Hey bot friends, it’s your boy back at it again with another set of predictions. Because BattleBots is spoiling us silly for content this season, for January at least, we’ve got a ridiculous amount of stuff to cover this coming week. Following on from yesterday’s predictions for the first episode of the upcoming spin-off, we’ve got yet another set of predictions for you today, because the producers have decided on Bounty Hunters airing as a double bill for its run on television. Alongside the main competition. It’s like they didn’t take into account the obsessive fanboys who run BattleBots blogs – who has the time for all this?!
Anyway, this episode will see eight bots fighting for the right to fight Icewave, who’s come back from its gap yah having discovered its true self as a 16-year-old Fall Out Boy fan. Still possessing that deadly spinning bar in its new-found emo form, it could end up facing anyone from P1, the world’s most inconvenient F1 car, to generic gym lad Deadlift, to the seasoned Hypershock, who would no doubt be eyeing up that $25k cash prize so Will Bales can make some more sick neon signs for new episodes of The Tale of the Tape.
Enough with the chatter though, it’s time for the splatter.
Black Widow vs Skorpios
Starting us off for this episode is the age-old battle between the spider and the scorpion. Usually that might be a bit of a struggle to predict; doesn’t that depend entirely on the type of spider and scorpion we’re dealing with? It does indeed, and the options we have on offer here seem to give us a pretty straight-forward contest.
No offence to Black Widow, it does look like a gorgeous bot. However, it also looks like it can’t really do a whole lot. All we’ve seen of it is its exhibition fight against Mammoth, controlled by apparent TV personality Josh Gates, where it subsequently had all its legs plucked off and was quickly immobilised. The legs don’t actually do anything, it has wheels to get about, but its drum spinner looked hopeless against the spinning flipper of Mammoth. I can’t imagine it’ll be able to do too much to the front plate of its opponent.
Skorpios, meanwhile, is a pretty seasoned, if not inconsistent bot. It’s currently at a 1-1 record in the regular season, being bullied about by Bloodsport, but making up for it with a textbook performance against Perfect Phoenix. This should, in theory, be a pretty easy test for it. Some aggressive driving, and a few cheeky shots to the rear end of Black Widow should see this fight over pretty swiftly. Not unless the widow is hiding something up one of those legs.
Hypershock vs Sporkinok
Riding the autobahn over to the right side of the bracket, we have another match-up which, on paper anyway, appears to be a formality.
It’s pretty safe to say that Sporkinok was not impressive in its fight against Rusty. Entering the arena for what should have been an easy W, it lost its bearings after about 30 seconds and ended up dying in the corner. It certainly promised a lot more than it gave, and currently looks like fodder for other opponents for the rest of the regular season.
In my eyes, there’s a 99% chance that Hypershock is going to walk its way to victory here. We’ve still yet to see the power of Sporkinok’s hammer, but I don’t really think it’s going to make much of a difference. Even after fizzling out to defeat against Gruff, Will Bales’ bot is surely going to be too powerful for its counterpart. A sick drift round the back, a couple of powerful hits with the drisc, and Hypershock advances to the second round.
P1 vs Tracer
This one certainly has more potential for an upset to happen, but will probably go the way at least 80% of people probably think it will.
Now, it’s fair to say that P1 (and its predecessor Parallax), has not had a fun time on BattleBots. Yes, it’s one of the most aesthetic bots we’ve seen in the whole reboot, the racing car design is cool as f*ck. A combined 0-5 record, on the other hand, is not. It’s not as if they can be defended because of the opposition they were facing; I personally wouldn’t put Sidewinder, Extinguisher and f*cking Basilisk in the ‘world class’ category. I don’t really know what it’s brought to the table this year that’s any different to the sh*tshow it provided us with last year, and I’m not really holding out much hope for it here.
Tracer, meanwhile, might have had a rough time of things against Ribbot, learning a valuable lesson about the importance of a srimech, but still looked more than capable of dishing out the damage. You might think me mad for saying it’s a win for the team from Texafornia, given they’ve been pitted against another spinner for their opening clash, but I ask you to remember the last time you saw P1 use its flipper, and the last time it was actually effective. I’m sensing a few good shots round the back and to the sides will suit Tracer just fine this time around.
Deadlift vs Ghost Raptor
Onto the final first-round fight of the night, competing for the chance to face Hypershock in the next round, we’ve got nobody’s favourite returning bot, Ghost Raptor, against the never-skipping-wheel-day Deadlift.
In fairness to Ghost Raptor, it didn’t put up too bad a showing against Shatter, and was ultimately the victim of some well-placed hammer blows that caused it to combust. However, it’s not enough to convince me it’s going to have much of an impact on this season. It might sound harsh, it’s a former semi-finalist after all, but I still think it’s an outdated bot that’s not going to have a good time this season.
