[BattleBots: S8 E4 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
Welcome back to BattleBots Update, I don’t know whether or not to say “I hope everyone had a great weekend” or what because the chronology of working on these articles is really weird and disorienting. The show airs on Discovery Channel on Friday, I write the article over the weekend, on Wednesday I add the Science Channel content, and finally on Thursday the article goes live. I work on this crap all week long so I guess I’ll just go with “hope you have had an acceptable day”? Some of you all were concerned over the dip in ratings last week but don’t worry about that, everyone knows NBA stuff is a big deal. As awesome and great as robot combat is very tall people throwing a ball into a basket is admittedly more important. Besides, someone from the /r/BattleBots Reddit community actually matched up the ratings “numbers” from last week and compared it to how BattleBots has been doing previously and there’s pretty much no change. BattleBots only dipped because of HOOPS so as soon as LeBron is done doing his 200 foot touchdown pass or whatever things will be back to normal (in fact this episode’s ratings show it’s going back up). Breathe in, and relax.
This week’s matchups are looking pretty good, it feels like a pretty even 50/50 split between a few more robots getting their second “Fight Night” battles plus some others we’ve yet to see this season. Making their second appearances this year are End Game and Lock-Jaw who will be facing off together as well as Red Devil (who will be fighting Monsoon) and of course the robot responsible for more ER visits than the entire series run of Jackass, Tombstone. Tombstone will be battling Gigabyte in tonight’s main event fight and it’s sure to be a real banger because as this episode’s intro shows Gigabyte is kind of a big deal, a “giant killer” even. The editors combed through the BattleBots archives to find some past footage of these two robots kicking each other’s ass and found some video from around 2009 back when Gigabyte was still called “Megabyte”. No clips from last season though when the robot entered as Invader and fucked up production after suffering an electrical failure and remained frozen in place with its weapon on full blast for 45 goddamned minutes.
RED DEVIL vs. MONSOON
Totally True Trivia™: “Monsoon” is an anagram of the celestial bodies “son” and “moon”.
Fresh off of a win from Brutus a couple episodes ago (but only one day in real life) Red Devil returns to the Battlebox sporting the exact same configuration for this fight: a giant plow and the robot’s trademark articulated saw arm. Even though we’ve yet to see its toughness, since Brutus broke down and landed a staggering zero hits, that steel plow is intended to keep deadly spinners such as Monsoon at bay and potentially corral them into the wall or screws so Red Devil can follow up with the saw and hope for a repeat of its Witch Doctor fight from last season. Red Devil’s a goofy-ass looking machine but going into this fight it’s got only one loss and three wins to its name, all three wins by KO. People tend to forget about that when they start talking shit about the robot Ravi Baboolal didn’t build but is most definitely driving. I can see why Ravi and his team elected to go with the plow for this match but I feel like just from eyeballing things Monsoon looks like its chassis is the perfect size and height to fit right into Red Devil’s normal gripper claws. The trade-off, of course, is the fact that those claws cannot take anywhere near as much punishment as a solid steel plow and something like Monsoon has the potential to rip them clean off in less than one hit.
Monsoon is new to BattleBots but if you’ve been following Robot Wars you’ll recognize Tom Brewster as the builder and driver of Tauron. Tauron’s the vertical spinner that kept losing either because it died in one hit or because Tom wasn’t paying attention and let his robot get counted out for immobility when it was fully functional. Yes, he is also the same guy that Angela Scanlon and everyone else said was a video game tester and that he should have super awesome 1337 hand-eye coordination and controller/transmitter skills because all he does is play video games all day. He gets paid to play games! Man I bet when he was a kid his mom was all “Tom you won’t get anywhere in life playing these games” and he was like “nuh uh
mom mum just you watch” and now after attending the Westwood College School of Design he gets to play games all day while his boss comes in and he tells her they need to tighten up the graphics on level three. Speaking of three’s, Monsoon was originally called “Tauron 3” at one point but I guess they went with a different name since Tom’s team is comprised of at least three different Robot Wars teams so giving the robot its own identity was probably a nice gesture. Its weapon is a vertical bar that spins as fast as BattleBots will allow: 242 MPH. Also yes the majority of this paragraph was a reference to that “video game design” school commercial.
During the twitch test Monsoon drives almost all the way across the arena and I’m not sure if that was an accident or what because the Mysterious Voice said “robots activate” and over where Tom is from “activate” is exactly what is said when a battle officially starts so I’m always curious to know if things Tom’s conditioning as a British roboteer is something that creeps up in moments exactly like this. Anyways when you’re in the beginning seconds of a battle and you’ve got a killer weapon the one thing you’re really hoping for is being able to just land one good hit that sets the tone for the match ahead. Monsoon connects with Red Devil and blows its lifting plow backwards and sends the robot flipping through the air splayed all the way open. That’s a pretty good example of the type of hit I was just talking about. A better example is Monsoon’s second blow which obliterates Red Devil’s articulated saw and sends it flying into the ceiling where it damages the fucking lights and brings some scaffolding down with it. That’s pretty much it for Red Devil because if the cutaway shot of Ravi shaking his head wasn’t enough of a hint there is pretty much no way he’s going to be able to bounce back from that atrocious start and win this fight unless Tom stops paying attention to the fight and lets Monsoon get counted out.
