For this new season of Battlebots, The Young Folks’ music editor Ryan Gibbs and staff writer Joey Daniewicz will be giving their impressions of each episode in our recurring feature Battlebots Chat. These will be a little more informal than our regular television, film and music reviews – after all we think it’s a little complicated to give a rating to something that we both consider to be a competitive sport as opposed to a game show or a reality television program.
Battlebots is a robot combat program that aired on Comedy Central for four seasons between 2000 and 2002 and then on ABC for two more in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, the show was revived by Discovery Channel,.
If you want the history on Battlebots and robot combat in general, SB Nation ran an oral history on the show’s first run in the late 1990s and early 2000s that is well worth your time to read. You can also read more about this season’s competitors over on the show’s official site. Also worth reading is Battlebots Update, which, like us, provides analysis of each Battlebots episode.
You can watch this week’s episode of Battlebots over on Discovery Channel’s website.
Ryan: So, this was kind of an episode dominated by two really fast fights.
Joey: The last two?
Joey: I really thought the opener was one of the most memorable.
Ryan: Oh yeah, but the last two were just as memorable. Of course Minotaur’s back in this one, and SOW’s made it’s first appearence.
Joey: A lot of stuff we were waiting for.
Fight One: HUGE (W) vs. Free Shipping
HUGE: Entered by Team HUGE of South Windsor, Connecticut and built by Jonathan Schultz. HUGE previously beat SubZero by a judge’s decision. Its weapon is a vertical spinning blade.
Free Shipping: Entered by Team Special Delivery of Oakland, California and built by Gary Gin. The last time we saw the latest robot from celebrated driver Gary Gin, it lost in a rumble against Duck! and Mecha Rampage. Its weapon is a forklift.
Ryan: Okay, so I think Gary Gin is a great driver and he proved that here. But man, maybe he shouldn’t bring a forklift next time.
Joey: I have respect for the Free Shipping team, but want them to lose sheerly because I want everyone to abandon flamethrowers as totally and entirely unviable. This, therefore, was very satisfying.
Ryan: They never let up with that flamethrower. It was always on. I swore it was going to light itself on fire
Joey: And we thought Huge might melt. But, nah. The fact that it can function on bent wheels seems to be a feature.
Ryan: Those things are plastic and they held up a flamethrower. Can it take on Tombstone with those?
Joey: hahahahha no.
Ryan: Thought so
Joey: Also, what happens if they face a robot too low for its spinner?
Ryan: You mean like Duck? Well, clearly Duck wins
Joey: Haha. Imagine Huge versus Biohazard.
Ryan: I mean, who knows, that could happen. What if The Mystery Robot We Haven’t Seen Yet is Biohazard?
Joey” Don’t make me excited.
Ryan: Huge keeps surprising me. But it’s been using how weird it is to its advantage. No one knows how to approach it
Joey: I mean…..there are easy solutions. You just need to be the right kind of bot.
Ryan: I think it dies to a horizontal spinner. Icewave or Tombstone or Son of Whyachi
Joey: For sure. Especially the sharper ones.
Fight Two: Minotaur (W) vs. Hypothermia
Minotaur: Entered by RioBotz of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, built by Marco Antonio Meggiolaro and driven by Daniel Frietas. Minotaur last appeared in the season premiere, where it lost a close, violent match against Tombstone. Its weapon is a very loud spinning drum.
Hypothermia: Entered by Team Toad of Liberty Hill, Texas and built by Fuzzy Maudlin. Hypothermia lost to Whiplash in episode three. Its weapons are a wedge and a grappling-style lifter.
Ryan: This was all Minotaur. I don’t think Hypothermia even got in a hit
Joey: This was what we wanted from Minotaur.
Ryan: exactly. This was the kind of fight Battlebots fans L O V E
Joey: This fight was porn. Only thing it was missing was a decisive, ridiculous hit. But that’s never really been their thing.
Ryan: Minotaur got to wreck stuff up for the whole three minutes.
Joey: I forgot what Hypothermia even does.
Ryan: Uh…It…um…We really didn’t see it’s weapon in this one did we?
Joey: It grapples? Right?
Ryan: It has a grappling claw and a lifting wedge and I totally didn’t look that up on the wiki just now.
Joey: It didn’t even get to demonstrate it once. I have no idea how it thought it could even do this. What was the game plan?
Ryan: Hope Minotaur’s battery failed I guess/ Fuzzy Maudlin’s been in this for a long time, so he must have had more of game plan than that. But it didn’t really show here.
Joey: But yeah. That’s that.
Fight three: The Four Horsemen vs. Brutus (W)
The Four Horsemen: Entered by The Four Horsemen of Lewes, England, built by Ian Watts and driven by Ian Watts, Sam Watts and Ryan Pratt. The Four Horsemen are three small robots with Tombstone-style vertical blades and one wedge-bot, dubbed Buttercup and driven by Watts’ son Sam. The team can only enter three of the four robots in each match in order to meet the weight limit. They last appeared in a three-way rumble, winning against Double Jeopardy and Gamma 9.
Blacksmith: Entered by Team Half-Fast Astronaut of Edison, New Jersey and built by Al Kindle. Blacksmith previously appeared in the season premiere, where it lost to Bite Force. Its main weapon is a hammer with a flamethrower inside the head.
