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"Greetings, I'm Shad."

Shadiversity is a YouTube-based video channel created in 2013. The host's name is Shad M. Brooks, and he hails from Australia. He has a brother, Josiah Brooks, who runs an art-based YouTube channel, Draw with Jazza. Shad has a second channel, Knights Watch, for video games and other media. He also has a third channel, The Shadlands, which initially chronicled his building a castle park that would serve as a home/museum, but has since been drastically revamped to be a sword content channel, not unlike his main one, that "cuts to the chase and is straight to the point".

Self-described as "an enthusiast, not an authority", Shad discusses and makes educated guesses on various nerdy topics, the majority of them having a medieval or ancient warfare theme of some kind. In his own words, "Here you'll find such videos related but not limited to: SWORDS, Science Fiction, fantasy, philosophy and SWORDS! So really anything related to being a nerd."

On the 1st of July 2019, Shad published his first book, Shadow of the Conqueror. The first Graphic Novel adaptation of it came out in 2022.

Check out the channel here

Shadiversity provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: In his "Fantasy RE-ARMED" series, he generally comes down on Flynning or Blade Lock moments found in pop culture. However, Shad also acknowledges that at least a little bit of those things is necessary for the sake of making an entertaining fight scene; if combatants used perfect tactics, fights would be over way too quickly and come off as anti-climactic. When speaking of the Battle of Blaviken in The Witcher, Shad goes over inaccuracies in tactics and movements on Geralt's part, but also praises the camerawork and choreography as "amazing" while he does it.
  • Action Girl:
    • A central topic in this video, in which he responds to some of the claims made by the writer Andrew Klavan on whether women can fight with swords. Shad points out multiple factors to consider, like the role that height, weight, and skill can play for both combatants and whether the combatants are armed or unarmed, citing that weapons like swords are an effective force equalizer. That said, Shad, contrary to Klavan, says yes, women can indeed fight, and a sufficiently skilled woman can defeat a man despite having a height and weight disadvantage, even pointing out some HEMA tournaments where a woman is the victor.
    • Touched on in his review of Captain Marvel. He compares Captain Marvel unfavorably with Alita, stating that Alita is an example of a girl who can fight yet still have moments of vulnerability, making her a more "human" and relatable character. On the other hand, Captain Marvel is an example of this trope done wrong, saying that her lack of vulnerabilities has given her the personality of a stump of wood.
  • All There in the Manual: Shad sees this as a sign of bad writing, especially if the work is an adaptation. For example, if Shad is reviewing a TV show adaptation of a book series, he expects the adaptation's lore to be self-contained and make sense, all without the viewer ever needing to consult the books or have background knowledge of the book series for the TV show to still work.
  • Amusing Injuries: Shad made a video about drawing weapons using magnets. On multiple occasions, the magnets keep on pinching Shad's fingers.
  • Anachronism Stew: He points these out when reviewing any media about the Middle Ages.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Discussed in this video, specifically regarding Cloud using his Buster Sword to block gunfire. His using a gigantic sword is more believable since we don't know what precise amounts of strength or ultralight materials make it possible. But as massive as the sword blade is, it doesn't offer enough coverage to protect his entire body from gunfire, so it still shouldn't work.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted, as Shad is a very big proponent of armor. Shad most assuredly does not like this trope, and in his 'Crimes Against Medieval Realism' series, he calls it a 'lightsaber' moment. Armor was crucial for the survival of any warrior on any battlefield, and it irks Shad to no end to see works either dismiss armor or seem to consider it a waste of time. Shad's steel chainmail and gambeson took on Jazza's 3D-printed swords as a demonstration of why armor was so important — not only does the armor block stabs from the plastic blades without issue, but the plastic doesn't even stay in one piece long enough to transfer energy to Shad. In other words, being hit with those blades didn't so much as knock Shad off-balance, much less actually hurt him, thanks to his armor.
  • Arrowgram: He experimented with the practicality of attaching messages to arrows. In one of his videos, he tried different ways of attaching pieces of paper to an arrow, testing its range and the security of the attachment.
  • Artistic License – History: He discusses this in his "Crimes Against Medieval Realism" videos, pointing out the damaging misconceptions that tropes like Big Fancy Castle, Cool Sword, Hell-Bent for Leather, Medieval Morons, and The Dung Ages created regarding The Middle Ages in modern pop culture. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Braveheart are two of the biggest offenders he has covered to date.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Shad admits that he sometimes goes off on rambling tangents in his videos at the drop of a hat when he thinks about something vaguely related to the subject.
  • Author Tract: Shad is a conservative and a Mormon, and brings these up whenever it is relevant to the topic of his video. He primarily makes his Author Tracts on Knights Watch and freely expresses them in his reviews of movies, TV shows, and video games if said opinions are relevant to his commentary. However, Shad tries to keep his main channel apolitical and focused on fantasy, weaponry, and medieval history.
  • Awesome Aussie: He's from Australia, if his accent and boisterous attitude are of no indication.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Gorgeous-looking but impractical fantasy weapons and fancy fortifications are discussed aplenty on his show. He has a series of what he refers to as "mall ninja weapons" being reviewed, where Shad goes over various weapons which are designed to look cool or intimidating but would be completely worthless in combat. He makes it clear that not every fantasy weapon is necessarily a bad one, citing the Sword of Endril from The Lord of the Rings as an example of a fantasy blade which looks like a plausible weapon. But once he's getting to swords with holes in them, impractically-shaped blades, or ones that look like they might hurt to use, Shad wastes little time calling such weapons "piece(s) of crap" as he sees them.
