It’s BattleBots Update time once again and we are now in a post-RoboGames 2023 world. I’m writing this article later than usual (and as such stressing myself out to get it done in time) because I just spent four days restreaming RoboGames on my Twitch channel where I mostly just bantered about the robots and told unfunny jokes until Manta sent pieces of robots through the arena ceiling on three fucking occasions, then I started doing my nervous laughing tic as viewers made clips of the incidents and spread them around. For a brief period my channel became a “free speech zone” where I wouldn’t ban viewers for talking about the integrity of the RoboGames arena unlike the official channel where that was a bannable offense. Not a good look. I plan on writing a piece about RoboGames 2023 soon but first I have to get this fucking article out of the way and I’m already behind schedule. Look, I just want to eat my hoagies in peace.
Enough about that. Let’s talk about BattleBots now. As we approach the end of the Fight Night rounds we’re seeing even more robots end their qualifiers. Newcomer Emulsifier will try to claw its way into the Round of 32 as it fights the undefeated Quantum. Rotator and Fusion face off in a battle of the horizontal spinners. 0-3 Ribbot will try and not wind up winless when it battles Skorpios. In the main event Copperhead looks to make Ripperoni it’s fourth victim and go 4-0 in the qualification rounds. There’s also an exhibition match in this episode between Dragon King and Terrortops, two robots who previously won their first exhibitions. Shreddit Bro is in this episode too because this show is two hours long and there needs to be mandatory pee breaks besides the obvious commercial breaks.
EMULSIFIER vs. QUANTUM
Emulsifier is a championship-tier robot… in the 30 pound division. This scaled up version of the NHRL superstar has been met with a complicated rookie year at BattleBots. Out of the gate Emulsifier had an explosive debut battle with Team Whyachi’s Fusion where some mega hits were traded back and forth between the two robots. Fusion smoked out but Emulsifier lost a side of drive and the judges ruled that as being the more significant damage so Fusion was given the decision. Emulsifier came out firing on all cylinders against Malice and destroyed the front end of its opponent leaving it crippled and flipped over onto its twisted frame. This was Emulsifier’s battle until the robot lost a side of drive and got stuck on debris or something because it just fucking died and ceded the victory to Malice who didn’t do anything in that battle except get its shit pushed in. Fortune finally shined its light on Emulsifier when it fought Banshee but this battle sucked and no major hits were landed by either robot, just a lot of bumping and grinding. Emulsifier has one “good loss”, a “bad win”, and a match where it just utterly failed. I don’t know if a win here can save its chances for the tournament.
James and Grant Cooper are a couple of engineering geniuses who put their heads together and essentially built Razer 2.0. I don’t know if they hate that comparison or not but that’s what Quantum fucking is. Razer is a legendary UK robot and Quantum is a similar design with a hell of a lot more power behind its crusher. It’s 3-0 right now and looking to finish its qualifiers with a perfect record. Quantum was given an underhanded pitch in its first match where it faced Captain Shrederator; there was nothing Shrederator could really do to Quantum except get chewed on and Quantum eventually hit something important and got the kill. Gruff was next in line and for all the talk there is of Gruff being an indefatigable tank Quantum’s tooth sliced right through all that steel and earned the team its second KO. Black Dragon was arguably Quantum’s first major hurdle but the robot held its ground and with a little luck and some expert driving it was able to land the shots it needed. Quantum eventually bit down around Black Dragon’s drum causing it to seize up and lock the two robots together. They could not be separated in a reasonable amount of time so the fight was called and sent to the judges who returned a favorable decision for Quantum.
Quantum is wearing its large steel plow for this match whereas Emulsifier has removed its own massive plow and is instead just going with its bare frame in order to put its weapon as far out in front of the robot as it can. Quantum charges in as Emulsifier is getting its disc spun up and Emulsifier lands an uppercut that shears off one of Quantum’s two crushing teeth. Early aggression from Quantum but early damage from Emulsifier. Without missing a beat Quantum goes right back on the attack with its one good tooth and bites down directly onto Emulsifier’s left tread. This looks like a great attack at first until you realize that Emulsifier has two tread belts on either side and Quantum’s tooth just sank between them and is biting down on nothing but air. Still it’s a successful bite and grapple and Quantum is carrying its opponent around so even if that tooth isn’t going into Emulsifier’s fucking skull Quantum is racking up points with the judges. Emulsifier spins up to speed and lands a hit and this somehow does no damage. Emulsifier tries to get going again but Quantum gets in its face and bites down around one of the steel “walls” that Matt Bores put on his robot to keep Quantum away. Apparently that opening shot to Quantum’s teeth did more damage than I thought because the other tooth just sorta falls off. Chris Rose makes a joke about having a recurring nightmare where his teeth fall out. I made this joke years ago when someone knocked Kraken’s fucking teeth out and people laughed at me. Are you going to laugh at Chris Rose now too?
