The season premiere is just one day away, and there’s still seven bots to preview. I don’t have time to do previews quite as in-depth as usual for all seven, so it’s time for the LIGHTNING ROUND. The format is still mostly the same, but I’ve combined the “What’s cool about it?” and “Big question” sections under one “Quick comments/concerns” label, and the overall previews might be a little more concise than usual.
BattleBots history: Dominated Captain Shrederator and Warhead last season before being knocked out by Bronco in the quarterfinals. Also competed in 2009, going 2-2. Sister bot Sewer Snake never competed in BattleBots, but is one of the most successful heavyweight bots ever built.
Quick comments/concerns: Stinger appears to be the same bot that it was last season. It would’ve been nice to see some innovation, but considering all of Sewer Snake’s success and the fact that Stinger was only eliminated by being flipped entirely outside of the arena last season, it probably wasn’t necessary.
First round opponent: Nightmare
Prediction: Stinger vs. Nightmare is going to be an insanely fun fight, with both bots being legends in the sport, but Stinger will win, without a doubt. Stinger is built to destroy spinners, and Nightmare should be no different. Stinger is fully capable of winning the championship this season.
BattleBots history: Old version of the bot competed in 2004 and 2009, holding a record of 5-4. The team behind SubZero has also previously competed with several different bots.
Quick comments/concerns: SubZero will be able to take spinners head on and is also equipped with a beast of launcher. Check out this video of the old SubZero’s flipping power.
First round opponent: Icewave
Prediction: As long as SubZero keeps its wedge aimed at Icewave then I doubt it will lose. I don’t know if SubZero can win it all, but it is definitely capable of advancing to at least the round of 16.
Weapon: Horizontal bar spinner
BattleBots history: Won a championship in 2004, and advanced all the way to the finals last season, where it lost to Bite Force. Builder Ray Billings has built several variations of the bot, with Last Rites being the most famous.
Quick comments/concerns: Everybody knows what to expect with Tombstone, and after its showing last year it is considered the favorite by a lot of people. It’s undoubtedly an incredible bot, but I’m not as high on it as others. It totally dominated its first two fights last season, but Radioactive was a joke and Counter Revolution wasn’t much better. The overall field is much stronger this season. Additionally, some of Tombstone’s flaws were majorly exposed in fights against Witch Doctor and Bite Force.
If Tombstone isn’t able to immediately cut through the other bot’s armor then it’s in trouble. The longer a fight drags on, the more likely it is to destroy itself.
Against Witch Doctor, Tombstone got really lucky. It was unable to do major damage with its blade, and its spinner actually got ripped off at one point. Luckily for Tombstone, it immobilized Witch Doctor on that very same hit. If not for that, it most likely loses. Tombstone can win this tournament, but it needs to end its fights quickly.
First round opponent: Black Ice
Prediction: Black Ice has no shot. None. Tombstone is capable of winning it all, but an early exit from the knockout stages of the tournament wouldn’t shock me. Matchups are going to be key, and with a much stronger field this season a return to the finals is far from a guarantee.
Weapon: Horizontal bar spinner/Launcher
BattleBots history: The team previously fought in three seasons of BattleBots with Techno Destructo, advancing to the quarterfinals twice and compiling a record of 6-3.
Quick comments/concerns: At first glance this looks like Tombstone, but instead of using the spinner Ultimo Destructo can also equip a launcher, as seen in the next picture.
My biggest concerns for Ultimo Destructo are how lightly armored it is. A decent hit could completely wreck it.
First round opponent: The Ringmaster
Prediction: Defense is my biggest concern, and The Ringmaster is one of the more destructive bots in the field. That’s a dangerous combination. Even if Ultimo emerges victorious, it’s only a matter of time until somebody takes advantage of its lack of armor.
BattleBots history: The team fought Titanium Joe in the lightweight division in BattleBots 5.0. Ultraviolent already fought against Son of Whyachi and Creepy Crawlies in a three-bot rumble on the Gears Awaken special and lost.
Quick comments/concerns: I already watched Ultraviolent in its rumble on the preview episode, and I have seen enough. I’m sure that it’s not nearly as bad as it was in that fight, considering it was basically motionless, but it’s not going to be able to stack up to the other bots in this deep field.
First round opponent: Hypershock
Prediction: Hypershock is just a better bot. Ultraviolent loses in the first round.
Weapon: I’m just gonna copy this from the BattleBots website, since the entry is, uh, interesting: “Articulated Drum Spinner with Lifting Arms & Tail and Chewing, tearing, biting dinosaur head of doom… It’s the Warhead evilution”
BattleBots history: Warhead advanced to the quarterfinals in BattleBots 5.0, and went 0-2 last season with losses to Bite Force and Stinger. The team behind Warhead has been incredibly successful in the past, winning two Robot Wars championships with Razer.
Quick comments/concerns: Warhead can take two forms this year. It can have a spinning disc similar to last season, or it can be this giant dinosaur chomping thing. I’m a little higher on Warhead this season, since it can now adapt to its opponent, and last season it caught a really tough break with the matchups, drawing two of the best bots in the tournament which also happened to excel against spinners.
First round opponent: Obwalden Overlord
Prediction: I don’t see Warhead as a bot that can win this tournament, but it’s certainly improved, and it can certainly beat Obwalden Overlord at the least. After that, I can see it winning at least one, maybe two more fights, depending on opponent.
Weapon: Full body spinner, lifter, flame throwing drone.
BattleBots history: Defeated Nightmare last season before falling in the next round to Ghost Raptor. A previous version of the bot named Warrior held a career record of 4-3, competing in BattleBots 5.0 and the 2004 charity event. Warrior Clan is also a Team Whyachi bot, so the experience speaks for itself.
Quick comments/concerns: My concerns mostly lie in how much damage can Warrior Clan actually dish out? It looked impressive against Nightmare last season, but that was kind of an ideal matchup for it, and it looked poor vs. Ghost Raptor.
First round opponent: Splatter
Prediction: I can’t get a good read on this matchup. I think I give the slight edge to Warrior Clan, but I won’t be shocked by any result. After that, I don’t like Warrior Clan’s chances of making a run.