The Best of BattleBots Update: Season Two

[Editor’s Note: This is a collection of the best parts of the “BattleBots Update” column from RFSHQ focusing on the second season of the show. Dracophile’s four-year tenure with RFSHQ ended before he was able to finish the column so the archive abruptly ends in the middle of the season.]

Season one came to a close with a mix of destructive and torque-filled machines taking the championships in the four different weight classes. We learned that destruction seemed to be the key to winning the lighter classes while simply being able to over power your opponent was the way to claim the heavier championships. History was made, yadda yadda etcetera etcetera; I think we’ve pulled that string enough times here on RFSHQ. This debut episode from “Season 2.0” is a little peculiar; there was only one battle (Tentomushi taking the “pilot” fight once again) and the majority of the promotional episode was taken up by showing us the new (and rebuilt) competitors. I feel that it would be appropriate to have our little commentary session over the upgrades compared to season one, and of course the play by play of the debut fight. The first “upgrade” (read: downgrade) to the show that we get to see (and also one that doesn’t fit anywhere else in this article) is Donna D’Errico’s replacement; Heidi Mark, the first step of many in what would eventually kill the show’s ratings…

The New Robots
Team Delta is back, surprisingly without Middleweight champion Hazard (why they did this I have no ide, usually the reigning champion returns to defend its fucking title). Instead we have the eerie voice of Tony Buchignani showing us War Machine, a Superheavyweight robot covered in wheels; and Evil Fish tank, a Lightweight four wheel drive machine with a flipping ramp. Bill Nye shows up with the Scrap Daddy team from Austin, Texas to show the world the most underappreciated and cursed team in the history of BattleBots. Scrap Daddy has a robot for every class with minimal change between designs. They have a Lightweight (Little Boot), a Middleweight (Junior), Bradford himself introduces the Heavyweight (Bad Boy), and a Superheavyweight (Big Daddy). While they look somewhat formidable… well, you’ll see in coming weeks. You’ll laugh at them but deep down you’ll feel sorry about it. At least they tried.

You might recognize Jerome Miles, or maybe not because he has different hair this time. If I said “Knome II” then you’d know who I’m talking about. It seems the Heavyweight bulldozer gave its last breath of life to Mauler in the season one Heavyweight rumble and was replaced by a much more effective looking lifting clamp named Sublime. Sublime looks incredibly powerful (and showcases some interesting choices of armor) and believe it or not, it’s a Lightweight! Next up in the Lightweight division is Scrap Metal (not to be confused with Scrap Daddy) whose driver, “Wolfy” (furry?) informs us that we should “watch out”. Perhaps they should heed that advice, watch carefully in the clip of the robot they show; you can see the ominous whirling blades of Ziggo in the background. Oh my. Derek Young brings his smiling “hit you after the bell ha ha” face back along with his new robot Complete Control. Complete Control functions like Sublime, it’s a gripper that completely lifts its opponent off the ground (hence the name).

A couple fresh out of Hot Topic brings the appropriately named El Diablo into the fray, a menacing looking Middleweight toting tank tracks, a spinning drum (the first we’ve seen in BattleBots), and a nice pitchfork wedge in the back. “General” Morgan Tilford and his frighteningly insane demeanor is back along with a completely rebuilt Mauler “51-50” which we see in the preview clip blowing itself to pieces and becoming unstable. Poor Mauler. Norm Muzzy is a computer-oriented looking kinda guy who has a rather unremarkable Heavyweight that kind of looks like the racecar bed I had when I was four. While this is nothing to get antsy about the dude had the balls to name it “Marvel Of Engineering”. An unnamed disembodied voice chimes in for a five second introduction of the giant “leveolution weapons of mass construction” (what the hell) of Superheavyweight One Tin Soldier. Bill Nye’s overexcited personality emerges onto the screen again with Atomic Wedgie, a Superheavyweight wedge with tank tracks and some wicked spinning trefoils which our resident Science Guy affectionately calls “the spinning blades of death”.

The New Arena
We’re introduced to the arena first by means of the man behind the operations, Peter Lambertson. I’m not sure if that creepy Hitler/Satan looking guy is him or not, but when the camera finally cuts to Pete he looks like a regular old grandfatherly figure except instead of giving you wisdom or a Werther’s candy he hits you in the face with a sledgehammer. Speaking of hammers the first remodeled hazard we get to see are the Pulverizers. The sledgehammers were rather unmentionable in the first season because they were completely ineffective and the only notable damage they did was ruin one of the “WINNER” stickers on the side of Killerhurtz. These new hammers, though, they are something special. Even though they are actually hollow cans on a stick they’re certainly a step in the right direction. We get a short taste of the carnage by seeing Middleweight RA, Heavyweight Mjollnir, and Lightweight Scrap Daddy LW 55 (remember what I said) take some shots to the chin courtesy of the Pulverizer. Me likey.

