[Robot Wars UK: S10 E4 is available online HERE.]

Hey do you guys remember when series 10 of Robot Wars was on the BBC? Like… last year? Cool, I do too. I also vaguely remember that I abruptly stopped my coverage of it right in the middle of the season because I went out of town and when I came back I guess the realization of my fucking house blowing down finally sank in. Regardless, this isn’t a personal blog because 99% of the time nothing interesting happens in my personal life worth talking about. The other 1% is reserved for things like going to the taping of BattleBots 2018. In an episode that aired what seems like forever ago Behemoth became the first Grand Finalist of the new series, followed shortly thereafter by reigning champion Carbide and everyone’s favorite rogue ATM-turned-Terminator Rapid. Half of the spots in the Grand Final are locked in; there’s just the winners of this heat and the next one to claim the final guaranteed spots followed by whoever doesn’t die during the 10-way consolation rumble.

This episode begins with Dara O’Briain trying some variation of the old adage “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” except instead of coming up with something witty and Robot Wars-related he replaces the second half of the phrase with “the harder they get smashed to pieces across the arena”. That saying literally does not make any fucking sense. Firstly, something that gets smashed doesn’t really move, it stays still because the thing smashing it is preventing it from moving so the whole “smashed across the arena” bit sounds retarded. Maybe “blown” is the verb you were looking for? Or “shattered” considering there’s a shot of Apex’s grand slam from the previous episode? Also what does being “smashed across the arena” have to do with the size of a competitor? Jesus Christ we’re less than a minute in and I’m already fucking tired of Dara.


GROUP ONE

no no no NO NO NO NO NO

THE KEGS has the distinction of being the first robot introduced in this episode and you’re probably already familiar with it because for the past three fucking episodes every time one of the hosts mentions something about “destruction” the editors always cut to a clip of one of the two clusterbots being absolutely blown to fucking pieces smashed across the arena. The Kegs was designed and built by John Frizell of Terror Turtle fame who, after five fucking seasons of never winning a single goddamned fight, finally retired his dumb ass turtle robot for something that is somehow even worse (if the spoiler shots of it being destroyed are to be believed). Each of The Kegs are near-identical, their only difference being their wheels to tell them apart, and both are armed with 10kg spinning bars. They’re also apparently still “functional” kegs; there’s a shot of one of the team members turning the knob of an attached spigot and just the nastiest looking shit comes out of it. I’m like 20 years too old to find The Angry Video Game Nerd funny, but this is straight up a glass of diarrhea dookie sharts.

“Yes, I still test games. No, it doesn’t help me build robots.”

Up next is a returning competitor from last series, TAURON. Tauron took an early exit last time around when a glancing blow from Concussion dislodged the robot’s safety link and killed it completely before it ever had a chance to do a damn thing. Apparently between series 9 and 10 the producers didn’t give enough of a shit to record any new footage of Tom Brewster and his robot because as he fruitlessly links his experience in testing terrible video games to driving robots we’re greeted with the same footage we saw last series of him driving around a skeletal Tauron that, for some reason, has LED strip lighting on it because that’s where Tom’s priorities lie. That’s right, Tom’s the guy who tests video games for a living, a career that I joked about last season because its relevance to robot building was tangential. However, since one of the new hazards this series is “bad PS1 fog” he just might have an upper hand here. Tauron has been rebuilt from last series but it’s still mostly the same thing, a vertical spinner with two big tires. However this time around the robot sports invertibility with an even lower profile chassis by way of making its weapon assembly pivot so that no matter which way the robot is flipped Tauron will rest in the exact same configuration.

IT’S A WEDGE

IRON-AWE 6 is the last robot introduced in this group and it marks the return of yet another veteran to the event. For those unfamiliar with the lineage of this robot, whose name implies that there are at least five others, Iron-Awe was a middle of the road competitor from the Robot Wars of years gone by. Originally the robot was equipped with both an axe and a flipper (because for some dumb reason that was a fad or something) but as the robot evolved and was refined the team ditched the dual weaponry setup and focused solely on the flipper. Iron-Awe continued to compete outside of Robot Wars when the series originally ended and in 2009 was inducted into the Combat Robot Hall of Fame. I don’t profess myself to be a mathematician (a common remark on this blog, it seems), but Hall of Fame status aside I question Team Iron-Awe’s ability to count. Iron-Awe 6 was accepted into the tenth series of Robot Wars, yet two series prior they applied not just with Iron-Awe 5, but 7 as well. So 5 and 7 predated number 6? Did 6 also exist at the time of series eight? If so, why not include Iron-Awe 6 on the application? If 5 and 7 were good enough to apply with — and you still brought 5 with you for spare parts — why not re-apply with them? Why apply with only Iron-Awe 6? Guys, this is fucking stupid.


GROUP BATTLE 1

THE KEGS

Team Terror Turtle

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blades

TAURON

Team Tauron

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

IRON-AWE 6

Team Iron-Awe

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

Iron-Awe 6 grabs the nitro boost power-up.

