We’re already on episode four of the new season of BattleBots, can you believe that? It feels like the show just started yesterday. I mean it kind of has, it’s only been less than a month since episode one, but given that there’s only 15 episodes of the Fight Night rounds before the main tournament starts it’s crazy to think we’re already approaching being a third of the way through the qualifiers. I guess that’s routine for you, the show premieres, we watch the episodes, I drink copious amounts of Monster and eat hoagies penning these stupid articles, and then you come and read them the following day. I don’t know how “Monster and hoagies” became the staple lunch of a long workday on BattleBots Update for me. It just sorta happened. Walmart clearances out their deli sandwiches for like $3.50 and they are huge so I just buy them, throw them in my fridge, and eat them when I have a busy day ahead of me. “It just works!”
This week’s episode has a cold open with a skit that parodies all those abused & neglected animal charity commercials. You know the ones that show you the shivering dog chained up in a filthy run while “In the Arms of the Angel” plays in the background. Lisa Winter plays the role of the narrator for this opening and informs us of the hell that minibots go through on BattleBots and how with just a small donation we can save them and symbolically adopt one by way of getting a picture in the mail. That’s cute. Or builders can just stop using minibots becauase the last time one of them was effective was the time Witch Doctor’s Shaman jumped up the ass of Bronco and lit it up back in 2016.
For the past three weeks we’ve seen everyone make their season debuts. That comes to an end this week as the final stragglers have their first fights and then some familiar faces return for their round two match-ups. The UK’s Monsoon makes its return to face Brazil’s Black Dragon. The “we have Huge at home” design of Starchild meets Overhaul in something of a mismatch since Overhaul has nothing to grapple onto. The brand new Kraken design is unveiled as it fights Beta, and “Pain Train 2.0” Shreddit Bro faces off against the carnival ride of terror known as Horizon.
BLACK DRAGON vs. MONSOON
Black Dragon has been in 21 total fights so far and up to this point the robot has never been knocked out. Kenny Florian makes sure to mention this about three times during the build up to this fight. Knowing what I know about how this show is produced I believe they are telegraphing to us that Black Dragon is about to lose this fight by KO. If that’s the case then I’m going to write a sternly worded letter and just hide it in this article about how tired I am of the editors spoiling fights before they even fucking happen. There are two teams from Brazil: Black Dragon and Minotaur. Both teams are very similar in design, style, and personality. Black Dragon comes from a university team which is why its captain changes every season but even if there’s a shake up in the team every year the robot still shows up and dominates; Black Dragon’s eggbeater weapon looks to be especially new for this year, we’ll see how well it damages Monsoon.
Ah Tom Brewster, former video game QA tester who had a dream to build combat robots. He debuted in the reboot of the UK’s Robot Wars show with a robot similar to Monsoon called Tauron. It was basically a Monsoon 1.0 and although the weapon looked tough the robot just could not make it out of the melee rounds if its life depended on it… and its life did depend on it. Robot Wars is now a thing of the past (again) but Tauron has lived on in the form of Monsoon, a sturdy invertible vertical spinner whose weapon can change direction based upon its orientation. Unlike most vertical spinners Monsoon is deadly either way up with no need to self right. Monsoon is 6-5 in BattleBots so it’s had a rough run but that hasn’t stopped the robot from consistently qualifying for the main tournament even if it winds up sustaining massive damage at some point each year. Last time we saw Monsoon its weapon bracket was ripped out by Hypershock, what will happen this year?
Monsoon’s blade gets up to full speed and that spinner is a thing of beauty. Black Dragon also gets going but just as Tom said before the fight he’s got the reach advantage so Monsoon connects with Black Dragon’s front end and lands a solid blow that is glanced off by the tough armor on Black Dragon’s front. Black Dragon retaliates by whipping around and meeting Monsoon weapon-to-weapon and this is apparently not the place Monsoon wants to be because Monsoon takes the shot and does like five fucking back flips over the course of one second of video footage because it just turns into a blur and I can’t count the flips going frame by frame. Monsoon recovers from this blow surprisingly fast and comes back around on the attack. Meanwhile Black Dragon looks to be having problems with its right side of drive already. Monsoon didn’t even hit anything on the right side of the robot! Black Dragon is known for being a fucking brick; I’d expect this from the likes of Pain Train or some shit but not Black Dragon come on.
Monsoon uses Black Dragon’s moment of weakness to sneak around behind it and hit its ass causing Black Dragon to tip forward onto its front forks and roll over. Monsoon continues the assault and breaks off one of said forks reducing Black Dragon’s effectiveness at getting underneath Monsoon. I mean, they were already rendered completely useless on account of Black Dragon being upside fucking down right now, but you get what I am trying to say. If Black Dragon is flipped back over that’s one less offensive attachment it has. Monsoon lands a power shot that flips Black Dragon through the air but the dragon still lands back on its head with its weapon spun down. Usually Black Dragon can be like Minotaur and right itself using only the gyroscopic forces of its weapon but either the weapon is broken or the team has intentionally throttled it down for reasons I can’t figure out. Monsoon hits Black Dragon from the side and the impact of this hit is enough to jostle the other front fork loose on the dragon and it falls off. Nice work Black Dragon, who did you get to attach those forks? Me?
