BattleBots Episode 1 Preview: Blacksmith, Bombshell, and Bucktooth Burl

We kicked off our massive Episode 1 bot-by-bot preview yesterday with quick looks at BETA, Bite Force, and Black Ice, and today we continue with the next bots up: Blacksmith, Bombshell, and Bucktooth Burl. Additionally, something I didn’t include yesterday was potential first round opponents. This thread on Reddit from a mod of /r/BattleBots lists first round matches for all 48 bots. There’s nothing official from BattleBots on these opening matches, so I’ll be referencing that thread, but it should be taken with a grain of salt, as its not an official schedule.

Blacksmith

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Weapon: Hammer/flamethrower

BattleBots history: Fought against Gemini and Basilisk in a three-bot qualifier rumble on the Gears Awaken special a month ago. Completely dominated the fight, knocking out Basilisk and then defeating Gemini on a unanimous judges decision. Builder Al Kindle has been competing for 20 years, and fought his lightweight bot Enforcer on BattleBots 2.0 in 2000.

What’s cool about it? Blacksmith has a hammer with a flamethrower inside of it. It is a hammer that spits fire. It’s pretty badass, and it’s not just for looks either. In the three-bot rumble on the Gears Awaken, Blacksmith was dominant, disabling Basilisk and smashing its flying drone to bits. In addition to the hammer, Blacksmith also showed that it can use its wedge to absorb damage from spinners and push bots around the arena.

Big question: Can Blacksmith keep opposing bots in front of it? Blacksmith has potential, but it’s going to come down to how well Kindle can drive it. In the rumble Blacksmith was able to stay on the offensive and keep its wedge aimed towards Gemini’s spinners. The wedge can deflect a lot of that damage, but if a bot with a powerful spinner is able to land a big hit to those upright sides of Blacksmith then its going to take the full force of the impact.

First round opponent: Bronco

Prediction: Blacksmith really has some tough luck, drawing Bronco, one of the favorites from last season in its opening fight. Bronco is going to try to get around Blacksmith’s wedge and launch it from the side or rear, and I have trouble seeing how Blacksmith can really do a lot of damage to Bronco. It would be an upset for Blacksmith to come out on top, but perhaps it can put together a strong enough showing to earn a wild card berth into the next round. Blacksmith is not a pushover by any means, it showed that in the rumble, but I can’t see it making a deep run.

Bombshell

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Weapon: Interchangeable. Can run a configuration with an overhead axe (pictured), lifter, vertical spinner, or a horizontal bar spinner. Also features a flying drone equipped with a flamethrower.

BattleBots history: The Chaos Corps team has nine members with over 100 years of combined experience in combat robotics. These guys know what they’re doing.

What’s cool about it? This beast has four interchangeable weapon configurations. That is insane. Having different configurations isn’t particularly rare, but I can’t recall another bot that has this many. It will also be very interesting to see how the drone is utilized.

Big question: Will the interchangeable weapons be used effectively? Driving skill and robot design are obviously important, but lots of times combat robotics can be a destructive game of rock paper scissors, with certain weapon types having major advantages over others. Bombshell definitely has an advantage since it has so many different options that it can choose from depending on opponent, and making the right choices can give the Chaos Corps team a huge advantage (or disadvantage!) before a battle even begins.

First round opponent: Complete Control

Prediction: Bombshell’s first round opponent, Complete Control, is a grappler with a flamethrower. There are a few different ways that Bombshell can decide to attack it. Personally I think I’d go with the horizontal bar spinner and try to just rip straight through it, but I can also see Bombshell having success with almost any of its configurations. I’d call Bombshell the favorite for its first round fight, and while I’m not sure if it can win the entire competition, a run to the quarterfinals or further would not surprise me. Bombshell has a real shot to make some noise.

Bucktooth Burl

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Weapon: Drum spinner

BattleBots history: None, but according to the bot’s website team member Albert La competed in RoboGames 2015.

What’s cool about it? I initially groaned when first looking at Bucktooth Burl, because it looks like a gimmick bot that’ll get ripped to shreds, but remove the top and you can see what this thing is packing underneath.

bucktoothburl_bot2016-1140x602

The drum is small, but it at least looks more intimidating than the first picture. According to team captain Julia Chernushevich, it spins at about 2,800 RPM. For perspective, last season Witch Doctor was spinning at about 2,100 RPM. It should be able to pack a punch.

Big question: Can it land clean hits with its drum? A bot like Witch Doctor works because it uses its wedge to ram bots and lead them into its spinning drum. Bucktooth Burl doesn’t have the wedge, so it’s going to ram, land a hit, and then probably launch itself back in the process, and without the wedge the hits probably won’t be as clean or powerful.

First round opponent: Chrome Fly

Prediction: This is going to be a really tough fight for Bucktooth. Chrome Fly has two horizontal spinners, one in the front and one in the back, and that’s going to make it hard for Bucktooth Burl to get in and get a hit on its body. Additionally, Burl seems to be a little on the small side, and the spinners could do some real damage to it. It would not surprise me at all to see Bucktooth Burl’s fights be fun, but those fights may be few.

NEXT TIME ON BATTLEBLOGS

Previews for Bronco, Captain Shrederator, and Chomp.

All images provided by battlebots.com

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