[BattleBots: S10 E8 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
We are now entering the downward slope of the tenth season of BattleBots, last episode was #7 and this one’s #8 so out of 14 total shows we’re just going to coast down the hill. Except we aren’t and that’s a bad analogy because the end of the season means we’re going to get into the main tournament soon and that’s when things heat up and become what we in the speedrunning biz call “serious time”. Speaking of serious time I’ve been on-and-off with keeping up with this website’s pseudo-weekly schedule and missed another couple weeks. I blame July 4th because while I had an article locked and loaded to be posted in my absence… I neglected to consider what would happen when I got back into town and only had like two days before the next Friday rolled around. We’re six years into the life of this website and I’m still not very good at this.
Great news, though! It seems all I needed to do for us to see some MIA bots was complain because this episode is chock full of them! Making their season debuts this episode are Axolotl, Chronos, and WAR-EZ! We already know Chronos was put out to pasture by P1 – somehow – but Axolotl and WAR-EZ are both unknowns with 0-0 records as far as we know. Not sure why it’s taken them so long to show up but like that one punchline in Ghostbusters 2 when the Titanic arrived to port, “better late than never”. Eyes out for Rampage though, and I guess Black Widow too if you can be bothered to give a shit.
While we’ve got a small handful of new faces this episode we are by and large seeing virtually everyone else end their Fight Night qualifiers. Huge vs. Kraken? Both are on Fight #3. Big Dill vs. Rotator? Third and final. Lock-Jaw vs. Jackpot? Number three. Skorpios vs. Tombstone? Numero tres. The only outliers are Fusion, Bloodsport, and Ribbot who’ve all been paired up with the likes of our newcomers; they’re all on their last qualifier but their opponents are still on their first fights. I’m guessing there are even more untelevised matches that we know nothing about even though there was an entire goddamned segment about them in the previous episode.
KRAKEN vs. HUGE
Here’s a match-up that’s probably going to suck. Kraken is a biter bot; it aims for the control game. Its opponent Huge is too big to bite down on, I don’t think even Warhead in its ridiculously stupid “dinosaur mode” has a maw big enough to chew on Huge. The only thing Kraken will get any purchase with are Huge’s wheels. In an effort to exploit a potential vulnerability Kraken’s got a harpoon stuck in its teeth that ideally will hook into one of the open spots on Huge’s wheels, Kraken will then bite down, and the hook will engage and allow Kraken to drag Huge down to Davy Jones’ locker. We know Huge has solid UHMW tires as an option, why they didn’t just go with these to nullify Kraken’s entire plan is beyond me. Kraken lost a questionable decision to Black Dragon in its debut fight, but 180’d on that bitch and bit down on Witch Doctor until its opponents discs exploded.
Because of its win over Witch Doctor, Kraken is in a place where it can afford to potentially lose this fight and still advance onward so long as it puts on a good show and lasts for the full three minutes. Huge on the other hand is dogging it at 0-2 with losses that include getting hung up behind the spike strip thanks to Mammoth and being corralled around for three full minutes by Hydra. Huge landed some impressive shots against Mammoth, but none against Hydra. Kraken is a bite-sized treat for Huge and so long as the team doesn’t fuck this up Huge might be able to strip away the top of Kraken’s head and damage the pneumatics underneath it. We know from previous fights that there’s just an airbag in there, a hit from Huge’s blade would surely render it useless. Ever seen a multi-ton pressurized airbag explode? We might.
Most robots cannot hit Huge’s chassis because it’s almost two feet off the ground, but the first contact Huge makes causes Kraken to reel up backwards and this in turn points Kraken’s jaw at a different angle. Kraken snaps and bites down right on Huge’s stupid fucking face. Right between the eyes. Right on top of that spinning blade. Kraken don’t give a fuck and proceeds to torch Huge for as long as either Kraken can keep a hold or as long as the rules say Kraken can bite down. It’s a good thing Kraken again lost its wheelie bar immediately otherwise this attack would not have been possible. Guys, I think you ought to just abandon the wheelie bar, it’s clearly not working as intended. Kraken continues to torch Huge directly on its weapon belts which has me fully torqued, but when Huge finally spins itself away from the sea beast its weapon resumes spinning without any melting belts. Boo.
