Battlebots '23

'20 and '21 seasons
'22 season

It’s back! More robots, more Faruq-isms, more surprises, more cheesy effects, and rumor has it that Rose and Florian have toned it down a bit! Thursdays in the usual places. And I know that the shooting/airing schedule can be a bit…waffly, of you will, but I can’t think of a better way to kick off a reality TV schedule (I seriously doubt Fantasy Island is going to be the answer), so '23 it is! Just for the record, though, this is officially season 7, meaning, of course, season 7 of the current incarnation of Battlebots and not that Comedy Central foolishness which hardly anyone remembers anymore. I don’t makes 'em, I just reports 'em. :man_shrugging:

Just a few quick tidbits before my big opening day blowout post (man, I always wanted to be the guy who did that :slightly_smiling_face:) on Saturday. Tombstone is out, possibly for good. There are a bunch of new machines, none of which has gotten any press that I know of yet. There’s apparently a new judge replacing Jason Bardis. And the big news is that Covid restrictions are over and the event is going back to 4-match prelims. Furthermore, every bot is going to have its schedule posted on the website so you can start speculating about them well in advance. It’s currently down, so I can’t say how accurate this is right now, but if true it’s going to make preparing my recaps a lot easier.

One last thing I’d like to get out of the way. Dave Eaton is back with a new machine, Rusty Jr. I know this man has a legitimately strong following, and I know he’s truly been an inspiration to many. I still think he should’ve stepped down, but I understand that a lot of fans and power brokers don’t agree with me. As long as he remains decent and likable (and there’s no reason to think he won’t), I don’t begrudge him his presence here. However! There needs to be a rule with these inspirational, common-man, fighting, good of the sport etc. etc. contestants. For the first two years, they get to be treated with kid gloves, and everyone can ooh and ah and say what a wonderful example of the human spirit etc. he is. Thereafter, the kid gloves come off and they’re treated like everyone else. They’ve had more than enough time to learn the ropes, find out what works, and develop some sense of tactics. Heck, it’s not like there’s any lack of cannon fodder to score at least an occasional win. You were a plucky little kid once, but now you’ve grown up, and it’s time to stop inspiring and start competing.

The DVR is locked & loaded. Meanwhile, I’ve been getting my combat robot fix watching the cute minibots rip each other up in the NHRL Championships on YouTube.

Love me some Fightin’ Robots! And Thanks God for DVR.

I remember, and it was the world introduction to Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame. I also remember Robot Wars, which had more deadly weapons as part of the arena.

wasnt that the one with mick foley as host ?

Intro: The action is brutal and Jake Ewert is pissed. :man_shrugging:

PRELIMS DAY 1 1/5/23

Rose assures us that “there are no cupcakes this time around”, which, given what I’m seeing, is way off the mark. “There are an appreciably reduced number of cupcakes this time around” would be a more realistic assessment. There is quite a bit of fresh blood, which is great, because that’s exactly what a niche sport needs. The regular season has gone back to 4 matches, and now every bot has all 4, as opposed to the last two seasons where a few had 2 or even 1. The full schedule is here, although obviously I don’t recommend going there until after you’ve seen the episode. I’ll have some comments on future matchups if I find anything interesting.

Fon Davis takes over Jason Bardis’ spot as judge.

Ribbot vs. Witch Doctor
Oh, look, there are preseason rankings now, because we know how much legitimacy THOSE have. :roll_eyes:. Ribbot is going with a “tongued” vertical spinner and has two small wedges. The Galatelys refuse to chase the “ground game” bandwagon; they’re sporting a 250MPH max spinner and no forks. This is a heck of a season opener, two heavy hitters that create all kinds of headaches for their opponents and have many impressive wins under their belts.

They meet head on; lots of little hits. Ribbot shuffles around, chipping away at WD’s armor panels…and… :woman_facepalming: it’s lost its left front tire. And Mike Galately decides to continue going head on. WD sweeps to Ribbot’s flank, and Ribbot promptly gets the first solid hit of the match, knocking WD over and taking off some steel. But WD immediately responds with a big hit that…and now I definitely need an acronym now…TRSHCO (Takes Ribbot’s Stupid Head Completely Off). :woman_facepalming: And another big upend, and now Ribbot’s missing its right front tire. Ribbot is now stranded in the corner. Two more hits, and Ribbot is completely, definitively dead. The schedule makers must be glad they didn’t make this the main event.

Well, give the Galatelys credit. I said that they needed to lose the snotty attitude and get their heads in the game, and that’s exactly what they did. Looking at their schedule, I don’t see any real challenge from Fusion or Gruff. The regular season ender against Minotaur is going to be big and could very well dictate their fortunes in the tournament. Provided that Team Ribbot finds wheels that can actually stay on, they shouldn’t have much trouble making the tournament, but it’s looking like another uphill climb.

Quantum vs. Captain Shrederator
The birdlike Quantum is a “crusher” with a pair of fangs. Apparently it’s been out of action for some time, which is never a good sign. CS has a wedge attachment, because…oh, just go with it. CS begins by going straight into a wall, then getting chased around before winding up in the corner. Oh, oh, here it comes! QUANTUM BITES INTO, CS, LIFTS IT, PUTS IT IN A WALL, AND just kinda sets it back down. :expressionless: Yo, that wasn’t anywhere close to 30 seconds! And another grab. And some clown hammer action. And another grab. CS slips out and tries to find room to spin up, but Quantum hounds it every step of the way…and…this is going to be another really boring yooner, isn’t it? Uh huh…uh huh…obligatory endo…and…yeah. A bunch of more-of-the-same later, CS starts smoking and stops moving, the end.

Ripperoni vs. Gruff
All right, about Ripperoni. It’s a vertical spinner with a big single tooth, but with a flywheel in the back to cancel out all that nasty gyroscopic force, which should hopefully make it more stable. (One of its tires is smaller than the other, which I’m assuming was done for a reason.) Builder Anna Zolnikov proudly states that “We want to show that you don’t have to be tough and serious to be a serious contender.” Well, of course not. You’re the squishy meatbag behind the bulletproof glass. It’s the machine that has to be tough and serious. :grin: It should have a good test against Gruff, which can do little offensively but can take a heavy beating.

Gruff charges right in and upends Ripperoni, which flails around a bit. Ripperoni tries to get on target and gets sent tumbling again. Finally it gets settled down a bit and delivers the first decent hit of the match. Another hit to the wedge that sends Gruff spinning. And it promptly gets caught in a floor disk notch and rolls like a die. So far I’m not seeing very much of that purported stability. Ripperoni tries to get settled and hops all over the floor in the manner completely identical to all those big vertical-spinnered, non-flywheel assisted vertical spinners. :man_facepalming: Gruff switches to an I’m-not-touching-you-oh-wait-yes-I-am assault while Ripperoni flips and flops and tumbles and bumbles and flails and bails and otherwise looks absolutely out of control. Gruff gets under and does a “suplex”, which is Battlebots speak for “anything within a football field of what we think looks kinda-sorta like a throw”. Shot of driver Fred Mohr running to a different position at least 20 feet away, and anytime a driver has to work that hard just to follow his machine, there’s a problem. Ripperoni gets up on its small wheel and spins like a wind-up ballerina, which, combined with its earlier die impersonation, leads me to believe that robot fighting really isn’t its game. And some smoke for good measure.

This seemed a lot longer than 3 minutes, let me tell you. We see the judges for the first time this season, and they do their very simple duty: Gruff yooner.

Quick look at Ripperoni’s remaining schedule, and hoo boy, the baptism of fire continues. They get End Game for their second match; the only doubt there is whether it’ll be a lightning-fast curbstomp or a brisk but not quite lightning-fast curbstomp. Hijinx might be winnable, but if they haven’t fixed their control issues the mobile Copperhead is going to give them fits.

Shot of Shatter hacking through a couple of broad, thin, completely stationary pieces of wood, which is supposed to be impressive somehow. :expressionless:

Some good-soldiering from Rose about how Huge hasn’t been able to “climb that mountain”. Florian answers with the quote “Either you win or you learn” and adds that they haven’t lost a single pit crew member. At some point this goes from “their loyalty and cohesiveness will lead to long-term success” to “they don’t have anywhere else to go”, but I try not to be overly pessimistic. (No, really! :slightly_smiling_face:) Some talk about Adam Wrigley and Shatter’s limited success, which Florian attributes to being a precision bot in an age of overwhelming power. As always, my take is that if a bot built on precision has no precision whatsoever, it’s going to struggle.

Huge vs. Shatter
Both bots are on the drifty side and slide around looking for an angle. Huge gets the first shot which punts Shatter back. Another shot which upends Shatter and takes out some of those sacrificial panels. Shatter gets a little poke that doesn’t do anything before eating a few more hits. And a few more. Rose mentions that Shatter now has omniwheels, which we’ve seen is a bigtime double-edged sword in the Battlebox. Another swing by Shatter which makes a loud ping and little else. Huge pins Shatter against a wall and nails a three-hit air combo. Aaaaaaand, one of the white axle guards just came flying off of Shatter. As is my usual procedure with one-sided matches, I’ll withhold further comment unless the buttkickee starts mounting a comeback. Mmm. Hmm…nope, Shatter left for dead on the wall, count and done. (Hey, we have a female ref now, cool! :slightly_smiling_face:)

Damn, there are some seriously glum faces in the Shatter camp. It’s bad enough when your bot has limited abilities to begin with, but when your opponent draws up the blueprint for how to beat it…keep up a steady attack and don’t leave your vulnerable bits exposed…that really puts a dark cloud on your future.

