It’s already time for another Update so soon after the last one because I took a vacation and wound up finishing last episode’s article in an airport terminal. Can you think of a better way to pass time during a 2+ hour layover? I’m just glad that my trip happened right before the flight schedules for everyone went to hell and grounded everything. American Airlines has already fucked me once and gotten me stuck in Dallas for three goddamned days. If they did it again there’s a non-zero chance I’d snap and someone would get their ass kicked. I’m beyond throwing a fit on Twitter in order to get someone’s attention and refund my tickets. This is 2023. This is the era of “Not Giving a Shit Draco”. I saw some jackwagon at the DFW airport walking around wearing an “Ultra MAGA” shirt and without missing a beat I walked by and said “nice shirt, asshole” and kept going. I’m so done.
Anyways enough with the anecdotes that let you peek behind the curtain to see my political affiliation. I mean it’s probably obvious by this point, BattleBots Update observes Pride Month and all that. Chris and Kenny look exceptionally well dressed for this episode. Have they always worn those suits? I’m going crazy. We’re still early enough in the season where every fight is still a season debut for both competitors. Deathroll has returned from Australia to do battle with Cobalt in a fight to determine who’s the deadliest vertical spinner. Ominous is a new robot from the team who brought Reality a few seasons ago. Triton is this season’s Tombstone replacement. And finally Hydra makes its season debut in a match with Rotator.
COBALT vs. DEATHROLL
Cobalt is a robot that underwent a massive transformation a while ago. Back in season 7 (the real season 7, not this current one) Cobalt looked radically different; it was a white and blue robot armed with a horizontal spinner reminiscent of the team’s Robot Wars entry Carbide. Bombshell expertly disposed of the original Cobalt and then we didn’t see it for a while, but when it came back the robot had turned into a nightmarish beast of a vertical spinner that destroyed the indefatigable Duck and went on to deliver a KO to Ghost Raptor that is still talked about to this day. There’s even a goddamned replay of it in this very episode! Originally designed and built by Dave Moulds and his teammate Sam Smith the robot is now in the hands of John Mladenik who formerly captained Gigabyte. This is the robot deemed important enough to pull John away from his original robot and leave it in the hands of two kids who drive it into the wall. This better be worth it.
I like Deathroll. I think that’s a given when you remember how much of an armchair herpetologist I am and the fact that my video game streaming project is titled “Gatorbox”. Crocodilians are fucking radical. It is not possible for me to think any less of this robot at all, and that’s also because Deathroll is actually a really solid competitor. Deathroll debuted in season 7 (again, the real one) and managed to lose to Captain Shrederator. That’s all I need to say about Deathroll 1.0. But the new Deathroll? This thing returned for season 9 and finished with a perfect Fight Night, 4-0. It then went on to defeat Yeti and Minotaur to reach the semi-fucking-finals where Witch Doctor beat it in a narrow split decision. Yeah, Deathroll was very nearly one of the championship finalists that season. Rotator and End Game were two other robots Deathroll beat in its quest to have a perfect Fight Night. This thing is a giant killer and if Cobalt isn’t on the top of its game it’s a sure bet that the British robot will fall.
Cobalt is up to speed almost immediately. I believe Cobalt uses a Magmotor (or two?) to spin its weapon. Meanwhile Deathroll is a bot you can play BattleBots Update’s flagship game with, “Spot the E-Tek”. It takes Deathroll a few seconds to get going but that doesn’t stop the croc from bumrushing Cobalt anyways. The little forks on the front of Cobalt easily defeat the Witch Doctor-esque plow on Deathroll and the UK spinner delivers a hit that sends Deathroll at least six fucking feet into the air. Deathroll lands hard on its spinner and somehow doesn’t immediately destroy the arena floor. Deathroll bounces all the way back to the blue square it started in before going in for round 2. Cobalt turns sharply and pulls up on one side allowing Deathroll to rip off the middle set of Cobalt’s forks and damage some of the ones on the right. This is critical damage to Cobalt because without the ground clearance advantage Deathroll will definitely win the reach battle because its weapon is out there front and center while Cobalt’s is basically on top of the robot for some stupid reason.
Cobalt delivers a retaliatory blow that knocks Deathroll into the screws of the Upper Deck. The screws pull Deathroll onto the hazard but the robot is able to get down by riding on its weapon disc. Deathroll has a self righter but for some reason the robot is just chaotically bouncing around on its spinner instead. Perhaps this is a more “immediate” way of getting back onto its wheels while also acting as a method to keep away from Cobalt? Deathroll’s srimech does take a few seconds to deploy and we saw what Minotaur did to Tantrum when Tantrum tried to take a moment to flip back over. Case in point Cobalt isn’t waiting for Deathroll to get back on its feet and lands a light hit that bounces the croc into the corner where one of Cobalt’s Pulverizers is. The person pressing the buttons for Cobalt expertly drops the hammer on Deathroll and then just holds it there pinning the bot in place. While this is going on Cobalt is lining up a shot and you’d think it would attack while its opponent is pinned because the wheels are right there but instead Deathroll is released and Cobalt lands a hit to its front that flips the robot back over.
