There’s a popular request everyone reading this has probably already seen, assuming you frequent Death Battle related threads/comment sections/forums. After Luke forcibly resized Harry’s rectum, the only other HP-verse matchups are Voldemort vs Vader/Palpatine and Gandalf vs Dumbledore. My question is: why bother with Little League when you can watch the World Series? Besides someone trying to tell me that Dumbledore is city-level, those two are small fries (OK I know Gandalf has his Maia form which is basically Tolkien’s version of an angel and is probably uber powerful but is also pretty featless WHATEVER) compared to the two sorcerers from Marvel and DC. That’s right, these two docs are making house calls on each other, and they’re prescribing some face-melting Cthulhu-fucking ass-whoopings. It’s Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange versus DC’s Lord of Order, Doctor Fate. Pencil mustache (turned pedo-stache, tragically, but reversed when Marvel regained some self-respect) versus helmet head. Vincent Price (soon to be Cumberbund Bandersnatch) versus….blonde guy….sometimes old guy. Or woman. Or two people. Or shitty 90s guy. Or other unrelated old guy. Or grand-nephew of original blonde/old guy. Or Egyptian guy, which is the first one to actually make thematic goddamn sense. Where was I? Oh yeah, Strange vs Fate, let’s do this.
But first, a quick note...
As some of you might know, Doctor Fate isn’t one hero, but many. He’s a legacy hero in the same vein as Green Lantern and the Flash. The obvious question becomes: which Fate do we use? Well, the nature of Fate’s abilities makes that a pretty easy question to answer. Y’see, every single Doctor Fate derives their power from Nabu, so every feat that the various Fates have accomplished over the years can all be scaled to whomever was the most powerful/experienced. That would be Kent Nelson, the original, classic Doctor Fate, and the one most often referenced as the “main” Fate in other media (Superman TAS/Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, etc.). There’s really only one exception, and we’ll get to that later in the blog. It's also important to note that Kent and Inza and Nabu all remained unchanged by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, so Pre-Crisis feats are still perfectly legitimate. The New 52 is where it all changes, but the newest Fates have far fewer feats and showings and way less power so I'm not going to bother.
Strange is much simpler, but not without some issues. Obviously we’re dealing with 616 Strange, however, that same Strange has gone through multiple different levels of power, becoming weaker in recent years. I’m going to be sticking with Classic Strange for most of his feats, while including more recent powers like The Words to be as complete as possible.
Born in 1930 to a Nebraskan couple, it wasn’t long before the young Stephen was recognized as the successor of the Ancient One to the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Well, Stephen himself didn’t know jack shit about any of that, nor did most people on the planet, save for the Ancient One himself and his angsty douchebag disciple Karl Mordo, who beset the child with nightmares that drove him to drinking at a young age. Growing up under the harsh eye of his no nonsense businessman father, Stephen became concerned primarily with the acquisition of wealth coupled with a burgeoning interest in medicine. Flash forward several decades, past the tragic deaths of basically everyone close to him and his growing alcoholism, and Stephen was actually doing pretty well for himself. He had graduated top of his class in medical school and had started his own practice as an extremely successful surgeon.
Too bad he was an asshole. After years of prioritizing wealth above all else when it came to his clientele, and turning down those who couldn’t meet his exorbitant fees, Strange’s pride, cruelty, and personal demons were driving him to disaster. Literally. He got into a car crash (which might have possibly been a suicide attempt) that ruined his hands so thoroughly, that, although they could be repaired cosmetically, they would never be able to perform surgery again. Wallowing in booze and self-pity, Stephen lost his fortune trying to find a cure. However, his life would change after hearing about the Tibetan healer known as the Ancient One. He spent the last of his fortune travelling to Tibet, only for this mysterious monk to refuse his request. Instead, the Ancient One offered Strange the chance to be his pupil and study the mystic arts.
Though wary of this whole “magic is real what the fuck” thing, Strange took the offer in order to protect the Ancient One from his other pupil, the evil Karl Mordo, who was just a jealous Julia about not being the future Sorcerer Supreme. Strange spent years under the Ancient One’s tutelage and eventually owned Mordo (something he would do often in his career). He moved back to New York City and bought a haunted apartment in Greenwich Village to serve as his HQ. He also got a cool manservant named Wong. From there, Strange would fight all manners of supernatural threats and eventually succeed the Ancient One as Sorcerer Supreme upon the latter’s death. Strange has teamed up with a cavalcade of Marvel’s heroes, fought a cavalcade of Marvel’s villains, and played an important role in Earth 616’s, and the Marvel multiverse’s, history.
Sven Nelson was an archeologist who believed that the pyramids in the Valley of Ur (Mesopotamia, not Egypt….for some reason) were built by extraterrestrials or some shit. He brought his young son Kent along with him to explore the tombs, and what Kent found there would change his life forever. He finds the remains of Nabu the Sorcerer kept in stasis for thousands of years, and accidentally awakens him, releasing poisonous gases that kill Sven. Taking pity on the child, Nabu promises to train Kent in magic and sorcery to take his place as defender of the Earth. Turns out that not only did Nabu plan this event from the beginning, he was never even human to begin with.
