Week 9 Picks: Responding to Adversity

Random, and Relevant question – In sports, and I guess I’m thinking specifically of the NFL (which is most comparable to BB in that there are less contests and considerable “rest” between bouts), there’s definitely a factor if that how teams perform is partly dependent on how their last match went. The strongest trend is likely that when a really good team suffers a bad loss, they “come out angry” in the next game, and usually excel. That’s a pretty strong football truism, you don’t want to get a very good team off a loss.

Is there comparable danger to facing a very good or even elite robot, coming off a loss or bad performance?

I ask because there’s been a lot of turmoil in Tier 1, among the Big Six as I am taking to calling them (before the tier falls apart in the next power rankings, damnit Tantrum). So plenty of opportunity to see how robots respond off a loss, and so far the evidence has been good! Tantrum has two losses but they are non-consecutive, they followed up the tough Minotaur match by completing owning Hydra. Hydra followed up that bad loss by absolutely…I don’t even have a word strong enough for what happened there. Let’s even bring Blip in – they were 0-2 and absolutely desperate for a win. They competed as such and won.

Tonight we have two of the greats, End Game and Witch Doctor, coming off disappointing performances (that were very different). Witch Doctor won but by a 2-1 split decision, and got completely ripped to pieces by Fusion. The weapon broke, the wedge, they lost a wheel, they pulled it out on sheer will and were pretty much outgunned. Their other win, against Ribbot, was dominant, but now it looks like Ribbot might be bad? We’ll see how their third fight goes tonight. End Game lost because of bad luck, and the dumbest driving we might see all season. That was against the nascent Ripperoni in their second fight. They have more to prove and respond to than Witch Doctor, and they have a much tougher opponent in Hypershock. That will be very interesting.

Also we have another Panic Bowl, this time the teams are both 0-2(!!!). That should be fun as well.

Gruff (1-1) vs Witch Doctor (2-0, Power Rank 5)

Yeah, so like, when you’re a fan, it takes a lot to give up and abandon all hope. You always want to believe and heck, flukey and lucky things do happen in all sports and this sport maybe more than the others. But good lord, as a Gruff fan, yeeeeesh, I have completely yielded all faith for this particular match.

Gruff’s weakness, well, their biggest one, is SPEED, which was put on display when Quantum put a clinic on them a few weeks back(. When you’re a control bot like Gruff and you get seriously outmaneuvered, you’re cooked. And hello, Witch Doctor has to be just as fast and has even better driver than Quantum. They might be the best driven robot on earth. Also, instead of jaws, they have a giant killing vertical spinner. Oh, and I expect Witch Doctor to be mad, because of what I said in the intro: they’re coming off a subpar performance and have even sunk in the Battlebots Power Rankings. I know which way the wind blows.

The Pick: Witch Doctor by Knockout

Malice (1-1) vs Valkyrie (1-1)

Ugh. I can’t remember if Malice made my Bad Bots list, I might have forgotten about them. But they should be 0-2, Emulsifier was shredding them when Emuls decided to drop dead.

That being said…Malice has faced two verticals and gotten wiped out, fine. I expect that to happen. This is two horizontals spinners going head to head. Malice is pretty tough, they have experience, and if nothing else the weapon shouldn’t break so quickly against another horizontal. Valkyrie is kind of a mess right now. Give me the mean guys.

The Pick: Malice by Judges Decision

Madcatter (1-1, Power Rank 16) vs Big Dill (0-2)

The funny thing is, even at 0-2, against average competition, I feel like Big Dill has looked pretty good? Is it just me?

They didn’t have the spinner in round one and lost a very sad match against HiJinx. When they had the spinner going in fight two suddenly the design made sense – use lifter to get under opponent, or bring it up to reveal a dangerous vertical weapon. Helping their cause is the fact that Terrortops showcased it last week against the dreadful Slammo, and boy, Terrortops looked like a vet going through his routine. So maybe that’s messing with my memory of again, a robot that is 0-2. He might have “dropped dead” without being hit terribly hard in both fights…that’s not ideal.

Anyhow, despite my appreciation for Big Dill, I think they will be outgunned. Oh wait, my theme of the night is responding to adversity, and Madcatter just lost a tough bout against the robot they claim stole their design (Riptide). I forgot about that. They gotta be as mad as anyone! Plus they’re already mad, cause they’re a mad catter. I think they get the season back on track against the immature Big Dill.

