“The Round of 32 is right around the corner,” says Kenny Florian. Yeah dude it’s literally in like two weeks; this episode and the next are the final Fight Nights. After that 18 robots will be eliminated as they fail to advance and the remaining 32 will be sorted and ranked for the brackets. It’s been a long ride up to this point but we’re still not quite there. The only thing standing between us and the official brackets is 14 more fights, that’s it! We’ve seen 91 to get here and after writing this blog for as long as I have this season that feels about fucking right. “About a hundred” is where I’d have plopped my estimate down and that would’ve been close enough.
There’s still excitement in the air however because a lot of the robots in this week’s show are primed to advance into the main tournament. Others, well, they aren’t so lucky. Starchild, Shatter, Kraken, and Glitch are all 0-3 robots so even a win here might not be enough to qualify. Meanwhile we have favorites like Huge, Beta, and Black Dragon in this episode who all have respectable records up to this point and will surely advance. Oh, and Riptide is also in this episode too just in case you had “more bullshit drama” on your BattleBots bingo card tonight. It’ll be fighting Black Dragon in a battle to see if the dragon can survive and tie Bite Force for most fights without being knocked out.
STARCHILD vs. HUGE
Chris Rose calls this the battle of the big wheels. I call it “another match made for ratings”. Starchild and Huge have very similar designs and only differ in how they deliver their weapons to throw a punch; Huge just drives over opponents while Starchild swings its ass end like an overhead hammer to strike. Starchild is something of an experiment gone wrong in the world of BattleBots. It worked as a three pound robot but hasn’t as a heavyweight. Starchild fought Overhaul in a match that should’ve been a decent shot for the new design to prove itself. Instead Overhaul managed to grab Starchild and slam it around. Starchild fought Mammoth in a “repeat” of Mammoth’s fight with Huge from a few seasons ago and much of the same thing happened with Starchild getting tossed around and tangled up on Mammoth. Gigabyte was Starchild’s most recent opponent and this had to have been a mercy match-up for Gigabyte because what the fuck was Starchild going to do to Gigabyte? Seriously? It just got shredded; it survived until the bell but not much was left of it.
Huge was a major bracket buster when it surfaced back in 2018. Since then the robot adopted more of a downward trend and reached the point where builder Jonathan Schultz considered retiring the design. Huge is one of a few robots this season in that boat but unlike the others Huge has managed to find its spark and have another breakout season. Shatter is having a rough one because right out of the gate Huge thrashed it and destroyed its frame for a brutal KO. Huge fought Blip, who is also having a bad season, and popped it so hard that Blip’s flipper stopped working entirely. Fusion was next in line and was just the right height to really take a beating from Huge’s spinning blade; Huge knocked the lid off of Fusion and left it for dead. Huge is currently undefeated and with Starchild in the box I think we could see this thing go 4-0 for the first time ever.
Before the fight starts Chris Rose namedrops the Spiderman meme to show he’s hip with the kids. Jesus Christ. Anyways Huge starts the fight by making a 90 degree turn to use its wheels like a shield and allow it to spin up its massive cleaver. Starchild cruises in and immediately starts swinging its tail back and forth. Starchild has a pretty ridiculous design but if it can land a hit to Huge’s chassis it could potentially do some damage as Huge doesn’t have the best armor on account of it banking on nobody being tall enough to hit it. Starchild’s attempts at an attack fail miserably to the surprise of literally no one and as Huge lands some shots with its spinner a massive chunk of white plastic flies off of Starchild. That just so happened to be the piece that kept Starchild’s spinner off of the ground so it could spin up and attack. Now its disc will be dragging across the floor so surely that’s the end of that piece of shit.
Sure enough Starchild’s disc is out of commission because no matter how hard Brandon Zalinsky tries to rev it up it’s just going to strike the arena floor and expend all of its energy before it can swing. Huge continues to land some light hits on Starchild and mostly shreds up Starchild’s decorative alien shell. Starchild gets one of its wheels caught in the Killsaws which is something refreshing for a change because usually it’s always someone jamming their fucking forks into them. Huge takes advantage and hits Starchild’s wheel. Kenny says the wheels of Starchild are starting to fray and as he says this the massive thwack bot gets too close to the Upper Deck’s screws and manages to drive up on top of them and drop a wheel in behind one. Starchild looks impossible to drive but come the fuck on how do you screw up this badly? While everyone on Reddit is taking a screenshot to make the “stepbrother I’m stuck” joke Huge comes in and chops into Starchild’s exposed wheel ripping out chunks of Tegris while causing the jammed wheel to flex violently.
