Battlebots 2020 Episode 2 review Ghost Raptor vs Shatter

It’s great to see Chuck Pitzer back with Ghost Raptor. The unusual duel weapon design of Ghost Raptor combined with Chuck’s highly aggressive driving always made for a great fight in the first couple of seasons of Battlebots. However this year’s Ghost Raptor does look like a slightly rushed design with not a whole lot of armour. The drive pods way out on each side of the robot look particularly exposed and the first pictures I saw of Ghost Raptor had me worried. But Chuck is an experienced builder so maybe there will be more to Ghost Raptor than I first thought.

In contrast to the lack of armour on Ghost Raptor, Shatter is absolutely covered in soft, shock absorbing UHMW polyethylene armour. I think Adam Wrigley has made a mistake in describing the polyethylene as “ablative armour” implying that the armour is meant to be damaged and break off the robot to absorb energy from attacks. I am sure Adam was using this term to try and persuade the judges that any cosmetic damage to the armour is intentional and should not be counted against Shatter because the polyethylene will get torn up by anything sharper than a spoon. However I think that by repeatedly using the term ablative to describe the armour caused the judges to be hyper aware that Shatters armour will be damaged and the judges attention will be drawn to any marks made to the armour. In fact, before the fight even started, during the in-arena function test Shatter lost several reflective stickers from the polyethylene due to the stickers not being able to bond to the polyethylene. Chris Rose then stated that Shatters ablative armour was coming off as intended. I am sure if Adam didn’t use the term ablative to describe the armour then Chris would have just said that the stickers were falling off, which sounds a lot less serious. But Shatter has both an axe weapon and mecanum wheel based omni-directional drive so it will always be one of my favorites.

The fight starts with Ghost Raptor spinning up the bar spinner and Shatter taking an axe swing right into Ghost Raptors weapon after waiting for the weapon to get up to speed. This seems to be the end of the bar spinner as Ghost Raptor doesn’t spin the weapon again but instead concentrates on using its lifter to try and turn Shatter over. Shatter on the other hand continues to loose all of its stickers plus the 3D printed top covers. Again this is only cosmetic parts falling off Shatter but again Chris announces that Shatters ablative armour is being damaged.

After Ghost Raptor pins Shatter against a wall but is unable to flip Shatter over Shatter is able to turn and land a couple of hits on Ghost Raptor. At this point it seems that Shatter has lost one of its wheels as it seems to only be able to move diagonally. But it doesn’t matter as Ghost Raptor overheats and begins to burn it’s drive motors. After both robots are stuck against the screws Shatter wriggles free off-camera (hmmmm. And where did all the smoke go? I think the fight was paused here and Shatter dragged off the screws) Ghost Raptor is counted out. Winner: Shatter.

So, despite Shatter not being hit by Ghost Raptors bar spinner it was stated that Shatter took damage due to the cosmetics falling off. Maybe Adam should stop using the term ablative armour to describe the polyethylene armour. Ghost Raptor on the other hand looked to be right on the edge design wise with all the lightening holes drilled all over the chassis and lack of armour showing that Chuck was battling with the weight limit when building Ghost Raptor. Also Ghost Raptor loosing both drive motors spectacularly during a pretty standard shoving match make me think that the electrical design is pushing the limits of what the components are capable of a little too hard. So in conclusion I think Shatter has some minor teething issues while Ghost Raptor may need a major rebuild.