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'Game Theory: Who Would Win -- Samurai, Knight, or Viking? (For Honor)' is Hilariously Wrong

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So, Game Theory put out a video talking about For Honor:

I don't know what was wrong with him this episode but it seemed he was going out of his way to be absolutely wrong about almost everything he said in it.  He seemed to have not done any research into the topic and was just going with baseless assumptions and stupid pop-culture misconceptions.

Response Videos
Shadiversity (for the Knight):


Metatron (for the Samurai[mostly]):


SnapJelly (for the Viking[mostly]):



What do ya'll think?  A case of extreme laziness and unwillingness to do research, or malicious intention to spread deliberate misinformation on Game Theory's part?

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I think Game Theory's been more interested in laughs and getting views than anything else for a long time.


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My theory is that he made the samurai win because it's the twist, non-obvious answer, and his show is about outside the box interpretations. He then gathered some facts and emphasized the samurai's strengths and exaggerated the other's weaknesses.

The viking's armor was not so great? It was basically tissue paper! Chain mail was a tiny little bit vulnerable to arrows? Bows do like, double damage vs mail! And samurai were all super archers! Look, their archery discipline even has its own name, that's how good it was!

So I do believe he put effort into this and did his research, but its purpose wasn't to determine who would be the winner, but to get material to make an interesting and funny video. Start with the conclusion, cherry pick the facts that make for a good joke or support the idea. I really don't think it's malicious.

Maybe if he had consultants he could've made it more accurate, as in perhaps there are more historically believable ways in which a samurai could've won against a knight. But he's just one guy with google search and a deadline, so I give him a pass.

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Where are you getting the idea that mail is vulnerable to arrows?  Even without factoring in gambeson.

Also, how could deliberately skewing the results not be considered malicious?

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Well if you get a bad quality mail and fire an arrow with a very narrow head with a powerful bow at a close range you might do some damage, maybe. Like I said he's trying to make the samurai win, and a katana won't do anything to a chain mail.

Malicious means he was trying to cause some kind of harm of had some bad intentions and I don't see how that applies here.

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Wait, Game Theory is something else than an entertainment show?

Seriously, this is like watching an episode of Survivor and complaining that it doesn't realistically portray what it would be like to be stranded on an island.
I'd understand if Game Theory was presented like a serious endeavour to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of specific warrior archetypes, but it wasn't, and never was. Sure, some people may see it as just that, but that's really more indicative of them and the age of 'pop', where taking things seriously and without 'memez'-grade humour is out of fashion, we live in.

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Game Theory is the Ancient Aliens of videogames.

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Guys, I have a theory.

He made the samurai win as a way of promoting the final season of Samurai Jack, coming to Cartoon Network next month. At the end of the video he even sticks his own head on what is clearly Jack's body! I bet if we dig through Time Warner's quarterly expense report we'll find something about youtube partnerships.

Seriously though, hoype for Samurai Jack.

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Luslanz wrote:Well if you get a bad quality mail and fire an arrow with a very narrow head with a powerful bow at a close range you might do some damage, maybe. Like I said he's trying to make the samurai win, and a katana won't do anything to a chain mail.

Malicious means he was trying to cause some kind of harm of had some bad intentions and I don't see how that applies here.

pretty sure I seen some tests on rivited mail with various swords able to still break the links but not enough to actualy get past the cloth under the mail it would take repeated hits in the same area something unlikely in actual combat.

as for game theory and such I do agree the vikings would have the lowest chance however the whole samurai and knights thing, I don't know kite shields(that shad brings up) is very much a big deal. I kind of find this pointless as if this was to actually happen wouldn't say samurai adapt and start using shields wouldn't vikings forge themselves more chain or plate mail? on that I guess you can say Knights win as they need to adapt less then the other factions...

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Luslanz wrote:Malicious means he was trying to cause some kind of harm of had some bad intentions and I don't see how that applies here.
You're right.  I don't think he meant any harm; he just put out some faulty info.

