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Bring Out Your Dead.

With Tuesday night’s episode of Deadliest Warrior (featuring William Wallace versus Shaka Zulu,) having aired, all the matches for this season that I’m actually interested in (read as: those that don’t involve guns) have now played out, and I can kick back and recline on the pile of dead losers until another season of ridiculousness rolls around.?I must admit that I was a little disappointed in the Legends’ conflict, though.

With the exception that the warriors had names, it might have been any other episode of DW. Nothing particularly innovative in terms of testing debuted, in the end it was a lot of cut meat and broken stuff, coupled with the standard macho posturing. From the beginning, the Zulu team was losing, and as far as I’m concerned, they knew it. The more that you have to explain how your fighter’s style would allow you to avoid/overcome your opponent’s blows, the less of an advantage you’ve got. This and other lessons played out over the course of the ancient warrior fights; if I can bring myself to watch the modern ones, then I’ll come back and compare. But for now, here’s a recap:

Apache vs. Gladiator

The one that started it all.

The one that started it all.

My Initial assessment:
Holy crap, this show is awesome. Look at that guy punch that cow carcass with that thing! What? Aww, he got hit with an arrow’ he loses? Nuts.

The lesson: Range wins Deadliest Warrior, and the simulated battle at the end takes a fair amount of artistic license, despite all the hard science leading up to it.

Ninja vs. Spartan

The image so nice, I used it twice.

The image so nice, I used it twice.

My initial assessment:
This looks like another bad matchup of stealth versus strength. Take away the anime-style powers that real ninjas never had, and it seems to get worse. Perhaps the ninja will surprise us, but the Spartan seems to have more armor and a bigger shield than the Gladiator did, and I’m betting that the Spartan team will play up the shield-wall tactic.

The Aftermath: Armand Dorian said it best when he explained that ?the Ninja could hurt the Spartan, but he couldn’t kill the Spartan.’ The Ninja was a skirmisher, the Spartan was a tank. A tank that rolled over the Ninja and barely paused to stop in the face of black eggs and shiruken.

The lesson: Catastrophic amounts of damage win Deadliest Warrior. While this isn’t a factor a lot of the time, considering that most of the weapons maim or kill pretty obviously, when a team talks more about how their fighter would be moving around (the Ninja and Shaka teams did a lot of hard selling on that angle), or how tough their warrior would be, and/or how little the opponent’s just-recorded X-bajillion pounds of pressure would be laughed off (the Maori and Viking teams did a lot of hard selling in that regard), they’re probably losing. The Samurai team is a bit of an exception to this rule, however…

Viking vs. Samurai

If Fuji were there, The Salt would have turned the tides.

If Fuji had been there, The Salt would have turned the tides.

My initial assessment:
This can’t end well for anyone. But it’ll probably be fun to watch. Either the Samurai knocks the Viking down with the one sword stroke that they are famous for, or the Viking goes berserk and lays into him with an axe.

The Aftermath: Like the Apache before him, the Samurai was an arguably better-trained warrior with a singular advantage- the bow and arrow. Katana vs.? Greataxe was pretty much irrelevant- both weapons were viciously effective. And in the weeks to come, range would prove more of a factor than anything else, whether it would take the form of a projectile, or a really long melee weapon.

The lesson: Range wins Deadliest Warrior, in case you’d forgotten.

Pirate vs. Knight

Scurvy againt Chivalry.

Scurvy againt Chivalry.

My Initial assessment:
Does the pirate have a pistol? If so, based solely on the severe advantage that the bow gave the Apache, the Pirate wins. I’m rooting for the Knight, though.

The Aftermath: The Pirate had 2 guns and a grenade.

A. GRENADE.

I cannot emphasize that enough. Even though the flintlock pistol was unable to penetrate the Knight’s armor, and the blunderbuss, well, blundered, the Pirate HAD A GRENADE! As far as non-powder weapons went, the Knight’s armor was more than effective, and the crossbow was comparable, but in the end, chivalry was truly dead.