At the start of the fight Iron-Awe has a choice between Tauron and The Kegs as to which one poses the most significant threat to it. Naturally, because we live in a universe where people are usually logical, Iron-Awe makes the right decision and begins pursuing Tauron who preempted this action and runs away to get its bar up to speed. Meanwhile, The Kegs.

Iron-Awe gets real close to getting into position for a mega flip but misses its mark and in the process Tauron is spun off into one of The Kegs who takes a bite out of the spinner’s face and in turn is ricocheted into Iron-Awe where its blade eats into the ablative foam “spinner stopper” armor deployed on the flipper. Supposedly these things were pneumatic cannons that fired chaff or garbage or chili dogs or something at other robots to gum up their weaponry but after half of one gets torn off by one of The Kegs I can tell it’s pretty much just a fucking PVC pipe filled with a pool noodle and rope or some shit. Also, let’s just make this analysis even easier and say “if The Kegs was able to break it, it was probably a piece of shit anyways”. Tauron’s driver uses his skills as a game tester to drive right up onto the wedge of Iron-Awe and puts his robot directly in the line of fire… and nothing happens. Tauron slinks away while one of The Kegs comes in for some free points and ends up getting stuck on the fire pit. Now’s a good time to point out that the bottom plate of each of The Kegs is wood. You’d think after god knows how many years in the arena John Frizell would’ve learned a thing or two about putting flammable shit on his robots but I guess in his case the desire to win was outmatched by the desire to pick up literal garbage from behind a Sainsbury’s and use it to build his robots.

Something something “mess with the bull, get the horns”.

The Kegs gets away and retreats to safety while Iron-Awe spars with Sir Killalot before remembering that you don’t get any points for doing that. Iron-Awe once again goes for the hard target in Tauron and shoves the spinner around as Tauron’s bar makes contact with the rest of the “entanglement device” on its side and rips it apart. Again, no flip from Iron-Awe. Not even a miss. Tauron grows tired of Iron-Awe’s lack of offense and decides to see if the fucking beer kegs can put up a better fight. Tauron drives straight into the white-wheeled keg and blows its fucking weapon off sending it flying upward and breaking who knows what in the rafters. Angela panics from her viewing booth while Jonathan notes that the other keg has scurried over to the pit trigger and sort of half-assed pressed it which turns out to be a rogue house robot event. Sir Killalot indiscriminately rams his dick into the three bot pile-up by the arena gate and ends up knocking Tauron into the crippled keg which seems to kill it. What a surprise.

In the midst of the chaos Tauron gets away, revs its blade up again, and collides with the side of the red-wheeled keg and sends it hurtling out of control. Also at some point this other component of The Kegs has lost its blade too. I can’t tell where the fuck it went but my best guess is that it flew out of shot when Tauron hit it and it was just ripped away by the force of the shitty little minibot doing three and a half fucking flips in the air. With two mega hits Tauron has incapacitated both of The Kegs, one hit apiece. Iron-Awe chases down Tauron again, being the only moving target, while Sir Killalot tries to pick up the carcass of the red-wheeled keg and inadvertently shoves it into the pit trigger which drops the floor out as expected. Iron-Awe gets close to the hole but spins away at the cost of exposing its ass to Tauron who wastes no time sinking its teeth in. There’s a lot of cutting back and forth to Angela Scanlon losing her fucking shit and screaming about the pit but if you watch closely you’ll catch the tail end (heh) of Tauron pulling off the rest of Iron-Awe’s sacrificial armor.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Flip!

Jonathan Pearce says something strange and no matter how many times I replay the video all I hear is “Iron-Awe’s shit’s not moving freely at the moment”. Well after getting Tauron’s high speed blade shoved up its backside I’m not the least bit surprised, Jonathan. Tauron’s weird chassis shape is really showing its weakness right now because Iron-Awe’s face just fits perfectly in but again, no fucking flips. Every time the robots meet face to face Tauron gets some glancing blows off of Iron-Awe’s sloped paneling and the two bots end right back up in a headlock and not a single time does Iron-Awe’s driver pull the trigger. Not even when Tauron makes a full charge at Iron-Awe and climbs all the way up the robot’s fucking chassis does anything happen. By this point I’m just going to assume the flipper was dead on arrival.

Sir Killalot shows up to break up the stuck bots and when the dust settles Iron-Awe twitches a bit and Tauron is completely dead. Tauron gets counted out and loses to a robot that didn’t even have a goddamned weapon. (Even worse, apparently Tauron wasn’t even knocked out but just deliberately not moving because for some stupid reason Tom Brewster just sat there while something was counted out.)

