Welcome back to BattleBots Update. I’m writing this post on Super Bowl Sunday because the only sport I give a shit about involves two or more robots fighting to the death in an arena full of useless hazards that only activate when they feel like it. I couldn’t even tell you which teams are competing in the Super Bowl because I’m so far removed from the world of contact sports that I literally possess negative knowledge about them. My dad was too busy to grill up anything for the occasion so I’m not even watching the game as an excuse to get free food. (For the record speaking of food this week’s BBU is NOT brought to you by Monsters and hoagies, I threw some microwaveable burritos in my toaster oven because I’m convinced it makes them not as depressing.)
Last week’s episode was another scorcher when Tantrum and Hydra rematched to see who would come out on top and settle the dispute over who really won the fight that ended with a controversial split decision last year. That’s all well and good but immediately after airing I saw people arguing that Tantrum winning the main event last week “doesn’t change the first fight”. You’re right, it doesn’t change it. Tantrum won that fight too. I guess this is just part and parcel with having a sport that’s growing in popularity but it’s kind of shitty when people genuinely argue points like that. At least when I do it you know I’m full of shit and trying to get a rise out of people who don’t understand the gimmick of this website.
There’s another rematch in this episode as Minotaur and Cobalt fight in the main event. Newcomers Horizon, Starchild, and Triton all return for their second round battles to see if they can improve their 0-1 standings. Claw Viper and Overhaul have been paired up in a battle of the control bots, and the new Kraken tries to see if it can get its first win of the season over Canada’s Lucky. But first we have two 0-1 robots, Bloodsport and Gigabyte, ready to go.
BLOODSPORT vs. GIGABYTE
This episode is filled with robots who’ve lost their first round matches so no matter what a few robots tonight are going to earn their first win. Introduced first is Bloodsport which is one of many competitors that were completely redesigned from the ground up coming into this season. Bloodsport has seen a couple of revisions since its debut but this newest iteration features a more powerful weapon motor that’s too large to fit inside the robot’s short chassis so it’s actually stored up inside that insect-looking “head” thing on top of the robot. Bloodsport’s weapon is still as lethal as ever and we saw a glimpse of that in its opening round fight against Copperhead. Let’s ignore the part where Copperhead hit Bloodsport once and blew its fucking head off for a one hit KO and focus on what Bloodsport did to Copperhead in that fight; that one massive blow wasn’t all Copperhead, Bloodsport managed to damage Copperhead’s weapon and also may have done something to its drivetrain as well going by the post-fight interview. How much damage can Bloodsport do against the 360 degree armored Gigabyte however? I have no fucking clue.
Gigabyte is a bit of a mixed bag this season. Formerly John Mladenik captained this team for several seasons however John has fucked off to spearhead his new toy Cobalt this year. In years gone by when John was competing overseas in China and couldn’t make it to BattleBots his teammate Brent Reiker filled in as an experienced captain, however sadly Brent is out sick this year dealing with something far more serious than playing glorified bumper cars. This leaves Derek and Camden, two young co-captains, to man the helm of Gigabyte this year. They seem to know what they are doing?? …but when it comes time to execute you can tell they are very inexperienced. Gigabyte’s first battle was against the newly redesigned Free Shipping and this may have been a mismatch from the start because the new Free Shipping looked even more like its counterpart Original Sin than it ever has before. Free Shipping shunted Gigabyte around and eventually knocked it out when its dinky little self-righting directional mast snapped off leaving the robot to spin its guts around until it shit itself.
You probably noticed it during Faruq’s intros but Bloodsport is equipped with a big ass “KILL-O-BYTE” plow for this fight; Justin Marple talks about using that plow to knock Gigabyte around and slow it down. At the start of the fight Bloodsport doesn’t spin its weapon up instead opting to go for something of a box rush and come out using that big plow. Gigabyte however also doesn’t spin up for some stupid reason. Perhaps the drivers were anticipating the box charge and chose not to spin up in order to foil the plan? Whatever the case both robots spend about ten seconds bumping into each other before Gigabyte even tries to get spinning and when it finally does it’s at a relatively low power. Gigabyte eventually starts giving its spinner the juice and pops Bloodsport which destabilizes it and then lands a follow-up hit that knocks Bloodsport upside down. This is probably because Bloodsport’s plow is a generous height off of the floor and Gigabyte’s shell has a pretty low slung set of teeth on it so the shell caught the underside of the plow and plinked Bloodsport into the air.
