four years now. Ghost Raptor was certainly a unique machine when it debuted back in 2015 but it was a little too unique for its own good; Ghost Raptor’s adjustable spinner bashed against the wall and snapped in half and Chuck didn’t have a weapon for the entire rest of the season because I guess he thought that blade was indestructible. All it took was one fucking hit to prove otherwise. Somehow Ghost Raptor reached the semi-fucking-finals with pretty much no weapon to speak of but was eventually dispatched by Bite Force, an ending most robots wind up facing. The raptor returned again in 2016 and its chassis was thrashed so badly by Son of Whyachi that it split in two. I don’t think I need to say any more about that season. But I would be remiss to introduce this robot on BattleBots Update without bringing up the website’s longest running inside joke: calling this robot “Sabertooth Cat”. That’s because there’s a skull on the robot. A “raptor” is either a kind of dinosaur or a bird of prey and Chuck over here fucked up twice as bad. He’s had nearly half a decade to fix this and instead he’s chosen to commit to it and get new shirts printed. Wow.
Chuck seems confident that as long as his robot’s spinner is going he can ward off a blow from Shatter. Unfortunately for him Adam is literally just as confident that he can jam Shatter’s axe into Ghost Raptor’s spinner and it’ll “be like putting a stick in a bike tire”. Shatter’s no stranger to doing the dumbest shit imaginable; last season it threw a punch at Kingpin, stuck its pick axe into Kingpin’s massive spinning blade, and the resulting destruction was so impressive that all of Kingpin’s internals caught fire and literally fucking melted through the robot. It was like watching our own little Chernobyl take place while the stupid bowling robot threw a gutterball and burned for half a goddamned hour. So take note of this when literally the first thing Shatter does is throw a punch that connects directly with Ghost Raptor’s spinning blade.
This one single hit disables the spinner entirely. Ghost Raptor’s blade is still going but that’s residual kinetic energy, the motor is dead; Ghost Raptor’s follow-up hit is weak as hell and the blade finally stops dead in its tracks. On the ropes, Ghost Raptor immediately goes for its backup strategy: “train mode”. This is how Ghost Raptor made it to the semifinals in 2015, watch how Chuck expertly brings the seemingly unimportant front two prongs on his robot’s front end into play. The robot transforms instantly from spinner to lifter and all it took for this to transpire was getting absolutely blasted in the goddamned face by what looks like a railroad spike mounted on what’s left of Ghost Raptor’s old weapon bar.
The arena is now littered with more paper footballs than a high school class taught by an incompetent coach. Shatter is all out of stuff to fling off so as it continues to swing its axe entire chunks of its black armor start coming off too. I’m not sure if this is part of the “ablative” armor but I’m not going to complain, this shit’s hilarious. It looks like someone dropped an expensive mirror in the middle of the Battlebox and these two asshats are fighting over who’s taking responsibility for it. Ghost Raptor is impressively staying in control of this fight against all odds however, and takes Shatter into the arena wall so we can all find out who sponsored this episode of the show. It’s obvious Ghost Raptor is aiming for a flip but it just can’t get the purchase needed, a combination of its dead weapon bar getting in the way and its front forks not being long enough are preventing this from happening.
While this is going on Shatter is landing the occasional stray blow, usually to the weapon array of Ghost Raptor but sometimes potentially reaching around to either side and hitting the drive pods. It’s hard to tell what’s a hit and what isn’t because there’s no visible damage, but as Ghost Raptor swings wide to catch Shatter one more time smoke starts spontaneously erupting from its left side of drive. Seconds later, fire. If that wasn’t bad enough apparently Ghost Raptor’s right side of drive is jealous that the left is getting all the attention right now so it too decides to detonate and the whole fucking machine goes up in flames and a plume of motor smoke. During this meltdown Shatter seems to have the tip of its hammer stuck in one of the grooves of the screws, immobilizing it.
There’s a very clever camera cut that I think was meant to hide a bot separation because Ghost Raptor suddenly moves a few feet back and there’s a lot more pieces of Shatter in the shot and Shatter has just magically come down from the hazard. Don’t think I didn’t notice that. I don’t know how unsticks are determined in BattleBots but had this been ruled a “double KO” I think Ghost Raptor might’ve actually won the fight. Instead, the bots were separated and Shatter scooted away to draw out a KO countdown and Chuck Pitzer wearily watches on dreading the moment he looks on the internet and reads the phrase “lmao way to go Sabertooth Cat”.
