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#1 Edited by foxerdes (10257 posts) - - Show Bio

Challenge a Viner

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Story Time

“ .. The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters .. "

Genghis Khan

Hoofbeat of thousand horses could be heard miles away from the marching army of Kublai Khan. Raiders, infantry, siege engines, all of them accompanied by thundering sound of war drums. Conquest that started on the mongolian grasslands, ended up in strange land called Westeros. Led by their fierce leader, they marched forth, toward a stronghold raised on a rocky promontory. Finally impregnable fortress apepared before Kublai's eyes and he knew exactly what to do. All the knowledge and engines of death, developed by the keen minds or simply stolen from chinese dynasties, they would crack those walls open and leave the city for him to plunder. Westerossi were surrounded and outnumbered, but the Casterly Rock proved to be truly unconquerable, flag with golden lion still hanged on the walls even after weeks of siege. With each day Khan's impatience would grow, each hour became a spit to the faces of his ancestors. Untill finally a messanger kneeled before him -"Great Khan of Khans, a .. man is standing on the field. He demands to settle this conflict under the eternal blue sky, to end this bloodshed and decide our fate with a duel."- he said. What trickery is that? What trap? Something was off, and yet after such long time of watching lions of Westeros bloat in their castle, Kublai was ready to crush any opposition even if it means proving Mongols' superiority in a single combat. If they win, the castle would be their, and if they were to lose .. history is written by victors and one broken promise is easily lost in it.

That's how Khan's most trusted keshik, Marco Polo, faced famous Bronn of the Blackwater, in a duel that could change the history of Westeros.

Ser Bronn of the Blackwater

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Marco Polo

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Rules

  • Takes place on an open field.
  • Standard gear.
  • TV show feats.
  • In-character.
  • Wins by kill/K.O/Incapacitation

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#2 Posted by foxerdes (10257 posts) - - Show Bio
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#3 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxerdes: Couldn't have done it better myself ;)

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#4 Posted by DarthFallax (1638 posts) - - Show Bio

This is great. T4V.

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#5 Posted by OptimusPalm (2383 posts) - - Show Bio

Looking forward to reading this

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#6 Edited by foxerdes (10257 posts) - - Show Bio

Marco Polo

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".. And what do you wish for sifu? What is your desire that makes palatable a child's murder .."

Swordsmanship

".. I'm not afraid o die, but I'm terrified to do so while branded as traitor .."

Marco Polo. Explorer and Keshik of Kublai Khan. Trained by famous Hundred Eyes to be a deadly fencer and expert hand to hand fighter. And yet despite his great showings, latin very often gets overlooked simply because his feats aren't that much exposed as let's say Jingim's or Sidao's. Nonetheless, through two seasons of the show he had quite few opportunities to prove himself worthy of his titles.

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As a result of his harsh training and enormous talent, Marco quickly progressed from trainee to an efficient killer. Man that had much less time to hone hi skill, could slaughter infantry and, while massively pre prime, hold his own against Hashshashins. Those masked killer were perfectly trained and described by Hundred Eyes as uncommon warriors. Polo yet again showed his proficiency during the attack on Xianyang city:

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Marco didn't just take down three soldiers with ease, he bested two of them simultaneously. They might have been armed with something that resembles handgonnes, nonetheless Marco foiled any attempt of attack by redirecting incoming blows and murdering his foes in rapid succession. Axe, sword or long piece of metal, they never had a chance to even use them. Polo displayed that he can adapt to different speed and angles of incoming attacks and redirect kinetic energy of a strike with ease, despite having to split attention between two foes.

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As the assault continued, Marco quickly took down another three soldiers, treating trained infantry as if they were holding their weapons for the first time. Song's dynasty soldiers were well trained and tested in their athletic abilities and skill with weapons. According to historical research; military strategy and military training were treated as science that could be studied and perfected. He performed just as good against european infantry:

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Marco fodderzied four men while exhausted and surrounded. Not only he penetrated defenses of two mongolian warriors with unarmed strikes, but also took down crusade infantry with equal ease.

