BB23 Week 14 Picks: A Fight For the Ages

Starchild (0-3) vs Huge (3-0)


You may notice the disparity in records here. Umm, yeah. This would be a shocking upset, because Starchild has really looked terrible the entire season to date. The reason why it wouldn’t be an all-timer is that rookie robots are highly volatile and predictable, and sometimes suddenly “figure it out” when they previously looked totally inept. See Horizon! All the same, it doesn’t look like Starchild is close to anything, and Huge has looked fantastic all year. I don’t expect this to be close. I am curious to see how potent Huge’s weapon does against those big plastic wheels, and how it does against this wacky design in general.

The Pick: Huge by Knockout

Ominous (1-2) vs Shatter! (0-3)

I’ve taken Shatter! the last two rounds and I don’t think I can go back to the well any more.

Ok, so Ominous is a weak rookie who does have a potent weapon, and they were briefly winning in their last fight before they lost. The issue was the self-rigther, which completely failed them! If they get that back on track (a significant if, sure, but it worked in a previous fight this year) then they have the better weapon here by a loooong shot. Their driving isn’t great but neither is Shatter!’s, both have the wacky sliding movement (I can’t recall what they call it).

Shatter! just can’t land a good shot, that’s kind of been a theme this season. If you don’t possess enough weapon power to knock out an opponent when they are down, you’re probably going to lose the match (and also you’re not very good). And their hammer strikes constantly kick them up into the air, a weakness of the weapon type (see my pick against Beta in a couple fights). And they’re 0-3, despite success in previous seasons. Sorry guys. I hope Ominous doesn’t beat itself with horrible reliability.

The Pick: Ominous by KO (I don’t trust Om to last 3 mins! So we need a KO here)

Triton (1-2) vs Horizon (1-2)

Last two fights for Triton: A Double KO that went to the Judges against a top bot in Copperhead (they lost) and a very solid win over…someone…lemme check…oh it was Glitch lol. Nevertheless. I like the cut of Triton’s jib far more than I do Horizon’s, whose design remains completely preposterous. Triton hits super hard and is carrying the mantle for most vicious horizontal spinner right now. They’re the biggest, is what I mean. The chasis remains rickety but who cares. They should be able to murder Horizon to reach 2-2 and maybe make a playoff berth in the 30s.

The Pick: Triton by KO

Bloodsport (2-1) vs Beta (2-1)

Dear Bloodsport: I believe in you.

After an unbelievably bad loss to the start the year (YIKES) they have really righted the ship. Two straight wins, the last over Rotator! That was great! Now they face another decent opponent in Beta, the winner will surely make the playoffs (maybe a 20-25 seed, it’s a tough field).

The book on Bloodsport is to smother them, keep making contact so they can’t spin up the weapon and thus aren’t dangerous. Bloodsport counters this by being very fast, nimble and well-driven. This was an issue for Rotator in the last fight, they tried a box-rush but whiffed, and then on first contact Bloodsport’s weapon was going full blast. I think Beta is going to have the same problem, they’re not fast enough to pull this off. They have a big giant wedge that can be effective in bottling spinners like BS, but they have to catch him first. And I think the wedge will be all slashed up after a few good knocks. Also, yikes, the hammer-bots this season have really shown a propensity for “bouncing” when they deliver shots, Shatter! especially kicks itself up in the air when attacking most of the time. In a sport dominated by low ground this is a really bad sign. If Beta bounces up and gets whacked by the spinner they’re going to get launched.

(Also, we saw last year in back to back fights against Blacksmith and Skorpios, Bloodsport has a terrific oversized spinning blade that acts perfectly as a shield and will defend them well from overhead hammer shots. Or at least I expect it to. This is true even if BS’ spinner is not spinning)

Godspeed, our Horizontal King!

The Pick: Bloodsport by KO

(All KO’s so far!)

Mammoth (1-2) vs Kraken (0-3)

These two robots are really bumming me out, when I think about their current lousiness, versus the good times we enjoyed in the past. Anyhow.

I don’t want to waste many words here. Kraken has been atrocious all season. The movement has been the main culprit, also the spinner has been anemic, but if you can’t move with intent it doesn’t matter.

