[BattleBots: S11 E5 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Every iteration of BattleBots Update has been “brought to you by” someone different each week it seems. This time The Update is brought to you by COVID-19. Yeah, I managed to dodge it for two years but the grim reaper eventually caught up with me and I tested positive for it after a ringer of a few days where I felt like absolute trash. I got the vaccine, I got the booster, that’s like wearing two condoms! That should be double the protection! In any case now that I’ve contracted the virus I think I’ll have some kind of natural immunity to it now maybe? So that’s three layers of protection, or three condoms if we’re continuing this analogy. I’m fine, it just hurts when I cough and I can’t sleep because my headache is too bad. That just means I’m good and pissed off so let me at some shitty robots because we’re about to have words plural here. Apparently last week people were dissatisfied with my coverage of the infamous “double knock out” between Mammoth and Tombstone. I just think there’s a lot of salty Tombstone fanboys out there who don’t want to admit their favorite robot sucks this year and they’re hiding behind the show’s seemingly intentionally vague rules. Whoops did I just say all of that out loud?
Last week we crossed the point where robots are coming back for seconds and that’s the case here; Gigabyte and Captain Shrederator are back and are facing each other because someone thought this was a funny idea but they’re going to be let down because Beyblades are boring as fuck. P1 is back to do battle against the clusterbot Jager, Duck returns to slay Dragon Slayer*, and in the main event End Game faces Witch Doctor in an all out brawl that might be a preview of this season’s championship finals.
* I know last week I used Dragon Slayer as an example of who might be competing in this episode and I said if I was correct then it was just coincidence. I was just naming robots we hadn’t seen yet so that wasn’t me spoiling shit I promise.
Up first we have a battle between a forklift and a robot designed to do only one thing: fist. Let’s dig in.
FREE SHIPPING vs. UPPERCUT
Free Shipping is coming into this match 0-1 after a tough back and forth battle against Blacksmith that the forklift eventually lost. Blacksmith’s new power hammer proved to be too much for Free Shipping to handle and it carved out some chunks of Free Shipping’s front wedges and also managed to stress Free Shipping’s lifting array to the point where it threw both of its chains. Free Shipping is back and ready to go forklift cocked and guns blazing to see if it can mark Uppercut “return to sender”. Uppercut’s weapon is one hellacious spinner but if anyone can dodge that bullshit it’s Gary Gin.
If ever there was a robot that nobody could seem to find a proper weak point on it’s Uppercut. This is a robot that has consistently qualified for the main tournament two times now and it took the likes of fucking Bite Force to stop this thing dead in its tracks. The dude who built this fucks around with yo-yo’s for fun. For fun. Uppercut’s upgrades have mostly been fine tuning internal tweaks so externally it still looks mostly the same even down to its stability pole that’s just asking for someone to come by and clip it off. I’m not 100% certain Alex Hattori got his design right on the first try but the wake of destruction he’s left behind him begs to say otherwise. This is one robot that fists without lube that’s for goddamn sure.
Free Shipping starts this fight with its lifting forks raised presumably so that it’s spiked front end isn’t an easy target for Uppercut to dig into. The forklift leads the charge and rams into Uppercut and keeps going, the impact of which sends Uppercut twisting and turning like someone yanking on a Nintendo 64 cartridge to try and cheat their way past some guards in Goldeneye. Free Shipping dives in a second time but rather than bounce around Uppercut pivots forward onto Free Shipping’s wedges bringing its spinner dangerously close to pretty much everything Free Shipping has going on up there. Free Shipping backs away cautiously before trying that fly by a third time. Uppercut catches the corner of Free Shipping and rolls the forklift over.
Free Shipping can self right no problem but this requires the robot to bring its lifting arm back down and then raise it up again. This takes time. Time that Free Shipping doesn’t have because Uppercut is already on the attack again and in a matter of two seconds Uppercut lights this motherfucker up, strikes Free Shipping’s fuel tank, and causes its second impressive explosion in combat. The Sawblaze detonation wasn’t a fluke, Uppercut is for real and if you’re stupid enough to show up to a fight with it wearing a flamethrower then you’re going to get fucking Hindenburg’d. Free Shipping blows the fuck apart and if you watch closely you can see the flaming remains of its fuel cannister rain down behind Uppercut.
