A weapon immobilisation in Robot Wars is achieved when one robot inflicts terminal damage upon another, preventing it from being able to move. These are often called Knock Outs (alternately knockouts or KOs), more so than the other type of knockout to legally fit that definition, hazard immobilisations. The distinction is that in a weapon immobilisation, a robot has used its own weapon and driving ability to immobilise an opponent, rather than relying on hazards such as the side bars (Bodyhammer v Torque of the Devil), arena wall spikes (Tornado v Gemini) or Pit of Oblivion (Bigger Brother v Hypno-Disc)
In the showmanship format of Robot Wars, it is entirely possible for a robot which has suffered a weapon immobilisation to then be pitted, burned on the flame hazards or thrown out of the arena. Similarly but more rarely, it is possible for a battle which has been decided by Judges or hazards to also end with a weapon immobilisation (such as Raging Reality throwing Brutus Maximus out of the arena).
Weapon immobilisations can vary depending on the weapon, and it can often be unclear whether a robot has been immobilised by hazards, malfunctions or an opponent’s weapon. As such, this is a non-exhaustive list.
Flippers, lifters and wedgesEdit
- "Flipped up and over! Immobilised, but no damage caused. Rex Garrod, as good as his word."
- — Jonathan Pearce during Cassius' defeat of Loco
Before invertible robots and self-righting mechanisms became widespread, a standard knockout victory could be achieved by simply turning an opponent onto its back or sides. Notable achievers of this feat were Roadblock, Cunning Plan and Thing 2, which managed to defeat robots such as Killertron, Robot the Bruce, The Demolisher and Cerberus this way. The robots of Team Cassius were particularly notable for achieving knockout victories by turning opponents with their wedges and/or flipper weapons. Recyclopse was the first to flip a House Robot (Matilda) and a fellow competitor (Scrapper), which it achieved in its Series 1 heat. Cassius and Cassius 2 later replicated these victories against both Loco and its successor Dundee, whilst Gravedigger and Firestorm (inspired by Cassius) would inflict swift defeats on Manic Mutant, Crasha Gnasha and Sir Chromalot via this method.
The lifter was later introduced in Series 2 with robots such as Panic Attack and G.B.H. inflicting knockouts by overturning opponents such as Whirling Dervish and Talos with controlled movements. Save for Behemoth and Panic Attack, which were able to score knockouts via pushing opponents into the pit and out of the arena, lifters became less capable of scoring knockouts in their own right as the series progressed.
The rear-hinged flipper was introduced properly in Series 3, offering a particularly quick way of defeating opponents as they required only a small piece in order to get underneath and throw them over. Chaos 2 was able to inflict several quick defeats to non-invertible, srimechless robots in Crocodilatron, Sonic, Trident and Mace 2, whilst Facet similarly defeated Terminal Ferocity in the same way.
As of Series 10 it is still possible to defeat an opponent by merely overturning them, as demonstrated by Eruption’s victories against Sabretooth in Series 8 and Hobgoblin in Series 9. However, the most common victory to involve overturning an opponent is when a high-pressure flipper runs out of CO2 or has the flipper mechanism damaged in any way - see TR2's victory over Dantomkia and subsequent loss to Apollo in Series 8.
