Last week, we went through the heavyweight robots (no higher than 220 lbs) who used to compete on BattleBots and were tough but not tough enough. (http/ One must understand them to know just how powerful the top ten are and why they are truly the best. It’s time for the real destruction now.


1. Biohazard (27 wins, 3 losses) –http/


Your robot has – pick one – a wedge, forklift, or plow mounted on the front. You drive it full force at the 4 inch tall rectangle of an opponent, ready to ram the little guy across the arena. They collide, and your bot slides right overtop the other one, as if it weren’t there. That seemed to defy physics a bit… is your front bent out of shape? You spin around to try again, but the other bot is right on your tail, and you’ve already accidently driven up its side a little. You hit reverse to slide off and try another ram, but the other bot pushes forward, getting its front firmly underneath you. A lifting arm pops out of its back, about five times as high as the robot itself, and your bot flips up and rolls right onto its back. Didn’t add a self-righting mechanism? You’ve just finished 20 seconds of fighting Biohazard.


We could only start with this one. There’s virtually no robot on this list that didn’t have to worry about Biohazard at some point or another. It was both the first and last heavyweight champion of BattleBots, winning the title four times out of seven. It also left nothing in doubt; save for one resounding defeat, Biohazard eventually fought and definitively beat every bot to make any legitimate claim to a title shot. Leverage was its weapon, and with wedged titanium “skirt” flaps on all sides combined with its long but low profile, it had more of this than probably any robot to date. In 30 matches, only 2 robots even managed to get underneath it.


Even though it was the first champion, this was in one of the show’s lesser-known “pre-season 1” tournaments, so Biohazard didn’t make much of a name for itself until tournament #4. In tournament #2, long-suffering rival Vlad the Impaler managed to catch it in an early round and pay it back for making Vlad sit out the placing rounds in all the past tournaments they’d entered, dating back even before BattleBots. In tournament #3, having already been turned from a champion to a nobody, a robot called Voltronic managed to hand Biohazard the biggest upset of its career and Vlad came out the champion once again.


Biohazard would settle with Voltronic in tournament #7 (http/, but in #4, it met Vlad for the last time in their only championship fight. After a match that lived up to its hype, Biohazard emerged as one of the greatest competitors in BattleBots history. Its later career would only add to its legend.


Best win

Biohazard and Vlad the Impaler settle the score once and for all in this fight, laying into each other with everything in their arsenal. The hazards around them actually start to seem trivial, barely distracting the two from each other: http/


2. Son of Whyachi (7 wins, 0 losses) –http/


What can you say about a robot that manages a sweeping first place finish over all the best competitors and then steps up a weight class due to a rule change and never does anything else significant? You could make the argument that Son of Whyachi should be at #1. It’s the only robot in BattleBots to score an unavenged victory over Biohazard. You could also make the argument that it should be disqualified from the whole list.


The design was a “walker” bot (which, at the time, meant it could be heavier than the weight class limit) with a propeller on its back and “hammers” extending down nearly to the floor. But Son of Whyachi was more than a league above the earlier, faultier “spinbots” like Phrizbee or Mauler. Its first televised match in tournament #5 was against Nightmare, a robot you may remember from the “honorable mention” list, and the announcers predicted it would be a “classic” vertical spinner vs. horizontal spinner match. It was a classic all right: http/


After that little statement to the competition that they weren’t dealing with the average newbie, Son of Whyachi proceeded to knock out more big names on its way to the championship, including another familiar “honorable mention” bot, Hexadecimator. In the championship match, it punched off Biohazard’s wedged skirts one-by-one, and just when it seemed the defending champ was about to win out anyway on sheer resilience, well, watch it for yourself.


Still, even if you don’t count its weight advantage against it, the thing is, Biohazard proved it could avenge losses, and Son of Whyachi (which showed its limits trying to push around bots in the “super heavyweight” class) had more than one close call in its single big tournament. The win goes a long way, but where the rest of the bots we’ll see had at least one true shortcoming, Biohazard – who went on to reclaim the championship next year – has the type of sustained success I just can’t concede to a one-hit wonder.


Best win

The brutal Son of Whyachi vs. Biohazard match may well be the best you’ll see from this show: http/


3. Vlad the Impaler (16 wins, 4 losses) –http/


Here it is, the last of BattleBots 3 heavyweight champions. You’ve heard me start its story already: This vampire was forced below the radar for a long time, once even by two journeymen bots who caught Vlad on a bad day and kept it from even taking a shot at Biohazard in tournament #1. But when Vlad’s time finally came (http/, it was perfectly aligned with BattleBots’ breakout success, vaunting it to prominence as the show’s first revered champion.


