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[BattleBots: S9 E9 is available through the Discovery GO app with a cable subscription package. Season is also available on iTunes and Amazon.]

helllllll yeah baybeeeee

We’re at the start of the second half of the 2019 season of BattleBots. I think when we reached this point last year I opened the article with a quote from the original PokéRap so I’ve already wasted that reference. I’m only pointing it out this season because I have this compulsion to have an intro that’s at least 200 or so words long so readers can get all nice and settled in before they realize they’ve made a mistake coming here and now that the banner ads have had time to load you’ve already helped line my wallet. Guess who’s basically getting a Snickers bar on the house this month? It sure as hell isn’t you, but it could’ve been if you were willing to spend four years of your life writing nearly 100 articles about robot fucking combat. It ain’t easy being the king, but it has its perks.

Last episode consisted entirely of the Desperado flash tournament. The winner, Black Dragon, ended its Fight Night career for the season and as we speak the team is free to kick back and do whatever the hell they want. Rumor has it the team captain led everyone to the food truck serving grilled cheese sandwiches and told his friends to “just go fucking crazy and order whatever you want” and he’d pick up the tab. All of them ordered grilled cheese sandwiches because that’s all that stupid goddamned food truck served. They even ordered one for the duck and like a Disney movie the animal magically came to life so he could celebrate the victory with his friends and eat an overpriced grilled cheese sandwich.

As for Minotaur and the other six robots that didn’t make it to the finish line they’re all being cast back into the Fight Night rounds so there’s a chance we’ll probably see them again before the season ends. We won’t be seeing them tonight though because when Chris and Kenny introduce the evening’s festivities none of them are on the docket. This still has the potential to be a great episode because we’re seeing the return of a few bots that we haven’t seen in what feels like a month or more. Breaker Box is back this week to spar with Uppercut in what just might be the plainest match-up I’ve ever seen. Apparently we’re going to see all of Deep Six’s fights now that the cat’s out of the bag and it’s set to battle against Nelly the Ellybot because the fight organizers have a sick sense of humor. And finally SubZero returns after it was gutted by Cobalt at the beginning of the event; it’s drawn P1 (formerly Parallax) who is the only robot making its season debut in this episode.




Weapon: Vertical spinning blade


Robotic Death Company

Weapon: Outer spinning shell w/ teeth

Gigabyte must think it’ll score extra points for rebounding into an opponent. Buddy this ain’t Pong.

At 1-1 I’m not sure if Huge’s team felt compelled to enter the Desperado event. Maybe they did and weren’t selected, but last year Huge was able to reach the Round of 16 without needing to even go near the special tournament. That was also the year Huge was new and it caught other competitors off guard until Icewave figured out that all you needed to do to defeat Huge was whack it really really hard laterally so it turned into the aftermath of a crippled elderly woman accidentally taking her chair down an improbably long flight of stairs. So far Huge hasn’t done that bad for itself this year though; it lost to Son of Whyachi but let’s face it even with those big goofy ass wheels Huge wasn’t really the kind of robot fit to take down the former champ. But Jasper? Oh yeah, Huge beat the hell outta that thing. Jokes about Buzz Lightyear’s penis aside Jasper was the perfect opponent for Huge because it was this chunky mess with lots of things for Huge to chop into. Gigabyte is in the same league as Son of Whyachi as far as weaponry is concerned, without a dash of luck Huge is probably staring down 1-2.

Gigabyte is also halfway through its Fight Night rounds and you might not believe this but it’s undefeated at 2-0 as it enters this fight. I know 2-0 isn’t as impressive as 3-0 like Death Roll but if you’re going to reach 3-0 you’ve gotta come through the town of 2-0 first and Gigabyte has pulled into the station to refuel and buy some cheap hot dogs. After back to back horrible seasons (2016 as “Invader”) Gigabyte had surprised more than a few people by this point. Defeating Chronos was almost a cakewalk because when those two spinners hit each other it was like trying to spray a Super Soaker into a goddamned fire hose but Gigabyte’s more impressive win was its judges’ decision victory over Minotaur. To remind you how tense this moment was Gigabyte hasn’t let a fight go to the judges in a decade and the outcome of that fight was directly responsible for Minotaur entering the Desperado… which it did not win. If Minotaur fails to qualify for the main tournament you just might be able to point to Gigabyte as the reason. Holy shit.


Much like in its battle with Son of Whyachi, Huge is spinning its weapon downwards. The intent is to cleave down into the top of Gigabyte and potentially either castrate the mast or bust through the plexiglass armor panels covering the cutaways on top of the shell. Apparently all Huge needs to do is threaten to do this and Gigabyte will kill itself because as it tries to spin up and avoid Huge the shell spinner collides with the wall and ricochets into the middle of the arena. Tactical move? Total fuck up? You decide! Gigabyte almost seems too scared to come at Huge and by constantly trying to only catch the tiny slivers of Huge’s wheels the spinner keeps screwing up and hitting the wall instead. I know it looks like Gigabyte is taking these shots in stride but there’s a huge difference in how much energy that 120+ pound shell kicks back into the robot when it hits a 250 pound opponent as opposed to when it hits a stationary fucking wall.

