[BattleBots: S11 E7 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update. It’s episode 7 of the season and we’re on the downward slope of the qualifying rounds. Right now there are a lot of surprise 2-0’s and 0-2’s but what I want to know is where the hell is Big Dill? And Double Jeopardy? Triple Crown avoided the show long enough to eventually be featured in one of the YouTube extras where Valkyrie killed it but if everyone gets three fights then we better be ready to see these robots and nothing but these robots until the main season starts.
Anywho, in this episode Bloodsport returns from episode 2 to exact revenge on SubZero for no particular reason. Speaking of cold bots Icewave is ready to try its luck again and hack away Deadlift. Cobalt and Fusion clashed heads a few episodes ago but now they’re back to fight Ghost Raptor and Copperhead respectively. Finally, the main event sees Whiplash staring down a familiar hammer saw foe in the form of Skorpios. They haven’t fought before, but the last time Whiplash fought a hammer saw it lost. Spectacularly.
A while back someone asked the community why the hosts wear the same suits in every single episode. It’s because the show is not necessarily filmed in the same order that the fights actually air, so it’s for continuity in other words. Also they have multiples of the same suit… they don’t just have the one suit that gets worn for 10 days of shooting.
BLOODSPORT vs. SUBZERO
First fight out of the gate has two robots with 0-1 records so far so as Chris Rose likes to put it “someone’s going to get win number one”. Mathematically, yes. The other robot will basically be thrown into the near inescapable void of 0-2 where the best they can hope for is to fuck up someone else’s chances at qualifying if given the opportunity. Bloodsport is introduced first and has switched up its weaponry from its first outing which proved ineffective against Whiplash to put it nicely. Kenny Florian isn’t paying attention and says Bloodsport is using its “classic tribar from last season”. No it isn’t. It’s clearly being wheeled into the arena wearing its double ended dildo blade with the added weight block on top of it. The one that looks like a shitty Batarang. Come the fuck on, Kenny. This is who they hired to do the commentary.
SubZero features a pneumatic flipping arm and in an era of the sport where Bronco was castrated on international television there has been a void left for the next “good pneumatic flipper” to fill. Hydra is hydraulic. Blip is electric. The only other pneumatic flipper is Lucky and right now Lucky’s looking pretty damned good. SubZero is 0-1 after losing to Shatter in an untelevised YouTube bonus fight where SubZero’s flipper was over pressurized and thus didn’t work at all allowing Shatter to drop its pick axe down all over this robot’s shitty upper armor and eventually strike a battery or something. SubZero’s obviously going to need to have its flipper problems sorted out and be ready to take a few shots because we’ve seen Bloodsport sucks balls at self righting and that’s what SubZero has to bank on.
Peter Abrahamson says some no-no words before the fight starts and that just about sets the tone for what’s to come. SubZero gets a perfect box rush on Bloodsport and stops its spinning blade dead in its tracks but the flipper fails to capitalize on this moment. Instead Bloodsport gets away and gets spinning again resulting in SubZero taking another blow to the face. SubZero retaliates by charging like a bull at the spinner and manages to knock away one of Bloodsport’s front wedgelets. SubZero also goes for a flip but is too late on the trigger so all we get is a slam and a hop. While the wounds are still fresh can we address what the fuck Bloodsport’s wedgelets are held on with? They seem to just fall off constantly even when they’re attacked by a non-damaging weapon like SubZero’s big ass front plow. Are they Legos?
So far SubZero has been taking dick like a champ and there’s not too much damage done to its face considering we’ve seen it take several heavy punches from its opponent. Bloodsport strikes again and SubZero’s late on the draw. It’s like SubZero is playing this game over Nintendo Online and keeps lagging out or something because we’ve been on the verge of a great shot twice now and SubZero just keeps getting shut down. Bloodsport throws a few more glancing blows and one of them lands the spinner right on SubZero’s flipper… and of course SubZero is late to flip. Again. I praised SubZero for being able to take some hits to the face but each of these blows impart a lot of inertia and energy through the robot, that front plow is literally weakening with each hit. These are just facts. Also literally every other side of SubZero is a prime target for Bloodsport so SubZero needs to end this shit now to win.
