BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest – Episode 3 Review

Hello everybody! It’s episode three! They say that three is a magic number, and if you needed any conclusive evidence of it, here it is, in the form of BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest!

The first two episodes have been quite the whirlwind and this week slows down not by one iota. As we still recover from the chaos of last week, which included seeing a frog have its face torn of, HUGE being flung like, sixteen whole feet into the air, Shatter and Deep Six feeling the effects of a supernova in the centre of the arena, and all culminated in Ribbot beating Lockjaw to claim the second spot in the final.

This week, eight more of the best in the field – by which I mean, Uppercut and seven others – take to the box to grind it out to earn their place among the best of the best. That’s really just the purpose of the main competition, but you get the gist of it. Joining probable winners Uppercut include Icewave, hoping to remind everyone of why it was above average four years ago, Free Shipping looking to deliver some flaming passion to its opponents, and Glitch, probably the worst good robot I’ve ever seen, inexplicably coming into the episode with a 3-0 record having been forced to retire from the main competition prematurely. Standing in the way of their path to the Golden Bolt is BattleBots’ very own golden… bolt (?), Victor Soto and the deadly Rotator.

Are you ready? I know you’ll have already watched the episode, but let’s go anyway.

Uppercut vs. Dragon Slayer

We start with one of the classic mismatches the producers love throwing us in the first round, as Uppercut, with one of the most powerful spinners in the field, takes on Dragon Slayer which, well, it certainly also has a spinner.

In fairness to Dragon Slayer, whilst I never thought anything much of it, it did have a pretty tough tournament schedule. It beat DUCK! (which, let’s face it, wasn’t much of an achievement), before being spanked by both Minotaur and Blade. Just as it thought it had escaped from the very-powerful-spinner gang, in comes Uppercut. The last time we saw the Uppercut gang was when they were being batted about like a ragdoll against Riptide. So you just know Alex Hattori will be out for blood. You can see it in his eyes.

Despite Uppercut rocking a new, never-before-seen weapon, the match went basically as you would expect, so I don’t really know what to put here. Basically, Dragon Slayer got one good hit in, ripping of one of Uppercut’s stabilizers, but that was abut as good as it got. Although Uppercut didn’t get any really massive hits going and looked a little sluggish, it still managed a pretty routine knockout after about a minute. It landed the better hits and it prevailed. And that’s really all there was to it.

Uppercut moves on as Dragon Slayer returns back to its castle, never to be seen again.

Icewave vs. Free Shipping

Looking to face Uppercut in round two are two fan favourites looking to actually do something on this show. It’s the reckless abandon of Gary Gin and Free Shipping against the internally-combustible Marc DeVidts and Icewave.

I might be being a tad harsh on the two bots there, but Free Shipping comes into this tournament off the back of an 0-3 season, and having never reached the knockout phase of any of the three seasons it’s competed in. Icewave, meanwhile, may have reached the semi-finals and inexplicably been outdone by a hockey stick way back in the first season, but since then has been dumped out unceremoniously off-screen, been chopped into tiny little pieces by both Rotator and Bite Force, gone though an emo phase, lost its’ bounty (which is how it’s ended up here), and was most recently totally outclassed by Whiplash in the round of 32. It marked an encounter of two bots looking to prove a point for their respective weapons; Free Shipping for control bots, Icewave for horizontal spinners.

Unfortunately for Icewave, Free Shipping came armed with perhaps the best wedge BattleBots has ever seen. Like, I don’t know where Gary Gin found that thing, but it looked like it was made from Superman’s chest hair. Every time Icewave landed a shot it went skidding across the arena, and the wedge looked just the same. Like, it just didn’t care and Free Shipping just kept coming, and it never stopped coming. Icewave ended up without its weapon, and also somehow with its top half completely twisted round, and I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. But this was Gary Gin’s fight all the way, sending Icewave into the screws, the pulverizers, the upper deck, and pretty much every orifice of the arena he could find.

The match ended up going to the judges, where Jason Bardis somehow looked at the previous three minutes and thought Icewave was the victor, presumably for having had its weapon turned on for some of the fight. Fortunately common sense prevailed, and Free Shipping goes marching on to the next round. Icewave, meanwhile, will not be returning to BattleBots for some time. Is this the end of the horizontal spinner?

Retrograde vs. Mammoth

Nothing screams ‘entertainment’ like an untelevised fight, and that’s exactly what we got next, as we saw the best of what Mammoth had to offer against Bloodsport spin-off Retrograde.

Retrograde is no stranger to untelevised content, having already had its regular season fight against Rampage shoved to the wastelands of YouTube, which probably says a lot about the entertainment factor this bot brings with it. Mammoth, meanwhile, remains as gargantuan and awkward as ever, which is what we love to see, especially when it’s working properly. Which, for this fight, it wasn’t.

The BattleBots social media team somehow managed to extent this fight into nine minutes of content, and it’s probably a mercy killing that this fight never made it to air. Basically all I can say that happened is that Mammoth got about three hits in with its weapon, the weapon stopped working, and Retrograde spent the remainder of the fight taking little nicks out of its opponent unchallenged. By the end of it Mammoth had one wheel hanging on for dear life and had the other one billowing smoke. I think I may have fallen asleep in between.

To no-one’s surprise, Retrograde claims the judges’ decision pretty comfortably, and charges steadily forwards into round two. For Mammoth, it’s goodbye for now, but they’ll be back next season, possibly bigger and badder than previously. Not the ideal season for them, adding this loss to an unceremonious exit in the last 32, something they were only in because Glitch withdrew at the eleventh hour. Speaking of which…

Glitch vs. Gruff

Look, everyone! It’s Glitch! They fixed it after all! Yes, the officially most unbeaten robot ever in BattleBots for a shot at being even more unbeaten, and standing in their way to achieve true unbeaten status is the several-times-previously-beaten Gruff.

If you’re counting, like me or the good folks at the BattleBots wiki, Gruff has nine career losses to its name. That’s an awful lot of losses for a bot that’s supposedly so effectively durable, and I guess that’s where my issue with it comes in – every time it puts in a good performance, say it’s unfortunate losses to Tombstone, it has an absolute nightmare, as it did for most of this season. It seems to have become less effective, less controllable, and most importantly, less durable as time has worn on, leaving the question – what can it actually do?

The Gruff team would have bene hoping to rectify that against Glitch, who somehow go into this tournament on a 3-0 record, despite the fact that no-one, including their team, seems to know how they’ve managed it. They beat Ghost Raptor courtesy of it deciding to throw the fight and drive straight into their weapon, they volleyed Hydra into submission, and then destroyed Kraken for good measure before having to withdraw. Essentially, it comes across as a bot that has too much power, but doesn’t know what to do with it. I’m sure there’s a political joke in there somewhere.

I’m padding out the intro here because, like most of the fights so far, there isn’t a whole lot to say here. They really must have had a hard time deciding which episode to cut, huh? Well to give you the gist of it, the two bots spent most of the fight dancing around each other, with Glitch having more of the action by bending Gruff’s forks and driving straight into the screws. Gruff couldn’t take advantage of Glitch’s uncontrollable behaviour, and ended up having its underbelly ripped up a bit. Then cam two late hits that summed Glitch up as a bot – it doesn’t do much, but when it does, boy is it good. Glitch twice sent Gruff somersaulting through the air, and that was all the judges really needed to see.

For the third time tonight we were sent to the table (at least they’re getting their money’s worth I guess), and Glitch, for the reason that they were actually able to do something in that fight, went through. They’re still undefeated, now on 4-0. As for Gruff, we’ll see them next year, hopefully with a bot that, you know, can do something. Anything. Please.

Uppercut vs. Free Shipping

As we move into the second round, you’ll see that I’ve had very little to say about the fights. That trend continues here, but only because this next one was over in about 10 seconds.

There’s probably more to say about the pre-fight build-up than there is about the fight itself. Namely, there was a lot of talk about how Free Shipping had a new wedge attachment to try and deflect Uppercut’s hits (it being a vertical spinner and all), Alex Hattori saying “tactics? We don’t need no f*cking tactics! Hit him in the f*cking face!” (He didn’t really say that, but imagine if he did), and Gary Gin, instead of giving actual analysis of the fight ahead, basically just describing how the tournament is laid out and if they win they get a trophy. Oh Gary, never change.

Anyway, the more observant among you will remember that Uppercut previously ignited Free Shipping into a glowing ball of flame. Well the same thing happened here. One hit conked Free Shipping out completely (I don’t know it happened, it hit its wedge for crying out loud), and then a second hit for posterity saw the flamethrower go again. Much to the bemusement of Alex who, much like the Glitch team, constantly seems confused that his robot causes damage.

The most straight-forward of victories sees Uppercut, almost inevitably, march on to round three. Free Shipping will be back next year, with a spinner to boot! Where do they get these crazy ideas?

Retrograde vs. Glitch

Vying for the right to party, and also to fight Uppercut, will be Retrograde and Glitch, two absolutely fascinatingly bizarre bits of technology.

Glitch has somehow strolled into this fight on a 4-0 record, looking in equal parts stoppable and unstoppable. Retrograde, conversely, was introduced by Chris before the fight as “a bot with two weapons” because team captain Aaron Lucas has two first names. I bet he’s fun at parties.

Appropriately, two fascinatingly bizarre bots put on a fascinatingly bizarre fight. Glitch, in one of the rare moments where it seemed capable of moving, managed to bend Retrograde’s lifter inwards, before the man with two first names launched into a counter-offensive and took some of Glitch’s armour off. It’s the most damage I remember seeing caused to Glitch, and it looked as though their winning streak was about to end.

Like all champions though, Glitch somehow found a way to pull through and managed to rip both of Retrograde’s wheels off in the space of about five seconds. Retrograde was still able to drive, but it was clearly much worse off than it had been when the fight started. With the fight looking to have turned, though, Glitch somehow managed to out-Glitch itself and managed to get itself stuck on the floor, and Retrograde ended the fight with a couple of small hits.

For the fourth time tonight, the judges were called upon. With Glitch having caused more damage and Retrograde (arguably) having the better of control and aggression, a nervy split decision ensued which, you guessed it, Glitch took. Despite being on the back foot for more than half the fight, they pulled off the victory and are now at 5-0 and facing Uppercut for a shot at taking down Rotator. The team are as confused as I am, and I’m not entirely sure how we ended up here.

It’s also goodnight Retrograde, as the bot won’t be returning for next season. Shame really, I was looking forward to hearing more about how Aaron Lucas has two first names, and other such fun anecdotes.

Uppercut vs. Glitch

So we’ve made it this far, the favourite against either the luckiest or most amazing bot to have ever existed, Uppercut takes on Glitch for the right to fight Rotator.

The entire time before the fight, all that was going round in my head was “OK good for Glitch, it’s been a good run, but there’s no way in hell they’re going to beat Uppercut.” Except, and I’m going to keep this terse because I’ve rambled on enough already… they did. They beat Uppercut. They not only beat them, they gave them a proper licking. A stabilizer came off, the bottom panel was fully ripped away, and in the best ‘gatcha’ of the whole series, Glitch did a full 180 at the last second to send Uppercut hurtling around the box and sparking from its weapon. It was glorious.

Then, Glitch managed to once more out-Glitch itself by spontaneously deciding to stop working as Uppercut crawled around hopelessly. The refs called for a simultaneous KO, ultimately sparing Glitch from a pretty remarkable defeat.

The judges were called on for the fifth time, and at this point they must have just been handing wins out to whoever’s paint scheme they liked the most, since Jason Bardis decided Uppercut was somehow the deserving winner of that fight, despite having done approximately nothing. He must have had an off-day. Fortunately, the other two disagreed, logic prevailed, and Glitch now sits on a 6-0 record and gets to fight Rotator. I can scarcely believe it either.

Speaking of scarcely believable things, this is the last we’ll be seeing of Uppercut for a while, as the bot won’t be back next season. It’s a shame, since it’s been one of the most entertaining bots out there for the past couple of seasons, but hopefully someone will pick up its chaotic, flame-wielding mantle.

Rotator vs. Glitch

Well, I’m not quite sure how we’ve arrived at this moment, but here we are. Tonight’s gatekeeper Rotator, once voted the most destructive robot on BattleBots, slayer of Bronco, Tombstone, and Icewave, and regular attendee of the knockout stage, takes on Glitch. Yup, still undefeated, still looking like a newborn gazelle whenever it takes to the arena, Glitch may actually may end up among the best of the best in the final.

If I was thinking going into the Uppercut fight that Glitch surely can’t pull off another win, then for this I was thinking “OK, SURELY they can’t win this one.” Rotator is so renowned for being durable, well-controlled and destructive, meaning that surely no matter what Glitch throws at Rotator, it won’t be able to match it.

After about thirty seconds I was left with proverbial egg on my face, as Glitch managed to somehow land the exact perfect shot to Rotator’s side which; sent Rotator about ten feet into the air, tore its bottom panel off and, and saw its batteries implode in a ball of smoke. We’ve seen some scarcely believable things tonight, mostly from the Glitch camp, but this trumps all of them. Somehow, Glitch is now on a 7-0 record, has beaten one of the most destructive bots in the field, and will now find itself fighting for the Golden Bolt. How many times to you reckon the team asked somebody to pinch them?

And so, I guess that does it for one of the most bizarre, tedious, and spectacular episodes of television ever put to screen. Glitch proves itself to be the best of the best to claim a stunning place in the final.

Next time, we’ll see all your favourite bots like Switchback, Deadlift, and Big F*cking Dill take to the arena for the chance to face Skorpios and, ultimately, take their spot in the final. I can’t remember if it was as eventful as this episode, but I guess that means you’ll have to tune in to the next post to find out, won’t you?

Thanks for reading everyone, and have a lovely day.

All images belong to BattleBots.

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