Tag Archives: Rotator

Battlebots 2019 Midseason Review

We’re halfway through the 2019 Battlebots season and man what a trip!   We ended on a high note with the crazy Desperado Tournament with Black Dragon winning against Minotaur in a Brazilian Battle for the ages!  With that said, let’s take a look at this season so far before it resumes tonight.

First, the negative.  This season has been wonderful so far but it’s bogged down by some flaws that I feel should be addressed. The biggest complaint I’m seeing, and I agree with, is the Battlebox’s floor. The infamous gash on the arena floor is so prominent that robots racing at top speed can be stopped dead in their tracks by its protrusion. It can even temporarily wedge a robot onto the ground and even stop it completely like Cobalt who was straight up destroying Duck! before dying to the arena floor. Drivers now have to plan for that dent and wedges are suddenly at a disadvantage.

On the positive side, the move to two hour episodes is very welcome and a smart choice. We now watch a steady stream of battles that give us a whole variety of robots fighting each other. We also saw a full Desperado Tournament episode which was great! They cut some of the Desperado battles from airtime last year so I’m glad they have the whole package this year (and a bonus battle with Deep Six which FINALLY made an appearance after nine episodes).

This additional air time also gives us a lot of clips and interviews on the Builders’ Floor which I always appreciate. Jenny Taft, the interviewer on the Floor, is a great conversationalist and does a good job asking questions and gleaming answers from the builders. These segments also show the work the builders go through to get their robot up and running for the next fight as well as their strategies.  One thing I would like to see more of is builders’ reactions to fights since that scene when Mammoth YEETED Axe Backwards out of the arena was hilarious! I still feel they can cut down on the pre-battle filler where we have to wait for the teams to get in place…press the button…wait some more…and finally start the battle. You could pare a lot of those segments down and squeeze in an extra battle that may not be as stellar as the other fights but still worth the watch.

The stars, the robots of course, this year have been most wonderful giving us a lot of thrilling battles that get my heart racing. While a lot of the new robots are having trouble making an impact (besides Black Dragon, of course), we do see middle-tier robots make a surprise shake up in the arena and suddenly become the buzz of the internet like Rotator and Deathroll. It is equally surprising to see high tier robots like Minotaur struggle to deliver KOs and wins that we come to expect. This gives the show a pulsing excitement that’s satisfying to watch and can keep us guessing what happens next.

We also had some great battles so I’m going to list my top four favorite 2019 battles so far and I’ll update it to a top 10 by the end of the season.

Minotaur vs. Lucky

By itself the match isn’t too special but with the story of Minotaur’s downfall this season there was A LOT hanging in the balance. A Minotaur loss would’ve spelled the end for its 2019 season career. Instead, we saw a return to form for Minotaur as it was aggressive and hit hard. I was still worried though as the smoke coming from Minotaur had me on edge as that’s never a good sign. But Minotaur prevailed and was able to beat Lucky down until it couldn’t move any more. The best match moment was when Lucky flipped itself over immediately preceding Minotaur delivering the knock out blow. Minotaur had won and although he lost the Desperado Tournament, he was back.

Rotator vs Tombstone

The 2019 season has so far, unfortunately, given us fine, but not stellar, Main Event matches as they are usually one sided and end quickly. I thought this match would be the same and boy was I wrong! Lasting 2:58 long by a KO, Rotator defeats Tombstone in a blaze of glory! Every time those bots clashed, shivers would ripple through my body! I could only imagine how much it would hurt if I got hit by one of them.

Anyway, Rotator’s plow-shape design was the surprising key that unlocked Tombstone’s defeat. Tombstone has been defeated before, sure, but not like this! The consistent hit after hit after hit was incredible, especially since Rotator’s blade was basically blown off and Tombstone could drive totally fine excluding weapon malfunctions and all. The thing that just blows me away was how long Tombstone could drive while on fire! Imagine if Rotator suddenly died and Tombstone kept going while on fire! I could honestly see that happen considering Tombstone almost went the full three minutes.

This battle shows Battlebots at its greatest. Don’t take everything for granted because the underdog might just topple a giant.

