Battlebots Golden Bolt Tournament

Some Questions for the Champions of…Golden Bolt…whatever it’s called…Finale

1) How will the former champions look?

Rest vs Rust – is there an advantage to the robots that have been playing recently versus some time off? It is quite likely that Tombstone and End Game have not seen live action in awhile after early exits from the playoffs (maybe Tantrum’s final was a few days before this final). End Game has generally looked STELLAR everytime we’ve seen them over two years, even in defeats, and most matches haven’t been close. Tantrum is the reigning champ but has had a LOT more close calls than End Game, seems like they either make a huge blunder or suffer terrible some terrible luck every fight. Tombstone…well it seems like they’re not very good anymore but their matches remain a must-watch! Any good performance for them, even if they lose decisively to Tantrum, would be encouraging.

2) Will Ribbot continue to buck the trends and deploy their undercutter design, and how will the results be?

As I’ve covered extensively here in the past, we have a Horizontal Spinner Crisis in the sport today.

Horizontal weapons of all kinds continue to struggle. Credit to Bloodsport for winning 3 matches in almost surely the weakest field, but they lost their final, along with Gigabyte (ugh that was such a disapointing way to lose, HIT HIM!) and Rotator (that was just crazy and a prime example of the Bizarre Blip Magic we’ve seen this season). And of course Tombstone is in the field tonight by default. But that’s it, I thought for a moment. And then I remembered Ribbot…

They used the horizontal weapon configuration in 3 of the four fights, including the bracket final and the match against Lock-Jaw. Ok yeah, Lock-Jaw sucks now. But they did beat a VERY dangerous robot in Deep Six that was on quite a nice run, and they did with the undercutter, they would have very likely lost if they tried the normal approach. Even in the playoff loss to Hydra the undercutter was devastating, probably the most damage Hydra has taken outside in a win (and more than in several of their losses). The key appears to be the front which is a brick wall, not so much a wedge as a suit of armour, which similar horizontal robots do not have (Valk, Bloodsport, Tombstone, etc).

Anyhow, good luck to them! They’ve become one of my favs and a really fun robot to watch. Nevertheless, the idea that they are going to beat End Game and Tantrum back to back…yeah I don’t expect that to happen.

3) Is Hypershock a real contender, possibly one of the best robots out there?

So, I think so, but they’re also still Hypershock, and the most memorable moment of the 2021* playoffs for me remains them excitedly driving over the P1 ramp at full speed. I don’t know, after a historically dominant night in their last outing, isn’t it just about time to slip on a banana peel?

I’m betting on it!

(Seriously tho, they do have the combo figured out – high powered spinner, super fast and agile driving, and just enough toughness and slippearyness to take serious damage. They’re Witch Doctor 2.0, maybe. But they have to register some playoff success, at some point! Until then it’s more than fair to doubt them)

4) Does Skorpios belong?

Hmm, their season to date

Win over Blade 3-0 Judges Decision

Loss to Whiplash, 2-1 Judges Decision

Loss to Yeti, 2-1 Judges Decision

Win over Malice, 3-0 Judges Decision

Loss to End Game, Knockout

Win over Bloodsport, 2-1 Judges Decision

First off, they sure go to the judges a lot!

I think they 100% belong in the top tier of bots and should be respected as a contender. Look at that schedule! Only bad robot they faced all year was Blade. Any loss to Whiplash or End Game is 100% acceptable (and Whiplash was split), I guess their black mark could be the Yeti loss but that was maybe the fight of the year. They were great! And then they got it done against Bloodsport when it counted.

They’re legit and always fun to watch. They will probably lose to souped-up Hypershock…but I’m going to take a chance and pick them. Here’s the deal, unless HS deals them a quick KO (not what usually happens to them, you can see) then they have a real chance to control things and cut up his wheels and maybe break the weapon. If he gets flipped I think Skorpios will take full advantage and wins. Sure, he might just get under them immediately and blast them into the stratosphere like Gig, or Valk, or the other ones haha. Skorp does have a weakness in the low game. But still…I just think Skorp is very solid, will make HS earn the win, and it’s about damn time for Hypershock to have another embarassing showing. Here’s hoping.

