[BattleBots: S10 E6 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update, the website that – statistically – probably has more likes on Facebook than most of the competing teams you can think of… for some reason. Had to take another break from weekly articles because there was a birthday in the family and I also got a wild hair and decided to take a two day joyride through the state of Texas hunting for tat to unbox on the YouTube channel I have but never talk about here. Some of you might be saying “but Draco aren’t you just spending money you don’t have” and to that I say “the Patreon check just hit my account what the fuck else am I supposed to do”.
Last time on BattleBots we bore witness to one of those special fights that people will never, ever, shut up about when Hydra defeated Huge by way of using just a big ass piece of square tubing bolted to its front end to expertly push Huge around with. Was Jake Ewert in the right to do what he did? Let me answer that with a postulation: we as a community are still collectively arguing over whether or not the shuffle-bot version of Son of Whyachi winning the heavyweight title in season 3 was fair. That was twenty goddamned years ago. Jake’s kids will have had kids and we’ll still be fighting over the minutia of the bike rack attachment. My advice to you is just let it go and understand that shit happens and Team Whyachi have been responsible for more amendments to the BattleBots rules than they have BattleBots championships.
This week we have no newcomers, but we do have the 2-0 Malice and Mad Catter matched up with each other. Only one of them will finish Fight Night with a perfect record, who will it be? Somehow Slap Box has been reassembled so it can face Sharko, and Extinguisher is unfortunately back this time to do battle with Gigabyte. SMEE is back to do a whole lot of fuck all against Pain Train, and in the main event Sawblaze the dragon stares down Uppercut the “fist that looks like a penis”. Tantrum, who lost after being shredded by Valkyrie, faces off against Atom 94, who lost because no one cared about it. Speaking of Valkyrie, it’s actually in our first fight of the night against Rotator who definitely beat Beta but try telling that to the judges.
ROTATOR vs. VALKYRIE
“The rules say you have to have a primary weapon, but not that you have to use it.” Tell that to Rotator, who brought a “primary weapon” into its battle against Beta, did its best to slice the hell out of it, and lost by decision after a staggering 0 hits from Beta were attempted. Not landed, attempted. Was Rotator pushed all over the place by Beta’s seemingly indestructible wedges? Yes. Was Rotator’s weapon working the entire fight? Yes. Did Rotator even manage to land a hit that cleaved into Beta’s ass and did visible damage? You’d bet your ass it did, because Beta certainly bet its ass and lost that bet. A victim of unclear enforcement of the judging criteria, Rotator the “Tombstone Killer” is here at 0-1 with a 50 pound blade just itching to dig into something. Nothing’s scarier than an “I’m not mad I’m just disappointed” Victor Soto.
Valkyrie has made it to 1-0 but only just barely. The robot is as destructive as ever but against Tantrum in its previous fight its weapon crapped out and the team surely thought they were out of it… that is until Tantrum raised its arms up as if to channel energy from the universe itself and instead just straight up died. Tantrum was shredded by Valkyrie’s killer disc and although the punchy robot survived longer than the weapon could spin, it couldn’t survive until the end of the round. It just simply sustained too much damage. That puts Valkyrie here due to a stroke of good luck against Rotator who’s here because it’s riding a wave of bad luck. Or bullshit, one or the other. Hard to tell, really. Point is two different waves of luck are converging here and there’s going to be friction.
I mentioned Rotator is the Tombstone Killer. Well, it achieved that by way of an armored train plow which the robot used to destabilize and destroy the horizontal spinner with; for this fight we’re seeing something similar except rather than going with a train plow Rotator has a giant fuck off wedge. I’m assuming the train plow still provides something for spinners to “bite” into so the wedge is meant to be simplified. In any case it’s working because right at the start of the match Valkyrie is ricocheting off of it and reeling up from the gyro forces of its own weapon. I’m guessing this is what Rotator is waiting for because now’s the time to strike at Valkyrie’s wheels. It looks like Rotator tries to go in and get some business done, but Valkyrie is still able to spin around and Victor knows not to let the giant blue spinning blade come down on top of his robot. He gets the fuck outta there and goes back to rear-ending Valkyrie.
Valkyrie digs underneath the right side of Rotator, its wheels obviously being the target here because let’s face it that’s what both of these robots are designed to fucking hit on their opponents. To my eyes it looks like Valkyrie actually lands some hits, but apparently no serious damage is sustained by Rotator’s tire. The fight is pulled back into the middle of the arena and since the Hellraiser hazards were voted off the island neither team has anything to worry about regarding something popping up from the floor and catching their blade. Valkyrie starts dogging it and for a while it looks like we’re about to see its weapon break down again but through the sheer force of will from Leanne Cushing saying “go go go” the weapon doesn’t die this time. She’s a witch.
