[BattleBots: S11 E11 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
That’s it. Fight Night’s over. The qualifiers have ended for this season of BattleBots and at the end of the previous episode seeds were announced and the brackets were revealed. From this point onward as many of the builders say in the opening montage all that matters now is winning. There’s no second chances in the main tournament, it’s win or go home. From now on all fights are single elimination meaning if someone loses that’s sayonara for the season and they aren’t coming back. This is the road to the Giant Nut.
This week’s episode focuses on the left side of the bracket meaning End Game will be making an appearance to defend its title. There are no more “main event” battles since we’re out of the qualifiers but I’d expect the editors to treat End Game’s fight as a makeshift main event regardless. It’ll be facing the winner of the play-in match for seed #32, Skorpios vs. Malice. Sawblaze is the other top seed in this side of the bracket and it’ll be facing Hijinx in a battle that’s sure to be full of hits from either side. Touching on the rest of the bracket there’s Copperhead and Lucky, Hypershock and P1, Glitch and Witch Doctor, and Shatter and Riptide. They just so happen to be up first so let’s take a look.
ROUND OF 32
RIPTIDE vs. SHATTER
In Riptide’s official photo it’s seen with Yeti-like lifting forks but we’ve yet to see them debut in a single one of Riptide’s battles. I thought for sure we’d see them against Defender but I was wrong about that. Riptide qualified in 21st place after a one-hit KO over Huge, a loss to the aforementioned Defender, and a brutal KO over Duck. Riptide literally sent Duck into retirement, the beating was that savage. Riptide does all its talking with its big ass drum spinner which up to this point has demonstrated some impressive shots but also a lack of reliability. It’s good for a few really good whacks but then it gets “tired” and wears out. Not a good look when your opponent is good for “a few really good whacks” and then some.
Shatter was a quarterfinalist in the previous season so all of you out there who doubt the efficacy of hammer bots better sit down and shut the fuck up because Shatter is where it’s at. This is a robot who only a few seasons ago sank a hail mary stab onto the lid of Kingpin and melted all of the robot’s internals with the ensuing battery fire. Kingpin burned for upwards of 40 minutes before it could be dealt with. All this carnage caused by one unsuspecting hammer pick. This season Shatter stabbed its way through a faltering SubZero and then brought out a literal anime sword to perfectly snipe the weapon belt of Blacksmith reducing the mighty power hammer to, well, nothing if I’m being completely transparent with you here. This pattern will emerge as this article unfolds but Shatter made it here after defeating just two opponents. I think that’s bullshit but we’ll save the opinions for later in the post.
Shatter’s got omni wheels, kinda like Glitch whom we’ve seen a lot of this season, and because of this it can strafe around and drive in unique ways. This is to ensure its weapon is always pointed forward at its opponent. As designer and builder Adam Wrigley put it his robot has about one square inch of effective power that it needs to be able to place directly on an opponent. These special wheels are necessary for Shatter to do what it’s gotta do. Meanwhile Riptide comes in here with a massive fucking eggbeater drum, slams into Shatter, and rips half its face off. Now remember that Shatter’s “big thing” is its ablative armor. Well this was one entire fucking chunk of it that “ablated” in one hit. I don’t know if Shatter’s team was expecting Riptide to slice into the plastic like a cheese grater or something but Riptide’s out here with the big plays.
Shatter throws a punch and it looks like it’s a miss and over extends past Riptide’s lid. Riptide responds in turn by chasing Shatter to the Upper Deck and then slamming into its side. No further ablative armor is removed with this hit but when Riptide goes in for the follow-up blow there’s enough oomph left in the spinner to throw Shatter onto the danger patio. The proximity sensors go off and the red lights start to blink signaling Shatter to get the fuck off of the deck and Shatter careens off toward the left only to be waylaid by Riptide who’s waiting right there to finish the job on Shatter’s face and tear the other chunk of ablative plastic off. The chunk gets sent so high that it breaks the goddamned arena scaffolding. “OH NO” is visible on Shatter’s revealed armor written in what appears to be black Sharpie. Yeah, I’ll say. Any blows Riptide lands head on now will be frame shots, kinda like this next one that spikes Shatter at the fucking wall.
Shatter can right itself but Riptide steps in to lend a helping hand with another shot that rolls the hammer bot over. From here Shatter’s looking beat; there’s a lot of complex shit under the hood of this robot and if one thing goes wrong then the whole show is over and I think we’re about to see a curtain call because Riptide blasts Shatter in the face again and Shatter just doesn’t know what to do. Cue a camera cut to Riptide’s team shouting “let’s go” because this is an epic gamer moment and this is all these guys know how to say when they’re getting the victory royale in Roblox Zombie Survival Quest. Shatter’s back piece of armor is busted open and now the robot is starting to smoke meaning we could be seeing the end of this fight coming up.
