[BattleBots: S8 E8 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
I pulled out my danger cards with last episode’s article opener by making things really meta in the way of lamenting how I don’t know how to open an article these days because not only is this the eighth one of the current season it’s the 70th article posted to BattleBots Update. It’s not really a milestone or anything like that though because 70 is not an exciting number, maybe I’ll do something special for #100 though. Something stupid too, like “The BattleBots Update Top 100 BattleBots of All Time” and then fuck the whole list up from around 21 through 100 because there’s barely a barometer for gauging things beyond 20th place. Theoretically I could outsource the voting though… like on Reddit. Or ask all 3,500 of my followers on Facebook to do the hard work for me and name their favorites. Hmm, this is beginning to sound more and more plausible. Also I gotcha again because I’m just filling time welcoming people to the site and I tricked you into reading yet another paragraph of unfunny bullshit that makes no sense. How I didn’t end up writing for Cracked is a fucking mystery to me. Oh yeah, it’s because I’m a white male. Huh.
Anyways after that slam dunk of an intro this week’s episode kicks off with one too. One of the first things at BattleBots this year that went viral was a little cardboard box “go kart” that various builders and cast members were seen driving around in the parking lot. I believe the two pictures that kicked off the fad were of Faruq the ring announcer and HyperShock’s Will Bales just because of the already established personality and charisma of these guys. But let’s not get into the cardboard box kart yet though because from the moment Chris Rose starts talking there’s just community memes and in-jokes left and right. “Skilled drivers,” says Chris as he stands next to Chomp in the miniature test box. Chomp just so happens to be laying on its side like it seems to always be, a direct contrast to Chris’ lead-in. Behind Chris is Hardcore Robotics’ Swamp Thing, an alternate entry that has been present at all three seasons of the BattleBots reboot but has never competed. Swamp Thing is Rick Russ’ robot, a.k.a. the guy on Tombstone’s team who isn’t Ray Billings. Swamp Thing has been a bit of a mystery, one that went deeper this year when people who purchased the complete pack of team posters from the BattleBots Store also received Swamp Thing’s official team photo… which isn’t visible on the list of 2018 competitors and also isn’t available to purchase by itself. Is Swamp Thing “Bot 56”? No, actually, which is why this gag is even fucking crazier.
Getting back to the main punchline of this skit though, Will is cruising around in the cardboard box while Chris plays up his skill as a driver by mentioning how in 2016 HyperShock was the recipient of BattleBots’ “best driver” award, probably solely because of the rake thing but still an award is an award and Will has one more Giant Bolt than I do (but one less than Frankenstein’s Monster). Will parks next to Chris, says hello, and then speeds away where he presumably dies in a horrifying accident and ends up being rebuilt as an android. Chris says he wants the “best driver” award back. Roll the credits.
WARRIOR DRAGON vs. ROTATOR
Totally True Trivia™: Much like an alligator, you can very easily hold Warrior Dragon’s flipper shut with just your bare hands alone.
Team Whyachi knows how to put on a good show, that’s why Son of Whyachi was in the first fight of last week’s episode. Mind you though, that was Son of Whyachi; this time we’ve got Warrior Dragon which is… not… that bad? But it’s nowhere near as much of a showstopper as the team’s namesake. Son of Whyachi’s fights have been pretty spectacular, even the ones where it doesn’t win. Warrior Dragon on the other hand is kinda like Whyachi’s slightly retarded cousin who used to be a linebacker on its high school’s football team and took one too many blows to the head and now it hocks Melaleuca shit on Facebook and thinks that chemtrails are real. I’ll give credit where due, Warrior Dragon did win its first fight against Chomp but I think that had less to do with the fact that Warrior Dragon kicked ass and more to do with the fact that Warrior Dragon’s opponent was basically the equivalent of the jumping coin box from Super Mario 64. Also I swear to god that I did not know they filmed B-roll of Clint Ewert brandishing the Udder Gun that I’ve been cracking jokes about all season. This is just a serendipitous and beautiful conclusion that I never knew I was working up to. By the way you gotta love the seats Clint and Luke brought with them for this fight. The story behind them is that Warrior Dragon vs. Rotator was the first fight of this taping session and the teams had to have their robots ready and in the arena… and then wait for everyone to come in and find their seats, wait for the equipment tests, wait for the intros to be filmed, etc. They didn’t want to stand around so they just brought in some chairs with the Udder Gun logo on the back, plopped them down, and waited.
