[Robot Wars UK S9: E1 is available online here.]

“Looks good to me, send it to the printers.”

At the start of the previous series of Robot Wars I jokingly said “there are too many Robot Wars”, citing the sheer number of series that ran internationally as well as the “World Championship” events. I was just fucking around last time but now I mean it. There are too many Wars; this is series 9 episode 1 and the BBC has already just announced a filming date for series 10 and is asking teams to submit applications now. (As of the writing of this article that URL leads to a .NET Framework error, this is because websites running Windows technology are fucking terrible.) God damn, the first episode literally just aired and they are already getting their ducks in a line to shoot the next season? In two months??? Meanwhile over here in “The Colonies” ABC is taking their jolly ol’ fucking time deciding whether or not they want to greenlight another season of BattleBots or shart out another ten episodes of I Can Find $3,000 In Your House.

What I’m trying to say is, the UK has their shit together. In this post-Brexit world they’re free to produce seasons of Robot Wars faster than we can watch them and faster than the teams can build robots for. By 2020 the BBC will be starting up shooting for new Robot Wars seasons mere minutes after wrapping up taping for the previous one. Anyways that’s enough hyperbole, this season we have 40 contenders vying for the coveted Robot Wars trophy. Among them are last season’s champion Apollo. Not among them are former world champions Razer, former judge anathema Storm 2, former Dutch champion Tough as Nails, formerly owned by someone else Dantomkia, former series grand finalist Or Te (Bigger Brother), and former something something something Thermidor 2.

Also suspiciously absent from this season is TR2, a grand finalist last year. I know the team was there because they let Dara drive the new TR2 around during the Battle of the Stars special, but to deny them a place in the series after running a successful charity fundraiser is kind of shitty. I’m not saying they should’ve been given a spot solely for their charitable works, but I mean come the fuck on. Give me one good reason why some shit like Foxic can come back but TR2 can’t. Foxic didn’t even score any fucking points in its heat last year. Dick move.

(PS: Shoutouts to the Wilhelm scream in the opening credits.)


THE FIRST OF MANY GROUPS

Problem, Dara?

Last year the first robot we got to meet — the one the producers pretty much led the show in with — was fucking Nuts. No, not “fucking nuts” as in the robot was the craziest thing ever, I mean literally named Nuts and looked like a carousel after a trip through a goddamned black hole. They smartened up this year because RAPID gets top billing and Dara O’Briain is in the pits to give us the scoop on this robot that is so averse to light anything reflected off of it is magnified by a factor of twenty. Dara says it’s the most expensive robot ever and the driver, Josh Valman, tries to be modest about it. It’s either modesty or he doesn’t want to respond with “it cost more to build my shitty wedge than the producers are paying you to host this dumb show”. I can’t tell. Josh says his robot’s #1 weakness is that it “scratches easily”. Man dude, this guy is earning BattleBots Update Shit List Points™ faster than anyone else in the history of this website.

The tire hub isn’t part of the robot. I know I know, it fooled me too.

What do a trampoline, a set of bike tires, and a file for horse teeth have in common? They are all components of JELLYFISH, our next robot from group one. Dave Lawrie was a member of the Nuts team last year but he decided to break off and do his own thing because I guess when he showed his teammates his idea for their new robot nobody liked it. Color me fucking surprised. I appreciate Dave’s “blackjack and hookers” approach to robot combat, though. Jellyfish is certainly… something. Like, I don’t even know anymore, man. We’re two robots in and we’ve gone from the most expensive robot ever to something that quite literally appears to be made from window siding and fucking pool noodles. I think I even saw a couple of green dildos or something nailed to Jellyfish at one point. What’s its weapon? Getting arrested? This thing is like if you somehow made Tentomushi an even shittier robot.

JAZZ HANDS!

