[Robot Wars UK: S10 E3 is available online HERE.]

Well hello there and welcome back to my continuing coverage of Robot Wars series 10 here on BattleBots Update. Yes, I am aware there is an issue with the name of the website because I spend almost all of my time talking about Robot Wars now. If you’re just now joining us we’re getting ready to dive into heat C because I am hilariously far behind in covering this series and it’s only going to get worse from here. Thus far we’ve seen reigning champion Carbide work its way into the Grand Final to meet Behemoth who fought its way out of 18 years’ worth of obscurity to earn a spot as well. But there are still three spots left plus the wildcard so without further adieu let’s see which of this episode’s six competitors will be joining Behemoth and the champ.

Before the episode starts Data and Angela start hyping things up from their podium located, uh, somewhere in the venue. Dara says “let the battle commence” which is still not correct, and not just because he didn’t say the Craig Charles quote. Last episode Angela said “let the games commence”. I’m getting the distinct vibe that they are trying to make a new catchphrase for a new generation of Robot Wars, but nothing’s going to stick if you keep changing the fucking wording of it week to week. For some reason I am innately aware of these things and it bothers me.


GROUP ONE

Honestly what other picture is there for me to use?

Our first competitor this episode is a real fucking doozy. BUCKY THE ROBOT has either set the bar impossibly high by being an over the top piece of ridiculous engineering or unfathomably low by literally its every other aspect. Bucky, as it’s often shortened to, is basically a glorified pair of chattering joke dentures that weighs about 250 pounds and its main mode of attack is biting down using its pneumatic teeth. Obviously. The joke is so obvious that there’s even a clip of some goddamned wind-up dentures during the team’s introductory promo shots. There’s a lot to take in but I know you’re only reading this paragraph because you want to see how I react to the giant fucking red thing that is the team’s mascot… who is also named Bucky. Bucky’s builder Tom Lloyd believes that for a sport to be taken seriously it needs to have mascots which is such a dumb remark that it easily falls into the realm of being “not even wrong“. The only time people give a shit about sporting mascots is when they do something bizarre like eating a cheerleader while a C+C Music Factory song plays. If I didn’t have a video link to exactly that you’d probably think I was accidentally using this website to post erotic fanfiction… again.

It sort of looks like a really expensive clock.

You guys remember RAPID, don’t you? Surely if you’re a fan of BattleBots Update you’ll remember this machine as being the most expensive competitor in Robot Wars history, and that’s no joke. Think of literally any robot, this one cost more (upfront) than all of them. Storm 2, Razer, Tornado, fucking 101 even. Josh “Loadsamoney” Valman showed up to series 9 with this robot but failed to reach beyond his heat, but he’s back and the first thing that gets showed off when the robot is introduced is its goddamned gearbox. You know, the one that looks like the thing that Charlie Chaplin rode around on in Modern Times. The one where something got stuck in it last series and forced the team to forfeit because taking it apart to fix it was such a monumental pain in the ass that took an entire day to do. That gearbox. Josh is in good spirits though and I would be as well if I had “fuck you” kinds of money. He’s also so certain that he’s going to win that he’s openly offering a job to anyone who can beat him. Tall talk from the guy whose robot sank in a single hit from Aftershock last year.

“It’s not like Razer at all, what are you talking about?”

Speaking of Aftershock, the last robot in group one is TRACK-TION. Track-tion was built by a team of young students from Collingwood School who were assisted and mentored by Will Thomas of Team Shock, so even though Aftershock took an early exit this series there’s still the chance that Will’s dreams of Robot Wars stardom can be realized, if vicariously through a bunch of children that is. Track-tion is equipped with a crushing jaw capable of putting out over 600 kg of biting force and while its design is sort of “meh” there is actually a stupid amount of trivia pertaining to this robot’s history. Track-tion was built from the remains of a “Securotrack” reconnaissance vehicle that had been donated to Collingwood School. Said Securotrack was actually designed and built in 2008 by the Ryland family who themselves competed in Robot Wars with their entry Terminal Ferocity in the late nineties. It just so happens that this chain of events would ultimately result in their invention being decommissioned and recycled into another Robot Wars competitor.


GROUP BATTLE 1

BUCKY THE ROBOT

Team Tomco

Weapon: Pneumatic clamping jaw

RAPID

Team RPD

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

TRACK-TION

Collingwood Carnage

Weapon: Electric clamping jaw

lol whoops

Before the match begins Jonathan Pearce says Matilda won’t return his phone calls, not realizing that when you’re just someone’s side dick you don’t get priority treatment. Anyways unless something goes horribly wrong this is probably Rapid’s fight to lose. Bucky cruises over near Track-tion and fires its jaw which for this match just so happens to also be connected to a fucking airhorn. Yeah, real cool you guys. Like a goddamned NEAT Machine 2.0. Like I said, “Rapid’s fight to lose”. Bucky gets a little too close to Matilda and farts out of fear while Rapid comes by and I guess grazes the side of the arena trigger which fires off the Fog of War and lets Bucky get away from what is literally a life-threatening situation for a robot that visibly flimsy.