Valkyrie gets taken into the screws on the far side of the arena and its weapon comes to a halt. Rotator pulls a 180 and strikes at the dormant weapon with its bar spinner to rack up some hits of its own, but no real damage is done. Both of the active weapons in this fight are made out of the same material and both are designed in such a way as to be thick as all hell so I doubt we’re going to see something like Rotator’s blade exploding into two parts again or the same thing happening to Valkyrie. Valkyrie is able to get away from the side of the Battlebox and revs its blade back up making this fight the longest that fucking thing has ever lasted. Rotator returns to backing into Valkyrie and again the blue spinner reels up on its hind legs like some kind of pissed off dinosaur.
Rotator is patiently waiting for Valkyrie’s spinner to break again so it can come in and clean up, but the 90 second graphic appears to let us know that the fight is half over and I don’t see that thing slowing down any time soon. In fact Valkyrie has landed so many blows to Rotator’s wedge that it’s very nearly scraped all the fucking black paint off of it. This reveals Valkyrie’s “winning numbers” and shows the robot that none of them match the “prize numbers” on the scratch card that is Rotator’s ass. This enrages Valkyrie and causes the machine to just charge at Rotator regardless of where it lands a blow. This results in several weapon-to-weapon exchanges and a chunk of armor from the front left of Rotator finally getting knocked loose.
That little piece of armor that flew off of Rotator must’ve been like a snagged thread on a sweater because Valkyrie lands another massive blow to Rotator’s ass and it becomes apparent that the bolts holding down the right side of that plow have come loose. With less than 30 seconds left in the fight Valkyrie clips the left side of the plow and just fucking exterminates Rotator with extreme prejudice. Rotator’s entire back end is blown off along with all of the armor on its left side, exposing is wheel and leaving its entire ass ripe for the kicking. However this hit also causes the armor paneling on Valkyrie’s front left to be torn off and sucked into its spinner, disabling it. You guys, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for and now your weapon decides it’s had enough? How do you build robots that are this innately poor at finishing tasks? First Tantrum, now Rotator?
Rotator’s weapon has also given up the ghost, and it’s missing chunks out of one of its wheels. Clearly that mega hit from Valkyrie absolutely wrecked the robot, but let’s review the tape here; Valkyrie had its weapon going for the whole match and all Rotator did was just back into it with its armored plow and shove it around, controlling the flow of the fight for the full three minutes. Rotator rarely landed any hits at all with its “primary weapon” and got its ass torn open at the very end of the battle. So… that means Rotator wins, right? I mean, that’s only fair given what happened at the end of its fight with Beta, yeah? Because that’s exactly what happened, blown out asshole and all. Wait what’s that? Valkyrie wins? Unanimously?
Well, it was nice knowing you, Rotator.
WINNER: Valkyrie, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
EXTINGUISHER vs. GIGABYTE
We’re only like six episodes into the season and Extinguisher has already been the butt of more jokes than I can count. After a crappy showing last season I had apprehensive hopes for the newly rebuilt heavyweight because all aspects of it looked harder, better, faster, and also tougher. I bet that sentence didn’t end the way you were expecting. Extinguisher was paired up with Perfect Phoenix and right away went for the classic box rush strat, missed its mark, smashed into the wall, and quit working entirely. So, who’s next for Extinguisher to battle? Another robot where box rushing it is the most viable move. God himself hates this stupid machine, but at least John Flaacke still believes he has a chance.
But let’s be real here, Gigabyte isn’t coming out of its previous match smelling like roses either. In the immortal words of John Mladenik making up excuses as for why he’s not winning, “the floor is like ice”. These words were uttered mere nanoseconds before Copperhead caught Gigabyte by the lip of its shell and busted the entire goddamned thing off. I was impressed when Tombstone did it but honestly this happens more often than you think and the novelty has kind of worn off now. We get it, you knocked Gigabyte’s shell off. Big whoop. Join the fucking club. Somehow that poisoned Chinese metal made its way back into Gigabyte’s weapon axle and that’s why it exploded. Hopefully John and his crew took a better inventory of what exactly their robot is made from because if it loses to Extinguisher then they’re out of the competition.
Extinguisher goes for the box rush, noticeably slower this time, and still misses. At least it didn’t slam itself into the wall hard enough to kill it. That’s what Gigabyte is for, and the hosts need to stop saying “whiffs it” because that’s a distinct enough phrase that saying it more than once is noticeable. That’s this season’s “huge hit there” which I’ve noticed has vanished from the show entirely. (Sometimes Chris says “huge shot”, that’s it.) I’m sad about that, but Gigabyte is ready to make me smile again by whacking Extinguisher so hard that the entire robot reels up and spins around like a fucking quarter. This robot is square how the hell do you even accomplish something like that???