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The thing about Marco is that he has decent fodder feats, but he never gets the chance to show his limits because of limited amount of foes coming at him or different circumstances. Luckily skill is also measured by fights against named foes, such as Prince Jingim himself.

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This sparring match is arguably his greatest showing in season 1. In S02E01 Hundred Eyes mentions that he started teaching Jingim when prince was more or less twelve years old. No wonder that during his meeting with Polo, Jingim is a fully trained fighter. Nevertheless, due to his vast potential and harsh training, Marco rapidly improved. From a boy that was scared of Jingim, to a man that stalemated him in a sparring match.

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Jingim himself is one of the most impressive fighters in the series, seeing how he could slaughter over nine man with absolute ease:

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Marco is in his league skill-wise, he simply doesn't often get the chance to show it. By the end of season 2 Marco is a keshik of Kubali Khan, men trained by one of the most skilled fighters in the world, tested in battles and duels.

Wudang Fist

".. Practice. Preparation. Endless repetition. Until your mind is weary, and your bones ache. Until you're too tired to sweat. Too wasted to breathe .."

Marco tends to utilize unarmed techniques in armed combat, something that can be incredibly effective yet is also criminally underrated by many. He was traine by Hundred Eyes and after many brutal lessons, he became an adept fighter himself, being able to hold his own against the likes of Lotus ..

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... or even Hundred Eyes himself. Do not get me wrong, both of them are capable of putting him down without issues, but he puts up a very decent show.

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The blind monk is a superb combatant, capable of taking five of his students simultanesuly without breaking a sweat. Lotus gave this man hell of a fight.

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Marco showcased that he is very much willing to incorporate kicks, elbow strikes and other unarmed techniques into fencing, creating an entire palette of new movements his opponent truly must watch out for. It only becomes more valuable when you realize how unfamiliar his foe is with chinese martial arts. Marco is not only willing to implement unarmed strikes if the opportunity arises, but is also league beyond anything Bronn has ever faced when it comes to hand to hand combat. Fight is often win or lost because your opponent does something unexpected, something beyond the usual pattern. While Ragnar is ready for sword strikes and perhaps more common hand to hand techniques, Latin brings to the table formidable and deadly techniques of Wudang Fist and intense training from one of the most skilled fighters in live-action. When used properly, unarmed techniques can turn the duel in Marco's favour due to his opponent losing the footing and/or tempo.

Unarmed attacks

".. In combat spontaneity rules, rote performance of techniques rules perishes .."

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Kicking is not meant to end the fight simply because sword is still the primary weapon. Using your leg is supposed to throw an opponent off-balance instead. Simple as that. A well placed kick makes a foe much more vulnerable to your own offense, causing him to lose tempo and ground. It is sporadically used in real life martial arts or HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) mainly because a lot of such attacks aim at joints and can lead to a serious injury. An example of such maneuver can be observed on the image above - when the swords are high, a well placed kick can leave your foe wide open or even limping. The latter is an equivalent of defeat due to importance of footwork in a swordsmanship.

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Grabbing and Wrestling could be seen in a duel, Bronn even performed such technique. Catching weapon or wielding arm can be equally effective as various throws and wrestling moves. When the blades clash and fighters get closer, an opportunity arises. Such maneuver creates an opening that can result in death of your opponent. Throws, trapping weapon, locking arms, each one of those has the potential to end a fight.

Polo was seen using similar moves against both chinese soldiers and foot infantry of the crusade, it is hardly a surprise if we take into account his skill in Wudang fist. One only need to take a look at the way two users defend themselves and intercept each other hits by blocking wrist/forearm and controlling kinetic energy of incoming blow. A fight can be often win by unpredictability and having wider variety of potential attacks, leaving your foe guessing what comes next ..

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Last but not leasy you have simple unarmed strikes like elbow or fist strikes. So why exactly would anyone use unarmed techniques in armed combat? .It opens an entire new realm of possibilities that your foe has to predict and intercept. It is very confusing and greatly increases chances of catching someone off-guard. Marco is an amazing swordsman and expert hand to hand fighter with his own long list of exotic techniques to utilize.

