Cage Match 2013: Round 1 Recap!


round 2

The smoke of battle still lingers in the air, and the once-pristine sand of the gladiatorial arena is spattered with crimson. Brave souls have found their fates at the claws and swords of their betters. The first round of the Cage Match is over, but long is the road to ultimate victory. Let us review a few of the more interesting fights:

Narnia’s White Witch utterly devoured Atreyu. As it turns out, that young man’s story was anything but Neverending…

A fearsome pirate Captain Hook may be, but he was no match for the powers of the Bene Gesserit Sisters. It appears that this buccaneer has swashed his last buckle…

Magical Medea may have met her match, but Prospero’s prestidigitation proved too powerful for Queequeg. This cannibal was eaten alive.

Count Dracula bled A Clockwork Orange’s Alex dry. Wonder if that means we’re in for a little Undead Ultraviolence?

Here’s a run-down of how the fights went in total:

Round 1 (winners are bold)


  • Gandalf (258 votes) vs. Professor Moriarty (17 votes)
  • Doctor Who (214 votes) vs. Dunwich Horror (59 votes)
  • IT (117 votes) vs. Harpy Celaeno (100 votes)
  • The Thing (253 votes) vs. The Invisible Man (110 votes)


  • Smaug (205 votes) vs. The Headless Horseman (43 votes)
  • Merlin (299 votes) vs. The Mechanical Hound (34)
  • Medusa (341 votes) vs. Tock (48 votes)
  • Grendel (220 votes) vs. Mombi (189 votes)


  • The White Witch (334 votes) vs. Atreyu (122 votes)
  • Tripods (300 votes) vs. General Woundwort (149 votes)
  • Count Dracula (211 votes) vs. Alex (19 votes)
  • Tarzan (136 votes) vs. Jekyll/Hyde (86 votes)


  • Prospero (252 votes) vs. Queequeg (79 votes)
  • Bene Gesseriti (344 votes) vs. Captain Hook (101 votes)
  • Inigo Montoya (392 votes) vs. Medea (52 votes)
  • Captain Nemo (235 votes) vs. Kull of Atlantis (129 votes)

We salute our winners, but the fight isn’t over yet. Round two begins on March 13 and
the victorious must prove their mettle once again.

Round Two:

  • Gandalf vs. Doctor Who
  • IT vs. The Thing
  • Smaug vs. Merlin
  • Medusa vs. Grendel
  • The White Witch vs. Tripods
  • Count Dracula vs. Tarzan
  • Prospero vs. Bene Gesseriti
  • Inigo Montoya vs. Captain Nemo

Unbound Worlds-Air-Bracket

Unbound Worlds-Fire-Bracket

Unbound Worlds-Earth-Bracket

Unbound Worlds-Water-Bracket

Click here for all Cage Match 2013 posts.

  • Jonrock411

    Is just me or is the Cage Match 2013 not actually working?

  • dancressman

    @Jonrock411 How do you mean?

    There do seem to be a lot fewer people on here than past years, though. I miss the high levels of completely useless nerd debate and fanboyism! Also, the voting periods seem to be pretty quick.

  • Pygmalleon

    I think there’s less in the way of characters from the recent big hits – with two rather noteable exceptions. Whoever wins that match is going to take the entire contest, methinks.

  • Archon

    I kind of like it better this way… the people here have actually read the classics and aren’t new to sci-fi/fantasy… and, by extension, they aren’t horribly biased towards the one or two fantasy series that they’ve actually read.

  • Alex

    Yeah, I have to admit I prefer the more modern matching, both because I’ve read more modern stuff, but also because the capabilities of classic characters tend to be more understated and much more ambiguous. For example, no one truly knows the extent of what Gandalf can do. It makes for much more speculative matches, I suppose, but I do miss the fanboy “my magic is stronger than your magic” wars.

  • Jlingo

    Well at least there are not any WoT characters and their rabid Twilight like girl fans screaming and hollering how this isn’t fair and that isn’t fair and making characters like Per beating Paul Atreides when anyone that is sensible knows that would never have happened. They are at home gazing at their Rand and Mat posters next to their Justin Bieber poster.

