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Wait a minute, this isn’t the catering room!

It is officially tournament time here on BattleBots Update! For the past 15 episodes we’ve been watching the qualification rounds where each of the 50 robots in the field battled through four prelims to determine their final seeding for the tournament. The Fight Night rounds capped off with a brutal match between Minotaur versus Witch Doctor and now the seeds have been set. From this point onward it’s single elimination; in the Fight Night battles teams could afford to lose a fight or two (or three if you’re Tantrum) and not worry about their tournament inclusion but now if you lose that’s it. We’ll see you again next year. Better luck next time. You all get it I’m sure. The brackets are set and fans have made their predictions, the only thing left do is to see whose predictions are correct.

We’re starting with the right half of the brackets this week because that’s the show’s way of making you wait for the #1 seed. Still, we get 2nd and 3rd this week which is more than enough. Speaking of the 2nd seed that’s Riptide and it’ll be fighting Shatter in a rematch of last year’s Round of 32. The 3rd seed is Witch Doctor and the hand it’s been dealt is Las Vegas local Jackpot. Also on deck is an explosive match up between two champions, End Game and Tantrum. The undefeated Huge is scheduled to fight Skorpios in a battle that might prove tricky since Skorpios is able to hit Huge’s tall chassis. After that we have four more battles between heavy hitters such as Lucky vs. Hypershock, Copperhead vs. Rotator, Lock-Jaw vs. Bloodsport, and Claw Viper vs. Mad Catter.

Also of note is this episode is half an hour longer than the other episodes this season because there are eight bracket fights in a show where they can usually only fit seven fights per episode. I just thought maybe they could cut some of the fluff but fuck me I guess. I picked a bad time to get a new keyboard because I’m not used to the “feel” of it yet and now this article is going to be even longer than the previous ones. Looking forward to fixing a lot of fucking typos.



Vegas Combat Robotics

Weapon: Vertical spinning blades


Team Witch Doctor

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc

I guess I found this article’s featured image.

We’re kicking the tournament off with a battle featuring one of the top seeds. That title doesn’t go to the robot in the red square, Jackpot, however. For the past two seasons Jackpot has landed healthily in the 10th range for its seeding which is strange because in the previous two seasons Jackpot went undefeated in its qualifiers and it still wound up seeded that low. I don’t pretend to know what the “selection committee” does. This year Jackpot had a rockier Fight Night because for the first time ever it lost a preliminary round battle. Two of them to be exact. The force of Jackpot’s own weapon was used against it by Skorpios and in a rematch with Rotator Jackpot’s plow got torn off and the robot was left to die on the Killsaws. Jackpot came back for a big win over fellow struggling robot Ribbot and then cashed in a free win over Captain Shrederator in a pretty dull fight. Jackpot seems to not be running at 100% this season and against Witch Doctor this is bad news.

When it comes to Witch Doctor I’m going to quote a movie from my childhood and say “killing is business and business is good”. This is a robot and team who’ve appeared in all seven reboot seasons of BattleBots and qualified for the tournament every single time. Witch Doctor’s seeding seems to ping pong between being really high or really low but whatever the case this robot is always ready to try for a deep run. It’s finished in second place twice in the main tournament and once in the Golden Bolt tournament. That’s three second places; Andrea and Mike Gellatly are tired of this shit. It’s their turn to fucking win a Nut. Witch Doctor made it here by knocking out Ribbot in one of the first episodes of the season. It squeaked by with a win over Fusion in a heated battle that ended with Fusion losing a side of drive. Witch Doctor lit up Gruff like a firework and then in the main event we just saw it lost a close fight with Minotaur.

Gonna be a lot of motion blur in this fight.

Before the fight Jackpot’s Jeff Waters compliments Mike Gellatly’s driving skill but goes on to say Mike doesn’t compete in the smaller weight classes (at events such as NHRL). As such Jeff and other drivers are “catching up” to Mike’s skill. I don’t know man driving a three pound piece of shit is a hell of a lot different than driving a full ass heavyweight. That’s like saying you’re better at driving a semi truck than a professional driver because you go a lot of places on your gay Vespa scooter. All driving talk aside Mike seems to make a mistake at the start of the fight by fleeing from Jackpot and exposing Witch Doctor’s backside in the process. Jackpot isn’t able to capitalize on the moment and Witch Doctor is able to reset and get positioned for attack. Witch Doctor leads in with its right plow and absorbs a blow from Jackpot before leaning in with its spinner and ripping Jackpot’s left lifting arm completely off. Somehow Witch Doctor is able to beat Jackpot’s reach advantage and yank off one of its weapon belts too. Jackpot runs two motors to spin up its blades and now with a missing belt that means Witch Doctor has effectively cut the power of that weapon in half.

Pictured above: Jackpot, not winning.

Witch Doctor backs over Ace, Jackpot’s minibot, without thinking much about it. Bold move considering Witch Doctor rides super low to the floor and Ace is all about using its forks to slightly raise robots off the ground to disorient them and tee them up for a shot from Jackpot. Jackpot gets fucking horse kicked into the arena wall and its half-powered spinner seems to slow down to no power at all because it just stops altogether. Jackpot takes a couple of hits to its front plows until Witch Doctor cruises on in and uppercuts Jackpot several feet into the air. Jackpot lands hard on its corner and rolls all the way across the arena, up the goddamned screws, and lands on the Upper Deck. From center court. Jesus fucking christ. Jackpot’s lifting arms are damaged but they still work to self-right the robot so Jackpot gets back on its wheels and rolls off the hazard to meet a waiting Witch Doctor who pushes it into the corner and tries to feed Jackpot into its weapon for another power shot.

