[All of the fights in this article are available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

IT’S ROBOT UPDATE TIME

I bet you thought I was dead. That would be a completely reasonable assumption to make, by the way. I’m not going to knock you for hypothesizing as such; I tend to do this great little trick when things go south in my personal life where I just completely vanish. My blood pressure was literally like 150/100 so my doctor was all “wow dude how are you not dead yet” so I’ve been making a lot of changes in my offline life in order to bring that down. I know I ended the last article of this season (Episode 20) on a high note and talked about some of the things I wanted to cover (King of Bots, Robot Wars World Series), but unfortunately it didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. Still, I’m doing better and I know that I owe it to you all — my readers — to deliver the content that you’ve been waiting so long for. I can’t always sail through the changing ocean tides, nor can I handle the seasons of my life. I’ve been listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, by the way.

At the end of each season of BattleBots I like to do a “wrap up” article where I take a look at the fights that failed to make it to TV. I call it “What Got Cut” after the segment of the same name from the show Cheap Seats (which, ironically, was hosted by former BattleBots commentators Randy & Jason Sklar). Last season BattleBots was kind enough to post the straight “live cut” feeds of these unaired fights to YouTube and they’ve done it again this year. However, unlike last season there were significantly more robots this time around and as such there were a lot more fights. This year 11 of them didn’t make it to air, so rather than post one ginormous article that would take forever to read (and to write) I’m going to split it up into two parts. This of course is part one. Links to all of the fights will be provided in each section, or you can use the main link at the top of the article to browse for them yourself. There’s really no rhyme or reason to which fights are featured in which article beyond me not wanting to feature the same robot twice in the same article if I can avoid it.

(Also I just want to point out that in between this article and the last one WordPress rolled out this “5.0” update that they didn’t shut up about for months beforehand. The end result was a complete and total disaster that replaced the article editor with some shitty “block” style editor that not only rivaled Parallax with how little it actually worked but it also replaced the normal screen-filling text editor settings with this shitty little sliver smack in the middle of the screen leaving a staggering amount of real estate completely unused. I shit you not it was like if you stuck your phone in the middle of your monitor, that’s what you had to work with. When people complained about it, WordPress developers basically told people to go fuck themselves. Mercifully there is now a plugin available called “Classic Editor” that guts whatever retarded bullshit WordPress thought was a good idea and replaces it with shit that actually works. So thank you to the literal supergroup of developers who put this plugin together, you guys literally saved this project because holy shit the new editor was absolutely irredeemable. Also this plugin is apparently in use by over 3 million fucking websites so I hope you’re proud of yourselves, WordPress.)


VALKYRIE vs. ULTIMO DESTRUCTO
(FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 1)

VALKYRIE

Questionable Designs

Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc

ULTIMO DESTRUCTO

Team Carnage

Weapon: Horizontal spinning bar

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

Look, let’s be honest. I can’t make this seem exciting.

This was one of the first battles shot for season 8 (the video’s subtitle on YouTube mentions “Fight Night #1”). As I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before they shot two episodes every day, one in the morning and one in the evening. While I can’t remember if this was the literal first fight of the season it was certainly among the first two or three. It features Valkyrie in its first ever fight, a robot from some of the same builders who put Road Rash together in 2016. I think I joked about Road Rash being the “Ringo Starr” of the 4 MIT robots that showed up that year because everyone forgot about this one, but I think “Pete Best” would’ve been a better analogy. Valkyrie can be Ringo Starr because Ringo replaced Pete and much like Ringo people actually gave a shit about this robot. Valkyrie arrived this season looking like a force to be reckoned with, like an updated version of Surgeon General from the Comedy Central days of BattleBots, or an American version of PP3D from Robot Wars. Basically the point I’m trying to make here is that Valkyrie looked like a motherfucker and given what I know about robots with this design somebody was probably about to die, that somebody being Ultimo Destructo of course.

Ultimo Destructo was not a newcomer this season but it might as well have been treated like one. Ultimo Destructo showed up last season looking like some kind of fucking Donkey Kong barrel or something and wound up losing to Hal Rucker’s Ringmaster when the robot made the mistake of aiming its drive wheel at its opponent instead of its flipper. That was it for Ultimo Destructo, a showing that shitty essentially guaranteed Sean Irvin and his team would not receive a wildcard and wouldn’t you know when it came time to hand those out there wasn’t one for the overturned Monster energy drink cooler. With four qualification matches up for grabs in the new “Fight Night” format though this year could’ve been a better one and maybe we’d get to see the full range of Ultimo Destructo’s arsenal. For this particular fight Ultimo Destructo showed up with its answer to Tombstone’s weapon and because what seems like 80% of Ultimo Destructo’s weight has gone into making the robot look like a Chinese go kart this means that Ultimo Destructo’s horizontal spinner is literally just a chunk of aluminum with some teeth on it. Corners were cut, in other words. A lot of them.

