"Once, Hypno-Disc spun supreme, but with TWO spinning discs, 13 Black is now the one to fear!"
Craig Charles in Series 7

13 Black (alternatively 13Black) was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 5-7 of Robot Wars, and is the signature robot of Team 13. 13 Black's best performance was in Series 6 where it reached the semi-finals, as well as its Heat Final in the All-Stars tournament of Extreme 2.

13 Black's name came from the number 13 which is coloured black on a roulette wheel hence the colour scheme on one of it's discs. It is also a reference to Triskaidekaphobia, a fear or avoidance of number 13 being the unlucky number according to superstition.


13 Black5

Series 5 appearance

13 Black was armed with two 650mm chrome poly-carbon spinning discs in Series 5, which was upgraded to 750mm steel blades in Series 6, and 850mm chrome poly-carbon composite discs in Extreme 2)

13 black

Series 6 Appearance

One of the discs was black with the number 13 on it, the other was painted to look like a roulette wheel, and both originally spun at 800RPM. This was raised to 900RPM for Extreme 2 and following an upgrade to 36v for Series 7, 1200RPM was attained. Both discs could be controlled independently, and could be rotated in either direction. It can also act as a full body spinner, spinning the robot whole at deadly speeds.


Extreme 2 appearance


13 Black in the arena during Series 7

In Series 6, 13 Black had a polycarbonate coated body with a metallic green material underneath, and a steel body painted green in Series 7. The robot was quite fast at 20mph, and was capable of causing large amounts of damage using the flywheels. Although it did not appear to be so, 13 Black was capable of running inverted, using its flywheels to "crab-walk" around the arena. However, it was susceptible to being flipped and the radio reception was not too reliable in Series 5. The team added a self-righting mechanism to the robot for Series 7, but it failed to work in two separate battles.


13 Black old

13 Black at the time of qualification for Series 5

Initially called for the Series 5 qualifiers at Sheffield Arena, 13 Black was massively overweight and the custom electronics were not finished so it wasn't actually running. However, the robot's design was so impressive to the producers that the team changed the control system and reduced the weight by 20kg to get it into the show, without fighting a qualifier battle.

To qualify for Series 6, 13 Black defeated Boudicca and Retribution, using its spinning discs to immobilise both, with only minimal aid from Kan-Opener. 13 Black was declared the winner, and Kan-Opener qualified for the series alongside it. As a seeded robot, 13 Black automatically qualified for Series 7.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 5Edit

Corkscrew vs 13 black

Shunt attempts to separate 13 Black and Corkscrew

13 Black's first fight was against another spinner, Corkscrew. The first battle between the two was called off as both robots broke down, 13 Black due to radio problems. In the second battle - the one shown on TV - 13 Black managed to land a few blows on Corkscrew. However, then the 'roulette' disc stopped spinning, as one of the blades had bent down with the force of the impact and jammed the wheel against 13 Black's body. It took a few hits from Corkscrew which put some holes in the armour and into its chassis, narrowly missing one of 13 Black's batteries. The robots went straight for each other and Corkscrew got stuck fast in 13 Black's Kevlar body. 13 Black was still mobile but couldn't pull away from Corkscrew, just drag itself around in circles with the black disc spinning. The judges ruled that although 13 Black had been more stylish and aggressive, and although 13 Black appeared to be mobile at the end and Corkscrew wasn't, the damage Corkscrew had inflicted carried more weight on the decision and 13 Black was eliminated. It was later found that Corkscrew's weapon system had been disabled by 13 Black.

At the end of the series, 13 Black was nominated for The Most Original Entry Award and the Sportsmanship Award but lost out to S3 and Pussycat respectively.

Series 6Edit

13 Black vs Chompalot

13 Black is grabbed by Chompalot

13 Black's first Series 6 battle was against 11th seeds Stinger, former semi-finalists Thermidor 2 and newcomers Chompalot. It got straight into an attack on Chompalot, who took a fair amount of damage without giving back. 13 Black tried to knock Stinger into the pit in between taking pot shots at Chompalot but failed. Chompalot fought back, biting into the rear disc and stopping it. However, soon after, Chompalot broke down and 13 Black smashed it a few more times in order to ensure its defeat. Meanwhile, Stinger had defeated Thermidor 2, allowing 13 Black to move through.

