[BattleBots: S11 E9 is available via streaming on Discovery+.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update, the only satirical comedy blog whose posts average about 85% upvoted on Reddit. That’s a solid B; we’re keeping this momentum going regardless of whether or not some people are tired of the same old song and dance I’ve done for nearly a goddamned decade. BattleBots keeps getting greenlit for new seasons ergo I’m still around. And get this even when BattleBots doesn’t get renewed I’ll still be here because there’s so much random shit to cover from robot combat’s past. Face it, y’all are stuck with me like herpes. Better get used to the humor. And the itching.
I think we’re finally at the point where we can accept that Big Dill and Double Jeopardy are getting the Triple Crown treatment and will be subjected to just one dinky battle to bolster someone else’s chances at winning the Giant Nut. Yeah, I’ve got problems with that, but whatever. At least Switchback got a second fight and in this week’s episode Pardon My French makes a return for fight #2. On the docket for this episode are essentially a ton of bots ending their qualifiers. I’m talking Gruff, Duck, Valkyrie, Lock-Jaw, Blip, SubZero, Hijinx, Minotaur, Skorpios, Yeti, Cobalt, Deep Six, and Riptide. This episode is bursting at the seams with robots ranging from 2-0 to 0-2 looking to finish their preseasons on a high note.
Up first is Gruff and Cobalt whom we’ve seen eradicate someone already so may god help Gruff in this upcoming battle.
GRUFF vs. COBALT
In preparing for this battle Gruff really only has one major change to its defenses: a big fuck off plow. The robot is already super stout and basically bulletproof on the outside so this added armor is just to protect the front even further in case Cobalt wants to try and dig in. The team is also going with longer and sharper lifting forks to hopefully negate Cobalt’s leading wedge and toss it over to let inertia do the rest. Gruff is 1-1 right now with an early win over a crippled Switchback and an out of the arena KO loss to a barely functioning Hydra. Gruff’s booty blaster flamethrowers probably won’t be of much use against the rock solid Cobalt, but you know the team will still try to get their licks in.
Cobalt is a murderer. After a decisive loss to Fusion the team ditched their “knife wedge” attachment in favor of some hinged wedgelets to get underneath opponents. Who would’ve thought that hinged wedges would work better than a fixed knife jutting out from the front of the robot? We might’ve seen a different Fusion fight if the wedgelets came out first. But we can’t talk about Cobalt without addressing the elephant in the room and that would be its rapid disassembly of Ghost Raptor in basically one solid hit. Cobalt’s weapon is so heinous that when it dug in deep to Ghost Raptor, Ghost Raptor fucking exploded. Cobalt is packing serious heat of its own, and I’m not talking about flamethrowers.
You gotta love the dedication and camaraderie of Gruff’s team. They all put their hands on the “ready” button at the same time and press it together… only for their robot to immediately get flipped by Cobalt and have its lifting forks get stuck in the fucking Killsaws as it tries to self right. Gruff gets out but not after Cobalt takes a couple of pot shots at Gruff’s expense. Cobalt goes for a quick 180 maneuver and the force of its weapon pulls the robot off the ground. Gruff knows this is its time to attack so Gruff charges forward and is just a split second too late on the draw. Instead Gruff collides with Cobalt’s weapon and I shit you not this robot is rocketed so high into the air that it almost lands on the top of the goddamned drivers’ booth. I bet you probably never even noticed there’s a platform up there with a camera mounted to it.
Not only does this hit break the arena BattleBots sign it also mangles Gruff’s lifting arm to the point where it’s basically useless. Gruff starts driving like it’s dizzy winding up underneath the Pulverizer until Cobalt comes in and tosses it a few feet away. Gruff locks heads with Cobalt and tries lifting the robot up with its twisted lifter. The forks are actually jammed in Cobalt’s face pretty good but Gruff winds up getting zero purchase and the spinner gets away leaving Gruff to half-crabwalk in the corner. This lack of mobility opens Gruff’s sides up to easy attacks and Cobalt doesn’t miss out. Gruff is shoved into the arena wall and Cobalt digs in with one hit seeming to slice through Gruff’s soft underbelly and hit something “important”.
