Lucky is one of the few robots that’s been on the show since the ABC days that we have yet to fight. With five seasons on BattleBots, they’re the longest-running flipper still on the show. Matt Olson, their new driver, has seriously elevated the bot over the last two seasons. Earning the 15 seed is a massive accomplishment on its own, but even better when they’re making the bracket for the second time ever, two years in a row. They’ve always been a friendly team, but it’s hard to get to know a team without having met them in the arena. They’re one of the most fun opponents we’ve ever had, both in and out of the box. It's interesting to see us matched up since neither of us has made it out of the first round of the bracket since the new format started.
Our config for this fight was lighter than what we'd normally run. We can get away with this because we're not worried about Lucky cutting a hole in the robot. The reasons are a little silly, but anyway. We figured that a lighter robot would damage itself slightly less when it falls. The places we can move weight from are all above the center of gravity, so it should be a little bit more stable during the fight. We think it should want to tumble right side up if it gets thrown too. In all, 15lbs out of 250 isn't enough to drastically change the dynamics of the robot, but we thought it would help.
We spent some time snooping around Lucky’s pit the night before our fight. Nothing untoward, just standing at a respectful distance, making the most of the zoom functions on our phones. The robot was under a blanket, but the front end was exposed, seemingly intentionally. They had a lot of forks laid out, so many that it didn’t make sense. Upon closer inspection, we realized they were faking us out. There were some larger forks just sitting in front of the robot, with the smaller forks they would be using attached. Took us a while to figure that out. It’s hard to measure at a distance, but we were pretty sure we’d be able to slip between their forks or at least be misaligned enough that our longer forks would be effective.
We’re very keen on advancing through the tournament this year. We believe we had the robot to do it last year, but one critical design flaw got in the way. This year we’re back with just slight improvements, but the field has gotten stronger. We still think we’re capable of a deep run, but it’s going to be harder. Our seeding was right in the middle of our estimated range and the bracket on the whole is less awkward than it was last year. Simply giving every robot the same number of fights was an incredible improvement. Their return to factoring in fight performance along with competitive record made the bracket much more reasonable.
We looked at this fight similarly to the Claw Viper fight: low-speed weapon, keep it tight, be careful. Effective invertibility horns or not, we weren’t winning this fight if we spent it all upside down. We’d also given up on trying to gyro over in the event we did get flipped over. We’d just run straight to the wall if the opportunity was there. Otherwise, we’d stay on offense. Focusing on getting back over has cost us too many fights. We started with slightly less weapon throttle than we did against Claw Viper. We wanted to be certain that HyperShock wouldn’t flip if we had to drive backward. We quickly realized our fork assessment was way off. Lucky’s were spaced just right to keep us at bay, and Matt has the precision to make sure we can’t just wiggle out of that. The low weapon throttle meant we had enough motor overhead to continuously grind away at their flipper arm. Eventually, we got in deep enough to bend it, but so much of the fight was spent with locked horns. We also locked up the back right wheel early on, only freeing it in the self-righting acrobatics when the chain fell off the jackshaft.
In all, it was a very fun fight, but it wasn’t super exciting. More excitement would have required an unnecessary amount of risk. It became apparent early on that we’d need more agility than this technical driving match would allow for if we were going to land some big hits on their sides. We accepted the slow pace and scored steady points the whole time. When we hit three minutes, we were confident it would go our way. We led damage by a mile and felt we’d stayed more aggressive the whole time. Through the second half of the fight, we pulled ahead in control too. With us losing only a single drive chain compared to their bent weapon and missing armor, I think we could take 4 damage points. That alone nearly assures victory since zero scores in aggression and control are almost impossible. Mark’s interview was cut from the edit, but it was supremely positive. Lucky is one of the teams that is sincerely just having a blast in their fights. We look forward to seeing them in the arena again some day.