This hit breaks many of the spokes of Starchild’s wheel and when the robot is finally freed from the screws the entire wheel basically folds in fucking half. Also the wheel itself doesn’t appear to be turning so that run up by Huge broke a chain or stripped a gearbox or something. Starchild starts aimlessly spinning around and Huge lands a hit that nearly flips Starchild all the way over. Starchild gets away by twirling around and using inertia to drift but it doesn’t get far before Huge catches it and strikes it again pushing it down onto its broken wheel where Starchild looks to be knocked out. Huge doesn’t let up however and rips an entire piece of Starchild’s dead wheel off. As Starchild is pushed around by Huge its one remaining wheel starts getting some purchase on the floor allowing it to spin around once again. Since “any movement is movement” Huge has no choice but to continue whaling on this crippled machine. Starchild’s weapon chain snaps and gets thrown out and a moment later its weapon bracket is bent outward causing its disc to drag across the goddamned floor. This is just fucking sad. Starchild has been bad in its previous fights but this is on another level.
Huge slices into Starchild again and throws some kind of piece of Starchild into the roof because a shower of glass comes down signaling that Huge has broken a light panel. Starchild drags itself next to the Upper Deck and its disc falls off perfectly on top of the far right spire. Jonathan says “it just won’t die” in regards to Starchild and with this statement Huge floors it into what’s left of Starchild, chops into its remaining wheel, and throws the entire machine ass over head until Starchild lands on the side of its wheel with the rest of its destroyed chassis pointing straight up. Now it’s dead. There’s not enough time left in the fight for a count out so Starchild is going to “survive” this fight looking like a sun baked trash bag full of aluminum cans. Huge wins with flying colors and joins Quantum as the second robot to go 4-0 in its qualifiers, a first for Huge! Starchild… well, it was a new design that clearly didn’t work as intended. I don’t think we’ll see it back next season either because it doesn’t get accepted or Brandon builds something else. Or both. Goodbye, Starchild. We hardly knew you (and that’s probably for the best).
WINNER: Huge, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
OMINOUS vs. SHATTER
We go from a battle of the big wheels to a battle of the omni wheels in this next fight between Ominous and Shatter. Expect both of these robots to spin around in the arena while facing each other like the paintings in the dumb Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride. Between these two robots Ominous – believe it or not – has the better record. Fucking Ominous! It has just one win this season and that win didn’t come from its first fight with Claw Viper because Claw Viper turned out to be a power house this year and Ominous was slammed into every wall in the arena before being left for dead upside down against the railing. Ominous’ win actually came at the expense of Shreddit Bro where Ominous landed the sole opening hit of the battle and then after about a minute or so managed to flip Shreddit Bro over. The fight sucked ass, I’ve gone over it before, but Ominous got the win. Ominous actually looked decent for once in its battle against Switchback doing some damage to Switchback’s front end but one power shot flipped Ominous over and its self righter failed leaving it dead for a KO loss.
Shatter usually does a lot better than 0-3 at this point in the season. Normally this robot at least has a couple of wins by now but it enters its final Fight Night round with zero fucking wins. I think it’s because Shatter’s opposition were stronger than usual but that doesn’t explain all the losses though. Shatter faced Huge and this is where Huge started off its road to 4-0; Huge was back this year in a big way and Shatter was the first to find out how because Huge just chopped this thing to pieces and destroyed Shatter’s frame prompting Adam Wrigley to do a complete teardown and rebuild in the pits after just the first fucking fight. Beta was next in a highly anticipated battle of the hammers and despite having extra top armor to protect itself Shatter was mercilessly pounded on by Beta and lost the fight by decision. Shatter’s most inexplicable loss came at the hands of Horizon who mostly evaded Shatter but landed a lot of passive hits with its overhead rotating weapon. Adam tried to appeal the loss but the judges stuck to their guns and now Shatter is seriously staring down a ride to the 0-4 zone with Starchild and no one wants to hang out with Starchild.
Ominous starts the fight by revving up its discs, having its discs visibly slow down, and then revving them up again. I know the weapon is electric but god damn does this thing behave like a filthy engine. Shatter creeps toward Ominous and the two robots dance about for a while until Shatter throws the first punch of the fight and buries its pick axe into the right side of UMHW plastic protecting Ominous’ lid. It’s hard to tell who is dragging or pushing who at this point but the fight is pulled into the short corner of the arena. Ominous gets rammed into the wall and as Shatter throws another punch with its weapon the spike makes a visible dent in Ominous’ srimech. To anyone wondering if Shatter is able to do any damage with its hammer look no further than this fight. Yeah Ominous is kind of a soft target but sometimes that’s all it takes. As Shatter pulls back Ominous pivots into Shatter and lands a counter shot that kicks the hammer bot away and knocks off its left fork but Shatter gets right back on its bullshit a moment later.
