March 18th 2023


March 18th 2023 will be the second event in the 2023 season. Bots in 3 weight classes will be fighting for the chance to win one of 3 Golden Dumpsters, as well as a part of the $4,200 prize pool.

Competitor registration for this event has closed.

See the list of registered bots here.


Here are Round 1 Qualifiers matchups for all weight classes.

Round 2 Qualifiers matchups and each weight class' bracket will be created during the event.

Our predictions challenge is open! Try to predict the top 4 bots of each weight class.

You can see current and upcoming fights here.


We will give these prizes out for the top 4 bots of each weight class. Thank you to SendCutSend for the additional prize support for this event!

  • First place
    • The coveted Golden Dumpster.
    • $1000
    • A $250 SendCutSend gift card.
    • A special brass Champion medal from SendCutSend.
  • Second place
    • $400
    • A $150 SendCutSend gift card.
    • A Finalist medal from SendCutSend.
  • Third place
    • A $100 SendCutSend gift card.
    • A Finalist medal from SendCutSend.
  • Fourth place
    • A $50 SendCutSend gift card.
    • A Finalist medal from SendCutSend.

Food Trucks

Here are the food trucks confirmed for the March 18th 2023 event.

Name Kind of food
The Chamo Venezuelan
Crazy Taco-Mex Mexican
CT Cocktail Car Adult beverages
Daniel's Food Truck Guatemalan-American
Los Poblanos Mexican Grill Mexican
Ringside Grill American/Italian comfort food
SpaceCat Brewing Company Tales Adult beverages
Waffle Cabin Waffles

Changes for March

We're so excited and thankful for the incredible community we've been building here at NHRL. It's growing by leaps and bounds!

We’ve gotten a ton of feedback from our builder community on our preliminary round format we implemented in January, and as promised, we’ve been working for the past few weeks to enhance it. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to talk to us.

The key criticism of the format was that it didn’t offer enough meaningful fights and was too easy to game with tactical forfeits. Taking that feedback into account, we began thinking of ways to provide more meaningful fights and reduce opportunities for tactical forfeits, while still ensuring we have a format that is operationally feasible for NHRL as we scale.

We ultimately landed on a modified version of an idea submitted by several members of the community. We would strongly prefer to commit to a single format for the rest of the year, and believe this is the right one.

We want to remind everyone that one of NHRL’s main strategic goals is this: We want to make combat robotics a nationally-recognized sport, and we want to bring all of you along with us. NHRL is in “growth mode”, which means we are working hard on executing a strategic plan to increase our capacity to support more and more builders event-to-event and year-over-year, at 165 Water St. and beyond. We have a strong and experienced team in place that is working on big initiatives to help support that growth in the months and years to come.

That said, the turnout for March will exceed our most aggressive predictions. We have a record number of 3lb bots signing up for this event, and we anticipate even more for the rest of the year. Since our numbers are much higher much earlier than we anticipated, we are limited in the number of levers we can pull going into the March event. This means that there will be some compromises to the streaming experience that are not our first choice, but will ensure we are able to execute the tournament fairly and safely.

So, with that out of the way, here is a summary of the changes, with more detail and FAQs below:

  • All weight classes will fight in a new format: A two-round qualifier, followed by a single-elimination bracket. Some bots will be eliminated in the qualifier, and will not make it to the bracket.
  • The start time of the event will move up 30 minutes to 9am. We will open the pits early to accommodate.
  • We can no longer guarantee an hour of repair time between your first fight and your next fight. We will still be able to accommodate the extended repair times for 12lb and 30lb bots of 25 and 30 minutes, respectively.
  • Safety times will be adjusted to accommodate larger bots starting slightly later in the day.
  • We will record and upload every fight in its entirety after the event, but there may be some early-round 3lb fights that are not aired live.

Seeding Changes

Our bracket reveal will be livestreamed on Tuesday, March 14 at 7 pm EDT. Predictions will open on Wednesday, March 15 at noon EDT.

We will seed the Qualifier rounds the same way we seeded the preliminary round in January, with one difference: bots from the same builder will be split into different parts of the Round 1 Qualifier matchups, to a maximum of 4 bots, in order to discourage tactical forfeits.