The Fog of War doesn’t do much to Track-tion but somehow the robot ends up on top of the arena floor spikes which catch it on its corner and prop the tracked robot up and onto its back, raising its ground clearance from “this might be a problem” to “pop-up shade tent”. Rapid is already over near Track-tion and wastes no time getting underneath it and lifting it up, heaving it out of the arena in the process. I guess none of those kids are getting jobs today. Jonathan tries to say “the Fog of War was key in this battle” but you could fucking see Track-tion sitting pretty far away from the spikes by the time the fog cleared. Track-tion’s driver just sucks at driving and he put the robot directly on top of a part of the arena that was clearly marked as a hazard, that’s all.

This leaves Bucky alone with Rapid and without any actual input on Rapid’s behalf Bucky manages to get itself temporarily stuck on the side of the flame grate while its wheels just aimlessly spin around getting zero traction. Bucky manages to get free and rides up near Rapid’s front end and gets ready to try and bite down. I know this because that robot’s stupid airhorn telegraphs its attacks a full two seconds before anything actually happens so in case anyone fighting Bucky is worried about its clamp they can just listen for the horn so they’ll know when to back away. For fuck’s sake this robot is designed like an enemy in fucking Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. The only thing Bucky really has going for it is how large and unwieldy it is to push around because Rapid’s definitely able to get underneath Bucky but is clearly struggling to corral it toward the side of the arena for the easy ring out victory. Rapid goes for a toss but due to Bucky’s flexible nature the flipper doesn’t get good purchase with its wedge and instead tilts Bucky onto the arena wall. Bucky panics and sharts a few more times as it bites down onto the barrier and eventually flips itself back down onto its wheels to continue the fight.

bucky more like sucky LOL BURNED

Angela cheers on Bucky because I guess having the mascot puts her in that team’s target demographic. Bucky gets dangerously close to Matilda a second time but because the house robot is over near the floor flipper, and because the tech crew remembers what happened the last time they fired the floor flipper when there was a vertical spinner in the vicinity, nothing happens and Bucky scoots away so it can drift around and do stunts off of Rapid’s shiny face. Bucky’s certainly not winning this fight on points but I can’t help but wonder how buttmad Josh Valman is over not being able to just end this fight and throw his opponent out of here because Rapid goes in for take two and since Bucky is so fucking huge the chomper just rolls over backward and gets away, this time actually taking a blow from Matilda in the process.

Bucky’s apparently fine after that hit, but just like Track-tion it ends up on top of the floor spikes which punch Bucky right in the dick and flip it over. Theoretically I suppose Bucky should be able to self-right from this position because it seems like a pretty common resting point but up in the drivers’ booth Tom Lloyd suspects that Bucky is out of CO2 and won’t be able to get back onto its wheels. Unfortunately because it took Rapid nearly three goddamned minutes to get Bucky onto its back that means the battle timer runs out and the fight gets sent to the judges. In the meantime you can appreciate just how fucking barren Bucky looks in the armor department. Those drive motors are literally just sitting out in the open.

WINNER: Rapid, Judges’ Decision


GROUP TWO

I bet you didn’t notice Foxic in this shot.

APEX was among the field of competitors in series 9 but the robot took an unfortunate and early exit after getting bitten on the ass by Pulsar and becoming immobilized immediately (butt bites are very deadly in case you were not aware). It was a robot that many fans were excited to see in action because Apex’s weapon — a massive spinning overhead bar — is the biggest and potentially most dangerous spinner that Robot Wars has ever seen. You thought Carbide was packing some heat, well Apex is the big black dick that’s barged into the arena to cuck the champion. Also Apex’s blade is shaped like Japan or something now? I don’t really know why. Apex was designed by Chris Danby, the brother of Craig Danby who is everyone’s favorite closet furry and originally the builder of Foxic. Craig was willing to admit that Foxic was a fucking embarrassment so he jumped ship to join his brother’s team and lend a hand in ushering in the deadliest and craziest goddamned spinner since PP3D. Craig said it best to Angela in the pits: “either we win, or everyone dies”.

Above: Dara asking Adam & Co what the fuck they are doing here.

Adam Hamilton built VULTURE to prove a point, and what that point is exactly I’m not quite sure of but I think it has something to do with “nobody on this team knows what the fuck they’re doing but look at us we managed to build a robot”. Yeah dude, so did the people who built Jellyfish last year. Adam and his team originally got a taste for blood back in series 8 when they failed to qualify with a robot named Tanto, which was loaned to them by the nutjobs in the above paragraph, so while everyone was participating in the production of series 9 Adam spent long hours doodling crows and shit in his little DeviantArt notebook or whatever and came up with this beautiful disasterpiece of a robot named Vulture. Vulture is Adam’s first robot and rather than get his toes wet with something simple but proven he’s decided to go with this monstrosity that features a vertical spinning blade mounted on a chain-driven arm that can swing back and forth. That’s an awful lot of moving fucking parts for a “first robot”, let alone a first robot for someone whose opening remarks to Dara O’Briain included the trivia that he was a butcher for exactly one day before being fired.

