Shatter! and Huge are two of the largest robots at the competition: while everyone knows Huge is quite big, Shatter! can slip under the radar a bit. In it's largest configuration Shatter! is 6 feet long, just under 3 feet wide, and 1.5 feet tall - with the ability to reach almost 5 feet in the air and stretching to 7+ feet long with the hammer extended. It's quite voluminous. In this fight we weren't quite 6 feet long without the forks, but still, pretty lengthy - and we have the reach to hit Huge's chassis with our weapon. Let's see how this fight of epic proportions went.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Only proceed if you've seen Championship VII Episode 1
Huge isn't a robot we've been particularly pining to fight - it's a great robot, and a great team... but not a great matchup for us. It was actually top of the list of robots we didn't want to face when someone asked us one on Reddit.
This is a fight a lot of people thought would happen last year in the Sin City Slug Fest Golden Bolt Spectacular (SCSFGBS) but instead we fought Deep Six. Deep Six and Huge are actually somewhat similar - in their weapons. They both have very big vertical bar spinners that hit you in the side pretty straight on - with very little vertical component to the hit.
This is a different type of hit than most verts. Most verts have a lot of 'up' in the hit due to their smaller diameters. Our UHMW armor works well against those types of smaller verts (as long as the impactor isn't too wide...) - they can't get much bite and it just sort of tosses us away before they can dig all the way through the plastic. But when a vert is as big as Huge or Deep Six it just comes straight in and through the plastic.
The main difference is that Deep Six has their chassis low and almost no armor - if we get a hit on the chassis we can win in one shot - we theoretically had a good chance to win. However Huge has a TON of armor on their chassis (all AR500) and it's very high - so we can't get as much power into our swing as if we were hitting a low chassis but on top of that the armor is so thick it almost doesn't even matter how high it is. This was not the best matchup to see as our first fight, but, no one said BattleBots would be easy.
Our strategy had two prongs. The first was that I wanted to avoid the weapon - if I could get around to the side wheels I could push Huge around and look aggressive with the hammer (even if the hammer wouldn't do much to the wheels themselves) and maybe hit their metal poles off (which they use to keep from getting stuck on their side). If I could get the metal poles off, maybe I could get them stuck on their side or on a screw or something. And if I pushed them around enough, maybe I could stop the weapon on the arena. The second prong of attack was that Huge historically takes a while to spin up, and their weapon wasn't very reliable, often breaking or significantly slowing by the end of the fight. Maybe I can just break the weapon by driving into it enough times? We really didn't want to go weapon-to- weapon, as that would result in us hopping (from both the initial swing, but also from impacting them) and we'd just lift ourselves up and prime ourselves for a big hit from their vert) but if we did, maybe we could get their belts? They had so many (4 on the weapon and 1 on each wheel) it felt near impossible to get them all - so it was a last resort to go for them.
This is our first fight of the season, and Shatter for Championship VII is very similar to the previous year's Shatter, especially from the outside, with a few improvements. The frame is stiffer/stronger/lighter, there is more magnetic downforce, and the drive voltage is upped to 8S from 6S (meaning we are now 33% faster, with more pushing power). We have a new weapon option which we took our official photos with (the Paul Suprise) but we didn't use that in this fight, and a couple new fork options. The shiny decorative tops are back as an option too - but we didn't run them here as they'd just get immediately wrecked.
For this fight we look a lot like we did vs Mammoth in 2020 - the front is basically our anti-vert front, without any forks. The hammer is what we wished we had for Mammoth, the Mary Special - designed to take out belts and grab protrusions (and for this fight intended to have the serrations grab onto Huge's side poles). We doubled up the top armor as Huge will probably hit it, and we added anti-Huge panels that are near identical to our former anti-Mammoth panels.
Huge ran their newer Tegris wheels, and added Tegris guards to their drive belts, as well as doubling up their top armor. They ran their long bar, which was a surprise to us - we thought they'd run a short bar to directly hit our hammer pivot.
It's weird how that pre-fight photo looks like it's from 2003. Anyway, let's dive into the fight.
Shatter! is very fast now, and with the mecanum wheels it turns SUPER fast so this fight is filled with me constantly oversteering. To be fair, I was trying to come in at a bit of an angle as we wanted to avoid Huge's blade coming straight through our hammer-slot and hitting the shaft. If we came in at an angle, Huge would hit the wedge and pivot guards - and we could try to aim for the wheel belts (part of our last-ditch 'oops' strategy). But I certainly wasn't trying to show them my full side and I was trying to avoid the weapon entirely... so some bad driving right off the bat here.
So I came out with a box rush and basically completely missed, spun around, and went broadside into Huge's weapon... oops. They hit us a bunch, we flip over, we self right, they hit us some more. The armor is doing ok through these initial hits.
We do eventually get around the side and shove them into the shelf. Look at that speed and power on the drive! Maybe we can turn this?
But Huge is just spinning up way too fast. By the time I get to them their weapon is at full speed again. It doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. They are also driving pretty aggressive - getting around the side is tough.
But we stick to the main strategy of trying to get around the side and trying to hit their wheel-poles. The announcers are saying Huge is using their wheels as 'shields' - and maybe they were? - but certainly I was also trying to get around the side. We know we can't damage the wheels themselves much, but the wheels also can't damage us - so we can remain aggressive - and possibly get one of those poles.
Eventually we do get one! And it makes a cool spark and a great 'ping' sound as it goes flying across the arena.
Then we almost immediately get lifted on top of Huge which looks pretty cool.
That's basically what we were afraid would happen if we fired front on... but we don't have a lot of choice here, we need to do something. We do take out one of Huge's weapon belts on this hit though, so it isn't all for naught. Just 3 more left!
With the pole cut off the one side, we also have a chance at a knockout. If we can get Huge onto their side, we could win! We just need to top them over, or maybe pushed behind the screw.
But Shatter! is starting to drive poorly. The frame must be bent, or maybe we are high centering on debris, meaning our wheels aren't all on the floor and the bot is getting skittery. This is exacerbating my driving issues and I'm continually showing the side/rear/everything I don't want to do. We've got electronics hanging out and visible through the lid... generally this is considered bad.
And then we use the hammer as a flipper to toss Huge into the air and... it plops right down on the side, stuck and flailing in place. We win by getting Huge stuck on their side! We did it! It's nice when a plan comes together.
What a great fight that was! What a turn of events. No one saw that coming.
Ok, actually they just almost immediately flipped back upright. But wasn't it close? I mean if the pole nub had gotten stuck in the killsaw slot or something, or if we'd been nearer a screw. But it wasn't to be.
At some point around here the first weapon ESC comes unplugged and the hammer starts slowing down - at least, we think. It's possible it came unplugged on one of the first hits when the side was directly hit, and it's just slowing down from the clutch overheating? We're not totally sure. The lid over the hammer ESCs is just peeled completely up - without the lid to hold down the ESCs (they are float-mounted in foam for impact absorption, and the lid is needed to hold it all in place) the ESCs are literally being held in by their wires - not good.
The robot is becoming difficult to turn, and with Huge coming on strong all I can do is try to aim ourselves front on so we don't get our sides torn up anymore. We do manage to get the front pointed toward them, and we fire the weapon again (maybe we can get a belt?) and we are lifted up as we were the first time. This time we don't end up on top of Huge, but we are propped up against the wall. No problem... we'll just fire the hammer and get off.
But it wouldn't fire. We could see the wheels spinning, but the hammer wasn't budging and we were stuck. Sad. You can see the hammer sort of just flop down at the end like it was giving up. If we hadn't gotten stuck, we probably could have made it to the buzzer and just kept driving into them, see what happens. But sometimes luck isn't on your side and you get stuck teetering on a corner with loose cables dangling around. On the plus side, it was really easy for Trey to reach the weapon switches with the lid peeled up so much... (when a robot is in an awkward position like this, Trey will often turn it off instead of the builder).
We have to hand it to Huge. We've known G̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶T̶e̶a̶m̶ Team HUGE since before either of us was on BattleBots. They put a lot of effort into getting this design optimized at various weightclasses and it seems like they've got it really dialed in now at the HW scale, at least in this first fight. The weapon was spinning up fast, staying spun up, and dishing out hit after hit (even after coming to a dead stop against the arena). The drive was powerful and snappy too. Overall it looked nasty and durable - like we're used to seeing at the lower weightclasses. Congrats to Jonathan and team for putting on a brutal fight. We'll get you next time!
Let's take a look at the damage.
Huge had a few scratches on the chassis (they say it's as much damage as Whiplash had done with the spinner, so hey, that's something), some dings on the wheels, and damaged rubber treads. We did take out one of their weapon belts, and one titanium pole (1" diameter!).
Shatter! took a lot of damage. One of our weapon motors came apart, one of the weapon ESCs broke a power terminal off the board, and the other has a singed-terminal where the cable came unplugged. Our front-center Titanium wedge looks more like a potato chip than it should, 3 of 4 top panels are wrecked, and the chassis is less-flat than we'd like (but maybe repairable? we'll swap to the spare billet for fight 2 but try to repair this one for later). This was a weird failure that ultimately cost us the fight. The lids got popped up which put undue stress on the power cables for the weapon ESCs and they came loose - the frame was tweaked but all the drive motors were still going at the end. You never stop getting surprised at how things fail in BattleBots - you just don't think of this stuff in FMEA.
I don't have a ton of great photos from this fight, but you can see more damage shots in our YouTube post-fight video too.
You never want to start off a season 0-1, you certainly don't want to lose in a knockout and damage one of two billet chassis that you brought... but if you're gonna start off losing in a knockout and damaging vital components, at least make it entertaining. I think this was an entertaining fight? So, there's that, haha. And Huge is a great team and we're excited to see them go to 1-0, even if we wish it wasn't against us ha.
Thanks to Shatter!'s sponsors, without whom there would be no Shatter!:
Metal Blade Records
MaxAmps Lithium Batteries
Our next fight with Shatter! is vs Beta (no pressure), but our next fight on TV will actually be with Emulsifier vs Fusion this week. See you then!