BattleBots 2021: Episode 5 Power Rankings

Good afternoon, comrades, and welcome to the latest entry into everyone’s favourite series from everyone’s least favourite BattleBots blog – that’s right, it’s time for another round of power rankings! I know it’s been an agonising wait for the latest entry, but we finally got there.

This week’s episode was another cracker. The selection committee decided to treat us to some double-weapon action (it’s a move so groundbreaking I can’t even find the right word for it) – we saw the hammer of Shatter against the hammersaw of Blacksmith, a battle of the flipper/lifters saw Hydra take on Gruff, and of course we had the long-awaited duel of the full-body spinners, with Gigabyte and Captain Shrederator both spinning with the intention of winning. And let’s not forget the main event, the totally original concept of putting two 4WD verts against each other, the champions End Game facing off against 2019 runners-up Witch Doctor.

It was business as usual this week, with an inordinate amount of fire, explosions, robots being flung ten feet into the air, and no controversy! I think, at least. This is all about what I think, anyway. So who are this week’s big winners, movers, and losers? My views on all 59 (yes, FIFTY-NINE) bots to have fought so far are down below for your reading pleasure.

1. End Game (2-0) +2

We have a new leader! Following on from their opening KO of Hydra, the reigning champions spent this week swiftly dispatching Witch Doctor in brutal fashion. The 2019 runners-up ended the fight without a working srimech, leaving them stranded on their back having already been ruthlessly ripped apart by the gang from New Zealand. They’re here to let everyone know last season’s triumph was no fluke.

2. SawBlaze (2-0) -1

The early pace setters this season along with End Game, SawBlaze slip into second spot only on account of End Game having one KO more than them so far. Imagine if we see these two go head-to-head?

3. Uppercut (2-0) +2

Uppercut is silly. Like, it’s ridiculously silly. After KO’ing Gigabyte with ease in its first fight, this week it caused its second in-box explosion in as many seasons by sending Free Shipping careening across the box in a ball of flames. It was literal madness. Its opponent may have helped it out by essentially pinning itself against the wall, especially since Uppercut appeared to be down a wheel at the end of the fight, but what a performance. More of the same please.

4. Whiplash (1-0) -2

Its opening fight against Bloodsport was one of the most impressive displays of the season so far, and I’m hoping we see it in action again this coming episode to see more of what they’re made of.

5. Tantrum (2-0) -1

Last season’s surprise package are looking very good for a spot in the bracket, and potentially for another deep run in the tournament.

6. Black Dragon (1-0) =

Made beating Icewave look easy. Another one I’m hoping we see again this week.

7. Ribbot (2-0) =

Another one holding its place in the top 10 after two routine knockouts.

8. Riptide (1-0) =

I’m still not sure if this ranking is made through rose-tinted glasses or not, all I know is this rookie bot gave us one of the most impressive victories of the season so far.

9. Fusion (1-0) =

Dispatched Cobalt easily to hold onto its spot in the top 10.

10. Jackpot (2-0) =

Just about holds onto its spot in the top 10 courtesy of its convincing KO of Malice a couple of episodes ago.

11. Shatter (2-0) +9

Moving up nine places and looking pretty good for a spot in the bracket, Shatter came out on top in the battle of the hammers against Blacksmith, and to be honest made its victory look easy. Despite me being an uncultured Englishman who can’t tell if that particular hammer is the “Mary,” “Merry,” or “Murray” Special, I can tell you it did a wonderful job of taking out Blacksmith’s weapon before landing hit after hit to the top of its opponent. All that’s holding it back from the top 10 is its lack of KO factor (so far) and a fight against a Giant Nut-quality opponent.

12. P1 (2-0) +9

I never thought we’d be seeing P1 this high up the list on a 2-0 record, but these are strange times we’re living in. After its win over Valkyrie, everyone’s favourite F1-themed bot (out of the wide array of ones there are to choose from) took on the newcomers Jäger from Germany, and managed a KO without really having to do a whole lot. That being said, they still dispatched both bots with some style, and they’ve earned their current spot in 12th, and are now looking good for the bracket after narrowly missing out last year.

13. Hypershock (1-0) -2

Another one I hope we see more of soon after its routine win over Slammo.

14. Hydra (1-1) +16

Hydra’s back, everyone! Not at its brilliant best, but it’s back nonetheless. I wasn’t that hopeful for Gruff going into this fight, and seeing as Hydra spent most of this fight chucking it on its back, onto the screws and into the wall before finally flinging it out of the arena, I like to think I made a pretty measured judgement on this one. Its flipper didn’t seem to working to its full potential, but if that’s what Hydra can do at only half-capacity, it should be a force to be reckoned with once more.

15. Skorpios (1-0) -3

A commanding victory over Blade sees Skorpios start the season strongly.

16. Mad Catter (1-1) -3

Never write off the Cat, despite the bruising it took at the hands of SawBlaze.