Polo is on outright fictional skill level of unarmed combat. Holding his own against people who make top real life martial artist looks like beginners. He constantly utilizes different hand to hand techniques and the same thing can be said about Jingim or Hundred Eyes.

Speed

".. By the blood of Genghis and under the eternal blue .. I conscript you into order of mongol knights ..."

Marco, is a swift and gracious fighter. Even when he was massively before his prime, he could disarm a men holding sword to his throat. Surprise is important nonetheless it's an entire arm movement while the blade is inches from soft neck.

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In another instance we could see a Hashshashin trying to assassinate both Khan and Polo. Young latin grabs chess board and blocks the lethal weapon flying toward him. Marco was surprised, busy playing chess with his master. The fact that he his attacker had surprise advantage only makes the feat more impressive.

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His showings like besting two men simultaneusly or slaughtering soldiers one after another, quite nicely portray him as quick and dynamic fighter as well.

Initial Point

Both fighters are trained and efficient weapon users. The main difference is their usage of unarmed techniques. While Bronn was seen using them in a fight, he is nowhere near Marco's level of skill in that area. Even if he can hold his own in a sword fight, he is going to be constantly put at risk of being surprised by unpredictable moves of Wudang Fist. This fighting style is hard to recognize due to oriental origin of Wudang fist and latin's skill doesn't make it any easier for Bronn to properly react. Ser Bronn has his own small tricks like dirty fighting, but Marco brings to the table an entirely new set of possibilities along with mastery over the blade.

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#7 Posted by foxerdes (10257 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_red_viper More or less ready but I am still editing. One day and it's good to go.

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#8 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio
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#9 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio
"Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes, I'll impregnate the bitch."

Round 1 - introduction:

Well, I tend to start my opening posts in debates with a little theme song for my character. But, as I have discovered the last time I had a debate using Ser Bronn, he's a damn tough character to find a theme song for. The reason for this is simple: he's more or less a nobody. He's been around "Game of Thrones" since way back in season one, and with the eighth and final season coming up in a bit less than a year from now, we still know nothing of his past. And honestly, his past probably isn't that special or interesting anyway. For all we know, he's just a simple (albeit deadly) sellsword who happened to be in the right place at the right time and found himself thrown into the midst of the game played by the lords and ladies of Westeros - the deadly, vicious game of thrones.

Bronn started out his journey in the show as a hired escort to Lady Catelyn Stark, who took Lord Tyrion Lannister - who was her prisoner at the time - to face judgement for his alleged crimes at the Eyrie. Bronn, who sensed the opportunity to earn some good Lannister gold, ended up championing for Tyrion in his trial by combat - which he won of course. This was but the first step that Bronn took from being a nameless sellsword to becoming one of the prominent officers in the army of House Lannister and earning knighthood and the title of "Ser".

Needless to say, Ser Bronn here is no fool. He's clever, and he knows how to seize opportunities when he sees them. His skill at arms is one of the best in Westeros, and with a mind that's as sharp as his sword - he is the one opponent that nobody would want to face on the battlefield.

So, let's see what we have here, and what young Master Polo will have to face.

Gear:

Not much to say on Bronn's gear here, it's pretty basic.

He wears minimal armor, made mostly of hardened leather, that allows him greater maneuverability, but still offers some measure of protection from cuts and blunt hits:

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He carries a longsword which he can use with either one hand or with both hands:

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And finally, he carries a Kukri (large curved knife) behind his back which he can effectively use for both melee fighting or for throwing:

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Skill:

Bronn didn't receive any fancy training at the hands of a master like Marco did. His skill is all a product of his own natural ability and long, hard experience. He made his first kill before he was 12 years old. We know he's been north of the Wall at some point in his life, and during the events of the series alone he's fought in several vicious battles, such as the Battle of the Green Fork, the Battle of the Blackwater and the Field of Fire, among others - and lived to tell the tale. Sooner or later, anyone can become a formidable fighter when they have someone like Hundred Eyes tutoring them on a daily basis. But to achieve what Bronn had achieved, without any formal training - now that shows true, natural ability. Let's go ahead and look at some examples.

