Picks Record: 5-2
Back on track!
Bloodsport (1-1) over Subzero (0-2)
“In which Subzero cannot time a flip right to save his life, and ends up losing his life”
Pretty good showing from Subzero, who I worried about after they lost embarassingly in a YouTube match that really should have been a better showing (Shatter! and Subzero were both playoff teams a season ago). They are tough and showed it, took a lot of damage from Bloodsport who has a top tier weapon. Bloodsport needed a lot of exchanges to knock him out, which meant a lot of opportunities for Subzero to flip him, and…man oh man that was rough. His timing was not even close, I’m sorry but wow. Not even close on most of those. One flip out of double digit opportunities, not going to get it done.
Have I waxed poetic on Bloodsport’s driving before? He’s grown to be one of the best and it’s the only horizontal spinner I can think of where elite driving is a huge part of the strategy – the ability to get away nimbly from the opponent and speed up the blade, then evade and pick angles as necessary. So I understand that Subzero will miss on some of those because Bloodsport is just that good, but I think on a better day Subzero flips him a bunch and makes this a very interesting fight. I’m not sure how well Bloodsport’s self-righter has been tested and how well it would withstand a lot of tossing.
Anyhow, still a riveting fight, but could have been closer if Subzero played better. Bloodsport is right back in the thick of it at 1-1.
Cobalt (1-1) over Ghost Raptor (0-2)
The fight itself is barely worth discussing, Ghost Raptor is not good. But there was this.
HIT of the Week (Year?)
Oh my. Smashy smash smash. That looks like a robot divided into fifths to me.
So they won to get back to 1-1, and they landed the HIT of the YEAR. Nevertheless, Cobalt remains a bit of a clown show. Look at this.
He excitedly drove himself headfirst into the screws and the match almost ended right there. I’m wondering if this is a bad driver-robot pairing? Cobalt has a new team and driver, I believe the guy behind the wheel drove Gigabyte at the end of last year and that pairing really seemed to work. Now perhaps both bots got worse from the switch. Gig got back to 1-1 as well, we’ll see how both finished.
Icewave (1-1) over Deadlift (0-2)
Deadlift is not very good, apparently. I was hoping they would look like P1 who has found a niche (2-0) but they do not yet have their act together. The match began with Icewave twice completely outmaneuvering them and getting plenty of space to get the weapon going, then delivering a brutal shot to Deadlift’s side. Something they had to avoid if they were to have a chance at winning (they didn’t). Also, Deadlift, use the lifter arm, be like P1! I don’t know what the heck the fist was doing, a clamper I guess. Clampers are having a brutal year everywhere you look so that’s a configuration you can throw away.
Icewave is back in the thick of it like everyone else, I have durability and questions about their ancient design, but heck they hit pretty hard. You find a good design and it may work for decades, like a robot crocodile. See Son of Whyachi, whom I miss so very very much these past two years. (Are they every coming back?)
Blip (2-0) over Overhaul (0-2)
I don’t have time for this highly predictable fight. Blip is awesome, Overhaul is not. Not sure how Blip will square up against a really good opponent but I think we’ll find out in the next 3 weeks. I mean…they’re going to fight Tantrum right? That seems like an easy one to predict, and both are 2-0. Winner gets, I don’t know, the 8 seed?
Huge (1-1) over Retrograde (1-1)
There’s always the difference between the matchup on paper and the execution in actuality, the latter being the part of the exercise that’s, you know, real. The important part. Huge often wins or does well theoretically against opponents but lately hasn’t been winning. Tonight they got off the schnide and had themselves a nice romp to victory. The thing drove great, it was patient and waited for the right moment, and the weapon was killer (it seemed weaker last year), slicing up the lifting arms as I predicted and knocking some pieces of armour off with another shot.
