Battlebots '21

I made this point about the Jamaican bobsled team in the Winter Olympics thread: How long is NBC going to pat them on the back just for showing up? There was a time when the idea of a tropical island nation competing in a cold weather sport was utterly ridiculous, and that was 1988. It’s been done, and it’s been done numerous times. It no longer qualifies as a novelty or something to draw inspiration from. They’re just another bad team now.

I’m starting to feel exactly the same way about Rusty, and far more so Dave Eaton. Yes, it was a cute little novelty, but now we’ve seen what it can and can’t do. As far as I’m concerned, Eaton’s sugarcoated kid gloves atta-boy initiation period is over and everyone needs to start treating him like a damn adult. I don’t have a problem with mandated courtesy (I think more reality shows need it, actually), but I absolutely have a problem with preferential treatment, and the idea that Eaton alone has protect-his-feelings privileges because he’s so “inspirational” irks me.

Huh? Oh, right, Battlebots. Sorry, with everything else that’s been happening lately, it kinda dropped down my priority list.

It’s tournament time! Starting things off as always is the first round, or as I like to call it, "ersatz fourth prelims match except for some of them it’s actually the third hey this nearly got cancelled just be grateful we have anything”. Since prior to ’20 the tournament only had 16 bots, this effectively means that everyone who loses tonight didn’t deserve to be in the field. Something to keep in mind as you watch these matches.

Skipping past the intro because I’m trying to cut down my cliche intake.


Riptide (2-1) vs. Shatter (2-0)
And right away, case in point. Shatter is a hammerer, one of the most ineffectual types there is, and it barely outlasted the completely unimpressive Blacksmith. Meanwhile Riptide just knocked out Duck, a result which would have been considered utter fantasy a few seasons ago. C’mon, there’s no way Riptide isn’t winning this.

Ooh, there’s an official bracket pool now, cool. :slightly_smiling_face:

Riptide knocks Shatter back. Shatter, off-balance, swings and misses. Riptide puts Shatter on the upper deck. Shatter, having already given up control points, can’t stay there and descends. Shatter swings again and does a nice malfunctioning clock impression. Riptide pounds Shatter into the wall, then knocks it all over the corner. Shatter fires away, and I think it’s up to strike 7 now. :roll_eyes: It starts smoking. Its movement is getting choppy. Close up, “OH NO!” written on the left wedge, and irony is always such kick in the spinal column, isn’t it? :grin: Shatter gets inverted, and that’s the end of its spurious ambitions. Adam Wrigley has that why-did-I-get-out-of-bed-today-again look on his face.

Oh, look, Ethan Kurtz is screaming directly into the camera! That is both something I need and an appropriate response to winning the first flipping match of the tournament! :angry:

P1 (2-1) vs. Hypershock (2-0)
I have a saying: “When both sides are scrubs, the one with slightly stronger bristles is going to win.” Hypershock gets one good hit, then charges right in…and flips itself over. The good news is that it can run inverted; the bad news is that while inverted it only has two wheels on the floor and its weapon continuously bounces on the floor and makes control nearly impossible. I’m thinking that the bad news well outweighs the good news. Finally, after a long struggle and getting thoroughly manhandled, it gets rightside-upped, then…BAM, big hit to P1! Which stops Hypershock’s weapon dead. :man_facepalming: P1’s dented but still kicking, meaning that it has this as long as it keeps the pressure on. Which doesn’t quite happen, as Hypershock gets better pushes…and that’s how this ends.

If Hypershock’s weapon holds up, easy win. As it is, it’s a super-tight razor’s edge squeaky nailbiter with more sugar than a candy factory, the proverbial Either Way Goer Can or however you say that. And…no, wait, it’s a yooner for P1! And it wasn’t that close: Young 7-4, Winter 7-4, Bardis 6-5. Man, that’s gotta be humiliating. Team Hypershock has its work cut out for it this offseason.

Play-in - Malice (1-2) vs. Skorpios (1-2)
Winner has the honor of getting creamed by End Game. :stuck_out_tongue: The fight: head-on collision, Malice’s spinner instantly craps out, Skorpios plays Blind Lumberjack Simulator for 2:55. :woman_facepalming: Skorpios yawner, I mean yooner.

Bloodsport (2-1) vs. Minotaur (2-1)
The biggest disadvantage a horizontal spinner is that if even a bit of it breaks off, that completely messes up the bot’s handling. Such was the fate of Bloodsport in its very first wepper against Minotaur, and it didn’t get any better from there. Unfortunately for Minotaur, while its spinner its plenty fast, it doesn’t have a lot of punch, and Bloodsport, despite taking a thrashing, is still functional. Minotaur got a couple dents but looks in better shape. (Oh, more screaming into the camera, just what I needed. :rage: Look, I know you’re riding an Acceptable Story, but for crying out loud, chill out.) Minotaur with the hard-earned yooner.

Hijinx (2-1) vs. Sawblaze (2-1)
Classic matchup between the bot that’s looked vulnerable this season and the bot that looks vulnerable every season. Jameson Go should win this, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk. Sawblaze begins by hounding Hijinx, preventing that slow-accelerating blade from reaching danger velocity. A few shots from the saw. And another which knocks off an armor panel. And it looks like a motor’s about to fall out. Another big hit and the front end is severed. Incredibly Hijinx can still move, but it’s chances have just entered the “Washington Generals Zone”. Sawblaze continues chopping, chopping away. Incredibly Hijinx manages to maintain enough movement to avoid the count, and this goes the distance. Sawblaze in a blowout, obviously, but it’s a bad sign that it wasn’t able to get a stoppage after being so dominant.

Development! Glitch is out! The newcomer which dominated Ghost Raptor, Hydra, and Kraken has some unspecified mechanical issues and cannot compete in the tournament! (Of course, now knowing that it is possible to bow out of the tournament even after being selected, this just makes Captain Shrederator’s impending doom all the sadder. Goddammit. :slightly_frowning_face:) The alternate, which no one told me Battlebots had, is Mammoth, giving it…the opportunity to get thoroughly chewed up by Witch Doctor. Look, how do I put this…Mammoth is bad. It’s not going to beat any quality opponent, especially in the tournament.

Witch Doctor (2-1) vs. Mammoth (1-2)
Mammoth gets upended. Mammoth has a tube get split. Mammoth has a chain get split. Mammoth loses the weapon. Mammoth loses the right wheel. Count. Congrats, Rickey Willems, you got to lose three matches this season instead of just two! :crazy_face:

Time’s running short and there are still three matches to go, which means that…that’s right…welcome to waiweewuwweiland! :grin: First was Lucky (2-1), which is an appropriate name as it certainly wasn’t very good this season (and then there’s the matter of, ahem, inopportune tactical errors :rage:), against Copperhead (2-0). Predictably Copperhead ran all over its foe and scored a breezy yooner. Then it was Huge (2-1) against Uppercut (2-0). Uppercut was the superior machine by any metric, which of course meant that it went after mostly yooners and crapped out at the very end, turning what should’ve been a convincing stoppage into a sweat-drenched saimin. Uppercut still got the yooner, but that was a pretty bad look. The team is going to have to drive a lot smarter if they’re going to have any chance against Riptide.

Skorpios (2-2) vs. End Game (3-0)
Bam bam kachunk crash whap EG wins. You were expecting divine intervention, perhaps? :woman_shrugging:

Good day overall. :+1: The right bots won; no monkey wrenches, no meltdowns. I still not convinced P1 is as good as its record, but it’s hung tough and made it clear that it’s no pushover. There are going to be some really good matchups for the second round.

State holiday today! Let the games begin!