Part of Kraken’s head has split open with the front panel coming loose but Kraken remains on the offensive trying to stab its harpoon into the spokes of Huge’s wheels. Kraken misses, takes a shot from Huge, and we get to witness the closest we’re gonna get to a shotgun suicide since the time Rotator put Icewave into retirement; Huge’s blade comes down on Kraken’s skull and just splits the entire thing apart. Decorative scale stickers and chunks of metal to go flying all over the goddamned place. Kraken loses an eye, its airbag gets knocked out of place, it’s a safe bet that we’re not going to see any more action from the weapon assuming any of the remaining components even still fucking work. Kraken’s remaining eye keeps changing color as if to imply the weapon is being fired, but there’s nothing happening. It’s toast.
Kraken is down to just using the harpoon that somehow hasn’t been nicked off in the midst of the chaos of this fight. Another blow sends half of Kraken’s face flying off, but it also puts the dragon in prime position to loop that hook into Huge’s spokes and it does so with impressive accuracy. Immediately Kraken floors its backwards toward the Pulverizer that its team controls but Huge is able to spin its wheels and get away before any hammer blows can be landed. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how many robots have tried and failed to counter Huge meanwhile Kraken has been able to effectively use a hook and Hydra used a stolen goddamned bike rack. This might not be Huge’s season, but given the damage we’ve seen this is definitely Huge’s fight.
Repeated blows from Huge roll Kraken onto its back but even though its noggin has been thoroughly eradicated by one too many roundhouse kicks it’s still able to use the contours of its design to roll down onto its wheels. Impressive, but don’t oogle too long or else you’ll miss Huge knocking Kraken sideways causing the robot to eject its pneumatic airbag. (It’s the thing that looks like a floor cover for your truck.) Kraken gets rolled again, this time losing the other side of its face, and Huge decides it’s time to go balls deep in the creature from the deep because it mounts Kraken and doesn’t let up. In a scene that is only shown because this is Discovery Channel, Huge pins Kraken down against the floor by way of its fire-roasted underside and tries to crossbreed until the refs tell Jonathan Schultz that’s a crime against nature and he has ten seconds to either finish or back up.
Thirty seconds are left in the match and Kraken is looking like a half-finished build of its former self but amazingly that dinky harpoon is still unaffected by all the punches being thrown and is still an effective tool; Kraken jams Huge from the side and the harpoon slips between another set of spokes and stabs right into the left drive belt of Huge, something that I didn’t even know was a potential target. No belts are yanked, and Huge gets away to throw some more parts around. One final big blow is landed that splits open the top of Kraken and leaves a battery pack hanging out from the robot and as Kraken struggles to get back onto its feet Huge cruises in, cleaves off the battery, and leaves its opponent to die as the timer runs down.
May I just add that throughout this entire fucking nightmare of a battle Kraken’s harpoon still stands erect. God damn. Huge is the obvious winner and both of these robots finish Fight Night with 1-2 records.
WINNER: Huge, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
AXOLOTL vs. RIBBOT
These mysterious unseen robots are starting to come together now. We haven’t seen Axolotl before this fight but Chris Rose mentions offhandedly that it lost to WAR-EZ in an untelevised match meaning it’s entering this battle with a 0-1 record that was so bad we didn’t even get to see it. Not a good sign for the newcomers who’ve brought a robot that kind of looks like an elongated Lock-Jaw in a way. It’s hard to describe, but Axolotl looks like a robot inspired by the Team Mutant Robots “look”; it’s got long sharp forks – doubled up – and at its center is what looks like a pretty mean biting weapon not dissimilar to the current Lock-Jaw design. But alas this is a robot who lost to another robot we’re not going to see debut until later in this episode so all signs are pointing to Ribbot being tossed a bone here, the driver can barely hammer out a complete sentence in the pre-fight interviews.