Our story really begins a little while earlier than Kent and Sven’s excavation, say half a million years ago on the Planet Cillia with the formation of the Lords of Order and Chaos, the first sentient beings in the universe, composed of pure energy. They represented, as if you couldn’t already guess, the forces of Order and Chaos and were nigh-omnipotent in their power, fighting battles across the multiverse up until present day. 5000 years ago, Nabu the Wise, the most powerful Lord of Order, took mortal form on Earth to fight the forces of Chaos there as a sorcerer. After thousands of years of battle, Nabu’s power was drained, and he was forced to rest in wait of the next being who could act as his agent. Y’see, the Lords of Order may be nigh-omnipotent, but for some reason they are limited when it comes to acting on the physical plane. So, they require a host body they can possess to act there, and Kent was to be that host body.
Flash forward to the present, and Nabu spends years teaching and training Kent, including altering him physically to better withstand the strains of the power he was about to be given. When he was ready, he gifted to Kent his vestments of power and when they merged took the title Doctor Fate. Upon his return to America he met Inza Cramer, the woman who would one day become his wife and successor. The two lived out a long life together battling evil, and eventually merging themselves to be the new Fate. Eventually the strain of the mantle grew on them and they died, living out their afterlives within Nabu’s amulet, and the role of Doctor Fate would pass on to several others.
Strange actually has a crap ton of mystical weaponry stored up in his Sanctum Sanctorum, but for the sake of brevity, I’m only going to list off the ones that are the most relevant. A full equipment list can be found here.
Eye of Agamotto: Given to him by Eternity to fight the dread Dormammu, the Eye of Agamotto, first used by the ancient Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto (never would have guessed it, right?), is Strange’s most useful magical artifact, and one that he carries everywhere. The Eye’s most common use is channelling Agamotto’s mystic Light of Truth, which reveals and banishes illusions and protects against telepathy (from the Mind Gem, no less). It can also control minds, detect others across the time-space continuum, auto-shield Strange, fire mystic bolts, absorb magical attacks, drain life energies and other mystical artifacts, mess with time, and even separate from Strange and travel cross-dimensionally at the “speed of thought.” It can also be used to merge with Eternity, giving Strange a massive power boost.
Orb of Agamotto: Another artifact of Agamotto, Strange can summon this from his Sanctum Sanctorum to use in battle. Its main use is to observe events over multiple planes of existence, but it can also entrap opponents and enhance Stephen’s perceptions to the point of seeing through reality warping (from the Reality Gem, no less).
Book of the Vishanti: The greatest tome on White Magic, the Book of the Vishanti contains “every counter-spell known to the Mystic Arts.” It is not primarily an offensive tool, utilizing the more defensive white magic, and can deflect mystic spells, send some poor fucker on an acid trip of the ages, and reverse time manipulation (from the Time Gem, no less).
Cloak of Levitation: Strange’s main method of flight outside of spell-casting is the Cloak of Levitation. Strange can command the cloak to move on its own (even from a universe away), sometimes using it to distract opponents.
Wand of Watoomb: What I like to call the “Suicidal Dildo,” the Wand of Watoomb is a magical device used primarily for the redirection, amplification, and even absorption of magical attacks. It was most notably used in conjunction with Strange’s entire arsenal to resist Adam Warlock’s magic (from the Power Gem, no less).
The vestments of Fate were gifted to Kent by Nabu upon his becoming his agent on the physical plane. With them in his possession, Kent receives the vast bulk of his power, and if removed, he loses it. However, the vestments will remain in his command and can be willed to fight back against their thief, doing so against the equally-powerful Lord of Chaos Mordru successfully.
Helmet of Fate: His most enduring symbol, the Helmet of Fate is the main source of Doctor Fate’s awesome power, once touted to be capable of endangering all of creation. It facilitates the connection between Kent Nelson and Nabu, creating the merged being known as Doctor Fate. With it on, Fate has access to all of Nabu’s godlike powers, cosmic omniscience, and experience (extending potentially multiversally, seeing as Nabu has fought across the multiverse), virtually unlimited precognition, a recording of all the Helmet’s previous experiences, and the ability to see into the astral plane. The helmet is also extremely durable, surviving being thrown across the universe at speeds unimaginable, including other dimensions at “the velocity of god.” Although Kent originally had control over the Fate persona, Nabu began to take more and more control, eventually completely possessing Kent. If the Helmet is removed, not only does Kent lose Nabu’s power, but his memories as Fate as well (unless Nabu wasn’t possessing him). However, the Helmet has been stolen from Fate very few times in his history, and even if it is, it’s almost impossible to drain of magical power or to be used against its will. Black Alice (whose power is to steal the powers of others) tried to, and said it put up more of a fight than the Unbound Spectre, who was destroying all magic across the universe. And that was with the latent power that naturally exists in the Helmet. By that point, Nabu was dead and his connection to the Helmet severed, and it was still powerful enough to gift others the mantle of Doctor Fate.