17. Deep Six (1-0) -2

Still intolerably hard to rank, but I’m still gushing over its victory against Pain Train.

18. Copperhead (1-0) -2

A bot that will be looking to go on a deep run into the bracket this season, they’ll be hoping for a more decisive performance in their next fight.

19. Rotator (1-0) -2

Same goes for Rotator here. Its weapon looks as dangerous as ever, but needs more conviction going forwards.

20. Claw Viper (1-0) -2

Needs to be tested against better opposition, but its opening win over Pardon My French was still very convincing.

21. Blip (1-0) -2

The next big thing in the world of flippers is still looking good going into its next fight, which I’m hoping will be this week.

22. Gigabyte (1-1) +19

The biggest movers of the week, shooting up an astonishing nineteen places, Gigabyte came out on top in the battle of the full-body spinners against Captain Shrederator, even though it didn’t really have to work for it. The Captain got the better of the opening exchanges before deciding to shut itself down and hand the victory to the Robotic Death Company. They’re still looking pretty vicious, but I’m hoping we get to see more what they’re capable of going forwards.

23. Captain Shrederator (1-1) -9

Speaking of Shrederator, this week we saw the version of it we’re used to – a promising start before an unfortunate breakdown. It’s something we’ve seen all too often from them, which is a shame given their aforementioned start against Gigabyte this week. They looked set to follow their victory over Tombstone up with a win against their full-bodied counterpart, but instead we’re left wondering where their season goes from here.

24. Valkyrie (1-1) +11

Slowly working their way back to full “da-dada-da-da” status from their eponymous theme song, Valkyrie rebounded from their disappointing loss to P1 with an easy win over Triple Crown. Again, it’s not really like they had much to do, dispatching the new bot in a couple of hits after taking off its wedge and wheels. But Valkyrie is often touted as one of the most destructive bots in the whole field, and its slowly starting to live up to that billing this season.

25. Tombstone (1-1) -3

The King of Kinetic Energy continues to have a question mark over their heads after two below-par performances.

26. Mammoth (1-1) -3

Still looks to have a lot of promise this season, despite slipping down three places this week.

27. Witch Doctor (1-1) -2

It’s been a very ropey start from the voodoo kids. An unspectacular judges decision saw them overcome DUCK! in their first fight, and in their second they were outclassed by End Game. Sure, losing to the reigning champions isn’t exactly something to go writing a team off afterwards, but the fact they were so hopelessly trounced by them, for a team hoping to recapture some of their 2019 magic, this will be a disappointment. But they’re still another team full of promise who will be hoping for better in the near future.

28. Blacksmith (1-1) -2

The new Blacksmith has so far promised a lot and delivered fleetingly little. We saw flashes of brilliance against Free Shipping, but in its most recent fight against Shatter its saw was swiftly disabled and it spent the majority of the fight being whacked over the head with a big metal stick. It still looks as compact and durable as ever, but I think we need to see more of what that hammer saw is capable of.

29. Gruff (1-1) -5

The more I see of Gruff the more I lose faith in it. Yes, this week it has the unenviable task of having to try and get the better of Hydra, but it never even came close to doing so. The bot looks increasingly uncontrollable, the forks look like more of a hinderance than an advantage, and the flamethrowers look more and more like they’re for show rather than effectiveness. I want to have something more positive to say about Gruff, because I like the durability of the bot and its team as well, but on current evidence I’m not sure how far they’ll be able to go.

30. Dragon Slayer (1-0) NEW ENTRY

The first of three new entries this week and easily the most impressive, Dragon Slayer kickstarted its BattleBots career with a judges’ decision over DUCK!. It wasn’t exactly the most spectacular display you’ll ever see, with the newbie ripping the front lifter of DUCK! in half within the opening seconds, before the fight meandered into a series of lacklustre bumping into each other, Kenny Florian making everyone hungry, and those stupid quacking effects. It deserved the victory, but it’s hard to judge how much slaying will be done further down the line.

31. Retrograde (1-0) -4

Its straightforward win over Rampage sees it maintain a spot in the top 32 – for now.

32. Glitch (1-0) -4

Rounding out the “winners” section for the second week in a row, Glitch will need to stop glitching after glitching its way to victory over Ghost Raptor.

33. Lockjaw (0-1) -4

Still looking the best of the “losers,” Donald Hutson & co. only lost narrowly to Copperhead, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t get a win to their name before long.

34. Minotaur (0-1) -3

Same goes for the Brazilian Bull. Losing to SawBlaze is no disgrace, especially for a bot returning after a season’s absence, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing some sparks fly soon enough.

35. Bloodsport (0-1) -3

One of the stars of last season, unfortunate to be handed such a tough opening draw. Expect some carnage soon enough.

36. Kraken (0-1) -2

Please just give these guys a break. They’ve been through enough.

37. Ghost Raptor (0-1) =

Managing to stay put this week despite the intricacy of this rankings list, the Raptor stays outside the top 32 for now, and likely for the rest of the season.

38. Lucky (0-1) =

The launcher stays put in 38th for now after a mauling at the hands of Tantrum.

39. Yeti (0-1) =

The no-longer Alaskan Assassin is probably still licking its wounds received courtesy of Mad Catter.

40. Cobalt (0-1) =

The closest thing to a British contestant we have this season stays put in 40th after losing to Fusion.

41. Icewave (0-1) +1

Somehow the next five entrants have moved up a spot without setting foot in the arena. Must have been a good week for others. Anyway, Marc DeVits’ icy boi moves up to 41st after an underwhelming comeback display against Black Dragon.

42. Deadlift (0-1) +1

Started so brightly against Jackpot, but then fizzled away into a defeat.

43. HUGE (0-1) +1

The veteran has another ropey start after a swift immobilisation against Riptide.

44. Subzero (0-1) +1

Another misfiring display to kick off its season against Shatter. Who knows if it will do any better once its flipper works.

45. Malice (0-2) +1

Already at 0-2 and staring an early exit in the face, Malice needs its fortunes to pick up, and quickly at that.

46. Free Shipping (0-2) -13

Sadly this week’s performance was more akin to a Hermes delivery, as Gary Gin’s delivery van was set on fire by Uppercut before flipping itself up against the arena wall. Things aren’t looking good for them now at 0-2, which for a bot with such a pedigree as Original Sin (upon which Free Shipping is based), is pretty dour. Maybe it’s time to move with the times.

47. DUCK! (0-2) -11

I’m just going to come out and say it – I don’t like new DUCK!. This wonderful little bot that stole my heart back in 2018 is totally unrecognisable now. Everything I loved about it, from its adorable little face to its no-f*cks-given approach to throwing itself head-first into whatever came its way has been replaced by the worst lifter I’ve ever seen, wild driving, and those stupid quacking noises that go on for the entirety of its fights. Its latest fight against newbies Dragon Slayer was testament to this, looking incapable of mounting much of a fight. I think this may be the furthest we see DUCK! go this season. Thankfully.

48. Blade (0-1) -1

Doused in neon with nowhere to go, Blade sits 48th after drive issues appeared to hinder it against Skorpios.

49. Jäger (0-1) NEW ENTRY

I like Jägermeister. I really do. If one of these bots was serving up Jägerbombs on a tray I’d put them in top spot. Sadly, they’re competing in a robotic combat tournament with no drinks to be served, so I have to rank them on their fight against P1. It didn’t go well. Initially they managed to high-centre P1 and get a nice shot on its wheel, but the purple bot never looked fully functional, and the spinner didn’t look capable of causing much damage. Clusterbots have historically never done well, and Jäger isn’t really doing anything to currently buck that trend.

50. Defender (0-1) -2

A disappointing start for the new Vasquez bot, and I don’t know if things will improve from here.

51. Hijinx (0-1) -2

Die Eule ist sehr nett. Die Eule ist auch broken. Yes, I’m learning German. Come back with two wheels and prove me wrong.

52. Overhaul (0-1) -2

The season one veteran didn’t have the best comeback, and is another one where I think we may already have seen the best of them.

53. Triple Crown (0-1) NEW ENTRY

Did I really just hear Chris Rose call Todd Mendenhall a “rookie builder”? Someone’s clearly not seen Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors. The feared builder of Panzers Mk. 2, 3, and 4 (winning trophies with all of them) steps into the BattleBox with his newest contraption, Triple Crown. It’s a feat of engineering to behold which, sadly, isn’t that well-equipped for combat, as Valkyrie quickly demonstrated. A couple of hits and off went its wedge and out went its wheels. Oh well. Nice too see you again, Todd.

54. Switchback (0-1) -3

A nice idea in concept, but currently a bit of a mess in practice.

55. Slammo! (0-1) -3

Another week of mentioning how the lack of the letter ‘w’ is leaving them without a ‘w’ this season.

56. Pain Train (0-1) -3

The pain has yet to leave the station, and is currently on fire.

57. Pardon My French (0-1) -3

Tu es un peut shit.

58. Rampage (0-1) -3

Already failed in its objective to make it to the end of all its fights, and I’m not sure we’ll be seeing it in many more.

59. Rusty (0-1) -3

Continues to hold up the rest of the chasing pile like the absolute Chad that it is. Go on Rusty, you’re the real hero here.

And so, folks, that about does it for another week of BattleBots action. Feel free to leave your disagreements in the comments, but just remember to keep it PG. I’m literally just one fan with opinions, if you don’t agree with me putting Hydra one place lower than you think they should be, just remember there are currently wars being fought around the world, the cost of living keeps going up, and the climate is getting increasingly f*cked. If you want to be angry with anything, be angry with capitalism.

Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone, and see you all next week.


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