Is Shanks the Strongest Pirate in One Piece? (& What Are His Powers?)

Is Shanks the Strongest Pirate in One Piece? (& What Are His Powers?)

A lot has been written about Shanks here on Fiction Horizon, but he is really such an amazing character that he wholly deserves all our attention. This article is also going to be about Shanks, as we are going to tell you a bit about his powers and abilities. Our goal is to determine whether Shanks is – at this moment – the strongest pirate in the world of One Piece, which is why we have undertaken the task of writing this article. We are also going to tell you what his exact powers and abilities are.

Shanks is certainly among the three strongest living pirates in One Piece. We actually never saw the full extent of his powers so we do not know if he is the strongest living pirate, but the only ones that could be stronger than him at this moment are Blackbeard and Luffy (Mihawk is a better swordsman, but not a better pirate overall), but that still needs to be determined.

The rest of this article is going to focus on Shanks and his powers and abilities. Our main goal in this article is to determine whether Shanks is stronger than the other living pirates in One Piece. If you don’t know the whole story of One Piece, we have to warn you that there are going to be spoilers in the following paragraphs.

What are Shanks’ powers and abilities?

Shanks’ true abilities remain unknown, as he has yet to be seen seriously engaged in battle. However, as a member of the Four Emperors of the New World, his raw physical power is believed to be immense, and he is known to be one of the four most powerful pirates in the world. Shanks did not fear Whitebeard, the strongest man in the world, and even had enough strength to oppose him, while some pirate captains trembled at the mere mention of the latter’s name.

He was able to swim ten years before Luffy set out on his adventure, which means he didn’t consume Devil Fruits while rivaling Mihawk. It was also stated by the Five Elders that he is one of the few people capable of stopping Marshall D. Teach. His power must be quite large since Admiral Akainu had fought many men and a few Warlords of the Sea in Marineford until he got to Luffy, but didn’t challenge Shanks when the Emperor appeared.

He also appears to be an excellent swimmer, having reached young Luffy in the middle of the sea before the Lord of the Coast could devour him. According to Buggy, Shanks was a powerful fighter at a young age, and if he hadn’t been “naive”, Buggy would have taken him on his crew.

As a member of the Four Emperors, Shanks is not only a key figure in piracy but also one of the most feared in the New World: his mere name exudes great power, as Buggy himself has proven; his assertion that he previously had a “brotherly bond” with Shanks was one of the many things that earned him the respect of ex-convicts at Impel Down.

Additionally, Buggy didn’t hesitate to use the names of Shanks and his former captain, Gol D. Roger, to maintain his respect among them. Even the fact that Buggy was seen talking to Shanks was taken as a testament to Buggy’s own power over former prisoners, who were unaware that the two had always acted like this. They mistakenly thought it was because Buggy wasn’t afraid of an Emperor due to his own strength.

Shanks is powerful enough to end the war at Marineford with just words; when he said there should be no more fighting, no one stood up to challenge him. When Shanks offered Blackbeard a fight, the latter declined and decided to leave, as it was too soon for him and his crew to fight Shanks. Furthermore, when Shanks demanded that the dignity of Whitebeard and Portgas D. Ace not be violated following their deaths, Sengoku himself also decided to end the war and took responsibility for it, showing that despite his rank as a pirate, Shanks is highly respected by Sengoku.

Another testament to his influence: he managed to land a special interview with the Five Elders, despite his status; it nevertheless shows that he knows how to distinguish himself among his peers as someone who is reasoned and cooperative.

Shanks is usually depicted with a sword. Although its use was only briefly displayed, the fact that he was able to match a strike from Whitebeard with just one arm is a clear indication of the strength of his attacks. Shanks is also powerful enough to stop Akainu’s Magma Fist using his sword and Armament Haki.


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Mihawk is ranked as the greatest swordsman in the world, and Shanks is an old rival of the latter which allows us to compare his mastery of the weapon. Shanks seems to have favored the use of his left arm before losing it, as he is still seen holding his sword with his left hand during flashbacks. He is presumed to have been left-handed.

So far, Shanks has only wielded a sword in battle. His sword, Griffon, is a large saber with a single-edged blade. Shanks has wielded three different swords at different times in the past: two different swords as an apprentice pirate aboard Gol D. Roger’s ship, and another while in Luffy’s hometown. In One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, Shanks wields a large gun which he uses during certain combos.

Shanks can use all three types of Haki. Even Whitebeard complimented him on his Haki when he used it during his “visit”. He demonstrated the use of Royal Haki and Armament Haki. When Shanks and Whitebeard clashed, the “heavens” above them split apart, showing the incredible power of Armament Haki that both Emperors had imbued on their weapons.

During the Battle of Marineford, he imbued Armament Haki onto his sword in order to block a Logia-type attack from Akainu. Shanks can use Observation Haki, and at a fairly strong level since he spots a strange presence among the people of Wano Country. Shanks can also use Royal Haki, an ability only one in a million can use.

After saving Luffy from a sea monster, he scared the monster away with an angry look using his Haki. Later, as Shanks boards Whitebeard’s ship, many of Whitebeard’s men (experienced men who survived in the New World) have been knocked out by his super-powered Royal Haki and the ship itself even began to take physical damage from the mere presence of Shanks, indicating that he exudes great power.

Oda mentioned in an SBS that Shanks could have eliminated the 100,000 pirates and fish-men opposed to the Straw Hats during the Fishman Island Arc with his Royal Haki, while Luffy managed to eliminate “just” 50,000 of them.

Is Shanks the strongest pirate in One Piece?

Well, based on what we have said about his powers and abilities, Shanks is certainly among the strongest living pirates in the world of One Piece. He is a Yonko, one of the rare pirates respected by the Five Elders and a pirate whose name means a lot, so much – in fact – that his mere presence was enough to stop the Marineford War. This speaks for itself. On top of that, there is no living pirate brave enough to face Shanks at this moment (save for, perhaps, Luffy, but the two are friends).

As for the living pirates, the only two names that are somewhere near Shanks’ level are Blackbeard and Luffy. Blackbeard is not a great fighter per se, but he has two Devil Fruits and that makes him quite dangerous; on top of that, he fights dirty. But, we have to state that Blackbeard fears Shanks and has refused to fight the red-haired pirate in the past, which is a sign that he thinks he would lose.


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As for Luffy, his powers have been and will continue to grow, so he will eventually surpass Shanks. At this moment, after unlocking Gear 5 and the true powers of his Devil Fruit, he is probably somewhere near Shanks’ level, but since the two of them are friends, a fight between them is not likely. As for Mihawk, whom you’ve probably thought about, Mihawk is a better swordsman than Shanks, but he is not the stronger pirate overall.

This is why Shanks could easily be the strongest living pirate; he seems to be stronger than Blackbeard and Luffy might be on his level at the moment, but that is debatable. As for his predecessors, Shanks was on the same level of power as Whitebeard in his old age and he did not reach the level of power that Gol D. Roger had.

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