The fire truck has to swing its axe in order to self right and Gigabyte comes so close to imitating Malice and just yanking that fucking blade right off. Extinguisher retracts its weapon and for some reason decides to back into its opponent weapon-first. Gigabyte doesn’t quite rip the axe off and heave it at the wall like I was hoping but it does kink it a perfect 45 degrees. Amazingly this pretzel twist hasn’t caused Extinguisher to throw a chain or tweak one of the sprockets running the weapon because it still fruitlessly swings it at Gigabyte and gets whammied hard enough for the left side of its front ramming plate to get pulled loose. The left side of Extinguisher is thrashed, the right side of its drive seems to have crapped out, and here comes Gigabyte ready to slam this stupid robot one more time and tear a wheel and drive chain off.
Extinguisher is still sort of moving but it gets counted out anyways, presumably because the officials and drivers and judges and hosts and everyone in the goddamned audience know there’s only one way this match is ending. Gigabyte salvages its run for the Round of 32 by stepping up to 1-1, and Extinguisher better think about packing it up because at 0-2 with these kinds of performances I don’t see the robot having any shot at advancing unless it wins its next fight by using its rumored “vertical spinner” weapon module to become a 4WD vertical spinner robot and get into the selection committee’s good graces.
WINNER: Gigabyte, KO
SLAP BOX vs. SHARKO
Let me first just say props to Bryce Yankauskas, or probably his father, for being able to put Slap Box back together after its run-in with Tombstone. Honestly if that were me and I busted my ass just for my first draw to be against Tombstone I would’ve just called it quits, thrown my robot in the skip outside, and watched the rest of the tournament from the VIP green room drinking Fiji water and eating expensive cheese plates. Fuck that. Slap Box was stripped down to just one wheel with at least one of its gearboxes getting smashed in the process not to mention what kinds of damage that lifting arm sustained, and yet here it is ready to tell Sharko to fucking choke on it.
Sharko is not a bad robot, but it’s bad at fighting. Visually this thing’s unmatched and has more personality than the hostesses ABC used to hire to anchor the show with in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. When it comes to fighting however Sharko leaves a lot to be desired; it’s primary weapon is a pneumatic flipping jaw that doubles as a clamp when it retracts, kind of like Kraken in that regard but if Kraken also had a way to lift opponents upward. Sharko lost to SMEE by decision a few episodes ago but that fight was a shit show that literally could’ve gone either way. Two goofy ass gimmick bots usually don’t make for a good battle. I would say Sharko looks ready to go for this fight but if you watch closely one of its upper armor panels falls off during the pre-fight twitch test and gets stuck in its mouth.
And that armor panel is the first thing to go because it’s apparently held on with nothing. No screws, not even some fucking duct tape. It’s superficial, but way to instantly give your opponent damage points Sharko. Before the match Ed Robinson said his plan was to floor it and then slam on the brakes so his robot’s mouth would hit the ground and negate Slap Box’s box rush. Very rarely do we see a driver stick to what they say their plan is but you can see Sharko do this exact maneuver. It misses, but that’s still something; you know Ed’s a man of his word at least, even if every other word out of his mouth is “CHOMP”.
Sharko goes into a Talespin tail spin (sorry, still got Disney+ on the brain from last episode’s article) and whacks Slap Box with its ass. The hit does nothing, but it’s probably worth some aggression points at least. Slap Box is the perfect snack size for Sharko’s mouth so I’m not sure why the robot is fighting with its jaw shut, but if it’s because Sharko is aiming for a flip it better think again. In the meantime though look at the whirlwind of dust and debris that Sharko kicks up with its spin move! That’s the reason why Slap Box’s tires already look like they’ve driven through fresh asphalt because you know damn well those motherfuckers are brand new thanks to Tombstone.
Eventually, Slap Box makes an error in driving and lowers its lifting arm too far resulting in the arm bracing against the floor and opening itself up as an easy target for the shark. Ed wastes no time at all getting his teammate to bite down on Slap Box’s arm hard enough that when Slap Box tries to wrangle itself away all it can do is just lift its own chassis off the ground and contort itself into one of several different “not winning” poses. Sharko starts literally chewing on Slap Box at one point and this is enough for the lifter to get away, but it gets nabbed again by the shark way out on the end of its lifting arm. I don’t know why, but now that Sharko’s been hooked on the end of this makeshift fishing rod now Slap Box can lift it up. Mind you, remember that Sharko is biting down hard enough for this 250 pound machine to be lifted perpendicularly to the fucking floor.
Who’s scoring points here? Sharko’s got the bite, but Slap Box has the lift. Slap Box also has its flamethrower going full blast scorching the inside of Sharko’s mouth. This understandably causes Sharko to let go and the robot tumbles off sideways and I think Slap Box sticks itself into the wall when it crashes into it, however it wriggles itself free with its lifting arm. The previous attack might as well be a 50/50 split in points, but this next maneuver is all Slap Box. Over in the blue square Slap Box gets just the right amount of leverage on Sharko that it manages to turn the robot onto its lid. Sharko can drive upside-down no problem, but its weapon is only effective when the robot is right-ways up. Slap Box scores some more points with its roaster as Sharko ineffectively just whips around trying to smack its opponent away with its tail.