    • His "Overappreciated Historical Weapons" episodes analyze certain weapons popularized by media but aren't particularly practical in their use, like the medieval flail and the nunchucks.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He doesn't really ever get mad per se, but one of the fantasy clichés that get him most riled up is the idea of "studded leather" as armor, which he thinks is most likely a visual misinterpretation of brigandine.
    • He's no fan of the Klingon Bat'Leth, which he finds too impractical to be awesome.
    • Perpetuating misinformation is one for Shad and does get him genuinely angry.
    • Shad does not like it when, in a sword fight scene, a combatant hits the other opponent with his hand or foot instead of his sword. To Shad, this implies that the opponent was open, so the combatant could have used his sword to cut the opponent down instead. He does excuse this depending on the circumstances, like when the combatants are in the bind and thus cannot use their weapons or when one combatant does not want to kill the other. A lesser exception can be made if one combatant is out of position for a weapon strike, although in Shad's opinion, a competent combatant should never be out of position for a weapon strike.
    • Bad writing and bad fight scene choreography in general can often cause Shad to start ranting, especially during reviews on Knights Watch.
    • He's not a fan of nunchucks as weapons. Shad made several videos regarding how impractical nunchucks are as weapons — you're just as likely to hit yourself as you are an opponent, you can't follow through after hitting with them, and they're likely to bounce back and hit you anyways. It's a Running Gag in his videos where Shad brings up weapons in comparison to nunchucks, for better or for worse.
    • Shad is no fan of the double-ended flail from Batwoman, which he says is a weapon even worse than the nunchucks.
  • BFS: Shad has discussed at length overly large and broad fantasy swords, the problems the idea famously has in real life, and even more obscure problems that aren't as obvious (even if you have Super-Strength, you also need super weight so you can maintain your balance and swing the weapon without getting pulled along with it in the process. Also, a very wide blade has lots of wind resistance when you try to move it sideways against the air). An ongoing project on the channel is to theorycraft and eventually build a BFS Reconstruction (tentatively called the "titan sword") that reduces or eliminates some of those problems to try and adapt the idea into something less implausible, using modern materials to simulate fantasy ones.
  • Big Brother Instinct: If his story about the tiger snake is any indication, he certainly cares for his siblings, facing the creature with two weapons: one of his awesome swords to behead the serpent and a shovel to pin it down and keep it from being able to bite him. As he stated, the snake could have killed him or his siblings if a bite had connected.
  • Big Fancy Castle:
    • He often points out how fantasy castles tend to be unrealistically big, such as the Red Keep in Game of Thrones.
    • His clan's castle in Conan Exiles definitely counts, being a huge castle at the second or third highest peak in the entire game, decorated inside and out, guarded by giants and thralls wearing Infinity +1 Sword armor and weapons, and designed to be nigh impossible to siege.
  • Blade Lock: Hates them. Shad has said numerous times that no competent swordsman would let one of these happen because there are so many ways that either combatant can use one to throw their opponent off-balance. He will point out (and rave!) if combatants use a bind to wind, leverage, or otherwise try and turn it to their advantage since that's exactly what you're supposed to do. In deliberate defiance of the standard cliché, Shad helps choreograph a fight scene for the short film adaptation of Shadow of the Conqueror which includes an entire sequence with the swords in a bind, but still fighting, almost grappling only using their blades.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Barrels! They may not sound as cool as the weapons Shad normally talks about, but he points out that they're a marvel of engineering, being easy to make, able to hold large amounts of fluid, easy to roll around and move, and remarkably durable thanks to their shape. He even takes the time to talk about barrels when he comes across one while explaining the history of Australia.
    • Stick. Plain old stick. Easy to find, easy to modify into a useable weapon if the initial shape isn't ideal, sturdy if the wood's fairly healthy, and easy to use regarding weapon proficiency.
  • Breast Plate: Shad has produced several videos about "boob plate" armor:
    • The first one is about whether or not female-shaped armor is realistic. In brief: actual medieval armor was often shaped to reflect contemporary ideas about the ideal male body, so Shad thinks it plausible that boob plate would happen if there were a significant number of female fighters. It would likely be designed for full protection, so no exposed skin, but it would retain a feminine shape because historical armor often reflected the male form.
    • The second one is about whether or not such armor is dangerous. In brief, Shad thinks having two bumps on the breastplate is less efficient than a smooth curve, but the whole thing is still made of hardened steel and is not likely to collapse onto the wearer's sternum the moment she takes a hit. Also, historical breastplates were usually domed to deflect blows. Move the bulge to the top, and you get a feminine shape while keeping deflection.
    • He made a third video about boob armor in response to accusations that the female armor in The Mandalorian was "sexist". The video is a condensed version of the first two videos with new facts, clarifications, and some Mandalorian-specific notes. In particular, it is a response to a point he'd made in the previous videos, by pointing out codpieces as an example of armor designed to reflect the male form, and thus many stated that modern "boob armor" is sexist because male armor doesn't have codpieces. He points out that codpieces were a fashion of the time, and are not in fashion now, and fantasy or sci-fi armor tends to reflect a fantastical aesthetic informed by a modern one. Instead of the Mandalorian having a codpiece on his armor, Shad points out his chestplate is just as much a stylized, sculpted, male muscular torso as the female Mandalorians have sculpted (and in actuality, very modest) busts. Another point raised is that plate armor had space between the plate and torso into which smaller-chested women could fit their breasts, so there was no need to reform the armor to accommodate. Women with larger busts would need the armor resized and reshaped to fit their breasts in the plate comfortably, and more form-fitting armor (such as Shad's brigandine) would require a lot more shaping to accommodate the bust of a female wearer, which relates specifically to the Mandalorian as Mandalorian armor is much more on the form-fitting end of the armor spectrum, again excusing the presence of "boob armor" in this instance (it would be far more comfortable for a female Mandalorian to have her armor shaped to fit her breasts than to try and squeeze them into a flat chestplate).
