Team Legion is a roboteering team captained by Gabriel Stroud, who entered five series of Robot Wars with their robot Sabretooth. The team had a notorious streak of bad luck, failing to win a televised fight for over fifteen years, but developed as one of the most familiar faces in the show before reaching the Heat Final in Series 9, and the 10 Robot Rumble in Series 10. The team are named after one of their featherweight competitors.
After debuting in Series 5 of Robot Wars with Sabretooth, Team Legion qualified for every subsequent series, including Series 7 which the team qualified for, but would have to withdraw from. Leading up to the team's first victory, the Robot Wars producers took an apparent liking to the team, and frequently involved them with promotional material. Leading up to Series 8, Team Legion were the centre of one of three teaser trailers, showing the team gazing at Sabretooth lovingly to the music of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. Gabriel and Esme Stroud also appeared on The One Show to promote the series, and the team's collective photo is used as the primary image headlining Season 2 on the Robot Wars website, alongside Team Razer in Season 1 and Brentwood School Roboteers in Season 3. Sabretooth would later be selected as one of the eight UK representatives in Robot Wars: World Series.
Gabriel "Gabe" Stroud is the captain of Team Legion, and is the owner of electronic assessment software company Assesstech. He is the lead designer of the Sabretooth series of Robot Wars, and consistently created a new version of the robot for each series of the show. Stroud is also the robot's driver on most occasions.
Stroud was a very vocal member of his team, notably speaking on the verge of tears after repairing Sabretooth before its battle against Jellyfish, while taking on a more confident persona in Series 10, shouting orders to teammate Robert Pickford while stating his confidence in victory.
Gabriel was specifically chosen to be a mentor in Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars. He joined Yorkshire triathletes Jonny and Alastair Brownlee, and the three entered with JAR. Stroud repaired JAR when necessary, and even donated one of his spare scoops to use on the front of the robot, although despite collecting a win over Interstellar: MML, the team eventually finished fourth in Episode 1.
Each member of Team Legion operates a featherweight machine, and in Gabriel's case, it is the team's namesake - rear-hinged flipper Legion. This robot made a cameo appearance in the first episode of Robot Wars: World Series, while Dara Ó Briain, Professor Noel Sharkey and Alex Shakespeare discussed the lower weight classes of combat robotics, using Legion as an example of a featherweight.
Gabriel Stroud also collaboratively runs a podcast focused on robotics, particularly Robot Wars and BattleBots, known as Inside the Bot. He records this alongside his employee and member of Team Danby, Will Sedgwick, who was present at the filming of Series 10, wearing a Team Legion hoodie albeit without officially being a team member.
Robert Pickford, more commonly Rob Pickford, is Gabriel's long-standing teammate, having competed in all of Team Legion's appearances. The director of a building company by trade, he is heavily involved with the build and repair process of each Sabretooth machine, and occasionally serves as the robot's driver, piloting Sabretooth in its Group Battle with TMHWK, Crank-E and Aftershock in Series 9, and its Redemption Robot Knockout against Apocalypse in Series 10.
Polly Parr-Stroud (Polly Parr in Series 5) accompanied the team in their first two appearances. At the time of Series 6, she was a nine-year old schoolgirl. Polly brought a stuffed tiger with her in Series 5, serving as the team's mascot.
Esme Stroud is known by the family as "the Robot Wars baby", as father Gabriel had to leave the studio while filming Series 5 to be with his pregnant wife, who gave birth that day. Esme was born, and joined Team Legion in Series 8. Angela Scanlon regularly mentions this fact in interviews, stating that she wished Esme was named Matilda. Esme Stroud accompanies Gabriel in all of their publicity appearances, such as The One Show.
Esme plays an active role on the team, operating Sabretooth's spinning drum in the robot's Group Battles in Series 8 and 9. She would have maintained this role throughout Sabretooth's competition in Series 9, but had to leave the studio before filming was completed, as she had exams on the weekdays of filming.
For her active involvement with Team Legion, Women in STEM awarded her a finalist certificate for the Best Female Role Model award in 2016.
Esme Stroud could not join the team in Series 10 due to the clashes with filming and her school exams, and fellow team member Al Cannon instead held a Team Legion shirt on a board to represent her in that series.