WINNER: Iron-Awe, KO


GROUP TWO

Tim “WHO’S NEXT?” Rackley

Returning this series is CONCUSSION, Grand Finalists from last year and back with their eyes on whatever the Robot Wars equivalent of the Giant Nut is. It’s like some fucking drill bit or something I don’t know, it’s been too fucking long since I’ve written one of these. Tim Rackley and his group of teammates were rookies last series and against all odds managed to take their robot all the way to the Grand Finals. Last series that was an elite group of esteemed roboteers that included the likes of Carbide, Aftershock, Eruption, and reigning champion (at the time) Apollo… and these fucking knuckleheads led by a guy with a goddamned mohawk made it there too. Concussion really hasn’t changed much, the team has taken the Tauron route and stuck with what worked. Metaphorically, of course, because last series Concussion sank Tauron in a single shot. Concussion’s main thing is its drum. Looking like a motherfucking Naruto Minotaur, Concussion has one of those spinners that looks like it shouldn’t be balanced but it is. The robot gets its name from builder Tim Rackley, who had a metal plate installed in his head after sustaining a concussion. Consequently this is also how he discovered how much he liked having a mohawk since the surgeons had to shave part of his head. (None of this is true by the way, but it sure sounded believable didn’t it?)

This is one of the most bad ass stills I’ve taken from every Robot Wars episode so far.

No, it’s not the name of some Tumblr blog about robot genders, it’s ANDRONE 4000 and it’s here to find your pressure points and pinch down so hard that your fucking head explodes. Builders David Cullen and Mark Oxlade have day jobs that consist of engineering lifting equipment for cars. Real talk, that sounds like the most boringest shit on the planet but once you realize these guys spend literally all day designing hydraulic lifts for a living it’s not a stretch to come to the conclusion that they might know a thing or two about building the absolute craziest biter bot that’s ever been inside the arena. That’s no joke, either, the builders of Androne 4000 claim that with 8 tons of pressure their robot is the most powerful clamper in Robot Wars history. Had they done their homework instead of building service jacks or whatever the fuck they’d have realized that’s incorrect; the record of strongest hydraulic clamp actually goes to Kan Opener at 12 tons. You might remember them from series eight, where they lost. That means Androne 4000 has “almost as much bite as a great white*”.

The original filename of this image was “horses-nuts”. I changed it. For SEO reasons.

Finally, we have NUTS 2. Nuts is a bit of a special case that’s had one hell of a ride through the years. Originally debuting in series 8 with mostly the same design you see today, Nuts survived its group battle when Kill-E-Crank-E went all Dr. Strangelove on Razer and sacrificed itself to ensure the legend would not live on. Nuts then proceeded to take a fucking beating from the likes of Behemoth, Carbide, and Terrorhurtz and survived every single encounter. It didn’t win, but it survived. Last season Nuts came back and was immediately booty-quaked out of the arena by Matilda meaning that’s all we saw of the robot. Now here we are at series ten and builder Rory Mangles claims he’s mastered the concept of “Melty Brain” drive. Within the robot combat community this type of drive system — which allows a thwackbot to spin and drive at the same time — has been something of a holy grail. The concept dates all the way back to BattleBots competitor Ilya Polyakov and Blade Runner who could never quite get the system to work; many have tried, and almost all have failed. Could Rory, who’s robot looks like a fucking Minecraft nightmare, be the chosen one?

*Fun fact: The actual biting strength of a great white shark is 1.8 tons so pretty much every single crusher that’s ever competed in Robot Wars — even the shitty ones — have “more bite than a great white”.


GROUP BATTLE 2

CONCUSSION

Dorset Roboteering Team

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

ANDRONE 4000

Team Andron

Weapon: 8-ton hydraulic crusher

NUTS 2

Team Nuts

Weapon: Chain flails w/ wedge minibots

FROM DOWNTOWN

Right away Nuts just starts spinning around in place while its minions disperse and proceed to try and get in the way of Concussion and Androne 4000 who are locked together and just mere inches away from each other’s weaponry. While no one was paying attention, and in just a matter of seconds, Nuts has already whipped itself up to fuck-you levels of speed. Concussion, thinking Nuts is “just another shitty thwackbot”, charges in to try and bite at one of the spinner’s gratuitously-sized wheels with its drum. This serves to be the biggest fucking mistake of Tim Rackley’s life because Nuts whacks Concussion so hard on its right drive wheel that it breaks the whole goddamned thing. Just watch the slow-mo replay, it’s a thing of beauty. I’ve never seen pure hubris filmed at 250 frames per second before. Concussion still seems to be able to glide and scoot around by revving its drum up and skittering back and forth with its free wheel but before the robot was able to deal out even a glancing blow it’s been sent to an early grave. By fucking Nuts.

Androne 4000 takes the opportunity to scam some free points from the kneecapped Concussion but fails to get a good bite while one of Nuts’ minibots tests the floor flipper. Nuts lurks in the background spinning insanely fast and if you pay close attention to where the robot’s wheels are you’ll see that the Melty Brain drive system really is working, Nuts is gliding in an almost controlled straight line. This piece of rejected farm equipment has gone from meme, to shit, to “holy shit it literally just got a one-hit KO” over the course of its Robot Wars career. Androne 4000 seems to be keenly aware of this and after having witnessed how hard Nuts’ flails can hit decides to use Concussion as a meat shield to try and slow the spinner down. This works, but Nuts gets bounced back too far for Androne 4000 to capitalize on so instead it continues to pick on Concussion and somehow manages to take itself and the drum spinner over the floor flipper and not get rolled over. Concussion gets flipped, though, and Jonathan Pearce won’t fucking stop saying the word “armament”.