Bloodsport is able to right itself because much like Gigabyte it too has a big mast that it can roll into to flip back onto its wheels. You can see Bloodsport start to roll up using its weapon but before it can safely get back down Gigabyte comes in and flicks Bloodsport’s butthole by landing a shot to the back corner. Bloodsport spins like a quarter and ultimately lands back onto its wheels and it looks like despite taking a clear shot to its back tires the robot is still fully mobile. Justin Marple decides it’s time to start scoring some points so he activates Bloodsport’s weapon and gets a light tap on Gigabyte that doesn’t seem to do much of anything. That’s because it’s building up to a much larger hit and just a couple seconds later Gigabyte and Bloodsport collide and holy shit both of the robots just rocket across the floor into opposite corners. Bloodsport lands on its feet and immediately starts driving across the arena to get to Gigabyte, meanwhile Gigabyte hits the arena rails hard and ricochets across the corner.
Gigabyte looks visibly shook from the hit because it’s just stumbling around in the short corner. If you pay attention to the directional indicator lights under Gigabyte’s shell you can see the robot just spinning around and driving erratically likely because some shit under the hood is now broken. This point is proven a few seconds later when smoke starts to seep out from under the spinner’s shell. Bloodsport makes it into the short corner with its weapon going and starts landing some hits to Gigabyte’s shell doing no real damage but at least pulling ahead if this were to go to decision. I don’t think it is however because the more Gigabyte struggles to move in the corner the more it starts to slow down. Bloodsport shits out a drive belt and Kenny Florian thinks it came from Gigabyte. Dude, the robots are literally right in front of you right now. Gigabyte is nowhere near where the belt just magically appeared.
As Gigabyte comes to a halt Bloodsport’s spinner powers down and Justin and his crew start to celebrate in the drivers’ booth. Pretty much all of Gigabyte’s team leaves the blue team section presumably to go wait by the arena doors so they can fetch their smoldering bowl of crap and wheel it back into the pits for a teardown.
WINNER: Bloodsport, KO
CLAW VIPER vs. OVERHAUL
Chris Rose isn’t the only person who’s surprised to see Claw Viper make it to 2-0 for the season so far. Chris awkwardly frames the statement with an anecdote about writing Claw Viper off that’s delivered in such a way as to not sound derogatory but I’m not as willing to tiptoe around subject matters, Claw Viper usually sucks. I’ll say it. Claw Viper has been Big Dill tier to me since its debut but this season the robot has turned over a new leaf. (And I guess Big Dill has gotten better too.) Claw Viper first fought Ominous in a battle that was mostly an anything goes toss up but the snake bot pulled ahead and managed to upend Ominous in such a way as to render Ominous’ self-righter useless for the KO. Claw Viper then fought Ribbot in a match that I was certain was going to be a bloodbath but against all odds Kevin Milczewski pulled a winning battle strategy out of his ass and dominated Ribbot for the entire fight resulting in a favorable judges’ decision that brings Claw Viper to where it is tonight.
I find it amusing that Chris Rose announces this fight as being between two “undefeated” robots because Overhaul is here and Overhaul usually doesn’t win fights, but Overhaul managed to win its first battle so I guess on technicality a 1-0 season start counts as “undefeated”. This cursed anime tragedy of a robot has competed since the original 2015 reboot season and the greatest thing to come from Overhaul is team member Jamison Go who split off from the team to create Sawblaze. Meanwhile Charles Guan stayed behind from the original team and kept competing with Overhaul and now he has free reign to cover the robot in waifu shit because no one else was there to keep him in check. Overhaul’s first battle was against Starchild, whom we’ll see in a bit, and Overhaul managed to win by decision after amazingly being able to pick up and lift the Huge wannabe. Overhaul lost a side of drive during that fight but a win is a win and Overhaul needs all the help it can get.
Claw Viper leaves its starting square almost in slow motion before getting inches away from Overhaul’s face and then flooring it forward. It’s ultimately a miss but Claw Viper gets a hold of Overhaul’s back right corner on the second go and tips the anime bot onto its lid. Overhaul successfully rights itself and Claw Viper is immediately back on its ass nudging and sliding the grabber all over the floor. Overhaul gets away and as Claw Viper goes in pursuit it does its best impression of End Game and jams its front forks into the goddamned Killsaws. Overhaul does the sportsmanlike thing and frees Claw Viper from the floor while unsuccessfully attempting to grab it and lift it up. Claw Viper starts doing donuts around Overhaul and you can see how Overhaul simply does not have a response to this maneuver. It just parks there. Claw Viper dives in and Overhaul is able to snag the front corner of its opponent for a lift but Claw Viper falls off of Overhaul’s grabber pretty quickly. Claw Viper then swoops around and docks with Overhaul’s ass and tries to get a butt blaster ram going.
