Man I don’t know how many more times I can see that Las Vegas flyover montage before each episode starts. You start to notice weird things about it like the color correction in one of the clips and the fact that the BattleBots logo is digitally placed onto the Caesar’s Palace marquee board. The first time you saw it you probably didn’t notice that, but the tenth? Bring back the original opening credits montage of the Comedy Central era or something. Please. I’m losing my damn mind here.
As we enter this episode of the show we’re now about two-thirds of the way through the Fight Night rounds meaning sooner or later we’re going to start seeing round four for a lot of these robots. Do or die time. Until then we’ve got more third round action to get to, such as Horizon versus Shatter because I guess Shatter needs a free win at 0-2 right now. Emulsifier returns to the ring to fight Banshee and hopefully score a much needed first win. Ominous and Shreddit Bro are paired up in a battle of the unknowns since we’ve yet to see anything from either robot. The main event this week pits Whiplash agains Monsoon and believe it or not Whiplash is also 0-2; it’s having a bad year. But before all of that the “selection committee” must have a sense of humor because up first is Captain Shrederator… versus fucking Riptide?!
RIPTIDE vs. CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR
Depending on how you want to look at this Riptide has had only one challenging opponent thus far and that was Mad Catter. Riptide seems unstoppable in the qualifiers this year after it disposed of co-Rookie of the Year Glitch in literally one shot in round one, then pounded the shit out of Mad Catter in round two. Mad Catter posed the biggest threat to Riptide because we saw an inkling of danger when Mad Catter won the first weapon-on-weapon exchange but that high point came with a dire low when Riptide won the follow-up exchange and then decimated the robot. I do not see Captain Shrederator posing that much of a threat to Riptide, but I kind of want to see Shrederator win if only to shut this fucking team up for a second.
Captain Shrederator. What is there to say about this robot that I haven’t said in the previous six goddamned seasons this robot has competed in? This is the challenge of writing this stupid blog, we’ve seen this robot 25 times now and I can only say “this shell spinner used to be something of greatness until all of a sudden it wasn’t and now it sucks balls” so many times. Captain Shrederator lost its first fight because that was against Quantum and there wasn’t a scenario where I saw this robot winning that fight; Quantum just took a hold of it, bit down, and hit the important shit right away. Captain Shrederator managed to get a win over Hijinx but that fight was a total shit show where both robots weren’t working and then Hijinx lost a side of drive and stalled out yielding the fight to Shrederator. Even making it to one win is impressive for this robot but I don’t think we’re about to see it go 2-1.
If Captain Shrederator had a faster spin up time maybe it would stand a chance but the fact that you can just watch this thing rev up like a fucking carousel is a bad sign especially against a robot like Riptide who’s up to deadly speed in seconds. Captain Shrederator manages to avoid Riptide’s first attack by performing its signature move of running into the fucking Upper Deck stopping its shell entirely but at least that was a nice dodge. The dodge works once because Riptide turns around and chases Captain Shrederator back into the red square where the first hit shears off one of the four teeth on Captain Shrederator’s shell. You can already see the robot spinning up off balance as it gets away to try and attack. Kenny Florian compliments Captain Shrederator on its “stability” because I guess he’s not watching the fight.
Riptide flubs a second attack and for some reason the weapon operator says “perfect”. Maybe it’s because Captain Shrederator is shunted into one of the Upper Deck short corners? Captain Shrederator dives out of the way but gets attacked again and I think the shell loses a second tooth as Riptide tears into it but the big hit comes a second later when Riptide throws a punch that sends Captain Shrederator into the fucking air and crashing down onto the screws flipping it over. That’s it. That’s the fight right there. Ethan Kurtz said his battle plan was to hit Captain Shrederator before it could spin up that way there’s no centrifugal force to keep the shell spinner level with the floor resulting in a KO by causing it to turn turtle. But Ethan’s not done, ohh no. Riptide hits Captain Shrederator again and manages to bust off an entire goddamned chunk of the outer shell and peel back the robot’s baseplate ensuring that even if one of these hits flips Captain Shrederator back over the robot would be immobile and unable to attack.
Captain Shrederator gets righted by the attack and winds up high centered on the massive tuna can peel of its baseplate. Riptide doesn’t stop attacking and blows another massive piece of Captain Shrederator’s shell off. Now the Shrederator team are shooting Ethan and his crew some serious “what the fuck” looks and telling them to back off. Riptide doesn’t stop. It hits Captain Shrederator again and sends another piece of the shell through part of the BattleBots sign. We get some joke continuity from Chris Rose who says Kenny’s paycheck will be docked for the damaged sign again. Captain Shrederator’s team is done with this shit and yet the weapon operator for Riptide says to hit them again. Riptide pops Captain Shrederator again and its drum catches the baseplate peeling another section back before a follow-up hit kills a motor resulting in those trademark bright green sparks shooting out of the gore hole where Captain Shrederator’s shell used to be.
