[BattleBots: S10 E7 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Check this out, I’m going to try doing this thing called “preparing an article ahead of time”. See, I just recently took a week off from updating the website because I was out of town and just wasn’t able to hammer out an article and post it by Friday like I’ve started doing. I’m about to be out of town for July 4th weekend again so I’m tempting fate by seeing if I can preempt this absence by getting this article ready before I leave that way it’s no issue! I’m starting this article before the S10 E6 one has even gone live I’m a fucking genius!
Last week Rotator and Valkyrie locked heads and when people could finally fucking see after the non-stop shower of sparks Rotator was missing its ass and wound up losing the fight. A lot of 0-1 robots were paired up with each other too, notably Extinguisher and Gigabyte which ended with the city of Long Beach needing to get a new fire truck sent to them because Gigabyte trashed this one. Atom #94 and Tantrum also squared off and Tantrum won but you didn’t miss anything if you stepped out to take a piss or get a snack or whatever. There was a battle between two 2-0 robots and the end result was Mad Catter qualifying with a perfect 3-0 record. No, you didn’t read that last sentence wrong. Pain Train managed to beat SMEE even though Pain Train’s own weapon spun up and fell off, and I would of course be remiss not to bring up the main event of the evening where Uppercut defeated Sawblaze by hitting it right on its flamethrower fuel tank causing Sawblaze to literally fucking detonate. I’m quite certain it’s all downhill from here, folks.
This week the hosts are making a big deal about the Round of 32 approaching and I’m just as anxious, where is everyone? Making their season debuts tonight are P1 and Bale Spear, not exactly hype material but still it’s something. Rusty and Sporkinok are back, though they aren’t fighting each other again. After losing in episode one Whiplash is back in this episode’s main event to fight Gruff, and on the other end of the spectrum we have a potato fight in the making with Axe Backwards and Captain Shrederator… a fight which they’ve chosen to lead in with. It’s like you guys are afraid of ratings or something.
CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR vs. AXE BACKWARDS
Wonderful, no matter what I’m going to have to keep typing one of these names out; usually if there’s a robot whose name is a pain in the ass I’ll just clipboard it and then Ctrl+V it into the articles. I do that with both Captain Shrederator and Axe Backwards. Now I have to pick one, and type the other. I could just do a Find/Replace process but that’s too much fucking work. I’m writing jokes about BattleBots here not the Declaration of goddamned Independence. What we have is a match-up between two robots with impressive career records… for all the wrong reasons. Up first is Captain Shrederator, a shell spinner with a BattleBots career record of 2 wins and 10 losses. Brian Nave has gone back to an older iteration of this robot “when it was winning”. Thus far I think he’s just certifiably insane.
And in the blue square is Axe “Axey B” Backwards with a career record of 1 win and 8 losses. You might remember this robot as being the one that Malice slammed so hard that it fucking exploded prompting Bunny Sauriol to shout “suck it Kurt” as Axe Backwards was counted down. Neither of these robots have a win this year, hell they barely have any wins period, but finally one of them is about to put some points on the board. The “selection committee” realized the only way to fix these two robot’s records, or at least fix one of them, was to make them fight each other. Someone, statistically, has to win the fight. And just for this occasion Axe Backwards is sporting a wedge attachment to keep the Captain at bay. I was not aware special attachments were a thing Axe Backwards could do, so color me surprised.
Axe Backwards knows Captain Shrederator is going to get up to speed by the time it can cross the arena, so it doesn’t attempt a box rush even though it’s using a special flaming wedge for this fight. Instead, Axe Backwards prowls along the sides of the arena in an effort to coax an attack out of Captain Shrederator with the intent being that it can deflect the shell spinner into the wall and blow it up. This plan very nearly works save for one tiny problem: Axe Backwards pops a fucking wheelie when it tries to lean in with that wedge resulting in its underside getting grazed by Captain Shrederator followed up by an attack that sends both bots flying in opposite directions. Granted this hit does send the Captain into the wall, but nothing breaks. Visibly, at least.
