[Robot Wars UK S9: E5 is available online here.]

This is it, we’re at the last heat of The Ninth Wars. The final eight robots are about to battle it out for the coveted last spot in the Grand Finals while the runner-up can only hope that they perform well enough to each a wildcard. This week’s episode should be exceptionally good because not only do we have the returning champion Apollo, we’ve also got last year’s 2nd place competitor Carbide (a.k.a. “The British Tombstone”). Veteran contender Mighty Mouse returns in the form of Meggamouse, and beyond that the other five contestants are all newbies of varying degrees of suckiness. I get the impression this episode was “set up” in such a way as to make it come down to Apollo vs. Carbide as a quick rematch for ratings. I really hope that isn’t the case, because that seems sort of shitty. Oh well, only time will tell!


THE LAST GROUP ONE

A🅱️ollo

Man, someone in the editing room needs to be fired because right out of the gate we’re reintroduced to APOLLO, the reigning champion. Say what you will about Apollo’s “flippability factor”, I still think the team has the highest “kissability factor”. Keep in mind this is a normal reaction because they’re billed as “the boy band of Robot Wars” and boy bands are specifically manufactured to be attractive. Anyways Apollo made it through the tournament last year and took home the gold after flipping three-quarters of the House Robots in the process, something Dara O’Briain attempts to play up in his voiceover. Apollo’s painted like a space shuttle and its flipper features five tons of flipping force, enough energy for you to write your own space puns because I’m not going to sink to the level of Jonathan Pearce. It’s also fucking massive. Just look at it, I thought Heavy Metal was a huge robot but Apollo just dwarfs it.

Has planking gone too far?

RUSTY is introduced with the fact that its team has never driven the robot before nor have they tested it period. Why the fuck would you share that kind of information with someone? Hell, if I were them I’d lie through my teeth and say I’ve logged enough hours on my machine to become a goddamned pilot. It’s called “intimidation”. Do people think this makes them endearing or something? You think NASCAR drivers would find it appropriate to tell an interviewer in the pits “yeah I’ve never driven this car before… and I don’t even have a driver’s license, but I just want to thank Coors Light and M&M’s for sponsoring us and getting us here today”? Fuck no. Anyways Rusty is a boxy robot sporting a pneumatic bulldozer scoop, kind of like a “Mini Shunt” in a way (and without an axe). Its armor looks suspiciously thin but as luck would have it they aren’t battling against anyone with a really killer spinner so I guess they lucked out. Sucks for us.

pew pew pew

The Disembodied Voice introduces MS NIGHTSHADE as a “spikebot” but I don’t know if that’s really the case. Ms Nightshade is armed with eight pneumatic hammers around the perimeter of the robot. When unfurled I’m guessing it’s supposed to resemble the petals of a nightshade flower, but in all honestly it comes closer to being the only entry in the history of robot combat whose primary offense is literally unfolding into the biggest and most special fucking snowflake on the planet. Ms Nightshade’s driver says she hasn’t tested the hammers at all because they “want it to be a surprise”. NO. THIS ISN’T HOW THIS WORKS. You think Dave Moulds fucking built Carbide and was like “yeah that looks good I guess, no need to test it we’ll just work out the kinks in the fucking arena“? You built a robot that is probably the most needlessly complicated piece of shit that I’ve seen in years and rather than do any weapons testing whatsoever you just show up and say you want to be surprised? Oh, you’ll be surprised alright. It’s your funeral.

Oh man, unleash the fury.

I tell you what, Disembodied Voice is on a roll today because he doesn’t read the right introduction line for COYOTE. Rather than tell us it’s a “crushhhhherrrrrr” he says it’s from Ayreshire. That’s cool, is an “ayreshire” like a bitchin’ sweet ass sword or something? In order to help us understand Coyote’s clamping jaws Angela Scanlon describes it as “Killalot style” which is novel I guess. She asks the team what its main weak point is and Rachel Gibson points to the fucking chainsaw on the robot’s ass. Yeah, there’s a reason why Matilda dropped her chainsaw tail like 17 years ago. I’ll give you a hint: it was shit. I’m reminded of the time when The Demolisher — a literal goddamned RC car with a metal shell bolted onto it — parked in between Matilda and its dead opponent (Sat’arn) and Matilda’s chainsaw straight up stopped when it reached The Demolisher. On the flip side it looks like Coyote’s chainsaw is powered by a brushless motor, so I could be totally wrong here in calling it a piece of shit. It might be a burning piece of shit.