The cameras cut to Tom who is enjoying the predicament that Black Dragon is in. He shouts “FULL SPEED” and lands a hit to Black Dragon that sends the robot spinning like a pizza into the wall. As Black Dragon belly flops on the ground however the impact causes it to bounce up and flip back over. Black Dragon’s weapon comes back to life meaning it’s not broken it was just powered down so the robot could, I don’t know, absorb a bunch of hits and fall behind on points. Monsoon is swatted away by Black Dragon with a glancing shot. Monsoon spins out and it looks like it hits the arena wall with its weapon and as the robot backs away its blade is just dead. Perhaps walloping an immovable object has kicked too much force through Monsoon’s weaponry and now it’s toast. Monsoon is still ahead on points in my opinion but it’s not built to push because unlike Black Dragon it doesn’t have a wedge-shaped front end. Black Dragon’s drive is still fucked up and you can tell Monsoon is circling the dragon so it can get a good angle for a ram but it can’t find one. Monsoon gets too close and Black Dragon lands a shot that sends Monsoon flipping through the air and into the corner.
Black Dragon has the advantage now because it’s the only robot with a working weapon. It’s kind of limited to driving around in arcs but it can still maneuver around the box with a little fancy stick work. Meanwhile Monsoon is fully mobile but unarmed. Monsoon starts circling Black Dragon again and as this is going on you can hear the death hum coming from Black Dragon’s eggbeater spinning at full speed. Black Dragon gets a little nibble that doesn’t produce a spectacular hit but it does bump Monsoon up onto its side. Normally Monsoon can get down from this position because its weapon will strike the arena floor and bounce it back onto its wheels but since Monsoon’s weapon shit the bed the robot is literally dead in this position. It wasn’t even a good hit. Black Dragon bumps Monsoon a second time but after that the team decides not to press their luck because their crippled drivetrain and the early points scored by Monsoon could come back to bite them in the ass if this goes to the judges. They’re content to let the ref count out Monsoon and send Black Dragon onto the next qualifier with 22 total battles and its “never been knocked out” title intact.
Guess that’s what I get for preemptively getting mad about the show telegraphing the outcomes of the fights.
WINNER: Black Dragon, KO
EMULSIFIER vs. MALICE
And now for the season’s first round two fight! That means I can stop talking about these robots in a general sense and start recapping their previous battles in case you’re like me and you have the memory span of a goddamned goldfish. Emulsifier is the new robot from Bots FC this year, the team that has brought Shatter to BattleBots for the past few seasons. Emulsifier is the current reigning champion of the 30 pound class at Norwalk Havoc but that success hasn’t been an immediate translation to the heavyweight class; Emulsifier lost its opening bout to Fusion in a fight that Chris & Kenny keep saying was “a good loss” but maybe they were watching a different fight than I was because all I saw was Emulsifier getting is ass handed to it while landing literally like zero power shots of its own. Yeah the robot didn’t get KO’d but that’s only because you guys changed the rules on what constitutes movement. Emulsifier struggled in its opening round so now we get to see whether or not it’s really the descendant of greatness or just a runt.
We literally just saw Malice last week and now here it is again. I don’t edit these episodes so it’s not up to me but damn can’t you at least put it on cooldown for like one episode? There’s got to be someone from like episode one whose second round fight you can go to, right? We’re gonna see half of Malice’s fights before we come anywhere close to the fucking midway point of the qualifiers. Malice fought Lock-Jaw last week and the fight turned into a total mess as I’d predicted; Malice’s weapon broke down and Lock-Jaw followed suit with copious amounts of smoke. Lock-Jaw landed the better hits however so it won the fight. Kenny Florian says it’s go time for Bunny Sauriol because if Malice keeps losing it’ll be out of the “top 50” meaning next season it won’t be selected. I get that you’ve gotta make room for everyone but you can’t just put the kibosh on a team who keeps trying their luck at rebuilding and redesigning their robot. That seems kinda fucked up.
This fight is already starting off better for Emulsifier because its disc starts spinning up to speed right away so whatever was causing it to jitter and fuck up in its previous match has been fixed. Or maybe the weapon operator just has balls this time I don’t know. Malice goes wide into the side of the arena opposite the Upper Deck because that ugly eyesore is jutting out into the other piece of arena real estate Malice could’ve driven into. Emulsifier meets Malice near the red square and starts shaving some sparks off of Malice’s right fork. No major damage has been done yet although Emulsifier’s weapon certainly looks like it’s the bigger hitter in this fight. Matt Bores said before the fight that he doesn’t give a shit and wants to hit Malice weapon-to-weapon because his disc is solid steel whereas Malice’s weapon is an aluminum brick with steel teeth bolted onto it; his idea is that Emulsifier can rip that weapon apart. Look, it’s Malice not Blade. That shit doesn’t just snap like a Kit Kat bar.
Emulsifier gets in Malice’s face and lands a great hook that thrashes Malice and sends it flipping over into the far corner of the arena. It’s immediately apparent this hit has done major structural damage to Malice because one entire fucking bar of its frame has been severed and bent outward. Oh, also Malice has lost one of its stupid forks. But the fork is the least of Bunny’s worries now because her robot has just had its face mauled by Emulsifier in a way that we’ve never seen Malice get damaged before. Emulsifier is still on the attack and strikes Malice again sending it flipping into the Pulverizer upside down. Malice can drive both ways up but this presumption is based on the notion that Malice’s frame hasn’t been turned into a fucking MC Escher painting. That piece of frame that’s been bent outward is inhibiting Malice from moving. Meanwhile the force of this hit has knocked Emulsifier over.