Oh great, the third robot is none other than NUTS 2. It’s almost like by talking about it so much we’ve jinxed the whole show. At this rate I hope the next robot in line is Granny’s Revenge. Dara says Nuts’ showing last year was a “spirited performance”. It’s good to know that despite our linguistic differences the British also use the exact same passive aggressive terminology to say “was an absolute total piece of shit and we were hoping they wouldn’t come back but fuck me here they are again”. The “new Nuts” is allegedly four times more powerful. It is at this time that I’d like to casually remind readers that 4 times 0 still equals 0. That said, Nuts does look like a slightly better robot this time around with proper spikes on its flails and what appears to be yet another minibot, but at the end of the day it’s still Nuts. I’m convinced that re-entering the robot without any wheels still would’ve been a step up. Nuts’ team says they’re going to “make sushi” out of their former teammates in Jellyfish. I’ll ignore the fact that you technically cannot make sushi out of jellyfish and instead express my complete and total bewilderment that it “just so happens” Nuts and Jellyfish were drawn to battle each other. Wow. So unpredictable. I am amazed at the luck.

Nick on the left is going to be the next Robot Wars meme.

Finally, it’s time for TERRORHURTZ. Last series John Reid and his robot were knocked out of the running early after suffering a ton of mechanical problems with their pneumatic axe. You’d think after nearly two decades of refining it that maybe John would’ve made it past the “does the goddamned thing actually swing” hurdle but hey I’m just some dickhead with a computer and no sense of humor so what do I know? John tells Dara that they were running two radio transmitters wired in parallel which was an overcomplicated system and they’ve found a more efficient solution. I’m excited to see because last year Dead Metal’s saw was literally millimeters away from blowing Terrorhurtz’s air tank and we got ripped off right at the last minute, so we damn well better see something exciting from Terrorhurtz this time around.

Before the group battle begins we get a quick recap of the arena which is pretty much still the same thing. Pit, flipper, spikes, fire, whatever. However new this year is some sort of “random” lever attached to the pit release button that Dara refers to as a “huge doodad”. Supposedly this “random” lever will either drop the pit or send out a House Robot for ten seconds. Maybe I’m just a cynical person but I highly doubt that thing has a literal coin’s flip chance of either dropping the pit or activating a House Robot; it seems like a really convenient way for the producers to keep a boring battle exciting by siccing Matilda on some shitty robot. Also, it looks like they just straight up stole the Good Egg/Bad Egg thing from Willy Wonka.


GROUP BATTLE 1

NUTS 2

Team Nuts

Weapon: Spiked chain flails

RAPID

Team RPD

Weapon: Pneumatic flipper

JELLYFISH

Die Gracefully Robotics

Weapon: Clamping jaw

TERRORHURTZ

Team Hurtz

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

Matilda busts a nut.

Nuts 2 gets started by immediately spinning around in place. I’m sure its flails won’t glance right off of Terrorhurtz and Rapid or be too high off the ground to hit Jellyfish. Speaking of Jellyfish, Rapid has swooped in and thrown it through the air and Terrorhurtz lands a couple of quick blows to its lid presumably because by letting their former teammate take the heat Nuts 2 has found a way to not be the easiest target in the arena this year. Nuts 2 is busy doing a fantastic job of avoiding the camera while its minibots buzz around Terrorhurtz’s face like gnats on a horse’s asshole. Both Rapid and Terrorhurtz seem to be ignoring the minibots completely as opposed to last year when wayward adversaries like Razer and Carbide took the time to completely disassemble them.

The flailbot finally gets back in the action by flinging one of its chains right into Rapid’s flipper and gets taken for a ride before being spun off into Matilda’s corner. Matilda comes in with her massive ass and with a single shot hurls Nuts 2 completely out of the fucking arena ending their run for the series. That kind of sucks because I was looking forward to seeing it be completely thrashed and rebuilt twice over like what happened last year. As goofy as fucking Jellyfish is, it’s managed to outlive its predecessor. Nuts 2 got beat by a robot whose parts look like they were completely eyeballed and not a single goddamned measurement was made at any time during the build process.