Androne 4000 bit Concussion so fucking hard that the bots didn’t get separated until they were in the pits.

With Nuts too dangerous to approach, and realistically probably too oddly-shaped to fit into its jaw, Androne 4000 bites down onto Concussion’s underbelly and visibly pierces into it as it takes the bot for another ride on the floor flipper. Androne 4000 lands awkwardly however, and stops moving. The drivers up in the booth start fidgeting with every single button on their apparently custom-built transmitter but nothing seems to be able to bring the crusher back from the brink. Concussion spins up its drum and its only working wheel but it’s not enough to pull away from Androne 4000’s grip. Dead Metal comes in to intervene and also fails. Nuts also shows up but doesn’t really have any intentions of separating the two stuck robots, instead Nuts starts blasting paint off of Concussion’s face while the officials count out both Concussion and Androne 4000.

WINNER: Nuts 2, KO


THE KEGS vs. CONCUSSION

(insert Twitch “Kreygasm” emote here)

Thus far we’ve had two fights with genuinely unbelievable outcomes. The first saw Iron-Awe taking a free win because its primary opponent just sat on his ass doing nothing while the second proved the existence of Melty Brain driving and propelled Nuts to its first ever win in three years. Now we’re at the point in the heat where the fuck-ups who couldn’t manage to beat a busted flipper or a glorified thwackbot get to fight for scraps. The Kegs were brutalized by Tauron in their first match and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, enter this battle with “one and a half” robots instead of two. One of The Kegs has traded out its spinning bar for a steel wedge with the intent to shove it down Concussion’s throat and stop its drum from spinning. I don’t know if this plan was devised intentionally or if Tauron just busted one of the multibot’s weapons so badly that it could not be repaired and this is the best the team could do. Concussion on the other hand is here after being cucked on international television by a fucking flail spinner named Nuts. One of last year’s six Grand Finalists… and already trying to fight their way out of the redemption rounds. The good news for Concussion is I’m sure we all know how this fight ends because we’ve seen its cumshot about five dozen fucking times by now.

>mfw the kegs literally smashed to pieces across the arena

“Lots of scary talk in the pits,” Jonathan starts, “who’s afraid of who?” Are you for real right now? In what fucking parallel dimension would Concussion have anything to worry about? The one where Robot Wars allows Russian hitmen to be paid in bitcoins in order to have a sniper assassinate the opposing driver? As Jonathan starts this sentence Concussion already has its drum full blast and makes a pass at one of The Kegs, and before he can finish that sentence Concussion makes contact with the one that still has a bar and rips its shell clean off. The other keg, technically unarmed, pivots around to try and poke Concussion in the face but instead just gets smacked away and onto the floor flipper which throws it through the air and — if that wasn’t enough — as it lands Concussion is already waiting there to nail it a second time and hurl it into the wall. Watching this series of events unfold is like watching someone unleash a fully charged special attack bar in fucking Street Fighter or something. The only thing missing is the sparkly background effect and the announcer shouting “KO”.

And finally, in case you were wondering where “that shot” came from, the next hit is Concussion shredding the exposed innards of the keg it originally hit at the start of the match, blowing it to pieces and giving John Frizell and his team the toilsome task of figuring out which parts of their robots go into which color recycling bins. You know, because Greenpeace.

WINNER: Concussion, KO


TAURON vs. ANDRONE 4000

AHHHH MY SHIT

Like that guy from Clerks whose name I can’t even be bothered to look up (it’s Dante, I know what it is, it’s called a gimmick) Tauron’s not even supposed to be here. The things Concussion did to The Kegs are indescribable, but the only reason their assholes were ready for Concussion was because Tauron was there first. Tauron knocked out both of The Kegs and quite obviously had way more points with the judges than the weaponless Iron-Awe did but for some fucking reason Tom Brewster wasn’t aware that his robot — which was fully functional — was being counted out and he lost because he was too busy daydreaming about anime or some shit. As far as newcomers go Androne 4000 was doing a fine job holding its own against the deadly drum of Concussion and the whirring nightmare that is Nuts, however with Nuts banging Concussion hard enough to break an entire side of drive Androne 4000 simply wasn’t destined to win the group battle so its placement here was inevitable.