Harry Hills was officially listed as a member of Team Legion in Series 8, and helped to design and build this version of Sabretooth, in his first heavyweight project. Hills was present with the team backstage, and was included in the team's photo-shoot, but as he is camera-shy, Harry did not join the team in the televised episode, nor was he present in the team's teaser trailer. Harry Hills was invited to join the team due to his links to Ellis Ware.
- "I ended up linked with Legion for Series 8 because Ellis (of Pulsar fame) who had done all the design work/built all of Team Legion's current featherweights, Django & Legion namely, didn't have time to work on their heavyweight designs due to working on Pulsar. Myself and Ellis are fairly close friends and at the time I lived in the same county as Gabe and Rob. So the design job was offered to me. I took Gabe's list of components and designed a frame around them, similar to the unscaled cardboard models and drawings he had made. First heavyweight under pressure and time constraints. It looked the part but had issues intrinsic to the design. Aesthetics over function will do that, hah."
- — Harry Hills on joining Team Legion
In Series 9, Harry Hills separated from Team Legion to form his own team, alongside his father Paul Hills. Together, they were known as Team Hobgoblin, and entered with their 'egg beater' spinner, Hobgoblin. However, much like Sabretooth in Series 8 before it, Hobgoblin was defeated by Eruption in its Group Battle as it could not self-right. In Series 10, Paul Hills did not return, and Harry Hills invited beetleweight roboteer Matt Smith, and Andy Russell, to join him, with Matt Smith becoming the driver of Hobgoblin, although the team still could not collect a win.
Harry Hills is primarily a featherweight roboteer, with his newest robots being Flatliner and Massacre. For more information, see here.
Sixty-eight year old Al Cannon directs an engineering company, and is listed as the team's engineer in Series 9 and 10, assisting with the extensive repairs of Sabretooth in its heats. Gabriel Stroud referred to Al Cannon as the team's "secret weapon" after he had assisted the team behind-the-scenes for years, and Angela Scanlon told Team Legion to make sure he returned for Series 10 as the team's lucky charm, which he did, holding the Team Legion shirt in every battle to represent Esme Stroud.
On the live circuit, Al Cannon is responsible for the repairs and driving of Sabre20, a featherweight drum spinner converted from 720.
Interestingly, the car driven by Gabriel Stroud in Sabretooth's VT during Series 10 actually belonged to Al Cannon, who performed the vehicle's wheel-spin in a televised shot.
|Sabretooth||Heavyweight||Series 5-6, 8-10|
- NOTE 1: Gabriel Stroud was also directly involved with the competition process of JAR, but did not build the robot.
- NOTE 2: Harry Hills competed in Series 9-10 with Hobgoblin.
- Wins: 5
- Losses: 10
NOTE: This wins/losses ratio does not include the performances of JAR or Hobgoblin
|Series||Team Legion Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Heat, Round 1 with Sabretooth|
|The Sixth Wars||Heat, Round 1 with Sabretooth|
|The Seventh Wars||Withdrew with Sabretooth|
|Series 8||Heat, Round 1 with Sabretooth|
|Series 9||Heat Final with Sabretooth|
Battle of the Stars, Fourth Place with JAR
Heat, Round 1 with Hobgoblin (Harry Hills)
|Series 10||Heat, Third Place with Sabretooth|
Heat, Round 1 with Hobgoblin (Harry Hills)
Outside Robot Wars
Team Legion competed at Extreme Robots in Guildford, 2017 using the newest revision of Sabretooth, but protected its identity by painting the robot white and naming it Atom. In its first battle, it fought Behemoth, Meggamouse, Saint and Dozer, but despite surviving for longer than Saint and Dozer, it was pitted by Behemoth. It then fought Tauron, Expulsion, Suspension and Cyclone, but was pitted by Cyclone. When paired with Thor in a tag team battle, Atom was left to fight alone against YOTON and Harpy, and was eventually immobilised. In another battle between it, Behemoth, Expulsion and Tauron, it survived until the time limit expired.