Ominous lands another hit meaning much like Shreddit Bro it took until its fourth goddamned fight for the robot to do its best. Shatter responds in kind with another blow that sees its spike stabbing down into Ominous’ plastic armor and literally ripping the entire fucking panel off. Shatter fires its hammer a second time to get the piece off of its weapon and manages to high center itself on it in the process. This is a golden opportunity for Ominous to spin up and hit Shatter right on its ass but as usual Ominous is just spinning around and twitching every so often and its fucking weapon isn’t even spun up to speed. The fight finally moves out of that one corner and back into the center of the arena. Shatter and Ominous pivot around always facing each other just like the Haunted Mansion shit I said at the beginning of this section. Shatter turns a little too sharply though and Ominous looks like it’s going to get a good hit on Shatter’s side but Ominous’ weapon doesn’t stick out far enough for it to get any purchase. Great design.
Both of these robots are now driving like there’s something wrong with one of their omni wheels. I can’t say for certain because they look like a mess even when they are fully working but this fight is going to shit real fast and neither of these robots seem to be capable of landing any meaningful shots. Shatter manages to pop another dent into Ominous’ self righter. Ominous gets backed into another corner and clips the other fork off of Shatter in a hit that had all of the energy of a rubber band snapping against your wrist. Chris Rose says there’s 45 seconds left in this fight. It’s felt like an eternity. The Killsaws rise up and make their presence known for the first time in what feels like a year by grinding at the bottoms of both robots. Shatter lands one more hit with its hammer. The fight is finally over. Ominous did do some damage to Shatter but I suppose the judges are considering armor damage to be more significant than just knocking off a couple of forks because Shatter gets a unanimous win.
Both of these robots are now 1-3. Ominous is probably out of the running since its sole win came from what was genuinely the worst fight of the season. Shatter hasn’t been all that impressive this year but given how random the “selection committee” is at times I can see Shatter scraping by with a (very) low 20’s seed. Maybe even a 30’s seed.
WINNER: Shatter, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TRITON vs. HORIZON
A couple of rookies will be rounding out their qualifiers in this battle, it’s Triton versus Horizon. We don’t have Tombstone this season and Deep Six was disqualified from BattleBots for being too dangerous to the integrity of the arena. In their place we have Triton who has combined the best of both robots into one: a massive horizontal spinner that’s light on armor but heavy on damage. This did not translate into immediate success however because in Triton’s first fight with Lucky the robot got perched on its side where it could not get down from and was KO’d. Triton held its own against Copperhead for the first few opening blows of the fight but after one driving mistake caused its backside to swing out wide Copperhead took the opening and destroyed Triton’s ass. Triton’s first win wouldn’t come until it faced Glitch and despite a promising start to the fight that saw Glitch’s batteries go up in smoke Triton still had to finish the job. A big blow disabled its weapon but it was able to use that blade to jam Glitch’s drum and flip the robot over for the win. I can’t imagine Horizon posing that much of a threat to Triton so we might see it finish at 2-2 here.
Much like Triton it also took Horizon until its third fight to finally score a win. This machine comes to us from the mind of Joshua Kong who envisioned this robot in a lighter weight class before scaling it up. It’s been more successful than the shit storm known as Starchild but not by much. Horizon lost to Shreddit Bro in fight #1 and this was just a total fucking disaster of a fight. Neither Horizon nor Shreddit Bro seemed to be fully functional here and although Horizon did land a quality shot to Shreddit Bro’s wheels the judges still scored the fight for Horizon’s opponent. Monsoon was next and realistically there was no way Horizon was beating Monsoon, simple as. Monsoon blasted this thing, flipped it over, and then gouged a massive fucking hole into its baseplate. The bright side of this fight is it let Horizon crew member Alex Price (in the taco hat) make a funny meme out of the hole. Horizon finally found success against Shatter where its overhead swinging spinners finally worked for the most part and tore up Shatter’s ablative plastic armor. The robot sustained some damage from Shatter’s hammer but in the eyes of the judges Horizon did the most damage and was given the win.