Shoutouts to Angela’s truly abysmal coyote call. Coyote’s team seems to be aware of the “no awoo” furry law and doesn’t perform leaving Angela to do it herself with like three people at most joining in. Whoever left that shot in this episode is a real dickhead; I cringed so hard that for a moment I was only able to communicate with basic shapes and colors.


GROUP BATTLE 1

APOLLO

Team MAD

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

RUSTY

Glasgow Clyde College

Weapon: Pneumatic scoop

MS NIGHTSHADE

Team Ms Nightshade

Weapon: Pneumatic hammers

COYOTE

Team Coyote

Weapon: Clamping jaw & chainsaw

rip rusty

It’s worth pointing out that Ms Nightshade starts this match with one of its petals already on the ground. I’m not sure as to the how or why, but it doesn’t bode well for the untested robot that it’s already partly unfurled with no input from other robots whatsoever. Before Ms Nightshade can even move Coyote dives in to chew on the local fauna which prompts Ms Nightshade to have a fucking seizure and fire every single petal except for the one facing its opponent. See, I didn’t want to say anything just in case there’s the off chance that I was wrong, but this is why you don’t put EIGHT fucking hammers on a robot. This isn’t Robot Arena. Rusty and Apollo have begun sparring with each other to see who can get leverage first and it turns out to be the current champ who gets in not one but two flips on the bulldozer, breaks its front plow, and somehow rips its ass off. Since Ms Nightshade is right next door to Rusty, Apollo cruises over for some free points and gets this wedding of destruction underway by tossing the bouquet. Watch as Ms Nightshade lands and you’ll see its petals just twist and contort under the weight of the robot. Dead.

WOW WHAT A SURPRISE.

Rusty has somehow come back to life but it’s looking a little worse for wear. It tries to scoop up Apollo, however with a busted scoop the only thing the robot can muster is throwing off those little poof ball creatures stuck onto it and landing on its ass again. Meanwhile, Apollo lands a glancing shot on Coyote which appears to break the mechanism that leverages its chainsaw. Big fucking surprise there. Apollo goes for the pit trigger but since we have a group melee with at least three shitty robots in it the producers are like “nope send out Dead Metal”. The easiest target here is Ms Nightshade who’s flailing about like a fatass that fell out of their Walmart scooter so that’s the one Dead Metal goes for. Ms Nightshade is promptly entangled in Dead Metal’s claws and gets dragged around for a lot longer than 10 seconds but no one seems to care. Apollo attempts to throw Rusty out of the arena and misses, but still manages to get a random kid in the audience to have a life-changing revelation.

The clock runs down but I can’t really tell what it’s for. I’m assuming Ms Nightshade was considered knocked out, but Rusty was still moving at the end of the fight (you can see it skidding away from Apollo). I guess at this stage it doesn’t matter if it’s a KO or a judges’ decision, but it’s still a little bit confusing. Rusty probably wasn’t going to win anyways, though.

WINNERS: Apollo and Coyote, Judges’ Decision


THE LAST GROUP TWO

crackers n’ snacks

CRACKERS N’ SMASH is this series’ only proper multibot featuring two machines each weighing approximately 54kg. Don’t quote me on this but I think its namesake is supposed to be a play on the popular pub dish “bangers and mash”. I’m not 100% certain on that one though because as an American I know about as much as British pub food as I do about living in a society where I don’t need to carefully consider the financial ramifications of every single fucking healthcare decision I will ever make. Anyways, Crackers N’ Smash is comprised of two robots: Crackers (a lifter), and Smash (the drum spinner). As per Robot Wars regulations in order for a multibot to be considered knocked out you need to disable 55% of it (by weight). Because Smash, the heavier of the two robots, makes up just 54% of the robot’s total weight you can destroy one of them and still not quite make it a KO win. The obvious downside to this however is the fact that as the Crackers N’ Smash team you’re basically fighting heavyweights with what equates to a couple of middleweights.