    • A fourth video deals more with the depictions of the fantasy barbarian but does have an aside to discuss the "chainmail bikini" variant, which is not armor at all in Shad's opinion. However, he notes that chainmail bikinis could be worn for fashion instead of protection by a culture that prized revealing the physical form and metal and metalwork, making such a garment exist as fashion, not function (and such a warrior would conform to the other realistic conclusions drawn about the fantasy barbarian, eschewing armor in favor of likely a large shield, two-handed weapon to keep opponents at bay, or weapons that offer high defensive advantages).
    • He touches again the subject in this video where he talks about Queen Miriel's breastplate. He points out that the creators got the shape wrong, as the bust covering the boob plate is visibly too high and not exactly shaped for the actress.
  • Call-Back: In this video and his video commenting on a castle his brother Jazza drew, Shad makes a joke referencing his video on using shields on horseback. The jokes in these videos are about Frederick, the makeshift horse Shad kills at the end of his video.
  • Captain Obvious: One at least semi-facetious comment in his second video on nunchucks, when he gets to the point of addressing them as a grappling weapon and comes to the conclusion anything nunchucks can do can be done easier and more efficiently with hands.
    Shad: Hands are great! They're really useful!
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • He opens his videos with "Greetings, I'm Shad".
    • "What about dragons?"
  • Character Tics: Shad tends to take off his glasses whenever he makes a comment about something he finds particularly bad.
  • Chuunibyou: The mall ninja stereotype is gleefully lampooned in this video, where Shad looks at weapons that are designed to look cool rather than be functional. Shad wastes little time in calling such weapons "piece(s) of crap" and laughing at how over-designed they are.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shad figures that hobbits, gnomes, and goblins are at such a disadvantage against human-sized foes in a straight-up fight that their only chance is to avoid "fair" fights and fight dirty instead: sneak up on them, use superior numbers, stab them in the back.
  • Cool Chair: His wooden medieval-looking chair, which he built himself.
  • Cool Sword: He often discusses swords, especially fantasy swords that look cool but are, in fact, impractical. He also has a nice collection of them, whether realistic or fantasy-inspired. Notably, he openly admits he had swords at his wedding and even cut the wedding cake with it.
  • Corner of Woe: Played for Laughs in his video about using shields on horseback. Shad makes a horse and proclaims that he has no problem humiliating himself to pursue the truth. A beat later, Shad sits in the corner to sulk.
    Shad: It's a horse. And clearly, as... evident, I have no problem making myself look like a complete idiot for the sake of truth!
    [Beat. Shad looks down, unhappy. Cut to him crying at the corner.]
    Shad: [sobbing] I'm so alone... [continues sobbing until he hacks]
  • Cradling Your Kill: At the end of his video on using shields on horseback, Shad rips off Frederick's head. He immediately comes to regret it and cradles Frederick's head.
    Shad: [sobbing] I KILLED him! [continues sobbing until he hacks]
  • Crossover:
    • Shad commented on a castle drawn by his brother Josiah Brooks, a.k.a. Jazza, who appeared in the video. They then crossed over to compare the efficacy of steel swords and chainmail against 3D-printed ones. Hilarity Ensues as they destroy the printed blades without even trying, but the printed chainmail is actually decently functional (considering it's plastic).
    • He made a video comparing castles from Medieval Europe and Feudal Japan with Metatron.
    • He did a Mind Screw-y crossover with Thomas Riley from Medieval Review, in which Shad talks about the evolution of the sword and Riley about the evolution of armor. They somehow managed to interrupt each other's videos even though they did not complete their own. The best explanation Shad could think of is "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey".
    • He's collaborated a few times with Blue of Overly Sarcastic Productions.
    • Has had a few with Kyle Hill, both on Because Science and Kyle's new channel. In particular, Kyle's video on how castles are engineered to kill you just wouldn't be complete without input from Shad, especially on the important subject of MACHICOLATIONS!
    • He's appeared on the podcast Every Frame a Pause now and then.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: One of Shad's comments on The Rise of Skywalker, when he said that the film "made [him] feel positive emotions... twice".
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Discussed in this video, in which he comments on the moment Steve Trevor possesses a nameless handsome man to continue his relationship with Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman 1984. He points out how morally problematic the action is, and at one point, he suggests that the nameless man might already have a girlfriend, be married, or even be saving himself for marriage.
  • Double Take: Shad as he recalls a time when he slew a tiger snake with a sword. While sitting in his room reading, he noticed a tiger snake slithering past the bottom of the sliding glass door in his room. He then realized how deadly that snake was and that his younger relatives were now in danger.
  • Double Weapon:
    • The "double-bladed sword on one sword handle" type, like the one Thanos wields in Avengers: Endgame, is explored in his videos. He concludes that although it is quite functional if wielded like a polearm, practicality is another story. Sheathing or transporting the thing is way more trouble than it is worth, especially when compared to a single sword or spear. Plus, you'd need twice as much metal to make it as a sword or a spear, and if you've got that much metal lying around, it would be way more efficient to just make two weapons. Shad says this impracticality is nullified with Darth Maul's lightsaber, since it can be sheathed and provides the option of being single-bladed or double-bladed.
    • Shad says that the double-flail in Batwoman is an example of this trope done wrong, resulting in a weapon worse than the nunchucks in combat, since the chance of hitting yourself with it is so high that any advantages it might have given are nullified by the impracticality of it.