Ribbot is a bit of an underdog. Hailing from the same university as Paul Ventimiglia, David Jin’s bot has remained mostly in the shadows of the three-time champion. Probably because it’s gussied up to look like a fucking frog whereas Bite Force is all business and no bullshit. Ribbot took an easy win over Tracer by flipping it over, which seems to be that particular piece of shit’s Achilles heel, but faced a much fiercer opponent in Mad Catter who made it clear in no uncertain terms that frogs were officially “out”. No amount of fancy technology on Ribbot’s part could save it from the spinning blade of Mad Catter who later went on to finish 3-0, so if you’re gonna lose you might as well lose to the best. At 1-1 a loss to Axolotl would spell certain doom for the frog. Which aquatic animal-themed robot is the least worst? Let’s find out!
You know it’s bad news when Kenny Florian is already talking shit about your robot and as the fight opens he says the tires on Axolotl aren’t going to last. I don’t disagree with the guy but god damn at least let the robot make an attempt at showing what it’s made of before you write it off. Passing judgment on robots before they even do anything is my job, and there’s not enough room for two of us so fuck off, Florian. Ribbot chews on Axolotl’s face briefly before landing a shot to the robot’s left set of duallies visibly bending and warping them. Axolotl’s driver says he’s got nothing right as Ribbot kicks it square in the ass and flips the robot around 180 degrees. Axolotl’s weapon is going but the driver was correct: the robot isn’t able to move.
Ribbot’s weapon operator looks down at the Game Boy Color attached to his transmitter to gauge how Ribbot’s parts are doing, then yells “SEND IT”. David Jin nods and floors it forward at Axolotl, weapons blazing, and abso-fucking-lutely wrecks Axolotl. Sure the hit sends Ribbot flying into the Pulverizer as it sheds its outer decorative frog shell, but you definitely wouldn’t want to be Axolotl in this exchange; Axolotl’s drive is dead and now its weapon is dead too. It looks like the whole assembly has come loose and its front armor panels just fall off. As Axolotl is counted out all the robot can do is spit sparks out from its mouth because Ribbot just made it bite down on a fucking cinder block.
With two KO’s and a drawn out fight with Mad Catter I think it’s a safe bet that Ribbot is advancing on. With no wins on the board and this brutal murder of a knock out on their record I think Axolotl ought to prepare to make their exit unless their third fight is some spectacular upset. That’s unlikely though, the crate awaits.
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
ROTATOR vs. THE BIG DILL
Cruising in like Huge, Rotator is another veteran great with a surprising 0-2 season record. Rotator’s misfortune began at the hands of Beta who mopped the floor with the spinner despite never once firing its PRIMARY WEAPON. Rotator was landing glancing blows left and right and at one point even cleaved off Beta’s big dildo hammer but it wasn’t enough for the win because the judging criteria is fucking stupid. Rotator went toe to toe with Valkyrie and the end result was three solid minutes of sparks being thrown from both robots but ultimately in the waning moments of the fight Rotator suffered some structural failures and lost the battle on damage points. It’s 0-2 but – and if this makes any sense whatsoever – it’s the best possible 0-2 you could have.
Big Dill has the superior record here, 1-1, but that win wasn’t very impressive and the loss was even more humiliating. This is a piecemeal robot made from leftovers of bots gone by such as War Hawk and Mad Catter so Big Dill’s sloppy seconds haven’t made for a very good machine as you might imagine. It used its long forks to throat-fuck Atom #94 to death but those same forks wound up getting warped and bent out of shape indiscriminately by Lock-Jaw who won its fight on a solid decision. Big Dill’s whole reason for beating Atom #94 was that it got its forks jammed real deep in the robot and to avoid this Rotator is going without its wheel guards specifically to prevent them from being skewered by Big Dill. With all that extra weight Rotator could’ve gone back to its dual spinner setup, you know the thing that made it famous, but fuck us, right?
“I’m gonna try and get under them with Rotator’s new forks,” said Victor Soto. Fuck off, man. You’re Rotator, who the fuck brings a defensive attachment like fucking forks into a battle against a control bot? If you had your robot’s original design of one disc on the floor and one disc in the air you could be blasting this motherfucker left, right, up, and down. Hell, you might even strike the sprockets and chains of its lifter and render the whole array useless. But no, you want forks. And you back into Big Dill while spinning your weapon up because this is fucking dumb. What happens if Big Dill flips you over? No more undercutter. You’d still have one if you just used Rotator’s good design. Fucking… whatever. Just fuck it. Rotator’s rear forks do fuck all so the robot spins around and bites a chunk out of Big Dill’s front plow.