Gigabyte sustains a couple of blows from the Pulverizer right onto its lid around the same time Huge crawls on top of it and punches the robot against the floor. Either one or both of these hits were enough to do the deed because as Gigabyte pulls away to try and spin up it starts smoking instead. Surely crashing into the wall two or three times didn’t help matters either, but this just might be how Jonathan Schultz envisioned this fight (and maybe the one against Son of Whyachi) going. Gigabyte was able to keep up with Minotaur after it lost its ability to spin but that’s because it had spent just over two minutes slowly erasing Minotaur’s face beforehand; Gigabyte has landed virtually no hits to Huge so without the use of its shell it’s probably a safe bet that we’re about to see these two robots become buddies in the 2-1 club. Not close buddies though, because Huge clips the mast on Gigabyte and cuts the last half of it off. If this were a doctor performing a circumcision that motherfucker would be sued so bad he’d lose his dick in the lawsuit himself.

Size of this image: 420GB.

For a robot without a weapon Gigabyte is doing a respectable job cruising around and trying to get at Huge from the side in order to push it around. Huge isn’t exactly the kind of robot you can do that with conventionally but Gigabyte is making it work. Huge lands a hit every once in a while but a lot of these blows are being initiated from the weaponless Gigabyte and Kenny notes how durable the non-spinning shell of Gigabyte is when used as a defensive object. Dude, a couple episodes ago one of the guys said you could park a semi truck on it. I know there’s a lot of kinetic energy in Huge’s blade but I still think being hit by a fucking truck has the potential to do more damage. Using only a free-spinning shell Gigabyte manages to shove Huge into the screws in such a way that one of Huge’s giant wheels temporarily gets caught behind the hazard. It almost looks like it’s going to be a KO win for Gigabye because the screws are binding around Huge’s wheel but the robot is able to get free and throw a few more punches. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Gigabyte is making a pretty damned good comeback for a robot with no weapon. Usually when a shell spinner loses its weapon it just turns into a pile of shit that can’t fight but Gigabyte’s doing great… until Huge slaps it and makes Gigabyte start smoking two more times, the latter of which seems to kill all or part of Gigabyte’s drive system. When the judges turn in a unanimous decision for Huge I’m inclined to agree.

Later on in the episode we’re treated to a segment where Jonathan explains the how’s and why’s behind the specific weapon bar he chose for this battle. Did you know Huge had a dozen different blades of varying lengths to use depending on its opponent? Because I sure as hell didn’t. Using measurements of Gigabyte’s own shell Jonathan was able to make a quick mock render in order to figure out which blade was the perfect length to only shop into the lid of Gigabyte and not the sides of the shell. Excessive? You bet. Did it work? Gigabyte’s entire goddamned shell had to be removed in order for the robot to be safely taken out of the arena after the fight. You tell me.

WINNER: Huge, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Team Nightmare

Weapon: 360-degree lifting plow


MIT Combat Robotics Club

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

FALCON PUNC— wait, wrong fight, wrong robot too.

The fact that we are nine episodes into the season and we’re just now seeing Breaker Box’s second fight doesn’t exactly speak very positively for this robot’s chances at qualifying. I’m not trying to telegraph anything or whatever, but this really is Breaker Box’s second fight. There’s nothing fucky going on here, they did the whole goddamned Desperado before Jim Smentowski was able to put his robot in the arena a second time. I guess that’s what happens when your “new” robot’s debut fight was won purely because you were slightly less shitty than fucking Falcon. I’m sure Breaker Box isn’t that bad of a robot, the thing has been around forever, but so far the only vibe I’ve gotten from this machine is that it’s a crappier version of Duck and people already irrationally hate the shit out of that competitor. Breaker Box has a hammer or a wedge it can use against a given opponent. Previously we’ve seen it come out with the wedge and because Breaker Box is fighting another vertical spinner here it is again!

Uppercut is one of those robots whose on-screen record betrays the record it actually has at this point because its battles are being aired out of order. This has happened with other robots but I’ve neglected to point it out because I don’t know if that’s something I’m not supposed to mention because of NDA. The reason why Uppercut is special is because collectively the BattleBots community pieced together that this robot has had two fights prior to this one and one of them isn’t yet accounted for. The one we did see, however, was the battle where Uppercut showed up and took Mammoth down a peg or two or eight. Mammoth was riding high into that battle and that’s not just because it’s six goddamned feet tall. Uppercut was there to kneecap the beast and socked Mammoth so hard that it caught fire. I like to imagine Alex Hitori did that same stupid yo-yo trick to Monsoon’s driver after the knockout count.

Uppercut deploying the “floor is lava” strategy.

Before the fight Jim explained how he didn’t want “any part” of his robot to touch Uppercut’s spinner. We make it about five seconds into the battle before that plan is violated. I don’t know how long Jim and his team spent smoothing out the nick that Falcon ripped into their wedge in the solitary hit of that awful battle but Uppercut just undid all of that work in a split second. Uppercut still has a lot of awkward angles and ground clearance all around its perimeter so Breaker Box is still able to put up a fight but after a couple more punches are thrown Breaker Box decides to throw a hail mary 20 seconds into the battle. Breaker Box goes for a long distance rush to shove Uppercut into the screws but all it manages to accomplish is to break up the fight that the minibots were apparently having with each other by way of flipping its own helper over and taking it out of the match. This guy built Nightmare. Uppercut lands another shot to Breaker Box’s wedge in the exact same spot as the first hit and makes the divot in the wedge even worse. There’s probably a yo-yo trick name for this but I have no idea what it’s called. Alex does.