Witch Doctor gets itself out of the short corner and runs into Ace in the process dinging up one of its lifting arms and rendering the little robot useless. Jackpot gets its bearings and flies out of the corner as well and rams head first into Witch Doctor. Chris Rose says this is a “nice shot” but really all Jackpot did was feed itself into Witch Doctor’s disc. Maybe there’s some aggression points to be had but I don’t think this fight’s going to the judges if Witch Doctor can continue landing those blasts into the fucking air. Case in point Jackpot catches a light one that flips it completely over in the air followed by another that sends the robot so goddamned high that the guy holding the camera can’t keep up with Jackpot’s trajectory. Jackpot lands on the screws and rolls off and doesn’t appear to be moving. Witch Doctor tests the water by ramming its spinning disc all the way up Jackpot’s ass. This hit indeed seems to wake Jackpot up but it’s only got one side of drive now.

Time to cash out and go home.

Any movement is still movement so even though Jackpot has lost the use of its weapon, lost a side of drive, and its lifting arms are splayed open Witch Doctor still has to engage. Jeff could very easily just stop fucking with his transmitter and play dead to get counted out if he wanted to save the integrity of his robot for the Golden Bolt tournament, which is where this robot is bound to be headed, but instead he just keeps crabwalking his robot around prompting more hits from Witch Doctor. Witch Doctor eventually gets Jackpot on its plow sideways and slams the robot into the wall feeding its spinning skull disc into the right side of Jackpot’s chassis. This hit literally turns the frame into a fucking pretzel and bows the baseplate out so severely that none of Jackpot’s wheels are touching the ground anymore. Jackpot’s season comes to a close and Witch Doctor advances into the Round of 16!

WINNER: Witch Doctor, KO

HYPERSHOCK (18) vs. LUCKY (15)


Shenanigans & Co.

Weapon: Vertical spinning blades


TKO Robotics

Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm


Hypershock comes into this battle 12 pounds underweight because Will Bales is hoping that by reducing Hypershock’s armor, which it probably doesn’t need against a flipper, he can increase Hypershock’s speed and mobility. Even a minor improvement could give him the edge he needs to win here. Hypershock is all over the place when it comes to tournament qualification and seeding. Sometimes this robot has a bad year and fails to qualify. Sometimes it qualifies in the middle of the pack. Sometimes it makes it in as the bottom 32nd seed. Hypershock is unpredictable but with a win in the 2022 Amazon re:MARS event and a stellar performance in last season’s Golden Bolt tournament we could be seeing a new side of Hypershock. In the very first fight that was taped this year Hypershock lost to Sawblaze but was able to turn it around and knock out Whiplash in round two. End Game obliterated Hypershock in its third fight but the robot was able to finish with a 2-2 record after defeating Claw Viper in the final Fight Night qualifier.

Hailing from the great white north of Canada Lucky is back at BattleBots and in the main tournament for the third time in its career. Seemingly forever in the shadows of other flippers such as Bronco, Hydra, Blip, and possibly even SubZero this robot has struggled to find its footing. Lucky sometimes loses against lukewarm opponents but then out of nowhere will do something like nearly defeating fucking Tantrum in the season where Tantrum won the Giant Nut. Lucky is coming in as the higher seed with a 3-1 record though its wins were not all that impressive. Triton was probably Lucky’s hardest win but it was able to knock the robot onto its side for a KO. Kraken just wasn’t functional and Shreddit Bro fucking sucked so those two wins were essentially freebies. Lucky dared to try and go 4-0 but its fourth fight was against Cobalt and in a matter of seconds Lucky’s airtank was ruptured and the robot was left on its back for dead.

Are you feelin’ Lucky? I guess Hypershock is.

Hypershock gets in Lucky’s face and just sorta sways side to side like it’s trimming invisible hedges. I presume this is to ward off Lucky and cause it to back away thus letting Hypershock gain more ground on its opponent and trap it in a corner. Lucky seems to not take the bait and tries to spar with Hypershock and comes out on the losing end of the blows; Lucky gets popped backwards and as Hypershock follows through it’s able to nick Lucky’s baseplate where one of its rear drive motors could be located. Lucky seems to be driving okay so I assume nothing major was hit. Hypershock darts forward and lands another shot but Lucky is relentless in its approach and eventually gets some leverage on Hypershock and successfully flips it over. Hypershock goes absolutely apeshit and reels around the Battlebox before managing to right itself by clipping the Upper Deck and launching itself into the air destroying the BattleBots sign in the process. Hypershock’s weapon actually detaches the entire fucking metal rail that the sign is magnetized to so the whole thing winds up coming down.

Hypershock gets back in the game but that daredevil self righting didn’t come without a price, Hypershock’s back right tire has a chain hanging off of its sprocket and the wheel itself appears to have seized up meaning it’s going to be causing drag on the floor as the robot moves around. This doesn’t seem to faze Hypershock though because it snares Lucky and runs it all the way across the floor and into the wall where Hypershock’s spinning blade hits the lip of Lucky’s flipping arm and shears a bolt causing it to bend upward rendering it useless as a weapon. Lucky gets rolled over and Chris Rose seems impressed that its flipping arm still works to right the robot. Meanwhile Kenny Florian says “berserker barrage mode” and I just fucking hate this. Hypershock locks heads with Lucky and shoves it around while Lucky does its best to push back against Hypershock’s strength. Lucky’s arm gets bent up again but the robot is able to square dance Hypershock into the corner of the arena. Unfortunately this isn’t the corner with a Lucky-controlled Pulverizer so the hazard doesn’t fire because once again this sport just needs a universal hazard operator again.

I promise this is a different screen cap. See the Upper Deck?