That “important” piece just so happened to be Gruff’s propane tank for its flamethrowers and some stray sparks from another Cobalt hit lights up the residue. Gruff detonates on the spot and a huge fireball just engulfs the fucking robot. Gruff burns for about 15 seconds before the residual propane is burned away leaving the robot essentially dead in its tracks. Gruff seems to have about as much control as it did pre-explosion but this doesn’t seem to satisfy the ref and he counts the crippled robot out giving Cobalt its second win and Gruff its second loss. Before the fight Sam McAmis said that a “close loss” might still keep them in the game for the Round of 32 but I don’t think nearly being thrown onto the camera platform constitutes a “close loss”. This will probably be the last we see of the flamethrowing wedge this season. Rest in rip.
WINNER: Cobalt, KO
DUCK vs. RIPTIDE
Duck isn’t having its best year. Coming into this fight at 0-2 it’s the robot that will be attempting to run interference on its opponent to prevent them from qualifying if you can believe that. Duck’s season got off to a rocky start after a judges’ decision loss to Witch Doctor that saw the foul fowl getting socked in the face and having one of its leading fork attachments get ripped away in mere seconds. Duck attempted to rebound against newbie Dragon Slayer but whatever Duck’s lifter is made from is absolute crap because Dragon Slayer’s blade connected with it, broke it, and then spent the rest of the fight trying to slice up a weaponless Duck. Duck’s been redesigned completely for this season and I personally think the old Duck was the better of the two versions. Let’s see if this new one can avoid being skunked as its Fight Night ends.
Riptide is… something. It’s 1-1 right now so it’s on the verge of potentially qualifying for the main tournament. It scored a KO win over Huge in a rather controversial match where Riptide jumped the gun and attacked before the fight officially started. When the bots were reset Riptide got the best of Huge and managed to stick one of Huge’s wheels behind the screws and that was all she wrote for the massively wheeled killer. Riptide then faced off against fellow newcomer Defender and managed to lose the fight after getting stuck on its side and eventually being overpowered by a slightly damaged opponent. Riptide stands to gain the most by winning this fight so you know Ethan Kurtz is going to be bringing his full on “Twitch bro” game.
Watch very closely and you’ll almost see Riptide jump the gun again. Guys, how fucking hard is it to wait for the green light? They flash red, then they hold green. Green means go. Red means stay in your fucking square. Anyways, Duck comes at Riptide backwards with its rear plow attachment and aims to either wear out or slow down Riptide’s spinning drum thing. This plan immediately goes out the window as Riptide slaps Duck on its ass and nearly throws it over. Duck gets cornered and here’s where we pop the question, when it comes to poultry is Riptide more of a wing or a breast kind of robot? Here’s your answer: ass. Riptide digs right in and repeatedly heaves the lifter at the wall and eventually does succeed in rolling Duck over.
Riptide’s attack is so successful that Duck gets wonky and catches a blow straight to its face and I’ll give you one guess as to what happens to Duck’s stupid fucking beak. It blows up. Once again the part shears off right at that weird middle “seam” just like it did when Dragon Slayer put the whammy on it. By the way all while this is going on the Pulverizer is taking swings at Duck and pummeling the robot’s underside. Had it not been for the rear plow bolstering Duck’s chassis it wouldn’t surprise me to see the robot sagging again like it was in the Witch Doctor fight. Duck charges in at Riptide but gets shunted away toward the Upper Deck, pieces of something flying off of the bird. Duck lines up a rear charge this time and gets blasted into the air, losing its front left wheel in the process. (Duck is flipped over right now so don’t give me shit about not knowing left from right. Tell Kenny about it because he’s the one who fucks it up.)
Just to make its point known Riptide cruises in and attacks Duck on its now exposed corner and just busts entire chunks of the robot’s chassis and frame off. I don’t know what Duck is made of this season but it fucking blows. This was a robot that was once milled from one big ass slab of aluminum or whatever and now it’s literally falling apart in ways its older design never did. Duck is starting to get pulled onto the screws but gets away just in time for Riptide to slam into it and kick the robot into the drivers’ booth windows right at Hal and Hannah Rucker. Duck gets away and its wheels are spinning so damn fast but they’re getting no purchase on the floor. One of them even starts smoking – literally burning rubber – and it’s still not going anywhere.