Single Trouble

13 Black knocks off one of Double Trouble's discs

Fighting Double Trouble, another double-spinner, 13 Black hit it when on the run, inflicting damage to Double Trouble's bodywork and even managing a double hit taking a body panel out with its front disc and the back disc. Then 13 Black struck Double Trouble again, sending one of the discs sailing through the air. The rest of the round went well with 13 Black taking more pieces off Double Trouble, although the front disc stopped working about halfway through the fight. To counter this, 13 Black went into a full body spin and Double Trouble drove straight into it, taking severe damage but still remaining mobile. Soon after this the fight ended and it went to the judges, who unsurprisingly gave the fight to 13 Black due to the amount of damage inflicted.

Stinger vs 13 Black

13 Black and Stinger engage

In the Heat Final, 13 Black fought Stinger once again. 13 Black started by getting its discs up to speed, but Stinger was more aggressive at first, hammering 13 Black with its axe. However, none of the blows were particularly effective. 13 Black tore off one of Stinger's tyre plates and knocked it into the Disc of Doom button. Stinger tried to attack 13 Black by spinning on the spot, but 13 Black was not affected, and came in to attack Stinger's large wheels again. In the last 10 seconds, 13 Black shoved Stinger into the CPZ where it was grabbed by Sir Killalot, who nearly got the seeded robot out the arena, but time ran out and it went to the judges. After a tense wait, the judges announced that 13 Black had won on all four criteria and moved into the Semi-Finals.

Firestorm vs 13 Black

Firestorm 4 flips 13 Black

"Our first fight was against Firestorm, we had hoped we wouldn't go in against a flipper early on so we had been lucky, unfortunately two of the best flippers were still in the competition so we knew it was only a matter of time and this was it."
— Pre-semi-final talk from John Denny and Richard Morris [1]

Firestorm 4 slid straight under 13 Black and hurled it against the arena wall. Despite moving the discs up to full speed, 13 Black could not shake free and was counted immobilised, though the spinning discs prevented 13 Black from being thrown out of the arena.

Series 6 semi final a losers' melee

13 Black is trapped in the CPZ on its back.

13 Black then moved into the Losers' Melee, against Dantomkia and Wild Thing 2. Dantomkia flipped Wild Thing into a corner then swiftly got under 13 Black and flipped it.

Dantomkia Dance

13 Black and Dantomkia dance.

" looked spectacular and it was a miracle we didn't go out of the arena, I think we went about 15 feet across the floor without touching it then slid along the arena wall before coming to rest upside down next to Wild Thing"
— 13 Black's description of Dantomkia's flip
Dantomkia vs 13 Black

13 Black is pushed back by Dantomkia.

After Wild Thing drove down the pit, it left 13 Black and Dantomkia to fight it out. 13 Black "crabwalked" on its discs, continuing to move around the arena, much to the amusement of many. Dantomkia flipped 13 Black onto its wheels, before getting stuck in an angle grinder. Despite this, 13 Black lost the judges decision and fell from the competition.

Extreme 2Edit

13 Black was an underdog going into the All-Stars, against the reigning All-Stars champion Razer, and the two-time UK Champion Chaos 2. 13 Black also received a warning, having started its discs earlier than the activate. As the team was going up against a flipper, they had written a message on the underside of 13 Black that read "Still no Srimech!".


13 Black rips away Razer's wing

Difficulties aside, it made its mark, as it sheared off one of Razer's self-righting wings after being attacked by Razer several times. 13 Black also tore shreds off Chaos 2's flipper, reducing its effectiveness. As the trio darted around, 13 Black landed a very hard blow on Chaos 2, breaking one of its drive chains and knocking it out. Razer punctured and caused damage to Chaos 2, but the small machine was already immobile, and it was counted out soon afterwards.


13 Black is axed by Dominator 2

13 Black vs Dominator II

13 Black takes out half of Dominator's drive

This put 13 Black through to fight Dominator 2, who had already defeated Hypno-Disc. 13 Black slammed its discs on Dominator 2, before luring it into Matilda's CPZ, where it was flung over by the flywheel of the house robot. 13 Black slammed Dominator 2 onto the side wall, where it perched, before managing to escape. 13 Black then shredded the pit release in an attempt to open it, but Dominator 2 axed one of the discs and attempted to push it into the pit. 13 Black's design made it very difficult to push Dominator in a straight line, leading to some very near pit misses for both robots, eventually both robots worked free. 13 Black hit the remaining pit release and knocked it into the pit, before time ran out, and the judges deciding in favour of the fully mobile 13 Black, Dominator 2 only having drive to one wheel.


13 Black is crushed by Razer


Razer suspends 13 Black over the pit

This put 13 Black up against Razer again, who shrugged off a heavy blow on it before 13 Black reversed away and into the side wall, impaling one of the discs and causing it to get stuck in the wall. With 13 Black impaled on the wall unable to move, Razer pierced 13 Black, and Shunt axed the sole moving disc, breaking it as well. Razer punctured 13 Black and carried it towards the pit, despite both discs spinning once more and heavy resistance from the machine, 13 Black had lost the gyro stabilizing sensor and was all but finished. Razer finally pitted 13 Black and moved through to the final.

