Good evening comrades, and welcome back to Bounty Hunters. I know, it’s been, like, a whole month since we’ve had the chance to do some predictions for this new-fangled spin-off the Gods of BattleBots have blessed us with, and yet, here we are. Come Thursday the 11th, we’ve got two all-new bounties to look forward to. One against Britain’s biggest hammer, Beta, and the one we’re covering today, probably the biggest bounty of all, against the former Giant Nut winner and general “Big Daddy” of robots and spinners, Tombstone.
Now, not to nit-pick, but considering this is against quite possibly the deadliest horizontal bar spinner thats ever set foot inside the box, does this line-up seem a little bit… well, weak? Half the bots here are rookies, and the other half that have competed before haven’t made into the top 16. Sure, Jackpot, Gruff, and Kraken are all capable bots, but they’re not exactly who you would pick right off the bat to take down Ray Billings. But maybe this is the best they had to pick from. And whatever the weather, at least we’re getting more fights, some of which at least should entertain.
Let’s get to it, because it’s hunting season.
Gruff vs Gemini
Kicking us off with a real two Davids vs Goliath clash, in more ways than one, it’s world’s hottest bot (again, in more ways than one), Gruff, up against the imaginatively-named multi-bot Gemini.
I really don’t see this going any way other than a comfortable win for Gruff. I know that last time I, and the entire viewing public for that matter, said that, it didn’t exactly end well. Here’s hoping that this fight was filmed after the Extinguisher fight, and that the Gruff guys learned their lessons, got new motors, and have since come out flying with a series of controlling victories. Gemini, meanwhile, currently have an overall record of 4-6, which isn’t terrible, but has also spent the past four seasons making a very minimal impact on the competition.
We’ve actually already seen this fight before in the 2019 season, as part of a rumble featuring the forgotten Marvin. Gruff won that fight comfortably, and I can’t see anything that suggests the same outcome here. There’s nothing else to really say here.
Kraken vs Claw Viper
Taking a cheeky flight over to the other side of the bracket, we’ve got a definite sea beast in the form of the mighty Kraken, up against something that’s open for interpretation in the form of Claw Viper.
In a rare match-up (by today’s standards) between two control bots, this one is, ironically, going to be all about control. It’s something that Kraken has demonstrated to have in spades this season, and something that Claw Viper as had very little of. To quote their own team, the thing “drives like ass”. If it’s continuing to drive like ass going into this episode, I don’t really think it’ll be able to do much to Kraken. Matt Spurk’s gnashy boi might not be able to do much damage, but Claw Viper looks just the right fit for that big ol’ mouth it’s rocking. It’s the sort of fight the arena hazards are made for.
Kraken all the way for me here.
Deadlift vs Jackpot
Fighting for their right to party, as well as to fight Gruff in the second round, it’s the battle of the newbies whose fortunes couldn’t be much more different. Jackpot has used its Vegas luck to get itself to 3-0 going into the post-season, whilst Deadlift hasn’t even made it to television yet. We saw it put up a great showing against Ghost Raptor in the Icewave Bountyepisode,but even then it managed to break down.
I think it’s more than capable of giving Jackpot a hard time, maybe even enough of one to win the fight. But if I had to pick, which is the point of the post, then I would go with Jackpot. The spinner looks like it’ll probably have too much for Deadlift, even with its wedge/lifter set-up going. I think a few hits from Jackpot will ultimately get this one done pretty quickly, even if I’d rather see it go on for longer.
Not much else to say, let the Jackpot joy continue.
SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE vs Mammoth
Who the f*ck decided this was going to be a fight? Are they trying to make my brain fry with their ridiculous match-ups? For the final hot mess of the first round we’re seeing the age-old match-up of height vs width, with the colossus of Mammoth against renowned long boi SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
I don’t even know where to begin predicting this fight, it’s really one of those things you just sorta have to go with your gut for. I think Mammoth is the better bot, but I can’t really see what it can do that would really harm SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE. It could flail at its wedge for a little bit, but would it, realistically, do anything? The connected wedge of Joe Fabiani’s bot seems almost ideal to take on Mammoth, and take some crucial pot-shots at the vulnerable lower frame of Ricky Willems’ beast.