I might be overly optimistic in my next point, considering I’ve seen next to nothing of this bot in action, but I reckon Deadlift has a solid shot at winning this. Depending on the strength of its front wedge, I could see it disabling Ghost Raptor’s spinner, before suplexing Chuck Pitzer and co.’s creation up and over, much like its 2016 fight against Razorback. All a matter of opinion and circumstance, of course, but I smell a shock coming.
Skorpios vs Tracer
Into the second round, and into the match-ups I have to predict an outcome for, whether they’re actually going to take place or not. Oh joy.
Skorpios against Tracer is a really tough one to call. On paper, in terms of design vs design, weapon vs weapon, I’d say Tracer would be the more likely to claim a victory. However, my gut feeling is to go for Skorpios. I can’t fully explain why, but I’ll give it a go; basically, Skorpios might be kind of an awkward and gangly bot, but Zach Lytle and co. (most of the time) know what they’re doing with it. They’re experienced, they can get wins. Tracer, on the other hand, is a rookie, and our only showing of it so far saw a naïve performance that resulted in a cheap loss. Something tells me Skorpios is going to have something up its sleeve to prepare for Tracer that’s going to get it the win to advance. Specifically, I sense the hammer saw to break the weapon of Tracer, before eventually incapacitating it.
Call me mad, call me crazy, but come Monday night you’ll see my logic in action. Or I’ll just look like an idiot, but it’s too late to turn back now.
Hypershock vs Deadlift
Sadly, this doesn’t look as hard to predict as the other second-round match-up we’re being treated to.
Deadlift’s wedge may look as though it can withstand the challenge of Ghost Raptor, but Hypershock is a whole different beast. Quick, maneuverable, and sporting a more powerful weapon (admittedly things I have no idea if Deadlift has or not), Will Bales and Hypershock will prove a much tougher test to the newcomers, and one I’m not convinced they will be able to overcome. We’d probably be seeing a typically quick start from Hypershock, and a few hard hits later Deadlift will be, for want of a better word, dead. Another victory for Hypershock, and an intriguing final awaits us.
Skorpios vs Hypershock
We’ve seen this battle once before, back in the 2018 season when a weapon-less Skorpios took on a Hypershock that kept bouncing into the floor, with the make-shift angle grinder of Skorpios ultimately coming up trumps. However, I’m not convinced we’ll be seeing an exact repeat of that fight here, if we even see this fight at all.
Remember Hypershock’s one good moment from that fight where it made Skorpios to a full 360 in midair, the one time its weapon hit the opponent instead of hopelessly ricocheting off the arena floor? Well, this is a much improved Hypershock from the one we saw two seasons ago, and I think we’re going to be seeing many 360s if it ends up fighting Skorpios again. Zach Lytle has a durable bot at its disposal, but I’m not sure it’s within its capacity to overpower Hypershock. It’ll probably get a couple of good shots in with the hammer saw, but unless they’re really good, well-placed shots that could potentially immobilise Hypershock, or at least disable its drive, I can only see Will Bales and the boys sufficiently mangling their opponent to book their fight against Icewave. They might have to try and get the fight over within the first minute and a half, but I’m sticking to my guns here.
Icewave vs Hypershock
As much as I’d love to see the return of Skorpios’ anti-Icewave hockey stick and see if it can still do a job two years on, we’re sadly stuck with a dull, uninteresting clash between the aforementioned wave of ice and Hypershock.
I’m assuming it won’t actually be dull, but I think it’ll probably be over quickly. Because as awesome as it is to see Mark DeVidts and co. back in action, they’re also the kind of opponent Will Bales thrives against. The kind who, if you stop their weapon quickly enough, are totally vulnerable to attack. We’ve seen multiple times that, regardless of how powerful the blade of Icewave is, it’s super vulnerable to the box rush – look at its 2018 fight against Rotator, or its RE:Mars fight against Bite Force as proof of this. It was in bits and pieces all over the arena by the end of both of them, and while I’m not saying that will definitely be the case here, I do think it will lead to Hypershock winning the fight. It is the king of the box rush after all, an expert in racing out of the traps to stop its opponent getting up to speed. Icewave might well prepare for such a situation, and who knows, maybe its weapon is now sturdier than good old Soviet ironwork, but I think $25k is heading the way of Will Bales. Looks like we’re getting some more neon signs!
And that does it for another round of hastily-made predictions. I didn’t think these ones were as hard to make as the Bronco episode, and it might be the case that I’ve either got a clean sweep or a solid zero. No middle ground. Whatever happens, some cracking fights will be had by all, and some big stonks will (probably) be claimed.
And I know what you’re thinking, two posts in two days? Yes, BattleBots are going to be keeping me busy over the new year, and I’m slowly forgetting that I have football content I want to post. Oh well. If you want to read all this nonsensical content, football, robotic or otherwise, then give the blog a follow, it’s much appreciated. You can find me on Twitter @robosocks14, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Give us a message if you want to talk robots and that, I swear I’m friendlier than I come across when I write.
Stay safe everyone, and happy bot hunting.