[BattleBots: S11 E6 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update. This project must be what it’s like to be a writer for Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update in that I have to come up with something consistently humorous week in week out. At least as far as introductory segments go, once we make the jump from this into the fights things are relatively smooth sailing until we get to the ending and I have to find some way to thoughtfully wrap this mess up. I’ve been doing this seven years and I’m still struggling with that and unfortunately unlike SNL I can’t just have Leslie Jones come in and make jokes for two minutes to wind the segment down because I couldn’t think of anything else.
This week’s fight card is packed full of robots looking to enter the second fights for better or worse. Rotator’s back this time to stare down the likes of Black Dragon and Kraken is also back though this time it’ll be facing off against Hijinx’s massive spinning helicopter blade. Newcomer Riptide is back in the fray to see if it can trump Defender with one concise shot like it did to Huge, and Minotaur has been patched back up from its bonfire match with Sawblaze; Minotaur will be attempting to slay the Dragon Slayer. Finally in the main event Lock-Jaw struts back into the spotlight to give it another go against Hypershock whom we haven’t seen as “main event” material for quite some time.
Hopefully there’s no more drama from this point onward but what am I saying this is BattleBots, drama is basically a guarantee. Whether it’s a bad decision or me calling out the jackoff who stole my “1024MB” Gigabyte sign a couple episodes ago the gloves are bound to come off at some point. Also I stayed quiet about that sign thing because I didn’t want to make a scene but god damn it that was my fucking sign. They didn’t even do a good job scribbling down a new one either.
ROTATOR vs. BLACK DRAGON
In seasons gone by we’d normally see Rotator approach this battle with one low disc and one high disc but somewhere a couple seasons ago Rotator became modular and its design was permanently changed last season to have a disc up front and an armored rear end covered in hinged floor-scraping spikes. Rotator can still drive either way up so that’s how the team is still able to adjust the height of their blade. So far it’s worked out because Rotator fought a tough season last year and this year it’s already ripped the teeth straight out of Kraken’s mouth and given it a multi-million dollar dentist bill. Look for Rotator to lead with the spikes, then spin around and strike with the disc. Also, nice Faruq introduction calling Betty White immortal. That aged well.
Black Dragon is the newer of the two Brazilian robots competing in BattleBots but the team is just as knowledgeable and experienced as Minotaur’s; we’ve seen Black Dragon throw some crippling punches and on more than one occasion it’s burst into flames and flown through the rest of its battle on fucking fire and still won. Mercifully no such carnage took place in its battle against Icewave earlier this season but to guard itself against Rotator’s massive spinner the team has gone with their biggest blackest plow to protect and deflect. They’re also using their robot’s miniature drum weapon which takes longer to spin up but hits harder. The team says they’re going for the weapon. Might be a bad idea but okay.
Rotator starts this battle in reverse just like Victor Soto said he was going to. Personally I was expecting Black Dragon’s plow to negate the hinged spikes but fuck me those spikes – all three of them – actually work like a charm and Rotator is underneath Black Dragon and in seconds the dragon is already under the Pulverizer taking shots like a little bitch. Rotator spins around to come at Black Dragon with its spinner to see what kinds of results it’ll get and connects with the front right corner of Black Dragon’s plow digging a visible divot into the wedge and sending the Brazilian robot spinning across the floor.
Black Dragon is on the back step for sure but it’s still showing aggression and Gabriel Gomes is clearly trying to skirt Rotator’s sides and either hit the wheels or hit the hinged spikes perpendicularly to knock them loose. Rotator, whose turning radius is zero, isn’t about to let this happen. The spinner risks taking damage from Black Dragon but it whips around in place and skids its blade across Black Dragon’s plow before pulling forward, backing up, and slamming it into reverse to get under the dragon yet again. Victor wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted all the judges points. I thought he was full of shit because when you look at Rotator you don’t immediately think “oh yeah this is also a control bot too” but I’ll be damned if Rotator isn’t expertly putting Black Dragon all over the arena.