Triton’s weapon sputters as the fight starts but eventually it gets up to speed. Both of Horizon’s discs spin up as well. Triton lands a glancing blow to one of Horizon’s discs and then for some reason Triton’s weapon comes to a complete stop before spinning up again. Triton got fucked up pretty badly in its previous fight with Glitch but it looks like everything should be okay? Not sure what the deal is with the weapon. The disc that Triton clipped on Horizon has come to a stop so now Horizon is down to just one spinner on its arm. Business as fucking usual for Horizon. Triton can’t seem to rev its blade up and keep it going which is allowing Horizon to get awfully close to Triton’s chassis without any sense of danger. As Horizon humps on Triton its sole spinning disc connects with Triton’s left wheel pod and this single hit manages to break the drive chain and fuck up that side of drive. This is definitely not how I was expecting this fight to go to say the least; I was anticipating an absolute slaughter with Triton’s blade roaring at full blast and parts of Horizon being flung all over the place. I want to see that fucking arm on Horizon get knocked off but instead Triton is down a side of drive and its weapon is about as functional as an office worker with diarrhea.
Triton keeps spinning its blade up and stopping it so it’s rarely deadly to get near. Horizon continues to ram into Triton with its main chassis while its overhead arm just kinda does its own thing. Horizon deflects another blow from Triton with its dead disc causing its working one to whip around and land a hit to the armor plating on Triton that’s protecting its weapon pulley and belts. Triton springs forward all of a sudden and hits Horizon’s dead disc again causing the robot to spin out and whip around. If you look closely you’ll notice the busted drive chain on Triton hanging slack out of its left side. Since Triton has so little traction on the floor it’s able to drift around the arena so it’s not confined to doing circles in one place. It lands a couple more hits to Horizon’s arm and it looks like Horizon’s other blade has shit the bed as well. Even worse it appears Horizon itself has just kind of died on its own! There were no mega hits that signaled the death of Horizon and there was hardly any damage in this fight. Triton felt toothless in this battle but it outlasted Horizon with only one side of drive and finishes its season 2-2. Triton feels like a stronger 2-2 than Shreddit Bro but I don’t think I’d be surprised if this robot wound up ranked 33rd or something and just barely failed to make it into the post-season tournament.
WINNER: Triton, KO
BLOODSPORT vs. BETA
Up next is a couple of 2-1 robots who will both probably make it into the tournament regardless of who goes 2-2. Bloodsport has been completely redesigned this season and so far with the exception of its first battle that new looks seems to be paying off. Obviously in Bloodsport’s first fight with Copperhead I’m sure you remember the massive one hit KO delivered by the snake bot. One hit was all it took and Bloodsport was flipped over and the motors inside of its goofy ass insect head thing exploded and caught fire. Luckily that was just early season jitters because Bloodsport bounced back and smacked Gigabyte across the arena ending the battle with one major shot of its own. The impact threw a drive belt and blew a speed controller inside of Gigabyte for a KO win. Rotator was looking like the bot to beat in Bloodsport’s third battle but a driving mistake on Rotator’s part allowed Bloodsport to get an early crippling blow on Rotator’s drivetrain. Kenny Florian said the fight could’ve gone “either way” but he’s wrong.
I’m glad Beta is here. John Reid is getting up there in age but he’s a legend of the sport and his robots are just as remarkable as he is. Beta is an absolute powerhouse of a machine and its hammer hits with some serious force. Yeah, I know, Beta is using the skinny hammer for this fight (I called it) but that’s largely because Beta had to armor up for this battle, you’ll notice the polycarbonate parts of Beta have been replaced with AR500 steel. Beta came out swinging against Kraken and although both robots seemed to stumble around Beta had the more significant shots and won by decision. Beta had a hammer showdown against Shatter and we finally got to see the devil’s suppository come out to play. Beta brought its big hammer and pounded the absolute shit out of Shatter for three straight minutes. Beta had to face Black Dragon next and this was a difficult match-up because Beta just doesn’t seem to have an answer to vertical spinners. John equipped the “ugly armor” and it worked for a few hits but ultimately Black Dragon got a kill shot and Beta basically tapped out of the fight.