Shatter looks incapacitated under the blue square’s Pulverizer and it fires off its hammer a couple of times in that tried and true attempt to see if it jostles something back into place to bring the bot back to life. This fails so spectacularly that Shatter’s hammer gets caught in the spike strip on the return forcing Shatter’s team to pathetically drop the Pulverizer on their own robot to try and knock it loose. This fails, as you might expect, and Shatter is counted out. Eliminated in the Round of 32. Guess this isn’t the year of the hammer after all.
WINNER: Riptide, KO
ROUND OF 32
P1 vs. HYPERSHOCK
P1 comes into this fight looking like it’s in desperate need of a new paint job but all those scuffs and scars tell a story. Things looked dire for the race car as its first match was against Valkyrie. P1 even lost a wheel during this fight but it held the low ground and ultimately was able to turn out an upset when its opponent lost the use of its spinner. P1 then moved on to face the compromised cluster bot Jager and with expert finesse managed to disable the entire multibot by flipping the hammer saw over and getting the green spinner stuck on the deck. By the way P1 achieved this with a wonky drive system, too. The “selection committee” dialed up the heat under P1 to see how it’d fare against an opponent like Ribbot and the answer was “decently” until Ribbot got under P1 and threw it at the fucking BattleBots sign in the arena and broke it.
You know Hypershock. This is a robot who needs little introduction but since I have to write a paragraph I’m going to do it anyways. Hypershock is one of the rare competitors who’s been here for every single reboot season since 2015 and we’ve been able to watch this robot become what it is over the past seven years. This year’s Hypershock is probably the best we’ve seen and the changes to its wheelbase and weaponry have all paid off positively; Hypershock stomped out Slammo in a match to test the waters and then was immediately thrown into the fire against Lock-Jaw wherein Hypershock straight up fucked Lock-Jaw sideways and booted it out of the arena. The “selection committee” said they’d seen enough from Hypershock and rubber stamped it into the Round of 32 with a seed just low enough so that Will Bales wouldn’t have to dye his hair green. Don’t think I forgot about that.
Right away both robots lock heads and start twirling about trying to one-up each other in some fashion. Hypershock comes out ahead in these minor scuffles by winning the ground game against P1. The only problem is P1 is staying in close so Hypershock can’t get its knife blade things spun up to top speed. Hypershock backs away, briefly gets its fork stuck in the Killsaws, and is lifted up by P1. All this happens with Hypershock’s front end facing away from the action so finally the weapon gets up to speed and Hypershock takes it to P1 by striking the robot on its corner and forcing it to self right. This leaves P1 vulnerable for attack, and Hypershock knows it’s got the ground game in the bag.
Or at least that’s what Will Bales assumes. Thinking his robot’s forks will outperform P1’s wedge every single time results in Hypershock lining up a charge and lunging at P1 weapons blazing. I’m sure in Will’s mind he foresaw P1 flipping all over the goddamned place with possibly even a wheel coming off… but reality sucks sometimes. After all that daydreaming Hypershock crashes into P1, rides up P1’s wedge, and bails hard into the corner completely upside down. Right about here is where I’d taunt Hypershock for ditching its srimech this season but let’s be real here that piece of shit never worked and Will even said it himself that the self righter wasn’t active on Hypershock. It was removed to streamline the robot and instead there are some “bunny ears” for Hypershock to ride along as its back wheels propel it.
There’s only one problem with this setup however: there’s not enough fucking ground clearance for Hypershock’s weapon to keep spinning while upside down. Hypershock keeps spinning its blades because you can see the robot using them to “climb” over things but all it serves to do is make the robot im-fucking-possible to control. P1 even manages to get Hypershock on the stupid deck for a second before Hypershock gets away and then climbs back onto the hazard itself only to roll off the front of it still inverted. With a little input from P1 Hypershock crawls all over the goddamned floor only to again try to use the screws on the deck to its advantage. This fails and Hypershock just leaps over them and lands on the platform again. If there were any “control” points Hypershock had earned by this point I think they’ve all been forfeited to P1.
P1 starts trying to chase and corral Hypershock around to the best of its ability but Hypershock just won’t sit still. It smashes into the blue square screws and very nearly rights itself but instead just lands back on its ass again. So far this fight has had one hit, one flip, and then a whole lot of fucking nothing. Almost out of nowhere with a minute left on the clock Hypershock bounces and floors it and spontaneously flips itself back onto its wheels. No input from P1 or the hazards necessary. Now P1’s on high alert because Hypershock’s blades have room to breathe and sure enough Hypershock digs in and sends P1 flipping up into the air. The crowd cheers, the hosts gasp, and Hypershock’s team gives a hearty “YEAH” but what nobody has realized yet is this hit took out the remainder of the steam in Hypershock’s weapon. Maybe if the robot didn’t spend a minute and a half crawling around on the goddamned floor with its blades still moving it’d have some gas in the tank but instead it’s out.