Both robots are in a bad place right now and as Emulsifier tries to get back down into its proper orientation it bumps into Malice and knocks it free of the hazard it’s stuck on. Malice starts hopelessly spinning around on one wheel as Emulsifier backs into the arena wall, rides it up, and flips over. And then… Emulsifier just stops moving entirely. No visible damage. Nothing stuck underneath it. Nothing jammed in the treads. It just straight up dies. Maybe it’s out of range of the fucking transmitter??? Whatever the reason for its sudden loss of movement is irrelevant because Malice doing donuts on one wheel is actually keeping it alive thanks to the aforementioned change in the rules. Meanwhile Emulsifier is being counted out because this robot fucking sucks. I told you all it was shit. This thing couldn’t land a single blow to Fusion and got its ass kicked and now it just straight up stops working like a bootleg Famicom. Fuck Emulsifier.
In the post fight replays the extra camera angles show Emulsifier’s right set of treads moving while the left is stationary. I’m not sure what Emulsifier could’ve been stuck on that would’ve lifted a whole ass set of treads off the ground but there you go. Still, even if it was able to move around it would’ve lost a side of drive and who knows if Emulsifier would’ve been able to remain in the fight? Chris Rose says a double KO was avoided due to the change in rules but if both robots are just sitting there spinning in place unable to hit each other what the fuck is the referee call on that?
WINNER: Malice, KO
OVERHAUL vs. STARCHILD
Malice was briefly in the hot seat before the previous fight where Kenny grilled it about falling out of the top 50 but if you want a good example of a robot that’s literally on the verge of not being accepted back into BattleBots for the next season look no further than Overhaul. This thing has an abysmal career record of 3 wins and 13 losses. Just give up, dude. It’s not happening. Overhaul will never get to put the Giant Nut in its claws and raise it up. At best you can maybe hope for another Giant Washer Award if my lazy ass is ever able to put another one of those articles together. At least Charles Guan has a carefree attitude regarding BattleBots; he’s a real personality that’s for sure, lest we forget the time I met him at a Del Taco and he sold me a taco for the spare change I had in my pocket. Love the driver, don’t like the robot too much. Also this match-up is just ridiculously not in favor of Overhaul; what the fuck is Overhaul going to grab onto on Starchild? The ass?
Starchild has a whole introductory segment before the fight that lets us know that while this robot might look like a bootleg Huge it’s totally not Huge you guys stop saying that. Yeah there are some differences between Huge and Starchild but it’s mainly with how the robots deliver their weapon’s energy. Huge just comes right at you whereas Starchild has to swing its ass head over heels to strike from above. It’s basically a less efficient Huge with not as wide of a chassis. Still though I’ve gotta represent BattleBots digging footage of Mark Setrakian’s The Master out of their archives just for this segment. I wonder if they had to pay Sean Salisbury $5 in royalties to hear him say “The Master scoring some points”. Starchild, like Emulsifier, comes to us from the “it worked in a smaller class let’s scale it up to a heavyweight” school of design. Starchild apparently somehow works well in the three pound division where everyone’s designs are just iterations of shitty drum spinners so Brandon Zalinsky is hedging his bets on that success translating into BattleBots. He retired P1 for this.
When the fight starts Overhaul just sorta hangs back and lets Starchild come to it presumably because Charles has left the field for his battle strategy blank. Starchild goes for a thwack and misses. Something tells me we are going to see a lot of that. Overhaul drives underneath Starchild and raises its whole clamping array upward and is actually able to use the top of its claw to lift Starchild. I’ve gotta say I’m impressed, I assumed Overhaul would be completely fruitless in this battle. Overhaul gets Starchild in front of the drivers’ booth and keeps trying to nuzzle its claw under the giant robot to lift it up and knock it off balance. So far this strategy is actually working. Overhaul is also driving around with its claw partially raised up almost as if it’s trying to catch Starchild’s tail when it swings. These are all battle strategies that I didn’t even think of coming into this fight and I’ve been writing this goddamned blog for eight fucking years. Shows how great of an analyst I am when it comes to BattleBots; I expected to see three minutes of these two chucklefucks bumbling around scoring zero points and forcing the fight to go to a split decision or something.
Starchild keeps swinging when it’s in Overhaul’s vicinity and it looks like the robot gets a decent shot on Overhaul’s backside. The impact does little damage to Overhaul however seemingly negating all that bragging Brandon was doing when he said his weapon was “like Sawblaze’s but heavier”. Yeah dude so is Emulsifier’s disc and that thing sucks dick. Overhaul eventually gets the one type of attack in that I was expecting, it jams its lifting forks into the spokes of Starchild’s wheel. Overhaul starts shoving Starchild around but pay close attention as this is going on and you’ll see a chain appear on the floor as Overhaul screeches around with Starchild in its grasp. Overhaul uses chains for drive and when the robots finally separate Overhaul’s right side of drive is looking like shit. Wonderful. Not only do we have a robot with the world’s most inaccurate and ineffective weapon on the fucking planet but the only hope of seeing a decent pushing and controlling fight has gone out the window with Overhaul shedding a chain.