That last hit from Bloodsport was an especially gnarly one because the spinner retreats with its weapon spinning down. Bloodsport’s defenses are lowered, this is the time to strike. Unfortunately SubZero appears to be as maneuverable as a fucking garbage truck and is slow to turn and pursue Bloodsport, slow enough that Bloodsport’s weapon gets going again and brings us right back to square one. Bloodsport scrapes the front of SubZero. Can you guess what happens next? SubZero is late on the flipper. SubZero’s drone Spitfire tries to choof some fire down on Bloodsport but what the fuck is that going to do? Bloodsport’s entire top is like a big spinning fan, it’s just going to blow the fire away. Are you trying to cook wieners on the end of its self righting mast? If Spitfire wanted to make itself actually useful it would dive bomb Bloodsport’s spinner and try to take it out.
Bloodsport is on the evasive again with its weapon spinning down because after all these high energy hits it’s probably starting to overheat. SubZero mercifully finally lands a fucking hit and tosses Bloodsport into the air. It’s more of a pop than a flip because the spinner lands back down on its wheels and scoots away. Bloodsport’s spinner is still in its power down phase but as it crosses the center court it gets whirring again and this time SubZero is early on the trigger; the resulting hit opens up SubZero’s frame to damage and Bloodsport cleaves into the flipper’s front right tire. This hit has immediate ramifications on the robot’s mobility. Bloodsport knows it’s just landed a crippling shot so internal temperatures be damned it’s going to come in for the kill. Bloodsport whacks SubZero’s left side and cuts into the tires while blowing out the armor panel.
For a robot whose just taken two successive shots to each side of its drivetrain SubZero is still surprisingly mobile. Bloodsport looks to change this by slamming into SubZero’s front right corner and this hit appears to seize the robot up completely. SubZero fires its flipper presumably to try and shake whatever’s loose back into place but no dice. We’re in the back half of this fight when Bloodsport’s weapon isn’t at its most dangerous so when the spinner comes in to slice into SubZero’s ass the best we get is a blow that nudges the flipper forward and doesn’t shear off any armor panels or slice into the robot and blow a fucking air tank or anything. SubZero does just start smoking for no real reason. I’m assuming the force of impact knocked loose some of its electronics and they’re in the process of reducing to their basic atomic elements.
Nik on the Bloodsport team points out a target on SubZero, “back wheel!” Justin hears this, realizes he can’t actually hit SubZero’s back wheels given the robot’s current placement in the arena, so he settles for busting off SubZero’s front right wheel and throwing it at the commentator’s booth. Somehow this hit doesn’t finish SubZero off so Bloodsport has to come in and land another hit that thrashes the already damaged right side of the flipper. This hit seems to be enough as there’s only about one wheel spinning on SubZero so the ref goes straight for the 10 count. SubZero may have potentially had this one if Logan Davis’ weapon operator was more accurate with his flips but as it stands SubZero falls to 0-2 and gets to sit with Malice and Lock-Jaw at the “we might be fucked” table.
WINNER: Bloodsport, KO
GHOST RAPTOR vs. COBALT
Up next is another fight between two 0-1 competitors who each really need to put some points on the scoreboard to stay in the game. Ghost Raptor has come and gone throughout the BattleBots reboot seasons but it’s pretty much always had the same design; it’s a tilted spinner that can adjust its angle to strike at various heights and it features some forks on its center module to lift opponents should its spinner fail. It’s a very complex machine with a lot of moving parts, parts that you can literally see by looking at the robot during its introduction because pretty much all of Ghost Raptor’s gears and chains and sprockets are mostly unguarded; the robot is banking on deflecting opponents away with its spinner and not letting them get into its middle. Ghost Raptor “lost” to Glitch a couple episodes ago because Chuck Pitzer kept unsticking the rookie to keep the fight going and wound up taking too many hits in the process. Good job.
Cobalt is an odd case to be sitting at 0-1 because this is a nasty machine that we’ve seen deliver some of the biggest and most insane hits of the reboot. A couple seasons ago Cobalt struck Duck so hard that not only was Duck thrown through the air but Duck’s stupid ass plow made one and a half complete rotations around the robot before it crashed back down into a wreck of its former self. Cobalt also threw a piece of its own front wedge into the Battlebox ceiling in a heated match against Minotaur. Even though the robot is “under new management” for the 2021 season it’s still the same gut-slicing killing machine that it was years ago, it just got a bad draw against Fusion and kept losing the ground game. Amazingly you can’t even tell there were entire chunks of Cobalt’s front end chewed off of its chassis, it’s repaired nicely.
