Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, after fifteen long weeks, we've finally done it. We're here: the playoffs. The ups and downs of the group stage are finished. Of the twenty-one robots in each weight class that first set out in pursuit of the Bowl of Cherries, eight remain. There will be no rebounding from losses here, no prognosticating about tiebreaks and looking to squeeze points out of matchups. Now, it's single elimination. You win, you progress and keep your championship dreams alive. Lose, and it may have been a valiant effort, but it's ultimately 'better luck next time'. Nobody wants better luck then. They want it all, and they want it now.
And what better place to revel in excess than the hyper-exclusive Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel in Dubai? Our deep pocketed sponsors have shelled out big for the final three weeks of our competition. All four weight classes will be fighting in the notoriously perilous Vertigo, where a single misstep could end your championship ambitions, so don't indulge too much at the open bar! Oh, and check out the arena below. As we all know, using its features to your advantage could be the difference between a playoff run for the ages and a quick flight home. Good luck!
Vertigo by Floating Castle Robotics on Sketchfab
Location: Dubai, UAE
Size: 60 ft diameter - 2827 square feet
Intended Use: LW-SHW Singles and Doubles
Theme: Helicopter landing pad
Floor Materials: painted steel
House Robots: In tournaments that allow house robots, this arena has two, Genghis and Colonel Mordread, which patrol the ring around the central hazard. However, CBC3 will not be employing them this time around.
Hazards and Features:
- Immediate Ejection Device (1) - This enormous floor piston is located in the center of the arena and pops up beneath bots that drive over it, launching them high into the air and dealing moderate to heavy impact damage when they land in addition to potentially flipping them over.
- Fall Away Walls - The arena walls are five feet high, meaning that only the strongest flippers can manage to flip opponents over them for the first two minutes of the match. However, at the 2:00 mark, they fall away, making OOTAs tantalizingly easy for the remainder of the fight.
- Micro IEDs (32) - These small floor pistons ring the edges of the arena. For the first two minutes, they pop up under robots that drive over them, disrupting traction and dealing no to light damage. During the final minute, they pop up in advance of robots barreling over the edge, forcing drivers seeking an OOTA to employ at least some strategy. This hazard has been modified. There are now 64 Micro IEDs spaced about 2.5 feet apart.
- Danger Zone (optional - 2) - The two concentric rings that are occasionally home to the house robots can be turned into floor spinners for fights without house robots. These only deal no to light damage, but they can disrupt traction and spin robots away.
Achievement: Don't Need No Special Rules! - Score an OOTA while the walls are still up.
The Fight Card
Below are the week's fights. RPs will be due on Saturday, May 25, at 11:59 PM EST. The RP limit for the group stage was 400 words, but it will be 500 for the duration of the playoffs. Remember to inform your opponent of configuration choices.
(1) Blood Eagle vs (9) Evil Destroyer
Both bots spin up and get going, meeting closer to Evil Destroyer's side of the ring, both blades colliding with a hefty SMASH! Neither bot seems to happy with the blade-to-blade collision, ED's arm having a noticeable bend to one side in it, and BE's arm looking a bit stressed. The two bots come together again, once again blade to blade thanks to the pivoting arm, and with a mighty crack, three parts fly free of the collision. BE seems to be in one piece, whilst ED's entire spinner assembly now lays around halfway across the arena.
BE spins up once more, clearly the better off of the two, though the blade seems to be struggling a little at gaining momentum. The sluggish ED moves in, attempting to capitalize, but gets battered away by the blade, spinning across the floor and popping upwards a bit as it glides over the IED. This distance gives Laz enough time to rev up to top speed, progress around the IED as ED attempts to escape, only to find the rear of its chassis cleaved clean through, spraying shuffle banks across the floor. ED's two remaining pads wriggle but can't pull the bot around adequately to prevent the knockout.
Blood Eagle wins by KO in 1:20.
(4) Terpsichora vs (5) The Thieving Magpie
It's a slobberknocker from the start. Thieving Magpie starts on top, chucking Terpsichora over twice within the first thirty seconds and forcing HFL to self-right using a Mini IED. Danielle's reflexes have been on point so far, with Magpie managing to hook off every time that it's lost the wedge war, but how long can she hope to keep this up?
Aaaaaannnnnnnd, we have our answer. Terpsichora gets under and absolutely cranks The Thieving Magpie. The Team Stealth bot somersaults through the air, landing upside-down and self-righting right into Terpsichora's weapon. OUCH! That follow up hit leaves a small tear in its baseplate and it gets thrown once more. It's able to dodge away this time, but that's scant comfort for Danielle as she resets and comes back in.
