I’ve been watching robotic combat, more specifically Robot Wars for nearly 20 years now. As much as I have loved each and every episode I have watched, and continue to do so, never have I seen a better scripted, filmed and more flowing series than the one we have just witnessed. No episode was dull, the fights were full of quality and everyone played their part perfectly. It’s going to take something pretty special to top it and so we arrive here, at my still not-very-famous end of series Robot Wars awards, celebrating the very best of one of the very best series.
Now for those who have followed me since series 8 you will know all about these. I choose some categories and select a few machines before picking my own winner, some good and some bad. But this time I have literally no negative categories. Usually I put in worst robot or worst fight but I couldn’t think of many if any to fit those this time. So we’re all smiles here. So join me as I pick through the bones and hand out my Robot Wars series 10 awards.
Wow, I’ve gone straight in at the deep end here. So many to choose from because there wasn’t really a dull battle all series. To be fair like last series, pretty much anything involving Eruption was quite special. Fights against Big Nipper, Behemoth, Rapid and Magnetar have to be commended. Rapid also had a great heat final with Terrorhurtz and proper Robot Wars slogging match, where one was on top one minute and the other the next. I thought there were many ‘old school’ fights in this series which was great to see. Talking about slogging it out, what about Tauron & Androne? Great contest. This was a very difficult category to choose a winner and you won’t believe how close I came to picking the Eruption/Carbide grand final fight. How much better of a fight can you get? But the winner of this category was in the very first heat. My favourite fight probably of all time is Chaos 2/Wild Thing from series 5 and whilst we have seen some exceptional battles since then, the Apollo/Behemoth heat final genuinely made me think that was the best fight since then. I’ve watched it so many times and it doesn’t get any less interesting. A proper flipping match with an unexpected ending. Amazing stuff.
Winner – Apollo/Behemoth (Heat 1, Heat Final)
Robot Wars is about entertainment and because of the nature of the show, when it comes to fights pretty much anything goes. When I say that I mean theres no resetting or staging (not much these days anyway), what you see is what you get. If your robot dies withing 10 seconds, thats it. Theres no calling cease so you can fix it for a better fights. This also rings true when it comes to unexpected moments and some of them can be hilarious. Who would have though Shunt would lose his axe after repeated hits on Hobgoblin? Unpredictable. The 10 way; how many actually ended up in the pit? That tickled me the way Big Nipper attempted the climb its way. And with the greatest respect to Behemoth, falling down the ascending pit in the final was pretty funny. Other noticeable mentions go to Apollo for throwing Rubber Duck lord knows how high over the screens and Gabe from Sabretooth completely letting his robot hormones take over in order to defeat Apocalypse. Some amazing moments we’ve had but I’m giving this award to something that literally couldn’t have been written. Who forgot to tighten those bolts in the arena spikes? Those shooting up in the air not only made for a great arena obstacle but had me in stitches too. Brilliant.
Winner – Rocket Propelled Spikes
Most Improved Robot
So this one is for veterans of the wars and whilst many robots did much better than in previous incarnations, I’ve narrowed this one down to 3. First comes Tauron, a machine I was really excited about in series 9 and to be fair pretty much anything they did this time would have been better than the 5 seconds knockout they got in the previous war. But the level of improvement was insane. Even if the first Tauron had a proper run out I don’t think it would have made the impression that this one did, but the disappointing thing is that Tauron still didn’t win a fight, but I don’t think you can come much closer than what they did to a win. Nuts, my heroes of series 10. They made it all the way to the top 4 even beating Carbide along the way. After 2 previous heat exits without making a final, they could be the easy winner of this. It was only a faulty wheel that stopped this same robot doing their thing in series 9, who knows what could have happened there. The final contender here is Rapid and robot that I gave the ‘Worst Robot’ award to in series 9. I take all that back now as they made the final in dominant fashion and its a robot and team I’ve grown to love and they made by far the best exit of the competition. Its a very difficult choice, I really wanted to go for Tauron here just because of difference in performance, but I’m going for redemption for both me and the team. From showing potential but having to withdraw last time because your robot is too complicated, to making it through pretty much without fault. And Rapid set a new shortest fight record. They were only stopped my Carbide this time and theres no disgrace in that.
