[Robot Wars UK: S10 E6 is available online HERE.]
Like any season of Robot Wars, the final episode is reserved for the championship. Except for the first season when I think they combined Heat F and the Grand Final into the same episode and it was kind of a shit show. Anyways it’s been like 20 goddamned years since then and we’ve figured out better ways of choosing a victor. Sort of. For the past five episodes the overall heat winner has received an automatic place in the Grand Final however because they need six robots to make this season’s format work that means a wildcard needs to be chosen. After several years of “selection committees” making calls so fucking terrible that they’d make an unscrupulous football referee blush the event organizers have instead introduced a consolation melee where the winner claims the 6th spot in the Grand Finals. Honestly I think an easier method of filling spot #6 would’ve been to just have another heat but for some stupid ass reason the BBC likes to produce shows with only six episodes per season. I’m not making shit up, this is really a thing that happens.
So… a sixth heat would’ve required the inclusion of a seventh episode for the Grand Final and we just can’t have that. God forbid someone upsets the six-fucking-episodes-per-season spirits.
THE GRAND FINALISTS OF SERIES 10
Look I know this episode is moving hella fast because the editors have to pull a miracle out of their asses and find a way to fit a rumble with ten robots and no goddamned time limit into an episode of the show that’s otherwise going to follow the same exact six bot structure as the heats — so I guess in a way we’ve come full circle and are repeating season one — but that’s not my fucking problem. There’s five robots in this episode that have had to kick a lot of ass to make it here and I think it’s appropriate that we give them some kudos first before the laundry list of second and third places. In order of their original qualification, this season’s Grand Finalists are:
BEHEMOTH — This robot is older than fucking time itself and it’s literally impossible to look a picture of this thing from its series 2 debut and not laugh at it, but Ant Pritchard has stuck beside his robot and has entered it in every single goddamned series of Robot Wars with the exception of the first. And Behemoth hasn’t really changed in that time, either, that’s what’s incredible about this machine. It has always been a giant stupid bulldozer with a high center of gravity and against all odds this thing manages to stay alive. Sure, last season there was that “minor incident” involving Cherub but guess what? Ant came back and look at where he’s made it. Where’s the robot from Cherub’s team this year? Oh yeah that’s right, they brought back Gabriel and Gabriel got its dick cut off by Sir Killalot. Behemoth’s heat included series 8 champion Apollo and through the magic of fancy driving (and a little bit of luck) the former champ was thrown into the pit by a robot that’s literally old enough to legally have sex with. That’s staying power. That’s Behemoth.
CARBIDE — If you’re an unoriginal type you probably refer to this robot as “the British Tombstone”. Don’t worry, I’m guilty of that too. The name just caught on and while it was a noble observation two years ago these days everyone’s like “can we just shut the fuck up about Tombstone already horizontal spinners are gay”. Carbide is the reigning champion of Robot Wars this series after a run in series 9 that included a match where Carbide smacked an opponent so hard that the bot spun across the arena and broke the fucking wall. Sure, PP3D did that too, but that was with a full-sized opponent; Carbide punted a ~50kg clusterbot and managed to achieve the same goal. Real talk, I almost failed physics class but by my retard math that means Carbide had to fling that thing twice as hard. Carbide’s had some mega battles already in this series. In fact, Carbide’s heat played out virtually identically to last year’s Grand Final; Carbide had to get through both Aftershock and Eruption to qualify. Eruption made it into the consolation rumble, but Aftershock is toast. The reigning champion keeps doling out the hits and they don’t show any signs of stopping.
RAPID — Rapid is equipped with an extremely powerful flipper. Sorry, I realized I just named half the field with that description, let me rephrase that. Rapid is the expensive one. In a sport where ingenuity and on-the-spot fabrication skills reign supreme Rapid’s Josh Valman is the first to seriously approach the quandary of whether or not you can literally just buy the championship. You may recall this plan didn’t pan out in the team’s favor last year because their robot was so stupidly complex that one tiny thing got stuck in the gearbox and Josh threw in the towel because he’d have to take the whole thing apart and there wasn’t enough time for him to do that. Basically this guy is so used to driving expensive cars that require a specialist just to change the goddamned oil that he subconsciously let this atrocious design philosophy seep into his Robot Wars entry. Not this year, though. Rapid has the art of throwing people the fuck out of the arena down to a science. Almost. It managed to heave Track-tion and Terrorhurtz out but struggled with Bucky because Bucky was the size of a fucking stove, but still that’s a pretty good track record.
