BattleBots 2020: Predictions for Episode 12

Good morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you’re reading, my dearest comrades, and welcome to another load of BattleBots predictions. That’s right, the top 32 isn’t done just yet, as we venture over from the left of the bracket to the right of it. As a website that’s all about its socialism, you can understand how that makes me feel, but I’m willing to excuse such personal biases in favour of madcap robot mayhem for one night only.

Last week’s episode went down an absolute storm, as we were treated to several moments that are sure to last a lifetime. We had HiJinx being yeeted clean out of the arena by Uppercut, Hypershock being sent into orbit, and Craig Danby treating us to a whole pool of possible meme material. Things weren’t too bad for me on the predictions front either, going 6-2 and only falling foul of HUGE spinning their weapon the wrong way, and Beta deciding to fight fire with fire with its flat front armour. Safe to say it didn’t go well.

This week looks a teeny bit harder to predict, with another madly diverse assortment of robots, which includes two overhead spinners, three horizontal bar spinners, a punching spinner, four vertical spinners, a drum spinner, and a horizontal/drum combo. There’s also Mammoth.

Mild sarcasm aside, there’s still eight mouth-watering ties for us to look at this week, so we may as well stop dallying about and crack on with predicting them.

Bloodsport (2) vs Gruff (31) 

Kicking things off as we start at the top of the bracket and work our way down, it’s my personal pick for the number one seed, Bloodsport, against a bot which has left many questioning how it made it into the top 32 at all, the indomitable Gruff.

Despite throwing its fight against Extinguisher, Gruff totally dominated that fight, and faced a tough schedule prior to that against Hypershock and Whiplash, defeating the former. Like it or not, that was enough to convince the mysterious selection committee that it should be in the top 32 over apparent fan favourite P1, and now here we are, getting ready to see it fight the highest-ranked spinner in the competition. Bloodsport has destroyed everything in its path so far this season, KO’ing Skorpios and End Game, and rounding out its season with a measured win over Chronos. It’s a strong case for being the most improved bot in the field this season.

So far improved that I think it’ll take this fight. This isn’t your typical top vs bottom fight, as are most fights in the bracket this season, and Gruff remains a durable brick of a bot with a mighty flame behind it. It’s well set up to deal with horizontal spinners, but in the form of Bloodsport I think they’ve met their match. I think, with the team attaching their most powerful bar for this fight, they’ll inflict too much damage to Gruff for it to do anything significant in return. The forks could go, the flamethrowers could go, the drive could go, but I don’t think this is going Gruff’s way. There’s a chance they could get a good box rush and try and stall Bloodsport’s weapon, but I’m leaning way more towards a win for Justin Marple and co. for this one.

WINNER: BLOODSPORT 

Fusion (15) vs Tantrum (18)

Fighting for the right to face off against the number two seed, we’ve got the Whyachi team’s latest monstrosity, Fusion, up against another wildly improved bot this season in the guise of Aren Hill’s Tantrum, which finally looks to be recognizing its full potential.

While this will be a noticeably tougher test than the ones offered up by Atom #94 and Gamma 9, I actually think this is one Tantrum will be able to pass with flying colours. I might be being overly optimistic, but I personally think that having Fusion ranked as high as 15this ridiculous, considering the only bots its beaten have been made of tin foil, and that it was set on literal fire in its other fight against Mad Catter. My personal logic is that if it struggled to hold up to the bulky wedge of said feline, how much of a chance will it have against one of the most compact and durable bots in the whole competition?

If Tantrum nails a box rush and gets a couple of solid hits in to the horizontal spinner of Fusion, I don’t think this fight will last too long. And because I’m struggling to think of any other outcome, that’s what I’m going with. Come on Tantrum, don’t let me down.

WINNER: TANTRUM 

SawBlaze (7) vs Kraken (26)

Moving swiftly on from that possible blunder, we’ve got two bots of the fire-breathing variety, one from the land in the form of SawBlaze, and one from the deep in the shape of Kraken.

Matt Spurk and co. have had probably the toughest schedule of anyone this season (again, ridiculous considering Beta had to fight both Rusty and Grabot), and things aren’t going to get any easier here. SawBlaze is one of the most well-respected bots in the whole field, and despite going down in a big ball of fire against Uppercut, their win over Whiplash alone is enough to show you what they’re made of. Seriously, is someone on the production team just anti-Kraken or something?

Matt himself says that this fight is “full of surprises”, and I don’t even want to begin comprehending what that could mean. But even if those chompy gnashers can get a couple of good grabs in, I really don’t see what Kraken can do to SawBlaze to win this fight. It’s just the right shape for Jamison Go to scoop it up, shunt it about the box, and tear into its top with that mighty overhead saw. Even though I don’t want to believe it, and will be supporting Kraken all the way, I regrettably think this one will go to SawBlaze.

WINNER: SAWBLAZE

Skorpios (10) vs Witch Doctor (23)

Rounding out group two, and with it the top half of the right-hand side, we’ve got the Tombstone-killing Skorpios against the currently working Witch Doctor, seeded above Kraken after losing their fight to them, in an impeccable display of logic.

In all honesty, this is a real 50/50 battle that could come down to any number of factors. In the end, after much deliberation and time spent mulling over this battle instead of finding myself an actual source of income, I’m punting for last year’s runners-up, Witch Doctor. Even if the voodoo children didn’t have the best regular season, especially compared to their opponents, it looks like they’re ready to fully kick-start their season with a newly-made weapon that tore SlamMow to pieces. I think the power of the weapon, as well as some timely shots to the back and sides of Skorpios, will be enough to swing the tie in the favour of the Gellatlys, as I also don’t know how much damage Skorpios will be able to dish out in return.

This is possibly the most intriguing fight of the night, and may well end up being the most entertaining as well. But I have to punt for a winner, so let’s go with Witch Doctor.

WINNER: WITCH DOCTOR. 

Copperhead (3) vs Mammoth (30)

Who’d have thought we’d be seeing this as legit fight in the top 32? As we mosey on over into the bottom right of the bracket, we’re greeted with the task of predicting a winner between the third seeds Copperhead with their deadly drum spinner, and Mammoth, with a weapon I still don’t know how best to describe. 

Despite being one of the biggest gulfs in size the show has ever seen, I think it’ll be lil’ ol’ Copperhead that makes it through, and pretty comfortably at that. Mammoth being the thinly-armoured bot that it is, I don’t really see its tubing putting up much of a fight against a weapon that’s vanquished basically everything it’s come into contact with so far this season. We might get a mildly entertaining game of keep-away, at least entertaining in the sense we won’t be seeing any bike racks on show, but I can’t really see Mammoth’s spinny-flippy thing doing much to stop Copperhead going through.

As great as it is to see this gargantuan beast in the top 32, I think this might be it for Ricky Willems and his gang.

WINNER: COPPERHEAD

Lockjaw (14) vs Shatter (19)

Now that Beta is out of the competition, and Al Kindle is off busy solving climate change (probably), that leaves Adam Wrigley’s Shatter as the highest-seeded hammer bot left in the field. Looking to ensure we only have a diverse array of spinners moving forward is Donald Hutson and Lockjaw, looking for a third successive top 16 appearance.

I’ve seen a lot of comments online punting for a Shatter victory, and as much of a fan of it as I am, not least because the team’s aesthetic actually gives the name of this website some relevancy, I’m inclined to disagree with the majority of the fans here and go for a Lockjaw victory. Trust me, I want more than just spinners in the top 16 as much as anyone, and I’d love nothing more than for Shatter to hammer their way to victory. But, despite Lockjaw being a decent shape and size for said hammer to come down on, I think Donald will have something up his sleeve in the form of extra top armour, giving his bot just enough protection to then move in for the kill with the spinner. It might have been a bit inconsistent this season, but I think the championship is where Lockjaw is going to shine brightest.

My sincerest condolences to Bots FC, but I’m going with the vet for this one. Just remember how great your YouTube content is.

WINNER: LOCKJAW

End Game (6) vs Perfect Phoenix (27)

What a story it’s been for Perfect Phoenix and Tyler Nguyen, who, at age eleven, is competing in the top 32 of BattleBots. The next step toward a meeting in the title fight against his mentor Ray Billings comes against the cruisin’, bruisin’ not-really-losin’ this season, End Game.

I say that because End Game most definitely lost to another horizontal bar spinner, Bloodsport, earlier this season, but also managed awesome knockouts of Tombstone and Hypershock, launching both of them out of the arena. They finally look like fulfilling the potential they were showing back in 2018, and I think we’ll be seeing them in the top 16 for the first time after this fight. Don’t get me wrong, Perfect Phoenix has had a decent debut season and its weapon packs a punch. It is, however, an aged bot whose power dwarfs in comparison to that of the New Zealanders. Barring a lucky shot, I can’t see this fight going on very long, and a swift win for End Game.

Even though this is probably where Perfect Phoenix’s run comes to an end, I think we can all appreciate Tyler Nguyen’s awesome driving this season, and that, once he’s older and has a bot of his own, is well on course to become a future BattleBots champion. It’s all in the experience.

WINNER: END GAME 

Jackpot (11) vs Rotator (22) 

Closing out the right-hand side of the bracket, we’ve got one of the tastiest ties of the night. Budget bot Jackpot, built for $4k and storming its way to a 3-0 regular season record, takes on the seasoned Victor Soto and Rotator, who finally look to be getting their season going. 

In a topsy-turvy looking affair, this one will probably come down to whose weapon lasts longer, as it often does in the top 32, because they’re all f*cking spinners. Jackpot has looked mightily impressive this season, and honestly deserves a top 10 seeding after going 3-0, a run which included victories over two former semi-finalists. They deserve a lot better than having to face Rotator, but that’s exactly what they’ve been given. Despite going 1-2 in the regular season, Victor Soto still has a mighty weapon at his disposal, a stronger one than Jackpot, and one which I think will end the run of the boys from Vegas.

It’s a shame, because, as I said, it deserves a lot better. But if there’s one thing we’ve seen from Rotator this season, it’s that its weapon just doesn’t break. There are clearly going to be some big hits dished out in this fight, and Rotator is a nice hit for Jackpot’s weapon to get at it. But Rotator has the stronger weapon, and I think it’ll break the spinner of Jackpot before its opponent has a chance to break theirs. This isn’t going to be a pretty affair (apart from all the sparks), a brutal slug-fest between two heavy-hitters. But if I had to pick, it’s Rotator’s fight for me.

WINNER: ROTATOR

And so, folks, we come to the end of another load of predictions that will probably in no way come true. Whatever happens this week, we’re going to get plenty of sparks, enjoyment, drama, the whole works, as we look to take our mind off the current state of this cruel and bleak universe in which we live, for another week at least. What we’re going to do once the season finishes in a couple of weeks, well that’s anyone’s guess. We can’t rely on sporadic episodes of Bounty Hunters forever, after all.

A big thank you to all those who read along, and I’ll see you again soon. 

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