[Robot Wars UK: S10 E5 is available online HERE.]

We’re now at the fifth and final heat of The Tenth Wars, “Heat E”. Four competitors have already qualified for the Grand Final while eight runners-up wait in limbo for their chance at a wildcard in the playoff rumble. One final spot remains for the winner of the heat with the wildcard to be determined once this heat’s second and third place finishers are known. It gets tiring to keep reiterating this but for the sake of convenience and completion the four current Grand Finalists include Behemoth, Carbide, Rapid, and the latest addition Nuts. Yes, that Nuts. Don’t even ask because I don’t know how the fuck either. Seeing Nuts on the same pedestal as three other supremely engineered robots is as awkward as those times when some flavor of the week musician somehow wins a Grammy and nobody knows what the hell is happening.

Dara O’Briain doesn’t spaghetti at the beginning of this episode, unfortunately. The video I was reviewing has a blip as soon as he says “Robot Wars” which I thought was an amusing artifact but it turns out this isn’t present in the recorded episode online and simply happened because ever since my shit got ruined I’ve been having to write these articles on a nine year old laptop left over from my years in university where I’d feign interest in biology class by sitting in the back of the classroom reading stories about dinosaurs fucking each other. Technically that’s still biology. Also before I reveal any other personally embarrassing information about myself let’s see who’s competing in the final heat of series 10.


GROUP ONE

“Wow a fidget spinner. What’s next, a Tide pod?”

EXPULSION is introduced first and if I didn’t bring it to your attention right now you’d have no idea that we’re looking at a returning competitor, both because this iteration of the robot looks absolutely nothing like its predecessor and because it was such a piece of shit that it only had like ten seconds of screen time last season before being forgotten about altogether. I’m serious by the way, Angela Scanlon even says “after briefly featuring last series”. Expulsion has gone from being a coffin-shaped mess with a weapon that didn’t work to this bizarre boulder-shaped thing armed with what I can only describe as the world’s deadliest fidget spinner. With this robot autism doesn’t just speak, it screams bloody murder. It’s also got a minibot equipped with spiky wedges named “Detention” in case the whole “robot built by a team of students and named Expulsion” joke went right the fuck over your head. For some reason the robot’s weapon is specifically referred to as a “tool spinner” and I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. It looks to me like a substantially trimmed-down flywheel with flails, so isn’t that just a regular “spinner”?

((the theme to Home Improvement plays in the distance))

There’s a lot of things THOR is notable for. You could remark how it’s the only robot featuring a team of exactly one person, its resilience in being able to take some serious damage and bounce back for the next round every single time, or how with a lucky hit the robot has the ability to kill an opponent in a single shot. But none of that matters because the only thing I associate with Thor is that fucking hand chopping motion that Jason Marston does every time his robot is introduced. That’s his legacy. Not the fact that it was basically rebuilt ten times over in series 8 because it was demolished by Pulsar, Carbide, Matilda, and who the fuck else knows. Thor has yet to win a heat but has consistently made it into the heat finals for every single series of the reboot (and was also awarded a wildcard to the Grand Final in series 8 for its tenacity and efficacy). We’ve seen Thor do some great things but its major weakness always seems to be a gnarly spinner. Thankfully the only spinner in Thor’s first match is Expulsion so I don’t think Jason needs to worry about his robot being reduced to its basic components. Yet.

NO AWOO

COYOTE is the third robot in this group and rounds out the trio as another returning competitor. After being completely trashed by Carbide last series this robot had to be completely rebuilt. This afforded the team the opportunity to make some changes to the robot’s structural composition but in the end they decided to keep Coyote’s original design: clamping jaw in the front, chainsaw in the back… negating the fact that chainsaws haven’t been formidable weapons in this sport in literally 20 fucking years. I was always sort of amused when this robot showed up because coyotes do not exist in Europe so I’d imagine they don’t get discussed very often in idle conversation over there. This means that by default I just assume that Jamie McHarg, the guy who built it, is a closet furry. That’s the path of least resistance to me, so color me surprised when it turns out I’m probably incorrect because this year Coyote has a minibot named Roadrunner. You know, like Looney Tunes. It was a fucking Looney Tunes gag all along. Normally I’d be ashamed of that but Angela decides to tempt fate and tries to get the crowd in the pits to do a coyote howl. Given how amazingly poorly this went last year I’m surprised she even showed up to interview the fucking team let alone try the howl again. Mercifully like three more people chime in this time.