The lesson: Technology wins Deadliest Warrior. Explosives also win Deadliest Warrior. Bullets win Deadliest Warrior as well, which is why I was disinterested in the modern warfare of Taliban vs. IRA, Yakuza vs. Mafia, and Green Beret vs. Spetznaz. It’s pretty obvious that guns kill people.

Maori Warrior vs. Shaolin Monk

Sleeper hit of the season.

Sleeper hit of the season.

My initial assessment:
I actually hadn’t been interested in this, and caught the repeat of it which played before Shaka Zulu vs. William Wallace. But it turned out to be an interesting matchup.

The Aftermath: The Maori weapons, while horrifyingly effective, were brittle, being made of animal parts and wood. How this affected the calculations of the final battle, I’ll never know, but in addition to that, the Shaolin’s twin hooks and chain were about twice the reach of the best that the Maori could bring to the table, on top of all his weapons being made of steel. In hindsight, this didn’t seem like a fair matchup.

The lesson: Technology (especially metallurgy) wins Deadliest Warrior. Range also wins Deadliest Warrior. Your warrior might laugh off some blows, but the gel gummies don’t lie. The fact that you might be moving around just means that you’ll lose a few more body parts before you go down.

William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu

From Wikipedia!

From Wikipedia!

My initial assessment:
This sounds ridiculous, and not necessarily in a bad way. However, since Wallace is known for shooting lightning bolts from his arse, I think that Zulu will not have much of a chance in this matchup.

The Aftermath: While the arse-lightning did not play a part in the combat, pretty much every thing that I’ve mentioned so far came true over the course of this (which would likely have been the most controversial show, if not for the Terrorist Jamboree airing on Sunday Night, or the kerfluffle that seemed to have arisen in the wake of Viking vs. Samurai,) came true. The Shaka team spent a lot of time insisting that Shaka would be able to get under Wallace’s guard and shank him up, and played up the only advantage that they had- the range of the Iwisa, a wooden mace that could be thrown some 30 feet.

The lesson: There’s no real lesson here; it’s just the final exam.

Based on these assessments, and my own desire to determine who truly is the Deadliest Warrior, here is a brief rundown of what would happen if there had been a bracket system (and who knows, perhaps there is something in the works for next season. I’ve got my fingers crossed.)

Apache faces off with Spartan. Spartan uses his large shield to protect himself from Apache’s storm of arrows, closes and goes to town on Apache. Being considerably more heavily armored and better-trained than the Gladiator, the Spartan finishes the Apache with a blow from his shield, followed by a spear thrust to the lower spine. Spartan advances to Round 3.

Samurai faces off with Pirate. Pirate throws a grenade at Samurai. Samurai explodes. Pirate advances to Round 3.

William Wallace faces off against Shaolin Monk. The claymore is deadlier than the whip chain, and has almost the same reach as the linked twin hooks. Combine that with chainmail and the targe shield, and Wallace takes Round 2 pretty easily, scoring a bye in Round 3, because he’s William Wallace and can name-drop, where the others are just stereotypes.

Spartan faces Pirate. Pirate shoots Spartan. Spartan armor, even the shield, is not as advanced as French plate, so Spartan keels over dead. Pirate might have to shoot him twice, but no grenade.

Pirate advances to finals to face William Wallace, and throws a grenade at him. Wallace lumbers through it. Pirate then shoots him twice, and Wallace dies.

Result: Pirate is the Deadliest Warrior, at least in the Ancient bracket. If you were to put a Green Beret in front of him, while he’s fumbling with flint and steel to light the fuse on his grenade, a magazine’s been emptied into his gut, spilling rum everywhere.

Pirate image by Marcus Ranum http://www.ranum.com/ , bombs by woodsy.

Pretty much sums it up.Pirate image (the same one as above) by Marcus Ranum (http://www.ranum.com ), bombs by woodsy.

I’ll see you in two weeks. Now that I’ve got nothing to watch on TV again, maybe I’ll find something else to talk about by then.

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