Why power-scaling is bullshit (REVISED).
Hello, My name is dudebladeX, and I’m here to educate you on the reasons as to why power scaling is bullshit. Considering that this website has the web-series DEATH BATTLE, this is probably something that needs to be said. For those of you who think Power-Scaling is a totally justifiable means of scaling power this is my rebuttal.
Listed below are the sources that help define the definition of power scaling.
As power scaling is relative to the method of ‘Transitive Reason’, I will be using similar definitions to further explain as to why using it to scale power levels of characters in fiction is, as the title says, ‘bullshit’.
I have reduced power scaling to five different categories:
1: The ABC formula dictates that if character A has defeated character B, and character B has defeated character C, then character A can defeat character C. The reason that this is bullshit, is rather simple. Rock-Paper-Scissors. Using the ABC formula, this dictates that because paper defeats rock, and rock defeats scissors, then paper should defeat scissors because it defeats the thing that defeats it.
Yes. clearly paper SHOULD defeat scissors.
Not very logical is it? The same applies to video games, Western Animation, Anime & Manga, as well as a bunch of other things. Example: Spider-Man defeats Iron Man, Iron Man defeats Captain America, Captain America defeated Spider-Man (Most of this happened during Marvel’sCivil War comics by the way). This is how it works, logically, Spider-Man has superior strength, speed, durability, powers, intelligence, and agility. Spider-Man, however, is a HUGE Cap fanboy, and went easy on him. But, does this mean the ABC formula applies? -No. No it does not.
A better example is that Trunks (who defeated Cyborg-Freeza) got beaten by Cell. Does this mean that Cell is a planet buster? - Well, the only planet he blew up was King Kai’s, and we don’t know how much it takes to blow that one up, and his claims can easily be an exaggeration.
This isn’t an unreasonable method, as it is a viable number scaling method in a math class. But in a different scenario, like say, DEATH BATTLE, it is an unreliable
method of finding out a character’s level of power.
Also keep in mind that matching someone in combat, doesn't equate to having the same power level as them. I could match Haggar in a fight, if I were to dodge and avoid his attacks as they came in, but it doesn't mean that I have the same power as him. I just know how to avoid attacks. Similar to Spider-Man, he can fight the ENTIRE Fantastic Four to a standstill, using the powerscaling logic that is the ABC formula, this means that FF>Galactus, Spider-Man=FF, which ultimately concludes to Spider-Man>Galactus.
2: The ability scale formula dictates that if character A, who is able to do ability 1; and character B, who would be able to do ability 2; were to fight, and ‘A’ were to beat ‘B’, then character A has the ability to perform feat/ability 2. Pokemon is an easy example of the counter to this, as if Blastoise were to defeat Charizard, then the ability scale formula would dictate that Blastoise can use flamethrower. I looked it up, through breeding, tutoring, TMs, or other non-hack methods, Blastoise NEVER learns flamethrower. I’ve seen some weird and idiotic bullshit in my time on the ‘net, but this sort of scaling is rare to find, but is definitely absurd.
This effect can also apply to non-video games as well; Just because Son Goku can defeat Tien Shinhan, does NOT mean that Goku can perform the Tri-Beam like Tien can. And before you point to Dragonball Heroes, I would like to point out that that is the same game that gave Broly LSSJ4, Let Freeza use the Kamehameha wave, and gave us SSJ 4 Gotenks.
3: The N3L, or Newton’s Third Law formula is a rather reliable method, but not the most solid method of scaling power. Stating that because a character can endure a powerful blast, they must be capable of dealing a similar blow. This is a flawed method due to the ‘tanks’ of video game characters. The ‘Glass Cannons’ of video games puts a dent in the opposite, but is the most reasonable of the two.
Claiming that because Benjamin Tennyson’s Cannonbolt form can withstand atmospheric reentry (Which, keep in mind, is about 40,000 MPH), does NOT mean that form can deal a similar blow on his own. He would need to actually get into a space station, drop from there, and be lucky or skilled enough to hit his intended target.
One of Ben’s other forms, Ball Weevil, can dish out explosions capable of demolishing concrete walls, but he can’t tank his own explosions, and can’t take a whole lot of damage before being KO-d. You need at least 150 pounds of force to break a 2x8x16’ stone slab, and considering that stone walls are much thicker than that, it’s likely that it takes significantly more to break the wall.
4: The Familiar Foe Application, or FFA formula is by far, the most solid of all power scaling techniques. Claiming that “since Batman can defeat The Flash, so he can beat Quicksilver”, is actually a reasonable thing to claim, as both Quicksilver and Flash share the same powerset, with the only difference being the origin of obtaining the powers.
This is similar as to how Spider-Man beat the Juggernaut, he applied the knowledge of battling the Rhino to Juggernaut, and changed tactics because of the differences in how they obtained their abilities.
HOWEVER! Claiming that because Batman can defeat Superman, doesn’t mean he can defeat the likes of Shazam, Miss Marvel (From Marvel), Son Goku, or Saitama (From One Punch Man). That would be ridiculous, as one; Batman beating Superman was non-canon, written by a writer who dislikes Superman, Batman had help, and did not actually defeat Supes. Two; Batman keeps on his hand, at all times, Superman’s specific weakness of rare alien radiation that makes Superman recoil at best, and bring him to his knees at worse (Depending on your point of view of course). And Three; Batman has stated that the only reason he can beat Superman, is because Superman is, at his core, a nice guy, and will actively try to NOT let Batman get hurt (World of Cardboard Speech anyone?) or even his own foes.