Deathroll is in a bad place now. Stuck in the corner, it cannot use the power of its weapon to bounce away and flip back over. Now it has to use its srimech and yeah that thing is fucking slow as hell. Deathroll also starts smoking and that looks like motor smoke to me so maybe all that bouncing around like a goddamned maniac has damaged the weapon motor? That’s purely an armchair observation but it seems like the culprit to me. Cobalt does its best impression of Minotaur and right as Deathroll is about to right itself the robot delivers a blow that pounds a divot into the underside of Deathroll that’s about the size of a baseball card. That’s gotta be right where Deathroll’s drive components are or something because no one survives a shot to the dick like that and walks away. Deathroll’s self righter is still trying to flip the robot over but the geometry of the thing is all wrong so all that happens is the robot flops around upside down in the corner.
Cobalt keeps an eye on the situation but the ref has started her count out of Deathroll and without the ability to get right ways up the crocodile is dead in the water. A strong opening victory for Cobalt, and another stupid win for those goddamned forks.
WINNER: Cobalt, KO
CLAW VIPER vs. OMINOUS
Claw Viper is kind of like Big Dill; it’s a lifting/control robot that seems to never quite work as intended, has a poor career record, and yet it keeps getting accepted into BattleBots. Kevin Milczewski’s robot probably has the slight edge in this comparison however because it’s not relegated to the purgatory of being an alternate competitor that sometimes gets bumped up to full competitor status. Somehow. Kenny Florian breaks down the prior weaknesses of Claw Viper and talks about how suplexing opponents immediately opens up Claw Viper’s tender asshole to attack using the Black Dragon fight as an example. To combat this Kevin has added what he calls the “Idiot Strap” to his robot that will prevent the robot from doing a full suplex and instead lift an opponent up perpendicularly to the floor. I don’t think the strap is necessary dude, Complete Control figured that shit out back in Comedy Central season 2 and that was just through how the robot’s weapon gear assembly was designed. But you do you. At least you called yourself an idiot before I got the chance.
Tom Bowens is not new to BattleBots but his robot Ominous is. Formerly Tim competed with Reality and the robot went 2-2 in its only season. Reality was a mixed bag because it was an admittedly sleek design but the weapon didn’t always work that well; Reality’s weapon was actually a hub motor style and that may have led to the robot’s lack of reliability. Ominous changes that and brings the maneuverability of omnidirectional wheels to the table. In the test box footage we see of Ominous its weapon is spinning with enough power to cause the robot to gyro up off the floor so that’s always a good sign. Or maybe it’s a bad sign, fuck I don’t know. Tim chose not to bring Reality back for this season so one can only hope Ominous is a step above his previous robot. The robot’s fight schedule seems like a bunch of miscellaneous competitors so either Ominous will shock us all and turn these robots’ asses inside out or it’ll just be some middle of the field robot that won’t make it into the Round of 32, will be here once, and we’ll forget about not long thereafter.
Claw Viper is alleged to go up to 20 MPH. That’s almost fast enough to get pulled over in a school zone. You can see the speed right away as Claw Viper makes it across the arena in about one second looking to box rush Ominous but whiffing it at the last minute perhaps because Ominous’ weapon was getting up to speed? Whatever the case Claw Viper veers right and slams itself into the wall behind its opponent. Ominous makes some space between it and Claw Viper though Claw Viper is immediately in pursuit and closes the gap pretty quickly. Ominous tries to spin around to attack but its weapon causes the robot to pull up on one side reducing its turning capability. Claw Viper charges at Ominous and puts enough force behind its push that Ominous slides like a goddamned air hockey puck into one of the short corners of the arena. Before the fight Tim Bowens said omnidirectional wheels don’t have as much grip as traditional ones but jesus fuck dude at least paint some wire sealant or something on those things.
Despite being slid around the floor Ominous is able to land a couple of hits to Claw Viper. Granted, these hits are purely an effect of Claw Viper getting all up in Ominous’ face and mopping the floor with it but still damage is damage. Ominous gets toppled over near the shelf and tries to use its srimech to flip back over but this mechanism is slow and Claw Viper is skittering around like an unsupervised toddler who just took a hit of daddy’s Monster when no one was looking. Claw Viper is clearly trying to get Ominous into the screws of the Upper Deck so that they pull Ominous onto the hazard but it can’t quite get the angle right. It picks up Ominous and although the robot is now helpless in Claw Viper’s grasp… Claw Viper just sort of drops Ominous immediately? Dude you get like ten seconds or something where you can carry someone around in a grapple at least try to slam them back into the screws or something. How many points is an immediate catch and release really worth to the judges anyways?
