For this 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 new feature Battlebots Chat. These will be a little more informal than our regular reviews – after all we think it’s a little complicated to review something that we both consider to be a competitive sport as opposed to a game show or a reality television program.
If you want the history on Battlebots and robot combat in general, SB Nation ran an oral history on the show 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. You can also read a bit about the robots that battled in this week’s episode on the show’s website.
This week’s matches:
Dark matches (for which only highlights were televised):
Mega Tento vs. Poison Arrow (winner)
Overhaul 2.0 vs. Cobalt (winner)
Sawblaze vs. Razorback (winner)
Wrecks vs. Red Devil (winner)
Ryan Gibbs: What were your overall thoughts on this episode, particularly compared to last week
Joey Daniewicz: Even one really good fight made things a lot better, and KOs are fuuuuuuuun.
Ryan Gibbs: yeah, I liked this a lot more. I feel like last week there were a bunch of fights that got cut that were more interesting than some of the ones that made it on air. I didn’t feel that way this week, all four matches were cool
Brutus vs. Moebius
Joey Daniewicz: This was fantastic. I had no idea what the hell happened. Then I learn that Brutus fired fake glocks and Moebius actually just fucked up, and I thought that misdirection was rad as hell. The weapon of……distraction? In Battlebots? I’m down.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, I kind of knew they were fake with special effects, but it was really interesting the way they were used. I was watching this, I wrote in my notebook “Why does Brutus need the silly fake bullets when their weapon is so sick?” and I take that back. I know the bullet trick is only gonna work once, but I now think it was more interesting than I gave it credit
Joey Daniewicz: I think it could work more than once. Distracts the eye. Plus, it’s got a solid weapon. So do a bunch of other bots that are probably better.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, it doesn’t separate itself from the pack much. It got matched up against a robot with a design that’s pretty much perfect to be damaged by a vertical blade. Apparently Moebius competed in the last two seasons of the Comedy Central Battlebots and I don’t remember that thing at all
Joey Daniewicz: They probably didn’t have fake contacts and Gibson Les Pauls before.
Ryan Gibbs: That guitar wasn’t plugged in
Joey Daniewicz: Might’ve had a wireless setup going on.
Son of Whyachi vs. Ghost Raptor
Ryan Gibbs: We were both waiting for Son of Whyachi’s return to Battlebots since the moment it was announced that Terry Ewart was bringing it back. What did you think of this fight?
Joey Daniewicz: It was good! I still want a brutal KO, though.
Ryan Gibbs: The best part of this match was right after a really brutal hit from Whyachi, Ghost Raptor looks like it’s okay. Then it moves and it looks like it’s about to fall apart.
Joey Daniewicz: Ha! Yeah, that thing was just…..didn’t it get a wild card? I don’t know what it’ll even look like in the second round.
Ryan Gibbs: If so, this will be the second time that it’s had really significant damage done to it and it still moved on
Joey Daniewicz: Maybe it’ll still be together enough to beat Icewave.
Ryan Gibbs: Son of Whyachi also had a very small minibot in this fight. I thought it had some effect on stymieing the control of Ghost Raptor, which is more than i’ve seen minibots do in the past.
Joey Daniewicz: I was very confused about that minibot. At one point I thought SOW would just smack it for kicks.
Ryan Gibbs: Even with some of the newer bots in this competition, is SOW still one of your favorites to win the whole thing?
Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, probably. Hard to think about certain hypotheticals like Bronco or Tombstone, though.
Ryan Gibbs: Depending on where it falls in the brackets, I think it could get into the semifinals
Joey Daniewicz: It could win. Needs luck, though. Not as much luck as Bite Force did last year, but I think they all need some luck. I’m particularly thinking that SOW is not a bot that is well-equipped to face Bronco.
Ryan Gibbs: Son of Whyachi has never fought an Inertia Labs robot in Battlebots. I have no clue how that fight would go
Joey Daniewicz: Would be tough. Would be classic.
Lock-Jaw vs. Yeti
Ryan Gibbs: This was a great fight
Joey Daniewicz: It was just amazing, and everyone should watch it. This fight did do one thing, though…it didn’t make the Yeti guy’s claims that he’s up there with SOW and Tombstone seem so rock solid.
Ryan Gibbs: I mean, Yeti was okay, but both robots got in a lot of damage on each other. Lockjaw was built and driven by Daniel Hutson, one of the best drivers in this whole show’s history. It was really cool seeing that robot maneuver out of tough spots so well, like Hutson’s Diesector did back in the day.
Joey Daniewicz: Lockjaw operates a lot like old school Complete Control, but he can control bots into hazards without getting his own weapon involved.
Ryan Gibbs: there’s a lot of pushing power in Lockjaw. I think it might have the best chance of all the wildcards to pull off something
Joey Daniewicz: Most definitely.
Rotator vs. Witch Doctor
Joey Daniewicz: Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang, walla walla bing bang
Ryan Gibbs: Two hits.
Joey Daniewicz: To be fair, it wasn’t THAT incredible. It was a tire hit. But still.
Ryan Gibbs: And you could see those exposed tires from space.
Joey Daniewicz: I remember when Inertia Labs got wise and put tire protectors on T-Minus. I guess these people don’t learn the lessons of history.
Ryan Gibbs: Witch Doctor is one of the most popular robots in the revived Battlebots. I didn’t think it was particularly outstanding last year, but it’s made a good, early impression this time around.
