In this episode of Crossover Battles, we’ll pit two lowly redshirt machines from two different universes against each other. They are the B1 Battle Droids from Star Wars, and the Watchers from Horizon Zero Dawn. But before we can do that, we need some stats on our two contestants first.
Contestant 1: B1 Battle Droid
In this corner, we have the B1-series Battle Droid from Star Wars‘ Confederacy of Independent Systems!
The B1-series of battle droids are the CIS’s standard infantry unit. It stands a surprising 1.93 meters (~6′ 4″) tall, and yet weighs a mere 65 kg (~143 lbs). “Scarecrow” would perfectly describe it in more ways than one.
Unfortunately, we have no official info on how fast a B1 Battle Droid is. The only clue we have is their in-film performance. We never see them moving faster than what would be a brisk jog for a human. If we assume that to be the maximum speed of a B1, it caps them at about 4-6 mph/6.4-9.6 kph. Which is pretty slow for…anything, really.
The B1 Battle Droid doesn’t have any integrated weapons. Its only weapons are what it’s carrying at the time, which is usually an E-5 blaster rifle with a SE-14 blaster pistol as a sidearm, plus any thermal detonators it happens to have. They’re even fairly accurate with their blasters, being able to consistently hit targets. Despite the lack of integrated weapons, the B1 does demonstrate a certain amount of skill in melee combat. We see them taking down armed Gungans in hand-to-hand combat, so they’re not useless without their weapons.
That being said though, the B1 Battle Droid is fairly fragile. Single shots from blaster bolts to their chests will kill them. They’re also not all that bright, eschewing cover and other infantry tactics. They rely more on massed numbers to fight for them than anything else, really. They’re decent infantry for the CIS, all things considered.
Contestant 2: Watcher
In the other corner, we have the ever-ubiquitous Watcher robot from Horizon Zero Dawn.
The Watcher is a light recon robot used for surveillance, and as watchdogs for machine herds. Although it’s classified as a “Small” machine, it’s still pretty big. According to an official video about making a Watcher costume for the E3 2016 event, the Watcher measures 13 feet (~4 meters) long, and “about 5 feet” (~1.5 meters) tall at the top of its hip. It’s about the size of a car, making it a rather big “Small” machine.
Unfortunately, there’s no official word on how fast a Watcher is. All we know is from in-game footage that depicts it running just slightly faster than a Thunderjaw. Assuming that a Thunderjaw has a top speed of 25 mph (~40 kph), that means a Watcher exceeding those speeds might be able to run down a horse in a short-term chase.
As for weapons, the Watcher does have some kind of light blaster in its eye, but it rarely uses it. Its primary weapon is its own body. It slashes at threats with its metal-clawed feet, headbutts them with its armored camera head, and it whips them with its long, stiff tail. It also has a flash mode for its camera that can blind targets at close range.
However, the Watcher is also pretty fragile. The eye is a big weak point, with single arrow hits killing them there. Even the body can’t take many arrows before falling. To be fair though, this is meant to be used en masse and sacrificed as needed. Which is a shame, since this thing is actually kind of cute.
As is traditional before every fight:
As always, we must assume that both B1 Battle Droid and Watcher are of the same skill. Or roughly so, at any rate. It sets a rather high bar for the B1, but it’ll do.
The location of the battle, as always, is the deciding factor. We need two locations for a proper battle: an open plain, and a forest with lots of cover. Basically, imagine Endor for the latter. Both combatants start out of each other’s line of sight, but aware that there is a threat in the area. So you know, that they can actually fight with each others.
Scenario 1: Plain
Right at the start, the B1 Battle Droid is at a disadvantage. It has limited sensors, and it can’t move particularly fast. In contrast, the Watcher has a large eye and can run much faster than it, so there’s a high chance that the Watcher would spot the B1 first.
Unfortunately, this is where the Watcher’s nature works against it. It immediately starts sounding the alarm once it spots the B1 Battle Droid by crying loudly. Normally, this would be useful in alerting other machines to help it, but there are no other machines here. Except for the B1, which has now been helpfully alerted.
The B1 Battle Droid immediately begins firing at the Watcher even as the latter charges to close to melee range. The B1’s accuracy means that more often than not, the Watcher would get hit in its big, glowing eye and die. The only confounding factor is that the Watcher does display good agility, and will actively roll to the side when they see you pointing a bow and arrow at them in-game. Unfortunately, the fact that a blaster rifle can fire a lot faster than a bow and has a magazine/power pack negates that agility.
The only way the Watcher can hope to win is if it uses its eye blaster. Except that it tends to only use it if it can’t close to melee range, which wouldn’t be the case in this open plain.
Thus, I give this match to the B1 Battle Droid. The poor Watcher never stood a chance.
Scenario 2: Forest Moon of Endor
The Endor forest is a different matter. The Watcher’s big eye provides even more of a sighting advantage over the B1 Battle Droid, making it far more likely for the Watcher to see the B1 first. Even better, the tree cover distorts sound, making it difficult to tell where a sound is coming from unless it’s close by. Thus, when the Watcher sends out its alert cry, the B1 still has to actively look around to see where the sound is coming from.
This makes it much more likely for the Watcher to close into melee range before the B1 Battle Droid can bring its blaster rifle to bear. While we do see B1s fighting Gungans in melee, we also see that they don’t appear to be particularly good at it. With the Watcher’s varied array of melee attacks, it’s much more likely to win in CQC. Especially if the first strike knocks down the B1, preventing it from both firing its blaster rifle and effectively using melee attacks.
It gets even worse if the Watcher uses its eye blaster. With the abundance of cover, it’s more likely for the Watcher to not be able to easily close to melee range, and thus use said blaster on the B1 Battle Droid. A single hit would kill the B1 just like normal blaster bolts, so the B1 is more likely to lose even here.
Thus, I give this match to the Watcher. Cover and concealment definitely do not favor the B1 Battle Droid.
The B1 Battle Droid wins in an open battle in places with nowhere to hide. However, the Watcher wins when there are lots of cover and concealment, like in forests. It’s rather fitting, really. The CIS used the B1 for large, open battles with them in firing lines, while the Watcher was intended to be an all-terrain recon machine. They each excel in their respective environments, so they should probably stick to them in battles.