Carbide’s weapon, made with “CSI bullshit”.

If you don’t know who CARBIDE is, you don’t know Robot Wars. Hailed as “The British Tombstone”, Carbide is a two-wheeled bot armed with a vicious 25kg bar spinning in excess of 250 MPH. If you think about it in terms of numbers, Carbide’s blade alone weighs half as much as one entire fucking robot from Crackers N’ Smash. It’s not the heaviest blade in the competition — that award goes to the late Apex — but it’s certainly among the deadliest. Carbide clawed and shredded its way to the Grand Finals last year where it was ultimately trumped by Apollo and finished 2nd overall. Dave Moulds has precision-engineered his robot to be even deadlier than before and if you keep an eye out while Angela talks to Dave you’ll be able to see the E-Tek motor (with a mounting plate attached to it) sitting next to Carbide. Dave likes to kick it old school which is why he’s one of the greats in my book. Get that Agni motor shit outta here.

Cheese. GET IT, BECAUSE IT’S A MOUSE?

Dara meets up with the MEGGAMOUSE team and immediately starts shit talking them by saying you’re not supposed to make a killer robot “cute”. Meggamouse isn’t something I’d personally consider “cute” but then again I wasn’t raised in the culture of Robot Wars where I assume people legitimately have sexual feelings toward Matilda so what the fuck do I know? Meggamouse is actually former competitor Mighty Mouse which itself was former competitor Velocirippa so we’re looking at quite the lineage here. Additionally this team actually split into two separate teams recently and the other half is competing this series with Ironside 3 which has already reached the Grand Finals. Newly equipped with a flipping arm Meggamouse has a secret weapon in the form of “Charles the Cheese”, a doorstop robot meant to wedge under opponents so Meggamouse can come in for the kill. Think back to Warrior Clan from BattleBots and its mini wedgebots that would jump up other robot’s asses, same principle.

Trolley Rage, the scourge of K-Mart.

We’re told TROLLEY RAGE is made from an upturned shopping trolley (cart), but I don’t quite see it unless over in the UK you guys have shopping carts that look like fucking prison buses. Trolley Rage is a pretty simple robot designed as a wedge with an axe and exists to serve as an inspiration to young engineers. Readers of this blog know I can’t fault the team for that because that’s my exact same philosophy and I’m not even a goddamned engineer. What I will say, however, is that using motors that are three fucking decades old seems like a bad idea. I mean, I know Dara brings up how wasteful our culture is but we’re talking about motors that were manufactured when Super Mario Bros was brand fucking new. Let it go. You couldn’t find anything newer than that, like at all? Hell I can go down to the pawn shop right now and walk out of there with a disability scooter for like $175 tops and that comes with motors, wheels, and a battery or two. 90% of this robot is just trash salvaged from the 80’s, why not paint it like a Madonna album cover and stick some fucking Koosh balls on it while you’re at it?


GROUP BATTLE 2

CRACKERS N’ SMASH

Team Conker

Weapon: Lifting arm (Crackers) & vertical drum (smash)

CARBIDE

Team Carbide

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

MEGGAMOUSE

Team Mouse

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

TROLLEY RAGE

The Greenwich Greats

Weapon: Electric axe

Back to the clearance rack you go, Trolley.

I appreciate the balls on Trolley Rage because you can tell the team is just here to have a good time. Their first target appears to be Meggamouse, but when Meggamouse flies by at the speed of fucking light they’re just like “screw it we’ll go for Carbide I guess” and promptly get their robot’s front right panel almost torn completely off. Crackers has somehow already gotten stuck on the flame grate which is something that I swear hasn’t happened in Robot Wars since the first goddamned series, while Smash is busy getting its face caved in by Carbide’s giant sickle. Seeing free points, Trolley Rage goes for Crackers and helps free it from the fire pit. Meanwhile, Carbide has changed targets and I swear to god using nothing more than the power of fear itself causes all of the paint on the top of Meggamouse’s minibot to separate from the robot and run the fuck away. Meggamouse has somehow gotten hung up in the arena spikes and because all five spikes have come up from the ground this leads me to believe that this fight was filmed a hell of a lot earlier than it was aired.