Ominous lands on its wheels as it falls from Claw Viper’s clutches and as the robot tries to get its bearings its weapon isn’t spinning at all. Unless that shit is broken from all the slamming around I don’t see the reasoning behind turning it off for even a second here; Claw Viper can reach from one point in the Battlebox to any other point in one fucking second. That spinner should be going 100% of the time unless Ominous’ spinner uses the same shit technology that Reality’s did. Ominous is defenseless out there with no active weapon and just as I say that Claw Viper cruises in, sweeps up Ominous, and takes it to the red square screws. Ominous is promptly devoured by the hazard and gets stuck on top of them until the hazard spins the other way and even as the robot comes back down Claw Viper is right there waiting to kick it square in the dick.
As Ominous once again gets away to lick its wounds its weapon comes back to life and if you listen closely you can hear a death hum from the spinner meaning Ominous’ discs are spinning the fastest they’ve ever spun in the match so far. Claw Viper doesn’t give a shit one way or the other however and continues to pummel Ominous into the wall slamming it hard in front of the drivers’ booth and taking down the BattleBots sign in the process much to the ire of Chris Rose. How will they motion track ads for the Destruct-A-Thon now??? Finally Claw Viper gets the box rush it’s been looking for and gives Ominous a ride all the way across the box ending at the front of the Upper Deck where Ominous is slammed so fucking hard into the hazard that it completely skips the screws and lands straight onto the top of the shelf prompting Kevin Milczewski to engage in a little more shit talking including “stay up there”. Dude I know Ominous turned out to be hot garbage but I don’t think the robot is just going to forfeit and force the refs to enforce the “don’t stay on the Upper Deck too long” rule.
Predictably, Ominous tumbles down from the Upper Deck and Claw Viper darts around to the side of it to catch its prey and slam it back into the wall. Ominous is balancing around on its edges and as Claw Viper jockeys with the robot in front of the hosts Ominous winds up on its front end. Due to the different shape of Ominous’ front side the robot winds up “doing the thing” on its face and as the robot tries to brace against the ground with its self righter its chassis falls down against the pneumatic bumper of the arena wall. (Does anyone fire the bumper to free Ominous? No.) None of Ominous’ wacky wheels are touching the ground in this orientation and with the arena wall blocking its attempts to self right the robot is straight up incapacitated purely because Claw Viper slammed it into the wall enough times where the law of probability worked in its favor.
The refs count out Ominous giving Claw Viper a rare win and a positive start to its season. Everybody in the pits who voted for Ominous winning the fight must feel like total goddamned idiots right about now.
WINNER: Claw Viper, KO
BLOODSPORT vs. COPPERHEAD
Bloodsport kicks ass. Bloodport reminds me of former middleweight champion Hazard back when that robot was on its massive winning streak. If Hazard stuck around and evolved into a more powerful heavyweight it would’ve become Bloodsport, prove me wrong. Ever since Bloodsport debuted back in season 9 I’ve pegged this machine as a bot to watch even if its weakness is that the robot seems to become less powerful as the season goes on. It might suck in later fights but those early ones? Hold on to your fucking butts because Bloodsport is here to declare a Code Brown. After once being seeded #2 with a perfect qualification round Bloodsport had a bit of a tumble as Minotaur knocked it out of the running early on last year in the Round of 32. Justin Marple thought about retiring the robot after that but much like Ricky Willems and Mammoth he gave it one more shot. Unlike Ricky however Justin redesigned the entire robot and now Bloodsport’s new weapon motor is so fucking massive that it doesn’t fit in the chassis anymore; the weapon motor is tucked into that Icewave-ish head on the robot. I’m so totally here for this.
Luke Quintal has been on the Copperhead team since the robot’s inception however now he finds himself as the captain of the team. This change comes as a result of Rob Cowan leaving the team who in turn took over when Zach Goff passed the torch. Rob called it quits because last season Copperhead had a couple of fights not air on TV and he was upset with the lack of screen time proportional to the amount of work it takes to put a BattleBot together. Like, yeah I see that and all but “my ass wasn’t on TV enough” is kind of a dick way of putting it. Maybe next time word it something like “our sponsors were unhappy with the lack of TV screen time” so you can at least pass the buck to some faceless corporation. Now you just look like a chode with a YouTube beard. Copperhead seems to be the same robot mostly because it’s hard to change something on Copperhead without having to rebuild the entire damned thing. Copperhead is a dense little box like Minotaur and it attacks like that robot too. I expect to see some big hits from the drum this year, though for this fight really who the fuck even knows?
