[BattleBots: S8 E11 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
SNAP BACK TO REALITY WHOOPS THERE GOES GRAVIT– hang on I was letting Joby’s iPod play filler music while I waited for BattleBots’ two broadcasting schedules to sync back up with each other. Normally I’d say “good choice of music though”, but the hype man at the event only really had like six songs on his MP3 player and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was on the list solely because he says “reality” in it and every time Reality was in the arena Joby would queue that shit up. Actually he’d do it even when Reality wasn’t in the ring because like I said the dude had at most a half-dozen songs to pick from. Also yeah I’m gonna keep hammering on jokes and references that nobody’s going to get unless they were at the show because that’s a whole field of jokes that are still viable to like 1% of people who read this blog and I’m grasping at straws.
Welcome back to Update Land, I hope the break in broadcasts weren’t too hard on you. You made it, though. You survived. Decades from now you can share these tales of first world problems with your grandchildren while they ignore you completely because they’re wearing some dumb VR bullshit from that god awful Ready Player One book-forward-slash-movie. It’s
Despacito Desperado tournament time and in case you forgot how this works Chris Rose & Kenny Florian are eager to give you another breakdown. Basically we’re dealing with a miniature tournament that starts with its quarterfinals and of these eight robots the one who wins is guaranteed to qualify for the main Round of 16. The losers all get their additional wins/losses tallied up and are thrown back into the increasingly faster void of Fight Night hell. This week Lock-Jaw, Kraken, Valkyrie, Hypothermia, Lucky, Gemini, Gigabyte, and Double Dutch are putting it all on the line in what could very well be their final attempts at a strong showing this year.
“But Dracophile that’s not fair, all of these robots suck and the 16th place should be given to (name of robot you are personally biased toward).” Yeah, well I didn’t write the rules I just write the jokes. One of these bots is going to end their Fight Night journey tonight and automatically advance. If you’re so predisposed to complaining about all of them sucking then you can at least take solace in the fact that there’s a non-zero chance that the Desperado winner will end up being obliterated by Tombstone or Icewave or something. Silver linings, and all that.
GEMINI vs. LUCKY
Totally True Trivia™: Lucky’s face is a Puffle from Club Penguin.
We’re starting this tournament from the middle of the brackets for some reason so I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Lock-Jaw isn’t going to kick this party off like we all had hoped. Instead we’ve got, uh, Gemini. Y’all know about Gemini, right? Gemini initially debuted in the same 2016 rumble as Blacksmith and got absolutely beat to hell to the point where one of the two robots died and the other looked like it was about to give up the ghost at any moment. The deadly duo came back this year and put up a decent fight against Mohawk but were sucking pretty bad. Against Mohawk. Mohawk had these two shitty spinners on the ropes and was eagerly feeding them to each other to the point where Gemini was in the process of killing itself through fratricide. Sure there was some damage done to Mohawk but I was getting the impression that this was perhaps Mohawk’s year until Gemini found Mohawk’s weak point: its ass. With one well-placed shot on the pincher’s buttocks Mohawk was disabled on top of the Killsaws and Gemini finally got to taste victory… at the expense of breaking almost fucking everything in the process. That’s why Ace Schelander is all like “we have limited reserves on spare parts” before this fight, because him and his co-pilot burned through 75% of them beating each other up like a couple of people who suck at Power Stone trying to play co-op mode.
Last time we saw Lucky I provided a miniature essay on the finer points as to why naming your robot something endearing like “Lucky” is a stupid idea and will almost surely doom your robot to a life of brutal losses and letdowns. I don’t know how the universe knows when shit like this happens but there’s clearly a higher power in play here because Lucky enters this Desperado tournament with an 0-2 record for the season and a 0-4 lifetime record at BattleBots. This thing has never won a fight. Not only has it never won a fight but all of its losses have been increasingly more brutal. Rewind back to 2016 and you’ll see Lucky get its head smashed in by Beta followed up by its prized flipping arm being torn away by Yeti. As we enter 2018 Lucky’s already had enough sparks shaved off of it by Skorpios to guarantee itself a spot in the opening credits of next season and if that weren’t already a sure thing by this point Son of Whyachi came in and just blew this robot to fucking pieces. When it comes to the definition of “Desperado” I think Lucky fits that bill to the letter. Despite this amazing losing streak though, Lucky is the robot that I’ve selected to win it all. Not because I’m rooting for the underdog here, I just think of the 8 robots in this mini-event Lucky stands the best chance even if it’s won a staggering ZERO fights.