Trolley Rage tries to come in to bite Carbide in the ass but this plan is foiled as Carbide spins around and just slices clean through Trolley Rage’s fucking face ripping all sorts of electrical parts out of it and kills it immediately. Carbide is just kicking all kinds of ass out there and with Trolley Rage and the cheese wedge dead it’s gone back to socking Smash in the face until Smash’s front stainless steel wedge wads up and falls off. We haven’t seen much from Crackers but it’s still alive and together with Meggamouse the two robots are beating on the carcass of Trolley Rage secretly hoping no one has noticed that it’s been dead for like two hours by this point. Meggamouse waits for Carbide to get distracted by all of the pretty sparks being shot from Crackers’ rectum and goes for the pit trigger. Meggamouse follows this up with a surprise move on Carbide that almost works but still just barely misses. This is a mistake that Meggamouse will have to pay for with its life because as the mouse self-rights it gets caught on Crackers’ corner and Carbide comes in and just blows Meggamouse’s right wheel to fucking pieces.

Crackers’ “TGI Fridays birthday cake sparkler” weapon wasn’t as effective as the team had hoped.

Technically Meggamouse has four wheel drive (you can see the little wheels just in front of the big ones) but as you might imagine this hit has done more than just tear a wheel off. Meggamouse is toast and while no one was paying attention Smash has managed to take hold of the cheese wedge and throws it down the pit.

Dara channels his inner Jeremy Clarkson and tries to get snarky with Trolley Rage’s team asking them what kind of grade they’d give their robot. The team responds with “an A for effort” and the driver points out that the robot worked, its weapon fired, and reiterates that anyone can get involved with the sport. Yeah dude, not only did you teach us that you also unintentionally taught us that even if you build something out of junk in your garage it will still be destroyed in two hits or less by something precision engineered in a fucking NASA lab or something built by professional engineers who’ve worked in the field for decades. But I get the meaning of your message, and your heart is in the right place. Too bad your robot’s heart is all over the fucking place.

WINNERS: Carbide and Crackers N’ Smash, KO


APOLLO vs. CARBIDE

dab

Well that didn’t take long. First head-to-head and we’ve already got the showdown rematch they’ve been hyping since the end of last week’s goddamned episode. Apollo really didn’t suffer all that much damage in its previous melee considering its opponents were Ms Nightshade — which was dead on arrival — the flimsy Rusty, and Coyote which was arguably the most dangerous of the three but ended up getting its chainsaw broken and thrown onto its back. Dave and Marc probably spent their two hours of pit time practicing dabbing or some shit. Carbide is a similar story; in Carbide’s melee it too was the crown jewel and basically exterminated all of its opponents with extreme prejudice. Trolley Rage was the first to go, followed by Smash’s weapon, then Meggamouse’s minibot, then Crackers’ weapon, and then finally Meggamouse itself. This is going to be the first “real” match these two entrants have had and holy shit it’s going to be a doozy.

I don’t think Apollo’s flipper is supposed to bend that way.

Apollo knows the way to go is to get into Carbide’s face as soon as possible and prevent its blade from getting up to speed. According to Dave Moulds they have literally three seconds. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time but I’ve seen basketball games where a time out was called with even less time on the clock in order to make a game winning play so let’s see how this plays out for the champ. Not well. Apollo tries to flip Carbide over and instead ends up taking a shot to the black panel covering its flipper and rolls itself over. Apollo does do a pretty sweet flip right over Carbide in order to avoid it and get back onto its wheels, though. I know “Style” isn’t a judging criteria anymore but if it was that would’ve been worth maximum points.

