I don’t know about everyone else, but today couldn’t come soon enough. Since last week’s episode, I’ve lost countless hours thinking about what mayhem and absurdity awaits us this time around. I’ve thought constantly about Fusion and Axe Backwards being set alight, Tombstone being launched out of the arena, and Rusty actually going and winning a f*cking battle through its own skill. And after a mere 3-5 record on the predictions last week, I’m hoping to make amends in the eyes of you, the reader, this time around. It’s a line-up that doesn’t disappoint. Apart from the fact we’ve been downgraded from eight fights to seven, because apparently we can’t always have the nicest of things. Even if Sharko vs. SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE from last week barely counted as a fight. But even with two bots less we still have the return of some old favourites, a corker of a main event, and the two biggest bots in show going head-to-head with each other.
I know that this is being published only a mere few hours before the episode is set to bless our television screens, but it’s been a long week with many things that needed doing, and to be honest I’m amazed I managed to get anything done at all. Maybe having one less fight to write about actually works to my advantage?
Anyway, enough pondering about my personal schedule, there’s robot battles to predict!
Shatter vs Ghost Raptor
Kicking off the episode is a pretty intriguing battle against probable has-beens Ghost Raptor and hammer-wielding football hooligans Shatter. It’s been about four years since Chuck Pitzer and co. entered the ring (or paddock?) with one of his ‘Raptor’ bots, and he’s decided to bring back the same Raptor that most recently got dismantled by Son of Whyachi, so unless he’s made some insane internal upgrades I remain unconvinced at its chances. Shatter, meanwhile, comes in as a bot with a point to prove after showing promising signs last season with a 2-2 record, but ultimately wasn’t powerful enough against heavy hitters Witch Doctor and Minotaur.
If we’re making the mistake of basing all judgement of this battle on one promotional image, Ghost Raptor has this in the bag. We can see shards of Shatter flying all over the place, while the aforementioned hammer flails limply at the helpless ‘L’ on the floor. This is Ghost Raptor’s for the taking.
Except it isn’t. As I said, Ghost Raptor comes in as an outdated bot against an opponent in Shatter with a weapon that can cause it some damage, and a buff front wedge to absorb impacts. In fairness, Shatter’s armour is literally built to withstand heavy hits. Sure, Ghost Raptor will clearly get one or two shots in, but the armour its shredding off is only superficial. I don’t think it will have enough to fully get through the nearest thing there is to this website title making any sense, and Bots FC will claim the win.
Ribbot vs Tracer
In a battle that is much harder to predict, especially without any promotional photos to make ludicrous and baseless judgements over, we see the friendly froggy face of Ribbot, up against the decidedly devilish Tracer.
Honestly, I have no idea how this will turn out, especially since I haven’t even seen Tracer fight any opponents yet, and have only seen its test box footage, which is admittedly impressive. Ribbot, meanwhile, returns pretty much the same as it was last season, except without its foam top since everyone complained about the mess it made. For real. To be honest, having actual strong top armour will probably see it up its game this season by not having it torn apart by every spinner it comes up against, and with its modular weaponry it has a chance of a solid run this year.
Honestly, I have no idea who to pick, as I also don’t know how Ribbot set up for this fight, and I think Tracer are putting in their minibot Clean Cut with the main bot instead of the much-anticipated Needle, so who knows if that’s actually going to do anything. At risk of this website’s content growing old and stale, I’m going to go with the newcomer Tracer to pull off a win here. No particular reason, but I think its more compact design will be able to absorb Ribbot’s hits pretty well, and with Ribbot’s body being quite high up off the ground, and some juicy-looking tires to chew on, Tracer could have quite a nice day at the office here.
Kraken vs Black Dragon
Speaking of jumping to conclusions based on one promotional photo, out next match-up is the deep-dwelling Kraken and the Brazilian beast Black Dragon.
All we have to go on for this fight is a picture of Kraken nomming on Black Dragon. Suddenly, the internet is awash with comments of “ERMAGERD KRAKEN BROKE DRAGON WEAPON BELT KRAKEN WINS BY KO ARRRRRRRRGH”. Yes, it’s true, there is certainly photographic evidence of Kraken clamping down on Black Dragon with its chompy gnashers. Yes, they absolutely could cause damage to Black Dragon, those teeth are pretty powerful after all.
Does this suddenly give them an automatic KO? No, it doesn’t It’s up against one of the most powerful bots in the whole competition which is more likely to knock them about for fun for the rest of the fight. For all we know Kraken spends 30 seconds holding onto Black Dragon before being thrown about for fun for the other 2 and a half minutes. Its weapon belt isn’t even broken in the picture. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but it’s Black Dragon all the way for me. If I’m wrong, feel free to mock me and my inferior bot predicting skills, but I’m pretty confident on this one.
WINNER: BLACK DRAGON
HUGE vs Mammoth
A fantasy battle that’s co ing true for many people tonight, the two biggest bots in the business are set to slug it out in the Battle Box. It’s the huge HUGE against the mammoth Mammoth.
