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Welcome back to BattleBots Update. Chances are you’re not reading this post on the usual Friday posting day and that’s because I was out of town for most of this week and unable to work on this post when I normally would. This is not a warning of things to come or anything like that, I just had a planned trip to visit some old friends and I went to go do that. Even if that put me a little bit behind schedule it’s nothing that a couple of cans of Monster and a big ass hoagie can’t fix. Ah, the life of a Web 1.0 content creator in the burgeoning times of Web 3.0. Stick around until the end of the article for when I get with the times and try hocking Update NFT’s. They’re all variants of a sabertooth cat. I call them Dumb Ass Roaring Cats, or “DARC” for short.

Faruq’s not ready for this week’s BBU.

Anyways last week was the season premiere wherein Minotaur smashed Tantrum in the main event dethroning the champ and starting Minotaur’s season off with a win for the first time in the team’s BattleBots career. Looking ahead to this week’s show the party kicks off with Sawblaze and Hypershock in a fight that fans have wanted to see for a few seasons now. Not sure why, but consider that wish granted. Newcomer Emulsifier faces off against the double weaponry of Fusion and another newcomer, Banshee, tries to get the flip on a completely redesigned Switchback. Then in the main event former champion End Game rises to meet Blip in a match that’s sure to finally test the spinner’s self righting mechanism.

Chris Rose gets us nice and excited for this episode’s opener so I guess that means it’s time for me to stop spinning my wheels and actually be productive.



Team Sawblaze

Weapon: Hammer saw


Shenanigans & Co.

Weapon: Vertical spinning blades


Like the new coat of paint on the arena floor for this match? Yeah I noticed while I was at the taping of this season that literally every single fucking day it was someone’s job to repaint the floor; people’s wheels and shit just kept screwing up the starting squares and logos. By the end of the season there had to have been a layer of paint at least a centimeter thick. Maybe that’s hyperbole. Sawblaze is back this season and it’s sporting new wheels made of solid rubber to ensure that the Witch Doctor fight from last year won’t happen again. No more ripping up the rubber or foam out of the dragon’s wheels now you have to either clip the whole damn thing off in one go or you get nothing. Other than that not much else has changed visually on the robot; Sawblaze is pretty close to a “perfect” design when it comes to the “dustpan scoop with an overhead spinning blade” class of robot. I think the front forks are reinforced a little differently this year but that’s a relatively minor thing. Yeah they’re stronger but they’ve been tough for a while now, when’s the last time you saw one get bent?

Here’s something I didn’t know about Hypershock; it’s one knock out away from tying with fucking Tombstone for its total number of career KO’s. Tombstone! And it’s already beaten Bite Force, too! Hypershock is an okay robot but given its performance season to season I wouldn’t fault you for assuming it’d be nowhere near the top of the list for career knock outs and yet here we are. I guess last year’s Golden Bolt tournament really boosted Hypershock’s kill count especially the fight where it gutted and de-shelled Gigabyte. That was last week’s #1 “nastiest knock out” in the countdown special that I didn’t write about because I wasn’t sure when it was going to air. Will Bales knows Sawblaze is expertly driven so he says his plan is to be as chaotic and stressful as possible to get Sawblaze off of its A game. If all goes to plan perhaps Hypershock will be the first bot to see just how durable Sawblaze’s new wheels are?

Right in the mommy daddy button!

Hypershock swings outward away from the Upper Deck to get some space and an angle on Sawblaze before flooring it straight at the dragon. Hypershock’s forks do not defeat Sawblaze’s and all that transpires from this impact are some steel sparks coming off of Sawblaze’s grille. Hypershock tries the attack a second and third time with similar results; Hypershock’s ninja blades can do some serious damage but not unless they catch something soft. Sawblaze’s front end is most certainly not “soft”. The two bots stay in close to each other though and Sawblaze winds up opening up its side to attack. Hypershock takes the shot. Sawblaze has wheel guards protecting its new tires so it’s not a potentially crippling wheel shot but the hit does send Sawblaze up and over before landing back on its feet. I’m not sure how rigid those wheel guards are on Sawblaze but if they can’t withstand another attack from Hypershock that could be the weak point to aim for (to do massive damage).

The bots clash face to face again and as Hypershock tumbles off of the side of Sawblaze’s front wedge the robot rolls over onto its back. This is exactly what Jamison Go wants to happen because he knows Hypershock absolutely sucks ass when it’s flipped over. Yeah, the weapon still spins but it’s spinning the wrong direction now and only the two back tires of the robot are touching the floor. Hypershock has foregone having a srimech incorporated into its design, because the fucking thing never worked even when the robot had one, so Will Bales has to bank on not getting flipped over. In a combat sport where that happens relatively often that’s a bold (and stupid) move. Hypershock lands an upside down hit to Sawblaze and as this happens the Killsaws pop up from the floor. Guess whoever’s in charge of turning them on isn’t watching the goddamned clock.

“Yeah they’re stuck alright.”

Hypershock continues to strike downward on Sawblaze but the hits aren’t doing much and they aren’t powerful enough to kick Hypershock backwards and back into its correct orientation. Sawblaze sweeps the neon robot up onto its wedges and makes a bee line for the arena wall slamming Hypershock into the corner and bringing down its hammer saw onto whatever it can hit. Sawblaze’s weapon slices into one of Hypershock’s front tires and just absolutely shreds the rubber and rips the foam out of it. Will Bales now has a new battle-scarred part to auction off to a lucky fan but more importantly his robot is now crippled and if it ever gets back right ways up it’ll bounce around as it drives ensuring its front forks are totally useless. For now the robot is just peeling out everywhere and kicking sparks off of Sawblaze’s face every time the bots collide.