A follow-up blow finishes off the black paneling on Apollo’s flipper and seems to knock the whole robot out. Sensing a win, Sam Smith from Carbide’s team tells Dave to “smash it” and Dave goes to town destroying as much of Apollo as it can in the ten seconds it’s being counted out with which Apollo’s team obviously isn’t too happy with. Suddenly out of nowhere Apollo wakes the fuck up and springs back to life. Going by the countdown clock on the screen Apollo starts to move with about 2.25 seconds left to spare — and before “cease” is called — but for some reason the KO count is continued and the champion is still considered knocked out. Great, I was really hoping we’d be able to finally have an episode of this fucking show without any bullshit but I guess that’s too much to ask for.

WINNER: Carbide, “KO”


CRACKERS N’ SMASH vs. COYOTE

This is just a badass picture and I like it.

Up next are two underdogs from the group melees, one of which that happens to actually be a dog. Crackers N’ Smash is the clusterbot that survived an assault from Carbide but only because the robots were just barely too low for Carbide to hit. This came at the great cost of both Crackers’ lifter and Smash’s drum, both of which were rendered inoperable. Somehow the team is able to bring this robot — that doesn’t have a fucking weapon on it — into the arena without being disqualified. Okay, I’m just going to pretend that I didn’t see the 20 seconds where the team decides to just slap the drum on without fully fixing it. Coyote’s team does the same thing when Jaime McHarg shows us his robot’s visibly bent up chainsaw and describes it as a “total write-off”, but at least Coyote’s primary jaw weapon is still fully operational.

You’d think Coyote was winning. You’d be wrong.

Without weapons Crackers N’ Smash are basically bite-sized nuggets of free points for Coyote and as long as it doesn’t screw everything up I can’t see an outcome where Coyote doesn’t at least get two points. Right away Smash is already in Coyote’s jaws and ends up in the hands of Dead Metal who slices into what’s left of Smash’s aluminum weapon bracket. Coyote goes for the pit release button but I guess since there hasn’t quite been enough “action” they send out Dead Metal as a rogue House Robot instead who immediately gets back to sexually harassing Smash. The only boon Crackers N’ Smash are having is that they seem to both be too small for Dead Metal’s saw to actually reach so the worst that can happen is some scuffing on the parts that jut out.

Smash gets some sweet air off of its teammate’s ramp as Crackers comes in for the doorstop move to hinder Coyote’s movement. The plan works and now’s the part where Smash is supposed to come in with its drum and start racking up some real damage points… but since we’re looking at two robots that are basically weaponless wedges for this fight this is about as far as we’re gonna get. Instead, Smash goes for the pit trigger too and once again the House Robots are sent out, this time it’s Matilda who manages to land a blow to Coyote and disables its right drive wheel. At this point the fight turns and the two miniature robots start tag teaming on Coyote and take turns ramming into it until Smash takes the initiative and puts Coyote into the wall. One of Coyote’s wheels is still working but I assume more damage has been done to the robot than what’s outwardly visible because this battered canine is totally dead.

WINNER: Crackers N’ Smash, KO


APOLLO vs. COYOTE

Aw hell naw wussup dawg?

Both of these robots are coming back from embarrassing KO losses in their previous head-to-heads. In the case of Apollo the reigning champion was brutalized by Carbide’s deadly blade and although technically the robot wasn’t actually knocked out the victory was still given to Carbide regardless. The primary damage to Apollo was done to its flipping arm which, according to the team, ended up getting bent in two different places and in two different directions. They’ve spent all this time hammering and grinding on their robot and the best they have to show for it is a damaged flipper that closes in the same manner as the trunk on that shitty first car you had when you were old enough to drive. Coyote on the other hand is still without its chainsaw tail (I doubt we’re ever going to see that piece of shit come back) and the team has focused on their jaws as top priority. In the group melee they were actually able to get under Apollo with their jaw but thanks to Matilda it’s been bent upward and might not function like it used to.

Well, it looks like Coyote’s team forgot to fix their robot’s right wheel because it’s still not working and the fight pretty much ends the minute Apollo cruises over and casually tosses it into Sir Killalot’s fuck dungeon. You can tell Apollo is trying to go for a ring out here but it just can’t quite get the right trajectory. Also if you look closely you’ll see the actuator for the top of Coyote’s jaws just flop around loosely meaning that a bolt or something has been sheared off. I have no idea what the fuck they spent so much time “fixing” in the pits, maybe it was a crossword puzzle. Apollo manages to get Coyote on its side and this proves to be the trick to getting it out of here because with one more follow-up scoop Coyote is up and over the arena barrier and down into what I’m assuming is the alligator moat surrounding everything.