Quantum is down to giving gummies now and as it grabs down onto Emulsifier’s chassis it hits one of the angled edges of the protective steel chunks on Emulsifier and pops one off. Just goes to show you how much bite force this thing has when it’s still doing damage without its goddamed teeth. Emulsifier gets rammed into the wall and I want you to appreciate the divot that its disc carves into the spike strip and then look at how brazenly Quantum is just going in for attacks. Quantum gives zero fucks. If you pay close attention you’ll notice Emulsifier is down one set of tracks; its left side has stopped working so I guess that whole “biting down on thin air between the treads” bit from me was fucking wrong. I don’t see how Quantum could’ve disabled the treads with the bite it had so maybe Emulsifier is just a piece of shit after all. Quantum carries Emulsifier around and looks like it wants to ram it into the Upper Deck because it lines up a shot and then peels out burning rubber as it tries to power forward. Quantum eventually lets go of Emulsifier and when it does it’s revealed that Emulsifier has been dead for a while because it’s doing a whole lot of fucking nothing right now.
Matt runs around to the side of the arena thinking it’s a possible transmitter range issue. No Matt it’s not the transmitter that sucks, it’s the robot. The ref starts to count Emulsifier out but against all odds Emulsifier comes back to life because it really wants to lose by decision instead of KO. Quantum rams into Emulsifier again and the robots entangle themselves until Quantum backs off leaving Emulsifier stuck on a piece of something on the floor. I can’t tell what it is but I think it might be one of Quantum’s teeth from earlier because there was one on the floor behind Emulsifier and it got kicked around when the robots started fighting again. The ref starts to count Emulsifier down a second time but it’s saved by the buzzer. Well, “saved” is the wrong term to use; the fight ends due to time expiring. Nothing is saving Emulsifier from this shit show. It’s done.
Quantum does what Sawblaze could not and becomes this season’s first robot to finish the Fight Nights with a perfect 4-0! A wonderful change of pace for once because Quantum is a non-spinner design and it’s always great to see other kinds of robots cutting a significant path for themselves. Quantum isn’t just in the Round of 32 it’s in there with a very high seeding. Emulsifier on the other hand? Well, I think it’s time for Bots FC to pack up half of their pit area.
WINNER: Quantum, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
GIGABYTE vs. END GAME
Gigabyte is usually a pretty heavy hitter and out of the two shell spinners that routinely show up to BattleBots it’s the better one but this season has been kind of a disaster for the team and its rookie captains. It’s only about to get worse now that they’re facing End Game. Gigabyte did a respectable amount of damage to Free Shipping it its first fight but after getting deflected off of Free Shipping’s wedges Gigabyte flew into the wall and lost its directional mast. Said mast also acts as a self righting tool so when Free Shipping flipped Gigabyte over it just spun around on its head until its guts separated like a fucking centrifuge of shit and died. Bloodsport was another tough opponent but one that Gigabyte could’ve defeated until another big blow sent it ricocheting across the arena and into the wall. This time Gigabyte cooked a speed controller and shed a drive belt leaving it motionless. Starchild wound up being Gigabyte’s first win of the season and this piece of shit might as well have been a win by forfeit because there was literally nothing Starchild could do except get shredded by Gigabyte. That’s not a very impressive win and with End Game on the horizon Gigabyte could very well go 1-3. We saw what Hypershock did to this thing last year.
End Game came into this season as the #1 ranked robot. A former champion and the current holder of the Golden Bolt this thing is a fucking nightmare. Just ask Blip who didn’t remotely stand a chance against End Game and its ridiculous forks. End Game tore apart Blip’s front end meaning Blip couldn’t get any leverage on End Game to get a flip. If you want to talk about “ridiculous forks” though look no further than End Game’s stupid fucking setup it had for Ripperoni. Immediately End Game got jammed in the Killsaws letting Ripperoni get a running start at its tender flower. End Game actually lost that fight which was a shocker for sure but it was able to course correct and defeat Hypershock in a main event showdown that left Hypershock missing half of its tires and drive chains. In all of its B-roll End Game is seen with its wedge plow attachment and now, this late into the season, we’re finally fucking seeing it. Forks are useless against a shell spinner such as Gigabyte so these armored plates will take the brunt of the impact and allow End Game to keep up with its opponent.
