[BattleBots: S7 E2 is available online through ABC GO and Hulu.]

Ever since The Gears Awaken aired, people have been clamoring tooth and nail over the debut of this season of BattleBots. Me? Well, I was at the event so I kind of already knew who was going to win and how. Having the gift of future sight has allowed me to write a lot of this website’s coverage ahead of time. Sort of. The other edge of that blade is that I’m not allowed to correct people when they say things like “maybe so-and-so will get a wildcard” or else ABC will come hunt me down and shoot me in the face while I sleep. This is my blessing, and it is also my curse.

Welcome back to BattleBots Update, I guess?


It's good to be back. I think.

It’s good to be back. I think.

This episode is kind of a weird one in that various TV guides call it a “season premiere” even though at the same time it’s considered “episode two” in the same guides. You can’t have it both ways, people. This “premiere” episode starts out with the Mysterious Voice giving everyone a primer on the show just in case they’ve managed to completely avoid the concept of robot combat for something like 20 goddamned years. Imagine if every time G4 ran a show about video games (which admittedly, was not very often) they had to include a 30 second primer reiterating the history of Nintendo. Shoutouts to Ghost Raptor who, if you pay close attention, kicks the sabertooth cat right out of a fucking BBQ pit. No, that’s not a callback to Chris Rose obsessing over his “Black Ice looks like a BBQ pit” non-joke from The Gears Awaken, Ghost Raptor literally shreds a BBQ pit. It’s burgers for everyone!

The editing for this opener is really something else. There’s this scene where the Mysterious Voice brings up “learning from the past”, but rather than show footage from the Comedy Central era of BattleBots — which I know they have the rights to — they show a clip from the previous ABC season. Not only that, Matthew Vasquez from Team Fast Electric Robots (Splatter) is just chilling in his living room watching what is clearly an inactive TV that the footage has been poorly superimposed on. Furthermore, we get some insane meta “learning from the past” bullshit as the Inertia Labs guys are somehow using a fucking portal to watch Matthew watch last season on his television. Seriously, what the fuck is even going on here? Do Alex and Reason really have this kind of technology? They can just spy on people like that? Does that mean they’ve been portal-watching me on all those nights that I just aimlessly watch Jurassic Park at three in the morning alone? Turn that shit off, you guys.

The new Stargate sucks.

The new Stargate sucks.

Paul Ventimiglia, last year’s champion, shows up and says “two nuts are better than one”. Who wrote this line? Is Bil Dwyer hiding somewhere? I thought I saw someone with bleached tips in one of the various split-second rapid cuts.

Molly McGrath Mk. II finally welcomes us to the show, followed up by last year’s stooges Chris “Giant Nut” Rose and Kenny “Jam Up” Florian. Right away Chris says it’s time for math, which means half the people watching this during its premiere just tuned out. This year’s tournament setup really isn’t all that different from last year’s, but the editors were still nice enough to toss up some graphics that inexplicably make the whole thing still somehow look complicated. We’re reminded about the arena hazards, including the Killsaws which pop up for the first and only time this episode. You probably think that’s just me being cynical. Is it, though?


BUCK WILD

Fun Fact: They would've filled this with water if California had any.

Fun Fact: They would’ve filled this with water if California had any.

Before the first match is underway we’ve got our first builder bio segment. Kicking off this season are the builders of Bronco: Reason Bradley and Alexander Rose from Inertia Labs. Sorry, “Xander”, not “Alexander”. Yeah, I totally caught that one dude. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you’re about 20 years too old for that stunt. Thanks for this material, though. I promise I won’t use it for nefarious purposes. (He can’t see this, but I’m crossing my fingers behind my back right now.)

Like many teams, Inertia Labs was birthed in a junkyard. Reason and Alex Xander met when they were kids and promptly started getting into trouble building things they weren’t supposed to. Rumor has it that their first pneumatic terror sent the family dog to Mars. Black Ice’s builder can attest to this because he was in space at the time and saw it happen. The new Bronco, sporting six wheels instead of four, throws a giant water tank while Reason giggles like a doofus. It’s a perfect shot because I know in his mind he was envisioning that water tank being this tournament’s most feared robot, Clockwork L’Orange.

Anyways, we’re six and a half minutes into this episode and Frook is just now getting into the arena introductions. Let’s go see what’s what.


BRONCO vs. BLACKSMITH

BRONCO

Inertia Labs

Weapon: Pneumatic flipping arm

BLACKSMITH

Team Half Fast Astronaut

Weapon: Chain-driven hammer w/ flamethrower

Above: This fight.

Above: This fight.

Once upon a time, Inertia Labs built a robot named Rhino. Rhino begat Toro, the super heavyweight terror of the Comedy Central era. Toro begat Bronco, basically the same robot except somehow even stronger and with more wheels than before. Bronco’s M.O. is getting under its opponents with its pneumatic flipper and sending them into all of the expensive lights in the ceiling of the arena. Every time Bronco fires its flipper it costs ABC forty thousand dollars in repairs. Bronco was around last season, mostly to put a damper on the whole “women in tech” thing by beating Witch Doctor and Plan X, but its run for the run was ultimately stopped by Tombstone who clipped Bronco’s wheels and promptly shat its intestines out not long thereafter. Because their opponent is armed with a hammer, Bronco is sporting extra armor on its top fashioned from last year’s wheel guards which did fuck all against Tombstone. Kenny opens his mouth for the first time this episode and calls the guards “titanium steel”. I don’t think that’s how metal works, Kenny.

Blacksmith enters this match with one win under its belt already as one of the qualifiers from The Gears Awaken. You might recall Blacksmith being the absolute fucking beast whose flame-spitting hammer absolutely wrecked both Basilisk and Gemini. Also yes you read that correctly, Blacksmith is armed with a hammer that shoots goddamned fire. Al Kindle gives zero fucks. Blacksmith began its life as a 30 pound robot and one day Al was all “yeah that’d make a good heavyweight, also let’s add fire”. QED. It sounds stupid as hell, and I’d normally agree with you had it not been for the fact that Blacksmith has basically KO’ed two robots thus far with its Big Time Hammer. There’s also the minor issue of Blacksmith catching fire in its previous match, but I’m conveniently ignoring that for now.

"Hmm... that's not good."

“Hmm… that’s not good.”

This fight features two robots with what amounts to “precision weaponry” in the sport of robot combat. Because of this, the battle begins with several near misses before Bronco finally finds its mark and throws Blacksmith across the arena. The editors cut to a shot of Blacksmith flying right across Al Kindle’s field of view which is pretty much now my favorite shot in the history of this show. The indifference on Al’s face as he watches his robot do something it’s probably not supposed to do is fucking priceless. Blacksmith is clearly having a hard time getting started in this fight, what with its prized Big Time Hammer apparently being broken and all, but it just gets worse from there. Bronco tosses Blacksmith onto its back and as Blacksmith rights itself its entire hammer breaks off and flies through the air. I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any fire effects from Blacksmith this round.