Chris introduces Rotator as being 1-1 which betrays what we’ve seen thus far on the show because up to this point Rotator’s performance in 2018 has consisted of Victor Soto grossly underestimating the strength of Petunia and getting chewed up because of it. But Rotator did have an untelevised fight and it’s awesome that these unseen matches are now being tallied up for us because that alleviates the problem I was having about being unsure as to whether or not these fights were ones I could talk about. Rotator lost to Petunia, but had a quick turnaround and defeated Predator by KO. Given Predator’s “spirited performance” in the rumble two episodes ago you can probably guess how this one went. Rotator still did some damage and managed to rip off a couple of Predator’s
wheel guards peets before securing the win. The fight is reflected on Rotator’s official page on BattleBots.com too, and so are all the other untelevised matches up to this point. (Also interesting inclusion of the backwards “R” Unicode character in the URL, I am almost certain WordPress is going to fucking hate that.) So Rotator’s bouncing back and for this match it’s equipped with the dual bars that we saw it try to use against Witch Doctor last season with no success. The bars can hit harder than the discs and are made of a stronger material, something Rotator is going to need if it decides to go weapon-to-weapon with Warrior Dragon’s outer ring spinner.
When the fight starts Rotator starts spinning its lower blade and leaves its upper one alone. The reason for this becomes apparent seconds into the fight, Warrior Dragon is just too short for the upper blade on Rotator to reach. This automatically puts the twin spinner at a disadvantage because it only has one mode of attack now, but the potential silver lining is that this will save wear and tear on the upper blade in the event that Rotator gets turned onto its ass (which is entirely possible because Warrior Dragon has a flipper, it breaks all the time but still). Before the match Clint Ewert said he was expecting there to be a lot of big hits in the first minute and he’s not wrong. Right away Rotator is shaving a generous amount of sparks off of Warrior Dragon’s face and the Whyachi bot is just taking every hit in stride. Rotator’s lower blade almost seems hesitant to spin but I’m not certain if that’s because Victor is being cautious with the trigger because his pre-fight commentary consisted mostly of him talking about how worried he was that he’d get back-flow into his motors and cook his electronics. For now, the blade still works. Even after Rotator catches a heavy blow and starts rattling, which means that part of the bottom bar has broken off, it’s still spinning. If Victor spent more money on materials and less money on goofy ass neon sunglasses maybe he’d be in a different position right now.
Rotator’s blade is missing a chunk, but at least it’s still working. Meanwhile — and I am sure this is going to come as a surprise so you might want to be sitting down for this — Warrior Dragon’s ring spinner has stopped working. This of course means the flipper is also dead because it’s dependent upon the spinner working in order to operate. So now that the two main robots in this fight are in the process of aging into dust before our very eyes I guess I can finally mention Warrior Dragon’s drone which is making its season debut in this fight. Looks pretty good after being fucked to death by a rake last season. It’s still the same robot otherwise though: flying drone with two camping stoves mounted on a mechanism that lowers both down. One of them still blows fire harder than the other. I don’t know how they managed to fuck that up again because I imagine they had to rebuild the entire thing after HyperShock erased it from history. Warrior Dragon pins Rotator against the screws because now I assume its plan has changed to “hold Rotator in place while the drone flies down and shoots flames everywhere”. Rotator seems to realize this and starts spinning its upper blade. Chris kind of spoils what’s about to happen, but the air disturbance caused by Rotator’s weaponry disorients the dragon drone and it gets sucked right into the blade. It doesn’t get obliterated to the same degree that HyperShock reached last time, but it’s still as good as dead. What a bad dragon, for real.
Okay, so now Warrior Dragon has to move from Plan B to Plan C. If this process continues, the Ewerts will transmogrify into clones of Lisa Winter when they reach “X”. For now, Plan C means “push Rotator into the hazards”, and Rotator gets taken to one of the Whyachi-controlled Pulverizers. The hammer comes down and lands some brutal shots, one of which connects with one of the little “feet” on Rotator’s chassis that keep the robot level as it drives and just blows it to pieces. Despite the fact that it’s having to play catch-up here, Warrior Dragon is doing pretty well for itself. Then it starts to smoke. Again. Warrior Dragon’s left side of drive gives out which cripples the robot to the point where it can now only pivot in place. (Its weapon is still dead, just in case you were curious.) One of the cameramen gets a nice close-up of the immobilized Warrior Dragon and you can see the remnants of the fucking divot that HyperShock carved into it two goddamned years ago. You guys just hammered that out and called it good? Bite Force could get away with doing the whole “put it in the garage for two years” thing because all it lost was a fucking weapon chain. The Udder Gun kit sells for nearly $7,000. Don’t tell me you can’t afford a new piece of aluminum to plop down on top of that thing. God damn, why don’t they just retire this piece of shit already?
The advantage of the fight swings back in Rotator’s favor, whose lower weapon is spinning again even though it’s off balance, but Rotator itself also seems to be having some mobility issues. It looks like the right wheel is dead, but it’s not totally dead because Rotator eventually gets moving again. There could possibly be some interference of sorts, or maybe Victor was right and his drive motors did end up getting damaged and now they’re only responding intermittently. Whatever the reason, Rotator is still mobile enough to avoid being counted down. The robot gets a second wind and lands its first hit after at least a minute of shitting itself non-stop, then spends the rest of the fight doing a victory spin. Look man, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Your robot was on the ropes for at least a minute and apparently nobody is counting Warrior Dragon out even though it hasn’t met the official definition of “mobile” for 30 fucking seconds. The fight goes to the judges who turn in a split decision which kind of highlights my point here. Rotator still won, but like Chris said during the replays “Warrior Dragon won the ‘control’ fight” meaning that this could have been a lot closer.