A new thing that the shell spinners are trying out in these past few seasons are these little spiked wedges that attach to the base of the robot (the part that doesn’t spin) and stick out in front of the shell to get underneath opponents and tee up a shot. Gigabyte has one for this fight and as End Game creeps toward it you can see that the attachment is doing fuck all for Gigabyte. End Game’s disc clips the plow clean off of Gigabyte and starts nudging the spinner into the short corner. End Game lands a killer uppercut that throws Gigabyte straight into the wall where the hazard operators are sitting. There’s a lot to unpack with this hit but the most apparent thing is that the force of Gigabyte slamming into the wall is enough to break the fucking clock that’s behind the Lexan. The polycarbonate flexes from the hit so much that it dislodges the timer and shuts it off. Maybe a cable or something came loose I don’t know but Jesus fucking Christ that was a big hit. Gigabyte also loses its directional mast, again, as well as one of its two big steel shell teeth.
Gigabyte starts rolling around like a spun coin allowing End Game to land multiple hits and Camden is just watching on in amazement at how poorly his battle plan is unfolding before his eyes. End Game gets another big bite on a retreating Gigabyte and throws it all the way over the goddamned deck and into the other short corner where an expertly timed Pulverizer hit adds insult to injury on the now upside-down spinner. Normally Gigabyte can recover from this but it sort of had its mast snapped off and rammed all the way up its ass a second ago so much like the Free Shipping fight Gigabyte is toast. At 3-1 End Game might not be the #1 seed this season but it’s in no doubt, at 1-3 I think this is where Gigabyte’s run ends.
WINNER: End Game, KO
SHREDDIT BRO vs. OVERHAUL
Shreddit Bro is in this fight so that means you can go make a sandwich or take a piss or jerk off or whatever and not miss anything important. This robot fights like a piece of shit and I have no idea how the people behind BattleBots saw it fit to fly as a full competitor this year. Shreddit Bro is the evolution of former competitor Pain Train which was also a lackluster robot but it seems all the team did was add two more wheels to the robot and not fix literally anything else. Shreddit Bro has a win but that was against Horizon which is a weird design that didn’t fully work and Shreddit Bro stumbled into a couple of hits that left it ahead on the scorecards. The sooner we forget about this robot’s fight with Ominous the better because the only thing anyone remembers from that fight was when the editors spliced in footage of the upcoming main event battle in that episode. Shreddit Bro also fought Lucky and in that fight we found out it’s the perfect size to slot right behind the screws and get stuck. I don’t believe Shreddit Bro can beat Overhaul, and this is fucking Overhaul I’m talking about here. I’m giving the edge to fucking Overhaul.
Overhaul has been around the BattleBots block many times and I think its best year was back in 2015. Yeah that’s the first year of the BattleBots reboot but I sincerely think that was Overhaul’s best showing. Since then it’s mostly been a non-threat and easy points for anyone who’s drawn to fight it. Shreddit Bro has been drawn to fight Overhaul and like I said I think Overhaul can win this easily. Overhaul actually started the year off with a win over Starchild where, despite Starchild’s massive size, Overhaul was able to catch it and take it around the box to win the control game. The buck stopped there however because Claw Viper was next and Claw Viper proved to be the better grappler bot by a fucking country mile because Overhaul had no counter to Claw Viper’s speed. Overhaul also fought Cobalt and lost via KO to the surprise of absolutely no one. I don’t think either of these robots have what it takes to make it into the Round of 32 even though one of them is about to reach 2-2. This might as well have been an exhibition battle.
Shreddit Bro spins up its drum and manages to drive across the arena already setting the tone for this fight as the one where this lame ass robot has done more than any other battle this season. Overhaul grabs Shreddit Bro by the back right tire and picks it up for a slam before grappling straight onto Shreddit Bro’s drum, which stops immediately, in a manner similar to a cut rate version of Quantum versus Black Dragon. Overhaul picks up Shreddit Bro and nearly tips forward because it’s been seven seasons and Charles Guan hasn’t figured out how the concept of center of gravity works. Overhaul carries Shreddit Bro to the screws and starts gently bumping it against the arena rails. This isn’t doing any damage at all – even to Shreddit Bro – but it is scoring points in the “control” category for Overhaul. Overhaul can only carry Shreddit Bro for so long until it has to let go so as Overhaul raises up its grappling jaw it raises it lifting claws one last time to roll Shreddit Bro onto its lid. Shreddit Bro gets away and starts spinning up its drum. There’s a death hum, yeah, but do you think that matters? Overhaul cruises in, scoops Shreddit Bro back up, and tips Shreddit Bro forward causing the robot to expend all of its kinetic energy into the fucking floor.
