Deadliest Warrior Contestant Ranking

June 4, 2010

My ranking of all the non-gunpowder warriors so far shown on the show 'Deadliest Warrior'.


I considered the strength of each warrior using the weapons, armor, and skills shown on the show. While I dissagree with many of the weapons shown (as many people do) I find a debate about how things would have turned out if the warriors were given ultimately meaningless. Generally each side could be given a huge number of better weapons and armor, any arguments about what was most commonly used are too difficult to prove one way or the other.

This is a ranking of advantages, it does not determine with certainty who would win but rather who is most likely to win. A samurai would not win against a Maori every single time but rather the vast majority of times.

*means the warriors are very close

17. Maori Warrior: While certainly a strong warrior the Maori failed to bring anything noteworthy to the table with most of his (wood and tooth) weapons lacking significant range or power.

*16. Shaolin Monk: The showlin monk showed some impressive skills yet in addition to no armor or shield he only brought 1 good weapon; his hooked swords. Of course it's true that you sometimes only need one good advantage to win, but in this case the shorter range and lack of significant versitility (Yes, it could be used in many ways but it lacked in the most important ones such as thrusting).

*15. Eagle Warrior: Barely beats out the shaolin monk due to his armor, shield, and ranged weapons. The problem with obsidian isn't that it is not hard or sharp but that it is ill suited for producing long, sturdy weapons. If they had the technology, I'm certain that every Aztec warrior would have given up his Maquahuitl for a metal longsword.

14. Shaka: The skill shown with his short and the power of his battleaxe were good, but the lack of any decent ranged weapons, armor, or shield prevent him from rising any further on the list.

*13. Gladiator: Unfortunately, this show fighter didn't have the proper armor or weapons to provide good versitility. He lacked protection over his vital areas and most of his close combat weapons required him get close enough to punch. When facing warriors that are actually prepared for war this leaves him at a clear disadvantage.

*12. Zande Warrior: I'm surprised that he is higher on the list than Shaka or the gladiator, but the use of the kapinga as a decent ranged weapon as well as the poisoned arrows left him with the slight advantage he needed.

11. Ninja: Somewhat dissapointed with the lack of range and killing power shown by the shuriken and blowdarts. As a result of this and the lack of any armor or shield to help in close combat would have put him at a severe disadvantage.

10. Apache: The one thing that saved the Apache was the skill of his experts. The ability to give something like a knife a range of several feet leaves him with a definite advantage against many of the other warriors. I'm not sure if the average apache was that skilled or well trained but I prefer to go off of what I see in the show.

10. Sun Tzu: the fire arrow turned out to be nerfed and the repeating crossbow was a little underpowered, his only supurb weapon was the jian which is just too close range to be a game changer against most of these warriors.

10. Celt: Very good spear, decent sword, unfortunately no armor.

11. Mongol: I was a little surprised to see the infamous Mongol composite bow do so poorly, it may be that it was an underpowered version and the Khan experts will bring something much better but the Mongol still gets stuck fairly low on the list.

10. Commanche: Surprised me just as much as the Apache, and while he wasn't as effective with the knife he did have the advantage of the war lance's reach, unfortunately that still doesn't fully make up for his lack of armor.

*9. Rajput: Good armor and close combat weapons get him this far although he failed to provide effective ranged weapons as well as failed to show good range with his khanda and katar.

*8. Alexander the Great: Barely edges out the Rajput due to the range of his spear and the slightly greater effectiveness of his Belly bow.

7. William Wallace: Has gotten this far despite good ranged weapons. The reason for this is the reach and power of his close combat weapons. The claymore would have been able to stab and sever long before something like the khanda got close. The targe and dirk combination and the warhammer were also very good.

6. Attilla: The composite bow is one of the best ranged weapons seen so far and supurb ranged weapons have the clear advantage over superb close combat weapons.

The next 5 warriors represent the best of 5 distinguished warrior cultures. As expected they all proved themselves to be very adept and I expect any difference between them to be marginal at best. Nonetheless I tried to order them the best I could.

*5. Samurai: Despite his skill, accuracy, and superior armor. The lack of a shield keeps him from getting the advantage.

*5. Immortal: Very good bow, decent armor, sturdy spear, I'm leaving him just below the Spartan solely because of the battle of Thermopylae.

*4. Spartan: The show's golden boy and with good reason. Very strong and well trained the spartan literally became a tank when behind his shield. While this protected him from many of the ranged weapons, the lack of his own keeps him from being the best.

*3. Centurion: As you can probably tell, I dissagree with the show regarding the centurion (the Pilum and Scorpion would have been much more effective than depicted as will be explained in my Rajput vs Centurion review). He represents and evolution of the spartan; larger lighter shield, long sword, and the effective pilum. The one clear advantage is the ability of the scorpion to punch straight through armor and shields.

*2. Viking: The huskarl shown on the show had decent armor, a good shield, and supurb weapons. The versitality of his shield and longsword combo as well as the power of his spear and battleaxe put him at number 2.

1. Knight: It's a shame he had to be put against someone with guns. Not only was his armor vastly superior to anything else seen on the show but he was armed with three of the best weapons seen on the show; crossbow, halberd, and broadsword. With the flail also proving itself as decent in battle. He would have wiped the floor with any other pre-gunpowder warrior. The knight is clearly the deadliest warrior.


Vlad the Implaer: Wound up using gunpowder which really puts him at the top of the list, although because of that he probably shouldn't be on the list at all.


(Updated to include all season 2 warriors)


I'll also begin posting reviews of some of the episodes, starting with the non-modern warriors. In them I will adress many of the questions that arose from the episodes, who should have won according to the confines (skills, weapons, and armor) of the show as well as who was most likely to win in real life.