Play-in - Defender (2-1) vs. Hydra (1-2)
This time we start with the bout we’re supposed to. Hydra runs straight at Defender and knocks it over, which costs it one of its forks. It gets uprighted, and Hydra goes for a running flip which misses. Defender, undaunted, runs straight at Hydra and gets flung backwards for its trouble. Some snaking around, another flip…miss. Hoo boy, it’s another terrible offense vs. nonexistent offense classic. :sleeping: Another miss, but then Defender climbs onto Hydra’s lifter again and the inevitable happens. :man_facepalming: I seriously don’t know what the hell Jason Vasquez is thinking. I’ve seen all kinds of weird tactics in the Battlebox, but “do exactly what your opponent wants” is definitely a new one. A third flip. And a fourth. Defender is still mobile but just lost another piece. This is the exact same problem Duck had: You can cry “No hurt! No hurt!” all you want, but unless you dish out something in return, you’re never going to win. It ends with Defender flung onto the upper deck against the wall, and it’s now too banged up to right. Jake Ewert snaps “That upper shelf sucks because I can’t play with my toy anymore,” and once again I am overwhelmed with pride at the level of maturity displayed by these drivers. :angry: A rookie winning record goes down the toilet, and Ewert gets the honor of getting thrown into the woodchipper. What was the point of play-ins again?? :cry:

Yeti (2-1) vs. Cobalt (2-1)
Battle of the glass cannons. It begins with an unusually cautious approach; they seem to be trying to avoid a wepper. Cobalt pulls the trigger first, driving forward hard, but can’t stay on track and goes into the upper deck screws. Yeti is having a bit of control trouble, getting raised on its forks, but quickly lowers itself. Yeti drives forward, and we have first contact, grinding away at Cobalt’s front. The center position of Cobalt’s disk means that it’s going to lose out on every head-on attack, so it can’t allow this. Cobalt goes on the run; Yeti pursues and gets a free shot at its back, knocking it over. Cobalt gets away on the second attempt, and we have a maneuvering battle. They charge, and this time Yeti’s momentum carries it into Cobalt’s spinner for a solid hit. Yeti rights, but a little more juking later Cobalt gets a second shot in. And Yeti has ground to nearly a halt! The wheels aren’t moving, and the righter, missing the right fork, is really struggling! A few ineffectual one-armed push-ups later, Yeti’s season is done.

John Mladenick has done a nice job getting to three wins, but I’m still not sold on Cobalt’s design. I think as soon as it faces a driver who keeps it at arm’s length instead of charging in, it’s finished.

Jackpot (2-0) vs. Tombstone (2-1)
Damn…I have never seen Ray Billings like this before. He looks downright crushed. There’s absolutely none of the confidence or swagger he’s had in past years. I saw his run to the ’16 nut, and he seemed to grow bigger and scarier with each match. Now it looks like Jackpot, the bargain-basement brawler (with a perfect 5-0 record in prelims, incidentally) not only looks like it could beat Tombstone, it wouldn’t be an upset at all if it did. This would’ve been utterly unthinkable a scant two years ago. Man.

Wepper. Both machines thrown back. Neither seems the worse for wear. Wepper. Both bots sent flying. Both spinners banged up now and having trouble. Jackpot slowly retreats and regroups. Tombstone…oh no. OH. NO. The right wheel can move, the left can’t. Tombstone circles the drain to the bitter end, and that is it.

Black Dragon (2-1) vs. Madcatter (2-1)
Madcatter barrels right in and upends itself. It can run inverted, but its airborne forks aren’t very useful at the moment. BD shoves its foe into the short corner…rights it, then…backs off. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Really not sure what’s going on with some of these drivers. The fight goes to the opposite corner, where Madcatter hops around, all that gyroscopic force costing it control. Lockup, and BD drives Madcatter back but loses the handle short of the wall. Control, not power! Another lockup and a whole bunch of sparks…and Madcatter finally draws first blood, knocking off BD’s left fork. More wrestling. Madcatter gets inverted on the upper deck screws and quickly rights, but at the cost of part of its right fork. More sparks, and BD loses the other fork. It’s had some nice control moments, but unless it can find something breakable on Madcatter, it’s only delaying the inevitable. It presses the attack, using its superior mobility to find Madcatter’s flanks…I know, I know, should’ve done that in the first place…and at the halfway mark, bits finally start to come off Madcatter. Head-on collision and BD is flipped. Madcatter drives forward and launches its adversary again. The slugfest continues, neither bot able to show clear dominance. BD’s flamethrower malfunctions, cooking itself, and at some point someone needs to realize that this does not help your cause.

:clock3: Time! I’m calling it for Madcatter: While BD had a few good moments, it just didn’t do enough to warrant the win, and that self-immolation was the final nail. It’s a splitter. Bardis, Black Dragon. Winter, Madcatter. Young…Black Dragon! :astonished:

This is going to cause some debate, no question about it. It was close, and I guess you could make a case for BD based on overall dominance and generally looking more stable, but it clearly took more damage and I was certain that stop-burning-yourself would’ve tipped the balance. (Maybe Madcatter didn’t get any damage points for it because the judges know fire doesn’t do any damage. :grin:) I really think the judges’ scores should be public knowledge, at least after the broadcast, and they should be interviewed after every tough decision. They don’t have to to justify their existence or make excuses, just talk about it, get their brains on the record. Not everything is going to be a big knockout or a pleasant romp. There will be tight matchups, and a lot of times it’s coming right down to fifty percent plus one. And the teams deserve to know exactly how to get that one.

Valkyrie (2-1) vs. Blip (3-0)
Blip is having a dream rookie season, but it now faces a far stronger beast than Rusty or Overhaul; meanwhile, Valkyrie needs to find way to rein itself in against a bot designed to knock the opponent out of control. The meet in the center, Valkyrie’s ground cutter churning against Blip’s flipper. Aaaaand…the cutter has stopped. :man_facepalming: We keep hearing over and over about Valkyrie’s reliability issues, and now, in two thousand and twenty-one, lo and behold, reliability issues! It seems like no matter what they do they just can’t ever get it right. Blip cheerfully pancake-flips Valkyrie all over the box for a little over two minutes before it completely craps out. Floyd Mayweather’s last three fights were more competitive than this.

On to the time-saver portion of the program. First off Captain Shrederator (2-1) faced Rotator (2-0). The latter scored an easy win by knocking CS against a screw, which sent it flying all the way to the opposite wall, broke an internal component, and threw what would’ve been Brian Nabe’s first ever winning record into a black hole, GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:…ahem. Then it was Icewave (2-1) against Whiplash (2-0). Icewave got a few weak shots before Whiplash shoved it against the screwed and…wait for it!..flipped the righter-less, unable-to-move-inverted obsolete pile of crap over. :man_facepalming: Manny Vasquez said that after last year’s runner-up, “anything less than a Giant Nut is unacceptable”. Enjoy your extremely unacceptable career, sucker! :crazy_face:

Gigabyte (2-1) vs. Tantrum (2-0)
Ooh. Tough match for both bots. Tantrum’s strength is maneuvering quickly and deftly striking at the opponent’s weakness; a bot where every part is dangerous could be a problem. Meanwhile, Gigabyte is going to have trouble pressing the attack against a small, agile opponent. It’s sporting some uncharacteristic keep-away wedge-age. Tantrum begins by flying right into the far end screw. First hit, and Tantrum is sent spinning away. Tantrum tries to smother, preventing Gigabyte from spinning up. It works for a little while, but because its own weapon is on the top, it can’t dish out anything in response. Gigabyte spins away and tries to get fired up again. They’re in the short corner, a bad spot for both, but quickly egress. A big hit, and Gigabyte is sent flipping into the wall, one of its wedge thingies falling off. That seemed to really rattle up its handling, and it’s having trouble getting grounded. Back into the short corner, and Tantrum pins Gigabyte against the upper deck but backs off. Tantrum knocks Gigabyte against the upper deck, where it spins around like a manhole cover in an earthquake, and…YES! TANTRUM PUTS IT ON THE UPPER I still have zero idea what the benefit of this is. :man_shrugging: Gigabyte seems reluctant to resume the fight, but eventually does…and gets sent soaring for its trouble. Gigabyte is well into “yaneedanockamoddawin” territory, which is bad news as Tantrum still looks in decent shape. And then Gigabyte stops spinning, and that is well and truly that. Tantrum’s left wheel starts going down, but too little, too late. Tauheed wastes no time: Yooner Tantrum.

Jake Ewert says that he appreciates winning the play-in because it means he’s now effectively the #2 seed. And… :face_with_raised_eyebrow: …yeah.

