Ahhhh, it feels so good to be back.
So, I could go through each fight, but to me there’s a pretty obvious Top Three in the field of eight here, the interesting matches will be taking place in the higher rounds between the best bots. Generally that’s the case in these Bounty Hunter/Champions(?), here I really expect it to be the case. But I can be wrong.
To start, Duck! is just awful this year, sorry buddy. It’s been a bad year for defensive-minded robots for sure (Duck, Gruff, Free Shipping, even Whiplash suffered his early playoff exit ever). I expect Hypershock to have no problem dispatching Duck!, and on the other side I don’t give…squints…Triple Crown(????) any chance in hell of beating the very strong Madcatter.
As for the other two matches – Valkyrie and Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee causes me to slow down only long enough to state that I do like Sme, and think they are a highly unique robot that is capable of success. But this seems like a terrible draw for them. Valkyrie should be able to just drive into the middle and cut it in half, right? They did bring out an alternate configuration to face Gigabyte, but it didn’t lead to success, and it just seems like the all-offense Valkyrie will strong enough to take this one without too much trouble. By virtue of being big and very long Sme is going to have much less armor than a smaller robot, by the laws of the phyics.
The fourth match is very interesting, because it’s two control robots going head to head, and thus a control robot will be winning and advancing to the next round in any case. We’ve seen a lot more of Claw Viper and they’re very mediocre, Defender is a rookie and did go 2-1 and make the playoff play-in (faced Hydra – LOSS) but they’re less tested. It really depends on whichever lifter does a better job gripping the other, and I lean Defender. If Defender can emulate the driving and strategy of the brilliant Whiplash (his brother) then he could be very good, I am predicting (and hoping for) it.
(Claw Viper is faster, maybe the fastest robot there is, though he’s been often erratic and out of control. He’s got a chance here. Hoping for a good match.)
So that gives us a second round of Defender vs Catter and Valkyrie vs Hypershock, the winner of those four plays Gigabyte. Let’s see.
Catter has a huge vertical spinner, one of the biggest going right now, and certainly the nastiest weapon in this episode. Defender has not yet proven himself to be particularly low. I expect Catter hits him, HARD, a couple of times and it’s over. Like most of the Catter matches. He rarely loses to anyone that isn’t Elite!
Valkyrie vs Hypershock
One of the unique pieces of this format is that all the fights happen in one night. Thus, the ability to repair your bot and get them ready for the next bout is critical. Someone that has proven themselves quite adept in this format is Lock-Jaw, for instance. Someone that has often proven himself capable of dumb, embarassing outings is Hypershock.
I’m gonna zag. Give me Valkyrie. Hypershock is a better bot right now and should be the favorite, they were 2-0 and the 13 seed before a highly embarassing match in the playoffs. The formula against Valkyrie is keep hitting them and don’t let up, relentlessly keep a body on them and keep the blade from getting full speed. Hypershock is fast and pretty durable, so they could be successful with this, but I’m concerned about their wedges. You want to hit a horizontal weapon with a flat front wedge that forms a wall against it, Hypershock doesn’t really have those. Theirs is more low to get under someone and push them around. I also think it’s possible Hypershock has an issue being ready after the first match, against a bad but very durable Duck! All in all, it’s been a long time since Valkyrie had a big victory (Rotator in the 2020 regular season probably), I think they’re overdue. I expect it to be a tossup in any case.
Catter vs Valkyrie
Catter, easy. Weapon to weapon should toss Valkyrie way up into the air, a couple of those will hurt them more than Catter will get being thrown around the ring.
Catter vs Gigabyte
So, to me Gigabyte is quietly riding an incredible streak, not sure anyone has picked up on it, but look at the excellence of the last two seasons. Even the losses are impressive. It starts with the nadir of their recent run, when they were literally ripped into two pieces by a very dangerous Copperhead. Don’t worry, they got their revenge!
Loss to Copperhead (future 3 seed)
Win over Extinguisher (weak rookie)
Win over Claw Viper (mid-tier bot)
Win over Malice (mid-tier bot, but the 17 seed last year)
Loss to Hydra (the 1 seed, Gigabyte got flipped 17ish times and survived! They were fine! Fight went to the judges, Gigabyte couldn’t land any shots because of the design weakness against flippers)
Win over Grabot (who?)
Win over Big Dill (weak bot)
Win over Copperhead (great win!)
Win over Son of Whyachi (another great win!)
Loss to Uppercut (future 5 seed, and the most powerful weapon in the sport)
Win over Captain Shrederator (mid-tier bot, but did win their first match against Tombstone before fighting Gig)
Win over Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Loss to Tantrum (future champion! They took them to the judges and could have won if their spinner didn’t die! It was a great match!)
So yeah, I obviously think highly of them, overall their only losses are to Copperhead, Uppercut (two extremely powerful robots, perennial top seeds and they beat Copperhead on the rematch), and then Hydra and Tantrum. Those two are championship-level robots, one is the current champion, the other basically never loses. They didn’t get knocked out in either case.
Gigabyte is great.
I think they will beat Madcatter if they face them tomorrow. The worst matchup for them of the likely opponents is probably Hypershock, if he can master the strategy discussed earlier that he will need against Valkyrie earlier. Otherwise, this is funny, the defensive-minded Defender could really be a bad matchup for him, if he can keep Gig from spinning. I think against Valk and even Catter he will be able to spin up with relative ease. I expect and will be hoping he wins in any case, Gigabyte is my boy.
I’ll take Madcatter to win the tourney and Gigabyte to retain its crown. I’m tempted to go Hypershock all the way, I thought about it, but man that guy is so snake-bitten. I just can’t trust him to not self-sabotage at this point. Four matches in one night, that’s just two many for our boy, that’s more than a season’s worth of success. (Prove me wrong!)