Big Dill gets underneath Rotator from the back, because those spikes are fucking useless, and tries to lift its opponent up. Big Dill fails to achieve this because its lifter is a goddamned joke. Rotator clocks in at only 215 pounds for this fight. The limit is 250, of course. Y’all can’t even lift an underweight opponent? If Big Dill were Complete Control we’d have seen Rotator get suplexed at least twice by now. Rotator whips around and gets free from the pickle forks and delivers a shot to them that curves them sideways, then another hit that does it even worse, and then even worse to the point where the forks might as well be a total loss. With no real weapon at its disposal now Big Dill raises its busted lifting arms and just tries to shovel Rotator around with its massive front plow.
Rotator goes on the attack and just strikes Big Dill wherever it can get purchase, you know, the way the robot would fight if it just had two fucking discs attached to it. Hits are landed all around Big Dill’s perimeter and at one point you can see smoke for a brief second as Rotator’s bar literally burns rubber against one of Big Dill’s drive wheels. Serious damage is being done to Big Dill’s plow and its right side has been bent up in such a way that it might be dragging on the floor and impeding Big Dill’s mobility. Rotator takes advantage of this and eats Big Dill’s ass until chunks of rubber from its wheels are ejected. There’s barely anything left of Big Dill’s left wheel and as the robot stumbles back over toward the corner it was just in Rotator cleans up that corn cob and eats the rest of the rubber on the hub. Big Dill still has its right wheel but it’s not speedy enough to crabwalk or maintain any sense of controlled movement.
Big Dill gets counted out and Rotator takes its first victory. At 1-2 you might think Rotator’s out, but like I said those two losses were substantial and really showed off what Rotator could do despite not winning. I think Rotator is still going to qualify, though out of the field of 32 advancing robots it might be somewhere like the top of the last quarter of bots.
WINNER: Rotator, KO
JACKPOT vs. LOCK-JAW
The producers are doing it again. They’re doing that thing where they take two 2-0 bots and pit them against each other because there can’t be too many 3-0 competitors. Nobody gets a free ride. There is only one other 3-0 robot right now, Mad Catter. Yeah I’m just as surprised as you. Jackpot and Lock-Jaw are next in line to see who gets to claim a perfect record. Jackpot is a newcomer built on a budget of $4,000. It destroyed Ghost Raptor in a little over a minute. It also defeated Subzero but that’s because Subzero broke down, though if I had to bet I’d say Jackpot maybe would’ve won that battle too. This robot is literally just a Chinese knock-off of Bite Force and it’s cleaning up like nobody’s goddamned business. I’ve noticed though that Jackpot has completely abandoned its front four forks because they got so banged up in the robot’s first fight that I assume the team realized how much of a liability they were. Good call, especially for this match-up.
Lock-Jaw usually makes it this far, this is no surprise. In fact out of all the robots showing up at 2-0 this one’s perhaps the least surprising aside from maybe Hydra, but Hydra’s too new for people to start expecting it to perform perfectly every time. Actually “perform perfectly every time” is something you shouldn’t expect from Lock-Jaw either so I guess I chose some exceptionally poor words. Donald Hutson is normally able to scrape by with a win but without fail his robot repeatedly either catches fire internally or something happens to its weapon and it breaks down. I haven’t even seen this fight and I can tell you Lock-Jaw’s going to get one of its front fork thinks stuck in a Killsaw slot because that’s what always fucking happens with this goddamned machine.
Before the fight Jeff Waters says his plan is to literally hit Lock-Jaw straight on and go for the pivot point of Lock-Jaw’s weapon. On a scale from zero to stupid that’s hovering somewhere around “death wish” but fuck me this crazy asshole not only goes for this plan of attack he actually comes out ahead. Lock-Jaw takes a blow to the face from Jackpot’s spinning diamonds and coughs up a whole ass weapon belt and part of a shaft collar. Lock-Jaw’s weapon almost immediately spins down. Jackpot is having such irrational luck that I swear to god these people are counting cards under the table. Busting Ghost Raptor apart is one thing, because it’s Ghost Raptor, but punching Lock-Jaw so hard that it starts throwing up parts in the first round is insane.