NUTS 2 — Nobody expected Nuts to make it this far, not even the guy who built it. When the guy who designed the fucking thing is like “dude I don’t know” you know you’re looking at a legend in the making. Nuts came to Robot Wars back in series 8 where it was this hilariously pathetic piece of shit thwack bot that managed to survive its group melee solely because one of the other competitors kamikaze’d Razer into the pit. This meant Nuts got to fight three more times where it was promptly wrecked by Carbide and then spent the rest of the heat constantly falling apart. Nuts returned the following year and was promptly eliminated by Matilda. In the time between then and now Nuts’ builder and driver Rory Mangles has chased down the elusive “Melty Brain”, a drive system that allows his robot to spin up to speed and continue to cruise around the arena. Many of tried, most have failed, and the one guy who managed to figure it out came from a fucking farm. Make no mistake, Nuts has evolved into something terrifying this year. Nuts sank former Grand Finalist Concussion in a single blow and advanced onward to do the exact same thing to Andron 4000’s hydraulic system. Lightning has officially struck twice.
MAGNETAR — Ellis Ware made the grave error of going on camera and saying that he doesn’t like to be called a “boy genius” and now because of that this is exclusively how Dara O’Briain and Jonathan Pearce refer to him. Ellis dropped out of school to pursue engineering and bot building. I’m sure you remember his original robot, Pulsar. We almost never got to see what this robot was made of because it was actually eliminated in its first ever melee, but thanks to Chompalot getting a goddamned Viking funeral Pulsar was reinstated and delivered KO after KO where it eventually reached the Grand Finals and was subsequently stopped by Thor and TR2. Ellis took Pulsar and drove it as far as he could last series before realizing that in order to get better a rebuild was in order. Pulsar is no more, in its place now is Magnetar. Magnetar is essentially the “same” robot overall just with everything dialed up to fucking 11. Magnetar has reached the Grand Final this series by knocking out every single one of its opponents. In one fucking hit.
Anyways that’s the Grand Finalists, now here’s the Robot Wars equivalent of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
APOLLO — ERUPTION — TERRORHURTZ — CONCUSSION — THOR — SABRETOOTH — BIG NIPPER — TRACK-TION — IRON-AWE 6 — EXPULSION
I covered the Grand Finalists in their order of qualification in the section above, but for the sake of just going with the flow of the show I’m going to briefly touch on each of the rumble participants in the order in which they’re presented here. APOLLO is the disgraced former champion from series 8 who made it into the Grand Finals last year but dabbed too hard this time around and fell in its heat final. ERUPTION was placed in a heat that essentially consisted of half of last season’s Grand Final and ultimately only one of them could move on, which was Carbide in a heat final that was a repeat of last year’s championship. TERRORHURTZ has a super low wedge to go with its iconic axe, but Rapid had an even lower one and the robot was tossed out of the ring in its heat final. CONCUSSION fought its way through the redemption rounds after being shamed by Nuts 2 in a single blow before failing to top the flail spinner in their rematch. THOR strongarmed its way through its entire heat but a well placed blast from Magnetar’s drum killed its weapon and ensured that the axe with the choppy hand motion was banished to this rumble. SABRETOOTH suffered critical damage from Donald fucking Thump but was fortunate enough to bounce back with an easy pairing in its redemption fight. BIG NIPPER managed to avoid Carbide in its heat and took advantage of a crippled Aftershock in its playoff for 3rd place. TRACK-TION hasn’t done a fucking thing in this series except use a wedge that was loaned to them and let Apex hit it and blow itself up. IRON-AWE 6 is allegedly armed with a flipper but it hasn’t been used a single time and made it here because it came from the same heat as Nuts 2 and there was something wrong with that whole episode. EXPULSION put forth an honest effort with its redesign and caught some lucky breaks against disabled opponents, but Magnetar ensured it wouldn’t make it any further than the playoff round.
“Tell my wives, all 162 of them, that I love them,” says Jonathan moments before the rumble starts. Literally what the fuck does this even mean? Are there 162 Matildas? No really, this is such a specific remark that I want to know what this means. The people who put together the Robot Wars Wiki sourced this exact quote as one of the four thousand ones from this episode and they just leave it at that. That’s it. No expansion upon whether or not this was some obscure reference or something These are the same people who meticulously curate bullshit trivia like “Big Nipper is one of four robots to flip another out of the arena without reaching the heat final in the same series, along with Eruption, Behemoth and General Carnage 2.” The fuck? I’ve read this sentence at least five times and I feel like I know less about Big Nipper now.
Track-tion is focused on first probably because everyone’s trying to figure out what the fuck it’s wearing. It’s a cardboard effigy of Aftershock with “AfterFLOP” written on it. The joke makes more sense when you remember that Will Thomas mentored the Track-tion team. It’s still not funny, but at least its less confusing. Anyways because the cameras focused on Track-tion first that means it’s going to be the first to die; Concussion cruises in and pulls the entire right tank tread off of it and that’s about all she wrote for those kids. Thor goes for the Dial of Doom and rather than fuck with any gimmicks they just decide to drop the pit and Expulsion flies into it immediately thereafter. Track-tion is crippled but not dead and starts getting whaled on by Terrorhurtz while Apollo takes a shot right on the ass from Concussion. Iron-Awe gets close enough to the pit trigger where it doesn’t have to actually touch it to activate the hazards and fires off the Fog of War. Watch closely. It’s flipper doesn’t do anything.