I’ve always maintained that Huge is the greatest ‘out-of-the-box’ design in modern Battlebots, it’s so different and unique on so many levels, facing them requires a different strategy and mindset. Still, the question becomes if they’re just a gimmick or if they could find major success going “against-the-grain”. I sort of buried them after the loss in their first fight but hey, they’re 1-1 and will definitely make the tournament with a win in the next few weeks. They looked good tonight, maybe the near instant KO against Riptide was just a flukey bad night (and/or maybe Riptide is really good). Huge is a favorite of mine, we’ll keep an eye on them while maintaining low expectations.
Copperhead (2-0) over Fusion (1-1)
Fusion is not ready for the big time. They just aren’t. They’re at the good not great stage, and need to work on the concept a bit more. Tonight I thought he was going to do a Rotator-style move where he keeps the vertical spinner in Copperhead’s face and then spontaneously swings the horizontal spinner around to try and slash the sides or even the wheels. But he didn’t, not sure why. Maybe there was limiting reasons. But going up against a much bigger weapon you can’t just go weapon-on-weapon and expect a positive outcome.
They did hold up held up better, but the weapons – they are cutting their weapon weight in power in half when they got with two. It’s a fundamental problem, I mean Copperhead’s thing is a behemoth compared to them. So I dunno. I wanted to believe! But again, the splitting of resources…I guess the way to counter is better driving and landing more tactical shots. I mean sure, he can clean up against lesser competition because the weapons hit pretty hard. But against any tournament teams I don’t know if I can trust Fusion yet. Sigh.
Copperhead remains the real deal, they have one of the best weapons around bar none. 5-0 in the qualifying rounds this year and last! Really hardly a scare! They need a big test next time, put them against someone else at 2-0, Ribbot or Tantrum, someone else 2-0 and right at the top of the league. Winner gets the 3 seed.
Maybe! It’s not a bad idea! We’ll see how the power rankings look in a day or two, time for a review now that everyone has fought twice.
Whiplash (2-0) over Skorpios (1-1)
Good match, interesting, not a lot happened and hardly any damage landed. Very interesting though. Whiplash remains on top but it was a Split Decision…I need to rewatch to really formulate an opinion. Very hard match to score.
Skorpios must be kicking himself, deeply and thoroughly frustrated, that he won the hard part against Whiplash, or at least played them to a draw, which counts as winning. The ground game, the control game – these are advantages that Whiplash has used to beat bots as good as Hydra, and yet Skorpios appeared to be just as low, and really traded mildly effective carries with Whiplash for the final two minutes. What seemed to give Whiplash the edge was a really effective early session where Skorpios almost died immediately and was basically pinned for the first thirty forty seconds, and the fact that Skorpios couldn’t do squat with its weapon. The weapon then went on to break and for me that sealed the fight: Whiplash won. But it was a hell of a lot closer than I expected, and about as close as anyone has played him in a long time, outside of End Game of course. Hydra also lost a 2-1 decision to Whiplash, and before tonight I considered Hydra to be head and shoulders better than Skorpios. But maybe not. Maybe Skorp is borderline elite, or maybe (more likely) the tier of top bots and potential contenders is just really wide right now, which is awesome. I had Skorpios as a top 20 bot in the Ranks and this inspiring defeat to the historic juggernaut that is Whiplash (in less than four seasons they’ve only lost to five different robots, and went 4-1 in the playoffs last spring to finish as the runner-up).
For the second time in three weeks the underdog in the main event was given a big opening, but then something critical on their robot broke at the worst possible time. Witch Doctor lost the right(?) side drive, here Skorpios’ hammer-saw stopped spinning and started smoking right when he had a chance to slash Whiplash. Terrible (or wonderful) luck.
Anyhow, Whiplash still great but maybe showed a little more flaws today, Skorpios very good but not great yet. Together it added up to a fascinating match with almost zero damage, strangely. What are you gonna do. Good night overall, more articles coming this week to make sense of the field. Everyone has two fights under their belt now, one more to go, should be able to size up what the playoffs look like, and think about how many are really in the mix. 32 is a lot, but it feels like 24 or so teams are at 1-1 right now, so probably going to be very competive down the stretch.