The internet loves to pit characters against one another in hypothetical fights to see who would win. In the RPG sphere there are two characters that most often get debated. The Witcher series has master witcher Geralt of Rivia while Shadow of Mordor introduced us to Gondorian captain and wraith host Talion. But who would come out on top in a fight?
Geralt of Rivia belongs to an order of men whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill monsters. Taken at a young age to be trained, Geralt, like all witchers, underwent vigorous training and a series of mutations known as the Trail of the Grasses. These mutations left many aspiring Witchers dead but Geralt took to them better than most. Because of this, he was given further experimental trials that elevated him above the already high standards of other witchers.
Geralt is known as potentially the greatest swordsman in the Northern Kingdoms a has had plenty of opportunities to put those abilities to the test, against both terrifying monsters and the forces of man. He is armed with a steel sword for killing men and a silver sword for monsters. On top of this he has access to witcher signs that cast minor magical spells such as self shielding, fire and a ring that weakens spirits. He also has access to a variety of bombs, oils and potions to best adapt himself to any environment and opponent. After all, to a witcher, preparation is the difference between life and death.
All of this considered though, Geralt is still fundamentally human. His heightened senses and equipment are advantages but he has been shown to be beaten. His presumed death was not caused by some great beast or blademaster but by a peasant with a pitchfork. Other than his training and mutations he really isn’t anything special.
Talion on the other hand is a man merged with the powerful wraith of elf lord Celebrimbor. This gives him the ability to dominate minds, fire wraith arrows, move with unnatural speed and most of all, resist death.
But let’s take a step back. Talion is a man of Gondor who rose through the military ranks to become Captain of the Black Gate. Granted that this was during peace times but it was still a massive responsibility, basically setting him as the man in charge of Sauron’s domain. Such a job would only be given to Gondor’s best.
So take the best that natural humanity has to offer and combine him with an immortal ghost elf responsible for creating the rings of power and you have an unstoppable killing machine. Choosing to stay behind enemy lines in Mordor, Talion cuts down orcs and other foul beasts without mercy, single-handedly bringing the Dark Lords armies to its knees.
But the question is, who would win in an all or nothing duel?
Physically speaking, Geralt is the better combatant of the two. Talion might be the best that humanity has to offer but Geralt transcends the limitations of regular humans because of his mutation. If it was a match against Talion before the fall of the Black Gate then Geralt would win easily. He is stronger, faster, has better reflexes and can cast signs, not to mention his longer life meaning he has more experience.
Talion isn’t only a human any more though. With Celebrimbor’s wraith abilities, he can basically teleport short distances, move with great speed and keep fighting no matter how many times he is killed. These physical improvements to his combat abilities means that he can outmatch Geralt through raw power while also wearing him down in a war of attrition that Talion simply cannot lose due to his immortality. Even if Geralt got lucky it wouldn’t matter as Talion can try as many times as it takes.
Luckily for Geralt though, Witcher’s are no strangers to wraiths and have their own methods for bringing them down. His silver sword will deal more damage, especially when specter oil is applied. Moon dust bombs and the Yrden sign can slow the wraith’s movements and restrict its form, forcing Talion to rely on his own strength rather than that of his ethereal ally. Given preperation time, Geralt will come to the fight equipped to deal with Celebrimbor’s influence while Talion could do little to better adapt himself to the witcher.
A raven perched itself atop a bloated corpse, the body’s eyeballs ripe for the plucking. A battle had filled this rocky mountain pass only days before but now all was silent and empty. Not quite empty, the raven noted absently as its beak burrowed into flesh.
In the centre of the pass sat a white haired man, his legs crossed and his eyes closed. around him were half a dozen glass bottles while two swords glistened in the sun upon his back. It looked as though he had been there for some time. Geralt of Rivia. He was a famed witcher and a master swordsman.
Footsteps broke the silence as another man entered the pass. He was younger than the first and was armed only with a long sword and a broken blade that served duty as a dagger. Just like the other, he had the look of a man forged in hardships. Captain of Gondor, sole survivor of the Black Gate and blight of Mordor, Talion.