Bloodsport is using its lightest weapon for this fight even though a massive fucking wheel of steel looks like it should be the heaviest. Justin Marple and his crew went with this weapon because the disc part of it acts as armor when it’s not spinning so even if Beta can slow it down to land a hit its hammer won’t actually reach Bloodsport’s chassis. Bloodsport spins up surprisingly fast because of the lighter weapon but Beta is on its ass immediately. Before the fight John said with a horizontal spinner you have to ram them into the wall so they slow down and damage themselves and look at Beta’s opening move; the robot sweeps up Bloodsport onto its big ass plow and rams it straight into the spike strip. Bloodsport’s weapon slows down and Beta goes for a swing but misses. No matter, Beta just rams Bloodsport straight into the wall a second time moments later. Chris Rose acknowledges the gaming laptop that the Bloodsport team uses to keep an eye on their robot’s temperature and integrity, meanwhile Beta just snags Bloodsport and slams it into the Upper Deck screws hard enough to knock Bloodsport onto the fucking shelf no computer needed.
Bloodsport gets down from the hazard and shits out what appears to be some kind of thermal(?) sheet so I’m sure the telemetry system is going haywire right about now. Bloodsport gets away and spins up but Beta is right on it once again and drives Bloodsport into the wall before spinning around and slamming it into the screws on the Upper Deck again. Bloodsport’s weapon stops on impact and Beta takes a few swings at its opponent. The first one hits Bloodsport’s disc which does no damage but the following two connect with the top of Bloodsport’s head and if you look closely you’ll see the weapon sprockets right underneath where Beta is hitting so that means these are shots directly where Bloodsport’s motors are. This is fucking insane accuracy from Beta. Bloodsport retreats and Beta pursues it corralling it onto its wedge and running it into every single fucking spire of the Upper Deck. All three of them! The arena perimeter lights flash to signal the final minute of the battle meaning this utter humiliation of Bloodsport is about to finally end.
Beta plows over the Killsaws on its quest to get Bloodsport into the wall for what feels like the hundredth time this match. Bloodsport again has no recourse against these attacks other than spinning up and hoping Beta exposes its backside. Beta keeps its nose pointed at Bloodsport and rams it into the wall again and brings its axe head down onto the spinner’s lid. The hits shatter part of the front of Bloodsport’s head exposing the inner workings underneath. This is exactly the same shit that blew up when Copperhead tweaked it. There’s no fire but that doesn’t stop the team from checking in with the telemetry guy who says it’s safe to spin back up. Dude just open up Solitaire on that thing and drown your sorrows. You’re not winning this fight. The clock runs down and the judges score unanimously in favor of Beta. It’s great to see Beta go 3-1 because it’s a design that still has purpose even in 2023 (or 2022, when this was filmed). Bloodsport at 2-2 will more than likely also make it in so really this just came down to a battle for a higher seed.
WINNER: Beta, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
MAMMOTH vs. KRAKEN
I keep forgetting Mammoth entered into this season. I know that sounds crazy because this robot is the size of a fucking house so how could you possibly forget about it but this robot has just kinda “existed” this season. Mammoth hasn’t had a very strong showing this year and because of it the robot just doesn’t exist in my memory. Mammoth’s first fight with Valkyrie was a fucking mess because the bots immediately got stuck together and had to be taken out of the arena and disassembled to unstick them only for the fight to resume and Mammoth’s lifter just explode. Mammoth fought Starchild in a fight that definitely favored the lifting robot and for three minutes Mammoth just upturned Starchild and threw it around for an easy decision on a silver platter. Deathroll came in for fight #3 and Mammoth once again showed its weakness to vertical spinners because Deathroll targeted a wheel, attacked, and Mammoth wound up losing a whole side of drive in one major hit. Now Mammoth is using Hypershock gearboxes for drive because this last fight is it; either Mammoth wins or we might not see it back next season.
Speaking of robots who almost didn’t make it to this season here’s Kraken. Last season Matt Spurk said he was retiring the former clamp bot. Technically he did and technically he kind of didn’t; Kraken came back this season with a completely new design… but the old version of Kraken still competes in the BattleBots “Destruct-A-Thon” show in Las Vegas. In any case this new Kraken has been plagued with issues since fight one. Kraken lost to Beta despite landing a couple of quality shots with its new vertical spinner thing because Beta disabled Kraken’s weapon and we all know how much the judges fucking love that. Kraken showed up to the Lucky fight with literally only one side of drive working; at no point did this robot drive in a straight line. Lucky dunked on this thing for three minutes and got an easy win. Finally there was Copperhead and although Matt was able to fix Kraken’s drive for this battle it didn’t really matter because Copperhead is a beast this year and it knocked Kraken silly before disabling it and leaving it to be counted out.