Gemini splits and each robot tries to encircle Lucky from a different direction. So far this is not that bad of a strategy, the only gripe I have is that they might as well have just come at Lucky face first because by hiding their spinners they’ve only added one extra step to the process of unleashing an attack. The drivers had no way of knowing that Lucky was going to hesitate to pick a target but that would’ve been something I’d have banked on, the robot has never won a fucking fight. Lucky picks the red Gemini and gets one perfect flip. The hit somehow breaks the robot’s rear wedge clean off and I want to say if Lucky just backed off after that punch I think the red robot would’ve been stuck on its ass. At least until the black one came in and “accidentally” clipped it with its spinner and tore a wheel off or whatever. Lucky doesn’t hold back though and follows through with another great blow that hurls the little red robot into the wall. The attacked Gemini robot bounces back and doesn’t seem too visibly damaged aside from missing its ass. Black Gemini is Lucky’s second target and the flipper lines it up, scoops it up, and flips it up. This is why I predicted Lucky was going to win this fight because thus far Gemini has managed to accomplish fuck all aside from artificially inflating how high Lucky can throw an opponent. Lucky’s trying to show up Bronco like someone claiming they can out-dunk Michael Jordan with the help of an exercise trampoline and Moon Shoes.
Lucky’s driver is having the time of his fucking life right now because for the first time in this robot’s miserable history it’s actually the one on top. He plows through the multibot a few more times before positioning Lucky near a corner to taunt his opponents and ask who’s next. Apparently he did this for a while because the ref starts telling him he “has to engage”. Motherfucker were you watching the first minute of this fight? Lucky’s been kicking enough ass that if the robot needs to take a break to showboat I think it’s earned it. Lucky throws another uppercut, this time into the black Gemini robot, and starts fucking things up because its flipper gets jammed. The hit appears to jostle the black robot hard enough to make it temporarily stop working but it eventually comes back to life and Lucky shifts gears into just indiscriminately pushing its opponents into the wall. Kenny starts losing his mind at Gemini’s battle strategy of individually attacking Lucky and compares it to a Bruce Lee movie. Nice reference, and while I don’t disagree with Kenny I can definitely see why Gemini is fighting the way it is right now. In Gemini’s last fight both robots kept attacking simultaneously and the goddamned clusterbot almost knocked itself out in the process because they were doing more damage to themselves than they were to Mohawk — the red Gemini was even knocked out purely because the black one tore its fucking wheels off on accident.
I was rooting for Lucky, and I guess I have to commit to that because this was my original prediction, but when Gemini comes in and blows off one of Lucky’s back tires part of me just sorta sank and was like “are you fucking for real right now Lucky”. Lucky’s winning this. Even with its PRIMARY WEAPON jammed I think the robot has still done enough that if it were to start using the hazards to its advantage it could still win similar to how Skorpios wiped the floor with Icewave. But no, Lucky decides to aim its ass at the black Gemini bot and this is what happens. I’m writing this off because Lucky’s rear end obviously isn’t as well armored as its front, but I think I cast my judgment a little too quickly because Lucky rips a fart so juicy that it breaks the black Gemini robot’s spinner. The driver of the disabled robot tells his teammate he’s retreating so the red one can come in and finish the job but the exact same shit happens and now nobody’s PRIMARY WEAPON is working. Three robots, no weapons. Gemini twisted Lucky’s arm and jammed it, which is one broken weapon, but Lucky’s ass has busted two smaller weapons in the form of Gemini’s spinners. How the fuck do you score that? Does Lucky win 2-1, or is this like some bullshit carnival prize thing where you can trade two little stuffed animals for the slightly larger one?
Somehow the red Gemini robot has died, probably because it sucked too hard. This comes down to a pushing match between one Gemini robot and a standard heavyweight. Maybe if Gemini wasn’t upside-down right now it might stand a chance and could potentially push Lucky around but I highly doubt that, and that doesn’t matter anyway because Gemini’s wedge is useless so there’s no point in pondering the mysteries of the universe. Lucky uses its open flipper as a makeshift grappler and starts corralling the surviving Gemini robot around until the clock runs down. It was kind of a shit show, but Lucky has finally broken its curse and earned its first “WINNER” medallion.
WINNER: Lucky, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
KRAKEN vs. LOCK-JAW
Totally True Trivia™: Matt Spurk likes to brag about how strong his robot’s crusher is, but its peace mod is just a 2×4.
