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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) Empty Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends)

on April 10th 2020, 11:19 am
This is the current one. The old one is too cramped and so future posts will be in this thread.


Following my recent Vader respect thread, I thought I'd go back and tackle the heart of the Vader lowballing: his alleged "poor showings" during duels. I aim to cover the most controversial of Vader's "low" showings, one at a time.


In the past, Vader’s fight on Kessel was used to lowball him and critique him as a sub-par combatant. Thankfully, that is no longer the case due to the hard work of other debaters over the years. However, I don't think Vader's showings in this fight get enough recognition, most likely due to it being a fairly minor fight in terms of importance and a lack of consideration of the context (e.g. Vader's abilities at this point, the identities of the Jedi he fought, and so on). This post aims to establish not only why this is not something that Vader should be mocked for, but also why it is actually an incredibly impressive feat for him.



This blog will cover several areas: Vader's abilities, his mental state, the opponents he fought, the fight itself, and will conclude with some final statements. I hope you enjoy.


The rest will be coming in the next couple of months (whenever my exams end up happening). The Ben Kenobi vs Vader fight is my next priority, and should be completed very soon. 



Part 1: Vader’s abilities at this point



To begin, it is important to stress for the purposes of this section that Purge #1 takes place around a month after Revenge of the Sith. With the declaration of Order 66 in 16:5, Purge takes place in 16:6:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) Qgjh_cBme9LscEKqyqkzr5b69S168jvKBFACXlJiKWPYE2Oq4dTGdGO_aNBxSsMJHwlARaxSzZahdKQgPe8dNj4Kq9mmysCBPmOOLspD-91DJYmk-3_eHBbrsNw4YwjFlNmSBaM_



This is particularly significant due to Vader’s physical state at this point. In The Rise of Darth Vader, Vader goes into considerable detail regarding his body at this point in time:


Spoiler:



Where Darth Sidious had gained everything, Vader had lost everything, including—for the moment, at least—the self-condence and unbridled skill he had demonstrated as Anakin Skywalker.



Vader turned and moved for the hatch.



But this is not walking, he thought. Long accustomed to building and rebuilding droids, supercharging the engines of landspeeders and starfighters, upgrading the mechanisms that controlled the rest of his artificial limbs, he was dismayed by the incompetence of the medical droids responsible for his resurrection in Sidious’s lofty laboratory on Coruscant. His alloy lower legs were bulked by strips of armor similar to those that lled and gave form to the long glove Anakin had worn over his right-arm prosthesis. What remained of his real limbs ended in bulbs of grafted esh, inserted into machines that triggered movement through the use of modules that interfaced with his damaged nerve endings. But instead of using durasteel, the medical droids had substituted an inferior alloy, and had failed to inspect the strips that protected the electromotive lines. As a result, the inner lining of the pressurized bodysuit was continually snagging on places where the strips were anchored to knee and ankle joints. The tall boots were a poor fit for his artificial feet, whose claw-like toes lacked the electrostatic sensitivity of his equally false fingertips. Raised in the heel, the cumbersome footgear canted him slightly forward, forcing him to move with exaggerated caution lest he stumble or topple over. Worse, they were so heavy that he often felt rooted to the ground, or as if he were moving in high gravity. What good was motion of this sort, if he was going to have to call on the Force even to walk from place to place! He may as well have resigned himself to using a repulsor chair and abandoned any hope of movement. The defects in his prosthetic arms mirrored those of his legs. Only the right one felt natural to him—though it, too, was artificial —and the pneumatic mechanisms that supplied articulation and support were sometimes slow to respond. The weighty cloak and pectoral plating so restricted his movement that he could scarcely lift his arms over his head, and he had already been forced to adapt his lightsaber technique to compensate. 



