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Vlad the Impaler was a robot which competed in the heavyweight divisions of the original BattleBots events between 1999 and 2001. It was built by Gage Cauchois, initially for the US Robot Wars competitions in 1996, and armed with lifting forks. A self-righting piston was added in 1997. The original Vlad the Impaler was highly successful in BattleBots, using a combination of its lifting forks, control, high speed and ramming power to win the Heavyweight divisions at Las Vegas 1999 and Season 1.0. In Season 2.0, Vlad the Impaler relinquished its title at the semi-final stage upon losing a rematch against Voltronic on a Judges' decision. The following season, Vlad the Impaler was severely damaged by MechaVore during its quarter-final match, again losing via a Judges' decision - this forcing the original version into retirement.
A successor, Vlad the Impaler II, was built and entered into Season 5.0 (filmed in 2002), switching to an invertible design with pneumatic lifting plate similar to that of Gage Cauchois' later superheavyweight Vladiator. This enjoyed considerably less success than its predecessor, winning three matches before being defeated by British entry Spitfire on a Judges' decision in the televised Round of 64.
The original Vlad the Impaler was mothballed until around 2009, when it resurfaced under the ownership of Team Tiki. It was last known to have been restored to operational condition in May 2010. Vlad the Impaler II, meanwhile, remained an active competitor until 2017, competing in events such as the Combots Cup and RoboGames under different owners and drivers. Among those included Jason Bardis, RoboGames founder and CEO David Calkins (who would later compete in King of Bots with Spin Doctor) and Team Tiki.
Long Beach 1999
Vlad the Impaler's first match was against Juggernaut. At first Juggernaut attempted to to hammer Vlad, but it was immediately bulldozed and flipped, losing by knockout within around five seconds. Vlad then faced Malicious Mischief where it won by a crowd vote. After earning a knockout over Ronin, Vlad faced KillerHurtz and eventually ended up on the killsaws and lost a drive chain. Since it couldn't show transitional movement, it was counted out. Vlad was now in the loser's bracket and faced Rhino, but it lost by knockout again, eliminating Vlad from the competition.
For unknown reasons, Vlad the Impaler didn't participate the gigabot rumble at the end of the tournament.
Las Vegas 1999
After receiving a first-round bye, Vlad was up against Kill-O-Amp 2. Both robots immediately went straight at each other and Vlad crashed into Kill-O-Amp 2 around the corner of the arena. Moments later, Vlad got underneath Kill-O-Amp 2 with its forks and slammed it against the arena wall, where pieces on the top of Kill-O-Amp 2 came off. Vlad charged at Kill-O-Amp 2 one more time and flipped it on its front, where it could not self-right. Vlad won a 9-0 decision, and advanced to the quarterfinals, where it faced the #1 ranked heavyweight BioHazard.
BioHazard immediately drove across the arena to meet Vlad, but its front skirts got lifted up, allowing Vlad the Impaler to get underneath BioHazard and push it into the arena spikes. This upended BioHazard against the arena lexan, and landed directly on top of Vlad the Impaler's rear. Vlad then charged across the arena with BioHazard still mounted on its back. It got BioHazard caught on a set of killsaws, damaging a skirt before reversing and ramming BioHazard onto another set of killsaws. The resulting impact combined with BioHazard's arm being raised at that moment, flipped BioHazard, and since BioHazard was unable to self-right at the time due to the skirts, Vlad the Impaler won by knockout, and advanced to the semifinals for a rematch against Rhino.
Both machines drove straight at each other, with Vlad the Impaler failing to lift Rhino with its forks and Rhino making a hole in the front of Vlad with its spike. Vlad the Impaler made a second attempt to lift Rhino, allowing Rhino to attack with its spike again. After trading blows with Rhino, Vlad took damage from the killsaws, but reversed out of danger and finally managed to get underneath Rhino and carry it into the spikestrip. Rhino drove away, but Vlad the Impaler caught up and flipped Rhino over. Vlad lifted the overturned Rhino and rammed it into the spikestrip again, with Rhino escaping and attacking the rear of Vlad with its spike. Vlad turned around and lifted Rhino once again, placing it on its side against the arena wall, immobilizing it. Vlad freed Rhino with seven seconds remaining, but Rhino failed to attack with the little time it had. Vlad the Impaler won on a 9-0 decision, meaning it was through to the final where it would face Voltarc.
