A seed is a preliminary ranking that can be used in arranging a sports tournament. It is called a seed because of the analogy with plants where the seed might grow into a top rank at the end of that tournament, or the seed might instead wither away. Seeded machines are 'planted' into the bracket in a manner that is typically intended so that the best don't meet until later in the competition.
During the original UK series of Robot Wars, the producers awarded seedings to certain team with pedigree or popularity from previous series.
Seeded robots automatically qualified for the Series, and did not have to go through the qualifiers. However, some of the seeds in Series 5 were decided after the qualifiers.
Seeds were predominantly expected to be the favourites to win each heat. In Series 4 and 5, where two seeds were placed in each heat, the higher seed was considered the favourite, whilst the lower seed was considered the second favourite.
The seeds were nearly always kept apart so that they could only meet in the Heat Final – although this only happened five times due to one or the other or even both being knocked out of the competition before hand. The only exception was in the Fifth Wars when Hypno-Disc and Atomic 2 met in the second round of Heat B despite both being seeded.
Because of their pedigree or popularity, certain UK Series Competitors were seeded in numerous series. However, no robot or team was ever seeded on all five occasions of seeds being granted.
- Cold Fusion Team (Bodyhammer, Pussycat)
- Panic Attack
- Team Chaos (Chaos, Chaos 2)
- Team Scutterbots (Spawn of Scutter, Spawn Again)
Seeds were first introduced in Series 2, with only six robots being seeded. As a result of this, seeds were only placed in half of the heats.
The Second Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in the previous series. It was presumably intended that the six Grand Finalists from the first series would be seeded, but as the teams behind Cunning Plan and T.R.A.C.I.E. did not initially return for the second series, seedings were given to Mortis and Killertron instead.
The Second Wars was unique in that there was not one seed per heat (as would be the case from The Fourth Wars onwards). The bracket did not allow for a "Top 6", nor a definitive ranking of first to sixth place, meaning that even had all six seeds made the Top 8, there would have been no way of determining whether Cassius and Chaos met, exceeded or failed to meet their seedings had they been eliminated within the Top 8.
Griffon, the heavyweight successor to First Wars Grand Finalist Cunning Plan, was ignored in the seeding selections. It is likely that the robot's poor performance in the rehearsals led to it being omitted, although Griffon was eventually chosen as a reserve and competed when Reckless Endangerment pulled out at the last minute.Citation?
Mortis was given the second seed, despite being eliminated at the Heat Final stage in the First Wars. As a result, it was ranked higher than three of the Grand Finalists, including the successor to the robot which defeated Mortis. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, Killertron, a Heat finalist in the previous war, was seeded higher than both Cassius and Chaos. A possible reason suggested for Cassius and Chaos receiving lower seeds is that while they were entered by experienced teams, both robots themselves were new, and entering their debut series.
- Of the six seeds, four made the Top 8 of the UK Championship.
- Three seeds made the Top 4 (Seeds 1, 4 and 5).
- Two robots met or exceeded their expected finish.
- Cassius was the only seed to exceed its projected finish, placing second to exceed a fifth seed (equivalent to top 8 finish).
- Killertron became the first seeded robot to finish in its projected position, finishing fourth overall.
- The remaining four seeds all performed below their projected finishes.
- Though Roadblock and Mortis reached the Top 4 and Top 8 respectively, they did not meet their first and second projected finishes.
- Bodyhammer had the biggest gap, from a projected third place to losing in the Gauntlet.
During a chat session with producer Steve Carsey, it was revealed that Series 3 was intended to have more seeded robots, to give the show a more "sporting feel". However, for unknown reasons, there were no seeds by the time the series was filmed. Nonetheless, normal expectations of certain returning robots and teams naturally still stood.
It should also be noted that despite the lack of an organised seeding bracket, the winner and runner up Panic Attack and Cassius 2 could not have fought before the final match of the Wars. Similarly, Beast of Bodmin could have only encountered Cassius 2 in the Grand Final Eliminator stage (where Hypno-Disc fought Steg-O-Saw-Us).
- "This year, just like Wimbledon, we've seeded our top 32 teams based primarily on past battle performance."
