In any event that puts multiple people or things into a competitive environment, you'll see fans of those respective fields feel the need to assert their opinion on something relevant to that interest. Sure, calling an athlete 'decent' could be something you firmly believe, but if you want other people to take interest in your opinion you need to be boisterous with it. That's why so many people resort to the terms 'overrated' and 'underrated'. These are two words that are criminally misused, but because virtually everybody misuses them, it becomes the norm for these terms to commonly be used incorrectly, and only with malice. Today, however, we'll try to start righting some of those wrongs, by first pointing out classic examples of machines which are called overrated which aren't, before then beginning our search of trying to identify machines which do truly fall into the 'overrated' category.
Classic misuses of 'Overrated'
Overrated as a word is rather simple: giving something higher value than is warranted. So how do people so often fail to use this word correctly? It's simple - people think that once you label something overrated that it remains overrated forever, and that's exactly how we have machines still being labelled overrated when that is no longer the case:
- Mortis - one of the classic examples. Back in the day, was Mortis overrated? Yeah. Between Series 1-2 it was a high-end machine which deserved praise, but it was between Series 3-4 when things became unnecessary. In its final two campaigns, Mortis was a machine which was clearly showing its age but still received a pedestal, with defeats to better machines such as Behemoth and Steg 2 still considered shocks. Long after Mortis was retired, people started to fixate on how overrated Mortis truly was. However, this snowballed into a way that the mere mention of Mortis tended to bring the overrated tag. This is where the problem starts: how is Mortis still considered overrated when, on polls or threads of overrated robots, Mortis is always consistently picked? How can a machine be overrated if everybody is picking it as the overrated pick? If the vast majority of people are saying it's overrated, then how is it actually being overrated? This is a typical example of people not realising that the term is flexible, and just because you once call a machine overrated, doesn't mean that can't change. The problem is, people are so determined to have a strong opinion on a machine, that they believe once they label a machine with the 'underrated' or 'overrated' tag that they can never change their opinion, because it will then make themselves look bad for 'changing opinion'. This reluctance to adjust, however, leads to multiple examples of 'overrated' machines being permanently stuck with this tag, even if that tag is long passed its sell-by date...
- Razer - with Razer, it's more simple. It's one of the most iconic machines in the show's history, so people want to be aggressive with their opinion on it. Because Razer is so often held in high regard, the people that vehemently hate on this machine feel the need to balance out the perceived 'overrating' of this machine by underplaying its power and saying it'd lose to any decent spinner. Arguments like that are one of many that have been ongoing for years concerning Razer, and simply put: Razer is considered overrated by the people that hate on it, but because the people that hate on it often resort to unrealistic arguments - i.e. the people that call Razer overrated can severely underrate it themselves - it means that things balance out in how highly rated Razer really is in general.
- Spawn Again Series 5/6 - sadly, this one is the plain stupid example of when people are just flat-out wrong in their use of the word. It's one where because 'overrated' is such a strong word, they use it to hate on a machine, even though they're actually using the word completely incorrectly. Spawn Again got to the Semi-Finals and was outclassed at that stage in both series. However, how on earth does that relate to this machine potentially being overrated? Do people say this machine should've got to the Grand Final? No. Do people consistently vote for it in Fantasy Tournaments against better machines? No. Spawn Again in this period has never received any unnecessary praise - it is simply a machine which receives a consistent stream of hate and nothing more. I also have made an effort to highlight this particular misuse of the term 'overrated', because it will prove crucial in the robots I highlight as 'overrated'. If a machine you adore (or even I adore) eventually features on the list, it's not me hating on the machine. I am not calling machines bad when I call them overrated - I am simply saying that these machines are valued higher than they deserve to be in the present day.
Now, with that in mind, let's try to put together a list shall we? We want to find machines that are genuinely overrated by people, and with reasons as to how and why they are. I'll try to make this list a mixture of my own nominations, as well as ones suggested below. However, as I say, even machines you love can definitely fall into the overrated category, so if one of your personal favourites is one that you logically conclude is in fact overrated, do not shy away from nominating them.
Entry 1: Major Tom 2 (Nominated by TOAST)
A recent nomination from Toast, Major Tom 2 is the first machine I'll cast an eye over.
Now Major Tom 2 is a classic example, where a machine - or certain features of a machine - get called underrated more and more over time, that eventually people give it too much weight and overrate these features. With Major Tom 2, there's two parts to this. First of all, we'll look at how Major Tom's weapon gets this treatment, but where did the potential for this all start?
Well, it crippled Kliptonite. Or did it? Now, when you think of potential contenders for The Mandela Effect in terms of Robot Wars there's typical examples: one being where some casual fans swear that Razer and Hypno-Disc fought, and another where it is believed that 13 Black caused damage to Dominator 2 when it was actually Matilda that was reponsible. Major Tom 2 vs. Kliptonite is also remembered incorrectly, because people think that Major Tom was part of the reason that Kliptonite was left as a mangled mess at the end. The thing is, I looked at this fight for the first time in a while myself earlier thinking that I'd see confirmation of Major Tom 2's disc not being that impressive because it damaged such thin armour. Instead, I was met with something even worse: Major Tom 2 didn't even penetrate Kliptonite's armour once! Sure, there's some minor scratches, but Kliponite started the fight looking scuffed up and with a hole in it anyhow, so that says quite a lot in regards to just how poor its armour truly was, and how Major Tom's disc couldn't even make a notable impact on it after activate was called.
Major Tom 2's second and last 'notable' contribution with its disc is against Kat 3. Now, I'll give it some credit here, because it does cause visible bodywork movement, at least. Once again though, Major Tom 2 connects with a couple of hits of its disc before this and leaves no impact whatsoever. The part of Kat 3 that was damaged is also notable: Major Tom 2 attacked the one part of the machine where there was already internal space for its disc to slot into - the teeth of Major Tom 2's disc still didn't rip into anything. Instead, it simple knocked an already-loose panel upwards and out of place.