Gabriel Stroud's Legion and Robert Pickford's Django are both successful competitors on the featherweight circuit. Legion in particular went through four different variants, having started out with a Chaos 2-inspired design before refining its structure for a more competitive design. Both robots competed at the Featherweight World Championship in 2016, where Legion did not experience great success, but Django reached the Grand Final, placing second after being flipped out of the arena by Explosion. Gabriel Stroud entered Legion into the 2018 championship hosted by King of Bots, beating Luna-Tic in the first round, before being thrown out of the arena by Saber-X in its next melee. Legion was eliminated from the main competition after being thrown out of the arena by the egg beater of Conker 3 in its final melee. It also fought in the Annihilator at the same event, where it reached the fourth round before being eliminated.
Gabriel Stroud acquired Dave Moulds' successful featherweight drum spinner 720, which he rebranded as Sabre20. Al Cannon and Esme Stroud entered Sabre20 into the King of Bots Featherweight Championship in 2018, but it was pitted in its first battle against Get Shrekt. It finished second in its next three-way melee, which was won by Naughty Snake. Sabre20 was victorious in its third melee, defeating Red Hot Tilly Pecker and Meow by knockout, narrowly earning enough points to reach the Top 20. However, Sabre20 was eliminated in the knockout round, after sustaining heavy damage from Binky and driving itself into the pit.
Gabriel Stroud also briefly owned Hit Man, a robot which attempted to qualify for Series 4, from its previous owner. Stroud would then sell the robot to Team Underdog, who converted it into Ill-Tempered Mutt, and qualified for Series 9 with it before withdrawing.
Gabriel Stroud and Will Sedgwick conceptualised a robot called Jack the Ripper, which planned to enter into a hypothetical third series of BattleBots. They would receive external assistance with this build from Will Bales, team captain of Shenanigans & Co of HyperShock fame. The team did not apply for the 2018 season of BattleBots due to clashes with the filming of This is Fighting Robots.
In October 2017, Gabriel Stroud and Al Cannon collaborated with John Reid to enter a heavyweight version of Legion into the Chinese TV show King of Bots, aired in January 2018. Their robot, Tánshè, was armed with a flipping bucket at the front, and was built at a cost of £35,000. The word Tánshè is Mandarin for 'catapult'. In the first round, it fought an invertible drum spinner, Dark Knight, but Tánshè flipped it against the wall for a knockout win in just over a minute. In the second round, Tánshè won a battle that Gabriel Stroud stated was the best fight he'd ever experienced, by flipping the tracked drum spinner, Hammerhead Shark out of the arena with barely thirty seconds left on the clock. Tánshè ultimately reached the third round, where it faced Anglo-Australian clusterbot Great White; after sustaining extensive damage to its flipper and sides, Tánshè was eventually immobilised by Great White in the final minute, and eliminated from the main competition. Tánshè would later reappear in the 2v2 competition, where it and Team MAD's Vulcan won their first-round battle against Snake and Saber on a Judges' decision.
Tánshè returned in the associated show This is Fighting Robots, and based on its visual appeal, Zheng Shuang selected it to join her team of robots, alongside Vulcan and Spectre. Gabriel Stroud was then able to influence Zheng into choosing other powerful machines such as Tungsten and Megabyte. It was selected to battle Saber II and ORBY Blade in a three-way rumble, and flipped both robots out of the arena to win the battle. This streak continued in a head-to-head battle with Chronos, where Tánshè threw yet another machine out of the arena. Tánshè could not maintain its streak of out-of-the-arena flips against Weber, and was almost counted out of the battle, but it staged a late comeback and won the Judges' decision. In another consecutive win, Tánshè flipped Shrederator Tiger Claw over for an immediate knockout. As a result, Tánshè advanced to the Top 8, and won a Judges' decision over Greedy Snake after overturning it repeatedly. Tánshè earned a narrow escape in the semi-finals, staging a late comeback against Xiake, which had lost full mobility in the final seconds of the fight, giving Tánshè the win via Judges' decision. In the Grand Final, Tánshè lost a wheel against Tungsten, compromising its ability to drive. Although Tánshè survived until a Judges' decision, it was resigned to second place in This is Fighting Robots after losing to Tungsten.
Tánshè made a further appearance at the King of Bots 2019 Opening Battle, held to promote the upcoming second season, where it fought horizontal spinner Ghost No. 1 in a single head-to-head battle. Representing the blue team, it won the battle via knockout after flipping and causing Ghost No. 1's entire weapon assembly to shear off, also contributing towards the overall victory of the blue team. For this and future seasons, Tánshè gained revised armour and a set of interchangeable flippers, including one optimised against opponents armed with vertical spinners.