Ryan: Oh man, I love whack-a-mole
Joey: Turns out Blacksmith is pretty sturdy. Turns out he didn’t need the hammer, at all. This is why the primary weapon rule can go to hell
Ryan: Well we found out that when it took Minotaur the whole three minutes last season. It lost that time, but it didn’t here. The Four Horsemen didn’t look very impressive in this. I felt like it was over the moment Buttercup lost its wheel.
Joey: Oh right! It died to its own teammate!
Ryan: Yup. Took out its own best third of the team, and then it was donezo
Joey: Buttercup getting under it was the most in doubt this fight ever looked.
Ryan: Basically. Those mini-Tombstones are pretty ineffective. Buttercup would be dope if Battlebots still had a lightweight class and allowed pure wedges
Fight four: Son of Whyachi vs. Brutus (W)
Son of Whyachi: Entered by Team Whyachi of Dorchester, Wisconsin, built by Terry Ewert and driven by Luke Ewert. Son of Whyachi is a feared veteran robot from Battlebots’ Comedy Central days. It won the heavyweight championship in season 3 by defeating the previous season’s champion Biohazard in one of the most dramatic fights in the history of the show. It was moved to the super-heavyweight division following a rule change, but only got as far as the round of 16 in the last two seasons of the Comedy Central run. Son of Whyachi returned in ABC season 2, where it impressed early, but was shockingly knocked out of the tournament early due to decisive blow from Poison Arrow. Although Son of Whyachi’s reputation as a feared competitor is well deserved, the robot has an “all or nothing” feel to it. That is, it either wins fights decisively, or goes out quickly in spectacular fashion. Son of Whyachi’s weapons are three horizontally spinning hammers laid out in a triangular shape.
Brutus: Entered by Team Brutus of Somerville, Massachusetts and built by Adam Bercu. Brutus last appeared in episode two, where it lost to Red Devil. Its’ main weapon is a vertical spinning disc
Joey: Is SOW the new Icewave?
Ryan: I mean, it’s always been kill or be killed for SOW hasn’t it?
Ryan: This fight was 41 seconds long. That’s two seconds longer than the 39 second match where it threw itself out of the box.
Joey: Who helped SOW out of the box that time?
Ryan: Its own self.
Joey: Nah, it had help. Be real, who was it.
Ryan: it had an unbalanced weight problem and knocked itself out before the other bot hit em
Joey: That is NOT what my memory says
Ryan: The other bot in that fight was something called Swirlee, which is probably the Battlebots version of the person who ended Ken Jennings on Jeopardy.
Joey:; You misinterpreted my question. I meant this. I thought you were like disrespecting Poison Arrow and not giving credit for some reason.
Ryan: Ohhh. We’re talking about two different fights. I forgot all about Poison Arrow.
Joey: So my question is, does this say good things about Brutus?
Ryan: Well, it says a lot we spent most of this section not talking about Brutus. It made the hits that knocked SOW on its ass, but this was less of a Brutus win than a SOW loss.
Joey: Fun fact: Wedges are good.And should count as a primary weapon. 🙂
Ryan: Wedges are indeed good. Hi Duck.
Joey: If people wanna win without weapons, let em
Ryan: Yeah like it’s funny there’s this primary weapon rule because the literal creators of the Battlebots TV show basically invented the wedgebot and dominated indie tournaments with the thing in the early 90s
Main event: Icewave (W) vs. Yeti
Icewave: Entered by Team Icewave of Burlingame, California and built by Mark DeVidtz. We last saw Icewave when it literally tore Vanquish in half in episode two. Its weapon is horizontal spinning bar.
Yeti: Entered by Team Yeti of Wasila, Alaska and built by Greg Gibson. Yeti previously defeated Witch Doctor in episode 2. Yeti’s weapons are modular and can be switched depending on the fight. Last time it had a spinning drum and two lifting forks, but for this fight against Icewave it is outfitted with a vertical spinning blade and a wedge.
Joey: Is this Icewave’s best win?
Ryan: Better than ripping Vanquish in half?
Joey: In terms of opponent strength, not in terms of how well they played or whatever.
Ryan: Oh right. Like actually fighting a legit opponent? Yeah, it might be. Yeti is its a force to be reckoned with itself. But it also seemed to have a serious equipment failure. It shorted out after an Icewave hit.
Ryan: There wasn’t much to this fight. It was also done in seconds. What did you think about that supposed late hit? Where Icewave hit Yeti while it was being counted out? Was that a legit accident?
Joey: I don’t know, I kind of didn’t care? I think Icewave should have tried to get further away in the first place but like it was a bit of maybe overplayed drama.
Ryan: Probably more a TV thing than anything else. Jeez, these last two fights were over quick, huh?
Joey: Yeah! A little disappointing?
Ryan: Kind of, kind of not? That’s what happens with horizontal spinners. It’s an A-level weapon in robot combat.
Ryan: So we have two robots that are 0-2. They’re basically done: Free Shipping and Hypothermia.
Joey: And who’s 2-0?
Ryan: Tombstone, Huge, Icewave, Bite Force and End Game. The expected…and Huge
Ryan: What if Huge makes the Top 16 and something big doesn’t? Like Witch Doctor or Lock Jaw or something like that
Joey: That would be beautiful.