Thor decides to stick a feather in Track-tion and mercy kills it by pushing it down the pit before any further misdeeds can ruin the machine. Meanwhile, Apollo shows Iron-Awe how a flipper actually works and throws it across the arena and because we live in a world where god doesn’t exist Iron-Awe lands on its fucking wheels and drives away. The Fog of War gets activated yet again and by this point Jonathan’s out of shit to say about it so he just starts singing its name while the smoke effect goes off. Apollo looks to be in top form with back to back tosses of Sabretooth and Thor. Neither one gets anyone out of the arena but you can tell the team has something to prove since they don’t want to go down in history as the inventors of the Turbo Dab and nothing else. Someone fucks with the tire again and sends out the rogue house robots but this is already too goddamned confusing and I think Killalot & Co. will agree with that sentiment because they fail to pick out a target. Big Nipper reminds us that it’s in this rumble by rolling Eruption onto its back and since Iron-Awe has still done fuck all with its “flipper” in this rumble it goes for the Dial of Doom again and, sure enough, more Fog of War. At this rate the people running the hazards are going to run out of CO2.
In what I’m going to say is the only instance of the Fog of War serving its purpose a bewildered Iron-Awe stumbles onto the floor flipper. It fires, launching Iron-Awe through the air, and when the robot lands it crashes down onto its lid. Fucking finally. Concussion seizes the opportunity and dumps Iron-Awe into the pit, ending its run for the title with a grand total of 0 flips. Victory doesn’t last long for Concussion however as Thor is quick to cruise in and make sure Iron-Awe doesn’t get too lonely. Sabretooth tries to score some points on Eruption’s face but its drum keeps bouncing away. Meanwhile Apollo has asserted itself as the dominant force in this rumble by flipping Terrorhurtz over who bounces right back and gets a nice chop on Sabretooth without needing to wait that long for a good hit. Big Nipper starts fucking with Eruption over in Sir Killalot’s corner and both robots end up getting shoved out of the CPZ by the house bot hard enough to hit the side of the pit trigger and still set it off. This triggers the rouge house robots and further permits Sir Killalot to chase down its prey. Shunt gets involved and rams Apollo, who at some point appears to have lost part of its top armor panel, into the wall. Sabretooth tries to pull some some Initial D bullshit and ends up drifting straight into the pit.
Thor clips the Dial of Doom with its axe on its way to falling into the pit as well. Sir Killalot, who’s still out of his CPZ from the previous rogue house robot event, picks up Terrorhurtz by its axe and threatens to straight up drop it out of the arena. John Reid makes direct eye contact with Killalot and with a stern “NO” convinces him to set his robot down. Looks like we know who’s the top in that relationship. The rumble has come down to Terrorhurtz, Eruption, and Apollo because if you watch closely you’ll notice that Big Nipper has gotten sucked into the arena vortex too. Apollo looks to be doing the worst out of the three which is understandable because it’s spent the past five minutes trying to slam dunk every single opponent and now it’s visibly fucked up with missing armor and what appears to be a damaged side of drive. Terrorhurtz and Eruption are busy sparring and as the duo nears the pit button I’m fearing for the worst. Someone’s going to bump it and set off the fucking fog for the nineteenth time. Color me surprised when that doesn’t happen and instead Eruption ends up wedging Terrorhurtz into part of the framework around the Dial of Doom to knock it out. Considering everyone up to this point has been tripping and falling into the mass grave it’s amusing to see someone get eliminated in a more unique manner.
This leaves just Eruption and Apollo as the final participants and with Apollo visibly crippled I’m sure we can all guess how this one’s going to unfold. Eruption throws Apollo into Shunt’s CPZ and the former champion struggles to get away. Eruption follows through with a second attack that looks like it’s supposed to be a ring out but falls just short and turns Apollo over instead. The robot visibly tries to right itself but there’s not enough air left in its tank which means that Apollo is out, the fidget spinner market crumbles, and Eruption is the last robot standing. After a rough heat that pitted Michael Oates against some of the most powerful ghosts from his past he’s fought his way back from the cusp of oblivion to earn the wildcard and make one last run for the championship.