- — Craig Charles in the opening of Heat A
The Fourth Wars introduced two seeds per heat, bringing the seeds to a total of thirty-two, the most in any series of Robot Wars to date. The seeds had a gap of sixteen in between; for example, Heat A featured the 1st and 17th seeds. The format of the heats would be that all of the odd-numbered seeds would be placed in the first eight heats, and then, starting from 16 and 32, the even-numbered seeds would be placed in heats until the 2nd and 18th seeds were placed in the final heat. Every Heat was set up so that the two seeds would not meet until the Heat Final. Among the sixteen heats, this only occurred four times, and only twice did the higher seed win.
The Fourth Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in the previous series. In consultation with The Steering Committee, the producers flagged sixteen robots based on their performances. This list included fourteen of the previous year's semi-finalists, omitting Bodmin Community College (who had presumably indicated their retirement) and Team Scutterbots (for reasons unknown), and including both Razer and Behemoth based on performances in The First World Championship and the International League Championship.Citation? Pitbull, Trident and Blade's Big Bruva were all on the original list of sixteen,Citation? though the trio would all subsequently not appear in the Fourth Wars and Spawn of Scutter was ultimately added to the list as the 10th seed, presumably taking the spot reserved by Pitbull. Trident and Blade's Big Bruva were seeded and ultimately withdrew at the last minute and two other robots (Centurion and Suicidal Tendencies) were seeded in their place.
The other sixteen seeds were selected as "discretionary choices". These ranged from previous semi-finalists (King Buxton, Mortis, Plunderbird and Dartford Girls Grammar) and strong heat finalists (X-Terminator, Team Big Cheese and Berserk 2) to popular teams and entertainers (Diotoir and Sir Chromalot).
In the agenda for the Steering Committee, Griffon, Facet and "Sting" were all flagged as potential discretionary seeds, though none of these robots ultimately returned for the series. They were replaced by Weld-Dor 2, Dreadnaut XP-1 and Stinger at various points. It may be possible that the Steering Committee had originally written Stinger as 'Sting' without realising another competitor shared this name, but this cannot be verified.
The final seeding list was as below.
1. Chaos 2
17. King B3
At some point around the withdrawal of Trident and Blade's Big Bruva, Wheely Big Cheese and Killerhurtz were pushed into the top bracket.
Despite their heat finalist status and the large number of seedings to go round, two Heat Finalists (Inverterbrat and Darke Destroyer 2) were omitted for unknown reasons. Suicidal Tendencies was also missed out until its last minute inclusion. Peter Bignell of the Inverterbrat team was part of the Steering Committee despite his robot not being seeded.
- Seventeen of the thirty-two seeds would make the Top 32 (heat finalist status) (twelve from the upper sixteen, five from the lower sixteen).
- Eleven seeds would reach the Top 16 (eight from the upper 16, three from the lower 16).
- Six seeds made the Top 8 (four from the upper sixteen, two from the lower sixteen).
- Four seeds made the Top 4 (Seeds 1, 2, 19 and 30).
- Five robots finished in their projected positions.
- Chaos 2 became the first and only reigning champion and Number 1 seed to defend its title, finishing in its projected position.
- Spawn of Scutter and Wheely Big Cheese finished in the Top 16, meaning that their projected finishes of 10th and 15th were met.
- As the heat finalists were inside the Top 32, Mortis and Suicidal Tendencies both met their projected finishes.
- A further four seeds exceeded their projected positions.
- Wild Thing was the highest seed to exceed its expected finish, finishing inside the Top 8 on an 11th seeding.
- Stinger had the highest gap between its seeding (30th, equivalent to heat finalist) and its finishing position (3rd).
- Pussycat and X-Terminator 2 also exceeded their 19th and 22nd seeds by placing within the Top 2 and Top 16 respectively.
- The remaining 23 seeds all performed below expectations, ranging from Hypno-Disc (second projected, fourth actual) to the six seeds to lose in the first round (Evil Weevil 2 (12th), Gravedigger (13th), Cerberus (18th), Diotoir (21st), Weld-Dor 2 (28th) and Centurion (31st), with Diotoir becoming the first to do so in battle).