Hydra (2-2) vs. Ribbot (3-0)
Ribbot’s sporting the undercutter for this one. First clash…and Ribbot’s top comes flying off. :woman_facepalming: Goldangit, if you’re going to have a completely cosmetic part, at least make sure it’s properly attached. Hydra tacks on another flip. Ribbot furiously assaults Hydra’s front, not doing any visible harm. And it’s just lost another cosmetic. If you find yourself into yaneedanockamoddawinland in the first half minute, your chances aren’t very good. Ribbot continues slicing but not hampering Hydra’s operation in the slightest. Hydra gets another flip, then another. Ribbot’s weapon still works…oh, geez, it’s left side drive is failing; you can see the damage on the left front tire. The ref shows patience. The ref shows more patience. The ref runs out of patience. The count beings. :astonished: Oh Suwako, Hydra is going to pull off the upset of the post-Comedy Central! It’s over! Hydra wins! Hydra wins! :fireworks:

This is a rare case when I have the exact same question for both teams, namely: What the hell happened?? Ribbot has always been the bot that wins the ones it should’ve lost. It looks ridiculous, it’s a joke, ha ha look at its face get ripped off, it wins. Again, and again, and again. Remember that just one season ago it was an Ivarr The Boneless Comeback (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla reference…goddesses, I still can’t believe I remember that one) away from making the semis. Now it got faced with a pure flipper bot that looked on a serious downswing earlier this season, and it couldn’t make a dent. It got some good opportunities, too, and all it did was make some pretty colors. I have never seen a Ribbot weapon that ineffectual before. Granted the road here (Defender, Overhaul, P1) was pretty easy, but how could it be so hapless here? As for Hydra, man, you talk about a comeback! This is a completely different machine than what we saw in prelims. If anything, it’s a call for a return to four prelims matches (and everyone should get at least three), as some teams need time to find their stride. Everything it did today was textbook. Set up, take the hit (if there is one), flip, repeat until too much stuff on the enemy stops working for it to continue. Now Jake Ewert, who two weeks ago was clinging to relevance by his fingernails, leaves the box with a winning record and a spot in the top 16. He’s not winning the Giant Nut…simply too many much better bots for that to become a reality…but he’s proven that he doesn’t die so easily, and that’s a victory in itself. :+1:

We saw some old favorites get ruthlessly swept away today. First the once terror-inducing Ray Billings, then the raving superham Martin Mason, and now the quirky David Jin. “Adapt or die” is a hard reality in many sports, and when things evolve as quickly as they do in Battlebots, even a former champion can find himself dead in the water before he knows it.

Great day! :grin: Second round should be an absolute blast.

That surely was some visceral action there; exciting enough to roust somebody from a coma. As I was watching it I looked forward to reading your articulated take on it all, which very much mirrored mine.

Normally, though I love seeing its destructive power in action ( or rather, any bot(s) destructive power in action ), Billing’s swagger always turned me off to the point I’d root against Tombstone in every match I saw it in. But y’know, this time I actually, really did, feel bad for him. Go figure.

Again, thanks for the write-up. :+1:

What impressed me was the timing of Blip’s driver. Most flippers nail the flip maybe half the time. Or much less. Blip connected a near record 18 times. I only recall them missing a time or two. One flip was 14 feet high!

Brickbat - The thing that’s become painfully obvious to me…emphasis on “painfully”…in recent years is that, barring some horrific rule change (there was some noise about “intentional arena out is a loss” but that got scrapped almost immediately), robot combat is pretty much the one reality TV concept that can’t be ruined. Oh, the charisma vacuum hosts and ticking time bomb analyst and buffoonish “heel” owners do their darndest, but even their best efforts can’t corrupt the thrill of the contest. I could give a really complex explanation why (which I won’t…I don’t like to overanalyze everything, all right? :slightly_smiling_face:), but on the face of it I think it’s really simple: It’s an unpredictable real-time competition, and they’re fine with that. Will it be a 5-second crusher? A parts-flying battle of attrition? A hard-fought stalemate? You’ll learn when we do!

Contrast that to the three shows I’ve covered so far in this thread, which were so scripted and drawn up and edited and fluffed and molded and twisted they may as well have been cartoons. Contrast that to the second season of American Ninja Warrior Junior (whatever you were able to catch of it, anyway), which is so allergic to the very concept of “failure” that it has the feel of a special needs camp. That simply is never going to happen with Battlebots.

Mixdenny - Well, it helps if the opponent’s weapon craps out on the very first exchange and you never have to worry about getting hit back. Still, I won’t deny that Blip’s having nothing less than a dream season. If it beats Jackpot, it’s a mortal lock for Rookie of the Year. Or whatever Battlebots has in place of that. What it should have, anyway.

We’ve seen the best (that the selection committee could scrape up, anyway) the first round had to offer. Now it’s on to the best of the best in the second round. Tonight they compete to see who gets to be the best of the best of the best of…wait, is it three or four? It should be three, right?

Well, anyway…BRACKET BUSTERS!!! :boom::boom::boom:

(I don’t know who. I just thought you had to yell “bracket busters” when covering a bracket. It’s like a law of nature or something.)


Riptide (3-1) vs. Uppercut (3-0)
They advance. Riptide does a quick juke and gets Uppercut on the right front corner, knocking it over. Uppercut lands awkwardly on its top and right…bar thingy. It skids to the wall, and Riptide delivers a free shot. Uppercut tries to scramble away, but Riptide stays on it and hounds it over a screw. The screw eventually reverses, of course, but Uppercut comes out on its back and Riptide is right there to pound it again. Then another hit to the tire, and now there’s debris all over the floor. Riptide has Uppercut’s back; Uppercut tries to get turned around and flops onto its front quarter, taking out one of its bars. Riptide delivers another hit to the back and a couple more jabs, and that box is looking really messy. Riptide very briefly goes for the right front again, drawing a bit of noise from Uppercut’s spinner…that’s the hardest hit it’s delivered the whole match!..but quickly disengages. And we see why; Uppercut’s tires are varying degrees of misaligned, malfunctioning, and shredded. It goes into a death spiral for a few seconds before it, and its foolish tournament ambitions, come to a dead stop.

I hate to say this because I like no-nonsense bots designed to dish out punishment and go for the knockout (the same reason I used to be a fan of Tombstone), but it’s now undeniable: Uppercut is feast or famine, and famine always strikes at some point. It wins if it can get on the offensive immediately and connect with its spinner, and in fairness, much of the time that’s exactly what happens. But if its opponent can maneuver accurately and knock it over, it has a really hard time recovering, and then it’s just a matter of keeping the pressure on until it gives out. The worst thing for any fighter is when an opponent lays out the blueprint for how to beat it, which is exactly what happened to Uppercut tonight. It’s still going to get wins…it’s too devastating not to…but it needs a drastic redesign if it’s ever going to contend for the ultimate prize.

A triumphant Ethan Kurtz says that his hands can’t move anymore, which strikes me as sandbagging more than anything. He gets very loud when he wins.

Tantrum (3-0) vs. Rotator (3-0)
Tantrum maneuvers to Rotator’s wedge end, pushes it into the wall, and gets the first hit. Then it pushes it into another wall, dances around it a bit, then gets under again. A few more taps, a bit of maneuvering, Rotator gets a little hit in response, and Tantrum promptly gets under and smacking again. The action goes to the upper deck, where Tantrum puts Rotator on it, thereby successfully wasting a few seconds. I really want to get the definitive word from the judges as to whether that’s worth control points, as that seems to be the only possible benefit of…

…hold on a sec, there are a lot of red lights behind the upper deck that I definitely didn’t remember seeing before, and they start blinking. It looks like there’s now a time limit as to how long a bot can stay up there, and failing to get back down in time results in…disqualification? Like the moronic “count out” in wrestling?

Whatever. Rotator is now inverted, definitely not good against the low-riding Tantrum; it’s at a serious disadvantage. It gets a couple hits which don’t do a whole lot. A wepper, and Tantrum skids into the short corner…AND IT’S HAVING TROUBLE! :astonished: It spinning clockwise uselessly! After dominating so long, DOES THIS MEAN…and it regains control, just like that. :confused: Rotator lunges in, but Tantrum evades at just the right moment and Rotator’s into the wall. Doncha hate it when that happens? :man_shrugging: More drive issues with Tantrum. Rotator doesn’t leave well enough alone and hacks off the arms.

And Rotator is back in business! With the considerable damage it’s taken, can it punch back enough to take the decision? Oh man, this is going to be tight! They get tied up, and it looks like a clinch you see near the end of a boxing match, except that it takes less time and doesn’t happen 400 times. Weppers; no gain on either side. Rotator’s spinner looks like it’s had it; Tantrum’s lost some mustard but is still operational. Oh man, this one’s going to be super tight…

…no it won’t! Rotator tries to run away, heading right toward a section of the box that has an open past-the-wall space, which is where the normally not very explosive Tantrum sends it flying. Stoppage with 1 second left, just barely avoiding the judges producing the exact same results. Seriously, why does everyone rag on these judges?

All right, real talk here. Victor Soto has accomplished a lot in his time in the box, but he is not a man anyone should be setting fricking expectations on. He shown that he’s prone to making mistakes under pressure, and with an underpowered machine like Rotator, that’s going to cut him short every time. To Soto and his many fans, my humble advice: Just enjoy the ride.

Alex Grant and Ginger Smith look a little discombobulated.

Jackpot (3-0) vs. Blip (4-0)
Lots of circling. Jackpot gets a glancing shot on Blip’s flipper; no damage. The bots lock up; Jackpot’s spinning furiously but can’t hit anything on Blip’s low-set, shallow-angled front. I’ve questioned the wisdom of a high-set spinner, and now that there’s such a massive emphasis on the “ground game”, it’s looking like a very bad call. Blip gets Jackpot’s back, brief grinding sound, and…nothing comes of it. Circle again. Jackpot gets a few dinky hits, drawing some sparks. Blip gets the first flip, which puts Jackpot on its weapon. A couple clown hammer taps later, there’s a second flip…which puts Jackpot on its front! “OH HECK” is written on the bottom, and I continue to be highly amused at these moments of cruel irony. :laughing: And that’s it! Jackpot can’t move (even with a valiant effort from its minibot), and its not in the right position for its righters to work! Blip wins!