Overhaul turns away and Claw Viper is able to at least lift the robot up onto its side and smash it into the screws for control points. The impact flips Overhaul over forcing it to speed away and flip back over far away from Claw Viper. This is ultimately moot though because Claw Viper basically does the Dragon Ball Z instant transmission thing and teleports across the box to grab Overhaul again. Kevin gets excited and shouts “how about we go this way” before smashing Overhaul into the Upper Deck. If Kevin were a professional fighting game player he’d be one of those insufferable types who does nothing but shit talk during a match while spouting off random bullshit for every attack and combo he pulls off. Claw Viper drives circles around Overhaul again before getting underneath it and taking Overhaul into the wall in front of the drivers’ booth. If you pay close attention you’ll notice the editors have stopped motion tracking the VEX Robotics logo onto the BattleBots sign. That’s because Overhaul is about to bump into it and knock it off its mount. It’s just held on with magnets which is why it falls off when you so much as look at the fucking thing funny.
Overhaul flips over from the impact of ruining the arena signage and drives away into the screws of the Upper Deck to help it flip back over. Claw Viper is right there the entire time and again gets another small sideways lift on its opponent before locking claws with Overhaul and shoving it all over the place as its brushless drive motors easily overpower Overhaul’s drivetrain. Kenny compares the robots to kangaroos fighting because he is secretly a furry. Claw Viper starts slowing down a bit and a brief puff of smoke emits from the robot’s left side which I assume is from the bot literally burning rubber against the arena floor. Overhaul finally gets its jaw onto Claw Viper and goes for a suplex but all it does is pull itself forward and flop onto its face. Where’s Complete Control when you need it? Someone needs to show these crap grabby robots how it’s done. Overhaul’s not done with its attack though because it’s able to hook its front forks into Claw Viper’s side armor and takes the snake for a ride straight into the wall. Claw Viper flips over with its clamping mechanism splayed all the way open and for a moment it looks like this robot is fucking done but Kevin pulls out the secret sauce and tips his robot back onto its wheels.
Claw Viper locks heads with Overhaul and the two robots jostle for a lift but ultimately it’s Claw Viper who gets the points and raises Overhaul up into the air for the first proper lift of the fight (and it’s in the last 15 fucking seconds). Claw Viper’s lift is so rough that Kevin’s improvised “Idiot Strap” attachment snaps loose in the process. Claw Viper takes a hit to the dingaling from the Killsaws which severs a drive belt but the buzzer sounds sending the match to the judges and preventing this damage from turning the fight. Overhaul did get an impressive wall slam that flipped Claw Viper over but Claw Viper had Overhaul on its head multiple times and mopped the floor with its superior drivetrain. It should come as no surprise but Claw Viper wins the fight bringing the robot up to an impressive three goddamned wins. Its final qualifier is against Hypershock however so we’ll just have to see if Kevin can whip out an upset and go 4-0. Meanwhile Overhaul loses the match but out of all of Overhaul’s fights this was one of its better ones.
WINNER: Claw Viper, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
HORIZON vs. MONSOON
Up next is another pair of winless robots looking to see who gets their first victory. Horizon is new to BattleBots this year though the design is not; Horizon exists as a 12 pound robot named Skyline and if the B-roll is any indication it’s a fair robot that was able to chop some other robot’s side panel or something off. Shoutouts to Chris Rose for name-dropping NHRL. Horizon’s thing is that it has these two spinning discs on either end of a rotating arm so as the discs spin the arm also rotates and allows the robot to attack in all directions. It can also land a double hit as the kickback from one disc will spin the arm around to strike with the other. This, uh, remarkably did not work in Horizon’s first fight with Shreddit Bro. The entire match was a total disaster and Shreddit Bro won by decision but honestly that was one of those fights where I’d argue no one should’ve won. New rule for next season, if both bots break down and suck out loud you both lose the fight. Greg Munson will hang onto that “WINNER” pog and give it out to the winner of the next fight instead.
Monsoon is a lot like Deathroll in that we haven’t seen it since 2019 largely thanks to that teeny tiny little pandemic thing that gummed up everything all over the goddamned world for like a year and a half. Also like Deathroll this robot sports a killer vertical spinner that has given us some of the most impressive hits of the series; just think back to Monsoon versus Red Devil from about half a decade ago. Yeah, it’s been that long. Fuck me. Monsoon proved that it’s still able to throw some serious punches when it fought Black Dragon earlier this season though unfortunately for Monsoon the fight didn’t go in its favor; Monsoon’s weapon abruptly stopped working after the robot ran into the wall and Black Dragon was able to tee it up for a power shot that resulted in Monsoon landing on its side. Normally this is a position Monsoon can get down from because the weapon would be spinning. Since the weapon was dead however Monsoon wound up stuck in this position and was counted out.