Thieving Magpie wins wedge-to-wedge, but HFL is quickly hooking away, and the flip doesn't do much more than flick its front up. Terpsichora's counterattack, however, hurls its east coast rival for a third time. The flipper is fortunate to land right side up, but that sturdy flipper is starting to look a bit dented and one corner of its wedge is noticeably peeled up. It's nothing compromising if you think about it only as armour, but its ability to get beneath the Team Instant Regret bot could be compromised if it takes many more shots like that.
Danielle goes into hyper-reflex mode, and backs off the next couple of times that Magpie gets outwedged, much to HFL's frustration, but she's sacrficed aggression points for the sake of not giving up any more damage. The gamble seems to pay off as soon as the walls fall away, with her bot earning a rare win in the wedge contest and making the most of it with a spectacular flip. Terpsichora does a near 540 and lands upside down, jetting away before what would've been an OOTA flip can claim it. The spinner flees for safety, executing a sudden turn to gyro itself back onto its wheels. It eats another flick for its troubles, but manages to settle the right way up.
With about thirty seconds remaining, both drivers are beign cautious and looking for the right opportunity. Danielle has started trying to angle in more, and HFL is hooking backwards in a wide arc to avoid it. Then, out of the blue, he follows one of these hooks up by darting forward. The already-damaged corner is caught again as Magpie backpedals, and the flipper ends up on its back. Terpsichora's able to chain a second hit that accidentally rights the other bot, and Magpie gets away. The match ends with it hovering close to the Danger Zones, trying to bait HFL in, but he doesn't seem to be having any of it.
Aggression: 8-7 The Thieving Magpie
Damage: 10-5 Terpsichora
Control: 9-6 Terpsichora
Terpsichora wins 26-19!
(3) Cuddle Time! vs (6) Tidal Wave 2
Early on in this fight, it becomes obvious that Cuddle Time! is playing a game where it has very little margin for error and that Gabe knows it. He's nonetheless able to get a couple of solid lifts in after stalling Tidal Wave's drum against his anti-vert attachment. He struggles to actually control it, however, as it tends to just tumble off of his lifter. One of these still manages to flip the Canadian machine, however, though it's able to get its drum going enough through unpredictable running to Gyro-flip itself back over before long.
Hii's not dumb, though, and after about a minute, he makes an adjustment, hooking away dramatically as Cuddle Time starts to wear down his drum's momentum. The first attempt results in him nearly being flipped sideways. Gabe capitalizes with the clamp and lift that he's been waiting for, delivering the spinner to some Micro-IEDs before releasing it. The only thing that's saving Tidal Wave, at this point, is the fact that Gabe has to line up his shots very carefully. It's allowing the drum to get up to speed pretty consistently, not that it's doing much against that oddly-shaped but sturdy plow.
Another contact comes up more or less head to head, but Tidal Wave knows the game now and a sudden hook gives it a free shot at Cuddle Time's front corner. The Team 57 entry rushes forward and, just as Gabe is starting to react, carves open the thinly-armoured front corner of his bot. The most obvious casualty is a wheel, but the whole frame seems to have taken some serious damage. Whew. Now, we have a fight.
Tidal Wave, looking to chain, moves in for a follow-up and manages a glancing blow that adds to the damage, but not in a catastrophic way. Cuddle Time resets, looking to regain the initiative with just over a minute remaining. It moves in again and gets one side of its lifter under, but it's got a slight wobble now, and one of Tidal Wave's little skids slips unde its other side. The wedge lock lasts for maybe a second before the American machine is hurled backwards, nearly going over. Tidal Wave rushes in, however, and manages a second glancing blow to its opponent's chassis and...
Cuddle Time just stops moving. Hii hangs back, keeping his bot's drum at full speed. It's hard to say exactly what happened with the Interrobang entry, but somethign must've been jarred loose. The referee's count reaches ten and this one is in the books.
Result: Tidal Wave 2 wins by KO at 2:32
(2) Ayame vs (7) Shade Fist
The fight starts with both bots coming at each other like usual and i should probably find a better way to start these writeups. Ayame goes for it's opponent's corner, Shade Fist quickly turns to adjust but at the same time Alex V backs off, SF's quick turn made it gyro dance a little, giving Alex V an opportunity to get under, which he takes gratefully. Ayame fires the flipper almost immediately after, making SF fly but it lands the right way up.
Next encounter Alex V changes his approach and tries to circle around SF, but didn't really work out and when Ayame approached it got hit. Shade Fist is quick to follow up with a chain of flips that get Ayame closer to the wall, then SF lets it stay on the ground like a second or two to spin up fully and when Ayame self rights the black dog clone quickly rushes in before it's opponent can regain control. And like that we got our first big hit! and also the last one, Ayame actually went all the way over the wall and landed OOTA.
Your Winner, by OotA in 0:33 is Shade Fist!