Sawblaze gets another good pin on Hypershock and karate chops off its other front tire completely. Somehow this hit immobilizes Hypershock despite its front wheels not being the ones that touch the ground when inverted. One of the back tires is still spinning but the robot is going nowhere fast. Sawblaze sees an opportunity for a Minotaur-esque kill shot on Hypershock’s underside so Jamison tees up the shot and lets loose on the hammer. Sawblaze’s weapon digs straight into Hypershock’s baseplate. The hit doesn’t kill Hypershock because it’s weapon is still spinning and its tires are still twitching but what does happen is the robots get stuck with Sawblaze’s foot firmly jammed in Hypershock’s ass. John the ref stops the fight so the robots can be separated and Trey fucks around with his crowbar for like 20 seconds and determines the robots are inseparable and sends the match to the judges.

In actuality Trey and the safety crew tried to unstick these fucking robots for at least 15 minutes and Sawblaze’s weapon absolutely would not budge. Whatever Hypershock’s baseplate is made out of held fast and Sawblaze’s dick was buried too far into its opponent to unstick. This was also the very first fight filmed for the season, fight #1 in session #1, meaning that the tradition of some dumb shit going wrong in the first match that holds up production continues. Every single year, man.

WINNER: Sawblaze, Special Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Bots FC

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc


Team Whyachi

Weapon: Horizontal & vertical spinning discs

Emulsifier tries to catch a bullet with it teeth.

2022/2023 will be the banner season for the “it worked as a smaller robot let’s scale it up” design process. Emulsifier, like Ripperoni, is a robot that existed as a 30 pound robot before being bulked up into a full scale heavyweight. We haven’t seen it yet but Starchild also belongs to the same category of robot. Emulsifier though is probably the one scaled up robot that everyone should really be watching out for; this thing features a big ass two foot diameter spinning vertical disc with one massive tooth and it’s also the only robot whose designer has the balls to give it tank tracks. We haven’t seen treads since Bite Force’s original design back in 2015 and Red Devil attempting to use them in the years following. Emulsifier is such a motherfucker that when the teams in the pits were polled regarding who would win this fight the staggering majority went with Emulsifier, the newcomer, over Fusion who’s been here for a few seasons now. Fusion might be a compact little box of fireworks but if there were ever a robot who could find a way to disassemble it you’re probably looking right at it.

Reese Ewert is probably the only person who truly believes in Fusion as a concept and as a competitor. The first time I saw this robot I was intrigued by it but then it didn’t work and caught fire and I was done with it after that. Fusion has won some fights, namely a landmark win over Cobalt last year, but its victories seem few and far in between. Reese says he’s dealt with two years of “bullshit and nonsense”. Well my man get ready for year #3! If you’ve never seen Fusion before it’s definitely unique with a double disc vertical spinner on its front end and a massive spinning horizontal blade on its backside. The plan is always to get in with the vert before whipping around and bringing in the big triangle. Reese says he’s fixed the overheating issue by moving his speed controllers to right above the horizontal spinner that way it acts as a makeshift fan. Yeah that works I guess but if that thing ever self-destructs you can kiss all that expensive shit goodbye.

bro this ain’t gymnastics

Emulsifier’s moneymaker is its spinning disc; if that thing’s not spinning then it’s not winning. Period. When Emulsifier tries to come out of its starting square the disc starts to turn but it doesn’t really “spin”. It’s slow as fuck. Emulsifier’s weapon seems DOA and if that’s the case then Fusion is going to come in with the easy upset against the voting results from the pits. In case you were wondering how much power Fusion could possibly contain inside that little rinky dink vertical spinner take a look at the fucking blast it deals to Emulsifier. Two and a half goddamned backflips. Fusion also rips a chunk out of Emulsifier’s heavy duty front plow several inches deep. Now you know why Fusion keeps overheating, just imagine the amperage that Reese is pumping through that shit to deal hits like that. Emulsifier gets away and its disc tries to spin up again but it falters and stops. Finally on what feels like the third or fourth try Emulsifier gets its weapon going and now it stands a chance and leveling the scorecards and making up for that early power shot.

Fusion comes in close to Emulsifier as its weapon causes one side of tracks to pull off the ground and lands a blow to the left side of the robot. No major damage has been dealt yet but if Fusion is able to hit Emulsifier’s treads that easily then you can expect to see some shed belts before the end of this match. Fusion hits Emulsifier from the front again and flips the robot backwards causing its disc to collide with the floor and violently flip the robot back around. Emulsifier lands upside down but the back side of its tank treads are still in contact with the ground so the robot can still move and with a little bit of wiggling the sticks Matt Bores gets the robot to flip back down properly. Emulsifier looks trapped in the corner while Fusion can’t decide which weapon to hit Emulsifier with. It settles on the vertical spinner and throws Emulsifier at the wall causing the tracked robot to flip back over and land on its backside. Emulsifier spins away and tries to drive into the screws to help it flip back over and while this is going on Fusion drifts in for a precision shot with its triangular spinner and clips half of the tracks off of Emulsifier’s right side.

