The Supreme Sorcerers of the comic book universes, Doctor Strange versus Doctor Fate. This is a question that has been asked as long as these characters have been published in comic books, and there are hundreds of articles, forum threads, and debates on the topic.
However, I hope to be one of the first to discuss who would win between their live-action movie versions. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr. Steven Strange vs. the DC Extended Universe, Dr. Fate, who would win?
This one is pretty interesting, as both characters possess high-level magical and supernatural abilities. Both are also considered among the most powerful mystics in their respective universes, so this fight should be pretty epic.
But before we begin, I would like to emphasize that I will be covering mostly the Movie Universe Versions only. That means no comic book feats unless those Comics are Canon to the respective movie universes.
But if you want to know about their Comics Origin, then we’ll also talk about it, but at the end of their fight. Additionally, I’m not going to cover each and every power or spell that both characters have, as we’d be here forever.
How Strong Is Doctor Fate In DCEU?
First, I’d like to cover the newest sorcerer to appear on screen, the illustrious Doctor Fate. An immensely powerful Sorcerer and agent of the Lords Of Order. Kent Nelson is granted incredible power by alien helmet millions of years old. Hawkman says at one point that the JSA would have no chance against Black Adam without Dr. Fate and that he has nearly Godlike Power.
Sources outside of the film are even more direct, stating, “he has power that outmatches the gods.” This statement makes a lot of sense for a couple of reasons. The first is, in the prequel comic to Black Adam, Dr. Fate was able to defeat one of the six demons that power Sabbac.
With this statement in mind, it’s not a crazy easy leap to assume that these demons would each be relative to the gods that power Shazam and Black Adam, as Sabbac was consistently more powerful than Black Adam throughout their battle.
So the amalgamation of demons that created Sabbac would logically be relative, if not stronger, than the combination of gods who power Black Adam and Shazam, two characters who are destined to battle in the DC extended universe. So, with that said, we need to figure out how powerful the gods are, and luckily we have a good idea.
Understanding The Power Levels Of DCEU Gods
Long ago, Steppenwolf invaded Earth and Zeus led a small group of Old Gods and an army of Humans, Atlanteans, Amazons, and more to battle the new God. During the battle against Steppenwolf, Zeus used his incredible lightning to stagger Steppenwolf. Ares was able to puncture his armor, and Steppenwolf was forced to retreat.
Not only was he able to drive Steppenwolf off of Earth, but Zeus was also able to destroy the mother box unity. This same feat took the combined strength of resurrected Superman and Cyborg during Steppenwolf’s second invasion. And this feat is very important, so I’m going to spend a bit more time elaborating on the destruction of the mother box unity.
After being unified, the mother boxes can output multi-continental levels of energy which is up to 29.6 Exitons. The Unity possesses the power to reshape and destroy entire planets.
Over time, they are stated to pack so much energy that planets cannot resist them, and only beings more durable than planets could withstand their power. Comparing this to when Zeus created the island of Themascara, Zeus would need to Output 296 billion times more energy to separate the mother box Unity.
Is Doctor Fate Stronger Than Black Adam?
And for even more consistency, according to Zack Snyder, long before the birth of Kal-El, the Kryptonians created an Abomination known only as Doomsday, not the same one that we saw during Batman vs. Superman, but the original. This Doomsday escaped Krypton, but not before doing some damage.
During the Man Of Steel watch party hosted by Zack Snyder, he states that the Moon that was shattered in the sky was actually destroyed by Doomsday, and at some point, Steppenwolf battled this Doomsday, and they both lived.
So using this feat, we can pretty easily surmise that Steppenwolf and Doomsday should both be able to output and endure forces up to or exceeding 25 exatons. This is enough energy to destroy continents or even moon-sized planetary bodies, which is a lowball as Zeus is relative to Superman, who is arguably a planetarian power.
And let’s keep this even more consistent, Black Adam is stated to have the power to be the destroyer of Earth. So this all makes sense when put together. Based on what we know, the demons who power Sabbac, Satan, and Kratos should all be comparable to the old gods of the Greek and Egyptian pantheons, respectively.
