Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ranking The Magical Powers In American Horror Story

The witches of "American Horror Story" showcase some impressive — and terrifying — magical feats. The anthology series focuses on the magical covens of New Orleans in its third season, with witches and Voodooists fighting against each other, then with each other when witch-hunters come knocking. Season 8 "Apocalypse" expands the world of magic with the addition of a warlock coven, as well as "Murder Houses" star Tate's (Evan Peters) demonic offspring, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern). All collide in a gory grapple for dominance, while showing off a set of magical abilities that would make any "Harry Potter" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" witch envious.

The magical system in "American Horror Story" is structured into a fairly comprehensible hierarchy, and fans on Reddit have been speculating as to which magical power takes the top spot. Each ability is formidable in its own way ... but many have consequences. Characters throughout the series, from Supreme witches Fiona (Jessica Lange) and Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) to Voodoo queens like Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) have explored the dazzling highs — and dire lows — of meddling with magic.

Each magical ability varies in terms of sheer strength, everyday usefulness, and offensive power. While some serve better as niche abilities, other magical powers are epic enough to rival any ghost or demon. From worst to best, here's how the magical powers in "American Horror Story" measure up against each other.

Calorie Detection

Calorie Detection is a niche power, admittedly. Maybe a little too niche. 

"American Horror Story: Apocalypse" star Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (played by Leslie Grossman) exhibits this unique ability during the show's "Coven" and "Murder House" crossover season. Her power begins as a gluten-detector, which dazzles her fellow Beverly Hills socialites. Realizing his daughter is a witch, Coco's rich and influential father sends her to Miss Robichaux's Academy, where her power impresses Cordelia and the rest of the coven.

Coco's power evolves from detecting gluten to detecting calories in various foods, thanks to training from the other witches. Technically, calorie detection can be considered a form of divination. With Cordelia's support, Coco pushes her power and learns to detect danger, before using her power to help Cordelia locate Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates). While her power does prove useful, compared to the other magical powers in "American Horror Story," it ranks at the bottom.

Potion Making

Where all other magical abilities fail, potions and powders are a certified, stable branch of magic for witches and warlocks. At the beginning of "Coven," Cordelia spends most of her time making potions and exhibits strong knowledge of Green Magic. The future Supreme predominantly focuses on brewing healing potions, but Myrtle Snow shows how deadly potions can be when her magical concoction kills two fellow council members in recompense for their betrayal.

Potions require time and tools, but it's an effective form of magic that witches, warlocks and Voodooists use throughout the series. Perfecting potion-making calls for knowledge and study, instead of natural talent. Admittedly, the need for study is a considerable drawback for witches and warlocks with no access to education — though, thanks to Cordelia outing the witches in "Coven," Miss Robichaux's Academy has become the most prolific magical school since Hogwarts. When there are no demonic entities like Michael Langdon massacring the students, that is.


This task of the Seven Wonders is not to be taken lightly. It requires a witch to separate her soul from her body, traveling to the realms of hell and the netherworld. Descensum is exceedingly difficult and dangerous. Astral projecting one's soul into hell is no easy feat; many witches don't make it back.

During "Coven," Misty Day meets a fatal end during her attempt to perform Descensum, becoming trapped in her own personal hell where she is forced to dissect a frog for eternity. A sick fate for one of the brightest characters, Misty's death is reversed in "Apocalypse" when Michael Langdon rescues her from hell. Still, the risk of Descensum is clear. Fail to return from the afterlife, and the poor witch who casts the spell will be stranded in hell forever.

A handful of characters manage to use Descensum successfully in the series. Queenie uses it to search for Marie Laveau in "Coven," where she encounters Papa Legba, a gatekeeper of the underworld, in her personal hellish afterlife. Besides Queenie, the other witches use Descensum solely to pass the Seven Wonders, suggesting a limited usefulness in everyday situations.


Transmutation is another test that witches must pass to complete the Seven Wonders. It refers to the magical ability to teleport from one place to another, a tricky feat for most witches. Despite its everyday handiness, Transmutation is one of the more temperamental types of magic shown in the series. When Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) attempts to perform Transmutation in "Coven," the young witch accidentally impales herself, prompting Cordelia to bring her back to life using Vitalum Vitalis.

The unpredictability of this power makes it rank low compared to other "AHS" abilities. However, if mastered to the level of Supreme, this is still a handy gift to have. Quick getaways are all but guaranteed. So are short journeys. 

The limitations of Transmutation are, admittedly, also unclear. Witches in the series travel short distances with the spell: Madison teleports a few feet from a blind Cordelia, and Marie Laveau transmutates a similarly short distance when Hank attacks her coven. Making a hasty retreat with Transmutation is possible, but long distances? It might be better to buy a plane ticket.


The use of Stiricidum is first seen in "Apocalypse," where it is performed by Michael Langdon as part of a test of power. The Antichrist charms his way through the Hawthorne School For Exceptional Young Men, winning over the warlocks with his immense power. The warlocks, believing him to be the Alpha, a prophesied male Supreme, ask him to try his hand at Stiricidum. Michael passes their test with ease, and transforms water molecules in the air into an indoor snowstorm.

It's flashy, but in terms of how useful it actually is? Not much. Stiricidum's limitations are unknown. If it can be used to manipulate all kinds of weather, the user could essentially become Storm from X-Men. But it's unclear whether Stiricidum can be used to affect all weather, or just conjure small bouts of snow.

Regardless of its limitations, Stiricidum is still a cool power. The warlocks are dazzled by Michael's display, and put him forward to complete the Seven Wonders. Whether another warlock could replicate this feat is shaky, however. Stiricidum could be am impressive power belonging to Satanic entities like Michael alone. A cold day in hell, indeed.


Clairvoyance — the ability to read another person's mind, as well as project thoughts to another person — is a useful power, exhibited by Nan (Jamie Brewer) primarily throughout "Coven." Nan reads the minds of people around her, including the other witches at Miss Robichaux's Academy; it is how she discerns Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) killed her director using Telekinesis, as well as Zoe's feelings for Kyle (Evan Peters). Nan's clairvoyant abilities grow stronger throughout "Coven." She uses them to locate Delphine LaLaurie's (Kathy Bates) coffin at the beginning of the season, and again when Luke's (Alexander Dreymon) spirit reveals that his mother, Joan Ramsey (Patty LuPone), murdered her husband.

In "Apocalypse," Bubbles McGee (Joan Collins) uses a variation of the ability called Lectio Animo to investigate the warlocks Ariel Augustus (Jon Jon Briones) and Baldwin Pennypacker (BD Wong). Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) defines Bubble's clairvoyant power as "the ability to listen to someone's soul." Bubbles' powers tell her everything she needs to know about the villainous warlocks, saving Cordelia's coven from their attack.

Injury Transference

Another unique power in the "AHS" universe belongs to Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), the self-proclaimed "human voodoo doll." Queenie's ability is simple but effective; any injury she inflicts on herself is projected onto another person of her choosing. They suffer the pain, while she heals instantly. It's a brilliant power, and very unique. No other witch but Queenie displays this power throughout the series.

Queenie's ability is so advanced that she can survive silver bullets, something fatal to other witches. When Hank (Josh Hamilton) attacks the Voodoo coven, Queenie kills him via Injury Transference by shooting herself with a silver bullet. The effort taxes her, but she remains otherwise unharmed.

Injury Transference has limitations, however. While Queenie is able to fend off Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett) in "Hotel," her powers don't work when she is fatally attacked by James Patrick March (Evan Peters), due to his ghostly presence giving Queenie's powers no physical body to transfer her injuries to. But if one steers clear of vengeful ghosts, everything will be fine.

Power Negation

Power negation is purely a defensive power, less showy than other forms of magic like Pyrokinesis or Resurgence. Nevertheless, it's defensive properties are strong. Zoe Benson displays this unique ability while fighting off Marie Laveau's zombie horde. The young witch is able to break Marie's voodoo spell, despite her overwhelming inexperience. Marie herself remarks after her ritual is abruptly broken: "I don't know what that was, but they got some real power in that witch house now."

This ability to cancel another's witch's spell is activated out of panic, according to Zoe. She did use an incantation, however, which suggests the young witch might have been able to tap into an instinctual, harder-to-control type of magic to fend off Marie's zombies. Either way, it's effective. Zoe saves the coven from zombies, and lives to see another day. That is, before she dies ... and comes back ... and dies again ... after all, this is "American Horror Story."

Vitalum Vitalis

Another test of the Seven Wonders, Vitalum Vitalis is a powerful branch of magic that comes with a cost. It's easy to confuse Vitalum Vitalis with Resurgence, a rarer form of magic; both resurrect the dead, though their methods differ. Whereas Resurgence is direct resurrection, Vitalum Vitalis requires something in exchange from the witch who casts the spell.

Defined as "the ability to balance the scales of life and death," Vitalum Vitalis takes life force from the casting witch and gives it to the dying/dead castee in order to restore them to vitality. Cordelia performs Vitalum Vitalis as part of her Seven Wonder challenge, and brings Zoe back to life. Fiona uses Vitalum Vitalis to revive Queenie after she is attacked by the Minotaur, and later uses it again to resurrect a premature baby in the hospital after Cordelia is blinded.

Vitalum Vitalis can be used in reverse. Fiona demonstrates this early in "Coven," when she drains the life force of a biochemist, temporarily restoring herself. This power is dangerous in the wrong hands. Used for good, it can be a blessing to others. Use it like Fiona, however, and innocent people could suffer.


Divination comes in many different forms in "American Horror Story." Primarily, the magical power gives witches knowledge, either through intuition or the use of an object. Divination could be considered a magical sixth sense; throughout the series, witches use it to sense and detect danger, see the future, and find out the truth when it comes to "AHS'" murder mayhem. Zoe uses Divination while casting a Scrying Spell to discover what happened to Nan. After she is blinded, Cordelia develops an intense divinatory power called The Sight, which allows her to see the truth about her witch-hunter husband, Hank.

When it comes to defensive magic, Divination is the most useful. Being able to sense or foresee danger to the coven allows a Supreme to protect her witches from hunters and other malevolent entities. A witch must be able to perform Divination as part of the Seven Wonders. This stumps Madison Montgomery — who is able to perform every other Wonder, costing her the position of Supreme, allowing Cordelia to assume supremacy instead.


Pyrokinesis, otherwise known as the ability to create and manipulate fire, is one of the most dangerous magical powers in "American Horror Story." Without proper control, a witch or warlock can easily burn themselves by accident, or let their fire spread without supervision. Some, like Kaylee (Alexandra Breckenridge), struggle to control their pyrokinetic powers: When her boyfriend threatens to leave her, Kaylee accidentally sets him on fire, putting her on the witch-hunters' radar.

Nevertheless, Pyrokinesis is a powerful ability that ranks high compared to other forms of magic in "AHS." Madison Montgomery manifests pyrokinetic abilities as her second power when she accidentally sets Joan Ramsey's curtains on fire. Later, she perfects the ability enough to light Fiona's cigarette for her, putting her in contention for the position of the next Supreme.

Pyrokinesis can mainly be used for offensive purposes, though witches have been known to use it defensively by conjuring a ring of fire to hide in. It's a simple power, but one of the strongest. Witches must be able to demonstrate pyrokinetic powers to pass the test of the Seven Wonders.

Tempus Infinituum

Another rare magical power, Tempus Infinituum allows a witch to travel through time. Mallory (Billie Lourd) manifests this exceptional ability during "Apocalypse." 

The ability gives Mallory a considerable boost in power, surpassing that of Cordelia the Supreme and putting Mallory on par with Michael Langdon (aka the Antichrist). Mallory's powers, initially, seem to be a variation of Misty Day's ability of Resurgence, only instead of resurrection via soul retrieval, Mallory can actually reverse and undo fatalities. A prime example of her power is displayed when she revives Coco after the heiress accidentally chokes to death in Episode 7, "Traitor."

Tempus Infinituum isn't an easy power to wield. For Mallory to unlock her true potential, Cordelia, the current Supreme, has to sacrifice herself so Mallory can step into her shoes. While the power isn't as accessible as other magical abilities, it ranks high as one of the strongest spells in the "American Horror Story" universe. It's thanks to Tempus Infinituum that Mallory is able to defeat the Antichrist and undo the apocalypse by traveling back in time to kill Michael years before his rise to power.


Another test of the Seven Wonders, Concilium refers to the ability to control another person's mind with magic. A powerful branch of magic, though admittedly highly unethical, witches such as Fiona Goode, Cordelia and the students of Miss Robichaux's Academy demonstrate this ability several times throughout "Coven." 

Fiona uses Concilium to deal with the police when they investigate Zoe and Madison for their involvement in the bus crash. One of the police officers resists, almost resulting in his death thanks to the intracranial pressure of Fiona's power. However, Fiona's magic overwhelms her victim's willpower, and she soon subdues him.

Concilium primarily enforces the will of the witch on another person, making it one of the most violating forms of magic. That doesn't stop the witches of "American Horror Story" however. Madison learns the art of Concilium from Fiona, while Misty Day uses Concilium to sick revived alligators on two poachers. Nan also uses Concilium to kill Joan Ramsey by forcing the murdering matriarch to drink bleach.

As long as the spellcaster has no conscience, Concilium is one of the most powerful tools in a witch's arsenal. With it, they can control other people, influence them into doing their bidding or, simply, make them forget important news. Is Concilium ethical? No. Powerful? Most definitely.


The power of Resurgence makes death obsolete. Misty Day (Lily Rabe) exhibits this rare power throughout "American Horror Story: Coven" and "Apocalypse." Her power to bring others back from death, as well as resurrect herself (as viewers discover during her big swamp comeback after being burned at the stake) surpasses even that of the Supreme. For this reason, the witches believe her to be the next Supreme, until she fails to return from hell during the Descensum test of the Seven Wonders.

Misty's power differs from Vitalim Vitalis. Whereas the latter requires a witch to give some of her own life force to balance the scales of life and death, Resurgence reaches beyond death to retrieve a soul and resurrect someone, without the witch having to sacrifice any life energy. A rare power, and impressive. Beside Misty, few witches or warlocks have managed to replicate this feat.

"Coven" sees Misty use the power of Resurgence to resurrect herself and Myrtle Snow, healing their extensive burns with Louisiana swamp mud. Misty helps Zoe Benson bring Madison Montgomery back to life — including reattaching her arm and curing a pre-existing heart murmur.


Being telekinetic seems like the most handy magical power, period. Left something in another room? A flick of your fingers, and it's in your hands. Want to move some furniture? No need for a delivery van.

A common magical ability, many witches and warlocks exhibit this power throughout the series. Telekinesis is the first power to manifest for Madison Montgomery; in a flashback, fans see her using the ability to drop a stage light on her director's head, and she later uses Telekinesis to flip the college bus carrying Kyle and his fraternity brothers. Other characters who demonstrate telekinetic abilities include Fiona Goode, her daughter Cordelia, Zoe, Misty and "Apocalypse" character Michael Langdon.

This power might be common among witches, but it undeniably is the most useful. Telekinesis can be applied for offensive and defensive measures. Plus, it can be utilized in countless scenarios during everyday life. All of the magical abilities in the "American Horror Story" universe are impressive — but Telekinesis is the best of the best.