Props to Axey B though, it also doesn’t die from this hit or lose a wheel or whatever. For a second I thought the hit disabled its drum but fuck me that son of a bitch gets spinning right back up to speed! These are two sides of these robots that we’ve never seen before because in a normal fight one or both of them would’ve died by now. Maybe they both look good because in comparison to one another we’re seeing two D-tier machines fight, but if that’s what it takes to make me care about Captain Shrederator then so be it. Axe Backwards gets a great bit of leverage in the middle of the arena and slides Captain Shrederator all the way up and over its flaming ramp into its drum. I didn’t even think of that aspect of Axe Backwards’ attack. I was just straight up expecting whatever it was Kurt Durjan dreamed up to simply not work.
Dare I say it, but Axe Backwards looks like it might have the upper hand here. Captain Shrederator is on the retreat trying to get its shell going again all while Axey B is in close pursuit with its ramp… which I’ve noticed is no longer flaming probably because flamethrowers are a waste of time unless your name is Gruff. Captain Shrederator kicks Axe Backwards on its corner and causes the robot to reel up onto one tire, spin around, and land upside-down. Still no major damage however, that is until Captain Shrederator takes advantage of a disoriented Kurt Durjan and comes in for some shredding and peels away a chunk of Axe Backwards’ armor that had split and started coming loose on its top side. One of Captain Shrederator’s operators mistakenly believes the chunk of shrapnel was a piece of a wheel presumably because it was large and black. If that’s the only description available he could’ve also said “we got a dildo”.
The two spinners meet weapon to weapon again and separate, again neither one seeming to give or sustain any damage. Chris Rose seems impressed that neither robot has been a “one hitter quitter” tonight and I guess that makes two of us because the 90 second clock graphic appears on screen and not only are both of these robots still driving around they both still have a functional weapon to boot. Axe Backwards catches another stray blow and rolls up onto one wheel and spins its ramp around again… but one of its wheels starts to gradually pull away from its axle. The drum spinner immediately responds by nudging Captain Shrederator into the wall just as Kenny Florian compliments Brian Nave’s driving abilities because if 10 seasons of BattleBots has taught me anything it’s that the commentators have the worst sense of timing imaginable.
It’s hard to say who’s in the lead for this fight, but that changes as soon as Axe Backwards’ right wheel gets nicked by Captain Shrederator and the shell spinner pulls the whole fucking thing off. Unable to move outside of just a circle Kurt throws in the towel and Axey B moves to a career record of 1-9. Amazing. But it’s not all roses for Captain Shrederator either though; remember back in 2016 when Invader (a.k.a. Gigabyte) lost its play-in rumble and then couldn’t stop spinning because its speed controller essentially melted into unresponsive goo? Yeah Captain Shrederator’s just did the same fucking thing and according to eyewitnesses this robot also kept spinning for about 40 minutes holding up the entire show and making the Battlebox unsafe for people to enter. “When I’m spinning, I’m winning.” Yeah, well an unwise orange man once said we’d get tired of all the winning and you can consider me officially fucking tired.
WINNER: Captain Shrederator, KO
P1 vs. COPPERHEAD
We’ve yet to see P1 fight this season but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t actually fought yet. I know there are plenty of fights that go unaired but it seems this season the producers are making an effort to include the results of these matches in order to bring us up to speed on these robots. P1, formerly known as Parallax, is a Formula One-inspired robot with a European style front-hinged flipper… or, a “reverse flipper” if you can’t wrap your head around that. P1 exterminated Chronos in its opening fight and judging by the lack of damage on P1 in the “highlights” it’s a safe bet there’s a very good reason that potential snoozefest didn’t make it to air. P1 has a mysterious habit of never having its fights aired, this was a thing even back when it was called Parallax. Guess the robot is too fast for the cameras to keep up with. Or too crappy, judging by the decorative spoiler falling off during the twitch test.
Copperhead is a returning robot whom we have seen before, though. Earlier in the season we saw Zach Goff’s drum spinner face off against Gigabyte, and then saw it face-off Gigabyte when it popped its opponent’s shell clean off its axle and threw it into the middle of the arena. “We want to make the top 8 this year,” says Zach. Well with shit like that you’re well on your way to making it there. I may have said this about Black Dragon but my memory is total shit so I’ll just say it anyways, but since we don’t have Minotaur this year Copperhead has to make up the slack and be this year’s deadly drum spinner. At 1-0 it’s off to a good start and I can’t wait to see it beat up a fucking race car. This is gonna be some Street Fighter shit.