Monsoon is wearing a big steel plow on its front end and has its unique pivoting chassis halves locked in place for this fight. Horizon is kind of an awkward design to box rush but Tom Brewster goes for the strategy anyways and plows his robot face first into Horizon landing a hit that flips Horizon onto its lid. Horizon has that upper semicircle piece to allow it to roll back down onto its wheels and with the help of the screws behind it succeeds in getting there. Monsoon is still on the attack however and hits Horizon’s rotating arm several times. This causes a rotational reaction from the arm and it swings around but the disc it hits Monsoon with is doing fuck all so naturally no damage is done. Meanwhile Monsoon is landing hit after hit and manages to shove Horizon into the wall and uppercut it in such a way so that it lands on top of Monsoon. Horizon’s chassis is pressing down right onto one of Monsoon’s wheels so the robot struggles a bit to shake itself loose but manages to do so and spin back up.
Horizon is stuck in the corner because that gap between the pinball bumper and the entrance gate is literally exactly as long as Horizon’s upper arm. The robot’s chassis is facing parallel to the arena wall meaning it can only shuffle forward and backward and as it does this the discs on the ends of the arm keep bumping into the pinball thing and the entrance gate. The robot is literally stuck. Monsoon powers forward and hits Horizon on its side absolutely destroying it and sending Horizon’s outer piece of protective plastic armor flying. This hit has totally blown Horizon’s outer framework the fuck up and the robot lands upside down once again. This time Horizon doesn’t self right because I think there needs to be some rotational spin on the arm for it to roll down. With no momentum the weird robot is just stuck with its underside pointing outward.
Bad move on Horizon’s part because Monsoon comes in for the kill shot and just rips Horizon a literal new asshole on the bottom of its chassis. Monsoon’s weapon digs into Horizon’s underside and leaves a massive gash as the robot is thrown on top of the goddamned Pulverizer. Somehow this hit misses the batteries and other important parts of Horizon because after this blow I was expecting Horizon to let out a LiPo battery fart with its new fully functional shitter. Horizon is stuck on top of the Pulverizer and one of its weapon discs tries to spin up but other than that there’s nothing from the robot, it’s dead. Monsoon came out with that heavy plow and barely even needed it. Better to wear extra layers for the possibility of bad weather I suppose. You can always take them off later.
Monsoon gets on the right track with a win while Horizon goes to 0-2 and now the team has what amounts to a total rebuild on their hands once they wheel that thing back into the pits. Horizon is an interesting design but it’s starting to look like it only works in the 12 pound division.
WINNER: Monsoon, KO
STARCHILD vs. MAMMOTH
Oh boy more 0-1 robots! Remember when Mammoth fought Huge a couple seasons ago and both robots were flipping all over the fucking place? The “selection committee” is doing it again as they’ve engineered this fight to happen between Mammoth and now Starchild who is essentially “Huge but with a different spinner”. Chris Rose even brings up the Huge fight before we get to the intros for this one. Starchild is a thwack bot, the only robot of its kind in BattleBots currently, and its weapon is this weird stinger tail featuring a spinning disc that the robot swings overhead to attack from the top. Starchild is a proven design in the 3 pound weight class so it was bulked up to a heavyweight for this season. So far the whole “thwack” thing hasn’t paid off for designer Brandon Zalinsky because Starchild managed to lose to Overhaul, a robot that might as well be named “Automatic Points”. Overhaul even lost a side of drive and it still won the fucking fight. Starchild is uniquely equipped to hit Mammoth’s weapon chain however so maybe the thwack design will finally work.
Ah, Mammoth. Everyone’s favorite deadly jungle gym. After a loss to Rampage in an exhibition fight last season Ricky Willems nearly retired the robot but he decided to bring it back out for what might be one last hurrah at BattleBots. Mammoth’s method of attack is using its massive rotary lifting arm to snag opponents with its claws and then flip them up and over. In the case of Starchild there is no such thing as flipping it over so really Mammoth will just be looking to destabilize Starchild as much as possible. Mammoth is coming in after an early loss to Valkyrie in a fight that kind of just went to shit for Mammoth right from the start. After unsticking Mammoth’s front strut from Valkyrie’s weapon Mammoth’s lifting device proceeded to shit the bed and literally both sections of it sheared off on their own conceding the win to Valkyrie in the process. Note that Mammoth is using its UHMW plastic lifting device instead of the Tegris one namely because the Tegris one is currently in three separate chunks in the team’s pit area.
Mammoth leaves its starting square to start chasing down Starchild and after a bit of posturing from both robots Mammoth grabs hold of its opponent with its lifter and Mammoth proceeds to do an entire fucking front flip as it leaps into the air, the springiness of its front struts definitely not helping in this situation. I guess it’s going to be another goddamned Looney Tunes fight between Mammoth and “robot with abnormally large wheels”. Mammoth lands upside down and immediately Ricky goes into a panic. Meanwhile Starchild drives into the screws near the red square and very nearly gets one of its wheels stuck behind the hazard. Mammoth’s weapon operator starts spinning the lifting arm around and Ricky is all “no the other way you fucking moron”. Mammoth’s lifter starts going the other direction and the robot crawls over to the Pulverizer to start making out with it.
