At the moment of this writing, the name of Negan’s first on-screen victim has yet to be revealed. As the rumors continue to circulate, we’ve already weighed the options and given it our best guess. Season seven of The Walking Dead is being marketed as the most emotionally devastating season so far, and with the reputation Negan has built in the comics, we wouldn’t be wise to bet against it. Still, Negan isn’t the first deadly character in the show’s history.
Going back through the years, many characters have come and gone. Not every member of the AMC series has shown their worth, but those who have are truly memorable. We looked through every episode, counting every death we could. In the end, we collected the individuals with the most on-screen kills per episode and ranked them by their overall effectiveness. Some exclusions may surprise you, while others’ rankings may be higher than expected, but at the end of the day, there’s no denying the stat sheet.
So here it is, for anyone who’s ever debated who the best killer on the show truly was. These are the 15 Deadliest Walking Dead Characters (So Far).
15. Maggie Greene
As the new pregnant woman on the show, Maggie Greene has more reason than ever to rack up kills for her stat sheet — assuming she doesn’t meet Lucille in the season seven opener, of course. Introduced as the overprotected farmer’s daughter in season two, she has proven to be a fan favorite not only because of her relationship with Glenn, but because of the endurance forged by their bond.
The Greene family hasn’t exactly seen the brightest days since their introduction, but Maggie has shown she was always the survivor of the bunch, taking the majority of the good genes and leaving her dad, her sister and her brothers with the remains. With only five human kills under her belt, her death count has stayed primarily walker-focused, a fact which should come as no surprise given that Glenn held out until season six for his first human casualty. We could see Maggie getting her share of the work in the future if she makes it out alive, but it’s going to take some serious maternal instincts to make up the difference. Until then, we’d say she’s pulled her weight for the group.
14. Carol Peletier
No character from The Walking Dead has transformed over the course of the series’ six season run more than Carol. A shell of the woman she was, she no longer plays the victim after surviving an abusive relationship and the death of her daughter. In fact, if we were to take a poll to see who the fiercest characters of the show were, we’d wager she would land somewhere near the top.
It doesn’t take more than an eye test to see just how much of a badass Carol’s become. After raking up zero kills in seasons one and two, she went overboard with her human-to-walker ratio in season six, killing her share of Wolves during the raid on Alexandria before leaving the safe haven and disposing of a few Saviors. In total, she walked away with 21 human kills to her name in the last season alone, while accounting for less than ten on-screen walker deaths. Maybe there’s some hidden power in those rosary beads she’s carrying around, but she’s definitely an asset the group’s going to want on their side in the wars to come.
13. Andrea Harrison
Without question, Andrea has had one of the biggest character changes from comic to screen. As one of The Walking Dead’s most lethal sharpshooters in the comics, she became a love interest for Rick, eventually taking on the role of a surrogate mother to Carl. The television version, however, had a tendency to get into bed with the bad guys, first with Shane and then with The Governor. But despite her character getting the axe in season three, she left a sizable amount of lifeless walkers to be remembered by.
From her introduction, Andrea was opinionated. Never one to opt out of a fight, she sought a position within the group as a cautious but brave voice among the survivors. After the death of her sister, she becomes hardened to the gruesome world. All her strength and pent-up aggression shows in the numbers of bodies she managed to pile up. Although she never killed a living person, she did steadily contribute to the walker death count. Her life may have been cut unfairly short thanks to The Governor, but at least she went out in a heroic fashion.
12. Sasha Williams
A case could be made that Sasha has suffered the most loss of any character so far. After dealing with the death of her boyfriend Bob to a zombie bite, she was forced to bury her brother Tyreese from the same thing. Since then, she’s endured stretches of severe depression, which she opted to pair with suicidal fits of rage. Acting out of turn, she’s gone on personal vendettas against the world that killed her loved ones, taking the fight straight to the walkers when a fight wasn’t even necessary. Still, she’s stuck through the worst of it, surviving the harsh rule of The Governor in Woodbury as well as the subsequent takeover of the prison, showing she’s capable of withstanding the grimmest of times.
Unsurprisingly, Sasha’s most kills came in season five following the deaths of Bob and Tyreese, but she’s also managed to lend a helping hand as a lookout since arriving at the Alexandria safe zone. With her recent interest in Abraham showing early signs of a new romance, another loss could mean Sasha finally going all out. The walkers better hope the big man walks away alive, for their own sake.
11. Abraham Ford
Red-haired, muscled and able to deliver one-liners on a whim, Abraham has shown symptoms of PTSD at times, separating from the group and taking on walkers as his own personal one man army. Although brute strength certainly has its place among the world of the undead, it’s his reckless abandon that appears to be his greatest weakness. One of the few characters that actually enjoys killing walkers, he’s able to let loose during his time beyond the walls of Alexandria, finding solace while caving in the heads of the zombified corpses.
