By ShootingNova 337 Comments
This is not a battle thread. This is my own assessment of the battle, and also addressing the multiple misconceptions created regarding this. Obviously, a majority of users would favor Mace Windu. From a film-only perspective, perhaps they would be correct. But SW is vastly larger than just the six films, and within the EU, the fight is not nearly as clearly established.
First and foremost is probably the most heated discussion regarding them - their repute as duelists. Dooku has been listed by sources to be Mace's rival more than once. For example:
This is purely subjective, but it is from Yoda, somebody who has sparred with them both, so if anybody could offer an opinion that would be virtually objective and still well-informed, it would be Yoda:
The Count's blade was quick as a viper striking. Among the other Jedi, perhaps only Mace Windu would have been his equal on neutral ground: but here on Vjun, steeped in the dark side, his bladework was malice made visible—wickedness cut in red light.Source: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
There are also sources pertaining to Dooku (as a Jedi) having outsparred Windu before:
Master Windu himself remained perfectly balanced and centered. In the history of the Jedi Order, only two opponents ever overcame him in battle. One was Master Yoda, who some said was the Order's true master of lightsaber combat. The other was former Master Dooku, whose own fighting style was archaic, yet stunningly effective.Source: Power of the Jedi Sourcebook
Of course, Windu has presumably beaten Dooku as well by virtue of his reputation as Dooku's equal, but there are no sources to confirm this. And regarding whether Windu wasn't in his prime or not, Windu was on the Council ten years prior to TPM (as per Shatterpoint), and we also know that by that time he was Jedi Master, and Dooku hadn't left the Order until after TPM. His apprentice Depa was also a master and on the council by the time of TPM, and we know she had expressed proficiency in Vaapad around this time. As such, we pretty much know Windu had already developed and was an adept of Vaapad around the time he would have been sparring with Dooku. And we know that Dooku was able to recognize Vaapad during his fight with Sora Bulq, so clearly he had faced Vaapad some time in the past and his spars with Windu would be the only logical conclusion for how Dooku would have recognized Vaapad.
There is also no source that confirms Windu actually had any increase in skill or power afterwards, while we do know that Dooku's ability improved as a Sith (I doubt this would matter at all, though). Altogether, we now know that during Dooku's spars with Windu, during which he defeated Windu at least once (if not repeatedly) and stalemated him or fought closely with him enough times for their reputation to be considered equal, and we also know that Windu has already mastered Vaapad at this time, so not having developed Vaapad is not an excuse either.
Regarding generic feats, we can assess their fights against other foes to back up the assertions of their equality. First and foremost, here is Mace Windu's fight against Sora Bulq:
As you can see, in actual lightsaber dueling, they were actually only about equal. People often assume that Windu defeated Bulq, but the ending was due to telekinesis, not dueling skill, which we are discussing. For that matter, Sora landed a single TK hit on Windu earlier, but the effects of it were completely negligible - and because the focus of the art shifted to Ventress after this, we never really saw how Bulq would have recovered. As such, we don't know whether Sora would have actually lost the duel or whether the Force Push hardly mattered. In any case, it actually hardly does matter, since in actual lightsaber combat, we can see that neither of them managed to gain any sort of victory over the other.
Here is Dooku's fight against Bulq (and Tholme):
As you can see, the fight is much shorter. Not only that, but the outcome of this fight is much clearer. Dooku disarms Sora within one panel (although we don't necessarily know the time), and then incapacitates him with Lightning. This proves both saber and Force-oriented advantages lie with Dooku. It's also worth noting that Dooku was fighting Tholme at the same time. Of course, after this fight, Dooku creamed Tholme, but this doesn't really matter at all.
