[Episode 5 and individual fights available on ABC.com]
Hello and welcome to BattleBots Update, the only BattleBots recap blog with that title. This website has been getting quite popular among the robot combat circuit, so much that I’m going to get dinged with overage fees by my web host this month because I made the smart move to host this site out of my employee plan. That’s cool though, because this website is raking in the mo-nay! Google Adsense tells me last week I got two dollars. I don’t wanna brag but, the big guy’s in town. I don’t even care about the overage fees because I’m on the fast track to quitting that job and buying a fucking yacht anyways.
Last week marked the end of the Round of 16 (semi-quarterfinals, it’ll catch on just watch). I can’t recall off the top of my head who won or lost because of all this money I have now, but I can tell you with 100% certainty four of the robots won and four of them lost. Truly gripping. This week’s episode consisted of all four quarterfinal matches and I’m pleased to say out of the four predictions I made last week one of them turned out to be correct. That might look bad on me but hey 1-3 is better than 0-4, just ask Abbatoir.
That’s a BattleBots throwback joke. I’ll let you go ahead and look up all the relevant information regarding Abbatoir’s fight history so you know what to laugh about, and then I’ll give you a few moments to laugh.
Alright. Well, here’s what happened this week in the BattleBox.
Molly’s dress has completed its transition from blue to white, so I feel confident in calling her Pretty White Dress Lady for the rest of the series since I’ve noticed there’s a pattern in the wardrobe changes of this show. You may not have noticed it… but your brain did. Chris’ tie picked a bad time to have an identity crisis, and Fisto still has his shirt stylishly undone. I think Molly says something about a crystal ball and introduces the commentators but the only balls these two butt pirates are intimately familiar with are — that’s right — dodgeballs. I bet these dumbasses were the first ones out every single game. Heh.
STINGER vs. BRONCO
Team Plumb Crazy (Sacramento, CA)
Weapon: Forklift and flamethrower
Normally invertible, Stinger loses that ability with this configuration. It can still self-right using its forklift attachment.
Inertia Labs (Sausalito, CA)
Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm
Bronco’s air-powered flipping arm can dead lift up to 1,500 pounds.
We’re at the part now where I officially get to stop introducing new robots because from here on out we’ve seen all of these competitors. Stinger is the yellow one with all the wheels. Bronco does that thing with the lifting arm. To get here, Stinger had to first commit treason by sinking Captain America or something but later absolved itself of charges by sending Warhead back to Great Britain. Take that England, first we steal your John Oliver and then we send you a warhead. We did the same shit in the Middle East… except minus obtaining a celebrity first; those wires got crossed. God bless America. Bronco made it here by throwing a robot equivalent in weight to a middleweight out of the arena and causing massive head trauma to someone else. Pfft, real patriotic, assholes. I will say though, it’s pretty fucking hilarious to see Reason Bradley try to describe Plan X’s “dragon wings” without breaking because he sucks at it; the moment they cut away you can see him about to piss himself laughing. He shows just the right amount of apathy toward what was at best a mediocre robot. Reason dismissed Plan X in exactly the same manner that people who don’t have stupid beards disregard “art”; it’s big, it’s flashy, it’s expensive-looking, who the fuck cares?
Stinger enters the arena with what appears to be a camping tent. Matt removes the curtain after Stinger’s introduction to reveal… the same goddamned forklift that we see the robot with every time one of the hosts tries to explain to us the concept of a number and fails miserably. That’s cool, I guess. Good for you man you managed to sneak a third forklift spike in there. ‘Grats on the trifecta. Also there’s a flamethrower tucked away inside of Stinger because out of the 24 robots that competed in this event, 90 of them had fucking flamethrowers. I have this theory that Bil Dwyer, the original host of BattleBots, wrote the shitty arena introductions way back when simply because they were so painfully unfunny that murder was legal if done within three seconds of having heard one. F*Rook makes a Justin Bieber reference when introducing Bronco. It’s good to finally see that theory validated.