Chris points out that Red Devil has been reduced to just a plow and he’s not really wrong, Red Devil is literally just a set of tank tracks with a lifting plow that no longer works and has been kicked back 180 degrees. The only reason why Red Devil is even remotely effective at this point is because its chassis is actually upside down which means that when the plow is knocked all the way back it’ll rest the right way up, otherwise Red Devil would be backing into Monsoon with the lip of its plow dangling at the perfect height for some free hits, sort of like the next big hit that Monsoon lands anyways that knocks more shit off of Red Devil and flips it back onto its normal configuration to demonstrate the point I was making about its plow being a freebie. What I actually failed to take into consideration is the remains of Red Devil’s weapon arm which actually just props the plow up off the ground even more until Monsoon of course comes in and cleaves the entire fucking thing off… and then rolls Red Devil over once more so its plow rides along the ground again. You can sort of see the pattern emerging in this match because no more than three seconds after flipping Red Devil over Monsoon does it again while Chris starts playfully shit talking from the sidelines because this is just a grand ol’ time and everyone whose name isn’t Ravi is enjoying the show. Kenny even lets a “HUGE HIT” slip!
That is until Monsoon catches Red Devil at a weird angle and kinks its weapon which in turn causes its ETek to burn out. This reduces the fight to a matter of who can out muscle the other and I feel like Red Devil can win in that exchange however with its chassis knocked open and the robot’s turning radius all kinds of fucked up because of it I’m not so certain it’ll be able to get the purchase it needs against the arena floor to shove Monsoon around. Monsoon on the other hand just flat out sucks in the “pushing people around” department, that robot was designed solely to do what it was achieving in the first minute of this fight and the moment you take away its weapon it turns into a potato. No amount of building castles in Minecraft or whatever is going to help Tom drive his way out of this one. As I’m sure you’re totally surprised to see, this match becomes a stalemate with neither robot able to take the upper hand in the aftermath of Monsoon losing its weapon. Red Devil keeps trying to shove it around but each time the bots lock heads its busted plow starts to pivot around and gets in the way. Red Devil gets a quick shave from the Killsaws and the clock runs down on this one. To the surprise of no one the pure carnage unleashed by Monsoon at the start of the fight was enough to tip the scales in its favor.
WINNER: Monsoon, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
LUCKY vs. SKORPIOS
Totally True Trivia™: They don’t have email in Canada so Lucky’s team applied for BattleBots with a handwritten letter.
Up next are two robots down on their luck in BattleBots. The good news is one of them is going to get their first ever win. In the red square is Lucky built by Mark Demers from Canada. Last season Gary Gin and Rob Masek were on this robot’s team however this year Gary showed up with Free Shipping and Rob has fucked off to the Bite Force team because I guess he realized there was no possible way he’d ever be able to wear a Canadian uniform again after making “CANADA” one of 2016’s standout catchphrases. “Dude, you’re from New Hampshire.” Anyways Lucky’s weapon is a “four bar” style pneumatic flipping arm which is a type of lifter that focuses on not only raising an opponent upward but also pushing them away at the same time. The design was made popular by former champion Biohazard who ran it using linear actuators for a slow and controlled lift, Lucky on the other hand is running pneumatics which means there’s going to be a shitload of flippin’ and poppin’. It may not look like it but Lucky is actually fairly modular and can adjust its armor, wheels, and front plow style to suit its opponent. For this match against Skorpios it’s running with its two separate wedglets, both of them this time too unlike last season when it was only using one for some weird reason.
Lucky’s opponent is Skorpios who appears to be built and driven by the guy who hosts Internet Comment Etiquette. Skorpios competed last season but we never got to see it do a goddamned thing because at the start of its qualification match the robot immediately drove itself into one of the screw hazards where it ended up getting stuck and counted out. We did get to see a little bit of how strong its weapon was however because in a desperate attempt to push itself out from the screw Skorpios kept bringing its saw down onto the hazard and the officials eventually told Orion Beach to cut it out because his robot’s blade was actually slicing into the fucking screws deep enough to potentially compromise their structural integrity. As you might imagine Skorpios pretty much looks like the same robot as last season because Orion didn’t get enough arena time to figure out if anything needed to be fixed aside from the whole “getting stuck on the hazards” thing. Skorpios is sort of like a middle ground between SawBlaze and Red Devil; Skorpios features the “saw on a moving weapon arm” that SawBlaze has but rather than have a “dustpan” design the robot instead has a stationary plow similar to Red Devil’s. I’m just tickled pink that so many teams are using articulated saws as weaponry because back in the day when I used to play Robot Arena 1 I thought those were the dumbest and most impractical weapons on the fucking planet. Guess I was wrong.