Winner – Rapid (Pre-Combustion)
Best Driven Machine
Robot Wars is about having a hard robot that can take hits as well as give them out. But what is that without control? Why have a robot that is highly destructive and capable if you can’t drive the thing? Its a fine art and control is everything. Lesser robots have won fights in the past just by having a better driver, its even a criteria for the judges marking next to damage and aggression, neither of which can really be performed without control. 3 nominees again, first off Terrorhurtz. Brilliantly driven these days which I often find ironic given the first time I saw John Reid drive a robot on the telly, he drove it straight into the pit….. Nevertheless he can keep that hard wedge to opponents and the control in the first round melee and the in over Vulture was exceptional. I’m a big fan of Thor too and Jason can run rings around this category everyday. Genuinely think he’s the best driver in the competition. But he has an upcoming rival for that now and its in the form of another vastly experienced roboteer, only difference is Jason, bless him, is around 30 years older (sorry Jase). Michael Oates from Eruption was on another level in terms of driving skill this series, knowing when to attack and always alert to what is going on. This award’s going to him and if you don’t agree, watch the fight with Behemoth back again and concentrate on Eruption’s movements. A masterclass if ever I saw one.
Winner – Eruption
Luck plays a part in everything and no less so in Robot Wars. How many times over the years has a robot been on top in a battle only them to breakdown or get hit by a lucky strike. Other occasions, such as Behemoth’s run over a descending pit fall into this category but there’s 2 robots that stand out here. Tauron pops up here again. Elaborating on what I said earlier it was only a little piece of debris on the arena floor that stopped the already low machine moving around before the whistle. That put them into redemption and maybe aside form the final battle itself, their fight with Androne was one of the closest of the series. A brilliant robot that could not have got any closer to a win if it tried. Iron Awe 6 is an amazing robot on the live stage so I was really excited to see how it did back in Robot Wars. Unfortunately the weapon never worked. Not once in any of its 4 fights. It was tested and was working everytime but for some reason as soon as it entered the arena, nothing. I’m hearing on the grapevine that they were using an older style controller and there was interference in the arena. A shame but also desperately unlucky. For me though you can’t get much closer to unlucky with Tauron’s 2 losses. So close but so far.
Best Robotic Gymnastics
The power produced by weapons, particularly flippers these days is still astonishing. One flip can tend to send a 110 kg robot spinning 3 or 4 times into the air and its a great spectacle. But theres one robot this time around you could be forgiven for feeling a bit dizzy. Behemoth might have had their best ever run in a UK championship but they didn’t half take a few tumbles along the way. Apollo threw them numerous times whilst I think they spent more time of their sides and back against Magnetar. And the Eruption fight, well, I’d be amazed if Ant used the controls at all for half of that fight. The spins from Eruptions flip into Matilda’s flywheel would have left many an Olympic judge reaching for that 10 card.
Winner – Behemoth Tweddle
This is the big one isn’t it? Now for all of my complaining of there only being 30 competitors and they were all manually selected by production, to give them their due, they picked some amazing robots for this series. Not just in terms of quality but the way they looks too. There truly were some striking machines out there. Now if this was an award for the best looking robot, Magnetar wins hands down with Apollo just behind, but this is for the robot I believe had the best design in the series. We had some weird and wonderful designs in this series and some that we’ve never seen before. Vulture was unique and there is a robot design that, admittedly needs a little bit of tweaking but was a great idea for a fighting robot. For craziness you can never beat Gabriel and I actually gave them my best design award for series 8. I love The Kegs, a brilliant way of showing that a robot can literally be made out of anything, and The Swarm made me smile a lot too. The winner of this award though was actually one of my favourite robots of the series. They didn’t last long, but were great fun and their robot stood out quite a lot more than others did. The winner of the best design for the 10th wars is Bucky The Robot. Do I really need to justify it? Its based on a set of chattering teeth!
