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"The most feared and technically advanced robot of the first three wars."
Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide

Mortis was a tank-like robot running on tracks at 9mph (these were later protected by injection-moulded pads) that competed in the first four wars. Its main weapon was a powerful electric-driven axe, which was later complemented by a lifting arm that could comfortably lift 100 kilograms and was capable of self-righting the robot when flipped. The Axe, custom-forged and modelled after Japanese tantō knives for optimal armour-piercing capabilities, could strike up to three times a second with the equivalent force of a .38 Magnum fired at point-blank range.

Mortis was known for being one of the most expensive robots on Robot Wars; it was made from about £40,000 worth of raw materials (most of the parts were donated, so the actual out of pocket expenses were significantly less) and valued at £250,000. Despite this, Mortis only made one semifinal in four attempts. However, the robot did end its Robot Wars career on a high note by winning the War of Independence in Series 4. Mortis retired after this victory, but would later be revised with wheels and a more reliable srimech. However, the revisions were too late, and it failed to qualify for Series 7.

Mortis was known for being technologically advanced, and for its steadily increasing valuation; one of the highest seen in the Wars. In every series it competed in, aerospace-grade materials were used throughout, and it soon became renowned for its extraordinary toughness- it was originally armoured in carbon fibre, kevlar and laminated titanium through Series 1-3, but for Series 4 its armour was coated with Silicon Carbide, (which, when used as an abrasive, is almost as hard as diamond) which effectively made it diamond-coated. Like Firestorm in later wars, Mortis remained the same shape and design throughout the wars, gradually being improved with features like more powerful motors, a faster axe mechanism, the lifting arm and, so the team said, "better reliability".

Mortis was a highly renowned competitor, and many less successful machines used a similar axe/flipper combination. These included: Vercingetorix, Hydra, Oblark, Comengetorix, Ripper and Hydrotec.

Mortis was also originally scheduled to make an appearance in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme, it was due to fight Axe Awe in a Wild Card Warrior battle, but the team were unable to attend filming so Panic Attack took Mortis' place and as such, Mortis never returned to Robot Wars aside from the attempted qualification in Series 7.

Mortis's name is a conjugate of the Latin word for "death."


Of all the competing robots, especially within the first few series, Mortis was one of the most fancied to win by the producers. Every defeat the machine took, even against a higher ranking machine (such as Steg 2 who, at the time it defeated Mortis, was the reigning fourth place), was considered a shock. After falling in the heat final of Series 1, Mortis returned to Series 2 as the firm favourite, and was even awarded the second seed, ahead of not only Grand Finalist Bodyhammer, but also Cassius, from the team who had beaten Mortis last year. Mortis was so highly fancied to win that it was involved in one of the most controversial incidents in Robot Wars history.

Mortis predictably cleared its heat and the Gauntlet run in the semi-finals, which allowed it to progress to the Pinball trial. However, as it started, Mortis' track broke on an arena spike before it could gain any points. This would have put it out, but the producers insisted that a re-run should be staged, as the roboteers had been told that the spikes would not be used.

Rob Knight did not believe it would be fair to the other teams and refused to drive Mortis. Instead, team-mate Ben Impey took over, and under his controls, Mortis performed rather badly, spending most of its time attacking the ramp and knocking over only one set of barrels and bricks. In total, it scored 75 points - already enough to qualify, but to make it look more impressive, the house robots scored an additional 25 points, moving Mortis one place up in the rankings. This put Mortis through against Panic Attack, but the team, no longer in the fighting spirit after the dubious qualification, didn't put up much of a fight and Mortis was pushed into the pit very quickly. In the Grudge Match Special at the end of the series, the producers' explanation for a grudge match between Napalm and Mortis was that the Mortis team had demanded another go, not the producers. This made Mortis somewhat disliked. This was also alluded to in its introduction to The Third Wars by Jonathan Pearce as "the students who fumed when eliminated controversially", when in actuality the events of the Series 2 Semi-Final appeared to dishearten the team altogether.


