The return of post-fight analysis! The format will be a little truncated compared to what I did for each fight during the rest of the season in order to fit all the content in without creating a monster of a blog.
Same robot as fought P1, which is the same config we’ve run for 3 fights now. Default vert gonna default I guess. We did a bunch of testing and turned up the current limits on everything. That seemed to resolve the spin-up issues we saw against P1. We also reevaluated weapon speeds vs turning speed and Will started practicing the “Freitas Special” (driving on two wheels using gryo). He’s always had a knack for undoing a gyro flip before we fully tip over, but we so rarely had a robot ready to go for him to practice with. The Conga Line is my backup plan when we don’t have a better idea for a tunnel skit.
Strengths: Like with our last fight, the only damage we're facing would be self-inflicted. Drive seems bulletproof so far. Duck's ground game hasn't been the strongest, so the forks should be able to get under it consistently. We have enough speed to drive circles around Duck, but we really shouldn’t be taking any risks or wasting time; the chances of actually KO-ing Duck are meager. The invertibility horns were replaced with ¼” AR500 as fast as SendCutSend could deliver them. They’re so much tougher than the Ti horns, we’ll be fine if we do flip over.
Weaknesses: We can’t be sure that our weapon won’t go down after a big hit. The higher current limits mean we’re dramatically exceeding the rated specs of the motors, so they could burn up, feeding damage points to Duck. As we and Witch Doctor have seen in testing, hitting a 250lb medium-soft brick of metal can be devastating to the attacker.
Opportunities: If we can pummel Duck for 3 minutes, it’ll be a great test of our reliability. Winning this fight means we probably get to fight Valkyrie, which we’re confident will be a repeat of our last match. It might be expensive though. If SMEE somehow takes that fight, we’ll dismantle it. I was more concerned about losing to the burger than SMEE.
Threats: If we lose to Duck, that's it. We’re done. We’ll get a grudge match, but that’s not what we want. Winning likely comes at the cost of a motor or controller. It's very possible we see some smoke in this fight. Duck showed up with a sizable arsenal of attachments. Hal and Hannah might have something up their sleeves that we aren’t anticipating.
We started the fight with the weapon at about 50% out of an abundance of caution. I increased the throttle just a little after each hit. The hit that took off the tip of Duck’s bill was still just a little lower than our normal driving speed. The hit that took off Duck’s fork and the rest of the lifter bill was back up at our normal 70% weapon speed. The big hit that put Duck into the stratosphere had the weapon pegged at 100%. It may not have been all the way there, but you see our spinner stop on that hit. That means ALL of that energy, about 24kJ, was transferred into Duck and the floor. When the weapon started smoking, that was one of the motors giving up the ghost. Since the other one was fine, we could still get some spin, keeping those points back from Duck’s damage score.
Strengths: The forks worked super well. Duck is high enough off the ground that we we getting under it all day. Carefully managed weapon speeds enabled Will to drive as aggressively as he wanted without any too much for gyro. Fortunately, the horns didn’t come into play.
Weaknesses: The weapon did eventually go down, but we weren’t surprised by that. Since one kept working, we mitigated the scoring threat of losing the weapon.
Opportunities: As expected, Duck is just too durable for a KO. The weapon lasted as long as it needed to. We’re unsruprisingly matched up with Valkyrie now too.
Threats: We didn’t lose, so we’re still in this thing. The weapon motor burned up, but that’s easily fixed. Nothing so far has made us worried about running out of spares. Duck came in with a configuration we were familiar with, so that was a small relief.
We fought them in our opening match in Season 4. It went just about as well as we could have hoped save for wearing them as a very dangerous hat. We came away from that fight with some badly scuffed armor and some ruined wheels, but otherwise intact. We’re very confident going into this fight. I hung out with Valkyrie the night before this fight and they were sure they had a winning config that wouldn’t fall victim to the inevitable box rush. Its faint in the episode, but we yelled “Suck Less” in our huddle at the end of the tunnel.
Strengths: We’re a little bit faster and more stable than the last time we fought them. We’re carrying about a third more weapon power and our wedge is much better supported. We discovered in testing that the wedge works kinda like traction control in that one side gyroing up pushes the other front corner into the ground, taking a wheel up. That slows our turning down, thus reducing our gyro effect. This means we can run around with a higher default weapon speed than we can with the forks. We’ll need that tip speed to have a better chance in a weapon-to-weapon engagement, which is basically every engagement with a horizontal.