WINNER: Shatter, KO
RIBBOT vs. TRACER
As Ribbot is reintroduced to us Chris Rose asks what happened to the foam to which Kenny Florian responds “it was controversial and also I got tired of cleaning it up”. Kenny isn’t part of the cleanup crew between fights, in fact we saw them in the previous episode when Chris banged on the arena wall and cheered them on for doing a good job. But Kenny’s reasoning is correct; Ribbot’s ablative foam was determined to be an “arena fouling device” and the team was told they couldn’t bring it back for this season, so instead they’re using a vacuum formed frog face made of thin plastic. Gone is the shock absorbing qualities of the foam, the best they can do is a goofy face to maintain their robot’s image. That sucks, but what doesn’t suck is that horizontal spinner the team has gone with for this fight. As lead designer David Jin explains, the horizontal disc doesn’t come with the same issues of gyroscopic procession that a vertical spinner would. The spinning mass still has gyro forces, all spinning masses do, but in this case the force is parallel with the floor.
New this season, Tracer was accepted purely because it looks like Bite Force and Bite Force is absent because Paul Verventivertical is tired of winning and also probably didn’t want to potentially contract The ‘Rona. Clearly Tracer is a different robot but you can’t look at that machine and tell me its builder Jason Woods never once took a step back and was all “white chassis, blue vertical spinner… haven’t I seen this somewhere before”. I’ve been calling this robot “Diet Bite Force” because of its clear inspiration, but maybe this unique chassis shape is the next logical evolution of the former champ and Jason just beat Paul to the punch. I very much doubt that though because Tracer has a minibot for this battle and it is literally a Roomba with a saw blade. If Paul ever felt the need to bring a minibot into a match it would just be a platform for displaying his three Giant Nuts on.
Ribbot swings wide to allow itself ample time to get its weapon up to speed. This is successful, but as the bot goes in for an attack Tracer pivots in place and nabs the frog’s right front wheel. The hit splits the tire in two and Ribbot immediately sheds the rubber and starts flailing around as its weapon starts making contact with the arena floor. Tracer’s minibot finds itself in the wrong place at the wrong time and winds up losing one of its two tires as the frog hops around trying to get its bearings. Tracer’s weapon is revving back up this whole time. You know Jason’s got his sights set on that other front tire, but unfortunately as Ribbot and Tracer make contact again somehow the entire fucking robot flips over and Tracer lands on its head. This must be that “gyroscopic procession” that Ribbot’s team wasn’t worried about.
With Tracer’s team too distracted by their main bot being flipped over the person in charge of driving the stupid Roomba doesn’t even make an attempt to dodge the 250 pound frog charging straight at it. Ribbot’s disc absolutely obliterates the minibot and in case any of you were wondering just what’s inside a Roomba now you know; apparently it’s just a plastic shell hiding a shitty Harbor Freight angle grinder. That explains why they don’t fucking work I guess. Ribbot is content to bully the minibot while Tracer gets counted out. Theoretically I want to say Tracer should be able to drive upside down, its rear wheels extend up through the top of the curved chassis, but if you look closely as the tires spin it almost looks like perhaps the motor mounts have come loose because the wheels just shift and move as they turn. Maybe this shifting has caused them to stop making contact with the ground?
In any case Tracer is out in two hits and now Ribbot has… jumped… ahead into having an overall winning career record at 4-3.
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
KRAKEN vs. BLACK DRAGON
When I wrote my season predictions I noted that perhaps Kraken had abandoned its flamethrower in favor of a more robust frame, but then I noticed there was just a little circular plug welded onto where the fire spout was. That meant we were dealing with the same frame, and in the twitch test it appears the flamethrower itself is still present on Kraken. That’s fine, I guess. Kraken is a control bot after all and a flamethrower is only useful if you can hold someone down and blast fire in their face; of all bots who could do that Kraken is the one. For everyone else though? Skip it. Flamethrowers fucking blow. It appears most of Kraken’s upgrades this year are internal, Matt Spurk says his robot has enough compressed air inside it to get 12 full pressure bites. 12 doesn’t sound like much but when we’re talking about something as methodical as a strategic bite you don’t really need too many of them to make a difference. 12 is a lot in this case because that implies there’s still a handful of weaker ones when the tanks run out.
