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They had managed to fight through a healthy chunk of all three weight classes by the time the first day was over. As I waited for the museum to open the second day (I didn't arrive nearly as early this time), I counted and realized that, not including grudge matches and assuming that all fights took place, there were only 29 fights on tap for the second day (as opposed to the 48 fights that took place on day one). Of course, with the field of competitors being narrowed down, there would be longer periods of downtime between fights as the robots received repairs. Though I noticed that of the eight middleweights left, only one had a spinning weapon.

The area looked similar to the way it looked the day before, although Sozbots was gone and the pits didn't seem quite as crowded (some of the builders eliminated in the first day of competition had gone home). Once again, there were plenty of folding chairs and televisions on which the audience could watch the matches. Now, granted, the sun was very hot when you stood next to the arena. But why bother attending a live robotic combat event if you're just going to watch it on TV? It's so much more fun to actually be right next to the action. Eh, it's their ticket, they can do what they want, I guess.

Before finishing on Saturday, it was announced that the fights would start right away at 10:00 the next morning, since the arena was now completely set up. Once people started filing in, they announced the day's festivities would begin at 11:00. I had planned to wander around the museum to kill the time, but instead managed to talk to John Mladenik about the correct spelling of Rambite/Rambyte's name (answer: it depends on whether the robot is at BattleBots or not). He discussed his team's robots with me, and Andy Sauro also came over to talk bots. Mostly I stood and pretended to understand the discussion of the benefits of various thicknesses of titanium in various weight classes. The conversation lasted for quite a while, and I never felt excluded, even though I was nowhere near being an actual builder. Have I mentioned that all of the builders are really nice folks? 'Cause it's still true.

In addition to the emcee from the previous day, Roy came by in his trademark armor to provide interviews and commentary. (You remember the CrewBot from the first couple of seasons of "BattleBots" that wore armor while performing his duties? That's Roy.) Of the three people I've heard announce at live robotic combat events, I'd say Roy is the best. He knows just scads of information about most of the robots and nearly all of the events, he can discuss technical matters with the builders (which, granted, may alienate the average audience member when he asks a builder about the motors they're using), he performs interesting interviews with the builders after fights take place, and, what I feel is most important, he clearly describes the physical characteristics of each competitor before the fight begins. Also good, with two emcees sharing the announcing duties, they could play off of one another, which made for a better experience overall.

And to take all of the good things you'd see in a TV show and translate them into a live event, the BotBash Network was there to interview builders in the pits and right before they entered the arena for a fight. The audience could easily get to know the remaining robots, and the whole experience made for a great live show.

As the event was about to begin, Brian Nave stopped by to plug his Battle Beach event that will take place from October 16-18 over in Ormond Beach, Florida. He took some "my event is better than this one" potshots during the interview, but from what I understand, it was all done in fun. At least, Steve Brown didn't order the feed from the microphones to be cut off or anything, so I assume no ill will was perceived.

Let's get to more fights!




If we were going strictly by the winners bracket, then this would be a semifinal fight. But there's that whole "fight the winner of the losers bracket" thing coming up, so I don't know what to call this.

Fight. Devil's Plunger has the early aggression, but Max Wedge's wedge is lower, so it dominates the majority of the fight. In the last minute of the fight, the invertible Devil's Plunger drives up Max Wedge and gets flipped over. The judges' score is 18-15 for Devil's Plunger. Hmm.




Armadillo has reattached its flat pushing plate for this fight.

And as I suspected, the way that Armadillo's plate curves downward gives Jimmy the perfect place to wedge underneath and control Armadillo. Throughout the three minutes, Jimmy shoves Armadillo around repeatedly. On a couple of occasions, Armadillo gets some air. Early in the fight, Armadillo goes up Jimmy's wedge, Jimmy hits reverse to push Armadillo with its backside, and Armadillo is flipped onto its invertible back. The judges score the fight 20-13 for Jimmy, and its huge cheering section erupts in joy.




Weed Whacker gets one hit in on The Devastator's wedge flipper. The rest of the fight consists of The Devastator flipping Weed Whacker over and over, a seemingly countless number of times. After a good deal of that, Weed Whacker's disk stops spinning. In the last minute of the fight, The Devastator flips Weed Whacker over the I-beam for the instant win.