(If Skorpios were to go on a run, that would stylistically interesting, they’re really the only “defensive-minded robot” in the mix tonight. Last playoffs saw the bruisers take over while the high-powered spinners that had dominated the regular season struggled. Could another step in BB Evolution happen this very eve?)

5) Is the Witch Doctor Magic real?

What a run they’ve been on! All the way to the finals with a string of crazy upsets before sadly bowing out early against Tantrum when they got high-centered in a freak hit.

They felt like a wild unchained animal against Whiplash. Whiplash always seeks to control the match, they did a good job, and yet Witch Doctor was uncontrollable.

I think the Magic is real. I’m taking them big tonight. Let’s go all the way. They should at least be in shape on their side of the bracket, going against the largely stationary Blip (Best Driver against Worst Driver) and then the winner of Skorpios/Hypershock, both who seem a cut below Witch in any case. Isn’t Witch Doctor largely an optimized, battle-tested version of what Hypershock is going for?

Anyhow, what really is amazing about this robot is that everyone else who’s anyone has gotten lower and lower, and focused so much on that aspect, and Witch Doctor just continued to expose their weapon and focus on hitting their opponent more than anything else. And It Worked. It’s awesome, I’m so happy this is working. Buck the Trends! Zag over Zig! Show them that being tough and mean is better than having some sort of “strategy”. Being nasty is the strategy. Oh, and have the best driver in the sport, that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Rock and Roll. I think they will win the whole thing tonight.

6) What is the deal with Blip? Is their Magic real? Also, can they move?

I think the party for Blip ends early when the proven Best Driver in the sport faces the clearly worst driving robot of any robots that are very good. Blip is a career 7-0, they’ve NEVER LOST. And yet they CAN’T MOVE.

It’s so weird!

Anyhow, I think the very veteran Witch Doctor will hit them in the right spots and will suffer any magical strikes that Blip will improbably conjure against them. I’m sure there will be moments for Blip! But good lord, the thing literally can’t turn half the time, please put the viewing audience out of our misery. Kill Blip, Witch Doctor. Thanks!

7) Will Tantrum ever lose again?

Here’s their last two seasons, summarized

Loss to Valkyrie, they were dominating the match, had broken their opponent’s blade, and then they just suddenly dropped dead

Win

Win

Win

Win (Bloodsport)

Win (Sawblaze)

Loss (End Game)

Win

Win

Win

Win (Rotator)

Win (Cobalt)

Win (Hydra)

Win (Witch Doctor)

That’s a lot of winning!

Their last loss is their second round matchup, if both survive the first round. So that will be tons of fun. Otherwise – I think high-powered all offense weapons are the right approach to beat Tantrum, so Tombstone might put up a fight, but they should win that. Ribbot…I would lean Tantrum, I think Tantrum will carry them all over the arena with a much stronger drive train.

And then who knows! They just beat Witch Doctor, Hypershock is similar…I guess Skorpios would be a different kind of fight if that somehow happened, and anything goes with Blip! But I think Tantrum could push them around and take advantage of their weakness (DRIVING).

Surprisingly, I’m going to pick a Tantrum Witch Doctor final, and then take Witch Doctor as the victor, in a reverse of the Finals rematch. Why? Because I BELIEVE in the Witch Doctor magic, how can I not at this point? They are maybe the most durable and maybe the best driven robot, and they hit hard, and nobody can stop their highly exposed weapon.

But more than that, there’s the feeling. When I saw Tantrum win their second round matchup against Rotator (in an all-time match for sure), I knew they were going all the way. They had the look. Right now Witch Doctor has it, so that’s my pick.

Woot!

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