Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Except there’s no rumbles this week, just the seven mouthwatering head-to-heads between some of the best robots across the world. And Subzero is there too.
After the controversy and upsets of last week, BattleBots comes in hot with its third episode looking to keep the lightning-fast pace its set for itself up for another week. And, much like the previous two weeks, who knows whats going to happen here? Bots we’ve (or at least I’ve) not seen a glimpse of before, bots that look like they’ve hit the gym during the extended off season, and just things that look impossible to predict.
But, as usual, I’ve set unrealistic standards for myself, and I’m going to attempt to predict them all. Following on from my 3-5showing in episode one, episode two tallied up to a brilliant 3-4 showing, basically meaning I did the exact same as the previous week due to there being one less fight. But, in my defence, Tracer shouldn’t have been as useless as it was, and how was I to know Mammoth had hyped itself up on steroids and Red Bull before its fight?
Anyway, that was then. This is the now. Let the bot predicting begin!
Copperhead vs Gigabyte
Ah, a nice hard one to kick things off. Not the first time I’ve said that.
Copperhead makes a grand return from last season where, in my mind at least, it made little impact on the tournament and was subsequently flung out of the arena by Son of Whyachi in its playoff bout. It’s starting this season against another pretty awesome spinner in the guise of Gigabyte, which looks like its been preparing for this season by listening to The Black Parade in the shower on repeat. And they’ve even brought the Stinger team with them! If anyone remembers the Stinger team from like four and a half years ago.
Now, to be honest, Copperhead and its predecessor Poison Arrow have never really done anything for me as robots. I thought Poison Arrow’s run to the last 8 in 2016 was incredibly lucky, and its pedigree has been unfavourably boosted by it’s one-hit KO on Son of Whyachi, which was as much its opponents doing that it was its own. But we all saw SOW exact revenge in brutal fashion last season. And to be honest, I think Gigabyte will just about get this one. It’s always been a capable and dangerous opponent, but given the hype that surrounded it upon making its debut in 2018, it’s never really lived up to expectations. But for a full-body spinner, it’s durable, it’s powerful, and the team has a wealth of experience to its name, meaning it jus about takes the battle of the mildly-overrated teams. Prove me wrong this season, guys.
Subzero vs Jackpot
Moving on to a battle of hot and cold (maybe), it’s the ice-cold Subzero against the lucky Jackpot, from the heat of Las Vegas, Nevada. Subzero’s from Texas, but that defeats the link.
Subzero, like the two aforementioned bots, is another one that’s always flattered to deceive, with its original chonky metallic look never bringing it any luck, and despite an upgraded design last season that saw it chuck P1 out of the arena easily (although that isn’t saying much), it’s mostly remembered for being chewed up and spat out by Cobalt. There’s no doubting the flipper has some power to it, but it’s never really been able to do anything to set the tournament alight. I don’t know how it will perform against newcomers Jackpot, and all I have to go on with this new contraption is a two-second clip of Subzero pushing it against the wall while it grinds away at its flipper. And of course, appearances can be deceptive. For all we know, that’s just a shot from the start of the bout showing the one time Subzero does anything of note. I think there’s a shot somewhere of Jackpot setting off some sparks, but again, this proves nothing. On the whole though, I think Jackpot’s weapon looks like it’s more capable to do harm to Subzero than the other way round. Expect something to go flying, though, whether it’s parts of the frozen fiend or the body of the Vegas vagabond. My money’s on green for now.
Gemini vs Uppercut
Oh boy, I’m about to sound like a right hypocrite right now.
Look, I’m aware I’ve said I don’t think Uppercut will make the top 32. It’s awkward, it’s unbalanced, it was pretty lucky to make it to the top16 last season, and it got demolished within thirty seconds of being there. I wholly stand by this statement. However, it’s been matched up against Gemini for its opening bout. I don’t care whether Gemini has undergone a redesign that wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion catalogue (I don’t follow fashion, I don’t know who does catalogues these days), it still looks the same robot that’s only capable of beating The Four Horsemen, and it only beat them because they were put up against an opponent small enough for the weaponry to do any actual damage.
I might not think much of Uppercut, but I think a lot more of them than I do Gemini. Uppercut for the win. Just give them some hard opponents after this please.
Rotator vs Beta
Oh boy, it’s the return of John Reid! It’s a long overdue return to the English-speaking world for everyone’s favourite good hitter after a brief excursion over in China. I don’t know how his bot Tanshe did in the second season of King of Bots, I honestly never finished it because they decided to put it on YouTube without subtitles, but I do know that Beta put up a fine showing in 2016 and only lost to a dodgy judges decision against Tombstone (good thing there’s none of them anymore, eh?).