Damn. Yeesh. Damned yeesh. Another bot that Shoulda Had ‘Im goes down in flames. Jackpot proves once again that regular season championships means zilch. The bottom line is that it just has too many weaknesses. Too unstable, too fragile weapons, too many positions in which it can’t save itself. Much like Uppercut, when a machine is jackpot or bust, it always busts at some point, and it rarely takes very long.

Aren Hill would really like to beat Tantrum! Plus trash talking! :roll_eyes:

Hydra (3-2) vs. Black Dragon (3-1)
BD shoots some meaningless flames before running past Hydra, rotating, and…slowly climbing onto Hydra’s front, whereupon the inevitable happens. Man, that was a big bounce. Hydra misses on a flip. BD sloooooowly advances again and gets tossed again. More maneuvering. Finally, it gets Hydra’s side…but its spinner isn’t set far enough forward to reach Hydra! :man_facepalming: It climbs up on the…stop me if you heard this before…low-set, shallow-angled side, and its spinner is nothing the world’s least efficient fan. Another missed flip. Finally BD gets the idea to charge in head on, drawing a brief burst of sparks before getting flipped. And BD gets flipped again. And BD gets flipped again. :grimacing: Geez, Hydra is barely moving and it’s completely owning this match. BD gets tossed onto a screw, and for a moment it looks stuck (causing Jake Ewert to celebrate too soon, as is his wont), but it plops free…and goes back to getting flung like a ragdoll. And now it just self-immolated, and that coffin nail just got a 10-ton boulder dropped on it.

:clock3: Time. Gah. No way to sugarcoat this. BD’s blew it so hard it could’ve put itself out. It did nothing this fight. The team does a chant, which is as sure a sign of “we got nuthin’” you’ll ever see. Yooner Hydra, like I even need to tell you.

I had doubts about Black Dragon’s ability to get past the second round after that iffy decision over Madcatter, but I never expected it to bomb out like this. Sometimes a bot suffers a curbstomp, a meltdown, or a boondoggle, and those hurt, but this was the worst kind of defeat…a failure. What these teams need to understand is that while the announcers may scream blue murder about “using the box” this season and “ground game” the next, the one ironclad universal law, i.e. the weapon must adversely affect the operation of the other bot, NEVER CHANGES. If it’s too short, or too slow, or too fragile, or too hard to use, YOU NEED TO MAKE THE ADJUSTMENT.

Jake Ewert says some Jake Ewert stuff.

Witch Doctor (3-1) vs. Copperhead (3-0)
Someone on Facebook said that Witch Doctor is facing a “garbage can lid” tonight, which is pretty damn insulting if you ask me, although I’m sure Robert and Kimberly Cowan are far too busy right now to bother with social media bullcrap.

Mike and Andrea Galately said before the match that they didn’t want it to come down to weppers, making it especially fortunate that the very first thing is a wepper, and one which sends WD flipping backwards. WD goes on the run, chase chase chase…and a wepper which knocks Copperhead over. WD charges in before Copperhead can get spun up and pounds it back. Grazing shot. Copperhead seems to be in trouble, spinning in place, and WD accepts the free shot. And now it looks like Copperhead’s spinner has stopped…no wait, its spinner is working, it’s the wheels that are…crap. And they stay dead. How’s THAT for taking out the garbage, Facebook? :fist::grin:

The problem with Copperhead is the same problem all the little guys have: It has to avoid a toe-to-toe slugfest, and sooner or later the opponent is not going to oblige, and then it’s sunk. As I’ve said before with Tantrum, a fast, nimble, precise jabber will win matches, it’s just not going to win the Giant Nut.

Mike has trouble finding the words, but Andrea jumps right in with a solid analysis. Y’know what, rip on them for being overhyped or all show or whatever all you want. They’re good, smart people, and they can grace my TV anytime. Helluva lot easier on the ears than Ethan Kurtz, that’s for sure.

P1 (3-1) vs. Sawblaze (3-1)
Sawblaze is clearly the vastly superior machine, and it has a trivially easy stoppage so long as it stays on the attack. So of course Jameson Go adopts the absolutely brilliant strategy of spending roughly 99.999% of the match wheeling P1 around the box and gently pushing it into the feeble pathetic weaksauce useless powerless box hazards. :scream: If this happened in boxing, there’d by cries of “fix” by about round 2. I saw like six solid hits the entire freaking match. P1 does absolutely nothing the entire three minutes and eats every drop of rampant disrespect raw. Sawblaze wins by bore-out. Absolutely abysmal match. :rage:

Not much to say about P1 that isn’t painfully obvious. It’s a cute toy with a gimmick. That’s never going to get very far. It can beat a bad bot or boom-or-bust bot like Valkyrie. Against any decent opponent, it’s junk.

Jameson Go delivers the usual boilerplate drivel about Being Here To Win The Giant Nut. :sleeping:

Everyone’s raring to get to the main event, so Whiplash (3-0)/Cobalt (3-1) is getting the waiweewuwwawei treatment. It was a strange affair, with Cobalt getting two good hits before both of them went into the short corner…and got stuck. On what, I couldn’t tell, but they were mired. Standard procedure would be to unstick them and resume the match, but Cobalt’s weapon refused to shut down for some reason, and safety concerns made intervention impossible. After just a minute of action, the officials had no choice but to declare a saimin, and do I even have to tell you the judges had their work cut out for them and it was a splitter? Cobalt squeaks out the win. (Incidentally, and sorry I didn’t mention it earlier, the “bonus coverage” matches get put up on YouTube at the usual time, so I do recommend catching this one there and trying to get a better picture of what happened.)

Matt Vasquez remains one of the great enigmas of the sport. Many of his losses looked like he outthought himself. Instead of having all kinds of weapon systems and configurations, I think he’d be better off working out two or three configurations that he can rely on.

Minotaur (3-1) vs. End Game (4-0)
Team Minotaur has been riding a wave of Acceptability the whole season but hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet; meanwhile End Game is riding a jaw-dropping 11-win streak and seems to have completely fixed whatever limitations it has. The irresistible object meets the immovable force as the road to the Giant Nut gets hit by a sinkhole!

The bots meet in the center and paw at each other. Minotaur, which has by far the most powerful and dependable drum spinner in the sport, gets the first blow, and EG is sent tumbling back, bouncing off the corner of the upper deck. They lock up against a screw, both weapons momentarily halted. Minotaur breaks off, reengages, and gets a nice hit to its foe’s right front. EG gets a fork stuck in a saw notch! It quickly gets it freed, but Minotaur drills it in the right front again. EG’s weapon is very narrow relative to the bot’s width, and right now that’s costing it. It tries to fire back, sending Minotaur hopping. Wepper, and now Minotaur is careening on two wheels like that orange car in Outrunners (I don’t watch a lot of car movies, all right? :wink:) EG chases its opponent into the short corner but can’t stay grounded, and Minotaur escapes. Minotaur does a stutter-step, which allow it to catch EG’s forks and flip it over. Gotta say, Minotaur’s driver is putting on a clinic this match! EG bounces on the floor until it clumsily rights, and it’s looking bent out of shape. They meet and lock up in the center. This, of course, benefits the bot that’s ahead, and given that Minotaur’s spinner has done all the talking, that’s bad news for the Kiwi crusher. Minotaur slips to the left, going after that right front again, and EG is sent back. Halfway mark. Break, engage again, Minotaur going for the left front, then switching to the right front again and doing more damage. Minotaur is picking its shots and firing at will, and EG can’t seem to do anything to stop it. Now the clown hammer adds insult to injury, pinning down EG for the maximum legally permissible time. Minotaur rushes in and gets catches EG’s underside, churning at that big, helpless panel. EG has accomplished next to nothing, and the clock is ticking. A bit of orange metal flies off. EG draws a few sparks, but Minotaur sends it flipping again…and catches its underside again.

:checkered_flag: And that is it! Team Minotaur goes absolutely nuts. Daniel Freitas gets right in the End Game camp and bellows “Arg yoo bwill, un rig agdah shig!” :face_with_raised_eyebrow: which I assume is either Portuguese or Orcish. Minotaur with the expected yooner.

End Game lost. It happens. Nothing is forever in sports. The last match it was in some trouble, the ’20 second round, was against virtually the exact same type of bot as Minotaur: low, compact, maneuverable. If Rotator could actually do any damage, it would’ve won easily. Minotaur could and prevailed. End Game is still one of the best bots in the sport and has a long and productive future, but no machine is going to win every match.

