Robot Combat

BattleBots Season 2 Review: Episode 6

BattleBots Season 2 Minotaur vs Warhead

BattleBots Season 2 review of Episode 6, the start of the Sweet 16

“We want to end it quickly…and spectacularly.”
-Macro Antonio Meggiolaro

Don’t we all!

After what feels like years we’re finally emerging from the opening round of this year’s tournament with a field that’s shaping up to be the strongest we’ve seen. There’ve been upsets, yawners, massacres and laughers, but now it’s time to get serious about who the real favorites are looking to be as we head towards the final stretch.

It’s the SWEET SIXTEEN!

Just four more fights stand between one of the remaining teams and the coveted giant nut (as a side note, this show doesn’t work in nearly enough immature giant nut jokes) (Ed note: Don’t worry, you make up for it).

Kenny reminds us that adaptation at this point in the competition is vital to the continued success of these teams. This might be the first time you’ll ever hear this writer say this: Kenny is right. *gasp.

We are marching ahead towards the final stretch where we might finally see the rematch between Bronco (who we’ll see tonight) and Tombstone. It appears to be a foregone conclusion these two will meet in the finals, although up-and-comer Minotaur will assuredly have something to say about it. That team of jolly Brazilians is the real deal (note to self: ‘Jolly Brazilians’ is a great name for a day spa).

And speaking once again of Brazilians, let’s get to our first match of the night!

Bout #1: (23)Warhead vs. (7)Minotaur

Warhead Captains: Simon Roy Scott & Ian Anthony Lewis

Warhead Season 2 Team

What do you get when you sandwich a member of System of a Down between two cheeky British robot builders? You get team Warhead! They say they have the world’s most powerful horizontal drum spinner – a claim that’s as unsubstantiated as it is suspicious. I’ve seen this robot in action, and aside from a few blind-ass-luck opportunities it really hasn’t done much to impress. But, the team is crazy and fun to watch, and that’s just plenty for me.

I’d try to speak to Warhead’s strategy going against powerhouse Minotaur, but since team Brit slash metal-pop-rock never seem to have one, I’m not even going to entertain the notion. The will run head first into Minotaur and hope something unexpected and sensational happens. Lighting could strike twice, right?

Minotaur Captain: Marco Antonio Meggiolaro

Minotaur season 2 Team

I can’t understand much of what Marco Antonio has to say through that thick, yet endlessly endearing Brazilian accent, but I’m assuming it’s something about ripping apart the robot innards of Warhead with what has become one of the most feared primary weapons in the sport. Minotaur is lean, mean, and capable of tearing through even the most solidly built robots in the field. If team Warhead is hell bent on charging the bull, Team Minotaur is happy to oblige with the horns.

This one could get messy.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!!

The bot battle begins and let’s see if that Warhead non-strategy pans out OH MY GOD.

Uh…so that happened. Warhead…more like War-NO-head amiright?

Minotaur goes right at the horribly overmatched Warhead and sends its giant drum spinner head flying 30 feet in the air. It was a jolly-good run for the kooky team from Great Britain, but sadly their run ends here. They’d be the first to tell you: at least it ended with a bang.

KO. Minotaur.

The Numbers
Carnage: 10
Technique: 7
Evenness: 5
Entertainment: 9

Total Score (not an average):9

Hot Takes: That’s a close to Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots as we’re ever going to get in the Battle Box.

Bout #2: (27)Poison Arrow vs (11)Hypershock

Poison Arrow Captain: Zachary Goff

Poison Arrow BattleBots Season 2 Team

I see a spinoff series starring Zach Goff’s teeth premiering next season on ABC. I’d watch it. Poison Arrow is somewhat of an unknown, as is its team of young builders starring a former Air Force captain and his squad of yes-people. They ran into the always-reckless and self-destructive Son of Whyachi in the previous round, taking a shot on the chin that won it the match. We’ll see if that unusual strategy works against a more capable robot in Hypershock.

“What do you think they’re working on over there?” Probably their robot, dude. Mr. Goff is doing a lot of pre-match trash talking about the fragility of Hypershock’s carbon fiber shell. I don’t know much about Zach, but early impressions are offering hints of a Chuck Pitzer sized pension for immaturity.

Poison Arrow also has a drone. And Hypershock has a drone kryptonite: a rake.

Hypershock Captain: Will Bales

Hypershock Season 2 Team

I love me some Will Bales. He’s one of the few drivers who doesn’t take this competition to be as serious as some make it seem. He builds robots because it’s fun, then he destroys those robots while simultaneously trying to destroy the robots of others. He embraces the inner-child nature of this competition unlike any other, and for that alone I appreciate him.

Hypershock, meanwhile, has quietly built up quite a bit of hype for itself. In its two fights so far, it’s done enough damage to turn heads and raise eyebrows. They made quick work of Warrior Clan in a hilarious match that featured a green drone-smashing rake. Team Hypershock has also added a wedge to try and get under Poison Arrow and gain any edge it can against a robot with a very similar set of skills.

Gimme that rake.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!!

