Part two of a two part look at every matchup in BattleBots 2016 Round of 32. Part 1 here
After the first four fights of the Round of 32 commencing, we have seen BRONCO solidify its #2 seeding, Witch Doctor be absolutely upsetted by a masterful performance by Red Devil, Yeti continuing his surprise run of the event, and Minotaur’s hype still living on.
President Obama and the nation’s politics put a brief hold on BattleBots last week, but we now look forward at the last 8 matches on the BattleBots Round of 32 bracket. This set of bouts looks at hot water from a refused handshake in Brutus/LockJaw, all the way to the defending champion Bite Force matching up with the beautifully designed (and very expensive) Ringmaster.
Brutus (16) v. Lock-Jaw (17)
Starting off with the most even match according to the bracket, we see a duel that has a history dating back to the very first fight in the 2015 season’s second episode. A bit of controversy was started by Adam Bercu, then driver of Overhaul 1.0, now the captain of the deadly spinning and uniquely armed Brutus. In their match last year, a late hit by Lock-Jaw to an immobilized Overhaul upset Bercu and he refused to shake hands with Lock-Jaw’s captain, Donald Hutson after the match.
In the qualifying rounds, using it’s deadly spinning bar and special effects pistols, Brutus was able to take advantage of it’s opponent’s, Moebius, battery mishap which happened immediately at the start of the bout. With its two guns, Brutus was able to stun the full body spinner, before delivering 2 very hard shots to Moebius, shattering it’s shell and knocking it out in about a minute.
Lock-Jaw, who fought on the same episode had a rougher time with his challenger, Yeti. Yeti and Lock-Jaw had in their match what many have said was the best fight in the qualifying rounds, as their back and forth match did a number to both robots, but ultimately ended up going in favor of the Alaskan newcomer, Yeti. Lock-Jaw earned a well deserving Wild Card spots en route to the Round of 32, where it now has to take on a much similar build in Brutus.
Brutus might be packin’ heat in those 2 golden pistols, but with a much more reliable body and system improved from last season Lock-Jaw is more than capable of taking any projectiles Brutus might shoot at him. One thing Lock-Jaw might not be able to eat up so easily is that massive spinning bar on the front of Brutus. Adam Bercu has been fighting robots for half of his life and is an excellent driver. But with Lock-Jaw’s beautifully intricate design, it’s asking for a brutal Brutus beating. The only way Lock-Jaw might be able to stop the spinner’s barrage is with a solid flip on the new launcher system on Lock-Jaw, but even then Brutus might be able to self right with it’s equipment. Expect Brutus to bring a KO around the end of the match.
IceWave (8) v. Nightmare (25)
Despite being one year too late, Nightmare has finally received a well deserved Wild Card for its performance against Warrior Clan last year and this year against the very powerful and very aggressive Stinger: The Killer Bee.
In Nightmare’s first match of the 2016, season he would fight Stinger in what was the most hyped up match of the qualifiers. Stinger, who had an anti-spinner plow attachment played very aggressively with Nightmare, who itself had an aggressive style. In seconds Nightmare had already taken a wheel off Stinger and did serious damage to the top of the wedgebot, before Stinger could finally take control and push Nightmare on it’s side to the middle of the arena. Despite the fact Nightmare has a new self righting mechanism for the 2016 season, it failed to activate as Nightmare was counted out. For its strong performance Nightmare received one of the 8 Wild Cards.
IceWave had a rough qualifying fight with it’s own mechanical errors, but was able to pull out the win against failed Wild Card hopeful, SubZero. IceWave proved to be its usual destructive self in the opening minutes of the fight, delivering multiple strong blows to the flipper SubZero before losing all power in it’s spinning bar.
But SubZero was so heavily damaged it couldn’t flip last year’s #2 seed, IceWave, and would end up losing by judge’s decision. IceWave, despite suffering extensive damage in this fight, came back from its 2015 qualifier fight even more damaged than it was in this fight. Expect Mark Devidts and the rest of Team IceWave to have their bot in peak condition.
If we’ve learned anything from Nightmare’s past, along with many other bouts between one hit KO horizontal spinners vs 1 hit KO vertical spinners, is that they tend to be over incredibly fast. Nightmare has a past against another bot like IceWave, named Son of Whyachi. When they fought back in Battlebots Season 3.0 on Comedy Central Nightmare was destroyed in 1 hit, losing both wheels in the process and thrown all the way into the wall. IceWave’s weapon though is made more for cutting into than hard blows, so a hit like that might not happen here.
Nightmare will be going after that big meaty internal combustion engine on the top of IceWave, in hopes of getting one clutch hit that might be able to destroy the system, leading to an easy Nightmare win. However you look at this match, this should be won very quickly. But expect IceWave to be the bot to move on.
