A look at the 8 “Final 16” Matches in the BattleBots 2016 Tournament
After we started with over 60 robots, after numerous dropouts, then losing 9 to the Gears Awaken play in, 16 to the qualifiers and 16 more in the Round of 32. Now we’re at the elite of the elite as the last 16 BattleBots from Brazil, England, and the United States enter the Battlebox on the quest for the Giant Nut.
As we enter the Round of 16, we’re gifted with numerous matches that feature battles of power vs power, top seeds, and unlikely runs like Warhead and Chomp after their abysmal 2015 runs. Highlights of this round see the defending champion, Bite Force, fight the aforementioned Chomp on their unlikely run to the Giant Nut. We’ll also see the face of BattleBots, Nightmare, taking on the 14- years-frustrated, and the deadliest hammer-bot in Robot Combat, BETA. This article will be much like our Round of 32 series as we look at the Sweet 16’s 8 fights, a look at how they got this far, and the keys for their victory to make it to the Quarter Finals.
Let’s get started with our first match, featuring the first seed.
Tombstone (1) v. Brutus (16)
Starting with the first seed, we take a gander at the always deadly beast of Hardcore Robotics, Tombstone. Tombstone has done more to challenge NASA than Russia in the 60’s as the robot has had its way against astronaut Dan Barry’s sawbot, Black Ice, in 1 strong hit. In the round of 32 they took on Escape Velocity, who even added a special material NASA uses on a lot of their technology as an extra layer of protection in the Battlebox. Needless to say, it proved to not be of great use as Tombstone had a panel off in two hits, and had the KO victory in a little over a minute.
Tombstone’s opponent Brutus is one of the many MIT based entries coming into this tournament. And after Overhaul 2.0’s hammering from BETA, it’s now the last MIT Based competitor standing. After going guns blazing in a decisive KO against the demonic Moebius, Brutus settled an old score against Donald Hudson’s Lock Jaw. The match went the full 3 minutes as Lock Jaw had on an anti-spinner plow. Brutus would move on to the Sweet 16 via a split decision.
This is the classic battle of horizontal spinner vs vertical spinner. Tombstone shared a dominant weapons rating of a perfect 100, only to be shared by the once mighty Son of Whyachi. It’s also worth noting that there’s one robot that has ever come close to knocking Tombstone out, and that’s another vertical spinning bar armed with a spinner killer plow that went by the name of Witch Doctor. Brutus shares many attributes to the near Tombstone slayer itself. Because of that, expect a massive upset to be pulled off by the Brute itself in a knockout.
Nightmare (25) v. BETA (9)
Nightmare is up there with robots like Biohazard, Toro, Hazard, and Ziggo as the faces of BattleBots. The machine has been part of some of the most iconic wins and losses in the history of the sport. After a disappointing loss to Stinger: The Killer Bee in the qualifiers, Nightmare got a Wildcard and took on the former #2 seed, IceWave. IceWave and Nightmare both had a massive hit on each other only 4 seconds into the bout and both were left clearly dazed from that initial hit. Nightmare was brutally damaged but IceWave ultimately broke down, leaving Nightmare for the KO win.
BETA has has a very successful road to revenge. After beating Lucky, one of the favorites, by Judges Decision it would go on to take former Quarterfinalist Overhaul. Overhaul proved to be a worthy challenge against the best hammer in Robot Combat today by getting a substantial grip on BETA a few times. Ultimately, Overhaul fell victim to numerous straight shots from the hammer as John Reid’s swinging machine won the bout by KO.
Despite this seeming like an easy W for John Reid and Team Hurtz, the one thing Nightmare has an advantage of over practically every other robot against BETA in this tournament is surface area. Nightmare is beyond bizarre when it comes to how it’s shape. That iconic design with all of the slopes and angles of the robot are going to make the machine very hard for BETA to get a serious blow on.
Nightmare has its own work cut out for it too though. BETA’s design is very pyramid like in shape and an all slopes design such as that always bodes very poorly for a robot such as Nightmare to get its spinner weapon into play. This match is going to come down to aggression and control from both sides of the arena.
The decisive factor of this match will likely be the shape of BETA’s body. Expect it to carry Nightmare around the box similar to what Biohazard did in Comedy Central Season 4.0 for the victory.