New to season two are the Spinners which do exactly what their name implies. Spinners are discs in the floor that spin at a high speed and are meant to disorient robots. We see the other half of that Mauler clip where the dangerous spinner flips out like crazy (“The Mauler Dance”) and rolls over. The Killsaws, a staple in BattleBots history by now, also got a facelift. There are some new red blades that are meant to help throw and toss robots around. No Tolerance III (the stomper bot) gets up close with the Slam-Cam while Toe Crusher gets some airtime. Marvel Of Engineering shows up and demonstrates the exact opposite of what it’s name suggests as it is completely and utterly destroyed by the Killsaws. Yes that is wood for armor; a “marvel” indeed. Bill Nye inquires about what the arena walls are made from, and when he gets his answer from Pete the giddy scientist just can’t help himself as he gleefully kicks and slaps at the walls.

Gambling On New Robots
Because BattleBots is taking place in Las Vegas of course someone is going to find a way to bet money on this event. I don’t care about the gambling aspect so much as I do care about getting to see some cool new entries and some returning favorites. The definitely non-Native American casino owner starts out with the Superheavyweight class and at the top of the odds is returning champion Minion sporting a brand new set of armor and of course a replacement saw blade. DooAll, who lost to Minion in season one’s finals, is back as well sporting a rebuilt pneumatic system and shiny new tank tracks; also new to DooAll this season are the two front bulldozer scoops. Rammstein makes a reappearance showing its toughness by letting the entire build team stand on top of it. The Superheavyweight “ranked” fourth in wagers is Snake. Snake is a bizarre looking alien/worm/Borg hybrid thing built by the same guy who entered Mechadon in the first tournament; his creations just get weirder and weirder. Everyone’s favorite Heavyweight champion Vlad The Imapler is back showing absolutely no change at all; it’s so popular the betting has landed on even money – if it wins and you bet on him, you’ll make a grand total of $0 back on your money. What a great deal! Voltarc ditched its old Power Rangers-sounding name for Voltronic which now sounds like a hilariously awesome 1980’s cartoon. Not much can be seen on the outside of Voltronic, it’s still a wedge but you may notice there are some wheel guards and two extra teeth added to its lifting arm.

After persevering against Mauler in season one Killerhurtz is back and looks to be ready to take down the opposition with that powerful battle axe (as long as it keeps away from the Killsaws). Out of nowhere (Japan, actually) is this robot called Iron Eagle, an extremely compact looking wedge toting an almost hidden looking lifting arm. Moving onto the Middleweights is Deadblow (not “Dead Blow”) which is taking top bets as Hazard is nowhere to be seen. Not much has been done to Deadblow but for their sake let’s hope their hammer doesn’t blow up on them again. The Master, a robot who writes its own dick jokes, is a newcomer to BattleBots from Mark Setrakian (Mechadon, Snake) and seems to be much more cut-back instead of a nightmarish crawling/rolling/writhing mass of metal. Blade Runner returns with its powerful one punch knock out weapon absolutely covered in sponsorship stickers; I guess advertisers like that one big “thump” that disables people in a single blow. Last in the list of Middleweights is the seemingly misplaced Buddy Lee Don’t Play In The Street which looks like a Cabbage Patch fire truck doll that got dangerously lost. The adorable fire truck is sporting absolutely no weapons at all, Dalmatian puppies, wooden ladders, and all sorts of other fun bits that I just want to call “hazard fodder”.

The Lightweights are some of my personal favorites and of course Backlash is back to defend its title against everyone else who thinks they can get a free ride. Right behind Backlash is Ziggo, a dangerous full body spinner that can kill you in a single blow as long as you don’t bash it into the wall really hard. Beta Raptor is the reincarnation of last season’s Alpha Raptor who was absolutely destroyed by Backlash in the finals. Beta Raptor has a lot to prove and returns to the tournament sporting a new lifting arm design and what appears to be no top armor. For some reason, and I don’t know why, people are still going insane over Tentomushi which is now 100% more Japanese with the addition of “Mecha” into its name. Mecha Tentomushi has a giant fishing hook in place of the grinder disc from season one. Why anyone on the team thought this was a good idea is beyond me, the better solution would have been to either fix the broken saw from season one or find a weapon that doesn’t suck.

The British Invasion
Also new to this tournament is a slew of English robots (from England no less). First on the list is the CO2 eating monster Bigger Brother which appears to be the vicious offspring of the Aggro Crag. Bigger Brother is operated by a rather sane looking family and an embarrassingly cute little kid who doesn’t look bloodthirsty at all (oh but he is). He also coined the BattleBots catchphrase “the robot’s not allowed in the house”. Suicidal Tendencies is the robot for the emo in all of us. This invertible tracked terror has a lifting bulldozer scoop and a little almost invisible pick that comes out from the top of the robot to get some extra damage in. Panic Attack 3 is a popular robot in the Robot Wars circuit and is here in the States to try its luck in BattleBots. Panic Attack 3 is a very low speedbump (with the colors to match) armed with electric lifting forks instead of your regular hydraulic or pneumatic power that we usually see. We’ll see how this new form of power works out for them, if it works at all. The next robot you see appears to be unnamed, but it’s actually Mortis, an expensive machine that functions similar to Suicidal Tendencies. Mortis has a lifting arm and a striking hammer to both lift and then smash its opponents into oblivion. Killerhurtz isn’t mentioned but you can see its driver hanging out in the background and also see one of the drunken Englishmen try to ride it around.