Let this be a lesson. If you’re sending the fight to the judges you better make damn sure that when they look at your opponent they also have to check for a fucking Ogrish watermark. Kenny’s been telling us since 2015 that you never want to send a fight to the judges and this is why.
WINNER: Rotator, Judges’ Decision (2-1)
REALITY vs. DUCK!
Totally True Trivia™: Duck really is one solid piece of aluminum. There are no parts inside of it.
Last time we saw Reality it was armored up because it was due for a three minute ride on SawBlaze’s dick. Reality failed to win much ground in that fight but stands to potentially make a better showing here against an opponent with a lot of surface area and exposed wheels. Granted, Duck is built in such a way so that you’re supposed to beat the shit out of it and still not win, so anything goes. Even though it lost its first fight I don’t think Reality really suffered all that much damage because its extra plating successfully kept SawBlaze’s weapon from getting into the squishy bits. Maybe there was a little bit of damage to the wheels but that seems like an easy fix. Reality’s weapon is a heavy vertical drum whose motor components are actually stored inside the drum itself. This offers some great protection because you literally have to get through the weapon to reach it, which probably nobody short of maybe Son of Whyachi or Tombstone could do, but comes with the drawback of possibly reliability? Reality’s drum seemed to not work all the time in its previous fight and I don’t know if that was because the motor was straining or if driver Tim Bouwens was easing off the gas.
We haven’t seen Duck in like two fucking months, god damn. The last time we saw this robot was literally in the first episode of the 2018 season way back in May. Duck is a tank of a robot built by Hal Rucker and driven by Hannah Rucker who formerly competed with The Ringmaster in 2016 but that robot was an overcomplicated piece of shit. Hal returned to the drawing board, drew a rectangle, and had an epiphany. People keep saying Duck is “a brick” and normally that means something is very strong or tough. Duck is a brick alright, but it’s also a brick in literal terms. There are no side panels or any dumb shit like that on this robot. This is 2018. This is the future. Duck was milled from one solid piece of aluminum. The only removable part of this robot is its lid and that thing is held on with more screws than I can even be bothered to count so I’ll just say “like a thousand”. Duck’s weapon is a massive plow that stretches across the entire front end of the robot and then some. In the middle of this plow is a sharpened spike angled at the floor meant to punch underneath other robots and lift them up. If you think Duck is a shitty robot, realize that Duck won its first fight against Mecha Rampage and Free Shipping by controlling both of its opponents throughout the match. Duck… don’t give a fuck.
As long as Duck’s face is pointing toward Reality there’s nothing the Dutch drum spinner can do to hurt it. The first few hits of the fight let loose some serious kinetic energy, which means Reality’s spinner is actually working, but all Reality has to show for it is a couple of nicks on Duck’s cheek. Eventually Reality catches Duck’s back right tire(s) and pulls the orange hub cap thing off of it. Chris notices the piece but doesn’t know what it is. As Duck continues to maneuver and whip around the arena its back right wheels come off of their now exposed axle. Reality’s team begins to celebrate, Chris steals Kenny’s catchphrase about huge hits (so it doesn’t count on the BattleBots Update homepage), and I considered letting this list balloon out into an impression of Phil Donahue but aside from the older people who build these robots I don’t think anyone reading this website would even get that joke in the first place. Coming back down to reality, Reality pops Duck again this time right at the edge of its plow and curls it backwards. It’s not far back enough to dig into Duck’s front wheels and immobilize it, but that’s kind of an iffy premonition.
Reality is just coming at Duck non-stop. This is a totally different version of the robot we saw fighting SawBlaze a couple weeks ago. This is… an alternate Reality. There’s hits left and right and Duck is absorbing them like a champ but at the same time Duck has yet to be able to really do anything with its lifter. I’ve noticed the way Reality fights is that it comes in and expends the energy in its drum over the course of one or two big hits and then retreats away to spin its weapon back up before it comes back in for another go. It’s not the kind of clunky spinner that lands a hit and then kind of staggers around and becomes vulnerable for a few seconds. That’s the kind of spinner that Duck wants to face, Reality is the opposite because it’s tiny and compact and there isn’t much to get purchase on. But it looks like Duck won’t need to worry about that because even though I 100% agree that Duck is losing right now, it’s gonna win because Reality just stroked out and died. The spinner must’ve overexerted itself and popped a blood vessel or something because Reality was dominating this fight and was on track to win it, hands down. Hopefully we’ve caught a glimpse of what Reality is capable of and the next time we see it the robot will kick some real ass.
