BattleBots 9/1/16 Recap: Tombstone Hoists Giant Nut After Halting Bombshell’s Surprise Run

With the Round of 16 just wrapping up last week, it feels weird for this to be season finale of BattleBots, but with a two-hour special set to wrap things up prior to the start of Thursday night football next week the end is already upon us.

This final episode flew through the quarterfinals, semis, championship, and of course a rumble for good measure, so for one last time this season let’s break down all of the action:

Quarterfinals

BETA (9) vs. Tombstone (1)

There are only a small handful of robots in the field that make me nervous about Tombstone’s chances, but BETA might be the one that scares me the most. As we saw when BETA’s brother Terrorhurtz fought Cobalt Carbide in the first episode of this season’s Robot Wars series, BETA’s wedge design is able to take a beating from powerful spinners. If BETA could take the hits and then bring down the hammer on top of Tombstone, I felt like it had a legit shot at the win.

After being put to the test, BETA halfway worked. In the first half of the fight Tombstone kept delivering hits to BETA’s armored wedge to no effect. A couple even backfired and sent Tombstone recoiling, and BETA was in control of the fight. BETA was able to push and pin Tombstone, but somewhere along the way the hammer sustained some damage, because it wasn’t firing at all.

That already was a major cause for concern, since under this season’s judging criteria Tombstone would likely be awarded the victory, but all doubts were erased when Tombstone ripped a support for BETA’s hammer off, causing the weapon to fall. It was actually a bit of luck for Tombstone, since it was only able to reach the hammer support due to Tombstone being flipped over, causing its spinner to reach higher than normal. The fight went to judges decision, but with the hammer totally disabled it was a relatively easy call, and Tombstone won a unanimous judges decision.

Chomp (13) vs. Yeti (12)

In last week’s BattleBots Update Chomp was compared to a Street Fighter player that just mashes all of the buttons. This might be one of the most accurate comparisons I’ve ever come across. Chomp has of course had a few moments where its auto-targeting system paid off, such as last week when it snapped the weapon chain clean off of Bite Force on its very first attempt, but most of the time it just breakdances across the BattleBox and ends up with a victory on the grounds of being basically indestructible.

That indestructibility was put to the test in the quarterfinals against Yeti, which has inexplicably trashed everything its come into contact with. Almost nobody thought Yeti would be great. Hell, even the team openly admitted they didn’t expect this, yet here we are.

Yeti took the fight to Chomp, flipping it over several times, but that’s not anything new for Chomp. What is new, however, is that one of Chomp’s “wings” got detached. The wings are mostly used to aid in self-righting, and considering Chomp is a robot that spends half of its time tipped over, this is a big problem. Yeti kept up the attack, and eventually Chomp was knocked over and finally knocked out for good.

What surprised me most about this fight was how well Yeti withstood the strikes from Chomp’s ax. Yeti has been the self-proclaimed “all offense, no defense” bot of the season, but it didn’t suffer much noticeable damage despite taking multiple clean hits, including one which appeared to strike one of the wheels directly.

Bronco (2) vs. Minotaur (7)

I felt like Bronco’s only chance to win this was to get underneath Minotaur and flip it out of the arena, and it had to do it early on because otherwise Minotaur was going to rip it to shreds.

And rip it to shreds it did.

Bronco started this fight with six wheels. It finished it with zero. This was beautiful.

I give Bronco credit for actually being aggressive in this fight, which we haven’t really seen since it met Blacksmith in the qualifiers. What I don’t give the Bronco team credit for is the decision to use the rear wedge instead of the wheel guards. The wedge makes since if you’re going to use it defensively, but Bronco didn’t fight defensively at all as it had in its last few fights. Considering that they didn’t even use the wedge, the wheel guards would’ve been a much better choice, and I swear, I’m totally not just saying this because I just witnessed all six of its wheels end up in difference sections of the arena.

Last year Bronco had four wheels and lost after it got them shredded by Tombstone. This year it had six and Minotaur ripped those to pieces. So in Season 3… Eight-wheeled Bronco? Let’s do it.

Bombshell (19) vs. Poison Arrow (27)

In Bombshell’s last fight it used its vertical spinner for the first time and it broke after the initial impact, but the bot was still able to earn a decision over Red Devil thanks to some excellent driving skills. This time they elected to go with the spinner once again as they fought Minotaur-lite.

