If you win it all you lay claim to the Giant Nut, if you impress the producers you get a Giant Bolt, and if you get absolutely destroyed you get a Giant Screw. But if you impress an aging Web 1.0 internet comedian who has managed to somehow remain kind of relevant with a disproportionate amount of followers on social media? Well, my friends, you’ll find yourself with a Giant Washer, the most prestigious of all awards in the sport. A lot of things get covered on this website in the way of events but it all wraps back around to the name of the website being “BattleBots Update” meaning that you know I’ve gotta give the silver glove treatment to the event that started it all. I’ve wanted to do Giant Washers for other events — and maybe someday I will double back and do that — but my “expertise” lies with good ol’ fashioned American ass kickings.
This is the third Giant Washers article I’ve put together since starting this website and what initially began as a one-off joke to see what stuck and what sucked has become what is probably the most anticipated staple content of the website beyond the event reports that I put together after attending each taping. “This year’s” (read: 2018’s) GWA’s are coming incredibly late and that’s partially my fault (okay, mostly my fault) but I tried to do some things differently this year involving the creative process and they didn’t pan out. Live and learn, better late than never, and a bunch of other idioms repackaged as lame excuses for keeping you all waiting while seemingly doing nothing. If you don’t know about the Giant Washers or why they’re so celebrated let me break it down for you: They are a bunch of bullshit awards in categories ranging from acceptable (“Best Robot”) to strange (“Worst MIT Robot”) to downright stupid (“Duke Nukem’s Balls of Steel Award”) and I try to make it a point to ensure that every robot walks away with at least one award. Sometimes it might be a technicality and the award will go to a robot’s builder or its team, but you get my point. I was raised partially in the generation of “everyone gets a participation trophy” so god damn it let’s get to some coddling already.
Not a lot of people knew about this but “the legendary” Ginsu was in attendance this year. The reason why most people, including competitors, were unaware that they were in the presence of royalty was mostly because Ginsu wasn’t stationed in the pits like everyone else. Since Trey Roski built this thing (and since he also spearheads BattleBots) he deemed it acceptable to toss Ginsu backstage where all the Giant Nuts and other junk is kept. Make no mistake, this was THE Ginsu. The original robot from 1999 inexplicably painted one click shy of “dog dick red” with saw blade wheels coated in “poorly kept Super Nintendo yellow”. The most fascinating thing about this robot is that it is literally the same damn machine that has never won a single BattleBots fight in its lifetime. Ginsu has never been rebuilt or redesigned; its chassis is modular so while it looks like Trey & Greg may have rebuilt it really all they did was slap their Tinkertoys together differently.
Ginsu was kept in its original four-wheeled configuration and when I saw this thing was lurking about I had to ask if it was coming out for a demo fight. That’s why during the championship finals you can see my dumb ass holding up a “GINSU OR RIOT” sign, because I knew the truth. Ginsu was there, and the people needed to know. I got as far as potentially convincing Trey to start charging the robot’s batteries but that was it. I get why Ginsu wasn’t brought out though, Trey & Greg have a show to run. Neither of them can take the time to set the damn thing up and drive it. That’s why I’m officially offering to drive Ginsu for 2019. For real, let’s make it happen. It’s got saws for wheels it can’t be that hard to drive.
BEST MEGA64 SKIT
Last season Bombshell won this award but I didn’t really “get it”. Rocco Botte (and only Rocco… for some reason) showed up with this lanky looking machine in 2016 and made it all the way to the championship finals. That was fine and all, but where’s the fucking joke? What game were you parodying? Was it Robot Arena because of all the goofy weapons the robot had? Point is, I didn’t understand the joke but I’m a big fan of Mega64 so I had to call it in Bombshell’s favor anyways. This season I finally got the joke. Bombshell shows up in 2016 and surprises everyone but falls just short of the title and loses to Tombstone… but then the robot comes back, loses to absolutely fucking everybody, however it manages to wiggle its way into a rematch with Tombstone and subsequently kicks its ass and removes Tombstone from the competition. The reason I didn’t get the joke initially was because 2016 wasn’t the joke, it was the setup. This whole thing was a long con and the payoff was this season.
Fucking bravo, Rocco.
While we’re revisiting awards that have previously been given out to the same recipients let’s talk about the “Best Driver” award from 2016. Orion Beach won this Giant Washer for his impressive display of skill in driving Skorpios which consisted of crashing into the screws and dying while landing a staggering zero hits in the process. I don’t need to repeat the punchline because you already know what it is by this point, but this year… I’ve gotta play it straight. Orion gets another “Best Driver” award to sit next to the other one because this year we saw a side of Skorpios that we’d never seen before, largely because this time the robot avoided the screws. Lucky showed up running at 100% but with a few expert drops of its saw the flipper was quickly dispatched and because the judges didn’t yet give a shit about “controlled movement” Lucky wound up getting pounded in the ass by the Pulverizer while Skorpios spent about two minutes providing lots of photo ops of it slicing into its opponent. But that’s not why we’re here, oh no, you know what’s coming up: Icewave.
This year Icewave was in top form and by this point had already cleaved Vanquish in fucking half. Skorpios tried to do some dumb shit imitating Ghost Raptor’s “de-icer” from 2015 and it didn’t work because it broke immediately since Orion built it out of literal goddamned hockey sticks. With his weaponry disabled Orion went full frontal with aggression and the resulting battle saw Icewave getting pushed into every set of fucking screws in the arena and its weapon barely being able to spin up to speed. The judges were so impressed by this showing that they temporarily forgot about the whole “negative points” thing for just wedging people around and gave the win to Skorpios. It was easily one of the most impressive wins of the year and now Orion has two Best Driver awards from both sides of the sarcasm spectrum. Yay!
Much like Skorpios, Rotator really had its time to shine this year. Also like Skorpios, Rotator was here last season and just died immediately without showing us any inklings of what it was made of in the main tournament. Also ALSO like Skorpios, Rotator returned for a consolation 3-way battle and won. The writing was on the walls, these two robots got shafted in 2016 and this year both of them were looking to change that. Ironically these two bots even fought each other and Rotator came out ahead in that exchange because let’s get to the point here and talk about this thing’s fucking weapons. Rotator is an easy design to write off because of how unconventional and arguably stupid it looks. It’s got the disc in the front and the disc in the back both of which are mounted in such a way so that if the robot were inverted it would remain in an identical configuration. It’s a palindrome, its name is a palindrome, blah blah blah we get it. Back in 2015 I talked a lot of shit on Counter Revolution for having almost the same configuration but the big difference here is Rotator’s weapons are horizontal and just by virtue of how they transmit their kinetic energy this thing is leaps and bounds more effective than Counter Revolution would’ve been.
Rotator stumbled out of the gate this year when it was defeated by Petunia but it was still able to land a couple of decent hits. The robot was drawn against Predator and while this was mostly a cakewalk (because it’s fucking Predator we’re talking about here) I should point out that Predator was built from HARDOX. If you’re not in the know this is a form of steel designed for industrial applications. It’s extremely wear-resistant and boasts a hardness of approximately 400 HB on the Brinell scale (to make that number understandable 6060 aluminum clocks in at just 75 HB) and Rotator was busting this shit apart like nothing. Oh, and Rotator also skullfucked Icewave to death. Can’t forget that! Skorpios made a comeback via driving skill but its weapon was kinda shitty; Rotator I feel made the biggest overall comeback and that’s why it gets this award.
Jerome Miles of DT Robotics competed with Red Devil in 2016 however this year he was one of the many competitors who was distracted with the events in China and could not make it to BattleBots. I don’t know why, because the robot he brought to China was basically a yellow version of this stupid robot with a dragon theme instead of a devil one but whatever. Jerome couldn’t make it so he appointed Ravi Baboolal of All Black Robotics as his vice president and successor as operator of Red Devil. Kind of a strange choice considering Ravi’s robot Lycan was impressively awful but hey it all worked out in the end. This year Red Devil’s team was kind of like a B-list dream team and you know what? It worked out. Mostly. Red Devil had an impressive year even if most of that entertainment came from watching this thing get its ass handed to it in increasingly hilarious ways. Valkyrie caused the most memorable one, though.
The crux of Red Devil’s design is the fact that it’s really just three separate modules all linked together with a big ass rear axle for them to pivot on. The treads go on either side and sandwiched between them is the bot’s weapon module which consists of either a plow or grabber and a saw blade on an articulated arm. It looks expensive, it looks complicated, and it looks flimsy as all hell. Red Devil can take a beating like all the rest but everything has a breaking point and when this thing’s left tread dead ass separated from the main chassis and took off on its own I knew we were dealing with something special. Robots with tank tracks get their shit ruined all the time but most of the time they either pop a tread (Suicidal Tendencies) or just break down and catch fire (Ronin). This is the first time I’ve seen half a goddamned robot literally just drive off on its own.
I’m actually not intentionally trying to link all these awards together like this, it’s just happening on its own. I suppose if I wanted to I could go back and rearrange these things to hook them together in a chain but the last time I thought I had something BattleBots-related figured out Double Dutch reared both of its ugly heads and called me a motherfucker in stereo. Valkyrie was the robot responsible for splitting Red Devil in two but that’s not the sole reason why Leanne Cushing and her team get the Best Newcomer award. Like any new robot Valkyrie had its fair share of problems; Valkyrie’s fight against Ultimo Destructo was an ultimo shit-show and against Lock-Jaw the robot’s weapon was blown apart into three distinct pieces. But in between these low points was a robot that showed a lot of promise and a team with a real desire to win. I joked about it earlier this season but Valkyrie finished its rookie season and failed to qualify with a record of 4-3 — that’s seven fucking battles! Most teams made it to 4 and said that was enough and even more of them didn’t even make it that far but Valkyrie didn’t just reach its Fight Night limit, it kept going.
This robot participated in every single event offered to it with the exception of that dumb “USA vs. The World” thing, but I’m sure if Leanne knew about it she’d have been first in line for that too. Valkyrie featured in the Desperado mini event as well as the Last Chance Rumble, and aside from that it participated in three Fight Night rounds and a grudge match with Overhaul at the end of the season. This thing was just all over the place and while not all of its battles were good ones we could do with a few more teams like Questionable Designs who are willing to show up and kick ass no matter what.
Usually the “Best Salt” award is given to a specific person who threw a tempter tantrum or got a little too buttmad at the event but this time I’m doing the opposite. Sean Irvin’s teeth might be as white as pure salt but the purest salt came from the audience who were pissed off that Ultimo “Motherfucking” Destructo somehow warped space and time to reach a Fight Night record that was 2-0 at one point. Might I remind you that at the time the only other robots in that echelon were the usual fare like Tombstone and Bronco or a surprise but solid bot like SawBlaze and Huge. Yet here’s all 23 yards of Ultimo Destructo right there in the cool kids’ club too. Ultimo Destructo made it to that point because its first two fights were snoozefests against Valkyrie and Parallax where in both cases Ultimo Destructo’s opponents broke down. Don’t get me wrong, Ultimo Destructo was fucking broken in those fights too but in this case it was the least broken robot and thus it won.