Starchild has finally got its bearings and is now on the attack. It lines up a potential shot to Mammoth’s undercarriage and misses. You can see Starchild reverse direction to swing its arm overhead and although the chassis is supposed to move before the wheels generate any locomotion this isn’t a perfect system and Starchild backs up a little bit which causes it to miss. Great design. Starchild has a great opportunity to hit Mammoth where it hurts but it screws the whole thing up and Mammoth eventually gets back onto its wheels. Mammoth goes on the attack and lifts Starchild a little bit prompting Starchild to get the fuck out of there and cruise across the arena. Mammoth pursues and catches Starchild from one of its long axle extensions poking out from the sides of its wheels. No flips just yet but a lot of little lifts to upend Starchild and mess with its driving. Mammoth is scoring control points every time it does this.
Starchild winds up for a shot and Mammoth spins its lifter thing which pushes its front end down toward the floor. Starchild’s thwacking hammer winds up overshooting Mammoth’s head and goes all the way around the robot and reaches into the gap between the lifter and the main component box. Starchild’s hammer tail gets stuck up Mammoth’s ass right where Mammoth’s weapon chain is and you can literally see Starchild’s weapon touching that chain. Brandon very nearly creams his pants as he starts pressing every button on his transmitter but Starchild’s disc isn’t spinning since it’s caught on Mammoth. Starchild winds up getting picked up entirely off the ground by Mammoth and the robot looks like it’s at a loss for what it’s supposed to do. It can’t shake Starchild loose and when it changes direction it pops a wheelie and gets stuck in that position. The refs determine the robots are stuck together and the fight is paused to separate the two however much like the last time Mammoth got itself hung up on an opponent this is edited out of the TV broadcast.
The robots resume fighting and there’s so little happening in terms of action that Chris Rose starts asking Kenny Florian who he thinks is winning, a.k.a. “we’re out of shit to talk about but we can’t have dead air”. Kenny points out Mammoth’s good control and as this is going on Mammoth corrals Starchild into the corner and starts tossing it around with its lifter. Everywhere Starchild tries to go Mammoth follows it like a giant version of a little annoying yappy dog and just keeps pushing it away and knocking it around with its rotary lifter. Starchild keeps thwacking back and forth every time it changes direction and it just cannot land a fucking hit to save its life. Guest commentator Anna Zolnikov tries to be supportive of Starchild because her robot Ripperoni and Starchild share a common team but even she is like “Mammoth is doing good right now”. Chris Rose notes that there’s a bend in Mammoth’s lifting arm but that’s not damage from Starchild that’s just what happens when UHMW flexes and bends. Starchild has done fuck all this fight aside from that one hit that entangled the two robots but even then it couldn’t capitalize on the hit.
The clock runs down suspiciously fast on this fight and sends it to the judges. On account of Starchild landing a grand total of, let me check my notes here, one hit the match is scored in favor of Mammoth. Much like Horizon in the previous fight this whole “let’s scale it up” thing doesn’t seem to be working for Starchild either; it’s an effective design but only in its original 3 pound category. Chris Rose wraps up the fight and fucks up Anna’s last name in the process.
WINNER: Mammoth, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TRITON vs. COPPERHEAD
Triton is another 0-1 robot but not for a lack of trying. This spiritual successor to the famed Deep Six met a hard opponent in Lucky in round one. Lucky armored up for the fight and despite the extra padding Triton was still able to make a noticeable dent in it however what wound up happening is Lucky, battle damaged flipping arm and all, managed to get a little pop on Triton that rolled it onto its side at an angle. Triton has enormous power in its weapon but its motors aren’t designed to spin while the robot is stuck on its side so it smoked itself out. Triton’s weapon is basically a fucking boat anchor that weighs 80 pounds, the absolute maximum BattleBots will allow. Horizon’s builder described his robot as a “glass cannon” but honestly that’s a title that should belong to Triton; this thing has virtually no armor, the majority of its weight is in its weapon and weapon system. Copperhead might have a goofy “FULL SEND” sign on it for this fight but that’s the only setting on Triton.
Copperhead is a motherfucker. Triton might be an unpredictable glass cannon robot but Copperhead is consistently a murderer. This thing is literally about as big as a generously sized lightweight from the early Comedy Central days of BattleBots and yet it weighs 250 fucking pounds. Copperhead is like Minotaur except meaner. The robot has gone through team captains faster than I go through antidepressants but the robot itself has mostly stayed the same so it doesn’t really make a damn bit of difference who’s calling the shots as long as Copperhead still hits as hard as ever. Copperhead defeated Bloodsport in one fucking shot. The hosts say it took 30 something seconds but that’s including the time it took for the to refs drag their feet and start and complete their KO countdown. That fight was literally over in like 7 seconds going by actual time. Much like the snake this robot derives its name from you don’t fuck with Copperhead.
