Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review part 1

I will be reviewing the fights from the new episodes of Battlebots. This is my personal opinion of the robots and the fights. I am not reviewing the show but rather writing down my thoughts on how a fight was won or lost.

Sawblaze vs Whiplash

I great fight to start the season. Both Sawblaze and Whiplash are very well driven and very reliable. Jamison Go has a very aggressive driving style with Sawblaze constantly ramming opponents to push them into walls and pin them. Matthew Vasquez of Whiplash is not as aggressive but has excellent situational awareness and is able to quickly take advantage of any weakness that his opponent shows while accounting for any problems with his own robot. I was looking forward to this match with my prediction being Whiplash to win.

When the robots are revealed a point is made of Whiplashes tall vertical front armour plates. The idea is that these will counter the overhead saw of Sawblaze. I was a little doubtfull of these as the tall armour would only protect from a head-on attack. After both robots attempted to manoeuvre around each other and then made a couple of head-on attacks it became clear that the tall armour also allowed Sawblaze to win the wedge game. Jamison repeatedly drove Whiplash into the walls but seemed to wait for a pin before using the saw. However Matthew realised that while being pushed from behind that Whiplash would be able to use its weapon as an overhead saw the same as Sawblaze and managed 3 or so hits on the top of Sawblaze. It was great to see the rapid adaptation to the driving and attacking style of Whiplash when it became clear that Sawblazes wedges where always going to get under Whiplash.

But Jamison Go was always on the attack and did not give Whiplash more than a couple of seconds to recover and it was always going to be Sawblazes fight. Once Sawblaze was able to get to the sides of Whiplash then is was very quick to cut into the top armour and take out the drive of Whiplash. Aggressive and powerful driving with effective wedging really won this match.

Fusion vs Madcatter

Fusion is the anticipated dual weapon robot built by Reese Ewert of team Whyachi. Fusion has both a horizontal spinner on one end of the robot and a vertical spinner on the other making it look like a robot designed by a 5 year old. It is well built and very compact with the Whyachi robots being known for being quite pricey with no expense spared in either materials, components or manufacturing techniques.

MadCatter is more of a classic 4wd vertical spinner design but does have a self-righter that doubles as a lifter. This shows a lot of thought has gone into the design as weight has not been wasted on a single purpose self-righter. While MadCatters creator Martin Mason brings a lot of energy to his on-screen antics MadCatters driving is more subdued. This might be more to difficulty MadCatter seems to have turning.

The fight starts with a classic box rush from MadCatter. However a box rush on Fusion is only going to hinder the front facing weapon unless it can be pushed back into the wall. In this case the vertical weapon was hindered but the horizontal spinner was allowed to get up to speed. Despite the vertical weapon on Fusion being stopped Reese still insisted on driving Fusion forward into MadCatrer rather than turning around. Since MadCatter was sluggishly turning to face Fusion it would have been the perfect time to use the horizontal weapon. The seconds after the box rush shows the lack of awareness from both drivers. Fusion should have turned to use the faster spinning weapon and MadCatter should have driven forward to put more distance between itself and Fusion before attempting the sluggish turn to face it’s opponent.

It doesn’t take Reese long to realise he is using the wrong weapon and turns to use the horizontal weapon. This is when we get to learn why having both a vertical and a horizontal spinner on the one robot is a bad idea. Normally when a robot hits with a horizontal spinner it is jerked sideways due to the hit. With the vertical spinner creating its own gyroscopic forces the sideways motion the robot twists around an axis perpendicular to the axis of both weapons and Fusion flips over. Fusion can’t have both weapons spinning at full speed at the same time and hit something with either weapon without the other weapon flipping Fusion over. The large shocks and twists Fusion takes seems to cause the electronics to short circuit. Seeing how little smoke was produced for the amount of fire that came out of Fusion my guess is that it wasn’t a battery fire.