BETA (9) v. Overhaul 2.0 (24)
We have another Wild Card winner here, with the 2015 season quarter finalist Overhaul taking on BETA. Charles Guan’s crushing machine, Overhaul, is new and improved in almost every way for the 2016 season, being rebuilt and even repainted in Miku blue.
Overhaul took on the hyped up British competitor Cobalt in the qualifiers. Overhaul proved to be defensively strong to start off, taking every blow the spinner had to offer, but slowly started losing power midway through the match to the point where only its weapon was properly working. Cobalt would win the match by KO, but Overhaul would prove it was durable enough to advance to the Round of 32 via Wild Card to take on yet another hyped up British competitor, BETA.
After a 14 year long “Curse”, BETA has finally entered the Battle Box for the 2016 season and in very impressive fashion. The BETA team would lay the hammer down on the son of SHW Ziggy, Lucky, in a match that had tons of strong BETA hammer shots coming down on the “Canadian” flipper bot. The first blow destroyed Lucky’s shock absorber right from the get-go. BETA also proved very quick to self right, doing it twice during the match, leading to a unanimous victory decision handed to it by the judges.
John Reid and Charles Guan are both very dominant in their regions of England and the East Coast respectively, and both have designed these bots with a weapon they specialize in. But BETA’s armor is some of the toughest in the game and may prove to be very challenging for Overhaul to properly pierce through. Plus BETA’s wedge-like design might be able to get under the sides of Overhaul and let BETA consistently bring the hammer down. That could be the main factor here, as BETA may beat Overhaul through judge’s decision due to weapon usage and control.
Bite Force (4) v. RingMaster (29)
Now it’s time to have a look at our defending champion, Bite Force. Bite Force ditched the spinner killer design from the 2015 season that helped it against the likes of Warhead, Hypershock, and Tombstone en route to hoisting that Giant Nut at the end of the season. Now it has a far more destructive approach. The tracks are gone and overall Bite Force is sleeker and quicker than it ever was before. Its new primary weapon is a blue spinning bar on the front of the robot.
With this new configuration, in Bite Force’s first fight this season it took on Mohawk. The new crusher bot, Mohawk, had a weapon mishap before the match even started and struggled out of the gate as the defending champ went straight for the jugular, leading to a very one sided KO around 2 minutes into the fight.
Hal Rucker’s very expensive creation, RingMaster, had a similar and relaxed run to the Round of 32. It took on the hyped up Ultimo Destructo, a robot we’ve covered before from Carnage Robotics. Ultimo had its flipper configuration set and ready in its fight against RingMaster but ultimately would be chipped apart in three powerful hits by RingMaster. RingMaster was having minor drive issues in the fight that should be fixed now. Ultimo Destructo would not be able to get a single flip in and would be KOed in a little over a minute.
Both Aptyx Designs/WPI Robotics (Bite Force) and Team Black & Blue (RingMaster) have been at this game for a long time now, with Aptyx competing since the Comedy Central Era of BattleBots, and Black & Blue competing since 2003 with their creative robots such as Crazy Susan and their trademark clusterbot, Black & Blue. Both of these teams have experience in droves and will need to apply it for this fight.
It’s worth noting in matches like this the vertical spinner usually loses to the horizontal spinner, but with RingMaster’s reliability issues and Bite Force looking to be armored to the teeth for this event, the gap under RingMaster’s horizontal spinner weapon might be enough for Bite Force to get under RingMaster and tear apart the underbelly of it for a late match KO, or possibly even a judge’s decision in favor of the defending champ.
Chomp (13) v. Captain Shrederator (20)
Chomp was one of the more controversial picks to win without the use of a Wild Card, as popular opinion seems unanimous that InfernoLabs’ Disk-O-Inferno, Chomp’s qualifying opponent, should have won their bout and should at least hold the Wild Card. Admittedly, their match was somewhat sloppy from both sides.
Disk-O-Inferno lost its primary weapon two hits into the fight and Chomp spent a lot of the match on its side, as its magnetic drive wouldn’t work on the rubbery floor of the Battle Box. Chomp had to go into automated drive for any successful hits to finally land. Despite this, Chomp would win its fight vs Jason Bardis’ new robot in a split decision.
Captain Shrederator on the other hand had a very decisive and strong performance, definitely earning its spot in the Round of 32. The American flag waving spinbot had to face DeathRoll, designed by the Australian All Stars in its qualifying bout.
From the first blow the match was absolute destruction by Captain Shrederator, as Brian Nave’s machine kept coming in on DeathRoll, blow after blow. Even though DeathRoll was proved to be resilient, the match would end in Captain Shrederator favor by a very destructive (and American) KO.