The second thing that Major Tom 2 gets praise for is its durability, or the way that it can take a lot of punishment. Well, after breaking down from one flip in the Tag Team Terror, and losing drive on one side in its Series 6 First Round battle, at least Major Tom 2 finally showed its staying power in the Annihilator, as it progressed to the final 3? Like the Kliptonite fight, however, this is something where you only realise just how poor of a machine Major Tom 2 is in this regard once you rewatch it and analyse things closer.
In the First Round of the Annihilator, one solid hit from Typhoon 2 completely renders Major Tom 2's weapon immobile, and also leaves it with drive on one side only. Major Tom 2 only survives because Typhoon 2 was more visibly immobilised a few seconds later after being flipped.
In the Second Round, a drive from Thermidor 2 completely rips away a front panel, before Revenge of Trouble & Strife comes in with a hit, which... yes, you guessed it - left Major Tom 2 with drive on one side only. This is something you only notice if you're watching Major Tom 2 properly in the distance after the hit occurs, but once again it is still valid for being counted as immobile after only a couple of impacts. Despite limping around and being close to an exit from the competition, Major Tom 2's luck shines through again, when Raging Reality breaks down in a more visible way a few moments later. Through to Round 3 it goes, where I won't actually give it too much criticism - after all, it driving into the Pit was just funny.
However, Major Tom 2's final appearance in this guise sees it break down under very little pressure next to the Pit Release Button, before the House Robots beat it to a pulp. The end for a machine which, in 8 appearances, broke down or lost drive on 5 occasions, drove into the Pit twice, and ended a fight fully functioning just once - and that once came in a fight against Kliptonite where it didn't cause the damage it was credited for anyhow! Glorious stuff.
Entry 2: Ansgar 3 (Nweston8's first pick)
The second machine to be given the spotlight is Ansgar 3. Certainly an improvement over the previous attempts from the same team to say the least, Ansgar 3 appeared in The Seventh Wars with a very attractive looking setup - being a walker with a spinning weapon. Ansgar 3 put itself to good use in its first battle, where it disposed of Reaper NP2 and I Bot One Beta. So why is it overrated?
Well, walkers that are at the very least competent enough to move always seem to get solid backing solely through the weight factor - with reasons such as armour being thick or the robot being too heavy as to why they may not be largely affected. This is more of a case where people underestimate the capability of the other machines to be effective against that extra weight walkers carry more than overrating Ansgar 3 itself, but this, along with the fact Ansgar 3 carries a spinner does mean that it gets just a little too much backing at times.
Speaking about its weapon: is it all that? Sorry, but I haven't been convinced since day one. It comes it with a solid connection on Reaper NP2 that does render it immobile, but ultimately, it's a lucky shot that hits it in the exact place where Reaper NP2's removable link rests. Anyhow, it then attacks I Bot One Beta, where it deals out minor scratches and scars, with the weapon stopping dead completely a couple of times too. Ultimately, despite it being good to see a walker with a spinning weapon winning a fight, it feels underwhelming that this is the biggest punch a 200kg spinner machine can deal out.
Ansgar 3 then meets Tornado and Storm 2. Now, do I expect Ansgar 3 to beat these machines? Not at all - after all, it's facing two of The Seventh Wars' podium finishers, and it'd just be unfair to expect it to do anything of note. However, the fact that its weapon becomes immobilised after one hit to something well built like Tornado's front scoop isn't the best sign ever of weapon durability. It then burns to defeat on the Flame Pit, and sadly, that's all we ever see of Ansgar 3.
Now, Ansgar 3 is a machine I actually like, hence why I'm not going in on it too hard - unlike Major Tom 2 where the areas I did point out were ones that I felt were vastly overrated. Simply put, Ansgar 3 is a good machine which would've done solidly in the The Seventh Wars' main competition. However, it's a machine where I simply think a little to much faith is placed it in at times considering that it didn't exactly slaughter two also-rans like Reaper NP2 and I Bot One Beta - not to mention that, as a walker, it automatically gets a lot of weight given to it (hehe) because of the extra kilos its packing. It's one where the more we would've seen of Ansgar 3 - especially against good machines - the more its flaws probably would've shown up, I feel. Ansgar 3: a good machine, and one that certainly isn't up there with the most overrated machines ever, but still one that feels like it deserves a place on this list, at least.
Entry 3: Diotoir - Extreme/Series 5 (Nominated by Wolfwingslaveleia)
With a return in the modern day imminent, Diotoir's past may as well be cast over in the third entry of this blog.
Now, unlike the other machines so far, this overrated nomination from Wolfwingslaveleia covers all series. Still, I'd like to have a different take on this and solely focus on the version of the machine where it recorded its most notable victory - the Extreme/Series 5 incarnation.
This may come as a surprise considering it's the only time Diotoir beat a machine of high quality, but that's the entire point. The past versions of this machine are considered solid but not spectacular. Their limitations are realised, and are duly noted. In Diotoir Extreme/Series 5's case, the things it's alright at are amplified to the highest level possible.
This is one of those cases of fantasy tournament votes holding a lot of weight. In its time, Diotoir has beaten Wild Thing 7-2, only just lost 6-5 to Supernova, and picked up 3 votes in a 6-3 defeat against Dominator 2. Sure, when it faces a flipper, Diotoir does lose, but that does not balance out the amount of backing this machine gets against any other type of weapon. Against another pusher, it will be backed strongly; against a spinner it can always threaten them; against a spinner and a pusher at the same time? Ho-ho, that's good fun. So where does this hype come from? That battle against Tornado, of course.
So, as we know, Tornado has great pushing power. Because Diotoir ends up pitting Tornado in this fight that somehow translates to Diotoir as a whole matching Tornado in this regard. If you watch the fight, however, Tornado comfortably drives Diotoir across the arena floor on multiple occasions, with Diotoir only matching Tornado or ever so slightly pushing it back when it starts to feel the effect of the fur. Diotoir then only pits Tornado - and in a very, very slow fashion - when Andrew Marchant's machine has already ground to a halt. Diotoir also has another fight in the Extreme Tag Team Terror first round, where it gets comfortably outpushed by King B Powerworks, and fails to push back on either it or 101 throughout the entire fight. For a machine that it genuinely getting votes to get the better of relentless machines like Wild Thing and Dominator 2 across a 5-minute fights, these are worrying signs. Oh yeah, and it even comfortably beat the BattleBots machine Nightmare, just to rub salt into the wounds.
