Robot Combat

Get to Know the 4 Qualifiers from BattleBots: The Gears Awaken

Four qualifiers from the BattleBots The Gears Awaken special

The Legend, The Hammer, The Mohawk, and The Astronaut: Everything you need to know about the Four Qualifiers from BattleBots: The Gears Awaken

It has been almost a month since BattleBots 2016 on ABC’s teaser special aired on national television, where we saw the last four teams qualify for the BattleBots bracket. These robots took an extra level of challenge to their tournament runs this season, as each of the 12 robots that had fought in the Last Chance Qualifier did not go through the simple 1 on 1 fight, but would have to compete through threeway melees. Along with that, it gives those teams one more round to have to fix and repair for as they go onwards into the main tournament.

Despite all the trials and extra challenge of being placed unfortunately into this “extra bracket”, four teams all coming from unique walks of life in the World of Robot Combat have qualified into the 1st Round of 48, and each of them will be placed to fight one of the four semi-finalists from BattleBots Season 1: Ghost Raptor, BRONCO, Tombstone, and the BattleBots 2015 defending champion Bite Force.

Time to step in and look at our four big winners from Season 2 Episode 0: The Gears Awaken.

Team Whyachi – Son of Whyachi

Picture of Son of Whyachi

Image Credit: Daniel Longmire & Battlebots.com

If you don’t know the legacy of Son of Whyachi you either must be new to BattleBots (and likely robot combat in general), or you have been living under a rock. Son of Whyachi, pound for pound one of the best horizontal spinners in this sports history has reigned dominant over four different weight classes in its robot combat career, which started at BattleBots Season 3.0 in Late May, 2001 with a 16-29 Judge’s Decision preliminary round win over Shaka. Ever since that match-up, Son of Whyachi’s rookie reign of supreme would only grow as it would take out Nightmare, MechaVore, HexaDecimator, and BioHazard in its first ever tournament, winning the BattleBots Season 3.0 Heavyweight title.

This was only the start of the Whyachi legacy though, as the pride of Wisconsin would go on to rain terror in four different weight classes throughout its 15 years of existence. After the successful Heavyweight run in 3.0, the team would make Son of Whyachi a SuperHeavyWeight for the remaining duration of BattleBots on Comedy Central. In its debut match as a SuperHeavyWeight, Son of Whyachi proved he either wins big, or loses big as Son of Whyachi would be unbalanced vs. the 3-0 Rookie Swirlee, slamming himself into the BattleBox wall. This slam would heavily damage the arena screws, and leave it to the pulverizer. After BattleBots, Son of Whyachi fought occasionally in the non-televised era of robot combat, jumping from weight class to weight class and even competing in the short lived MechWars 390lb “MonsterBots” class, and also went to England to compete in Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors but was deemed “Too Dangerous to Compete” in the Robot Wars WarZone. The Battlebots 250lb HeavyWeight Class is the fourth weight class that Son of Whyachi has competed in.

While being their flagship robot, Team Whyachi itself holds a lot of prestige with it’s numerous other entries in the world of robot combat. The team has entered 11 different robots into BattleBots’ different weight classes over the years, having at least one competitor compete in each official weight class at some point.

The farming family from Wisconsin is captained by long time competitor Terry Ewert, who is the mastermind of many of the robots from the team that’s also created competitors such as: Red Square, a middleweight lifter and former semifinalist that holds an 8-3 record in its two BattleBots tournaments; Warrior, a heavyweight plowbot which has a 4-3 BattleBots record and has fought in Robotica Season 2 under the name Whyatica. And Warrior Clan/SKF, the Kinetic Energy Spinner/Flipper whom was Team Whyachi’s main Heavyweight in events such as the 2009 Pro Championship and Battlebots 2015 while Son of Whyachi was not competing.

Team Half Fast Astronaut – Blacksmith

Picture of Blacksmith from Team Half Fast Astronaut

Image Credit: Al Kindle & Half Fast Astronaut Facebook

While Team Half Fast Astronaut doesn’t exactly have the notoriety or fame the deadly Team Whyachi have, they do have the lineage and history as much as, and possibly even more than, Team Whyachi has. While Team Whyachi made its debut to the world of robot combat in 2001, Team Half Fast Astronaut has been competing since 1995 in Robot Wars 1994, one of the sport’s first events and arguably the second event in robot combat history with Dawn Patrol, a blue saw-bot with much of its innards exposed.

Al Kindle and Half Fast Astronaut also hold a record for longest tenured competitor in their recently retired robot Enforcer, a lifting saw-bot that debuted in 1996 as a Lightweight, fought in BattleBots Season 2.0 still as a Lightweight, and would compete in the 30lb Sportsman Class with a circular saw for many years until 2012, where it’s 16 year career finally came to an end with its retirement. It is also worth noting that Al Kindle also holds the record for longest tenure between 2 BattleBots fights at 5,632 days – Das Bot vs Enforcer on November 17, 2000 to Blacksmith vs Basilisk vs Gemini April 19, 2016.