Control points might be being earned here but there’s not a lot of damage; so far Rotator has dinged the corner of Black Dragon’s wedge, that’s not really substantial enough for someone like Lisa Winter to be all “here’s a whole bunch of points”. Black Dragon starts to come up from behind in this battle by shoving Rotator across the floor and into the wall while keeping its distance from Rotator’s slicer. There’s a lot of real estate on Rotator’s front end that’s dangerous to approach though and as luck would have it eventually Rotator lands a shot. The divot that was carved into Black Dragon’s wedge becomes a full on dent and Black Dragon starts shooting sparks out of the slot cut in its chassis where its weapon is.
Almost immediately Black Dragon starts smoking and Rotator jumps the gun by going into berserker mode. Rotator floors it into the injured Black Dragon but catches some air off of its eggbeater spinner. Said spinner looks like it’s in the process of dying as we speak so I think we know what pack of batteries took the shock. As the Battlebox fills with smoke Rotator again nails Black Dragon on that same corner it’s been working on and now part of the welded lip of Black Dragon’s face is torn loose. It’s a safe bet that the robot’s entire front ground clearance is totally fucked up now. But we’ve seen these dire straits for Black Dragon before and we know the smoke/fire just causes the robot to default to the meanest goddamned wedge you’ve ever seen.
Black Dragon starts shoveling Rotator around and knocks its opponent into the wall to stop its spinner from going. Rotator’s weapon looks tired as well as it’s not firing up to speed as quickly as it was a couple of minutes ago so it’s resorted to fighting ass first again and is able to effortlessly get underneath Black Dragon and pin it against the wall. Now might be the time to shoot for those tactical “control” points; I’m fairly certain that causing your opponent’s internals to start literally melting is worth all the damage points in the world. Rotator eventually has to release Black Dragon from the wall and tries to do so with one of its signature twist moves. The move isn’t the cleanest we’ve seen but it’s enough to pop Rotator up and hack off one of the weapon struts on Black Dragon, just in case you weren’t sure if Rotator had enough damage points.
Ten seconds are left in this fight and Black Dragon is still going at its opponent against all odds. Kenny says Rotator attacked like an “attack helicopter” and triggered what’s left of Tumblr with that phrase. Rotator lands one more glancing blow to Black Dragon in the waning seconds of this match and it looks like Black Dragon comes to a complete stop. I don’t know if the team was stopping a second or so early because the fight was over or if it’s because their robot finally died. In either case Black Dragon is a fucking survivor and made it to the bell. It’s not worth any judges’ points however (maybe some Robot Wars “style” points) and the match is given to Rotator.
Also, ballsy of Chris Rose to make a Fyre Festival/Ja Rule reference at the end of this fight. There are some places I won’t go to make a joke and that’s one of them. I guess I need to step my game up.
WINNER: Rotator, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
LUCKY vs. BLADE
“Somebody’s getting win number one,” Chris says before both of these bots are introduced. He’s not wrong, both robots are 0-1 after some brutal KO’s. Up first is the pride of Canada: Lucky. Lucky is basically armored like a tank but it has exposed wheels and that was its downfall against Tantrum. Lucky actually had that fight in the bag because Tantrum was stuck against the wall after an amazing opening flurry by Lucky but Lucky wanted to keep the fight going and, well, we know how that ended. Tires everywhere. Because Lucky is facing a more traditional horizontal spinner in this battle it’s now outfitted with its giant plow and 360 degrees of extra armor. Lucky’s lifting arm has been replaced with something more akin to a “puncher” to strike at opponents only after they travel up the wedge. It’s a configuration we’ve seen before and was put to great use against the likes of Gigabyte in years gone by.
Blade is here all the way from South Korea and was the subject of some controversy in its first match. Blade didn’t do anything wrong (arguably it didn’t even do anything period), the controversy laid with Skorpios who disabled one of Blade’s gearboxes – technically knocking Blade out – and then proceeded to whale on Blade for the next 150 seconds. Blade’s builder Cheog Gyu Hwang says the only reason Blade is back in the arena for this fight is because he brought a spare because the robot was a total loss after that first fight. Really though it’s not Skorpios’ fault, nobody was willing to count Blade out when they should have. Due to Lucky armoring up for this battle Blade is equipped with its heaviest weapon for maximum impact; it’s a dense bar of aluminum with S7 tool steel teeth bolted onto it. The Korean Tombstone is looking to make up for that early loss by ripping all of Lucky’s added armor off.