Amulet of Anubis: The second of Nabu’s gifts, the Amulet of Anubis once belonged to the mad priest Khalis until Nabu totally wrecked his shit. Its most notable feature is the pocket universe within it, serving as a home for peaceful souls (like Kent and Inza, who hid there to escape death from Extant), as well as a prison for unruly ones (like Mordru, who couldn’t escape it without assistance). It also enhances the user’s magical power, produces a spell known as the Claws of Anubis, and makes the user undetectable via magical, psychic, or astral means.
Cloak of Destiny: The last of Fate’s vestments, the Cloak of Destiny contains some sort of shadow dimension which protects those inside, and is itself made of “pure force.” That’s...about it. Oh and it looks cool.
Orb of Nabu: Much like the aforementioned Orb of Agamotto, the Orb of Nabu allows Kent to observe any personality he can think of, as well as see into the future to discern an enemy’s plans. It normally rests in the Tower of Fate, though he can easily summon it to him to use in battle. Interestingly, it’s also not magical. According to Kent, ““the radio sensitive crystals react to the minute electrical signals emitted by the brain.” Oh, comicbook pseudoscience, how I love thee.
Powers & Abilities
To better understand Strange’s magical powers, it’s first important to understand how Marvel magic works. There are three main sources, christened the Three-Fold Path by Agamotto. The first, Arcanum Ego, involves drawing upon one’s personal life force and spiritual energy. The second, Arcanum Eco, involves drawing upon magical energy from the surrounding area, often being realized in the form of elemental spells. The last, Arcanum Exo, is what Strange is best known for, and involves drawing upon power from deities from other dimensions. This is where Strange gets the vast majority of his power, and it involves the use of subtle yet complex incantations and gesticulations to, in essence, ask a god for a favor to let Strange use some of their power in a spell. This has given rise to the phrase, “Dr. Strange is as powerful as the god he invokes.” For a more in-depth explanation, check this out, but for now let’s take a look at what Motherfucking Doctor Strange can do.
Crimson Bands of Cyttorak: A spell that calls upon the power of the god Cyttorak, it is primarily used for restraining opponents, and is notoriously hard to break, even for gods. It can also be used for dimensional teleportation. It should be noted that Srange has been powerful enough to break free of them on occasion.
Images of Ikonn: Essentially his go-to illusion spell, the Images allow Strange to create illusions powerful enough to deceive and outright terrify an armada of approaching Skrulls, as well as Galactus himself.
Seven Rings of Raggadorr: Pretty much the defensive version of the CBC with seven layers of defense capable of surrounding the entire USA. Much like the CBC, it can also be used as a spell of restraint.
Shades of the Seraphim: Casts a magical shield that protects Strange from both physical and magical damage. In terms of the former, it was able to shield him from an exploding planet, and in terms of the later was able to resist the CBC cast by Cyttorak himself, as well as a magical attack by Dormammu. It can even reflect attacks back at his opponent.
Flames of the Faltine: These flames are used primarily as an offensive fire spell, but are also useful for shielding, restraint, and dimensional portals. They’re powerful enough to cause Ghost Rider of all people intense agony. And he’s a guy literally covered in magical flames 24/7.
Divine Invocation: As mentioned previously, Strange gets the vast majority of his power from invoking extra-dimensional gods, including the Octessence (a group of eight gods consisting of Balthakk, Cyttorak, Farallah, Ikonn, Krakkan, Raggadorr, Valtorr, and Watoomb), darker beings like Satannish and Dormammu, and a variety of others like the Faltine, the Seraphim, the Cinnibus, Sheol, Ikthalon, Denak, Cyndriarr, Munnopor, Morpheus, Dyzakk, the Olympians, Lord Chaos, Master Order, and others. However, his most trusted source is the Vishanti, a trinity composed of Hoggoth, Oshtur, and Agamotto. He’s used them for tons of different things, including mind control, mystic sleep, switching bodies with an attacker, dimensional banishment, illusion creation, restoration, magical absorption and nullifcation, and time manipulation.
Astral Form: Strange can manipulate and manifest his spiritual energy into an astral projection of himself that leaves his physical body inert and allows him to traverse and explore without the normal limitations of a mortal shell. While in his astral form, he is intangible, can travel at the speed of thought, possess others’ bodies and channel his powers through theirs, split and multiply, project across galaxies, and even destroy planets! Normally his magical abilities are hampered while in this form, however, with the Ring of Full Power, he can do everything he can normally do in his physical form.
Invisible Shields of Everlasting Enchantment: It’s not one of his most-mentioned spells, but it certainly is one of his most useful. With it activated, Strange has an effective auto-shield, protecting him from attacks automatically, and without him having to consciously raise and maintain a defense.
Darkness of the Divine Conduit: Better known as Black Magic, DDC serves as the counterpart to the more defense-based White Magic. Taught by Kaluu, classmate of the Ancient One, Strange can manipulate Black Magic in order to raise the dead, subjugate elemental spirits, banish gods, and, most infamously, steal the power of other beings to add to his. He utilized this to defeat Arioch and then the all-powerful Shuma-Gorath. Most importantly, this technique does not require the use of incantation and gesticulation, and can be done passively.