Chuck seems very timid regarding his opponent. He knows what Cobalt can do and he’s going to try everything in his power to stop that from happening to Ghost Raptor. The starting timer graphic doesn’t even have time to disappear from the screen before Ghost Raptor is in Cobalt’s face and throwing a punch with its spinning bar. The bots lock heads with Ghost Raptor’s spikes sticking into Cobalt’s and the two swing around resulting in Cobalt nearly tipping into the Upper Deck’s screws. This rush from Ghost Raptor is an intense one and in the fray Cobalt snips off one of Ghost Raptor’s front forks. As Cobalt pivots around to get away from the hazards Ghost Raptor climbs up its wedge and into Cobalt’s blade resulting in its front right wheel getting torn off.
This is bad. Obviously. Cobalt spins around and charges toward Ghost Raptor again and somehow manages to slip its blade under or around Ghost Raptor’s side armor to pull its front left wheel off too. Ghost Raptor officially cannot lose any more wheels or it’s totally fucked. Right now Cobalt appears to have jammed its front wedge into the same set of screws it was just spun into moments ago. Ghost Raptor, crippled and missing wheels, is content to leave it the fuck alone. I assume the robot learned its lesson after it helped Glitch so many times that it straight up lost the fucking fight. Unfortunately for Ghost Raptor, Cobalt is able to wiggle free of the screws and unsticks itself.
Cobalt charges in and hits the backside of Ghost Raptor and visibly breaks part of the chassis because a piece starts hanging off of the robot and it’s probably not supposed to do that. Ghost Raptor also gets flipped over and this is basically be certain death for the sabertooth cat because it’s now open to a devastating free shot from Cobalt. So what’s Cobalt to do? Hit the backside of Ghost Raptor again and flip it over onto its wheels? Shove its opponent into the wall and maybe damage a side of drive? No, Cobalt corrals Ghost Raptor onto its front wedge, lines up a box rush, and takes Ghost Raptor all the way across the arena. Ghost Raptor is slammed into the wall in front of the drivers’ booth and as the robot collides with the spike strip Cobalt just keeps going. What happens next is the reason why I’ve upsold Cobalt to you every time it enters the arena.
Forget about the time Icewave blasted Vanquish in half. Forget about the time Nightmare destroyed Slam Job in one hit. Forget about the time Aftershock eradicated Sabretooth. When Cobalt slams its blade into Ghost Raptor, Ghost Raptor literally blows the fuck apart. This isn’t “cutting in half” or splaying a side open this is legitimately an immediate and rapid disassembly of a motherfucking BattleBot. Ghost Raptor is dead. Sparks come out of fucking everything, even the wheels. There is not a single piece of this robot that is still functional after this hit. By my count Ghost Raptor has been blown apart into four distinct chunks tenuously held together by some insulated electrical wire and that’s it. There is no more Ghost Raptor. Chuck Pitzer even shakes his head at the ref telling him he doesn’t even need to bother with the goddamned countdown.
Remember the time Cobalt shredded SubZero so savagely that SubZero basically disappeared for most of that season because it needed to be completely rebuilt in the pits? We’re not going to see Ghost Raptor again for the rest of this year. It’s gone.
WINNER: Cobalt, Straight Up Murder
DEADLIFT vs. ICEWAVE
Guess what. This next fight? Two robots that are 0-1. I know, what a surprise! This is the episode of the 0-1’s it seems and up first in this next fight is Deadlift a hefty grappling control bot who hopes to wrestle someone down with its “totally not a penis” bicep arm and then lift them up completely off the ground. Deadlift is about as strong as the guys who built it meaning you know it’s good for packing the pounds but up to this point the robot just hasn’t had much luck in BattleBots, even last season. In the first ever YouTube bonus fight for this season Deadlift was blasted by Jackpot but it looks like the crew has been able to put Deadlift back together and it’s ready to go against Icewave. Deadlift is even armed with a flamethrower that could have the potential to come into play in a big way here.
