Marvel Cinematic Universe fans know these powerful objects as Infinity Stones, but way back when they debuted in Marvel Comics in the 1970s, they were known by another name: Soul Gems.
The gems were introduced as pieces of an ancient cosmic being who died as a result of loneliness. In death, their energy broke apart into six pieces, creating gems that held domain over specific forces: reality, time, space, power, mind, and soul.
When the six gems were united, they created a feedback loop of power that allowed them to not only increase one another’s potential, but increase the abilities of the one using them.
It was the Mad Titan Thanos who decided that with that infinite power supply, the gems needed a more apt name, and he coined the term Infinity Gems during his search.
Over the years, the comics have used the term “gem” and “stone” alike, but it wasn’t until they were adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Infinity Stones became official.
There have been a lot more than just those first six Infinity Gems in the comics, the movies, and in other Marvel related media.
The different adaptations have created new power sets and new power levels for the stones. We’ve taken the liberty of tracking them all down in Every Infinity Stone Ranked From Least To Most Powerful.
Warning: there are spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Avengers: Infinity War, in the entries that follow.
20 Rhythm Stone
Comic book readers won’t find the Rhythm Stone on the page. That is because this unique Infinity Stone was not created for Marvel Comics, but instead for an animated series.
The Rhythm Stone was created exclusively for The Super Hero Squad Show. Not part of the existing Marvel Animated Universe, it aired on Cartoon Network beginning in 2009 and lasted for over 50 episodes. The series featured many of Marvel’s well known heroes teaming up to take on different villains. One of them was Loki, which is where the Rhythm Stone came into play.
When Thanos became the big bad for a story arc, the series featured the usual six Infinity Stones. It also added the Ego Stone, inspired by one from an alternate universe in the comics, but it was Loki who created the Rhythm Stone.
Loki created the stone as a way to distract the heroes from the quest for the rest of the real stones.
Yes, real stones. The Rhythm Stone didn’t actually have any powers. Unlike the rest of the real Infinity Stones, the Rhythm Stone couldn’t be combined with the others, provide a power boost, or change reality. It was one big prank from the god of mischief.
19 Ego Gem
In the 1990s, Marvel Comics introduced a lot of new characters to their pages. A lot of writers were taking a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach in their stories. One of the characters produced during that time was an entity named Nemesis during a crossover event.
In the early '90s, Marvel purchased Malibu Comics, but the bigger publisher didn’t keep all of the existing stories in tact. Instead, they cancelled several of the smaller stories, only bringing back the more popular titles.
Marvel brought in characters from Malibu Comics for a crossover event known as Avengers/Ultraverse, which is where both Nemesis and the Ego Gem were introduced.
Up until that point, readers believed there were only six Infinity Gems. The crossover brought the Ego Gem into the comics as the seventh. Unlike the other gems, which all had separate external powers they affected in their users, the Ego Gem was dependent on the other six.
Only activating once it was united with the other six Infinity Gems, the Ego Gem brought the being known as Nemesis back into existence.
This story revealed that Nemesis was actually the cosmic being who became the Infinity Stones thousands of years in the past. While all of that created interesting backstory, the Ego Gem still does nothing but create a single being.
18 Battlerealm Stones
Not long ago, Marvel introduced a mobile game that fans could play on their phones. Called Contest of Champions, it allowed fans to pick their favorite comic book hero to fight villains.
When Battlerealm was introduced later, it added tracking down Infinity Stones and going up against Thanos to the mix.
Interestingly, the game didn’t rely on just the usual set of stones from the comics. Instead, backstory was created to make five more stones.
The Evolution Stone was created from Dark Phoenix hibernating in a cocoon while the Genesis Stone was born from the particles of a substance called Neutronium. That dust, a rare isotope known as Iso-8 in the game, also existed in the comics, but it never birthed an Infinity Stone.
Likewise, the War Stone came to be as the result of a battle between Doctor Strange and his enemy Dormammu and the Nightmare Stone was created by data gathered by M.O.D.O.K. Of the new stones only the Chaos Stone has unknown origins.
Acquired by Spider-Man during the game, the player has to keep it away from Thanos.
While all of the stones have some very interesting names and origins that would make the player think they’ve got some fun power sets, their powers within the game aren’t all that well defined, which is why they’re so low on the list.
Uniting them all still makes Thanos all powerful, but it’s not clear what they can do on their own.
17 The Forever Glass
The Marvel Comic universe is actually a multiverse. Throughout the decades of comic book history, readers have been able to visit multiple realities where one event going in a different direction managed to change everything. One of those other realities was home to the Wishing Gems AKA the Forever Glass.