Before the fight Luke said his plan was to box rush Bloodsport but I guess maybe Copperhead isn’t as fast as I remember? Or did Luke decide to scrap that plan at the last minute? Is he playing some weird head games where he openly says one thing on tape to get Bloodsport’s team to plan for that and then he just does something else entirely??? Whatever. Bloodsport gets its massive new bar up to speed while Copperhead responds with its usual death hum. Bloodsport is very clearly trying to aim for Copperhead’s big ass wheels however as this is happening Copperhead turns inward toward the attack, connects with Bloodsport’s bar, and just absolutely fucking demolishes Bloodsport. The kick delivered to Bloodsport’s weapon was so severe that Bloodsport’s new weapon motor housing breaks apart and immediately catches fire. This is straight up a rare one hit KO. None of this “well technically” bullshit, no, Copperhead ended this fight in one fucking shot. Jesus Christ that drum is no joke. Whether it’s Luke, Rob, or Zach behind the controls one thing is for certain: Copperhead is a motherfucker.
Bloodsport lands upside down by the drivers’ booth giving the cameras a nice shot of all the Kickstarter backers on the underside of the robot. Remember, no refunds!
WINNER: Copperhead, KO
LOCK-JAW vs. MALICE
Few robots leave as much room for improvement as Lock-Jaw. This thing went 0-4 last season. Completely winless. Rather than pack it up and call it quits like Bronco though, Donald Hutson said “fuck that cuck Bronco everyone has bad seasons” and brought the robot back once again. Props to him for sticking to it even when faced with utter humiliation. I say a lot of hokey shit on this website but one thing that always depresses me is when a legendary team who’s been here since the beginning hangs their hat up for good. Even if Lock-Jaw doesn’t win any fights I’m still glad it’s here, and hey since Lock-Jaw won zero fights last season that means any win is an improvement! The hosts say Donald’s reworked the robot’s internals. Hopefully that’s a true fact because I’m running out of ways to creatively say “Lock-Jaw works for about sixty seconds then catches fire or starts smoking and the weapon dies”.
I had high hopes for Malice back when it first appeared a few seasons ago but so far the robot hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. Chris Rose even says so when he points out Malice’s spotty weapon reliability. Worst case scenario for this fight is Malice hits Lock-Jaw weapon-to-weapon and this fucks up Malice’s weapon, then Lock-Jaw juices it a little too hard and blows up its electronics and its weapon dies too. I don’t think I can handle a shitty pushing match between two robots who aren’t really equipped to fight that way. Lock-Jaw tried that – once – and it backfired because Donald never used his fucking primary weapon. For some reason Malice joins the cast of robots that use forks. I don’t know why; Malice’s design caters more towards a Tombstone-like fighting style and you don’t see Ray Billings sticking some stupid ass pointers on the front of his robot now do you? Whatever, as long as it works I guess. Fuck forks.
Lock-Jaw starts the match facing backwards with its plow pointed at Malice as I’m sure you probably guessed. When the green light goes up Lock-Jaw backs across the arena and slams into Malice who barely even made an effort to avoid the oncoming attack. Malice’s weapon strikes the plow shoved into is face and the blade stops. Lock-Jaw does a spin move to try and whip around to attack but misses Malice by a mile letting Malice get its weapon back up to speed. Lock-Jaw returns to the plow strategy and starts pushing Malice around. Somewhere in the fray Malice rips a chunk out of Lock-Jaw’s back left tire causing it to ride unevenly. This lets Malice jam one of its forks under the side of Lock-Jaw’s plow tangling the robots up and locking them together. Lock-Jaw’s wheels are tweaked by the uneven leverage so Malice is able to shove it into the wall before breaking away to retreat and spin up.
Kenny Florian calls Donald Hutson a “master strategist”. Dude, he just stuck a fucking plow on the robot. Literally anyone can do that. Builders do that shit all the fucking time. What’s next, saying he’s a master strategist because he put wheels on the fucking robot? Lock-Jaw backs into Malice again to slow its weapon down and again tries the spin move to get in and attack. This time the maneuver is successful and Lock-Jaw hits Malice from the front. Malice gets spinning again and Lock-Jaw continues the attack culminating in a hit that sends Malice reeling into the corner near the Pulverizer. This is the type of crap that constantly causes Malice’s weapon to shit the bed and as the robot recovers and spins its blade up it’s hitting noticeably weaker. Hell, significantly weaker. Malice hits Lock-Jaw’s tires again and the blade just straight up stops without doing any damage whatsoever. Lock-Jaw starts spinning around in place and the cameras cut to Donald and his weapon operator fumbling with their controls. Kenny thinks Lock-Jaw might be having some ground clearance issues but dude I’m pretty sure it’s radio trouble. Looks like they get it sorted out after a few tense seconds of the robot fucking off and doing its own thing.