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What’s more, the sleeves of the bodysuit didn’t hug the prostheses as they should, and the elbow-length gloves sagged and bunched at his wrists. Gazing at the gloves now, he thought: This is not seeing. The pressurized mask was goggle-eyed, short-mouthed, short snouted, and needlessly angular over the cheekbones. Coupled with a aring dome of helmet, the mask gave him the forbidding appearance of an ancient Sith war droid. The dark hemispheres that covered his eyes ltered out light that might have caused further injury to his damaged corneas and retinas, but in enhanced mode the half globes reddened the light and prevented him from being able to see the toes of his boots without inclining his head almost ninety degrees. Listening to the servomotors that drove his limbs, he thought: This is not hearing. The med droids rebuilt the cartilage of his outer ears, but his eardrums, having melted in Mustafar’s heat, had been beyond repair. Sound waves now had to be transmitted directly to implants in his inner ear, and sounds registered as if issuing from underwater. Worse, the implanted sensors lacked sucient discrimination, so that too many ambient sounds were picked up, and their distance and direction were difficult to determine. Sometimes the sensors needled him with feedback, or attached echo or vibrato effects to even the faintest noise. Allowing his lungs to ll with air, he thought: This is not breathing. Here the med droids had truly failed him. From a control box he wore strapped to his chest, a thick cable entered his torso, linked to a breathing apparatus and heartbeat regulator. The ventilator was implanted in his hideously scarred chest, along with tubes that ran directly into his damaged lungs, and others that entered his throat, so that should the chest plate or belt control panels develop a glitch, he could breathe unassisted for a limited time. 



-



Already he had experienced moments of claustrophobia—moments of desperation to be rid of the suit, to emerge from the shell. He needed to build, or have built, a chamber in which he could feel human again … If possible. All in all, he thought: This is not living. This was solitary confinement. Prison of the worst sort. Continual torture. He was nothing more than wreckage. Power without clear purpose … A melancholy sigh escaped the mouth grille. Collecting himself, he stepped through the hatch.



-




Without revealing his distress at being unable to maintain the kneeling posture, Vader said: “What are your orders, Master?” 





(Source: Rise of Darth Vader).






As you can see above, Vader at this point is little more than a barely moving carcass. From tall boots that were an “ill fit for his artificial feet” and which “canted him slightly forward, forcing him to move with exaggerated caution lest he stumble or topple over” to hearing that “registered (sounds) as if issuing from underwater” and made “distance and direction...difficult to determine”, Vader is incredibly hindered by his prosthetics at this point. While they offer him great strength and even greater durability, they are slow, uncomfortable, sluggish and foreign to a Vader who still thinks like Anakin to an extent at this point.



To give you an idea of how these prosthetics limited Vader even further: beyond having to “adapt his lightsaber technique to compensate”, Vader expresses frustration at how these cybernetics actually hinder him at this point, claiming that he’ll have to call on the Force even to walk from place to place”. At this point in time, Vader struggles to even move from one side of the room to another.



Now, why is this significant? Simple: Around this point in time (1 month post-ROTS), Vader attacked the conclave at Kessel with all of these limitations, hindrances, and physical ailments...and still performed incredibly well (more on that later).




Vader’s mental state



I’ve briefly covered that above, but I plan to elaborate on it here. First, Vader had almost no confidence left in his abilities:




Spoiler:



Where Darth Sidious had gained everything, Vader had lost everything, including—for the moment, at least—the self-confidence and unbridled skill he had demonstrated as Anakin Skywalker.





(Source: Ibid).






After his humiliating defeat on Mustafar, Vader feels trapped, isolated and like a stranger in his own body. Unlike Anakin, who had boundless confidence that bordered on arrogance, Vader has completely lost that and is building himself back up from the lowest point he has ever reached. 



What’s worse, is that Vader was even unsure about his place within the Force:




Spoiler:



While he retained his knowledge of the Jedi arts, he felt uncertain about his place in the Force; and while he had taken his first steps toward awakening the power of the dark side, he felt uncertain about his ability to sustain that power. How far he might have been now had fate not intervened to strip him of almost everything he possessed, as a means of remaking him




(Source: Ibid).




Interestingly, Vader is consumed by self-doubt and uncertainty. Vader has, for all intents and purposes, cut himself off from accessing anything even remotely comparable to what he could wield as his Knightfall or Mustafar. As we’ve seen before, even small seeds of doubt can massively impact a Force user’s abilities:



The Hero of Tython: “Malgus’s lightsaber form was flawless, but he let anger and desperation cloud his fighting. He faltered, and I followed through.”