Obligatory “smoking Fusion” shot.

The screws finally help Emulsifier flip back over but when the robot lands its disc still isn’t spinning. It visibly tries to rev up, starts to slow down, and then finally gets going again just in time for Fusion to hit it and cause Emulsifier’s disc to strike the ground and propel the robot onto the Upper Deck where it crashes into the BattleBots sign before awkwardly driving down from the hazard. Pay close attention to the aftermath of this hit however and you’ll see Fusion blast a wad of sparks out from its lid followed by visible fire under the hood. Guess you didn’t fix the overheating issue did you, Reese? Fusion still has enough juice in it to land a couple of power hits to Emulsifier’s face but Emulsifier’s weapon is actually working this time so there’s a retaliation where Emulsifier lands a couple of shots to Fusion and dislodges part of the robot’s top panel. Emulsifier’s own top paneling is wrecked though and part of what’s left of the left side of it keeps getting sucked into the remainder of the robot’s treads but for now the robot is still mobile. And now Fusion is on fire.

Fusion is ablaze and this looks like a battery fire to me on account of the thick white smoke that was coming out of the robot a second ago so maybe I was wrong and Reese did fix the overheating speed controllers. Just not the overheating batteries. Maybe you should put those above the spinner to, or better yet invest in those old ass “BattlePack” NiCd battery packs that had the shitty little PC fans built into them for cooling. There is now a sustained proper blaze coming out of Fusion’s face but against all odds its vertical spinner is still fucking spinning. Fusion might be ablaze but it’s still a threat and it lands another hit to Emulsifier’s front end that flips the robot over and causes its disc to ricochet off of the arena floor. Emulsifier recovers and once again its disc takes a couple of attempts before it gets going before the robot helps ventilate Fusion’s fire problem.

Fusion has the arena safety crew on speed dial.

More smoke starts to billow out of Fusion as the robot retreats to the opposite corner of the arena. Matt tells the ref to count out Fusion because it’s no longer moving to which Reese snarks back “he’s the one who can’t drive count him out”. The cameras cut back to Emulsifier who’s lost almost all of its tread from its left belt and the robot is struggling to move in a straight line. Meanwhile Fusion comes back to life and cruises around the Battlebox filling it with toxic battery smoke. The match goes the distance and as the buzzer sounds I’m enjoying watching the safety guys fruitlessly hose down Fusion with fire extinguishers that are completely ineffective against the raging chemical reaction taking place inside the heart of the robot.

The judges turn in their scorecards and believe it or not this isn’t a split decision! It’s unanimous and the winner is Fusion in spite of the fire and smoke; the early carnage and Emulsifier’s apparent inability to get anything going tilted the scales in Fusion’s favor. It’s a complete rebuild for Reese, but at least it’s a win.

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



Questionable Designs

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc


Team Mammoth

Weapon: Rotary lifting arm

Ah yes, the old “grab them by the arm and punch them in the face” technique.

Several robots this year are under new management and Valkyrie is one of them. Former captain Leanne Cushing took a new job opportunity and she wasn’t able to make it to BattleBots this year so captain duties have been passed onto Lucy Du formerly of Team Sawblaze. Valkyrie driver Frederick Moore is also out because we saw his dumb ass jumping up and down behind the wheel of Ripperoni last week so not only is Lucy the new team captain she’s also the driver. Valkyrie is still the same robot however and all things considered it can’t possibly be that hard to drive; it’s just a two-wheeled thing with a spinner on it. Yeah the spinner might pull the robot to one side but that’s easily accounted for. Valkyrie is equipped with its 65 pound disc for this fight for maximum damage even though there is very little on Mammoth to actually hit. The prime targets are going to be the wheels and motors of course but that will require Valkyrie to maneuver around to the sides of Mammoth and we’ve seen how difficult that can be.

Ricky Willems almost retired Mammoth after last season. I would too if I lost to Rampage. With only one win for the whole year Ricky thought maybe it was time to build something new but before he picked up the hacksaw to salvage parts from Mammoth he decided to give the robot one more chance to shine so now the world’s deadliest jungle gym is back for its final showing in BattleBots. Mammoth looks like a massive vertical spinner but actually it’s more of a “rotary lifter” because the robot catches opponents with the teeth on its weapon arms and then scoops them up to roll them over and control the fight. Much of Mammoth’s front (and back) end are disposable Tegris parts so the robot can take shots and flex and deflect them away. According to Kenny Florian, Mammoth’s weapon strength has been changed from 185 to just 50 horsepower. Kenny says we’ll see if the weapon still has enough muscle to flip opponents. Dude it’s still 50 horses. That’s a fucking dumb as hell standard of measurement but I think that’s more than enough. Hell one horse enough.

This looks impressive but really all Valkyrie is doing is hitting Mammoth’s weapon teeth.

Mammoth charges at Valkyrie as Valkyrie tries to get its weapon up to speed. As Mammoth collides with Valkyrie its right strut jams itself straight between Valkyrie’s disc and its chassis locking the two robots together. They’re stuck but that doesn’t stop Mammoth from punching the front of Valkyrie several times with the strength of 50 whole horses. Shoutouts to the guy on Valkyrie’s team who says “did you try reversing”. Yeah dude I’m sure that was the literal first fucking thing Lucy tried to do. Way to mansplain to her you fucking dolt. There’s some creative editing here that makes it look like Mammoth socks Valkyrie so hard that the robots split but make no mistake the safety crew had to be called in for this one too and I want to say this fight had to be postponed and the robots hauled out of the arena because of how perfectly Mammoth’s strut got jammed into Valkyrie. They put the robots back down where they were when the fight stopped so there’d be a seamless cut. That’s called “TV magic”.

