Thursday, June 30, 2016

Strike Class Comparisons

The Strike Class has always been my favorite, but for a long time it was limited to two (incredibly cool) dragons. Now, thanks to the new Netflix series Race To The Edge, the Strike Class has doubled in number. The two new dragons are the Snow Wraith and the Triple Stryke. However, as much as I love the new dragons, I do confess that I don’t always agree with dragonpedia on how it distributes stats. For instance, Toothless shoots far past his set shot limit in the first movie when battling the Red Death (and don’t even get me started on his battle with the Bewilderbeast). Also, the new Triple Stryke is shown as having no venom… while at the same time the site claims it has three different kinds of poison in its tail. I appreciate the dragonpedia a ton… I just don’t always agree with it. So, I’ve had a fun little idea. I love comparative vertebrate anatomy, and I love dragons, so I am going to do my best to compare these four deadly dragons to one another. I must confess I will probably be biased, and I don’t expect you all to agree with me, but I am going to do my best to be objective. Ha, my younger brother has already claimed that in my system of stats, Toothless would come out on top of everything. He’s not too far off… but click the read more if you want to see my full thoughts on how these Strike Class dragons match up.


4th: The Triple Stryke. Due to it’s large head and somewhat small wings, along with it’s shell like armor, I just don’t see the Triple Stryke as being a very fast flier. It’s strengths lie elsewhere, and I would put it in a solid last place for this stat. I can’t give you a guess on how fast it would go, but I would imagine it could keep up with a Deadly Nadder. I have no proof of this; I’m coming to this conclusion simply by looking at the dragons body design.

3rd: The Snow Wraith. Although the Snow Wraith is clearly fast, we’ve never seen it advertised as being able to fly toe to toe with a Night Fury, and that is a fact that has constantly been enforced about the Skrill. The Snow Wraith does have large wings and powerful looking shoulders, and in the episodes it is able to blast through snow storms at quite a clip. However, it is a relatively large dragon, and it is bulkier than the Skrill and the Night Fury. This added weight would assumably slow it down.

2nd: The Skrill. With a phenomenal weight and wing to body ratio, the Skrill is the only dragon that has been shown to really give Toothless a run for his flying speed. It is said to become even faster in thunder storms, catching the forks of lighting and riding them down onto unsuspecting foes. The Skrill has large wings, a relatively streamline and balanced body, and strong shoulders. It is also a clearly energetic, ferocious creature that puts every ounce of it’s energy into chasing down it’s prey, so I believe it is still solidly in second place when it comes to speed in the dragon world.

1st: The Night Fury. I’m hoping this one isn’t much of a shocker. The Night Fury’s wing to body ratio is practically double that of any of the fast dragons. His forewings are massive, and his body is compact, streamline, and extremely muscular. One simply has to look at his shoulders to get an idea of how fast he can move. He has no frills or spines to cause wind resistance, and his extra pairs of gliding and steering wings allow him to devote his largest, strongest wings to the single purpose of ripping him forward through the air. We’ve seen Toothless dive alongside a falling Hiccup (who at terminal velocity would probably reach about 150 mph), so we can safely assume Toothless can dive at at least that speed. As was said when the first movie information first described the Night Fury, it is the dragon that can fly highest, fastest, and longest. It still hasn’t lost that record.


4th: The Snow Wraith. Being bulky and relying for wings to walk on does not help this dragon. I think it is safe to assume it is the slowest and most awkward when on the ground.

3rd: The Skrill. I am sure this dragon is by no means slow on his feet, but he still does have to use his wings as his forearms. This is unfortunate, because unlike the Night Fury he cannot use his wings to push his quickly forward while also using his forearms to run. 

2nd: The Triple Stryke: Ok, I can totally see that some people would disagree with me on this one, and if you do I am totally ok with that. I don’t think there is much of a speed difference between the Triple Stryke and the Night Fury, but I do honestly still think the Night Fury would be faster and more balanced on his feet. The reason is that Toothless did manage to dodge and outmaneuver Sleuther when they were both stuck in the ring, and they were both moving very fast. The other thing I have to point out is that quadrupedal animals are almost always faster than bipedal ones. Take a look at the fastest land animal. The cheetah is fast because it is small, light, and it can use it’s spine in combination with it’s fore and hind legs to yank itself across the ground at terrific speeds. Toothless is shown moving a lot like this in the first movie. Because the Triple Stryke is bipedal, it is a very athletic, very fast dragon, but I still think it is a little slower than a Night Fury.