Until then? Duck gets to step into the 2-0 winner’s lounge and awkwardly quack at people.
WINNER: Duck, KO
I noticed this about half way into the fight but wasn’t sure where to put it, the big BattleBots logo banner under the driver booth (the one they keep replacing with sponsor banners) just says “BattleBots.com” for this fight. Why? They could’ve just left it alone because by default it just says “BATTLEBOTS” which is kind of the same thing. My best guess is that maybe the banner was missing during this fight and they needed to put something there? The banner was made of hard foam plastic and kept getting broken throughout the event (I have a couple of pieces of one of them) so it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case. But why “BattleBots.com”? Why not just use the same graphic that the goddamned banners were printed with so it looks mostly the same? I don’t get this shit.
HYPERSHOCK vs. BATTLE ROYALE WITH CHEESE
Totally True Trivia™: HyperShock’s color can only be replicated on computer applications with improperly programmed color sliders that allow you to set values outside of normal ranges.
HyperShock is a very flashy and flamboyant robot driven by Android Will Bales, because the real Will Bales perished in a tragic cardboard box go kart accident during the production of this season of BattleBots. HyperShock itself also perished in an accident earlier this season at the hands of former champion Bite Force when a single shot sent the robot onto its back which Bite Force then followed up with a hit that literally disemboweled it. Was this the end of the vaporwave fad? Far from it, somehow Will and his team put HyperShock back together in between moments of Paul Vermicelli asking dumb shit like if he could have their Team Whyachi power switches as a trophy. HyperShock’s last fight was a fluke and we didn’t get to see what this robot is really capable of; HyperShock was shitting out sparks before the match even started so it was genuinely DOA. That wasn’t the same HyperShock that raped someone to death with a rake. This time? No sparks. No bullshit. Maybe a little bullshit, actually, because after that brutal loss the people in charge of setting up the fight cards must have been like “oh wow maybe we gauged HyperShock too high, better crank that ALL the way down and make its next opponent that fucking cheeseburger”.
I never thought Battle Royale’s first fight was going to make it to TV because it was one of the dreariest things I think I’ve ever seen. The weapon was pathetic, the robot was slow, Tantrum was a piece of shit, and to make matters worse I wholly believe that the fight was allowed to continue on as long as it did solely so that the hosts could make as many fucking cheeseburger puns as possible. After functioning identically to how I expected a robot sponsored by fucking IMGUR would, Miles Pekala dragged his undercooked beef patty into the pits and got to work figuring out why his bacon wasn’t functional. He posted some videos of the robot actually working so I will acknowledge that its previous battle was just a bad start but I don’t really know what to expect from this machine. Assuming it works I know the bar will be able to strike HyperShock’s wheels and stuff, but Battle Royale just has really bad geometry and I can’t see the robot being all that stable. Still, Miles has faith in his machine and he’s added some ketchup and mustard to his burger. Not actual ketchup and mustard, that’s just what he’s named the extra weights on the ends of the bacon spinner thing. He’s also brought in a minibot that was being totally fucked over by interference and wouldn’t stop moving after the twitch test.
The minibot in this match, “Shorter Pounder”, supposedly has a flamethrower inside of it but all I’m seeing is the goofy ass toy rake that the team stuck on top of it because LOL HYPERSHOCK. Like most minibots Shorter Pounder is intended to divert attention away from the main robot and HyperShock falls for the trap hook line and sinker. HyperShock revs up its ninja star spinners, hits Shorter Pounder once, and kills it. This was supposed to buy Battle Royale enough time to juice up its spinning bar to land a blow but as I’m sure you’ve noticed the weapon on the cheeseburger is again not functional. (Apparently its speed controller cooked itself.) HyperShock decides to turn this fight into a weird ass feeder fetish video and jams its dick into the burger. The hit busts off the top bun of Battle Royale and cocks it downward. I know Battle Royale’s weapon wasn’t working to begin with but now it really isn’t going to work with half of the robot’s own damn chassis folded in on itself. Kenny says it’s a huge hit and he couldn’t be more right about it, when the camera cuts to a better angle to show us the damage you can just see into Battle Royale and identify everything inside of it in the event that you want to build your own non-functional 250 pound cheeseburger.
Battle Royale breaks down seconds later and starts to smoke which I’m sure surprises no one. In fact I’m surprised it didn’t start smoking earlier with that kind of gash in it. HyperShock rams Battle Royale into the wall with enough force that when the robot kicks it into reverse it does a front wheelie. Will doesn’t stop there, either. Even as the referee starts to count Battle Royale down HyperShock is still spinning up its blades and plowing into the pile of scrap parts formerly known as “Battle Royale With Cheese”. Maybe Miles gave the thumbs up to “just fuck my shit up fam” because after that first hit there was nothing left, or maybe Will feels like after that humiliating loss to Bite Force he’s gotta prove that HyperShock isn’t a shitty robot. If that’s the case, I don’t think utterly demolishing Battle Royale is going to prove anything. Bale Spear could beat this piece of shit. That’s not the takeaway here though, the real message we got from this fight is that Will Bales and his 1990’s era Tyco RC car robot are back and now that he’s beaten arguably the lowest-tier robot at the event the only place to go is up!