Kenny starts visibly laughing at Blacksmith while Al joins the Cool Cussing Club and gets his mouth blurred out as he understandably uses some salty language. I’d be pissed off too if my robot’s hammer got reduced to something along the scale of Diesector’s weaponry. Surprisingly, Blacksmith’s stick seems to be a bit more effective than its hammer since it’s now able to ram it inside of Bronco’s open chassis space and wiggle it around. It’s doing literally fucking nothing, but from a strategic standpoint Blacksmith has the potential to “hook” onto Bronco and either drag or push it around. This plan fails immediately when Bronco literally throws its opponent into the fucking Pulverizer. That’s not how the hazards work, Xander.

rip in peace, big time hammer

rip in peace, big time hammer

Despite being completely emasculated and disarmed Blacksmith is managing to hold its own in this one-sided fight. It’s been in Bronco’s face the whole time, for better or worse, and it’s even able to land in some glancing blows with its wedge in an effort to destabilize the raging bull. The battle clock pops up to inform us that we’re only half way through this bar fight. God damn, I feel so bad for Blacksmith right now. Kenny rightfully praises Al’s robot, but Chris says he’s confused because both robots are the same color. Good job Chris, he’s at least trying. Bronco lands yet another flip on Blacksmith, this time throwing it against the wall and onto one of the screws where Blacksmith, sans-hammer, gets high centered and knocked out. Chris namedrops Windex because I guess he needed some extra cash.

Just to add insult to injury, Bronco grabs hold of Blacksmith’s hammer and does a reverse football spike with it and chucks it into the fucking roof. Something tells me that thing’s never going to work again. Shoutouts to the special gloves the producers gave Kenny so he could hold Blacksmith’s hammer.

WINNER: Bronco, KO


ISN’T SHE JUST DARLING?

rawr :3

rawr :3

Blacksmith is one of my favorites because it’s just ridiculous enough to work… or was just ridiculous enough to work, but Deathroll is a robot that’s won my heart simply by virtue of its theme and appearance. Crocodilians are fucking radical and Deathroll comes into this tournament sporting the best possible combination of form and function. The Aussies’ attention to detail doesn’t just stop at their paint job and robot name, they actually went through the trouble of making sure their crocodile’s eyes glowed red too. As someone who studies crocs, I appreciate the fuck out of the effort that’s gone into this machine.

I’ll admit, I’m a little bit worried about Deathroll’s self righting mechanism (its tail) mostly because its builder implies they didn’t really test it for that purpose. It “might” be able to help the robot self right? Might? Great confidence there, just roll the robot over in your garage and dick with it, see if it works. It’s literally that easy. Granted, since a flight from Australia to the United States takes like five months I guess they ran out of time.


CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR vs. DEATHROLL

CAPTAIN SHREDERATOR

Team LOGICOM

Weapon: Spinning shell w/ teeth

DEATHROLL

Team Deathroll

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Captain Shrederator is yet another contender returning from last season and is equipped with a spinning outer shell covered in teeth to rip its opponents to pieces. The robot is a continuation of the “Phrizbee” lineage of bots which competed in the Comedy Central era of the show. Last year, the Captain’s run at the title was cut short by Stinger, a.k.a. “the” spinner killer; Captain Shrederator was promptly tossed into the corner of the Battlebox upside-down after losing half its teeth, but winning BattleBots Update’s “Best Meth Mouth” award in the process. Samantha is easy amused by repeating Shrederator’s name while Chris informs us that its builder, Brian Nave, is very patriotic. Wow dude, what gave it away? Kenny says Brian is here to “make America great again”. God damn it Kenny, you glorious son of a bitch. BUILD THE WALL.

Captain “The Donald” Shrederator is killing me with its goofy patriotic kitsch. Meanwhile, Deathroll tugs at my heartstrings in a completely different manner by presenting itself as a killer croc. Coming here all the way from Australia, where pretty much anything can and will kill you in the most painful ways imaginable, Deathroll is a crocodilian machine armed with a vertical ripping wheel powered by a fucking E-Tek motor. So many competitors are using these things again, and you can spot them from a mile away because they’re the only part on the whole robot that can be described as “that giant fucking motor”. Spinning weapons that look off-balanced but really aren’t are the chic and en vogue thing in the sport right now, so while Deathroll’s weapon looks like something that would spin up to speed and shake itself to death it’s actually perfectly balanced. One of these days we’ll get beyond this fad and look back at it with the same secondhand embarrassment as VDD kits. I hope. Shoutouts to Chris’ piss poor Aussie impression.

AMERICA, FUCK YEAH

AMERICA, FUCK YEAH

Chris is quick to point out that there’s already debris flying around in the arena as Deathroll charges forward weapons blazing. I really wish I knew what that was, because I’m doubtful it’s arena debris because BattleBots had a whole crew of people that cleaned up literally after every single match. I feel so bad for those people. Anyways, Deathroll swings first and misses which allows Captain Shrederator to start spinning up to speed; Deathroll comes in for a second bite and connects with its opponent, sending one of Captain Shrederator’s teeth flying. We’re just under 10 seconds into this match and Captain Shrederator is already spinning slightly off kilter, but somehow it’s still stable enough to not self-destruct and kill everyone. Deathroll lines up another shot and this time tries to smack its opponent with its ass but instead ends up pulling an Ultraviolent and just does a karate kick over the deadly spinner instead.

Captain Shrederator seizes the opportunity and introduces some democracy into Deathroll’s ass, sending both robots flying in opposite directions. Kenny mentions how Deathroll is holding up well after taking that hit. I disagree, Deathroll’s drivetrain is clearly fucked up now which gives Brian Nave some generous opportunities to make himself a new pair of boots. Deathroll’s eyes start to flicker and I’m not fully sure if that means the robot is toast or not; Bad Kitty did the same thing just before it started belching out smoke while it was getting its ass kicked by Black Ice, so my optimism for Deathroll to turn this fight around is starting to die out. Before I can even finish that thought, Captain Shrederator comes in and clips the croc’s tail clean off, presumably because Brian is thinking about making a cajun stew later. The next hit sends the croc’s head flying and kills its spinning disc. I think it’s safe to say that my robo-waifu is probably dead.

rip in pepsi

Above: Democracy in action.

Above: Democracy in action.

Captain Shrederator moves in and destroys the decorative head in the middle of the arena, prompting a half-boo from Deathroll’s driver. That gets a full boo from me, buddy. Fuck that noise. The battle clock pops up to let us know we’ve still got 90 seconds left but also to inform Brian that he needs to wrap this up quick. Brian agrees, and promptly shears a whole fucking wheel off of Deathroll. Amazingly, Deathroll isn’t fucking dead. This thing has lost its weapon, it’s tail, a wheel, and its frame is visibly bent to hell and it’s still fucking moving. One final hit sends Deathroll into the screws where the robot finally dies with one wheel missing and another all bent up. Then, out of nowhere, Deathroll’s disc springs back to life. We zombie now.

Brian doesn’t seem to like the fact that Deathroll is taunting him by acting like it’s still here to put up a fight, so he decides to do the American thing and come in to finish the job with excessive force. One more blow sends the crocodile flying onto its own severed body parts while its E-Tek spews sparks all over the place. The referee counts out Deathroll while everyone in the audience stands up, removes their hats, and sings the national fucking anthem. God bless America. Captain Shrederator isn’t the hero America deserves, but it’s the one it needs.