Catastrophe Magic: During the War of the Seven Seals, Strange was forced to use the Emancipation Invocation, removing him the debts he owed to the gods whose power he had used, at the expense of no longer being able to call upon them. During this period he studied Catastrophe Magic, which is capable of drawing upon the power of the alignment of planets. He has used it to shield himself from a variety of different types of magic in a realm composed of magical avatars.
The Words: The newest ability of Strange, his ability to warp reality through speaking a very specific type of language. He became the leader of the Black Priests, the main practitioners of The Words. With it, he can perform paralysis, pyrokinesis, cryokinesis, organic disintegration, and can fire off energy blasts, and without need of any other priests around.
Miscellaneous: Strange’s magical prowess extends past just what I’ve listed here. For a larger list of Strange’s abilities, check this out, and for a more or less complete listing of feats, check this out. Lord knows I’ve been using it!
Fate gets (almost) all of his magical abilities from the Helmet of Fate, and thus his connection to Nabu. Fate is a sorcerer in the Eastern tradition, relying not on incantation and gesticulation (the Western tradition), but inner focus and the aforementioned spiritual connection. In fact, Fate doesn’t even really “cast spells” in the traditional sense. According to him, “all I do is visualize what I want to happen and it happens!” His powers are essentially an extension of his will, and they extend even past the laws of logic and reality, capable of performing feats that don’t even make any sense. If he believes it, that’s how it works! And although Kent’s Fate was always an Agent of Order, a later Fate, Hector Hall, broke off from this tradition and acted as an Agent of Balance, wielding both order and chaos. He was able to accomplish this due to his genetics, though Kent has a way of achieving a similar effect.
Instant Materialization: Fate can create magical constructs of anything he can think of from bubble shields to mousetraps, much like Green Lantern. Even a noob Inza-Fate was able to utilize these to smack around a seasoned Lord of Chaos. This is essentially the broadest application of his visualization-based powers I mentioned before.
Energy Blasts: Fate can fire off energy blasts that come from the supposedly “unlimited energy stored in his body.” He most commonly utilizes ankh-shaped bolts, but also uses fire and lightning. The former was powerful enough to not only disintegrate someone “ad infinum,” but also keep them from reincarnating in the future. Thorough.
Reality Manipulation: Fate is capable of affecting reality, once restoring the Earth after it had been nearly destroyed in a battle with a Lord of Chaos, as well as give life to inanimate objects. Even without Nabu, the Helmet is capable of doing the same, like when it acted as Black Alice’s monkey’s paw. He can also resist reality-warping as well. The limits of his reality manipulating powers extends to converting matter to energy and vice-versa, as well as time. He has been shown to travel to the past and future, as well as channel attacks through the timestream.
Transmogrification: Fate can transmogrify things by directly affecting them at a sub-atomic level, and can do it to practically anything he imagines. He can even turn people into newts, which is the most necessary skill any sorcerer can ever have. He even did it to John Cleese once, but he got better.
Telekinesis: Doc is a master telekinetic, capable of casually deflecting bullets and throwing people into space with his mind. However, his most infamous telekinetic application came when he decided to toss a planet full of space-pirates into the SUN, obliterating them all along with the whole planet. Quite possibly my favorite feat in all of comics, due in no small part to how few fucks he gives while doing it.
Telepathy: One of the greatest telepaths in DC, Fate is capable of reading the minds of practically anyone, from regular people to other sorcerers. He can absorb memories into his own mind to keep for future use, probe the galaxy for mental signatures, psychically sense and dispel illusions, plant spells of suggestion, enact mental shields, and resist full-on mental assaults from gods.
Teleportation: Fate can teleport himself and others across space as well as inter-dimensionally, once “rolling back the borders of the space-time continuum,” whatever that means. He’s able to teleport whole groups of people at a time, like both the Justice League and Justice Society with the wave of his hand.
Bodily Manipulation: Fate can affect his own body to accomplish a variety of needs. First off, it’s been stated to be composed of “pure force” and capable of absorbing matter to convert into energy for his own personal use. He can make himself (and others) intangible, able to avoid attacks as well as pass through magical barriers. He can also multiply himself up to a thousand times, once fooling the Spectre with just four.
Flight: Fate can fly through sheer will alone, and employs it regularly. He can fly out into space (seemingly quite quickly) and suffer no ill effects, and his flight speed is enough to race the original Flash. Based off the logic of his powers, he should be able to fly as fast as he is able to perceive things, and we’ll get to that farther down the blog.
Energy Absorption: By simply “thinking clearly,” Fate can drain the power of an opponent, and can use the power drained to fuel the continuing siphon (essentially like renewable energy). He can then absorb the power he’s drained and turn himself into a conduit for their energy, and then use that against them without fear of re-powering them. He once absorbed and redirected all the power of a Lord of Chaos at once and channeled it into a fragile mortal body, turning them into a vegetable for eternity. And much like everything else here, he is resistant to it, once defending himself against the same attack from a god.
