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 The Second Wars, with only six robots being seeded. As a result of this, seeds were only placed in half of the heats, as opposed to every series from The Fourth Wars onwards which had at least one seed per heat. As a result, The Second Wars was the only series where at least one unseeded robot was guaranteed to win its heat regardless of how the seeds performed.
The seeding system was rarely highlighted across The Second Wars, with Jonathan Pearce only mentioning them in-passing during their heat introductions and a few isolated moments thereafter.
The Second Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in The First Wars. It was presumably intended that the six Grand Finalists from the first series would be seeded, but the team behind T.R.A.C.I.E. did not return for The Second Wars and Griffon, the heavyweight successor to First Wars Grand Finalist Cunning Plan, was not chosen to compete in the series altogether after a poor performance in its audition, so the remaining seeds were given to heat finalists Mortis and Killertron instead. Griffon would nonetheless compete in The Second Wars as a reserve and entered the main competition after Reckless Endangerment pulled out late on.
- 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 generally 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. Curiously, four heats deviated from this set-up; Heat F and Heat M's intended seedings (11th/27th and 8th/24th respectively) were swapped and the bottom seeds of Heat H and Heat I were also switched around, resulting in a gap of seventeen and fifteen respectively.
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 lower seed winning the other two occasions. The seeds gained a lot more prominence in The Fourth Wars, with the seed number being announced during the robot introductions and Jonathan Pearce providing a visual guide to the seeded robots in the first heat, something that was not repeated for subsequent series.
1. Chaos 2
17. King B3
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 as well as Razer and Behemoth, the respective winner and runner-up of the World Championship. Bodmin Community College were excluded, presumably because the team had already announced their retirement, but for unknown reasons Team Scutterbots were also initially excluded. Spawn of Scutter would eventually be included in the top sixteen after the withdrawal of Pitbull.
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.
A finalised list of The Fourth Wars seeding was first published in the Robot Wars Magazine. However, Blade's Big Bruva (14th seed) and Trident (16th seed), withdrew from the competition late on. This resulted in a two seed bump for all of the competitors (save for Bigger Brother, who moved from 15th to 14th). This bump led to Wheely Big Cheese and Killerhurtz moving into the top 16, and Centurion and Suicidal Tendencies being drafted in as seeds 31 and 32.
- Seventeen of the thirty-two seeds would make the heat final, comparable to a top 32 finish (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), the only time this ever happened in Robot Wars.
- 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, Gravedigger, Cerberus, Diotoir, Weld-Dor 2 and Centurion, with Diotoir becoming the first to do so in battle). Notably, Evil Weevil 2 and Weld-Dor 2 both lost in the same heat, the only time both of a heat's seeds fell in the first round.
- 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, the only time in Robot Wars were this happened, with the four Grand Finalists and the reigning World Champion amongst the top five. In contrast to Series 4, the seeding format was set out so that the highest seed was placed in the same heat as the lowest seed and subsequent heats featured seeds moving down or up respectively in sets of two (1st and 24th, 3rd and 22nd and so on all the way to 2nd and 23rd). Unlike The Fourth Wars, no robots' seeding was announced during their arena introduction.
As in The Fourth Wars, the seeding process was designed so that the seeds would meet in the Heat Final, although this only happened once across the twelve heats. Curiously, Heat B saw the two seeded robots drawn against each other in the Heat-Semi Final, the only time this happened.
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. 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 2 Heaven, and the comparatively lower seedings of Dominator 2 and Tornado).
- 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, Mini Morg and Thermidor 2). In addition, Suicidal Tendencies was forced to withdraw from the competition due to mechanical issues, making it the only seeded robot to do so.
- 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, and the other heat finalist was often up to the luck of the bracket (for example, both S.M.I.D.S.Y. and Bulldog Breed, which could potentially have been seeded had there been 24 seeds, ended up facing the seeded robot of their respective heats in Round 2).
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. This made The Sixth Wars the only series where none of the seeds fell in the first or second round.
- 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.
- 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 2 Heaven delivered in the previous year.
The Seventh Wars featured seeded robots based on performance in previous series. As with The Sixth Wars, there was only one seed per heat. However, there were now sixteen seeds allocated due to the addition of four extra heats.
A provisional seeding list for The Seventh Wars was provided by the second edition of the Robot Wars Magazine, which listed all of the semi-finalists from The Sixth Wars. This list was made on the assumption that only twelve robots would be seeded.
The seedings were initially prioritised for the returning semi-finalists from The Sixth Wars. Only eight of the twelve initially 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 John Denny, 13 Black was originally seeded ninth at the time of filming, but was placed higher up due to other robots not returning.Citation?
Tornado, Firestorm 5 and Terrorhurtz were seeded as the remaining Series 6 Grand Finalists, with Bigger Brother, Dantomkia, Dominator 2, 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. Bulldog Breed and S.M.I.D.S.Y., two robots who had four series' worth of experiences and had reached two Heat Finals prior, were given seeds as well, though Bulldog Breed's Tag Team Terror victory may have also been a contributing factor towards its seeding. The 16th seed was given to Storm 2, which won automatic entry into Series 7 through winning the New Blood Championship in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. Pussycat and Storm 2's seedings marked the only time where a robot was seeded despite having not competed in the preceding series, or, in Storm 2's case, in any UK Championship.
