Battlebots Chat: Episode 2×03


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:

Lucky vs. Yeti (winner)
Minotaur (winner) 
vs. Blacksmith
Bronco (winner) vs. Chrome Fly
Witch Doctor vs. Red Devil (winner)


Overall Thoughts

Ryan Gibbs: you and I have been pretty unhappy about the formatting of this show: the commercial cut before the fourth match and how badly paced everything is aside from the fights

Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, at this point I’m pretty pissed. It’s not like they’re just stretching it to get more shows. There have been fights they just straight up haven’t shown us. Although at this point, are they suddenly showing us everything now that they’re in the round of 32?

Ryan Gibbs: They’re doing three episodes of the round of 32.

Joey Daniewicz: They’re doing THREE?!

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah. And there’s 16 fights.

Joey Daniewicz: So twelve fights, four not shown. Anyway, regardless, they’re stretching things to absolutely unfathomable lengths, and they could probably do a lot more building up fights by using lots of old footage rather than what they’re doing.

Ryan Gibbs: I’d much rather there be old footage than how they’re barely acting like the old show even exists unless they absolutely have to

Lucky vs. Yeti

Joey Daniewicz: This was pretty good! Yeti with no fourth wheel created some drama. But also, this was weird in that I didn’t feel like we were watching a contender. Yeti seems……pretty not good.

Ryan Gibbs: I agree. I’ve kind of underestimated Yeti, but i think it’s maybe a fight away from something bad happening to it

Joey Daniewicz: Cool to see a weapon removed, although I think that speaks less well to Yeti and more to how bad Lucky was.

Ryan Gibbs: Lucky was pretty bad. How it got a wild card over a couple other robots whose fights went to judge’s decision is beyond me Yeti is fairly aggressive and aggressive driving and offense can often lead to issues with the robot later down the line, like say internal malfunctions.

Joey Daniewicz: Lucky was a nonentity to me. Boring bot.

Ryan Gibbs: It never had control at any point during the entire fight. Yeti basically overwhelmed it. The two big hits of the fight — Lucky’s weapon being taken off and Yeti’s wheel going — happened really closely to one another. That was interesting to see

Minotaur vs. Blacksmith

Joey Daniewicz: Minotaur’s one of my favorite bots in the tournament. I hope it takes the piss out of Bronco.

Ryan Gibbs: This fight was great. Started out a little slow and I thought it would be a little difficult for Minotaur. Then the fight took a complete 180 into absolute carnage and Minotaur just took over.

Joey Daniewicz: I’m sure part of it is that Blacksmith’s weapon was crap, but Minotaur is also so durable and compact that it didn’t care even a little bit when it was getting smacked.Did you see how into it the driver was? BE THE BOT.

Ryan Gibbs: There was so much going on. Even though Minotaur got in a bunch of nasty hits before it, I feel the fight was over for Blacksmith the moment Minotaur tore off that wedge specifically added to block it  Then the Hammer came off. Then Minotaur got into the internals of Blacksmith

Joey Daniewicz: Didn’t it go up in flames after that?

Ryan Gibbs: Then Blacksmith caught on fire. Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style.

Joey Daniewicz: Minotaur is like MAYBE my favorite bot in the whole thing now.

Ryan Gibbs: I love that the robot with the dumb fire weapon was the one that itself caught on fire.

Joey Daniewicz: Oh yeah, Blacksmith had a fire weapon.

Ryan Gibbs: A hammer with a flamethrower in it, yes

Joey Daniewicz: I get it, it’s like how a blacksmith does stuff. Forges stuff in the fire. Great.

Ryan Gibbs: This was also a wild card robot. Bronco knocked it around last time. Blacksmith went 0-2

Joey Daniewicz: Why was Blacksmith put through? Why?

Ryan Gibbs: Do you think it’s possible that some of these wild card choices were chosen to be jobbers to set up some of the bigger seeds? I’m not saying this was necessarily what happened, but there’s so many middling choices from the wild cards that just don’t stack up.

Joey Daniewicz: I don’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Ryan Gibbs: Minotaur is going to be fun to watch from here on out. That was a really entertaining match

Bronco vs. Chrome Fly

Joey Daniewicz: This was. um…..

Ryan Gibbs: …..Unconventional to say the least? Did Chrome Fly explode from a hit by Bronco’s back wedge? Like not even the flipper hit it. The wedge in the back hit it and it fell apart.

Joey Daniewicz: It just kind of…..okay, you know how Minotaur is built so tight and durably? I think Chrome Fly is the opposite. Glass spine.

Ryan Gibbs: Chrome Fly looks like it was built as a high school science project out of styrofoam and packing tape

Joey Daniewicz: The wedge didn’t hit it so much as Chrome Fly came apart from its own impact.