GROUP BATTLE 1

EXPULSION

Brentwood School Roboteers

Weapon: Spinning disc w/ flails

THOR

Team Twisted Metal

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

COYOTE

Team Coyote

Weapon: Gripping jaw & rear chainsaw

The fight’s literally already over for Expulsion.

This ought to be a pretty interesting match of muscle because of the variety of weaponry on display as well as the fact that Expulsion’s spinning blade isn’t meant to cleave into opponents but rather hit them in rapid succession instead. It makes determining who poses the bigger threat more challenging, but it seems that Coyote has its sights set on Expulsion either because Jamie thinks they’re a free win or because it’s easier to just drive in a straight line than it is to turn right and hit Thor. Whatever the reason, Expulsion gets a one way trip to Dead Metal’s fuck dungeon and as one of the team members exclaims “oh no it’s already stuck” the editors cut back to the robot and confirm that Expulsion is indeed resting in such a position that it apparently cannot get back onto its wheels. How this happened I have no fucking clue because just looking at this wacky piece of shit you’d probably infer “oh it’s shaped like something that cannot feasibly be picked up by any conventional means because it’s meant to roll back onto its wheels when flipped”. Hah, wrong. Even though there’s like three fucking configurations that result in Expulsion’s wheels being on the ground and the robot’s frame is a geometry nightmare Coyote managed to find the one face the robot can sit on where it’s totally fucking dead.

bonk

With Expulsion out of commission that leaves its minibot Detention as its only surviving part, but because more than half of the robot (by weight) is immobile there’s nothing that Detention can really accomplish beyond acting as a spiky buttplug for the furry trash that just sent its teammate up the creek. Detention promptly gets caught up in the flame pit while Dead Metal sets Expulsion down next to it so both bots can have a nice sit to think about what they’ve done. Coyote spars with Thor and manages to get stuck in the pit because for some reason it’s sunken down a couple of inches. I’m guessing the hazard operator got whacked with a ruler or something because in the very next camera cut Coyote is free just as Thor tries to capitalize on this bullshit. It wouldn’t have worked anyways because the Dial of Doom falls over onto the house robot thing and Dead Metal cruises around to grind some sparks off of Thor’s hammer. Thor’s front plow thing is expertly designed to corral other robots into the axe’s strike zone and at multiple points Thor just indiscriminately bashes on Coyote all over the place. At one point they even get dangerously close to Expulsion, who is still sitting on the fire pit, but just barely manage not to knock it back onto its wheels.

Coyote eventually gets a bite on Thor but isn’t able to capitalize on it. As the robot bites down you can see little pieces of the literal housing pipes used for Coyote’s wheel guards everywhere. Using these on their robot was a critical mistake because apparently when Jason Marston isn’t building robots he’s smashing the shit out of other people’s homes so I’m sure when he saw Coyote’s piping he could only see red. Or maybe he was looking at his own robot and saw red, since Thor is red. I don’t know. Coyote’s chainsaw has also apparently come apart to the surprise of literally fucking no one. Roadrunner, Coyote’s minibot, isn’t present in this match because both the minibot and the robot’s chainsaw weight approximately 10kg each and only one can be used at a time or else the robot becomes overweight. They really got their mileage out of that chainsaw in this round by landing a whole zero hits with it. Wow.

“Totally blown the fuck up”, a great finish for Coyote.

The fight gets to the point where Thor just stops giving a shit and starts strongarming Coyote all over the place regardless of what’s in the way. Thor plows through Expulsion, running clear over Detention in the process, and violently knocks the spinner away… and it’s still sitting on its side. I feel like that’s just a fundamental design flaw that one tiny pokey thing sticking out of there could have fixed. Thor gets shoved into the pit trigger which falls onto the rogue house robot thing again and Dead Metal cruises over and just devours what’s left of Detention while seeking out a bigger target. I get the distinct impression that both surviving teams are tired of looking at Dead Metal because they take about fifteen seconds of the fight to take turns whacking and biting down on the house bot until it just fucking goes away. Coyote lines up a great box rush at Thor and as the two bots collide in the middle of the ring Coyote’s jaw shears at its pivot point and the weapon limply hangs downward. This is fine however because for exactly this occasion Coyote’s got a backup chainsa– oh, nevermind.

Coyote nearly gets rocked by the floor flipper and ends up taking a couple of low blows from the spikes and by the end of the fight you can see that almost all of Coyote’s wheel guards were torn away. I have no fucking clue what the team was expecting when they stuck gas lines on their robot for armor, but there you go.

WINNER: Thor, Judges’ Decision


GROUP TWO

Magnetar’s business end. And business is good.