WINNER: Captain Shrederator, KO


BETA LATE THAN NEVER

14 years.

14 years.

Last year I gave Beta a snarky award for “Most Time Between Forfeit Losses” because it showed up to the new season of BattleBots and had to pull out because the team’s airline fucked them over and lost of some their parts in transit. 13 years prior to that, Beta showed up at the final season of the Comedy Central era of the show and once again had to forfeit. Because of this, the “Beta Curse” became an ongoing inside joke in the robot combat community about how the universe was actively conspiring against this robot, and only this robot, to fuck it over every which way possible. Despite fate itself marking his robot for the dumpster, John Reid has been a surprisingly good sport and has never given up. That pays off this season as Beta finally enters the ring.

John chats a bit about how he designed this robot 14 years ago for BattleBots and how it’s never fought and instead just sat on his table for a decade and a half. Cue footage of Beta in an arena fighting. John… don’t bullshit us, buddy. We know the universe is all-seeing and hates your robot, but Disney is even more omnipotent than that. They found footage of your robot duking it out with other UK bots and now the world knows you are a liar liar pants on fire.

That said, I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s not just John and Beta that have been waiting for this moment for 14 years. We all have. Let’s do this.


LUCKY vs. BETA

LUCKY

Lucky Canucky Robotics

Weapon: Flipping arm

BETA

Robo Challenge

Weapon: Chain-driven hammer

THE CURSE!

THE CURSE!

Lucky is a newcomer to BattleBots this season, however much like its brothers Bad Kitty and Invader the robot itself is not necessarily new. Lucky has been competing for quite some time in the RoboGames circuit as “Ziggy” and comes to this event featuring the expert driver Gary Gin at its controls. Gary made it all the way to the lightweight finals of BattleBots’ fourth Comedy Central season with The Big B but ultimately lost to Ziggo in a very close judges’ decision. While he never quite made it that far again, he continued to compete after BattleBots with his heavyweight Original Sin which is known for being able to still drive with as little as one wheel. No, I don’t know how he does it either. Normally I’d say “voodoo” but that’s Witch Doctor’s gimmick so fuck if I know. Lucky’s weapon is a four-bar style flipping arm and much like Bronco it’s packing extra armor on its top to protect against Beta’s hammer.

Beta. Poor, poor Beta. Built originally in 2002 this robot currently has a BattleBots record of 0-2 with both losses by forfeit. If you didn’t know any better you’d think this was a fucking Team Wetware machine. John Reid is a robot combat all star of yesteryear with his robots Terrorhurtz and Killerhurtz which both tore up the UK and US combat circuits respectively back in the day. Beta is his pride and joy and features the same exact motor that powered Deathroll’s weapon except it’s used here in such a way to drive an overhead swinging hammer instead of a flywheel. Make no mistake, while Beta itself might be the victim of some bullshit “curse” the robot is incredibly formidable… however the last time something took 14 years to come to fruition I can’t say we were all impressed. Yes, I’m looking at you Duke Nukem Forever. Beta finally beat the Beta Curse, but the universe wasn’t quite done with John’s robot. Mere seconds before finally entering the BattleBox… Beta just idly plopped off of its cart and fell on the ground. I don’t even think I can put into words how fucking funny this was; me and everyone else in my party at the event were laughing to the point of tears. It’s incredible how unlucky this guy is with his robot. The icing on the cake is that John’s first ever fight with Beta is against a robot fucking named Lucky.

Right in the sweet spot.

Right in the sweet spot.

Chris quips that they’ll get fined every time they make a “Hammertime” reference in regards to Beta. Damn, is MC Hammer primed for a comeback? Between this and the Finding Dory trailer using his song “Have You Seen Her?” this is the most culturally significant ol’ Hammer’s been since Nationwide Insurance made a commercial making fun of how shittily he (mis)handled his fortune. Kenny says he’s willing to take that risk. Hell yeah dude, fuck copyright! I torrented my copy of this episode so I could get all the pretty pictures for this article, but I still watched it live so ABC could get their money’s worth showing me trailers for that inhumanly retarded Ghostbusters reboot. Oh right, there’s a fight about to happen.

Five seconds into this match Beta lands its first ever blow. The 14 year nut has just been busted and with it went a piece of Lucky’s shock-absorbing armor. Beta lands in another quick blow with its suppository of death before Lucky is able to turn the tables and goes FULL BRONCO on Beta’s ass, throwing the British robot into the screws. Rob Masek does his best Brian Nave impression and shouts “YEAH CANADA”, ignoring the fact that he’s apparently from New Hampshire. We get it dude, you’re one of those people ashamed to live in the United States so you pretend to be from somewhere else. Meanwhile, John Reid literally is from “somewhere else” and he’s kicking your ass; Beta self rights and swings its hammer right into the gap in Lucky’s chassis where its lifting arm fits. Lucky counters with another lift, and Beta responds to the counter by taking a move straight out of Blacksmith’s playbook and smashes its hammer down on Lucky’s lifting arm which visibly screws it all up.

Lucky does what anyone does when tossed a live grenade.

Lucky does what anyone does when tossed a live grenade.

Kenny likens the new pose of Lucky’s broken arm to a coiled cobra. Bro, that’s a terrible comparison; a coiled cobra is getting ready to attack. Lucky looks like it’s getting ready to raise a white flag. Lucky ends up catching a break however, as its arm gets pushed back into its track by Beta’s chassis. This lets Lucky get another flip on Beta which prompts its builder to start yelling taunts at John Reid. Dude, you’re fucking losing. Is this some kind of Black Knight scenario where you’re trying to get into John’s head by quoting British humor? You’re just going to assume every Brit watches Monty Python all day? The fact that he’s repeating your taunts back to you is proof enough that your mind games aren’t working you fucking American. Beta pounds Lucky yet again while Chris and Kenny throw care to the wind and say “Hammertime”. Somewhere out there MC Hammer just got a PayPal notification sent to his phone.

The end of the match is closing in. Lucky is having a hard time getting underneath Beta but manages one more flip in the final 15 seconds. Beta responds by officially opening this pit up and just starts swinging indiscriminately, slamming Lucky at least two more times before the buzzer. When all is said and done, Beta takes a well deserved victory spin in the middle of the arena. Rob sees this and taps Gary on the shoulder and tells him to also “do a spin”. Sounds like it’s John getting inside your head, buddy.

14 fucking years. So worth it.

WINNER: Beta, Judges’ Decision


WHAT GOT CUT, PART 1

GLOBAL WARMING

GLOBAL WARMING

There were a ton of matches in the qualification round. Understandably, not all of them were going to make it to TV. Much like they did last year, the editors put together a “highlight reel” of sorts for the matches that were left on the cutting room floor. Since I was at the event and got to catch these fights live, here’s a little bit of extra insider info on what really went down in these not-yet-ready-for-primetime bouts.