Notable instances of a robot being overturnedEdit
|Roadblock||Killertron||Wedge||The First Wars, Heat A, Heat Final||First instance of a robot overturning an opponent with a wedge.|
|Recyclopse||Matilda||Front-hinged flipper||The First Wars, Heat B, Trial (British Bulldog)||First instance of a robot flipping another with an active weapon. First time a competitor overturned a House Robot.|
|Recyclopse||Scrapper||Front-hinged flipper||The First Wars, Heat B, Heat Semi-Final||First instance of a competitor robot with an active weapon flipping another competitor, although Recyclopse achieved this flip using brute force alone. Held the shortest battle record until Heat D of Series 1.|
|Cunning Plan||The Demolisher||Wedge||The First Wars, Heat D, Heat Final||Held the shortest battle record until Heat N of Series 3.|
|Panic Attack||Whirling Dervish||Lifting forks||The Second Wars, Heat F, Heat Final||First time lifting forks were used to overturn a competitor robot.|
|Cassius||Loco, Matilda||Wedge/front-hinged flipping arm||The Second Wars, Heat H, Heat Final||Second Team Cassius machine to flip opponents, although Cassius predominantly used its wedge shape to achieve this flip. Cassius would go on to flip Matilda over using its arm once the battle was won.|
|G.B.H.||Talos||Lifting scoop||The Second Wars, Heat J, Heat Semi-Final||First time a lifting scoop was used to overturn an opponent.|
|Cassius||Haardvark||Front-hinged flipping arm||The Second Wars, Semi-Final 2, Arena||First time Cassius employed its flipping arm to properly flip an opponent.|
|Griffon||Sergeant Bash||Lifter||The Second Wars, Internet Insurrection||First time a competitor armed with a lifter successfully overturned a House Robot.|
|Chaos 2||Crocodilatron||Rear-hinged flipper||The Third Wars, Heat E, Round 1||First time a rear-hinged flipper immobilised an opponent.|
|Mortis||Ming||Lifting arm||The Third Wars, Heat F, Round 1||First time a rear-hinged lifting arm was used to overturn and immobilise an opponent.|
|Beast of Bodmin||Onslaught||Lifting tusk/wedge||The Third Wars, Heat I, Round 2||Onslaught drove partially up Beast of Bodmin's wedge, flipping itself over in the process. The second battle between Onslaught and one of Bodmin Community College's machines.|
|Cassius 2||Dundee||Front-hinged flipper||The Third Wars, Heat M, Round 1||Team Cassius' third machine to overturn an opponent. Second use of a front-hinged flipper in Robot Wars, and second time Team Cassius overturned one of Team Loco's machines.|
|Thing 2||Cerberus||Wedge||The Third Wars, Heat N, Final||Last instance of a robot overturning an opponent with its wedge, where that wedge was the primary weapon.|
|Facet||Terminal Ferocity||Rear-hinged flipper||The Third Wars, Heat O, Round 1||One of two rear-hinged flippers to enter the Third Wars.|
|Fire Storm||Crasha Gnasha||Front-hinged flipping arm/wedge||The Third Wars, Heat O, Round 1||Currently ranked fifth on the list of shortest battles in UK Robot Wars. Fire Storm got underneath Crasha Gnasha and turned it over by ramming it into the arena wall.|
|Fire Storm||Facet||Front-hinged flipping arm||The Third Wars, Heat O, Round 2||First time a flipping robot immobilised another flipping robot by turning it onto its side.|
|Panic Attack||Thing 2||Robot's rear||The Third Wars, Semi-Final 1, Round 1||Panic Attack reversed into Thing 2 and drove over an arena spike. The spike jostled Panic Attack, and with Thing 2 sitting on top of it, the motion resulted in Thing 2 being overturned.|
|Chaos 2||Trident||Rear-hinged flipper||The Third Wars, Semi-Final 1, Round 1||Currently ranked 12th on the list of shortest battles in UK Robot Wars|
|Chaos 2||Hypno-Disc||Rear-hinged flipper||The Third Wars, Grand Final, Final||Second instance of a UK Championship being decided by knockout.|
|Wheely Big Cheese||Killertron||Rear-hinged flipper||The Fourth Wars, Heat H, Round 2||First time a robot was thrown from in front of its opponent to behind to land on its back.|
|Reactor 2||Gemini||Rear-hinged flipper||The Fifth Wars, Heat D, Round 2||Reactor 2 flipped each half of Gemini onto their wheelie bars; these, combined with their depleted CO2 supplies, resulted in both halves being unable to self-right.|
|Dominator 2||Corkscrew||Wedge||The Fifth Wars, Heat F, Final||Dominator 2 overturned Corkscrew with its bi-wedge body, making it the first time a robot overturned its foe with a secondary weapon.|