Also I noticed that for some reason even though we’re four episodes in the editors are still tweaking with the format of the show because now when robots are introduced their records are also shown alongside its name… but I guess it’s only their current season record and not a lifetime one? If that weren’t the case then Lucky should be 0-2 and Skorpios 0-1 but I guess when you’re dealing with two robots who’ve never won a goddamned fight in their BattleBots careers rolling out a lifetime win/loss record graphic might not be the best idea. Also what was up with that strengths and weaknesses breakdown graphic? That was literally written in the Arial type face. Bold and italicized too, by the way, just in case anyone reading this wants to make some memes about it or something. Also while we’re on the subject of fonts and shit, “SKORPIOS” is emblazoned on its robot’s ass in Tahoma and I want to say Lucky’s insignia is done in italicized Impact but the “C” doesn’t look right so I’m probably wrong. This is the kind of shit that happens when you spend 10+ years doing graphic design.
For a robot with only 20 flips in its gas chamber Lucky seems a bit cocksure with its accuracy, firing (and missing) within the first six seconds of the match. Lucky rode into this fight sporting its individual wedge attachments but I’m not so sure that was a good move because Skorpios’ plow is more like a fork shape and right away you can see a sort of “50/50” thing where one of Lucky’s wedges gets underneath Skorpios but the other half of Skorpios’ plow gets under Lucky’s second wedge. It makes for a situation where neither robot is going to be able to close the distance and land a blow. That doesn’t seem to matter to Mark Demers though because he takes a chance and fires on Skorpios which only serves to knock it backwards and cause its blade to briefly dig into the floor. Given the fact that all it took for Skorpios’ saw to turn into a pretzel last season was for someone to look at it funny I guess that was a potential avenue for Lucky to at least check off of its list for this fight. Skorpios bounces back and finally gets the leverage it needs as it carries Lucky into the wall and slices down right onto the flipper’s front left wheel. It just so happens that one of the blue team’s Pulverizers are right there too so Lucky starts taking a pounding while Orion lines up a shot and then cools off on the hammer to steady his target while Skorpios starts trying to slice through Lucky’s armor. (Also pay no attention to the drone that you can see for a few split seconds, it’s a camera drone and not a combat one. The only teams who didn’t learn their lesson last season are Whyachi and SubZero.)
After taking at least a half-dozen blows from the Pulverizer and getting its drivetrain flossed by Skorpios’ disc Lucky is looking a little worse for wear. It’s visibly having very serious drive problems on its left side and when a robot with a finite amount of CO2 starts popping its weapon to try and rattle something back into place you know someone’s in some deep shit because that’s a desperation move you only pull out when absolutely everything has gone to hell. Although Lucky appears to be incapacitated nobody’s taking the initiative to count it out so Skorpios cruises in for some more free points and to hopefully get some shots that end up in a highlight reel or something on some kid’s YouTube page. Speaking of kids (wow that’s a dangerous segue), Skorpios decides to etch a penis over the signature Mark’s kids left on Lucky because Orion is an asshole. That blade just does not let up, either; Lucky gets pushed back under the hammer again and as Skorpios brings down the saw to impress the judges some more you can see some wisps of smoke come out of Lucky near where it’s front right drive wheel is so that’s potentially both sides of drive toasted now. This whole time Lucky has been expending its weapon energy to presumably try and “uppercut” Skorpios’ blade to either break it or jostle Lucky out of its grip and one particularly generous pop causes Lucky’s arm to clamp down onto Skorpios where the robot is then dragged into the middle of the arena and left on the Killsaws.
Seriously does no one else realize that this robot is fucking dead? Anyways the clock runs out and to no one’s surprise Skorpios is unanimously declared the winner. While we’re here I would like to extend a personal thank you to Orion Beach for racking up hits with the Pulverizer and Killsaws because that’s going to add a lot of points to that dumb “Season 8 By The Numbers” thing on the homepage.
WINNER: Skorpios, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
TANTRUM vs. BATTLE ROYALE WITH CHEESE
Totally True Trivia™: Nobody actually knows what the French call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
Tantrum’s a heavyweight robot that’s small enough to look like a middleweight because it follows the Minotaur principle of design where you build something that’s essentially just one teeny click away from being a solid block of pure goddamned metal. Unlike Minotaur however, Tantrum features a unique flipping style weapon as opposed to a spinning drum. Tantrum’s flipper is different in that it’s a spring-loaded flipper whose default resting position is up, the arm needs to be cranked downward with a powerful motor where it is then either locked or held in place until the tension is released. This in turn causes the arm to powerfully flip upward to its normal pose throwing anything on it out of the way in the process. It’s a tricky setup that doesn’t get attempted very often, the last time I can recall seeing a robot that used this sort of system was Red Square by Team Whyachi and that was a hit-or-miss ordeal. Red Square’s flipper was tensioned with Kevlar which was prone to shredding and tearing with excessive use or damage, however if you looked closely during the intros you’ll have noticed that Tantrum is using chains to pull its arm down to hopefully reduce the likelihood of its tensioner coming apart. Also Tantrum is not to be confused with former champion Paul “Starbucks” Venti’s first ever robot which bore the same name and never won a fight.
