The most common match-ups for wizards in the Harry Potter universe are those concerning Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, Lord Voldemort, or maybe even Merlin. However, more interesting contests are lying in wait for the wizards who are slightly below power level than the aforementioned.
The two greatest lieutenants for the good and evil camps in the series are Severus Snape and Bellatrix Lestrange, respectively. The two despised each other but didn’t get a chance to lock horns during the series. Here’s an assessment over which one of the two would walk away the winner should a fantasy scenario rise up.
10 Intelligence: Snape
Being completely cuckoo meant that Bellatrix had no skills when it came to tactics or being covert; this led to her being part of Voldemort's mission groups only as a soldier and not as a leader. It was also why Bellatrix met her death at the hands of Molly Weasley, having no idea how to think on her feet.
Snape, on the other hand, might as well be the most intelligent character we’ve seen in the Harry Potter universe as he remained several steps ahead of everyone, be it Harry or Voldemort. He was an expert in thinking fast and had the mind of a genius, having expertise in offensive magic, lore, alchemy, and potions.
9 Ruthlessness: Bellatrix
If it came down to a fight between the two, Snape might go easy on Bellatrix due to a number of reasons and stop himself from going for the kill, but Bellatrix will never have such reservations. She was ruthless to the point where it would be believable she’d kill her own husband if that’s what Voldemort wanted - she did have a child with the latter while being married, after all.
Bellatrix’s viciousness was best on display when she tortured Hermione to near insanity, while actually making Neville’s parents insane with the Cruciatus curse back when she was still quite young. In Deathly Hallows, Bellatrix delivered a curb stomp, beating to a number of Snatchers with none of them having even a second’s opening to retaliate.
8 Additional Powers And Abilities: Snape
Continuing from the earlier point, Snape’s vast knowledge of all things magic make him a threat in all aspects, even if he were to be wandless. The man was such a whizz that he came up with his own spells back in school, with “Sectumsempra” being so powerful it would’ve killed Malfoy.
Despite being so adept at dark and defensive magic, Snape excelled as the Potions master as well. He was able to brew every kind of concoction there was, and could recognize all types of potions based on the behavior of a person who’d ingested it. Bellatrix really was a one-trick pony considering she had hardly any special attributes if you’d taken her wand away.
7 Dark Arts Experience: Bellatrix
It could be argued that Snape might have had more knowledge of the Dark Arts, but there’s no question that Bellatrix was the one who dabbled with it more. The reason we can be certain of this is due to the fact that Bellatrix was trained by Voldemort.
We haven’t heard of anyone else (other than maybe Barty Crouch Jr.) being personally coached by the greatest dark wizard of all-time, meaning Bellatrix had first-hand experience of all the atrocious acts Voldemort was known for. Considering she used the Cruciatus curse and the killing curse on an everyday basis, there’s no doubt Bellatrix was certainly a cut above the rest here.
6 Willpower: Tied
One might think that Snape far outstrips Bellatrix here, but you need to consider how insanely devoted she was to Voldemort to understand that she and Snape are neck-and-neck here. Snape, of course, managed to soldier through everything Voldemort subjected him to, even being killed when he knew Voldemort was about to do so because he understood his goal.
Bellatrix, on the other hand, displayed something similar when she gladly went to Azkaban, showing zero fear of the prospect while on trial and mocking the Ministry. She made good on her promise as well, seeing as she hadn’t lost any of her innate darkness after over a decade around the dementors.
5 Spell Knowledge: Snape
We’ve mentioned how Snape created his own spells, and he supplemented this skill by mastering other spells as well. He was adept at healing even without the use of potions or any other tangible means, as seen when he kept Dumbledore’s poisoning at bay and healed Malfoy when he’d mostly bled out.
Snape’s brand of spell invention was so effective, that James Potter among others took to using it, spreading the awareness of these spells around enough for them to become commonplace. As for Bellatrix, the most use she made of her spell knowledge was generally exclusive to the unforgivable ones.
4 Unforgivable Curses Mastery: Bellatrix
Here’s where we get into the darker aspect of Bellatrix, as her trump card was using the worst kind of spells to get the job done. Her ruthlessness here was such that she used the Avada Kedavra to kill her own cousin and her own niece.
Her greatest “triumph,” though, would be her mastery of the Cruciatus curse, so much so that being hit by Harry’s version of it only made her cackle as Bellatrix remarked that she knew how to truly make it work. She injected “meaning” into torture by uttering “Crucio,” something that only Voldemort can overpower. Snape wasn’t shown sinking to this level, as he retained that innate goodness that Albus Dumbledore encouraged in him.
3 Legilimency: Tied
Harry always got the sense that Snape could read minds, which doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility when considering he easily accessed all of Harry’s memories without any effort. Even greater, however, was his mastery of Occlumency, as Voldemort had no clue Snape was betraying him the whole time.
To her credit, Bellatrix was incredibly skilled here too, as was seen when she was able to teach Malfoy so greatly that he could block out Snape’s Legilimency. One wonders if Bellatrix might have been able to counter Snape’s effectiveness here considering how remarkable Malfoy became under her teaching.
2 Love: Snape
The Death Eaters can’t produce Patronuses, meaning they can’t quite grasp the concept of happy memories that stem from feelings of love. In the end, Snape’s greatest power was his ability to love in such a pure form that no Dark Lord could ever defeat him.
Bellatrix had a different kind of love for Voldemort, in that she was maddeningly obsessed with him. But she didn’t understand true love and met her death at the hands of Molly, whose love for her children sparked an outrage that enabled her to destroy Bellatrix. Snape’s love for Lily was such that, in the end, the heroes were able to take down Voldemort due to Snape’s actions.
1 Winner: Snape
The kind of versatility in magical abilities that Snape displayed was almost around the level of Albus Dumbledore and Voldemort, making him easily more powerful than the average wizard and even the members of the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters.
Bellatrix would be in the top pile of witches and wizards of all-time based on powers, but her reliance on the same moves and lack of wit means she would be defeated by Snape after giving him an initially tricky time. It wouldn’t take long, though, before Snape improvised and had her beat either due to his spellwork or conjuring some kind of genius plan to take her out perhaps even before the match-up began.