Robot Wars S09E02 Part 3: In-Flight Entertainment

Things are shaping up nicely as week 2 of Robot Wars the 9th wars comes to a climax. Eruption have so far blown away the competition- figuratively and literally- to take a commanding 6 points from 2 battles and cement their position at the top of the table. Whatever happens in the final head to head, they will be going through to the heat final. On the other side of the spectrum, PP3D has become so powerful it blew itself up in their fight against Behemoth, sent Cherub into the 4th dimension and sits on zero points, having lost both fights, albeit one to a touchy and controversial judges’ decision against Cherub. Either way, they’re out at this point. That leaves Behemoth and Cherub sitting second and third, and the fact that they face off against each other in their final fight means that whoever wins, by whatever means, will go through to face Eruption. No pressure.

First off, however, it’s over to the little segment of non Robot Wars robot chat. This time Dara and Noel discuss how robots are becoming more prominent in everyday life, their main example being the Amazon delivery drone. It looks funky, but I’m not sure you’d ever be able to coax one into the arena, just to see it hurled through the air by Sir Killalot. A man can dream though.

Head to Head 5: PP3D v Eruption

So our first of the final battles in the dead match between already through Eruption and already out PP3D. Well, I mean you couldn’t have it so that the most decisive match came before one that didn’t matter, could you? PP3D have somehow managed to get Sparky McSparkface up and running again. Eruption had no such problems to contend with. They’re sailing along nicely.

Dead Metal and Sir Killalot are the guardians of the arena, let’s get battle number 7 of this episode underway!

It’s a head to head charge to begin with, Eruption making sure they get in before PP3D’s disc is up to speed. The sparks still fly on contact, but not much damage is done. And Eruption keep coming, forcing PP3D back all the way so that they fly into Dead Metal, then roast on the flame pit. There’s no time to take a breather, to re-strategise. Eruption are on the war path.

It’s all happening around Dead Metal’s CPZ, and PP3D can’t get away. They also can’t get the disc up to speed, and it soon becomes clear that this is no longer just thanks to Eruption harassing them, but the disc itself has simply stopped working. No fireworks this time it would seem. And for Eruption, this is perfect, because PP3D are a sitting duck. They’re a pain to get in underneath, but Eruption do manage to position them onto the floor flipper, and watch them fly as a result.

Airborne 3.PNG
Airborne

The floor flipper action results in PP3D becoming overturned, which is fine because they’re invertible, but they do now have a rather large ground clearance. Eruption of course take full advantage of that ground clearance, and scoop PP3D up onto their flipper, then drive them across the arena and over to their favourite feature- the low arena wall. You know what’s coming next; Bye bye PP3D! Out of the arena you go!

Sailing out of the arena.PNG
Sailing out of the arena

Head to Head 6: Behemoth v Cherub

So this is the decider. The fight that determines who goes through to face off against the rampant Eruption. Behemoth take a narrow 3-2 lead points wise, but that means nothing. Whoever wins this fight, goes through, that’s all that counts. Behemoth (Or most of Behemoth) decide that this fight is a good time to try out their robot’s new contraption, a large grabber. It’s got a scoop like bottom part that sits completely still, but has some jaw like clamps that rear up when fired. The aim being to open up the jaw, catch Cherub inside and then clamp down back onto them. A novel, bold approach. Cherub on the other hand have actually managed to get their robot working, which is about as much as they could hope for.

Your house robots for this fight are Dead Metal and Matilda. Let’s rock and roll!

Behemoth starts by going straight at Cherub, but thanks now to the static bottom part of their robot, they just bounce off. There’s also another unintended consequence, being that the modular clamp has now moved slightly under impact, so that the scoop part is no longer flush to the floor. This can be seen with Behemoth trying to get in underneath, but they just crash into Cherub instead. Could be a long fight…

Cherub themselves of course don’t have much in the way of weaponry, but they’re doing very well to deflect anything Behemoth throws at them by simply being lower to the ground. Behemoth just cannot get in underneath them no matter how hard they try, and this is giving Cherub free reign to run and pace the fight how they want it. Are they being aggressive? Not really so much as they could, but they’re certainly controlled.