This promises to be nothing but sheer, unadulterated chaos, with so much to enjoy, and two giant machines flying everywhere. Mammoth comes in upgraded from last year with more protective armour (if steel pipes can class as armour these days) and a new end to its thwacker which may actually cause some damage. HUGE meanwhile looks pretty much the same as ever, a surprisingly potent design that’s carried it through to the top 16 two years running, and probably should have carried it further.
I see no winner other than HUGE here. Mammoth’s only shot at victory here is hoping that HUGE’s spinner stops working before chucking them about the box. But the thing is, HUGE’s spinning bar never seems to stop. For an awkward, gangly thing like Jonathan Schultz’s bot, it can dish out hit after hit and still keep going, so even if Mammoth gets a few good flips in, I think HUGE will still cause too much damage to it. But I can’t wait to see how this plays out. All we know is, much like an episode of The Inbetweeners, it’ll be hilarious, awkward, captivating, and maybe even a bit cringe. And I’m all here for it.
HiJinx vs Claw Viper
This is probably the hardest battle for me to predict since, well, I have no idea how either of these two bots will fight, how good they are, and I’ve never seen them fight before. HiJinx, a pretty funky-looking undercutting spinner, against Claw Viper, which looks like it’s taken the body of Hydra and attached Complete Control’s weapon on to it.
It’s completely unpredictable to me, and I have no idea how to approach this. If I had a gun being held to my head and was being forced to pick a winner, I’d probably edge towards HiJinx, because I think a few solid impacts with Claw Viper will cause enough damage to at least disable its weapon and maybe some of its drive, and it can then take advantage and push it around the box a bit. Who knows, if it’s lucky maybe some armour panels will come flying off as well? That’s not to say Claw Viper has no hope for this fight, I think it could definitely disable HiJinx’s weapon with the right amount of aggressive driving. But, alas, I have forced myself into a decision, and my decision is HiJinx.
Extinguisher vs Perfect Phoenix
Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re back to the easy predictions. It’s the brave little fire truck Extinguisher, finally getting some air time, and Perfect Phoenix, a re-branded version of former BattleBots champions Brutality, and driven by an eleven-year-old.
But don’t mock just yet, folks, because this is no ordinary eleven-year-old. Tyler Nguyen is a pretty phenomenal driver for his age, has a pretty decent (if outdated) bot at his disposal, and the two factors should go together pretty well. You may remember him from the second series of BuggleBots, where, if I remember correctly, his robot managed to reach the final.
As for Extinguisher, well, it’s… it’s back, I’ll give it that much. It doesn’t look much different, and I’m still assuming it has it’s patented weapon mix of ‘hammer that barely works’ and ‘spinner that doesn’t spin’, so I don’t have a whole lot of reason to be optimistic for its chances here. They could prove me wrong, of course, but I think Perfect Phoenix should get a pretty straight forward win out of this.
WINNER: PERFECT PHOENIX
Witch Doctor vs Hydra
It’s tiiiiiiiiiiime for tonight’s main event! It’s last season’s runners-up Witch Doctor against the awesome flipper of Hydra. This one’s gonna be a toughie.
It’s pretty clear that at least two things will happen here. Hydra is going to launch Witch Doctor into the air a few times, and Witch Doctor is going to cause some damage to Hydra. The power of promotional photos, eh? This does entirely depend on how much damage the landing impacts do to the internals of Witch Doctor, or whether it gets flipped out of the arena, but, to me personally, Witch Doctor should be winning this fight. Hydra’s weapon is great and all, but there’s too much exposed, vulnerable armour for it to face a robot as potent as Witch Doctor. We saw that last year with Minotaur, and I should think we’ll be seeing it again here against the spoopy voodoo bot.
But at least one thing is for certain; sparks will fly, bots will fly, and we may cry (with joy at the spectacle unfolding before our eyes).
WINNER: WITCH DOCTOR
So there we have it gang, the build-up to another exciting week of BattleBots is at an end. It’s sure to be another cracking episode, and hopefully I can get at least half of my predictions right this time!
Remember that The Robot Soccer League is where it’s at for all things BattleBots 2020. Reviews and predictions come your way for every episode, and nothing will change for next week. Even if I’m doing a 45-hour working week, BattleBots and quality, efficiently produced content is still my number one goal. And hey, how about BattleBots: Bounty Hunters being announced in the week as well? That’s pretty awesome, and even more content for the new year!
For those who haven’t seen it yet, remember the “Challenge Belt” episode back in Robot Wars: Extreme 2? Where eight bots were in a knockout tournament for the right to fight Tornado and claim the Challenge Belt, only for Terrorhurtz to spectacularly fail 40 seconds into the fight? Well, it’s essentially that, but there’s more than one episode of it, and instead of a belt the winner gets a whole lotta money. We await to see how good it’ll be (come January 4th), but it’s just more stuff to get excited about, and more things to provide you, the humble BattleBots fan, with.
Thanks for reading folks, and remember to follow the blog on here, and on Twitter @robosocks14 to keep up to date with all the content on here. For now though, happy bot battling, and think about who’ll be doing the Rusty shake this week.