1st: The Night Fury. As I said before, being quadrupedal is a huge advantage when it comes to ground speed. Toothless also can use his wings to force himself forward while he is running, and we saw him do that when he tried to attack Astrid in the first film. He’s terrifyingly quick on his feet, and he was able to outmaneuver even the deadly Triple Stryke for a while when they were head to head in the arena. So, though I could concede that it is certainly possible that the Triple Stryke is faster, I hold to my opinion that the Night Fury is the fastest Strike Class dragon on the ground.


4th: The Skrill. Unfortunately, long thin jaws don’t help the Skrill much in this. These jaws are great for quick movements and catching small objects (like fish… or people…), but they are not good for clamping down and doing damage.

3rd: The Night Fury. The Night Fury is similar in size to the Skrill, it just has a more compact head. This leads me to conclude that it would have a slightly stronger biting force. We’ve seen Toothless slice pretty effortlessly through fish, and I wouldn’t be surprised it he could take someone’s arm off without too much effort.

2nd: The Triple Stryke. This dragon has a very Tyrannosaurid like head, and these creatures are speculated to have had some of the strongest bite forces in history. The Triple Stryke has large teeth, a large, broad mouth, and a noticeably large skull. These things together lead me to think that it would have a terrific bite force.

1st: The Snow Wraith. Out of all the blunt, compact, muscled heads in the Strike Class, this one wins out. It’s large tusks look perfect for crushing right into hard objects, and much like a tiger or pit-bull this dragon has a very blunt, strong looking skull.


4th: The Snow Wraith: Though it is the biggest Strike Class dragon, it is also the most awkward. It’s blunt build doesn’t offer much opportunities for lashing out at other dragons, and compared to the super lethal builds of the other three dragons, the Snow Wraith looks to me like it would lose by a pretty large factor.

3rd: The Skrill. This would be a close call, but I feel that it would be in third mostly due to it’s lack of arms. Arms are phenomenal. You just can’t beat good arms. The Skrill must rely on it’s wings for attack, but this means it cannot use them for movement when trying to lash out with them. It’s also means that it’s primary forward attacking appendages are somewhat fragile and covered in thin, unarmored skin. However, the Skrill certainly does have it’s advantages. It has long, sword like claws on it’s wings, and a blow from it’s incredible tail spines could possibly puncture the vital organs of another dragon, ending the fight then and there.

2nd: The Night Fury. Toothless is an extremely capable fighting machine. Even when pinned on his back by Hookfang in the first movie, he is easily able to best the larger dragon. His forearms moves at blinding speed, and when you watch him strike down the Vikings in the Kill Ring, it is obvious that he is very strong and fast. When he fights in the arena in the RTTE episode “Stryke Out” he is able to slam larger dragons into the stone walls and outmaneuver them to land multiple blows. The large spines on the back of his arms are also probably as deadly as they look. He has the advantage of being small and fast, yet at the same time strong and intelligent. He is able to hold his own and win against much larger dragons. His low slung chest, strong neck, blazing speed, and freely moving arms and jaws makes him an incredibly deadly dragon.

1st: The Triple Stryke. I know some people might point out that Toothless eventually soundly defeated Sleuther, however I do want to point out that he did so once he started gunning him down with blasts of fire. I don’t think the Triple Stryke is much deadlier in close combat than Toothless or the Skrill, but I do think he would have the edge. His bipedal stance and long tail give him great balance. He also has deadly looking pincers on his forearms. Probably the most impressive thing about the Triple Stryke is it’s nimble, almost martial-art like fighting style. It uses it’s head as a counterweight for its deadly tail in order to perform extremely deadly flips, slamming it’s tail down into the opponent with huge force. It can spin, curl, roll, and even constrict it’s opponents. Then you have the final, defining factor that seals this dragon in first place: venom. It’s triple tails are bad enough, considering it gives this dragon two extra appendages to wield in a tussle, but when you add three different kinds of poison to these tails, that’s when things get really ugly. One tail has venom that immobilizes the victim, making the limbs go numb. The second tail has venom that causes confusion and even hallucinations. The third tail has a venom that causes terrible, burning pain. Think of what would happen if stung by all three. You’d have an unlucky dragon on the ground, unable to move, and having crazed visions fueled by the sensation of unbearable pain. Game set, match.