Voltarc went straight at Vlad, but Vlad flipped it over straight away using its forks. It lined up another attack and flipped Voltarc again, before picking it up and slamming it against the arena wall with one of its forks caught inside Voltarc's wheel. Vlad the Impaler then drove Voltarc into the killsaws again and again, driving around in circles with Voltarc still caught on its fork. With twenty seconds left, Vlad drove a helpless Voltarc into the killsaws again before time ran out. The resulting 9-0 decision meant that Vlad the Impaler had won its first championship.
Despite becoming the heavyweight champion, Vlad the Impaler didn't participate the heavyweight rumble at the end of the tournament.
After moderate success in the US Robot Wars competitions for several years, and winning the 1999 Las Vegas BattleBots championship, Vlad the Impaler entered Season 1.0 ranked #1. Vlad was scheduled to fight GoldDigger first but GoldDigger had technical issues and was forced to forfeit. Vlad won by default and advanced to the round of 16, where it faced Tazbot.
In the beginning, Tazbot went straight at Vlad and started lifting it towards the killsaws. Vlad escaped and went straight at Tazbot, where it was flipped and pushed against the entrance ramp. Tazbot was flipped back to its wheels by Vlad and Tazbot was lifted again against the spikestrip. Tazbot was flipped and righted again but started smoking after many lifts by Vlad. Tazbot was once again lifted from Vlad and slammed it against the arena wall, where Vlad reversed Tazbot (as it was on the top rear of Vlad) and the ramrods flipped it. Vlad pushed the flipped Tazbot against the corner of the arena before the time ran out. Vlad won on a unanimous 9-0 judge's decision and advanced to the quarterfinals, where it faced OverKill.
Both robots approached timidly, until OverKill decided to charge at Vlad the Impaler and swing its knife blade at the top of Vlad's armor. Vlad the Impaler then pushed OverKill across the arena before backing off. OverKill then continued to strike Vlad the Impaler across the top, causing various scrapes and dents in Vlad's armor. Vlad the Impaler retaliated by ramming OverKill onto the killsaws, then got underneath OverKill and bent the wedge armor so much OverKill had to drive on its back. Vlad the Impaler then rammed OverKill again and pushed it back onto the killsaws, which split the wedge armor of OverKill in half. Vlad now clearly had the upper hand, almost flipping OverKill upside down with its forks. OverKill then began swinging its blade quickly in desperation, but none of the strikes landed a blow on Vlad the Impaler. In dramatic fashion, OverKill then drove itself over the killsaws and flipped itself upside down, making the knife blade useless from the front. Vlad charged and pushed OverKill into the spikes, further ripping the wedge armor apart. Vlad then rammed OverKill into the arena wall so quickly the arena lexan shook, and it partially damaged the entrance area. This attack damaged OverKill's drive-train, allowing it to only move backwards and forwards. Vlad the Impaler lifted OverKill back onto its correct side, but it was too little, too late. OverKill's tire became punctured by the killsaws, which further limited motion to only being able to spin forward in a clockwise direction or backwards in a counter-clockwise direction. OverKill languished in the arena corner, before Vlad the Impaler ended the fight with a few more hits. The decision was unanimous, with a 8-1 victory for Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad's next fight in the semifinals was against Punjar. Both robots drove slowly and cautiously to each other, not landing any hits until the 20th second, where Vlad the Impaler attempted to ram Punjar, but lifted the forks too early to get underneath. Punjar then turned around and got Vlad in its scoop, which allowed it to push Vlad the Impaler across the arena. Vlad managed to escape before Punjar pushed it into an arena hazard, however, so the fight continued with no decisive hits. Both robots then attempted to charge at each other, but the killsaws were activated at just the right moment to send Vlad the Impaler flying backwards across the arena. Vlad then got stuck on a section of the BattleBox's floor, but managed to free itself and charged once more at