Now I’m sure this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for this season, both to see this robot actually fight and to see what I have to say about it. First things first, allow me to type out “Battle Royale With Cheese” once because I’m never going to hammer out that fucking word salad of a name ever again. Before we get into the fact that this thing is a hamburger let’s just look at it from a technical standpoint; Battle Royale’s design basically boils down to an overhead horizontal spinner, a tried and true design. Hell, the first robot I ever built was a clone of Hazard and as such was an overhead spinner. It’s a simple and proven design and in order to differentiate his robot from other similar designs Miles Pekala has chosen to… make it look like a goddamned hamburger. He’s gone whole hog too because him and his teammates are all dressed up as fucking vegetables and ketchup bottles and shit because I guess when you design a robot this dumb you might as well own it and go all the way and for that I can only tip my hat at the Poor Life Choices team who, ironically, are living up to their name. I’m really not one to talk shit however because the robot I was working on prior to this season was basically a giant monster truck (I’m serious), so in a parallel universe where Hurricane Harvey didn’t punt my robot into the fucking ocean and I actually got to finish it my robot surely would have been “randomly” drawn to fight this fucking thing in a match that totally wasn’t meant for ratings.
I like to joke about how quickly someone is able to open up a can of whoop ass by pointing out the fact that the editors haven’t even had the time to fade out the battle clock graphic before someone’s lost some teeth or whatever, but never in the history of this website have I been able to whip this observation out when the fight is actually fucking over. Tantrum comes in, pops its flipper, and Battle Royale is on its back, dead. Theoretically Battle Royale should be able to get down from this position by turning its stupid bacon blade around which will cause the robot’s chassis to roll onto its side with the help of the little flag on top and then eventually tumble back down onto its wheels. This scenario requires the spinning bar to actually fucking work however and as you can see it hasn’t moved at all. The editors cut to a shot of Miles lamenting his robot getting its ass kicked in record time and while we’re on this shot I want you to pay attention to the little fight clock in the upper left corner. Tantrum has this fight in the bag and doesn’t really have to come in and mess with the hamburger but chooses to do so anyways. Battle Royale gets pushed and tossed around a bit before eventually ending up on the screws which assist in putting the robot back onto its wheels. They cut to Battle Royale’s team again and the clock on the wall says “2:11”. More than forty goddamned seconds had passed since Battle Royale was flipped over and nobody counted this fucking thing out.
Battle Royale starts spinning its weapon up to speed and manages to get it roaring at a staggering 7 RPM before Tantrum is on its ass again shoving the burger around, a trip that eventually ends at the screws. Chris and Kenny have been cracking burger jokes and quips this entire time but eventually Chris informs us that Battle Royale’s builder has a lifetime win/loss record of 2-56. There’s a lot of jokes that I can make in this situation but I think I’m just going to play it straight and say Miles is well on his way to 2-57. This fight is bad enough that honestly it should count double though, so make it 2-58. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or if Tantrum is just in the process of breaking down but Battle Royale is allowed to get its weapon spinning and while it doesn’t really get up to any sort of meaningful or menacing speed when it connects with Tantrum’s lax arm it bends it to the side. It’s probably a safe bet that Tantrum’s arm doesn’t work anymore because it was deployed for quite a while before the robot dove into Battle Royale face first but even in its damaged state the spatula attachment is at the perfect height to get shoved between the two halves of Battle Royale’s chssis so despite that the flipper is out of the equation Tantrum still has an easy way to control this fight and cashes that check at the screws.
This fight goes to the judges who turn in a result that surprises no one. I get the gimmicky appeal of Battle Royale and all but when they ran this fight at the event my buddy and I were in total agreement that this one wasn’t going to make it on the air. Fuck us, right?
WINNER: Tantrum, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
END GAME vs. LOCK-JAW
Totally True Trivia™: Donald Hutson invented the Flarhgunnstow.