Soul Manipulation: Not even your soul is safe from Kent. He was able to pacify a Lord of Chaos with just the intense power of his aura, as well as a corrupted guardian angel. He even reversed a spell that was currently in effect by the Spectre that was destroying Green Lantern’s soul kind of easily. He even retrieved a soul from the afterlife and returned it to its body.
Summoning and Channeling: Fate can call upon the power of other deities to assist him in battle, from giant Cthulhus to...Jesus Christ. His holy rolodex is quite sizable as well, able to call upon at least a thousand gods from a thousand worlds. He can also call upon their power all at once, leading to a massive power boost. He doesn’t even need gods for extra power. He once channelled an entire city’s worth of electricity, as well as the spiritual power of all mankind when he was unable to rely upon the other Lords of Order.
Miscellaneous: I’m just going to list all these off because they didn’t have enough scans to justify its own section, Fate can: heal the wounded, break supposedly impenetrable barriers by...looking at them, bind and imprison powerful beings like Mordru in the wizard Shazam’s Rock of Eternity for, well, all of eternity (quick note, as Shazam says the Rock continually drains the prisoner of power to power his prison ad infinum, kind of like Fate’s own energy draining power), resurrect the dead even after their souls have entered the afterlife, manipulate his size (it shocked even the Spectre), control the weather, artificially age living beings at his will (if you recall, he also did this to Mordru after sending him forward through time), and resist curses.
Although it may seem to invalidate Fate’s entire existence, Nabu can actually manifest on the physical plane without need of a host. The reason? It’s taxing. Poor baby. Anyways, Nabu only rarely does this, but in case Fate is overpowered and/or his human host is killed, Nabu can materialize to fight.
Nabu is a Lord of Order (as well as the most powerful Lord of Order) composed entirely of energy, and is thus non-corporeal and incapable of being harmed by any kind of physical attack. Naturally, he has all the same powers as Fate (considering he’s the one who provides the vast majority of Fate’s power) along with his godly intelligence, omniscience, and experience. Even if the Helmet is removed from Fate’s head and/or Kent is somehow killed, the fight isn’t over until Nabu dies.
However, Fate’s full potential is even greater than Nabu’s...
Ynar, a Lord of Order, and Vandaemon, a Lord of Chaos, had grown tired of the unending war between Chaos and Order that echoed throughout the multiverse for countless millions of years. So, they decided to team up and declare themselves the rules of...everything. With shit hitting the fan for the multiverse, Fate decided to stop them.
However, with Order AND Chaos at their disposals, Fate couldn’t really do anything to them when they were working together. He realized, though, that the transformation of Fate was incomplete up until that point. It was not just the merging of man and god, but man, woman, and god that allowed Fate to manipulate both Order and Chaos.
Fate grabbed Inza Nelson and merged with her, becoming the new Doctor Fate (whom I’ve dubbed Triumvirate Fate). Needless to say, this is Fate’s most powerful form, capable of curb-stomping the union of Ynar and Vandaemon. Fate’s powers are all still the same, just with the added ability of manipulating Chaos as well as Order.
Since then, not only has Inza taken up the mantle of Fate, but she and her husband have merged multiple times. This is a legitimate incarnation of Doctor Fate, not outside help.
Training & Experience
Of all of Marvel Earth’s heroes, Strange is probably the most worldly, having fought gods and demons for his entire career. His original magical training came from the Ancient One, the then-current Sorcerer Supreme, and has since then gone on to become the Sorcerer Supreme (after mercy-killing the Ancient One in order to keep Shuma-Gorath from invading Earth) and master nearly every form of magic there is. His knowledge of the occult exceeds anyone’s on Earth and has a sizable library of mystical texts in order to learn more and conduct research. Strange has also had a storied history of interacting with pretty much all of Earth’s heroes, most notably serving as a founding member of the Defenders and the Illuminati, as well as the leader of the Black Priests, and the only one among them able to recite all the words instead of only a few.
He’s also an extremely accomplished martial artist, having learned from the Tibetan monks of Kamar Taj, and having trained continually with his manservant Wong. This has proven useful in times when unable to perform magic, and he’s shown enough skill in it to evade a karate chop from Mantis. However, what’s most impressive is how much time Strange has served as Sorcerer Supreme. During the War of the Seven Spheres, Strange was called upon by several deities (all of whom were on opposing sides of this conflict) to fight under their banner and repay their debts to him. Instead of picking one side and forsaking all the rest, he recited the Emancipation Incantation and relieved himself of his debts, while also sacrificing any divine support for the future. Not only did he end up fighting in the war anyways, not only did he develop a new system of magic that drew power from the Earth itself, but he did so for several thousand years straight.
Fate has been fighting pretty much consistently since the 40s (or was it the 20s? The many retcons get confusing), and his track record shows it. Much like Strange, he’s made a career of fighting gods and monsters and winning. And since Fate gets possessed by Nabu, he benefits from having all of Nabu’s experience, which consists of not only fighting the forces of chaos on Earth for several thousand years, but across multiverse for half a million. He’s also served as a founding member of the Justice Society of America, as well as the Justice League International and has fought with the former with or without his helmet. In fact, there’s a large portion of his career wherein he performed his duties as a superhero without the Helmet of Fate, instead using a regular one (known as the “Half-Helm” because it failed to cover his mouth).
