For this new season of Battlebots, The Young Folks’ music editor Ryan Gibbs and contributing 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.
Joey: Weird episode!
Ryan: Yeah was the theme tonight, right down to the weird tie-in for that new Jurassic Park movie.
Ryan: We were like “what the hell is this? Why is Bale Spear on my television and not on an exclusive Science Channel rumble?” and then came the CGI T-Rex.
Joey: Fight of the night tho imo.
Fight One: Sawblaze (W) vs. Reality
SawBlaze: Entered by Team SawBlaze of Cambridge, Massachusetts and built by Jamison Go. Sawblaze won its first match of the season by defeating fellow MIT robot Overhaul. SawBlaze’s weapons are a circular saw mounted on an arm with 180-degrees of movement, and a three-pronged lifting scoop.
Reality: Entered by a consortium of four teams from The Netherlands and built by Tim Bouwens. Reality is the brainchild of a supergroup of Dutch builders that have entered robots in both the Dutch and British version of Robot Wars. The two main teams are KODOX and Tie-Rip, both of which had some success on the British show. Reality’s main weapon is a drum spinner.
Ryan: This was a pretty one-sided fight wasn’t it?
Joey: I barely even remember what Reality was supposed to do?
Ryan: It had some kind of spinner that was completely useless against Sawblaze.
Joey: This was pretty boring for a one-sided fight!
Ryan: Sawblaze definitely has a routine going though. It’s whole thing is scooping up the other bot, slamming them into the wall and then laying their saw into them. Not a bad technique, but they’re going to be vulnerable to a robot that wouldn’t budge from that. Like what do they do against Huge? Or Tombstone for that matter.
Joey: This was, uh, not a strong weapon.
Ryan: Sawblaze’s major advantage is its speed. And the fact it’s 2-0 right now is because it’s been cleaning up jobbers (sorry Overhaul, that’s basically what you are now).
Joey: Yup lol.
Fight Two: Petunia vs. Monsoon (W)
Petunia: Entered by Team PCP of Anna Paulowna, Netherlands and built by Mischa de Graaf. Petunia defeated Rotator in its first fight of the season. Its primary weapon is a pincer-style crushing beak.
Monsoon: Entered by Team Monsoon of Turvey, England and built by Tom Brewster. Monsoon defeated Red Devil in its first match. Its weapon is a vertical spinning blade.
Ryan: Well here’s a weird fight. There was so much hydraulic fluid on the floor from Petunia being busted open.
Joey: Petunia came alarmingly close to winning this.
Ryan: Did it? Like, it wasn’t moving and was burning to the ground when it seemed like both robots were incapacitated.
Joey: I think that when they were thinking about double KO, Petunia had moved more recently.
Ryan: I don’t know what the rule is there.
Joey: Neither do I. Maybe they go to judge’s decision.
Ryan: I think they do. Double knockouts are very rare.
Joey: But it HAD moved more recently.
Ryan: Even though Monsoon had this fight in the bag before then! Would have been a real bummer if Petunia won for doing nothing. Not like that happened later on this episode.
Joey: Yeah it definitely didn’t.
Ryan: I also like Monsoon more than Petunia, so I’m glad they figured out whatever was wrong with their controls and got the win they deserved.
Joey: Didn’t look like they figured it out TOO much.
Ryan: Just barely enough to not make it a double KO.
Ryan: Oh, I’m getting an update from the Reddit as we write this. The editing made it look like Monsoon wasn’t moving first but both robots were mobile until Petunia stopped moving.
Ryan: Monsoon’s team from the Reddit: “We lost traction due to the hydraulic fluid in the arena, we were actually wiggling about/doing circles trying to get free for most of the time at the end there.”
Joey: So they were operational but shit was just too slick. That’s funny.
Ryan: Exactly. This was decisively a Monsoon win. The camera angles they picked just didn’t catch Monsoon trying to move.
Fight three: SubZero (W) vs. Captain Shredderator
SubZero: Entered by Team Hammertime of Malvern, Pennsylvania and built by Jerry Clarkin. SubZero was last seen in the season premiere, where it lost to HUGE. Its primary weapon is launching arm.
Captain Shredderator: Entered by Team Logicom of Ormond Beach, Florida, built by Brian Nave and driven by Nicholas Nave. Captain Shredderator lost its first fight of the season against End Game. Its is a full body spinner, a circular robot that is designed to rapidly spin its entire body, making the whole thing a weapon.
Ryan: Well, I bet you’re just tickled pink that one of the teams still hanging on to their drone won a fight. “Won”, rather.
Joey: Smh. At least it did absolutely nothing.
Ryan: Hey, neither did Subzero.
Joey: What was their drone called again? Skyblaze? Airtorch?
Ryan: Spitfire. Oh. Oh that’s a bad pun. Anyways, what this fight looked like was, after getting in a bunch of good hits and looking like it was going to win Shreddator, just kind of stopped after one of their impacts with Subzero.