For reasons unknown P1 has gone with some small spikes sticking out from the front of its wedge for this fight, that’s not enough to keep a robot like Copperhead at bay; if you’re going to go that route they probably ought to be longer so you can win the reach game. Anyways Copperhead’s mini snakes slither away to lure the race car into hitting them because one time some university people did a psych study where they put a fake rubber snake in the road to see if people would try to avoid it and instead found out that people are a detestable lot who more often than not swerved into the snake to intentionally hit it. They did the same with turtles too. So that’s probably the idea here. If not then maybe Zach just has a snake fetish I don’t know, I’m not here to judge.
Copperhead’s drum is already roaring at top speed before the starting clock graphic can even fade out and just five seconds into this match it delivers an uppercut to P1 that absolutely wrecks its front left end. Something is ejected from P1 on the way down, too. It looks like a motor or some kind of solenoid; I can’t tell what it is but it must be important because P1 is fucking toast. Brandon Zalinsky mutters out an “are you serious” because he’s just died in one hit. God hears this passive aggressive remark and brings P1 back to life just so it can die in two hits instead. Brandon shakes his head, “sometimes it be like that.”
Amen, Brandon. People don’t think BattleBots be like it is, but it do.
WINNER: Copperhead, KO
BETA vs. RUSTY
Look, you guys! It’s the robot with Kenny Florian’s eighth-strongest weapon! Even though it’s never been used so far this season! Of course I’m talking about Beta, a robot who’s 1-0 but only on some bullshit technicality (i.e. one of the worst judges’ calls in the history of the sport). Beta “beat” Rotator earlier this season with some expert driving, though it never fired its weapon and in fact at one point its weapon was destroyed. I can see the argument for not wanting to drop your hammer straight down onto a spinning weapon, but I can’t see the argument for claiming that robot was the winner. Either I can’t see it or I refuse to see it, it’s one of those two. Anyhow, Beta’s opponent this time is Rusty so if they hold back with their hammer again I think we can just laugh this robot out of the fucking arena permanently.
Rusty was designed and built by David Eaton, a one man team. He’s just a guy with a dream and access to whatever farm equipment he could get his hands on and the result is Rusty, a tank-tracked robot armed with a pneumatic hammer that has a reciprocating spike on the end of it. Just for this fight David has replaced Rusty’s spike with a flathead chisel to ideally better carve up the insides of Beta should he land a hit on Beta’s unprotected upper half. There’s no glamour to Rusty, the robot is all talk, and it’s the only robot of its kind at BattleBots this year in a number of different ways (tank tracks, one person team, reciprocating weaponry). For some reason the robot is starting this fight sideways and I assume that’s because David is either severely telegraphing his opening move or he’s going to go for a fakeout and kick it into reverse gear instead.
There is no fakeout, Rusty is genuinely evading toward the right and had no qualms letting Beta know that. I assume the process of turning and then evading to the right would’ve taken too long given Rusty’s method of locomotion, but god damn you don’t just hand your plans over on a silver platter like that. Beta scoops its wedge under Rusty and effortlessly slams it into the wall, bending the rightmost spike on Rusty’s front end. Rusty seemingly instinctively fires its hammer and misses not once but twice when Beta gets in a little too close to the robot. Rusty attempts some fancy driving to swing around and strike at Beta but misses again, and it appears that the tracked robot has come to a halt; it’s still trying to move but it almost looks like it’s stuck on something. You can’t see it from here but Rusty is indeed stuck on something; the spike right next to the one that Beta bent has also been bent, though this one has been bent downward and it’s snagging on the arena floor. This is because the spike got caught in one of the Killsaw slots while Rusty was being shoved by Beta and there was enough force imparted on the spike to screw it up.