For some reason the hosts keep referring to Icewave as a fading star when in reality it’s anything but. Is it because Icewave lost its own Bounty Hunters episode? So did Son of Whyachi but I wouldn’t want to fuck with that thing when it’s on its period. Or just in general, period. It wasn’t too long ago that Icewave split not one but two robots in half asserting itself as the superior horizontal helicopter spinner. I haven’t seen Bloodsport or Perfect Phoenix pull that shit off yet. But Icewave isn’t without its faults and in its last fight the robot shed its weapon chain almost immediately. Marc DeVidts thinks there might be too much power under the hood of the robot so he’s dialed Icewave back a little bit by switching in the robot’s original gasoline motor. Icewave won’t be packing as much heat as before but hopefully it won’t be packing so much heat that the first thing it does it blow a fucking chain.
Marc acknowledges that competitors these days have a tendency to attack and stick onto their opponents and should Deadlift do that it’ll spell certain doom for Icewave so he needs to keep a certain amount of distance between the robots at all times until Icewave’s weapon is ready to do its work. Right out of the gate Icewave spins Deadlift around with a hit that’s mostly absorbed by Deadlift’s front plow. Deadlift seems intent on chasing Icewave around with its flamethrower, presumably hoping that Marc fucks up his driving and crashes into the wall or something. Icewave lands another hit and this time a tiny piece comes off of Deadlift, the upper part of its left plow. It seems insignificant but this now opens up the left side of Deadlift’s whole chassis as a potential target for Icewave’s blade to come in and shave a little off the top. To prove my point Icewave cruises in and shears one of the decorative(?) hexagonal pieces off of Deadlift’s lid.
Deadlift takes a direct blow to its right side and something falls off of the robot. At first I thought it was the robot’s loading handles but it seems those aren’t attached when the robot is in the arena so whatever it was that came off of Deadlift is unknown to me but it had to have been important because the entire thing shuts down. “Icewave is a fading star” my ass. It might not have sliced Deadlift into two distinct halves but this robot still has its groove. I’ve been an Icewave fan since 2015 and the only thing that I’m upset about is how this year it won’t get a chance to avenge its cheap loss to Ghost Raptor because Cobalt just made sure Ghost Raptor left the arena in a fucking trash bag.
WINNER: Icewave, KO
BLIP vs. OVERHAUL
Finally we’re at a fight where we aren’t seeing two 0-1 competitors vying for their first win. Now only one of the robots is 0-1 and that one isn’t Blip in this scenario. Blip is a flipping robot that comes to us from the same team that designed Tantrum and the two robots basically look the same save for their top halves being their respective weapons. Blip’s flipper is purely electric and operates by twisting high tensile cords at a rapid speed resulting in a powerful flip that Aren Hill claims is just as powerful as Hydra. Actually right now it’s more powerful than Hydra because Hydra’s pump has been fucked up for two fights now. In its first fight Blip was matched up with Rusty and we all knew how that one was going to go. I’m not going to take a seat on the “everybody mindlessly fellate Rusty as the savior of BattleBots” meme train; Rusty was a dead robot walking when it entered that fight and Blip did what had to be done.
Overhaul is what happens when your two loves in life are anime and BattleBots. You wind up with a team who poses like the Ginyu Force, dresses like it’s always time for Anime Matsuri, and brings a robot that has an anime waifu decal covering its backside. I think Overhaul has been redesigned so much though that there’s no room for the Haru-chan graphic on the back of the robot because this robot is now sporting some big ass tires and a grappling claw system that looks larger and more robust than Overhaul’s previous outings into the arena. Remember though, this is a robot who’s career record up to this point is 2-11 so Charles Guan has quite the hole to dig himself out of if he wants Overhaul to be seen as a real contender. Thus far all he’s managed to do is lose to Ribbot in like 30 seconds.
My money’s riding on Blip for this fight but it’s Overhaul who draws first blood. Blip’s internal mechanism for powering its flipper generates gyroscopic forces as if the robot had a traditional spinning weapon so when it tries to turn quickly the robot still pulls upward from the forces its flipper creates. Overhaul wastes no time upending Blip and throwing it onto its back for easy control points right from the start. Blip rights itself with a little pop and gets back in the fray by sticking to Overhaul’s corner and attempting to go for an across the arena box rush into the wall but this fails as Overhaul frees itself at the last possible second. Overhaul seems stuck in that short corner of the arena however and Blip finally finds an opportunity to throw a punch and somehow manages to pull off Overhaul’s back right wheel.
