BattleBots Week 5 – aka the quarterfinals. As always, Anton Olsen and Kishore Hari are here to breakdown the best bouts, worst moments, and everything in between. Spoilers galore, so just watch the embed bouts below before reading the commentary.
Kishore Hari: This week is why I watch BattleBots. What an epic week of battles and upsets. Plus, I finally spotted the drone in the arena that I’d been hearing about.
Anton Olsen: The payoff arrived, and it did so in spades. Four great matches with 8 of the baddest bots this season.
Match #1: Stinger vs Bronco
Bronco wins with a KO
AO: I honestly thought this match could go either way, and Stinger was extremely close to pushing Bronco out of the arena. In the end it was the extreme energy of Bronco’s weapon that repeatedly kicked Stinger into the air then out of the arena. It was hard to tell from the camera angle, but I’m pretty sure that Stinger bounced off the ceiling a couple times.
KH: I called the upset, but who the hell cares? The look on the guy’s face in the crowd when Stinger goes out in a blaze of flipping glory is FANTASTIC (zoom in and pause – worth it). Stinger actually had the early advantage, after Bronco launched itself on top of the screws for the most fantastically bizarre driving expedition. Moments later, the killsaws also got Bronco across the bottom, but that only caused minimal damage to their solid bottom plate. Stinger used the flame many times, but there really isn’t much exposed on Bronco, so it was ineffective. It was delightful watching that mass of metal and fire almost bounce off the ceiling as Bronco finishes the match with two unbelievable flips. I rewatched the fight at least 4 times.
Full marks to Stinger – it made Bronco miss many times, but the bull caught the bullfighter. Could Bronco have run out of flips? Unlikely, given Broncos amazing innards – that’s (2) 415ci carbon fiber tanks. We wouldn’t see an explosion if they ruptured, but would be amazing to watch them vent in a battle with a spinner.
And I loved Matt Maxham’s post-fight respect for losing to a great bot – a class act.
Match #2: Tombstone vs Witch Doctor
Tombstone wins by a TKO.
AO: This was another match that could have gone either direction, but Witch Doctor had the unfortunate luck of landing in the one position he couldn’t right himself. If Witch Doctor had landed on their wheels, Tombstone, with his broken weapon, would very likely have lost that match. We’ve started out the episode with two great matches, can the next two hold up?
KH: Brilliant match – Witch Doctor had no bot luck, as it deserved to win. I physically winced when these bots came together. Witch Doctor brilliantly added a wedge that, when combined with their bottom-weighted vehicle, seemed to channel all the energy from Tombstone effectively. Tombstone drove most of the match upside down after those early collisions – but never backed down. I thought Ray would try to outmaneuver to get at WD’s wheels, but forget strategy – this is TV! One spectacular last collision sheared Tombstone’s blade (that must have left a MASSIVE mark in the 1/4″ Lexan), but left WD helpless.
Poor Shaman. My favorite bot of the tournament was out before we got started. We never got to see you get obliterated by Tombstone in the fireball of glory you deserved.
Match #3: Bite Force vs Overhaul
Bite Force Wins by judges’ decision.
AO: I’d hate to be a judge on this match. There was a lot of back and forth with both bots getting a lot of hits on the other. I do think that Bite Force did a little more damage and may have had an extra hit or two, but it was close, and a lot of fun.
KH: Technical match from start to end as these bots had virtually identical weapons/strategies. Bite Force seemed to have more push (magnetic treads?) early in the match. Mid-match was about spinning into hazards to no avail. Suddenly, Overhaul gets bites into their tread and gets two big hits, but runs out of time before producing a KO.
The judges coming into the arena to survey the damage was a nice touch. I’m not sure Chobot was expecting to wear 4-inch heels into the arena with lots of gaps, holes, and saws, but she embraced it. In the end, the judges got it right – BF deserved the win, but just barely. I’ll miss those MIT brats.
Match #4: Ice Wave vs Ghost Raptor
Ghost Raptor wins with a KO
AO: Going into this match I fully expected to see Ice Wave tear through Ghost Raptor, but that heavily armored wedge on the front was solid GR. It turned Ice Wave’s energy back on himself and destroyed him. The De-Icer was genius and despite the difficulties they had helped keep Ice Wave at bay. I’m sure the extra mass on the end of the arm helped deflect some of the energy back at Ice Wave.
KH: “That’s how they play the game.” What an unbelievable upset. No weapon – so what do you do? Weld together a robot headband of course. Why Icewave drove right into it, we’ll never know. It was a huge mistake as the rear was completely vulnerable. IW gets a little unbalanced on the wedge – followed by big hit = game over.
Did Chuck really say “You’re mine, b—h” during the match? He has quickly assumed the heel role in the tournament, but somehow survives.
Semifinals and Finals
Bronco vs Tombstone
AO: This the match I’ve been waiting for. When we first met the bots on the Tested channel I was hoping they would end up on opposite sides of the bracket and meet in the finals. I’m more than satisfied with this arrangement though.
KH: De facto final, as I can’t see BF or GR handling either. It’s that match we wanted from moment one. I think Bronco is going to flip Tombstone and we’ll see some robot flight. It’ll be an instant classic.
Bite Force vs Ghost Raptor
AO: Can the clever engineering of Bite Force overcome the seat-of-the-pants ingenuity of Ghost Raptor? I think so, but not by a lot. Ghost Raptor hits hard and fast with that heavy wedge. If he can get Bite Force’s magnets off the floor he could rule the match.
KH: I think Bite Force wins this easily. Ghost Raptor is a mess of parts now. I don’t think he can handle BF’s maneuverability. In the end, I expect a lift that overturns GR for the win.
AO: There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be interesting. Left versus Right. If Bronco advances I think he will win the championship. If Tombstone advances it will depend greatly on who comes up on the left. Ghost Raptor can handle a blade, but can he out-drive Tombstone? As for Bite Force, if he advances I can’t really see him winning, but it will still be an exciting match.
KH: I think the finals will be a letdown from the semis. I expect a quick match with either Bronco or Tombstone dominating. My money is on Bronco flipping a hapless victim over the hazard for a quick win. Well-deserved one too.