Don't get me wrong, this is the most efficient Diotoir machine, but just because Diotoir is still limited in the weapon department, that doesn't mean its drive power or consistency needs to be overrated. It beat Tornado, and well done - but give it credit for taking advantage during that fight alone, don't feel the need to overrate it as a whole, please.
Entry 4: TR2 (Nominated by Toon Ganondorf)
Let's go for a quickfire double, shall we? And our first reboot robot too - how exciting.
Okay, so we all know TR2: a machine that entered Series 8, finished third, and hasn't been in the UK Championships since. This is the machine with the highest prestige to be on the list thus far, so what warrants a podium finisher being labelled as 'overrated'? Let's take a look.
First of all we have the driver, Alex Brown. Now, as a person I like him a lot. He comes across as a very respectable, kind-mannered guy. I have absolutely no problem with him. Instead, I have a problem with his driving. And by that, I don't mean that I think he's a bad driver - no, instead, I don't like how everybody else goes on about his driving.
Now, drivers in Robot Wars are something I deem a controversial subject, and one that will even been highlighted as a whole subject in a future blog. In most cases, if your robot is considered good, you're a good-great driver too, but is this really correct? Basing a roboteer's driving skill off of how the robot itself drives and performs?
The following quote from George Francis is something that's always stuck with me in relation to this issue:
- Julia Reed: "You look to be a very good driver."
- George Francis: "Well, most of that's the electronics - it's one of the easiest robots to drive"
- — George Francis, typically modest, or telling the truth?
See, with drivers like Michael Oates, I get the driving hype. He always narrows down angles and twitches very precisely in very tight areas with a machine that you can expose. However, in Alex Brown's case, he's driving a wide machine that chugs along at a very steady speed, and is kind of hard to drive 'wrong'. He isn't a relentless driver that'll put you under pressure at high speeds - he's just like TR2 itself: steady, consistent, but given too much credit.
And who do I blame for the Alex Brown hype? Well, everybody. Literally everybody. The show itself started the hype-train by consistently highlighting his driving abilities, and then every single fan - including me - jumped on-board, too. It's like we always want to point out somebody being the best in some department, so when Robot Wars itself picked Alex Brown out as the best driver, everybody just thought: "yep, that'll do then" and it just stuck, even if it wasn't entirely true.
Now, onto TR2 itself, and first of all: the weapon. In the reboot, we've seen flippers like Apollo, Eruption, and Rapid carry out very explosive flips which are genuinely impressive. TR2, in comparison falls completely flat. Well, honestly, scratch that: it's not even 'in comparison' that it falls flat - its flipper just falls flat and is underpowered in general.
The clearest example of this is its fight against Apollo in the Grand Final. Apollo chucks TR2 at considerable heights and distances with every one of its opening four flips. Finally, TR2 carries out its first flip, and... well... Apollo barely leaves the ground and isn't even threaten in being turned over - let alone chucked. Now, TR2's flipper isn't something I'll have a go at on its own. After all, having all the same types of explosive flippers would make things boring. However, TR2 as a machine isn't exciting enough either, and it can never change the pace of fights. It opts to grind down opponents with consistent driving and lifting the opposition over, but doesn't offer frenetic action. Sadly, that means we're left with the standard TR2 approach in each fight because TR2 has no OotA potential whatsoever. The Thor fight is the clearest example of this - a fight which drags on beyond belief before Matilda finally brings an end to proceedings. When you have a machine like Apollo that can offer both exciting and explosive power, TR2 just feels like a chore to watch.
Finally, we get to the Carbide fight: one where TR2 'plays spinner-killer' for a second time (!) - after all, it controlled a Supernova with no teeth (!) in the Group Battle - and goes on to dominate the favourite for the title. Well, that's what it seemed like, but really we're left with another Robot Wars Mandela effect, because TR2 gets absolutely massacred from the off. It has a massive gash ripped out of its flipper, while an entire top panel flies away, too - all this inside the opening 30 seconds. TR2 then has to wait until Carbide's weapon stops working before it can assert itself, unlike Apollo, which managed to come on the attack and chuck around Carbide in the opening period of the title fight for Series 8. What follows is TR2 chasing Carbide around and failing to KO it for the remaining 2:30 of the battle. A notable victory on the CV, yes, but not one that TR2 outmuscled Carbide in to get the win, and one where its limitations were only highlighted again, if anything. When you think of the high-end machines from the reboot, they can all get KOs on each other in one way or another through use of their weapons, but TR2 just shows that it isn't up to this truly elite level once again, despite the victory.
So, TR2 leaves the tournament with only one defeat, and is considered mightily unlucky to not feature in the title fight. Well, sorry, guys, but when you get outclassed by one of the title contenders and then fail to acheive a KO blow on the other, it's only logical that you miss out. Every last bit of energy is needed to make a machine a true title contender, and if TR2 can't finish off a completely weaponless Carbide with 5/6 of the fight still to play, then it just shows it isn't quite fit to be competing at that highest level.
Now, would I like to see TR3 at some stage? Sure, it's always nice to have what is still a very good machine that is also reliable in a tournament - and it would only make the level of machines higher if it replaces one of the also-rans. However, with the advancement made from some of the other machines in the last two series, I'm worried that TR3 would struggle big time anyhow. Ultimately, as harsh as it seems, TR2 was the perfect machine to carry out a transition from live events-Series 8, but it just isn't truly needed after that. A good machine? Yes. A lovely team? Yes. But a machine which the show truly needs in the modern day? Not really.
Entry 5: General Carnage 2 (Nweston8's second pick)
As mentioned in the underrated version of this blog, robots which don't classify as 'underrated' include the likes of Crusader 2, GBH 2, and Hellbent - machines which tend to appear in one series, but show enough in their short careers to leave a mark on many a Robot Wars fan. Small bundles of potential mixed with people not wanting others to forget them often make these type of machines the go-to 'underrated' picks when they're not. However, unlike the machines listed above which at least showed good grounds for potential, I'm going to pick out one of these types of machines that gets too much credit: General Carnage 2.