Ricky confidently sounds the alarm but it looks like Mammoth’s left side of drive has crapped out already. Valkyrie didn’t even have to hit Mammoth there and it’s already dead. Mammoth is still trying to be active however and with the new rules on showing mobility Mammoth cannot be counted out right now so Valkyrie needs to come in and finish this fight. Valkyrie tries but as soon as it gets in close Mammoth uses its clawed rotary arm to rip its goddamned face off. Valkyrie retreats way too far into the arena than necessary to evade further attacks. It comes in for another attempted shot and gets swatted away by Mammoth. Valkyrie then starts idling around making me think maybe it really is hard driving a heavyweight robot and Lucy is out of her element here? If so that doesn’t bode well for Valkyrie’s future matches where its opponents probably won’t suck as badly as Mammoth.

I think you got a bad batch of carbon fiber, dude.

Mammoth tries to claw at Valkyrie again and gets a weird angle on its opponent causing the robot to flex and spring backwards. Mammoth is normally able to right itself with its lifting arm when the circumstances are right but as Mammoth spins its arm against the floor the carbon fiber structure splits causing not one but both of its fucking arms to just shear right off. Valkyrie finally comes in for a hit and rips the entire top panel off of Mammoth’s lid revealing the juicy parts underneath. Ricky starts freaking the fuck out gesturing that he’s out of the fight presumably to stop Valkyrie from further trashing his robot. Lucy backs off and lets Mammoth get counted out securing an early win for her team.

WINNER: Valkyrie, KO



Team Fast Electric Robots

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc on lifting arm


Team Bad Kitty

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc & lifting arm

All lift, no spinner.

Whiplash, season 5 (I mean 10) runner up, is back for what could potentially be its year to win the Giant Nut. We all know just how far this robot can go and with Matt Vasquez behind the wheel anything is possible. Even better Matt says in the off season the team was able to reallocate Whiplash’s weight in order to make room for its spinning disc again! You might recall last season the robot was photographed with the disc for its official picture but when the robot showed up to fight it was missing the disc every single time; it fought as a pure lifting robot. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, Matt knows what the best approach is, but it’s kind of a dick move being photographed with a cool weapon and then just… not using it? I mean just recently Whiplash had its Hexbug toy released and that’s got the spinner on it so you’re kind of obligated to resemble the goddamned toy, you know?

Martin Mason is back with the crew this year and Mad Catter has come with them. Mad Catter is a robot that has really grown into being a formidable robot. The first time we saw this machine was back in season 9 (no wait, I mean 4) wherein it was split apart and had its drive pod separated from its main chassis. Mad Catter turned its favor around the following year by being one of very few robots to qualify for the main tournament at a perfect Fight Night record. That’s a night and day change for what was once a jank ass robot. Mad Catter has been on an upward trend ever since making that big design change though it’s never gone further than the first round of the main tournament in the years where it’s qualified. With beetleweight prodigy Calvin Iba behind the controls yet again Mad Catter has the potential to pull an upset or two but it’s going to have to start with an uphill battle against Whiplash.

Mad Catter with a surgical strike right where it wounded Whiplash.

Whiplash starts the fight out strong with a hearty slam into Mad Catter’s face but it seems both robots’ hinged front wedgelets cancel each other out and nobody gets the upper hand. Neither Mad Catter nor Whiplash get to use their lifting arms and Mad Catter’s spinning bar is kept at bay by the horn poking out from Whiplash’s lifter. Of note however is Whiplash’s spinning disc is doing a whole lot of nothing even as the robots separate to regroup and attack again. Listen Matt, if you’re not going to spin the disc then just don’t put it on. Taking a picture with the weapon and then never equipping it is one thing, but equipping it and then not using it is a whole other kind of false advertising. This is worse than when you go to a McDonald’s and see the menu pictures for a Big Mac but when you order it the fucking thing looks all deflated and like someone stepped on it.

Whiplash is able to get a slight lift on Mad Catter’s side but doesn’t quite roll the kitty over leaving Mad Catter to get away and scurry across the box inadvertently plowing through its own minibot in the process. Kenny says the robots are still feeling each other out but no I think Whiplash is well and truly out for blood its problem is just that its lifting arm is finding every goddamned imperfection in the floor and hitting it. The robots lock heads again and while this tussle is going on Mad Catter raises its lifting arm all the way back presumably to get it out of the way and better present its spinning bar to Whiplash. Good plan, the lifting arm was clearly just obstructing the weapon so reducing the amount of bullshit getting in between you and your opponent is a smart move. Meanwhile Whiplash is still cruising around sans weapon. I swear to god.

“Tell Yeti I said fuck you.” – Mad Catter

Mad Catter swings around and goes for a charge clearly trying to get a hit like it delivered to Yeti last season but is again foiled upon impact. It is however able to get around to the back of Whiplash while in pursuit of it to strike a blow to its ass that flips the lifter bot over. Mad Catter very clearly tries to go in for a follow up hit like when Minotaur fucking wrecked Tantrum’s srimech last week but Whiplash’s flipping and flopping around proves to make it a hard target and the robot reorients itself and gets away. Mad Catter goes for another across the floor charge and gets nothing. So it tries it again… and also gets nothing. Mad Catter clearly has to be winning the aggression points here. The robots meet face to face once again and Mad Catter is throwing sparks off of Whiplash eventually resulting in Whiplash getting shoved into the corner where a respectable blow is landed by Mad Catter.

