Yeah, it’s an unfortunate trend, this epic fights on paper failing to live up to their stature, recently. This one might be different, because we already saw it once, and for all the controversy it was really great for the first 90 seconds. You know, while they were still fighting.
Fingers crossed. Let’s try to eek out a positive week (last week was bad) to close out a strong regular season for the Battlebots Picks department
Lucky (3-0!) vs Cobalt (2-1)
Alright, the rubber meets the road for Lucky, who lucked themselves into the following schedule to date:
- Triton (rookie, unimpressive 2-2 record)
- Kraken (0-4 and completely hopeless)
- Shreddit Bro (another very weak 2-2 rookie)
Honestly Kraken is essentially a rook too, so what gives? Why did they get this ridiculously silly schedule. Anyhow, if they can beat a very talented Cobalt then I will shut up and give them respect. To do that they have to get very low, and I don’t see that happening. If Cobalt so much as makes contact with their weapon against Lucky then I think Lucky will be quickly shredded. That big front wedge won’t save them here. And I don’t think their punching flipper will be of much use either, I guess Cobalt’s self-righting abilities could be in question? They’re usually so balanced and land on their fight so much it doesn’t matter.
Anyhow I think Cobalt is still close to a top ten seed if they have a good showing, and I expect them will. A different outcome would be kinda stunning. A 4-0 Lucky?!?!?!?
The Pick: Cobalt by Knockout
Blip (1-2) vs Banshee (1-2 I think? idk)
After a terrific, unbelievably clutch, season-saving showing last time out, I can’t imagine Blip letting go of the rope against a highly inferior opponent.
Christ, Blip might have had the toughest schedule of all! End Game, Tantrum (that’s both former champions) and Huge who you may have heard is very good know. 4-0 good. So yeah, this is Blip’s cupcake match, against an unproven, rickety, rookie flipper, who I can imagine is a better flipper than Blip under any scenario. Let’s just call it and move on. I fully expect a 2-2 Blip to be right in the thick of things as the tournament unfolds.
The Pick: Blip by KO
Monsoon (1-2) vs Deathroll (2-1)
Two similar weapon types, both vertical disk spinners. I think Monsoon’s is bigger? They’re more classic “all-weapon” like Uppercut was, whereas Deathroll was always kind of a crazy brawler that could survive any amount of damage and abstained from things such as “wedges” or “refined, safe strategies”. I feel like I’ve seen enough of Monsoon this season to get a good read, Deathroll is murkier for me. They beat Mammoth and Switchback…that tells me nothing really. They’re at least decent! Their loss was to Cobalt, who I think is close to elite. Monsoon lost to Black Dragon and Whiplash and beat…Horizon (yuck).
Hmmm…Monsoon has a bigger weapon and probably a superior design, but Deathroll should move a lot better and be a lot more durable…
It’s basically a play-in match for the playoffs, a win makes DR 3-1, while a 2-2 Monsoon with this win and losses to respectable teams, should land either in the postseason. Man, I dunno! I’ll go Monsoon I guess, what the heck.
The Pick: Deathroll by KO
Tantrum (1-2) vs Whiplash (1-2)
The DESPERATE BOWL
Man, this is rough. Both had pretty hard schedules, especially the former. Whiplash…ugh, they really needed to scrape out a win in one of their first two fights this year, against Madcatter and Hypershock. Those robots are good but have not been proven to be great. They’re both 2-2 this season! But nay, Whiplash lost both, and now we are here. The worst part is this would have been a high-stakes playoff matchup last season if Whiplash wasn’t upset by Cobalt, and even now could have been a regular season fight with tremendous cache, like Minotaur-Witch Doctor both sitting at 3-0. But nay. They’re both 1-2 instead.
Anyhow, in terms of the matchup I like Tantrum, because of the weapon. And like, the whole design that Tantrum has allows it to use the weapon seamlessly within its other moves and behavior. Whiplash does possess tremendous flexibility too, but it can’t so easily transition from offense to defense, from flipping someone over to stabbing them with the spinner. Now, the spinner has been bad and non-existant at times this year, so that’s not helping. But even still, I imagine Tantrum and Whiplash going head to head, wedge to wedge, front to front. In that position Tantrum can use its weapon much more easily. Whiplash’s requires fully getting under Tantrum’s front (unlikely IMO) and even then it’s angled the wrong way. And if Whiplash wants to angle it the “right way” and drop the spinner down on Tantrum, the robot overall must be facing the other direction! It’s an awkward flexibility, and limiting in a tight match against a very fast, aggressive, and tenacious fighter.
Yeah, I’m sorry, I love Whiplash. But this is not his season. And like, I wonder if the design is being fazed out, if it was perfect a few years ago but the increased pace and danger of the modern bots (and their weapons) is shifting the ground away from him. It’s a bummer! In some ways Tantrum is like an evolutionary Whiplash, still durable and controlling at its heart, but with an updated front and a more usable weapon. It should be interesting to see them go head to head. Overall tho – I just don’t like what I’ve seen from Whiplash this season, at all. Bad vibes. Even in victory (it was initially split decision) I was thoroughly unimpressed. So yeah. Go Tantrum. I think the defending champs end up 2-2 and are very much still in the pack of contenders heading into the playoffs.
The Pick: Tantrum by KO
Hijinx (1-2) vs Switchback (2-1)
Gah I couldn’t care less under any scenario. I think Hijinx is very meh and Switchback has underwhelmed this year (I liked the larger more unfettered design last season). You know, I was gonna go with Switchback (and the vertical weapon) but shouldn’t Hijinx have a huge design advantage in this matchup? It doesn’t look like Switchback’s weapon can get low enough! Part of the issue. That arm has looked bad this season too…I’ve heard enough! If Hijinx can remain functional I think they can nip and slash and cut up SB from angles he can’t prevent, and that will eventually be enough. Call it the Upset Pick of the week, what the heck.
Upset Pick: HiJinx by Judges Decision
Slammo! (???) vs Double Tap (1-0 looks like)
These are more amateur bots, trying to put on a good showing and make it into the big time next year. Or in Slammo!’s case, a previously good bot (and tournament bot) that stinks now.
I remember Double Tap being decent? I dunno. They have the more dangerous weapon. These matches shouldn’t really count on my weekly record anyhow (unless I get them right).
The Pick: Double Tap by KO
The Big One
Minotaur (3-0) vs Witch Doctor (3-0)
I really, really hope this is a good, watchable, fun and entertaining fight!
There’s not really a ton on the line here beyond bragging rights (and revenge), I guess the winner is the one seed (WD might fall to 2 or 3, Mino would def be 1), but the loser still ends up top eight and will have several favorable matchups to start the playoff run. I would say overall Minotaur seems a notch better this season, really looking great (the impressive durability against Cobalt was the most notable thing), whereas Witch Doctor, in playing a far lesser schedule, looks about the same with more weapon punch. Both are unbelievably good drivers. Both robots are nigh unkillable. Both weapons are disgustingly nasty. I could go on. The big design different in disk versus drum (drum spinners are generally winning the season, I’d say), Minotaur’s more compact body while Witch Doctor is thicker and more balanced, and also Minotaur’s far superior low game. That’s why we end with skyward hits, as showcased in a recent tribute to Witch Doctor(link).
Anyhow…the easy, obvious pick is Minotaur, who is more motivated to get revenge after last season, and they’ve also looked better all season anyhow. I’m not going to buck the trends (I get these things wrong every time anyhow, so…). I like both robots a lot and either could win, of course. It just feels like “Minotaur’s Year”. And the ground-game difference should really matter, like it did a year ago.
The Pick: Minotaur by KO