GROUP BATTLE 1
Carbide is in the hot seat for this match because not only is it the reigning champion, which comes with a free target on your back by default, but it’s paired up against two machines that it’s encountered before and brutalized in years gone by. Behemoth has affixed a giant fuck off train plow specifically to deal with Carbide’s weapon and Nuts… well, Nuts is Nuts. Behemoth gets the fight started by doing all the hard work of maneuvering around Carbide and trying to deflect the blade with its massive plow and you can see that it’s holding up fairly well but it’s obvious that it’s not an attachment that’s going to go the distance. Behemoth needs to get this over and done with if it wants to set the record straight. Nuts tries to help out by preemptively opening the pit now that Carbide has been corralled over near it, a plan that backfires spectacularly as Behemoth gets popped by Carbide, lands on the platform, and rides it all the way down to Hell.
So that’s clearly not how that was supposed to work out because now Nuts is all alone with fucking Carbide as a result of accidentally killing its temporary ally. With few options Nuts defaults to doing what it always does, spinning around and landing impossible shots with its weapon. Nuts hits Carbide once — fucking once — and Carbide’s weapon chain comes off of its sprocket. Nuts busted Concussion in a single shot, hooked Andron 4000 right in the jugular, and has now pissed straight in the face of the reigning champion. What fucking universe is this? Carbide, who at one point reduced both of the robots in this group melee down to something beyond their original components, is now on the ropes and forced to use its shitty rear wedge all because a fucking hammer on the end of a chain caught it at just the right spot. I refuse to believe this is happening, not out of malice toward Nuts, but because this fucking thing has made lightning strike not twice but three goddamned times.
Carbide nudges Nuts onto the floor flipper and as luck would have it, the hazard blows the fuck up and gets dislodged from its loaded position meaning that’s all we’re going to see from that particular trap this fight. The champion panics and smashes head first into the pit trigger which sends out Sir Killalot to momentarily break up the fight. This has no effect on Nuts so the tire is pressed again, this time sending out the Fog of War, and when the smoke clears Carbide has a minibot shoved up its ass and the entire fucking robot is knocked out. Carbide cannot be more than just a couple of centimeters off of the floor but that’s just enough to ensure its wheels are no longer in contact with the ground. Dave Moulds is absolutely losing his fucking mind. Carbide gets away at literally the last possible second and proceeds to run away from a robot that cannot possibly weigh more than a twentieth of its weight. This is what happens when a robot with no backup plan loses its weapon, it flees from a mobile fucking doorstop.
There’s a little bit of an attempt on Carbide’s part to try and stay in the fight and back into Nuts but this comes with the downside of being on the receiving end of some mega blows from Nuts’ weaponry that all seem to concentrate on the spinner’s soft yellow tires. Much like Tombstone, Carbide’s US equivalent, the tires are its weakest point because they’re extremely light and thus very fragile. You may recall Carbide taking some significant wheel damage from Gabriel earlier this series, well Nuts is doing the exact same thing because by the end of the match you can see Carbide’s wheels are both visibly deformed and fucked up. The clock runs down on this match which sends it to a judges’ decision and had it not been for the wideshot at the end that showed Behemoth still in the pit I would’ve forgotten it was even in this fight because I was so invested in seeing this match unfold once Carbide lost its chain.
The results come in, and Rory’s reaction to hearing that he’s beaten the reigning fucking champion — with Nuts — is beyond priceless. He knows with this win that he’s somehow unknowingly jumped into the Berenstein universe.
WINNER: Nuts 2, Judges’ Decision
GROUP BATTLE 2
Nobody’s brought any special equipment or attachments into this match but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any strategies in play here. Rapid almost looks like its plan was to immediately back into the pit trigger but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Eruption on the other hand is giving the “hang back and see what happens” strategy another go. Sure, that worked for the robot in the 10-way rumble because there were nine other competitors and it’s easy to blend in, but this time around there’s two fucking people. You gotta make some moves. All this fucking around has done is allow Magnetar to get its drum up to speed and in an instant Rapid catches a hit on its front corner and gets absolutely wrecked as the robot flips into the air and takes another shot straight onto its flipper. Josh Valman mentions that the elastic is gone on the flipper which means the arm still works but cannot reset on its own. I guess the lesson here is no matter how much money you spend on something shitty elastic is still shitty elastic and maybe you should’ve spent a few more bucks on a solution that didn’t involve bungee cords.