Joey Daniewicz: I remember being impressed with their weapon last time. This time they’ve made it more powerful. So they probably won’t lose to Overhaul, who got its ass kicked tonight.
Ryan Gibbs: I didn’t like their flamethrower minibot last time and now that it’s more or less gone, I feel like they’re getting down to business with the good aspects of the bot. Like ripping tires to pieces.
Joey Daniewicz: They said it’s coming back with a twist. We’ll see. The twist is probably that’s a drone.
Ryan Gibbs: knowing this show and the TWO flamethrower minibot drones we’ve seen so far, it might as well be
Joey Daniewicz: THEY’RE JUST SO USEFUL
Ryan Gibbs: I like quick Battlebots fights with major damage, and as far as those go, this was a pretty good one
Joey Daniewicz: Would just like to note that Witch Doctor attacked Rotator’s weak point for massive damage
Ryan Gibbs: True. But then you shouldn’t build your robot with two nasty hyped up weapons and then put giant exposed tires on it.
The Dark Matches
Ryan Gibbs: I don’t remember any of these aside from Tentomushi fighting something with a flamethrower drone and losing. Still got a wildcard though.
Joey Daniewicz: For some reason.
Ryan Gibbs: Tentomushi is a super iconic robot with a really cool builder, but this was a repeat of a lot of its battles in Battlebots back in the day. It smothers the other robot. That fine. Now what?
Joey Daniewicz: Yup, exactly. I feel like it got in on flash alone? The selection committee was notably not referred to as the judges.
Ryan Gibbs: I kind of want to see if it wins something. I’d like to. It would be a cool surprise.
Joey Daniewicz: It would. But I’d say it’s best to send bots through if you think they CAN win a couple.
Ryan Gibbs: Do you remember any of the other dark matches well?
Joey Daniewicz: Wrecks annihilated itself. It flung itself when its spinning blade hit the floor. It was maybe the saddest thing I’ve ever seen on Battlebots. I hope its creator can feel some empathy for it and stop putting it in battle.
Ryan Gibbs: It’s very awkward and aloof to that fact.
Joey Daniewicz: Icewave. Versus. Nightmare. My god. And SOW has a not-that-difficult path to the final four.
Ryan Gibbs: There is possibility Wyachi could go up against Warrior Clan
Joey Daniewicz: YUP
Ryan Gibbs: That’ll be awkward. I don’t think a team has ever fought against itself on Battlebots before
Joey Daniewicz: Whoa, Warhead actually has a good matchup. Don’t know how Complete Control is supposed to grab something that big.
Ryan Gibbs: That would be kind of cheap way for a robot as solid as Complete Control to lose to something as boring as Warhead
Joey Daniewicz: Minotaur/Bronco could be an elite eight matchup. Popcorn.
Ryan Gibbs: Funniest thing about this bracket: Bite Force won last year and is only seeded fourth
Joey Daniewicz: Still: Icewave versus Nightmare. Mah gawd
Ryan Gibbs: It has the making of SOW/Nightmare fight from way back when all over again. \
Joey Daniewicz: I’m thirsty for that
Ryan Gibbs: there’s also a possibility we might finally get Icewave v. Tombstone. I think the only robot that might upset that is Beta.
Joey Daniewicz: I don’t have the most faith in Icewave.
Ryan Gibbs: it’ll probably beat Nightmare because Nightmare is fairly easy to get behind and in the nearly 20 years that robot has fought, the time still hasn’t fixed its major weakness to the design. It would definitely beat Overhaul, the robot Beta’s fighting against. But again, Beta is my favorite to win that one so I don’t think Overhaul is going to have the chance to be flattened by Icewave.
Joey Daniewicz: We’ll see if Beta can be not embarrassing next time
Ryan Gibbs: I mean I have faith in it
Joey Daniewicz: I’m excited for next week. Although four fights per hour sucks. Come on, guys. Come on.
Ryan Gibbs: This is the biggest problem I have with this show on ABC. These fights aren’t long and they spend more time with broadcasting the whole dang introduction uncut than they do on the actual fights sometimes
Joey Daniewicz: But that said, this was a very solid episode that I was pretty damn satisfied with. All four fights were quite good. KINDA confused as to why they didn’t pick the better fights and just show them in the premiere???
Ryan Gibbs: In the premiere, they left out fights that featured robots people wanted to see like Bite Force, Icewave and Tombstone because nope, Obwalden Overlord needs its whole dumb boring fight broadcast
Joey Daniewicz: Yup. Maybe they thought the gimmicks would fuel ratings? I dunno.
Ryan Gibbs: Last week’s episode had a ratings slump compared to last year. So that didn’t work
Joey Daniewicz: D’oh.
Ryan Gibbs: before we finish. I’d like to correct something that was alluded to in that broadcast. The Witch Doctor v. Rotator fight was fast, but it wasn’t the fastest knockout in the history of Battlebots. What was? Well, When Nightmare works well. It works well.
Joey Daniewicz: Was that faster than when Whyachi beat Nightmare?
Ryan Gibbs: Both are about the same. One hit. Not two.
Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, wow. Amazing that Nightmare was on both ends of the worst knockouts in history.
Ryan Gibbs: In the same season no less! SOW was literally Nightmare’s next fight.
Joey Daniewicz: Damn.
Ryan Gibbs: That’s why I love this stuff. You never know what crazy crap is going to happen