Battlebots Tiers

1 – The Big Three

  1. Tantrum (Ha, BB and I disagree, I stole their image. I think the Defending Champ deserves the spot by default)
  2. End Game
  3. Witch Doctor

Sometimes in a sport, at a particular point, there is a select group that is clearly above the rest. This is one of these times.

I would point to 2018 as another case, the Big Four (Tombstone Bronco Bite Force and Minotaur) positively dominated the regular season and it was inconceivable anyone else would win the title. Now, that’s not the case this year, there’s a lot of contenders, but man these three are the Elite. They are in the finals every year. They never disappoint. And they are each wonderfully unique and different. They should be celebrated.

2 – Fascinating Contenders

4. Sawblaze

5. Minotaur

6. Whiplash

7. Hydra

One’s a controlling perfectionist, ones an unchained voracious beast, ones a high-speed chameleon, and the fourth is Hydra, the meanest and darkest bot around. The Official Villain of the Sport (RIP Tombstone)

Any could win the whole thing and it would be an incredible story. We’ll see what happens. 

3 – Pseudo Contenders 

Rotator

Black Dragon

Blip

Ribbot 

I don’t know that this tier is necessarily above 4, I separated due to the difference in bot personalities. Consider the precise order of ranking unspecific after the top 7.

Rotator lost to the defending champ in the Round of 16 in 20 and again last season. Both fights were instant classic and unbelievable outcomes. Rotator is close.

Black Dragon made the Final Four in 20 and gives at least one incredible upset a season it seems. Also lots of catching on fire. Blip was 3-0 as a rook but has the experience of Aaron Hill at the helm. And flippers are enjoying a Renaissance right now. Ribbot…not exactly sure where to put them, only losses were to Hydra and End Game last year. Some questions about the undercutter design, is that it’s future? Is that a reliable anti-vertical tactic? Hmm. 

4 – Extremely Volatile Wildcards

Cobalt

Riptide

Glitch

Hypershock

*Uppercut (RIP)

Jackpot 

These four are lumped together due to two factors – they sport extremely dangerous high energy weapons, and they are highly unpredictable and ultimately undependable, for various reasons. Overall the reason for the volatility is the weapon itself. But there are other delightful things at play here.

The first three are studs, no doubt. I’m still no sold that Hypershock has arrived (they lost to P1 in the round of 32…) but they looked incredible in the Golden Bolt episodes of course. But yeah – Cobalt has the highest pedigree to date but had a bizarre and at times underperforming regular season last year before delivering big time in the playoffs. Every fight is a wild ride (and the driver def brings it); overall tho I think their weakness is the design and the fact that the weapon cannot contact a robot like Tantrum (it appears). Riptide is next and I’m a big fan but the design leads to self flips way, way too often. This is great for hilarity (see the funniest and coolest match of last year’s regular season) but not good for winning championships. This is Hypershock’s issue too, he’s got it worse because there’s no self righter (against, the P1 match!). And Hypershock has a long legacy of mishaps and painful silly losses. Then there’s Glitch…yeah. They deserve their own post. Let’s just say the Glitch matches have plenty of magic and serendipity and can make a viewer giddy with wonder. And yet-they can’t drive or move about 70% of the time. Not being able to move will hurt against the upper echelon opponents. 

5.5 Deathroll!

Deathroll! 

Deathroll is great. I have no idea how they’ll look after missing a season so I’ll put them here, on their own tier. Maybe it will move later, I dunno. (Ultimately they belong with the other wildcards, they’re like a better version of Jackpot) 

5 – Talented Longshots (that seem to be Lacking the Championship Formula)

Skorpios 

Bloodsport

Shatter!

Copperhead

Mad Catter 

Gigabyte

This group sits just outside the robots I can imagine winning the title this year. This is mostly due to design limitations (Skorp’s weakness against verticals, Bloodsport and Gigabyte being horizontal weapons, Shatter! being a hammer bot), but also established playoff ineffectiveness (Copperhead and Mad Catter). I’ve seen enough, you guys are chokes! You’re playoff dogs!! Now watch them quickly prove me wrong. 

6 – I’m Losing Faith…

*Tombstone (RIP)

Valkyrie 

Lock Jaw

Man, we had some good times.

I don’t know if Valkyrie will ever have a dominant season again. Lock Jaw might but mannnn he sucked last year. It’s like Hypershock stole his soul. Anywho. 

7 – Clampers who I’m Really Hoping Perform Better, As A Group

Quantum!

Defender 

Kraken

Ok, I’ve officially stopped properly ranking the bots (it doesn’t matter, we’re outside the championship window) and am expressing a few different ideas. Can we get a bounce back season from the clampers? Shouldn’t this be The Solution to the vertical spinner caucus currently dominating the sport? I mean dang, Kraken started off the 2020 season by almost beating Black Dragon (2-1 Judges Decision that pissed many off) and then ACTUALLY BEATING Witch Doctor. It was an awesome time to be alive! And then damn, the schedulers completely screwed them, they haven’t really faced a proper vertical spinner since, until Glitch at the end of this season. That went poorly for Kraken, but hey, Glitch ended up in the hospital and missed the playoffs (9 seed!), so not a total loss! 

Anyhow, Quantum looked pretty great last time we saw them (the wonderful and wacky 2019 regular season) before being dissected by Tombstone in the playoffs, so they get the top nod here. I do need to review their schedule, in particular to see how they did against verts. And I like Defender a lot! They somehow faced Ribbot Riptide and Hydra within their first four matches and didn’t lose out. They have the Sawblaze forks which have been a tremendous success for him and might be a key to the anti-vertical spinner agenda. 

These robots will probably not all be top 25 robots but I’m hoping at least some of them are. Come on Battlebots! Let’s again have a swing to the defensive! Let the Klampers Strike Back! 

8 – I Believe

Huge

Mammoth

Very Large Bots that I’m a huge fan of.

Especially Huge. Is a moment coming? I have a feeling…I have a feeling every year. Still! This outside of the box approach (above the box?), I really hope it works, would be revolutionary. Fingers are crossed! 

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