Rapid backs into Dead Metal and gets its flipper knocked back down so it can get right back into the fray. Magnetar lands a few glancing blows onto Eruption and in the midst of the chaos Rapid comes in for another flip, misses, and gets high centered on its ass. Without the ability to reset its flipper this would normally be a KO, however Eruption brushes against Rapid and knocks it back down onto its wheels. Rapid proceeds to back into the wall to help knock its flipper down and resume fighting. Magnetar gets sidelined by Eruption and rolled onto its lid. Ellis panics for a moment because in the past this is where his robot just fucking dies, but if you watch closely when no one gets remotely close to the Dial of Doom to set off the rogue house robot you’ll see Magnetar slowly muscle itself back onto its wheels. Its weapon appears to be damaged but it’s still alive. Inversely, Rapid ends up getting flipped by Eruption and when it tries to self right Rapid gets stuck in yet another unique position that it cannot recover from. The universe agrees with me that Rapid has gotten enough chances in this match so the robot is now well and truly dead this time. Jonathan calls Josh “the master” and says that the two protegés have beaten him. I don’t think so, bub. Eruption’s guy has been building bots with his dad since he was three years old and Magnetar’s builder became so fucking good at what he was doing that he straight up quit school. Josh Valman just has a lot of money, and speaking of “has a lot of money” I’m pretty sure he owes someone a job now.
Eruption continues to wrestle with Magnetar but it looks like something’s up with its flipper because the robot has gone from some super strong heaves to just some light hurls. Either Eruption has really limited air this time around or there’s a leak in the system somewhere. In any case the match is coming down to the wire with both of the remaining robots not having much use of their weaponry. Magnetar skids into the pit trigger which opens the floor and very nearly consumes Rapid, which would’ve been funny, and the fight moves dangerously close to Matilda. Magnetar gets a little too close to the dinosaur and is thrown onto its back. The problem here is that Magnetar’s srimech appears to be stuck in its deployed position meaning that the robot cannot actually roll itself back down onto its wheels again. History repeats itself and the craziest vertical spinner in this season is sent to the redemption round.
WINNER: Eruption, KO
BEHEMOTH vs. MAGNETAR
Up first in the redemption rounds are Behemoth and Magnetar. Behemoth, equipped with a massive aluminum plow, intended to make a strong stand against Carbide in its group melee. It didn’t do that bad all things considered, but the robot was eliminated mere moments into the fight when some amazingly poor timing caused Behemoth to spin onto the pit at the same exact moment their “teammate” Nuts bumped into the pit trigger. Behemoth, still 100% functional, won a free ride to the loser’s bracket. Magnetar held its own against Rapid in the first round of the Grand Finals but had a harder time trumping Eruption who was constantly on the spinner for nearly the entire fight. Magnetar’s srimech worked — once — and then immediately died afterward. The spinner used its one chance to get back into the fight so when the robot found itself flipped again it had no other choice but to take the KO loss.
Behemoth has retired its mega plow for this match and is using its more standard configuration. Right away Magnetar is rolled over and in a split second it rights itself, but watch the srimech arm. It doesn’t retract. I don’t know if Magnetar’s self righter is literally a one time thing or if it’s just damaged, but in any case I don’t think Ellis wants his robot on its back anymore during this match as it is. Magnetar pops Behemoth over and retreats to spin up to speed again. Hell’s Bulldozer almost gets that mythical second flip to knock out Magnetar but falls just short and instead rocks back and forth violently and ends up monster trucking right over its opponent, catching its right drive wheels on the spinner as it flies over. This hit disables Behemoth’s drive on that side and reduces it to spinning around in place, however Magnetar is having problems of its own. Ellis believes it to be radio issues and moments later his robot’s weapon craps out.
The fight becomes a battle of attrition between two machines that have sustained too much damage. Magnetar needs its drum because its drive system sucks and on the other end of this predicament Behemoth needs its drive system because its weapon is not exactly the most effective. Behemoth stays alive however, and as it whips around and catches Magnetar with its scoop Ant Pritchard pulls the trigger sending the broken spinner onto its back. That’s it. That’s the second flip. Magnetar’s srimech fails for the second time and just like that the robot with almost nothing but one hit KO’s this series is the first Grand Finalist to be eliminated. Shoutouts to Trouble N’ Strife.
WINNER: Behemoth, KO
CARBIDE vs. RAPID
In that shitty Lonely Island song about boats T-Pain said he never thought he’d be there. Similarly, I’m sure Dave Moulds never thought he’d be in a fucking redemption round battle with the reigning champion, much less being in that round specifically because of a combination of a hammer on a chain and a tiny wedge robot. Carbide graciously cleaved aluminum ribbons out of Behemoth’s special plow and once Behemoth spontaneously dropped into the pit I’m sure the team looked at Nuts and reminisced back to series 8 where they tore the wheels off and threw them out of the goddamned arena. “Nuts is a free win,” they thought, completely glazing over the fact that this was a match-up in the Grand Finals. With Nuts. Rapid is a little too strong for its own good this year since a mixture of missing a flip while simultaneously getting hit by Magnetar demonstrated that Rapid’s flipper is easily capable of eating itself. After shredding its only method of retracting its weapon Rapid spent the rest of its group battle getting tipped onto various parts of its chassis without the ability to self right and eventually lost. The flipper’s… flipper… has been repaired, and the team’s gonna need it because otherwise Carbide is planning on etching its name into Rapid’s ass.
