Flaws in Character Matchups: Unraveling the Art of Versus

August 6, 2023

The Flaws in Character Matchups

Often the idea of this character from this series will beat this character from this series. I fundamentally find this topic to be flawed when someone brings it up. There are so many factors to take into consideration to come up with the idea of a character beating another and even at that it may just end up being a percentage win rate than a full-out win. In this blog post, I will explore the flaws in character matchups when pitting beloved characters from different series against each other.

Diluc vs Mordred, Flaws in Character Matchups

The Importance of Setting

The first thing is are the character's setting similar? Something like do both of the characters use magic? Does the magical power work the same or is the source of the magic the same? If it was not magic, how would their powers be classified in each other world? This in itself can solve some interactions for example if a character had the power to negate magic would it work on other powers? If that character world does not go into depth into other types of abilities then it may just end up being no. Next, is the essential physics of the world similar. Does it go off more realistic or does it lean on unrealistic or comedic?

For example, if you take Saber from Fate/Stay Night, she has Magic Resistance A Rank which makes a lot of magic ineffective. In Nasuverse the start of all things is the Root which branches off to Mystery which is the source of all supernatural phenomena such as Magecraft and ESP. The next important thing is Magical Energy which is broken into two things Mana and Od. Mana can be viewed as the outer live force and Od is the inner live force. With this in mind, you could plugin the ability from another world and list it as a mystery. Now you could say that their power comes from Magical Energy as different cultures call it differently. With this, Magic Resistance A Rank could make the ability ineffective or reduce effectiveness. I pulled a lot of information from "typemoon.fandom.com" to come to this conclusion.

So having a solid base for the setting can help evaluate characters and how they would interact with each other.

Location Matters

Location is very important as it will help some characters over other characters. Are they going to fight in an urban environment, forest, desert, or somewhere else? Are these areas going to have other people or animals? Are any weather effects going to be in play? What time of day is it going to be? If it is an urban location the time period may have a greater effect as the character may not even fit in.

For example, if you have someone that does well in the ocean fighting someone with Devil Fruit power. Then the edge will easily be given to ocean fighters. If characters going to fight in an urban location full of people how are the characters going to interact? Are they the type to wait for a character to go to a location with fewer people or just attack right away? Would you have a vampire or demon from Demon Slayer to fight in the day in a desert which greatly gives those characters a great disadvantage? Would you give fire users or water users to fight during the rain?

Just the location, time, and weather can give great advantages and disadvantages. So picking a location that does not give one a great advantage over the other would be ideal. If one cannot be picked then picking multiple locations to estimate the odds would help.

The Role of Knowledge

Now knowledge is very important like the famous saying "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles" from Sun Tzu. Are you going to just have both characters have zero knowledge of each other? What kind of knowledge are you going to give the character about their location?

Some characters' strength is the ability to gather knowledge or analysis their location. If a character is intelligent and they do not fit in so they may change their outfit to blend in. Another example is to use the terrain to their own advantage more quickly than their opponent. The character may even manipulate locals to their own advantage.

Some characters have bigger weaknesses, so knowledge of the enemy can put them at a greater advantage. Like a quote from Sun Tzu, a character may utilize knowledge of their opponent more than their opponent on them.

For example Hitoshi Shinso or Magane Chikujoin, just knowing that you should not talk back to them could put you at great advantage. But if they have no knowledge of their opponent and their opponent has no knowledge of them then they would be able to utilize their ability.

Though having no knowledge of your opponent could be an issue as it could be a great disadvantage for some characters. So maybe just a generalized clue may help if the plan is to have limited knowledge.

Goals and Objectives

What are the conditions of victory? Is it being unable to fight or is it to the death? Is having a draw an option? Do you want them to have different objectives?

If the objective is just to knock out their opponent they may use less destructive means to reach it. But if it is just to kill their opponent then destroying everything would be no issue. Unless they rule for minimal damage.

An example of an issue with this is if a character swears an oath not to kill like Himura Kenshin. Would this character break this vow of not killing to win? Another issue would the character even tries to reach that goal. For example, if you told Magane Chikujoin she had to make another character to be unable to fight would she?

The Impact of Alignment and Personality

Now based on alignment and personality can affect how the character would approach the other character.

Without any prior knowledge of the other character would they strike first without interacting with the other character? If a character knows that they are weaker than another character they may determine that striking first or a sneak attack would be a good option. Another reason is if the location is where there are not a lot of people around then the character may view that high chance that they are their target. If there are a lot of other people around a character may be more inclined to talk with the other character first to verify that they are the target. While different types of characters may just wait for a good time to strike as they know their strengths but not their enemies. Then there are characters that will introduce themself before a fight as it is a part of their code.

Then there is the issue of characters using their best ability first to try to one-shot the other character. Most characters without prior knowledge of the other character will not use their best ability first. If using their best ability first was a requirement of the fight then Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins or Bazett Fraga McRemitz from the Nasuverse or Fate series would be one of the strongest characters. There is also the issue of characters not using one of their ability because they view their opponent as weaker than them or because of a lure they do not use that ability for reasons.

Evaluating Power Levels and Abilities

The issue with this is it really the only way to rate a character's power level is by using the show or game that they are in. So how are you going to compare base strengths of character in general?

Generally, most characters will not experience the same things so most of the time there is no one-to-one comparison. A character may not experience any mind control or illusionist type of fighting at all. Then there is magic in general as not all stories have it. So how is the character going to react to seeing it for the first time?

Another issue is whether the fighting could be stylized to be slower or faster. For example, Bruce Lee's fighting movement was fast that they had to slow it down. So one anime may have fight scenes all slowed down so one can keep up while another like to have it on full blast.

For power level and abilities, how are you going to rate these things? Generally, you would need to use past experiences of the show. But the issue is one elite guard could just be basic strength normal soldier if different series. So what would be a good way to evaluate the strength of a character?

Some throw out the idea of both of the characters will have similar power levels. Another idea of evaluating power levels or abilities is to create a point system.


Overall comparing two characters can be like comparing apples to oranges, not apples to oranges. The reason for this is that person could not be taken into consideration the setting, location, knowledge, goal, alignment, personality, and character's power level and abilities. Not doing this can create flaws in character matchups.

The characters setting form a base for interactions between each other. Location, knowledge, and goal will form how the character will react to their current situation. Their alignment, personality, and abilities will affect the previous settings as the approach will change based on them. Then the power level will be the overall strength of a character.

Overall, the character is created in a story or game to be entertaining not just beating some other character of different series in hypothetical battles. So one character from one series is strong just for comedic effect or the series is so long that power creep just sets in.

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