The first General Carnage appeared in Series 3, and had just about the most Series 3 campaign of all time - beating a mediocre robot before being beaten by a better one. The robot as a whole proved too chunky in body, and narrow and ineffective in the weapons department to do anything of true note, so after a series away following this, Team Carnage came back with a flipper in the form of General Carnage 2.
This machine appeared in two fights, where it achieved an OotA on Gunzunderbot, before being knocked out by Stinger. Your typical robot that does something to live on in the memory but then never returns.
So what makes General Carnage 2 overrated? The OotA itself.
See, I get it. In Robot Wars we're used to OotAs being these things that are simply only for the big-name flippers. Chaos 2, Thermidor 2, Gemini, and Behemoth had all knocked opponents out of bounds before this point, so of course it was a surprise when a machine as unremarkable as General Carnage 2 matches this feat.
But sorry, as nice as it is to see OotAs occur, the word I used just above fits perfectly for the OotA itself: unremarkable. See, here we have Guzunderbot: the perfect, boxy machine to flip over and then use its own shape against it to topple it over the arena walls. General Carnage 2, however, makes a mess of things right from the off - failing to flip Gunzunderbot in either of its first two flips, and having to follow through on a drive to eventually topple its opponent over.
Now, take note where Gunzerbot rests [right after the flip].
Then, take note where Gunzerbot rests [after the next shot of the control booths].
Guzunderbot has moved from the centre of the arena, to right next to a CPZ. Now, we obviously can't tell exactly what was cut here, but based on General Carnage 2's limp flips thus far, I'm inclined to believe General Carnage 2 came in with failed OotA attempts.
Now, even if that didn't happen, we get to the OotA itself. General Carnage 2 has Guzunderbot's perfectly balanced shape pressed against the arena wall, and then flicks it. With Guzunderbot's overturned right-hand side lifted over while the overturned left-hand side remains static, obviously the weight carries this equally balanced machine over the arena wall via its own weight distribution. This is not an explosive flip - its a perfectly angled flip on a machine which is already overturned and is the perfect shape to topple out. Colour me rather unimpressed.
General Carnage 2 then faces Stinger, in what can be described as a solid-if-not-spectacular period of action before the link pops out (as it always bloody does). It gets in a couple of decent attacks on Stinger, but was also taking some hits itself. This is a fight where General Carnage would've done okay, but would've been eventually KO'd or beaten on a Judges' decision anyhow. Ultimately, General Carnage 2 rolls around a thwackbot on a couple of occasions - something which you expect to see when Stinger is literally tyres and a weapon. Again, a solid moment or two from General Carnage 2, but colour me rather unimpressed once more.
See, General Carnage 2 is a decent machine, but not a particular great one either. Its sluggish, and its flipper has no proper thrust. Its a decent-solid machine that stands out more because Series 5 was a series where a lot of machines were either very poor machines or very good machines. Ultimately, people like when there's mid-tier machines as well, and General Carnage 2 fills that chasm solidly - especially in the case of the early Heats of Series 5. Its a robot where its logical design makes it surpass most of the truly poor-awful robots in Series 5, but it as a machine isn't something that should really still be talked up as an underrated flipper. As far as I'm aware, despite the limited battle time, we still saw all that General Carnage 2 would've been able to showcase in the form of average-decent flips, and average speed. Unlike the machines mentioned at the top of this particular entry which offer the potential for interesting fights where they could've given a variety of machines some good fights, I just don't group General Carnage 2 in that sort of tier at all. In the case of General Carnage 2, this is one of the 'underrated gem' machines that we weren't missing much of by not ever seeing again.
Entry 6: Steg 2 (Nominated by SpaceManiac888)
Now, so far we've had five machines that have rather comfortably been given a final verdict of 'Overrated'. Now, however, I want to spice things up: let's take a look at Steg 2 - a pick by SpaceManiac888.
Steg 2 was the second machine from Team Jurassic, and after a surprising run in Series 3 with a rather basic machine, the team decided to up the ante by giving the follow-up robot from Steg-O-Saw-Us a flipper as a weapon. Seeded number 7, Steg 2 successfully won its Heat, before being knocked out in the first round of the Semi-Finals by defending champion Chaos 2. A solid campaign, so why has Steg 2 been nominated for a place on this list?
Well, first of all, despite winning its Heat, Steg 2 had issues throughout. A very poor performance in the melee; what we would later see as a scuffed display against Iron-Awe; and an initial struggle against Mortis - which was limping itself. Steg 2 certainly wasn't as convincing as Steg-O-Saw-Us was in winning its Heat, and despite the power of its flipper, Steg 2 was a machine that was struggling in the 'fundamentals' department.
As for these 'fundamentals', SpaceManiac888 not only pointed out Steg 2's flaws, but also made the comparison to Steg-O-Saw-Us in the process - and as the Audited Series 6 host stated: Steg 2 feels so incompetent and less-well rounded than its predecessor. This is something that Steg 2 falls very short in, and with a flipper that has such potential, it feels a waste that it wasn't utilised consistently enough.
Now, the criticism and struggles mentioned above are fair. However, despite Steg 2's flipper perhaps making people give it leighway in the past, I believe that in the very, very up-to-date present, Steg 2's struggles with driving and pushing are now consistently pointed out. If anything, I can actually see Steg 2 becoming underrated in the future if people emphasise how much it struggled to dispose of Iron-Awe - when let's not forget, it's one of the only unedited fights available to us where we can see flaws in driving and quiet parts of fights that always end up on the editing floor, so it's naturally going to bring in more negative attention.