Mammoth opens the fight with a sock straight to Kraken’s face that tosses the robot backwards across the floor. It’s easy to write off Mammoth as a gimmick – I often do – but sometimes that rotary lifter really packs a punch. Kraken appears to be fighting this match as a vertical spinner given that its weapon arm is all the way down and its blade is spinning upward. Kenny thinks Kraken’s going for the wheels. If I were Matt Spurk I’d have the weapon arm raised up and be aiming for that dangling weapon chain on Mammoth. Take that thing out and suddenly Mammoth is just a big ass broken swing set with wheels. Kraken drives straight down Mammoth’s throat and continues to throw punches despite being regurgitated by the beast and tossed back out every time. Something you should be aware of with Kraken is all of the black shit that keeps flying off of this robot every few moments. This is actually the rubber tread of Kraken’s wheels as they are custom made pieces. I’m not an engineer but I believe the rubber works best when it’s actually on the fucking wheels.
Kraken gets bullied into a corner and Mammoth knocks it onto its lid. Ricky Willems noted that Kraken has a hard time getting back onto its wheels and this proves to be true in this fight as well because Kraken flexes and rolls a couple of times before getting back right ways up. Unfortunately for Kraken, Mammoth is right there waiting to knock it over again. Kraken’s spinner seems dead and the robot can’t get out of the corner that Mammoth has sentenced it to. There’s a cameraman standing right there in the corner so we get a great close up shot of Mammoth ripping decals and shit off of Kraken but if you look closely you can see Kraken’s wheels feverishly spinning and they’re all missing their fucking tread. Kraken flips and twists for a solid 20 seconds before getting back onto its wheels and it simply doesn’t go anywhere. There’s nothing left on the wheels to get traction on the ground.
The hosts finally realize Kraken’s weapon is dead despite it being out for like a minute by this point. We get another close up shot from the cameraman standing near the arena corner and somehow Mammoth’s rotary arm has started to peel back the face of Kraken on both sides of its weapon. Mammoth isn’t set up to do any fucking damage how the hell is this happening? Mammoth starts to slow down but there’s only a few seconds left in the fight so it doesn’t really matter. Kraken’s weapon comes back to life but the robot can’t fucking move so that also doesn’t matter. The fight is sent to the judges and Mammoth obviously wins the battle and moves up to 2-2 for the season. Kraken on the other hand gets to keep Starchild company in the 0-4 Club. That’s two back to back seasons where Kraken lost all of its qualifiers. Kraken was going to be retired after last season but now with this most recent performance Kraken just might not get invited back. I think the “selection committee” accepted Kraken 2.0 this year because despite all the losses this version was something brand new and promising. That turned out to be a bust and that’s a real shame.
WINNER: Mammoth, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
VALKYRIE vs. GLITCH
Valkyrie is one of the robots dealing with the “under new management” gremlins this season. It happens for a couple of robots every year and this year former captain Leanne Cushing couldn’t make it to BattleBots because of work obligations so Lucy Du, formerly of Team Sawblaze, has stepped in to fill her shoes. Valkyrie has proven to be a difficult robot to get a handle on because Lucy has struggled to harness this monster’s power. Valkyrie did win its first fight with Mammoth but that was largely because Mammoth did itself in when its lifting arm snapped apart and left it unable to self right. Valkyrie then fought Banshee in a battle that rivaled Ominous versus Shreddit Bro for being one of the worst and most uneventful battles of the season so far. Banshee won but only because it managed to flip Valkyrie once. Valkyrie fought Malice and actually won by decision at first but Malice’s team used their appeal option to challenge the judges and their verdict was flipped. Valkyrie lost its entire weapon in that fight and that proved to be significant. With a weapon prone to coming loose that’s an accident waiting to happen against Glitch in this final fight.
Glitch was last season’s Rookie of the Year. Well, one of the rookies of the year at least. With a breakout season that included seven wins Glitch turned a lot of heads with its powerful drum spinner that was able to kill the likes of robots like Rotator in one massive shot. That success seems to have been lightning in a bottle for Kyle Miller because Glitch has not performed as expected this year. In Glitch’s first fight it had to battle the other Rookie of the Year Riptide and this battle ended in one hit because Glitch got flipped over and then fed onto the Upper Deck. Against Lock-Jaw we saw this robot spin up and look promising but one massive weapon-to-weapon blow from Lock-Jaw separated the bots and left Glitch once again on its back. Triton came out swinging and was able to kill an entire side of drive on Glitch but Glitch hung in there and blasted Triton’s weapon. Triton backed Glitch into the wall and jammed its dead blade into the back of Glitch’s drum and the hit, you guessed it, flipped Glitch over. This robot needs a goddamned srimech.