Rex GarrodEdit

Cassius pits itself

Mortis gains vengeance

Mortis' heat final during Series 1 went down in history as the first controversial judge's decision. Mortis' devastating axe mechanism had broken, and the axe was converted into a battering ram. Nevertheless, the battle was controlled by Mortis, despite the unanimous vote of confidence in favour of Recyclopse in the pits; however the judges voted in favour of Team Cassius, to the indignation of the Mortis team.

Their shot at vengeance came in the first Judgement Day battle. During this battle, Cassius was axed by Mortis; however Mortis had lost a track, and was left stranded by the pit. In an attempt to attack Mortis again, Cassius missed and drove straight into the pit, and although the Mortis team tried to call a rematch, the result stood. Rex Garrod retired after the next series, so the grudge was never settled beyond the 1-1 score.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 1Edit

Mortis series 1 official image

Series 1 appearance

Mortis started the Gauntlet strongly, charging past Shunt and ramming Bash askew. However, this attack damaged its steering, and it was unable to continue. Shunt then trapped it from behind, using its axe to pin it in place. Matilda joined its fellow House Robots in boxing Mortis in, preventing it from escaping from any direction. As Rob Knight looked on in dismay, even at one point shouting to the house robots to let Mortis out, Sergeant Bash shrouded Mortis in flames and cease was called with Mortis having traveled 7.40 metres, joint third with Scrapper. During the post-run interview Jeremy Clarkson commented on Arthur Chillcot's beard.

"We're not going to let you go anywhere- we don't have to!"
Jonathan Pearce as Sergeant Bash boxes Mortis in
Mortis leighbot

Mortis hammers Leighbot.

In the Trial Mortis charged through the British Bulldog arena without much trouble, placing first on the leaderboard. Up against Leighbot, each robot moved forward, and Mortis rammed Leighbot's side. Mortis retaliated with its swift axe. Mortis relented long enough to attack Leighbot broadside, hammering it with its axe a number of times. Mortis then withdrew, driving into a CPZ in the process, but driving out to strike Leighbot who pursued. Matilda attacked, but retreated immediately. Mortis then reversed under Leighbot and used the tanto blade on the axe to flip Leighbot onto its back, ending the match. After this fight, the axe mechanism had broken so its weaponry system was modified to act as a battering ram instead, with the axe shaft sealed and its axe blade protruding from the front wedge.

"We don't know how successful it's going to be. I guess it's just a case of suck it and see."
— Arthur Chilcott before the final
Mortis battering ram

Mortis with the new battering ram in the Heat Final

When fighting against Recyclopse in the Heat Final, it was very aggressive but caused very little damage, and at one point, accidentally drove onto the arena spikes, being lifted up whilst Matilda attacked it with her chainsaw. After escaping, both robots pushed each other around the arena, with Recyclopse coming close to being flipped over at one point. However, both eventually ended up getting stuck on the arena railings, with Recyclopse hung up in the corner whilst Shunt attacked Mortis from below. The match ended and the judges controversially awarded the win to Recyclopse, much to the dismay of the livid Mortis team.

"They're not working - we're working. We pushed them out, we had all the attacks, and we think we should've won."
— Chris Sorsby argues post battle

At the end of the series, Mortis was awarded the Best Engineered Robot Award.

Series 2Edit


Mortis in Series 2


Mortis without its shell

This was Mortis's best series, seeded number 2, higher than all other Grand Finalists (Barring reigning champion Roadblock), even Cassius, who actually defeated it in the previous wars, because Mortis was expected to do so well. It got in a fight with Shunt and Matilda in the Gauntlet, smashing Matilda's camera with its new Tanto Blade. It crossed the line then went back to continue its attack, only to be caught by Shunt and Matilda, and pushed backwards into the pit. It survived the Joust convincingly, by using its Tanto Blade to hook onto Matilda's chassis and use its tracks to maintain good grip on the platform, preventing her from pushing it off. It then met Rameses II in the Arena Semi-final. Mortis was the favourite, but Rameses II surprisingly managed to push it into the PPZ. Mortis escaped, but Sir Killalot got hold of Rameses II with its lance, and scorched it over the flame pit, before dropping it back down onto its side, where it was unable to move.

