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Comic Vine Battle of the Week Results: Gambit vs. Nightcrawler

BAMF or KABOOM? The Comic Vine staff and community chime in on a battle between two agile X-Men! Plus, see if you can guess what next week's battle will be!

Kurt Wagner, the blue teleporter, takes on Remy LeBeau, the explosive X-Man. The Comic Vine community had all week to debate and vote on this match between two nimble heroes, and the result... well, it isn't pretty for one of them. Apparently, the community thinks Nightcrawler doesn't just win -- he downright dominates this fight. The fuzzy elf took a massive 65% of the votes. Gambit earned 29% and 6% thought this fight between heroes was simply too close to call.

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"Too close to call" seems probable. A fair amount of arguments seemed to vastly underestimate Remy's abilities as a combatant or blatantly disregard Kurt being in charracter. With Gambit, we're talking about a guy who has shockingly impressive reflexes (the ability to block an entire clip fired by Forge and has even caught and thrown back an explosive round) and had no issue keeping pace with with Daredevil in a melee weapons battle across numerous rooftops. Additionally, GAMBIT & BISHOP: GENESIS revealed Remy has indeed studied his blue ally. When fighting a hallucination of Kurt, the Cajun ducked and was able to time his cards just right to create several small explosions right above him, hitting Nightcrawler right as he ported in. Now, this isn't saying Gambit automatically has the victory, but it is a potential outcome and there's no reason to believe he wouldn't attempt the tactic again. Additionally, he's a rather crafty and dirty fighter and this could certainly play to his advantage in a city setting. Even something like a trash bin could be transformed into a timed explosive.

Despite Gambit's reflexes, skill with a bo staff, and varied tactics with kinetic explosions, Wagner shouldn't be underestimated. The hero will absolutely not unleash a vicious blitz right away or tele-drop an ally under these circumstances, but he does indeed have what it takes to prove incredibly challenging thanks to his rapid teleportation abilities and own level of skill. Then there's his ability to port into the shadow covered alleyways (if needed, that is) and potentially use his prehensile tail in close range to quite literally trip Remy, throwing him off his game momentarily.

Nightcrawler has a fair amount of options at his disposal, but Gambit's consistently superb reflexes, agility, and numerous ways to utilize his power should absolutely not be overlooked, either. He's not going to simply stand there, spam explosives, and then be totally useless in close range. Both are quite agile and with Gambit's advantages (melee reflexes, knowing his opponents methods and cheap use of powers), this could prove to be a very interesting encounter. Both have the potential to turn the tide with one strong connect... it's just a matter of who lands the best hit first -- and that's most definitely up for debate. This is yet another case where a reasonable argument can indeed be made for either character.

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Viner Argument of the Week for Nightcrawler is by Power NeXus

STRENGTH

As I've been saying, I believe Nightcrawler has a small edge in physical strength. When he was created, superhuman strength was intended to be one of his powers. Despite the fact that it has been forgotten about in all official handbooks, it still shows in some of his feats. Its unfair to assume that Nightcrawler still has superhuman strength, but his feats of strength and durability are a level above Olympic-level athletes. This is not a HUGE advantage for Nightcrawler, but being able to hit harder and take more hits than your opponent is always an edge.

REACTION TIME

Ok fine. Maybe Gambit has slightly better reaction time than Nightcrawler. Maybe he doesn't. Both of them have excellent feats (for Nightcrawler's, see the scans of him casually dodging bullets without teleporting, or teleporting away from a bullet before it leaves the barrel) and the point could be debated all day, but its honestly too close to matter. No matter which one of them is superior, they are not superior by enough of a margin that it would make any impact on the outcome of the fight.

PREDICTABILITY

I can't even recall any specific times during which both Gambit and Nightcrawler were X-Men at the same time. It probably has happened at some point (I'm not an encyclopedia of the X-Men's history), but it would have to have been a very brief period at best. And I have already presented two reasons why Nightcrawler would probably not be overly predictable in a fight such as this. 1) Nobody has commented on his predictability in a long time. He's grown up, gotten more skilled, and gotten more experience since the last time one of his teammates said that. Were he still so predictable, his fights against Sage and Death/Wolverine (for which I've already shown scans) and Rogue and Colossus (for which I can provide scans in a later post) would not have gone nearly as well for him. 2) As evidenced in his fight against Sage (for which I have already provided scans), Nightcrawler shows that he's intelligent enough to alter his combat tactics when fighting someone who knows him. Its stated pretty much verbatum in that fight that he chose not to teleport at all simply because he knew Sage would be expecting him to do so. This is why Gambit's feat against the Nightcrawler robot is not really valid. The robot was meant to be like Nightcrawler, but had no actual mind of its own. Thats why it was predictable. Nightcrawler, as shown, thinks creatively against opponents who know how he usually thinks. I don't think there's a single X-Man who knows Kurt better than Wolverine does, but Kurt has already proven he's now capable of disarming/hurting Death Wolverine in two panels.