  • Dotcomaphobe

    The Air and Fire brackets are looking pretty stellar. Those four matches are outstanding.

    Seriously, Merlin vs. Smaug? Gandalf vs. The Doctor?

    What am I supposed to do with that? How can I pick a victor there?

  • Brettish

    My main complaint isn’t that the characters used are from classics, it is the bracketing system itself. A bracket is meant to be designed so that the path to the final is easier the higher you are seeded. For example, number 1 seed Gandalf shouldn’t be meeting the second highest seeded number 8 Doctor in the second round (the effective number 2 seed in the division). That match-up screams quarter-final. Now the winner of that slugfest gets an easy win over either of the 2 lower-ranked IT or THING. The correct method of bracketing would be the 2 highest seeds starting in different trees against their respective lowest seed counterparts. Seeds 1 and 4 in one tree, 2 and 3 in the other and then everything falls naturally from there. I guess the only good thing to come out of this set up is we get the quarter finals early…

  • chad56s

    What Brettish said. All the excitement for the quarterfinals has been sucked into this round.

  • kmk

    Why the F is Gandalf in Air? He holds the red-ring. He’s fire all the way. Combine that with the seeding issues (see Brettish above) and it appears the people know not what they do…

  • Maxx22

    I think the numbers say it all. People have voted with their feet and decided that the Classic cage match is a dud. Suvudu probably should have put some feelers out before making the switch.

  • Chivalrous

    I think people don’t leave comments on here because the comment system on this site is horrible! The little box you have to type the words into never works on my mobile device, and its a pain on a regular pc. I comment on several other sites that have a much better comment system and get many more comments. I think the articles here are worthy of comment, but rarely receive them.

    I preferred the more modern brackets aswell, why i know most of these combatants–I don’t care about many of them 🙂 I’m 28 and have been reading since i was about 7! I havent read a ton of classics though. Anyway, the right ups are nice! And who doesn’t love Inigo Montoya? He has my vote! =)

  • WoT4Ever

    The low fan turnout serves Suvudu right for this BS… anyone can plainly see that this “classic” tournament was just a way that they could exclude WoT this year without making it “look” like they’re excluding WoT specifically. It’s lame, transparent, and boring. That would be like the NCAA tournament saying back in the 70s that Only Mid-American Conference schools could compete in the tournament because they didn’t want UCLA to continue dominating the tournament.

    You WoT haters are just like any other losing fanbase who can’t stand the fact that your team keeps getting beat down by WoT. If you want to be the man, you gotta beat the man. Don’t hate because WoT > than your favorite.

  • AHEM

    Hmm, I missed the voting in the first round. Oh well, I’m looking forward to the second one, lots of interesting fights seem to be waiting, there.

  • Metacognition

    There’s only two actual battles here, IMO. Merlin vs Smaug and Gandalf vs Dr Who. Whoever wins these two battles, we’ll see in the quarterfinals, to be sure. Gandalf should own, but there’s a pretty large fan base for the Doctor. Merlina and Smaug is much more difficult and I can’t call a winner either way.
    The rest of the battles are pretty moot. Who ever wins in the Thing vs IT fight pretty much loses the next round. White Witch is a shoe in and will stomp either Tarzan or Dracula in her next match.
    Either way, the fun of the Cage Match is seriously lacking this year. After this match, I could sit out until the finals and be entirely fine with it. I think the idea of a classics battle was a fine idea, but it was poorly implemented. The only problem I have with it is that we have to wait an entire year to get another one and the integrity of the matches is already compromised…

  • Logic

    I think some people are missing the point on what a ‘cage match’ is, and how it should translate to the bracketing system. A cage match has nothing to do with which combatant has a greater fanbase. When one side can no longer combat, their opponent is declared the winner. If the entire bracket was to decide the ‘character of the year,’ then it could go to anyone who received the votes. Hell, even Queen Amidala could win it with enough support. So, for round 2, the real question becomes: locked in a large cage, who would emerge victorious after a set timeframe of combat, using only what they have access to while within that cage/battlefield?

    I’m fairly sure ‘The Doctor’ would lose that fight to Gandalf almost every time.

