We’re into week 3, which means we’re half way through the series. I know, it’s gone quickly. 6 episodes never seems like enough, but it is at least better than nothing.
This series so far has exposed us to some wonderful driving talent and some fearsome robots, with both Eruption and Aftershock winning their heats undefeated. Could that undefeated streak continue for this week’s heat winner? There’s another wonderful mix of robots, from the axes to the drums to lifters to violently rotating full body spinners, this episode has it all. We have a returning finalist in the shape of a brand new Thor, Foxic looks meaner than ever and M.R Speed Squared returns with a robot that looks just as likely to break in half as it did last year. Chimera are also back to make up a quartet of returning robots from week 2 of last series.
8 robots start this heat, but as we know only 4 can go through to the Head to Heads. So somebody is going to be going home disappointed. But who? It’s time to find out how our initial melees line up.
Melee 1: Thor v Concussion v Tauron v Chimera 2
First up we have the returning Thor, who won the wildcard place for the week 6 finale last series after so narrowly missing out on automatic qualification in week 2 that year. But now Thor is back and looking meaner than ever. Not only is the robot more angled to try and deflect spinners or other rotating weaponry, but the axe has been upgraded to pack even more of a punch. Thor can get up to speeds of 30mph, which is not only insane but probably unnecessary. The robot is smaller than last series, more sleek. But have the upgrades hindered or helped?
Next up we have a rookie robot in the shape of Tauron, which has armed itself with a set of twin rotating hammerheads that spin at 3,000 rpm. The robot can work both ways up with no problems, even with the weaponry, making it highly difficult to dispose of in any regular fashion. The robot is however new and somewhat untested, which never seems to be a good combination in battle.
The Chimera team are back with Chimera 2, a much improved version of their last robot, which was such an easy target that it was decimated within about 30 seconds. Gone are the massive car tyres that proved to be their downfall last time out, and now they have durable HDPE wheels. The axe is also improved, and Chimera now sports a wedge scoop to try and get underneath other robots before beating them to death.
Concussion are another newcomer to the 9th wars, but the robot looks good and it’s here to do some damage. Sporting a drum spinner that spin around 6,000 times a minute, Concussion is a simple, compact slim dome shaped robot that looks hard to get into. However, the tyres are exposed at the top of the robot, and with two axebots in this melee, that could come back to bite them.
Anyway, to battle! Your solo house robot for this melee is none other than Shunt, because there weren’t enough axes here already. Let’s do this!
Initially everyone seems to try and avoid everyone else, except super speedy Thor who is busy chasing down Tauron. When Thor catches up Tauron takes a swing with the rotating hammerheads and catches the axebot, but almost straight afterwards Concussion comes barging in and totals Tauron in one hit.
Yep, one hit.
Thor have also stopped moving, although the hammer is still going at it. Shunt comes in for a little look, but not for the kill. Chimera 2 meanwhile are trying to run away from Concussion, who look good early on. Chimera’s adventures ultimately end with them in the spike trap, which is probably where you don’t want to be if you can help it.
Whilst Chimera and Thor are sparring with each other, Thor has now seemingly come back to life, emphasised when they push the unmoving lump of Tauron out of the way and get back into the fight. Concussion and Chimera are still going at it, though Concussion’s drum doesn’t to be doing that much damage to Chimera when they collide.. But now Thor is here too, and Concussion runs away to leave Chimera the target. The axe comes down and sparks fly, literally.
At the moment this battle has become everybody on Chimera. After Thor brought the axe down, Concussion have rejoined the battle and are now underneath Chimera. Thor comes in aswell but as Concussion drops Chimera to go after Thor, it becomes obvious that Chimera have stopped moving. Doesn’t stop Concussion taking a few swipes at Thor with their drum, potentially causing some damage… To themselves. Yes, Concussion are now themselves running on just one wheel. It doesn’t matter because Tauron and Chimera stopped moving first but, not exactly what they wanted. Either way, Thor and Concussion through.
