Week 1 Picks

Here we goooooooo!

(Note listed records are totals from regular season, postseason, and Slugfest episodes. This did not include the YouTube special or anything else that may have happened but wasnt properly televised.)

First Match!!!

Witch Doctor vs Ribbot

Last Season:

Ribbot 7-2 overall

Witch Doctor 9-2 overall

Gee, wasn’t I just talking about the War Against Vertical Spinners, and which robots were positioned to be make the best counter-attack against the weapon type dominating the sport?

Oh right, that was yesterday. The third robot highlighted was Ribbot with their B configuration – an undercutter weapon and a very thick and robust non-angled front wedge.

Anyhow, let’s just jump right in baby, let’s put this plot thread right to the test! First thing! Throw Ribbot against whichever elite Vertical Spinner is ready, Witch Doctor is perfect. Now – I’m assuming Ribbot will indeed use their horizontal weapon, and I think they will. Because a) they need to know if it’s going to work, so much as I do, in fact more so! They’re the ones competing! But also, Witch Doctor is perhaps the best driver in the sport, and Ribbot will need to do their best driving to have a chance. Their B configuration has no forks and is much faster. WD also no forks so that would really make sense.

Anyhow – Witch drives like a maniac, hits super hard, and is super durable. Elite. Ribbot is possibly more durable though. They can more easily disable WD’s tires with the horizontal blade. Both drive like crazy.

Until we see them do it, until Ribbot beats a certified elite robot, it’s fair to wonder if they can. The reliable choice is Witch Doctor. But you never know.

The Pick: Witch Doctor by Knockout

Captain Shrederator vs Quantum

Last season:

Captain Shrederator 2-3

Quantum last played in 2019, went 3-3 that season

Shred is a full bodied spinner that, uh, has been mediocre. Sometimes bad. Did beat Tombstone last year!

Quantum is a clamper/grabber robot. They didn’t compete the past two seasons, but when last seen on BB in 2019 they were actually very good! Similar to Kraken but faster and more…modern, I guess I would say. Has a single tooth I believe.

If Shred were Gigabyte I’d go the other way here, but it’s so easy to imagine either Shred getting put into a corner where he can’t spin up and Quantum biting into him while he’s there. This opponent feeds right into the Quantum/clamper gameplan, IMO. And as I pointed out before Shred is not very good.

The Pick: Quantum by Knockout (or Judges, I dunno)

Gruff vs Ripperoni

Last Season:

Gruff 1-3

Ripperoni is a rookie

Sigh.

I love Gruff, but man they were terrible last year. They had many issues, but also their design (a punching bag that takes a ton of abuse and never dies) just isn’t a good tactic right now, in the age of offense. They have a weaksauce lifting arm and a giant flamethrower which is awesome but rarely causes significant damage.

From what I understand Ripperoni is Uppercut reinvented? I think? Looks like a big spinner from those same guys.

Rip is a rook, sometimes the first match goes very poorly, but design-wise they have the edge on Gruff, and I have very little confidence behind the tough guy right now. They usually get lit up by these big spinners. Hoping I’m wrong, I don’t expect to be.

The Pick: Ripperoni by KO

Huge vs Shatter!

Last Season:

Huge 2-3, 28 seed in playoffs

Shatter! 3-2, 12 seed. Both lost their first playoff match

From the match, apparently!

Wowzas.

Battlebots producers have been itching for this one, another big bot for Huge to fight (I guess). This should have been the matchup in the Slugfest episode last summer but then Deep Six got hot and deep sixed both of them. So we didn’t get it.

Despite the radical differences in design and weapons (Shatter! is a hammer bot of course with different body setups, Huge is the freak with the giant wheels and uses a massive vertical bar weapon) I’d say this is an even fight. Shatter! has been better the past couple years but both are a circle (or two) outside the true contenders. Now, the way to stop Huge is to jam him up (and keep weapon from spinning hard), I think Shatter! can do a decent job of that but probably not its strength. And man, if the weapons collide at full power I think Huge will shred the opponent’s. One thing in Shatter!’s favor tho – he’s very good at tactical shots with the hammer, and of course the weapon swings high and will have no issues hitting Huge where he’s vulnerable. Shatter! will be able to land some decent shots on Huge, which not everyone is capable of. Will it be enough?