  • Logic

    Also, the Air bracket facing the Fire bracket to determine who is in the finals is a joke, lol. The championship really should be Merlin vs. Gandalf. That’s a fight worth fighting over.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve been following the Cage Matches since they first started, and I’ve always been a fan of them. This year, however, does seem a bit more… meh. I agree with the bracketing thing others have posted above, but I question the idea of it being a classics-only tournament. One of the things that brought in the most other people in years past was authors and their current, dedicated fans all coming in to vote for their favorite characters. People were a lot more involved when it was their favorite character from their favorite recent series, whereas a many of these characters may just remind people of whatever they had to read in English class.
    (Plus, there was the allure of a character’s author possibly stepping in to give their own ‘definitive’ version of the fight, which is kind of impossible with classics like these).
    I do have to give suvudu’s writers credit for writing some fantastic matches and really playing into the style of storytelling for certain characters, as well as writing engaging and cool stories for many of the others that weren’t written like a play or an epic poem.
    I think the classics round is a great experiment, and I plan to read, enjoy, and share the matches when I can (especially Gandalf vs. The Doctor), but I hope next year will bring in more modern characters again. Classic characters, I think, just don’t bring in the same emotional investment as those from more recent books with more active and passionate fans.

  • JOE

    I am mad. I was without power the whole time round one was going on, and now I’m back online and almost my whole bracket is messed up. Merlin can still win it though, he just wont be fighting against the person I thought he would, and that could change everything.

  • Max

    How about Suvudu call this the failure that it is and schedule a ‘contemporary’ cage match later this year.

    Scrap that, not a ‘failure’. Just label it ‘The Classic Cage Match’ and treat it as a bonus.

    Line up the ‘real’ cage match a few months from now and stand back and be amazed as voters grow from 300, to 3000!

  • Metacognition

    @ Logic: Either you’re new to these cage matches or you really want to see them play out as they should.
    Half the reason we’ve got a ‘Classic’ cage match this year is because the fan bases of popular series (WoT stands out) flooded the voting and just voted for their favorite character. Perrin, for example (and this is books 1-11 Perrin at best) won against opponents that should’ve wiped the floor with him, all because the fan base voted for him rather than be realistic. Moraine won last year and this was after she’d been drained of a good chunk of her ability to channel from her time stuck with the snakes and foxes.
    Fan base plays it’s part. The thing I like about the Classics is that it takes some of that power away. It’s not gone, as we have LotR and Dr Who fanbases to contend with, but they’re still there. It’s inevitable that we’ll have them, but it’s less likely that people will just vote for whom they like better in these Classical matches.

    My biggest complaint is that I’m not finding any new authors to read based off of these Matches. I found a few great series after the last one, but on this one, nothing.
    The ranking is a problem, but minor in compared to that, for me and I’ve heard this same sentiment echoed through here a few times.

  • Max


    The benefits of voters judging the outcome ‘seriously’ are irrelevant to this ‘Classic’ cage match. Look at the numbers. Overall, there are only a fraction of the voters of previous years. And just look at the spread; the fanboy favourites got far more votes (as per usual). As for the rest, apparently no one cares.
    The voting isn’t any more ‘serious’ than usual. The only difference is that the cage match has lost the vast majority of its participants.

    Congratulations Suvuvu.
    You got rid of most of the fanboys.

    Unfortunately you managed to get rid of just about everyone else as well.

  • Archon

    Well worth it, in my opinion… I recognize most of the posters still here and find them to be a far higher level of discussion than the flocks of fanboys that usually overwhelm these cagematches… obviously, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but give me quality over quantity anyday.

  • Jlingo

    @WoT4Ever: Quick Ben beat your lame WoT character so stifle your lame wrestling quotes and take the Rand and Justin Bieber posters off your wall….

  • Mythmatician

    I am a little surprised at the thought the Doctor would not win out in a cage match versus Gandalf. The Doctor has been in countless confrotations and wins every time. He never carries a weapon (save a sonic screwdriver) and has defeated every “baddie” you can think of. Mummies and Werewolves, Cybermen and King John, Daleks and the Devil. With four words he brought down a Prime Minister. The character uses wit and “timey-whimey” logic to win the day. Gandalf won’t stand a chance.