AGILITY

Not much to debate here. I think we can all agree they are on roughly the same level.

SKILL

I'll admit that Gambit is superior in this area. However, I do not think he is superior by a large margin. While Nightcrawler's teleportation was severly weakened while he was with Excalibur, he was forced to spend an extensive time making up for his loss of power by amping up his skill. That's when he added rapiers to his standard arsenal and began more serious training in hand-to-hand combat. While Gambit certainly has more impressive feats/fights involving raw h2h combat, Nightcrawler has proven himself very competant in that area as well.

UNCOMMON TACTICS

Nightcrawler can drop an enemy from two miles up in the air. Nightcrawler can dismember enemies via teleportation. Nightcrawler can teleport solid objects directly into an opponents' body. Nightcrawler can grab enemies who aren't used to teleporting and take them on a multi-port ride that leaves them nearly unconcious.

But he almost never does.

Gambit can make living matter explode. Gambit can make objects he's not physically touching explode (There's one thing I can't help but point out though. In that scan where he supposedly charged the plate with his eyes... he was holding the plate. :/ ). Gambit can increase the effectiveness of his staff by charging it up.

But he almost never does.

When debating for or against a character, you can't just take the feats you like the best and say he's definitely going to do it again in this situation. There's a difference between what Nightcrawler COULD do to beat Gambit, and what he PROBABLY WOULD do to beat him. The same applies to Gambit.

Due to the number of times they've performed these feats on panel, its not a good argument to say that Gambit explodes Nightcrawler's body or Nightcrawler teleport's Gambit's hands off. When trying to determine the probable outcome of a fight, one should not look at the improbable feats.

SCENARIO AS I SEE IT

Since they start 20 feet apart, in a street, visible to each other, I think its highly probable that the fight is going to start with Gambit spamming a few cards at Nightcrawler right off the bat. Using his explosives in such a basic manner will get Gambit nowhere. You can talk about Gambit's accuracy all day, but I still see multiple scans where Nightcrawler casually dodges bullets from close range without even having to teleport. Avoiding projectiles is like half of all Nightcrawler ever does... like ever. He does it all the stinking time. I'm not saying Gambit isn't going to hurt Kurt, but I am saying he's not going to do it with just a regular card throw.

Since Gambit is never going to hit Kurt from long range, and Kurt can't do anything at all from long range, I don't think its going to take more than a few seconds until Kurt teleports in close and the fight goes mano e mano.

Now, as we all know, they both have their own advantages in h2h combat. Gambit has a weapon and superior fighting skill. Nightcrawler has teleportation and superior strength/durability. Now, I'm still of the opinion that this fight is very close, but Nightcrawler's feats just make me think his advantages are slightly better than Gambit's. He took on Sage in hand-to-hand without even teleporting. He put Death Wolverine on his knees in two panels, disarming him and breaking his armor before he could even react. He's durable enough to tank a backhand from Sebastian Shaw, and strong enough to make Captain Britain and Spider-Man say ouch. He can teleport in the space between a gun being fired and the bullet leaving the barrel (I know I keep coming back to that one, but that really is an exemplary example of his reaction time).

I'm not saying this is a landslide by any means. Gambit's superior skill and his bo staff make the melee aspect very close. He also has a chance of winning if he manages to do something really creative and tricky with his cards other than just throwing them like he usually does. They both have a good chance of winning. However, I think if these guys fought 100 times, Nightcrawler might win 55 or 60 of those fights. It's still a very close fight that could go either way, but I give Nightcrawler a small majority.

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Corey Schroeder, Comic Vine writer

These two combatants are definitely light on their feet, but have pretty substantial glass jaws. They seem like the type to roll with the punches rather than take them head-on, so I think this would be over with one solid hit. But that hit won't exactly come easy as Remy starts off tossing his deck of 52 (pre-reboot!) cards at Kurt, but if there's one thing Mr. Wagner's good at, it's evasion. Unfortunately for him, he's also predictable and teleporting behind Gambit lands him on the business end of an adamantium staff hit. It's not a critical one, though, and Nightcrawler knows how to roll with it, teleporting while still having some momentum, appearing on Gambit's vulnerable side, slamming into the Ragin' Cajun. This isn't enough either, though, as it's a wild, unfocused hit, so while Gambit's recovering, Nightcrawler decides to get some distance, BAMFing his way across the battlefield. This plays right into Remy's hands as he sends out a swarm of cards, rocks and random debris to turn the battlefield into a blasted wasteland...which plays right into Kurt's hands as he's teleported behind him and gives him one good whack upside the head. Gambit goes down and Kurt just shakes his head with a sigh. "So angry. So chaotic."

Lastly, here's a tease for next week's battle. Could it be Galactus vs. Squirrel Girl? Or maybe it's Stilt-Man vs. Darkseid? Remember to check the homepage on Monday to see who they are!

Let the guessing games begin!
Let the guessing games begin!

Previous 'Comic Vine Battle of the Week' results

Want to suggest a battle? Feel free to comment below or send it to Gregg via Twitter.