Speaking of that, part of Nabu’s training included physically enhancing Kent to better withstand the powers of Fate. These enhancements include super-strength and speed, super durability, telekinesis and flight, and some basic energy blasts. And although not a master, he’s had experience fighting hand to hand and has proven quite agile. He’s even taken boxing lessons from Batman! The super powers and fighting skills in conjunction serve to help him when separated from the helmet, which he has successfully retrieved after losing it.
Feats & Accomplishments
- Fought and defeated SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE, including Dracula, Agamotto, Baron Mordo, Nightmare, Zom, Salomé, his former master the Ancient One two alternate reality versions of himself, one who was a humanoid Boar (yes, Boar-Strange exists), and the other who had a portion of Eternity’s power, the In-Betweener, Dormammu, both magically and physically, Arioch, and Shuma-Gorath.
- Once merged with Eternity and overcame Mistress Death (Thanos’ waifu), the literal embodiment of Death in the MCU. After this, he was granted the Ankh of Life, which gave him everlasting life and fearlessness of death.
- He fought Death again and repelled her dark energies. Death later conceded it would be too much of a hassle to kill Strange.
- Passes the multiple tests of the Living Tribunal and impresses him. To give some context, the Living Tribunal is the second most powerful being in ALL OF MARVEL. He’s second only The One Above All, who’s God. Like, THE God.
- Travels so fast that he creates a time loop, which he then dispels with the Eye of Agamotto.
- Using all of his mystical equipment, is able to stalemate Adam Warlock with the Infinity Gauntlet for a short time.
- Performed cosmic surgery on Eternity.
- Staggered Galactus with a magical energy bolt.
- Pre-Retcon Beyonder admits that Strange is way more powerful than he seems and could have incapacitated him for eternity.
- Forces a living star to go supernova and collapse into a black hole before hurling it into the Wheel of Change.
- After stealing and merging with the power of Shuma-Gorath, his ambient energies would be enough to destroy galaxies.
- Survives the In-Betweener’s reality-warping assault which sends him across dimensions, time, and even to the end of Infinity, as well as the resulting mental insanity.
- Used all of his mystic might to reverse the True Wheel of Change causing the universe to turn in on itself.
- And much, much more.
- Has defeated the Lord of Chaos Mordru multiple times over the course of his career.
- Fought and stalemated the Spectre for a short time. He was eventually beaten, but he’s been shown to be nearing the Spectre in power. He was also able to resist the Spectre’s final attack which sent him tumbling through “an infinity of dimensions.”
- Speaking of the Spectre, when he became unbound from a host, he decided to destroy all magic in the universe by killing off all magic-users. When Fate wasn’t enough, Nabu materialized and fought him, forcing the Spectre to reach the pinnacle of his power in order to kill him. Nabu was mortally wounded, but his plan was successful. Spectre had used up so much energy that the Presence (who’s God, like THE God) was forced to deal with him.
- When Kent V. Nelson put on the Helmet of Fate (after Nabu was dead and no longer powering it), he experienced everything the Helmet had, which included “outracing the Big Bang” as Kent himself described it. Since he experienced everything, this would scale to his reactions.
- Reacted to a blitz from both Pre-Crisis Superman and Martian Manhunter.
- Was able to tank and regenerate from being impaled.
- Tapped into the “wellsprings of creation” and produced an explosion so powerful it created earthquakes across the multiverse.
- As Triumvirate Fate, defeated the union of Ynar and Vandaemon who were powerful enough to disrupt the multiverse and threaten the balance that allowed it to exist. Furthermore, their ultimate goal was “refashioning the cosmos” (cosmos referencing the multiverse) with their power.
- Shows Pre-Crisis Supes who’s boss.
Although he may be the Sorcerer Supreme, Strange isn’t without some fairly sizable weaknesses. Being as powerful as he is, it comes with the territory to keep him an interesting character. His biggest weakness is probably the fact that, with all the power he has, as well as the immortality, he’s still human. Do not mistake him gaining the Ankh of Life with being unable to die. The Ancient One himself said that Strange is still susceptible to falling in battle. Plus, if Strange doesn’t take appropriate precautions, he can be snuck up on and injured by the merest of blows. This has led to a few, less than amazing showings.
Plus, the vast majority of his power rests with the deities he calls upon, and to complete the process, Strange is dependent upon performing very specific and complex incantations and gesticulations. Now, it’s neither the specificity nor the complexity of these rituals that hamper Strange, but the fact that he has to do them at all. If Strange is bound and gagged, as he has been multiple times in the past, he’s in deep trouble and rendered almost helpless (the Words suffer from a similar weakness, as they don’t work if you can’t speak, something about which Strange is all too familiar). And while Astral Projection might serve as a fix to this, he cannot leave his body for more than 24 hours lest he risk death, and while in astral form his body itself is completely defenseless.