While spinning around in place Sharko fires its flipper, I guess to see if the combination of forces will cause the robot to roll over, but in doing so Sharko throws a drive chain. This is most easily seen when Slap Box rolls Sharko back onto its belly and the chain for the left drive wheel just sorta falls slack. Seconds later however Sharko is right back on its ass. I’ve gotta say Slap Box is doing a lot more than I expected it to. I just thought this was going to be a shittier version of Duck, and while it kind of still is at least it’s got some real muscle in that lifting arm. Sharko, still on its back, spins around and eventually comes to a halt. The drive chain on its right wheel is still attached so it’s not like the robot threw the other chain by driving too hard, I think the robot likely just experienced a power failure from being rolled over so many times.
Also thanks to the close-up camera view of Sharko dead on its back I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the robot is male. I can see the claspers on its ass. Those are used for fuckin’. That is a very highly specific biological detail that I wasn’t expecting to see on a campy robot and I’ve gotta say now I’m surprised there’s not a fucking genital slit painted onto the machine. I mean, this airs on Discovery Channel after all. Look, we’re over 100 articles into this blog so if I have to start talking about sharks fucking to make a punchline then so fucking be it.
WINNER: Slap Box, KO
MAD CATTER vs. MALICE
You knew some fuckery like this was bound to happen. Not everyone is going to go 3-0 in the Fight Night rounds this year but we’re about to find out who’s doing it first because both of these participants are at 2-0… and both of them are robots you probably didn’t expect. Up first is Mad Catter, a robot captained by Martin Mason who was previously involved with Bad Kitty, then War Hawk, and now he has his own robot that looks an awful lot like a souped up older version of War Hawk. There’s no telling where these parts are from anymore, but it doesn’t matter. Mad Catter whipped Fusion hard enough for the entire robot to burst into fucking flames and then threw hands with Ribbot in a fight that went the distance but was undeniably Mad Catter’s win. This is the first time we’ve seen Mad Catter without its spinner however, the team has opted to go with a lifter & hammer setup.
And Malice is our other 2-0. Now when I said “both of them are robots you probably didn’t expect” I meant that in regards to Malice being a rookie heavyweight, that wasn’t really a knock at Bunny Sauriol’s expense. Mad Catter kind of sucked last year, but Malice is brand new and it’s not often that a brand new robot starts up a win streak. Malice also doesn’t really look like the kind of robot that would kick up a win streak either, it’s just all weapon. That’s definitely worth at least one win, but a combo chain of two with the possibility of making it three? What the fuck? If you’re wondering what that disc can do just ask Axe Backwards who was absolutely thrashed by it, or Shatter who had its entire axe weapon snapped off in a move I alluded to in Extinguisher’s fight earlier this episode.
In case you were still curious just how much kinetic energy can be stored up in Malice’s spinner after just two seconds of spinning up I invite you to watch the robot flip the fuck out when Mad Catter slams into it face first. Malice lands upside-down but it’s the same robot either way up, and another glancing blow causes it to reel up and bounce back down the right way anyways. But the third hit? There’s a saying in the robot combat community called “doing the thing”. It is when your robot gets stuck onto a part of its own geometry where none of its wheels are in contact with the ground and the robot cannot right itself. It’s distinct from a non-invertible robot being flipped over because this specifically refers to a robot getting caught on an edge or side that wasn’t anticipated. In Malice’s case, the robot “does the thing” on its own ass. A 17 cent bolt sticking out from the butthole of this robot could’ve prevented this from happening, but now Malice is stuck on its ass end with no way to get back down.
There’s a chance that the gyroscopic forces of its weapon might help because you can see Malice’s driver getting extremely intense with the transmitter sticks going from forward to reverse in an effort to rock the robot back down onto its wheels. It’s not helping, and might actually be working against it, and instead we’re treated to Mad Catter’s minibot literally ripping ass and farting fire all over Malice’s weapon motor. This is definitely not the route I was expecting this fight to go, but at 3-0 and 2-1 I think it’s a safe bet that both of these robots are advancing on anyways; this battle was purely for bragging rights and a higher seed placement in the Round of 32.
Also did anyone else notice that Mad Catter’s pick axe had flames coming out of it. That means we don’t need Blacksmith anymore!