While Lock-Jaw was stunned Malice was able to rev its weapon back up to prove that it wasn’t toasted after all and hits Lock-Jaw on the same tire it hit at the beginning of the fight fucking it up even worse. Lock-Jaw responds with another frontal shot that stops Malice’s weapon from spinning. Malice gets away and as Lock-Jaw tries to chase it down the bot looks like it’s pulling to one side as it drives prompting Kenny to bring up that nonsense about ground clearance again. At this point I’m waiting for him to just say “jam up”. Once again Malice lands a hit to Lock-Jaw’s wheels that does absolutely nothing leading me to believe that the robot is worthless until its weapon is at ass blasting speeds. It can’t even land a half-power blow. Kenny incorrectly calls Malice the aggressor as the robot runs away to spin up again and as Lock-Jaw chases it down and slams into it, the resulting hit causes Malice to flip through the air and land upside down. More importantly though is Kenny Florian fucking says it. He finally says “huge hit” again! Remember when I used to count those on the homepage?
Lock-Jaw lands some cheap shots to Malice on its now useless forks before getting a fair hit that tosses the heavyweight back right ways up. After that blow that prompted Kenny to say the thing we all love him for Malice’s weapon shaft seems to have split or come loose because the blade is now just loosely hanging in the frame by a thread. About what I expected from Malice. This is now an open and shut case for Lock-Jaw and all it has to do is avoid exactly what it is doing right now and that just so happens to be “smoking and then the weapon dies”. God fucking damn it. I jinxed this stupid fight from the start. I should’ve never opened my big dumb fat mouth.
So now Malice’s weapon is visibly broken and Lock-Jaw’s weapon no longer wants to spin up because the robot just started coughing up smoke. Great. We have that pushing match I dreaded. For some reason Lock-Jaw keeps attacking with its useless front end instead of just pulling a 180 and going at Malice with its plow. At least the plow might be able to help corral Malice around, you’re not going to get anywhere attacking with the busted weapon. Lock-Jaw’s spinner isn’t totally dead, it’s still trying to spin, but there’s just no muscle behind it anymore. Either the motor’s gone up or perhaps that was a speed controller smoking out. Would be a lot of smoke for a speed controller so my money’s on motor damage. With ten seconds left in the fight Lock-Jaw starts smoking again and this time sparks shoot out of its face but thankfully the fight ends so I don’t have to watch anymore of this cripple fight.
Due to its control of the match early on as well as more (and better) hits with its weapon the judges turn in a decision that favors Lock-Jaw. Already this is a better year for Donald, one win baby! Enjoy that “WINNER” pog!
WINNER: Lock-Jaw, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TRITON vs. LUCKY
Surely you remember Deep Six? How could you not? This thing was responsible for more rule and infrastructure changes in BattleBots than any other competitor ever. Thicker and more expensive floor? Blame Deep Six. 80 pound weapon weight limit? Blame Deep Six. Bradley Hanstad was part of the Deep Six team last year and since Dustin Esswein didn’t come back to BattleBots this season he took it upon himself to build a spiritual successor to Deep Six in the form of Triton, a massive Tombstone-esque robot sporting the mandated maximum weapon weight of 80 pounds as an asymmetrical bar. That’s 32% of the total robot’s weight. Just the bar. That leaves 170 pounds for everything else and I’m sure you probably noticed that Triton doesn’t have much in the way of armor. That’s because if Triton works it doesn’t need armor. If Triton works then that means that blade is going to cleave straight into opponents and gore them in ways that’ll make Cobalt and Tombstone blush.
Lucky might not seem like a lot but the robot has been here since 2016 and only missed one season due to that fucking COVID pandemic that ruined a lot of opportunities for international competitors to compete for a while. Mark Demers is “only here to have fun”. (PS: Winning is fun.) Blacksmith gets a lot of hype for having the most viral fight video in BattleBots history but that’s only on Facebook. Nobody uses Facebook (I use Facebook please follow BattleBots Update on Facebook thanks). The fight with the most views on YouTube is Lucky’s run-in with Beta and although it wasn’t a win for Lucky at least it can say it’s been in a BattleBots fight with 45 million views. That’s more views than any season average of American Idol ever in case you wanted to know how it stacked up with the other trash that’s popular on American television. Anyways what was I talking about? Oh right, Lucky. Lucky has its additional armor plating on for this fight and its flipping arm has been swapped out for its “punching” arm.
One thing that becomes immediately apparent with Triton is that there’s a lot of fucking power in that blade, so much that the robot’s chassis spins around in the direction opposite of its blade because its little wheels just can’t provide the traction to keep the robot glued to the floor. Lucky cruises on in and rams into Triton catching it from the side and causing the spinner to land a glancing blow that spins it out of control. Triton is able to get its massive blade spinning up to speed pretty quickly meaning all those other pansy ass robots with lighter weapons that just can’t spin up need to get on Triton’s fucking level. Also Triton doesn’t have a death hum, it has a death screech. This thing is a glass cannon waiting to be fired and I’m sure we’re all in agreement here that we just want to see Triton get the one hit it needs that completely fucks up Lucky’s side or back and knocks the robot out in one fell swoop.