Donald is certainly the better driver and this is made obvious with how easily Lock-Jaw is able to get around to Jackpot’s sides and shove it around. Gee, if only you had a working weapon to combine with these runs so that you’ actually be doing damage to Jackpot instead of just pushing it around and pissing it off. Jackpot’s weapon operator throws caution to the wind and tells Jeff to just hit the son of a bitch and Jackpot’s perfectly sized blades slip down into one of Lock-Jaw’s front cracks and dredges up another shaft collar from somewhere. I don’t know where all these parts are coming from, but something’s about to fucking fall apart at this rate.
And there it is. Lock-Jaw starts smoking. Lock-Jaw’s strategist, who I think used to operate the weapons back when the robot had lifters, says the robot’s starting to “get hot”. Good work bro, there’s a cheeseburger with your name on it waiting in the pits for providing that kind of not-immediately-obvious commentary to the operator. Another hit sends Lock-Jaw onto its lid and now Donald thinks is the best time to try spinning Lock-Jaw’s weaponry back up to speed. Motherfucker, you’ve had this entire battle thus far where this spinner might’ve been functional and now’s the time you decide “gee I might be down on points let’s spin the weapon up”. If I had a dollar for every Giant Nut you haven’t won I’d have five fucking dollars.
Jackpot continues to throw hits and one of them eats the front forks of Lock-Jaw or something because the spinner loses one of its two belts. That’s why Jackpot has two, hell it’s why Lock-Jaw has two, but this seems to disable Jackpot’s spinner for some reason. Or perhaps the operator has just spun the weapon down to conserve on battery power since they’ve beaten the ass of a sport veteran so badly that they know they’re so far ahead on points they can just chill; the final roller on their slot machine is nothing but 7’s by this point. Lock-Jaw and Jackpot lock heads in the middle of the arena and it looks like Lock-Jaw’s weapon is literally loose on its axle. This probably has something to do with all those shaft collars we saw getting torn out of thin air earlier.
Another thick cloud of smoke pours out of every crevice of Lock-Jaw and just like that the robot dies in the corner near the red square. And it didn’t even have time to get a fork stuck in the Killsaws! Jackpot becomes the second robot to reach 3-0, stopping Lock-Jaw at 2-1. Peter Abrahamson says he’s impressed because he’s fought, and lost, to Donald before. What Peter’s not telling you is this was with his robot Ronin which spent more time on fire than it did actually fighting.
WINNER: Jackpot, KO
BLOODSPORT vs. CHRONOS
Two deadly spinners are about to clash in the Battlebox and depending upon how you look at this Chronos is either being fed to Bloodsport or Bloodsport is being challenged with an opponent featuring a low-slung weapon. Right now Bloodsport is at 2-0 with both of those wins by knock out. Skorpios was beaten into submission until it was a smoking heap of metal and End Game was beaten into submission until… uh, it also was a smoking heap of metal. Bloodsport looks to be in top form this year, and it was in top form last year too; like I’ve said it only lost because it was the icebreaker in a 3-way melee and it got rebounded out of the arena. The only robot with some fucking balls and it’s eliminated. Well no play-in’s this year, Bloodsport is 2-0 and this might be a slam dunk 3-0. Might.
Chronos is probably not a robot that comes to mind when you think of winning BattleBots. Hell, it probably doesn’t even come to mind when you think of BattleBots, but this is the second or so time we’ve seen this robot show up and although it’s had middling performances there’s always the potential for greatness just under the surface. This robot can throw some big hits, but the problem is it doesn’t take the kickback all that well. No amount of fancy gears and clockwork motifs can save you from yourself, just take a look at Chronos vs. Copperhead from last season; that was a hit that sent Copperhead reeling and peeled its weapon bracket open… but it also just straight up fucking killed Chronos. The clock bot is down by one this season after a loss to P1, not a good sign, but a low blow on Bloodsport might be a way to score a win.
