Good evening, comrades, and welcome to crunch time. The final episode of the BattleBots 2020. It’s been a long, wild ride to get to this point, but it’s now time to sort the top 32 out. To be honest, I think we probably already know most of the bots that will end up in the championship bracket, but seeing as we technically have the records of as many as 25 competitors to determine, there’s still all to play for, and only an hour and a half to play it in. So on top of the cracking fight card your eyes see below you, expect a whole load of highlights featuring your favourite bots, such as Deadlift, Chronos, and even Axe Backwards.
As you can see, there’s a whole lot to look forward to here, and a lot which is already giving me a severe headache in trying to predict. Fortunately it’s not as hard as last week, which left me with a disappointing 4-3 record, mostly down to Gruff’s ineptitude in staying alive. I was genuinely fuming when it broke down. It’s a huge result that shakes up the top 32 though, and there are plenty of teams fighting in this episode looking to take advantage of that shock result.
So we may as well get into it. It’s robot predicting time.
Uppercut vs Hydra
Now this is how you start an episode. Two teams at 2-0, two of the most powerful weapons in the field, two bots who are potentially vying for the number one seeding. It’s the flipping fanatic that is Hydra, minus the bike rack, and the spinning sensation that is the awesome Uppercut.
This is one we already know a surprising amount about, thanks to the wonder of promotional images. We know that, as I’ve mentioned, Hydra has thankfully done away with the bike rack, and it’s actually Uppercut who have come in with an addition, in the form of, and I sh*t you not, a sacrificial Hexbug arena. I don’t know whose idea that was, but I guess that’s their own sadistic way of saying they want a toy. Oh, and Hydra gets at least one flip in on Uppercut which will send it careening through the air. I guess that settles that then.
Except, if you remember Hydra’s only loss so far on BattleBots, last year’s last 16 bout against Minotaur, they also managed to get a big early flip in on their opponents in that fight. And then they got demolished. Sadly, the problem with Hydra is that is has too much at the back and sides for big spinners to attack and get subsequent big hits in. And in all honesty I think it’s going to be a similar story here. One, maybe two good hits in the right areas from Uppercut is going to send it flying across the box, and leave it conked out in the corner.
It won’t be a straight-forward fight by any means, and I think that, whatever happens, we’re going to see both these bots in the top 32, and with comfortably high seedings as well. But it’s Alex Hittori and co. who have the nod for me.
SawBlaze vs Rusty
Well, Rusty, it was nice knowing you.
Seriously, who came up with this schedule? Last time it was Beta, and now it’s another one of the best teams in the competition with SawBlaze. If this isn’t proof that we need more consistency and structure to the teams’ fight schedules I think this is it.
This looks as though it’s been put in place to give SawBlaze an easy ride into the top 32 as they currently sit at 1-1, fresh from being surgically disemboweled by Uppercut. Thankfully they’ve reverted back to the circular saw for this one, so we won’t be seeing Rusty shattered into a thousand tiny little pieces all over the arena floor. But what we’re going to see still won’t be pretty, and this will, most likely, be the last we see of my beloved Rusty in this year’s competition. Thanks for the memories, boo.
Tantrum vs Gamma 9
It’s been so long since we’ve these two I was beginning to think they’d been forgotten about. Especially Gamma 9, who’s been at 0-1 since the Jurassic age, though I’m sure we’ll be seeing a small highlights reel of an untelevised fight against a true juggernaut of the game, such as Gemini or Rampage. Tantrum probably has more to play for, sitting at 1-1 after two fights that actually made it to air, its loss being an unfortunate one at the hands of Valkyrie, but it impressed in its win over Atom #94.
Tantrum really deserves to be in the top 32 this year, and in such a competitive field it will need a big win in this fight in order to have a chance of making it. And I believe it’ll get that win. Yes, it’s a fight of little and large, David vs Goliath, but while Gamma 9 can hit hard when it gets going, it’s also proven to be pretty unreliable after suffering a few hits. Tantrum’s puncher might not hit the hardest, but it can easily do enough to catch its opponent in just the right places to slow it down, and eventually immobilise it.
