Robot Wars Episode 3 Recap: Flippers Dominate Spinners in Heat C

Last week’s Heat B left a bit to be desired, to put it lightly, but luckily Robot Wars was able to rebound this week with an entertaining set of fights. This heat was filled with a variety of bots, including two spinners, two high-powered flippers, and a robot made out of wood packing a petrol engine. What could go wrong?

Big Nipper

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The Big Nipper is a modular bot, featuring a lifting vertical spinning disc that can be swapped out for a pair of horizontal crushing jaws, kind of like Tough as Nails last week. In Big Nipper’s opening rumble it equipped the spinner and immediately delivered a devastating hit to Orte, which OHKO’d it instantly. Not too long after that Nipper very nearly backed itself into the pit, teetering right on the edge, but it was able to escape and advance to the group stage along with TR2.

In its first bout of the round robin stage Big Nipper faced TR2, and it swapped out the spinner for the crushing jaws. It’s a decision I cannot understand at all. The jaws appear to be strong and could perform great against smaller bots, but TR2 is so wide and bulky that there’s just nothing for Nipper to grab on to. It was unable to do any damage, and eventually it drove itself to the edge of the pit after escaping from Dead Metal, and TR2 delivered the bump to push it in for the KO.

For its remaining two fights Big Nipper switched back to the spinning disc, and it was certainly the right choice for King B Remix. King B went right for the pit activation at the start, but couldn’t do much to push Big Nipper. Nipper meanwhile wasn’t landing big flashy hits, but the spinner kept doing gradual damage until King B was rendered motionless.

Holding three points heading into its final fight, Big Nipper entered the arena against Dantomkia, with the winner earning a spot in the heat final. Dantomkia got off to a quick start, shoving Nipper right into Sir Killalot’s control zone. Killalot grabbed Nipper with its jaws and held it over the flame pit for several seconds. Even after being released, Dantomkia shoved it right back towards Killalot, who pinned Big Nipper to the wall until it got its arm stuck in the arena wall. Big Nipper got away from the knocked out house robot and survived for the full three minutes, but it was a relatively easy decision for the judges, who rewarded Dantomkia with a unanimous judges decision, knocking Big Nipper out of the tournament.

Dantomkia

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Dantomkia’s qualifying rumble featured Overdozer, Glitterbomb, and King B Remix, and Dantomkia was easily the most impressive of the bunch. It scored both knockouts in the round, shredding Overdozer and then playing with the pieces before launching Glitterbomb upside down against the arena wall.

Dantomkia’s first one-on-one match was with King B Remix, and it didn’t have much trouble. At first Dantomkia was stuck on one of the arena’s nail traps, but after breaking free it totally controlled the fight, flipping King B into the wall and wedging it upright between a side wall near a house robot control zone and an angled wall by the pit activation switch. King B couldn’t move, and Matilda came over to finish the job and flip it straight out of the arena.

For its second fight, Dantomkia met TR2 in a battle of the round robin stage’s two powerful flippers. It quickly became apparent that Dantomkia had problems getting underneath TR2’s low front wedge, and it was only able to get one good flip in as TR2 controlled the match. TR2 delivered several big flips, eventually launching Dantomkia into the arena wall. The flip caused damage to Dantomkia’s weapon, leaving it unable to self-right and counted out. Dantomkia then needed a win over Big Nipper to secure a spot in the heat final, and it dominated the fight, sending Nipper into Sir Killalot’s zone repeatedly. Dantomkia received the judges decision victory to finish with five points, second in the group.

In the heat final Dantomkia faced TR2 again for a spot in the grand finals at the end of the season. For the most part, this fight went exactly like the first one between the two robots. There was a scary moment for TR2 at the start, when it was launched by the arena flip hazard and sent towards Matilda, but it was able to recover and it was all TR2 from there. Dantomkia was once again unable to get underneath TR2 to utilize its flipper, and it once again found itself turned over and unable to self-right for a knockout, as TR2 punched its ticket to the grand finals with Carbide and Shockwave.