Icewave vs. Mecha SubZero: This was a very highly anticipated fight for me. Not only is Icewave one of my favorites from last season, but Mecha SubZero was co-constructed by Team XD’s Brady Davis who’s a friend of mine. Brady and I used to compete at the same events in 2003/2004 so I had to root for his robot. This is one instance where the highlight reel really is pretty much the whole fight. Icewave immediately went to down on Mecha SubZero, although Mecha SubZero was easily the more aggressive robot early on. This resulted in a ton of damage being done to the robot, such as the massive goddamned gash ripped in the side of Mecha SubZero’s armor. Its flipper also ended up getting all kinds of jacked up and it stopped working. Icewave’s blade also shit the bed, but because it had already thrashed Mecha SubZero so badly it was able to skate away with the win. There was also a drone that went with Mecha SubZero, however it was not used for this fight.

Should've brought Minion.

Should’ve brought Minion.

Ultimo Destructo vs. The Ringmaster: Total snoozefest. Ultimo Destructo’s wheel base is like nine fucking yards wide so it ended up colliding with The Ringmaster using its right drive wheel. Just mere frames into the first hit of the fight you can see the drive chain already slacked and broken. This first hit pretty much ended the fight since it reduced Ultimo Destructo’s movement to donuts. The Ringmaster ended up landing a couple more hits just for the sake of entertainment I guess, but this fight was over and done with before it even began. I’ve got to admit, I was a little let down by how fragile Ultimo Destructo ended up being; I was hoping for a lot more action. Of note is that The Ringmaster appeared to be having some sort of drive/weapon problems during this match.

Overdrive vs. Escape Velocity: I really can’t believe this fight didn’t make it to air. Escape Velocity, a newcomer this season, did an amazing job in its battle against Christian Carlberg, a former BattleBots champion. Escape Velocity is actually a multibot consisting of a 175 pound flipper and a 75 pound spinbot, whereas the new Overdrive “2.0” features a spinning vertical blade and a much faster drivetrain than last year. This battle was back and forth with tons of drama and suspense and all that stupid shit that producers jerk off over. For starters, this fight had to be postponed because there was something wrong with Escape Velocity. In one of the shots you can also see Escape Velocity’s spinner upside down, that’s because after a particularly nasty blow it pulled an Invader and air hockey’d around the arena and self destructed, smoke and flying parts and all. At the same time however, Overdrive’s weapon quit working which apparently prompted Christian’s daughter to have a fucking anxiety attack on national goddamned television. In literally the final seconds of the match Escape Velocity managed to tip Overdrive onto its nose for the knock out. Had they taken just a second or two longer it would have gone to a judges’ decision. This one was so close, it’s a damn shame it was cut.

"Fuck NASA." - Ray Billings

“Fuck NASA.” – Ray Billings

Black Ice vs. Tombstone: There were a lot of people salty over on the /r/BattleBots subreddit about this fight being cut, but to be honest it really wasn’t all that great. People tend to associate any battle with Tombstone being an absolute bloodbath, but that just wasn’t the case here. As much as I liked Black Ice, this fight was an incredibly poor showing for the newcomer. Black Ice was able to deflect a couple of minor blows from Tombstone but Ray eventually managed to sink his robot’s teeth into Black Ice for one good pop. This hit did something to the electronics of Black Ice which simultaneously killed the left drive motor and stuck the right motor into a state of permanent forward. Much like Ultimo Destructo, this reduced Black Ice to nothing more than a barely mobile skate ramp. Tombstone nudged Black Ice over into one of the corners of the arena for an easy knock out with very little in the way of total annihilation. After the fight someone shouted to Ray why he beat up on an astronaut so badly. Ray laughed. No fucks given.


NO BULL

Let The Yiffening commence!

Let The Yiffening commence!

Marco Antonio Meggiolaro is a very peculiar man. With a voice that reminds me of a foreign Hannibal Lecter, he casually explains his robot’s design philosophy and how its opponents “break into many pieces”. As he speaks, the editors roll a clip of a battle from another tournament where Minotaur hits its opponent, throws them into the air, and they never come back down. Minotaur’s weapon is a 70 pound drum that spins at over 12,000 RPM. I can’t even begin to wrap my fucking mind around this. This is some crazy shit.

Minotaur’s team has competed internationally since 2003 and have won over 50 championships and 100 medals. I’m not sure what he means by “100 medals” but I don’t really care, I’m still impressed by the whole “50 championships” business instead. Granted, these are championships in all sorts of weight classes from all kinds of events, but still that’s pretty goddamned impressive. Really though, the primary reason RioBotz have been able to run away with so many awards is because Minotaur’s design is something they’ve pretty much copied in every single weight class they compete in. It’s kind of a shitty tactic, but hey if all you care about is winning then I guess it’s not really all that bad of a plan.

RioBotz has won a championship in every single event they’ve competed in with only one exception. They absolutely do not fuck around. May God have mercy on their opponents, because I sure as hell won’t.


PHOTON STORM vs. MINOTAUR

PHOTON STORM

Team Storm

Weapon: Hydraulic crushing jaw

MINOTAUR

Team RioBotz

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

Bull versus bird. Bird loses.

Bull versus bird. Bird loses.

Photon Storm is the latest byproduct of Team Storm out of the United Kingdom. Across the pond they’re more well known for their rambot Storm 2 and the controversy surrounding it where the Robot Wars producers inexplicably tried to fuck them over countless times because of their prejudice toward rammers and robots without “active” weapons. Despite this, Storm still managed to finagle one Robot Wars championship title as well as making it all the way to the finals of another event before losing by a judges’ decision… because the judges were misinformed regarding damage done to Storm’s opponent. That’s neither here nor there though, because they’ve come to the USA with their new creation Photon Storm armed with a hydraulic crushing jaw not unlike the famed jewel of the UK, Razer. I guess Photon Storm is supposed to be a bird or something, as it’s sporting what I think are supposed to be wings made out of plexiglass. I guess that means Minotaur is having fried chicken tonight.

Team RioBotz doesn’t fuck around. Not only have they won more championship titles than any other team ever, their team captain Marco Meggiolaro has literally “written the book” on robot combat. No, really. This guy put together an impossibly complicated 380-page book about every single kind of robot combat design philosophy out there, and you can buy it on Amazon for ten bucks. I’ve read this thing, it’s amazing. Marco’s robot Minotaur is incredibly small for its weight, but that’s because its basically perfection realized in a sense. Everything is tight, compact, and sturdy. The chassis is small and heavy because it’s made from such a dense material, the whole thing almost looks like a middleweight if you didn’t know any better. In the past I’ve written about Minotaur (as its RoboGames counterpart Touro) having four motors driving its weapon. I don’t know if that’s still the case, but I like I said Team RioBotz doesn’t fuck around. 99 weapon rating, folks.

"i has a book! :D"

“i has a book! :D”

Chris and Kenny actually just so happen to have a copy of Marco’s book, probably because — and call me crazy here — ABC can afford to drop $10 on a copy. Kenny says he’s already read it and was shocked by the ending, but I know that’s a lie because Kenny can’t read. Chris asks for the CliffNotes version because he’s at least trying. (The way the book actually ends is that you find out the main character has been dead the whole time, and that the robots are weak against water and that Chiabot is secretly making everyone commit suicide.)