WINNER: HyperShock, KO
WITCH DOCTOR vs. BLACKSMITH
Totally True Trivia™: That’s a real head that the Witch Doctor team is holding up.
Earlier this episode I mentioned how Duck was a robot that we saw once — at the beginning of the season — and then just never saw again until now. Witch Doctor also falls into that category. Witch Doctor appeared in the main event of episode 2 where it fought Yeti and I believe was literally “punched into next Tuesday” because it just vanished. Yeti took Witch Doctor into the screws where it pulled a wheel off, then Yeti climbed on top of Witch Doctor and shredded its added “rib cage” armor, and to seal the deal Yeti blasted Witch Doctor weapon-to-weapon and knocked the voodoo bot clear across the floor and under the Pulverizer for one of the nastiest KO’s of the season so far. Witch Doctor was fucking murdered in cold (heh) blood, but because Andrea Suarez keeps a bag of chicken feet and some incense with her at all times she was able to channel the spirits of the underworld and bring Witch Doctor back to life. She also had a teammate from Florida send her spare parts. That may have also played an important role in putting the robot back together. Still, we haven’t seen Witch Doctor in weeks and even Andrea is uncertain about her robot’s reliability since this iteration is a complete rebuild. That doesn’t bode well because Blacksmith is one of those robots who’s known for its persistence and rigidity. The only potential advantage Witch Doctor has here is it’s new upper armor because that will probably prove to be effective in this particular match up.
Blacksmith is a unique robot with a unique weapon. Outside of World of Warcraft this is the only flame-throwing warhammer that I’m aware of. Most people, Al Kindle included, thought the fire hammer was a retarded idea. Most of them probably still do with the exception of Al who was won over by his teammates in order to build something that would impress the BattleBots selection committee because in this day and age there’s a premium placed on how well a robot photographs instead of how well it actually fights. That’s the only way Battle Royale qualified for this event, prove me wrong. There’s only one BIG TIME HAMMER though, and Al’s got it. (Actually he has three hammers of the “big time” variety just in case one of them gets banged up too badly but you get what I mean.) Blacksmith is relentless, but it struggles to do battle with opponents within its own weight class. Blacksmith has won two fights in its career but both of them were matches where Blacksmith got to beat the piss out of clusterbots; first it was Gemini in 2016 followed by all three of The Four Horsemen (I know the math doesn’t add up) earlier this season. In other words Blacksmith is sorta like Andy Kaufman, and much like the late
comedian song and dance man Blacksmith has resorted to voodoo in an effort to save its life; drawn on the front of Blacksmith for this match is a protection rune. I shit you not.
This battle is going to be awfully familiar for Blacksmith because in a way it’s just a repeat of its match against Bite Force; Witch Doctor’s main weapon is a heavy spinner up front, which Blacksmith doesn’t want to swing its hammer down onto, so nearly the first minute of this round is posturing and positioning. As long as Witch Doctor’s spinning skull disc is pointed at Blacksmith Al knows not to bring down the BIG TIME HAMMER because that’s the fastest way to turn it into the “part time hammer”. Blacksmith gets its forks under Witch Doctor and shoves it around a bit, Witch Doctor lands a couple of very minor glancing blows, neither robot is able to capitalize. Blacksmith finally swings its hammer, sans fire, and misses. I think Witch Doctor knows that Blacksmith is at a disadvantage here in terms of weapon efficacy because I get the impression that Witch Doctor is trying to be the aggressor, but Blacksmith’s dinky little forks on its front end are quite obviously closer to the ground than Witch Doctor’s bumper. You can see the ground clearance on Witch Doctor from here whereas Blacksmith’s forks literally ride along the floor. Witch Doctor can’t get any purchase and it almost seems like Blacksmith’s boxy shape is rendering Witch Doctor’s side attacks ineffectual too.
Chris says Al is “playing with fire”. I disagree, Al’s hammer isn’t working. There is no fire. Kenny suspects the hammer is damaged or busted somehow which might be correct but I have no idea how or when that happened because no one’s touched it so far. But yeah, Blacksmith’s weapon arm starts twitching and moving slowly and erratically and I can’t see that causing Kenny to say “huge hit there” any time soon. Witch Doctor is paying attention because it just goes into full blast mode and catches Blacksmith on its corner, gets underneath it, and shoves it into the wall. Blacksmith responds by sticking its fork into the Killsaw slot and gets stuck. We call this the “Lock-Jaw strategy”. Before Witch Doctor can come redeem its free hit Blacksmith gets away, but somehow in the process Witch Doctor peels out badly or something and just arbitrarily loses a tire. Literally no one has touched that wheel this whole fight and it just… falls off? That’s kind of a hard thing to fuck up because it was only the tread that came apart and not the hub. Are they shitty tires? Were they just stuck on with no adhesive with the hopes that they’d hold up in a fucking BattleBots match? How do you even do that, seriously? At least when Rotator lost a tire it was because Petunia literally held it over the Killsaws. Witch Doctor is just falling apart like a literal rotting zombie.