There’s so much torque and energy generated by Blade spinning up its weapon that the robot spins to the left and nearly does a complete 360 by the time its weapon is at killer speed. The robot over corrects slightly as Lucky cruises in to perform the world’s chillest box rush leading to Blade landing a hit to Lucky’s corner that spins the robot out and into the edge of the arena. Blade’s weapon is still juicing up through all of this though and it catches the arena wall and digs right in. Blade’s blade digs so far in that the aluminum part of the weapon gives way and shears off leaving a chunk of the goddamned weapon stuck in the fucking wall. I’ve written jokes about six seasons of this series reboot and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone fuck their weapon up by breaking it off inside the wall. Jesus fucking Christ.
Understandably losing half of its bar means Blade is way off balance and as the robot spins down it’s violently shaking and hopping all over the place. Lucky is right there to capitalize on the moment and flips Blade over with the help of the blue square screws before landing a proper shot of its own that sets Blade down nicely atop the arena bumper and screw control box. It looks like none of Blade’s wheels are on the ground, though the robot could theoretically spin up its broken weapon to shake itself loose but I think Cheog knows his robot’s time is up. Blade makes absolutely no effort to dislodge itself from its current predicament and concedes the fight to Lucky by KO.
WINNER: Lucky, KO
MINOTAUR vs. DRAGON SLAYER
Minotaur is a team effort from everyone on the RioBotz crew but the robot is nothing without its driver Daniel Freitas. In an emotional pre-fight interview Daniel talks about how he lost not just his mother but also his grandmother to COVID and it’s a very humanizing segment that brings us back to the human element of this worldwide pandemic, something nobody should’ve had to go through. Yet here we are. I’ve been in Daniel’s shoes once where the passing of someone close to me took the wind out of my sails and made me want to give up on what I was doing until I learned that you can take inspiration from the dearly departed, get back on the horse, and go out there and kick ass. For them. Minotaur was in the debut fight of the season wherein it was gutted by Sawblaze but the team has put it back together and Dragon Slayer knows not the hornets nest that’s been kicked.
Fresh off of a victory over Duck, believe it or not, Dragon Slayer is one of the few rookies who can say it won its debut first ever fight at BattleBots. And against Duck! Granted this season we’ve got a redesigned Duck whose new look has been demonstrably proven to be a total piece of shit but that’s still Hal Rucker behind the sticks so a win is not something to scoff at. Dragon Slayer is a vertical spinner however unlike most of its contemporaries Dragon Slayer is a long wide two-wheeled robot with a vertical blade smack in the middle of it. It features some ground-scraping wedges to funnel other robots into its disc so as long as the robot gets you with its front end you’re going to get involved with its spinner. Dragon Slayer has increased its battery power by 33% specifically for this fight. We’ll see if the extra weapon power and drive power is enough to stop the raging bull.
Dragon Slayer is all business, you can tell because as soon as the lights go green it’s already cruising across the floor as fast as it can weapons blazing looking to collide with Minotaur. Minotaur makes a perfect juke to the right and that’s just enough time for its drum to get up to speed. That death hum you hear is coming from only one robot in the arena and here’s a hint it’s not coming from the robot with decorative feathers on it. The two bots meet weapon-on-weapon and Minotaur almost shrugs off Dragon Slayer’s attack. Even worse Dragon Slayer’s weapon straight up fucking dies after this single exchange. The belts are all still attached so there’s no telling what’s died inside of the slayer but the damage more than likely is internal. Speaking of belts meanwhile Minotaur is getting back up to speed and is filling the arena with friction smoke from its own weapon belts.
Minotaur catches Dragon Slayer by the lip of its plow and bends the right half up. This is a weakness that I foresaw this robot having if you flip backward and re-read its section in my season predictions. This has basically ruined Dragon Slayer’s ground game and as the robot rolls itself back down onto its wheels Minotaur is happy to come in and curl up the edge of the left plow as well to make it even. Despite this Dragon Slayer doesn’t let up and still smashes its face into Minotaur to try and push it around. It’s a valiant attempt and I’d expect nothing less from a robot named “Dragon Slayer” but this charge ends with the slayer getting the Pulverizer dropped on its lid and some extra points scored for Minotaur.