“I’ve been called a boy genius, and I really don’t like that,” says Ellis Ware, builder of MAGNETAR. If this robot looks familiar to you then it should because Magnetar is Pulsar 2.0. Pulsar and Magnetar are basically the same robot, visually at least. Both of them have a similar chassis design, similar weaponry, and similar self-righting mechanisms, however Ellis believes Magnetar to be such a major improvement over Pulsar that he considered it to be its own thing separate from the Pulsar lineage. Pulsar was capable of dishing out some mega hits but the robot’s reliability was always its major downfall; after sustaining significant recoil damage in its heat matches last season Pulsar famously burned through all of its spare parts and cannibalized every non-essential feature of itself (namely the srimech, which was its downfall) in order to stay in the game but ultimately failed to reach the Grand Final as it had prior in series 8. Magnetar is a clean slate, a complete rebuild, and it’s not here to fuck around. Normally I’d make some sort of reference about a real-life magnetar (a type of star) being stronger than a pulsar but I don’t know shit about astronomy so there you go.

Life advice from Hobgoblin.

HOBGOBLIN is a lot like Expulsion in that it was around last series but you probably don’t remember it because last year Hobgoblin was flipped onto its ass and died in the corner of the arena because it couldn’t self-right or drive upside-down. Overall the robot is still mostly the same and returns to the wars with its “egg beater” style weapon, the first of its kind in the heavyweight division. Normally you see this type of weapon on insect class robots because it affords the best surface area to weight ratio (as using a proper drum often weighs too much). Harry Hills, which I’ve been assured is not a porn pseudonym, seems like he’s put a lot of thought into his machine since he’s gone as far as to have the CAD model 3D printed and stuff even though his robot has as much functionality as a rock. For some goddamned reason Dara starts comparing Hobgoblin to Prince, whom I guess was actually still alive when this episode was taped. He gets on this line of thought about the robot not having a name that Prince could say “before the beat drops” which I don’t think was actually Prince’s “thing” so for all I know there’s probably some shitty EDM “musician” also named Prince that Dara was referencing and not the one I’m thinking of. In any case, I look forward to next series when Harry renames his robot “₹”.

Shane Swan is out of his fucking mind.

The 30th and last robot to be introduced this series is Shane Swan’s PUSH TO EXIT. You might remember Shane from a couple seasons ago as the driver of Dantomkia, a robot named after three children which were not his own. That’s because he bought the robot and when he lost with it he decided to pawn it off onto someone else hoping that the “Dantomkia” pedigree would be enough to officially make it someone else’s problem (it was). He returned last series with his own robot, Push To Exit, and took an early exit after a stray blow from PP3D knocked it out. It looks like it’s the exact same robot this year so I’m assuming all of the upgrades (if any) are all under the hood. Anyways I realize nobody gives a shit about any of this because you’re expecting me to say something about the fucking dogs. I realize I was wrong to jump the gun and accuse Coyote’s Jamie McHarg of being a furfag because Shane’s goddamned shrine to canines raises more red flags than a communist regime. I had to look up what a “Crufts” was but apparently it’s like a major dog show thing, and Shane allegedly has an award from them. I couldn’t corroborate that claim with Wikipedia but that’s because they only itemized the main “Best in Show” award and nothing else so for all we know Shane might have a Cruft award for something like “Best Dog From and Owner Named Shane Who Also Competes in Robot Wars”.


GROUP BATTLE 2

MAGNETAR

Team Ranglebots

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

HOBGOBLIN

Team Hobgoblin

Weapon: Vertical spinning “egg beater” drum

PUSH TO EXIT

Team S.Tek

Weapon: Front-hinged flipper

Hobgoblin makes a strong showing this year.

I don’t envy Push To Exit right now, paired up against two drum spinners. I mean sure Hobgoblin is kind of a piece of shit but Magnetar is easily strong enough to count twice so on technicality yes Push To Exit is still fighting two drums. To combat this, Push To Exit enters this fight sporting what I’m just going to assume are dog leashes for the purposes of weapon entanglement. Hobgoblin is easily disposed of and promptly thrown onto its back, but Magnetar proves to be slightly tougher and by “slightly tougher” I mean “trying to fight the final boss of an RPG when you’re still level 1”. A single blow sends Push To Exit rolling through the air, onto the floor flipper, and as it’s about to land back on the floor Magnetar is waiting there to bash the blue robot right on its fucking head. Push To Exit remains upside-down and although its front-hinged flipper should allow it to get back onto its wheels the camera cuts to the robot’s weapon operator futilely pressing the trigger and stating that it’s totally dead. Push To Exit gets shoved over to Shunt who exacts its pound of flesh and tosses its victim onto the spot on the floor where the pit drops.