Rather than go straight for the throat Androne 4000 tries to careen around Tauron presumably to try and bite at a tire. By veering so far off to the side however, all Tauron needs to do to get away is literally just drive in a straight line. Which it does. Androne 4000 is still able to get in Tauron’s face before its vertical blade can get up to a dangerous speed and successfully parades the spinner into the house robots not once but twice and also manages to take hold of the robot and put it into the wall. While all this is going on Tauron has finally managed to get its bar up to full speed and as Androne 4000 gets Tauron to sit on one of the many iron dildos hidden just underneath the arena floor it provides the leverage Tauron needs to dig into the front of its opponent and nearly rip the entire goddamned right side off. Androne 4000 is injured, but not crippled, and immediately goes right back to biting Tauron on the fucking face and tries to carry it to the flame pit.

Tip: You do not earn any points for smoking.

Androne 4000 misses the fire grill and Dead Metal takes over instead, carving an asscrack into Tauron’s chassis. Dead Metal manages to separate the two robots and as Tauron tries to get away Androne 4000 goes for the pit trigger and enters the “close enough” radius where the asshole who can’t be bothered to actually watch the fight just goes “meh” and activates whatever the button is supposed to do this time. In this case it’s the pit. Androne 4000 comes in for another piece of Tauron, presumably to try and lug it over to the newly opened hazard, and instead gets its front left stabilizing fork bent up by Tauron’s blade. Against all odds this robot just does not fucking give up and Androne 4000 wraps its maw around Tauron’s blade frame and bites down again, this time causing visible smoke to start rising up from the open spots in Tauron’s frame. I’m unsure as to what the smoke was from since its drive motors and weapon still seem to be working, but regardless some shit’s on fire inside of Tauron and it’s my professional opinion that that’s probably not a good sign.

It looks like the left side of Androne 4000’s drive is out, but it’s hard to tell because the robot keeps spontaneously regaining control over that side of drive so whatever it is it’s intermittent. Tauron, who was previously smoking just seconds ago, comes in and cleaves into the already damaged right side of Androne 4000 and splits the front panel open even wider. That seems to be the last good hit Tauron’s gonna get because immediately after this blow the robot’s weapon seems to fail. Androne 4000 comes back to life and chases Tauron down to try and corral it into Dead Metal’s CPZ one last time. Instead Tauron jukes away and takes a trip courtesy of the floor flipper. It’s an extremely close fight… or is it? In terms of damage Androne 4000 is missing some armor but it’s still fully functional, whereas Tauron’s smoking during the last 30 or so seconds signaled the death of its weapon. Not only that, Androne 4000 maintained control of the entire fight and put Tauron into the CPZ and wall numerous times, so it’s no real surprise that the judges have turned in a unanimous decision for…

WINNER: Androne 4000, Judges’ Decision


IRON-AWE 6 vs. CONCUSSION

“Hang on don’t start the fight yet, I need to sit through this ad for Match.com.”

Now that the first round of cuts have been made it’s time to get into the semifinals of this heat. No more freebies. Iron-Awe lucked the fuck out because in its opening melee it did fuck all to The Kegs and basically let Tauron walk all over them. It didn’t help that Iron-Awe’s flipper didn’t even work from the get go. Tauron whaled on the crippled flipper for the entire match and ended up losing when its driver assumed the 10 count was for the end of the match and not because he was just sitting around doing nothing. In a parallel universe Tauron actually won that fight and advanced onward to this match instead, though I can’t tell you how Tauron vs. Concussion played out because I only downloaded the trial version of the app that lets me peek into alternate universes. Meanwhile, Concussion ended up having to re-earn its place in the heat as a result of gratuitously underestimating the power behind the newly rebuilt Nuts 2 and being knocked out in a single blow. The powers that be took mercy on Tim Rackers and paired him up against The Kegs in the redemption round which was basically a free win that ended so spectacularly that it was used as promotional footage for the entire fucking season.

In a perfect world this is how all of Iron-Awe 6’s matches ended.

Iron-Awe’s driver must’ve glanced over and noticed that Concussion is apparently operated using a fucking Windows 10 tablet and used that knowledge to calculate their opponent’s risk factor, which by my math is 0%. Iron-Awe floors it toward Concussion and takes a few shots, losing some of its entanglement chains in the process, but it seems no real damage is done to either machine. Gilbert Grimm’s estimated risk factor had one flaw, though. He didn’t take into account that maybe Concussion’s tablet was running a version of Windows 10 with a Service Pack installed. I mean yeah the Dorset Roboteering Team couldn’t be assed to disable Cortana from the start menu, but their drum packs enough of a punch to knock Iron-Awe flat on its ass. (Also don’t fill my comments with nerdy bullshit like “but Dracophile, Microsoft stopped doing Service Packs with Windows 8, they issue yearly updates now instead”. I’ve written almost 75 posts for this stupid website and I’m running out of shit to reference so if you don’t like my Service Pack joke then go play Space Cadet 3D Pinball or something. Fuck off.)

