BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest: Episode 4 Review

Hello everyone! It sure has been another hot minute since one of these posts came out! It’s sticking to tradition if nothing else, as an excuse for not sticking to the schedule.

Anyway, it’s nearly Christmas so I thought I would deliver a treat, the long-awaited review of episode 4 of BattleBots: Sin City Slugfest which is… well, it’s certainly an episode, I’ll give it that much.

So far we’ve seen chaos and destruction from all angles, with Hypershock sending things into several different pieces, Ribbot bouncing gracefully into the last eight, and Glitch somehow sending its opponents into another dimension without breaking itself. This episode doesn’t quite follow on from the same levels of action we’ve come to expect so far, but still features heavy hitters like Bloodsport and Blacksmith vying for the right to face Skorpios, with the most reliable plough in the game.

Seven fights will lead to a glorious display of ploughing. You ready? Of course you are. Let’s go.

Bloodsport vs. Big Dill

As I’ve often said in these reviews, it’s pretty funny how the producers just give us the biggest mismatches for the opening round fights, and this is no exception. Bloodsport, one of the most lethal spinners in all of BattleBots over the past couple of years, faces the pickle-themed lifter Big Dill, which wasn’t selected to compete in the main competition this year.

So you’ll probably be thinking; “surely there’s only one winner here?” Well friends, you would be absolutely right. Big Dill went in with its big boi wedge at the front and, in fairness, did deflect Bloodsport away a couple of times, but that was about as good as it got. A couple of really hard shots from that menacing blade left Big Dill looking pretty wobbly, to the extent it had to hatch an escape plan, which involved driving straight under the screws. Inevitably, as all great escape plans do, it failed, with the Dill getting stuck and Bloodsport ripping its back panel off. Funniest sh*t I’ve ever seen.

So in about a minute, Bloodsport secured its passage to the second round. Big Dill went home, its minibot Spicy Meatball also up in smoke for good measure, but fear not good people, for the Dill will be back for more pickling goodness next season… with a spinner! You’ve gotta love trends, don’t you?

Blade vs. Kraken

I’m going to try and make a policy of getting through these fights a bit quicker than previously, since some of these take absolutely ages and end up in a bunch of incoherent ramblings. It can be hard when fights are as fun as this next one, however.

This was such a good fight from start to end. Neither bot had the best of regular seasons, with Blade coming all the way from South Korea without really showing us what it could do, and Kraken noticeably falling further behind the rest of the pack as it moves to a more spinner-heavy field. Still, even functioning as a crusher it’s given us some great entertainment, this fight included.

From the get-go, Blade launched a couple of big hits onto Kraken using it’s patented ‘spin move’ (they do that a lot, just a heads up), but Kraken, durable as ever, came back strong and managed to clamp Blade in its teeth. Sadly, not only did they miss the screws in their charge across the arena, but the angle that Blade ended up at meant that Kraken’s wheel ended up getting dismantled by Blade’s spinner, then disabling the second wheel for good measure. Kraken was pretty much already beaten at this point, but Blade still ripped it’s tongue out for good measure.

Blade, finally realising their full potential, march on to the second round. Kraken, meanwhile, a broken and beaten machine, will go home never to return, as an emotional Matt Spurk confirmed after the fight. Fortunately, it will be back for next season with, you guessed it, a spinner! Would anyone like to do something about all the spinners we’re getting round here?

Deadlift vs. Blacksmith

Speaking of bots that jumped on the spinner bandwagon, Blacksmith appears in our next fight of the night, having switched out a flaming hammer for a flaming hammer-saw with… well, mixed results. They took on the gym bros of Deadlift to try and secure a spot in the next round.

This was arguably a battle of two bots looking to put on a show after two underwhelming campaigns in which they probably would have been expected to do a lot more. And, sadly for Deadlift, this continued for them five seconds into the fight, when a hit from Blacksmith’s hammer-saw seemed to jam up their front-right wheel.

Instead of letting up at this point and waiting for an easy victory, Al Kindle went in for jugular and toyed about with Deadlift like the puppet master he is. Although not dealing a huge amount of damage, still a recurring Blacksmith problem, it was still pretty spectacular watching Deadlift almost get launched on top of the screws, and for Blacksmith to break its weapon with the final hit of the fight.

Blacksmith rolls on into the next round after a straight-forward judges’ decision, and Deadlift gets left on the scrapheap, retired after two pretty disappointing seasons. Oh well, gym on my dudes, gym on.

Switchback vs. Lucky

Remember when I said sometimes it’s hard to keep fight descriptions to a minimum? Yeah no such fuss with this one. It’s Lucky, probably no-one’s favourite flipper, against whatever the heck Switchback claims to be.

On paper this looked an easy win for Lucky, improving under new driver Matt Olsen and against an opponent which left a lot to the imagination last season. In the exact opposite turn of events, Switchback got one shot on the side of Lucky and jammed up its drive before Lucky’s weapon seized up and it started smoking. All from one pretty innocuous hit to its side. It was pretty extraordinary, if not underwhelming.

So I guess, just like that, Switchback finds itself on a date with Blacksmith in round two. Lucky goes home early, but will be back next year, thankfully not joining the spinner hype train.