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The Voidhound: “There I was, blaster in hand, sidestepping Force attacks, when Malgus lost his cool. But not me. I took the shot, and that’s all she wrote.”



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) Ripn69b9hHMpJ9I-6jXXQtRyx_LSSfA5Y_yCIOPIDS-A4P3bhwA52Ex_NNZ0H7a7SGMtvojVChDHbobdKIF8jCrW5lp-SN2AirZTjEd_x767hGYS_jL6zj3rfMjdMhlBsxC8nHbJ



In the case of Malgus, this doubt and uncertainty made him vulnerable to Force attacks and knockbacks, where before the strike team had been completely unable to phase him with them:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) LV3maOBlRyiVuj8ZekT0E7zFFEgyj6J2vku7QsxivWmuCEhAIYOff9gz0wLFubMQmqFMqAK-kDSn2PenJhF1motNoD9c0CIc32KvQK2AoMiEIQosIu9FivJzL8xasyGYlam9q3T3



(Source: Youtube - https://youtu.be/2B8Nv_mZPtg?t=3858 )



As both these examples show, doubt and uncertainty can massively impede a Force user as powerful and masterful as Malgus, giving the strike team the opening they needed just to knock him off the walkway. 



As this suggests, Vader would have been emotionally hindered and unable to bring his full strength to bear at this point, feeling clumsy, cumbersome and like a cripple. 



The Jedi



This section will be brief in order to give you a sense of the power and skill levels of the Jedi Vader faced at the mine.



First up is the leader, Shadday Potkin. A Jedi Master, she was responsible for gathering all of the Jedi and luring them to the mine in order to ambush Vader. She was shown to be knowledgeable and cunning, acquiring a cortosis blade to disrupt Vader’s lightsaber and believing that only all of the Jedi together could take down Vader.



Next is probably the most prominent of the Jedi: Master Tsui Choi. Choi was a prominent figure in the Order as early as the Yinchorri Uprising in 33 BBY, and was part of Adi Gallia and Eeth Koth’s team that broke into one of their bases and stole a ship. His most impressive accolade is that he was being considered for the Jedi Council:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) 9WwZei6DByOkmM5qxLrNGBQiZrfe-z4qdpo8iXJVKLgR6BppvITgqseNocsFPBfUMz-X1W7SpV5tJqDAs44tl1RPkbLE9AO9SSi3rNzaP6qHCK7cKPm2phg_f3A3EHlfxKLUhz1Y



(Source: Insider #87)



Third is Bultar Swan, a Jedi knight who not only fought in and survived Petranaki Arena (indicating a great amount of skill even before the Clone wars began and she grew and became more battle hardened, as out of the 212 Jedi who entered the arena, only around 30 survived and she had only been recently knighted) but also received additional training from Plo Koon himself:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) 11lAX63At7gvy5eYGFys_9D7GMSWyu6P4ioq9I8uy6bxHEYXI0SbhF7PVBj5q0DvLaAV7XVJ_SRFC7gXFuZP0yyGECqmTdmf0jPYJWa11bRlEhVplCkNqa7gtslWxgxcoahA5AA_



(Source: Ibid).



She also apparently became a Jedi Master some time prior to the end of the War.



Next up is Koffi Arana. Another Jedi Master, he survived the first wave of the Purge and went underground.



Roblio Darté was another Jedi Master. A veteran of the Clone Wars, he constructed an unusual crossguard lightsaber and used it to great effect.



Jastus Farr, another Jedi Master and veteran of the Clone Wars.



Sia-Lan Wezz, a Jedi Knight. At the age of 13, she engaged and defeated several members of a terrorist organisation on Coruscant known as the Flail. She also joined the resistance group on Naboo to fight back against the Trade Federation’s control, and was part of a group that thwarted a Separatist assassination of Alastar Treen. This group was so effective, that they received orders directly from the Jedi Council and the Chancellor’s office, an accolade only a few individuals can boast of. 