Huge designer Jonathan Schultz is really hyped up after his win and tremendously confident about this year. Rose and Florian really seem to be pumped up for Huge for whatever reason.

A look into the Glitch pit. Glitch, you may recall, won its first 7 matches in the most utterly insane Bizarro World manner imaginable. Believe me when I say it did not look even remotely dominating. Every dart hit the bullseye, every roll came up 20, every half court shot swished. Now it looks like it has serious technical issues. Again. Florian informs us that the bots have to pass a safety test before entering the box; Glitch did, but it was a pretty close call.

Riptide vs. Glitch
Battle of last season’s Rookies of the Year. Although Riptide had two more losses, it made it to quarters whereas Glitch bowed out due to the aforementioned technical issues. Serious bragging rights at stake here, and you can bet that the entire Riptide camp is really raring to prove which is better.

Someone in the Glitch camp asks “Weapon on weapon?” to Riptide’s driver, and yes, it is most reassuring to continue to see these displays of crappy sportsmanship, thank you very much. :angry:

Weapons fire up. Maneuvering. Riptide goes to Glitch’s right side and sends it flying into the edge of the upper deck. And now Glitch is inverted and completely dead. So of course Riptide’s driver takes a completely gratuitous, pointless shot, which deposits Glitch on the upper deck and leaves it inverted and completely dead there. :woman_shrugging: I’m tempted to call that place Boot Hill.

And apparently Rose thought the broadcast booth was getting far too tolerable (seriously, I’ve had nothing bad to say about them all night!), so he demanded that Riptide Ethan Kurtz yell and scream. His exact words. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure that once he gets tired of acting like an overcaffeinated banshee, the show will respect his wishes and allow him to calm down. :roll_eyes::rage:

Preview of the main event, Tantrum vs. Minotaur. Shots of Daniel Freitas talking trash and being completely classes in his win over End Game and somehow managing to be even worse in the quarterfinal match against Witch Doctor. Meanwhile, Alex Grant and Ginger Schmidt didn’t expect to win even once last season and somehow capped off a miracle championship. Man…you see contrasts of motivation, passion, energy, knowledge in these previews, but the goodwill here is like day and night.

Free Shipping vs. Gigabyte
Old hand David Jin has thrown in the towel and joined the spinner crowd: Free Shipping now sports a small vertical spinner between a pair of wedges. And fire or something. Gigabyte isn’t much different, but John Mladenick has passed the controller to a pair of young apprentices.

Gigabyte starts things off by running into a screw, then follows up by running into it again. :man_facepalming: I know they’re young, but I don’t think “avoid self owns” is that hard a concept. FS gets under Gigabyte a couple times, sending it up a bit, that little spinner not having much effect. FS drives forward, coin-flipping Gigabyte around. Mistake, FS into the wall, but Gigabyte also…hits…the… :weary: All I’m saying is that in most leagues, semi-mains with this level of bungling get an earful from the fans. FS follows up by diving right under a clown hammer, and then a head-on collision which sends them both spinning away. And then another, much bigger shot which draws flames from FS. FS rushes the still-wobbly Gigabyte and sends it skyward. And now Gigabyte is inverted and the righter is broken! It skitters across the box and even does a spinning top impression (Man, we’re really getting hit with the toys tonight! :grin:). Jin hesitates, wanting to make sure that there isn’t going to be a count before committing to more violence. Eventually he goes for what’s left of the righter, but it’s a narrow and extremely fidgety target. And he plows into the wall. For some reason he’s having really bad control issues tonight. It becomes academic, though, when Gigabyte gradually loses speed and grinds to a halt. A couple clown hammer bops are the final “damage”, and that is all.

Jin receives an appreciative mini-chant. You know what, credit the grizzled veteran for abandoning an idea that wasn’t working. I don’t like the idea of a sport being completely dominated by 1 or 2 styles, but it beats losing all the time any day.

Grant and Schmidt rented an IMAX theater and played the entire final day of the ’21 season for over 300 family and friends. That sounds…really expensive. Incredibly nice gesture, though! :+1:

Oh, BTW, there are now championship banners hanging from the top of the arena. (All labelled “world champion”, of course, in case some Robot Wars producer decides to get uppity or whatever. :woman_shrugging:) Lessee…there’s Vlad The Impaler with 2 Heavyweight Champion honors, Biohazard with 4, Son of Whyachi with 1, and Lamachine with 1. (This of course would be the pre-Discovery event, when standards were more lax and there could actually be weight classes.) The current event champs are Bite Force (seasons 1, 3, and 4), Tombstone (season 2), and End Game (season 5). Now Tantrum receives its honor. All these machines, some of them not having seen any action in years, immortalized. Man…I am now super bummed about Witch Doctor finishing second three freaking times. :cry:

Main event - Tantrum vs. Minotaur
Tantrum rushes out and clips Minotaur’s side. Some fast maneuvering before Tantrum rams into Minotaur’s right; a nice bump, but the spinner wasn’t in position to do damage. Some jostling, and they’re head-to-head, Minotaur’s drum grinding away but unable to reach anything important. Tantrum gets tossed around. Another light bump and another Tantrum toss…and it’s briefly inverted…OOH, that was a good one! Tantrum is launched and something comes flying off. Another hit; it’s back on its wheels but it’s righter looks seriously compromised. More head-to-head action. Another solid shot from Minotaur! Tantrum is inverted…and…it’s lost too much of its righter and can’t right! Daniel Freitas is spinning up like a demon, will he…no! He backs off! And he scores the stoppage victory! :fireworks:

Well now. Last season I wondered how Team Minotaur would come back from their completely disgraceful exit from the ’21 tournament. It looks like I got my answer. The squad has a new driver (Marco Mentinolaro) and a new attitude, and they’re going to fight for every win. I’ll have to see how they deal with an opponent that can dish out more punishment than Tantrum, but for now they’re definitely on the right path, which is all I could’ve hoped for.

Overall a pretty good first day. :slightly_smiling_face: I think I’m going to enjoy this season a lot.

Whew. I think I’ve spent enough time on this. Talk about that top ten thingy when I have the energy.

Thanks for another thorough analysis, @DKW.

Did anyone else notice how utterly ecstatic the Ripperoni crew appeared to be after lasting the full 3 minutes againsr Gruff? Makes me wonder whether they had some doubts --.

And I have a real fondness for HUGE and its unconventional design. I hope the tougher wheels are an improvement and give it some staying power against the horizontal spinners (the Battlebots schedule link is broken, so I can’t see who its other matches are).

Hey, no problem! I love doing this! :grin:

I didn’t really notice anything unusual in the Ripperoni pit other than they were really scrambling. I guess they’re have an “if you don’t get knocked out you have a chance” mindset and to have gone the distance in their first match, especially after everything that went wrong, was just a big thrill. It’s a gimmick bot and thus far the gimmick isn’t working, but I appreciate their enthusiasm and I really hope they can claim at least one scalp this season.

Huge? How do I put this…it’s not a great bot by any means, and it’s never going to win any hardware, but it’s fun to watch and the season just doesn’t feel complete without it. What I’m seeing in Battlebots (apologies if I already said this in a previous thread) is very similar to the maturation of UFC, how all the sumo wrestlers and barroom brawlers and karatekas and taekwondo-ers and “exotics” meatheads got phased out and “ultimate fighting” gradually became a discipline in its own right. It was a vital step in turning the event from a trashy novelty into a legitimate, mainstream, highly lucrative sport…but in the process something fun and free and weird was lost, never to return. You’ll notice that the bot designs have a preponderance of vertical spinners and a sizable minority of horizontal spinners. That’s what works; that’s what wins fights. But the unique designs, the creative designs, the just plain goofy designs…gone. It was very recently that we got to see curiosities like Duck, Sme, Blade, Pardon My French, and Chomp. Nowhere to be seen now. That’s why we need Huge, and that’s why I’m pulling it to get…at least 2 wins. That seems reasonable.

That’s when it became boring during the original show, every new bot was a wedge and it just became shoving matches. At least the spinners give some pop and destruction, and are better then flippers or clampers.

Bingo. To me, I’d rather take an apple, cut it in half, and just sit and stare at it until the inside pulp turns brown than watch two grapplers in a match on BB.

Sorry this took a while; I just came off of a really horrendous week of work and there was a bunch of relaxing stuff I had to do first.

Here’s a fun fact: Due to all the mania about matches that were stopped too soon/not stopped soon enough, of which the final straw was almost certainly the wholesale clusterfrag that was last season’s Witch Doctor/Minotaur quarterfinal, “controlled movement” is history. Now a bot has to be completely motionless before the count can begin. Yeah! Rose idly mentioned this in the middle of today’s action, BTW, which strikes me really weird timing…I mean, he was all over the upper deck like white on rice, right? Anyway, this could result in more bots going the distance, but in all likelihood it’s just going to mean more destruction, which of course would serve the powers in charge (and the fans, of course) just fine.

