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|Zuko v. Mako|
Duke of Skibbington
Zuko and Mako could not be more different. Zuko, son of Prince Ozai, spent three years of his life in search of the Avatar, attempting to win back his place on the throne. Finally, he joined the Avatar and became his firebending master. Mako was an orphan, condemned to live a life on the streets, doing odd jobs for triads and eventually becoming a pro-bender. He never taught the Avatar bending, nor did he spend years hunting her - rather, he dated her.
Zuko was the eldest son of Fire Lord Ozai and his wife, Ursa. He is the great-grandson of Avatar Roku. When he was but 9, his mother was banished and his father took the throne. At the age of 13, Zuko dishonoured his father and was condemned to chase the Avatar until he captured him - only then would his father take him back. It was through his travels that he realised his purpose was to help the Avatar save the world, rather than capture him and destroy it.
At first, Zuko was an amateur firebender; his father didn't even believe him to be a bender in his infant years. However, as a teenager, Zuko proved himself to be a capable fighter, beating Commander Zhao on two separate occasions. Numerous times during his hunt for the Avatar, he was able to fight on equal terms with both Katara and the Avatar himself. However, many of the battles were cut short by external intervention or the Avatar State. During the Coup of Ba Sing Se, Zuko fought with such ferocity and determination that Aang struggled to keep up. He could generate enormous fire whips that appeared to be evenly matched with Katara's water whips. However, his firebending lacked restraint and was fueled by rage.
Numerous times, Zuko attempted lightning generation, only to have it explode in his face. Iroh hypothesised it was due to his inner turmoil. Although he overcame his inner turmoil, it is impossible to know if he ever learnt lightning generation and as such, he will not use it in the battle. However, Zuko learned Iroh's move - lightning redirection, he taught it to Aang and used it three times - albeit suffering great pain in his comet-enhanced battle against Azula.
After joining the Avatar, Zuko and Aang visited the Sun Warrior civilisation, learning of the true meaning of firebending. Zuko's firebending became more controlled and disciplined, as opposed to fueled by rage. Zuko also learned the traditional firebending form The Dancing Dragon and incorporated it into his fighting style. With this new style, he was able to fight on equal terms with his sister, while standing on an air ship. On the day of Sozin's Comet, Zuko was able to fight against his more powerful sister, gaining the upper hand. He was only defeated when his sister forfeited the Agni Kai by attacking Katara with lightning. Zuko broke stance to protect her and absorbed a lot of lightning. He is next seen fighting Zaheer and members of the Red Lotus. Despite his old age (being 88 at the time), he still fought well.
Zuko is also a master swordsman. Using only his stealth, dual swords and a bucket of water, he was able to infiltrate a heavily guarded Fire Nation fortress, fight his way through crowds of soldiers, benders and non-benders alike, and rescue the Avatar. Zuko continued to show great swordsman ship, being able to defeat earthbender thugs with only his swords. However, he was unable to take on their leader, and was forced to firebend through his swords. In the process, he revealed himself to be a firebender. Zuko was also able to win numerous sword fights against Sokka, a master trained under Piandao.
As mentioned above, Zuko is remarkably stealthy and disciplined in his firebending. He has great indurance, being able to survive two collisions from a boomerang and a comet-enhanced lightning blast. Zuko is also shown to be rather agile. Zuko is intelligent, being able to use the environment to his advantage, an occasion being in the Sun Warrior's temple, where he tricked the solstice mechanism.
Zuko has above average natural abilities, including better hearing, a greater lung capacity and the ability to survive numerous days without food or water.
Early in the series, Zuko has many weaknesses relating to his lack of restraint and discipline, however, he had soon sorted them out by the time of Sozin's Comet. His main weakness that does not appear solved, is his lack of foresight, often acting on impulse and not careful planning.
When Mako was a young boy, his parents were murdered by firebenders. Mako carried the burden of protecting his younger brother in their poverty. He survived through triad work and pro-bending. Mako befriended the Avatar and aided her against the Equalists, Unalaq, the Red Lotus and Kuvira.
Growing up as a pro-bender, Mako became skilled in the pro-bending style of firebending. Mako's cool under fire technique involves quick dodges of attacks and fast jabs of fire. Mako's technique perfectly suited the very restrictive rules of pro-bending, but was not suitable for true combat. When Mako fought outside of pro-bending, he used a similar technique, but with more power, control and intensity. Mako's quick style gave him an edge against the agile Equalists and triads, but proved ineffective against more powerful opponents such as Unalaq and Ming-Hua. Mako was able to adapt to the more traditional style of firebending and proved to be a capable opponent. Mako can use lightning bending for purposes of propulsion.