(1) Carbonemys vs (9) Manglerfish
Manglerfish is driving very cautious to start off while Alex is looking cool as the sunglasses wearing cucumber he is. Here comes Mangler fish he's coming pretty close to the hammer there. Oh boy here we go-- CLANG! BAM BAM each of the hits just missing. HFL uses the saw arm to smack the opponent away. SMASH. And Mangler fish gets underneath the side and starts sawing away. It saws for a good 7 seconds until Carbonemys breaks from it's grip. Manglerfish tries a similar strategy again. It smacks the barbaric turtle away and then goes for the side a second time. BANG BANG CRACKKK. There goes the saw arm. Eventually Carbonemys is able to turn itself around enough that it gets another small hit in. At this point there's not much more Manglerfish can do. After a lot of wedging and running, the fish is, well...
Pounded into fresh meat by the local Canadian butcher
Carbonemys II wins by Filet o Fish in 2:46
(4) Neophyte Redglare vs (5) Diablo Genesis III
From the outset, it's clear that these two bots are evenly matched in drivetrain, and both have plans that they hoope will give them the necessary edge. First blood goes to Diablo Genesis, as it brings its clamp down around its opponent, but Syl's expecting the move and is able to hook away in the nick of time.
That doesn't mean that things get any easier, though. Neophyte Redglare's tactics revolve largely arounf baiting Drew into firing his flipper early. However, he seems to mostly be focusing on the clamp... without much success. After another failed try, he's finally able to get a grip, and Neophyte Redglare takes a trip on the IED, fortunate to land right side up. Syl is actually lucky enough to catch Drew by surprise, and their bot actually slides underneath Diablo Genesis' wedge. The Alpha Robotics machine spins out on the Danger Zone and Syl takes the risk of shoving it into the IED. It comes down upside-down, but self-rights quickly, immediately under pressure from its opponent, who tries to shove it right back into the gigantic hazard.
This time, the plan backfires, and Diablo Genesis gets spun away... right into Neophyte Redglare's side. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Drew fires his flipper and the Team Foxtrot Uniform bot is overturned. It begins the relatively slow process of righting itself, but Diablo Genesis is there to clamp it, and the waifubot takes a HARD slam into one of the outer walls. Still firmly gripped in the veteran machine's jaws, it takes a second and a third, being popped by a couple of Micro-IEDs before release.
Thinking fast, Syl actually decides to drive their bot over one of the hazards, and this succeeds in righting it faster than its lifter would've. Drew is flip-happy now, though and he comes in again, looking to send his opponent over once more. He takes the bait. A quick stutter by Neophyte Redglare causes him to miss, and it swoops in, getting beneath and slamming Diablo Genesis into the wall moments before it falls away.
His bot in immediate peril, Drew mashes the controls and it hooks away. Unfortunately for him, he falls for the bait a second time. Unfortunately for Syl, Diablo Genesis still has a 2WD wedge beneath its plow, and it now has his bot clamped. Lining up a final ram out of bounds, the clamp hurtles forward...right into a Micro-IED. Drew misjudged by the tiniest amount. That's not to say that it isn't able to burn ample clock until being forced to release its chewtoy, and Syl's next baiting attempt is roundly defeated, resulting in Neophyte Redglare ending this match still inside the arena, but on its back and very much on the back foot.
Aggression: 9-6 Diablo Genesis III
Damage: 9-6 Diablo Genesis III
Control: 9-6 Diablo Genesis III
Result: Diablo Genesis III wins a 27-18 judges decision and will progress to the semifinals!!
(3) Scion vs (6) Jackal
This fight is full of a lot of the drivers saying one thing and doing another. Both are like..."aggression, RAWR!" but then they pull all sorts of cute maneuvers (to be fair, Gabe was also like, "caution, RAWR!"). Both try angling in and both have numerous tricks to make it work.
Early on, Alex does an uncannily good job of predicting where Scion is going and being one step ahead of it. Gabe is forced to drive more defensively than he'd like, and actually falls for a couple of feints to his eternal shame. The icing on the cake is when Scion ends up overturned and clamped.
However, in what may be the only observed instance of Gabe being grateful for the presence of a hazard, he simply drives his bot over a Micro-IED to right it once Scion is forced to release, denying Alex more of the match control that he was so eagerly craving. The issue, in general, as the match wears on, is that Gabe, like any good driver, starts making adjustments, and Scion's speed advantage is telling. Scion also begins 'stuttering', which isn't to say that the robot develops the power of speech and then an unfortunate impediment to said miraculous ability over the course of the fight. Rapid stops and starts throw off some of Jackal's maneuvers and, now the American machine really begins to crank up the aggression, harrying its opponent and denying it the opportunity to do much more than either react or mount the sort of unintelligent aggression that Alex is loathe to engage in.
