The Show & This Forum

Bob Hubbard

MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Aug 4, 2001
Reaction score
Land of the Free
The Show

(from wiki) Deadliest Warrior is a television program in which historical warriors are pitted against each other to see who can outlast the other. Each episode showcases two warriors in a hypothetical battle to the death.
Each warrior brings weapons from the particular group they are associated with. Modern fighters and experts on said weapons present the strengths and weaknesses of each arsenal, including real tests of the weapons.[2] The data collected is then fed into a computer simulation based on an unreleased commercial game engine developed by Slitherine Strategies[3] to determine the average winner of one thousand battles. After the winner is determined, a mock battle takes place to showcase how each weapon is used in a real battle situation, and to determine which combatant is the "deadliest warrior".
Geoff Desmoulin is the biomedical scientist and high speed camera operator. Dr. Armand Dorian is the medical consultant. Max Geiger is the simulations programmer. All three provide commentary throughout the show, as well as technical details of each weapons test. The show is narrated by Drew Skye.[4]

Format of the show

All episodes of the show begins with the introduction of the two very well known warriors. The history and culture of each is discussed briefly, as well as the general fighting philosophies of the warriors. These segments are fleshed out with actors performing dramatized scenes from the daily lives of the fighters. Two teams of experts are then introduced to showcase and test the assigned weapons for the battle.[6]
Depending on the given match-up there may be as many as five categories, sometimes with more than two weapons in a category. Recent statements on Aftermath forums by Matt Anderson and Sonny Puzikas, the experts for the "Green Beret vs. Spetsnaz" episode, have suggested that the teams are assigned weapons by the producers and that they have little influence in the production of the acted simulations.[7] Special weapons are usually the signature weapon of the warrior, examples of this being the Apache war club and the Spartan shield, but may also be more exotic, examples being the Spetsnaz ballistic knife and the Samurai Kanabo.
The teams test their weapons on body parts (and sometimes entire torsos) constructed out of ballistics gel, as well as large amounts of stage blood, which adds to the theatrics of the testing. Sometimes the torsos are covered with armor that is representative of that worn by the weapon's opponent. While the damage to armor of the weapons is factored in to their effectiveness, armor or defensive ability has yet to be included as a separate category on the show. Natural tissue, particularly pig carcasses and cow bones, are also frequently used. All of the images are captured with high speed photography, and the results are fed into a computer which determines the damage the weapons are able to deal. Weapons with similar fighting characteristics are paired against each other and the winner of each pairing is determined by a combination of the damage results from the tests and the judgments of the producers and hosts. In some situations when the results are close the panel has the deciding say as to which weapon has won. With this they give the "edge" to a weapon, but this is only opinion, and no bonus is given.
Weapons test data is input to a Monte Carlo simulation to determine a most probable winner, and a statistical margin of victory.[8] These results are then used to create a battle scenario. Actors portraying each warrior depict a one-on-one hypothetical battle (although a few of the episodes depicting more modern warriors have used battles with more than one warrior on each side), demonstrate some possible fight tactics and show the final victor.
The winner is chosen as the average victor of one thousand simulated battles. The number of times a particular weapon dealt the killing blow is revealed, as well as the opinion of the producers as to why the stated warrior won. The team members of each side are then shown stating why they agree or disagree with the outcome as the episode ends.

This Forum
The premise of the show discusses and examines the arms, techniques and mindsets of various warriors through out history, and seeks to compare them. This forum is intended to do similar. To discuss the show, but also to expand on the idea. Feel free to nitpick the show, form your own -vs- combinations, and so on.
From Wiki

Historical Inaccuracies

While the show does a relatively good job of portraying the warriors in a true light, it does take liberty with certain warriors and for unknown reasons gives them weapon the warrior wouldn't have used. A prime example is the Knight being given a crossbow. In actuality, while France did use the crossbow, their knights wouldn't use them, and the crossbowman were a separate unit. Another liberty the show takes is has been known to use reenactment armor as opposed to the real armor or shields used by the warriors. This is seen in the William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu episode where both warriors armor was not accurate to what they would of used. Wallace would have more than likely used riveted chain mail as opposed to the unriveted shown, the difference being riveted chain mail can stop stabs from a spear or sword. The Zulu shield shown, while it looked like a Zulu shield, was actually a decorative piece, a real Zulu shield had multiple layers of cowhide, and it could stop musket shot from Shaka's time, and was much tougher than the one shown.
The thing about the show is that it's on Spike -- a network that is targeted at the male demographic, especially like 16 to 30 years old. Expect hype. Lots of hype. Hype over factual accuracy or realism.
The show is entertainment and nothing else and it and the discussions about it should be taken that way. Entertainment doesn't mean that it isn't or that discussions that it promotes are less interesting in my opinion.

Brian King
Which is of course the main reason I put this section here, rather than under Rec. I'm looking for discussions on the combatants, weapons, techniques, etc, pointing out the shows flaws while at the same time doing a better job of comparing warriors from across the ages as it were.

Right now, we're kinda open in where we go. If it flops, I roll it in somewhere under rec. If it takes off, it might end up under the Study, or Weapons, etc.
I'm not educated enough to make specific observations about historical inaccuracies. But I think it's common sense to say that the one big thing the show fails to take into account is tactics. It does a reasonable job (I suppose) of pitting materials against one another. But the simulations don't cover how those materials are actually used.

Take the Shaka Zulu/William Wallace episode. Outside of the question of whether Shaka Zulu would have had that shield or a better shield, it's fair to say that a zulu shield isn't designed to take the brunt of a weapon's force and is used more to supplement a parrying motion. So when the claymore is shown hewing the zulu shield in half, it's impressive to watch, and earns the claymore the "advantage." But it doesn't actually prove much.

I'm also disappointed in the (likely staged) hazing by opposing parties in each episode. I've long thought that Anthony De Longis was a terrific authority on Western martial arts. But I was disappointed to see him reduced to teasing his Zulu expert opponents. Particularly when his point made so little sense. He was dismissing their spitting poison into the face of an opponent because the length of the claymore meant they'd be too far away to get him. As though a claymore was kept in front of you like a rapier. The windup on a claymore is huge, as is the backswing. It's not difficult to imagine how the spitting tactic would actually be used.

Then there's the weapon choices. Clearly, the weapons are chosen on two bases: 1) To showcase some unusual or interesting weapons and 2) to match up weapons that are roughly analogous. That said, in the yakuza versus mafia episode, they stack a Louisville slugger up against... nunchaku. The yakuza weapon of choice for close range: Nunchaku. Really? Not a knife? Or a wakazashi? Nunchaku? Please.

It's entertainment. And I'll cop to having sat there and (obviously) watched more than a few of these episodes. But as an actual educational tool, I think it's worse than useless.

It's entertaining!! Given me new 'names' to look into though!!
Me too!