Melee 2: Foxic v M.R Speed Squared v Expulsion v Heavy Metal
Expulsion is a robot created by a group of students, and features a rather remarkable weapon. The series of spinning blades is entirely retractable, and will only come out of the robot once it reaches a certain speed. However, the robot is fairly slow at 5mph and poorly armoured, so might well be up for a beating.
Heavy Metal is one of the weird and wonderful robots from this episode. Coming from the same team that created 13 Black, It is a wedge style robot, but has a central rotating arm as a weapon- though this can supposedly be swapped out for a whole range of weaponry. The robot has a striking pink-purple/blue paint job and highly exposed wheels with rubber studs for extra grip in the arena.
M.R Speed Squared are back with a robot that looks slimmer and wider than last year. The full body spinner is back and looking just as powerful yet vulnerable to spontaneous disassemblement as it did last year. If it works then the 900rpm, 35kg rotating disc can cause hell in the arena. If it doesn’t, then M.R Speed Squared are as good as done.
The final robot in this melee is Foxic, a robot which managed to get into the Head to Heads last year by pure luck and then proceeded to do a grand total of nothing. This year Foxic is back, looking meaner and more streamlined and, well, more like a fox. The ever enigmatic Craig Danby even has a onesie this time around, just to complete the look. The robot is technically a lifter/flipper, but with a top speed of 25mph, it makes a good rambot too.
Your house robot for this melee is the one, the only Sir Killalot. And we’re ready to get underway!
Foxic, being Foxic, decides to ignore usual robot customs and goes straight for the pit release mechanism. It swings to the left and the pit does descend, leaving a trap for the rest of the fight. Foxic then takes a lunge for Expulsion, getting under them briefly. Expulsion’s extremely low top speed is hindering them, as they are prime targets for M.R Speed Squared, which is looking menacing. Foxic gets involved again too, and the sparks begin to fly.
We haven’t yet seen too much of Heavy Metal, but they soon take their turn to have a go at Expulsion, pushing them all the way across the arena and into the spikes, and Sir Killalot. Expulsion are turned over by the spikes, but suddenly Foxic come in for another attack and wipe them off the floor. Perhaps it was unnecessary, but it showed the power of Foxic.
As Foxic retreat from attacking Expulsion, not only do they run into Heavy Metal, but also M.R Speed Squared’s disc, which strikes them flush on the wheel. This doesn’t seem to bother Foxic too much, somehow. Meanwhile, M.R Speed Squared are going in to attack Expulsion, and suddenly start to have a little wobble. And by little, I mean the entire robot is gyrating along the floor in a trippy spiral pattern. The power of gyroscopic forces.
Expulsion are dead, I should probably point out. It was a nice idea for a robot, and had some unique designs, but at 5mph it was too slow and the armour wasn’t good enough. But as an idea, it had potential. Meanwhile, for no reason whatsoever, Foxic decides to reverse onto the floor flipper, which tosses the robot over. This might not have been a problem, except… Well the lifter isn’t working. Foxic had this melee in their grasp; They were aggressive, and before that moment well controlled. They took attacks well and it looked as if the fox was actually proving itself. But the curse of Craig Danby strikes again, and Foxic is taken out before its time.
As for everyone else, well Heavy Metal is just keeping out of it, Expulsion are dead and M.R Speed Squared are trying to make it worse by tearing some more pieces out of the robot. Their spinner actually seems to be working this time around, and they’re causing damage.
But there had to be one final point of action. As M.R Speed Squared retreat, they end up over the spikes, which shoot up and throw MRS^2 through the air and into the arena side wall. A damaging finale to the melee? Perhaps. We can only wait and see.
We know our 4 for the Head to Heads now. Thor, Concussion, Heavy Metal and M.R Speed Squared are all into the round robin tournament. But only one can win the heat. The only question is, who? Until then…