Jellyfish may have outlasted Nuts 2, but only by a few seconds because while Matilda was busy booty-quaking Nuts 2 into oblivion Rapid has been throwing the clamper all over the place and it appears to either be dead or severely crippled. Fun oceanic fact, jellyfish don’t have a central nervous system; I’m seeing a lot of similarities between this robot and its namesake. Terrorhurtz starts chasing Rapid around as John tells his teammate to go easy on the Like button and Rapid’s driver demonstrates £25,000 worth of being a fucking coward and runs away until the referees count out Jellyfish.

WINNERS: Terrorhurtz and Rapid, KO


THE OTHER GROUP

*fart sounds*

You guys remember SABRETOOTH? The robot that, up to this point in time, has never won a fight ever? It’s back. Angela introduces the robot as a “complete rebuild” of last series’ entry ignoring the fact that every fucking time we see this thing it’s a complete rebuild because it sucks. Last year Sabretooth was supposed to be able to self right but their mechanism stopped working and lo and behold the robot ended up getting turned on its ass and died. This year I’ll admit Sabretooth doesn’t look as crappy because at least it’s able to drive upside down. For the sake of being nice I’ll ignore the fact that it apparently took Gabriel Stroud sixteen years to figure this out. For what it’s worth, Sabretooth has a very distinct and artful look to it with its faux rocket engine-looking thing on the back and all of the nice vents and grates and badges stuck on it. It looks more like a robot this year and less like the autistic Mad Max monster truck it did last year.

This new Rob Zombie movie kind of sucks.

TMHWK is next and I’ve gotta admit I’m a little let down that the robot’s name is pronounced “tomahawk” instead of individual letters. I would’ve loved to hear the Disembodied Voice try and make it sound cool as well as hear Dara O’Briain say it without stumbling over it somewhere around the letter H. TMHWK comes to Robot Wars all the way from Holland, where vowels haven’t yet been discovered, and is armed with a pneumatic axe. I guess it’s an okay robot but I mean considering the last time we saw a robot from Holland it was literally a fucking windmill anything is a step up, really. To reuse an old Update term, TMHWK is this episodes “solid 5 (out of 10)”.

Last season Cold Fusion Team brought us Kill-E-Crank-E and found it to be their Robot Wars destiny to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of ensuring Razer would not advance in the tournament. This year they’ve dropped the “Kill-E” and have returned with CRANK-E, the second robot this episode to have a pair of fucking googly eyes on it. The team claims their robot is “spinner proof” and if you watch during the robot’s introduction shots you’ll see nearly two dozen shock absorbers mounted behind the robot’s front scoops. I’ll give credit where due, I doubt they’ll need to worry about their front end taking damage. That was a good idea, meanwhile Angela discovers that underneath Crank-E’s armor is aluminum foil. Supposedly this is to protect its innards from flame which Robin Herrick explains through the analogy of making chicken. Someone skipped breakfast today.

“It locks in the flavor.”

Shockwave muscled its way into the Grand Finals last series but its run for the title was literally cut short when Carbide showed up and just fucking ruined everything in the process, including the arena wall. The team took what was left of their robot home with them and have returned with AFTERSHOCK, a vertical spinner that does the “one-toothed disc” thing that’s currently hip with all the kids these days. Will and Ian Thomas completely redesigned their machine from the ground up, but sadly didn’t have enough time left over to design new shirts nevermind they filmed all the B-roll before the new ones arrived. Will says the weapon should theoretically destroy everything, Ian says he’s confident but they haven’t tested it yet. Bro, just do what we do in the US; fire it up in your driveway and if your neighbor has an issue with it tell him its your land and to go get fucked.

“All that stands between them and the Grand Final are five hazards, four house robots, and three competitors.” And two hosts, and one Jonathan Pearce.


GROUP BATTLE 2

SABRETOOTH

Team Legion

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

AFTERSHOCK

Team Shock

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc

TMHWK

Team Lazerus

Weapon: Pneumatic axe

CRANK-E

Cold Fusion Team

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

No! The flavor seal!

