[Robot Wars UK S9: E4 is available online here.]
There’s just two heats left to determine who the six Grand Finalists for The Ninth Wars will be. Thus far we’ve got Aftershock and Eruption who are now joined by newcomers Concussion. Basically a less crappy Sabretooth, Concussion threw a ton of punches with its killer drum and managed to trump Thor in the heat playoff meaning if Jason Marston wants his robot to be in the Grand Finals again in this series he’ll have to lurk in the pits praying for yet another wildcard. That said, considering as of this article the other two eligible wildcards are Cherub and what’s left of Sabretooth I think it’s a safe bet that Thor’s looking like a pretty good candidate. #DicksOutForThor
This week should be a real doozy; out of the 8 robots in the heat 12 of them are fucking spinners. Let’s do like we should do in the United States — but don’t — and give some preferential treatments to our veterans. Returning from retirement this year is grappler-bot Crushtacean which shockingly looks pretty much unchanged plus SMIDSY on a technicality in the form of “HIGH-5”. Coming back from last year is Ironside 3, Supernova, and Pulsar (a Grand Finalist). The team that entered with the hilarious mistake that was Overdozer is also back with a totally new robot named Wyrm which looks halfway decent. Finally we’ve got newbies in the form of Apex (a copy of Ironside 3) and Frostbite (a copy of Carbide). This week’s winner is really going to come down to who can hit the hardest and who can be hit the hardest and not bleed everywhere and die. It’s a safe bet that we’re going to see at least one “one hit KO” and at least one robot be completely eviscerated.
LET’S MEET GROUP ONE
SUPERNOVA is one of my all-time favorites in the history of Robot Wars. This beast from Sri Lanka was one of the first machines to raise the bar on spinners in the arena by just indiscriminately destroying fucking everything. Supernova is what happens when you take Hypno-Disc and dial that shit up to 11, rip off the knob, stick it back on with the arrow pointing to 0, and turn it up to 11 a second time. Last year Supernova sank Or Te (Bigger Brother) in a single shot and kicked its ass so badly that the producers didn’t accept Or Te’s entry this year. Dara meets up with the Supernova team and without needing to use his voice commands Suren Balendran to start talking about his robot. Suren mentions Supernova has better wheels this year, but honestly I’m stuck looking at this new disc. Historically, Supernova has used teeth bolted onto a flywheel but last year that finally proved to be a bad move, this time around Supernova’s weapon is milled from one solid piece of metal. People are going to fucking die.
Speaking of people dying, here’s FROSTBITE. Before this episode had even aired people on the /r/RobotWars subreddit were already ripping it to shreds, and when video surfaced of the team literally testing their robot inside a fucking classroom everyone collectively shit their pants. Then, as if to taunt the Robot Wars community, the team posted another video this time claiming everyone was safe because there was a goddamned chain link fence between them and the robot. I’m not going to sit everyone down for a safety seminar but I will just say right quick that if you think these are appropriate circumstances under which you should test your robot don’t come crying to me when you get slapped with a lawsuit after some kid needs to have a piece of chair pulled out of his fucking skull. Anyways, “Budget Carbide” as the folks on Reddit are now calling it is basically exactly that: two wheels and a spinning bar. Frostbite’s armor is polycarbonate which is great if this was 2002; this robot is so fucking weak that the applause manages to kill its LED lights.
Angela says WYRM uses motors from a “disability scooter”. What’s that? Are those like the fatty scooters they have at Walmart here in the States? You mean disabled people can use them too? Wow, I can’t wait for the USA to get up to speed on this technology, it could really help a lot of people! Last series this team brought Overdozer and I’m sure we all remember how well that worked out for them (hint: it did not actually work at all), this time around they’ve got something with a little bit more functionality to it even though it looks like a Chinese knock-off of Stinger (the BattleBots competitor, not the dumb thwackbot). Dara gets the scoop on this robot and asks the team where their armor is, to which one of them responds that their robot was too heavy and they had to take it all off. Great, so you managed to build something that is somehow better and worse than Overdozer at the same time. The fuck is this, quantum robotics?