And Dr. Fate was able to defeat one of these Gods with a powerful blast of lightning. We know this is one of these six as it refers to their future victory as Sabbac during this prequel comic. So this alone would give Dr. Fate the power to contend with the likes of Superman, Steppenwolf, Zeus, Ares, and Black Adam, as we see during the events of that film.
Doctor Fate’s Powers In Black Adam
We also see in the film that other than Sabbac, Dr. Fate is the only one who can harm Black Adam. Of course, because only magic can defeat magic, but if Fate’s magic was weak, of course, Black Adam could just shrug it off. Both Black Adam and Shazam at full power should be above the likes of the individual gods that empower them, as they are the best pieces of each God combined into one perfect being.
So Black Adam being able to outmuscle Dr. Fate isn’t a contradiction; he should just be stronger than the gods. Dr. Fate is also seen blocking Sabbac’s attacks with his Magical Shields. Sabbac can tear through indestructible Enth metal like it’s nothing and is able to bully Black Adam in a 1v1.
Not to mention that Doctor Fate is stated to be one of the most powerful beings in the DCEU, so that would automatically put him in the conversation with these top-tier characters, but there’s evidence to support this statement.
When he was forced to fight Sabbac alone, Fate erected a barrier around the temple that could withstand the combined might of Hawkman; who could launch Black Adam with his strikes, Adam Smasher; who could hold down Black Adam, and who needed to charge up to even escape Adam Smasher’s grasp, as well as Cyclone; who could redirect Sabbac’s Hellfire.
Dr. Fate kept this barrier up consciously while also battling Sabbac, and it wasn’t until Fate was hit with a pillar of Hellfire, did the barrier come down.
So it’s clear that he had to keep the barrier up with his magic while focusing on defending himself from Sabbac. It didn’t go down when Fate died, and it went down after he was hit with a powerful attack.
So it wasn’t a barrier he didn’t have to maintain. And let’s keep in mind that Fate physically survived a Hellfire attack from Sabbac, meaning that his body is magically empowered and should be somewhat relative to his magical attack potency.
The director of Black Adam gives us some more insight into this battle, stating that “Dr. Fate was actually weakened when he was fighting Sabbac. This is because he had erected this massive barrier. He was saving Black Adam from his prison and fighting Sabbac simultaneously.
If he chose to fight Sabbac differently, he could have potentially defeated Sabbac. However, this would have resulted in the death of Hawkman, which is what he was ultimately trying to prevent. So he had to fight Sabbac alone to ensure Hawkman’s survival”.
Doctor Fate Has Many Spells
So if raw power won’t work, Dr. Fate has access to many spells that can assist him. He’s able to conjure terrifying and lifelike Illusions. Illusions catered to each opponent, as he can casually read minds. So creating an illusion that would stop someone in their tracks is an easy task. He can bewitch his opponents as well and even break their minds if need be.
Fate can also summon ethereal chains, hold back his enemies with powerful magical energy, and create clones of himself. These Clones also have the raw stats of Dr. Fate and can be Amplified by additional magical energy. Once empowered, just a few of these clones could hold back Black Adam briefly.
He can teleport himself and others. Sense magical relics and what they do. He knows the future, and he can change it if he needs to. And he can seal his enemies with a magical ankh, which is powerful enough to briefly contain Black Adam and Sabbac.
Doctor Fate’s Relics And Powers
Both of these sorcerers use strong, old relics to channel their main weapons, in addition to having extensive knowledge and expertise in magic and mystic arts. Let’s start with Dr. Fate, who wears the Amulet of Anubis, the Cloak of Destiny, and the Helm of Fate. The helmet acts as a channel for Nabu’s vast godlike power to flow through Dr. Fate.
The Amulet of Anubis possesses magical powers and a void that can contain people, acting as a portable jail around your neck. Finally, Fate is protected from harm by the Cloak of Destiny, which gives him superhuman strength, flying, and invulnerability.