It spurred lots of griping and arguments especially regarding fears that Ultimo Destructo might somehow continue its absurd “winning” streak and wind up throwing off the entire seeding system. My god I cannot tell you how badly I wanted that to happen. Unfortunately Ultimo Destructo’s reign of terror was stopped dead in its tracks when Witch Doctor broke it apart like an off brand Kit Kat bar but that lingering fear was still there, and that was priceless. In the argument of “good wins vs. bad losses” I took the path of “this is bullshit and a win is a win, and if someone’s upset that they lost to Ultimo Destructo then they have no one to blame but themselves because they were somehow worse than Ultimo goddamned Destructo”.
BEST AUDIENCE SIGN
“Faruq For President”
“Faruq For President”
Aside from the actual combat at BattleBots my favorite part of the event is seeing all of the signs that people bring to cheer for their favorite teams and bots. It livens up the show, gets people excited, and makes for some good TV. Signs have become such a mainstay of the show that for the past two seasons (and possibly even the 2015 one, though I wasn’t there) the producers have set up tents outside where fans can see who’s competing that day and then make use of the massive stacks of posterboard and buckets of markers provided to them to let loose and do something like draw a sign for Bronco that consists of that “your resistance only makes my penis harder” meme from Words Worth. (Which I actually did.) Yeah, I know the name of the hentai that one came from. Don’t worry, I bet Charles Guan does too.
So out of all of the signs that were waved around during the 2018 season my personal pick for the best goes to the guy holding up the “Faruq For President” one. He’s not even cheering for a specific robot, he’s just cheering to support the event itself. The fanbase that has built up over the years around ring announcer Faruq Tauheed is the most wholesome thing and this goofy sign perfectly encapsulates that. I don’t know about you but I’d legitimately vote for him as president. I’m not even going to make a low-hanging Trump joke out of that one because I swear to fucking god Faruq would be a better choice than a staggering number of candidates, not just Donnie T.
Zoe’s robot Chomp has evolved into a beast and is nothing like the machine it was when it debuted in 2015. Those changes have come with some growing pains and this year was the absolute worst for her. I could harp on how the robot finished its qualification rounds with an impressive ZERO WINS but instead I’ll just casually remind you that Chomp is officially on the list of robots who’ve lost to Basilisk, a list that is exactly one robot long. But that’s not the point of this award. Zoe is all about getting kids hyped up for careers in STEM fields and that’s an honorable thing. Granted I feel like if a kid is at a BattleBots event then chances are there’s some lingering interest already, but whatever. I’ll concede that getting them involved in the show is just going to bolster what’s already there.
For all of Chomp’s Fight Night bouts Zoe took a volunteer from the audience and let them be in charge of her team’s Pulverizers. That’s fucking rad and you bet that if I were 25 years younger I’d be right there with a Chomp sign trying to get Zoe to pick me next. Instead I was in my 30’s doing exactly that. So she enlisted the help of some kids to operate the hazards and even though we only saw one of them on TV she did this three more times. Unfortunately in every single case none of these children had the opportunity to bring the hammer down on Chomp’s opponents largely because Chomp spent the better part of every single one of its fights getting it ass pounded. Still, the intentions were there and that’s what counts. At least those kids got front row seats to a beating.
BEST 56TH ROBOT
“Bot 56” was perhaps the very first meme of the 2018 season. We were told by the producers there were 56 robots officially entered to compete at BattleBots however when it came time for the show to air and the graphic of all the participants was shown on-screen many noticed that in the place where #56 would be was La Machine. Long time fans of the sport recognized La Machine as “the other robot built by Trey & Greg” and wondered if it was a joke or if it was serious. Turns out La Machine was not an official competitor and was included on the graphic as a gag because the actual 56th robot had to drop out… but they’d already recorded Chris and Kenny saying “fifty-six”. Rather than record more voiceover and splice it in the editors just slapped La Machine on the graphic and called it a day.
People speculated who “Bot 56” was for weeks. Many thought it was Swamp Thing from Hardcore Robotics. Swamp Thing was teased during a cold open in one episode that focused around all of the memes and jokes that were popular that season, but Swamp Thing was not officially the 56th competitor. I knew who it was because I was at the show but due to NDA I couldn’t just come out and say it. Collectively we found out that a robot named “Raven” was Bot 56 through a behind the scenes video from Discovery Channel called BattleBots Resurrection. Raven, built by Steve Buschner of Little Drummer Boy fame, was a vertical spinner with an ornate disc featuring its namesake. The robot arrived incomplete and when it was placed in the test box and turned on Raven caught fire and died forcing Steve to withdraw from the contest. Raven actually made it onto the itinerary for one of the final taping sessions for a demonstration fight, but once more the robot failed to perform.
I never saw this thing in any sort of completed state. I walked past it outside the pit area and did not recognize who it was because it had been stripped down to just its frame and wheels with no parts on it whatsoever. I was politely asked not to photograph the robot, so I obliged. Thankfully some photos of the robot do exist however, courtesy of the Discovery Channel spot.
Yeti’s cool, and no that’s not a pun at the expense of the theme of the robot. Greg Gibson’s idea of strategy is to just come out swinging which surprisingly is a plan that not many of his opponents have a counter for. Most competitors show some restraint when battling and that’s where their weaknesses come in, but Greg just never stops. I’ve described him as “bad AI from a 1990’s demolition derby game” and that’s still true. But sometimes this plan of “just keep whacking until the batteries die” has its faults. Like any robot Yeti is also susceptible to those fluke instant KO’s that plague the sport and that’s what happened when Yeti tried its luck against Icewave in the qualifying rounds. Yeti was easily ahead on points on aggression alone but it wasn’t meant to be as after a particularly spectacular blow that sent Icewave flying through the air the robot completed died.
Yeti stroked out and Icewave advanced onward but before the fight was over Icewave accidentally jacked up Yeti’s wheels with a blow landed during Yeti’s KO countdown. While I do think Marc DeVidts is an evil genius this was indeed an honest mistake. Before the fight Icewave was fitted with a blade whose ends were painted the same color as the floor which meant that it would be harder for opponents to see where the blade actually was. This came with the downside that Marc himself would also not know where the ends of his fucking blade were either, which is why he accidentally chopped up Yeti’s wheels. Like I said, an honest mistake. And a really stupid one at that. Greg was having none of it because he was already in a bad mood over his robot shitting itself while in the lead so he did what any reasonable person would do in this situation. He leans over and tells Marc:
“Hey, don’t be a dick.”
BattleBots co-founder Trey Roski is an interesting man and if you’re ever at one of these shows and have the opportunity to chat with him I strongly recommend taking it. Case in point, when all was said and done and taping was wrapped on the final day, Trey jokingly said his first order of business was to grab a beer and just crash out. Trey’s birthday also happened right in the middle of taping and I remember Joby (the guy whose job it is to keep the crowd entertained between fights) had us all sing “Happy Birthday” to him. For his birthday Trey received a shiny new Segway and for the rest of the fucking show I kid you not this man walked maybe like ten steps. He rode that thing everywhere. This dude was one Hawaiian shirt and a Loch Ness tattoo away from a perfect Paul Blart cosplay. Trey was so eager to peter around on his sideways scooter that it even made it into one of the cold openings of the show where Chris Rose is trying to take a selfie with everyone. Because the top speed of a Segway is measured in single digits this meant the editors had to add in some sparks and smoke in post to make it seem like he was doing some killer peel outs.
Richard “The Dick” Stuplich
Richard “The Dick” Stuplich
Before joining forces with the Whyachi boys Richard “The Dick” Stuplich flew solo with Team Killerbotics in the Comedy Central days. His flagship robot New Cruelty was an eight-wheeled super heavyweight behemoth whose primary mode of attack was overwhelming its opponents with torque because of the fact that there were EIGHT GODDAMNED NPC MOTORS under its hood. Absolute overkill and as luck would have it back then that’s about all you needed back then because New Cruelty finished its BattleBots career with an unbelievable nine wins and just two losses. This robot was a finalist in its division being stopped only by Inertia Labs’ Toro. Seeing as how he’s from Wisconsin just like Team Whyachi when it came time to return to the sport Richard found himself pondering an uncertain future as a “New Cruelty 2” wouldn’t be on the books thanks to that pesky active weapon rule. Instead he joined the Ewerts to lend his expertise to their robots and this dude just doesn’t give a fuck. When the Ewerts were trying to act solemn and badass during their arena introductions Richard was happily waving to the crowd and laughing. He literally signs his name as “The Dick” which is why he’s being credited as such, that ain’t me.
His favorite recurring gag on this website is how I keep saying Warrior Dragon is a piece of shit that needs to be retired, which explains why I was eager to hammer on that phrase every single time that thing showed up this year.
BEST AUDIENCE SCARE
Son of Whyachi
Son of Whyachi
Son of Whyachi’s rack of hammers is one of the heaviest weapons in the game. Weighing as much as a regulation middleweight when this thing hits it hits hard. I don’t even really need to say that because you can tell just from looking at this damn thing that it’s bad news. This robot was disintegrating people long before Thanos was scratching his balls or whatever that pussy shit he does is. The Whyachi blade is something that many have tried to replicate but none can pull it off as well as the Ewerts and even they fuck it up sometimes because for their sake I think the world has finally forgotten about the disaster that was Nitro S.O.W.– whoops. Anyways this robot has a body of work over a decade long and it’s gradually been working its way back up the ladder since it resurfaced in 2016 and if this year is anything to go by you better keep your eyes on this one.
But let’s talk about End Game and what it takes to kill a Whyachi. Son of Whyachi’s primary weakness is being kicked into the air and landing in such a way that the robot destroys itself. Poison Arrow achieved this in 2016, Brutus did so this season, and End Game almost had it. End Game got as far as the all important heave-ho but it wound up developing a hernia so severe that its balls exploded. Son of Whyachi was launched into the air dangerously close to the edge of the Battlebox and as this thing came crashing back down it blew the absolute fuck out of a set of inner Lexan paneling and the lights behind it. This happened right in my line of view and it scared the shit out of me so badly that I instinctively ducked. For a moment I forgot about that inner lining of thinner glass and I legitimately thought Son of Whyachi punched a hole in the fucking wall. I wasn’t the only one either, everyone around me in that section of the stands freaked out.
BEST YOUTUBE TRICKSHOT MONTAGE
Zander Rose and Reason Bradley have a bit of a problem on their hands in the way of Bronco and its level of success but this award isn’t for how badly their robot struggles in general, it’s about all those sweet ass Harlem Globetrotter 4 pointers it landed this year. There were a handful of flippers this season but most of them were objectively awful; Tantrum and Warrior Dragon kept breaking down and the less said about fucking Basilisk the better. Bronco has always been “the” flipper for the tremendous airtime its opponents receive. It wasn’t SubZero or Lucky who got an opening skit featuring Kenny Florian on a ladder about three steps higher than he was comfortable with. Bronco’s wins this year came in increasingly insane ways. For starters Bombshell wound up tossed out of the arena and into that weird triangular area by the entrance doors. I didn’t even know you could get back there and here’s Bronco making shit clip out of bounds like this was a bad Wii game. Even crazier is what happened to Duck; Duck put up a good fight but after about a minute of being thrown around the bird found itself somehow slotted between the spike strip and the area where all the cabling and shit goes. You’re not even supposed to be back there and Bronco flicked Duck like a fucking paper football and sank the shot.
Lock-Jaw and SawBlaze were both tossed to record heights for the robot, and War Hawk was also thrown behind the screws much in the same manner as what happened with Duck. The only robot Bronco failed to get a neat trickshot with was Whiplash and that’s because Bronco showed up to the fight dressed like a fucking spider and the results of that fashion no-no were a total disaster. I don’t know what to expect from Inertia Labs in 2019 but whatever their robot is I look forward to seeing it throw an opponent on top of the goddamned drivers’ booth or something.