Triton falters a bit as it tries and fails to spin its weapon up to speed before eventually landing a glancing shot to Copperhead that separates the two robots. Triton ducks away in the direction the hit sends it in order to spin up its blade and as Copperhead comes back in on the attack Triton very nearly oversteers but still catches Copperhead with the side of its weapon bar knocking off one of the little spike pieces of Copperhead’s chassis. I don’t know if those are for structural integrity or just for show but either way it’s early damage for Triton against a robot that is famously indestructible. Triton spins up and again swishes around to point its weapon at Copperhead and lands a weapon-to-weapon hit that again knocks the two robots in opposite directions.
Triton spins back up as it drives through the blue square and as it swings in to hit Copperhead again its shitty little wheels that provide zero traction basically skid across the arena floor and Triton winds up pointing its ass end at Copperhead. This is the weakest section of Triton – where all the important shit is – being fed directly into one of the most destructive weapons we’ve seen this season that just blew Bloodsport up in a single goddamned shot. Copperhead’s drum makes contact with Triton’s ass and I have no way to eloquently explain what happens other than Triton gets its asshole ripped wide open beyond goatse proportions and proceeds to shit out all of its electronics and batteries. One of the shed battery packs immediately goes up in smoke while the others bounce all over the place.
Triton is fucking deader than shit at this point but as the parts rain down around Copperhead it manages to get itself high centered on one of the loose battery packs. You can see Copperhead’s wheels spinning but the robot is going nowhere and from one camera angle you can also see the black battery pack stuck underneath the robot. Despite this being an open and shut case the refs actually count both robots out as technically this is a double KO but the fight goes to the judges and we all know how they’re going to score the fight. Come on, one of these robots is fully functional and the other robot is Triton. Copperhead is looking to be in top form this season with not one but two massive knockouts both in under a minute.
WINNER: Copperhead, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
LUCKY vs. KRAKEN
Chris Rose is quick to say Lucky’s not one of the premiere flippers of the sport and I guess that’s got some truth to it but as of last season Lucky has started to course-correct and start winning more fights. That might have something to do with builder Mark Demers handing the controls over to Matt Olson who, as his day job, drives RC cars professionally. Fellas, if you’re good enough at your hobby you can make it your career. I can’t imagine what goes into driving RC cars professionally but this guy does it. I know it’s probably hard to do but it’s something I feel like I could probably figure out. I had Tyco toys growing up, I’ve got this. Anyways Lucky won its first round fight against Triton and since Triton was just in the arena I’ve already explained how that fight shook out. Because Kraken can attack from the top Lucky has added extra armor to its lid to prevent that spinner from digging in and hitting an air tank. I don’t quite think Kraken has the muscle to do that but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Kraken, like the previously introduced Mammoth, is another robot that almost didn’t make it to BattleBots this year because Kraken’s builder Matt Spurk was ready to throw in the towel. Technically he still kind of did because the previous version of Kraken with the pneumatic biting jaw no longer competes and has been delegated to BattleBots’ “Destruct-A-Thon” live shows now. In its place is Kraken 2.0 which still has a sort of “biting” jaw that pivots up and down however now rather than having a couple dinky teeth on its end this robot has a whole ass vertical spinning axe blade. Kraken did some good damage to Beta in its first round but a combination of bad wheel treads and Loctite mixing with axle grease left the robot largely immobile and it wound up losing by decision.
So according to the notes I took at taping I wrote down “Kraken couldn’t get into its starting square”. When the fight starts you can see why. Right off the bat Kraken has only one side of drive. Again. I’m not a bot builder– wait a minute, I’m not a heavyweight bot builder– hang on, I haven’t finished a heavyweight robot, there we go, but I’m about 90% certain the first step to designing a robot is having a working fucking drivetrain. Hell even Kraken 1.0 had that shit working the first time we saw it and Kraken 1.0 looked like a fucking pill canister with teeth. Lucky pins Kraken into the screws before letting go of the pin and lining up another shot. Lucky drives around Kraken and shoves it into the front of the Upper Deck where a choice punch sends the sea monster up onto the shelf. With half a drive system the refs might actually have to enforce that “don’t stay on the Upper Deck for too long” rule. I’m sure they are sweating now.
Amazingly Kraken is able to drift around on top of the hazard and get down in the most difficult way possible by driving over the screws and coming down off the front of them. For Kraken’s troubles the screw hazard rips up a drive belt from under Kraken and spits it out. After all that Lucky is immediately on Kraken’s ass and throws the robot right back onto the shelf. This time Kraken seems to get high centered on the edge of the Upper Deck because its only working side of drive starts hanging off the side forcing the robot to throw its weapon arm back and forth to shake it loose. Kraken’s spinning disc hits the side of the shelf and this apparently breaks the goddamned thing because it slows down and stops spinning after like two hits. Predictably Lucky is waiting for Kraken to come down from the hazard so it can once again throw it right back up there for the third fucking time in a row making this a trifecta for the Canadian flipper.