Hypershock decides it doesn’t need a weapon and instead just pursues P1 around the arena. It’s probably too late to say this but look at how Will Bales just effortlessly drifts and follows P1 around, and we thought P1 was fast. Hypershock slams P1 into the wall a couple of times in the waning seconds of this match and ends the battle by pinning P1 against one of the arena bumpers. Does the bumper fire? Of course it fucking doesn’t. Hypershock made a strong comeback in the ending of the fight and after reviewing the battle to write this article I’ve gotta say I don’t agree with the decision. I’m assuming everything was hedging on the fact that Hypershock’s primary fucking weapon broke down and that somehow erased the two times P1 was sent into outer space. P1 intentionally chose not to use its primary weapon while Hypershock was on the ropes because Brandon Zalinsky knew doing so would probably right Hypershock and spell doom for his robot. Well that doesn’t sound like “aggression” to me. It’s not even a split decision. Fuck this.
WINNER: P1, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
MALICE vs. SKORPIOS
As far as I’m aware all of the 2-1 robots qualified for the main tournament. This left two slots open at the bottom of the seedings for a couple of lucky 1-2 robots. Rather than just pick one the powers that be decided to make these robots work for a spot in the Round of 32 by having a play-in bout for the #31 and #32 spots. This battle is for #32 and a ticket to fight End Game. Wow what a prize, certain death. Malice is up first in the red square after finally scoring a win against Blacksmith at the end of its Fight Night rounds. Prior to that this robot was absolutely blasted by Tantrum and Jackpot in fights that saw some big hits except most of them were landed on Malice instead of by Malice. This is Malice’s 4th fight and the team still isn’t using their disc, they’re sticking with the “drumstick” because they need the extra upper armor to deflect blows from Skorpios.
Skorpios is in an odd place this season but I can definitely see it as a candidate for these special bouts because historically this is a robot that has performed well and its two losses were split decisions. I hate the argument of “good losses” but I guess a split decision loss is better than a unanimous decision loss; it means one judge thought you didn’t fuck it up. Unlike Malice who scored a win at the end of Fight Night, Skorpios sank a hole in one right out of the gate by destroying Blade. Then it fought Whiplash and Yeti in two fights that were nonstop slam fests and like I said both of them were split decisions that did not favor Skorpios, but those split losses helped it stay in the game to make it this far. The #32 seed and a front row seat to your own death are on the line, who’s going to take it?
Skorpios goes for such a nasty box rush that it pops the sickest wheelie of any robot that I’ve ever seen. It slows down to let its front plow come down to the ground before colliding with Malice in a hit that yanks Skorpios around and sends Malice flying. Skorpios recovers and charges at Malice and are you fucking serious right now Malice’s weapon is dead. We learned from the Tantrum fight that the bearings in Malice’s weapon couldn’t handle the shock of being blasted while the weapon was at low speeds so with that knowledge I’m going to preemptively say that might be what happened here again. Well, we know who’s getting the #32 spot. Now we just have to sit through three minutes of Skorpios hitting Malice on its front metal frame and doing no fucking damage to it whatsoever.
Malice gets away from Skorpios and spins around backwards but this just opens its ass end for punishment and Skorpios actually lands a hit that reaches Malice’s softer UHMW armor and slices into it. At first I thought maybe we were going to see some proper damage but no, Malice whips back around and gets all up in Skorpios’ face and Skorpios just keeps hacking at the front of Malice despite these hits doing nothing. They’re scoring points and the sparks are nice I guess, there I said something positive about this battle. But this fucking sucks. Hang on a second the hosts are talking aaaand… yep, there it is. Kenny just said Malice needs to hope it can break Skorpios’ primary weapon. USING WHAT, KENNETH? UNICORN SHIT?
Every once in a while you’ll probably see some smoke puff out of Skorpios but as I’ve learned this season this is all friction smoke from its weapon belts. Skorpios’ blade is eight times more powerful this year than it was last year but belts can only handle so much so often times the pulley just spins against the belt and you get these nice smoke effects. So no, Skorpios is not burning up nor are its batteries exploding or anything it’s just kicking so much ass that parts of the robot are like “hold up I can’t keep up with this level of bullshit carnage”. Chris Rose in a vain attempt to inject some plausibility into this fight says you can’t tell what kinds of internal damage those hits from Skorpios are doing. None, Chris. 90% of Skorpios’ hits have all been focused to the front left part of Malice’s frame. There’s nothing there to transmit shock into except a weapon that’s done fuck all this whole fight.