BEST RECREATION OF A RECURRING NIGHTMARE
Kraken is a biter bot who stands out from the rest because while most crushers opt to go the hydraulic route Kraken instead was designed with pneumatics in mind. Hey, pressure is pressure and as long as your robot’s got the bite that’s all that matters. Just ask Red Devil who was bitten so hard on its tank tracks that one of them straight up quit working. There’s a lot of power in those chompers but because this was Kraken’s first ever event it didn’t show up operating at peak efficiency. In Kraken’s first battle it bit down on Sharkoprion and in a brilliant imitation of Looney Tunes all of its teeth broke and fell out of its mouth. Consequently the concept of this is actually the subject of one of the most widespread recurring nightmares reported by people with some studies quoting as high as 39% of respondents reporting that they’ve had nightmares where their fucking teeth fall out. What sucks is that I’m in that 39%. Shit’s awful. Thanks, Kraken. Maybe next time you ought to show up in the arena with a goddamned trigger warning you dick.
BEST ROBOT PROBABLY BUILT IN 2003
What the hell is up with Gamma 9? Like really? When you put this thing alongside all the other robots from 2018 this is the one that looks like it just sat in a garage forever. This robot looks like someone bought the original Vladiatior and was convinced they could “improve” it except the end result wound up being more like that time that dumb bitch offered to fix that fresca of Jesus and painted something resembling a monkey face on him instead. The fucked up thing is that I know Gamma 9 isn’t Vladiator or Vlad the Impaler 2 because the dude who formerly managed Robogames actually owns that thing (and man has he run that robot into the fucking gutter) so this is a robot that someone thought was a good idea to build. In 2018. I don’t fault them for that one bit because most of my favorite robots came from that era but when you’ve got minibots with spinners ripping your butt cheeks off there’s probably an issue with your design. I’ll give Gamma 9 credit though, not everyone can be shot in the face point blank and take it like a champ; sometimes there’s a benefit to being designed after an old brute.
BEST FARUQ REACTION FACE
The best thing the producers of BattleBots have done is allow Faruq to become a character all his own. Mark Beiro, the original announcer, did an amazing job but I can’t see Mark doing the kinds of campy shit that Faruq gets up to. Mark was a boxing announcer by trade and there were moments all throughout the original BattleBots series where he stumbled over introductions that were excessively stupid. Faruq has a great voice but he’s also got a lot of the informal charm that Mark lacked so when Faruq starts dancing or doing impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger you know everyone’s going to have a good time. Throughout the season Faruq would deliver introductions that required him to make goofy faces and every once in a while I’d grab a few of them and pepper the images into an article. The “damn you white people crazy” look that he flashed to the Witch Doctor team in 2015 wound up becoming a “flair” on the /r/BattleBots Reddit community. What can I say, the man emotes well.
That’s why “the best Faruq reaction face” is this one. What’s he reacting to? Is he reading this article? Watching Parallax try to fight? It’s the perfect image macro with no text needed whatsoever to convey its meaning. It’s also not an animated GIF so you’re free to use this one and not have the guilt that comes with buying into shitty social media fads. You’re welcome.
BEST FIRE EFFECT
Fire is just a normal part of robot combat these days. What was once a banned form of weaponry — the forbidden fruit — became acceptable for use once arenas were built more strongly and the rules governing fire-based weapons became better defined. Still, they’re kind of fucking stupid and impractical and I think regarding the previous three seasons of BattleBots I can count on one hand the number of times a flamethrower did any meaningful damage to someone. That’s why this year’s Best Fire Effect award isn’t going to a robot with a flamethrower, it’s going to Witch Doctor whose butthole was fucked so quickly by Minotaur that the friction alone caused the robot to burst into flames.
The best part about this situation was the fact that while Witch Doctor was completely immobilized its srimech was still fully functional and for a few seconds it futilely tried to wave around and blow out the ensuing blaze. I feel like it probably only served to fan the flames and make matters worse but it’s hilarious in a really messed up way to see the robot continue to wave its cape around while the fire continued to intensify almost as if it really believed it could fix this.
I bet you didn’t know Swamp Thing even had merchandise, let alone what Swamp Thing was to begin with. Swamp Thing has actually been in the pits at every recent season of BattleBots but it hasn’t competed aside from an untelevised demo match with Bull Dog in 2015 that was used to test the new arena. The robot belongs to Rick Russ of Hardcore Robotics and the bot is generally brought along in the event of a shortage of competitors… though considering exactly that happened this year — again — I really don’t know why Swamp Thing hasn’t had its chance in the spotlight. It can’t be because a team can only have one robot because Team Whyachi has both Son of Whyachi and Warrior Dragon and even though Warrior Dragon sucks it still counts as a robot. There’s a team photo of Swamp Thing available in the BattleBots online store and it’s a real head scratcher. It’s virtually identical to Tombstone’s photo except Rick and Ray have swapped places and their poses are mirrored.
It’s never competed, and has no page on the official BattleBots website, yet if you really want a team photo it’ll cost ya five bucks.
I’ve gone on the record and said that I’ve never laughed at a single thing this man has ever said because Bil Dwyer’s stand-up routines consist entirely of dad jokes and I feel like the only way I’d appreciate his sense of humor is when the time comes for me to bury my own old man. Yeah I know it’s fucked up to joke about your father dying but don’t worry Bil has a whole routine based entirely around exactly that so if he can do it so can I. People have often told stories about how Bil was super eager to work on BattleBots during the Comedy Central days and that it wasn’t an uncommon thing to see him wandering around in the pits checking out all the competitors. Back then the hosts weren’t taping parts of their commentary and segments live the way they do today so for Bil to be there meant that he actually went out there on his own time (and probably money) to see the show and get to know all the new robots and teams in advance. I can respect that.
Bil showed up to the 2018 season too. Not as a cast member, but as a fan. Again he came all the way out to the show because he gave a shit. I don’t see Sean Salisbury or the Sklar Brothers doing that. Bil Dwyer is the worst stand-up comedian on the planet, but he’s the best damn host BattleBots ever had. Now you know why he hosted all five seasons of the original show.
BEST JURASSIC WORLD COMMERCIAL
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom premiered in theaters while BattleBots was airing and naturally that meant we’d get some product tie-ins on the air. Er, wait a minute. The fuck does Jurassic World have to do with BattleBots? None of the robots are smart enough to open doors nor is the arena surrounded by an electrified fence. Also yeah I know those are Jurassic Park references but I haven’t seen any of the new movies because I don’t like Chris Pratt and the last two Jurassic Park movies did enough to piss me off and make me hate the franchise so let’s not fucking push it, okay?
I’m guessing someone at Universal or Disney or whoever the hell owns the rights to Jurassic Park now just wrote a massive check to Discovery Channel in order to promote their movie and just said “make it happen”. For all I know there were probably “in universe” placements of Jurassic World for the other shows on the channel and because I can’t even afford basic cable anymore I didn’t notice it. So the left hand wasn’t talking to the right hand and what we ended up with was a complete cringefest when all along we had Warhead and its goofy fucking dinosaur mask sitting in the pits for like two goddamned weeks and not a single person looked at that, then looked at their ad order, then back at the dinosaur and said “oh shit we could do something with this, you know, because it’s a fucking dinosaur“. I’m not saying Warhead could’ve convinced me to see a Chris Pratt movie — because it can’t — but it would’ve made a much better attempt then having a CGI T-Rex step on Bale Spear.
Hey you know how I am, I just can’t resist someone with a nice pair. Of nuts. Giant nuts, at that. The lack of capitalization on the “N” was intentional. I mean “N-tentional”. Honestly this is about as far as I got with this award category because (spoilers!) it’s a lead-in for the next one. My apologies to you Paul, but you’ve already got two
giant nuts Giant Nuts so I don’t even think you’ve got room for another piece.
When it comes down to bots who’ve won the championship multiple times, few can say they’ve done it. Tombstone can’t. Whyachi can’t. Bronco’s builders can’t… but they sort of can on technicality if you’re willing to lump Toro and T-Minus together. Bite Force is in a category of robots alongside competitors like Minion, Vlad the Impaler, Biohazard, regular Hazard, and Diesector. The greats of the sport. It’s insane to say this but out of all the BattleBots champions over the years Bite Force is on the upper end of that list. There are hundreds of robots who never stood a chance at the Giant Nut and out of the few who can say they’ve claimed it — which is already astronomically low — Bite Force is still on top. Maybe not all the way on top, Biohazard probably holds that distinction, but god damn what a robot. And to think, in 2016 this bot had a Whyachi Moment™ of its own when Chomp sucker punched it and killed it dead in its tracks.
If Bite Force has the “best pair”, Double Dutch has the worst one. I’m not even continuing the joke about testicles I’m talking specifically about Double Dutch’s weaponry. What an underwhelming piece of crap. I didn’t build the thing so maybe I’m missing the intent here but I feel like Double Dutch was designed with spinning both of its blades at the same time in mind. It actually tried this in that awful tag team match that was so bad it could only be justified as a commercial for a dinosaur movie and it didn’t work. At all. While spinning both of its blades Double Dutch became unstable and I don’t know if its weapons were causing turbulence or if its lower blade was hitting imperfections on the floor and the whole robot was shaking around as a result. Whatever the case Double Dutch never really got to come out swinging the way that I think its builder intended and that’s a shame because as dumb of a robot as it was I feel like in the right situations this thing could really send someone for a loop. Instead it just sucked tires into its face and its blades kept popping off for no discernible reason. Thankfully Double Dutch did have a great fight although this came at the expense of being completely decimated by Gigabyte.
Seriously, why haven’t they just retired this piece of shit alrea– oh wait, hang on. I’m getting some breaking news from BattleBots HQ. It appears Warrior Dragon has finally been put out to pasture ending its decade+ long career. It’s sad when any dragon dies but if the ending of Dragonheart is to be believed when it happens their spirit joins the stars in the constellation Draco. It’s been a long time coming but I guess that constellation finally has the asshole it’s been missing for all these millennia.
Warrior SKF (the primary constituent of the entry) was a grand machine in its heyday; no one had really seen such a powerful and low profile flipper before. Usually robots who were that short had slower linear actuators powering their arms (like Biohazard) but Team Whyachi once again were game changers. By the end of its career though Warrior SKF was like Elvis Presley in his twilight years and much like The King I’m sure Warrior SKF probably died on the shitter too. The good news is Warrior Dragon will be replaced with Hydra, a brand new hydraulic flipper from the team. The bad news is now that I’ve literally bullied Warrior Dragon to death I’ve officially lost a catchphrase.
(Also once again I bet you didn’t notice that was a picture from 2015 I used over to the right.)
Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin has been one of the most prolific competitors BattleBots has ever seen. He debuted in the second season of the show with Frostbite and to say that robot was “rough around the edges” would be an understatement. The robot’s name was made using those adhesive letters that you see on the mailboxes of trailer trash families. That’s the alpha and the omega of Frostbite. His first robot was still surprisingly good however and Fuzzy kept at it. While he never won a championship his team earned themselves a very respectable career record and in the process “Team Toad orange” became a part of the DNA of the sport. Fuzzy continued to compete on the independent circuit after BattleBots originally ended so it was strange to see him absent from the first two reboot seasons. It’s not like he wasn’t competing, he was at Robogames with bots such as Polar Vortex and the dude even managed to show up to fucking Robot Wars where he received a loaner bot… that he subsequently painted orange.