After shaming Minotaur in last year’s Desperado event – a robot who didn’t even make it to the show this season – Black Dragon stood tall as the new bot from Brazil to be afraid of. It wasn’t without its imperfections, the robot used to be armed with a flamethrower that was an easy target for opponents and while fighting Texas Twister the weapon erupted and turned Black Dragon into a burning wedge, a fight Black Dragon lost but should’ve won. Coming back this year the team has a new captain in the form of Gabriel Teles who took some time before this fight to show Jenny Taft all of Black Dragon’s different configurations for potential opponents. I only understood about every third word he said, but when someone is showing you a giant fuck off plow I think that’s one of those universal standards kinda like how “no” is the same in almost every language. I understood the message.
Matt Spurk isn’t afraid of a fucking thing, at all. He drives his robot like he stole it and he has zero qualms about biting down directly on someone’s weapon. He’s done it before (Ribbot), attempted it with others (Son of Whyachi), and he’s gonna do it again right here, though before we get into that I have to point out that Kraken loses its wheelie bar seemingly for no reason whatsoever. Guess they just stuck that one on with velcro or something. After two passes Kraken gets a perfect bite on Black Dragon just past its weapon rendering the whole thing absolutely useless. Even better, one of Kraken’s teeth is dangerously close to the weapon belts on Black Dragon too! Black Dragon gets bumped into the walls and screws a couple of times before things suddenly get substantially worse for the reptile: Matt says “flame on” to his teammate.
A blaze of fire erupts from Kraken’s mouth in what is possibly the most effective use I’ve ever seen of its flamethrower. These flames are hitting Black Dragon square in the face and while it’s not going to damage the armor or anything like that there are two little rubber weapon belts that are extremely weak to such an attack. Case in point if you watch closely just a few seconds into this tirade Black Dragon literally sheds a belt. There’s a redundancy system built into Black Dragon where it has two belts to run its weapon, but these things are side by side. Both of them are getting blasted by Kraken’s mixtape right now. Who knows how the other one is holding up? As Black Dragon is allowed to get away it starts spinning its blades up, demonstrating that at least the single remaining belt is intact for now, before coming in and landing a shot that bends one of Kraken’s teeth. This immediately de-ages Kraken back to its awkward middle school years where it had to wear braces because its smile looked like it tried to catch a pop fly with its teeth.
Kraken gets knocked over a couple of times by some hits that don’t seem to do any real damage. Kraken is able to easily roll back down onto its wheels due to the shape of its head. Kraken gets Black Dragon perfectly in its mouth again, Matt starts shouting “bite bite bite”, but I’m not seeing any action from the robot here. Kraken has suddenly turned into one of those shitty action figures that’s played up in the TV ads but when you want the GI Joe tanks to fire you have to actually reach in there yourself and click the buttons. What a fucking rip off. Anyways, Kraken may have lost its ability to bite but that long thin leading wedge is perfectly tonguing the space between Black Dragon’s front forks and allowing the sea beast to floss the dragon’s ass crack nicely. Ah shit, hang on I accidentally switched over into writing fanfic again. It happens sometimes. Where we were we? Oh! Holy shit Black Dragon just tore off one of Kraken’s teeth!
Kraken rolls backward again and as the robot rights itself I noticed the tooth that was torn off was the one that had previously been bent, so even though Black Dragon has landed a good shot it’s basically fixed Kraken’s weapon by getting the snaggletooth out of the way. Kraken’s lost a tooth, Black Dragon’s lost a belt, I’d say right now were dead even in terms of damage. Kraken corrals Black Dragon into its mouth again and a choof of butane spews from Black Dragon signaling that they also didn’t ditch their flamethrower from last season. Look, if you guys want Black Dragon to get clipped by a stray spinner and blow up again that’s your own fucking prerogative I guess. Thus far despite losing its ability to fully bite down Kraken has been in control, it even gets Black Dragon under the Pulverizers for a few hits at the last second.