Dragon Slayer is on the ropes but it’s still pulling out tactics to use. It seems as though as long as this robot is functional it’s going to try whatever sticks so now it’s backed itself up into a corner to try the “Bronco strategy” of limiting the number of angles an attacker can come at you so you can retaliate accordingly. The plan fucks up because Dragon Slayer jumps to the wrong side as Minotaur comes in wide and flips the robot over again. It seems like one of Dragon Slayer’s wheels has stopped working because the robot is just spinning around on its head until Minotaur comes in, strikes the only working wheel on the robot, and kicks it into the wall. The dragon slayer has been slain. Bets on whether or not Dragon Slayer’s third fight will be against Black Dragon?
WINNER: Minotaur, KO
YETI vs. PAIN TRAIN
Up next is another duo of robots with 0-1 records. Losing here doesn’t mean you’re automatically out of the running, because we’ve seen robots come back from the brink, but you damn well better make that third fight impressive because the weight of the world will be on your shoulders. Yeti took a couple of seasons off and the robot’s future was uncertain until Christian Carlberg revealed that he’d been working on the robot and that can only mean good things for Yeti. As Peter Abrahamson put it “Christian can fit ten pounds of electronics into a five pound box”. Yeti’s signature massive drum is in full effect though we didn’t see much of it in the robot’s KO loss to Mad Catter. We instead saw a lot of Mad Catter pulling wheels off of Yeti, bending axles, and yanking the weapon belts straight out of Yeti’s fucking mouth.
Evan Arias is a bot builder who’s seen immense success in smaller weight classes; the hosts remind us again that his three pound robot Shreddit Bro was inducted into the Beetleweight Hall of Fame, something I just now learned existed. You can have all the NHRL trophies in the world and be in the Hall of Fame but none of that matters at BattleBots if your robot can’t walk the walk. Pain Train, which one could argue is “Shreddit Bro XL”, actually has a leg up on Yeti for this fight. We’re so used to seeing Yeti as having the biggest and baddest drum but that’s not the case here, Pain Train actually has the heavier and bigger weapon. Pain Train is bringing the firepower. All Pain Train needs to do is not fall apart like it did against Deep Six and I could see an upset happening.
For once Yeti tries to drive tactically in the arena but its opponent is Pain Train meaning these tactics are going to go to waste because Pain Train is just going to box rush, miss, and crash into the wall. Three seconds into this fight and that’s already happened. Yeti wants to avoid a weapon-on-weapon contact with Pain Train because Greg Gibson is concerned with Pain Train’s heavier weapon damaging his own so what winds up happening is Yeti twists and turns away from Pain Train and exposes its front wheels, both of which take a shot from Pain Train’s spinner. The right wheel has its hub crumpled slightly but the left one is properly shredded and pulled slightly off of its mount.
This seems to be the turning point where Yeti goes from strategy to just throwing punches like it normally does. The robot starts rooting its face around Pain Train’s corners and sides looking for something to bite onto and musters a hit that pops Pain Train up into the air and possibly even rips off some of the tire tread because black chunks of something go flying and last time I checked Yeti doesn’t have black tires. The two robots trade near misses back and forth, sometimes landing a glancing blow, until Yeti is able to smash into Pain Train from the side. In case you were doubting how much power Pain Train stores in its weapon (like if you were basing your judgment off of the robot’s pathetic showing last year) this sideswipe from Yeti causes the drum spinner to fight against being lifted off of the ground and it gyro dances so hard that its top panel flies off.
Yeti’s managed to do what Deep Six was able to and I’m not sure if that’s because Deep Six softened Pain Train up, but a follow up hit sends the left wheel guard on Pain Train flying at the wall and we’re right back to where we were when this drum spinner was staring down the killer blade of Deep Six. Despite its electronics dangling dangerously close to the arena floor Pain Train isn’t giving up and still tries to put up a fight against Yeti complete with its drum still spinning. Yeti knocks Pain Train against the wall and flips it over and you can literally see straight into the robot at all the expensive stuff that’s about seven feet away from one of the deadliest spinners in the fucking show. Even worse Pain Train has lost drive on its right side. Dude, just give up. It’s not worth it.