Punjar, nearly getting underneath but Punjar slid out of the attack and pushed Vlad again. The fight looked one-sided at this moment, until Vlad the Impaler charged across the arena at top speed, got its left fork successfully underneath Punjar, and rammed it into the spikes, which got Punjar on top of Vlad the Impaler. Vlad then reversed Punjar into the pulverizer, which caused a few dents in Punjar's armor. Eventually, Punjar was let free, and drove itself over the killsaws. Vlad then got underneath Punjar again, and nearly flipped it onto its side. Vlad the Impaler continued ramming Punjar, and pushed it into the pulverizer once more, and then ran over the killsaws, which tore up some of Punjar's armor. Punjar returned the favor by pushing Vlad over the killsaws. One last ram across the arena impaled Punjar into the wall on its side, before the fight ended. Another 8-1 decision for Vlad the Impaler meant it was going into the final against Voltarc.
The fight began with Voltarc charging across the arena, but drove itself onto Vlad the Impaler's lifting forks. Luckily, Voltarc escaped before any pushing was done. Not much happened for a while, before Vlad the Impaler got underneath Voltarc and rammed it so fast Voltarc was flipped upside down. Voltarc attempted to self right itself, but the self-righter was in the wrong direction so it could not self-right. It tried several times, but to no avail. Vlad the Impaler won by a KO in 1:42, and with that, the BattleBots heavyweight championship for a second time in a row.
Vlad the Impaler wasn't finished, however, as it participated the heavyweight royal rumble at the end of the tournament. Vlad was one of few robots still moving in the end but lost overall to BioHazard by crowd vote.
Ranked #1 for a 3rd consecutive season, Vlad the Impaler was a force to be reckoned with. Vlad's first match in Season 2.0 was against Technofool. This match was ready to begin with both bots in the BattleBox, but Technofool suffers an unexpected mechanical failure when the gas-powered engine's ripcord breaks off while the team attempts to start their bot. Without enough time to fix the cord, they are forced to forfeit the match. Vlad the Impaler won by default and advanced to the round of 16, where it faced Mjollnir.
The fight began with Mjollnir chasing down Vlad, and attempting to strike down with its Toe Crusher-esque weaponry, but veered off course and ended up nowhere near Vlad the Impaler. Mjollnir then swung its weaponry and managed to hit Vlad on the side, but got caught up in Vlad the Impaler's forks. This allowed Vlad to push Mjollnir into the pulverizer. It struck many times, as Mjollnir had got its weapon stuck in the pulverizer holder. Eventually, Mjollnir got free, but with a wonky left wheel. Mjollnir managed to retaliate by striking Vlad the Impaler squarely on the top, and pushed Vlad over the killsaws. Vlad the Impaler, however, got its forks underneath Mjollnir's wheel and drove it across the arena, before Mjollnir managed to get free and drive over the top of Vlad. This maneuver caused major damage to the electronics of Vlad the Impaler though, and forced its lifting forks and sri-mech into a permanently upright position. Vlad decided to start attacking Mjollnir with its rear plate, to try and push it across the arena, but Mjollnir slid out of the way. Vlad the Impaler then crashed into Mjollnir with its uprooted forks and nearly took off doing so. Vlad then drove over the killsaws once more. It nearly captured Mjollnir in its forks despite the damage caused, but was unable to capitalize on it. Mjollnir, however, swung its weapon straight into a killsaw and caused a bright shower of sparks. Luckily for Gage Cauchois, he managed to set Vlad the Impaler's lifting forks back down for the last minute of the fight, but was unable to fix Vlad's sri-mech. The fight did not have much action after that, with Mjollnir hitting Vlad on the top a few times and Vlad the Impaler nearly catching Mjollnir in its lifting forks a few times. However, with 20 seconds left in the fight, Mjollnir slammed its weapon so hard into the BattleBox's floor it snapped off, and left Mjollnir without a weapon. This move decided the match and Vlad won with a decisive 34-11 victory. This moved Vlad the Impaler into the quarterfinals against Tazbot for a grudge match.