So anyways Iron-Awe is on its ass and theoretically, if its flipper was working, it would be able to self-right from this position. Gilbert Grimm even told Dara before the fight that he and his team tested the flipper beforehand and it worked “every time” but lo and fucking behold when it’s time to nut up or shut up it looks like Iron-Awe’s doing a whole lot of shutting up. Iron-Awe’s team expresses discontent that Dead Metal grabs their robot and throws it onto the fire pit but I feel like when you show up and perform that poorly the producers of the show are entitled to do whatever the fuck they want to your shitty entry in the name of making good television. Just be glad there’s not a goddamned refrigerator hanging from the ceiling these days waiting to be dropped on the robots that shit their pants and die. Since Tim Rackers is being kind of a dick this series, he cruises in and tries to get one last bite out of Iron-Awe with only one second left on the KO countdown. He misses, which means that we sadly don’t get to see Iron-Awe get gutted like The Kegs.

WINNER: Concussion, KO


NUTS 2 vs. ANDRONE 4000

i ain’t gonna pee pee my bed tonight

I don’t really know what drove Rory Mangles to design the robot named Nuts, an octagonal thwackbot with wheels as big as those giant novelty chocolate chip cookie “pies” you can get at the mall. “Nuts isn’t supposed to be a good robot,” Rory says to the cameras after we just saw it Jesus-walk across the arena while swinging at least six feet of chain barely under the speed of fucking sound. Nuts won its first ever match when the hammer at the end of one of said chains collided with Concussion and busted it immediately. Androne 4000 was also present in that match, and managed to bite down onto Concussion, but ultimately broke down after one too many rides from the floor flipper. Since no one could separate the two robots, and because neither one really did much of anything, the judges just killed two birds with one stone and said “congrats, you both fucking lost, to Nuts“. Androne 4000 redeemed itself, however, and stood up to the deadly blade of Tauron in its redemption match which ended in a judges’ call. This came at the cost of what appears to be “literally fucking everything” because Team Andron had to phone in every single favor card at the same time to get enough people to help put their robot back together again for this battle.

Just as Nuts’ team said in the pits, their minibots exist to act as doorstops and get in the way of opponents to trip them up. They said the wedges fit perfectly underneath Androne 4000 and sure enough within seconds the biter is struggling to shake the equivalent of robot chihuahuas off of its ankles. This affords Nuts the few seconds it needs to get itself spinning up to a reasonably dangerous speed and as Androne 4000 finally collides with the spinner Nuts’ hammers whip its hydraulic components several times. “Four times a second, with a sledgehammer” according to Jonathan. (I didn’t know weapon speeds were measured in sledgehammers/sec these days.)

Above: “Art.”

The hit has clearly damaged something quite severely within Androne 4000 because as the robot charges Nuts on the flame pit and tries to bite down a steady stream of piss erupts from the top of the robot. Androne 4000 whips around to try and fruitlessly reposition its jaw and winds up coating everyone sitting in the “splash zone” section of the bleachers with urine. It’s like watching a dolphin breach for air, except gross and nowhere near as majestic. Androne 4000 then proceeds to drive straight onto the floor flipper where it gets rolled over and, since its hydraulic fluid is now a Jackson Pollock painting on the arena floor, dies. What we just saw was the equivalent of a skateboarder catching a stray ska CD to the jugular but still trying to pull of one last sweet kickflip and passing out in midair from blood loss. Godspeed, Androne 4000. Also, I sincerely hope Jonathan’s mention of you casually wagering your employment on whether or not you won Robot Wars was just another Bad Jonathan Joke™.

Oh, and Nuts just won. Again.

WINNER: Nuts 2, KO


IRON-AWE 6 vs. ANDRONE 4000

“I eat ass.”

In an ideal world Iron-Awe 6 would’ve been eliminated in the group battle stage and then kicked to the curb yet somehow it has survived long enough to reach the third place playoff round. Weaponless. Everyone keeps saying this robot is “the daddy of flippers” and that we wouldn’t have bots like Apollo had it not been for Iron-Awe. That’s blatantly fucking wrong. Prior to Iron-Awe showing up in Robot Wars we already had the likes of Big Cheese, Cassius, and fucking Chaos 2. Also, if you want to get technical, Iron-Awe originally had a flipper and an axe and they weren’t even the first to do that shit either because Rob Knight and his D&D chucklefucks threw together Mortis’ dumb ass back in 1999. Just to really be a dick and hammer this point home, you can’t even argue that Iron-Awe pioneered the “big fuck off wedge that’s a flipper” design because Spawn Again beat them to the punch there too. What we have here isn’t a granddaddy, daddy, or even a retarded cousin of the flipper; Iron-Awe is just “another UK flipper” minus the “flipper” part because we haven’t seen it do a fucking thing so far. Anyways Iron-Awe’s here and so is Androne 4000. As bad as Androne 4000’s recent loss to Nuts looked it certainly wasn’t as bad as its victory against Tauron, all the team seemed to need to do was replace some hoses and valves and they were good to go.