Still, although I agree that Steg 2 is not quite as complete as Steg-O-Saw-Us, I do not believe people overrate Steg 2 compared to Steg-O-Saw-Us either. Yes, they probably give it leighway because Steg-O-Saw-Us was a box on wheels, whereas Steg 2 had a flipper which makes it seem more 'advanced', but at the same time, Steg-O-Saw-Us' run to the Grand Final is rarely discredited. I do agree that Steg-O-Saw-Us is the more competent machine, but thankfully Steg-O-Saw-Us itself is held in rather high esteem. Ultimately, with Steg 2's fundamentals pointed out as consistent flaws nowadays, I cannot provide it with the Overrated stamp of disapproval. A good nomination - and hey, if this nomination was made a few months earlier, I'd probably agree that Steg 2 is overrated - but ultimately, me putting it down as overrated right now would only help push the bandwagon towards it getting enough hate to nudge it into the 'Underrated' category. Especially if the negative attention that Steg 2 has received recently continues even more. Ah, how the two terms can be so delicately swung around if you push enough in one direction.
Verdict: Not Overrated.
Well. This nomination was only submitted yesterday, but it's already blown up in regards to responses. This'll be a tasty one.
When Gabriel first entered our screens in Series 8, there was a rather big backlash from a large section of fans. It was widely considered useless and ineffective, as it flopped around without offering any offensive potential. So many people just didn't get what it was. Since then, however, Gabriel has seen a rather big swing around.
This mainly started with roboteers, who pushed forward multiple reasons as to why Gabriel is a good machine. Following its FRA Championship win in the live event scene, Gabriel's awkward upward spiral continued. Over time, the hate that Gabriel would receive was balanced out, with more and more people agreeing with the roboteers. Over time, any Gabriel hate received would be downvoted or met with responses stating the opposite. Because Gabriel was hated so much in Series 8 but had many redeeming qualities, a lot of people almost wanted to jump onto the Gabriel-is-good bandwagon - especially once they 'got' what the machine was about.
Series 9 saw Gabriel's absence heavily missed. With many explosive spinners featuring and little to counteract them in any way, a lot of fights from the second series of the reboot were quick, curbstomp affairs. This was another in a growing list of reasons as to why Gabriel is a valuable addition to any tournament.
Then Series 10 comes along. Oh boy, Series 10. A return to Robot Wars, and a first battle where Gabriel 2 takes Carbide all the way to a Judges' decision. Well, that's not giving it enough credit: it very nearly beat Carbide, and very easily could've been given the decision. Unfortunately for Gabriel 2 it then goes on to drop out in the Redemption Round following a fatal blow from Aftershock. Despite two defeats, Gabriel 2's stock was never higher, and the hate that it received in Series 8 was a very, very distant memory at this point.
However, unable to forget the hate that Gabriel received in 2016, some people still insist that Gabriel "isn't understood" whenever somebody comes up with a negative comment for Gabriel. Look, Gabriel being misunderstood is something applicable for 2016, not now. Gabriel can stand up for itself nowadays - it doesn't need backing for any comment that doesn't give it 100% credit all the time.
Let's take an example from Reddit the other day. There was a thread started where the original poster wanted people to rank every reboot robot into ranking sections, and he put Gabriel in the A-Tier. When somebody asked how Gabriel could be ranked so highly, it was met with multiple responses bigging up every single thing that Gabriel does well. One of the notable lists was this:
- "It basically one shot Beast, something that Pulsar also did. Let’s say that again: it’s axe matches that of Pulsar. It’s royally fucked robots up: it’s cut straight through 4mm Hardox, fucking ruined Griffalo, cut into Big Nipper (you know, the ridiculously resilient robot that’s made out of bloody titanium?), cut through wheels repeatedly, ALMOST ELIMINATED CARBIDE FROM THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT IN S10, and decimated Eric."
- — A weirdo on Reddit
You see, I get rating Gabriel highly for certain things it does, but there are a lot of people who are also getting to the stage where they feel the need to emphasise anything Gabriel does right fullstop. If you asked somebody to state why a certain machine was good and they responded with statements such as "it ruined Griffalo and Eric", you'd be laughed at, so why in Gabriel's case does it mean it can add anything decent it does to its CV just to pad it out?
Now, just because I've stated negative things about Gabriel does not mean I or anybody who simply doesn't rate Gabriel 2 that highly hates it. Can we get this clear? People who don't praise every little thing Gabriel does also aren't outright hating on it either. I like the machine a lot, I like the team a lot, I like the battles Gabriel is in a lot, I like the variety it offers in battles, but ultimately it's a machine that isn't well-rounded enough to make a significant push in Robot Wars. It'll survive, it'll be a nuisance, it'll get a good win here and there, but despite its weapon being strong with the right contact, it just isn't a consistently strong enough offensive machine to push far enough. If any other highly-rated robot lost the Rabid M8, it'd be a massive blotch on that machine's CV. However, in Gabriel's case, you'll be met with anything decent Gabriel did in the past to cover up the defeat.
See, I think a lot of long-term Gabriel fans do this out of insecurity - and I don't mean that negatively. They think that if they accept Gabriel faltered against something as modest as Rabid M8 that they'll be allowing Gabriel to slip back towards the level of hatred in received in Series 8. People are so keen for it not to be underrated again that in turn they're overplaying things it does, too. It's one of those classic cases.
Now, as I said, Gabriel does still receive stupid hate at times, and in some cases, it is necessary to point out where these people are flat-out wrong about it. However, there are plenty of people who simply don't rate Gabriel highly who get their opinion criticised or outright disregarded, too, which isn't fair. Gabriel's case is a very interesting one where people will always feel the need to slightly overrate it to make sure it never gets underrated again, and that's what I'll conclude with. I understand why people do it when they do, but in doing so, people have edged Gabriel into the overrated category for the time being, and it'll probably remain this way. After all, if people don't continue to rate the things Gabriel does well highly it may well drop back down in how highly people rate it. Because it's such a unique, awkward machine, it's so easy for its stock to fluctuate constantly. Really, Gabriel is a robot that'll never be rated at a neutral level. When a machine is so unique and polarising, people are going to want to have an opinion on it. That's why it's always going to be underrated or overrated in some form, and why, for now, it's going to fall into the overrated section for this blog.
Verdict: Slightly Overrated.
Entry 8: V-Max (Nweston8's third pick)
When a machine's expectations are so low by default, it's easy to want to give it as much credit as possible to make its efforts remembered. In this case, we have V-Max: a robot that comes through the backdoor in Heat P of Series 4, and puts in a solid show before falling. A valiant showing from a machine judged as a 'reserve'.