John Reid with Killerhurtz. (Photo taken 19-90-whenever-Nirvana-was-still-cool.)

Finally, finishing off the round of bots in heat C, we have TERRORHURTZ. John Reid has been doing this for nearly two goddamned decades and he’s never won a championship. He’s right up there with the team behind Behemoth as “someone who’s been around for literally forever with a robot that doesn’t suck but somehow has only won a heat once“. Actually not even, because Behemoth broke that curse two episodes ago, so now John is all by himself looking like that old man from the fucking internet memes with a robot that against all odds just cannot fucking win. I genuinely feel bad for this man. Angela catches up with John in the pits and refers to him as “a daddy” which is more kinds of awkward than can be mathematically enumerated. John is unfazed by this remark however because he’s participated in every single season of BattleBots so he’s had far worse spaghetti thrown his way by the show’s perpetually cycling token titty commentator. Oh yeah, I didn’t even talk about the robot in this paragraph. Terrorhurtz has an axe. Cool? Cool.


GROUP BATTLE 2

APEX

Team Terrafonics

Weapon: Overhead spinning blade

VULTURE

Team Immersion

Weapon: Articulated arm w/ spinning blade

TERRORHURTZ

Team Hurtz

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

All sorts of shit just flies off of this thing as it breaks.

Even though we’ve got Terrorhurtz in this match, Apex is the robot that poses the most significant and immediate threat to everyone else. This appears to be something both Vulture and Terrorhurtz are keenly aware of because not only are they equipped with hardened front wedges, but while Apex’s JAPANESE WEAPON (bet you never thought you’d see that gag again) is busy turning into a vortex of pure destruction both bots immediately focus their attention toward it presumably to absorb some blows and slow Apex down. Terrorhurtz makes first contact with Apex in a hit that violently bounces the spinner up in the air… and appears to have fucking broken it already. (The replays after the fight clearly show the weapon’s shaft collar and belt coming off.) I mean, that’s great news for John and the dingus who built Vulture but come the fuck on. Me and everyone else wanted to see Apex and its cum rag-shaped blade fucking break something. Anything. Well, anything but itself I guess. Be careful what you wish for.

Now that the hard work has been done Vulture makes like its namesake and comes in to start picking apart what’s already dead, except when Vulture tries to swing its weapon arm down Apex just gets pushed out of the way. That seems like a pretty stellar design flaw but I guess I shouldn’t expect someone who was fired from being a butcher to know how to swing a blade. Face. That’s what we call a “callback”, folks. Also I’m literally just padding this fight commentary out now because with Apex’s busted ass the most we can possibly hope for now is John telling his co-driver Nick not to swing the axe and to wait for a good hit. Weaponless, Apex bumps into the hazard button which unleashes the Fog of War because I guess the producers better get their money’s worth since they paid for that dumb thing. Personally I would’ve found it funnier to just play a sad trombone to make fun of Apex but I guess we’ll have to see if that’ll be the new hazard for series 11.

If you’ve ever doubted the force behind Terrorhurtz’s axe this fight gives you plenty of great examples of just how hard that thing can swing. Since Apex has been dawdling off and cruising around the arena doing fuck all this has afforded Vulture and Terrorhurtz the opportunity to battle it out with each other mostly uninhibited. You can see a few sparks shear off of Vulture’s armor every once in a while, but pay close attention to the lip of the robot’s front wedge and you’ll see literal gashes and nicks cut into it from Terrorhurtz’s weapon. If you don’t believe me — or if you’re watching the video on some shitty potato mobile 240p “quality” and can’t see it — just wait until Terrorhurtz swings down and cleaves into Vulture hard enough for the goddamned axe head to get stuck. Nick Lynch, who is Terrorhurtz’s weapon operator and now has nothing to occupy his time, leans over and encourages John to shove Vulture into the wall. This proves to be difficult for whatever reason so John compromises and drags Vulture onto the fire pit for a makeshift BBQ.

Seriously, look at the sparks being wrung out of Vulture’s armor. This shit is crazy.

Then, out of nowhere, Apex reminds us all that it apparently hasn’t found some corner of the arena to quietly die in because it just floors it into the two robots prompting John Reid to complain about the situation because he knows his robot can’t pull its way out of 220 kg of bullshit. Shunt has to come in and break up the awkward three-way resulting in Vulture’s team discovering that its weapon arm has stopped working along with its left drive wheel. Vulture’s blade is still working though, if the sparks it throws off of the edge of Terrorhurtz’s axe are to be believed, but when the cameras go in for a closeup on Terrorhurtz beating away at Apex you can see a belt or chain of some sort driving the weapon with an incredible amount of slack, so much that I’m surprised the blade is even still going at this point. Jonathan ponders whether or not Vulture is moving outside of its own circumference (which is how the Robot Wars officials determine controlled mobility) but just to spite him judge Noel Sharkey shakes his head and presses the doomsday button to count it out.