Captain Shrederator is finally left to die in the corner of the arena and when the cameras cut to a close-up of the robot you can get a real appreciation for how much serious fucking damage was done to this machine. Half the shell is just gone. There are no teeth left. Drive chains are hanging down from holes in the shell. According to the team this is about ten thousand dollars’ worth of damage. My guess was somewhere around 20 bucks. Amazingly Captain Shrederator still has power because its directional indicator lights are on but even if this robot wanted to move it can’t, it’s totally fucking dead. Riptide returns to its starting square as the ref counts out Shrederator and as the fight wraps up Nick Nave leans over to the Riptide team and tells them that was an unnecessary amount of damage to which Brian Nave replies “they don’t care”. The referee tells Nick that Riptide’s team has “already been warned” meaning even the officials are starting to get a bad taste in their mouths. Ethan drops another F-bomb in his post-fight interview. Predictable.
WINNER: Riptide, KO
MAMMOTH vs. DEATHROLL
Faruq’s intros were cut from this fight presumably so we could get that insider knowledge from the pits that Brian Nave is pissed off about the Riptide fight (he was he just doesn’t show it on camera because he is civil). Mammoth rolls into this fight, all six feet of it, with a mixed 1-1 record. Mammoth lost to Valkyrie early on in the season after a failed scoop up attempt resulted in the lifter flipping over backwards; when Mammoth tried to self right its rotary arm snapped apart leaving the robot dead. Mammoth had better luck against fellow big ass robot Starchild when it was able to successfully use its unique lifting device to keep Starchild on its toes and rolling around on its side axles. Of note is that Mammoth has had to have all of its fights so far stopped for robot separation, will that be a trend that continues into its fight with Deathroll?
I’ve never not liked Deathroll. This is a robot that appeals to my inner seven year old who loves huge crocodiles. It’s a bit of a gamble that the robot is virtually unchanged from its 2019 iteration, however. Deathroll’s improvements from 2016 to 2019 paid off in spades when the robot reached the semifinals though no improvements from 2019 to 2022 resulted in a bad start for the robot this year. Deathroll’s first opponent was Cobalt and we all know the motherfucker Cobalt turned out to be. Cobalt was able to use its front wedge to scoop up Deathroll and punt it straight into one of the arena short corners where it couldn’t escape from and wound up losing by KO. Deathroll had better luck in its second fight with Switchback when Switchback just sort of floundered around the arena and took some big hits from Deathroll’s spinning disc. One well placed shot threw Switchback up against the arena rails where it got stuck giving the win to Deathroll.
Before the fight starts Kenny Florian breaks down Deathroll’s strategy which is always to just point the spinner at the other robot and never stop being aggressive. This was Deathroll’s secret sauce in 2019 and as the fight starts you can see the plan go into immediate action as Deathroll just plows forward into Mammoth with its blade going full blast. Mammoth has forks and struts that are capable of getting underneath Deathroll – and it does – but Deathroll is undeterred by Mammoth’s fly swatter. Ricky Willems seems excited early on as his robot gets a couple of glancing lifts but that exuberance quickly turns to despair as Deathroll is able to blindside Mammoth, hit its left wheel, and cut off its leftmost strut.
Mammoth looks like its ass end might be caught in the screws and as Ricky tries to get his robot unstuck Deathroll takes the opportunity to plow face first into Mammoth’s exposed wheel and get a real good bite. This hit frees Mammoth from the hazard but the robot looks totally dead. I can see that hit potentially disabling the left wheel but we’re not even seeing any action from the right one either. Deathroll must’ve whipped out the goddamned Vulcan nerve pinch or something. As Mammoth lands on the ground from that shot Deathroll maneuvers around and lines up another hit on the same exact wheel and this time the hit looks like it completely fucks the axle up and bends the left tire up into the metal framework of Mammoth. If that wheel wasn’t broken before it’s sure as shit broken now.
Mammoth’s rotary lifter apparently still works but I think that’s on a separate circuit from the robot’s drive system. With one well placed blast Deathroll has KO’d the beast bringing its record up to 2-1 and pretty much ensuring its inclusion in the Round of 32.
