BattleBots 2021: Episode 9 Power Rankings

Hey all you cool cats and comrades, it’s your boi, back again, for some more beautiful power rankings from everyone’s favourite RC version of the 2011 film Real Steel. While we don’t have Hugh Jackman on our books, we can offer you a lot of fire, sparks, and shocks as the top 32 begins to take shape.

Admittedly there weren’t exactly any shocks this week, but as things continue to intensify while this year’s teams aim to consolidate their top 32 credentials, we’ve seen some rip-roaring action as a result. Gruff, DUCK!, Skorpios, and Lockjaw all took flight, Deep Six was left six feet under, and Pardon My French left with another performance to pardon. All this among others. The main event was one of the best fights of the season in my opinion, and was one of several fights that keeps the bracket wide open.

Next week sees the last episode of the regular season, and with so many bots who we’ve only seen fight twice, it makes me wonder how they’re going to fit everything in. Maybe a rumble or two? Maybe an extended episode? Maybe an onslaught of YouTube fights? All will be revealed in due course, but for now let us cherish the final regular power rankings list of the 2021 season.

One thing to clarify that may have escaped one or two readers, but these lists are based solely on what we’ve seen of the bots so far. Those with fights in hand are also considered on this basis. For example, in the Premier League, Everton have currently played 24 games, three less than the team above them, Leeds United. While this is an advantage, they still need to win those games in order to finish above them, and we can’t just assume that they’ll finish the season above them at this moment in time. The same goes for these lists. There are plenty of bots currently on 1-1 and 2-0 records that will move around before the season ends, probably knocking out some bots that I currently have in the top 32. Hope that all makes sense.

And of course, as usual, remember that this list is subjective, just for fun, and isn’t the definitive rankings of the top 32. So remember that while opinion and discussion is encouraged, please keep things civil in the comments.

Let’s go.

1. End Game (3-0) =

The champs look like dead certs for the top seed spot this year.

2. Hypershock (2-0) =

I’m sure they’ll get a tough draw this week, but how good have they looked so far?

3. Uppercut (2-0) =

Same goes for Uppercut. Maybe we’ll see them fight Hypershock this week?

4. SawBlaze (2-1) =

Still looking good for a top 10 finish despite defeat to End Game.

5. Ribbot (3-0) =

Three KO’s and a 3-0 record leaves Ribbot sitting pretty this year.

6. Blip (3-0) +6

It’s been a pretty barnstorming debut season for Blip, and they round off the qualifiers by defeating Lockjaw. They hadn’t really been tested too much in their opening fights, which made me question how they’d cope against a veteran team like Lockjaw. They maybe got a little bit fortunate their opponent’s weapon gave way pretty quickly, but what an account of themselves they made. Lockjaw didn’t look like the veteran in this fight, being flung about and controlled from beginning to end. I’m still not sure about their KO-ability which may hinder their final ranking, but let’s just savour three very impressive displays for now.

7. Whiplash (2-0) -1

Another bot who’ll get a tough match-up next week, but once again they look like real contenders.

8. Copperhead (2-0) -1

Copperhead keeps going from strength to strength, and will look for another destructive win in their last fight.

9. Tantrum (2-0) -1

Another one that continues to improve, and will probably up against another 2-0 this week.

10. Cobalt (2-1) +9

From looking out of its depth against Fusion in its opening fight to currently occupying a top 10 spot in the rankings, it’s been a rollercoaster season for Cobalt. It may not have had the toughest of opponents in its victories, but it’s they way it achieved those victories which is so impressive. Last time it tore Ghost Raptor in half, this week it sent Gruff ten feet into the air before setting it on fire. It was the kind of spectacle we live for when watching BattleBots, and will have left a lasting impression on the selection committee. That should see it get at least a top 16 seeding going into the tournament.

11. Rotator (2-0) -2

Another impressive season so far, and another year in the bracket looks inevitable.

12. Yeti (2-1) +15

I’ve seen some on social media question how Yeti managed to win the judges’ decision over Skorpios this week. One: never let it go to the judges, we all know that. Secondly: Why? I don’t know if I was watching a different fight to the rest of the fandom, but that was clearly Yeti’s fight. It was close, yes, and Skorpios again proved its mettle, but Yeti also sent it cascading onto the shelf, made it perform a stupid amount of somersaults and backflips, and generally controlled the pace of the fight. It was a reminder of what Yeti can do, following on from its dismantling of Pain Train, and I’d expect a solid ranking for it going into the top 32.

13. Black Dragon (2-1) -3

Another decent year for the Duck-wielding boys, and they should have a good ranking going forwards.

14. Minotaur (2-1) +10

It’s been a very hit-and-miss season for the usual Giant Nut favourites. Dominated by SawBlaze before picking up an easy victory over Dragon Slayer. It meant this potential banana skin against the towering Deep Six was a must-win fight, and they made it look so simple. Some expert driving from Daniel Freitas meant the nippy little Minotaur dodged that massive blade with ease before sending its opponent careening over the barrier, leaving it helpless on its back. To add insult to injury it nibbled off Deep Six’s support bars, sealing the victory, and a place in the top 32 for another year.