Crank-E makes the first move and immediately jukes toward Aftershock hoping to land some hits before its disc can get up to speed. Funnily enough, Crank-E makes this amazing tactical decision before its own blade even starts to turn. The result is Aftershock picking its first victim and Crank-E gets tossed around like it weighs a hell of a lot less than 108 kilos. By attempting to draw first blood Aftershock has chosen to mark Crank-E as a “dead motherfucker” and lines up a shot on Crank-E’s ass that blows it wide open and throws the robot over toward Shunt who gets his licks in as well. With its primary armor knocked loose Crank-E has to rely on it’s backup plan, aluminum fucking foil. This turkey’s done, stick a fork in it.

While Aftershock was busy reenacting the fax machine scene from Office Space on Crank-E, the new and improved Sabretooth and TMHWK were left to take cheap shots at each other. TMHWK looks a little bit worse for wear as Sabretooth gratuitously chews off an entire panel of ablative plastic armor from its side. Aftershock crashes into the pit release button and since the producers are satisfied with the Crank-E effigy offered seconds earlier, decide it is acceptable to open the pit. Crank-E gets dropped off on the spikes by Aftershock, and Sabretooth responds by doing the same with its toy and clips an entire fork off of TMHWK’s front end. Both robots appear to be totally fucked and for some reason both winning teams thought it would be a good idea to take them to literally the worst hazard in the entire arena instead of dropping them off at the flame pit or something. Seriously, the spikes are so fucking embarrassing that if you watch closely at the end of the fight one of them actually shoots completely out of the goddamned floor.

It could be worse though, the producers could’ve thought bringing the “Disc of Doom” hazard back was a better idea than some shitty spikes. Blessing counted.

WINNERS: Aftershock and Sabretooth, KO


SABRETOOTH vs. TERRORHURTZ

Sabretooth gives Terrorhurtz the taco shits.

The first head-to-head of the new series looks to be a pretty solid match up. Normally I’d poo on Sabretooth because it’s a piece of shit but it did just end a 16-year losing streak by being a key player in said match instead of just barely surviving long enough to advance. I wouldn’t say Sabretooth has advanced to the rank of “world class robot” yet, more like “continent with a majority of countries in the first world… class”. Terrorhurtz on the other hand, this is the real deal. I really don’t know why I led in with a “world class” setup expecting it to pay off on this robot however, because rather than disassemble the pneumatics to find the issue with the robot’s axe John Reid just sprayed it down with WD-40 and said “yeah, that’s good enough to win the Robot Wars title”.

Terrorhurtz lines up the first attack of the fight and lands a precision blow right onto the fancy “S” badge of Sabretooth. It seems John’s strategy for this round is to focus on getting Gabriel to come down from his high of finally winning a fight with Sabretooth for the first time in his fucking life. Another solid blow is dealt right onto one of the wheel sections of Sabretooth but no significant damage is caused. Gabriel finally gets his bearings and careens his robot right into Terrorhurtz’s ass and just blows it the fuck apart. If losing the counterbalance for its axe didn’t screw something up, then Sabretooth’s feverish tearing of parts and pieces from its opponent’s backside surely did. “This is very bad,” says John Reid. UH YEAH DUDE.

I WANT IT NOW DADDY! I WANT A GOLDEN GOOSE!

I’ve gotta say, Sabretooth has impressed me with this level of carnage. Unfortunately it comes to an end when the robot tries to take a bite out of the giant metal barrier on the front of Terrorhurtz and completely shears like half its goddamned weapon off, but at this stage I really don’t think Terrorhurtz can turn this fight around. Something starts to smoke and its hard to tell who or what it is, but when the smoke clears Terrorhurtz has lost half of its drivetrain. To everyone’s surprise the axe still works and Nick, the co-pilot of Terrorhurtz, starts swinging it wildly while John has an existential crisis over trying to get him to chill the fuck out. Sabretooth’s team meanwhile is trying to figure out if they have a replacement drum and whether or not they should hit the pit button. They go for it anyways and since we have a crippled robot on the field the producers decide to send out a “rogue House Robot” that just so happens to go for Terrorhurtz. John ponders who pressed the button. Well my friend, there’s two robots in the arena and only one of them is still fully mobile sooo…..