As a result, Dr. Fate has superhuman strength, flying, telekinesis, super speed, telepathy, phasing, invisibility, time travel, vulnerability, mystical sense, illusion casting, magnetic control, mystical bolts, and a great knowledge of magic in addition to the skills given by his relics.
Not to mention, as long as he’s wearing the Helmet of Fate, Nelson is immortal. Needless to say, he’s a force to be reckoned with. So despite having just one appearance, Dr. Fate is a very, very formidable adversary. But what about Doctor Strange?
How Strong Is Doctor Strange In MCU?
Let’s just get right into the magical power of Doctor Strange. So Thanos is able to easily overpower and bloody up the Incredible Hulk without using the Power Stone. And he’s able to do this to Thor as well, two of the most physically powerful Avengers.
Even during Endgame, a younger Thanos bullies the most powerful version of Thor up to that point, as stated by the Russo Brothers. And Thor is incredibly durable, as he was able to “endure the full force of a star,” according to King Dwarf Eitri.
However, this, unfortunately, doesn’t make him Star level. The act of creating or destroying a star is not the same as the amount of energy that that star can output. In fact, the amount of energy isn’t anywhere close to Star level. The total amount of energy that Thor was enduring per second is roughly 855 gigatons of force, or roughly in terms of power scaling large island level.
Because Thor was tanking this amount of energy for so long, it’s not a stretch to upgrade his durability slightly to at least a small country level. Meaning he can endure enough force to destroy a small country. Since Thanos was able to deal as much damage to Thor as the star was, we can scale Thanos’s strength to the star.
Could Doctor Strange Defeat Thanos?
And bringing this full circle back to Doctor Strange, he was able to restrain Thanos, forcing him to use the Power Stone to escape. And just to be clear here, Thanos did not need the Power Stone to get rid of each one of Dr. Strange’s clones. He simply did it to get rid of all of them simultaneously, as we see that Thanos’s strikes can easily destroy any of Dr. Strange’s Eldritch Shields, which should be the same durability as his Eldritch whips.
And speaking of the Power Stone, which has the capability to destroy entire planets, calculating the total observable destructive capabilities of the Power Stone, we are able to determine that it can output over 5 Ninatons of force.
This number is so astronomical that it’s hard to convey just how insane this is. For example, the most powerful nuclear bomb on record is the Tzar bomb, able to Output 50 megatons. This is quintillions of times weaker than the Power Stone. That’s one with 18 zeros behind it.
And the Power Stone may be even more powerful than we can actually calculate. As we know, Celestial beings are some of the most powerful in the universe, able to each create planetary bodies, more specifically stars, as their purpose is to create stars and spread life across the infinitely expanding void. But Eson The Searcher felt the need to seek out the Power Stone to amplify his own power.
Thanos Using Power Stone To Escape Mirror Dimension
Not to mention that the power Stone’s purpose in The Infinity Gauntlet is to amplify the power of the others, allowing them to destroy half of all sentient life in the universe and possibly tear down the universe to its atoms. And Thanos unleashing the full might of the Power Stone was not enough to get past Doctor Strange’s defense, the Mirror Dimension.
Just to clarify, according to the novelization of Infinity War, Thanos was indeed trapped within the Mirror Dimension after Strange summoned what seemed to be a portion of the Mirror Dimension walls. However, the Mirror Dimension was, in actuality, summoned all around Thanos. Thanos was then forced to use the Power Stone in concert with the Reality Stone to break through and return to his Dimension.
“Strange trapped Thanos in a crystal prison with one of his spells. The prison was broken into a thousand pieces, and Thanos smirked as he sent them back to the Master of the Mystic Arts using the Reality and Power Stones. As a defense, Strange created a shield that, when the shards hit it, transformed them into a large number of blue butterflies”.
So the Mirror Dimensions barriers were strong enough to endure the planet-annihilating power of the Power Stone, while Strange’s spells could somewhat contend with the massive power of Thanos himself.
