Today we pass the halfway point on previewing the bots that will be featured in the BattleBots two-hour premiere on June 23rd, which is just five days away. Wow we are really behind on this.
Weapon: Launcher and full body spinner
BattleBots history: None
What’s cool about it? If you think that the team behind Escape Velocity looks like a bunch of NASA nerds, that’s because the the team is mainly comprised of aerospace engineers, and builder Raymond Barsa is a manufacturing engineer at SpaceX, so that’s pretty damn cool.
Big question: Escape Velocity is two bots of about equal weight. As Gemini and Creepy Crawlies showed in the preview episode, these bots have some trouble sometimes. The big question is can Escape Velocity avoid getting bullied around the BattleBox by heavier robots? I’m inclined to say no, since the bots its facing are going to weigh about twice as much as it does, and that’s just a massive disadvantage, no matter what kind of engineering you have behind your bot.
First round opponent: Overdrive 2.0
Prediction: Overdrive 2.0 is one of my favorite bots in the field, and that vertical spinner can cause all sorts of problems against a lightweight bot like Escape Velocity. Barring any kind of mechanical problems from Overdrive, I can’t see Escape Velocity coming away with a win, and even if it does the lack of weight will just be too much of a problem in future fights for it to have any real shot of advancing.
Weapon: Drum spinner
BattleBots history: Competed last season, winning its first fight against Mohawk before being eliminated by the eventual champion, Bite Force. Members of the Hypershock team previously competed in earlier seasons of BattleBots with bots SpiderPig, El Cholo, and Fluffy DeLarge.
What’s cool about it? It’s got some new lifting arms it can use not only as a weapon, but also to right itself if it gets flipped. Check out this video from their Facebook page. Hypershock didn’t have this last year, and it’s a nice addition that could end up making a difference.
Big question: Is it going to get its wheels shredded? The version of Hypershock from last season had its wheels well protected, but that feature is totally absent this time around. The team has to be confident in its driving abilities to keep spinners in front of it, because otherwise those wheels are going to get ripped up and cause some major problems.
First round opponent: Ultraviolent
Prediction: Ultraviolent looked unimpressive in its rumble in the preview episode, which it lost, so everybody is a little confused why it ended up advancing anyway. I guess we’ll find out later, but regardless, it did not look very good, and I don’t think Hypershock will have much trouble with it. I don’t think Hypershock is one of the elite robots this year, but it very well could be in that second tier that can make a deep run.
Weapon: Horizontal bar spinner
BattleBots history: Icewave fought last season, winning its first two fights before falling to Ghost Raptor. Builder Marc DeVidts also previously competed in earlier seasons of BattleBots with multiple different robots.
What’s cool about it? Icewave seems to mostly be the same robot that it was last season, so there’s not much new here. What was cool about Icewave last year was how destructive it can be when it lands a hit with the spinner at top speed, but it can’t match the power of other similar bots, such as Tombstone. If the spinner takes damage it can also use its wedge to turn into a powerful push bot.
Big question: Can it avoid getting flipped over? That’s the big concern with Icewave, and it’s the reason why it was eliminated last season.
Ghost Raptor was able to flip it over very quickly, and once that happens there’s just nothing that Icewave can do, and I don’t see anything about this year’s design that will solve that problem.
First round opponent: SubZero
Prediction: In Icewave’s very first fight it has to go against a launcher that could flip it right over. That’s not good. When Icewave debuted against Razorback last season it looked really strong, but it since got exposed, having some major weaknesses, and I just don’t see how those weaknesses have been resolved. Icewave could exit early this season.
BattleBots history: No BattleBots experience, but the team has built a reputation at Robogames, with builder Mark Demers going undefeated in five consecutive years with super heavyweight Ziggy. Driver Gary Gin has also taken first place at Robogames six times, so this is a team with a lot of experience.
What’s cool about it? The coolest part about it is just the experience behind the team. At first I wasn’t crazy about the design, but after looking at the team’s experience it’s hard to imagine it not being good. According to Cathalised’s excellent bot preview at /r/BattleBots, the launcher also fires at 450psi and 20,000 pounds of force. Lucky doesn’t look like much, but it’s powerful.
Big question: How strong is the armor? That’s really my only concern here. I’m sure the bot is stronger than it looks, but it looks like something that would crumble after a decent hit.
First round opponent: BETA
Prediction: I don’t even know how to predict this first round matchup other than saying it’s guaranteed to be a ton of fun, and the loser has a great shot of earning a wildcard berth to the next round. Lucky seems like the real deal, and it making a deep run would not surprise me.