Whereas a couple fights ago we had a case of two robots who’ve never won a fight finally getting an opportunity for their first win this time we have the opposite. Both End Game and Lock-Jaw are 1-0 this season so one of them is going to have their budding perfect record tarnished, but who? We’re also dealing with two champion-tier builders here too; End Game’s builder Jack Barker dominated all of China with a robot that was pretty much End Game with a yellow paint job so for all intents and purposes let’s just call a spade a spade and say it was End Game. End Game’s M.O. is its massive spinning disc which happens to be the fastest weapon in the field this season at 250 MPH. I could’ve sworn the limit was 242 MPH because of some weird shit stemming from Hellachopper last year, but whatever. What’s 8 more MPH? That’s not very much, you can set that speed on a fucking treadmill. That’s nothing. Hell, dial it up to 300 while we’re here; just go out and break some shit. End Game enters this match after a quick KO victory over Captain Shrederator where the full body spinner never quite got up to speed and ended up getting flipped like a quarter in the corner of the arena ending democracy forever.
Lock-Jaw itself is not a championship robot like its opponent End Game, however its builder Donald Hutson produced some world class bots back in the Comedy Central glory days. Six Giant Nuts! Can you believe that? Shoutouts to the editors who decided earlier in the episode to overlay them diagonally like the Celery Man sketch from Tim & Eric. Don’t know if that was intentional but in the headcanon I’ve concocted around this show I’m saying it is. Lock-Jaw is one of those robots where I flip back through my notes and I’m always stunned to see that it had seriously only won one fight before this season started. That seems fucked up to me because Lock-Jaw is up there with Witch Doctor as one of those bots that I assume has just done well and I keep getting reminded otherwise. Anyways my piss poor memory as possible inklings of Alzheimer’s at 30 aren’t the subject of this paragraph, that would be Lock-Jaw who even though it’s won a fight this year it almost doesn’t even count because Bombshell didn’t fucking work. A win’s a win though so Donald is well on his way to qualifying for the Round of 16. Now he just has to deal with Kublai Khan over here.
You can see the methodical approach that Lock-Jaw has coming into this fight. Neither robot wants to engage weapon to weapon so it comes down to driving skill and who can get around to the sides or rear of their opponent first. End Game’s weapon is too powerful for it to pivot in place without raising up one side of its drive and that’s all Lock-Jaw needs to wait for. Donald carefully positions his robot, waits for the perfect opportunity, and then guns it forward… straight into the fucking Killsaws where one of Lock-Jaw’s forks get stuck. If that slot in the floor wasn’t there then End Game would’ve ended up straight into the arena wall presumably with a giant bite taken out of its ass but instead End Game gets a free shot while Lock-Jaw’s fork digs deep enough into the floor to hit the goddamned Killsaws before they’re even allowed to start popping up. The hit doesn’t even free Lock-Jaw, either. I’d venture to say it somehow makes the situation worse because you can get a better picture of what’s happening in the close-up shot that follows, at least a few inches of Lock-Jaw has clipped into the floor like this was the kind of shitty video game Tom Brewster tests all day. The robot eventually gets unstuck but now with his stride fucked up Donald starts having progressively worse luck.
End Game catches Lock-Jaw as it flees to try and line up a better shot, connecting with the mechanism of its left fork and momentarily spinning the robot out of control. At this point as Lock-Jaw drives around you can tell not all is well because the robot starts bobbing up and down signaling that one of its wheels are either bent or flat or whatever. It’s not a good thing in other words, and this “not a good thing” becomes and even more not-gooder thing as End Game manages to hit the same tire on Lock-Jaw a second time and tears it the fuck off. This isn’t like a Witch Doctor thing either where just the rubber comes off but the hub remains. It’s not even a Hypothermia thing where the whole wheel comes off but the shaft is still poking out of the side of the robot. No, this is just full on “there was a wheel here but it’s gone now”. Nothing is left except for what I assume is part of the mounting bracket or something and if you look closely you can see that the output shaft has just been sheared off. This is bad for Lock-Jaw but it can still run with only three wheels so I guess it could still be worse. End Game decides to go ahead and make it worse by kinking Lock-Jaw’s other fork straight up and while the robot writhes around in the middle of the arena it turns out to be End Game who does the ass biting in this fight because one good bite is all it takes to reduce the mutant robot to near death.
I thought Lock-Jaw was toast and I already had a snarky ending written up to this fight but I totally forgot Lock-Jaw springs back to life like it can possibly turn this shit show around. Like, End Game has won this fight. Jack knows he’s won because why else would you take the time to go fetch your opponent’s ripped off wheel and throw it back at them? As Lock-Jaw wobbles around you can see its weapon bracket rattling up and down and its right lifting arm is clearly five kinds of busted because it’s no longer attached to anything and just moves freely when End Game strikes it. Chris starts lamenting “the king” being picked on and he casually mentions we’re only a little over a minute into this fight. Holy shit we’re not even half way done and Lock-Jaw already looks like it let Bite Force beat on it until Paul got tired and took a nap. Mercifully we’re at the end of this slaughterfest because after a few more glancing blows to its wheels and front end Lock-Jaw just seizes up and quits moving. It’s still twitching but I think that’s just random nerves firing off after death. (See also: Axe Backwards)
Normally I’d be like “damn, that must suck to have to put that back together” but then I remembered Donald Hutson is probably pretty grateful that he brought two fucking Lock-Jaws to this event.
