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Week 4: Mat vs. Lan


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Poll: Week 4: Mat vs. Lan (187 member(s) have cast votes)

Who will win?

  1. Voted Mat (146 votes [78.07%])

    Percentage of vote: 78.07%

  2. Lan (41 votes [21.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.93%

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#21 Edgetho

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:13 AM


Well it doesnt say that anywhere exactly, but Mat was fast enough to keep up with the Gholam, which was said to make a Fade look slow, which are in turn described as being quite swift. To me Lan is stronger, but Mat is faster and with longer reach. Mat is also extremely good defensively; in the chapter where the six aiel fought him he knew he couldnt defeat them, so he just blocked their attacks and knocked their hands and defended himself. How many other people could survive against six aiel at once? Essentially, Lan could not get close enough in a one on one to be able to deal any major damage.

When did Mat fight six Aiel? You might be thinking of the men who attacked him in KoD, but a) those weren't Aiel, and b) Thom, Tuon, and Selucia helped. Lan also took out six men on his own in NS where he wasn't nearly as good as he is now.


It wasn't just six Aiel, it was a dozen, and he didn't so much fight them as he killed one and then held his own long enough to get help from the rest of the Band (which is nevertheless impressive). It happens about halfway through LoC, and they do seem to be trying to assassinate Mat specifically.

I agree with others here who say that the simultaneous smack-down of Gawyn And Galad isn't really a measure of prowess, given that neither of them were really blade-masters at that point, but let's not forget that neither was Mat a great warrior - up until TSR he's just a lucky farmer with a quarterstaff. Those memories of his seriously change the equation. The most attention is payed to the strategic and tactical abilities that come with them, but it's mentioned several times that he subconsciously controls his horse with his knees in accordance to the memories, and at least one mention is given to the fact that, while some of his skill with the ashendarei comes from his familiarity with the staff, the rest comes from his memories. That's important because it means that Mat's integration with what's in his head goes beyond just academic knowledge, it borders on muscle memory and reflex that would otherwise take years of training. Sure, he remembers a lot of generals, but these guys aren't just armchair strategists. Take Aemon of Manetheren. He was a general and a king, but also a warder. You can't tell me he didn't know how to dish out the hurt.

My point is, Lan might have been one of the greatest living warriors in Randland, but as of TSR, Mat very suddenly became hundreds of the greatest dead ones. And I do believe he tends to underestimate himself - after all, we're not entirely sure what Mat is capable of when he's pushed to his limit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but with the exception of getting blasted in Caemlyn, I don't think we've ever seen him beaten.

#22 Duskfire

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:16 AM


Well it doesnt say that anywhere exactly, but Mat was fast enough to keep up with the Gholam, which was said to make a Fade look slow, which are in turn described as being quite swift. To me Lan is stronger, but Mat is faster and with longer reach. Mat is also extremely good defensively; in the chapter where the six aiel fought him he knew he couldnt defeat them, so he just blocked their attacks and knocked their hands and defended himself. How many other people could survive against six aiel at once? Essentially, Lan could not get close enough in a one on one to be able to deal any major damage.

When did Mat fight six Aiel? You might be thinking of the men who attacked him in KoD, but a) those weren't Aiel, and b) Thom, Tuon, and Selucia helped. Lan also took out six men on his own in NS where he wasn't nearly as good as he is now.


LoC 22... shortly after the infamous Tinker wreckage scene. A few aiel were gatewayed in to kill Mat and he had to defend himself until his men could arrive on the scene. I am willing to bet that there isnt many people in the world who could defend themselves against six aiel.

Edit: Edgetho corrected me, it was a dozen. Which makes it even more impressive.

Edited by Duskfire, 06 February 2012 - 08:18 AM.


#23 Nightstrike

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:19 AM

There can't be that much of a difference between the best fighter and the 5:th (or whatever place he's on). Since he's also got extreme luck, I think Mat would probably win.

#24 sleepinghour

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:49 AM

LoC 22... shortly after the infamous Tinker wreckage scene. A few aiel were gatewayed in to kill Mat and he had to defend himself until his men could arrive on the scene. I am willing to bet that there isnt many people in the world who could defend themselves against six aiel.