Mortis oblivion

Mortis uses its axe on Oblivion.

Mortis went through to face Oblivion in the Heat Final. It was by far on top here, whacking Oblivion repeatedly with its Tanto Blade, putting several holes in it and causing massive damage to its top plate. It tried to push it down the pit, but Oblivion held on until time ran out. Despite it having failed to actually immobilize Oblivion, the production team decided there was no need for a judges' discussion and immediately named Mortis as the winner, putting it through into the Semi-finals.

"Look at that! It's like a sieve!"
— Jonathan Pearce commenting on the damage done to by the tanto blade

In the Semi-finals, Mortis completed the Gauntlet despite getting ambushed by Shunt and landing on its back at one point. This caused minor controversy as it tried to self right, but it landed on its side, whereas cease was called for other robots in this position, Mortis was allowed to finish.


Mortis in the Pinball trial

Its next trial was hugely controversial in the Pinball. Mortis started, but the spikes came up from the floor and broke one of its tracks, preventing it from moving. This meant it went out with 0 points. However Rob Knight was angered as he'd been told the spikes were not to be used in the pinball. So, the production team let Mortis have another go. Rob considered this act unfair, so he refused to control Mortis. With Ben Impey driving, Mortis managed to score at least 75 points, but it was recorded as having gained 100 on the scoreboard. They also got the satisfaction of seeing Sir Killalot drive itself backwards into the Pit.
"In comes Killalot again. They're cushioned in there, have they done enough? Ooh, Killalot's taking a tumble! He lost his way. Have they lost theirs?"
— Jonathan Pierce noting Sir Killalot's demise

Mortis's shock exit from Series 2.

Mortis faced newcomers Panic Attack in the next round, but Rob, still considering the dubious qualification unfair, refused to drive, so Ben Impey drove again. This, along with the lack of the will to win, was one factor in its downfall, as Panic Attack, with help from Matilda, lifted it up from the side and swept it into the pit for a surprise win, thus ending Mortis' most successful run.

"Almost flipped-oh goodness me, what a surprise! Mortis have gone out!"
— Jonathan Pearce makes no attempt to hide the favourites

Mortis returned at the end of the Series in the two Judgement Day Grudge Matches. First it went up against Cassius, as Mortis was beaten by Rex Garrod's Recyclopse in Series 1. Mortis tried to hit Cassius with its axe but missed, it then did hit Cassius causing some damage. However, Mortis then lost mobility in one of its tracks and was stranded near the pit. Cassius took a run up to push Mortis in the pit, but missed and drove down itself. Mortis was then pushed down as well. Then in a comedic moment, Cassius using its flipping ram to push Mortis out of the pit.

Mortis napalm jd2

Napalm commits suicide against Mortis.

Mortis' next Grudge Match was against Napalm, as the Napalm team wanted revenge for their earlier elimination in the Pinball Trials. Mortis started strongly, hacking away at Napalm's armour with its Tanto Blade, doing minor damage to Napalm's wedged front and knocking off one of its rams. Napalm reversed to prepare for another attack (and hopefully to lure Mortis near the hazards), but accidentally drove near the pit, with its wheels hanging over the edge. After holding on for a brief moment the weight of its own weaponry caused it to overbalance and fall backwards into the Precipice, leaving Mortis with a second Judgement Day win. In celebration of its victory, Mortis once again went after the house robots, causing damage before Sir Killalot eventually hooked onto one of its tracks with its lance and simultaneously snapped the track and flipped it over. After the fight, Mortis was shown attempting to right itself with its axe.

At the end of the series, Mortis was nominated for the same award it received in the First War. But this time, it lost out to The Mule.

