Week 6 Picks: The Clampers Strike Back

Due to recent events (4-3 last week) and the overall fact that there haven’t been many upsets this season, almost always the better robot has won – I am scaling back on the upset picks. Last week was far too ambitious. We’re still going to try and make a weekly pick but they won’t be picking against the Hydra’s and End Game’s of the world (like a moron). Alright, here we go

Rotator (1-0) vs Black Dragon (1-0)


This is an absolutely terrific matchup. Two contenders, two up-and-comers with plenty to prove, and completely opposing styles. They’re both 1-0 off of impressive wins, and one loses tomorrow night. I have great respect for both robots and both teams.

Rotator: Best (at least so far this year) horizontal spinner going right now. Uses wedges on the other side. Durable, strategic, deadly. Not strong or low. Not overly fast.

Black Dragon: Extremely durable, probably even more so than Rotator. Fast and very slick driving. Uses either smaller vertical spinner or drum spinner. Has effective low wedges and is better at pushing the opponent around.

Hmmm, well, common logic would tell me they slam each other early, weapons get broken and both are significantly handicapped, and Black Dragon wins because they function better as a compromised pushbot than Rotator does. When Rotator loses it’s generally because they get bullied around (Beta, End Game come to mind).

Yeah, I like Black Dragon in this spot. Rotator’s common strategy is to have their weapon on one side, their wedge on the other, and alternate to deflect attacks and strike back when there’s an opening. I don’t think that approach has any place here, BD’s just going to stay on them and strike their side if he tries to rotate, and they’ve fared well in weapon-on-weapon hits against weapon types similar to Rotator’s (Tombstone in the playoffs and Icewave this season). When Black Dragon winds up and slams Rotator I expect Rotator will take the worst of the impact and go flying.

The Pick: Black Dragon in Judge’s Decision

Lucky (0-1) vs Blade (0-1)

Lucky: Tough flipper robot, many seasons old now. Seems like a solid mid-tier robot. Took a brutal loss against Tantrum when they owned them the first twenty seconds, had Tantrum PINNED and the win almost certainly guaranteed, and Lucky opted to re-engage Tantrum rather than wait for the count. Tantrum got freed, they got going, and Lucky was eviscerated.

Blade: Speaking of eviscerated! They lost to Skorpios, who is (probably) very good, and Skorpios treated them like they had just murdered a box of puppies, it was absolutely relentless beating absorbed by Blade. Blade is an undercutting robot, low to the ground with a horizontal spinner. They’re a rookie and it’s unclear if they’re any good, but boy do they look cool!

Thoughts: I’m a little worried that Lucky won’t be able to get under them, but if they do I expect a certain victory for our flipper friend. Blade is low…meh, I’m just going to hope Lucky knows what they’re doing. Blade certainly didn’t show us anything in that first fight while Lucky did, and that robot type is already having a pretty bad year (horizontal spinners, plus Blade’s closest comparison would be HiJinx, who absolutely blows). Do we have any idea if Blade can self-right? Doesn’t look like it.

The Pick: Lucky by Knockout

Dragon Slayer (1-0) vs Minotaur (0-1)

last known photograph…

Yeah, don’t let the records fool you, this is a rookie bot (Dragon Slayer) against a living legend of the sport (Minotaur). Minotaur opened up losing to Sawblaze (elite) while DS beat Duck! who is awful right now. (I suppose I should provide at least some info – Dragon Slayer has a good looking spinner, or maybe an egg-beater, moved pretty well and delivered some good shots. Minotaur moves better than almost anyone, has an incredible driver, and a giant drum spinner that comprises the entire front of its face. Deadly and super entertaining robot)

(Did Dragon Slayer play last week? I think they did! Weird!)

I’m not going to waste words here. I expect this to be the triumphant return to victory for the Brazillians, here they look like a wagon again and we can all feel good about them and the world. I expect it to be bloody and very short.

The Pick: Minotaur by KO

Pain Train (0-1) vs Yeti (0-1)

had to enlarge…it looks awful. Ah well

Hmm, kind of an underwhelming middle fight, usually these are just as good as the Marquee. Nevertheless!

Pain Train was a rookie last year, notable most for how poorly it moves, all the times. Like it’s on roller skates. Yeti is an old vet known for great offense, has a drum spinner kinda similar to Minotaur. It’s a big beefy robot and hard to kill.

One’s gotta think Yeti gets off the shnide here and joins a massive crowd of robots with 1-1 records. There’s going to be a lot of great “win-and-you’re-in” matches in the final few weeks of the regular season.

The Pick: Yeti by KO

HiJinx (0-1) vs Kraken (0-1)

Ahh, Kraken, we meet again. I’ve missed you so.

HiJinx is a middling vertical spinner robot, it is low to the ground, but against Mammoth it couldn’t keep the blade spinning and couldn’t land any damage, so it lost. Kraken had a very interesting fight against Rotator that started well and ended poorly for him.

The thing about Kraken, you really want to hit him high, he’s got that big dome of a head that can take a lot of visible damage (see the Huge fight) or be melted (see the Gruff fight). He’s pretty tough low and he usually gets the robots to go into his mouth. I think he’s going to have a good night against HiJinx.

The Pick: Kraken by Judge’s Decision

Defender (0-1) vs Riptide (1-0)

Two rookies! Defender got rolled by Ribbot in the opening match, Riptide rolled Huge to a quick knockout, both matches were over quickly.

Defender is a grabber/clamper robot, like Kraken, the captain is the brother of Mr Whiplash. It looks pretty high tech and flexible. Riptide is a fast offensive robot with a potent drum spinner, he delivered a couple wailing shots on Huge in the first fight.

Alright, I’m supposed to pick an upset (though those picks have faired poorly), and while Defender is of higher pedigree than Riptide so far this year offensive vertical spinners have reigned and clamper/defensive style robots have not. So Riptide should be favored here and they have a better record. Let’s go for it! Let’s pick two clampers in a row! Two long drag-it-out battles with the loser getting carried around like a rag doll. Let’s get two more robots in that giant 1-1 middle class of the 2021* Battlebots season.

Upset pick of the week: Defender by JD

Hypershock (1-0) vs Lock-Jaw (0-1)

Another intriguing main event matchup!

Hypershock played an inferior robot in the opener and took care of business without a sweat. Lock-Jaw sweated a lot going up again the ferocious and high-end Copperhead, and while they ended up losing in a Judge’s Split Decision I thought it was pretty clearly they decisively lost that fight. Lock-Jaw is a real old-timer at this point while Copperhead is an up-and-comer so it was interesting.

Anyhow, Hypershock was once and up-and-comer but is now kind of a middling veteran of the sport. They did look good in the opener. Robots are pretty similar design: 4 wheel drive, front wedges, vertical spinner weapon. I’d say Hypershock is faster and more wilder/out of control, while Lock-Jaw is more about angles and tactics and a carefully planned strategy (with B and C options, it appears).

Overall Lock-Jaw is better, they’re a better robot. Furthermore…again, I’m probably thinking about the records too much, and being too “nice” in wanting everyone to have a chance, but doesn’t it seem like these bots should both be 1-1? Does Hypershock seem like a 2-0 robot? Does Lock-Jaw seem like an 0-2 machine? Definitely not on that second point. I think Lock-Jaw bounces back, Hypershock puts up a decent fight but gets outworked, and both get to have an interesting season.

The Pick: Lock-Jaw by JD

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