Weaknesses: We haven’t fought with this wedge yet, and we haven’t fought a horizontal since Season 4. Something unexpected could happen. The opening in the front of the wedge is wider to accommodate a possible config with the double disk and to reduce weight. This wedge protects our wheels less than the Season 4 wedge also due to weight constraints. We’re running our sandwich weapon for the first time. The AR-S7-AR stack sounds really clever, but its really just a 2am joke that we had some confidence in. It was also much cheaper than getting a 2-inch thick weapon made since we could reuse a bunch of parts we already had.
Opportunities: This could be a improved version of our Season 4 fight, which was awesome. A win here brings us that much closer to a Bounty win and the Golden Bolt tournament. Valkyrie hits hard but carries less energy than Gigabyte. Seeing how this config works will give us a lot of data on how to approach Gigabyte.
Threats: Valkyrie has had two seasons to improve since we last fought them. They’re more reliable and they hit harder. In the waiting area before the fight, we finally saw their config, and those plastic bumpers on the front meant we had to go through that much more material to hit something vital. Oh, and they're the reigning Most Destructive Bolt Winner.
Valkyrie is a big horizontal. That means we have to box rush them to deny the spin-up. Fred was ready for this and tried to lunge out of the blue square before we could get there. Will was able to adjust and we caught their corner. That’s better for Valkyrie than us hitting their weapon, slowing it down. The little hop and two-wheeling wasn’t healthy for their positioning, but I don’t think they lost too much speed leveling back out. That maneuver to put the weapon back down is a massive improvement over what we’ve seen from them in the past. The next big hit was one of the most incredible hits I’ve seen in the box. We connect with just their weapon, and ours at nearly full speed just tears their bar right out. The hub/axle sheared off right at the sprocket. Same as with Duck, watching closely, you’ll see our weapon slow down to a near stop on the hit, which means we’re getting near-perfect energy transfer. With about a foot and a half of leverage down their bar, that’s horrifying amounts of energy concentrated into their hub’s spline. Not even 10 seconds into this fight, all we have to do is not screw it up to win. Their bar kept spinning on the slider for 20 seconds, probably still with enough energy to rip a wheel off of us. Will sends it straight up in the air, demonstrating the advantaged feed angle our wedge gives us. As Kenny likes to call it, Will goes into “Berserker Barrage Mode” for the rest of this fight. We scattered chunks of Valkyrie all over the arena before leaving them broken and stranded on the screws back in their starting square. To their credit, Valkyrie’s drive didn’t seem to fail at any point before the end.
BattleBots did not appreciate us sending 65lbs of sharp steel into their ceiling and told us not to do it again. They also sent us for a weapon speed test after that fight, which is the closest thing we have to doping tests in combat robotics. We were flattered, and comfortably under the 250mph tip-speed limit.
Strengths: The box rush was less impressive and advantageous than the last one but still went well. The increased weapon power definitely paid dividends. We were able to spend most of the match at or very near to 100% weapon throttle due to the wedge stabilizing our turns.
Weaknesses: The wedge worked perfectly and took virtually no damage. The inner edge by the weapon took some nibbles, but we kept them away from the outer edges. The sandwich disk held up really well. The sharp tips weren’t really sharp anymore, but there’s still enough of an edge to bite in if we reuse it.
Opportunities: This fight was pretty different from the last one, but it went so well. Those slow motion shots of Valkyrie’s weapon flying off will be in highlight reels for years. The wedge worked perfectly, so we’re confident using it as-is against Gigabyte.
Threats: Valkyrie’s drive was more reliable than it has been, we have no way of know if we could handle 2 more minutes of hits like that without smoking a weapon motor. KOing them quickly was the easy way out. Once the weapon was clear, we were able to get under their edges, neutralizing the UHMW bumpers.
I’m not going to spell it with the crazy capitalization every time. It does communicate their similarly chaotic fighting style. This fight with Will facing off against Calvin Iba should be similarly captivating to our Lock Jaw fight. MadCatter has also been on quite a tear with high-damage fights. We were much more nervous going into this fight than either of the previous ones. We decided the best way to beat MadCatter was to emulate their energy, really get into their mindset, and understand them. We came out each doing our best Macho Man Martin Mason impressions, and Gary really elevated it by smacking Will down with a steel chair. We reverted to the default forky vert config for this fight, but with heavier side armor taking up weight in place of the heaviest top plate. We ran out of tire stickers, so we had to run blank back tires.
Strengths: We should have more pushing power despite facing a bot with a similar need for speed. Our forks are longer than their pontoon wedgelets and should be able to get under. They’re a little light on armor, so if we do get into advantaged positions, we should be able to lay on the hurt to great effect.