I don’t get why top seeds always face off against the bottom seeds. I mean I “get” it in a general sense — it’s to ensure that your top two ranked competitors don’t kill each other in the Round of 64 or whatever — but I feel like it sort of just stacks the odds against the underdog. Here’s Kraken in the red square; a robot built by Matt Spurk, a dude who’s never been to BattleBots before. His robot was felled in a couple of decisive hits from Sharkoprion back in episode 1 and was also present in the rumble where Gemini beat Mohawk but didn’t achieve anything aside from driving itself into the screws and dying because Skorpios wasn’t going to do that again this year. Also its fucking teeth fall out. Do you really think Kraken, arbitrarily ranked #8 for this Desperado event, is going to be able to beat Lock-Jaw? What the fuck is this robot going to be able to do that could result in a victory other than hold out for a miracle like Donald Hutson getting the Del Taco shits all of a sudden? Remember when they paired Escape Velocity (32) against Tombstone (1) last season? It’s sorta like that. My predictions for this event included Kraken getting its ass beat in this fight and I see no other potential outcome. Kraken’s not total dog shit but it’s certainly not of the caliber needed to beat Donald fucking Hutson.
Now that I’ve upsold Donald Huston like crazy here’s the part where I remind you that Lock-Jaw currently sits at 1-2. The only thing separating Lock-Jaw from Kraken is a single win, and hey if it’s just one win that’s setting these two apart how the fuck is there a gap of seven ranks between them? Double Dutch actually has a perfect 2-0 record right now, how come that piece of shit isn’t #1? Is it because Double Dutch’s weapons keep falling off? Yeah well Lock-Jaw’s wheels can’t stay on and its lifting arms are perpetually broken. You know what maybe that’s really why all these robots are in this mini event to begin with; it’s like a scratch & dent sale of who gets fed to Tombstone for ratings. Lock-Jaw has a win and you know me I’m definitely of the volition of “a win is a win and if you don’t like that maybe it’s because your robot sucks and hasn’t won” so yeah, it’s ahead here… even if that victory was over Bombshell who’s been doing nothing but signing blank checks for people all season long. But those losses though? Damn. End Game fucked Lock-Jaw so hard that it’ll never shit right again and there was something weird going on in its fight with Bronco because the robot lost part of its drive system and became a sitting duck. That said, unless Lock-Jaw dies it’s still leaving this match with a victory.
Or not. Kraken charges at Lock-Jaw and just bites down on whatever’s there. “Whatever’s there” happens to be “Lock-Jaw’s weapon” but it doesn’t seem like there was enough muscle behind the spinner to rip Kraken’s upper jaw off. Kraken’s teeth sink right in and while there’s no real damage being done this move probably puts Kraken in the lead immediately by way of control, strategy, and aggression points. Lock-Jaw better get its shit together and pull a wheel off or something because ol’ Donny is already being put on the ropes by a goddamned fish wearing a giant novelty Band-Aid. 20 seconds pass and Kraken has to release Lock-Jaw. Unfortunately Kraken didn’t get to do anything in those 20 seconds because the robot isn’t strong enough to out-drive its opponent and the Killsaws aren’t going to start popping up for at least another 90 seconds. A bite is a bite though, and that’s points. Speaking of points and bites, Lock-Jaw manages to get a blow on Kraken and connects with its left drive wheel and I’m having a hard time telling right now but I think that may have jacked it up a la Sharkoprion.
The robots separate and it appears that Kraken’s wheel is still working but not as good as it used to, the robot is hobbling around and it seems like it randomly stops moving every once in a while. Not good for the robot who showed my ass up and bravely bit down on Lock-Jaw just seconds into the match but I’d venture a guess that this fight is still pretty close, Kraken got another couple of minor nibbles in there and while none of them were of the perfect angle as that first one that’s “aggression with a PRIMARY WEAPON” and we know how much the judges like to eat that shit up. Kraken’s taking hits itself but is literally just tanking them… it’s absorbing the hits with its armored and serrated front mouth thing. The fight’s heating up to a pretty damned close decision. Kenny drops a “huge hit there”, they start talking about how close the fight is, and then Lock-Jaw lands the god blow and throws Kraken onto its back. Kraken, who was arguably — and surprisingly — ahead on points, is KO’d just like that. Matt starts asking Donald to knock his robot back over but yeah that ain’t happening buddy. Donald only chose to right Bombshell earlier in the season because Bombshell was so far behind on points (and fucking broken) that he knew he could afford to just fuck around. You were doing too good Matt, and now you’re outta here.
And on fire too or something, apparently.
WINNER: Lock-Jaw, KO
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
DOUBLE DUTCH vs. GIGABYTE
Totally True Trivia™: This is the only game of Double Dutch where if you miss a jump you’ll lose one or both of your legs.
