[Episode 2 and individual fights available on ABC.com]

Welcome back to BattleBots Update. I’ve gotta be honest, after seeing last week’s episode simply waiting for this one to premiere felt longer than the wait for the show to come back in general. I guess after the first episode it became “really real” to me? It’s hard to explain, but now that I’ve gotten that initial taste of action I’m like a frenzied shark. A robot shark.

Anyways, here’s what went down this week. It’s a doozy.


You wanna listen to the Pretty Blue Dress Lady talk? Too bad. She’s going to run her mouth for 40 seconds before the “hosts” (and I use that term loosely) of the show even begin to talk about robots. Loved her delivery of her totally not scripted smack talk. Completely believable. Green Tie Man gives us a quick run down of the winners from the previous episode and also provides some insight into the “Wildcard” robots, which are four competitors that a “selection committee” will choose from the pool of eliminated robots to bring them back into the brackets for a second chance. They’re the best losers, in other words.

It looks like Overhaul versus Lock-Jaw is the first match of this episode, and it also looks like Donald Hutson is not the type of person you’d want to have as a valet parking attendant. The joke here is that he looks like he does a piss poor job of parking; either that or for his robot he built the letter “Z”.

THE 13-YEAR CHAMPION
determination.jpeg

determination.jpeg

Donald Hutson, builder of Lock-Jaw, also built Diesector. Look, see? There it is! Diesector is the reigning champion which is kind of cheating for two reasons; one, Diesector was a super heavyweight and that class has been retired, and two BattleBots was dead for 13 years. That doesn’t count, and if it does count someone needs to go find the kid that won on Nick Arcade‘s final episode and let them know they’re the reigning champion. It might actually stop them from committing suicide.

It looks like Hutson’s been pretty busy in the off season. He’s built all sorts of remote controlled stuff ranging from a tank that flies to a fucking dragon and even to “top secret stuff that I can talk much about”. Are you shitting me, Donald? You’re building actual Terminators aren’t you? Is that what it is? Terminators? Because I know it’s not the animatronics for Jurassic World because these days nobody gives a fuck about special effects and live sets anymore. Donald has the most boring-looking game on his computer, and then he unveils Lock-Jaw. Or 70% of Lock-Jaw, the face he makes toward the camera implies that he assumed he had done less work on the robot than he thought.

Donald inspects Lock-Jaw, then Lock-Jaw comes to life, Donald says something inspirational, and then the segment ends. That was quick.


OVERHAUL vs. LOCK-JAW

OVERHAUL

Team JACD (Cambridge, MA)

Weapon: Articulated crushing jaw

Overhaul was designed and built by MIT students.

LOCK-JAW

Mutant Robots (San Diego, CA)

Weapon: Serrated clamping/lifting jaw

Look familiar? Lock-Jaw was built from former BattleBots super heavyweight champion Diesector!

Overhaul comes to us all the way from MIT, and yes the hosts make a Good Will Hunting reference, shitty Matt Damon impression and all. I have now begun using the back of my sheet of paper where I am itemizing everything I don’t like about these people. Overhaul is yet another robot that kind of looks like a distant ancestor of Razer, the robot built by the Warhead guys. Overhaul has a massive pinching jaw that can clamp down and raise up and it also has a wide scoop-like front to keep opponents from deflecting outward when hit. Moving onto more obvious territory is the fact that Overhaul’s armor literally consists of a rectangle on the back of robot that says “TEAM JACD”. Yeah, the only thing in here that’s “jacked” is your ass if it’s thrown under the Pulverizer. I don’t even know why they bothered to give a pretend stat number to Overhaul’s “defense”, the robot looks like it would blow up if you hit it with a pool toy.

How does this goddamned thing even work? Really.

How does this goddamned thing even work? Really.