Above: Magnetar putting Ol’ Yeller down.

And that’s it, really. Hobgoblin was eliminated in mere seconds by Push To Exit and although the robot should in theory be able to drive just fine inverted for whatever reason it’s simply failing to do so and is subsequently counted out. Meanwhile, despite making a very strong early showing Push To Exit ended up taking a single mega hit from Magnetar that killed its flipper and ability to self-right so it was also counted out. Magnetar, the quiet storm, is the winner. Maybe “quiet storm” was a bad reference because that thing’s weapon is loud as shit. Whatever. Dog guy and the kid who asked “what’s inside a wall” are both toast.

WINNER: Magnetar, KO


COYOTE vs. HOBGOBLIN

Yep. Real strong showing.

Coyote managed to survive the duration of its group melee and even incapacitate Expulsion but unfortunately couldn’t stand up to Jason Marston’s intimidating judo chops and was brutalized for the remaining two minutes and forty-five seconds of that match. Coyote took a hell of a thrashing and virtually every aspect of the robot was damaged; the mechanism for the front jaw broke, the rear chainsaw fell apart, and the robot’s wheel guards ended up being unsalvageable and needed to be completely replaced. Hobgoblin was a bit luckier in its group battle because it appears to have not suffered any major damage at all. Hobgoblin went out in a manner not unlike Expulsion, actually; the robot tried to get its weapon up to speed and in the process was slammed into the wall by Push To Exit where it flipped over and died. Getting back to Coyote however, it appears that its chainsaw was either not repaired in time or just deemed not worth the trouble as it’s been swapped out for the Roadrunner minibot.

On a good day you’d expect Hobgoblin to walk away from this match with an easy win and Coyote in multiple pieces all over the place because Coyote is essentially free damage points waiting to be redeemed with the judges. Though the efficacy of Hobgoblin’s weapon is still a big “what if” there’s not a doubt in my mind that the robot would at least be able to shred Coyote’s shitty wheel guards and the Roadrunner minibot. That’s clearly not happening though because even though Hobgoblin is now on all four of its tires the thing still cannot fucking move in a straight line. The robot just twitches back and forth and turns maybe a couple dozen degrees before correcting back in the opposite direction. Coyote has no manner of inflicting damage directly yet from the start of this match it’s got the upper hand by shoving the spinner around. Hobgoblin is eventually bumped onto the pit, which seems like an intentional move from Coyote, but nobody actually follows up to go hit the pit button. There’s two goddamned robots battling as Coyote and neither of them realize “maybe now’s a good time to hit the pit trigger” and by the time one of them figures it out Hobgoblin has already limped off of the platform.

Shunt status: CUCKED

Hobgoblin continues to do a whole lot of nothing and ends up getting shoved onto the fire grill where it shits out its left drive belt. Fancy that, I just assumed that side of drive was already dead but fuck me I guess. Jonathan Pearce makes sure to mention that although Sir Killalot is right there he can’t actually attack Hobgoblin because the robot’s not in the CPZ. I don’t know why that matters all of a sudden because throughout the history of Robot Wars the house bots just do whatever the fuck they want especially in shitty potato fights like this one. Just to highlight this point, Shunt straight up leaves its corner, enters Killalot’s, and starts mercilessly beating on Hobgoblin. Shunt whacks Hobgoblin about a half-dozen times before bringing its axe down directly onto the egg beater. Much to the surprise of Harry Hills and apparently the entire goddamned audience Shunt’s weapon tip gets sheared off. Karma, I guess, but Shunt doesn’t fucking care about karma. Harry starts laughing but just to remind him who still has the bigger cock Shunt rolls Hobgoblin over, a position that everyone damn well knows it can’t get out of.

WINNER: Coyote, KO


EXPULSION vs. PUSH TO EXIT

dogs

The road to this fight is pretty much a carbon copy of the one we just saw. Much like Hobgoblin, Expulsion was upended by Coyote before the fight clock even had a chance to fade out, and although Push To Exit was knocked out fairly quickly according to Shane Swan the drive was still working so theoretically that match had the potential to go the distance. Regardless, Push To Exit certainly took much more damage than Expulsion in its previous round but for some reason the chaos in the pits is reversed, it’s the Expulsion team who’s scrambling to repair their robot as in their case “repair” also means “fix the geometry of this fucking robot because this shit did not work like it was supposed to”. Shane on the other hand is charging his batteries and fucked off to go find someone else in the pits to talk about dogs with and actually managed to succeed in this endeavor. Incredible. It’s a shame that Wyrm’s team did not return for this series otherwise I’m certain Shane would’ve had a much more colorful chat.

