Part one of a two part look at every matchup in BattleBots 2016 Round of 32. Who’s got the advantage and who will be crushed?
After 2 episodes, 3 hours, and 24 fights of Qualifying Round action, we now have our 24 qualifying winners of the 1st round, and 8 deserving, but somewhat controversial, wildcards moving on to the Round of 32, thus starting the true single elimination part of the tournament.
With that, the 16 matchups in the first round are now set. We’ll look at a meetup between two drivers in one of the most controversial moments last season, Lock-Jaw vs Brutus, two spinning robots with deadly but different styles in Son of Whyachi vs Poison Arrow, and a duel between two clap style robots that look to take a true grip on the competition in Warhead vs Complete Control. Those three matches plus 13 more have been set for the first round as we look to find a 2016 Battlebots Champion.
Over two articles this week, we’re going to look at the 32 remaining competitors, and who might have the advantage in each of the 16 Round 1 matches.
Let’s get started with our first seed.
Tombstone (1) v. Escape Velocity (32)
The first seed vs lowest seed matchup in any tournament is always looked at as a hilarious death sentence for whoever that unfortunate last seed might be. For a clear example of this just look at the first seed last BattleBots season against Radioactive, the then lowest 16th seed. Tombstone was the first seed and the robot showed its mechanical prowess and dominated the British axe bot in short order.
Tombstone stays nearly identical to this original guise this year and has proven how destructive it still is in it’s first fight vs Black Ice, another team out of the NASA system. Tombstone looks to take out the other space themed team (Escape Velocity) in a total NASA blowout.
Escape Velocity had a very rough and bumpy run en route to its Round of 32 matchup. The robot had trouble before its qualifier bout against the revamped and deadly OverDrive 2.0, made by the legendary Team Cool Robots.
In this matchup against OverDrive 2.0 their 75lb full body spinner pod pulled something similar to what Invader did in The Gears Awaken, and careen to its demise early on in the bout. If it wasn’t for Overdrive 2.0’s spinning bar breaking down mid fight, and Escape Velocity being able to get a clutch flip on the veteran team putting OverDrive 2.0 literally on its nose, the team would have likely drowned in the Qualifying Rounds.
Looking forward to this Round of 32 bout, the rookie team Escape Velocity can’t breathe just yet. They’re now due to take on the ABC Season 1 runner up and Most Destructive Robot, and now two-time first seed Tombstone.
The main issue with Escape Velocity is the somewhat weak distribution of weight, with 75lb/175lb of weight distributed to the full body spinner and flipper respectively. This leaves both robots not overly strong and for them to be open for potential destruction by the monstrous Tombstone. Along with this, Tombstone is invertible, making any shot from the 175lb flipper bot pretty much useless. If its bout against OverDrive 2.0 being any hint, the Escape Velocity’s flipper doesn’t look all that powerful. Expect Tombstone to dominate this match in typical Tombstone fashion in what could likely be an early KO.
Yeti (12) v. Lucky (21)
In our next match we look at two competitors coming from up north. One of these teams being led by an Alaskan, and the other being led by a New Hampshirian (Hampsher?) who claims to be Canadian.
Looking at the “Canadian” first, Lucky and their team is one we’ve covered very recently in our 6 International Competitors last week. Lucky’s legacy can be summed up as the son of the most dominant Super HeavyWeight of all time, Ziggy. Lucky’s flipping power showed in its first round matchup as well, notching a few strong flips on the hyped up British hammer, BETA with 4 strong flips on it.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as BETA would win the bout on a Judge’s call, but Lucky would have enough to move on to the Round of 32 with one of the 8 Wildcards.
Yeti was one of the biggest surprises of the Qualifying Round. The Alaskan drumbot’s team had a history in BattleBots that’s very easily forgotten, losing both of their fights in BattleBots Season 5.0 on Comedy Central. The team though would run quite the career after BattleBots in the Non Televised Era, most notably being the third team ever to beat the powerful Middleweight, Hazard. Their return to TV was an exciting one, as the team topped the legendary Lock-Jaw in impressive fashion.
Yeti vs Lucky can be looked at as one of the closer to call bouts in the Round of 32. Lucky is a powerful flipper, but Yeti is invertible and can use their own lifting system in front of that 45lb spinning drum, which to the common eye might put Yeti at the advantage of this bout.
The one deciding factor though is the driver for each team. While the Yeti’s driver is very talented (as we saw in the Lock-Jaw fight) it’s very hard to match Gary Gin, the driver of Lucky. Gary Gin has won many Robogames and Combots Cup events with his very impressive driving of Original Sin. And team Lucky has recruited him to drive the son of one of the most dominant robots in Robot Combat history. Factor in this and Yeti’s ground clearance and expect Lucky to pull off the Judges win.