WINNER: Mad Catter, KO
ATOM #94 vs. TANTRUM
I hope the excitement of the previous fight was worth it. All ten seconds of it. We’re back to bots that have yet to put any points on the board; 0-1. Up first in the red square is Atom 94, India’s first BattleBots competitor who tried to make a strong showing against The Big Dill but wound up deepthroating Big Dill’s lifting forks so expertly that the fight was halted, the robots deemed inseparable, and the battle was sent off to the judges for a special decision. I know this is a robot who hasn’t won a fight but it takes skills to lose that impressively. Tantrum just crapped out and died, there’s nothing exciting about that. Maybe this time Atom 94’s spinners will do something other than smoke.
Tantrum lost its first fight to Valkyrie because it just sustained too much damage, simple as that. Being built like a brick has always been Tantrum’s “thing” but that really only applies to its perimeter, when you hit this thing on its lid the damage tends to be a little more significant. Yeti popped Tantrum on its top last season and killed it, and Valkyrie came down atop this thing like a maniacal lawnmower and absolutely shredded Tantrum’s fists. Pointing that out in case you’re wondering why Tantrum’s gym gains seemed to magically vaporize and his biceps turned into little dinky sticks with fists on them. You guys could’ve at least left the right arm bulky as a masturbation joke. Much like Atom 94, Tantrum’s weapon did fuck all in its previous match too. Maybe this time we’ll see the “punching disc” do something?
Neither robot goes for a full charge, not even Tantrum considering it probably has the armor to tank a couple hits while its weapon safely spins up to speed in its retracted position. Then again I can see the tip of the disc while it’s “spinning up to speed” so it looks like it’s just going to take its jolly old fucking time getting going. At least Atom 94 is putting all 94 of those weapon belts to good use because as Tantrum slips and slides around the arena the Atom 94 lands a hit that I firmly believed it wasn’t capable of ever delivering. Tantrum rolls head over heels and ever so slowly rights itself with its teeny little arms. You can see Atom 94 coming in for a second hit but missing just barely. Aren Hill vents a frustrated “come on” and you can gauge how irritated he is by how deeply his coronavirus mask inverted when he inhaled.
Tantrum gets its front forks stuck in Atom 94’s face and because Atom 94 is using Colson tires it means it basically has straight zeroes in the “traction” category of bot design. This is why Tantrum is able to literally just shove Atom 94 around perpendicularly to the tread and direction of its tires. The run ends with Tantrum clipping one of the screw boxes and as Atom 94 slides away it just keeps drifting and doesn’t stop. Even when it tries to drive away it’s just spinning around and driving as if it had fucking Mecanum wheels like Shatter. Tantrum cruises in for another shove and catches the underside of Atom 94’s spinners creating more sparks, but doing no damage. Tantrum even visibly tries punching Atom 94 with its disc but the weapon stops immediately upon touching the Indian robot. Good to know that after a year’s worth of refinement Tantrum’s weapon still does absolutely fuck all.
The underside of Atom 94’s blades grazes the lid of Tantrum again and this time the shock from doing so destabilizes Atom 94 enough to roll it over. It’s then backed into the wall where the remainder of the kinetic energy stored in its weapon gets wasted on the spike strip causing Atom 94 to do a twist in the air and land right back on its ass. Kenny Florian suspects this to have been the “kill shot” but I’m convinced that happened like 30 seconds ago. Anyways Chris Rose observes that Atom 94 can spin its weapon but cannot move, and honestly I’m just going to disagree with that statement too because yeah the weapon is turning but if it’s moving slowly enough that I’d feel comfortable reaching in there with my fucking hand to stop it I’d say it’s not “spinning”.
Tantrum fires its sliding track spinner a couple of times as if to show off. Buddy, you didn’t do a damn thing in this fight. You won because your opponent was Atom 94, a robot who’s quickly becoming the next “automatic points” joke on this website.
WINNER: Tantrum, KO
KENNY FLORIAN’S WEAPON RANKINGS
Man it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these segments hasn’t it? I mean this, right here. The part where I take a segment from the show and break it down. Usually we just get straight fights or 60 seconds’ worth of chatter from Jenny Taft and the best I can get from those pit segments are some video stills and maybe some info to use in a joke later on in the article. This episode is going by pretty quickly, only one fight has gone the distance, so to fill some time Kenny dares to face the wrath of the internet and has compiled a “power ranking” based upon who he thinks has the strongest weapons this year. Do I believe Kenny actually made this list? I have no idea. He could be reading some prepared nonsense from the writers for all I care, he put his name on it though so it’s fair game. Let’s rank ’em.
Gruff has had one fight thus far but apparently cooking Hypershock with 3000+ degree flamethrowers is only good enough to take the number 10 spot. Same with only being in one fight, apparently.
Another robot with just one fight under its belt, perennial favorite Sawblaze clocks in penultimately despite a KO victory over the highly effective and feared Whiplash. With just a few expertly-placed judo chops (and a Vulcan nerve pinch) Sawblaze dug into Whiplash’s side and completely disabled it. Ninth.
