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.
Ryan Gibbs: I know we don’t ordinarily do this, but I want to start with our thoughts on what we thought about the fights they didn’t include because they all looked more interesting than most of the ones we got.
Joey Daniewicz: So let’s go one by one.
Ryan: Okay that starts us with Icewave vs. Nightmare, a fight that more people were looking forward to than any other. And it wasn’t a featured fight this episode!
Joey: Would’ve been nice to see Icewave finally verified as a self-destructive, overhyped spinner. And the coolest Nightmare moment in I don’t even know how long.
Ryan: Icewave’s design is like Hazard, but it has a gas motor, which may have not worked out in the longrun
Joey: Hazard had a wedge which made its low-range blade a lot less of a problem. Notice how Icewave’s blade couldn’t impact Nightmare enough for knockback.
Ryan: Nightmare is gets a lot of shit, but its weapon is legitimately nasty and always has been
Joey: I think Icewave is a pretty bad design, and I kinda think that after getting beaten by a makeshift Ghost Raptor, they shoulda thought a bit. It seemed like Icewave randomly burned out.
Ryan: Yes, Icewave kind of tuckered itself out after getting one nasty hit on Nightmare, and Nightmare’s weapon took a big hit too
Joey: Yeah, this didn’t seem like a Nightmare win. This was more an Icewave loss. Sorry, Nightmare.
Ryan: But still, this is probably the best Nightmare fight since it got all the rumbles canceled the last year of the Comedy Central show.
Joey: That’s a very sad statement about Nightmare.
Ryan: Well in that rumble, It knocked a piece of another robot into the stands
Joey: Who’s Nightmare up against now? We should do this while talking about the fights.
Ryan: We’ll save that when we get to the actual matches in the show (spoiler: it’s Beta.) The other three highlighted matches were Brutus vs. Lock-Jaw, Cobalt vs. Bombshell and Bite Force vs. The Ringmaster
Joey: Brutus/Lock-Jaw looked like a fight for driving nerds.
Ryan: Yeah, as would any fight that has Donald Hutson in it, even though he lost.
Joey: Brutus looked so awesome after the first fight. It’s amazing how little pop his second fight had.
Ryan: Yeah this was another fight that looked way cool in the highlights and I sure wish we got to see it in full.
Joey: Who’s Brutus got next?
Joey: RIP Brutus, to be honest There’s no way.
Ryan: Ray Billings doesn’t seem like the kind to screw up and lose in the round of 16
Joey: Who’s Tombstone on track to hit in the round of 8?
Ryan: Nightmare or Beta
Ryan: We also had Cobalt vs. Bombshell, and the full fight on Youtube looks way cooler than the highlights we got
Ryan: Like I know they lost an episode, but how do you not show the fight that both kept going and with two cool spinning weapons
Joey: Bombshell goes up against?
Ryan: Red Devil, the thing that beat Witch Doctor
Joey: That could be either super interesting or not at all.
Ryan: The last one was last year’s champion Bite Force vs. Ringmaster, a really neat spinner driven by an 11 year old girl. More than any other fight, I imagine this was the one they did not want to cut.
Joey: That actually looked a little bit interesting. Although Ringmaster looked actually pretty terrible. Like I suspected it might be. Bit of a rattling can.
Ryan: Yeah, it stopped spinning after a while, but Bite Force didn’t look too good either. I feel like it won last year through sheer luck
Joey: I think everyone does.
Ryan: Bite Force fights Chomp next
Joey: Bit of a tough bot to grab! Could be interesting.
Joey: FUCK THIS MATCH
Ryan: I loved Killerhurtz, John Reid’s first and most famous robot, but all Beta reminds me of is the Inanimate Carbon Rod from the Simpsons
Joey: The thing is, it just has no range. It seemed to only win because Overhaul was capable of doing absolutely nothing. At least Beta’s one thing I like is that it is MADLY low to the ground.
Ryan Gibbs: The pill shaped hammer is a neat design, but it doesn’t cause a lot of noticeable damage
Joey: But one hit worked, so maybe we’re just stupid.
Joey: I was furious with the commentary, which was just going NUTS about Beta.
Ryan: About how John Reid has waited 14 years for this robot to fight
Joey: I think Killerhurtz, whose objective was to PIERCE and sometimes even ATTACH, was way way way better.
Ryan: Killerhurtz had an awesome weapon
Joey: “That Chicken Robot.”
Ryan: An idea would be to have that piercing beak as an alternate weapon instead of just a second hammer
Joey: Yeah! Beta pulled this off because Overhaul, particularly with Beta’s low design, is more or less useless.
Ryan: Overhaul is one of several robots this season that I can barely tell apart Its only discernable feature is that it is colored ice blue.
