We knew this fight would be brutal, but we’d hoped it’d be in the other direction. Riptide has a monster of a weapon and Ethan reliably keeps it pointed in the right direction. They’ve never been walloped on the sides or back, and we know they have next to zero rear armor. One good bite on the back and we’d have a mouthful of ESCs or batteries. Winning this fight would put us deeper into the tournament than we’ve ever gone. We’d be facing Copperhead, which is similarly dangerous to Riptide, but without the weak armor. We don’t have that much hard armor, but we do have massive amounts of air between the outside of the bot and the guts.
We had our off day as the last day of fight nights, so we’d had some time to get the backup robots together. We had most of two ready by the time we fought Lucky and had three in fighting condition before this fight. The chassis we’d used against Sawblaze had been fully repaired at this point. We had ranked the chassis by how well welded they were and picked the toughest one to fight Riptide.
We decided to run the single disk since we were mildly worried about the double disks getting broken. It’s also just a little bit lighter, so we’d have the weight to run the heavier armor configuration. If we were going to get pummeled, we’d probably avoid the worst of it by encasing in AR500. We saw Riptide set up some very long forks, but they’re so short for the whole length that they won’t touch our chassis. We were planning on avoiding weapon-to-weapon hits since they spin faster, so there wasn’t any reason to consider how the forks would engage.
Unfortunately, we flubbed it. We don’t know if Will’s hand slipped or if we caught a funny spot in the floor, some combination maybe. We turned too far too early and delivered a tire right into Riptide’s weapon. From there we were battered around until everything lined up just right and we were sent into orbit. Riptide stores significantly more energy in their weapon than we do and our weapon is rigidly attached just a short distance from our center of mass. Worked out to be an incredibly efficient energy transfer, sending us over 20 feet in the air. We didn’t just reach the rafters, we were briefly tangled in them. We had enough time to be worried about getting stuck before we came back down. It was one of those moments where time slows down.
There was a single moment after the flight in which we were right side up and lined up for a hit, but their higher tip speed rejected us back into the screws. From there it was just a few more hits and we ended up stuck on the wall. We didn’t realize the remaining tire was jammed, so we thought there was a chance we’d get one more good contact with them. We knew they were having issues with their weapon bearings, so any hit could be their last. Turned out that was our last hit and the fight ended with us stuck without any spinning wheels.
We had some small victories in this fight. Our weapon held up perfectly; minimal damage to the tip, no more than we expected. All of the motors and ESCs kept working, all the shock mounts were intact. The side armor they smashed lasted long enough to keep the drive going for a bit. The forks were badly mangled, but they didn’t fly off. We lost an ear, but it was hit directly, shearing all its bolts through the shock mounts. They’re not meant to get hit, and it didn’t ruin the weapon billet it mounts into, so that’s worth something. The only electronics failure we had was from a piece of shrapnel snapping the tab off a sensor board, causing it to disconnect. The other motor kept the weapon going just fine by itself.
We’ll be back in Champions (whenever that airs). We had to shelve the chassis from this since repairing it was beyond what there was time for. There’s another fresh one ready to go, so we’d still have three to make it through our remaining fights. At most, we’re looking at six more and they’re all single elimination. The chances that we toss more than one chassis while still advancing are pretty thin.