As it stands, there are nearly 50 confirmed walker kills for the former sergeant. Although a man of his burly stature is built to endure an apocalyptic world, Abraham seems to have found a new lease on life. There’s no guarantee he’ll make it past the first episode of season seven, but if he does, we’d hope he gets a renewed sense of aggression moving forward. An angry Abraham is a happy Abraham, and there’s no other way to get your kill tally up than by unleashing your full force on all your victims.
A surprise on our list, Aaron isn’t the type of guy many would classify as a top-notch survivor. Tasked with journeying beyond the walls of Alexandria to recruit new members, he’s since adapted to the ways of Rick’s group. When he was lured into a trap set by the Wolves in season five, he finds himself stuck inside a car with Daryl as a herd of walkers surround the area. Insisting on staying by his traveling companion’s side no matter the outcome, he shows not only the courage but also the fortitude to stick with the group despite facing imminent death.
Yet to develop the kind of grit that comes with killing zombies on a daily basis, Aaron provides an alternative hero to what viewers have grown accustomed to seeing. As an openly gay man, he’s admitted to dealing with bigotry growing up, a fact which exposed him to the cruelties of the world early on. Capable of defending himself when necessary, he’s managed to put away 33 walkers thus far. He may not be a face people expected to see on our list, but since his debut midway through season five, he’s already shown he’s willing to put in the work to prove everyone wrong.
9. Shane Walsh
Although he met an early demise at the hands of his former BFF Rick, Shane was the kind of no-nonsense soldier needed in an apocalyptic world. He may have gotten out of line from time to time — we still don’t forgive him for killing Otis — but his actions were in his best interests, and at times, they even benefited the group. That’s why, in the greater scheme of things, we could easily see how he could be ranked as one of the better killers on this list.
Hitting his highest mark in season two, Shane took down a total of 28 walkers despite his limited run, even managing to outkill Rick during their stay at the Greene family farm. As a former member of the King County Sheriff’s Department, he served as a formidable opponent for Rick, often disagreeing with the group leader over his inability to make tough decisions. In the end, Rick’s own moral compass led him to open up more to Shane’s philosophies, but by then it was too late. Still, the former group member left his mark, making sure to wipe out as many walkers as he could before finally checking out.
8. Merle Dixon
Audiences may not have agreed with his ethics, but there’s no denying the fact that Merle Dixon inherited the same killer genes as his younger brother. Credited with appearing in only 14 episodes during his run on the show, he butted heads with the group during their early days in Atlanta. After sparking outrage due to his confrontation with Rick and his ceaseless racism towards T-Dogg, he was eventually left for dead, handcuffed to a roof with a swarming horde of walkers.
Coming back in season three as one of the members of the Woodbury community, he’s immediately shown without his right arm, a result of his near-death experience in Atlanta. With a detachable bayonet now replacing his right hand, he eventually joins the the group again at the prison thanks to his overprotective nature regarding Daryl. In an attempt to atone for his ways, he goes out in one last blaze of glory, going after The Governor in a suicide mission. It’s there that he picks off a good chunk of his on-screen victims. With a total of 20 zombie kills to his name, he may not have made up for his cruelty, but at least he left enough dead bodies lying around to show he wasn’t a total failure.
7. Tyreese Williams
When every human poses a threat, it can be hard showing resiliency, especially when you’rebuilt like an NFL linebacker. During his stint on The Walking Dead, many viewers questioned Tyreese’s inability to kill living enemies, believing it would eventually spell his demise. Of course, he would eventually succumb to wounds caused by the zombified version of Noah’s twin brother, but when he wasn’t trying to remain a level-headed peacekeeper among the group, he was putting the hammer down on walkers (literally).
Imagine if you could choose any weapon to take out the living dead, what would it be? Preferably something silent that puts some space between you and your target, right? A gun with a silencer, perhaps? It most certainly wouldn’t be a hammer, but that’s what the big man Tyreese used to accomplish his 59 confirmed walker kills. Before Tyreese became the gentler, more compassionate character that eventually checked out early, he was a rage machine that could be weaponized to fight against the dead. While he never took out a fellow human, he more than paid his dues in walker gore, landing him a spot among the all-time great killers of the series.
6. Morgan Jones
The fact that Morgan makes it on this list, let alone so high, may be puzzling to some readers. Not only did he struggle with killing a Wolf in season six, but he swore off all violence to other human beings. Opting instead to incapacitate his enemies with his trusty bō stick, it’s been a struggle for Morgan to catch up to his friends on the kill charts. In spite of his low number of human fatalities, he’s still climbing steadily when it comes to offing zombies.
Appearing in seasons one, two, five and six, Morgan has only recently been handed enough screen time to show what he’s truly capable of. In his first full season last year, he put up 30 walker kills, an impressive feat for someone who fights with a stick. While his overall numbers pale in comparison to the next few entries on our list, it’s the fact that he’s done so much in so few episodes that’s truly admirable. Toss in the fact that he’s starting to come around to killing people — he put down three in season six — and we’re looking at an ally that could prove to be worth all the extra resources.