Joey: Which honestly looks pretty neat.
Ryan: But doesn’t really set it apart too much Anyway, Beta gets through. Good for John Lewis I guess
Joey: You think Beta can beat Nightmare? Will be weird to try to hit a target that skinny.
Ryan: All depends on Nightmare’s history with hammer robots. Killerhurtz beat it by crowd vote in 1999 and that the was the last time Team Nightmare ever fought against John Reid.
Joey: This was fun as FUK
Ryan: The Rake Fight, as it will forever be known
Joey: Or, perhaps, Rake Fight #1
Ryan: It was a message that, yes, even competitors think drones in Battlebots are a bad idea
Joey: I mean, Hypershock’s next fight will literally have the same thing going on. But I don’t know what to say about this beyond that it was fun as HELL, and that I hope Hypershock eliminates yet another drone from this shit.
Ryan: But with Poison Arrow they have that drum to worry about
Joey: UGH, true. They might be better off not sweating the drone, actually. Heh. Sweating. Heh. Flamethrowers.
Ryan: Warrior Clan wasn’t nearly as destroyed as its drone, which was some of the nastiest destruction I’ve ever seen on this show. Up there with Ziggo vs. Scrap Daddy or Nightmare vs. Slam Job or any time Tombstone is fighting.
Joey: Just imagine if drones become more effective, so employing rakes becomes more commonplace.
Ryan: I think this might have been a message to anyone else who is planning a drone
Joey: I sure hope so. That said, Warrior Clan’s drone looked less amateurish and terrible than everyone else’s.
Ryan: Well because it’s Team Whyachi and they know their stuff
Joey: They also are, like, the Most Wisconsin people that are even imaginable. (I’m from Minnesota HATERS COME AT ME)
Joey: HUH. I don’t actually know what to say.
Ryan: Now before we go any further with this, the original Tentoumushi did indeed win fights. Plenty of them. More than you could say for other Robot Action League robots, which were always more about creative design than destruction (hi, Wil Wright’s Chiabot).
Joey: Who’s the Tento up against next?
Ryan: Yeti. The one with the drum and the lifting fork
Joey: Ah, the lesser Minotaur. Hopefully that fight is a little less embarrassing.
Ryan: The thing with Mega Tento is that it’s so big and Stinger had an awful lot of trouble maneuvering around and at it.
Joey: The bot of Tento is a lot less big than, you know, the bot plus the sandbox.
Ryan: The sandbox is its entire gimmick.
Joey: Also wow, that weapon in the back SUCKED.
Ryan: I dunno, it got a lot hits in! I don’t remember Tentoumushi’s offensive weapons ever being too great anyway.
Joey: Sure, it’s just so nothing that you might as well have a wedge in back.
Ryan: I remember it either pushing other robots into the hazards or trapping them and forcing them into the hazards. Mega Tento shouldn’t be underestimated
Joey: This was a weird fight. Is there a weirder self-right mechanism than Chomp’s?
Ryan: Probably not!
Joey: This is another matchup where I feel like both parties involved are SUPER doomed. I was really surprised that Chomp won its first fight, even.
Ryan: Captain Shredderator’s driver seemed a little cocky going into this, or that’s at least what ABC edited that interview to look like
Joey: I’m sure it got Redditors hype.
Ryan: Chomp’s biggest problem, like a lot of hammer robots in the past, is that it takes forever to line up a shot
Joey: And its range.
Ryan: it has that 180 degree hammer, but only the front half does anything. Shredderator, meanwhile, suffered from a lot of problems that a lot of spinners have had in the past, even great ones. Full body spinners just can’t take direct hits from above
Ryan: Ziggo’s saddest defeat was all because of a pulverizer.
The Round of 16 is:
Tombstone vs Brutus
Nightmare vs. Beta
Bite Force vs. Chomp
Mega Tento vs. Yeti
Bronco vs. Razorback
Minotaur vs. Warhead
Red Devil vs. Bombshell
Poison Arrow vs. Hypershock
Joey: What are you most hype about?
Ryan: Probably Minotaur and Warhead
Joey: For the love of god, Minotaur. Kill it.
Ryan: I mean, two of the best drivers in the history of this whole thing in a fight together? I’m all for that. But as i’ve said since the very beginning: “And yet, I sure wish this was Razer instead”
Joey: The Minotaur driver is my favorite. No one gets into it like him.
Ryan: He’s so into his loud robot
Joey: So there are fifteen fights left. That seems…..good! And we get ’em all.
Ryan: Yeah thank goodness I’m getting a little salty at the fights they choose not to show and I’m glad we don’t have to do deal with that anymore.