So what have we learned from this interesting little segment? The Brits really fucking love their flippers and hammers.

Bigger Brother vs. Mauler 51-50
During that quick little British robot segment from the season two promo/pilot episode we got to see a little bit of Bigger Brother who happens to be a formidable Robot Wars competitor when it’s not poking around in North America. I cannot describe Bigger Brother any better than I did in the previous BattleBots Update article: “the vicious offspring of the Aggro Crag”. Mauler on the other hand looks completely different for the second season. The whole design is shorter and a bit more aerodynamic to maximize the speed of its weapon, not to mention its new paint job is tearing all kinds of ass all over the arena. Bil Dwyer just can’t seem to keep it in his pants that Mauler is back, but I guess if he had watched the pre-season trailer episode he would know not to be too excited.

Bigger Brother initially starts to come toward Mauler with its lifting forks but pulls a 180 and opts instead to try and back into Mauler to slow it down. Mauler’s spinning disc is spinning at its maximum speed (said to be seven times faster) when it digs into the back end of Bigger Brother as Bil Dwyer gives a preemptive “AW MAN” out of excitement. Bigger Brother’s plan was to slow down the spinning weapon of Mauler gradually and then come in with the flipper but really this one hit is all that was needed. If you watch carefully you can see one of Mauler’s metal flails go flying off across the arena and as the robot continues to spin it becomes off balanced. In a matter of seconds Mauler goes from vibrating vigorously to spinning up like a flicked coin and rolls back down onto its top as the chassis begins to spin wildly.

Mauler landed inches away from the new Pulverizer, so to help him get acquainted with it Bigger Brother plows the spinner into the hammer. I don’t think any actual serious blows are landed but Mauler starts to smolder anyways, probably from burning out its electronics trying to spin while upside down. Judging by the stuff bouncing around inside of it while Bigger Brother tries flipping it, the force of spinning pulled the internals of Mauler apart, a truly fucking metal ending for a robot fitting the description. Take note of where Mauler was spinning upside down, because the bolts on top of the spinner reduced that spot of the arena to mere gravel.

Snake vs. War Machine
Okay, seriously Snake scares the fuck out of me. It doesn’t even look like a BattleBot, it looks like a giant novelty version of some brain-boring mind control creature from The Matrix or something. The thing is so huge it’s bigger than the square it starts in. Snake’s weapon is what appears to be a giant spinning ass (a tail) and the ability to “open wide” (with its mouth not its ass you sick fuck). War Machine is literally the complete opposite of the insanely designed Snake. War Machine took the minimalist route and is a giant box covered in wheels and one giant sheet of metal for a wedge (and two pieces of wood that serve no purpose whatsoever).

The fight begins and War Machine literally is just like “what the fuck are you serious” as Snake starts to bend and contort and flop towards War Machine. Aside from looking like a snake that someone just struck with the blade-end of a shovel snake almost looks a little bit lifelike and as War Machine tries to decide how to attack there is this brilliant pose Snake strikes that gives it that “alive” touch. It bends towards War Machine, starts spinning its drill, and opens up its jaw. If the thing would have roared I’d have shit my pants. War Machine actually backs off a bit but then decides “well what the hell” and charges straight at Snake hitting it in the stomach and pushing it into the wall. Snake tries to writhe away from the wall but War Machine continues the attack, and much like a real-life snake Snake begins to emit smoke and sparks from its abdomen. Snake appears to not be functional anymore (maybe its appendix ruptured) but springs back to life somewhat after War Machine rams it again.

Snakes movements go from being mobile to what looks to be writhing in pain. Snake’s design is just a little bit oddly shaped so War Machine seems to have trouble really getting a hold of it with its ramp. War Machine eventually gets Snake over to the Pulverizer which begins to pound on one of the robot’s teeth and Snake decides to try and ingest the Pulverizer (probably to try and assimilate with it and use it as a weapon who knows what kind of crazy shit is built into that thing). We get to see a shot of Mark Setrakian trying to control his cold steel reptile and the remote for that thing looks like a stolen prototype controller from that Steel Battalion game (you know that one where the giant robots fuck each other). Snake is mercifully counted out while Dan Dankick gives the camera a “yeah I just totally got an easy win” look.

Toe Crusher vs. No Tolerance III
Toe Crusher is a fun new robot from Team Coolrobots, the team who entered last season’s Superheavyweight champion Minion. They brought along a little friend to enter in the Lightweight division in the form of a quick overhead thwack-bot with go-kart tires. Toe Crusher is like a miniature version of Overkill, in order to attack the robot needs to swing its blade by going into reverse or it can attack using its front wedge, which appears to be of a higher quality than what Overkill was toting last season. What worries me about Toe Crusher however is the internals are pretty much wide open for the Killsaws to shred; the little black things you see on the top and bottom of the robot are its drive motors – completely exposed to attack. No Tolerance III is a returning entry from last season. We never saw much of No Tolerance but if you go back to the Lightweight rumble you’ll notice that it’s the one that looks like a monster truck with a hammer on it. This new version of No Tolerance is a complete rebuild and a totally new design. Utilizing the extra weight bonus of being a walker the team created a fucking giant walking robot armed with a linear actuated lifting plow and a small cutting disc. Remember when I said how big the robot squares are? Look at how much of it is taken up by No Tolerance III. Yeah, that is a big Lightweight.