- Evil Weevil 2 had the biggest gap between projected finish and actual finish, falling in the first round from a projected Top 16 finish.
Due to the change in the structure of the UK Championship, the Heats still featured two seeds, but there were less heats and therefore less seeds. All sixteen Semi-Finalists from the previous series were seeded, with the four Grand Finalists and the reigning World Champion amongst the top five. The seeds were seeded based on their full combat records, rather than The Fourth Wars alone (as evidenced by the higher seedings of Firestorm 3 and 3 Stegs to Heaven, and the comparatively lower seedings of Dominator 2 and Tornado).
Due to the reduction of seeds from thirty-two to twenty-four, and Series 5 featuring twelve heats instead of sixteen, only the sixteen Semi-Finalists from the previous series were given automatic places in the Series. The eight remaining seeds were chosen after the qualifiers.
- Thirteen of the twenty-four seeds would make the Top 24 (heat finalist status) (eleven from the upper twelve, plus another two from the lower twelve).
- Ten seeds would reach the Top 12 (nine from the upper twelve, one from the lower twelve).
- Six seeds made the Top 8 (all six from the upper twelve).
- Three seeds made the Top 4 (Seeds 3, 4 and 7).
- Three robots finished in their expected positions.
- Wild Thing and Wheely Big Cheese both finished in the top 12, performing in line with their 9th and 10th seedings respectively.
- S.M.I.D.S.Y. reached the heat final (the only lower 16 seed aside from heat winner Spawn Again to do so), making it the third robot to achieve this despite being the lowest seed in The Fifth Wars.
- A further four seeds exceeded their expected positions.
- Razer was the highest seed to exceed its expected finish, finishing first on a 4th seeding.
- Firestorm 3 had the largest gap between its seeding (7th) and its finished position (3rd).
- Dominator 2 finished in the top eight, up from its 11th seeding, and Spawn Again finished in the top 12, up from its 13th seed. Spawn Again was the only seed from the lower 12 to finish in the top 12.
- The remaining 17 seeds all performed below expectations, ranging from Chaos 2 (first projected, top eight actual) to the three seeds to lose in round 1 (101 and Mini Morg, as well as withdrawn Suicidal Tendencies).
- Tornado had the biggest gap between projected finish and actual finish, finishing in the heat semi-final stage (equivalent to Top 48) from a projected Top 12 place.
- Tornado was the highest seed not to make the Top 24 at all.
The Sixth Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in the previous series. The UK Championship format remained the same, but the Heats changed their format. Now only one seed was placed in each heat, resulting in a number of unseeded famous faces being placed across the heats (Behemoth and S.M.I.D.S.Y. for example).
The twelve seeded places were intended for the twelve Semi-Finalists from Series 5, with the four Grand Finalists getting the first four places. This series marked the only time this occurred in series history, due to Razer finally being seeded for its UK Championship performance alone. However, as Pussycat and Wheely Big Cheese did not compete in Series 6, the final two seedings were given to Stinger and Tornado instead. This was most likely due to their performance in the Fourth Wars, having finished in the top eight.
- Nine seeds would reach the Top 12, though all would make the top 24 by reaching heat final status.
- Six seeds made the Top 8.
- Three seeds made the top 4 (Seeds 1, 3 and 12).
- Five robots finished in their expected positions.
- Firestorm 4 became the third robot after Killertron and Chaos 2 to finish in its exact numbered position, by placing third on a third projected finish.
- Dominator 2 and S3 reached the Top 8 on a 6th and 7th projected finish respectively, and Wild Thing and Spawn Again reached the Top 12 on 9th and 10th projected finishes.
- Only a single seed exceeded expectations in The Sixth Wars, that being eventual champion Tornado.
- Tornado was the highest seed to exceed its expected finish, finishing first on a 12th seeding.
- It also had the largest gap between its seeding (12th) and its finished position (1st).
- The remaining six seeds all performed below expectations, ranging from Razer (first projected, second actual) to Chaos 2, Panic Attack and Stinger falling in the heat final.