Son of Whyachi (6) v. Poison Arrow (27)
We’ve covered a the powerful spinner Son of Whyachi very often on this article for obvious reasons. It’s a former champion boasting a 100 Weapon Rating this season, and is fighting for the first time since the tragedy that was Nitro S.O.W. in its pursuit to redeem itself and become the deadliest spinner in the sport once again. So far, it has done just that and knocked out three robots along this way to the Round of 32.
In The Gears Awaken first bout, Son of Whyachi would destroy 5 Lightweight bots in the form of Creepy Crawlies and then neon lifter Ultraviolent. In the qualifying round Terry Ewert would avenge last season’s loss to Ghost Raptor by taking out the defending semi-finalist quickly by KO.
Poison Arrow, a drumbot made by Caustic Creations, a very popular Lightweight team, only had one opponent in its way to this round. But in that one bout it practically has ran a rougher road than the former champion. In it’s only fight so far, it faced Mega Tento, the 250lb of the iconic Robotic Action League Lightweight, Mecha Tentomushi.
This was one of the more controversial fights of the competition so far, as Poison Arrow spent around 80% of the match under the cover of Mega Tento but was able to do more damage with it’s drum than Mega Tento’s weapon could, therefore moving it on to the next round.
Both Robots are very powerful with their own destructive capabilities, in their own sort of styles. Both Poison Arrow and Son of Whyachi are also veteran teams captained by very talented drivers. Overall in a scenario like this we’re at another deadlock like the Yeti and Lucky match above.
The X-factor here will be body construction. Caustic Creation bots like Poison Arrow are built very dense and packed to be powerful like a brick. Son of Whyachi might not be able to make that strong of a dent to Poison Arrow’s super dense body, and it could be left open to the drum of Poison Arrow. Poison Arrow could take the lead in damage by slowly chipping away at SOW.
Witch Doctor (3) v. Red Devil (30)
Next up we see two robots that had relatively smooth and one sided rides to the Round of 32, but both in very different ways. First we’ll look at the smoother way with Witch Doctor and it’s well earned third seed. In its Qualifier match it would fight Rotator, a robot made by a well known Florida team that can be described as a mix between the old Surgeon General and Counter Revolution.
Rotator looked very impressive, but Witch Doctor was able to incapacitate Rotator in mere seconds, taking off a wheel and ending the fight in under a minute. Witch Doctor left the fight practically unscathed.
Red Devil, a robot built by Jerome Miles: a builder who has fought in Robot Wars USA and the old Comedy Central Era BattleBots was in a very one sided match itself due to Wrecks practically knocking itself out in the opening seconds of the fight. In Red Devil’s pursuit to do damage on the practically incapacitated Wrecks, it would still tear into Red Devil’s left side of the body. Unfortunately this led to a lot of heavy repair after the fight, but Red Devil had practically an entire Red Devil worth of spares on the ready, so he will still likely be entering this bout at 100% capacity.
Witch Doctor has one thing Wrecks doesn’t have: full mobility. Witch Doctor has one of the best vertical spinning weapons in the competition, and might even be stronger than Wrecks’ spinning weapon was. Red Devil is a tracked robot with it’s only weapon being it’s clamping saw. It’s also a very intricate robot with many parts and sensitive details that can easily be torn apart by the deadly Witch Doctor. Expect Witch Doctor to make this match a very bloody KO victory. But Jerome Miles may put up a strong fight, being the very talented driver he is.
Complete Control (10) v. Warhead (23)
Our next bout features two of the best clampers in the tournament, one coming out of each major country in the competition. Warhead, coming out of the United Kingdom, is the BattleBots made brother of Robot Wars’ prodigal son, Razer. He had a rough 2015 season and completely revamped as a clamper for this event. In his first fight it was Concept vs Concept as he took on France’s lone representative: The Obwalden Overlord. The matchwent very slowly, going nearly the full 3 minutes as Warhead slowly took out the humanoid designed Overlord by tipping it over. Warhead enters the Round of 32 seemingly unscathed.
Complete Control, the 250lb version of the iconic middleweight from the Comedy Central Era show had finally gone back to it’s roots after a shaky 2015 season loaded with controversy and what many claim should have won it a wildcard. The clamper took on Bombshell, one of the most hyped up newcomer teams, coming out of Georgia.
Complete control would be the first robot to incapacitate their opponent using its unique direct shot flamethrower, and making full control of its opponent in the process for the whole 3 minutes, leaving it clean and ready for the next round.
Now that the pair are meeting up for this upcoming round, one must look at it as a battle of grip and driving with the two clamping teams vyingto move on to the Round of 16. Derek Young and Ian Lewis/Simon Scott are both drivers that have been doing this for a over a decade driving their respective robots, so it’s likely going to come down to who can get a better hold of their opponent better.
Warhead’s intricate body will likely lead it to being clasped on very easy for the duration of the match by the much more functional in grasping and moving weapon of Complete Control, expect them to walk out of this match the winner via Judge’s call.
