A robot that has been immobilised by an arena hazard has experienced a hazard immobilisation. This differs from weapon immobilisations (which are inflicted by enemy robots) or malfunctions (in robot design or engineering).
In the showmanship format of Robot Wars, it is entirely possible for a robot that has suffered a weapon immobilisation to then be pitted, burned on the flame hazards or thrown out of the arena. Similarly, it is possible for a battle that has been decided by judges' decisions to also end with a hazard immobilisation (such as Blade pitting Spike after time ran out or Firestorm 3 pitting Hypno-Disc and itself simultaneously).
A hazard immobilisation occurs when a robot becomes immobilised by an arena hazard. Typically a robot will have been forced into this hazard by an opponent or a House Robot, as robots who have driven into those hazards themselves are deemed to have immobilised themselves. The exceptions to this rule are the arena spikes and (from Series 8 onwards) the Floor Flipper, which can activate at random once competitors drive over them.
A hazard is something designed to cause damage to an opponent, or otherwise be the cause of a one-hit-KO. The grilles, side bars and Pit of Oblivion, whilst passive objects, were mostly treated as instantaneous losses.
The arena walls and CPZs are not considered to be hazards, as they alone do not cause damage or KO without the involvement of competitor robots or the House Robots. As such, the following are not considered hazard immobilisations, but rather malfunctions or weapon immobilisations respectively.
- Robots stuck in forward drive against the arena wall (such as Razer in Series 4 and Behemoth in Series 7)
- Robots pinned against the wall (such as Kronic the Wedgehog's defeat of Gravedigger and several Firestorm victories)
- Robots thrown out of the arena.
- Robots immobilised amidst Fog of War.
Side Bars and Grates/GrillesEdit
The original Robot Wars Arena did not feature a Pit of Oblivion. As such, most robots fought to breakdowns, weapon immobilisations or pushed each other into the House Robots. However, there were some hazards that could be used to immobilise an opponent. The most common of these were the side bars and grates (also known as grilles) that were placed around the arena.
The side bars were long poles laid along the inside of the arena wall that, if pushed onto, immobilised an opponent due to it being extremely difficult for the small Series 1-era wheels to gain purchase. Bodyhammer used the side bars to defeat both Torque of the Devil and REALI-T.
The grates/grilles functioned in essentially the same way as the Pit of Oblivion, where robots could not drive off once pushed on. Robot the Bruce used the grilles to defeat Wedgehog, whilst Bodyhammer was immobilised by the grille during its fight with REALI-T before being rescued by the House Robots. REALI-T broke one of its wheels when trying to escape the grille.
The Pit of OblivionEdit
- "Cerberus, glossy, shiny, don't forget, has that steel head RAM to push Griffon into the pit!"
- — Jonathan Pearce's almost-entire commentary of Cerberus vs Griffon, Series 3
The most famous feature in the modern Robot Wars Arena, the Pit of Oblivion was the primary arena hazard for ending a battle. When pushed into the Pit, smoke would emerge to signal the end of a battle. The first instance of a robot being pitted was Technophobic, pitted by Killertron in the Heat Final of Heat E of the Second Wars.
"Pitting", as the tactic was called, was a favourite of several competitors, such as Panic Attack, King Buxton, Razer, Scutter's Revenge and Tough As Nails. It was a tactic favoured by non-wedge robots with broad pushing power that were easy to control, and typically had lifting forks, scoops or crushers for purchase whilst guiding their opponents towards the pit.
During The Third Wars, Cerberus pitted Griffon and set the shortest battle record that stood until The Seventh Wars. It remains the fastest pitting in Robot Wars history. Other fast pittings include Tornado's 19-second defeat of Terrorhurtz in the Extreme 2 Challenge Belt final, and Razer's 20-second defeat of Backstabber in Series 3. Other memorable pittings include Bigger Brother's comeback victory over Hypno-Disc in The Fifth Wars Grand Final, Tornado's 'change of heart' elimination of Terror-Bull in Series 6, Kan-Opener's pitting of Thermidor 2 four seconds before the end of the Extreme 2 Annihilator and the double "death-pact" pitting of Razer and Kill-E-Crank-E in Series 8.
- "What happened there? It just flipped up and over!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Behemoth is flipped by the arena spike in its Series 3 Heat Final against Pitbull
During The Second Wars, the spikes were slow moving and had only enough power to be impediments to opposing robots, with only ORAC being defeated in this way. In The Third Wars, however, the spikes were pointed metal stakes that shot out of the arena floor and had enough power to topple opponents who were otherwise performing well in their battles. Arena spikes immobilised Behemoth, Berserk 2 and Pitbull by turning them over, Scarab through internal damage, and the spikes also contributed to the defeats of Thing 2 and Panic Attack in the Series 3 Semi-Finals.
In the reboot, the spikes were confined to a designated square and had the purpose of trapping a robot between them more than flipping, as seen when they held Storm 2 and Big Nipper in place. In Series 9, however, they have been seen to flip competitors over, such as the immobilised TMHWK towards the end of its Group Battle, and notably when they immobilised the heavily-damaged Aftershock by flipping it over in its Grand Final head-to-head against Ironside 3.
Wall spikes and angle grindersEdit
- "I think half the robot is impaled on that arena wall!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Tornado brutalises Gemini
The wall spikes and angle grinders were designed to make the arena walls more dangerous than simply solid forces to slam robots against. Tornado used the wall-mounted spikes to impale and immobilise one half of Gemini in Series 4, resulting in the clusterbot's elimination.
Arena Floor FlipperEdit
The second most famous arena hazard, the Floor Flipper, was primarily used in the original series (alongside the Drop Zone) to dispose of defeated competitors after they suffered weapon immobilisations or malfunctions.
However, since being able to fire on mobile competitors in the reboot, the Flipper has been capable of inflicting some KOs on robots which drove over it. For example, Chompalot was immobilised by the Floor Flipper in Series 9, and Foxic was immobilised in Series 9 when flipped over and its self-righting mechanism failed. In Series 10, Androne 4000 was immobilised twice by the Flipper, firstly by causing a malfunction within the machine during its Group Battle, the second time due to Androne 4000 being flipped over and unable to self-right after Nuts 2 damaged its hydraulic system, and the Flipper also immobilised Iron-Awe 6 during the 10 Robot Rumble.
The Floor Flipper is also able to pin robots down, but the legality of this form of hazard immobilisation is debatable. It was deemed legal in the Extreme 1 Antweight Melee, when Anty B and half of Legion fell beneath it and the former was instantly eliminated. However, in heavyweight competitions, such actions have twice been overruled as a legitimate KO, with Behemoth vs Cherub from Series 9 being re-started, while the All-Stars battle between Razer and Gemini from the Extreme 1 All-Stars saw Razer thrown and immobilised by the floor flipper, which was edited out of the televised broadcast. In both instances, the battle went to a judges' decision - the former based on the restarted match with the illegal KO disregarded, and the latter being based up to the point where Razer was flipped by the Floor Flipper.
A robot being held by an opponent over the Flame Pit resulting in components such as motors and batteries burning out is a hazard immobilisation. Commonplace in earlier series, this instance became increasingly rarer since The Third Wars, as the usage of petrol engines have drastically reduced and robots were flame-resistant enough to drive over the flames occasionally without being immobilised.
Rameses II and Technophobic were both immobilised by the Flame Pit when Sir Killalot and Pitbull respectively pushed them over the flames. The dangers of fire became apparent one again in the reboot, as Lithium Polymer batteries are prone to fire damage. Foxic was immobilised over the flames in Series 8, while Robin Herrick coated the insides of Crank-E with tin foil to prevent it from the flames.