Eventually Skorpios pins Malice against the screws and starts smoking in a noticeable way but again it’s nothing; you can hear Skorpios’ blade screaming at top speed literally moments later. This fight is so fucking bad that the hosts start reminding us what the judging criteria is for fights. Yeah guys, we know. We literally just saw the previous fight go to a decision. We know how it works. Why was this fight not a goddamned YouTube special or whatever? In a last ditch effort to make this fight exciting Skorpios slams Malice into the screws again but Malice refuses to flip over. The 10 second counter appears on the show and never in my life have I been so relieved to see that thing.
WINNER: Skorpios, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
ROUND OF 32
BLOODSPORT vs. MINOTAUR
Coming up is the battle between the two middle seeds so this ought to be a fairly even match up. It’s not, but the numbers suggest it is. That just means empirical data isn’t always correct. I will say however that each of these competitors took the same path to get here by losing their opening fights and then coming back strong. Bloodsport was in a main event battle with Whiplash and Whiplash just mopped the floor with this thing; Bloodsport didn’t stand a chance. Bloodsport was left on the Upper Deck to cry it out for a KO. But then we saw Bloodsport take on SubZero and I guess I should’ve worded that differently and said “take apart” instead of “take on” because the spinner just wrecked the flipper and gave the SubZero team something to do in the pits for a while. Finally Bloodsport faced off with Claw Viper in a match that saw Claw Viper’s weaponry immediately rendered useless but a stray blow nearly sent Bloodsport reeling out of the arena. Bloodsport is here purely by luck because we live in the one parallel universe where this robot didn’t tip over the fence.
Minotaur is a menace to robot society. This is a robot from a team who dare I say may have perfected the drum spinner. For years they’ve competed with Minotaur at BattleBots and with Touro Maximus at non-televised events and much like how Ray Billings has mastered the art of the heavy horizontal spinner it’s a safe bet that Team RioBotz have the vertical drum down pat. Minotaur was in the opening fight of the season against Sawblaze where it lost in spectacular fashion when Sawblaze cut into this robot’s underside, hit the batteries, and then lit it the fuck up. Props to Minotaur for somehow surviving the onslaught and lasting until the buzzer but we knew which way that fight was headed. Minotaur then bounced back with two KO victories over Dragon Slayer and Deep Six to claim the 16th seed.
Bloodsport is sporting a new weapon for this match, something we’ve never seen before. It’s called the “Club Sandwich” because it’s heavy steel sandwiched between two layers of aluminum. Or rather, maybe I should’ve written that in the past tense because after one shot Minotaur manages to blow the ass out of Bloodsport’s new weapon by severing one of the “clubs” from the “club sandwich”. Bloodsport spins its weapon down since revving it back up will just throw it wildly off balance and Minotaur cruises in for a pop that sends Bloodsport flying through the air. Justin Marple decides it’s worth the risk to spin the weapon so he fires it back up and almost immediately you can see Bloodsport develop a bad case of the shakes but Minotaur is there to soothe its opponent’s misery by… knocking the other club off of the weapon.
Because I’m an optimist (trust me) this just means Bloodsport now has a balanced weapon again! Bloodsport freely starts spinning its buckled and twisted remains of its weapon around and Minotaur happily continues to warp and shred pieces of it off. This is all happening faster than the hosts can keep up with because Kenny notes the first missing club but they miss the second one so they’re just talking out of their asses saying Bloodsport is going to be off balance even though they’re looking right at the fucking thing and can see otherwise. One of these hits causes Minotaur to lose a belt presumably because a sharp chunk of scrap aluminum scrapes across the drum belt and snipes it. We all know by now that Minotaur has redundant belts so this is nothing but if Minotaur is using more than one motor to power its drum we might not be seeing the big hits anymore.
It’s a hopeless situation for Bloodsport whose weapon has been blown up and which continues to come apart as Minotaur chews at the aluminum. Seriously just look at the arena. If Bloodsport was a plush toy it looks like a dog just straight up fucked it to death. There are 90 seconds left in this fight. Kenny says “if Bloodsport can just break Minotaur’s weapon”. Here we go again. Motherfucker it takes something as absurd as hitting Minotaur’s batteries through its own ass to disable that drum. You think Bloodsport is capable of carrying out that procedure in its current state? This fucking robot couldn’t even open a goddamned can of Sprite the way it is right now.
Minotaur flings Bloodsport like a frisbee and then goes for a pin against the wall just in case the judges had any doubts on who is dominating this battle. As Bloodsport slides along the wall it gets blasted by the Pulverizer. Minotaur lets go as per the rules on pinning and Bloodsport tries to get away only for Minotaur to somehow snag it and bring the robot right back to the same fucking hammer a second time. When they call Daniel Freitas one of the best drivers in the sport it’s shit like this they are talking about. How do you even do that against an opponent who’s trying to get away from you?