Starchild rolls up onto the screws and gets away before closing the gap and approaching Overhaul with its spinning disc up to full speed. It starts driving on and around Overhaul but there’s no action from the swinging part of the weapon whatsoever. All Starchild has to do is just reverse gear and let inertia do the rest but I guess Brandon would rather do donuts with his robot’s poor excuse for traction. Eventually Starchild gets on top of Overhaul and predictably Overhaul starts raising its clamping jaw up to nudge Starchild around. Starchild lands a glancing shot but it comes at the expense of being turned over by Overhaul so both robots wind up scoring points in the exchange. Starchild swings downward and hits Overhaul’s lifting forks causing Overhaul to catch the thwack bot’s chassis and try to lift it up. Starchild swings again and manages to sock Overhaul right in the jaw down by the base where the whole apparatus pivots. It’s a great chance blow but it looks like it’s done zero damage. 90 seconds left. End me now.
Overhaul catches Starchild again and manages to whip it around into the screws. Kenny Florian complements Overhaul on the control but says it’ll need to grab Starchild and ram it across the arena to score some damage points. Sure Kenny let’s just pretend for a moment these robots have regenerative parts and that stupid drive chain will magically reappear on Overhaul if it stays out of trouble for a few seconds like this was fucking Call of Duty. Overhaul might not be scoring damage points but it’s holding its own out there and dare I say it looks like the superior robot in this fight even with a messed up drivetrain. Starchild gets close to Overhaul and swings again and this time Overhaul is able to seemingly yank Starchild’s chassis down right into its jaw and gets a perfect hold on it. Okay, Overhaul is now officially the superior bot in this fight. Starchild, you are losing to fucking Overhaul. This should’ve been a slam dunk for Starchild; just cruise on in there get that thwack action going back and forth and chop Overhaul up. Easy win. Nope, you’re fucking the whole thing up my man.
Overhaul’s got Starchild in its grasp and tries to do a suplex move but Starchild is so unwieldy that Overhaul just flips itself over backwards instead. Overhaul is struggling to do something impressive with this perfect grapple it’s stumbled into but all it succeeds in doing is dragging its own balls across the Killsaws as they pop up to claim their union acting guild credits for this episode. Overhaul eventually lets go as per the rules on grappling and Starchild lands a cheap shot as it gets away. As you might imagine this hit does nothing to Overhaul. Overhaul still can’t drive all that well but that doesn’t stop it from ripping off the cosmetic, uh, trash bag from the top of Starchild. With ten seconds left to go Starchild makes a push to score some final hits but Overhaul winds up getting in another decent lift and the clock runs out.
The fight goes to the judges and they score unanimously in favor of Overhaul. If I were Brandon Zalinsky I’d hot foot it out to the parking lot, get P1 out of the back of the truck, and just finish the remaining three Fight Night matches with P1 because this Starchild thing kind of blows horse dicks.
WINNER: Overhaul, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
GRUFF vs. QUANTUM
We’re at our first fight where both teams are 1-0 meaning someone’s budding perfect record is going to get ruined. Gruff debuted this season in a battle with Ripperoni that fell in Gruff’s favor early on when Ripperoni’s rear stabilizing flywheel failed causing the vertical spinner to lose control and constantly spin out and flip around everywhere. Gruff’s participation in that fight mostly came down to staying out of trouble and making sure it was at least trying to pursue Ripperoni in order to claim all the aggression points. Coming into this next fight against Quantum however there’s no unseen catastrophic failure that Sam McAmis can hope for short of Quantum’s hydraulic system exploding or something. He’s hoping his new attachment to Gruff is the ace up his sleeve that he needs to win this fight; Gruff has a cross bar on its lifting arm for this match so it can jam that under Quantum’s jaw and raise it up without letting Quantum get a bite. Gruff also has some extra metal attached to its sides to get in the way of Quantum’s jaw in the event of a side attack. I wasn’t banking on Gruff to win this fight but I’ve gotta say the bar across its lifting arm isn’t a bad idea.
Quantum is the sleeper hit robot that people have been keeping an eye on so far. This thing caused some major damage the last time we saw it way back in 2019 and in its debut fight against Captain Shrederator we saw the robot effortlessly bite down through Shrederator’s shell and into the electronics ending the match with a flicker of fire coming out of the holes it bit into its opponent. One important thing to note about Quantum for this fight is what Adam Wrigley points out as Quantum enters the arena: the Cooper brothers have replaced Quantum’s double tooth biter with a single tooth. This effectively doubles the power because now all that bite force is being concentrated onto one single point as opposed to two. Remember when Quantum fucked up production by biting into Blacksmith and getting stuck in there twice? That was Quantum running its one tooth setup. Gruff might be armored like a tank but if Quantum is able to get that single tooth down onto its opponent it could very well pierce or deform Gruff’s armor and damage critical components underneath it.
Gruff drives forward and tries to stick its lifting forks into Quantum’s face and lift it up. It’s a good opening move, the problem here is that Gruff completely misses. Quantum grabs Gruff from the front corner and tries to bite down but doesn’t seem to get anything. The crusher lets up, refocuses, and this time bites down right onto the anti-crushing bar added onto Gruff’s right side and effortlessly bends it out of the way. With its prey in its mouth Quantum kicks it into high gear and slams Gruff into the central spire of the shelf before turning around and performing another wall slam behind the blue square. This is Quantum’s signature move, biting down and then just fucking flooring it straight into the wall. Quantum bites down again and as the robot is peeling out and slamming Gruff around I want you to watch the arena floor. All those blue skid marks you see appearing everywhere? That’s Quantum’s wheels. Quantum is juicing its drive system so hard carrying so much weight that the rubber of its wheels is literally fucking separating and marking up the Battlebox floor.