Somehow Free Shipping survives the blast but its front end is looking dire; the hinged wedges are broken on their mounts and half of them are pointing straight up doing fuck all for Free Shipping’s defense. Free Shipping rolls backward to try and get a better angle at Uppercut presumably with its one good wedge and Uppercut responds to this by cleaving into Free Shipping’s busted grille and tearing the entire front end off of it. All three Original Sin wedges, gone. Free Shipping also loses its front right tire in this exchange and I wouldn’t fault you for missing it because it was almost like an afterthought that it came off. Like a magic trick and Uppercut ripping Free Shipping’s face off was just part of the sleight of hand.
Free Shipping has rolled onto its side and as the robot gets away it darts into the blue square corner next to the shelf. The forklift flexes its arm back and forth and in all of Gary Gin’s infinite wisdom and driving finesse he self rights his robot and plops it down right on top of the spike strip high centering it. No amount of waving its lifting forks around is going to free it so this fight is going to Uppercut, however Uppercut looks a little worse for wear after that face-ripping-off exchange; it appears that Uppercut’s left side of drive has seized up leaving the robot to just crabwalk around in place. Are the refs also going to count this as a “simultaneous KO”? Nope. Free Shipping gets counted out for being stuck on the wall and Uppercut is given the win. Not that I disagree with it or anything, it earned it. God damn.
WINNER: Uppercut, KO
BLACKSMITH vs. SHATTER
We just saw Free Shipping lose and drop to 0-2 but in case you forgot where that first lost came from here’s Blacksmith to offer a refresher course. Blacksmith took a break from BattleBots to get rearmed and redesigned and it’s back with a new hammer saw weapon that Al Kindle has dubbed the “power hammer”. It’s still just a spinning disc mounted onto a stick but nicknames and gimmicks rule BattleBots, plus the power hammer still has a flamethrower mounted inside of it. This spinning disc was brought down onto Free Shipping over and over again cutting into the robot’s front plow and giving Blacksmith the edge on damage points for the first time in Blacksmith’s pseudo-miserable career. There’s a lot of real estate on Shatter for Blacksmith to graze on, could another judges’ call be in the books?
Blacksmith is 1-0 riding into this fight but so is Shatter; Shatter defeated SubZero in an unaired YouTube bonus fight where it won via judges’ decision after Subzero landed an impressive 0 flips and Shatter used its pick axe to literally rip and tear pieces of armor off of its opponent. At one point I think Shatter even stabbed a battery just to rub it in Subzero’s face. Shatter has stayed mostly the same for this tournament and still sports its Mecanum wheels allowing the robot to drive normally as well as circle strafe around opponents so its front end is always locked on and ready to go. The pick axe has also been replaced with a new Final Fantasy sword called “Mary Special”. The Mary Special weapon is curved and features several points along said curve with the intent to puncture and rip at Blacksmith’s weapon chains and belt.
Shatter’s featuring its Sword Art Online weapon for this match but in conjunction with that as Pete Abrahamson pointed out the robot is also using some extra long forks to trip Blacksmith and tee it up for a whack. Shatter lands a corner blow right off the bat but hesitates on additional shots because it wants to go for the jugular early on to wrap this fight up. Blacksmith crawls atop Shatter and lets its power hammer fly connecting with the hammer bot and sending some of those decorative Doritos flying in the process; Blacksmith’s power hammer also connects with Shatter’s sword and manages to put a kink in it. So far it probably seems like Blacksmith is on top in this exchange but you’d be wrong; Blacksmith’s weapon stays in its deployed state for a little too long, long enough for Shatter to slide on it and hack its weapon belt clean off.
In case you aren’t sure what all the moving parts of Blacksmith’s weapon are for I’ll explain. The chain powers the actuation of the whole arm itself back and forth, the belt is what powers the spinning disc at the end of the arm. No belt means no disc, however Blacksmith can still swing its power hammer and shoot fire out of it. Shatter’s weapon operator screams and hollers like this was some kind of fucking esports event and he just got a triple kill headshot supreme battle royale or whatever the fuck. Blacksmith starts cruising away from Shatter to try and give the fight some space but you can’t run from an opponent like Shatter who can motion track you. It’s like the eyes of a Jesus painting, it’s always going to follow you around.