The final Jedi is the most impressive of them all. Master Ma’kis’shaalas, a Nikto Jedi from Kintan. Ma’kis’s is also a Morgukai, a culture where male warriors are trained from birth, who have even been stated to potentially be a match for Jedi knights:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) HcE3GWj8NnNJbgGV_XiZVneqR7wt3d9FBmbrZuPad2XZYS0A1c5rx4L0Nnmw23H08P_4y-J_ezqV-QiGbnNzPnnGqkawzeq3_n3w_DsZMRGSiAKA_jSmEyuVxqH0UAKrarn2TRYx



(Source: Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds)



Even more interesting is that a Morgukai with the Force can become “unstoppable”, given time:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) PnS-oVgvAHA2I9YCOmGNU-pjqmHF7RXKEYOGBZku_7wEO9a9Jaxq2vrMgamONarn1zuotUfNfdh-Z1LAU5wPXZCCCe_QGydjWDvW9li-G5smw5qpBrcfhUj8cLojmc7geW8ezdBp


(Source: Ibid)



What is even more impressive is Ma’kis’shaalas’ string of accolades, which include being described as one of the most brutal combatants in the Jedi Order:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) SRxvTRvgfgrmeXty3TrkaWJNV3ZBFyOp9xajh68lYT7OH4N3XQSJJ8tA1sxr86t3elgVR4HaTbKoe8M6lJYo-tslMca9sWIGUvH82IjwN40q-MMSgMMQKT9Lkq5b4CX4EM9yzgby



(Source: Ibid)



As if this wasn’t enough, he was also considered one of the greatest Morgukai warriors of all time, as well as the fastest, most perceptive and keenest hunter they’d trained: 



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) YNIx8003nYQAV2T0uSFeko_7Fnl4oaHRI1KRIhmjSnnmupxM2nkQBhXmkp4PGGklKq71IE4JdYAuf7CFE5yBgAjduMYM3bas10ZK5ChCSh0g2xQ3xqWyXtBjy3T8TZKn2ZioCho_



(Source: Ibid)



To clarify, Ma’kis’shaalas benefits from a quote defining him as among the greatest of the Morgukai (a group of warriors where an average one could potentially match a Jedi Knight) before he even became a Jedi. He then became “one of the most brutal combatants of the Jedi Order” by the very beginning of the Clone Wars, and then had 3 years of constant warfare and battle to become even more lethal and powerful. 



The fight



First, it’s important to establish that Shadday Potkin had been planning this ambush for quite some time, gathering as many masters and knights as she could and believing that Vader would be too powerful for any one of them individually, but together they could triumph:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) _khUpyZ_ig6hdoE9AFjNjGbIuqrBHSM6QdcjGcnmoYszs5Zy0P9Bi0esjC8JzhNY6Gmejz0lGwXJaaNmojZFTR_A12TLF_PO6I3YJzApheoOVurZyuygJTAf7at_FNpy1mIHmX_e



Vader enters the room by blasting apart a mining door that is pressurised to keep in breathable air like it was made out of cardboard:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) Gdin7gpFT_9-_Lo_VgR6SV04PRauCOVbIFkzz6t5Lw2Qo647asRbPN4VgWrjXe9tGdj8yG1Ku4439Avsfoy2qXsCSmq4043e0k7HNCCS-MuOlXzV6NI9AgkyqSHaR1Dr1J1O5UQr



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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) EU8cWGygz-hPId6X3m5E393PNobVbsFGpdf2g1gbD-3VspeiCmDzepalrQ5ChcO4_R2c1nJXzKZcN5vUscbFZMAtCj_8P0pRoJbsn7VHYUNOAwy67uh-e7xkfxjXnA5MwcFlV0PC



The first to attack is Sia-Lan Wezz, whose accolades are covered above. Despite all of her skills and abilities, Vader effortlessly kills her with a thrust through the chest, following it by cutting off her hand before the others can do anything more than shout in grief:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) X7CFcWI2dvvKqmJdPRKd-M33TA3dv572kIiCGZpHDkJ9NVT-mXpZGegsV73913rJ7K3IafFKMkM9UEOCRkgujOewPk317MV3ooN3a7Cr2qISMZjChNp4ZOGc7QAL8pE7xSGFe-jl