In the pre-fight interviews Chronos’ builder Jerry Serafin says the aim of the game is going to be get spinning right away and start landing hits, preferably before the other guy can get going. This is why when the fight starts Chronos runs away without trying to spin its ring up to speed until a full blast Bloodsport has already closed the distance and is threatening to rip Chrono’s guts out through its asshole. Chronos doesn’t even try to do that little trick of theirs where the robot spins around in place to get some extra RPM’s out of its ring and kickstart the spinner. It literally just flees and then gets its skull caved in over in the corner. Bloodsport lands a shot so gnarly that Kenny Florian remembers that “huge hit” is a thing he used to say and fucking says it. Huge hit indeed, because this actually takes Chronos’ ring out of commission meaning it’s going to be all defense from here on out.
Without a weapon Chronos seems to switch tactics to baiting Bloodsport into hitting it knowing that its 80+ pound outer ring can take whatever’s thrown at it (the same cannot be said for the mechanisms running said ring, however). I suppose the strategy here is to get Bloodsport to land a hit which then causes Bloodsport to ricochet away and damage itself, though it’s obvious that Justin Marple is throttling Bloodsport’s weapon now that he’s clearly in the lead. Bloodsport catches a stray blow from the spike strip but it does nothing to the weapon likely because the weapon was powered down and this was just residual spinning force from when it was running just moments prior. There’s now so little happening in this fight that Chris Rose has to tap in Pete for some color commentary. Pete says Bloodsport is saving its weapon from undue wear and tear. Then it starts spinning again, proving his point.
One of the team members behind Chronos just tells Jerry to fucking ram into Bloodsport, shell integrity be damned. Chronos goes for it and just gets swatted away by Bloodsport’s spinner. There’s little damage being done outside of Chronos’ weapon getting disabled, though I’m personally keeping an eye on how closely Chronos tries to stay to Bloodsport. I know all the ramming and fruitless shoving isn’t doing Chronos any favors, but Bloodsport might still be losing at least a few points with the judges. Bloodsport ends the fight without a KO, but it still clenches the win and finishes 3-0 alongside Mad Catter and Jackpot. This is fucking absurd. Three knock outs would’ve arguably made for a higher seeding come the Round of 32, but three wins period is already good enough for a high rank.
WINNER: Bloodsport, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
WAR? EZ! vs. FUSION
Listen closely before this fight and you’ll hear Chris Rose say this is a match between two 1-1 robots. He’s also talking about WAR-EZ as if it’s already been eliminated from the tournament. Buddy, it ain’t over until it’s over. Yeah we didn’t get to see WAR-EZ eat Axolotl alive or lose to Slammow (the fight that doesn’t get mentioned or shown), but it’s still obviously decent enough to have won a battle even if we only got the CliffsNotes version of the fight. Give the team a fucking break. So coming in for its debut, and last, fight of the season WAR-EZ is looking like the team really liked Hypershock and tried to build it from memory with no references. “Uhh, it’s got big ass wheels and like, this cage thing on top, and a spinner… right?” Correct. And if this was that Mario Party game where you have to trace the picture of Bowser I think I’d score this tracing attempt somewhere around 60 points. Probably not good enough to win the Super Star, but definitely good enough to at least beat that one AI player who might be special needs.
Meanwhile Fusion is a robot whose fights we’ve seen all of up to this point because they’ve been pretty spectacular regardless of whether or not it’s winning or losing. Fusion’s first match was against Mad Catter and it just fucking blew up because this is a high-energy kinetic Whyachi spinner in a very compact package, this was bound to happen. In Fusion’s second fight the team got the whole “blowing the fuck up” thing under control and just absolutely destroyed Aegis. Aegis was so thoroughly wrecked that it’s a safe bet we’re not going to see that robot again during Fight Night, it’s finishing 0-1 with two forfeits. I guarantee it. Fusion is named as such because its a fusion of two Whyachi robots: Son of Whyachi and Falcon; you’ve got the vertical disc of Falcon and the triangular spinning blade inspired by Son of Whyachi. The best of both worlds, at least when it’s not on fire.