Regarding their respective showings, it would seem Dooku's feat is superior. However, Mace has an excuse. Sora Bulq was once his primary partner and friend - they developed and practiced Vaapad together. As such, this would innately form a relationship not unlike that of Anakin's and Obi-Wan's, which also contributed to their duel (I won't go into detail about that, but I referenced it here: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles-7/battle-misconceptions-obi-wan-vs-anakin-1547403/). As such, that would have affected the outcome of their fight, and based off both accolades and feats, we know Windu to be superior to Bulq anyways, so had the fight been extended, I would have expected Windu to outfight Bulq as well. This encyclopedic, or at least near-encyclopedic, knowledge of each other's fighting styles (which is virtually identical) would have certainly altered the fight. This may be why Windu and Bulq had a much closer fight than Dooku and Bulq.
The next showing I wanted to discuss is their respective performances against General Grievous. Here, we see Windu stalemating Grievous:
Kit's bulging black eyes indicated Palpatine. "They want to take him alive."
The words had scarcely left his mouth when something hit the train with sufficient force to whip everyone from one side of the car to the other, then back again. The Red Guards were just regaining their balance when the roof began to resound with the cadence of heavy, clanging footfalls, advancing from the rear of the train."Grievous," Mace grumbled.Kit glanced at him. "Here we go again."Hurrying into the vestibule between the two lead cars, they launched themselves to the roof. Three cars distant marched General Grievous and two of his elite droids, their capes snapping behind them in the wind, pulse-tipped batons angled across their barrel chests. Farther back, clamped by animal-like claws to the roof of the train, was the gunboat from which the frightful trio had been released.Without pausing, Grievous drew two lightsabers from inside his billowing cloak. By the time they were ignited, Mace was already on and all over the cyborg, batting away at the two blades, swinging low at Grievous's artificial legs, thrusting at his skeletal face. The lightsabers thrummed and hissed, meeting one another in bursts of dazzling light. In a corner of Mace's mind he wondered to which Jedi Grievous's blades had belonged. Just as the Force was keeping Mace from being blown from the mag-lev's roof, magnetism of some sort was keeping the general fastened in place. For the cyborg, though, the coherence hindered as much as it helped, whereas Mace never remained in one place for very long.Again and again the three blades joined, in snarling attacks and parries. Grievous was well trained in the Jedi arts. Mace could recognize the hand of Dooku in the general's training and technique. His strikes were as forceful as any Mace had ever had to counter, and his speed was astonishing. But he didn't know Vaapad—the technique of dark flirtation in which Mace excelled. To the rear of the car, where Grievous's pair of MagnaGuards had made the mistake of pitting themselves against Kit Fisto, the Nautolan's blade was a cyclone of blazing blue light. Resistant to the energy outpourings of a lightsaber, the phrik alloy staffs were potent weapons, but like any weapon they needed to find their target, and Kit simply wasn't allowing that. In moves a Twi'lek dancer might envy, he spun around the guards, claiming a limb from both with each rotation: left legs, right arms, right legs...The speed of the train saw to the rest, ultimately whisking the droids into the canyon like insects blown from the windscreen of a speeder bike. The loss of his confederates was noted by whatever computers were slaved to Grievous's organic brain, but the loss neither distracted nor slowed him. His sole setting was attack. Successful at analyzing Mace's lightsaber style, those same computers suggested that Grievous alter his stance and posture, along with the angle of his parries, ripostes, and thrusts. The result wasn't Vaapad, but it was close enough, and Mace wasn't interested in prolonging the contest any longer than necessary. Crouching low, he angled the blade downward and slashed, guiding it through the roof of the car, perpendicular to Grievous's stalwart advance. Mace saw by the surprised look in the cyborg's reptilian eyes that, for all his strength, dexterity, and resolve, the living part of him wasn't always in perfect sync with his alloy servos. Clearly, Grievous—onetime courageous commander of sentient troops—realized what Mace had done and wanted to sidestep, where General Grievous—current commander of droids and other war machines—wanted nothing more than to