In a weird roundabout way I guess Double Dutch is a robot that we haven’t seen yet this season. It was in that embarrassing Jurassic World commercial where it narrowly avoided being trampled on by a dinosaur but I’ll concede that the commercial “doesn’t count” as a proper fight. We haven’t heard Faruq shout its name and I feel like that should be the determining factor of whether or not we’ve “seen” a robot in a given event. Chris asks why Double Dutch, who’s currently 2-0, is in this tournament. Kenny responds with more of that “bad wins and good losses” bullshit and says even if a robot goes undefeated if its wins sucked then it still would not qualify. Whoa dude, you just broke my bullshit detector. If in a non-ideal world someone like Ultimo Destructo was able to go 4-0 that’s not Sean Irvin’s fault, that’s the fault of the four retards whose robots sucked bad enough to lose to Ultimo fucking Destructo. Same goes with Double Dutch. If Kevin Lung’s robot sucks and barely works but still works better than the other guy’s robot then that’s a win. Anyways I’m doing a bad job of introducing this robot but essentially what Kevin has here is a robot sorta like Counter Revolution from 2015 if you were to take that robot and rearrange it horizontally. Double Dutch failed to qualify for the 2016 season which prompted Kevin to talk about how “not mad” he was on Reddit, but he did the right thing in the end because when he finally did get accepted he beat up Bale Spear and Gamma 9. They said his robot sucked, he said “watch this you sonsabitches”.
Unfortunately, Double Dutch is facing Gigabyte. Or maybe “fortunately”? I don’t know. I say that because while Gigabyte is probably the last robot anyone would want to reasonably face off against it’s kind of crippled this year. John Mladenik and his team the Robotic Death Company got the shaft by a Chinese “manufacturer” of “parts” who sent them a literal weapon shaft for their spinner but it was made from melted down counterfeit Pokemon games or something because it sheared in half in the robot’s first (and only) fight resulting in a brutal KO loss. That was back in episode 2, or the first day of taping. Gigabyte has been out of commission ever since. Showing up in the Desperado tournament surprised a lot of fans because the robot is only 0-1 right now and absolutely has the ability to turn this around, but that’s not entirely correct. You see, after Brent Rieker stress ate all of the PB&J sandwiches from the catered green room he did the American thing of “if it ain’t right I’ll do it myself” and went to go make a replacement shaft on his own. Understandably this ate up a shitload of time, so much that Gigabyte was now facing the very real possibility of not having enough time left in the Fight Night rounds to complete four fights which means the ones it wouldn’t get to do become automatic forfeits. Gigabyte is 0-1 right now, that’s just one fight. Most of the other bots in the competition have had three fights now and if they haven’t then they’re at two and are about to get #3.
Double Dutch does this thing where it likes to “save” one of its blades against certain opponents and only spin one of them up. For this fight Double Dutch revs up its top blade and I’m not sure why? You’d think the bottom one would be useful as a sort of “sacrificial” weapon to connect with Gigabyte’s shell and maybe get a lucky shot that destabilizes the spinner, but no Kevin goes with the upper weapon. I’m guessing the idea here is that Gigabyte will fit into the bone-shaped chassis of Double Dutch which in turn will allow Double Dutch’s upper blade to hit Gigabyte’s mast but that doesn’t feel like a priority target to me. Yeah it’s a target, but you should be more worried about what Gigabyte’s going to do when it hits you like “bust a whole fucking tire off in one shot because you’re using goddamned Colson wheels”. This first hit kinks Double Dutch’s lower blade in such a way that it starts dragging on the floor and prevents all three and a half of the robot’s wheels from being in contact at the same time. The result is Double Dutch starts to spin around aimlessly while Gigabyte comes in and rips off another wheel followed by the bottom blade.
Losing that bottom blade has restored Double Dutch’s mobility… well, for as mobile as a robot who’s missing half of its wheels can be. Somehow Double Dutch’s upper blade is still working and the robot strafes away while keeping it going so it can come in and connect with Gigabyte for a mega hit. There’s a “mega hit” alright, but not the one that I think Double Dutch was hoping for. Double Dutch loses more parts and its upper blade is violently thrown at the drivers’ booth so hard that John Mladenik flinches backward and cowers because when you bust someone’s ass this badly sometimes you forget there’s a layer of bulletproof glass in front of you to shield against runaway helicopter blades. If you add up what’s left of Double Dutch there’s probably about two wheels there and the robot is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s broken, sure, but everything seems to still work? You can see wheel fragments still spinning on their axles, and Double Dutch almost gets the blow it’s been holding out for when it lunges onto Gigabyte’s shell and ricochets the spinner off of the wall. Gigabyte very nearly turns itself over and in the process the last 8 or so inches of its mast snaps off.