But this is the main part of the problem with V-Max: because it put in a performance of a higher standard than you'd expect of a reserve, people feel that it was underrated by the production team. Thus people automatically place it at a higher standing than it deserves to 'balance out' the production team's opinion of this machine.
Now, V-Max is a very sharp and logical looking design - after all, it's pretty much akin to the original Fire Storm. It is a good machine - there's no denying that. However, it's not a beat-X-Terminator-11-1 machine either. It's a machine that is loosely controlled, has poorly structured armour, and is pushed even higher by people because it possesses the typical on-the-eye factor: speed. If you have speed you're automatically considered a more potent, aggressive machine. V-Max may well be a slightly stronger machine because of its extra burst of pace, but speed alone should not be a factor that pulls a machine further and further up the ladder - not to the extent that it does for V-Max, anyhow.
Ultimately, V-Max is a machine where that's not much for me to say. It's short, sweet, and easy to summarise for this blog. Now, back to more chunky explanations for the following entries...
Entry 9: Barry (Nweston8's fourth pick)
Next up is Barry. Yes, you read that right: Barry.
Somehow, a Series 1 machine is overrated. Somehow, a Series 1 machine is one of the most overrated machines in the show's 20-year history.
Here, we have a machine that is "all talk no trousers", as Craig Charles so often used to say. Barry is a machine that absolutely looks like a viable machine, visually. It has chunky tyres, it's heavy, it has a front plough - it all looks promising, right?
And that promise is what makes people rate it highly. Or should I say far too highly. There's giving a machine the benefit of potential, and then there's just flat-out overrating it. Barry falls into the latter tier. The only real sin about it on the Wiki is a win against Aggrobot 3 (!), and that in itself in bad enough. However, on the Discord's re-run of The First Wars it beat its way past higher-quality opponents, before beating Devastator (!!) and even collecting votes against The Swarm (!!!) in the Discord's latest Ragnabot. It's utterly ludicrous. And to top things off, Barry received those last two votes in the past week, so it's somehow getting even more overrated than it has in the past.
Barry is ultimately a machine that broke down under absolutely no pressure from Matilda. It's a Series 1 machine that just isn't going to be durable enough against any solid-to-good opponent, even if given another chance. Despite this, the front plough is considered a potential spinner killer, the fat tyres apparently give it extreme pushing power, and its weight means it won't get pushed around by anything. We've seen other potentially solid machines drop out in Round 1 without receiving any credit whatsoever, and it's a shame that the likes of Wild Willy just aren't talked about at all, while Barry takes the limelight for its own faults. Barry is a completely 'on paper' robot, and with these type of machines, people seem to forget that durability and reliability is a massive factor. Heck, the biggest factor in a combat robot. Even though Barry proved itself to not be durable, that is exactly what makes people give it the benefit of the doubt - because it's considered unlucky. Colour me unconvinced, to say the least.
To conclude this entry, I'm say this: currently, I'm awarding Barry with The-Most-Overrated-Robot-In-This-List Award. We'll see if that changes as we continue to progress.
Entry 10: Infernal Contraption (Nominated by Jimlaad43)
A long-overdue nomination from Jimlaad, Infernal Contraption is the machine we highlight next.
After recording just one 'victory' - also known as being ignored by Behemoth which then broke down - in six fights, Infernal Contraption's most notable battle is one in which it made Infinity look like the equivalent of a peak Tornado.
Despite a lot of people mostly taking note of Infernal Contraption's limitations, this is also a machine which goes through very strange spells where it gets hyped up, too. This machine, which offers little in the way of control, damage potential, aggression, or competency, suddenly gets credit, and I find it bizarre when it does.
As we know, there are many machines which have the possibility of being unknown quantities - machines which we didn't see enough of that could've proved to be decent machines in the right environment. Infernal Contraption, however, isn't one of those machines.
This is a robot which has been placed against five spinners, three lifters, two flippers, a pusher, an axe, and a thwackbot - all of varying quality - and it has done next to nothing with all of them. When a machine's highest moments are for things we didn't even get evidence of - knocking out Turbulence and buckling Bulldog Breed - then it says a lot for how the machine actually performed. Credit to Infernal Contraption can be given for being a durable machine. Still, being durable doesn't mean a machine can translate that into any sort of attacking potential to beat Dominator 2, either.
With Infernal Contraption, it isn't the luck of the draw, it's just the fact that it isn't a viable machine to record victories. Despite being fully invertible, having a weapon that can change position, and being compact, Infernal Contraption cannot take advantage of any of these things, and does nothing but try to survive. Or for as long as it can, anyhow.
Verdict: Overrated (at the moment...)
Entry 11: Panic Attack (Nweston8's fifth pick)
Man, I love Panic Attack. Who doesn't love Panic Attack? A unique machine, a consistent performer, a striking paintjob, and featuring a very likeable team. It's all great stuff... but everything about Panic Attack is overrated.
Let's go in with an early uppercut shall we, and start with the driver. Yes, I'm going to be analysing Kim Davies - one of the most highly-regard drivers in the history of the show, and saying why Panic Attack's road to be overrated begins with the main man behind the machine.
Kim is a great man, and is a very good driver. Not many people are going to be able to carry out precise manoeuvres such as hooking S.M.I.D.S.Y.'s tyre housing, or being able to precisely place Axe-Awe on top of Panic Attack to carry it defeat. Kim is very good at doing these type of things, and credit to him for it. However, where people believe that Kim makes Panic Attack a great machine, I believe that Panic Attack helps make Kim look like a great driver, when he is just a very good one instead.
As aforementioned, Panic Attack is a completely unique machine. Its design is built for control, for precision, and for patience. All three of those bolded words are also deemed essential for a lot of high-pressure situations in everyday life or high-level sport. As much as Formula 1 racing is about speed, if you do not have the three aforementioned things, you'll struggle to make that step to glory. If you do have it, you'll get notable praise for being able to control proceedings while everything and everybody around you is violent, panicky and reckless.