Doctor Strange Has A Wide Variety Of Spells
As for his wide variety of spells, he can enchant everyday items, transmute non-living matter, and conjure magical relics. One of his best offensive options is his astral projection and astral push. Strange can force his astral form out of his body and into the astral plane, which is an alternate dimension that is sort of aligned with our own.
While in this astral form, the physical limitations of his body are tossed aside, and he can move freely throughout this dimension without anything impeding him. But if need be, he can still interact with the physical world. This ability makes him extremely dangerous, as he could use his astral form to battle his opponents without them ever being able to detect or interact with the spirit.
Although there is a downside to this, if his actual form has been projected out, his body is left limp and lifeless until he returns to it. Not only this, but others who have mastered this ability can interact with his Spirit as well. But as we know, he can not only project out his own after the form, but he can push the astral form out of others, which without countermeasures, is pretty much a one-hit KO.
Doctor Strange Has Sling Ring And Mirror Dimension
As a practitioner of the Mystic Arts, he is also equipped with a sling ring, which can open portals to anywhere in the world and even to other dimensions. Sling rings can be used for travel or for combat, as shown by Wong and Doctor Strange during the events of Avengers Infinity War, Spider-Man No Way Home, and Shang Chi The Legends Of The Ten Rings, just to name a few.
If Strange is ever found in a situation where he is ill-equipped to deal with the threat, he can always use the sling ring to remove himself or his opponent from the battle, as Wong does to face Obsidian. Or he could summon the Mirror Dimension and leave with the sling ring, trapping his target there for eternity.
The Mirror Dimension is similar to the astral plane, as it is a dimension aligned with our own, but it mirrors ours.
Strange has the ability to summon the Mirror Dimension around his opponent, which we’ve mentioned earlier against Thanos. He does this as well against Kaecilius; to prevent the destruction of the sanctum and against Spider-Man; to prevent Peter from fleeing. Simply trapping his opponent isn’t the goal. He can also fight them within the Mirror Dimension, giving him a massive advantage.
In this Dimension, he has the ability to bend reality to his will. He can alter gravity or his surroundings at a whim and do so continuously without much effort. His complete Mastery of this ability allows him to fold cities, distort reality, and defy gravity.
Doctor Strange’s Relics And Powers
One source of Doctor Strange’s strength comes from a mysterious God known as the Vishanti. When needed, he mostly uses a number of mystical items to harness their power.
Let’s start with his amulet, the so-called Eye of Agamotto. This amulet has the power to, mention a few, emit light, open dimensional portals, probe minds, pierce illusions, and reveal lies. He probably uses this item the most often than any other.
The other item at Doctor Strange’s disposal is the levitation cloak, which enables him to fly without the use of magic. The Orb of Agamotto is the next item, which he essentially uses as an interdimensional spy gadget. And then there is the Book of Vishanti, the biggest and most potent book of white magic knowledge in the cosmos.
With the use of mystical artifacts and various types of magic, and his own psychic abilities, Doctor Strange is able to call powers, including flight, interdimensional travel, astral projection, telekinesis, telepathy, illusion casting, force fields, time travel, thought projection, substance manipulation, dimensional and energy manipulation and visibility, healing, phasing, and cosmic awareness. Altogether the Sorcerer Supreme is no lightweight and dangerous for pretty much anyone.
Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Fate: Who Would Win?
So again, that’s not every ability that each combatant has, but I think it’s the most important one for this battle specifically. And now we’ve discussed each combatant’s power and relevant skills and abilities as well as their spells. So who would win in a fight between Doctor Strange and Doctor Fate?
Well, that’s a tricky question. Unfortunately for the MCU, the DCEU is much faster and consistent, which I think is very, very important. You can highball any Universe to Crazy speeds and crazy power, but what’s consistent? Multiple characters have the speed of light or greater feats and statements within the DCEU, while the MCU can get up to light speed and even faster. It’s not very consistent, which, again, I value.
Makari can react and fight at 224 million miles per hour, giving her relativistic speeds. And just for reference, Makari has been stated to be the fastest being in the universe, making Makari faster than the likes of Captain Marvel and any of the Avengers who scaled to her reaction speed.