That was all Double Dutch had left in it. Gigabyte continues to consume the rest of it and eventually enough damage is dealt to the crippled robot that it becomes no longer able to actually move cohesively and is counted out. That doesn’t stop Kevin Lung from trying to move the entire time though. This dude’s old school and you can tell. “Bad wins and good losses”? Consider this the best fucking loss all season. Also shoutouts to the ref who tells John and his crew that they won by KO. No shit?
WINNER: Gigabyte, KO
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
HYPOTHERMIA vs. VALKYRIE
Totally True Trivia™: Hypothermia was funded entirely by GeoCities banner ads.
Up next in the second of the two Science Channel exclusive fights we have Hypothermia and Valkyrie. Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin’s Hypothermia is the latest creation from Team Toad and man this one’s kind of a stinker. With a staggering 0-2 record at the moment this robot showed up and made some dubious promises and has failed to follow through on all of them. In its first fight Hypothermia squared off against Whiplash which ended with the robot losing a whole ass wheel and being kicked into the corner of the arena to die. The less that’s said about its follow-up fight with Minotaur the better because Hypothermia received a beating so bad that it ended up getting featured in one of the “Botopsy Report” segments. Against Minotaur, Hypothermia deployed its narrow little wedge and that confused me because I felt like the big cow catcher one (i.e. THIS ONE) would’ve been the better choice and stood up to more punishment. At least it’s being used in this fight though, however that’s probably got something to do with the fact that Minotaur destroyed the little wedge. Hopefully Hypothermia’s big plow will be able to stand up to some major punishment because its opponent Valkyrie’s weight is like 97% weapon.
Valkyrie stumbled out of the gate this year by losing to Ultimo Destructo in a fight that was so bad the concession stand saw record sales in snacks and drinks because people got tired of watching it. After this embarrassing false start Valkyrie retreated to the pits, the team hammered out the bugs, and returned for the 3-way rumble they’d been demoted to. Predator was sunk in a single blow and Bale Spear took two minutes’ worth of punishment that not even the famed SUPERMAN PUNCH could save it from. Valkyrie had officially bounced back from its rocky beginnings. I feel like the robot would’ve been just fine continuing onward through the Fight Night rounds but Leanne Cushing is a gambling sort of lady and she thinks Valkyrie’s got what it takes to complete three back-to-back fights in rapid succession. We’ve seen a couple of weapons from Valkyrie thus far but for this match she’s going with “Dr. Tooth”, a two-toothed disc that’s able to do some crazy damage… when it works, that is.
There’s two ways you can come at a spinner like Valkyrie. You can just slam right into it and hope something breaks, or you can do what Hypothermia’s doing and ease into it so that you can get better control over it and push it wherever you like. Considering Hypothermia is a “control bot” complete with little gimpy grabby hands this is the better of the two options. It works for a while until Valkyrie slices into Hypothermia’s right wheel and catches the robot’s frame which sends the spinner reeling across the floor. For a robot that was doing so well in the opening few seconds of the fight, Hypothermia rapidly starts losing its footing. I mean that literally, by the way; Valkyrie starts landing shots that just eat into both of Hypothermia’s incredibly accessible wheels. Tread starts getting pulled off left and right from, uh, Hypothermia’s left and right wheels. At one point it looks like one of the lifting brackets that brace against the floor to raise the robot up into the air get busted up because something starts hanging down from Hypothermia’s side. That doesn’t matter though because anything on that robot that was formerly working is probably dead now because Valkyrie lands another blow that just destroys Hypothermia’s front end.
Remember how I said there’s two ways to come at a spinner? Fuzzy starts doing the other one. With his robot basically five kinds of fucked up he knows there’s no way he’s winning the control fight here and the only answer is to just bring the battle to Valkyrie. Hypothermia slams into the spinner head on and starts losing parts that I can’t even identify and it looks like that big blow earlier dislodged the bottom plate of the robot so if this is any indication we can expect Hypothermia to start shitting out lightning any time now. “He had a lot of confidence in the durability of his bot,” says Kenny in regards to Fuzzy. You mean the robot whose lifting motors are just hanging out in the open on the front of the robot? I know they’re in a kind of hard to reach spot but if Nightmare were here this year I’m sure that robot would love to cleave into some expensive-looking shit like that. I will admit that most of Fuzzy’s robots are built like tanks, but I will also stress the importance of the word “most” in the previous half of this sentence. As I write this part of this post I’m staring at a freeze frame of Hypothermia where its right drive wheel has got to be at least 4 to 5 inches off of its original mounting location. Yes it is still turning — somehow — but this thing is like one click away from spontaneously disassembling like a dead player character in fucking Roblox, “oof” and all.
