Week 9 Recap: Everyone Responded to the Adversity!

Congrats to everyone who “bounced back”!

I think this can be a pretty quick one, as the season progresses the recaps often shorten up. “Robot X is still good!” “Robot Y still sucks eggs!” And so on. Not sure there’s anything too sophisticated to break down, or any major narrative shifts in terms of the larger sport/season overall.

That decision by Skorpios to use a “Sword” – that was really dumb though. That was noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. And yet what else is there to say! I just covered the whole thing is perfectly adequate detail.

Anyhow, let’s walk through and see if anyone interesting thoughts come up.

Witch Doctor: A

Gruff: D

Witch Doctor is Fast. Gruff is Slow. Witch Doctor is Good, Gruff is…Mediocre. I don’t think we learned anything new for either combatant here. I guess it’s cool that Witch Doctor used forks and they worked!

Re Gruff – the problem was the speed in two straight matches here, and that’s probably the hindrance to their design overall. At least, if they plan to stick with the control bot approach. This season we’ve learned that control bots can be successful, VERY SUCCESSFUL, in the modern game if they go all-in on speed and driving. Quantum and Claw Viper are 3-0 each. Gruff, a control bot that moves like shopping cart, is 1-2.

Re Witch Doctor – the change they made this year is going for a more powerful weapon. Um, I’d say that’s going very well for them. They clearly hit harder than any Witch Doctor ever before, overall they remind of their old nemesis Bite Force. Their final fight is an immediate all-timer against Minotaur, probably to close out the season. That will tell us a lot.

Malice: C

Valkyrie: D

Long sigh…I don’t really feel like talking about this whole thing. It was good for everyone in Battlebots to witness and understand the appeals process, before the playoffs get here. I don’t have anything to contribute/add. It wasn’t a good fight either. Valkyrie lost their weapon, Malice was better overall (and is able to be more in control and push the opponent a bit, which Valk is incapable of) but still not terribly impressive.

Horizontal bots, man. Whatever the opposite of having a moment is, they’re doing that.

Madcatter: A

Big Dill: A

Me, last week, previewing this fight and talking about Big Dill

“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.”

Me, today

This robot could good. At least, the design is dynamo. He’s getting underneath everybody! The weapon hits hard and holds up against other weapons! The lifter allows for flexibility and varying strategy! I love it.

Still, Madcatter held up to outlast the opponent, similar to earlier fights this year like Witch Doctor over Fusion and Minotaur over Cobalt, where the better veteran robot was losing exchanges, and they held on to ultimately prevail. That enduring quality is being borne out as a theme this season, maybe a very significant run. In 2020 lowness emerged down the stretch as the key factor to victory, last season the better driver seemed to prevail in the playoffs. Something to keep an eye on!

Jackpot: A

Ribbot: B

This was a good fight, and very competitive, and ultimately a major shock to me – because the book on Jackpot for a couple seasons has been creakiness, their durability and reliability. They were a hard-hitter with a solid design that kept fairly low, but were vulnerable in a long fight against someone more durable than them. Well, here, they faced one of those in Ribbot, and hello, Jackpot won, because they were super durable and their reliability held up!

They had to do a late self-right to make it and pulled it off with no stress. Meanwhile, our friends in green generally had a great match, were dominating early and winning the weapon-weapon exchanges with their horizontal, it was very encouraging in the fight against the Verticals.

But! They made two crucial mistakes. The first was just bad driving where he ended up exposing his front left wheel right to the weapon and it got taken off. Ok, a mistake but it was kinda random and non-crippling. The second? Ribbot likes to do this swipe attack where he swings the weapon while turning. Um, it appears he prefers to go left to right with that move. Because he kept leading that way with the attack, but that results in the left side facing the opponent, which had already lost a wheel! He got lucky once, I shuddered, and then the guys very foolishly did it again and got burned.

At that point it was pretty much over, especially after Jackpot cornered him a second later and delivered a major flipping hit. Ribbot limped around for a while and did land a great counter-punch when Jack tried to engage that resulted in a flip and Jackpot having to save itself, which they did. Great fight but Ribbot couldn’t do enough, and was more hurt at the end in any case. I do hope they stick with this configuration, I think it makes for better fights, and seems to be just as competitive as the vertical design (though it probably has a lower ceiling). Robot diversity is good! Just by showing up and being durable Horizontal Ribbot is one of the better robots of that design haha. If they can pop Skorpios in fight four (totally possible imo) they might sneak into the tourney in one of the last seeds.

Sawblaze: A

Skorpios: F

I mean, hahaha, talk about a zero in approach, and a zero in execution. They decided their standard weapon of a hammer-saw was going to be out-classed by Sawblaze’s hammer-saw. Possibly! I thought they were far more likely to be out-classed in ground game, but the eye-test tells us that Jamison’s is the more evolved weapon, and just more durable. And like, I don’t hate the idea of trying something new…

…But then the something new they went with was the feeblest, most brain-dead weapon we’ve ever seen. It did look cool. But look at this action! Heck, let’s call it the

Non-HIT of the WEEK

Oh my god.

What a beautiful moment, but for all the wrong reasons.

Anyhow, Sawblaze gets a night off and doesn’t lose any ground, but at this point we might have to re-assess Skorpios, who has had one good fight (Jackpot), one…pretty weak performance where they still ended up winning(Big Dill, here), and then this absolute laugher of a match against one of the best bots in the game. But guess what! We have a fourth fight that will tell us everything that is against Ribbot. They are 0-3 and yet no pushover, not at all. That will be very interesting.

Ripperoni: A

HiJinx: F

Ripperoni is suprisingly pretty solid, despite the fact that I’ve never seen a more unstable robot, and they’re tripping over themselves and bouncing around for the majority of their matches. But they’re 2-1! A giant vertical spinner, I mean that’s the premier weapon these days, it’s been that way for seasons. With the erraticness though, they are truly a worthy successor to the Uppercut legacy. Very violent and very unpredictable.

HiJinx remains meh and boring.

End Game: A

Hypershock: D

And here End Game reasserted its status as the best, or one of them, despite the occasional fatal driving error.

We’ll name this the Hit of the Week – one of those magical moments where two vertical spinners collide – but one is upside down – so they are both spinning in line is the result is an absolute moonshot for the upside down robot.

HIT of the WEEK

(Somehow Hypershock also lost a wheel in that exchange haha. This was not a good fight for him)

End Game did its thing, and so did Hypershock, which in his case means some unsteady driving followed by an early flip, which he struggles mightily to recover from. We’re 3/3 on this happening in matches this year, and like, it’s ridiculous. It’s unprofessional, frankly. And not a recipe for winning.

But yeah End Game looked great, forks didn’t get stuck this time haha. It’s incredible how they always bully and push other robots around, even though the stats say they have a lesser drive train? Maybe being low just makes them stronger? Idk. But it’s not just a giant powerful weapon, it’s low forks and precise driving for control as well. He was all over the volatile Hypershock and dissected him up pretty good. Looks like End Game has Gigabyte last (lol) so they’ll be 3-1 and just as dangerous as anyone come playoff time. Hypershock? Who knows. They seem solid, but my god the self-flipping.

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