WINNER: End Game, KO
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
KRAKEN vs. MOHAWK vs. GEMINI
Totally True Trivia™: If you’re wearing glasses that aren’t yours you might see up to four Gemini robots.
This week on Science Channel we’ve finally got another rumble as our bonus content. They taped quite a few of these along with some other “special” types of fights and it’s kinda strange that we’ve only seen two of them now (to my knowledge) because while a few of them were kind of dumb ideas at least the 3-way fights were usually pretty good. Up first, and in its second rumble this season, is Kraken. Kraken has yet to fight in a normal match and I have no idea why because normally you’d think these special bouts are like a one-off thing to score some extra points with the judges… or more realistically to just burn through alternates and robots that probably wouldn’t survive four “Fight Night” matches. You know, like Deviled Egg. Kraken ended up losing its rumble to Sharkoprion by KO when the biter bot suffered too much damage to its drivetrain and stopped working. It’s weapon also fell apart because I guess maybe Kraken’s teeth were just press-fit in and when they got stuck in something they ripped right out. Anyways shit like that in reality is literally like a recurring nightmare of mine so thanks for that Kraken, you’re the only robot to make me physically cringe.
Mohawk returns to BattleBots for its third consecutive season and damn I really can’t say I’m excited in the least. I mean, okay maybe this will be this robot’s year but thus far Mohawk’s “legendary” history consists of getting its ass kicked in one hit by its sibling bot HyperShock in a fight that was so short they had to air it in its entirely twice, in slow motion too, just so Chris and Kenny could tell us it fucking lost. The following season Mohawk showed off its flaming hair before fighting Bite Force and its gasket exploded. Bite Force then bit Mohawk right on its ass and killed it. Granted Mohawk did win its qualification rumble that year but that’s really only because Invader cooked itself and Lycan couldn’t stop fucking running into Invader. Mohawk won because it was the least threatening robot in the battle and the two killers took each other out. But Mohawk is back once more. It looks rugged, the team ditched the stupid lights, it looks like it’s not here to dick around so maybe this will be the season where Mohawk actually bites down onto an opponent and just vomits more fire into them than Mount Vesuvius. We got inklings of that last season when it bit Lycan’s wheel and let loose but I want to see full-on “holy shit stop torching us you just fried $2,000 worth of electronics”. This is it Mohawk, if you fuck it up here I’m going to assume you will never win a battle.
Finally over in the portable green square we’ve got Gemini, a two-part multibot comprised of identical spinners if the name “Gemini” didn’t clue you in to the robot’s gimmick. Gemini competed last season in 2016 and threw some big hits at Blacksmith (and Basilisk too I guess, but I kind of forgot that robot was even in that battle until I started proofreading this article) but ultimately the little spinners just could not hold up against a nonstop assault from THE BIG TIME HAMMER. Gemini got its ass kicked so badly that a photo from that fight of Blacksmith swinging its fire hammer ended up being like “the” promotional image of the season. Gemini’s builder Ace Shelander also said a no-no word on TV that ABC had to bleep because you can’t say the word “shit” on the same network that decided to give Roseanne another chance. Both the show and the person. Anyways Gemini is mostly the same robot this year with the same discs, same design, and same strategy. Due to the way in which rules pertaining to multibots are written both Geminis need to be knocked out in order for the robot to be deemed incapacitated (60% or more by weight), so Ace can afford to have one of his bots gummed to death by Kraken and still have a chance at turning the fight around.
To the surprise of no one Kraken lunges toward Gemini because the little bots are quite literally “bite sized” and make for easier targets than something as awkward and chunky as Mohawk. Kraken misses its mark and for some reason starts chewing on the side of the screws. I’m assuming the robot has gotten stuck on something because its eyes keep flashing and that only happens when Kraken fires its weapon (or gets hit hard enough) so more than likely Matt Spurk is just trying to rattle his robot loose from whatever dumb bullshit is trapping it. Either that or it just quit working, I don’t know. In any case Mohawk has stepped up to fill in the role of “heavyweight robot with a biting weapon” for this fight and actually wrangles the red Gemini robot into its grip. Mohawk’s jaw hasn’t quite pierced the armor, and it’s currently spewing fuel all over the place, but it’s a good hit. A “big” hit, according to Kenny, as it’s not quite good enough to be a huge one. Mohawk slams Gemini into the wall and somehow this lights its weapon which affords Mohawk the opportunity to possibly score some points with the judges for once in its lifetime. Mohawk is also expertly using the half of Gemini in its grip as a meat shield because it wards off an attack from the black Gemini robot with it and due to some exceptionally terrible driving the black Gemini robot spaghettis hardcore and tears the entire rear wedge off of its teammate in a single blow. A bold strategy, but I don’t think friendly fire actually counts toward “damage” points with the judges.