Yeti hammers Pain Train against the wall and attacks the shaft collars holding its drum spinner in place. Meanwhile the ref threatens to count out Pain Train. The robot is still trying to put up a fight however so all this is just telling Yeti to come in and finish the job. Yeti socks Pain Train hard from the side and kicks its weapon shaft out the other end of the robot resulting in Pain Train’s drum spinner self-destructing. A bunch of tread is also torn off of Pain Train’s left wheel but I think it’s safe to say the robot has bigger fucking problems than losing some rubber. Pain Train refuses to just fucking die however so Yeti pops it clean into the air and you can see a motor from something just come loose and hang slack outside of the robot.
But again despite this Pain Train is clinging on for dear life. It’s lost drive on one side, the side that has drive has no tread on the tire, it’s missing a wheel guard while the other one is loose, the top panel was busted off, the inner top panel covering the electronics is in the process of coming loose, the entire goddamned weapon has been disabled, but this stupid machine refuses to throw in the towel. God damn. Yeti bounces back to 1-1 while Pain Train falls to 0-2; looking forward it seems the best Pain Train can do is play interference to prevent someone else from qualifying now.
WINNER: Yeti, KO
KRAKEN vs. HIJINX
Now that we live in an era of teams bringing multiples of the same robot or just spare frames in general we’re past all the times when we’d see someone get their ass blown apart and then come back looking like they were visibly frankensteined back together. Such is the case with Kraken whom we saw lose to Rotator in an explosive battle that saw the robot’s teeth being ripped out and its upper frame get completely trashed. According to Matt Spurk that frame was essentially a total loss so he’s had to switch over to the other Kraken which is better equipped to handle vertical spinners as opposed to horizontal ones. Don’t ask me what the difference in design is because I don’t fucking know. This puts Kraken at a disadvantage however because Hijinx isn’t a vertical spinner, though I can’t see how much different a new frame could be on Kraken to really make a difference.
Hijinx is a robot that’s easy to like if spinners are your thing because this is basically Deep Six except laying down; it’s as big of a bar that the team could get away with building while still maintaining some semblance of control over their robot in the arena. The plan with Hijinx is going to be the same as Rotator’s: go for the wheels. This of course will require Hijinx’s big ass blade to get spinning up to a dangerous enough speed and if its previous battle with Mammoth is any indication that might be a problem; Kraken is a hell of a lot more tenacious and mobile of an opponent than Mammoth and Matt’s already said the plan is to get in there and bite down negating their weapon regardless of what it’s doing.
Like I said, Kraken’s strategy is always the same: charge at the opponent full blast and just smash into them regardless of whatever the fuck they’re trying to do with their weapon. In this case Hijinx was positioning itself in such a way as to deflect an incoming box rush with its tail fin but that failed because Kraken’s leading wedge just bypassed it and slipped right in. Kraken goes for the tires on Hijinx because it knows from Hijinx’s last fight that’s the weak point. Hijinx is backed into the spike strip behind the blue square and rides up the wall and rolls over becoming essentially a more colorful version of Rotator in the process. This is not what Kraken wants because now its teeth are going to be in the danger zone.
But still, Kraken gives no fucks and keeps on its opponent attempting to bite down on Hijinx’s weapon, its chassis, whatever it can get its teeth around. It goes about this despite one of its teeth being visibly bent outward from the impact of Hijinx’s blade. Without warning Kraken backs off of Hijinx and insists the ref count it out because “it’s dead”. Hijinx’s ref confirms the robot can still move by way of Hijinx flooring it backwards and driving in a straight line. It looks like it might be struggling to balance itself but it’s far from dead and now Kraken has just given Hijinx a free pass to spin its weapon all the way up to butt blasting speeds meaning the next bite Kraken attempts just fucks its teeth up even more. Somehow the force even sends one of Kraken’s eyes loose from the chassis and it just dangles out of its socket. This is some sick shit.
Hijinx might have limited mobility but it still poses a threat. This isn’t like Blade where the robot only has one side of drive, Hijinx is in total control but it keeps rocking back and forth when it moves and I think this is causing its wheels to unevenly ride on the floor. Hijinx’s controls are also backwards as Chris Rose points out which leads the robot to unintentionally bump into the screws in front of the deck and Kraken capitalizes on this by ramming into Hijinx so the screws yank the robot up onto the hazard. This is major control points for Kraken and it’s supposed to be a penalty for Hijinx but nobody’s really paying attention. I mean have you noticed that Kraken’s left wheel is dead yet? Exactly.