We’re just one minute into this fight and Hypothermia looks like it’s let someone whale on it with a sledgehammer for three weeks, but Valkyrie’s weapon ends up dying so there’s a possibility that this battle could now turn in Fuzzy’s favor. It’s unlikely, but you never know when it comes down to PRIMARY WEAPONS. There’s two minutes left but you can tell fuck all happens during this time period because the editors manage to cut it down quite heavily. Hypothermia tries to make use of its little grabby paws but those things are wrecked. The mechanism that powers them is still functional (I think) but whatever it’s supposed to be connected to has separated because the arms don’t actually move. The clock runs down and I guess one minute of ass kicking is worth more than two minutes of jack shit because the judges call this one in favor of Valkyrie.
WINNER: Valkyrie, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
LOCK-JAW vs. VALKYRIE
Totally True Trivia™: Valkyrie’s “Spirit of Boston” weapon is named as such because Leanne Cushing really likes classic rock.
“Hey why aren’t you doing the thing with the colored boxes?” Because once robots start getting featured multiple times in the same episode there’s no need for me to repeat myself. You already know who Lock-Jaw is for the context of this episode. Valkyrie too. They’ve been introduced and nothing interesting has happened since the last time we saw them. Up to this point the Desperado tournament has matched the predictions I made at the event, but only in the most tenuous of ways. I said Lock-Jaw wasn’t going to have any problems stomping out Kraken but that fight was close and not going in Donald Hutson’s favor until he got that one killer shot that rolled Kraken over. That was definitely a win he had to work for and was not the cakewalk I was expecting. Same with Valkyrie, too. I said Leanne was going to show up and tear one or both of Hypothermia’s wheels off and the most she managed to get was halfway on one of them before her robot’s weapon shit the bed and died. So yeah these two robots won their first matches like I expected, but that’s about where the projections end. For this match Lock-Jaw is using its armored rear end and I’ve gotta say I’m impressed Donald has the balls to whip this thing out again considering what happened the last time he controlled a fight with a plow: he lost. Valkyrie’s also mixing it up and comes into this fight equipped with a weapon nicknamed “The Spirit of Boston” that looks more like a traditional bar spinner than a disc, also it pronounces “water” like “whatta”.
Now, there’s two ways you can come at a spinne– oh wait Lock-Jaw’s already smashing its ass into Valkyrie. Okay let’s jump ahead here. Lock-Jaw’s plow bends on the first hit which does not bode well if Valkyrie’s weapon has been fixed and the thing doesn’t break after a minute. Lock-Jaw doesn’t let up and keeps smearing its ass all over Valkyrie’s blade until fortune shines in Donald’s favor. Valkyrie’s weapon breaks down again but not in the way it did against Hypothermia. Whereas in its previous fight I think the robot shat out a chain, this time around the weapon itself just shears apart right where one of the teeth met the inner circular part. Spirit of Boston? More like Spirit of Flint, MI. Valkyrie still tries to spin its weapon up but obviously it’s not going to work right and the robot starts to hobble and jump around because its spinning an uneven mass. It’s never going to be able to get its weapon up to a stable and meaningful speed for the rest of this fight and Lock-Jaw knows that because it immediately starts coming in for the kill and bites into the back of the spinner. I hesitate to say Valkyrie’s condition is “helping” it but if anything all this jumping around is making the robot hard to actually hit, but it’s not going to score any points perpetually acting like some shit out of Robot Arena 3.
Lock-Jaw just chews into whatever part of Valkyrie it can get its discs into and in the process clips off another chunk of its opponent’s weapon meaning now the imbalance is even worse. Valkyrie continues to wobble everywhere and starts to lose some of its armor paneling, it gets shoved under the Pulverizer, and it eventually gets flipped over which is something I was kind of expecting to happen by this point. Valkyrie rights itself in a manner that I’m not so sure it was designed for and as you’ve probably guessed by now all this shaking and shit has dislodged something inside the spinner because it just stops working and Valkyrie is knocked out. My predictions have officially desynced with reality. Make no mistake however, even in its crippled state Valkyrie was still somewhat dangerous because if you look at Lock-Jaw after the fight you’ll notice its sole lifting arm is all bent up so despite swinging around an uneven mass Valkyrie was definitely still able to do some reasonable damage. Obviously it would’ve had to have done a hell of a lot more than “bend Lock-Jaw’s already shitty lifting arms” to win the fight though. Having a weapon that didn’t turn into the Silver Monkey from Legends of the Hidden Temple and break into three distinct pieces would’ve also been a plus.