It’s taken about a minute but it seems Breaker Box is finally woken up enough to start treating this match like a real thing. Uppercut gets slammed into the wall and starts getting hung up on its corners at weird angles long enough for Breaker Box to continue the combo chain it’s racking up. With Uppercut spending so much time on its side I’m having flashbacks to the early years of the sport when Heavy Metal Noise, who was normally a two-disc spinner, thought it would be acceptable to continue a season with just one disc after the other was damaged; it “fought” exactly like Uppercut is fighting right now which is to say it looks like a weed whacker someone started and then let go of. I’ve also noticed Uppercut has one of those “SEND IT!” stickers on its underside and the last time we saw one of those was when Cobalt pulled SubZero’s nuts out through its own ass. What I’m trying to say here is it’s probably not a good idea to put one of those decals on your robot because it means you’re probably going to die. Breaker Box must also have one on its ass or something because much like the disaster that was its fight against Falcon the robot is starting to smoke and slow down. Is that fucking LED panel drawing too much juice or something?

Holy shit the floor was actually lava!

Last time this happened to Breaker Box we saw Jim start swinging its plow around in an effort to force some inertia into his robot sorta like how when you push a half empty jug of milk it’ll keep going as the liquid inside sloshes around. Considering how poorly Breaker Box has been performing I think comparing its movement to a fucking jug of milk is apt. Breaker Box was able to get away with doing this against Falcon either because everyone was too busy laughing at Falcon or they realized counting out one robot but not the other wouldn’t have been fair. Now the ref is onto Jim’s games and he cuts to the chase and tells him what’s up. With Breaker Box’s plow flailing around helplessly Uppercut notices the robot’s chassis is just begging to get cleaved into. Breaker Box’s armor is mostly confined to its plow so when its actual chassis takes a direct hit from Uppercut’s fist of death it doesn’t take much for the spinner to punch it in like a cheap couch cushion and knock it out. By this point Breaker Box is smoking so badly I’m expecting it to start trying to sell me some fucking vape equipment.

Shoutouts to the kid in the audience who gets fake sucker punched by the guy next to him. If we still had a “hit of the week” segment this would be it.

WINNER: Uppercut, KO



Team Gladiator

Weapon: Vertical spinning discs


Team Mammoth

Weapon: Rotating lifting arm

Wan Hoo takes its frustrations out on one of the swing sets on display outside of Walmart.

Up next are two robots whose novelty/newness have started to wear off. Wan Hoo comes to us from China and is one of two robots competing this year who’ve done so, however Wan Hoo has perpetually remained in the shadow of its counterpart robot RainGun Max who’s had a much more spectacular season so far. Wan Hoo is 1-1 right now but that win didn’t come from a battle where it shredded its opponent into tinsel and lit the pieces on fire afterward; it won because its opponent Captain Shrederator kicked its ass for a minute and a half and then broke down on its own. Wan Hoo got half of its front plow ripped off and was well on its way to either getting KO’d itself or losing by way of a unanimous decision. Speaking of unanimous decisions, that’s how it lost in its second fight against Shatter after the hammer bot spent three minutes denting Wan Hoo’s lid inward. Wan Hoo’s weapon is a compact set of discs (picture a smaller version of Witch Doctor’s weapon) that look like they’d be great shredders but unfortunately its fucking belt keeps coming off. Maybe it’ll stay on this time? It’s wearing two kinds of front armor here so I don’t exactly have the highest hopes.

Uh, hey dude poaching for mammoth tusks is fucking illegal.

Mammoth’s appeal is that it’s very large and thus kind of hard to hit and take control of. Ricky Willems initially set out to build a redneck rollercoaster in his backyard but when that plan didn’t work out he realized he could probably take what he had made so far and turn it into a BattleBot somehow. The end result is a robot armed with what looks like the door frame to a closet which it uses to lift opponents up and shove them away. It’s like a robot built to punt a field goal except slower and with a tendency to catch fire if it gets hit hard enough. Right on cue during the twitch test Mammoth eagerly shows off the flamethrower built into its lifting device. Yeah, that’s totally going to do something to another robot. Mammoth claimed an early win over Axe Backwards which I’ll admit was impressive because it showed Mammoth’s lifting weaponry is able to function as intended so long as it’s given a suitable opponent, but much like how Uppercut punched Breaker Box in the temple and accidentally killed it the same thing happened to Mammoth when it battled Uppercut previously.

Being honest here, I wasn’t expecting Mammoth’s weird front fork things to actually get underneath Wan Hoo, but they do. Mammoth swings its lifting arm but rather than lift Wan Hoo off of the ground the robot just gets shunted away. Wan Hoo’s weapon hasn’t shit out its belt yet so that’s a good sign and so long as it’s going there’s a non-zero chance that Mammoth’s front end can be compromised. Mammoth can only be effective so long as it has a “feeder” wedge of some sort to get underneath opponents to allow its lifter to get purchase when it comes around, so when Wan Hoo chews off part of Mammoth’s right wedge assembly it starts to spell out certain doom for the beast. Also I just now realized those white forks are supposed to be fucking tusks. God damn, I’m slow. Chris and Kenny keep calling them “skis” though so at least I’m not the only dumbass watching this fight. Wan Hoo eventually chews off the front of the left “tusk” leaving Mammoth with nothing more than a mess of tangled up square tube steel at its front end. Mammoth probably isn’t going to get very many more lifts in for the rest of the fight but as long as it keeps its damaged front end pointed at Wan Hoo there isn’t exactly much else for the spinner to chew up. Mammoth’s strongest defensive mechanism is the fact that there’s virtually nothing on the goddamned thing to actually hit.