Hijinx eventually falls off the far side of the deck and keeps its weapon spinning and while the robot was up there if you looked closely you could see some strips of UHMW plastic bolted across the top of Hijinx. This was meant to act as a kind of skid plate to allow easier control of the robot while upside down but it’s come loose and that might be why Hijinx is having such a hard time just fucking moving in general. This is Hijinx’s fight to win, all it needs to do is spin around and just attack Kraken. It’s right there and it’s not even moving all that well but whatever’s wrong with Hijinx’s clearance or traction is preventing it from being anything more than a sometimes stationary hazard that Kraken occasionally bites down on.
Almost in perfect synchronicity with Kenny Florian saying “Kraken has less teeth than when it started this fight” Kraken bites down on Hijinx’s blade and loses one of its fangs. The shoe’s on the other foot now as Kraken’s ref says he needs to see movement. Kraken struggles over by the Killsaws and wraps the cord of its eyeball around its right axle as it attempts to move. The refs seem content to keep Kraken in this battle so consider this another one of those “sometimes calls” that we love so fucking much while Hijinx sits in the middle of the arena doing fuck all because it just doesn’t have the necessary contact with the ground to stay fully in control and land a final shot.
I don’t envy the judges for this one because Kraken clearly had the aggression and control points early on but obviously Hijinx was doing all the damage. Kraken even nudged Hijinx onto the Upper Deck and that’s supposed to be worth big points if all the hubbub about that stupid new hazard is to be believed. Hijinx was mostly out of control toward the end but so was Kraken with only one wheel. The editors are nice enough to show us the scorecards after the fight and for the simple fact that Kraken did not sweep the aggression and control categories it wound up losing the battle.
WINNER: Hijinx, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
DEFENDER vs. RIPTIDE
From the same team that brought us Whiplash, who’s been suspiciously quiet for the past few episodes, comes Defender. We’ve already seen this robot in action wherein Ribbot disassembled it with its vertical spinner configuration with such speed that we didn’t even get to see the weapon system work on this thing. Forks got bent, the robot was thrown onto its ass, and then Ribbot pinned Defender against the arena wall for the KO. That wasn’t the debut showing that Jason Vasquez wanted but he’s got another opportunity here with Riptide. Defender is coming into this battle with less forks than its first fight to hopefully reduce the amount of targets that Riptide can bend upward.
To say Ethan Kurtz is passionate about BattleBots would be an understatement. This dude popped off like no one else I’ve seen when Riptide was able to sink the impregnable Huge by getting one of Huge’s wheels jammed behind the screws. There was some controversy behind that fight however, namely that Riptide jumped the gun and attacked Huge before the fight actually started. I’m not sure how the officials let a robot get all the way across the fucking box, spin its weapon up, and then land a hit with said weapon before shutting it all down but yeah that’s what happened. Apparently there was no reprimand for Riptide for doing this and it still won the battle. Let that be a lesson, you can get a free punch with no strings attached if you just charge at your opponent before the starting buzzer.
Riptide goes for its corner strategy and connects with Defender bouncing both robots back a bit but Defender is on the attack and comes in for another go at the spinner. Riptide hits something on Defender and a little piece goes flying off but for the life of me I can’t figure out what that was. Neither robot comes out of the third exchange smelling of roses however. Defender gets flipped backward on its ass and Riptide is flipped upside down completely. Defender should be able to just pop itself back over but Riptide is going for the Bite Force strategy and charges the wall with its spinner. The idea here is Riptide’s weapon is spinning downward when inverted so it’ll dig into the wall and pop the robot back onto its wheels. Instead of all places for Riptide to land it lands on its fucking side with its weapon brace laying against the floor. Technically this has knocked Riptide out of the match but Defender is on its wheels again and inspecting the situation.
Riptide’s team impatiently shouts “let’s go” like they’re entitled to a free unstick from their opponent. Defender’s ground brace got bent up in that last hit so really this comes down to whether Jason Vasquez thinks he can still win this fight with a crippled lifter. He sprays some fire on Riptide and then knocks it back over. Riptide, upside down, gets in Defender’s face but really it’s still trying to right itself. It goes for the spike strip of the shelf and gets a bad run at first but its second attempt makes it look like fucking Hydra showed up for an assist because the impact of Riptide’s weapon hitting the shelf absolutely fucking launches this thing into the air flipping ass over head more times than I can count. More importantly though Riptide lands on its wheels proper and tries to hop off of the shelf away from Defender who’s already in pursuit.
