Battlebots '21

So now everyone’s had at least one match and we have some idea of what these steel warriors are capable of. Now it’s separate-the-men-from-the-boys time…and I get the feeling we’re going to be some very small and sad boys pretty soon.

PRELIMS DAY 6 1/14/21

Valkyrie (1-0) vs. Rotator (0-1)
With any disk spinner stability is key as the wide blade generates so much gyroscopic force that it’s easy to send the machine places the driver doesn’t want. This lesson strikes particularly hard early on as Rotator manages to stay firmly grounded while Valkyrie does lots of involuntary gymnastics. But despite Valkyrie seemingly doing more damage to the floor than its adversary, it seems like Rotator is taking the worst of it. The fight continues, more shots get landed, and Valkyrie seems to have settled down. Then…oh. Part of Rotator’s wedge comes off. That’s the “big knockdown in the 10th round” moment of the fight, and while Rotator can still more, there’s no coming back from that. The judges make a show of carefully examining the bots, continuing fallout from that one really bad decision sometime in the past that surely must have happened. :roll_eyes::man_facepalming::angry: Easy yooner for Valkyrie when all is said and done. Thanks for convincing me that the Beta decision was 100% correct and you deserve absolutely nothing in life, Victor Soto! :grin:

Gigabyte (0-1) vs. Extinguisher (0-1)
Both bots looked hapless in their openers; time to see which one’s leaving here everything-less. Big collision which has Extinguisher spinning like a platter. Hammer blow from Extinguisher which misses. Another miss…ooh, and now it’s badly bent and all but useless. I’m thinking if Gigabyte can take out Extinguisher’s tires, that should seal it…and just like that, the left front tire comes off. Extinguisher spins uselessly counterclockwise as the countdown of doom reaches its conclusion. Damn, that is one weak machine. :slightly_frowning_face:

Sharkoprion (0-1) vs. Slap Box (0-1)
The weeding-out process continues! Sharkoprion does a lot of tail spins, Slap Box moves around a bit, and no, we are not, in fact, at the good contestants just yet. Sharkoprion finally gets a clamp on the lifter, which its driver, Edward Robinson, shrieks and howls like he just won the Giant Nut and the Giant Bolt at the same time :roll_eyes::roll_eyes: (and :grimacing: too in all likelihood). But then Slap Box turns the tables by flipping its foe over! It can still move, but its big jaw doesn’t work inverted, and dammit, there’s still a minute left? :expressionless: It mercifully ends when Sharkoprion has enough and stops moving, allowing Team Slap Box to get that all-important knockout before it drops off the planet.

Robinson admits that he never was going to win the Giant Nut, but he’s glad to inspire children to get into Battlebots. Yeah, might want to aim even lower than that, buddy.

Malice (2-0) vs. Madcatter (2-0)
Now this match is a pretty big deal; heck, it could have been the main event. Both were dominant in their first matches but had to work in the second. Whoever takes this one will have a big leg up in the tournament, while the loser will have a serious uphill climb. (The fact that Bunny Soriel and Martin Mason are two of the biggest windbags in the sport just adds to the tension.) They start off with a few head-on shots, and…Malice is hung up! It got knocked on its back edge, which happens to be flat enough to balance on, and it’s stuck in that position! The driver furiously tries to get it back on its broad side, either broad side. Malice rocks back and forth but can’t drop! Meanwhile Madcatter circles around. We’ve seen drivers who catch lucky breaks early on free their opponents just so the crowd can get a decent fight. Will Mason…come on, get real. An incredibly elementary design flaw turns a slobberknocker into a boring anticlimax. Yeesh. :slightly_frowning_face:

Tantrum (0-1) vs. Atom #94 (0-1)
I’m fairly certain Atom #94 is not going to score a knockout here. Just a gut feeling. Atom #94 does get a couple good hits at the onset, but Tantrum quickly turns it around, and despite running into the side of the screws area for some dumb reason, flips its adversary and knocks it around a bit, and that’s enough to cause Atom #94 to fail completely. Some fights are every bit as lame as they sound.

