Hello there. New member here. I’d perused this thread before after coming across it on a random web search, but only thought to actually chime in when I noticed activity with in the past couple months, and after Ragnarok. Not that Fandral got any new feats in Ragnarok, unless taking a second knife to actually finish him off counts as some kind of durability feat. Not gonna lie, I’m still kinda salty about that. He didn’t even get a damn line.
Anyway, I don’t know that I have anything game changing to add, but there are a couple details that haven’t been discussed in much detail so far. The Battle of Vanaheim give Fandral some additional feats, for instance. Sure, he DID get tagged with a haymaker, another indication of his not quite perfect situational awareness, but to be fair, Cap takes the occasional sucker punch in big chaotic fights too. In any case, Fandral shook it off pretty much immediately in order to kick another foe closing from behind, and then grab yet another’s hand to redirect point blank gunfire onto a target of his choosing. Now, granted, we don’t know exactly how superhuman those guys were, although they must have been reasonably hefty in order to go toe to toe with Asgardian soldiers in the first place, but Fandral was mowing through them just as fast as Cap deals with his usual opposition, and he was still grinning and quipping at battle’s end. Obviously, neither this one scene, nor all of his fight scenes put together can equal Steve’s multiple films’ worth, it still adequately backs up his reputation as a very tough and capable fighter, noteworthy among his people for his speed and reflexes.
As for the scene that has been brought up repeatedly, Fandral versus the three nameless Asgardian soldiers, consider the agility and reaction speed that required. First, he has to pull off a rope swing from one moving aircraft onto an empty spot of deck on a second. I have no idea how fast they were moving exactly, but given that his original ship was performing evasive maneuvers while being actively shot at, I’d be impressed if even that much was humanly possible, never mind easy. Second, note that he doesn’t even observably hesitate to study his trajectory. Just a flippant quip, and off he goes. Cats take longer than that to study a jump between two stationary points. And finally, see how awkward he looks in mid air, right after he lets go of the rope. The soldiers clearly see him coming, and he still manages to correct and go on the attack before even one of them is prepared to fight back. Even were we to discount that he proceeds to one shot each of them without any particular effort made to bypass their armor, downing one of them with nothing more than a solid kick to the midsection, I think it’d still be pretty clear that he blows your standard Asgardian out of the water in both skill AND raw physical prowess. And it has been most capably demonstrated what your standard Asgardian can do.
So where does that leave Cap? Well...his case is a little confusing. Before Endgame, I have said that Steve would’ve done a heck of a lot better in a rematch with Loki. Yes, he obviously improved as a fighter, but his physical feats just got better and better with every successive appearance. Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, overpowering a helicopter with nothing but his biceps of justice, trading punches with Iron Man, even BRIEFLY slowing down friggin Thanos...by rights, he should have at least massively narrowed the physical gap with a REGULAR Asgardian. But the fact that he still struggled against his 2012 counterpart, who Loki manhandled like a puppy tossing around a chew toy, muddles things.
My own personal take on it is to grant the more recent Captain America the benefit of the doubt, and guess that he was holding back at least somewhat. Perhaps out of concern for what seriously injuring himself would do to the timeline? I don’t know exactly what the in universe explanation would be for him getting stronger over time, but it’s what the feats show. Thus, while I will agree with the general consensus, granting skill to Steve and stats to Fandral, the gap may not be quite so wide as assumed in either case.
Ultimately, however, I will still give this to Fandral in a solid majority of matches. It comes down to equipment, and experience. Consider the worlds they come from, and I think it’s fairly clear cut that Fandral has dealt with opponents carrying shields a whole lot more often than Steve had fought trained swordsmen. And that would just be regular blades, not Asgardian weapons capable of hurting Thor. I suspect Steve could indeed injure Fandral with a good solid shield hit, but all the above factors taken together with melee range and better armor mean Fandral could hurt Steve more with far less trouble. Steve does potentially have the element of surprise on his side; we have no reason to assume Fandral has ever seen a shield used as a discus before, never mind one used so well it may as well be a smart weapon. But Cap takes a fairly major risk using it that way. If the throw is either tanked or deflected, then he’s unarmed until he can retrieve it, and at an even bigger disadvantage. And both those outcomes are entirely possible.
So...I guess I’ll say Fandral, 7-8 out of 10. He’s no Thor, but he’s damn good, and still a living tank by human standards. But I’ll never entirely rule out Steve being able to find or create some opening he could take advantage of.