By the time that the walls fall, the combatants are on a roughly equal footing overall. Jackal gets wedged and raises its upper arm to block an overhead thwack attempt, but continues getting plowed towards... nevermind. It hooks off and manages to angle in on Scion's side shields. The Interrobang Robotics entry is far too quick to remain wedged, however, and it escapes before the clamp can come into play. Overall, the final minute is a mix of tentativeness and daring attempts to send the other OOTA for both bots. Scion is the more effective at angling in on its opponent, but keeping Jackal under control is another matter altogether. That wedge doesn't have a lot of depth at all. The buzzer sounds with the British machine hooking off of Scion's wedge to escape a big OOTA run-up, but it doesn't have the chance to counter. This is going to the judges, and it's close.
Aggression: 8-7 Jackal
Damage: 8-7 Jackal
Control: 9-6 Scion
(3) Scion wins a 23-22 split decision and will advance to the Semifinals!
(2) Chronic Jobber vs (7) I Suck at Names
We’ve got two terrifying weapons here, Chronic Jobber’s undercutting bar against ISAN’s big vertical bar on a stick.
Both bots spin up, and Chronic Jobber doesn’t even bother leaving its square until it’s done so. They approach each other very carefully. ISAN’s got its weapon flipped around backwards, so there’s no long forks for Jobber to hit. I’m not sure which way ISAN’s blade’s spinning, actually – are they trying to knock Jobber’s blade into the floor? No, ISAN raises its blade up a bit as the bots close with each other, and it looks like it actually goes over the top of Jobber’s undercutter. It makes contact with something, the lifter flies upward and ISAN gets popped in the air and yanked forward – straight into Jobber’s blade!
WHAM! Both bots get sent spinning away in an explosion of shrapnel. Jobber hits the floor and bounces in the the wall. The bar’s stopped, and it’s easy to see why: the armor right on top of the weapon hub’s been caved in and the frontal armor around there split open and peeled outward. There’s no way that didn’t take out the pulley or sprocket or whatever’s connecting the bar to the motor. But ISAN’s front left corner’s but absolutely cleaved open! The front armor’s got a huge gash, the tread guard’s been peeled out like tinfoil, and the front sprocket’s lying on the arena floor somewhere along with the track. ISAN’s also been sent pirouetting around and flipped due to the gyroscopic effect, and the weapon’s gouged some paint off the arena floor. The support frame actually looks to be twisted.
ISAN laboriously self-rights, but the weapon isn’t spinning back up. Cripple fight! Chronic Jobber comes in and attacks with its rear wedge, getting under ISAN’s corner, but ISAN has its own set of forks, and after a bit of back and forth pushing with ISAN limping around it’s able to slide under Jobber’s wedge and lift its rear end in the air, high-centering it, then roll it over on its back. Jobber’s wedge is now, uh, useless. It’s able to right itself with a mini-IED, and this process repeates itself until the walls come down, at which point it has to use the big IED.
Damage: Chronic Jobber 6, I Suck At Names 9
Aggression: Chronic Jobber 8, I Suck At Names 7
Control: Chronic Jobber 6, I Suck At Names 9
Your winner, by a 25-20 Judges’ Decision, is I Suck At Names!
(1) Chimera vs (8) Death Metal
Ever had a pokemon match where you're just so hard-countered, you almost fight freer than if you weren't? That's kind of what happens here. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm writing other people's matches in order to get the semifinal bracket up with enough time for people to RP, so you're getting the Coles' Notes version fo this fight. My apologies.
The fight starts promisingly for Death Metal, which catches Gabe by surprise with a sideways starting tactic and, despite his certainty that his much faster machien can't be caught out by something with a -3 control ratio, carves right into Chimera's side. Wheels and pieces of wheels achieve liftoff. Luckily for Gabe, his bot has like 56.3 million of them. Cue a brief bit of discretion being the better part of valour for the Interrobang machine.
Of course, that doesn't last all match, or even much of it. Danielle does her best to give her bot space and to keep it from gyrodancing madly, and it works to some extent. This isn't entirely a boring smotherfest with a a half-doezen wall slams and extended pins, but good ol' Death Metal dances the funky chicken more than once, and there's a particularly bad sequence where it ricochets into a wall, back into the onrushing Chimera, and is punted onto the IED, coming down hard with a wobbly baseplate before being slammed into a wall and pinned.
By the time that the walls fall away, Chimera's front is showing definite signs of damage, but it's mostly managed to stop the terrifying spinner from doing its worst. Then, it flips. The ferocious blade impacts cleanly and wrenches its flipper sideways so that it's no longer properly retracting, but Death Metal flies and lands hard, skittering along its side as Danielle desperately powers down the weapon. Too little, too late. The Team Stealty standout goes into the safety netting, and that's all she wrote for this one.
