Michael Bay’s fifth and supposedly final live action “Transformers” movie is on the way, and if the trailer is any indication, “Transformers: The Last Knight” will feature some very big objects, which may or may not transform. They’re far from the only ones. Begun in 1984 by American toy company Hasbro’s rebranding of toys from Japanese manufacturer Takara Tomy, the franchise quickly exploded into a multimedia saga spanning cartoons, comics, and more.
Like all geek properties, there’s that nagging debate: “who’s the strongest?” Well, after exhaustive research, we’ve compiled the top 15. Seriously, it was exhaustive -- with dozens of different continuities and branching timelines, the 32-year old Transformers canon is somehow more confusing than Marvel and DC's! So, for simplicity’s sake, we're referring to Generation 1 unless otherwise noted. Without further ado, then, here are the 15 Most Powerful Robots in Disguise.
While not quite the Starscream to Optimus Prime’s Megatron, Grimlock may be the closest the Autobots will get to their leadership tussling. Commanding the rest of the wild, difficult to control Dinobots, a group of Autobots who transform into dinosaurs rather than machines, Grimlock is critical of Optimus’ more cautious, less carnivorous ethos. First built by Wheeljack and Ratchet, the Dinobots were deemed too dangerous to deploy, and are nearly sealed off forever until a last minute upgrade lets them save the Autobots from near defeat.
Fittingly for a Transformer whose alternate mode is a giant, mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex, Grimlock cares little for humans, which is part of why he resents Optimus’ leadership priorities. But at least he can back his gripes up, as he’s often been able to go toe-to-toe with the leaders of both sides thanks to his strength, fighting ability and skill with his weapon of choice, the energon-powered “energo-sword,” even if his grasp of syntax isn't quite as strong as the rest of him.
Named by comics legend Dennis O’Neil, the most famous, heroic, and, at least in the 1986 animated movie, Christ-like Transformer, Optimus Prime was chosen to bear the Autobot Matrix of Leadership for good reason. Born “Orion Pax” before becoming a Prime and leading the Autobots through Cybertron’s great war, there’s a reason every Autobot would put their life on the line for this truck. The rare combination of genius military tactician and morally unimpeachable character, Optimus’ selfless dedication to justice and peace for Transformer and human alike aren’t just admirable, they’re effective.
It also helps that he’s good in a fight. With his ion blaster, energon shield, martial arts expertise and massive body, Optimus is one of the strongest non-combiner fighters in any of the “Transformers” continuities. Able to fly through a black hole and survive, and frequently match Megatron in one-on-one combat, you better respect Optimus... and his unmistakable voice, which has been performed in everything from the original animated series to the latest live action movies by Canadian voice actor Peter Cullen.
To give you an idea of his vibe, Megatron could originally transform into not just a gun, but three different guns: a Walther P38 handgun, a particle beam cannon and a telescopic laser cannon. Though changing laws around toys resembling real weapons may have removed the first of those, the message remains the same, which is that Megatron is not to a bot with which to trifle. The founder of the Decepticons, Megatron is hardcore enough to have started the war on Cybertron in the first place, and, in the animated movie, is even shown to have successfully conquered the planet.
A ruthless commander and fighter, Megatron is the opposite of Optimus Prime in nearly every way… except his strength. In some continuities, he rose from the ranks of Cyberton’s gladiators, but whichever the version, he’s powerful enough to rule the Decepticons by fear. Oh, and he’s managed to kill Optimus in a fight.
Overlord is one of the most feared Decepticons, and one of the craziest. In IDW’s G1 continuity, he fought in the same gladiator battles as Megatron, and the latter was the only one ever to beat him. The fight left him with a pathological fear of defeat, which, when added to his sadistic love of violence and torture will get you a particularly terrifying Decepticon, who puts his powers to the worst uses possible. For example, after being selected by Megatron for a power-enhancing ununtrium infusion, Overlord killed the scientist who performed it, and generally seems more interested in causing pain by fighting than whatever he’s supposed to be fighting for.
The infusion made the already strong Overlord even stronger, which is considerable for a Transformer whose alternate mode involves separating into a jet and a tank. Having defeated the giant Autobot Fortress Maximus and seemingly become stronger than Megatron, Overlord is worthy of his name.
Scorponok is the leader of Decepticon Headmasters, a group of Transformers whose extra powerful bodies bond with smaller beings -- usually Transformers -- who become their… well, their heads (hence the name). One of the seemingly endless array of Decepticons who resents Megatron and wants to defeat him in battle, replace him as Decepticon leader or both, Scorponok is distinguished in that, early on, he actually succeeds. Usually bonded to the Nebulan Lord Zarak, Scorponok is even more brutal than Megatron, hoping to create a society where the strong rule and the weak are destroyed.