Prior to the competition starting, Dominator 2 was forced to pull out,Citation? so Ming Dienasty, another long-time competitor, was drafted in as the fifteenth seed, shifting Panic Attack, the highest rated robot not to reach the semi-final in the last series, into the Top 8.
- 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 seeding.
- 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 fifteenth seeded Ming Dienasty falling in the first round. Terrorhurtz was barred from the competition entirely after arriving at the studio in an unfinished state, making it the only seed to be disqualified without fighting.
- 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.
- No robot seeded 8th ever won a heat, with three different robots failing on four occasions to to do so (Gemini in Series 4, 3 Stegs 2 Heaven in Series 5 and Panic Attack in Series 6 and 7). It was the only top sixteen seed to never win a heat.
- Conversely, the only seeds outside the top sixteen to win heats were seeds 19, 22 and 30.
- 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.
- With the exception of The Fourth Wars, the Top Four for each series that had seeds featured three seeded robots and one unseeded robot. Only in The Sixth Wars was the final subsequently between two seeded robots and of the remaining three series, The Fifth Wars was the only time the seed defeated the unseeded robot.
- Series 6 was the only series in which the third place finisher from the previous war was seeded third.
- 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).
- 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 top and bottom seeds fought each other.
- Hypno-Disc and Razer are the only two competitors never to have been seeded outside the top four of multiple seedings.
- 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.
- Interestingly, Ming appeared in both episodes where a seed lost in round 1 on a judges' decision.
- 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.
- Wild Thing, Dominator 2 and Wheely Big Cheese are the only robots to have been seeded on multiple occasions and never failed to at least meet their projected finish, with the former two exceeding theirs in The Fourth and Fifth Wars, respectively.
- The highest seeding of any robot that had not won its heat the series prior was Mortis in The Second Wars, when it was ranked 2nd.
- The lowest seeding of any Grand Finalist from the series prior was Steg 2 in The Fourth Wars, when it was ranked 7th.
- The lowest seeding of any Semi Finalist from the series prior was MouseTrap in The Fifth Wars, when it was ranked 20th.
- Seven seeded machines were flipped out of the arena during the main competition. In order, they were S.M.I.D.S.Y. (Series 5), Chaos 2 and S3 (Series 6) and 13 Black, S.M.I.D.S.Y., Spawn Again, Bigger Brother, and Dantomkia (Series 7). Behemoth and Panic Attack were also thrown out in the All Stars tournament of the same series.
- S.M.I.D.S.Y. is the only seeded machine to be thrown out of the arena twice and been seeded on both occasions.
- Bigger Brother is the highest seeded machine to be thrown out of the arena.
- In Series 7, every seed from 4 to 8 (or 7 if not counting Panic Attack) was thrown out of the arena.
- Behemoth and Bigger Brother are the only two seeded robots to lose in the second round of a UK Championship twice - Behemoth in Series 5 and 7 and Bigger Brother in Series 4 and 7. Both also fought each other in Series 6.
- 101, Behemoth, Team Mace (Mace/Gemini) and Team Hurtz are the only four heat winners to fail to win heats each time they were seeded. In addition, S.M.I.D.S.Y. and Suicidal Tendencies are the only other two robots to be seeded on multiple occasions but never win a heat.
- Suicidal Tendencies was mistakenly announced as the thirty-first seed in the Series 4 Northern Annihilator.
- 13 Black was twice mistakenly announced as the wrong seed during The Seventh Wars by Jonathan Pearce. It was first announced as the third seed during the preview for its heat and then as the thirteenth seed during the Dutch World Championship qualifier.
- Wild Thing did not get its seed announced during The Fourth Wars.
- Weld-Dor did not get its seed announced during Heat K of Series 4.
- Hypno-Disc did not get its seed announced during The Sixth Wars.
- Chaos 2 was referred to as the fourth seed when Craig Charles interviewed the Dantomkia after their loss to Razer in Semi-Final 1 of Series 6 and as the second seed in Stinger's history section in Issue 3 of Robot Wars: The Official Magazine.
- Bulldog Breed did not get its seed announced in Heat K of Series 7 but did in Semi-Final 1.
- Storm 2 had its seed announced in Heat I and Semi-Final 2 of Series 7 but did not in the Grand Final and had it announced in The Third World Championship rather than Stuart McDonald announcing the country it was representing.
- Due to initially being a reserve, Griffon was the only returning grand finalist not to be seeded for The Second Wars.
- Inverterbrat and Darke Destroyer 2 were the only two returning heat finalists not to be seeded for The Fourth Wars. The former went unseeded despite the fact that Peter Bignell, its team captain, was part of the Steering Committee.
- As there were not enough seeds to cover all eleven returning heat finalists, Bulldog Breed, Kronic 2 and The Steel Avenger were the only returning heat finalists not to be seeded for The Fifth Wars.
- King B Powerworks and Black and Blue (from Team MouseTrap) were the only two returning former semi-finalists not to be seeded for The Seventh Wars. In the same series, Jonathan Pearce uniquely called out The Steel Avenger as a robot he felt was unlucky not to receive a seeding.
- "Very well engineered, I think unlucky not to be seeded."
- — Jonathan Pearce before Steel Avenger's first battle