Instead of this version of the Infinity Stones being pieces of stone that look like jewels, the Wishing Gems were made of glass-like sheets.
The six sheets of glass would unite to form a cube, also known as the Wishing Cube.
While readers didn’t get to find out what the separate pieces did -- or if they were similar to their counterparts in the normal continuity -- the Wishing Cube was supposed to be able to make anything happen that the user wished.
During the events of Secret Wars, multiple realities were colliding, and this Earth, designated Earth-4290001, was on a collision course with the “normal” Marvel universe of Earth-616.
The heroes assembled their Wishing Cube in hopes of avoiding the incursion, and it did work for them once, though not in the events of the main story as it was destroyed.
It stands to reason that the Wishing Cube had at least some significant amount of power. Since readers didn’t get to see it in action, though, it doesn’t get to move up on the list.
16 The Build Stone
Lego joined the superhero fray with movies and series built around both Marvel and DC characters. For their Guardians of the Galaxy story, Thanos was up to his old comic book trick: going after an Infinity Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat.
This particular stone was created exclusively for Lego’s animated movie. Called the Build Stone, appropriate for a company that teaches children how to build different structures out of connecting blocks, it can create any weapon.
Thanos wants to get his hands on it in order to create what he calls the BLT, also called the “Big Laser Thingy.”
Drawing from characters audience’s knew by using the movie lineup, Peter Quill leads the Guardians of Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot to go up against Ronan the Accuser and Nebula, who are on a quest to get the stone for Thanos.
Along the way, the Ravagers, led by Yondu, want the stone so they can sell it to Ronan and get a decent pay day.
Ultimately, it’s Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon who get to use the Build Stone during a chase sequence, creating a variety of weapons to use.
Why so low on the list? Because despite the ability to create any weapon the user wants, it cannot amplify any power or make changes on a cosmic scale like so many other Infinity Stones can.
In another corner of the Marvel Comic universe, there’s the Ultimate version of the characters readers know and love. This universe is a bit darker than its 616 counterpart.
It’s here that Black Widow betrayed the Avengers and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were closer than siblings should be. It’s also here that Tony Stark winds up with a sentient brain tumor.
When Tony realizes that his brain tumor is sentient, can solve complex problems, and hold conversations with him, he names his tumor Anthony.
Anthony appears to Tony as a young boy when he hallucinates, and that’s how he’s continually drawn throughout the story. Anthony helps Tony and the Ultimates solve problems and fight villains on numerous occasions.
While readers might have initially argued that Anthony was simply a manifestation of Tony’s own intelligence, that wasn’t entirely the case.
Instead, Reed Richards discovered that an Infinity Gem had been created inside of Tony Stark.
It was Reed who sought to assemble all of the Infinity Gems to give himself ultimate control.
Reed eventually kidnapped Tony and performed brain surgery on him to extract the gem, allowing Anthony to "pass away" in the process. The gem was added to Reed’s collection, though the reader never finds out just what the gem can do on its own outside of Tony’s brain.
14 Mind Gem
Unlike most of the other Infinity Gems introduced in the comics, the Mind Gem didn’t get its introduction in a big team up or event story. Instead, it was introduced in an issue of Captain Marvel in 1975.
The gem was hidden underground on a planet called Deneb IV. That particular planet was in the midst of a bloody conflict when Mar-vell and Rick Jones came to it, their minds ready to merge to create Captain Marvel.
The Kree Supreme Intelligence, a character who embodied several types of Kree within itself, knew about both the gem and the heroes and wanted to use both to manipulate events to his advantage.
Instead, Mar-vell and Rick’s minds both entered the Mind Gem and sorted things out for themselves, which is a pretty nifty trick.
If anyone at that point had more control over the gem, they could have used it to enter the mind of every being on the planet. Those without control need a bit of a boost from another Infinity Gem.
The lowest ranked of the original Infinity Gems from the comics, the Mind Gem earns this spot because most of its power creates internal assistance for the person wielding it.
Yes, it can grant the user telepathy and telekinesis if the person in control has the experience to recognize it, but in terms of raw power, it’s a little bit lesser than the other gems.
13 Soul Stone
With the Soul Stone being the last revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences were expecting it to have a big splashy reveal and all kinds of power.
While its reveal is an interesting one, it doesn’t appear to be quite as powerful as its comic book counterpart from what we’ve seen so far.
The Soul Stone happens to be the single piece of the Infinity Gauntlet with an unknown location.
Once upon a time, he trusted Gamora to find it for him, and instead, she burned the map.