Lucky seems to be out of ideas for how to manage this fight because it’s just backing away from Hypershock while facing it inviting Hypershock in to chew off Lucky’s front little hinged wedge pieces, one of which has already been torn off. Lucky gets backed into the short corner and Hypershock just tears into this thing ripping off a wheel guard and jacking up the wheel behind it before flipping Lucky up onto the shelf where the robot proceeds to get stuck on all the sign debris from Hypershock’s goddamned Superman stunt earlier in the match. Lucky crawls off of the Upper Deck only to be met by Hypershock who knocks it up and into the arena wall. Lucky gets away into the center of the arena but Hypershock chases it down and in the final five seconds of the fight it lands a couple of final blows that send Lucky reeling into the air. The battle goes to the judges but this is a cakewalk of a decision. Lucky got one flip but Hypershock just trashed its opponent.

WINNER: Hypershock, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Bots ‘N Stuff Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade


Team Mutant Robots

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

Bloodsport’s weapon also kinks Lock-Jaw’s spinner and breaks it.

Bloodsport was once a 2nd seeded robot but that was many seasons ago and Justin Marple has been chasing the dragon ever since. Now Bloodsport clocks in at #19 after a 2-2 performance in the Fight Night rounds this year. Don’t let the 19th seed give you a false sense of security however because this thing still hits like a goddamned freight train; Bloodsport is running new weapon motors that don’t fit inside the robot’s short frame so they had to be moved up into a unit above the blade. Bloodsport has become the electric version of Icewave, in other words. (Yes I know Greenwave was a thing that was also the electric Icewave but just go with me here.) Bloodsport caught the bad end of a shot from Copperhead that killed it in one blow but Bloodsport was able to come out on the upside of another mega hit against Gigabyte. Bloodsport demonstrated superior driving over Rotator for another decisive win. Unfortunately when it came time to fight Beta this robot couldn’t deliver and the floor was mopped with it but that 2-2 finish is nothing to scoff at.

Donald Hutson has been building robots since before most of the Bloodsport team was even born. This guy’s history goes way back to the US Robot Wars events and the earliest BattleBots tournaments. Tazbot, one of Donald’s signature robots from the Comedy Central era of the show, was recently revived and reimagined as a modern heavyweight to participate in the BattleBots Destruct-A-Thon live show. Dude knows his shit in other words. Last year Lock-Jaw went 0-3 and for a lot of us we thought maybe this was the end of the road for Lock-Jaw but nope Donald brought this beast back and it’s having a better go this season. Lock-Jaw defeated Malice in a ho-hum battle but lost to Sawblaze by KO. After this so-so start Lock-Jaw dialed it up and came back with two KO wins of its own against Glitch and Mad Catter to bring its Fight Night total to 3-1. Just for this fight Lock-Jaw is wearing a special angled plow whose sloped sides should deflect and destabilize Bloodsport.

I bet the Kickstarter backers are pissed.

Lock-Jaw begins the fight by feeding its rear plow into Bloodsport. My prediction for this fight was that Bloodsport’s blade would reach beyond this plow and hit the back tires and so far that prediction is correct; Bloodsport has dinged one of Lock-Jaw’s wheels in the first few seconds of the fight. More importantly however is the fact that after just a couple of exchanges a small fireball flares up inside of Bloodsport’s little head thing meaning some important shit just exploded. I believe there’s two motors inside the head and since the weapon continues to spin after the flare up I’m guessing one of the motors died leaving Bloodsport able to hit at only half of its usual power. Lock-Jaw takes advantage of the chaos and lands a couple of shots with its vertical spinner but no major damage is done.

Sensing that Bloodsport can’t hit as hard now Lock-Jaw gets a little brazen with its attack and leads in with its vertical spinner instead of its plow. What Lock-Jaw doesn’t know is half of Bloodsport’s usual power is still enough to cause damage because Lock-Jaw comes in for an attack and its right front tire gets fucking torn off at the axle leaving the robot to hobble around with only a flat tire on its right side. Donald realizes his robot just got its shit pushed in so he switches up his driving and goes back to leading with the plow. This proves to be a good idea because with one more hard ram Bloodsport rebounds and catches the plow from an awkward angle and the whole robot flips onto its goofy ass head. Justin Marple pounds the glass and says a no-no word because with only one weapon motor his bot isn’t strong enough to right itself. I don’t know the name of the black dude helping to operate Lock-Jaw but he’s into the vibe big time as he should be because Lock-Jaw was not favored to win this battle and yet it prevailed.

WINNER: Lock-Jaw, KO

SHATTER (31) vs. RIPTIDE (2)


Bots FC

Weapon: Chain-driven hammer


Team Break32

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

Gotta take a hit to land a hit.

Coming up next is a rematch between two robots that also met in last season’s Round of 32. It’s Shatter and Riptide. Shatter is no stranger to the main tournament and the first time it made it in back in season 10 the robot reached the quarterfinals. After that? It’s never made it beyond this round. Adam Wrigley knows what Riptide can do because last year Riptide nailed Shatter so hard that it warped Shatter’s fucking frame. Adam has put on Shatter’s long forks as well as borrowing armor from sister robot Emulsifier who failed to qualify. Shatter comes in as the #31 seed after a tough season that saw three straight losses before the robot was able to score a win. Huge thrashed this robot and destroyed its frame in the very first round. Beta humiliated Shatter and proved to be the bigger and better hammer. Horizon even managed to get a win over Shatter when its rotating blades were able to cause enough damage to win over the judges. Shatter didn’t get a win until it was able to murder Ominous in a one-sided battle. Some people think Emulsifier should’ve made it in instead of Shatter. To that I say we don’t need another goddamned vertical spinner.