Duck crawls forward and expertly drives under one of Riptide’s Pulverizers and the robot takes a blow. Riptide comes in and very nearly pops Duck so high that the robot falls behind the fucking hazard into the corner but thankfully for the arena cleanup and safety crew that doesn’t happen. Duck just lands back under the hammer and gets blasted. Riptide’s spinner has finally spun down and Ethan shouts to one of his teammates to lay on the fucking hammer and Duck just takes it like a bitch. Duck starts spinning circles in that corner pocket and apparently the ref has decided he’s seen enough because Duck actually starts getting counted out. Duck’s tires are smoking so badly that I feel like they’re going to catch fire at any moment but apparently the robot has lost enough mobility that it can’t escape the KO count. Duck is out, 0-3, and leaves this season winless. Bon voyage, Duck. Wish I could say it was nice knowing you.
WINNER: Riptide, KO
VALKYRIE vs. PARDON MY FRENCH
In terms of reliability Valkyrie is one of the best spinners here for total destruction. The robot seems to be planted firmly in the middle of being championship material and being “losing in the Round of 16” material but Leanne Cushing and her team are absolutely tenacious when it comes to making it into the tournament. Even when they don’t qualify they try everything they can to make it in and that’s respectable. So far Valkyrie has lost to P1 in a close judges’ decision fight that saw the spinner catch fire and break down but the robot turned its luck around in an unaired battle against Triple Crown where the complex swerve drive bot was promptly handicapped and counted out. Valkyrie’s big spinning blade is both its strength and weakness, it just comes down to whether the bot can take the shock its hits deliver.
Pardon My French is a newcomer to BattleBots from a new team led by Phillipe Voyer. It sports a massive 73 pound spinning drum made of three single-toothed discs. It’s a very compact robot but also very tall and has no method of self-righting. In an unaired battle with Claw Viper the robot lost for this very reason. This is actually Pardon My French’s second of three battles so the robot can still make it into the tournament with a win here and one more in its third fight but against Valkyrie this is an uphill battle to say the least. Sadly Pardon My French’s weapon never got up to speed against Claw Viper so we never got to see what this machine is capable of. Perhaps against another spinner we’ll see a big weapon-on-weapon hit?
Pardon My French dodges wide at the start of the battle and shows exactly why we didn’t get to see a big bite against Claw Viper, the robot’s weapon takes like an hour and a half to spin up to top speed. Valkyrie on the other hand is roaring in mere seconds and is eager to dig into the sides and back of its opponent. We do wind up getting that weapon-on-weapon hit I hoped for because Valkyrie’s blade is deflected upward by Pardon My French’s front wedge but the drum spinner isn’t fully up to speed so Valkyrie comes out ahead in this exchange by spinning Pardon My French away and throwing it at the fucking wall. Even worse it looks like this hit has rendered Pardon My French’s drum useless because it’s certainly shut the fuck right up.
The Canadian robot starts fumbling in the arena allowing Valkyrie to get tons of hits that definitely connect with its wheels and drive chains because Pardon My French just straight up dies near the blue square. The minibot, Zut, is still alive and dares to challenge Valkyrie but gets blasted away and has a wheel torn off in the process. Zut spins out underneath the Pulverizer and it drops down on the minibot causing one of its batteries to blow up and start spewing smoke everywhere. Phillipe is beside himself in disbelief as he watches the minibot flare up all while the ref is counting his robot out. Pardon My French loses by KO and is now 0-2 meaning much like Duck and other robots in a similar jam the best it can hope for is to mess up someone else’s chances at qualification.
WINNER: Valkyrie, KO
LOCK-JAW vs. BLIP
Up next we have Lock-Jaw versus Blip, a match with an 0-2 robot fighting a 2-0 one. If you had to guess which robot had which record you might be incorrect. Lock-Jaw is the robot at 0-2 right now. Yeah, you heard me right. Donald Hutson has failed to score a single win thus far. Lock-Jaw opened its season by losing to Copperhead in an extremely close split decision. It seemed like Lock-Jaw could bounce back from that “good loss” however its second opponent, Hypershock, saw to it that Lock-Jaw was ejected out of the goddamned arena for a KO loss in a match that saw tires and parts flying all over the place. It comes down to this. Lock-Jaw ain’t fucking around anymore because it’s brought with it a minibot for the very first time. Named “Screw Job” this minibot features two drills to hopefully dive under Blip and high center it so Lock-Jaw can come in and land the huge hits.