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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) A2jKUnsy37DcYXPlxw9ALt9F6cVbu4XB_TNlwkrdOp7pCHJLsaknJYiYYZ54PHN9fQ2eyOjaZAhLu1HbtVRPrAQZL4RR_bzf_KkuCZLkvkCRuyG0unJz8Jm44n6Owdxwb8rVwnaJ



Immediately after, Vader crosses blades with Masters Darté and Ma’kis’shaalas, blocking strikes from both while simultaneously sending Master Arana flying with a Force push:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) YFEKukzuiOxZSUYN3sW3q01iUNwTwkm4QS598L-hdG_S0PRYGwXJ16J2f_YFxdigWtS1Gq9USLE3mOWc012OzfwC7H305fD_fDHLfeyvSVTpPhHcNSy3hpLnnXT7HNzRbmjSQopf


As Choi, Swan, Arana and Farr move to engage Vader, Vader strikes down Ma’kis’shaalas, whose accolades above speak for themselves. However, he’s struck from behind by Master Farr, and is forced to leap to avoid a strike from Arana. However, Choi moves to intercept and the two briefly cross blades, before Choi is forced to land below:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) VLTvUS_z-uLfY6LzT2O1v1b3OlL0BL2a7Sn6azIa85TyYlLZ3nXtsfMTwKnTyY5w2XQo7HRXhqOXjiQ9hUS5ZEcHKRKJs-a2vk6b8eDu6loalRgWRm22aZy9MEums5eCd0R3qFUC


At this point, Potkin uses her cortosis blade to disable Vader’s lightsaber, gloating about how she planned very carefully for this meeting:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) PiEJzKAGqrsI7l07Cwfug8n-FvzMnSTEbhR-O52GpfeZRuhTbQorsKOYgT3lO34_LDDjOppj7gNdvYB12rVT2hya9NxbP0u_zqLQRt2ST52lP2sqghHVmFr1uw7AGGtPu4hDD8Xh



However, Vader quickly recovers from this and breaks through her defences with the Force, before snapping her neck and taking her weapon:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) MbGFtPxv31f5ymFd-6GcG0G7O5dl5p261sinEf7T2zO_Gx5OwnC9gQ8d_hwSdrGqLcUuT5NkTm9hSzR5SZsRWNHn1MlvQLeDajo93CYIf9RcxePgB_bRzc316MxSLln7Y2pKDm2r



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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) WZRdnIxgSfx7AP5-DlTGI2QWM6haalE_fJRQAFa-M5VbuHnHeHiOfJZgKqKK7Ew7lQwljrMaquZEUNR8E2Cit8yoBpgUyLgiksxUOf2glDYuOqo9Sb6QJci2e4kGbbHn4I9AnViJ


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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) DPiY2kBgvEVKRRUkRW__qMqWzH0I4HWb8tR6BQR6LahuwC4p23v2xuCCaKjS9UiAo9cRyd6EicpaGuzGkqpHVAVaU-esHIN1DOUKphDSwnr4vh0Rfz8P26A9KcV8gkYTz759q6gA





Vader then moves to attack the others while trying to pressure them into revealing what they know about Obi-Wan’s location, disabling Darte, Farr and Arana’s lightsabers before Choi and Swan use the distraction (as he’s apparently about to strike down Arana, hence the raised hand) to cut off his hand and damage his servos respectively, to the point that his leg is making “fzzt” sounds (indicating damage) and sparking:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) IwNQOB_7vl1JGbtlj0E3uGk08zCeCrWXiNR4nRY6k0--8S4ylJaJwQoER9mzM3MQ7hDozwtqogKBhxEe69M_1anb8h8DGbB-TkwLQ6DBbFQiI9bL9DanUHrS2oYNDbDKA7X-pscM


I want to highlight how Vader’s loss of his right hand massively hindered him past this point with Vader’s thoughts on his prosthetics from The Rise of Darth Vader, which you can read in full above:



Only the right one felt natural to him—though it, too, was artificial —and the pneumatic mechanisms that supplied articulation and support were sometimes slow to respond.