If Overhaul is the common ancestor of Bite Force and Razor, then Lock-Jaw is the next step in the evolutionary chain of Diesector (who you saw a few glimpses of in the Donald Hutson spot, the one where he elbowed the camera). It looks like Donald finally admitted that the hammers on the sides of the robot were useless pieces of shit, so nature selected against it and replaced them with more goddamned wheels, because that’s what Michael Mauldin would do. These references are starting to get a little too specific. Lock-Jaw kept the mouth and ass of Diesector and it looks like the chassis itself bears similarity to the “reigning champion” super heavyweight. The wheels are also cambered which provides some extra stability except for when the robot is upside-down. Donald builds fuckin tanks that fly and Japanese sex bots he’s not allowed to talk about, I’m just going to end this introduction by saying the man knows what he’s doing, okay? Lock-Jaw is perfection realized. It’s what happens when an Erector set and a giant sack of money fuck.

Both bots start the match in a dead heat; Overhaul gets a nibble, Lock-Jaw takes a bite. Overhaul starts going all Tokyo Drift in the arena and manages to awkwardly grab hold of Lock-Jaw and because every fucking part on Lock-Jaw is a moving part, the neon green robot starts to stand up and flip around and dig its butt spike into the arena. Donald Hutson looks like he’s literally about to have a fucking stroke. I assume Donald just pushes every button on his transmitter at the same time because Lock-Jaw manages to not only flatten out, but also right itself in the process. Overhaul, understandably upset with this turn of events, shoves Lock-Jaw into the wall and fucks up one of its back tires.

Lock-Jaw manages to get a good bite on one of the side flanges of Overhaul but nothing really comes out of this maneuver because Lock-Jaw’s wheels are completely off the ground. Six goddamned wheels. Overhaul gets carried near the arena screws and Lock-Jaw tries to lift it up and only succeeds in raising its ass into the air. Lock-Jaw aims its clamp downward to try and lift in the other direction and once again takes its wheels off of the ground. Are you fucking serious right now. The MMA commentator has a raging hard-on for seeing Lock-Jaw do a suplex move even though it’s pretty obvious Lock-Jaw couldn’t open a bag of Twizzlers without flipping itself ass over head. Despite this brilliant design flaw, Lock-Jaw finagles one massive hit in the final ten seconds; Overhaul gets slammed into one of the screws and the robot gets up-ended.

Flag is up. Mail's here.

Flag is up. Mail’s here.

The green-assed robot starts getting an erection and shows it off, and then right after the buzzer sounds goes in and rams Overhaul. Then backs up with Overhaul… then tries lifting it up… and then backs up with Overhaul some more. While this is happening, Team JACD is literally banging on the arena wall and shouting “LAY OFF THE STICK” and other remarks at Hutson… who, uh continues to fuck with their robot. It gets to the point where Fat Man with BattleBots Polo has to come in and let Donald know that it would probably be in his best interest to stop doing that. In what is probably the sickest burn in television history, the driver of Overhaul passes on the post-fight handshake and shuts that shit down. Judging by the color of their hair, those college students are going to be blogging about that on Tumblr for at least the next four months.

There’s a commercial break, because the medium of television is dead.

Anyways when the show comes back on they’re doing that fucking reality TV bullshit where they blow the ordeal out of proportion. I’m not going to bother participating in their manufactured “he said, she said” game. Fingers in ears, Faruq declares the winner.

Winner: Lock-Jaw, Judges’ Decision


GIRLS IN TECH, WE GET IT
LOOK AT HOW INCLUSIVE WE ARE

LOOK AT HOW INCLUSIVE WE ARE

In this post-Gamergate world that we live in it’s important to recognize the women in our engineering and scientific fields, because by putting a spotlight on them we can finally take a well deserved sigh of relief that we’ve succeeded in giving full equal representation, opportunities, pay, rights, seating arrangements, vehicle finance options, and gluten-free menu options to all.

Look I don’t want to sound like a piece of shit, but we get it. Lisa Winter said she wasn’t a creepy 35 year old dude building robots, and the first thing the producers made their footage of Andrea Suarez say is that the subject of women in this industry “has misconceptions”. I get what you’re trying to do, I really do. Yes, girls should not be ashamed to aspire to be engineers and scientists because lord knows we need them desperately. Because this is a sarcastic website, I now need to explain that the previous sentence is, in fact, not sarcasm. I’m not trying to belittle the message that is being made here, but when you start ramming it home this hard it starts to do the opposite of what it’s intention serves and trivializes the matter. Just showing women building and driving the robots will suffice, trust me the message won’t fall on deaf ears. Right now this segment is achieving what universities do when they make sure to find one of every minority plus a man and woman that “look gay” to include on their welcome package for prospective students.

Andrea says “you shouldn’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do what you like”. Was that so fucking hard? She just said, on her own, exactly what you were trying to frame her to say but without using a patronizing tone. Dear god I sound like a fucking SJW. What’s the Witch Doctor team up to anyways, oh they have a flamethrowe– that guy totally scorched his goddamn hand, didn’t he? Sweet Jesus, these people are the replacement Tilfords. Wait a second, end of segment? Hipster Beard gives himself second-degree burns on his hand while Andrea says two encouraging things? What the hell? Donald Hutson flew a fucking tank, you guys can at least juggle chainsaws or do a Mumford & Sons cover or something. No? Okay, fine. See you in the arena.


BRONCO vs. WITCH DOCTOR

WITCH DOCTOR

Busted Nuts Robotics (Miami, FL)

Weapon: Spinning disc (main) and flamethrower (minibot)

Witch Doctor’s disc has only one tooth, but is engineered to still spin balanced.

BRONCO

Inertia Labs (Sausalito, CA)

Weapon: CO2-powered flipping arm

Inertia Labs also built BattleBots legends Toro, T-Minus, and The Matador.

Witch Doctor is the third goddamned multibot in this event. Jesus dick, how many of these things are there? They were completely nonviable a decade ago, what changed? While Plan X and Warrior Clan went with the trifecta approach, Witch Doctor only has one companion robot, Shaman. But Shaman has a flamethrower because fuck originality. Witch Doctor’s primary weapon is a single-toothed spinning disc, which most of you reading this are like “but how/why”. It’s tricky to explain so let’s just go with “voodoo” as the reasoning. Witch Doctor’s tires are also cambered, but I don’t know if that’s intentional or if Fat Man with BattleBots Polo stepped on it. Shaman looks a little worse for wear as a 30 pound robot making it half the weight of a lightweight competitor. It also looks like Shaman is using the Evil Fish Tank wheels. That probably means absolutely nothing to anyone reading this right now unless you remember obscure legacy BattleBots, but it’s worth pointing out just for the sake of padding this paragraph out. Hah, fooled you.

Inertia Labs doesn’t fuck around. In fact, that’s actually the slogan of Inertia Labs. Seriously, that’s what it is; “Inertia Labs doesn’t fuck around. In fact, that’s actually the slogan of Inertia Labs.” Their very first BattleBot was a super heavyweight named Rhino, armed with a pneumatic spike. Rhino performed decently I guess, but during its only fight in season one they had a lot of time to ponder existential matters while DooAll parked itself on top of their robot for the whole fight. What if, like, we made the spike vertical, man? As they slowly turned the piston vertical not only had they made the world’s most killer bong, they also created Toro, a legend in its own right renown for literally throwing its opponents through the air. Super heavyweights, by the way, as in “300 pounds”. That became their “thing” and Inertia Labs won the middleweight division in the fifth season, taking down then-undefeated three-time champion Hazard. Roll all that history up and stuff it up a bull’s ass. Now you have Bronco. God help the Witch Doctor team if Shaman gets anywhere close to that flipper because Bronco will throw it straight through the roof and into the San Francisco bay.

DON'T. CALL. ANYBODY.

DON’T. CALL. ANYBODY.

Shaman weighs only 30 pounds, but 29 of that must be devoted to its balls because it connects with Bronco head on in the center of the arena. Shaman is immediately deflected away and I don’t even think Bronco realizes it plowed through someone, because Bronco has its sights set on Witch Doctor who ends up getting thrown through the air. Bronco completes this attack by ramming the purple bot into the wall. This move rights Witch Doctor, who in the meantime has been joined by Shaman who proceeds to piss butane all over Bronco. Realizing its partner could use a light, Witch Doctor blasts Bronco with its disc and the sparks causes an explosion that frees Bronco from the wall. (I know it’s Witch Doctor that frees him but c’mon I gotta play this shit up for ratings too.)

Detecting that the butt is the premium cut on Bronco, Shaman just fuckin dives straight in, baby. Shaman gets all up in that ass and then lets it loose, lighting Bronco up like it was a Hollywood stunt car. The fight turns into Looney Tunes for a moment as Bronco realizes its ass is on fire — after an acceptable amount of uncertainty to allow the audience to laugh — and then jumps straight up and runs away. Not the best Wile E. Coyote impression I’ve seen, but formidable. Things get brought back down to Earth however, as Bronco declares this fucking fight over. It achieves this by throwing Witch Doctor up past the spike strip and out of the arena. Sensing trouble, Shaman just runs. The hosts announce that the fight is a TKO, which isn’t really correct as that requires the losing robot to knock itself out; Bronco tossed Witch Doctor out of the arena. These are the people they hired to do the commentary.

Winner: Bronco, KO


THIS MAN IS NOT A SERIAL MURDERER
Wait a minute, these aren't sunglasses at all!

Wait a minute, these aren’t sunglasses at all!

Ray Billings is a strange man with a strange laugh. That giggle at the beginning of this segment is something that comes back to me as auditory hallucinations at four in the morning. We learn three primary things about Ray in the opening moments of this piece. One, he’s been competing for a decade. Two, his team name gives Team Extreme (M.O.E.) a run for its money in terms of how generic it is. Three, something is wrong with the date/time settings on his iPhone. Ray says he works for a “major silicon manufacturer” because he’s not sure if he can or should namedrop his employer. It’s Intel, BattleBots.com says so.

Tombstone is Ray’s maniacal creation, and it’s almost literally just a weapon. Tombstone has wheels purely because “moving” is something robots need to do. I’m sure Ray would’ve loved to just make a spinner with no wheels that drove itself, but we saw Wrecks last week and we know about how well that plan worked out for them. Tombstone’s segment is like a Ronco commercial on steroids. Instead of sawing a boot in half and then slicing a pineapple in midair, Ray’s robot just indiscriminately fucks everything up that’s put in front of it. It blows a bowling ball to smithereens, shatters the world’s ugliest lamp, turns a cinder block back into sand, and un-invents the television.

There’s something strange about Ray’s gaze. I think it’s because he’s watching the red light on top of the TV camera. I feel sorry for whoever was drawn to fight against his robot.


TOMBSTONE vs. COUNTER REVOLUTION

COUNTER REVOLUTION

Operation Boilermaker (San Jose, CA)

Weapon: Front and rear-mounted vertical spinning discs

Curt Meyers competed in previous BattleBots events with his heavyweight Kill-O-Amp.

TOMBSTONE

Hardcore Robotics (Placerville, CA)

Weapon: Horizontal spinning blade

Tombstone is considered to be the most-feared robot in this event.

There’s a lot I can say about Counter Revolution, most of it isn’t positive. Counter Revolution is… unique, this of course being the BattleBots equivalent of describing a fat date with the term “has a good personality”. Counter Revolution looks like a cassette tape mixed in with the bottom part of a vacuum cleaner, I mean seriously in what universe is this an effective design? Did Curt Meyers overhear someone say “two Nightmares” and then fuck it up? This robot pisses me off just looking at it. Who puts an identical weapon on the ass-end of a robot? Is that in case the first one breaks? Why not use the weight from the second weapon to make the first one not a piece of shit so that doesn’t happen in the first place? Anyways, it doesn’t really matter, because Pimp My Barbecue or whatever it’s called is pretty much marked for death.

Tombstone is lauded as the robot that nobody wants to fight. After BattleBots ended, Tombstone emerged under the name “Last Rites” where it proceeded to mangle and shred its opponents into tiny pieces. Ray Billings, builder and driver of Tombstone, has a sexual attraction to ripping the wheels off of his opponents. He’s fucked more tires than a Wal-Mart Auto Center. I last wrote about Tombstone (Last Rites) in some coverage for the 2011 RoboGames special Killer Robots that aired on Science Channel. I unfortunately said some pretty shitty things about Ray in that article, which as I’ve been informed he read. He’s probably reading this, too. (Hi Ray! I promise to only make fun of robots and not their teams this time.) Tombstone is what you might call a “glass cannon”. Sure, it’s powerful, but Ray has taken a gamble on funneling a significant amount of the robot’s weight into the weapon system, like a middleweight robot holding a fire hose. If that blade stops, Tombstone is pretty much toast.

None of what's shown above is good for Counter.

None of what’s shown above is good for Counter.

“Counter Revolution might have something up its sleeve, we might see a major upset here.” Don’t ever open your mouth again. Look at Counter Revolution. LOOK AT IT. The robot already has its fucking self-righting arm up in the air, ready to tap out.

Counter Revolution starts the match, weapons spinning full blast, charging at Tombstone. I can kind of see what Curt is trying to do here, hitting Tombstone’s weapon in the direction that it’s spinning, but rather than aim its weapon at Tombstone, Counter Revolution just runs into the blade with its corner. Tombstone disintegrates 10% of the robot in a single hit, and that’s it. Counter Revolution is fucking dead. The robot moves slightly after the hit but that’s just its nerves firing off randomly before its body ceases to function and return to nature. Rip in pepsi.

Tombstone hits Counter Revolution again for good measure, this time on the other side. This, of course, sends another handful of the Legos that formerly comprised Counter Revolution all over the place. That hit was so hard that something inside of the oversized tape deck catches fire. Curt Meyers says “fuck”, like he was expecting something else to happen in this fight. By this point, Ray is ready to take the piss out of this battle; he starts driving Tombstone over to hit some of the larger pieces of its opponent. Then he rips Counter Revolution a fourth asshole. I’m going to assume that Curt is telling Ray to just trash it because there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that his robot will ever shit right again, let alone actually work. One final blow is dealt to Counter Revolution that rips through the very fabric of time itself, causing Counter Revolution to vanish.

Winner: Tombstone, KO


RAPTOR ROBOTICS
This man is a dinosaur in real life.

This man is a dinosaur in real life.

Chuck Pitzer is a BattleBots veteran in the most literal of terms. Like Jim Smentowski of Team Nightmare, Chuck has participated in every single BattleBots competition. He also hasn’t aged, can pull off some sweet kicks, and yes bro he does lift. Believe it or not, Chuck has inadvertently drawn the ire of BattleBots’ owners in the past when his team’s robot Tripulta Raptor appeared in a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial at the height of BattleBots popularity. Apparently this was a huge deal? And then BattleBots died. Tripulta Raptor couldn’t tell its ass from a hole in the ground but it still managed to push the first domino in the chain of events that destroyed BattleBots. Thanks Chuck. I’d say more but I’m pretty sure he’d be able to kick me in the face over email.

At least I can relish in the fact that I know how to double dutch jump rope and I don’t fuck it up and ragequit like he does. Heh.

Chuck starts dropping some mad truths on us about how he’s too good for this tournament and that he doesn’t talk smack, he just brings his A-game and wrecks shit in the arena. Hilariously, there’s footage of a fucking Roomba or something on screen while this is going on. Yeah Chuck, whatever. Cool vacuum bro. You heard it from Chuck first, Ghost Raptor is the best engineered robot to ever enter the BattleBots arena. That unintelligible shout you just heard was Mark Setrakian telling Chuck to go fuck himself. Anyways Ghost Raptor has sensors of some kind and can see other robots in the arena and I guess it goes after them? Are you sure having a robot that’s partially autonomous is a good thing, Chuck? Because I’ve seen videos of cats sitting on Roombas that don’t know any better.

Also for a robot called “Raptor” nice work with the sabertooth cat skull graphics. That’s neither a dinosaur nor a bird of prey, you fucked up twice as hard.


GHOST RAPTOR vs. COMPLETE CONTROL

COMPLETE CONTROL MK. V

Mission Destruction (San Francisco, CA)

Weapon: Grappling lifting arm with flamethrower

Complete Control was formerly a middleweight; it moved up a weight class for this event.

GHOST RAPTOR

Team Raptor (San Francisco, CA)

Weapon: Adjustable spinning bar with lifting arm

The angle of Ghost Raptor’s weapon can be adjusted during battle to strike at different heights.

Complete Control is a robot that came out of left field to me. This BattleBots event is for heavyweight robots (250 lbs), and all throughout Complete Control’s previous incarnations it was a middleweight contender. I can’t say I’ve never wondered what Complete Control would look like as a heavyweight, and now I know: a tank. The robot’s primary strategy is to get underneath its opponent with the orange thing, then clamp down on them with the other orange thing, and then finally lift the other robot off the ground. This time, however, it looks like it has a flamethrower which dare I say looks to be the most effective use of a flamethrower that I’ve seen to date. Say what you wish about Derek Young and the stupid “evil-doer” that the producers are trying to paint him as, the man’s a brilliant engineer. He’s a former BattleBots champion with his oldest robot Son of Smashy and when Complete Control was introduced in BattleBots‘ second season the robot managed to deadlift its opponent (Super Chiabot) completely perpendicular to the floor. That single moment is one of the most iconic in the history of the sport.

I didn’t say much about Ghost Raptor in Chuck Pitzer’s spotlight segment because I was too pissed off about the decals on it. From what I’ve collected, Ghost Raptor was built from the remains of a previous Team Raptor creation, Preda Raptor. Preda lost its clamping jaw and replaced it with an adjustable spinning blade, and then became a ghost because 2spooky4me. I’m having a hard time calling the robot’s design anything other than “generally unremarkable” because that’s doing it a disservice, it only looks sorta boring, there’s actually a lot of moving parts that aren’t immediately visible. For example, its blade can tilt during a fight. That seems like a bad idea considering gyroscopic force and all, but whatever it’s the best engineered robot to ever enter the arena so what do I know? The thing the blade is on also has two lifting spikes so if Ghost Raptor’s weapon stops spinning it still has a viable method of attack. No matter what I say that’s sarcastic about this robot, I have to admit the weapon looks menacing. It’s like Abbatoir except it works.

Before the fight starts, Derek unveils a large wrapped gift for Ghost Raptor and places it inside his robot’s clamping apparatus. Attached is a note that offers condolences, and a letter “R” that someone didn’t get right the first time.

Oh hey look a commercial break. Man, that never gets old. Can’t wait to see what products not to buy merely on principle alone.

It's... the smoke monster from Lost?

It’s… the smoke monster from Lost?

When we return, the hosts are playing up the present as some kind of psychological device. Look man, it’s a fuckin thing to absorb some of the initial first blows from that weapon so Complete Control can potentially get in close an– are you two assflappers doing Se7en impressions? God damn it. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t funny when Bil Dwyer did shit like this but at least he had that “stupid uncle” motif as his sole redeeming quality. These are just two guys quoting dead pop culture that isn’t yet trendy again.

The fight finally starts and as expected, Complete Control is keeping the gift aimed at Ghost Raptor while the robot’s blade is starting to spin up. The box gets trashed by Ghost Raptor and a fucking net comes out. As you might expect, this completely dicks up Ghost Raptor’s weapon. Chuck flashes a glare at Derek in disbelief while the announcers are providing such gripping commentary such as “Ghost Raptor is trapped like a fish in the ocean”. There’s at least forty things wrong with that remark and as much as I want to just stop this article and discuss the finer points of robot commentating I will instead demonstrate some self-restraint and just utter in my lowest tone of voice possible that a fish “in the ocean” isn’t fucking trapped.

The officials stop the match because literally no one has any fucking clue what’s going on anymore. The issue here is that “entanglement devices” haven’t been allowed in BattleBots, ever. Derek Young, in a demonstration of all of his apparent hipster smartass cred, combed the rules extensively, saw that the people who rewrote them left this part out, and decided it was worth abusing. Derek, my man, your reading comprehension skills are clearly off the charts but you haven’t done something this shitty since you popped Subject To Change Without reason like a minute after the buzzer in season one.

Looks like the hosts are about as tired of this manufactured drama as I am so they do a hand-off to an update on the rest of the event. I guess we’ll come back to this later?


MEANWHILE…
america no :c

america no :c

In the meantime, there are a handful of fights that were not aired in full due to time constraints but we do still get to find out who won and who we can expect to see in future episodes. Since the hosts are just rattling these off as quickly as possible I’ll follow suit and condense their chatter into something a little more coherent.

Captain Shrederator (also known as AMERICA) is the reincarnation of former BattleBots competitor Phrizbee, a deadly full body spinner. Its opponent Stinger is a post-BattleBots contender but still an experienced one nonetheless. Stinger is also known as Sewer Snake, one of the few robots to claim the championship at RoboGames. It looks like Captain Shrederator landed a single “good” blow to Stinger, because one of its yellow wheels is all jacked up, and was then promptly up-ended. The last time America got its ass beat this bad by something yellow was Pearl Harbor.

I think people just looked at what robot won the first BattleBots heavyweight title rumble and just went with it because Chomp is yet another robot that looks like Razer. This time the gimmick is a flamethrower. Not a single part of this robot isn’t a reheated mess of other contenders. Overdrive is a nimble wedge with a lifting arm built by Christian Carlberg, a two-time BattleBots super heavyweight champion with his legendary robot Minion. Overdrive backs into Chomp and the robot gets dragged up on the screw by its naughty bits and is knocked out. Overdrive didn’t even have to use its weapon. It assed Chomp to death. Good effort?

TIP: Do not use your bot to smuggle fireworks.

TIP: Do not use your bot to smuggle fireworks.

Sweet Revenge is a robot from an all-girl high school team led by Nola Garcia (of Team Loki fame) and resembles Tombstone but with an extra set of tires. Mercifully it looks like we dodged a third potentially marginalizing PSA about women in tech with this one. Radioactive is a modular trefoil-shaped robot whose driver totally leaves his teammate hanging on that high five. Radioactive’s weapon is the most anemic looking thing I think I’ve ever seen. I’m naming it “Shitty Frenzy” and no amount of high-speed footage and sound effects can make that flaccid dick of a weapon interesting. The only weapon worse than that is the one on Sweet Revenge, which doesn’t work at all. Fantastic, you lost to the goofiest goddamned thing at the event.

Mohawk is a… is another fucking Razer. Hypershock is a four-wheeled box-shaped robot with a set of twin spinning discs. Mohawk gets hit once and quits working. They had to play the entire fight in slow motion so the announcers had enough time to finish what they were saying.


GHOST RAPTOR vs. COMPLETE CONTROL… again

COMPLETE CONTROL MK. V

Mission Destruction (San Francisco, CA)

Weapon: Grappling lifting arm with flamethrower

Do not invite Derek Young to your birthday unless you fish often.

GHOST RAPTOR

Team Raptor (San Francisco, CA)

Weapon: Adjustable spinning bar with lifting arm

Ghost Raptor’s weapon is not impervious to fishing nets.

Looks like the ruling is that we’re getting a rematch, sans-nets. Chuck says he’s ready to destroy Complete Control and he’s “gonna make it hurt”. Sabertooth cat.

The commentators rub-in the fact that Derek Young took offense to being labeled a “bad guy”, and rightfully so, but I guess that’s just not good enough for TV ratings these days because they sure did a better job of making him look like a douchebag than the guy on his team whose only role is to hold up a goddamned disco ball.

Literally one second into this match Complete Control floors it in reverse across the arena, jumps a foot into the air, and proceeds to drive around like it broke something. Ghost Raptor lands its first hit of the match… on the arena spike strip. No problem, the bar gets spinning back up to speed, Ghost Raptor lunges at its opponent, lands a blow, and half the fucking blade breaks off.

“Ghost Raptor is the best engineered robot to ever enter the BattleBots arena.”

The whole fight in one image.

The whole fight in one image.

I’m done, I’m so done. Forget what I said about Ghost Raptor being “like Abbatoir, but works”; neither of them do. Both of these teams haven’t a single clue as to what in the hell they’re doing. From this point forward the rest of the match is a game of touchy-feely between a clamper with a broken drive system and a spinner with a broken weapon. Can I just be forthcoming with this next reference and shout “cripple fight” without shame? Because I am.

CRIPPLE FIGHT!

Ghost Raptor clearly has the upper hand here since it’s the robot with a fully functional drive system, but I’ll be damned if anyone on Team Raptor can drive that thing in a straight line. Ghost Raptor takes control of Complete Control, sort of? The raptor ends up taking a blow from the Pulverizer and gets its innards toasty by hanging out in front of its opponent. To combat this, Ghost Raptor doesn’t turn to face its opponent with its shielded back-end. No, it just drives backwards full blast, rams into the wall, and flips itself over. I’m beginning to run out of adjectives to describe what’s happening here.

Complete Control, despite its busted drive system, manages to pick up Ghost Raptor and toss it around, getting part of Ghost Raptor’s weapon stuck in its orange lifting arm. In the process, a drive chain comes loose from Complete Control, which is visible once Ghost Raptor returns the favor and puts the robot into the wall. The fight ends exactly where it started, in the corner where half of Ghost Raptor’s weapon decided to bounce and go do something else. It’s like the past three minutes didn’t happen at all. Hmm, imagine that.

Winner: Ghost Raptor, Judges’ Decision


MEET THE WILDCARDS
Seriously, how is this NOT Razer?

Seriously, how is this NOT Razer?

Four of the twelve losing robots from the qualifying rounds have been chosen by a selection committee for reinstatement into the tournament brackets, advancing onward to the Round of 16 by their merit and performance in the arena. Let’s check out who’s catching that sweet second wind.

  1. Overhaul — Lost to Lock-Jaw at the beginning of this episode in a split decision.
  2. Chomp — Fire the selection committee.
  3. Witch Doctor — Likes barbecue, tossed out of the arena by Bronco.
  4. Warhead — No, really, fire the selection committee.

Overhaul and Witch Doctor I can definitely see as solid candidates for selection. Both of these new teams emerged with some powerful machines that unfortunately did not fully get their chance to shine in the ring. They certainly earned their places in the Round of 16. Chomp, though, I’m not sure what’s so special here. Its battle clearly wasn’t interesting enough for broadcast, and in the clips we saw it had its ass handed to it by Overdrive’s ass. Blue Dress Lady comments on Chomp’s “spirited performance”; that’s the kind of shit you say when someone brought a total piece of shit into the arena but by golly they sure did their best! Counter Revolution had a “spirited performance” in the arena. All over the arena, too. And Warhead, just, fuck you. Really. Bite Force mopped the fucking floor with that “legendary” robot. Nightmare and Complete Control are both more worthy of the final wildcard spot based upon their performances in the arena; Nightmare literally disintegrated two robots in a single blow each and Complete Control held its own in a lop-sided match against a broken opponent. Warhead did absolutely nothing except show up.

If you disagree with that, you are wrong.


That’s a wrap on episode two, everyone. I feel like my cynicism came out in full force this time around. If I insulted one of your favorite robots too bad, because I’m like Oprah; this is my show and everyone gets a prize. Every robot has something worth making fun of and that’s the beauty of writing this column. No matter how unique or “best engineered” a robot is I can still reduce it to a single term and belittle all of the work put into it. Want proof?

Sabertooth cat.

I’d drop the microphone but I don’t have one. This is the Internet. Thank you for joining me this week, I want to give major shoutouts to Badnik96 and joecb91, two fans of BattleBots Update whom I saw sharing last week’s article with their buddies and the robot combat community. You guys rock! Not just you two, but all of you. Even though we make fun of robots here, I am always at a loss for words when I try to explain how honored and humbled I am that people incorporate my work into their lives as a source of entertainment. For better or worse, haha. Thanks for keeping me going.

Join me next week when the Round of 16 is officially underway!

– Dracophile

EDIT: It was brought to my attention by Reddit user Colonialism that Razer did not win the first BattleBots heavyweight title, but actually the first heavyweight rumble. I’ve corrected that part in the article. Thanks!

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