Blacksmith catches Shatter perpendicularly to the robot’s front end and is able to entangle the two robot’s forks together resulting in a shove from Blacksmith that sees Shatter bump up against the edge of the deck, but Shatter retaliates by swinging its broadsword and connects with the giant point on it. Blacksmith’s weapon chain is still intact so that’s Shatter’s priority target even though Blacksmith seems to have already shifted gears into ram bot mode. While chasing down its opponent Shatter gets its forks caught in the Killsaw slots and I’ve been informed that the slots are actually wider this season to make room for the pyrotechnics inside that shoot out sparks every time someone mentions the phrase “main event”. Now if they’d only use the fucking hazards we could move on from this bullshit and just be happy about it.
Shatter gets slammed into the deck a second time and both robots spend a dozen or so seconds recovering from the blow and trying to posture themselves for another attack. Shatter sticks one of its forks balls deep into the Killsaws prompting Blacksmith to come up from behind and ram the robot presumably to try and get it stuck further into the hazard. Thanks to Shatter’s new weapon this still puts Blacksmith into the strike zone and Shatter takes a few free reverse hits on Blacksmith before the robot is deterred from attacking further and backs off. Somehow Shatter gets free from the Killsaws despite being stuck in them past the notch on its front forks and brings the battle back to Blacksmith by stabbing it in the face and even getting the Pulverizer in on the action for a quick blow.
Blacksmith is on the back step and has been since about the ten second mark in this fight. Shatter shoves Blacksmith backward and as luck would have it the Killsaws pop up and rearrange Blacksmith’s dick. The crippled robot actually makes something of a noteworthy comeback in the last minute of this fight by getting tangled up in Shatter’s forks again and using that perpendicular momentum to bring the hammer bot into the screws and deck a couple more times. Shatter even takes a Pulverizer shot of its own in the waning seconds of this fight. For some reason Shatter keeps swinging its blade back and forth non stop and I’ve gotta wonder what the fuck the team thinks that’s doing because as history has demonstrated this is bad for the weapon clutch and motor. Case in point Shatter ends this battle with smoke coming out of its hammer system.
Was it worth the cost of repairs? Who knows, but thanks to the early damage points racked up by Shatter knocking out Blacksmith’s weapon the judges’ side with Shatter sending it to 2-0 land. Do I hear 3-0 for Shatter? You never know.
WINNER: Shatter, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
JAGER vs. P1
The first robot this episode making its season debut is Jager, a multibot from Germany. This is actually one of very few European teams to make it to BattleBots this year thanks to a kerfuffle with temporary visas or something stemming from this ongoing coronavirus bullshit. In fact, Jager might actually be the only European team at the show this year. Jager consists of two smaller robots: Toe Kicker (the green undercutter) and Arm Muscle (the pink hammer saw). There was actually a third component to Jager, a drum spinner, but thanks to the team being fragmented and not everyone being able to show up Ralf Schneider is having to fly mostly solo on this one and he’s stuck with just the two robots he has. Each one weighs approximately 125 pounds so the idea was to mix and match the robots according to their opponent but that plan’s gone out the window.
P1 is riding high after taking a victory lap over Valkyrie in a close destructive battle that could’ve gone either way until Valkyrie caught fire and its weapon died. This is a robot that has grown into itself and while it was pretty substandard in previous seasons I feel that last year P1 really showed everyone what it was made of. The producers didn’t give it good fights though so the “selection committee” passed on qualifying P1 for the Top 32 last season but this year with a win over Valkyrie, P1 is already looking better. P1 has an incredibly low center of gravity and is modeled after a race car, hence the theme of the robot and its “pit crew”. Its weapon is a front-hinged flipping arm similar to Firestorm of Robot Wars fame.
