Further Consideration of Skorpios beating Jackpot, and a new tool against Vertical Spinners

I thought Skorpios was an underdog to Jackpot and I said as much, picking it correctly (as I have done with few upset picks this season). They might be close, ok. Jackpot was a combined 5-0 in the past two regular seasons, Skorpios was 3-3. Last year Jackpot was the 10 seed while Skorpios ended up as the 32 seed after winning a play-in! But beyond all that, Skorpios had not beaten a robot with a vertical spinner for a weapon in recent history. Certainly not a good one. And considering this is the weapon type dominating the sport right now, this is a matchup the crafty, defensive robot that is Skorpios needs to be figure out. If they want to be a factor now and going forward.

Here’s the deal – for years Tombstone was the premier bot in the sport, both in terms of success and celebrity/icon status. They were unquestionably “the team to beat”. So we saw a variety of strategies and configurations developed to go against them, all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. Overall though, the thing that proved the most successful (outside of “Being Bite Force”) was having a very durable and angled front wedge. The wedge would absorb blows from Tombstone and send him and blade flying. This was both defensive but also offensive in that “throwing” Tombstone with his weapon running could be very damaging to him and his internals.

Here’s right before the famous Tombstone-Witch Doctor collision, check out the wedge Witch is sporting

Here’s Bombshell from 2018 (loss)

Here’s Rotator’s setup from the 2019 match (loss)

Oh hey, here’s Skorpios’ traditional configuration and wedge giving Tombstone trouble! (another loss)

That’s almost all of Tombstone’s defeats in Seasons 1-5 that didn’t come at the hands of Bite Force and End Game, who are in a different category.

Anyhow, now that the sport is inundated with vertical spinners (after the horizontal spinner issue was “solved”), I found myself thinking in the offseason – why can’t the same approach as before be applied again? Can’t we form an equivalent “wall” against the upward motion, somehow? Throught design? The vertical spinners and horizontal spinners are both spinners (if that was unclear to anyone!) and so the weapons share some basic characteristics. Now, one goes “against the grain” of gravity, and one goes with it; I think that’s a key reason why vertical weapons usually win when the two go head-to-head. But in a broader way – shouldn’t there be a way to “form a wall”, to have the vertical spinner run into a wedge that is equivalent to the horizontal blade hitting into the side of a Bombshell or Rotator wedge?

Well, I think we might have our answer on this particular front.

The key here is those upper flap-wedges(?) that stick out at the top at an angle parallel to the ground. The rest of the design is great, of course: wedge is super low and long (he won low ground against Jackpot easy), front is heavily armoured and tough enough to deflect the weapon as they push against each other. But the thing that killed Jackpot was that once Skorpios had him pinned against a wall, the spinner was scraping the front of his bot but didn’t catch on anything. They Skorpios shifted just slightly, horizontally, and the weapon caught on those new wedges.

(disclaimed: I had to literally watch this like 20 times before I was sure what I was looking at. Wore out the Comcast remote control)

Thanks to Brian Griffin Family Guy

Look for that explosion of sparks low on the robots. That was what made contact to produce the concussive blast that pushed them apart. Skorpios got kicked on his back but easily recovered, Jackpot was upended in the other direction, and you can see his weapon hits the wall behind him and bounces off. The force of that blow was very little as Jackpot continued to fall backwards and ended up topsy and turvy and flipped. My point is – the weapon was already dead when it hit the side of the upper deck. It died when it caught Skorpios’ new wedges.

I mean, man, that team must have been over the moon with the success they found in their first fight. Talk about a good first run with some new equipment, and a whole new strategy.

Anyhow, I don’t know the ceiling of Skorpios and their wedge this season. Could they get under a lower vertical spinner (Cobalt or End Game), or a faster one (Hypershock or Witch Doctor)? Will those wedge flaps “catch” other verticals, or is is more suited for the long ones Jackpot was running? Time will tell, we’ll see how the Ribbot fight goes (if Ribbot uses the vertical approach in that one). And then the playoffs. But the point – they’re on the board. They’re got a strategy and it’s their own. They’re in the mix. It makes things a lot more fun and intriguing as the season continues to develop.

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