I refuse to believe that SPARKS actually happened in this fight, but here they are.

As shitty as Ultimo Destructo’s weaponry looks, it’s probably the best choice that Sean could’ve made given his opponent. Valkyrie has a lot of armor on its front end but that entire section is just asking to get whaled on and Ultimo Destructo’s blade is the perfect height to whack it. Unfortunately for Ultimo Destructo however its weapon doesn’t appear to be at the speed necessary to do any meaningful damage. Seriously, did Sean fish a ceiling fan out of a dumpster to salvage its motor or something? Is it even on? This thing is spinning so fucking slowly that I can still see the tips of it clear as day even with the weird interlacing on the video. I feel like I could just stick my foot out and stop it with my boot and still cause more damage to Ultimo Destructo in the process. I guess that would mean this is Valkyrie’s fight to win, what with its killer pinwheel of death, but it appears that Valkyrie is also having weapon problems of its own. Its disc is clearly spinning, but much like Ultimo Destructo there’s no speed or muscle behind it. Shit’s broken.

After one hit Valkyrie’s blade seems to just die completely and stops spinning altogether while all 24 feet of Ultimo Destructo manage to get away to line up another shot. This looks to be about the most lethal Ultimo Destructo is able to reach and on a good day I think maybe it’d be able to split open a watermelon. It goes in for another two hits and even though it is causing negative amounts of damage to its opponent if you were to look at the scorecards so far… Ultimo Destructo is winning this fight. Of course you already know that it wins this fight because Chris and Kenny said so when we eventually saw Ultimo Destructo later on in the season get put out to pasture by Witch Doctor who treated it like a green Kit Kat bar. There’s not much left to this fight, after being “hit” a second time Valkyrie’s disc comes loose and drops onto the arena floor. This causes the robot to get high centered on its own weapon and all Valkyrie can do is pirouette around on its disc’s output shaft until it gets counted out.

WINNER: Ultimo Destructo, KO I guess

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “Ultimo’s blade is about as effective as the blade of Odin II.” – Romax


PARALLAX & BALE SPEAR vs. BASILISK & DOUBLE DUTCH
(EXHIBITION MATCH)

PARALLAX

Aberrant Robotics

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

BALE SPEAR

Forge & Farm Combat Robotics

Weapon: Pneumatic spike

BASILISK

MBSrobotics

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

DOUBLE DUTCH

Iron LungFish Robotics

Weapon: Twin horizontal counter-spinning blades

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

This is it. This is the most exciting part of this fight. Savor it.

Yeah, this is “that fight”. The one that was turned into the commercial for Jurassic World where the T-rex showed up and stepped on Bale Spear or whatever. Actually I’m not sure if that was a T-rex or the D-rex or “Indominus Rex” or whatever the fuck it’s called in that movie. I didn’t actually see it. Shocker, I know, considering how much of a hard-on I have for dinosaurs, but that hard-on also comes with the double edged blade of being cripplingly autistic and you know how people like us get about a little thing called “change”. I don’t want Chris fucking Pratt fooling around with my goddamned raptors, okay? Sam Neil is the only person who gets to deal with them, Jeff Goldblum is the only person who gets to warn us about them, Newman is the only person who gets to unleash them, and Laura Dern is the only person who gets to handle their doo doo. That’s it. Anyways I’ve sort of already covered this fight (in the article for episode 6 when the commercial created from it originally aired) but since this is the actual fight minus the dinosaurs I suppose I can give it a fair shot.

Parallax is a robot who was dealt a bad hand this year. Everyone was supposed to get four Fight Night matches in order to see who qualified for the main event but these guys only made it to two and neither one of those battles were aired. Because of this Parallax holds the distinction of being the only robot from season 8 where none of its fights made it to TV. I don’t know what happened to Parallax aside from it just genuinely being a, well, “one big pile of shit” to make an apt reference given the subject matter of the commercial made from this fight. Parallax’s design is that of a standard wedge however embedded inside of the wedge is a spinning drum so once the robot gets under an opponent it can deliver a quick uppercut. It’s a pretty basic affair all things considered and the robot can even run upside down, though it becomes completely ineffective when this happens. It’s partnered with Bale Spear for this tag team fight and all I can really remember about this battle is that before it happened Bale Spear showed up with those fucking stupid metal discs in place of its front tires and when it came time to do the pre-fight twitch test the discs put too much strain on Bale Spear’s drive motors and they burned up. The fight was delayed because of this. You can actually see the metal discs during the arena introductions, they were able to get as far as this point before Bale Spear spaghetti’d everywhere.

Much like Ultimo Destructo getting sparks, Basilisk getting a flip is something I also don’t believe ever happened yet here it is.

