And so another war has ended, but it ended on a high. A brilliant series was won by the most worthy machine, the unbeaten Carbide, and it will take something special for someone to take their crown in the next war which starts filming in about a months time. And I will be there! Can’t express to you how happy I am to have got tickets this time around. Really can’t wait.
Onto the issues at hand though and now the series has ended, I’m going to look back at the best bits (and the worst bits) by handing out my massively not famous Robot Wars awards. I got a big reaction from this in series 8 and after plenty of high quality fights and huge drama theres a lot more to be given out. I’ve whittled it down to the categories you see below, some new, some I used last time too. See if you agree with me. Good luck everyone!
Straight in at the deep end then with the award for the best design. This is who I think was unique regardless of success of how they look and there has been some brilliantly designed machines this series. A clusterbot hasn’t been seen for a long time and Crackers N Smash was great to see. And they were built like an absolute tank. The hits they took from Carbide were huge but they stood up to it. I’m a big fan of Heavy Metal too and Id love to see them myself on the live stage in the future. I’ll put Jellyfish in here too, looked good and was something different. Nice and low and had a huge clamp and its a real shame they wont be returning, but a great effort it was. But my award for best design was something that was completely different and unique, something we wont forget about and sure Ms Nightshade didn’t last very long but it was interesting and the idea had potential. I hope we see more of these new designs in the future and they deserve recognition in my book.
Winner – Ms Nightshade
Once again a category with many, many options so this one could be the most debated. What I’ve noticed is that most of these fights involve Eruption. The fight against Behemoth was fast and furious, both fights against Carbide were aggressive and the one against Aftershock was classic Robot Wars. 2 machines slogging it out trying to land that killer blow. Great stuff. I also really enjoyed the Sabretooth/Terrorhurtz fight too even though most of the action happened in the first 30 seconds. It was interesting. I cant go past this category with mentioning Concussion and Thor either. The heat final was a tight and tense affair but the second round fight, wow. More twists and turns than at Silverstone. But the winner here does involve that machine Eruption and it was that first round battle with Behemoth, Eruption and Hobgoblin. Flying robots everywhere, speed and aggression were on show and it never let up. A proper Robot Wars melee.
Winner – Eruption/Hobgoblin/Behemoth/Cobra
There’s no denying, there were some seriously big hits in this war most bought the arena crew some overtime pay. They are the sort of hits that demonstrate how ridiculously powerful these machines have come, and hits that we have never seen before in Robot Wars. Starting at the beginning well anything Aftershock did was huge, but the first real big hit for me was PP3D on Cherub. That had me squawking like a child and bouncing off my seat of just how out of this world it was. And it took out the arena wall too. Incredible. From there they just got bigger. Pulsar send Supernova into space when disc hit drum and Carbide smashed Smash almost the length of the arena to destroy the wall again. In fact pretty much anything Carbide did was massive. Aftershock got involved too, 2 huge whacks on Terrorhurtz were one thing but the last blow on Apollo in the final could have caused an earthquake. Lets not forget that these machines that are sent flying, spinning or are launched into the air are 100 kg plus. What power we are seeing. For me though the winner of this award is the very first one I remember. PP3D throwing Cherub into the wall. She was indeed up to speed then boys.
Winner – PP3D
Best Student Built Machine
One thing that was a big positive for me during this series was the amount of machines built by school or university projects. You may have gathered that I am and always have been a huge fan of robotic combat, but I’ve never had the chance, the knowledge or the money to built a robot of my own. So to see at least 3 machines come through as after school clubs or as engineering assignments is fantastic for me, a great opportunity was presented to these guys to learn more about building robots and getting the chance to fight them. Expulsion and Frostbite stand out here but Trolley Rage and even Rusty were university projects. Trolley Rage was my favourite here. Sure it didn’t last long but the idea was to build something so simple that it would inspire other builders to have a go themselves. Great stuff. I like all of the student built machines but I’ll give this award to Frostbite. Ok it got smashed in its 2 fights and had to retire, but it was the only one I can remember that got through its first round melee. That and the fact that it was an optional after school project and not part of a course, it was their choice to take this up. Brilliant idea and top marks to the teacher for letting them have a go. Top bloke.
Winner – Frostbite
Best Robot Competing From Nottingham
I apologise, I am massively biased towards my home town. They only live about 20 minutes away from me!
Winner – Ironside 3
Uh oh, time to unleash nasty me. Yes, well there has to be one doesn’t there; which was the worst robot in the series? Who gets to join Overdozer in taking home this most prestigious award? There were a lot of robots that had a very short innings in this series but I wouldn’t say that makes them bad. This is more to do with who was just pretty darn bad, as in design, performance and strength. A couple of contenders for me here, Rusty pretty much came apart at the seams when flipped. Granted 110 kg landing from about 3 meters needs to stand up to much, but it should have been the likes of Carbide doing that kind of damage not Apollo. Overdozer’s sequel Wyrm is a contender but the team were just so good this time it would be unfair to give them this award for series 9. No my award for the worst robot goes to a machine that actually looked rather good. Rapid was probably the star in its first round melee but a few knocks from Aftershock meant it lost it’s first head to head. Then, not being able to fix the machine due to the complex, high cost design was pretty killer for me. A shame for a good looking machine but sometimes simplicity might be best. Sorry guys, bring it back and make sure you can get to all the bits, if you know what I mean.