Hypothermia isn’t “that bad” of a robot but it’s somehow looped right back around to being rough like the original Frostbite was. There’s a good robot here, Hypothermia is a solid brawler, but as it stands the whole package is kind of a bust. Everything dominated this machine with the exception of a shitty multibot because the little bots were too weak to actually do anything. Hypothermia managed to lose points with the judges in that battle too because simply shoving people around isn’t seen as proper aggression anymore. Maybe with a lower profile and a more rigid front end Hypothermia can become something great, but right now it’s just another robot whose anus was ravaged by Minotaur.
WORST ENTRANCE MUSIC
I have nothing against Reality aside from the robot being about as mundane and boring as its namesake. It was an alright drum spinner from a team of very experienced Dutch builders and when it was working properly Reality was good for some impressive hits considering its small stature.
The problem I have with Reality is more so the music that just had to be played every single fucking time this robot showed up in the arena or was otherwise mentioned. Joby the Hype Man (whom you might remember from last season’s Giant Washers) was back again this year and in his back pocket was the same iPod that he had in 2016. Mercifully he had downloaded about four more songs since then but that’s still not quite enough because that brings the total to maybe like nine. Every time Reality was mentioned he’d swipe his finger across the iPod and start playing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. It’s the song that most people know exactly ten words to and those are “snap back to REALITY whoops there goes gravity”. The two words unaccounted for in the previous sentence are “mom’s spaghetti”, by the way. The word “reality” appears in that song exactly once and Joby normally only played enough of the song to get to that particular part before switching it to something else. I already hated that song before this season started and now I hate it even more and I hope Reality never comes back to BattleBots because god help me if I hear that fucking song one more time I will choke someone.
A peculiar pattern is starting to emerge with Blacksmith. It made waves in 2016 because of how impressive the concept of a “fire-breathing hammer” was pulled off but I feel that by the end of 2018 peoples’ opinions are starting to cease favoring the once great BIG TIME HAMMER. Blacksmith’s record has dropped to a paltry 2-6 after this year with its only two wins being against clusterbots. I’ve long joked about Blacksmith being the “Andy Kaufman” of BattleBots for beating up exclusively on opponents much smaller and weaker than it but god damn that’s really becoming the case isn’t it? Previously Blacksmith creamed both parts of Gemini but this time around it only succeeded in battle against The Four Horsemen and only because these robots were way to small to be taking hits from a goddamned fire hammer. This was some Gauntlet Legends shit; Blacksmith was the warrior and The Four Horsemen were the little goblins coming out of the mine shafts. But a more apt and less savory joke would be to say not to let Blacksmith watch your children because it’ll beat the shit out of them. I know that’s a “Florida Man” thing and Blacksmith is from New Jersey but let’s be real here you can probably swap “Florida” with “New Jersey” in all those news headlines and the meaning won’t be lost.
The worst memes are the ones that don’t need to exist. “Another goddamned vertical” spinner is definitely in that category. We’re living in an era where the meta of robots has evolved toward high energy kinetic spinners because that is what’s conventionally the most effective against the most designs. 1 out of every 3 competitors this year were “another goddamned vertical spinner” of some persuasion and if you want to incorporate the horizontal ones into that equation well then it doubles and jumps up to 60% with the remainder being “literally every other design that isn’t a spinner”. 10 of the 16 robots that qualified for the main tournament were “another goddamned vertical spinner”. If you’re following along with the math then you’ve probably noticed that not only were a majority of the top 16 verts but most of the verts were in the top 16. It’s a vicious cycle. Bronco and SawBlaze were the only non-KE spinners in the top 16.
Fucking build something else. There’s a reason why you can’t just bring a goddamned wedge to these events anymore. For fuck’s sake the playoff round for 15th place was between three robots that were exactly the same. When Brutus and War Hawk battled the hosts called it “the battle of the clones”. Cut that shit out. Make a good hammer bot or something. Beta’s gone and Blacksmith sucks, we need a proper one. Anything.
WORST ROBOT NAME
Don’t worry, I get the pun. “Ass backwards.” Got it. My problem with the robot is that the pun is just bad, or rather “the pun is about as good as the robot”. I think part of this robot’s name was supposed to come from the fact that in its early stages it was also an overhead thwack bot. Basically the impact of hitting someone with its drum would force the robot to flip forward and in turn swing its axes down at them. As for how the robot was meant to reset itself I have no idea. That might be why the robot wasn’t a thwacker anymore. Guess you could say this robot was planned ass backwards!
Axe Backwards has potential though because unlike a lot of bots this one’s got a pretty catchy nickname in the form of “Axey B”. That hasn’t caught on yet but it would be neat if it did. Sure I’m kind of taking that from Hexadecimator (“Hexy D”) but let’s be real for a moment here, are you telling me you’re willing to continuously write out or say “Axe Backwards” time and time again as opposed to just “Axey B”? If you just said “yes” then congratulations you’re a liar.
WORST UNINTENTIONAL HAZARD
The big draw of the Battlebox are all of its traps and hazards. There was a period where the amount of shit crammed under the floor was stupidly excessive but for the most part that’s been dialed back and these days you’ve mostly got the hammers and saws and now the screws have become a major player with their newly serrated edges. The Hellraisers are still in the middle of the floor but for some reason these things are never fucking used. I would kill to see some shitty vertical spinner disoriented with one of these things. The “Ramrods” are also still around, sort of. There’s these little metal nipples that pop up from the yellow circles in the floor and they’re supposed to trip robots up. I only saw a couple of moments where this happened but when I was checking out the arena after the event every single one of these looked like someone ripped out a piercing so I guess they were being hit more often than I thought.
But the arena is also full of things that wind up being hazards even though they really aren’t and this season it’s not the Killsaws but rather the slots that they rise up from. I can’t tell if they were widened or adjusted in some way but for some reason people just could not stop getting shit stuck in these things. Lock-Jaw set the tone for things to come by getting its forks caught in one and exposing its hiney to End Game in one of the early episodes of the season and it was all downhill from there. Blacksmith got jammed up, Huge clipped one of them, Brutus was spun off into one of the slots, Chomp got a wing caught in there. The list goes on and on. The results were a bunch of cheap shots being afforded to those robots’ opponents and that sucks. If someone gets murdered it should be from skill, not luck.
I get what Christian Carlberg was trying to do with Mecha Rapage and out of all the robots he’s brought with him to the reboot seasons I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this one is the best one by a mile. Remember, Mecha Rampage is the one that blew up and caught fire, was KO’d by being perched on its side, and had half of its blade blown off by Double Jeopardy — and THIS is “the best one by a mile”. Overdrive was somehow worse than this.
But as good as Mecha Rampage was its weapon was another story. In three distinct scenarios Mecha Rampage’s spinning mass let it down in three separate ways. It broke against Double Jeopardy because the impact from swatting Double Jeopardy’s bullet metaphorically caused the baseball bat to shatter. Mecha Rampage still won, but that rendered the blade useless. Against Whiplash when Mecha Rampage was tilted onto its end the spinner was not powerful enough to knock the robot back down onto its wheels so it ended up being counted out. Most impressively however was Mecha Rampage’s debut fight where it started smoking and subsequently caught fire and burned to death courtesy of Free Shipping. The reason for this is because the weight of Mecha Rampage’s weapon is artificially inflated by way of keeping the motors and batteries of the spinning mass inside said spinning mass. That subjects them to all sorts of G forces and wouldn’t you know a bunch of volatile batteries don’t like that!
WORST ROBOTIC CANINE
Throughout the season the editors kept using the “BATTLEBOTS” banner under the drivers’ booth as a reference point to motion track sponsor graphics onto. One of them was for a movie about a robot dog called A.X.L.. Much like Jurassic World I didn’t give enough of a shit to go see this movie so instead here are some choice quotes from this movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page where it holds a rating of… 22%.
A.X.L. is a sloppy, derivative outing, devoid of originality and uninterested in making any real effort.
By the time he develops rabies and has to be put down out back behind the shed, we simply don’t care.
It doesn’t offer anything new or exciting and it doesn’t need to be in a theater. It’s just there.
It’s utterly forgettable.
Lock-Jaw (vs. Bronco)
Lock-Jaw (vs. Bronco)
I know I joked about that dumb Pizza Hut commercial (“the one with the hot dogs in the crust”) as the REAL “last time” Donald Hutson and Inertia Labs crossed paths but going by the actual fight records of BattleBots the last time these two teams actually fought one another one-on-one was 1999’s Tazbot vs. Rhino. They fought twice because back then BatleBots was a double elimination tournament and as luck would have it Tazbot won a battle and Rhino won a battle so the score’s even and this fight was going to disrupt that harmony.
Think about it, these two teams have participated in every single BattleBots event and the last time they fought was when Bill Clinton was trying to justify a blow job. Granted I am aware of the 15 year gap between seasons 5 and 6 but still Mutant Robots and Inertia Labs avoided each other for SEVEN seasons. These are teams who fielded robots in the same weight classes constantly and who took turns winning championships and they NEVER had a single rematch! When they finally did get that rematch this year it was an absolute shit show. Almost immediately something screwed up inside of Lock-Jaw and the robot lost some of its maneuverability. Normally that means it should’ve been a shoveover for Bronco except inexplicably this robot started having control problems of its own. Bronco still ended up as the winner after spiking Lock-Jaw at the wall but it just left a lot to be desired. After 20 years this was the showing we got.
Ace Shelander & Co.
Ace Shelander & Co.
If you’ve got a “best driver” then that means there’s gotta be a “worst driver” and that distinction goes to Ace Shelander and the other driver(s) of Gemini. Whereas Skorpios dominated with its expert driving skill these two fucking jokers couldn’t stop killing themselves on one another’s spinning discs and the resulting damage done by Gemini over the season turned out to mostly be to itself. Each of the Gemini robots just could not resist ripping off wedges, side panels, and even whole fucking wheels as they fought like children trying to rip a shiny new toy from the other’s grip. It’s called teamwork, guys. I’d hate to see ’em in an orgy.
Gemini had its best showing against The Four Horsemen because against a fellow clusterbot there were delineated targets for each Gemini to focus on… but sure enough when one of the targets died Gemini got an itchy trigger finger and tried to “help out” its teammate and instead clipped its backside off, threw it into the wall, and knocked it out. Somehow they still won that fucking fight. I swear Gemini’s only saving grace was the fact that as per BattleBots rules you’d have to knock out both robots to satisfy the criteria of “knocked out” and even then that was still pretty easy because there were even odds that Gemini would kill a teammate for you. Did these guys train themselves by playing Goldeneye 007?
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Jascha Little was not a BattleBots judge this year. You’re right. But he did build THE Judge and by virtue of not being at BattleBots this year I’m giving him this award just for the hell of it. It didn’t make it onto TV, but when Zoe Stephenson was giving thank you’s and shoutouts to everyone she gave special thanks to Jascha (Chomp’s weapon engineer) who couldn’t make to the event because he was building a “thousand year clock” in the desert. It was either one thousand years or ten thousand years but that part doesn’t matter because humanity isn’t going to live long enough to have to wind the fucking thing. All Jascha has managed to achieve is exactly what the Mayans did when they left us that stupid calendar; someone’s going to find this alleged “clock” a couple of years before it goes off and the next civilization that comes after ours is going to lose their shit over it and their equivalent of History Channel will start shitting out faux-documentaries faster than a welfare queen trying to have triplets. On behalf of Humans 2.0, thanks Jascha.