Over in the blue square is the partnership of Basilisk and Double Dutch, two robots that were still complete unknowns when this battle took place. Basilisk was a returning contender from 2016 because I guess the selection committee just didn’t watch the episode that Basilisk debuted in, probably because that was that “The Gears Awaken” special which appears to have been lost to time. That worked in Basilisk’s favor because had they seen that episode they’d have known Basilisk’s only fight was a qualification match where it had the shit beaten out of it by Blacksmith. Also Basilisk used to have a drone so I feel like purely by virtue of hopping on that retarded bandwagon the team should’ve been barred from ever competing a second time. Basilisk appears to be no different this season than it was last season aside from not having a drone anymore. It’s armed with a pneumatic forklift thing and I know for a fact it’s just as bad as ever because it wound up participating in a rumble where Deviled fucking Egg managed to trash it. Double Dutch is the other robot in the blue square and I’ve already joked about how this robot’s driver got super buttmad last season when it wasn’t accepted as a competitor. That was last season, this is now. Things are different, and Double Dutch makes them even more different-er because it’s gone the Counter Revolution route of having two weapons that spin in opposite directions. Also its wheels are mounted all dumb because I think it’s supposed to allow the robot to juke and strafe slightly, but all the gimmicks in the world ultimately couldn’t save this thing from Gigabyte so who cares.

The rules of a tag team battle are simple, only one robot from each square is allowed to fight at any given time. In order for the other robot to come out, its teammate must first return to its starting square to “tag” them in. Or I guess if a robot just fucking dies then its teammate can hop in as well, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten their skull caved in with a folding chair during a WWE tag team match so that precedent may not have been set. Double Dutch advances out of the blue square because out of those two robots this was the only logical outcome. What the fuck is Basilisk going to do, apologize? You’d think Parallax would be the one to emerge from the red square but it’s actually Bale Spear who trots out instead. This would’ve been a smart move had Basilisk been the one to ride out, because as shitty of a robot as Bale Spear is I think in this case it might actually be the less shitty robot, but because this is Double Dutch we’re dealing with here that means Bale Spear’s giant stupid wheels are as good as toast.

lmao since when did basilisk have a flamethrower

Bale Spear partially backs into the red square so Parallax thinks it’s acceptable to come out. I don’t know what the call was on that move — if there even was a call to begin with — but what I do know is Basilisk flying out of the blue square kind of betrays the spirit of a “tag team” battle because Double Dutch was nowhere close to it. Or maybe it doesn’t, maybe tag team fights are supposed to just devolve into indecipherable madness after just 10 goddamned seconds. I’ve never seen a single wrestling event in my 31 years of being on this shitty planet and everything I know about wrestling came from that weird period of time where they sponsored a bunch of monster trucks. Speaking of monster trucks, Double Dutch just devours the front left wheel of Bale Spear but rather than simply rip it off of its hub the wheel instead gets stuck in between Double Dutch’s upper blade and its chassis rendering the weapon useless. This literal “jamming up” also causes Double Dutch’s bottom blade to plop off onto the floor effectively turning the robot into the world’s least appetizing piece of bowtie pasta. Basilisk gets a flip on Bale Spear and Parallax shoves Double Dutch into the wall… and this is about the time where the dinosaur showed up because the fight has given us all it’s got to give in the way of excitement. I mean that.

Parallax makes another run at its opponents and this time shoves Basilisk into the wall. Strangely enough it’s also about this time where Double Dutch decides to go back to respecting the theme of the battle and retreats to the blue square with Bale Spear’s tire still wedged in its asshole. The red team robots don’t seem to give a shit anymore though because Parallax’s drum gets roaring up to speed and the robot proceeds to shave some sparks off of Basilisk while Bale Spear doesn’t really do much of anything other than try to maneuver around. What ensues next is 36 literal seconds where absolutely no contact is made between any two robots in the fucking arena. Bale Spear winds up breaking the silence but only because it crashes into its teammate. If you want to wait until there’s contact between two opposing robots that would be 45 seconds when Double Dutch bumps into Bale Spear. Nearly a whole goddamned minute passed before anything that could even remotely be considered “aggression” happened. I don’t think Chris Rose would have enough funny voices and slightly dated pop culture references to fill that much time had this fight actually aired.

All of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Bale Spear fucks off near the corner where Basilisk has stopped moving and starts articulating its pneumatic spike up and down, firing it off every once in a while. Whatever motor is running the rim with the missing tire is clearly responsive but somehow the others just seem to be intermittently functional. Parallax on the other hand is actually straight up dead. I just thought it was parked in the red square because Bale Spear is the one who’s out “fighting” but no when the ref is like “hey wait a minute are you guys actually even still active” the driver of Parallax shakes his head. He managed to fool pretty much everyone watching this fight, including the goddamned referee, all because his robot died in its starting square. (Insert “Illusion: 100” Skyrim meme here.) With just a couple seconds left in its KO countdown Parallax springs back to life and backs right up onto Basilisk’s flipper allowing the robot to get what just might be the only decent flip in its miserable existence. Parallax turns into an even more ineffective piece of shit and starts chewing up the floor, meanwhile in the background Double Dutch starts cruising around in circles because I guess now it’s that robot’s turn to just arbitrarily quit working.