Gruff is able to get free of Quantum’s bite and it looks like the robot is driving a little worse for wear. Lots of drifting and skidding out going on. Gruff tries again to jam its lifting forks underneath Quantum’s mighty jaw and this time is able to get a proper lift however because Gruff was driving backwards as this happened it drops Quantum almost immediately. Quantum continues on the attack and manages to drive Gruff into the screws of the Upper Deck which grind away at the lifter and drag it up onto the hazard. Gruff gets down but its drive problems are becoming more and more apparent. Something under the hood is not working as intended. Gruff again flails its lifting arm up and down but isn’t able to hit its mark and pick up Quantum. Quantum gets another grapple on Gruff and goes wide for a big slam into the short corner but winds up hitting a seam in the floor prompting Adam Wrigley to say something for the first time in this fight. Gruff flies out of Quantum’s grasp and slides across the floor and as Gruff tries to fight its way back into the center of the arena you can see tire marks now being left from Gruff’s wheels too. This is why they had to repaint the floor between every day of taping, these robots kept screwing it all up.
It doesn’t take long for Quantum to scoop Gruff back into its maw where it starts chewing on it up and down until it hits something important. Gruff is carried over in front of the drivers’ booth and while this is going on watch the BattleBots sign that the editors keep motion-tracking the ads onto. The advertisement for Destruct-A-Thon is there is one shot and gone in the next because Gruff starts flailing its lifting arm back and forth and the edge of it catches the sign and rips part of it down. Great continuity. Quantum seems to have disabled Gruff but it’s not through with its prey yet, Quantum bites down on Gruff’s left flamethrower jet and starts visibly caving in the metal before letting go and biting down into the back of Gruff and somehow narrowly missing its back left wheels. Speaking of wheels though is it just me or does Gruff’s right wheels look all kinds of fucked? Like, they’re twisted out of alignment on their mount? Maybe that’s why Gruff wasn’t moving so well, all that ramming around literally busted a set of wheels.
Gruff is dead in the water where it stands. It’s one of the hardest bots to KO but Quantum brought the firepower needed to take it down. That super durable steel armor was no match for Quantum’s “I’m done fucking around” tooth configuration. Mercifully Quantum didn’t hold up production again by jamming its tooth down into the steel armor and getting stuck… twice.
WINNER: Quantum, KO
KRAKEN vs. BETA
Last season Matt Spurk delivered a tear-filled statement that his robot Kraken was going to be retired. The pneumatic biting robot just couldn’t hold its own and managed to win a staggering zero fights last year. Maybe it was truly time to move on to a new design. In the off season Matt got to work coming up with those new designs and after some soul searching he ultimately decided it wasn’t yet Kraken’s time. Big changes were needed, however. Out was the pneumatic biting system. In is a brand new Sawblaze-esque hammer-saw-forward-slash-clamping-jaw affair that looks absolutely vicious. Kraken is still a control bot at heart but its method of delivering that control is now completely different. Kenny points out that in Kraken’s career it’s gone the distance in almost all of its battles so if this new Kraken is just as hard to KO as the old version the field could have a handful here with Kraken brandishing its shiny new spinner. But it’s gotta get through Beta first.
Beta is a fantastic robot whose lineage dates all the way back to season 5 of the show in 2002. Beta arrived to BattleBots but ultimately had to forfeit due to technical problems. John Reid sat on this robot for ages while continuing to compete with the similarly designed Terrorhurtz in the UK. For a long time Beta was the electric hammer and Terrorhurtz was pneumatic one but that changed last season when John tweaked the design to make Beta follow suit in order to get more out of the hammer. (That he barely swung at all.) Beta was criticized for its lack of weapon use so to change that John has brought in Jason Marston. If his mug looks familiar to you that’s because this is the guy who built and competed with Thor in Robot Wars. Yes, the guy with the funny chopping hand gesture. For eons John’s remark to “wait for a good hit” has been a meme in the robot combat community. Now he’s got someone who intrinsically knows exactly when and where those “good hits” are and will fire that hammer accordingly.
Kraken looks a little squirrely right out of the gate as it seems to be a bit sluggish under what has to be the massive weight of its new weapon arm. Beta meanwhile cruises across the box and jams its armored wedge into Kraken’s face. Kraken’s forks defeat Beta’s wedge and the sea serpent starts shaving off some sparks which Beta responds to by swinging its hammer down onto its opponent’s lid. I didn’t point this out earlier so I guess I will now, Beta is using a thinner hammer for this fight as opposed to its usual suppository of death because Beta had to be equipped with extra steel armor on its top half to protect against Kraken’s spinner; the polycarbonate up there just wasn’t enough to deal with a spinning blade so sacrifices had to be made. Beta swings again and misses this time but it looks like Kraken is still having problems getting its bearings because it hasn’t driven in a straight line yet. Kraken eventually gets around to the back corner of Beta and drops its blade ripping a small gash into Beta’s shell and violently separating the two robots.