Nick keeps dicking with Terrorhurtz’s axe and John finally tells him to just stop as the judges mercy kill this fight.

WINNER: Sabretooth, KO


RAPID vs. AFTERSHOCK

Above: “The Money Shot”

I’d hate to be Rapid right now, but someone’s gotta go up against Aftershock first. The most damage Rapid has to fix after the group battle is a slightly bent steel wedge which for some reason it seems the show is making a big deal about. Then again this is a robot whose only weakness is that it “scratches easily” so something that’s bent is like a fucking five alarm fire I guess. Josh delivers his team’s introductory speech from what looks like some kind of corporate high rise with a bunch of expensive-looking crap on the table behind him. Oh right, this is the robot that cost a ton of money to make; I bet they’re taping this interview from one of those cock envy British business buildings that have a street address of “ONE” even though they’re technically not at the right place on the street where 1 normally would be. “Rapid is completely over-engineered,” says Josh as he holds up a large pneumatic valve telling me everything I need to know about the design philosophy behind his robot.

All that talk of sharpening and straightening Rapid’s wedge pays off early as the wedge charges first, gets underneath Aftershock, and tosses it into the air. Because Aftershock’s disc is spinning at a velocity somewhere around “fuck you” MPH, this pulls the robot forward and down resulting in the disc colliding with the arena floor and popping one of the panels several inches off of the ground. Aftershock lands on its wheels and starts landing some glancing blows on Rapid’s flipping ramp before eventually tossing the wedge onto its back. Rapid should be able to self right, and tries to do so, but Aftershock doesn’t give them the room to pull it off and makes sure all £25,000 of Rapid stays tits up. This somehow kills Rapid and sends Aftershock to the top of the leaderboards tied with Sabretooth.

In fact, Rapid’s ass got handed back to it in such poor condition that Angela has to let us know that the team is on the verge of disqualification due to the severity of damage incurred. What the fuck happened? You got hit like twice.

WINNER: Aftershock, KO


CONNECT BORE

This image says so much and it pisses me off that no one else realizes it.

While the teams get ready for their next fights apparently we’ve got another one of those “hot tech topic” discussions between Dara O’Briain and the guy whose name I have to look up every single fucking time I need to type it out. Everyone has gathered around to watch Angela Scanlon play Connect Four against a robot, since driving one isn’t really her speed. Sethu says that this nifty little setup he has here demonstrates “shared autonomy”, the same thing he was talking about last year when he had Dara strap that weird hand onto his arm to pick up a water bottle. I guess viewers couldn’t relate to “having a third hand on your body whose sole purpose is to hold water bottles” so they’re trying it again with “playing a game of Connect Four against someone”, a step in the right direction.

Anyways Sethu is really excited about this technology that’s going to eventually put tons of people out of work and cause an even bigger shitstorm in the employment marketplace and probably cause another financial crash somewhere along the line, but at least when unemployment reaches 90 fucking percent you can find someone to play Connect Four with at the food stamps office. Angela eventually ends up losing to Deep Blue and bookends an analogy for human society that nobody presently in front of the camera is aware of.


SABRETOOTH vs. AFTERSHOCK

FUUUUUUUUCK

Ian Thomas, Aftershock’s primary fabricator, mentioned after their fight with Rapid that he had concerns about the weapon not turning properly and said something about possibly having bent the robot’s chassis. Turns out I guess all they needed to do was replace the massive pancake motor that runs Aftershock’s disc making me wonder what actually happens to all the dead E-Tek’s, Perm’s, and Agni’s these teems seem to go through like goddamned tissues. Anyways, the Sabretooth team isn’t having a good day in the pits because toward the end of their match with Terrorhurtz the robot’s drum basically just fucking blew apart. Al “Everyone’s Grandpa” Cannon explains in detail the extent of work required just to get the drum working again which involves drilling and tapping holes to screw the broken portions back together and then wrapping the drum with several steel rings for strength. Next year I’m willing to bet these guys just bring a spare fucking drum.