|Bigger Brother||Chaos 2||Rear-hinged flipper||The Fifth Wars, Semi-Final 1, Round 2||After both competitors exchanged multiple flips, Chaos 2 ran out of CO2, and was left unable to self-right following a flip from Bigger Brother. End of Chaos 2's record streak of eighteen consecutive UK Championship victories.|
|Firestorm 4||Mr. Psycho||Front-hinged flipper||Commonwealth Carnage, Round 2||Only instance of Mr. Psycho being directly overturned by another robot.|
|Robochicken||Mega Morg||Rear-hinged flipper||The Seventh Wars, Heat M, Round 2||Threw Mega Morg straight onto its back, negating the self-righting capabilities of its opponent's rollover design.|
|Bigger Brother||Colossus, Typhoon 2||Rear-hinged flipper||The Seventh Wars, Heat O, Round 1||Colossus' flipper malfunctioned, leaving it unable to self-right; Bigger Brother flipped Typhoon 2 over shortly afterwards. Had Bigger Brother successfully re-righted Colossus before it was fully counted out, it would have resulted in Typhoon 2 being eliminated along with the immobilised U.R.O., potentially changing the course of the Seventh Wars.|
|Ripper||Daisy-Cutter||Rear-hinged flipper||The Seventh Wars, Heat P, Round 2||One of the quickest immobilisations in Robot Wars, at less than three seconds.|
|Gravity||Growler, Cassius Chrome||Rear-hinged flipper||The Seventh Wars, House Robot Rebellion||Only time Growler and Cassius Chrome were immobilised in this way. Gravity had previously overturned Dead Metal and Shunt in the main series.|
|Eruption||Ironside3||Rear-hinged flipper||Grand Final, Head-to-Head||Ironside3's srimech was removed beforehand following damage inflicted by Carbide, leaving it unable to self-right after Eruption got underneath and caused it to recoil into the wall.|
|Apollo||Diotoir||Flipper||World Series, Episode 1, Head-to-Head||Most recent instance of a robot becoming immobilised after being overturned. Diotoir was left stranded on its side following a flip from Apollo, resulting in a knockout loss.|
As robots became capable of righting from an overturned position, their vulnerable sides became a far more exposed way of achieving victory. Firestorm’s Graham Bone was one of the most notable exploiters of this method of victory, defeating Panic Attack, 13 Black, Crushtacean and Ripper by pinning them against the arena wall. Pinning is also possible for rear-hinged flippers (albeit much more difficult) as seen by Kronic the Wedgehog's immobilisation of Gravedigger, and Panic Attack's defeat of Spawn of Scutter.
This became far more difficult to achieve in the Series 8-10 arena, where the walls are noticeably smoother. However, it is still possible to leave robots wedged in between the walls, entry gates and the Arena Tyre mount, as demonstrated by Dantomkia's defeat of King B Remix, Interstellar: MML's defeat of The Cat and Terrorhurtz's defeat in the 10 Robot Rumble at the hands of Eruption.
As invertible robots and srimechs became more prevalent but rear-hinged flippers became more powerful, gravity-induced concussions became a viable method of knockout victory. This is only possible with powerful rear-hinged flippers, which throw their opponents into the air and cause them to land hard enough on the arena floor to knock out their removable links or otherwise damage internal components. These knockouts can turn a battle around significantly, as seen by Spawn Again's victory over Supernova in Series 6.
Out of the arenaEdit
- Main article: Thrown Out of the Arena
Starting with Chaos 2, robots began to use flipping (and occasionally lifting or rotating) weapons to throw opponents over the arena wall for an instant knockout victory.
Penetration - spiked axesEdit
A spiked axe is a difficult weapon with which to knock out an opponent. The main requirement is to hit something vital within the robot. Famous examples include Dominator 2’s instantaneous immobilisation of Henry 2 and Trident’s victory over Twn Trwn.
The most viable method of attacking with a spiked axe is through targeting the opponent's wheels; Dominator 2 was able to immobilise one of Stinger's wheels in the Series 4 Northern Annihilator, resulting in the latter's elimination, and damage S.M.I.D.S.Y.'s tyre in their Series 6 Heat Semi-Final, although S.M.I.D.S.Y. would survive to a Judges' decision.
A very rare early method of victory was to penetrate and pull opponents over – Killertron achieved victory over Behemoth in this way by using its spike axe for leverage and reversing Behemoth onto its side.