WINNER: Apollo, KO


MISSION TO MARS

Dara O’Briain as a James Turrell display piece.

“Draco, is there a human-replacing robot that doesn’t trigger you,” I’m sure you’ve probably asked by now. Yes, yes there is. Any robot whose job is to explore something potentially dangerous so that there’s no human life at risk is something that I can get behind. Bomb disposal robots are one such example, as is this next monstrosity that Sethu Vijayakumar is eager to talk about. Dara points to what appears to be a tracking bug from Goldeneye 007 and says it’s a “famous robot”. I’ve never heard of it nor have I seen it, but I’ll take his word for it because I’m sure Dara could beat the shit out of me in real life. Sethu gets into better detail and discusses how this is a sort of visual cortex for exploration robots and it allows them to “see” in the same manner as humans (color, depth, etc). There’s also some infrared LED’s on the robot’s face so I’m sure it can see parts of the light spectrum that aren’t visible to us at all.

This is the kind of humanoid robot that will be able to go on the first expeditions to Mars and possibly beyond so that the lives of astronauts will not be at stake on these first journeys into unknown territory, and that’s pretty badass. Just don’t let them form unions.


CARBIDE vs. CRACKERS N’ SMASH

“And then his face exploded.”

Welp, this is probably the end for ol’ C.N.S. because Carbide hasn’t had to do a goddamned thing except have its batteries charged in between fights whereas Crackers N’ Smash are still rebuilding from the damage they took from Carbide two fights ago. As a matter of fact not only is the team still working on the weapons, they’ve again elected not to use them for this match. Last time around they kept the weapons on the robots and just couldn’t use them which may have “fooled” the officials. This time though they straight up didn’t even put the fucking things on. Now I want to know how the fuck they managed to pull this one off. No, really. Way back in episode one Gabriel Stroud, Sabretooth’s builder, was literally on the verge of tears because his robot was thrashed so badly and its weapon had exploded. He was overwhelmed with anxiety because he was going to be disqualified if Sabretooth’s weapon didn’t work, yet here’s Crackers N’ Smash who apparently have free reign to just disregard the active weapon “rule” and enter this fight armed with even less than they had in their previous match. Is it too much to ask to just come up with some fucking rules and adhere to them?

“As long as you can, don’t take any hits,” says Crackers N’ Smash’s team. Three seconds. That’s how long it takes for them to get hit.

Thanks Obama.

Crackers N’ Smash’s plan is to use their diminutive stature to get underneath Carbide’s blade and destabilize it. Surprisingly this plan actually works and Carbide gets stuck on top of Crackers with its wheels completely off the ground. Unfortunately this tag team plan fails to work out as intended because Smash has somehow driven onto the fucking floor flipper and gets tossed onto its ass. Smash is sent reeling and goes for the pit button which in this case actually drops the pit, but the little purple robot is all over the place and needs a divine intervention. It needs a sign from God. God sends Smash the sign it so desires: a cherub. Smash knows now what to do, and charges into Carbide full blast hitting its blade and being deflected into the wall hard enough to fucking break it.

Because the arena wall has been breached — again — the fight is halted so the tech crew can get in there and fix things. While this is happening Crackers N’ Smash’s builder hits up the officials and announces a “tactical forfeit”. Bro, there’s no such thing as a “tactical forfeit”, only a regular forfeit which means “we fucked up”. Shoutouts to the Daily Express who immediately took this “incident” and made some shitty clickbait out of it. “Angela Scanlon cancels battle.” It’s like they’ve never even seen an episode of the fucking show and are hopping on this hoping it’s the next “WATCH THIS GROWN MAN STORM OUT OF THE ROOM WHEN HE LOSES TO KIDS — LOL! (PLEASE SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA)”. Fuck off.

WINNER: Carbide, Forfeit


CARBIDE vs. COYOTE

No awoo under penalty of death.