Aren Hill has the magic touch it seems. Blip, his latest creation, has gone 2-0 in its rookie year featuring an electric flipper system the sport has never seen before. Able to flip about as well as Bronco and the other greats we’ve seen this robot dispatch both Rusty and Overhaul by slam dunking them at the ground until parts fall off. Rusty’s treads came apart and Overhaul started shedding wheels before catching fire. All this carnage from a dinky little robot with a super powerful flipper. Last season Tantrum made it to the semifinals and Tantrum is still around with a 2-0 record to boot so we just might see both of Aren’s robots make it into the tournament with 3-0 records. But it starts with Blip and whether or not it can take out one of the legends of the sport.
As soon as the light turns green Lock-Jaw hits a seam in the floor with its front spikes. Blip tries to swoop in to take advantage of the situation but also finds itself stumbling on part of the arena. For this battle Blip is sporting a number of what were called “piano key” wedgelets to negate Lock-Jaw’s front spikes. Lock-Jaw bites the rightmost wedgelet off but this results in Blip being able to slide in for an attack and Lock-Jaw gets a little jolt into the air. Aren said his strategy is to get Lock-Jaw destabilized with a couple of little flips before turning up the heat so right now we’re seeing the first steps of that battle plan in action. Lock-Jaw continues to ride up Blip’s wedge but Blip doesn’t go for the flip unless it knows Lock-Jaw is squarely on the flipper.
I mentioned “turning up the heat” earlier as a metaphor for Blip’s fighting style but Lock-Jaw is out here doing it for real because for absolutely no reason that I can discern Lock-Jaw rides up Blip’s wedge and immediately its front end fucking blows up and catches fire. Every goddamned time. I swear if you go back and watch Lock-Jaw’s fights in order starting with this one and stepping backwards it catches fire or smokes itself out in nearly all of them. I don’t know what kind of batteries or speed controllers Donald is using in his robot but bro they fucking suck balls. Get a MaxAmps sponsor or something, those batteries seem to be relatively stable. With Lock-Jaw on fire that can only mean one thing, its weapon is about to die off and stop spinning. It’s always the weapon as if Donald is hammering on the throttle just a little too much.
This is now a control fight and Lock-Jaw’s semi-pneumatic cambered wheels are acting to its detriment because each time the robot tries to maneuver and face Blip it bobs up and down and because of this its ground clearance is easily taken advantage of. Aren’s confident enough to taunt Donald now. The balls on this guy, I swear. Blip corrals Lock-Jaw over near the deck and it’s obvious what the game plan is for Blip now. The robots struggle against each other for a moment until Blip lets loose with its second flip of the fight knocking Lock-Jaw up onto the shelf and scoring major control points with the judges in the process. In case you were wondering what Screw Job has been up to this whole time “not a goddamned thing” is the answer, by the way.
Lock-Jaw takes another shot from Blip that causes the dead spinner to do the splits on its front forks before coming to rest on its lid. Now every angle of Lock-Jaw is just ground clearance city for Blip and we get another flip that sends someone high enough that it almost puts Lock-Jaw on the camera deck above the fucking drivers’ booth. One of these days that expensive TV camera up there is going to get busted. A piece of shrapnel has already blown up the lens on it once before but that’s a simple fix, I’m talking a whole ass robot crashing into that thing and taking it out. That one camera costs as much as one of these robots, no joke. Whenever someone finally breaks it I’d like to know who picks up the tab for it.
We’re down to the last minute of the fight and Lock-Jaw’s weapon starts to spin again but it’s slow and there’s no bite to it so this is purely cosmetic. Lock-Jaw manages to lock heads with Blip and its heavy duty four wheel drive and big ass wheels overpower the smaller robot. Blip tries to stand its ground but much like Duck it’s spinning its back wheels fruitlessly to the point that the rubber starts smoking. Blip takes the L and allows Lock-Jaw to ram it into the screws because it knows it’s ahead on points big time anyways. Screw Job finally succeeds in high centering Blip but for some reason Screw Job’s driver tries backing out from the robot. Dude just fucking stay there. Blip is firing off its flipper and not shifting much so you just might eek out a KO here.