Bite Force (4) v. Chomp (13)
According to many spiteful fans, Chomp should not be here right now. The robot won a split decision match in the qualifying rounds against the impressive Disk O Inferno. Many fans believe that was Disk O Infernos match to win, and that this bracket run is all for naught. But Chomp proved itself in the Round of 32 taking on Captain Shrederator who itself was fresh off a very destructive qualifying match. Chomp’s weapon, an overhead axe, really took control of the flat top of the Captain and left major damage to its top for a knockout win.
For Bite Force, its first two fights have been smooth sailing. After KOing Mohawk in short fashion in round 1, it took on Hal Rucker’s very unique and very beautiful creation known as The Ringmaster. The Ringmaster’s elevated sides left a serious opening for the deadly new spinning blade of Bite Force and Bite Force took advantage of that to gain absolute control of the robot and was able to knock it out in slightly over a minute in very convincing fashion.
Chomp so far has been predicted to lose its past two matches in fights against two very well timed and formidable robots. The defending champion Bite Force is a completely different story though. Paul Ventimiglia is an A-tier driver in the Battlebox and the spinning weapon on Bite Force has proven to be (and definitely looks) very impressive. The automated system led Chomp to the win last round, and will likely be very precise against Bite Force as well, but the VS system on Bite Force can get under Chomp and lift it up and over. Expect Bite Force to out drive, damage, and control Chomp for the victory.
Mega Tento (25) v. Yeti (12)
Everyone knew Mega Tento, the 250lb son of Mecha Tentomushi who was one of the most iconic Battlebots in the Comedy Central Era, would be a memorable robot in the Battlebox with it’s utterly massive size and design. But little to no one could have predicted the smothering bug itself would go this far. It lost a well fought battle against Poison Arrow, that many believed it should have won, which in itself won it a Wildcard.
Mega Tento then would have to fight Stinger: The Killer Bee, the fifth seed and a robot captained by Matt Maxham, who is one of the top two drivers in Robot Combat today. Mega Tento had a spinning drum on the back of its robot in this bug on bug battle while Stinger had itself a forklift attachment with flamethrowers. Despite being controlled early on in the bout by Stinger, Mega Tento would take control of Stinger for the second half to win a split decision in the Battlebox.
Speaking of unlikely runs, The Yeti didn’t even expect itself to go this far, according to its head driver. It beat LockJaw in a spectacular Judge’s Decision match that was easily the best qualifying bout of the first round. After that the robot had to go through some heavy repair, especially on the drum when all the teeth lost its sharpness to the clamp of LockJaw.
In the next round Yeti would put up yet another absolutely spectacular win in the Battle of the North, as it tore apart the favorite Wildcard, Lucky, ripping its flipper off and leaving it in a pulp, giving Yeti the win by KO.
Yeti and Tento are two robots nobody expected to make this far, not by understatement, but more because of uncertainty. Both robots are oddities in the tournament, and are armed with spinning drums that are often overlooked. This match is going to come down to who can get around their opponent first. Mega Tento is a wide open body, and for a 250lb bot to have that much surface area likely means weaker armor. If Yeti can lift under and around the build of Mega Tento and properly tear it apart, expect it to move on to the final 8.
BRONCO (2) v. Razorback (15)
BRONCO, the second seed of the tournament and massive fan favorite is another robot that has really had its way through the BattleBots Bracket without any machine really putting up a challenge. After embarrassing the impressive Blacksmith in the qualifying round, the team would take on the young hopeful drone group behind Chrome Fly, “Team Ludicrous”, in Bronco’s first battle with a spinbot since it’s fateful duel with Tombstone. Bronco’s new rear spinner killer attachment proved incredibly strong as two hits destroyed the rather fragile Chrome Fly and BRONCO would flip the spinbot onto the arena wall, where it would pull a spawn again and balance upon it. BRONCO would then throw its drone for the final KO.
Razorback has really bounced back after being humiliated by the very destructive IceWave last season. After beating Complete Control in a grudge match at the end of Last Season, the machine then beat SawBlaze somewhat controversially and then was really tested against the former Semi Finalist Ghost Raptor. Ghost Raptor was very aggressive to start off against Razorback, who had it’s claw system ready for this match. Razorback was able to flip over Ghost Raptor and drive circles around it in pure technical control, taking it to the hazards and the pulverizer for a KO Victory.
Razorback is really going to have it’s work cut out for it this time though as it takes on yet another former Semi Finalist in BRONCO. Razorback is going to be armed with its spinning drum attachment as we saw in the previews. Razorback is invertible too, so BRONCO will have to rely on pure force and flipping control to either get Razorback out of the arena, or be strong enough to hold him off for the Judge’s nod. Either way expect BRONCO to win a nailbiter matchup.