Joey: It was uh…I don’t love Shredderator but this felt bad.
Ryan: Subzero only won because it was still working, not because it really did anything. A win by technicality.
Joey: Subzero managed to not lose. Good job, Subzero.
Fight four: Chomp vs. Warrior Dragon (W)
Chomp: Entered by The Machine Corps of Seattle, Washington and built by Zoe Stephenson. Chomp competed in both ABC seasons of Battlebots, making it to the quarterfinals of the second one. The robot is equipped with a LIDAR sensor system that gives it a sense of autonomy in some of its movement. Its weapons are a pneumatic powered hammer and flamethrower.
Warrior Dragon: Entered by Team Whyachi of Dorchester, Wisconsin, built by Terry Ewert and driven by Clint Ewert.. Warrior Dragon was entered as Warrior Clan in the last two seasons of Battlebots, but ended up with a 1-1 record in both tournaments. It is a multi-bot consisting of main robot Warrior SKF, flying drone Dragon and a small wedged mini-bot. Team Whyachi are also the only team to have entered two robots in the tournament, the other being their famed Son of Whyachi. Warrior Dragon’s primary weapon is a lifter powered through kinetic energy by a spinning disc..
Ryan: So…what the hell was this? This was a very bad fight, but more on the strange side of bad than anything else.
Joey: I’m not sure why you’re so confused. Chomp just got annihilated by a solid but boring strategy.
Ryan: Chomp is a very strange bot with some major plusses to it like its LIDAR system and its hammer….but it also seems like fall over all the time? And it spent this entire fight in various degrees of “on its side.”
Joey: Yup. It had absolutely no opportunity to actually attack. Was kinda hard to watch.
Ryan: Against Warrior Dragon, a kind of nothing robot. I don’t know how Team Whyachi gets to bring two robots in, but I really feel like Warrior should have been retired when SOW was revived.
Joey:Yup Boring bot.
Ryan: Warrior looked okay in this fight? IDK this could have been anyone and I don’t know if Chomp is ever going to look as good as when it beat Bite Force last season
Joey: Yeah 😞
Main event: Bronco (W) vs. Bombshell
Bronco: Entered by Inertia Labs of Sausalito, California and built by Reason Bradley and Alexander Rose. For nearly 20 years, Inertia Labs have been BattleBots icons for their line of pneumatic powered flipper robots. Their most famous robot, the super-heavyweight Toro, placed in the quarterfinals of season 2, the semifinals of season 3 and won the super-heavyweight championship in season 4. Their other major robot T-Minus made it to the middleweight quarterfinals in season 3 and won the middleweight tournament in season 5, along the way knocking out the previously undefeated three-time champion Hazard. Bronco, their latest robot, has an impressive record on the BattleBots revival, making it to the semifinals in season 1 and the quarterfinals in season 2. Its weapon, as always, is its extremely powerful pneumatic flipper.
Bombshell: Entered by Chaos Corps of Atlanta, Georgia and built by Michael Jeffries. The last time we saw last season’s runner-up, Bombshell lost by knockout to Lock-Jaw. Its primary weapon is a vertical spinning disc.
Ryan: This ruled. Bronco finally got a ring out.
Joey: Bronco’s had that before, I’m pretty sure.
Ryan: Love seeing out-of-the-arena hits in Battlebots Bombshell got a couple good hits early on, but the moment Bronco flipped it just once it was all over. Then came that final flip. I wonder if they only do the count out for ring-outs just out of routine.
Joey: Usually after a bot is incapacitated I want the other bot to leave it alone to just lose. But this was a nice exception.
Ryan: Otherwise, good end to a weird episode.
Joey: Like I said, very satisfying.
Joey: So you know what we need to see next?
Ryan: I think the last major robot that hasn’t fought yet is Warhead.
Joey: Who fuggin cares?
Ryan: Robot Wars fans?
Joey: but he sucks!
Ryan: Warhead is beloved because their other robot went 40-6 in Robot Wars
Joey: Yup. They should bring that robot instead.
Ryan: I do wish they brought Razer instead. Robot Wars got canceled again, they don’t have to worry about any exclusivity contracts anymore
Joey: It would be nice if they had a robot that can win.
Ryan: Warhead is a good robot, it was just a good robot for 2002. 2018? Well, we’ll see I guess
Joey: I just really do not like its aesthetic-over-utility thing.
Ryan: Btw, here’s our 2-0 bots list so far: Tombstone, End Game, HUGE, Bite Force, Icewave, Sawblaze and Monsoon.
Joey: Damn, Huge.
Ryan: Who’d have thought when they announced the teams a few months ago? And the commercials for next week seem to imply we’re getting Bite Force vs. End Game in that episode.
Joey: That could be neat.
Ryan: Whoever wins that, regardless if they lose their next fight, would be a lock-in for the tournament.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s gonna be a cool one!