Series 7Edit

13Black smoking

13 Black emits a copious amount of smoke

The Alien vs 13Black

13 Black is attacked by The Alien

The 7th seed 13 Black had a brief scare in Series 7 after smoke began to pour from the machine in its first round, this was later found to be insulation on the wiring for the self righter. It had weathered attacks from Lightning and The Alien when the smoke had begun to appear.

"Panic set in and I lost concentration on what the others were doing, there wasn't any power in the robot and it seemed like we were going out in the first round..."
— John Denny[2]
13 Black Nearly Pitted

13 Black nearly drives down the descending pit

Lightning vs 13Black

13 Black is stranded by Lightning

However, it soon cleared just as The Alien came in for another sound attack, which caused it to knock itself out. Meanwhile, Herbinator was long gone, and 13 Black turned to attack Lightning in order to score more aggression points. At this point, 13 Black hit the side wall, shattering it. After this, 13 Black was flipped onto its side by Lightning, against the arena wall, where it remained for the rest of the battle.

"I immediately used the new self righting arm to bring us back down - unfortunately it didn't do anything. God knows how many trials and hours were put into it and it just sat there!"
— The nicer things John Denny said about his srimech
13Black Killalot

13 Black is held by Sir Killalot

Gravity vs 13 black

Gravity flips out 13 Black

However, 13 Black had already qualified for the next round, where it fought Gravity. Gravity was far too quick, and overturned 13 Black straight away, and pushed it into the CPZ. Sir Killalot lifted 13 Black and held it up, refusing to let it down until the 13 Black team deactivated its discs for safety reasons. When the discs stopped, Sir Killalot lowered 13 Black. 13 Black spun on the spot with its discs, before Sir Killalot picked it up again, this time dropping it on its wheels. Then Gravity got underneath again and flipped 13 Black against the arena side wall, and its spinning disc and unique shape forced the seeded machine to bounce out of the arena.


Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat F, Eliminator vs. Corkscrew Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Semi-Finals, Round 1
Heat F, Round 1 vs. Chompalot, Thermidor 2, Stinger (11) Qualified
Heat F, Round 2 vs. Double Trouble Won
Heat F, Final vs. Stinger (11) Won
Semi-Final 1, Round 1 vs. Firestorm 4 (3) Lost
Semi-Final 1, Losers Melee vs. Wild Thing (9), Dantomkia Lost
Extreme Series 2
Heat Final
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Razer, Chaos 2 Qualified
Heat B, Round 2 vs. Dominator 2 Won
Heat B, Final vs. Razer Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
7th Seed, Heat, Round 2
Heat D, Round 1 vs. Lightning, Herbinator, The Alien Qualified
Heat D, Round 2 vs. Gravity Lost


  • Wins: 6
  • Losses: 5

Series RecordEdit

  • 13 Black as a display, alongside Stinger
  • 13 Black in the pits at a live event
  • 13 Black and Razer in the pits preparing for the All-Stars Heat Final
  • Team 13 Black in the pits during Robot Wars Extreme 2
Main Series 13 Black Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Entered with Limpet
The Third Wars Not selected with Limpet Mk 2
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Sixth Wars Semi-Finals, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 2
Series 8 Not selected with Heavy Metal
Series 9 Entered with Heavy Metal
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot WarsEdit

13 Black 2012

13 Black as a display at the 2011 Robots Live! UK Championships

13 Black also briefly fought in the Roaming Robots circuit after Robot Wars entered its hiatus, but due to safety reasons was not allowed to run its discs. 13 Black is now retired from combat but has attended several live events on static display. One of its original Series 5-6 flywheels was sold as part of Team Toon's charity auction, but everything else remains with its original owners to enable a rebuild/display if required.

Team 13 are currently building Double Zero, a featherweight version of 13 Black.



The fake 13 Black pullback

  • For April Fools' Day in 2003, the team decided to play a practical joke on their fans. They produced an image which seemed to show a Pullback version of their robot, as if they had been manufactured. The web page received over a thousand hits during the few days it was online, and despite rumours of a prototype toy being developed, it never reached production.
"On 1st April it is customary to play practical jokes, 2003 was no exception and we advertised the toy shown above, a few hours with Photoshop provided the graphics and a fake Ebay page was also created to add to the illusion!"
— Team 13 Black's practical joke[3]




  3. 13 Black website

External linksEdit

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