Series 3Edit

"Is that over the top enough for you?"
— Arthur Chilcott, as Rob Knight demonstrates the new hands-free device
Mortis official image series 3

Mortis in Series 3

Mortis vs ming

Mortis overturns Ming

Mortis' return prompted good-natured booing from the audience and the roboteers in the pits. It had been given a makeover since Series 2, with a faster axe, new bronze armour, and a long lifting arm that could lift 100kg and self-right it when flipped. In Round 1, it quickly overturned, using its brand new lifting arm, the very sluggish Ming in the first round, causing its spinning blade to detach and fly across the arena. It also attacked Matilda, before being ganged up on by all the House Robots and eventually pitted by Shunt.

Mortis pitted 3

Mortis is pitted by Gravedigger.

With one victory under its belt, Mortis faced newcomers Gravedigger, starting well by damaging its front wedge with its Tanto Blade. After being flipped sideways into Shunt by Gravedigger, it recovered and began a pushing match with the coffin-shaped machine, but soon afterwards, one of its tracks broke, rendering it only able to drive around in circles, and therefore leaving it vulnerable. It was turned over again by Gravedigger, and then as it tried to self-right, was pushed into the Pit, resulting in the shock elimination of the Series 2 Semi-Finalist and what would be their worst run in Robot Wars.

Mortis also entered the Pinball side competition but its luck in Pinball had not improved much and only came out with a score of 60 after getting stuck on the edge of the Pit. This put it in 9th, only ahead of R.O.C.S. 2.


Mortis pierces Terror Australis.

Mortis then entered the First World Championship and represented England. In the first round it came up against Terror Australis from Australia. Terror Australis didn't move and Mortis axed repeatedly and used its lifting arm to pull off one of its armour panels before cease was called, giving them the win.

Mortis vs Behemoth

Mortis gets overturned by Behemoth

In the next round it came up against fellow English team Behemoth. Its luck ran out here, as Behemoth got under it from the front and turned it over. Mortis tried to self-right with its lifting arm, but Behemoth held it down with its shovel, pushing it towards the edge of the pit. Behemoth reversed, seemingly to let Mortis self-right again, but as it was attempting to so, Behemoth turned around, knocking Mortis off balance and causing it to topple sideways into the pit.

Mortis also faced Terror Australis again in a special event broadcast during the International League Championship called "The Ashes", which, like its cricketing counterpart, placed an English robot against an Australian robot. The Terror Australis team, using a repainted Nemesis borrowed from the Diotoir team after their own robot irreparably broke down, tried to attack Mortis with its spikes, but Mortis landed some axe blows, before eventually lifting Terror Australis up and pushing it against the arena wall, turning it over and immobilising it. Whilst the House Robots attacked and eventually pitted the immobilised Terror Australis, Mortis could be seen in the background lifting up Shunt from underneath its shovel, pushing it around the arena.

Series 4Edit


Mortis lifts Iron-Awe in its Round 1 Battle

Mortis returned for the Fourth Wars as the 23rd seed more or less the same as in the last wars, except that the armour was now a shiny black and had been treated with Silicon Carbide, which when used as an abrasive, is almost as hard as diamond. This, in effect, made Mortis diamond-coated. Its first battle was against Iron-Awe and Mazakari. Mortis started by trying to hit Iron-Awe with its axe, not doing much damage for the time being. Mortis then used its lifting arm to turn Mazakari over. Mortis then managed to get underneath Mazakari, wedging its arm into the black machine's framework. With Mazakari in tow, Mortis dragged Mazakari to Iron-Awe, so that it could attack Mazakari's exposed chassis. Eventually the House Robots twinned up on Iron-Awe and Mazakari with Sergeant Bash and Shunt causing damage to Mazakari.

The match went to a judges' decision which eliminated Mazakari, taking Mortis through to fight Crusader 2. Mortis landed a huge number of blows on Crusader 2, and the brave newcomer was axed and cut into by the House Robots, allowing Mortis to move onto the Heat Final.

Mortis pitted

Steg 2 pits Mortis.

There, Mortis faced the 7th seeds Steg 2, and was careful to avoid the flipper. However, the lifting arm of Mortis became jammed open, and Steg 2 flipped it over, landing on its front wedge with its arm stuck open, being unable to self-right. Finally, Steg 2 pushed Mortis into the descending pit, ending yet another promising run for Mortis.