But no, Blip gets free and in the twilight seconds of this battle manages one more little flip that puts Lock-Jaw right ways up again. The fight goes to the judges but let’s be real here we know who the winner is already. Blip started the battle off strong executing its plan to the letter. Then, for no real reason, Lock-Jaw got a bad case of the Del Taco shits and its weapon gave up the ghost. With no weapon to worry about Blip had free reign to do whatever the hell it wanted to and that included changing plans and just wrestling Lock-Jaw onto the Upper Deck. I don’t know who gets the damage points for Lock-Jaw’s weapon blowing itself up but aside from plucking off a couple of wedgelets Lock-Jaw did zero damage to Blip. Blip definitely has the upper hand in the control category and possibly even aggression. The judges return their verdict and it’s not even a split. Blip takes it, putting it at 3-0 and sending Lock-Jaw to the same table as Duck.
WINNER: Blip, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
MINOTAUR vs. DEEP SIX
We’re back in 1-1 versus 1-1 land with this next battle. Minotaur was absent last season and when it exploded back onto the scene this year… it literally exploded onto the scene; Sawblaze sliced right through Minotaur’s underside and hit its weapon batteries causing the whole robot to catch fire and burn for the remaining 150 seconds of the fight. It was an impressive showing for Minotaur when it came to reliability but it was still a loss. Minotaur then fought Dragon Slayer and although Dragon Slayer was able to make a ding in Minotaur’s front end that’s all it was able to do before Minotaur disabled its opponent’s weapon and threw them onto their head for a quick KO. Minotaur hits hard but so does its opponent Deep Six. This match is going to come down to driving and Daniel Freitas is one of the best.
Deep Six is also 1-1 as it enters this final qualifier. The robot whose blade is basically “vertical Tombstone” absolutely wrecked Pain Train and blew it to pieces knocking its lid off and throwing batteries all over the place. Basically all you need to know is Pain Train’s parts were on fire by the end of that battle. Deep Six then went on to face the very awkward SMEE and this clash of designs proved to be Deep Six’s undoing as SMEE eventually wrapped around Deep Six near the Killsaws and one of Deep Six’s stabilizing bars sunk into the hazard and high centered the robot. Deep Six also lost a wheel when SMEE enveloped it so the robot was essentially dead anyways no matter how you slice it. There’s the potential for this match to go exactly like the Pain Train fight for Deep Six, but against Minotaur this is basically a repeat of that battle on Expert difficulty.
The match begins and Deep Six starts revving its big ass blade up to speed. Minotaur’s drum is ready to fuck in a matter of seconds so Minotaur is already on the prowl but Deep Six doesn’t leave its square. This proves to be the robot’s undoing because when you have a weapon as big as Deep Six’s there’s an important thing you need to worry about: the backswing. Deep Six gets pushed backwards and the back of its weapon catches the arena spike strip and sends the robot flying into the air and upside down. Deep Six lands on its face in the blue square but it’s able to self right this season so it flips back down onto its tires but Minotaur is waiting for it. The moment Deep Six’s wheels touch the ground Mintoaur lands a blow that flips Deep Six into the bumper next to the blue square screws.
We very rarely see these hazards because they never seem to fire when they’re supposed to (when a robot gets close to them) but usually when a bot gets stuck on one it’ll pop a few times. The problem here is Deep Six’s weapon is stuck on the underside lip of the bumper and it can’t get loose. The robot is smoking up a storm so I’m guessing those were the batteries or controllers that activate its weapon because all the robot needs to do is spin its blade and it should theoretically come loose. The bumper flips a couple of times and Deep Six shifts around on it but its weapon is still caught behind it. Dustin Esswein encourages the Minotaur team to hit his robot to knock it loose. All Minotaur manages to do is break one of Deep Six’s stabilizing legs, there’s nothing for Minotaur to actually dig in to.
