Autobots and Decepticons. The war between the Transformers has been going on for decades now. The moment you hear that classic sound of a vehicle changing into a giant battle-ready robot, you know you’re in for a show (or an explosion fest depending on which one you’re watching).
Along with other franchises like Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Transformers are not only the culmination of a lot of childhoods, but also a beloved series that still makes a lot of money to this day. With games, films, and TV shows still being released, it’s clear that the public is not getting tired with the robots in disguise.
The biggest reason why the franchise became so popular was because of the giant robots themselves. After all, where else were you going to be able to watch a car/jet transform into robot in an all-out war? Throughout the franchise, audiences have followed the stories of Autobot leader Optimus Prime as he fought the evil Decepticons and attempted to save Cybertron and Earth.
Throughout these adventures, the Autobots came across some deadly and powerful foes, while still having some aces in the hole themselves. While they’re all giant robots, there is a steep power curve in their ranks. Some Transformers are simply stronger than others, and that’s a fact. Considering that even the weaker Transformers have the capability to crush any machinery we have available, that can lead to some terrifying and amazing results.
Keeping that in mind, hold your Bumblebee toys close, because we’re taking a look at 15 of the most powerful Transformers of all time.
As far as the Transformers live-action movies go, Ironhide is one of the closest allies to Optimus Prime. It’s clear that the Autobots have a long history together and would die for one another, so they choose to fight and to fight valiantly. They have a wide range of diversity, each member having a different skillset to hold back the Decepticons. In the case of Ironside, he provides the muscle and the heavy weaponry. In the films, he transforms into a heavy-duty Jeep- and that’s about as muscular as a vehicle can get. He is armed to the teeth with weapons and guns, such as machine guns, missiles, and so much more. His guns were so advanced during the production of the first movie that some of them took approximately 10,000 moving parts in order to construct well (for reference, the entire model of Optimus Prime has about the same amount). Thankfully, this means that Ironhide is no pushover in the heat of battle. He might have eventually lost his life in Dark of the Moon, but he didn’t go down without taking a few shots of his own.
14. Ultra Magnus
Despite their immense size and ever-expanding arsenal, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. In those dark times, a different kind of weapon is needed: bravery. Ultra Magnus has been around for awhile, but he has been known as a “weaker” Transformer of sorts. Even though he is the chief lieutenant to Optimus Prime himself, Ultra Magnus sometimes struggles physically in the heat of battle. However, what he lacks in brute force he makes up for with his courage. Ultra Magnus is truly what a leader should be, thinking of others first, and exhausting all options before deciding to take control. He has been known to sacrifice himself in dire times to protect the lives of his brethren, and this is something that even the Decepticons fear. He always thinks first before acting, and this added intelligence gives him a good edge on the field of battle. On top of that, when Ultra Magnus transforms, he serves as a giant carrier truck used to transport and move the other Autobots in and out of battle. He also has a few decent missile launchers attached for good measure.
When it comes to courage, there is no one greater than Ultra Magnus. When it comes to intelligence though, none can outdo the mad scientist, Shockwave. Megatron’s leading Decepticon, Shockwave is perhaps one of the scarier Decepticons out there. The reason for this is that most Decepticons shoot first and ask questions later. They are all out for blood and want nothing more than to see everyone who stands in their way perish. Shockwave ultimately wants the same thing, but has a different approach. Instead of kicking down doors guns blazing, Shockwave puts his mind together to find the most efficient solution to solving the problem of all the Autobots. In other words, how can he destroy as many of them as effectively as possible? This has led to some sticky situations for the Autobots, naturally. Furthermore, Shockwave has also plotted to take Megatron’s place as head of the Decepticons, but like many others, he wouldn’t do it for the position. He simply sees it as the best and most efficient solution to their problem of losing to the Autobots. Shockwave takes emotion out of everything he does, and because of that, he is a true force to be reckoned with.
Intelligence, bravery, and weaponry only get you so far in the heat of battle. After all, what’s the point of having the right gear in battle if you don’t know how to fight? That’s where Sideswipe comes in. In the Transformers live action films, Sideswipe is a master of nearly every type of martial art on Cybertron, and fights with extreme brutality. The wheels on his feet give him extra mobility in battle, enabling him to take on the Decepticons quickly and effectively. In the Generation 1 series, while he doesn’t quite have the martial arts knowledge, Sideswipe is still a very capable fighter with the ability to fly via jetpack (the only Autobot to do so at the time). No matter what incarnation he is in, Sideswipe always has something unique that gives him the extra edge in the war for Cybertron. Another common thread in each incarnation is that Sideswipe transforms into a heavy sports car, so I guess even in vehicle form he still has the speed necessary to chase down and bring his foes to justice. And he can do it all while looking really cool.
