The Marvel Universe has always had a strong affection for creating increasingly powerful objects. Throughout the company’s nearly 80 years of history, we have seen devices, artifacts, weapons, and tools that grant its user unimaginable powers.
From indestructible shields to literal weapons of mass destruction to jewelry (so much jewelry) that grants a variety of abilities, comic books are never at a loss for relics with cataclysmic properties.
Avid readers can recall dozens of storylines involving the entire Multiverse on the brink of destruction thanks to a deadly item. Whether they be technological, mystic, or celestial in origin, there always seems to be a new MacGuffin threatening life as we know it.
Let’s see how Marvel’s best and most formidable items compare to one another. We’re going to take a look at what makes these weapons so imposing. Some are held by heroes who use them to protect the weak and others are wielded by villains who want nothing more than to make others suffer.
With that said, here are The 20 Most Powerful Marvel Artifacts, Ranked.
20 Captain America’s Shield
The shield of Captain America is one of the most iconic weapons in all of comic books. For over seven decades, the star-spangled soldier has carried his shield with him into battle, hurling it at any foe who dares cross his path.
Although it’s gone through different designs since it debuted in 1941, we’re going to focus on the most powerful version.
Towards the end of Fear Itself, the shield was once again broken. This time at the hands of the Serpent. Asgardian blacksmiths were able to reassemble Cap’s signature tool and add some mysticism to it.
By melding a magic metal called Uru with it, the shield was stronger than ever. Combine this with its proto-adamantium and vibranium makeup, and it became stronger than ever.
19 The Mandarin’s Rings
The ten rings closely associated with the Iron Man villain the Mandarin originated as the power source of an alien spaceship. Each ring possesses its own unique ability.
Separately, powers like ice blasts, lightning bolts, and fire aren’t the most formidable of weapons in a universe where gods walk among men.
However, when the ten different rings and abilities are combined, they become much more of a threat.
Other powers include gravity creation, matter rearrangement, concussive blasts, vortex creation, disintegration beams, mind control, and the creation of absolute darkness. It has recently been revealed that each ring has its own sentience.
They are fueled by evil and can take over the minds of whoever wears them, forcing unsuspecting individuals to do the rings’ dark bidding.
The sword belonging to Heimdall, the Guardian of the Bifrost, definitely deserves a spot on this list. The blade was forged by the Dwarves of Nidavellir, the very same beings who created Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
Those guys definitely know what they’re doing. The sword is fueled by cosmic forces like stars that, when focused, beef up the Hofund’s already impressive might with blue flames. On one occasion, the sword was even able to stop a half-powered Thor dead in his tracks.
In addition to being one of the best blades in the multiverse, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Hofund is the key to the nine realms. Using the sword, Heimdall is able to open up portals that connect Asgard to places like Jotunheim, Muspelheim, and Earth.
17 The Cloak Of Levitation
In addition to doubling as snazzy outerwear, the Cloak of Levitation serves more than just aesthetic purposes. It was handed down to Doctor Strange by his mentor, the Ancient One.
Not only does it live up to its name by granting the wearer the ability to levitate, but it also possesses a multitude of other powers. It allows its wearer to travel seemingly at the speed of light, can repel both physical and mystical attacks, and can act as a weapon.
If whoever wears it simply thinks of using the cloak to attack, it will do so. With all of these aspects, it is easy to see why the Cloak of Levitation is a favorite magical relic of the Sorcerer Supreme.
16 Uru Armor
Remember the Destroyer, the nearly indestructible armored killing machine from the first Thor movie? Well, imagine if you were to combine that sheer force of destruction with Iron Man’s armor. That’s exactly what Tony Stark did when he created the Uru Armor.
Designed to do battle against the Serpent, the Asgardian God of Fear and his forces, the armor was made when Tony Stark plunged himself into a boiling vat or pure Asgardian metal.
Wearing armor enchanted by Odin himself, this allowed Stark to do battle against the Worthy-- heroes possessed by generals of the Serpent. This would be the only use Iron Man got out of the Uru Armor.
Following the battle, Odin removed the enchantment from Stark’s battle suit.
As its inscription reads, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Sure, if Thor Odinson was without the legendary hammer, he would still be ridiculously strong and durable, like any Asgardian.
However, it’s Mjolnir that makes him truly the God of Thunder. It can deliver attacks strong enough to break the armor of Celestials, some of the most durable beings in the universe.
While possessing the hammer, Thor also has the ability to manipulate weather on a massive scale. He can also fly, teleport between dimensions, and project powerful blasts of energy.
Not only can it dish it out, but it can also take it. Mjolnir is nearly indestructible, capable of withstanding the extreme temperatures and attacks that could destroy entire planets.