That’s why when Chris and Kenny start redefining the judging criteria and talk about how “grapple fighting” isn’t the “flashiest” I found myself at pause. They’re going to give this fucking fight to Black Dragon aren’t they? They always fucking do this, they always try and explain away the controversy before it happe– god damn it Faruq Black Dragon didn’t fucking win this battle you read the card wrong. Apparently Derek Young is the only judge who was watching that fight.
Chris Rose is baiting me into this next paragraph by saying he can hear the people at their keyboards and since I’m an archaic old fuck who runs a blog I guess I’ll play right into his hand. Let’s break this shit down because I guess now’s the only chance we’re going to get. The judges keep getting different amounts of points to score fights with each season because this exact bullshit happens at least once a year. Now there’s 11 points total instead of 7: five for damage, and three each for aggression and control of the fight. How would I score this? Kraken ripped a belt off of Black Dragon, that’s substantial primary weapon damage and you know they give the judges treats every time they correctly identify what a “primary weapon” is. Kraken also lost a tooth, however this happened specifically because it was going after Black Dragon, this wasn’t a hit initiated by Black Dragon. Since the tooth affects the primary weapon more than a redundant belt, let’s call it 3/2 for Black Dragon. Now then, please enlighten me as to how the fuck Black Dragon – who spent most of this fight in Kraken’s mouth and wound up under the Pulverizers at the very end – is able to claim a majority stake of points in both aggression and control. Yeah, Kraken got rolled over a couple of times, but did anyone see Black Dragon immediately whip around and strike Kraken while it was prone? Kraken getting rolled over was a move that Black Dragon never once followed through with so I wouldn’t consider those hits candidates for “control” points. Black Dragon actually spent the majority of the fight running from Kraken, that’s not aggression. I’m calling a spade a spade this time around. In the past I’ve defended what looked like bullshit calls but no, this is fucking stupid and Kraken won this fight any way you slice it. Fuck right off.
“WINNER”: Black Dragon, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
HUGE vs. MAMMOTH
The original big bot, Huge, is actually playing at a size disadvantage this time around because believe it or not it’s actually the smaller of the two robots. As Jonathan Schultz very humbly put it: “this is how people normally feel when they battle us”. Huge’s gimmick since its arrival in 2018 has been that it’s simply too large for most conventional weapons to hit it; you would need either a giant spinner, a hammer, or something purpose-built to attack Huge with and most competitors simply don’t have that equipment. The only parts of Huge making contact with the ground are its very narrow UHMW tires which are resistant to virtually anything aside from high powered horizontal spinners… as Icewave and Son of Whyachi have proven. Mounted in the middle of Huge is its weapon, a giant spinning bar whose length is just barely shorter than the diameter of the wheels meaning even if Huge rides up on you just a tiny bit you’re getting your ass slapped. Chunks of bike tires have been bolted to Huge’s wheels to help with traction because as you may have guessed having what amounts to three foot wide cutting boards with an inch of ground contact doesn’t really help the whole “traction” thing.
Standing at 78 inches Mammoth is nearly a full foot taller than your average American male. It is the tallest robot to ever enter the Battlebox and it’s so large that it doesn’t even fit inside the starting square. At one point in time BattleBots were really anal about that and only gave out exemptions in very special cases, like the time Mark Setrakian showed up with Snake way back in season 2, but it seems like these days if your robot is entertaining enough they don’t fuckin’ care. Mammoth is too big, SMEE is too big, Chuck Pitzer’s ego is too big. Whatever, you know. Mammoth’s weapon is a massive spinning bar that acts more like a lifting arm than a conventional high-speed kinetic weapon. The team has different arms they can use and it appears for this match they’ve gone with a flexible rubber arm tipped with some teeth to presumably grab onto Huge with and yank it up off the ground. Will the world’s deadliest swing set pull of a first round victory? Let’s find out!
Mammoth, meet someone I like to call “physics”. Mammoth is able to expertly sweep underneath Huge and fire off its lifting device, however as soon as it does this one side of the arm flexes against the 250 pound Huge and winds up pulling Mammoth downward. The other end of Mammoth’s rubbery arm braces against the ground as it’s now in contact with it. As soon as Ricky Willems releases the lifting arm the rubber tries to snap back into place, launching Mammoth onto its side. Physics, what a bitch, am I right?