I’m going with Huge, and it’s not necessarily because of anything in the matchup (again, I’d say it’s a real coin flip). It’s because I think the big guy is due for a big year, and his design SHOULD (on paper) have a lot of success in a league with a lot of small weapons with vertical spinners. Now – this robot is not one of them. But the matchup is even, and I just think Huge is going to have success this season. If that’s true it will start here.

The Pick: Huge by Judges Decision

Riptide vs Glitch

Last Season:

Riptide 4-2 (21 seed)

Glitch 7-1 (9 seed but missed playoffs due to technical issues)

These are two robots of the same age (rookies last year), with the same weapon design (devastating vertical drum spinner), and the same general level of success: Riptide made the final eight in the playoffs and went 4-2 overall, Glitch went 3-0 in the regular season and then 4-0 in the Slugfest bracket, bringing their career record up to an absolutely ridiculous 7-0 before Witch Doctor put them away in the Slugfest Final Bracket.

The difference? Well, one moves like a deer, and one moves like a hundred pound iron drum that’s been tipped on its side. Glitch has won because of incredible luck/timing/the will of god. Last year was awesome, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s ultimately sustainable. Riptide is equally plucky and powerful and as good as anyone they beat last year, IMO. I have very high expectations for Riptide.

I’m a little nervous about Glitch’s insane armour, but still…they can’t move, I can’t hammer this point home hard enough. The weapons are close to even, Glitch might have the edge, but I expect Riptide to aim their hits much more precisely. Riptide has had its troubles with control bots (Defender and Sawblaze), they haven’t been bested by a opponent with a big weapon yet. I think they drive circles around G (I guess it’s possible they’ve fixed their issues, but I can only go on the data I have) and land some killer shots at their discretion. Riptide for another W.

Upset(?) Pick of the Week: Riptide by KO

Gigabyte vs Free Shipping

Last Season:

Gigabyte 2-3 (22 seed)

Hmm, apparently this is outdated, there’s a new design?

Free Shipping 1-4 (missed playoffs)

Hmmm.

This is a tricky one, because on paper Free Shipping has the right design to smother a full-body spinner like Gigabyte. He’s a lot faster and more maneuverable, and thus can stay on top of the opponent and prevent him from spinning. If Gigabyte can’t spin he’s not very dangerous.

The problem is there’s a massive difference in pedigree here, Gigabyte is pretty clearly several notches better than Free Shipping. Yes, 2-3 last year wasn’t great, but the three losses were to Uppercut (fairly forgiveable), a three minute deathmatch against the eventual champion, and then that awful loss to Hypershock where he had an opening to strike and made a very poor decision to not engage (I guess hoping that Hypershock would just die on his own?).

It’s gonna be tough, the match is probably going three minutes, but I think Gig is slippeary enough to get away and spin up for some big hits. Gig is certainly not going to die or take any damage, because FS doesn’t have a weapon really (maybe they have a redesign now? We’ll see), and so I expect they’ll weather some tough stretches and eventually hurt Free Shipping pretty good. I could be wrong! On paper FS has the advantage in the matchup. But Gig is a force IMO and will figure this out.

The Pick: Gigabyte by JD

Minotaur vs Tantrum

Alright!

I think there’s one question coming into this matchup and I expect it’ll be answered very quickly. How will Tantrum handle a big vertical spinner like Minotaur’s? There’s really no way to dodge or get around it, Minotaur’s entire front is a giant weapon, and Tantrum will have to run into it. How’s that going to go? Which wedge are they going to use? Can they stay grounded? How will Tantrum’s retractable punching spinner be utilized? How will throwing punches into the giant drum go?

Minotaur should win if they get the better of the weapon hits and can stay the aggressor. Here’s the thing though, Tantrum is the champion. And like, I feel like their approach and setup makes it hard to analyze them properly, because it’s understated and their weapon is almost always the weakest in the fight. So on paper, yes, it looks like Minotaur might be able to toss them around.

But again, one is the champion and one is not. One has faced a giant variety of different weapons in the past two seasons (though no drum spinner as far as I know, I’ll admit that) and conquered them all, with yes one notable exception (End Game, also a champion). The other one has a) a history of losing their first match of the season, it’s clockwork, and b) a history of back-breaking, heart-stopping painful losses against really good opponents. So that’s it, that’s the precedent I’m following here. Minotaur usually starts the season off slow, while Tantrum just wins, period. It could certainly go the other way too, I’m just going with the trends to date.

The Pick: Tantrum by Knockout

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