Old Overhaul wouldn’t be shedding tires like this so this isn’t a good look for the redesigned clamper. Overhaul struggles to raise its jaw upward to pivot itself back down onto its remaining three good wheels because Blip is running interference and fucking everything up. Overhaul slumps back down, right onto Blip’s flipper, and Blip goes for the chaos dunk where Overhaul slams onto the shelf and bounces off of it back onto the arena floor. Blip slides under Overhaul yet again and just can’t seem to get the right angle it wants because Blip basically plate spins Overhaul all the way across the fucking arena driving around under it like a cat who just found a new Macy’s bag to jump into.
Overhaul’s front left wheel is looking stuck and the robot is just pivoting around. Blip gets in and heaves Overhaul dangerously close to breaking the BattleBots sign (probably why there isn’t a sponsor motion-tracked onto it for this fight) and as Overhaul comes tumbling down an orange glow can be seen emanating from inside the bot’s maw; Overhaul is on fire. Again. Flames and smoke wisp out from Overhaul’s lifter which is frantically pivoting back and forth in a vain attempt to put the robot back onto its wheels. Overhaul winds up laying across the red square screws which appear to damage its back left tire and split the rubber meaning that when Blip takes control of Overhaul again its wheel just falls off. The same thing happened to the other wheel earlier in the fight.
Overhaul is now down to two wheels, only one of which works. The robot is still burning alive and while this is going on Blip turns too sharply and flips itself over using the gyro forces of its weapon. Overhaul eventually gets flipped onto its left side where its dead wheel is and it seems the unchecked flames cooking the robot’s internals have killed the clamping jaw because there’s no movement from it whatsoever. Charles’ anime dreams go up in smoke as the ref starts to count his robot out, meanwhile Blip celebrates by doing a victory spin that flips itself onto its back.
This fight seems to have mostly been a freebie for Blip but careful viewers probably noticed Blip’s big design flaw: the gyroscopic forces from its spinning parts. Blip has a powerful flipper – maybe more powerful than Hydra’s – but unlike the aforementioned Hydra, Blip needs to worry about staying stable on the ground when it makes a tight turn. Pulling a 180 with Blip seems to cause the robot to pop big wheelies and we just saw that spinning around further than that will literally flip the entire goddamned robot over exposing it to free hits from more dangerous opponents. Calling it right now, this wheelie popping nonsense will be Blip’s downfall. It’ll fight hard and probably qualify for the Round of 32 but it’ll be taken down by someone abusing this design flaw.
WINNER: Blip, KO
HUGE vs. RETROGRADE
“We never got a chance to stretch our legs,” says Jonathan Schultz moments before the fight. He’s not wrong; not only did Huge’s previous opponent throw a sucker punch before the bell it also immediately landed a one in a million hit that jammed one of Huge’s wheels behind the screws where the robot was left to die. Meanwhile when Riptide got flipped onto its side the team bitched and moaned at Defender to unstick them and keep the fight going. Huge is one of those robots that’s hard to tackle. Thus far it’s taken excessive firepower (Icewave) or something gimmicky (Mammoth, Hydra) to take it out of the tournament. The real problem with Huge is that all of its internals are kept way off the ground so the best you can do against it is nibble at its massive plastic wheels while it cleaves into you with its spinning blade.
Retrograde is making its TV debut this week but it’s actually already been spotted in an unaired YouTube fight where it redeemed its free points against Rampage. The fight was quick and dirty and featured expert use of both of Retrograde’s weapons: a front lifting arm and a rear undercutter disc. The robot has actually ditched the rear disc for this match because it’s essentially ineffective against Huge. In its place Retrograde is sporting thick plates of upper top armor to absorb blows from Huge’s spinning bar as well as longer lifting forks to hopefully raise up into Huge’s chassis and allow Retrograde to control it and take it to the Pulverizers. There’s also the possibility of Retrograde coming at Huge from the side and sticking its forks through the spokes of Huge’s wheels, something Free Shipping once tried to do, so we’ll see if that comes into play at all.
This fight is going to be all about grabbing the fruit dangling in the tree above so Retrograde starts the fight with its lifting arm half-cocked and raised up slightly. It seems the strategy might be to use those extended arms to brace on either side of Huge and push backward against the robot seeing as how even with Tegris wheels Huge basically has zero traction. Huge is the one in pursuit here and scoring the aggression points by trying to engage while Retrograde evades its opponent and keeps looking for an opening. Kenny starts filling time by talking about how the materials that go into Huge’s wheels also have applications in F1 cars and I’ve already checked out of that conversation but thankfully Huge puts a stop to it by blasting Retrograde from the front corner and shears off an entire lifting fork from the robot. Retrograde rights itself and when it does its whole lifting assembly is just blown backwards and probably dead.
