BattleBots Season 1 Review: Episode 3

The best highlights from BattleBots Season 1, Episode 3

“I want you to die.” Plumber Matt Maxham says through a maniacal smile, and in so doing effectively sums up the competition for this week.

Welcome back! The bracket is set, the fires are lit, and the Round of 16 is ready to blast your face with flying metal and witty puns. We are finally out of the weak sauce opening rounds and, as Mad Matt Maxham so aptly puts it, into territory where people literally want to kill each other (well, their bots anyway). After a bit of light flirting and cheeky banter between our three gracious hosts, we are onto the bracket to take a look at how the seeds shake out.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to run through all 16 seeds, why who got screwed and who did the screwing, just wanted to point out a few notable bot placements.

Not surprisingly, Tombstone takes the top seed.

Tombstone’s devastating horizontally spinning chunk of cold hard steel looks to destroy just about anything it its path. The judges seem to agree. It’s hard to imagine numero uno bowing down to any other bots in the field, but I suppose anything is possible.

One odd inclusion in the Round of 16 is Witch Doctor. If you’ll remember back to episode 2, Witch Doctor got tossed around like a greek salad against the 4 seed Bronco, but somehow wrapped up one of the coveted “loser spots” (wild cards) in the Round of 16. I’d have passed on that performance, but that’s probably why I’m here in a one-window room listening to 90’s hip hop by myself. *sigh.

For a quick reminder, here’s how things played out last week to get us here today:

Overhaul vs. Lock-Jaw
Winner: Lock-Jaw. Split Decision.
Hot Take: When’s the last time a good sport won anything?

Bronco vs. Witch Doctor
Winner: Bronco. KO.
Hot Take: At least their hats were cool.

Counter Revolution vs. Tombstone
Winner: Tombstone. Decisive KO.
Hot Take: Counter Revolution’s tombstone now reads: why did we even show up?

Stinger vs. Captain Shrederator
Winner: Stinger. KO.
Hot Take: Shrederator rips and zips around the arena but is ultimately done in by the bulldozer scoop and low-profile of Stinger.

Overdrive vs. Chomp
Winner: Overdrive. KO.
Hot Take: Flames aplenty didn’t save Chomp from being blasted into the screws and out of the tournament.

Radioactive vs. Sweet Revenge
Winner: Radioactive. Decision.
Hot Take: A team of Catholic school girls wasn’t enough to elevate Sweet Revenge above nagging mechanical issues.

Hypershock vs. Mohawk
Winner: Hypershock. KO.
Hot Take: A family affair that ended quickly with a short of Mohawks engine.

Complete Control vs. Ghost Raptor
Winner: Ghost Raptor. Decision.
Hot Take: I like turtles.

I really do like turtles.

Without further ado and meaningless build-up, let’s get to those fights! (seeds are in parentheses).

Bout 1: (2) IceWave vs. (15) Chomp

IceWave Captain: Marc DeVidts

BattleBots Icewave-Team

If you remember, Icewave made quick work of not-Justin Bieber’s Razorback in episode one. He didn’t come out totally unscathed, however. Icewave suffered an annoying lithium battery fire (name of a shitty alt-pop band) and suffered internal damage because of it. Team worked all night to get humpty dumpty back together again, cleaning and scrubbing every part free of discharged lithium sweat (actually, that’s the better shitty alt-pop band name).

The strategy for IceWave going in is simple: use that horizontal spinner and rip opponent Chomp apart. In a bit of robot engineering trickery, Marc painted the tips of IceWave’s spinner to match the color of the arena floor, making it tough for opposing drivers to exactly judge the reach of the blades. Cuz those blades be spinning at the speed of light.

Chomp Captain: Zoe Stephenson

BattleBots chomp_team

Chomp is a loser bot who made it into the Round of 16 on the judge’s good graces. An underdog in every sense of the expression.

I’d like to take a minute of your time to rant about flame-bots entering this competition if I may. I’m guessing there must’ve been some suit executive at ABC who mandated there be at least a small handful of robots who do nothing but flame around the ring because they figure a decent chunk of their viewer base are, or at one point have been, pyromaniacs. I understand, even applaud that rationale, but can we all come to the collective agreement that fire in this competition is about as useful as a poop flavored lollipop? I’d love to be proven wrong here, but I dare you to try.

Bringing us back to Chomp, whose only real strategy is to get the flame underneath IceWave long enough to melt the interior or cause some kind of spectacular explosion due to its internal combustion powered spinner. I’m reminded of myself as a 5th grader impressing my friends by quickly passing my hand through an open flame unscathed. Call me skeptical. Actually, don’t. That’s a terrible name.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Right out of the gate Chomp looks confused and helpless as IceWave gets in a few early shots. As predicted, the flames, they do nothing.