Result: Chimera wins by OOTA at 2:11
(4) Dreadnought Mk. 4 vs (5) Trashman
All right, Dreadnought comes prowling out of its square, looking downright menacing. Alex wants that heavyweight title BAD, and I’m sure has no intentional of losing to... this. Meanwhile the trashman comes out, and throws TRASH all over the – all over the ring! I.e. the trashcans split off from it and trundle off doing their own thing as the main bot heads for Dreadnought. Now Dreadnought shoots forward, Trashman starts out charging at it then veers off at an angle and goes for Dreadnought’s side, but Dreadnought’s also gone for Trashman’s side, and they end up stuck awkwardly side by side. Both back off a little and go for each other, and Dreadnought gets under Trashman’s, uhh... Spoonlift? I ain’t calling that thing a forklift. Trashman backs away though and is able to escape.
Anyway, after a bit more back and forth jousting Trashman proceeds to START EATIN’ GARBAGE, by which I mean Dreadnought slams into it, easily slides underneath, and tosses it in the air. The Trashman tumbles onto its back, and with that clamp almost fully lowered to grab Dreadnought it’ll take a while to self-right. But instead of going in for a followup attack Dreadnought zooms away, and it PICKS UP THE TRASHCAN, AND SMASHES THE ARENA WALL WITH IT! Actually it looks like it was trying to throw it out, but doesn’t get the timing right and bounces it off the wall. The trashcan lands upside-down though, so that’s one minibot down.
The Trashman’s back on its treads, and this time does a feint off to the side and then charges into Dreadnought with its scoop pressed against the floor, and actually gets under it. It tries to bring the clamp down but Dreadnought fires the flipper, and the front-hinged design turns out to be perfect for pushing the clamp away. Dreadnought’s free, and after a bit it gets another flip, but this time it’s a 360, and the surprisingly acrobatic Trashman’s able to angle in and pin the flipper down before Dreadnought can fire it. It proceeds to PICK UP DREADNOUGHT, AND SMASH THE TRASHCAN ON THE HEAD WITH IT. By which I mean it parades it around the arena for almost 30 seconds, then sets it on a trashcan and high-centers it.
And the refs are calling for the pin to be released, which results in some confusion in the End of the Line LLC control booth. Yeah, sorry buddy, putting a bot directly onto another part of the cluster is a continuation of the same pin. Releasing a pin means no part of your robot can be in physical contact with your opponent for like, at least a second.
In the interest of saving time both teams agree to have Trashman just shove Dreadnought off the trashcan and put it on the arena floor, then back off to its position when the clock was stopped. And... we’re off again! And Dreadnought wastes no time overturning Trashman again – not a perfect flip but enough to roll it over – and gets its revenge by feeding the other trash can to the IED. Which it actually survives. So Dreadnought PICKS UP THE TRASHCAN, AND SMASHES THE TRASHMAN ON THE HEAD WITH IT. The Trashman’s unscathed and ends up almost grabbing Dreadnought again but the Trashcan’s now GARBAGE.
Anyway, a lot of pushing and ramming and flipping and one short-lived grab from Trashman later, and the walls come down. Dreadnought overturns Trashman and starts shoving it towards the edge while it ponderously self-rights and tries to flail itself around with its treads. The mini-IEDs come up to block it, and Dreadnought slams it against them. Trashman gets back upright, but is scooped up again, and flipped, but Dreadnought’s running low on gas and can’t quite get it over the wall. It settles for sliding underneath it again and repeatedly ramming it and harassing it and trying to interfere with its self-righting until the pin clock runs out. Trashman gets up again, but again it gets wedged. It lifts its scoop up a little and tries to monstertruck over the top of Dreadnought, but there’s the flip, and that was nearly a three-pointer! The Trashman comes down practically on top of the mini-IED as it comes up, nearly goes out, and comes down on its side in between them. Dreadnought rams it and wedges the bot’s triangular shape between two mini-IEDs, and I’m not sure it can get out from that position. The clamp can’t really open, but it retracts the pinion and is able to get enough space to – ooh, and Dreadnought rams it again, keeping it stuck in there! The countdown clock is starting at this point, and it doesn’t look like the Trashman is going to be able to wiggle free – no, it isn’t!
Your winner, by knockout in 2:52, is Dreadnought MK4!
(3) Compound Fracture vs (6) Coup de Grâce IV
A lot of this fight between former champions is both drivers mutually consenting to go head-to-head. Compound Fracture doesn't seem to be willing to press its large, shieldlike lifter, and that results in Coup de Grace winning the majority of wedge wars. It tries wailing away with its hammer but, as long as the two bots are locked together, most of these attempts are stymied by the angle and height of the plow. Slowly, laboriously, Compound Fracture manages to push Coup towards the hazards, but the hammer bot gets away fairly quickly most of the time by firing its hammer like a maniac. The audience oohs and aahs, even though it actually manages to flip itself a couple of times.