Huge throws another punch and connects with the added armor on Retrograde’s lid but rather than absorb and crumple the entire left chunk of top armor just gets knocked the fuck away. This hit also struck low enough to chop into Retrograde’s aluminum chassis and I’m guessing it struck a battery or something else important because the front of Retrograde is now on fire and it seems like it’s lost control of drive on one side. Huge fires up its spinner and makes up for its loss to Riptide by eradicating the top of Retrograde; the other armor panel is sent flying and parts of the robot’s lifting arm litter the floor as the killing blow is dealt. Retrograde was a nice looking robot going into this battle, now it’s just another mess for the arena crew to deal with.
But Huge isn’t done! The refs start to count out Retrograde and Huge lunges for the Upper Deck. Like a wrestler celebrating a victory it climbs up onto the fucking table ignoring the screws and all that other shit just so it can do a victory spin in the arena’s danger zone. I don’t know if this was done in post or what but the crowd loses their collective fucking minds as Huge does this because it’s just the biggest middle finger possible to everyone. Fuck this dumb hazard. Fuck Riptide. Fuck Retrograde. Fuck you, I’m Huge.
WINNER: Huge, KO
COPPERHEAD vs. FUSION
Now we’re getting to the part of the episode where we start seeing nothing but winners. This fight and the main event both feature robots at 1-0 so someone’s going to keep their spotless record and someone else is going to the 1-1 zone of infernal pressure. Copperhead is introduced first in this penultimate match and Robert Cowan thinks he’s sussed out what causes Fusion to catch fire and blow up: revving its weaponry. He’s looking to bait Fusion into doing this by smashing Copperhead head first into Fusion over and over again to slow down Fusion’s spinners and put undue stress on the electronics. Mind you, this strategy involves Copperhead putting its neck out on the chopping block to open itself up to kickback from Fusion as well. Copperhead took some blasts from Lock-Jaw but only scraped by with a split decision win after that mess was settled. Fusion’s easily twice as lethal as Lock-Jaw.
For a moment back there Fusion stopped Cobalt dead in its tracks. We just bore witness to the savagery that robot can dish out so imagine what could’ve happened to Fusion if that battle went the other way. Fusion is lucky to be here reasonably intact and all Reese Ewert can do is joke about how his rear horizontal spinner is still in “mint condition”. Technically it isn’t because it struck the wall in the robot’s previous fight so that’s going to bring its condition rating down from a “10 gem mint” to somewhere around a “9.2 near mint”. No collector is going to buy that shit now. Fusion’s sporting no new attachments or anything for this battle, Reese says it’s just going to be a “slugfest” and leaves his fight predictions open ended.
The fight starts, Fusion’s vertical spinner tries to spin up, and fails. This means Copperhead had to attack it a staggering zero times to take it out of commission. The two robots meet head on and Fusion gets the majority of its feeder wedgelets busted off in the exchange. Meanwhile, Fusion’s rear blade is getting revved up. So far the rear spinner has done nothing but inadvertently suck pieces of Fusion’s own wedgelets into it but it catches a glancing blow from Copperhead as it tries to scurry away further damaging the collectability of the item. Copperhead attacks from the side and sheds some serious sparks off of Fusion before striking its horizontal blade again and stopping it in its tracks. Allegedly it can hit “as hard as Son of Whyachi” and it just so happens we’ve seen Son of Whyachi throw Copperhead across the arena and break its drivetrain in a previous season. Fusion has yet to demonstrate this.
Fusion’s now actively running away from Copperhead and using its dead front end to absorb blows from the drum spinner while it hastily tries to get its bigger rear blade up to speed. This is the shit Robert was talking about that kills Fusion and he’s got Reese doing exactly what he wants. Worst of all for Fusion is it looks like its Whyachi blade is doing fuck all to Copperhead’s drum. There are some exposed shaft collars on either side of Copperhead’s weapon that look like they’re at the perfect height to get sniped by Fusion’s working spinner but the kicker is Fusion needs to actually hit these points to do any kind of damage. As it stands it can throw as much firepower as it wants to at Copperhead’s frame and chassis but that shit’s bulletproof. Look how tight and compact of a robot Copperhead is. That dinky thing weighs 250 pounds. You’d need fucking tank piercing rounds to get through that plate armor.