Blacksmith himself has a history not in any of the major “Big Bots” classes (60lb-390lb) but has had its run under a number of names and designs in the 30lb Sportsman Class. Blacksmith, Mangi, Tyrant, and Gilius Thunderhead were all 30lb Hammerbots that Al Kindle has made a career out of being good with. He’s been fighting with this style of robots (alongside the aforementioned Enforcer) since 2005 when Mangi was a Featherweight in the Motorama tournament. Though the flamethrower is a new addition to any of Al Kindle’s robots.

Team Mohawk – Mohawk

Picture of Mohawk from Team Mohawk

Image Credit: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots.com

Mohawk is the brainchild of High School team Ransom Everglades and well known Comedy Central era BattleBots team, Team Loki. For fans that watched the 2015 season of BattleBots, you may remember Mohawk in it’s 20 seconds on TV where it was one hit KO’ed by the creation of fellow Ransom Everglades team member Will Bales, and his own creation HyperShock. The robot itself shows a lot of similarity to the legendary Robot Wars competitor Razer in shape and concept, but holds a very unique weapon design not seen before in a flamethrower. Most flamethrowers are just straight flames onto the opponent’s body, doing very little damage and is mainly used to wow the audience and the judges. Mohawks flamethrower though takes a different approach. Mohawk uses it’s crushing beak to get inside the opposing robot like most crushers do, but the beak itself is fuel injected, with a hole at the beak’s tip that allows it to dig inside the core of it’s opponents and spew flames where it really matters: the opponent’s innards.

Mohawk is made for the most part by the Ransom Everglades team members with Driver Greg Bales, and other members such as Alan Schimmel, Max Bales, and Tom Bales. The mostly family team has been fighting for a little bit under a decade on the circuit, and has seen most of it’s fame come out of their family of drum bots such as former BattleBots IQ Competitors Fluffy De Large, and former El Gran Rey Cholo. Both of these robots hold 1-1 records as Middleweights in the old BattleBots IQ Circuit.

Most of the teams notoriety though comes from the designer of popular Comedy Central era robots such as Surgeon General and Rammstein, and even driver of the Super Heavyweight Tri-Mangle: Team Loki’s Korey Kline. Kline has been fighting for 18 years. And held Team Loki to their most successful season in BattleBots Season 4.0 in 2001. That year, Kline’s design Surgeon General took the Heavyweight class by storm, defeating FrostBite, Killerhurtz, and HexaDecimator en route to it’s run to the Season 4.0 Heavyweight Semifinals. Along with this, Corey’s well designed Super Heavyweight Rammstein would get a strong win against Abaddon, only to lose to eventual finalist New Cruelty. Along with this, Kline himself would drive Tri-Mangle to the Super Heavyweight Round of 32, where he would lose to defending champion Vladiator.

Only time will tell if the Mohawk Team can fully reach that Season 4.0 level success.

Team Black Ice – Black Ice

Picture of Black Ice from team Black Ice

Image Credit: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots.com

Many things can be said about the professions of many of the competitors in the 2016 BattleBots tournament, as this year’s competition features 3D printing companies, CEO’s, professors, literal rocket scientists, and even military engineers. But only one can truly lay claim to being a NASA astronaut

Daniel Thomas Barry is a man of all trades. He has been on three NASA missions doing four spacewalks with an overall 30 and a half days in space. He is the President of Denbar Robotics, he has four college degrees, and has even been a competitor on Survivor’s 12th season, Survivor: Panama. Now though, Dan Barry can add another title to that list, BattleBots Competitor, as he and his friend Dan Parrish, the team’s mechanic and fabricator, take Black Ice to the BattleBox.

Black Ice may look like a simple wedge shaped like a skate ramp at first view, and a number of people may see a lot of Robot Wars USA legend, La Machine in the bots simple grey shape. But this robot has three very unique weapons that really make it stand out as a robot to watch out for. First off is the large yellow roadblock that Black Ice has the ability to drop down on the BattleBox floor. The roadblock weighs 30lbs and is magnetic, meaning that it’s very possible a number of robots can (and likely will) get pinned down onto it and possibly get them stuck. Using this Black Ice can use its two primary weapons to better effect. Its first weapon (and most evident) are the two spinning discs on the ramp’s front. These 2 spinning weapons have not been proven as truly battle strong yet due to weapon issues in the first fight. When working though, it should be used to power the robot’s other weapon, a hidden harpoon that lays in the front hole of the robot. With all this, and Dan Barry’s ability as a driver in the BattleBox, Black Ice may very well make a run in this tournament bracket.

Missed Battlebots: The Gears Awaken? Check out our Gears Awaken review.

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