Again, you probably won’t be surprised to hear this but Carbide didn’t sustain any damage in its previous match, all 30 seconds of it. Coyote on the other hand was thrown out of the arena and when the robot was brought back into the pits the team discovered that the bolt from its actuator had sheared off. They must be using the same ones that the Robot Wars crew uses to hold the arena wall panels on. Coyote seems to be back in working order however, sans-tail of course because like hell that thing was going to ever come into play. The jaws work, the wheels work, and now neither one’s about to work because it’s up against Carbide.

Not gonna lie, this first hit legitimately made me jump because Coyote just took it straight to the face and Carbide was deflected in such a way that I thought it was about to break a fucking wall panel itself. This hit has severely damaged the right side of Coyote’s jaw but somehow the robot hasn’t spontaneously died after this first mega blow, so naturally this just means Carbide is going to have to come in for a second hit to see if that’s what’s needed. It takes a while for us to find out if Coyote is still alive because we have to wait for Killalot to peter around and drop it onto the flame pit but when the dust settles Coyote has gone back to having movement only on its left wheel so I’m afraid it’s time to put Ol’ Yeller down. Carbide comes in to do exactly that in the same manner it’d be done if Rob Zombie remade the film and tears the left side of Coyote completely off, wheel and all, killing it.

Carbide lands several more shots and Coyote even does a neat trick off of the floor flipper, then we find out the robot isn’t dead at all. Coyote is counted out and as cease is called the robot opens its jaws to scream into the fucking ether.

WINNER: Carbide, KO


APOLLO vs. CRACKERS N’ SMASH

“This is the bat fetcher trick with my teeth.”

For the final head-to-head we’ve got two robots who have been thrashed by Carbide already and this is what’s left of them. Apollo has been battling with flipper reliability issues because their weapon ended up having more kinks than a gross furry and Crackers N’ Smash has pretty much been decimated twice by Carbide now since they shared a group melee at the start of the episode. The good news is Crackers N’ Smash will finally be using their weapons because thanks to the Robot Wars officials not doing their goddamned jobs they’ve somehow managed to obtain 3 points while being in direct violation of the rules. Hooray for consistency! Smash’s drum better have the energy of a fucking particle accelerator to make up for this.

Stay flyyyyyyy

Apollo’s driver was worried about Crackers being able to get underneath his robot and within the first few seconds of this fight that has already happened. Apollo fires its flipper to get itself off of the minibot before Smash has a chance to come in and do some bodywork of its own (but to be honest here I don’t see any movement out of Smash’s weapon so it’s probably just dead again). Smash goes for the pit button and because the producers are fucking tired of this multibot they decide to open the pit hoping Apollo channels its inner Michael Jordan and sinks some free throws. Apollo doesn’t sink a shot into the pit but it does manage to pick up Crackers and do that thing with Dead Metal where you take a peanut or a piece of candy and toss it into your friend’s mouth from across the room.

Apollo tries to throw Smash out of the arena both on one of the sides of the arena where that might not be possible AND from fucking center court. As much as I would’ve loved to have seen Smash get thrown into the goddamned stratosphere, Apollo misses the shot and Smash comes crashing down into Dead Metal’s backyard. As it leaves the area Apollo accidentally bumps its ass on the pit button which, since the pit is already down, sends out the rogue House Robots. Dead Metal is already busily ripping Smash’s genitals off which leaves Sir Killalot to come out and try to hunt down Apollo for being a little punk bitch. Jonathan Pearce reminds us that the House Robots are like Anonymous or whatever because they never forgive or forget or something. To be honest I’ve gotten pretty good at passively zoning him out.

WINNER: Apollo, Judges’ Decision


HEAT FINAL
APOLLO vs. CARBIDE

APOLLO

Team MAD

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

CARBIDE

Team Carbide

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Gives new meaning to the term “face off”.