Weaknesses: This is a rare fight where we can’t just outrun an opponent. We’re used to having no concern about resetting the pace of a fight by taking half a lap. We did it to Duck a few times and caught them square in the face when they tried to chase us. Not only do they match our speed, but their acceleration is also better. Going back to forks and fighting a vert means we’re probably going to be upside down at some point. We’ll find out the hard way if the new horns work.
Opportunities: Win or lose this should be a great fight. Will and Calvin are top-tier drivers and both robots are deadly. We replaced the burned-up weapon motor from the Duck fight and we tested everything, so we shouldn’t see any component failures.
Threats: Like with any spinner, winning might cost us a lot of parts. Attrition hasn’t been bad so far, but if we write off most of a robot, that’ll be trouble in the Golden Bolt tournament. Losing this late also means we probably won’t get a grudge match.
These are always fun. Measuring our armor at 27lbs ignores the fact that our ~45lb chassis is also the bottom and back armor. Horsepower on the drive trains is somewhat relevant, but they have magnets, which changes everything. “Flaming mini bot named after a flatulent feline” is a joke Will made in one of the interviews. We’re so glad it made it to air.
We both opened with a box rush, meeting in the middle. Almost flipped over already, but Will did his thing and got all four wheels back down. We get first blood, catching their pontoon on the engagement. That pushing power then comes in, driving them sideways and grinding away as we take them for a ride. Martin may have jinxed his bot by talking about the cute kitten on the bottom during his last interview. Now we get to see it and its HyperKitty vs Kitten. The forks don’t quite get under them as their self-righting puts all the weight on that back edge, but we catch them again as they sit up. The next set of engagements don’t go our way, forced to drive backwards the gyro just takes us right over, and in the corner where we have no visibility. We scoot around, somehow climbing over MadCatter as their weapon starts to fail. We have some drive, but there’s barely 50lbs on the back wheels, so starting from zero is slow. A weapon to weapon hit sets us back over though. GassyCat hit count is at 1 now too. We get a few hits in, our forks beating their pontoons, but end this flurry by the screws with MadCatter taking over offense. Their weapon is definitely on the way out now. They land a few hits on the front tire, which pop us up silently. The rubber and foam really works to absorb that energy. A sharper weapon probably would have gone through the tire. We end up inverted in the same corner and almost oota ourselves trying to self right. In a quick and potentially devastating move, Calvin positions MadCatter to catch us as we land. Had their weapon been at full strength, that could have been a finishing blow. They hit us from the side, again catching tire for effect without damage. That hit rights us, as we take it back to weapon to weapon hits. Between reach and ground game, we know we can keep taking those risky shots and winning. MadCatter tries to run, probably to reset the pace, but we chase them down, hitting the back and bouncing them off the shelf wall. GassyCat has now taken two hits from a heavyweight and keeps driving. MadCatter lands upright on the shelf, tries to escape, but we throw them right back up. They manage to escape over the screws, maybe because Will takes a detour to lauch GassyCat into low orbit. A ~22 foot flight at high speed into the ceiling finally disables it. We’re just 90 seconds into this fight: both robots have been upside down several times, we’ve seen the shelf come into play, there’s been a small fire, a minibot hit the roof, but other than MadCatter’s weapon going down, both robots are still going strong. We grind and slam them into the wall by our feet, usually a slam-hit like that is pretty destructive. All that force goes into a robot, but the robot can’t fly off to disperse it. Finally their drive starts to slow down, and Will stays on them. Another series from his Berserker Barrage ends with MadCatter upside down on the shelf for a picture perfect finish to this incredible fight.
This was our best fight ever. Thank you MaDCatTer!
Strengths: We absolutely had more pushing power and our forks were always under their front end. The ground game is an uncomfortable strategy to accept, but it's effective.
Weaknesses: We were just a bit faster when it mattered, catching them as they ran away towards the end is what gave us the opportunity to finish that fight. The horns didn’t bend, but our center of mass is awful while we’re inverted.
Opportunities: Winning takes us into the bounty fight against Gigabyte. That fight was absolutely incredible, hands down my favorite fight ever. We didn’t have any major component failures despite the full-throttle fight, so the gremlins seem to have run off.
Threats: Our weapon hub was trashed with one disk starting to peel away and some tires got wrecked. That’s surprisingly less damage than I anticipated walking away from the arena.
We haven’t fought a lot of horizontals. We’ve beaten Valkyrie twice and lost to ICEWAve back in the ABC days. Gigabyte’s shell has more energy than just about anything at BattleBots. Over the last two seasons we’ve seen their reliability improve to where they just don’t die. They beat Son of Whyachi “with authority” in a bounty fight last year. We hit hard, but SoW is several times more powerful than our spinner. We asked the stagecrew to play pinball wizard for the opening, but got denied. Stealing MadCatter’s mojo for an intro worked then, so we did it again here, doing our best impression of beyblades. The robot configuration is exactly the same as for Valkyrie, but we swapped out the disk for a fresh, sharp one.