“This is good, keep moving,” urges Craig Danby to Apex’s driver because I guess he still thinks his team can somehow win this fight even though they’ve landed a staggering ONE whole hit this entire match. Terrorhurtz has earned enough points so far that if they could be converted to airline miles it would never have to buy another ticket in its lifetime. The robot’s got so many hits in its favor that I’m pretty sure Nick dialed up Terrorhurtz’s axe at some point just for shits and giggles because when it swings it the entire fucking robot gets yanked upside down by the force of its own weapon. It’s hard to tell but it looks like right after Terrorhurtz pulled its little stunt Apex started smoking because the robot gets shoved over near the floor spikes and ceases putting up a fight. It just kinda sits there pondering the mysteries of the universe until the judges press the KO button again and send it to the redemption round.

WINNER: Terrorhurtz, KO


LUCY GOOSEY

Welcome to HOT GOSSIP with Angela and Lucy!

Now that the group battles are over and Craig Danby is busy getting frustrated over a cordless drill wrapped in electrical tape (???) Angela decides to spend a few moments with everyone’s favorite Robot Wars judge named Lucy, Dr. Lucy Rogers. The last time these two lovely ladies got together one of them was smashing shit with a hammer and explaining why whatever she whacked did or did not suck as potential robot armor. This interaction has also spurred me to notice that there wasn’t one of those dumb “what’s hot in tech” segments in the previous episode. I guess the producers realized they could never top Jetpack Man and called it quits. I can’t blame them.

Anyways apparently the floor manager told Angela she needed to do some stuff to fill time or something because she pulls up a seat next to Lucy and asks her what the House Robots are for. Motherfucker… were are TEN series deep into Robot Wars, and that’s just purely the UK tournaments. That’s not taking into account Extreme, Extreme Warriors, the US series, the Dutch series, the German series, or the world championships. And right now, in the middle of the tenth season, we’re going to have a sit down to talk about why the fuck Sir Killalot hangs around in the arena and breaks shit? Angela also asks Lucy for her opinion on the new Fog of War “hazard” which puts the judge on the spot and forces her to try and come up with a neutral-toward-positive non-answer so she doesn’t get replaced next series. Lucy basically says “I can’t do my job because this hazard sucks, also it disproportionately favors robots who have spinning weapons” so it’s nothing we don’t already know by this point.

Cheers, Lucy!


TRACK-TION vs. APEX

UH OH.

It’s time now for the first round of robot redemptions starting first with Track-tion and Apex. Track-tion as you may recall is the cut-rate version of Suicidal Tendencies built from the remains of a security reconnaissance vehicle. It’s big, it’s clumsy, and in its debut fight against Rapid and Bucky it ended up being thrown out of the arena in a matter of seconds after some exquisitely bad driving resulted in the floor spikes knocking the robot onto its ass. I guess the good news for the kids who built it is that there’s probably not much to repair? In any case speaking of “things to repair” their opponent is Apex who is probably capable of destroying Track-tion in less than one hit so in a bit of sportsmanlike camaraderie the Vulture team has loaned Track-tion their front wedge so that their robot can last upwards of two hits instead. Apex came into this heat looking like a force to be reckoned with but their weapon broke down after hitting Terrorhurtz just once… so I don’t really know where I was going with the whole “Track-tion can maybe last two hits lol” thing because technically all it needs to do is survive the first hit so Apex can probably stop working again.

Now, before this fight started and the teams were still in the pits I distinctly remember someone on Track-tion’s team telling the driver to just Thelma & Louise this motherfucker and drive straight into oblivion with the vain hopes that this would either slow Apex’s weapon down or destabilize it so that they’d maybe have some iota of a chance at winning. Instead, Track-tion just kind of loiters around while Apex, who is wearing it’s big “fuck you” bar for this match, gets all the time it needs to spin its blade up to a speed that’ll beat Track-tion so hard it’ll revert back into the goofy as stair-climbing robot it was originally made from. Apex glides in for a glancing blow, giving Track-tion a taste of what’s to come like a vision of gore from a bad 80’s slasher, and as Apex’s blade meets Track-tion’s borrowed wedge a second time the upward deflection of the blade causes the spinner to destabilize in a truly magical way causing Craig and Chris Danby’s dick-compensating spinner to go FULL ICEWAVE.

Dara is a lot like Jeremy Clarkson with just a teeny bit more likability.

And that’s literally it. Rather than dive face first into certain death it turns out all Track-tion needed to do was hold the line and wait for ruin to eventually find its way to Apex on its own. Apex explosively decompressed so spectacularly that its massive spinning bar spun off and in the process put last series’ Aftershock vs. Carbide fight to shame because rather than embedding itself in the arena polycarbonate the blade just kept fucking going and smashed clean through. Mind you we’re talking like 87 goddamned pounds of runaway steel spinning at who-the-fuck-even-knows RPM taking off like a rip cord helicopter toy. I am genuinely surprised that it only took out one sheet of polycarb on its way out instead of blasting half the fucking lights to pieces. As the dust begins to settle, Sir Killalot picks up the chassis of Apex and using only the power of his mind causes the pit to open just to throw Apex down it on principle alone.

