Deadliest Warrior: Aztec Jaguar vs. Persian Immortal

June 4, 2009

Deadliest Warrior -Season 2 Episode 1

My top choice for season two is a match-up between two elite warriors who in their time faced armies with heavier armor and weapons, forcing them to adapt their native styles of combat.

The Persians built an empire on the strength of light, mobile, forces combined with masses of archers. However, faced with the armored phalanx of the Greek Hoplite, they were forced to adopt heavier troops and more formation-based warfare.

Prior to the Spanish invasion, Aztec warfare was an exercise in honor as warriors displayed their skill in single combat and fought not to kill, but to capture prestigious enemies and sacrifice them to the gods. However, faced with the ruthless greed of Spanish Conquistadors, and their weapons of fire and steel,  the Aztecs quickly adapted to the tactics of massed charges  and inglorious slaughter.

Aztec Jaguar - Circa 1500 AD.

Jaguar warriors were elite soldiers in the Aztec army that came from the nobility of Aztec society and dressed themselves head to toe in the skins of a jaguar. Often called the knights of the Aztec army, these warriors wielded some of the most vicious weapons in the Aztec arsenal and came to battle wearing quilted cotton armor that was light but effective.

Chimalli & Ichcahuipilli: A Chimalli is a round shield made of wood or leather and decorated with ornate feathers to denote a warrior's status. Ichcahuipilli is quilted cotton armor, one or two fingers thick, that was resistant to blades and darts.


Quauhololli: One of the most feared weapons by Aztec enemies was the quauololli, a mace made out of heavy stone that was mostly used to attack the opponent's head and cause severe damage.

Tepoztopilli: The tepoztopilli was a pole-arm, roughly the height of a man, with a broad wooden head edged with razor-sharp obsidian blades. Halfway between a halberd and a spear, the tepoztopilli was equally useful for slashing and thrusting.

Macuahuiltl: The macuahuitl is sometimes referred to as a sword or club, but it lacks a true European equivalent.  The weapon was a wooden plank 3 to 4 feet long, and three inches broad, with a one or two-handed grip for swinging and rows of obsidian blades embedded in its sides. The bladed edges were capable of inflicting serious lacerations, up to and including beheading an opponent, while the flat side could be used to deliver a knockout blow.

Atlatl: An atlatl, or spear-thrower, is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing and can readily achieve ranges of greater than 100 meters and speeds of over 150 km/h. Atlatl Darts resemble large arrows or thin spears and are typically from 4 to 9 feet in length and 3/8” to 5/8” in diameter.

Persian Immortal - Circa 500 BC.
The Immortals were an elite force of Persian soldiers who served as both the Imperial Guard and a front line infantry force. The Immortals were kept at a constant strength of exactly 10,000 men and every soldier killed or seriously wounded was immediately replaced by a reserve. This not only maintained cohesion for the unit but also added to their fame as a fighting force that simply could not die.

Wicker Shield & Scale Mail: Immortals wore soft caps called tiaras and multicolored sleeved tunics with scale armor underneath. Persian Scale armor looked like the scales of fish and was often made of small bronze plates sewn together on a leather shirt, although iron and sometimes gold were also used. Early Persian armies were characterized by a large wicker shield called the 'spara'. The 'Spara' was made of light construction, typically reed or wicker covered in leather, and stood approximately shoulder height. It was typically carried by front rank soldiers and could also be used as a self-standing shield, held up with a prop attached the the back.


Akinakes: The Akinakes was a characteristic Persian sidearm. It was short in length, about 14"-18", but it had a versitile double-edged blade that could be used for both cutting and thrusting.

Kopis:The kopis was a heavy one handed sword with a forward-curving blade designed for slashing and cutting. With an average length of about 3 feet, and the downward curve of blade, the kopis was especially suited to mounted warfare against infantry.

Spear: The main hand to hand weapon of the Persian infantry and their allied troops was the short stabbing-spear. About 7 ft in length with a iron head, the reverse end was fitted with a counter weight of bronze, gold or silver.

Bow: The Persians used a composite recurve bow which had a wooden core with strips of horn glued to the back and reinforced with tendon. Its small size allowed them to be used both when mounted and on foot. The arrows were of cane or reed, with three-feathered flights and triangular sectioned bronze tips. The arrows were of relatively light weight and their broad heads were more effective against unarmored targets than for penetrating armor. The Persians relied on long range shooting and massed ranks with fast rates of fire that would blanket enemy troops.

Close Combat
Quauhololli vs. Akinakes
The Jaguar's skull crushing stone mace gets the edge over the dual purpose short sword of the Immortals due to it's killing power and the Persian's lack of helmets.

Tepoztopilli vs. Spear
The Persian spear gets the edge here due to it's superior length, metal spearpoint, and the fragility of the Jaguar spear.

Long Range
Atlatl vs. Bow
The Jaguar Dart-Thrower gets the edge due to it's devastating penetrating power. Also, the broad-headed, lightweight, Persian arrows will have difficulty piercing the Aztec quilted armor.

Macuahuiltl vs. Kopis
The Immortal's curved heavy sword gets the edge for its metal blade and sharpened point over the blunt end and obsidian blades of the Aztec weapon.
I'm going with the Persians on this one because I think the combination of metal armor with a superior Mid-Range spear will outweigh the Aztecs advantage at long and close ranges. Also, the heavy Kopis sword is a wild card in the Persians favor.

(Kill Estimates)
Kills        Aztec    Persian
Close      100       50   
Mid          20       400
Long       220       20
Special     90       100       
Total     430       570