The fight begins and right away P1 shows us what 250 pounds of fake race car can do to about 10 pounds of shitty minibot. Jager’s unnamed wedge gets thrown across the floor, shunted away like it wasn’t even there. I laughed, but then that stupid little wedge spins around and does its best Shaman impression and jumps right up P1’s ass. Because P1 is so low and flat all four of its wheels are now off the ground, the robot is completely high centered on a chunk of metal no bigger than half an oven pizza. P1 is completely at the mercy of Jager now and the hammer saw robot takes a swing at P1’s corner to do a little damage but the real danger lies with the undercutter. P1’s wheels are probably looking mighty tasty but actually Jager’s blade is too low to the ground to make contact with P1. There’s a hit but it’s actually friendly fire because the undercutter takes out the minibot and frees P1. That was almost a good strategy up until the whole “whoops my minibot” fuck up.
P1 looks confused at who to attack first so it just sorta goes with whoever is closest. This just so happens to be the hammer saw robot which gets tangled up on top of P1 before P1’s lifter just sorta shrugs the robot off and rolls it over. I think the hammer saw bot is supposed to be able to right itself kinda like Sawblaze and Skorpios but for whatever reason there appears to be no action in the arm and the robot dies by the Killsaws. Jager’s undercutter manages to use this time to get up to speed and lands a shot to P1’s face that does literally fucking nothing except bring the spinner to a complete halt. P1’s driving around like its lost a chain on its back left tire but I can’t tell if it’s gone or not and I didn’t see one fall off so I’m assuming the car is just a lemon that wouldn’t pass a safety inspection even if the deck was intentionally stacked in its favor.
Jager’s undercutter gets shoved into the screws which chew up the little robot and flip it over meaning its pathetic little blade is probably too high off the ground to do any damage to P1 now. No matter though because P1 slings the green spinner around and manages to perch it perfectly on the edge of the deck. Wow we’re five episodes into the new season and this is only the second time we’ve seen this deck be worth a shit in a fight. What an investment. Jager is balancing on the side of the deck in such a way so that one of its wheels is hanging off the side and the other is raised up off of the ground because of the balance of weight. If it could just spin its blade up the robot could probably knock itself down but that weapon might as well be Flintstones powered because it’s got about as much muscle as a newborn baby born with a congenital defect that resulted in it having no muscle mass whatsoever.
P1 fucks off to go play with Jager’s crippled wedge bot but with only three seconds left in the KO countdown the spinner falls off of the Upper Deck and gets back in the game. P1 has to return to finish what it started but thanks to the magnets stuck on Jager’s mini wedge the race car comes back with the minibot stuck in its grille. A stray blow from the undercutter blade knocks the kit bot loose. P1 starts scooping the spinner up in its wedge and flexing its lifting arm against the deck and after several attempts pins Jager’s spinner up on the perimeter spikes surrounding the shelf. Now Jager’s spinner is free to spin around and it won’t make contact with the floor meaning P1’s finally got this in the bag. Special shoutouts to the refs too because this is like the first time they’ve ever properly counted out a KO’d multibot without fucking someone else over.
WINNER: P1, KO
HYDRA vs. GRUFF
You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it but Hydra is entering this battle at 0-1 after it lost its opening fight against current champion End Game. Hydra, who is normally good to go for a perfect qualifier each season, showed up to its first fight with a faulty hydraulic pump that smoked out on the robot leaving its flipping arm stuck ajar while the internal electronics of the robot cooked themselves. Getting blindsided by End Game probably didn’t help either. Still, Jake Ewert has a big dick about himself and he’s claiming that he’s going to get 30 flips in this fight. That’s tall talk from someone whose robot literally detonated on the starting platform a few weeks ago. Hydra is most definitely “vincible” and the cracks in the facade are starting to show.
Gruff actually has the better record between these two robots at 1-0 though its victory over Switchback wasn’t necessarily impressive or anything; Switchback showed up, threw a few punches, and then its weapon lifting system quit working so when Switchback threw a punch that staggered it and rolled it over the robot was dead on its ass and Gruff was free to toast it. Unlike Hydra, Gruff is a lifting robot; its action is more slow and methodical whereas Hydra just goes crazy with the flips letting gravity do its dirty work. I don’t think there are any openings on Hydra where Gruff’s flamethrowers will make an impact unless Hydra’s pump breaks down again and its flipping arm gets stuck in the raised position. This will be a tactical battle for Gruff as opposed to an offensive one.
