Saturday, August 06, 2022

Story Post: Bout #24: Hard Hat vs Annoy-o-Tron [SingularByte vs Trapdoorspyder]

Astonishingly, these two bots - some would say the top seeds of the contest so far, although some of the newer comers might dispute it - have only met in the contest once before, right at the early days of the League. In that bout, SingularByte was still refining his signature shove-style, and managed to KO Hard Hat himself by steering his bot into the gutters. Tonight that won’t be an issue - the huge paddle-shapped bumpers are up, and Cool Hand Luke is patrolling the centre of the arena.

There, in position 4, is the familiar figure of Annoy-o-Tron - still a deceptively simple Bot, with just a mound-shaped body for defence and an axe on offence, the menace of Annoy-o-Tron rests entirely in the skill of its operator, Trapdoorspyder, who has emerged as a master at waiting for his opponent to self-destruct.

In position 10 we have Cool Hand Luke, the rootinest, tootinest cow-House-Bot in the old west. Yee haw! Let’s see if that big ole lasso Grapple and even more menacing Axe come into effect tonight.

And over there, in position 17, it’s the yellow-domed menace itself - stripped down to just its signature cow catcher - it’s Hard Hat! The crowd loves to see this audience favourite in the ring and tonight is no different.

Just a reminder that there has been significant discussion on the message boards about collusion with regards to Annoy-o-Tron since its last bout, so fans will be eagle-eyed to see whether Hard Hat puts up a fight.

And they’re off!

Annoy-o-Tron makes the first move, and with a shimmery bypass move it snakes all the way across the arena floor to take up position right behind Hard Hat in position 18! Cool Hand Luke sits impassively at position 10, but then Hard Hat has another malfunction - just like DuckTank did, it slams hard into reverse, but here the barriers are up, and that’s no good! Hard Hat sails across the arena, slamming down in position 3, completely upside down!

Annoy-o-Tron again bypasses - backwards this time across the stage to position 4 - an attack position - while Cool Hand Luke turns in place to survey the action. While Hard Hat is struggling to right itself, Annoy-o-Tron rotates in position to bring its axe into attack position - will Hard Hat get away in time? Cool Hand Luke is moving forward now, occupying a curious position in square 7 - Annoy-o-Tron is in range of its melee weapons, and may be distracted! Hard Hat struggles upright and tries to bypass away but slams straight back into the barriers - and they’ve deposited it right back in position 2, not upside down this time as SingularByte pulls off a deft mid-air correction, but still well within range of Annoy-o-Tron’s axe - which comes down with a sickening crunch! The crowd goes wild - this is very obviously not a fix, but it all seems to be Annoy-o-Tron right now!

But oh my god - with Annoy-o-Tron’s still in Hard hat’s chassis, Cool Hand Luke has fires out that gas-powered harpoon of a Grapple and has speared Annoy-o-Tron right through the outer shell! They’re bound together now in a tight 3-square radius!

Hard Hat has spotted its window now and slams on its reverse pedal, bypassing deftly around both its opponent and the House Bot to the relative safety of position 19. Annoy-o-Tron moves forward, still trying to shake off its pursuer - to no avail! Annoy-o-Tron takes position 1 but Cool Hand Luke is dragged to position 4, and there’s that axe! Is this Hard Hat’s strategy, to dance in and out of trouble while the House Bot keeps Annoy-o-Tron occupied?

It looks like it might be, as Hard Hat now moves back to position 2 - right between Annoy-o-Tron and Cool Hand Luke! Annoy-o-Tron simply, coolly turns around - oh, look at the skill here, Trapdoorspyder deftly suckering his rival into the firing line of the House Bot - which does not disappoint! That axe slams into Hard Hat and Hard Hat is now at risk from getting it from both sides, so flees back to position 19 and a moment of safety!

Annoy-o-Tron bypasses forward now, taking position 8 and dragging Cool Hand Luke into position 5 - and there’s nothing to absorb the blow this time - Cool Hand Luke’s savage axe slamming into Annoy-o-Tron’s chassis. This is a complete turnaround now as Annoy-o-Tron cannot seem to escape the House Bot and that chassis looks badly damaged now, with each of these extra blows getting refined precision thanks to the grapple removing the operator’s need to steer! Hard Hat bypasses right back to position 2, this time a much safer proposition, and Annoy-o-Tron bypasses towards the middle of the arena - hoping to catch Hard Hat again at the other side? Ah, no good - Annoy-o-Tron takes position in square 11, but Cool Hand Luke is still right there with him at position 8, and one more huge swing of the axe is all it takes - that Incisor TRN9P can take a lot but this was just too much. Annoy-o-Tron powers down and the judges call the Bout:

Hard Hat wins by TKO!


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