But that’s not happening yet because Matt Olson is keeping Lucky on Triton’s ass and the spinner gets shoved into the screws which stops the blade and allows Lucky to get a nice toss with its shortened flipping arm. Lucky takes another couple glancing blows until Triton really gets going and lets loose an attack that hits the top “lip” part of Lucky’s wedge bending it backwards. It’s not massive damage but by bending this piece of metal backwards it’s now in the way of Lucky’s flipper. Watch as Lucky tries to fire off its arm a few seconds later and you’ll see it stop abruptly and not complete its full travel. Triton hasn’t taken the weapon out by damaging the mechanism but it has nullified Lucky’s attack capabilities by bending the armor into the arm’s way. Triton revs up once again and does its little spin move on Lucky connecting with the front right corner of Lucky’s wedge and knocking a large dent into it. Lucky rightfully armored up for this fight but with its plow starting to deform it’s only a matter of time before Triton really fucks it up and turns the tables.
So far Triton is landing a lot of passive hits by virtue of Lucky shoving it around but as it gets away from the arena wall and spins up it hooks its blade right into that dent on Lucky’s plow for another power shot. The kickback from the hit propels Triton all the way into the screws and somehow Lucky is still able to drive in a straight line. Lucky charges at Triton and knocks it into the hazard and even though its flipping arm is being blocked by its own armor Matt pulls the trigger on it anyways and there’s just enough oomph in the few inches the arm can move before stopping that it’s able to tip Triton perfectly up onto its side. Despite having enough power in its weapon to open a goddamned black hole the motors aren’t designed for moving such an awkward and heavy load. You can see through Triton’s armor and see the mechanisms of its weapon trying to spin up to knock the robot down but there’s just not enough torque. Triton starts to smoke and I’m guessing this is from its weapon pulleys rubbing against the belt that’s not moving and causing some friction smoke in the process.
It’s a hard call to say whether or not Triton was winning this fight because while its weapon can kick the shit out of any other robot in BattleBots it was also only really landing most of its hits through contacts initiated by Lucky. Yeah Lucky’s face is all fucked up and the weapon arm got stuck behind the armor but I believe Lucky had the control points here and depending on how you want to look at it also had the aggression points as well. In any case it was a decent first outing for Triton. It still has three more chances to really cleave into someone and give us an “Icewave moment” so for now I’ll just hold out for Triton’s second fight. For Lucky however this is another W.
WINNER: Lucky, KO
JACKPOT vs. SKORPIOS
Up next is a fight that could really go either way. I feel like these two mid-tier robots are so equally matched that it’s going to come down to who fucks up first and whether or not the opposing robot can take advantage of that opening. Jackpot is here for its third season and Chris Rose shares with us an interesting piece of trivia in that Jackpot has never lost a Fight Night qualification battle in the two previous seasons it’s competed. That includes its breakout rookie year. Jackpot originally cost about $4,000 to build though I’m sure sponsorship has helped inflate that for later iterations like the current Jackpot which features visibly bulkier armor and a srimech that doubles as a lifting arm. Jackpot’s signature double diamond spinner is back and Jeff Waters says his target is Skorpios’ hammer saw. Dude, you’re not Rotator. You can’t hit that thing, Zach Lytle isn’t going to drop it down onto Jackpot’s spinner. The guy’s not stupid. I think.
Skorpios has its work cut out for it this fight because Jackpot is a vertical spinner and Skorpios is notoriously weak to that design. Kind of a major cock up when half the goddamned field is some variant of a vertical spinner but whatever. Skorpios has a hammer saw which it’s using for this fight but for some reason all of Skorpios’ official photos and B-roll show it armed with a Diablo saw. I guess maybe because it looks cooler? Red Devil had one of those and despite carving up Witch Doctor with a lucky shot the Diablo saw was largely ineffective against most opponents. Zach brings up the fact that his robot is weak to verts and says he’s got a new armor configuration specifically for them and he can’t wait to test it. The “armor configuration” appears to be something akin to Sawblaze’s prongs though unlike Sawblaze, Skorpios’ front forks aren’t hinged. You gotta put those things on hinges or better yet springs because if they’re not riding on the floor 100% of the time you’re not defeating shit with them.