I guess it’s a Ewert thing, but Reese comes off a little haughty assuming he’s already won the fight. I wonder if he felt the same way against Mad Catter. I wonder if he felt the same way when Hypershock dragged his drone out of the sky with a goddamned rake and then hatefucked it to death. I get a sense of “pride before the fall” with Whyachi bots that I don’t get with anyone else, and seeing Fusion proceed to get itself snagged on every single imperfection in the center of the floor is a microcosm of that. Fusion is wide open to an attack from WAR-EZ who happily obliges, though it’s unclear what damage, if any, is done to Fusion. The left side of WAR-EZ’s plow gets a bite taken out of it however. Fusion is just doing fuck all, and the hit that it winds up landing with its horizontal blade doesn’t even seem to be initiated by Fusion in the first place.
But Jesus H. Popsicle what a fucking hit that was. Both robots are violently thrown in opposite directions, Fusion twisting and tumbling around and WAR-EZ rolling over sideways. WAR-EZ caught the worst of the hit though because its front right tire was sucked into Fusion’s horizontal blade and of course it got torn off. Not only that but the entire front right corner of the robot has been peeled open exposing the robot’s innards. Fusion recovers from the hit, but WAR-EZ has no self-righting mechanism. The robot was going to, but it put it overweight and it had to be removed. That probably would’ve been more useful in their previous fight with Slammow however because right here the robot is basically totaled.
Fusion finishes 2-1, WAR-EZ drops to 1-2, and we all get to sit here and ponder the consequences of Craig Danby getting yet another win with Slammow as WAR-EZ gets counted down. Maybe selling his soul to the gods of lawn mowing was the best move of his robot combat career.
WINNER: Fusion, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. SKORPIOS
This episode’s main event sees two more competitors finishing their Fight Nights and both of them of course are at 1-1 for some added drama. Tombstone got off to a bad start when a particularly nasty deflection off of End Game’s front wedge caused the robot to bounce upward rendering its vulnerable parts open for attack. In the name of remaining professional and technical we will refer to this area of Tombstone as “its poop chute”. End Game went in dry and Tombstone didn’t shit right for a week. The deadly spinner bounced back however and decimated Slap Box in a fight that seemed one-sided but could’ve gone another way had Slap Box been built a little more resiliently. Instead, we just got treated to Ray Billings ripping wheels off and the mom of Slap Box’s driver freaking out. Elsewhere Skorpios defeated Perfect Phoenix, the robot driven by Ray’s kid. If there were ever a time Ray was out for blood this is it. This is not the Ray you want to fight.
Zach Lytle says he’s waited four years for this moment, to take on Tombstone that is. Negating the fact that he’s only been the team captain of Skorpios for two years that’s still a long time to wait. Also now I can’t stop thinking about the 2016 version of Skorpios whose entire season showing was crashing into the screws and dying; do you really think that hunk of shit would’ve been able to take on the likes of Tombstone? Let me lower the bar further, do you think that robot would’ve been able to even survive Tombstone let alone win? Skorpios has really grown into itself though and has become a real contender with each passing season. It just so happens that Zach made the mistake of beating Ray’s kid in an earlier match and making Ray work on Perfect Phoenix all night. You kicked the hornets’ nest, Zach, and you’re definitely going to get what you’re asking for.
To start, Skorpios goes straight in with its massive plow and gets at Tombstone’s right side. This is inside the direction that Tombstone’s blade is spinning so there’s a lower likelihood of the robots being thrown apart as there would if Skorpios was coming in from the left. Zach has done his homework, that’s step one. Step two is being able to do anything at all with this knowledge because this is where 90% of the competition fucks everything up and wind up dying. Skorpios drops its hammer saw down and actually catches Tombstone’s wheel. It doesn’t do significant damage but it does bite a chunk out of the tire. So far, so good. A big impact separates the bots and as Skorpios comes back in for another bite it manages to catch Tombstone’s weapon frame and genuinely bites into the steel tubing. There is visible deformation done to the weapon bracket, you can see the dent.
Skorpios catches a shot to its right tire for that bullshit but the hit doesn’t strip the wheel completely off, it just sorta kinks it and yanks out some stuffing. Skorpios drops its weapon again and I’ve reviewed the tape at least a dozen times and cannot tell you what the fuck happens here, but Tombstone’s right tire seizes up. Either Skorpios’ blade gets thrown into the tire or it’s a genuine hit to the slightly exposed gearbox, but whatever just happened Tombstone has lost one side of drive. Nobody’s realized it yet, that’s why Skorpios is still in its opponent’s face getting things like upper bracket parts torn off. Skorpios lowers its blade onto Tombstone’s and for the second time this episode Kenny is reminded of his old catchphrase. Stop it Kenny, you’re spoiling us.