(Source: Rise of Darth Vader)



Vader thinks his left arm feels foreign and unnatural, like it doesn’t compare to his former organic limb (at least at this point) and even his superior right arm is slow. His left hand, which he doesn’t even consider natural feeling, can’t compare to his right at this point in time, largely because he’s not even close to getting used to his suit yet. These limitations are only amplified by the other parts of his suit, which have forced him to adapt his fighting technique (a technique, I might add, that’s radically different from his style as Anakin and thus he’s not used in combat against a lightsaber user yet) and almost stopped him from moving his arms above his head:



The weighty cloak and pectoral plating so restricted his movement that he could scarcely lift his arms over his head, and he had already been forced to adapt his lightsaber technique to compensate.



(Source: Ibid)




Vader, trying to trick the masters into lowering their defences, then pretends to surrender, causing Arana and Swan to start arguing and Arana to kill Swan with her own blade, believing Vader is only pretending to be beaten:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) ROUBp3I5B_XeUGfmezbQoJzqVkGVzhgu3ZOOxb8931R3MfUVfOExzb4e5C_nW4FzIFTr-R793sCvuUFdMAnfKLyYLYShTLaWbEpS-g4tta5_Uxhn-T_Sa-QHP4VH8vWQ7kOXIpIX




Vader proves him right a few panels later, cheapshotting him by throwing the cortosis blade - which is still in his severed hand - into his chest:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) 5_KJP6EbF3sOfJt8G0RihyUcUuhC9_8hSSalrmlyneuEDYkYnmsNcLlmPBlSF_XLnzilii7D7qTcCa_uxRETL9TrVrOHnRIPD596O5XcuPWLyWod_mAHQGn9e3UUglX-ejhKBk3d



A wounded Vader then once again offers to spare their lives if they tell him where Obi-Wan is, which they refuse and combine their powers to pelt him with debris, which he holds off for a time despite his wounds and having only hand :



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) GOnA0rhP2UKz2tOWyBb2uFIEQ-7AjRWT8K5QD5LC7OQmV4TIa2hTbiqm0B0BalPItypTPFFBfKYjt8awHGbKJ7-dUGhXGTuia2WyxVaAnGJNK6jVAsk7hxSNhpDxjYbRWduLz9J5


The trio then coordinate their attacks with visible effort and concentration, hitting Vader with so much debris that he can’t stop it all, leaving him on the floor: 



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) ZNQbUnCZUV70BszEXmvOnq-8rRFhWOMd9jURS7UFwB5O_x38Bl-FxYjWVcD8M69Mjqahcln43gDi2kTMzIJc1LCksABuCHLqNi9wqRvZ9N64Rh5mICRgYlzVluxiNnJ4FlKUxTOr


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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) RAxGjkBtSn1CZtX68D6RyYJduAl0shC8qmuxFf9xLavKW7qtimIegAdJTAOawiwBYm58qLFSiOxX8TTZmrq78e3WZZOrhcV23wg84X2N3TwUDltb3TkMoCh3OHV5qXzjdcwHD_DF






Vader is then saved by the intervention of the 501st, who kill Farr. Choi then tries to give Darte an opening to escape, but is held in a mid-air grip by Vader:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) DzIpw6uPMOZK7JhvQRcam9RWCodlUjWcQ_jfugzjOLFAbfdtlfdlA-j6Gs-Mxx-jTS0n6PhH7Mv45iyH1T-KTItkXXDOtayHYInY7S-HwYFO8ygif9ewl0hDVYBG4lY8LPseYW19

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Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) UJyZe-rpTmQFefX3GdlOm1t1-mT21pnmPGV1vP7ddXf_RdxgStj41fM6KOeOhviuZjHKJVdpDbCzSDJzOJEEP2MbGG9OssF27ytpZgdcZcX4Zklm5nLnK7yvfLmXbv6c_7VpcKzu



Unable to break free of Vader’s grip, and knowing he’ll die anyway, Choi tries to kill Vader with a lightsaber throw, one Vader, despite his wounds and clumsiness, manages to partially dodge:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) CVUEufZjohHrXGZdIDHxzC0cADjvabDPxdoMzNdlCucjuUZS4tUOEIu-rWmmV2fGzXQV0TKzou11MaHSVZEXQCh9wYAM8xUHqCyLypc-uQ3U-J3BzvDCg53jjeFffODJ-C3j3TY6



All of the Jedi are dead at this point: 3 at the hands of the Clones (two with Vader’s help), 1 killed by her ally, and the other 4 by Vader in combat. 