The bumper keeps flipping outward and eventually Deep Six looks like it should be free from the hazard but it starts smoking again presumably because Dustin is trying to activate the robot’s srimech and the electronics are all “nah brah”. Deep Six gets counted out and its record falls to 1-2 while Minotaur makes a strong comeback and finishes its Fight Nights at 2-1. There’s a lot of 2-1’s popping up now so it’s going to get pretty dicey when it comes time for seeding but Minotaur has got to be a shoe in by this point. A “good loss” to Sawblaze, a KO win over Dragon Slayer, and another KO win over Deep Six. Looks good to me, but what do I know I’m just some jack off on the internet.
WINNER: Minotaur, KO
SUBZERO vs. HIJINX
SubZero enters its final Fight Night winless which is a shame because this isn’t a bad robot. It’s just plagued with technical issues. Logan Davis & Co bought this robot from the original builder Jerry Clarkin when he retired from robot combat so that the robot would effectively stay with its original team seeing as how Logan was part of Jerry’s crew. Nobody knows the robot better than the team that worked on it so Logan’s kept that alive and has done a commendable job attempting to bring SubZero into the modern era. This is a far cry from the bulky Mecha SubZero we saw in seasons past. Thus far SubZero has lost to Shatter and Bloodsport in fights where the robot sustained massive damage. It’s been put back together one last time for this final shot at glory.
Again much like many of the other robots we’ve seen in this episode Hijinx stands to lose the most in this fight because it’s 1-1 right now and a loss basically ensures that the robot probably won’t advance onward into the tournament. If it does it’ll be toward the bottom of the pack meaning it’ll be paired up with a high seed and that’s not where you want to be. It fought Mammoth in a match many expected Hijinx to win but a design flaw in the robot resulted in one of its wheels coming off and the robot lost via KO. Hijinx had better luck against Kraken in a fight that went to the judges but in that battle Hijinx spent a lot of time upside down and we saw that the robot doesn’t drive very well when inverted. Going up against a flipper like SubZero might spell doom for this spinner.
Hijinx starts this battle with its tail fin facing SubZero and starts swinging wide to dodge its opponent and give its Deep Six-esque blade ample time to spin up. SubZero’s opening move is a straight box rush. You could almost draw this play out like a stupid football diagram. SubZero improvises on the spot and turns into Hijinx’s spinner to try and get in there early and prevent it from spinning up to speed. So far this plan is working and Hijinx can’t get the space it needs to get its giant dildo blade up to speed. SubZero even comes in with a near flip that sends both robots doing wheelies on their frames.
So far SubZero is dominating this fight early on. It misses flip #2 but manages to keep in tight with Hijinx and stop that blade from doing anything. Then, disaster strikes. On that missed flip something jams up internally on SubZero and its pistons are unable to retract backwards into their down position. You can see SubZero popping its flipper several more times to see if whatever’s suck will get unstuck but this proves fruitless and SubZero becomes a massive yawning wedge. It’s still got the upper hand on Hijinx because it closes the distance between the two bots but eventually Hijinx gets away, spins up, and delivers a hit that sends the spinner reeling and also sends SubZero’s right wedge piece flying off into the plexiglass.
With its front end compromised SubZero tries to back into Hijinx only for its whole entire ass to be ripped open exposing the electronics behind it. Now that SubZero can’t afford another butt blow it goes back to trying to come at Hijinx with its mangled front end. This fails however because the armor on the left side of the robot is pinching the front wheel meaning the robot only has three functional wheels and the fourth is actively working against the robot’s mobility. Hijinx’s weapon looks dead for a moment but it gets going again and as it whales on SubZero the busted flipper starts literally coughing up smoke. It looks like its batteries are what’s smoking and each time SubZero pumps its flipper the ejected gas blows the electrical smoke up into the air. We get it, you vape.
The ref declares SubZero to be toast and he’s probably right because the robot has just given up attempting to move entirely. The ten count begins and Logan Davis can only watch on as his pride and joy gets eliminated at 0-3. The match is over and for no real reason SubZero’s drone Spitfire decides to land on Hijinx’s head. Nice hat. What a shame for SubZero though, it’s a better robot than this. Just like Lock-Jaw, Duck, and Free Shipping it’s sad to see it finish the qualifiers without a single win. These are all solid bots and their seasons end here.