Now, in Formula 1, it's the driver that truly integrates the control, precision, and patience to allow the car to perform at as high a level of possible. With Panic Attack, however, it's the machine's low skirts, controllable weapon, and barbed top panel that automatically integrates control, precision, and patience into the driver of the machine. What I'm trying to say, is that it's the illusion of Panic Attack that is giving Kim Davies the tools to come across as this elite level, ice-cold driver - it's not actually Kim changing Panic Attack's identity with his driving. He simply gets a very good amount of a machine that is set up to be this way in fights.
Despite saying this, it doesn't mean Kim isn't a good driver just because the machine is suited to be controlled well. No, he is still a very good driver, and keeping calm against X-Terminator in Series 3 with an uncontrollable Panic Attack is a very good show of his general driving capabilities. However, for a machine held in such high regard, it's to be expected that Kim should get the better of the S.M.I.D.S.Y.s, and Axe-Awes of the roboteering world. To truly prove Kim as a great driver and not just a very good one, we need good evidence of his driving pulling through against machines on-or-around Panic Attack's level. Unfortunately, this is where the entire Panic Attack package begins to fall apart.
In Series 2, a good Panic Attack machine beats Mortis, Killertron, and Cassius. These are all machines deemed to be on a higher level than Panic Attack in its debut series, and are all notable victories. Despite this, we had question marks already. Team Mortis had effectively thrown the battle after the Pinball; Killertron's link popped out; and there's always even been large amounts of noise about Rex Garrod throwing the title fight of Series 2. It'd be harsh to mark Panic Attack down for this though, so we'll give it absolute credit for Series 2.
After its debut series though, Panic Attack struggles to truly make its mark ever again, with its most notable victories coming against Thing 2 and Spawn of Scutter. Consistent Semi-Final placings are good and all, but aside from this solid acheivement, Panic Attack notably never beat an All-Star. From Series 3 through to its last series, Panic Attack took its fair share of beatings - losing to Firestorm on multiple occasions, Pussycat once, Terrorhurtz once, and Dantomkia once. To make things even more emphatic, the vast majority of these defeats weren't even close in the slightest. People seem to act like Panic Attack only lost to Firestorm as much as it did because a machine like Firestorm is simply Panic Attack's kryptonite. Sorry, but we've had enough evidence that it's just very good machines in general that are Panic Attack's kryptonite - not just Firestorm. To add to this already lengthy list of notable defeats, Panic Attack also never faced any of Chaos 2, Razer, Hypno-Disc, Behemoth, Dominator 2, Bigger Brother, Tornado, and more - machines which it would likely lose to in most instances.
Despite this, Panic Attack has largely been given a massive benefit of the doubt in Arena tournaments - with the most notable occurrence coming during Audited Series 5. Panic Attack beat Disc-O-Inferno, Behemoth, Bigger Brother AND Chaos 2 during its run to fourth place, only to be halted by Firestorm 4. I understand why people want Panic Attack to win: it's nice to think composure and control will outwit a more reckless, aggressive machine. You try to think the latter will expose a weakness by coming onto the front foot, while the patient Kim Davies picks him precise moment to move towards victory. But no, in most cases, the controlled, patient Panic Attack gets completely swamped by anything relatively aggressive. A slow weapon, an ill-functioning srimech, and flimsy armour all adds to the problems for Panic Attack against better, more slippery machines, and it's rather mystifying how Panic Attack seems to get so much backing in these situations. Ultimately, for an All-Star machine, Panic Attack's ability to hold its own against similar-tiered machines is very worrying. The likes of Chaos 2 can still hold their own even when it's considered past its peak, but Panic Attack is so easily swept aside even when at its peak. It doesn't matter what version of the machine we see, because either way, Panic Attack will struggle at the truly elite robots - thus proving it isn't in that group itself.
To make matters worse, Panic Attack has even recorded defeats to 101, Stinger, and Mortis. Despite being rather unfortunate to not win these fights, Panic Attack was also unable to push through to victory - showing that Kim struggles to make his driving count against opponents of a slightly higher level. It's one thing controlling a machine like S.M.I.D.S.Y.. These are machines which are basically done for when Panic Attack nullifies their weapons. However, more versatile machines like Mortis or Stinger can still deal out hits while Panic Attack attempts to control the fight - and that's when it becomes problematic. Basically, if Panic Attack can't completely beach its opponent or takes its opponent's weapon out of the equation, it will always struggle to win fights. With little-to-no KO potential, and a lack of damage output, Panic Attack not only struggled to finish off more versatile opponents, but is also automatically put at a massive disadvantage for the most prominent factor in a Judges' decision: damage.
Ultimately, this all combines to make Panic Attack a good-but-notably-limited machine in the grand scheme of things. A great robot to watch in a tactical sense, but one that has very obvious limits to its powers.
Entry 12: Terrorhurtz (Nominated by numerous)
The axe slinging slasher and my favourite machine, Terrorhurtz, is entry number 12 after a hiatus for this blog (haha at least it's a shorter one than robot wars itself will have :-// ).
Terrorhurtz is quite like Stinger: The Killer Bee from BattleBots. It has the potential to beat the most potent machine in the tournament - Carbide and Tombstone - so its overall potential for success is hyped up.
Terrorhurtz isn't as overrated as Stinger: The Killer Bee is, mind. Terrorhurtz's limitations are accepted. People thinking Terrorhurtz could beat Carbide does not automatically mean it's overrated. That means it can beat a machine it's suited to beat.
People still think Terrorhurtz won't win the whole competition like Stinger: The Killer Bee supposedly has the chance to. People still accept that it won't beat Eruption and Apollo. Terrorhurtz is known to not be a truly elite robot anymore.
And although people still hang onto the belief that Terrorhurtz could go all the way in the build up to Series 9, the last potential hypetrain for Terrorhurtz has well and truly stopped with Series 10 - which was actually a series in which Terrorhurtz was actually quite underrated in. It smashes the inferior machines in vintage Terrorhurtz style for the first time in a while, gives Rapid a good fight, and gets third in the 10 Robot Rumble. Series 10 Terrorhurtz is just about the closest we'll see it be similar to its style from Series 6.
But despite this, I do still accept that Terrorhurtz still collects slightly too much hype. There are still people who think it can do the impossible, and there are still people who egg it on for a Heat win, for sure. Those numbers are dwindling, but they still exist. I think it's more out of hope than expectation nowadays, but it's still a factor.