Riptide is on an absolute warpath this season. After successfully making it to the quarterfinals last year leaving a trail of destruction in its wake the robot seems to be up to its same old tricks this year with a 4-0 Fight Night record with all four wins by KO. Not only that but the average time per KO was under a minute. God damn. Glitch didn’t stand a chance and was out in one shot. Mad Catter was obliterated. Captain Shrederator was destroyed so badly that estimates as to the total damage done hovered around $10,000. And finally Riptide stopped Black Dragon from making history by ending its “never been knocked out” streak. All wasn’t well behind the scenes leading up to this fight however as when the robots were initially prepped for entrance Eric Wrigley from Shatter’s team noticed Riptide’s team fucking around with their robot before the fight. This is absolutely not allowed. Adam Wrigley, suspecting cheating, demanded Riptide be weighed in a second time. Riptide came in two pounds lighter than it did when it weighed in the first time. Stan Kurtz, Ethan’s father and peddler of autism cures, tells off Adam and his team by saying “there’s something wrong we made it lighter”. Somehow BattleBots just let this slide presumably because Riptide still passed weigh in. I think the appropriate action would’ve been to demand the team to explain what they did and why there’s any discrepancy at all in the weight of the robot but what’s done is done. Surely this will only help to improve Riptide’s reputation in the sport.

Riptide aims for the lights with Shatter’s entire goddamned chassis.

Shatter fucks up right away as rather than charge directly at Riptide head on the robot sways and winds up sticking its forks into Riptide at an angle. Riptide simply hits the spike of Shatter’s left fork and tears the entire fucking thing off. Shatter is actually able to hit Riptide and lands a shot that seems to hit right behind the weapon on the robot’s left side. There are sparks but Riptide is still going. Riptide lands a counter shot that tears up the chunk of plow armor Shatter borrowed from Emulsifier and then a second one that throws Shatter into the corner of the arena. Shatter gets out of the corner and narrowly avoids a charging Riptide in the process. Riptide eventually catches up with Shatter though and rips off Shatter’s remaining fork throwing it into the ceiling and somehow missing all of the lights up there. Shatter falters and Riptide comes in for a side shot and just watch this fucking hit because Shatter slides all the way across the goddamned arena into the short corner and Riptide follows it perfectly so that as soon as Shatter rebounds off the wall it meets Riptide’s weapon and gets thrown into the air. Fucking hell Riptide is a beast.

Shatter is so dead it looks like a fucking video game.

That hit peeled up the ablative armor on Shatter’s left side and as the robot flips and rolls around all over the goddamned place firing its hammer to self right Riptide manages to pluck the armor off. Shatter blindly throws a punch and its hammer again connects with Riptide right behind its eggbeater drum. Another piece of something comes off of Shatter and Riptide responds by kicking the robot into the wall near the blue square. Shatter lands awkwardly and before it can even try to self right again Riptide initiates a flurry of hits that send the hammer bot up and down and all around. Another piece of armor comes off of Shatter but I think that might be Riptide inadvertently hitting debris in the arena because there’s just so much of it everywhere. Shatter looks dead and Sid, the weapon operator for Riptide, tells Ethan to go in for another hit. Meanwhile Adam is telling Eric, Shatter’s weapon operator, to keep firing the hammer. Riptide hits Shatter again and I guess it’s because omni wheels have shitty traction but Shatter spins out and crashes all the way into the other short corner. Sid encourages another hit while Shatter helplessly flails about. Riptide backs off and leaves Shatter to die in the corner. Just fucking look at Shatter, good god. It’s chassis used to be a rectangle but now all of its corners have been rounded off by Riptide’s massive fucking spinner. Adam is obsessed with keeping the hammer going and as the weapon continues to fire copious amounts of smoke starts coming out of the robot which I assume is its weapon motor burning alive.

The only good thing I can say about Shatter’s performance in this fight is that it survived long enough to fuck up Riptide’s average KO time for the season and bring it up above one minute. Other than that Riptide literally wiped the floor with this thing for another Round of 32 win in this rematch. After the fight Ethan openly calls out Adam’s “paranoia” in front of the entire audience. Adam responds by saying there’s no need to bring that up and then refuses to shake Ethan’s hand instead retreating into a team hug before leaving the stage. You want drama, BattleBots? There’s your drama.

WINNER: Riptide, KO



Team Bad Kitty

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade


Team Bad Ideas

Weapon: Grappling/lifting jaw

Claw Viper gets some corner pussy.

We enter the second half of this week’s episode with a battle between Mad Catter and Claw Viper, two definite sleeper hits in the field. After failing to reach the main tournament in its debut season Mad Catter has managed to qualify every year afterward and this year is no exception. Coming in as the 22nd seed, Mad Catter’s lowest seeding to date, Mad Catter brings a 2-2 Fight Night record with a big win under its belt when it defeated Whiplash by KO. Yeah you read that right Mad Catter cooked Whiplash and won by knock out. Mad Catter was one of Riptide’s victims this year but wound up moving on to have a real back and forth battle with Big Dill of all robots. Mad Catter barely got the decision there. Lock-Jaw was an ambiguous final battle because this one could’ve gone either way but Mad Catter wound up losing when the robot was out-driven by Lock-Jaw who damaged a side of drive and from there Mad Catter was an easy target.

Before this season Claw Viper had a career record of 3-6, pretty shitty in other words. After its breakout season in the qualifiers its record is now 6-7. So… still a losing record but like, maybe not as bad as it could be? Kevin Milczewski hit the shop hard in the preseason redesigning Claw Viper and bringing out its inner beast. In a previous interview Kevin noted that his robot uses the same motors for drive that Riptide uses for its weapon. Claw Viper uses twice as many, one for each wheel. We just saw Riptide kick Shatter all over the fucking box and that’s just with two of the motors. Claw Viper is packing four. This robot is easily the fastest competitor this season and it used that superior speed to literally run circles around its opponents. Ominous was served into the walls constantly until the robot landed awkwardly and couldn’t self right. Ribbot was perhaps Claw Viper’s biggest win because Claw Viper was able to relentlessly slam the frog into the walls and even managed to damage a pane of inner Lexan. Overhaul was another easy win but Claw Viper finally met its match in Hypershock who was able to land a hit and then follow up with a volley that killed Claw Viper.

Just leave the sign alone! Now how will they motion track ads to it?