There are four fucking robots in the arena right now and between all of them you have maybe one and a half functional machines and the only reason there’s a whole number in that outcome is because I’ve added together three halves. Nobody is even trying to bump into their opponents to show some modicum of being able to battle. Basilisk appears to be mostly operational and you’d think that maybe it would just go crash into someone to at least show that it wants to be here. It’s not like Basilisk is capable of breaking anything other than itself as this point. Nobody gets counted out and the fight goes to the judges who, amazingly, were there the whole time and didn’t take a piss break or go grab a La Croix from the break room… which is about the same thing as taking a piss break because that’s exactly what La Croix tastes like. “But Draco how do you know what piss tastes like nurr hurr hurr?” IT’S BECAUSE I’VE TRIED LA CROIX BEFORE YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.

WINNERS: Basilisk & Double Dutch, Judges’ Decision (3-0)

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “I think we all know who the real winner of this fight is: The Giant T-Rex” – Foolish Banana


HYPOTHERMIA vs. THE FOUR HORSEMEN
(USA VS. THE WORLD)

HYPOTHERMIA

Team Toad

Weapon: Lifting plow

THE FOUR HORSEMEN

The Four Horsemen

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blades & wedge

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

Hypothermia’s plow was designed to be “Tombstone proof” so I think it’s in the clear here.

This battle comes to us from the unaired archives of the weird “USA vs. The World” special that took place just before the main tournament. I don’t actually know what was going on with that when it happened because I feel like some of these battles were intended to round out the four qualifying matches everyone was supposed to receive, at least that’s what happened with Hypothermia as this was its fourth (and final) fight. I think these fights all happened with the “USA vs. The World” banter and shit taped just in case the producers decided they wanted to go that route (and it turns out they did). I can’t remember if this taping session was billed as “Fight Night” or if it actually was presented to attendees as the international special it wound up being. In any case here’s Hypothermia’s final match of the season and I’m mostly just impressed that Fuzzy Mauldin was able to put this fucking thing back together after both Minotaur and Valkyrie took turns raping it to death. Now you guys know I don’t like to throw the “R word” around, mostly because I’m not PewDiePie, but let’s be real here that’s exactly what happened in Hypothermia’s previous battles and you can’t fault me for simply being honest with my coverage. It’s all about ethics in robot combat journalism. Are Gamergate jokes still funny in 2019? Guess I’ll find out!!!

Hailing from the UK, The Four Horsemen were naturally destined to be here mostly because there were a lot less international competitors to choose from for this particular special. I’ve said in the past that I like The Four Horsemen as a concept but its execution was absolute trash. It doesn’t help that the multibot was reduced to just three components due to a miscalculation of weight because that just means nobody knows why the fuck the robot has “Four” in its name when there’s only three robots in the arena. Why they didn’t just request their entry be renamed to simply “The Horsemen” or something still stumps me to this day and it’s been nearly a year since this fucking event took place. Anyways the main difference between Hypothermia and The Four Horsemen (aside from literally everything) is that The Four Horsemen is actually the robot in this battle who has any wins at all. The Four Horsemen has a staggering ONE victory that came about from a slightly bullshit call in its 3-way match against Double Jeopardy and Gamma 9. I’ll give credit where due, The Four Horsemen’s spinning weapons and doorstop tactics were very effective but the multibot was knocked out near the end and nobody was paying any attention to it. Yes I am still salty over that.

One of the rare moments where everything came together and Hypothermia actually pushed someone around.

I don’t remember much about this battle from its taping, but I do recall Chris Rose saying “Fuzzy says he’s never been skunked at an event in his entire career.” Skunked means showing up and just losing across the board. Being humiliated, in other words. Even dating back to 2000 when Team Toad debuted Frostbite they still won a couple battles and unlike a lot of teams here Team Toad continued to stay active even after the cancellation of the first series of BattleBots. For Fuzzy to say he’s never been skunked is kind of a big deal and unless he really fucks this battle up he’ll probably be able to keep saying that. Case in point, Hypothermia just predictably plows through The Four Horsemen indiscriminately as soon as the green light comes on. The biggest problem though becomes apparent right away and that’s how Hypothermia’s design is entirely ill-equipped to do battle with opponents the size of Playstations. Hypothermia’s big ass wedge is meant to scoop up and slam big bots around but these little pissant ones just glance right off. That doesn’t stop Hypothermia from bulldozing through The Four Horsemen’s spinners like they’re not even there because that’s about all it can do in this match.