Both Jackpot and Skorpios get their weapons spinning up to speed and both of them seem to reach their maximum force before the robots can even meet. Skorpios turns into Jackpot’s front end to try and shove its forks under it but oversteers and instead points its left tire at Jackpot. Jackpot takes the free hit and rips a chunk out of Skorpios’ wheel. Nice move, is this how the new armor is supposed to work? Where you just don’t even use it and let your opponents hit your wheels? With one jacked up wheel that means Skorpios is probably going to start running unevenly on the floor which will cause it to bounce slightly. This will invalidate its fixed forks. Skorpios retreats while Jackpot’s minibot Ace tries to stab its lifters under the robot and winds up catching a hit from Skorpios’ hammer saw which, from the back, acts more like a traditional vertical spinner and uppercuts the thing bending Ace’s lifter in the process. Ace sometimes comes in clutch but this time… it sucks.
Jackpot charges in at Skorpios and the bots meet face to face. Skorpios is actually able to slightly get under Jackpot’s front end and lift its wheels off the ground while Jackpot’s massive weapon reach allows it to shave some steel sparks off of Skorpios’ face. The push ends at the Upper Deck where the force of hitting the hazard causes Jackpot to lurch further up Skorpios’ forks. This causes Jackpot’s spinner to eat shit and unleash a huge impact that Skorpios just absorbs like nothing while the kickback sends Jackpot onto its ass. Jackpot’s srimech all looks bent from the impact somehow because one of those little lifting arm things is definitely higher than the other. Skorpios uses this opportunity to give Jackpot a back alley circumcision and strikes a blow to the bot’s underside. The cleave doesn’t seem to go through Jackpot’s armor but you guys all know that a shot to the baseplate is bad news. That’s where all your important shit is mounted so a dent in the bottom can fuck up a battery or break a speed controller.
Skorpios starts smoking like a Burger King “grill” no one is watching and in the past we’ve seen white smoke like this come up as a result of weapon belt friction but this is pretty intense for friction smoke. Skorpios backs off and it looks like it’s driving fine but its hammer saw weapon isn’t spinning too fast. Meanwhile Jackpot is just straight up fucking dead. Jeff Waters wonders aloud why he can’t self right and while this is going on Skorpios has taken a liking to hunting down Ace as opposed to whaling on Jackpot some more. The ref starts to count Jackpot out and with literally like two seconds left Skorpios finally gets Ace stuck on its plow and chops it perfectly so that the minibot lands atop the screws.
Jackpot finally lost a qualifier but Skorpios wasn’t really on its A game for this fight. An early driving error immediately put Jackpot in the lead on damage and something smoked up inside the robot. Skorpios looked fine by the end of the fight so maybe that really was just a shitload of friction smoke but I’m on the fence about that. Skorpios gets a win but Sawblaze is in its future so we’ll see if this really is Skorpios’ year or not. Also Jackpot spontaneously bursts into flames after the fight so like I said that baseplate damage clearly dicked up the electronics inside.
WINNER: Skorpios, KO
ROTATOR vs. HYDRA
Welcome to the Robots Whose Tournament Run Last Season Was Fucked Up By Tantrum Club! Both of these robots reached the main tournament last season and both of them lost to Tantrum on the robot’s war path to the Giant Nut. In the red square is Rotator, a robot who needs little introduction. Victor Soto brought this robot to BattleBots way back in season 7 where it was a double disc spinner. See its Hexbug toy for an example of what I mean because Rotator ditched that look after a couple of years when it wasn’t as competitive as Victor was hoping. Rotator is now just a single disc spinner reminiscent of Surgeon General from the 2000’s era of BattleBots. You’d think Rotator would run this fight upside down to start but Victor has inverted the robot to drive upside down with the hopes that he can hit higher up on Hydra’s chassis. This fight was also postponed because of Rotator’s radio troubles; the robots made it into the box but had to be wheeled out and the fight delayed to later on in the taping session. Not a good look for a match up with the likes of fucking Hydra.
To this day Jake Ewert insists he won the fight against Tantrum in the semifinals last season. Whether you side with him or not the judges made their call even if it was the wrong one. They’ve turned in stupider decisions in the past, does anyone remember Sawblaze vs. Razorback? Little has changed on Hydra’s exterior but I assume there have been some reliability tweaks under the hood since Hydra’s drivetrain is its common weak point; the robot’s drive chains are susceptible to damage and the robot doesn’t have the best traction or pushing capabilities when compared to other heavyweights. Hydra is all about the scoop and the flip and that’s all it’s needed to absolutely dominate fights. Hydra has 9 KO’s, that’s as many as Bronco and that number actually includes Bronco. That’s a lot of damage for a robot that just flips others through the air but it’s all about physics and making them work in Hydra’s favor. Rotator may have started this fight in its upper disc mode but Hydra’s sure to change that several times throughout the battle.