WINNER: Deathroll, KO
BANSHEE vs. EMULSIFIER
Martin Mason joins Chris and Kenny as a co-commentator for this fight and it’s weird hearing him talk and not do a Macho Man impression. I mean, I’ve heard it before since I’ve seen and spoken to him outside of an immediate combat robot fight scenario but it still just throws you for a loop sometimes. He’s here for the Banshee and Emulsifier fight and what a battle this one could be, two robots with some bullshit fight records. Banshee is 1-1 after an early loss to Switchback in a fight that was boring as hell. It landed a whole one flip and Switchback was able to retaliate with its spinning drum well enough to negate the points from that flip. Banshee also fought Valkyrie in a battle that felt like it was never going to fucking end; Banshee flipped Valkyrie at the start of the fight and because of this Valkyrie’s blade was too high to hit Banshee so the remaining 2:50 of the fight was just slow motion bumper cars. Banshee won because I guess someone had to win the fight.
Emulsifier is a bit of a different story. This is a robot that has performed impressively but just keeps catching the short end of the stick and now it’s 0-2 because of it. Emulsifier fought Fusion first and although Fusion was ripping whole ass chunks out of Emulsifier’s plow Emulsifier was still landing some shots of its own and managed to kill Fusion’s batteries and fill the arena with smoke. That wasn’t enough to win on decision, however. In Emulsifier’s second fight it battled Malice and Emulsifier just fucking trashed Malice’s frame. I’m talking entire pieces of Malice just bent and splayed out. Anchor bolts coming out of the chassis. Malice was on the fast track to losing that fight until Emulsifier apparently got stuck on some arena debris and was high centered taking it out of the fight. This is a winnable fight for Emulsifier, it just needs to not suck this time.
Chris Rose says Emulsifier has problems with its treads at the start of the fight but I can’t tell what he’s talking about because the robot looks fine to me. Banshee wants to catch Emulsifier from anywhere but the front so it’s taking its time attempting to run circles around its opponent to find an opening. Meanwhile Emulsifier butts into the plan by catching Banshee sideways and grinding up its upper armor on the right side. The hits aren’t impressive but it’s still early damage points for Emulsifier. I just want to see the robot do to Banshee what it did to Malice. I want to see a fucking skull cracker of a shot. Banshee pulls away from the attack and once again tries to run around Emulsifier. Eventually Banshee tires of this and just tries to go all in and collides with Emulsifier’s front end. The impact causes Emulsifier to pull up to one side and Kenny Florian mistakes this as Banshee getting underneath Emulsifier. If that were the case we’d probably have seen a flip, dude.
Banshee backs away from Emulsifier and starts running away hitting everything along the arena wall in the process. Emulsifier very nearly lands a good shot on Banshee but its single stupid ass fork fails to get underneath Banshee so what winds up happening is Emulsifier hits Banshee from an odd angle and points its disc away from its opponent. This is why forks are fucking cancer. Banshee actually manages to get underneath Emulsifier for real but there’s no action from the flipper and instead Banshee darts away prompting Eric Wrigley from Emulsifier’s team to start taunting them. Emulsifier catches Banshee again and this time starts grinding up the side of the top panel on the left side of the robot but again no big power shots to speak of.
Eventually Banshee slowly bumps into the seam of the Killsaws and stops working. Eric continues to yell and shout about hitting Banshee from the back but unlike Riptide, Emulsifier’s driver Matt Bores holds off on slaughtering his opponent if they’re actually already dead. The ref starts counting down Banshee so yeah I guess the stupid thing is actually dead for real and no amount of wringing the transmitter seems to be able to bring it back to life. Another lackluster showing for both of these robots but again… I guess someone had to win. Hilariously I’d forgotten how this fight panned out so until I checked back to my notes I had just assumed Emulsifier lost this battle. Can you blame me for not committing this one to memory though?
WINNER: Emulsifier, KO
COPPERHEAD vs. KRAKEN
Up next we have a battle of the scalies unlike anything we’ve seen before. Copperhead. Kraken. Right now Copperhead is riding high at 2-0 and not just with two standard wins both of those wins are essentially one hit knockouts. Copperhead smashed into Bloodsport weapon-on-weapon and threw Bloodsport onto its lid while the shock of the impact dislodged Bloodsport’s weapon motor causing a small fire to erupt from the robot. Dead. Copperhead’s second fight was against Triton and as the robot landed a few glancing shots to deflect the spinner the first time we saw Copperhead land a hit of its own Triton’s whole ass exploded and the robot shit all of its guts out into the arena. Dead. Copperhead is just a tightly compact box of kinetic energy waiting to be unleashed. It’s as volatile as pure fucking sodium being thrown into water.
