The MCU’s two most notable magic practitioners – Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange – are headed for a Multiverse defining conflict.
The “who can beat who” argument is as old as comics themselves, as publishing companies quickly learned the value of stacking popular heroes and villains up against each other. The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t ignored the tradition, notably in efforts like Captain America: Civil War, which pitted a versatile combination of heroes against each other.
These days, the MCU’s most popular power comparisons are far more mystical than physical. With WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home bracketing an extraordinary 2021 for the franchise, all eyes have turned to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and two characters from those aforementioned projects. Wanda Maximoff and Stephen Strange appear to be headed for a collision course, and promotion for the movie has begun pushing a “who’s more powerful?” narrative, notably with a recent article in Empire magazine. In truth, that question has likely been answered.
Why Scarlet Witch Is More Powerful Than Doctor Strange
Power measurement in comics can be tricky, and figures with different power sources provide the kind of subjective wrinkles that make superhero fights so much fun for fans. Wanda and Doctor Strange don’t have that problem, however, which doesn’t bode well for Strange. While the specifics of their abilities differ slightly, WandaVision formally opened up the power of the MCU’s magical side to its grieving protagonist. Similarly, both heroes have wielded the power of an Infinity Stone, with Strange the former guardian of the Time Stone, and Wanda’s abilities enhanced by energy from the Mind Stone.
That provides a very strong basis for direct comparison, and on almost every level, Wanda comes out on top. Her mastery of magic in WandaVision – despite almost no conscious awareness of it – was enough to create an entire alternate reality that included resurrecting her lover Vision. Strange, in contrast, bungled a spell of forgetting in No Way Home that resulted in a Multiversal schism. The same holds true with the power of the Infinity Stones. Even with the Time Stone in his possession, Strange couldn’t go toe-to-toe with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and had to settle for the longshot victory by handing the Stone over to the Mad Titan. Wanda, in contrast, fought Thanos’s forces to a standstill during Infinity War and gave him all he could handle upon her return in Avengers: Endgame. Even Kevin Feige has stated that she’s one of the most powerful characters in the MCU right now. That appears to settle the debate before it begins.
Why Doctor Strange Is More Powerful Than Scarlet Witch
Strange, in contrast, has little in his corner but increased experience and perhaps a better understanding of his own limitations. He’s been practicing magic for longer — though Wanda’s apparent manipulation of multiple realities with the Darkhold may counter that – and his dive into 14 million-plus alternative realities during the events of Endgame may leave him better equipped to handle the curveballs that the Multiverse is bound to throw at them.
Beyond that, his biggest asset may be his comparative emotions. Unlike Wanda, he’s not mourning the loss of anyone close to him, and his focus might not be clouded by grief. If he’s to come out on top of any conflict with the Scarlet Witch, he’s going to need to take full advantage of those breaches.
Why Scarlet Witch Would Win Against Doctor Strange
Strange is a strong player on the Marvel galactic stage, with the ability to perceive and halt disasters on a cosmic level, but even he comes in second to Wanda, who has combined her initial powers with the power of the Darkhold. Strange, on the other hand appears to have lost power since returning from the Snap, having forfeited both the Time Stone to Thanos and his position as Sorcerer Supreme to Wong. That apparent power imbalance is perhaps for the best, since The Multiverse of Madness may paint Wanda as a full-bore antagonist. If it does, then her superior abilities will present a proper challenge for Strange, as well as confirming just how powerful her impact on the MCU could be.