Defender slams Riptide against the wall and scrapes them along the spike strip in that far corner but can’t seem to get proper purchase on its opponent. Defender then carries Riptide across the box over toward the Pulverizer in front of the drivers’ booth and we’re just not seeing any action from the unique lifting apparatus at all. None. The upper jaw isn’t coming down meaning that maybe that stray shot at the beginning of the fight broke something and the lower lifting brace isn’t attempting to raise Riptide off of the ground either. As Defender leaves the corner it takes a shot from the Pulverizer and you can see its upper jaw just sorta rock back and forth somewhat slack so yeah that thing’s probably busted.
Half the fight is still left and it’s looking like that stunt Riptide pulled with the deck has caused some damage to its weapon because the drum is still turning but it’s not really “spinning”. Defender lines up another ram at the wall and the two robots leave this crash stumbling over each other; Riptide’s spinner is doing fuck all and the robot starts smoking at one point which seems to kill its weapon entirely and Defender looks like it might be having problems with its left side of drive because it’s going off and on intermittently. A lot of this battle seems to have been cut because Chris Rose says there’s only 20 seconds left. Thank god.
Defender musters one more pin against the wall somehow and the clock runs down on this battle. Riptide might’ve had the impressive opening – and maybe that amazing self right is worth control points or something I don’t fucking know – but Defender was consistent throughout the battle and comes away with a unanimous win.
WINNER: Defender, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
HYPERSHOCK vs. LOCK-JAW
I feel like it’s been a while since Hypershock has headlined a main event fight in BattleBots. Here’s a robot that just swings back and forth between having good years and bad years and if Hypershock’s showing against Slammo is anything to go by we might – tentatively – be in for a “good year”. It’ll all come down to this fight. Hypershock has actually been completely redesigned and rebuilt for this season. Gone is the srimech replaced with the ability to drive on its back wheels. The chassis has been extended slightly to improve speed and stability. Most importantly however Hypershock’s weaponry has seen upgrades that get the weapons spinning and keep them spinning. Thus far we haven’t had to see how well Hypershock handles when inverted but the other two things I mentioned are rock solid this year.
Donald Hutson has completed at every BattleBots ever. Ever. All of them. Even that exhibition thing at Amazon re:MARS. He has so much experience in the box that he ought to write a book of memoirs about it because I’d read that shit. For some reason and I don’t know why BattleBots seems to selectively censor its own past and that really irritates me. In the legacy footage shown of Donald winning they’ve got Faruq dubbed over saying “Lock-Jaw”. Chris Rose even says Will Bales had a “Lock-Jaw” Happy Meal toy. No, Will had a Diesector toy. Will said so himself. You literally showed a picture of Diesector and mentioned it by name earlier in the show. Pick a story and fucking stick with it. There’s no shame in BattleBots’ early years. For fucks sake I wish we were still in them because at least I wouldn’t have to write about as many goddamned vertical spinners.
What we have here is a match between two robots who are historically unreliable: the neon yellow Hypershock and the green and purple stylings of Lock-Jaw. Hypershock lands the first hit trying to dig into whatever it can get its teeth on in Lock-Jaw but no real damage seems to be done. Lock-Jaw evades and hits the Killsaw slots with its forks. Now it’s officially a Lock-Jaw fight. The two robots slam together in the blue square and Lock-Jaw gets some friction smoke off of Hypershock’s wheel before a follow-up blow in the middle of the arena very nearly rips Hypershock’s entire front right wheel clean off. The hit turns the wheel into a fucking pretzel though so it’s as good as gone.
Hypershock T-bones Lock-Jaw on the counterattack and sends the robot upside down. Lock-Jaw is able to drive inverted, we’ve seen this before, and its weapon can also switch directions to spin the other way so it’s always spinning upward no matter the orientation. Lock-Jaw fumbles near the drivers’ booth to get going again and Hypershock slams into its side denting up the rim of Lock-Jaw’s front tire. As the two robots stick together Lock-Jaw’s spinner starts pulling some of the foam filling out of one of Hypershock’s fucked up wheels. There’s an awful lot of tire damage happening in this fight and I’m all for it. Bring it the fuck on.