The clock runs out on this match and much like I had predicted Minotaur was just too much for Bloodsport to handle. The bloody sportsman is eliminated, better luck next year. Might I suggest avoiding Minotaur at all costs?
WINNER: Minotaur, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Earlier in the episode we saw Glitch’s team in the pits working on their robot and we were told nothing about the situation other than that they were having some problems with their weaponry. Well, because the producers made a whole miniature segment about this it’s a safe bet there’d be some follow-up on the matter and sure enough we got one. One of the producers tells Kyle Miller and his team that their prep time is up and they need to let the staff know if they can make it to the fight. Because there’s an active weapon rule in BattleBots this means Glitch cannot just fight like a wedge, it needs that spinner or else it’s curtains for the breakout newbie. Kyle shakes his head and says the team’s not ready and Glitch is forced to withdraw from the competition. You made it in. You were so close. What the fuck happened to the weapon that caused so much commotion? It looked mean when you sniped both of Kraken’s drive motors from outside the fucking robot.
But in the immortal words of Brandon Zalinsky “sometimes it be like that”. Word; it do. Normally if this happens late in the game Glitch’s opponent would just receive a Bye into the next round and win via forfeit but since this is the opening Round of 32 there are competitors on standby who just barely failed to qualify who can come in to replace Glitch. The “selection committee” has gone with Mammoth to fill in the space left that was formerly occupied by the #9 seed. This doesn’t mean Mammoth is technically the 9th seed it just means the killer jungle gym will be fighting in Glitch’s place in the brackets. I’ve gotta wonder why they went with Mammoth though instead of Blacksmith. Blacksmith didn’t have that bad of a season – it’s also 1-2 – and that explosive match against Malice had to be worth something. In any case though the opponent is still Witch Doctor and I feel like regardless of who made it in Witch Doctor will probably make short work of them.
RIP Glitch. Better luck next time. Bring some spares or something I don’t fuckin’ know.
ROUND OF 32
HIJINX vs. SAWBLAZE
Every time we see a high seed take on a low seed I just expect it to be a bloodbath, especially the 1v32 match. BattleBots seeds are a weird thing and sometimes I feel like they get intentionally fudged for TV. Remember all those times Tombstone qualified at #1 only to be fed fodder like Radioactive and Escape Velocity? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Of all the low seeds though I think Hijinx might be a proper wildcard. This is an admittedly powerful horizontal spinner and if it can just land one solid open palm smack to Sawblaze’s wheels it’s over. Hijinx lost out of the gate to Mammoth when one of its wheels just sorta rolled away but it brought things back to eek out a controversial decision over Kraken and a proper KO over SubZero. Seems everyone in this episode KO’d SubZero. Or at least it feels that way. Poor son of a bitch.
This whole season we’ve seen Sawblaze come out with its forks at the ready. These ground-scraping attachments were key in Sawblaze putting the ol’ slice n’ dice on bots like Minotaur and Mad Catter, two fights that were absolutely chock full of fire and smoke and were huge fucking disasters for everyone not named “Sawblaze”. Sawblaze had a chance to go after the king in a fight with End Game but we all know how that snoozefest went. The battle was over in literally about 10 seconds when Sawblaze exposed its ass end for attack and End Game smashed it into the wall and threw it out of the arena. Weren’t there supposed to be rules against doing that this year? That’s what four times or something now that someone’s been tossed overboard and nobody’s given a shit? Don’t put it in the rulebook if you’re not going to call upon it. Anyways I forgot where I was going with this but Sawblaze has a giant plow for this fight to deflect Hijinx upward straight into its maw.
Sawblaze’s first order of business is to make sure Hijinx’s weapon doesn’t get spinning. Because of this Sawblaze’s own disc remains static because the last thing Jamison Go wants to do is rev up his weapon and swing too early and get his dragon’s wiener torn off by a giant pink helicopter blade. Hijinx tries to bat and swat Sawblaze away using its tail fin but Sawblaze stays in close before pinning Hijinx against the wall under the same Pulverizer that we just saw Minotaur use to take Bloodsport to pound town. With Hijinx suitably stalled out Sawblaze’s disc gets going but a lack of faith in the reach of the weapon prevents the hammer saw from coming down. Hijinx gets away but doesn’t get far as Sawblaze pins it to the Upper Deck and then chooses to finally swing its weapon landing a blow to Hijinx’s right half. Amazingly the blade doesn’t just cleave right into the armor.