Beta hasn’t fired its weapon once this season Kenny what the fuck’s the matter with you? The editors even had to show footage from 2016 to fill time on this one come the fuck on.
Valkyrie and Rotator (#6) are introduced as if they’re tied. So naturally the robot who won the opening fight of this episode is placed below the loser. Sure, that makes perfect sense. In Upside-fucking-down Land. Valkyrie’s even at 2-0 right now, yet it’s ranked below the 0-2…
Don’t get me wrong Rotator is a motherfucker but this season all it’s done is lose fights. At least Weapon #6 was strong enough to disable Weapon #8, but that’s because Weapon #8 shouldn’t even be on this fucking list and it’s only here because I think I already know what the rest of this list looks like.
Finally, a rank I can agree with. I guess. Bloodsport is 2-0 right now with brutal victories over Skorpios and End Game. It’s performing quite well this season and the fact that I don’t have anything immediately snarky to say about it means Justin Marple can breathe a sigh of relief. For now.
#4: Witch Doctor
Ah yes, let’s stick a robot who’s at 0-2 in fourth fucking place. Not only that, let’s give the #4 spot to a robot who is not only 0-2 but whose weapon literally broke apart in both of those fights. Nothing says “Tonka tough” like a spinning disc whose teeth shear off immediately upon grazing an opponent.
#3: End Game
Another rank I guess I can live with, End Game gets the first podium finish of the list. With one win and one loss I think it’s safe to say the only reason End Game is so high up on the list is because it KO’d Tombstone in like two hits, otherwise the only other B-roll to cut to is End Game losing to Bloodsport.
I can already see who’s at number one because they didn’t do these graphics the way I was anticipating (3-3-3-1) so I’m going to be “that guy” and say Hydra probably ought to have the top spot. “But Draco what about the Huge fight?” Yeah? What about the Huge fight? I don’t know about you but all I saw there was Hydra winning.
Honestly with a list this haphazardly thrown together I’m surprised that Bite Force wasn’t erroneously placed at #1. Tombstone is here because it’s Tombstone. Despite losing its first fight to the guy in third place on this list Tombstone still takes the cake because it’s fucking Tombstone. We get it, it’s the only other series champion we’ve had in the reboots. Doesn’t change the fact that so far its only win was over Not Duck.
What the fuck is up with this list? Is it bait? Beta shouldn’t even be on there. Where’s Malice? Malice obliterated Axe Backwards in a fireball and ripped the axe head right off of Shatter. What about Mad Catter, the first robot to go 3-0 this season? Hell I’d even settle for Fusion considering the hate crime it committed all over Aegis. Uppercut fails to make the list, the first robot to ever KO Gemini (it’s not an accomplishment but the editors keep treating it like one so I’ll play along), but Witch Doctor sticks the landing at #4? No thank you. This is clearly just some mid-season guff to fill the clock because I’m sure someone breaks down in the next fight and the main event match ends in a KO again.
Chris warns Kenny not to check his Mentions. I’ll go a step further and say all of you dumb motherfuckers ought to delete your Twitter accounts because that platform is nothing but a cesspool of toxic trash and hatred. It is the internet’s equivalent of a Superfund site. Big brain strats over here, can’t worry about your @’s if there isn’t a way for people to @ you. Get with the fucking program.
SMEE vs. PAIN TRAIN
“Hot” off the heels of beating Sharko in its first bout is SMEE, one of those robots that started life as a beetleweight, was absurdly successful, and was somewhat jokingly scaled up to the heavyweight class. The result? A fourteen foot wide speed bump with spring-braced pivots in the middle and a spinning blade on either end. The spinning blades were added as per BattleBots’ rules on robots needing to have an active primary weapon otherwise I think we’d just be seeing a fourteen foot wedge in the arena. That might sound amusing but I can guarantee you that shit would get tiring real goddamned fast, like literally before the end of the first fight. If it didn’t, then you need your head checked.
So SMEE has a win under its belt, but Pain Train doesn’t. Pain Train holds the distinction of being the first robot to lose to one of Craig Danby’s robots; this is a robot who’s so bad that it managed to break the Danby Curse. The world’s just not ready for egg-beater styled spinners, or maybe it was at one point but those days have long since passed us by and we just never noticed it because egg-beaters are stupid designs and the only people still using them today are people who “build” beetleweights but are too lazy to craft their own weapons for them. If all this thing does is rip “E” stickers off of SMEE then the Pain Train will probably be pulling into the station for good.
