Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were two of the most popular television shows in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Joss Whedon’s brilliant creations saw the forces of good – Buffy Summers and her band of “Scoobies” and Angel and his “Fang Gang” – battling against the forces of evil in the form of vampires, demons and other otherworldly creatures and beings.
Buffy and Angel were powerful – Buffy being the slayer and Angel being an ensouled vampire – but there were considerably more powerful characters on the two shows (which were collectively known as the Buffyverse) and the titular heroes would often have to use their wits or the help of their friends to defeat certain foes.
We wanted to take a look back at both shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer having finished in 2003 and Angel having finished in 2004) and put together a list of the most powerful characters from each of them.
So, based on actual shown feats (rather than implied power) and only using characters we saw enough of to actually gauge their power levels, here are the top fifteen most powerful characters in the Buffyverse (note that, in order to not exclude the television audience, this article will not take into consideration any comic books or spin-off media – it will be based on the Buffy the Vampire and Angel television shows only).
Honourable Mention: The First Evil
The First Evil was the ultimate big bad in the Buffyverse. It was the main villain of the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season seven) and triggered a massive change – it prompted Buffy and her allies to make every potential slayer into a slayer in order to combat its forces.
However, the First Evil is not really a “character” as such – it’s more of an abstract concept. It was the thing that created evil. Plus, it didn’t have a physical form – it could appear as any dead person and merge with its servant vessels, but it couldn’t touch anything of its own accord. That being said, its manipulative powers and its potential to be a devastating force (should it take over the world and gain a physical form) means it at least deserves an honourable mention on this list.
15. The Ubervamp
The Ubervamp was an agent of the aforementioned First Evil who appeared in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was an ancient species of vampire called a Turok-Han – the vampires that vampires fear – and Rupert Giles actually thought they were a myth until he appeared.
Although there was an army of thousands of them, this first specimen was by far the toughest and appeared in three episodes as a sort of secondary big bad. He exhibited superhuman strength and durability in excess of Buffy’s and gave her the worst beating she had ever received on the show. Mere staking proved far less sufficient a method of killing this guy than other vampires, thanks to his thick sternum, but Buffy eventually managed to kill him by cutting his head off with wire.
Caleb was yet another agent of the First Evil – in this case, the main agent (following his death, the First Evil described him as “my good right arm”). He was a preacher who used his position to exploit his need to degrade women, thanks to his pathological hatred of them and he appeared in five episodes of season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
He was a sociopath who the First Evil sought out to do his bidding (given that he hated women, he was the ideal man to wipe out the slayer line – considering all slayers are female). The First Evil would often merge with him, granting him superhuman strength and durability far in excess of Buffy, Faith, Spike and anyone else in the Scooby Gang. He could casually knock the likes of Buffy, Spike and Angel out with a single hit, but he was eventually killed by Buffy using her mystical scythe.
13. Marcus Hamilton
Marcus Hamilton – played by Adam Baldwin in five episodes of season five of Angel – was one of the Children of the Senior Partners – the beings at the top of supernatural law firm Wolfram and Hart – and was Angel and his allies’ liaison to them. Infused with the blood of the aforementioned powerful beings, Hamilton was imbued with incredible superhuman strength and durability, as well as what amounted to immortality.
He had the power to punch clean through a man’s torso and beat Illyria (albeit when she had lost a lot of her power) to within an inch of her life. His durability was such that he could both withstand a punch from Angel without even flinching and resist Harmony’s attempts to break his neck extremely casually. He was killed when Angel drank his blood – gaining his power – and snapped his neck.
12. The Judge
The Judge was an ancient demon whose goal was to wipe out humanity. He did this by utilising his power to incinerate any being with feelings – he could suck the life out of any beings who weren’t completely wicked. His schtick was that “no weapon forged” could kill him – but that saying was conceived in ancient times, when modern weapons didn’t exist.
Having been cut into pieces and spread around the world by ancient champions, he was brought into the modern world when Spike and Drusilla put him back together. He displayed immense superhuman strength and durability, in addition to his incineration power, but was killed when Buffy blew him up with a rocket launcher. He appeared in two episodes of season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was played by Brian Thompson.
