The Most Powerful Magic-Users in the MCU, Ranked
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness brought the topic of magic to the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Viewers got to see firsthand just how incredibly powerful those who wield magic can be. However, magic has been in the MCU for quite some time already. The first Doctor Strange film, released in 2016, introduced us to numerous magic-users in a previously unseen corner of the MCU.
In addition to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Frigga (Rene Russo), and Hela (Cate Blanchett) all boast magical powers. Marvel even snuck one extremely powerful magic user into the TV series Runaways. Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight also introduced some powerful cosmic magic and dark magic-users. Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) may be pretty smug about their strength, but there are some other magical characters they need to watch out for. After all, some of the magic-users on this list are almost comparable in strength to Strange and Maximoff.
Here are the 12 most powerful magic-users in the MCU, ranked from weakest (relatively speaking) to strongest.
12. Ms. Marvel
In the Ms. Marvel series, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) was revealed to be a magic-user. The series decided to switch up her origin story and powers, with one of her new powers being the ability to wield cosmic magic. This powerful energy, which she calls “hard light,” has a purple glow to it and is pulled from the Noor dimension. Khan uses her cosmic magic in many different ways, such as to morph and elongate her limbs and fists, create literal “hard light” that she can walk on, and shoot crystalline projections. At the end of the series, it is hinted that her Inhuman identity is what gives her the ability to wield cosmic magic.
Unfortunately, Ms. Marvel is the only character in the MCU so far to harness cosmic magic from the Noor dimension. This makes it difficult to determine how her powers match up to other magic-users since there are still so many unknowns about her abilities. As time goes on, she may create more powerful displays of magic. However, based on Ms. Marvel, while her powers are unique, they don’t seem like they’d be a match against real powerhouses like Wanda, Doctor Strange, or Hela.
Wong (Benedict Wong) was introduced in Doctor Strange and is within the highest ranks of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, it is revealed that Wong has been named the new Sorcerer Supreme (he gained the title due to a technicality that arose when Strange was blipped).
Wong frequently keeps Strange in his place, is always the voice of reason, and is loyal almost to a fault. While Strange might be more powerful, Wong is far more experienced and knowledgeable in all things related to the Mystic Arts. He even once managed to utilize his powers to defeat Abomination in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Still, Wong typically functions best as a protector or assistant. He lacks the ruthlessness or disregard for the arts necessary to unleash the full extent of his power. He often seems content with protecting the sanctum and leaving the big battles to Strange.
10. Baron Karl Mordo
Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) boasts a power level that’s very similar to Wong’s. He and Wong are both Masters of the Mystic Arts and trained closely with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). However, Mordo definitely has a bit of that ruthlessness that Wong lacks. Mordo is extremely disillusioned by the contradiction between the Ancient One’s teachings and her actions, which inspires him to leave his fellow sorcerers and attempt to stop magic from being used altogether.
One of Mordo’s powers is energy absorption: He can strip the magic from sorcerers by absorbing their magical energies. With a chip on his shoulder and a deep knowledge of the Mystic Arts, Mordo might prove a tough foe against Wong—though we haven’t really seen him use his powers to the extent that other magic-users have. Granted, we don’t know what he has been up to since Doctor Strange. He could very well be dabbling in the dark arts and honing his powers. From what the MCU has given us so far, though, Mordo isn’t a particularly strong magic-user.
9. Agatha Harkness
Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) made her MCU debut in WandaVision. She is a very powerful witch who formed a coven in Salem. During the height of the Salem witch trials, Harkness was accused of practicing dark magic and attacked by the coven. She killed all of the other witches and fled, spending the next 300 years honing her powers and even utilizing the Darkhold (a book of dark magic). Sensing Wanda’s chaos magic, Harkness travels to Westview to investigate and manipulate events. Harkness attempts to steal Wanda’s power but is no match for Wanda’s chaos magic. She is ultimately stripped of her powers and regulated to the life of the nosy neighbor she attempted to impersonate.
Harkness definitely boasts serious power and even went head-to-head with Wanda. While she is great at manipulation and tricks, when it comes to a battle of raw power, Harkness shows she is lacking—especially surprising since she has the Darkhold on her side. Every other magic-user to get their hands on the Darkhold has become immensely, incomparably powerful. It’s odd that Harkness really doesn’t display any groundbreaking power, even while drawing from the book.
Loki is the God of Mischief and is a powerful wielder of Asgardian magic. As a child, he develops a close bond with his adoptive mother, Frigga. Raised by witches, Frigga is adept with Asgardian magic and teaches it to Loki. As a result, Loki becomes extremely well-learned in magic, using it to create illusions and transform himself. Numerous times throughout the MCU, he has prevailed by tricking those around him, using magic to create decoys, make himself unseen, manipulate his image, and mentally influence others.
Loki is also resourceful and strategic, allowing him to frequently succeed. However, his tricks don’t necessarily equate to power. This is why he so desperately seeks the Tesseract and the title of King to give him the level of power he desires. It is also why he dies so easily at the hands of Thanos (Josh Brolin), and why Strange doesn’t bat an eye when Loki challenges him. The smart and mischievous ways in which Loki uses his magic definitely give him an advantage. Still, he doesn’t stand a chance against those who can easily see through his tricks.
7. Morgan le Fay
Morgan le Fay made her MCU debut in the Hulu series Runaways. Le Fay is an extremely powerful enchantress who started out as King Arthur’s foe. She was banished to the Dark Dimension for centuries, where she continued plotting to conquer the world. Once she escapes the Dark Dimension, le Fay carries out a plan similar to the one Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) had in Doctor Strange—trying to merge Earth with the Dark Dimension. However, her plans are foiled by the Runaways and she is re-banished to the Dark Dimension.