It was really the only way for Vlad to get the recognition it deserved. Vlad’s sharpened lifting forks gave it superior leverage, and its bulky, tank-like shape made sure they had plenty of power behind them. It wasn’t the only bot ever to flip Biohazard for nothing. It also added a retractable “self-righting piston” on its back, which came in handy against Biohazard (otherwise, Vlad never needed it). Altogether, Vlad combined the best traits of Voltronic and Punjar (see honorable mention list), both on the long list of big names it added to its win record along the way.


Sadly, Vlad’s career ended on a low note. After the final Biohazard match, Vlad returned the following season, only to be beaten in the first round by a newcomer. The builder then made the mistake of retiring Vlad and designing the inferior Vlad the Impaler 2. (Have I got stories to tell about that smaller, sleeker, complete failure of an experiment.) But even if its David and Goliath rivalry with Biohazard ultimately left it in the “Goliath” role, at least it was part of the greatest rivalry in the entire history of the show.


Best win

I got the one-sided Biohazard fight out of the way because this is supposed to be all about Vlad, so let’s see it win the championship instead: http/


4. Mechavore (7 wins, 3 losses) –http/


What we have here is simply the most underrated robot in all of BattleBots. Mechavore took using a saw as a weapon to the next level. Unlike Nightmare or Surgeon General, pretty much designed in the hope that the blade would do the work for them, Mechavore played to the strength of its weapon. It had a bulky, heavily armored design with a “shield” strip surrounding its four wheels, which gave it solid pushing power on its own and made it difficult to flip. With the powerful saw skillfully built into its body, it was even harder to out-damage, which only one robot (Son of Whyachi) just barely managed to do. It’s not hard to see why it’s overlooked; it was only ever a quarterfinalist, and it does have 3 losses out of only 10 matches. But it was also the only bot to face all three heavyweight champions in its career, giving all of them great matches. And beating one of them.


Mechavore’s brackets were always stacked pretty heavily against it, but in the first tournament (#5), that actually helped it show what it could do. After pulling off a huge upset over Vlad the Impaler, Mechavore proceeded to knock out Surgeon General and then face Son of Whyachi. This match is even closer than Whyachi’s fight with Biohazard: http/


In the next tournament, it lost to Overkill, a robot geared to beat spinning weapons, which it always did (including Warhead, Surgeon General, and M.O.E), but Mechavore came the closest. This loss pretty much sealed Mechavore’s reputation, despite the fact that, since Overkill got crushed in its only match with Vlad, it really only evened up the two of them. Then came Mechavore’s last tournament, where it didn’t get far before being placed against Biohazard. Biohazard quickly became the only bot to flip Mechavore, leaving it helpless. But it was only slightly less helpless than Mechavore left Biohazard, having cleaved its lifting arm clean off on the way down.


-Best win

At the time, viewers probably expected Vlad the Impaler to go to town, but Mechavore delivers so much damage that Vlad goes from struggling to, by the halfway point, in deep trouble: http/


5. Overkill (13 wins, 5 losses) –http/


The primary weapon of Overkill was a pretty basic design, a wedge attached to two big tires in the hope of plowing through the other bot. But earning its name with a second weapon, a big sword attached to its back that it could bring down like a mousetrap, is what brought out its unorthodox potential. For the first two seasons, Overkill sat in the shadow of its big brother, the “super heavyweight” champion Minion. Then their builder, Christian Carlberg, decided to turn his defending champion over to his teammates and put all his focus on improving with Overkill. By season 4, Overkill had stolen the spotlight, meeting Biohazard in the finals. And this was in between two very strong appearances in the semi-finals no less.


Overkills had good power, decent leverage, and a nice arsenal of ways to attack, but its greatest strength was its ability to absorb damage. The 18 matches on its record is the longest any heavyweight went on the show without getting knocked out. It was solid enough to take hits but also not grounded enough to really lay into. Not to mention it could drive inverted, which came in handy just about every other match. Even the blade helped it absorb attacks; attempting to cut through it was what killed the saws of Mechavore and Surgeon General.


