So here we go folks, a special article on predictions for the wildcard. This comes now because I’m not sure if they will announce it at the end of the next show or at the beginning of the final itself. I’m told the wildcard will be from the heat finalists but whether that means it will be the machine that scored the most points or one that impressed the judges the most remains to be seen. So excluding heat 5 (as it hasn’t aired yet), here are the machines we’re talking about and the points they scored in their round robins.
Heat 1 – Behemoth (5 Points)
So Behemoth, a wise old competitor. I was impressed with Behemoth’s performance in a very difficult heat however was undone, literally, by Carbide twice in said heat. Arguably the first time was more devastating, but in the heat final it didn’t take long to partially immobilise Behemoth before they reversed into the pit. We know about Behemoth, experienced, ever present and a pleasure to see fighting as ever. They scored 5 points with a knockout win over an axeless Terrorhurtz and got the judges nod after a fun battle with Nuts. I’d be very happy to see them in the final, might be nice to have a bit of experience in there. Even though all the losing heat finalists so far are veterans, none of them can claim as much experience as Behemoth. Razer probably could have done but, ya know….
Heat 2 – Thor (8 Points)
The axe of Thor are definitely in the driving seat for the wildcard when it comes to points scored. Knockout wins over Mr Speed Squared and Foxic coupled by a judges vote from a battle with Shockwave gave them a very respectable 8 out of 9 points. Looking at that it’s hard to see anybody but Thor in the grand final. What surprised me the most is how well driven and controlled it was in the heat, it seems so much more manoeuvrable than in previous incarnations. It was only that one lapse/control problem that cost it against Shockwave in the heat final. Barring that they could have repeated their round 2 victory and taken a well deserved place in the final. I still think Thor has a lot to give and would be worthy of the wildcard vote.
Heat 3 – Dantomkia (5 Points)
Without the expertise of Mike Lambert I didn’t know what to expect from Dantomkia in the heat, even though I predicted them for a heat final. As it was they looked as controlled and aggressive as ever under team S-Tec. Their very own 5 point tally included wins over King B & Big Nipper (the latter on a judges vote), both very experience machines. Not to be sniffed at. The problem was 2 doses of a very well controlled TR2. Not only could Dantomkia not get the flipper to full effect, they just seemed to die with a wimper. Granted the second time was because Matilda damaged the arm, but I was expecting a bit more. Maybe I’m just hardened to metal mayhem and destruction but still, Dantomkia in the grand final? Yes please.
Heat 4 – Storm 2 (5 Points)
Continuing the 5 point trend came world champs Storm 2 in show 4. Their wins were a very close judges call against Eruption (special mention to Eruption in that heat, I thought they were unlucky to just get 1 win), and a knockout via the pit of doom and gloom against old rivals PP3D. It stood up to it all as well, but despite having one of the lowest front ends around, Apollo still managed to find a way to blow the Storm out of the arena. Now Storm 2 are one of my favourite robots, but I was a little underwhelmed by its performances. I used to love the power and speed that it would fling machines around the arena Steel Avenger style. It was the anticipation of what would happen when someone was being hopelessly shoved at 20 odd mph and where it would end up. I know the top speed has been lowered, but I’d have liked to have seen more power. Even though, it was great to see them in the warzone.
So what do we think here? We have a flipper, a lifter, a rammer and an axe. A nice combination of design and weaponry there. Looking at the points tallies, it’s incredibly difficult to look beyond Thor for that last place in the final. That and the fact we don’t have an axe there yet. There’s 2 flippers, a spinner and a rammer/lifter type thing in Shockwave, so maybe another flipper would be too many? Especially if the Beast or Thermidor comes through the final heat. Storm 2? Well I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see the disc so that’s another reason to put them in. However, might it be a bit unfair if Thor didn’t go through? They were unbeaten up until the heat final, and showed great strength to get out from TAN’s claws, and survive a speed squared smash or 2.
All this said I’d love to have seen a 5 way melee to see who would go through. Last man standing wins, how cool would that be? Be like a mini annihilator. As it is though, the judges get the final say and in the end all four machines would be very worthy and widely received by me in the grand final. But this time I’m going to say Thor. Any other thoughts??