Stinger, looking like a less subtle version of Minion (Twisted Metal Minion, not BattleBots Minion), promptly gets its forklift stuck in the seams of the arena. Awesome that we’re two fucking decades into this sport and nobody’s figured out how to fix that but we’ve managed to put a flamethrower on every goddamned thing on the show. Chris is immediately fixated on the “pretty” flame of Stinger because the man has the mental capacity of a two year old. Bronco tries to get a flip in on Stinger but only manages to succeed in assisting the robot in pulling off the world’s first and only sweet ass wheelie performed by a six-wheeled forklift. Bronco tries another flip, misses, and ends up crowd-diving onto the fucking screws. Those screws have ruined more peoples’ days than doctors telling patients that they’ve tested positive for herpes, but the best part is that Bronco doesn’t even give a fuck. Almost every single robot with the misfortune of getting
jammed up stuck in the screws has had their battle end immediately. Not Bronco, because Bronco just drives over the tops of the screws like they ain’t even fucking there. Why the hell are you even here, Bronco? You’ve apparently already have two giant nuts. Get out of here.
An opportunity for a cookout presents itself, so Stinger slams into the side of Bronco and manages to get some flame action for a second or two. The bull manages to break away, but ends up getting sliced by the Killsaws because the drivers forgot they were there. Don’t worry guys, so did literally everyone else. Bronco gets another grazing flip on Stinger that manages to disrupt the robot’s maneuverability for a bit. While Stinger is counting the lights on the ceiling, Bronco makes a quick pit stop at the Killsaws, which have now broken a record for total screen time in a single episode, and sharpens its flipper before going back in on the assault.
This proves to be the key to winning the fight, because after sharpening its flipping arm Bronco is able to persuade Stinger into doing its best impression of the death of a NASCAR driver and sends the flaming forklift spinning and twisting through the air up over the walls and out of the goddamned arena. Jesus H. Christ, I didn’t even know “out of the arena” was a fucking thing in BattleBots. I mean, yeah robots have gotten caught up in the screws, but that’s different. It legitimately looked like an accident; that Stinger twisted and flipped through the air, somehow landed outside of the BattleBox, and then blew the fuck up.
After this happens, Chris ruins the moment by yelling “IS THERE ANY WAY STINGER CAN GET OUT?” Chris. Turn to your left. Your other left. Ask the man next to you if anyone has ever been thrown out of the MMA ring. Ask him what happened to that person.
Fucking hell. These are the people they hired to do the commentary.
Winner: Bronco, KO
TOMBSTONE vs. WITCH DOCTOR
Hardcore Robotics (Placerville, CA)
Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade
The motor powering Tombstone’s weapon is a Briggs & Stratton “E-Tek”, a popular choice among prolific bot builders.
Busted Nuts Robotics (Miami, FL)
Weapon: Spinning disc and reinforced plow
Witch Doctor is running without Shaman this time, choosing to instead incorporate extra armor equal to its weight.
Tombstone is a household name by this point in the show. Before the commercial break Ray Billings is seen choosing a weapon and justifying said decision, implying that the look and shape of something makes a damn bit of difference when it’s spinning faster than the speed of fucking sound. He also casually mentions that he was “nice” against Radioactive because they “didn’t stand a chance”. I don’t disagree with that because just giving Radioactive a funny look is enough to sever at least one of its driving pods, but holy fuck if that fight was “being nice” I’d hate to see Ray on a bad day. I bet he turns into the goddamned Hulk. But a robot Hulk. Like a gundam. Anime is stupid. Witch Doctor made it here by catching a second wind as a wildcard, then beating Overdrive so hard that one of the C’s in “C2 Robotics” is still unaccounted for. The driver of Shaman, Witch Doctor’s flame-spitting junior bot, notes that its flame nozzle was damaged, likely from “something” in that fight. The friendly people in ABC’s post-production department assist us in figuring out what that “something” was. Guess your balls were a bit too big there, Shaman. You should get that checked for cancer.
