BattleBots 2020: Episode 8 in Review

Good evening, comrades, and welcome to a very belated review of the eighth episode of BattleBots 2020. Yes, it’s been like two weeks since we saw the carnage from this episode unfold, but to be honest lockdown’s had me feeling a bit rough and not much in the mood for reviewing things. But at least it’s given me time to sit back and reflect on the chaos that was. Sparks flew, bots flew even further, and the comments section caught fire after people discovered the revelatory news that Tombstone has never actually been that good. I jest of course, and I really hope people now understand that’s a joke. I really do.

Anyway, I digress. Episode 7 brought me an astounding 6-1 prediction record, which would have been a clean sweep had I not decided to put my faith in Mammoth beating Hypershock. In hindsight it was a fool’s move, but the rules of television were telling me it was the right thing to do. Oh well. This episode at least looked like another opportunity for a clean sweep, but maybe not as much of a foregone conclusion as the last one appeared to be. This was a fun episode all round though. And just remember I’m writing this after another episode has since aired, and the top 32 has all but been decided, but I’ll try not to let that influence anything I say here too much.

Let’s get into it.

Kraken vs HUGE 

This always looked a ‘kraken’ (heh heh) way to kick off the episode, and it really didn’t disappoint. For Kraken, a win was needed to fully consolidate a spot in the top 32. For HUGE, they needed one to potentially save their season. It promised a lot, and boy did it deliver. 

It was a fight that had everything, a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. From Kraken spouting fire onto the body of HUGE, to HUGE ripping Kraken’s face off before having kinky robot sex with it, this couldn’t have been more entertaining. Even the little harpoon attachment worked! Kind of. It was a great back and forth tussle that unfortunately had to end with the beast from the deep being left on its back without a face.

Even though I saw a HUGE win coming before the episode aired, Kraken still put up a great fight, and I was genuinely concerned for Jonathan Schultz and co. when they were being torched with barely five seconds on the clock. But they recovered superbly, and I think we’ll be seeing them in the top 32 now, despite a rough couple of fights to start the season. Same with Kraken to be honest. They’ve had such a brutal schedule and have still come away with a 1-2 record from three JD’s, even claiming a victory over Witch Doctor. Great stuff all around.

You’re watching the Discovery Channel

Axolotl vs Ribbot 

Switching to a sadly less-evenly-matched fight, it’s time to find out how Axolotl got on in its debut televised fight against Ribbot. Long story short, not well.

This fight was over in less than a minute. A couple of hits from the nippy Ribbot all but killed the rookies in about ten seconds. Instead of leaving them for dead, as any team looking to consolidate a win would do, Ribbot then decided to go for a bonus hit which nearly launched them out of the arena, taking their head off and destroying the BattleBots countdown clock in the process. If they’d have cost themselves two wins in a row due to poor driving I don’t think anyone on the team would be able to live it down. But they stayed in, Axolotl was counted out, and Ribbot moved to 2-1.

While we should be seeing the froggy boi in the top 32, this looks like the end of Axolotl. We received an information dump from Chris Rose before the fight that showed us an untelevised loss to War? EZ!, in which a weapon belt came off, a wheel seemed to come off at its own accord, and its top 32 hopes seemed to come to an end. Nice knowing you, boys.

Just imagine if they went OOTA…

Rotator vs Big Dill 

Who remembers the early weeks of the season? The ones where Big Dill looked like a promising newbie after beating Atom #94, and when Rotator looked like it’ll be taking a shock early exit after falling to 0-2. That all seems like a long time ago now.

Both bots knew this was a fight they needed to win at all costs, but apparently only Victor Soto got the message. This was the Rotator of old, sending sparks everywhere, bending the forks on Big Dill, completely dominating the fight before taking off a wheel and immobilising the funniest sh*t I ever saw. It looked a mismatch from the start, with Big Dill looking quite slow and lethargic, though it may have been down to tentative driving from a new team facing a deadly spinner with as much experience as Rotator. Whatever the case, the pickle is down.

Rotator is back. As for Big Dill, I’m afraid this looks like the end.

Good luck lifting with those things mate

Jackpot vs Lockjaw 

I didn’t really expect a whole lot from this one. Two bots sitting at 2-0 records, looking to move to a clean sweep. One a former Giant Nut winner and seasoned veteran in Lockjaw, the other a rookie that only cost $4k to build in Jackpot. I thought for sure this would be Donald Hutson’s to lose.

So imagine my surprise when, after the first weapon-to-weapon collision,Lockjaw’s weapon belt came flying out, leaving it without its spinner for the duration of the fight. To be honest I’m not sure anyone could believe it, even the Jackpot team. The fight was essentially handed to them after that, landing blow after blow to the front of Lockjaw until its weapon looked like it was barely hanging on. Lockjaw did remain aggressive, and Jackpot’s spinner did eventually go down midway through the fight. Fortunately, to save us from a potential minute-and-a-half-long pushing match, Lockjaw decided to break down in a ball of smoke, leaving the rookies to claim the win.

That, incredibly, puts Jackpot at 3-0 going into the top 32. For a bot built for $4k and essentially lucked its way to victory in its first fight, that’s some going. And you could see what it meant to Jeff Waters Jr. at the end of the fight. One of the moments of the season. As for Lockjaw, we should still see them in the top 32 with a 2-1 record, but this is a result that will have shaken them. 

I think we call this “Jackpot’s lucky day”

Bloodsport vs Chronos 

There’s not really a whole lot to say about this one. Pretty much everyone watching expected a Bloodsport win, and that’s exactly what we got.

Admittedly it wasn’t the display we were expecting from a bot sitting at 2-0, especially one that has looked like one of the most dominant competitors in this season’s field, but it was another measured display that saw the team over the line. Once Chronos’ ring spinner went down in pretty much the first hit of the fight, you could see the Bloodsport team’s strategy – just get a few good hits in, take the fight to the judges, and claim an easy win to save some energy for the tougher fights the top 32 will bring. And that’s exactly what they did. It was so conservative that the commentators thought Bloodsport’s weapon may have gone down given how little they were using it at one point. It hadn’t, it was just a meme.

It wasn’t spectacular, but it’s a result that sees Bloodsport safely into the top 32, and leaves Chronos without much hope of making it through.

I mean what do I really say about this

War? EZ! vs Fusion 

So before this fight started, it became public knowledge that this was the conclusion of War? EZ!’s season. As I mentioned before, it had already claimed a win over Axolotl, but it also suffered a passing defeat at the hands of SlamMow. We didn’t even get to see any footage of it, which really says a lot about it’s hopes for the top 32. Considering its final fight was against Fusion, this all but summed up its hopes of progressing. Non-existent.

Admittedly it’s not been an easy ride for Fusion this season, and they can count their lucky stars they’ve been given another rookie after coasting to a win over Aegis. After a solid 30 seconds of getting stuck on the floor in this fight, the Whyachi clan spun their bot around, caught War? EZ! on the wheel and sent it careening across the box. In one massive hit the tie was over, making Fusion seem in equal parts awesome and completely useless in less than a minute.

Fusion claims a spot in the top 32, while it looks like curtains for War? EZ!. Not that they were ever open to begin with.

For context they hit each other on the blue ‘B’

Tombstone vs Skorpios 

Oh boy, where do we even start with this main event? Another two bots needing a win to consolidate a top 32 spot, featuring the one and only Tombstone, former Giant Nut winner and overall top bot. It’s been a rough season for the King of Kinetic energy, and with a Skorpios team fully ready to go hell for leather to take it down, it wasn’t going to get much easier. 

Tombstone started the fight much as I expected it to, dishing out a whole load of hits left, right and centre to Skorpios. I fully expected them to pack it in with every hit, but whatever Zach Lytle and Diana Tarlson put on the front of their bot, and on their wheels for that matter, held up and took the punishment. Maybe they’ve made their bot out of some sort of undiscovered element, because it just refused to break. 

Even though Skorpios’ wheels looked like they were about to go flying off after each hit, after 45 seconds it was Tombstone that lost a wheel. The left tyre locked up after one of those said big hits, and the whole fight shifted momentum. Skorpios kept attacking, which made me keep thinking that another bit hit from Tombstone would still KO it. But it just kept f*cking working, like hit just refused to back down. Eventually Tombstone’s wheel came off, and it was game over from there on out. Ray Billings felt as though he shouldn’t have been counted out when he was, but to be honest it mattered not. His bot was down a wheel, the fight was Skorpios’, their team left delirious. It was a great sight to see the team so joyous after taking down a legend.

Becoming a multibot was actually Tombstone’s surprise plan

What a fight this was. Back and forth, so many brutal hits, and a shock result to round it all off. It’s a win that propels Skorpios way up the rankings into the top 32, and shows just how far they’ve come over the past few years. As for Tombstone, I expect we’ll still see them in the top 32, but with a much lower seeding than they, and most of us for that matter, thought they would be given. I had them down as number one seeds before the season started for f*cks sake!

Also, quick note: no, Tombstone is not past it, overrated, and at no point in five seasons has it ever been considered a bad robot. It’s just had a bad season, a lot of teams have. I know sometimes we can be fickle and opinionated, but please don’t go flat out abusing and insulting the builders. They sink thousands of dollars into seeing their bots destroyed and rebuilt and deserve better than to receive abusive comments on the internet. You’re not really much of a fan if that’s what gives you kicks.

Oh, and some of those people were also just joking. I really hope you understand that.

Anyway, mini polemic over, that’s it for a very belated review of this cracking episode. That was another rollercoaster of a show, with HUGE and Rotator potentially saving their seasons, Ribbot nearly launching itself into the Bay area, and Skorpios and Jackpot with two monumental upsets. Two upsets that mean I scored 5-2 on the predictions for the week, which I can’t complain about, but does make me question whether I should love upsets as much as I do when they dent my score for the Confidence Pool. Also, shout out to the Confidence Pool, it’s been great fun playing along this season.

Tomorrow you’ll see another belated review in the form of episode 9, so you’ll get to see my definitely well-thought-out takes on such hot topics as; HiJinx crippling Chomp, Witch Doctor’s weapon finally working, and Gruff throwing its fight against f*cking Extinguisher. Again, we all love an upset, but only when it doesn’t hurt my prediction scorecard. We’ll also know the official top 32, but I’ll just have to pretend like I’ve been living under a rock.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and see you tomorrow. 

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