A lot less action is happening than what this photo implies.

Matilda is one of the house robots for this match and as the editors play her entrance video Jonathan says her ass deserves its own Instagram. Can you imagine this kind of creepy shit getting said back before the turn of the millennium when Jeremy Clarkson still hosted the show? “A robot who’s rear end deserves its own web ring of GeoCities sites and a hit counter.”

Apparently whatever Expulsion’s builders did in the pits worked because within seconds its disc is spinning much faster than it was in the moments before Coyote stuck it into the wall and knocked it over. Expulsion takes a jab from Push To Exit and as the flipper misses a chance for a flip we find out that this wasn’t due to driver error but rather the flipper is still apparently broken from the robot’s run-in with Magnetar in the group melee (because Expulsion sure as shit doesn’t have that kind of firepower). Another hit knocks one of Expulsion’s rubber feet off and gets the two bots stuck together with Push To Exit in a position where it could at least hit its opponent with its flipper. The weapon operator mashes the trigger but nothing happens while the neighboring team of young women laugh at his inability to, ahem, get it up. They separate before Matilda has to come in and say something about it and Push To Exit begins to noticeably lag and drag around as if its transmitter is dying or getting a bad signal. This affords Expulsion tons of opportunities to land multiple free hits with its flail spinner and even though it’s clearly doing fuck all to Dog-Tron 4000 they’re still solid blows nonetheless.

Amazing.

Expulsion slides along the side of Push To Exit as its weapon grazes it multiple times, but the robot gets too close to the floor flipper and Expulsion is gently tossed onto its face. For all the additional curves and extensions the team added to their chassis this has got to be the one fucking spot they hoped they wouldn’t land on because Expulsion is once again out of commission. I suppose in theory maybe the team assumed that if they spun their weapon up while flipped that it would cause their chassis to spin around and wobble back over, because that’s what they are quite obviously trying to do, but it’s not working and instead everyone’s having a laugh at the expense of the shitty flail spinner and the robot built by the guy who is surely going to email me once he reads about me making fun of his dogs. All Push To Exit has to do is fucking move and it’s won but I guess something major really did fail inside of it because the best it can do is whip around to the side and twitch in place.

Because both robots sort of died at the same time the match goes to the judges. Just in case you were about to get your ass in a twist and say “NO THEY CAN’T DO THAT EXPULSION WAS STILL MOVING FIRST” chill the fuck out because that’s who won anyways. Push To Exit is shown the exit and Shane contemplates quitting the sport and buying a fursuit or something.

WINNER: Expulsion, Judges’ Decision


THOR vs. COYOTE

Oh boy more of this, I’m so excited.

These two robots have already met in their group battle and even though that was a three person fight for the most part it ended up being “Thor vs. Coyote” for the majority of it because Expulsion was disabled within seconds of the match starting. Coyote was responsible for KO’ing Expulsion, though honestly I feel like that was something Thor could have easily done as well. Still, it shows that Coyote has the muscle and leverage to wrestle with other bots and the fact that it survived nearly three solid minutes of Thor beating the shit out of it shows that it’s super tough. Granted, both of Coyote’s weapons were rendered inoperable in those three minutes, and its wheel guards were torn away, but the robot went the distance against an axe that has previously sank opponents in one hit. Thor ended up winning that group melee which is how it got to this match, but Coyote had to redeem itself in a fight against Hobgoblin that ironically panned out virtually the same way as Coyote’s quick tussle with Expulsion did.

Matilda is back and Jonathan says she’s not one of the “nice” dinosaurs. I can show you some “nice dinosaurs” sometime Jonathan, hit me up. My email address is on the Contact page of this website. Anyways before this fight Jonathan notes that Coyote is the only robot armed with a chainsaw but it looks like that weapon was well and truly busted because it’s not being used in this fight either. The team is also not using the minibot and instead has outfitted Coyote with a leading wedge. I’m not sure why they’ve done this because this looks like your standard “spinner killer” plow and Thor isn’t really something that demands the use of extra front armor. It’s not a very good wedge though because Thor’s is lower; Thor has been re-engineered and refined to the point where its edge rides along the floor as it drives and every single time these robots meet up it’s Thor’s wedge that wins and Coyote starts getting beat over the head.