WINNER: Hijinx, KO
SKORPIOS vs. YETI
Ooh, a main event with two 1-1 robots. Now this is what I call drama; there’s a lot on the line here, namely a mostly guaranteed spot in the tournament. Skorpios is one of those bots that’s only gotten better each season we’ve seen it and last season I think the robot cemented itself as a proper force to be reckoned with. This year the robot is indeed 1-1 but that includes a textbook vivisection of Korean competitor Blade and a loss to Whiplash that went the distance to a split decision. In the modern era of BattleBots where people talk about bullshit like “good losses” and “bad wins” I think a loss via split decision is automatically a “good loss”; at least one judge thought you did good enough to win. So that loss to Whiplash was a close fought battle and shouldn’t necessarily count against Skorpios as much as it would have if Whiplash mopped the floor with them and took all the points.
Meanwhile Yeti is a robot that just exploded onto the scene in 2016 and from the start was just kicking ass and taking names; Yeti reached the semifinals in its debut tournament. While the robot has never seen success to that degree since then Greg Gibson has returned with a secret weapon: Christian Carlberg. A BattleBots legend and two-time super heavyweight champion with Minion. Christian is a master engineer and has turned Yeti into an absolute killing machine. Though the robot lost to Mad Catter it turned its luck around and socked Pain Train so hard that Pain Train’s fucking weapon came off. Kenny Florian also lets us in on the secret sauce of this robot, a variable speed motor for the weapon; Yeti can tone it down for more control and then crank up the juice when it’s time to go in for the kill shot.
The two robots start feeling each other out with Yeti’s forks able to get under Skorpios and Skorpios’s blade able to articulate and just barely reach Yeti when it’s close. Skorpios comes out ahead in this early game of touchy-feely because Skorpios snipes one of the weapon belts on Yeti. This is why Yeti’s got redundant belts; there’s another one on the other side so Yeti’s still good to go but if Skorpios can throw another precision punch like that then Yeti is fucked. You can hear Skorpios’ weapon blade spinning at max speed but soon Yeti’s weapon floors it to drown it out with a death hum of its own. Yeti takes Skorpios into the wall near the drivers’ booth and just destroys the BattleBots sign. It falls off and the robots are driving and spinning around on top of it and basically ripping the goddamned thing to pieces.
Skorpios gets away from the wall to try and control the center of the box but Yeti’s got some choice words for that. Actually just one word: “no”. Yeti comes in and catches the front lip of Skorpios’ plow and sends the robot flipping ass over head in spectacular fashion. Skorpios fights for control of the box but again Yeti pops it and makes it do a flip. Somewhere in this mess Skorpios’ left wheel has taken a shot because its hub is all crumpled up and the robot starts wobbling as it drives. Not good for the ground clearance game which Skorpios has been losing this whole time. The bots lock heads and Skorpios very nearly gets the god shot to strike Yeti’s backup weapon belt. Skorpios misses but definitely hits something because a chunk of either Yeti or Skorpios flies into the ceiling and busts one of the arena lights raining broken glass down on top of the chunks of BattleBots sign. What did the arena cleanup guys ever do to you?
Skorpios is finally able to start doing some damage to Yeti and manages to bite into Yeti’s front right wheel. This doesn’t rip the wheel off but it does tear a chunk of it that becomes visible as Yeti tries to spin away from the attack. Pay close attention and you’ll see one of Yeti’s shaft collars come off too, that’s the metal ring on the ground that normally caps off the weapon axle. Yeti’s still got one left but it’s in the fucking danger zone now. As this happens however Skorpios decides to shit the bed and start smoking. It’s hard to tell what’s smoking on the robot because the drive still works and the weapon looks good so maybe Skorpios can shrug this off. Yeti tries to come in to capitalize on the possibly crippled machine and winds up bumping its front left wheel into Skorpios. Skorpios wastes no time swinging its weapon arm and crumpling up the wheel up on Yeti. Yeah, that weapon can still break shit.