Using his adopted daughter to get to the stone, Thanos winds up on the planet Vormir. In the comics, Vorms, dragon-like creatures, inhabit it, but it is almost completely abandoned in the MCU as the resting place for the stone.
It’s here that Thanos has to sacrifice something he loves in order to get the stone, making this the only Infinity Stone to demand a harsh price to possess it that we’ve seen. Arguably, that loss, which causes Thanos to experience anguish, weakens him rather than strengthens him.
He does use the Soul Stone to visit the younger version of Gamora in what appears to be the stone’s own realm, but other than that, we saw no external power, like stealing souls, exhibited by the stone itself.
12 Power Gem
When introduced over 40 years ago, it didn’t even have the name Power Gem just yet, but it was giving The Stranger a bit of a power boost as he sought out ways to make himself more powerful.
It’s not entirely clear how The Stranger, a powerful cosmic being who up pops up sporadically in Marvel Comics, ended up with the Power Gem, but while it was in his possession, he was compelled to learn more about it.
It led him on a quest to collect the rest of the gems, putting him on a collision course with Adam Warlock and Spider-Man before he was defeated and Thanos stole the gem from him.
The Power Gem is, as its name would suggest, a practically unlimited source of pure energy.
It can be used to boost the power of a weapon or machine, to boost the user’s own strength, and to boost the stamina of the person holding it. It sounds like a dream come true for someone who just wants raw strength.
Interestingly, it can also allow the user to duplicate superhuman abilities -- as long as that person has mastered control of the gem. This isn't something that most of the other Infinity Gems allow you to do.
11 Death Stone
Following the incursions of different realities on one another, a world designated Earth-94241 became New Xandar, and the remnants of its previous reality were a part of the patchwork universe Battleworld. It’s within this reality that a new Infinity Stone known as the Death Stone was created.
A young woman named Anwen Bakian grew up in New Xandar. For much of her time, she was left without her family as her mother joined the Nova Corps to assist in the fight against “bugs” that had invaded their home.
Eventually, the two were reunited and Anwen fought the bugs herself, finding the Mind Stone along the way.
The small group of allies assembled tracked down multiple other Infinity Stones with Gamora and Star Lord. They even counted Thanos among their allies until he betrayed them upon finding the Soul Stone, killing Anwen’s mother in the process.
Anwen and her allies were able to locate the Reality Stone before Thanos, and it was with it that she created her brand new stone.
She gave it to Thanos in the guise of the Reality Stone, seemingly surrendering to him. However, the Death Stone caused the Infinity Gauntlet that Thanos wore to stop working, limiting his control of the stones, destroying him, and turning him to dust.
It might not have all of the powers of the other Infinity Stones, but the Death Stone certainly eliminated the problem of one person becoming all powerful.
10 Soul Gem
The Soul Gem made its debut in the very first issue of Marvel Premiere, though it wouldn’t earn a name until much later.
In fact, in that first issue, readers didn’t learn much about it. It was only through Adam Warlock wearing it until Thanos went on his quest for the Infinity Stones that readers learned just what it could do.
When the stone debuted, it was as an “emerald” the High Evolutionary had been holding onto. While attempting to create a perfect world that overcame all of the flaws of humankind, he came across Adam Warlock’s cocoon in the cosmos.
The two developed a friendship and Warlock saved the scientist from his own creations, offering to try to stop Counter Earth from giving in to its own corruption. It was then that the High Evolutionary gave him the jewel, with no indication of just where he’d received it.
As Adam Warlock wore the gem, he discovered that it could be used to revert beings to their natural state, long before any scientific augmentations changed them.
It could also be used to protect the person wielding it from attacks on their soul, but could also attack the souls of others.
The gem was sentient, holding an entire “soul realm” within it where trapped souls lived.
The Soul Gem is the kind of Infinity Gem that reveal truths, and it contributes to the power of the rest of the gems, but it’s really best utilized by one person.
9 Reality Stone
Making its Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Thor: The Dark World, audiences didn’t realize at first that the Reality Stone was in play. Instead, the stone hid itself as the Aether, a parasitic substance that bonded with a host to change reality at their will.
In Thor: The Dark World, it was revealed that an old enemy of Asgard had attempted to use the Aether to force the Nine Realms into the Dark Ages, but Malekith was stopped and the Aether was hidden on Asgard for thousands of years.
It was Jane Foster who was bonded to it next, and because Jane had little control over it, the Aether was destructive, simply making her sick and lash out at those who tried to help her instead of allowing her to wield it.