The result of this decent shot is hard to see but if you look closely at Whiplash’s front end you’ll see that a sizable chunk of its left plow has been eaten off. If you’re still leaning too close to your television to see the damage you’ll probably jump back once Mad Catter finally gets the big slam it’s been waiting for that hurls Whiplash into the air. Dare I say it but I think Mad Catter’s bar went straight into the divot it carved out a second ago and that’s why Whiplash took such a massive hit. As Whiplash comes down you can even see that its left plow is now definitely bent out of shape. Whiplash doesn’t have long to right itself until Mad Catter is on it once again and this time the cat has Whiplash by the ass and is flooring it across the Battlebox to whatever is on the opposite side. Turns out that’s the shelf and Whiplash’s ass gets kicked so hard it becomes its face because this hit just fucking demolishes Whiplash. Whiplash goes hurtling through the air and if you look at the Upper Deck you’ll see a battery or some kind of electronic component land onto it along with a piece of Whiplash’s armor.

just chillin with the boys

This was the hit Mad Catter needed. It was a long shot but this is Vegas and stranger things have happened. Whiplash rocks back and forth with its lifting arm hinting to the fact that its entire frame might now be warped. The robot moves like half a foot before dying again which prompts Chris Rose to say “remember the rules now state that any movement will stop a countdown”. No Chris, we don’t remember that on account of you never fucking telling us in the previous episode. But thanks for the heads up now I guess? That final epic blow from Mad Catter looks to have cooked Whiplash’s goose because the robot is being counted out with no signs of life. Mad Catter with the upset in round one!

WINNER: Mad Catter, KO



Team Midnight Invention

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum on articulated arm


Team Small Robots

Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm

Banshee lands a staggering ONE shot in this fight.

Switchback debuted last season and was certainly an interesting design, though when it came time to show up in the arena I guess you could say the robot put on a “spirited performance”. Switchback’s whole thing was how it had this big drum comprised of several smaller discs that it could pivot back and forth over the top of the robot presumably to hit from both directions or just simply to raise the weapon off the ground to let it spin up. Switchback underperformed to say the least so Greg Needel went back to the drawing board and made another blueprint for his robot. The result is something that sort of looks like an evolution of Switchback 1.0? It still has a weapon that can flip all the way around but now it’s spinning something akin to Riptide’s beater bar only smaller. It doesn’t seem like the robot has much of a reason to raise and lower its weapon arm so I wonder why it’s still there but at least this is “another goddamned vertical spinner” with something that makes it unique. That means I still hate it, I just hate it less than the others.

David Small is only 29 years old and yet he’s a master of pneumatics. For a while now he’s been competing in the one and three pound classes with pneumatic flippers and that just blows my fucking mind. These are robots that are as big as a fucking Game Boy and they have pneumatic weapons? They make parts that small? Maybe they’re custom made??? Regardless I’m not sure if David’s small flippers win or lose but the fact of the matter is the guy knows his way around a piston. Banshee is the project that took his knowledge of pneumatic weaponry and scaled it all the way up. Unlike contemporary flippers such as Bronco or SubZero, which Banshee was compared to, Banshee doesn’t have a piston connected to an armature that raises and lowers directly. No, Banshee is a British style of flipper featuring a piston that rams the underside of its flipping arm, which pivots at the back, and there are some heavy duty straps that extend upward with the flipper and bring it back down to reset. It’s simple but effective, we all remember Eruption winning one of the Robot Wars championships and that’s how its flipper worked.

Don’t worry, Switchback is barely doing anything too.

Switchback starts the fight by raising its weapon arm a little bit off the ground as its drum starts to rev up. I think I see the strategy here but dude your opponent is a fucking flipper. They thrive on ground clearance problems and by raising up your weapon you’ve just given Banshee permission to ram its dick down your throat and throw you over. Switchback spins around as Banshee approaches and lowers its weapon back down along the floor. Banshee tries to catch Switchback from the side, fires its flipper, and misses. Banshee stays on its opponent though and visibly gets underneath Switchback’s sides and back but there’s no action from the arm. I’m assuming from David’s vantage point he’s unable to tell if Switchback is on the flipper or not. Chock that up to having a fork that’s like three fucking inches long sticking out from the front of the robot. Switchback keeps raising and lowering its weapon arm for some stupid reason. We get it, it articulates. Now do you want to win this fight or not?

I think Switchback heard that because it kisses Banshee on the face and the impact bends Banshee’s leftmost flipper fork backwards and also scrapes up the little armor panel on the flipper’s front end. Not major damage but that bent fork might present an issue with being able to effectively get underneath Switchback. A death hum starts to reverberate throughout the Battlebox and god damn that’s Switchback isn’t it? Greg really juiced that thing up. A death hum doesn’t automatically equate to a deadly weapon – we’re still waiting for Switchback’s first meaty hit – but it definitely implies that opponents will “find out” if they fuck around. Apparently the bent fork on Banshee isn’t an impediment because the little flipper whips around and lands a shot to Switchback tossing the robot onto its lid. Switchback rights itself by flexing its weapon arm backward but once the robot gets back onto its tires its weapon seems to stay locked in its backwards position. The weapon is still humming but with the gyro forces of it along with the fucked up distribution of weight Switchback starts staggering around the box. Nice job with the weapon arm, Greg.