‘Winner’ – Rapid
The ‘Thanks For Coming/Its The Taking Part That Counts’ Award
Well it used to be the taking part that counted when you were a child. Now its all about winning! Some machines had a good old go at this series but many fell rather early on. Therefore I’m going to give recognition to those that arrived with the hope of robot glory, but just collapsed within 10 seconds. Special mentions to High 5 and TMHWK here and a big up to Crushtacean who I loved seeing back in the arena. Rusty again promised so much as they were the upgraded Ceros robot and Nuts were also good value despite the issues they faced. But for me Crank E were the equivalent in this competition of a drive through Mcdonalds. They arrived, got into the arena and swiftly left it. They came with a much better looking robot, but the weapon didn’t work and yes, they were battered by Aftershock but I’m not sure the robot even moved either. So Crank E proving that it really is the taking part that counts…. Cheers for coming guys, try and stick with us for longer next time.
Thanks For Coming; Crank E
Back on track with the positives and here is the award for the best team; the team that were the most gracious, good value and the best entertainers. There were a lot of very good and spirited teams in this war, oozing personality and showing that there is a human aspect to this game. The kids of Cherub were great, never looked down when they were beaten, never got too cocky when they won. They enjoyed themselves and that’s what its all about. Big shout out to the Jellyfish and Nuts guys again, always great value. But the heroics of Sabretooth and everyone involved was great and it was nice to see such unity, have you got another drum yet guys? Great stuff. I liked the Concussion guys too, a brand new robot and a first time team and they took everything that was thrown at them and were good value. Of course I’m sending massive credit to all teams because the show would be nothing without you but this award goes to my favourite guys in the show since the reboot. Despite the fact they are/were professional entertainers, the Apollo boy band gave me laughs and quality dance moves that I am itching to try out. Top draw entertainment.
Winners – Marc & Dave, Team Apollo
Most Impressive Robot
Big, big category this. Which of our 40 teams was the most impressive? I’ll get this out of the way first, I’m going to gloss over Carbide for this one. Yes it was hugely impressive and destructive but we sort of knew what to expect, we knew that it was going to be ridiculously powerful. I am by no means forgetting them completely but I thought others were more impressive. Aftershock again was fantastic. Destructive and well designed I thought too; there was very little of that gyroscopic rocking that we saw with other spinners. For me thought this award goes to machine that, arguably, followers of the live scene will say that we knew what to expect from them too. Eruption went out relatively early in series 8 and that was a shame. Series 9 was another chance to shine and they did just that. Top that with the second quickest victory ever and 4 robots thrown out of the arena in a row and you’ve got a star machine. This robot is strong everywhere and watching it was very, very impressive.
Winner – Eruption
Worst Arena Issue
Sorry I have to have a little rant here. The arena needs a few changes. The walls were smashed a couple of times as was the floor but I’m willing to look over that given the huge leap in power that the robots have now got. That will be fixed, lessons will be learned but other things need changing. I’m still not sold on the floor flipper activating mid fight. I don’t know if it makes it exciting or ruins fights. Either way the mechanism needs sorting. Too many times it went off to late or too early as seen when Cherub got planted there. Then theres the control booths. For a team to not be able to see their robot when they’re driving it is bad, it gives an unfair advantage to the other team if you can’t get out, but again I’d like to think that will be fixed. No, the most irritant and annoying part of the current Robot Wars arena is the pit. Most of the time it didn’t sit flat and robot would constantly get stuck and it would ruin fights. Come on guys, for the love of God please, please get that sorted before series 10.
Worst Feature – That Bledy Pit
Biggest Wow Moment
I don’t think anyone can write a piece like this and get through it without mentioning that moment in the Carbide/Aftershock fight. What a moment that was and it was so beautifully edited that we saw everything that we needed to see and to show that it was a big deal. I have watched it over and over and it is no less fascinating after watching nearly 20 years of Robot Wars. I’ll quickly mention the moment when Mr Speed Squared took flight which was spectacular when you remember that was 110 kg flying and rolling 2 meters in the air. But nothing will top the side panel of Aftershock inbedded in the polycarbonate wall, it went all the way through. After watching the evolution of robotic combat for as long as I can remember, it was a staggering moment in UK Robot competition and one that will never be forgotten.
Winner – This…
I’m going to end this piece with credit to the machine, and the team that upgraded that machine, that was the most improved from series 8 to 9. There’s only one winner for me here. Big shout outs again to the like of Sabretooth and Supernova who went through pretty much a rebuild and were improved this time around. Aftershock obviously was a huge step up from Shockwave and a much better machine. Foxic, even little Foxic looked better in its 30 odd seconds of fighting that its 4 battles last time out and credit from me goes to Chimera 2 as well, I thought they put on a good show. But Carbide, what can you say? Possibly the most dominant display by any champion ever. Not even troubled really throughout the series and that is a serious achievement given the standard of competition these days. They were good last time but the improvements made to be that dominant is incredible. The new UK champions have the last say here.
Winner – Carbide
So I wrap this blog and indeed this series up by saying thank you once again to everybody. This includes all those that have read my pieces over this amazing series, I love reading your feedback and seeing my Twitter go off with its likes and retweets is a great feeling, I appreciate it. A thank you to all of the crew who made the series possible. You all did a great job and I hope to see you next month! And of course a massive thank you to all of the roboteers who competed and applied for this series. We are chuffed to have you all on board and we hope you continue to wow us with your designs and fights in the future. Whatever issues you have had in this series or whatever dramas you have faced, please come back again. Robot Wars needs our returning teams as much as the new ones. I love the roboteering community and long may it continue this way. Bring on series 10 (watch out for me in the audience) and lets hope its as good as this one.
Until then folks.