As a Yonko, Shanks is one of the most powerful pirates in the New World – few One Piece characters can take him down.

Captain Blackbeard, Shanks and Admiral Akainu from One Piece

The action-packed shonen anime One Piece is populated with a stunning assortment of powerful fighters who wield deadly weapons, cool Devil Fruit powers, and Haki in combat.

Over time, protagonist Monkey D. Luffy met more and more of these mighty pirate and Navy warriors, from the East Blue to the Grand Line to the New World, and he defeated many of them. Meanwhile, One Piece fans have fun imagining who can defeat whom, imagining matchups that have not yet happened in One Piece‘s story.

For example, fans are eager to see red-haired Shanks fight someone in a serious battle and determine exactly how strong he is. Dialogue and brief scenes have suggested that Shanks is enormously powerful as one of the mighty Four Emperors, but his true strength is still ambiguous. That said, One Piece fans can roughly estimate who could defeat Shanks in a solo fight. Some One Piece characters could definitely beat him without too much trouble, while others would narrowly defeat Shanks if circumstances allowed it.

One Piece Shanks

Shanks’ true identity in One Piece has been widely debated, but the introduction of the God Knights’ Supreme Leader opens a new possibility.

10. Gol D. Roger Was Pirate King For a Reason

Gol D Roger is reading a newspaper in One Piece. Gol D. Roger Shouting While Fighting Whitebeard In One Piece Gol D. Roger in One Piece. Gol D. Roger stands Smiles In A Flashback After Meeting Oden. Roger uses Kamusari in One PieceGol D Roger is reading a newspaper in One Piece. Gol D. Roger Shouting While Fighting Whitebeard In One Piece Gol D. Roger in One Piece. Gol D. Roger stands Smiles In A Flashback After Meeting Oden. Roger uses Kamusari in One Piece

Character Name
Debut Episode

Gol D. Roger
Episode 1: “I’m Luffy! The Man Who Will Become the Pirate King!”
Swordsmanship, Haki

Even if he hasn’t yet been seen fighting a proper on-screen battle, Gol D. Roger still looms large as one of One Piece‘s most powerful fighters of all. He may be dead during the main story, but flashbacks and character dialogue made it abanduntly clear that he earned his Emperor title and his mantle as the king of pirates.

There is little doubt that if Gol D. Roger returned from the dead and crossed swords with red-haired Shanks, Roger would have the edge and would probably win the battle. Also, given the lack of Devil Fruits involved in such a hypothetical matchup, Gol D. Roger vs Shanks would resemble a true pirate duel of two sea-fearing rogues fighting with a sword to see who’s the strongest.

9. Dracule Mihawk Could Beat Shanks in a Sword Duel If He Really Tried

A close-up of Dracule Mihawk with a serious expression in the One Piece anime Dracule Mihawk with yoru in the One Piece anime The image is a close-up of Dracule Mihawk Sitting In His Castle in One Piece Dracule Mihawk the swordsman, grimacing in One Piece Dracule Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman, in the One Piece anime

Character Name
Debut Episode

Dracule Mihawk
Episode 23: “Protect Baratie! The Great Pirate: Zeff the Red Leg”
Yoru, Haki

One Piece's Dracule Mihawk with his sword on his back and bats in the background.

Dracule Mihawk occupies a moral grey zone in One Piece, and fans have debated whether the World’s #1 Swordsman is a friend or foe to the Straw Hats.

Only a small handful of swordsmen rank among the very best in One Piece‘s world, and the well-dressed, unexpressive Dracule Mihawk can be counted among their number. One Piece fans could see Shanks getting the better of Mihawk if they fought for real, but the reverse may be true too, with Mihawk standing at least a fighting chance of defeating Shanks in a sword fight.

Mihawk may not quite have Shanks’ reputation, but he is still one tough customer as a former Warlord of the Sea, and everyone saw how easily Mihawk bested Roronoa Zoro with a tiny, toy-like knife. Mihawk can even slice apart icebergs with his real sword, the oversized Yoru, and it’s obvious that even Shanks should be careful when Mihawk is brandishing such a weapon.

8. Kozuki Oden Has What it Takes to Best Shanks

Franky Meets Kozuki Oden Kozuki Oden before his death as he bares his teeth. Kozuki Oden, legendary swordsman of Wano, in combat during a One Piece flashback Kozuki Oden attacking Kaido in One Piece's Wano Country Arc Kozuki Oden With The Akazaya Nine

Character Name
Debut Episode

Kozuki Oden
Episode 910: “A Legendary Samurai – The Man Who Roger Admired!”
Katanas, superhuman strength, Haki

Kozuki Oden, like his old friend Gol D. Roger, is a powerhouse character who only appeared in One Piece‘s flashbacks. During the lengthy Wano arc, One Piece fans met Kozuki Oden as the strong, wise, and kind daimyo of the Kuri region, and at one point, he sailed beyond Wano’s shores with Gol D. Roger and Edward Newgate/Captain Whitebeard. Oden had a great time on that voyage, and he wasn’t exactly intimidated by such powerful company, either.