People often say someone has more money than sense, but Josh seems to know what’s up with this fight because he wastes absolutely no time box rushing Carbide and putting it into the wall. Rapid’s armor deflects a few hits but after only a few seconds one of the panels is already starting to come loose. Rapid needs to hurry up and end this and goes for a Hail Mary throw from close to the middle of the arena. Carbide fails to leave the battle zone but does get destabilized and flipped over. Carbide lands on the floor flipper but because it’s a robot with a weapon with “fuck you” levels of power the guy who’s in charge of the hazard opts not to fire it because there’s exactly one way this scenario will end and that’s with the tech crew spending 45 minutes fixing the fucking flipper. Carbide’s bar roars up to top speed and collides with Rapid sending Rapid’s left armor panel flying through the air. I’m guessing Carbide also carved straight into a battery or something because not even a second later Rapid starts shitting out so much smoke that it puts the Fog of War hazard to shame.
Nobody can see jack shit and at some point in the smokescreen Carbide connects with Rapid a second time and kills the robot completely. Rapid comes to a halt, the smoke starts to slow down, and then the robot just bursts into flames. Now, I’m not saying Rapid is actually Chompalot, but this is a pretty strong argument for the existence of otherkin. The safety crew extinguishes the fire and as Team RPD surveys the damage outside it’s quite obvious even to a layperson that Rapid is a total loss. Josh laughs to himself because he knows that he’s the real winner because this is one of those fights that’s sure to become an instant classic.
WINNER: Carbide, KO
ERUPTION vs. BEHEMOTH
Behemoth has absolutely caught a second wind this series. All too often old robots that continue to compete years after their prime eventually start to fall in increasingly humiliating ways, but not this one. You’d think after the spaghetti apocalypse that was Behemoth vs. Cherub that Ant Pritchard would’ve disconnected from the world and spent the rest of his years living in a trailer in the middle of the woods, but he bounced right back and after an unlucky loss in the Grand Final group melee an injured Behemoth mustered a win against Magnetar to bring itself into the semifinals. But if you want to talk “second wind” look no further than Eruption, last year’s runner-up. Eruption was given quite possibly the textbook definition of “bullshit draw” and was ultimately eliminated in its heat. The robot still qualified for the wildcard rumble though, and when the dust settled there was only one robot left. Eruption. This robot was almost left for dead but when push came to shove Eruption said “fuck that noise I have a flipper”.
Speaking of flippers that’s also what Behemoth has and on top of that Behemoth appears to have the lower one because it charges at Eruption and meets weapon to weapon and wins the battle of ground clearance. Eruption gets slammed into the wall and both robots just go fucking apeshit. Eruption starts flipping around to self-right and Behemoth skids around and floors it for another charge. Behemoth clips the fucking arena prop with the pit trigger hard enough to shake the fucking thing and for once the hazard doesn’t activate for someone being “close enough” to it. Eruption gets away and rolls Behemoth straight into Dead Metal whose saw bites into what I can only assume is molecularly pure titanium or something because the entire screen fills up with white sparks. Behemoth gets away and crashes into the pit button which sends Dead Metal back out into the midst who does absolutely nothing because up to this point these two robots are fighting each other like a toddler smashing a couple of fucking Hot Wheels together and whatever Dead Metal was planning on doing cannot compete with this.
Eruption corrals Behemoth into the corner upside-down with the hopes that the bulldozer will expend all of its CO2 trying to right itself. When this doesn’t work Eruption goes back to just throwing it wherever the fuck it lands resulting in the Fog of War eventually getting activated. Behemoth’s team starts climbing onto the fucking glass to see where they are and shout directions to the driver to get out of the corner. The chaos just does not fucking stop. Eruption very clearly slams Behemoth directly into the Dial of Doom again and nothing happens because the people in charge of it have just given the fuck up. Behemoth is thrown through the pyrotechnics hidden near the floor spikes and gets thrashed by Matilda’s disc sending the flipper twisting and turning in the air but guess what THIS DOES FUCKING NOTHING because Behemoth eventually gets back onto its wheels and continues to fight like a fucking tornado. Eruption proceeds to try and throw Behemoth out of the ring at least six fucking times and fails on absolutely every count because that’s not how this fight is destined to end.
The match goes the distance and the win goes to Eruption. Behemoth may have had the upper hand early on, but Eruption successfully turned the tables and I am almost positive Behemoth’s wheels spent more time in the air than on the ground in this fight. I’d time it, but that seems like the kind of overly specific trivia that the Robot Wars Wiki editors would have more fun doing. Besides, I’d probably fuck it up anyways.