Many stories, shows, and movies have asked the age-old question: what happens if multiple beings of great power combined together? In the Transformers universe, you end up with something like the Decepticon, Devastator. Devastator is the combination of six (sometimes five) construction robots and with their combined knowledge and power, can destroy just about anything he puts his mind too. There aren’t many autobots that can bring down such a monster because of this, and Megatron loves every minute of it. The only caveat to Devastator’s success is that his mind is split into six parts, each controlled by the individual Transformers. In order for them to be nearly unstoppable, they must all agree on one decision and work together to accomplish a goal. Unfortunately for the Decepticons, this rarely happens and Devastator often goes into a confusing rage as a result. While this state is still very destructive, this makes the giant Decepticon much easier to defeat than if all of the minds decided to work together. Overall, he’s a really cool Transformer, it’s just unfortunate that his inclusion in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was delegated to a plot device and a lewd joke. It’s just a little insulting to such a powerful character.
10. Omega Supreme
Omega Supreme. The name alone just sounds powerful, doesn’t it? Omega Supreme, in many ways, is a counterpart to Devastator (after all, their conflict is a bit personal), minus the whole combination thing. That’s probably for the best though, as Omega Supreme operates under one mind and is still approximately the same size as Devastator. Omega Supreme, before traveling with Optimus Prime, was one of the greatest defenders for Cybertron’s greatest city. He isn’t much for words though and prefers to take action and follow orders rather than run his mouth all the time. As such, Optimus Prime and the other Autobots rely on him as a formidable line of defense should things become too critical. Furthermore, it’s not just his size that aid him against the Decepticons- Omega Supreme has a roster of destructive and powerful weapons that make any of his opponents reconsider before attacking him. He is arguably the largest Autobot in existence, and because of that, the Autobots come out on top in some hairy situations. Because of his former life as a guardian, Omega Supreme is always ready to please and defend those he cares about, and he never lets down his guard. One of his greatest quotes is, “Omega Supreme: always prepared.”
9. Rodimus Prime
I largely got into Transformers because of my dad, and when he finally decided to show me The Transformers: The Movie, you could imagine my excitement. However, I was crushed when Optimus Prime was killed in the first act of the film. After that, I was left with the question: what were the Autobots going to do? Who was going to lead in Optimus Prime’s stead? Near the end of the film, I did get my answer. The Autobot Hot Rod was always a bit brash and arrogant, but he had a good heart and was beloved by his team. After the death of Optimus, he was given the Matrix of Leadership, which instilled in him the wisdom of all those who wielded it before. As such, Hot Rod got a physical and mental upgrade by becoming the new leader of the Autobots, chosen by Optimus Prime himself. Rodimus since became one of the more powerful Autobots in existence, although his confidence dwindled in his new position. He feared, and rightly so, that he would never live up to the legacy set by his predecessor. If I were in his shoes, I’d probably wonder the same thing.
8. Vector Prime
It’s not very clear just how long the Transformers have been around, but they’ve certainly transcended the human race, that much is for sure. Billions of years ago, the being Primus created thirteen Transformers to aide him in his battle against the villainous Unicron. These beings were each labeled as Primes and would set the standard for all the Autobots to come. Vector Prime is one of these original Thirteen. He is so old in fact that many refer to him as the first Autobot. However, don’t let his age fool you. Vector Prime still has a lot of fight left in him. After he gave up the Matrix of Leadership, Vector Prime took the role as a guardian of time and space. Because of this, he also has abilities that allow him to travel through and manipulate them at will. Naturally, this has helped greatly in the fight against the Decepticons, and has saved the Autobots on countless occasions. Taking the role of “Father Time,” Vector Prime is filled with wisdom from his many years in the universe (and other universes as well), and always knows just what to say to aid his Autobot comrades.
I’m going to tell another story about a Transformers movie. I’m not a fan of the Michael Bay series. After Dark of the Moon, I thought that they were finished with the franchise for good. However, they still went through with Age of Extinction. Despite my lack of desire to see the movie, I was interested when I heard the Dinobots were going to be in it. Then I saw the film, realized they were in it for two seconds, and hated the movie. That said, I will never forget the scene where Optimus Prime rides on the back of Grimlock, the mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex. Grimlock is one of the strongest Autobots to appear. After all, his greatest desires are power and brute strength. He doesn’t care so much about intelligence, patience, or all of those other useless qualities. He just wants to take something by the head and cut it to pieces. This has led to him getting into disagreements with Optimus Prime and the other Autobots, to the point where many wonder why he is not a Decepticon. The truth is that Grimlock hates those who take power for their own gain above anything else, and he seeks to crush the Decepticons because of it. Did I also mention that he can turn into a T-Rex?
The forever-rival of the Autobots and Optimus Prime, Megatron seeks to destroy all those who fight on the side of life. Millions of years ago, the planet Cybertron was celebrating a Golden Age, where all of the robots prospered and the economy flourished. Unfortunately, Megatron didn’t agree and started the Decepticon Uprising, leading into a brutal civil war with the Autobots. Megatron started all of the conflict with the Autobots, and the reason they’ve appeared at Earth is because he wants to enslave the human race to rebuild Cybertron in his own image. Throughout countless iterations, universes, and forms of media, this has always been Megatron’s goal. He kills whomever he wants, takes advantage of whomever he wants, and claims that it’s all for the good of the Transformers. He is cunning, evil, and seeks power for himself above all else. However, his brash nature has led to some grave mistakes. During the Cybertron civil war, Megatron shot down an innocent worker named Orion Pax. After Pax was found by others, he was rebuilt into the Autobot now known as Optimus Prime, Megatron’s greatest foil.