Valkyrie dutifully drives out of its starting square spinning its weapon up and pointing that dumb fork thing at Glitch the entire way. Glitch meanwhile twists around as its drum gets up to speed. Valkyrie swipes side to side and lands a hit to Glitch’s right side and Glitch just straight up dies. It stops moving entirely. It’s not like Glitch is stuck on some imperfection in the floor because you can see Glitch’s back wheels and they’re just simply not doing fucking anything. Valkyrie takes position behind Glitch and waits for the KO count but before it can start Glitch magically comes back to life. Glitch dies again moments later and this time it’s definitely an issue of ground clearance and the floor because now the wheels are actually turning.
Kenny starts criticizing Lucy’s conservative driving in this fight because he says the fucking “selection committee” wants a big boom so she should go in there with Valkyrie and wreck Glitch’s shit. Lucy’s trying but the problem with Glitch is that it’s intermittently a piece of shit. We’ve already seen an example in this very fight. Glitch is prone to just breaking down for a few seconds and then it springs back to life. Those periods of inactivity can lull an opponent into a false sense of security so when they get close Glitch decides it’s done playing possum and BLAM now your armor is all fucking wrecked. Lucy knows this about Glitch and she’s holding back to see if one of those intermittent blips actually does Glitch in. It doesn’t and Glitch comes back to life and knocks the fork off of Valkyrie. Valkyrie responds by meeting Glitch weapon-to-weapon and actually fucking shears Glitch’s goddamned weapon down the middle. That’s a near 60 pound killing drum that’s just been blasted and is now an expensive doorstop.
Glitch “dies” near one of the red Pulverizers but as expected it rises from the dead so it can go suck somewhere else. Now Lucy is being more aggressive with her driving because Glitch’s weapon is toast. She’s going all in on Glitch’s ass and knocks an armor panel loose from the robot’s left side and just reams Glitch against the wall. Glitch flees out into the center of the arena but Valkyrie gives chase and busts off another armor panel this time on Glitch’s right side. There is no KO so the fight ends and goes to the judges and I guess now Starchild has even more company in the 0-4 Club because former Rookie of the Year Glitch has been taken down a peg and sent home packing.
WINNER: Valkyrie, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
BLACK DRAGON vs. RIPTIDE
Oh boy, here we go. It’s time for another ensuing controversy. Black Dragon debuted at BattleBots in 2019 and in all of its 24 fights it has never been knocked out. Surely you’ve heard about this stat by now because the hosts will not shut the fuck up about it. As “luck” would have it it just so happens that Black Dragon’s 25th fight would be against a powerhouse like Riptide. Gee, I wonder who orchestrated that. It’s like they’re asking for the Giant Washer Award for “Worst Match-up Made For Ratings”. Black Dragon can take it as well as dish it out; in round one against Monsoon the robot was on the ropes but a piece of arena debris getting stuck in Monsoon’s weapon spelled disaster for the spinner and Black Dragon won by KO. Black Dragon fought Quantum next and we all saw Quantum go 4-0 last week so I’m sure you already know how this fight went. Black Dragon got bullied around but never once did it die, it lost by decision. Finally there was Beta marking three straight fights against British bots for Black Dragon. Beta tried to use its anti-vertical spinner armor but it didn’t last and Black Dragon won by KO again.
Riptide is on a mission this season. It’s 3-0 with all of those wins by KO. Of course this is the robot who would face Black Dragon in its milestone battle. There is no shortage of controversy surrounding this robot and its team and for the sake of everyone’s mental health I’m going to exclude most of it from this post. You’re welcome. Riptide’s first fight was to settle the score and see which Rookie of the Year from last season reigned supreme. Spoiler alert: it was Riptide. Riptide ended the battle in one hit that flipped Glitch over. Mad Catter was next in line and Riptide just steamrolled through this machine and obliterated it much to the dismay of virtually everyone in the BattleBots community it seems. For some stupid fucking reason Captain Shrederator was scheduled to fight Riptide and this is probably what Riptide is now most notorious for. Shrederator was dead in like two hits but Riptide just kept going, and going, and fucking going until a grand total of $10,000 in damage was done to the robot all of which happened after Captain Shrederator was incapacitated.