WINNER: Lock-Jaw, KO
LUCKY vs. GIGABYTE
Totally True Trivia™: Gigabyte was originally named “Megabyte Except 1000 Times Better” until John Mladenik discovered there was an actual word for that.
Now here’s the other two robots who made it through their first rounds like I expected. First is Lucky who uppercutted the Gemini robots until both of them lost their weaponry, one of them died, and the other one was knocking on death’s door. I guess that’s what happens when you unleash 11,000 pounds of pneumatic flipping force right into the face of a shitty 125 pound middleweight robot. Who would’ve thought? Lucky caught some damage of its own in the process because its flipping arm got jammed upward. Not only has Mark Demers and his team fixed it, they’ve turned it into something almost akin to a fucking fist to use in conjunction with their massive steel plow to hopefully ward off Gigabyte and also deliver some brutal punches to its underside. Gigabyte’s performance against Double Dutch is probably the only fight that went exactly how I envisioned it to, mostly. Double Dutch was destroyed but in the process of tearing its opponent five new assholes Gigabyte’s self-righting mast caught itself on the Battlebox floor and part of it broke away. As far as damage goes that’s probably the second worst thing on Gigabyte that can break, the first of course being its fucking weapon axle. The team has fixed the mast but Lucky, a powerful flipper, is really not the opponent that you want to test a newly re-welded srimech pole against.
Lucky immediately goes to work chasing Gigabyte down who predictably starts running away because it’s not yet spinning fast enough to damage Lucky’s heavily armored front end. Gigabyte is funneled over into the wall where it bounces away and loses most of the momentum its weapon was building up. Gigabyte finally gets roaring fast enough to potentially cause some damage and Lucky plinks it square into the screw box near the red square. Surprisingly this doesn’t destroy the goddamned hazards. What it does do is reset all of Gigabyte’s momentum and kick it down into the robot’s inner chassis which means it’s gotta get going all over again. Lucky cruises in and manages to slide underneath the spinner and punch it square in the dick which sends Gigabyte reeling once more. Lucky starts to bump Gigabyte over into the screws near the hosts and through some strange camera cutting the two bots eventually get over there. Lucky fires its flipper again and this time succeeds in rolling the spinner over, and as Gigabyte whirls its inner chassis around in order to spin its mast and right the robot… the fucking thing breaks off. Like I said, not the fight you want to test this in.
Mark and his team momentarily turn into the rowdiest fucking Canadians this side of a hockey game because with Gigabyte pretending to be a police light the referees start to count the deadly spinner out. Gigabyte spins itself around to try and use its own gyroscopic forces to right itself but without its mast it’s not going to work. All Brent Rieker and his crew manage to do is fuck up the arena floor while Chris starts talking about Inception. At the end of the last episode I hypothesized that these two robots would meet in the Desperado semifinals and the fight would play out similar to Ziggy vs. Megabyte in the Robogames days of yesteryear, and I was totally right. As killer of a spinner as Gigabyte is I just didn’t see the robot being able to come out of this one ahead.
WINNER: Lucky, KO
LUCKY vs. LOCK-JAW
Totally True Trivia™: Lock-Jaw’s design was inspired by all the times Donald Hutson played Quake because that game froze up all the time.
Well, I was half correct in regards to who was going to make it to this point in the Desperado tournament. Lucky pulled through and dominated Gemini and did a hell of a lot better than I had originally given the team credit for; I was anticipating Lucky to win on aggression and control but never land any flips but until Lucky’s flipper broke that fight was non-stop throwing Gemini around like the two clusterbots were boomerangs. Lucky moved on to face Gigabyte like I expected and that fight pretty much happened as I expected it to. I wasn’t thinking Gigabyte’s self-righting mast would break but I definitely expected the robot to have some sort of failure at some stage which would cause Lucky to win. Y’all called me crazy for banking on a bad Canadian flipper with a 0% win percentage after 4 fights, but look who’s one step away from the Sweet 16. Lock-Jaw is also on the cusp of winning and this is the robot I wasn’t really expecting to see here. Lock-Jaw beat its first opponent Kraken in a match that was much closer than I think anyone originally anticipated and again much like I imagined it met up with Valkyrie in the semifinals. This is where things derailed though because I was expecting Valkyrie to come in with its nasty two-toothed disc and just tear Lock-Jaw apart but instead the team used this retarded bar spinner thing that just broke apart. Lock-Jaw won after Valkyrie killed itself from headbanging too hard and now it’s here in the finals with Lucky. Who’s going to win? At this point at the event I had no idea.