Turns out it was cancer. Witch Doctor is flying solo and absorbed what was left of Shaman to turn it into additional armor plating as protection against Tombstone’s weapon.
rip in pepperoney shaman :c
Witch Doctor, looking like a middleweight caught in the bad side of town, cautiously approaches Tombstone head-fucking-on. The good doc goes for one of those quick and lethal Bruce Lee high fives and punches the spinning blade of death. The smaller robot is understandably cast aside, but so is Tombstone. Sensing danger, Ray goes to take the Nightmare approach to this fight and tries to outdo Witch Doctor with a bigger vertical spinner. Problem: Tombstone does not have wheels on the ground in this orientation. This sends the heavyweight reeling toward the corner, during which Witch Doctor performs a perfect 10 box rush and pops Tombstone head-on one more time, flipping it over. Then, because the adrenaline hasn’t quite worn off yet, Witch Doctor proceeds to give less and less of a fuck and plows into Tombstone’s seemingly ineffective spinner once, then twice, and then a third time sending the fight to the other side of the arena. There’s one part of Shaman shining through in this moment, and that’s the balls. Well, ball singular… because of the cancer. But still, that gives Witch Doctor three balls by my count and as ball connoisseurs, Khris and Cenny know some impressive balls when they see them.
Somehow, Witch Doctor’s skull is still fucking spinning. This thing has taken at least five hits from Tombstone’s weapon which punches like a goddamned train with three times the autism. The sixth one seems to stop it, and as Ray approaches for number seven he’s got the balls to taunt his opponent. There’s a shitload of balls on display tonight and I can’t keep up, I can’t do the math. Witch Doctor, three balls. Tombstone, two balls but with a horse dick for a weapon. How does this affect the ratio? No idea. One more blow sends both robots flying in opposite directions. This has now become the climax battle scene from the first Pokemon movie. In some fucking otherworldly impossible twist of fate these two bots stand as equals, each hit sending sparks flying and both bots reeling backwards. But then, the final hit. Number seven. Taking one blow for every deadly sin, Witch Doctor is thrown onto its back and can’t move or right itself. Tombstone however, sees their weapon fucking explode and half of it shears off and flies across the arena. I lost the edge of my seat four hits ago and have been sitting on the floor, but Ray’s butthole tightens up so much after that hit that part of his sphincter muscles begin occupying negative space.
The dust settles. Witch Doctor has passed on to the next life. The exorcism is complete.
Winner: Tombstone, KO
BITE FORCE vs. OVERHAUL
Aptyx Designs (Mountain View, CA)
Weapon: Chain-driven clamping and lifting arms
This is the first battle this season where Bite Force uses its “standard” weapon arrangement.
Team JACD (Cambridge, MA)
Weapon: Articulated piercing jaw
This is the first battle this season where Overhaul isn’t fighting Lock-Jaw.
Bite Force is here in the quarterfinals because it had the fortitude of being drawn against Warhead, one of the sport’s deadliest robots. In 2002. Thirteen years later Warhead could barely even hit its opponent without throwing itself halfway across the arena on its side, so Bite Force wiped the floor with it in a unanimous decision. Back in Warhead’s heyday that would’ve been called 45 to fucking 0. Abbatoir, my personal favorite BattleBot, had its worst loss by judges’ decision on record as 44-1. Think about that; Warhead’s performance was so mind-numbingly shitty that fucking Abbatoir finally gets to claim superiority over something for once in its pathetic, miserable existence. Congratulations Abbatoir, I always knew you could do it, also Bite Force then went on to beat Hypershock because Hypershock’s driver replaced their drive controllers with graham crackers or whatever he said. Overhaul’s journey to the quarterfinals has been a strange one. These people won’t quit fucking with Donald Hutson; this is the first time this robot is fighting a robot that isn’t Lock-Jaw. Charles, Overhaul’s driver, talks about the similarities between the two contenders noting the clamping jaws and both robots being “non-wheeled”. This is fucking with my head because I had to go back and make sure, and I didn’t go to MIT or anything, but I’m pretty sure Overhaul uses four goddamned wheels.