I have no idea what Faruq just said when he announced Hypershock, but it was gold as usual.

Boom! Hypershock comes out with a massive hit that does a considerable amount of damage to Poison Arrow but breaks its spinner in the process. This could spell bad news for Hypershock.

Dude on team Poison Arrow is counting to 10 in the most insufferable way possible as the drum spinner fully charges up. However, the drum spinner is working, and HyperShock is looking like dead meat. It’s rake is helplessly flailing as Poison Arrow finishes it off with a few crushing blows at the end.

KO. Poison Arrow.

The Numbers
Carnage: 8
Technique: 8
Evenness: 8
Entertainment: 8

Total Score (not an average): 8 (duh)

Hot Take: A disappointing end to Hypershock’s promising run.

Bout #3: (30)Red Devil vs. (19)Bombshell

Bombshell Captain: Michael Jeffries

Bombshell Season 2 Team

Well, I think we no know where the lead singer from Blues Traveler’s been all these years. Bombshell is a multi-bot who so far has made great adjustments to gain the upper hand in its first two matches. The previous round against Cobalt produced a surgical victory featuring an adjustable heigh horizontal spinner that cut right through the exposed rubber tires of its opponent. Michael Jeffries is great because he understands what the other team wants to do, then exploits their weak spots.

He’ll look to do the same thing against Red Devil.

Red Devil Captain: Jerome Miles

Red Devil Season 2 Team

I’ll be honest. No one expected Red Devil to be sitting in this position. They were a huge underdog in the round of 32 match-up against Witch Doctor, but came out on top due to some savvy driving and a few fortunate missteps from Andrea Suarez.

Red Devil should have the same strategy going in against Bombshell. This bot is at its best when the jaws of life and the saw of death combo work to cut in and destroy the opposing robot’s innards. Bombshell, however, is a different kind of obstacle that will be doing everything it can to make sure that doesn’t happen. And knowing Michael Jeffries’ track record, I’d guess Red Devil is in some deep water.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!!

Seeing Faruq with a child-like grin on his face as the crowd chants his name is one of the feeliest good moments of the entire season. He’s truly a man of the people.

Red Devil comes out with an uninspired opening minutes. It’s hard to believe this is the same bot who handily took out Witch Doctor in the previous round. I think that low seed is starting to rear its ugly head. Bombshell, meanwhile, lands a massive hit on the outset that disables its primary weapn and leaves both bots reeling.

The rest of the match consists of Bombshell imposing its will on Red Devil, even without a working vertical spinner. This pushing match goes the distance, but leaves little doubt to who will come out on top.

Thank God, my boy Chris Rose chimes in with a much-needed Giant Nut reference to breath some life into this match as it goes the distance and to a judge’s decision.

Unanimous Decision. Bombshell.

The Numbers
Carnage: 4
Technique: 6
Evenness: 7
Entertainment: 3

Total Score (not an average): 5

Hot Take: Meh.

Bout #4: (2)Bronco vs. (15)Razorback

Bronco Captains: Alex Rose and Reason Bradley

Bronco Season 2

At this point, there isn’t really much more you can say about Bronco. It’s proved itself to be nearly unbeatable behind the unmatched power of its pneumatic flipper and the steely-eyed driving of Reason Bradley. They’ve brought a bit of extra seasoning this year with a beefed up rear wedge that provides a defensive element that eluded them last year. Bronco: it only does everything.

Look for Reason and Bronco to do what they do: win.

Razorback Captain: Zack Bieber

Razorback BattleBots Season 2 Team

Zack “don’t call me Justin” Bieber has a bit of a mountain at his feet. We know Bronco is no joke. He knows Bronco is no joke. So what do you do against such a serious and impending force staring at you down the barrel?

You close your eyes, stick to your guns, and run straight at it. Zack has a sturdy modular bot that has popped in its drum spinner to deal maximum damage to Bronco before it gets a chance to go all flip-city up in the Battle Box. If Bronco has one weakness, it’s the exposed 6 pack of rubber tires that flank either side of its massive chassis. If Razorback manages to take out a wheel or two, we could be looking at an unlikely upset.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!!

Bronco comes out ass first, much like it did in the previous match against ChromeFly. Reason is playing this match extremely safe, not taking any chances of exposing those tires to Razorback’s drum spinner. The strategy is working, and Razorback is frustrated.

In a dash of brilliance, Team Bronco is ramming the back-side wedge into Razorback, and as it slides under it unleashes the flipper for a move I’m not even sure I have the words to describe. After a few of these, a lucky flip lands Razorback sideways. Think of a nickel standing up on its side.

The crowd chants for Bronco to finish off Razorback in style, but Reason shows an uncharacteristic amount of restraint in simply letting the countdown reach zero. Could this be a new team Bronco?

KO. Bronco.

The Numbers
Carnage:7
Technique: 10
Evenness: 6
Entertainment: 7

Total Score (not an average): 8

Hot Take: More like RazorSIDE, right?

Episode Score: 7

Hot Take: I’m still not over the fact that Will Bales AND Matt Maxham are already gone. It’s going to be a long offseason.

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