I think without having to face a damaging weapon, Tantrum will also be compact enough to withstand any hits it takes. A win for the little orange box here, methinks.
Hypershock vs End Game
This fight may well have the biggest implications on the top 32 of them all. Both bots sit at 1-1, and both have it all to play for. A win will lift one to the lofty heights of a top half seeding (probably). Defeat will leave the other’s fate out of their hands. Spinner vs spinner. USA vs New Zealand. Hypershock vs End Game.
Both have had their ups and downs this season. End Game kicked off the season by launching Tombstone clean out of the arena before defeat against Bloodsport. Hypershock, meanwhile, looked dominant against Gruff before breaking down, coming back with a win over Mammoth. Both have had reliability issues in the past, as well as this season, and I think that’ll prove to be a deciding factor for this one.
We already know we’re going to see at least one big weapon-on-weapon hit from these two, so it really depends who’ll be able to shake off the impact better. And honestly, I’d say End Game. Hypershock could easily out-drive them, but personally I think End Game has the better weapon, and that’s how the fight will be decided. It could go either way, a fight that could be decided at the toss of a coin, but I’m putting my faith in the New Zealanders here.
WINNER: END GAME
P1 vs SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I think whoever put these two together has a vendetta against entertainment. Whatever happens, one of these bots will end at a 2-1 record, and will have a legitimate shot at the top 32, no matter how inefficient they are as a fighting robot, or how monotonous their fights are.
As you can tell, I’m not overly looking forwards to this fight, so I’ll try and keep things as terse as possible. I think P1 is just the right shape for those under-cutters of SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE to cause some legitimate damage to the RC car, wrapping its wedge around it and clipping away at the wheels. The complete opposite could happen, and P1 could completely dominate proceedings, but honestly I don’t really care enough to come up with a counter-argument. I just can’t believe one of these two will probably be in the top 32.
Again, time to add some structure to the fight schedule.
Grabot vs Beta
And here we go again. Seriously, whoever’s in charge of scheduling these fights really needs a good talking to.
Coming in to the tournament as one of the most feared bots in the field, so much so it’s got its own Bounty Hunters episode as the titular bounty, Beta will, at the end of the night, have had fights against both Rusty and Grabot, two rookie bots whose ability leaves much to the imagination. Apart from its fight against Rotator, which it still totally dominated, it’s as if it’s been given a free pass to the top 32. Like the producers felt sorry for all the bad luck they’ve had in recent years, and gave them a compensatory schedule.
There’s really nothing to say about this one. Barring Beta breaking down or setting itself on fire through its own power, this is theirs for the taking. Grabot, meanwhile, can go back home, maybe after a short highlights reel of an untelevised fight, and figure out what it actually means to be a fighting robot.
Valkyrie vs Whiplash
We kicked off with a bang, and now we close the regular season with another cracker. Valkyrie is currently riding high at 2-0, whilst Whiplash sits at 1-1 after a mixed start to the season. Leanne Cushing’s bot is most likely assured of a top 32 spot, and this is more a case of securing a high seeding. Matt Vasquez, however, needs a big display regardless to confirm a spot in the bracket.
It’ll be a fight full of sparks, drama, adrenaline, blood, sweat and tears, and I think that Whiplash is going to come out of it with the win it needs. Unless Valkyrie is able to get to the sides and take out the wheels, which isn’t that likely given Matt Vasquez’s driving ability, the front plough of Whiplash should take the impact of whatever disc Valkyrie puts on. It might not be as simple as I’ve just made it out to be, but I think the fight will follow roughly that sort of pattern.
It’s going to be brutal, but this is Whiplash’s fight for me.
And that about does it for the last bunch of predictions for the regular season. After all the drama, all the highlight reels and all the upsets, we’re finally going to have the top 32 revealed to us. A top 32 that will probably include either P1 or SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE instead of an actually good robot. Yay us.
In all seriousness, it’s been a pretty fun ride, and as we move into the actual top 32, something that has been built up and has left us guessing who’ll be in it since the first fight between SawBlaze and Whiplash all those weeks ago, things are going to be hotting up, the predictions getting tougher. Another four episodes to come that will determine the new Giant Nut holder.
Thanks for reading, folks, and see you tomorrow.