Sm(e) (1-0) vs. Pain Train (0-1)
Oh, good Battlebots is doing that city thing. Because that’s such a compelling story in American Ninja Warrior. :roll_eyes: Pain Train rushes right into that belt, accomplishes precisely zilch, and backs off, thereby setting the tone for this dreary excuse for a fight. Both machines are slowly moving around, a stalemate which abruptly ends when one of Sm(e)’s spinners just kind of falls off…then a few whatevers later, the other spinner runs into Pain Train’s drum, blasting both out of commission. And they shuffle around listlessly and patiently wait for the clock to put a blessed end to this. Terrible, terrible showing on both sides. It is pretty damn sad when the matchmakers feed you creampuff after creampuff after creampuff and you still manage to continually embarrass yourself. Splitter goes to Pain Train, and with that we are completely free to stop giving a damn about either of…oh, right, this is just the second match. Crap. :angry:

Main event - Sawblaze (1-0) vs. Uppercut (1-0)
Some guy on one team is a former mentor of some guy on the other team. If I ever find a reason to care, I’ll dig into this a bit more. Uppercut takes the early advantage by knocking Sawblaze onto the screws, but trips over a damn killsaw slot, flipping itself completely around (that gyroscopic forces thing), and can’t follow up. Sawblaze struggles to extricate itself and does so. And then the second blow hits, which causes Sawblaze’s flamethrower mechanism to completely blow up. The show’s going to replay this a gazillion times, of course, but the important point is that using an opponent’s strength against him can work in this sport. :slight_smile: Uppercut, despite still being a little crazy-legs, manages to take off a couple more pieces before Sawblaze goes completely dead. Man, you want a bot to beat, this is it, folks! :+1::grin:

The victorious driver, Alex Satori, is a tad overwhelmed by what happened. No doubt “instant starmaker” wasn’t what he was going after tonight. He may have some regrets about getting such a signature super shot, as the real story should be the kind of damage he did after that. Remember, that only took out the secondary weapon; it was losing the arm and belt and a bunch of other little stuff that ended Sawblaze’s pretensions.

No prob, bobsmom101! :slight_smile:

PRELIMS DAY 7 1/21/21

Axe Backwards (0-1) vs. Captain Shrederator (0-1)
Axe Backwards is sporting a special wedge. Captain Shrederator is 2-10 in the last five years and is running out of potentially beatable opponents. They play bumper cars for a while, neither doing major damage. The screws are often the biggest enemy for CS, but driver Brian Nabe has managed to stay clear so far. Another hit, AB is pirouetting, another hit…and there it is, the big break; AB’s right wheel comes off. It’s all over but the inappropriately loud celebrating. AB is dead in the water, and Nabe something something relief something back something.

Up next is P1, an unusual machine you may not have heard of, because its first match was untelevised (a knockout win over something named Chronos, for the record). Rose is very casual about pointing out this fact, which I find a tad unsettling. Look, I understand that reality TV edits and reedits and rereedits footage until it’s completely unrecognizable, but why would Battlebots want to cut out a whole match? Where are there even time constraints? And this being the case, HOW is it decided which matches get the ax? It’s…ugh. This is the kind of thing I think there needs to be more discussion about.

Copperhead (1-0) vs. P1 (1-0)
All right, what do we have here…it kinda looks like a high-performance car. And it has a reverse flipper. A small one. It has a rear wing which falls off during the warmup. The driver says “It’s aesthetic; leave it off.” :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I am filled with confidence right now. A few seconds after the match begins, P1 runs right into Copperhead’s drum spinner and gets tossed around. And it seems to have trouble moving. The driver stammers worried, trying to get it moving again. It does…running right into the drum spinner again and getting flung again, and this time there’s no recovery. Call me cynical, but I’d rather have seen the first match.