A few final words from Team End…oh my…holy…did Rose really go there?? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

OKAY, TIME OUT - For what seems like the five thousandth time…End Game did not just “lose the championship”. The ’20 Giant Nut is theirs. For all time. And no one can EVER, EVER, EVER take it away. That’s how it works, too bad, so sad! You don’t like it, go announce MMA! Florian seems to be fine with it! Gah…I can’t… :weary:

If the old guard was put on a boat in prelims, the first two rounds sacrificed them to the whirlpool. The final day is all about rising stars and blazing phenoms, from the azure juggernaut Blip to the relocked and reloaded Witch Doctor to the bent but unbroken Sawblaze. And taking its place at the front of the pack is Minotaur, which now has absolutely no excuses. I’ll go so far to saw that if it is ever going to win the Nut, it must happen this year. The stars have aligned, the road has been paved, the team is fired up, focused, loaded, and carrying the blessings of an Acceptable mother. They are never going to have a better chance, and you can bet that they know it.

Love to hear your thoughts on these fights. Crazy.

I thought both the Minotaur loss and Witch Doctor win decisions were wrong (and it sounded like a lot of the audience did, too). The Hydra guy took it surprisingly well.

I’ve watched the final episode, but I’m really stressed out from work right now, so I’ll have the recap out Saturday. For now I’d just like to say this: the powers in charge of the show need to start doing something about the increasing problem of poor sportsmanship. It was bad enough when it was a couple no-names in prelims, but seeing it on the final day is bothersome. In particular:

  • Trash talking. I’m not totally hip on what kind of “culture” makes it okay to hurl nonstop insults at one’s opponent without fearing any kind of retaliation, but that “culture” absolutely does not exist in Battlebots. The rule is you get to talk when you win. Sounds fair to me. You want to talk filth, you do it face-to-face, off camera, and fully accepting the consequences of being a noisy jerk.

  • Pleading for the opponent to save your bot before it gets counted out. “I wanted a fight?” You got one; you lost. “The fans want to see a fight?” Then try to do better next time. No free rides. How is this not the most weak, pathetic, craven thing in reality TV? How does it not draw scathing ridicule and instantly cratered respect? Rickey Willems screwing the pooch was funny once. Now all this begging and whining just grates on my ears. Go take up knitting or floral arrangements. You’re clearly not cut out for any kind of competition.

  • Yelling at the ref to start the count. Leaving aside the fact that in most leagues this sort of thing is grounds for ejection, there is plenty of leeway in how patient or impatient the ref is going to be, or how how much loss of control represents “lack of controlled movement” in the first place. It’s ignorant to think “eh, good enough” in the first place, and it is the HEIGHT of arrogance to think you know more about the nuances of the rules than the actual officials. If you aren’t getting the count, that means get back to work! If it ain’t dead yet, hit it again! Ray Billings understands this!

I’m seriously thinking that unsportsmanlike conduct should be subject to official warnings, and repeat offenders should get increasingly stiff penalties. This crap belongs on the same junk heap as those Complete Control worms.

Prefight analysis!

No freaking idea. End Game bowing out sent the last shred of predictability to the scrapyard. Any fan who thinks they have any idea what’s going to happen is a fool.

Would be completely awesome sauce if Blip actually ran the table, though, wouldn’t it? :slightly_smiling_face:

FINAL DAY 4/7/22

Riptide (4-1) vs. Sawblaze (4-1)
Riptide advances a few feet and pauses, seemingly looking for an opening. Sawblaze denies it one, charging full tilt with its forks. Riptide is flipped straight up…that’s certainly unusual…and lands inverted. It can move like that but its spinner is not in any position to attack. Sawblaze lunges in and cheerfully rams away; it’s winning the control battle but not doing damage. Riptide hits the corner of the upper deck and gets right-sided…and promptly gets scooped up from the side and thrown into the wall. Now it has Riptide’s back. The saw fires!..bit of noise, no more. Sawblaze disengages, and there’s a little head on shot which knocks it back. It drives with the forks again, and once again Riptide is head over heels. Sawblaze pushes, and now Riptide is balance precariously on its right side and against the wall…and it can’t free itself! Jameson Go wisely backs off…

Oh…no…no, no, no, no, no, this cannot be happening. Riptide’s driver: “Get us off!” In a practically demanding tone, too. A driver just yelled for a free lunch IN THE FREAKING QUARTERS. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I mentioned this before, didn’t I? Uh huh. Riptide loses. Come back when you grow up, brat. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Cobalt (4-1) vs. Tantrum (4-0)
Two bots with similar designs, a sloping wedge leading to a mid-mounted mangler. The difference being that Cobalt’s parts are rigid and designed for pure power, while Tantrum is agile and can adjust its spinner. Whichever bot can make the other fight its fight is going to win.

Tantrum begins in its usual style, maneuvering, circling, looking for the right opportunity to strike. Alex Grant has a brain in his head; he’s not going to go barreling in and launch his bot into that deadly spinner. They meet, and Tantrum chips away at Cobalt’s wedges. Disengage, more maneuvering. More wedge tenderizing. Cobalt seems to be having trouble staying grounded. We saw control issues nearly cost it the Whiplash fight; will it spell doom here? Another right side lift, and Tantrum zips to that side. Cobalt looks shaky. Tantrum backs Cobalt against the wall. The front lifts off. Now Cobalt’s vulnerable underside…

:boom::astonished: …just got sent packing. Arena out, Tantrum wins. Wow. A perfect fight from the little guy. :clap::clap::clap:

Not much to say about Cobalt. I never pegged it as a Giant Nut winner. It’s simply too limited, and in the tournament these bots always run into exactly the kind of opponent they can’t handle. It was a very good run, all things considered, and props for coming back from that loss to Fusion. Don’t be a stranger, all right? :wink:

Alex Grant and Ginger Schmidt are overwhelmed by the moment.

Hydra (4-2) vs. Blip (5-0)
Battle of the flippers! Man, it just struck me how rare that is. Both teams are having unbelievable runs. I honestly don’t even know what the keys to victory are; this is completely new territory for me.

They get within sniffing distance and shuffle around, both, looking for an angle. Hydra commits first, gets its flipper forks under, and gets the first blow. Blip is inverted, and the only way it can get righted is with its weapon. Hydra tosses it before it can do so, and it’s still inverted. Two quick righting attempts lead to nothing. A third, still inverted. A fourth, still inverted. Hydra goes on the attack but Blip sidesteps. A fifth right-flip! Still no good! :man_facepalming: A bot that’s made it this far should not look this stupid. Righting attempt #6, still nothing. COME ON! :grimacing: Finally, finally Hydra obliges by putting it on the upper deck, which finally gets its wheels under it. The lights go on, meaning that it can’t take a nap there…uh oh. It’s stuck on one of the rightmost of the upper deck’s three raised wedges. Trying to get off. Flip, flip, flip. It finally drops back on the deck…but it can’t move! Florian says that there are magnets on the underbelly keeping it pinned to the deck’s steel railing. And now the left rear wheel is damaged. It flailing like crazy but still can’t move! It’s stuck on the deck! :astonished: The count starts! The count ends!

Well, Brian Nabe and Ricky Willems can rest easy now, because Blip has just completely iced what is, without a doubt, the most humiliating defeat I have ever seen on Battlebots. It’s easy to forget, but it was in this situation earlier this season, struggling to put weapon on target against Overhaul and needing three attempts to get righted, but Overhaul was so weak that it didn’t make a difference. There was absolutely no way it was getting away with that kind of ineptitude against Jake Ewert: The Revenge. And so, much like the Las Vegas Golden Knights I mentioned earlier, one crashing defeat sends the miracle rookie season down in flames. It was only to be expected; most teams need at least a couple of seasons before they’re fully dialed in and ready to contend for the prize. The question is if Aren Hill can make the adjustment and fix Blip’s shortcomings. It looks plenty durable, so as long as it can find a way to get its wheels under it more efficiently and get better leverage on its flips, it should be a strong contender for years to come.

