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Ranking Doctor Strange's Best MCU Spells From Worst To Best

Ever since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced the world to Doctor Strange in 1963's "Strange Tales" #110, he's stayed one of Marvel Comics' most bizarre and unusual characters. While the character has never been as popular as some of his fellow heroes from the House of Ideas, he has always endured and been a part of numerous teams — including the Defenders, the Midnight Sons, the Illuminati, and various incarnations of the Avengers.

Doctor Strange made his live action debut in the largely forgotten 1978 television movie, "Dr. Strange," where he was portrayed by Peter Hooten. The film failed to land with audiences or critics, and so fans had to wait until 2016 for a proper cinematic version of the character, thanks to Marvel Studios. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the film was a critical and financial hit, and cemented Doctor Strange as one of the most integral characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Strange would go on to appear in "Thor: Ragnarok," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," "Spider-Man: No Way Home," and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," as well the Disney+ series "What If...?"

It's been an absolute delight for fans to see the awesome, and even psychedelic, spells that the character performed in the comics depicted on the big screen. However, while Strange's spells have always looked amazing, not all of them have been terribly useful or effective, which is why we've decided to rank his spells from worst to best.

10. Duplication Spell

"Avengers: Infinity War" saw several members of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy duke it out with Thanos on his home planet of Titan. The group managed to restrain Thanos while Mantis weakened his mind for them to nearly take the Infinity Gauntlet from his hand. However, when Star-Lord discovered that Thanos killed Gamora, he attacked Thanos in a fit of rage, breaking the Mad Titan out of Mantis' control and flinging the heroes off of him. Having near godlike powers from the four Infinity Stones already in his possession, Thanos destroyed a nearby moon and sent its pieces down on the heroes.

It was at this point that Doctor Strange launched a one-man counterstrike against Thanos with an array of impressive spells. While Thanos was able to dodge Strange's energy beams and retaliate with his own, Strange deflected Thanos' attack with a gateway into the Mirror Dimension. However, Strange's most extraordinary spell in this bout with the Mad Titan was that of creating countless duplicates of himself, with each one conjuring a crimson band to restrain Thanos. However, Thanos was so powerful by this point that he was able to blast through Strange's spell, cast off his duplicates, and get the Sorcerer Supreme in his grasp.

Strange's duplication spell was a high point in not only "Avengers: Infinity War," but in any MCU film. Too bad it was spent on someone strong enough to swat it away like it was fly; hopefully Strange will have the chance to use the duplication spell on someone less godlike, like a purse-snatcher.

9. Eldritch Whips

These have taken numerous forms throughout Strange's appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but have all been used for similar purposes.

In "Doctor Strange," Strange manages to conjure these otherworldly whips in his magical sparring session with Karl Mordo, and then again in his fight against Kaecilius and his followers at the New York City Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange got a lot of use out of these mystical whips, from fending off attackers to grappling objects nearby to fling at enemies.

However, the eldritch whips were not as effective in other battles. For example, in the battle on Titan in "Avengers: Infinity War," Strange cast a spell that created countless duplicates of himself, each one equipped with his own whip to restrain Thanos. However, even when the eldritch whips were combined with the duplication spell, they weren't enough to stop Thanos.

Strange's eldritch whips didn't prove to be that useful in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" when he chases Spider Man after the wall-crawler stole his Macchina di Kadavus. While Strange was able to use one of his whips to snatch Spider-Man and shove his consciousness into the astral plane, Spider-Man's "tingle" was strong enough to play keep away with Strange.

Again, this is a spell that, when up against a relatively minor foe, could really come in handy. But maybe Strange should've known that magical rope wouldn't be that handy against a superhero who can easily create his own rope.

8. Astral Plane Access

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Astral Plane is an alternate dimension of existence, a place where a person's spirit can roam freely while their body resides in the real world in a state of repose.

Doctor Strange was first introduced to the Astral Plane the hard way: When angrily expressing his doubt in the existence of magic, the Ancient One kicked his soul of his body and into the Astral Plane, where Strange watched reality unfold in extremely slow motion. As Strange decided to pursue his studies in the mystic arts at Kamar-Taj, he would steal books from its library and study them at night in his astral form while his physical body slept.

But summoning access to the Astral Plane didn't only help Strange with his studies — it also helped save his life. After suffering a severe injury from a brutal fight with Kaecilius and his followers, Strange barely manages to teleport himself to Metro-General Hospital, where he gets Christine Palmer to operate on him. However, because his body was too weak to guide her through the urgent procedure, Strange's soul leapt into the Astral Plane (and scared Palmer in the process), from where he was able to give her the support she needed to save his life.