Oden will certainly never face Shanks in One Piece‘s story, but if he did, he would stand a real chance to win, or at least force a draw. Kozuki Oden’s fighting style wasn’t anything fancy, since he didn’t even have a Devil Fruit or a unique weapon, but he did prove himself an extraordinary swordsman with immense physical gifts and all three kinds of Haki, making him a real threat to Shanks in a what-if battle.

7. Imu Could Simply Destroy Whatever Island Shanks is Standing On

Imu, the secret monarch of the World Government, looking at a giant Straw Hat in One Piece. Imu pointing at Lulusia Kingdom with his glowing red eyes in One Piece Imu and Destroyed Lulusia One Piece The Five Elders Bow To Imu in One Piece Imu's Devil Fruit transformation in the One Piece Manga

Character Name
Debut Episode

Episode 885: “In the Dark Recesses of the Holyland – A Mysterious Giant Straw Hat”
Mother Flame

Imu is a mysterious character who sits on the supposedly empty throne of the World Government. So far, Imu has not been seen fighting anyone, and it’s unlikely that Imu will in the future, either. Still, Imu can indirectly threaten anyone in the One Piece world by calling upon the dreaded Mother Flame, a power that even exceeds the Buster Call.

Imu can call down the Mother Flame, an invention of Dr. Vegapunk’s, to utterly obliterate an island and everything on it, as the destruction of the Lulusia Kingdom proved in recent storylines. Not even Shanks would survive if Imu struck an island where Shanks stood, and there wouldn’t even be ashes of him left over.

6. Monkey D. Luffy Could Squash Shanks With Gear 5’s Cartoon Power

Luffy is falling happily from the sky Luffy looks surprised with his chest scar showing Luffy declares Wano his territory in the One Piece anime Luffy from One Piece laughing in his Gear 5 form.

Character Name
Debut Episode

Monkey D. Luffy
Episode 1: “I’m Luffy! The Man Who Will Become the Pirate King!”
Gum-Gum Fruit, Haki, Gears

Doflamingo, Luffy, and Kaido

Luffy believes in saving dreams and changing lives, because of this, murder isn’t an option.

The protagonist himself, Monkey D. Luffy, is a friend of Shanks and owes his life to the man, so it’s unlikely that the two of them will ever fight seriously in One Piece. When Luffy was just seven, Shanks saved him from a sea king at the cost of his left arm, and then Shanks gave Luffy his prized straw hat. Luffy vowed that he would return that hat when he became a truly great pirate.

By now, Luffy seems fit to return that hat, because it’s difficult to imagine Luffy getting much stronger than he already is. With the incredible transformative power of Gear 5, Luffy can take on the world’s strongest warriors and win via cartoon powers, and it’s easily conceivable that Shanks would lose to the same power that bested Kaido at Onigashima Island.

5. Admiral Fujitora Stands a Real Chance Against Shanks

One Piece's most interesting Marine Admiral, Fujitora — wielder of the Press-Press Fruit Zoro vs Fujitora in One Piece: Stampede Admiral Fujitora_World Military Draft Cropped Fujitora using his Devil Fruit to manipulate gravity in One Piece

Character Name
Debut Episode

Admiral Fujitora
Episode 630: “Adventure! The Country of Love and Passion, Dressrosa”
Press-Press Fruit, Haki

The various Admirals of the Navy are all enormously powerful and high-ranking officers who can easily take on the Warlords of the Sea and even stand a chance against the Four Emperors, depending on the matchup and circumstances. It’s equally likely that Shanks could take down Admiral Fujitora, but Fujitora would at least stand a fighting chance to win instead.

In battle, Fujitora is overwhelmingly durable and can even block punches from Luffy’s Haki-enhanced Gear 3 punches with little effort, and he has unparalleled reflexes to match, allowing him to keep pace with any opponent. Then, when Fujitora’s Press-Press Fruit is factored in, it becomes clear why he could conceivably defeat the mighty Shanks if he played his cards just right.

