Wow! I was very excited reading through the fights this morning. While not the most competitive slate, there’s basically a premier robot in every fight, except for that one bad matchup near the end that appears to have wandered onto the fight card by mistake. I will write the robot’s Power Ranking (PR) alongside their season record if they are ranked.
There are two big matchups that will be highly competitive, the undercard (middle) fight and then the main event. And at a glance it looks like there are at least three matchups of 1-0 teams. A lot to like here! Let’s go.
Minotaur (1-0, PR4) vs Free Shipping (1-0)
Minotaur just knocked out Tantrum, the reigning champ, and have now beaten the reigning champ in back to back seasons which is absolutely incredible. So yeah, I’m taking them easy against an improved but untested Free Shipping. Free Shipping has a fairly mild vertical spinner, I think that will suffer greatly against Minotaur’s large and super powerful vertical spinner. Also Free Shipping’s excellent driving is not any sort of advantage against Minotaur, who might have the best driver in the world.
The Pick: Minotaur by Knockout
Ribbot (0-1, PR15) vs Claw Viper (1-0, PR27)
Claw Viper was Mr Irrelevant in the last Power Ranking. Last place! But he made the list.
Umm, so Ribbot had a tough first outing while Viper had a great outing, but the former faced Witch Doctor and the latter faced a rookie. Claw Viper is a grabbing robot, they looked much improved and perhaps their design has been realized. Fast as all hell. But Ribbot a) desperately needs a win here to avoid 0-2, and b) has always cleaned up against lesser competition, and specifically control/defensive type robots. I bet they run their B configuration so that they’re faster and more maneuverable and the horizontal weapon won’t have an issue hitting CV. If anything I think Viper’s setup is better against verticals, we’ll see how they hold up against…ooo they get Hypershock last. Ok! That will the test.
Anyhow I’m happy following chalk, for now.
The Pick: Ribbot by KO
Sawblaze (1-0, PR3) vs Lock-Jaw (1-0)
Bit of a talent mismatch…
I mean, it’s getting close to the point where I see Sawblaze going against a 4 wheel drive robot with a vertical spinner and mark it as a W. The first fight against Hypershock was borderline no concern (and then you see how Whiplash fared against Hyper). They took down Madcatter Riptide and Minotaur last season, three robots that otherwise rarely lose (and are all 1-0 right now and top 10 on the rankings).
So yeah, I like Sawblaze going against this kind of robot, and lately Lock-Jaw has looked really mediocre (overall 0-4 last season). He did beat Malice in fight one, this is a big step up. I think Sawblaze gets under him all day and probably takes down a tire at some point. (I guess anything’s possible, vertical spinners are always dangerous, but man, the recent track record says SB all the way here)
The Pick: Sawblaze by KO
Huge (1-0, PR20) vs Blip (0-1, PR13)
Ok, so Blip has been better overall despite their short career, and was a career 5-1 before losing their first fight, and that was to End Game! So we’re not going to knock them hard for that. It’s End Game! End Game! But maaaaan do I hate this matchup for Blip. Some thoughts
- Flipping Huge doesn’t really accomplish anything. It doesn’t hurt them, nor can it possibly disable them. I guess you could flip them into the screws and get a pin that way.
- In fact, Hydra, the best flipper of all time, had a matchup with Huge two seasons ago and decided to essentially turn off his flipper and run a complete different strategy. (An Awful, Awful Stategy, but that’s a story for another time)
- The other thing Blip does well is get under a robot, push them around, and jam up their weapon if possible. Yeah that’s not gonna work here either. The wheels are slippeary and Huge can always turn and show Blip the blade. What is Blip going to do against the blade, besides take body shots?
Maybe I’m way off here, but the more I break this down, I don’t think any of Blip’s strengths apply here besides being durable as heck. But what, they’re going to take slash after slash from Huge, and commendably avoid death? That’s great but that’s not going to win them the fight, and Huge has shown really good reliability over the years and doesn’t fail on its own. I’m taking the big boy, all the way. Let’s get to 2-0 and have ourselves a real season.
The Pick: Huge by Judges Decision (I guess technically an Upset?)
Fusion (1-0, PR25) vs Witch Doctor (1-0 PR2)
Another major talent mismatch, unfortunately. For Fusion. Not for the other guy (and hopefully not for us).
I think Fusion is on the cusp of a breakthrough, I’ve always loved the possibility of its design (not so much the result itself). They generally looked great against Emulsifier, who has generally looked great but has lost both fights. Still! Eye test tells us Fusion is a factor now, and has finally learned some combo Rotator-style moves, where he alternates between weapons in a strategic fashion.
But man, they drew the second-best robot in the sport who eats up-and-comers for breakfast. Witch Doctor’s weapon is one of the strongest now, and it’s going to win the exchanges against Fusion. Fusion’s best hope is a slash move with the horizontal to try and hit a tire to negate Witch Doctor’s excellent driving (another huge mismatch between the two). I don’t expect him to succeed before he’s taken enough shots to start smoking again. Smokey, we call Fusion, in my family.
The Pick: Witch Doctor by KO
Double Tap (?) vs Doomba (?????)
Oh my god.
I’m breaking down these matchups, I’m thinking about all these great robots and how they function, and then I get to an absolute dud like this, and it just wrecks my momentum. Double Tap and Doomba? Seriously, DOOMBA? That’s such a dumb name. I don’t want to spend any time on this, trying to break down robots based on absolutely tiny screenshots on the fightcard. They’re both rookies, so they’re both probably bad. I’ll take the one with the giant weapon that I understand and the less stupid name. Plus, when I look at Doomba, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
The Pick: Double Tap, by “Knockout”
Riptide (1-0, PR8) vs Madcatter (1-0, PR9)
This is a good one.
Two rising teams that hit really hard, I slotted them 8th and 9th on the Power Rankings. Both have been climbing for the past season and had impressive knockouts over strong competition in their first fights (Riptide killed Glitch in a single hit, Madcatter took a little more time but ultimately broke the typically great Whiplash).
So one weapon is a vertical drum (Riptide), the other is a disk spinner (Madcatter). I’m coming around to the mind that drum spinners (and we can include Black Dragon’s eggbeater which is smaller but the same idea) have the edge over the more compact disk spinners. There’s been plenty of recent fights that went that way – Minotaur over End Game is the big one. I would also list: Minotaur over Witch Doctor (yes WD won but the first 90 seconds were dominated by Mino), Riptide over Uppercut and then Jackpot in a “friendly” match, Black Dragon beating Madcatter and then more recently Monsoon…there’s a fair amount of evidence here! And some of that included Riptide you may have noticed.
I’m taking the kid. The biggest advantage here for either robot is probably the driving and speed of Riptide, the thing moves like a deer. Madcatter is almost certainly more armoured (and has a self-righter!) but those shots Riptide delivers when moving at full speed have been devastating. Again, give me the kid. I’m picking this robot until someone knocks him out.
The Pick: Riptide by KO