Jake Ewert is really struggling with his bogus artificial forced heel role. :roll_eyes:

Witch Doctor (4-1) vs. Minotaur (4-1)
Minotaur attacks from the flank, carving a bit of white steel from WD, which responds with a wepper which flips Minotaur over. Minotaur is side-wheeling again and having trouble facing its foe. Two more weppers, and WD is launched. It’s the bulkier machine, so it’s not winning this 50/50 game. Minotaur lunges in and sends WD rattling all over the short corner like a die. And uh oh, a chain came off; the spinner still works but WD is hurting. Minotaur pins WD into the short corner for a few seconds (CONTROL POINTS, YO! :grin:) before releasing. Retreat to open floor, then another wepper, boom, and WD is sent flying. Another head on shot which knocks WD back. WD now has lost a wedge. It’s not seriously banged up yet but needs to start finding an opening somewhere…

…and there it is. All those weppers have rattled Minotaur, which lurches onto the upper deck screws for no apparent reason. WD gives two ridiculously gentle love taps which only put Minotaur on the upper deck, but now WD can anticipate where it’s coming down and nail it hard. And…it might not come to that! Minotaur is struggling with drive issues! It finally goes over the edge, and WD…plows right into the railing and gets stuck. :woman_facepalming::man_facepalming: Did I mention that this is the blippin’ QUARTEFINALS?? Now Minotaur has a gonzo free shot if it can get under control…and…and…aaaaaaannnnnndddd… :sleeping: …its left tire fell off! Both bots are helpless!

All right, here’s the deal! If both bots are dead, that’s a saimin, and it goes to the judges. But in the case of a sticking, if it can’t get unstuck by any means after a few seconds (including the opponent taking a free shot), the match is paused while both bots get freed, then it restarts. Only if the crew is unable to safely get both machines unstuck is the match called (which is what happened in Whiplash/Cobalt). “Time out.” The white shirts get to work…crowbars in…and they’re clear. Man, this does not look good for Team Minotaur. They were already struggling with control, and now they’re down to one wheel; meanwhile, WD’s taken some lumps but both its weapon and wheels are operational. I have to believe that their hopes are going to end up as dead as Mom. :slightly_frowning_face:

Restart. Minotaur’s in trouble. Real trouble. With one wheel, it can do little more than lurch around and move in sloppy arcs. There’s no way it can get weapon on target now. It’s over. All WD needs to do is find the angle and either take out the other wheel or just hammer Minotaur until it’s scrap. WD circles around. It’s over. Someone in the Minotaur camp barks “It’s showing control!” That won’t last much longer. WD keeps circling. It’s over. One big hit. Just one big hit. Please, one big…

“Are they going to count them out or not?”

:astonished: NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!! NO!!

Ladies and gentlemen, the unthinkable has happened. Mike Galately, faced with a golden opportunity to take out the #1 Acceptable Story favorite, just turned his nose in the air and went full on whiny snivelling obnoxious snobby pompous prima donna. And then “Junior” on the Minotaur side continues arguing with the ref. WD still does nothing. Mike snarls “Are they going to count them out?” YO, MIKE! YOU HAVE YOUR ANSWER! FINISH IT!

Nothing. Minotaur can still barely move forward, but it can’t reach the still-functional WD. Mike absolutely refuses to fight anymore, which means that the remaining 45 seconds are…oh joy…a spirited bout of RULES LAWYERING, with Mike crying “Count ‘em out! Count ‘em out! Waaaaaah!” and Minotaur’s captain crying “Don’t count us out! Don’t count us out! Waaaaaah!” :scream::scream::scream:

:clock3: Crap. Useless chant. Yooner WD.

Andrea Galately steps up to face the music. All right, you have one very simple job here: DISAGREE WITH WHAT MIKE DID. “I wanted to destroy Minotaur! He was a wimp! I think he had too much oatmeal for breakfast!” Never freaking mind what you really think! You are in the midst of a wholesale PR meltdown and you need to slam the brakes on it now before you lose all your fans! So what does she say? “Blah blah showing aggression blah blah no chance of regaining control blah blah whyyyyy wasn’t there a countdown??” :sob: And naturally Mike proceeds to dive the rest of the way into the sewer; he sounds downright offended that anyone should expect him to do more than the absolute rock-bottom bare minimum. You know…I’ve seen some hatred directed toward the Galatelys, and it all seemed like a bunch of pettiness and cherry picking to me. Now I get it. The arrogance, the callousness, the snobbery, the elitism, the absolute scathing contempt for the fans. An absolutely disgusting display.

On to Junior, who tries to brush it off…“We saw a different thing. It’s all good, all good”…but you know they’re dying inside. I’d be feeling more sympathetic if he didn’t flush away every bit of his goodwill in the span of about a minute. Look, It’s very simple: Don’t tell the ref how to do his job. If you don’t go the distance, you don’t go the distance. You have no say in that matter. You get counted out, take the loss and get on with your life! Sheesh! :angry:

[deep sigh] :weary: Must…keep…going…

Hydra (5-2) vs. Tantrum (5-0)
Jake Ewert, after being on the very edge of oblivion, has taken that edge and decapitated the field with it. Hydra very clearly had serious mechanical problems in its first two matches but looks unstoppable now. But Tantrum isn’t an easy target for anybody, and it’s shown surprising resilience. This one’s going to be really tight no matter what.

Early trouble for Tantrum, getting a fork stuck in a saw slot. It quickly frees itself, but Hydra rushes in and oh, it’s under Tantrum…little hop, ho hum. Tantrum is inverted but rights immediately. A second flip which misses. Tantrum weaves back and forth, waiting for an opening. Another miss. Tantrum is dodging and weaving, trying to get at Hydra’s vulnerable back, but Hydra refuses to give an opening. Something has to give. Another missed flip. Tantrum rushes in; Hydra flips it a decent distance but also knocks itself back. (Doncha just love Newton’s Third Law? :grin:) More juking. Hydra finally times the flipper right and Tantrum is sent flying. And another! No damage yet, but that was pretty! And a third spinning flip. Tantrum isn’t in danger yet but it needs to start finding some responses; running around and taking shots isn’t helping its cause. More maneuvering. Finally, Tantrum gets under Hydra’s right and sparks fly. A little bitty counter shot. Halfway mark. Hydra misses a flip, but hits on the second try. It seems like Alex Grant has finally hand enough and shoves Hydra all the way to the short corner. This was where it stuck the dagger into Cobalt; will history repeat itself? Tantrum pins Hydra in the corner, waiting, waiting for the opportunity. Nothing doing, and Tantrum backs off to the center. Another little flip…

…and the flipper is stuck! And Tantrum immediately rushes in and gets under the flipper! :astonished::+1: That’s what’s known as a “Pro Gamer Move” (I think; I’m doing just fine without any stupid “PS” or “Box” right now, thank you). It’s hard to imagine a less nimble bot or a less skilled driver pulling that off. Tantrum gleefully grinds away at Hydra’s currently-useless weapon. Someone in the Tantrum camp jumps and yells incoherently. Hydra flips Tantrum away again, but there’s not much power behind it. And bits of metal fly off of Hydra! One more big flip to end it.

Oh man. Tantrum the edge on damage. Hydra the edge on airtime. Who the hell knows the rest. Judges are earning their keep now. Splitter, natch. Jason Bardis, Tantrum. Lisa Winter, Hydra. Derek Young…oh man, this is just too intense…Tantrum!

Man. I have just won a lot of respect for Alex Grant and Ginger Schmidt. You hear it all the time: “Yudunwannigodajujez! Yudunwannigodajujez!” (Geez, I knew that I’d be making up words when writing about these shows, but I didn’t think I’d be making up that many words.) Do you know what a smart team realizes? That they’re not going to clobber every opponent, that somewhere along the road there’s going to be a really tough opponent, and it will go to the judges, and it will be extremely close, and if they want the Nut they need to know how to win that match. They knew exactly what it was going to take to beat Hydra, and they knew that they’d have to execute the plan and stick to it, and they did. These are the kind of wins that define champions.

Hydra…well, Jake Ewert’s luck had to run out sometime. Hopefully it’s been a fun experience for him.

Ginger Schmidt looks overwhelmed in a “Did we really do that?” kind of way. Her attitude is downright refreshing. Ewert is critical of his opponent’s strategy but not too critical. A rare look at the scorecards. In damage, aggression, and control, respectively, Young has it 3-2 2-1 1-2/6-5 Tantrum, Bardis was 3-2 2-1 1-2/6-5 Tantrum, and Young was 2-3 2-1 2-1/6-5 Hydra. So yeah, it was close! Like the final day is supposed to be! Look, I’ll make it really simple: You give me HARD PROOF of favoritism or corruption and I’ll condemn the judges. Until then, bother someone else. :angry:

Witch Doctor (5-1) vs. Sawblaze (5-1)
Sawblaze gets briefly hung up on the floor but recovers. Maneuvering battle. WD gets Sawblaze’s left side and knocks it over. A second hit…oh dear. That was not a very hard-looking shot, and it just knocked Sawblaze’s left wheel clean off. It’s over. (Yes, already.) WD gets a whole bunch of free hits which remove chunks of steel and most of the other tire before Sawblaze bursts into flames and stops all movement.