Hijinx’s right wheel is what Sawblaze is targeting because Jamison saw the Mammoth fight and knows those are the weak points of the robot. If fucking Mammoth can knock a wheel off with its shitty low powered carnival ride of a weapon then Sawblaze’s dragon disc can definitely strip the damn thing off too. Sawblaze isn’t quite on the mark and the next two slams rain down on Hijinx’s right armor panel; the panel finally gives way after the second hit and Hijinx coughs up an entire goddamned drive motor. The motor, still live and twisting away, gets caught in Hijinx’s blade while Sawblaze pins the robot against the shelf once more and uses its mighty saw to chop the owl’s entire ass off. In what looks like it might’ve been the killing blow Hijinx comes to rest in front of the deck but all of a sudden it springs back to life coasting on one dead wheel and driving with the other.
Sawblaze pushes Hijinx into the far corner of the arena under a Pulverizer it doesn’t control and just lets the robot die, but Hijinx is determined to stay in the game. Its loose motor is still rolling around all over the fucking place until Sawblaze comes in backwards to use its hammer saw like a vertical spinner and cuts the wires on the dangling piece of kit. I think those are Hijinx’s battery boxes that are exposed near the center of the robot; with a precision blow Sawblaze could literally light up another opponent but for some reason the dragon is uninterested in severing the electronics. Maybe it’s sportsmanship. Maybe it’s apathy. The takeaway is Sawblaze has basically won this fight and if it really wanted to it could twist the knife and put the hurt on Hijinx big time.
Because Hijinx refuses to die Sawblaze just continues to engage. Sawblaze has backed off twice now but Hijinx keeps saying it didn’t hear no bell so Sawblaze has no choice but to re-engage with its opponent. That’s a rule, by the way; if your opponent is mobile then engagement is basically mandatory. No sandbagging allowed in BattleBots. Then again knocking someone out of the arena also isn’t allowed but we’ve seen how well that’s been enforced. Chris and Kenny brag about their seats being the best in the house but I’m going to disagree. First and foremost there’s a giant stupid shelf in their line of sight blocking their view of the other side of it. Secondly they can’t see the far corner near the drivers’ booth where the Pulverizer is. The “best seats in the house” are actually directly behind either square and all the way up in the back so you can see the whole arena. Here’s the hot tip: those seats don’t cost “thousands of dollars”. Subscribe to my blog for more BattleBots Trip Tips.
Where were we? Oh right, Sawblaze is hacking away at the left side of Hijinx now. Sawblaze can’t seem to pop the top off of Hijinx a second time so instead it drags its opponent to the Upper Deck’s screws which chew up Hijinx’s wheels and drag the dead bird up on top of the shelf. There’s only 10 seconds left in the match which isn’t enough for a countdown but somehow in the last second of the fight Hijinx can crabwalk and coast on its free spinning right wheel to get down from the deck. There was not a single moment in this fight where Hijinx’s weapon achieved any meaningful speed. Sawblaze just put on a clinic all over the back half of the arena.
WINNER: Sawblaze, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
ROUND OF 32
WITCH DOCTOR vs. MAMMOTH
I’m not sure how Witch Doctor landed all the way down in 24th place but I guess it’s probably because its season has kind of sucked this year? Witch Doctor kicked things off with a good start by showing us all that the new Duck 2.0 was more like Dick 2.0 but its weapon broke down during that match and it turned into who could out drive and out muscle the other. Witch Doctor was immediately advanced onward into a main event against End Game and I think we all know how that one went. Production didn’t want to risk Witch Doctor going 1-2 so Rusty was selected from the herd of D-tier competitors to be fed to the beast to bolster its win/loss record in the qualifiers. It was an unimpressive bout that panned out exactly as you’d have expected it to. But all that and still #24? Weird.
I’m talking about weird seeds and meanwhile here’s Mammoth who is technically unseeded yet slipped in because the actual #9 seed Glitch suffered a mechanical failure and had to withdraw from the tournament. Does that make Mammoth seed #33? Or is it #35 because it missed the play-in bouts for #31 and #32? Who knows, who cares? Mammoth is a crowd favorite robot because it’s a massive jumble of pipes and has a goofy weapon ergo the robot has its own established cult of personality. That’s fine and all but if I were Ricky Willems I’d try and establish a cult of actually winning fights. Mammoth is 1-2 after yanking a wheel off of Hijinx for a quick KO. Mammoth was subjected to a “double KO” against Tombstone in a fight that I think Mammoth technically won but this is a borderline reality TV show and dumb shit happens all the time. Mammoth’s last fight was against Lucky who punched its wheel clean off and flipped the robot over for the win.
Ricky’s hoping to get some combo shots on Witch Doctor but here’s the thing, there’s not really anything on Witch Doctor to grab except for maybe the sides where that rib cage armor stretches over the robot? What, are you just gonna hook Witch Doctor from the front between the discs and yank it up? Fat fucking chance, case in point it takes Witch Doctor all of about 15 seconds to clip Mammoth just right and send it rolling onto its side sans one weapon chain. Mike Gellatly is behind the sticks of Witch Doctor as usual and before the fight Andrea Gellatly said those “big juicy tires” are going to be their primary target and like clockwork Witch Doctor slices into one of Mammoth’s exposed wheels and throws the whole robot over. This is 250 pounds of robot with enough force being imparted onto it via its fucking wheel to twist it through the goddamned air. Understandably when Mammoth lands its left wheel has locked up.