Edit: Edgetho corrected me, it was a dozen. Which makes it even more impressive.

Again, this is all hyperbole. He killed one Aiel, blocked a few blows, and then the Band arrived:

Something—instinct, his luck, being ta’veren; Mat certainly did not hear anything over the racket—made him turn just as the first veiled shape appeared behind as if springing out of the air. No time to think. He blocked the thrust of a stabbing spear with the haft of his spear, but the Aiel caught his return slash on a buckler and kicked him in the belly. Desperation gave Mat strength to keep his legs straight with no air in his lungs; he twisted aside frantically from a spearhead that sliced his ribs, clipped the Aiel’s legs out from under him with his own spear haft, and stabbed him through the heart. Light, but he hoped it was a him.
He jerked the spear free just in time to face the onslaught. I should have run when I first had the bloody chance! He worked the thing like a quarterstaff as fast as he ever had in his life, spinning, blocking away lancing Aiel spearpoints, no time to strike back. Too many. I should have kept my bloody mouth shut and run! He found breath again. “Rally, you pigeon-gutted sheep-stealers! Are you all deaf? Clean out your ears and rally!”
Wondering why he was not dead yet—he had been lucky with one Aiel, but nobody had enough luck to face this—he suddenly realized he was no longer alone. A skinny Cairhienin in his smallclothes fell nearly under his feet with a shrill yell, only to be replaced by a Tairen with his shirt flapping and sword swinging. More crowded in, shouting everything from “Lord Matrim and victory!” to “The Red Hand!” to “Kill the black-eyed vermin!”
[...]
In the end, it was a sheer matter of numbers. A dozen Aiel and, if not the whole Band, several hundred who managed to reach the hilltop before it was done. Twelve Aiel dead and, because they were Aiel, half again as many of the Band, with twice that or more bleeding if still alive to groan while they were tended. Even with his brief exposure, Mat stung and bled at half a dozen places, at least three of which he suspected would need stitching.



#25 g o i

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:59 AM

lan is the best fighter but mat has insane luck I mean he could kill lan with just his luck
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#26 Frost Wynters

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:30 AM


Mat is the best fighter in the series. He fought Galad and Gawyn at the same time. He fought against Couladin and won. He defended himself against a surprise attack by six shaido aiel. According to Thom he has the fastest hands he has ever seen. He is faster then lan and has longer reach. Not to mention the luck.

Mat beat Galad and Gawyn when they were still learning the sword. He wouldn't be able to do that now. And where does it say that he is faster than Lan?



i think common sense tells us matt(who is in the prime of youth) has faster hands than some old man(yea, i'm not really a fan of lan, especially after how he made it to this round). and you forget matt's been learning more as well, i'd bet he could beat gawyn and galad again.

#27 Ledinna Sedai

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:57 AM

With his luck and the help of the old memories, Mat's going to win this one too.
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#28 Finnssss

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:00 AM


They both, Galad and Gawyn, could beat Hammar at the time Mat fought them,who was regarded the best warder in the Tower,Mat was just 1 or 2 days from being heald and very week.He did'nt attack to kill them,he attacked/defended to keep from getting killed.Hammar, after the fight told them that he saw a farmer defeat a warder with a staff, who he considerd the best ever. Mat being as fast if not faster than the Gholam comes from when he was with the girls looking for the Bowl of the Winds. The Gholam had killed 2 redarms before everyone else realised it had even moved from where they were watching it. I believe Mat,with skill or luck, has an ability to sort of foresee a fight/battle develope around him and can move in anticipation of events.probably lingering effects from the daggar and his subsequent healing.

Again, more hyperbole. Hammar was not the best Warder in the Tower, he was just in charge of training the younglings. I don't see any mentions of Galad and Gawyn winning against Hammar in TDR. Gawyn killed him in TSR, but we don't know the circumstances of that fight--since it was in the middle of a battle, Hammar could have been injured already. That the best Blademaster ever was defeated by a farmer with a staff says absolutely nothing about Mat's skill (unless he's Jearom reborn), it only confirms that a staff can be an effective weapon against someone armed with a sword.

Mat is easily one of my favorite characters, and certainly one of the best fighters in the series, but not THE best. And he doesn't need to be the best fighter either; he's the best general in the entire series and that's more than good enough.