"...not a lot to talk about for Mortis"
— Jonathan Pearce after Mortis is pitted

Mortis roasts a defeated Ghetto-Bot on the flame pit.

Mortis did end its Robot Wars career on a high, winning the War of Independence special. It started by easily beating Ghetto-bot, piercing holes into its chassis with its axe and pushing it over the Flame Pit, setting it on fire from the inside doing so. After the House Robots moved in for the kill, Mortis teamed up with Shunt to axe the remains of Ghetto-bot, before taking a moment to attack Sir Killalot, manoeuvring between his weaponry and hitting him in the head repeatedly with its Tanto Blade.

It then went through to a grudge match against Panic Attack in the second round. Even though Panic Attack was aggressive in this fight, at one point pushing Mortis into Sir Killalot, who picked it up with its claw and lifted it into the air, Mortis was able to win on a tight judges' decision, aggressively causing a lot of external damage to the Welsh competitor with its axe, even hacking off its flashing light at one point.


Mortis lifts...


and hammers an immobile frenZy.

Finally, it defeated the US robot frenZy to win the title, bowling it over from the start and foiling each attempt to self-right, whilst simultaneously hammering it with its Tanto blade. Eventually, frenZy's axe broke down and left it unable to self-right, allowing Mortis to attack its underside with its Tanto blade, before turning it over to the House Robots. This turned out to be Mortis' final televised appearance on Robot Wars.


Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat B, Gauntlet 7.40m (3rd) Qualified
Heat B, Trial (British Bulldog) Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat B, Semi-Final vs. Leighbot Won
Heat B, Final vs. Recyclopse Lost
Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
2nd Seed, Semi Finals, Arena
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (2nd) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Joust) 6.1m (1st) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Rameses II Won
Heat C, Final vs. Oblivion Won
Semi-Final 1, Gauntlet Completed (3rd) Qualified
Semi-Final 1, Trial (Pinball) 100pts (3rd) Qualified
Semi-Final 1, Arena vs. Panic Attack Lost
Grudge Matches
Judgement Days
Judgement Day vs. Cassius Won
Judgement Day 2 vs. Napalm Won
Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat F, Round 1 vs. Ming Won
Heat F, Round 2 vs. Gravedigger Lost
Pinball Competition
Equal Eighth Place (with Killerhurtz)
Pinball 60pts 8th
The First World Championship
Representing UK, Quarter-Finals
Eliminator vs. Terror Australis (AUS) Won
Quarter-Final vs. Behemoth (UK) Lost
International League Championship
The Ashes, Representing UK
The Ashes vs. Terror Australis (AUS) Won
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
23rd Seed, Heat Final
Heat D, Eliminator vs. Mazakari, Iron-Awe Qualified
Heat D, Semi-Final vs. Crusader 2 Won
Heat D, Final vs. Steg 2 (7) Lost
War of Independence
Representing UK, Champion
Round 1 vs. Ghetto-bot (USA) Won
Round 2 vs. Panic Attack (UK) Won
Final vs. frenZy (USA) Won
  • The electronics of Mortis before Series 1
  • Mortis with Recyclopse in the pits
  • Mortis as it appeared in Battlebots Las Vegas 1999.
  • Mortis as it appeared in BattleBots Season 2.0, with lower front and side skirts, and decorative armour panels
  • Mortis before its overhaul, with its "Most Aggressive Robot" award from BattleBots
  • Mortis demonstrates its srimech in the pits during Series 3
  • The Series 3 version of Mortis, without its armour, in a test battle with Razer
  • Mortis and Rigormortis on display
  • Rigormortis (formerly Maelstrom), the teams planned entrant for BattleBots
  • The Series 3/4 Mortis at an event in 2000, with Killerhurtz and Draven


  • Wins: 13
  • Losses: 5

Series RecordEdit

  • Series 1: Heat Final
  • Series 2: Semi-Finals, Arena and Super Showdown with Minotaur
  • Series 3: Heat, Round 2
  • Series 4: Heat Final
  • Series 5-6: Did not enter
  • Series 7: Failed to qualify
  • 2016 Series: Did not enter

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Mortis was one of several robots that travelled to the US to enter BattleBots. It first competed in Season 1.0 in Las Vegas, where it beat Monster and Tazbot to reach the last eight in the heavyweight division, but lost to Voltronic on a Judges' decision. The latter battle is notable for being one of only two occasions where Mortis self-righted successfully in a televised fight without being pitted, the other being in its Series 3 fight against Ming. Mortis also won the Most Aggressive Robot Award in this season.