But it’s right here where Tombstone’s injury starts to become apparent, and Skorpios still just flies right in for another whack that sends it spinning wildly into the wall and upside-down. Miraculously Skorpios is built to withstand this kind of punishment and rights itself now knowing that victory is literally within sight. Skorpios’ plow is all kinds of fucked up and its right wheel is looking ever worse, but Zach is taking no prisoners. He knows if Tombstone clips that wheel a second time that could be it but Rome didn’t win in a day. Or however that saying goes. No guts no fucking glory. Skorpios smashes its face into Tombstone’s one more time and now Tombstone’s entire right motor gets ejected from its side. The mounts are broken, the king is crippled. Over the noise of clashing metal and a cheering crowd you can hear Zach Lytle channeling Sam fucking Kinnison in preemptive celebration.
The motor on Tombstone is dangling, but it’s not off. Zach wants it off. Tombstone starts spinning around in place and Skorpios swings its blade down again, missing the tire. However the motor catches the mess that used to be Skorpios’ front plow and the jagged surface knocks the whole NPC motor loose, gearbox, wheel, and all. Tombstone spins and spins and reels itself into the corner in front of the hosts and Skorpios has the fucking balls to try and go for the other tire now. Just one isn’t enough. Zach is going to destroy Ray’s entire fucking family at this point. Smoke is coming out of various spots on Tombstone, Skorpios drops its blade on the left side of the robot’s frame, and finally one of the refs steps in to intervene and count this shitshow down.
Somewhere, 2016 Skorpios is smiling down on this occasion. From the screws, though.
WINNER: Skorpios, KO
Good lord, Bite Force decides it doesn’t want to catch The ‘Rona and sits out a tournament and all hell breaks loose. I already expressed my surprise with Mad Catter making it to 3-0, but Jackpot is another left field finish for me. I’m not trying to say this is a shitty robot, after all I did call it “Bite Force if male enhancement pills worked”, but this is the type of bot I’d expect to see at maybe 2-1 right now with a loss that could’ve gone either way but the driver made a boo-boo and ruined the fight. Bloodsport at 3-0 isn’t surprising to me, it was just fed all the right opponents. I saw the potential in this machine last season and I’m still sour about the “selection committee” making it fight for 16th place instead of just fucking giving it the spot. Or picking a better tournament setup.
As the episode closes out Chris Rose highlights Lock-Jaw, Ribbot, and Fusion as 2-1 robots that “might” make it in. Buddy there are 32 robots advancing on. If there are 2-1 robots who don’t make it in I will raise fucking hell. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: bad wins and good losses are bullshit, you either won the fight or you didn’t. A “bad win” shouldn’t be someone’s detriment, it’s not the winner’s fault that the losing robot was a piece of shit. The only robots who should be sleeping restlessly right now are the ones at 1-2 because the way I see it obviously all of the 3-0’s are going to qualify and all of the 2-1’s should follow suit. Whatever slots are left over are ones for the 1-2’s to meddle over. Lock-Jaw’s in. Ribbot’s in. Fusion’s in. At least that’s the way I see it, and that’s how it should be. “Selection committee” be damned.
That’s a wrap on this installment of BattleBots Update. We’re running out of bots so this tournament has got to be starting soon. Witch Doctor is still missing its third fight as are Hydra and Beta. Black Dragon’s been MIA for a while, and so has HiJinx. We also haven’t seen Shatter in a hot minute so these are all robots I’d assume will be in the next or second-next(?) episodes. We’ve got a Fight Night to close out and it’s only fair that everyone gets their three fights… unless they are like Aegis and left their first and only fight in a trash bag. Thank you all for the support even though I’m writing these articles after the fact (they’re still mostly new to me if that helps). I greatly appreciate the monthly support on Patreon as well as the donations via Ko-Fi, now more so than ever. Likewise if you want to help out and get something in return there’s stickers for sale on Redbubble, and as always here’s that dumb Facebook link.
See you next time!