The Ma'Tok staff, known more commonly as simply a Staff weapon, is the primary weapon of Jaffa warriors. They are, in essence, hand held plasma cannons and they come with all the strengths and shortcomings of attempting to use cannons as infantry weapons.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The Ma'Tok staff is a high-power, anti-personnel energy weapon. It is a two-meter staff shaped vaguely like a Goa'uld symbiote. The front end is oval-shaped, which opens to reveal the barrel of the weapon. The back end has a club, allowing the staff to double as a melee weapon at close range. Jaffa are trained to be able to determine whether a given surface can be broken by a Ma'Tok blast by hitting the surface lightly with the club. (The First Commandment). This back end also features a small blue patch that may be illuminated to act as a light. It is activated by a small control spot near the midsection and is powered by a small Liquid Naquadah power cell which will furnish the weapon for a seemingly indefinite amount of time. (SG1: "The Fifth Race", "Maternal Instinct")
The Ma'Tok staff fires a powerful plasma bolt. The various observed levels of firepower indicate that these weapons can be recalibrated at will. On average a staff weapon blast can kill most Humans with a single shot if it strikes near the center mass of the body (or other vital areas). Staff bolts fully penetrate through Jaffa body armor, which is moderately bullet-resistant. Glancing blows will cause severe pain and potentially internal injuries, but the victim may survive if the wound is treated. Lower yield will merely leave surface level damage to the human body or even simple burn marks in dead tree trunks. On higher yields staff bolts have been able to go completely through a victim, blow through the metal blast doors or bulletproof glass of the SGC or through several feet of stone and the concussive shockwave of missed shots can knock a human down. The high heat of the plasma blast will cauterize the wound instantly and catch nearby surfaces on fire. In addition to being lethal to humans, the blast can cause significant damage to solid objects and leave behind an energy signature similar to that of a gas plasma laser. (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "2010", "Full Circle", "The Broca Divide", "Chain Reaction", "Maternal Instinct", "Cold Lazarus", "Rules of Engagement", "The Devil You Know", "The Warrior")
The Ma'Tok staff is noted for its short range of approximately 50 to 60 meters and low rate of fire (although Bra'tac was seen capable of firing a succession of low powered shots at a higher rate than usual). It is also rather unwieldy, given its large size and weight. Colonel Jack O'Neill describes it as a weapon of terror, made to intimidate (contrasted with the FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon used by SG-1, described by O'Neill as a weapon of war made to kill).
Due to these shortcomings, the Jaffa usually utilize tactics including firing lines reminiscent to old colonial firing lines for mass volleys and human waves, where they rely on overwhelming numbers.(SG1: "Bloodlines", "The Warrior")
Like most projectile and energy weapons, the Ma'Tok staff is ineffective against Kull armor. The weapon is also ineffective against Priors of the Ori and Replicators. The Tau'ri have developed a type of ceramic polymer Vest insert that is capable of blocking a staff blast, though it is not infallible. (SG1: "Enemies", "The Warrior", "Evolution, Part 1", "Heroes, Part 1", "Beachhead")
Users[edit | edit source]
The Ma'Tok staff is used almost exclusively by the Jaffa, who use it as their primary weapon, occasionally complimented with Zat'nik'tels and Shock grenades. Even after gaining their freedom from the Goa'uld, the Jaffa continue to make use of them. They are also used by humans serving the Goa'uld, such as those in the armies of Ra and Apophis. The Tok'ra also utilize staffs. Jack O'Neill is capable of using this weapon and he seems to be quite skilled with them, shooting with accuracy and effectiveness rivaling that of Teal'c. The Sodan use a modified version that is smaller and easier to carry, being about half the length of a normal staff. (Stargate, SG1: "The Tok'ra, Part 1", "Rules of Engagement", "Reckoning, Part 2", "Babylon")
Variants[edit | edit source]
During training, Jaffa use a non-lethal variant of the staff. The energy is absorbed into the target body without dealing damage while rendering the target unconscious. While it is possible these are Intar, they do not fire the red blasts intar usually do. (SG1: "Rules of Engagement")
Serqet, the right hand of the Goa'uld Aset uses a customized Ma'Tok staff which replaced the traditional snake motif on the end with a khopesh blade. As the snake that adorns the standard staff weapon is specifically the symbol of Apophis, it is possible that different system lords used different variations of the Ma'Tok staff which reflected their personal iconography. (Stargate, Origins)
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- In the Stargate SG-1 Roleplaying Game, the Goa'uld Raiden's Jaffa use Thunder and Lightning staves, which add effects to the staff weapon which correspond to Raiden's control over thunder and lightning. (RPG: "Fantastic Frontiers: Stargate Season One")
- Initial reports on Gateworld stated that Adria would reveal that the Staff weapon is based on Ancient design and how the Goa'uld stole much of their knowledge from the Ancients. 
- In the original film, the Ma'Tok staff is much more powerful than in the series and was capable of not only severely injuring the enemy, but also hurling him several meters backwards.
- The term "Ma'Tok staff" comes from the Stargate Resistance website.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Staff cannon
- Ori staff weapon
- Bashaak, the wooden training equivalent.
- Thunder staff
- Lightning staff
[edit | edit source]
- GateWorld's article on