Kraken is 0-2 so far because this robot has just been plagued with issues since the start of the season. It’s mostly been drive problems for this robot because in its first two fights we’ve seen Kraken lose drive on one side almost immediately and then shed the rubber treads from its custom built wheels. Kraken lost to Beta despite landing some great shots with its new vertical spinner; Beta smashing down on Kraken’s weapon and disabling it was the decisive moment though. Kraken then lost to Lucky in a fight where it couldn’t even make it into its goddamned starting square since it had a dead side of drive. Lucky spent three minutes heaving this piece of shit around, end of story. In the test box footage we saw of Kraken before this fight the robot even sparks up and starts to smoke so who the fuck knows what kind of Kraken we’re going to get for this battle. At least it’s able to drive into the blue square on its own.
Kraken goes for a box rush and the robot almost seems to fast for its own good because as Copperhead turns left to avoid the incoming attack Kraken attempts to correct its orientation and winds up drifting all the way across the center of the arena through the red square and into the screws behind it. Copperhead takes advantage of the mishap and attacks Kraken landing some hits to the front of the robot and eventually dumping it under the Pulverizer where the hazard swings like a limp dick down onto Kraken’s head. Kraken looks like it just has no traction on the ground whatsoever because it’s trying to catch Copperhead and it just keeps oversteering and trying to compensate for it too much in the opposite direction. Kraken swings its hammer saw for some reason and this causes the robot to tip onto its ass allowing Copperhead to attack it once again.
Copperhead starts grinding its drum against Kraken’s face and drives the robot all the way back into the red square where, if you look closely, Kraken slides on its ass until its spinning blade shatters Copperhead’s little snake minibot. Copperhead is on Kraken this entire time landing all number of light hits that are bending up Kraken’s front wedges and ripping sparks off of its ass. Eventually Kraken gets pushed against the set of spikes jutting out from the screws and Copperhead lands a firm blow straight to Kraken’s back right wheel. Normally you’d think “well there goes that wheel and probably that side of drive since this is Kraken we’re talking about and this robot sucks this year”, but this hit actually kills all drive to Kraken somehow. Kraken is stalled facing the arena wall and as Copperhead backs off it decides to get even with Kraken for killing its little snake bot by murdering Wally the Narwhal.
Kraken is stuck in the red square and as Copperhead swings back in to smash into it the robot gets flipped over completely. Kraken seems to be able to self right from this position sometimes because it’s almost like its hammer saw arm doesn’t quite go back far enough to complete the roll. Copperhead tries to help its opponent by hitting Kraken in the dick while it’s down. Kraken gets knocked into the screws and the hazard makes for a platform for Kraken to brace against and it lands back onto its wheels. This is a useless endeavor though because it’s drive system is still fucking dead. The robot now just has the dignity to die right ways up.
Copperhead backs off realizing Kraken is no longer active and allows the ref to count it out. That’s three fights and three knockouts for Copperhead. Round four is against Ripperoni and I think that will be Copperhead’s biggest challenge yet. Could we see Copperhead sweep it all and got 4-0? What about 4-0 with four straight KO’s???
WINNER: Copperhead, KO
HORIZON vs. SHATTER
Kraken and Emulsifier were two 0-2 robots that showed up for this episode but now we have a fight between two more of them: Horizon and Shatter. Horizon is a uniquely designed horizontal spinner that abuses a loophole in the rules to have a spinning mass larger than 80 pounds. Don’t ask me how they did it because fuck if I know but Joshua Kong is clearly well read on the do’s and don’t’s of BattleBots. Despite being unlike anything we’ve seen before this hasn’t translated into wins, in Horizon’s first fight which was a shit show of a match with Shreddit Bro the robot lost because its discs didn’t work and it got popped onto the arena railing by its opponent. Horizon also fought Monsoon because I guess the producers have a sick sense of humor. I’m impressed Horizon made it back into the box for this fight because Monsoon cut through one whole side of Horizon’s drive and then cleaved a hole right into the bottom of the machine killing it outright. To rub salt on the open wound Kenny Florian even suggests Horizon won’t be accepted next season since it’s appearance this year was based largely on the novelty of its design. Damn, dude. Usually I’m the one who says shit like that.
Shatter is also 0-2 and it’s a bit of a sad story for Adam Wrigley because he’s lost to some truly great robots that his just couldn’t match up to. First in line was Huge and Shatter really had no recourse for such a massive robot; Shatter went in with its sword attachment but Huge used its massive wheels as shields in order to deflect blows and ultimately thrash Shatter’s chassis for a nasty KO. Shatter went on to face Beta, the robot who inspired Shatter’s design, and when it came time to cross hammers Beta came out ahead after it repeatedly bashed Shatter and warped its upper armor panels. This has been a really shitty season for team Bots FC but if Shatter’s sister robot Emulsifier just got its first win of the season then maybe this is Shatter’s opportunity to start course correcting too.