Lastly we have HIGH-5, a robot whose name I cannot say mentally without Borat’s voice and whose weapon has got to be the ugliest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. I “get” why it looks the way it does — high five — but I mean how effective could a bunch of touchy-feely fingers really be? What happens when one of them gets bent sideways? Why is there a weird angle cut only on the left side of the weapon? Just fucking make it symmetrical, it’s too hard to look at. HIGH-5 is sort of included in the lineage of former Robot Wars competitor SMIDSY as both robots have pretty much the same design and are owned by the same team, because of this HIGH-5 poses the first hurdle of that dumb new Disembodied Voice they use to introduce robots with: what happens when a robot has two weapons? HIGH-5 is introduced as “lifter / spinner” but I’ll be damned if I can’t see a fucking spinner anywhere on this robot. The reason for this is HIGH-5’s spinner is optional and fits on the robot’s rear end (sort of like how SMIDSY had a spinning disc for a while). Thanks for ruining the introduction process, HIGH-5. (Not sarcasm, I think the new intro process is retarded.)
GROUP BATTLE 1
Wyrm makes the first move and elects to ignore Supernova which for a robot like Wyrm is completely understandable. It also decides to ignore Frostbite which seems to spin a very unfortunate narrative regarding Wyrm’s build quality. Supernova will absolutely 100% fuck your shit up but we’ve all seen the video where Frostbite struggles to cut a swastika into some fucking cardboard. For whatever reason, Wyrm chooses HIGH-5 as its first target and after a near miss kicks it into reverse and slams into it. Hilariously, this hit straight up kills HIGH-5 meaning Wyrm now has free reign to all of the snacks and refreshments in the esteemed “one hit KO” club of Robot Wars. On the subject of one hit knock outs, Supernova lays into Frostbite and just blows its entire left side to fucking pieces but sadly doesn’t quite manage to finish it off. Frostbite is somehow able to land a single hit to Supernova’s right drive wheel in the chaos and does zero goddamned damage.
Frostbite is mortally injured but it’s not dead, part of its frame is bent inward and its left wheel is flat but it’s still somewhat mobile. Mobile enough to meet Robot Wars’ definition of “mobile” at least. I point this out because it looks like Wyrm goes for the pit trigger, misses, hits the wall, and just fucking dies. God help that team if Supernova decides to show them what a real hit looks like, because that’s what happens to HIGH-5 and Supernova rips a literal piece of its metal armor off. Jonathan Pearce poses the question “who was active last, Frostbite or HIGH-5”? Motherfucker, HIGH-5 was dead literally seconds into the fight. Frostbite might be a total piece of shit but even without its entire left side the robot was still flopping around in a mostly controlled manner. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that shit. Supernova has made a strong comeback, and Frostbite… well, I hope the team understands that they’re advancing onward because of a fluke and not because their robot actually did anything.
Dara shows up after the match to explain to Wyrm’s team just how badly they performed this year because Wyrm somehow lasted even less time in the arena than Overdozer. Granted, Wyrm technically does have a knock out under its belt now so it’s not a total write-off, but them’s the breaks. I’d say “better luck next year” but unfortunately Memento Mori has confirmed they won’t be taking part in series 10 which makes me sadface. We can now only dream of what the fabled “Wyrm-Dozer” could’ve been, a robot built atop Wyrm’s chassis but featuring the weed whacker of Overdozer… plus a giant print out of Dara O’Briain’s face stuck onto a piece of foamboard because that seems like the kind of zany shit they’d do.
WINNERS: Supernova and Frostbite, KO
AND NOW GROUP TWO
CRUSHTACEAN returns to the Wars after over a decade of presumably languishing in a garage while occasionally being a conversation piece. I could never really get behind this robot as I felt like historically it was always a little too unreliable and its weaponry just seemed fragile in a way. To combat this the builders have coated Crushtacean’s claws in polyurethane paint which — to a layperson — is the same shit they make truck bedliners out of. You’ve also probably seen that viral video of the sumo wrestler standing on the plastic cup and the cup doesn’t break because it’s coated in “magic paint”, that’s what this stuff is. Jonathan scoffs at it presumably because he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. If there’s anything to scoff at on Crushtacean it’s gotta be those stupid fucking gloves that the weapons operator used to open and close the claws and sure enough look at what gets brought out to woo Angela with: the fucking gloves. Goddamned O.J. Simpon robot, I swear to god.
“We spent a lot of money on a lot of new motors and new gearbox designs,” says the builder of IRONSIDE 3. While he speaks to Dara we get a great close-up of the robot’s lid which shows us that the team spent all of their cash on motors and didn’t save enough for a proper “IRONSIDE” stencil that doesn’t look like shit… unless the overspray is like an intentional stylistic choice or something in which case I still think it looks bad either way. Nobody wins on BattleBots Update. This year not only does Ironside 3 have a better srimech it’s also got some options in the way of weaponry; Ironside 3 has two different blades (one with “hammer” ends and one with “hook” ends) and both of them are painted in such a way as to suggest that they were supposed to be transgender pride flags but they fucked up and got the coloring all wrong. Ironside 3 was a heat finalist last year and lost to Pulsar who just so happens to also be in this heat. Man, I’m sure that wasn’t planned ahead of time at all. Nope. No mames, quey.