IceWave sends a sizable chunk of Chomp’s sheet metal shell flying towards the side rail. The revamped electrical system and revived lithium cell appear to not have slowed this beast down a tick.

Chomp continues to take a severe beating and is simply pushing around the arena shooting bursts of flames with no real purpose or direction. Sounds like my mid 20’s! IceWave delivers one final blow that leaves Chomp motionless, sad, and out of the tournament.

Winner: IceWave – KO
Hot Take: Why do flame bots even make the trip? Seriously the worst weapon.

Bout 2: (5) Stinger vs. (12)Warhead

Stinger Captain: Mad Matt Maxham

BattleBots stinger2_team

Zany plumber Matt Maxham is the perfect BattleBots personality. Masterful driver, and former cleaner upper of other people’s poop. Match made in bot heaven? I’d say so. Another match made in bot heaven is Mad Matt and his equally as mad wife Wendy. Aside from the borderline psychopathic British duo (I’ll get to them in a second), these two are probably the most entertaining drivers in the competition. Yes, even more entertaining than our hilarious hosts. *rolls eyes. *coughs. *vomits uncontrollably.

The key for Stinger is to work the arena and be the better driver. It’ll be tough to get close to warhead from the front side, so Matt will have to maneuver Stinger around the side and back to have a chance. He’ll also need to be careful to protect Stiner’s rubber wheels, which are exposed and vulnerable as proven in the opening round win. Protect your sides, go at Warhead’s sides. Do that and move on to the Elite Eight.

Warhead Captain: The aforementioned crazy Brits, Ian Lewis and Simon Scott

BattleBots Warhead-Team

What a matchup of personalities! One can only hope the robot fight lives up to the battle of the weirdest bot builders in the tournament. In Round 1, Warhead suffered a massive upset to Bite Force in humiliating fashion. But the two crazy Brits who call Warhead theirs are back for the second chances of all second chances, not to mention a few bot modifications they hope push them into the next round. They’ve fashioned some gnarly metal teeth to the massive drum spinner to get a bit more traction and a bit more destruction.

Warhead’s strategy? Just be a beast. With those newly attached claw fang hooks on opposing sides of the spinning drum of doom the idea is to bull rush with relentless fervor and hope you don’t end up doing what you did in last week’s round and hurt yourself more than you hurt the other bot. Stinger is no joke, and it’s going to take some fancy driving from the fiery brits to get the KO here. Frankly, I’m giddy like a kid on Christmas hoping to see what they’ll do if they win. Spontaneous combustion is not out of the question.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Whoa mama! Stinger waits in the weeds like a praying lion as Warhead makes good on its strategy and bull rushes straight in – a backfire that results in Stinger getting under and flipping Warhead, sending it tumbling into the screws! Warhean scoots around the arena on its back by way of the drum spinner in what amounts to as close as we’re getting to robot ice skating in this tournament.

Warhead continues to try and spin itself upright, but only succeeds in getting pushed into the pulverizer by a relentless Stinger. “Third time wins you a prize at the carnival!” It sure does, white host number 2. It sure does. One of Stinger’s wheels was damaged in the scuffle, but it’s nothing compared to the hammer blows Warhead’s taking.

Stinger gets itself flipped, but rights the ship in time to send Warhead flying into the side rail once more. If I’m Rocky Balboa, I’m throwing in the towel, Apollo.

Ha! Warhead again is its own worst enemy, as its spinner lands with Stingers bulldozer and gets tossed by its own momentum. It’s ridiculous enough to get wily Brit driver to yip and jump at the comical display.

More of this goes on as the time winds down to zero on this one sided affair that, surprisingly enough, didn’t end in a KO.

Winner: Stinger – Decision
Hot Take: What a fight! I didn’t know that was going to come with a clean change of short.

For good measure, we should probably get a shot of Mad Matt Maxin pounding like an insane person on the arena glass. Perhaps I should have bet on him for spontaneous combustion.

Bout 3: (7) Warrior Clan vs. (10) Ghost Raptor

Warrior Clan Captain: Papa Ewert

BattleBots Warrior-Clan

In the last round, one of Warrior Clan’s worthless mini bots was eviscerated by Nightmare. I’ve never laughed harder. Well, at least not at a small metal robot being turned into a puff of smoke and a waterbed’s worth of tears. Our fearless announcers once again are required to mention Papa Ewerts impending retirement from the BattleBots arena should him and his multi-bot fail to advance. Over under 7 more times they mention that over the next 5 minutes of air time? Over? Easy money.