Butter Cup, the doorstop wedge of The Four Horsemen, is probably the most lethal aspect of the clusterbot simply because its entire purpose is to dive underneath its opponent and either get them high centered or deflect them at an awkward angle so one of the spinners can come in for a free hit. The Four Horsemen is basically the equivalent of an enemy in an RPG who only fights with attacks that have status effects. (This means The Four Horsemen is the single most annoying fucking opponent possible, for all you non-gamers out there.) Butter Cup does manage to get Hypothermia jammed near the blue square’s screws but because Hypothermia is comprised of about 50% wheels it’s able to pull back and drive away. If you watch closely you’ll see the black spinner of The Four Horsemen start smoking. I don’t remember its name, it’s been too long since the taping and I’m not going to bother going through all of my footage and notes to figure out what it is. It’s called Cheeseburger or something, fuck I don’t know. The black spinner is basically toast and cannot move aside from pivoting around on one wheel. After getting a great box rush on Butter Cup, Hypothermia gets another good rush this time on the crippled spinner. It winds up being taken to a Pulverizer, though in all his wisdom Fuzzy brings it to a Pulverizer that his team doesn’t control. I know that they do all sorts of shit backwards in the UK (like driving on the wrong side of the road and banning memes or whatever) but I don’t think The Four Horsemen’s team is dumb enough to whack their own robot.

when the booty too stronk

The entirety of this match is the equivalent of watching someone try and herd cats, except one of the cats (the black one) has a stroke and dies in the process. I wish I could say something to play this match up and make it exciting but the reality of the matter is that this is an article about fights that didn’t make it to air and so far you’ve kind of gotten a good idea as to why. Sure Hypothermia is arguably winning right now, but it’s not like it’s doing so by way of crushing its opponents. Hypothermia is winning because it’s a 250 pound robot that can tow a fucking truck and its massive steel plow is completely impervious to whatever kind of attack a dinky little spinner can throw at it. This is not the opponent that The Four Horsemen wants to battle. There’s nothing to hit on Hypothermia except for its plow and its “better than Bale Spear’s” monster truck wheels, neither of which they are capable of damaging in any meaningful way. In the final seconds of the battle Butter Cup goes all in and makes one last push and manages to bring Hypothermia completely off of the ground. This comes at the expense of just absolutely destroying itself because unless Hypothermia is taking vape hits with its ass I don’t think the smoke we’re seeing is coming from Fuzzy’s robot.

Hypothermia wins this match by a unanimous decision, but Fuzzy actually pointed out that he was docked points as a result of not using his PRIMARY WEAPON and instead opting to just wedge The Four Horsemen around. Enlighten me o’ BattleBots judges, esteemed purveyors of robotic justice that you are, what the fuck were you expecting Hypothermia to actually do in this fight? Camp in the corner and whip out a goddamned sniper rifle? Fuzzy’s robot is built to do one thing and one thing only and what that “one thing” is is exactly what happened in this battle. At least it was still a unanimous decision though, but I honestly can’t see any possible way that this match could’ve been scored even remotely in favor of The Four Horsemen.

WINNER: Hypothermia, Judges’ Decision (3-0)

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “I actually lost points in the judging to ‘over-wedging’.” – Fuzzy Mauldin


DUCK vs. GIGABYTE
(EXHIBITION MATCH)

DUCK

Team Black & Blue

Weapon: Lifting plow & spike

GIGABYTE

Robotic Death Company

Weapon: Spinning outer shell w/ teeth

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

CAN’T… CUCK… THE… DUCK…!

Duck is one of those robots that I feel is a really solid design but just gets treated like shit by the BattleBots rules & regulations. Said rules seem to have a preference for “active weaponry” that puts on a better show than something as methodical as a lifter can portray. If you need proof of that claim might I direct your attention to the previous fight in this article where Fuzzy Mauldin said he was still docked points even though he ran a fucking train on The Four Horsemen with his robot’s lifting wedge. Bringing up Fuzzy isn’t unintentional, either; in a parallel universe where Fuzzy continued to compete with Frostbite and didn’t try turning it into some shitty vertical spinner Duck is probably what Frostbite would’ve eventually evolved into: a stout four-wheeled block of solid goddamned metal with a giant fuck-off plow that just cannot be disposed of without absurd levels of firepower. It even has the dumb orange wheels. I wish I could say “you can’t cuck the duck” but sadly this year Duck was, in fact, cucked. Tombstone beat the hell out of it which put Duck on thin ice so Hal Rucker made the executive decision to send his robot to the “Last Chance Rumble”. He lost, presumably because of “over-wedging”.