You can barely tell the motion-tracked ad is there!

This is now Banshee’s fight to lose because Switchback’s weapon is spinning the wrong direction and the whole robot is unstable with its front end flapping up and down as it drives. This is ground clearance city and Banshee is the new goddamned mayor. Banshee gets another toss in and Switchback bounces backward its weapon still stuck in upside down mode. Switchback seems to want to back into Banshee in order to drag its spinner across the top of the flipper and as this happens Banshee decides to fire its arm again. The flip resets Switchback’s busted arm and now it’s resting on the ground in the right orientation. Cool beans Banshee, you just fixed your opponent’s problems with balance and weapon efficacy! Who fired the flipper on that shot, Greg Needel?

Switchback is back in its correct configuration but the weapon arm is still apparently busted so another good flip from Banshee could very well end this fight. This is going to be a hard task however because Switchback’s arm is now hanging limp meaning it’s just dragging on the floor wherever the robot goes so that little plow thing on the front of it is riding along the Battlebox floor for zero ground clearance. Case in point Switchback’s front plow is able to defeat Banshee’s forks and flipper and land a decent shot that flips Banshee up into the air. The hit appears to have also dislodged Banshee’s stuck flipper fork though so this could be a mixed bag of a shot. Banshee rides along the top of Switchback with none of its wheels on the ground. Switchback is very clearly trying to get Banshee under the Pulverizer but Banshee being at such an odd angle is making it hard for the orange robot to drive straight. Banshee fires off its flipping arm in an attempt to unstick itself and man that thing looks like a limp dick. That’s supposed to have 18,000 pounds of force running at 1,500 psi. I’m seeing some single digits shit here.


Switchback eventually lets go of Banshee and backs off letting Banshee kind of scurry away. Is it just me or is Banshee not driving all that good? It looks like maybe one of its wheels is out on one side, but not all of them? I have no way of knowing this but the robot just looks like it’s struggling to move in a straight line. Switchback starts spinning its weapon drum up to speed and I’m not hearing a hum this time so that means we’ve got a low-T spinner on our hands here. Still, Switchback clips off that little piece of armor from the front of Banshee’s flipper and that’s gotta be worth damage points to the judges. Chris misunderstands Kenny when Kenny says Banshee’s nose falls off and thinks that meant the entire front end of Banshee’s flipper came loose. No dude, you’re sitting right there ringside man, best seats in the fucking house. Use your eyes not your ears. Anyways Chris says there’s still about a minute left in this fight and I just want to die.

Banshee and Switchback continue to dawdle around until Switchback finally lands another decent hit to Banshee’s side that kicks the flipper back a couple of feet. This hit also kills Switchback’s flipper because immediately the robot starts smoking from its center console. Switchback now has no weapon and no way to self right. This is Banshee’s moment, a golden opportunity presented on a silver fucking platter, but of course the robot appears to be broken down or something over in the corner. Switchback stays in the fight and starts shunting Banshee around with the plow on its front end while Kenny reminds us that the robot has never gone the full three minutes in any of its fights. God damn Switchback 1.0 sucked hard. The 10 second timer appears on the screen to signal the end of the fight and sends this one to the judges.

Given that Switchback was able to deform Banshee’s flipping arm and tear off an armor panel, however small it was, that was still worth big points to the judges who turn in a unanimous decision favoring the robot. The team’s all smiles but let’s be real here this fight was hot garbage.

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



Team Food Fight

Weapon: Lifting arm


Offbeat Robotics

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Hey you can’t show this vile shit on television!

Here’s a fight where I don’t care who wins because both of these robots are write-offs as far as I’m concerned. Big Dill is in the red square and this machine is just cursed or something because in the past two seasons it’s won two fights. That’s it, and one of them was by a special decision when its fight with Atom #94 had to be called because Big Dill’s serrated forks got tangled up in its opponent’s spaghetti belts. That’s not a sexual euphemism. Emmanuel Carrillo has redesigned Big Dill to be a bit more offensive this season by adding a compact vertical spinner to the front however we won’t be seeing this addition for this battle because Emmanuel took it off to swap in a big ass steel wedge to deflect Hijinx’s bar spinner. Of curious note is that Big Dill was again accepted as an alternate competitor, someone to compete in the BattleBots: Champions special only, though for some reason the robot was promoted up into the Fight Night rounds. I’m guessing somebody dropped out or something. Hey, an opportunity is an opportunity. Now then, wake me up three minutes from now.

I want to like Hijinx, I really do. It’s a cool design; it’s this long slender robot with a big ass helicopter blade and I am definitely here for that. The problem is Hijinx just sucks out loud. This thing also doesn’t win fights. It’s stumbled into the main tournament twice now and loses in the first round the minute the heat gets turned up. Granted Hijinx keeps qualifying with a really low seed so that means it’s inevitably matched up with shit like Uppercut and Sawblaze and no matter how you slice it there is not a chance in hell that Hijinx can beat either of those two robots. Not not. Not ever. Hijinx’s schedule this season shows it fighting Captain Shrederator, Ripperoni, and Switchback so it’s a veritable who’s who of nobodies for this robot to battle. No challenges, just other robots in its tier. I expect Hijinx to qualify again in like 30th place and lose to someone like Tantrum or End Game in the Round of 32. I mean it was given a preseason ranking of 31 so it’s not like this robot is going places except for back into its shipping crate for next year.