Hammar was a Blademaster period.

You also have to remember at the time, Mat only had his Da's training and Aemon's memories. He was also very weak and could barely stand unaided to boot.
After he got the rest of his memories from the Finns, he also inherited the knowledge and skill to use the Ashandarei.

WH chptr 28

all the skill that had somehow come with those other men's memories


Either way, Mat's knowledge and skill in both Generaling and fighting surpasses that of which one man could know or learn. That includes the remaining Great Captains for Generaling and that includes Lan, Galad and Gawyn for fighting.

Edited by Finnssss, 06 February 2012 - 11:02 AM.

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#29 Suttree

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

Again, more hyperbole. Hammar was not the best Warder in the Tower, he was just in charge of training the younglings. I don't see any mentions of Galad and Gawyn winning against Hammar in TDR. Gawyn killed him in TSR, but we don't know the circumstances of that fight--since it was in the middle of a battle, Hammar could have been injured already. That the best Blademaster ever was defeated by a farmer with a staff says absolutely nothing about Mat's skill (unless he's Jearom reborn), it only confirms that a staff can be an effective weapon against someone armed with a sword.

Mat is easily one of my favorite characters, and certainly one of the best fighters in the series, but not THE best. And he doesn't need to be the best fighter either; he's the best general in the entire series and that's more than good enough.


It is said that Galad beat Hammar 3/5 and Gawyn 2/5 when they would spar.

As for Mat his luck, memories and weapon when matched against a sword is the difference.
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#30 Verbal32

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:49 PM

Mat wins, I just want to see the Lucker's writeup. The only other fight that would be in the same neighborhood entertainment-wise would be Galad vs Gawyn.


Luckers isn't writing this one. ;-)

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#31 Tom Sawyer

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:24 PM

Mat: "Sorry Lan, you're a good guy, but you can't beat luck"
Lan: "You can if you're super-badassed enough"
Mat: <Looks at sword sticking through his chest> "Oh ya ... I guess you're right"

#32 New Ashaman

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:26 PM

Lan would win... If Mat wasn't a Ta'vren

#33 mark

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:39 PM

Lan would win... If Mat wasn't a Ta'vren


or luck, or had thousands of memories of his past warrior lives....

as for experience, when mat was in the white tower, he knocked out galad and gawyn, without taking even a tap... while he was barely able to stand... now they wernt fully trained, but, neither was mat... mat comes out of rhuidian already fighting with the ashendari, like he was born with it in his hands... he got ALOT stronger, physically and mentally since that fight with galad and gawyn...

lan's chances are slim... add in mat's luck... lans chances are non-existant...

to my mind, the three boys, are the three pinnacles of the three realms of combat... rand the best channeler, mat the best warrior, perrin the best TAR controller(or soon to be... he didnt kill slayer, but he did beat him)... having the three in this contest is quite unbalanced...

Edited by mark, 06 February 2012 - 02:42 PM.

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#34 Torn Shadow

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:18 PM

Mat: "Sorry Lan, you're a good guy, but you can't beat luck"
Lan: "You can if you're super-badassed enough"
Mat: <Looks at sword sticking through his chest> "Oh ya ... I guess you're right"

Mat: You did notice the sword broke and that was only the hilt touching me...
Lan: Crap.

#35 Entreri

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:43 PM

Lan would win without Mat being necessary to the Pattern. Otherwise Lan will trip over something or get hit by a bird or what not in combat against Mat.

Lan skills >> Mat's.

Perrin (book 4): Lan = Rhuarc. Aiel are the best fighters, and best Aiel fighter is implied to be Rhuarc.

Avienhda (book 8): Lan = "Lion" = "most dangerous" man Avienhda had ever seen.


Only two beings Mat was terrified of facing in combat: the Gholam and Lan. Mat PoV stated Nyaneve was going to get him killed (by Lan).


Lan is the best warrior, this is readily apparent in the series. I think somebody can ask the author to confirm this.

Mat is the best general, called a "lion" by his wife, when he was preparing an ambush for the Seanchan.

Luc called a "lion" of TAR by wolves.



Lion = baddest man/woman or thing in a particular field.