PRELIMS DAY 2 1/12/23

Sawblaze vs. Hypershock
Sawblaze is 17-9 all time. A very good mark, to be sure, but I’m more interested in how far the bot’s made it in the tournament and how often. I’d put one semis and one quarters into “Very good, but are they happy with that?” territory. Hypershock is #2 in all time knockouts with 18, behind Tombstone’s 19, which sounds impressive until you consider that End Game and Witch Doctor (along with the apparently retired Bite Force) are right behind at 17. I’m actually now kinda intrigued as to who’ll have the all time mark when this is over. For more hard numbers…well, they’re on the website; just be warned of major spoilers, since we’re only two days into this and all.

And Rose just called this the “heavyweight division”, which means…I’m not sure what. :man_shrugging: For the record, I’d really appreciate a new televised non-heavyweight division.

Head-on rush; Hypershock rides over Sawblaze’s forks and neither takes a hit. A few light strikes from Hypershock which draw sparks. It then briefly knocks over Sawblaze, but the force also turns it over. As we’ve seen before, this leaves its front wheels and forks hanging uselessly in the air. Sawblaze tries to capitalize by…shoving it around a bunch. The hammer saw still hasn’t budged, and I tried to be open-minded about this timidity from swinging-object drivers, but now I find it just plain annoying. :angry: Finally the first hit by Sawblaze; I didn’t see it, but it did some serious damage to one of the tires. Will Bales shakes and jukes and rattles but just…cannot…get Hypershock righted. Sawblaze swings again, and now Hypershock is missing both front tires. It looks like it may be immobile, but Jameson Go has to take one more bite…and…now it looks like the saw is stuck in Hypershock’s body. Well, you only live once. :woman_shrugging:

And Go can’t get it unstuck! Oh no! After last year’s unbelievable drama over stickings, what sweeping changes have the power brokers made? What are they going to…oh, the ref just ordered a power-down and the ring crew is going to attempt to pry them apart with crowbars. After a brief struggle the crew admits defeat, meaning that this is going to the cards.
In other words, they handling this exactly the same way as last year. :roll_eyes: Will Bales says “We’re just about to turn it around”, and yeah, plenty of losers have been in that position. Sweat-free yooner for Sawblaze.

Hypershock can be a force when it’s game is on. The problem is that it seems to get knocked off its game a lot, and with the draw it has this season, there’s very little margin for error.

A look at Reese Ewert, the oft-embattled owner of Fusion. Fusion is another one of those “gatekeepers”, with the muscle to take out bad opponents but too little staying power to beat any quality opponent. This alone would be unnoteworthy, except for the fact that Ewert is part of a family that’s had some measure of success, and that apparently is enough to put the 900-megaton albatross of High Expectations on him. :angry: Y’know, when fans talk about “sports royalty”, usually it’s after at least one member has had MANY YEARS OF AMAZING SUCCESS, not the chickenscratch currently on Jake Ewert’s resume. On the plus side, I just got a cleaner audio on that “Yeck koan po, baby!” clip from last season, and what Jake actually said was “Now dat’s mo’ powah, baby!” Florian: “This is a great robot. It can beat any robot it there. As long as it doesn’t go up in flames. Rose: “Which is at least half the time.” Ouch. :grimacing:

Now Emulsifier, the second rookie after Ripperoni, owned by Matt Bors. Bors was once the owner of Shatter, which, as Rose put it, has placed “lofty expectations” on him. Man, I’d really hate to be the loser of this match. :rage: Given that Emulsifier has a small front-mounted disk with a tooth…sort of a more offense-minded Cobalt…I really don’t see how Bors’ experience with shedding armor pieces like dog hair and flailing wildly at nothing is going to help him here. Instead of wheels, it has a pair of tank-like treads.

Oh, look, 81.25% of the pits is calling it for Emulsifier. Because we all know how amazingly accurate these prematch polls were in American Ninja Warrior Junior 2. :weary:

Florian reports Ewert’s solution to the overheating problem…moving the speed controller above the horizontal blade so it cools it off. If it works, it works.

Emulsifier vs. Fusion
Juking from Emulsifier. It seems to be trying to get Fusion’s back, which isn’t a good idea for obvious reasons. Fusion gets first blood, sending Emulsifier tumbling with the drum end. Emulsifier makes a break for it, reengages, and is sent rolling to the wall for its trouble. Already the problem is obvious; its spinner is set high and unable to reach anything on its low-riding foe. Now Emulsifier is upended, the spinner rolling around the ground, the entire undercarriage exposed, but Fusion can’t capitalize and Emulsifier uses the wall to plop back down…and there’s something round and black on the floor. Another hit takes off a red disk. And…a bunch more stuff falls off of Emulsifier. Shot of the Fusion box, all four members looking on with grim expressions. Emulsifier tries to get some kind of attack going…and fails, getting blasted onto the upper deck and losing even more steel. It extricates itself and…yes! It gets its first offense of the entire match! :man_shrugging: It’s not going to make a difference, though, unless Fusion craps out…and just like that, it gives off a first puff of smoke. Followed by more smoke. With 1:20 left, the Emulsifier camp is already starting to celebrate, which is pitiful for a number of reasons. Emulsifier just looks worse and worse, but it stubbornly refuses to die. And now Fusion is on fire…but it’s still moving! And it just blasted Emulsifier back! :astonished: They grind against each other, drum to wedge. The box is now full of smoke. And then Emulsifier’s driver whines “Count ‘em out! Count ‘em out!”, while Ewert snivels “Keep going, they can’t drive, count him out!” because we can never have too much crappy sportsmanship, am I right? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: (Of course, the new completely-dead standard, which the drivers have to know by now, only makes this even more pathetic.)

:clock3: Mercy! A valiant effort from the newcomer, but it simply surrendered too much of itself to warrant serious consideration; yooner Fusion. It has a tough remaining schedule, and it’s obvious that its overheating issues have not been solved; there’s a pretty good chance this win is the only one it’s going to get for a while. Emulsifier’s problems are very simple, durability and getting weapon on target. Its schedule is far from brutal, so it could score an upset, but right now the tournament looks completely out of the question.

In the victory interview, Reese Ewert confirms that he really does have that expression all the time, so don’t take it personally. :slightly_smiling_face:

The doctorate-bearing Lucy Du is the new honcho of Valkyrie, and she wants to get off on the right foot with a statement win. She has a very good chance of it against Ricky Willems’ Mammoth, which is riding a 4-loss streak. Willems took it so badly, in fact, that he considered scrapping the bot altogether, but changed his mind and apologized (:roll_eyes:) at the last second. We’ve seen what happens to jocks who hang on for too long, and I’m just hoping that Mammoth can at least look like it belongs here. Florian mentions that Willems has never lost a season opener, which is a really bad omen if I’ve ever heard one.

And he’s reduced the horsepower of that soft club from 180 to 50 horsepower, which…ugh. :slightly_frowning_face:

Valkyrie vs. Mammoth
They meet, and immediately Valkyrie gets stuck in Mammoth’s fork and Mammoth swats it repeatedly. It looks a lot like a paddleball or skipping record, and yes, I am fully aware of how old that makes me sound. Willems, sensing that something is wrong and wanting to avoid another annoying delay, voluntarily breaks off the attack. He shouts “Now!”, both drivers do…something…and it gets them unstuck. Surprising resourcefulness from Willems; honestly didn’t think he had it in him! :clap: The bad news is that Valkyrie doesn’t look damaged at all, while Mammoth is already shaky and is losing bits of itself. Mammoth left wheel looks down, and Valkyrie capitalizes with a shot to the left fork. Valkyrie looks slow and tentative as it moves back in. Mammoth swings…and hits the floor upending itself…oh my goddesses! Half of the club just broke off, and then the other half! :laughing: I’m not kidding, Mammoth completely took itself apart! Valkyrie takes one final shot, after which Willems pleads “We’re dead! We’re dead!” and…I…that just says it all right there. Hey, Du, when you do start piling higher and deeper, start with that brown pile of junk.

Whiplash vs. Madcatter
I’m not paying any more attention to Martin Mason than absolutely necessary, so let’s just get this over with. Buncha ramming, spinners can’t find anything, lifters…can’t find anything either, bump, bump, bump, Madcatter has the first solid hit. And then a charge, sparks, Whiplash sent airborne. Rose takes this moment, in what is, yes, the 11th match of the season, to mention that any movement will stop a countdown. :woman_facepalming: Whiplash dies in the corner, stoppage, moving on! :running_man:

Jamison Go says some stuff about the match.

Now Switchback, the bot with a spinner on a swivel, takes on rookie Banshee, a pneumatic flipper. Switchback looks…complicated.

Switchback vs. Banshee
Whole lotta movin’ and shaking to start. Then Banshee gets a flip and Switchback’s arm is stuck in the “other way” position, putting its center of gravity well off center, which is obviously not good news. Lots of grinding and…Switchback’s arm gets reset, and it grinds at Banshee’s front. Banshee has lost a bit of its front flipper, but…and it just lost a bunch more. This is one of those fights where it looks pretty even early, but then one bot falls behind, and then it falls further behind, and that settles it. Switchback completely owns the last minute, and that’s more than enough to lock up the yooner.

Some comments from Aren Hill and Blip highlights. End Game’s masters are not impressed.

More inside-the-numbers: Hijinx has the second longest blade of any Battlebot at 48”, tied with Shatter, Triton, and Bloodsport. Big Dill was going with a spinner but Emmanuel Kario switched it to a big wedge. And the two forks have been replaced by a single white shovel thing.

