The day is finally here. After two long years of waiting, robot fighting action is returning to television. Battlebots is back at 8pm EST on the Discovery Channel (with a re-airing Wednesday at 9pm on the Science Channel). And ooooooh boy do we have a loaded lineup. In preparation for the new season we’ve done a rundown of the Top 10 Classic Fights, Top 10 Recent fights, and Top 10 Knockouts.
BotFans! The premiere of the all new season of BattleBots is only one day away! And here is your episode 01 Fight Card! pic.twitter.com/QBi4sXBBSq
— BattleBots (@BattleBots) May 10, 2018
For starters, before I get into breaking down the matchups, let me say this single image already shows the season is off to a better start than the ABC show. One of my biggest gripes with ABC was that they could not figure out how to fit more than 4 fights into a 1-hour show. Let me break that down for you – Battlebots fights are at most 3 minutes and many do not go that long. Yet somehow, in a 60-minute TV bloc (or 43-minute bloc once you take commercials out), ABC couldn’t figure out how to get more than 12 minutes of actual robot fighting. Well, Discovery has that problem SOLVED. The fight card (which is a brilliant idea) shows 5 fights plus a 6th that will be bonus footage on the Science Channel re-air of the episode on Wednesday at 9pm. Now that we know we’re getting even more robot fighting action in an hour of television, let’s take a look at the matchups.
Tombstone vs Minotaur
Holy smokes what a matchup. This was the fight that many thought would be the Championship battle for the Giant Nut last season, but Bombshell KO’d Minotaur in the semifinals by disabling half of its drivetrain. This has everything you could possibly want – two of the most destructive bots going head-to-head. Tombstone’s massive horizontal spinner against Minotaur’s vertical spinning drum. We’ve already seen pieces of the fight in the promotional material for the season. Minotaur needs to employ a similar strategy to what they used against Bronco last year and attack Tombstone’s wheels. Tombstone just needs to keep its giant spinner in front and it should be able to knock Minotaur around the Battlebox.
Blacksmith vs Bite Force
Bite Force won the Season 6 Championship with a three-pronged clamping and lifting arm that also functioned like a wedge. For Season 7, an emphasis was placed on “primary weapon damage” so Bite Force ditched the clamping arms for a vertical spinner. It proved effective until Chomp dropped the hammer on the spinner’s control chain, rendering it useless and knocking out the Champ. On the other side, Blacksmith was an instant fan favorite thanks to its Thor-like flaming hammer. Blacksmith ended Season 7 by drawing Minotaur in the knockout stage and got it’s hammer destroyed and face ripped off. To cap it off, Minotaur’s last hit lit a fire inside of Blacksmith, leaving us with this enduring image.
Bombshell vs Lock-Jaw
Last season, Bombshell made a run to the Championship as a “Swiss Army Bot.” The general bulk of the bot was the same, but the weaponry could be swapped between a pickaxe, a horizontal spinner, and a vertical spinner. In the preliminary round, they went with the axe and got their face melted by a fire-breathing Complete Control. They were awarded a wild card and used the horizontal spinner to chop off Cobalt’s tires then went to the vertical spinner to toss around Red Devil, Poison Arrow, and Minotaur. Bombshell made the mistake of going back to the horizontal spinner in the final in the hopes of disabling Tombstone’s weapon but got absolutely annihilated. This year, Bombshell appears to have gone solely with the vertical spinner, which was its most effective weapon last season. On the other hand, Lock-Jaw and veteran Donald Hutson (of Diesector fame) have been involved in a number of controversial results. In Season 6 they fought Overhaul twice, being awarded the win the first time then getting their tire spiked the second. Last season, it had an incredibly close and even match with Yeti in the preliminary rounds, then lost a weird judge’s decision to Brutus. This season, Lock-Jaw has ditched one of its clamping arms and installed a spinning drum, with the other two arms still serving a lifting function.
SubZero vs Huge
SubZero’s only fight last year was a North-of-the-Wall battle against Icewave. SubZero does have a powerful flipping-arm, but it’s broad sides were fodder for Icewave’s spinner. Huge is basically just two big wheels on an axle with a massive vertical spinning bar in the middle. That bar can likely do some serious damage. Huge reminds me a bit of Towering Inferno (who was featured in my Top 10 Knockouts getting shredded by MechaVore). His wheels are a big target, especially against a horizontal spinner. But SubZero only has a lifting arm, and Huge looks like it will be tough to topple over. The advantage here goes to Huge if it’s spinning bar can get in a few good whacks at SubZero.
Mecha Rampage vs Duck vs Free Shipping
Mecha Rampage is Christian Carlberg’s entry this season. He was the man behind Minion and Overkill in the early seasons and had Overdrive the last few years. He has done away with his traditional wedge design and brought a bot with wheels on the far outside and a spinner in the middle sporting a blade. There is a lot of exposed surface area on the extremities of Mecha Rampage that another spinner could exploit to go after its wheels. But there are no other spinners in this matchup, which gives Mecha Rampage a fighting chance. Objectively, Duck may not look like much. It is this year’s entry from Hal Rucker who came with Ringmaster last season. Unlike Ringmaster, Duck is made from one solid piece of metal and designed with the sole purpose in mind of beating Tombstone. Hal entered Duck (under the name “Whoops”) in RoboGames 2017 and defeated Tombstone-equivalent “Last Rites.” That should serve Duck well against Mecha Rampage’s spinner, as long as he can keep his tires away from the blade. Legendary Battlebots driver Gary Gin is behind Free Shipping after piloting Lucky last season. Gary was known for the double-wedge The Big B (whose fight against Ziggo was featured in my Top 10 Classic Fights). Free Shipping is essentially a massive forklift, and it should be fun to watch Gary try to out maneuver the other drivers. Two legendary drivers in Christian Carlberg and Gary Gin plus a nearly-invincible Duck! should make for a great rumble.
Kraken vs Sharkorpion vs Deviled Egg
Kraken is a clamping bot that drew a tough matchup against Sharkorpion (who I think is the next supermonster of the Sharknado series) and Deviled Egg. Sharkorpion is somewhat reminiscent of Death Roll from last season with a vertical spinning disc on the front and a long body with a lot of surface area. Sharkorpion did protect its two wheels with extra caging, but I wonder about the bots ability to right itself if it gets flipped on its side. That said, the spinning disc looks like it could do some serious damage. Deviled Egg is cashing in on the “vertical spinning drum” craze from last season when we saw the likes of Minotaur, Poison Arrow, Yeti, and Razorback all employ them (not to mention Bite Force, Brutus, Witch Doctor, Hypershock, and Bombshell who all used other types of vertical spinners).