Wan Hoo gets stabbed in the face and loses its weapon belt because it sucks.

While chewing up Mammoth’s left tusk a piece of something flies off of one of the robots. Upon closer inspection it was the thinner wedge piece attached to the right side of Wan Hoo’s front end. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it looks like it was knocked off when Mammoth’s lifter caught it mid-swing. This fucking thing spins slow enough that it probably wouldn’t set off a speed limit trap and somehow Wan Hoo is still losing parts. There are also some belts strewn around the arena and because we know Mammoth’s lifter is driven by a chain there’s only one other robot those could’ve come from and it just so happens that robot’s spinner isn’t working anymore. Fuck me. It’s not that I hate Mammoth, I just want to see someone throw a punch that doesn’t involve one of the BattleBots refs having to do two sports at once to let us know if the football went through the field goal or not. It’s not immediately obvious where Wan Hoo lost its belt but my guess is that in one of Wan Hoo’s last hits it mashed its face against Mammoth’s bent up tusks and the sharp edges of the twisted metal caught the exposed belt and broke it. Now you guys know why most teams stick their belts on the sides of their fucking weapons.

Mammoth loses its chain because someone tried to swing all the way around.

Wan Hoo starts smoking copiously though I’m almost positive this is just from the heat its wheels are generating from spinning on the floor as it locks heads with Mammoth. Whatever cancer-causing rubber compounds Wan Hoo’s tires are made from seem to start smoking the minute they get above room temperature so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about unless the tires are just going to literally melt or something. With under a minute left in the battle we start to see one of Mammoth’s design flaws when the floor hazards start coming into play: Mammoth is so fucking massive that it doesn’t matter where it is in the arena because part of it will still be on top of one of the sets of Killsaws. Mammoth starts taking shave damage from the hazards and with just 10 seconds to go Wan Hoo makes one final push and plows into Mammoth hard enough to knock the lifter into the air. As Mammoth comes down it loses one side of drive and the chain attached to its garage door opener or whatever falls off of its sprocket, killing the weapon. Up until this point I could see the argument for Mammoth winning the battle; Wan Hoo’s weapon was disabled, it lost a part, there was smoke (even if it was likely cosmetic). But those last dozen or so seconds? Wan Hoo flipped the fight in my eyes and more importantly it did so with the judges too because their decision is unanimous and it ain’t for Mammoth.

Who won? Wan Hoo.

WINNER: Wan Hoo, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Team Whyachi

Weapon: Horizontal spinning hammers


Team Toad

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc

Son of Whyachi dares to mess with Texas.

Son of Whyachi hasn’t won a championship since George W. Bush was in office but don’t let this robot’s lack of a second Nut fool you into thinking it’s a pushover because even at its worst Son of Whyachi is at least good for one or two wins. So far the former champ has the slightly worse record out of the two in this fight at 1-1 because Whiplash was able to expertly exploit Son of Whyachi’s weakness of preventing it from spinning up to speed. The fact that the robot started smoking probably didn’t help Son of Whyachi’s case either. Most spinners suffer from that common weakness but the robot was able to score a win over Huge by demonstrating that no gimmicks will ultimately save you from Whyachi’s hammers tearing you a new asshole. Because Texas Twister doesn’t have the option of equipping extra armor (as “Fuzzy” Mauldin said himself in the interview before the commercial break) there’s a fair chance we’re going to see another bloodbath. Texas can allegedly split into five new states as per some bullshit law that may or may not actually exist, and Son of Whyachi is about to test that myth.

BattleBots: Home of the Original Texas Butt Twist

Texas Twister is 2-0 right now and it’s probably being fed to Son of Whyachi to cull the pack of “undefeated” robots. You can’t have too many of them running around or else you run the risk of devaluing the term. Texas Twister is undefeated but only marginally so, its opening battle with Black Dragon went to a decision that more than a couple of people were upset about because the robot lost the use of its weapon and had zero offensive strategies against its opponent after only a minute or so of fighting. Texas Twister came back and defeated Axe Backwards fair and square by way of kicking the robot from the side hard enough to get it to poop its entire inner assembly out. Axe Backwards wasn’t fully functional and Black Dragon probably should’ve won the other fight, Son of Whyachi will be Texas Twister’s first real test and god damn is it looking to be a doozy. Keep your eye on the drone Spitfire by the way, I’m not sure what the fuck it’s going to do to Son of Whyachi but Texas Twister will probably accidentally kill it again before anything actually happens.