The big danger for HFL, in the first half of this fight, is getting hit on the way in. Compound's upper armour soaks a handful of nasty shots before he decides to raise his lifter as an added layer of defense. Thsi doesn't stop Drew from just pressing that big red button on his controller like a man possessed, though, and the hammer or, more often, its shaft clangs ineffectively off of the Team Instant Regret machine's plow with startling regularity.
Compound Fracture's best moment in the fight comes when it's actually able to get around the hammer bot's side and give it a quick shove into the danger zones that gets it all turner around. A subsequent push onto the IED makes the hammer bot fly. Coup is lucky to come down right-side-up, but it gets wedged for its trouble immediately. This time, however, it's able to pivot free immediately, and it retaliates with a vicious blow to the dorsal plate of its opponent.
HFL seems more willing to try angling now and, while Coup slips a way pretty often, it manages a couple of good slams into the walls and, once they're gone, the Micro-IEDs that nearly put Coup out. However, it doesn't seem to be using its lifter anymore. The damage to its top plate seems to have finally put paid to the weapon. The result is actually some more successful match control at the cost of imperfect blocking. A couple more hammer blows hit pay dirt before the match is over, and it doesn't seem to be moving with quite the same pep that it was at the beginning of the fight. That's definitely somethign that the judges will have to take into account, because this is a close one without a doubt.
Aggression: 8-7 Compound Fracture
Damage: 11-4 Coup de Grace
Control: 10-5 Compound Fracture
Result: Coup de Grace wins a 23-22 split decision to advance to the semifinals!
(2) Black Diamond vs (7) Tabor Mark 3
Both bots come out aggressively, Tabor swooping around edge of the outer floor spinner. As Black Diamond closes with it, it swerves away, but Black Diamond veers off in that direction as well, then comes around and goes for Tabor’s side. Tabor swings the turret around, and the side of the scoop glances off BD’s plow. BD gets under but Tabor swivels away and backs off, then rushes forward again, turning its weapon the other direction and actually slipping it under the side of BD’s plow this time. It lifts a little and turns its chassis to push toward the IED, but Black Diamond guns it in reverse and the one wheel that’s firmly on the floor sends it spinning away to safety. It’s right back in on the attack, though – and there’s a flip on Tabor!
One thing about having a fast lifter, though, is that Tabor’s back on its wheels pretty quickly. It scoots away, Black Diamond in pursuit, but again swings the turret around and knocks Black Diamond aside a little. It gets under but this time isn’t able to lift before BD backs away and comes in again, scooping underneath it. It’s high-centered, but slams the scoop down on top of BD’s anti-hammer bars and tips itself back – turns – and gets launched in the air again, crashing down near the arena wall and skidding into the mini-IEDs. It’s been given a 360 though, and drives away before the pistons can lift it up.
There’s some more back and forth jousting. Tabor’s able to pull off the “matador and get under the sides because turret lol” trick, but not with any consistency, and gets shoved into the wall a couple more times before it gets under and flicks Black Diamond – oh, almost up and over backwards, but those wheels stick out forever and Black Diamond’s able to reverse away, slamming its flipper down on the arena floor in a good impression of a torque reaction thwackbot.
After taking another flip and getting pushed into the central IED, Tabor gets under Black Diamond and finally turns it on its back, then pushes it onto the floor spinners, keeping its scoop on top of it to block its self-righting. Black Diamond fires, jostling itself loose, and lands on the further back side of its back (what) where its wheels are on the floor, and it’s able to scoot away before self-righting properly.
And there’s basically another minute and a half of this. Black Diamond does a pretty good job taking Tabor on a tour of the arena, and nearly gets it out a couple times in the last minute, but the flipper’s running low on gas towards the end, and Tabor is, while not doing a whole lot offensively at least disrupting BD’s offense a bit by constantly attacking at weird angles and climbing off its wedge with the lifter.
Damage: Tabor Mk 3 7, Black Diamond 8
Aggression: Tabor MK 3 6, Black Diamond 9
Control: Tabor MK 3 5, Black Diamond 10
Your winner, by a 27-18 Judges’ Decision, is Black Diamond!
(1) Triple 6 vs (9) I Dance Crabcore, Motherfucker!
The fight starts, and both bots go straight for each other! I Dance Crabcore, Motherfucker’s got its claws held straight out in front of it. Triple 6 charges into it, and gets scooped up by the little teeth, but thanks to the shape of the claws it only lifts the flipper up a couple inches, and the bot’s front wheels stay, uhh, kind of bouncing on and off the ground as it tries to push forward. Tires squeal, but Triple 6 is, slowly but surely, getting forced backward. It goes into reverse itself, darting away, but Crabcore’s got the speed to keep up with it and wedge under the flipper again.
