One of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe is its vast cabal of magic users. While rarely able to hold their own series for any length of time, it’s always convenient both from a narrative standpoint and for the superhero community to have a few wizards in the neighborhood standing by. And among the wizard subculture, there is one man who reigns supreme: Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Usually a title held by the most powerful mage on the planet at any one time, Sorcerer Supreme is actually a position determined by a variety of factors. While only particularly strong mystic powers are considered viable for the role, the end decision comes down to the Vishanti, a trinity of patron defenders comprised of Elder Gods Oshtur and Hoggoth and the first Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto. The Vishanti choose the Sorcerer Supreme based on a tournament they hold every few decades.
A mysterious immortal mage known only as Aged Genghis was tasked with assembling the most powerful magicians of the time and they then fight so that the Vishanti might choose the most responsible one among them. While this honor usually goes to Doctor Strange, the title has occasionally gone to another, more often than not a candidate chosen by Aged Genghis or the Vishanti themselves. And even when the Vishanti aren’t involved, the symbolic Eye of Agamotto has occasionally chosen another of its own accord. Here are 21 of the candidates for Sorcerer Supreme ranked by just how much mystic strength they can wield.
21 TONY STARK
While a technology-based hero might seem like a strange addition to the list, Tony has actually been Sorcerer Supreme before. He first took on the role in an alternate universe where he imbued his armor with all of his mystic powers, sending Dormammu on an endless chase through the Nexus of All Realities.
The second time was in the Generations limited series where Kobik, the living Cosmic Cube, sent Ironheart to a future where Tony inherited the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and, by combining magic, technology, and his own futurist philosophy, created a utopia. He was powerful enough to scare Morgana Le Fay off and was leading a team of young Avengers. Today's Tony has a lot to do if he ever wants to reach that point.
She may be a mutant with the ability to control weather, but Storm does have a defined link to the magical side. She is descended from a line of African witch-priestesses, one of whom was Sorcerer Supreme during their time. Storm herself has shown the potential to be a powerful mage. Her entire ancestral line is favored by several mystic entities, such as the ancient Egyptian pantheon and other characters, including Doctor Strange, have discussed that, her magical potential could make her comparable.
The only definitive measurement of her magical powers came when she served as the avatar of Eternity itself, her soul being the only one able to hold it for any amount of time. However, she is not currently considered as a candidate for Sorcerer Supreme.
Wong is descended from a line of monks out of the mystical temple of Kamar-Taj, all of whom were groomed to be servants of the various Sorcerer Supremes throughout history. While Wong himself doesn’t have any magical abilities or any powers at all apart from martial arts training, his family’s connection to the title of Sorcerer Supreme is so powerful that Wong is bound to the role.
All Wongs across the multiverse are cosmically tied to their respective Sorcerers in one manner or another, so it stands to reason that one of them might one day take the mantle. He is not currently considered a candidate for the position, but his ethereal link to the Eye of Agamotto means he’ll be hanging around.
18 IAN MCNEE
Ian McNee has always only had one goal: become Sorcerer Supreme. To that end, he’s trained for over a decade in the mystic arts. When his hard work didn’t pay off in a bout against Doctor Strange, McNee was tasked by the entity Chthon, in disguise as the benevolent Oshtur, to assemble mystic armory in order to balance the forces of magic.
He had to travel through space and time to do it, but McNee successfully recovered the Sword of Bone, the Ebon Rose, the Serpent Crown, and the Black Mirror. With the cornerstones of magic secured in his possession, McNee was powerful enough to banish Chthon by himself. McNee is a potential candidate for Sorcerer Supreme, but he is already the chosen champion of Oshtur.
Originally a stuntwoman named Rita Wayword, Spiral was shanghaied into time paradox adventure that put her at the mercy of the interdimensional lord of reality TV, Mojo. Mojo experimented on Rita, giving her six arms, driving her insane, and giving her a talent for dark magic. Among her physical abilities, Spiral can depower superhumans, time travel, hop between limbo dimensions, see into multiple worlds simultaneously, and summon weapons.
These spells are usually triggered by various dance moves, with more complicated magic corresponding to more complex dance moves. While she has been named as a contender for Sorcerer Supreme before, she still serves as Mojo’s slave, no matter how distanced she is from him across space and time.
16 NICO MINORU
As a teenager, Nico Minoru learned that her parents were core members of the Pride. In retaliation, she stole and bonded with her mother’s Staff of One, a family heirloom with intense magical powers. With it, Nico can cast any spell she can think of, but only once.
Nico’s sanguine bond with the staff has lasted so long that it no longer needs her to even be touching it for her powers to work. Recently, she made a deal with the spirit imprisoned in the staff which will allow it more power while feeding off her soul. While she’s too young and inexperienced to claim the title herself, Nico has been recognized as a potential candidate for Sorcerer Supreme by the Vishanti.