  • Dual Wielding: Normally something he considers Awesome, but Impractical, as the weapons would end up hitting each other unless the fighter is using something like a sword and a much shorter dagger so that the weapons don't get caught up in each other's strikes. He also used a sword and a shovel to fight a Tiger Snake when he was a teenager.
  • Enforced Plug: Sometimes, the video stops for sponsor segments. For example, when a cooking book is advertised.
  • Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: His "Fantasy Re-Armed" series dissects and deconstructs this trope, asking if the stereotypical weapons make sense based on the current understanding of historical European martial arts and biomechanics. A bow, for example, is fundamentally a spring. The further it is drawn, the more the arrow is accelerated and the more force the bow exerts. The heavier the bow's draw weight, the faster the arrow leaves the string. Medieval war archers were shooting at units, not trying to pick off individuals. The best medieval war archers, the English, started training as youths and spent years getting strong enough to draw bows that had draw weights in excess of 100 pounds. Based on this, the stereotypical fantasy orc, being stronger and bigger than a human, should be a terrifying war archer, and orc archers would outrange their human counterparts while doing more damage and being more effective against armor.
  • Fan Wank: invoked Discussed occasionally and one of his pet peeves. Shad does not like it when fans try to make sense of plot holes in a work of fiction. To him, it is a sign of bad writing as the fans are putting more thought into the lore than the writers are. He also points out the possibility that a later work in a series will completely contradict a fan theory. One example from his review/rant on The Rise of Skywalker:
    Shad: Luke in the previous movie. Like, everyone was complaining that Luke Force Skyped or projected himself to Kylo, because he had the X-Wing there. He could have gotten his X-Wing and flown there and fought and then he'd actually done something more substantial and the answer defenders gave to this was that the ship didn't work! It was broken and Luke was stranded there and he had no way of getting there, WHICH IS NOW, COMPLETELY CONTRADICTED, BY THIS STUPID RETARDED MOVIE, BECAUSE THAT SHIP STILL WORKS!
  • Flynning: The central topic of his "Fight Scene Autopsy" series, in which Shad examines famous fight scenes frame-by-frame and critiques the combatants' moves from the viewpoint of Historical European Martial Arts. Allowances can sometimes be made for combatants with explicit supernatural abilities, though not often (in particular, the kinds of jumps Jedi are capable of: if you have no means to redirect your momentum in midair, you're a purely ballistic target; Anakin's end in the Revenge of the Sith duel is the brutally realistic consequence). He does admit that some Flynning is a necessity for any cinematic swordfight, as a real duel ends in a handful of strokes, which does not make for a good, intense, climactic action scene.
  • Filibuster Freefall: Shad's early videos focused on analyzing historical armaments and buildings, fantasy weapons in light of Historical European Martial Arts, and science-fiction and fantasy tropes, all of which make minimal mention, if any, of his conservative political views. Over time, Shad has become more open about his views, and he expresses them freely on his second channel Knights Watch (he tries to keep his main channel apolitical by being focused on medieval history, fantasy, and weapons, though his views do slip on occasion, something he acknowledges). For instance, he has strong views on how women who can fight are portrayed in media, stemming from how he believed that women, on average, tend to be physically weaker and more emotionally expressive than men are. For this reason, he faults Captain Marvel for her lack of emotional vulnerabilities, claiming that it gives her the personality of a stump of wood and therefore makes her unrelatable. On the other hand, Alita, while capable of holding off on her own in a fight, has moments of vulnerability, thus making her a more "human" and relatable character (he even notes the irony of Alita, a cyborg, being more human than Captain Marvel, a human-Kree hybrid, in this regard). Likewise, Shad made a video touting He-Man as a symbol of "Virtuous Masculinity" who is worthy of imitation.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Discussed in a video dedicated to the viability of using frying pans as weapons. Shad's conclusion is a frying pan is really not that great of a weapon since the pan is almost certainly going to be poorly-balanced, but it would be better than nothing as an Improvised Weapon. Against flying fairies, however, the pan's wide surface might prove to be rather useful, especially as it could function like a badminton racket hitting a shuttlecock.
  • The Ghost: Shad's wife. In this video, after he introduces his kids, Shad points out that his wife does not, and will not, appear in any of his videos because she has social anxiety when it comes to YouTube. Slightly downplayed now, since she has acted as the cameraperson in several of his videos involving him firing a longbow. We at least know what her hands look like and what her voice sounds like.
  • Glass Cannon: In this video Shad discusses the idea by name, saying magic users having greater physical vulnerability to offset their magical powers is one way medieval-type knights could remain relevant in a fantasy setting (otherwise, they would just slaughter a knight every time, as demonstrated humorously at the beginning).
  • Glasses Pull: One of his tics. Shad tends to remove his glasses whenever he comes across something he thinks is mind-bogglingly stupid.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Being a devout Mormon, Shad tends to refrain from using foul language (at least by Australian standards). In this video, he points out that words such as "damn" and "hell", which are normally used by Australian Mormons, are considered curse words for American Mormons. On the flip side, he notes that words like "piss" are normally used by Mormons from America, whereas their Australian counterparts consider the word vulgar.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Subverted. He notes that a lot of historical films like to give women bows on the pretext that it's a good weapon for a person of less physical strength, but bows, in fact, require a lot of strength to draw and hold, so the idea is self-defeating. He suggests not gendering weapons in general, but he proposes giving a character a crossbow to show that a character has less physical strength.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Media about Middle Ages that aim at being "realistic" often commit the sin of having their characters wear leather armor that isn't backed up by historical evidence and depicting leather armor as much more common than Shad thinks it was. He regularly points out that gambesons (defensive padded jackets made from thick layers of linen or wool) were far more practical in every way, while leather was mostly used for footwear.
