Week 2 Recap: The Bots Are Who We Thought They Were

5-2 with the picks this week! Alright!

I don’t think I did anything special, it was just a rather predictable week. No big upsets, only a couple of close matches, lots of blowouts by superior robots. Nevertheless, it was still entertaining, there were great fires (every week baby!), and the marquee was excellent and involved the new arena feature (the upper deck, if memory serves). Overall I don’t have too much to remark on, that’s the cost of being right, and having a lot of matches go according to the chalk. Let’s see…

  • The Dark Horse

My friend commented that Madcatter has serious dark horse potential, and I think that’s the perfect encapsulation of these guys. I mean, at one point last year I was watching the Bounty Hunter episode and they had reached 5-0, I had never seen them lose a Battlebots, ever. They’re up to 4-0 in the regular seasons 2020 and 2021* and it didn’t take very long, either. Poor Yeti was absolutely chewed out up there. I bet Madcatter gets some real opponents coming up (Whiplash? Tantrum?) but right now they are cruising along and that weapon looks like it’s close to End Game potency.

  • Ribbot and Tantrum

Took care of business, nice and easy. Their draws weren’t difficult but they can only play the teams on their schedule. Both were quite dominant and I’m proud of their placement on the RANKS. The top tier seems to taking shape and it’s a bit more cohesive and consistent than the last two seasons (last season especially was transitional and messy, with the presence of the absentees strongly felt). It’s a broad tier though, with something like ten robots in it. We’ll see how the remaining third of the field looks next week, right now to me it feels like while there are something like 5-10 robots that can win the championship, I’d be very surprised if someone outside that top tier one the title. But we will see. Defender has a cool design (the options!) but it’s hard for robots like that to succeed, and look at that, they went 0-2 this evening. We’ll see how match #2 looks. Malice looked bad and hopefully it was just a tough match against an elite opponent.

  • Mammoth

Mammoth is looking bloody brilliant. That new flipper could make it a legit contender, that seems to be the way to go, a more flexible flipper that they can hit harder with. It’s shorter so more compact and probably stronger. But yeah I was way off on that pick, HiJinx was anemic and just kind of sad, Mammoth toyed with it. It really is a wonderful design and completely different from Huge who it is oft compared to. It’s a control bot because it grabs the opponent and won’t let them go. Can we see against a potent vertical spinner next and give it a real test?

  • Rotator and Kraken

Man those first thirty seconds were lit and extremely exciting if you’re a Kraken fan. He looked like he would not be denied, and was not as he pushed through and got down that first bite. He really had Rotator on the run and the ropes for a moment there, I fully believe the break allowed Mr Rotator to catch his breath and reset before re-engaging the fight. My prediction came true, he went for the teeth and they came right off. That’s partly because of the brilliance of Rotator’s design, he can decide at what height he wants his weapon and was able to line it up with the teeth (where few others can). Sad as it made me it was a great shot when he cut across and thoes teeth came flying out. Another great moment was later when Rotator connected with the base of Kraken’s jaws and he must have hit the weapon because it exploded with serious force. I was disappointed Kraken couldn’t bit even without the jaws, he was still partially in control, but it must have been broken. Bummer. Still a classic match, those two never disappoint. Rotator remains in tier two but he looks dang good. Kraken, his schedule is always tough, hopefully he wins his next and can have a season.

  • Blip

Blip was awesome. Another flipper! One that can land multiple flips without breaking down (I just watched the Subzero match on Youtube, ugh). But yeah this robot was a blast and dominated (poor Rusty). My favorite part by far is that it’s built by the previous captain of Tantrum – it looks exactly like Tantrum. Like, it’s the exact same robot, except it has a kickass flipper instead of stupid punching mini-spinner. Clearly I’m still not feeling the Tantrum weapon, it’s dumb, but the robot remains very hard to beat. A lot of that is probably the design, one of the lowest tightest robots we’ve ever seen. Let’s keep an eye on Blip and hopefully they reach the tournament at the very least.

  • The Marquee Event

I mean, damn, that’s one of the best, maybe the best, driving performance against Whiplash we’ve ever seen. Bloodsport got away from him a lot, he got the weapon spun up a lot, and he kept hitting Whiplash and landing pretty good shots on those front wedges. There was visible damage, if he had torn one of them off and survived to the end he would have won, it was close. With a minute to go it was probably tied when Whiplash got a hold of him and brilliantly pushed him up to the edge of the new feature, then pulled off a couple of pinpoint flips to toss the poor robot up over the screws and they carried him the rest of the way to the upper deck. It was really awesome and already a classic moment of the season. I had been thinking about who would be the one to make the first strategic use of the new feature, Whiplash should have been my obvious answer. He remains on top, second to only the king, and I don’t fault Bloodsport too much for losing to him, he remains in tier two. That driving performance, to always keep the wedges square and facing his opponent, to never slip up against a very fast and nimble Bloodsport, it was sheer excellent. He’s the Greatest Driver in the World, at least until someone outdrives him, and that seems like a fantasy at this moment. As I pointed out last week the only way to beat him in the past is to hit him, hard. Clearly he’s mastered the horizontal spinners, the Valkyries and Bloodsports and SOWs on the world, let’s see him with a big vertical spinner please.

Week 2 Power Rankings coming soon.

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