That was… unexpected.

All this changes in an instant, though. Coyote bumps into the pit trigger and sets off the rogue house robot siren. For some reason Thor fucking panics and goes completely out of control, running over the floor flipper, self-righting, and then T-boning Matilda which causes her ass to catch onto the middle of Thor’s weird Aggro Crag chassis and blow it to fucking pieces. Thor gets shunted all the way across the floor while uncontrollably farting out all of its CO2. This reduces Thor to a wedge with a nice paint job but as I said before the robot has been refined so much that Thor works absolutely fine in this manner and even without the use of its axe Thor’s wedge is still beating Coyote’s. Also, Coyote’s shitty wheel guards are falling apart again. I know they are not “just copper gas lines” and there’s a solid metal core in the middle but does that core extend around the bends and corners? I feel like it doesn’t and the corner fittings keep breaking which is why the guards keep coming apart at exactly the same places every fucking time.

It becomes quite obvious that Coyote is trying to lure Thor over near the floor flipper with the hopes that Thor will slip up, take a tumble, and subsequently be unable to right itself. If it weren’t for the clip of Coyote’s driver literally saying that you’d easily be able to infer it from the simple fact that Coyote is fighting very hard not to leave that corner of the arena. The clock runs down on this close match but it looks like the Robot Wars judges are considering invoking the PRIMARY WEAPON rule of BattleBots and are taking into consideration the fact that at no point did Coyote’s jaw do a damn thing while Thor connected with its hammer a few times before it was busted. Uh oh.

WINNER: Thor, Judges’ Decision


MAGNETAR vs. EXPULSION

FUUUUUUUCK

This is probably the meanest fucking match up this series. I know it’s not intentional but god damn this is like a fight between a soccer ball and [insert name of soccer player here known for kicking things really good]. Magnetar has done fuck all since its first “fight” where all it had to do was show up and hit Push To Exit once and that was it. Push To Exit had its shit pushed in so deep in that single blow that Shane Swan was basically telling Ellis Ware not to hit his robot again because he knew Magnetar is capable of hitting his robot so fucking hard that it would cause all of his Crufts dogs to explode into a visceral pile of gore like a monster from Doom getting shot in the dick with a rocket. Expulsion hasn’t had as easy of a route to the semifinals. In its first melee Coyote rammed into it and knocked Expulsion onto its side which immobilized it because I guess that was the one face out of all of them that it couldn’t get down from. This sent Expulsion into the redemption rounds where it fought the aforementioned Push To Exit and Shane really screwed the pooch on this one because his robot took a glancing blow from Expulsion’s spinning flails and just died. Expulsion ended the fight ass-up again and because both robots were KO’ed at the same time the judges scored the fight for the only robot who landed any hits — Expulsion.

SHIIIIIIIIIT

As soon as the Mysterious Voice says “activate” Expulsion is halfway across the arena to slam into the pit trigger with the vain hopes that it actually opens the pit and that the team can somehow finagle Magnetar to fall into it. This simply won’t do with the powers that be and Expulsion is instead punished with 10 seconds of the Fog of War which blinds everyone and affords Magnetar the ability to get its weapon up to top speed four times over. Expulsion tried to cheese the system and now it must pay for this indiscretion with its life. Magnetar lines up a shot and performs what I guess is now its “signature move”; with a single blow Expulsion’s face is ripped apart, the robot is violently thrown upward, lands on the floor flipper, and is promptly tossed right back onto its face where it dies just like it has in every single fucking fight thus far. Georgina Henwood mentioned that her robot could, in theory, get down from this position but Magnetar’s surgical strike has apparently nuked the entire machine which is no real surprise because if you look closely at the front of Expulsion during its pre-fight “breakdown” you can see exposed wires and shit hanging around exactly where the robot got punted.

Dara sighs and shakes his head in shame. Angela laments the students’ bad luck but even though Expulsion’s face basically now resembles Kurt Cobain’s they aren’t out for good, there’s still the third place playoff match which has the potential to send them to the wildcard rumble. Ha.