I’m not exactly the biggest fan of SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE, and I’m not exactly expecting a sudden whirlwind display from it, but I think it’ll have enough to meander its way through to the next round.
Gruff vs Jackpot
Moving on to my favourite part of this whole endeavour, the hypothetical second-round ties, where I get to completely guess at matches that might not even happen, our left-hand bout sees the hotpot Gruff against the pot luck Jackpot.
I said previously that Deadlift, a pretty similar build to Gruff, wouldn’t have enough to take out Jackpot. Seeing as Gruff is essentially Jackpot’s previous opponent ramped up on a bunch of steroids, I think this one is going to Sam McAmis and his fire-breathing monstrosity. Provided it doesn’tbreak down. A few shots to the front, a couple of lifts and a f*ckton of fire are what I see in my crystal ball for this one, provided it actually happens in the first place. Jackpot could absolutely give Gruff a beating, and probably will en route to whatever outcome we see here. But I think Gruff is more likely to nab itself a win here.
Maybe I just like fire.
Kraken vs SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I guess any fight involving SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE is just going to leave meeeeeeeeeeee confused and upset, because it’s such a weird contraption it’s almost impossible to predict how it’ll do. For their hypothetical semi-final, they’re up against Kraken, which thankfully doesn’t seem like too hard a prediction to make.
I might be lobbing all my eggs into one basket before considering all the available data here, but surely Kraken is just going to bite SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE for the entire three minutes and then win on control and aggression? I’m not saying it’ll be particularly exciting, but I don’t really see those under-cutters doing much to the green and black sea beast. Much like the majority of these fights, I don’t really know what else to say, this just has a Kraken win written in the stars as far as I’m concerned.
Gruff vs Kraken
And so this is how the main bracket ends, not with a bang, but with a great big f*ck off ball of fire. Two fire breathers, two dragon-types, one fight of epic proportions. The question is, when you fight fire with fire, whose fire will put out the other fire?
This one might well be too close to call, and who wins the battle for ground clearance, a battle that could go either way in a tussle between two superbly-controlled bots. If I had to come down on one side of the coin, which, again, I kinda have to here, I’d edge towards Kraken. Yes, Gruff could easily get around the sides of Kraken, lift it about and scorch its underbelly. That’s a very likely outcome. However, I think the slightly more likely outcome is that Kraken will get round to Gruff’s sides, bite down and torch the f*ck out of it. Gruff may well counter with its own fire, resulting in the walls of the box melting before our very eyes. Another one the arena hazards were built for, I can see a smoking Gruff up in the screws at the end, with Kraken moving on to fight Tombstone.
In all honesty, the real winner here is the fire.
Tombstone vs Kraken
I’m sure this is a fight Matt Spurk and co. will have been dreaming of for years, but whether this should have been kept a dream is another matter entirely. The beast from the deep faces the deadly Tombstone for a chance to win $25k.
Sadly, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Even though we’ve established this season that Tombstone’s lack of wheelguards have made it fall behind the chasing pack and turn it into an average bot (yes, this is a real discourse among some people), I don’t really see what Kraken can realistically do to stop it. That’s become a common theme of this episode, hasn’t it? But yeah, even if Kraken attaches Hydra’s bike rack to the front of it, there’s not really any way for it to win unless Tombstone implodes on impact. It could happen, but I don’t see it.
$25k looks like it’s remaining firmly in the bank for now. But may Kraken prove me wrong.
And that about does it for this latest bounty. It might not be the longest, and that might be a blessing for most of you, but there isn’t really a whole lot to say about this one. I’m sure there’ll still be plenty of sparks and drama, but I think the next episode will be the more entertaining one.
Predictions for that episode will be out tomorrow, where we’ll be looking ahead to the Beta bounty, out on Thursday 11th, the same day as this episode. Reviews will be out at some point in the future, probably after the main series has finished, just so more people will have watched the episodes on Discovery+, the (sarcasm alert) greatest streaming service in the world, especially if you’re in the UK. It really is a great time to be British.
There’ll be posts up on here every day this week, so check back to see regular BattleBots updates and content. Until next time, stay safe dear comrades, and have a cracking day.