Beta recovers from the hit somewhat and spins around to face Kraken though it keeps lurching forward and seems to give out when it gets close to the corner. This exposes its ass end to Kraken and although Beta is equipped with extra armor that’s only for its upper half and front end, there is no armor on Beta’s rear end because the whole point is to drive well enough that the backside of Beta never ever faces an opponent. This predicament demonstrates why that was a stupid ass idea. Kraken should be getting all up in Beta’s booty but the robot is still struggling to really make effective use of its front forks and firmly drive them underneath its opponent. Still, Kraken drops its blade and tears up part of Beta’s rear armor and gets so very close to popping that juicy air tank. As much as I love Beta I also love a good CO2 explosion… even though I think the robots in BattleBots use nitrogen in their air tanks for some reason. John Reid’s robots are the masters of orgasm denial when it comes to their air tanks. If not Kraken getting a near miss then it’s the time Dead Metal very nearly hit Terrorhurtz’s air tank in Robot Wars. No such release here either.
After a few worrying seconds of inactivity Beta springs back to life and spins away from Kraken. Beta seems to stall out again on top of the Killsaw slots and fires its hammer while Kraken tries to pursue Beta with its fucked up drivetrain. Kraken is unable to reach Beta. Also Kraken sheds one of the rubber treads attached to its wheels. This fight is definitely going places. Beta cruises around while randomly starting, stopping, and occasionally firing its hammer. There are 90 seconds left and the hosts are so pressed for things to say that Chris Rose has to whip out “nearing a minute to go” when there’s a full ass minute and a half left on the fucking clock. Beta finally manages to stumble into Kraken’s face and starts swinging its hammer. Kraken responds by ratcheting its attack arm back and forth. Kenny lets out a supportive “there we go” as the robots again drift apart and do fuck all.
Beta finally acts like it wants to win this fight and charges at Kraken before it connects and brings the hammer down right onto Kraken’s spinner. Chris Rose uses his ESP to let us know that this hit has disabled Kraken’s weapon. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely has, I just want to know how Chris knew this as soon as it happened. My money’s on ADR’ed commentary. This was an impressive hit for Beta and even though it’s disabled Kraken’s spinner the bigger story is that Beta’s whole ass hammer has been turned into a twisty pretzel. That’s what happens when you’re forced to use the tiny penis hammer because you bulked up on armor against an opponent that can’t even drive in a straight goddamned line. Beta is still controlling like shit while Kraken spins around aimlessly. Eventually by the law of probability the two robots meet face to face again and Beta starts slapping Kraken with its bent up hammer.
With just seconds left on the clock Beta lands a few more strikes with its useless hammer and the match ends. The judges turn in a unanimous verdict which is surprising to me because this shit show of a fight had all the markings of an ambiguous battle that just gets scored seemingly at random because neither robot had the clear advantage at any point in the match. Even stranger is Beta is declared the winner when Kraken visibly messed up Beta’s armor and twisted its hammer up. As crappy of a fight as this was I think Kraken should’ve got it. New Kraken has some kinks to work out, but there’s no excuse for Beta’s performance short of something legitimately being wrong internally.
WINNER: Beta, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SHREDDIT BRO vs. HORIZON
The “it worked as a small robot let’s scale it up to a heavyweight” mantra is getting a lot of exposure this episode. There are so many bots with that philosophy here that this fight is a battle of two of them! Shreddit Bro is new to BattleBots but its builder Evan Arias has been here before for a couple of seasons with Pain Train. Pain Train had one solitary win in its six total career fights. That’s Overhaul levels of bad. Pain Train is out and in its place is an homage to Evan’s championship winning beetleweight of the same name, Shreddit Bro. This robot bears a lot of resemblance to bots like Minotaur and Copperhead; it is very compact for a heavyweight sporting four big wheels and a killer drum spinner on the front that Chris Rose says can get up to 190 MPH. Evan’s not aiming to spin as fast as possible, he’s looking to spin at the speed needed to get a good bite on opponents. Copperhead has the same approach and we saw that robot score a one hit KO over Bloodsport last week. I don’t think Shreddit Bro has OHKO potential but it’s a new robot so anything is possible. Go on, surprise me.
Horizon is also a robot that worked in a smaller weight class; it has a 12 pound counterpart named Skyline that saw moderate success in Norwalk Havoc much like Emulsifier’s 30 pound version. While not a champion in the 12 pound class the design seemed to work well enough to convince Joshua Kong to scale it up. Horizon has two 30 pound discs on either end of its overhead bar. These discs are powered by dedicated motors and the entire bar apparatus they are mounted on rotates around. This design takes advantage of a loophole in BattleBots’ rules allowing Horizon to technically have a spinning mass greater than 80 pounds. Good idea basing your entire design around a loophole that totally won’t get patched up by next season. Also I saw a prototype of Horizon compete at Robotica in 2022 and to say the robot sucked would be an understatement. It barely worked, fell apart, and then I think the team was barred from competing any further due to some kind of violation of protocol. I can’t remember, I was too busy announcing the beetleweight box.
When the fight starts Shreddit Bro tries to perform a box rush on Horizon and manages to get halfway across the arena before it turns sharply to the right and starts spinning around in place. You can see its wheels visibly spinning but they’re getting zero purchase on the floor all of a sudden. Good to know Shreddit Bro has lived up to Pain Train’s legacy within the first three fucking seconds of this battle. Meanwhile Horizon is getting its spinning discs up to speed and this is taking a long ass time. For real. If Horizon’s opponent wasn’t ensnared in invisible vines right now the floor would be mopped with them. Horizon darts in close to Shreddit Bro and fails to land a hit while Shreddit Bro gets a little tap in to start its scorecard off. Look closely and you’ll see one of the chains powering Horizon’s discs fall out of the robot meaning Horizon is now down to just one weapon disc and there’s barely been an exchange between the two robots. I’m beginning to understand why the selection committee passed on Horizon’s application last season.