Behold, Jameson Go’s first ever semis exit. It seems that I was sadly on the money with my assessment of Sawblaze after the End Game match. It actually seems to be in the same boat Tantrum was last year; it can’t end matches quickly, it takes too much of a pounding and can’t survive a whole tournament. At this point the only remaining question is if that’s good enough for him. Definitely some decisions to make in the offseason.

The Galatelys seem to be in a somewhat better mood. :roll_eyes:

And then there were two. Drumroll please!

-Tantrum- Beat: Malice, Lucky, Gigabyte, Rotator, Cobalt, Hydra
-Witch Doctor- Beat: Duck, Rusty, Mammoth, Copperhead, Minotaur, Sawblaze / Lost to: End Game

Umm… :confused: I honestly don’t know what to say here. How did they make it? I was serious when I said that Tantrum didn’t have what it took to win the Giant Nut…too underpowered, too few options. Tons of fun but always runs out of magic at some point. And here it is now, unbowed and unbeaten. Meanwhile Witch Doctor was a sleeper at best going in, and the near-glory of ’19 may as well have been a century ago. Nobody took it seriously when it dispatched those schmucks Duck, Rusty, and Mammoth. But then it got faced with the ferocious pitbull Copperhead. And won. Then it got thrown to the bull, literally, the devastating Minotaur riding a tidal wave of emotion and gyroscopic force. And won. Then Sawblaze, the perennial favorite. And won. The fact that these two machines are here just illustrates how completely unpredictable this sport is. Can be draining sometimes, but at least it’s never going to turn into America’s Got Talent.

===CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH=== Witch Doctor (6-1) vs. Tantrum (6-0)
Maneuvering; Tantrum’s superior mobility on display. Tantrum suddenly goes straight for one of WD’s wedges and goes under; a little scrape, nothing more. WD…looks a little out of it, spinning aimlessly? Tantrum immediately shoots for the left side and gets under again. WD gets briefly upended but lands on its wheels. Tantrum teases a wepper, then backs off. Oh…remember the durability problem Sawblaze had? Well, we’re a little less than half a minute in, and WD’s right side drive is failing. Tantrum seizes the opportunity and undercuts from the left, into the wall. Release, back off, again avoiding the still-powerful spinner. That right side drive is nearly dead. Tantrum moves back and forth, waiting for the right moment to deal more damage…waiting…waiting…waiANDTHEREITIS! :grin: Upended from the left again. These aren’t big hits, but they’re definitely adding up. Rose thinks a belt came off of WD. More maneuvering. Tantrum continues to refuse all weppers and scores a hit to the back. And then…whoa…drove straight to the upper deck and flipped it over! Alex Grant can smell blood now. Tantrum catches WD’s back again. WD escapes, but Tantrum catches its side…weapon can’t quite reach, but WD is helpless. The ref is now talking to Andrea Galately…seemed like that last push was the final straw. The ref is patient…but not that patient! With 7 seconds to go, this one is history!

There is an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers, which is pretty close to what I’m seeing in the Tantrum camp right now. It looks like it taking a while for this to fully sink in for some of them. Did I mention that Grant and Schmidt are really classy, much unlike a lot of reality TV winners I’ve known?

And on a related note…damn, how much must it suck to be Team Witch Doctor right now? Two second places! Two! In three seasons! It may not seem that big a deal to you, but these kind of oh-so-closes have wrecked careers. I have the feeling we’re going to find out just how strong the Galatelys’ relationship is.

Tantrum’s the champ. Hoo boy. They’re going to be talking about this one for a while. It’s been two days and it still doesn’t seem real to me. If nothing else, it’s opened the door for bot designs that aren’t just Vertical Disk #5 or Flipper #12. Tantrum proved that small, quick, tough, and smart could win it all, as far as I’m concerned, that can only be a positive for the future of the sport.

Doesn’t look like there’s going to be a Bounty Hunters this season…guess that was either a deliberate one-off or Discovery couldn’t get enough teams to sign up. Given the fate of Glitch, that wouldn’t surprise me.

Final thoughts:

The big story is Tantrum’s championship. For years the champion either had a perfect, unbeatable technique that no one had any idea how to deal with or won with overwhelming power. A dependable sawer like Sawblaze or a powerful flipper like Bronco could get far, but when the chips were down it wasn’t going to prevail. The idea that a small, mobile, dancin’-and-jabbin’ scrapper could win the ultimate prize must have struck the fans as completely preposterous. Hell, I thought it was completely preposterous. Nice run, maybe even a deep run, but there was no way it was taking out Minotaur or Witch Doctor or Gigabyte when it counted. And it beat everybody. Only one was even close. Is this going to spark a new wave of speedster bots? We already got word that Sm#e# is being retired, we’ve probably seen the last of Icewave as well, and I have serious doubts Blade or Triple Crown is coming back…could ’22 be the year of the little guy? It seems farfetched, but given how farfetched this sport has been lately, I wouldn’t count it out.

The other big story is the youth movement that’s mercilessly sweeping aside the old guard and asserting themselves as the stars of the future. End Game was as fearsome as ever, Riptide had an absolute dream season, and both Blip and Glitch were standouts. Even the middling Lucky was potentially one bone-brained decision from leaving 4-1. If these drivers learn a little maturity and start driving a smarter, look out.

It was an gut-wrenching ride for the Minotaur and Witch Doctor camps, to the point where I seriously have to ask: How do they come back from this? The Brazilians had the blessings of the gods, the perfect storybook ending all lined up, and Minotaur gives out just when it matters the most. Second place is the knife in the guts of reality TV, and the Galateleys have suffered this unspeakably cruel fate twice in three years. I’m sure they still have plenty of pride, but it’s going to be damn tough to keep putting in the effort to get their machines back in shape, much less contend for the Nut again.

Final verdict on the upper deck: bleah. Look, I don’t mind that it’s a cheap, corny gimmick. My problem is that it’s a boring cheap, corny gimmick. Pusha pusha pusha, one bot shoves the other on the deck and…and what? It’s not like there’s any danger up there, or that getting back down is any great challenge. Hell, the fact that they needed to put a TIME LIMIT on it speaks volumes. If there’s gotta be an elevated area, make it high up and have ramps leading to it on both sides. That way at least the trip down has a bit of potential for excitement.

Re. the box hazards: The clown hammers and water screws actually have limited utility, so they can stay. The saws, however, are worthless. I keep hearing about how they “Attack The Underbelly, Which Is Usually More Vulnerable”, and I’ve never seen this play any factor, at all, ever. About the biggest impact they’ve had is trapping wedges and other ground-based parts, which is just dumb. Instead of long, thin saw notches, what there should be (if anything) are drills. Have the “surprise” factor without bits getting stuck in them all the time. Even better, keep the slots closed until it’s time for the hazards to be deployed.

I can’t say for sure whether reducing arena outs helps or hurts, but if you are going to allow them, own it and clearly mark off the “instant win” areas. None of this “well, as long it wasn’t deliberate” booshwah. Yes or no, in or out, good or bad, nothing in between.

Finally, the producers or brass or showrunners or board of commissioners or whatever (dang, I’d really like a convenient way to learn the power structures of reality shows) need to clamp down on all the referee disrespect. Better explanations of the rules would help (something useful for Pete Abrahamson to do!), as well as clarifying things like “controlled movement”. But they cannot allow players to hurl abuse at the officials without penalty. No reputable league in the world brooks this. Effective next season, standards of conduct are written, hammered out, and ratified, and all team members must abide by them. Cut this garbage off at the knees before it permanently pollutes the sport.

And I’m done! Watching or actually happening, it was a fun ’21! :slightly_smiling_face:

Some good ideas here. I certainly wasn’t impressed by the upper deck; all it really did was just to get in the way. You get flipped up there? Big deal, just right yourself, and drive off it. Okay, it is possible to get jammed in the screws, but that’s always been the case.

I would like to see all the box hazards gone. None really make any difference: the hammer does pretty much nothing (and I doubt it weighs a hundred pounds, it looks more like it weighs twenty, tops); the screws, while serrated, don’t shred anything; and the saws, as you say, are worthless. Instead, make it a fight between two robots, and only two robots, without any non-robot help.

I also agree on codifying the rules, and respecting the officials. Try doing some of what I saw from competitors this past season towards the officials, in any pro sport, and see how long it takes you to get thrown out of the arena/stadium/ballpark. I’d also add an umpire, who oversees the two referees in the competitors’ respective “corners,” and whose word is law. If the umpire decides that your team’s behaviour towards the referees is unacceptable, then your team is out for the rest of the season. No appeal.

And a word about the fans. This is all for TV, and I have no doubt that there are people there who can whip the crowd into a frenzy, and make it enthusiastic, for the TV cameras; but some of the signs the fans hold are a little too professional. Not all, but I get the idea that somebody connected with the show is handing them out to (say) every fifth audience member as they file in, and saying, “Today, you’re cheering for Witch Doctor,” or similar.