APEX is basically another Ironside 3 if instead of including a self-righting mechanism the team just dumped all that extra weight straight into their weapon. Apex’s blade is 37 kilograms, or 81 pounds if you’re a filthy yank like me. 81 pounds is also the average weight of a 10 year old child so hopefully this provides as hilarious of a mental image for you as it did for me. Apex was built by Chris Danby, the brother of Craig Danby who built Foxic. Chris was a part of the Foxic team last year but I guess the two brothers had a disagreement over which part of Tails (the fox from Sonic the Hedgehog that the robot was ostensibly named/based after) was the most important. Craig said the face, Chris said the tails. Chris eventually fucked off to start his own team to pursue the weaponization of Tails’ spinning ass. Now we have Apex, whose weapon is not only heavier than Carbide’s but is also about 6 pounds heavier than BattleBots champion Tombstone’s. Anybody who catches the wrong end of this thing’s weapon is bound to just liquefy on the fucking spot.
Last in line is PULSAR, this heat’s returning Grand Finalist. Notorious for constantly breaking down, Ellis Ware assures Dara that this season’s Pulsar is a complete rebuild similar in appearance to last year’s but overall harder, faster, better, and stronger. There’s also the inclusion of a self-righter which is never not a bad idea in Robot Wars but more importantly the robot’s killer drum is said to be more reliable. See, this is a major upgrade because Pulsar is run entirely with brushless motors which in the world of robot combat is kind of like having a high maintenance girlfriend who never puts out. They require special speed controllers, draw more power, and if you even so much as fart on one of them they’ll fucking catch fire, blow up, and probably take your batteries with it. Brushless motors have pretty much ruined the lightest weight classes of the sport by allowing people to put weapons on a robot that spin in excess of 10K RPM (yes, ten fucking thousand); Ellis hopes to be the frontrunner of turning the heavyweight division into another class of overpowered “whoever hits first wins” spinners. Again, assuming Pulsar doesn’t catch fire at the start of every match.
GROUP BATTLE 2
Right away Ironside 3 and Apex show their biggest weakness in the shadow of Pulsar by hanging back in order to let their massive spinning weapons get up to a speed fast enough to cause damage while Ellis’ robot is already screaming close to top speed. Honestly, in this melee I feel the worst for Crushtacean because this is just a shitty draw for them in the way of two robots with horizontal spinning weapons and, well, Pulsar. Ironside 3 lands the first blow to Crushtacean which punches a hole in its side and tosses the crab onto the flame pit because I guess in the five seconds since this match has started Ironside 3’s team has decided they’d like to franchise a fucking Red Lobster. It’s hard to really verify how well Crushtacean’s polyurethane coating has held up because the robot is dead in a single shot, but for all the damage we know robots like Ironside 3 are capable of carrying out all Crushtacean has to show for it is a comparatively small tear. But then again getting bludgeoned to death by a spinning bar is a hell of a lot different than throwing a toolbox into the back of a pickup truck so what the fuck do I know, right?
Apex is next in line to get fucked because the lesson here is you can spin a 10 year old as fast as you want but the second you leave your asshole open to Pulsar your goose is cooked. Pulsar lands a hit so vicious onto Apex that the camera operators don’t even have time to get a proper shot of it so the best we get is either a swishing pan or something filmed from a distance, sort of like the September 11th attacks. I don’t think I’ve used up my 9/11 card on this website but I’m proud to play it now because Pulsar just went full-on FREEDOM on Apex’s Allah Smack-Bar. Holy shit this bit is getting real insensitive real fast. Apex is toast and Pulsar follows through with an attack on Ironside but this fight is already over. To the surprise of literally no one Crushtacean is out and the lesser of the two helicopter spinners goes with it.