WINNER: Eruption, Judges’ Decision
NUTS 2 vs. CARBIDE
“It’s only Nuts,” said Concussion. “It’s only Nuts,” said Andron 4000. “It’s only Nuts,” said Carbide. Words uttered moments before Concussion caught a stray flail to a tire and was knocked out, before Andron 4000’s hydraulic system was obliterated, and before Carbide’s weapon chain blew apart. These two robots have already met this episode and the winner wasn’t the robot you were probably anticipating. Carbide was next in line to realize what it was dealing with when it was already too late and spent its previous match tearing Rapid apart just to stay in the game. Speaking of Rapid’s parts, Carbide’s team has fabricated a “Nut Buster” of their own using part of Rapid’s fucking face. Carbide, a robot that people are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to protect against (e.g. Behemoth’s huge plow), is now the one receiving opponent-specific modifications. For Nuts. Nuts has been settling scores all season and has already sank Behemoth and Carbide once already, both robots that had defeated Nuts in previous events. By the time Concussion wised up and added armor it was too little too late. Could the same thing happen to the reigning champ?
Normally it’s Carbide that gets rushed at the start of a match. Not this time. Nuts immediately starts to whip around while Carbide floors it forward presumably to prevent Nuts from achieving a dangerous speed. The two bots trade several hits until Carbide catches Nuts’ outer ring as it’s tilting downward and rips half of it clean off. Most spinners would have no choice but to power down or else risk implosion for swinging an unbalanced mass around, but Nuts isn’t “most spinners”. Most thwack bots don’t actually swing a balanced mass around, Nuts is unique like that, however at the same time nothing is exactly stopping Nuts from doing this either. Nuts continues to swing what’s left of its weapon and connects with Carbide for another heavy shot as one of its minibots goes for the pit trigger which fires off the Fog of War and man can I just say I’m fucking tired of this hazard. I mean, I was sick of it the first time I saw it but here we are at the Grand Finals and it’s already been set off like 50 times in this episode alone and I’m really hoping that we just default to the pit or something from here on out.
Nuts seems to be stuck in the corner for some reason but it’s still swinging its weapon around just as quickly as ever. Carbide has no choice but to take a hit in order to deal a hit and as Carbide lines up a shot it whacks Nuts so fucking hard that the robot becomes literally retarded. The front (or back?) panel of Nuts is ripped away and the robot starts uncontrollably flailing around. I’m guessing what happened is whatever controls Nuts’ ability to swing and move at the same time has started bleeding over into the robot’s normal controls because even though the robot is still “alive” Rory claims it’s dead and allows Nuts to be counted out. As this is going on Carbide decides to exact some revenge on the minibots that kept tonguing its butthole in its earlier melee and destroys one of them with a single shot. Nuts might be dead, but watch those high speed replays; had it not been for Carbide’s last second addition we very well may have seen an exact repeat of Carbide’s previous run-in with Nuts because those flails landed two consecutive blows directly onto the chain protector. A close call for sure, but the madness has finally ended. It took Carbide to stop the maniacal Nuts, and only on its second chance to do so.
WINNER: Carbide, KO
CARBIDE vs. ERUPTION
This is always the most awkward pre-fight introductory paragraph to write because these are the last two remaining Grand Finalists and in both of their cases this is the seventh time they’ve been in the arena in just this season alone. All things considered, neither of these two robots have led a perfect streak to make it here. Carbide came close despite some early troubles with Gabriel and Aftershock but ultimately lost its first match this series to Nuts when it caught a flail to the face. The team learned from their mistake and after eradicating Rapid they faced off against Nuts a second time and came out ahead. Eruption came from the same heat as Carbide and lost its heat final (to Carbide, naturally) and had to fight its way back from the wildcard rumble. These two robots met in the championship finals last year, they met in their heat final this year, and after one hell of a comeback Eruption has clawed its way all the way back to the championship one more time for a proper rematch. You can’t make this shit up, folks. It’s like a Rocky movie except with robots, and I’m not talking about that gay Real Steel shit.
Every time these bots have met in the past Carbide always jacks up one of Eruption’s wheels and that’s basically the end of it. This is the third time they’ve fought and Michael Oates is determined to not fuck it up again. Eruption is quick on its feet but it’s biding its time and starts using all of the added armor on its front end to slowly wear Carbide out and destabilize it. There haven’t been any flips yet but already Carbide is ricocheting off in dangerous angles as its blade gets deflected by Eruption’s wedge. Angela Scanlon suspects maybe the flipper is dead after that first big hit, Jonathan Pearce seems to agree. But it’s not dead, Eruption is just waiting for the perfect moment and that moment just so happens to be right when Sam Smith mutters that Carbide has started smoking slightly. Eruption lets loose with the CO2 and the reigning champion goes reeling. Carbide’s bar continues to work but it’s apparent that there’s a little less muscle behind its lesser hits now. One last huge hit causes a few more puffs of smoke to come out of the robot before Carbide’s blade stops working and the robot gets flipped upside down.