15 GHOST RIDER
While he doesn’t tend to use a variety of mystic powers, the Ghost Rider is considered a magical entity and has been considered a candidate for Sorcerer Supreme in the past. The current Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, isn’t possessed by the proper spirit of vengeance, but still has the traditional Ghost Rider powers of pyrokinesis, control over demonic chains, trans-dimensional travel, and the legendary Penance Stare.
In addition, the trunk of Robbie’s car operates as a teleportation portal, Robbie’s Ghost Rider form can grow stronger and more demonic when he’s angered, and the ghost of Eli Morrow can possess him completely. While it’s unlikely that he’ll ever become Sorcerer Supreme, the Ghost Rider, in any incarnation, is a force to be reckoned with.
Selene is one of the oldest beings in the Marvel Universe and is one of the first human mutants. When she was born, her entire tribe sacrificed themselves to feed her already-developing mystic powers. In the 17,000-some-years since, her powers have become so diverse that it’s never been made clear just what her mutant abilities are and which of her skills are magical.
Regardless, her primary power is her ability to leech off the psyche of others. Selene can also animate non-living matter to serve her, can manipulate dark energy, and can disguise her psychic signature. While she’s far weaker than her lifespan would indicate, her knowledge of mystic arts and magical tenacity make her worthy of the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme.
The horned, half-demon daughter of Satan, Satana just barely edges out her older brother, Damien Hellstrom, as a candidate for Sorcerer Supreme. She can wield demonic magic to possesses and destroy, but as a succubus she can also absorb psychic energy from male souls to power even stronger magics.
She also has the unique ability to extract strength and power from deadly weapons, growing stronger in proportion to how many lives the weapon has taken. Thanks to her father’s heritage and training, Satana can also contain and manipulate powerful demonic forces within her own soul, using herself as a vessel. She might not be the most powerful sorceress out there, but she could feasibly wield the powers of the Sorcerer Supreme.
Marvel writers have all but confirmed that Doctor Strange’s immediate successor is going to be his student, part-time girlfriend, and ex-wife, Clea. Though she appears human, Clea is actually the half-human niece of Dormammu. Her connection to his demonic energy made her a natural witch and her training under Strange made her powerful enough to challenge her uncle for the right to rule the Dark Dimension.
Clea managed to succeed thanks to the Flames of Regency, a flaming crown gifted to her by the denizens of the Dark Dimension which increases her magical powers exponentially. Even without the Flames of Regency, she is capable of just about every spell Doctor Strange knows and can even generate theoretically endless mystic energy by herself.
11 MODRED THE MYSTIC
A centuries-old follower of the Elder God Chthon, Modred the Mystic corrupted his own soul in order to read and wield the Darkhold, a tome of ancient, dark magic. Unfortunately, while he made this deal so he could do good, he’s had a non-stop string of bad luck and misunderstandings that led him to the modern day. Basically, when he’s not possessed by Chthon, he loses his mind and devolves into a child-like state.
However, his deal also left him with some pretty substantial magic powers. Not only does he have access to any of the dark spells contained within the Darkhold, but he can naturally disrupt and control most magical entities, manipulate the elements, and is immune to most forms of magic attacks.
10 BROTHER VOODOO
Even among the loosely defined rules governing the magic systems of the Marvel Universe, Brother Voodoo is an outlier. He is an avatar of Loa, the spirit of Voodoo, wields pyrokinetic abilities, is immune to all manner of fire, heat, and radiation, and can hypnotize animals and plants, but his real strength is his mystic connection to his dead brother, Daniel.
Voodoo can summon Daniel’s spirit from beyond the grave to increase his power, possess others, and occasionally affect small things in the physical world. Voodoo has taken over as Sorcerer Supreme in the past, going under the moniker Doctor Voodoo, and though he relinquished the Eye of Agamotto, the option is open for him to retake the title.
9 MORGAN LE FAY
Having studied under the master magician Merlin, Morgan is widely considered one of the most powerful sorceresses in history. She can create physical manifestations of astral clones, manipulate the Earth, shapeshift, and can absorb mystic energy from magical artifacts. At one point, she absorbed the energy of a Norn Stone to travel through time.
In addition to her Celtic heritage magic, Morgan has studied with the Ancient One and can even use Doctor Strange’s signature Crimson Bands of Cyttorak. She’s already been considered and rejected for the role of Sorcerer Supreme before, but there’s no denying that she’s far and away the most experienced sorceress in the Marvel Universe today.
Despite being pretty inexperienced compared to other candidates, Wiccan’s particular brand of magic is insanely powerful. By focusing on his intent and its outcomes, usually through hearing his own verbal confirmations, he can alter and change reality at will. While this does mean he can and has been beaten by a pair of earmuffs, it also means that pretty much every magical entity he comes across recognizes his potential.