Gruff comes out with its flamethrowers on blast presumably to try and keep some distance between itself and Hydra but Hydra isn’t fazed by the fire effects one bit and is already trying to put flip #1 on the scorecard. Hydra misses while Gruff uses its forks to start peeling the little antiwedge skirts off of the flipper robot. Those are actually just held on via some slots cut in the side of the robot that’s why they fall off so easily. If Gruff can remove enough of them to open up some clearance on Hydra’s side it might stand a chance at getting some lifts in, or it can just take a shot from Hydra’s flipper and do a wheelie instead. Either or.
Before the battle Sam McAmis had a very strange strategy going into the fight. He said he wanted to keep Gruff between Hydra and the Upper Deck that way if Hydra flips his robot over he can use the deck to reorient himself and plan a different reentry into the arena… otherwise it’s just going to be flip after flip, and that’s what it turns out to be because Hydra is on Gruff’s ass after the first flip and is happily tossing the black wedge wherever the fuck it decides to land. Something’s up with Hydra’s flipper however because while it’s definitely working it’s not throwing Gruff as high in the air as we were seeing bots like Witch Doctor get last season. Maybe the pump is still bad, maybe the new oil filter is affecting the robot’s ability to rapidly build up and store pressure. Literally who the fuck knows?
Gruff gets flipped over near the shelf and rolls back down onto its wheels and it appears as though one of its flamethrowers has sprung a fuel leak because the left side of the robot becomes engulfed in a steady stream of flames that doesn’t appear to extinguish itself. The flamethrower still works it’s just got the added “benefit” now of being always on. Hydra rolls Gruff across the floor onto the blue square screws where the robot perfectly straddles the hazard with one side of drive on either side. If Gruff was male when it entered this fight the team might want to get that gender status updated afterward because any junk that might’ve been dangling down is surely gone now. Hydra frees Gruff from the hazard with a half-hearted flip and Gruff is already looking a little worse for wear presumably because its left side of drive is literally burning alive as we speak.
Hydra’s having problems of its own with its flipper’s power but there’s still enough juice in the arm to toss Gruff around and to prevent the lifter from getting any purchase or orientation in the arena. Any time Gruff lands on its wheels Hydra is right there to knock it stupid and roll it over. Gruff is on the ropes big time and then out of nowhere Hydra goes for a sweet 180 pancake flip that sends Gruff out of the arena into that little divot where the doors are. Supposedly this is a no-fly zone and sending someone in there is grounds for disqualification (for “safety reasons”) but the other end of that stipulation is that it has to be proven to be “intentional”. Hydra’s just out there throwing Gruff around and taking any hits that it can get so I’d argue that throwing Gruff out wasn’t necessarily “intentional” and it just sorta happened. A close call for sure though because I was expecting the refs to get pissed off at Jake for putting an opponent in the no-no zone.
WINNER: Hydra, KO
GIGABYTE vs. CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR
Okay, I understand the reasoning behind this match up. “What if two shell spinners fought?” Yeah, it’s real simple. The problem is I’m not predicting this to be anywhere near as entertaining as the producers think it’s going to be and that’s because this fight is just going to amount to two air hockey pucks bumping into each other with neither one being able to really damage the other. Both of these robots have the exact same strengths and weaknesses and they wind up canceling each other out. Gigabyte is on the back foot for this battle after losing to Uppercut but this one’s going to come down to random chance anyways so who the fuck knows?
Captain Shrederator has an ace up its sleeve for this battle. A long time ago I mentioned off hand about how when this robot was just called “Shrederator” it had a special configuration that replaced its shell with a big ass overhead spinning bar. This was rarely used because it came at the cost of most of the robot’s armor and was mostly a last resort option. Well take a look at this fucking shell the Captain is using for this match. Brian Nave has managed to clip the bar into the shell like this was a fucking Bethesda game. Bar spinner Captain Shrederator lives again! This bar attachment is going to give Captain Shrederator more reach than Gigabyte so hopefully this means Captain Shrederator will strike first and land all the blows. Captain Shrederator will also be spinning in the direction opposite Gigabyte so the two robots spin into each other rather than against. Good call, I don’t think the robot’s gearbox could handle that kind of shock.