You can almost disregard the action blur here.

Hijinx starts the fight facing backwards bracing against the ground with its rear tail that it uses to destabilize and disorient opponents. Big Dill goes in for an attempted box rush, gets snagged on Hijinx’s tail, and spins away to safety. So far Hijinx’s plan is working. It continues to face Big Dill with its tail end first and Big Dill comes in from the corner to absorb a shot with its hearty plow. Hijinx rebounds into the air but ultimately lands back down safely without blowing the fuck apart. Big Dill charges again and rides up Hijinx’s ass before backing away and trying again. This time it gets some purchase and slams Hijinx into the wall hard enough to knock the huge spinner upside down. Now it seems Big Dill’s plan is the one that’s working out. Or maybe not, because now Hijinx’s spinner is way off the ground and looks to be high enough to chop directly into Big Dill’s lifting apparatus.

Hijinx lands the only real hit of the entire match.

Yeah this doesn’t seem to be part of Big Dill’s grand plan because now that Hijinx is inverted and spinning like a goddamned helicopter the lifter bot is just sitting there unsure of what move to make. Hijinx makes a move because it’s tired of waiting and batters Big Dill’s UHMW lifting arm sending shreds of it flying across the arena. The lifter is made of two parts and you can see where they meet in the middle. It kind of looks like shit but that’s fine because it doesn’t need to be perfectly level with the ground since Hijinx has clearance for days underneath it. It just has to work, and right now it’s not working because the lifters aren’t moving at all; if I were driving I would’ve at least lowered them to the ground to better control Hijinx but hey Big Dill isn’t my robot so what the fuck do I know? Honestly I’m kind of glad it’s not my robot because I wouldn’t want to deal with that thing’s problems.

Big Dill pursues Hijinx until its right side of drive just gives out. Jen Herchenroeder hasn’t noticed this yet so she taunts Big Dill to come and get her robot. Hijinx starts taking pot shots at Big Dill until one particularly heavy slam locks Hijinx’s blade around Big Dill’s lifting arm and throws the two bots in opposite directions. Hijinx recovers and its blade starts spinning again but it quickly dies out and there’s no more action from it. Are you fucking for real right now? Big Dill has lost one side of drive but since “any movement counts as movement” that means this piece of shit won’t be counted out and now Hijinx has been reduced to an even shittier version of SMEE with no active weapon and no way to push its opponent around? Literally kill me now. I hate this goddamned fight.

Chris Rose already made the fried pickles joke, I’ve got nothing.

Both robots stumble around and lean on each other. Hijinx eventually backs into the screws which flip it back over but that doesn’t really matter since its weapon is dead and its tail is useless. While this happens however Big Dill straight up freezes and moments later a fire erupts from its left side. My guess is this is an electronic component burning up since there’s not a lot of smoke. My professional unprofessional opinion is Big Dill probably asked too much of its only surviving side of drive and the speed controllers for it cooked themselves. In any case this godsend of a fuck up mercifully ends the battle and Hijinx stumbles into yet another random win.

WINNER: Hijinx, KO



OYES Robotics

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc


Team Seems Reasonable

Weapon: Electric flipping arm

Blip being effective.

I want to say this fight is going to be spectacular but both of these competitors are using a stupid amount of “piano key” wedgelets. Blip’s got a whole rack of them and former champion End Game has a rack as well plus four other forks jutting out from the front end of it as well. I keep forgetting End Game is the master of fucking forks. I’m almost positive it’s on the team’s business cards. So while at first this fight sounds intriguing once you see the bots in the arena you’re like “oh they’re just going to get stuck on each other and nobody’s probably going to land any good hits fuck this I’m going to the food trucks to get diarrhea”. End Game’s weapon is a killer disc spinner assuming it can land any shots. This robot won the Giant Nut two seasons ago and last season despite losing in the Round of 16 it came up from behind in BattleBots: Champions to win the first ever Golden Bolt. That’s a lot of hardware to bring home. I wonder if Jack Barker carries his Giant Nut around in a bowling ball bag?

Aren Hill has technically also won a Giant Nut. Last season Tantrum shocked audiences around the world as it reached the championship finals and was able to give Witch Doctor a charlie horse. Aren designed Tantrum, though he didn’t captain it last year. Hard to say who gets that Nut, the guy who drew up the robot? Or the team captains that made sure the robot came together in the pits? In any case this match is being offered as a sort of “battle of the champions”. BattleBots, you spoil us. Blip was a rookie last season and it reached the quarterfinals before losing out to Hydra who had the better flipper. Clearly. Whereas Bronco was pneumatic and Hydra is hydraulic, Blip is 100% electric; the robot’s flipper uses rapidly-tensioned cords to charge up its flipper and let loose a powerful shot that can heave opponents several feet into the air. Kenny Florian says “into the ceiling” but let’s be real here no one’s done that yet. Y’all keep teasing it though but until someone fucking does it I’m not listening anymore.

No Blip, YOU are supposed to do the flipping!

