Drift was a Chinese competitor robot which fought in the second season of King of Bots. It was originally built by Wang Xi as the newest version of Greedy Snake, and fought in the King of Bots 2019 Opening Battle under the name Snake 2.0, but was passed onto Ye Hong Li ("Leo") for King of Bots II and rebranded as Drift, while Wang Xi competed with a new version of Snake.
Drift's design impressed Emma Dumont in the first episode, and she selected it for her team, and Drift secured this position by defeating The Doctor in its debut battle. Drift would then become the leader of Emma Dumont's team, and it teamed up with Storm Cut to defeat Saber in a two-on-one battle, before executive a near-perfect driving display to take down Po Feng in a head-to-head. After Emma Dumont left the series part-way through filming, Drift's driver Ye Hong Li took over her role as the manager of their team, and qualified for the final tournament. Drift would be the final robot to fight for the team, in an all-or-nothing title fight against Vulcan, but after an extremely close bout, Drift narrowly lost the Judges' decision and was resigned to second place with the rest of Ye Hong Li's team.
Ye Hong Li
Drift was entered into King of Bots II by Chinese racing driver Ye Hong Li, also known simply by his English name Leo. Ye Hong Li was a competent driver of Drift, winning three straight matches including a near-perfect performance against the vertical spinner of Po Feng. Ye Hong Li was also the captain of Emma Dumont's robots, having originally been selected due to his proficiency in speaking both English and Chinese.
Ye Hong Li was thrust into the spotlight in Episode 8, after his team manager Emma Dumont departed from the series, and Ye Hong Li took her place as the manager of his team, which included successful robots such as Spectre, Megabyte and Cat King. This put Ye Hong Li in the same position as the celebrity managers such as Zhu Zheng Ting and Tu Ziya, and established him as somewhat of a celebrity in his own right.
Drift first competed on King of Bots as Snake 2.0, and was functionally still the same robot as Wang Xi's original machine, with the main differences being the change in color scheme to red and black, the addition of five black wedgelets along the front of the robot's broader wedge, and likely some internal differences.
Drift's weapon is a front-hinged electric flipper mounted in the center of the robot, which the original builder Wang Xi confirmed to be inspired by the electric flipper of Amnesia. The electric nature of the weapon allows the weapon to be fired an unlimited number of times in battle, and provides an effective self-righting mechanism, while also being capable of overturning robots in combination with a strong forward drive. The robot's armor provided good protection, and its four-wheel drive system gave the robot a high top speed, and the ability to 'drift' around the arena, hence the name. Drift's other key strength was its extremely low front wedge, which was never bested by any robot in King of Bots II.
King of Bots II (Season 2)
Before the main filming of the series took place, Drift participated in a mandatory "warm-up battle", not included as part of the main series. Many roboteers in attendance were against the idea of these warm-up battles, and refused to use their weaponry in protest, including Drift's opponent Switch, and potentially Drift itself. Nevertheless, Drift won the battle on a Judges' decision.
Drift made its broadcast debut in Episode 1 of Season 2, where Emma Dumont selected it to compete for a place on her team. To earn this position, Drift fought a head-to-head battle against The Doctor.
The two competitors sized each other up in the opening moments, with Drift quickly getting around the side of The Doctor before pushing and lifting it against the wall spikes. The Doctor eventually broke free, trying to get its clamping spike into action as it briefly targeted Drift’s side. Drift outmaneuvered The Doctor again, proceeding to twice push it into the grinders. The second attack resulted in the tip of The Doctor’s weapon being torn clean off by the grinder itself.
At this point, The Doctor lost mobility altogether, with its baseplate noticeably buckled following Drift’s attacks. Drift got underneath and pushed The Doctor into the spikes again, causing The Doctor’s baseplate to detach completely and its internals to come loose. With much of its components left dangling beneath its bodyshell or laying on the arena floor, The Doctor was pushed onto a nearby floor flipper and thrown over, unable to self-right. Drift emerged victorious by knockout, becoming the first robot to secure a place on Emma Dumont’s team.
Drift would later be joined on Emma Dumont's team by Spectre, Megabyte, Cat King and Storm Cut. In a surprising yet unanimous decision, Drift was granted the role of team captain, in part because the team could speak both English and Chinese. After Megabyte and the combined team of Spectre and Cat King earned two points for Emma Dumont's team, Drift and Storm Cut would be able to gain a third point by defeating Saber, which represented Di Yang's team alone.