Androne 4000 slams into Iron-Awe at the start of the fight and if you were waiting for some action from Iron-Awe’s flipper this time around then I’m afraid your blue balls are going to reach “that uncomfortable inflation scene from Willy Wonka” proportions. It’s not even like this is a case similar to John Reid freaking the fuck out and shouting “wait for a good hit” or anything, this shit is just straight up broken. Gilbert Grimm found a way to enter a fucking wedge in modern day Robot Wars. Just tell the officials you have a flipper (and go as far as to install an entire pneumatic system that works in the test box to act the part) and never use it in a battle. Iron-Awe manages to out push Androne 4000 and shoves it into Matilda’s CPZ where she farts off a piece of Androne 4000’s right tire. This doesn’t seem to faze the biter but it’s certainly a bad omen. Also it lets Jonathan sperg some more about how he’s known “many a man and robot” who’s gone into her lair. Yeah dude, he’s one of them. Over the course of 10 series of Robot Wars he’s basically told us he into weird butt stuff with Matilda. We know.

You had ONE JOB, Androne 4000.

Iron-Awe and Androne 4000 take turns getting underneath each other; Androne 4000 seems to struggle with getting any purchase on its opponent due to its extreme angles, and Iron-Awe’s flipper just continues to do fuck all in case you were curious. Androne 4000 gets backed into the Dial of Doom which triggers the pit (and illuminates the sign telling the audience to start chanting “in the pit” or whatever). The tire damage from earlier in the match seems to be catching up to Androne 4000 as you can visibly see the tread spinning irregularly and the robot struggling to get purchase on that side. If you’re Iron-Awe this is where you want to be because your opponent is fighting for air directly next to the pit and your robot is basically just a giant wedge at this point. What you don’t want to do is go ass-to-ass with Matilda, which is exactly what Iron-Awe does. If Iron-Awe’s flipper was “broken” before the it’s certainly broken for real now because the hinge at the rear of the robot’s chassis is like five kinds of jacked up.

For some reason Iron-Awe just can’t get a grip on Androne 4000 and instead nearly gets flipped over by Matilda, which would’ve given Androne 4000 a free win and a spot in the consolation rumble. Every time Iron-Awe retreats to line up a better shot it drives all the fucking way across the floor, which is completely unnecessary. It’s not like Androne 4000 is going to chase it down, the thing’s fucking broken. Also for a robot with no active weapon both of Iron-Awe’s drivers are jiggling sticks on the transmitter. Literally what the fuck are you doing? Just drive in a straight goddamned line and put Androne 4000 in the pit. It’s not rocket science. After what feels like two dozen attempts to push a dead robot 4 feet into the pit Iron-Awe finally manages to bump Androne 4000 down, eliminating it from the competition. If you’re keeping score here Iron-Awe has made it through three whole fights and qualified for the fucking 10-way wildcard rumble without ever firing its flipper. I’m convinced it’s not even really there.

WINNER: Iron-Awe 6, KO


HEAT FINAL
CONCUSSION vs. NUTS 2

CONCUSSION

Dorset Roboteering Team

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

NUTS 2

Team Nuts

Weapon: Chain flails w/ wedge minibots

Uhh… another Kreygasm emote?

Out of this heat’s field of six robots we’re down to the final two. The winner automatically goes on to the Grand Finals whereas the loser gets placed on the same pedestal as Iron-Awe 6, a robot who qualified for the consolation rumble without ever using its weapon. That’s where the bar is set. Concussion and Nuts 2 emerged from the same group battle for this showdown where either Tim Rackley will get his revenge over a humiliating miscalculation or Rory Mangles will make lightning strike twice and bang up Concussion good enough for a spot in the championship. Concussion licked its wounds and rebounded nicely from its early loss by absolutely decimating The Kegs and knocking Iron-Awe onto its lid for a quick victory. Nuts on the other hand has been fortunate enough to have pinpoint accuracy with its screaming banshee of a fucking weapon with one hit disabling Concussion and another severing the hydraulic line of Androne 4000. Tim has learned from his mistakes and isn’t going to charge in a second time ill-equipped; this time around his robot is sporting additional armor over its tires in order to allow Concussion to absorb the first few blows from Nuts and follow-up with a hit from its drum. He affectionately calls these armor panels “Nut Busters”.

Don’t worry I’m sure this is all a part of Concussion’s strategy.

Concussion knows what’s up because as soon as the Mysterious Voice says “activate” it’s on Nuts and doesn’t let up. Even after a gentle toss from the floor flipper the drum spinner is still trying so hard to keep on its opponent because Tim knows that as soon as Nuts starts spinning at full speed the only thing standing between him and being Iron-Awe’s bunk mate is a shitty piece of polycarbonate that he wrote the fucking words “Nut Buster” on. Concussion gets a little too excited though as a second toss from the flipper sends the robot onto its back. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem because Concussion is designed to run both ways up, but there’s one teeny issue in this particular scenario: Nut Busters. These plastic wheel guards literally cannot weigh more than one pound combined but they’re just awkward enough to start tripping the drum spinner up and before Tim Rackley can mutter the phrase “bustin’ makes me feel good” his robot is once again experiencing control problems in the form of one side of drive not getting enough contact with the floor to move straight.