Big Dill vs. Hijinx
A few light hits. Hijinx gets inverted, putting it into “helicopter mode”, as Rose cleverly puts it. This isn’t great news for BD as it now can carve up the flipper. Jen Herchenroeder snarls “Come on in, come get a taste!” and yeah, definitely looking forward to her comeuppance. :angry: A few more hits ensue…and Hijinx’s spinner is down. Now get a load of this…Florian says that Hijinx needs to right itself, and just that moment it runs into the screw, which flips it back over! HOWEVER! BD has stopped moving and caught on fire! So the driver did exactly what the announcer wanted, but it didn’t matter! Eh? Eh? Ehh, Hijinx wins, BD looks atrocious. What was that about there being no cupcakes this time around, Rose? :stuck_out_tongue:

And here comes last season’s champ! End Game is now sporting a bunch of bulldozer-like wedgelets in the front. Its opponent is Blip, which you’ll recall won its first 5 matches and took the mantle of The Opponent Absolutely No One Can Finish The Job Against.

Main event - End Game vs. Blip
And the Let’s See How Good You Really Are Classic is on! They approach cautiously. Blip does a full 360 and gets uplifted and carved from below for its trouble. Blip gets knocked around and loses a bit of metal. Maneuvering; Blip is extremely nimble but can’t get its flipper in position. Lockup, stalemate. Ref starts counting 30 seconds. Blip suddenly retreats, then rushes ahead…and gets upended and knocked backwards again. EG grinds on an inverted Blip, but is forced to stop when a clown hammer intervenes, which constitutes the exactly one time person season when a box hazard is not completely useless. :grin: Another love tap to Blip’s front. Then…then… :boom: YES, sent skyward! Blip manages to right, but you have to think it can’t take much more of this.

Uh oh…EG’s spinner has stopped! A piece of Blip got wedged into the weapon housing and jammed it! With 1:30 left, Blip can…uh…run around a lot and run up uselessly over those wedgelets a bunch of times. The only question left is if Blip will show any offense whatsoever, and the answer is a resounding “nope way”. (Never pass up an opportunity for a gratuitous Homestar Runner reference! :wink:) No surprise: yooner End Game.

Anytime a bot catches a big break and still gets clobbered, it’s a bad look, and it gets even worse when Hill blathers “If your weapon sucks our parts into you and breaks, that’s your fault, not ours.” :man_facepalming: Hill, let me spell it out for you: No one escapes justice in the Battlebox. Get smarmy, get rude, stop taking your opponents seriously, and you will lose. A lot. Ask Ray Billings if you don’t believe me.

Day 2 in the books! Time to start enjoying my vacation! :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, Rose, 14 x 2 is indeed 28. Have a brownie. :roll_eyes:

PRELIMS DAY 3 1/19/23

Cobalt has one strategy: use the wedge to throw the opponent into the mid-mounted spinner. It either works or it doesn’t. Deathroll is another team making its return after a lengthy departure; it’s another one of those high vertical cutter dealies, and it also has a righter shaped like an arm with a knife, which gives me doubts right off the bat. It’s a two-year-old design, which gives me more doubts.

Cobalt vs. Deathroll
They rush each other, it’s a wepper, and Deathroll is sent flying. Then they meet again, and Deathroll is tossed like a leaf…yeah, there’s the problem. If your weapon is a lot less powerful than the other, you don’t have much of a prayer. Worse, every time Deathroll gets upended, its weapon hits the floor and it takes several more bumps. Cobalt’s clown hammer operator pins Deathroll for a few seconds, apparently to get a nice picture, and as soon as it releases Cobalt takes it for another ride. The righter now barely works, which allows Rose to go on a Matt Iseman-esque Reality TV Commentator Overbaked Shrieking Rant. :grimacing: Now Deathroll looks like it’s finally had it, and this one is mercifully over.

Cobalt’s owner Dave Moulds guarantees a Giant Nut, which, if nothing else, should make its inevitable future collapse a lot easier to understand. :grin:

Claw Viper boasts blazing speed and a powerful grabber, which thus far has translated into a grand total of 3 unimpressive wins. But fear not, because it’s received a significant upgrade! Instead of throwing the opponent and inviting a shot from behind, it now has a pair of support claws to keep the opponent suspended helplessly in the air! Um…has the rule mandating a release after 30 seconds been repealed between last week and now? Because if it is, this thing is going to be unstoppable! :man_facepalming: Ominous is another first-timer, similar in design to Lock-jaw or Witch Doctor with its double spinner, and sporting those always double-edged omniwheels.

Claw Viper vs. Ominous
CV blasts across the box to a spot just to the right of Ominous. That thing is fast! Then it zips back and forth like a buzzing insect! That thing is fast! Then it runs right into Ominous’ spinner, drawing a lot of sparks, and shoves it into the wall. Then it knocks over Ominous, which I didn’t realize was part of the gameplan. That thing is fast! Ominous is inverted and pinned against a screw, and Rose asks if it has a righter, which I don’t recall anyone addressing before the match. Oh my goodness…it’s happening…it’s happening…YEEEESSSSSS!!! CLAW VIPER HAS OMINOUS HELD HIGH IN THE AIR and drops it after about 1 second. :woman_facepalming: CV continues pushing and puts Ominous over a screw. Will this be the one time the screw doesn’t reverse, nope, play on. Buncha wrestling over the screw. Finally Ominous escapes, only for CV to go around and around and around. That thing is…not doing any damage. A friendly reminder that just because the bot is superfast doesn’t mean the driver is. After a little more of the same, CV manages to get Ominous upended against the wall. Nothing on it can gain purchase, and that’s where Ominous’ hopes come to an end. Definitely one of the less impressive stoppages, but it’s nice to see someone take a “take ‘em however you can” mentality. Long overdue.

Justin Marple was thinking of retiring Bloodsport but came to the usual conclusion that quitting meant not being on television anymore and decided to give it a revamp instead. It now has a shorter, thicker blade and is more compact. Copperhead is lead by new captain Luke Quintal and looks much the same as before.

Bloodsport vs. Copperhead
Tight maneuvering. Waiting game. The meet for a wepper, and both bots are blasted back…and…Bloodsport is on fire and not moving. This sport will break your heart sometimes.

Oh, what a surprise, Donald Hutson is being called oh-ell-dee because he went 0-4 in ’21, y’know, the season where he got thrown against THE BEST OF THE BEST OF THE BEST OF THE BEST EVERY FREAKING MATCH. :rage: You know, in a real sport the question of who they beat always gets asked. That’s why NFL commentators always bring up strength of schedule even though it has no effect on playoff position. That’s why nobody gives a damn about those MMA fighters who went 22-0 or 75-0 or 300-0 in garbage “challenge matches". And I’m really not buying the past-his-prime nonsense in a sport where the physical requirement is operating a remote control. In any case, it should have a winnable match against the notoriously shaky Malice. Bunny Sauriol is now co-owner with newlywed David Lau, and of course my expectation is that all this added crushing pressure will completely wreck their season. :grin:

Lock-jaw vs. Malice
Lock-jaw uses its new V-wedge to push Malice against the wall. Inexplicable 180 spin, then again. A little hit, and now Malice has Lock-jaw against the wall. Disengage, and they wrestle a bit. Lock-jaw turns to its spinner end, wepper, minor contact. A second bitty wepper, and a third which sends Malice spinning back. A few more fencing jabs. Malice makes a break for it, and Lock-jaw spins in place a few times for some strange reason. Both bots seem to have maneuverability issues as they meet head-on a couple more times. A sizable hit which flips Malice upward. Lock-jaw isn’t doing serious damage, but if Malice keeps letting itself get handled like this, it doesn’t stand a chance. Malice makes another break for it…and there you have it, the spinner is done. Now Lock-jaw has this in the bag as long as it doesn’t blow up. More hits…a big puff of smoke from Lock-jaw! Now Hutson needs to be more judicious with the spinner, meaning that there won’t be any big kill here. The weaponless Malice is completely unable to capitalize, and the remainder of the match is a stalemate. (Hey, who’s counting down the final seconds?) Something prevails over nothing, and Tauheed wastes no time calling the yooner for Lock-jaw. That was textbook! :sunglasses:

Rookie Triton is a single-blade horizontal design, another mixed bag. In an interesting twist, Bradley Hanstad’s previous machine, Deep Six, was considered so powerful that the rules committee imposed a 80-pound weight limit on spinner bars. (Must have been collateral damage issues as I definitely don’t recall DS ever being that dominant.) Florian mentions how Lucky threw away a sure thing win against Tantrum and pretty much blew its entire season right there because it was “overly aggressive” :roll_eyes::angry::weary: Yeah, that should do it.