Did anyone see this heat panning out any other way? With last year’s first and second place competitors in the same heat there was only one way this episode was going to go and here we are with that exact outcome. Apollo dominated its group melee by bashing Rusty until it broke down and helped dispose of Ms Nightshade by pushing it onto its fucking side and breaking at least three of its hammers. Carbide threw punches nonstop in its melee and Trolley Rage and Meggamouse just happened to be the victims; both were eliminated. Each of these finalists accepted rather easy victories over Coyote and Crackers N’ Smash but when the two met in the head-to-heads it was Carbide that came out on top first and did enough damage to Apollo’s flipper that the team had to take literal hours to fix the fucking thing. Carbide has yet to sustain any major damage save for maybe some of the impacts it took against Coyote.

Again, Apollo goes the route of “get in there before the weapon spins up” and manages a significant amount more leverage than it did the first time, but no flip. Blink and you’ll miss it, but Carbide manages to land a glancing blow that pops one of the blade HDPE panels off of the top of Apollo. This isn’t major damage but if this fight were to go to the judges nominal shit like this adds up. Carbide is getting some air off of Apollo’s wedge that’s insane enough to give Tony Hawk a boner but through all of this Apollo’s flipper just isn’t firing. Even worse, Apollo seems to just randomly break down over near Shunt’s CPZ and just like that the reigning champions are eliminated.

Killalot comes in to exact his pound of flesh from the humiliated champion for being a dick to the House Robots. We don’t get to see the footage — probably because broadcasting rape on television is illegal in the UK — but just take a look at Apollo during the team interview segments after the match. That flipper is fucked five ways to Sunday.

WINNER: Carbide, KO


The five Grand Finalists are locked in. Aftershock claimed the first place, then Eruption and Concussion followed suit, and Ironside 3 and Carbide round it out. A vertical spinner, vertical drum, two horizontal spinners, and a powerful flipper.

The champion, humiliated.

But there’s still a wildcard slot available and I’d be doing you all dirty if I didn’t provide my own speculation here as to who I think the wildcard will go to. Let’s first start with who probably won’t be getting it: Sabretooth and Pulsar. Sabretooth fought a long and hard road to its heat finals and was able to break its “never won a match in over a fucking decade” curse but its run for glory ended at the hands of Aftershock who literally blew the fucking thing to bits. I doubt Gabriel and his team would be able to have the robot in a working and competitive condition if they received a wildcard. Pulsar is a similar story because while the robot has the potential to deliver some killer blows it just can’t seem to make it through a fight without blowing motors and speed controllers left and right. Just before Pulsar’s heat final against Ironside 3 Ellis Ware cannibalized Pulsar’s srimech for parts because they had literally no spares left. Again, I doubt the robot would be in working condition to make it through the Grand Finals. Apollo, sadly, is also in a similar situation because if you looked at its flipper after Sir Killalot was done beating the shit out of it then you’d understand why I’d assume it was irreparably damaged. There’s still a chance, though, however minuscule that may be; I feel like Apollo still might get the wildcard because it’s the reigning champion.

Cherub I also don’t see receiving the wildcard. Out of the five eligible teams their robot is one of two that is still in mostly working condition, but I feel like its performance during its heat wasn’t that great (especially the fight where it was just dead on arrival). Shit like that looks bad to the judges and I don’t believe Cherub’s weapon has that “wow” factor to make a difference. The robot is basically a heavily armored wedge and no amount of goofy ass handstands can save it. So that leaves Thor, the recipient of the wildcard last year. Jason Marston is a hell of a driver and his robot packs some serious heat with that axe. Thor is quick, heavily armored, and with a second chance it might stand to surprise a lot of people. The only thing counting against Thor would be if the judges feel that giving the wildcard to the same robot twice would be a bad idea, but other than that I’m still sitting by my original opinion that Thor is going to be the one.

Thanks for checking out The Update this week! I’m going to be taking a break next week as there’s some golf show or something pushing the Robot Wars Grand Finals out of the schedule and I could use a rest. It’s not easy churning out 6,000-7,000 word articles on a weekly basis; back when I was writing for bullshit comedy and gaming websites I’d be writing somewhere in the ballpark of 1,000-1,250 per week. Anyhow, make sure you’ve followed BattleBots Update on Facebook, and if you’d like to pitch it please use the Donate button at the top of the website.

– Dracophile