With the new season of BattleBots off to a great start, all of the competitors are doing their best to impress the selection committee to be selected for the Sweet 16. Needless to say, some robots have gotten off to better starts than others, which is what this blog is about. I thought it would be fun to do a "progressive predictions" blog, where I go over which robots I would consider to be most viable for the top 16 on a show-by-show basis.
I chose the third episode to start this because it gave me over 16 robots to choose from - anything before that would be redundant. Obviously all the robots so far have either a 1-0 or 0-1 record, but that's the fun of making progressive predictions...anything can change. For now, the robots will simply be listed in alphabetical order, and any further ordering will not be bought into play until more robots appear and more fights occur.
- Bite Force (3 wins)
Really, as the defending champion, Bite Force should be a no-brainer. Even then, it's had three wins, all of them being very convincing even if it couldn't get the knockout. Even if it loses its last fight, it should be an absolute shoe-in. It'll be interesting to see if anyone can defeat it this year, though.
- Black Dragon (CONFIRMED)
The first robot to be confirmed for the top 16 and, after getting snubbed in its fight with Texas Twister, I'm happy for it. I was fairly confident that it would be able to get to the final of the Desperado Tournament, but before the entire competition began, I felt confident that Minotaur would have beaten it in a head-to-head fight. Then once the competition started and I saw how poorly Minotaur was fairing, I went into the Desperado confident that Black Dragon would win...and THEN Minotaur started working properly again and I had no idea what to expect. But that final was one of the greatest fights so far and whilst I feel either could have won it, Black Dragon deserved the win. How well it'll do in the top 16 remains to be seen, but it has good potential.
- Death Roll (4 wins)
Suffice to say, I really don't think anyone really expected to see Death Roll, a former first-round faller, as an unbeaten robot by the end of this season's Fight Night. But here we are, showing pretty much just as much of the prowess its sister bot Great White did over in China. Really, if I had to pick a weak-link, I'd say its fight against End Game - the first fight - was its weakest, but it has certainly recovered strongly since then. It'll be interesting to see how it does against the best of the best, though.
- HUGE (3 wins)
Last season was not a fluke, and HUGE is proving this. It's winning most of its fights purely on the virtue that most robots just aren't really designed to take on a machine of its design. I wish it could at least have fought Mammoth, but I guess we can't have everything. When all is said and done, though, its vulnerability to heavy horizontal spinners IS still present, and I do worry how far it'll get. Although a rematch against Bite Force would be interesting.
- Hydra (3 wins)
Win or lose against Bronco, Hydra has more than earned its place in the top 16. It may have a few issues getting its flipper timing right, but once it flips, it does so explosively. Its best fight for me has easily been its clash with WAR Hawk, splitting the machine into pieces.
- Hypershock (2 wins)
Since starting this, I've been jostling back and forth with the overly similar Hypershock and Witch Doctor. I was initially unsure about removing Hypershock after the episode before last rolled around, because whilst it certainly dominated Valkyrie, it still had reliability issues. But its brutal and swift victory over Monsoon convinced me to put it back in again. I still worry for Hypershock's reliability as the fights go on and get tougher, but for now, it looks brutal once more...good to see it working properly again.
- Lock-Jaw (3 wins)
Lock-Jaw is a funny one for me. It's clearly still a really solid robot, but its flaws have become more and more noticeable. Still, when all is said and done, its only loss this season has been to Tombstone and that's hardly going to be seen as a bad thing. It otherwise has performed strongly and I feel it could make a nice push.
- Railgun MAX (3 wins)
This is an awkward one. In theory, Railgun MAX should be in the top 16. It's gone 3-0 so far. However, I will be the first to admit that its line-up has hardly been the strongest. If it really wants that position in the Top 16 and make it clear that China is truly a force to be reckoned with, it needs to beat Free Shipping...and needs to do so convincingly.
- RotatoR (2 wins)
Three words - IT BEAT TOMBSTONE! By Knockout, no less! If RotatoR doesn't make it into the top 16, then someone on the selection committee is clearly a fan of Tombstone and thus very, VERY bitter. There was no shame in it losing to SawBlaze, and it didn't give up that fight either. Its victory over Bombshell was also really good, but come on, guys, that fight against Tombstone! Really, this is the 2-2 machine I would feel most comfortable putting through.
- SawBlaze (3 wins)
SawBlaze has had to deal with a lot stronger line-up than it did last season. That's obviously understandable given it's now a serious threat. But if you're 3-1 and your only loss is to Tombstone, then obviously you're doing something right. SawBlaze's run hasn't been entirely perfect, as I don't think the hammer-saw works as well as its normal saw, but it's still been really solid overall. It's always nice to see a saw-bot do well.
- Skorpios (3 wins)
As impressive as SawBlaze was, though, it has a new challenger for best sawbot. Skorpios has had quite the rocky ride. Its first season, it never made it out of the qualifier rumbles. Second season, it finished in a great position, but was unable to take it due to damage it took. Now, it has two wins and no losses. Although I really shouldn't pick favourites, I do really hope Skorpios does make the Top 16, at least to make up for what happened last season. Just keep your weapon intact and you'll be fine.
- Son of Whyachi (3 wins)
I mean, come on, it's Son of Whyachi. It may be a little back and forth on how well it actually performs, but the good usually outweighs the bad, especially given it's a robot from the classic series that still manages to remain competitive now. Its three wins have been extremely brutal and its one loss was to Whiplash, so that's hardly a disservice.
- Tombstone (3 wins)
...do I REALLY need to explain this one? Yes? Oh, alright...so I think it's clear that Tombstone isn't quite the unbeatable giant it was back in New Season 2. It caught fire against RotatoR and had to work really hard against Gruff. But it's still one of the highest tier bots in the business and it's still very difficult to beat. Clearly Ray Billings knows exactly how to counter most of the anti-Tombstone defenses, such as with LockJaw and SawBlaze. But what I'm more curious about here is what will happen when Tombstone fights Bite Force...or if they fight.
- Whiplash (3 wins)
Whiplash has continued to have a strong performance following on from its run in Season 3, with its only loss being to the undefeated Witch Doctor. I don't think it really has anything to worry about, though - it would qualify for the top 16 based on its victories over Minotaur and Son of Whyachi alone, at least as far as I'm concerned. We'll be seeing a lot more of this, I'm sure.
- Witch Doctor (4 wins)
A member of the unbeaten club, and yet for me, Death Roll was far more impressive overall. Like with Death Roll, Witch Doctor's worst fight was its first. But unlike Death Roll, I feel Witch Doctor has had a stronger line-up overall, with more impressive names to its "beaten" list, to say nothing about its victory over Whiplash. My concern is purely with the weapon and reliability...clearly the disc is too powerful, causing all sorts of fire and smoke, so it needs to win quickly. Maybe something to consider for next season...
- Yeti (2 wins)
I really can't say I have many reasons for listing Yeti, other than it's hard to look past it given how capable it really is. Its loss to Bite Force is nothing to be ashamed of and it has still continued to perform. It'll do fine provided it can win its final match, which I personally think it will.
- Railgun MAX (reinstated)
- Texas Twister
- Son of Whyachi (reinstated)
- Railgun MAX (reinstated)
- HyperShock (reinstated)
- Skorpios (reinstated)