Blacksmith is still down on points, uh, “big time”. It’s been corralled into the wall, had both of its back corners chewed up, and as I write this sentence the robot is currently using the Killsaws as an ass scratcher. The hammer bot finally catches the break it needs however and with one last push in the final 30 seconds of the fight Witch Doctor gets paraded across the floor and into the screws which happily consume the offering. Watch closely and you’ll see what looks like a USB power bank fly off of one of the two bots. That is not a cell phone charger, that is actually one of those fancy 360 degree cameras the editors have been using to get the “BOT CAM” footage in each match. I can’t imagine they’re cheap. Back in the day I think the original “slam cam” was literally just a shitty Mini DV tape camcorder or something which even in 2001 wasn’t actually that expensive. Hell, I owned one. But I’m sure in the Year of Our Lord 2018 AD that something this gimmicky as a 360 degree camera probably costs upwards of several hundred dollars. And Blacksmith just punched Witch Doctor so hard that one flew out of its butthole.
I lost track of what I was talking about but essentially Witch Doctor is fucked because it’s jammed into the screws exactly where Bite Force had left Blacksmith in the first fight of this season. Witch Doctor is in trouble, but it’s not out just yet. You see, Witch Doctor’s spirit temporarily leaves the robot, possesses the screw hazard, causes the screws to start turning again, and then before the ref can finish counting Witch Doctor out it returns to its original body. That just happened on national TV. Forget Ancient Aliens and all that dumb bullshit, we need some dude with crazy hair to explain how the hell that just happened.
WINNER: Witch Doctor, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
THE BOTOPSY REPORT II
Something like six episodes ago we were treated to a show segment called “The Botopsy Report” where we got a follow-up and proper damage report on some of the most destructive matches of the season so far, namely the first two episodes. Two weeks into the show there was already enough carnage and footage of builders saying “THAT’S ALOTTA DAMAGE” to make this segment and now we’ve got the sequel. Kicking things off is Charles Guan, builder and driver of Overhaul. Overhaul had a strong showing against Chomp last week but prior to that the robot’s first match of 2018 put it up against SawBlaze and oh boy was that a goddamned disaster. We saw SawBlaze slice into Overhaul’s upper jaw, but just how bad was it? It was pretty bad. We’re talking “yep that weapon’s dead now” bad. SawBlaze’s saw cut through the weapon jaw and half way into the fucking motor that ran it. Think about all the different kids of materials here. SawBlaze just indiscriminately cut through it all. I know we’ve been making Flex Tape jokes all season but maybe we ought to bring back the Ronco Ginsu Knife while we’re at it.
Up next is Gigabyte, an incredibly destructive machine whose first (and only) match was against none other than Tombstone. Apparently this fight just turned into unintelligible screaming because the entirety of Chris’ commentary consists of weird yodeling that Ray Billings is compelled to respond to like a fucking yak or something. Brent Rieker is in surprisingly good spirits as he describes how the robot’s inner mast failed because the company he ordered the part from totally fucked him over. For real, that is not a joke. He paid them for one thing and they gave him something completely different presumably in the hopes that no one would notice. Guess what dumbshits, the million or so people who tuned in to watch this show noticed it. Brent isn’t willing to name names on TV but he sure as shit did on Facebook and straight up put Dongguan Great Light Metal Technology Company on blast big time. Let this be an important lesson to never order shit from a company with “dong” in the name because, surprise surprise, you’re gonna get fucked!
Minotaur was highlighted in the previous Botopsy Report after Tombstone used the robot as its own personal paper football. The “Brazilian Bull” is back again but this time as the reason why someone else is in this segment, and that “someone else” happens to be Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin from Team Toad whose robot Hypothermia, well, you saw the highlights. This thing was missing parts and farting sparks out all over the place and that is almost certainly not an intended feature of this robot. Fuzzy starts things off by showing us a potentially seized motor before claiming that all the real damage was on the bottom of the robot and when he flips thing over holy shit it looks like the end result of someone with a hardcore BDSM fetish who forgot the fucking safe word. The last time I saw an ass wrecked that badly I was writing jokes about the death of Mr. Hands. Fuzzy’s good for fixing his bot up and getting it going again, but I don’t envy his position. You can tell from his body language that he’s dreading the next 12+ hours ahead. Should’ve brought two robots dude.