His power is said to be on par with an Asgardian mage and Loki himself has even predicted that Wiccan will eventually evolve into a god in his own right. Though he’s not yet ready to receive the mantle, Doctor Strange has already teamed up with a time-traveling Wiccan from the future who confirmed he does indeed succeed Strange.
7 BARON MORDO
Baron Mordo has essentially all the same powers as he does with the benefit of studying black arts that Strange wouldn’t touch. This gives him access to demonic contracts, lethal spells, and thought-casting. In addition, Mordo is practiced in a variation of karate that seamlessly incorporates his mystic powers.
Even with all this power, his greatest strength is his ambition. Without a strong sense of morality, Mordo will sacrifice anything and everyone, to accomplish his nefarious goals. He’s partnered with and fought against Dormammu and retained some of his extra-dimensonal demon magic. While the Vishanti have turned him down before, Mordo would not be an inappropriate choice to be the next Sorcerer Supreme, if for no other reason than to end his selfish quest for power.
Magik’s mutant ability is to teleport, but that wasn’t enough for her so she went out and learned herself some magic. Turns out, she’s really, really, really good at it. In the confines of the limbo dimension that facilitates her teleportation, Magik absorbed the sorcerous knowledge of several prominent mages, including an alternate-reality Storm, and became the Sorceress Supreme of that particular world.
While her magic is dampened on Earth, she remains deadly thanks to her eldritch armor, which makes her virtually invulnerable, and her Soulsword, a blade that can disrupt all magic and mutant abilities. She may have improved her craft under Strange’s tutelage, but Magik has always been worthy to be Sorcerer Supreme.
5 ADAM WARLOCK
Though his name might be Warlock, the being first known simply as “Him” is actually more attuned to cosmic powers and technology. Nevertheless, his galactic travels have put Adam Warlock in contact with magic forces before and he' excelled at it. Warlock is particularly adept at quantum magic, which lets him create and manipulate wormholes, travel faster than light, and bend the space-time continuum.
In addition, Warlock typically wields the Soul Gem. But even when he doesn’t hold the Infinity Gem, Warlock has used it enough to be able to create pocket dimensions and see cosmic and emotional auras. Even if he isn’t primarily a magician, it would be really cool to see a Sorcerer Supreme with the surname Warlock.
While he’d probably consider it a downgrade from god, Loki has coveted the role of Sorcerer Supreme in the past, and there’s little doubt that he’s got the mystic chops to hold the title though. As the literal god of magic and mischief, Loki can shapeshift, is effectively invincible, can teleport between the Nine Realms without using the Bifrost Bridge, and uses a particular brand of telepathy that can cross dimensions.
Additionally, he is immune to certain random powers, like Rogue’s vampiric touch, Controller’s control disk, and most forms of mental manipulation. While he may be worthy of the title, Loki probably won’t get to call himself Sorcerer Supreme unless he tricks the Vishanti again.
3 SCARLET WITCH
Scarlet Witch has always been the awkwardly shoehorned link between the X-Men and the realm of magic. Ostensibly, all her power comes from her mutant powers or chaos magic -- a genetic trait that was determined by demonic intervention. Or something. Long story short, Scarlet Witch can control probability to a ludicrous degree.
Her powers have accidentally caused shifts in realty, creating multiple alternate worlds as a result. Unfortunately, her magic comes at the cost of a very fragile psyche. She has been possessed multiple times in the past and has displayed erratic behavior under moments of stress. Still, if she can get over her mental issues, she could be the most powerful Sorcerer Supremes who ever lived.
He might be an evil, interdimensional energy demon, but Dormammu is first and foremost classified as one of the most powerful mystic entities in the Marvel adjacent multiverse. Originally from the Dark Dimension, Dormammu can manifest himself in other worlds through the worship of his acolytes, who he can control and influence from other dimensions. The more influence he can exert over a world, the more powerful he becomes there.
Though he’s most powerful in the Dark Dimension, he has the power to manipulate reality, possess others, raise the dead, and can transfer pure mystic energy. Even Doctor Strange has stated that, at full power, nobody could stand against Dormammu. Fittingly, the Vishanti have considered him for Sorcerer Supreme, despite his alignment.
1 DOCTOR DOOM
While he’s primarily known for his technological innovations, his dictatorship over Latveria, and generally being one of the most evil men on the planet, almost all the magical forces in the Marvel Universe have recognized Doctor Doom as one of the most powerful mages ever.
Though he is a mortal, Doom has hundreds of years worth of training in a variety of mystic practices. Along with the usual power set of teleportation and energy projection, Doom can replicate the Power Cosmic, break through dimensional barriers, and time travel. He even outwitted the demon Mephisto to save his mother’s soul. Doctor Strange himself has admitted that, Doom is probably the most worthy successor to his mantle.