For as long as I’ve been watching Robot Wars, which is pretty much since its inception in 1998, it still never fails to excite me and amaze me. What a first heat we were treated to last Sunday night. Less fights yes, but excellent quality all round. Possibly my favourite fight of all time is Chaos 2/Wild Thing from Series 5 and having seen some amazing fights in that time, not much has come close to it. The Apollo/Behemoth fight was well up there with that, showing that this form of competition can never really die or get boring. Great stuff.
So we move into heat 2 and wow, what a draw. I also think its a quite a bad draw too. If the robots are drawn randomly into heats then fair enough, but if its set up I think this is a poor choice. If you’ve seen the draw already you’ll know what Im on about, if not you better read on! A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read my preview piece for Heat 1, now lets keep this ball rolling. Heres my thoughts on Heat 2.
Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.
The second seed (if you’re doing seedings yourself) returns with a vengeance and looking to set the record straight. Those who know Eruption from outside of Robot Wars are already aware of how good and successful this machine is. Everytime you hear or see that Eruption is fighting in a live event, chances are they’re going to win. Beautifully designed and powered to get under other robots and launch them out of the arena with a precisely timed flip, its very low and now even better armoured. Eruption couldn’t stop turfing machines out last series, matching Atomic’s record from UK 7 for the most consecutive out of arena flips.
They finished second to Carbide and the shame for them is that they are in this very same heat. Yep the top 2 have been drawn together, again. Booo. That said they probably are able to give the champions a run for their money and Eruption are definitely looking to cement their place as the best flipping robot in the UK. I would say that Carbide knocked them out relatively easily in the last war but they did with pretty much everyone, such was the power. Either way, Eruption is a machine to be feared and will be a contender in one form or another. Just depends how good the new armour plating is and if it can stand up to a beating.
Prediction – Always going to be a contender. Like I say they lost to Carbide last time and they were the only machine that Eruption wasn’t able to beat. In this draw I don’t know. Any other time you’d have Eruption nailed on as heat winners but if we’re going on form from what we’ve seen before, a heat final is definitely on the cards. I’d thoroughly expect to at least see them in the 10 way.
See what I mean? I’ve already mentioned Carbide and if we’re counting the exclusion of Ironside 3 in this series, you’ve got the top 3 in the same heat. And the other 3 robots aren’t half bad either. Ouch, and more boo’s. Nevertheless, Aftershock, a fine machine deriving from the experienced Team Shock have now reached both Grand Finals of the rebooted Robot Wars so far.
Its relatively the same looking machine, big blue spinney thing attached to a silver frame but with much tougher looking armour. I hear there are even more interchangeable discs and bars to be used too to combat certain opponents. Despite the carnage they caused last war they went out with a bit of a whimper, breaking down in 2 of its 3 head to heads in the grand final. Yes one of these was against Carbide and yes they other one was after a rebuild but I hope its can stand up to more. For me the reputation suffered a little in that final. I feel that on their day they could have beaten Ironside 3 and Eruption to take the spot in the final. Question is, will the upgrades allowed them to do that?
Prediction – Either everybody in this heat is desperately unlucky or the draw has been desperately rigged for this outcome. To have so many good robots in the same heat is almost criminal, therefore it is even more vital that every competitor in this heat wins their group battle, to avoid unnecessary extra fights. I’m not sure Aftershock can do that just because of its company. But like Eruption it still has the ability to do well and an appearance in the 10 way is definitely on.
Crackers N Smash
The brick built clusterbot returns with extra armour improvements and, hopefully, better weapons this time too. As nice as it was seeing Crackers N Smash last war, it wasn’t greatly effective to the point it went in weaponless against Carbide. On the plus side it stood up to said machine twice, with all the electrics intact. Given how hard Carbide hit in series 9, that was hugely impressive.
So what can the little bots do this time then? Well the overall weight has been reduced by some 16 kg, trimming the fat so to speak, and the armour looks to be upgraded which is bad news for spinners, given that the best of the best of them couldn’t stop this last time. Weapons wise, they’re about the same. A spinner on Smash that can go to, reportedly, 11000 rpm. In terms of speed thats almost 4 times as fast as Aftershock, but whether it can do the damage remains to be seen. Crackers is back with its flipper that can also integrate some kind of claw too, maybe to snag spinners or grab hold of opponents. Another evolution of a machine and I like the fact that clusterbots are taking off a bit more. They used to be few and far between and now we’ve had 2 in the first 2 heats. Makes things more interesting.
Prediction – Errrm, no idea, sorry! Crackers N Smash will be able to cause pests of themselves but I’m sure we’ll see them in the redemption round. The quality of the heat looks to be a little too high for them at this stage. As always I’m up for being proved wrong, but this might be a step too far for these little machines.