Ten seconds is all it takes for Minotaur to make first contact and start plucking the feathers off of its opponent. Back in the pits somewhere is a member of the RioBotz team getting their oven preheated because they’re tired of the catered food. Now’s as good of a time as any to bring it up, but I’m sure you’ve probably heard that low humming going on in this match. That’s Minotaur’s weapon, and its sound is a hell of a lot more subdued on television than it was in person. That monstrosity is frighteningly loud, like the biggest swarm of fucking bees you can imagine. Photon Storm keeps on its opponent and manages to use Minotaur’s centrifugal force against it to get underneath it and hook its beak right into one of Minotaur’s wheel wells. The birdy bird bites down with all 12 tons of force and doesn’t let go and ends up doing literally no damage to its opponent.

Nom.

Nom.

The ref tells Photon Storm’s driver that he has to let go and he begrudgingly complies. Minotaur, unhappy with being bitten by a fucking bird, spins around and socks its opponent right in the face sending a few more pieces of it flying across the arena. Listen to this thing’s weapon. You can hear its pitch just infinitely get higher and higher as this thing sounds like it’s getting ready to travel through fucking time. This whole thing is leading up to one final blow that sends Photon Storm spinning through the air and into the corner, totally dead. This hit was so fierce that it sheared the fluid lines and completely destroyed Photon Storm’s hydraulic system. Bright orange hydraulic fluid leaked absolutely everywhere in that corner. I might be incorrect on this, but I believe Minotaur is the first robot in the history of BattleBots to literally draw fucking blood from an opponent. Either that, or Photon Storm got its ass kicked so badly it pissed itself.

WINNER: Minotaur, KO


A.B.C.: ALWAYS BE CHOMPING

The trash can won by a knock out.

The trash can won by a knock out.

Zoe Stephenson is the lead designer, builder, and operator of Chomp. Last season Chomp received a wildcard into the Round of 16 but still ended up finishing its debut event with a 0-2 record. You might recall Chomp being the robot who put on a “spirited performance” to earn its wildcard, which it then redeemed in exchange for a free evisceration courtesy of Icewave. Zoe says it’s hard to see something you’ve worked so hard on be destroyed like that. That’s just how it goes in the Battlebox. I’m pretty sure Photon Storm’s builders are upset over needing to send their robot to the ER for a blood transfusion when up until this point they, like every one else on this planet, didn’t think robots could bleed.

Out of all the returning competitors, Chomp may be the one to have had the most intense rebuild; even Zoe herself says so. Chomp used to be a grappling and crushing robot, but now it’s been rebuilt into the world’s deadliest suitcase and sports a pneumatic hammer that can swing a full 360 degrees to act as both a weapon and a self righting mechanism. Not only that, Chomp also features autonomous technology that allows it to automatically find, target, and strike its opponents with its new weaponry. There’s still a flamethrower however, because TV.

Chomp has been rebuilt into a serious contender for the title, however it’s biggest weakness looks like it might be what I think is a massive goddamned air tank. If that thing gets hit just right Chomp might as well be considered an IED.


THE DISK O’INFERNO vs. CHOMP

THE DISK O’INFERNO

The InfernoLab

Weapon: Spinning horizontal disc & lifting arm

CHOMP

The Machine Corps

Weapon: Pneumatic hammer

HOME RUN!

HOME RUN!

Jason Bardis is no stranger to BattleBots. The producers are doing a great job of making it seem like the Comedy Central era never happened, but Jason is a former two-time BattleBots champion with his lightweight robot Dr. Inferno Jr. You might remember it as the one with the cute little robot head that looked like R.O.B. Jason also has had his fair share of total shit though, like his old heavyweight Towering Inferno which was literally just a pair of giant wheels with some shitty Diesector hammers on them. His newest creation, Disk O’Inferno, looks to be a hit. Sporting a weapon he stole off of Hypnodisc and a dance floor that doubles as a weapon, this thing looks ready to do some damage. Shoutouts to the guy on the InfernoLab team whose job it is to point the flashlight at Disk O’Inferno’s weapon, as well as the fact that Jason can apparently only walk like he’s in Saturday Night Fever.

Over in the blue square is the new Chomp, which Chris explained best as Chomp in name only. This is a completely new machine that looks much more durable than its predecessor except for the fact that its center of gravity is so high it’s basically outside of the arena. I didn’t like old Chomp, but I think new Chomp is absolutely a step in the right direction. I’m not too gung-ho on the “autonomous” aspect of the robot however; that’s something numerous builders have attempted in the past and just gave up on. You might recall Ghost Raptor featured some bullshit visualization hardware last season which ended up being scrapped in favor of… uh… the De-Icer? Zoe Stephenson says she is here to be the first woman to win the BattleBots championship. She’s sure as hell taking it seriously, Chomp is absolutely a step above Buddy Lee Don’t Play In The Street which is what happened the last time we had a woman try and win this thing.

THE PEOPLES' ELBOW

THE PEOPLES’ ELBOW

Chomp comes out swinging and missing, eager to shut down the dance party taking place on top of Disk O’Inferno. Jason is taking a much more calm and collected approach to this fight however and instead tries to back into Chomp to push it around. Within moments of this fight starting Chomp’s biggest weakness becomes immediately apparent: it can’t swing its hammer without flipping out of control. This gives Disk O’Inferno the perfect opportunity for a smackaroo, so it seizes the opportunity and promptly breaks its spinner on Chomp’s bubble butt. Should’ve made it autonomous dude. Disk O’Inferno’s primary weapon is out of commission, but its rear lifting wedge is in full effect and it promptly upends Chomp for what already feels like the tenth time this fight. Chomp is getting manhandled in the arena and ends up getting its hammer eaten by the screws, a fate which it’s able to escape by swinging its weapon around. I feel bad for the screws this year. First it was Invader destroying them, then Skorpios almost sawed through one, and now Chomp is just beating on them. I guess by virtue of being the only hazards that work they end up taking all the punishment that the Killsaws and the rest of the lazy ass “hazards” should’ve been receiving.

Disk O’Inferno ends up getting its lifting wedge stuck in a seam in the floor which opens it up for a straight blow from Chomp. Chomp wastes no time and blasts Disk O’Inferno right in the gut, scoring some points but also freeing it in the process. Now that its opponent is a mobile target again, Zoe flips Chomp into its automatic setting. Her teammate confirms it’s on, and Chomp manages to strike Disk O’Inferno a second time. I think there might even be a third hit in there somewhere, but Chomp’s flamethrower is doing a pretty good job of hiding where its hammer actually hits so I can’t really tell. This fight is wrapping up pretty quickly here with Disk O’Inferno toppling its opponent a couple more times and Chomp landing in one more solid hit before the buzzer, sending this one to the judges.

Chomp is all disco'd out.

Chomp is all disco’d out.

