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Ranking the most powerful weapons in the MCU

Way back in 2008, a billionaire genius named Tony Stark built himself a flight suit that also served as a suit of armor. Then he added weaponry, and Iron Man was born. More than ten years and two dozen movies later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still introducing cool new toys to its ranks all the time, from dangerous melee weapons to deceptively simple tools that have incredible implications. But which ones are the most powerful?

Well, some of the items on the list don't seem all that mighty at first, but in the hands of the right character, they become objects of true strength. Others are so extreme that they must be wielded wisely. Still, others are special not just because of what they can do but because of what they represent to the universe as a whole. From cosmic garments to deadly blades, here are our rankings of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. 

Captain America's shield is a powerful symbol

Captain America's shield, designed by Howard Stark in the 1940s to aid the First Avenger during World War II, is first and foremost a defensive weapon. It's made of vibranium, a metal that essentially absorbs any impact it takes with zero vibration, making it ideal for everything from hand-to-hand combat to taking on gunfire. The vibranium disk is so strong, in fact, that it once took a direct hit from Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, with no discernible damage (though that was one of the few things that did manage to make it vibrate).

Though it was designed to block things, Steve Rogers managed to find plenty of ways to use his shield as an offensive weapon over the years, whether he was bashing skulls, throwing it like a frisbee, or basically turning it into a giant pinball. During Avengers: Age of Ultron, he even let Thor smack the shield with Mjolnir, sending a shock wave into a line of HYDRA agents. However, of all the weapons on this list, the shield is the one that's likely to leave you with the fewest injuries, particularly if Steve is inclined to go easy on you. Its real power is in what it represents to both Steve Rogers and to the world.

Thanos' blade can do a whole lot of damage

Though he spent a lot of Avengers: Infinity War fighting with his bare hands before getting hold of the Infinity Stones, Thanos wasn't always god-powered. In fact, once upon a time, he needed a little something extra to help him win the fight. Enter the new, double-edged blade that Thanos of the past wields in Avengers: Endgame, one of the most impressive melee weapons in the MCU.

Sadly, because so much of Endgame centers on the quest to reclaim the Infinity Stones, we don't see a huge amount of Thanos using this massive edged weapon. When he does pick it up and go to work, though, it's particularly impressive. He uses the blade to very nearly take out Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America at the same time, and in the process, he demonstrates both its formidable blocking power and its ability to carve Cap's vibranium shield into nothing but shards. It's really too bad he didn't have more time to work with it.

Corvus Glaive's glaive is an underrated MCU weapon

Avengers: Infinity War brought the genocidal warlord known as Thanos to the forefront of the MCU for the first time, and as a result, we got see a little more of what his day-to-day operations as a galactic despot looked like. Thanos' army included a group of top lieutenants he called his "children," including the telekinetic sorcerer Ebony Maw, the brawler Cull Obsidian, the general Proxima Midnight, and the wicked Corvus Glaive.

As his name suggests, Corvus' primary weapon was an intricately crafted glaive which he deployed to great effect in melee combat against the Avengers. At first glance, it's just another bladed weapon that he happens to be very comfortable with, but we learn that Corvus' weapon is especially powerful when he uses it on Vision early in the film. Corvus sneaks up on the superhero from behind and impales him on the glaive, and when Vision can't phase out from around the weapon, well, that comes as a pretty big shock to both Scarlet Witch and the audience. In other words, the glaive can pierce Vision's vibranium-laced body when other weapons can't, and crazier still, it can prevent him from going into ghost mode. That's a pretty neat trick. 

The Yaka Arrow can fly through the air (and enemies) with the greatest of ease

At first glance, the Yaka Arrow wielded by Yondu Udonta in the Guardians of the Galaxy films might not look like much. After all ... it's an arrow. They're single-use weapons, and you've got to keep a whole bunch on your person if you want to stay in a fight. (For proof, see Hawkeye.) But then, at the end of the first Guardians films, we get to see Yondu's weapon in all its glory, and it suddenly becomes clear that the Yaka Arrow is a force to be reckoned with.

For one thing, not just anyone can control it. You have to master its sonically controlled sensitivities first, and even then, it's hard to manipulate exactly where it's going to fly. Yondu plays it like an old hand, though, and when he really gets going, the Yaka Arrow seems capable of gliding through everything from flesh to the hull of a spaceship. With the right operator, it'll kill you before you even know it's coming, and it can be used to wipe out an entire ship full of bad guys, as we find out in Vol. 2. Now, it's up to Kraglin to learn how to use it as well as his old friend did.

Hela's necroswords are some pretty deadly blades

Many of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Cinematic Universe originate with Asgardians because, as many characters have pointed out over the years, the Asgardians are basically gods. They live for millennia, possess incredible durability and resources, and have a tendency to stumble on a lot of cool stuff while they travel the cosmos. This means going into battle against them usually involves facing off against all manner of enchantments and unique devices.

In Thor: Ragnarok, the goddess of death known as Hela demonstrates this very quickly with the use of necroswords. These obsidian blades are unique in that only Hela seems capable of wielding them, and their deadly sharpness is multiplied by her ability to seemingly make as many as she wants. Plus, Hela's not afraid to get creative with the blades. She'll throw a few dart-like necroswords into a wall to make a point, but she'll also summon gigantic blades to impale her enemies. They're versatile, they're painful, and they're impossible to stop.

Hofund is one of Asgard's most powerful weapons

Hofund, usually just referred to as the Bifrost Sword, is an interesting weapon because we rarely see it used to do any actual fighting. The only time it's really used for that purpose for any significant period of time is in Thor: Ragnarok, and during those scenes, it's really just used as a sword. In battle, it looks like it could've come from anywhere. It's what Hofund is capable of outside the realm of fighting that makes it so powerful.

Hofund, as wielded by the guardsman of the gods, Heimdall, is the literal key to the opening and closing of the Bifrost, and therefore, it's the only way most Asgardians get around the rest of the nine realms. At various points in Thor's story, it practically controls the destinies of several different characters, and when Heimdall manages to steal it during Ragnarok, it cripples Hela's access to other realms, if only for a little while. Even as Heimdall lays dying beside the sword in Avengers: Infinity War, Hofund has enough magic left to allow Hulk to escape Thanos and warn Earth. The sword is, as far as we know, no longer with us, but it wielded great power while it was around.

Gungnir is deceptively strong

If we were ranking the most deceptively powerful weapons in the MCU, then Gungnir might rank right up at the top because it barely appears as a weapon at all. During peace time, Gungnir is pretty much just the ceremonial staff held by whoever happens to king of Asgard at the moment. It was wielded by the Allfather Bor, then passed on to his son Odin, and it was even wielded by Loki at a point when he'd managed to cheat Odin out of his kingdom. So, for the most part, it's more a symbol of power than an actual powerful presence.

Whenever Gungnir is trotted out for combat, though, it proves just how much of a wallop it can pack. Bor used it to defeat the Dark Elves millennia ago, Odin used it to defeat the Frost Giants, and even Loki used it to kill his biological father, the Frost Giant Laufey. Plus, in times of great need, Odin has even used it to teleport people out of harm's way without using the Bifrost. Gungnir is a magnificent piece of weaponry, whether it's sitting in a throne room or swinging around on a battlefield.

Mjolnir is worthy of all the praise

Mjolnir is one of the coolest weapons in the history of superheroes. It's so cool that its nickname is "the hammer of the gods." It was forged in a dying star, it's so heavy that it can pin a dragon in place, and it stays put when even the Hulk tries to yank it off the ground. So of course we had to rank it pretty high on this particular list.

On the most basic level, Mjolnir can hit stuff really, really hard, whether it's knocking Ultron robots to pieces or cracking Hulk across the jaw. Then there are its many elemental gifts. It serves as a focal point for Thor's inherent powers as the god of thunder, which means lightning bolts can be concentrated into its metal and then flung out to fry whatever enemies might be coming. Plus, it gives Thor the power of flight due to its ability to pull him through the sky, and then there's that whole built-in security system thing. Thanks to an ancient enchantment from Odin, Mjolnir can only be wielded by those who are worthy, and while that list is a bit longer than it used to be, Thor still doesn't have to worry about any bad guys carrying it around.

Stormbreaker is the ultimate Asgardian weapon

Thor's hammer Mjolnir proved to be an almost indestructible weapon, but the "almost" was key there, because it turned out that Hela was still capable of shattering the hammer in battle, leaving Thor in search of an other weapon to prove his godhood. He finally got it during Avengers: Infinity War, when Eitri the Dwarf crafted the greatest weapon in the history of Asgard: Stormbreaker.

Stormbreaker is, in many ways, a kind of Mjolnir 2.0. It's forged from the same kind of metal and possesses many of the same abilities, including its inherent usage as a kind of focal point for Thor's lightning powers. Unlike Mjolnir, though, Stormbreaker is a larger, two-handed weapon, which makes it better suited to big battles. It also allows Thor to fly without any effort at all, whereas he had to build up momentum to fly with Mjolnir. The only real drawback to it is that it doesn't have the same enchantments that Mjolnir did, which means that anyone could pick it up and swing it around if they wished. In fact, Thanos almost used it to murder Thor, so yeah, that's a slight disadvantage to an otherwise awesome weapon.

The Infinity Gauntlet is the most powerful weapon in the MCU

While the MCU is filled with robotic suits, exploding arrows, and high-powered sunglasses, they all pale in comparison to the golden glove wielded by Thanos. Seriously, MCU weapons don't get any more powerful than the Infinity Gauntlet.

On its own, of course, it's simply a very fancy gauntlet that looks good on the hand of a titan. Once it begins to interact with the Infinity Stones, though, the gauntlet becomes something else entirely. Remember, Thanos didn't just use any old gauntlet. He forced Eitri the Dwarf — the same guy who made Stormbreaker — to make the model for his glorious glove because he needed something strong enough to contain all six stones at once. The stones were never meant to be held by mortals, so the simple fact that the gauntlet can do that is proof enough of its power.

Once all the stones are assembled within it, the gauntlet can do ... well, pretty much whatever you want it to do. It can rewind time, enslaves minds, alter reality, transport you across space, and even destroy something with a single thought. Good thing Thanos doesn't have it anymore.