Fuzzy said he was thinking the strategy was going to be yet another box rush but as the fight gets underway Texas Twister seems to not be in any hurry to get in Son of Whyachi’s face to slow it down. Knowing what I know about how Team Toad robots are designed there’s probably one big ass motor running Texas Twister’s disc which might explain why it takes too long to get going, meanwhile Son of Whyachi has eight goddamned smaller motors all positioned around its rotor meaning the load is spread across each of them and as such its hammers get spinning a lot faster. The end result is Texas Twister taking a shot to the face so violent that the fucking robot almost gets kicked into the gap behind the light panels which would’ve been an instant knock out. Texas Twister doesn’t quite fall behind the panel and when it lands back on the floor its right set of tires are visibly bent inward. Not only are those wheels toast but it looks like the robot is stuck trying to drive forward because the left wheels keep trying to move, the whole thing is probably just blown the fuck apart internally and the fight is over but Son of Whyachi doesn’t fuck with that “just the tip” nonsense.

Yeah I don’t think this works anymore.

Son of Whyachi cruises in for another shot and tears the entire rear panel off of Texas Twister. The left wheels also get jacked up and the right ones take even more damage but none of that matters because this hit immediately kills Texas Twister for good. The robot’s main power switches are mounted on the inside of the panel that was just torn away so when Whyachi came in and pantsed Texas Twister on national television it basically gutted the heart out of its opponent’s power system too. Spitfire starts to hover around Son of Whyachi presumably threatening to say mean things or something because I have no idea what the hell its operator thinks it can possibly do to Son of Whyachi that its ~230 pound teammate couldn’t. Texas Twister is counted out and when the editors cut to the replays Chris says you can’t let them play for longer than the fight. I guess this must be a new rule because back in 2015 Chomp died in record time by backing into the screws and getting stuck and they literally had to play the whole “fight” in slow motion twice just so someone could call it a “spirited performance”.

WINNER: Son of Whyachi, KO


20 years ago titanium was the tits, now this happens if you use it.

Random question, where were you about 10 weeks ago? Watching BattleBots, I hope, because then you would’ve seen SubZero make not just its season debut but overall re-debut as an entirely brand new robot. We’ve seen this flipper for a couple of seasons now and every time it shows up it looks like some kind of artifact from a BattleBots game on the Nintendo 64 that no one knew about. The thing was the size of a fucking refrigerator laying on its side and even though it was pretty tough overall the robot’s age was immediately apparent the moment you looked at it. Logan Davis of Team XD was the robot’s driver in 2016 and 2018 and not even his skill and experience could take SubZero beyond the first couple of rounds. This year Jerry Clarkin and the Davis’s parted ways and SubZero returned to BattleBots totally redesigned and rebuilt… and then Cobalt absolutely fucking wrecked this thing. SubZero was given the “Gigabyte treatment” that happened to the shell spinner last year where it suffered so much damage that we just didn’t see it return until halfway through the goddamned show.

But SubZero is back and Jerry’s looking to turn this sinking ship around. He didn’t rebuild this whole stupid robot between seasons for nothing. This season is Jerry’s last year in the sport before his retirement and when he holds up what used to be SubZero’s original titanium baseplate to show Jenny how effortlessly Cobalt sliced through it there shouldn’t be any confusion in your head as to why he went ahead and sold this fucking machine. SubZero’s not that bad of a robot but you can’t blame this dude for throwing his hands in the air and saying “yeah fuck this gay shit” as he goes on to show the robot’s thrashed frame and the pile of damaged parts just from the robot’s first fucking battle. SubZero might as well have been Dante from Clerks in that fight because it wasn’t supposed to be there, Captain Shrederator was originally drawn to fight Cobalt and the team hid inside the porta potties until the organizers found someone else to fight it. The show must go on and I have nothing for respect for Jerry because when everyone else was content to ignore the situation he said he’d put SubZero up against Cobalt. It might’ve been the dumbest thing he’s ever done, but I respect his commitment to the sport.

The short of it is SubZero is now using its “prototype” frame instead of the finalized one because Cobalt turned that one into something for Jerry to take to a recycling center and get ten bucks for. The old frame works but it’s heavier and because of this the flipper no longer has the weight to include its electric self-righting mechanism. Jerry says firing the flipping arm will still probably flip the robot over but explains that isn’t the ideal scenario because like all pneumatic flippers he has a finite amount of flips in the tank before he’s out of ammo. He won’t know how it goes until his robot is back in the ring but before that happens my hat goes off to Jerry and his team for their dedication to make it through all of their Fight Night rounds (or as many as they’re going to get considering they’ve been gone half the season). They’re up against P1 next, they’ll probably do fine.



Team Hammertime

Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm


Aberrant Robotics

Weapon: Front-hinged lifting arm


Since SubZero had a segment about it a few moments ago we’ve already had the chance to get an intimate look at this previous murder victim of Cobalt. SubZero has been around for about a decade and a half and in that time has moved up a weight class from middleweight to heavyweight. After a hiatus of several years it turned up in 2016 when its team partnered with another from the early years of BattleBots (Team XD) and competed as Mecha SubZero. It promptly lost to Icewave when its flipping arm was essentially torn off. SubZero wasn’t going to be competitive unless it was properly rebuilt and after Minotaur put this robot out to pasture last year Jerry Clarkin went back to the drawing board, drew this, and came back. I was excited to see the brand new SubZero in action and even though the robot became a confetti bomb the second Cobalt touched it I still enjoyed it. That’s just what happens sometimes. For the second year in a row the robot has been virtually rebuilt in the pits and I’m ready to just see this miserable machine win a fucking fight for once.