Triton vs. Lucky
Triton gets a bunch of hits to Lucky’s front wedge which knock itself all over the place without doing any visible damage. Lucky gets a flip which puts Triton over the screws. Triton disengages, but Lucky gets right under it and…waits. Rose mentions that the spinner is making a high-pitched buzzing noise, and no, “nasty” isn’t the word that comes to mind. Not much interesting happens for a while; it looks like Lucky lost a bit or two. And then…yes! Lucky puts Triton against the wall, precariously balanced on a wheel and its spinner, and that long bar doesn’t have enough torque to move! Oh my goodness…this is the exact same situation this bot was in against Tantrum in its rookie season…and it’s really close…and it’s still really close…holy crap, is he going to…no! Lucky backs off! Ref does the honors, and this one is over! MARK DEMERS FREAKING LEARNED HIS LESSON! :partying_face::fireworks:

Another record goes on the line as Jackpot, which is 5-0 in prelims (Against what! Against WHAAAAAAATTT!), takes on the tenacious Skorpios. Both can hit pretty hard but need a fair amount of luck to accomplish anything. This one’s a toss-up. Skorpios is owned by the husband/wife team of Zack Lytle and Diana Tarelson. Wow, is it just me or are there a lot of wives now who don’t change their names? Cool. Progress. :+1:

Jackpot vs. Skorpios
Lots of running around and sawing at nothing by Skorpios before the match even begins, which gives me pause, followed by a glimpse of Jackpot’s very large minibot, which I find doubtful, and finally Tarelson screaming at nothing, which is just irritating. :angry:

Both weapons spin up. Skorpios pushes Jackpot back by its forks, blades meet, and Jackpot is upended. Skorpios takes a free shot to Jackpot’s underbelly, to no visible effect. Oh, crap, Skorpios is already smoking. :woman_facepalming: Lytle powers down the saw and backs away. Jackpot is still wrongside-up, but thankfully the team thought to put a righter this…it’s not working. In fact, nothing is working on Jackpot. :man_facepalming: 10 becomes 1, Jackpot is done. And just to put a bow on it, it bursts into flames several seconds after being counted out. Y’know, one squash a card is understandable, two, I’m asking questions.

Lytle: “I think that’s as good as it could’ve possibly gone.” :slightly_smiling_face:

Time for the main event, Hydra and Rotator. Jake Ewert is still raw about the judges “giving the win” to Tantrum, and…geez, if you were ever tempted to feel a drop of sympathy about him… :rage: He’s going to go for knockouts every step of the way this season, which means that he still has no clue how to win a close one, meaning that we can expect the exact same disappointment here as last season. Victor Soto lost to the eventual champion in the past three tournaments (Bite Force, End Game, Tantrum) and is tired of being a gatekeeper. I’d be more understanding if he didn’t do things like forget that Glitch has a powerful spinner. I don’t want to listen to either man anymore, so let’s just get to the action.

Main event - Rotator vs. Hydra
Slow approach. Hydra bumps into something and takes a hop. Hydra upends Rotator, then quickly reengages and makes a little flip. Rotator is on the run and gets sent again. Rotator is hung up on the rail but gets back down. Hydra climbs up over Rotator’s fork end twice. Rotator approaches and gets flipped high, then flipped high again. If this keeps up Hydra has a tedious yooner in the bag, so…flip, flip, flip, flip…aaaaaand Rotator is done. :man_shrugging: Dunno why, but Hydra gets a lot of opponents who have no idea how to deal with a flipper. Still a big underdog to win it all, but it’s going places.

And that does it for a highly relaxing day 3. Right now I’m content to let things play out for a while, get a feel for where everyone stands before delving into future prospects. Right now it looks like there’s less of a gap between the best and the worst than before, which should make for a more interesting season.

The three severed fingers off Deathroll’s righter were a nice [urk! :nauseated_face:] touch.

It wasn’t until the end of the match that I figured out that the lame flat piece of metal on Ominous’s back that kept flipping up and down and up and down like a cockatoo’s crest was probably supposed to be a self-righter. Time for a redesign.

Lisa Winter…is…doing a jokey sketch on…minibot abuse. In the same manner as those “save the children” charity ads. Played…completely…straight. :astonished::woman_facepalming::grimacing: Yeah, definite “first crack in the dam” territory here.

PRELIMS DAY 4 1/26/23

And we begin with another trivia note as Brazilian Black Dragon (a narrow drum spinner) “hasn’t been knocked out in 21 career matches”, as Florian helpfully informs us. I trust that I don’t have to remind you what happens when opponents make peace with that reality, do I? The opponent is British returnee Monsoon, sporting a claw-style vertical spinner.

Black Dragon vs. Monsoon
Swerving at the onset. Small hit by Monsoon followed by a wepper which sends Monsoon flipping back. BD looks squirrelly, and Monsoon capitalizes by getting under and carving it from below. BD is inverted and just lost its right fork. Monsoon presses the attack, and the rattled BD loses the other fork. Somebody shouts something I couldn’t understand. And another big hit which sends BD spinning into the corner! A couple more weppers…oh dear. Monsoon’s weapon just stopped, while BD’s is still operable. Now it just remains to be seen if…nope. BD delivers a major shot, to which Florian responds “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” and as hoary cliches go I have to say that one’s pretty much on the mark. :woman_shrugging: Then another weak-looking hit which gets Monsoon upended on its spinner and right front. It has no righter (all together now: :weary:) and can’t do anything. Someone in Monsoon’s camp tries to taunt the Brazilians into delivering another hit, which goes completely ignored (:+1:). Count and out.

“STREAK WITHOUT KNOCKOUT” list with Bite Force on the top with 25, followed by Black Dragon’s 22, Rotator’s 17, and End Game and Tombstone tied at 15. To be perfectly honest, my reaction is mostly pity for Paul Ventemilia. His beefs with how the league is run are completely legitimate, and it’s unfortunate that it’s costing him his hard-earned marks.

Coming up are two teams having to get right back in after tough opening losses. Team Malice is under the gun right now. Florian’s own words: “This team has to get some wins or they risk falling out of the field of 50 next season.” I don’t know how serious this is, but it’s something to think about.

Emulsifier (0-1) vs. Malice (0-1)
Malice attempts some kind of left flank sweep, which might’ve been more effective if it wasn’t so damn slow. :roll_eyes:. Emulsifier easily tracks it and churns away at its front. Already its lost some chunks. Another big hit which sends Malice flying into the corner, and then a…wepper? :confused: Not the follow-up I would’ve done. Both bots are now inverted and struggling. Emulsifier gets its wheels under it…but…can’t move! Malice is still inverted and spinning like a top on one good wheel, but remember, the new rule is that any movement means that it’s still alive…and thus ends Emulsifier’s foolish hopes.

Oh man, that was huge. If this was a double knockout, there’s an excellent chance that Emulsifier would’ve easily won the decision. As it is, Bunny Soriel gets to breathe a sigh of relief, and Team Emulsifier has some tough questions.

New machine Starchild is a…”kwakbot”, and feel free to correct my spelling. It has Huge-esque giant wheels with a Shatter-esque swinging ax. The builder says it “requires accurately placing the weapon on the opponent”, which does not exactly fill me with hope. It takes on overhead grabber Overhaul, which has its work cut out for it.

(There should be a fine for using excessive force on the starter button. I’m dead serious. :angry:)

Overhaul vs. Starchild
Starchild runs straight at Overhaul; the left wheel bounces off, and the first ax swing comes up short. Overhaul goes under Starchild. The second swing goes wide left. The third finds the floor as Overhaul backs off. The fourth misses to the left, and Overhaul shoves it against the rail. Some tussling, and Starchild’s fifth swing misses to the right. Protip: When a builder specifically points out something that the bot needs to do in order to be effective, that is a lead pipe frozen pizza five will get you two hundred super jackpot Reimu Marisa Yukari guarantee that the driver will not be up to it. Finally, a hit (glancing), but now Overhaul has it by the spokes. Oh, the limit for a hold is twenty seconds now? Sheesh, that’s just stingy. Starchild is briefly on the screws before the maneuvering duel begins. Another bitty hit…and Florian points out that Overhaul’s right side drive is having trouble. It’s disheartening to see all these bots who manage to avoid getting clobbered and then just fizzle out on their own. Uh huh…uh huh…and I think Starchild took out some of its own cosmetics. :man_facepalming: I know that there are going to be own goals; could there just be fewer of them? Now Overhaul has Starchild’s body from below. And again. This kinda resembles a hockey fight after the punching part.

:clock3: All the metal on the floor was once part of Starchild, so I have to give this to Overhaul. Oh, I just noticed that there’s a saw thing on Starchild’s arm…maybe if it did any damage whatsoever I would’ve caught it sooner. Drama-free yooner for Overhaul.

Shatter master Adam Wrigley steps in as guest commentator for the next match. Rose promptly asks him a stupid question, which is just par for the course for him at this point. :man_facepalming:

Gruff is sporting a horizontal bar across its forks to deal with the crushing fang of Quantum (just one for this match).

Gruff (1-0) vs. Quantum (1-0)
Gruff comes out flaming. Quantum is unfazed by this lame obscuring tactic and gets a hold on the right side. Then it drives full speed for the upper deck, and Gruff hits the rail…not unlike a shopping cart hitting a wall. :man_shrugging: One more, even weaker hit to the wall, and Gruff slips out none the worse for wear. Another perfunctory wall shot. Some pushing, Quantum shoves Gruff against the upper deck screw, and Gruff is on the upper deck. And still unmarked. And more pushing and grabbing and wall ramming and pushing and grabbing and wall ramming and oh look, Gruff is smoking. And it looks like Gruff’s drive is down. Its forks still thrash defiantly, but that’s not good enough; stoppage. Gruff is a tough machine, and I honestly thought that Quantum would just be content to keep up its 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offensive until it claimed an unexciting yooner; this is a pleasant surprise. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Wow, you really hear the difference between a professional reality TV windbag and someone who actually knows his rear end from the upper deck! :angry:)

The old Kraken has been retired, as Matt Spurk promised, but the new machine has a Sawblaze-esque (be prepared for plenty of esque-s this season :grin:) pick-style saw. The opponent is the much-maligned Beta, which hasn’t been around since Bounty Hunters. It has one of the oldest teams in the sport and its design looks old; I just hope it’s competitive. It’s sporting a thin blade for this fight.

