A Tale of Two Bloodsports

2020 Regular Season:

  • Knockout win over Skorpios (the eventual 10 seed)
  • Knockout win over End Game(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (the eventual 6 seed and champion)
  • Judges Decision win over Chronos (did not make the playoffs)

(in hindsight this was the canary in the coal mine. I’ve never seen Chronos be anything better than “awful”. The fact that Bloodsport couldn’t knock them out meant they were already slipping, perhaps)

2020 Postseason:
(Bloodsport was the 2 seed)

  • Split Decision win over Gruff (31 seed)
  • Split Decision loss to Tantrum (18 seed)

It’s another tiny sample size, sure (damn this sport and the limits of their schedule), but you’ll notice a distinct trend in the data here. Early in the season Bloodsport was averaging 100% knockouts, whereas later in the season they averaged 0% knockouts. You may also notice that in the regular season they were beating teams with very high seeds, but when they actually got to the playoffs they struggled against teams with lower seeds. Their season concluded with basically two coin flip matches, one went their way and one did not. (The Gruff match was a weird one, Gruff broke Bloodsport’s weapon on the first impact and bullied him for the first minute or so, then just kinda ran out of energy and Bloodsport was the stronger of the robots for the final two minutes. Hard one to judge, I think they got it right. Last year’s Gruff needed to develop more stamina, they might have figured it out now. The Tantrum match was more just Tantrum being lower, staying on him and pushing him around, the singular gameplan we saw during their incredible hot streak last spring. Unlike Gruff Tantrum was still spry and mobile at the end of 3 minutes and that was enough to win 2-1)

While yes, Everyone can have Bad Days (I’ll stop repeating this soon, we’ll have a new theme next week) Bloodsport had two and maybe three consecutive Bad Days, depending on how we feel about the Chronos match. I rewatched and it does appear they might have been taking it easy to keep their robot in good shape heading into the playoffs (though I would question that as a strategy, as it certainly didn’t work). I think very highly of Gruff and Tantrum (too highly, according to some) but nevertheless, two matches in a row where your (generally) disgustingly lethal weapon is either broken or neutralized, you’re getting pushed around the arena and liften up and almost flipped, and at one point somebody was dumping fire in your lap and you couldn’t get away. It was a poor showing for the 2 seed, for a robot that had recently ascended to the upper echelon but then couldn’t prove anything once it got up there. I’m not saying Bloodsport is a bad or even average bot, not at all, they’re in Tier 2, that’s top 20! What I am saying is they’re someting like the 10-12th best robot in the field, not the 2nd best.

On the other hand, my analysis so far has been spotty at best, and Bloodsport have a tremendous opportunity to have a statement win and get right back into that top tier. Look at this.

Another T-shirt reveal, as are the parlance of our times. I had a Bloodsport post in mind for some point this season but this timing was perfect – a live, midstream pivot point for the robot’s narrative, where their true caliber will be decided after a year of murkiness. Should be a good one.

Week 2 Picks coming tomorrow. We’re going to try to do better than 2-5.

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