Watch how fast Claw Viper is. This machine literally does the fucking “teleports behind you, nothin personnel kid” meme in the first second of the goddamned fight. Gassy Cat is plowed through and cast aside as Claw Viper flies across the box to meet Mad Catter who started this fight facing sideways to try and game the initial box rush. Claw Viper doesn’t quite get the purchase it needs on Mad Catter so it retreats and regroups and does all sorts of crazy shit like running into the wall and driving figure eights in front of Mad Catter. Claw Viper goes for another grab but only gets Mad Catter’s corner meaning the center of gravity is all screwed up and when Claw Viper tries to lift it winds up pivoting itself forward instead. Claw Viper flips back down and shoves Mad Catter into the wall where Mad Catter’s raised lifting arm clips the BattleBots sign and knocks it off. Somehow Gassy Cat winds up getting drop kicked straight into Mad Catter’s weapon which destroys the minibot. Rest in fucking peace.

Bold move to just straight up mash into Mad Catter head-on.

Claw Viper shoves Mad Catter back against the wall and manages to scoop up the BattleBots sign with it. The foamcore sign warps as Claw Viper pushes against Mad Catter and as Claw Viper flexes its lifting arm the sign shatters and gets fed into Mad Catter’s spinner. Through all this carnage the ref on Claw Viper’s side has been counting the pin and when he says to release Claw Viper tries to back away and drags Mad Catter with it. Somehow one of Mad Catter’s front fork things has gotten stuck in Claw Viper and rather than stop the match to separate the robots – because everyone said “fuck that I’m not going in there” – the match continues with Claw Viper swinging Mad Catter around until Mad Catter’s spinner hits Claw Viper and knocks the robots loose. Claw Viper repositions itself and charges Mad Catter yet again and flips it over in the corner of the arena. Mad Catter remains on Claw Viper’s lifting arm so it gets dragged across the arena and flung into the rails near the blue square.

Mad Catter is able to self right with its lifting arm but right now it’s having a hard time getting it up there. Claw Viper, still on the attack, slams into Mad Catter and tries to grapple with it from the bottom. Claw Viper winds up jamming its upper claw into the weapon slot in Mad Catter’s frame where its upper half gets ripped off. Despite all this Mad Catter is still at Claw Viper’s mercy being pushed all over the place until Mad Catter finally gets an opening and goes for it. Claw Viper is backing away to line up a run but Mad Catter comes in and hits Claw Viper on its front corner and warps the left side of the robot’s plow. The hit also flips Claw Viper over. Claw Viper can also self right with its lifting arm but this requires its upper claw to be intact. Moments ago Claw Viper accidentally shoved this piece of itself right down Mad Catter’s throat and it got torn off. Claw Viper is left struggling in the short corner unable to really move around.

Claw Viper’s head gets vored by Mad Catter.

This is Mad Catter’s moment to spin up its blade and destroy Claw Viper because let’s face it Mad Catter is definitely behind on points right now, however Mad Catter’s weapon is suspiciously silent. That one mega blow it landed to Claw Viper must’ve knocked something out of place because all the robot can do is ram into Claw Viper and shove it around inside the short corner. Mad Catter makes no effort to use its lifting arm as a secondary weapon likely because if Mad Catter’s trouble with self righting is anything to go by that fucking thing is shot too. Kevin stamps his feet and says a no-no word as the fight comes to a close but honestly I think he’s done enough to win. The verdict comes in and it’s a split surprisingly and Fon Davis, the final judge whose score is read, sides with Mad Catter. Mad Catter landed a whole one hit in this entire fight. Claw Viper dominated for the first two minutes if not longer before it was flipped over and when it was upside down Mad Catter did fuck all. Then again Fon is a subscriber of Twitter Blue so naturally anything that comes out of his brain is dumb as fuck so whatever.

WINNER: Mad Catter, Judges’ Decision (2-1)

SKORPIOS (27) vs. HUGE (6)


Bot Bash Party Crew

Weapon: Hammer saw



Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

Skorpios fetches the stick.

If you remember Skorpios for one thing this season please make it the fact that this team’s behavior got Kenny Florian to say the word “memelord”. Skorpios has never made it beyond the Round of 32 in any of the tournaments it’s qualified for. A robot who was once a 10th seed Skorpios made it into last year’s tournament as #32, the bottom of the pack, and this season is not much of an improvement. Skorpios is armed with a hammer saw and although we’ve been told it’s more powerful this year its performance has shown that to be suspect. Skorpios won a fight over Jackpot but this was after Jackpot’s weapon force was used against it and the robot flipped over leaving it helpless as its srimech failed. Skorpios didn’t have much to do with that KO. Likewise Big Dill was also a KO win for Skorpios but Big Dill was probably winning that fight until it just died suddenly. Skorpios came out fighting Sawblaze with what Kenny called an “anime sword” because I guess saying “Overkill” isn’t allowed or something. Skorpios lost the fight. Skorpios also lost to Ribbot in the final round when its tires got shredded resulting in a KO loss.

Huge has been seeded 6th for this event and this is the robot’s highest ever rank. This is also the first season where Huge has gone completely undefeated in the qualification rounds so this is a big deal for Jonathan Schultz and his team. Huge was on the verge of retirement and this comeback means there’s still some life in this design. It’s still viable. Huge has absolutely killed the fuck out of every opponent it’s had this year. Shatter was beaten so badly that the team had to switch to a new aluminum frame in the pits afterward. Blip’s prized flipper was cleaved into and disabled. Fusion’s lid was popped off and the robot left for dead. And we all saw the one-sided massacre that was Huge versus Starchild. Starchild left the arena in a fucking trash bag. Despite its cumbersome appearance Huge is a real contender and it just took a few years for this robot to shine. Against Skorpios Huge has an easy target in Skorpios’ weapon chains and sprockets so as long as it doesn’t fuck it up we could see the win streak continue.