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Mammoth vs. Axe Backwards

Ever since I saw Mammoth on the Battlebots’ website I hoped and prayed that we would see this gorgeous creature launch a small robot out of the arena. And although it was more of a toss than a yeet, we got what we wanted! God, those precious moments when Axe Backwards was on the edge of the arena and barely on the screws while Mammoth was trying to push it off was so tense! And when it finally tossed Axe Backwards over I couldn’t help but cheer and holler!! Seeing this big clunky creature stumble around the arena and go at Axe Backwards was a thing of beauty.

What also makes this battle fantastic was the unique design of both robots. A typical Battlebot has a square design, with a vertical spinner, and four rubber wheels. These two robots threw that design out the window and did their own thing! Axe Backwards with its barrel-shaped design and Mammoth with its weird, Knex-like design of pipes and gears. Variety is the spice of life and this battle was most tasty.

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Deathroll vs End Game

Before this season, Deathroll was your average, middle-of-the-road robot. It was okay. Cool theme and design, but a pretty average track record. But this season has been a blessing for this robot and nowhere did we see this better than when we saw it fight End Game.

The New Zealand robot End Game was the favorite for this battle due to its past record of aggression and KOs. So imagine our surprise when Deathroll defeated it in a KO! But Deathroll winning is only half what makes this battle so entertaining. The two clashed and it was beautiful. So many delicious hits and sparks with both bots flying. Deathroll rolling around in the arena was the funniest thing this season has shown us so far! What’s funnier is that End Game was flipped over once and that was it!! It couldn’t do anything else than sit there! And when parts of the ceiling came crashing down onto the arena due to spray carnage was extra crazy! God that was great, I’m hoping Deathroll is the dark horse for this season because that would be fantastic.

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Son of Whyachi vs Whiplash

The other Main Event match that I really enjoyed was the SOW vs Whiplash battle. I love the angle the battle had; two robots representing the next generation of Battlebot competitors, sons of former builders, go head to head in a terrific clash! SOW’s rise from an okay robot to a powerhouse against relatively new but already great Whiplash made a great matchup. I was honestly torn who I should root for which made this battle extra heart-wrenching.

But man, can Whiplash take a hit! Bits and pieces of it flying over the arena made it a wounded animal desperately trying to stay alive. For a few moments, I thought Whiplash had it because it pinned SOW against the wall and almost flipped it over. But when SOW escaped I thought, man, that was it, they lost! They can’t win! But Whiplash came back and was able to cleanly flip over SOW! That was sooooo good. This was definitely worth of being a Main Event. Well done.

 

That’s all I have for now, looking forward to the rest of the season!

Reaction to Battlebots Season 2 Qualifying Rounds

Battlebots is back for season 2 and I’m glad it has returned!  This season has introduced new robots without sacrificing the quality (for the most part) of the fights.  Things are already better than the first season but first, let’s take a look at the bad.

-Once again, I have to question why some fights were relegated to the clip show while others we saw the whole thing.  Beta vs. Lucky for instance was by far the worst fight so far.  Even though the fight between Stinger and Nightmare was much shorter, I’d rather have seen that than see B v L.  Thankfully, some of the clips we saw were from fights that seemed lackluster so good call there.  Thankfully, an unedited version of the fight can be seen below.

-Continuing on from the previous complaint, why were many of the veteran robots, like Tombstone, Stinger, and the returning champion Biteforce, not given full coverage on their battles?  Again I would like to see their fights than Beta vs Lucky or Chomp vs Disc O’ Inferno.

-Nitpicking big time here but I’m disappointed in the lack of wedges and lifters.  Battlebots like Biohazard in the past would win by sheer simplicity and not by outlandish design (*cough* Ghost Raptor *cough*).  This is nitpicking though as I’d rather have a lot of launchers, clampers, and spinners than the other way around.

-Also, ABC, you REALLY, need to upload that Bronco fight on YouTube.  I would watch that fight again for sure.

That’s really it, I had a good time watching it and sure it’s corny and stupid but I love it.

