Week 11 Picks: Back in the Saddle

We’re back!

Obviously the sport took a two week vacation so everyone could focus on March Madness(?), the blog took a three week break when I saw the fight card for week 10, and it just wasn’t that compelling! Not every week has a killer lineup. So I posted my picks on Twitter (5-2, lost the Horizon upset, and then another main event ugh) and took some time off.

I’ll be doing previews and recaps for the rest of the season, but will be putting in less effort – because I’m working on a new website for the Battlebots playoffs! It will be used to make playoff brackets and possibly gambling. If anything I’m probably going to cut down on the images in these articles, as they are the most time consuming.

Pretty good fight card, I really like the opener. Here we go. Five weeks left until the playoffs, this is the last week of robots fighting for the third time.

Black Dragon (1-1) vs Beta (2-0)

Hmm, this is interesting. Dragon is coming off of a good performance and a tough loss against Quantum, where they were good but Quantum was a little better. Beta has had a very peculiar season, first looking downright awful against Kraken (although they did scrape out a win against that very poorly performing rookie) and then they looked great against Shatter!, who is usually good! But they’re 0-3 this year. Beta’s two opponents so far have not won a match.

The book on Beta, the sport’s most consistently successful hammer bot, is that they pretty much win against everybody – and then are quickly defeated when they face a vertical spinner. They’re 5-0 in the past two regular seasons they’ve competed in, this one and two years ago. But in other matches (playoffs against Ribbot, and bounty against Lock-Jaw) they were quickly exposed. And hey, Black Dragon has a vertical weapon!

Beyond that though, I like the matchup for the Brazillians. Beta wins through control, by getting under the opponent and pushing them around with that giant, solid wedge. I don’t think that’s going to work here! BD is quick, and fast, and just kinda slippeary and hard to contain. They’re basically impossible to kill (never knocked out, unreal) and the lesser weapon of Beta is not going to hurt them significantly. Maybe Beta can get under them and make something work? I’m not seeing it. BD needs the win more than Beta, and I think they’re superior anyhow.

The (Upset?) Pick: Black Dragon by Knockout

Cobalt (1-1) vs Overhaul (1-1)

In the course of a long season you get some matchups that are mismatches. Mismatchups, one could even say. This seems like definitely one of those. Overhaul is a decent to bad control robot with grabbing arms and no dangerous weapon, Cobalt has possibly the most dangerous weapon in THE ENTIRE SPORT. It’s one of the few (only?) one-hit wonders we have right now. I am taking Cobalt to bounce back after suffering a tough loss to Minotaur (they were excellent in that fight). I think they are a true contender and a top ten robot easy.

The Pick: Cobalt by KO

Switchback (1-1) vs Ominous (1-1)

This is a fight between two very young bots (Om is a rookie, Switchback is in their second year) that are still discovering their form. I honestly don’t remember any of their fights that clearly? Except for Ominous’ first loss to Claw Viper which was CV’s coming out party for the season. Ominous still struggled mightily in their only win, Switchback at least looked good once, I like them here. Not sure if their unconventional design does them any favors here, but Ominous has been bad and moves really poorly IIRC.

The Pick: Switchback by Judges Decision

Triton (0-2) vs Glitch (0-2)

Yikes, this is sad. I really thought Glitch had only played once this year, but nope, they lost to Lock-Jaw in a pretty forgettable match last month.

Ugh, I think I’ll go to the Glitch well one more time here, I thought they would deliver last time and was disappointed. The weakness is real simple – they apparently have no self-righter. They have to avoid getting flipped. Triton can hit hard (probably) but I don’t think they have the chops to flip them, that’s not really what horizontal weapons do. I have a vivid memory in my head of Rotator driving into Glitch’s back last year and getting kicked upward because their armor was so stout.

Come on Glitch. Other teams have saved themselves at 0-2, I think they can do it. Someone is!

The Pick: (gulp) Glitch by KO

Gigabyte (0-2) vs Starchild (0-2)

There’s a difference between bad and terrible.

Gigabyte has been seriously disapointing this year, but that’s because they are the lone hope for full-body spinners in the modern era. On the other hand, Starchild, a rookie, might be the most impotent robot I’ve ever seen. The weapon was supposed to be really good, and it’s putrid. It does nothing. I don’t even know what I’m looking at! I guess the only saving grace is that very young robots can sometimes “figure it out” like Horizon in their last fight, when theirs spinners spun, instead of doing nothing. But I’m not seeing it.

When you’re fighting the Huge wheels, then it’s good to have horizontal energy. This is actually a good matchup for Gigabyte. Please, guys, figure this one up. Come back from the brink. You’ve got End Game last, this is our only hope for any success this season.

The Pick: Gigabyte by KO

Jackpot (1-2) vs Captain Shrederator (1-2)

Incredibly Jackpot, who started 0-2 and looked dead even halfway through their fight against Ribbot, has a chance to end up 2-2 here, as the first robot(?) competing in their fourth fight this season. Oh, right, Shred just got disembowled by Riptide (who is a serious contender), so they’re at 3 fights as well.


Yeah, I’ll take the easy favorite and go Jackpot. They’ve been pretty damn durable this year with the exception of fight one against Skorpios, that lasted, oh I don’t know, twenty seconds or so. Even against Rotator they battled the full 3 mins IIRC. And Ribbot is no sloach, that was a good win. Give me the vertical over the horizontal, as is usually the case these days.

The Pick: Jackpot by KO

Rotator (1-1) vs Bloodsport (1-1)

Interesting matchup between two very high-energy horizontal spinners, and the two most successful practiciers of the horizontal weapon today.

Bloodsport’s weapon is at medium height. Rotator’s can be shifted but he often uses an undercutter. We’ve seen that before tho (HiJinx maybe?) against Bloodsport, he’s pretty well armored down low. In any case, Rotator is the more configurable bot, he can choose what height his weapon will be at, as well as what part of him is most strongly armored.

Rotator’s most famous win ever was over Tombstone. The key was not the blade but the wedge, angled perfectly to send the big guy skyward (see also the wedge of Bombshell). In that fight Rot had the wedge and blade both on the front, I don’t believe he did the offense-defense thing so much back then. That’s the right way to go, and we’ve seen in a couple fights against Jackpot recently that a really low horizontal blade has a lower center of gravity than a big vertical spinner and can stay grounded on these exchanges. Point is – Bloodsport is going to come out the worse in terms of being chucked into the air. That usually means you’re losing.

I guess the thing BS has to hope for is that their more powerful blade lands a really hard hit early. I’m not sure on the correct wedge and armor alignment, but I’m not making the calls. Mr Rotator is making the calls, and he’s usually right about these things. I think he figures out the right approach and the better bot prevails. It’d be a big, season-changing win for Bloodsport, and they need it badly. But I think just think the center-of-gravity business matters here, and will be the difference. Also Rotator is distinctly more durable, probably should have tossed that detail out earlier.

The Pick: Rotator by Knockout

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