Horizon comes into this match with a stupid ass minibot that’s like ten feet long whose sole purpose is to get in Shatter’s way and presumably block it from attacking. That’s all fine and dandy but explain to me just how is this mobile chunk of PVC pipe going to achieve fucking anything? It weighs like five pounds maximum, Shatter’s just going to bat it away. Shatter has the opportunity to plow through the minibot but instead it goes wide to avoid Horizon. While this is going on Horizon has gotten both of its horizontal discs up to speed and draws first blood by slicing into Shatter’s front plow. Remember though this is all ablative armor on Shatter so in order to really damage it Horizon will need to get through the layer of plastic to hit the frame underneath. The hit kicks Horizon’s overhead bar into gear and it starts spinning around slowly before landing another bigger hit on Shatter’s plow. This is probably the most damage Horizon has done in its BattleBots career so far.
Horizon retreats to spin back up and Shatter makes the mistake of not pursuing it more closely. As Horizon comes back in to attack Shatter is busy avoiding the minibot and when Horizon slams back into Shatter the little robot gets sandwiched between the giants and I think it loses a wheel or something on one side which puts it out of commission. Minibots are fun and all but an important fact that a lot of people forget is killing a minibot counts as damage. Maybe not a lot of damage but it’s still damage. More teams should consider that before they bring dumb shit like that into the arena. As the minibot gets squished Shatter lands a shot to Horizon’s lid but the additional Tegris armor on Horizon absorbs the blow. Horizon spins back up and is able to land a great hit that slices across Shatter’s front and leaves a nice visible gash. The resulting impact really gets Horizon’s overhead bar going but unfortunately it expends all of its additional momentum hitting Shatter with the disc that doesn’t appear to be working properly.
Shatter charges at Horizon and misses with its stab attack but it gets swatted on its ass right as the force of its hammer causes Shatter to jump into the air. The trajectory of Horizon’s seemingly unintentional spank sends Shatter flying onto the goddamned Upper Deck. Bet you weren’t expecting to see that dumb hazard come into play during this fight! Shatter is able to get down from the shelf with a little bit of finagling and as it gets back into the fight Horizon’s bar is spinning up to speed once again but just like last time the disc that Shatter winds up getting hit with is the one that looks fucked up. These are some golden opportunities for Horizon to really show what its unconventional design can do and it’s failing to make an impression each time. Shatter starts being more aggressive as Joshua Kong tells Horizon’s driver to evade and as Shatter charges Horizon a second time Horizon’s disc manages to strike the corner of Shatter’s actual frame to do some damage and Shatter’s hammer swing causes the robot to spaz out.
Shatter is clearly behind on points now and it starts chasing Horizon down a little more recklessly. Horizon gets pushed against the arena wall and Shatter lands a hit with its pick axe. Horizon is still spinning both of its discs but it looks like both of them aren’t hitting as hard as they were earlier in the fight. Meanwhile Shatter swings and misses and is able to do a perfect 50-50 grind across Horizon’s self righting attachment. Unfortunately for Shatter this isn’t Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and “style” was only a judging criteria in the early seasons of Robot Wars so this isn’t worth any points. Horizon sneaks in a side attack with its one working disc while Shatter retaliates with some chopping attacks of its own damaging Horizon’s self righter.
Shatter seems to slow down and stop driving and starts firing off its hammer at nothing in order to shake itself around. One of these hits entangles it with Horizon momentarily before the cameras cut to Adam Wrigley saying “keep firing I’m having a hard time–”. Whatever Adam is saying is cut off but I think it’s a safe bet to assume he was about to say something about Shatter’s drive. Shatter swings wide around Horizon and brings its hammer down managing to sink it through one of the holes cut into Horizon’s disc. Again, no points for style. Horizon has started to slow down with neither of its discs spinning and Shatter jumps on the robot to land some attacks in the final seconds of the fight. Just before the buzzer Horizon is able to get out from against the wall and show the judges its weapons were still working making this a very close fight.
