BattleBots Episode 1 Preview: BETA, Bite Force, and Black Ice

The season premiere of BattleBots Season 2 on June 23rd is just a little over two weeks away, and the special two-hour episode is set to be jam-packed with 32 robots competing (the full list can be found here). Unless the pacing of last season picks up dramatically, then it’s likely that we’ll be seeing either seven or eight full-length fights, and then the rest will be briefly covered in a short montage and perhaps uploaded online later.

So we probably won’t get a great look at all 32 of these robots in action for a while longer, but until then BattleBlogs is kicking off this preview series to get you acclimated to the 32 bots of the first episode each day until they enter the BattleBox on the 23rd (okay they actually entered the BattleBox over a month ago, but well… that’s beside the point…).

To kick off our series of previews, we’re going to start with BETA, Bite Force, and Black Ice, because I’m boring and am just going to run through all of these in alphabetical order. Alright let’s get to it:



Weapon: A big-ass hammer

BattleBots history: BETA was an alternate in the last season, but did not compete. Builders John Reid and Grant Cooper previously competed with the bot KillerHurtz in the original run of BattleBots.

What’s cool about it? This thing comes equipped with 12 electromagnets that try to keep it attached to the arena’s floor. There’s also a ton of other details on the bot’s website.

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.23.31

In addition to the electromagnets, some other notable details are that the massive hammer weighs 11 kilograms (about 24 pounds), the bot features tank-style steering, and if the magnets fail and BETA does manage to get flipped over then it features a self-righting mechanism so that it can get back in the fight.

Big question: How strong is the hammer going to be? Especially with heavyweight bots, I have never been a fan of hammers, simply because with the amount of armor that these things have on them they’re usually unable to do enough damage to really disable anything. If the hammer can deal some real damage then BETA could make a run, but if not then any bot that can take a punch should be able to dispose of it.

Prediction: As with most bots, the matchups are going to be critical. BETA is probably my favorite hammer bot in the field, but realistically I can only see it winning one or two fights tops. I’m skeptical of what it can do if it’s forced to fight a destructive horizontal spinner.

Bite Force


Weapon: Vertical bar spinner

BattleBots history: Champion of last season, defeating the favorite Tombstone in the championship fight by a 3-0 judges decision.

What’s cool about it? If you watched the first season and are thinking that this version of Bite Force looks a little different, it’s not because your eyes are playing tricks on you. This is what Bite Force looked like last season:


In the first season Bite Force mostly operated as a pusher, ramming bots into walls and using its huge claw to trap bots and bully them around. Looking at the new design, its clear that the Aptyx Designs team wants to be able dish out some major damage this time around. The vertical bar spinner is most similar to what Witch Doctor successfully employed last season. If Bite Force’s is anywhere near as destructive as Witch Doctor’s then it’s going to be a nightmare for opposing bots throughout the entire tournament.

Big question: Is the new Bite Force as quick as the old Bite Force? If the answer is yes then it has to be considered one of the favorites to win the whole tournament. Bite Force is one of the faster bots in the field, and if it can add vertical spinner while keeping its speed up then it’s going to be very difficult to take down.

Prediction: Bite Force is fully capable of going back-to-back and winning the tournament yet again. It should be considered one of the favorites and I’d be shocked if it makes an early exit.

Black Ice


Weapon: This is a weird one. Black Ice drops a magnetized bar which it can sort of maneuver around and use as cover or block an opponent. It also has two tiny vertical spinners in addition to its two main wedges.

BattleBots history: Builders Dan Barry and Dan Parrish are brand new to BattleBots. Black Ice fought in a three-bot qualifier rumble against Skorpios and Bad Kitty in a BattleBots special which aired a month ago (and can be watched for free online here). After Skorpios jammed itself into a wall, Black Ice managed to disable Bad Kitty and win the fight.

What’s cool about it? The face on the front is adorable. Also, the magnetized bar is very unique.

Big question: Can it actually deal any damage when it needs to? It won the qualifier because Skorpios knocked itself out and Bad Kitty was, well, bad. It’s mainly going to use its two wedges to push bots around, and that will probably work against other spinners, but it’s not particularly fast and doesn’t appear to have any self-righting mechanism, so other pushers and lifters can cause major problems for it.

Prediction: If Black Ice gets a favorable matchup I can see it winning one fight. I can’t see it going further than that. I don’t see how it deals damage, and against bots that can flip it over it’s toast.


Previews for Blacksmith, Bombshell, and Bucktooth Burl are up next.

All images provided by


3 thoughts on “BattleBots Episode 1 Preview: BETA, Bite Force, and Black Ice

  1. BETA is going to have legendary power. They have pulled out all the stops and then some on the engineering optimization, and are using the Etek, a motor usually reserved for powerful spinners like Tombstone, for the hammer. It’s fighting Lucky in the first round.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know BETA was using the Etek. In that case I’m really excited to see it and maybe it’ll change my opinion on hammer bots a little bit. If BETA is really fighting Lucky then I like its chances.


      • The thing with hammer bots is, it’s much harder to generate kinetic energy over a single 180 degree swing than with a spinner, and eventually you reach a power level where the hammer just kicks your own robot up. So most of the sport’s best engineers don’t even bother touching the design due to limited potential. Beta, and the new version of Chomp, are the exception — both teams have gone to absolutely absurd lengths to push the design to their absolute limits.


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