It also doesn’t help that calling upon gods isn’t a one way street for Strange. By calling on their power he is indebting himself to them, which isn’t a problem for a Death Battle, but what matters more is that they can outright refuse him, leaving him high and dry. I don’t know why they would in this context, but it’s worth bringing up. One of his most useful techniques, the stealing and absorption of power, also comes with a few risks. Doing so will effectively destroy Stephen’s ego, and when he did it against Shuma-Gorath he ended up committing suicide and required outside help from Kaluu to restore himself again.
As it is so often, one’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. This applies to Fate, whose most obvious weakness is also his greatest strength: that Helmet. If it’s removed in the middle of battle, Kent is left with his dick in his hands, not only without all of Nabu’s power, but more than likely without any idea of what the hell is going on. As Kent, he’s also susceptible to poisonous gases and suffocation. Even with the Helmet, large battles can drain Fate of his magical ability, requiring rest and recovery.
If Nabu materializes, he obviously loses the helmet-related weakness, but is in turn weaker to Chaos-related magic, owing to his defeat by Mordru where Hector Hall later won out. As Triumvirate Fate, his only weakness is to a sufficiently powerful attack composed of both Chaos and Order magic. Such an attack is capable of separating Kent and Inza rendering them almost totally helpless, just as it did when Extant defeated them.
- Although he’s existed over 20 years less than Fate, he has far more showings and high-level feats than his DC counterpart, and continues to be a leading member of importance in the MU whereas Fate often gets pushed to the side.
- He has a larger and more extensive library of mystical equipment at his disposal.
- Doesn’t require any of his equipment to perform his magic, unlike Fate who is dependent upon the Helmet of Fate to connect to Nabu.
- Even if he is bound and gagged, Astral Projection in combination with the Ring of the Ancient One would allow him to fight at full power without a body.
- While he is even with Base Fate, and merged with Eternity is probably comparable to Nabu, he is simply outclassed in raw power to Triumvirate Fate.
- Power draining comes with more caveats than Fate’s version does, and would probably be ineffective seeing as Fate has resisted similar attacks before.
- Reliance on incantation and gesticulation will make him ever-so-slightly slower than Fate, who only needs to envision something for it to happen.
- If both were deprived of their magicks (for whatever reason), Strange’s martial arts simply can’t stack up to Kent’s ingrained super powers and enhanced stats.
- Although his experience in the War of the Seven Spheres is impressively long, Nabu, and thus Fate, has simply had more, having fought across the multiverse for about 100x longer at least.
- While Base Fate is pretty much even in power to Base Strange, as are Nabu and Eternity-Strange, Triumvirate Fate is beyond what Strange is capable of dealing with without absorbing his power.
- Strange’s dark arts power absorption is probably useless against Fate, who has not only resisted it from gods, but can do the same thing without the dangers Strange has to deal with.
- Without any magical support from their respective deities, Fate’s enhanced stats and super powers outclass Strange’s martial arts prowess and mortal human physique.
- Does not rely on incantation or gesticulation to receive divine support, nor on the use of spells, but instead needs only to imagine what he wants to happen, a quicker and simpler form of magic-casting.
- Nabu’s 500,000 years of life and combat experience against the Lords of Chaos across the multiverse as well as on Earth surpasses Strange’s several thousand years fighting in the War of the Seven Spheres.
- Has made a career of fighting intangible opponents made up of energy (on top of being one himself), so Strange’s astral form probably won’t change much in terms of the fight.
- Even if the Helmet is removed, he can command the vestments to fight back or Nabu himself can materialize, giving him multiple options in case of the worst.
- He may be 20 years older, but his comparably less popularity compared to Strange has led to far fewer showings and high level feats.
- Has a smaller cache of equipment, and most relies on the vestments, whereas Strange can call a massive amount of mystical artifacts to his aid.
- Requires the Helmet to facilitate his connection to Nabu, whereas Strange doesn’t. Remove all their respective equipment, and Fate is the one in deeper trouble.
So the first thing you have to understand is that this fight is a very close one. Both Fate and Strange have proven themselves more than capable as sorcerers and their records against nigh-omnipotent gods are pretty close to even. They’re damn impressive. However, one must be picked, and indeed one has the advantage in a fight more often than the other.
First off, how do their powers, their respective magical abilities stack up? It’s about as even as you’re ever going to get. “Magic” in Marvel and DC, especially at the highest possible levels, is the power to do anything, essentially. They’re taking their power from gods, after all, and not the Dragon Ball gods that are simply more powerful than everyone else, these are full-on omniscient, reality-warping gods. They can do anything, and I don’t see Strange or Fate having a particular edge against the other in that way. Strange has his spells, and Fate has his...imagination. In that regard, these guys are even. So, the next step is to determine two things: 1) Who is more powerful? and 2) Who is more effective? Whoever is the more powerful sorcerer is more capable of breaching an opponent’s defenses and hurting them. For instance, they can both enact magical shields to protect from spells, it’s just a matter of whose will last longer. Whoever is the more effective is the one better able to produce spells with less time and effort used up. In BOTH those cases, Fate comes out ahead.