Strange's mastery over his astral form may not pack the same punch as his other spells, but it's not without its uses.

7. Shield Conjuring

Conjuring shields has been one of Doctor Strange's primary spells throughout his time in the MCU. However, it was also one of the spells that he had the most trouble learning.

In "Doctor Strange," Strange has a one-on-one lesson with the Ancient One, in which she demonstrates how to conjure a shield with her hands. Strange gives it a shot but fails, blaming his damaged hands. However, he's proven wrong when the Ancient One has another person conjure a shield — with an amputated hand. Later on, Wong shows Strange how each of the three Sanctums produce massive magical shields that protect the Earth from otherworldly threats, giving him an idea of just how powerful they can be.

Strange continues struggling with shield conjuring during his fight with Kaecilius and his followers at the New York City Sanctum Sanctorum, in which he's able to summon one on each hand, but one of them falters and flickers. Not a great way to intimidate your enemy just before a brawl. However, by the time "Avengers: Infinity War" takes place, Strange produces a large spherical shield around himself, Iron Man, and Spider-Man to protect them when they crash land on Titan.

While it may have taken Strange some to grasp what seems to be a pretty standard spell for most sorcerers, he's ultimately able to master it and get considerable utility out of it.

6. Mirror Dimension Manipulation

Besides being one of the coolest-looking spells in Doctor Strange's arsenal, his ability to manipulate the mirror dimension is also one of his most useful.

The mirror dimension was first introduced in "Doctor Strange" as a parallel universe where Strange could practice his more advanced spells without causing any damage in the real world. This proved invaluable during Strange and Karl Mordo's fight with Kaecilius and his followers; Kaecilius was about to destroy the Sanctum in New York City, but Strange moved the battle to the Mirror Dimension, where the sorcerers fought each other in the folding and floating cityscape without causing civilian casualties.

Strange's use of the Mirror Dimension was less useful in his fight against Thanos on Titan, who was able to shatter it with that power of his Infinity Gauntlet. (To be fair, Thanos was almost as powerful as a god by this point, having four of the six Infinity Stones in his possession.) "Spider-Man: No Way Home" did see Strange have a little more luck with the Mirror Dimension; when Spider-Man absconded with the Macchina di Kadavus, Strange took the fight to the Mirror Dimension to get it back and send the multiversal visitors back to their original universes. While Strange managed to prevent the chase from affecting the real world, Peter Parker is a math whiz and used geometry to get the upper hand and trap Strange in the Mirror Dimension for 12 hours.

Mirror Dimension manipulation is certainly one of Strange's most handy spells in most situations, but it does seem less potent against cosmic demigods and teenage math nerds.

5. Mass Memory-Erasing

Doctor Strange's spell of erasing specific memories from an entire population has proven to be one of his most dangerous, yet most necessary.

In "Spider-Man: No Way Home," Peter Parker is stuck with the problem of everyone knowing that he's Spider-Man, which poses a great danger to his friends and family. Desperate for help, he turns to Strange to reverse time to when his secret identity wasn't revealed to the world. Strange informs him that, because he is no longer in possession of the Time Stone, he can't perform that spell. However, he does propose using a spell to make everyone forget that Peter is Spider-Man. However, Strange forgets that Parker is still an impulsive teenager, and the spell goes awry when Parker keeps interrupting to make requests. Strange stops the spell, but it turns out that the part that he did perform unintentionally brought Spider-Man villains from across the multiverse — specifically, villains who knew Spider-Man's real identity — into their universe.

Strange and Spider-Man are then stuck with the risky task of rounding up the villains and sending them back to their respective universes. While all three Spider-Men are taking on their foes at the Statue of Liberty, Strange arrives to send them back, but must also contend with the multiverse opening up and letting in more villains. However, the heroes prove successful, and Strange is able to not only send everyone back home, but complete the memory-wiping spell.

While this results in everyone forgetting that Peter Parker and Spider-Man ever existed, it does allow him to start over and become the hero he was meant to be.

4. Cloak of Levitation

Doctor Strange's cloak is an iconic part of the character's look from the comics, so it was a blast seeing it play such a prominent part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Strange first encountered the cloak in "Doctor Strange" in a display case at the New York Sanctum. However, it didn't become his partner (so to speak) until his fight with Kaecilius and his followers, first in fending off their physical attacks, then in rescuing Strange when he's thrown over the railing. His cloak proved essential throughout the film, and even wiped away his tears when Strange was in a somber moment.

Strange's cloak would go on to become one of his most reliable tools in battle. In "Avengers: Infinity War," Strange took on Ebony Maw as he tried to steal the Time Stone from Strange's necklace. Maw wrapped Strange in concrete and rebar, but the cloak managed to free Strange and fly him to safety. Even when Strange and the cloak are separated and Strange is beamed into Thanos' ship, the ever-loyal cloak flies after him and is beamed into the ship as well.

And in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," Peter's friend Ned Leeds almost fell to his death, only to be caught and slowly brought down by the cloak of levitation. Ned showed a bit of natural talent for magic, which may explain why it went to his rescue first.

3. Portal Creation

Doctor Strange's ability to conjure portals at a moment's notice is undoubtedly one of his most useful techniques, and has gotten him and others out of harm's way on numerous occasions throughout the MCU.

However, like a few other spells, Strange had to struggle before he could master that of portal creation. In "Doctor Strange," the Ancient One noticed how difficult it was for him to conjure a portal, so she transported him to the edge of a cliff on Mount Everest, and told him that the only way he could get back home was if he created a portal. The Ancient One and Mordo waited for some time, and began to worry about him freezing to death, until Strange finally mustered the will to teleport back to Kamar-Taj.

Of course, once Strange mastered his ability to summon portals, he wouldn't hesitate to use it to often hilarious results. For example, when he discovered that Thor and Loki had arrived on Earth, Strange needed to learn what they were doing there. And so, Strange stranded Loki in a portal where he was trapped in a state of constant falling, so that he could have a pleasant chat with Thor.

Strange also used portals to excellent effect in the fight against Thanos; the battle on Titan saw the good doctor using them to teleport members of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy to disorient Thanos with a barrage of surprise attacks.

2. Time Manipulation

While Stephen Strange was still studying the mystic arts at Kamar-Taj, he snuck into its library and dabbled in some advanced magic by reading the Book of Cagliostro and playing with the Eye of Agamotto. This was the first time he tried his hand at manipulating time by playing with the lifespan of an apple, making it age then returning it to its original state. Strange was then lectured by Karl Mordo and Wong on the risks of playing with nature. Of course, because Strange is brash and arrogant, this would not be the last time he bent time to his will.

When Strange and Mordo arrived in Hong Kong to take on Kaecilius and his followers, they discovered that they had already done considerable damage to the city and had caused many casualties, including Wong. Strange reversed the horrific events and undid the havoc, a move the usually strict Wong even approved of.

However, Strange's best use of time manipulation was in his fight against Dormammu in the Dark Dimension. Strange announced to Dormammu that he had come to bargain to prevent him from invading the Earth, to which Dormammu responded by seemingly destroying Strange. However, Strange returned to present a deal with Dormammu, which kept happening over and over again. Strange reveals to the confused Dormammu that he had trapped the two of them in a time loop that will go on forever, and that he would only break it if Dormammu ceased his evil plan. The plan worked, and Strange saved the world without even throwing a punch.

1. Time Perception

While there is only one time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when Doctor Strange looks into the timestream, it's inarguably the most important spell he's ever performed.

In "Avengers: Infinity War," Strange, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy are on Titan, waiting to confront Thanos. While the other heroes bicker over their plan of attack, Mantis notices Strange hovering in a sitting position while in a bizarre trance, with the Time Stone's green energy swirling around him. Strange wakes from his dazed state and tells the others that he was scanning the future to see the various outcomes of the approaching battle, looking at 14,000,605 different results. When asked how many of those futures feature the heroes winning, he grimly declares that there's only one.

Unbeknownst to everyone else, Thanos ultimately obtaining all six Infinity Stones and wiping out half of all living beings in the universe was all part of the future in which the heroes succeed. Even Strange is killed from Thanos' fateful snap, but not before he assures Tony Stark that this was the only way. However, their victory wouldn't come to pass until five years later. After the present Thanos has been killed, the Avengers go back in time to grab the Infinity Stones, and past Thanos arrives in their timeline and assaults their base. During the massive war at the Avengers compound, Strange motioned to Iron Man that their one chance to win was coming up, prompting Stark to steal the Infinity Stones from Thanos and use them to destroy the Mad Titan and his forces.