It’s a split decision that amazingly favors Horizon. I say “amazingly” mostly because in this robots previous two fights it did a whole lot of nothing but this time the design just worked. But still, this was a split and that means one judge scored the battle for Shatter so there’s clearly something there on the other side of this coin. Adam says he can’t let Shatter go to 0-3 and since this was a split decision he challenges the judges with an appeal. His argument is Horizon was fleeing for most of the battle, that Shatter wrecked the minibot, and that one of Horizon’s discs wasn’t spinning at the end of the fight. Bad news for Adam though is Horizon’s discs were definitely going even if they weren’t hitting max speed. The judges review the tape and when the verdict comes out Horizon keeps its win.
WINNER: Horizon, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
OMINOUS vs. SHREDDIT BRO
Pretty much everyone in this episode is on fight #3 but here’s a couple of slackers still on their second battle of the qualifiers. Ominous is fighting from the red square for this match and so far it’s failed to impress. Tim Bouwens was here a few years ago with a similar robot called Reality that finished with a decent 2-2 record. Reality featured a compact miniature drum spinner similar to what is seen on Ominous with the major difference being Ominous has omni wheels which give it extra maneuverability. This added drive ability didn’t translate to a win in its fight against Claw Viper because at 25 MPH Claw Viper out sped the 18 MPH Ominous and clamped down on it to take it for a tour of the arena. Ominous wound up stuck against the arena wall with no way to get back onto its wheels and lost by KO.
Shreddit Bro actually has a win coming into this fight but it was far from impressive; it was yet another one of those fights where I could see an argument to instate a “draw” for fights in BattleBots because it was literally that fucking bad. Horizon was Shreddit Bro’s opponent and even though we just saw a decently strong win from Horizon in the previous fight its first battle with Shreddit Bro was anything but. Horizon arguably had the upper hand by damaging one of Shreddit Bro’s wheels but Shreddit Bro was able to luck its way into a couple of hits with its drum that popped Horizon into the air and against the arena wall. The bots ended the fight stuck on each other and when the verdict came in Shreddit Bro was declared the winner… because, again, someone had to win. Evan Arias formerly competed with Pain Train for the past couple of seasons and while similar that robot was just a complete and total disaster. Shreddit Bro is based upon his successful three pound robot of the same name so we’ll see if this robot is ready to deliver a proper fight this time.
Shreddit Bro creeps out of its starting square and then just pauses in the middle of the arena while it tries to get its drum spinning. Right now it’s slowly rolling in the wrong fucking direction. I don’t know how you fuck up that badly but okay. Ominous has started driving out of the red square sideways keeping its front end pointed at Shreddit Bro and swings in for a hit that connects with the chunk of blue plastic padding on Shreddit Bro’s left side. Shreddit Bro finally gets its drum spinning before turning to face Ominous and landing a shot weapon-on-weapon that flips Ominous over. Ominous’ discs dig into the arena floor and fling the robot all the way across the goddamned arena into the short corner. Ominous has a srimech which it starts to try and use but the robot slams into the side wall with enough force that the impact knocks it back onto its wheels on its own. Shreddit Bro’s team celebrates the hit but it doesn’t come without damage. Not only is there a visible notch dug into Shreddit’s Bro’s drum the fact that I can see that notch means the drum isn’t fucking spinning.
Ominous drifts across the arena to ram into Shreddit Bro but its discs also aren’t working. Ominous’ weapon looks like it keeps trying to spin up but there’s just no muscle behind it, something we’ve seen time and time again when a spinner absorbs too much damage. The two bots lock heads and vie for pushing superiority but Shreddit Bro breaks away to try and maneuver around to Ominous’ side. I don’t know how that’s going to work because Ominous can literally drive sideways so no matter which way you come at it Ominous is going to be able to push back against you. Shreddit Bro would be wise to just lock heads face to face and try to tractor pull its way to victory here. Ominous’ weapon shows signs of life but again the second it makes contact with Shreddit Bro it just stops. Speaking of “it just stops” Shreddit Bro hits a rough patch or some shit in the floor because all of a sudden its wheels start getting zero traction and spin against the ground without going anywhere. Ominous has a golden opportunity to hit Shreddit Bro’s wheels but its fucking weapon is a piece of shit so it just lets this gaping anus of a hit pass it by.
This fight is so fucking shitty that the BattleBots editors whip out something I’ve literally never seen before. The fight shrinks down so a picture-in-picture can fit on the screen and Chris Rose starts promoting the upcoming main event fight between Monsoon and Whiplash complete with spoken clips from Matt Vasquez and Tom Brewster. There’s so little to commentate on in this mess of a fight that they have to talk about a fight that hasn’t even fucking happened yet. This segment lasts forty goddamned seconds. I timed it. That’s nearly a third of the entire running time of this battle and its not even about this fucking battle! And you know what? You still wouldn’t have missed anything if you paid attention to the little insert video teasing the main event. Ominous manages to tap Shreddit Bro in such a way that Shreddit Bro flips over. That’s literally all you’d miss from not watching the fight and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t even matter because Shreddit Bro sucks no matter which way is up.
