Monsoon v Black Dragon (Episode 4)
Our initial thoughts were that this was a tough first match up, but a great field test for the robot. After fighting at Extreme Robots in the UK in May ‘22 we knew that fundamentally the robot worked, but this would be a full-chat spinner fight with no room for error. We knew that we had the reach advantage on Black Dragon so we opted to use the bar and short forks - the long forks would probably be ripped off anyway, and we didn't want to try anything too risky for our first fight, the robot just needed to work like it did earlier on in the year.
The fight starts - I'm happy to immediately show how fast the robot is and we meet in the centre of the arena straight away with the weapon at full speed. We meet head on, and the robot is sent flying, I honestly have no idea how many backflips it did, but we survived the landing. The robot is upside down now, but I send the weapon into reverse and it's back up to speed in no time. We hit them a couple more times and send them flying, destroying one of their wedgelets and taking out one of their drive motors. We're gaining confidence, momentum, and at this point, pretty much winning!
I'm flipped upside down again and send the weapon into reverse once again - just as I drive over a bolt on the arena floor (it looked like one of BD's wedgelet bolts), and then... the weapon very suddenly stops. I try to get it going again but it's clear that the weapon is completely dead. Our weapon had drawn this bolt into the robot and destroyed the weapon motors, hence why the blade stopped so suddenly. I spend the remaining time in the fight trying to get around them, but Monsoon isn't a pushing robot - and inevitably them hit us and the robot is stuck upside down. Our first fight is a loss but it's not a bad loss - the important thing is that we've learned how to stop this from happening again. For the next fight I cut and welded on some steel motor covers. For a good view of what happened you can see a video clip here (annoyingly the cameras cut away just before you could see on the episode).
So that's it for now, see you all in three weeks for our date with Horizon!
Monsoon v Horizon (Episode 7)
Horizon is a scaled up version of Skyline, a successful robot that has competed at NHRL. This have proved to be very nasty at the smaller weight classes. If Skyline is anything to go by, we knew Horizon had the potential to be very nasty. So for this fight we decided to take no chances. One of the worst things you can do at BattleBots is underestimate your opponents, because absolutely anything can happen. Horizon is a horizontal spinner and has the potential to hit the sides of Monsoon at awkward angles. We decided to use our brand new anti horizontal wedge, which was designed and built after nasty defeats to robots such as Valkyrie and Son of Whyachi with in past seasons. The wedge is built from Hardox 500 and weighs 20kg!
In this set up the pivoting pods are locked, and whilst we could drive on our back with the HDPE “ears”, we could get stuck on our front at an odd angle if the weapon isn’t spinning. This is one of the calculated trade offs we made, but worth it when fighting a horizontal spinner.
The fight starts - I immediately go for a box rush as we don’t want them to get up to speed! Horizon lands at an awkward angle and they’re on top of Monsoon. Our drive is built for speed and isn’t particularly torque-y, but after a bit of wriggling they come free. Another hit sends them upside down, and then one more hit sends them on top of a pulveriser. We’ve got our first win since 2019, and as you can probably tell from our post-fight interview we were pretty chuffed!
We’ll be back in three weeks in episode 10 to face the legendary Whiplash - prepare for absolute carnage in this one!
Monsoon v Whiplash (Episode 10)
Our third qualifying fight was against Whiplash - a true legend of the sport. This would also be our first televised main event fight - we’ve had at least two filmed as main events before, but neither were broadcast as one. The Vasquez family are just an awesome bunch too, so we were really looking forward to this one.
Our initial thoughts for this fight were that our self righting pivoting system would be tested like never before, so we had to ensure that we wouldn’t get stuck. We decided (and were just looking for a good excuse really!) to use our brand new weapon disc, with our shortest forks. The thinking behind this was to reduce the chance of doing “the thing” and getting the robot stuck on its face. By using the disc, the weapon can act more like a wheel and allow us to roll back over if we get thrown around, and the shorter forks also make this much easier. Conversely, the bar has to be spinning at nearly top speed to keep it going if we get thrown onto our face - and the odds are I’ll be spinning down and up a lot in this fight, which only increases the chance of getting stuck further.
It’s main event robot fighting time! As predicted, we get thrown around immediately and I reverse the weapon direction (we were especially thrilled to see this working with the disc and not blow the speed controllers!) We notice their weapon isn’t spinning - so I feel confident at attacking head on with the weapon at full speed. I can immediately feel control issues however. The disc’s huge MOI is making it very hard to turn, and due to the way the controls were set up I have no choice but to spin the weapon at 100% speed when upside-down.
Three minutes of sparks, big hits and tumbling around the arena follow, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most entertaining fights we’ve been in. Coming away from this fight we honestly thought we had it - the damage on Whiplash looked pretty severe, with armour peeled up in various places and a fork missing - plus they’d ended the fight with a drive side down and had a temperamental weapon throughout. We thought this would go in our favour, so when we heard the decision, we decided pretty quick to contest (as we thought our next fight with Deathroll was going to be a KO either way!) We thought we’d handily take the damage points 4-1, so assuming we get at least 1 point in control and aggression we should still take it.
The appeal doesn’t go in our favour though, and whilst we’re disappointed with the result we don’t harbour any bad feelings toward Whiplash. They gave us an epic fight and we wish them all the best going forward. BattleBots have put this fight up on their YouTube channel, have a look at it here and see what you think!
Coming up next is our final qualifier against DeathRoll in episode 15 - it’s Australia v GB! With one win and two close losses, we need a win here to maximise our chances of getting into the tournament. See you then!
Monsoon v DeathRoll (Episode 15)
Four fights down! This was expected to be a particularly nasty one – but at the same time a very exciting one to look forward to, two big vertical spinners going at it is always a good time. The Aussies don’t mess around, and DeathRoll is a fearsome machine.
We’d seen their previous fights and noticed that they lack anything ground scraping on the front of their robot, so this was the strategy – we’d need something to get under them but minimise the chances of us getting stuck on floor seams. We do have a set of longer forks new for this season, (specifically for fighting other verts) – but we didn’t want to risk them getting stuck in the floor in a high stakes fight like this, so we ran our “snoot” wedge. This is a small, ground scraping wedge (inspired by the front end of grabber Kraken!) A bit of a gamble, as we weren’t sure if they’d run something ground scraping last minute, but luckily it paid off in the end!
After re-watching their previous fights, we’re mostly expecting a box rush. The fight starts – we’re able to dodge out of the way and land a hit on them within the first few seconds, and we both go tumbling. Monsoon bounces upright, but DeathRoll is stuck in the corner, pivoting in place. We go in for a couple more hits but once it’s clear they’re immobile, we leave them in place. There wasn’t much point risking the robot, as we were then at 1 win and 2 losses – we needed the win more than gratuitous hits against an immobile opponent, and we love those guys.
It's a short fight, but we’re glad to get the KO win either way! Our record is two quick wins, and two close losses. As a result this does, however, present a slight predicament… we’ve made the bracket (for the first time since 2018!) but the bracketing gods have decided that we’ll be facing off against the other British spinner, Cobalt in the first round. Oh.
Now we have to wait for the Round of 32 carnage to unfold! Who’s the nastiest British spinner of them all?
For Battlebots VII we're very proud to announce our sponsors: AT&G Datanet, Armfield Engineering, Lyra Electronics, Trampa Boards Ltd, K Cut, Gens Ace, 3D FilaPrint. Their support makes such a huge difference to Monsoon and many other robots, we're so grateful to them all. For more information about these sponsors see the 2022 Sponsors page.