5. Glenn Rhee
Looking back on it, who could ever have guessed that Glenn, the former pizza delivery boy, would have ever made it this far? It’s widely known that he’s already long gone in the comic books, making him a favorite according to many to be Lucilled in the season seven premiere. Luckily, his fate in the comics is no guarantee according to the producers, giving him a shot at sticking around.
With a baby on the way and a sadistic baseball bat-wielding bad guy to worry about, the series has really upped the ante when it comes to the risk factor for Glenn. That could prove to be a bad sign of things to come. Perhaps it’s a good thing to do away with the fan favorite from a survivor’s standpoint, given that he has a hard time killing other humans. But before the writers go knocking him off so quickly, they should consider that he has the highest confirmed walker kills by an individual for any given season, taking down more than 70 zombies in season 5 alone. If that doesn’t make him worthy of sticking around, we don’t know what does.
To call Michonne an expert zombie killer would be a gross understatement. She’s more of a living, breathing weapon with the swordsmanship of a ninja warrior. At some point in her past, she must have been an apprentice to a highly-trained mercenary. How else can you explain her precision with the sword? She’s obviously had a good deal of practice with that thing, and in her five seasons on the series, she’s quite possibly become the one character you want at your side when you’re staring down a horde of the undead.
Always on her toes, Michonne came onto the show as the mysterious loner wandering rural Georgia with two amputated walkers (later identified as her ex-boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry) chained up behind her. Settling in with the group at the prison, she patiently re-learned how to trust people, but not without remaining pragmatic when it comes to assessing high-stress situations. If you consider the fact that most of her kills come from a katana rather than a gun, perhaps she should sit at number one. But alas, this list is about efficiency rather than skill. We guess she’ll just have to settle for her more than 150 kills. At least she’s the only one who can claim to have stabbed The Governor through the chest, right?
3. Daryl Dixon
A good bet to win a fan-voted popularity contest amongst his fellow survivors, Daryl has become The Walking Dead’s personal “too big to fail” experiment. Norman Reedus has got a lot going right for him at the moment, not the least of which is his skill with his trusty crossbow. Being the series creators’ most popular creation, we can see why they’ve kept him around. He’s level-headed, wiser than he looks and sensitive, despite his grizzled appearance. All in all, he’s the kind of right-hand man Rick needs to bail everyone out of a mess, which explains why his body count is so high.
After appearing as the stubborn second half to his brother Merle in season one, Daryl’s contribution to the group has only expanded over time. As the go-to guy to retrieve resources for the group, Daryl peaked in season four during the show’s prison days, holding off walkers both before and after The Governor’s invasion of the highly guarded facility. Topping off at more than 200 confirmed kills, more than 20 of which were human, his numbers will likely grow following the season seven premiere. If he survives it, that is.
2. Rick Grimes
Rick wouldn’t be much of a leader if he never took initiative, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s killed more zombies than any other person on the show. As a loyalist, he makes his home wherever his friends and family stake their claim. If any new recruits can gain his trust, they’ll find themselves in an elite club of people with whom he’s willing to divulge information. Considering just how much he’s been through already, you’re going to want to stay on his good side.
Taking a glance at the numbers, it can be easy to assess him as a hypocrite considering how many times he’s judged others based on their kill counts. With more than 200 walkers down and 35 humans laid to waste, he’s far ahead of the competition in both categories. The past few months have had Negan at the top of many people’s lists as a death threat, but counting Rick out so soon could prove to be a deadly mistake. We already know he’s planning to kill the new big bad, and that’s a promise viewers can take to the bank. Probably.
1. Philip “The Governor” Blake
The only known character that’s killed more humans than walkers, Philip Blake, aka “The Governor”, is undoubtedly the biggest antagonist the show’s survivors has faced thus far. As the seemingly caring leader of the Woodbury settlement, he’s able to rally his own posse of followers to take down Rick and his group while they’re waiting out their days in a high-security prison.
Most known for decapitating Hershel in the mid-season finale of season five, he eventually meets his demise at the hands of Michonne, but not before taking a big body count with him. As the stats stand, we’d imagine The Governor had much higher walker kill numbers in his early days, but after finding refuge behind the walls of his own personal luxury town, his amount of face-to-face encounters with the undead took a nosedive. Appearing in fewer episodes than the other entries on our list, his death toll consisted primarily of murdering other survivors for their supplies to keep Woodbury safeguarded. With the highest kills per episode, he picked off a whopping 27 humans in season three alone, putting him far ahead of the competition when it comes to killing for sport.
Walker Kills: 26 Human Kills: 30 Kills Per Episode: 3.11
Which Walking Dead character do you think will be the top killer when all is said and done? Sound off in the comments.