At some point in this fight Kraken has fucked off to the screws near the red square — meaning it got itself free from the other ones — and has managed to do its best impression of Skorpios by visibly driving its wedge under the hazard to get stuck even worse than before. I guess that might be it for Kraken, then? Nice job Matt I haven’t seen driving that bad since I watched a five year old try and make sense of Crazy Taxi. Mohawk continues to step it up and runs at the black Gemini bot and manages to flip it over with ease. While the driver of the black robot is trying to figure out how to drive his piece of shit upside-down Mohawk runs over and picks up the red one for some more points before feeding it into the spinner of the other which visibly destroys the left side of drive on the red bot. Kenny starts talking about a fictional place called Struggle Town but if you disregard what he’s yammering about you might notice Mohawk starting to smoke. Not fire smoke from its weapon, either, this is the kind of wispy smoke that usually signifies some shit is broken internally. It doesn’t seem to really faze the heavyweight yet, because Mohawk lines up a couple more charges at the wall with Gemini, but normally when this happens the robot that started smoking has about 20 seconds of life left before it turns into Kraken over there who at this point has just stopped moving altogether.
There are little bites and nibbles taken out of Mohawk’s chassis all over thanks to Gemini, but the multibot finally manages to do some real damage when the black one clips Mohawk’s weapon from the side and shears its tip off. This appears to just be the pointed part and not the one responsible for the robot’s flamethrower (even though I’m pretty sure that’s part of it danging out in the open now) so Mohawk is still able to spit fire out onto the crippled Gemini bots as it continues to effortlessly parade them around and into every single wall of the arena. Right when the Killsaws activate Mohawk absorbs a blow from the black Gemini robot with its ass and this hit, which didn’t seem like it connected very hard at all, kills it completely. Consequently Mohawk just so happens to die right on top of the recently activated saws which start slicing into its undercarriage while Max Bales jokes with the referee that his robot is “still mobile when the saws come up”. Bro, you are taking this considerably well given the fact that you were dominating this battle for two solid minutes. One of Gemni’s bots is KO’d but like I mentioned earlier both robots need to be taken down for the entire thing to be officially counted out so since the black one has managed to just barely scrape by it’s Mohawk that the ref counts out which means that the more things change the more they stay the same and Mohawk is a loser once more. I’ll give Max and his team credit though, that was a great showing by Mohawk. I’ll go halfsies with you for now.
WINNER: Gemini, KO
GIGABYTE vs. TOMBSTONE
Totally True Trivia™: One gigabyte in 1987 cost approximately $50,000. This is probably how much one GIgabyte in 2018 cost.
Gigabyte is new, but not really new… if that makes any sense. Gigabyte was actually at BattleBots last season where it competed as Invader, whom we’ve talked about already, and it threw some serious punches in its qualifying rumble. Unfortunately it only instigated a couple of those transactions because not long into the fight the robot’s electronics straight up melted which overrode Invader’s failsafe and resulted in a spinning robot that did not stop for nearly an hour. John Mladenik and his team took their spinner back home and chose to rebuild their machine as the proper next logical step in the lineage of Megabyte: Gigabyte. Megabyte is still around by the way, that’s why John put his teammate Brent Rieker in charge of Gigabyte; when this season was taped John had taken Megabyte to China to kick some ass and ended up finishing in third place in season “1.5” of King of Bots. I don’t know what “season 1.5” means because where I come from people know how to count but I guess that’s just those Chinese numbers or whatever, point is Megabyte showed up to a major robot combat event and destroyed almost everything. In its seasoned history Megabyte has also done battle with the reigning champion Tombstone and managed to come out ahead in that exchange. If there’s anyone who can stop Tombstone, it’s this ghost from its past in the form of Gigabyte. (Also I hope you liked my Gigabyte sign in the audience. If you don’t get the joke think about it for a second.)
You guys know Tombstone. They can’t go a single episode without mentioning it by name even if the robot isn’t in the fucking show that week. It’s the reigning champion and as such it commands respect because if you don’t kiss Ray’s Giant Nut before your fight then his robot will hit yours so hard that your robot will instantly vaporize. Tombstone may not look like it, but it’s a modular robot. It has different blades with different shapes, teeth, thicknesses, and even composition and each one is tailor made for specific scenarios. In this case it’s wearing a two-toothed bar that’s two inches thick. I tried picking this monster up in the pits and I can confirm it’s massive. For some reason everyone’s making a big deal about Ray only having one frame for his robot and “no spares” but I feel like that’s something that isn’t a thing people really do? Bring entire spare frames? I know Bite Force has one and technically so does Lock-Jaw because there’s two of them but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Also I’m sure Ray is just so used to fixing his existing frame that he’s gotten into a routine over it. Making new frames for Tombstone seems like a timesink because from the very first hit it’ll start to warp and shift, it’s easier and more cost-effective to just spot fix everything.