It’s really hard for me to explain just how fucking goofy No Tolerance III looks when it starts to walk but if I had to come up with something I’d say “retarded poodle with six legs”. No Tolerance III takes about two steps before it actually trips over the weight of its own weapon. Toe Crusher really has an easy win if it can manage to stop running into the spike strip and actually land a hit, but if it keeps doing that well then it looks like the bizarre monster-truck-turned-stomper robot is going to be the one with the “easy win”; perhaps No Tolerance III is trying to cash in on that “Pressure Drop voodoo” magic by having six legs and an ineffective weapon. At one point in the match Toe Crusher is actually incapacitated on the spike strip and if No Tolerance III would have left it alone it actually would have won the match; however the drivers decide to land in a hit with that absolutely terrible “cutting disc” of theirs and Toe Crusher is knocked away from the wall and proceeds to grip the walker by the metaphorical neck and drag it around for a bit. By this point in the fight No Tolerance III hasn’t even been able to leave its square yet, and when it tries to walk around it trips once again and Toe Crusher seizes the moment to punch its opponent in the face with its stick.

No Tolerance III is finally able to start hobbling away and gets a little too close to the Killsaws. Toe Crusher seems to forget about its exposed naughty bits and tries to break some legs but is rejected by the arena hardware and does a nice little somersault off of them (I’d give it a 7/10 for style). While Bill Nye’s face appears on the screen to tell us why Toe Crusher just got launched No Tolerance III makes the mistake of walking dangerously close to the saw blades and opens itself up for some easy hits. If there’s one thing that No Tolerance III has going for it though, it’s that its legs make it incredibly difficult to push around; the stomper actually has more traction than the go kart tires of Toe Crusher so as long as its feet are on the ground it becomes a hard object to shov. Toe Crusher wedges up underneath the rear end of No Tolerance III and gets in a lucky shot that hooks its train spike into one of the leg mechanisms. Toe Crusher starts to furiously try and back up to drag the limping walker onto the saws but ends up misjudging the time it takes for the saws to work and gets tossed again. Toe Crusher skips on the whole hammer thing and comes out with its wedge and effectively slides No Tolerance III right onto the saws which cut clear through one of the legs of the robot.

The front left leg of No Tolerance III is a frequent target of Toe Crusher and with one final slam Toe Crusher shatters the walking mechanism of No Tolerance III. If there was ever an example of a pathetic beaten-up looking robot it’s a battle between the broken Snake and the broken No Tolerance III. No Tolerance III has six legs, and with just one of them broken the entire robot becomes top heavy and is completely incapacitated right back over by the blue square that it never really managed to get away from. Normally when someone is broken against the wall they’re left alone to die but Toe Crusher isn’t having any of that, it’s busy grabbing No Tolerance III by the neck and slamming it in the face. As expected, the judges give the fight to Toe Crusher (who has now advanced in rank to Leg Breaker).

Buddy Lee Don’t Play In The Street vs. Turbo
Buddy Lee is without a doubt the strangest robot that I’ve seen, and yes I’m going to use this term again after using it to describe both Snake and No Tolerance III in the same episode. Buddy Lee doesn’t even look like a conventional BattleBot; there is no weapon, a Cabbage Patch doll at the wheel, and the truck bed is full of Dalmatian puppies and ladders. It looks kind of like if Toy Story was real and somehow became bloodthirsty enough to enter in BattleBots. In quite possibly the greatest mismatch in BattleBots history Buddy Lee’s opponent is Turbo, a hellacious full body spinner similar to the likes of Mauler and Ziggo. Turbo is very nondescript and resembles a 1970’s UFO with two blades on the body. When those blades (“sweet knockers”) get spinning to top speed, well, it looks like we’ll see some fur and flesh flying.

Immediately Bil Dwyer is “smellin’ massacre” as Buddy Lee almost crawls out of the red square and seems a bit disoriented while Turbo is already on the prowl. Buddy Lee begins to back away from the spinner until it stops and slowly starts to drive forward. Taking advice from Nightmare last season, Buddy Lee tries to absorb the impact of the spinner with one of its wheels, but only manages to take damage and start dumping dogs out of the back of the truck (to which the 101 Dalmatian jokes begin). Buddy Lee begins to actually try and ram into Turbo but because of the fact that there are still decorations all over the robot Turbo is able to keep racking up damage points by stripping off the wooden ladders and sending another dog rolling out of the truck. A particularly big impact sends both robots bouncing back in opposite directions but doesn’t seem to have a noticeable effect on either one aside from the final dog tumbling out of Buddy Lee’s insane PeTA enraging truck of death.

