Not every character in the Marvel Universe possesses the same strength or power. Sometimes, it’s obvious who’s stronger and who would win in a potential fight, but sometimes, it’s a close call. Doctor Strange and Thor both possess incredible power in their respective ways, but who is stronger?
In a surprise hand-to-hand fight, Thor would decimate Doctor Strange with his brutal strength and durability. However, given prep time, Strange simply has too many tricks up his magical sleeve, and it would be hard for anyone to beat him, even Thor in his strongest form.
It’s hard to choose a side and determine which of the two would win without going a bit deeper into their history, powers, and character arcs. Let’s break it down to get to an educated answer.
Doctor Strange and His Powers
To understand how powerful Doctor Strange is, you need to know who he is and how he became Doctor Strange. Before he became the Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange was a brilliant, world-class surgeon.
One day, he lost touch in his hands due to a brutal car accident, making him seek guidance and help in the mystic arts. The Ancient One, his teacher, told him that all of it was meant to happen, and he was meant to come to see her and learn the mystic arts, for he would become the best of them all; the strongest Sorcerer Supreme and protector of reality ever.
He learned dozens and dozens of martial arts and the use of magic, mystic objects, spells, and tricks to protect Earth from the biggest, interdimensional threats. So, what exactly can he do, and where does his power come from?
Magic, Spells & Tricks
The Vishanti gods grant Doctor Strange his powers to protect Earth and its reality. Virtually all his magic powers stem from there, apart from the powers his mystical artifacts grant him, like flying with the Cloak of Levitation, teleporting with the Sling Ring, etc.
As for his powers, the limit to his spells simply doesn’t exist. He can create magical discs as weapons, protective fields, energy beams, bind in place even the strongest enemies, access other dimensions, etc.
He also has universal awareness, meaning he can locate any being in the universe at any moment using nothing but meditation. Strange can also teleport, use astral projection to separate his mind and consciousness from his body (he can do the same to his enemies), and use a virtually unlimited amount of spells with unlimited effects.
Physical & Mental Abilities
As for Strange’s physical abilities, he’s just a human, meaning he doesn’t possess brutal, extraterrestrial physical strength. However, he is a master of the mystic arts, and he’s well-trained in over a hundred martial arts, so even without his magic, he’s more than capable of hand-to-hand combat.
However, what separates him from most superheroes isn’t his physical strength but his mental toughness and intelligence. He was on a genius level even before he started pursuing the mystic arts. His intelligence was only further enhanced as he trained.
Strange can make split-second decisions, and given just a little bit of time to prep; he’s unbeatable. He fought some of the mightiest inter-dimensional beings in the universe – and won, including Dormammu, Galactus, etc.
This ability should fall under the magic & spells category, but I left it out as a separate skill because it’s simply a game-changer. Doctor Strange possesses the Eye of Agamotto that holds the Time Stone.
It enables Strange to look back and forth in time, change it, freeze it, etc. That’s what makes him almost impossible to beat. Even when fighting the mightiest opponents, his ability to predict the future, freeze them in time, or rewind the clock is hard to fight against.
Thor and His Powers
Thor is often regarded as the mightiest Avenger. He has unfathomable god-like powers, wielding Mjolnir, controlling and creating thunder, and immunity to most human diseases and weapons. He took on the full force of a star over his back and survived.
We had first seen Thor appear in Marvel Comics in 1962. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber created Thor Odinson, an Asgardian prince known as the God of Thunder. So, what makes him such a strong character in the Marvel Universe?
Mjolnir is the name of Thor’s enchanted hammer. The dwarves of Nidavellir forged it from Uru metal, while Odin, Thor’s father, enchanted it so that only he who is worthy of wielding the hammer can possess the power of Thor.
That means, when worthy, most of Thor’s powers come from wielding Mjolnir – the ability to summon, control, and manipulate thunder, lightning, and rain, flying (by spinning the hammer), throwing it, and summoning it back into his hands like a boomerang, etc.
I say when he’s worthy because there were situations where he became unworthy of wielding Mjolnir, so he lost most of his powers. Also, he used a new, even more powerful weapon called the Stormbreaker after Mjolnir got destroyed by his evil sister, Hela.
Stormbreaker was a battle ax with the ability to summon the Bifrost itself – an intergalactic portal, allowing Thor to travel through space in a blink of an eye.
Brutal Strength & Resilience
Apart from wielding Mjolnir and its powers, Thor is not a human being but an Asgardian. He possesses incredible physical strength (he fought Hulk, Thanos, and other mighty beings), but his durability makes him so mighty.
Thor can take the hardest punch, get up, and keep fighting. He’s also immune to most human diseases. Mjolnir recharges his life force, meaning he can somewhat heal when he gets hurt.
He’s incredibly strong, incredibly fast, durable, and knows how to fight. One might say his only physical weakness is his not-so-high intelligence. To prove he’s incredibly strong even without Mjolnir, just watch Thor: Ragnarok, where he fought the Hulk without his hammer and still held his ground, even knocked him down.
Doctor Strange vs. Thor: Who Wins?
Doctor Strange, when given time to prepare, is virtually unbeatable. He just has too many spells and too many tricks – he can send Thor to a completely different dimension, freeze him in time before hurting him. His magic knows no limits.
However, he’s still just a human – a mighty sorcerer, but still, just a human. His weakness lies in the fact that he needs time to cast his spells, which can be exposed and used against him, as the Ebony Maw did in Avengers: Infinity War in the MCU.
Therefore, it’s not crazy to think that Thor could exploit that weakness to catch him off guard and use his speed and strength to prevent him from ever casting a spell, beating him with a single strike.
Note that Thor fought the mightiest beings in the universe and held his ground against the seemingly unbeatable Hulk, and even Thanos – who he would’ve killed hadn’t he sought revenge for Loki and aimed for his head (Avengers: Infinity War).
So, I believe that Doctor Strange would win given prep time, but he probably couldn’t kill Thor – just send him far away to another dimension or trap him in a Mirror dimension (a Doctor Strange skill I believe is highly underrated).
However, if we’re talking about quick, no-preparation combat, Thor could easily exploit Strange’s weaknesses and defeat him, just like he did with Thanos and other interdimensional beings.
Can Doctor Strange Lift Thor’s Hammer?
To lift Mjolnir and wield Thor’s powers, you need to be worthy. He who is not worthy can’t even move the hammer, let alone wield its powers. We’ve seen some characters being able to lift the hammer, like Vision, Magneto, Captain America, and Storm.
However, not all of them were worthy, as lifting the hammer and wielding Thor’s powers from it aren’t the same thing.
Doctor Strange could lift Mjolnir using magic – for instance, he could use his Sling Ring to create a portal under the hammer and lift it that way, but in terms of physically lifting the hammer, he couldn’t do it, let alone possess the power of Thor.
On one occasion, Magneto used his mutation and metal manipulation to lift Mjolnir, but he still wasn’t worthy of wielding its powers. The same would happen if Strange used his magic to lift it.