Carbide goes dormant long enough for pretty much everyone to think it’s over, including the drivers, but after several moments of silence the blade whirs up to speed again and one of the little wings gets clipped off of Eruption as Carbide is spun off into the pit trigger which activates the Fog of fucking War for what I am seriously praying is the last time this season. Eruption just continues to absorb blows with its face and pushes Carbide onto the floor flipper. Now, previously this thing didn’t come up when Carbide was on it, but because this is the last fight of the event I guess the hazard operator was just like “fuck it man it’s the goddamned championship let’s open this pit up” and mashes on the button to catapult Carbide almost into the fucking rafters. Against all odds Carbide continues to work — mostly — and with Eruption coming in for another solid flip we finally get to see that shot of Angela screaming “come on” that was used in virtually every goddamned teaser, trailer, and commercial.
Eruption looks like total shit by this point. Two minutes of catching a spinning blade to face has rendered its front end almost unrecognizable but at no point has the robot let up its attack. Normally by this point in a match against Carbide one of Eruption’s wheels would’ve been blown apart but it looks like that by not driving like a fucking maniac Eruption has managed to wear the champion down to the point where its blade still spins but can’t seem to hit hard enough to do much damage anymore. Eruption doesn’t miss a single flip. (Okay, it misses one flip.) This is such a surgical approach that the disparity between the two robots is palpable. Carbide is severely damaged and simply runs away taking another ride from the floor flipper in the process. It’s a repeat of its match against Nuts; when Carbide loses its weapon it has absolutely no Plan B to speak of. It’s hedged all of its money on the blade and when it doesn’t have the blade it doesn’t have a damn thing. Carbide failed to cripple Eruption like it had in the past and against a fully mobile and fully functional foe it didn’t stand a chance.
The judges submitted their decision, unanimously, and this year history does not repeat itself.
WINNER: Eruption, Judges’ Decision
This series of Robot Wars had the fewest number of competitors. Regardless of your opinion on that (I agree with you, it sucked balls) there was still a fantastic lineup of robots and some incredible fights… mostly. Series 10 had it all: major upsets, surprise newcomers, supercharged veterans, and of course a Grand Final rematch with a totally different outcome. It was one of the best and — sadly — potentially the last. A year ago when I was covering the Grand Final of series 9 I made this quip about how there were so many future seasons ahead of us because the BBC or whoever had extended the lease on the warehouse for three years. I guess that didn’t actually translate into more seasons, and I don’t know why. You’ve already got the venue, you’ve got the arena, you’ve got the house robots… sure there’s upkeep on all that but I mean all you really have to do is name a time and place and competitors will show up. Guaranteed. Robot Wars (and by extension, BattleBots) are events that have a large upfront cost but once you make the initial investment you can theoretically just keep it going and pay much less to produce each subsequent season. It’s a sure thing. But whatever, that’s TV I guess, and TV sucks. Don’t give up hope, though, because BattleBots got dumped by ABC and there was a period of time where we assumed all hope was lost and look how wrong we were.
I did a piss poor job covering this season of Robot Wars and had I known this one had the potential to be the final one I think maybe I’d have tried a little harder to get things done. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself, when a hurricane goes FULL CARBIDE on your hometown there’s a lot of crazy “what if’s” that get thrown around, but for what it’s worth I’m glad I got to see this one through, and I am glad that you stuck with me even though there was a lot of unexpected turbulence. In case you’re curious about my personal life, the good news is my old place has been renovated and I’m moving back in next week. There’s only half a building there now, but still… mathematically that’s better than no building. I’m not taking any breaks though because LITERALLY TOMORROW the brand new season of BattleBots debuts on Discovery Channel and I’m going to be right back in the saddle quipping on twenty fucking episodes of the show. They’re doing this dumb thing where the episode premieres on Discovery and then there’s a re-run on the following Wednesday on Science Channel where there’s an entire extra fight included. I have absolutely no clue how this is going to factor into how I write this website. Naturally I want to include the bonus fight, duh, so we’re just going to figure this mess out together and one way or another this project is going to keep on rolling.
I’ve got 20 weeks’ worth of work ahead of me for this website. That’s longer than 90% of my embarrassing excuses for romantic relationships. What I’m trying to tell you is very rarely do I ever succeed in a commitment of this magnitude, but unless my house blows down a second time I’ll be doing my best. Make sure you follow BattleBots Update on Facebook to keep abreast of what’s going on nonetheless. There’s also the Patreon page for this project in case you’d like to contribute, and I’ve also added a special option for Robot Wars fans (you’ll see what I mean). As always there’s also the one-time tip page handled via PayPal, major thanks to William L. who recently made a contribution there!
See you next week, plus or minus a couple of days?