This time the vertical disc survived the entire duration of the fight, and it might be the modular bot’s best weapon yet. By itself the spinner wouldn’t be nearly as effective, but when coupled with the wedge the team puts under it Bombshell becomes an absolute drum killer.

The wedge kept Poison Arrow from really being able to attack Bombshell from the front. Bombshell used this to its advantage and went on the offensive, tossing Poison Arrow around and eventually knocking it upright against the arena wall. Poison Arrow sacrificed its drone in an attempt to free itself, but then Bombshell gave Poison Arrow a tap right before it was counted out for a knockout, and then proceeded to kick its ass for about 45 more seconds before launching it over the screws, knocking it out for real this time.

This fight was awesome, and if the Bombshell and the Near Chaos Robotics team didn’t have fans before then I’m sure they do now.

Semifinals

Tombstone (1) vs. Yeti (12)

This felt like a fight that Yeti had no chance in. Surely Yeti’s lack of any defense at all would finally come back to bite it here, against what is in all likelihood the most destructive bot ever built. Ray Billings also attached his longest blade yet onto Tombstone, to squash any hopes Yeti might’ve had of circling around the blade and taking out Tombstone’s wheels.

So with everything working against Yeti on paper, Tombstone’s blade is disabled after about 30 seconds when its chain fell off. It did damage to one of Yeti’s wheels and tore off another, but Tombstone is a bot that is built entirely around its weapon. When a lot of bots weapons’ break they’re still able to control matches by pushing the other bot around the arena, but Tombstone’s design doesn’t really allow it to do this.

HOWEVER, because Ray Billings is a god and also apparently one of the luckiest SOBs on this show, Yeti’s drum stopped working too. Tombstone was able to avoid being pushed around by Yeti, and somehow also detached what was left of one of Yeti’s previously damaged wheels, scoring even more damage despite having no weapon and no real pushing ability.

Tombstone earned a unanimous judges decision. Bow before Ray Billings.

Minotaur (7) vs. Bombshell (19)

Minotaur has looked unbeatable throughout this tournament, but it was during Bombshell’s fight with Poison Arrow that a loss finally seemed possible. Poison Arrow is basically just a weaker Minotaur, and the design of Bombshell’s wedge/vert spinner combo rendered it totally useless.

There was no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be the case with Minotaur, and for perhaps the only time in this entire episode, things went almost exactly as I thought. Bombshell was mostly able to keep Minotaur in front of it, leaving Minotaur unable to do any damage. There was one scary moment where Minotaur got a clean hit on Bombshell’s side armor, ripping it clean off, but Bombshell was able to take the hit and then go on the offensive.

Bombshell landed a hit with its vertical disc that sent Minotaur flying, and when it landed its drive on one side was disabled. From this point it was only a matter of time until Bombshell finished things off, and after a couple more hits Minotaur was unable to move and counted out, putting Bombshell in the final after a massive upset.

Finals

Tombstone (1) vs. Bombshell (19)

Tombstone is a bot that most expected would make the final. Bombshell is one that almost nobody saw coming.

With Bombshell rocking the vertical spinner in three straight fights you might expect that it would’ve done the same against Tombstone, but instead it opted for the adjustable horizontal bar spinner. At first this doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. It’s not the worst option Bombshell could’ve opted for (that honor belongs to the ax it used in its qualifying loss vs. Complete Control), but Tombstone’s horizontal spinner is the best in the world, and Bombshell’s simply can’t compete with that.

The Near Chaos Robotics team did have a strategy though. Tombstone’s weapon chain is slightly exposed just above the blade, and the idea was to raise Bombshell’s spinner to just the right height to connect with the chain and disable Tombstone’s weapon.

It’s a high risk, high reward move. Pull it off and you’re a genius, miss and you get eviscerated almost instantly. Well… the latter is what ended up happening. Bombshell was unable to damage the chain, and Tombstone followed up and delivered the KO.

This final was over very quickly, but the best part? THE RETURN OF RAY KILLINGS.

Last season when Ray was playing more of the villain he’d shatter the hopes, dreams, and internal organs of opposing bots long after they were already disabled, but not before first looking at his opponents and saying, “Want more?” It was amazing.