Mammoth can roll itself back over, which it does expertly, and Chris Rose says the weapon bar is bent. This lets us know he isn’t yet aware that it’s made of rubber. Mammoth goes in for another lift attempt and this time flips all the fucking way around Huge. Huge is already nearly four feet tall; we know Mammoth is close to six and a half feet and it’s clearly longer than it is tall so all I’m wondering now is how close was Mammoth’s flexible ass to the arena lights in this exchange? I guarantee Mammoth’s rear brace had to have come within inches of swiping down some expensive fucking lights. I know I could probably draw out Mammoth as a triangle given that we know how tall one side is and probably try and proportionally work out the rest of the dimensions but fuck trigonometry I’m just going to eyeball it based upon how far it sticks out from the blue square and guess Mammoth is ten feet long. Let me know in the comments if I’m correct or not. What I’m trying to say is this is a robot who’s ten feet long doing a goddamned somersault over a robot who’s between three and four feet tall. Given the “pole vault” aspect of Mammoth’s current weapon there’s probably a couple of feet added to the height here. I know Inertia Labs wants to be the first team to throw a robot into the lights but I’m impressed that it’s not Mammoth taking out lights by smashing its ass against them.
Anyways back on the ground Chris says the two robots stuck together look like moose in mating season. I do not want to know this man’s search history, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SEARCH FOR MOOSE MATING VIDEOS AND NOT LET YOUR ISP KNOW WHY NOT SIGN UP FOR PRIVATE INTERNET ACCESS, MY AFFILIATE LINK IS OVER TO THE RIGHT AND YOU’LL SAVE 73% OFF A TWO-YEAR PLAN PLUS GET TWO MORE MONTHS FOR FREE. The reason these bots are stuck is because one of Mammoth’s front “legs” is caught in the spokes of Huge’s wheels, that’s literally it. Huge’s spinning blade is inches away from clipping a tire but Mammoth is able to spin away and keep its wheels safe. Huge is landing hits on something, presumably just the pipe frame on Mammoth, and not much is being done in the way of damage. Mammoth does another goddamned backflip over its opponent just to show off. After yet another fucking flip I’ve realized the editors didn’t even try to motion-track the “Lincoln Electric” sponsor banner onto the BattleBots sign in the arena for this fight. I’m laughing way harder at this than I should.
Huge continues to get plinked around by Mammoth and winds up in the corner near one of the Pulverizers controlled by Mammoth’s team. Huge manages to get stuck on top of the hammer while it’s down and is also caught in that familiar diagonal position where its wheel is flexing under the weight of the entire robot bearing down on it rendering it unable to move. This could be it for Huge, but it’s able to literally bounce back into the fight just in time for Mammoth to swing its see-saw one final time to nudge one of Huge’s wheels behind the inner Lexan wall. This is as close to an “out of the arena” knock out that you’re going to get with Huge, so enjoy the victory I guess Mammoth. Also, just while we’re still here? That took balls to call Huge “pipsqueak”.
WINNER: Mammoth, KO
HIJINX vs. CLAW VIPER
“Jen Herchenroeder is an art major,” Chris says. Gee, I couldn’t tell. Jen is here to answer one of the burning questions of BattleBots: What if Valkyrie was pink? One thing is for certain, Hijinx is the deadliest-looking Sonic the Hedgehog level title card I’ve ever seen. Painted like an owl for reasons I’m not aware of but will surely be spelled out to me by someone paying more attention, this robot’s weapon is a massive spinning horizontal bar nestled between two tires and featuring a rear tail to help brace against the floor. I’m assuming the weight distribution of the bot favors the back in order to prevent the robot from tipping forward. Fun fact about the pink paint used on this machine, it’s “so pink” that it cannot be properly captured by digital cameras; it is the “pinkest pink” created by artist Stuart Semple. It’ll run you six bucks if you want some. I have no idea how many six dollar tubes of paint it took to work on Hijinx but I’m guessing it was at least more than one.