Right away SMEE runs into Pain Train and just sorta hugs it, missing at least half of the point of the name “BattleBots”. Pain Train is too tiny and SMEE is too wide for its spinning blades to curve around and slice up Pain Train’s ass. This results in SMEE spinning itself around in place so that it can use the power of inertia to its advantage and bring one of its spinning blades to bear. I say “one of” the spinning blades because only one of the fucking things is working right now. This is a team whose driver literally said “dude our weapons are good” in their previous fight. Chris Rose chimes in and says the blades spin at 230 MPH. Bud, that ain’t no “230 MPH”. I think you’ve got an extra zero in there somewhere. This is going to be a long fucking three minutes, I can feel it.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s like neither robot wants to win this battle; SMEE just keeps glomping itself onto Pain Train and Pain Train is shaped too much like a turd to be able to actually land a hit or even be hit. Honestly this is impressive engineering but it’s a damn shame we’re seeing it in a fight that’s even worse than both of these robots’ first outings. The hosts’ optimism starts turning to doubt which is a bad sign. Maybe Evan Arias is able to overhear their conversation because he finally steers Pain Train into the left side of SMEE and whacks it hard enough to cause SMEE’s entire left blade to come loose, shaft and all. Dude, your weapons are not good. Anthony D’Ambrosio on Pain Train’s team loses his goddamned mind after that hit and I guess he has a right to, this is literally the first time Pain Train has landed a hit period.
Kenny thinks SMEE losing a blade will affect its driving. It won’t, but we won’t be able to tell one way or another because SMEE is still going to drive around like the spaceship in Kuru Kuru Kururin. Yeah how’s that one for a reference fuck you. SMEE’s other blade isn’t even bothering to try and spin. Someone on Pain Train’s team says they have to get behind their opponent. As this line is spoken SMEE spins around and exposes all fourteen feet of its ass end to Pain Train and if you think Pain Train capitalizes on this opportunity then I want you to take a good long think about why and how you’ve made it this far into BattleBots Update. It looks like Pain Train tries to go for a hit but this is a robot that can only drive in a straight line when it’s being placed into its starting square.
SMEE aimlessly spins around and clips Pain Train’s drum with its right side of drive. Rather than do any damage Pain Train’s drum decides it’s had enough fun for the evening and peaces out. Belts, locking washers, shaft collars, the whole nine fucking yards come out of Pain Train’s face including the egg-beater itself. Remember, this is damage SMEE was able to do by just spinning its ass end into Pain Train. Imagine the carnage we could’ve seen if at least one of these robots wasn’t a pile of shit. There’s still a little under a minute to go in this bout and it ends with both robots locked together and copious amounts of smoke pouring out of every opening on Pain Train. For fuck’s sake it was one glancing blow! During the replays Chris and Kenny just straight up lie about weapons causing damage so that a layperson watching this fight doesn’t think they’ve been robbed of their time. Guys, if the fight was this bad just don’t show it maybe? Like who genuinely fucking cares about SMEE? Is the joke really that funny?
Pain Train wins the fight by a split decision and if you pay close attention you’ll notice Evan is wearing one of those prefab beetleweight egg-beater weapons like a pair of brass knuckles. You know, the ones I was talking shit on earlier. How he got his hands on a blue one is another story because I thought they only sold those things in a gaudy orange color.
WINNER: Pain Train, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
UPPERCUT vs. SAWBLAZE
The battle of MIT. Teacher versus pupil. Master versus apprentice. No, let’s just call this the battle of privilege. Uppercut is what feels like the 17th robot to come out of MIT and participate in BattleBots. There have been so many MIT robots that there are several that never even qualified for competition over the years. MIT, the school of the golden child, is just a robotics factory. Let’s get some bots from fucking Texas A&M or something in here or something. Fuck I’ll even take Del Mar Community College. Uppercut is a vertical spinner that made it to the Round of 16 last year but was defeated quite quickly by Bite Force, however that hasn’t stopped it because Uppercut is up to its old tricks again and told Gemini to kiss its ass in just under 13 seconds. Uppercut’s “penis arm” has been replaced with their solid steel strike bar just for Sawblaze.
And out of all the bots to come from MIT I still stand by my claim that Sawblaze is probably the best one. Others have come and went; Overhaul, Brutus, Road Rash, The Dentist… but only Sawblaze remains standing tall where its compatriots have fallen. It’s no secret that Alex Hattori was on Sawblaze’s team in 2018, hell that’s the angle the editors have been spinning this fight all episode. Does that mean Alex has some secret knowledge about Sawblaze? No, probably not. Sawblaze just does what it does and that’s karate chop the fuck out of everyone until they die. If you want to talk about secret knowledge let’s just hope Kenny Florian’s reminder of Sawblaze’s flamethrower isn’t telegraphing anything that we ought to be paying attention to.
Sawblaze swings wide to the left and attempts to sweep Uppercut into its forks but Uppercut pivots into the attack and Sawblaze backs away. Those front forks have been improved upon each year but I’d imagine they’re still susceptible to getting blown the fuck back if Uppercut digs into their tips. Without those forks Sawblaze is definitely going to lose and no amount of extra front armor is going to mean a damn thing because Uppercut will just, well, do what it does a few seconds later and strike Sawblaze in such a way that the whole fucking robot splays open and flies into the goddamned wall. Uppercut immediately floors it to make a follow up attack but is foiled by Lockjaw’s arch nemesis: The Killsaw slots. Uppercut tips forward so far that its weapon catches the floor and throws it backwards across the arena.