WINNER: Chomp, Judges’ Decision

So, now that the results have been announced I guess now’s an appropriate time to point out how upset the studio audience was about it. Chomp was literally booed when the verdict was announced. That, of course, was fixed in post. There’s not really any way for me to explain this without sounding like I’m purposefully trying to stir up some kind of controversy, but there were a few blows from this fight that were cut from TV. Specifically, Disk O’Inferno at one point slammed Chomp into the wall and ended up driving into the gap in Chomp’s hammer which required the fight be stopped so the safety guys could separate the bots. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is Disk O’Inferno threw more punches than were shown on TV, presumably so the judges’ call would make more sense to the people watching this at home. I disagree with their call. Even though Disk O’Inferno lost the use of one of its weapons, it still had a backup which it used to keep Chomp on its side for literally like half the goddamned fight.

I don’t know what the fuck it is about Chomp but it brings out the absolute worst in people. You can’t talk about this robot without it bringing out all the fucking fedora-wearing neckbeards and dangerhair neo-progressives from the woodwork. One side is bitching that Disk O’Inferno lost because “strong womyns in tech you guys” and the other is taking offense that someone would dare insult a robot built by a woman because that’s “misogyny” and Chomp should get a free pass for only ass pats because “yay good job Chomp team way to stick it to THE PATRIARCHY™”. Give me a fucking break. You’re all retards.


THE SHOCKER

You okay there, buddy?

You okay there, buddy?

Will Bales is a man haunted by the past. He was here last year with his robot Hypershock kicking ass and taking names but lost to the eventual champion Bite Force when its electronics cooked themselves. To this day Will has PTSD flashbacks of Chris Rose’s voice echoing in his mind. Like some bizarre real life incarnation of Twisted Metal, he’s returned to make things right and win the championship so the unsettling echo of Chris ceases its torment of his soul. How does he plan to do this, exactly?

Glad you asked. He “un-suck-ified” his robot’s drivetrain. To quote the great Bil Dwyer, “I hope that explanation wasn’t too technical for our viewers.”

I don’t think Will is all there. His nightmares about Chris Rose have really done a number on him. He’s a madman, swinging axes and hammers around and the way he eyes that post hole digger implies he’s used it to kill someone before… and then buried the body in a post hole. Which he dug himself. With the post hole digger. He’s a troubled man, but here’s to hoping that Calypso can make things right for him once he wins the Twisted Metal tournament.


HYPERSHOCK vs. ULTRAVIOLENT

HYPERSHOCK

Shenanigans & Co.

Weapon: Spinning vertical drum

ULTRAVIOLENT

Titanium Joe

Weapon: Wedge w/ lifting arms

Two in the pink, one in the stink.

Two in the pink, one in the stink.

Hypershock has a lot of moving parts. This is primarily why it lost last year when its electronics fried up into robo beef jerky. Supposedly, Will Bales has been able to fix this and has brought his robot back rebuilt and rearmed. Hypershock still features its vertical drum weapon, but its little insect arms have been completely revamped and the robot now also features a self righting arm in the likely event it gets toppled over. Last season Hypershock sank Mohawk in a single blow, a move which I’m still not 100% sure if it speaks about the build quality of Hypershock or Mohawk. Or a lack thereof on Mohawk, specifically. In any case, Will lucked out because Ultraviolent wasn’t originally who they were drawn to fight…

“Wait a minute,” you might be saying. “Didn’t this robot get its ass kicked by Son of Whyachi?” You’re absolutely correct. Ultraviolent was one of Son of Whyachi’s many victims during The Gears Awaken special and was famously dead on arrival doing nothing more than somersaults and twists with its lifting forks. Ultraviolent was rightfully eliminated from the tournament but only made it back to take the place of Hellachopper who was disqualified from the event because its weapon — hammers mounted on fucking elastic that could theoretically reach the speed of goddamned sound — was deemed “too dangerous” to compete. Yeah, no shit. Many fans have speculated that Ultraviolent made it in at the last minute because it was one of the few bots from The Gears Awaken that were in working condition, and Chris also mentions that Ultraviolent’s builder claims they were able to fix their robot in the pits, but in response to all of that I ask “what about Skorpios?” Skorpios literally sustained no damage whatsoever because it parked itself under the screws. At least that robot worked.

This used to be a robot. Not anymore.

This used to be a robot. Not anymore.

Ultraviolent seems to be able to drive this time around. Sort of. It confronts Hypershock in the center of the arena and promptly starts doing its goddamned flips and tricks again. Look, this isn’t a fucking breakdancing competition. Cut that B-Boy shit out, either work or get the fuck out of here. This has basically turned into a free win for Hypershock and I think they’re aware of that because they just casually toss Ultraviolent into the screws, but even the hazards want nothing to do with this bullshit and spit Ultraviolent out like a lemon Starburst. We’re not even a minute into this match and half of Ultraviolent’s wheels are already broken and missing pieces.

This is hard to watch. Hypershock isn’t being anywhere near as nice as Son of Whyachi was. There are pieces of Ultraviolent’s goofy ass light-up tires all over the place and there are wires, cords, and pieces of rubber hanging off of its chassis as the robot continues to flip and contort around. “Will he show any mercy,” asks Chris. Fuck no. Hypershock lands in a solid blow that completely removes Ultraviolent’s bottom panel exposing the robot’s innards that are now literally just hanging out in the open. This is the BattleBots equivalent of slicing someone’s stomach open and watching their guts fall out. This fight has turned into Saw 9. One final blow sends Ultraviolent head over heels onto its back as parts are ripped out of it like it was built out of fucking Legos. Will Bales laughs from the sidelines knowing he’s won this one, but Chris Rose’s voice still lingers…

WINNER: Hypershock, KO


OUT OF CONTROL

Derek Young hates birthday parties.

Derek Young hates birthday parties.

“What’s in the box?” The catchphrase from Se7en that Chris and Kenny were eager to run into the ground as Derek Young’s Complete Control entered the Battlebox to square off against Ghost “Sabertooth Cat” Raptor. It was a net. That’s what was in the box. A fucking net. Derek pored over the official BattleBots rules, which had long since been rewritten since the Comedy Central days, and found out that the rule on “entanglement devices” was noticeably lax. Rather than clear it with the organizers beforehand, Derek decided to take the “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach and… jammed up Ghost Raptor’s blade. This is all very funny in hindsight because as it turns out all Complete Control would’ve really had to do was get hit once and Ghost Raptor’s blade would’ve broken anyways, but there was no way for him to know that a robot that only looked like a helicopter crash was going to fight like one too.

Last season didn’t shine in favor of Complete Control, but it’s back with a stronger weapon and hopefully a drive system that doesn’t blow up the second the robot hits a seam in the floor. Derek has been testing his robot out solely on giraffe pinatas because when he was a child his parents didn’t take him to Toys R’ Us this one time and ever since then he’s had this inexplicable hatred of giraffes thanks to the store’s old mascot, Geoffrey.

Derek says he’s here to play it straight with “no tricks”. No tricks, except for the guy wearing the flamethrower backpack. How the fuck they managed to get the safety crew to agree to that is beyond me. Maybe they told them it was a Ghostbusters cosplay. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, after all.