The first thing End Game does is stick one of its side forks into an imperfection in the floor. Great. Blip tries to bait End Game into a charge only to whip around and go for a side attack. The plan is an utter failure though and instead Blip opens up its side to attack from End Game. End Game wastes no time taking the opportunity and knocking off one of Blip’s piano keys in the process. Blip hops right back into the fray and as End Game turns to face it the robot pulls up on one side exposing its ground clearance to Blip. Blip takes its turn now and gets underneath End Game but winds up hitting one of the seams of the Killsaws and loses its hold. End Game holds steady as Blip rockets around and the two robots lock heads by the screws. This is the shit I was talking about, look; End Game’s forks are jammed up into Blip’s and neither robot’s weapon can do a fucking thing.

Blip losing more teeth than a bulimic.

Blip holds this lock for the maximum allocated time the refs will let you pin someone for and scores some control points with the judges. Aren backs off when he’s told to but he immediately tries to go back in for pin #2. This time however End Game isn’t having any of that bullshit and it catches a gap in Blip’s defenses and throws the robot onto its back. End Game then proceeds to cleave off pretty much all of Blip’s piano keys leaving the flipper with just the two outside ones. While this is happening Kenny is too busy complimenting Blip’s use of the Pulverizers to break up the fight. Yeah dude, what a move, Blip only lost six teeth instead of all eight! The fight moves back out into the middle of the arena and with basically no wedgelets left to speak of Blip just rides right up onto End Game and gets a chunk bitten out of its front bumper.

Nick Mabey is showing some amazing restraint at the controls of End Game because if I were him and I saw Blip’s stupid ass piano keys all over the place I’d just declare this shit on sight and chase that motherfucker down until Blip was beaten to a pulp. He’s still showing some amount of caution despite the fact that Blip can literally do absolutely nothing to End Game at this point; Blip’s front bumper is too steep to get End Game up onto its flipper. End Game plows into Blip’s front end and lands a power shot that sends the flipper probably about as high as Blip would send End Game if this fight wasn’t a total wash for Aren. This is the shit I paid good money to see so imagine my disappointment when a second later End Game’s weapon goes from full blast to frozen as if something got stuck in its mechanics. That kind of whiplash can’t be good for the internals of the robot and seeing this Nick immediately fumbles with his controller to power down End Game’s weapon system as to not inadvertently burn it up and give major points to Blip.

Even without an active weapon End Game dominated the fight.

End Game’s weapon has seized up so it’s out of the rest of the fight. Meanwhile, Blip’s flipper still works because we just saw the robot right itself but its front end is totaled meaning it can’t get End Game onto its flipper. I don’t even know what Blip is trying to do in this fight, it’s moving around and I guess trying to get at End Game’s sides but End Game still holds all the cards here. End Game’s front array of forks and wedgelets is 100% intact and any attempt by Blip to ram into the former champ is met with Blip getting tangled up on the front of its opponent. While the two robots amble around Chris Rose poses the thought of whether or not Blip will be able to turn the tables and use its flipper. Look, I know they write this commentary to serve the lowest possible common denominator of mouthbreathers who watch this show from bumfuck Alabama but come the fuck on. Even someone who rides a Walmart scooter out of obese laziness and fucks their tractor can see that Blip isn’t going to amount to anything in this battle.

With about 30 seconds left in the fight Blip starts randomly smoking while driving around erratically. End Game gets one final shove in at the buzzer that puts Blip into the Upper Deck’s screws. The judges turn in a unanimous decision for End Game to the surprise of no one. Yes, that is me in the audience with the Bite Force End Game sign.

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


With the main event over and done with that’s the bow on this episode of BattleBots. I’ve gotta say that last kill shot that Sawblaze dealt to Hypershock was some next level shit because they cut back to updates from the pits literally two times in the episode with Will Bales at one point saying he was just going to use a plasma cutter to slice a hole in the bottom of his robot and weld a patch onto it. As it turns out with a little angle grinding and some prying they were able to get the weapon loose but this process literally took hours. It was so bad that they had to remove Sawblaze’s weapon arm just so the team could work on it outside, you saw that right? Bots have gotten stuck together before but I don’t think we’ve seen something this bad since the time Quantum bit down into Blacksmith and they had to cut a chunk of Blacksmith off just to unstick the robots.

Apparently the Fight Night schedule on the official BattleBots website includes the episode numbers of when each fight is happening. I swear that wasn’t there last week but I could just be losing my mind. Too many fights like Big Dill vs. Hijinx will do that to you. Coming up next week Death Roll returns to the United States to do battle with the UK’s Cobalt. Hydra makes its season debut against Rotator, Skorpios takes on Jackpot, and Triton makes its debut against Lucky. I’m eager to see what Triton can do because Tombstone isn’t here this season so this will be the stand in for the King of Kinetic Energy. No pressure, Triton. I’ll share the same wisdom with you that I shared with Ray Billings all those years ago: “don’t fuck it up”.

That’s all I got for you this week on BattleBots Update. I’m actually out of town right now so either this post went up late or I did the chronically online thing and brought my laptop with me on my trip so I could work on this and post it on Friday like I usually do. If I posted this on Friday, I don’t have a problem I promise. If I posted this on any other day, I told you I didn’t have a problem why didn’t you believe me? BattleBots Update is supported via crowdfunding. If you would like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Special shoutouts to Brytton for joining the Patreon crew and Andrea for her donation through Ko-Fi!

See you next week!

– Draco