ZeroCool wrote:pretty sure I seen some tests on rivited mail with various swords able to still break the links but not enough to actualy get past the cloth under the mail it would take repeated hits in the same area something unlikely in actual combat.
Do you have a link to that, or those, tests?  I'd be interested in seeing them.  It could even corroborate historical accounts of surviving knights in the Battle of Dorylaeum having the appearance of walking pin cushions.

as for game theory and such I do agree the vikings would have the lowest chance however the whole samurai and knights thing, I don't know kite shields(that shad brings up) is very much a big deal. I kind of find this pointless as if this was to actually happen wouldn't say samurai adapt and start using shields wouldn't vikings forge themselves more chain or plate mail? on that I guess you can say Knights win as they need to adapt less then the other factions...
Well, thing is by the 11th century there was very little to distinguish the Danes from continental warriors.  They would have acquired the same quality gear by raiding, trading, or using the same type of forging; especially padded and mail coifs and a helmet.

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Skallagrim (For the Viking):

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my mistake it was ringed(not nearly as strong) mail not riveted ThegnThrand now has riveted and I'm sure they will test it in the future.

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Samurai would win hands down. Their weapons were far superior to a viking or a knight. Also don't underestimate the power of a silk vs. cotton/flax/wool shirt underneath armor. The Samurai had a much broader range that they were around as well so they had time to perfect their weapons while technology overcame westerners with the invention of the rifle and changing tactics that it caused.

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Why do we assume that they would fight anyway? I say they'd be very confused for being put in this situation, become best buds, then they'd go to the pub, at which point the scandinavian guy would clearly outdrink the other two and win.

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I doubt Viking could outdrink knight. Warmer climes mean sweeter fruits means more alcohol content, so a knight would be used to drinks with much more alcohol content (if he's, say, French or Spanish).

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Metatron and Skallagrim are two really good channels if you're even vaguely interested in historical combat and arms. Another really, really good one is scholagladiatoria. Oh, and check out Antony Cummins if you're interested in the historical ninja and samurai. He's an author and a real authority on the subject but also really entertaining in his videos.

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spookctr wrote:Samurai would win hands down. Their weapons were far superior to a viking or a knight.  Also don't underestimate the power of a silk vs. cotton/flax/wool shirt underneath armor. The Samurai had a much broader range that they were around as well so they had time to perfect their weapons while technology overcame westerners with the invention of the rifle and changing tactics that it caused.
Are you joking or are you being serious with this wunder-waffen Nippon-kun nonsense?

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Yeah, the superiority of feudal Japanese weapons, especially when it comes to the Katana, is nothing but a myth. I've seen quite a few videos in which knowledgable people compare the Katana to the European Longsword of the same era (obviously there isn't just one type of Katana or Longsword, but you get the point). They both have advantages and disadvantages. I'm gonna butcher this, but here's what I remember:

The Katana lends itself a bit better to cutting due to its slight curveture, but the Longsword is more effective at stabbing because its straight edge transitions your applied force better. That being said, it's not like you can't stab effectively with a Katana or cut effectively with a Longsword. Plus, there are weapons that do each better. Spears for stabbing, or scimitars for cutting. The fact that the Longsword has a double-edged blade allows for maneuvers that aren't possible with the Katana. The Katana's blade is less flexible however, which means that it can cut or strike with particular force, and it hardly ever bends, which is good shert-term, but bad long-term. Less bending means more dents and a higher likelihood of eventually breaking with wear.



Last edited by ZGoten on Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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you got em all but its more of um the Katana is better at slicing the Longsword is better at chopping, however the Katana is not even a proper comparison to the Longsword a No-Dachi(or Tachi) is a more proper comparison and I have seen no tests at all with that sword. As far as bending... the Katana is a little tougher to bend due to the thick spine but it is not made with spring steel so when it bends it tends to stay bent, however it will never snap so in theory could always be repaired later. The Longsword on the other hand uses spring steel so when ever it bends it springs back straight however to much bend in a Longsword will result in it breaking into two(or more) peices, but these don't really matter as you are very unlikely to end up with a Katana so bent out of shape its unuseable or a Longsword broken from any normal fight.

