Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bot Blast 2015 Event Report

Bot Blast this year was insane. So many robots, so many awesome fights, and so many great moments. I think this was one of my favorite events I've been to so far.

After arrival, one of the first things I noticed this year was the pits, which were about twice the size as last year. Next on the list were the awesome team namecards made by Jeremy and family, which listed all the robots on the team as well as the builders, which I thought was an excellent touch. There wasn't much space left in the pit area by the time I got there, but I found a space in between Ian (aka ResettisReplicas) who was there with his modified RC car Petit Gateau, and Russ Barrow, the builder of the legendary Dark Pounder. After getting through safety with Nocturne and FireArrow (which impressed everyone with its new, sleeker design), and barely getting Landshark within weight (it was about 3 ounces over! D'oh!) it was time to fight.

Fight 1: FireArrow vs The Ophidian

In the first round this time around, I met up against Revelation Robotics again. This time it was younger brother Joe and his Viper spinner kit Ophidian. I had high hopes for FireArrow's new titanium wedge, and this would be a great battle to test it out on.

After charging into his blade a few times, he got a lucky shot on one of my wheels which took out drive on that side. However, I was able to maneuver well enough to get under him again. This destabilized Ophidian and caused it to gyro-dance, where its blade flew off, knocked one of its wheels loose, and turned the fight into a battle of one-wheeled wonders.Time ran out shortly after this, and the judges (after minutes of deliberation) awarded me the win. Score one for FireArrow!

Fight 2: Nocturne vs Gemini

Gemini was a 3D-printed wedge created by Team Astrobot which has some nasty spring steel armor surrounding it, so it had very little exposed plastic. This made me nervous going in, but I figured I'd try my best and see what happened.

The very first hit Nocturne got on Gemini sent one half of its side armor flying and made me proud. Gemini quickly recovered and slammed me into the wall. The match continued in a similar fashion with Nocturne's spinup gremlins continuing to plague it throughout. I still got some good bites on the exposed ABS and knocked Gemini around a bit. However, I couldn't get the crucial knockout before time ran out, and ended up losing the judge decision. After the fight, I noticed that one of the motors Nocturne was using for drive had fallen apart, which was probably why I couldn't maneuver as well as I wanted to. Turns out one of the screws in the motor had stripped out during the match,

Fight 3: Landshark vs CATAPULT

Catapult was Brandon's mantis FBS which he has been working on for about 3 years now. I was pretty certain Landshark could hold it off.

I rushed it at the beginning and slammed it around a bit before it could spin up. It then spun to full speed and got a good hit on my wheel, but then was slammed into the wall where its shell popped off! The rest of the fight was me pushing Catapult around the arena, and I got the judge's nod at the end. However, near the end of the fight, smoke came out of the underside of Landshark, and I had some drive issues with it. Returning to the pits, I noticed how hot the motors had gotten, and presumed an ESC blew. I'm not sure if that was actually the case. However, the shot Catapult got on my wheels shattered an important gear in one of the gearboxes, and we didn't have spares due to the ebay seller not having enough for me to order them. However unlike two years ago where I was able to borrow a spare motor from someone, no one had an extra gearbox for me to take apart (Kyle still had the ones he ordered, but forgot to bring them). This meant Landshark had to forfeit out of the rest of the competition. Real shame, but it happens I guess. I'll have to figure out the issues with it and sort them out for next year.

Fight 4: FireArrow vs Dark Blade

Onto round 2! Dark Blade was the first of Russ's machines I got matched up against, and it had a very wide, very scary undercutting blade for me to deal with.

I moved in carefully to start, trying to get under from the side so as to avoid the brunt of the weapon. Eventually, though, he got a very nasty hit on my wedge which left a gash in the titanium, tore one of the screws out and nearly exposed my battery! if it had hit any harder, I think I would have lost by default. Luckily for me nothing combustible was exposed, and his blade flew off on the same hit! For the rest of the time I pushed him around and into the walls, and this ended up getting me another win by judge's decision.

Fight 5: FireArrow vs Satan's Segway

After a few hours of waiting, here I was in the antweight winners bracket semi-finals. Fred had made some excellent changes to the Segway to get it this far, including an incredibly low spring steel wedge mounted to the front of the thwack arm. I felt confident going in, especially considering I had beaten it before. This overconfidence, however, proved to be my undoing.

On the initial charge, his wedge got under mine and I sped up, over and onto my back! This meant I no longer had the wedge to control him. We pushed each other around for most of the time limit, but I couldn't catch up in points after the flip and lost the judge's decision.

Fight 6: Nocturne vs Colsonbot

Now what the heck happened to Nocturne? Its first match was back before lunch, and here I just said I had to wait a few hours between my matches between Dark Blade and Segway. Certainly the first round of the beetle loser's bracket didn't take that long to start?

The deal is, after losing, I was drawn against the winner of Richard Kelley's machine Low Blow, and Jamo's Silent Spring. Low Blow won, but then Kelley left early, meaning I got a forfeit. After that I had to face the loser of Dark Daggers, another machine from Russ, and Circuit Breaker, a nasty horizontal spinner from Joe Doerfler. Daggers lost the fight but was in pieces, and so Russ forfeited. All of a sudden Nocturne was in the fourth round of the loser's bracket and against the winner of Colsonbot vs Sparty Mini. Amazingly, Colsonbot won (again!) which meant I got to fight this spinning tire thing.

Nocturne got some nice hits on the Colson, but the rubber worked incredibly well at deflecting my hits and it was able to get some good hits in as well. Once again the judges turned in favor of my opponent, knocking Nocturne out of the competition.

Fight 7: FireArrow vs Dark Pounder.

OH BOY, HERE WE GO. I get to fight Dark Pounder, the antweight with, according to Botrank, the most wins of all time. This would be a treat.

After some maneuvering, Dark Pounder flipped me over and then went wedge mode, with me trying my best to stay in the match and be aggressive. Right at the end he spun up again and I decided I had nothing to lose, so I rammed into his spinner a few more times. The match ended shortly after, and I knew I had lost. Out of each match I fought that day, Pounder definitely did the most damage to me, leaving several cuts in the titanium and a large gouge in the back of the chassis. This loss landed me in joint-fifth alongside Adam's robot Justice. Not bad for a redesign, especially since I matched up against Dark Pounder to end the day.

Fight 8: Antweight Rumble

In we go for the antweight rumble! From what I remember, it was FireArrow, Sisu, Blutsauger, Petit Gateau, Dark Micro 44, Zip Reborn, Don't Ask, andtwo RC cars from Radioshack (which was still open here!) all in the box. However, due to time constraints (we only had until the mall closed, which was about an hour from then) it was constrained to two minutes. I tried my best, ramming into Blutsauger and pushing around some other bots, but one of my motors finally gave up the ghost near the end, and I was stuck upside-down after charging Blutsauger. Eventually I got hung up on top of a discarded drive motor from Micro 44, and then the rumble ended. I had a great time, but didn't win. That honor went to the spinner of Dark Micro 44.

Fight 9: Beetleweight Rumble

For the last match of the day, I tossed Nocturne into the rumble, which I figured would be a good way to retire the design after a year of all sorts of problems. In the rumble to my knowledge were me, Arcbeetle, the remains of Circuit Breaker, Colsonbot, Rmr, Robo-Rooter (minus weapon, plus spork), the aforementioned RC cars, Scrambles, Play'n Krazy, and Gemini (not sure about this one). Nocturne put up a valiant effort but once again was reduced to 1WD, and near the very end I think its battery died as well. It took some nice battle scars from Scrambles, PK and Arcbeetle, who ended up winning the rumble.

So for the first time in a Bot Blast event I didn't take home a trophy, but I still had a great time. It was great to meet everyone again and fight some robots. Bring on the next event!

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