You might have noticed that, even if winning its only fight with Mechavore just makes them even, as I claim, its semi-finals and second place finishes were greater successes to boot. Well, unlike Mechavore, Overkill does have a genuinely embarrassing loss on its record (to a mediocre bot called Frostbite, in its early days). But no, Overkill also has a longer list of notable wins, so, I admit, the call is mostly opinion-based. Even in its losing matches to the defending/future champions, Mechavore made me believe that it was borderline-champion material (if beating Vlad the Impaler wasn’t already proof-enough of that). Overkill always seemed a little out of its league against Vlad or Biohazard. If the chips had fallen its way, it’s possible that Mechavore could’ve won it all at least once, while Overkill definitely hit its limit at second place.


Best win

Overkill shows the tournament wildcard and crowd favorite what the real competitors in BattleBots can do, in the first match I remember being truly disappointed over. Warhead (see honorable mention list) had knocked out all of its opponents and was making a fan out of me, but Overkill at the top of its game here is still hard not to admire: http/


6. Voltronic/Voltarc (16 wins, 8 losses) –http/


Personally, I prefer the name “Voltronic,” which it switched to after “Voltarc” turned out to be the name of a lighting company. It looked like a poor man’s Hexadecimator, a wedge on wheels with an arm that only lifted bots, rather than flipping them, but this turned out to be great innovation that allowed it to turn its matches into one-sided trips to every arena hazard. This one was a solid competitor you could always count on to deal with the fancy, hot-shot wannabes. It also added a couple decent names to its win list along the way, like Punjar, and even Overkill in a win that left them split at one each. And Biohazard.


Actually, choosing the better robot between Voltronic and Overkill was the hardest decision in this ranking. Each beat the other one once. Voltronic has three semi-embarrassing losses, and Overkill has one genuinely embarrassing loss. Voltronic made it to the final round more, but only Overkill was never beaten in the first round. Voltronic beat two robots that beat Overkill, and Overkill beat one robot twice that beat Voltronic. Overkill has more notable wins than Voltronic, but Voltronic’s win over Biohazard is easily the greatest one (even if it was avenged later). It comes down to what you’re more impressed by. Voltronic won bigger and lost bigger, and with that in mind, I lean towards Overkill. I’m just partial to consistency; the opposite indicates that you’re depending on luck a bit more.


Best win

It was never a guarantee, but here Voltronic demonstrates its ability to menace even Biohazard, succeeding where so many other bots failed: http/


7. Rhino (9 wins, 3 losses)http/


As the tournaments passed, the competition got steeper and stronger robots started to fill the brackets. But there were a few impressive contenders that were only around in the early days, and one of them was Rhino, a bot that ended up the inspiration for its great successor, the superheavyweight champion “Toro.” In fact, looking over it again, it was so impressive that I wonder if I should have ranked it higher. In just two tournaments, Rhino compiled a list of victories including Voltarc, Razor, Nightmare, Tazbot (we’ll get to that), and Vlad the Impaler. But it does hurt a little that the latter two still split it 1-1.


Rhino was a box, a little shorter and wider than Punjar, and its weapon was a spike at the corner meant to be its front. Not many bots used spikes to great success, but then, other bots didn’t shoot it out of their body in a punch strong enough to poke holes in the opponent. The builders also hung a flail on its body as a tail, because why not?


The win over Voltarc might suggest that their places should be switched, and, I admit, it’s another tough call to make. Rhino does have consistency, for which I just rewarded Overkill the prize in question, but of the two, Rhino’s record is perhaps a hair less impressive. Also, while it’s otherwise hard to sniff out a favorable point in their respective records, Voltarc splitting Biohazard has to be worth more than Rhino splitting Vlad. And though it’s worth noting that Rhino won their only fight, cut Voltarc a break; that was during its first, and worst, tournament ever (hence why I’m calling it “Voltarc” here).


-Best win

Unfortunately, its match with Vlad isn’t available, but in this match against Nightmare, Rhino shows off its great durability and power, its invaluable spike, and some surprising maneuverability: http/


8. Killerhurtz (12 wins, 7 losses) –http/


You might remember me going on for a while about this one – and some of its many failures to robots on the honorable mention list. Actually, it gets worse. It also lost to a below-average bot called Gold Digger, because the builders forgot to check and make sure its axe was working. So who did it beat to make up for that? Well, in its first BattleBots tournament alone, Punjar, Nighmare, Rhino, and Vlad the Impaler. Yes, the same robot to lose four times to bots I wouldn’t even consider for 11th place is one of two robots to score an unavenged victory over Vlad. It may be the least consistent robot on the list, but its achievements are on the level you can’t ignore.