The front right tire of Buddy Lee begins to fall apart and the tread becomes all bent up and crooked but it doesn’t seem to affect the mobility of the robot at all;,not even after Turbo inevitably rips the tread off. Buddy Lee is still a mobile threat and doesn’t even seem to really notice that it is indeed missing an entire wheel. While backing into Turbo Buddy Lee loses its tailgate (which Dwyer mistakenly calls a wedge) but alas, that was just the last of the cosmetic damage available to reap from Buddy Lee. Strangely, Buddy Lee seems to come alive when it takes obscene amounts of damage like we’ve seen here. Turbo seems to have lost most of its power though, so it appears that underneath Buddy Lee’s seemingly inappropriate appearance lied some kind of insane battering ram; childish in appearance, but a bulldozer at heart. In an unprecedented turn of events, Buddy Lee managed to dilute the spinning Turbo in a close judge’s decision. Yes, you heard me right. The fucking fire truck won.

ChinKilla vs. Ginsu
Okay remember that thing about “weirdest robot ever”? Forget everything I said. ChinKilla wins the award for craziest fucking robot ever. Jay Leno managed to turn his giant shovel of a chin into a giant pneumatic lifting-shovel with a caricature of his face on it. I have no idea what the spinning blades of death are for but frankly the entire robot is just a little bit unsettling. Ginsu is a returning competitor from the first season and frankly I love what the team did to it. In season one you may recall Ginsu was a box covered in saw blades that started to fall apart with chains and axles hanging out all over the place. What was the solution for this in season two? Add more saws, add more chains, and add more axles. They effectively turned Ginsu into a rolling monster truck from the Home Depot.

Humor me for just a moment please and pay close attention to how many hits it takes until there are chains already hanging from Ginsu’s drive system. Did you catch it? It took one hit, one fucking hit, not even a big hit and there’s already substantial drive train damage done to Ginsu. Ginsu, who is literally made of Killsaws, takes a bit of hazard damage but is unaffected by its own weapon (however Jay Leno’s metallic chin is another story). You can see that two of the blades have already stopped working and are no longer functional and even ChinKilla is starting to show damage as two of its blades have become disabled as well. ChinKilla is getting close to rolling Ginsu over and does so using the flexibility of Ginsu’s wheels to its advantage. With a few bumps from the Hellraisers and a smack from Leno’s blades of death Ginsu is back on its feet (saws?) and begins to terrorize the late night host’s face once again.

ChinKilla is able to maneuver Ginsu over towards one of the Pulverizers which appears to be already broken and in the “down” position and wouldn’t you know Sean Salisbury decides this is as good of a time as any to have Bill Nye tell us how they work when we are clearly looking at an inoperable hazard. Ginsu seems to be designed to take on ChinKilla specifically as ChinKilla flips Ginsu but Ginsu’s crazy box design assures that it will always land on a set of wheels unless you tip it sideways. A bit disoriented, likely because of the damage done to all of the chains, Ginsu gives a drunken charge at ChinKilla, misses, hits the wall, and flips over and onto the aforementioned broken Pulverizer. After brutally bending and ripping the Pulverizer away from the wall ChinKilla is able to free Ginsu much to the delight of Jay Leno who expresses interest in kissing the seizure prone samurai wannabe. In the last few seconds of the fight Ginsu, while dragging more chains than an emo 14 year old on a Linkin Park message board, manages to pull off one of the coolest self righting maneuvers in the show’s history. After being tipped over by ChinKilla one last time, Ginsu starts to do donuts on its saw blade tires and actually rolls itself back over.

This isn’t the last we will see of ChinKilla, but for this season this hilarious novelty bot sits the remainder of the tournament out.

Scrap Daddy LW 55 vs. Ziggo
It’s not nice to make fun of Scrap Daddy — you have to give them credit for trying — but holy shit this has to be one of the greatest mismatches in the history of the show. Scrap Daddy LW 55 is an extremely under-armored robot that has two giant drive motors sticking out from both sides and an exposed motorcycle engine running a saw blade. For any other fight this robot would be kind of formidable if not a little bit stupid looking. It just so happens that for the enjoyment of you and me it was drawn to fight Ziggo. Ziggo has not changed much since season one; we didn’t get to see a lot of Ziggo in season one but just to jog your memory it’s a spinning road dot of death.

You have to wonder what kind of a drive system Scrap Daddy LW 55 has because whatever it is it doesn’t seem to work. The robot waddles out of its square at the beginning of the fight while Ziggo spins up to speed and eyes over its opponent, determining if this is going to be an easy win or not. The wide wheel base of Scrap Daddy LW 55 is letting it turn pretty easily so it’s able to keep its aluminum foil plow facing Ziggo… until Ziggo actually moves and blows apart the entire driving system of the feeble lightweight. This hit pretty much ruins Scrap Daddy LW 55’s day as it begins to get hung up on its own wheel fragments while Ziggo continues to ominously spin around in the background. Ziggo sizes up the danger and strikes again in the same damaged side of Scrap Daddy LW 55 completely ruining the internals of the robot and ripping out its motor mounts. This is what happens when you use zip ties and chewing gum to hold things in place.