Finally, you can’t talk about sparks and not bring up HyperShock. No… that’s not a pun on “sparks” and “shock” I’m specifically referring to HyperShock’s match against Bite Force where before the match even started the robot was already shorting out or fucking up or whatever. Will Bales painted the robot too bright or something and it just kept absorbing electrons and ended up causing the robot to blow up. At some point Bite Force also whacked it hard enough to kick the top plate off and send most of HyperShock’s electronics with it. The thing that Will keeps waving around is what I think is HyperShock’s set of master power switches. There’s two of them, one for weapons and one for drive, and they’re the ones manufactured by Team Whyachi. You know, the ones that Jake Ewert said that people use “when they can afford to”. They’re a hundred bucks a pop. Just those two little dinky parts. Look at how many things Will points to and says is “messed up”. He can’t even name some of them because they’re too messed up. The worst part about repairing HyperShock is that you can’t just color the scratches in with a marker like everyone else does because highlighters don’t work that way.
LOCK-JAW vs. BRONCO
Totally True Trivia™: Don’t believe the hype, these robots have most certainly fought since 1999. In 2015 Lock-Jaw and Bronco battled it out to see who would win the Pizza Hut limited edition pizza with the hot dogs in the crust.
Tonight’s main event sees two teams in the Battlebox who haven’t battled each other since the fucking Clinton administration. The last time these two teams squared off Amazon’s stock price was like fifty bucks. One thing I really like about this season of BattleBots is that they aren’t afraid to bust out pictures and video from their archives so earlier in the episode we were treated to some genuine footage of Tazbot, Donald Hutson’s original heavyweight, and Inertia Labs’ former-heavyweight-turned-super-heavyweight Rhino. Neither robot competes to this day, but echoes of their designs can still be seen in each of their 2018 counterparts. Take Lock-Jaw for example, Donald Hutson is just simply unable to draw a straight line so all of his robots look like what a normal robot would be if your field of view was that of Quake. Donald’s never built a spinner quite like this before, but Lock-Jaw is still able to do a respectable amount of damage. Its spinner upended Bombshell twice in the same fight for an easy KO, but Lock-Jaw had a different story in its match against End Game; Lock-Jaw got stuck in the Killsaws which afforded End Game a free hit and from that moment Donald simply couldn’t get back into his groove. Lock-Jaw was severely damaged in that match but that wasn’t too big of an issue since Donald brought two of the same goddamned robot to the event.
Speaking of bringing two of the same robot to the event, Lock-Jaw’s opponent just so happens to be Bronco. Inertia Labs infamously brought two Broncos in 2016 and I don’t think they did that again because more than a couple of people raised an eyebrow. Bronco hasn’t really changed all that much since its unveiling in 2015, it’s just become stronger over time as builders Zander Rose and Reason Bradley make little improvements and refinements. At this point what they’re doing to Bronco is sorta like when you’re playing an RPG and you keep cycling through all kinds of different armors and weapons just to scrape up as many +1’s and shit as possible. When that happens you usually end up with a character dressed like a fucking retard. Well, check out Bronco. Hope those “Spider Leg Pants of +2 Strength” are worth it because unless this episode is airing on October 31st there’s no valid reason to be dressed that way. Bronco is allegedly 30% more powerful this year which doesn’t seem like a whole lot until you realize that 30% of “fuck you” is still a very substantial amount. Bronco can throw a 300 pound block up to 15 feet in the air meaning that it’s entirely possible for the robot to literally shoot a basket with one of its opponents. Part of me hopes that someday they’ll add a basketball hoop to the arena for exactly this reason.
As this match gets underway not a whole lot is happening so I guess now’s a good time to bring up the subject of Chris’ recent voiceover especially for this episode. Chris says Lock-Jaw might be having some drive problems. We’re six fucking seconds into the fight, how the fuck are you aware of this? I get that sometimes VO lines are written and recorded after the fact (they did this back in the Comedy Central days too) but at least wait until maybe like 20 or 30 seconds have passed before dropping that line? Chris said Reality broke down as the robot was coming to a halt before anyone, including the fucking team, probably had a chance to go through the mental process to piece together what was happening, and don’t get me started on Chris spoiling the surprise of Warrior Dragon’s drone getting sucked into Rotator’s weapon. Yeah, there’s some shit wrong with Lock-Jaw. The robot is dancing like it has to take a piss but can’t get out of line to buy tickets for the new Star Wars dumpster fire or else it’ll lose its spot. Before any of this has a chance to fully take effect though, Lock-Jaw gets a quick nibble on Bronco’s ass. Then it stops working on top of the Killsaws. Now is the point where Chris should be telling us something is potentially wrong.