Craig Danby gets pissed off and claims the robot was “still mobile”. Look man, your robot detonated in the middle of the arena and nearly caused one of the members of Track-tion’s team to legit shit their pants. Never in the history of robot combat has a competitor so violently and rapidly declared jihad as Apex. Whether or not it was still somehow functional after this explosion is moot. I fucking love Dara’s chuckle once he’s pieced together just what went down though. He brings Craig down into the trench around the arena and jokingly scolds him for breaking shit. Craig’s response is basically the opening line from Pokemon: The First Movie when the lead scientist is all “we dreamed of creating the world’s strongest Pokemon, and we succeeded” moments before everyone fucking dies. He says he will never build something like Apex again, so I guess you can all join me in pouring one out for the spinner that never was.

rest in spaghetti

WINNER: Track-tion, KO


VULTURE vs. BUCKY THE ROBOT

nom :3

With Track-tion now firmly in the semifinals it’s time to see who has the potential to join them in the next round. Like Track-tion, Vulture also had to deal with Apex albeit in its group battle but thanks to Terrorhurtz taking the initiative Apex’s spinner broke down before Vulture even had to worry about it. What it did need to worry about however was Terrorhurtz’s axe which has apparently caused enough damage to the point where the team is freaking out about repairs in the pits and the guy who looks like he has a Reddit account is like “get those cameras out of here I’m having an anxiety attack”. Actually I guess that would make him from Tumblr, not Reddit. Mybad. Bucky is also up in this fight and comes fresh out of a match where it spent three minutes getting shoved and tossed around courtesy of Rapid. It’s difficult to tell if Bucky sustained any major damage beyond some non-critical things getting bent up because the show spends more time focusing on the fucking mascot than the team.

Jonathan seems really salty about Matilda not returning his calls because before this fight starts he introduces her as the robot that “stole the best years of [his] life”. I can sympathize with you, my man. Not necessarily in the sense that also I spent my young adult years fucking a robot triceratops, but that I wasted my better years on things that were naff in the end. But that’s nothing alcohol can’t fix. The fight starts and I have some good news for you: Bucky has removed its goddamned airhorn. This means that Bucky’s opponents will now no longer have a week and a half to get away from it before its teeth bite down. Normally I’d say this could be a real game changer but if we were going to make a Super Smash Bros. analogy out of this match then both of these robots are Pichu-tier at best. For those of you with real lives who don’t follow the “competitive” circuit of a bunch of idiots taking a party game seriously that means “both of these robots are kind of hot garbage”.

I feel like this picture is dirty enough to require a censor bar.

Neither robot is able to get any purchase on its opponent until Vulture starts erratically driving over every single fucking hazard and ends up getting toppled over by the floor flipper. This affords Bucky the opportunity to finally bite down on something and it catches Vulture on its corner while it tries to self-right. Bucky makes its first power play of the heat and takes Vulture into Dead Metal’s CPZ for some nice sparks before letting it go. Vulture retreats and gets close to the Dial of Doom button but doesn’t touch it. This doesn’t matter because it still activates anyways and the pit drops. Seriously, whoever’s job it is to watch the fucking button is doing a terrible job this year; all you have to do is watch a fucking tire, how do you fuck up this badly? Both robots very nearly drive themselves into the pit which would’ve been a nice mercy kill for this fight but ultimately no one goes in. Meanwhile, Vulture eats the belt that powers its spinning blade and queefs out a bunch of white smoke.

Bucky is still trying fruitlessly to bite down on Vulture but fails to do so because this is what happens when your front wedge measures something like 60 goddamned degrees or whatever. Vulture now has no weapon but still manages to push Bucky onto the floor flipper which predictably turns the chattering teeth onto its side. Last time Bucky got rolled over it couldn’t self-right because of a perceived lack of CO2, however this time Bucky gets turned onto its side and because there isn’t anything jutting out to prevent the robot from staying in this position Bucky’s now in a place it can’t get down from. Personally, I don’t think the robot was ever capable of self-righting in the first place and it was just something that could have been done “in theory”, same with Bucky ever winning a fight. As Bucky is wheeled out of the arena to be sent back home Dara shares a touching moment with Bucky the Mascot and admits he has a fetish for whatever the hell he’s supposed to be. Bucky may have lost, but the real winner today was love.

WINNER: Vulture, KO


RAPID vs. TRACK-TION

Whoomp! There it is!

And now we’re back to fights that are probably going to be repeats of matches we’ve already seen today. I’m not fully sure how or why the semifinals always seem to end up pitting two robots from the same group battle together in a one-on-one scenario but regardless here we are with Rapid and Track-tion. Rapid’s team has had all the time in the world to charge their batteries and check their mobile banking apps on their phones or whatever because they really haven’t fought a very hard road to get here. Rapid has already beaten Track-tion once back in its group battle where it was thrown out of the arena after which Rapid spent the next two and a half minutes chasing down Bucky with little success. Track-tion may have already lost to Rapid once in this heat but with a little bit of help from Vulture’s builders the tracked machine survived its redemption round fight against Apex by deflecting two hits with its loaner wedge which resulted in Apex literally phasing out of existence. In an effort to hopefully keep this momentum going Track-tion is apparently using Vulture’s wedge again for this fight, because reasons. I guess the whole “active weapon” requirement is out the window, eh?