Yes, one tiny ass piece of steel tubing is high-centering this entire 250 pound robot. Beta scoops up Rusty from the rear, puts it into the wall, and finally earns the #8 spot on Kenny’s weapons list by pounding Rusty in the ass hard enough to dent the entire upper armor panel as if nothing were even there. Considering the gauge of the aluminum used on Rusty’s back the builder would’ve had better luck just having no armor in the first place. Rusty is still able to move and it looks like this hit may have bent the offending spike outward just a bit because Rusty scoots around easier. The second wind is short lived however because Beta comes back in and punches Rusty squarely on the spine and this hit is enough to kill the crowd favorite. Rusty’s weaponry is still working but the robot itself ain’t going anywhere. Honestly this is about how I expected this battle to go, but I’m impressed Rusty lasted this long… mostly because of how long it took John Reid to finally swing his fucking hammer. Don’t act like you’re waiting for a “good hit” this time, this is fucking Rusty we’re talking about here. This is a robot incapable of doing any meaningful damage to Beta. The only correct answer is to come out swinging, hit or miss.
Beta now has one and a half wins for the season, and Rusty falls to 1-1.
WINNER: Beta, KO
HYPERSHOCK vs. MAMMOTH
I don’t know why the hosts are playing this match up as a “big face off” because that was Mammoth’s previous fight. You know, the one with Huge. This is just a regular ass battle against the deadliest RC car from the 1990’s you’ll ever see in the Battlebox: Hypershock. Hypershock is one of those robots who either has a good season or a bad season, there’s little in between. Coming it at 0-1 after losing to Gruff by way of getting its ding dong roasted off I’d say this is shaping up to be a “bad season” for Hypershock. However, Mammoth is kind of a clumsy robot to fight so if Hypershock is able to get its blades spinning – and fucking keep them spinning for once – then I can see an argument for Hypershock coming out ahead by way of ripping off Mammoth’s tires or something. It’s a long shot because honestly Hypershock is about as reliable as Captain Shrederator except it has a nicer paint job and a less conservative team.
I always introduce Hypershock as the deadliest RC car, and I will always introduce Mammoth as the deadliest swing set. Seriously this thing looks like if I tried to build one of those porch-style swings for your lawn because I never know what the fuck I’m doing. Mammoth is what I would end up with and there’d be about forty feet of spare tubing and a box of fasteners left over. Mammoth actually has a leg up in this fight with its 1-0 record because it was able to defeat Huge by getting one of Huge’s wheels stuck outside of the arena wall. That was with Mammoth’s springy rubbery arm however, this time they’ve gone with the solid metal one with the hooks on the ends. We’re not going to see any bouncing and flying around from Mammoth in this fight, or at least according to Ricky Willems we shouldn’t be seeing any. Ultimately that might be up to Hypershock to decide.
Hypershock lands a glancing blow to Mammoth’s left, uh, leg. Meanwhile Mammoth spins its lifting arm around and hits Hypershock with it, however unfortunately rather than lift Hypershock up the weapon just pushes Mammoth backwards, this is what happens when Mammoth’s weaponry gets no purchase on an opponent. With Hypershock so low to the ground I doubt we’re going to be seeing any meaningful lifts from Mammoth unless it clips Hypershock’s apparently non-functional self-righting mechanism. Hypershock’s strategy of going for Mammoth’s wheels is painfully obvious and the fight turns into a contest of whether or not Mammoth can keep up with the circles Hypershock is driving around it. Either due to driver error or perhaps an attempted jump scare Mammoth twitches in the opposite direction. Hypershock is unfazed and continues driving in the same direction, turns sharply into Mammoth’s left side, and rips its entire left leg thing off. This is exactly how the cavemen hunted the woolly mammoth, a textbook execution.
That’s one of Mammoth’s lifting braces so now we’re really not going to see any lifts from the swing set. With the left leg gone obviously the strategy is to now go for the one on the right, so Hypershock spins around and starts driving in the opposite direction. A hit is landed to Mammoth that flips the robot up and into the wall shearing whatever the fuck that lifting arm is in half. Mammoth is absolutely thrashed by this hit, the frame twists, the lifting arm snaps in two, and worst of all Mammoth throws its weapon chain meaning it can’t even attempt to self-right with what’s left of its dollar store jungle gym. Hypershock stays on the attack and winds up stuck underneath Mammoth however and just sits there twitching, unable to move.
