In the world of Fairy Tail, there are tons of talented mages, each with their own special types of magic. There are a ton of criticisms that can be levied at creator Hiro Mashima, but he definitely got as creative as possible with the mage variety: Dragon Slayers, Enchant Magic, Elemental Control, Tarot Cards, Possessions...and that's just a couple of the members of Fairy Tail themselves.
In the end, there have to be some who are stronger than all the others. For this list, we decided to look at only the heavy hitters of the series--the most dangerous mages who've walked away from the most spell-slinging shootouts. Who's going to stand at the top?
10 Gray Fullbuster
We don’t usually think much about Gray when it comes to being strong. He doesn’t get quite as many cool battles as Natsu or even someone like Erza. Usually, there winds up being either someone from his past or someone who uses Ice on the antagonists’ side and he just gets sorted into a match with them.
That said, as Natsu’s rival, Gray has always worked to keep pace with the Fire Dragon Slayer. He’s consistently walked away as the victor against some of the most powerful forces Fairy Tail takes down. With his Ice Devil power-up, he’s easily one of the strongest members of the team.
9 Mirajane Strauss
During the early half of the series, we’re not shown much of Mirajane’s power. She serves as the friendly bartender responsible for serving drinks and food to the rest of Fairy Tail, her powers having stopped working long before the show starts. But after working out the cause behind her lost powers, Mirajane quickly establishes herself as one of the most dangerous members of Fairy Tail.
Strauss' Take Over ability allows her to utilize the powers of demons, and her Satan Soul grants her incredible strength and access to dark magic energy. There’s a reason the younger version of her was seen as Erza’s rival.
8 Laxus Dreyar
The Lightning Dragon Slayer - so much was made of Laxus’ power they built an entire arc around it. The grandson of the current guild master, Laxus attempted to conquer Fairy Tail and turn them into a “real” guild in his eyes. Though he was eventually defeated, it wasn’t without much effort and some last-minute plot-development powers on Natsu’s part.
However, Laxus is still one of the most dangerous members of Fairy Tail, having crossed the barrier into S-Class faster than almost all of the other mages around his age. He’s so powerful he even defeated the entirety of Raven Tail, his father’s guild, on his own.
A member of Zeref’s personal guard of mages known as the Spriggan 12, the “Wizard King” August has some pretty incredible abilities. August’s special ability is Copy Magic, which allows him to copy or even nullify an opponent’s magic after seeing it a single time.
The strongest of the Spriggan 12, he was able to take out all of Crime Sorcière at once, which included both Jellal and the remnants of Oración Seis after they had been freed to help in the battle against the Alvarez Empire. These were all high-level mages in their own right and powerful enough to give Fairy Tail a run for their money, yet, August was able to take care of them easily.
6 Natsu Dragneel
The main character of the series, it was obvious he’d have to be somewhere on this list. Despite not ever being the most powerful member of Fairy Tail, time and again he’s been bailed out by the power of plot armor to help him overcome villains even other, stronger (at the time) members of the team couldn’t handle.
Natsu took on and defeated Laxus when he got out of line (though nearly dying as a result), and even defeated other Dragon Slayers without ever breaking a sweat. When things get rough, he can go into his Dragon Force and Lightning Fire Dragon Slayer modes, but more often than not he gets the job done without resorting to power-ups or transformations at all.
5 Erza Scarlet
Titania, the Queen of Fairies. There’s actually a strong argument to be made that Erza has even more plot armor than Natsu, the supposed “main” character. She’s never received anything close to a proper transformation, yet every time she’s in battle she seems to walk away as the victor no matter how desperate or dire the situation.
Even when she’s been exhausted by multiple battles by prior opponents or facing an opponent who’s stolen all her senses. It never seems to matter who she’s facing, she wins because “she’s Erza”, which is something other characters have literally said before she won an impossible battle.
4 Irene Belserion
Another member of Zeref’s Spriggan 12 army, Irene Belserion is repeatedly stated to be either the most or second most powerful member of the Spriggan 12, a group even stronger than the 10 Wizard Saints. Throughout her time in the series, Irene displays some incredible abilities.
She's displayed the power to cause the Alvarez Empire’s entire million-member army to go berserk, giving them super strength and the ability to ignore attacks. Furthermore, her Universe One spell altered the entire continent of Fiore. She’s also a master enchanter and was able to enchant personalities and abilities onto inanimate objects, turning them into powerful warriors in their own right.
3 Gildarts Clive
Gildarts is that character in a shonen series who either never fights or only fights when the situation is as bad as it can possibly get. Why? He is so overpowered that he could solve all the problems without breaking a sweat. Think Whis from Dragon Ball Super or Hiko Seijuuro from Rurouni Kenshin.
Gildarts' special ability is Crush magic, but we rarely ever see him use it because he’s always away completing high-level S-Rank missions. But he’s also got poor control of those powers, as the town of Magnolia has to transform into a configuration that can avoid contact with Gildarts to avoid being completely and utterly destroyed.
2 Zeref Dragneel
Fairy Tail spends several arcs talking about all the servants and worshippers of Zeref, an evil mage spoken of in hushed tones outside of all but the most dangerous of dark guilds. When he finally revives, Zeref doesn’t seem so bad…though he pretty much instantly takes out the person who revived him before setting out to accomplish his goals again.
Zeref isn’t seen in combat very often, but his existence as ruler of the Alvarez Empire says enough: He is so powerful he was able to bring hundreds of guilds to heel and make their best mages serve him in his personal guard.
Setting aside all abilities gained via plot, Acnologia is THE most powerful character in this series. Gildarts attempted to track him down and lost two limbs and some organs for his trouble. The most powerful Spriggan 12 member attempted to fight him and was cut down in a single second.
Zeref’s entire plan for the final arc of the show involves gaining enough power to stop him. A massive dragon, Acnologia is even powerful enough to have slain other dragons in the past, and he’s even killed all of Fairy Tail’s strongest mages in a one-sided battle. There is no question Acnologia belongs at the top of the list.