Understandably this is really a fight that Sabretooth probably doesn’t want to have, something that is realized about four seconds into the match when Aftershock has already ripped one of the robot’s side guards clean off. I can’t really tell if Sabretooth’s drum has started spinning but I think the team is currently more focused on getting the hell away from their opponent and making a second go which doesn’t work out at all because the robot catches the corner of the floor flipper and gets tossed over. Sabretooth is supposed to be able to drive upside down but I’m guessing its top panel got fucked up at some point because the wheels start spinning and the bot doesn’t move. Team Legion expresses astonishment at the fact that a flipper mounted inside the floor and sectioned off with bright red tape has, in fact, flipped their robot over.

SHIIIIIIIIT

Aftershock lands a blow to Sabretooth that flips the robot back onto its wheels and nearly rips it lid off. Now mobile, Gabriel makes the executive decision to smash into the pit button at any fucking cost. Luckily for him, since this is a fight with Aftershock, it is decided that the pit shall open because Aftershock is more than capable of pleasing the crowd. Aftershock aims to make damn sure that this is the last mistake Sabretooth will ever make and just abso-fucking-lutely demolishes it. There’s at least three separate points at which this fight could’ve ended with a KO victory for Aftershock but they just give their opponent the fucking Hypershock treatment and split them the fuck apart. Part of me feels genuinely bad for Team Legion to get the high of finally winning a match and the level of disappointment in seeing your robot basically turned into a pile of soot in the same fucking evening.

That sucks, but god damn was that a good show.

WINNER: Aftershock, Straight up murder


TERRORHURTZ vs. JELLYFISH

“We designed our robot after a yard sale sign.”

Now you might be saying, “Hey Dracophile didn’t Jellyfish lose in the group battles” and I’d say you’re right. Jellyfish basically got thrown around and eventually died, but Rapid is such a monumental piece of shit that it actually sustained severe enough damage in its fight against Aftershock that the necessary repair time exceeded what the event rules allocate. Letitia from Team RPD demonstrates that one of their gearboxes doesn’t work anymore and Josh says the gearbox is too far inside the robot for them to get to and fix in time. To a layman this all sounds pretty cut and dry and you might be confused, but this hilarious fucking monstrosity is Rapid’s gearbox. Last year it took a literal ball of goddamned fire to consume Chompalot and force its team to forfeit, but in Rapid’s case all it apparently needed was for a tiny washer or something getting stuck in its gears and it’s game over. This is exactly what is destined to happen when you tell Dara that your robot’s weakness is that it “scratches easily” and then brag about how over-engineered it is in your team intro. I’m gonna make one more £25,000 joke before this robot gets sent off to the recycling plant, “haha Rapid cost £25,000 look how much it sucks everyone lol nice one mates next time use a coupon ZING”.

Literally the only hit of the fight.

Angela meets up with Jellyfish’s team (which is named “Die Gracefully”, and by resuscitating the robot they’re ironically doing anything but) and Dave talks about how surprised he is at the turn of events. He even settled his differences with the Nuts team and reunited, “the boys are back” he says. Again, these are “the boys” that built last year’s Nuts so this is less like a Guns N’ Roses reunion and more like modern day Jefferson Starship or something. There is a certain biting irony that comes with replacing the most expensive robot in the tournament with the cheapest one, though. Dave says nobody on his team has proper training in the field of engineering and that this will prove to be a boon because they’ll be able to think outside of the box more easily. Well, they did, and this is what they came up with; a writer and a horse dentist put their noggins together and rather than shit out My Little Pony fanfiction they built Jellyfish, so… good? (The “smackdown” line was pretty lit though.)

Terrorhurtz has had one hell of a nightmare getting back in the ring I’m sure, but from the start they’re on top. The axe works, they land a hit, and then slam Jellyfish into the wall where all of Jellyfish’s extra metal plate armor falls off and clatters on the floor like silverware. Consequently, Jellyfish is also apparently dead now.

