BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest – Episode 2 Review

Hello everyone! How are we all doing today? Suitably buzzing? Indifferent? Depressed because the societal systems in which we live have condemned us to a life of anonymity and struggling to pay the rent because the top 1% keep taking all of our income? Well, whatever your mood, hopefully you’re here to enjoy some more BattleBots action!

Last week in our recap of the awesome Sin City Slugfest event, Hypershock sent pretty much everything it touched careening across the arena and into the abyss, culminating in it managing to split Gigabyte into two, or potentially more, separate robots. That saw Will Bales and his ragtag team of rascals seal the first (or fourth, depending on your worldview) spot in the final episode. Yes, taking its place alongside three Giant Nut winners in this ‘best of the best’ all-star extravaganza, is a bot whose biggest achievement is destroying a drone with a rake (jk, pls don’t attack me).

In this week’s episode, also known as ‘the second one’ eight more fearsome titans of robotic combat go head to head in more battles to the death. Featuring all your favourite bots like Double Jeopardy, Slammo, and Pain Train, that did so well in the regular season and totally deserve to be in an all-star show (seriously it’s really hard being sarcastic writing these things). They’re all slugging it out for a chance to fight the one and only Diesector, only Diesector retired twenty years ago, so instead they’ll have to face Donald Hutson’s other robot, Lockjaw.

Are you as excited as I am to relive what happened? Of course you are. It’s robot fighting time.

Ribbot vs. Double Jeopardy

So I know that the producers like to give us mismatched opening round fights to start things off, but this one verges into cruelty. Facing Ribbot, which has proven to be one of the most durable and destructive bots around and was most recently given the number 2 seeing in the tournament bracket, was Double Jeopardy. A bot with has about as much success as paper does against fire. It’s only win to date was an untelevised fight against two of the most useless bots to ever grace the arena, Daisy Cutter and Foxtrot, and is essentially here because they weren’t accepted into the regular season.

I almost feel like I’m expending more energy than is necessary to write this section, because even those of you haven’t watched the episode (why are you reading this?) and have at least one working brain cell can probably figure out how this fight went.

To be fair to Double Jeopardy, they did come in with a plan, and if their robot was a bit better, it may well have worked. They were hoping for a one-in-a-million shot to disable Ribbot’s drive chain (which Ribbot was totally prepared for) with their cannon. Instead, they took off the frog’s face. It was pretty poggers if you ask me. It’s just a shame that causing damage to the top of Ribbot is a bit like removing a bumper sticker from a car – it still works as it should, it’s just lost the thing that makes it funny. And as Ribbot proved pretty successfully, it’s no laughing matter.

They let Double Jeopardy have their moment in the sun, and then proceeded to dissect it panel by panel, piece by piece. Despite supposedly having another two slugs lined up (not that they would have done anything), Double Jeopardy could do nothing as Ribbot immediately took a side panel off, cut through some of the wheels, left them spinning in circles, and then delivered a pretty insane hit that sent all three wheels on the right side of Double Jeopardy straight into the Twilight Zone. One more hit, and Ribbot was officially victorious.

So, in a shocking turn of events that surprised no-one, Double Jeopardy went home. But hey, at least Evan Woolley knows how to make a cocktail, amirite?

Malice vs. Slammo!

Things get a bit better in the night’s second fight, as two bots that made the top 32 in 2020 but fell on hard times last season look to bounce back. It’s the bunny-wielding Malice against the British-wielding Slammo.

I won’t lie, I didn’t have high hopes for Slammo going into this fight. Not because builder Craig Danby is responsible for one of the two bots I described as ‘useless’ in the previous section, but because after a successful first season, it looked horribly out of its depth last season. I still think the lack of lawnmower sponsor has something to do with it, but it may also be that suplex-ing your way to victory is actually quite difficult. And against a big ol’ spinner in Malice, I didn’t think it would last long in this fight.

To its credit, Slammo actually started this fight on the front foot, stopping Malice’s weapon and taking it into the wall with its grappling system. We didn’t get a full-on suplex, but it could have been building to that. That is, if Slammo’s wedge hadn’t have decided to get stuck in the up position, allowing Malice to take a wheel off. From there it wasn’t really a contest, but at least Slammo still put up a good fight, deflecting shots away with its wedge on what little control it had left – and, as a last hurrah, even managed one final push of Malice into the wall!

Sadly, this didn’t really do anything to affect the fight, and despite Malice nearly rear-ending itself again, Slammo’s second wheel was promptly taken off, and Malice goes through to the second round. Frog and rabbit on the menu tonight.

Shatter vs. Pain Train

There are two ways that I think Pain Train has been the most disappointing bot at BattleBots over the past two seasons. The first is that Evan Arias has had so much success at beetleweight level with Shreddit Bro that it makes Pain Train’s lack of well, anything, just pretty surprising and underwhelming. The second is that Evan Arias seems like a cool dude, and seeing someone I’d gladly knock a couple of cold ones back with, regardless of him being in an entirely different time zone, well that just makes me sad.

Pain Train (which is still grounded at the station as it stands) is looking to add to its one career victory, over SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE where it won despite its entire weapon falling off, against their fellow New Yorkers, Shatter. Now to say that Shatter have had more success on this show than Pain Train is a slight understatement, but they were coming into this off the back of a shock defeat to Riptide in the top 32. Would this finally be Pain Train’s time to depart the station, or would Shatter just do what Shatter does, flexing its omni-wheels, hitting things pretty hard, and calling any damage it takes ‘ablative’?

Well, after a brief period of Pain Train actually working and lulling me, and presumably everyone either watching in the audience or at home, into the belief that it may actually be onto an upset here, its weapon promptly decided to pack in and allow Shatter to wail on it for the next two and a half minutes. So much for that then!

In fairness, on the surface at least, the top armour of Pain Train actually seemed to hold up pretty well to the sheer volume of hits that Shatter threw at it, and didn’t seem too affected by way of drive, so I guess that’s something to be proud of. But even after ripping one of Shatter’s forks off, Pain Train did best, and lost the fight. It somehow made it the full 3 minutes, but Shatter takes its rightful place in round two.

And that’s the last we’ll ever see of Pain Train, as it’s subsequently been retired in place of a big boi version of Shreddit Bro for the upcoming season. Good luck Evan Arias, and I pray evermore some cold ones will be knocked back in the future.

HUGE vs. Deep Six

If we’re talking about a clash of the titans, at least in terms of actual size, things don’t get more gargantuan than this. The fourth fight of the night gave us, on paper, the most-evenly matched line-up of the episode, and things didn’t disappoint once we got to the box.

I will start by saying that I really hoped this would be HUGE’s tournament. I fell in love with this weird, wonderful thing four years ago and have been an ardent stan for it ever since. However, even I have to admit I feel like we should have seen more from it after four years, having been knocked out quite underwhelmingly in each of the past four seasons. It does still make me laugh/sigh watching it fall in half against Bite Force, though.

Despite being given a tough bout with fellow big boi Deep Six, I still fancied HUGE’s chances. At least I did before its left-hand drive was disabled from literally the first hit of the fight. From there I pretty much gave up. It could get near to Deep Six with its weapon, it had its wheel scythed through, and was then sent about ten feet into the air before crashing gracefully back down to earth. All within the first fifty seconds.

Fortunately for HUGE, Deep Six lost a weapon belt on the last mighty exchange, and had its bar reduced to spinning ineffectively at about 1mph for the remainder of the fight. Just as it seemed HUGE may just come back into this, its weapon belt went as well. So much for that, then. After another two minutes of pretty unspectacular action, Deep Six comfortably won a judges decision, and seems intent on making this episode about them instead. HUGE, I seriously hope you’ve done something pretty mad for the next season.

This also featured the first chapter of this fine-bearded lad on the Deep Six team attempting to get a fist bump. He was left hanging this time, will he be successful in the next round?

Ribbot vs. Malice

As Faruq sends preps us for the first second-round match, The Jam’s classic single “Town Called Malice” goes around in my head, as I struggle to think of any appropriate songs to describe the frog. Malice may have won the music battle, but it would not win the actual battle.

Ribbot came in as about the most typical four-wheel-drive vert you could imagine, only given a glimmer of individualism by the fact its froggy eyes were poking out from that big f**k-off wedge it was rocking. Malice came in sporting Big Red, their own big f**k-off spinner, standing by to cause some serious damage. Instead, it was pretty much just left standing by.

The fight somehow managed to make it the full three minutes, despite Ribbot being in control from beginning to end. The first few hits seemed to knock out one side of Malice’s drive and from then on it was just Ribbot laying into Bunny’s bot with some massive shots. Big Red wasn’t looking so hot at the end of it, which just shows how much power Ribbot has in its weapon.

Ribbot did give us a bit of a tease in the second half of the fight, making us think its weapon may have packed in before turning it back on with ten seconds left. You teases, you. Even without its weapon on, the frog still deflected the couple of shots Malice could still deliver, and spent the rest of its time shoving it around the arena.

Ribbot deservingly wins the judges’ decision and moves on to the third round. For Malice, they leave us hoping the next season will finally be the one they realise their potential.

Shatter vs. Deep Six

This was probably the fight of the episode, and had pretty much everything I could ask for. Massive hits, absurd amounts of action, a shock result, a small amount of controversy, it was all there.

The fact Deep Six was able to stabilise itself long enough to make it to the second round, after beating HUGE no less, was impressive enough, but I guess expectations were lowered a bit for Shatter. Surely it wouldn’t pull off two upsets in a row? Well, it did.

Shatter had a clear strategy, and while slamming its’ hammer straight into Deep Six’s weapon may have seemed like a bold move in it attempts to stop it, given how out of control Deep Six could become, it actually had some logic to it. Unfortunately, it backfired horribly as Shatter was sent spiralling through the air multiple times, even being caught twice with a sick combo move straight out of Mortal Kombat.

Then came the big hit, as Shatter laid its hammer straight into Deep Six’s spinner, and the two went hurtling in opposite directions across the arena. It was a crazy moment, a belt flew out of somewhere, Deep Six managed to self-right by virtue of being an absolute chad, and Shatter was left flailing its hammer around under the pulverizer, probably grateful the thing was still attached in the first place.

A couple more Deep hits and some Dustin Esswein trash talk, and Shatter was counted out, much to the frustration of the Shatter team, despite the fact they were only just about moving courtesy of wriggling their hammer around. Deep Six pulls off another upset and marches on to face Ribbot.

Meanwhile, in chapter two of the fist bump chronicles, Dustin walks straight past the guy’s fist in the ultimate power move. He ends up being hit in the shoulder, and the quest for the fist bump goes on.

Ribbot vs Deep Six

So two upsets later and Deep Six arrives at its biggest test of the night. Ribbot, with one of the most powerful weapons durable drive systems, and best drivers in the sport, would by no means be a pushover.

This actually started out as a pretty even fight, with Ribbot circling around Deep Six before losing part of its face in the first exchange between the two. Not that it really affected the frog, and the next 45 seconds to a minute were one of the most intense televised exchanges since Brian Clough and Don Revie appeared together on ITV’s Calendar special in 1974, with Deep Six keeping that massive spinner firmly pointed in the direction of Ribbot’s face – or what was left of it anyway.

All it takes is one opportunity though, and Ribbot found theirs by slipping round the back of Deep Six to land a hit that sent their opponents flying backwards, leaving another hole in the floor, and taking a wheel off of Ribbot in the process. The frog has never been fazed by a lack of wheels though, and by sending Deep Six into the screws and removing a wheel from them, the fight was pretty much theirs.

Deep Six still (sort-of) worked after that, but unbeknownst to me their other wheel had fallen off at some point in the fight, and with no way of moving, which is pretty important in BattleBots, Deep Six’s valiant run came to an end at the hands of the referee’s countdown.

Ribbot moves on to face Lockjaw, and that is sadly the last we’ll see of Deep Six for the time being, but a ‘spiritual successor’ will be with us next season in the form of Triton. And as Deep Six reaches a sad end, so too does the quest for the fist bump.

Lockjaw vs Ribbot

Every builder in the game fears Donald Hutson and Lockjaw. As the episode likes to point out, Donald has been building robots longer than the Ribbot team have been alive, which, all thing considered, is pretty staggering, making Lockjaw a worthy gatekeeper.

However, these two bots couldn’t have had more contrasting seasons. The veteran Lockjaw fell to an unfortunate 0-3 and failed to make it into the top 32, only a few years after reaching the semi-finals. Ribbot, despite being knocked out in the first round of the bracket, still sailed in with a 3-0 record and has looked unstoppable over the course of the night.

And it was Ribbot who sealed its place in the last eight – in under a minute no less. Lockjaw put its faithful plough on its back to try and deal with Ribbot’s undercutter, but it was completely ineffective as the frog made mince meat out of Lockjaw’s tyres, shredding them to tiny little pieces before the referee put an end to this madness and secured Ribbot’s place among the elite.

As David Jin says, “no-one’s ever truly ready for the frog.”

And so that about does it for another episode of BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest, as we see Ribbot sailing along to join Hypershock in the final episode. Next time, another eight of the supposed “best” bots in the field take to the streets to slug it out for the right to fight the ultimate golden girl, Rotator. Bots such as Retrograde, Dragon Slayer and all your other favourites you were just crying out to see again.

Until next time everyone, thanks for reading.

All images belong to BattleBots.

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