Glad to see that someone has by back on the sportsmanship issue. :slightly_smiling_face: I’m against adding more officials, though; seems needlessly overcomplicated for what’s supposed to be a simple, cathartic event. Again, all that’s needed is for whoever holds the power (and it says something that I have no idea who that even is!) to step forward, put their collective feet down, and make it very clear that this BS will not be tolerated. The refs answer to them, and if they have reason to suspect incompetence or corruption, they will deal with it quietly and privately.

And I know why it nobody’s done anything so far. It’s not a serious sport, it made it start on Comedy Central for crying out loud, robot fighting just has people like that, we take care of ourselves, we don’t want 200-page rulebooks and disciplinary committees, c’mon be cool, It was just a joke, etc., etc., I’ve been through that dance plenty of times. But every sport reaches this reckoning at some point. And when it happens, they either stamp out the punks or watch them ruin everything. Given how Battlebots is still struggling for its continued existence, I know which stance I expect the powers in charge to take.

I’ve been watching through all the episodes of this on Discovery+ and I’ve not reached the end of Season 6 yet.

A few thoughts:

  • Hammer bots are generally garbage and I’m happy that most of them have been excised from the competition except for the few that actually seem somewhat effective. Rusty is still a piece of shit.
  • I agree, the new raised area is pointless. It adds some extra corners to the floor, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Too often I’m seeing bots basically getting trapped in one of those corners and it feels like “cheap” damage.
  • Championship fights should be up to 5 minutes instead of the usual 3. Many fights do not make it to 3, but I feel like a championship fight should get some extra time, if need be. There have been many “normal” fights that went the full 3 that I thought they should let continue.
  • I like seeing the evolution of bots over time. Chomp was kind of a piece of shit at the beginning, and now it’s this massive walking tank thing. Still not all that effective, but they are clearly trying really hard to do something different. Ribbot has come a long way. That foam thing they brought out their first few fights was hot garbage on fire, literally, but it’s eventually become a solid (literally) and formidable opponent.
  • I still don’t fully understand designs like P1 or Duck. They’re basically just “attrition bots”; they absorb abuse and pray the other guy breaks itself. I get that that’s not an invalid tactic, but there’s something about that strategy that I just don’t respect.
  • Mammoth and Huge were interesting ideas a few seasons ago, but everyone has clearly figured out how to beat them. They’re really only effective anymore against each other.
  • Oh, and when you watch on-demand and skip past all the non-fighting parts, you can watch through 3 seasons in just a few hours. :smile:

I finally watched the final episode a couple weeks ago and meant to find this thread to see your thoughts on the underwhelmingness of it all, but then I forgot. So thanks to DCinDC for bumping this.

This whole fight was a shitshow of refereeing. I know we’ve seen the fight paused while bots are unstuck from each other, and I think once we saw a fight paused while both bots freakishly got stuck at the same time (maybe I’m misremembering), but we rarely see fights paused to unstick a single bot, because the other team almost inevitably uses that opportunity to line up a killer shot. And also, per section 7.5.12 of the 2021 rulebook, bots should be stuck for 20 seconds before the fight is paused.

As you can see in this analysis, Witch doctor was only stuck for 10 seconds, but they paused the fight anyway. Why? I guess everyone forgot about the 20 second rule, but also because it was painfully obvious that Minotaur was mortally wounded and wasn’t going to be able to unstick WD themselves with a death blow.

So here’s something I didn’t know until reading the rulebook – the count-out is actually 20 seconds as well. The order goes, the referee asks the team to show them controlled movement. He then immediately starts a countdown (in his head I guess?) and counts the last 10 out loud.

What should have happened was that they start a countdown on Minotaur as soon as the wheel pops off, and then by the time that’s done you don’t need to pause the fight to unstick WD. I’m guessing here, but I feel like maybe they thought it would look bad to count out Minotaur while WD was stuck, so they thought, right, let’s unstick WD real quick, start the fight again, then we’ll count it down while WD can actually do a victory spin.

So the fight resumes and literally everyone whose ever seen a one-wheeled bot get counted out before assumes they’re going to start the countdown when the referee says “I need to see some controlled movement.” Evidently the referee on the WD even said yeah, they’re gonna count him down based on 1) the referee on the Minotaur side asking to see controlled movement, which starts the 20 second internal clock), and 2) the fact that Minotaur very obviously only had 1 wheel.

Maybe Galately could have been less whiny but the real problem was that the producers broke their own rules in order to get a more “TV friendly” finish and ended up confusing the hell out of everyone.

By all accounts everyone loves having Jake in the pits – he’s done a lot for the sport and all of the competitors speak fondly of him. I feel like maybe he had a couple of awkward post-match interviews (because, who doesn’t) and rather than work on being more personable decided to “embrace being the heel,” which just doesn’t suit him. He was so clearly broken after this loss. I mean, it was a tough loss, what with neither bot taking much damage, but having your primary weapon damaged while your opponent is fine is a loss nonetheless. He just needed some time and maybe a hug, but I felt bad for him. Just be the nice guy we all know you are, Jake.

Great observations in your bullet points, and your views in most of them just about mirror my own.

I pull for Rusty in every match it’s in, though I’m not sure why. :roll_eyes:

  • One more thing, as I’m finishing up the “Bounty Hunters” season: I don’t like the rigid enforcement of the clock. Many times a bot has clearly been completely incapacitated but it goes to the judges because it happened with under 10 seconds left, and more than once it’s gone the broken bot’s way just because of the somewhat bizarre way they score. I don’t want them to be able to be saved by the clock. As long as they were incapacitated during the 3 minutes, I don’t see how it’s unfair to count them down regardless of the clock. If they can demonstrate movement and control within the countdown, send it to the judges. Otherwise, if they can’t, that’s a KO.

FYI, it looks like this has legs, but as it’s only on for a short time each year, I’m going to start a new thread for each season so nobody has to waste time finding their place.

DCnDC - I won’t argue any of your points (particularly the ones I originally made :grin:). Yes, Rusty is garbage (and in all likelihood is too beat up to fight anymore). Yes, Duck’s break-fist-face strategy is unreliable at best. (I’d argue that the Riptide match was when the illusion was finally shattered for good.) Yes, Axe Backwards is every bit as dumb as it sounds. But right now, and quite possibly for a very long time, they don’t have anything better. There simply is not a robust second tier, which means that if they have the machine, the will, and the cash, the producers have little choice but to say yes. Heck, Jackpot proved that you don’t even need that much cash. So as far as flops, collapses, boondoggles, meltdowns, and crackups go, best just get used to it.

I would like to add a little addendum on Dave Eaton and Rusty, however. If your machine is a real clunker, the kind that any halfway-decent opponent can wreck inside a minute, and you clearly have very little idea what you’re doing, but you were brought in for “inspiring” stories and to “bring other common-man builders into the sport”, that’s fine. However, I’d impose a guideline that, after two seasons at the absolute longest, you have to make way for these common-man builders. You had your moment, you made your mark, you felt the rush of competition, your heard the roar of the crowd, you got to be all inspirational and heartwarming, and now it is time to step aside and give someone else the opportunity. :fist: Power to the people, not the person, capiche?

I think longer times for tournament matches would be a good idea. Has this ever been seriously proposed? It should be.

Mammoth and Huge are these fun, goofy contraptions that manage to pull off a surprising win or spectacular move every so often. They’re not going anywhere.

steronz - All right, there’s something you need to understand about reality TV. Ever hear the saying, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage”? The reverse is true for reality TV. It mixes things up, changes things on the fly, adds, subtracts, ignores, overemphasizes, often completely on the fly. Hey, remember how an “intentional arena out” was supposed to result in a loss? Can you name one bot, EVER, that lost this way? Maybe there was some confusion, but a Battlebots driver has to think quickly and make adjustments, and I hardly think a team in the playoffs could have forgotten this lesson.

And for that matter, whatever happened to optics and being the bigger man? Especially with Team Minotaur behaving so badly? Look, it’s really simple. No whining, no demanding, no rules lawyering. Instead, quietly go to where Minotaur’s other wheel is, smash it off, and get the stoppage. Then after the match, say “Well, obviously they felt I hadn’t kicked Minotaur’s butt hard enough, so I was happy to oblige!” Just a little more carnage for the fans, that’s all it would take to come out smelling like a rose, and deny your opponent any ammunition, and built up a huge amount of momentum for the remainder of the tournament. And however it ended for you, you’d have a ton of goodwill and positive press and fans for your next outing. The great champions like Paul Ventemilia wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment.

Mike Galately is a seasoned veteran. He knows all this. He has no excuses.