It later returned in Season 2.0, beating Berzerker 2000 by forfeit to reach the last sixteen, but lost out to Nightmare. In both seasons, Mortis fought in the heavyweight rumbles, but both times, it was immobilised much like it was in Series 4 - flipped over after its lifting arm jammed open. The team planned to enter a future series of BattleBots with the similar looking Maelstrom, but did not.

In 2016, Rob Knight competed in Season 2 of ABC's BattleBots with The Obwalden Overlord, losing to Warhead after Team Razer's machine set fire to The Obwalden Overlord's body and toppled it over.

In September 2009, Mortis, stripped of its motors and electronics, was given away to Team Bud. Team Bud was working on restoring Mortis, along with its fellow Random Violence Technology robots Minotaur and Maelstrom (since renamed "RigorMortis") to working condition. However, since then, Mortis was given to John Findlay of Team Roaming Robots, and Mortis has recently been sold on once more, to a team that entered the reboot of BattleBots with a new robot. The owner of Mortis also owns Rigamortis.

Appearances in MerchandiseEdit


  • Mortis is one of nine UK Series Competitors to have fought in BattleBots, going to BattleBots 99 in Las Vegas and came back with the "Most Aggressive Robot" award. It returned for Season 2.0 and reached the last 16, losing out to Nightmare.
  • Mortis is one of 23 robots to have completed The Gauntlet, and, along with Dreadnaut, Nemesis and Roadblock, is one of four robots to have completed it twice.
  • Mortis is one of only seventeen robots whose final appearance on the show was a win.
  • Mortis was profiled in Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide.
  • Mortis' depreciation from 2nd seeds in Series 2 to 23rd seeds in Series 4 was the highest decline in seeding of any robot, not counting robots that lost their seeding entirely (such as Killertron).
  • Mortis, which cost £100,000 to build and upgrade, only recorded one more heat final and two more victories (from two more fights) than 101 which cost under £5 to build. This also means that Mortis cost more than all of the House Robots put together, as well as the most expensive to compete in the whole series.
  • Mortis was nominated for the Best Engineered Award in Series 2 after winning in Series 1, but lost to The Mule. Along with Nemesis and Chaos 2, Mortis is one of only three robots to be nominated for the award it held the previous year, and then not win it.
  • Mortis was one of four robots to fight in both Series 1 and 4. Coincidentally, the War of Independence was the final appearance of another, Detonator, as well as Mortis.
  • Mortis was the only seeded Semi-Finalist of Series 2 not to make the Grand Final.
  • In Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction, whenever Mortis appears in a tournament, it will always be Seeded Number One. This may be down to how many of its statistics, including its weight, cost, armour and power, are much higher than any of the other replicas.
  • Mortis was the first UK robot to attempt to self right with an axe.
  • Mortis and Plunderbird 1 were the only robots in Series 1 to have tracks.
  • Mortis was intended to have a lifting mechanism for Series 2; however the mechanism broke days before the filming and so it was delayed until Series 3. The mechanism is visible on Mortis during Arthur Chillcot's talking pieces during the Robot Builder's Guide, released as part of The First Great War.
  • Strangely, Mortis was listed as "Mortis INFRANOR" in the instruction booklet for Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction. The reason for this may have been that INFRANOR Motors was one of Mortis's original sponsors.
  • According to Rob Knight, Mortis was originally going to have a faster axe for series 4. It was changed a little so that it could hit quicker.
  • Had Mortis qualified for Series 7, it would have been the only robot to fight in both Series 1 and 7.


Honourable Mention in The Combat Robot Hall of Fame

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