- Chaos 2 had the biggest gap between projected finish and actual finish, finishing in the heat final stage (equivalent to top 24) from a projected top 8 place. This is the same result that 3 Stegs to Heaven delivered in the previous year.
The Seventh Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in previous series. The seedings were no longer awarded exclusively to the Semi-Finalists of the previous series; not only because the number of Heats had been raised from twelve to sixteen, but also as many of the Semi-Finalists from Series 6 did not return for Series 7. Only seven of these twelve returned, as Wild Thing retired after Series 6, and Razer, Hypno-Disc and S3 did not return following the second series of Robot Wars Extreme.
According to the second run of the Robot Wars Magazine, had all of the Series 6 Semi-Finalists returned, Razer would have been seeded second, Dominator 2 fifth, S3 eighth, Hypno-Disc ninth and Wild Thing tenth. According to John Denny, 13 Black was originally seeded ninth at the time of filming, but was placed higher up due to other robots pulling out.Citation?
Tornado, Firestorm 5 and Terrorhurtz were seeded as the remaining Series 6 Grand Finalists, with Bigger Brother, Dantomkia, Spawn Again and 13 Black being the remaining Semi-Finalists that returned. To make up the seeds, nearly every returning robot that had reached a Semi-Final at some point was seeded, including Pussycat, Panic Attack, Behemoth, X-Terminator and Thermidor 2, despite some losing in the first and second round of Series 6 or, in Pussycat's case, not competing at all. Robots with four series' worth of experience and that reached at least two Heat Finals were given seeds as well (Bulldog Breed and S.M.I.D.S.Y., though Bulldog Breed's Tag Team Terror victory may have also been a contributing factor towards its seeding).
Dominator 2 was originally seeded for Series 7, but was forced to withdraw due to mechanical problems,Citation? so Ming Dienasty, another long-time competitor, was seeded in its place. Series 6 Heat-Finalist and Extreme 1 Annihilator winner Disc-O-Inferno was initially rumoured to have been given the fifteenth seed in Dominator 2's place.
- Seven seeds would reach the Top 16 (though only three were actually returning semi-finalists from The Sixth Wars; Tornado, Firestorm 5 and Dantomkia)
- Five seeds made the Top 8.
- Three seeds made the Top 4 (Seeds 1, 11 and 16).
- Only a single robot finished in its expected position.
- Thermidor 2 reached the Top 16 on a projected 14th finish.
- A further three seeds exceeded expectations in The Seventh Wars.
- X-Terminator was the highest seed to exceed its expected finish, finishing fourth on an 11th seeding.
- Storm 2 had the largest gap between its seeding (16th) and its finished position (2nd).
- Bulldog Breed finished in the Top 8 on a 12th seeding.
- The remaining eleven seeds all performed below expectations, ranging from Tornado (first projected, third actual) to the variety of seeds that lost in Rounds 1 and 2.
- Despite the fifteenth seed Ming Dienasty falling in the first round, Bigger Brother had the biggest gap between projected finish and actual finish, eliminated in the second round against a projected Top 4 finish.
Reboot (Series 8-10)Edit
With a twelve-year gap between the previous series and the reboot, seeding was deemed inappropriate for Series 8. Despite this, each heat contained a single heat winner robot from Series 7 (or its successor in the case of Bonk); Bonk, Tough as Nails, Dantomkia, Storm 2 and Thermidor 2. The pilot also contained Reaper, a modern-day recreation of The Grim Reaper.
Despite a high number of returning robots, there were no seedings given out for Series 9 or Series 10. The draw was not split evenly in terms of returning finalists, resulting Heat 5 of Series 9 and Heat 2 of Series 10 featuring both the defending champion (Apollo/Carbide) and runner-up (Carbide/Eruption) for their respective series, with the latter also featuring Aftershock, the next-highest ranked returning robot. Some episodes, such as Heat 2 of Series 9 and Heat 3 of Series 10, had only classic series heat winners Behemoth and Terrorhurtz as representation for prior success, due to this heavy concentration of former finalists.
- Seeds 1-6 are the only seeds to be used five times. Of those, only seeds 1 and 2 never failed to win a heat, with seeds 3 and 6 only succeeding twice in five attempts. However, the reigning champion in Series 9 and the reigning runners up in Series 3 and 10 did fail to win heats.
