Fullmetal Alchemist and its abridged Brotherhood incarnation can typically be found at the top of every "Best Anime" list—and with good reason. The show is an ingenious blend of comedy, political commentary, and valuable life lessons. However, the unique action sequences were always the core of the animation.
While alchemy reigned supreme in this universe, there were a select number of State Alchemists employed by the Amestrian Military as part of an exclusive government program. Though their skill levels and areas of expertise varied, let's take a look at the 10 most popular State Alchemists ranked in terms of strength.
10 Shou Tucker
Not every State Alchemist was a strong fighter; some specialized in relatively tame fields that didn't require physical combat. Shou Tucker, also known as the Sewing-Life Alchemist, was proficient in Biological Alchemy. He had amassed an impressive library loaded with research that the Elric brothers hoped would lead to the restoration of their bodies.
While he was indeed a smart man, Tucker is arguably the most hated character in the series. His vast knowledge could never excuse the fact that he sacrificed his wife, his daughter, and his dog for twisted scientific experiments. Tucker showed no remorse when confronted about his actions, so his death at the hands of Scar felt utterly satisfying.
9 Tim Marcoh
Similar to Shou Tucker, Tim Marcoh was less of a fighter and more of a brainiac—he specialized in Bio-Alchemy, the research of living beings. Once known as the Crystal Alchemist, Marcoh was involved in the creation of the Philosopher's Stone, which meant he also had insight on how to destroy them.
Though not suitable for combat, Marcoh was an incredibly helpful ally. He was a competent doctor so he could provide healing assistance when needed. His extensive information regarding the Philosopher's Stone and the Homunculi made him a valuable presence that reinforced the popular saying, "Knowledge is power."
8 Basque Grand
The Iron Blood Alchemist was portrayed in different ways throughout the two anime series and the manga. The 2003 incarnation granted him a more significant role while the 2009 version and the manga saw him getting killed off early or played out as a flashback, respectively.
Grand's alchemy revolved around the creation of industrial weapons and iron structures. This meant he could summon objects like cannons for destructive purposes or iron cages and walls for restrictive reasons. However, his attacks were typically slow enough to be dodged and Scar was easily able to break through the cage that Grand had generated around him.
7 Jack Crowley
Jack Crowley might not be a familiar name for viewers of the anime because he was never a part of it—he exclusively appeared in the PlayStation 2 game, Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir. He was the main antagonist and the final boss so you automatically know he was a force to be reckoned with.
Like several characters in the series, the former Silver Bullet Alchemist lost a loved one and attempted human transmutation to resurrect her. In this case, it was his lover, Elma. Crowley had a Golem form that could absorb power from a Crimson Stone, which only grew stronger with the sacrifice of lives.
6 Giolio Comanche
Known as the Silver Alchemist, Giolio was a master of Combat Alchemy and typically crafted bladed weapons like swords and shurikens. In a move reminiscent of Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter, Comanche could also summon chains with sharpened tips in order to harm or bind his opponents. These were put on display during a battle with Scar in the anime, even though he ultimately lost because of his amputated leg.
Comanche had transmutation circles tattooed on his hands, but they were noticeably more intricate than any other characters' markings. With them, he could use his alchemic abilities without touching his hands or preparing circles in advance.
5 Isaac McDougal
Exclusive to the 2009 Brotherhood series, the Freezing Alchemist appeared in the very first episode as a former State Alchemist who held a hefty grudge against Führer King Bradley. In his attempt to destroy Central, McDougal was confronted by the Elric brothers and we got to witness the powers of his Water Alchemy.
McDougal would frequently freeze water to create ice structures that served a variety of purposes. He could erect them as pillars, utilize them as walkways, or craft ice shards as weapons. He could also manipulate steam and blood—the latter was made possible by the fact that over 60% of a human's body is made of water.
4 Solf J. Kimblee
The Crimson Lotus Alchemist was psychotic and sadistic, though these traits were more prominent in the 2003 series than they were in Brotherhood. The former State Alchemist was known for his brutality, having partaken in the Ishvalan War of Extermination where he used his powers on people that weren't even on his kill list.
Kimblee's Explosion Alchemy was just as chaotic as it sounds and it even had range; he could determine how far to extend his energy before detonating an explosion. He was also agile and could use the environment around him to form damaging projectiles. Kimblee's use of Philosopher's Stones would only enhance his already powerful abilities and made him a more daunting antagonist.
3 Alex Louis Armstrong
Though he frequently served as comedic relief, the Strong Arm Alchemist was no joke when it came to strength. After all, he benefitted from a slew of eccentric skills that were "passed down the Armstrong line for generations." You can't really compete with that.
Armstrong was a skilled fighter who excelled in hand-to-hand combat and was shockingly quick on his feet despite his hulking appearance. His tolerance against physical attacks was abnormal and he could withstand crushing blows without suffering any substantial injuries. The State Alchemist was inhumanely powerful thanks to the Combat Alchemy that was, as one would expect, passed down the Armstrong line for generations.
2 Edward Elrich
Edward was the titular protagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. Despite his underwhelming size and young age, Ed was a phenomenal hand-to-hand fighter, though he could also hold his own against armed enemies. He was analytical during battle and would usually incorporate his surroundings into his alchemy creations.
Edward had a steel arm and one steel leg, which worked in tandem to bolster his offensive stats and defensive capabilities. His token move involved conjuring up a blade from his automail arm, though he sometimes conceived other weapons like swords and lances. Ed was an adaptable and versatile combatant that gave everyone a run for their money.
1 Roy Mustang
The Flame Alchemist was arguably the third most important character in the series—after Edward and Alphonse Elric—but he was also the most powerful in terms of strength. His fire-based attacks were formidable, to say the least, and he manipulated them impeccably.
Mustang's gloves were embroidered with transmutation circles and created a spark whenever he rubbed his fingers together. As long as it wasn't raining, Roy could generate powerful, controlled explosions with the aid of an outside source such as a lighter. He could also apply distinct effects to each hand, meaning he could employ multiple strategies at once to take out different types of enemies.