    Young Reinette: Monsieur, be careful!
    The Doctor: It’s just a nightmare, Reinette, don’t worry, everyone has nightmares. Even monsters under the bed have nightmares!
    Young Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
    The Doctor: Me!

  • Abyss

    The relative obscurity of some of the first round combatants was a bit offputting, but i’m pretty psyched for Round 2… the matchups are more interesting and there are enough ‘classic’ characters with modern connections (ie: The Thing, Smaug, gandalf, DrW) to stir up some debate.

  • WoT4Ever



    We’ve covered this already. There is quite compelling evidence to show that the only reason Quick Ben won was because of rampant cheating by the haters… and even then, he only beat the weakest character they’ve had from WoT… So, if a weak character from WoT can STILL make it to the finals and only lose due to obvious cheating, I’d still call that domination. You can trumpet an underhanded defeat of our “B” team all you want. You know we still dominate.

  • Max

    @ Meta
    The voting is not being taken any more seriously. Nothing has changed. The fanboy favourites are still dominating. The difference is that this time, no one cares about all of the others.
    Just look at the numbers.

    Congratulations Suvudu!
    You managed to get rid of most of the fanboys. Unfortunately, you also managed to drive off just about everyone else.

  • Metacognition

    @Mythmatician: Heh, I think you just described every good guy everywhere. They all overcome daunting obstacles all the time. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be main characters! 😛 I could say the same thing about Gandalf, so that’s not a very good argument for either side.
    Guess we’ll find out soon enough!

  • Metacognition

    Also, good point, Max. It’s really too bad too, some of those write ups were really well done too!

  • Archon

    It waaaay too early to say that the fanboy favorites are winning just because of fanboy favoritism… give it some time. Also, we have seen in the past that in a contest where there is a good debate about the aspects of the contestants, people on the fence can sometimes be swayed by a compelling argument, and swaying 50 votes in many of these matches might make a difference as opposed to the rabid fanboy matches where you could sway 50 votes and still lose by 1000.

  • Max

    @ Archon
    It’s not way too early to tell at all. There are barely any voters and the only ones that got more significant numbers were the fanboy favourites. As for the rest, it just looks like nobody cared.

    Quality over quantity only works if you already have a large enough sample size. You need interest to generate further interest. For those who value the ‘quality’ discussion over getting some real coverage, you might as well just run a cage match with a few close friends.

    The cage match should be diverse. It should should promote the well known, successful stories as well as introduce the participants to new and interesting ones.

    This year, Suvudu narrowed the focus and surprise, surprise… now there is only a fraction of the previous interest.

  • Rose

    I’m actually quite happy with the Classics cage match, because I happen to like the classics a lot and don’t care so much about the comments as the write-ups themselves, and I really love this year’s writeups, especially Grendel–Grendel should win because he has the power of iambic pentameter, sorta. It’s not actually iambic pentameter, but it’s close, and I can’t remember what it’s actually called. And I love the Merlin stuff, since they’re actually going with a classic version of Merlin instead of, say Disnified or the BBC version, either of which would have been really annoying. Suvudu is really providing top notch writeups this year, IMO, and that makes it okay.

    As to Wheel of Time, I’m not a fan, and I’m glad it’s not included this year, because it is included almost every year, and I think they should cut it out sometimes to introduce some less well-known series with equally incredibly powerful characters minus the enormous fanbase. (For instance, Jennifer Fallon’s Tide Lords–I’m always willing to plug Fallon on Suvudu…). Mr. Wot4ever, I know you’re a fan, and you have a right to be a fan, but you must admit that balefire plus lots of readers is a little unfair to everyone else, so give us a break once in a while. There are other really good books with really cool characters with really cool magic that could probably wipe the floor even with Rand al’Thor. Deal with it.