Minotaur (7) v. Warhead (23)
Warhead has officially proved that it’s time for the “Warhead is outdated” comments to go by the wayside with another unlikely run that we’re seeing in this tournament. After beating Obwalden Overlord in the first round, Warhead put on its spinning weapon which has been in the past an issue in the robots reliability, but the team’s claim that the robot is better and stronger with a new blade and motor power ended up true.
In Warhead’s fight against a triumphant Complete Control, it was able to absolutely tear apart the clamper with three hard gashes to the side of the robot and one to the flamethrower tank itself, making Complete Control absolutely burst into flames. Warhead would finish it off by pulling a move they have had planned for years, as the machine hovered on its spinning blade and charged right into Complete Control, body slamming it for the KO win.
Minotaur, after sending the British favorites Photon Storm packing, have officially gone viral in the Round of 32. Their fight against Blacksmith was one for the ages as the Brazilian drumbot’s fight against the Jersey Hammer garnered up over 3 million views on Youtube, which is ABC’s now most popular video, and over 20 Million views on Facebook. The machine would absolutely tee off on Blacksmith, ripping off the front plow, then the hammer, then the entire face of it before Blacksmith would catch on fire inside for the KO win for Minotaur, as Brazil’s sole representative would move on.
Warhead, despite how destructive it is, is still a very intricate piece of robotic art, and it’s taking on a solid 250lb block of destructive metal known as Minotaur. Warhead might be able to get two very stiff and very strong shots on Minotaur that will daze the beast, but inevitably the deadly Brazilian drum will win this match by a strong KO.
Red Devil (30) v. Bombshell (19)
Red Devil went from being a joke to an absolute beast in the bracket in one fight. Despite still damaging themselves after Wrecked knocked itself out in its round one fight, it would go on to take on the very strong third seed Witch Doctor. Red Devil would go in against Witch Doctor head on and absolutely upset the deadly spinner with a perfectly placed blade cut to the core of Witch Doctor as it cut deep into the battery of the beast for a quick and easy knockout win, moving it on to the Sweet 16.
Bombshell was a favorite going into this tournament, then proceeded to get immediately trounced by the impressive performance by Complete Control. After that though, with a wildcard opportunity the machine had a shot against the “British Tombstone”, Cobalt, using its horizontal spinner attachment. The attachment would be used to impressively cut at Cobalt like surgery, taking out one wheel at a time before doing serious damage to the top of Cobalt as it would stop for the KO win
Bombshell will be wielding a very impressive vertical spinner attachment in the battle against Red Devil. But it’s going to come down to who can get to the side of their opponent quicker, as both Mike Jeffries and Jerome Miles, the captains of Bombshell and Red Devil respectively, are both very experienced drivers and have met in past events such as Motorama and the Franklin Institute. Expect Bombshell to leave this one by the Judge’s call.
Poison Arrow (27) v. HyperShock (11)
Our final match of the Sweet 16 is a battle of two spinning drums that have made a name for themselves by taking out some of Team Whyachi’s finest. Poison Arrow started off skiddy with a controversial W on Poison Arrow before redeeming itself against a robot that will really get your credit up if you slay it: Son of Whyachi. Poison Arrow did exactly that as it absolutely trounced the deadly Whyachi in one single knockout hit. It sent it flying 10 feet in the air, and higher than their drone, for the biggest hit of the tournament so far and a KO win.
HyperShock and its #Rakening took a very similar route to the round of 16 as they defeated Team Whyachi’s other entry: Warrior & Dragon Warrior. Hypershock would use one of it’s lifting panels to hold a rake to swat Dragon Warrior out of the air and hit its main canister in an explosive fashion for the flashiest drone kill of the season so far. HyperShock would also make short order of Warrior Clan, nearly tearing the top off of the bot as it would win the match by a very decisive KO, with the only damage done is one of its self righting panels destroyed.
Hypershock will have the #Rake at the ready once again in this upcoming round for Poison Arrow’s drone Buzz, although it is worth noting that Buzz is one of the best controlled drones in the entire competition so it will be interesting to see if it can pull off the “Rakening” once again on a professionally driven drone like Buzz. Other than that, Poison Arrow has a lot less for Hypershock to hit than it does due to its small size and very nippy speed. Along with this, there’s a lot more width to Poison Arrow’s drum and it has the advantage of no exposed wheels, which will be HyperShock’s downfall. Expect no second #Rakening unfortunately with Poison Arrow getting the KO win on HyperShock.