And Copperhead’s driver calls out Black Dragon, which I’m sure the organizers will get right on. :roll_eyes:

Rusty (1-0) vs. Beta (1-0)
Oh geez. Some matches you just know the schedule maker was giving the middle finger to someone, and in this case it looks like it’s David Eaton, creator of the spunky lovable underdog people’s budget etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. :sleeping: Rusty who’s about to get, ahem, nailed. Because the way you teach a bunch of British cowards the price of being too conservative with their weapon is to give them an opponent where they have total free rein to fire at will! They begin by maneuvering, Beta running around and around and around, Rusty trying valiantly to get any mobility whatsoever, and hoo boy, if you thought the crowd was antsy before… And then Rusty gets hung up or something, and Beta catches his back! Yes! WHAMMO, right into the mailbox! And a second shot to the side, which nearly stops it; of course, “nearly stopped” means that Beta can ram it again, and this is just getting freaking depressing so I’ll skip to the end. Beta, knockout. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?? :angry:

Mammoth (1-0) vs. Hypershock (0-1)
Truly a David vs. Goliath matchup if ever there was one…of course, that means a lot less when both weigh the same, but never mind that for now. Will Bales, Hypershock’s driver, uses its speed to good effect, sizing up his opponent and denying it any easy shots. He commits! And Mammoth takes a good sized jolt. Another strike! And another! And…Mammoth just lost a little piece. Followed by another little piece. Followed by a bigger pieces. In a matter of seconds it’s a complete mess. All Bales needs to do is extract his bot from beneath the tangle of busted pipes, and…no problem. Ricky Willems, the operator of Mammoth, begs…in a very whiny tone of voice, I might add…his enemy to flip his machine over so he can continue the match…this being the second match for both of them, and in the case of Hypershock a virtual must-win, and I hereby declare Willems deserving of everything he gets for the entirety of his Battlebots career in perpetuity. Friggin’ schmuck. :rage: Incredibly, Bales obliges… :man_facepalming:

…with a shot straight to the battery compartment which causes Mammoth to start smoking heavily. :laughing: You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

Sub Zero (1-1) vs. Sporkinok (0-1)
Curious matchup, this. Sub Zero appears to be one of those “better than bad, worse than good” gatekeepers who prevails if the opponent stands still long enough and will mostly likely get bounced pretty quickly wherever it lands in the tournament, whereas Sporkinok is…a bizarre looking lifter with a spork attachment. (Which recently got its tines handed to it by friggin’ Rusty, let’s not forget.) The only possible motivation I can see for this is to give Sub Zero an easy win (or, alternatively, banishing Team Sub Zero to the doghouse if by some ungodly calamity it loses). I mean, they can’t all be wars of attrition, but everyone deserves some chance at cracking the win column, right? Right?

The fight! Such as it was! Jeeziz. You know that joke about a complete bum who does nothing but get pounded for the entire fight, how his strategy is to wear his opponent out from punching him? (I remember this being an episode of The Simpsons. Ah, when that show was worth my time…) That honest-to-god looks exactly like what Sporkinok is doing here…I certainly did not see evidence of any “weapon”…except that Sub Zero’s driver Logan Davis is such a colossal flailing spaz that it actually looks like it might have a chance of working. He continuously slams into walls, runs right by the opponent, flips over, rams various parts into the floor, spins out of control…he managed to actually make contact with his supposed target something 20% of the time. It was downright painful to watch. It finally ends when Sporkinok, which I can finally confirm is indeed a useless pile of crap, stops working because who needs a reason, really. Congrats, Davis. You’re in. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. Your motor control is shaky enough as it is.