Both of these robots are dead, but Hypershock is the one still trying to move around. Hypershock’s drive is all brushless motors which don’t like it when there’s too much stalling load applied to them. The robot can cruise around effortlessly on its own but when there’s 250 pounds of non-Euclidean swing set piled atop the robot suddenly that’s 500 pounds that the motors have to move from a complete stop and I guess they just aren’t cut out for it. Mammoth’s tires are still spinning fruitlessly though and the robot gets some purchase on the screw or on Hypershock’s back or something and tumbles down from where it is freeing Hypershock who’s able to cruise away now that the excess load has been removed from on top of it. The blades rev back up to top speed and Hypershock assesses the situation.
Ricky asks Will to flip him over. Will confirms with a thumbs up that he has permission to hit Mammoth again. Ricky enthusiastically gives a thumbs up and then says “just don’t hit the battery box”. So Hypershock hits the battery box because Will didn’t hear that part since there’s a giant wall of polycarbonate separating the two teams in the drivers’ booth so no one catches cooties. Almost instantly Mammoth goes up in smoke, its weakest point having taken a shot point blank from Hypershock’s ninja stars of death.
“The one thing I asked them not to hit,” says Ricky. Motherfucker, don’t ask to get hit if you don’t actually want to get hit. Hypershock probably caused more dollars in damage with that single shot than I’ll make all year.
WINNER: Hypershock, KO
SPORKINOK vs. SUBZERO
Sporkinok is a robot that we haven’t seen since episode one but apparently it’s still out there in the field as a possible contender. Maybe not a good one since it’s been six fucking episodes since we last saw it but hey we’ve been surprised by bots before so you never know. Last time we saw Sporkinok it broke down while fighting Rusty and it also only had its lifting arm equipped. This time the robot is coming out with both its lifting arm and spork-looking hammer that the robot derives its name from. In case you’re about to say “that weapon looks like it will get zero purchase on even a goddamned watermelon” let me first say I agree, but you’re also actually wrong. The spork part is a facade that hides a pointed spike tip behind it; the spork part is designed to either fall off or crumple away when the weapon makes proper contact.
Sporkinok is only 0-1 right now, but Subzero is 1-1. This is do or die time for the pneumatic flipper who’s already cashed in their mulligan chip when the robot spontaneously died while fighting Jackpot. Subzero probably stood to win that fight because we got to see how much energy it’s packing when in its second fight Subzero slam dunked Grabot into fucking oblivion. With an embarrassing loss on its record for the year Subzero’s going to need to do to Sporkinok what it did to Grabot. Either a KO from flipping it into the clouds or three solid minutes of airtime that goes to the judges ought to do it. The hosts make a point to note Subzero’s drone companion but that thing has gotten in the way more times than it’s helped. Yeah Logan Davis’ dad drives it and yeah he’s a cool dude and all but like give him the trigger for the flipper or something instead.
The two bots lock heads in the middle of the arena for a split second and this is Sporkinok’s opportunity to swing that hammer and show us what it’s made of. Instead Lilith Specht holds back following the Beta school of thought with “wait for a good hit”. This allows Subzero to take advantage of the situation and start shoving Sporkinok toward the wall for an “out of the arena” attempt. Instead Sporkinok gets smashed into the screw box and rolls over. Chris Rose says “the question [with Sporkinok] now is can it self-right”. No Chris, the question is should it self-right? Subzero is starting this fight in what Kenny would call berserk mode and it’s going to throw punches left right and center, case in point Sporkinok gets thrown through the air a second time and lands badly on its right set of wheels bending the axle. This is the BattleBots equivalent of blowing out your ankle playing tennis.
Subzero misses two flips in a row, the second one causing Subzero to rear up and start fucking the screws. This breaks the hazard because I’m assuming they just don’t work as intended anymore. They’re not supposed to jam up, they’re supposed to turn the other way if they get stopped. Instead the hazard is just dead and Subzero backflips off of it while Sporkinok misses some golden opportunities for hammer blows, though in Sporkinok’s defense the robot looks like it’s already in the process of breaking down and quitting working. Subzero rights itself and jams its nose underneath the slanted spike strips next to the screws. I’ve long since forgotten that these “pinball flippers” are actually supposed to be hazards that pop out. These seem to be non-operational too. Logan says he’s in trouble but then just throws caution to the wind and fires off his flipper to unstick himself and cause the wall flipper to ping pong back and forth in the process.
