Four fights, four knockouts. BattleBots finally returned after a one-week hiatus (Thanks, Obama), and all four fights ended pretty darn quickly. They were quick, but that’s not to say they were boring. We saw upsets. We saw Tombstone. We saw Son of Whyachi fly across the BattleBox like a damn helicopter.
I’m feeling a lot less lazy than I was at this time two weeks ago, so let’s get to recapping.
Complete Control (10) vs. Warhead (23)
This fight got insane levels of hype leading up to the episode airing. While the actual fight wasn’t as great as I hoped for, considering the expectations, it was crazy thrilling. Warhead went with the spinner attachment instead of the dinosaur head chomper we saw against Obwalden Overlord, and immediately put a large gash in the side of Complete Control. After that, it seemed like both bots suffered some major damage to their drive train on one side. They just drove around in circles for a couple dozen seconds. It was certainly bizarre, but I watched thinking “This is it? This is what got all the hype?”
Nope. That wasn’t it.
Warhead then starts wobbling out of control, eventually flipping over onto its back after another hit. For a second I thought it looked like a double knockout. What happens in a double knockout? …I have no idea. It goes to the judges I guess? I want to see this happen. BUT REGARDLESS, Warhead then somehow stands totally upside down on its spinner, and proceeds to handstand across the arena and deliver an upside down killshot. YO, WTF.
Somewhere in all this madness Complete Control started burning like a bonfire, or some sort of ritualistic wooden effigy. It was wild. Best fight ever? No. Wildest? It’s probably up there.
Razorback (15) vs. Ghost Raptor (18)
Ghost Raptor just might be the most hated bot of the ABC era. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a Ghost Raptor fan. I’ve seen about a million Ghost Raptor haters. Hell, I’m a Ghost Raptor hater. The engineering is impressive, but hey, if the bot sucks then the bot sucks, and this one totally sucks.
Razorback on the other hand looked thoroughly unimpressive in its controversial judge’s decision over SawBlaze. It was bossed around almost the whole fight, and advanced just because BattleBots has decided that if you don’t use your active weapon you can’t win. Which is fine, by the way, as long as the rules are clear and they’re consistent with it, but that’s a whole discussion for a different day. We saw Razorback’s drum spinner in that fight. This time it went with a clamper.
Razorback’s team had a plan going into this fight, and seemingly everything went right. Razorback barreled straight for Ghost Raptor, trying to initiate contact before the spinner could get up to speed. It worked, and Razorback delivered a few smaller hits to keep the spinner from ever really accelerating to a meaningful speed. Razorback then clamped onto Ghost Raptor’s blade and SUPLEXED IT.
— BattleBots on ABC (@BattleBotsABC) July 22, 2016
Check the gif in the tweet. I can’t figure out how to save just the gif from Twitter and embed it here. I am bad at this blogging thing. How do I have readers? Anyway, the robot fighting… Razorback totally dominated the rest of the fight. Ghost Raptor spent most of it on its back. It was wonderful.
Tombstone (1) vs. Escape Velocity (32)
In the bot intros Faruq said that Escape Velocity was coming for Uranus. That was without a doubt the highlight of this one. An honorable mention goes to the guy on Reddit that called Escape Velocity “Walmart Bronco.”
There really isn’t anything to talk about here. Tombstone did Tombstone things and won by knockout. I do want to give Escape Velocity some credit for not getting tossed around the BattleBox. It just kinda had its armor shredded and then it lost power. Now honestly there’s a good chance this has to do with Ray Billings playing nice and going in for soft, safe shots rather than the flashy kill, but still. Good on you Escape Velocity.
Son of Whyachi (6) vs. Poison Arrow (27)
I put Son of Whyachi in my bracket, but the more I thought about this fight the more I liked Poison Arrow as an upset pick. Drums match up well with horizontal spinners, and if Poison Arrow could take a hit then I thought it had a shot. Well, it turns out it can take a hit.
Poison Arrow darted off to the side, launched a mini bot into a wall, then went straight at Whyachi, took a hit, went in for one more, and launched Son of Whyachi into outer space. Instant knockout.
— BattleBots on ABC (@BattleBotsABC) July 22, 2016
A BattleBots legend basically got one hit KO’d. The knockout hit was the best part of this, but a close second is the reaction of the Poison Arrow team after the fight. They were hyped. I’m not going to say that they thought they were going to lose because I have no way of knowing that, but they certainly didn’t expect to win like this.
Did we learn anything new this episode?
We learned at least two things.
First, Razorback is better than I previously thought. It looked fantastic against Ghost Raptor, and the clamper attachment in particular looked deadly. It was in total control of the fight. Now, there is some bad news: Razorback has to fight Bronco in the round of 16. Yikes. I’m not writing off Razorback entirely, but the odds are not looking good.
The second thing is that Poison Arrow might be the real deal. I don’t want to get too carried away, because I feel like it had a terrific match up against Son of Whyachi, but when I watched this fight my takeaway was similar to Witch Doctor vs. Tombstone last season. Up until that fight Witch Doctor didn’t have much of a following and wasn’t regarded all that highly. If I remember correctly a lot of people were even upset about it receiving a wildcard after being knocked out by Bronco. That all changed with the Tombstone fight. Witch Doctor ended up losing, but it put a beating on Tombstone, breaking off its blade, and it almost definitely would have won if it wasn’t flipped over and knocked out by the hit that snapped Tombstone’s spinner. Witch Doctor became almost an instant fan favorite after that moment.
Will Poison Arrow experience something similar? Who knows, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It just took out one of the most famous bots of all-time in spectacular fashion, and with Witch Doctor being upset by Red Devil in the last episode, it’s not that hard to envision Poison Arrow making a run all the way to the semifinals.
Bracket Challenge Update
There were a few upsets this episode, and the brackets do not look pretty. @RockWigsnatch was the only person to predict all four fights correctly, and Personizzle was the only one to get three out of four right. The good news is that nobody really suffered any long term damage. Everybody still has their final four intact (Except me, since I picked Witch Doctor to win it all…)
Here’s the updated standings, and if you want to look at everyone’s brackets you can find that here.