During Rapid’s pre-fight hype segment Jonathan mentioned the robot’s pneumatics have only been operating at “20%” due to a leak in the air system. Before this fight starts Rapid’s weapon operator suspects there’s still a leak somewhere which prompts Jonathan to suggest that Rapid will need to get this fight over and done with quickly. As soon as the fight starts Rapid is across the floor, under Track-tion, and Track-tion is out of the arena before the fucking battle clock graphic can even fade out. Not only did Rapid finish this fight quickly as intended, it finished it so fast that clocking in at just 5.6 seconds it actually broke the current goddamned record for fastest ring out victory in Robot Wars history.

Also, now those kids really aren’t getting jobs at RPD.

WINNER: Rapid, KO


TERRORHURTZ vs. VULTURE

GET READY FOR THREE MINUTES OF THIS.

Because the previous semifinal match up was between two robots who’d previously met in their group melee that means this one’s going to follow suit as well. Terrorhurtz reached the semifinals after an intense group battle where it had to take a blow from Apex with the hopes that doing so would either slow the spinner down or cause something to break. Luckily for John and his team the latter happened and Apex was immediately reduced to using its backup weapon, “automatic points”. Vulture was also in the fray and ended up taking the worst of what Terrorhurtz had to offer because for the entire rest of the fight Terrorhurtz just indiscriminately cleaved into Vulture’s chassis and hacked up its armor, busted its weapon, and ultimately knocked it out after dragging it onto the flame grill for some extended toastiness. Vulture was down but not out however as it bounced back in its redemption battle against Bucky and arguably had the upper hand throughout the fight and eventually won by KO after Bucky danced a little too close to the floor flipper and paid the ultimate price.

For this fight against Terrorhurtz, Vulture is sporting additional armor panels nicknamed “pillows” because they’re comprised of two pieces of steel with a layer of high density plastic in between to absorb shock. Oh, and the pillows are attached with Velcro. God help you, Vulture. Right away Vulture’s ongoing design problems become apparent, the robot’s weapon arm just is not long enough to reach its opponents unless they have ridden up Vulture’s front wedge (and even in that case, the arm just pushes them away as it comes down). Since Terrorhurtz has a leading wedge of its own there’s nothing for Vulture’s blade to actually hit and the team would probably have better luck if they just drove the fucking thing in reverse. Terrorhurtz is already getting some early whacks in with one particularly gnarly hit breaking off some of Vulture’s pillow. Because the pillows are held on with the same shit used in lieu of shoelaces on children’s shoes they fall off not long thereafter.

Vulture had to sacrifice existing armor in order to use its “pillows” and simultaneously stay under the weight limit. With the extra armor now gone the robot is even more vulnerable than its last match against the axe bot so really I guess I’m free to say that the pillows were a retarded idea, and now as I say this Terrorhurtz has swung its axe down into the bracketing of Vulture’s weapon arm and clipped the blade’s spinner belt so that’s it. Vulture is fucking toast. Terrorhurtz has the better wedge, the better weapon, and the better driving. Vulture, completely fucked, scurries away but is chased down at every turn as Nick Lynch gets “those good hits” with Terrorhurtz’s axe and shears sparks off of its opponent with each connecting blow. At one point Terrorhurtz cleaves into Vulture and hits the left drive wheel to which Vulture’s builder responds “we’ve lost a wheel”. Terrorhurtz tries to make the damage even and chops into Vulture’s right side and gets its axe jammed so deep in Vulture’s ass that Matilda has to come in and stop this disgraceful sodomy.

“Bite the pillow I’m going in dry.”

The “one wheel” problems Vulture is having seems to be sporadic as every once in a while the robot seems capable of moving in a straight line. I can’t tell if this is because it’s just using the residual inertia of being pushed around to its advantage or if there’s some kind of mechanical problem that keeps fluctuating but in any case Vulture’s not yet knocked out. Terrorhurtz shoves Vulture over into the pit trigger which instead fires off the Fog of War and Jonathan just will not shut the fuck up about how this was a “tactical” move. Yeah dude, it was so tactical that Terrorhurtz just fucking parks right there by the button while it waits for this bullshit hazard to do its thing and go the fuck away. Terrorhurtz accidentally bumps into the button a second time and just to spite John the Fog of War gets activated again. “Will the teams react differently this time,” asks Jonathan. No. No they will not. Terrorhurtz parks by the button — again — and Vulture continues to drive loop de loops with its only good tire. Vulture ends up spiraling onto the fire grill and gets stuck because part of the floor has come up, a problem which gets exacerbated by Terrorhurtz as it comes in for some easy hits but ends up getting poked in the eye by a piece of floor trim.