Ryan Gibbs: it was pretty much already gone when Bronco just started humiliating it with its flipper. I think it actually tried to flip it out of the arena

Joey Daniewicz: Hopefully the competition stops with drones next year

Ryan Gibbs: What did that drone even accomplish in this fight

Joey Daniewicz: Nothing. Maybe he got investors.

Ryan Gibbs: Yeah they made sure to mention that the builders owned a drone company.  

Joey Daniewicz: Funded by venture capitalists!

Witch Doctor vs. Red Devil

Ryan Gibbs: The upset of the show

Joey Daniewicz: How was Witch Doctor third seed after losing to Overhaul last year?

Ryan Gibbs: Popularity and that fight in the qualifiers where it curbstomped its opponent in seconds

Joey Daniewicz: It being seeded above Minotaur or Son of Whyachi is sooooooo dumb. And they should have thought twice after how hard Overhaul got mauled. But yeah, this was actually not that cool of a fight! Kind of sucked. Especially after the unceremonious commercial break.

Ryan Gibbs: I do like Witch Doctor, though, but this was not a good look for it. Red Devil got those finger hooks in it, pinned it and tore into it with its saw. And then all that smoke happened.

Joey Daniewicz: I’m sure Red Devil will go far, though. Just look at how much success multi-bots have had.

Ryan Gibbs: That bot has tank treads didn’t it? I can see those tank treads getting destroyed by something like Tombstone or Minotaur or Son of Whyachi which is in its bracket

Joey Daniewicz: Don’t need to destroy a tire to kick the shit out of something. Witch Doctor never had this tournament. Overseeded. Cool bot, though!

Ryan Gibbs: Was it leaking coolant at the end? I couldn’t tell from all that smoke

Joey Daniewicz: no clue

Final Thoughts

Ryan Gibbs: So, there’s two things to talk about here. The first is that the show has finally started to upload some the qualifying fights that didn’t get televised on to their Youtube

Joey Daniewicz: That’s great! It’s kinda weird, they’re very lonely recordings that amplify the battlebox noises very high with no commentary, not that I’m complaining. Just a weird vibe.

Ryan Gibbs: Tellingly, one of the fights kind of revealed one of the reasons why the robot Overhaul got a wild card seed: It was disabled by a piece of debris left over from a previous fight. A screw or something like that got caught in its drive train during its last fight and disabled it.

Joey Daniewicz: I mean, Overhaul made it mad far last time. So there’s also that.

Ryan Gibbs: Also, people are very made in the comments for this videos that any robot at all got a wild card over Disko Inferno

Joey Daniewicz: Disko Inferno would have been nice to see.

Ryan Gibbs: That’s understandable, Disko Inferno would have made so much sense, but Overhaul deserved the wild card, too.

Joey Daniewicz: Yeah, but a billion other things didn’t.

Ryan Gibbs: The second thing is the elephant in the room of this whole season: Hellachopper Hellachopper was a robot built by Team Half-Life, the same people who made Atomic Wedgie, a great bot from the first few seasons. And um…Hellachopper got disqualified for being too dangerous

Joey Daniewicz: I don’t know how to sum this up, readers should go here if they want.

Ryan Gibbs: The short of it: The organizers and Team Half-Life agreed that the robot was too dangerous for the battlebox. Not the first time this has happened. 20 years ago, during the underground predecessor of Battlebots, it happened twice to a pre-Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and his robot Blendo.

Joey Daniewicz: Yup. Sad!

Ryan Gibbs: Hellachopper would have been sick. But I totally understand the need for safety

Joey Daniewicz: Battlebox needs thicker glass!!!!!!

Ryan Gibbs: Here’s a video of a spin test from Hellachopper prior to the competition. This thing would have been super scary.


Joey Daniewicz: Dude, whoa. That thing SINGS.

Ryan Gibbs: That would have been frightening

Joey Daniewicz: I want it and Minotaur to sing together.

Ryan Gibbs: Minotaur is a loud robot. I heard from the only other place that covers Battlebots regularly (hi Battlebots Update) that Minotaur is even louder in person

Joey Daniewicz: I freaking love that thing. Gosh. I think it’s my new favorite bot.

Ryan Gibbs: You think it could go the distance? Especially with your favorite, Son of Whyachi in the way?

Joey Daniewicz: That’d be tough. I think landing a hit on Whyachi while it’s going would be really tough. This is one of those weird situations where I think it’d be more likely to beat Tombstone than Whyachi. We saw tonight that it needs a place to hit.

Ryan Gibbs: Where? The top?

Joey Daniewicz: No, no. Like, it couldn’t attack Blacksmith head on. Had to find a corner. With Whyachi, I don’t know what it does unless it takes a hit and recoil beats Whyachi.

Next week: Our coverage of the round of 32 continues. What were your thoughts on this week’s matches? Let us know in the comments!

Ryan Gibbs is the music editor for The Young Folks. He is based in Newport, Rhode Island.