  • Hollywood Tactics: These are discussed in his "Crimes Against Medieval Realism" videos. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the Battle of the Dawn, in Season 8 Episode 3 of Game of Thrones, "The Long Night".
  • Hooks and Crooks: Shad proposes that the grappling hook would be an ideal weapon for merfolk when fighting humans on a boat, as an efficient strategy would just be to catch and pull their human opponents underwater and let drowning do the rest. He also notes it adds a layer of Irony as they would be fighting humans by essentially fishing for them.
  • Horse Archer: Shad looks at how centaurs are sometimes depicted as masters of the bow and arrow, but he notes how human riders have to stand up in the stirrups and try to cancel out the horse's bobbing as they aim. Obviously, centaurs can't separate their horse and human halves, but perhaps they have a biological adaptation to counter the movement and aim properly while at gallop. If that were not the case, Shad has an even better idea: take a humanoid creature and put it on the centaur's back so that the centaur can use a melee weapon while simultaneously letting the rider shoot arrows at the foe. They could even reverse the usual dominance of the rider over the mount, capturing and breeding human-like creatures to serve as Battle Thralls on their backs.
  • Humans Are Not the Dominant Species: In his Fantasy RE-ARMED episode on snake people, he notes that it seems like many of the common fantasy races would be much better at using medieval weapons than humans and wonders how humans would be able to survive in a world with such beings.
  • Iconic Outfit: In Shad's early videos, he is almost always seen wearing his coat or, when outside, his gambeson. As the years went on, he started acquiring more medieval-style clothing, and he has continued to wear such clothes in his videos since then. He is now frequently seen wearing either a chainmail hoodie with a sleeveless gambeson when or his gambeson with a brigandine.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • In his fourth "The TRUTH about the KATANA" video, Shad makes a pun about Austenite, a type of atomic structure in iron, by saying that you need to stack some novels by Jane Austen together to form a Jane Austenite structure.
    • He makes another one in his video on Evil Rey's lightsaber. At one point, he says that he likes the prequels more than the sequel trilogy, "now that the bar has been set Solo".
  • Jousting Lance: In "Centaurs RE-ARMED", he notes that giving lances to centaur warriors may sound like a good idea, but there is a possibility that bothers him: human lancers aren't actually grafted to the horse's body, and have space to get pushed back in the saddle when the couched lance connects with their opponent. Since centaurs are directly connected to the horse section through their spines, they might actually be injured by the opposing forces of impact. If that were the case, they might still be able to use lances like spears, not couched under the armpit but held at arm's length so that the elbow and shoulder could act as shock absorbers.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Not really. Sometimes he jokes about the pop culture perception of the katana as a nigh-mythical weapon that can cut through "space and time", and the romanticizing of its forging method. Shad's opinion is that the forging process and design of the katana are strokes of genius, in that they reduce or eliminate problems with the pulverized steel commonly found in Japan. But those things only help the katana be competitive with swords made from good steel in the first place. It's a well-engineered sword given the available material and purpose it's made for, but there's numerous types of sword specialized in various areas (thrusting or chopping, mainly) that far outperform the katana in those areas.
  • Large Ham: Compared to his medieval warfare YouTube peers who have other styles of delivery, such as serious (Metatron) or Deadpan Snarker (Skallagrim), Shad tends to go FULL HAM with his bombastic shouting and gleefully silly antics.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Shad discusses this trope in the video where he posits how knights, or any other melee combatant for that matter, can stay relevant in fantasy worlds where magic exists. One of the ways fantasy authors can tackle this problematic trope is to make magic available to anyone regardless of combat paradigm, and every job/class can channel the magic to strengthen their attacks and/or to utilize it strategically.
  • Logical Weakness: Shad proposes various ways magic users in fantasy settings could be vulnerable, depending on how spells are cast, so knights remain relevant as a fighting force. They include binding their hands if spells are cast with gestures, and gagging them assuming they're spoken.
  • Love at First Sight: Discussed this in his Cinderella (2015 movie) analysis on the topic. He stated he was a case himself as he married his wife after knowing her for two to four months. He sees the movie as a case of the trope done right and could happen in reality even when it's rare, and the chance of rose-colored glasses messing up red flags as simply flags.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Sometimes, you can't do better than a good shield. In the "CHANGED MY MIND about best weapons for a MINOTAUR" episode, Shad suggests that it use a giant tower shield made from a great big door. That way, it would be protected from head to foot, and if it charged enemies with its shield forward in the narrow confines of a tunnel, they would not be able to avoid or flank it.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Discussed when Shad is talking about magic systems and worldbuilding. He believes consistency is an important aspect of good lore and magic systems, and he expects the work to always adhere to these rules.
  • Magic Realism: In the "FANTASY RE-ARMED" videos, Shad discusses realistic and practical weapons fantasy creatures such as mermaids, centaurs, giants, and the like would wield if they existed in reality.
  • Motor Mouth: Shad tends to speak quite rapidly whenever he rants, as in this video for example, in which he discusses what types of buildings are (and should be) considered neo-Gothic.
    Shad: [speaking rapidly, getting increasingly agitated] Therefore, all baronial style buildings are considered neo-Gothic in this context but you can take a traditional baronial style building that doesn't have any traditional Gothic style architecture and only have those castle-style embellishments and wouldn't be considered Gothic in the medieval period but now because, the castle-style things are called to be neo-Gothic because it's neo-Gothic even though it doesn't have Gothic style elements, and here's the confusion! It just stops making sense! But THESE are the definitions as they exist, and THEY'RE STUPID!
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: Shad makes a remark of this kind in his Fight Scene Autopsy on the throne room fight scene in The Last Jedi. At one point, he sees a Praetorian guard swing in such a way that looks like he was deliberately missing Rey, and he says that not even his youngest son (at the time of this video) would have missed his target.