**edit forgot to mention the edge on the Katana is a harder steel this makes it retain its edge better this is not really an advantage of any kind in my opinion, yes perhaps less sharping of the blade but during a fight this really wouldn't matter.

****edit ugh I keep remembering more stuff about this....
The Crossguard on western swords can be an advantage over their Japanese counterparts, but like other points I don't see a super massive advantage here in the end the victor would be whomever is better at fighting not due to the equipment(not counting shields) because the advantages and disadvantages are slim.

And while I am editing this I might as well say Katana > Longsword based off looks Razz

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well skall did some tests on riveted mail

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Thanks ZeroCool. Riveted mail did as well as I expected, and certainly goes to show that armor works.

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Looks at title, and some responses, along with the videos.. and sighs, for a very, very long time.

Firstly, For Honor is entirely fictional, with influences from real world events, equipment and warfare, but absolutely and positively fantastical in nature. It is placed in such a setting that despite wearing next to no armor, the Viking Berserkers and Raiders are able to soak as much direct damage as the Knight's Wardens outfitted in a combination of no less than full chain with steel plate and enclosed steel helms.

Secondly, I don't believe anyone can reasonably provide a singular, definitive answer to satisfy each and every single possible battle encounter the real world inspirations from either faction would likely result in. That said, whereas people love to fellate the near-mysticism of "ancient Japanese warfare," their methods of battle GREATLY diverged from the evolution of Eastern European warfare, and its requirements, and if we're assuming combat between the pinnacle warriors from each faction, a great deal of Japanese warfare implements were not fit for purpose in combating steel plate, for one, and not to mention were not created and evolved with the idea of defeating a millennia of evolution put into shields of the period.

Are there Japanese weapons capable of defeating those armor systems and shields? Absolutely, in fact it is possible, if unlikely, for even the simple katana type weapons to penetrate through a small amount of protective layers (though the power and precision necessary for such a strike would likely require a running start, or perhaps a stationary target, and then the weapon would likely need to be discarded in a frantic melee with it now firmly lodged in place), and to find and cut into vulnerable joints should the wielder survive long enough to engage in such short range. Further, the yari spear points, primarily thrusting, piercing weapons, may find further purchase, again with enough raw power behind a strike, and some iterations of these weapons even had metal collars and other split prongs that could be utilized to hook, trap and pull limbs, weapons and shields for a less protected attack.

This is, however, compounded further by the applicable experience of both participants: as such defense systems became perfected in European history, its practitioners of war had to adapt and contend with them, and so utilized methods revolving around such a goal. Depending on the era, and their equipment, not only would a fully tooled up man at arms be very difficult to even effectually damage, but he would deliberately seek vulnerabilities in which to place his blade / cross-guard / half-sworded point / blunt impact. I would assume the edge here would be found with such a combatant, whereas a samurai would need to very quickly adapt to such an alien and outlandish opponent before he was overtaken.

I'm also finding it quite amusing how so many people seem to think a full set of armor (from the appropriate time period, mind you) would just about nullify the wearer's mobility.. check out some of the mocap work they did in For Honor, with legitimate, to-scale historical systems.

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The Hilariously Wrong portion of the title pertains to MatPat's 'historical analysis' of 11th Century warriors, not the conclusion. It's the misinformation he 'provides' that I have a problem with. I mean the whole Viking part of his video was a complete joke seeing as he filled it with nothing but memetic BS that has NO historical basis.

The Knight also had a bit of memetic material in it but the biggest offender there was MatPat insisting on using a crappy modern recreation of crappy butted maille instead of the riveted maille that would have actually been used in combat.

If he had gone with looking at the way the warriors function in the game and coming to conclusions with that I don't think anyone would've had a problem with it. But nope, he states he's judging based off of history and proceeds to get the history wrong.

As for the answer, well, it means nothing because the question itself is absolutely worthless. There are too many variables on the Knight and Viking side in terms of armor and weapons (let alone quality of training or experience) and a few on the Samurai side to come to any meaningful conclusion. At least MatPat was on the right track at the beginning when he nailed down one variable (era).

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