3rd: The Triple Stryke. Now, this isn’t exactly fair… since I’ve never seen this dragon’s blast, but I am going to assume it takes third place. The dragonpedia says it has very bright blasts that blind it’s enemies, and that is cool because it can use that well with it’s devastating close combat skills. However, the blast does not sound very deadly… and if the Triple Stryke has a very dangerous blast, it is odd that we never saw it use it to defend itself.

2nd: The Snow Wraith. From what we’ve seen of this icy dragon’s blast, they seem pretty destructive. However, they have never been shown giving huge amounts of damage, and I don’t think they are as dangerous as the blasts of the other two Strike Class dragons.

1st: Tie— Night Fury/Skrill. Yes, this is sort of a cop out! It’s just that both dragons have incredibly lethal blasts… some of the most lethal in the dragon world; however, the blasts are very different. The Skrill’s blast completely penetrates armor, sort of homes in, is extremely fast, and has a good chance to one hit kill it’s target. This thing literally shoots lightning, and that is terrifically impressive. However, the lighting blasts do very little damage to non-organic structures, and unless they stop the heart of their target, the target may be able to shake of the gut wrenching feeling of having one’s organs electrocuted and continue to fight. Toothless’s blast DO do huge amounts of damage to whatever target they hit. Whether it be dragons (The Red Death gets blown completely over, the Bewilderbeast loses a tusk…) people, or structures, the acetylene-oxygen bolt packs an incredible punch. I’m not sure… but I almost feel like movie Toothless’s fire might kill another dragon if shot directly into them. We’ve seen Toothless’s fire annihilate stone towers and melt straight through the iron bars of the Kill Ring. The blast is explosive, fast, accurate, and extremely hot. Even if it does not kill it’s target in one hit… the target is not going to shake it off. So, the two blasts are very different. One ignores armor and has a good chance to drop it’s target in its tracks, the other deals massive damage quickly and accurately. I’m just not sure which one I would say is “better”… because they are both incredibly lethal in slightly different ways.

4th: The Triple Stryke. Since the dragon does not appear to attack from the air with precise shots, and since it’s eyes are small and not near the front of it’s head, I think it is safe to say that it would have the most limited vision. Now… I still think it’s vision would be very sharp, but it just doesn’t need the long distance precision of the other Strike Class dragons.

3rd: The Skrill. The Skrill also has small eyes, but it needs good vision for it’s kind of attacks. It also has eyes near the front of it’s head, which will give it good binocular vision. However, since lightning almost homes in on it’s targets, it is understandable why the Skrill would not need to have the best vision. Plus, big eyes are a big target when in close combat, so these small eyes have advantages of their own.

2nd: The Night Fury. Huge eyes help the Night Fury see in the pitch black. This, along with sonar, makes Toothless extremely accurate in the dark. For years the Vikings claimed that a Night Fury never, ever missed. It would be hard to look at Toothless’s (gorgeous, green) eyes and not to come to the conclusion that he has absolutely stellar vision. The are right at the front of his face, with no horn or other obstructions. He would have perfect binocular vision, giving him great depth perception. 

1st: The Snow Wraith. Infrared vision and somewhat large eyes make the Snow Wraith come out on top of this category. Infrared works in almost all conditions… and though it has some drawbacks, it allows this dragon to see things no other dragon can. After all, infrared can see where a person has walked, it can gaze into certain containers, and it can pick out foes in pitch black or in fog. If the target moves and breaths, there is a good chance the Snow Wraith can see it.


4th: The Snow Wraith. This dragon never really seems to display massive intelligence. In fact, it loses Snotlout in the snow even when it is right on top of him. I understand that it has thermal vision… but it lives in the snow! It should be able to figure this out. 

