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Suvudu Cage Matches

I blogged briefly yesterday about the Suvudu cage matches. I thought I’d dig into it a little further today, as I consider Monday updates (normally) to be more “Here’s what’s going on” updates. I prefer to move more in-depth posts to other days.

So, the Suvudu cage match. First off, I’d like to say that I’m impressed by the improvements made to the format this year. For one thing, the editors made a conscious effort to even out the power level of the combatants. That goes a long way toward making the matchups more interesting, I think—no longer do we have to suspend disbelief to epic proportions in order to pretend that Jaime Lannister would somehow ever NEED to fight Cthulhu, and somehow find a way to win.

There are still some things to gripe about here, as there is still great power-level variety in the matchups. All things considered, this is a good group to battle it out, but do Gollum and Tasslehoff REALLY belong in this? I don’t think they match the others. And what about Pug, Allanon, and Zedd? Three full-blown, deeply trained wizards amid a bunch of melee fighters? Fantasy novels aren’t D&D. (Well, hopefully most of them aren’t.) There’s no reason to force power balance between the arcane and the non-arcane. But anyway, at least there aren’t any Elder Gods running around.

So, what are my thoughts? Basically, thinking of it rationally, Pug and company should end up dominating. Maybe Beowulf too. I mean, really. Beowulf is the proto-hero that almost all of the rest are (tangentially) based upon; the guy was practically indestructible. The others are arguably demi-dieties, and would be better off playing hardball with people like Rand and Gandalf than ending up fighting people like Tally or Druss. (Who, don’t get me wrong, are both totally awesome—but they’re going to have trouble with people who can teleport, call down the powers of the elements, and all-around warp the fabric of reality.)

Questions like these make it a little hard for me to figure out just what’s going on here. Is it just supposed to be a popularity contest? If so, Jacob Black wins and we can all go home. (Sorry, but it’s true.) If it’s not supposed to be a popularity contest, and we’re supposed to consider each pairing realistically, why don’t we have more information on the matches? How far apart do the combatants start? It’s a “cage match” by Suvudu’s title, but are they really fighting in a standard-issue wrestling cage? I mean, come ON, guys. We’re nerds here. We can’t make subjective judgments about fictional characters completely outside of canon if you don’t at LEAST tell us how the fights are set up.

Do people with followers get to bring some along? What about Perrin—one of his basic powers is calling on wolves for help. So can we assume he’s got a pack of them with him? Do the sf characters have guns? Can Vin assume everyone she’ll fight will have metal on them, or can we assume they will each know the person they’re fighting and be able to prepare?

Okay, yes, I’m overthinking this. But don’t tell me you weren’t too. Anyway, here’s my input on the two matches I’ve got some responsibility for:

Perrin against Tasslehoff. Really. We’re doing this? Okay, well, here’s what we’ve got. Perrin is an extremely skilled fighter whose very nature (being ta’veren) causes probability to warp around him and bring to him the things and people he needs at the moments he needs them. He has a power-forged hammer, the allegiance of tens of thousands of trained soldiers, and the ability to call upon hundreds of wolves if he really needed to. He is a berserker on the battlefield, and has the power to move in the world of dreams, where he has near-absolute control of his surroundings. He is guarded by Aiel warriors and two powerful Asha’man who can wield the One Power that made Rand such a force in the previous tournament.

Tasslehoff has a stick that throws rocks.

Okay, I’m underplaying it. Tas is a clever, brave little guy. (Actually, I think he may be immune to fear or something.) He’s prone to have a few tricks up his sleeves, magic items stolen here or there. But he’s also got a childlike view of the world, and has nowhere near the ruthlessness that Perrin has been forced by fate to learn. Tas can’t win this fight. I declare that this battle plays out like so: Tas defaults on his match by not showing up. He’s off picking Jon Snow’s pockets. Perrin wins. (And Wheel of Time fans, don’t prove me wrong. We’ll never live it down if Perrin loses to Tasslehoff.)

As for Vin and Logen Ninefingers, this is a far more even battle. To put the duel on better footing, I’m going to say that this is Vin before certain events toward the end of MISTBORN 3 that would make the fight wildly unfair. Also, I’m going to remove atium (which would let her see the future and win any battle she wants) from her repertoire for now. (If she has to fight Zedd, all bets are off.)

So, she’s a very, very talented Mistborn, capable of greatly increased strength, greatly increased speed, near-infinite endurance, supernatural sensory abilities, the capacity to change a person’s emotions at will, virtual immunity to metal weapons, the power to kill at range with coins shot at high speeds with expert precision, the ability to ignore many wounds and heal at an accelerated rate, and telekinetic powers that allow her to vault long distances and remain in the air when needed.

Okay, so maybe it’s not much of a fair fight. (This is what I was talking about.) Logen is a toughened warrior, very careful, but also capable of turning into a crazed berserker who doesn’t feel pain. But that’s not enough to face Vin. She’s out of his league. This fight goes on for a while, but he can’t get to Vin, who hovers outside of his range and flings back any weapons or arrows he uses against her. She pelts him with coins, then takes his head off with a six-foot-long koloss sword.

|   Castellano