WINNER: Magnetar, KO


COYOTE vs. EXPULSION

LIKE A HOT KNIFE THROUGH BUTTA

We’re at the final third place heat playoff of the season where one of the last two rumble spots will be claimed. Both of these robots have essentially taken the exact same route to get here and have actually already met in the arena once before. Coyote squared off against Thor and lost, but the grappler held its own against Hobgoblin which afforded it the opportunity to rematch Thor in the semifinals so it could lose a second fucking time even when a little help from Matilda’s ass rendered Thor’s axe inoperable. Also I don’t know if “hold its own” is a good turn of phrase to use in reference to Hobgoblin, I think “just show up” is a better way of putting it. Expulsion also lost its first round ironically to Coyote when the robot got rushed and knocked onto its face leaving it stranded and helpless on the goddamned fire hazard. Expulsion had an equally difficult time against a crippled Push To Exit but thanks to landing more hits before both robots just straight up died the team managed to get a win… only to have that high ruined by Magnetar who destroyed the entire thing in one fucking hit. Now here they are for a rematch and Expulsion enters the arena carrying a cross to atone for its repeat sin of constantly doing nothing but headstands in every fight.

Also before the fight starts Jonathan has to talk about Matilda’s thighs. I swear to fucking god this is the highest amount of lewd remarks that he’s made about her in any episode of this fucking show. Did he forget to rub one out before recording his commentary or something?

Expulsion is equipped with its two-toothed blade for this fight (the one you keep seeing in the turntable shots and stuff) and man this thing looks fucking wicked when it gets going and when the two bots connect in the middle of the arena it just slices right through Coyote’s right wheel guard and tears it apart. I mean, I know the wheel guards are just shitty pipes and we’re dealing with two relatively crappy robots here but Expulsion has already asserted itself as the least shittiest robot in this fight. Why the team didn’t use this blade in their previous three matches is a mystery to me because this can do some real damage. Their driving still absolutely sucks though, because they can’t stop running into the fucking wall for some reason, but at least they’ve got something with a little more bite than some padlocks on a fidget spinner.

*loud farting sounds*

Coyote corrals Expulsion onto its plow and tries to shove the spinner around but as it’s cruising along its left wheel gives out and the rest of the robot just stops working altogether. Attributing this to the damage caused by Expulsion’s “tool spinner” would be a little too generous so I’m just going to assume this is a fluke and that Coyote died spontaneously because this is Coyote we’re talking about here. Expulsion tries to line up another run at its opponent, completely misses its mark, and just keeps going. Expulsion careens into Matilda and a piece of something goes flying and I can’t tell what it is. At first I thought it was Matilda’s tire but that’s still there, and Expulsion still has all of its side panels, so my best guess is that Expulsion caught Matilda’s ass with its blade and ripped a piece of out it. This is like her best fucking asset so she’s understandably not going to let Expulsion get away with leaving bite marks on her moneymaker. Matilda grazes Expulsion with her flywheel which disorients the spinner long enough for her to give Expulsion the “Nuts treatment” as she backs into the robot and just absolutely rips into it. Expulsion’s anti-flip poles get totally jacked up and you won’t believe what side the robot lands on.

Expulsion almost capped off its run with four fights that all ended the exact same way, but now that the robot is back on its wheels and barely mobile the judges decide to count out Coyote (which we kinda forgot about because it’s been dead this whole time) and send Expulsion onward to the redemption rumble.

WINNER: Expulsion, KO


HEAT FINAL
THOR vs. MAGNETAR

THOR

Team Twisted Metal

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

MAGNETAR

Team Ranglebots

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

Thor, please.

Even though this is the heat final, and neither of these robots have had to fight their way back from the redemption rounds, we’re looking at two robots who’ve taken very challenging and different roads to make it here. Thor didn’t have to deal with Expulsion in its group melee since Coyote took care of it but when push came to shove Coyote proved to be a tough nut to crack and survived the entire round. Thor won on a judges’ decision of course, but its lack of knock out power was a bit worrying. Coyote was sent to the redemption rounds where Hobgoblin ensured that Coyote would bounce right back and rematch against Thor in the semifinals. Thor won that encounter too but was again unable to knock Coyote out and to make matters worse a T-bone from Matilda damaged the robot’s pneumatic system which — as you might imagine for a one man team — translated to some serious repairs in the pits. Magnetar meanwhile skated by with literal back to back one hit knock outs, first over Push To Exit and again over Expulsion. The most work that Ellis Ware has had to do thus far is charge his batteries, sharpen his weapon, and fuck around with his transmitter when there was absolutely nothing else to do. And he’s in the heat fucking final.

Thor’s ninja smokescreen fails.

Jason’s secret weapon for this heat final is high-tensile metal cabling which he’s wrapped around his robot resulting in a fucking mess that looks like Thor is trying to steal one of those stupid indestructible water hoses they sell on late night infomercials. The hope is that Magnetar will have no choice but to eat the cable when it comes in for a blow resulting in the metal noodles either breaking the drum’s weapon belt or just simply getting sucked into Magnetar’s throat to seize the weapon. It’s a good plan on paper but it’s one that has yet to fucking work and lo and behold it’s not working here either because Magnetar takes the plunge and sends Thor onto its ass and keeps repeatedly hitting the axe bot as it tries to right itself. Thor eventually lands on its wheels and we soon realize that its plow is in the perfect shape to gently cup both of Mangetar’s ass cheeks and shove the robot into the wall all while mercilessly pounding its skull in, a move that’s banned in MMA fighting because it takes three arms to do.

Thor is arguably on top after this exchange and I’m guessing Jason just has nerves this series because at the drop of a hat he turns into a bumbling idiot at the controls because Thor gets thrown by the floor flipper and as it tries to self-right Magnetar has had enough time to get its drum up to speed and immediately starts chewing through the “7 ton” steel cables. Thor’s on the defensive, it’s taking some blows and getting jostled around, and then… the signature move. Magnetar corrals Thor near the arena flipper and smacks it onto the hazard. While Thor is busy doing 1080 twists in the air Magnetar waits for it to come down and as Thor lands it gets its face split open by Magnetar’s drum which busts Thor’s pneumatics and causes all of its compressed air to vent out. While upside-down. Noel Sharkey waits for Thor’s stupid ass to stop doing its impression of a middle school volcano science project before activating the KO countdown that sends Thor onto the 10 way rumble and Magnetar directly into the Grand Finals.

WINNER: Magnetar, KO


HHNNNNGGGGG my body is ready

And that’s it, the heats are over and done with. 30 robots battled it out for five guaranteed spots in the Grand Final while 10 runners-up are gearing up for their one final shot to stay in the contest and make it one step closer to the championship. Everyone who made it to their heat final and lost have qualified for the 10-way rumble and everyone who won the playoff fight for third place in their heat will be joining them. I’ll give a little bit better of a rundown in next episode’s Update but for now here’s a mixture of a sampler/reminder of who’s on the verge of elimination. In order of original qualification they are:

  • Sabretooth — Heat 1, 3rd Place
  • Apollo — Heat 1, 2nd Place
  • Big Nipper — Heat 2, 3rd Place
  • Eruption — Heat 2, 2nd Place
  • Track-tion — Heat 3, 3rd Place
  • Terrorhurtz — Heat 3, 2nd Place
  • Iron-Awe 6 — Heat 4, 3rd Place
  • Concussion — Heat 4, 2nd Place
  • Expulsion — Heat 5, 3rd Place
  • Thor — Heat 5, 2nd Place

God I hope Apollo is about to sink a 3 pointer with fucking Iron-Awe.

The wildcard rumble has no time limit. The fight ends when nine of the competitors are either dead, destroyed, or buried in the pit leaving the 10th robot as the sole survivor and deserving of the wildcard into the Grand Final. In the field of participants we’ve got long time veterans, former Grand Finalists, former wildcard recipients, and even a former fucking champion. But only one of them can win, and let’s be honest here what’s at stake for the winner? The opportunity to be eviscerated by Carbide? Some prize. The rumble will be up first in the next and final episode followed by the Grand Final itself. Next time on The Update a Robot Wars champion will be crowned.

The good news is it looks like we’re going to be landing this horribly delayed plane just in time for the new season of BattleBots starting later this month so I’m not going to get any break at all whatsoever. As soon as we crown a winner here I’ll be right back at the start of another awesome season of robot combat action. You guys are going to love BattleBots 2018, that much I can promise you. As for what’s going to happen with the “World Series” two-part special from this season of Robot Wars the best I can tell you is that I’ll be working on it in my downtime between BattleBots posts and all the other nonsense that I work on that only a handful of people give a shit about. I’ve been told from Robot Wars fans to literally not even worry about the World Series episodes because of how awful they were but I can’t just ignore something that bad. I’ve seen them, I can confirm they are bad, and I’m eventually going to get to them even if I will probably never spell Cathadh’s name right.

That said, thank you for wasting yet another afternoon with me on this dumb WordPress website that keeps getting jacked up because WordPress sucks and my host has a questionable file permissions configuration. Make sure to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook especially because we’re so close to the new season and I know the first thing on your mind after seeing Tombstone blow someone’s asshole wide open is going to be “I wonder what cut rate jokes my favorite hack fraud website is going to have on it tomorrow”. If you’d like to help support the cost of running the site you can make a pledge at this website’s Patreon page, or if a one-time tip is more your thing there’s a way to do that here instead. See you next time!

– Dracophile