Because Derek Young has been a judge for the past three seasons it means we haven’t been able to see him compete with Complete Control. Actually, according to Derek that robot is officially retired and I think Warhead performing a Street Fighter-esque finisher move on it probably had something to do with that decision. So we don’t have Complete Control anymore but what we do have is Kevin Milczewski’s Claw Viper, a “close enough” version of the robot that I’m satisfied with. With a design that resembles what would happen if a snake fucked a scorpion, Claw Viper features two front lifting forks with a third grappling fork on top to take hold of opponents and suplex them backwards. Kenny Florian must be excited. Specifically for this fight however, Claw Viper is wearing a 35 pound steel wedge plate to deflect and destabilize Hijinx’s weaponry.
Before the fight Jen rolled her eyes in the interview segment because she knew Claw Viper was going to attempt a box rush. It did, but I don’t know if she was expecting Claw Viper to slam into her robot, spin around, and then use Hijinx’s rear tail as a makeshift kickflip ramp because that was fucking awesome. Claw Viper just doesn’t give a fuck. It’s fast enough that I’m thinking Hypershock may have lost its title for speediest robot and it’s brazen enough that not even Rotator would be attempting shit like this. For the first few goes Claw Viper charges at Hijinx with its weapons raised obviously in an effort to prevent them from being damaged, but past a certain point they just lower and Claw Viper takes what it can get lifting arms be damned. According to Kevin one of these first major blows broke something in the weapon which makes sense because they’ve gone completely limp. Don’t worry though, I am still rock hard because this fight is radical.
It’s a good thing there’s clearly something wrong with Hijinx because Claw Viper takes its sweet ass time trying to fly around and line up another shot. It charges across the floor and its top clamping jaw catches the cover of one of the Killsaws and visibly jacks it up. Good on you Claw Viper, we all know the arena crew is too pussy to use those hazards anymore so make those a target too while you’re at it. Claw Viper pops Hijinx into the air high enough for Chris to steal Kenny’s catchphrase about huge hits and where they are. Hijinx takes multiple hits from the Pulverizer and Claw Viper is content to just keep whaling on its opponent even though Hijinx is visibly unable to move. Also Chris mentions off hand that Orion Beach is the driver of Hijinx and I didn’t even recognize the guy. I mean I did in the team photos but when the fuck were those taken compared to when this fight happened because unless Orion is actually a lumberjack how the fuck does he have a beard that big so suddenly? Ironically as of this writing he still looks like the guy from Internet Comment Etiquette since he also has a huge corona beard right now.
Kevin finally seems to realize his opponent is dead so he leaves Hijinx alone to be counted out. Hijinx of course dies atop the Killsaws before being counted down and while this is happening the 60 second threshold is crossed (you can see the arena lights flash) signaling that the hazards are now “on”. The Killsaws are allegedly motion-activated these days but look at this bullshit; Hijinx is sitting there, fucking dead, and there’s nary a saw blade in sight. Fucking pussies. Use the hazards! Yeah, there’s a massive spinning weapon that’s going to make contact with them but that’s the point. Kevin Milkandcookies was willing to put his robot into the same arena as Hijinx’s spinning blade and you assholes don’t even have the balls to fire the hazards when there’s a robot sitting right on top of them. Nice job getting out-testosteroned by a dude who looks like Thom Yorke’s stunt double.
WINNER: Claw Viper, KO
EXTINGUISHER vs. PERFECT PHOENIX
Few robots performed more poorly than Extinguisher last season and I say that because this is a robot that went 1-3 meaning Bronco did worse. Gottem. The only reason Extinguisher had a better season than Bronco is because one of this robot’s fights was against Battlesaw and that thing was pretty much dead on arrival. Extinguisher eventually suffered the most ironic death possible at the hands of P1 when its opponent’s minibot parked underneath Extinguisher and lit it on fire. This upgraded Extinguisher looks like a much better revision of the original. It’s still sporting 4WD but it appears that the hammer actually swings this time and builder John Flaacke is ready for whatever comes his way. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get to see Extinguisher’s fabled vertical spinner attachment! For now though, I just want to see another repeat of Shatter versus Ghost Raptor. I want to see this thing come down on Perfect Phoenix’s spinning weapon and I want to see one or both of the robots just fucking explode.