Kraken lands on the screws of the Upper Deck and tumbles back down. Lucky scoops it up and throws it into the short corner where you can now see the tread on Kraken’s back left tire separating again just like it did in its fight with Beta. Also I guess Kraken’s weapon wasn’t broken because it comes back to life all of a sudden just so Lucky can feed it straight into the wall where Kraken takes a chunk of the Lexan out from the arena. Kraken lands upside down and for some stupid reason the robot makes an effort to stay in this shit show of a fight. Kraken is stuck in the corner with one of Lucky’s Pulverizers and the team just keeps dropping the hammer on this pathetic machine until Lucky eventually has enough and heaves Kraken back out into the arena. This is, of course, so Lucky can tee up another hole in one and throw Kraken right back into the same fucking corner. The camera cuts to a shot from behind Chris and Kenny looking down into the arena and if you look closely to Chris’ right you can see his stash of peanut butter M&M’s.
Lucky shoves Kraken into the corner and pops it another couple of times but when the cameras cut to a corner shot close-up of Lucky you can see some wisps of smoke starting to come out of the robot’s front end. As Lucky backs up out of the corner it appears the robot’s somehow managed to lose a side of drive of its own and it starts smoking more copiously. Looks like this might be motor smoke considering Lucky has lost partial drive function but there’s like five seconds left in the fight so it doesn’t matter. I know BattleBots doesn’t use their old scoring system from seasons 2 through 5 anymore but if they did dare I say we just witnessed one of the mythical “45-0” fights because holy shit Kraken did fucking nothing and died immediately.
WINNER: Lucky, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
MINOTAUR vs. COBALT
Last week’s main event was a rematch. So is this week’s, though unlike last week’s fight the last time these two robots met there was a fairly clear cut winner. That didn’t stop the fight from being explosive and memorable because that was the fight where Cobalt had its front wedge torn off and thrown into the arena ceiling so hard that the chunk of metal became lodged firmly in the Battlebox’s roof. It was also the fight where Cobalt was backed up into the arena side rails and its weapon hit it causing the robot to jump 10+ feet into the air. Those hits were courtesy of Minotaur who’s coming into this fight with a 2-0 start to its season, one of those wins being a KO take down of current champion Tantrum. The other win was against Free Shipping in a one-sided fight that ended when Free Shipping drove into the arena’s radio dead zone or something and just stopped working. I don’t know. Didn’t stop driver Daniel Freitas from popping off and screaming when he won.
For all the destruction and carnage that we know Cobalt is capable of dishing out it lost its previous run-in with Minotaur pretty convincingly. This is a robot who in previous seasons has gutted SubZero and absolutely destroyed Ghost Raptor so to see it get taken out is always a shocker. Dave Moulds, Cobalt’s original builder and driver, isn’t fucking around this time. We aren’t going to be seeing Cobalt come out with a shitty little wedge piece that gets torn off and thrown through the arena lights, no this time Cobalt is equipped with spring-loaded front forks that will always be scraping the ground and are purpose-built to get underneath Minotaur’s drum and feed it up into Cobalt’s hearty spinning disc. Just don’t drive over the Killsaws with those things or you’re probably fucked. Cobalt is standing at 1-0 right now after a quick and dirty KO victory over Deathroll so this fight will be its first big challenge.
Cobalt spins up its weapon and very cautiously drives out of its square. Minotaur hangs back to rev up its drum. As Cobalt reaches the middle of the arena its forks catch the seam in the floor there and pop straight up. Immediately Cobalt retreats because almost like it was instinct Minotaur lunges forward to catch its opponent as its forks fuck up and show a sign of weakness. Cobalt gets away and manages to land a hit that flips Minotaur over. Minotaur starts reeling backwards to get away from Cobalt and flip back over and when it rights itself the robot gets caught on Cobalt’s front end resulting in another hit that sends Minotaur onto its lid followed by a combo shot that hurls Minotaur through the air and makes Kenny Florian say the word “huge” to describe it. So far Cobalt has the clear lead here and those forks, despite an opening slip up, are working 100% as intended.