  • No-Sell: Shad's steel chainmail and gambeson versus Jazza's 3D-printed swords. Not only does the armor block stabs from the plastic blades without issue, but the plastic doesn't even stay in one piece long enough to transfer energy and make him stumble.
    Shad: Armor! It works!
  • Popular History: He discusses why people today have a lot of misconceptions about medieval times, which can be at least partly attributed to this. Certain ideas about medieval history have become embedded in the popular consciousness, and many assume that these things were commonplace throughout the era even though the best historical records show that they were rare, unique, or even completely fabricated. Further adding to that is the assumption many people have that medieval customs were practiced by everyone living in that time, regardless of which specific era or country the person lived in.
  • Precision F-Strike: The occasional times Shad uses harsher words than usual indicates that he has found something in a work that he finds so stupid it has made him incredibly angry. For instance, he uses the word "retarded" to describe the Klingon Bat'Leth, Renfri's fighting style, and a plot hole involving Luke Skywalker's X-Wing in The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Occasionally comes up in his discussions on medieval realism, namely things that seem bizarre or too cool to actually work but somehow happened anyway. Invoked in his review of Outlaw King, where he said that the "Feast of Swans" scene was so strange that he immediately guessed it was based on a real event.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Shad is a devout Mormon. He served a full-time two-year mission for his church, worked as a lay priest for some time, and generally sees the Mormon faith as a big part of his life. This is reflected in the armorial achievement he made for himself, as he explains in this video that he drew extensively from Mormon theology for the achievement's symbolism. He is also skilled in East Asian and Historical European martial arts.
  • Reconstruction: If Shad finds some fantasy trope impractical, he will often propose modifications that will make it both awesome and practical.
    • FANTASY RE-ARMED is a series of videos that examines why the anatomy or habitat of fantasy creatures might make the weapons and tactics that popular culture attributes to them impractical, and instead suggests ones that would take advantage of their species' traits.
    • A whole series of videos deals with drawing weapons from a scabbard or clip on one's back. Although some fictional characters are depicted with rigs that wouldn't work if you tried them in real life, Shad doesn't buy the notion that they can't be made to work. He makes an unconventional DIY scabbard that holds his longsword securely on his back, yet can be drawn quickly with one hand. After demonstrating how well it works, he shows that it actually has several advantages over a scabbard hanging at the hip: it's easier to draw with one hand when the scabbard doesn't jiggle around, and having it on the back makes it easier to run, crawl, or climb without the sword getting in the way. Even an axe can hang on the back with a bit of creativity: He finds that the back clip into which Kratos slips his Leviathan Axe in God of War is a surprisingly good starting point, and he merely adds a piece to help guide the axe back into its holster. He also points out that these advantages would actually make them ideal for fantasy adventurers.
    • He acknowledges that fantasy barbarians going into battle dressed only in a Loincloth or Chainmail Bikini is a bit silly, but they look AWESOME. This video examines how such characters could be realistic and how they could be made to work. Wearing a lot of armor doesn't restrict freedom of movement, but it can risk overheating, especially in hot climates (modern athletes are shown as a comparison for this reasoning). A good shield can replace a lot of body armor. Leg and arm armor will fill in the gaps the shield leaves, and barbarians are often drawn with this. A barbarian culture might have a very different modesty standard in which wearing a lot of clothing is discouraged, and warriors in particular may want to show off their impressive physiques to intimidate opponents. In conclusion: go for it!
      • A revisit of the video (posted in response to Skallagrim tackling the same subject sometime later) concedes that arm armor makes a bit less sense, as the weight of metal on the end of your arm is more difficult and fatiguing to wear than breastplate protecting your vitals because of the effects of leverage. But, if using a shield, shin armor becomes much more desirable, as a combined side effect of using a shield is that an opponent is more likely to land strikes on your legs (the shield protecting your upper body makes the legs a more tempting target, and the reduced visibility of holding a shield makes it harder to see when the opponent is dipping to strike low). In lieu of a shield, large two-handed weapons that can keep opponents at bay or dual-wielding weapons that offer good defensive advantage work well. The stereotype of a barbarian with a massive two-handed axe or dual-wielding smaller axes is pretty bad, though; axes offer famously poor defense.
    • In one video, he reviews the iconic diamond sword from Minecraft, where he explains that just because diamonds are renowned for their hardness, that doesn't translate into the toughness necessary for swords, which means a pure diamond sword would likely snap in half rather quickly. Instead, he proposes alternate designs that utilize steel cores with diamond-embedded edges (under the assumption that Minecraft diamonds are of a better composition than real diamonds), as seen here.
    • Even topics outside the medieval genre, such as Superheroes Wear Tights and stripperiffic Leotard of Power costumes, get reconstructed; in these cases, tights are more resistant to Clothing Damage, and skimpier clothing is more easily replaced and helps with perspiration.
    • His review of the Double Weapon shows that it would actually be a VERY effective weapon in combat as it can switch from offense to defense much quicker than an ordinary sword... up until you need to sheathe it.
    • Not Shad himself as he stands by his criticisms, but his colleagues Tyranth and Nate manage to do this with the nunchucks. One of the criticisms brought up is how the nunchucks will bounce back toward the user after hitting the target. Tyranth and Nate suggest that this can be mitigated if the nunchucks have weights at the end, using nunchucks made out of hammers to demonstrate, since most of the momentum is concentrated at the weighty end and is transferred to the target upon impact, meaning that the nunchuck will not rebound as much.
  • Required Secondary Powers: He frequently goes over these regarding the creatures and abilities in Fantasy Re-Armed. An example he gives is how a person with a Healing Factor would be able to build muscle much more quickly and easily than a normal person and not worry about fatigue in the middle of battle (although those might more accurately be called bonus secondary powers).