Overhaul picks up Shreddit Bro a second time and starts slamming it against one of the spires of the Upper Deck. Again, no damage but definitely control points. Shreddit Bro gets backed into the short corner and for some reason Overhaul doesn’t press harder on its opponent, instead it backs away across the floor and allows Shreddit Bro to spin its drum up. The two robots smash together in the center of the arena and one of Overhaul’s front forks manages to catch one of the belts of Shreddit Bro’s drum and snap it. Shreddit Bro still has one belt left but now the weapon will be spinning at half power meaning if you really wanted to you could reach in there and stop it yourself. Kenny Florian says this is the strongest we’ve seen Shreddit Bro’s weapon right as Overhaul spins out and slams a wheel into the drum to stop it. If this were Minotaur that wheel would be fucking gone but against Shreddit Bro the wheel wins the exchange. Overhaul backs Shreddit Bro into the corner of the arena and tries to flip it over again. It fails but I guess these are “aggression” points now?
With a minute left on the clock Overhaul rolls Shreddit Bro over for the fiftieth time this fight and then proceeds to get its forks stuck in the Killsaws so when the hazard pops up it rips chunks of rubber off of Overhaul’s wheels. Shreddit Bro has been spinning up to speed this whole time however and as Overhaul arrives in the center of the box to meet it Shreddit Bro lands a hit with its drum that actually tips Overhaul over backwards forcing it to self right. Well slap my ass and call me Mandy it only took four fucking fights but I guess there’s some bite in that weapon after all, and it didn’t immediately die after that hit either! Overhaul starts to bully Shreddit Bro around and lures it into a hit from the Killsaws but as Shreddit Bro recovers from the shot it spins around and plinks Overhaul onto its side yet again. Overhaul stays in Shreddit Bro’s face and as the clock ticks down on this battle Overhaul gets toppled over a third time. The grappler self rights once more and with about five seconds left on the clock Overhaul goes suspiciously quiet. Kenny notes that Overhaul lost its drive at the very end of the fight meaning if this battle were ten seconds longer Overhaul would’ve lost to Shreddit Bro. Fucking hell.
Because there wasn’t enough time to count out Overhaul, much like Emulsifier, the fight goes to the judges. It’s a split decision and the winner turns out to be fucking Shreddit Bro. Given that Overhaul’s entire goddamned drivetrain gave up at the end of the fight I kind of can’t argue with the judges’ call. Shreddit Bro’s big moments in the fight were definitely in the last 60 seconds and I guess three decent shots were enough to undo all the lifting and control exhibited by Overhaul in the first two minutes. Look I don’t make these calls I just make fun of them. Overhaul lost to Shreddit Bro. I’ve already described robots as an “underhanded pitch” in this article so to avoid using the same simile twice I’ll just say Shreddit Bro isn’t an underhanded pitch it’s a fucking tee ball. And Overhaul fucked it up. Not only do I think Shreddit Bro should be out of BattleBots next season I think it’s also time we say goodbye to Overhaul and give it the Ol’ Yeller treatment.
WINNER: Shreddit Bro, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
ROTATOR vs. FUSION
Rotator is an old standby in BattleBots now, a reliable machine that’s capable of reaching the main tournament pretty much every time it shows up. So how did it get to be 1-2 coming into its fourth and final Fight Night bout? Rotator was redesigned for this season so what we’re seeing is a brand new robot and with new robots come new problems. In Rotator’s first fight against Hydra the match had to be postponed due to radio problems on Rotator’s part. When the fight eventually happened the robot wasn’t at its best and got dunked on hard. Rotator returned to the pits for more troubleshooting before coming out against Jackpot in the next round. Rotator’s disc was only operating at half power for this fight due to the aforementioned gremlins but even at half strength it was enough to kick Jackpot’s ass and win by KO. Rotator was finally operating at 100% for its battle against Bloodsport but one major driving fuck up at the start of the fight pointed Rotator’s left wheel at Bloodsport instead of its plow and Bloodsport took the free hit and with it the fight as well. Rotator is fully functional coming into this final fight but a win here is mandatory for it to advance.
Ah, Fusion. The “other Whyachi bot” forever destined to live in the shadows of its meaner bigger brother Hydra. Reese Ewert has something unique with this evolution of the abject shit that was Falcon what with the horizontal and vertical spinning discs but there’s so much compacted into such a little package that Fusion often kills itself by burning up. Such was the case in its first match with Emulsifier. Fusion came out swinging and tore up Emulsifier’s front plow and even disabled a side of drive but late into the fight Fusion started smoking. The fight went to the judges who believed Fusion did more damage overall and thus gave Fusion the win. That was Fusion’s first and only win so far. The indomitable Witch Doctor was next in line and normally you’d think this was a free throw for Witch Doctor but honestly Fusion brought its A game to this battle. It was extremely close but due to Fusion losing drive on one side the judges ruled against the Whyachi bot this time. Finally there was Huge and honestly what the fuck was Fusion supposed to do to this thing, piss on the wheels? Fusion couldn’t hit Huge in any meaningful way so Huge wound up cleaving into Fusion’s chassis and knocked its top panel loose killing Fusion with that hit.
Fusion’s main advantage in this fight is that both of its weapons can get up to speed incredibly fast probably because there’s some expensive brushless motor or some shit under the hood. Rotator’s disc takes longer to spin up prompting Victor to back his robot into Fusion spikes first. Fusion grinds some sparks off with its vertical discs before turning to whip around with its horizontal spinner. The weapon catches the side of Rotator and for a moment reality’s physics engine blows up because Fusion is violently flung across the arena into the center spire of the Upper Deck. Fusion seems okay after the hit but it’s now upside-down. The robot tries to use the gyroscopic force of its vertical discs to reel itself over but the problem is there’s like this 40 pound fucking triangle spinning on a different axis generating its own gyroscopic nightmare so Fusion just leans up, strikes the floor, and falls back onto its ass. Rotator comes in to take advantage of the situation and lands a hit to Fusion and Fusion responds with a blow of its own that spins the robot into the center of the arena.
Rotator looks stunned because for a moment its weapon starts to spin down but after a few seconds it springs back to life. Rotator tries to back into Fusion once more and as Fusion does its whip move it brings its horizontal spinner into the side of Rotator hitting the wheel guard. So far the armor is holding up but too many hits like that can easily bend the metal into Rotator’s wheel and screw everything up. That might not be something Victor needs to worry about however because after that blow Fusion’s triangle disc is silent. Rotator scoops up Fusion and tries to push it into the screws and as Fusion attempts to break free a small puff of smoke comes out of the front of the robot. Any time Fusion starts to smoke it could be The End™ but for now the robot is still functional. Its horizontal even comes back to life as it evades Rotator. Rotator winds up catching Fusion and lands a hit to its left side and this looks to be a perfect shot because it disables Fusion’s drive.
Thanks to the new rules this season Fusion will not be counted out even though it’s just spinning in place. Rotator has to come in to finish the job but this is easier said than done because now Fusion has been reduced to a massive horizontal spinner that can pivot in place and track your every move. The editors cut to the rarely seen thermal cam and sure enough Fusion looks like the fucking sun. As soon as they cut back to normal footage a small fire erupts under Fusion from its lid. Rotator senses weakness and comes in for an attack and manages to clip the side of Fusion’s vertical spinner and knock the entire fucking thing crooked. The fire inside of Fusion seems to have killed the robot though meaning as usual Fusion has cooked itself and given the win to its opponent. Rotator makes it to 2-2 and will probably advance into the Round of 32 whereas Fusion could potentially be going home. Fusion is always on the verge of greatness but I believe a full redesign shouldn’t be off the table for Team Whyachi, the robot needs to not blow the fuck up all the time.
WINNER: Rotator, KO
SKORPIOS vs. RIBBOT
Once upon a time Skorpios was a robot that I wrote off because in its first ever match it drove under the screws and killed itself. That was seven goddamned years ago. Today Skorpios is a solid middle of the road competitor with a new (and great) driver that generally makes it to the Round of 32. It doesn’t make it that far in the tournament but it punches its ticket season after season. Case in point Skorpios is on track to reach the brackets this year as long as it does reasonably well in this fight, win or lose. Like Rotator from the previous fight Skorpios also has a win over Jackpot, one by KO thanks to Skorpios shunting Jackpot backwards letting it get a cheap shot on its underside. Believe it or not Big fucking Dill gave Skorpios a real run for its money but since it was Big Dill the robot just stopped working on its own and died. When it came time to fight fellow hammer saw Sawblaze Zach Lytle saw it fit to equip Skorpios with the giant blade from Overkill and this went about as well as you expect. We were denied the “battle of the hammer saws” and Skorpios wound up getting flipped and pinned against the screws.
Last season Ribbot was the overall 2nd seed going into the main tournament. This season it’s 0-3. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Ribbot was given a tough but understandable first opponent with Witch Doctor in what definitely feels like the first episode of the season because this fight had to have happened an eternity ago. Ribbot and Witch Doctor went head to head and Ribbot just didn’t come out the winner in their exchanges, simple as. Claw Viper should have been an easy opponent however as we all now know Claw Viper got its shit together in the off season and became a beast. Allow me to summarize this battle by reminding you that Claw Viper slammed Ribbot into the arena wall so fucking hard that it broke the laminated layer of polycarbonate and made the BattleBots safety crew consider investing in even thicker fucking glass. Ribbot battled Jackpot after that loss and managed to lose again when Jackpot was somehow able to knock all of the wheels off of one side of Ribbot. Ribbot landed some good hits and bent Jackpot’s weapon but when you’re removing entire sides of drive that’s easily going to win over the judges. At this point I don’t think Ribbot can make it into the tournament even with a win and that’s fucking crazy.
For this battle Skorpios has some sturdy wedge-like protrusions on its front plow and Ribbot has an assortment of forks of varying length. Skorpios wins the ground game early on and gets underneath Ribbot and pushes it back into the wall. Skorpios tries to get its hammer saw up to speed but it’s not getting there. Zach throws a punch anyways and manages to drop his hammer saw’s fucking weapon sprocket directly into Ribbot’s spinner and immediately loses the chain. Can I just say how underwhelming that hammer saw has been this entire season? I know Skorpios has two wins but in neither of those fights did it really need to use its weapon; Jackpot got flipped over and couldn’t self right and Big Dill crapped out on its own. Even when Skorpios landed a low blow on Jackpot all it could muster was denting in the baseplate when in the past we’ve seen Skorpios shred metal. Skorpios even managed to slice into the arena wall one year. Where’s that Skorpios? This current one blows chodes.
Skorpios swipes with its dead hammer saw a couple more times and achieves nothing all while Ribbot pushes back against Skorpios’ onslaught. Eventually Skorpios has to back away from the pin and when it does so Ribbot springs an attack that dings Skorpios’ left wheel. Ribbot gets on top of Skorpios’ front fork things again and is carried around the Upper Deck to its other side where it finally falls off of the forks and tries to attack Skorpios. Skorpios’ forks are successfully keeping Ribbot away until Skorpios spins around for some dumb ass reason and opens its ass end up to attack. Ribbot is desperate for a win and this is a free hit on a silver platter so it dives right in and knocks Skorpios up and onto its spinning disc. Ribbot appears to dislodge a metal chunk from underneath Skorpios’ right fork and as Skorpios drives away it backs itself into the wall where Ribbot charges it and is able to punch it square in the dick. Skorpios seems a little weary after this shot but is able to spin back around and lock heads with Ribbot to try and push it under the Pulverizer.
Ribbot stays locked with Skorpios until its spinner catches Skorpios’ left fork and pops the front of it off. Skorpios gets spun around in the fray allowing Ribbot to absolutely shred its left wheel which Chris Rose helpfully describes as “the back left” one. Skorpios only has two fucking wheels. With only one moderately good wheel left Skorpios can’t push against Ribbot and the frog is able to use its four wheel drive to shove Skorpios back out into the middle of the Battlebox. Ribbot keeps shaving sparks off of Skorpios’ front end until Skorpios just sorta dies? There doesn’t appear to be one singular hit that does Skorpios in it just stops working. Like Big Dill. Whatever, at least we can see how fucked Skorpios’ wheels and front plow are thanks to Ribbot. Ribbot’s team celebrates the win but I’m not so sure it’s in the Round of 32. If it is then it’s because of its seeding last year and having at least one win this season but I can’t imagine it’ll be a high rank.
WINNER: Ribbot, KO
DRAGON KING vs. TERRORTOPS
BattleBots is spoiling us with another exhibition battle right after we had one last week! Well, they’re either spoiling us or padding out the episode because there’s not enough Fight Night matches to go around. In either case I enjoy seeing these “not yet ready for prime time” competitors because it shows us who we could potentially see in the field next season. Both of the robots in this battle won their first exhibition fights and in the red square is Dragon King who defeated Doomba last week. Dragon King is part of the robot lineage that includes former competitor Red Devil and you can really see the resemblance with how Dragon King can bite down on an opponent and then bring its dual cutting saws down to dish out some damage. It wasn’t impressive in its fight with Doomba but it looked aggressive and dominant… though that might be because we’re comparing it to fucking Doomba. In any case Dragon King is slightly dated and its weapons might not do the most damage but it has potential as a control-style robot and that’s where it excels.
Writing this article so soon after the recent RoboGames event is strange because Terrortops was there and it performed reasonably well. It fought what I can only hope was a sacrificial piece of junk called “Lay-Z-Bot” and delivered a hit with its disc that was so savage it literally buckled its opponent’s fucking frame. I’m talking a 45 degree angle kink in the whole goddamned machine. None of this happened during the taping of this season of BattleBots however so as cool as it was I unfortunately can’t use it to deliver a verdict on Terrortops in the context of this season. Terrortops was paired up with Slammo in its first fight and Terrortops won since Slammo is a Craig Danby robot and everything he builds is cursed. Of note is Terrortops’ design worked flawlessly; Terrortops is meant to scoop up other robots with its lifting arm and then drop them onto its spinning disc which is nestled behind the lifter. It’s an unconventional design and to see it execute perfectly was refreshing since all too often when teams try something new it backfires and turns out to be total shit.
Terrortops hits a seam with its forks and turns away from Dragon King but is able to turn all the way around to face it again. Dragon King cruises in and is able to catch Terrortops from the side and starts trying to bite down on it. Terrortops gets away and tries to lift up Dragon King but fails. Terrortops’ disc keeps getting dangerously close to Dragon King’s treads though and that’s making me nervous because I can already see one of those things snapping loose with a proper hit. Dragon King continues to bully Terrortops around while Kenny Florian drops the phrase “dino butt”. Dragon King is able to rip one of the decorative ribs off of Terrortops but this isn’t significant enough to count as damage. Something that is significant enough however is Terrortops jutting its disc into Dragon King’s left tread and sure enough just like I thought that thing snaps loose in a heartbeat. Even worse for Dragon King when it tried to ram Terrortops into the wall the linear actuator powering its biting jaw broke so now that piece of shit doesn’t work anymore either.
Dragon King is down to aimlessly spinning around. Terrortops uses this time to retreat a bit and figure out what the fuck happened to its disc because after sniping Dragon King’s tread it just sorta spun down and died. The belts are still on it so your guess is as good as mine. Terrortops is down to fighting as a lifter now and it’s a pretty good lifter since it’s able to get in and flip Dragon King over backwards after a couple of attempts. Dragon King transforms and spins around some more so Terrortops comes in, hooks its lifting claw into Dragon King’s face, and flips the entire fucking thing over its head. Kenny jizzes over the suplex. Dragon King just keeps flexing and twisting about doing fuck all. It raises its saws up because I guess those aren’t broken yet but it looks to me like they’re not spinning so it’s not like Dragon King is going to be able to land glancing shots with them. The chains are still on the saws so I guess they’re powered down because Dragon King wants to give up entirely.
Dragon King’s broken actuator is now poking out of its head like it’s a stupid unicorn. Terrortops takes offense to this and so it picks up Dragon King with its lifter and heaves it over its back again. Kenny makes a Jurassic Park joke. Terrortops continues to try and get some leverage on Dragon King and succeeds to varying degrees however in the last eight or so seconds of the fight Dragon King just stops working entirely. For the past two minutes its driver has seemed to derive pleasure in pushing every fucking button on his transmitter so for the robot to fall limp tells me something is seriously wrong with it. The fight clock winds down on this match and sends it to the judges who return a verdict for Terrortops. With these two exhibition wins and its performance at RoboGames I can see a strong argument for allowing Terrortops in as a full competitor next season. Let’s make it happen, BattleBots!
WINNER: Terrortops, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
COPPERHEAD vs. RIPPERONI
At the start of the episode we saw Quantum achieve greatness and reach the esteemed air of the 4-0 Club, something not even Sawblaze could achieve. Now it’s time to see if Quantum will have company in the VIP section as Copperhead rolls into the arena. Copperhead has been a very reliable robot in previous seasons and it always delivers the hits, sometimes so hard that it disables itself in the process. This season the robot landed a proper one hit KO over Bloodsport when a single uppercut was enough to turn Bloodsport over and cause it to burst into flames. Copperhead fought Triton next and things were touch and go for the first 30 seconds or so until Triton oversteered and pointed its ass at Copperhead. Copperhead took the opportunity and blasted Triton so hard that it shit its guts out and died. Kraken was Copperhead’s third opponent and there wasn’t some explosive finish in this fight just Copperhead demonstrating that it’s the bot to beat and delivering yet another KO to earn its spot in this episode’s main event.
This season we’ve seen some new faces and new robots. Some have been good, some have been not so good. On the better side of the Fight Night qualifiers is Ripperoni spearheaded by Anna Zolnikov. This asymmetrical robot looks like some shit that I would’ve put together but in actuality there’s a lot of engineering behind its unique design and even though it looks off kilter it drives perfectly fine. Ripperoni stumbled out of the gate against Gruff when its rear stabilizing flywheel failed resulting in Ripperoni bouncing all over the fucking place for three straight minutes. Anna and her team regrouped and came back swinging because up next was former champion End Game and Ripperoni just delivered. End Game teed itself up for a free hit by driving straight into the fucking Killsaws but once End Game was freed courtesy of Ripperoni busting in its ass the fight was on. Ripperoni survived End Game’s attacks and delivered hits of its own and managed to KO the #1 ranked robot. That, uh, definitely turned some heads. Hijinx was basically fed to Ripperoni as a dessert for killing End Game and there was nothing Hijinx could do except get utterly trashed by Ripperoni’s spinning pizza wheel.
Both robots leave their starting squares spinning up their weapons and juking slightly to the left to get some extra space. The difference is Copperhead goes left and swings wide while Ripperoni goes left, pivots, and then goes straight at Copperhead. Ripperoni catches Copperhead from the side and grinds some sparks off of the right edge of its chassis before putting Copperhead into the wall with a decent hit. Ripperoni turns inward to face Copperhead and to try and strike its underside but Copperhead’s drum connects with Ripperoni’s disc and the impact flings Ripperoni outward and away from the snake. Copperhead stumbles backwards upside-down and doesn’t seem to be driving all that well. Its ass is facing Ripperoni and Fred Moore on the sticks wastes zero seconds embedding Ripperoni’s foot so deep in Copperhead’s ass that it kicks the snake bot’s teeth out from the inside.
Copperhead lands right ways up after the hit but this was a blow directly to the robot’s ass end, the one place Copperhead cannot withstand damage from. Copperhead is fucking straight up dead. For all the fanfare and playing up this main event had sometimes they really do end in a matter of seconds. Copperhead fails to reach 4-0 but now it’s tied with Ripperoni at 3-1 meaning both of these robots are surely advancing onward regardless.
WINNER: Ripperoni, KO
Since the main event ended in a matter of seconds Chris and Kenny have to fill some time at the end of the episode hypothesizing about who makes it into the Round of 32 and where they’ll end up. The short of it is Kenny says Ribbot’s 1-3 record beats Shreddit Bro’s 2-2 and I don’t disagree with that. Overhaul is out and out of the other 1-3 robots Fusion could very well still be in the game thanks to its showing against Witch Doctor. I’d pick Emulsifier over Fusion but that’s just me. At 2-2 Rotator is looking at a “top 20” seed which is a weird cut-off since brackets are done in powers of two but whatever, Kenny doesn’t seem like the type to be good at math. Point is no one knows who gets what until the Fight Nights are officially over so all of this is just speculation. I guess people like to listen to people talk about sports rankings and whatnot and this did successfully fill time so the segment served its purpose.
Next week’s episode is the penultimate Fight Night. We already know the main event will be between Black Dragon and Riptide thanks to the segment at the end of this week’s show. They’ve been amping up this battle like crazy because if Black Dragon survives it the robot will have tied Bite Force for longest streak without being knocked out. I don’t particularly care about a record like that but I guess stat people are gonna stat. Beta and Bloodsport will round out their qualifiers in a match where I’m certain Beta will use the dinky hammer. Glitch and Valkyrie fight just for the hell of it since neither of them will probably make the tournament. Horizon gets fed to Triton. We have a showdown of the big wheels when Huge and Starchild meet meaning Starchild is probably going 0-4. Kraken will fight Mammoth and I totally forgot Mammoth applied for this season. Shatter will also get an opportunity for free points against Ominous.
That’s another episode in the bag and I’m starting to get excited for the main tournament! I’m not looking forward to everyone and their goddamned grandmother posting an individual Reddit thread for their tournament predictions though, can we maybe get a megathread for that this year? I promise I’ll read it (*crosses fingers*). That’s it for BattleBots Update this week, thank you for hanging out with me. As always this project is supported by readers so if you’d like to lend a hand you can make a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Cassette recently made a contribution and said “Found BattleBots Update while searching for something else, and I adore both the humor and the insight provided!”. At least I know Google is apparently on my side… again?
See you next week!