Triple 6 J-turns away. Crabcore follows it, and briefly bumps into its side but Triple 6 gets away, and what follows is a good thirty seconds of the bots ramming and shoving each other but not really being able to make any headway. Then Triple 6 is able to slip the corner of its flipper between Crabcore’s pontoons and slide under. And there’s the flip! Crabcore gets sent flying, crashing down on its back hard! That can’t be good for the exposed saw! Crabcore brings the arm forward, trying to self-right, but the extended claws get in the way. It flops back down onto its back, and has to move the arm the other direction to get back onto its wheels. Meanwhile though, Triple 6 has gotten in behind it and scoops up its rear end. Crabcore has no traction, and Triple 6 is taking it towards the arena wall! So far Triple 6 has thrown EVERYONE unlucky enough to face it out of the arena! Is it about to claim another victim?
No! Crabcore’s omni wheels save it! The sideways set gets a little traction and scoots its back end sideways. Triple 6 flips, but with the bot off-center it ends up tumbling through the air and crashing down on its wheels right up against the arena wall. It gets popped up a little by a mini-IED, but the crab scuttles away to safety.
Triple 6 goes back on the attack, but again can’t get that flipper under Crabcore. Crabcore’s slowly but surely forcing it back, and this time there’s not as much room for Triple 6 to retreat. It turns away a bit early, and thanks to Crabcore’s extreme width the, uhh, alleged sawbot’s able to strafe and get under its side, then force it into the wall. And there’s the mini-IEDs again. Triple 6 gets popped up and rolled onto its back on top of Crabcore. Crabcore backs away from the wall a little – oh, and Triple 6 somersaults away! What is that, a 540? It almost rolls onto its back again, but it’s back on its wheels and away. Crabcore has it on the run until the flipper fully retracts though, and then wedges it again.
After a bit more of the wedge stalemate, Triple 6 gets frustrated and as it’s being forced back towards the wall just goes for it and fires the flipper. And both robots get flung onto their backs! The flipper catches the top lip of Crabcore’s claws, but it’s not transferring that much energy. It’s not the same kind of power as T6’s usual launches, and the leftover energy, well, goes to T6 itself. Both bots are inverted, but Crabcore, which is now keeping its saw arm lowered, is quicker to self-right, and is actually able to open its claws and snatch Triple 6! It’s got one claw snugly behind Triple 6, and the other underneath the flipper. It starts parading it around the arena, and drops the saw into Triple 6’s side panel. There’s some pretty white sparks, but it actually looks like the saw’s a bit lopsided or bent, so I’m not sure how effectively it’s going to cut in. And it doesn’t matter, because another stroke from Triple 6’s weapon tosses it side-over-side and end-over-end.
Crabcore self-rights and goes on the attack again, and... yeah, it’s basically another derpy pushing match. Crabcore’s able to get Triple 6 into the wall again, but by this point it’s after the 2 minute mark and the mini-IEDs raise as blockers and can’t overturn T6, and when it tries to back off a little to open its claws and saw in, Triple 6 gets away. Triple 6 also gets under one more time and gets another huge flip, but it’s not able to pull off the OOTA it’s looking for before time runs out.
Damage: I Dance Crabcore Motherfucker 8, Triple Six 7
Aggression: I Dance Crabcore Motherfucker 6, Triple Six 9
Control: I Dance Crabcore Motherfucker 8, Triple Six 7
And your winner, by a 23-22 Split Decision, is... Triple Six! Its undefeated run continues, but definitely NOT with the flair we’re used to!
(4) Santangelo vs (5) Starfish Prime
Santangelo rushes out of the square, going after the more ponderous Starfish. HFL attempts to cower behind the IED but that doesn't stop Laz, rushing clean over it and landing from the brief flight, pivoting to collide with the blade. Starfish is thrown across the ring, Santangelo less so, which Laz uses to scoop up the spun-down Starfish and shunting it into the mini IEDs, popping it neatly on the far side of them as they pop up. Starfish manages to squirm free, thanks to a little benevolence from whoever's running them, spinning up partially before getting toppled into the pegs again. Laz isn't giving HFL an inch, and it's showing well. Starfish does get flipped over at one point, though this doesn't really help HFL, just getting bullied around some more, rarely able to keep themselves off of Santangelo's wedge for long enough to hit a decent pelt with the blade, and even when they do it just seems to get absorbed.
Eventually, around the point that the walls drop, the strain of having to keep spinning up and down causes a bit of smoke to erupt from Starfish's weapon motor, though this does literally nothing to alter Laz's plans. He does look a bit thankful though, the front wedge of Santangelo looks like it could do with a bit of buffing out post-match. The concave wedge doesn't stop Santangelo from wedging Starfish again, bashing them into the mini IEDs again, attempting a flip to get it through. Of course, this doesn't work, but a few more pins into the pegs round out the match. It's a JD, though I don't think it's going to be terribly tough on the panel this time.