Despite the folly that’s still not enough time for Sawblaze to get down off the wall and back onto its wheels because what happens next is nothing short of fucking incredible. Now, I’m no expert on dragon anatomy so I don’t know what organ is responsible for their ability to breathe fire, but whatever it is Uppercut just punched that organ through Sawblaze’s own asshole because the entire left side of the robot literally fucking detonates for real as Sawblaze’s entire reserve of flamethrower fuel goes off in one shot. A long time ago Sawblaze used to have the tip of that flamethrower pointed next to its saw so that it could slice a hole into an opponent and then spit fire into it. As Sawblaze evolved that flamethrower became vestigial, but Jamison Go didn’t want to completely get rid of it because his robot’s stupid green flames were its “signature thing”. The opening ten seconds of this match is a testament to the notion of “either keep it or fucking get rid of it”. Nobody was expecting Sawblaze’s ass to explode, I guarantee it. I’m just floored that Alex Hattori has the manners to say “holy crap” instead of oh I don’t know “Jesus titty-fucking Christ”.
Somehow this explosion doesn’t immediately kill Sawblaze. It kills the left side of drive, because no shit, but the robot’s weapon and right drive wheel are still operational. Uppercut gets to work ripping foam out of Sawblaze’s right drive wheel, toppling the robot over, and striking its gaping anal wound to knock loose the armor panel that amazingly wasn’t blown into the goddamned stratosphere. Sawblaze is unable to stay on its feet under the assault and its weapon belt is one of the many things shed in the flurry of foam chunks and armor pieces. Eventually Sawblaze comes to rest in front of the drivers’ booth and it’s just not moving anymore. Kenny says he should’ve put Uppercut’s weapon on his list earlier in the episode and steals my opportunity to make that exact joke.
Uppercut moves on to 2-0 with nothing but KO’s under its belt. Even if Uppercut loses its next fight a 13 second victory over Gemini and defeating Sawblaze by blowing it the fuck apart is probably impressive enough to still make the Round of 32. Alex and his team can go back to the pits and do yo-yo shit or whatever, Jamison and his team have a lot of work to do.
WINNER: Uppercut, KO
“I had a blast,” Kenny Florian says as the episode ends. Usually it’s Chris making the awful puns, that explosion from Sawblaze must’ve created a rift in the universe. But for real here, holy shit. Peter Abrahamson has seen it all when it comes to robot combat and even he was impressed by that shot. Jason Bardis, the judge whose team was literally called The Infernolab, got a front row seat to that blaze in an ironic twist of fate. Sawblaze and Uppercut belong to that category of robots that will probably advance onward anyways but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t a dick measuring contest. I guarantee Alex Hattori will invent a new yo-yo trick and name it after this fight.
Speaking of, how about Mad Catter reaching the 3-0 summit? Mad Catter and Malice are the first two robots to complete their qualifiers and I’ve gotta be honest I didn’t think I’d see Mad Catter qualifying let alone doing it with a perfect score. This is a robot that I ranked as a “C+” when it came to likelihood of it winning the Nut. A C+ robot doesn’t just show up and dominate its qualifiers like that, so I was clearly wrong. Only two robots have finished their Fight Nights, but a lot more are on the cusp now. Virtually everyone else in this episode has now had two fights and when the dust settled Valkyrie and Uppercut are the only ones at 2-0 this episode. Meanwhile Rotator has been fed to the dogs at 0-2 and is down there with Sharko. Fuck, even Pain Train has a win now. Pain Train.
But that’s just how it goes sometimes. It do be like that, and we are now rapidly approaching the end of the Fight Night qualifiers. There are still a ton of robots unaccounted for however, like Axolotl and WAR-EZ. What are they up to? I mean I know why we haven’t seen Rampage and Black Widow, but I mean if they were destroyed by someone you’d think we would’ve been made aware of it. I’m not sure at what point this season the Round of 32 begins but I know next episode is #7 and that’ll put us officially half way through the episodes so hopefully we get to see some fresh faces. I want to see Bale Spear get torn apart at some point or else I’m gonna feel ripped off.
That does it for this installment of BattleBots Update. Thank you so much for checking it out and thank you everyone for your continued support, even with this website’s content schedule being shifted into the post-season. A few of you have left me comments saying “I was waiting for a reason to re-watch the season on my DVR and this is it” and that’s really validating – thank you. 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 you can grab some kickass stickers for your bot HERE. And as always here comes that phrase: be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook. I don’t have a joke this time, just do it.