Many of you are probably yelling at me by now that Galvatron is Megatron- it’s not quite that simple. Yes, after Megatron’s many deaths, he is often reborn into Galvatron, but that doesn’t make them the same individual. As a matter of fact, the only thing that keeps Galvatron and Megatron similar is that they share the same memories. Other than that, they’re two completely different Transformers. Where Megatron was a bit more calculated and cunning, Galvatron is completely unhinged. He doesn’t care who or what gets caught in the crossfire, he intends to bring death and destruction to all that stand in the way of what he desires. Surprisingly enough, that wasn’t even the worst that Galvatron could bring. Eventually, he became insane and even more bloodthirsty than usual. The problems became so dire that at times, he was nearly unbeatable. On top of this crazy new personality, Galvatron also has many significant upgrades over Megatron, including weaponry, armor, and strength. As a result, the Autobots fear this Decepticon leader much more than they did Megatron. He is so deadly that many theorize that he was forged by the evil Unicron himself.
4. Optimus Prime
“Autobots, roll out!” I bet you read that in Optimus Prime’s voice. The truth of the matter is that Optimus will always be the most recognizable Transformer (kind of like how your parents think every Pokemon is Pikachu). There’s also no question as to why. Optimus is a powerhouse; a fearless leader, and one of the wisest Autobots to ever walk the Earth. He served as the leader for many years since Megatron started the war, and has since then been defending the universe for millions of years. He has had many forms and versions across multiple incarnations, but his strength, purity, and leadership skills always remain no matter what. Over the years, he’s had to overcome many challenges and foes bigger than himself, but he always manages to come out on top. Whether by merging with another Autobot or planning with the other members of his team, there is almost no obstacle that this Transformer can’t handle. Even though I strongly dislike the live action Transformer films, I always liked Optimus Prime. From his voice to his self-sacrifice, there is nothing to hate about the leader of the Autobots.
Whether or not Megatron felt that Devastator was effective or not is anyone’s guess, but at least he had another ace up his sleeve. The Autobots had most of the Dinobots, but the Decepticons have the Predacons. These little robots transform into wild animals, and as such have a love for the hunt, and a hate for Optimus Prime. The Predacons can form into a much larger Transformer, as is the case with Devastator. What makes Predaking much more dangerous though is that each individual mind works together to achieve the same goal. As such, Predaking is no slouch. Because he is a Predacon at heart, Predaking has an immense love for the hunt. On top of that, he has powerful weapons at his disposal, unparalleled strength, and wild, animalistic instincts. All of these things come together to form one of the deadliest Decepticons in existence. If Predaking decides to hunt you, don’t expect to just walk away (assuming that you live in the first place). He takes everything great about the Predacons and makes them even greater. Bearing abilities from all of his constituent parts, there is almost no battle that Predaking cannot win. He can even lift one million tons “without straining a circuit.”
In the beginning, there were two brothers. Primus was the life-giver and chose to create and form many of the amazing worlds and Transformers as we know them today. His brother, however, had other plans for the multiverse. Unicron, the Lord of Chaos, exists only to bring an end to all life and create for himself a universe where he is at the center. Being a cosmic being of sorts, Unicron is capable of traveling to different universes, where he can bring chaos as he desires. His most notable feature is that he devours planets and has consumed 22% of the known universes. He is also the greatest fighter in the Transformers world, even besting his brother Primus on multiple occasions. Because of this, Unicron has an ego bigger than Cybertron itself, and is constantly working toward his goal. Many times, this includes bringing servants into his fold, even giving them new upgrades and abilities if they pledge their loyalty to him. However, in Unicron’s endgame even his servants will ultimately be devoured as well. Then, if everything succeeds, there will be nothing left in the universe, only Unicron.
Yes, Unicron is the greatest fighter in the Transformers world, but Primus has an edge over that. Primus is vastly smarter than his brother and has outplayed him on multiple occasions. And where Unicron can travel across multiple universes at will, Primus simultaneously exists across all universes at all times. He was the one that created the Transformers, and as such, they each contain a little bit of himself. Furthermore, the Matrix of Leadership (which signifies the leader of the Autobots) contains Primus’s essence, and that is why there comes a physical upgrade after using it. In time, Primus transformed himself into the planet Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers. From there, all of the robots were created. To this day, he serves as a last resort in the war against Unicron. Unfortunately, like Unicron, Primus is not a perfect being. One of the original Thirteen, The Fallen, ended up turning against Primus and working for Unicron. He has been tricked and manipulated in the past, and even put the entire multiverse at risk of extinction. Despite this, he still holds his ground even when the strongest of villains come to his doorstep, and it is because of him that great Transformers like Optimus Prime fight even today.