Florian mentions that the old Kraken has never won by knockout.

Kraken vs. Beta
Kraken cuts away at Beta’s heavy skirt, drawing sparks. Beta takes a chop at Kraken’s front panel; no visible damage. A second hammer blow misses the mark. Kraken lowers the blade, and there’s an exchange of chippy hits. Some slow maneuvering. Kraken lowers the saw and sends Beta spinning a not-inconsiderable distance. Beta is immobilized for some reason, and Kraken capitalizes by chopping at the non-skirt side. Beta takes several uncontested hits before it gets going again. Both machines are very sluggish and really struggling with their drive, which gives a big edge to Kraken. Uh oh, Kraken has lost a drive belt…but Beta trips over the floor and can’t press the attack. This… :sleeping: Yeah. Beta gets a couple more hits which don’t do anything. A wepper! Kraken’s saw stops moving…but Beta’s hammer arm is bent! Florian: “It’s gone from a hammer to a spatula!” :laughing:

:clock3: Well, fans, you wanted Beta to use the hammer a lot more, and now you see what happens when it does. :roll_eyes: It did well to stop Kraken’s saw, but that’s pretty much the only thing that went right for it…

…yooner Beta! :woman_shrugging: All right, it’s a justifiable decision, as Kraken didn’t do serious damage, but how much more heartache can Spurk take? At this point I feel like giving the man a hug.

Preview of the Whiplash/Hypershock main event

Shreddit Bro is a bulked-up version of a bot from the old Beetleweight division; it sports a drum spinner. Builder Even Arias’ previous entrant was Pain Train, which was racked with reliability issues from beginning to end and left a dismal 1-5. He’s known as a big talker that can’t back it up, and Florian hinted that this could be his last dance. Horizon is arguably the most unusual design this season, a very wide bar with a spinner on each end and some arch thingy in the middle mounted on a square platform. It sorta resembles the gone but not forgotten Sm#e#.

Shreddit Bro vs. Horizon
SB lunges out a few feet, and they both kinda shuffle for a while. Horizon’s 20-pound disks are spinning at a not highly impressive speed. SB bumps into the arch a couple times. Horizon takes the first shot, a right spinner wepper, which sends it rotating away. A couple more weppers which produce little bonk sounds. SB is having drive issues. Now it looks like one of Horizon’s spinners is down. Oh dear. Say it with me now: THIS MATCH IS COMING DOWN TO WHICH BOT CRAPS OUT FIRST! :partying_face: Horizon rotates around and around and around while SB defiantly makes teensy little motions which deny the count. I’ll just skip ahead to the next instance something happens…uh uh…uh huh…little love tap from the good spinner…nothing…nothing…still noth…

:boom: BAM :boom:

:astonished: SB, which was showing all the mobility of an arthritic turtle, just sent Horizon helicoptering away! And now one spinner is atop a rail and it can’t move! THIS…oh, wait, it just came off. :slightly_frowning_face: Now both spinners are fried. It ends with Horizon getting a spinner stuck on top of SB and neither machine having enough energy left to separate. Hoo boy.

Looks like a toss-up to me…and it’s a yooner for Shreddit Bro. :clap::sleeping: Its remaining schedule doesn’t look too tough, so I’m tentatively calling 2-2 and a you-did-your-best from the selection committee. Horizon just looks plain feeble, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got completely blanked.

Hypershock has never lost two in a row…look, Rose, where is the place for obscure stats if NOT a geeky reality show?? :rage:

Main event - Whiplash (0-1) vs. Hypershock (0-1)
They meet in the middle and Whiplash flips over Hypershock. Bales, in a seeming attempt at resourcefulness, tries to use the upper deck screw to get back around…and ends up climbing onto the upper deck. I wonder, is this considered a “self-own” even though there’s essentially zippo drawback to that space? Hypershock descends, still flipped. Some jostling. Hypershock runs into Whiplash from behind and hops back, to which Rose says “Nice shot!” :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Finally, with the help of some hard maneuvering, Hypershock gets righted; after a bit more jostling, it starts taking the offensive, knocking Whiplash back. Whiplash gets briefly tied up by a clown hammer before Hypershock drives hard and takes off an armor panel. Whiplash is briefly upended, and Hypershock surges in, knocking it back over…and that’ll cinch it, as Whiplash is now smoking badly and motionless. Excellent driving from Bales! :clap:

Man, I do not envy Matt Vasquez. His last two matches are against Monsoon and Tantrum; it’s going to take a miracle from him to make the tournament now.

We’ve now seen every bot in this competition; now’s the time for the contenders to break away from the pack and the also-rans to get punted to the bottom. With ten prelims to go, just about anything can happen. Except for Horizon having a chance. Fairly certain that’s not happening. :wink:

Not a great night of fights, but I loved the intro sketch, reminded me of those rescue those poor shivering dogs ads. All it needed was “In the Arms of an Angel” playing softly.

Yeah, the intro sketch was well done. They didn’t show my favorite mini bot demise, though. A couple of seasons ago there was a flying drone that I think shot flames harassing a big bot. The big bot had a swinging hammer and utterly smoked the mini bot into the stratosphere. Nothing but a cloud of parts departing at mach 1. Wish I could see that one again.

Haaahhh… :weary: All right…maybe I should elaborate on that little aggravation (and you all know how much I love elaborating on little aggravations! :grin:) See, I know what the source material was. A bleeding heart please-save-this-animal-or-that-child weepfest which makes it sound like it’s your fault. I’ve seen dozens of them over the years (there always seem to be a bunch around the holidays for some reason); I get it. But if you’re doing an allegedly humorous sketch, you cannot play it straight. I remember Roger Ebert’s review of the first Police Academy. He was totally against the idea of the massive Hightower being this menacing titan who could turn a man into jelly with a glare…because you expect a big strong guy to be intimidating, and therefore it is not funny. If Hightower was a rank coward who was frightened by every man he met, that had some potential. The bottom line is that playing it straight is never anything but a complete waste of time. Seriously, what the frag was Winter even trying to tell us? That having pity for minibots is stupid? Yeah, I already knew that, I didn’t need to hear it from some paid shill. Sheesh. :angry:

Also, I really do not like the idea that liking a show means that I have to gobble up every aspect of it. I had major issues with the directions of both Empire and Gotham and still consider them two of the best primetime network shows in recent history. Likewise, I thought the whole structure of The Titan Games didn’t make much sense in either the first or second season, and I’d watch it again in a heartbeat if it came back. Hell, I thought lose-first-win-second always being fine and win-first-lose-second always being fatal in the head-to-head American Ninja Warrior events was insanity, and I still was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

So, bottom line: The sketch sucked and you’ll never convince me otherwise, but I’m going to keep watching because I want to see who wins the Giant Nut. Sorry, not sorry. :man_shrugging:

Naw, if you’re going to pull off a parody like that it’s way more effective to do it deadpan rather than with a wink and a smirk.

[Got a very nasty cold yesterday; wasn’t able to get back to the TV until today.]

In the intro Florian mentions something that I actually intended to bring up later: There hasn’t yet been a single split decision. With 28 matches in the bag, this is highly unexpected. He attributes this to the teams “coming in hot”, but I’m actually intrigued as to what’s actually causing this. Let’s be quite clear: Whoever’s booking these things wants close ones. That’s why Overhaul and Beta will face opponents they have a shot against; that’s why End Game and Minotaur will be tested. For easy drama nothing beats a white-knuckle splitter. Why none so far? This is just early speculation, of course (get used to it :wink:), but I think that the judging change may have had much more of an impact than we thought. If Jason Bardis was a disruptive influence…and he was behind that infantile “present” stunt, so the possibility was there…replacing him with an actual adult who understands what his job is would bring some stability to the judges’ table, thus making them more likely to see the fight the same way.

Plenty of opening winners on tap today. It looks everyone’s going to have a steep climb to 4-0 (and an even steeper one to a meaningful 4-0).

PRELIMS DAY 5 2/2/23

Free Shipping (1-0 vs. Minotaur (1-0)
The vastly stronger Minotaur has this as long as it holds together. That’s always a big “if”, of course, but it’s hard to see FS seriously pressing it. Minotaur creeps out; FS looks hesitant for a bit before charging straight ahead and knocking Minotaur over. FS retreats, and after a brief pursuit Minotaur locks horns and churns on the front of FS. FS has lost its left fork and something in front is burning. FS shoots flames; Minotaur does the mechanical equivalent of shrugging and knocks it back a couple times. Uh oh, the left side gets lifted; always a dangers with these vertical spinners. FS takes the opportunity to maneuver to Minotaur’s right and get a-pushing. Minotaur manages to get settled long enough to counterpunch…and…and…and there it is; FS’ left front tire is wobbly. I forgot what TVTropes called it, but it’s the thing where one side suffers the first setback, and that causes it to suffer more setbacks until it loses. The end comes soon after as FS loses its maimed tire and refuses to go any further.

Rose calls out “Marco”, after which someone in the crowd immediately shouts “Polo”. :man_shrugging: Eh. That kind of league.