WINNER: Terrorhurtz, KO


TERRORHURTZ vs. AFTERSHOCK

…and Terrorhurtz was never seen again.

Welp, after that cakewalk of a win I guess this is most likely the end of the line for Terrorhurtz. Apparently all it takes is a good spinner to sink this robot and Sabretooth managed to reach that bar, so if Sabretooth can be considered “a good spinner” then Aftershock might as well be thought of as “a guaranteed one way flight back home”. As far as I know Aftershock hasn’t really sustained any major damage yet, at least nothing that can’t be fixed by swapping out its $1,500 fucking weapon motor. Man, I gave Paul Ventimiglia a hard time for buying “four replacement Eteks” for Bite Force in BattleBots but those things are like $500 a whack easy, this shit is like three times the price. Fucking hell, Will and Ian will you please pay off my credit card debt?

I’m sure John Reid is on pins and fucking needles right now and Nick just leans over and says he’s gonna swing the axe and I’m legitimately fucking losing it at John’s reaction. It’s like a fed up parent telling a child not to do something but you know he’s gonna fucking do it anyways. The good news is, and this is something I should’ve pointed out in Terrorhurtz’s last match, is that the robot’s rear tail has been fixed so the axe can still be swung. I bring it up now because Aftershock lands a glancing blow to Terrorhurtz’s rear end that nearly shears the damned thing off again but instead misses and shatters some of the polycarbonate armor. For a moment Terrorhurtz gets Aftershock successfully corralled into Shunt’s CPZ and I’ll admit that I thought the tables were being turned but then Aftershock gets away, Terrorhurtz gets caught by the floor flipper, and Aftershock whacks it mid-flight and sends it like 20 goddamned feet into the air.

Fun fact: These hits actually FUSED pieces of Terrorhurtz to Aftershock’s disc.

Surprisingly, Terrorhurtz still works. Also surprisingly, Nick has been a good boy and hasn’t swung the axe even though it’s now in its fired position and John has to remind him to retract it. I can just imagine this make believe petulant fucking child going “but you said not to swing it” in a snarky voice right before something happens that kills everybody. This is an insane fight and Aftershock nearly throws it into the garbage by driving straight into the spikes and getting rolled over. I’m honestly terrified of what would’ve happened if it got stuck in the middle of the spikes and the force of the disc came to a complete halt. I’m assuming none of us would be alive to read this dumb article if that had happened.

There’s actually a brief moment where Terrorhurtz’s axe is touching the weapon shaft of Aftershock but it’s on the wrong side to nick the belt. If that would’ve happened who knows how this fight would go, but since it didn’t Aftershock takes another shot at its opponent and Terrorhurtz gets thrown onto its back and you can visibly just see random parts and shit hanging down. The axe is dead, literal bites have been taken out of Terrorhurtz’s front end, it isn’t self-righting, the match is over. Holy shit.

WINNER: Aftershock, KO


SABRETOOTH vs. JELLYFISH

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY

Jellyfish is here on a second wind after Rapid died from having too much money. It’s only been back for a single fight against Terrorhurtz, which it lost, but the extent of the damage seemed excessive for the lack of carnage in the fight; one of the magnets inside of Jellyfish’s drive motors sheared in half and needs replacing. Speaking of things that need replacing, fucking Sabretooth. Jesus fucking Christ. They actually put this goddamned thing back together after Aftershock erased it from existence. I sincerely cannot believe this. Sabretooth left its last fight in more pieces than it took to build the damned thing and yet here it is. I’d say “fully functional” but this is like “Sabretooth after a concussion and a couple of strokes” functional. “This is the stuff of legends,” Gabriel tells Angela. Yeah dude, bards will sing the song of your quest for generations to come but now you’ve gotta fight Jellyfish… whom I’m sure you could probably still beat even in your robot’s current condition.

Meanwhile Dave Lawrie from the Jellyfish team mutters to himself “let’s prove a few people wrong shall we”. Dude, your opponent is the equivalent of an elderly woman on a fucking hospital bed. If you win this fight and gloat about it I swear to god you’re coming out of this scuffle looking like Andy Kaufman.