Ray hadn’t done this at all this season, possibly because he accidentally spilled his bot’s guts doing it to Bronco in the semifinals last year. But now, with the championship in the bag, Ray looked at the disheartened Bombshell team and spoke the magic words: “YOU WANT SOME MORE?” *SMASH* Bombshell torn to pieces.

God bless you, Ray Killings. Enjoy your Giant Nut.

Rumble

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It wouldn’t be BattleBots without a rumble in the final episode, and we were treated to a great one tonight. It was a battle of vertical spinners with Wrecks, last year’s champion Bite Force, and my personal favorite, Witch Doctor.

Witch Doctor is one of my all-time favorite bots, but I barely even saw anything that it did in the first minute of the fight because I was so transfixed with Wrecks. Wrecks has one of the strongest weapons in the whole tournament, and watching that bot is an absolute thrill. With its unpredictable movement you have no idea what’s going to happen, but something is going to happen, and it’s guaranteed to be pretty entertaining.

Tonight, that something was finally something good. Witch Doctor and Bite Force were going at each other for the full first minute, but Wrecks was slowly, so slowly, waddling its way over. It finally had its moment of glory when Bite Force launched Witch Doctor back a couple of feet, sending it straight into Wrecks who sent Witch Doctor skyward, eventually landing outside of the inner arena walls and up against the glass.

Unfortunately for Wrecks, it now had to face a bot that was actually focusing all of its attention on it, and as we’ve seen in Wrecks fights over the last two seasons, this doesn’t tend to go too well. Bite Force sent Wrecks hurtling towards the wall, and when it came falling back white smoke started spewing everywhere out of Wrecks. Wrecks kept (trying) to waddle on, but the ref counted it out. Wrecks was actually still moving, but I think the ref may have been confused. It’s hard to fault him though, since Wrecks movement doesn’t always really look like movement.

I really hope Wrecks returns, because the weapon is so powerful that it has to win a fight by accident at some point, and it’s going to be amazing when it does. Also, this fight made me wonder what could’ve been if Bite Force didn’t have so many reliability issues with its weapon this season, because it worked amazingly well in this rumble.

Bracket Challenge

With this season of BattleBots coming to an end, so too does our bracket challenge. This week quarterfinal matches were worth 40 points, semifinals 80 points, and the championship a whopping 160. As always, you can go here to look at everyone’s brackets. Here’s the final standings:

Capture

Personizzle not only predicted the outcomes of both the semifinals and finals correctly, but he also had seven of eight of the right bots in the quarterfinals. That’s absurdly good. RockWigsnatch was the only other player to pick Tombstone as the correct champion. As for the rest of us… well, we’re not so good at this.

What’s Next on BattleBlogs?

With both BattleBots and Robot Wars (I know, I slacked off on this one… oh well) seasons now in the books, there won’t be nearly as much content to cover, but this site won’t be going totally dark. I’m going to be at Dragon Con this weekend competing with my antweight on Sunday and watching the 12 and 30 pounders on Monday, and I plan on doing some sort of running diary type post of my weekend there.

After that, posts will definitely be more infrequent, but I’ll try to come up with some things here and there. Thanks to everyone who read this site throughout the season, and I hope that you’ll stick around for whatever I have planned in the future.

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3 thoughts on “BattleBots 9/1/16 Recap: Tombstone Hoists Giant Nut After Halting Bombshell’s Surprise Run

  1. I’ll probably be posting a breakdown on Reddit later of how I formed my predictions. Amazing how much some logic, and reading deeply into trailers can get you. I was reasonably confident in my final four, and saw the final three battles as a complete crapshoot — got crazy lucky there.

    Like

    • I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that. Nailing seven of the eight bots in the quarterfinals is crazy, but I never even thought of reading into the trailers. That was a good idea. I usually try to avoid most of those.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Short version: I knew Stinger, Bite Force, and Witch Doctor had early exits (at least pre-semis), because clips of them in three way rumbles or matchups with teams from the opposite side of the bracket which didn’t make any sense as a final were used in ads or pre-episode clip shows. Rumbles are used as time-fillers between matches during the last few rounds, and typically give bots that exit early another chance to play in the box. I also had hunches on whether or not certain bots lost to a destructive spinner, based on post-filming pictures of the bots that surfaced and their damage, or lack thereof. All that, plus a general sense of how combat works and focusing heavily on the individual matchup dynamics over than the overall “good-ness” of the bots, and I got surprisingly close.

        Liked by 1 person

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