And speaking of Tombstone, its up against the robot that sent it back to the pits in a fiery cloud of smoke last season, Rotator. That battle was incredible, but it was probably the high point of Rotator’s 2019 showing, as it went out pretty limply against a weaponless Blacksmith.
Now, if there’s one thing about Rotator which makes predicting its battles near impossible, it’s the interchangeable weaponry. Will it go with its double disc set up? Maybe a wedge and one disc? A wedge and a spinning bar? Two spinning bars? I have no idea. Seeing as its up against a thick chonkus of a wedge in Beta, I’m going to assume it’ll go with its double disc set up to get a better reach at Beta’s weapon shaft and disable it. It’s certainly the logical strat to go with, but even so I’m gunning for Beta here. I think plenty of good hits will come down atop Rotator, it’s wedge will do a top job of deflecting the spinner away, and we’re going to see something similar to the Terrorhurtz vs Carbide fight on Robot Wars back in 2016. No, I’m not stuck in the past, you are.
Tantrum vs Valkyrie
I’m not really sure who decided this would be an even matchup, but unless I’ve missed some very important info about how Tantrum has become an unstoppable killing machine during the off season, Valkyrie looks the clear winner for this one.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Tantrum. It’s a cool, unique design, with a very humble team behind it looking to improve and cultivate their bot and its weaponry to the best of their ability. However, it’s up against an opponent in Valkyrie that looks set to fling it about the box and immobilise it in approximately two to three hits. Tantrum is compact, but it’s a tiny bot in comparison to the other heavyweights. And Valkyrie can pack a mean punch, and even if Tantrum were to put a protective wedge at the front of it, I still don’t see it ending especially well.
Obviously I could be entirely wrong and we’re about to witness an incredible upset that kickstarts Tantrum’s fabled run to the Giant Nut. However, there’s a solid 99% chance of that not happening, and Valkyrie should take this one pretty easily.
Big Dill vs Atom #94
Call it a hunch, call me crazy, call me a psychic, but I think this is one for Big Dill.
Admittedly a slightly lesser version of the absent Krusty Grab, Big Dill comes to us this season from Emmanuel Carrillo, one of the multitude of people to have been previously associated with the cult WAR Hawk. That bot had a pretty decent record, we know it’s in pretty capable hands (hopefully), and to be honest I can see the lifter getting right under that tasty looking frame of Atom #94, hoisting it up and tipping it over, causing damage to some extent to take the win.
That is not, of course, to say that Atom #94 has no hope of winning this bout. In fact, a lot of people seem to think they will, and that drum spinner certainly looks mighty fierce. To be honest though, it looks like it has a nice bit of ground clearance that some good driving from Big Dill could easily exploit. Specifically, at the front under the drum, around the back,and atthe sides.
Maybe I’m an idealist, maybe I just like upsets. But we’ve seen enough of them already this season for me to think that Big Dill can take this.
WINNER: BIG DILL
Hypershock vs Gruff
And now, it’s time for the main event. Not one I was expecting this week, but still once that excites, intrigues, and confounds me.
We all know Hypershock is a pretty awesome machine, if not one with an inconsistent track record. For all its brilliant driving from Will Bales, and all the Will Bales that comes with being driven by Will Bales, its track record of burning out its motors or something else going horribly wrong haunts it. Even when its dishing out damage at its brilliant best it rarely looks like its going to make it the full three minutes. It needs to get the damage in quickly, and hope it works well enough. The team may have spent years trying to iron out this issue, but it still happens more than they’d like.
Who knows, maybe it’s an issue that has been completely fixed for this season. But they still come up against Gruff, my personal dark horse for the season, and if there’s one thing Gruff knows how to be, it’s durable. It went three whole minutes with Tombstone and remained a consistently aggressive threat against tough opposition such as End Game and Railgun MAX. In my opinion, a 2-3 record didn’t do justice to some really impressive displays last season, and this year they look sturdy, well-built, and ready for action with a dual flamethrower. Hypershock may inflict some noticeable damage to it, but I think a combination of good driving, effective use of weaponry, and the unreliability of Will Bales’ machine will give Gruff a surprise victory. Not many people seem to agree, but I’m sticking my neck out for the Gruffman on this one.
And there we have it guys, another week of predictions, each more ludicrous than the last. I’m hoping Christmas will come early for me this year and treat me with a better scoresheet than the last two weeks have offered me. Maybe my faith in the underdog is too great, and I should learn to give into the popular system of public opinion. But if I’m right it’s me who’ll get the satisfaction of feeling smart for a brief moment in my weary, tiresome existence.
As usual, an episode review will be out some time in the next few days, where you can mock me about how utterly wrong I’ve gotten all of these. If you want premium notification access, following the blog really helps me out, and updates are also on Twitter @robosocks14.
As always, thanks for reading, and happy bot bash viewing for tonight.