When bonded with someone who understands its power or can properly use it, like Thanos, the Aether can solidify into the Reality Stone.
With it, Thanos could make any changes to reality that he saw fit, like making his enemies see a perfectly intact planet when he’s already ravaged it, or turning their weapons into harmless bubbles.
The downside to the Reality Stone is that it appears like its changes to reality are not always permanent, making its power limited -- until it’s combined with more and more of the Infinity Stones.
8 Black Panther’s Secret Weapon
Following the incursions of multiple realities and the formation of Battleword, the Secret Wars event series took place. This event series introduced comic book fans to a patchwork universe that Victor von Doom cobbled together from the remnants of destroyed worlds.
Doom ruled Battleworld with an iron fist and an army of Thors from many universes. He had the power of a god and chose to be worshipped that way.
Of course, when heroes from the main 616 and Ultimate universes arrived to Battleworld on their life raft of a spaceship, they saw Doom for what he was -- a cruel tyrant -- and decided to attempt to save the day.
It was then that Doctor Strange, who had been an advisor of sorts to Doom, was destroyed, and Black Panther set out on a search for Strange’s Sanctum in this new world.
Black Panther and Namor teamed up despite hating on another, and in the Sanctum, they found Strange’s big secret:
The magician had found a working set of Infinity Stones and kept the gauntlet hidden from everyone.
Black Panther used the gauntlet to take on Doom and buy some time for the rest of the heroes. In the end, the gauntlet is used as the distraction and not completely to its full potential, so it’s difficult to know just how much power these particular Infinity Stones might have held.
7 Space Stone
The first chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline also happened to give audiences the first Infinity Stone. Captain America: The First Avenger saw the Red Skull finding a mysterious mystical cube that he used to power his weapons. It also proved to be his downfall.
Called the Tesseract in the MCU, the glowing blue cube was full of an extraordinary amount of energy, but no one seemed entirely sure what it could do other than be used as a power source.
It wasn’t until the Tesseract opened up a portal and the Red Skull disappeared (many suspected that he was still alive) that audiences got a hint at what the Tesseract could do.
The Tesseract is actually the Space Stone. In Avengers: Infinity War, that’s finally made clear as Thanos crushed the cube around the jewel to pieces, revealing the stone within.
This particular stone provides someone able to wield it with mastery over space. That means they can cross large distances in the blink of an eye, moving from one end of the universe to the other, teleporting away from certain danger.
The stone is used effectively throughout Infinity War, allowing Thanos and his “children” to keep getting one step ahead of the heroes.
6 Mind Stone
When audiences were first introduced to the Mind Stone, it wasn’t as an Infinity Stone itself, but instead as the centerpiece to Loki’s scepter. Interestingly, it was gifted to the god of mischief by Thanos himself, though the Mad Titan had to know that he was going to want it back later.
Loki received the scepter from Thanos for his role in bringing the Chitauri to Earth in The Avengers. Not only did Loki have his scepter at that point, but also the Tesseract, so two Infinity Stones, unbeknownst to most characters and the audience, were in one place.
While Loki’s scepter was able to hypnotize people and get them to do his bidding, the Mind Stone had a lot more to offer than just control of someone else’s brain.
The properties of the scepter were also used to experiment on Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, unlocking abilities within them. While Pietro gained super speed, Wanda gained a few different abilities. So far, we’ve seen her get inside people’s heads herself and move things with her mind.
Finally, the Mind Stone had one more trick up its sleeve for us. It was used to bring a new being to life.
In combination with Artificial Intelligence technology, advancements in tissue growing, and software developed by Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, the Mind Stone gave birth to Vision.
That is a whole lot of different properties for one stone, which is why it’s so high up on this list.
5 Power Stone
When the Guardians of the Galaxy joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they did it around the centerpiece of a mysterious orb tucked away on an ancient planet that Peter Quill stole for a big payday. That mysterious orb wasn’t just a fancy decoration, but instead housed the Power Stone.
The stone’s power wasn’t initially evident, though, as it was masked by the ornate orb surrounding it.
That orb protected those who would go after it from its immense power as evident by the Collector’s servant Carina being decimated when she attempted to use it to break free.
Ronan the Accuser had to use his staff to provide a barrier between himself and the stone. It also took all five Guardians uniting to withstand its might.
The stone itself can be used to project blasts of energy at one’s enemies -- enough to destroy the entire fleet of the Nova Corps or possibly and entire planet.
It also enhances the durability and strength of the user, as long as they don’t touch it with their bare hands.
Presumably, just as the Power Gem of the comics increases the power of any of the other Infinity Stones it is grouped with, so does the Power Stone in the MCU, making it one formidable weapon.
4 Reality Gem
Introduced, though not given a name, in Avengers Annual #7, the Reality Gem debuted just in time for the Avengers to learn of Thanos and his quest for all of the Infinity Stones.
It was during a team up with Adam Warlock that they first learned of his plans to blow all the stars from the sky, and it was that team up that would begin a cycle of finding and losing the Infinity Gems in Marvel Comics for the heroes.
The Reality Gem happens to be one of the most unstable of the Infinity Gems.
In order to be used successfully and accurately, the Reality Gem is best used alongside Time and Space Gems.
Without at least one of the two, the Reality Gem’s power is mostly unchecked and unpredictable, making any large scale use of it disastrous and unfocused.
It can be used to completely change the fabric of reality, as the name of the gem implies. That could mean something as simple as turning your opponent's weapon unto something harmless during a fight.
It could also mean something as complicated as rewriting the laws of physics so that gravity doesn’t exist.
Because the Reality Gem can create a vast network of changes to the plane of existence, it’s definitely one of the most powerful of the gems in existence.
3 Time Gem
The Marvel Team-Up series sought to combine the forces of characters who wouldn’t normally interact. Issue 55 took the unlikely pairing of Spider-Man and Adam Warlock and put them on the moon.
Spider-Man was accidentally sent to space on a rocket while Adam Warlock was actually tracking someone. The two interacted when Warlock accidentally opened the rocket on the surface of the moon in a mysterious garden.
As it turned out, the vegetation was maintained by the Gardener, and the being they went up against was the very powerful Stranger. The Stranger wanted the Soul Gem embedded in Adam Warlock.
It was Spider-Man who convinced the Gardener, who simply wanted to mind his plants and his own business, to help them in the fight.
Only after the fight was over did the Gardener reveal that his own power came from a “Soul Gem,” though he also added that it would never have the same power to give life because of the way he used it.
When the Soul Gems became the Infinity Gems, that one became the Time Gem, able to give its user master over time.
Not only does it allow time travel, but it also allows the user to change the ages of people, to see visions of the future, and create time loops to trap enemies.
2 Space Gem
When the Space Gem made its comic book debut, it was unnamed, and Thanos already had it in his possession, so not much is known about its history, though its power has been well documented.
Of the Infinity Gems in the comics, the Space Gem is undoubtedly the most powerful. When combined with any of the other gems, it can change just how they are used as it allows the being carrying it to manipulate space in a variety of ways.
When manipulating time and space, or reality and space, all bets are off.
The Space Gem doesn’t just allow the user to cross space instantly via teleportation, though that is the function that most most users master first.
It can also give the user super speed -- the ability to move across space as fast as they need to in a small area.
Walls, magical spells, and any other security measures have no effect on them if they want to get into a specific space. The distance between other objects can be changed on a whim.
When it’s combined with the other gems, the Space Gem allows the user to literally be everywhere in the universe at once.
Comic book fans might get to see the Space Gem put to creative use in the very near future as it’s part of the Infinity Countdown series in stores now. At present, the gem is in the hands of the Black Widow, someone who has never been the watcher of an Infinity Gem in the comics.
1 Time Stone
“Dormammu, I’m here to bargain,” might always be associated with the Time Stone thanks to the MCU’s Doctor Strange. The memorable sequence with the Eye of Agamotto provided an introduction to one of the most powerful of the Infinity Stones in the MCU.
The Eye of Agamotto, so called because it was “created” by the first Sorcerer Supreme Agamotto is actually an ornately designed holder of the Time Stone.
Fans who read the prelude comics for Avengers: Infinity War know that Agamotto was also hinted at being one of the ancients who helped to hide the Infinity Stones across the universe. That’s one powerful magic user with access to one very powerful artifact.
It’s Doctor Strange who ends up not only protecting the stone, but also wearing it to make sure no hands have access to it unless he wants them to, and that’s for very good reason.
Strange knows first hand how powerful the stone is. It allows the person wielding it to move backward in time, forward in time, and thus, master time itself.
Strange is able to repeat the same event over and over to get a different outcome in his solo movie. In Infinity War, he’s able to look into the future to see which path the Avengers should take in their war with Thanos.
Ultimately, it’s the Time Stone that wins Thanos this “war” as he’s able to use it to get the last Infinity Stone needed for his gauntlet.
Do you agree with out ranking of Marvel's Infinity Stones? Should a different gem make the top of the list? Let us know which one you think is the most powerful in the comments!