This picture looks exciting but it really isn’t.

Sabertooth “works”. It cruises out of its starting position, drum spinning the wrong way, and immediately gets hung up in Jellyfish’s colorful array of colored pipes covered in garage sale stickers. Even though Sabretooth’s drum isn’t quite working the way it should it turns out that spinning downward is kind of playing to its favor here as when combined with Jellyfish’s low clearance it’s allowing Sabretooth to ride over its opponent and do some damage on the top. Jellyfish eventually gets a nibble but doesn’t seem to be able to get Sabretooth onto the nearby flame pit. Cripple fight? Cripple fight.

Eventually Sabretooth gets tangled up on the hot mess on Jellyfish’s back side and neither Gabriel nor Dave can get them apart. Sir Killalot comes in to have a look and knocks Sabretooth free in the process. The weapon operator of Sabretooth spins the drum up and lands a hit purely to convey to the judges that it still works which is a pretty outrageous tactical move but this whole episode has been completely unprecedented so I’m just going to go along with it. The bots get stuck together again but there’s not enough time left on the clock for it to make a difference and the fight gets sent to the judges.

WINNER: Jellyfish, Judges’ Decision


HEAT FINAL
SABRETOOTH vs. AFTERSHOCK

SABRETOOTH

Team Legion

Weapon: Vertical spinning drum

AFTERSHOCK

Team Shock

Weapon: Vertical spinning disc

Honestly, what were you expecting?

Because the universe hates this robot, Sabretooth will have to face Aftershock not once but twice. Sabretooth only won one of the head-to-head rounds, but since it tied with Terrorhurtz — and because Sabretooth managed to beat Terrorhurtz — they won the tie breaker and advanced onward to the heat finals. Sabretooth barely stood a chance when it was in working condition; the way it currently looks isn’t good and honestly if I were Team Legion I’d just pray for mercy. Aftershock hasn’t lost a single fight yet, and on top of that they’re in the heat finals with 9 points which is literally a perfect score. Aftershock has already beaten Sabretooth once and has made sure Terrorhurtz’s team has their work cut out for them if they want to come back next season. For better or worse, even though it wasn’t completely demolished, Aftershock also beat Rapid so brutally that the team had to forfeit.

Jonathan ponders whether Sabretooth has sustained too much damage. Let me help you out there buddy — yes. A single shot sends Sabretooth onto its back which seems to limit its mobility. I’m sure at some point long, long ago — before Aftershock turned its ass into a pretzel — Sabretooth was able to drive upside down, but I think those days ended about 20 minutes ago. Aftershock lands another hit which bends Sabretooth’s baseplate upward so I’m fairly certain the robot can’t drive right ways up now either. Sir Killalot comes in to inspect the damage and decides to hold Sabretooth over the flame pit for a while. Sabretooth’s not going anywhere and while Sir K starts spinning around to throw its plaything Aftershock’s team is having a tactical argument over whether or not they should keep their weapon disc spinning for the ten goddamned seconds it takes to count Sabretooth out.

WINNER: Aftershock, KO


And that’s a wrap on the first episode of the new series! I’ve gotta say I’m a little unhappy with how “exclusive” the event seems in regards to popular teams and robots not making the cut but honestly I can’t complain with the robots that made it into the show. Aftershock is just demonic and among the others from this heat there’s a lot of potential in the new Sabretooth as well as the consistency in Terrorhurtz. Next week sees the return of Behemoth, Eruption, and PP3D. Draven also returns and I’m sure the team is hoping no one remembers that they were KO’d in a single shot from Mr. Speed Squared last year. Well, too bad. I remember. There’s also four new robots including one from the guy who had previously owned Dantomkia. Will throwing money at the problem lead to victory? Find out!

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(Next week’s article might be a little late as I will be travelling to compete at Dallas Area Robot Combat (DARC) with my newly rebuilt robot Kill Switch. Expect a bonus event report maybe?)

– Dracophile