Like a backyard wrestling fight Yeti drags Skorpios across the broken glass from the light they busted earlier and Skorpios takes a double shot from the Pulverizer and from Yeti’s drum. Skorpios recovers and gets away but it can’t escape Yeti’s wrath. Yeti’s drum flips Skorpios onto its face so we can see the picture of Gary Gin plastered over Skorpios’ butthole and the robot’s articulated arm helps it self right. But Yeti is right there waiting and lines up this glorious punt that sends Skorpios flying perfectly into the blue square screws. The hit is so perfect that Skorpios’ weapon arm is what gets sucked into the hazard and for a moment I thought it got devoured off but no it’s still there and the robot is flexing it every which way to unstick itself.
Yeti comes in and does the sportsmanlike thing and helps free Skorpios from the screws using its lifting forks. This lets the fight continue but it seems Yeti’s drum has taken all it can handle. There was just enough power left in that thing to execute that beautiful nut shot and that was it. What a way to go out. Yeti stays the aggressor though and tries lifting Skorpios up with its forks. Remember, Yeti technically has two weapons and we just mostly see the drum. Yeti keeps up its attack but manages to drive itself onto the Upper Deck’s screws and jam itself in. Yeti gets free but in these last few seconds of the fight it’s Skorpios’ time to shine and the robot finally snags its opponent onto its plow and tries to nail it with its spinning disc. As we’ve seen so many times this season there’s speed, but no bite. That smoke must’ve been what killed it.
Still this match was three minutes of non-stop off the wall mayhem. As Chris Rose puts it, belts on the floor, broken lights, and tires getting chewed up. This was a proper classic and I think no matter who comes out on top the loser may very well still qualify even at 1-2. Skorpios finds itself in yet another split decision but once again it’s not in the team’s favor. Yeti takes the W this time and almost certainly makes it into the tournament but Zach Lytle has some words for the “selection committee” and he raises a hell of a good point. Those two split decision losses were heated fights that were constant carnage. Skorpios may very well make it in near the bottom of the list of 32 anyways.
WINNER: Yeti, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
Wow. Duck and Lock-Jaw out with nary a single win between them. A combined season record of 0-6. The new Duck was just a bad step in the redesign process and Lock-Jaw fought valiantly but just couldn’t score a win. Speaking of not scoring wins I guess that cements Big Dill and Double Jeopardy as second-class competitors reduced to nothing more than cannon fodder for other bots in unaired YouTube matches or something. By this time this article goes up one or both of them will probably have been on the fight card, I don’t know. I write these articles in advance so I never know who’s in the YouTube fights.
Lots of bots are reaching the end of Fight Night but there are still a bunch of them out there who are only at two battles. Blade comes to mind, though they are 0-2 right now. Lucky has also only had two fights, and so has Tantrum. Captain Shrederator should be back one more time if we’re lucky and Whiplash still has one fight to go. I’m betting Whiplash will be in the next episode’s main event. Dragon Slayer has also only fought twice, same with Huge and also the giant killer Glitch. Jackpot’s on the verge of going 3-0 to represent Las Vegas, too. Uppercut, Mad Catter, and Rotator are just a sample of some heavy hitters who’ve yet to wrap up their seasons. And finally Witch Doctor is still out there with a 1-1 record. I guess we can expect to see all (or most) of these robots in the next episode?
Fight of the week for me is going to Duck vs Riptide, with special recognition of Gruff vs Cobalt. Seeing Gruff get enveloped in a big fireball was cool but it was only one part of the fight; Riptide fucking demolished Duck so badly that Hal Rucker said in a Reddit AMA that Duck is being retired after this season. Not specifically because of Riptide but because the design wasn’t competitive enough. For being the bookend final fight of a star of the reboot seasons I’ve gotta give it to the Riptide fight. On the opposite end of the spectrum I think the worst battle was Minotaur vs Deep Six. This fight had the potential to really go places but because Deep Six stayed in its square it wound up catching the spike strip on the backswing of its weapon and this basically killed it with little to no input from Minotaur. Watching the spinner smoke out and die on the bumper was boring.
That’s a wrap for this week’s BattleBots Update. Thank you so much for spending some time with me gabbing about robots. I know there’s a lot you can do on the weekend and the fact that you chose to read this blog means a lot. If you’d like to help support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Additionally, if you want some BBU stickers you can grab some at Redbubble. Finally be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next week!