One thing I have to compliment are the hosts who were the same as last year, their chemistry has really taken off and I really like the banter they give both during and in-between the fights.  I now look forward to their commentary although I still miss the interviewers from last year who were down in the pits.

Also, I’m glad that Battlebots has continued to dive into the builders’ lives and tell us who they are and how they got here.  People find them boring or pointless but I love it.  When I root for a robot, I not just want to cheer on it but the builder as well.  They struggled to get here and you really get sad when their robot gets destroyed.  My heartstrings were particularly pulled when Witch Doctor easily handled Rotator.  The backstory in Rotator was like that from a movie with the builder’s father helping him out even when he was sick.  ABC really pulled the rug under us when Rotator lost its first round (but seriously dude, even before the match I couldn’t help but comment how there were NO guards around your two wheels, not the best design choice…).

I think ABC has now wised up and are showing us backgrounds of builders even when they lose.  It keeps us guessing who will win and lose.  It’s almost like Game of Thrones how you become close to characters and are stricken with grief when they get the axe.  Now that I think about it Rotator was like Oberyn Martell when he fought the Mountain, he was gone too soon from this world.

The big thing though from this season is the introduction of not only projectiles but drones!  That’s awesome.  Unfortunately, the drones seem only mildly effective if not completely worthless.  I think the best example of this is the Complete Control vs. Bombshell where the drone just straight up crashed into the arena.  Luckily, Bombshell is still in it so hopefully it and Poison Dart can redeem drones.

One weapon that got redeemed was fire.  In the last season, fire was all bark and no bite.  Just a flashy distraction to win the audience and judges over.  The problem with fire was that it only grazed the robots and not damage it.  However, Complete Control (and Warhead) showed us that you can win purely by fire.  That was beautiful, absolutely beautiful, when Complete Control had Bombshell in the air and was burning him alive.  I think after this fight there will be more robots that will use a grab-and-burn technique since it seems to be a winning combination.  Also, Complete Control, we respect you again, welcome back.

Creativity is also overflowing big time from this season as these robots were just freaking crazy.  Walkers unfortunately were rare but that was made up by other weirdos like Razorback and Deathroll.  Obwalden vs. Warhead was particularly nuts as it was like a dragon fighting a knight.  Obwalden seriously reminded me of that one-and-done mascot that Battlebots had in season 2 called Y2K.  It’s too bad that Obwalden barely functioned but damnet I think it was awesome nonetheless.

Let’s talk about the battles, by far, the best battles came from the second episodes as you had such fights as Rotator vs. Witch Doctor, S.O.W. vs. Ghost Raptor, Burtus vs. Moebius, and Lockjaw vs. Yeti.  You had a great mixture of close calls and brutal knockouts.  However, Bronco’s fight from the first episode was great though as well as Complete Control vs. Bombshell; Minotaur’s fight was also amazing.

I already mentioned the sad fight between Beta vs. Lucky but Chomp vs. Disk O’ Inferno was also subpar as well.  The biggest fail though of the first couple of episodes was when Moebius just self-destructed big time against Brutus.  That was hilarious.  Moebius and Captain Shederator really highlight the risky nature of full body spinners.  On the one hand, they are powerful and robots have a hard time trying to hit you.  But on the other you can be extremely unstable if you aren’t built right.

Son of Whyachi had made his triumphant return as well.  The former heavyweight champion really stuck it to Ghost Raptor (which was amazing) and boasted its devastating power.  Unless something major happens to S.o.W. early on, I can easily imagine him going far.

Finally, the best fight of the qualifying rounds was probably the aggressive and intense battle between Lockjaw and Yeti.  Sure, it wasn’t a KO or totally one sided, but that’s what made it so much fun!  One thing you’ll notice about these two bots is how hyper, energetic, and aggressive they are on the box.  They were just zipping through the arena like racecars trading blows and trying to get the upperhand.  Lockjaw was surprisingly durable given that it had a face full of spinning drum for a good portion of the match.  I’m looking forward to what these two bots had to offer in the future matches.

That’s it for now, I’ll be publishing my predictions of the tournament soon.  Looking forward to the rest of this season!