Perhaps I was wrong about Scrap Daddy LW 55, as even after this severe bout of ass-kickery it is still hobbling around on one wheel until Ziggo comes in to finish the job and blows the robot right into the Pulverizer. Perhaps they should rename it to Scrap Daddy LW 20 after the amount of crap that fell off in that fight.

Voltronic vs. Bigger Brother
Voltronic looks awfully familiar doesn’t it? It’s actually last season’s Voltarc with a fancier name that screams “long live the eighties!” Most of Voltronic’s upgrades are external; the tires don’t show on top anymore and the crazy anti-self righting mechanism frame looks a bit more refined. One of the major changes is what was done to the robot’s weapon. Instead of one little tooth it has become a trident of three fangs to grab onto opponents more easily. Bigger Brother was last seen earlier this season when it convinced Mauler 51-50 to explode on contact and flip out of control. I last described it as a runaway prop from the set of Nickelodeon Guts, and I think I’ll stand by that description. Just add a lifting arm and you’re all set.

Bigger Brother might have a powerful arm in the realm of Robot Wars but one thing it doesn’t have is a good design. Bigger Brother is the perfect robot for Voltronic to fight. It’s not because Bigger Brother can throw Voltronic on it’s back and knock it out, but because there’s a goddamn lip around the robot’s perimeter which is perfect for the little teeth on Voltronic’s arm to take hold of. There’s the obligatory Killsaw trip and the referees tell Voltronic to let go of its opponent and let the fight continue. The battlecasters realize there’s not a whole lot going on so they keep harping on Bigger Brother being able to disable Mauler which is kind of lame since anything that wasn’t made of solid glass could have done what Bigger Brother did and be able to brag about it. Bigger Brother starts to drive all over the place, gets popped by some Hellraisers, and does donuts into the Killsaws. Bil Dwyer wonders why it isn’t as aggressive or controlled as it was earlier, and I’d have to say maybe it’s because the kid driving it is like 6 or 7 and Voltronic’s driver is some R/C obsessed 30 year old with a custom built controller that looks like something out of Perfect Dark.

When Voltronic gets a hold on Bigger Brother once again Sean Salisbury comes up with a brilliant line of commentary that “Stephen Felk knows exactly where they are”. What kind of a retard — who is looking directly at his own robot in the arena — would not know where they are? Maybe someone who’s blind and has a controller with Braille on it with a teammate shouting at him to turn left and right. A trip to the Pulverizer is in order, which doesn’t really seem to faze either robot when they get hit but once Bigger Brother gets away Voltronic lines up one giant cross-arena ram that throws the British machine onto its back and just to add insult to injury Voltronic uses its arm to hold it down for the remaining few seconds of the fight. Ian Watts looks devastated while Bil Dwyer pops off a couple of real douche comments.

Minion vs. Atomic Wedgie
It’s good to see Minion back this season. Aside from toting a brand new sturdy saw blade weapon it also has the ability to blind its opponents with WINNER stickers and shiny black Lexan armor. Atomic Wedgie is a robot that Bill Nye gave a quick breakdown of in the season two preview, but here it is in its first televised fight. Atomic Wedgie has two set of tank tracks and some insane bulletproof armor that’s probably taken from the side of a nuclear reactor or something. Atomic Wedgie’s main weapon is a set of dual spinning trefoils with little tips on the blades; I’m assuming the object is to get opponents up on the wedge and the dual tracks feed opponents into the spinners of death. We’ll see.

Minion is at a disadvantage because its front wedge has a ground clearance of about six miles. Atomic Wedgie has absolutely no problem getting underneath the reigning champion and landing in some nice blows to Minion’s wedge, bending it upwards and deflecting blows. Minion keeps on the attack even though Atomic Wedgie’s radioactive spinners blow the Lexan wedge apart seconds into the fight. The shot from Minion’s “slam cam” isn’t much better either, it looks like a three year old trying to play Motorstorm on the Playstation 3. Minion’s wedge is rendered useless and turns into some kind of welded cage to try and stop the spinners on Atomic Wedgie but it’s not really doing much and neither is that brand new shiny saw blade.

Minion is in panic mode because Atomic Wedgie has it beat in every possible category. In an effort to use the full force of the ability to tow three SUVs (from season one), Minion tries to blast through the arena wall and into the audience. Instead of escaping to the safety of the human shield Minion drives straight up the wall and onto its back. All six wheels and all of those horses rendered completely useless. Atomic Wedgie signifies that Minion is his bitch by getting in one last thwack with its spinning trefoils. That’s how you kill the reigning number one ranked champion. Christian Carlberg tries to laugh the loss off but honestly that poor guy has been completely fucked this entire season, he got his ass handed to him twice by people that he inspired into joining the sport. He’s gotta stop putting those helpful tutorials online or something.