Chris Rose notes Captain Shrederator’s choice to spin in the opposite direction of its opponent. He calls the play “conservative”. Man, if you only knew. Captain Shrederator looks weird with the bar poking out of either side of its shell but when the robots collide for the first time Gigabyte gets popped into the air as Captain Shrederator deflects it away. The plan, dare I say it, is working. Captain Shrederator follows this first bump with another jolt that sends the black spinner popping up into the air like a gyroscope but as quickly as this fight started in favor of the Shrederator it’s about to turn to shit because Captain Shrederator crawls forward a couple feet and then just stops moving.
Gigabyte cruises in and delivers a shot of its own that sends Captain Shrederator reeling back into the blue square where it smashes into the spike strip. Brian looks fucking pissed. He jiggles the transmitter sticks but his robot remains lifeless next to the shelf and the ref counts it down. “Unexplainable death, just like everyone expects,” he says as he sets his transmitter on the hazard control box after the fight. Yeah, just about. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy though, you know he was riding high after that god shot takedown over Tombstone. Maybe this was Captain Shrederator’s year. Maybe this would be the one time where the robot rose to the occasion and everything fell into place. Captain Shrederator qualifies for the main tournament and makes a deep run. Or… the robot delivers two little hits and then just cuts out in the dead center of the Battlebox betraying the high Brian was riding.
Press “F” to pay respects.
WINNER: Gigabyte, KO
DRAGON SLAYER vs. DUCK
Dragon Slayer looks like a motherfucker. At first glance I thought this was Orion Beach bringing his killer heavyweight spinner Electric Boogaloo to BattleBots but it turns out this is a completely new machine built by Jordan Neal. This is his first ever fight and his first ever robot. He skipped the pissant insect classes and went straight for the big leagues. Thankfully he’s wearing zebra pants whose pattern obfuscates how big his fucking balls are. Dragon Slayer is all business, just two big wheels and a massive cleaving blade in the front. If this robot is anything like the one I confused it for earlier then we should be in for some serious damage and carnage. Like I said in my season predictions article there’s a lot of bad dragons out there, Dragon Slayer. Kill them all.
This might be Dragon Slayer’s first battle but this is actually fight #2 for Duck who’s coming off of a judges’ decision loss against Witch Doctor. Duck has been redesigned for this season and the flapping Duck bill just wasn’t enough to give the robot the leverage or lifting angle it needed to do well against its previous opponent despite succeeding in knocking out Witch Doctor’s weaponry. In the past Duck was armed with a big ass plow that covered the whole front end of the robot but now it just has a single dinky lifter. There’s a lot of weaponless real estate on Dragon Slayer though so this might be Duck’s time to shine if Hal Rucker can keep his robot out of trouble. Also there’s a noisemaker inside of Duck now. Uh, yay?
Dragon Slayer jukes wide to allow its scaly blade time to spin up to maximum speed. Duck dashes toward the deck to close the distance between the two bots and to provide a tactical advantage since Hal probably knew Dragon Slayer was going to swing wide into the open part of the arena. Dragon Slayer comes at Duck weapon blazing and you probably noticed there’s a “seam” in Duck’s bill for lack of a better term, like a little “lip” in the material where it looks like two pieces are joined together? Yeah Dragon Slayer hits that part of Duck’s lifter and snaps the upper lifting jaw in fucking half. You would think this bill would be absolutely goddamned bulletproof because we’ve gone from a giant plow to just a bill and ensuring that bill doesn’t warp or break is paramount. Duck has seen more fights than I could be bothered to count and meanwhile Dragon Slayer is over here with zero experience and it’s just come in and broken Duck’s lifting arm. What the fuck was that thing made from, fiberglass?