Strategy: I guess distract with the mini bots long enough to get a flip or two in. Not sure if it’s going to pay off, but against Ghost Raptor it just might work. Since last match, the spinner bot has all but lost its spinner, leaving it with nothing more than a weak flipper and a sad sack of a driver. The best course of action might be to just outlast GR, pushing it towards obstacles when possible and getting a decision. Knock outs are going to be as hard to get as water on the moon in this one.

Ghost Raptor Captain: Chuck Pitzer

BattleBots ghostraptor_team

Ghost Raptor took some serious hits (not to mention some mild net humiliation) in the last round against the devious jerk of a driver, Derek Young. It’s spinner had to be replaced by…well…nothing. Where a glorious and powerful two-pronged horizontal blade was once proudly mounted is now nothing more than a sad titanium knub. Ghost Raptor has been reduced to a jockeyless racehorse, a dorsal finless dolphin. Or something like that.

Ghost Raptor still has a flipper to work with, but compared to others of the same kind in the field, it’s pretty weak. I’d say these two bots have just about the same strategy: use the arena to their advantage and be the better driver.

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

Ghost Raptor gets mildly annoyed with a mini bot enough to send it sailing, flames shooting skyward in a cheeky bit of driving. Meanwhile, Warrior Clan seems to have wandered into the side wall on its own accord. It’s a bold move. Let’s see if it pays off.

Not much to report thus far. Now, we can see Ghost Raptor and Warrior Clan enjoying a lovers embrace, as minibot nestles up, vying for the attention of the smitten father bot. How cute.

Due to mechanical breakdowns, Warrior Clan’s only move is to coyly ramp underneath Ghost Raptor to win precious points from the judges. Neither bot has done much up to this point, so even seemingly useless moves like this could be the difference.

As Warrior Clan lays motionless in the middle of the arena, Ghost Raptor takes the opportunity to toss a mini bot into the side rail in the first bit of real entertainment to speak of this match. The ref starts the countdown, and that’s all she wrote. A tough way to go out, Papa Ewert. You will be remembered.

Winner: Ghost Raptor – KO
Hot Take: How many intense, shaking, sweat-face close ups of Chuck Pitzer do we really need? Because we got about 12.

Bout 4: (4) Bronco vs. (12) Plan X

Bronco Captain: Alexander Rose and Reason Bradley

BattleBots bronco_team

Bronco is coming into this fight as a huge favorite. For my money, a 4 seed is a little low considering how dominant it was in the opening round. Then again, my money’s worth less than the paper it’s printed on. In the fight last week, Bronco made quick work of Witch Doctor with a 30-some second KO. That flipper don’t play, folks.

I’d say if Bronco did exactly what it did last week, it’s going to advance with east again. I’m told by our gracious hosts the team actually files down Bronco’s flipper nose to a sharp point, allowing it to get under even the most low-riding bots on the block. If Plan X finds itself face-to-face with that bad boy? Ticket punched. Fork stuck. Fat lady sung.

Plan X Captain: Lisa Winter

BattleBots PlanX-Team

The titanium pillow! Of course! What appeared to be a poorly designed flimsy sheet metal side fin is actually Plan X’s most important defence mechanism. In episode one’s fight with the dead-fish bot Wrecks, Plan X barely escaped with a win after breaking down and taking a few devastating pillow shots as time expired. The judges were kind, and gave Lisa the win in a tight decision.

Plan X is going to have to be offensive against Bronco and go after it with it’s only real weapon: that rear mounted vertical spinner. The fire will do nothing, as I’ve mentioned before, and the brain is a mere gimmick that does even less than the fire. If Lisa can outdrive Bronco and get a few good shots in, all the while avoiding that bucking flipper, she might have a chance. Then again, monkeys might fly out of my butt…

Let’s Battle Some Bots!

I’m not gonna say anything. I’m not gonna laugh. I’m not gonna do what you think I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take my chips, and walk away slowly. Tip of the cap, Bronco.

Plan X? Better luck next time.

Winner: Bronco – Fastest KO ever
Hot Take: I guess Plan X’s strategy should have been “don’t fight Bronco.”

. . . . . . .

A great night of fights! Not really too many surprises here aside from a slim favorite in Warrior Clan going down to a peg legged Ghost Raptor. We’ve got four more Round of 16 matches to get to next week, so be sure to come back for more cutting edge analysis and recap ecstasy!

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