I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you Gigabyte was one of the robots that I had pegged to potentially win this whole show. Yeah yeah, I know if you take into account this robot’s lifetime record it’s not actually that impressive, but Gigabyte is one of those robots that just pulls some crazy shit out of left field every once in a while. I really thought 2018 might have been the year where a full body spinner showed up and took the crown once more. Instead… Gigabyte just sort of petered out largely in part because of some exceptionally poor quality parts that the team ordered from China. How bad were these parts, you might ask? Bad enough that one hit from Tombstone caused the axle of Gigabyte’s weapon to literally disintegrate and its shell to fly off into outer space. I didn’t know robots could develop osteoporosis until Gigabyte showed up and reenacted the “boneitis” scene from Futurama. Strangely enough, speaking of Tombstone this is a battle between two robots whose hopes for the Giant Nut were cut short by Ray Billings and His Tornado Fuck Fest so while neither of these robots are participating in this fight in order to advance they really are trying to determine who’s the least worst. This one’s for glory.

As soon as the fight starts Duck allows Gigabyte to rev its shell up to top speed. You might be wondering why Duck is intentionally letting this happen, but if you give it a couple more seconds you’ll find out. You can’t kill Duck, the robot is all about absorbing massive hits and reflecting that energy back into its opponents. This spells certain doom for Gigabyte who gets its courtesy blow but is also sent flying into the corner of the arena as a result. The flip side to Duck’s design principle though is that it needs to be the one initiating these hits in order to seize the flow of inertia. If Gigabyte is the one to land a hit then it’s Duck who gets sent packing, sorta like what happens right after this first major blow. I don’t think Duck is hurt but it’s certainly getting fucked over by having a plow that rides along the ground after we’ve just gone through an entire goddamned season’s worth of battles. That floor is jacked up and Duck’s spike seems to be catching every single ding in it which is preventing the robot from delivering one of its trademark punches.

“Box audio only.” (The sound of a duck being thrown off of a cliff is heard.)

Also hindering Duck is its own plow which you probably noticed looks about as banged up as the arena floor by this point. Getting railed by Tombstone and subsequently running it through a rumble tends to have that effect on things. The left side of Duck’s plow is curled backwards and for some stupid reason Duck is smacking into Gigabyte exclusively with this side of its weapon. After taking a few hits the curl starts to dig backwards even further and at some point either the front left drive motor on Duck gives out or the tip of the plow bends so far back that it sticks into the tire and stops it from moving because Duck becomes visibly less mobile. Enough for Gigabyte to cruise in and clip Duck’s ass and throw the robot all the way across the floor. That wasn’t even that hard of a hit and Duck just goes flying. I know there’s a joke about ducks literally being able to fly but I think I’ve cashed in all of my dad jokes for the season so I’m all out. By virtue of Duck’s drive problems, and the fact that its plow appears to have come off of its mount, Gigabyte is arguably the one winning at this point, but unfortunately it’s not meant to last because the booty slap that it gave Duck is the last thing it’s going to do this year.

Gigabyte just dies. Its shell is still spinning, but the robot has lost all drive power. Duck bumps it around a bit, presumably to see if maybe Gigabyte wound up high centered on something, but even after being pinballed into the corner the spinner makes no effort to continue the fight. Gigabyte is reluctantly counted out by the ref and Hal Rucker gets to end his season on a high note by declaring that while the duck can indeed be cucked, it can only be cucked sometimes.

WINNER: Duck, KO

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “Plot twist: Bombshell wins the match by judges decision.” – chowt


CHOMP vs. KRAKEN
(EXHIBITION MATCH)

CHOMP

The Machine Corps

Weapon: Pneumatic hammer & flamethrower

KRAKEN

CE Robotics

Weapon: Pneumatic crushing jaw

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

Chomp, pretending to be whatever Ninja Turtle could breathe fire.

You guys know that I’m a believer in Chomp. I’ve sacrificed a lot of BATTLEBOTS STREET CRED™ defending Zoe Stephenson’s robot in the past and that’s because I feel like out of all of these robots Chomp is the only one whose redesigns have been truly meaningful. Maybe Witch Doctor is also in that realm, but after the 2015 season where Chomp was blown the fuck apart it came back as a totally new beast in 2016 and really showed us what it had to offer. Its fights may not have been glamorous and its wins were certainly controversial, but I feel like Chomp’s best year was 2016. It sank Bite Force, it got to show us what a direct hit on Captain Shrederator could do, and it demonstrated just how indefatigable it was by always being able to bounce back onto its wheels despite being the size and dimensions of a trash can. This season however was a complete and total bust for the robot. Zero wins, four losses. The only consolation that Chomp could walk away with this year is that it wasn’t completely destroyed. Somehow it’s avoided total annihilation for the past two seasons in a world of Tombstones and Gigabytes. But the disgraced snapping turtle inexplicably armed with a flamethrower wasn’t done this year as Zoe wheeled her robot out one last time for an exhibition battle against Kraken. While this match would have no official bearing on Chomp’s lifetime record within BattleBots a win would at least prove to be a moral victory.

Meanwhile Kraken doesn’t have much to prove. Matt Spurk donned a pirate outfit, convinced his entire family and team to do the same, and showed up with a goofy ass chomper bot that somehow managed to out-chomp Chomp because Kraken actually mustered a single victory when it chewed up Red Devil in the “USA vs. The World” special. But prior to that? Yeah this thing was total shit. It got bitten on the ass by Sharkoprion in its first battle and stopped working, and when it came back for round 2 Kraken arguably stood to win its rumble but something happened to it and the robot just careened into the screws and killed itself. That’s what happens when you watch the tapes from Skorpios’ 2016 season to get pumped up for your next fight. Kraken did surprisingly well against Lock-Jaw, a robot that probably cost twenty times as much and was built by a dude about as unstable as Chomp when it swings its hammer, until it was toppled over and revealed that it could not self right. I should point out Matt learned from that and fixed it by cobbling together a srimech in the pits before his battle with Red Devil and sure enough that little dinky self-righter stick saved his ass. All that said, I don’t really know why Kraken agreed to this fight. Chomp is too fucking big to bite down on.

Chomp demonstrates the most efficient way to neuter your pet.

Chomp’s sheer size doesn’t seem to hinder Kraken all that much actually because right from the start Kraken rams into the side of its opponent and starts guiding it over into the screws for some early points. I think Kraken might be biting down on the side of Chomp’s hammer but I can’t really tell; sometimes Kraken’s jaw just naturally hangs slack like it belongs to a creepy anime dude watching cosplayers and wishing he could sniff their feet or whatever it is people who get kicked out of conventions do that gets them… kicked out of conventions. Chomp gets away by swinging its hammer but thanks to the fact that Chomp can’t swing its hammer without tilting around that just means all Kraken has to do is stay in close and it can make another grab without any effort at all. Kraken does exactly that and brings Chomp over to some of the Killsaws, but since the guy who used to operate the hazards has been replaced with shitty photosensors in the arena floor that means the hazards don’t activate. I think it might also have something to do with not enough time having passed in the fight yet, but fuck that. Even if we were in the period of the match where the floor hazards are operational they still wouldn’t have popped up.

Kraken’s got its teeth down around Chomp’s hammer and isn’t showing any signs of letting go. Chomp is yanked over sideways once again and, once again, rights itself. However when Chomp violently swings itself back down onto its wheels Kraken gets pulled over backwards in the process. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue for Kraken because by this point in the season Matt had added the self-righter, but if you pay close attention the stick gets snagged in one of the slots in the floor for the saws and it snaps off at an angle. Kraken still attempts to deploy the broken stick and it props the robot up at a weird slant, something which Chomp fixes by stabbing Kraken right in the dick with its pneumatic axe. The resulting force of the blow crumples Kraken down on top of its srimech which destroys it. I don’t even think it was operational by this point anyways but you can’t blame Zoe for spending the entirety of Kraken’s KO countdown beating the shit out of it to make up for all the hits Chomp couldn’t land this season. I mean I guess you can, but good luck arguing your point against Zoe’s fanboys. That’s one fight I ain’t gonna pick, sort of like how Kraken should not have picked this one.

WINNER: Chomp, KO

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “Good job Chomp, you got a victory against the worst robot ever.” – mr. plutonium


PREDATOR vs. ROTATOR
(FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4)

PREDATOR

Team Danby

Weapon: Hydraulic lifter/clamper

ROTATOR

Team Revolution

Weapon: Horizontal spinning discs

[This match is available on BattleBots’ official YouTube channel.]

uh oh pwedator has a wittle pwoblem uwu

Whether you know Craig Danby as the builder of Foxic (Robot Wars) or Predator (BattleBots) one thing is for certain, this man has amazingly poor luck with his machines. They just break down all the time and for seemingly no real discernible reason. I’m sure these robots work in this dude’s garage, and in fact I know they do because I’ve seen the videos he’s posted on YouTube of them doing exactly that. But whatever the case Predator was one of the cursed competitors this year, though unlike Parallax it managed to have one of its battles aired. That’s not because Predator did anything of merit — it actually just died immediately — but the other two robots in that 3-way battle put on a decent show so Predator was just sort of there in the background. Objectively, Predator is a nice-looking robot. It’s obviously meant to be a fox of some persuasion, however unlike a lot of themed or gimmicky robots this one’s design suggests that it can actually do something. To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about I want you to look at Predator and then look at Battle Royale with Cheese and tell me which one you think isn’t the total piece of shit. I know that’s technically a trick question, but if I had to choose between the two I’d say Predator has the better form-to-function ratio. It’s front wedge can raise up or down so it can either nuzzle you to death or vore you, both are things very commonly associated with the fandom that I think Craig gets very upset about if you suggest he belongs to it.