…this is also part of the plan, too.

The higher ground clearance also means that theoretically Nuts’ minibots should have a much easier time getting underneath Concussion to further impede the robot’s maneuverability but by this point in the fight it’s obvious who has the upper hand and Nuts is totally okay with using its chain flails to accidentally throw a teammate across the arena while the other gets repelled by Concussion’s drum. If you weren’t on board with me calling this robot “Naruto Minotaur” then you will be shortly because Concussion starts trying to use the centrifugal force of its drum to pull itself back into its proper configuration but since the robot is oddly shaped, and is wearing fucking NUT BUSTERS, this trick no longer works. As Concussion struggles it gradually glides over into Shunt’s corner who has no qualms punching the spiraling robot right in the dick several times. Maybe Tim should’ve invested in a baseball cup for his robot instead.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good plan after all.

Nuts has been just sort of spectating the fight this whole time because any wrong move has the potential to immediately turn the table. Robot Wars has really unclear rules on incapacitation and it seems that Noel Sharkey and his cronies will just count out anyone whenever the fuck they feel like it for any (or no) reason whatsoever, so Nuts has been hesitant to keep hitting Concussion in the event that it can just skate away with a “you only had one working side of drive” KO victory. That doesn’t seem to be happening so Nuts comes in for some extra hits and pulls off an entire piece of Concussion’s additional armor as the drum spinner tries to hide inside the floor spikes to let them deflect Nuts’ flails. This plan sort of works but it comes at the cost of letting Shunt do some more back alley sex reassignment surgery on Concussion. One of Nuts’ minibots finally gets jammed underneath Concussion and it is at this moment when the judges realize maybe Concussion isn’t really able to move that well anymore so the KO countdown begins.

Nuts, the robot that was introduced to us two series ago with the phrase “Nuts have made an effort”, have done exactly that. It’s been eviscerated by Carbide, humiliated by Behemoth, smashed to pieces by Terrorhurtz, and thrown out of the arena by Matilda. And now it’s won every single fucking fight in its heat this series and joins the ranks of robots like Rapid as well as its former adversaries Behemoth and Carbide as a Grand fucking Finalist.

WINNER: Nuts 2, KO


*does the choppy hand motion thing*

Out of this heat’s six competitors Nuts 2 was the one to rise above, and don’t get me wrong this was certainly a well deserved victory. Rory and Angela and everyone else might not know what the hell is going on but nobody really needs to know, like any good fighter Nuts 2 has done all of the necessary explaining with its fists. BattleBots’ Kenny Florian would be proud. Concussion, the former Grand Finalist, looked to be in prime position to mop up an easy ticket but I guess we were collectively all wrong. Iron-Awe 6 was a bit of an X factor but now that we’ve seen that its flipper literally doesn’t fucking do anything I really don’t see them as anything more than cannon fodder for the 10-way melee that they somehow managed to qualify for. Tauron made a strong showing but its design just wasn’t refined enough to make it through, same with Androne 4000. The less that’s said about The Kegs, the better. Next time on Robot Wars it’s the final heat, Heat E. One more guaranteed place in the Grand Final is up for grabs before the final two qualifiers for the wildcard rumble are locked in. Thor, the UK’s very own BIG TIME HAMMER and series 8 Grand Finalist, returns for yet another run at the title. It’s joined by a newly rebuilt Push To Exit and an “extremely rebuilt” Expulsion, both looking like some weird ass low poly renders from a PS1 game. Pulsar will not be returning, however in its place is the brand new Magnetar, bigger and more powerful than the dying star its predecessor ever was.

Thanks for coming back to The Update as I work through the end of this series of Robot Wars. A lot of shit has happened in the UK scene since I had to take a break, namely that the BBC opted not to renew the show for an 11th series. I hope the hiatus is temporary and that the community shows enough support and interest to get whoever the fuck cashes y’alls TV tax checks to wake the fuck up and bring it back. BattleBots got shafted by ABC and ended up skipping a whole year of production before it was saved by Discovery Channel, so I hope the same can happen to Robot Wars. It’s not over ’til it’s over. In the meantime I’m going to do my best to get the last two episodes of series 10 posted so that when BattleBots season 8 premieres on May 12th I can seamlessly fall right into a good routine of getting one article out per week in sync with the show. If you haven’t already, make sure you follow BattleBots Update on Facebook because these next two Robot Wars articles probably won’t be coming out in a cohesive manner. Also, since this website is officially rolling again, I’ve re-opened the Patreon page. I’m considering killing off the ads on this site (because they pay me nothing as it is) so if you’d like to support this endeavor of mine that would be the best way to do so. The “tip jar” for one-time donations is also still open if the monthly pledge thing isn’t your cup of tea.

Again, thank you for your patience in dealing with my piss poor ability to get things written and released in a reasonable time frame. I think I’m past the point of trying to hide behind excuses even if “my house literally blew down sorry the article is late” ranks up there as a pretty good one.

– Dracophile