The battle ends with little left to watch in the time remaining after the main event insert. Ominous does a victory spin when the buzzer sounds. Sit your fucking asses down you don’t get to do that in a fight this dire. Because Ominous arguably had a “working” weapon at the end of the match, and I guess because it flipped Shreddit Bro over, the judges give the win to Ominous but I’m still going to stress that we should have a rule where nobody wins fights like this. Do you want either of these robots in the Round of 32? Yeah maybe fighting against fucking Tombstone or some shit. We find out at the end of the episode that Shreddit Bro had the fucking gall to challenge this judges’ decision. A unanimous decision, challenged. Is the team just trying to waste everyone’s time? Fuck off with that nonsense.
WINNER: Ominous, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
WHIPLASH vs. MONSOON
Rounding out this episode’s strangely inflated roster of 0-2 robots is… Whiplash?? Yeah, Whiplash is 0-2 right now. Going by the discussions in the robot combat community it seems like every year there’s a strong team who just gets absolutely cursed for one season and this year that just might be Whiplash. It’s inexplicable how badly Whiplash has performed so far but to help ease the pain the robot has lost to some of the show’s strongest hitters. Whiplash’s first loss came at the hands of Mad Catter who was simply able to line up a perfect shot on this robot’s ass. Mad Catter followed through on the attack and wrecked Whiplash so hard that the robot’s surviving parts had to be transplanted into a new fucking chassis. After one fight. Whiplash then met Hypershock who is here after winning the Giant Bolt for Most Destructive Robot last season. Hypershock is no joke and its spinning ninja star blades were able to slice up Whiplash and knock its batteries loose for a fiery KO. Now it faces Monsoon who has a weapon that’s potentially stronger than Hypershock’s.
Monsoon is the latest robot in the lineage of Tauron, a competitor from Robot Wars that could never make it out of the heats. Originally built back when Tom Brewster was a lowly video game tester this machine has grown into a behemoth of a fighter that has serious knockout power. Monsoon is one of the many international competitors who couldn’t make it to BattleBots due to the pandemic but that time off only gave Tom more time to refine his robot and make it the deadliest it could possibly be. We saw glimmers of that in its opening round fight with Black Dragon but arena debris got jammed in Monsoon’s blade and killed it leaving it vulnerable to being tipped onto its side. Monsoon rebounded in its battle with Horizon by utterly destroying its opponent with two well placed shots, one of which destroyed Horizon’s side of drive and the other carving into the bottom baseplate for the kill. Monsoon’s 40+ pound weapon disc for this fight is called The Mauler and the robot will need every edge it can muster to defeat a backed-into-the-corner Whiplash.
Monsoon spins up but Whiplash gets in its face right away slamming it back into one of the short corners and toppling the British robot. Monsoon recovers and keeps its weapon spinning upward, something not a lot of vertical spinners are able to do, and gets back into the center of the arena to bring the fight out into the open. Monsoon gets stuck on Whiplash’s front end again but does this weird pivot thing where it turns sharply and gets like a kickflip in or something? It hits Whiplash with it and pops it into the air and if you take a good long look at Whiplash’s underside you can see all of the patches and spots that have been fixed over the years where other robots have wrecked this robot’s shit. At least paint over that stuff, come on. Monsoon gets spinning again and as Whiplash comes in from a weird angle Monsoon’s spinner catches it and throws the robot back a few feet. Whiplash very nearly flips over but is able to catch itself with its lifting arm and stay on its wheels. While this is happening Monsoon should be in there landing a follow-up shot but its disc wasn’t ready and Tom flubs on the controls letting Monsoon drift out of control.
Whiplash starts controlling the fight and pushes Monsoon into the arena screws behind both the red and blue squares back to back. As it’s shoved into the screws though Monsoon clips Whiplash’s chassis and peels up its top left panel of armor. Earlier in the fight Monsoon cut a divot into the front plow of Monsoon and I think this hit came as a result of Monsoon’s weapon tooth digging straight into that same divot to hit the chassis. Definitely a skill shot. Or dumb luck. One or the other. Whiplash drags Monsoon into the short corner again and uses its front forks to spear Monsoon against the wall and pin it there for a few seconds not letting Monsoon move or strike with its disc. Monsoon is stuck perfectly on those front forks and Whiplash is able to drive around with Monsoon on its face to ram it into the walls a couple of times. There are sparks being flayed from Whiplash’s face by Monsoon but this is all superficial and no real damage is being done. The robots separate and as Monsoon charges at Whiplash is misses and just watch how far this robot slides across the arena floor as it pivots and turns to try and recollect itself for another go. Fucking hell.
The two bots collide and a shower of sparks emits from Whiplash’s face as Monsoon digs in. A second blow results in more of the same but also tips Monsoon over backwards. For what feels like the tenth time in this fight Monsoon has to power down its spinner and then rev it back up in the opposite direction in order to stay spinning upward. Whiplash is able to corral Monsoon underneath one of the Pulverizers and I guess whoever is pushing the hammer buttons for Whiplash isn’t paying attention because Matt has to shout “HAMMER” to get the hazard to drop and when it does he gets two pops. I’d be on that button like fucking crazy. You’ve seen how fast that hammer could come down back in the days when Pete Lambertson was the hazard operator. He dropped that shit like once per second. Monsoon gets away and trips on the Killsaws but this is only a momentary pause because the robot is right back to being stuck on Whiplash’s face.
Monsoon has severely bent Whiplash’s front right fork and as the robot is pushed against the center spire of the Upper Deck the fork gets torn off leaving Whiplash with only one left. Whiplash also starts driving like its left side of drive has just given out so yeah however the fuck that happened. Whiplash seems to have traded out its left side of drive for weapon functionality because the spinning disc embedded in its lifting arm springs back to life. It’s not able to land any meaningful hits but now the judges can’t say Monsoon disabled it so that could’ve been a strategic play by Matt to spin down the weapon if he wasn’t going to need it for the majority of the fight. Monsoon and Whiplash lock heads one last time as the final few seconds of the battle count down and although there’s no big hit to end the battle with a bang this has still been a very close fight.
It’s another split decision, no surprise. The winning robot is Whiplash however and strangely Tom’s post-fight interview is cut from this episode presumably because he said he was going to appeal the decision and there’s not enough time left in the show to buy time between commercial breaks. Instead the appeal gets glossed over at the end of the episode and to make matters worse for Tom the judge who originally had his back, Lisa Winter, changes her mind and switches her verdict to Whiplash making this a unanimous decision in the end. Tough luck, man.
WINNER: Whiplash, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
As this episode comes to a close Kenny Florian starts spitballing some ideas for robots that are in good form to make the Round of 32 and those who are either on the edge or probably not making it in. I’ve really got nothing to say about the robots on track to qualify because their win/loss records speak for themselves. There isn’t anyone on the list who has some bullshit win that was boring as hell. As for the robots in the middle category that can still make it in with a strong finish I’m kind of rolling my eyes at Overhaul being on there. Deathroll too, Deathroll is 2-1 and has performed about as well as it did in 2019 aside from its loss to Cobalt. The robots that Kenny highlights, Blip, Hypershock, and Tantrum, will still probably qualify just because of who they are. Even at 1-3 I can see them getting low seeds and making it in. Finally out of the robots in the “in trouble” category this is our chance to sneer at robots like Shreddit Bro and Hijinx or whatever. This is where the robots with bogus wins wound up along with all of the currently winless competitors. It’s weird seeing Ribbot and Shatter on this list but their fights were disasters.
Like I said at the beginning of the article we’re now two-thirds of the way through the Fight Night qualifiers. Apparently there is a two week break coming up in the airing of BattleBots for reasons that are not clear to me so that means I get to take a fucking breather for a little while. I’m getting too old for this shit, I swear. When BattleBots comes back from its brief hiatus we’ll have some more great fights to look forward to. Black Dragon and Beta will do battle as will Rotator and Bloodsport. Early teasers of Rotator’s battle show that it should be a good one. Captain Shrederator will be put back together for its final match against Jackpot. Cobalt will probably shred Overhaul to pieces. Gigabyte faces Starchild in a battle that probably won’t go the same way Gigabyte’s match with Huge did a few years back. Triton has apparently been fixed and will be fighting Glitch. Ominous is back (sarcastic “yay”) to fight Switchback (another sarcastic “yay”). Hard to say who the main event fighters will be. Beta and Black Dragon?
I’m going to make an effort to make the midseason break a productive one so you’ll see the fruits of that very soon I hope. In the meantime if you want to support BattleBots Update you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-off donation with Ko-Fi. A big thank you to JK for their recent Ko-Fi contribution. Their favorite gag was the phrase “paint lasagna” in the previous week’s post. I try to post stuff on Facebook when I can so be sure to follow BBU there for updates and everything else.
See you next week in a while!