Copperhead knocks Fusion into the wall and the Whyachi bot expends all the energy in its blade into the spike strip sending the robot spinning out of control. Copperhead continues the attack with a one-two punch that leaves the spinner dazed by the screws but against all odds Fusion isn’t giving up. It also hasn’t caught fire yet; if this were last season we’d already be onto the next goddamned fight. That crash into the wall looks to have disabled Fusion’s rear spinner leaving the robot nothing more than a pinata for Copperhead to beat free points out of. With one last hurrah Copperhead catches Fusion by a weird corner and throws it up into the air and upside down in front of the deck. Fusion is rolled two more times and a wisp of smoke finally comes out of the machine. It’s not a full on meltdown like we’re used to, but it marks the death of the robot.
Strangely enough as Fusion lay in the corner of the arena mostly motionless its front vertical spinner tries to get going again. This whole time I thought the blades were moving because of residual forces imparted into them by Copperhead’s drum but no those were intentional attempts to try and spin the weapon up, it just didn’t work. At all. Copperhead looks to be on track to potentially 3-0 in the qualifiers again but you know they’re going to pair it up with another 2-0 robot because we can’t have too many bots going 3-0 now can we? Fusion falls to 1-1 and the value of its weapon drops to be on par with a scratched up Charizard card with a crease in it.
WINNER: Copperhead, KO
WHIPLASH vs. SKORPIOS
Whiplash spearheading a main event is nothing new. This robot has finished in the quarterfinals, then the semifinals, and finally last year made it to the title bout. I can’t believe BattleBots slept on this team as a mere reserve when this robot was known under the name Splatter. Imagine the other “reserve” teams out there that could go on to do amazing things if the shackles were off and everyone got their chance to shine. Okay maybe none of them, but still you never know. Whiplash fought Bloodsport at the beginning of the season and managed to use the screws to upend its opponent and throw it onto the deck for a drawn out KO. It was the first time anyone had died on the deck, let the producers have their moment. Curiously Whiplash removed its signature disc from its lifting arm for that battle… and the disc is still gone for this one replaced instead with a type of claw arm.
Skorpios was not the first hammer saw and because of this I feel the robot was always in the shadow of Sawblaze. And now with Blacksmith adopting the design that means Skorpios has someone who can be in its shadow now too. Last season was a big deal for Skorpios and this year the robot is as tough as ever; when Blade arrived and was still a big unknown for all the American teams who only knew it as “The Korean Tombstone” it was Skorpios who was drawn to fight it. Skorpios put Blade out to pasture. Should Blade have been counted out like thirty seconds into that match? Absolutely. But Skorpios didn’t let up “just in case” Blade’s destroyed gearbox magically regenerated itself. Hey, nobody knows if South Korea has nanomachines or not. I don’t. Do you? That’s what I thought. Point is both of these robots are at 1-0 with impressive first showings.
Whiplash has changed up its face a bit but so has Skorpios; the hammer saw wielding bot is sporting a strip of four welded steel forks on its front end to help negate the wedges and skirts of Whiplash. What these forks actually wind up doing is cause Skorpios to scissor with Whiplash’s face putting Whiplash just out of reach from its hammer saw. In the immortal words of Terry Ewert, “that didn’t work for shit”. Part of Skorpios’ front attachment is caught up in Whiplash’s claw arm and the lifter tries to slowly pry this slice of robotic cheese pizza apart but misses the flip. Whiplash makes up for it by letting the arena wall do the flipping for it and drives Skorpios into the screws where its ass is immediately sucked into the gap behind the hazard.
The screws aren’t broken this time and they do start spinning the other direction but Whiplash isn’t just going to let Skorpios down from the hazards that easily, no way. Whiplash is there waiting for Skorpios so it can jam its lifting arm up its ass and keep Skorpios on the hazards for as long as possible. These are all free control points and for all I know maybe the judges are giving Whiplash damage points too since Skorpios has its ankle stuck in the fucking screws. After perching perfectly on the screws the hazard stops turning and Skorpios looks stuck. It flexes its hammer saw back and forth a few times and eventually wriggles free into the waiting arms of Whiplash. Whiplash uses its lifting arm as a makeshift clamp and it looks like the robot’s planning on bringing Skorpios to the screws of the Upper Deck but Skorpios is able to get away from its opponent before that can happen.