The fight comes to an end and gets sent to the judges, but at least Vulture managed to last the full three minutes against Terrorhurtz this time as opposed to crapping out and being questionably counted out like it was in the group melee. I mean, Vulture clearly did not win this fight but I can still commend them for surviving until the end. Not a bad showing for someone who, according to Jonathan Pearce, makes a living designing “YouTube backgrounds” for other people. I don’t know what the fuck that even means because YouTube hasn’t allowed profile backgrounds for something like six or seven years now. Anyways, by reaching the semifinals and losing Vulture now qualifies for the third place playoff to see if it can make it into the 10-way wildcard rumble, so even though it’s gotten its ass kicked twice there’s still hope just yet for the spinner.

WINNER: Terrorhurtz, Judges’ Decision


TRACK-TION vs. VULTURE

Adam drapes a shroud over his robot. Except it’s a jacket.

This is the playoff match for third place in this heat — the winner of which qualifies for the 10-way wildcard rumble — and Dara is quick to jump on Adam from the Vulture team to ask how he’s going to handle this peculiar moral dilemma he is now confronted with. You see, this whole time Adam has been letting the Track-tion kids use his robot’s special “spinner killer” plow and they’ve had some mixed results with it. Still, that wedge has given Track-tion a noticeable edge in the fights it’s been in and Adam isn’t taking any chances. He’s asked for it back, and then stuck it under his table because the last thing he needs right now is to be humiliated with his own goddamned weapon. Track-tion is now forced to go into this next match without the wedge and instead has to use its original clamping weapon that we haven’t seen for this entire fucking episode.

Track-tion’s performance up to this point has been spotty at best because I honestly haven’t seen this robot really do much of anything, including something as basic as driving. Track-tion was thrown out of the arena by Rapid pretty early in its group melee so there wasn’t a lot of time for it to move around, and in its fight against Apex the robot just held its ground and let Apex destroy itself. Don’t get me started on Track-tion’s second fight against Rapid because that one ended so quickly that it put the team into the record books for all the wrong reasons. The point I am trying to make here is that I’m not even sure Track-tion can actually fucking move on its own because I haven’t seen it do that this whole time. Vulture has has a much harder road to the playoff round as it had to take a beating from Terrorhurtz not once but twice and we all know how “great” those fights went in Vulture’s favor. Every time the team wheeled their machine out of the arena they had more and more repairs stacked against them.

The aforementioned repairs have also ended up being Vulture’s downfall. After their second run-in with Terrorhurtz the team got to work stripping their robot down and surveying the damage and in the process noticed that the wiring for one of its drive motors had become damaged and fixing it would’ve required completely disassembling the motor. Ultimately, either due to no spares being available or not having enough time to replace the part, Adam Hamilton was forced to make the executive decision to forfeit from the playoff and give the win to Track-tion automatically qualifying it for the wildcard rumble.

WINNER: Track-tion, Forfeit


HEAT FINAL
RAPID vs. TERRORHURTZ

RAPID

Team RPD

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

TERRORHURTZ

Team Hurtz

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

The last time this happened to Terrorhurtz, Aftershock was there to catch its fall.

Coming into this heat final we’ve got two competitors who haven’t lost a single match yet. Both of these bots are at the top of their game with Rapid making a showing as a much more durable contender and Terrorhurtz reaching a heat final for the first time in fifteen fucking years. Rapid twice dominated this heat’s third place finisher Track-tion by hurling it out of the arena and earned itself a Robot Wars record in the process. It also wiped the floor with Bucky for the duration of its group melee, though despite the best efforts of the team it failed to toss Bucky over the wall. Terrorhurtz also had back to back victories over the same robot, Vulture in this case. With some choice blows Terrorhurtz was able to partially disable Vulture for relatively stress-free wins in both its group melee and the semifinals, however during its melee Terrorhurtz also had to contend with Apex. Using its hardened steel front plow Terrorhurtz was able to get Apex to damage itself and disable its weapon and while Terrorhurtz couldn’t muster the level of carnage against Apex that Track-tion would eventually unleash a win is still a win.

Right off the bat Rapid’s got the better wedge. I don’t exactly know how that’s possible considering Terrorhurtz pivots on only two wheels and has a spring-loaded tail to keep its front on the ground whereas Rapid is literally a four-wheeled box but hey I guess when your robot is literally a cash elemental you can break the laws of physics. For some reason Rapid chooses to let the floor flipper toss Terrorhurtz around instead of using its own weapon and I can’t tell if this is because Rapid still has pneumatic problems or if the team is just fucking with John and Nick. Rapid dives underneath the axe bot and in the process knocks loose a piece of HDPE that had been attached to the top of Rapid that I somehow did not notice until just now. The damage is mostly superficial and self-inflicted so I don’t know how that’s going to be scored by the judges but at this stage in the fight I think Rapid can afford to lose some points to self-inflicted damage because Terrorhurtz is on its ass and rolling around and Rapid still has yet to fire its weapon. I think I can also hear a fuckton of compressed air hissing out of Terrorhurtz as well so somewhere in this chaos either something has been dislodged or Terrorhurtz is just swinging its axe so violently and quickly to try and stay on its feet that it’s venting air like mad.