It’s worth noting that Killerhurtz is also a British bot, and, like Razer on the honorable mention list, it also competed on shows in both countries. Ironically, its results in the UK were nothing to write home about, but there are two easy explanations. The first is the technical difficulties and inconsistencies we saw plenty of times on BattleBots. The other is the fact that the UK show started with a strange “heat” challenge Killerhurtz never got past, determining which two robots among five moved on with challenges that had nothing to do with one-on-one combat.


Like Rhino, Killerhurtz used a weapon that wasn’t usually a winner, an axe on its back that it would mechanically swing downwards to damage and self-right. It improved the usual design by, one, putting 800 kg of force behind its axe and, two, using a spike instead of a blade, which would punch through and hook the opponent’s armor, allowing Killerhurtz to hold it at a distance and push it around the arena. Also, despite using polycarbonate for armor, it was a solid bot with good pushing power and speed, once beating a spinbot called Mauler on ramming power alone, after its axe was punched off (http/ Its lows were pretty low, but its highs were undeniable.


-Best win

No Vlad match available here either, but there is this match against the half-decent Omega 13. Killerhurtz shows great dominance in one of its ever-decreasing bright spots in the later seasons: http/


9. M.O.E (5 wins, 3 losses) –http/


As you might have guessed from that record, we’ve now reached the bots that had to plead their case to beat out the ones on the honorable mention list. After entering tournament #4 with the most fragile combat bot I’ve ever seen (complete with an ineffective spike), the builders went back to the drawing board with a vengeance. What emerged was a solid, invertible robot complete with a ditch cutter (and later a spinning bar, which made for a more destructive weapon). Proud of their improvement, they named it after their first one: M.O.E, aka, Marvel of Engineering.


Unfortunately, its first match in tournament #5 was against Overkill, the last bot you wanted to face with a spinning weapon. Tournament #6, however, is what singlehandedly gets it on this list. There, M.O.E picked up all five of its wins, including a damaging victory over Voltronic – it’s claim to 9th place – and a win over the half-decent bot The Matador (great flipping arm but with wheels that didn’t have the best traction). Then… it ran into Overkill again.


The last tournament saw M.O.E beaten out in the first round by an average bot called Stealth Terminator, in one of the more despised decisions in the history of the sport. I will say, there’s no question as to which one was damaged more.


Best win

The Voltronic fight also isn’t available (#!*?), but the Matador fight here is a great demonstration of M.O.E’s power: http/


10. Tazbot (10 wins, 8 losses) –http/


Tazbot was there with Vlad and Biohazard – fighting several matches with both – from the pre-BattleBots tournament all the way to the end of the show. It’s unusual, insect head design also made it a crowd favorite, winning the “Coolest Robot” award in season 4. Just one problem with the love: As often as not, it came without Tazbot actually doing anything worthwhile. Almost.


Tazbot’s design allowed it to change direction pretty nimbly and gave it a wide, angled stance, hard to knock over. Its weapon was interesting as well, a lifting arm attached to its spinning head that it could use to strike, nimbly parry the opponent, and lift with surprising power. If Overkill had a katana and Vlad the Impaler had a lance, Tazbot had a rapier. But it wasn’t enough to out-push or flip Biohazard or Vlad, losing to them five times altogether. And two of the three times it wasn’t them, Tazbot instead fell to the mediocre – if even – Mortis and Ringmaster, by breaking its arm and going in with undercharged batteries respectively. (Okay, maybe the latter can’t be blamed on the bot itself.) Meanwhile, after the first tournament, in which it beat Punjar and split Rhino, Tazbot went a long time without doing much.


Originally, as I said in the last entry, I was going to restrict it to honorable mention in favor of Aces and Eights. But as it turns out, they fought each other in tournament #6 when Aces and Eights was using the name “Botulizer,” and Tazbot won. This gives it a much needed 3rd noteworthy win and brings Aces and Eights down just enough for me to switch them.


Best win

Tazbot puts Gold Digger in its place, after the bulky pile of mediocrity was apparently encouraged to come back by its fluke-win over Killerhurtz. That alone is worth the price of admission, but you also get some commentary by Bill Nye:http/


And finally, just for fun, here’s two minutes of the two strongest combat bots in the world today going at it: Last Rites, the irresistible force, vs. Original Sin, the unmovable object: http/


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