Tánshè returned for King of Bots II, and fought Reaper in its first battle, which it won convincingly to join Zhu Zheng Ting's celebrity team, and earned a point for the celebrity captain by defeating Mr Hippo and Pixel Hunter in a two-versus-two battle, with help from Snake. However, Tánshè lost its next battle to Iron Scrap on a Judges' decision, and although Zhu Zheng Ting wished to keep Tánshè on his team after this loss, his decision to cut the undefeated Switch upset Gabriel Stroud, and he offered to exit the competition in its place, resulting in his early elimination from the season and its last appearance under Team Legion, with John Reid and Robots Live! managing its future appearances at live events.
Long-time Team Legion builder Rob Pickford also separately entered King of Bots II alongside Paul Streeter with a new robot, Rhino, a four-wheel driven robot armed with a vertical spinning disc. Rhino stranded Mist Lion on the arena wall to win its first match, and join Di Yang's celebrity team, although it then suffered a loss to Spectre and Cat King in a two-on-two battle after Rhino's own teammate ORBY Blade was quickly flipped over, leaving Rhino to fight alone. Rhino nevertheless advanced, and defeated the experienced Chinese robot Xiake by knockout. Rhino also represented its team in a head-to-head against Yesaji and lost on a Judges' decision, but nevertheless advanced as the rest of its team won the round on Rhino's behalf. Rhino then suffered another loss, falling to Deep-Sea Shark on a Judges' decision. In its final episode, Rhino defeated Flaming Wheel and Black Rabbit in consecutive victories, but was nevertheless eliminated after the rest of its team suffered too many losses.
Gabriel Stroud competed on the US television show BattleBots for the first time in 2019, joining Team Black & Blue to compete with DUCK! in the new season, a robot which previously competed in the 2018 season with reasonable success. DUCK! achieved wins over Bombshell and Cobalt but subsequently lost to Lock-Jaw and Quantum on Judges' decisions, ending its Fight Night campaign with a 2-2 record. It was knocked out of the competition by Yeti during a Top 16 play-in. For the 2020 season, Gabriel Stroud became the co-captain of Team Hurtz to compete with a brand-new version of Beta, with Alan Cannon also helping to build the robot and joining the team. For more information on Beta's performance in BattleBots 2020, see Basher.
In July 2021, Gabriel Stroud took to Instagram to confirm his involvement in BattleBots 2021 with Sabretooth. Alan Cannon and Robert Pickford are confirmed to be on the team, who were present during much of Sabretooth's time of Robot Wars. However, Team Legion ultimately could not compete due to travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and USA.
- Leading up to Sabretooth's appearance in Series 9, the social media hashtag #prayforgabe became widespread in the Robot Wars community, spurring on Gabriel Stroud to finally collect a televised win.
- For Series 9, Gabriel Stroud manufactured 'Sabretooth mission badges', featuring the names of every team member. After Gabriel famously spoke the line "What we've created... it scares me!" in the Series 9 extended trailer, this screenshot was taken out of context by fans for the purposes of jokes at Stroud's expense. He responded by running a giveaway, encouraging fans to create the funniest question to which he could answer "it scares me", offering a Sabretooth mission badge as a prize.
- On the 28th of March 2017, Inside the Bot began a campaign known as "#BringBackBash" and asked for 50,000 likes and shares on social media to try and get the BBC and Mentorn to bring back Sergeant Bash as a House Robot. Designs were drawn up on a whiteboard to show a Sergeant Bash that more closely resembled a tank, with his pincer and flamethrower still present, though at the back instead featuring a spinning drum to replace the visual saw.
- Legion, the team's featherweight flipper, made a cameo appearance in the first episode of Robot Wars: World Series, during an educational segment on lower weight classes in UK robot combat.
- Team Legion was one of two teams to debut in Series 5 and still compete in five main UK series, alongside Team Forsey.
- Sabretooth - Robot Wars Competitor Facebook page
- Sabretooth Twitter
- Inside the Bot Facebook page
- Team Legion - Sabretooth YouTube channel
- Tánshè Facebook page