Duck retreats backward toward the drivers’ booth while making quacking sounds and Dragon Slayer is hot on its tail looking to wreck even more of the stupid bird. Dragon Slayer is going straight for Duck’s bill and another piece of orange whatever is torn away. Now the bottom part of the lifting jaw is chipped. Duck is able to shove Dragon Slayer back against the wall but somehow the slayer can hold its own and pushes back against Duck pinning it against the spike strip. Witch Doctor was able to out push Duck as well but I chocked that up to Witch Doctor just having a super robot drivetrain; Dragon Slayer has two fucking wheelbarrow tires for wheels and is probably running some simple ass NPC power chair motors for drive and even it’s able to shove Duck against the wall? What the fuck is Duck using for drive, hopes and dreams?
Dragon Slayer spins away from Duck and retreats to the middle of the floor to let its weapon get going again and Duck is right behind it. Dragon Slayer spins around to land a shot and Duck drives up onto the weapon slightly before taking another glancing blow. There’s not a lot of muscle behind Dragon Slayer’s disc now but what little there is was enough to wreck Duck’s face so it’s still something. Dragon Slayer might not be doing serious damage to the rest of Duck but it’s landing hits that connect with Duck’s wheels and chassis that visibly shunt Duck away so these are all good things in the eyes of the judges. Meanwhile Duck can’t seem to do a fucking thing in retaliation except glomp onto Dragon Slayer’s face and quack.
You can tell Duck is trying to get something going for this fight but it’s all falling apart; Duck charges Dragon Slayer and Dragon Slayer’s weapon catches the bottom jaw of Duck’s bill and shears it off at the seam there as well before literally burning some rubber as it chews at Duck’s front wheels. This fight is so fucking dire that Kenny Florian starts doing a hail mary Forrest Gump impression talking about all the different ways you can prepare duck. One of Dragon Slayer’s tires looks a little cockeyed like it might fall off on its own and that’s going to be Duck’s golden ticket; Duck needs to attack Dragon Slayer’s wheel and try to weaken it further if it wants to win this fight. Instead it keeps getting blasted in the face and kicked up into the air.
Duck takes three solid sustained blows from the Killsaws in the most action these hazards have seen since the show came back on the air. Kenny won’t shut up with the roast duck puns. The fight clock winds down on this battle and you can just see the dejection in Team Black and Blue’s faces as they look at what’s left of Duck. Good thing you installed that noisemaker.
WINNER: Dragon Slayer, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
END GAME vs. WITCH DOCTOR
It’s hard to introduce this robot as anything other than the reigning champion, but it’s End Game… the reigning champion. Right out of the gate the “selection committee” paired it up with Hydra in episode one’s main event and End Game had a cakewalk of a fight because Hydra was mostly DOA and it didn’t take much input from End Game’s deadly spinner to knock Hydra out of the match. That fight did give us some insight into how fucking dumb the “ground clearance game” has gotten though because I correctly predicted “forks, lots of forks” as the next big thing to watch for this season and wouldn’t you know End Game showed up with eight of the fuckers the longest being like two feet long. You can see they’ve dialed that bullshit way back for this battle because all those forks did was get stuck in the Killsaws and cause problems.
Witch Doctor was the runner up in 2019’s season and made a deep tournament run last year as well. This is a bot that’s tough to kill because it’s only gotten better with each passing year. Last year Witch Doctor’s pain point was the reliability of its weapon material and that’s been ironed out. Not only has it been dealt with but the team has moved their weapon belts to be on either side of the spinning discs to spread their belts out and make it harder for someone to cut all of them in one go. Much like Dragon Slayer a second ago Witch Doctor has also claimed a victory over Duck however in that fight we saw Witch Doctor’s weapons be intentionally turned off to avoid motor damage. Andrea and Mike Gellatly are going to need all the juice they can squeeze out of those motors for this fight because End Game isn’t going down without some serious legwork.
Of note about this fight is how Witch Doctor is not using any forks whatsoever. Earlier in the episode Andrea was seen talking about her viewpoints on the ground clearance game and she’s all about contact, no forks or wedgelets or any bullshit just straight on weapon contact. Mike’s behind the wheel and you can see Witch Doctor keeping it tight around End Game and every time End Game pivots it pulls one side up off the floor. Witch Doctor’s going to need to abuse this to its advantage in order to win. Instead Witch Doctor misses the first shot and hits End Game on its right wedge. For a moment it seems Witch Doctor has stopped giving a fuck about maneuverability though because there are several weapon-on-weapon shots and Witch Doctor is all up in End Game’s face. The end result is End Game’s precious forks getting bent to fucking hell.