WINNERS: Pulsar and Ironside 3, KO
SUPERNOVA vs. FROSTBITE
Man, the universe just fucking hates Frostbite. I mean, out of the other three robots in this heat’s head-to-head matches I don’t see them coming out ahead in any of them but in the case of Supernova I don’t even see them coming out period. There is not going to be a “Frostbite” as we know it after this match unless Supernova literally goes supernova and detonates. This is going to be Robot Wars’ equivalent of Tombstone vs. Radioactive. Both of these robots come from the same group melee and the aftermath of it saw Supernova charging its batteries while Frostbite’s team has basically been forced to rebuild the entire left side of their robot after being hit by Supernova once. “I don’t think there’s ever been a plastic robot costing less than £500 who’ve lifted the trophy,” says Derek Farr of Team Frostbite. Yeah bro, you’re just seconds away from finding out why.
For some reason Frostbite has
LED lights on its weapon. How? Like, are there battery packs or something just stuck on the weapon with duct tape or zip ties? It’s flashlights, the team has literally taped fucking flashlights onto their weapon. Why the fuck would yo– actually you know what nevermind this is the team who tested their robot in a goddamned classroom so let’s just sit still, be quiet, and watch natural selection in action. It looks like Frostbite’s initial plan is to hang out near the floor flipper and hope that Supernova is dumb enough to not only drive into that corner but drive on the actual flipper itself. As you might imagine, this plan doesn’t work. In fact, this plan backfires because Frostbite ends up getting tripped by the flipper and its impact with the ground fucks up the lights the team stuck on their weapon bar.
Frostbite is hit once and honestly the fight ends right here. For all the work that the team put into rebuilding their robot’s left side Supernova has undone it in seconds. “Come on, not again,” shouts Frostbite’s driver. What the fuck were you expecting to happen? Supernova hits Frostbite a second time and you can visibly see the robot straight up die because the lights just go out. Full stop. Frostbite gets whammied so fucking hard that its top panel of armor splits in two. Supernova didn’t even touch the top of the robot, but the force exerted into Frostbite’s chassis was enough to shatter parts of armor that the spinner can’t even fucking reach. Worryingly, this second hit has destroyed Supernova’s weapon chain and when you’ve got something spinning as fast as Supernova’s disc the last thing you want happening inside of your robot is a piece of chain getting flung into a battery at who fucking knows how many MPH. Supernova takes off Frostbite’s entire ass in an effort to slow its disc down, and the officials finally mercy kill this shit show of a match.
“We’ve got a bit of a bodge job to do lads!” There’s a lot of really mean things I could say as a snarky retort to this exclamation but there’s nothing I can do to Frostbite that Supernova hasn’t done already. Also Shunt has now ripped Frostbite’s top panel off. Godspeed you brilliant fools.
WINNER: Supernova, KO
IRONSIDE 3 vs. PULSAR
Up next we’ve got a great little rematch between Ironside 3 and Pulsar, a repeat of the heat from last series for these two. Fresh out of their group melee both spinners have had some repairs to make. Ironside 3’s blade got tweaked backwards just a bit (you could hear it rattling against the chassis at the end of the previous fight) while Pulsar’s drum took a direct blow from Apex’s blade and one of its motors has seized up. Even worse, the team makes a huge fuck up in the pits and accidentally blows a speed controller by doing nothing more than plugging something in the wrong way. That’s a lesson that’ll cost you a few hundred dollars to learn which damn well makes sure you’ll never do it again. Keep your eyes out for the size of the motors running Pulsar during the team’s short bio because they’re nowhere near as large as you’re picturing them to be. It’s fucking crazy how much power is being drawn out of these tiny things.
Ironside 3’s a traditional spinner so it’s obvious what its plan is: run away until the blade is fast enough to turn Pulsar inside out. Ironside 3 scoots away right into Shunt’s CPZ who shoves the spinner back out into the arena. Actually, Shunt pushes Ironside 3 onto the floor spikes but these things have taken such a beating this year that I don’t even think they can come up out of the goddamned floor anymore so we might as well just treat that spot like the rest of the arena. Pulsar just barely avoids a charging Ironside 3 who misses its mark and ends up taking a page out of Frostbite’s playbook and gets disoriented by the floor flipper. Unlike Frostbite, however, Ironside 3 spins around and blows a huge fucking dent in the side of the flipper for breaking its stride.
Pulsar shoves the reeling Ironside 3 into the pit button and since Ironside 3 is literally breaking all the fucking hazards the producers decide to allow the pit to drop to hopefully spare the wear and tear on the remaining two and a half hazards still left on the goddamned field. Ellis says to cut the weapon on Pulsar even though it hasn’t landed an actual hit yet. Ironside 3 gets a hit though and spins Pulsar off into Sir Killalot’s CPZ. Here I am hoping for a good old fashioned Robot Wars boot party, but Pulsar is quick on its feet and skates away without taking any damage. Ironside 3 is once again too close to the flipper — which surprisingly still works — and nearly gets tossed onto its ass but is able to land on its wheels and recover, however now its blade appears to no longer be able to achieve a reasonably destructive speed. Ellis also mentions something about having only one wheel but I’m not sure who the hell he’s talking about because both robots seem mobile to me, albeit without their weaponry.