Skorpios puts some distance between the two bots so it can regroup and form a new attack strategy and when it comes in for the swoop Whiplash wins the ground clearance game with all of its pokey bits and very nearly tips Skorpios over backwards. Skorpios looks like it gets a line drive at shoving Whiplash all the way across the floor but I think this was largely Whiplash trying to drive backwards to get away from Skorpios; there’s no way there’s that kind of horsepower in Skorpios. It’s impressive, but not that impressive. Zach Lytle taunts Whiplash’s team and then the cameras cut to something like four successive misses on Skorpios’ part because its weapon arm just doesn’t have the fucking reach to stretch over its welded forks. Whiplash needs to be all the way on those forks or Skorpios ain’t got shit. Speaking of, Whiplash upends Skorpios for the Nth time this match.
Once again Skorpios flees from its opponent and as it cruises away you can see that one of its front forks is bent inward. Any help that fork was going to contribute will now be acting against the robot. Whiplash catches up and locks heads again, the two robots spin around in place, Skorpios misses with its hammer saw yet again. Skorpios eventually snags Whiplash from behind in an unexpected twist of events but now it appears that the hammer saw is out of juice. Whiplash has lost to a hammer saw before when it fought Sawblaze last year so you can see how prepared the team is and how they’ve added cross bars to their upper armor to absorb the blows… but Skorpios just can’t land any. The disc on Skorpios is spinning but like so many bots before it there’s no “bite” to it. Skorpios gets flipped again.
We’re in the last 20 seconds of this match now and I’m getting the impression that Matt Vasquez is getting worn out because he’s making some awful mistakes that are allowing Skorpios to get the best of his robot. If Skorpios had a working weapon this would be a problem so instead this is a concession of control points at worst. For some reason Whiplash keeps extending its lifting arm all the way back as if this is going to help it shake loose of Skorpios’ mangled stupid face. It’s not and it just makes your robot look like it’s dying and you’re trying to see what parts of it still work. Whiplash finishes this battle with a sloppy snag on the Killsaws and sends the fight to the judges. Their verdict is a split decision and I wholly believe it’s because of Whiplash’s poor performance in the back half of the battle, but Whiplash is still the victor and moves up to a strong 2-0.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
By my estimation there’s only three episodes of qualifiers left. I’m asking again where the fuck are some of these robots? Just like I said in my article opener there are entire competitors whom we’ve yet to see and these are strong contenders like SMEE and Big Dill who received full Fight Nights last season. Triple Crown got shredded by Valkyrie so I can see something that complex taking too long to fix and Triple Crown being out of the contest but that doesn’t explain the disappearances of the other competitors. For fuck’s sake I want to see Double Jeopardy shoot something. Stop treating the cannon bot like a second class competitor, this team has put together something truly unique in this world dominated by shit like Green Bite Force, Orange Bite Force, and Yellow Bite Force, a.k.a. Witch Doctor, End Game, and Hypershock. Let them blast a hole in someone. Even if you only get 15 seconds of usable footage from Double Jeopardy you can play that shit on repeat for 10 minutes and I’d still watch it.
Obviously my favorite fight from this episode is Ghost Raptor’s. Hands down, no contest. I haven’t even seen the rest of the season but I know fucking nothing past this point is going to compare to Cobalt taking that robot and breaking it over its knee so beautifully. That image of Ghost Raptor in pieces deserves to be immortalized alongside other Renaissance paintings of grief and death. Most of the other fights were quick affairs and some were kind of lame but I think my pick for the runt of the litter is Whiplash and Skorpios, the main event. Whiplash just seemed to not be on its “A” game for this battle and all the dumb shit that was tacked onto Skorpios prevented it from being effective with its weapon. Just a lot of sticking together and near misses.
That wraps up BattleBots Update for this week. The main tournament is right around the corner and there are so many robots sitting at two fights done waiting to see where fate takes them. I’m eager to see who makes it to 3-0 this season and how disagreeable the seedings are as usual. If you’d like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation on Ko-Fi. If stickers are more your jam grab a handful at Redbubble, they’re cheap. Finally follow BattleBots Update on Facebook and I’ll sometimes post interesting things.
See you next week!