Minotaur gets backed into the Upper Deck and as the robots separate Minotaur catches Cobalt’s front and shears off one of the hinged forks. Well that didn’t take long. Cobalt drives against Minotaur back into the short corner near the hosts wherein Minotaur chews off not one but both of the little side forks from Cobalt leaving just the one spring-loaded fork left. Cobalt retaliates with a hit that flings Minotaur backwards into the corner and as the robot tries to get another combo going it drives across the Killsaws and its sole remaining fork falls into the fucking slot. I warned you. I warned you about the Killsaws, bro. It looks like Cobalt is able to reverse direction and get out of there so for now it lives to fight on and doesn’t open its backside up to a reaming from the bull. Cobalt spins around and pins Minotaur into the Upper Deck for some control points but right as it lets go of the pin Minotaur predictably takes a free hit on the way out.
As Cobalt scoops Minotaur back up its disc clips off Minotaur’s left fork with an audible “plink”. This doesn’t deter Minotaur as it stays in Cobalt’s face. So far this match has been Minotaur grinding its drum against Cobalt’s front end while Cobalt pushes back and occasionally lands a hit that flips Minotaur over. Minotaur has the aggression but I think Cobalt is in control of the fight at this stage. Cobalt lands a hit that separates the robots and as the two bots dust themselves off and charge back at each other I can only picture in my mind the absolute fucking chaos that would ensue if they hit head to head. Instead it’s a miss. With just a minute left to go Cobalt’s weapon seems to spin down for a moment before revving back up but more importantly there is some pale white smoke coming out of Minotaur’s ass end.
It appears as though Minotaur’s batteries are in the process of crossing over to the great beyond because the smoke is getting worse to the point where Minotaur’s drum is circulating so much air that it’s blowing the smoke in Cobalt’s face as if it were trying to show off an epic smoke trick. Minotaur manages to pluck off Cobalt’s last fork and lands a hit that sends Cobalt into the corner upside down. This could be a KO but Minotaur hits Cobalt again and this impact helps it topple back down onto its wheels. Cobalt gives chase sensing weakness in Minotaur but make no mistake there is no weakness here; Minotaur is just transcending. You can’t kill this son of a bitch, you can only piss it off. Minotaur dips around and hits Cobalt again tipping the robot over. Cobalt’s disc makes contact with the ground and stops leaving the robot sitting on its backside completely unable to move. Minotaur parks its ass right in front of Cobalt to wait for a sign of life so it can immediately stomp it out but there’s nothing.
Cobalt was arguably winning this rematch with its mostly successful new forks but the fight took a turn and Minotaur found the opening it needed. This is the way all rematches should be. Low stakes, no bad blood, just a hell of a good show. It’s not quite the arena-shaking battle we saw the first time around but that’s only because the arena safety crew weren’t forced to bring in a massive ladder and pry a chunk of Cobalt out of the fucking ceiling.
WINNER: Minotaur, KO
With the conclusion of this episode we’re now at about the halfway point of the Fight Night rounds. Judging by the BattleBots website there’s 15 episodes of qualifiers and this one is #7 so there’s eight left before the main tournament starts up. It doesn’t really feel like we’re halfway through the “pre-season” but I guess the numbers don’t lie. So far the bots at 2-0 include Claw Viper, Huge, Lucky, Minotaur (at 3-0), Quantum, Riptide, Sawblaze, Skorpios, and Witch Doctor. Those are the only candidates for robots who could potentially go 4-0 this year. Minotaur is the odd robot out because after this week it’s actually at 3-0 so it’s just one fight away from having a perfect Fight Night for the first time ever. Minotaur’s fourth fight is a rematch with Witch Doctor a few weeks from now so that’s going to be a real challenge. Out of the remaining robots at 2-0 I can see Sawblaze and Riptide possibly making it to 4-0 with a big maybe for Witch Doctor, Huge, and Quantum. We’ll see.
Next week’s show should be exciting as we have a showdown of the hammer bots when Beta fights Shatter to see who’s got the better equipment. Quantum is back this time to fight Black Dragon so we’ll see about the whole “Black Dragon never getting KO’d” thing. We finally see a teammate battle with Blip and Tantrum and both of those robots aren’t doing so well. Hydra also returns to fight Free Shipping in a battle that will probably wind up being incredibly one-sided. The other Whyachi bot Fusion returns with Huge in its sights and I feel like Fusion is just the right height for Huge to snack on it. It’s been a while but Glitch is also back this time to fight Lock-Jaw. Since there’s only six Fight Night fights next week we might also see an exhibition fight so that could be anyone. Terrortops. Slammo. Doom. Rusty. Maybe Double Tap again?
In any case thank you for checking out this week’s BattleBots Update. This season has been kind of rocky behind the scenes but I’m keeping up with it as best I can and hopefully I did a better job this week than I have been. This website is community-supported (one of these days I’m going to roll up my sleeves and yank out the Google AdSense code I promise) and you can help out with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation on Ko-Fi. Also I have a cool robot combat adjacent PC game mod releasing tomorrow so be sure to check out the Gator Company page on itch.io tomorrow for the scoop!
See you next week!