Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The Guardians of the Galaxy are one of the MCU’s most entertaining teams, and feature a roster of unique characters that each bring their own style to the screen. Through their determination, ingenuity, and sometimes strained teamwork, this team of cosmic superheroes has faced some of the deadliest threats in the entire MCU and come out on top. In a setting filled with powerful and skilled heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy are an incredible collection of fighters, and a true force to be reckoned with.
While the Guardians are very effective as a team, it is easy to forget that each individual member is very capable in their own right. From master assassins to nigh-unstoppable forces of cosmic destruction, every single member of the Guardians of the Galaxy is exceptional. However, which members of the team are the strongest? Whether through sheer power, or through cunning and strategy, these are the individual members of the team, ranked by their fighting ability.
10 Cosmo the Space Dog
This soviet Labrador made her first major appearance in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and returned for Vol. 3, demonstrating powerful telekinetic abilities. Originally seen as a cameo in one of the Collector’s display cases, Cosmo was freed by the destruction of his collection, and eventually joined the Guardians in a somewhat minor capacity.
Despite her incredible telekinetic powers, Cosmo doesn’t really get involved in much of the action, and fulfills a more utilitarian role on the team, mostly using her abilities to help out around the Guardians’ home base of Knowhere with repairs. As a relatively new character, however, we may yet get to see Cosmo in a more action-focused position in the future.
Introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mantis has been with the Guardians through several high-profile jobs, and has joined them against powerful foes, including Thanos and the High Evolutionary. With her strong psychic abilities, Mantis is excellent at throwing enemies off balance, and even demonstrates come hand-to-hand skills on occasion.
Per Screen Rant, Mantis’ powers may give her an edge over many opponents, but she is ultimately less of a fighter than she is a sort of counselor for the team, providing moral support and utility for some of their less action-oriented plans. In battle, Mantis has a tendency to hang back and wait for the ideal opportunity to incapacitate threats, rather than getting involved in the fight directly.
8 Kraglin Obfonteri
Appearing in all the Guardians films, Kraglin began as Yondu’s second-in-command, and later inherited his trademark arrow, a weapon that is shown to be extremely overpowered in skilled hands. Over the course of his appearances, Kraglin is also shown to be an ace pilot, and surprisingly insightful.
As a pragmatic former space-pirate, Kraglin was already a capable individual. With the arrow, there is enormous potential for this character to become one of the more intimidating figures of the team, however, he has yet to master the weapon. His beginner status with the arrow, as well as his lack of other traits that stand out among the other Guardians, places Kraglin lower in the rankings…for now.
7 Drax the Destroyer
A hulking beast with incredible strength, Drax is possibly the strongest member of the team when it comes to pure brawn. This comes in contrast to his much friendlier and even more comedic temperament when outside of battle, and he is a primary source of comic relief across the Guardians’ appearances.
In battle, Drax’s entire philosophy is to pick a direction and keep moving in that direction until someone or something stops him. He is a brutal physical powerhouse, and this trait makes him a major threat to most obstacles he encounters. However, against foes with powers that render physical combat less effective, or that employ strategy and tactics, Drax is often outmaneuvered, and can get himself into serious trouble simply by not thinking.
The cybernetically enhanced adoptive daughter of Thanos himself, Nebula is a ruthless and pragmatic fighter that employs every possible advantage in order to achieve her goals. Thanks to a lifetime of traumatic cybernetic enhancements, she is nearly impossible to kill, and routinely recovers from injuries that would take almost anyone else out of the fight for good.
After joining the Guardians, Nebula uses her skills, cunning, and numerous cybernetic upgrades for the greater good. Rather than focusing solely on one style of fighting, Nebula is always switching out her approach between close up hand-to-hand skills, and skillful use of any kind of artillery she can get her hands on. This makes her one of the most versatile fighters on the team.
5 Rocket Raccoon
Another founding member of the team, Rocket Raccoon is the genius technician of the Guardians, and one of the most skilled at handling just about any kind of threat through the application of planning, strategy, and a whole lot of firepower. Using traps and gadgets, Rocket often leads his opponents into positions that make them easier to finish off, and then unleashes an overwhelming barrage with numerous types of firearms.
Rocket is also the most agile member of the team, and has demonstrated the ability to dart around the battlefield incapacitating large groups before they can react. Despite his small size and reliance on gadgets, though, he is not fragile, and it takes a lot to remove him from the fight.
The most obviously powerful member of the original team, and one who provides excellent flexibility in almost any situation, Groot wields his plant-based physiology to absolutely devastating effect in every engagement he enters. Forming himself into whatever is needed for the situation at hand, Groot provides outstanding crowd-control and defensive abilities that have even saved the team from overwhelming odds on numerous occasions.
Against large numbers of enemies, Groot is more than capable of handling himself. Even stronger opponents are wary of his capabilities, and will often focus on him first, trying to remove the flora colossus from the fight before he can be a very real and very unpredictable problem.
At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss Peter Quill, the wisecracking leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, as a less capable member of the team. He doesn’t have superpowers, assassin training, or any obvious advantages, and his carefree attitude makes him difficult to take seriously. However, many enemies of the Guardians have learned that underestimating “The Legendary Star-Lord” is a fatal mistake.
Quill is exceptionally skilled at using misdirection and quick thinking to outmaneuver his opponents and come out on top, and once he gets his momentum going he’s near impossible to stop. This is demonstrated especially well in his encounter with Iron Man and Spider-Man, two of the MCU’s heavy hitters, where he managed to land several hits on Iron Man and ultimately take Spider-Man hostage before they got the opportunity to talk things out and join forces.
Thanos’ adopted daughter, and one of the most dangerous assassins in the galaxy, Gamora is easily the strongest close-quarters fighter on the team, relying on skill and agility to eliminate her targets. With her sword, Gamora has shown an ability to efficiently defeat her targets one at a time while avoiding damage with exceptional mobility, and she has no problem picking up ranged weaponry when the situation demands it.
Gamora is also the most accomplished member of the original team, being a notorious assassin even before the beginning of the first film. This reputation is solidified in every battle she is featured in, as very few opponents have even managed to touch her, let alone do any meaningful damage. Her pragmatic and straightforward style is also a good comparison for characters like Star-Lord and Rocket, who rely on misdirection, and Drax, who attempts to bulldoze the battlefield rather than utilize any sort of strategy.
1 Adam Warlock
A brand-new character for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Adam Warlock was artificially created by The Sovereign to be the most powerful and destructive of their race, and his appearance in the film drives that fact home spectacularly. As a being literally designed to be exceptionally powerful, Adam demonstrates himself to be a virtually unstoppable powerhouse, and the idea of anyone defeating him in a straight-up fight is dubious at best.
Warlock’s powers include flight, strength, and overwhelmingly powerful energy blasts. An extreme degree of durability means that he can not only dish out incredible amounts of punishment, but can endure catastrophic hits that would disable or kill most of the other Guardians. This level of power is enough that he doesn’t need strategy or tactics against most foes, which is appropriate for a character who is the archenemy of Thanos himself in the comics.
This story originally appeared on Movieweb