  • Archon

    @ Max


    1.) there were exactly 3 mid-level upsets in the first round… You ever watch the NCAA Tourney? (you know, the inspiration for this tourney)… That’s perfectly rational for a tourney like this. MAYBE in the ensuing rounds, we will see more extreme examples of upsets that might be indicative of rampant fanboyism… but maybe not… as I said… Too early. One thing I did NOT see is any post in any of the fights by you expressing how or why you thought that fight was going the worng way and why… If you disagree with the way fights are going, then do somehting more constructive than declare that the sky is falling with no real evidence… If you want to help people make informed votes, then help inform them.

    2.) “Quality” Sample size is completely arbitrary… For my own tastes, I would far rather have a discussion with 10 people about a tourney where 50% of the people have read at least 50% of the represented material than have a discussion with 1000 people where only about 10% of the people have even read 25% of the represented material. If you like full scale arguments where most of the people have almost no idea what they’re talking about, well, then you’ve enjoyed the last 3 years… not for me.

    3.) “The cage match should be” whatever the people presenting it want it to be. It’s not a real competition, it’s an imaginary excercise of hypotheticals dreamed up by the people who put it out there… If you want a cage match that will bring a whole bunch of young kids who have no interest in anything that was written before 1990, have at it… nobody is stopping you. If Suvudu’s main goal with these cagematches was just to generate as much interest and get as many people as possible involved, they would have a cage match with all WoT, SoIaF, MBotF, and maybe a couple other series that are far more popular today than the others… but that’s clearly not what they’re trying to do.

  • WoT4Ever

    @ Rose

    Sure, it is possible that somebody could write a book that says that characters in that universe are specifically immune to balefire and that they autokill anyone who can use the one true power with just a look… but such a book would undoubtably suck, and you would have to be able to write such a book so well that millions of people would enjoy reading it for years. That’s the greatness of WoT. They have characters more powerful than any other series, and it’s still written well enough that everyone still loves reading it. In any tournament, some contestants are simply more talented than others. It would be much easier for all of you if you simply realize that it just doesn’t get any better than WoT, and any WoT contestant they put into this tournament is just better than any other contestant they put in it… it would also be healthier. Hate puts a lot of stress on you and takes years off of your life. Now, I could understand them simply acknowledging that WoT is the champion, and having a second place tournament for everyone else, but instead they throw out this garbage “Classic” tournament to hide the fact that they just don’t want to see another WoT domination.

  • Metacognition

    @Archon: To be fair, I, at least, didn’t even see Round 1 until it was already done. I think they gave it 3 days of voting. I don’t recall if that’s what they did last year as well, but it at least SEEMED like we had more time to vote! Not a lot of call for debate when the voting was already done before we had a chance to react.

    That’s why I’m looking forward to these next rounds. They should generate some discussion and I’m looking forward to it. I really don’t know who I’m going to vote for in the Smaug vs Merlin match, so I’m hoping to be convinced one way or the other on that one.
    Truth be told, I was incredibly impressed with the write up for Smaug’s last match. While I don’t think a fall like that would be enough to take Smaug out, it gave me a new found respect for the Headless Horseman as a possible contender. If he had pulled an upset there, I wouldn’t have minded.

    @Rose: There’s a saying on the internet: Don’t feed the Trolls. This saying also holds for WoT4Ever. There’s no convincing him of anything dealing with WoT and he wouldn’t concede to WoT being anything less than perfection even if Jordan himself came back to life and told him differently. It’s just not worth your time, so don’t let him get to you.

  • Rudyralishaz

    I do find the idea of a classis match interesting even if I’m not sure about all of the contestants chosen (Tock seriously) it’s refreshing to see fewer people with personal axes to grind. Of course fewer people in general is not fun but it happens sometimes. I’ve gotten used to the abysmal seeding as it’s been going on all along. It just stinks to see two of the strongest taken out so early in the tournament. I do think it’s funny that the general slam is on the WoT fandom from earlier competitions with no mention of the ASoIaF fandom that repeatedly pushed vanilla mortals to the heights of the bracket oh well every group has to have the most popular kid that everyone hates. Still overall a fun new take even if I think it will be back to the usual or maybe even a new villain’s bracket next time. Come on Triffods for a George Mason run!

  • Rose

    @Metacognition: true that. It’s soooo tempting to argue though. 😉 I’m also strongly considering trolling him back in the most unbelievably unreasonable and obnoxious way I can think of, just for the heck of it.