Eventually the unique nature of Pulsar’s technology catches up with it and the robot spontaneously loses an entire side of drive without any real input from anyone whatsoever. Even worse, Pulsar has decided to shit its pants next to Sir Killalot who is more than happy to pick it up and hold it over the flame pit. In the time that it’s taken Killalot to grab Pulsar, and for Pulsar to show off its new srimech, Ironside 3’s blade is able to get fast enough for another quick bite. Pulsar’s drum comes back to life and the robot starts to hobble around using the centrifugal force of its spinner as a crutch, but according to the timer in Ironside 3’s driver station Pulsar is being counted out. The countdown completes and Ironside 3 does a victory spin, but “cease” isn’t called. Oh boy, it’s going to be another one of those episodes.
So right now Ironside 3’s team thinks they’ve won and apparently Ellis was never made aware that Pulsar was being counted out at one point. “Why haven’t they gone in for the kill,” asks Jonathan Pearce about Ironside 3. Because they think they’ve fucking won. What ended up happening here is at one point Noel Sharkey considered Pulsar incapacitated and initiated the KO count, but then Pulsar was able to come back to life in a manner that satisfied the rules’ requirement for movement and Noel cancelled the timer. Simple stuff. However this cancellation appears to have worked locally for the judges and presumably for Pulsar, but in the case of Ironside 3’s team they saw the entire 10 count and assumed they had won… when in reality they apparently hadn’t? So for some fucking reason this match doesn’t go to a traditional judges’ decision even though neither robot made any more moves or attacks once Pulsar became falsely counted out. Instead Noel decides to award both teams 2 points each invoking for the first time in Robot Wars history what’s known as the “Millennial Clause” named as such because everyone wins.
Fuck off. This whole thing happened because there isn’t an actual human referee for each team like there is with BattleBots and most other robot combat events. These people have such a massive hard on for autonomous robots and devices that can replace people in the workforce and look what fucking happens when something goes wrong. Ironside 3 arguably was robbed of one point and no matter which way this would’ve went as a judges’ decision someone received two points that they shouldn’t have. Everyone gets fucked. Literally one dude standing there saying he needs to see controlled movement from Pulsar and either counting it out or stopping the count at the first signs of movement would’ve avoided this.
WINNER: Everybody is special and equal and gets a participation award!
SUPERNOVA vs. PULSAR
Hey would you look at that, two robots named after astronomical terms. I’m sure this fight’s gonna be a real galaxy of fun! I can’t wait to, uh, comet on this fight where these two shooting stars kick each other in the asteroid. I’m going to hang myself now. No no, wait, I can recover from this; here’s a Robot Wars battle of the real stars. Anyways we’ve just seen Pulsar in the ring for a fight where no winner was declared but a shitload of damage was dealt out nonetheless; Pulsar lost drive in one of its wheels and if you watched closely in the slow-mo recap shots of the Ironside 3 fight you’ll have noticed smoke creeping up out of the wheel wells. Not a good sign, and Ellis Ware is fretting over getting his robot working again. Meanwhile Suren & Co. are trying to diagnose Supernova’s weapon chain issues and have come to the conclusion that it’s basically a fundamental design flaw; Supernova’s chain and sprocket are going to deflect up or down by a few millimeters and the best they can hope for is that the robot doesn’t destroy itself.
Now, I know I’ve used this joke before on this website but I feel like in a fight between two space-themed robots it’s more relevant now than ever. Supernova and Pulsar meet head-on near the floor flipper and unleash enough energy into each other to create a fucking universe. If not that then I’m absolutely positive they just created a few atoms of that crazy elemental shit like Ununoctium or whatever. In a near repeat of what we saw a couple weeks back Supernova is sent flying toward the wall but loses most of its momentum before hitting it so the bolts don’t shear off and break another panel away. Supernova slowly creeps backwards and dies and Pulsar is simply dead where it originally stood. Moments later Pulsar remembers there’s a battle going on and bumps into its dead opponent, neither weapon working. Because Pulsar is still mobile however, Supernova gets counted out.
And they made sure they didn’t fuck up the countdown this time, too.