Tyler Nguyen is 11 years old, been a member of MENSA since he was 4, and has an IQ that exceeds 150. We’re about to see some big brain strats from this kid who just so happens to be the son of the lady who’s banging Ray Billings… which is probably an even bigger brain strat so let’s just be glad it’s Tyler who’s in control of the robot here and not his mom. But the biggest brain strat of all? Perfect Phoenix is better known as Brutality, as in “Paul Ventimiglia’s Brutality”, a robot that won an untelevised BattleBots event in 2009 by horrifically decimating the opposition. Tyler says his favorite robot is Hazard. The math checks out on that one because this thing is just a heavyweight version of Hazard; a robot responsible for demolishing and destroying the legendary Biohazard in 2005. I don’t even know if Tyler fully grasps the gravity of the robot he’s piloting. Gotta say though, kinda hilarious that you guys just let Tyler and his buddy wheel this fucking thing out on the loader themselves.
The hardest thing for me to do in describing this fight will be finding enough pictures to fill this section of the article with, because the fight ends before the fucking timer even has a chance to disappear. Extinguisher floors it across the arena to box rush Perfect Phoenix, misses, slams into the control box for the screws, bends an axle, and fucking dies. That’s literally it. Perfect Phoenix lands a single blow simply by virtue of being in the way. There’s no fight here, there’s absolutely nothing for me to discuss. The battle’s over. Tyler can go back to the pits and watch Bakugan or whatever and John can take his robot and go back to fucking Florida for all I care.
WINNER: Perfect Phoenix, TKO
WITCH DOCTOR vs. HYDRA
Last season’s runner-up and my personal pick for champion this year is Witch Doctor. I say that because as I’ve iterated again and again this is a robot that only ever gets better. Whatever killed it in the previous season gets fixed for the next one. Case in point, Witch Doctor lost to Bite Force because it had a fragile self-righting mechanism. Now it doesn’t; now it’s more robust and faster too according to builder Andrea Gellatly. Bots have come and gone and designs have shifted radically over time, but this is pretty much the same robot that showed up in 2015 with its goofy ass minibot Shaman. Shaman, of course, has been retired because it wasn’t in Witch Doctor’s evolutionary future to keep it around. Hydra’s builder Jake Ewert says Witch Doctor is overrated, and that’s some tall fucking talk coming from a Whyachi team member especially considering their robot Fusion fucking exploded last episode. Hydra has the potential to have just been a flash in the pan last year, but Witch Doctor is a star that’s been burning for six years running.
Both Witch Doctor and Hydra made it through the qualifiers last season with a 4-0 record, but Hydra’s run for the Nut was stopped dead in its tracks by Minotaur who found Hydra’s weakness, exploited it, and knocked the new breed of flipper out in under a minute. That weakness, by the way? An exposed drive chain from the gearbox covered by a small silver plate of armor on Hydra’s back corners. Plates that – unless my eyes deceive me – are still fucking there. If this were a Japanese shoot ’em up game there’d be some big ass target graphics overlaid on top of those things right about now. Hydra is armed with a flipper, but it’s not a pneumatic one like you might expect. It’s also not even a spring-loaded one in case you’re thinking that’s their trick. No, Hydra is a hydraulic flipper. Apparently that’s a thing, and apparently it’s really fucking powerful. With Fusion off to a bad start (to put it lightly) and Son of Whyachi being delegated to something called “Bounty Hunters” it’s up to Hydra to get Team Whyachi started off on the right path.
We get about three seconds into this fight before Hydra lets loose its first flip of the match and throws Witch Doctor who the fuck knows how high in the air. Witch Doctor lands on its back, tries to self right, and promptly gets thrown through the air again by Hydra who’s demonstrated it’s not about to let up on the aggression. The corner that Witch Doctor gets thrown into is one with a Whyachi-controlled Pulverizer so the team wastes no time dropping the hammer right down on Witch Doctor’s spinning discs. If these hazards were automatic they’d have pussied out as usual, so props to Jake’s team for operating the only controllable hazards like they own ’em. Andrea and her team are talking strategy on the fly, then the cameras cut to Witch Doctor doing a 180° kickflip over the top of Hydra. Not sure if that was the plan but I’d still give ’em points for it.
Witch Doctor finally lands a solid blow to the right front corner of Hydra as the two bots do-si-do around each other and proceeds to follow this up with a hit that busts off a number of the sacrificial titanium skirt pieces on Hydra’s sides. Kenny seems to not be calling things “huge hits” anymore, probably because I cyberbullied him into stopping, but this legitimately huge hit from Witch Doctor comes at an unexpected price: its right disc fucking blows up. Witch Doctor’s spinners are attached to the same mechanism so they cannot spin independently, now that one of them is missing a fist-sized chunk of steel from it you can see the entire goddamned robot starts jittering around like a kid after one too many Jolt colas.