  • Rose

    WoT4Ever, I’m not saying someone COULD write a book specifically aimed to construct characters immune to balefire and/or autokill WoT characters, though I personally think such a book would be hilarious just for the fact that someone bothered to write such a thing.

    I’m actually saying that I have read very very good books with believably more powerful characters than WoT, and dare I say I prefered the other author’s writing style to Jordan’s, since the story went someplace in fewer than a dozen books. There is a particular series I’m thinking of where the whole point is that these highly realistic characters are immortal and omnipotent, and there’s just no way to get rid of them whatsoever. I don’t think balefire would work because a) any serious attempt to remove these characters releases so much power the entire area/island/continent/even WORLD is threatened and b) they can feel other sorcerers coming and kill them from a distance by, for instance, throwing a volcano at them.

    (Spoilers if anyone wants to read Tidelords). Throughout the series, one of these all-powerful immortals is attempting to commit suicide (and failing miserably). At the end, they open a rift that destroys the entire planet but leaves the poor suicidal immortal unscathed. Rand al’Thor would not survive, I’m afraid. He has limits and needs air to breathe. These guys don’t. (And that’s okay because the entire point of the books was to demonstrate that a truly immortal and omnipotent foe is, in fact, impossible to get rid of–don’t kid yourself).

    BTW, most of us don’t really “hate” WoT per se, we’re just bored with it. It’s no better or worse in terms of characters and writing style than many series, but it drags on interminably, and in this cage match, WoT characters are predictable and therefore dull to read about.

  • Payne

    This year is just not catching me as much i mean the only person i truly love this yaer is dr who

  • WoT4Ever


    Thanks for illustrating my point… It’s completely non-relevant if somebody writes a story with epic characters if they don’t write it well enough to appeal to a lot of people. I’ve never even heard of Tidelords, and judging from the fact that they’ve never been represented in these tourneys, I’ll wager that these Suvudu people (who’s lives are all about this stuff) have never heard of it either. In order to dominate here, you have to have powerful characters AND a masterfully written series… take yourself to the store with your bubble-gum Tidelords and get your money back. Plus, Rand is Ta’veren, so the wheel would weave around your ridiculous god’s efforts to destroy him… but thanks for coming out… next.

  • Rose

    You never hear of them because it’s an Aussie author, and American publishers are down on Aussies. She’s one of the biggest names in fantasy in Australia. I like her books better than WoT, because the writing in WoT drags and because Rand has a boring personality (Mat was the only interesting one of the three main characters).
    I made it through most of WoT, ran out of steam half-way through book 10, and never finished. But I’m happy WoT exists because it draws more people to fantasy and ultimately to the authors I care about. Unless they’re elitists like you who apparently are not willing to compare the merits of any other story out there because the scope of the narrative and the extent of the fandom is less. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Also, is it more annoying to read trolling that’s just plain unreasonable ranting (“X is awesome!!!! I hate anything that isn’t X!!!”) or trolling that has been disguised by a veneer of intelectualism?

  • Rose

    I don’t know if Suvudu has read Tidelords specifically, but they are familiar with some of the author’s other books–they blogged about them, claiming that they deserved more fans. I mention Tidelords not because that’s her best series but because the powerful characters are the most realistic omnipotent immortals I’ve encountered.

  • WoT4Ever


    No accounting for taste, but to answer your question;

    Logic 101 says that if a point is made to support a conclusion, and that point cannot be proved invalid, it cannot be proved to be an irrational argument.

    A “troll” is someone who makes clearly baseless comments just to illicit a reaction.

    I am making rational points to support a conclusion, and I honestly don’t give a crap what your reaction is. Don’t hate just because you know I’m right.

  • Archon


    Here’s a point for you: There are no WoT characters in the tournament this year, and they seem to be your only interest in this tourney so…

    Here’s a conclusion: You shouldn’t really have any reason to be on the forums this year, especially since “you don’t give a crap” what we think.

    We got it… you don’t like the fact that there are no WoT characters in the tourney this year… understood… Bye.

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