Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Story Post: Tournament Bout 7: Dark Lord vs Hard Hat [Brendan vs SingularByte]

It’s a beautiful, star-filled night here at the Arena Halls. The outside façade of the building is lit up by roving spotlights and thousands of pin-prick fairy lights, giving the whole thing the feel of a canopy of stars - or, if you like, CrowBot’s chassis after CarolAIna Reaper was done with it.

The red carpet is bustling, with gossip reporters and serious journalists alike rubbing shoulders on one side of the ropes while movie stars, frontier gunslingers and suited politicians march up the marble colonnade towards Victory Plaza.

Tickets for this Bout are going on the black market at ₩100k a pop, but thanks to tiered pricing and some generous schemes there’s no shortage of fans here tonight - many of whom have been here for the entire festival. All of the Bots are being celebrated; in particular there’s a lot of DuckTank merch, as well as a touching memorial to Habanero who was, of course, brutally murdered to appease the terrible deity Tarquin Oseele, may his one foul eye never fall upon us.

Much of the Arena Hall complex has been sealed off - visitors entering the grounds are herded expertly towards the Stadium, which is only used for the final and whose fast tiered stands can hold a full capacity of around 95,000 people. And folks, I hear that it’s a sellout tonight - expect an electric atmosphere for a cracking final Bout.

Now, onto that final Bout itself. Dark Lord is entering into the 4 position. Now, Dark Lord should really have been called Dark Horse - although its dominance in this competition can’t be underestimated, its strength has lain in its unpredictability. Dark Lord has never fought with the same configuration twice, often pioneering counterstrategies specifically targeted at its opponent. Tonight Brendan has once again zigged when the opponent zagged: Dark Lord is here tonight as a shove-bot, of all things, hoping to catch the newly-heavier Hard Hat at its own game. A flipper is expected to give some extra poke in the final stretch while a giant mitt should keep Hard Hat penned in.

In 16 it’s Hard Hat, which has reconfigured around a more traditional weapon build - an axe and a ram - along side the traditional cow catcher which is its calling card; I doubt we’ll be seeing much of that tonight, as this is a heavy Hat. Experts have calculated that the basic shove differential is worth about 3 squares in Dark Lord’s favour, but when flipped you would expect that to be far more.

The national anthem is now being sung.


And with that and a great roar, the Operators stake hands with the President and head to their respective Operation Plinths. A long climb up the ladders to the suspended platform, and then they both signal their readiness. The judges briefly confer, and then wave to the announcer, who, from the announcing terrace, takes his mike in hand -


A huge cheer from the crowd, a blue flare in the night sky, and it’s on! The grand finale of the BlogBot League!

Dark Lord makes the big push across the field, tearing up the surface as it screams into position 15, dinking into Hard Hat but taking a knock on that ram as it does so. Hard Hat does not hesitate to respond in the time honoured tradition - an axe to the face - and just to note, neither party is wearing ablative armour tonight so every hit counts!

Dark Lord tanks the axe hit - this was part of the plan - and then gets that flipped underneath Hard Hat. It’s on it’s back - so far everything is going as Brendan will have anticipated!

But - what’s this?

Oh, wow!

Never one to play it safe in the finale, SingularByte is pulling out a new move!

With Hard Hat on its back, SingularByte is using a complex pattern of joypad taps to evade while flipped!

Dark Lord is trying to line up a shove angle but the rocking Hard Hat isn’t falling into line! Dark Lord is forced into a blocking pattern - that big flipped shove that it was counting on won’t materialise!

Hard Hat has rocked back on its treads - the Hard Hat section of the stadium gives a huge roar - and retaliates with a big chop of the axe!

Frustrated, Brendan jams forward on the controller - flipped or not, Hard Hat is still too light to put up much fight - or is it? No - those axe hits have been shaking Dark Lord’s engine loose and it doesn’t have the juice it once had! It’s running at about 80% of capacity! That’s not enough - Hard Hat’s feet are planted! It ain’t going anywhere!

The axe, again, and Dark Lord’s chassis is on the point of giving in!

Dark Lord flips again but this is desperation - SingularByte has been drilling and he knows his stuff - he can deny Dark Lord his shoving line all day! It’s a stalemate until Hard Hat finds its feet again - which it does - and, with the crack heard around the world - brings that axe down one last, final, decisive time!

The crowd goes wild as Dark Lord’s armour splits!

SingularByte throws his hands up in the air in jubilation!

A hundred cans of tickertape explode in a shower of colour and noise!

What an incredible Bout!

The judges have approached the Announcer, who grabs his mike to call the Bout:

Hard Hat and SingularByte WIN by TKO!

A note on Flipped: “Flipped: When an Actor is Flipped, any step in its Script that results in it moving or using a System is ignored” - evade is neither


No comments posted yet