Before this fight starts watch the look that Fruke gives Team JACD after they do their team’s gesture. That look is literally translated as “honkeys be trippin”.
Admittedly, the two robots do look pretty similar, like they’re the good future and bad future versions of the same creation (Razer), you know, like in Sonic CD. That’s as autistic as I’m permitting this article to get. Bite Force, finally wearing its normal gear, gets the first nibble in and promptly flips forward instead of actually lifting its opponent. This is fucking ridiculous, there’s like six pincher/lifter things that made it to the television rounds. That’s a whole fourth of the goddamned field. Did anyone get this design right? After flashing its butthole (bothole?) to the audience, Bite Force seems smart enough to not try that again and instead proceeds to introduce Overhaul to the spike strip a few times. There’s this split second where the robots are trying to sumo each other around and their clamping forks get tangled up in each other. Stepping outside the veneer of sneer here, that’s fucking badass. That’s one of “those moments” in the sport; it’s like watching Komodo dragons fighting.
Anyways, these two robots are still dicking around and Overhaul is still smearing its ass all over the spike wall so I guess not much has happened while I zoned out for a moment. Surprisingly, Bite Force actually gets a competent lift on its opponent, but Overhaul gets free. The arena Hellraiser pops up and interrupts Bite Force’s second… hold up. The fucking Hellraisers came back? No one said a single damn word about that. Ever. When was this a thing? The last time those hazards made an appearance was the show’s third season, and now all of a sudden a goddamned ramp just pops up from the arena and goes “sup?” and that’s it? That’s it. We’re just gonna not address that? Also god damn it Chris they’re called Hellraisers not “raised floors”. I realize this is ABC and it’s supposed to be some bullshit family station but if they can get away with something as racy as two dudes kissing and adopting a fucking kid in a sitcom then they can say “hell” on the air. Fuck that noise.
Bite Force spends the next twenty or so seconds trying to peel off one of Overhaul’s letter decals and doesn’t quite get get it, and in this time Overhaul turns the tables and bites Bite Force right in the fucking tread. Fucking A, that’s the shit I want to see. Overhaul tries lifting Bite Force up in the air but ends up tipping forward because this is an issue I’ve already addressed and don’t need to get into it a second time. MIT. Sensing this isn’t going to work, Overhaul just starts flooring it into the wall head first to ram Bite Force into the spikes. Overhaul’s been the underdog this match, they’ve been on the ropes, and in the last few seconds they manage to flip their opponent over and turn the tables. This is exactly how Lock-Jaw fucked them over in their first fight, so if this strategy works for Donald “13 Year Reigning Champion” Hutson then god damn it it’s gonna work for them too.
nope lel bite force wins gg no re
The judges pull a Robot Wars and go into the arena to “inspect” the robots further. Jessica Chobani lets her hair touch the floor because I guess this is how you act when you pay someone else to give a shit about your hair. Whatever. Look, Overhaul, you followed the plan perfectly until the end of the fight. The icing on the cake is giving your opponent a low blow after the buzzer and then trying to be all “lol sorry m8 just trollin” after the fight. Y’all fucked up.
Winner: Bite Force, Judges’ decision
GHOST RAPTOR vs. ICEWAVE
Team Raptor (San Francisco, CA)
Weapon: Lifting wedge
Ghost Raptor has brought in a special attachment to ward off Icewave and keep its weapon from making contact.
Team Icewave (Sunnyvale, CA)
Weapon: Gas-powered horizontal spinning blade
Icewave is the only robot this season to use a gas-powered engine.