Le Fay’s list of powers and abilities is extensive, to say the least. She can manipulate others into doing her bidding, deflect attacks, utilize telepathy, create illusions, communicate between the Dark Dimension and the Earth plane, and she has healing abilities. Le Fay exceeds many of the magic-users on this list because of her use and knowledge of dark magic. Still, even with her powers and the Darkhold, she can’t seem to get away from the Dark Dimension. If it weren’t for her prison, she would likely wreak havoc with her powers.
Hela made a dramatic entrance in Thor: Ragnarok, quickly—and singlehandedly—bringing all of Asgard to its knees. She is the daughter of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), as well as the Goddess of Death and Executioner of Asgard. When Hela attempted to take the throne, Odin banished her, but upon his death, she is freed and returns to claim Asgard. Her brothers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki are no match for Hela. She is ultimately taken out when the Surtur is unleashed and destroys all of Asgard, along with Hela.
Hela has some serious power. While Loki and Frigga utilize their magic for simple tricks, Hela wields it to a far greater extent. For example, she can channel magic energy into her hands that gives her the power to shatter Thor’s hammer. In addition, she has the ability to manifest Necroswords, which she utilizes in her Asgardian massacre. Hela draws her power from Asgard itself, giving her superhuman strength, speed, agility, and durability. It is only the Surtur (and the destruction of Asgard itself) that can stop Hela’s immense power.
Moon Knight introduced another highly powerful magical being to the MCU: Ammit (Saba Mubarak). What’s interesting is that we don’t really know exactly what type of magic Ammit uses. She wields an extremely powerful energy that has a purple glow to it, and which resembles the Dark Magic used by Agatha Harkness. However, the nature and origins of Ammit’s magical power haven’t been revealed in the MCU.
While its source is unknown, what is known is that Ammit is an immensely powerful being. For most of the series, we get only a taste of Ammit’s power through Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke)’s staff. It is imbued with just a scrap of Ammit’s power, but even that is enough to judge the souls of humans and to summon Jackals. In her full power, Ammit can easily wipe out and devour the souls of millions of individuals she deems worthy. She is much more powerful than the other gods, many of whom even fear her. Of course, Ammit does still have weaknesses: She can be bound to an Avatar, making her vulnerable. Despite that one technicality, there is little that Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac) or Khonshu (Karim El Hakim and F. Murray Abraham) could’ve done to stop Ammit once she unleashed her power.
4. The Ancient One
The Ancient One first appeared in Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme and leader of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. She has displayed total mastery of the mystic arts and is an exceedingly powerful sorceress, though it is later revealed that she was tapping into the Dark Dimension to enhance her powers. In doing so, she obtained immortality and the ability to warp reality.
The Ancient One has mastered the mystic arts, tapped into the Dark Dimension, and has literally had centuries to hone her skills. Needless to say, she is a force to be reckoned with. Technically, she is more powerful than Strange. She was his mentor, and he is still in the process of growing to match her powers. The Ancient One amassed her skill over centuries, while Strange honed his abilities over the course of months. That said, Strange’s powers are already nearly comparable to hers (and in an extremely shorter time span), leading to the belief that he will far surpass his mentor’s abilities.
3. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is a Master of the Mystic Arts and was the Sorcerer Supreme until Wong stole his title. Not only that, but he is an extremely fast learner who became the Master of the New York Sanctum after mere months of training. He is extremely adept at spell casting, mirror-dimension magic, Eldritch Magic, and much more.
Strange has defeated Kaecilius, outsmarted Dormammu, found the only way to stop Thanos, cast a spell that almost destroyed the universe, and has defeated different variations of himself. As we learned in What If…? and Doctor Strange 2, Strange could literally obliterate the entire universe if he really wanted to. With keen intelligence, strategy, and a knack for magic, there are few foes comparable to Doctor Strange. However, even he isn’t any match for chaos magic.
2. Wanda Maximoff
As we see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange cannot contend with the power of Wanda. Once she embraces her identity as the Scarlet Witch, hones her chaos magic, and draws power from the Darkhold, she is pretty much unstoppable. In the MCU, Wanda is the only magic-user who can utilize chaos magic, which gives her the power to manipulate and warp reality.
In WandaVision, we saw her hex an entire town and warp it into a sitcom-themed reality. She even creates her own version of Vision (Paul Bettany) and a pair of children. With chaos magic and the power of the Darkhold, there isn’t anything that can really stop Wanda … or is there?
So far, we’ve only seen Dormammu in the MCU once—when he made his live-action debut in Doctor Strange. In the film, Dormammu is the absolute ruler of the Dark Dimension. He is described as a being of infinite power who wants to bring every universe into the Dark Dimension. In Doctor Strange, he tricks Kaecilius into helping him attempt to fuse Earth with the Dark Dimension. However, Strange uses the time stone to trap Dormammu in an infinite loop, refusing to release him until he agrees to leave Earth.
Now, it must be noted here that Strange didn’t defeat Dormammu; he only temporarily outsmarted him. In reality, Dormammu killed Strange in the blink of an eye and did so a thousand more times within the endless loop. Dormammu transcends time itself and has complete control of all the power in the Dark Dimension. Yes, Wanda has chaos magic, but Dormammu has the power of an entire dimension at his fingertips. If the two had come head to head, I believe Dormammu would have snuffed her out as quickly as he did Strange.
(featured image: Disney+)
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