Before we continue, the standings, which they decided to throw up right freaking now for whatever reason.
3-0 (1): Madcatter
2-0 (9): Black Dragon, Bloodsport, Beta, Copperhead, Hydra, Jackpot, Lock-jaw, Uppercut, Valkyrie
2-1 (2): Malice, Sub Zero
1-1 (22): Big Dill, Captain Shrederator, Claw Viper, End Game, Fusion, Gigabyte, Hijinx, Hypershock, Kraken, Mammoth, P1, Pain Train, Perfect Phoenix, Ribbot, Rusty, Sawblaze, Shatter, Skorpios, Slapbox, Sm(e), Tantrum, Tombstone
1-0 (4): Chomp, Deadlift, Gruff, Slammow
0-1 (7): Aegis, Bale Spear, Chronos, Gamma 9, Gemini, Grabot, Whiplash
0-2 (10): Atom #94, Axe Backwards, Extinguisher, Ghost Raptor, Huge, Rotator, Sharkoprion, Sporkinok, Tracer, Witch Doctor

With 32 bots making the tournament, that makes 1-2 the bubble. Other than a few obvious no-hopes such as Atom #94, Sporkinok, and Aegis, it’s too soon to write off anyone. Don’t be surprised to see someone who suffered to pretty bad defeats sneak in.

Profile of Bale Spear, the creation of farmer Earl Pencoast III. It kinda looks like a barnified tractor. And it’s a…poker, for lack of a better term. I’m getting the feeling this one’s not going to be on the bubble, if you catch my drift. The opponent is Tracer, which I’ve seen far too little of to form any opinion other than “easy target”. Hey, they both had an untelevised drubbing, who knew. These seem like the kind of jobbers the TV crew would be happy to leave completely in the cold but you can’t fill ten episodes with just Hydra and Tombstone and Uppercut. More on this at the end.

Bale Spear (0-1) vs. Tracer (0-2)
Prefight, and Pencoast is sounding more defeatist by the second. Geez, what is this? I know you’re not going to be the favorite against anyone, but you didn’t come here to lose, dammit! :angry: Tracer knocks off one of the two “barn door” shields with the first impact, and that’s the most action we see for a while. And…there’s some carry, and just like that Bale Spear craps out. Insert your own “left the barn door open” joke here.

Tracer’s master, Jason Woods, is jubilant. If the selection committee has a microounce of compassion, they’ll allow him to leave the battlebox with his happiness and one win. Dumping him in the tournament to get creamed by a real contender is just going to be cruelty.

Today’s pre-main fluff piece features Ricky Willems and his sidekick, who stands silently off to the side looking rather lost. Willems says that although the weapon chain was broken, the wheels still worked and he wanted to give the fans more of a fight, which is why he pleaded for Will Bales to flip him over. “Well, he’s a fast driver, but not that precise.” Now, on one hand, I can appreciate a never-say-die attitude, a desire to fight to the last drop of blood no matter how dire the situation looks. But on the other haHAHAHAHA! :laughing: AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! :laughing: YOU CHUMP! YOU COMPLETE, UTTER TOOL! :laughing::laughing: THAT WAS THE BIGGEST FAIL IN THE HISTORY OF AHHHHHHHHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

(Seriously, dude…shut your mouth, walk away, and cut your freaking losses. You’re going to hit the center of the Earth at the rate you’re digging.)

Main event - Gruff (1-0) vs. Whiplash (0-1)
Florian gushes about how Whiplash is one of the elite because it the last three seasons it has only lost to Tombstone, Witch Doctor, Bite Force, and Sawblaze. So…being a gatekeeper counts as “elite” now? :confused: Actually, given that bots such as Big Dill, Captain Shrederator, and Rusty are still in contention, maybe it does. Gruff enters with a bit of damage to one of its wedgelets, not a great sign.