First, let's look back at the time Bronn and Jaime Lannister fought the Sand Snakes - Obara (spear), Nymeria (whip) and Tyene (knives). The Sand Snakes are highly experienced warriors, daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell - the Red Viper of Dorne. In this fight, while Jaime was dueling Obara, Bronn fought both Nymeria and Tyene. As you can see, since you made a big point on unarmed tactics in a swordfight, in 1:05 Bronn kicks Tyene so hard she falls of her back and in 1:15 he punches her in the face.

Anyway, as you can see, Bronn fights equally with both Nymeria and Tyene, until Nymeria tries to grab Princess Myrcella and run off and the fight is interrupted by Areo Hotah and the Dornish guardsmen. Bronn gets tagged only once in this fight - a small cut on his arm (which would have been harmless if not for the poison that coated Tyene's knife). That one scene is already a good feat of skill for Bronn - whereas Marco Polo has been seen handling himself quite nicely against two and even three enemies at once, he's only done it against random soldiers - not people who have proven their worth with actual feats - which Nymeria and Tyene did have. Nymeria's weapon of choice - the whip - is not only very unorthodox and rarely seen in combat, it also gives her good reach advantage. And she is very good with it too. Tyene is very skilled with her twin blades as well, as shown in the battle between the fleet of Euron Greyjoy and the fleet of Yara Greyjoy, where Tyene cut through a bunch of Euron Greyjoy's men all by herself. It happened off-screen, but in 1:55 you can see at least 3 men facing Tyene in the ship's cabin (a tight environment which is makes fighting multiple enemies very hard), and later, in 2:54 you can see Tyene finishing off the last of the three men, without showing any sign of injury herself. It should be mentioned that Euron Greyjoy became the world's most revered pirate and his crew was probably second to none - and on top of that, Euron's fleet caught Yara's fleet completely by surprise in that fight.

Let's look at another good feat of skill for Bronn. Here is a much earlier scene (it's Bronn's first on-screen fight actually). While Lady Catelyn Stark's party is trekking the mountains of the Vale, they are caught up in an ambush of the Mountain Clans. The Mountain Clansmen had strength in numbers, as well as the obvious element of surprise - and the only ones who actually survived this encounter were Catelyn, Tyrion, Rodrik Cassel (who was injured) and of course Bronn himself. Most of the major fight happens off-screen, but you can see Bronn dispatching of Clansman after Clansman with ease and amazing skill and speed in 0:15-0:23, and in 1:12 you can see him finishing off another one, thus ending the battle. Bronn remained completely unscathed throughout the whole fight, which is a good indication on his speed, skill and maneuverability, considering all warriors in that fight barring Bronn and Rodrik (and Tyrion if you count him as such) were killed. Also, do take note of his technique. Look at how he finishes off his first target, by putting his blade to the Clansman's throat and kicking him so that the blade cuts the man's throat. Shortly after he actually preforms a judo throw and finishes the enemy off with a half-swording technique. I usually don't put too much importance into choreography, but this is undoubtedly meant to show us how skilled and unpredictable Bronn is, especially given that he is the only one in the show that has ever demonstrated techniques like that. While it's obvious that Marco has better martial skill at fighting barehanded, he doesn't really go all Batman and use all his advanced kung-fu maneuvers in a swordfight. He uses the generic kicks, shoves and strikes, yeah, but not much more than what Bronn has done himself in these two scenes alone.

Physicals:

Strength, endurance and stamina are extremely important in a fight, and I do believe Bronn has Marco beat in those aspects.