Summary



I think it’s safe to say that this fight was far from a low showing for Vader. Despite his physical impediments and his uncertainty in the dark side limiting his Force abilities, Vader still showed enough skill and speed to blitz a veteran Jedi before she can even get within striking distance. He then held off two veteran Jedi Masters - one of whom is most likely the greatest warrior the Morgukai had ever produced by this point and who has several accolades pegging him as one of the most brutal and effective fighters within the Jedi Order at its peak - while knocking away a third with a push that sent him flying. 



While Vader does take several hits and is knocked to the ground by the end of the duel, it’s important to stress that this is the same Vader who at this point has to “call on the Force even to walk from place to place!” At least three of the strikes are a result of him being outnumbered and surrounded, from Farr striking him from behind while he’s distracted with dispatching Ma’kis’shaalas:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) FEfBFajFDHbePc4X_Po2RHQh-vRTMU3lPOBzR5GA7iIfgetTq9BcHFnvwrOcQcEpwBV4rjOQNDJ_ckILEdrwhqdii_i3UZeH0_8-b9_Z0o0dWa-uxYD2mrqY2JDe86kebi94CRVL



To Choi and Swan attacking him from behind and the sides when he’s focused on Arana:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) 19v5BEKdzhDf3aHPw1n6t312zfPlSvQJeawBwnFt2l_T5reOYhPA2u4jdZSfDV2zBraLJ5pp16yKZZ0DByTOIJp7GkKDr7uTy3coXJAGIh8SQmwGhFG5C-A4Ywnl7vIzLz62CmAU



A Vader using his far inferior left hand and reduced to raging at them with no technique or discipline is then brought down by a Force attack from three veteran masters (one of whom was a potential Jedi Council member), which he still held off for several seconds. Sidious further reinforces the idea that Vader had allowed his rage and doubt to interfere with his abilities and hinder him:



Battle misconceptions: Darth Vader (Legends) LBK5vr81t2MmNDxydIQSYg3rN8uQEZioW2K7tab1XUI9sQX1Una4lFb__8pGtROWWzZYdU0fCOON-MN0bh4PcEqReYApD3xiM3XqgZxkuy4HOVHr_4s0y5j3HioG08gsUu47l4Aq



(Source: Dark Times)



Which reinforces what we know from The Rise of Darth Vader:

Spoiler:



Where Darth Sidious had gained everything, Vader had lost everything, including—for the moment, at least—the self-condence and unbridled skill he had demonstrated as Anakin Skywalker.



-



While he retained his knowledge of the Jedi arts, he felt uncertain about his place in the Force; and while he had taken his first steps toward awakening the power of the dark side, he felt uncertain about his ability to sustain that power. How far he might have been now had fate not intervened to strip him of almost everything he possessed, as a means of remaking him.





(Source: Rise of Darth Vader)






As we can deduce from these depictions of Vader, a month after Mustafar he was emotionally unstable and was fighting at a fraction of what he was capable of even at this point. 



Despite this, Vader shows incredibly impressive skill showings here, from holding off two masters - a veteran, and the greatest Morgukai fighter ever trained - and striking down the latter during the exchange to blocking hits from Tsui Choi and stomping Wezz before cutting off her hand before the others could do anything other than scream her name. 



His power feats are no less impressive, blasting through two masters’ defences - sending one flying and bringing another within range so he could snap her neck - holding off the combined and coordinated Force attacks of three masters for several seconds despite being heavily wounded and raging and slashing at the debris like an animal, and holding Tsui Choi in a midair Force grip so powerful that even when Vader was heavily wounded, Choi couldn’t break free and instead chose to throw his lightsaber to try and kill Vader. 




Final thoughts



As this post has hopefully established, Kessel is far from a low showing for Vader. The underlying context and circumstances aside, Vader blitzed a highly respected Jedi knight, caught a potential Council member with a Force grip that he couldn’t quickly break free of despite Vader being heavily wounded at this point, blasted through another’s defences and sent him flying, blasted through another’s defences despite her extensive planning per her own admission and yanked her by her throat into his grip, and while heavily wounded held off the combined attacks of Tsui Choi and two other masters. 