Ostensibly winning one moment and dead the next, that’s Skorpios!

The fight opens with Huge landing a big shot to Skorpios from an angle and burying its blade behind Skorpios’ right wheel. It appears the blade ended up there as a result of deflecting off of Skorpios’ plow so the wheel is intact and Skorpios manages to stay underneath Huge to prevent it from spinning up its blade. Of note is that Skorpios’ hammer saw looks to be actually functional for this fight for a change and as the blade revs up it comes down and slices off Huge’s right axle protrusion. Seconds later after a brief pursuit Skorpios brings down its weapon and lops off the left one to make it even. Huge’s wheels are still held on tightly but these axles are what prevent the robot from getting suck on its side; this was Starchild’s fate once Huge sliced off that robot’s axle extensions. The same thing can happen here assuming Skorpios has a way to prop Huge up and flip it sideways.

Skorpios stays in close but Huge’s blade is up to speed and as the robots pivot into each other Huge clips Skorpios’ right tire and fucks the whole thing up. It is my professional assessment that this wheel has been turned inside out while still on the hub meaning shit’s fucked. The wheel seizes up leaving Skorpios to only pivot in place allowing Huge to climb atop its opponent and land a killer hit with its weapon. There’s a gash cut into Skorpios’ surviving left wheel but more importantly there’s smoke coming out of the top of the robot follow by a brief flash of fire so whatever Huge was able to hit when it got on top of Skorpios must’ve been really damn important because Skorpios appears to be out cold. Or hot, because there was fire a second ago. Fuck me.




Team Revolution

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc


Caustic Creations

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

I don’t know what Copperhead’s hitting that makes this many sparks but here you go.

Rotator has come a long way since its debut in season 7. What was once a palindromic spinner is now basically a souped up version of Surgeon General from the original Comedy Central era of the show. Chris Rose mentions how Rotator always winds up losing to the eventual champion year after year but despite this curse Rotator does have a winning career record up to this point, 17-13. Some of those wins were among the most memorable fights in BattleBots history such as its victories over Icewave and Tombstone. Rotator was completely redesigned and rebuilt for this season so there have been some growing pains and little mechanical gremlins to chase. Rotator was not at 100% for its fights with Hydra and Jackpot though it did manage to win its match against Jackpot in a destructive fashion. Rotator was ready to go against Bloodsport but a driving mistake exposed its wheel to Bloodsport’s blade and the fight took a nasty turn. Fusion could’ve been a bad draw but Rotator stepped up and took out the dual weapon bot in order to make it in as the 23rd seed.

Always qualifying in the top 10, Copperhead enters this battle as the bot to beat. Luke Quintal has taken the reins of this robot from former captain Rob Cowen who himself took the reins from Zach Goff. This robot has had a revolving door of captains but it doesn’t seem to affect how deadly this snake is because it’s always a forerunner in the pack and only failed to qualify in its rookie year when Son of Whyachi spanked it so hard it killed a side of drive. This year Copperhead delivered one of the first big KO’s of the season when it sank Bloodsport in a single shot. Copperhead then moved on to face Triton where a driving error gave Copperhead the clearance to destroy its opponent yet again. Kraken was finally fully functional by the time its third fight rolled around but it too fell to Copperhead by KO. Copperhead looked unstoppable until a clever driving trick from Ripperoni gave it a shot at Copperhead’s vulnerable backside resulting in a KO loss.

Rotator just has shit luck with its wheel guards this season.

Rotator leads in with its forks once again since its opponent is armed with a powerful spinner. Copperhead generates enough force with its drum that when it meets Rotator’s spikes it’s powerful enough to spit one of them out and flip it upward allowing the drummer to get underneath Rotator and land some glancing blows to its underside. Copperhead’s drum slows down with the full weight of Rotator bearing down on it and Copperhead tries to wriggle its way out from under the robot. This whole time Rotator’s blade is spinning at top speed so you know as soon as Copperhead gets free Rotator is going to try its sweep attack. Rotator kind of goes for a half-assed one and misses and allows Copperhead to get away and spin back up. Rotator gives chase and meets Copperhead weapon-to-weapon and the shock is so intense that the adhesive on one of the gold stickers of Rotator’s blade gives up and the whole fucking decal just comes right off. Those are always the hits that impress me, the ones that cause literal glue to fail.

I don’t think the forks are working, Victor.

Copperhead gets away from the previous exchange a little slow and Rotator is able to maneuver around and land a hit that carves into Copperhead’s right wheel and also hit its backside in the process, exactly where Copperhead doesn’t want to get hit. Rotator doesn’t seem to deliver the same amount of impact as Ripperoni so Copperhead survives the attack but there is now a whole chunk missing from its solid rubber wheel and it appears as though it’s lost drive on its right side as well. Copperhead can still gyro around and move similarly to Minotaur so it’s definitely still a threat and this isn’t a free fight for Rotator in the slightest. Copperhead spins around to keep up with its opponent and juices it a little too hard resulting in a flip but again similar to Minotaur the robot can gyro dance up onto one side and roll back over. Rotator tries to take advantage of Copperhead’s temporary inversion but winds up catching a stray blow that dislodges its left wheel guard. This is a surprisingly close fight and we’re only about a minute into it.

With only one wheel Copperhead is driving around a little more conservatively and again its ass end is exposed to Rotator. Rotator tries to do some damage but the height of its blade seems to be level with the part of Copperhead’s chassis that’s angled so the hits just deflect off. Rotator gets a little too close in the process and Copperhead pivots into it connecting with Rotator’s already damaged left side and destroys the wheel guard. The hunk of metal is still attached at one end but the rest of it gets bent up and shoved into Rotator’s disc which mangles the piece of metal and slows the weapon down. Victor Soto tells the weapons guy to keep the blade spinning but whatever happened during this hit seems to have disabled Rotator’s disc because it gradually slows down and doesn’t rev back up again. Copperhead goes into full attack mode (well, as best as it can with only one fucking wheel) and starts climbing up Rotator’s rear forks grinding sparks off of everywhere as it goes. Rotator’s exposed left wheel is the obvious target but Copperhead is taking whatever it can get.