This isn’t at the level of the DCEU, and Strange wouldn’t even scale to her, regardless. So I’ll keep this short, Doctor Fate wins via speed. But that’s no fun, and I’m not a death battle where every fight is pretty much won or lost on the basis of speed.
Doctor Strange Can Fight Doctor Fate In Astral World
So let’s equalize that stat. In this case, we have an extremely fun battle, with Doctor Strange trying to push Doctor Fate’s astral form out for an easy Victory. Well, if he does, Fate’s spirit or astral form can actually leave and return to his body at will. If you know, it works similarly to Doctor Strange.
Fate explains that his mind and body can exist in two different places simultaneously. I wouldn’t say it’s his entire mind, and I would say it’s closer to a piece of his consciousness.
How similar is this to astral projecting? Then it seems very, very similar in concept to me, based on what we see within the film. Additionally, his body can still fight while his spirit is somewhere else casting spells, as he released Black Adam from his prison while Fate was battling Sabbac simultaneously across the globe. So if it’s it’s an astral battle, Fate should easily win that, as Strange is left vulnerable when astral projecting.
As we detailed, Strange’s magic is weaker than Fate’s. Any offensive spell could easily be swatted away by Fate’s magic, and any attacks such as Fate’s sealing ankh would easily overpower Strange’s magic, and obviously, it would be able to hold Strange, as he is physically not as powerful as his magic.
Doctor Strange Can Trap Doctor Fate In Mirror Dimension
So Strange’s real win condition here is, sealing Fate away with the Mirror Dimension. If Strange conjures it and leaves Fate there, we’ve not seen Fate have the ability to cross through other dimensions. And as I mentioned, it takes more than Planet busing power to break out of the Mirror Dimension.
However, if Fate can project his astral form out into the astral plane (assuming it works, you know, similarly), then he may be able to escape the dimension by bewitching Strange into letting him out. If not, then Strange could easily win by trapping Dr. Fate there.
There are multiple win conditions for Dr. Fate, while I only really see one for Doctor Strange. Strange could counter Fate’s clones, but Fate’s clones can be empowered to near Black Adam level stats and would toss around the strangest clones. They each have a counter for the other with their vast arsenal of spells, but one has more powerful magic overall.
Doctor Fate Can See The Future And Read Minds
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Dr. Fate knows the future, something strange used to be able to counter via the Time Stone. But without Doctor Strange having Time Stone, Fate would always be a step ahead of Strange, able to foresee Strange’s arsenal of spells and formulate a counter with his own vast array of magical sorceries.
Not to mention, Fate can read minds, so he could play on Strange’s love for those close to him, such as Christine or his fellow Avengers, compromising his state of mind with lifelike Illusions and getting the jump on him just as he did with Black Adam. It would be a similar situation to what Mysterio did to Spider-Man.
Final Thought: Who Is The Strongest Sorcerer?
If we take a look at experience, I think Dr. Fate has a very distinct advantage, and this is something that’s pretty important and something we should not overlook. Experience matters, and Dr. Fate has been around for millions of years, specifically the Entity that resides within the helmet. Meanwhile, Kent Nelson has been Dr. Fate for about a hundred years.
Dr. Strange lived through thousands of loops against Doramamu and also lived through all 14 million battles against Thanos, but to say that all of those added up to millions of years would be a bit of a stretch, especially considering how easily Thanos dismantled The Avengers time and time again.
I think either character could win, and it just depends on how it plays out. However, I do think that Dr. Fate has many more advantages that Dr. Strange probably couldn’t overcome. The biggest is Fate’s ability to see the future and also read minds. Those two combined would just give Dr. Fate that advantage that I’m not sure Strange could overcome.
As I said, in the beginning, this is a very close, tough fight, but in the end, the determining factor is that Nabu grants Dr. Fate godlike powers, which, even for a sorcerer as powerful as Dr. Strange, is very difficult to overcome.