Adam – played by George Hertzberg – was the big bad of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season four. He was a recurring character in that season, appearing in seven episodes as a hybrid of human, monster and machine – and in one episode in a dream sequence as a human. He also appeared as an incorporeal guise of the First Evil in one episode of season seven.
Adam was superhumanly strong and durable, but he also had a number of features that were otherwise unique to the species of demon from which his parts came (such as a retractable Polgara demon bone-skewer housed within his left arm) and in-built weaponry (like a mini-gun and grenade launcher). He was killed when a spell merged Buffy, Willow, Giles and Xander to create a super-being that ripped out his uranium power core.
10. Anyanka & Other Vengeance Demons
Anya Jenkins AKA Anyanka’s appearances in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were predominantly as an ally of Buffy and the other members of the Scooby Gang (she nearly married Xander Harris), but the bulk of her past life had been spent as a Vengeance demon – a powerful form of demon who could grant the wishes of scorned women to the extent that reality could be altered on a massive scale once those wishes were cast.
Of course, while that is an immense power, the fact that it is limited by having to have someone voluntarily cast a wish of their own choosing prevents Anyanka from being higher up in this list. That being said, in addition to those powers, when she became a Vengeance demon again in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she proved capable of physically fighting Buffy herself. Having first appeared in season three of the show, Anya went on to appear in 85 episodes in total.
Due to the “fun” nature of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode in which he appeared (season six’s brilliant Once More With Feeling) the level of the power possessed by the demon known as Sweet is often underestimated – but it really, really shouldn’t be.
Sweet’s main power was that his mere presence made people, vampires and demons live out their lives as a musical for miles around him – bursting into song and dance, with music playing to accompany their performances – which eventually caused them to spontaneously combust. But he was also a minor reality-warper. He could change the colour of his and other people’s clothes, remove his own mouth temporarily and have it sing of its own accord, and create doors out of nothing that led to wherever he wanted them to. He also had the power to manipulate the minds of others and hypnotise people.
Sahjhan was an incredibly powerful demon of the Granok species. He first appeared in season three of Angel and last appeared in season five. Portrayed by Jack Conley, he appeared in eight episodes in total.
The demon initially emerged looking to use vampire hunter Daniel Holtz to kill Angel’s son Connor. He was revealed to have been made non-corporeal by Wolfram and Hart, but had developed the powers of inter-dimensional travel and time travel. When he regained a corporeal form, he was able to easily best Angel in physical combat – displaying superhuman strength and durability to add to his already impressive powers. He was killed by Connor and was helpless to do anything about it, as it was prophecised to happen.
7. Cyvus Vail
Cyvus Vail was a powerful sorcerer and warlock – and member of the incredibly powerful and influential group known as the Circle of the Black Thorn – who appeared in three episodes of season five of Angel. He was capable of casting massive reality-warping spells, as well as being able to use offensive magic in battle (energy blasts, telekinesis etc) and being able to absorb the magic of others, but he finds himself no higher on this list due to his physical frailty.
His biggest magical feat was undoubtedly the creation of the false memories in the heads of Connor and every character Connor had ever encountered. He gave Angel’s son a false life that included implanting memories of that false life, while also removing memories of him from the likes of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Charles Gunn, Lorne and Winifred Burkle. He was killed when Illyria punched clean through his skull.
6. The Beast
The Beast was a monstrous and incredibly powerful demon who actually turned out to be the henchman of the deity known as Jasmine. Played by Vladimir Kulich, he appeared in eight episodes of Angel – all of which were in season four of the show.
He had a rocky hide that was only able to be penetrated by a piece of himself – a point that was proven by the fact that punches from the likes of Angel and Faith, strikes from swords and other blades, and even shotgun blasts had no effect on him. In addition to his superhuman durability and strength (he was able to punch people so hard that they flew thirty feet away), he was also an accomplished magic user, enabling him to travel between dimensions, teleport, control fire and absorb the life-force of other living beings. He was killed when Angelus drove a knife made from The Beast’s own body through him.