Black Dragon goes wide to avoid Riptide who drives out of its square heading straight for its opponent. Black Dragon’s team said their plan was to use the gyroscopic forces of Riptide’s weapon against it; when Riptide turns sharply it pulls up on one side, Black Dragon wants to bait Riptide into doing this so it can capitalize on the moment and damage Riptide’s sides or baseplate. This plan does not work worth shit because Riptide pivots as Black Dragon drives around it and Riptide catches it from the back flinging the Brazilian dragon across the box and into the screws. Black Dragon bounces off of the control box for the blue square screws and before its wheels can even so much as touch the goddamned ground Riptide is on it knocking it up onto the hazard and tossing it into the air. Black Dragon’s team looks anxious and as they try to ready themselves for landing on the ground so they can counterattack Riptide just plows forward and rips Black Dragon’s tailhole open.
Black Dragon gets stuck on the control box of the screws in such a way so that neither of its wheels are on the ground. Black Dragon is actually fucking knocked out, but this is Riptide we’re talking about here so of course the fight isn’t over. Riptide blows Black Dragon’s asshole open even wider and a chunk of the aluminum from its chassis flies into one of the lights and busts it causing a torrent of glass chunks to rain down onto the robots. This hit frees Black Dragon from the wall but when it’s finally on its wheels it’s apparent that it has lost its left side of drive. Black Dragon’s drum is still spinning and it meets Riptide weapon-to-weapon causing the dragon to be thrown up the wall in front of Chris and Kenny. Sid, the weapons guy on Riptide’s team, says “don’t let up” even though they’ve already won the fight. Riptide smashes Black Dragon again and flips it over and as Black Dragon comes to rest the aluminum that’s been peeled back on its chassis is preventing its one working wheel from touching the ground. Riptide has stopped Black Dragon’s path to dethroning Bite Force. You can thank the “selection committee” for that.
Riptide wins the fight and cinches a 4-0 finish. Everybody in the 4-0 Club shuts up as Riptide enters the room because they were all just talking shit about it. Ethan Kurtz delivers a much more subdued post-fight interview where he only screams once and manages to not say the word “fuck” on national television. I think someone gave that kid a stern talking to after the Captain Shrederator fight because knowing Ethan now that Riptide has gone 4-0 with four KO’s I was expecting him to drop a fucking N-bomb or something out of sheer excitement.
WINNER: Riptide, KO
What an episode! Huge has a career first and finishes the Fight Nights with a perfect 4-0 record, something not even Sawblaze could achieve. Love it or hate it Riptide is also in the esteemed ranks of the 4-0 league and will surely get a high seed for winning every fight via knock out. Beta made a strong finish at 3-1 and the return of this great could make it an underdog for sure because Beta is back in a big way. Kenny Florian says Black Dragon and Bloodsport are probably shoe-in’s for the tournament at 2-2 and I agree with that; Black Dragon’s two losses wound up being to competitors that finished 4-0 so yeah that’s a really goddamned tough schedule for that robot. Bloodsport hits consistently and is always a toss up for the tournament but it could make a surprise deep run. Mammoth and Shatter are noted as the two maybe’s at 2-2 and 1-3 respectively. I suppose I can see Mammoth making it in but when it comes to Shatter I’m going to have to see how everyone else finishes before I deliver a verdict there; 1-3 is a rough finish and that one win was over Ominous which wasn’t a good robot this year.
Next week’s fight card is previewed at the end of this episode and it looks like we’ve got the final six qualifiers plus a bonus exhibition fight. Lucky is noted as being one of the few remaining 3-0 robots but its next opponent is Cobalt and that could end messy. Minotaur and Witch Doctor get a rematch in the main event and they are both 3-0 meaning one of them is guaranteed a perfect finish. For the other fights we have Blip and Banshee in a battle of the unique flippers and Monsoon and Deathroll in a battle of the vertical spinners. Tantrum versus Whiplash has main event energy and both of these robots need a win to improve their poor records. Hijinx will face Switchback in the mandated pee break fight and Double Tap comes back to wow us in its exhibition against Slammo. What are the chances Double Tap demos its weird double hammer striking bar?
Next week is the last episode before the main tournament. I am so ready. That means you guys will also get to put up with the predictions I wrote while at the taping of the show. Last season I correctly predicted one of the finalists so for all the hemming and hawing that happens on this trashy blog I do actually know what I am talking about sometimes. BattleBots Update is supported by the community so if you’d like to pitch in you can set up a monthly pledge on Patreon or make a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. I’m very grateful of the support (not just monetarily) that this project still gets eight years into its life. BBU has persisted while other fan projects have lived and died. I am the great equalizer, haha. But it’s very humbling to hear such supportive messages from around the internet and the criticisms are good too so long as they aren’t, you know, personal attacks.
See you next week!