15. Jackpot (2-0) -4

Another one we’ll hopefully see next week as it looks to seal a top 32 place, as it probably will.

16. Glitch (2-0) -3

The biggest shock of the season sees Glitch incredibly sit at 2-0, and that may well be enough to send them into the top 32

17. Shatter (2-0) -3

Two wins via the judges, Shatter may need to step up a gear before its season ends. It still looks pretty good though.

18. Riptide (2-1) +7

And with that, Riptide has beaten my two favourite bots from the 2018 season. It had a pretty brutal reality check in its last fight against Defender, which left me doubting whether it could secure a top 32 spot this year. But its performance this week has put all those doubts to rest. While DUCK! hasn’t been the impervious force it once was this season, and Riptide itself was having problems towards the end of the fight, it was nonetheless a wonderful display. The way it sent DUCK! spinning through the air, taking away its weapon, its wheel, and its dignity in the process, was nothing short of majestic before the pulverizer finished it off. Top 32 for the rookies; let’s see what they bring us next.

19. Mad Catter (1-1) -4

Been a while since we’ve seen the cat, but hopefully we’ll see a lot more of them soon. Oh yeahhhhhhhhhhhh

20. P1 (2-1) -4

Their best season to date, which should see them through into the round of 32.

21. Fusion (1-1) -3

Has had a season of polar opposites in its fight, but still clearly capable of big things. Should have an interesting final fight.

22. Gigabyte (2-1) -2

Not been the force I expected it to be this season, but should still see itself in the round of 32.

23. Skorpios (1-2) -6

Despite a second defeat of the season this week, Skorpios is one of two 1-2 bots I still expect to see in the round of 32. That’s because it’s sole victory over Blade was a brutal display of domination, while its two losses were against Whiplash and Yeti, two brilliant veterans, and even then they only lost both narrowly. It’s true that we haven’t seen the best of its weapon this season, but I think the nature of its two losses will be enough to convince the selection committee to put them through, since they did still have some impressive moments against Yeti. They’ll only just make it through, but I think they’ll be there.

24. Hydra (1-2) -3

The other 1-2 bot I expect to see in the top 32. Again, not had the best season, but it’s still shown plenty of what it can do.

25. Captain Shrederator (2-1) -3

The hardest bot to rank this season, Shreds should just about make it to the bracket for the first time in six seasons.

26. Tombstone (2-1) -3

Another underwhelming season from Tombstone means it will probably have a pretty low seeding come the bracket.

27. Valkyrie (2-1) +3

I’ve been pretty disappointed with Valkyrie’s opponents this season. For a bot that was once crowned the “most destructive” on the show, to be given P1, Triple Crown, and Pardon My French as its regular season opponents is a little bit sus to me. It lost to P1, and has essentially been given two free hits in its other two fights. It barely even had to get out of second gear in them, and while it still left Pardon My French looking pretty spangled at the end of this week, it still hasn’t exactly been given much of a challenge this season, and now looks set to scrape into the top 32 at the expense of bots who have had far tougher schedules than they have.

28. Defender (2-1) +9

From here, I think the 28-32 spots are still up for grabs, and that bots below Defender have a strong chance of leapfrogging them into the bracket. That being said, Defender has still done well to round off its regular season with a pretty comfortable win over Retrograde and end with a 2-1 record. If it does secure a top 32 spot, I think it will be quite a low ranking, but they can still consider this season a decent success for a first-time bot.

29. Hijinx (2-1) +11

I’d be surprised if Hijinx finished in the top 32, but at least this week it gave us an offering of what it can do. After two horribly underwhelming fights, including a “victory” over Kraken (not bitter at all), it took Subzero to town this week, even though it still had moments where it looked vulnerable, and was probably a tad fortunate that Subzero’s flipper gave out pretty quickly. But it still had to win, win it did, and at least now it has a legitimate claim to the top 32. I’m still not sure it will finish there, though.

30. Malice (1-2) -4

I think Malice will be out of the top 32 come next week. There are too many bots below it that I think will probably overtake it. You never know, though.

31. HUGE (1-1) -3

Here’s hoping my beloved builds on its last win for another year in the bracket.

32. Bloodsport (1-1) -3

Currently holding the last top 32 spot, last year’s second seeds need a win to secure themselves a place in the next phase.

33. Lucky (1-1) -2

Any one of the next four bots could still feasibly climb into the top 32. Lucky has looked pretty decent this year, but is another bot that needs a win in its last fight.

34. Mammoth (1-1) -1

Haven’t seen Mammoth since its double-KO fight with Tombstone. Who knows where it is or if we’ll see it again?

35. Witch Doctor (1-1) -1

Surely we’ll see Witch Doctor in the top 32? They’ve not had the best season, but it’s best not to write them off until we’ve seen their last fight.

36. Icewave (1-1) -1

The veterans haven’t had a welcome return this season, and the sport may have caught up with them. You never know though, a good win will do them wonders.

37. Blacksmith (1-2) -1

An underwhelming debut season for its hammer-saw.

38. Deep Six (1-2) -6

This was the first time we’ve seen Deep Six against elite opposition, and it didn’t exactly rise to the occasion. The bot that can destroy either itself or its opponent in one hit, this time the former happened as Minotaur snuck round its side and sent it onto its back. We’ll always have its victory over Pain Train to savour, but I think with that defeat, it’s the last we’ll be seeing of the world’s biggest spinner this year.

39. Claw Viper (1-1) =

Looks increasingly less likely we’ll be seeing it in the top 32, let alone its last fight.

40. Dragon Slayer (1-1) +2

It’s an OK bot, but it doesn’t look like championship material.

41. Gruff (1-2) -3

Durability can only get you so far. This season Gruff has looked awkward, uncontrollable, and ineffective, and all of those things came to a head against Cobalt this week. It looked hopelessly out of its depth, and never looked like it was going to win the fight. It’s been a poor campaign for a bot whose praises I had sung for so long, so here’s hoping they’ll be able to successfully rebuild for next season.

42. SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (1-1) +1

The long boi doesn’t look likely to break the top 32 this season. Here’s to the next reboot.

43. Retrograde (1-2) -2

After looking as though it had a lot of potential to offer, Retrograde looks as though it’s chances of going through are over. It’s second YouTube appearance of the season saw it being hopelessly shoved around by Defender, and despite some decent ramming action, it never stood much of a chance after its undercutter gave out. It definitely looks as though some adjustments during the off-season could turn it into more of a competitor, but for now we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.

44. Switchback (1-1) =

Awesome in theory, a bit of a mess in practice. Its qualification hopes look all but over.

45. Kraken (0-2) =

It feels bad to put Kraken this low, but an 0-2 record means I kind of have to. Here’s hoping for one last hurrah before the regular season ends.

46. Overhaul (0-2) +3

Because of the amount of bots dropping so low this week, Overhaul somehow manages to climb three places. It’s still not going through though.

47. Ghost Raptor (0-2) +3

Last time we saw it obliterated by Cobalt, along with its hopes of progressing.

48. Deadlift (0-2) +3

A bot with potential, but can’t seem to live up to it. It’s had two tough fights but still looks to be going nowhere.

49. Lockjaw (0-3) -3

Who’d have thought we’d be seeing Lockjaw end this season with an 0-3 record? Yes, it’s been a less than kind schedule with fights over Copperhead, Hypershock, and Blip, but while they haven’t looked necessarily hopeless, they seem to have been blighted by issues all season, particularly with their reliability. It’s a shame to see Donald Hutson and his bot miss out, because only a few seasons ago they were finishing in the semi-finals and looking like established competitors. Now we’re left wondering if it’s back to the drawing board.

50. Subzero (0-3) -3

Now to a bot that’s been going back to the drawing board since 2016, it’s another underwhelming season for Subzero. Last year represented a step up for them as they made the top 32, but they’ve failed to replicate that success this season. They’ve faced tougher opponents, and their weaknesses have been exposed once more. Their most recent fight against Hijinx was one they could realistically have won, but their flipper gave out and their hopes of a win went kaput. Well, here’s to next year I guess.

51. Free Shipping (0-3) +1

Entertaining as ever, but no wins to show for it.

52. DUCK! (0-3) -4

This is the way DUCK!’s BattleBots career ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper. The redesign of one of my absolute favourite bots has been an unmitigated disaster, and their final fight before retirement was one to forget, as the rookies Riptide took them for a ride. Without the ability to truly withstand those massive hits, the thing it used to be so good at doing, it looks totally ill-equipped for the arena, and hopefully now we see Hal Rucker retreat to his shed to develop his latest killing machine from his menagerie.

53. Jäger (0-2) =

Multibots don’t work against spinners, my dudes.

54. Slammo! (0-2) =

Doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing any suplexing action any time soon.

55. Pain Train (0-2) =

The train has seemingly been replaced by a bus service.

56. Blade (0-2) =

So much promise, so little to show for it. Hopefully we get to see what they can truly do.

57. Pardon My French (0-2) =

There isn’t too much to say here, since Pardon My French did very little to improve my opinion of it this week. Yes, Valkyrie is a horrible bot for a rookie to face, but they never gave any indication they belonged in the same league as them. A poor debut season, and who knows if we’ll see them again.

58. Triple Crown (0-1) -4

Triple Crown was placed 54th for so long as I expected them to be fighting more than once. Now it’s been confirmed they won’t have another one, it’s down to 58th they go.

59. Rampage (0-1) =

In such a competitive field, Rampage looks hopelessly out of place.

60. Rusty (0-1) =

Our glorious overlord keeps the rest of the pack propped up for another week. Go on Rusty, you absolute legend.

And so that about does it for the final week of power rankings for the 2021 season. It’s been a blast, and next week once the top 32 has been revealed, you’ll get to see my final rankings list compared to the official bracket. In a year that’s been so competitive with so many wonderful bots, it’s nigh on impossible to give everyone an accurate ranking, not only here, but with the real thing itself. So I’m sure there’ll be plenty of debate raging for days.

But for now, let’s wonder what shenanigans we’ll be seeing next week, be polite and respectful, and let’s all have a wonderful time. See you soon.

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