The fact that Anyanka is on this list means that D’Hoffryn absolutely has to be in a higher position. He was the Lower Being who was able to grant Vengeance demons their power, as well being able to use the same powers as them without having the limitations that they do.
As a Lower Being – a demon at a level of power between standard demons and the powerful godlike creatures known as the Old Ones – and the master of the Vengeance demons, D’Hoffryn was able to create Vengeance demons out of humans, alter the flow of time itself, teleport, travel between dimensions, resurrect the dead, view one dimension whilst dwelling in another and incinerate living beings. He was played by Andy Umberger and appeared in four episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer between seasons three and seven.
4. Willow Rosenberg
Willow Rosenberg was Buffy Summers’ best friend and a key member of the Scooby Gang. She first appeared on the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a meek, unpopular and geeky student who lacked confidence and ended it as a powerful, bad-ass witch who was one of the most powerful characters on the show.
At one point, Willow even turned evil and threatened to destroy the world and, while she ended up good again, she retained all of that power (but was able to control it better). Her powers included (but were not limited to) force-field generation, telekinesis, telepathy, flight, energy blasts, astral projection, regeneration and the ability to augment her physical attributes to the same level as Buffy herself. Played by Alyson Hannigan, she appeared in 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (spanning all seven seasons) and in three episodes of Angel.
Jasmine – played by Gina Torres – was a higher being and deity who was also a rogue member of the beings known as the Powers That Be. She was the big bad of season four of Angel, appearing in five episodes on screen (and several off screen, whereby she was possessing someone else).
Her main power – in addition to superhuman physical attributes which dwarfed those of the likes of Angel – was that anybody who looked upon her immediately became under her thrall and was subsequently willing to do anything for her or to protect her. She also had the ability to shapeshift into a monstrous, tentacled form, in which she would consume people – something that went against her supposed plight for world peace – as well as the ability to both heal people and cause their bodies to decay with her touch. Whilst in Cordelia’s body, she was also able to compete with Willow Rosenberg in a magical duel. Connor killed her by putting his fist through her head.
In spite of her beautiful appearance, Glory AKA Glorificus was a hell goddess so frightening that the other hell gods from her hell dimension banished her to Earth. She is otherwise known by titles such as The Beast, The Abomination and That Which Cannot Be Named. Played by Clare Kramer, she was the big bad of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season five and appeared in twelve episodes of the season (as well as one episode of season seven as an incorporeal guise of the First Evil).
Glory was incredibly strong and durable, able to easily out-muscle Buffy and able to walk away from a fall from the sky without a scratch. She was highly resistant to magic, as well as being an adept magic user herself, and also demonstrated the most impressive super-speed of any character in either of the Buffyverse television shows. She could also drain the life-force of others – something she had to do to maintain her own sanity. She was beaten to near death by Buffy using Olaf the Troll’s godly hammer, then killed by Giles when he suffocated Ben, her human alter-ego.
Illyria was one of the Old Ones – a powerful race of ancient purebred demons who used to rule planet Earth. It had long laid dormant prior to being resurrected in a plot masterminded by Knox – who chose Winifred Burkle as its vessel, after he had fallen in love with her.
Illyria’s powers in Fred’s body included incredible superhuman strength and durability. She was far stronger and more durable than the likes of Angel and Spike – able to turn a car into a wreck even after having her power reduced dramatically. She was able to manipulate time (which allowed her to effectively exhibit super-speed), travel between dimensions, shapeshift and communicate with flora – and her power proved too much for a human body to house. After being depowered by the Mutari Generator, she was nowhere near as powerful as previously shown, but was still a force to be reckoned with. In her true form – which was shown in later comic books – she was far more powerful still (not that we’re taking that into consideration here). She appeared in eight episodes of Angel’s season five.
What do you think? Did anyone miss out who you feel should have been on this list? Mayor Wilkins? The Master? Kakistos? Moloch the Corruptor? Der Kindestod? Skip? Val Trepkos? Anyone else? Make sure you have your say!