Deadblow vs. Kegger
Last season Deadblow made it all the way to the finals where it lost to the misguided helicopter Hazard. Since Hazard is MIA from this tournament Deadblow was talked about as one of the serious contenders for the Middleweight title. Deadblow looks the same coming into its season 2 debut fight; most of the changes look like they were done to the weapon system which seems a little bit more sturdy than it was previously so it won’t, you know, break when they use it. Kegger is a season 2 newcomer and looks like a big shoebox with a ramp on it and seems to be armored like one too. Kegger’s weaponry is also a hammer but it’s a much smaller bashing arm similar to the weapon on the Heavyweight Frenzy. A little known fact is that Kegger came into this fight with one win under its belt already; it won a KO victory against BumperBawt who was upended by the arena Hellraisers without any input from Kegger whatsoever. Because of this, Kegger’s second weapon is bad luck.

Kegger is a lot slower than Deadblow, drivetrain and weapon-wise. Right away you get to see the thickness of Kegger’s armor as Deadblow punches through the front wedge like it doesn’t even exist. Kegger is able to push Deadblow around and toward the wall but watch this closely: Deadblow pulls away and bumps into the side of Kegger with its wheel. The side armor panel on Kegger gets all kinds of screwed up just from this little impact. I think Grant Imahara took note of this mysterious use of aluminum foil for armor because Deadblow starts to poke around at Kegger with its weapon down and manages to peel off an entire side panel just by doing that. What was this thing held on with? Scotch tape? Regardless, Kegger’s left armor panel has been torn away and the robot is hanging out by the Killsaws. This next shot by Deadblow is so spot-on it probably couldn’t be re-enacted if they tried to set it up again. Kegger gets lifted up by the saws but right as the front end is picked up Deadblow comes around and pops its opponent right in the speed controller.

Kegger is actually knocked out from this hit so it’s not going to do much more lurching around the arena anytime soon. Deadblow is trying to get out from in there by doing wheelies and dragging its newfound weight all over the saw blade hazards. Deadblow has its hammer up Kegger’s ass for about 20 to 30 seconds before Bil Dwyer even notices that it has actually punctured something that looks important and when Deadblow is finally out of there Kegger of course is dead in the water. The referees don’t seem to notice that Kegger isn’t fucking moving (and hasn’t for a while) so they allow Deadblow to keep hitting it and gouge more holes in Kegger’s chassis. Kegger’s been knocked out for about two minutes now, I guess the referees were too busy watching the Pulverizer in the corner near the action instead of, you know, the action. The Pulverizer is anxiously anticipating something to hit and it gets so excited that it just randomly falls off. Kegger broke it with its mind powers. Deadblow skates off with the only 2:59 knock out in BattleBots history.

Blade Runner vs. Scrap Daddy MW 110
Blade Runner was last seen in season 1 breaking Bad Attitude’s drive system in a single blow and then later succumbing to the insane articulated saw blade of Spin Orbiting Force. Blade Runner looks the same except it seems that the sponsors just couldn’t get enough of that one hit KO business. Apparently people think it’s funny, I guess. Wait a second are we watching Comedy Central or Comedy World? I’m confused now. Even more dazed is Scrap Daddy MW 110, the last remaining Scrap Daddy robot in the season. Scrap Daddy LW was destroyed by Ziggo, Frenzy gave a beating to Scrap Daddy HW, and Doom of Babylon told the SHW Scrap Daddy to go fuck itself by sticking it into the wall. All of the Scrap Daddy robots look the same and the MW version is no different. Scrap Daddy MW 110 is a two wheeled machine armed with a gasoline powered… uh… metal cooking bowl with teeth on it.

For some reason, and I haven’t figured out why, all of the Scrap Daddy robots can’t seem to drive straight, they all strafe and waddle around the arena instead of just fucking moving like everyone else does. This is also the first time that its weapon has seemed to be working and for an overall crappy robot the weapon doesn’t seem too bad. Five seconds into the fight I should take that back because Blade Runner sinks that weapon with a single blow and proceeds to slam Scrap Daddy into the arena wall getting the broken weapon caught in the seam of the spike strip. Blade Runner manages to get itself jammed in the wall as well. The Scrap Daddy team is freaking out about being jammed in the wall while in the background you can see Blade Runner’s driver kicking the wall to try and get his robot out of the spike strip. While prying Scrap Daddy out of the wall you can see that it’s leaking gasoline all over the place. Either that or it pissed itself out of sheer terror.

The referees start the battle again and rather than move Scrap Daddy instead starts to spin its wheels and have a seizure. Blade Runner uses this new “slick hazard” to its advantage and tosses its opponent over to the Pulverizer which takes a shot at each tire on Scrap Daddy as well as bending up the top of it, possibly ruining the frame even more. Scrap Daddy is literally limping away after this attack completely crippled. A multiple amputee who’s legally blind would be posing a bigger threat than Scrap Daddy right now. Hell, even a box full of puppies is more dangerous than that robot at this point. Blade Runner seems to be having problems of its own as it’s no longer spinning around with its weapon, but does it really need to? Scrap Daddy can’t even drive right anymore with one of its wheels bent at a 45 degree angle. Blade Runner almost looks knocked out, which would be yet another lucky win for Scrap Daddy MW 110 who got to this fight by somehow pulling off a 42-3 decision over Doorstop, but alas Blade Runner is alive and beats Scrap Daddy 45-0.