Now I know some of you may say that Dr. Strange also draws power from the Vishanti, which could be compared to Naboo and the Lords of Order. This is true, but the difference is that whoever wears the helm of Nabu and takes on the mantle of Dr. Fate is literally possessed by the spirit of Nabu.
Whereas Dr. Strange is only able to channel limited powers from the Vishanti in certain instances, and that is the primary reason we are giving Dr. Fate the upper hand in this battle.
Now we will get into how each of these mystics came to becoming who they are and how they got their powers. So let me give you a brief origin of each character.
Doctor Strange Origins
Starting with Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange made his comic book debut in Strange Tales number 110 in 1963. Before receiving his origin tale in Strange Tales issue 115, he appeared in a number of issues. This issue revealed Stephen Strange to be a bright but egotistical surgeon who was rendered unable to continue practicing after suffering serious nerve damage to his hands in a vehicle accident.
Dr. Strange learns of the Ancient One, a mysterious healer who works someplace close to India while traveling the world in search of a cure for his hands. So he sets out to track him out. However, the Ancient One informs Steven that he cannot be healed due to his selfish intentions when he eventually locates him in the Himalayan range. Instead, he offers to teach Strange in the hopes that he may find his own inner healing power.
When Strange learned he couldn’t go because he was snowed in, it was especially unpleasant because he had rejected the offer. They nevertheless allowed him to stay, and a couple of days later, when Steven saw the ancient one fend off some sort of dark magic, everything Steven had believed he knew was shattered. Dr. Strange was compelled to admit the reality of forces well beyond what he had been willing to believe in.
While still wrestling with these new discoveries, he learns that one of the Ancient One’s students, Baron Mordo, had turned evil and was attempting to summon a dark power called Dormammu in order to kill him. But the Ancient One, who was already aware of Mordor, was power-hungry ways and shut him down.
Not surprisingly, seeing all of this caused Dr. Strange to change his mind, and he begs the Ancient One to teach him the ways of the mystic arts, so he can help defend the Earth against dark forces. The Ancient One agrees, but not before warning him that the path ahead would be difficult and dangerous. But Dr. Strange accepts and, of course, goes on to become the Ancient One’s successor, the sorcerer supreme a protector of Earth’s realm.
Dr. Fate Origins
Several different characters have been on the mantle of Dr. Fate over the years, including Eric, Linda Strauss, and Hector Hall, just to name a few. Let’s stick with Kent Nelson since he was introduced as Dr. Fate for the first time during the Golden Age of comics and is unquestionably the most well-known incarnation of the character.
Kent Nelson was created by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman and first appeared in More Fun Comics issue 55 in 1940. His father, Sven Nelson, was an archaeologist. At one time, Kent chose to explore a temple when he and his father were on a dig.
Kent discovered an open sarcophagus containing Nabu’s body after entering the shrine. However, as he opened it, he freed Nabu from his state of suspended animation, and the Lord of Order spoke forth to thank Kent for freeing him.
While all of this was going on, deadly gas in the temple’s rooms killed Kent’s father. Nabu then declares that in order to make up for his loss, he will teach Kent the cosmic rules. Then Nabu handed the Cloak of Destiny, the Amulet of Anubis, and the Helmet of Fate to Kent, declaring that he would now be known as Dr. Fate.
Nabu, Who Grants Dr. Fate His Powers
But let me also elaborate a little bit more on Nabu since he’s the primary source of Doctor Fate’s power. He is actually one of the Lords of Order, a group of godlike supernatural beings who dedicated themselves and their near-infinite power to bring the force of order and cosmic balance into the universe.
Thousands of years ago, Nabu took human form and settled in ancient Egypt, where he was known as an incredibly powerful sorceress/ magician.
However, his soul actually resides within the helm of Fate, giving the wearer great magical power over the forces of order and chaos. And while that may sound good, Nabu is quite unsympathetic or caring toward his mortal hosts, seeing them merely as disposable vessels through which he can carry out his will. I’d say that’s slightly less inviting.