That is probably because he’d do pretty well in such a society. The Triple Changer's first alternate mode is a giant scorpion who can destroy mountains with his claws and fire electric blasts from his tail. His other? An entire defense base, filled to the brim with top level tracking equipment, and, of course, weaponry. Whatever his form, most Autobots and Decepticons should stay far, far way.
The first combiner on the list, Devastator is formed from, depending on the continuity, the either five or six Transformers who make up the Constructicons. A team of Decepticons focused on design, engineerin, and construction, Scrapper, Hook, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Long Haul and Mixmaster are the first combining group of Transformers, and they’re one of the most memorable. While their alternate modes as various construction vehicles may seem more about building than destroying, their combination into the towering Devastator turns them into the opposite.
Normally, the Constructicons are some of the most intelligent Transformers out there, but because of the limits of first-generation combiners, Devastator can only handle whatever thoughts and actions his component Transformers can agree on at each moment. This makes an instinctual, simple minded fighter, so it's all the more impressive that, as long as his one track mind is going in the right direction, Devastator's sheer destructive power makes him one of the most fearsome Transformers anyway.
Fortunately, the combiners aren’t all evil! Hot Spot, First Aid, Blades, Streetwise, Groove and Rook make up the Protectobots, who, as an emergency search and rescue crew, are one of the most wholesome Transformers teams. With their alternate forms, a team of civil service and emergency vehicles, the Protectobots share a warmth and caring towards human life that should make them any Earthling’s greatest ally, especially in their combined form, Defensor.
While its stature unfortunately tends to scare most humans away, it can keep them safe by projecting an ultra strong force field 50 feet around its body. The extremely protective ‘bot is also one of the most aware and intelligent combiners, enabling a degree of planning, forethought, and patience the others can’t match. While not quite as powerful on offense as some the more battle-oriented combiners like the one in the next entry, Defensor’s namesake specialty can usually more than make up for it.
Possibly the strongest of all the accurately-named combiner teams, Bruticus is the product of the five Combaticons, who specialize in… well, you can probably figure it out. Onslaught, Brawl, Blast Off, Swindle and Vortex are tough enough in their military vehicle alternate forms, but together as Bruticus, they're nearly unstoppable. The counterpart to Defensor, Bruticus' offense matches its rival’s defense and may even surpass it, with an arsenal including a sonic stun gun and control over ultrasonic waves. And when it comes to sheer, uh, brute strength, look out -- Bruticus has been known to destroy suspension bridges with one punch, and can lift half a million pounds.
Scariest of all, though, is that he's another of the few combiners who has it together mentally. While still not a genius, he’s good enough in battle to have defeated foes like Devastator and Megatron in his first appearance, when he was commanded by Starscream. Plus, unlike many Decepticons, he (at least in most continuities) actually follows orders, though it’s both a strength and weakness that he'll literally do nothing without them.
All right readers, all the previous Transformers are extremely strong, but with Omega Supreme, we start to reach a whole different level. A former member of the legendary Guardian robots, Omega Supreme is millions of years old, and almost proportionately as big. With his alternate mode, which sees him split into a laser cannon tank, a rocket base and a rocket defense base, he acts as an interplanetary transport for the Autobots, as well as their last line of defense, and last he does.
As a robot, he can shatter a mountain with a single blow, lift immense weights with his clawed right arm and demolish enemies with his plasma blaster left one -- and if that’s not enough canons for you, his rear-mounted laser can hit a range of nearly 50 miles. On the defensive side, his armor is resistant to all energy beams and non-nuclear explosives, which helps him defeat entire Decepticon teams on his own. Best of all is that animated series writer David Wise thought Omega Supreme was a “stupid character” based on an “illogical” toy, which is why he decided to give the character as huge and tragic a backstory as possible.
Even a “defense base” seems small compared to this particular Transformer, though, because Trypticon’s alternate mode, is, simply put, a city. Created from a human city by the Constucticons, Trypticon makes some of the above entries here look like humans in a size comparison. Designed as the ultimate Decepticon weapon, he also functions as a gargantuan artillery platform, but his real might is in his robot mode, which, unlike nearly every other Transformers, takes the shape not of a human, but a dinosaur. Sure, there are the Dinobots too, but Trypticon’s size and destructive capacity mean he’s closer to Godzilla than he is to Grimlock.