One of my favourite machines from the live stage this and its great to see them back. Big Nipper returns from Series 8 after being an unused reserve for the last war with basically the same sort of machine. Where we’ve seen certain evolutions in this series already Big Nipper doesn’t seem to have had that much work done. The orange has gone back to a darker shade of grey and the disc is now a shining yellow. I think I actually prefer this look to the orange actually. The disc is a single tooth disc, just like Aftershock and is interchangeable with the infamous claws and the middle section still moves up and down. It’s a design I’ve always been fond of. With the claws attached they can pick up a 100 kg robot easily and drive them wherever they want and do whatever they want with. They’ve had some amazing hits on the live stage and its a shame we haven’t really seen them in the wars.
But what of the disc? It looks like the main weapon of choice these days and we didn’t really see the potential of it in the 8th wars. As I mentioned, single tooth running at about 4000 rpm but can it damage, and can it damage enough to give it a chance. Again its a wildly unlucky draw and as good as Big Nipper can be, disc or claws, I fear they may be swallowed up in this heat.
Prediction – A lowly finishing place for Big Nipper Im afraid, which I dont like to say because its such a brilliant machine. I just dont think it can cause enough damage to pretty much any competitor in this heat and all seem to have something that can counter anything this robot can do. A shame, but I hope we do get to see that weapon going well.
Now comes the robot that I own a piece of and possible the biggest robot to ever appear in the wars. Gabriel reached the heat final in series 8, narrowly missing out to Pulsar. Its great Gabriel is, with a set of interchangeable weapons that do much more damage than they look like they can. Numerous amounts of time at live event they have smashed armour plated and even squashed other machines. Designed to be so darn big that even the best flipper will struggle and you’ve got a tough bot to beat. Made completely out of high density polyethylene it can also stand up to a beating and it that is’t enough to convince you, Gabriel actually won the 2016 FRA UK championship at the live shows. That’s some achievement.
But what of it in the warzone? Well the only thing that seemed bother Gabriel last time we saw it were spinners. Both Ironside 3 and Pulsar took chunks out of those huge wheels but even then, they were still mobile. Throw them in with Aftershock and Carbide and there could be a surprise. It just depends on how many hits they can land and if they can do enough damage to their opponents as they do to Gabriel. Lets not forget the flippers as well. Even though it is ridiculously hard to flip Gabriel around, many have tried and succeeded in getting this mammoth out of the arena. It’s not invincible.
Prediction – This is the robot in this heat that has made me rethink everything. I just have no idea how it will perform. I thoroughly expect to see them in the head to heads one way or another but what about after that? It is a Carbide killer? These and many, many more questions will be answered but man are they going to be tough to beat. They will be a few thorns in peoples sides this heat and could even go the full distance. Count this one out at your peril.
What do we need to say about Carbide? Current UK champions, number 1 seed, nailed on favourites. They won the title in probably the most dominant way since Chaos 2 all those years ago, nothing came close to it. And so as other machines improve and new pretenders come along, has Carbide still got what it takes? You know the drill, 2 wheel drive, fully invertable, massively destructive 2500 rpm spinning bar, and more power that you can shake a stick at, whatever that means. But has it moved on, and perhaps more importantly, does it need to? A few upgrades can never hurt I suppose, and in this current world of modern technology its always best to progress and never stand still. Carbide has had minor upgrades for this war but maybe nothing like the quantum leap from series 8 to series 9, but the fact they were so far ahead of everybody last time shows that they are still the machine to beat.
They’ve had 20 fights since the rebooted Robot Wars hit our screens and have won 17 of them. That’s not bad when you consider they went unbeaten in series 9. It’s a machine to marvel at and very much defines ‘new’ Robot Wars, very much becoming the pin-up machine such as Hypnodisc and Razer were back in the day. Invincible? Nobody is, but boy this comes close.
Prediction – Carbide will be given a run in this heat, no question. Just look at the high level of competition they have to compete with. I’m still going to say that Carbide will be heat winners, but they will be tested far more than at pretty much any point in the whole of last series. And just for the record, I have Carbide down to make it 2 series in a row as well.
So there we go, we’ve met all 6 of our competitors and to be honest as much as I’ve given a bit of a prediction for each of them, any of the 6 could win this heat if they are on song. Thats how close this heat is. I also think its a bit of a waste. Yes we’re going to get some insanely good fights but we’ve got the top 3 from the last wars including 3 others that are definitely not to be taken lightly and can cause an upset. I wasn’t sure how I felt about having so many good robots together but now I’ve wrote this, I’ve decided I don’t really like the idea. But hey, its not going to stop me watching it.
And as ever a thank you to everyone who read the first heat preview, it is very much appreciated. Feel free to leave me your predictions below and as ever I’ll leave a link to the last preview piece and my Twitter page, should you feel the need to keep up to date with my life. But more importantly tune into BBC2 at 8 on Sunday night. It’s sure to serve up a treat.
Twitter – @jaymess24