Sporkinok finds itself rolled over onto its back again after a few more attempts from Subzero. I’m guessing that Pulverizer is controlled by Sporkinok’s team because it’s not coming down. That’s what, three fucking hazards in a row that are pieces of shit now? Just let Pete Lambertson operate the goddamned hazards again. We would’ve seen the screws work, the pinball flipper fire (and not out of spite like it did after Subzero freed itself), and the Pulverizer relentlessly pound Sporkinok in the no-no zone. Look I get because this is a “contest” and there’s a cash prize involved that the hazards had to lose their traditional operator because it “introduced bias”, but I don’t give a flying fuck. I want to see the Killsaws work and the hammers break some shit. Is that too much to ask? We’ve already lost the Hellraisers for good, the Battlebox has been pussified when it used to be a real mean son of a bitch to everyone and everything inside of it. There’s an entire fucking generation of BattleBots fans who have no clue that the arena used to actually do shit.
Also Sporkinok got counted out at some point.
WINNER: Subzero, KO
TRACER vs. BALE SPEAR
Before this fight Chris and Kenny went over the current standings of all the competitors and both Tracer & Bale Spear have each had a battle we haven’t seen, one that both robots lost. If you pay close attention to the chart you’ll also see that Hijinx and Deadlift earned themselves wins that we didn’t get to see either. My hunch is that there’s a correlation here (and this is confirmed after the commercial break). Also there are a lot of robots straight up missing from this chart, even with unaired fights. Where’s Rampage? We’ve seen that fucking team in the audience like three or four times every single episode and they have no points or losses on the board? Where’s Axolotl? WAR-EZ? Something fucky is going on here.
Tracer, whom I like to refer to as “Diet Bite Force”, is a robot designed by Jason Woods. The hosts tell us Jason competed in the original run of BattleBots and that was something I needed to fact check. Turns out he did compete, with a middleweight named “Rebob” that never won a fight. Tracer is currently 0-2 meaning it has the exact same record Rebob did when it retired. I was correct in my deduction that Tracer had to have lost to either Hijinx or Deadlift; turns out it was Hijinx who slapped Tracer from the back and flipped it over. Going by the highlights it seems Tracer was immobilized by that move which is exactly what happened when it fought Ribbot earlier in the season. Maybe Tracer can’t drive upside-down, it certainly looks like it should be able to. I’m hoping Bale Spear finds another way to flip this dumb robot over so it’s 3 for 3 with losing by getting flipped over.
Rusty came to us from a farm, but Bale Spear is the original farm bot. Its weapon is a literal bale spear, a tool for grabbing and loading bales of hay. I originally inferred from the robot’s name that a “bale spear” had to be some kind of farm tool but fuck me I didn’t realize the robot’s weapon was actually that exact tool. I still think the pneumatic ram they use to kill livestock would’ve been a better weapon but whatever. That thing probably also has a cool name but I don’t know what it is. Bale Spear has already lost one fight to Deadlift and that’s because either Deadlift has a flamethrower I didn’t know about or Bale Spear just fucking exploded because the robot turned into a smoldering heap of metal and died. There are a lot of exposed bits on Bale Spear that would make perfect targets for Tracer, namely the exposed shaft collars on the sides of the robot, but I think Tracer is crappy enough to go 0-3.
Bale Spear’s crooked front armor panels have bothered me since before the season started and in no time flat Tracer manages to rip one of them off. Bale Spear seems distracted by Needle, Tracer’s minibot, and looks like it’s trying to stab it with its spike to disable it. Guys, Needle isn’t the target here. You’ve got massive fuck off tires there’s nothing Needle can do to Bale Spear to ensnare it because Bale Spear can quite literally just drive off from on top of it. Tracer’s the bigger danger and since Bale Spear spent so much time fucking around Tracer’s weapon has managed to achieve full speed. Bale Spear comes in and punches the corner of Tracer with a weak blow and in response Tracer turns into the attack, catches Bale Spear’s exposed frame, and twists the front left corner into a goddamned pretzel.