Rotator flees and Copperhead is able to give chase because its dead side of drive magically starts working again? Either this is some impressive Bite Force tier coasting or the damage done to Copperhead’s right wheel only resulted in intermittent loss of function. Copperhead runs up Rotator’s ass again and the force of its drum hitting the top of Rotator’s forks flips the spinner over. Copperhead recovers and as Rotator pokes with its spikes the one on the right gets sheared off. I want to say they’re designed to do that but I feel like Rotator wants to keep as many of them as it possibly can because Copperhead’s drum hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Copperhead looks a little worse for wear in the driving department but it’s still actively moving around. Rotator engages again and loses its left fork while the one in the middle seems to be bent the wrong way at one of its hinge points. A hit from Copperhead seems to fix the fork but that’s one more tally on the scorecards for the snake.

As the clock runs down on this match Rotator swings wide and drives itself over the Killsaws which do zero damage as you’re probably assuming. It continues to stab at Copperhead with its sole remaining spike but it’s not really making a strong impression or controlling the match. The buzzer sounds and sends this one to the judges who score the match for Copperhead based upon damage more than likely. I believe the rules give the edge to completely disabling an opponent’s weapon system as opposed to partially disabling their drivetrain. This wasn’t a spectacular fight but they can’t all be winners. Copperhead manages to survive into the Round of 16 and Rotator is sent packing.

WINNER: Copperhead, Judges’ Decision (3-0)

TANTRUM (26) vs. END GAME (7)


Team Seems Reasonable

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc on sliding track


OYES Robotics

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc

Funny, I didn’t think they allowed pyrotechnics in BattleBots.

Managing to qualify with a paltry 1-3 record this year is Tantrum the current reigning champion of BattleBots. Seeded 26th this makes the champ the highest seeded robot who made it in at 1-3 and the whole “reigning champion” thing probably has something to do with that. Would Tantrum have made it in if the team was staring down an 0-4 finish? I bet the “selection committee” would’ve cooked the books somehow just to make an exception based upon some bullshit like “strength of schedule” or whatever. You know how it goes. Tantrum had a breakout year last season. Some might even call it luck. No matter your stance Tantrum has a nut and that’s what counts. In an explosive first episode main event Tantrum lost to Minotaur when its self righter was damaged. The champ made a statement win over Hydra in the next round proving the judges got it right last year. Against fellow teammate Blip Tantrum blew out a side of drive and couldn’t fight and then against Whiplash the champ’s srimech failed a second time giving the win to the Vasquez’s in under a minute.

With a staggering 21 career wins End Game enters this fight as yet another BattleBots champion, just not the reigning one. “There are four teams from the modern era with banners in the rafters,” said Chris Rose, “and half of them are in the arena right now.” End Game comes to us from the minds of Jack Barker and Nick Mabey two guys I wouldn’t mind getting a kiss from. This robot had a modest start back in season 8 and wound up being one of those cautionary tales of being careful who you make fun of in middle school. End Game cinched the title in a heated match with Whiplash but last season Minotaur took it out. Now the team is on track to double down and win again. End Game tore up Tantrum’s partner Blip in round one. A hilarious driving error opened it up to attack from rookie Ripperoni who wound up winning their fight but End Game was patched back up and returned to destroy Hypershock and Gigabyte. Gigabyte was thrown into the wall so violently that the impact broke the fucking battle clock. End Game does not fuck around.

End Game opens up the floor and is the first to land a hit.

Both Tantrum and End Game appear to have the same style of long black forks jutting out from their front ends. End Game gets underneath Tantrum first but its forks are literally dragging on the floor so as End Game drives it catches seams and imperfections which trip the robot up and allow Tantrum to get away. Tantrum seizes the upper hand instead and fruitlessly throws a few punches with its disc that grind some white hot sparks off of End Game’s forks. One important thing to note however is that Tantrum has the superior drivetrain in this fight; End Game is built to sweep up opponents and hit them with its disc so it doesn’t have the same kind of power behind its drive that Tantrum has. End Game spins away from Tantrum and opens up its butthole to attack. End Game narrowly avoids disaster as it gets away from the reigning champ only to lock heads with it once again moments later. Tantrum floors it forward and shoves End Game all the way across the box but so far neither robot has landed any hits with its weaponry. This is a markedly different fight than the one we saw in the Golden Bolt finals last season.

Tantrum is winning the tractor pull in this fight but because of all these goddamned forks there isn’t any damage being done. End Game gets shoved into one of the control boxes of the screws and reels up a bit which gives Tantrum an opening but it can’t capitalize on it and instead the robots go right back to shoving each other around. Tantrum finally gets underneath End Game proper and I guess it just sorta drags its spinning disc across End Game’s underside but it’s hard to tell since there are no sparks and Tantrum’s weapon is so fucking dinky that I don’t even know if it’s spinning. End Game is delivered into the wall and responds with a hit of its own that pops Tantrum up. Tantrum speeds away to avoid a follow-up volley and whips right back around to attack End Game and ram it into the wall. When the camera goes in for a close-up you can see Tantrum’s disc is definitely not spinning and that’s why I hate this piece of shit. Yeah, it sometimes hits with its disc but most of the time it’s throwing punches with a static chunk of metal. Fuck off.

Fork off.