The 2-Round Qualifier

We’ve heard from many builders that we should have a preliminary format with more meaningful fights and that is harder to game. So we’ve updated our preliminary round to a 2-round Qualifier.

The general idea is this: if you win at least one of your fights (and you may only get one, depending on circumstances), you will make it to the bracket. If you lose two fights, you will be eliminated.

In more detail: we’ll split bots into three groups. The top-seeded bots go into the Boss Group; they’re guaranteed to make the bracket, and will only fight in Qualifiers Round 2.

Of the bots that are left, high-seeded bots (double the number of the bots in the Boss Group) will go to the Challenger Group. All remaining bots go to the Rival Group.

  • All bots in the Challenger Group will get one fight in Round 1, and then all bots in the Rival Group will get one fight in Round 1.
    • If you win your Challenger Group fight, you advance to the Boss Group.
    • If you win your Rival Group fight, you skip Qualifiers Round 2 and get a lower-middle bracket seed.
    • If you lose your Challenger or Rival Group fight, you must fight in the Last Chance Group.
  • All bots in the The Boss Group will get one fight in Round 2, and then all bots in the Last Chance Group will get one fight in Round 2.
    • If you win your Boss Group fight, you get a top bracket seed.
    • If you lose your Boss Group fight, you get a upper-middle bracket seed.
    • If you forfeit your Boss Group fight, you get a bottom bracket seed.
    • If you win your Last Chance Group fight, you get a bottom bracket seed.
    • If you lose your Last Chance Group fight, you will be eliminated.

Any bots that are still alive after the qualifiers will move on to the tournament bracket, which will be released soon after the last fight of that weight class.

This way, every bot will get at least one fight (barring forfeits), the fights will all be meaningful, and forfeiting will almost always put you in a worse position.

If you want to know more details, you can read about them here.

2-Round Qualifier diagram.jpg

How will the day go?

We plan to open the facility earlier than the January event. We will confirm doors-open time next week.

At 9:00 am, we will start the 3lb qualifier rounds. It’s even more important than before that everyone is ready to fight in the morning, when their fight is called. In January, we did not have enough bots ready to fight at the start of the event, which meant we had to run splitscreen longer than we originally planned to make up the difference.

For the first qualifying round only, we will run up to 4 fights at a time, each with their own panel of judges. Since following many fights at once is challenging, this portion of the broadcast will focus on fight results, previews, analysis, highlights and interviews. While not all 3lb Qualifiers Round 1 fights will be aired live, we will record all of them and have them available in fullscreen after the event. After Qualifiers Round 1 is complete, 3lb Qualifiers Round 2 fights will begin, aired live via split-screen. Between 11:30 am and noon, we will start with the 12lb and 30lb Qualifier rounds before moving to the 3lb bracket.

We understand it’s not for everyone, but early round splitscreen is still key to running our events smoothly; without it, not only would our events run unreasonably long, but we’d have wildly inconsistent repair times for different competitors, leading to a less even playing field. We will get better with the splitscreen presentation with each event, and we’ll only utilize splitscreen when it’s deemed necessary through the extremely rigorous scheduling process we complete ahead of each tournament. We will end splitscreen in the broadcast as soon as it’s feasible to do so.

We will open Freestyle grudges and rumbles as soon as we are able to in the afternoon. Our late fights will start at around 6 pm.

If you have any questions, concerns or feedback, please feel free to DM Gil on Discord, or email


Can I have more information on the 2-round qualifier?

Yes - If you want to know more details, you can read about them here.

What time will I fight?

The 3lb qualifiers will begin at 9am. Between 11:30-12pm, we will start the 12 and 30lb qualifiers. We will group fights by match number and will run as close to match order as possible. You will need to be ready to queue up and head to the cages when your group is called. If you miss your group window, you will have to forfeit your fight.

If I am knocked out after the qualifiers, what happens next?

Any builder that doesn’t make it into the tournament bracket will be able to stay to fight in Freestyle, grudges and rumbles. This format does not allow for those fights to start as early as they did in January, but we can give you rough estimates closer to the event once we have final registration numbers.