Minotaur (7) v. Blacksmith (26)
This one is a hyped international team vs East Coast veteran. First looking at the Wildcard entry, Blacksmith made it to the Qualifier round by being the most impressive robot in the Gears Awaken three-way rumble, beating Gemini and Basilisk in dramatic fashion using it’s flame hammer.
Blacksmith wasn’t as lucky for his Qualifier Round matchup, going against the best flipper in the competition: BRONCO. BRONCO would take Blacksmith to flip city, throwing it 6 times, ripping off it’s hammer, and leading to a KO. Though likely due to it’s impressive earlier performance, Blacksmith scored a wildcard to move on to the Round of 32.
Blacksmith will be set to fight hands down the most hyped up rookie of the tournament, Minotaur. The deadly spinning drum is Brazil’s sole entry, and after it’s 220lb brother Touro Maximus dominated the Robogames events, the team has now moved to Battlebots.
For Minotaur’s first BattleBots match they had to meet up with another All Star rookie in Team Storm and Team Tornado’s creation, Photon Storm. After a rough start with Photon Storm digging into Minotaur’s top, the deadly Brazilian drumbot would deliver two strong hits, tearing off Photon Storm’s self righting wing, then a third hit throwing the robot forward in one of the biggest knockout blows in BattleBots history.
Blacksmith has had quite the bad draw with it’s opponents entering the main bracket, first fighting BRONCO and now the best drumbot in the competition. Even if Blacksmith’s hammer is 100% working, Minotaur is built very tight and compact and the hammer will be rendered useless against it’s body. Blacksmith looks quite nicely armoured but Minotaur is on a whole different level of destructive power, so expect it to take this one by KO.
Razorback (16) v. Ghost Raptor (18)
With this match we look at two teams that have had some of the most controversial admission into the Round of 32. Starting with the chosen Wildcard again, we have Ghost Raptor. Ghost Raptor was the surprise of the 2015 season, making the semi-finals out of the 10th seed.
In the first round this year Ghost Raptor met up against Son of Whyachi. It ate four strong shots from the legendary spinner that was out for revenge, and when it finally turned its blade on it knocked itself out. Son of Whyachi would then practically rip it’s bot in two to close out the fight.
Ghost Raptor somewhat controversially got the Wildcard when many fans said there were more robots deserving of that Wildcard slot. Names such as Disk O Inferno, OverDrive 2.0, Photon Storm, and the loser to Razorback, SawBlaze.
SawBlaze lost to Razorback: a robot best known for being absolutely obliterated against IceWave in the first match and one of the most memorable of matches during the 2015 Season. This season the El Diablo team painted it a very similar red as it went into the BattleBox with Razorback in it’s Qualifier match. Sawblaze dominated the fight (or so it seemed), controlling Razorback for the majority of the 3 minutes, only for the Judges to give the nod to Razorback on a split decision. Many fans have claimed that Razorback shouldn’t have moved on, but Zack Bieber’s machine is there now, and is set to take out the former Semi Finalist.
Both Chuck Pitzer and Zack Bieber are both time tested and talented drivers of their respective bots, Ghost Raptor and Razorback. Assumingly, Chuck Pitzer won’t be as “adapted” this season, with his new reinforced blade on Ghost Raptor the only weapon to face Razorback.
Expect Razorback to win this one in a close contest. Razorback is a very well driven machine and holds two attachments. Its wedge and its clamper can be very useful against the strange body of Ghost Raptor.
BRONCO (2) v. Chrome Fly (31)
To finish off the first part we have the match most fans are claiming will be the most one-sided bout of the Round of 32. On one hand we have the 31st seed, Chrome Fly.
Chrome Fly entered it’s first fight against the Canadian team, Bucktooth Burl. The match was over in one hit when Bucktooth Burl slammed right into Chrome Fly, knocking one of it’s blades off as it careened into the wall. This was was apparently the loudest hit of the entire tournament. After that initial blow through, both robots failed to work for the three remaining minutes. In judging review it was noted that Bucktooth Burl’s weapon didn’t even start up, thus handing the win to Chrome Fly.
For Chrome Fly, a working weapon is the least of its worries this time around as it goes one-on-one with last year’s semi-finalist, and most powerful flipper in the Inertia Labs family, BRONCO. BRONCO had its Round 1 matchup against the aforementioned Blacksmith, who got tossed around 6 times. Bronco, with its new 6 wheel, adaptive armour attachment setup, was able to take Blacksmith’s hammer off and get it pinned to the wall for a KO.
On paper you can see why this match is easily the most one sided bout in the Round of 32 bracket. While there is quite the engineering pedigree behind Chrome Fly, who is led by the CEO of a drone company, BRONCO is arguably the best flipper in Robot Combat history. Some have thought that maybe the blue cover of Chrome Fly acts as a roll-cage, and Team Ludicrous better hope for just that as they go into battle vs BRONCO. Either way, expect this to be a definite win in BRONCO’s favor.