Rotator starts out upside down and with its rear forks facing forward to hopefully scoop up Hydra, stall it, and let Rotator spin around in place to deliver a blow with its disc. Hydra doesn’t give two shits about that plan and just floors it forward and hits a seam in the center of the arena in the process. The flipper recovers and continues its charge where it reaches Rotator, misses once, and then lands a glancing flip that puts Rotator in its lower disc configuration. Told you it wouldn’t take long. Hydra lands another flip that puts Rotator back the way it started and also leaves it partly stuck up against the arena wall. Rotator has one of its wheels on the ground however so it’s able to get down but it’s not a good sign if this newly designed Rotator has so many angles where it can get stuck like that. Victor Soto said he actually removed some armor and slimmed down the robot to give Hydra less things to get purchase on but it doesn’t seem like that did a goddamned thing.
Rotator gets down from the rail and Hydra charges at it but this time it rides cleanly up Rotator’s rear spikes. Rotator can’t capitalize on the opportunity though. Its disc gets up to speed but Hydra’s wedge has the perfect angle to just completely neutralize it and negate any frontal attack, that AR 500 armor plating on Hydra is still spotless. Hydra throws Rotator through the air again and Rotator expends all of its kinetic energy into the floor. Hydra goes for yet another flip and Rotator hits the arena Lexan with enough force to cause the ceiling mounted camera to shake and ruin the shot. Jake Ewert just does not let up on the assault and lands another flip that literally throws Rotator over the entire fucking Upper Deck. Rotator lands far enough away that it’s able to get its disc spinning again and as Hydra comes over to check out the situation it finally lands a hit that winds up glancing right off of Hydra’s face.
Hydra can keep flipping for days so it scoops up Rotator again and launches it and Rotator lands weirdly with one of its back spikes getting caught on top of the bumper rails next to the screws. Does anyone activate the hazard to free Rotator? No. (I keep saying that to spite the people who insisted that when Lucky propped Tantrum up on the bumpers last season that they would’ve fired to free Tantrum.) Anyways Rotator is caught on the hazard and its right wheel has basically been yanked off of its hub by the sheer force of Hydra sending this robot into fucking orbit over and over again. That Upper Deck jump is what fucked up Rotator’s wheels. Hydra seems content to just leave Rotator on the arena wall to die and the cameras cut to Jake who flashes a #1 gesture so yeah I think Rotator’s pretty well out of it here.
I don’t know if Rotator’s problems were fully addressed after the fight was delayed but it looked like it was mostly working for this battle. Perhaps the disc wasn’t as powerful as it could’ve been but the robot was driving around well enough that I think at least the radio problems were fixed. Working on the robot up to the very last minute probably gave Victor some frazzled nerves which threw off his driving and concentration. I’m not saying Rotator could’ve won this fight, because Hydra would’ve just thrown it around regardless, but I do think Rotator could’ve put up more of a fight had things gone differently.
WINNER: Hydra, KO
At the end of this episode Kenny Florian talks about his own “power rankings” for the season so far and the list is pretty laughable but I guess it’s something for the hosts to talk about in an episode where two of the fights ended in a matter of seconds. End Game has stayed at #1 and the top five have basically not moved with the exception of Tantrum dropping down to 7th place after its loss to Minotaur. For some stupid ass reason Glitch is still on the list despite being the victim of a one hit KO loss to Riptide; I get that Glitch had seven wins last year but more than half of them were accidental. Speaking of one hit KO’s Copperhead jumped onto the list at #11 after having a preseason ranking of 20th and I think that’s still a little low for a bot that ended a fight in one hit. If Riptide can be 8th after doing that then Copperhead can at least be 9th. I’d make a power ranking list of my own but we’ve only seen one fucking fight and not everyone has even had a chance to battle yet so I’m holding my tongue.
Next week we finally get to see the season debut of Beta as it fights the newly redesigned Kraken, yet another robot that narrowly avoided retirement between this year and last year. We’ve also got Black Dragon’s first fight where it faces Monsoon. No matter who wins that match we’re guaranteed to see some huge hits. Evan Arias’ new robot Shreddit Bro debuts against newcomer Horizon and it’ll be interesting to see how Horizon’s weird double horizontal spinner thing works. Starchild a.k.a. “we have Huge at home” battles Overhaul in a mismatch that I’m sure won’t be a total snoozefest. And finally we’re seeing bots like Malice, Whiplash, Hypershock, and Emulsifier again. I know Malice just fought literally in this episode but hey I don’t edit these episodes I just write shitty dreck about them on my blog.
That’s it for BattleBots Update this week. I’d like to thank everyone for checking out the blog and helping keep this project going. This is BBU’s eighth year online. I’m inching ever so closer to the decade mark and that just blows my goddamned mind, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing this project for that long. I guess I have though? If you’d like to support BattleBots Update you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. Every little bit helps in keeping the lights on around here. I just recently decided to buy the lifetime license for the layout design software I use for this website so I’m still kinda paying that off, whoops. In any case thanks again!
See you next week!