Claw Viper (1-0) vs. Ribbot (0-1)
The battle of speed against…wins-more-than-it-should. CV zips around and pushes Ribbot to the wall; Ribbot has a small vertical spinner for this match and can’t get anything on its foe. CV gets its arm briefly stuck somewhere in the top of Ribbot, but pulls free and pushes Ribbot into the corner. CV has a hold! And now it’s hoisted its 250-pound opponent into the air! It backs away and drives Ribbot into the rail…taking off a piece of itself. :man_facepalming: Ribbot finally finds its offensive gear, knocking over CV and forcing it into the corner. CV fires back with a hard shove…leaving Ribbot with one of its wheels helplessly over the rail! CV’s driver Kevin Wilczewski, who I am definitely growing to dislike bigtime, shrieks “STAY THERE!! STAY THERE!!” and damn I didn’t think it was possible to be that much more irritating than Martin Mason! :grimacing: Well…

Ooh, too bad, no cheapie; Ribbot slips back down…but its right side drive is junked and it’s crab walking. Remember, though, the new rule is that it has to be dead dead, and I’m not sure CV has what it takes to finish the job. Ribbot’s spinner is still going full force, so CV can’t just barrel in. Tentative maneuvering. More tentative maneuvering. Ribbot’s driver whines “He’s not doing anything!” and yes, do regale me with yet more crappy sportsmanship; I simply cannot get enough. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Ribbot gets a nice hit. They meet head to head and the spinner does a bit more work. Wilczewski seems lost, blundering into that spinner repeatedly and not being able to get any offense going. Finally…finally!…CV gets another hold and lift, putting Ribbot into the glass and leaving it inverted. (I won’t explore what the hell Rose meant by “reverse suplex” and neither should you.) More shoving. Ribbot’s spinner skitters over the floor…and then it doesn’t. CV does more wall slams and another lift. Ribbot can still barely move but it’s clear that all hope for it is long gone.

CV with the easy yooner. I have to admit, it’s a lot hardier than I expected. If it can do anything with its lifts other than “run into something that forces it to let go”, it could go places.

Little bit on bot design. Quite a few designs are full-sized versions of lower division machines; in particular, Beetleweight is a frequent proving ground for the big leagues. And some “unwritten rule” bullcrap which neither Rose nor Florian is any mood to explain at the moment. :angry::woman_facepalming: Every sport has its little aggravations. Just gotta deal.

Lock-jaw (1-0) vs. Sawblaze (1-0)
Two green grinders going in opposite directions. Donald Hutson faced a Hydra’s worth of murderous opposition in ’22, and it doesn’t get any easier against hungry fireball Jameson Go. This time Lock-jaw has a pretty elaborate-looking minibot by its side, which is a sign of desperation if I’ve ever seen one. Sawblaze beigns by running straight at Lock-Jaw and flipping it around. I failed to mention this in the previous match, but if your weapon is a spinner, your opponent should not be able to run straight at it with complete impunity. Sawblaze bullrushes Lock-jaw all the way to the far screw and lands its first saw shot. A second saw chop. Lock-jaw manages to fight its way off the screws, gets atop its foe, and finally starts doing a bit of damage, drawing sparks from the base of the saw arm. Sawblaze cheerfully continues its shoving assault, and Lock-jaw’s spinner doesn’t seem to be doing any harm. And Sawblaze casually punts the minibot aside, and sacrificing that weight was great strategy, am I right? :roll_eyes: More shoving, more churning, more flipping…and Lock-jaw is inverted on a screw and not moving! Only one wheel is moving and it can’t find purchase! Does it end here? Yes…n…yes. Geez, Lock-jaw looked hapless out there. Sawblaze hardly did anything with its saw and still dominated from start to finish.

Go is refreshingly modest in victory. I have the feeling the book on him is going to stay the same for a while.

Blip (0-1) vs. Huge (1-0)
A classic battle of weakness against weakness; this is almost certainly coming down to who’s the smarter driver. Blip immediately hits the gas while Huge just creeps out a few inches. Blip wheels around and flusters Huge for a bit but still takes a light shot. They disengage and Huge escapes to the middle, then Blip attacks head-on and eats the spinner again for its trouble. Blip is seemingly trying to flip the spinner, with no success. Finally it gets to the right wheel and flips it over; not much effect, but a journey of a thousand miles and all. They exchange some more shots, with Huge seemingly getting the better of them; something has definitely come off of Blip. Weird moment as Blip actually gets stuck on Huge’s spinner and forced into a vertical position. After some highly premature celebration from the Huge camp, it gets as much torque as possible into those ginormous wheels, which is very little, and sorta makes like it’s about to nudge Blip onto the upper deck screw but backs off at the last moment. :man_facepalming: Huge can’t budge its spinner with such a burden, so guess what? It’s our second unsticking time-out of the season! (SPORTS HAVE RULES! DEAL WITH IT! :grin:) The fight resumes, and not a whole lot changes…except that Blip’s flipper no longer works. It’s the familiar ineffectual-offense-versus-no-offense phase. Some addlebrained jawing from the drivers…”Stop running away.” “Stop chasing.” :weary: Blip only manages a couple of ineffectual pushes before time runs out on it. Huge gets the well-deserved yooner.

While the Gelatlys, the Vasquez brothers, and Martin Mason get the press, Jonathan Schultz is quietly establishing his contender credentials. His simple strategy…avoid big damage and keep taking pieces off of them until there’s nothing left…is working to perfection, and his two remaining opponents are very beatable. On the other end, season 6’s runaway phenom Aren Hill is now suddenly staring into the abyss. He’s been in over his head in the first half of his season, and it doesn’t get any easier against a vengeful Tantrum.

Witch Doctor (1-0) vs. Fusion (1-0)
Winner is the one that can hold it together longer. WD sweeps to the right and doubles back while Fusion gets spun up. WD goes right into the drum end and gets somersaulted backwards. A second shot sends WD tumbling; it manages to right. Another wepper against the drum. Two glancing shots to WD wedges, also with the drum. WD is looking for an opening, and it finds one to the left of the drum. It drives to the wall and gets a nice blow to Fusion’s left wheel which sends it spinning. Rose shouts that this may have taken out the drum, and it looks like it has. Uh oh. Wepper against the horizontal spinner, followed by some dancing. Two more collisions…ugh. WD tried to force the issue and promptly pays for it by losing the left wedge. Dammit, Mike, we discussed this! :slightly_frowning_face: Now Fusion has a clear shot at some vulnerable bits…oh look, WD’s spinner just stopped. As Fusion’s horizontal is still full-force, you know where this is heading. With no other option, WD charges straight at Fusion’s spinner, hoping to take it out…and…just like that, it grinds to a halt. :laughing: And it just gave off a bit of smoke. And its left wheel isn’t moving. But the spinner starts up again and the smoking stops! :astonished: Man, this is the level of back-and-forthery you normally associate with grabbers! :grin: WD pins Fusion against the rail. Fusion isn’t moving. Release…and Fusion limps away.

:clock3: If that horizontal was still cranking at the end, I’d give it the nod; as it is, this one’s going to be really close. Behold, in the 33rd match of the season, we have our first splitter! Fon Davis - Witch Doctor. Lisa Winter - Fusion. Derek Young - Witch Doctor.

Cut to a very unhappy Reese Ewert…and a development! Apparently there’s yet another new rule this season that a team may appeal a decision! The judges will then rewatch the entire fight from all angles. However, if this does not result in a reversal, the team cannot make any other challenges for the remainder of the season. Ehhhhh…this is one of those dealies that sounds drastic but probably won’t end up making much of a difference. This bears repeating: The judges are good at their jobs. They’re not incompetent or corrupt. In all my time watching this league I’ve seen at most two decisions that might have been a bit questionable. The chances that upon review they’re going to eureka some major development they missed the first time are infinitesimal.

Doomba vs. Double Tap
Another fresh-for-’23 innovation are rookie matches, where ambitious newcomers face each other for the privilege of eventually becoming regulars. Today’s offering pits a Roomba with a prop chainsaw on it (serving as a righter) against an irregular box with a propeller on the front.

DT spins up and runs around a bit. Doomba is moving slowly, and…where exactly is its weapon? DT strikes, and Doomba is ailing. The propeller stops for a bit but fires back up, and it delivers a second hit…which stops Doomba cold. Replay shows that Doomba actually has a little undercutter on the bottom which extends like three inches. :woman_facepalming: “Back to the drawing board!”

Preview of the main event…and holy crap, Ethan Kurtz is still salty over sharing Rookie of the Year?? :angry: I swear, if anything could get me to root for Martin Mason…

Main event - Madcatter (1-0) vs. Riptide (1-0)
A few head-on collisions, both bots getting knocked around. Another hit, and Madcatter is having problems. Riptide puts Madcatter over a rail, and…it’s toast. Yeah, I really have to question Mason’s strategy here. A bot with so much stuff on it against a bot designed for full-frontal offense; there was no question which was winning a wepper duel.

As we head into the culmination of a football season which was definitely the nail in coffin of the last shreds of interest I had in the sport, I’d like to remind everyone of two facts: 1. There are going to be close ones, and 2. things are often going to go ways you don’t like. I mention them because the Battlebots faithful apparently is completely unable to grasp them, and hence will scream and shriek and bellow about a controversial split decision (also known as a split decision :roll_eyes:) until American Idol starts being relevant again. From what I hear, every match in the history of Battlebots had a 100% absolutely clear-cut winner with no room for ambiguity whatsoever, and each time the judges picked the other bot it was an atrocity on the level of all the East German judges put together.