P1 holds a very unique distinction among the competitors this year. It is the only robot from the 2018 season that had zero of its battles aired. You could argue its boring tag team match that was turned into a commercial for Jurassic World counts as “airing the fight” but I’d still win the argument because you’d be attempting to argue a technicality on the grounds of a commercial for a shitty movie featuring a shitty robot that at no point functioned the way its builders intended. Parallax was left in the dust and this year it was replaced with P1. P1 is off to a fantastic start because not only did it also lose its first fight but it lost to Sidewinder. You might recall that robot being the one whose weapon was designed by someone looking at the schematics from the wrong angle. P1’s race car theme is certainly a lot cooler than what the team brought last season but unfortunately it’s starting to look like it fights about as well as its older brother. It also has “YEET” written on the underside of its flipping arm which is just fucking embarrassing. Way to immediately date your robot. That’s the robot equivalent of Bil Dwyer’s frosted tips from the Comedy Central seasons.

Above: YEET!

Like I said P1 is a race car so when it “peels out” in the arena it shoots out some cosmetic sparks from its ass to simulate the effect. That’s cool and all, but its spoiler also falls off in the process. I guess it farted too hard. If you’re going to go through the trouble of theming your robot this much you better damn well make sure exactly this doesn’t happen otherwise you run the risk of looking like Moebius’ team from 2016: a robot that falls apart immediately while you’re standing there on the sidelines with only one decorative contact lens in because you somehow lost the other one in between the Rob Zombie concert entrance of your robot and the moment when you lost to an equally stupid opponent sporting golden fucking airsoft guns. Also, don’t think I didn’t notice the missing fifth screw in P1’s spoiler during its glamour shots. I did, I just didn’t want to say anything about it because being the successor to Parallax means it’s already starting from the bottom of the stack. I can see why it lost to Sidewinder.

“Pole position” as in “running straight into the pole”.

This is probably going to be an easy fight for SubZero so it goes ahead and starts tossing the race car around. It misses a flip which prompts Chris to make a remark about the people at home keeping score. Hey Chris, eat a dick. Somewhere amidst the many flips P1 starts to do it stops shitting out sparks because I guess either it’s used up the camping flint lodged in its buttcrack or SubZero broke that piece too. P1 starts getting heaved all over the place and SubZero throws caution to the wind and starts taking whatever hits come its way. At one point even P1’s minibot “Burnout” gets thrown around simply by virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. P1 very nearly gets stuck at an awkward angle on the wall but finally makes use of its lifting arm to push itself off right onto SubZero who’s waiting patiently to try and kick another field goal with this glorified Hot Wheels car. P1 gets away and loses its back left wheel in the process but it looks to me like all this crashing and flipping around has damaged the robot’s right side of drive too? As P1 tries to maneuver around its left wheels are clearly the more dominant so either something’s bent or a chain has fallen off because the bot has to keep correcting itself just to drive in a straight line. If you’re thinking this might be the end for P1 you’d be right because by the law of probability SubZero is eventually going to get this shitty thing stuck behind the wall and that’s exactly what happens.

Not content to leave well enough alone SubZero turns its sights toward P1’s helper and on the first go sends the miniature wedge flying out of the arena. P1 may have lost this battle in a humiliating way but at least the team can look forward to making it into a “top 10 race car crashes of 2019” compilation on YouTube after the season is over.




Team Overboard

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade


Team Pun-Chant

Weapon: Chain-driven hammer

At this point just rename the robot to “Deep Sixty”.

I hope the wait was worth it because at this rate I guess we’re just going to see all of Deep Six’s battles back to back until there are none left. It took them long enough I guess. Deep Six has no sponsors because Dustin Esswein was able to forge the materials for this robot purely by crunching up chunks of ore in his bare fucking hands. (That saves on costs, in case you didn’t know.) The robot is the illogical conclusion of the line of thinking focused on building a robot around a weapon because nearly half of Deep Six’s weight is occupied by just the fucking bar alone. This isn’t a case of Gigabyte or Captain Shrederator where the shell is so heavy because it serves dual roles as both the weapon and the armor, Deep Six’s offensive weapon has a weight in the triple digits. Even fucking Ray Billings knew when to ease off the metal when designing Tombstone’s weaponry. So far I don’t really know if it’s “worked” for Deep Six because yeah it straight up murdered Axe Backwards but it also caught fire while doing so. All someone theoretically needs to do is survive one hit from this thing and it might just kill itself. That’s easier said than done, and I don’t think Nelly can do it, but a tougher bot might.

Pitting Nelly the Ellybot against Deep Six is probably the meanest thing fate could have done to this stupid elephant. Sarah Malyan checking the latest round of Fight Night pairings and seeing “Deep Six” as her opponent has got to feel the same as having your fucking credit card stolen or something. Nelly struggled to defeat Rainbow in its first (and only) match wherein it landed zero hits and was basically a punching bag for a Russian robot tangentially named and based off of a My Little Pony character. Nelly’s loss to Rainbow consisted of having its entire face erased but it looks like a little bit of plastic surgery goes a long way in robot combat. I don’t know if facial reconstruction surgery is covered by the NHS though, hopefully Sarah didn’t have to crank out a second GoFundMe page for that. I think the obvious plan Nelly wants to use is to always win the ground clearance battle against Deep Six. I don’t know if the team dicked around with their front wedge but whatever they did, if anything, didn’t sit well with the robot and it kept getting high centered on the floor during the twitch test. Not good when your opponent has a weapon big enough to hit you from three counties over.


