Even though The Legend of Korra – the sequel to the massively popular Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender – has always been overshadowed by the success of its predecessor, it still does a lot to expand the Avatar canon. It has also been criticized for not being as awesome as the original, though that may just be because A:TLA was too good to top. It did, admittedly, have its problems, as anyone who's seen the original would be able to make out.
Despite convoluted storylines and haphazard execution of otherwise good ideas, though, TLOK introduces a whole new bunch of new characters to the universe and manages to deliver many memorable moments we love to revisit at times. It also introduces us to some powerful characters, benders and non benders alike. Given the advances in technology between the two series and widespread propagation of new bending styles in TLOK restricted to a few in A:TLA (like metalbending), many TLOK fighters are more powerful than the best benders in A:TLA.
While comparing benders in TLOK and A:TLA is not an easy feat, we can compare them with Aang; arguably the most powerful bender in the first series. So, how do the best of TLOK fair against the youngest Avatar of all time? We count down the 10 Legend Of Korra Characters Strong Enough To Take On Aang (And 10 Who Don’t Stand A Chance) to find out.
20 Strong Enough: Korra
Avatar Aang couldn’t have been more different from Avatar Korra in temperament. Whereas Aang was always composed and wise, Korra, in the beginning of the show at least, always appeared brash and irresponsible, often not thinking her actions through. Even though both of them were Avatars and were pretty powerful, how do they match up against each other?
For Aang fans, we’re sorry to report that Korra is by far the most powerful Avatar we’ve seen in the show or flashbacks, not just compared to Aang. Not only did she turn into a giant monster to defeat the equally giant Dark Avatar at the end of season 2 , but she was also mentally strong enough to resist Zaheer’s poison meant to finish off an Avatar in season 3, and eventually defeat him.
19 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Bumi
One of Avatar Aang’s children with Katara, Bumi was always shown to be a goofy-yet-likeable character in the show. His differences with his father, who spent more time with Tenzin than with any of his other kids, form a central part of his arc, as we see during his conversations with his sister, Kya. While he was originally a non-bender, he became an airbender after the events of season 2.
While we’re happy for him, he will still hilariously fail if ever faced against his father. Not only was Aang a much, much better bender, but he also had many more years of experience due to being stuck in the state of childhood for a 100 years. Bumi would need to learn a lot of things if he hopes to even have a chance.
18 Strong Enough: Bolin
Bolin was Mako’s brother, and, along with Korra and Asami, he was one of the main characters throughout the four seasons of the show. While originally shown to be indecisive and under-confident, he developed to be a powerful bender. Though he did go off the trail a bit in season 4 when he started working for Kuvira, he soon realized the error of his ways and easily took on Kuvira’s huge mech units in the episode "Reunion".
He was also the only bender other than Ghazan who could lavabend, which would prove to be massively problematic for Aang – if they ever fight – as he wouldn’t know how to counter it.
17 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Kya
Like Bumi, Kya – Aang’s daughter – always struggled with her relationship with her father, mostly due to him spending way more time with Tenzin than her. It may also have been because she was a waterbender, and had less in common with Aang than Tenzin. While we saw her throughout the series, Kya features extensively in the third season.
From whatever we saw of her fighting skills, it’s fairly safe to say that she has no chance against Aang, or even any other moderately skilled bender from the first series. When she fought against the Red Lotus - along with Tenzin and Bumi – she was quite rapidly subdued. While she was a nurturing figure and we do kind of like her, she still didn’t have much in terms of bending prowess to take on Aang.
16 Strong Enough: Ghazan
Ghazan was a part of the Red Lotus – a faction of the White Lotus that believed in anarchy and disorder to be the solution for the world’s problems – and, together with P’Li, Ming Hua, and Zaheer, Ghazan was the primary threat to Korra’s safety in season 3. He was the first bender to be able to lavabend, and, from whatever we saw of him in the show, would give Aang a tough fight if they ever hypothetically fought.
Not only could he lavabend, which was something Aang wouldn’t have ever seen in his life, much less know how to fight, but Ghazan was also incredibly calm and strategic during battles. While he was defeated by Bolin and Mako, we must remember that both of them were pro-benders and incredibly skilled fighters in their own right.
15 Doesn't Stand A Chance: P’Li
Combustionbending was one of the unique and powerful bending variations we saw in both of the series, others being bloodbending and lavabending. Only two benders had been shown to have the ability, and P’Li was the only one in TLOK. She was also Zaheer’s love interest, and after she fell in the season 3 finale, she allowed Zaheer to be free from his "earthly tethers" and literally fly.
While we did see that no one is able to counter her in all of her fights in the beginning, they quickly learned to keep away from her blasts, and Suyin eventually figured out how to take her down. She likely wouldn't stand a chance if she had to go face-to-face with Aang.