Haha, just kidding you guys. See Ghostbusters in theaters this summer!!! 😀


COMPLETE CONTROL vs. BOMBSHELL

COMPLETE CONTROL

Mission Destruction

Weapon: Chain-driven clamp w/ flamethrower

BOMBSHELL

Chaos Corps

Weapon: Chain-driven axe (main), flamethrower (drone)

"YOU THINK THIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING JOKE?!"

“YOU THINK THIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING JOKE?!”

Derek Young’s Complete Control is one of the few robots from yesteryear that’s still around today. Much like its brethren, the robot has mostly held on to its original design: an articulated clamp. The biggest change to its weaponry is its flamethrower which was added last year, otherwise this is just a continuation of the robot Derek built 15 years ago. Believe it or not, Derek is also a former BattleBots champion himself; his middleweight robot Son of Smashy won its division at the first ever BattleBots event held in Long Beach, California in 1999. Since then he’s earned a reputation for himself as a “bad boy” by famously hitting opponents after the buzzer and of course all that bullshit last year with the net in a box. At least they don’t have that guy on the team whose job it was to hold the disco ball anymore. Inexplicably, Chiabot joins Complete Control for this match to run interference. Looks like Chia has lost some weight or something. Lookin’ good, girl!

Bombshell is introduced as a “Swiss Army bot” by the commentators because of the fact that the robot is really just a chassis with a slot in it where one of four weapons can be installed depending on their opponent. For its debut match Bombshell has gone with a chain-driven battleaxe which consequently is the weapon they ended up making popular before the event by leaking pictures of it on social media. It’s clearly the one they’re most proud of and I can see it doing some major damage if they can strike Complete Control on its weapon chain or somewhere inside the exposed portion of its chassis. Mike Jeffries, the captain of the Chaos Corps team, is better known online as MikeNCR and has been a dedicated staple of the online robot combat community since the turn of the millennium. Shoutouts to the Flag Guy, by the way.

This is what happens when you taunt Derek.

This is what happens when you taunt Derek.

Complete Control isn’t interested in the gift that Bombshell has brought with it and chooses to drop it off near the Pulverizer wherein they literally try to fucking smash it. God damn, Derek. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to still making fun of this gag a decade from now. We might even see someone make an EPIC WIN TROLLOLOLOL bot that’s just a present! TOP KEK you guys, EPIC WIN! Bombshell gets thrown on its head and plows through Chiabot in its confused stupor, knocking the little robot over and tossing it aside. Bombshell is clearly having a hard time getting any purchase on its opponent, but its drone is having an even harder time. This fucking thing is all over the goddamned place making crash landings and flying into the shot of every camera pointed at the arena it seems. The editors waste several cuts on the drone until it smacks into the arena wall like a stupid gnat and stops working. Truly the next level of robot combat.

Kenny doubts the efficacy of Bombshell’s weapon. Before I can make a retort to that Chris chimes in and says each blow with the axe is a “jab” on the judges’ scorecards and that they can “add up”. You mean like the fucking “Jabs” category they were using in the “Battle Stats” 16 years ago? We’re not beyond that yet? I thought that shit was fake!

I guess you could say that Bombshell was a... DUD. Comedy.

I guess you could say that Bombshell was a… DUD. Comedy.

Bombshell careens around the arena and slams right into Complete Control’s awaiting maw. Derek locks that shit down and lights it up, lifting Bombshell completely perpendicular to the floor like it did to Super Chiabot all the way back in season two. The difference here however is this time around Complete Control is packing heat and just lets loose the sickest mixtape in recorded history right in Bombshell’s face. Bombshell begins to literally fucking melt and starts dripping all sorts of gross shit on Complete Control’s face. The officials force Complete Control to let go of its opponent and when it does Bombshell is just a barely functional smoldering heap of trash over in the corner of the arena right next to the present they brought in at the start of the match. After a few choice blows from the Pulverizer, Bombshell is toast. I hope they kept the receipt for that gift.

WINNER: Complete Control, Judges’ Decision

(By the way, if you want your very own Chiabot like the one seen in this fight it’s actually a “D2” kit and you can get one at Botkits.com. Plant sold separately.)


WHAT GOT CUT, PART 2

"Cut your hair, hippie."

“Cut your hair, hippie.”

Four more matches failed to make it to television because even though this show was two hours long literally 37 minutes’ worth of it was devoted to commercials. Here’s what you missed.

Bite Force vs. Mohawk: Mohawk was one of the winners of the qualification rumbles from The Gears Awaken because luckily for them Invader killed itself and Lycan also killed itself. This would’ve been a very different fight had Lycan not screwed the pooch and blew a drive chain on Invader’s dead ass. Reigning champion Bite Force landed some solid blows on its opponent as the slow-mo highlights show. What you didn’t get to see was Bite Force ripping one of Mohawk’s side panels off before leaving it to die over in the red square. You might also have noticed that piece of white fabric hanging around Mohawk’s, uh, mohawk. That’s actually part of the gasket that seals the inside of the robot’s chassis. See, Mohawk was showing off its pretty fire effects before this fight started and because it’s basically a Team Loki robot that means something bad was bound to happen. The seal blew and Mohawk sharted out a poof of fire along with the gasket. Great job.

It's like that photo of the bat flying into the stands at the baseball game.

It’s like that photo of the bat flying into the stands at the baseball game.

Chrome Fly vs. Bucktooth Burl: This was a match between two robots I wanted to like, but since they both broke down and sucked out loud neither of them made it to TV. Allison’s explanation of the battle coming down to one single blow is spot-on. Bucktooth Burl led the attack and collided with Chrome Fly which caused its front blade to shear in half at the axle. Both halves flew in opposite directions, and one of them actually blew clean through one of those big white LED arrays that line the walls of the Battlebox, destroying it in the process and almost breaching the fucking arena itself. It sounded like a bomb went off in the arena when it happened and it was easily the loudest hit of the event. Chrome Fly also had a drone which was carrying what literally looked like a coffee can with a rake on it. This device was magnetic and its intended purpose was to be dropped on Bucktooth Burl in such a way that the prongs would prevent them from hitting Chrome Fly. Miraculously, the drone’s accuracy was on point… but the device didn’t stick. Bucktooth Burl’s weapon was dead anyways, and the robot started smoking when there was about 30 seconds left on the clock.

Stinger's ass literally exploded.

Stinger’s ass literally exploded.

Splatter vs. Warrior Clan: Another snoozefest. Both robots were armed with spinning weapons but neither one was really able to make use of them. Warrior landed a few glancing blows with its spinning ring but ended up using its flipping arm for most of the fight. Warrior’s drone, as you can probably guess, did fuck all. Splatter at one point lost its aerial but it was still mostly mobile, its biggest issue as the highlights show was that it just couldn’t get underneath Warrior to do anything.

Stinger vs. Nightmare: This is probably the other cut fight that people were really upset about. I definitely agree, but aside from the one big blow that Nightmare landed on top of Stinger there wasn’t anything else of substance. Stinger mounted its flamethrower vertically specifically for this match so it could get underneath Nightmare and shoot fire straight up into it as the highlight shows. Nightmare ended up straddling Stinger and clipped one of its wheels clean off, however the downward force of this impact ended up breaking Nightmare’s self righting system so when Stinger toseed it onto its side Nightmare was KO’ed. Of these four cut fights, this is definitely the one that should’ve made it to TV.