This attack has bent the driveshaft of Bale Spear’s front left wheel rendering the entire robot incapacitated. You can see the other wheels trying to move but with one of them seized the robot can’t even spin in a circle, there’s too much friction. Those BKT Monster Jam truck tires are too strong. The hosts and the dipshit driving Needle think that Needle has Bale Spear stuck, completely oblivious to the damage I just explained. I’ve noticed the hosts are doing more of that this season, using their commentary to “invent” hits that either aren’t happening or didn’t happen at all. I guess because of the weird turnout of competitors due to COVID they’re trying to pull shit out of thin air but it’s plainly obvious Needle’s spikes are nowhere near Bale Spear’s goddamned wheels. Bale Spear is knocked out because it’s frame is twisted, simple as that. How come Kenny wasn’t shitting his pants over that admittedly impressive hit from Tracer?
Tracer takes a shot at Bale Spear’s right side panel and lifts the robot up with its weapon. This lets Tracer drop Bale Spear off at the screws near the blue square where it’s counted out. During the replays Chris Rose drops what I assume is an unintentional burn by saying this is the first time Tracer’s lasted longer than 30 seconds. Yeah, and they managed to do it against fucking Bale Spear, big whoop. Tracer ends its qualifiers with a 1-2 record and its only win is what we just witnessed. One of those losses was so boring it didn’t even make it to air, so I think it’s a safe bet that this is a bittersweet win for Tracer because we won’t be seeing it again. As for Bale Spear… well, it’s Bale Spear, you do the math.
WINNER: Tracer, KO
WHIPLASH vs. GRUFF
Well, despite a humiliating loss to Sawblaze back in one of the first episodes of the season I guess Whiplash still has enough star power to remain a main event contender for the Fight Night rounds. There’s really not much to say about the loss other than Matt Vasquez was out-driven by Jamison Go and the resulting carnage saw Whiplash getting karate chopped to death. Props to Matt and his team though, they seem to have put Whiplash back together and it looks like it’s ready to do some more damage. The damage from the Sawblaze loss can’t be understated, entire armor panels were cut in fucking half on Whiplash so it’s good to know they’ve got spares of everything apparently.
Meanwhile Gruff is coming back into the arena visibly damaged from its tango with Hypershock. Gruff won the fight but not without Hypershock getting its licks in first. Gruff is missing its front right wedge piece and if you pay attention to its lifting arms you’ll notice they’re visibly bent. Guys, this is Whiplash you’re fighting, not Bale Spear or some shit. Whiplash’s front wedges basically ride along the ground with only a teeny bit of clearance to avoid hitting any floor seams. You can’t come into this fight missing fucking parts and with a lifting arm that’s still bent up and expect this to go your way even if your robot is armed with a massive fucking flamethrower. Just on these grounds alone I’m expecting Gruff to lose. Humiliatingly.
Right off the bat Gruff lets loose with the booty bass and double blasts Whiplash in the face with its fire spitters. Whiplash seems unaffected by the fire despite having an open center cavity where there might be vulnerable parts. Whiplash stays aggressive, lands a glancing blow with its disc, and pushes Gruff away. There are a few near misses with the lifting arm on Whiplash meanwhile Gruff fires up its right flamethrower and starts blasting its opponent again. While this is going on Whiplash finally gets a quality lift and rolls Gruff onto its backside. Gruff can self-right but it does so a little too aggressively and self-rights directly into Whiplash’s spinning disc which slices into Gruff’s underbelly and tears loose an entire fucking chunk of armor. Gruff isn’t meant to get hit on its bottom, whereas many robots at least have some sort of aluminum or even titanium as a baseplate Gruff uses the same plastic that Huge’s wheels are made from. Durable stuff in a general sense, but not for this kind of punishment. Can you blame the team, though? It’s not like there’s any floor hazards for them to worry about. Seriously, there’s not.
It might not seem like much, but this attack has disabled the right flamethrower on Gruff. As Gruff gets pushed into the corner it once again opens fire and if you watch the right weapon you’ll see it spitting fire out in directions that it probably shouldn’t. I’m no expert, but I think the fire is supposed to come out forwards, not backwards and down at the floor and presumably inside of Gruff itself. Gruff is bullied into the corner and screws and it’s still trying to use its left flamethrower but I’m not sure if Gruff’s weaponry is granular enough that the flamethrowers can be fired independently. It’s probably for the best that the weapons are down because otherwise Gruff will probably cook its own balls from the inside out.