Concussive blows – bladed axes, hammersEdit
Bladed axes and hammers required less accuracy to score a knockout victory, but a lot more power. Only Terrorhurtz and Thor ever achieved victory in this way, against robots such as S.M.I.D.S.Y., Dantomkia, Tough as Nails and Diotoir. The blows landed by bladed axes and hammers could knock loose internal components in a similar way to impacts with the arena floor or heavy rotating weapons.
Rotating weapons and heavy rotating weaponsEdit
Cutting, slashing and carving Edit
Lighter rotating weapons were capable of immobilising opponents by targeting vulnerable areas in the same way as a spiked axe. Pussycat was a famously capable "slashing" robot, which was able to score knockouts on Razer (the only robot to do so) and Hypno-Disc by hitting their sides and causing their wheels to lock up, Reptirron by severing its fuel line, and Dantomkia by striking a highly vulnerable area.
Flywheels and other heavy rotating weapons could also earn knockout victories through the same method, although these victories were rarer than those involving the "outright destruction" of opponents. Notably, after immobilising Bulldog Breed 3 on one side in its Series 5 Heat Final, Hypno-Disc proceeded to immobilise the former completely by hitting its rear, tearing through the cover for its removable link and ripping the link out. It and Supernova also used their flywheels to severely cut Ming 3's wheels before immobilising it; Hypno-Disc proceeded to rip the wheels completely off to guarantee immobilisation.
- "Don't bring wheels into the Robot Wars arena!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cutting and slashing has become even harder to achieve in the reboot era, with tougher materials such as HARDOX armour becoming common, and robots no longer requiring exposed aerials. Only fragile or exposed wheels are likely to suffer damage from spinners capable of these attacks, with some examples including The General, Chimera and all of the Battle of the Stars competitors. Powerful robots such as Carbide can still immobilise opponents by damaging their most vulnerable components (such as Shockwave's rear axle), but few are strong enough to do so and rely mostly on concussive victories.
- "As it went over the arena wall its disk (sic) hit the tip of Dantomkias flipper and sent a surge through the radio interface electronics and fried a load of relays and their driver ccts. This plagued us for the rest of that RobotWars series. The weapon often wouldnt work, relays would jam or refuse to operate and even the Radio Control deadband would drift. Unfortunately I didnt have a spare set of electronics with me so I had to use what I had."
- — Mike Lambert on IG-88's weapon
Rotating weapons - especially heavy and powerful ones - are capable of causing internal damage to robots even where the robot's exterior remains relatively undamaged. They can cause electrical surges, knock components loose (such as wires or removable links) or jam wheels. It was not uncommon to hear Jonathan Pearce say that a blow had "knocked something loose" inside a robot when commenting on a concussion-based immobilisation.
Examples include Little Fly's defeat of Weld-Dor 2, The Alien's knockout blow on Velocirippa, and IG-88's defeats of Tomahawk and King B Powerworks in Series 7. This remains a viable method of victory in the reboot. Supernova immobilised Or Te in this way during Series 8, and Carbide did the same in its first one-on-one encounter with Apollo in the Series 8 Grand Final.
Outright destruction is a common method of victory for heavy rotating weapons, as it is sometimes impossible to locate the reason for victory amidst the destruction. Hypno-Disc was by far the most famous architect of outright destruction victories, annihilating Robogeddon, Stealth, V-Max, Splinter and Atomic 2. Supernova and Disc-O-Inferno later followed in Hypno-Disc’s footsteps with outright destruction dealt against opponents such as Mechaniac, Spartacus, Velocirippa and Comengetorix.
In the rebooted series, outright destruction is rarer, particularly in Head-to-Head battles where the Gentleman's Agreement is enforced to enable both robots to be repaired for later battles within a two-hour time limit. The best examples of outright destruction are Carbide's obliteration of Nuts in Series 8, and Aftershock's decimation of Sabretooth in their Series 9 Head-to-Head battle. Gary Cairns openly revealed that in order to reach the Heat Final in Series 9 with PP3D, he would need to destroy Eruption outright and force the team to withdraw from the competition - otherwise PP3D would not be able to qualify on points alone. However, this plan did not succeed.