EVOLVE OR DIE

Is it a man, or a MACHINE?!

Is it a man, or a MACHINE?!

“What is The Obwalden Overlord?” That’s the question the team’s Facebook page boldly asked while this robot was shrouded in mystery. In the weeks leading up to the premiere of this season of BattleBots the team released countless viral-esque hype videos about the robot. They are some of the most confusing things I’ve ever seen. Each of those words is a different link, by the way. When it was eventually revealed what this robot actually was, the team behind it went FULL MEME. They started posting fake fake news articles, fake tweets from fake people, and fake videos about fake secret societies.

Meanwhile, in this builder bio segment we see Rob Knight getting into some deep shit about “how would you attack a robot if it had arms” or whatever. I’d attack the arms, Rob. That’s what I’d do. I’d break its fucking arms. Rob is better known as the builder of Mortis, one of the most expensive robots to ever enter the arena in Robot Wars. You might recall in the past here on The Update I used to harp about its JAPANESE weapon because Jonathan Pearce wouldn’t shut up about it. Rob has returned to the arena with Obwalden Overlord, a robot that’s apparently controlled by dressing up like a naked C-3PO.

Rob claims his robot is meant to mimic the human body. I don’t believe you, Rob, because to me it looks like you built a goddamned pipe organ full of string. Next evolution my ass.


OBWALDEN OVERLORD vs. WARHEAD

OBWALDEN OVERLORD

Team Obwalden Overlord

Weapon: Sword

WARHEAD

Team Razer

Weapon: Clamping jaw w/ flamethrower

Play? :3

Play? :3

Okay. I realize out of all of the robots at this event, this is the one that most of you were looking forward to me tearing apart. Looking at this stupid ass “high concept” bullshit I can absolutely see why. I definitely have expectations to live up to when it comes to Obwalden Overlord. Pardon me for a moment though if I don’t exactly know where to fucking start because god damn. Jokes aside, this thing is a beautiful robot. I mean that. Obwalden Overlord is absolutely a gorgeous machine, but I can’t help but feel like it’s grossly out of place here. This is the same event that Tombstone is at. You really think this “what would you do against a robot with arms” nonsense is going to work against something like Tombstone? To me, Obwalden Overlord is absolutely a gimmick bot, I cannot see it any other way. What’s really fucking with my head here is how the commentators are playing this straight and saying the “OB Overlord” is going to take BattleBots to the “next level”. How? What level? The fucking Real Steel meets Robot Combat League level? Do you really want to go there? I feel like this thing was built simply to piss off Mark Setrakian.

Meanwhile, Warhead is chilling out over in the blue square. After being thoroughly embarrassed with back to back landslide losses last season Warhead’s builders also decided to embrace the meme and brought their robot back looking like some shit out of the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios. Despite also being a goddamned joke at least Warhead still has some level of basic functionality and efficacy behind its weaponry. You don’t see Ian Lewis doing jumping jacks in a fucking robot sex suit to control this thing. Team Razer’s robots have always been about being the perfect cross between art and combat. Under any other circumstances I’d say they overshot their mark with this one, but considering their opponent is the Obwalden fucking Overlord they somehow manage to not be the biggest joke in the arena at this time. (PS: Simon and Ian, if you’re reading this I’m the guy who bought one of your posters and paid for it by rolling up a $5 bill and sticking it in your robot’s nose.)

"PLAY?!

Before this battle began there was something wrong with Obwalden Overlord. What exactly that was I’m not sure because there’s a million moving parts, however whatever it was ended up being fixed using duct tape. That means the robot’s “Defense” score of 8 should be bumped up to a 9. This is going to be a long fight.

Warhead has the upper hand early on simply by existing. It bites down onto Obwalden Overlord’s shield and starts trying to pry it off to no avail. Obwalden Overlord gets away and the cameras cut to the one mounted inside of Obwalden Overlord’s head which gives us a great view of what it’s like to be chased down and eaten by a dinosaur. That’s not something I’m particularly into myself, but I know people who are. Cheers. For some reason Obwalden Overlord’s right arm — the one with its sword — isn’t working. Rob was literally just waving it around a few minutes ago when Fuhroot was doing his arena introductions so I guess this “next level” robot is also expertly mimicking the human body by having appendages that just randomly stop working.

"WHY WAS I PROGRAMMED TO FEEL PAIN?"

“WHY WAS I PROGRAMMED TO FEEL PAIN?”

Obwalden Overlord is all stroked out in the middle of the arena and Chris is still going on about how “evolution comes at a cost” and that we’re getting a glimpse into the future here. I sincerely cannot tell if this man is being sarcastic. At this point I’m convinced Warhead is going easy on Obwalden Overlord because they genuinely feel bad about beating up something that has had so much work put into it because they could’ve bitten down on Obwalden Overlord’s arms and ripped both of them clean off by this point. Instead they’ve just melted both of them and severed like half the strings on each side. To top this all off Warhead choofs some fire into the Overlord several times and ends up lighting its spine on fire, turning its opponent into a real life version of a goddamned Advil commercial.

The dino lines up a ram on its opponent and headbutts Obwalden Overlord, breaking the Overlord’s head apart and sending pieces of black tubing everywhere. That’s two broken arms, a spinal injury, and a skull fracture. How does Warhead finish the deed? By knocking the cripple over and laughing as it squirms around. Chris quotes that infamous Life Alert commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”, and immediately wins me over for this season. The refs begin to count out Obwalden Overlord while Warhead bites one of its arms and starts to promenade around the arena to show the world its prize. Warhead has basically treated this fight like a dog who doesn’t know its own strength and just wants to play. A dog that can breathe fire… and is actually a dinosaur. So really, it’s nothing like a dog at all. Bad analogy.

WINNER: Warhead, KO


"YOU. HUMAN. PLEASE HEL-dfhkdhauifdnsdkjhf"

“YOU. HUMAN. PLEASE HEL-dfhkdhauifdnsdkjhf”

There’s still eight more fights to go in the qualification rounds, but for now that’s a wrap. Holy shit, this article is just over ten thousand words long. It’s easily the longest thing I’ve ever written for this website; I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me when I first heard about this episode being a two-hour special. If you’ve made it all the way through, thank you. This has been a tremendous undertaking. I hope I did it justice and lived up to the hype.

Every time something new goes up on this website I post about it over on our Facebook page, so make sure you’re a subscriber or a follower. Or a like, however this social media crap works. I do this largely out of my love for the sport and Google AdSense doesn’t really give me anything in return, so if The Update is something that you’ve enjoyed this past year I’ve stuck a Donate button at the top of the site. Everything’s processed through PayPal and you don’t need an account to use it. I hate to sound like an asshole panhandling so it’s taken me this long to point it out (it’s been there since January). Shoutouts to Inertia Labs for their contribution though. You da real MVP. <3

Next week’s article should be up a bit more timely, I know this one’s being posted at like 10PM Central time. I blame the two-hour nature of the special. Boooooo. Thanks for hanging out with me, see you then!

– Dracophile

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