Witch Doctor is laying in wait trying to go for the other wheel but misses its mark and instead just straight up MS Paint erases one of the rear struts of Mammoth’s frame. It’s just gone. Poof. Mammoth starts spinning its weapon helplessly as Witch Doctor chews it up and rips at Mammoth’s front prongs, just really chewing up whatever it can sink its teeth into before it scoots away from Mammoth and hits its right wheel. This his is so brutal that it literally turns the entire fucking wheel inside out. That thing that looks like the ghost of Mammoth’s wheel? That was the foam filling from the pneumatic tire to prevent it from going flat. Witch Doctor ripped the entire chunk out and somewhere in the Battlebox there’s an empty sock of rubber that the foam used to fit inside of. Holy shit.
I don’t know how a match against Glitch would’ve gone but I still had Witch Doctor pegged to win the fight regardless. Not much has changed with my predictions so far. That was brutal.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO
WHAT GOT CUT
Because BattleBots’ editors are unwilling to budge on fluff we lost two fights that looked like they might’ve been really interesting brawls to watch unfold. Here are those two fights recapped with as much generosity as I can manage to glean from the highlights shown.
LUCKY (25) vs. COPPERHEAD (8)
For this match it appears as though Lucky has gone with a double pronged “fork” lifting bar that we’ve never seen before. That and a shitload of armor, more than the Blade fight. Lucky’s entire front end was also reduced inward to put the forks way out in front but judging by the jump cuts that wasn’t enough to save the robot and Copperhead blasted the robot onto its back. In the slow-mo replays you can see unknown parts falling off of Lucky after just the first hit and afterward Lucky loses a wheel. I was right about that happening.
Lucky manages to stay alive to the ending buzzer by some fluke of magic but the robot is definitely mangled and hurting by the time the fight ends. The whole front end of the flipper is busted to oblivion, it’s missing at least one wheel that we know of, and the side armor was obliterated. Copperhead seizes the victory from the flipper and Lucky’s eliminated. Still I feel this was a better year for Lucky than most; I can’t recall the last time the flipper qualified for the main tournament. Maybe next year they won’t be paired up with literally one of the most destructive spinners in the fucking field.
HUGE (28) vs. UPPERCUT (5)
As I expected Uppercut is one of the few robots able to hit Huge but Huge can hit back if you’re not careful. Since Uppercut is the size of the goddamned Aggro Crag it looks like it had a hard time putting its weapon out there to reach into Huge and because of this Huge swats Uppercut all the way across the fucking floor and completely ruins Uppercut’s shit. Uppercut gets back in the game and gets in Huge’s face and I was correct in my guess that Huge would tear off one or both of Uppercut’s stabilizing bars. That’s how you know I’ve been doing analysis for so long on this goddamned show I’m able to not only predict fight outcomes but also what happens IN the fucking fights.
Huge dies near the Pulverizer and Uppercut cleaves into its backside completely destroying Huge’s rear braces. Uppercut pulls up on one wheel and because the rubber is damaged it’s not flat but squishier than it would be otherwise. While trying to back away from the deceased corpse of Huge the robot’s wheel that’s riding on the ground gets jammed in the spike strip of the shelf. Despite Huge likely being dead for much longer than we’ve been led on to believe this fight is also ruled as yet another “double knock out” meaning it went to the judges. The judges sided with Uppercut for this fight because Huge was fucking dead first.
ROUND OF 32
SKORPIOS vs. END GAME
We’ve already seen Skorpios once this episode so I’ll spare you the retreading of its Fight Night journey, just know the robot is here because it defeated Malice in a play-in bout for the bottom seed and the team’s prize for winning the fight was to basically face total robot eradication by reigning champion Orange Bite Forc– I mean End Game. Skorpios comes out of the tunnel sporting a new wide double fork setup possibly to corral End Game on its front end and not let it get away. All I’m seeing are sharp pointy things that don’t have safety covers on them. Tsk tsk.
And finally we have the biggest bad ass of them all: End Game. Seeded number one because now apparently that’s what the “selection committee” just does this is a robot that needs little introduction. There isn’t a “main event” fight this episode but you know the editors were sitting on this battle and intending to use it like one because of End Game. End Game qualified for the main tournament with little challenge which makes its #1 seed so strange. Bite Force used to get thrown down to #3 despite being the reigning champ but whatever. Hydra was End Game’s first opponent and Hydra showed up DOA and was smoking and burning up before the fight even started. Easy win. I’ll skip ahead and mention the Sawblaze fight again. Easy win. Witch Doctor was really the only robot to get in End Game’s way and was the only fight that felt like a proper battle. The others were basically free wins for the champion even though we know they were meant to go way differently. Also I just want to say I think End Game’s fucking meter stick forks look fucking stupid and that I hate this “fork game” teams are playing with each other. Fight like real men (and women) and let your weapons do all the talking.