Terrorhurtz has only swung its axe a few times thus far, mostly to right itself, but manages to clip the cutting board stapled to the top of Rapid and knocks it loose. The victory is short-lived however because right after it happens Terrorhurtz gets shoved into Dead Metal and very nearly thrown out of the arena as Rapid finally fires off its flipper for the first time this fight. The only reason Terrorhurtz didn’t end up going the way of Track-tion is because its aluminum tail caught the wall and prevented it from tipping further in that direction. I was originally under the impression that Rapid was most likely only going to use its flipper when tossing someone out of the arena was a sure thing, but I guess after some close calls with Terrorhurtz’s axe the team has changed their mind because in the middle of a box rush across the floor Rapid just decides to chuck Terrorhurtz the remainder of the distance into the wall when it wasn’t even remotely close to the arena barrier.

Just to add insult to injury, Terrorhurtz whacks its head on the guardrail on its way out.

The upper hand is currently being held by Rapid, but it gets a little too cocky as it corrals Terrorhurtz into Dead Metal’s corner because Rapid ends up being the one caught in the house robot’s claws. In the end this serves very little purpose because we discover that Dead Metal’s buzz saw cannot slice through solid gold and Rapid almost skates away with little damage. I say “almost” because before Dead Metal can relinquish its hold on the wedge Terrorhurtz has drifted in for some choice blows straight on Rapid’s lid which was formerly guarded by the piece of sacrificial plastic armor that got knocked away earlier in the fight. There’s no telling what’s under there but whatever it is was apparently important enough for the team to say “we probably shouldn’t let this get fucked with”, hence the armor. Terrorhurtz connects with Rapid once but there might actually be some issues with the robot’s pneumatic system because the axe ends up sticking in its fired position and doesn’t retract even as the robot gets away from Dead Metal.

Sensing weakness, Rapid strikes again with its leading wedge. I’m not sure if Rapid’s driver is aware that there might be a problem with Terrorhurtz’s weapon though because he could probably be firing the flipper and any time now and win by a knock out. I say that, but we know that going for a basic KO isn’t Rapid’s style. No, Rapid has to go for the Michael Jordan Space Jam slam dunk from half court so with a flick of a transmitter stick Rapid gets into a prime position to nail the game winning shot, goes in for the layup, and sinks it. Terrorhurtz makes like so many robots before it and gets sent packing, however because this is a loss in the heat final (and thus a second place finish) Terrorhurtz qualifies for the 10-way melee alongside Track-tion who made it there by literally just showing up to the event.

WINNER: Rapid, KO


Next time we also get to finally see the destruction of The Kegs they keep teasing us with.

Out of this heat’s field could you have honestly seen any other robots besides these two reaching the finals? I could see an argument for maybe Apex making it to the finals but that of course would have required the robot to stay in one piece and not blow apart like a goddamned centrifuge with a loose screw. In the end it was going to come down to Rapid and Terrorhurtz one way or another and regardless of who would end up winning the loser would still be going onto the wildcard melee and be a major player in its own right. That said however, Rapid has the privilege of sitting comfortably in the velvet rope section of the pits reserved for Grand Finalists and the team can go rub elbows with the guys behind Carbide and Behemoth or something. Or talk shit instead, whichever. Terrorhurtz gets sent to the second chance melee along with Track-tion because somehow a series of flukes resulted in this robot qualifying for the rumble despite never having left its starting chevron in any of the matches it’s been in. Next time on Robot Wars we’ve got the return of former Grand Finalist Concussion who hopes to bust some more heads this time around and carve its name in the Robot Wars Hall of Everlasting Fame. Also making a much awaited return is long-time competitor Iron Awe in the form of Iron Awe 6, plus Tauron and even everyone’s favorite flail bot Nuts. Concussion arguably stands to win this next heat but it’s still anyone’s game.

Thank you for once again checking out The Update and my ongoing coverage of Robot Wars series 10. I know that my timeliness has left a lot to be desired but we’re unfortunately just getting into this at a really inopportune period in my life and I’m keeping up with things the best I possibly can. That said, I’m going to be leaving over the Christmas holiday to visit some friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years so this article will be my last one for 2017 before this website enters its third year of operation, which is about four years more than I was anticipating. I know that while I’m gone I think there’s another Robot Wars special that’s going to air, a “World Championship” event or something like that, and China is finally going to start airing King of Bots. I can’t understand a lick of Chinese but you can bet your ass I’ll be talking shit about their robots like I know what’s going on. There’s a lot on the horizon for this website and that’s just at the start of next year. I am probably going to die. Last week BattleBots Update surpassed 2,700 followers on Facebook so if you want to help further inflate my ego go here and mash that Like button. If you’re feeling exceptionally generous this holiday season there are a couple of methods to help pitch in and support the ongoing hosting and maintenance costs of this website either through a recurring pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation through PayPal.

Thank you again for sticking with me and making 2017 a great year. All things considered, at least. Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and here’s to a great 2018!

– Dracophile