WINNER: Pulsar, KO
THE HOTTEST IN ROBOT FASHION
Dr. Lucy Rogers and Angela catch up in the pits to talk about robot fashion, because — girlfriend — those coveralls are just hideous! Actually they’re going to be getting into building materials commonly seen on competitors and showing you which ones are good and which ones suck, starting first with HDPE (plastic). Angela whacks the material sample with a hammer and it bounces back, but against an angle grinder it’s total shit. Also I’m just going to point out right now that this entire segment was filmed in one order and then edited in another because if you watch the rest of the material samples throughout this bit they go through various states of damage sometimes in the same fucking conversation. They skip right over wood, speak very little about aluminum even though they’ve got a wheel hub and what looks like a piece of Robo Savage to show as practical examples, and then of course declare Hardox to be the strongest material known to man and inform us Superman’s dildos are made out of it.
Lucy says a combination of Hardox and HDPE would be the way to go, and anyone with half a brain would be inclined to agree. Hardox around the sides, HDPE for a lid, boom you got a stew goin’ baby!
WYRM vs. IRONSIDE 3
Hey, remember Frostbite? I feel like the editors have been putting that plotline as far back as they can because it seems like it’s been at least an hour since we saw Frostbite enter the arena in one piece and leave in a number of pieces that requires a new mathematical constant to express. Would you be surprised to hear that Frostbite’s team has agreed to forfeit? Haha, what am I saying of course not. Frostbite was totaled and in its place Wyrm qualifies by outlasting HIGH-5 by mere seconds. Keep your eyes on those little stat bars when they swap from Frostbite to Wyrm and you’ll notice that in all categories except for weight Wyrm is considered to be worse than Frostbite. God damn, that’s harsh. That’s nastier than the shit I say on this website and I don’t even mean like 90% of it. This changes the match-up just a bit because while Frostbite had jack shit in the way of armor Wyrm actually has that bulldozer plow made from hardened steel which to me at least seems like it would hold up better than polycarbonate of dubious thickness.
Before the match starts we get a shot of Supernova’s team– wait what the fuck? The hell is Suren and his buddies doing up there? Oh, the editors must’ve made a fuck up. How quaint. “Wait, we’re dropping Frostbite… okay, for who again? ‘Worm’? Shit, that’s the one that’s spelled funny isn’t it? Whose robot was that… oh! It must’ve been that team from Sri Lanka because that looks like some shit from their language, here you go! This is ready to be on television!”
Jonathan Pearce starts his commentary off by saying “you can’t take timber into the arener” and I just want to die. Can we start this whole match over again? From the top? Team cutaways and all? Please? In any case Wyrm keeps its front end pointed at Ironside 3 and trucks into it which, as you’ve probably guessed by now, gets completely torn off and thrown at the wall. Thankfully the GoPro camera stuck on Wyrm’s frame survives the hit so thus far we’re looking at literally dozens of dollars of damage here. Wyrm actually manages make it through this hit but gets cockblocked and shut down by Shunt whose axe nearly slays the dragon. Ironside 3 comes in for another hit and not only crumples Wyrm’s left side panel but breaks both fucking tires in the process. Shit, if I were driving Ironside 3 I’d legit feel bad about doing that. I mean, I’d think I was only coming in to scratch the paint not destroy the whole fucking thing. What’s next, is HIGH-5 going to have to come back and replace Wyrm?
To my amazement Wyrm isn’t dead. For a robot that previously drove into the wall and fucking died this is absolutely incredible. Since it’s still fair game Ironside 3 might as well score some more points and a quick follow-up hit finally ends Wyrm’s suffering. Now that it’s dead and can’t feel pain Ironside 3 is just like “fuck it” and comes in to finish off the back left wheel and just like that the spinner is back in the game with 3 more points to match Pulsar.
WINNER: Ironside 3, KO
WYRM vs. PULSAR
Dara reminds us all that Pulsar burns through parts like a speedrun of The Incredible Machine and that apparently this has gotten bad enough where Pulsar is on the cutting block for possible disqualification? Damn, that’s heavy. Also if Pulsar forfeits then Wyrm just wins 3 points automatically? Wouldn’t it mean that Apex would be brought back in to replace Pulsar? Or is that not a thing because it’s a guaranteed outcome that even with a KO Apex wouldn’t be able to advance to the heat finals this late in the game? Who fucking knows? Like I said, they just make this shit up as they go along. I just want to see something get broken with an atmosphere where it at least looks like the people in charge know what the hell they’re doing, is that too much to ask? Speaking of people who know what the hell they are doing, Nick White from Wyrm’s team has made a shocking discovery about his robot. Somehow through no apparent fault of their own, Wyrm’s controls have become reversed. With just minutes to spare before the next match most roboteers would’ve had a goddamned anyeurism by now, but not Nick. He literally just turns his transmitter upside down and shrugs. I fucking love this man.