Skorpios tries to get End Game snagged in its forks but End Game winds up catching the best of Skorpios and lands a hit that flips the blue robot over. This positions Skorpios facing backwards at End Game which isn’t where you want to be when you’re facing the champion. End Game chews up Skorpios’ left wheel and takes the robot for a little ride thrashing its cheap forks and slamming it into the corner where the shelf meets the wall. This damages Skorpios’ other tire because that’s the chunk of something you see flying off of the robot. But in the chaos Skorpios isn’t just being totally dominated, pay close attention and you’ll see Skorpios land a desperation attack that connects with the right side of End Game’s frame and visibly bends it outwards. Skorpios’ disc has had the pressure put on it so this might not have even been a full power hit and that’s all it takes to warp End Game’s armor? It seems someone with even a medium-tier weapon but expert driving could take this thing out. It’s a shame the Sawblaze fight ended with a wet fart.
End Game responds to its frame being damaged by socking Skorpios right in the face and knocking its weapon arm all the way back stripping out the motor in the process. Skorpios is now balanced perfectly (if you’re End Game) on the side of the deck because it’s got one tire up in the air and the other wheel isn’t quite on the ground. It’s basically how P1 killed the spinner of Jager earlier this season just with a much bigger robot and a lot less precision. Skorpios starts to smoke and for the first time this season I don’t think that’s weapon belt friction smoke, I think that might be smoke smoke. Like, the bad kind; the kind that signals the death of something in a robot. Skorpios’ drive is still fully functional albeit with damaged wheels so you know if the robot was anywhere else Zach Lytle would be flooring it all over the place and still trying to put up a fight, but not this time. Skorpios dies on the deck and End Game advances onto the Round of 16.
WINNER: End Game, KO
I can’t tell you how excited I am that we’re in the main tournament now, disregarding all the shit about “two fights” and whatnot. I guess what happened is the “selection committee” just wanted teams to make it to at least two wins because that essentially guarantees a place in the Round of 32. If you made it to 2-0 you didn’t need a third fight but if you were 1-1 then depending on who you were you were either fed a weak robot or you were the weak robot being fed to someone else. I think that’s very disingenuous; Allowing three fights provides more granularity for seeding but I guess that just doesn’t matter anymore. There are deadlines to meet and the show must go on so just keep the queue moving. We can’t turn off the meat grinder. Everything is a spectacle and this is all for show. I can see why people like Rob Everhart of Team Half-Life bowed out of the show; he saw the writing on the walls before a lot of other people did. That and his team were also Nazis so maybe he wasn’t correct on everything.
Teams should get three fights. Simple as that. Either do it or change the format into double elimination from the start or something. From what I understand the taping of Bounty Hunters happened again this year. I’d heard from numerous teams that it was more financially viable to just drop out in the Round of 32 and then participate in Bounty Hunters because all the bigger and tougher bots were tied up with the main tournament. What’s the fucking point in that case? This all sounds like a nightmare to keep tabs on. That’s probably why teams with winning 2-0 records were cut off and moved on regardless. If that’s the case then why the fuck did Sawblaze have to fight three opponents? Why couldn’t it have stopped after Mad Catter? Why did End Game need three opponents for that matter? Sawblaze vs. End Game never had to happen, and honestly we’d probably be better off without that shit show of a fight not happening.
Highlight of the week goes to Bloodsport vs. Minotaur; just the sheer amount of shrapnel generated by Minotaur at the expense of Bloodsport was worth it. I applaud Bloodsport for trying something new, because maybe Minotaur’s drum would’ve just shattered their other weapons, but the attempt was a failure. A massive, beautiful, failure. On a better day Bloodsport was drawn to fight someone other than Minotaur. Worst fight of the week is Skorpios vs. Malice. Malice’s weapon just breaks down right at the start again and Skorpios proceeds to do absolutely no damage to Malice’s steel shell for three minutes. Wake me up when it’s over.
That’s going to do it for BattleBots Update this week. Since we’re in the main tournament now we know who’s fighting next week. That includes matches like Cobalt vs. Yeti, Jackpot vs. Tombstone, and Ribbot going against whoever wins Hydra vs. Defender. Should be a real banger. I predict the Whiplash vs. Icewave and Rotator vs. Captain Shrederator fights get the “what got cut” treatment. Let’s see if I’m right? You can support BattleBots Update with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-fi. Additionally shirts and stickers are available on Redbubble, and be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next week!