14 Strong Enough: Zaheer
Zaheer was the main antagonist of the third season, and was one of the new airbenders who cropped up after Harmonic Convergence in season 2. He was well versed in airbending philosophy and fighting styles, quickly turning into a formidable foe with his newfound airbending in the starting of season 3.
At his strongest against Korra, she was severely struggling to counter him, and at one point, it even looked like she was defeated for good. On top of everything, he could also fly. We know Aang could, too, though that was only in his Avatar state and during Sozin’s Comet. Zaheer could also do it much more effortlessly, and if faced against Aang, he would be quite tough to take down due to his added mobility. He was also good at hand-to-hand combat, which we assume he already was skilled at before becoming the leader of Red Lotus.
13 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Earth Queen
The Earth Queen was first introduced in the third season, and was shown to be a shrewd and cunning leader. When she learned of the new airbenders, she quickly took steps to recruit them into her army. She knew what to do to keep things as they were, and despite the excessive poverty and squalor in outer parts of her city, she was a loved and respected leader (as we see from Bolin and Mako’s grandmother’s outlook towards her).
All of that doesn’t mean that she was a powerful fighter, though, much like all the other Earth nation royalty shown in the two series. She was also inexplicably trusting of some random strangers claiming to have the Avatar, who eventually turn out to be the Red Lotus sent there to take her down and declare a state of anarchy in Ba Sing Se.
12 Strong Enough: Unalaq
Unalaq was the chief of the Water Nation and was first introduced in the second season. He was one of the few characters in the two series whose actions had a profound impact on the world. This could be seen when he released the dark spirit Vaatu, fused with it to turn into a massive entity called the Dark Avatar, and tried to usher in a new age of darkness with a Dark Avatar in the place of the regular one. While his original plans didn’t succeed, he did end up combining the spirit and real world forever.
Though he was defeated by Korra, who had her own giant Avatar thing going, Aang would have had a much tougher time taking on Unalaq with Vaatu. Not only was Vaatu an ancient, powerful spirit, but Unalaq was a skilled waterbender himself. If Unalaq, at his most powerful, ever had a fight with Aang, he’d probably make Aang’s fight with Ozai look like a minor tussle.
11 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Kai
When we were introduced to Kai in season 3 (during Team Avatar and Tenzin’s hunt for new airbenders in the Earth nation), he was rather annoying. After training with the airbenders and getting familiar with the Air Nation’s philosophy, though, he soon turned into a likeable character, and even played an important role in their victory against the Red Lotus in the season finale.
While he is crafty and intelligent, we’re sorry to report that he would not last very long in a fight against Aang. Not only does Aang have the advantage of learning airbending from the original masters, but he was also the Avatar. Kai may give Aang a tough fight by being small and evasive, but we wouldn't put our money on him if we were you.
10 Strong Enough: Ming Hua
Ming Hua was a skilled waterbender and gave Team Avatar a pretty tough time during all of her engagements with them. You can tell that she’s a pretty powerful bender by just looking at the massive security arrangements that were made to keep her locked in, after her failed attempt at Korra’s life before the show’s events.
She was able to accomplish a lot despite the fact that she had no hands – the only other non-Avatar we’ve seen with an ability to execute powerful bending moves without using their hands was King Bumi in A:TLA, who was a powerful bender himself. Ming Hua can easily turn water around her into giant tentacles (or spears, if she wanted), she is mobile and quick on her feet, and she is much more battle-hardened and experienced than Aang. While we won’t say that she would definitively defeat Aang, he would certainly have a tough time against her.
9 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Prince Wu
After the downfall of the Earth Queen, Prince Wu was the next in line for the throne of Earth King. The problem was that he was too dumb to take the throne, and was more interested in photo-ops than running the country. It was due to his incompetence that Kuvira was so easily able to assume power in the beginning of the fourth season.
Like the other members of his family we saw earlier in the two series, he is a non-bender, and even though we have seen many non-benders learn how to fight and turn powerful (like Asami), he certainly wasn’t one of them. If he’s ever in a fight with Aang, we sure hope that Aang sees the whole thing as a joke and just lets him go, as Wu has zero chance of winning it.
8 Strong Enough: Tenzin
Tenzin was Avatar Aang’s oldest son, and had a much better relationship with his father than Aang’s other two kids. He was also the oldest surviving member of the Air Nation during the show’s timeline, and was hence responsible for keeping their culture alive.
The only time we see him fight was against Zaheer, and the only reason Zaheer could take him down, happened when he had other Red Lotus members to assist him. Zaheer did not stand any chance of winning that fight, as Tenzin was visibly much more skilled than him. Seeing how Zaheer is a powerful airbender who could fly, and the fact that the Tenzin we see is much more experienced and older than Aang in A:TLA, we’d say that he’d give his father a tough fight.