Now, for the most part, their respective power is about even at base. Both have feats approaching universe-level (reversing the Wheel of Change, holding back the destruction of the universe with Spectre, etc.), and both can call upon a bevvy of gods for support. If Strange merges with Eternity and Nabu materializes, they’re again pretty close to equal. The scaling for the two is a bit odd. Lord Chaos and Master Order represent all of Chaos and Order respectively in the MU, and are both below Eternity in power. However, Kismet is Eternity’s analogue in the DCU, being the literal embodiment of the universe (just like Eternity), and she’s a Lord of Order. And Nabu, as we know, is the most powerful Lord of Order, and thus more powerful than Kismet. So you decide who’s most powerful. By feats, they’re both within the ball-park of universal. However, Strange has no answer to Triumvirate Fate, who was able to own beings who had disrupted the multiverse before even getting started and were planning on “refashioning” it once they took control. That would put their union, as well as Fate for defeating them, at at least low multiversal levels of power, beyond anything Strange has. And while Strange has had more high-level showings than Fate does due to popularity, Fate’s high-level showings are just as good if not greater. He has less because of less exposure, not because he’s less capable.
But what about Triumvirate Fate’s ability to be separated by Order and Chaos magic? Strange has access to both. This is true, but so did Ynar and Vandaemon. Triumvirate Fate was designed to beat both of them by harnessing Order and Chaos. While he can be separated by the same things, it has to be powerful enough. In the case of Extant, it was, but in the case of Strange, we already know he’s weaker, so it probably wouldn’t work.
The only being capable of Triumvirate Fate’s level of power that Strange has fought was Shuma-Gorath. But Strange beat him, you’re saying. Not without first absorbing Arioch’s power and then draining Shuma-Gorath himself. Without the first step, he would never have been powerful enough to attempt the second step, and he wouldn’t have won. On top of that, he was forced to commit suicide and his ego was destroyed, requiring Kaluu’s help in returning him to normal. Shit, Shuma even survived the whole ordeal and reformed in his home dimension. Instead, when Fate wants to drain and absorb the power of gods, he just...does it. The process is easier, more efficient, and has no downsides. Fate has even resisted similar power drains from gods before with the sheer force of his will, so it’s very unlikely Strange would be able to pull something like that off. It’s more likely that Fate would.
So with power out of the way, how about efficiency? Well, much like with the power drain, Strange’s version of spell-casting is more difficult and comes with more caveats than Fate’s version. Incanting and gesticulating, while child’s play for Strange, is still a slower process than just thinking it is for Fate, if even by a little bit. This essentially ensures that Fate has a slight priority over Strange when it comes to casting. And if you want to compare experience, Strange’s thousands of years of fighting in the War of the Seven Spheres is impressive, no doubt, but Nabu was doing virtually the same thing across the multiverse for eons, his birth being 500,000 years ago, as well as several thousand years on Earth. In fact, 500,000 might be a massive low-ball. The DC wiki has the Lords of Order and Chaos being created at the Big Bang and over 10 BILLION years old. The reason I’m not using it is because I can’t find a specific scan. However, Ynar uses the term “eons” specifically, which in science (geology, cosmology, and astronomy) usually refers to a period of over a billion years. Regardless, Nabu, and thus Fate, has more experience, by a factor of as low as 100x more to as high as 1,000,000x more.
At this point, Strange’s main weakness against Fate are...well...his weaknesses. Both can be magically neutralized, Strange by being bound and gagged, and Fate by having the Helmet removed. And both of those scenarios are about equally unlikely to happen. If they do happen, both have ways out of it. Strange can astrally project out of his body and continue to fight, and Fate can command his vestments to imprison Strange, or Nabu can materialize and fight instead. However, if Strange astrally projects, he’s leaving his body vulnerable. If his body is destroyed, he’d be forced to find a host body to possess (or risk eventually dying), which in this situation would have to be Kent’s. Good luck overriding Nabu’s well-ingrained and already existing possession. There’s a reason why Strange doesn’t just astrally project in the middle of every fight, it doesn’t add that much and has significant drawbacks.
Now let’s say both reduced each other to having no magic. Strange can’t call upon any gods, and Kent doesn’t have Nabu’s backing. I don’t know how this would happen, this is just hypothetical (and it’s probably possible). At this point, it’s Strange’s peak human physique and mastery of martial arts versus Kent’s super strength, speed, durability, flight, telekinesis, magical energy bolts, and basic hand to hand combat. You do the math, it doesn’t end well for Strange. He’s still a human being with human frailties, while Kent is legitimately superhuman and spent a large portion of his career fighting at half-helm. And while Strange has been forced to use non-divine sources of magic before (in the War, no less), it took him time and research to develop, and it ran dry afterwards. There’s no assurance he could just pull it off on the fly, and if he could do something like that, being bound and gagged wouldn’t have prevented him from doing magic in the past.Strange though it may seem to some people, Stephen was Supremely outmatched, and Fated to lose.
The winner is: Doctor Fate.