“Oh no, Nelly’s stuck on the floor!” Kenny exclaims. IT’S HAPPENING. Most people probably won’t give a shit because this is Nelly we’re talking about but this floor has kind of become a problem to the point where people in the BattleBots community are openly mocking it. I believe this is the same floor that was in use dating back to the 2015 season so after three and a half events’ worth of punishment this surface is about as flat as the Earth. Think about every major ass kicking you’ve seen in the past three seasons because all of that happened on this floor. BattleBots has always said they cannot guarantee a completely flat surface and this disclaimer goes back to the Comedy Central days but I think enough competitors have been fucked over by the floor that they’re willing to do something about it now; in recent months the BattleBots company has posted some pictures on social media of them running strength tests on materials for a new floor. Hopefully in 2020 we’ll get some new digs but in the meantime Nelly’s about to let Deep Six try and pierce its ear with a katana and it goes about as well as you’d expect.

Deep Six is cheating, Ronco knives were banned as weaponry!

So a new floor is already on the shopping list for the BattleBots corporate account but they probably ought to think about adding some more lights onto that list as well because I don’t know what the fuck Deep Six rips off of Nelly but whatever it is gets thrown straight up into the lights and a ton of glass rains down from above. At least Nelly is off of and away from whatever imperfection on the floor was tripping it up earlier and as it careens into Deep Six for one last big push its head gets caved in and ripped away by the massive spinning blade. The hit is so spectacular that Kenny’s lack of a “huge hit there” makes me think the editors may have accidentally deleted that voice sample. Deep Six rebounds onto its face, digs another six inch gash into the goddamned floor because hey why not, and either its spinner is toast or the motors that run it don’t have enough starting torque to push the robot down onto its wheels. One of the refs thinks this might be a simultaneous knock out. Dustin is asked by an official if he has a self-righting mechanism and without missing a beat Dustin says no. He spent so much of his allocated weight on his robot’s weapon that everyone should just be glad there’s a fucking chassis there.

Both robots are counted out and because this is a double KO the official rules state that it must be treated as if the battle went the full three minutes so it’s sent to the judges for their determinations to be made. This is kind of like what happened with Blacksmith and Quantum except rather than a genuine double KO I think everyone was just fucking fed up with dealing with Quantum and we all kinda sorta knew it was going to win anyways. Since Deep Six did all of the damage to Nelly (and the floor, and the lights, “and whatever else got broken”) it’s pretty obvious the winner here is whichever financial institution has a line of credit with BattleBots. And as for the fight? Deep Six.

WINNER: Deep Six, Judges’ Decision (3-0)



Team Fast Electric Robots

Weapon: Lifting arm w/ vertical spinning disc


Team Witch Doctor

Weapon: Vertical spinning discs


On this website (and on this show) we make a big deal about robots who are “undefeated”. Hell, Texas Twister was one of them earlier in this episode; keyword “was”. On BattleBots Update, at least, I tend to point out robots whose undefeated status seem unexpected. Bite Force is undefeated, whoop dee fucking do; Bite Force going undefeated is something you can set your goddamned watch to by this point. But Duck? Gigabyte? Death Roll? That’s worth highlighting. Whiplash and Witch Doctor are also undefeated robots but they fall into that category of competitors whom no one is really surprised to see with that title. For one of these bots that’s about to change. Neither robot has had an easy time getting to this point but my money’s on Whiplash having had the harder time because it’s made it this far after trumping both Minotaur and Son of Whyachi and neither of those are easy opponents by any measure. Minotaur may not have been firing on all cylinders but that still came down to a driving battle and when Son of Whyachi showed up in round two Matt Vasquez knew his driving abilities weren’t going to be getting a break any time soon. Of all the robots to make it to 2-0 this one may have worked the hardest. I hope next year it has a James Brown paint job.

At this point I’m convinced Whiplash is just a really big Hexbug toy.

Witch Doctor is the robot that I’ve declared to be this season’s dark horse. I know, I know, “but Draco you know how the season ends”. When I write these posts I always try to keep them in the context of what the viewers are also aware of and I only stray from that in cases where it’s relevant or when I actually fuck something up. Right now all we have to go by with Witch Doctor is its own 2-0 performance to match Whiplash’s… and the fact that Andrea Gellatly and her team won the demo event held at that Amazon convention a few months ago. Those fights are not officially part of this season but Witch Doctor destroyed both Tombstone and Bronco. I’m convinced it would’ve kicked Bite Force’s ass too if given the opportunity. So even though in the context of this season we’ve only seen Witch Doctor beat up on Captain Shrederator and Shatter when you take those other two side wins and factor them in you’re left with a robot whose opponents have every right to be scared shitless. Witch Doctor isn’t even taking names, it’s just dumping opponents into an open grave by this point.