Lock-Jaw hears me loud and clear because as Hypershock takes it into the blue square for a spike strip ram Lock-Jaw flips up and over and its spinner comes down and cleaves off Hypershock’s front right wheel. Not one to be outdone, Hypershock slams down on the gas and collides with Lock-Jaw tearing its front left wheel off. Eye for a fucking eye. The two robots lock heads in the middle of the arena and some big sparks are sheared off of the weapon-on-weapon contact before Hypershock catches an evading Lock-Jaw and jabs it straight in the side sending it flipping into the wall. Lock-Jaw looks dazed from that hit and makes the mistake of exposing its ass to Hypershock. Hypershock takes the opportunity, strolls right up to Lock-Jaw, and kicks that ass into next goddamned week.
Lock-Jaw lands out of the arena and into that little pocket by the arena entrance doors. Will Bales immediately shows concern because like I’ve said before you’re not supposed to send opponents into that part of the box. Winning by “out of the arena” is strongly discouraged for safety concerns so Will knows that sending an opponent there could be grounds for disqualification. But again this is something that has to be ruled on officially to determine if it was intentional or not. So far we’ve seen a couple out of the arena KO’s and nobody’s gone to gay baby jail over it yet. Lock-Jaw is counted out like the rest of ’em and the victory is given to Hypershock meaning the robot is now 2-0 and Will might be rethinking that whole “I’ll dye my hair green if we’re seeded 10th or better” thing.
WINNER: Hypershock, KO
I’d be interested to know if anyone’s been DQ’d in an unaired battle for knocking someone out of the arena when they weren’t supposed to. The rules say not to do it but like I said it has to be somehow proven that the move was intentional. I think the closest we’ve come to that is when Ribbot had Defender perched against the sidewall and another blow from Ribbot’s vertical spinner would’ve probably sent Defender over the lip. I could see an argument for disqualifying Ribbot under the new ruleset if that happened. Thus far however Hypershock’s punted Lock-Jaw out of the ring and Hydra flipped Gruff out as well and both of those were considered victories for the bots that did the dirty work.
And what about Lock-Jaw, 0-2? God damn. I’ve made my picks and predictions for the tournament but there are so many teams who I think deserve to win the Nut but seeing Lock-Jaw dogging it at 0-2 just makes me sad. Kraken falling to 0-2 is also upsetting because usually that robot is aggressive enough to just overwhelm opponents and win by decision. On the flip side of things it’s great to see Rotator riding high at 2-0 because maybe this means Victor’s luck has changed and we’re going to see great things from his robot. P1 is also at 2-0 and I think this is a move made purely out of spite for not getting a tournament seed last year. End Game is also 2-0 but they’re the reigning champions so it would only be something to talk about if they weren’t 2-0.
Highlight of the episode for me goes to the main event, Hypershock vs Lock-Jaw. It was a quick and decisive fight but they crammed about ten minutes of destruction into like 90 seconds of battle. Seeing Hypershock sailing into 2-0 feels good because I know Will and his team try their hardest to bring a good bot and I feel like they’re finally past that dumb rake meme and are a force to be reckoned with. I just wish it wasn’t Lock-Jaw who fell to 0-2 but hey if Witch Doctor can turn around and qualify at 1-2 last year then so can Lock-Jaw. The “meh” fight for me is either Dragon Slayer vs Minotaur or Riptide vs Defender. Minotaur just went in and got business done with no frills and by the end of Riptide and Defender’s fight both robots weren’t in working order and were barely able to stay in contact with each other. In either case the whole lot of those robots are all 1-1 now so their third and final fights are going to have serious tournament implications.
And that just about does it for BattleBots Update this week, thank you so much for spending some time with me and reading these goofy articles. This was episode #6 and I hypothesized that there’s only 14 episodes in the season (this isn’t confirmed, it’s my guess) so we’re coming around to the end of Fight Night. I’m eager to see how these robots end the preseason. Also has anyone seen SMEE? If you’d like to support BattleBots Update you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or with a one-time donation on Ko-Fi. Big ups to Jordan Neal of Wild Side Robotics for joining the Patreon! If stickers and swag are more your thing you can grab some of that at Redbubble. Finally be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next week!