Afterthought 2.0 vs. Ziggo
I like Afterthought 2.0 and it’s a damn shame that it never got to show up in season 1. Afterthought is a bright neon red and yellow robot with a tilted spinning dish. For our British fans, picture a really small Hypno-Disc minus the lack of creativity with the paint job. For its official BattleBots picture Afterthought had this grotesque looking face on the disc but for some reason coming into this fight with Ziggo it is wearing a dish with a pinwheel design on it perhaps to blind Ziggo with fabulous beams. Ziggo is back and again hasn’t changed much since it ripped the heart out of Scrap Daddy LW 55 and ate it in front of its drivers. Ziggo spins, Ziggo hits enemy, enemy explodes into a million pieces. Rinse lather repeat.

Afterthought has a lot of force behind its spinning hellspawn of DirecTV, so much that as it turns to face Ziggo the force of the spinner pulls Afterthought right on top of the arena entrance ramp and gets the little robot high centered letting Ziggo get a free hit that it seems to waste. Afterthought comes in close to Ziggo and gets battedinto the hammer which stops its disc from spinning, but Ziggo is nice enough to give it a kickstart by smacking Afterthought in the face and knocking it away. Bil Dwyer enlightens us to the term “gear up”, a military reference to get dressed now being used to describe a spinning kinetic mass. Way to go Bil, I am buying you a thesaurus for your birthday. Afterthought is on the attack constantly here but seems to get pushed around by the force of its own weapon. Looking to back into Ziggo with its impact wood it turns around to give Ziggo a backwards ram but out of nowhere Pete Lambertson leans over to the guy next to him and goes “haha watch this” and launches Ziggo with an arena Hellraiser right into Afterthought sending it onto its back and Ziggo right back into the ramp where its weapon gets jammed inside.

The referees stop the fight since there seems to be a deus ex machina double knockout. Once again they seem to take care dislodging one robot and then kind of tossing the other one over. Ziggo is spinning noticeably slower after being abruptly stopped by the Hellraiser and Afterthought is attempting to use this time period to its advantage but doesn’t land in any serious hits. Ziggo appears to finally be up to “critical mass” again and pops Afterthought right on its weapon. The resulting impact sends the colorful spinner bouncing around on its dish and onto its back.

Rammstein vs. Diesector
We’ve gotten all the way to the quarterfinals of the Super Heavyweights this season and we haven’t seen either of these two previous contenders yet. Rammstein is back from season one with the same design and weapon but it looks like they’ve invested in some new armor and a sharper looking wedge and spike. Of course, I might be wrong and this is just the same robot without the decals from last season. Diesector was also a participant in season one but it had a grand total of about 17 seconds of air time because Grendel managed to sink it in a single blow. Diesector’s weaponry is pretty much the entire inventory of a Home Depot condensed into one machine: some jaws, a spiked wedge, and spiked sledgehammers. Diesector sucked out loud last season and obviously it’s doing a little better this time around because we’re in the quarterfinals.

The two robots clash in the center of the arena and Rammstein demonstrates that this time around it has functional weaponry but of course it doesn’t land its shot and misses. Rammstein’s weapon looks fierce as it punches outward but after that it doesn’t really seem to be doing any moving; for their sake I hope it’s not a one pump chump that’s rendered into a ramming spike after the first shot otherwise we’re back to where we were last season with Rammstein using it’s “wedge” with about a foot and a half of ground clearance to try and push people around. Rammstein has an unfortunate design; I can’t really describe it in a formal kind of way so I’ll just say “Diesector snack sized”. Diesector is getting in Rammstein’s face with its jaws and really Rammstein is missing some opportunities to screw something up. If I were them I’d be trying to throatfuck Diesector with the spike because you can clearly see the exposed hydraulics and inner workings of the clamp. Instead they hit the tire which isn’t exactly a bad shot since it seems to gum up Diesector’s entire drive system but it could be better.

There’s a bit of a standstill as Rammstein and Diesector are jammed up. The two robots break apart and run themselves into the hazards; Diesector takes himself to the Killsaws and Rammstein backs into the spike strip and gets stuck on it. Rammstein is dangerously close to the Pulverizer and Diesector is right there next to its opponent. Rather than using the Pulverizer to obliterate Rammstein, Diesector instead uses its flimsy little crap hammer for some strange reason. Rammstein uses this time to fire its spike, which is now noticeably less powerful and is more or less a really annoying poking arm. Diesector backs away and Rammstien is apparently free from the wall, but backs right into the Pulverizer where Diesector just holds it there. After a significant beating Rammstein is pretty much dead in the water and is moving primarily as it is being pushed around. Diesector “practices” its weapons on its dead opponent as it drags Rammstein over the Killsaws as the fight draws to a close.

– Dracophile