WORST GRAPHIC DESIGNER
As the first few episodes of the season aired I noticed the editors were finding their “groove”; graphics would start to appear in places that they had not prior, like a robot’s season record appearing during introductions or a “ROBOT NAME – WINNER” graphic appearing when a decision was announced. It’s kind of strange to edit a show like this because it’s akin to building a website by making changes to the live page, but whatever. I’m actually a little privy to the editing process behind the reboot seasons and it sounds like a total goddamned nightmare. (So in that case it’s just like normal video editing.)
BattleBots receives the award for “Worst Graphic Designer” though because 90% of the on-screen graphics were designed using the font Arial. Stop whatever you are doing right now and open Microsoft Word. I guarantee you have this font pre-installed on your system. There’s a shitty gas station that opened where I live who’s obviously trying to ape the “taco restaurant” business format of the other much better convenience store in the neighborhood and I shit you not their logo is designed in fucking Arial and Calibri, two fonts that have shipped with every goddamned copy of Windows in the last 10 years. The WordPress default font that I am looking at as I write this fucking paragraph is displaying Arial. DON’T USE THAT. Here’s a whole page of neat techno fonts or whatever, pick any of them for 2019.
WORST CROWD CHANT
Huge isn’t that bad of a robot. It finished the season 3-2 and gave us some hella good battles with Free Shipping and Chomp. Huge’s design is absolutely a game changer and after some refinements to prevent it from, you know, breaking in goddamned half again we might be looking at a real underdog in the future. But sadly with Huge’s potential success comes a weird predicament, you can’t cheer for this robot without sounding like you’re booing it; the “oo” in “huge” is the stressed syllable which is a death sentence for building hype. Huge faces the same issue as that 90’s band Crash Test Dummies whose only hit song was literally named “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”. How’s a crowd supposed to chant for an encore when the name of your song sounds like someone making bee sounds? But maybe that’s the point, Huge after all is the strong silent type. Always staring, never speaking.
WORST MIT ROBOT
Two seasons ago I gave Overhaul an award for being the best robot from MIT except I worded that award in the most retarded and embarrassing manner possible. The main gag there was that Overhaul was the “best MIT robot” by virtue of being the only MIT robot. (The second half of that joke was that I suck at relationships and FYI that hasn’t changed in the ~3 years it’s been since I wrote that article.) When Overhaul’s original team members split up and went their own way most of them found moderate success and left Charles Guan in the dust, literally. Since its debut in season 6 Overhaul’s win/loss record has dropped to an embarrassing 2-10. That win percentage is on the verge of dipping into the single digits. Overhaul was a standout as the de facto “robot from a prestigious institute of higher education” but among its peers? Well, you guys saw the SawBlaze fight and the Valkyrie grudge match too. And… in a way I guess you also saw Brutus kick this thing’s ass by proxy because War Hawk was armed with Brutus’ old disc. The universe really did conspire to ruin Overhaul this year but hey at least it didn’t lose to Chomp. Yet.
For the second year in a row PRIMARY WEAPON gets to claim the Giant Washer for “Worst Meme”. During the season I’ve been keeping track of the number of times Kenny either says (or the editors splice in) the phrase “HUGE HIT THERE” but if these past two seasons are any indication I think it’s this phrase I ought to be keeping track of as a joke. Before I wrote this article I went back and rewatched the entire 8th season of the show and good fucking lord do Chris and Kenny say “primary weapon” what feels like a million times. That’s not even hyperbole, I shit you not if I went back and counted it I’d come back with something that was probably six goddamned digits long.
PRIMARY WEAPON is the worst meme because like I said about the vertical spinner design the worst ones are the ones that should not exist. It should not be a joke to hear the phrase “aggression with a primary weapon”. PRIMARY WEAPON as a meme represents a major pain point for the BattleBots community because it’s a nebulous part of the rules that can (and has) fucked people over for the past three seasons. What is aggression? I know it’s defined in the rules, but seriously what is it? The way some of these verdicts and decisions come out sometimes there’s no way to figure out what the process was. It really should be “did this robot kick the other robot’s ass by any means necessary”. Skorpios vs. Icewave should be the gold standard of “aggression”. Period. If this were the original 45 point scoring rubric from ye olden days Skorpios would’ve been an easy winner at approximately 30-15 with no questions or bullshit. This meme sucks.
WORST $22 RAKE
Not every flash in the pan results in a championship title. Sometimes you make a scene and when push comes to shove it all falls apart, just ask HyperShock. In 2016 this robot became a one hit wonder when it fished Warrior Dragon’s drone out of the sky with a goddamned rake. The only reason this went over so well was because I’m fairly certain 100% of the people involved with the show, including the audience, saw drones as a complete and total waste of time. For HyperShock to knock something so expensive and ornate out of the sky with something as cheap and practical as a rake from Home fucking Depot just resonated with viewers in a way that little else could. Fuck that drone, hell yeah dude! HyperShock was an overnight superstar but this season that stardom didn’t carry over.
HyperShock was Macaulay Culkin circa Home Alone last season and this year it was the “drugged up and somehow not dead” version of that dude. The rake returned, I saw it in the pits. The problem is that it was never deployed because there weren’t any drones for HyperShock to destroy; everyone learned their fucking lessons last time. HyperShock without a drone to swat down is like Penn with no Teller, you’re just left with something loud and obnoxious that probably can’t wait to tell you all the good things about being an atheist.
WORST SONG ON JOBY’S IPOD
Europe – “Final Countdown”
Europe – “Final Countdown”
Earlier in this article I gave Reality an award for having the worst “entrance theme” even though that wasn’t really something they had any control over whatsoever. I suppose if it pissed them off enough they could’ve told Joby to knock it off but I think it’s fairly hard to hear stuff when you’re inside the Battlebox because of how thick the outer glass is. No matter though because “Lose Yourself” was not the worst song Joby had on his iPod. That distinction actually goes to Europe’s “Final Countdown”. By just saying the name I know for a fact the fucking synth chords are stuck in your head now so imagine what it’s like to hear that song at least once during every taping session (there was 20!!!). I know for a fact the song was played more than that because often times it was played before the first fight and before the last main event. Sometimes it was even just played for the hell of it because like I said the dude has at most like 9 songs on his MP3 player so there was a fair chance it would just come up during a shuffled playlist.
WORST LAST MINUTE CONFUSING NAME CHANGE
The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen
The last time this award was given out Red Devil got to take it home for being named “HyperActive” all the way up until showtime because I guess “HyperActive” and “HyperShock” were a little too close and HyperShock was the one with name decals already stuck onto it meaning Red Devil had to eat the soggy biscuit in that exchange. This year the award goes to The Four Horsemen for not changing their name to something that didn’t have the number fucking FOUR in it. There were not four robots; due to weight complications they could only compete with three of them at a time. As incomprehensibly stupid of a mistake that was, it happens. But even if the fourth robot was sitting in the pits you can’t name the group “FOUR Horsemen” if it’s not in the arena with the other three. That’s why Lock-Jaw wasn’t named “Lock-Jaws” this year or why Bronco wasn’t “Twice As Bad” last year. They could’ve done anything. “Harbingers of the Apocalypse”, “The Horsemen”, “Two and a Half Robots”. Fuck it.
WORST MATCHUP MADE FOR RATINGS
Tantrum (vs. Battle Royale with Cheese)
Tantrum (vs. Battle Royale with Cheese)
I hated this fucking fight. I can see why it was “randomly drawn” for Fight Night because on paper the idea of a robot armed with some BBQ equipment fighting a giant cheeseburger is objectively amusing. I cannot fault them for thinking that because it’s a fun thing. The problem here is that neither Tantrum nor Battle Royale were worth a shit and both of them weren’t working during the fight, Battle Royale obviously more so than Tantrum. (Tantrum gets the award purely for winning the fight. That was the determining factor.) The most egregious dismissal of the BattleBots rules took place in this battle because as I pointed out during my initial coverage of the match if you watch the clock behind the Battle Royale team you’ll notice that the robot was rolled over for just shy of an entire minute with no effort whatsoever on the part of the referees to count the goddamned thing out. They were really hoping that this BBQ Showdown would result in some amusing moments and were willing to forego counting someone out just so that they could cram in as many jokes about fucking cheeseburgers as possible.
Every year we routinely get a weirdo on our doorstep and I get to hand this out to someone whose homemade fursuit wasn’t run by anyone else for legitimate critique before they wore it in public. Bull Dog took home the award in 2015 because it looked like a stuffed animal that someone had been fucking and not washing for 20 years and Bucktooth Burl claimed it in 2016 because its fat suit (decorative cover) looked goofy. Predator gets this year’s Worst Fursuit award by virtue of not even having one to speak of. Craig Danby built a robot that looks the most like a fox I’ve ever seen and the only reason he didn’t win the “Worst Robotic Canine” award is because A.X.L. existed at the same time as this miserable piece of garbage. For fuck’s sake, he also build a robot named “Foxic” named as such because it was inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog. You can’t make this shit up.
MOST LIKELY TO BEAT TOMBSTONE
God damn it. This award is just more trouble than it’s worth. Swear to god. I don’t think this award has ever been correctly given out except for last season when there was literally “no winner” in that regard. You really think Bombshell was going to get this one? Bombshell couldn’t even tie its shoes this season without ripping the seat out of its pants and sharting doo doo all over the first five rows of the audience. I couldn’t tell you who I was expecting to beat Tombstone this year because as the award implies that would be nobody. Maybe for 2019 I ought to give this one some more thought because Bombshell proved that absolutely anything can happen when those arena doors are locked.
MOST IMPROVED ROBOT
Even though Witch Doctor was completely obliterated this year I have to commend Andrea Suarez and her crew for learning from their mistakes each season and bringing back a new version of their robot year after year with improvements intended to fix their weak points from the prior season. When Witch Doctor first arrived on the scene in 2015 it lost by being flipped over after getting a little too touchy-feely with Tombstone. The solution? A self-righter; Witch Doctor came back with a little toothpick to flip itself over in case it got rolled again. Then Red Devil bit down on it and tested out the strength of Flex Tape by cutting the fucking robot nearly in half. The solution? Extra top armor to deflect and wear down weapons like Red Devil’s. Andrea has done nothing but the right stuff and once she figures out how to make sure her wheels don’t just arbitrarily fly off — because for some fucking reason that was this year’s problem — the sky is the limit for this one. Or the grave, maybe? Or the above ground grave because of the sea level problems in New Orleans? Whatever, you get it.
MOST CREATIVE KNOCKOUT
The “Killsaw Slots” won an award for being the worst unintentional hazard this year but a close second has to go to the Battlebox floor itself and most of that bullshit came courtesy of Ray Billings and his robot Tombstone. In the opening fights of the season — the first damn taping session — Tombstone absolutely destroyed the floor with the help of its opponent Minotaur. They spent more time treating the arena like rock stars in a hotel room than they did actually hitting each other and in what little time this battle consisted of Tombstone had dug up at least a half dozen spots in the floor. One of these spots was significant enough to completely high center Minotaur and take its wheels off of the ground, that’s the kind of damage we’re dealing with here. Ray apologized for fucking up the floor because as far as he’s concerned that’s just the cost of doing business (and business is good, I guess) but for everyone else all these chinks and nicks simply provided spots for them to get the various parts of their robots stuck on. There’s really no surefire protocol for fixing the floor during the taping of a season other than patching it up and thanks to the producers everyone had a fun time cruising around the Tombstone Minefield of Uneven Flooring.