Talion noticed the white haired man but didn’t slow. Sensing his approach, Geralt opened his eyes and selected one of the vials. He drank from it, wincing as the liquid spilled down his throat. Black veins began to pulse across his skin. In the time it took for Talion to near him he had downed all but one of the potions.
“You must be my opponent then. Geralt of Rivia. Monster hunter,” Talion announced as they stood face to face with one another. Taking in the other man’s unnatural white hair, cat-like eyes and dark lines that crossed his skin, Talion frowned. “You look barely human yourself.”
Geralt gave a half laugh that lacked any real emotion. “Says the man merged with a wraith.” The wolf head medallion that hung from his neck vibrated and seemed to tug towards Talion.
Talion nodded his head. “True enough, I suppose. You and I are quite alike, aren’t we. It’s a shame we have to fight.”
“It is what it is,” Geralt said as he raised the last vial to his lips.
Blue light flooded his vision and the vial shattered. Almost faster than Geralt’s heightened senses could perceive, Talion had lashed out with his blade, the distinction between his own body and that of his wraith counterpart becoming completely blurred. He inhabited both realms simultaneously.
Geralt leapt back and drew his silver blade. Silver and steel clashed but Talion was faster than any mortal man, his blows relentless. Then he had vanished completely. The faintest of rustles behind him caused Geralt to spin just in time to block an incoming slash to his back.
Talion stepped in and out of the wraith world in rings around the witcher to keep his attention unfocused. Then, in the blink of an eye, he was atop a rocky outcrop with a ghostly bow in his hand. He drew back the string and release several arrows in quick succession.
Geralt’s hand moved and a yellow glow engulfed him. He rolled aside from the first arrow but wasn’t fast enough to dodge those that followed. They slammed into him but dissipated instantly in a wave of crackling energy. The shield faded but Geralt stood unharmed.
Talion warped straight down to the witcher, emerging even as he swung his blade. Geralt rolled, grabbing a handful of dust from the ground as he did, and flung it into Talion’s eyes. Talion drew upon Celebrimbor’s wraith vision almost instantly but Geralt had had just enough time to sketch a strange rune onto the ground.
A ring of purple light surrounded them. Talion lunged but faltered mid attack. There was no boost from Celebrimbor. His movements felt sluggish.
This ring saps at my strength, came the elven lord’s voice in Talion’s head. We must get out now.
Geralt had taken the offensive now. His blade danced in brutal arcs that Talion could only just defend against. The silver blade caught his arm and Talion an Celebrimbor hissed in pain in unison. Talion jumped back and ran from the ring, feeling Celebrimbor’s power flood back into him.
His blade rends through my spirit as surely as it slices your flesh. We cannot allow him to strike a wounding attack.
What exactly do you recommend then? He shields himself from my arrows and limits my speed when I get close.
I sense no greater power to him. He is but a man. If we can overpower him then we can end this before he can use his cheap tricks. His powers take time to cast and cost him energy of some kind. He cannot shield himself and cast that damned ring in quick succession.
So we overwhelm him before he can react. That sounds like a plan. Ready yourself. We will only get one chance at this.
Geralt was approaching them cautiously yet without fear. “My silver sword is designed for killing monsters. That includes your wraith friend. An application of specter oil makes it all the more deadly to his kind.”
“It’s a good job that my steel is more than enough to kill you.” Talion answered in a growl.
He inhaled deeply then attacked. Time seemed to slow as he loosed another volley of arrows. As expected, Geralt cast his shield, yellow energy rushing to meet the spectral blue arrows. Talion followed in their wake, his wraith form keeping pace with the projectiles. There was a flash as the arrows struck but the yellow lights was instantly veiled by a cloud of silver smoke.
Talion stumbled, his body forcefully returned to the realm of flesh. Pain lanced through him and he came to a sudden halt. He looked down to see the silver blade buried deep into his chest. He tried to call out to Celebrimbor but the elf didn’t answer.