impale Mace with lunging thrusts of the paired blades.Slipping into the gap made by Mace's saber, Grievous's left talon lost magnetic purchase on the roof, and the general faltered. Mace came out of his crouch prepared to drive his sword into Grievous's guts, but some last-instant firing of the general's cybersynapses compelled the cyborg's torso through a swift half twist that would have sent Mace's head hurtling into the canyon had the maneuver prevailed. Instead Mace leapt backward, out of the range of the slicing blades, and Force-pushed outward, just at the instant of Grievous's single misstep.Off the side of the car the general went, twisting and turning as he fell, Mace trying to track the general's contorted plunge, but unsuccessfully. Had he fallen into the canyon? Had he managed to dig his duranium claws into the side of the car or grab hold of the mag-lev rail itself?Mace couldn't take the time to puzzle it out. One hundred meters away, the gunboat retracted its landing gear and rose from the roof on repulsorlift power. Reckless shots from one of the pursuing gunships obliged the Separatist craft to skew, then dive, with the gunship following close behind.Source: Labyrinth of Evil
Again, if you fail to pay attention to the context of the fight, it may seem like Windu won. However, this was, again, by a Force attack. Disregarding the telekinetic assault used to BFR Grievous, Mace Windu only exercised rivaling skill in this fight. They only fought as equals. Technically, Mace was already winning because he "outmaneuvered" Grievous, but this is also because Grievous's own maneuverability was restricted in this combat scenario. He was forced to use his magnetic clamps to attach himself to the mag-lev train, but Windu had the advantage of being able to use the Force's properties to prevent himself from falling off without having to limit his own mobility. So again, this is a Force-afforded advantage, not a skill-afforded one.
Conversely, Dooku has repeatedly outfought Grievous before:
Grievous had been a delight to train, as well. No need to coax him to release his anger and rage, as Dooku had been forced to do during the training of his so-called Dark Jedi disciples. The Geonosians had arranged for Grievous to be nothing but anger and rage. And as to the general's combat skills, few, if any, Jedi would be capable of defeating him. There had been moments during the extensive combat sessions when even Dooku had been hard-pressed to outduel the cyborg.Source: Labyrinth of Evil
We've visually seen one of these spars also:
Again, looking at these feats, Mace only stalemated Grievous in pure dueling skill, while Dooku has repeatedly exercised superiority over Grievous. But Mace has an excuse, once again. Dooku trained Grievous. He would know essentially every nuance and nook and cranny of Grievous's fighting techniques, while the same cannot be said for Mace. Technically, Mace did recognize a part of Grievous's technique as having been bequeathed to him by Dooku, but that doesn't mean he had nearly as much knowledge on how Grievous fought as Tyranus did. And at least Grievous has presented challenges to Dooku more than once. In any case, had the fight been prolonged, I would have expected Mace to have oufought Grievous every time, but that's simply not what we got in the duration of their fight.
I feel as if some people may still misinterpret Windu's fight with Sidious, so I will let another blog speak for that: http://www.comicvine.com/profile/silver2467/blog/mace-windu-vs-darth-sidious-what-really-happened/77247/ Whether you believe that Sidious threw the fight (despite the fact that sources like the RotS novelization heavily imply that) is up to you, since no source has and no source probably ever will confirm that, but this is no excuse to ignore the stone-hard fact that Windu was heavily amped during the fight. Even then, he only fought evenly with Palpatine until Sidious channeled the approaching Anakin's fear, and thanks to Vaapad's mechanics, Windu was able to harness this against Palpatine, so there is at least some element that was definitely played out by Sidious. The fight and overall showing is just illegitimate, however. You can discuss this here in his blog.
Overall, I think that without having to address their various other dueling feats, it can be rather easily deduced at this point that they are equals. Maybe I might accept Dooku being barely, virtually inscrutably more skilled, but this would be practically negligible and I would most certainly not accept any disparity greater than that. The point should be clear, however. Mace simply isn't more skilled by Dooku, unlike what many people believe, and certainly not by the margin some people would make it out to be.