MOST UNTELEVISED FIGHTS
Parallax is an interesting case because “two fights” was the maximum that anyone had go unaired, including Parallax. (Not counting grudge and exhibition fights because those generally are not aired to start with.) I decided to determine this one based upon the percentage of a robot’s fights that went unaired and in the case of this robot that value is, wait for it, 100%. Yep, a grand total of zero of this robot’s battles made it to air of which there were only two. I’m not quite sure what Parallax’s problem was but it just did not work and because of it the people in charge of selecting fights that made it to air quietly side-eyed this robot from across the editing room. In its debut match, the ill-fated Jurassic World tag team, Parallax would see its best performance which included “grinding a few sparks from Basilisk” and “dying in the red square but no one noticed at first because the robot started there and this was a tag team battle”. In its second fight against Ultimo Destructo the robot lost because it managed to be worse than Ultimo Destructo and went up in smoke. Parallax exists firmly to establish the bottom of the barrel, folks.
MOST INCONSISTENT APPLICATION OF THE RULES
Whiplash (vs. Bite Force)
Whiplash (vs. Bite Force)
There were a lot of moments where either the judges or the referees made an oopsie poopsie but in my opinion the worst one would have to be counting out Whiplash in its semifinals fight with Bite Force. To bring you back up to speed on that one Whiplash lost both wheels on one side and its driver Matt Vasquez started gunning the throttle in forward and reverse to skid around the arena. This is the exact same shit Duck started doing against Tombstone when it was down to one goddamned tire, yet the ref decides that Whiplash is somehow “immobilized”? Motherfucker, this dude is skidding all over the place. Matt is absolutely moving his robot outside of its own circumference. Again, I know that’s the definition for Robot Wars and not BattleBots but that’s a pretty damn good barometer to go by. Whiplash is knocked out, but Duck wasn’t? Red Devil wasn’t when it lost a tread… TWICE? Lucky wasn’t, when it was jammed into the corner and Skorpios ripped a fart in its face that lasted for two solid minutes? Battle Royale with Che– you know what, fuck it. I’ve made my point. Whiplash wasn’t going to win that fight any way you slice it but some consistency would be appreciated.
MOST EPIC MANEUVER
Superman Punch (Bale Spear, Tantrum)
Superman Punch (Bale Spear, Tantrum)
Ah yes, the Superman Punch. Don’t know what that is? You’d be a lot cooler if you did. (Don’t worry I’m not sure I know what it is either.) Earl Pancoast is the mastermind behind Bale Spear and I’m only using the term “mastermind” here because I’m not quite sure what to call that man other than fucking crazy. The robot he built was probably one of the most aggressive and (un?)intentionally durable machines to have competed in 2018 and in its battle against Valkyrie the robot came in armed with its metal tires and an iron fist on its front. The fist, nicknamed “The Haymaker”, was attached to Bale Spear’s pneumatic ram and allowed the robot to perform what I think is its signature move: the Superman Punch. Earl shouted it out and seconds later his robot bopped Valkyrie right on its spinning disc. I assume no damage was caused in this transaction. To Valkyrie, I mean.
The Superman Punch turned out to not be Earl’s ace in the hole and his robot was destroyed but while everyone else was laughing at Bale Spear’s misfortune Tantrum began to study the ways of the mythical “Superman Punch”. In its fight against Tombstone we would finally see the culmination of this move. Tombstone hits Tantrum, but before the robot loses control of its fists Tantrum throws a punch. Its fist comes loose and punches the main power conduit of the Battlebox and very nearly kills power to the entire fucking venue. Next year you might want to think about whipping out a kryptonite dildo or something, just saying.
MOST REGRETTED BLANK CHECK
You might only recognize Insta360 as one of the sponsors whose logo was digitally inserted onto the arena banner during some of the fights this season. What you might not know is that they also provided the “bot cams” used to get on-board footage of the battles this year. “But Draco,” you say, “we hardly ever saw any bot cam footage this year!” I know, that’s because I shit you not there was an Insta360 camera that was broken off in nearly every single battle. I’m sure throughout the season you probably saw some parts laying around on the floor that sorta resembled a screwdriver handle or a USB power bank. Those are the cameras. They were stuck on various competitors throughout the season and made for incredibly easy targets of collateral damage. I think the fact that they were mounted on fucking toothpicks also didn’t help matters at all because these things seemed to break off really easily. That’s not to insult the quality of the product I’m just saying maybe next time you might want to use something stronger than the stock mounting equipment to put one on a fucking BattleBot.
I think the model seen on the show is the “Insta360 ONE” which cost $300 each. Assuming that each one that fell off was damaged and not usable again my best guess is that they went through at least 50 of the things, no joke. When you do the math that’s $15,000 just in destroyed cameras alone. Some of them you could see were on drones and on a few occasions those crashed so I don’t know how that factors into the total cost, but $15K is my honest estimate. Holy shit.
MOST OPTIMISTIC NEWBIE
Joe Johnson is probably not a name from the sport that you recognize. That’s fine, and no he’s not the guy who built Heavy Metal Noise. That was Jay Johnson. Joe is one of the guys who helped work on Captain Shrederator and after the absolute god damn nightmare that was The Captain’s 2018 season Joe Johnson wound up being the “designated survivor” tasked with taking the reins of the robot while Brian Nave was in China helping to spread democracy and Nick Nave fucked off to go to an e-Sports convention. Seriously. Joe was the only dude left. This motherfucker ain’t even in Captain Shrederator’s team photo and here he is driving the thing. Before his only battle he delivered an interview in the pits that genuinely sounded like someone applying for a job they had zero qualifications and relevant experience for. He was just so optimistic and eager to let us know how excited he was to learn how to drive the robot — which he’s never done before — but of course this was a “great opportunity”. I’ll give Joe credit, he did a good job. Better than Nick, but under Joe’s watch Captain Shrederator was bitten by Petunia and fucking exploded.
Joe, you’re fired.
MOST AWKWARD TEAM PHOTO
I give this award out every year and I hate it every time. I know people come to BattleBots to have fun but holy shit some of these teams feel like they’re running a race to the bottom when it comes to presentation. Like these guys. Congratulations, your steampunk outfits beat Matt Spurk & The Pirates Who Literally Don’t Do Anything. I’ll admit that I don’t know what the fuck “steampunk” is but I just know that every time someone tries to explain it to me I just conk out and wake up about 16 days later. I’ve heard it explained as an aesthetic that marries the Victorian era with the amenities of modern living but I still don’t get it. Whenever I’m at a convention and I see a “steampunk cosplayer” it’s always some chubby idiot with green goggles and a Nerf gun spraypainted gold. I don’t understand. What the fuck are these people wearing? Why is there a robot, is the robot steampunk? It’s named “Deus Ex Machina” but I think a better name would’ve been “Deus Ex Hurry The Fuck Up Why Is This Gussied Up Hoverround So Fucking Slow Is This Really Necessary This Robot’s Not Even Going To Win Anyways”.
MOST FREE TIME
Over on the /r/BattleBots community on Reddit I posted a thread asking for submissions for Giant Washer Awards where the one I found most amusing would make it into this article. Well, here it is. /u/Space-Jawa was our winner by submitting the post where /u/SaveOurToaster calculated — to two significant digits — the percentage of time that Chomp actually spends off of its wheels. Chomp has had a hard time finding its place in the BattleBots community because of a perfect storm of bullshit. Chomp objectively, performance-wise, is not a very good robot. But it’s engineered really well and has a lot of intricate parts. It’s one of the few robots designed and driven by a woman, but that must mean she gets preferential treatment because REEE SOCIAL JUSTICE. It’s a shit show and I kid you not people have attempted to argue that Chomp is trash because it spends “more than half of its time on its side”. Our friend Toaster did what anyone would do in that case and called in the Mythbusters to bust this one. His findings? Chomp spends 42.94% of its time in the arena on his side.
I don’t want to be a dick about this dude, but let’s be honest there. That’s close enough to round up. That’s not a “GOTCHA NECKBEARDS” moment in the slightest. Besides, it’s data and you can easily fuck with numbers so they say whatever you want them to. For example, of the six fights analyzed (the unaired battles were not yet released when this post was made) Chomp is on its side for 50+% of the fight in four of them. That’s two-thirds of Chomp’s total battles. Ergo, “Chomp spends more than half of its fights on its side”. It’s not worth it, man. I feel like you calculated all these figures as a joke but sometimes by going to such great lengths for a punchline you yourself become the joke. Trust me, I fuck that one up all the time.
MOST DANGEROUS ASS
Opinions are like asses, everyone’s got one hur hur hur. Seriously though, everyone’s got a butt. Even robots. The rear end of a BattleBot is often a useful tool that extra padding is affixed to so that a dangerous spinner can be slowed down or a stronger opponent can be lured into a more vulnerable position. Speaking of things that are dangerous I realize how risky it is to use the phrases “rear end” and “extra padding” in the same sentence but don’t worry I’m a trained professional, there won’t be any diaper hijinx on this website as long as I’m in charge. I hope.
SubZero takes home the gold in the category of Most Dangerous Ass because everyone who touched this thing died a horrible death not long thereafter. It started fairly innocuous with Huge partially breaking down at the end of its battle but things hit a crescendo when SubZero backed into Captain Shrederator and sent the spinner reeling into the corner. The crunch sound that Shrederator made as it smashed into the wall and died was easily one of the most painful-sounding hits of the year. The true power of SubZero’s ass wouldn’t be unleashed until it battled Red Devil however and the flipper was goaded into backing up onto its drone companion, Spitfire. Spitfire was nudged into the screws and was so violently torn apart that the episode had to be rated TV-MA. You can take that scene of Spitfire’s demise and drop it into any Saw movie and no one will notice.
MOST PAINFUL NUT SHOT
Minotaur (vs. Hypothermia)
Minotaur (vs. Hypothermia)
Every time Minotaur shows up and Daniel Freitas does that screaming thing he’s famous for I always drop in the catchphrase “prepare your anus”. I didn’t come up with that, it’s an old meme, but I feel it fits and you guys seem to think it’s funny. But really it’s not just your anus you need to be worried about when it comes to Minotaur, in actuality you’ve gotta watch out around your entire crotchular region because Minotaur can and will go for the front side too. Just ask Hypothermia. After getting its pants ripped off by way of Minotaur knocking loose its rear bumper plate Hypothermia made it into the opening credits of Jackass by getting kicked in the nads so hard that green sparks came out of its ass for about twenty straight seconds. Minotaur ain’t afraid to fight dirty and get down low, why do you think that particular waxing job is called “Brazilian”? Big think.