Mammoth…it’s more than their design is provably bad, and flawed, and brittle, right? I don’t think it’s a case where they’re not executing, or the pit work/reliability is bad, or anything like that. They’re just a mediocre robot, from conception to realization. Sigh, 2020 was such a fun year for them, but they’ve given us basically nothing else before or since.

Still, I think Mammoth can drive well enough to outmaneuver the lead-shoes of Kraken, and use the arm to knock him over. That should be enough. If Kraken can deliver an attack Mammoth is in trouble, I just don’t think they will. Let’s go with our first Judges Decision of the night, a long and sad one. Sometimes three minutes last forever.

The Pick: Mammoth by Judges Decision

Valkyrie (1-2) vs Glitch (0-3)


Every Glitch pick this year feels exactly like this. Impossible to call. I keep lowering my expectations for them and they keep…slipping under the bar. I’m not sure how there’s any space left between the bar and the floor at this point.

Valkyrie certainly hasn’t impressed after several good years. The driving is really bad! I just think…can’t Glitch land a good shot sooner or later? Can’t they land one effective hit over the course of an entire season? This robot set knockout records last year, how can they fall so far? I also think the Glitch design is horizontal-resistance, Rotator attacked their back and got thrown up in the air. And if it’s weapon-on-weapon I have to think Glitch’s vertical motion wins. Yes, it didn’t happen last time (Triton). I think Triton is better than Valkyrie though.

…………..(shrugs very sadly, and lowers head in shame)

The Pick: …….Glitch. By Knockout. Please.

Main Event

Black Dragon (2-1) vs Riptide (3-0)

And then, after a lot of mediocrity, we get this. A Fight for the Ages.

These two are pretty even in my eyes. Riptide is new and wonderful, Black Dragon has been a pseudo-contender every year since it got here five years ago. They are both excellent quality and rarely if ever deliver a bad performance. However, they have different strengths.


Black Dragon: DURABILITY

And then there’s the streak. 24 career fights. 24 fights in which Black Dragon either a) won, or b) lost on a Judge’s Decision. They’ve NEVER been knocked out. It’s one fight short of a record. That’s why this is perfect – there’s nobody better to test Black Dragon’s meddle than Riptide right now. Riptide has been slamming! Their career to date (from memory)

  • Knockout of Huge
  • (Loss to Defender)
  • Knockout of Duck!
  • Knockout of Shatter!
  • Knockout of Uppercut
  • (Loss to Sawblaze)
  • Knockout of Glitch
  • Knockout of Madcatter
  • Knockout of Capt Shrederator

You get the point lol. At the same time…I don’t see a ton of top tier bots on this list? It’s been a fairly easy ride for Rip. The Huge fight looks better now but it was weird, Huge got stuck in the screws within 30 seconds. Riptide caught Uppercut on a bad angle and didn’t actually have a weapon-to-weapon collision. Glitch sucks now. Madcatter is probably the best straight W here, and it was sick. But still…

Black Dragon is pretty darn good. They’re kind of a Minotaur lite? They have some surprising big wins here and there over the years. When you count on durability it’s a different vector of outcomes, there are wild comebacks and upsets and then some surprising losses as well. Because when they lose, it’s because of design, almost every time. Whiplash OWNS them, because he gets under them with ease, and that’s it. Black Dragon going up against Hydra seems to produce the same result, lol. They lost to Quantum because they were the right size to get caught up in Quantum’s jaws, over and over again. Yet that was close! One good shot could have turned it around. The only recent time they did lose because they got their clocks cleaned was against Copperhead in 2020, and even still it was close to the end. Had Copperhead’s weapon failed BD might have pulled it out.

I don’t think it’s going to be a knockout. If that’s what I believe than I’m taking Black Dragon. I fear Riptide has weaknesses in a long fight, if they get flipped they have to drive into the walls to recover, and their drum spinner has broken a few times for sure. They either knock out BD fast, or BD wins on the long. I’m pretty those are the options. Here’s hoping. Either we’re getting a record-setting performance, or a historical performance to stop that record. Should be a blast either way. I’m hoping for the streak to keep going, and frankly, never end.

(I’ll say one other thing – just about everyone took an L this season! End Game and Copperhead and Hydra and Sawblaze and all of them! This new four fight schedule, along with better scheduling, means most ppl are faltering somewhere. Black Dragon already has one so it’s Riptide’s turn. It wouldn’t make Riptide any less good)

The Pick: Black Dragon by Judges Decision

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