Horizon’s upper bar starts rotating around and I don’t think it’s supposed to be spinning fast so at least that part of the robot is working. Horizon’s upper bar is meant to rotate and keep its discs attacking all the way around the robot so that when it strikes you the bar flips around and whacks you with the other disc. Unfortunately one of said discs is already out of commission so Horizon has to time its attacks right in order to strike with the working one. Horizon hits Shreddit Bro on the drum and no major exchange happens other than Horizon’s weapon disc slowing down and needing to spin back up. I don’t think there’s enough time left in the goddamned fight for Horizon to spin up again if its first spin up is anything to go by. Shreddit Bro is still having trouble moving around and the cameras cut to Evan at the controls where two other people literally reach over to the transmitter to fuck with it. It’s just a four-wheeled drive box. It doesn’t need that many fucking people to operate. Just build something that doesn’t suck for god’s sake.
Shreddit Bro manages to land a gentle tap on Horizon prompting the robot to run away and get its one working disc spinning up to speed. While Horizon evades the fight the hum from Shreddit Bro’s drum starts to reverberate around the arena. There’s a hum. That means there’s muscle in that pathetic thing somewhere. If only it could fucking drive maybe we’d be seeing an actual fight right now. I have no idea how this battle made it to television other than some obligation to show literally everyone’s Fight Night journey; this is the type of crap fight that winds up getting drip fed onto BattleBots’ YouTube page to droves of confused fans wondering why they only upload the cut-from-television fights and none of the actual good ones. Horizon closes the distance between the two bots and Shreddit Bro spontaneously lunges at its opponent. Horizon dodges and as Shreddit Bro resumes spinning around in place Horizon’s only working spinner connects with Shreddit Bro’s back left tire and nearly rips the whole thing off. That’s proof those discs can do damage now the robot just needs to, you know, work.
Horizon parks itself near Shreddit Bro and tries to get spinning again and Shreddit Bro decides it’s going to work for a split second again and hits Horizon on its working spinner. The hit is impressive I’ll admit and Horizon gets thrown across the floor and beaches itself on the bumper rail next to the red square screws. One of Horizon’s discs is braced on the floor and the other is stuck on the bumper. This has raised Horizon’s chassis off the ground. This is a knockout for Shreddit Bro as miserable as this fight has been… until someone activates the fucking bumper and knocks Horizon free. Who the fuck did that? No really, who pressed the fucking button? Because I want to know what’s taken them so long to remember that those hazards exist because we’ve seen like five fucking robots get stuck on or near the bumpers and they never fire but god forbid Horizon gets knocked out from a one in a fucking million shot by Shreddit Bro. Better keep this disaster of a fight going! Fuck off.
Shreddit Bro’s drum is now visibly hitting the floor as it spins and the weapon disc on Horizon that was working has now joined the other in the afterlife. Neither robot is functioning particularly well and as Horizon comes in close to Shreddit Bro the drum on Shreddit Bro catches Horizon’s disc and bumps it up into the air. When it lands the hole in Horizon’s disc falls perfectly onto the front armor chunk of Shreddit Bro. Since neither robot is worth a shit they are unable to separate. The refs start acting like they’re going to pause this fight but there’s only 15 seconds left so they say fuck it. I swear to god if this mess of a fight was dragged out with a pause to separate the robots I would’ve gotten a refund for my ticket to that taping session.
The match ends and because it landed one good hit Shreddit Bro is declared the winner. Evan tries to play his smug character but it doesn’t work when your robot performed as badly as it did in this fight.
WINNER: Shreddit Bro, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
WHIPLASH vs. HYPERSHOCK
Earlier we had a battle between two 1-0 robots, though this episode’s round two battles seem to be focusing on the bots that are 0-1 and that’s the theme of this week’s main event. Whiplash is back after a disappointing loss to Mad Catter by KO. Check out the B-roll of the team in the pits and you’ll get a glimpse of just how savagely Mad Catter caved in Whiplash’s ass with the kill shot; the entire ass end of the robot is bent inward. The damage from that blow was so severe that the team couldn’t even use that chassis for the rest of the tournament; Matt Vasquez cut it into fourths and sold the pieces off to fans following the conclusion of that episode airing. Whiplash has a new chassis for this fight and extra long forks to try and out-fork Hypershock. Whiplash is also going with its spinner again which is a bold move because you know Hypershock is the one with all the firepower in this match.
Speaking of asses and things getting caved in no one knows that better than Hypershock who lost to Sawblaze in its first battle. Hypershock lost so badly and Sawblaze’s arm was stuck so deep into Hypershock’s rectum that in order to remove it the teams had to take Sawblaze’s hammer saw arm off – still stuck in Hypershock – so Will Bales and his team could slice the hole larger to give the weapon some wiggle room to come loose. I’m sure when Hypershock presented at the ER with a foreign object lodged up its ass it told the doctor that it slipped while taking a shower and landed on it. Happens all the time. Hypershock’s chassis has also been fixed up for this battle so both robots are fresh and ready to go. Both robots are also now wearing diapers because their anal devastation has left them incontinent.