It’s also worth pointing out that someone on Wyrm’s team has spraypainted “OwO” on the robot’s newly repaired front wedge. If you’re a detail-oriented person you may have also seen this show up on a computer monitor during Memento Mori’s team bio segment. For those not in the know, “OwO” is not pronounced as a word. It’s a text emoticon, and it’s actually part of a larger catchphrase dealing with adult roleplay. In context, the emoticon is used in between an action (*notices your bulge*) and an expression (“what’s this?”). Now you know, and yes these maniacs put a furry meme on national television and I am willing to relinquish my title of “Hottest Meme on a Robot Combat TV Show” (the time I photobombed Ghost Raptor’s BattleBots introduction with a “Sabretooth Cat” sign) to Memento Mori. You guys got it front and center, the only way to win the title now would be to explicitly respond to someone verbally with a dank meme.
Memes aside, Wyrm enters this match looking a lot worse for wear. I’m sure you’ve noticed (OwO) by now but Wyrm only has two wheels when it started this event with four. Against Pulsar I’d assume Wyrm would be driving into the maw of oblivion but before I can even complete this thought Pulsar cruises by, blows something up, and crop dusts electrical smoke across the entire fucking arena. No idea what it was that went up in smoke but I’m sure that single part cost more than Wyrm took to build. Pulsar charges Wyrm and just barely taps its front wedge which ends up folding downward and raises Wyrm’s remaining two tires off of the ground. Dead Metal takes a few pot shots at the stranded dragon, none of which fix the ramp situation so Wyrm just ends up sitting atop the fire pit until it’s counted out.
shoots Wyrm the finger waves to the crowd with its srimech… and then jump cut to Ellis where he says that the drum is gone, one side of drive is gone, and even the fucking srimech is gone. God damn, what did you do? You were literally just waving that thing around, was the ambient air resistance against the srimech arm too much for the speed controllers to take? Fucking hell, Pulsar does more dollars in damage to itself than its opponents every single time. You could probably buy a fucking boat with the amount of cash sunk into this goddamned machine. Angela uses the phrase “spirited performance” to describe Wyrm and I guess Nicholas and his buddies overheard it because their response is to take what’s left of Wyrm and throw it into the fucking dumpster.
WINNER: Pulsar, KO
SUPERNOVA vs. IRONSIDE 3
The last time we saw Supernova the force of its weapon hitting Pulsar’s was enough to send the spinner twisting and contorting across the arena and into the wall with internal damages comparable to dropping a grenade inside of it and just walking the fuck away. Bearings, motors, chains, pretty much everything needed repairing on Supernova after its previous fight and the robot is visibly in a state of entire disassembly in the pits. Ironside 3 also somehow sustained significant damage in its previous fight against Wyrm. I’m not exactly sure what they did to break a gearbox but my guess is it wasn’t anything to do with Wyrm and that the gearbox broke during one of the many times Ironside 3 cocked up and drove into the floor flipper and the team just now noticed it. Also, Angela says Supernova needs a KO to advance onward to the finals… but that doesn’t seem correct. Even if Supernova won by a judges’ decision that would mean both Supernova and Ironside 3 would be tied with 5 points and the way I understand it the “tie breaker” is whoever won in the head-to-head between the tied competitors… which in this case would be Supernova… by a judges’ dec– fuck it, I keep forgetting that these people just make this shit up from week to week.
I think it’s due to the force generated by their weapons, but both robots make an about face at the start of the match while their spinners start charging up. Ironside 3 has more reach, but Supernova arguably has the more powerful blade. The two weapons meet but there’s not a violent explosion like there was with Pulsar. Instead both bots are flung in opposite directions and Supernova quite obviously starts to have problems with its left wheel. Something’s been knocked around so hard that it’s come loose because if you look closely you’ll see its “hub cap” is sort of freely spinning so there’s a set screw that’s fallen out or a hub that’s cracked. Whatever the case, this is Ironside 3’s fight to win so long as it doesn’t fuck it up but right now Supernova isn’t 100% KO’d and it’s actually deadlier with limited mobility because you’ve gotta come at it and no matter what it can just whip around and murder you like a street walker.
