BattleBots 2020: Predictions for Episode 5

Hey everyone, and welcome back to your favourite time of the week – that’s right, it’s predictions time! These week’s fight card promises a lot – battles we may not have expected, bots we’ve not seen before, bots whose performances in this episode may well define their season, and decide whether or not they’ll be heading into the championship bracket. We also finally get to see whatever the f*ck Grabot is, so that’ll be entertaining at least.

I don’t exactly know how well this will go, as playing the predictions “higher or lower” game after a 4-3 record from the last episode is pretty dangerous stuff. Especially since like 6 of the 7 battles in this episode are about as evenly matched as a football match between Burnley and West Brom. It’s a 0-0 all the way. But I’ll sure try and apply my terrible thoughts and visions into a set of sensible and cohesive predictions.

Before we start, a little statement from your humble author – you’re probably aware that BattleBots: Bounty Hunters started streaming on Monday night (I mean I posted predictions about it, after all). I’ve managed to watch all the fights from both episodes, through means that are definitely not questionable in any way shape or form, but they won’t play much of a part in these reviews, because I’m aware that many viewers in the UK, or anywhere outside of the US for that matter, haven’t been able to watch them. So I’ll do my best to keep references and influences on predictions to a minimum. 

That being said, given we live in an age where media is shared freely across the world, and yet the thousands of BattleBots fans outside of the US can’t access this new content. Not even the most loyal of us who pay £3.49 a month to help keep the show on its feet, those of us who engage with the community and watch all the behind-the-scenes content the teams provide us. 

We haven’t had BattleBots air in the UK since c.2016 on Channel f*cking 5, the same network that originally killed off Robot Wars, which we haven’t had a new series of since 2017. There’s only so much online streams of Beetleweight fights can do for us,entertaining as they may be. We just want to watch our favourite show so we can keep supporting it as we do, so I’d urge you to sign the petition below. We need 20k signatures for the BattleBots team to seriously consider it, and we’re currently on just over 300. A long way to go, but if we all chip in then the future of the show, and robot combat in general, will be looking very bright indeed.

Petition: http://chng.it/pVBVkQs7Cg

And now, the fights.

Black Dragon vs Claw Viper

Boy, they’re really starting us off with a tricky one here, ain’t they? It’s the boys from Brazil in Black Dragon against the er, claw-y cultists of Claw Viper. It’s late, give me a break.

Both bots start the night at 1-0, but had very contrasting opening battles. Claw Viper looks one of the most promising newcomers in the field after a brutally aggressive display against HiJinx, whilst Black Dragon edged a judges’ decision against Kraken, despite being in the literal belly of the beast for the majority of the fight.

I don’t know what attachments the teams will come out with, if any, but assuming they both show up in their normal forms, I’d expect a tight match that comes down to driving, and who can get under who. My gut instinct is to go with Black Dragon, mainly due to this being an opening fight. Much like the Tombstone-Slap Box fight last week, I’d expect this to be a case of the producers telling us “OK guys, Black Dragon wasn’t great against Kraken, but here it is tearing up Claw Viper, now please watch the rest of the show”. I’d say a couple of nice shots to the side of the claw boys will do the trick, but this could easily swing the way of the newcomers.

WINNER: BLACK DRAGON

Ghost Raptor vs Jackpot

It’s hard to talk about this one without spoilers for Bounty Hunters, but here goes. 

I think I’ve made my feelings about Ghost Raptor pretty clear it this point. It’s outdated, it’s a bit sh*t, in all honesty it always has been, and I don’t think anyone was avidly mailing the team begging for them to come back. The technology behind it is cool and all, but that’s about it. Usually I’d put it down for an instant loss, but given the fact it’s up against Jackpot, I’m actually considering the chance it has. Not that Jackpot is a bad robot, far from it. But it’s win against SubZero can barely even be considered a win considering how grounded in luck it was. Like, it struggled to drive for about a minute, had its weapon half-broken, and ended up on top of SubZero, which had fortunately broken down. 

I still think it has a better chance of winning than Ghost Raptor does. Not just for my apparent vendetta against Chuck Pitzer’s bot, which I didn’t even know I had until about a month ago. Going into as little detail as I can about its appearance on Bounty Hunters, Ghost Raptor’s weaponry looks, well, let’s go with “unreliable”. Much like it did against Shatter. Jackpot’s spinner, meanwhile, managed to survive against SubZero despite essentially being broken in half. I think a couple of weapon-on-weapon shots will disable the weapon of the Raptor, and then (hopefully) Jackpot will get lucky and disable the drive and somehow see itself end up on 2-0. See, sometimes there’s method to the madness after all, vague as it may be. Win for Bingo Bot.

What happens in Vegas…

WINNER: JACKPOT

Grabot vs SubZero

Speaking of SubZero and other things that can be defined as “blue and white”, here comes the easiest decision of the night. It’s,incredibly, the aforementioned SubZero against whatever the f*ck Grabot is.

I never actually thought I’d be this confident in predicting SubZero for the win, but surely, surely, it has enough to beat Grabot. Like, what even is its weapon meant to be? Is it meant to bring the two tiny robot arms down and f*cking loft it high into the air? What’s it meant to grab onto? How is it going to generate any power on those things? When you have to legitimately sit back and think about these sort of questions, it’s never really a good sign.

Well, provided all logic goes according to plan, this is a win for SubZero. Like, provided their flipper keeps functioning throughout the fight, a one or two-punch KO is on the card. Grabot is pretty awesome in theory, but I can’t see it doing anything to seriously trouble its opponent. Its best bet is to sit back and hope SubZero breaks down, which, on previous evidence, is possible, but you’d really hope the team fixed the issues that cost them against Jackpot. And I’m sure they have. In the bag.

WINNER: SUBZERO

HUGE vs Hydra

On now to the second of the three fights Faruq and the production team actually give a sh*t about, this week’s “middle event” sees my beloved HUGE, in its second appearance in this slot, up against, statistically, the 15th-best bot in the competition so far, Hydra. You can @ me all you want in the comments, I stick by my decision.

HUGE starts at 0-1 after a surprising defeat to its sizably large counterpart Mammoth, whilst Team Whyachi and Hydra are at 1-0 after grinding out a victory over Witch Doctor. Normally, I’d say this is a pretty straight-forward win for HUGE. As we saw last season against Bronco, it’s not really that effective to flip it over, unless it’s near an arena wall, since it’ll just keep coming back with that seemingly indestructible bar spinner. Hydra is a similar height to Bronco, but with a smaller circumference on the flipper. I’d suspect pretty much the same outcome, but Hydra’s flipper is alsonoticeably more powerful than Bronco’s, which is no mean feat. The Whyachi crew have also stated they’ve got a specifically-designed attachment to put atop Hydra for the fight, which means it’ll result in the exact opposite of what I just said, or it’s going to flip HUGE in half after three hits. Whatever happens, it’s going to be spectacular.

I’m more inclined to go with HUGE, because attachments or modifications for specific opponents rarely seem to go as according to plan. Admittedly all anyone has tried to stop HUGE with in the past is a f*cking rake, so hopefully they’ve upgraded from that at the very least. But I still think HUGE is more likely to break Hydra than the other way around. We’ll see though.

WINNER: HUGE

Aegis vs Fusion

Speaking of Team Whyachi, herethey are again! They’re staying with us in the battle box but swapping out Hydra for their insane double-spinner Fusion, facing off against newcomer Aegis, who’ll be hoping to stake a claim at being the new ‘King of Flippers’.

Sadly, I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. Seeing as we’re five episodes deep and have both seen and heard nothing of Aegis up to this point, I don’t think it’s Giant Nut material. I think we’ve seen all the bots in the top 32 bracket compete already. That might be a bit harsh and over-thought on Aegis, considering I’ve not even seen so much as test footage of that massive launcher in action, but sadly I think the rules of network television have consigned its fate already. 

The only thing launching up tonight is our ratings AYOOOOOO

It may actually have a decent shot against Fusion, seeing as in its debut fight it exploded in a ball of fire against Mad Catter. It wasn’t the best display of what the bot can do, which is why I think the producers may have been nice to the team and set them up against a bot they know it has a shot of beating. And after a hypothetical loss to HUGE, what better way to assure us that Team Whyachi are still alive and kicking? That’s television, folks.

Call me a nihilist, call be deranged, but irregardless of my views on how network television is made engaging and entertaining through its content, I do also think that a few pops at the drum and a sick drift with the horizontal spinner will seal Aegis’ fate. I kind of hope I’m wrong with this one, but I have to stick to my gut feeling.

WINNER: FUSION

Big Dill vs Lockjaw

Fight 6 of the night sees to battle of the prongy bois, with Big Dill squaring off against the veteran Lockjaw, with both starting the night on 1-0 records.

Now, Big Dill might still be the funniest sh*t I ever seen, but this might be the hardest prediction I ever seen. Well, not entirely, but I’m still pretty stumped. Both robots are so similar, and while Lockjaw wasn’t at its best against Captain Shrederator, it’s still a mean and experienced bot with a solid track record in recent years. And whilst Big Dill is a humble newcomer, it dominated Atom #94 (which was barely working, but still) in its opening fight. 

However, I have to look at the bots and ask; what can Big Dill reallydo to Lockjaw? With Atom #94 there were obvious gaps and holes for it to exploit, and there aren’t really any on Donald Hutson’s bot. Unless Big Dill can get round the back of Lockjaw, which I’m not really convinced will happen. I think its best bet is to go weapon-on-weapon, but then that leaves it open to damage in its more vulnerable area from Lockjaw’s spinner. I think, if it’s all in working order, that its spinner can get a few good shots in at the side of Big Dill, to at least tip the scales in its favour if it goes to the judges.

The calm before the storm

It’s a tight one, and I’m not entirely convinced this will happen, but I’m going for Lockjaw.

WINNER: LOCKJAW

Kraken vs Witch Doctor

And finally, it’s time for tonight’s main event. Which two legendary bots are facing off tonight? SawBlaze against Beta? Whiplash againstHypershock? Tombstone getting its arse kicked by Rusty? Well, we’ve got last season’s runner-up, the mighty Witch Doctor, in an epic showdown against… Kraken? Yeah, that’s what it says, Kraken. No mistake here. 

It’s sure not your usual choice for a main event, since Kraken, while being a decent lil bot, hasn’t broken (or really come close to) breaking in to the top 16 in each of the past two seasons. However, it ran Black Dragon mighty close in a battle many feel it should have won. It’s come back this season on a mission to do well, and since it’s now featuring in a main event, I get the feeling that’s exactly how it’s done.

On paper, this would normally be a fight we’d see early on in the night. An easy win for Witch Doctor to kick things off and showcase the ability of the Gellatly clan’s voodoo toy. But a main event? Sh*t must have gone down in this fight. I seem to remember seeing a brief clip of Kraken holding Witch Doctor in its fangs in a promo for the new series, but I didn’t really think anything of it. But I honestly think this fight might be revenge for Black Dragon (by the way, mad tough opening two fights for Kraken, who decided that was fair?), and that the sea beast is going to claim a mad scalp.

Under the sea do do do do do under the sea

Yes, I might be crazy and reading too much into it again, but, as I said, it ran a similar bot in Black Dragon close in its last fight, and I think something might happen where we see an immediate box rush, a clamp down on the weapon belt to disable the drisc of Witch Doctor, and then douse it in flames. We all know that Witch Doctor is prone to reliability issues as well. This may be the thought of a madman at work, and I probably wouldn’t think this if it weren’t the main event, but it’s what I’m going for. Being weird and different, I’ll take my chances with Kraken.

WINNER: KRAKEN

Welp, there we go. I can’t wait to see how wrong I am for another week and how slaughtered I’m going to get for thinking Kraken is actually going to beat Witch Doctor. Stranger things have happened, folks. This has probably been the toughest week to predict so far anyway, so when I inevitably get a solid 1 out 7 right, at last I can take comfort in the fact it was an uphill struggle to begin with. Turning to the laws of television for guidance is never a good thing, after all.

Thank you all again for having a read, and hopefully a vote, since I’m enjoying this new poll feature I now have unprecedented access to! If you liked what you read and want to read more, I’ve got posts about everything to do with this season of BattleBots. Except reviews for Bounty Hunters, which I’ve decided to put off until a later date, once there’s another break in the schedule and once more people have had access to the episodes (*cough* sign the petition *cough*). Remember to follow the blog if you want to stay up-to-date as well; I’m on Twitter @robosocks14, and my email is therobotsoccerleague@gmail.com.

Thanks again everyone, and see you for a spicy review.

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