Glitterbomb

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This robot was definitely the guy on the back right’s idea

Despite its looks, Glitterbomb actually boasts a pretty powerful pneumatic axe, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see it in action too much. It was in the first qualifying group match with Overdozer, Dantomkia, and King B Remix. It lasted longer than Overdozer, but after a couple of hits the team said a leak caused problems with the axe, leaving the bot weaponless. Dantomkia delivered a nasty flip to overturn Glitterbomb, and without use of the axe it was unable to self-right.

King B Remix

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In every heat so far this season there’s been one robot in the group stage that seems like it doesn’t quite belong. This week, that robot was King B Remix. This one is a bit different from the likes of Nuts or Foxic, however, because I honestly think King B is a pretty good bot. It certainly didn’t put forth an embarrassing effort or anything. The driving was solid and it held up well, but King B’s big problem is that it just can’t do anything offensively. It’s “weapon” is two front spikes that it uses to ram into its opponents. It just doesn’t really do any damage.

In its qualifier it was mostly content to let Dantomkia take care of Overdozer and Glitterbomb, and when it actually had to take its opponents head on in the group stage it didn’t fare so well. Dantomkia easily flipped it out of the arena in the opener, and in its second fight it was knocked out due to some damage from Big Nipper’s spinning disc. In the final fight of the round robin stage, TR2 let Sir Killalot dish out much of the damage on King B, and then TR2 ended it with a bump into the pit, ending King B’s run with zero points and last in the table.

Orte

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Orte had potential to be a third powerful flipper to contend in this heat, but those hopes died pretty quickly after a vicious hit from Big Nipper in the qualifier. Orte was totally knocked out from that one hit, and after the fight the team said they suspect it was due to the mandatory safety link falling out, resulting in the bot shutting off.

Overdozer

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It’s a wooden robot with a petrol engine. Somebody thought this was a good idea. This one turned out exactly as most people probably expected. The drive system died within the first 20 seconds of its rumble, leaving it dead and defenseless. That didn’t stop other bots from having their fun with its lifeless corpse though, with Dantomkia in particular having its fun with flipping the wooden bot until it broke into several pieces. At least its engine didn’t blow up, I guess.

Supernova

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As one of the few horizontal spinners in Robot Wars, I had high hopes for Supernova. It looked somewhat promising to start its group fight. The spinner wasn’t doing Tombstone damage or anything, but it looked strong enough. Throughout the fight Supernova seemed to be targeting Big Nipper, the heat’s only other spinner, but once TR2 got ahold of it the problems started. Supernova very narrowly avoided the pit once, just barely turning away at the last second. It was only a temporary relief though, as it went flying off towards and into the pit after a collision with TR2. Supernova wasn’t able to advance to the group stage, but it was a respectable performance.

TR2

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In an episode (and really, a whole season/series) in which flippers were plentiful, TR2 set itself apart as the best of the bunch. It wasn’t operating at its full power in the qualifier, however. The flipping mechanism was malfunctioning, so it was basically just a wedgebot, but that didn’t stop it from taking care of Supernova and moving on to the round robins.

Perhaps the other bots would’ve had a chance if the flipper never got fixed, but the team was able to repair it in time for its first match with Big Nipper, and from that point no one else really had a chance. Dantomkia came the closest, but in both their first meeting and the rematch in the heat final the ground clearance made all the difference, with TR2 able to utilize its low wedge to boss Dantomkia around secure the Heat C title.

TR2 is the only bot this season to go undefeated in its heat and win every single fight by knockout.

Final Thoughts

My biggest takeaway from this episode is that TR2 is the real deal. It’s the best flipper we’ve seen so far this season, and it has a real shot at winning the grand final. Its wedge should allow it to avoid taking the full force from Carbide’s spinner, and it’s just a better robot than Shockwave.

Next week is the fourth of five heats before the grand final at the end of the season. We’ll see the return of a Robot Wars legend in Storm 2, as well as whatever the hell this thing called Terror Turtle is.

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