Gruff gets to work with its fire weapons. Whiplash nicely manhandles its foe, but that small disk is having trouble making contact. The more time Gruff has to work, the greater the chance its superhot flames are going to burn something out, so you can’t allow it to dictate the fight. And just like that, one of its flame shooters shuts down! Whiplash’s saw arm is mobile, and it scores a clean hit to the top of Gruff. Now the chess match begins, both teams trying to outmaneuver the other and gain some, any tactical advantage. Gruff has lost its fire and can’t do anything with its forks while Whiplash is rolling it around, and not surprisingly Whiplash decides to continue its tumbleweed assault. Halfway mark…and Whiplash starts to smoke! Durability issues doomed it against Sawblaze; is another opponent going to simply out last it? Gruff tries to grapple, with little success; this is not its strength. Whiplash’s spinner stops! And Gruff starts smoking! Like so many more conventional main events, a fight that started with explosive offensives and spectacular moves has turned into a plain ‘ol battle of attrition. Which man will stay upright longer? Whiplash has Gruff pinned. Gruff tries to escape but keeps getting manhandled. Even with a dead disk Whiplash’s arm can still move, and it uses it flip Gruff like a flapjack. As the final seconds tick away, there isn’t much doubt over the winner. Yooner for Whiplash, right? Right. The playoff picture just got a little more muddied.

In closing: I’ve already mentioned some of the things I really like about this show. Let me add another, and I’ll use another reality show, American Ninja Warrior, for comparison. They show the contests. In seven days of competition, there have been a total of 53 matches, and all but 3 of them have been shown in their entirety, on the screen. This despite the usual number of interviews, inside looks, fluff pieces, etc. Compare that to ANW, where we see maybe a tenth of the total contestants on a good day, numerous matches are shunted to an extremely slam-bang highlight reel (what I affectionately call “waiweewuwwaweiland”), the order of the runs is completely janked up, and we don’t even see some of the shown runs in their entirety. I don’t mind when something like The Bachelor or Hell’s Kitchen gets edited to death…those shows are all about the juicy drama, after all…but when I watch a competition, cheesy or not, I want to see the ding-dang competition! And Battlebots always delivers. (That’s also one of the really nice things about The Titan Games, BTW. Wonder when that one’s coming back.)

I’m not clear about the chronology of Battlebots. This season was on a different network, had different announcers, etc. I’m still scratching my head about “Buddy Lee Don’t Play in the Street” as a bot.

Then there’s this, taking the bot concept to a nutty level.

BattleBots did 5 seasons on Comedy Central between 2000 and 2002. ABC then revived the series in 2015 and did a 2nd season of the revival in 2016. Then the show was on the verge of dying until Discovery picked it up and has done 2018, 2019, 2020, and is planning on 2021.

Just wanted to head something off at the pass…I know I’ve been critical of the quality of some of the entrants here. Normally this is the point where I start clamoring for some kind of minor league or relegation, some place the weak contestants can have some kind of prayer. I’d just like to say that it’s completely unfeasible here. This is an expensive sport, and finding builders, testers, and drivers with the money, backing, and will to keep going match after match, season after season is always going to be an uphill battle. Remember that these intricate works of engineering need to be repaired after each fight, and in some cases completely rebuilt. (To answer the inevitable tedious question: Yes, it’s still the goddam Ship of Theseus. Now go bother someone else. :slightly_smiling_face:) It’s no fun seeing a Sporkinok flail around, but it’s really no fun not having a show to watch. So bring on the lovable losers, I say. Gotta put something before the Lock-jaw match.

PRELIMS DAY 8 1/28/21

Kraken is now sporting a harpoon, which its driver Matt Spirk thinks is going to grant some kind of advantage against Huge, and hope springs eternal, I guess. Huge has betrayed some serious limitations this season, while Kraken is definitely going to have its fangs full with those massive wheels; unless someone has some serious inspiration, this could be the end of the line for both.

Huge (0-2) vs. Kraken (1-1)
Kraken swallows up the center of Huge before that bar can reach full speed, and it turns on the flames. This seems to be Spirk’s whole strategy: Prevent the enemy from doing anything, do whatever heat damage it can for 30 seconds, and hope the judges are in a good mood that day. The “break” comes, and Kraken finds itself down a belt and part of the front panel. :roll_eyes: A little jockeying later, Huge gets its first solid hit which sends more metal flying. Oh look, the harpoon caught a wheel! Kraken pulls Huge…for a few seconds. :man_facepalming: And now Huge is just smacking Kraken around…which is how it ends. The announcers predictably gush about that little fire attack at the onset and that bit of harpoon “control”, but I’m totally not seeing what the hell Kraken did to win this. Huge scores the easy yooner, and whaddya know, that supposed miscarriage of justice was in fact an anomaly, whatever it was. :roll_eyes:

Jonathan Schultz is just relieved to get a win on the board and doesn’t say much about his tournament prospects, other than that he’ll “repair Huge”, which he should do anyway. Spirk is weirdly happy because “you can’t kill the Kraken”, and…ugh. No. You absolutely cannot be okay with losing a decision. A decision loss is A LOSS, plain and simple. You don’t accept that reality, you’re just going to lose again and again and again until the producers decide you’re not worth the trouble and kick you out for good.

And now he’s demanding that Kraken be in the tournament. Geez. I know that this contest requires a certain attitude, but did it have to be THAT attitude? :angry:

Up next is another first-nontelever…nontelefirster…untel…uh, it wasn’t deemed important enough to show before now, Axolotl. It’s a drum spinner with a forks on either side. You may have notice that while you’ll see everything from mailbox/popcorn bowl behemoths and impractical utensil wavers, there are only a few truly effective robot designs (at least within the current rules). I’m seeing more and more that it’s all the little things that spell the difference between a champ and a bum. Weapon placement. Armor design. The electronics and how they’re protected. The battery compartment. Weight distribution. Maneuverability. Speed vs. power. Big vs. small. All the hours of design and testing and note-taking that iron out the flaws one by one and create a fearsome force of destruction, that’s what spells the difference between Bite Force and…well, Axolotl.

Ribbot (1-1) vs. Axolotl (0-1)
Highlights. Axolotl spinning up its drum to a rather unimpressive speed. Ribbot running around its much slower foe. Ribbot giving a hit. Ribbot giving another hit. Axolotl crapping out. Ribbot giving another hit. Axolotl still showing no movement, now clearly, totally, unequivocally done, absolutely dead, with zero chance of moving another inch, all over but the shouting from the guy in the stripey shirt, finito, kaput, no need to deliver any more damage. And then Ribbot’s driver, David Chin, bellows some nonsense and charges Axolotl head-on, which has the immediate effect of knocking off Ribbot’s head. :roll_eyes: Well, at least we all know what Team Ribbot is good at, which is beating up on grossly overmatched scrubs and doing damage to their own flimsy stupid-looking cosmetics. I can’t wait to see them in the tournament. :woman_facepalming::angry:

Big Dill (1-1) vs. Rotator (0-2)
Victor Soto is entering Rotator at a mere 215 pounds; he feared BD’s forks would get caught in the wheel guards and took them off. Mmm…given BD’s general offensive abilities, I think making sure that your bot doesn’t blow itself up is the key. Rotator gets a decent hit. And another. And another. And…I’m not seeing a lot of damage. The arms are a big dinged but that’s all. That…THAT is the rap against Rotator, it simply doesn’t have the offensive firepower to compete. BD did virtually nothing but get hit the whole fight and still almost went the distance. In the end it’s a very slow death, and Soto gets to have marginal tournament credentials, as opposed to no.

Lock-jaw (2-0) vs. Jackpot (2-0)
The superstar veteran against the blazing phenom…a classic matchup if there ever was one. Bigtime tournament implications here. Jackpot dashes right in for a wepper, and Lock-jaw obliges…to its immediate detriment! Its spinner grinds to a halt while Jackpot’s keeps humming along. Another head-on collision, and Lock-jaw loses a belt, and seconds later starts smoking…oh, geez. Then a flip-over. Lock-jaw’s spinner returns to life, but much weaker than at the start of the match, and the hits just keep on coming. 90 seconds to go…and Jackpot has lost a belt! The upstart still has the upper hand for now, but can he win a pushing duel? And…Lock-jaw…is losing power! It’s dead! The bargain-basement bot commanded by a complete greenhorn has just completed a clean sweep of prelims! These are the kind of moments that legitimate sports have, folks! :grin:

Chronos (0-1) vs. Bloodsport (2-0)
Chronos is a rim spinner, which differs from a full body spinner in that only the outside edge spins. Which has the advantage of…hell if I know, I’m just the ignorant casual here. :stuck_out_tongue: Unfortunately, this isn’t an intriguing matchup from a tactical standpoint. Due to the design of the bots, every contact is going to be a wepper, so it’s mostly a matter of which machine can take more of a pounding. It’s even worse if both weapons go down quickly, as is the case here. Bloodsport briefly gets moving again but gives out again almost right away, meaning that the bulk of the match has all the excitement of Greco-Roman wrestling. Chronos, if nothing else, is a tough nut to crack; I don’t even see any dents. Aaaaaand, that’s how it ends. I have to give the nod to Bloodsport for at least making an effort, but this was a pretty dismal showing on both sides. You can’t be all defense! Yooner and a perfect prelims for Bloodsport. We’ll see how good it really is soon enough.

And lo and behold, another bad name on the docket. This one is titled “WAR?EZ!”, named after its builder, Jonathan Juarez (his son Dylan does the driving); it’s pronounced “war easy”. And is really damn hard to keep its spelling consistent. Imma spell it “Warez” with zero remorse. You have a problem with that? Okay, cool. :sunglasses:

Fusion (1-1) vs. Warez (1-1 and still pronounced “war easy”, BTW)
Winner the dance, loser the rants. Fusion elects to attack with the drum first. Both bots have trouble closing the gap, and when they do their weapons fail to find anything. Warez is a vertical disk spinner with a high orientation relative to the compact Fusion, and it’s hampering both their efforts to do any damage. It looks like it’s coming down to a wepper, and indeed it does, both combatants sent tumbling. And that’ll do it; Warez got flipped, lost a tire, and has no self-righter (Really?? :astonished::woman_facepalming:); resounding kill to Fusion. Jonathan consoles Dylan with “It wasn’t that bad”, and I seriously have to wonder just what the bloody hell would qualify as “that bad” in his eyes. Maybe showing the first two fights would provide some perspective?

Reese Ewert, Fusion’s driver, sounds a bit overwhelmed, like he never expected to make it this far. There seems to be some family friction and some high expectations on him; apparently he needs to win the Giant Nut before he’ll be welcomed home again. Ewert, take it from me…this is a fool’s wager. It made zero sense with Jeannie Mai and it makes zero sense with you. Flip the bird to everyone and move on, and the sooner the better.

Now it’s almost time for the main event, Skorpios vs. Tombstone, and in both camps the smack talk is flying high. It’s called “smack” talk, incidentally, because you want to smack some sense into them for spewing out such ridiculous BS. Ray Billings claims Tombstone is ready to win the Giant Nut based on the Slap Box match, which is like declaring a team a Super Bowl contender after beating the New York Jets. Skorpios’ driver, Zack Lyttle, laments that he only has one win, which would be extremely bad news if he had two freaking matches under his belt, as opposed to, say, twenty, and I truly despise it when the word “only” gets horribly abused like this. He’s been waiting for this match for four years, and I’m sure there are a lot of folks in his camp praying like hell for there to not be horrible disappointment. Billings says that having only one Giant Nut is a problem. I think you have way bigger problems than that, big guy, but the full assessment can wait until after the season.

Main event - Skorpios (1-1) vs. Tombstone (1-1)
Billings gives an ominous “that’s not good” just before the match begins. Plenty of maneuvering at the onset, Skorpios keeping its heavily armored front facing Tombstone’s blade but unable to do much in response. Already Skorpios’ right tire looks bad. Finally it drops the saw; it’s a wepper, no edge. Another hit, and Skorpios loses a chunk of armor. The saw drops again, and it’s another wepper. If all Lyttle knows how to do is absorb punishment and trade hits, it’s going to be an ugly defeat for him. And…Tombstone is having drive problems? Skorpios rushes in, perhaps a bit too hastily, and both bots are sent flying. And again! Skorpios looks in really rough shape, while Tombstone can only do right turns. Who will surv…Lyttle still hasn’t had enough! Skorpios dives right in for more mutual pounding! When is too much way too much? Now Tombstone has lost its right tire! If Lyttle backs off, the win is his…BUT HE REFUSES! MORE HITS! :scream: We’ve seen overaggressive drivers doom so, so many machines, is Skorpios headed to that same junk heap? And the ref has seen enough! Even in the midst of all this pounding, he starts counting! Protest by Billings! Correctly ignored! Skorpios wins!