3rd: The Triple Stryke. This dragon does appear to be very intelligent. It has cunning tactical abilities in combat, but at the same times it displays complex, almost mammalian levels of emotion. It is a lot like Toothless in this. It is fierce, and devotes a lot of intelligence to it’s battling, but when it is given the opportunity to relax itself, it is kind and expressive.

2nd: The Skrill. Now, this is probably complete bias. I could agree with someone who would place the Triple Stryke over the Skrill. After all… as far as I can remember we have never really seen the Skrill display huge amounts of intelligence in the series. However, my gut reason for placing it in second is that the Skrill has ALWAYS been portrayed as the sort of anti-Night Fury. It’s been described many times as the dragon that can go toe-to-toe with the Night Fury, and that leads me to assume it is very smart. It certainly has deadly predatorily intelligence. It learns from mistakes, as we can see when it refuses to reenter the iceberg. We do also see it singlehandedly battle off the teens and their dragons for an extended period of time, and we know the Skrill can hold a five year grudge and hunt down Hiccup and Toothless. We also see that the Skrill is capable of feeling forgiveness, as it leaves Hiccup and Toothless when they spare him from the ice. I do confess this isn’t a ton of evidence, but I still do think the Skrill is smart… we just haven’t seen it act incredibly smart.

1st: The Night Fury. Ha, I’ve written whole posts over how smart Toothless is. He’s pretty much in a class all to his own. He’s got great predatory and fighting instincts, and he battles with a wild mix of ferocity and analytical strategy. However, this is not where we see Toothless’s smarts shine the most. Where we see his intelligence truly displayed is in his interactions with people. He’s able to imitate expressions, mock speech, copy actions, and express himself very clearly. I don’t know how much language he understands, but he certainly can pick up on what people are feeling and what they intend. His intelligence almost certainly played a crucial part in his breaking out of the Red Rage. He’s incredibly empathic, able to feel deep love and affection… as well as to understand complex concepts like forgiveness and friendship. He’s wonderfully intelligent… not in just a human way, but in his own special, dragonish type of thinking. 


4th: The Triple Stryke. Unfortunately this dragon gets forth place by default. We’ve never seen the Triple Stryke utilize an environment. That is a defining factor the Strike Class, so it is odd that this dragon doesn’t fit in. I could see it possibly hiding under sand or in sandstorms, whipping out it’s tails and stinging targets. That would feel pretty Strike Class like. However, this is purely my imagination, and we have never been given any evidence of this. Even if it is the case, deserts are not very common around Berk, so it seems like the Triple Stryke doesn’t win out in any circumstance.

3rd: The Snow Wraith. This dragon uses snow storms for cover, and it is clearly very dangerous inside of them. It is practically invisible, and it’s prey is already freezing to death. Plus, snowstorms are common up in the areas around Berk, so this dragon is given ample opportunity to use the environment to it’s advantage.

2nd: The Skrill. Thunderstorms may or may not be as common as snowstorms, but they are certainly deadlier when the Skrill is in them. While the snowstorm may slowly freeze opponents to death, the Skrill can and does guide lightning strikes directly into it’s hapless foes. This gets the job a done a lot quicker than frostbite. Lightning and strong winds are dangerous enough without a dragon in the middle of them. Plus, when in a lightning storm the Skrill gets quite a super charge, making it even deadlier.

1st: The Night Fury. The Night Fury has a huge advantage in that it’s preferred environment is available anywhere. Besides that, it is dark for about ten to twelve hours of every day, which is bad news if you are wanting to avoid being dive bombed by a Night Fury. The jet black scales and dive bombing technique of the Night Fury made it the terror of the village of Berk for years and years. It was almost unstoppable, and it happened practically every night. Though two other Strike Class dragons use weather to their advantage, the Night Fury wins out just be sheer coverage. After all, it’s kind of hard to run from the dark… while avoiding blizzards and thunderstorms is at least possible.

So, that's my take on these four dragons and how they match up. Obviously, I could be wrong on a lot, and I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this. I may have also missed some important categories, and if you think up any and would like my opinion on them, feel free to ask. However these dragon's line up, one thing is clear: They are all Strike Class for a reason. They are clever, fast, mysterious, and dangerous. I'm just excited that we are getting to see more of them. 

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