Gruff is dogging it hard in the arena and a stray blow from Whiplash sends its front left wedgelet flying off. Good job Gruff, now you’ve got none. Whiplash continues the attack and visibly bends up Gruff’s lifter to a point even worse than what it stupidly started with before tipping the robot up onto its side near the blue square. Whiplash is so ahead on points that Matt Vasquez decides to spin the robot around and do one of his robot’s signature backhanded slaps. The attack is successful but opens Whiplash up to the only shove Gruff is able to muster and somewhere in this mess Whiplash’s weapon motor, or at least the one that spins the disc, begins to eat itself and the robot starts smoking. The lifter is still working however, so it’s not like anything is about to change. Kenny says the fight is turning and that Gruff almost got “a nice lift and a suplex”. No it didn’t. Kenny just wanted to say “suplex”.
Now Gruff starts smoking and breaking down for no apparent reason (unless “getting your ass kicked for two straight minutes” is a good reason). Gruff gets shoved across the floor and into the wall by Whiplash who starts spinning its disc again prompting Whiplash to start smoking again as well. Seems like Whiplash’s smoke is purely with the spinning action of its weapon and not the lifter, so power is cut to the spinner almost immediately as to not give Gruff any more potential damage points with the judges. Chris mentions there’s 45 seconds left in the fight, and now I want you to pay attention to just how awesome of a driver Matt Vasquez is. Whiplash doesn’t let Gruff out of that corner. For nearly a minute Whiplash just repeatedly lifts and pounds on Gruff until the clock runs out. There were moments where Gruff was positioned in such a way that it would’ve been KO’d but rather than draw a count Whiplash instead chose to punch Gruff in the dick until the refs said the fight was over. God damn.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
With the conclusion of this episode we’re now officially half way through the season. I don’t know at what point the Round of 32 starts but I’m guessing we’ve only got a couple more Fight Nights to run through before the main tournament is underway. Tracer was a weird robot to see finish its qualifiers, same with Subzero (and Mad Catter and Malice earlier). I say that because the robots that put asses in seats are all still out there in the field, it’s strange to see a lot of the underdogs finishing before Tombstone. I guess that’s how they keep you watching though, you can’t just bust that nut early and expect laypeople to stick around. It’s hard watching this show and writing these articles while remembering that only a very small percentage of BattleBots fans will ever show up here and the staggering majority of viewers are not as invested in this as we are. This show gets millions of viewers whereas this dumb blog only has thousands of likes on Facebook. I don’t know the actual website traffic stats, I’d tell you if I cared about Google Analytics.
But that puts Tracer at a 1-2 finish and considering those two losses were shameful I think it’s likely we’re done with Tracer for the season, that’s a performance that has “DNQ” written all over it. Subzero on the other hand is a different story; it’s 2-1 with that one loss being pretty shitty but its two wins were by KO because its opponents just couldn’t handle the G’s associated with being dunked on that hard. Subzero may very well still be in the game. It was nice to see Captain Shrederator win for a change proving once and for all who the worst robot is: Axe Backwards. Copperhead and Beta are looking prime to advance onward, but I’ve got my eyes on Hypershock and Whiplash; these were two strong comebacks and there might be some surprises with these guys. This just might be Hypershock’s dream season.
That’s gonna do it for this week’s/episode’s Update. If all went well then this article should’ve auto-posted since as of this posting I am out of town. If not, well then I probably put the fucking thing up manually because I’m not good at the internet anymore. I might be a Gen X’er, but I’ve aged into a Boomer technologically. Pride month has ended and I’d like to say thank you for allowing me to have this platform and also change the logo’s coloration to the flag of my choosing, a select few people reached out to me and said thank you and that’s what it’s really all about. It’s also the turn of the month and that means it’s Patreon time so everyone’s pledges are going to be collected – thank you as well, your support genuinely allows this website to continue. If you’d like to make a monthly contribution with Patreon you can do that here, or you can make a one-time donation with Ko-Fi here. Additionally, STICKERS! And as always please follow BattleBots Update on Facebook.
I changed a word in the Facebook pitch. Oh no, my SEO! What is SEO?