#36 mark

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:10 PM

best swordfighter, yes, lan... best warrior tho, i highly doubt... lan's skills all come from his training in this life... whereas mat's skills come from this life, and the collective skills from the past 1000ish years(or more)...

and lets not forget... most people in the books do not know about mats memories... rand and tuon are the only two i can think of...

lans skill with his sword << mats skill with his ashenderai

lans just more likely to want to attack... mat's more of a defensive character... protecting others...

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#37 Ryrin

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:31 PM


Well it doesnt say that anywhere exactly, but Mat was fast enough to keep up with the Gholam, which was said to make a Fade look slow, which are in turn described as being quite swift. To me Lan is stronger, but Mat is faster and with longer reach. Mat is also extremely good defensively; in the chapter where the six aiel fought him he knew he couldnt defeat them, so he just blocked their attacks and knocked their hands and defended himself. How many other people could survive against six aiel at once? Essentially, Lan could not get close enough in a one on one to be able to deal any major damage.

When did Mat fight six Aiel? You might be thinking of the men who attacked him in KoD, but a) those weren't Aiel, and b) Thom, Tuon, and Selucia helped. Lan also took out six men on his own in NS where he wasn't nearly as good as he is now.



Lan wins. I can't believe anyone would think that Mat would win against Lan. Lan has spent years fighting in the blight, is a trained warrior and had a sword put in his hands at birth.

Matt spent his young years stealing pies.

Edited by Ryrin, 06 February 2012 - 05:31 PM.

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#38 Torn Shadow

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:35 PM



Well it doesnt say that anywhere exactly, but Mat was fast enough to keep up with the Gholam, which was said to make a Fade look slow, which are in turn described as being quite swift. To me Lan is stronger, but Mat is faster and with longer reach. Mat is also extremely good defensively; in the chapter where the six aiel fought him he knew he couldnt defeat them, so he just blocked their attacks and knocked their hands and defended himself. How many other people could survive against six aiel at once? Essentially, Lan could not get close enough in a one on one to be able to deal any major damage.

When did Mat fight six Aiel? You might be thinking of the men who attacked him in KoD, but a) those weren't Aiel, and b) Thom, Tuon, and Selucia helped. Lan also took out six men on his own in NS where he wasn't nearly as good as he is now.



Lan wins. I can't believe anyone would think that Mat would win against Lan. Lan has spent years fighting in the blight, is a trained warrior and had a sword put in his hands at birth.

Matt spent his young years stealing pies.



And has the memories, including muscle memories, of dozens upon dozens of histories greatest generals and warriors. See, while Lan has has a lifetime of experience, Mat has had several, and is using a weapon that gives him an edge in the fight.

Edited by Torn Shadow, 06 February 2012 - 05:36 PM.


#39 Duskfire

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:01 PM



Well it doesnt say that anywhere exactly, but Mat was fast enough to keep up with the Gholam, which was said to make a Fade look slow, which are in turn described as being quite swift. To me Lan is stronger, but Mat is faster and with longer reach. Mat is also extremely good defensively; in the chapter where the six aiel fought him he knew he couldnt defeat them, so he just blocked their attacks and knocked their hands and defended himself. How many other people could survive against six aiel at once? Essentially, Lan could not get close enough in a one on one to be able to deal any major damage.

When did Mat fight six Aiel? You might be thinking of the men who attacked him in KoD, but a) those weren't Aiel, and b) Thom, Tuon, and Selucia helped. Lan also took out six men on his own in NS where he wasn't nearly as good as he is now.



Lan wins. I can't believe anyone would think that Mat would win against Lan. Lan has spent years fighting in the blight, is a trained warrior and had a sword put in his hands at birth.

Matt spent his young years stealing pies.


Mat has memories of hundreds of generals and warriors, Lan has his own. Hebecame instantly skilful at using the ashanderai purely because of those memories. They are instinctively his own. I just think that anything Lan was able to use against him, Mat would have encountered before in those memories. That, and his weapon is a massive advantage against swordsman.

#40 Jon Paul

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:12 PM

I honestly think Lan is the superior warrior. But Mat has the luck. He'd win for that reason alone.
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We danced among the lightning bolts,
And tore the world asunder.