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. Also worth reading is Battlebots Update, which, like us, provides analysis of each Battlebots episode.
This week’s matches:
Ryan Gibbs: Let me start this off by saying that the commercials breaks on this show are pretty gross
Joey Daniewicz: Yup. It’s bad, but I’m becoming somewhat numb?
Ryan Gibbs: How so?
Joey Daniewicz: I’m learning to only half pay attention to Battlebots outside of fights. It’s the only way to do it. It’s that bad.
Ryan Gibbs: So in a whole hour show, you’re watching show, what, six minutes tops?
Joey Daniewicz: Yessir.
Ryan Gibbs: The Comedy Central show was able to show three fights in a half hour, and this show is an hour long and only gets in four.
Joey Daniewicz: Was it only three? Always felt like more.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, it was three. Sometimes we got lucky and they shoved a fourth in. In half an hour!
Complete Control vs. Warhead
Ryan Gibbs: There was no episode last week, but ABC and the producers have sure spent that time building this fight up as something amazingly shocking.
Joey Daniewicz: Ugh. A thing lit on fire, the end.
Ryan Gibbs: Granted, it was a pretty big and crazy fire, but not the explosion we were teased
Joey Daniewicz: Then Warhead did a weird dance thing.
Ryan Gibbs: Ah! As a Robot Wars fan I can explain that one. Team Razer, the Warhead guys, have always been pretty creative when it comes to self-righting mechanisms. The UK Robot Wars was one of the first places where they really caught on. Razer and Warhead have always had very showy self-righters.
Joey Daniewicz: But I don’t think they meant to do that. I’m not sure that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Ryan Gibbs: Probably isn’t.
Joey Daniewicz: Which is why people got excited. I think both of these bots are generally somewhat overhyped.
Ryan Gibbs: I tend to agree. I like Complete Control a lot, you know this, but neither Warhead or Complete Control were top tier in the original Battlebots. Although Complete Control did at least get to a finals once, where it lost to Hazard, granted.
Joey Daniewicz: I’m most hyped because of who the winner faces.
Ryan Gibbs: Warhead’s going against Minotaur next, isn’t it?
Joey Daniewicz: Yup! If Warhead somehow wins, good job. But…..
Ryan Gibbs: It’s a slim chance?
Joey Daniewicz: I think it’s always a slim chance in Battlebots. The better bot won’t always win and the reason good bots like Warhead and Complete Control weren’t amazing is that they could dominate a match, but not with hugely reliable consistency.
Ryan Gibbs: True
Joey Daniewicz: Minotaur could have a bad match where an unfortunate thing happens. We’ll see. Warhead beating Minotaur would be my least favorite thing to ever happen.
Ryan Gibbs: Probably would be mine too.
Razorback vs. Ghost Raptor
Ryan Gibbs: Didn’t expect much from this fight, but it was pretty solid!
Joey Daniewicz: A grab that would make Complete Control shiver. I have never seen a bot get suplexed.
Ryan Gibbs: Razorback was completely dominant through this whole thing.
Joey Daniewicz: Ghost Raptor’s spinner looked pretty useless, huh.
Ryan Gibbs: More or less. I’ve never been much of a fan of the various Team Raptor designs through the history of the show, but maybe they should have stuck with the lifting claw thing that always worked for them on the old show. What did you think of Razorback?
Joey Daniewicz: Pretty cool. We’ll see if any other bots are that vulnerable to a grab like that OH WAIT THE NEXT BOT IS NOT
Ryan Gibbs: You mean Bronco, right?
Joey Daniewicz: Yup. Too bulky to grab.
Ryan Gibbs: I thought Razorback was driven really well. Had some great maneuvering into the hazards. I also bet driver and builder Zach Bieber was very annoyed about the jokes about his name. I bet he’s never heard that one before
Joey Daniewicz: When he suplexed Ghost Raptor. I was like BABY! no!!!!!
Ryan Gibbs: I’m sure he’s heard that one before too
Joey Daniewicz: It was then too late to say sorry.
Ryan Gibbs: That one too
Joey Daniewicz: Missing more than just his bot…….e
Ryan Gibbs: Anyway. Zach Beiber also built El Diablo, the first robot I ever remember having a drum weapon. Minotaur has basically perfected the basics of the El Diablo design too.
Tombstone vs. Escape Velocity
Joey Daniewicz: Not much to say about this one.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, it was pretty much Tombstone doing his Tombstone thing: It tore a big chunk out of the other robot and the match was done in under a minute.
Joey Daniewicz: Yup. Pretty neat!
Ryan Gibbs: Ray Billings didn’t even use Tombstone’s main blade in this fight.
Joey Daniewicz: Disrespect!
Son of Whyachi vs. Poison Arrow
Ryan Gibbs: So. This one. Well, yeah :(
Joey Daniewicz: One of the sickest hits ever. Could have been maybe avoided if the SOW team had any mind to land a blow in the right place.
Ryan Gibbs: Basically, Son of Whyachi flew. It probably wasn’t “ten feet off the ground” like the commentators said, but I imagine it was a good five! [post-script note: Battlebots Update corroborates that the height was indeed around ten feet]
Joey Daniewicz: It was one of the more glorious things I’ve ever seen.
Ryan Gibbs: But at what cost, Joey?
Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, I’m very very sad about this. Imagine if it took the shock.
Ryan Gibbs: What good robots are even left in this part of the bracket?
Joey Daniewicz: WARRIOR CLAN. Look, I’m just mad that there’s still a goddamned drone in the bracket.
Ryan Gibbs: Did that drone even do anything? As far as I know it was as useless as all get out
Joey Daniewicz: Nope.
Ryan Gibbs: Very sad that Whyachi, a former Battlebots champion, is out so early. It took one big hit and it’s out. Could have gone far.
Joey Daniewicz: The thing is, I don’t think it’s so much that it took one big hit. It gave itself a lot of that hit.
Ryan Gibbs: True. We’ve kind of seen this before with SOW haven’t we?
Joey Daniewicz: The Whyachi team are selling their bot frame on eBay.
Ryan Gibbs: Ha, nice
Joey Daniewicz: What do we have next week, even? Who hasn’t gone that we care about?
Ryan Gibbs: Plenty, actually! Because Battlebots was pre-empted last week, we are allegedly getting eight fights. Or four plus highlights. These are:
Cobalt vs. Bombshell
Brutus vs. Lock-Jaw
Icewave vs. Nightmare
Beta vs. Overhaul
Bite Force vs. The Ringmaster
Chomp vs. Captain Shrederator
Stinger vs. Mega Tento
HyperShock vs. Warrior Clan
Joey Daniewicz: Icewave is the one I want. The rest…….I kinda wanna get to round of 16, thanks.
Ryan Gibbs: And it’s specifically Icewave vs. Nightmare, too. Last year’s champ Bite Force going up against The Ringmaster, which is a spinner, should be interesting.
Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, Bite Force could be knocked out.
Ryan Gibbs: Wouldn’t that be nuts?
Joey Daniewicz: Yup. I am hyped.