14 The Eye of Agamotto
The Eye of Agamotto is another one of Doctor Strange’s favorite artifacts. Most commonly seen around the neck of the Sorcerer Supreme, the mystical amulet is incredibly versatile.
It can emit a blinding light that weakens devils, demons, the undead. You know, general magical fare. The Eye grants whoever controls it telepathic and telekinetic abilities, granting them access to the minds of others and allows them to lift objects as heavy as The Incredible Hulk with their mind.
It can also be used to see past events, giving the owner a minimal form of time travel. Of course, this is changed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where it doubles as the Time Stone and gives its wielder control over time itself.
13 The M’Kraan Crystal
Also known as the nexus of all realities, the M’Kraan Crystal doesn’t have a variety of uses like a lot of objects on this list. Surprisingly enough, the reason why the item is so powerful is because of how fragile it is.
Inside of the Crystal lies what is believed to be inhabitants from the very first planet in the universe.
It contains an entire city of a lost alien race as well as a neutron galaxy.
If the Crystal were to ever shatter, the entire universe would go with it. Any slight misstep would spell doom for life as we know it. Because of this, the alien race known as the Shi’ar vigilantly stands guard, protecting the Crystal and all of existence.
12 The Crimson Gem Of Cyttorak
The Octessence are eight mystical beings who argued over who was more powerful some millennia ago. They quickly made a wager to settle their quarrel. Each would put part of the essence into an object that would hold a fraction of their abilities.
Whoever’s avatar proved to be strongest would win the bet. One of them, Cyttorak, forged a gem that was found by Cain Marko, the stepbrother of Charles Xavier. Upon touching the magical item, Marko was turned into the Juggernaut-- a being of superhuman strength, durability, who is nearly unstoppable once he gets some momentum going.
With unbridled muscles and a vendetta against Professor X, the Juggernaut became one of the X-Men’s greatest foes. In addition to Cain Marko, the X-Man Colossus also possessed the gem. This gave the already mighty mutant unparalleled strength.
11 The Wand Of Watoomb
As another member of the Octessence, Watoomb decided to put his power into a wand. Doctor Strange won the right to carry the baton after he bested Cyrus Black (not to be confused with the character from Harry Potter’s Prisoner of Azkaban) in a magic duel.
The Wand of Watoomb is used like a lightning rod, focusing and enhancing the wielders magic abilities. In the hands of the Sorcerer Supreme, it was an extremely dangerous weapon.
If the holder does not already have powers, don't worry. Non-powered holders of the wand have been able to go toe to toe with Doctor Strange himself. The wand can absorb just about anything thrown at it.
It is also capable of forming shields, opening interdimensional gateways to other realities, controling minds, and creating monstrous armies.
10 The Casket Of Ancient Winters
This Asgardian relic contains what the comics describe as “the fury of a thousand killing winters.” That description alone should be enough for it to earn its spot on this list.
Once it is open, it is capable of freezing just about anything in its tracks.
Humans, Asgardians-- it doesn’t matter. If they’re in the way of this bad boy when it’s unleashed, they’re going to be frozen.
The item was a favorite of Malekith (aka the bad guy from Thor: The Dark World), who used it to bring an icy winter to not only Asgard but Hel as well. That’s right, it’s capable of making Hel freeze over.
The Casket is so powerful, in fact, that it is even able to freeze Frost Giants. You’d think that a race with the word “frost” in their title wouldn’t be susceptible. However, we guess that the cold does bother them anyway.
9 The Darkhold
Reading is bad. Except for this article, keep reading this. The Darkhold was created by Chthon, a malevolent Elder God who put pen to paper and transcribed all of the universe’s evil spells.
Often seen in the adventures of Kull and Red Sonja, the tome has been used for a multitude of wicked endeavors throughout its many, many years of existence. It was responsible for the sinking of Atlantis and was used to create the very first vampires and werewolves.
Even when sorcerers attempt to use the book for good, they are often left as corrupted husks of their former selves. The Book of Sins has a wicked tendency to possess anybody who opens the book with the spirit of Chthon.
8 The Evil Eye Of Avalon
To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “It only manipulates matter?” Well, luckily for anybody who gets their grubby little paws on the Evil Eye of Avalon, they can influence just about anything around them, since it’s pretty much all made out of matter.
It can rearrange molecules, turn people into dust, nullify other magic users’ powers, grant its user the ability to travel through space and time, create force fields, and a whole lot more. If destroyed, the Evil Eye of Avalon is capable of reassembling itself by any means necessary.
Originally seen in the hands of Prester John (not the most intimidating name), the Eye was sought after by some of the universe’s most powerful villains including the Grandmaster, Krona, and Dormammu.
7 The Ka Stone
Here’s one that goes way, way back. Originally found over 5,000 years ago by Anath-Na Mut, the Ka Stone’s origins can be tracked back the biblical times.
Mut was the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II’s chief wizard, and one history’s very first mutants. After being bested by Moses (yes, that Moses), the wizard was banished by Ramses to the desert.
While wandering for years, seemingly with no purpose, Mut stumbled upon the Ka Stone. Upon touching the artifact, he was turned into the Sphinx, an immortal being with vast superhuman abilities.
In addition to super strength, the gem gave Mut several powers, including flight, telepathy, and energy manipulation. For the next five millennia, the Sphinx traveled the globe until he became bored of his unending existence.
6 The Watcher’s Eye
As the third and final optical-themed item on this list, the Watchers Eye is less of an artifact and more of a literal organ. Originally housed inside the skull of Uatu the Watcher, his eyes gave him the ability to oversee every single event that has ever transpired.
Possessing every living beings deepest, darkest secret made Uatu a natural target. With his memories stored inside his eyeballs, the Watcher had his life ended by Nick Fury, who then removed his eye. The other eye belonged to the Orb, a B-list villain who now possessed one of the most powerful items in the universe.
The Orb activated the eyes’ unforeseen abilities to project people’s secrets. This caused a great deal of mistrust throughout the superhero community. Eventually, once the Orb was defeated, Fury took up the mantle of the all-seeing, all-knowing Watcher.
5 The Ultimate Nullifier
Back when it was first introduced in the 1960s, the Ultimate Nullifier was referred to as “the universe’s most devastating weapon." It had so much power that the massive, planet-eating Galactus fled upon seeing the device.
When Galactus was about to destroy the Earth, Uatu the Watcher intervened and showed the Human Torched the one weapon capable of defeating the Eater of Worlds. The tiny, handheld machine may not look like much, but it is actually one of the most powerful items in the entire universe.
The Ultimate Nullifier has the ability to wipe anything out of existence. It can destroy literally any target that it’s pointed at. People, cities, planets, universes, and even timelines are not safe when it comes to the Ultimate Nullifier.
4 The Cosmic Cube
Before the Infinity Gems were all the rage in the 1970s, the Marvel Universe spent the previous decade trying to get their hands on the Cosmic Cube. Throughout history, there have been many different Cosmic Cubes, each made by alien races to contain dangerous energies.
Some of comic book’s biggest baddies like Thanos, Doctor Doom, and Red Skull have all managed to possess these glowing boxes. When you’ve got a murderer’s row of villains all vying for the same object, you know there has to be a good reason.
The Cosmic Cube’s powers are only limited by its host’s imagination.
Previous feats accomplished with the cubes have included granting its host immortality, making them literally one with the universe, and destroying entire galaxies.
3 The Infinity Gems
Right now, we’re going to focus on each of these gems by themselves before returning to them later. The six Infinity Gems are some of the most powerful pieces of jewelry one can find. Each of them possesses a different array of magnificent capabilities.
The Soul Gem allows its user to control and alter both living and dead souls. With the Time Gem, one can manipulate anything on a temporal scale. They can travel through time or freeze it dead in its tracks.
The Space Gem lets whoever holds it exist in literally any location. The Mind Gem enhances their mental abilities, grating its host psionic powers. The Reality Gem can distort perception and create new worlds. Finally, the Power Gem gives its holder enough strength to knock out the Hulk. What would happen if they were put together?
2 The Infinity Gauntlet
Sure, possessing one of the six Infinity Gems is impressive, but things are taken to the next level when somebody holds them all. The holder of the Infinity Gauntlet is practically a god, able to carry out anything that they desire. They have the ability to become omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
The sheer combined power of the Infinity Gauntlet has proven to be far too powerful. A group of heroes from just about every aspect of the Marvel Universe banded together to eliminate the threat of one being wielding all of the gems.
Called the Illuminati, the faction was made up of Iron Man, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, and Professor X. Each of these powerful entities was entrusted with one of the gems to ensure their safekeeping. Of course, that didn’t last long.
1 The Heart Of The Universe
Here it is, the single most powerful object in the Marvel Universe: the Heart of the Universe, which was harnessed by the Celestial Order. The group attempted to use the Heart to bring peace to the universe.
To do so, they entrusted the Heart’s power to a cabal of worthy beings. However, as the saying goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Those who possessed the heart were driven mad with power.
Unlike the Infinity Gauntlet, the Ultimate Nullifier, and the Ka Stone, the Heart of the Universe doesn’t just give the user power, it also turns them into power-- pure, unadulterated power.
When Thanos gained its power, he absorbed the entire multiverse, making him one with literally everything that has ever and will ever exist.
Can you think of any other powerful artifacts in the Marvel Universe? Join in the conversation in the comment section!