Strengths: We’re hitting hard. Our single disk and wedge configuration allows us to use as much weapon throttle as we want with minimal worries about stability. Gigabyte is a great robot, but driving a circle with a weapon constantly trying to steal traction is a challenge. We tend to do very well when we have the speed and agility advantage. That speed advantage should translate into some massive hits.
Weaknesses: We’re taking a huge leap into untested territory again. We checked the wedge for cracks and it looked great going into this fight, but it’s never been tested against the kind of hits Gigabyte is going to dole out. We also weren’t sure what configuration they’d run. We know they have a forky-spatula, which might complicate everything since letting them catch the front edge of our wedge once means they’ll keep catching it later. They also have a lot of different shell and tooth combinations, so we might get tripped up there.
Opportunities: Winning this bounty fight cements our position in the Golden Bolt tournament. It also puts a huge validation stamp on our efforts this season. Losing to a wedgebot in the tournament crushed our pride pretty badly.
Threats: We’re riding high on the run we’ve had so far in this bounty, but losing here would be a pretty big letdown. As always, fighting a massive spinner comes with massive risk to components.
Gigabyte successfully dodge the box rush, but it didn’t matter. We just nudged into them and sent them flying over twenty feet into the other corner. We’re both dazed, keep crashing into walls, and they’re not exactly where they want to be in that short corner. Three more hits in the corner until they escape. The trade-off of running around with so much throttle is we give up the snappy turns we normally have. Gigabyte takes about 6 seconds to reach full speed. They stole about that many, but they seem to be destabilized. I don’t think they were at full speed when we caught them in the middle. I think they rolled across our wedge as we caught them on the back. The flight they took after this engagement seems to mostly have been their own energy. Once again they’re stuck in the short corner. In the replays, you can see one tooth hanging on by a single bolt, we hit it straight on. Something happened at this moment that at first appeared to be us losing a side of drive. From our vantage point, we can’t really tell. There’s a moment of hesitation where Gigabyte could have smacked us, but I think our lack of control looked good enough for a count-out. John takes Gigabyte back to the middle to wait for the KO count to start and get up to full speed in case he needs to hit us again. Will and I are trying to debug this live, first slowing down the weapon to reduce the variables, then speeding it up to use the gyro to help us crabwalk out of the corner. The robot was doing mostly the opposite of what Will was telling it to do. Right when our ref started verbally threatening a KO count, Will figures out that his throttle and steering have swapped. On a pistol-grip transmitter, he has a trigger that normally controls forward back and a wheel on the side that controls steering. Now the wheel is going forward-back and the throttle trigger is steering. Right before we exit the corner, the robot keeps turning. That’s Will trying to make it go straight with the trigger. The camera cuts back to a very wobbly Gigabyte. By this point, one tooth is hanging on by a thread, causing the whole thing to shake. In a move that I still don’t understand, Will is managing to crabwalk with his controls flipped. Fortunately for us, Gigabyte is shaking around so much they can barely drive, so their attempt to finish us off misses at first and catches cleanly across our wedge right as Will finally figures out that steering is throttle and throttle is steering. He slams the robot into the wall by our feet, and we can see that the whole drive train is intact. We line up on Gigabyte with the weapon still at full throttle and just send it straight in. Gigabyte has been deshelled before when the cast-aluminum weapon spindle broke. We’ve seen that before. This was different. The bolts that hold the shell to the spindle pulled all their threads out, mid-air. From the damage to the shell, we may have caught the other tooth right in the middle. The whole assembly that holds the shell on tore itself apart. We didn’t immediately realize what happened, our eyes following one mass through the air. Seeing them upside down and not spinning was good but panning across and seeing the shell was what made us lose our minds.
Strengths: Will’s driving and quick thinking is always the biggest strength we have, here almost more than in any previous fight he came through, somehow adjusting for a sudden change in his control scheme. Our weapon unleashed colossal hits on Gigabyte, we barely needed feed speed to send it flying across the arena.
Weaknesses: Wedge does wedge things. Our spinner sandwich works. They came in with a pretty traditional set-up and no ground game. I think they learned a lot from this fight.
Opportunities: Our pride and validation have been restored. We’re relevant again.
Threats: They chewed up the edges of the wedge and the spinner took some nominal wear. This is possibly the only fight we’ve ever come out of with 4 perfectly clean rims. The CG shift from the heavy wedge means we can turn in place with the weapon as the center of rotation. That makes it very easy to keep the wedge perpendicular to horizontals.