Damage: 9-6 Starfish Prime
Control: 13-2 Santangelo
Aggression: 10-5 Santangelo
Your winner, by a 29-16 decision, is Santangelo!
(3) Final Boss vs (6) Cruelty
The fight begins with both bots rushing because there really isn't much else they can do, Cruelty presses down it's lifter and wins the first wedge war. Final Boss tries to do something but can't really do anything while it's on top of that wedge, meanwhile Cruelty pushes it into the big IED but overshoots a bit and both bots go airborne. Cruelty lands the right way up while FB not so much, NWOWWE fires the flipper to self right before his opponent can do take advantage of this.
Final Boss turns to face its rapidly approaching opponent, Cruelty tries to angle-in but gets countered and flipped almost immediately after, it does a full 360° spin and lands in basically the same position but a meter or so away. Attackfrog tries to angle in again and pulls it off this time around and goes for the big IED again but the floor spinners managed to pull FB out of his wedge and before he can react FB is under it's side and up goes Cruelty, landing upside down. Before he can react FB gets under it and slams it against the wall (technically it's 1 wall, i think idk), then one of the micro IEDs pops up under Cruelty and NWOWWE reacts by firing the flipper, making the Aquatic Robotics's entry bounce against the wall, landing behind FB, right way up but facing away from it.
Both bots just turn in place so nothing notable happens until they move at each other, where FB gets under again and fires the flipper, except that Attackfrog tried to angle in so it was a bit to the side, thus Cruelty got thrown rather sideways. It didn't really fly that far back and it even landed the right way up, it quickly charges at FB's side before it's driver can properly react and pins it against the nearby wall. FB fires the flipper against the wall while pinned and ends up pushing it's opponent away a bit, but not enough to escape so it gets pinned again. Soon enough the timer runs out and Cruelty backs off, Final Boss adjusts itself and charges at it's opponent, successfully getting under it and flipping it once more. Cruelty lands upside down close to the middle and it just drives itself into the big IED close to it and manages to use it to self right and make some time.
How much time you might ask? Well the walls just fell...
Soon after both bots charge at each other and Cruelty gets under it's opponent, then it begins to push the flipper into the middle IED. Final Boss ends up flying and landing upside down but self rights before the wedgebot with a 'weapon' can take advantage of the situation. Then the same thing happens again but instead of getting thrown by the IED, Final Boss gets away form the wedge by the floor spinners, letting it get under Cruelty's side and flip. Cruelty did NOT fall the right way up so it quickly rushes to the middle to get thrown by the IED but it gets intercepted by Final Boss. NWOWWE pushes Cruelty to the outer edge of the arena, presses that button on his controller aaaannndd there goes Cruelty.
Your winner, by OOTA in 2:44, is Final Boss!
(2) Fenrir vs (7) Hartmann's Youkai Bot
"In the green square: this bot ain't nothin' but a hound dog, and he'll leave you crying all the time! Ready to step all over you like some blue suede shoes, it's! Fenrir!"
"In the purple square: it's the lean, green, chevron-shaped spinning machine. Those might be love hearts, but this waifubot's love hurts! It's! Hartmann's Youkai Bot II!"
The quarter-final battle begins with Fenrir looking to gain some early momentum with a ferocious charge and HYB... not doing that. Like, at all. The undercutter's content to hang back and spin up, its driver confident that weapon power alone will give them victory. Both bots have their weapons going at full pelt, and they're heading for an almighty collisiOH MY GOD! Huge hit there! Fenrir's drum slams into the undercutting disc and gets a powerful bite onto it, warping the disc and sending the bot end over end, but the heart-shaped teeth on HYB still tear into the Cloneotaur's weapon and leave a huge gash through it. The drum's already powering down and part of its tooth has been hurled across the arena, but HYB is flipped onto its back. The massive flywheel on the newly-minted overcutter is at a wobbly angle, and the crowd holds its breath as Tri lets the blade slow down to a full stop. And waits. And waits.
And then it roars back into life! The spinner is back on, and HYB tilts forward and goes back on the attack. The target of the aggression, meanwhile, is looking very much the worse for wear. The drum has completely died but that's far from the worst of it; there's smoke pouring from one of the wheel pods and the machine's just limping along. HYB circles around the stricken drumbot, Tri preparing for the perfect moment to strike, and HOLY HELL! This time, the blade finds purchase on the chassis and completely rips the right bulkhead off! The right wheel's gone too! This is an evisceration! There's parts flying everywhere and some important-looking wiring has tangled itself around the spokes and - wait, is that - yes it is! Fenrir's carcass is being flailed to death with its own speed controller! Wolf just holds his hands up and the refs count Fenrir out.
Winner: Hartmann's Youkai Bot II, KO by AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF, 01:35
That's all for the playoff bracket. Time to get fighting. The semifinals await!