But Trypticon has a major flaw. He doesn’t really want to be an unstoppable super-weapon destroying everything in his path, and has little interest in the war that has enveloped the lives of all Transformers. While he hates the Autobots, he doesn’t particularly like the Decepticons either, making him, literally, the Transformers biggest misanthrope (or, at least, the robot equivalent).
Trypticon's reluctance may be part of why his rival, Metroplex, has the edge. The Autobots’ own city transformer, Metroplex can also separate into three autonomous ‘bots: the weapon-based Six-Gun, the car Scamper and Slammer, a skyscraper. To even scratch Metroplex in his 800 meter tall armored robot form requires a small nuclear explosion, and on the offensive side he’s got a cannon that shoots not a laser, but a “MASER” (Microwave Amplification through Simulated Emission of Radiation), though he often opts to fight using his incredible wrestling skills instead.
While on a technical level Metroplex and Trypticon may be about evenly matched, he’s far better equipped mentally. The opposite of the apathetic and self-loathing Trypticon, Metroplex may care too much, always feeling like he could be doing more, despite already being one of the strongest, bravest, smartest and most selfless Autobots in history. He may not realize how appreciated he is, but we hope a top-five spot on this list will help.
We’re close to the top tier now, and while he’s not as physically imposing as some of the previous Transformers, Nova Prime wields a different kind of power. Mostly elaborated on in the IDW comics, Nova Prime requires a bit of Transformers backstory. Way back, a being called Primus created the Transformers, the first 13 of which were known as the The Thirteen Primes. The Primes (meaning “leaders”) led different warring sects on Cybertron until Nova Major ultimately united them, and became Nova Prime.
A Transfomers supremacist, Nova Major believes his race should expand across the universe. Eventually, he was sucked into the mysterious Dead Universe, where he become a host of the Darkness, a kind of dark version of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Now, he can hop between dimensions, warp reality and generally hold power over life and death via the Dead Universe’s energy he wields. He can also transform into a truck, but that seems somewhat besides the point here.
While the Galvatron name has been given to several characters across the many divergent “Transformers” timelines, he’s usually a rebuilt version of a Transformer we’ve already seen on this list: Megatron. After being nearly destroyed in combat, Megatron makes a deal with Unicron: a new, upgraded body in exchange for his service. In this new body, Galvatron is both much stronger, and much more unstable, violently lashing out at his subordinates and caring about nothing but his insatiable lust for power.
Considering how much he already has, though, the obsession seems excessive. In some timelines, he is able to find items like the the Omega Lock, that lets him go up against Primus himself, a feat which only one other Transformer has ever pulled off. At his peak, Galvatron is nearly invincible, but his reliance on external power sources and continuing descent into insanity keep him a little below the top.
Oh, you thought the cities were big? Well, Primus isn’t the most powerful Transformer on Cybertron, he literally is Cybertron itself. Known as The Lord of Light, Primus seems to be as old as the universe itself, and after eons of multiversal existence, tranforms himself into a planet, where he created the Transformers in order to defend the galaxy. The Autobot Matrix of Leadership -- that extremely powerful artifact often needed to defeat Unicron -- contains a piece of his lifeforce. Speaking of lifeforce, or the “spark” that every Transformer holds like a soul, they are pieces of Primus too, which together form the Allspark, or communal life energy of the universe.
Since his alternate mode is the Transformer’s homeworld, Primus doesn’t enter his robot form often. But when he does, his status as a virtual god is indisputable. With the hyper-intelligent supercomputer Vector Sigma backing him up from within his core, and his literal planetary stature, Primus is the closest “Transformers” gets to the power of characters like the cosmic deities of Marvel or DC.
Yes, Primus is the most powerful Transformer god... with one exception: his fallen sibling, Unicron. Born alongside Primus, Unicron is clearly the “Transformers” equivalent of Galactus. Let’s put it this way: Unicron’s alternate mode is a planet… that eats other planets. A being of pure corruption, Unicron is the strongest Transformer there is. In some of the comics continuities, Unicron doesn’t just eat planets, but travels the multiverse in order to devour entire universes. And so far, he’s eaten nearly a quarter of them. Yes, this being has consumed a quarter of the known universes!
Even before that, though, was his unforgettable first appearance in the Transformers animated movie. When we first see the design, created by illustrator and design supervisor Floro Dery, it's clear this is a whole different class of Transformer. And when we first hear him speak? Well, we won’t pretend it's Orson Welles’ greatest performance, but if the legendary actor and director of “Citizen Kane” was going to play a Transformer in his last ever film, then at least it was the most powerful one ever.
What do you think? Is there a more powerful Transformer than Unicron? Let us know in the comments!