Mako's firebending was fueled not by anger and rage, but rather determination. Unlike Zuko, Mako was a capable lightning generator. Typically, he does not charge his attacks, using them for quick strikes against triads or even Amon. His lightning bending does not require much movement with his arms, with him being capable of attacking Amon, despite being bloodbended. Mako can charge his attacks and has fired the longest concentrated stream seen on television, attacking the core of Kuvira's mecha giant. Mako is the only known character to have killed with lightning, using it to fry Ming-Hua in her pool of water.
Mako has knowledge of lightning redirection, being able to redirect electricity from an Equalist mecha tank and destroying it.
Mako is physically strong, being able to carry Bolin on his shoulder and throw Equalist chi blockers into walls.
Mako is the strategist of the group, being able to come up with effective plans when under pressure, such as when he devised a plan to rescue Bolin from the Equalists. He can also use his surroundings to his advantage, using lightning against a waterbender.
Although Mako is skilled at pro-bending style firebending, his skill in traditional firebending is inadequate and often saw his defeat at the hands of more skilled opponents. Numerous pro-bending matches have shown that his personal affairs greatly impact his performance.
The battle is set in the Ba Sing Se Crystal Catacombs
Zuko entered the catacombs from one entrance, and Mako from the other. The entrances slammed behind them, only opening when one killed the other.
Mako stood, almost crouched, his hands protecting his face. He threw two quick jabs. Zuko parried them to the side and replied with a strong fire punch. Mako bobbed out of the way and unleashed another two short jabs. Zuko stepped to the side and launched another powerful punch. Mako moved to the side and attempted to close the gap. Mako got in closer, utilising a succession of quick fire jabs. Mako unleashed more fire jabs, only for them to be kicked apart by Zuko.
Zuko kicked a large stream of fire at Mako. Mako leapt in the air and evaded the strike. He punched a ball at Zuko. Zuko parried it once again. Mako tried numerous times to strike Zuko. Zuko struck back with powerful punches, but was unable to land a hit. Zuko span on his hands, kicking a circle of fire before throwing it at Mako. The stream struck Mako and knocked him to the ground. Pushing himself to his feet, Mako released a quick stream of lightning at Zuko. Zuko caught it with his finger tips and redirected it to Mako. Mako bobbed out of the way.
Mako unleashed more quick punches. He became more ferocious, throwing slower, more powerful attacks. Zuko dodged them expertly and returned fire. Mako evaded most strikes, but took a collision to the chest. Mako tried to break Zuko's footing with powerful kicks and punches. Zuko took the upper hand with a well-placed blast and toppled Mako. Zuko jumped and collided two streams together, creating a powerful blast and breaking Mako's footing. Mako charged Zuko and threw him over. He prepared a fire dagger to slice Zuko's neck, but Zuko kicked him away with fire.
The two stood up. Zuko lashed at Mako with fire whips, forcing him to hide between big crystals. Zuko broke numerous crystals with his whips and forced Mako out of his hiding place. Mako charged a powerful lightning strike. Zuko took a deep breath and prepared himself. Electricity crackled through Mako's fingers as he zapped a continuous stream at Zuko. Zuko caught the lightning with his fingertips. Redirecting it via his stomach, he changed his stance and released it back at Mako. Mako caught the lightning and tried to redirect it, but Zuko blasted him with fire. Mako redirected the lightning into the ceiling, causing rocks to fall.
The two closed the distance. Zuko withdrew his swords and started hacking at Mako. Mako tried to firebend, but his hands were removed. Closing the blades together, he decapitated Mako.
While both sides are equally matched in terms of agility, Zuko is a more powerful and more skilled bender. Mako was never shown to utilise Zuko's whips or Dancing Dragon style and never showed as much ferocity or determination. Above all, Zuko is the more versatile combatant, having skills in firebending and swordsman ship.
While Mako is capable of both generation and redirection of lightning, it is not as powerful as Ozai's or Azula's, which Zuko redirected nonetheless.
All in all, the great-grandson of the Avatar won. He would win around 71 out of 100 battles.
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