Back in the first era of BattleBots there was this robot called “Hazard”. Hazard was a three-time middleweight champion with 17 consecutive wins. It made it all the way to the finals of what would’ve been its fourth championship victory if T-Minus, Bronco’s smaller but still somehow older brother, didn’t come in and shut that shit down. Hazard skipped a tournament between seasons one and three, and in that gap a fucking thwackbot won the middleweight title so Hazard was like “nah this is some bullshit I ain’t passin the torch to this scrub”, returned to BattleBots, and fucking killed everyone. I bring up Hazard because Icewave is kinda like “Hazard 2.0” in the heavyweight division. The difference here is that while Hazard’s blade was electric, Icewave’s is powered by a gasoline engine because Marc DeVidts doesn’t give a fuck about absolutely anything including the environment. Ghost Raptor could’ve been like Icewave had Team Raptor not made one fatal mistake when building their robot: making the blade out of the worst metal in existence. I can’t tell you what that material was, but I can sure as shit tell you how much dick it sucked. Ghost Raptor’s weapon called it quits after hitting its first opponent one time. Chuck Pitzer is banking on a single solitary wedge attachment as his protection from Icewave. Chuck, buddy, you’re fucked man.
Or maybe not. Ghost Raptor enters the arena sporting a “De-Icer”, a name they gave to what is literally a keep-away stick. Simple, but brilliant. Chuck, you goddamn genius. Er, wait a second Ghost Raptor apparently can’t drive right due to the added weight of the De-Icer throwing off the robot’s center of gravity. Chuck, you goddamn moron. Before the fight starts Kenny explains the purpose of the De-Icer for anyone watching who can’t match shapes together. Of note is that he also explains his one true weakness in the process through the use of an elaborate metaphor. Everyone watching now knows how to beat the shit out of Kenny Florian even though he’s an MMA fighter, just straight-arm his head and he can’t get you. It’s so simple, so easy; it’s like finding out that prayer is the secret to beating the final boss of Earthbound. Oh fuck you, that game came out 21 years ago if you’re pissed off that I spoiled it then that’s your own dumbass fault.
Also, ABC finally does it. They cut to a commercial break right before the fight starts. Who the fuck do you think you are, ABC? Tech TV?
Ghost Raptor makes a run at Icewave at the start of the fight, misses, and then finagles around awkwardly as its De-Icer bounces and bobs up and down. Smelling blood, Icewave cruises over and makes the ballsy move of ignoring the De-Icer. Not the smartest move in the world but I can agree with the logic; Ghost Raptor has gotten here on dumb luck alone and that luck has to run out sometime, right? Well, yeah, but not this time it isn’t. Icewave’s head gets stuck in the De-Icer. Panicking, the robot turns to face its opponent and has a Vietnam flashback. Chuck says “you’re mine bitch” like he was expecting this all along and no more than thirty seconds ago wasn’t just half-shitting his pants over the fact that his robot was driving as straight as Lance Bass. Whatever dude, yeah you sure showed him man. Great bravado. Sabertooth cat.
The hosts congratulate Chuck Pitzer on making it “this far” because it’s taken him “years” to get to this level. Is that like, “years” because BattleBots was off the air for a decade, or are you two really that oblivious to the sport you’re commentating? Just wondering, because wouldn’t that be some shit if Chuck Pitzer had gotten to the semi-finals before? Especially if he had done it twice. Man, the only thing more embarrassing than that would be if Chuck was somehow a finalist at one point. Good thing he wasn’t though. Great job Ghost Raptor, really breaking new ground there!
That’s it. That’s the quarterfinals, all four of them. The semis are locked in and next week the four remaining robots will be reduced to two, and then just the last one standing. The robot that I was honestly rooting for this season, Complete Control V, was eliminated in the qualifying rounds so really I haven’t had a guy in the running since episode two. That said, out of the four robots left, I’ve got some predictions of my own to make since all the cool kids at school are doing it and I want to be cool too and shamelessly imitate other people in some vain hope that my completely empty soul can be filled with even so much as an acknowledgement from them because I have a complete lack of self identity and listen to Linkin Park since as a white male who lives in a suburb with affluent middle-class parents I pretty much have virtually nothing to be angry about. High school, ladies and gentlemen.