Whiplash is the early aggressor of the fight but it’s Witch Doctor that starts doing all the damage as it’s approached. A couple of chunks of tire are ripped away from Whiplash but more importantly before Whiplash is able to do any damage whatsoever with the disc mounted inside of its lifting arm Witch Doctor knocks the robot upward and as Whiplash lands its disc catches on the screws. Apparently this is enough to knock the disc portion of Whiplash’s weapon out. It still has the use of its lifting arm but after another shot from Witch Doctor the left part of Whiplash’s plow gets bent upward to the point where it’s completely ineffective. Though the plow is fucked Whiplash is still able to eek in some lifts by coming at Witch Doctor from the right and this starts to work out well but since this is such a conditional method of fighting it’s not going to last long and everyone knows that. The busted plow finally takes enough damage to the point where it gets ripped away and for a brief moment Whiplash might be able to use this to its advantage, but then it loses its front left wheel and any stability this thing would’ve had to keep its nose on the ground is out the goddamned window.

So can Whiplash GET whiplash? How does that work?

A bit of piggy back action starts to happen as Whiplash climbs atop Witch Doctor and gets stuck on its Halloween decorations. I’m pretty sure there’s a green flame tucked inside of Witch Doctor’s srimech and unless they just got rid of it I have no idea why someone isn’t pulling the trigger on this fucking thing because even if the fire is just for effect it would still be worth it to use it if only to demonstrate variety of aggression. I might just be overthinking things as usual though because Mike Gellatly is the guy at the controls of Witch Doctor and he knows it’s easier to just ram Whiplash into the screws and let the hazards earn their keep. Whiplash is violently tossed into one set of screws and stays there long enough for people to start to wonder if this might be a KO but mercifully Whiplash is able to get out… only to be kicked right back into the neighboring set of screws. Whiplash gets out of this situation even quicker so it can get back to having its nipples twisted by Witch Doctor. I feel bad for the set of screws behind the blue square because those things have taken a pounding harder than the bottom in a gay orgy. Sometimes the set on the right just straight up stops working and it’s gotta be a direct result of everybody dropping their opponents off at that specific set.

Finally making a comeback but losing too many parts to take advantage is the worst monkey paw wish.

A couple more blows are landed by Witch Doctor until all of a sudden it starts smoking. The bot seems fine as it drives around but the minute the weapon tries to get going is when the smoke resumes so it’s fairly obvious to everyone that we’ve got another situation of kicking too much ass too quickly; Witch Doctor has done about three minutes’ worth of damage in one and a half so it’s destined to spend the rest of this match ramming into Whiplash so we can laugh at the fact that Whiplash is missing too many parts to be able to effectively push its opponent around anymore. A single flip is all Whiplash can muster but unfortunately for Whiplash its opponent can roll itself back over. The remainder of the battle is spent largely as a stalemate but the verdict returned is one that favors Witch Doctor for obvious reasons. If you’re curious as to what those “reasons” are there’s about a half dozen of them strewn all over the arena. Witch Doctor becomes the next 3-0 robot but Matt Vasquez is correct in his belief that being 2-1 after defeating Minotaur and Whyachi isn’t exactly a bad place to be. We probably haven’t seen the last of Whiplash this year.

WINNER: Witch Doctor, Judges’ Decision (3-0)


You probably noticed this article is missing its Science Channel “bonus” content. It also came out a lot closer to the airing of the episode on Discovery Channel, too. This is because Science Channel has decided to take a break airing the season so those bonus fights aren’t going to make it to TV until much later than originally expected. Normally this website follows the airing schedule of Science Channel because the inclusion of those bonus fights makes every article I write the “complete” version… but with Discovery Channel still going strong I really don’t think I can wait for Science Channel to start back up again. I was already a week behind thanks to July 4th and I’m not keen on fucking that up any further. The bonus fights will eventually air on Science Channel and when they do there will be a special post for them on this website similar to the ones I write for the unaired battles (“What Got Cut”). I guess what I am trying to say is television is complicated and I hate it, P.S. expect to see new articles on this day of the week instead of Thursday now.

Now that we’re past the halfway point for a lot of robots we’re starting to see a few of them pull ahead of the pack. Witch Doctor joins Death Roll as the season’s second 3-0 robot. Will either of them make it to 4-0? Will the producers make them fight each other specifically to avoid two 4-0 robots? I guess we’ll find out because next week’s episode is officially in the double digits and you know they’re going to take their jolly ol’ time getting through the main tournament. We’re getting close to the end and as we approach that limit it’s starting to become do or die time for everyone making it to 2-1. Texas Twister, Son of Whyachi, Whiplash, Huge, Gigabyte, and hell I guess maybe even fucking Wan Hoo are now in this category after this week’s episode. How many of these guys can you really see making it into the Top 16? Earlier this season I stated that you can lose one of your four Fight Nights and as long as you make it to 3-1 you’ll stand a good chance of qualifying. Does Wan Hoo have what it takes to tough it out to 3-1? Whiplash might, but the back alley brain surgery performed on Gigabyte in this episode might be too much for that bot’s team to handle. This is the point where the season starts getting frantic and I can’t wait to see some of the last ditch efforts that come about from this final push.

Thank you for checking out BattleBots Update this week! You probably didn’t notice it because I never know when to shut the hell up but the exclusion of the Science Channel fight bumped this article’s word count to only 9,000 words. Yeah, only nine thousand! I should’ve written a fucking book instead. Anyways be sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook to get notified of things like the changes in the site’s content release schedule that I mentioned a second ago. You can also fund my drug habits website hosting arrangements by way of a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation via PayPal!

– Draco