Both robots slam into each other in the middle of the arena presumably to see which one would’ve won the transaction. Thanks to excessive use of forks the answer is “neither”. Hypershock pulls away to start driving circles around Whiplash trapping it while looking for an opening. The plan starts to work until Hypershock’s forks catch one of the Killsaw slots causing the robot to stumble and affording Whiplash the brief moment it needs to jump on Hypershock’s back and start trying to lift it up. Whiplash is successful in its rush and manages to turn Hypershock over. Hypershock starts cruising around upside down and I noticed its weapon has stopped spinning for some reason. There’s nothing preventing Hypershock’s weapon from spinning while upside down unless it’s lost its chains or all of the motors running it spontaneously died. Hypershock tries to ram into the screws of the shelf to help it flip back over but all this does is yank the robot up onto the hazard.
Hypershock gets down from the Upper Deck and Whiplash is waiting for it ready to spring and control the fight some more. Hypershock gets away and as Whiplash goes in pursuit it starts driving around backwards with its lifting arm raised up. Clearly Whiplash is trying to attack from the back and use the disc of its lifting arm akin to a hammer saw because Matt Vasquez saw Hypershock’s previous fight and knows that punching Hypershock square in the dick with a hammer saw is the easiest way to kill it (and stop the fight and cause a whole shitstorm of trying to get the weapon unstuck from the bottom of the robot). Hypershock’s weapon comes back to life and as the robot erratically drives around the arena Alex Bales starts telling Will to try and gyro the robot up onto its side to flip back over. Will makes an attempt and thankfully Whiplash is there to help knock it back down. Hypershock has reinverted itself and Will knows it’s time to even the score cards. He immediately gets to work.
Hypershock scoops up Whiplash and knocks it backwards with its spinning blades. Whiplash catches itself with its lifting arm and self rights. Hypershock again gets in Whiplash’s face and starts hassling the robot but Whiplash refuses to flip over and keeps catching itself with its arm to land on its wheels. Hypershock just does not let up and again catches Whiplash on its forks and tries to slam it into the wall for a power shot. Unfortunately for Will the wall he decides to ram into is the one that’s not attached to the floor and is part of the gates that open to get the robots in and out of the arena. Smooth one, Will. Hypershock’s forks slip under the rail and start to visibly shake and move it around as the robot tries to back out of the predicament. Eventually Hypershock gets loose and goes right back to shoving its spinning blades into Whiplash’s throat.
Whiplash gets caught from a particularly bad angle and a piece of armor falls off from seemingly nowhere. This piece of armor was actually from inside the robot and as its lifting arm is raised up you can see that armor panel is followed by batteries and electronics that have come loose and are now hanging out of Whiplash’s front end. Hypershock sees its opening and floors it straight through Whiplash slicing components off and tearing up a battery pack that immediately goes up in smoke. Whiplash twitches for a moment and immediately dies, its lifting arm slowly falling back down to the ground. Going into this fight I assumed Whiplash would have no trouble at all dominating Hypershock doing things like flipping it over and destabilizing it. Never in a million years did I see Hypershock reaching down Whiplash’s throat, yanking out the giblets, and shredding them. Jesus fucking christ, man. Whiplash is 0-2??
WINNER: Hypershock, KO
As the dust settles from this week’s fight card the big takeaway is that Whiplash is down to 0-2 with two challenging fights ahead of it: Monsoon and Tantrum. Monsoon may have lost its opening fight in this episode but if you caught the segment with the Black Dragon team before the main event you’ll have seen the chunks Monsoon cleaved out of Black Dragon’s baseplate. That robot doesn’t fuck around. That blade can and will sink ships. Tantrum will pose an obvious challenge seeing as how it’s the defending champion this year. Emulsifier also falls to 0-2 after another poor showing from the new rookie. That disc can definitely do some serious damage but the bot is just unreliable; the team needs to figure out what caused Emulsifier to just die on the spot because otherwise it had its fight with Malice in the bag. I think Whiplash will be able to potentially make an argument for itself to reach the Round of 32 but Emulsifier has an uphill road ahead of it.
Next week’s episode features the return of Blip and Huge as the two robots face off. I see this kind of like Overhaul versus Starchild, what’s Blip going to get a grab on? Huge’s wheel? Ribbot is also back to do battle with Claw Viper who expertly disposed of Ominous. Minotaur the giant killer is back to face Free Shipping and Witch Doctor is on call again to face Fusion. This could be the end of the Whyachi spinner. Riptide comes back to face Mad Catter but I’m looking forward to Sawblaze and Lock-Jaw doing battle with each other. I don’t know what the main event fight is next week but my money’s on that one. Also since we are short one fight next week I think there’s going to be an exhibition battle? One was filmed in taping session #3 according to my notes so that might be the one we see, but those battles aren’t revealed on the schedule on the official BattleBots website.
Well, that’s another 12 page write-up done and posted. 8,900 words according to OpenOffice. Probably more now that I am still typing crap. I remember when these articles were shorter. You’re killing me BattleBots, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. BattleBots Update is made possible through fan support and crowdfunding since Google pays me next to nothing for those banner ads I have on this website. Honestly I should just say fuck it and remove them all. I’m tired of seeing them. Anyways if you want to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. I have to give major shoutouts to Jared who sent in a very generous donation last week, thank you!! And as always you can follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for announcements and memes.
See you next week!