Rotator on the other hand had a pretty solid run this year. Not only did Rotator make it to the quarterfinals but thanks to the shotgun murder it carried out on Icewave’s head Rotator’s builder Victor Soto also got to skate away with this year’s “Most Destructive Robot” award. Yeah, even though Icewave straight up ripped some dude in half Rotator still got the award for literally blowing Icewave’s mind. Rotator had such a shitty showing in 2016 that I didn’t even bother writing the robot off because it didn’t even have a chance to prove its worth. We got to see a tiny sliver of what it could do in a consolation rumble back then and that was enough to keep me optimistic. My friends disagreed with me as did a lot of the BattleBots community, but I pegged Rotator as a potential standout and I was right. I didn’t think this thing was going to actually win the whole tournament but by reaching the quarterfinals that kind of was a close approximation of how I felt regarding its chances overall. This fight against Predator was from the fourth episode and it didn’t make it to air because it wasn’t all that great. We already know that Rotator is going to win this one because we were told as such later on in the season, but let’s see how Rotator nabbed its first one-on-one victory.

oopsie woopsie pwedator wost some wheels owo

By charging out of its square straight at its opponent I can safely say that this is the boldest — and probably the only — move that Predator made all year. It’s a shame no one got to see it, I guess. But as quickly as Predator launches its attack the robot swerves sideways and fucks everything up. Maybe the ability to travel only 10 feet was an intentional part of Predator’s design, but whatever just happened that’s already it for the fox. It swings around again but by this point Rotator’s discs are going full blast and the robot comes in with its lower disc and starts shaving sparks off of Predator’s left side. Rotator’s upper disc is too tall to hit anything other than Predator’s “ears” but just to show everyone who’s boss Rotator goes ahead and clips the tops of both of those off for good measure. Now Craig’s fursona has something to really differentiate it from all the other foxes out there because “taking it up the ass non-stop” isn’t something unique enough when it comes to telling foxes apart in the furry fandom.

Rotator clips on Predator’s right side for a bit before the robot whips around to presumably get away from the spinners. This doesn’t work because as Rotator swings wide in response it catches Predator’s front right wheel and just busts the entire fucking thing apart. For what it’s worth Predator is actually an extremely stout and tough machine, so for Rotator to blow off an entire wheel complete with its outer protective guard says a lot for the energy stored in those spinners. Miraculously, this hit doesn’t kill Predator. I feel like Rotator may have decided it had done enough by this point because it cruises over to Predator’s wheel and does the thing that Tombstone does when it starts whacking parts around, but when Predator springs back to life Rotator decides to take this date to the next level and slashes into Predator’s left side once more. This time the robot goes whole hog and just slams into it and I can’t tell if that first blow rips the front left wheel off but I definitely know some shit broke because you can see (and hear) the Hardox plating on Predator give way. As the camera zooms in for a closeup you can see the output shaft where Predator’s front right wheel used to be still turning, a testament to this thing’s durability. Without a wheel though, it’s worthless. Rotator hits Predator one more time on its left side and blows the rear tire off and it’s at this point where the referee decides maybe it’s time to count Predator out.

WINNER: Rotator, KO

Best YouTube comment on this fight: “Rename ‘Predator’. Call it ‘Prey’.” – Scooter George


The look you give your date when she says she wants to go Dutch with the check, but you were planning on going Double Dutch on her.

I realize after how long I made you all wait for this article that I unintentionally probably set a bar for quality that I was no longer able to reach so rather than act like a dumbass in some vain effort to “make it worth the wait” I just decided to play this one straight and write it like a normal article that didn’t take 6 months to make it out the door. Like I said, things tend to go super wishy-washy for me at the drop of a hat and when shit gets real all of my hobbies are the first things to go. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but that’s sadly how it is. That said, I believe I am in a position to knock out the content that I know you’ve all been waiting patiently for and my personal goal is to have it out and finished before the taping for the 2019 season starts so that we can tackle the ensuing season with nothing on the sidelines distracting me. Yes, I am planning on being at the 2019 event. Yes, I will put together another one of those “event report” articles. Yes… whatever else you’re probably thinking. I probably shouldn’t give you guys a blank check “yes” like that but I have faith that you will use it responsibly.

This is also only one half of the unaired fights from this season, so the next time an article goes up it’ll have the remaining five. Like I said there was not really any major thought put into the fights chosen for this article aside from me wanting to avoid featuring the same robot in more than one fight and I think I managed to find a solution. So as always I’ll see you guys next time on BattleBots Update and if you’d like to be notified of the next time I rise from the dead the easiest way to do that is to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook. Likewise, I really do cherish and appreciate your support even in those weird periods where the site sometimes lapses into not being super active, but there’s still overhead to keep the lights on. If you would like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time tip through PayPal.

– Dracophile