Hmmm, it appears due to an editing error I lost part of the introduction I wrote to the Paradigm Shift post I wrote recapping the Sweet 16. Darnit! So here’s a little bit more, describing the late-season shift and how the “Brawlers” are dominating the Battlebots “Bar Fights” we see in the sport at this very moment. This is the Paradigm Shift being recognized.
“All season long, the robot with the bigger weapon won, UYAHS (Unless You’re A Horizontal Spinner!). Following that model would have predicted, oh I don’t know, 80-90% of the matches correctly? I think you would have gone 6 out of 7 most weeks. And then suddenly, with little warning (Black Dragon-Madcatter in the Round of 32 I guess) things changed. The tide turned, and now it’s the bruisers, the rough and tumble robots that are moving on. The ones that can give a punch, but also take a punch, maybe several, and keep warring nonetheless. These types do well in chaos, they were raised in the chaos, and they assume their quicker robots and superior reaction skills will allow them to respond better in a realtime battle, will give them the ability to be spontaneous and creative and ultimately out-PLAY the competition. You see this in the rock-hard and strong-ass Tantrum, and it’s equally rock-solid cousin Blip. The relentlessly aggressive Minotaur. The unceasing and recklessly charging Riptide. The unbreakable (and athletic!) Witch Doctor. And yes, the Gritty and Grinding Hydra (currently operating with a half-functional drive, which really proves the point. They were not successful until they were wounded, and jaded, and had tasted true warfare and bitter loss).
(Then there’s the most deadly weapon we’ve ever seen, Cobalt, who is getting by because of Wildcard Points, and that weapon I mentioned. And then Sawblaze, my precious Sawblaze. He is not a wild chaotic bar fighter, he is intelligent and studious and well-trained and has high technique and finesse and strategy…and I fear he is not long for this world. He does not fit in it! But maybe he can subjugate and overcome it, maybe he can conquer it and make this new Paradigm an ephemeral one. We shall see)
Yes, in 2021* need to have a legitimately dangerous weapon (note the poor seasons for Clampers, lifters like Whiplash/Gruff/Free Shipping), but you always need to be able to brawl. You need to get down and dirty, and thrive in the chaos of a spontaneous back and forth melee. That appears to be the lesson on the table right now, and if it holds true I think we’ll see Tantrum, the most perfectly designed robot for this era in the sport, hoisting a Giant Nut one day from now.
But not so fast.”
A few more thoughts
– 3 of the 4 most highly-rated drivers are alive, and on one side of the bracket! Minotaur Witch Doctor and Sawblaze. Point is, you will not see better driving in your life outside of maybe a Vazquez family barbecue. We should get two of these matches unless Riptide pops Sawblaze. But right here, right now, Witch Doctor and Minotaur, that is the good stuff. The is the big match (should be the fourth and middle fight of the night, last year it was Hydra-Whiplash in that spot and it as probably the best match of the season). I can’t wait
– I didn’t mention the possibility of a Rookie Bowl in the Finals but it’s there, Riptide vs Blip. That would be something. Vegas has it assessed at 100 to 1 odds, it seems pretty unlikely.
– I’ve hammered the point a few times now, but good god – this is a tremendous opportunity for Sawblaze, and out of anyone he has to be under the most pressure right now. He’s got a rookie and two bots he’s beaten very recently on his side of the bracket (Witch Dr in last season’s playoffs, Minotaur in the first match this season). End Game is gone. Whiplash (though he handled him last time) is gone. Uppercut is gone. What else could you ask for?
Well, actually, I know what he could ask for – someone to KO Tantrum. That’s how last season ended for SB, he was cruising and looked good and then lost a tough tough upset at this very spot in the tournament. Now, we didn’t know how good Tantrum was then (the undistinguished 18 seed at the time, now 9-1 in the last 10 fights), so it’s not like an Uppercut postseason loss. But still, that’s a weakness for Sawblaze and we have no idea if he’s fixed it. We might find out in the final, against Tantrum or even Blip, if he’s low enough. In the meantime he has to deal with some killers
– Holy moly, these playoffs have had so many stunning turns and outcomes, even before we wrap up the final 8 it’s gotta be the wildest and best tournament in modern Battlebots history. But also like, sometimes upsets and crazy things happen because of sheer chaos, there hasn’t been much of that (outside of maybe the Hypershock match). What the unpredictability points to is the fact that there are like TWENTY legitimate contenders in the sport right now. Which is incredible! Other sports have a handful at most, but not this party.
Alright, we’ll see how things play out tomorrow. May the best bot win.