Top 32: Glitch or Mammoth?!
I'd like to start by saying that we understand how heartbreaking it must have been for Glitch to forfeit their Top 32 fight. We feel for Glitch and wish it could've turned out differently. We've already gotten a lot of questions about that day, so here's some insight from our perspective. The battle was originally scheduled for the first session of the day, so we got there early and got WD ready to fight. Eventually, production let us know that Glitch needed more time to get ready so the fight would be pushed back.
We reached out to Glitch to see how we could help. We were surprised to see their frame on the table with no wiring in it, and we started to realize this would be a longer delay than production had communicated. They explained that their armor was bent from a previous fight and they were working to get it straightened out enough to be able to reattach it. Knowing Gruff has all-steel construction, I asked them for advice and they recommended talking to the Lincoln Electric guys who had helped teams with similar issues.
The battle kept getting pushed back throughout the day, a couple of hours at a time. At about 9:00pm, we heard Glitch was in the test box. Great news! We were hoping everything was ready to go, but we saw they were having issues spinning up their weapon. Electronics wizard Brian from Tantrum jumped in to help them dial in their controllers.
At 9:30pm more prominent production staff started coming to see how things were going. Glitch was still having weapon spin-up issues. The filming session ends at 10pm, and the battle had to happen that night. Production told us that Glitch had 15 minutes to be ready, or they would substitute Mammoth in.
At 9:45pm Glitch was still having weapon issues, and production made the call - Mammoth was officially back in the Top 32. We had 10 minutes to do our interview and get to the BattleBox. If you look behind me during the pre-fight interview, you can see our team changing our configuration at the same time. We removed the forks, swapped to our thicker rib armor, and re-weighed Witch Doctor.
We were prepared to fight Glitch, and Mammoth is a very different robot. We normally study all of our opponent's previous fights and develop a strategy. The most prominent Mammoth match in our minds was when they defeated the number 3 seed Copperhead last season. Our ribs have catch points in the front and sides, which are a risk against Mammoth. Given more time, we would've cut them back to avoid this - but it was show time!
A swap during the tournament had never happened, and no one wanted it to happen now. Production pushed the fight back to the last possible minute, teams jumped in to help where they could, and Glitch worked all day trying to get their robot ready. Glitch had an outstanding season and they should be proud of their robot and their impressive #9 seed. We can't wait to see them back in the BattleBox!
We found out we might be fighting Mammoth instead of Glitch only 15 minutes before production made final call. We ran back to the pit to try to figure out our configuration and strategy for the very unusual Mammoth. This picture shows Mike and Chiri pretending to be Mammoth, to figure out which parts of Witch Doctor were most vulnerable.
Our ribs work great as overhead armor, but they also provide a number of high catch points that could give Mammoth an advantage. We didn't have time to modify our rib armor to remove the catch points, and we considered removing them all together to avoid that risk. Removing the ribs would force us to compete underweight against a powerful lifter, so we decided instead to remove our forks to allow us to run our heavier rib armor. That way, our ribs would be less likely to bend if Mammoth was able to catch our ribs and throw us.
Mammoth did an incredible job getting ready to fight on such short notice. We have so much respect for their team for designing such a unique and effective robot. You have to be ready for anything when you enter the BattleBox across from Mammoth!