Both robots charged at each other but Vlad the Impaler struck first and rammed Tazbot into the spikes. Vlad then took a run at Tazbot again, but Tazbot managed to lift Vlad slightly with its turret arm. Tazbot then lifted Vlad the Impaler into the killsaws. Vlad then retaliated by doing the exact same thing to Tazbot. Both robots then lifted each other with their weapons at exactly the same time and sent them both nearly tipping over. Finally, Vlad managed to perform a match-deciding move by charging at Tazbot and flipping it over with its lifting forks. Tazbot attempted to self-right but Vlad the Impaler hit Tazbot before it could perform such a move. It flipped Tazbot back over anyway. Tazbot then lifted Vlad into the killsaws again, but Vlad the Impaler retaliated by ramming Tazbot with its back plate. Both robots then locked their weapons again, but Vlad was on top this time, flipping Tazbot onto its back for a second time. With Tazbot in a vulnerable position, Vlad the Impaler took advantage by slamming Tazbot into the spikestrip and causing that side of the arena's lexan to shake from the impact. Vlad then kept ramming Tazbot into that same wall to prevent it from self-righting. With 3 seconds left on the clock, Tazbot finally self-righted, but was unable to do anything in the short amount of time left. In the end, Vlad the Impaler won on a 29-16 judge's decision.
Amazingly, for the third competition in a row, Vlad was pitted up against Voltronic, but this time it was the semifinals, rather than the final. Both robots wasted no time at all by charging at each other, with Vlad nearly getting a lift on Voltronic, but escaped, almost exactly like in the Season 1.0 finals. Voltronic then got underneath Vlad the Impaler and attempted to use its lifting device but had to back off before it could be used to Voltronic's advantage. Vlad the Impaler then ran over the killsaws, but turned around and lifted Voltronic with both its forks, which caused Vlad to win the 2 previous times but this time around, Stephen Felk managed to move Voltronic out of the way. Vlad the Impaler then hit Voltronic on the side, before both robots ran over the killsaws to meet each other in the center of the arena. Vlad then got another near-flip on Voltronic, but got out of the way of Vlad the Impaler again. Vlad got under once more, but Stephen Felk drove Voltronic out of harm's way yet again. A carefully timed killsaw pop jumped Vlad the Impaler into the air, where Voltronic was waiting directly below, but just like Voltronic had done 3 times, Vlad dodged Voltronic's moves. For a while, neither robot was able to land a significant match-changing move, until the 99th second, where Vlad the Impaler got under Voltronic, and just like the 2 Heavyweight finals preceding this one, flipped Voltronic completely over. This move landed Voltronic onto the killsaws, which caused a shower of titanium sparks. Voltronic attempted to self-right, but was too slow and Vlad rammed it into the spikes. Voltronic tried self-righting again and again, but the arena wall prevented a successful move. Vlad then finished the match by impaling Voltronic onto the spikes and won by a KO. This knocked Voltronic out of the competition and pushed Vlad the Impaler into the final against a well known rival of Vlad, BioHazard.
Both robots dashed across the arena, avoiding hazards and each other, until BioHazard got a lift on Vlad the Impaler and flipped it upside down.
Vlad was able to self-right, however, and the fight continued. Vlad then got underneath BioHazard and pushed it across the arena, but escaped before any major damage was done. BioHazard then caught the front of Vlad the Impaler and tried to lift it onto its side, but couldn't. Vlad got underneath BioHazard again and manged to slam BioHazard into the spikestrip. Vlad the Impaler then got underneath BioHazard a third time and rammed it into the spikes again. After a few more hits by both bots BioHazard finally seized the opportunity for another flip. Vlad, of course, self-righted again.