Verdict: Slightly Overrated.
Entry 13: Hydra (Nweston8's sixth pick)
A write up on one of my favourite robots took place the last time, and now we'll do it again by dropping Hydra into the list.
Hydra's Robot Wars dream began in modest style, with a breakdown against Spawn Again after some decent self righting. The machine returned much improved for Series 6 - the machine reworked and and extra weaponry added. A plucky effort at winning Heat J was only snuffed out because of a comeback win by the veteran Dominator 2. Hydra very much went from the definition of an also ran to a very good machine in just one series.
And Hydra attempted to continue its evolution in Series 7. Titanium armour, and a more sloped front were part of another evolution for Dennis and Andrew Leadbeater, and despite two losses in the Seventh Wars, Hydra v3 still showed off its potential in the Axe Attack - dominating Iron-Awe 2.1 and even the House Robots before its unfortunate incident with the Pit.
By the close of the show, Hydra looked the part and felt the part. If it didn't face Gravity in Round 1, Hydra really could've had a good run in Series 7. Stronger armour, versatile weaponry, a good front - genuinely, what was stopping it doing well?
And a lot of people agree with that, with Hydra consistently picking up votes in fantasy tournaments. Whether it be on the Wiki, on Reddit, or on Discord against BattleBots machine, you can always expect Hydra to represent itself decently. And why wouldn't you vote for it? It's a very logical machine to vote for in fantasy tournaments. Does Hydra deserve to push Disc-O-Inferno in Audited Series 6? Does Hydra deserve to pick up votes against Overkill and Voltronic in BattleBots? Probably not, but it's a machine that, in a fantasy environment, you can convince yourself that it could pull off an upset. And another one... and another one.
See, the thing is: I overrate Hydra myself. I know I overrate Hydra, and I will continue to. That's the funny thing: I think lots and lots of people know they're overrating Hydra, even in the moment, but it's such a fun machine to vote for. It's basically the definition of a benefit-of-the-doubt machine, and it'll probably remain that way for a while.
Entry 14: Carbide (Nominated Wolfwingslaveleia)
Sorry, Wolf, but I can't write up a section for Carbide. I will blame the terrible head cold I currently have.
Entry 15: Firestorm 3 (Nominated by SpaceManiac888)
SpaceManiac comes in with another interesting nomination for one of these blogs - with specifically the third version of Firestorm nominated.
As we know, Firestorm is one of the most consistent robots in the show's history. Reaching three Grand Finals and never failing to get out of its Heat - there's little in the room of criticism, even for the worst versions of Graham Bone's machine.
Especially after the weight increase for Extreme onwards, Firestorm became a refined machine that kept its general chassis shape and even paintjob. In this period, Firestorm made another two Grand Finals, while it succumbed to Storm 2 at the Second Round of the Semi-Finals in Series 7.
We will have a look at all of these machines in some form, but Firestorm 3 is the main one under the spotlight. Firestorm 3 getting into the top four is a notable achievement. It beat the second seed, and very nearly beat the champion-to-be in Razer. As a result, it's easy to just to group Firestorm 3 in with the more refined Firestorms that followed. On the face of it, Firestorm 3 doesn't look too far off of its successors, but despite a very good overall finish, this machine did have a bumpy ride in general.
And it wasn't just Series 5 that was spotty either - Firestorm 3 was generally very spotty in its performances. The displays against Sir Chromalot, Reactor 2, Panic Attack, and Diotoir were all easily played out, but Firestorm 3 exposed itself against Bee-Capitator, Hypno-Disc, Wild Thing, Razer in Extreme, and Drillzilla. It feels harsh to penalise Firestorm for patchy displays, but when you compare it to Firestorm 4 and Firestorm 5, Firestorm 3 just isn't as consistently aggressive and controlled. The most trouble Firestorm 4 was in came during a 30-second spell from X-Terminator, and then against the big All-Stars. It relentlessly dominated Dantomkia and Bigger Brother, while easily sweeping up its Series 6 melee, Barbaric Response, 13 Black, S3, its Commonwealth Carnage melee, and Crushtacean.
Firestorm 5 continues this refined aggression throughout fights by once again sweeping up a melee, dealing with Reptirron The Second clinically, and waiting for the moment against Ripper. The comfortable win against Mute was the last win before two defeats to Storm 2 and in the All-Stars melee, but Firestorm 5 continued that step up nevertheless. Split-second missflips against Storm 2, and a unique, one-off battle shouldn't hinder it too much.
Firestorm 3, however, just feels like it runs out of steam at random points during fights and needs to find time to recharge. It struggled against Wild Thing, and failed to build on its momentum against Drillzilla. Firestorm 4, especially, continued to get stronger as a fight went on. It started fights at 90% and reached 100% after a short spell, whereas Firestorm 3 could start fights at 70%, drop to 50%, and then go up to 85%. It was a very strangely-paced machine at times.
Despite all of these minor criticisms, I still don't think Firestorm 3 is overrated - not in a general sense, anyway. In comparison to the other Firestorms it is overrated. I agree that it doesn't deserve to be on the same pedestal as Firestorm 4 and 5, but Firestorm 3 is still a very, very high-quality robot that always holds its own spot near the top tier from the weight increase onwards - no matter the incarnation. Firestorm basically has its own tier from Extreme onwards. Even if Firestorm 3 is worse than the future Firestorms, it would have to be significantly worse to drop into the tier of robots below it - so it's hard to overrate it. It will always likely beat machines below it, and lose to machines above it. It's more vulnerable to the tier below it than the future Firestorms, and likely has to work harder to achieve victory, but it's rarely going to lose to these machines either.
One minor sidepoint is that the 'steel strip' Firestorm 4 in Extreme 2, and Firestorm 5 have is overrated - or at least misunderstood. People think that this steel strip made Firestorm even lower to the ground. No, it didn't. The strip was designed to stop the wedge itself taking damage - not to make Firestorm lower, and that's it.
Verdict: Overrated compared to future Firestorms, but not overrated in a general sense