  • Reverse Grip: Another one of his pet peeves. Whenever he sees a character holding a sword this way, especially in "Fight Scene Autopsy", he just comments and expresses extreme disapproval. He notes that there are a handful of maneuvers that utilize this grip in historical sword-fighting, but to hold the sword in this manner routinely puts you at severe disadvantages in reach, power generation, and swiftness of blade movement (many attacks need to be gratuitously telegraphed in reverse grip where they would not be in the normal grip).
  • Rule of Cool: Mentions in his "Crimes Against Medieval Realism" video on the prologue sequence of the first episode of the 2019 Vinland Saga anime that he'll let slide some unrealistic things because of this. For instance, in the opening fight scene, Thorkell swings his axe once, yet he manages to cut in half everyone hit by the shockwaves his swing caused. Shad laughs at how silly and unrealistic it is but accepts it because of its coolness.
  • Running Gag: After making a few videos deconstructing nunchucks, Shad often brings nunchucks to other weapon-related videos for unfavorable comparisons.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shad's review/rant on The Rise of Skywalker. As he goes over his reasons why he does not like the movie, he slowly loses his sanity, from going through his reasons in resigned exhaustion to occasionally laughing mad or even Suddenly Shouting when going over particularly massive gripes.
    Shad: [clearly suffering] This is painful and difficult... I'm doing it for you!
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Played for laughs in his video on shield use on horseback. At the end of the video, Shad tries to get his horse Frederick to move, to no avail. He gets so angry he rips the horse's head out. The second he does so, he screams this way.
  • Serious Business: Shad has produced several videos amounting to several hours in time total vehemently arguing back and forth with other archery YouTubers about the validity of nocking the arrow on the left side of the bow as opposed to the right! (Primarily for right-handed people.) note . For what it's worth, several other archery YouTubers took this just as seriously, kicking off a miniature war among medieval archery YouTube enthusiasts over which way was correct, if one way was significantly more dangerous to the archer than the other, which way was more historically accurate, which way was more competitively effective, and so on.
  • Shields Are Useless: Not usually the case. However, there are certain fantasy creatures for whom Shad thinks shields wouldn't be worth bothering with. Centaurs and Naga, for example, are only human from the waist up and have much larger animal bodies that trail behind them. Since a lot of their vital organs are presumably in their hind parts, which are much too large to cover with a shield, they might as well use both hands on their weapons and try to get specially made armor instead.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: He typically ends his videos with a variation of "Thank you very much for watching, I hope you've enjoyed, and of course, I hope to see you again, so until that time, farewell."
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • Some castle and weaponry designs are this when he compares them to elaborate fantasy counterparts.
    • While playing Conan Exiles he and his clan make a castle using actual, real-world castle building techniques and designs. The largest clan on the server attempts to take the castle while only Shad and a friend are online. Despite being vastly outnumbered (though they do have NPC Mooks), they force the enemy clan into retreat. Apparently, this happened multiple times off-screen, and the castle only fell when it was attacked with no one online to defend it.note 
    • Gambesons were made of wool or linen with padding made of mundane materials, and they were surprisingly good as body armor, being able to stop arrows shot by longbows in some cases. Shad considers it a disservice that they're mostly ignored in fiction in favor of Rule of Cool leather armor.
    • While there is no historical evidence of using scabbards for longswords in the back in medieval times due to the standard ones being very impractical in that position, he managed to design and build a practical one and found many advantages in using it.
  • Sinister Scythe: Declared as one of the ideal weapons for giants in his FANTASY RE-ARMED series, as when the blades are properly aligned and carried properly, human targets are to a scythe-wielding giant what regular wheat is to a human farmer.
  • Square-Cube Law: Discussed in the FANTASY RE-ARMED episode about fairies, in which he points out there is no reason that tiny humanoids should have to use weapons as small in proportion to themselves as human weapons are to humans; with their higher power-to-mass ratio, a fairy should use a weapon that looks like a BFS in their hands to inflict more harm on larger beings. Or use poisoned blades. And go for the eye.
  • Sticks to the Back: Shad tried to figure out how to get this trope to work, and came to the answer of "Very strong magnets". Said magnets ended up causing more injuries to Shad than the actual weapons he was trying to "holster".
  • Stout Strength: While Shad is somewhat overweight, he shows a fair share of physical strength - he can shoot 16 arrows in a minute from an English longbow, which is no minor feat. Ben, a previous editor, also qualifies since, as Shad points out in his first video on the nunchucks, he is taller, stronger, and bulkier. Thus, he can hit things with more force than Shad will; Ben easily knocks over the dummy with a stick held in one hand.
  • Spectacular Spinning: As a subset of Flynning, spinning in swordfights is deconstructed. Shad divides spinning in combat between "good spins" and "bad spins" when he looks at a fight scene. Good spins are where the combatants are going with the momentum of a strike or block, keeping their blades in a position to ward off their opponent, or both. Bad spins are where the combatants withdraw their blades and expose themselves to their opponents as they spin, which leaves a combatant wide open.
    • The Anakin vs. Obi-Wan fight in Revenge of the Sith has a large number of good spins in it, even accounting for the fact that lightsabers wouldn't technically have weight to them, though it does have a few examples of bad spins in the same fight. And given that Jedi have the power to use the Force or predict their enemy movements, there are a few moments that should have resulted in a finishing blow but weren't.