Strength:

Bronn isn't the Hound or the Mountain or anything like that, he isn't a freak of nature like they are. But, he is far stronger than he often gets credit for. For example, he knocked out Prince Trystane Martell with a single punch (with barely any swing, and with his off-hand as well):

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Another good strength showing comes from Bronn's duel with Ser Vardis Egen - which was Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat in fact. In this fight, Ser Vardis is fully armored in a set of steel plate armor, which means he had an extra 30 kilograms or so on him, and yet he barely managed to move Bronn, and Bronn even shoved him away eventually:

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For comparison, 30 kilograms is the difference between the "Lightweight" and "Heavyweight" categories in boxing. It's a huge difference, and Bronn actually winning this little tug-of-war is in fact a pretty big deal.

Stamina/fitness:

Bronn has great stamina and he can, to quote Captain America - do it all day. He's actually made a point of making his opponent wear out before making a real move when he dueled Ser Vardis, but I doubt he will try this here given that Ser Vardis was wearing heavy armor and Marco does not. Other than that, Bronn has other great feats of stamina. For example, Bronn saved Jaime Lannister from drowning by diving after him and pulling him out of the bottom of the river, while Jaime is fully armored:

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That was the first scene of season 7 episode 5, and in the final scene of season 7 episode 4 you actually see how deep Jaime went. Do watch the video from the start, Bronn wasn't sitting on his hands before tackling Jaime into the lake, he was fighting and he took some hits too.

As another example, Bronn rowed this small boat (in the red circle) all the way from that ship to the coast:

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That's a pretty big distance. Hard to gauge, impossible really, but it's a very considerable distance and a pretty impressive feat. Nothing superhuman, but impressive. In the boat were both Bronn and Jaime, who couldn't row himself since, well... he only has one hand.

Endurance:

Bronn can take a hit and keep fighting. Even if Marco kicks or punches him, the fight will be far from over. For example, here Bronn takes a hit to the face from Areo Hotah. Areo Hotah is 1.95 meters of solid muscle, and Bronn immediately recovered from that elbow:

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Bronn didn't know that it was coming, and there's an old saying in boxing that says "The punch you don't see coming is the punch that hurts the most". Yet as you can see, he got up right after that blow.

Speed:

Bronn's entire schtick, other than fighting dirty, is being light on his feet, which is why he uses light armor.

One scene that shows Bronn's speed pretty nicely is this one, where Bronn and Jaime fight 4 Dornish horsemen. I'll point you to some specific highlights. It all starts in 3:36 - despite the horseman already having his spear poised at Bronn's throat, Bronn can draw his kukri and accurately throw it right at the horseman's throat. Right after that (3:39), Bronn pulls his sword from the sand, and turns around only to find the second horseman is practically on him. Nevertheless, Bronn still manages to parry his sword and kill him in one move. Then, the two remaining horsemen spread out, leaving Bronn and Jaime right between them - a very unfavorable place for them to be. At 3:47, one horseman charges forward at full gallop, and Bronn slices his horse's belly at the split-second between the horse stopping and the horseman delivering his blow. From then on, the scene starts focusing on Jaime, who's having his first real fight without his right hand against the horseman whose horse Bronn just sliced open. But, you can see in the background at 4:03, that Bronn actually finishes off the remaining horseman - while the latter gallops at him as well. Essentially, Bronn solo'd these 4 horsemen (since Jaime didn't really do anything), and he displayed great speed in all 4 kills.

Now, one thing I;d like to point out is that throwing the kukri at Marco is definitely a viable option for Bronn. You've seen how accurate and quick he is with it. While it's true that Marco has this feat of blocking the Hashshashin knife, I'd like to shed some light on that showing. First and foremost, it's not like the assassin just appeared out of nowhere and threw that knife. He threw a poisoned dart at Kublai Khan first, giving Marco a few seconds to realize that he's under attack. Then, the assassin kicked open the doors, stood in the doorway for 2 seconds, and only then threw the knife at Marco. Now, don't get me wrong - it's still a great feat. But fact remains that Marco saw that knife coming thanks to the poison dart that was thrown at Kublai. Bronn won't give Marco any sign or warning that there's a shining pinwheel of death coming his way and I don't see Marco avoiding that. Plus, worth mentioning that blocking a projectile with something as large as a chess board is very easy compared to dodging it or deflecting it with your sword. Given that Marco doesn't have a chess board, or any other such large object that he can use to block an incoming projectile, I don't see why Bronn's kukri won't hit its mark if Bronn chooses to throw it.