7 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Baatar
Baatar was Suyin Beifong’s husband and the chief architect behind the making of Zaofu – a metal city that was said to be the safest place in the entire world (by its inhabitants, anyway). He had a troubled relationship with his son, the lazily-name Baatar Jr., which made the latter join Kuvira’s ranks and try to get peace back to the Earth Nation to prove himself to his father. He was also a gifted architect, as is clear from the futuristic infrastructure of Zaofu compared to other cities of the time.
Baatar was certainly a good father and a loving husband, though unlike his wife, he wasn’t a bender or even a warrior. Unless Suyin is around to assist, Baatar would be ridiculously unequipped to face off Aang in any situation.
6 Strong Enough: Mako
Mako, along with his brother Bolin, was one of the main characters we see throughout the length of TLOK, and was one of the members of Team Avatar. He was also romantically involved with Korra for some time, though it didn't last very long.
As for his powers, from whatever we saw of him in the show, he was one of the most powerful benders we know of. He is one of very few firebenders who could redirect as well as produce lightning at will. He also possessed keen knowledge of tactical advantages of the terrain around him in fights, which was proven by his fight with Ming Hua, during which he used all the water around him to electrify her into defeat.
5 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Hiroshi Sato
Hiroshi Sato was like the Steve Jobs of the world of TLOK: a keen-minded entrepreneur who ran one of the biggest tech conglomerates in the world. His secret hatred for all benders set-up the stage for all of the major events of season 1, as it was his technology that Amon used to eventually take control of the city. He also had a troubled relationship with his daughter Asami due to his actions.
While Hiroshi was a gifted scientist and was able to come up with innovative and powerful machinery if the situation was demanding enough (he even invented airplanes to fight off Iroh), he was never much of a warrior, let alone a warrior fit to fight against Aang.
4 Strong Enough: Amon
Amon, aka Noatak, was the main villain of the first season of TLOK, who successfully rallied a major chunk of the non-bending population to rise up and revolt against the benders. He was a gifted orator, as we saw from many of his speeches to the people of Republic City, as well as a prodigal chi blocker. As we know, chi blocking is a powerful non-bending martial art form that could potentially take away bending, though, as it was later revealed, Amon was actually using bloodbending rather than chi blocking.
In a fight against Aang, we’d be worried for Aang, as Amon was successfully able to subdue another Avatar – Korra – and take away her bending without much effort. His powerful combination of chi blocking and bloodbending is probably impossible to counter if he was at his best, even by an Avatar.
3 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Tarrlok
Tarrlok was Amon’s brother as well as the representative of the Northern Water Tribe in Republic City, though he was later revealed to be the son of the ex-underworld boss and bloodbender Yakone. Their tragic story is revealed in the last episode of the first season, when Korra and Mako find him imprisoned in one of Amon’s facilities.
While it’s true that he successfully subdued Korra with his bloodbending, it was only because he caught her by surprise and she couldn’t enter Avatar state in time to stop it. Other than that, we don’t see him pull off many impressive feats in the show, and he was even overpowered by Amon by massively overestimating his bloodbending skills against his chi blocking, bloodbending brother, even though Tarrlok didn’t know Amon was Noatak at that point.
2 Strong Enough: Toph
Toph wasn’t just Avatar Aang’s best buddy and earthbending teacher, she was also an incredibly overpowered bender. Toph isn't scared of anything in the first series (though her abilities were diminished in terrains, like gliders or sand), and she backed her tough talk with genuine skill every time. She was also one of the few people to invent a new style of bending: metalbending.
The Toph in TLOK is even more powerful, as we see her single-handedly subdue the whole of Kuvira’s surrounding division in the tenth episode of the fourth season, before delivering the "you give metalbenders a bad name" burn and flying away on a sky bison. In a hypothetical Toph vs Aang fight, we’d be scared for Aang to be honest.
1 Doesn't Stand A Chance: Meelo
Meelo was the second youngest son of Tenzin, and provided comic relief during many tense moments in the series due to his goofy nature and bad puns. He was visibly tiny, but because of he learned from Tenzin himself, he was still a gifted airbender, as we saw from him fighting a bunch of Amon’s chi blockers. Does this mean he’d have a standing chance against Aang? Probably not.
Don’t get us wrong, we’d never want them fighting anyway since Aang was Meelo’s grandfather. However, if they did participate in an imaginary fight, we’d put our money on Aang every time due to the fact that he's an experienced airbender and the Avatar. Sure, Meelo will definitely turn into a prodigal airbender when he's older from what we’ve seen of his skills, though in his current form, fighting Aang won’t be a good idea for him at all.
Are there any other Legend of Korra characters who could take on Aang? Let us know in the comments!