Vlad the Impaler then made the mistake of driving near the pulverizer, to which BioHazard responded by pinning Vlad under the pulverizer with its lifting arm.
After a few hits the pulverizer broke off its shaft, but bent Vlad's self-righting mechanism in such a way it was unusable for the rest of the fight. The remainder of the match involved both bots driving around each other looking for the opportunity to strike, but with not many decisive moves. The buzzer sounded and it was left up to a judges decision, which Vlad the Impaler lost its title, 18-27.
Vlad the Impaler wasn't finished, however, as it participated the heavyweight royal rumble at the end of the tournament. Vlad was one of few robots still moving in the end and even lost the ability to use its lifting forks towards the end as Tazbot took out the chain that powered it, but lost overall to Tazbot by crowd vote.
For competing last season, well as being a former two time champion, plus being ranked 1, Vlad the Impaler was allowed to go straight to the round of 32, where it faced the inexperienced MechaVore. After carrying the newcomer across the BattleBox, Vlad had a huge gash cut into its rear by MechaVore before pushing it into the screws. Vlad reversed to line up another attack, but MechaVore tore into Vlad's side armor repeatedly, ripping its own rear skirt off as well. Vlad got underneath MechaVore again, pushing it into the spikestrip. For the rest of the fight after this attack, Vlad's forks were jammed in the "upright" position thanks to the earlier damage to the armor, meaning it could no longer lift MechaVore. MechaVore attacked again, with the next hit seeming to activate and jam Vlad the Impaler's self righting piston. MechaVore kept attacking Vlad with its flywheel until time ran out. The judges ruled 24-21 in favor of MechaVore, eliminating Vlad the Impaler at this relatively early stage of the competition.
Because Vlad the Impaler took so much damage from MechaVore, Vlad the Impaler couldn't participate the heavyweight consolation rumble at the end of the tournament.
Vlad the Impaler II's first match was against Got Bot?. Both robots went straight at each other and Got Bot? spun around from the impact. Vlad got underneath the front of Got Bot? and slammed it against the corner of the BattleBox. This impact flipped Got Bot? and it managed to run away. Got Bot? was moving around the BattleBox and Vlad lifts it against the spikestrip. As Got Bot? runs away again, Vlad backs up and lifts Got Bot? against the corner of the BattleBox again. Got Bot? tried to escape, but it was having driving issues. Vlad lifts the rear of Got Bot? and backs away. After this, Got Bot? slowly turns around and Vlad pushes it over the spikestrip. Got Bot? couldn't escape and Vlad started moving around the BattleBox. Finally, Vlad moved to the blue square and Got Bot? was counted out. Vlad won by KO and advanced to the next preliminary round, where it faced Big Betty. However, Big Betty had technical issues and was forced to forfeit. Vlad the Impaler II won by default and advanced to the final preliminary round, where it faced SpikedPunch.
In this fight, Vlad was clearly the aggressor, driving up onto SpikedPunch's wedge and getting stuck each time, which caused the match to stop so the two could be separated. Eventually, the match ended and Vlad the Impaler II won on a close 23-22 judge's decision. This win put Vlad the Impaler II back to the TV rounds, where it faced the British flipper of Spitfire.
At the beginning of the fight, Spitfire dodged Vlad's initial ram before charging it and taking a small pop from Vlad's lifter. Vlad then reversed up Spitfire's wedge and Spitfire attempted to flip it but was unable to. Vlad drove in quickly and lifted Spitfire from the side, but was unable to get a good hold on Spitfire. Both robots charged at each other, missed, then collided near the blue square, with Vlad being thrown into the air after driving up Spitfire's wedge. Unfortunately for Vlad, the following landing caused its left rear wheel to jam up against its wheelguard, hindering its maneuverability for the rest of the fight. Both robots attempted to move into position for about fifteen seconds until Vlad gets underneath Spitfire's wedge and lifts it up in the air, but Spitfire managed to escape.