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Jaws of fear

Behemoth, in trying to clamp down on Cherub, accidentally end up driving over the top of them. Now Cherub have control of the fight, and they take Behemoth over to Dead Metal, who has a little nibble with the saw, but Behemoth manage to escape. This shows the perilous nature of Behemoth’s predicament- there is more chance of one of their attacks ending with them in a compromised situation due to the scoop than there is of them actually clamping onto Cherub.

Cherub are hardly dominating however, and Behemoth are still more than capable of pushing them around, as is perfectly demonstrated by the next sequence. Behemoth get to the side of Cherub and push them all the way over to the floor flipper, which fires prematurely. Undeterred, Behemoth keep pushing Cherub, and go so far that Cherub partially fall into the hole vacated by the floor flipper, before it comes back down on top of them, trapping them.

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Banter

In my mind, Cherub are now immobile. They’re trapped, they can’t move. I thought it was brilliant driving and strategic play by Behemoth, but apparently trapping your opponent under the floor flipper is not a legal way to immobilise them. This means that the battle has to be restarted, with Cherub now fully functional once again. Bah Humbug.

So the battle restarts, and Behemoth take the game to Cherub, by crashing into them once again and this time taking them all the way into the pit release button. But who need the pit? We have rogue house robots! It’s Dead Metal on the prowl this time, and although he initially goes after Behemoth, they rather quickly get the hell out of there, so instead Cherub are left to face the wrath of space hedgehog the extreme. Rogue house robots end with not much damage caused, but as Dead Metal retreats, Behemoth’s scoop gets caught on his claw! And now Dead Metal are dragging Behemoth back with them!

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Side by side

It’s turning into a war of attrition, but Behemoth are still finding themselves riding up onto Cherub every time they launch a frontal assault. But equally, every side assault seems to be working. It’s going down to the wire, and right near the end both robots end up in Dead Metal’s CPZ. DM takes no prisoners, but with Behemoth closest, they are attacked first. But as the timer counts down from 10, Cherub also catch a sawblade to their robot. Cease is called- it’s so close.

Now for anybody that watched the fight, we know what’s coming next. For me, I really struggled to make a decision as to who I would have gone for in a judges’ decision. I still think Cherub getting wedged under the pit should have been enough to eliminate them, but that’s just me. Over the course of the battle, I’m not so sure. But of course a decision was made, which will now go down in the history books of Robot Wars controversy, up there with Storm 2/Typhoon 2 and Tornado/Razer. Maybe less because of the decision or because of any particular robot, but because of Ant Pritchard’s amazing ability to slip out of the control booth without Angela Scanlon noticing after Cherub were declared winners. 

I don’t blame Ant at all for what he did. He was frustrated with the decision, not necessarily because Cherub were given the victory, but because it would seem he was outvoted in his own team as to what weapon appendage to use, and ultimately the flawed grabber cost them victory. I’d be pissed off too. And I actually thought he handled it very well considering what potentially could have happened. 

Regardless, we now have a heat final. Who would have thought Cherub would make the heat final? Actually in my own prediction, I thought the final 2 would be PP3D and Push To Exit, so that shows how much I know. But it’s hard to look past Eruption now, it really is.

Heat Final: Eruption v Cherub

So, here we are. The battle to decide who will be joining Aftershock in the week 6 grand finale. Eruption are favourites, but Cherub have proven though opposition to everyone (bar Eruption) all the way through. But can they upset the odds one last time?
Your house robots for the final time tonight are Dead Metal and Matilda. Let’s do this!

Cherub, being the fearless badasses they are, charge in for a full frontal attack. However, all this achieves is them riding straight up Eruption’s flipper, and now they’re caught. So Eruption calmly drive them all the way to the edge of the arena, and toss them straight out. Took what, 7 or 8 seconds? And that shows just how immensely powerful Eruption are. 

In the ditch.PNG
In the ditch

Cherub were worthy competitors, but Eruption were just on another level. They join another fantastic robot in Aftershock in the week 6 final. But who will be joining them? Find out next week…

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