Ironside 3 lines up an exceptionally nice drive on Supernova and whacks it just perfectly right where the robot’s front sprocket sits. Going by the sparks that come out before we get a better close-up I’d venture a guess that hit shattered Supernova’s weapon chain and sure enough, it’s as good as dead. Shunt throws a punch with its axe which lands dead center on the shaft mount and bounces off onto Supernova’s disc which even in its destroyed state is spinning far too fast to allow Shunt’s axe to hook into one of its holes. Ironside 3 smartly plays this one safe and lets Supernova get counted down without any intervention. After all, they’ve got a one way trip to the heat finals for (hopefully) a proper rematch against Pulsar now.
WINNER: Ironside 3, KO
IRONSIDE 3 vs. PULSAR
Let’s be honest here, I think we all knew the heat final was going to come down to this. Maybe Supernova was a bit of an X-factor but right now we’re looking at two extremely well engineered machines who made it at least to the head-to-heads last year and now here they are again. Both of these robots came from the same group melee where Ironside 3 took out Crushtacean in a single hit and Pulsar did the same with Apex. After that they were immediately up against each other in the head-to-heads where the officials fucked up on something else this season that people are already talking about in UK newsmedia (warning this link autoplays) and ultimately no winner was declared. Pulsar went on to take a shot straight to the face from Supernova, which killed Supernova in the process, but severely damaged Pulsar’s weaponry. Ironside 3 had better luck against Supernova but only because it had more reach on its blade and was able to hit Supernova without getting hit itself. Both robots enjoyed what was mostly a cakewalk of a “fight” against Wyrm, but Pulsar somehow basically burned down the whole house and now Dara is telling us how the team is out of spares and that Ellis is sacrificing his robot’s srimech to cannibalize it for parts.
Ironside 3 knows by now, after two series and four fucking fights against Pulsar, that if you hit Pulsar hard enough you’re pretty much guaranteed to win. With its blade roaring at maximum speed Ironside 3 careens into the front of Pulsar and right away Pulsar is visibly shaken. No drum, looks like one side of its drive isn’t fully functional, not a good start for the Brushless Wonder. Despite its obvious drive problems Pulsar is still surprisingly mobile and manages to flank Ironside 3. Its weapon isn’t working so it really doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things but that’s still great driving skill. Anyways Ironside 3 lands one more solid hit to the side of Pulsar’s drum and that looks like the masterstroke because Pulsar is finished.
Now, either because this is the finals and there’s no holding back or because the last time Pulsar was “knocked out” they got fucked over, Ironside 3’s team takes no liberties once Pulsar stops moving and continues to land blow after blow racking up as many points as there are sparks that shoot out of Pulsar’s ass until “cease” is finally called and Ironside 3 officially makes it into the Grand Finals.
WINNER: Ironside 3, KO
I think Pulsar still has a lot to show us and hope that it gets the chance to do so in the coming years, but right now in some weird sense I feel like the world just isn’t ready for brushless heavyweight competitors. We know Pulsar’s got the speed and has a weapon capable of delivering some impressive uppercuts but until technology gets to where it needs to be I’ve got this sinking feeling that Pulsar is just going to keep blowing motors and speed controllers left and right. Nonetheless, Ironside 3 is our Grand Finalist for this episode and now joins Aftershock, Eruption, and Concussion. Pulsar is still eligible for a wildcard, but I feel like with no spare parts left — and without really landing many hits with its weapon — Thor is still looking like the most qualified. Keep those batteries charged Jason, you might get to do your chopping hand motion thing again just yet.
Next week’s episode is the last heat before the Grand Finals and they’ve been saving the best for last. We haven’t seen anything from reigning champion Apollo nor have we seen any action from Carbide and that’s because they’re finally up next week. The final heat also sees the return of Mighty Mouse in the form of Meggamouse as well as a ton of newbies ranging from the clampbot Coyote, the multibot Crackers N’ Smash, whatever the fuck Ms. Nightshade is supposed to be, and a flipper named Rusty that I could’ve sworn was actually Ripper but turns out I’m an idiot and am completely wrong! But let’s be real here, we’re all looking forward to seeing if Apollo really is able to topple Sir K and we definitely want to see Carbide just fucking trash something. Anything.
I want to give a special thank you to everyone who’s followed BattleBots Update on Facebook thus far because this website is almost at 2,500 followers! Real talk, I was expecting maybe ~500 at best. And I definitely wasn’t expecting people to even notice the Donation button let alone use it, but again special thanks to the superfans who help pay for The Update’s hosting. <3