The Pick: Madcatter by KO

Now, it’s time for the first ever


Ribbot (0-2) vs Jackpot (0-2)

Let’s compare

First fights:
Ribbot – quick, non-competitive loss to Witch Doctor
Jackpot – quick, non-competitive loss to Skorpios

Umm, ok, that doesn’t tell us much yet. I guess edge Ribbot, because…their 30 second loss was to a better opponent?

Hahaha, no. Not at all. No advantage yet. Let’s keep going.

Second fights:
Ribbot – long but still ugly loss to Claw Viper
Jackpot – long but still ugly loss to Rotator

Good lord you guys! Come on!

Sigh, I’ll take the frog, who has a better pedigree overall. Despite the results of this season Ribbot should completely outshine Jackpot in the very important durability category. I don’t know what weapon they’re gonna go with, I keep guessing wrong, and my concerns remain about where this team is at big picture. But on the other hand, Jackpot is just kinda rickety and extremely clumsy. If it falls over once I don’t expect it to stand up again. Ribbot is supposed to be one of the top survivors in the sport. Fingers crossed.

The Pick: Ribbot by KO

Oh man, look at this


Skorpios (2-0, Power Rank 14) vs Sawblaze (2-0, Power Rank 1)

Wow, two high profile robots going at it in the five slot. Weird!

This is a very interesting matchup, the designs are so similar, and they’re both very good (one considerably more than the other, but still). Sawblaze is in the 1 slot for the first time in my rankings, although they’ve probably already lost it to Minotaur (strength of schedule wow!). Skorpios has broken out a new design, read more about it here, that they should really use all the time now, the more about it. And certainly here.

It’s a fun matchup, but I have little to say in the breakdown. Sawblaze has the tried-and-tested low forks that get under everybody. Skorpios has always been a little…jumpy, shall we say, when turning, and Sawblaze exploits vulnerabilities with ease. Like a surgeon, exploiting the gaps between a man’s ribs. I think Sawblaze takes command easily and chops up something important. (Also, Skorpios saw is sick but still breaks a lot, while that rarely happens to Mr Slash and Burn. That’s probably going to be a factor tonight).

The Pick: Sawblaze by JD

Ripperoni (1-1, just beat End Game!) vs HiJinx (1-1)

There are a lot of stupid things that happen on Battlebots, but I think the chants of “Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza” when this robot wins might be the stupidest of all. And it’s awesome.

Yeah, HiJinx is increasingly uninspiring (just lost to Captn Shrederator), while Ripperoni has a giant vertical spinner and just defeated the magnificent End Game. It’s a vertical weapon against a horizontal, we know how that goes. The one thing I would have thought would be in HiJinx’s favor is durability, but they essentially died on the table in the last match. I don’t want to spend any more words here.

The Pick: Ripperoni by KO

End Game (1-1) vs Hypershock (1-1)

I don’t think there’s much to breakdown here. Both have giant vertical spinners. Hypershock actually drives faster and is quicker, I suppose, but End Game is no sloach at all with driving, and doesn’t make mistakes (which is the most important part). But End Game is lower, they’re always lower, and they’re grounded, and they’re strong and can push other robots around if that’s ever needed. While Hypershock? Oh, they flip over all the time and don’t have a reliable self-righter, it’s a wild and crazy scene. One has to say the edge is with End Game here, and they just lost. But it’s really closer to a coin flip, when giant weapons collide.


See, the thing with Hypershock is you have to embrace the crazy, embrace the chaos, when you think about what’s going to happen to him. You can’t look at a single, nay, you have to look at the arc of the whole season. What would be the most ridiculous string of events, you ask. And then you try to make pics accordingly. The wackiest thing that could happen would be if he wins here, beats End Game, and then gets owned by Claw Viper in their final fight (and Claw Viper ends up 4-0 as a result).

It’s wacky, it probably won’t happen, but what the heck, I gotta take an upset somewhere. I like this one more than the others. Let’s see if End Game is ready to go and truly the best robot, or if it’s more wide open right now.

The Pick: Hypershock by KO

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