Vertical flywheels and bar spinners are able to immobilise an opponent by overturning them in the same way as a flipping or lifting weapon. Pullverizer's defeat of Scraptosaur in Dutch Series 1 and the middleweight 259's defeat of Mammoth in Extreme 2 are some examples of a vertical flywheel achieving this feat.
In the rebooted series, powerful spinning drums have taken over from vertical flywheels and bar spinners as the spinning weapons most suited for flipping opponents over; Pulsar, Concussion and Magnetar have each achieved knockout victories through this method. However, Aftershock showed that flipping opponents remains a viable option for vertical flywheels, by flipping Rapid and Terrorhurtz over during its Head-to-Head battles against the latter opponents during Series 9. One vertical bar spinner, Tauron, also immobilised one half of The Kegs by throwing it across the arena and upside-down.
Crushing and Gripping WeaponsEdit
Much more so than other weapons, crushing and gripping weapons very rarely win by knockout in their own right. Famous wielders like Razer, Chompalot, Crushtacean and Pitbull often relied on arena hazards or House Robot interventions to immobilise opponents (Razer, Chompalot and Crushtacean were very inclined towards pitting opponents, whilst Pitbull used the flames), or even secure victory via Judges' decisions. Many of Razer's most famous victories resulted in Judges' decisions which favoured the damage and control it displayed throughout. That being said, it is still possible for a crushing or gripping weapon to knock out an opponent.
Crushers have become far rarer than other weapons in the reboot, with Kan-Opener, Tough as Nails and Razer all losing in Round 1 during Series 8. The most successful crushers in the reboot to date are Battle of the Stars competitor Soldier Ant, which scored only a single win via a Judges' decision, Androne 4000, which finished fourth in its heat on its debut in Series 10, and Big Nipper, whose claws were interchangeable with a vertical flywheel and were used in the 10 Robot Rumble.
Piercing vulnerable areasEdit
Razer was most capable of piercing vulnerable areas including motors, batteries and wheels. Its victories over Milly-Ann Bug and the Extreme 1 All-Stars final against Tornado saw each of its opponents immobilised when the powerful beak pierced wheels, axles and motors. Horizontal crushers could also exploit certain vulnerabilities in an opponent's design; the claws of Big Nipper once removed a tyre from Jackson Wallop in Series 7, while Kan-Opener was regularly able to bury its claws deep into its opponents' wheels and armour in the original series, sometimes leading to immobilisation.
Somewhat rarer, crushers were capable of causing internal damage to a robot. Razer caused All Torque and Techno-Lease to break down from repeat attacks, whilst Kan-Opener immobilised Ripper with its horizontal crushers.
Outside the main groups, it is possible for other weapons to cause knockouts.
Spikes and Spears – impalingEdit
Spears are capable (albeit rarely) of defeating an opponent by knockout. The best way to do so is to pierce the wheels of an opponent, puncturing their tyres or otherwise disabling part or all of their drive systems. T.R.A.C.I.E. was able to hamper Prince of Darkness in Series 1 by spearing through its opponent's tyres, whilst King B Powerworks succeeded in spearing through Tornado's side and immobilising it with its lifting spikes during Extreme 1.
Static spikes and spears are not used as weapons in the reboot and cannot be used to score knockout victories, as they are not considered to be active weapons.
Thwackbots – concussive blowsEdit
Thwackbots are difficult to cause immobilisations and typically win fights on aggression through Judges' decisions. However, Stinger was capable of causing internal damage with its swinging mace weapon, scoring victories over Bulldog Breed 2, General Carnage 2 and Fluffy by continually pounding them and causing them to lose mobility.
It should be noted that sometimes robots cause knockouts with their weapon that simply come from pushing an opponent around or dealing 'pressure' to it. Roadblock, for example, was able to immobilise Recyclopse in the Series 1 Grand Final by pushing it around and causing its drive chain to come loose, despite being unable to turn the Rex Garrod machine over with its wedge. This method of immobilisation is less common, but worth noting as not all weapon knockouts can be categorised neatly - robots such as Tornado and Storm 2 immobilised their opponents by slamming them into the arena wall, without specifically using their weapons.