Winner – Bucky The Robot
Most Entertaining Team
Its not just having a damn scary robot that makes you well respected in this world. Being a bunch of likeable guys and gals can go so far to how much support you can get. Its one of the reasons I like Apollo so much, a great robot yes but the team are a good group of guys who always look like they’re enjoying it so much. They want to win yes, but they entertain along the way. Luckily we are blessed in this sport and there are some amazing characters around. So this is for the people behind the designs and recognition for the personalities that they bring. Just to note I like all of them, theres no one team that I really wanted to do bad, but again I’ve whittled it down. One of my most memorable moments was Gabe from Sabretooth shouting at team mate Rob to splatter a pretty much dead Apocalypse into the wall. This was funny as it was entertaining and I’ve grown towards Sabretooth since series 8. The Nuts guys are brilliant as always and at times the realisation of what they were achieving was highly amusing to see. A joke robot no more, but still a great team. Once again though for me, there is only one winner. A junior doctor from Hereford who impersonated Donald Trump. Oh and his robot looks like the president too. The guy was brilliant and had me in stitches throughout and to top it off, he did a parody whilst the Tennis was on with an awesome fight between Mr. Thump & Dara O Breadbin. Well worth checking out on YouTube, and what a personality. Covfefe anyone?
Winners – Team Ballistix with Donald Thump
Most Promising Newcomer
Looking back at the list of robots in this series, there weren’t actually that many new robots in there. There was a lot of experience around and new machines from familiar teams but in terms of true newcomers, they were few and far between. I’ve mentioned a few already in the shape of Donald Thump & Bucky but who looks like they have the best potential for the future? Sure a few tweaks to Donald and Bucky’s designs and they could go on, but on the basis of this series there were better performers. One that stands out to me here was Vulture. A great starting block that machine is and if it can be engineered to be that little bit more reliable with a more potent weapon it will be a very promising machine indeed. The winner of this category though gave some fine robots a bit of a scare. Coupled with a solid design, lots of power and incredibly good driving for a first time competitor and Androne 4000 is one to watch. They nearly beat Concussion, but the thing that seals this for me was the demonstration of control against Tauron. Well done guys, you’ve got yourself a solid robot there.
Winner – Androne 4000
Most Unforgettable Moment
My final award going to something that is truly unforgettable and is part of the legacy of Robot Wars. One of the joys of this show is that you never quite know what is going to happen. A robot can be so dominant one minute and be sitting in the pit the next, a la Behemoth. You can be really in the fight and the next minute you spontaneously combust, a la Rapid. That was a huge moment. Point is a lot of things happen out of the blue in this game and a lot of them are very memorable. This series was no different. Who can forget the Big Nipper hit on Crackers N Smash that about hit the ceiling? Androne 4000’s guts being spewed out all over the arena floor in the most gory death Robot Wars has ever seen and even Nuts; who’s ever going to forget their run to 3rd place? Some wonderful, wonderful moments have arisen from this series and if Im being honest, I think I only put this category in this time just to mention the winner of it. Bit obvious isn’t is really? I never thought we’d see anything more spectacular than the planting of Aftershock’s side panel through the wall against Carbide in series 9, but the way that the 110 kg Apex took itself apart was astonishing. The power behind that thing is incredible but looks like it couldn’t be contained. Moments like that go down in Robot Wars history and will never, ever be forgotten about.
Winner – Apex Self Implosion
So thats my list of awards, I can stop going on now and let you get back to your lives. Got any other suggestions or alternative winners? Let me know on here or give me comment on Twitter, link below. What a series its been and I sincerely hope this continues with series 11. We have some international specials to come between Christmas and New Year to look forward to as well, so dont miss those. Thank you so much for sticking with me for this incredible journey and I will be back with other Robot Wars related blogs as well as other tat I write about, you know, games and stuff. I’ll leave a link to my very amateur looking YouTube account too where there are 5 fights from the first round melee’s in this series that I took from the audience. Lets us hope for more robots, more fights and lots more action in the future. Yes seriously, BBC 2, we need more robots! Do qualification or something like the old days, sort it out! Either way folks have a very happy Christmas and a brilliant New Year. Over & Out.
Twitter – @jaymess24
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