Lucky rides into this match with its Gigabyte configuration still attached because that’s about all the team has left at this stage; Lucky has taken too much damage so the only viable setup it has is the “spinner killer” one and it doesn’t look like it’s working all that well against Lock-Jaw for pretty obvious reasons. Lock-Jaw is a weird mix of a control bot and a compact spinner, this is the type of robot Lucky needs its full flipper and miniature wedges to fight against because right now Lock-Jaw is gratuitously getting underneath the flipper and shoving it all over the place. Lucky lives up to its name though and manages to catch Lock-Jaw at an opportune moment and punches the robot onto its back. Lock-Jaw is invertible and can self-right but right now it’s lost the stability benefits of its cambered wheels. Donald Hutson knows that in this position there’s a lot of angles where he’ll lose the battle of leverage against Lucky so he just starts cruising around quite obviously in an attempt to get around behind the flipper but it’s not working, he’s just wasting time while Lucky stares Lock-Jaw down and tries to advance. When Lock-Jaw gets in close it’s effective and Lucky knows this because as soon as Lock-Jaw gets near Lucky’s flanks the flipper just cannot get away. Lucky gets taken to the screws but no major damage is done until Lock-Jaw catches Lucky’s front left corner with its discs.
Something happens, either armor gets kinked inward or a wheel is bent, but Lucky’s front left wheel sticks and refuses to turn. Lock-Jaw’s weapon also must be spinning downward or something because when the robot strikes Lucky it flips itself completely back over. More bad news for Lucky because now all that crazy design shit that went into Lock-Jaw is 100% active again. it doesn’t really matter though because I guess the refs are tired after all this taping and want to head home so they start counting Lucky out. I don’t necessarily disagree with their decision, but there’ve been other times where robots are only capable of pivoting around on one wheel and they don’t get counted out because of it. Consistency, you guys. Don’t be like Robot Wars where you just make shit up on the fly. Anyways, it was a good run Lucky. You almost lived up to what I predicted, had Valkyrie not chosen a dud of a weapon against Lock-Jaw and won the fight who knows how this one would’ve panned out. As it stands though, 2-3 isn’t a bad way to finish the evening and that’s a better season record than most robots have been able to attain.
Lock-Jaw wins, Donald gets a unique Desperado version of the Giant
Nut Bolt, and his team ends their Fight Night run to automatically advance to the Round of 16.
WINNER: Lock-Jaw, KO
Fifteen spots remain in the Round of 16 now that Lock-Jaw has claimed the one reserved for the winner of the Desperado flash tournament. Lock-Jaw’s done for now but the other seven losers are being dumped back into the Fight Night event that’s still going on and will resume in the next episode. Time’s running out though because we’re approaching episode 12 and you know the main tournament of 16 is going to take at least three or four episodes to get through. That means there’s only a few opportunities left for these robots to impress the judges and win some fights. Some of the Desperado participants like Lucky, Double Dutch, and Hypothermia are probably toast by this point but you never know. There’s also still a whole field of 48 other bots that weren’t involved with the Desperado event. Tombstone is still lurking in the shadows and we haven’t seen it for a while so I think we’re overdue. Minotaur is also out and about, and so is Bite Force. Bite Force, according to social media, is going to be using an experimental weapon motor assembly for its 4th Fight Night match so you can bet your ass that’s something to look forward to. There’s only a few Fight Nights left, expect things to get crazy as these teams try to guarantee a strong finish!
No more breaks after this point, too. With the Desperado tournament over there’s 9 episodes left in the season and that means I’ve gotta power through this straight on until there’s only one BattleBot left. But hey, it’s a journey I’m committed to taking and I know we’ll make it there together. In the meantime if it’s more bot carnage that you want a little birdy told me that Science Channel has acquired the broadcast rights to the BBC reboot of Robot Wars. (The one they just recently cancelled.) That’s going to start airing August 8th… or… yesterday since this article’s gone up on the 9th even though I wrote it on the 5th. Awesome. Well I hope you caught it, and if not make sure you catch a rerun and then watch the second episode. Let’s show our friends in Europe that robot combat is here to stay and the BBC needs to re-revive their show. BattleBots’ ABC reruns were the highest rated shows in Science Channel’s history and arguably led to Discovery Channel bringing the show back this year. Let’s smash that record to bits and give Robot Wars the same treatment! If you need more of an incentive to watch Robot Wars then here’s that season’s category right here on BattleBots Update. Yeah, six whole articles you may have dismissed because you’re only here for the BattleBots coverage. You’re welcome.
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