- Hypno-Disc and Razer are the only two competitors never to have been seeded outside the top four of multiple seedings.
- Bodyhammer was the first seed in history to lose in Round 1, placing it in the bottom twelve of 72 robots. This also makes it the worst performing seed.
- 101 and Ming Dienasty are the only seeds to lose in round 1 on a judges decision. The other seeds to lose in round 1 were all defeated by knockout.
- Behemoth was the highest seeded robot ever to lose a judges' decision in the Heats, in its Heat Final against X-Terminator 2 in The Fourth Wars.
- Series 4 was also the only time that the Grand Final comprised of four seeded machines and no unseeded machines.
- Despite three seeds making the Grand Final of The Second Wars (out of four that made the semi-finals), the winner of the Series was an unseeded newcomer. This pattern would be repeated in The Seventh Wars (though Storm 2 was in its first UK Championship despite being a seed).
- Heat K of Series 4 was the only instance of both seeds falling in Round 1 in any series.
- In the four series where the eighth seed existed, the robot seeded eighth never reached the Semi-Finals, and became the only top sixteen seed to suffer this. This has been known by the community as "The Eighth Seed Curse":
- Even though seedings were used in Series 2 and 5, the seeded robots did not have their seeds mentioned when they entered the arena.
- Tornado was the only Top 12 seed in The Fifth Wars not to reach the top 24 (heat finalist status).
- Like the Fourth Wars, the seeding process of the Fifth Wars was designed so that the seeds would meet in the Heat Final (with one exception in Heat B). Only Chaos 2 and S.M.I.D.S.Y. met in the Heat Final, with one of the seeds losing in the first two rounds in every other heat, Hypno-Disc and Atomic 2 met in their Heat as well, but they fought each other in the second round, not the Heat Final.
- In distributing the seeds in Series 4, two Heats deviated from the gap of sixteen formula. Heat H featured a gap of seventeen, whilst Heat I featured a gap of fifteen.
- Suicidal Tendencies is mistakenly announced as the thirty-first seed in the Series 4 Northern Annihilator. If this was its true seed, then the aforementioned heats would have followed the gap of sixteen formula.
- In addition, the seeds that should have been in Heat F of the Fourth Wars (Wild Thing (11) and Sir Chromalot (27)) were swapped with those in Heat M (Gemini (8) and Berserk 2 (24)). It is possible that this change was intentionally made in order for Gemini to meet Chaos 2 in the second round of the Semi-Final, rehashing the rivalry between the two teams, rather than in the last match of the series.
- In both Series 4 and 5, the third place finisher was also the seeded robot to make the most improvement between its projected finish and its actual finish (Stinger and Firestorm 3).
- Suicidal Tendencies was the only seed in history to retire with technical issues.
- Wheely Big Cheese met its projected finish on both occasions it was seeded.
- MouseTrap was also the lowest seeding ever given to a returning Semi-Finalist.
- Series 6 was the only series where no seeded robots fell in Round 1.
- Series 6 was the only series in which the third place finisher from the previous war was seeded third.
- Terrorhurtz became the first and only seed in the show's history to be barred from competing entirely, as it arrived at the studio in an unfinished state.
- Bigger Brother became the highest ever seed to be flipped out of the arena.
- In Series 6 and 7, the lowest-ranked seed became the best-performing seed (Tornado and Storm 2), defeating the top seed in the Grand Final episode (though Tornado won and Storm 2 came second).
- In Series 5, 6 and 7, the the top and bottom seeds fought each other.
- The Seventh Wars marked the only occasion where a robot was seeded despite not entering the previous series, as Pussycat and Storm 2 did not enter The Sixth Wars.
- Behemoth and Bigger Brother are the only two seeded robots to lose in the second round of a UK Championship twice.
- 101, Behemoth, Gemini, S.M.I.D.S.Y., Suicidal Tendencies and Team Hurtz were the only competitors to never win a heat in any of the series where they were seeded (not counting robots that were only seeded once).
- A robot seeded 8th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 23rd or 24th never won a heat.