There are two things I’d like to accomplish in this post
1) Honor and praise the remarkable season Huge is having, having possibly “arrived” and “broken out”, after many years of being good but not great
2) Look at how the sport has evolved as a whole, and how it’s really worked out in the big guy’s favor. This does not make him lucky, it makes him prescient. Huge was(is?) ahead of its time.
I. Why Huge is succeeding, in 2023 –
The main thing is – you can’t really hit him. You just can’t. The body is too high for most normal weapons to strike (Uppercut and Deep Six would be notable exceptions), and so you’re left trying to go after the wheels. The elusive, slippery, slender wheels that barely touch the ground. They’re made of out of either steel(?) and that rubbery stuff that doesn’t break.
Well, ok, it breaks, when it faces an elite horizontal weapon.
But Huge won’t be facing many/any of those the rest of this season or in the playoffs, because they’re not around right now. And if they are, they’re taking losses.
A vertical weapon hits the wheels and tosses them up, a little. That’s not enough to hurt him. And then, he comes and hits you, with the giant…
The weapon has always been beastly, and unique, and ostensibly the key for Huge to realize legitimate, high-level success.
Yet the blade seemed to stagnate for a few seasons there. He was 3-1 in his first two regular seasons (actually 4-1 in the second if you include the playoff play-in). It would hit hard but not devastatingly so. And the speed-up time remained a huge liability, robots quickly figured out the “Whiplash” approach of jamming him up and staying right in his grill was a winning (and super annoying) strategy.
This season? Combined with a more strategical effective approach, and driving game (that’s next), the weapon is nothing short of devastating. In fight one he beat up Shatter!, who we can definitely say is one of the tougher bots around. In fight two he put his blade right in Blip’s face. In then in fight three, against a non-tough opponent, it was borderline laughable.
I txted a friend to say the weapon is hitting like Prime Tombstone right now. Tombstone as a vert, really. It’s terrifying if you dwell on the idea, and the possibilities. I realized the weapon curves up into the robot, not away from it. The opposite of a curved sword. Cool! Probably digs in more and delivers a powerful shot. Transmits more energy. It’s hard to say for sure if the weapon is hitting harder, or spinning up faster, or if other factors are in play. I think everything is better! Across the board! Huge seems better at everything now.
But of course, the weapon needs to be deployed properly and still requires a breath to get going. He has many opportunities to do so because of his…
This right here is probably where Huge has improved, and impressed, the most in 2023.
This was a weak spot! It really was, even if it wasn’t obvious. The thing would shuffle and stumble around, not getting great traction, but also struggling because of the odd design and the giant gyroscoping vertical blade. Now like, damn, it’s like he’s following a roadmap, a course. He does these circles around the arena, sweeping by on passes to kill, while otherwise remaining an elusive moving target that has time to spin up, and turns the giant weapons towards the opponent. Like shields. (It’s also worth noting that the wheels are much stronger now, it’s a far cry from the Ice Blade/SOW losses. Fusion’s horizontal is mid, sure, but he still got a shot on the wheels to start the last fight, and it just bounced off. Mighta messed up the tread a little. Didn’t impact the driving.
He moves with purpose, he moves with a plan, and he just seems to stay grounded and is less “floppy” with his movements. That’s a huge plus. I think staying moving is a key for them, you could see how Blip kinda succeeded in slowing him down at the end of that fight and forced a closer-than-deserved judges decision (6-5 across the board I believe). Overall – the improvement is massive(huge even), and the team deserves all the credit in the world for working this out. For getting so much better at a place of weakness. That’s largely why the Huge 2023 story is so good.
II. Historical Context
Here’s a list of the losses Huge has endured in its last four seasons (nothing to report on so far this year!). I, um, will star the robots that have either retired, or are simply not competing this season (for whatever reason). You will notice something interesting.
- Ice Wave *
- Bite Force *
- Son of Whyachi *
- Uppercut *
- Deep Six *
Looks like he’s got 11 career losses, to 10 different robots, and hey! Five of them are already off the board! Great! Huge need fear them not! How are the other six doing this season, I think this will be instructive too
- Whiplash 0-2
- Mammoth 1-1 and recently declared one of the “worst robots in the world” (I was kidding, that said Mammoth has definitely regressed from when they beat Huge
- Hydra 2-1, and doing great, but hahahaha I don’t think the Battlebots “Police” would let him back into the Battlebox with that cow-catcher, ever again, and certainly not against Huge (who they clearly love, as do the fans, and the Battlebloggers). Huge just beat the flipper Blip, I like Huge’s chances against any flipper
- Malice 2-1 (both wins were essential double knockouts, I am skeptical)
- Riptide 2-0 (ok yeah Riptide is great and Huge should probably worry about them)
So, the funny thing about Huge is that they’re extremely vulnerable to horizontal weapons, at a time where the rest of the robot sport IS NOT. Hence, the horizontal weapons have been on a downward slide for years, and at this point are basically second-class citizens around here. Huge has gotten better in part because some of the robots best equipped to kill him are gone. They’ve been evolved out, because while they may beat Huge they can’t beat anyone else lol.
Horizontals: Ice Wave appears to be retired, Son of Whyachi is definitely retired, Malice is not as good now as they were in 2020, and also Tombstone has taken a year off! Unless Huge ends up with Bloodsport in the first round (and I don’t think the selection committee would do that to them) I don’t think there’s any horizontal resistance in his path. I just don’t. That’s kind of a big deal here!
(Among the other retirees, the interesting thing last season was both Uppercut and Deep Six had tall enough blades to really hit Huge’s body. Um, does anyone in the sport currently qualify? I’m not sure! Monsoon maybe? There are certainly a bunch of verticals that are big now so we’ll have to see, but overall losing those two is big. Huge really can’t survive body-shots, he’s just not built that way. So that’s another bullet dodged)
III. In Conclusion
In conclusion – they’re set up great here. But still, they are going to face some powerful vertical spinners. I know they can win one match. Can they win multiple? How is a rematch with Riptide going to go? And so on? Despite the high pedigree (IMO) of their opponents this year, here are matches, and the weapons
Fusion is the most relevant weapon type in terms of what they see in the playoffs, but they killed him so quickly there was no data to be gleaned, not research to be had. Darn! I do think there’s a lesson there that Huge hits extremely hard, and will kill a lot of smaller robots that aren’t armoured properly. He’s done meh against verticals in the past, some wins mixed in there, but last season to Uppercut in the playoffs and Big Six in the Slugfest. The problem is those verticals were tall enough to hit them in their body where they’re ‘not supposed to get hit’. Even still, when they opened the season with a lost to Riptide (who is great), he didn’t really hurt them. Huge lost a weapon-to-weapon exchange and got blasted into the screws where he got stuck. The point is Huge is built to avoid taking damage from vertical weapons, they bounce off his wheels and pop them into the air. But then he lands more comfortably than anyone else, because the wheels. The other thing – his weapon spins vertical but hits from above. It’s bigger and heavier than even the best vertical spinners (one would think). Maybe he’ll have a tougher time against drums?
I don’t know, that weapon man. Even in cases where a robot can hurt him, he’s going to have a chance with something that approaches one-hit knockout power. All in all it’s a very exciting time to be a Huge fan, we’ve been waiting for this moment for years, and recently unsure whether it was coming. It has arrived. I think he’ll win the final fight (Starchild) to reach 4-0, get a top ten seed in the playoffs, and we’ll go from there. Should have a good path. Fingers are crossed.
Good luck Huge!