We may be nearing the end of the MRCA qualifying season, but one of the most anticipated events of the year has yet to take place.  This will be the first ever Windy City Showdown event and it has a stacked lineup. Because of its relatively central location to the greater MRCA, WCS is drawing the best robot builders from all corners of the Midwest to Chicago.  Out of a stacked field, here are some of the top contenders to take home the WCS belt.

Remy deGuzman & Mudskipper

Going into the first event of the MRCA season, Remy of y_0 Robotics/Team Shreddit had a machine that everyone was terrified of. I am, of course, talking about his control bot, Weird Flex. He had another bot entered that day, though. One that would make a faster impression than any other competitor in the Midwest. Mudskipper went on to win the first event it ever competed in after losing just its first fight.  Not only did it win, but it also left a trail of carnage in its wake. The ½ lb weight bonus Mudskipper gets from being a shuffler bot all goes into the weapon, and it shows. Now no one will be surprised if Remy replicates this success at WRC.

Santana Starks & RoboBot

If there’s one builder who was expected to win an MRCA event this year, it was probably Santana Starks of Team SuperBad/Team Shreddit. This is not only because of his collection of highly destructive robots, or because of his intense driving skills, it’s also because he is one of the few people who is willing to drive to Every. Single. Event. And yet, that MRCA win keeps eluding him. To the surprise of many, he hasn’t even managed a 2nd or 3rd place finish to guarantee his spot in the finals (although he’s ranked high enough now that there’s no way he won’t get in). Maybe the tournament he’s hosting will get him the win he’s so hungry for?

Joseph Betz & Necessary Evil

Joseph’s bot Necessary Evil is actually the highest MRCA ranked bot that will be attending WCS, and with good reason. Not only did it take second at MM this year, but it was only beaten by its own clone - Garchomp from Lily of Fluffy Robotics.  To get to that podium finish he also needed to beat the top ranked MRCA bot Atoma, not once, but twice. With a reputation like that, surely Joseph can squeeze out a win at WCS.

Jeremiah Ashbrook & Nosferatu

After a second place finish at WRC in September last year, Jair of Team Mashup was expected to be one of the heavy hitters early on in the season. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he hasn’t yet managed to compete in an MRCA event this year. Still, Nosferatu is hot off of a 1st place win at Bot Supremacy (beating Mudskipper twice in the process!), and ready to quickly move up the rankings in the MRCA.

Brendan Metz & Rules of Acquisition

Brendan Metz and his bot Rules of Acquisition deserve a spot on this list for several reasons, one of which may be that he was the only one to pull off a win against Mudskipper at WRC. He may not have placed particularly highly at the event overall, but he still put on a very good showing in what may have been the toughest bracket run of anyone there - Mudskipper, Specture, Karen, and The Almighty “Crixus”.  WCS will be the perfect chance for Brendan to redeem his losses, and show what he can really do.

Mr. TheGuac (Ashley York) & Karen

Some of you may think I’m crazy for choosing Karen, built by Ashley York, to win WCS. At first glance, it’s a robot with a checkered fight history, it’s never placed in a competition, and not many builders are afraid of it. But here’s the thing: this is a robot that gets better with every competition, and it’s really starting to show. He handed the author of this article quite the beating at RFC earlier this year, then at MNM the Ayatollah of Guacamola showed everyone who's boss in a rumble. For any of you who are still doubters, Mr. TheGuac has a message.

Written by Eric Lussky