Also it’s kind of funny that Lock-Jaw has started experiencing problems on top of this particular hazard because of course its lifting forks are going to get stuck in them again. Donald shakes his head as he fiddles with his transmitter lamenting the unknown force that’s currently dicking him (it’s the ghost of Witch Doctor) while Zander also chimes in that something is apparently up with Bronco. Both of these robots are driving like two shitty RC cars operating on the same frequency or whatever. That was such a let down when I was a kid, seriously. Nothing is more upsetting when you’re 7 years old than finding out you can’t race monster trucks with your buddy from across the street because your parents both bought you the fucking 49MHz one. Why the fuck did they only make toys in two frequencies back then anyways? Oh shit, there’s a hit finally. It looked like Bronco tried to come in at an angle to catch Lock-Jaw from its front corner but Lock-Jaw pivoted in place. This is a pretty major hit too because I saw a piece of something go flying off and it turns out that was Bronco’s goddamned flipper. Hey Chris, how come you didn’t tell us this was going to happen five seconds before we saw it? I’d appreciate a heads up next time.
Bronco might be missing the front little wedge thing of its flipper, but that arm totally still works. We get a neat demo of it a few seconds later when Bronco heaves Lock-Jaw up and over underneath the Pulverizer. Sadly it’s one of the hammers controlled by Lock-Jaw’s team so I don’t think we’re going to get any action out of it. Sensing the hammer probably isn’t going to come down, Bronco instead throws Lock-Jaw at the hammer itself. Lock-Jaw’s wheels get hung up in Bronco’s “twangers” which requires the flipper to do one of its trademark uppercuts to Lock-Jaw’s face to unstick the two bots. At this point it becomes pretty apparent that Lock-Jaw’s issues have developed into losing one whole side of drive so this is probably the end of it. Yeah, it totally is, because even though Bronco is having problems of its own it’s still able to throw Lock-Jaw into the screws. The mutant bot doesn’t quite get stuck in there a la Witch Doctor and slides back down but I kinda think maybe it would’ve been for the best if it got stuck because Bronco follows up with a flip that sends Lock-Jaw so goddamned high that the fucking camera crew can’t even get it in frame.
Bronco’s throwing flips hard enough to rip its own parts off so Reason eases up on the trigger since I think we’re all in unanimous agreement here that Bronco is probably going to win this fight. The bull cools off and for some reason its “frequency” problems cause it to start parking on every single set of Killsaws in the goddamned arena while it starts to smoke. I don’t know what the problem is here. Is it because Bronco is driven with what looks like a fucking OUYA controller or something? Seriously Reason, that controller looks like you ought to be driving a stupid Big Bird fire truck with it or something. The fight gets sent to the judges and it should come as a surprise to no one that Bronco is the winner.
20 years led up to this fight. This fight.
WINNER: Bronco, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
Bit of a rough episode this week in regards to robots being fully functional, almost every single fight saw someone break down or stop working. Sometimes this didn’t always result in the robot we were expecting to win the fight actually win the fight such as the case with Duck who ended up winning after a relentless Reality just gave up the ghost. Whatever your opinion on Battle Royale With Cheese you’ve gotta at least admit that its fight against HyperShock was incredibly entertaining from a damage perspective. Even Miles Pekala was like “yeah the top bun was a bad aesthetic choice at the expense of engineering”. I mentioned earlier in this article that all of the untelevised fights up to this point are now accounted for on BattleBots.com which prompted some of you to ask me why I kept saying Ultimo Destructo did not have a 2-0 record despite all known evidence proving that to be fact. The simple answer is that shit was under NDA and unless BattleBots or Team Carnage came out and said “Ultimo Destructo has two wins and no losses right now” I wasn’t going to be the one to confirm it. But I was right though, wasn’t I? It blew your fucking mind? Ultimo Destructo has the same record as Bronco right now, let that sink in.
BattleBots announced that there will not be new episodes on July 20th and 27th. Following episode 10 the show will be on hiatus for two weeks. Yeah, that’s a bummer, but it’s just part of whatever broadcast plans they’re working on over at Discovery Channel. Maybe they’re going to finally get around to airing those two episodes of Mythbusters from the season no one cares about. Some of you might be putting the pieces together right now and are expecting me to double back and finish the two articles for Robot Wars’ two-part “World Series” special. You would not be wrong because I’ve known about this upcoming break for a while and that was exactly my plan, however I’m not going to be doing that. Some of you, unfortunately, might have noticed that this website has been having some issues with site security. I’ve done everything in my power short of shelling out literally hundreds of dollars for “professional security protection” to stymie this and nothing has worked. I have instead elected to migrate BattleBots Update out of its current hosting environment (which is some nightmarish “shared hosting” platform with GoDaddy) and place it onto a private server. Hopefully in doing so I’ll have this website running in a much more secure environment that’s less prone to fuckery. Two weeks should be long enough to move the site and then fix the site because I know I’m going to break some shit or whatever.
Until then we’ve got a couple more weeks of BattleBots before the break and nothing else is going to change up to that point. Make sure you follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for updates, and if you would like to help support this project you can do so with a recurring monthly pledge on Patreon, or a one-time donation through PayPal. I’d like to personally thank Brett L. for joining the Patreon train, as well as “Memelord” Alex T. who pitched in last week and apparently forgot that his PayPal account was set up to display his nickname. Good job dude, haha.