To be honest, this is really the only form of power scaling that I can see being logical at its worst.
5: Win-Loss records are something that usually occurs in fighting games, Black Orchid’s (Killer Instinct) win-loss record is superior to that of Ivy’s (Soul Calibur). As Orchid’s record includes several other fighters, while Ivy has only one non-rematch win under her belt.
Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat defeated Kitana and Jade in MK9. Kitana also lost to Liu Kang, (And given that Liu Kang wasn’t even using lethal force story-wise) it’s safe to say that she could be beaten by fighters that have similar training to either of the aforementioned kombatants. The Edenian princess somehow beat Smoke, Johnny Cage, Jade, Mileena, and Shang Tsung, but given that both Cage and Smoke didn’t have “Kill Kitana” on their to-do list, Jade was under orders to capture her (Not kill, capture), Mileena was pretty much JUST born, and that Shang Tsung doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to fighting someone directly, the only wins she can actually justify is Smoke and Cage (As they were acting in self-defense).
Let’s take a much more… Pathetic character, shall we? Dan Hibiki. His only win (If you can even call it that) came out of sheer pity. His opponent felt that he was SO pathetic, that defeating him wouldn’t do anything. Taking one from the MK side of things, Mileena got her ass kicked by her sister, Stryker, Jade, Raiden, Kotal Kahn, and D’Vorah. I don’t see her winning a tournament anytime soon.
Not necessarily power scaling per se, but it is a good way of measuring who is a better fighter. A good example is that Shang Tsung has no wins under his belt, as he usually lets other fighters do the fighting for him. Contrast Akuma, who has beaten other fighters like M Bison, Gouken, and others.
Power Scaling can’t be used as a viable method of measuring power. Claiming that because Character A is beaten by Character B, in which character B is a planet buster, doesn’t mean that Character A is also a planet buster. This is the equivalent of claiming that Luke Skywalker in an X-Wing is a planet buster because it destroyed the Death Star, which is shown to be a planet buster. Another example is, going back to the Batman vs Superman comparison, Batman can bench press the planet because he defeated Superman, who did the same feat (And I acknowledge the absurdity of the claim, just bear with me here.). The third and final example is that because Johnny Cage defeated Shinnok (And I would like to point out that Shinnok is in fact, dangerous enough that the elder gods had to imprison him inside an amulet because he could have destroyed them if given the chance, which makes Shinnok a GOD BUSTER), he is also able to pull off the same amount of destruction that Shinnok can.
Additionally, claiming that character A has a distinct advantage over B, where A shrugged off a grenade point blank due to armor they usually wear, when B got winded by doing the same thing WITHOUT armor, is a stupid reason to say that B should’ve beaten A. That’s the equivalent of claiming that ‘Since Sonic has super speed, and Mario doesn’t, then Mario should’ve beaten Sonic’ IT simply doesn't make sense. Just because A has the advantage but was hurt by some kind of force, while B doesn't and shrugged off the same force also doesn't automatically equate to B being superior.
Now, most of the above is a result of fighting styles, utilizing weaknesses, level of effort, and actual strategy, not actual power, but I’ve seen comments claiming that Batman should beat Spider-Man because he beat Captain America when Cap beat Spidey in the comics.
Additionally, Having more power DOES NOT mean automatic victory. As a quick example, Juggernaugt got defeated by Spider-Man. Need another example? - Batman defeated Bane, Ash's Pikachu defeated Brock's Onix, and Sonya Blade took down Quan Chi. As for an example from Death Battle, Leonardo defeated Zits, Starscream fell to Rainbow Dash, Kirby disintigrated Buu, Guts claimed victory over Nightmare, and Link won over Cloud.
Additionally, utilizing gameplay feats is a rather difficult thing to utilize, because the actual story is separate from it.
One example is that in LEGO: Marvel Superheroes, at the end of the submarine mission, Thor claims that he cannot call down any lightning in the vehicle, you are actually required to call upon lightning to progress through the stage.
Another gameplay feat that gets taken out of context is that claiming that Cloud from Final Fantasy is a solar system buster because he survived being hit by Sephiroth’s supernova. Totally reasonable, except that Cloud can fall to bullets from regular enemies, or a simple attack from any non-Sephiroth attacks. That’s a pretty big step to go. Yeah, you use one extreme of gameplay feats, you also have to use the other extreme.
Now, if the gameplay matches the lore, it’s a more viable source than just using gameplay feats on their own. An example of gameplay and story matching up is that Dan Hibiki struggling to throw a man over his shoulder is applicable to his story-wise strength.
In short: Power Scaling is an unreliable method of measuring power, and trying to use it as fact is bullshit. I acknowledge that Death Battle has used it before, like in Ivy vs Orchid, Godzilla vs Gamera, and Iron Man vs Lex Luthor. However, the last two were more or less feats, rather than actual stats. It’s a totally reasonable and useful method to utilize in math, but in a VS debate, it’s a shaky method at best, and total bullshit at worst; and this being the internet, I’m going to go with the worst. Meaning that Power Scaliing is pretty much Bullshit.
Then again, I've only seen Power Scaling at its worst, so maybe I'm not that well-qualified for something like this...