Why are you announcing this now?

The timing of this announcement is closer to the date of the competition than we’d have liked, but based on initial reception, we feel it will be widely viewed as an improvement that people are happy with. We are making it as soon as we possibly can, while still ensuring we took the care and the time to consult with members of our builder community. This announcement follows several rounds of iteration with select builders, as well as lots of intense internal discussion. We have said before and will say again that making these kinds of decisions is more complex than it may seem.

So, we’re making this announcement as soon as we possibly can, but with format tweaks that we feel address the biggest concerns in a positive way; that we’re confident in our ability to execute; and that have been endorsed by members of the community. Our hope is that we don’t have to make any significant changes for the rest of 2023, as long as registration numbers grow at or close to the (new, more aggressive) rate we are estimating for them.

To reiterate: we took a lot of builder feedback in our updated approach to March. We think it’ll result in a more entertaining and fair competition. We hope you agree!

Why don’t you implement registration caps?

A suggestion we hear from builders who are less enthusiastic about our growth is that NHRL should implement caps on the number of bots that fight per weight class. This would be a great solution, if our goal was to stay the same size as we are now.

The thing is, we have bigger plans! We are looking to grow the sport, and we have a big vision in mind.

In order to do that, we need more builders and bigger events! We know that this can bring complications, but we feel like these complications are worth dealing with if we’re going to grow our sport. We will work on alternatives to registration caps in order to make the builder experience and stream as good as possible, while still pursuing our end goal of growing the sport to greater national and international awareness.

What are some of the other changes you will make in the future to accommodate growth?

Once we are through the March event, we will plan a Town Hall where our team can tell you more about some of the ways we plan to manage our growth without resorting to registration caps.

What to expect at NHRL

Whether you attend NHRL as a competitor or as a spectator, it's an unforgettable experience! Here's what to expect.

We have eight cages where robot fights happen, in two different areas!

One area is the Steel Arena, which contains Cages 1 and 4, for 12lb and 30lb bots, and Cages 2 and 3, for 3lb bots.

Another area is the Titanium Stage, which contains Cages 5, 6, 7, and 8 both for 3lb bots.

We have a bunch of other great things that all our spectators can check out.

  • Our Bot Museum, with notable bots you may have seen on TV.
  • An outdoor patio, with plenty of food trucks with delicious offerings.
  • The Brett Experience, where you can try your hand at driving Brett the Brick.
  • The Sparky Store, where you can buy souvenirs like t-shirts and stickers.
  • A sign-making station, where you can support your favorite competitors.

Spectator tickets run as low as $15. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian 18 or over. Children 4 and under get in free.

If you're a competitor, you're in for a treat! We welcome competitors of all backgrounds and skill levels. Here's what you can expect...

  • An enormous pit area on the second floor.
  • A large workshop filled with all sorts of tools to help fix your bot.
  • An amazing, supportive, and helpful community.
  • No registration fees! (There is a $25 per-bot deposit that's refunded after you attend the event.)
  • The best competition in the world!

Watching NHRL Online

All NHRL events are livestreamed on our YouTube channel.

Spectating at NHRL

Come see some robot carnage up-close and personal! Click here to buy tickets for any of our upcoming events!

All NHRL events are open to public spectators. Adults and children over the age of 4 can purchase an all-day access pass for $10. This will give access to all of the spectating areas around all the fighting cages, as well as the spectator lounges, Bot Museum, and other fun combat robotics attractions. Spectators under the age of 4 are admitted for free. Any spectator under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian over the age of 18.

Also, look for our VIP tickets, where you can relax in our lounge, experience our fights close-up, and go on a behind-the-scenes tour!

Read more about our spectator experience.

Competing at NHRL

Want to come fight at NHRL?

NHRL is open to competitors of any experience level. Before building/bringing a bot to NHRL, make sure to review our bot design rules!

There is a $25 deposit for each bot you register. As long as you check in for the event, you'll get your deposit back a few business days later. Signups close 2 weeks before the event.

Read more about competing at NHRL here.