Please note that all of this is firmly before his Roan Shryne growth, and long before his other periods of growth, such as Ferus Olin’s death, TFU, ANH, or ESB or ROTJ. 



Barely a month after Kessel, Starstone even notes that by this point, he’s noticeably faster, more agile, and has an answer to everything Forte and Kulka - two veteran Jedi knights who have studied Anakin and Obi-Wan’s tactics and techniques and try to copy them - try:




Spoiler:



Before Starstone could make a move, Siadem Forte and Iwo Kulka stepped in front of her and attacked Vader. As was the case with many Jedi Knights, the two were familiar with accounts of what had happened on Geonosis when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker had gone after the Sith Lord, Count Dooku. And so Forte and Kulka went in as a team, each of them employing a radically different lightsaber style, determined to off-balance Vader. But Vader merely stood like a statue, his blade angled toward the ground until the very instant the two Jedi unleashed their assault. Then, as the three blades joined in scatterings of dazzling light and grating static sounds, he moved. Forte and Kulka were skilled duelists, but Vader was not only faster than Starstone remembered him being on Murkhana against Master Chatak, but also more agile. He employed his awesome power to put a quick end to the fancy twirling of his opponents, who fell back against the hammering blows of Vader’s bloodshine blade. Time and again the two Jedi Knights attempted to alter their style, but Vader had an answer for every lunge, parry, and riposte. His style borrowed elements from all techniques of combat, even from the highest, most dangerous levels, and his moves were crisp and unpredictable. In addition, his remarkable foresight allowed him to anticipate Forte’s and Kulka’s strategies and maneuvers, his blade always one step ahead of theirs, notwithstanding the two-handed grip he employed. Toying with the Jedi, he grazed Forte on the left shoulder, then on the right thigh; Kulka, he pierced lightly in the abdomen, then shaved away the esh on the right side of the Ho’Din’s face.



Seeing the two Jedi Knights drop to their knees, wincing in pain, Padawan Klossi Anno broke from where she was helping Jambe and Nam engage the stormtroopers and got to Vader one step ahead of Starstone. Sidestepping, Vader slashed her across the back, sending her sprawling across the balcony; then he whirled on Forte and Kulka just as they were clambering to their feet and decapitated them. From behind Vader came Jambe and Nam, neither of whom was an experienced fighter and both of whom Vader immediately eliminated from the fight, amputating Jambe’s right arm, and Nam’s right leg. To her horror, Starstone realized she was suddenly alone with Vader, who immediately signaled his stormtroopers to leave her to him, and to devote themselves to slaughtering the few Wookiees who remained on the tier.



(Source: Rise of Darth Vader)






Vader toys with and stomps them all, being considerably faster, more agile, more practiced and more skilful than he was on Kessel, all within a month and even before he regained any measure of his former confidence in his own abilities after killing Roan Shryne. 



In conclusion, even a month after Mustafar, when Vader was a fraction of what he was even by TFU or ANH, he could go toe to toe with some of the greatest swordsmen and swordswoman in the Jedi Order, including a veteran Jedi master who was being considered for the Jedi Council and another who was “one of the most brutal combatants in the Jedi Order” and was one of the greatest warriors ever produced by a culture that could produce average warriors with the potential to match a Jedi knight at times even before he came a Jedi and long before he was hardened by three years of warfare. Even at this point, he’s powerful and skilled enough to rival fully fledged and distinguished Jedi masters like Tsui Choi (who needed two other masters just to overwhelm him when he was badly injured and had one hand) and Ma’kis’shalaas, the latter of whom had enough veteran Jedi master to help him. 




Many thanks for reading. If you have any questions or critiques, please feel free to drop them below. 



Sources used



Star Wars: Dark Times.

Star Wars: Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds.

Star Wars: Insider #87.

Star Wars: Purge #1.

Star Wars: Rise of Darth Vader.

Star Wars: The Old Republic (False Emperor Flashpoint). 
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