End Game is finally able to get an opening on Tantrum and kicks it into the air busting off one of its forks in the process. Tantrum lands on its head and thankfully for Tantrum’s sake its self righter actually works for once. End Game smells blood though and starts being a little more forthcoming with its attacks. Tantrum peels out and pushes against End Game resulting in some smoke coming from its tires. Tantrum rides up End Game’s plow in the process and End Game plucks off Tantrum’s other fork. Tantrum is now what we in the biz call “officially fucked”. End Game comes out swinging and pops Tantrum into the air a second time before landing a hit that literally shears Tantrum’s fucking armor in half. Tantrum is renown for being armored like a goddamned tank and End Game just struck it so hard that half of Tantrum’s left side armor just up and left. Its right side armor isn’t holding up too well either as when End Game brushes against it the panel shifts and moves around.

Tantrum is basically a sitting duck at this point so it starts running from End Game until the last few seconds of the fight where it stumbles into another pin somehow. Tantrum’s weapon looks dead because if it was still functional now would’ve been the time to prove it since the judges are, you know, right fucking there. Because it’s not spinning End Game will receive damage points for disabling it on top of the damage for ripping off both of Tantrum’s forks and part of its armor. Tantrum may have demonstrated more control of the fight but we all know the judges have more points to award in the “damage” category so when it comes time to render their decision it should come as no surprise that former champion End Game has won this rematch and advances onto the Round of 16.

WINNER: End Game, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



New this season is a mini “talk show” sort of segment called Road to the Giant Nut. These were shot after principal taping of the fights ended for the filming session. That’s why the audience is standing on the floor near the entrance gate. I of course stuck around for filming and if you look closely on the left side of the crowd maybe you can see my dumb face. This was all done mostly off the cuff with little for Chris and Kenny to go by on the teleprompter so that’s why this all has a really informal feel to it which is on display as Chris Rose coaches Adam Wrigley to bring out what’s left of Shatter after its run-in with Riptide earlier in the episode.

Seeing the carnage in the box is one thing because if you’re in the audience you’re kind of far away and if you’re watching at home the cameras are often zoomed out to catch all the action and everything is moving so being able to see Shatter after that fight up close… the damage is impressively terrifying. Adam explains the concept of ablative armor and then points out what happens when that gets torn off and the frame under it is exposed; the entire back right corner of Shatter looks like it drove over a goddamned land mine. That was solid aluminum milled out of a bigger block and now it’s worth however much Adam can get for scrap. Adam is impressed his robot’s hammer head stayed on which prompts Chris Rose to make a social security joke that falls flat.

“And then I looked Ethan square in the eye and said ‘no man’.”

Chris asks about the no handshake move and Adam sheds some further light onto just how poorly Team Break32 is seen among the other teams. Adam says the team up to that point was nice to him in the pits but has heard from other teams a very different story. He’s also heard whispers of Riptide perhaps breaking the weapon tip speed limit of 250 MPH. To top it off when Adam’s brother Eric saw the team working on the robot in the entrance tunnel Adam did the right thing and called them out on that because that is demonstrably against the rules. Riptide weighed 250 pounds before the fight but after the team fucked around with the robot it came in at 248. That’s not a discrepancy in the scale that’s because the team did something. But Riptide was still within the weight limit so it was allowed to continue. I’m with Adam that’s suspicious as fuck. Adam says he doesn’t shake hands with people who insult him in their post-fight interviews and thinks that was a remark that was best left unsaid. Bots FC is just one more team on the list of those who aren’t fond of Riptide and its team’s behavior.

The second half of the Road to the Giant Nut features interviews with Jamison Go and Aren Hill of Sawblaze and Blip respectively, two robots that will face off in next week’s episode. Aren name drops Norwalk Havoc. Chris and Kenny want the deets on what to expect from the fight so they bring out a pair of “soundproof” headphones, put them on Jamison, and tell him to go stare at the arena for a while. He can definitely still hear them. Aren says he’s got some special piano key wedgelets and some forks ready to go for next week’s episode, an attachment Jamison has “never seen before”. Jamison comes back to the table and the headphones go to Aren who mingles with the crowd and we see a shot of a woman wearing a fucking Riptide dress. The first thing Jamo says is that he also has an attachment Aren has “never seen before” meaning yeah he heard everything Aren said. Sawblaze is weak to flippers – it lost to Hydra in the qualifiers – but Jamison says every fight is a learning experience and he feels ready to take on Blip come next week.

As quickly as it started the segment ends and Chris Rose gets up close and personal with the camera. Kenny laughs despite not saying much throughout the whole Road to the Giant Nut thing.

Like a child with a camcorder.

As one half of the bracket wraps up I’m sure there are some burning questions you all have. Is this End Game’s year to make a comeback? Will Hypershock be able to stop Riptide? If Witch Doctor and Huge meet in the quarterfinals who will win??? Patience is a virtue, or something.

Next week the other half of the bracket will commence featuring #1 seed Minotaur. It’ll be battling Fusion who barely scraped by as the 32nd seed. Probably a one-sided battle. Hydra is the other top seed in this episode and it’s drawn Deathroll. Sorry Deathroll, I love you but this is probably the end of the road. Quantum, the robot Adam Wrigley said he wanted to win, will face Ribbot and Ripperoni, the only rookie to qualify for the main tournament, will fight Black Dragon. 2020 runner up Whiplash will fight Beta and there’s also the match between Sawblaze and Blip too. Rounding things out are two more battles, Cobalt versus Monsoon and Switchback versus Malice.

That’s a wrap on BattleBots Update this week! I made it through one of the longer main tournament episodes! You did too! This blog is supported by the community so if you’d like to pitch in to help keep the lights on you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. I think I’ve finally paid off the lifetime license I bought to the software that runs this website’s back end. That’s because of Patreon support so thank you! And also big thanks to Debbie Vasquez, yes the Debbie from the Whiplash team, for her recent contribution! Whiplads rise up! As always I do most of my communication through Facebook so be sure to follow BattleBots Update there.

See you next week!

– Draco