4. Kaido is the Ultimate Living Creature and Could Vanquish Shanks

Kaido looking irritated in One Piece Kaido Emperor from One Piece Kaido from One Piece in his dragon form Kaido's In His Full dragon form Above Onigashima In One Piece

Character Name
Debut Episode

Episode 736: “Sending a Shock Wave – The Worst Generation Goes Into Action!”
Fish-Fish Fruit (azure dragon model), Haki, club

Kaido, widely recognized and feared as the strongest creature alive, easily earned his position as one of the Four Emperors, alongside other titans like Captain Whitebeard, Big Mom, and Shanks. It’s not 100% clear how those four juggernauts rank in power, but One Piece fans can safely assume that Kaido stands a good chance of besting Shanks in a hypothetical duel.

Kaido has many formidable powers and skills on his side, from his deadly iron club to his massive true form as a blue dragon of mythical proportions. In that form, Kaido’s physical attacks are overwhelming, and he can even use breath weapons for medium-ranged combat. If that weren’t enough, he can also use Haki in a variety of ways, so Shanks has no advantage in that department, either.

3. Captain Blackbeard Has Two Devil Fruits to Fight Shanks With

captain blackbeard with two devil fruit powers in one piece
Blackbeard coveing his hand in darkness in One Piece
Blackbeard creating a pool of darkness with the Dark-Dark Fruit at Marineford in One Piece Blackbeard laughing in front of wanted posters in one piece Blackbeard in One Piece, Post-Timeskip.

Character Name
Debut Episode

Captain Blackbeard
Episode 146: “Stop Dreaming! The City of Ridicule, Mock Town!”
Dark-Dark Fruit, Tremor-Tremor Fruit

Split Images of Andy, Blackbeard, and Rengoku

Black Beard’s Devil Fruit Powers make him not only one of the strongest characters in One Piece, but in all of anime.

Marshall D. Teech, usually known as Captain Blackbeard, has slowly and surely risen as one of One Piece‘s deadliest villains and most potent fighters of all. He was already a force to be reckoned with when he used the Dark-Dark Fruit, but then he somehow stole Whitebeard’s Tremor-Tremor Fruit as well. That led to fan theories about how Blackbeard did it.

Blackbeard is now an Emperor, just like Shanks, and he probably has the edge, even if he’s no swordsman. His two Devil Fruits rank among the series’ strongest, and he is clearly comfortable with using each of them to deadly effect against any foe. As for Haki, Blackbeard can use Color of Observation and Color of Arms Haki, allowing him to keep pace with Shanks’ own Haki.

2. Monkey D. Garp is One of the Strongest Marines to Ever Live

Monkey D. Garp grinning with crossed arms in One Piece. Garp and Marines after One Piece's God Valley Incident Garp speaking with Ace in prison in One Piece. Garp breaking through a wall in Water 7 in One Piece. Garp, One Piece

Character Name
Debut Episode

Monkey D. Garp
Episode 68: “Try Hard, Koby! Diary of Koby-Meppo’s Marine Struggles”

Monkey D. Garp is another One Piece warrior who rarely fights, but his limited fight scenes and his incredible reputation still make it clear that he is an incredible fighter who can take on the mightiest of pirates. In fact, Garp is widely hailed as the Navy’s hero, and even in his advanced age, he can stand up to powerful pirate crews and other foes without fear.

Garp is one of the most straightforward fighters in One Piece, but he’s no weaker for it. Despite his lack of tricks or fancy powers, Garp is an overwhelming force in any fight, and he could certainly stand up to Shanks with his bare fists and trademark grit. He would at least stand a serious chance against Shanks’ sword with his fists, and if he got a sword and wielded it with great skill, Garp’s victory would be all but certain.

1. Admiral Akainu Could Roast Shanks With His Magma Powers

admiral akainu smoking a cigar in one piece Marine Admiral Akainu using the Magma-Magma Fruit in One Piece's Marineford Arc Akainu Transforming his body into magma in One Piece. One Piece: Akainu Turning Half His Body Into Magma

Character Name
Debut Episode

Admiral Akainu
Episode 278: “Say You Want to Live! We Are Friends!”
Magma-Magma Fruit

Admiral Akainu/Sakazuki is a high-ranking Navy officer who went from Admiral to Fleet Admiral, which speaks volumes about his sheer power and leadership abilities. If he commanded an entire fleet in battle, he would no doubt crush Shanks’ crew, and in a solo match, he would likely best Shanks.

Akainu has awe-inspiring power and durability as the Fleet Admiral, complete with the Logia-type fruit called the Magma-Magma Fruit. With it, Akainu can obliterate any foe, and he could even punch Ace with it, despite Ace being made of fire. Akainu also dueled Aokiji/Kuzan at Punk Hazard, a great clash that reshaped the entire island. Anyone who can do that to an island could definitely take on Shanks and probably emerge the victor.