BattleBots 2021: Episode 6 Power Rankings

Good afternoon, comrades – yes, it’s that time again. Time for us to reflect on the episode of BattleBots that has just been, digest the events, action, and controversy from the 85 minutes of chaos, and decide, as uneducated viewers who have no knowledge of how to build a 250lbs. fighting robot (I can barely screw a lightbulb into place), who did the best this week. Who’s doing the best in general, and why we are entirely within our rights to talk sh*t about bots that don’t perform on national television. I am, of course, talking about the sacred power rankings.

While there was only one new entrant to consider this week, in the guise of SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, which has returned going through its “gritty reboot” phase, we did have an unwelcome return this week – our old friend controversy. Yes, six episodes in when everything was looking plain sailing and that we were going to have an unexpectedly smooth ride this year, the Kraken-Hijinx fight has given us something to debate and argue over long into the season. I’ll get to it soon enough, but consider this your pre-warning that sh*t may be going down over the course of this rankings table.

The rest of the week gave us plenty to enjoy, though. Riptide sent itself hurtling fifteen feet into the air forgetting that gymnastics aren’t competed during the Winter Olympics, Minotaur made a triumphant, emotional return to winning ways, and the main event saw something of a changing of the guard as the fresh-faced Will Bales took on the grizzled Donald Hutson.

But how does all that affect things going into the rankings, considering these bots only have three chances to impress the mysterious selection committee for a shot at the bracket? All is revealed below. As usual, remember that these rankings are subjective, and unfortunately don’t reflect how the committee were actually thinking while filming was going on. Enjoy!

1. End Game (2-0) =

The champs hold the top spot for the second week running after two awesome KOs.

2. SawBlaze (2-0) =

Still running End Game close, Go & co. look to be Giant Nut contenders once again this year.

3. Hypershock (2-0) +10

After seven years, things are finally going right for Hypershock. After years of promising so much but always falling short in some capacity, they now sit pretty at 2-0 after two KOs. Following on from a swift annihilation of Slammo!, the veteran Lockjaw felt its wrath this week in a shower of tyres. After spending so long working to get the bot to its full capability, the hard work of Will Bales & his team is finally paying off, and they look set for a high placing in the top 32. All that’s missing is the rake #bringbacktherake.

4. Uppercut (2-0) -1

It’s certainly shaping up to be a competitive year, and Uppercut is still looking like another bot to fear.

5. Whiplash (1-0) -1

The fact it’s still in 5th after only one fight shows how convincing its victory over Bloodsport was. Hopefully we’ll see it again next episode.

6. Tantrum (2-0) -1

I’m not sure whether we should be calling Tantrum a dark horse (it reached the top four last year, after all), but they look set to repeat their heroics of last year once again.

7. Ribbot (2-0) =

Two of the quickest knockouts you’ll ever see mean the frog holds its spot in 7th for now.

8. Rotator (2-0) +11

I know the last couple of years have been strange for everyone, but Rotator winning two judges’ decisions in a row may be one of the strangest events of all. First Kraken and now Black Dragon, the golden boi has come out firing this year with a point to prove after losing to several close calls in previous years. And against the Brazilians they totally dominated the fight, getting underneath them at every opportunity and eventually lighting them on fire. From what I could see through the mist, it was a mighty display, and one that should see them safely into the bracket.

9. Fusion (1-0) =

Still holding on to a top 10 spot (just about) after a very impressive victory over Cobalt.

10. Jackpot (2-0) =

Rounding out the top 10 for another week, the local legends’ thrashing of Malice means it looks like a bracket spot for the second year running.

11. Shatter (2-0) =

Oh look, something that isn’t a spinner! This show isn’t dominated by them at all! Go on Shatter, do it for all the hammers out there.

12. P1 (2-0) =

The surprise package of the season so far, and also not a spinner! P1 whizzes into a solid spot to claim a place in the next round.

13. Hydra (1-1) +1

Stop, there’s too many non-spinners here! The Whyachi clan look to be rebuilding their season after a disappointing loss to End Game.

14. Skorpios (1-0) +1

That was a mighty display over Blade, and means the most wholesome power couple on the show should be serious competitors for the Nut once more.

15. Mad Catter (1-1) +1

If I put the Cat any lower Martin Mason may appear at my window at night. So into 15th it goes.

16. Black Dragon (1-1) -10

Not exactly a virtuoso display this week from a bot we’ve come to expect a lot from, but we still saw glimpses of why Black Dragon is so highly respected – namely, its durability. Not many other bots can take on opposition as vicious as Rotator and still work at the end of it, even if they caught fire once again. Hopefully their third fight will be more akin to their performance against Icewave, and I think we’ll see them enter the bracket. Also, anyone else digging the binary on the position changes this week?

17. Copperhead (1-0) +1

Somehow managing to move up a spot without even doing anything this week, Copperhead will look to build on a strong start to the season when it appears again.

18. Minotaur (1-1) +16

It’s not as if Minotaur was ever out of contention, but their display against Dragon Slayer was a small reminder of why they remain a team to be feared. They’ll have much harder battles to face, but this was a good starting point. And an emotional victory for driver Daniel Freitas as well.

19. Riptide (1-1) -11

I can’t fault Riptide too much for its fight this week, especially when it treated us to one of the most glorious moments of BattleBots action so far this season when it launched itself into the air off the upper deck. Sadly, that seemed to simultaneously knock it sideways a bit, and Defender managed to take advantage and claim the victory. Riptide still managed to cause some pretty significant damage though, and its win over HUGE is still holding it in good stead going into its third fight.

20. Yeti (1-1) +19

The biggest mover this week, if I had to sum up Yeti’s win over Pain Train I would have to say: precise. After it looked like we were going to be in for a tight and edgy affair, Yeti suddenly went into overdrive (get it? Christian Carlberg? Never mind) and tore the top off Pain Train, leaving it helpless. It didn’t give in, echoing shades of the “stop, stop, he’s already dead” child from The Simpsons. This goes some way to making up for their fight against Mad Catter, and their fate is now firmly in their hands.

21. Claw Viper (1-0) -1

Their easy win over Pardon My French is still all we’ve seen of Claw Viper this season.

22. Blip (1-0) -1

I’m really hoping we see Blip again this week, and hopefully against a bot that will give it more of a challenge (sorry, Rusty).

23. Gigabyte (1-1) -1

We’re still yet to see the best of the big spinny boi this year, but something tells me big things are around the corner.

24. Captain Shrederator (1-1) -1

Still intolerably hard to rank and really riding off its victory against Tombstone.

25. Valkyrie (1-1) -1

Here’s hoping for a big performance in their final fight, whoever it may be against.

26. Lucky (1-1) +12

Blade may not have presented them much of a challenge in the end, but Lucky is slowly starting build up some momentum this season. For the second week in a row they sent their opponent hurtling up onto the wall, but this week they learned their lesson and left them there to be counted out. It was an impressive display, but I’m still not sure what position this leaves them in going into fight three.

27. Deep Six (1-1) -10

Seriously, what even is Deep Six? One week it’s splitting Pain Train in half, the next it’s losing because it got stuck in the killsaw slot… like, how many other bots can do that to themselves? It’s so consistently inconsistent, and looks as though it’s going to destroy itself, its opponent, the area, and anything in its sight at any minute. How are we meant to judge this, exactly? Oh well, 27th I guess.

28. Tombstone (1-1) -3

The more I think about it, Tombstone really hasn’t been that good this season. A poor opening loss to Captain Shrederator before edging past Mammoth on a double KO, they’ll need a pretty big display in fight three to be assured of a bracket spot. But we know they have it in them.

29. Mammoth (1-1) -3

It feels harsh putting Mammoth down so low, but I guess it’s more of a reflection of how competitive this year is.

30. Witch Doctor (1-1) -3

What has happened to Witch Doctor recently? The runner-up curse seems to be carrying over into its second year, after an uninspiring victory over DUCK! and a trouncing at the hands of End Game.

31. Blacksmith (1-1) -3

We’re still yet to see the best of the flaming hammer saw this year, so hopefully Al and his toy barn will have something big in store for us.

32. Defender (1-1) +18

Rounding out the top 32 (if that’s what we’re getting this year), Defender has risen dramatically this week to defend its honour more than anything else. I personally thought we were looking at a bit of a lost cause after the Ribbot fight, but the Vasquez family have shown their pedigree to put in a respectable performance against Riptide. I’m hesitant to put it above its opponent, however, as I’m still not entirely convinced it’s top 32 material – for now at least. Prove me wrong.

33. Gruff (1-1) -4

Everyone’s favourite steel block is looking a bit ropey this season, and I’m not sure about its chances of reaching the bracket this year.

34. Hijinx (1-1) +17

Oh boy. It’s time for this. OK. The first really (in my eyes) controversial opinion of the season, I’ll have to caveat this opinion by stating that Hijinx is higher than Kraken, but I’m not happy about it, or about having to move it up 17 places. Basically, following on from being swiftly dispatched by Mammoth, Hijinx essentially won this fight by having its weapon turned on. That’s how I see it, since it was virtually immobilised from Kraken’s opening attack, and won by virtue of damage caused. That said, does anyone want to explain how exactly it gained any control points in that fight? That would be appreciated, because I don’t think at any point it could be justifiable to say it had any control over Kraken. Oh well. The judges have spoken, and this is where I have to put it. Maybe a properly convincing win will throw it into legitimate bracket contention, whether it deserves it or not.

35. Dragon Slayer (1-1) -5

This fight was never going to go well, was it? After a pretty mediocre victory over DUCK!, the rookies were tasked with brining down the mighty Minotaur. Naturally, they didn’t. It was never even a fight in all honesty. Their weapon doesn’t really look capable of much, the design looks awkward, and really they’re only higher than certain other bots due to a victory over a respected veteran. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much slaying going forwards.

36. Retrograde (1-0) -5

Another bot I’d like to see more of, given that it’s come courtesy of Bloodsport’s team.

37. SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (1-0) NEW ENTRY

Our only new entrant this week as we run out of bots who can fit that criteria, I don’t exactly know how describe this victory for SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, because it managed to win by simultaneously doing not a lot and a whole lot at the same time. Deep Six managed to incapacitate itself in the killsaws, but that wouldn’t have been possible without SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE managing to manouver it around without taking damage, before removing a Deep Six wheel. It was a deserved victory, but I don’t know how much I saw to convince me that it’s bracket material this year.

38. Glitch (1-0) -6

If they get it working properly it could certainly compete, but for now that’s a mere unsolved mystery.

39. Bloodsport (0-1) -4

Another one we’ve seen frustratingly little of so far. Expect it to rise up the rankings soon.

40. Kraken (0-2) -4

I’ve already said my piece about Kraken’s fight this week, so I shan’t bore everyone and myself by repeating it again. I just wish the producers and judges would give these guys a break. In my eyes they won their fight this week, and they shouldn’t be punished for having the audacity to build something that isn’t a spinner. That is all.

41. Lockjaw (0-2) -8

Lockjaw’s another bot I don’t really feel good about putting so low, but realistically it’s sitting on an 0-2 record with one fight left. However, it only lost narrowly to Copperhead and gave Hypershock a good back-and-forth before the neon peril hit top gear and flung the veteran out of the arena. I think one gargantuan showing can hoist Donald Hutson back into the top 32 – but even then, who knows if that will be enough?

42. Ghost Raptor (0-1) -5

Now onto the bots it’s looking increasingly desperate for. Ghost Raptor showed promise against Glitch, but I don’t see it going any further on current ability.

43. Cobalt (0-1) -3

That spinner is just too high. Hopefully we’ll see it again this week and break some more ceiling lights.

44. Icewave (0-1) -3

A legend of the sport, but is beginning to look increasingly like a product of its time.

45. Deadlift (0-1) -3

We haven’t seen them since week one, and I’m wondering if that’s all we’re going to see of them this year.

46. HUGE (0-1) -3

My beloved needs a win soon to show that it’s still a wonderful, quirky, destructive entity.

47. Subzero (0-1) -3

It’s beginning to look chilly near the bottom of the list for a bot that still doesn’t seem to have itself figured out after six years of trying.

48. Malice (0-2) -3

I wish I had more positive stuff to say about Malice right now, but it’s been a disappointing return for the team this year.

49. Free Shipping (0-2) -3

I love Gary Gin’s no-f*cks-given approach to driving Free Shipping, it’s just a shame it doesn’t really bring any results.

50. DUCK! (0-2) -3

We heard this week that DUCK! is being retired at the end of this season, and while I’ll always have good memories of its past incarnations, this version leaves a lot to be desired.

51. Jäger (0-1) -2

Multibots never do well. When will people learn?

52. Overhaul (0-1) =

Its return has been less than spectacular. How quickly will its next fight be over?

53. Triple Crown (0-1) =

A marvel of engineering, shame it should have avoided the BattleBox.

54. Switchback (0-1) =

Another cool idea, but sadly we’re still yet to see it do much of note. Heck, we haven’t even seen it since episode one.

55. Slammo! (0-1) =

Another one we’ve not seen in a while, there are only so many times I can recycle the same lawnmower joke on this one.

56. Pain Train (0-2) =

Not only has the train failed to leave the station for another week, it looks like we’re going to be getting a replacement bus service instead. Don’t get me wrong, it actually started out pretty well against Yeti, but for the second fight in a row it left the box without half its armour, down a wheel, and without much dignity. It would take an absolute miracle for it to reach the bracket this year, and I’m not holding out much expectation that it will.

57. Blade (0-2) -9

Oh, Blade. A bot that was touted as the “Korean Tombstone” has ended up more like the Korean Wrecks. At least this week we got to see the full power of its weapon, albeit because it left half of it in the arena wall before being unceremoniously dumped on top of it. A bot that on paper should be mingling with some of the best so far looks uncontrollable and too easy to beat. And I shouldn’t think we’ll be seeing much more of it for this year.

58. Pardon My French (0-1) -1

Please do something, anything, so I don’t have to recycle any more stupid language puns.

59. Rampage (0-1) -1

Currently doing its best to rampage its way to the bottom of the ladder.

60. Rusty (0-1) -1

Our benevolent overlord holds up the rest of the pack for another week. All hail Rusty and his glorious regime.

And there we go, everyone, another week of power rankings done and dusted. The top 32 is starting to take shape, and it looks as though we have some sort of idea as to who the big heroes and zeroes are going to be this year. Of course, some bots still need to fight again – some haven’t even fought at all yet! Who knows what shenanigans await us in the coming weeks, and let’s hope that we avoid any of the disruptions that Hijinx and Kraken have given to the hegemony of this otherwise controversy-free season.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and see you all next week.

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