Blade vs. Bloodsport

Well, on to round two we go! Ready to put the disappointing last fight behind us, we get to take an exciting look at how Blade aims to build on its awesome win over Kraken as it squares off against Bloodsport.

At least, we would if this wasn’t another fight that lasted for all of about thirty seconds. Literally, the fight starts, Bloodsport gets one shot in, then on its second manages to somehow high-centre Blade by displacing its back wedge and leaving the rest of the bot airborne, it’s little wheels spinning but going nowhere. Sadly, their over-reliance on their cool ‘spin attack’ proved to be their downfall.

So, in another of the easiest fights Bloodsport will ever have, Justin Marple and co. breeze into the third round with barely a flesh wound on them. Unfortunately, this is the last we’ll be seeing of Blade for a while, as the bot won’t be coming back next season. Here’s hoping it isn’t too long before the South Korean star shows us what it’s fully capable of.

Blacksmith vs. Switchback

After the guarantee of having one ‘B’ bot in the third round, we now have the joy of discovering whether it will be an all ‘B’ affair as Blacksmith shoots for glory against One-Punch Man himself, Switchback.

As it turns out the answer is ‘yes’. Like, a resounding, full-on yes. This wasn’t even close. As Blacksmith usually does, it came out swinging and didn’t let up for the whole fight. A quick trip over to the short corner saw Switchback spend most of the fight there, before being thrust over and mercilessly hit over the head by Blacksmith’s spinner. Shots then just kept raining in on the weapon axels of Switchback, and I’m pretty sure a chain of some description came off in the process. In the end, Switchback inexplicably managed to wedge itself under the shelf and high-centre itself to be knocked out, but the fight was over long before then.

Blacksmith, looking for the long-awaited moment to crown itself as an elite-tier bot, moves on to fight Bloodsport. Switchback will return next season, presumably to the relief of nobody.

Bloodsport vs. Blacksmith

As promised, the two ‘B’ bots collide in a third round fight of epic proportions. Everyone’s favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme film goes toe-to-toe with everyone’s favourite medieval profession, and is probably a film as well. Maybe.

Blacksmith went into this fight with their beefy wedge, hoping to disperse the energy dished out by Bloodsport’s weapon, in this case their spinning wheel of doom or whatever it is they call it. In fairness to Blacksmith, the wedge did its job, but Bloodsport’s blade just kept on spinning, barring a brief moment when Blacksmith had it pinned against the wall. But, as is so often the problem with Blacksmith, while it looks cool as f*ck, the weapon just doesn’t do enough damage. Bloodsport broke free and seemed to have the fight in its hands.

That is, however, until Blacksmith began to charge back and chuck Bloodsport on top of the screws. Whenever it came down it was sent straight back up again, all the while enduring hits from Blacksmith. Just as it seemed to be turning into a more even fight, in the last few seconds Blacksmith scooped Bloodsport up and drove it into the wall. However, in an effort to earn some style points with the judges (which hasn’t been a category since the original series of Robot Wars, for those who thought I was making it up), Al fired his hammer too early and, just as it had done against Malice in the regular season, the spinner went flying across the arena.

Blacksmith, down a weapon and clearly the more damaged of the two, with a massive hole in its side armour for good measure, lost on a split decision. And with it not returning next year, who knows when we’ll be seeing Al and his toy barn next. We know when we’ll next be seeing Bloodsport though – in the next fight, against the one and only Skorpios.

Skorpios vs. Bloodsport

And so folks, this is what we’ve arrived at. Spot number seven is up for grabs in the Golden Bolt Tournament, and it’s going to go to either Bloodsport or Skorpios. It’s a case of attack vs. defence, style vs. pragmatism, metal vs. metal.

For those of you with good enough memories, these two actually met in the opening rounds of the 2020 season, with Bloodsport winning pretty comfortably. A lot has changed since then, however, with Skorpios establishing itself as the most well-protected bot in the field, and Bloodsport a destructive, yet frustratingly inconsistent bot. An intriguing clash produced an appropriately intriguing fight.

In what was probably the closest fight of the whole tournament, the two played out a frantic, ding-dong affair. Skorpios started the stronger, deflecting away Bloodsport’s attacks before pinning it against the wall. The only problem was that its signature hammer-saw didn’t seem to be functioning properly, barring one hit to the top of Bloodsport. From that point on, Skorpios couldn’t do much but charge at Bloodsport, what with its weapon being MIA, and Bloodsport kept coming with the attacks, but didn’t really seem to do much damage apart from twisting the already-broken weapon of Skorpios.

So, the closest fight of the tournament went to the judges, and, inevitably, to a split decision. Skorpios won 2-1 to seal a spot in the final, and plenty of people were divided over it. To me, Bloodsport clearly won the damage category, but control and aggression are up for debate – it could really have gone either way. In any case, there were fist bumps all round at the end as Skorpios booked its place among the elite.

And that just about does it for another episode review. There’s only two more to go after this, so be sure to tune in next time (hopefully before the start of the new season), for what is probably the most stacked episode yet, as the big hitters of Black Dragon and Whiplash (among others) square off for the right to face Witch Doctor. It makes you question how they distributed the bots for these episodes, but who are we to question the logic of the good folk at BattleBots?

Thanks for reading everyone, and happy holidays.

All images belong to BattleBots.

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