Geralt withdrew the blade smoothly. Free from the support, Talion fell to his knees. The witcher wiped the sword clear of blood then sheathed it.
“Moondust bomb. Silver fragments weaken wraiths. No witcher relies only on his sword or signs.”
Talion collapsed face down into the dirt. Blood began to pool around the body.
“I hope you find rest,” Geralt said in a solemn tone before setting off alone down the dusty pathway.
There we have it. Geralt wins. Talion is faster and stronger but Geralt’s entire purpose is to hunt and kill creatures that are more dangerous then men. He is simple more versatile in his combat and came to the fight prepared to fight a wraith, limiting all of Talion’s wraith given advantages.
It isn’t impossible for Talion to win but the only situation where this would be the primary conclusion would be if they met on a chance encounter without any previous knowledge of each other. Geralt is no match for the Talion/Celebrimbor combo if he expects to be fighting a regular man. He’d be using the wrong sword and wouldn’t have wraith specific counters on hand like the spector oil and moondust bombs. Geralt is adaptable and he is a survivor but he would be lucky to walk away from the powerhouse that is an unrestrained Talion.
In a tournament type scenario though where combatants know their opponents and have time to prepare, Geralt will win every time. He has all bases covered and has so many modifiers in the shape of potions and gear that any of his weaknesses can be adequately covered.
So that’s that. Round one of the grand RPG tournament is over with Geralt of Rivia standing victorious.
Do you think I missed anything? Should the fight have gone another way? Who else would you like to see duke it out? Let me know in the comments.
5 thoughts on “Digital Duels: Talion (Shadow of Morder/War) vs Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series)”
Lotr wraiths have different rules.
Not an entirely unjustified result, but I would consider another possibility equally plausible. In your scenario, we see that Geralt prepared very specifically for the fight against Talion, but Talion took no apparent precautions.
Alternate scenario: Starts out the same way, with Talion approaching Geralt as the Witcher downs his potions… Then, thundering behind Talion, two branded graugs, followed by a pack of half a dozen branded caragors, and perhaps a small company of branded Uruk enter at his flank. Geralt is now faced by the wraith-empowered Talion and the small army at his command.
Could Geralt survive this? Even come out on top? Maybe. He is a well trained monster hunter, after all. However, he is also but a man, and he can be overrun with superior numbers. As you noted, he was once done in by a peasant with a pitchfork. I think if Talion also prepared, specifically using his ability to brand and command beasts and Uruk, Geralt could be overwhelmed and Talion would likely emerge the victor.
I think your scenario is perfectly plausible, especially as a first engagement where Talion hadn’t prepared quite so well as Geralt. Perhaps a sequel scenario where the recently defeated (and promptly resurrected) Talion reengages Geralt would end with the Witcher pinned down by caragors until Talion could take his head.
Given that Talion could repeat this fight indefinitely, I think at the end of it all, perhaps even after multiple defeats at the blade of the Witcher, Geralt would be dead and Talion would carry on fighting.
I do agree that Geralt had the edge due to preparation here. My thinking though is that it’s literally part of his job to be prepared. Especially ‘game’ Geralt, who isn’t burdened by having to carry everything. He has a tool/potion suitable for taking down anything he could possibly face, while Tallion has much more limited equipment. If Tallion came prepared with a host of beasts then the results could very well have been different, though Geralt’s signs could deal with a certain number.
As for Tallion’s respawn, I equated together the properties of wraiths in SoM and The Witcher since both properties contain them. Geralt has been shown to have the ability to kill wraiths, so it isn’t unreasonable to assume that he could ‘banish’ Celebrimbor, severing his tie with Tallion and thus preventing a respawn. That was my thought process anyway.
Thanks for the indepth comment. It was an interesting counterpoint.
what about post shadow of war Tallion who is undead and has those powers by himself without relying on Celebrimbor?
Sorry but, talion is a monster and he destroyed geralt. Talion is OP.