In regards to other physical attributes, Windu really doesn't have an advantage. In strength, his best feat would be flattening Super Battle Droid plating, but based on the art, it is plausible that this is Shatterpoint, which probably won't matter at all in this fight (I'll discuss that later). For Dooku, he has hardly any strength feats in application against any sort of material, but he has repeatedly stomped Ventress and Obi-Wan physically, for what it's worth. In any case, Windu's strength, if it could even be interpreted to be superior, would virtually never matter. Dooku has fought stronger beings without struggle before, and based off his previous ability to combat Windu, I doubt it would be a factor again.
Just for note, there are people that assume that due to his age, Dooku's physical traits are rather lacking. However, any particularly seasoned Force user would be able to overcome the infirmities of old age and still possess superman physical attributes, like Yoda. Obviously, since Dooku isn't quite as powerful as Yoda, his physical traits aren't quite as good, but it's still described as better than most beings half his age:
Physically, the Count's age was rarely a handicap. Deft as he had become with the Force-unimaginably more subtle than the boy who had watched water-skeeters in the Jedi gardens all those years ago-he wore his eighty-three standard years better than most humans half his age. He was still in superb physical shape, senses keen, health undiminished by even the memory of a cold.Source: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
For speed, however, there should not be nearly as much equality. Dooku has repeatedly shown to be faster than Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan is at least as fast as Windu as per their speed feats. Dooku should be faster. This won't be worth very much, but I would be remiss to ignore it altogether.
The two droids fired at Obi-Wan, but he batted their fired energy bolts back at them and cut them down as he moved fast for Dooku. Unfortunately, Dooku moved faster, extending his left hand toward Obi-Wan as he used the Force to lift the Jedi off his feet while at the same time constricting his throat.Source: The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader
We've finished discussing their physical traits, now - which are mostly just even anyways. The real disparity between them is their Force ability. I did make a note of Shatterpoint earlier on, but as aforementioned, it would never be a factor. Shatterpoint has only affected Windu's duels with fodder or fodder-like characters, but it has just about always been inconsequential in his fights against other seasoned opponents (save for Sidious, but again, that fight was not respective of his natural ability), and it never appeared to matter in their past spars either, so I think that speaks for itself. Not to mention Dooku's own Force senses are highly advanced - for example, he once, while drugged, fought evenly with Ventress and two Nightsisters who Mother Talzin claimed to be among their best, and the drugs were enough to effectively blind him and likely would have affected him physically in general.
In respects to their power in general, Dooku should be clearly superior. He has been listed as one of history's most powerful Force practitioners, an accolade Mace has never received (or received anything close to that):
In regards to their general telekinetic feats, Dooku is also just better. Mace has hurled a droid nearly three kilometers, has manipulated boulders, trees and AT-TE's, utilized telekinetic lightsaber combat, utilized Force Crush, and so on. However, we have also seen him strained before. Conversely, Dooku has collapsed bridges larger than shuttles, buried Tholme under a number of boulders, collapsed portions of caves, redirected small sand tornadoes, collapsed cranes, stomped Obi-Wan and Ventress with the Force, etc. It is worth noting that these feats required nowhere near his full power to exercise, just about all of which were done with practical ease. There is a feat for Windu in which he was stomping hundreds of droids with TK, but that's just an inconsistent feat in general. His TK feats have never been portrayed as equal to that in any other circumstance, and there have been times where he has failed to lift miniature transports, so disregarding the high-end/low-end feats for Mace, Dooku is just preponderant in this aspect. Regarding just how preponderant Dooku is, I would like to say that Windu is barely, if at all, superior to Obi-Wan and Ventress in TK, both of whom were shamed by Dooku.
So overall, in a fight, they are just about even, and in spite of Dooku's own skill for applying Force powers in combat, his preponderant Force abilities likely wouldn't afford him the victory enough for any sort of large majority. Dooku wins only 6-7/10 at best, and that's pretty much stretching it. Personally, I see this fight being anywhere from 5.5-6.5/10 in Dooku's favor, maybe 7/10, but definitely no more than that.