Hydra is taking this opportunity to get all kinds of free points. Little flips! Big flips! Rolling flips! When you order Lots and Lots of Flips in this special two-tape set!!! The last real good launch that Hydra gets in this span of a few seconds causes Witch Doctor to belly flop back down onto the arena floor and almost immediately afterward smoke starts pouring out from the left side of the robot. The robot is literally burning up on the inside but Andrea tells Mike to keep that shit at as close to 100% as they can get because the discs are still spinning, the robot is hopping around like fucking mad, but they are still landing shots. A particularly tasty one sends Hydra reeling back into the blue square where it promptly starts hitting every possible seam in the floor with the front of its flipping arm. Even funnier is you can hear Jake’s teammate Richard Stuplich telling him to “get in there”. Motherfucker, he’s trying.
Witch Doctor gets thrown through the air, still emitting copious amounts of smoke the whole time mind you, and manages to get sucked into the screws again. The hazards successfully reverse though, but Hydra’s waiting right fucking there for Witch Doctor to come down. Sadly, Hydra misses this flip; if it would’ve landed it I definitely think this would’ve been an “out of the arena” KO for the Ewerts, but instead Witch Doctor is free to continue cruising around the Battlebox while failing its California emissions test. Almost immediately after pulling a 180 in the blue square to stay facing its opponent Chris Rose says Hydra has stopped working? Very astute observation, it’s almost like this was edited in to be spoken a little sooner so more commentary could be fit in, but hey what do I know I’m just some dickhead on the internet who tells jokes. Hydra is definitely in trouble though, but it almost seems like it’s a tactical pause on Jake’s part because he knows he’s won this battle and he’s just intentionally drawing a KO count by playing possum or something to burn up the clock.
The ref actually starts to count Hydra down and as this is happening another one of Witch Doctor’s batteries fucking detonate and starts spewing cancer smoke all over the fucking place. Hydra moves around just enough to get the KO count to stop and with only 10 seconds left in the fight he knows he can just park his damaged robot where it is and let the fight go. Witch Doctor isn’t knocked out, but come the fuck on if you want to talk about “dAmAgE wItH a PrImArY wEaPoN hur hur” Hydra has just about slam-jammed its way to a unanimous fucking decision. Major props to Witch Doctor for somehow remaining fully functional while all this was going on, though. That’s gotta legitimately be voodoo. Only valid explanation.
WINNER: Hydra, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
The first article is done, here’s the second one, that means the rest should just fall in place right? Hopefully; it took me two weeks on this one. I’m paranoid that they’re going to start the next season before I can finish these… hang on let me check… 12 more articles plus 8 of something called “Bounty Hunters”. Jesus Christ I’m more fucked than Kraken after that bogus judges’ decision.
After this episode I can certainly say “it’s a BattleBots season”. We’ve had our big gimmick fight in the way of Mammoth vs. Huge, we’ve had our young prodigy propped up by the editors in the driver of Perfect Phoenix, and of course we have had our first “get the fuck out of here are you fucking for real right now” judges’ decision. It was bound to happen eventually, it’s basically a guarantee at this point. It seems no matter what they do to the judging criteria we will always have a battle where collectively everyone asks if the judges were watching that fight or playing Candy Crush on their phones. Sometimes I have to be the voice of reason, but this time it was nice to just grab a pitchfork and join the crowd shouting “rah rah rah”. #JusticeForKraken MAKE IT TREND GUYS WE’RE ONLY MONTHS LATE.
That’s going to do it for this installment of the Update. I’d like to take a moment to thank all of this website’s Patreon supporters because without their support I’d have a much harder time taking care of things around the house. When I went radio silent and disabled the page we lost about 66% of the supporters from the page, so if you’d like to rejoin and haven’t gotten the heads up yet that we’re back… uh, we’re back. Special thanks to J.K. over on Ko-Fi for their one-time donation, thank you very much! If you would like to support BattleBots Update, here is the monthly Patreon link, and the one-time Ko-Fi link!