MOST SCREEN TIME
Although it was only ever in two battles this season Vanquish wins the Giant Washer for Most Screen Time for appearing in what feels like every single fucking episode of the show except the first one. Why no first episode? Because Icewave didn’t kill this thing until episode two so the LiveLeak footage of Vanquish having a cheat code Fatality performed on it didn’t yet exist. When that hit happened I knew right then and there it wouldn’t be the last time we saw it, and I was right. Every single time someone mentioned Icewave, massive damage, or a “huge hit there” the editors would cut in the B-roll of Vanquish’s right half being deported. You could not get away from this fight and past a certain point I was almost tired of seeing it. I think the editors were clued in on this because when it came time for the “top hits of the season” the fight was either missing from the list or put way down near the bottom. We’re never going to escape this hit because as long as BattleBots is on the air this is going to be a go-to highlight. I hope Jack Tweedy gets royalties every time this clip is shown because if he does maybe he can put this shitty thing back together.
BIGGEST REPAIR BILL IN A SINGLE FIGHT
Monsoon (vs. Red Devil)
Monsoon (vs. Red Devil)
Red Devil is a unique robot, and that’s an understatement. I don’t think I could properly quantify this thing without just calling it “expensive” because as Ravi Baboolal said himself there’s not a single component in this robot that you can just go order online. That might be a slight exaggeration because I’m sure I could buy a shitty Diablo saw blade or something from Lowe’s if I really wanted to but whatever, I got the point. Where the fuck are you going to buy “a Red Devil”? It’s all custom and that’s why my professional appraisal is “wow better not break any of that shit”. Monsoon was probably the worst robot for Red Devil to fight this season because even though I assumed Monsoon was going to be a total waste of time it turns out I was wrong and you and me and Ravi and everyone else discovered this all at the same time the minute Monsoon cleaved into Red Devil’s plow and blew that robot the fuck apart.
Monsoon didn’t just splay Red Devil open like a casualty of a train accident, it actually just ripped it to shreds. Red Devil’s entire lifting mechanism was blown backward and stripped, and its saw blade arm was decimated and thrown into the ceiling. Tom Brewster’s robot achieved this with such force that as parts of Red Devil began to rain back down it started taking pieces of the arena’s ceiling scaffolding with it. Monsoon’s weapon was also damaged in this exchange so when you total up Monsoon’s repairs plus the arena plus whatever the fuck it took to put Red Devil back together you end up with what I believe to be the absolute most expensive repair bill as the result of a single fight. As a wise man named Swift once said, THAT’S ALOTTA DAMAGE.
BIGGEST PILE OF SHIT
You probably think I’m about to start ragging on Sharkoprion but you’d be wrong. This is one of those meme awards that I’m playing in literal terms. Remember that cold opening where Sharkoprion cleared out the men’s room by T-posing over the toilet to assert its dominance as it blasted The Big One? That’s what I’m talking about. I’ve already given out the award for Worst Robot anyways so why not have some fun with one of the skits where I get the opportunity to drop another Jurassic Park quote, like “that is one big pile of shit”? Sharkoprion arrived as an alternate this season but hit that perfect mix of aesthetic and effectiveness; the robot’s bomber-themed shark paint job was unabashedly cool and its ultra compact disc gave us a couple of great shots this year. Because the robot was a sleeper hit, and because Discovery Channel has been riding the Shark Week hype train for 20 fucking years, it was only a matter of time before Sharkoprion would get a moment to rep the big one for BattleBots… though oddly enough the “welcome to Shark Week” skit didn’t air until Shark Week was long over. Now that’s what I call a pile of shit.
End Game was probably on a lot of people’s radars as the “cockiest” team at the show this year but I’m going to disagree and instead go the route of Team SawBlaze. The big difference for me was the behavior of the teams during their battles. Outside of the arena you had Jamison Go pretending to shoot fire from his hands and Jack Barker walked around wearing aviators indoors like a douchebag. Both are equally dumb so both get a point. Both builders also gave a lot of lip to the interviewers regarding their prospects for the event and who they thought could beat, but when it came down to brass tacks Jamison takes the win for talking shit the entire duration of his match against Overhaul. The fact that he also later defeated End Game in the main event of the “USA vs. The World” special is just icing on the cake.
I know it’s all an act, though. So are these stupid awards. I get it, Jamison. And You get one of these. Congratulations, hope this booby prize makes up for the Giant Nut you didn’t win.
On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum we’ve got The Ewerts, namely Clint and Jake. You might recognize this duo of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Doofus as the operators of Warrior Dragon. Warrior Dragon opened one of the taping sessions this season because I guess either the producers were unaware just how bad this robot was or just didn’t give a shit. This is a robot you queue up when you’ve got some hot dogs and shit that need to be sold in the next few minutes because of some bullshit California law about not leaving food out for longer than 10 minutes or you have to shove it up your ass to dispose of it. You think I’m being silly but this is California we’re talking about. Anyways, seeing as how that wasn’t the case Clint & Jake showed up with their robot, plopped it down in the red square, opened up some folding chairs, and just hung out. They didn’t even bother to get out of their seats during the arena introductions, they just sorta waved and gave a “what’s up” nod. I wish I had the ability to give this little of a fuck.
LEAST RELEVANT BANNER AD ON THIS WEBSITE
I recently re-added the Google banner ads to this website even though I’d previously said I was done with them. My reasoning is that Google has relaxed their rules a bit and in the process made their product at least a little more attractive. Plus the 2019 season is going to be taped soon so I figured if I can score a few extra bucks to pay for a meal or two that’s a win in my book. I told Google to just generate ads based upon the content of these posts and the resulting mess was a bunch of banner ads for Ashley Madison showing up. If you don’t know what that website is it’s the “dating site” you go to when you want to cheat on your fucking spouse. I guess because I keep talking about things “getting fucked” Google assumed this is a website for people trying to get laid. The joke is on them though because you have to be married to get the “thrill” of using Ashley Madison and I’ll be damned if a single one of you goddamned nerds who read this website have the ability to get laid by ONE person let alone another on the side. Now that I say that I’ve just realized the joke is actually on me because that means none of you are going to click that ad.
When you name your robot it is best to assume that the opposite of whatever you’ve named it will happen. I think Petunia’s team gets this because I can’t think of any other reason why you’d name a fucking BattleBot “Petunia”. A team who didn’t get this though would be Team Lucky Canucky, the builders of course behind Lucky. I’ve already sorta hit on this previously, but here’s a recap as to why Lucky is anything but. Starting in 2016 Lucky would be the first robot to ever be able to tell someone else what it feels like to get smacked on the head by Beta’s hammer, a robot who had waited 15 goddamned years to bust that nut. Lucky then had its arm torn off by Yeti and that was a wrap on its season. This year Lucky’s first battle pitted it against Skorpios and the refs decided not to count Lucky out even though it was clearly distressed and immobilized. Skorpios had free reign to beat this robot to death via the Pulverizers. As bad as this fight was, this would merely be the least of Lucky’s woes. Son of Whyachi was next, and Lucky was just trashed.
The flipper showed up in the Desperado event and the Last Chance Rumble but the wind had been taken out of its sails. Lucky’s record is down there with Overhaul’s at 2-6 and that’s a shame because this robot was a lot more successful when it was named Ziggy. Maybe they shouldn’t have fucked with the name.
By its very nature BattleBots is not a sport that can be “eco friendly”. What are you going to do, put solar panels on your robot? The Pulverizers would probably have something to say about that. When you build a robot you’ve gotta do it with all sorts of toxic shit that’ll probably kill a horse with even the smallest exposure. You’ve gotta use batteries that, when punctured, either blow up or require the entire arena to be ventilated for 30 minutes. Or both. We’re probably killing the planet with this hobby but who fucking cares? Because there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly BattleBots I guess that means this award is going to have to go to the robot who is literally the “greenest” one, so like an autistic white kid with a bowl cut screaming at a Halo game “the greenest color that you can possibly be” appears to be… Basilisk!
There was some tough competition, especially in the way of Ultimo Destructo and Witch Doctor, but Basilisk has them beat because those teams didn’t think to cover their robot in green fucking LED lights.
Petunia (vs. Monsoon)
Petunia (vs. Monsoon)
Kenny likes to say “never let a fight go to the judges” and that’s not a bad rule of thumb to live by. If you didn’t bring a robot that irreparably destroys its opponent then you fucked up. Simple as that. Monsoon is popping up in another one of these destruction-based awards this time for the one going to Petunia. Mischa de Graaf said his robot had to “take a hit before it can land a hit” and as such it was armored to the 9’s to take the aforementioned hit. What it wasn’t expecting was to take that hit from the back because as luck would have it Petunia is a biter bot so Monsoon said to bite the pillow and went in dry. The resulting carnage that unfolded saw Petunia gush hydraulic fluid and oil all over the floor until it started smoking and caught fire internally. Somehow this was not enough to kill Petunia because the robot continued to try and fight thinking that it could turn this around while bleeding out all over the place. Petunia did eventually stop moving but I think that had more to do with driving over its own oil spill and losing enough traction to where it was immobile because its wheels were still turning. Again, while the robot just burned to death. You could’ve fooled me by saying this was the ending to a Halloween film. Except the third one because I’m not that stupid.
Well here’s my favorite part of the article. I love nothing more than to fulfill my obligations to give out an award based purely on diversity with no merit whatsoever. My piece of paper here is telling me that this year’s token award goes to Mohawk for… let’s see… “the advancement of transgender awareness in the sport of robot combat”. Well fuck me! Seems like this one’s a reference to Mohawk’s tussle with SawBlaze where the robot was flipped over and had its underside sliced into for about ten straight seconds resulting in a gash that was literally glowing when SawBlaze pulled its blade away. Mohawk eventually got the new axe wound it was dreaming of but I hope he… er, she, is okay with being Chinese or whatever because it was installed sideways. Thanks, Obamacare.
THE “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO” AWARD
Icewave is one of the best robots of the BattleBots reboot and you can’t accuse me of hopping onto bandwagons because I’ve been singing the praises of this thing since day one back in 2015. I lamented Icewave’s lack of TV appearances last season because I said this was a great robot who could provide some great hits, and wow looky here I guess I was right! Icewave was being ignored by a lot of people in this community who are now claiming they’ve always liked this robot and y’all are some fair-fucking-weather fans if I’ve ever seen ’em. It was the first robot to split a dude in half and when other robots started doing it Icewave did it a second time just to prove that it could. It had already beaten Huge but if it’s dicks that you all wanna measure then I guess Icewave had no choice but to rip Huge in half. Fuck Huge and its tiny wiener.
This may have very well been Icewave’s final season because its run for the Nut ended at the hands of Rotator who just absolutely destroyed Icewave’s engine. Now all Marc DeVidts has is a shitty wedge. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of this robot, but if this is it then it’s been one hell of a ride. I fucking told you so.
“ROBOT ARENA 2 COUNTS AS C.A.D., RIGHT?” AWARD
Bale Spear is a great Everyman’s robot. It’s a super simple affair that I can guarantee you’ve probably mindlessly sketched onto a piece of paper in your free time but the difference between you and Earl Pancoast is that Earl’s got access to the tools needed to build it. And by that I mean the dude lives on a farm because a “bale spear” is an actual thing that farmers use and this robot has one. I feel like the pneumatic ram that they use to kill livestock would’ve been a sicker and more badass thing to equip the robot with but hey it’s not my creation so whatever. Also maybe you can’t buy those out of the back of a Nasco Farm Supply catalog.
Because of its simplicity, and because BattleBots required a CAD drawing as part of the submission process this year, I’d say it’s a safe bet that Earl fired up Robot Arena 2 and made a replica of his robot as part of his submission. Bale Spear was accepted by the producers because of the sheer balls of this guy, and also probably because they knew that Earl had the livestock tools to remove their balls if they said no.