Fighting dirty:

Bronn's trademark is having no honor whatsoever. He has no moral code, he doesn't fight fair and he seizes on any opportunity that he can find to tip the scales of a fight in his immediate favor.

Here, for example, Bronn teaches Podrick Payne the secrets of being an asshole:

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Also here, in a training session with Ser Jaime Lannister, Bronn actually tokk away Jaime's fake hand and hit him in the face with it:

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Not to mention his fight against Ser Vardis Egen. He is the scene again. Note how Bronn fights here: in 0:45 he kicks down a brazier to block Ser Vardis's way and maybe even hit him with it, and in 1:24 Bronn literally uses a bystander as a human shield and even throws the man at Ser Vardis.

Bronn was always a dirty fighter, and he will fight dirty here too. After all:

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As I said in the beginning of this post, Bronn's mind is as sharp as his sword. He doesn't have braziers to kick at Marco here, and Marco doesn't have a fake hand for Bronn to steal, but Bronn is clever enough to think of something. Spitting in Marco's eye, kicking him in the nuts, kicking sand in his face, all those and more are perfectly viable options for the Knight of the Blackwater.

Initial thoughts:

I think that, while Marco is a very formidable fighter who has shown great improvement in skill over a relatively short period of time, I'm afraid he doesn't yet have what it takes to beat a battle-hardened veteran like Bronn. He's seen more war than Marco, has killed more men than Marco and he will win this fight. Marco's biggest advantage is his unarmed skill, but I don't see that coming much into play here since this is a swordfight, and in his swordfights Marco doesn't utilize more than the very basic kicks, strikes etc. If it becomes a barehanded fight then yeah, sure, Marco could theoretically win thanks to his raw skill. But this is a swordfight and a swordfight is Bronn's turf, especially with his superior physicals and tendency to fight like a complete asshole. He is more than aware of how effective are kicks, punches, throws and all other such barehanded moves can be in a swordfight and has used them himself many times. Marco won't really bring anything new here unless it turns to fisticuffs, which I really don't see happening.

All in all, Bronn himself said it way better than I ever could:

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Your move mate ;)

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#10 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio
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#11 Posted by The_Legendary_SuperSaiyan_Hulk (17515 posts) - - Show Bio

Is Marco Polo(the show) worth watching?

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#12 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio
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#13 Posted by foxerdes (10257 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_red_viper: I know it's been months, but would you fancy continuing that?

Please don't ban me, lol.

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#14 Posted by Xerolot (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

Well it's bumped so I'm safe :D

@the_red_viper Damn man, I wasn't on the site for months. I remember you joining the site and now you have like 10 000 more posts than me and you are a Moderator! Congratulations man, it's really nice to see

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#15 Posted by Chronicplane (9184 posts) - - Show Bio

T4V.

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#16 Posted by the_red_viper (12760 posts) - - Show Bio

@foxerdes said:

@the_red_viper: I know it's been months, but would you fancy continuing that?

Please don't ban me, lol.

Oh hey! Nice seeing you here again. Well, I would have loved continuing that, but I honestly don't think I would have the time anytime soon. I started college not long ago and exams are coming up, and even without exams my days are so hectic that I barely have the time to breathe. But, I will let you know if and when I can continue ;)

@xerolot said:

Well it's bumped so I'm safe :D

@the_red_viper Damn man, I wasn't on the site for months. I remember you joining the site and now you have like 10 000 more posts than me and you are a Moderator! Congratulations man, it's really nice to see

Nice to see you again too! But you are aware that I joined the site like 3 years before you, right? Lol.

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#17 Posted by Xerolot (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_red_viper: Lol really? I was sure that I saw you having >100 posts.