I think that somewhere early in the fight, Deb Bot (now with the front of its lifting arm reattached) was able to lift Psychotron a little bit. But the rest of the fight is Psychotron repeatedly wedging underneath Deb Bot and pushing it around. In the last thirty seconds, Psychotron flips Deb Bot onto its back. Deb Bot extends its arm, but it looks to me that even with the arm fully extended, Deb Bot can't right itself. It's hard to tell, because Psychotron comes over and helps Deb Bot get back on its wheels while its arm is out. Time is up, and the judges give an 18-15 victory to Psychotron.




The match begins with Sewer Snake false starting. The fight begins again. For the majority of the fight, Sewer Snake wedges underneath Particle Accelerator and pushes it around. That is, when Sewer Snake isn't getting hung up on its own hinged wedge (which has a tendency to get caught on the floor and bend downward, lifting Sewer Snake's front wheels in the air). After some slams, Particle Accelerator stops moving, at which point it taps out.




CycloneBot spins amazingly fast. Evelyn attacks it over and over, but can only slow it down the slightest bit. After absorbing some big hits, Evelyn stops moving and is declared dead.




After not having to fight Shank, Compressor is in round three of the heavyweight losers bracket.

Fight. Compressor drives into the corner and stops moving. Vicious Circle waits. Compressor moves again and puts its fork into Vicious Circle, pushing it into the wall, at which point both robots get stuck. There's a separation. During the fight, Compressor stops moving for no obvious reason several times (radio issues?). Vicious Circle goes to work attacking various parts of Compressor, but can't damage it. That's time. The 21-12 decision goes to Vicious Circle.




Little Blue Engine's opponent from yesterday couldn't get working, so it had Saturday off. The newest change made to Little Blue Engine is a spinning horizontal disk sticking out of its front (not pictured). It seems that whenever an event has a super heavyweight class, these two are fighting one another in it, so this is some kind of re-re-re-rematch.

Fight. Blue Max tosses Little Blue Engine around. A lot. It's what Blue Max does. But about halfway through the fight, Blue Max appears to be sluggish -- highly uncharacteristic for this robot. Little Blue Engine drives up the wedge and gets stuck on Blue Max, so the two are separated. Now Blue Max is definitely slower. Little Blue Engine gets itself stranded on top of Blue Max again, so another timeout is called. Now Blue Max isn't moving at all. There are only 19 seconds left on the clock, though, so there won't be enough time for it to be counted out. Little Blue Engine spins its weapon up and damages one of Blue Max's wheels. Time is up. The judges award the victory to Blue Max, 20-13.




While I was talking to John Mladenik before the second day of the event began, he was telling me how confident he was about how well Megabyte would do in this fight. Shin Splitter's weapon was at the right height to be hit by Megabyte's bludgeoning parts, he said, and predicted an easy victory for this fight.

What he didn't expect was that Shin Splitter is able to adjust the height of its spinning bar, which it did for this fight. The bar has been placed at exactly the right height so it will go into the center of Megabyte's shell, where there is less protection and no bludgeoning parts. When the fight begins, both robots get their spinning weapons up to speed. There's a weapon-to-weapon collision. Megabyte is thrown into the I-beam and stops spinning. It slowly moves away and starts to spin back up. Shin Splitter hits it again with its bar. Megabyte is thrown again and stops spinning. Shin Splitter hits Megabyte again and its bar stops spinning. Shin Splitter keeps a sluggish Megabyte stuck in the corner. Megabyte taps out.




Hey, a rematch of a fight that we got to see on television. As you'll recall, Dreadnought was able to defeat Gammacide by knocking one of the arms of Gammacide's plow off of its body. I fully expect this to happen again.

But when Dreadnought enters the arena, its disks are gone. Now there's just a smooth metal tube in their place. That's weird -- they seemed to be working perfectly well yesterday. In the pre-fight interview, no explanation is given for their disappearance. I wonder whether Christian was asked to remove them because of the number of times they hit the floor of the arena in Dreadnought's first match. During the interview, Roy and Christian joke about the terrible threat that this slow wedge will pose to Gammacide.

Fight. Dreadnought drives into Gammacide's plow, where it's able to wedge underneath and push Gammacide into the wall. While Gammacide's wheels are off the ground, it raises and lowers its plow, bonking Dreadnought on the head with it. Dreadnought stays underneath Gammacide. Gammacide continues to whack Dreadnought with its plow. About halfway through the three minutes, Dreadnought lets Gammacide escape. Gammacide charges Dreadnought and drives back up its wedge. Gammacide drives off. Dreadnought, obligingly, slowly turns around so Gammacide can actually do something to it. The rest of the fight is Gammacide pushing Dreadnought into the wall. The judges decide to give the victory to Gammacide, 23-10.


At this point, the event took a half-hour break to give the robots some time to be repaired. I used the time to check out the third floor of the museum, which was designed as an interactive learning center for children. Though I saw plenty of non-children up there, learning, too. I got my butt kicked by a few different people at the drag-racing green light anticipation simulator. Most of them were kids. When they get their driver's licenses, they'll fit right in here in Los Angeles.




Only three more rounds of middleweight losers bracket fights before we find out which robot will be granted access back into the winners bracket.

Fight. Jimmy is really at its best fighting robots with spinning weapons. As it has in the past, it's able to take anything that Weed Whacker throws at it. Weed Whacker's disk is spinning quickly, but Jimmy shoves the robot around and into the I-beams. It looks like Weed Whacker's drive train may have been immobilized. Jimmy shoves Weed Whacker into another I-beam. Weed Whacker's disk is resting up on the I-beam, which definitely immobilizes the robot.




It's a wedge fight. In the fist collision between the two, Psychotron is flipped. Max Wedge's wedge is lower and the robot absolutely dominates the fight. Every now and then, Psychotron scores some time in the air. I think Psychotron was able to get underneath Max Wedge one time, but couldn't capitalize. At the end of the three minutes, the only damage that has taken place is that one of the decorative fins on Max Wedge has been bent. The judges turn in an 18-15 decision... for Psychotron. What?!? The emcees theorize that the cosmetic damage on Max Wedge is what cost it the fight. Apparently aggression counts for nothing in this tournament. What kind of decision was that?




Vicious Circle's disk isn't spinning up too quickly in this fight. Particle Accelerator's weapon knocks Vicious Circle about, but Vicious Circle is able to wedge underneath Particle Accelerator. About halfway through the fight, Vicious Circle gets itself stuck on the I-beam. After its free release, neither robot's weapon is spinning. Vicious Circle continues to wedge underneath Particle Accelerator. Particle Accelerator is looking sluggish. Time's up. It's another 18-15 decision, this one in favor of Vicious Circle.




And suddenly, we're in the second round of the super heavyweight losers bracket. What happened to the first round of the losers bracket, you ask? Well, Apocalypse got a bye directly into the second round. And Tomb of Death went home after Saturday, so Crazy Susan also advanced directly into the second round. The winner of this fight will advance directly into the fourth round of the super heavyweight losers bracket. What happened to the third round, you ask? Well, neither Apocalypse nor Dreadnought wanted to fight anymore, so another bye has been added to the ladder. This super heavyweight tournament is being completed in no time!

I wrote a lot about this fight because even after its first showing, many eyes were still on Crazy Susan. We want to see what that weapon can really do. And Little Blue Engine has large wheels that could be susceptible to that turntable.

Fight. There are some collisions. Little Blue Engine uses its spinning weapon to attack Crazy Susan's side, ripping some of those pieces off. Crazy Susan pushes Little Blue Engine against the wall and up... one of Little Blue Engine's tires is headed for the turntable... but Little Blue Engine escapes. Little Blue Engine is aiming its spinning disk for the missing chunks of Crazy Susan's skirt so it can create more missing chunks. Little Blue Engine goes up the side and lands in Crazy Susan, where it gets bounced around by the turntable blades. The crowd cheers. The turntable slows, and Little Blue Engine escapes. There are little shredded pieces sticking out from Little Blue Engine's tires on all sides, but that's the extent of the damage. For the last minute of the fight, Little Blue Engine changes strategies and uses the very steep wedge/plate it has on its back to attack Crazy Susan. This is more effective, knocking more pieces of Crazy Susan's skirt off. Little Blue Engine pushes Crazy Susan against the I-beam a few times. Time expires. The judges give the victory, 23-10, to Little Blue Engine. The members of Crazy Susan's team are relieved that the event is over for them.




Evelyn refuses to lay off of Shin Splitter during this fight. Shin Splitter spins up, but Evelyn slams it into the wall. While Shin Splitter is against the wall, Evelyn repeatedly rams it. The few times Shin Splitter has a chance to even try to spin up, Evelyn rams it. That lasts for three minutes, and the judges have to give a 23-10 victory to Evelyn.




This is the fight that will determine which robot will face the winner of the losers bracket. So does that make this the semifinals? Or is the last fight of the losers bracket the semifinals? I hate double elimination.

Fight. The Devastator starts things off by flipping Devil's Plunger, but Devil's Plunger's wedge is lower to the ground. This is a very close fight, with Devil's Plunger pushing The Devastator into the I-beams and The Devastator able to flip Devil's Plunger. As the fight progresses, The Devastator's flipping wedge starts getting knocked out of place (it's having trouble lowering it all the way). The Devastator manages to flip Devil's Plunger's front wheels onto the I-beam, but Devil's Plunger gets itself off of there before The Devastator comes in for the final kill. With only three seconds left in the fight, Devil's Plunger wedges The Devastator into an I-beam at high speed, causing The Devastator's body to go up and over. The Devastator touches the Lexan, instantly knocking it into the losers bracket.




Now Sewer Snake is going up against the other most-damaging heavyweight spinner in the tournament. Sewer Snake has added a metal fork extension to its back that's kind of shaped like the octagonal CycloneBot.

Fight. CycloneBot quickly spins up, but Sewer Snake relentlessly attacks it. Sewer Snake uses its front to attack. Sewer Snake uses its rear to attack. But CycloneBot just will not stop spinning. Sewer Snake's forks are bent. Sewer Snake's front left wheel is bent. Finally, Sewer Snake gets CycloneBot into the corner, and CycloneBot stops spinning. CycloneBot escapes and spins back up. Sewer Snake is having trouble driving around because of that left front wheel. And time is up. It goes to the judges, who give the 19-14 victory to Sewer Snake.




More super heavyweight high-speed action. Both robots push each other. Blue Max gives Gammacide a big slam into the wall. But that kills Blue Max. As Gammacide repeatedly rams Blue Max, Blue Max is counted out. Blue Max isn't acting like its usual self today.




It's a wedge fight. As expected, Psychotron has the lower wedge. Despite that, Jimmy is able to get underneath Psychotron a couple of times. Psychotron is doing a lot of pushing Jimmy around. When there's about a minute left, Jimmy begins to have trouble with its right wheel. Time is up. 20-13 means that Psychotron advances.




Since the competitor robots are getting really beat up out there, we're occasionally going to take breaks in the tournament action for some grudge matches. We're jumping all the way down to the 30-pound class for this fight. And this is a grudge match where there's actually a score to be settled. If you remember the most recent BotBash (I did a huge write-up of it; you had better remember it), at the end of the day, there was a tie for first place between these two robots. So they had a final fight to determine which one was the winner. The Jug took the victory by pushing Vienna Sausage over the short rails and out of the arena. Vienna Sausage wants revenge.

Fight. Things start with Vienna Sausage pushing The Jug around. Then The Jug gets the upper hand. In one collision between the two, Vienna Sausage gets its invertible body flipped over The Jug. It would appear that Vienna Sausage has a little more trouble moving around when it's upside-down. The Jug takes advantage of Vienna Sausage for the rest of the fight. That's time. The judges will determine the winner, and with a score of 19-14, The Jug proves that it earned that championship.




Evelyn lays into Vicious Circle, slamming its spinning weapon into the wall. Evelyn pushes Vicious Circle around a lot. Vicious Circle is trying to hit Evelyn with its weapon, but Evelyn either absorbs the blow or just pushes Vicious Circle into the wall. Evelyn gives Vicious Circle a particularly nasty slam into the I-beam, then stuffs it into the corner. Evelyn does a lot of ramming. Vicious Circle is declared stuck on the I-beam, and freed. Its weapon isn't working now, though. The fight ends with Vicious Circle getting underneath Evelyn, but it's just not enough. The 23-10 decision keeps Evelyn in the tournament.




This is to determine the winner of the losers bracket, and which robot will compete in the middleweight finals.

It appears that The Devastator has the lower wedge advantage here, but it's having trouble flipping Psychotron (just a bunch of lifts). At about the halfway point, The Devastator flips Psychotron. With about a minute left in the fight, The Devastator slows way down. I'm guessing it's either radio issues or low batteries. Psychotron is still having trouble pushing the motionless The Devastator. The Devastator is able to only occasionally drive straight forward or backward. Time is up. An 18-15 decision puts Psychotron back in the winners bracket.




It's another 30-pound grudge match. This also a repeat of a fight that took place at the most recent BotBash, though it was as a grudge match there, too. When these two last fought, Omega Sword lost by backing itself into a pit. There are no pits in the Steel Conflict arena, so I'm guessing that Omega Sword wants to prove itself.

Fight. The highlights include Omega Sword lifting Vienna Sausage vertically and slamming it into the I-beam. Then Vienna Sausage shoves Omega Sword into the opposite corner. When Omega Sword gets high-centered on Vienna Sausage's body, Vienna Sausage slams it into the wall, causing Omega Sword to shut down. Omega Sword taps out as it's being slammed into another I-beam.




You know, it seems like these two never get to fight one another. Let's give them a chance. In the previous two fights, Blue Max had some trouble with its batteries. The team hopes that's been fixed. In the pre-fight interview, the Little Blue Engine team announces that they've whipped up a special weapon for Blue Max. The surprise is that they've removed the robot's spinning weapon and replaced it with a series of bars forming a hinged wedge. The wedge has been modeled after the wedge on Blue Max, all the way down to the hooks on either side that will catch the opponent.

Fight. Blue Max attacks Little Blue Engine's side, giving it two good shoves. Then Little Blue Engine gets under Blue Max, pinning it. Blue Max gives it right back by pinning Little Blue Engine. The side of Little Blue Engine's wedge attachment is bent downward. Suddenly, Blue Max stops moving. Little Blue Engine rams it. As Blue Max is being counted down, Little Blue Engine's hinged wedge hits the floor, bends downward, and lifts all of the robot's wheels off the ground. So now we have two motionless robots in the arena. Blue Max was motionless first, though, so it's counted out. Little Blue Engine moves to the finals.




As you'll recall, these two have already met in the winners bracket. Now they're fighting to determine which one of them will be allowed back into the winners bracket to face Sewer Snake for the championship.

Fight. Evelyn takes some big hits from CycloneBot. I mean, some big hits. But at about a minute and a half in, Evelyn gets CycloneBot against the wall and stops it from spinning. The rest of the fight consists of Evelyn keeping on CycloneBot, shoving it into corners, pinning it, and never giving it a chance to spin up. Time runs out, and Evelyn gets the nod, 26-7.




These two wedges would like to engage in a grudge match, probably to determine which one is better without risking any chance of being damaged outside of the tournament ladder.

Fight. Max Wedge absolutely owns this fight, getting underneath Bad Attitude every single time. Over the course of the fight, Max Wedge flips Bad Attitude a total of seven times and gives it plenty of air in other collisions. After the fight, Thomas Petruccelli jokingly beats up on Max Wedge, lifting Bad Attitude's body to pound the robot. Max Wedge receives the 22-11 victory from the judges.




This isn't so much a grudge match as it is a good opportunity to fling featherweights around the arena. The pneumatic wedge of the 120-pound The Devastator will gladly take on this team of featherweights that weigh a maximum of 90 pounds put together.

"Fight." The Devastator flips all three robots all over the place. The Jug lands on its back. A little while later, The Devastator flips it back onto its wheels, only to flip it onto its back again. Omega Sword is given a lot of good flips. Soon, though, The Devastator runs out of CO2 and is left to simply push the other robots around. At this point, The Jug is stranded on its back (it's not invertible), Vienna Sausage is driving around upside-down, and Omega Sword is also upside-down, apparently unable to right itself. As The Devastator engages in a pushing match, it shows mercy to the featherweights and gently pushes them toward the I-beam, stopping before it would slam them into the wall. I don't know if they even bothered to judge this fight. Obviously, The Devastator won.




Nuts to this, I'm calling it Mauler, like it should be called. As I later learned, Mauler had originally wanted to engage Megabyte in a grudge match, but that fight with Shin Splitter left Megabyte broken, so it's taking on Particle Accelerator. Now Mauler is using the lid with the flails attached to it.

Fight. Mauler spins up, then Particle Accelerator stops it. Repeat. Now Mauler has driven onto its own flails. Since it can't spin up while it's sitting on its weapon, it becomes a boring push fight. The announcers admit that this one isn't going too well for either robot. With about thirty seconds left, Mauler frees its flails and spins up again. Particle Accelerator hits Mauler and both flails go under Mauler's body. That's time. The announced judges' decision: "Particle Accelerator wins by a lot."

After the event took place, the Mauler team announced that the robot had taken some big damage. And without TV and sponsorships to fund it, Mauler was retiring. We'll miss you, Mauler.




No more grudge matches. It's the final three fights of the day, to determine the champions of all three weight classes. Now, if you're familiar with double elimination, you know that under regular double elimination rules, if Devil's Plunger loses this fight, then each robot would have one loss and both would have to fight again to determine the champion. But here at Steel Conflict, the final fight is a single-elimination bout to avoid the possibility that the audience might have to wait another half hour for the robots to repair themselves for the rematch should the winners bracket robot lose. So no matter which robot it is, the robot that wins this fight will be the middleweight champion.

Fight. These are two evenly-matched wedges. 17 seconds into the fight, Psychotron backs into the corner. Devil's Plunger drives up Psychotron's wedge and out of the arena. That's it. Psychotron is the champion. I want to see a rematch -- come on, they're both obviously still in working order, and that's technically one loss for each now! Call it a grudge match! I want to see that fight really take place! Alas, that's it for the middleweights.




I'm rooting for Sewer Snake, if for no other reason than the fact that it defeated both Megabyte and CycloneBot.

Fight. It's wedge on wedge at the beginning. Both robots are able to get under the other and slam each other into the wall. But at about a minute and a half, Evelyn pushes Sewer Snake into the wall and pins it. And rams it. And doesn't let Sewer Snake go. At about thirty seconds, Sewer Snake is finally free, but it looks like it's having drive problems on one side. Time is up. The 22-11 judges' decision gives the championship to Evelyn a Modified Dawg.




Little Blue Engine still has its Blue Max-like wedge on for this fight.

This is a big pushing match, and Gammacide is doing all of the work, pushing Little Blue Engine all around. Little Blue Engine can't get anything in. About halfway through the fight, Gammacide lifts Little Blue Engine toward the Lexan, over the I-beam, and Little Blue Engine falls back down into the arena. The fight is called off as a knockout, as someone believed that Little Blue Engine touched the Lexan. But this lift took place directly in front of the judges, who state that Little Blue Engine was close, but didn't actually come in contact with the Lexan (in the audience, we agree with the judges). The fight resumes. Little Blue Engine is on its back now. Gammacide quickly lifts Little Blue Engine again, over the I-beams in the corner, and clearly presses it against the Lexan. And even if that hadn't already automatically knocked Little Blue Engine out, well, now it's high-centered on the I-beams. Gammacide wins the tournament, though I think it got a little lucky in that three of its four opponents weren't working as they had been designed to work at the start of the tournament.

That's the end of Steel Conflict 4. The museum hadn't closed yet, so I walked the wrong way through the history of the automobile, ending in the late 1800s. As I left, I took another look at the non-competing robots that had been put on display. OverKill had already gone home.


Steel Conflict is great! Though it took longer than expected to get everything set up, once things got going, the smoothness of the event (especially on the second day, when there were more commentators and interviews) was very impressive. The only problem was in keeping a steady stream of fights coming, but show me an event that doesn't have that problem as the day progresses. If Steel Conflict holds an event even remotely near where you live, I urge you to attend. You'll enjoy yourself so much, you won't even notice that, despite the implications of the name, the vast majority of the combatants aren't made of steel.


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