Initially, Drift and Saber approached each other, with Drift repeatedly getting underneath and steering Saber towards the hazards. Under pressure from Drift, Saber twice drove within reach of Storm Cut's spinner, the first hit resulting in one of its sidepods being torn open. Saber drove head-on into and underneath Storm Cut, steering it into Drift before spectacularly throwing it across the arena. Drift retreated to the blue corner, at which point Saber rammed Drift again, but Drift instead steered Saber into the side wall. Storm Cut got its spinner rotating again, staying out of trouble while Drift drove on top of Saber's flipper and unsuccessfully tried to throw it against the corner. For some time, Saber remained in the blue corner, its front-left wheel buckled and the robot seemingly hesitant to drive away. Eventually, it reversed into Storm Cut, whose spinner ruptured Saber's CO2 supply and immobilized it completely. With its electronics, right-rear wheel and back panel also seriously damaged, Saber was promptly counted out, allowing Drift and Storm Cut to earn a third point for Emma Dumont's team, securing her victory over Di Yang.
In the next round, all of the team captains faced off in head-to-head battles, with Drift representing Emma Dumont against Po Feng of Tao Shen's team.
Both robots circled around each other in the center of the arena, with the first contact seeing Po Feng drive over Drift's wedge. Drift kept up the pressure, bumping into Po Feng, while taking only a slight knock from the opponent's spinner afterwards. Drift then drove under Po Feng, and managed to drag it a slight distance across the arena until the robots separated. Drift then made evasive maneuvers, baiting out an approach from Po Feng while running over the wedge-shaped minibot. Po Feng again drove over the top of Drift, and was corraled into the Grinder mount by Drift, causing its spinner to throw sparks off the arena surface.
Po Feng recovered, and attempted to utilize the flamethrower of its drone, but the main robot simply drove over the top of Drift again. Driving capably, Drift circled around Po Feng again, exposing its wedge and luring it into the same Grinder mount as before. After two more head-to-head collisions, Drift made a slight mistake in driving over the arena saws, but Po Feng made the same error on a larger scale, ramping over the already-raised saws to throw itself over entirely, landing on its vertical spinner and coming to a rest inverted. Drift capitalized on its inverted foe, pushing it into a corner while firing its lifter, although Po Feng successfully used the wedge shape of Drift to self-right.
Drift wedged under Po Feng briefly, but then suffered its first direct attack of the match, with Po Feng delivering a side-on hit to Drift, tossing it into the air but without causing visible damage. Po Feng followed this up by hitting the front of Drift, but when Drift fell back onto its wheels, it wedged straight back under the front of Po Feng and caused it to fall over. Although Po Feng attempted to self-right using its gyroscopic forces, Drift did not let up, and pushed it into the arena wall.
Here, Drift fired its lifter to briefly strand Po Feng against the wall, although it soon fell back down. Po Feng was still attempting to self-right using its spinner, driving in circles, eventually doing so by bringing its vertical spinner into the Grinder, somersaulting Po Feng back onto its wheels - Drift, meanwhile, was briefly raised by the floor flipper. Nevertheless, Drift drove Po Feng back into the arena wall, and the two robots then separated. Meeting again in the center of the arena, Po Feng grazed the side of Drift with its spinner, ripping away loose parts, but Drift otherwise kept its front end towards Po Feng, and negated its attacks for the final ten seconds of the match. The battle was sent to a Judges' decision, and Drift's good driving was awarded with a victory for Emma Dumont's team.
After the end of the Attrition Battle in Episode 8, Emma Dumont's team suffered their first loss. Emma Dumont was required to cut a robot from her team at this stage, but instead, she revealed that she would be leaving the series at this stage of filming. Based on this decision, Ye Hong Li ("Leo") of Drift's team took over Emma Dumont's position as the manager of the team, and Leo captained his line-up for the remainder of the series. This also left him with the difficult decision of cutting one of his team members after losing the Attrition War, with Leo ultimately cutting Storm Cut from his team.
Ye Hong Li assisted his teammates as they collected several back-to-back victories, to the point where Drift did not need to participate in its scheduled match against Shrederator Tiger Claw, as his team had already qualified for the final tournament against Huang Jian Xiang's team. The final tournament consisted of a second Attrition War, where Ye Hong Li's team started at an initial deficit due to Warrior and Cat King being defeated in sequence by Deep-Sea Shark. However, Megabyte and Spectre earned enough victories for the team that when they were knocked out, Drift was able to fight Vulcan on level footing, in an all-or-nothing title fight to determine the winning team of King of Bots II.