Aside from that, there’s the prevailing notion (which may have started with Ethan Kurtz :fu:, which alone should give you some idea how much credence I give it) that if you beat a bot this season, that proves that the decision that went against you last season was wrong.

Folks, I do my best to distance myself from the endless runaway stupidity in my life before it consumes me, but seriously…there are times when I think it’s a battle I’m doomed to lose.

And…Ethan Kurtz…is…in…the…booth…today. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth: (Man, never thought I’d be using that many face with symbols over mouth-es in a Battlebots post…) Sweet merciful crap…is he the new face of the league? Is this the direction Battlebots is going? I saw the first warning signs with Martin Mason and Jake Ewert…gah.

No. Forget it. I refuse to listen to this dungheap of a man. All right, different procedure tonight! Everything is muted, I report what I see, maybe what I think I’m seeing, and then I delete this episode and never ever ever think about it again. (Every freaking time. Every freaking time, I swear. :angry:)

PRELIMS DAY 6 2/9/22

Ripperoni (0-1) vs. End Game (1-0)
EG kicks things off by…getting a fork stuck in a saw notch. :man_facepalming: Aside from the obvious design issues, shouldn’t a driver as skilled as EG’s know how to avoid these things? Ripperoni immediately pounces with several uncontested shots. Then it backs off, anticipating a count. Wait, is it possible to get counted out from a saw notch? Thankfully Ripperoni settles the matter by blasting EG skyward. It only gets worse as Ripperoni attacks it to the right of the spinner and sends it tumbling into the corner. Wow, Ripperoni is handling way better than it did in its first match; major kudos to the crew! :grin::+1: Some moving and shaking before a wepper, which rattles Ripperoni a bit and…sends EG staggering all the way to the screw! A cautious approach. EG advances, gets under Ripperoni, and knocks it around. A little crazy-wheels before Ripperoni recovers. Now EG presses the attack and upends Ripperoni…but also knocks itself drunkenly back! :astonished: What is going on with EG? Another approach and a…staredown? Ripperoni is having trouble moving, but EG won’t attack…uh oh, make that can’t; it isn’t moving! Ripperoni scores what before this match would be considered a colossal upset!

Switchback (1-0) vs. Deathroll (0-1)
They clash weapons a couple times, the second knocking Deathroll back. Deathroll knocks Switchback over, and it rather clumsily rights. Deathroll chips away at various parts of Switchback’s roller arm and seems to be getting the best of the exchanges. Switchback gets pinned under a clown hammer, and Deathroll rushes right in, knocking of a little piece of steel. Which turns out to be a highly critical little piece of steel, as Switchback can move no more.

Captain Shrederator (0-1) vs. Hijinx (1-0)
Both bots slowly spin up, Hijinx makes one little hit, and the spinner loses almost all functionality. CS can barely revolve…again, after one little hit…making the rest of the match resemble, yes, I’m saying it, a couple of defective Roombas (and far more so than last week’s Doomba match!). Eventually Brian Nave manages to find third and bump Hijinx a couple times, which causes it to utterly crap out. I’m glad that the female ref is here to make the count, inasmuch as Jen Herchenroeder will not be meeting the “inspiring woman” quota tonight, if you catch my drift. :woman_facepalming:

Rotator (0-1) vs. Jackpot (0-1)
Whew, somebody’s trying to waste a lot of time. :grimacing: Rotator turns the forks end and disk end, seemingly not sure which to lead with. Jackpot draw a few sparks from the forks. Front-to-side impact from Jackpot. Some revolving slices from Rotator. Jackpot falls back; Rotator pursues and carves off a chunk of steel. It turns the forks to jam up Jackpot’s spinner, but immediately disengages. Jackpot tries to retreat, but Rotator lunges right in with another shot which removes a wheel cover. Excellent ring sense from Victor Soto tonight! :slightly_smiling_face: Rotator loses a bit of panel but still spins Jackpot around. And now Jackpot is in serious trouble, the left front wheel just about dead. Soto mercilessly continues carving away at anything within reach. Now Jackpot is just running uselessly in clockwise circles. Rotator gets under and shoves it into the rail. Not its strength, but a little variety never hurts. A couple more hits, and it looks like Jackpot has finally had enough. I will say this: When Rotator is on, it is really on. :+1:

Big Dill (0-1) vs. Skorpios (1-0)
Plenty of in-close juking. Skorpios drops the saw on BD’s forks, drawing plenty of bright sparks. Some swings which miss the mark. BD upends Skorpios, which is…smoking a bit. And BD overturns it. BD is winning the control game and frustrating the blue sawer’s attempts to…it’s stopped. BD just plain died. Skorpios bites off a chunk (disbursing more smoke in the process) before the count comes in.

Preview of the main event, where we learn, to the surprise of no one, that the fandom was 100% against Tantrum winning the championship and thinks Hydra should’ve won. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

OKAY, TIME OUT - Qatar-level spin control aside, I don’t want my sport to be about vendettas. Vendettas ruin sport. Vendettas doomed the first XFL and made complete hash of early UFC. Look…the game is big and colorful and grand, with lots of players and stories to be told, and I do not flipping care about how horribly, horribly robbed Jake Ewert constantly whines about being, nor any Internet Blockhead Coalition’s opinion of the matter. Move the frag on. Geez.

Banshee (0-1) vs. Valkyrie (1-0)
Banshee immediately rushes Valkyrie, popping it into the air, then gets to work with its flipper. Valkyrie is inverted on the screws; it gets off but its spinner seems nonfunctional. Banshee gets another middling flip. The spinner springs back to life but can’t do much inverted. Banshee goes for another tablecloth-pull undermovethingy. They sorta nuzzle against each other, neither weapon finding anything. And some more bootleg Rock ‘Em Sock Em Robots. (Yes, I do have to dig pretty deep sometimes, don’t I? :grin:) Valkyrie gets spun back up; it gives a tiny nick to Banshee before chewing up the floor, which is has something of a bad habit of. And it’s still inverted. Not much happens for a while. Oh no, Banshee, after taking extremely little damage, let me tell you, has stopped! Will…and it got moving again, which means that there WILL zzzzzzzz. :sleeping:

:clock3: This is a deeuddagaidinint match (I wasn’t expecting to be making up another word this season, honest! :grin:) if I’ve ever seen one, i.e. where the fans of the loser shriek and howl incessantly “The other guy didn’t!” because they apparently think that the sport is in fact played under Punch Out rules and the fact that their guy also didn’t do a damn thing doesn’t actually matter. :roll_eyes: Splitter! Young - Banshee, Winter - Valkyrie, Davis - Banshee. [fill in the blank] finds a way!

And…it’s almost time. Thank goodness. Florian says that the pressure is on Ewert: “If you talk trash you have to back it up.” He seems to be the only person in the building who thinks Tantrum’s 7-0 record in S6 should count for anything. Entrances. Rose presses Kenny to make a pick. Kenny doesn’t make a pick. Rose snarks at his cowardice and of course does not make a pick himself, which is a thing that is allowed to happen. :rage: Postmach bull session of the Ripperoni/End Game match. Pits are calling it 62.96% for Hydra. Nobody believes in Tantrum.

Fine, let’s get this the hell over with. :angry:

Main event - Hydra (1-0) vs. Tantrum (0-1)
Brisk approach. Hydra climbs atop Tantrum, which, given the location of Tantrum’s spinner, is exactly where it does not want to be. Sparks fly. Tantrum locks up with Hydra and pushes it to the rail. A few sparks from Hydra’s flipper, followed by a small hop. More cranking at Hydra’s front. Finally Hydra gets its flipper in position and sends Tantrum flipping back. Tantrum lands on its top but quickly rights. Hydra is unable to press the attack, and Tantrum is able to regroup and lock up again. Another push. Hydra flips and misses. Tantrum slips around to the right and gets under Hydra again, and a quick shot from behind. As always, these are not crushing hits, but they do add up. A few more little shots before Tantrum disengages…and…

…it looks like Hydra isn’t moving! :astonished: Alex grant shouts “Yes!”. “Hydra” chant, to no avail. The count comes in, and after less than one minute, Tantrum has this won by knockout.

OKAY, TIME OUT - HA HA HA HA HA HA!! :laughing: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! :laughing::laughing: AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! :rofl::rofl: Pardon me…this is just…just…AHHHHHHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAHH!! :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Alex Grant and Ginger Schmidt are suitably elated. After all the mountains of crap they’ve had to deal with for months, to be able to shove it right back in everyone’s faces has to be exhilarating. On the opposite end, Jake Ewert sounds completely, absolutely whipped. He admits to being beaten by a better team and doesn’t even try to spin it. Jake, straight from the heart, my humble advice to you: Start over. Forget about being a villain or seeking justice or missed opportunities and wipe the slate completely clean. You allowed your bitterness to completely take over, and tonight it kicked you in the rear end so hard you nearly scored a field goal. Just put all that crap behind you, get your brain re-centered, work on Hydra’s control some more, and do your best to win your remaining two matches. You owe that to yourself.

All right! Card turned out not to be as awful as I feared! Think I’ll quit while I’m ahead! :wink: