- "I’m fortunate to be driving probably the baddest spinner in the event. It’s fierce."
- — Michael ‘Fuzzy’ Mauldin
Cathadh was a robot which represented the United States of America during Robot Wars: World Series, part of the tenth series of Robot Wars. Despite the powerful spinner captaining Team Rest of the World in its episode, the team could not prevail over Team UK, with Cathadh being defeated by Eruption in the final battle to air on Robot Wars.
Cathadh was entered by Team Toad, who were known for competing in BattleBots and the US live circuit, with their active machine at the time being Polar Vortex. Cathadh was a loanerbot built by Robo Challenge, which had a previous identity as Arena Cleaner.
Cathadh was an invertible robot armed with a horizontal spinning bar, weighing 20kg with one tipped blade on each end. A small rubber mount also holds the front end of the robot up. Cathadh used 3mm of HARDOX armour, and the weapon was particularly powerful, but its two-wheel drive system was completely exposed, including part of its NPC-T64 motors.
- "We were given a horizontal spinner that had previously competed in celebrity specials, called "Arena Cleaner". A respectable robot in its own right, I still wanted to add some Team Toad touches to [show] we weren't just driving someone else's robot."
- — Michael Mauldin
The robot had previously competed as Arena Cleaner in Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, and thus reuses many of the stock components used by the other loanerbots built by Robo Challenge. It differs from Arena Cleaner in using new wheels, tyres and electronics - including a new transmitter - all supplied and installed by Michael Mauldin. To accommodate the new additions, various weight savings were made to Arena Cleaner's chassis and armour, primarily through smoothing off the sides and cutting holes through the top and bottom of its weapon mount. Cathadh was also repainted into the signature orange-and-black colour scheme used by other robots built by Team Toad, an alteration requested by Mauldin and approved by Robo Challenge.
Cathadh's weight is currently unclear - the TV show reported that it weighed 103kg, but this is the same weight that Arena Cleaner reportedly weighed in Battle of the Stars, which roboteers have disputed, claiming that Arena Cleaner was over the heavyweight limit. Cathadh is known to be within the legal weight limit, but is more likely to weigh around 110kg.
Before filming of the World Series began, Michael Mauldin built a scaled-down model of Cathadh, Cathadh Prime, which was used to test the robot's internals and tyres ahead of its appearance.
The name Cathadh is Gaelic for "blizzard", continuing Team Toad's theme of naming their robots after cold weather conditions, such as FrostBite and Polar Vortex.
The pronunciation of Cathadh's name is a source of contention. Although Michael Mauldin originally had an understanding of how to pronounce his robot's name, he claimed to have been corrected by the producers into speaking its name as "Cath-Ard", which was used on television. Some Gaelic speakers would later refute the way Cathadh was pronunced on the show.
Cathadh was entered by Team Toad, captained by Michael "Fuzzy" Mauldin, alongside his wife Debbie Mauldin. Michael Mauldin designed the electronics of Cathadh, and was the robot's drive in battle, also leading its repairs. As the captain of Team Rest of the World, Mauldin would also encourage his fellow international teammates to win their battles in the World Series and offer them tactics and advice to help with this.
Team Toad entered the World Series as newcomers to Robot Wars, but had years of experience competing on the US show BattleBots, and the American robotic combat live circuit. Team Toad had also previously applied for Series 8 and 9 of Robot Wars, but their robot was not selected to compete.
Outside of robotics, Michael Mauldin is a farmer, owning the Lazy Toad Ranch. He had previously invented and served as a chief scientist for the Lycos internet search engine, which he initiated as a university project. As owner of the Lazy Toad Ranch, Mauldin also briefly operated the Robot Club & Grille, a restaurant which also included a Robot Fighting League-compliant arena for live events. The restaurant operated between December 2002 and the end of May 2003, after which it closed due to a lack of customers on non-event days. A segment on the Robot Club & Grille was featured as part of Episode 2 of the World Series.
- "As team captain for Team Rest of the World, I want to make sure that we bring a variety of weapons to the fight, so that no matter which kind of opponent we’re facing, we have its Kryptonite sitting there in the corner, waiting to go."
- — Michael Mauldin
Cathadh represented the United States of America during the second episode of Robot Wars: World Series. As experienced competitors in North American robot combat events, Team Toad were selected as captains of the Rest of the World team for this episode.
- Michael Mauldin: "Okay, Team Rest of the World, we’re cleaning up. We’re the second Tag Team. John, I want you to go in first with Terror Turtle."
- John Frizell: "Okay."
- Michael Mauldin: "We’re gonna tag about every 30 to 40 seconds. I want to make sure everybody drives two times, and the most important thing is… play fair, but do what you have to do to win. Are you ready?"
- John Frizell: "Yep."
- Michael Mauldin: "Okay everybody, hands in here! Team Rest of the World, yes!"
- — Team Rest of the World discuss their Tag Team tactics
Following an inter-team discussion, Terror Turtle fought first, with Cathadh staying out of the action until the former was flipped and immobilised by Concussion. Having spun its weapon up in the meantime, Cathadh slowly drove out of its corner and into an approaching Thor; the impact deflected it away from Thor, leaving Cathadh vulnerable to an axe blow from the Series 8 Grand Finalist. Cathadh’s spinner caught one of the steel cables attached to Thor’s front, ripping the cables and causing its weapon belt to slip. The robot sustained another side-on slam from Thor which stunned it – seconds later, Concussion left its corner to throw Cathadh over and into Shunt. By this point, Cathadh’s mobility was severely limited – Shunt pushed it into the centre of the arena, where it was left struggling to drive around upside-down.
- Michael Mauldin: "I’m dead."
- Debbie Mauldin: "You’re dead? No, no, no, you can push, you can push. Come on. Oh my God, you’re dead? You can’t push!"
- Michael Mauldin: "No."
- Debbie Mauldin: "Oh! What the hell?"
- — Team Toad report Cathadh’s immobility
Cathadh was briefly pushed aside again by Thor and Shunt, and was left completely immobilised seconds before the klaxon sounded. Although both of the Rest of the World machines had been counted out, Michael Mauldin objected to the attack made by Concussion, which was considered to be illegal under the Tag Team rules.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Is this an official objection? Is this some controversy?"
- Michael Mauldin: "Actually no, I'm seriously, yes! I was double-teamed. In a Tag Team match, you are not allowed to have two opponents attack at the same time!"
- — Michael Mauldin raises an official objection against Team UK’s combined attack
When Mauldin’s objection was upheld by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon, Michael Oates of Team UK agreed to forfeit Thor and Concussion’s victory, with three points being awarded to the Rest of the World team as a result.
- Dara Ó Briain: "And now the decision has been made by the powers-to-be, i.e. me, that you deserve those points cos they were robbed from you, it’s actually quite an even battle and this is a robot they’re scared of."
- Michael Mauldin: "And rightly so – I did a little bit of damage. I wish I’d gotten a chance to hit Concussion, but I won’t get that chance this year."
- — After the decision is made to award Team Rest of the World the Tag Team victory
Cathadh would not fight again until the last Head-to-Head of this episode, where it faced Eruption. By this stage, the Rest of the World team had incurred three consecutive losses, resulting in them losing the episode to Team UK before the battle had begun. Nevertheless, Michael Mauldin was adamant that he would try his best against the recently-crowned Series 10 champion.
- "Well, this is coming down to Britain versus the Rest of the World, and the British dominant robot is the flipper. And in America, at least, the dominant robot is usually the spinner. So this is going to come down to a spinner/flipper battle and I hope to smack the heck out of my opponent."
- — Michael Mauldin
In an attempt to gain an advantage over Eruption, Cathadh was positioned sideways on its starting spot, with the intention of turning and hitting Eruption with the spinner as it came near. However, Team Toad’s plan unravelled in the opening seconds, as the spinner failed to start before Eruption drove towards it due to the damage caused by Concussion in the Tag Team stage. Cathadh darted away over the spark jets, but was constantly bumped, pushed and chased around the arena by Eruption, eventually hitting the Arena Tyre. In doing so, it triggered ‘Rogue House Robot’ – Shunt momentarily drove after and into Cathadh, but Cathadh escaped by reversing and bumping into the Tyre. Despite sustaining another few bumps and shoves from Eruption and Shunt, it continued driving through an empty CPZ, even proceeding to drive into the side of Shunt as the House Robot chased after Eruption.
- "When you start [Cathadh], the weapon force turns the robot 90 degrees to the right. So, if the weapon had worked, I would have wound up pointing in the right direction."
- — Michael Mauldin explains his starting position after the battle
With its bar spinner still not functioning, Cathadh bumped and lured Eruption across the arena, before pushing the latter back and forcing it to flip itself over. It retreated into the corner just as ‘Fog of War’ was enabled, before driving into Eruption just as the fog cleared. After some time trying to lure Eruption around again, Cathadh was flipped twice by Michael Oates’ machine; the second flip resulted in Cathadh landing upside-down after its rear clipped the wall. Spinning in circles, Cathadh was thrown into the wall twice more by Eruption, only for its bar spinner to suddenly start rotating. With this, it reversed, sparks flying as it hit Eruption’s flipper. Cathadh continued to damage Eruption while being simultaneously pushed into the corner – however, the sustained impacts caused the weapon belt to slip off.
- "Well, it worked for a while."
- — Michael Mauldin as Cathadh’s spinner briefly works
Weaponless once again, Cathadh was thrown violently against the wall by Eruption, reversing and spinning away to escape. However, its right tyre sheared off its axle as it was thrown upside-down again, leaving it immobile on one side as Eruption continued to flip it alongside the wall. As in its previous battle, Cathadh was counted out, before Matilda pushed and threw it in the pit.
- "Great battling from Cathadh, but it wasn’t enough. Victory for the UK team captain – victory for the UK. The USA beaten."
- — Jonathan Pearce after Cathadh is pitted
With this, the Rest of the World team finally lost the second World Series episode to Team UK; after the battle, Michael Mauldin apologised to Michael Oates for Cathadh’s performance, while later praising the efforts of his international teammates.
|CATHADH - RESULTS|
|World Series, representing the United States of America|
Partnered with Terror Turtle for Tag Team battle
|Episode 2, Tag Team||vs. Concussion & Thor||Lost (0 points)|
|NOTE: Team UK later conceded their points due to a rule-breakage during the battle, gaining Cathadh 3 points|
|Episode 2, Head-to-Head||vs. Eruption||Lost (0 points)|
- Wins: 0
- Losses: 2
NOTE: Although Cathadh initially lost its first battle by knockout, it was awarded the points of a victory due to a post-match forfeit
|Series||Cathadh Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Not selected with Polar Vortex|
|Series 9||Withdrew with Polar Vortex|
|Series 10||World Series|
NOTE: The previous identity of the loanerbot, Arena Cleaner, competed in Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars.
Outside Robot Wars
Team Toad were frequent competitors in the original run of BattleBots. All of Michael "Fuzzy" Mauldin's robots from the lightweight division and up were named after cold factors, including Cathadh, and were generally painted orange. For more information on Team Toad's most active competitor on the live circuit, see the Polar Vortex article.
The team first competed with the heavyweight FrostBite, which competed in Seasons 2-5. It was originally a four-wheel driven invertible robot armed with a plough weapon, designed to push other robots around the BattleBox. It reached the fourth round in its debut season by defeating Punjar and OverKill before losing to Voltronic. It was also able to defeat Circuit Breaker in the third season, but lost to HexaDecimator. FrostBite returned to Seasons 4.0 and 5.0 armed with a threshing drum spinner, but lost its only battles in each of the seasons to Surgeon General and Omega-13 respectively.
Team Toad entered the lightweight division of Seasons 3-5 with SnowFlake, a scaled-down version of FrostBite using a two-wheel drive, still with high pushing power. It was most successful in Season 3.0, collecting wins over Frozen Toast and Shockwave, also defeating Whirling Willy by default before losing to Gamma Raptor. In Season 4.0, it received two byes to reach the Round of 64, where it defeated Whirl Wep-EEL Brain, but lost to Ziggo in the Round of 32. In Season 5.0, it lost both of its battles to Sublime and Evil Cheese Wedge.
The team's first middleweight IceCube also competed in Seasons 3-5, and like FrostBite and SnowFlake, it was a robot armed with a snow plough, designed to push. Unlike most of Team Toad's robots, it was painted blue. The robot was driven by two pairs of wheels at either side, and also used a wheelie bar at the back for stability. It collected at least one victory in each season it competed in, defeating Pink Slip and Die Fledermaus in Season 3.0, Internal Audit in Season 4.0, and Trocar in Season 5.0. When BattleBots went off-air, IceCube continued to compete at RoboGames, becoming the 2006 Middleweight Champion.
Team Toad also competed in Seasons 3.0 and 4.0 with a second middleweight, WindChill. It was box-shaped in design, and was an invertible robot driven by four wheels, armed with a lifting spike. In Season 3.0, it was able to defeat Phoenix, but lost to Traxx, and then lost to Armadillo in Season 4.0. Team Toad wished to enter Robotica with WindChill, but were not accepted to compete.
The team's super heavyweight, IceBerg, was their most successful in BattleBots. It was again an invertible pushing robot, but used a six-wheel drive, and its plough was now a lifter, powered by compressed air. Despite losing its only battle in Season 3.0 to The Judge, it reached the quarter-finals of Seasons 4.0 and 5.0. It did this in Season 4.0 by defeating Sharp Tooth, Half Gassed, Bucky the Beaverbot and No Apologies before finally losing to Little Blue Engine. It received a series of byes in Season 5.0, but still defeated Ronin and Phrizbee-Ultimate before being eliminated by Maximus.
Team Toad also had an additional lightweight robot which competed in Season 5.0, SnowCone, built by Debbie Mauldin. It was armed with an angled spinning bar, but the robot could not live up to the team's reputation, and it was defeated by Bulldog in the first round of its only appearance. Outside of BattleBots, a 30lb version of SnowCone existed.
Two antweight robots were entered into Season 5.0 by the team. The first was TadPole, an invertible robot armed with a lifting robot, painted to match the consistent theme of the team. It lost its only battle to Tsunami, but found more success on the live circuit. The team's less-serious entry was El Furro, a repurposed Furby toy armed with a swinging sword. It proved to be more successful, reaching the second round by defeating Cupcake.
When BattleBots went off-air, the team built the heavyweight Avalanche, carrying on the legacy of FrostBite by using a similar design, another Team Toad robot to be an invertible pushing robot armed with a front plough. Its primary difference was its use of eight wheels across the robot. During the same period, Team Toad built Blizzard, an invertible robot armed with a thick spinning disc. Both were retired in 2011.
For uses outside of BattleBots, Team Toad also built other robots of lower weight classes:
- Ice Chip, an antweight heavily resembling IceCube.
- MiniMauler, a 12lb spinning robot based upon The Mauler.
- HalfPipe, a lightweight invertible pushing robot, armed with an angled plough.
- Ice Maker, a featherweight with an angled bar spinner much like SnowCone.
- LionHeart, a middleweight designed to push using a low-profile scoop.
After being absent from the two rebooted seasons of BattleBots aired on ABC, Team Toad were selected to compete in the 2018 season of BattleBots on Science Channel and Discovery Channel. Their new invertible 248lb robot Hypothermia competed in the upcoming season, armed with interchangeable lifting ploughs, and the option of using overhead grabbing arms to hold robots in place before lifting them. In its first battle, Hypothermia fought Whiplash, and managed to hold its opponent using its grabbers, but Whiplash responded by ripping a wheel from Hypothermia, before immobilising it completely. Hypothermia was outfitted with four tyres for its battle against the reigning third-place entry Minotaur, and although Hypothermia resisted the drum spinner well, it was unable to mount an offence due to its wedge being bent by the Brazilian machine, and Hypothermia unanimously lost the Judges' decision. After accruing two losses, Hypothermia entered the Desperado Bracket in an effort to receive an automatic place in the final 16, but lost its first match to Valkyrie on a Judges’ decision after its wheels were dislodged. Hypothermia also represented the USA during an untelevised battle in the USA vs The World special, which did not count towards the robot's competition record. There, Hypothermia collected its first and only win via Judges' decision against The Four Horsemen.
In 2019, Team Toad entered BattleBots with Texas Twister, a robot using the same drive train as Hypothermia, but now armed with a large horizontal spinning disc, which can also function as an undercutter weapon. The robot was also accompanied by a flame-throwing drone, Spitfire. In its first battle, Texas Twister faced the Brazilian entry Black Dragon, and pulled off a close victory via split decision. Texas Twister then fought Axe Backwards and easily collected its second win, ripping a whole tyre away from Axe Backwards which could not spin its weapon. In its third fight, Texas Twister lost for the first time after being pelted into the wall by Son of Whyachi, and was defeated again in its fourth fight, after being knocked out by Whiplash. Texas Twister therefore concluded its Fight Night campaign with a 2-2 record, and did not qualify for the Top 16. It also fought an untelevised battle against Free Shipping, but was beaten. Team Toad opted not to participate in the 2020 season of BattleBots.
- Team Toad, much like Team MAD and Dorset Roboteering Team, made an effort to place stickers representing their team on as many competitors in the main series as possible.
- There was a time when Team Toad stickers appeared on many miscellaneous places such as the Eiffel Tower, and a large number of robots in BattleBots.
- Press releases regarding Cathadh's involvement in the World Series erroneously addressed Michael Mauldin as a 'Silicon Valley millionaire'. Michael Mauldin is in fact a Texas resident, whose company Lycos was funded in Boston, Massachusetts.
- Footage of Team Toad's featherweight Ice Maker was used in Episode 2 of the World Series, as part of a segment on Mauldin's former Robot Club & Grille (see The Team).
- Cathadh was involved in the final battle of Robot Wars to be filmed and aired.