In the opening seconds, Drift approached and bumped Vulcan a few times, often getting underneath the front of the UK machine. However, it briefly caught a set screw between the circular saws, leaving it vulnerable to getting scooped up by Vulcan, which proceeded to throw Drift into the red corner at great height. Drift landed on its wheels, surviving a bump from Vulcan before driving underneath and eventually pushing it into the wall spikes. Upon lifting Vulcan onto its side, Drift reversed, inadvertently getting its arm hooked between Vulcan’s wedge and left wheels.
Despite attempts from its opponent to break free, Drift proceeded to drag and push Vulcan into the grinders, resulting in damage to its decorative pipework. In the process, it briefly lifted Vulcan off the floor; this was followed by a second lift over the circular saws which saw Vulcan turned over completely. However, the same attack caused Drift to overbalance, tipping over onto its rear wheels as Vulcan finally threw itself free. Undeterred, Drift turned around and drove into the back of Vulcan, before continuing to pressure the Team Robots Live! machine upon landing on all four wheels. This saw it push Vulcan into the red corner and a set of wall spikes; a head-on charge later resulted in Vulcan launching over the top of Drift’s wedge and lifter.
Drift tried to respond to Vulcan’s acrobatics with another charge; however, it glanced off its opponent’s side and drove head-on into the wall spikes. Capitalizing on its mistake, Vulcan threw Drift into the corner, but with seemingly less power than before; Drift pursued Vulcan in response, succeeding in knocking one of its pipes off in the process. Again, Drift steered Vulcan across the arena - this time through the blue corner - before eventually pinning and lifting it against the wall spikes a second time. The two competitors exchanged more bumps and shoves, before Drift again got underneath and pushed Vulcan back into the blue corner. Seconds later, Drift drove under a speeding Vulcan – launching it into the air again – only for Vulcan to throw it a full 360 degrees near the wall spikes. Drift avoided a grinder as Vulcan attempted to flip it again, but missed, and bumped its opponent once more while pursuing it across the arena.
Both robots met each other again near a floor flipper, which lifted Drift and allowed Vulcan to throw it on its back. Despite once again being able to right itself, Drift was pressured into the blue corner by Vulcan, which proceeded to throw Drift on top of the wall as the battle entered its closing stages. Drift, having narrowly avoided getting flipped out of the arena, landed on its side against the spikes, seemingly in a position to be knocked out. Using its arm, it freed itself from the wall and self-righted, only to be flipped over one last time by Vulcan. Drift righted itself again just as the three minutes expired, surviving to a Judges’ decision. While having displayed a controlled and assertive performance throughout, the decision ultimately went against Drift, resulting in Ye Hong Li and his team finishing as the King of Bots II runners-up.
|DRIFT - RESULTS|
|King of Bots II (Season 2)|
|Episode 1, 1v1||vs. The Doctor||Won|
|Episode 5, 2v1
(with Storm Cut)
|Episode 7, 1v1||vs. Po Feng||Won|
|Final Attrition War||vs. Vulcan||Lost|
- Wins: 3
- Losses: 1
NOTE: Drift's warm-up battle with Switch is not included
|Series||Drift Series Record|
|Season 1||Did not enter|
|Season 1.5||Did not enter|
|Season 2||Team Captain, joint runners-up|
NOTE: Drift had competed in the 2019 Opening Battle under its original team, as Snake 2.0.
- Outside of the show, Drift's captain, Leo Ye Hong Li, is a professional racing driver, having competed in numerous sports car and single-seater series in Asian regions. In 2019, he raced in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia series, competing in the GT3 Silver class for the Absolute Racing Porsche team. At the season finale in Shanghai, Hong Li took overall victory in the second race of the meeting alongside co-driver Yuan Bo, helping Absolute Racing to secure the team's title.
- Drift was the first robot in King of Bots to have previously competed under a different identity and team before debuting under a new team and name.
- Despite Wang Xi building a third version of Snake for the same season that Drift entered, using much the same design but with further updates, it was Drift which won a battle in Episode 1 of King of Bots II, rather than Snake itself.
- In Episode 11, Ellis Ware referred to Drift as "Swift".
- Brian Nave of the Shrederator Tiger Claw team argued during Episode 12 that as Drift's weapon struck him as purely a self-righting mechanism, Drift "shouldn't have been allowed" into the competition. This comment was made long prior to Drift's weapon usage against Vulcan in the final battle.