Tombstone vs. Bronco: A lot of fans are drawing parallels between this fight and The Matador vs. M.O.E. from the past. I’ll admit, the similarity is kind of uncanny, and a little fucked up, but I foresee this match as the end of Tombstone’s run at the championship. As destructive as a robot as Tombstone is, Inertia Labs knows how to build a durable robot. Yeah, Matador’s wheels were ripped apart, but that’s because they were unprotected and drilled out harder than a skeevy porn star who doesn’t care where her next paycheck comes from just as long as it’ll buy enough crystal meth to stop her from blowing her brains out because addiction is something everyone should laugh at. Bronco’s wheels are much stronger and there’s a flexible piece of titanium as a side panel that should be worth at least one or two pops. Tombstone is a bit too unstable for its own good; if it doesn’t kill or cripple you in that first big hit then there’s a shot to retaliate as we saw with Witch Doctor. Tombstone is going to leave its mark on the bull, but I think ultimately the spinner is going to be tossed out of the arena, either from Bronco or the instability of the robot itself when it gets tilted.
Bite Force vs. Ghost Raptor: This is also a hard one to call because unlike the previous fight, where both robots pack serious knockout power, neither of these assholes can do even so much as open a box of crayons without burning the house down. Neither Bite Force nor Ghost Raptor have the ability to knock the other out. For me, the edge is going to Bite Force simply because it still has a weapon and it’s not as broken as Complete Control, as complicated as Warrior Clan, or as physically unstable as Icewave, the robots Ghost Raptor has beaten thus far. It’s a fucking brick with tank tracks. I don’t know if Chuck is going to make some wacky contraption with a stupid name to ward off Bite Force, but unless dumb luck shines in his favor for the fourth fucking time Chuck will be taking his
dinosaur cat home after a judges’ decision.
Bronco vs. Bite Force: This is a hypothetical finals match-up, assuming the two previous predictions are correct. Since I got one out of the four quarterfinals predictions right, the likelihood of this is probably in the lower double digits percentile. Assuming these two meet, Bronco will wipe the floor with Bite Force, no contest. Bite Force is the smaller of the two robots and its clamping device isn’t very effective. It looks nice, but in order to get here it’s only really had to use its clamp once and when said clamp was used in battle ABC wasn’t able to cut to camera three or else the world would’ve seen what a machine’s business end looked like. Bite Force is going out of the arena or up on top of the screws and getting stuck there.
Considering the Hellraisers just randomly decided to show up, I’ll take a long shot on this and say that somewhere in the BattleBox is a spinner hazard that we somehow haven’t noticed yet. It’ll come into play next week.
This has really been a great week for The Update, nonsense about two dollars aside. Shoutouts this week go to BattleBots themselves. Yes, the actual BattleBots company. Last week BattleBots gave The Update its stamp of approval and posted it to their social media platforms for the world to see. Senpai noticed me! uwu
If you’ve followed the shoutouts each week you’ve probably noticed they’ve escalated from “a couple of guys who posted links on Reddit” to “these two Internet communities who seem to like it” to “the actual goddamned company that puts this show on”. At this rate, next week you can expect shoutouts to President Obama.
Thank you for coming by this week and reliving the quarterfinals with me, and ensuring that the traffic metrics for this website continue to look like a toddler’s drawing of beach waves. The feedback is always great, and I appreciate how cool everyone in the BattleBots community has been to me in embracing the character and “alternative” coverage here. I try not to post in-character on the forums and subreddits, but it slips sometimes. Whoops.
See you next week!
PS: Don’t forget, the official BattleBots store is now open! And if you need more robot combat carnage to sate your bloodlust, RoboGames’ official 2015 event DVD is now on sale! Some of your favorite heavy-hitters from BattleBots make appearances at this event, so this has what marketing people call “crossover appeal”. Tombstone and Stinger appear as their similar counterparts Last Rites and Sewer Snake, and Counter Revolution even shows up… if you’re into that sort of thing. Really though, please help support the sport of robot combat any way you can and maybe it can have the proper comeback it deserves!