PETER GABRIEL’S “BIG TIME” AWARD
Battle Royale with Cheese
Battle Royale with Cheese
You know you’re in the shit when you reach the section of the articles where things like “Best”, “Worst”, and “Most” are thrown out the window and instead I’m giving out dumb shit like the Peter Gabriel “Big Time” Award. The hell does that even mean? Who knows! But Battle Royale with Cheese takes this trophy home because I shit you not that lady wearing the lettuce outfit was plucked straight out of the music video for Solsbury Hill. The similarities don’t stop there either, Solsbury Hill was written with some bullshit time signature because Peter Gabriel said he wanted the song to always sound like it was “struggling” and wouldn’t you know “struggling” is the best (and only) word to describe Battle Royale’s entire season. Other than that there’s really not much else because I’m trying to compare a great song to a bad robot.
Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.
U.N. INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING AWARD
Robot combat is an international affair these days. BattleBots is the premiere event of the United States but we also had Robogames for a while where people could get their feet wet. Europe has had Robot Wars and Roaming Robots, and China is just now getting events of their own. Robot combat is also a thing in India but judging by some of these videos that’s some dangerous shit they’ve got going on there, are those just plugged into the wall? Anyways international boundaries are no longer a thing when it comes to robot combat. We all help each other, we all kill each other. Except for China because man one of their manufacturing companies fucked over the Gigabyte team something fierce this year. As a massive shell spinner obviously Gigabyte needs a “dummy thicc” axle for it to spin on. Brent Rieker and John Mladenik ordered what they thought was a 6061 aluminum shaft from China but what they got was just some cast garbage made from melted down scrap. Oh yeah, they got the shaft alright.
Gigabyte’s axle turned to mush and the robot’s outer shell violently ripped off of its mount after a particularly gnarly blow from Tombstone. Brent was surprisingly calm about it on camera but I have a feeling when the red light wasn’t on that man was dropping language that would make a sailor blush. I know I would.
THE OFFICIAL KENNY FLORIAN
“HUGEST HIT THERE” AWARD
End Game (vs. Brutus & War Hawk)
“HUGEST HIT THERE” AWARD
End Game (vs. Brutus & War Hawk)
Throughout the course of this season Kenny Florian dropped a “HUGE HIT THERE” about 30 or so times. For the sake of convenience I’m also counting the ones that were added in by the editors because as I reviewed this season in one sitting I noticed that both Chris and Kenny have had many of their commentaries turned into soundbites (Chris’ most used ones were “OH MY GOD” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME”). As I went through season 8 I took note of every time Kenny gave us one of those beautiful quotes and then ranked them to determine once and for all just what was the HUGEST hit there. The criteria was simple, Kenny had to say “huge hit there” when the hit was landed. If there was not exclamation, it didn’t count. Likewise if it was said during a replay it also did not count.
The result? End Game ripping off Brutus’ front wedge and throwing it so high up that it busted an entire set of lights in the arena ceiling. This hit happened during the playoff for 15th place where the “selection committee” couldn’t figure out which of these vertical spinners was the one they wanted to have join the other nine fucking vertical spinners already in the top 16.
(In case you’re wondering what the not-so-hugest hit there was, that would be when Chomp whacked Overhaul. The more you know.)
FAZE CLAN MLG 420 NOSCOPE AWARD
Nick Nave may have abandoned Captain Shrederator in a tow away zone so he could go play Fortnite but that was a dumb mistake because we’ve got all the hot FPS action right here at BattleBots! You just gotta look for it. Brutus knows what’s up because last year Adam Bercu made off with this award for bringing literal fucking guns into the arena and discharging pyrotechnics all over the place. This year the stakes were higher and Evan Wooley rose to the occasion because while Brutus showed up with a gun Evan’s robot arrived with a goddamned cannon. Double Jeopardy, named as such because you can’t get tried for murder twice and you know this guy’s gonna do it, rolled into its debut battle against Gamma 9 and when things got hot and heavy Double Jeopardy exercised its second amendment rights and blasted Gamma 9 right in the fucking face point blank. It’s say that was some “gangster shit” but I’m pretty sure they don’t have cannons in the hood.
Gamma 9’s hydraulic lines were damaged by the hit but it survived. Double Jeopardy only had one in the chamber this year but sometimes that’s all you need. While it may not have won the Giant Nut, by winning this Faze Clan award Evan Wooley is entitled to a lifetime supply of Mountain Dew (which isn’t much because that shit will kill you).
WEIGHT LOSS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
(sponsored by Nutrisystem)
(sponsored by Nutrisystem)
Double Jeopardy may have skated with a free case of corn water but Brutus stopped cashing in those coupons and opted to take a much healthier route in life and decided to shed some weight. There’s still a sponsorship though, because of course there is. This one’s brought to you by Nutrisystem because if you’ve ever wanted to control your hunger by eating melba toast that tasted like it was made from saw dust and horse pussy then these guys can hook you up. Use coupon code “BATTLEBOTSUPDATE” at checkout and I’m pretty sure the website will tell you that’s not a valid code.
Brutus’ “my old pants don’t fit me anymore” moment actually coincides with the “Hugest Hit There” award because they are one in the same. End Game gets an award for the carnage it wrought, but Brutus also gets an award for losing 100 pounds in the blink of an eye. Impressive considering most people on average lose less than a dozen pounds on that shit after a full month. Brutus’ front plow comprises 40% of its total weight, and for it to be torn off like that means that it was probably the biggest chunk/part to be ripped away all season. Of course I’m just eyeballing this and I could be wrong but hey I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to describe something using the phrasing “saw dust and horse pussy” so fuck you it’s my site.
“RACE HARD, CRASH HARDER” AWARD
“RACE HARD, CRASH HARDER” AWARD
Nothing says “American” like NASCAR and cashing in on a tragedy so that’s why one of the most anticipated awards that I give out is the one named after Dale “The Intimidator” Earnhardt who was so bad at his job that he died. Now I know that Dale didn’t crash his car and meet his maker in a fiery inferno but don’t tell me that isn’t the first fucking thing you think of when you hear “NASCAR crash”. It’s for this reason why the “Race Hard, Crash Harder” award given out in his name is meant to honor the robots who exited this season in a ball of fire and there couldn’t possibly be any other robot who’d win this award other than Free Shipping. Gary Gin’s “Totally Not Original Sin” forklift was compared to Ghost Rider all season long but when push came to shove, Free Shipping exploded. With Gary it’s hard to tell where the line between “lots of fire but this is intentional” and “lots of fire and I think we’re fucked” sits. I’m pretty sure that line was crossed while fighting Huge though because in less than three minutes Free Shipping when from perfectly fine to “on fire for real and in a heap of parts”. Just like Dale!!!
MOST PAINFUL ELIMINATION OF THE DAY
MOST PAINFUL ELIMINATION OF THE DAY
Due to the new Fight Night format of the show “one and done” losses were rendered a thing of the past. Everyone getting at least four fights opened up the possibility for competitors to be able to make a comeback after a tough call, but it also allowed for exceptionally unlucky robots to be eliminated with an 0-4 record or worse. Red Devil did alright for itself this year and finished 2-4 mostly because like Valkyrie it took every opportunity it could to win some extra points with the judges to make it into the top 16. Naturally, because you are reading this, that means it failed to qualify. In the end it was destroyed in the Last Chance Rumble and as we reflect back on the battered and beaten Red Devil that died in the line of duty, let’s revisit how we got to this point.
Red Devil opened the floor with what was basically a free win against Brutus. That was the only bone Red Devil was going to get this year because from here this thing was repeatedly destroyed over and over again. Red Devil met up with Monsoon in a fight that was so brutal Monsoon won a fucking Giant Washer for the damage it caused. The robot moved on to face Valkyrie who was more than happy to liberate one of the bot’s treads and sent it twitching and convulsing all across the floor like some gruesome separated lizard tail. That’s twice now that this robot had to be put back together but it was time for Red Devil to represent Canada in the “USA vs. The World” special… where fucking Kraken bit down on the robot’s treads and broke an entire set. Finally, Red Devil crawled into the Last Chance Rumble where a stray blow from Bombshell blew one set of treads off of their tracks and a slam from Gigabyte dented the other set so badly that they seized up. Exorcism complete.
Now, what do we always say? Don’t get eliminated!
“BALLS OF STEEL” LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“BALLS OF STEEL” LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Having balls of steel means staring down certain death, lighting up a smoke, and shooting it the finger — or straddling the atomic bomb like a bull and riding it all the way down to oblivion. The deck is stacked against you, but you don’t give a shit. You’re here to party and if you’re going down then god damn it so is everyone else. War Stop, the minibot of War Hawk, posthumously claims this award like all the others for being the catalyst of the 15th place playoff and luring End Game to its demise. When no one was willing to throw the first punch War Stop dared to light a flare and wave it in front of the T-rex. The distraction proved to be enough to get the fight underway and just a few short seconds afterward End Game was on its head and burning up. War Stop was ejected into the fucking roof and I have no idea how much of it was actually recovered. Enough for a burial, most likely.
“IRON SPHINCTER” ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
And finally, the last award I have to give out is perhaps the most important one, the “Iron Sphincter” Award. The point of this award is who got fucked the worst this season and my god we’re dealing with wild shit no one has ever seen before like robots that have been cleaved in two. Robots plural. So who gets it? Well, it’s gotta be Hal Rucker; after Duck dominated the entirety of the Last Chance Rumble only for Bombshell to come back to life with eight seconds to go Duck was seemingly robbed of a victory that literally every single person in the stands thought he’d rightfully earned. The shit storm was so bad that BattleBots had to upload a video onto their YouTube channel explaining the rules of a rumble before the episode aired in a vain effort to try and preempt a secondary meltdown.
Robots may have been cut in half and random things in the ceiling might have been trashed but none of that required intervention on this level. The look on Hal’s face says it all, and the Brazzers logo I added onto it explained the rest. The last time I saw someone get fucked that brutally I swear I wound up on a list somewhere.
And there you have it, 80+ Giant Washer Awards handed out in an article that’s just under 20,000 words long. This sucks, but at least I got it done before the 2019 season started and that was my goal. Also this whole thing is my own damn fault so there’s no one to blame but me. But it’s here, and it’s as “on time” as it’s going to be. Hopefully you’ll understand if I wrap this article up a lot quicker than normal because I’m fucking exhausted.
BattleBots 2019 is taking place this weekend (as of this article’s publication on April 8, 2019) and I am looking forward to seeing the fights and saying hello to all the friends and folks I know. I promise I don’t have any stupid hijinx planned. I’m just going to relax in the green room and probably be duped into drinking another can of La Croix because the Fiji water is going to be gone and it’s not healthy to only drink fucking Red Bull. But I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great season and I can’t wait to see if Bite Force wins championship #3 or if someone else comes out of left field and surprises us all. When I get back from California I’ll be putting together another one of those NDA minefield “event reports” and from there we’ll see how it goes? I noticed on the shooting schedule there are only 18 sessions so I don’t know if that means there’s 18 episodes or if more episodes will be “invented” out of extra things taped throughout the week. Exciting!
Hopefully the GWA’s we were worth the wait! You can keep up to date when new stuff goes up by following BattleBots Update on Facebook. If you want to help me find a way to justify spending entire weekends writing 20K-word diatribes about robot combat you can make a monthly pledge on Patreon, or a one-time tip through PayPal.
See you at season 9!