End Game’s forks look like the robot is doing the “strong hand” thing from Scary Movie 2 but the robot stays the aggressor and holds the center of the box while Witch Doctor runs circles looking for an opening. Witch Doctor lands a corner shot but End Game is right there to make the score even. As Witch Doctor is funneled back into the blue square it looks as though something’s gone wrong with the left side of drive on the robot because Witch Doctor is visibly pulling to one side. I guess just the force of impact has knocked a chain loose under the hood. Witch Doctor’s game of loop de loops has come to an end and as the robot staggers back toward the middle of the box End Game lets loose an attack that blows the front left plow clean off of its opponent.
Witch Doctor lands upside down from that hit but its self righting mechanism still works so the bot plops itself back down onto its wheels to try and stay in the battle. End Game has some choice words to say about that and unleashes the Gettysburg Address directly into Witch Doctor’s asshole. Witch Doctor struggles to get back onto its wheels but End Game isn’t letting up; Witch Doctor rolls back down onto its ass inside the blue square and as the rib cage thing tries to right the robot End Game is right there to roll Witch Doctor back over and shove it into the far corner next to the shelf. End Game strikes Witch Doctor perfectly in the middle of its backside and this hit does two things: one, it breaks the BattleBots sign and two, it disables Witch Doctor’s srimech.
End Game stands guard next to Witch Doctor daring it to flip itself back over and get into the fight again but with Witch Doctor’s self righter busted all there is to do is count the voodoo child out and give the victory to the reigning champion. Before the fight Chris Rose said this battle could be a preview of the championship finals and he’s not wrong; it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this exact pairing for the title bout but we’ll just have to see. In the meantime Witch Doctor’s team has their work cut out for them because I’m sure the inside of their robot looks like someone dropped a fucking blender into it.
WINNER: End Game, KO
Another week another episode in the bag. I don’t think anyone’s officially declared how many episodes are in this season but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were 14 again; this season seems to be on pace with last year’s and last year’s show had 14 episodes plus the Bounty Hunters special. As far as Bounty Hunters go I’d like to cover it but before I do that I’m probably going to rewind and hit last year’s Bounty Hunters season first since I was late to covering the year and there wasn’t enough time to fit Bounty Hunters into my schedule. We know Perfect Phoenix is participating in Bounty Hunters but I’m not sure who else will be a bounty. I bet Rampage will be one. Nobody can beat Rampage.
It’s hard for me to pick a highlight fight for this episode because so many of them had like one good moment and then the rest of the fight was just “whatever” but I think I’m going to go with Free Shipping & Uppercut for the standout battle. Uppercut getting not one but two flamethrower-exploding hits in across two seasons is just uncanny; Alex Hattori must have X-ray vision or something. Or he just looked at Free Shipping in the pits and made note of where he needed to hit the robot to cause the biggest possible spike in TV ratings. Special considerations go to Dragon Slayer though because that was a hell of a debut fight for the rookie. The worst fight of the episode was easily Gigabyte vs Captain Shrederator. I know what was “expected” when this fight was drawn up and I don’t think it went the way anybody wanted, least of all the way Brian Nave wanted god damn. Two shallow hits and then Shrederator is kaput, no thank you.
That’s going to do it for BattleBots Update this week! This is a community-supported endeavor so if you want to support this project you can contribute with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. We’re close to crossing a goal on Patreon and we’ve had quite a few new supporters come in this season and over on Ko-Fi we crossed the $1,000 goal so I’ve gotta come up with something witty and BattleBots-related to set as the new goal. Huge shoutouts to Shawn E. for joining the Patreon this past week! If you want to nab some BBU stickers for your bot or tool box you can get hooked up at Redbubble, and be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook to stay in touch. We also broke the 4,000 likes milestone on Facebook so thank you to everyone who made that possible! Is that 5,000 I see?
See you next week!