Team Skorpios is celebrating like crazy. This was the defining win of Lyttle’s career; it may be the biggest win he ever gets. I almost want them to actually go to Disneyland…I can’t see the tournament being anything but a letdown for them. Billings has, of course embraced the villain role for this show for whatever reason, but lately he’s been sounding less like a bad guy and more like a plain old idiot. “Tombstone was still moving! The fight shouldn’t have been stopped!” Um…you do realize that the key word is CONTROLLED, right? As in straight, right, and left. One outta three don’t cut it! You’ve been around long enough to know this, dammit! Mike Tyson? Try Ken Shamrock. :angry:

Yet more thanks for the exciting and vividly worded accounts. I was able to see some re-runs and got to see some of the matches you so described, in addition to the ones I’ve already seen. A few of my own musings:

ISTM the large montrosities like ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Huge’, though capable of inflicting “huge” damage are in the “the bigger they are the harder they fall” pigeonhole. Mammoth, once toppled, just bashes itself into a worse and worse mess as it thrashes about to right itself. The wheels on ‘Huge’ may keep the guts of its workings higher above the fray than other robots but I’ve seen them to be the proverbial glass jaw(s) or achilles heels, whichever. Too much of a big target, too spindly. Too vulnerable.

I’m impressed with the armor and toughness of ‘Gruff’. If their flamethrower(s) were more reliable.

If one employs a ( horizontal ) blade spinner, it better have a fast spin-up time. I’ve seen so many spend more time trying to run away to give themselves some spin-up space they let their opponents dictate the fight. I’m impressed with ‘Tombstone’ and it’s heavy and fast blade, but I can’t stand it’s owner/handler, and so I find myself rooting for whoever is fighting against Tombstone ( though I kinetic smashings are still eye and ear candy )

‘Witch Doctor’ could be a tough little hard hitting sonofagun if they get reliability issues worked out.

Regarding spinners drums/blades, I’ve been thinking of what might be the optimum drive methods. Chains are less prone to slippage yes, but the force of a sudden stop snaps them as easily as a belt, and we’ve seen enough unraveled belts and chains. A gear/bevel gear & torque tube drive would be the most mechanically positive drive but when extreme force is applied, all that torque is going end up somewhere at the weakest point. A clutching mechanism perhaps, but then again there may be too much room for slippage. A real conundrum. One bot, don’t remember which uses a gasoline engine just to spin their blade. More or less direct drive, and not dependent upon the bot’s own battery. Cool idea, but then you better protect that fuel from ‘Gruff’.

I have an idea for a blade system: Two high speed titanium impregnated die-grinder type discs. But here’s the thing: make them counter-rotating. That way you can saw away and cleave through the opponent for a long(er) duration without the rotation of your own weapon bouncing you back. The blades would have to be close together as can be made so that the it’s both blades that always make contact at the same time.

Final muse: Hey ‘Beta’. Yeah you’re a tough nut construction-wise, but I have to ask: Does it cost you a thousand dollars every time you swing that hammer? I’m not saying flail away like a 2-year old would if you hand him a hammer, but come on. If you’re going to be that careful with it, a secondary weapon system might be in order. Very few times will you get the goldilocks moment to crack your opponent’s weaker areas when he knows damned well that’s all you can do. Sometimes I wonder if the vaunted conservative-ness of using that damned hammer is just a cover for the fact it’s too fragile to be used in most cases. We’ve seen the thing get bent or busted before.