    • The Queen of Bad Spins goes to Renfri in the Battle of Blaviken, where her fighting style consists largely of striking to one side, spinning around, and then striking to the other, with no provision made to guard her back as she does so. Renfri being potentially superhuman and largely self-taught justifies such a fighting style, as well as the fact that Geralt didn't want to kill Renfri justifies the fight lasting as long as it does. There are several points where Geralt could have dealt the finishing blow when Renfri kept spinning, but he deliberately held himself back.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: In his video on Neo-Gothic architecture, when Shad sounds like he is about to shout MACHICOLATIONS, but says it normally because the video is more of a rant.
    Shad: A castle is a building meant to defend its occupants and there are certain architectural elements that are part of its design that has helped assist in that function, like for instance, crenellations, corbelling, which of course leads provision toooo... [prepares to shout, but speaks normally] you know what I'm gonna say, machicolations, but because this is a bit more of a ranty episode, let's just continue on.
  • Suffer the Slings: What he determines would be the supreme ranged weapon for giants, as he estimates that they could far exceed medieval artillery in power when using one.
  • Suddenly Shouting: You can expect this whenever he comes across something in a work which he finds particularly stupid, or when he starts talking about MACHICOLATIONS!
  • Superheroes Wear Tights: Discussed and Justified in a video on Superheroes wearing tights and skimpy clothing, where Shad comes across various arguments for why stereotypical superhero tights and skimpy clothes are practical: tight clothes resist Clothing Damage (which would be expected in melee fights), and skimpy clothes are more easily replaceable and help keep the wearer cool in hot weather. Capes themselves, however, did not receive any justification.
  • Tail Slap: For Snake People, one of their deadliest weapons would be their own lower bodies, as a snake with the thickness of a human waistline would be capable of immense amounts of crushing power (compare that of real alligators, for instance). So it'd be less of a tail slap and more of a tail grapple.
  • Take That!: Shad made this video, in which he talks about a method for drawing spears and bows from the back he developed that consists of tying a blunt nail to the bow or spear shaft. At one point, he makes an early 1900s-style advertisement that makes a joke at the expense of Disney and Disney+.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Discussed When evaluating the defensibility of fictional towns, especially in video games. He points out that the fortified cities in Skyrim are basically the size of large castles.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • He will often comment that something is "Very interesting" before explaining in depth why he finds it interesting. Shad even made shirts to lampshade this verbal tic.
    • He also has another verbal tic, right?
    • Akshually, he has a third one, too.
    • He has a fourth one, okay?
  • Very Special Episode: During the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic, he did an extremely emotional and serious-toned video about the Black Death and the hardships people had to go through in ancient times.
    Shad: These are some of the horrors people had to endure, but they endured it to try and better their own life and better the lives of their children... We are their children.
  • The Voice: Shad's wife, whom he calls "the Lady". She acts as the cameraperson for a couple of Shad's videos, and we get to hear her speak, but Shad says that she will not be in front of the camera because of her social anxiety.
  • Walking Armory: In "How many weapons could an adventurer really carry?", complete with Lock-and-Load Montage, and Extended Disarming scene, Shad manages to equip himself with over a dozen weapons — knives, sword, short axe, mace, spear, another sword, war hammer, Dane axe, another knife, yet another sword, a shield, longbow, and a quiver with 50 arrows, and yet another axe. Discussed and Lampshaded, in when he admits that all of it is rather heavy — that at most, an Adventurer could carry about 30% of their body weight — and was uncomfortable walking around with all of it. However, an Adventure could reasonably use a longbow, sword, a backup weapon, or a shield, spear, sword, and armor-beating weapon, and, could effectively walk around carrying half a dozen small-to-medium-sized weapons.
  • War Is Glorious: In "Why medieval people loved WAR", Shad talks about how life for most people was so full of struggle and pain that going off to war might not have seemed so much worse in comparison. In fact, people were pretty desensitized to violence and had the capacity to see it as fun. If you might die of starvation or disease regardless, you'd be more enthusiastic to risk your life in a way that at least offered excitement, riches, and glory if you succeeded. This was also long before the 20th century popularized the idea that war is meaningless and avoidable, and most people agreed that warfare could be a legitimate and honorable way to enforce justice or settle disputes.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: In one Overappreciated Historical Weapons video, he explains that fighting with nunchucks inevitably descend into this trope because of the weapon's serious flaws: you're just as likely to hit yourself with them as you are your opponent (even if you do hit your target, the nunchucks will bounce back towards you afterward), and when you do hit, there's no way to keep driving the force home afterward. He points out that almost anything would be more useful as a weapon; even a regular wooden stick is objectively superior in every meaningful way.
  • Women Are Delicate:
    • Discussed when comparing Captain Marvel unfavorably with Alita. According to Shad, women tend to be physically weaker and more emotionally expressive than men are, and he faults Captain Marvel for lacking these emotional vulnerabilities, claiming that it makes her have as much personality as a stump of wood. In contrast, he says that Alita, a woman who can fight, is much more "human" and relatable to the audience because of her emotional vulnerabilities. The physical side of things is discussed in more detail when responding to Andrew Klavan's claim that women cannot fight. Shad points out that there are multiple factors to consider, like the skill of the combatants or whether the fight is with weapons or no as weapons are effective force equalizers. That said, he notes that women can fight a man and win with sufficient cunning and resourcefulness to make up for their height and weight disadvantage, and he cites some HEMA tournaments where a woman is the victor.
  • Worldbuilding: Discussed when reviewing a creative work's lore and the central topic of this video. Shad says that the most important aspect of worldbuilding is consistency, in which a world must have rules that work believably and are applied throughout the work. One example is that magic systems must work consistently.


Video Example(s):


Galadriel's horse hang

Shad rips apart the memetically bad scene from Rings of Power.

How well does it match the trope?

2.27 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / FightSceneFailure

Media sources: