Robot Review: Sabretooth (S09E01)

Sabretooth, famous before this series for having never won a televised fight, came into the 9th wars with a heavily redesigned robot in the hope of breaking the barren spell. Last year they had a spinning drum/snow plough/righter arm combo that failed miserably because the righter arm broke and they ended up in the arena with Eruption, who unceremoniously turned them over like a beached turtle. This year the scoop and righter arm are gone, and it’s all about the 7000rpm drum spinner. They’ve turned the robot into something of a box design in the hope that they would be invertible, and just in general look even more of a threat that they were last year.

Sabretooth had to contend with another couple of spinners in its heat, Aftershock and Crank-E, whilst there was an axebot in the form of TMHWK. Every robot in that heat could potentially pose a threat to Sabretooth- I mean nobody wants to go up against another spinner, especially not one as powerful as Aftershock, whilst Sabretooth’s somewhat flatter shape could cause it problems against the axe of TMHWK if they were to land a direct blow.

Early on in the battle, Sabretooth didn’t actually do very much. It held back and watched as Aftershock pretty much pulverised Crank-E, probably in the hope that they wouldn’t be on the end of that vertical spinning disc themselves. So, whilst Aftershock were busy with Crank-E (And Shunt), Sabretooth quietly made an approach to TMHWK, who themselves looked to be having trouble. And Sabretooth’s drum went to work on them, splintering off pieces of their HDPE skirting- only cosmetic damage, but a good start.

Packing Plastic.png
Packing Plastic

And from there, Sabretooth only got more dominant. TMHWK were cast aside with relative ease as it became clear they were no longer moving. Sabretooth apparently couldn’t help but pretend they had the snow plough still there, because at one point they actually got underneath TMHWK and began pushing them across the arena, until they ended up in the arena spikes. Sabretooth’s last show of dominance came with the them ripping off one of TMHWK’s front wedge pieces, not that they needed them anyway…

So that’s Sabretooth into the head to heads, and a first ever televised victory! After the shock of that had worn off, it was time to crack on and see just how far they could go. First up was a fight against Terrorhurtz, another axe. But after dismantling TMHWK, how hard could they be?

But as the battle started, Terrorhurtz looked on top. They were getting in Sabretooth’s face and making it very difficult for them to spin the drum and get any decent contact. And, as feared, Terrorhurtz also managed to land a few blows with the axe. But all it takes is one moment, just the one, and you’re in for a shot at glory. As Terrorhurtz made a wrong turn into the arena sidewall, exposing their rear end, Sabretooth got the drum up to full speed and practically ripped the entire rear section out of Terrorhurtz, including the all important tail. And now Terrorhurtz were on the run.

Of course, Sabretooth aren’t going to let an opportunity like this pass them by, so they spend their time chasing Terrorhurtz down, and eventually catching up to them. With Terrorhurtz now horrifically off balance, it’s easy to cause them discomfort.

Going under.png
Going under

Terrorhurtz are basically finished now, because they only have one decent working wheel, though they’re still going for it. Sabretooth, however, also have their own problems, namely a giant chunk taken out of their drum spinner. This leads to one of my favourite exchanges in the entire episode:
“Do we have another drum?”
“Nooope.”

It doesn’t matter, because shortly after Terrorhurtz break down for good after a battle with rogue house robot Shunt, and Sabretooth are escaping with the 3 points.

Their second battle in the head to heads is against Aftershock, who are fresh from eliminating Rapid from the competition altogether. So, er, yeah. But Sabretooth have strapped the piece of their drum that fell off back into place, and they’re ready to go.

But right from the start, Aftershock are dominant. They’re straight in on the attack, and Sabretooth can’t escape. First goes a little piece of bodywork, then one of the wheels, then more bodywork. Pieces flying everywhere. Even the floor flipper gets involved, turning Sabretooth over. Now we thought Sabretooth might be invertible, but whether they actually aren’t or the robot just isn’t working because they don’t start moving again, and now Aftershock is going in for the kill.

It’s a bit like pinball, the next phase of battle, with Aftershock pinging Sabretooth around with each hit. Eventually this rights them and Sabretooth try to get away, except now the top panel of the robot is hanging off. This doesn’t deter Aftershock, who keep going, and going. Hit after hit, even now that Sabretooth are so very obviously dead. It’s relentless, and quite honestly I’m amazed there’s anything of Sabretooth left. End game.

Done.png
Done

Somehow, by some miracle, Sabretooth come back from this. They rebuild the robot, get the drum spinning, all in time to face Jellyfish. The work that’s gone into Sabretooth to get it to that stage of working again is incredible. But Jellyfish are a different kind of challenge. At least they know the robot probably isn’t going to get trashed again.

But Jellyfish are aggressive, and they go straight in for the, er, hug. And Sabretooth can’t really do much about it. They’re trying to cause damage with the drum, which certainly isn’t spinning at full speed, but the plastic composition of Jellyfish is absorbing the blows nicely. And Sabretooth as it happens is just the right shape and size to fit nicely in the grasping claw.

Basically, it’s not good to be Sabretooth right now. They do at least get some hurdling practice at one point.

Rodeo
Rodeo!

But Jellyfish are just too awkward a robot for Sabretooth to handle. They keep getting caught on them, be it on the clamp or on the rod at the back of the robot or one something else, and it’s affecting both robots, but especially Sabretooth. To cut a long story partially shirt, this battle ends up going all the way to the judges. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, they went for Jellyfish. But all is not lost! Because, despite only having 3 points, Sabretooth somehow find themselves in 2nd place and through to the heat final!

Unfortunately, that heat final is against Aftershock. I think we all know where this is heading. Infact, I don’t really need to say it do I? If you cast your mind back to the first battle between these two, it went a bit like that, except Aftershock held off once Sabretooth had died, which happened rather quickly. Either way, they’re out, Aftershock are through.


So how did Sabretooth do? Well they broke their bad luck and won a televised fight for the first time ever, then put the hurt out on Terrorhurtz in the first head to head. But unfortunately it was all downhill from there, getting obliterated by Aftershock and losing a judges’ decision to Jellyfish. Somehow 3 points was enough to get them through to the heat final, but I think they were already out before the battle started. And improvement on last year sure, but there’s still a long way to go.

Expectation v Result (4th-2nd): +2
First ever televised victory: +2.5
Trashed TMHWK: +6
Took the tail out of Terrorhurtz: +6
“Do we have another drum?” “Noooope”: +1 for making me laugh
The fact Aftershock happened: -8
Somehow still had a robot to fix after the fight with Aftershock, and actually fixed it: +1 
Jellyfish cuddles: -2
The fact Aftershock happened a second time: -2

Robot Rating (Sabretooth): 6.5/10

Full Robot Review rankings from this series and the last series can be found here:
( https://robotwars2016.wordpress.com/robot-review-rankings/ )
Each review rating is hyperlinked to the article about that robot- simply click on the robot’s name to be navigated to their article.

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