Spitfire was then pushed into the wall by Vlad, but it managed to get underneath and lifted Vlad into the air with its flipping arm. Spitfire was then able to drive around Vlad and get under it from the back, launching it into the air. Spitfire maneuvered Vlad into the killsaws, but took a hit from them itself. Spitfire then flipped and inverted Vlad. Spitfire then attempted to wedge underneath Vlad's side, but was unable to. Both robots drove around the arena, each trying to get the upper hand, until Spitfire wedged Vlad from the back again and flipped it, re-inverting it. the two collided nose to nose before Spitfire got underneath Vlad again and rammed it into the wall before flipping it again. Spitfire continued to drive around Vlad, who seemed to be having control issues, before driving it into the pulverizer. Vlad took an indirect hit from the hammer and losing a piece of itself into the screw, which stops working before driving away. Spitfire took another small blow from the killsaws with ten seconds left. The match ended with Spitfire wedged underneath Vlad from the side. Spitfire won on a 27-18 judge's decision and Vlad the Impaler II was eliminated from the tournament.
Because it lost in the round of 64, Vlad The Impaler II couldn't participate in the heavyweight consolation rumble at the end of the tournament. Even if it did, it wouldn't have come back for the heavyweight royal rumble due to an incident with Nightmare in that exact rumble which resulted in all the rumbles getting cancelled.
- Wins: 19
- Losses: 5
|Long Beach 1999||Juggernaut||KillerHurtz, Rhino|
|Las Vegas 1999||Bye||None|
|Season 1.0||GoldDigger (Forfeit)||None|
|Season 5.0||Got Bot?
Big Betty (Forfeit)
Long Beach: Loser's Bracket
Las Vegas: Champion
Season 1.0: Champion
Season 2.0: Runners-Up
Season 3.0: Round of 32
Season 4.0: Did Not Enter
Season 5.0: Round of 64
Mark Beiro Introductions
"From Oakland California in the heavyweight division weighing in at 202 pounds with a ranking of number 5 from the creator Gage Cauchois and from team supporter Vladmeisters. Introducing VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"Weighing in at a hefty 205 pounds and sporting twin titanium tusks of tyranny. Here is VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"The hellacious, heartless, hate filled horror. Its the defending BattleBots heavyweight champion VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"He's gonna stick his forklift in his opponent because he's done. The defending heavyweight champion. He's big and bad! VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"As night falls, the prince of darkness lurks in the red corner, waiting to plunge its fangs into the heart of his next opponent. It's the reigning Heavyweight champion VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"Many robots have faced him, but few have lived to tell the tale of the BattleBots heavyweight champion, VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"The Earth shook, the ground ripped open and out came the bastard son of Satan himself, VLAD THE IMPALER!"
"Lizzy Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When this bot saw what she had done, it gave old Lizzy forty-one. Here is VLAD THE IMPALER II!"
Any appearances by Vlad the Impaler in merchandise are listed below:
- Vlad the Impaler/RC Custom Series
- Vlad the Impaler/Battle Basher
- Vlad the Impaler/Pocketbot
- Vlad the Impaler/Bump N' Bash Bots
- Vlad the Impaler/MiniBot
- "Vlad the Impaler" was named after the 14th century historical figure when builder Gage Cauchois visited a museum on the subject. The decision for the forklift came when Gage saw a real forklift and was delighted to use it on a robot.
- Vlad the Impaler was one of at least eight robots to battle at the Hasbro Showroom's miniature arena for the 2001 Toy Fair. The other seven robots known to have participated are Tazbot, Overkill, Diesector, Ginsu, BioHazard, Ziggo and Toe Crusher.
- Vlad was also on display at the Loctite showroom sometime after BattleBots Season 2.0.
- Vlad The Impaler had only faced a spinner once in its entire BattleBots career.