This is going to be a very interesting match to see play out. While the beef of Chomp’s armor is on the bottom side, Shrederator is a very destructive machine this season with a completely revamped inside. This match is going to come down to driving. Chomp was large and in charge during the last 40 seconds of the fight against Disk-O-Inferno when automated driving was turned on. Expect to see the match go in Shrederator’s way if a human is driving Chomp though.
Stinger: The Killer Bee (5) v. Mega Tento (28)
Once again starting back at the Wild Card entry first, Mega Tento was another case of a controversial qualifiers fight. Mega Tento had to take on one of the best drums in the tournament (alongside Minotaur), Poison Arrow.
Mega Tento had heavy control of the match, keeping Poison Arrow under its shell for the majority of the fight. But the judges, who have been very stern on weapons points, gave the match to Poison Arrow because its spinning drum looked more destructive. Despite the controversial call, Mega Tento would receive one of the 8 Wild Cards. Mega Tento’s opponent will not be easy though, as it has to fight a robot many fans have speculated will be the winner of the season – Stinger: TKB.
Stinger was given no easy task to start off its tournament. It had to take on the posterboy of BattleBots, Nightmare. As mentioned, Nightmare took off the wheel of Stinger. But Stinger was ultimately able to get Nightmare up and over on its side where its self righting system would fail to properly work. The Bee would then move on to the Round of 32.
Despite being one of the few control based robots here, not set for pure destruction, Stinger might be able to do damage to Mega Tento’s shell with its flamethrower. Possibly melting the entire front of Mega Tento. If this doesn’t happen, Mega Tento’s shell will still likely serve little use in this match since Stinger is much larger than Poison Arrow, who was one of the smallest robots in the entire tournament.
Matt Maxham is arguably the best driver in robot combat today, so expect a tanked up and agile Stinger to control Mega Tento for a judge’s win.
HyperShock (11) v. Warrior Clan (22)
In another case of 2015 Season veteran vs veteran, we see the revamped HyperShock take on the much similar Warrior Clan. The only key difference on the new Warrior Clan is the fact they ditched the old “Clan Bots” multi-bot style. To replace it, Team Whyachi now has Warrior Dragon, a drone that is designed for spewing fire on its opponents.
While seeing no action in its first round match vs Splatter, Warrior itself was able to do enough to put itself through, getting a number of strong flips on Splatter in a somewhat slow paced, but very control based match. Warrior Clan would move on via judge’s decision.
HyperShock on the other hand was much like Captain Shrederator, as it’s a completely revamped robot and had a complete and utterly dominant qualifying round fight against its opponent. HyperShock, captained by Will Bales took on a Wild Card of sorts (from the Play-In Round from The Gears Awaken) in Ultraviolent.
Despite this opportunity, Ultraviolent had traction problems once again, as HyperShock was able to absolutely go to town on the Tron-inspired lifter. It got to the point where Ultraviolent’s bottom side was torn off and guts were completely hanging out. HyperShock’s revamp proved its worth as it celebrated in the middle of the arena with a little robot dance.
Expect HyperShock to be celebrating in the middle of the arena for this fight too. While Warrior Clan is a ring spinner, it’s spinning body has done little to nothing to its opponents in any of its 3 matches since BattleBots 2015. Hypershock can self right so even if it gets flipped over it will quickly get back up. And HyperShock with that new revamped spinning drum will likely take advantage of Warrior Clan’s wedges sides for a late round KO.
Cobalt (14) v. Bombshell (19)
For our last match we have another UK vs East Coast match, similar to Overhaul vs BETA. First is a team we’ll potentially be covering a lot with Robot Wars on the horizon, Team Carbide and Cobalt. Cobalt, as mentioned, fought Overhaul in the qualifiers and ultimately survived the hits OverHaul was delivering. Cobalt deflected the blows with its strong armor, pulling off a win after Overhaul stopped working. Despite Cobalt smoking at the end of that match, the machine will be at 100% entering this match.
Bombshell had a very rough qualifying round, becoming the playtoy of Complete Control as the robot lived up to its name and legacy. Complete Control perfectly grabbed Bombshell twice and used its flamethrower to smoke out Bombshell for a judge’s decision win. Bombshell and the “Georgia All Stars” would get the 8th and last Wild Card in a controversial call, but many believe that this machine still has potential to go far.
Team Bombshell already announced that the undercutter attachment for Bombshell will be in use for the match against Cobalt. This attachment will ultimately be the thing that’ll give Bombshell the win. Bombshell’s driver is also easily the best on the East Coast. Expect Cobalt to go out via KO in an upset loss.