We’ve seen it before, when you only have one spinner in the ring the strategy is to stop them from getting up to speed at all costs, but when both bots are armed with insane spinning weapons both of them want to get their guns up to speed so nobody’s going to get box rushed. With two weapons literally spinning at Ludicrous Speed the first couple of hits are just glancing blows as the weapons move too fast to actually connect, but Tombstone whips around and catches Gigabyte from the side and the upper assembly of Gigabyte’s weapon shaft just pops right off and splits apart. Probably not a good thing when the little hat that makes sure a 160 MPH spinning done stays in place gets knocked off but Gigabyte’s still going for it even if its shell is starting to destabilize and throw sparks all over the goddamned place. It’s holding up to a couple more glances and even a direct attack from Tombstone so despite this being a really dangerous situation it might not be over yet. Gigabyte stays aggressive and even comes close to ripping off Tombstone’s right wheel but instead connects with its blade where it reaches Tombstone’s weapon frame and the resulting force of impact actually rips Gigabyte’s spinning shell totally the fuck off.
That’s it. With a shell spinner your offense doubles as your defense. When the weapon stops working you can really do nothing but tank damage until the end of the fight and hope you win by a decision but when the actual motherfucking shell is removed from the equation there’s not even a defense factor to consider. Gigabyte is totally naked and in the frantic few seconds where it scrambles to cover its dick it not only dodges a swipe from Tombstone but also manages to Matrix dodge its own fucking shell as it bounces around the Battlebox and expends its residual kinetic energy. Gigabyte flees and John (who I thought was in China?) tells the ref he’s done and starts mashing on the ready button assuming that it also doubles as a white flag. Nope, John Remar (the ref) reminds the team that there’s no tapping out so they just start running away. Tombstone keeps its weapon pointed at what’s left of Gigabyte just in case it tries to do anything dumb but I think Ray knows his opponents are panicking because he shouts over to them to just stop moving. It’s not bait either, because when Gigabyte’s driver takes his hands off of his transmitter Tombstone refrains from blowing it to bits and instead allows the officials to count the (now former) spinner out. Mercifully it doesn’t take 45 minutes this time.
Also in the aftermath of this fight airing on television the Robotic Death Company shared a postmortem on their official Facebook page where they showed the robot’s point of failure: the weapon shaft. John and his team ordered a very specific form of aluminum, one they’ve used for years without any catastrophic failures, however they made the mistake of ordering parts from China and rather than milled aluminum they got cast aluminum. What’s the difference you might ask? Aluminum is aluminum? Not really, the difference between Gigabyte’s shell staying on or flying across the arena comes down to simple metallurgy. Megabyte may have claimed 3rd place in China, but it was China who would have the last laugh. Lesson learned: If the part you need is essentially “the most important” one on your robot… get it from a reputable source. Pay the extra bucks for quality assurance and skip whatever the fuck we just saw happen to Gigabyte.
WINNER: Tombstone, KO
And just like that the season is already 20% over. I mean cooler. I mean no, I don’t fuck horses why the hell would you assume that about me? Guy accidentally drops one My Little Pony catchphrase and now everyone just assumes he was MySpace friends with Mr. Hands back in the day before he died? I don’t even have a MySpace. Okay, maybe I’ve been to Enumclaw, WA and maybe I was there purely to pour out a drink for him but that was a joke and I did that ironically for an epic win funny YouTube video. A video that I just so happen to not have a link to because the lazy asshole who filmed it didn’t post it. The lazy asshole wasn’t me, either. I’m talking about a different lazy asshole other than the one who sits around writing paragraph-long jokes about having sex with horses that just tricked you into reading one.
But for real though, that ain’t my cup of tea regardless of whether or not I own a Chance toy from Bad Dragon. That’s beside the point because it’s not a real horse so really it’s not breaking any laws. It could still be a “crime against nature” but I don’t think there’s a dedicated police force for shit like that. Also I only own one because when we were designing the set for my Twitch stream we were going to put it in a decorative rifle case and hang it on the wall behind me with all the other TGI Friday’s bullshit, but we ultimately didn’t do that because I’m not so sure that Twitch would let me continue to stream on their platform if every single video I made had a silicone replica of a horsecock inside of an ornate gun case hanging on the wall. Not because of the fact that there’d be a horse dick in every video but because a visible gun case would imply that I’m super into the second amendment which means that I’m part of the alt-right and I’d get banned for wrongthink. Also I just tricked you again.
You oughta be more aware of these kings of things because at this rate I’m pretty sure I could easily dupe you into following BattleBots Update on Facebook, pledging to the site on Patreon, or possibly even using the one-time donation option through PayPal. I don’t have any new patrons to thank and I’m pretty sure I won’t have any next week either after pulling this shit in the ending of this week’s article.