Throughout Marvel and DC Comics universes, there are numerous incredibly powerful magicians and sorcerers. However, none are as beloved – and as gifted – as Marvel’s Scarlet Witch and DC’s Zatanna. So, if the two powerful sorcerers ever fought, who would win, and why?
It would be an incredibly close fight, but Scarlet Witch would beat Zatanna more often than not. She can cast spells faster, alter reality to a much larger degree, and has fewer moral obligations than Zatanna, who promised her father not to use dark magic.
Wanda Maximoff went unhinged numerous times, using all her power to hurt others, whereas Zatanna makes sure not to kill. While some might consider that a strength, in a fight against somebody as powerful as Scarlet Witch, it’s a weakness, to say the least. Still, there are ways in which the DC fan-favorite sorcerer can take this fight. Let’s compare their powers in depth.
The powers of almost every superhero start with their physiology. Scarlet Witch and Zatanna aren’t different. Still, they don’t rely on physicality to beat their opponents or even survive, and there are clear differences between the two.
Wanda Maximoff is a human mutant with a genetic disorder that allows her access to some superpowers. Before she ever gained access to her magical powers – which are now the pillar of who Scarlet Witch is as a character – Wanda already had mild reality-warping powers and energy-projecting abilities stemming from her mutation.
So, Wanda is a human mutant that became a sorcerer later in life – somewhere around her mid-teenage years. She has the physical strength of a normal human being but can use her powers to go up to par with incredibly strong characters such as Thor.
As for her durability, she’s vulnerable to physical damage as any other human being – meaning, even a hard hit on the head could kill her – but with her incredible powers, Wanda is sometimes nearly immortal and can even resurrect herself. Basically, she has the physiology of a regular human but can use her powers for either attack or defense.
Zatanna is something similar, but not quite the same. She is a Homo Magi, or, as known in the DC Universe, a human born with magical abilities. Her genetic composition allows her to use magic but is generally the same as a human.
Just like Wanda, Zatanna has human physiology (regular physical strength, durability, etc.) but can amplify it with her powers and magical abilities.
Virtually, the two characters are different, but again, the same – human physiology with a slight genetic mutation/composition change. It’d be silly to try and determine which one is better, so they both get points in the physiology department.
Point(s): Scarlet Witch (1:1) Zatanna
Now, their experience levels are probably about the same as well. In earlier days, I’d say Zatanna probably had the upper hand. You see, she was born into a magical family – her father was one of the most skilled sorcerers in the world. Zatanna has practiced magic since she was a little girl – it comes naturally to her as breathing.
With time, she learned various types of magic and fought countless enemies that were above her power-wise, but she still managed to defeat them using her wits and tricks.
On the other hand, Wanda and her brother, Pietro, were born as mutants but didn’t really have anybody to teach them how to use their powers when they were kids. It wasn’t until her teenage days that Scarlet Witch started using her powers with more control – and even gained additional powers once she started controlling Chaos Magic bestowed upon her by Chthon.
Yes, we learn that Chthon came to her and chose Wanda the day she was born (Avengers #186), but she didn’t really know how to control or use those powers until her teens.
If you took teenage Zatanna and teenage Wanda, Zatanna would crush her, as she learned to harness her magical abilities from a young age. However, over time, Wanda faced so many threats, fought so many battles, and did so many things that her experience is – at least – a match to Zatanna’s.
They were both members of the most powerful heroic teams in their respective universes – Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League – and both operated solo as well. Scarlet Witch and Zatanna both deserve experience points. You can already see why the comparison between the two is so hard and polarizing among fans.
Point(s): Scarlet Witch (2:2) Zatanna
Zatanna had her magical abilities since she was born, and from the get-go, she had a family that taught her how to use the magic she possessed. Over the years, Zatanna learned all kinds of magic but usually used only her family’s traditional magic.
The vast majority of Zatanna’s spells require a verbal component – an incantation that focuses, amplifies, or even completely generates the spell. And, if Zatanna can say something in reverse, it will happen – whatever it is. Even if it means singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in reverse, it’ll conjure thunderbolts and lightning – very, very frightening!
Her magical powers are incredibly diverse, and she can basically do anything, given enough time, power, and saying the correct incantations. Her magic includes generating and manipulating fire, ice, water, lightning, electricity, rocks, winds, light/darkness, etc.
She also has telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, interdimensional traveling, time travel/time freezing, flight, force field shields, etc. Also, Zatanna can deflect physical damage and reverse it to hurt the one who inflicted it instead of herself. There’s much more to her powers, including mild reality alteration.
On the other hand, you have Scarlet Witch, who has control over Chaos Magic – dark magic that allows the wielder to alter reality to their will. That means Wanda, at her strongest self, can do whatever she can think of.
That would include all the above-mentioned things Zatanna can do, plus biological manipulations, energy manipulation, absorption, and transferals – and even complete reality alteration, changing the reality of an entire planet, possibly even the universe.
Even if you take away the Chaos Magic, Scarlet Witch still has the mutation that allows her to use her Hexes and similar skills that Zatanna simply doesn’t have. Both are incredibly powerful, but I believe Wanda’s powers are just slightly more diverse, which is why she gets the point in this category.
Point: Scarlet Witch (3:2) Zatanna
Mental Stability & Intelligence
Now, I won’t waste too many words on this category because the winner here is as clear as day. Zatanna is incredibly intelligent, composed, cool, and stable. The fact that she can remain calm even in the most stressful situations, and use her brains to outwit her opponents in those situations, is what allowed Zatanna to beat opponents that were twice as powerful as her.
On the other hand, Scarlet Witch is as unstable as they come. She went off the rails numerous times and did things that no hero would ever do. Yes, she is more powerful when she goes insane, but then she has almost no control of her actions, emotions, or powers. That’s something a calm, composed sorcerer like Zatanna could easily exploit.
Even when Wanda is mentally stable, she’s not as intellectually gifted as Zatanna. Don’t get me wrong, Scarlet Witch is smart, just not as smart as the DC’s sorcerer heroine. Zatanna wins this category by a landslide.
Point: Zatanna (3:3) Scarlet Witch
We’re all tied up now, so this category will be the deciding factor. Since Scarlet Witch and Zatanna come from different universes, we can’t really compare their mutual battles. What we can do, though, is to see who had the better features, victories, or accomplishments in their respective universes.
As I said, Zatanna can will almost anything into existence by simply saying it backward. She once turned two vampires into pools of blood simply by saying “eb enog” – or “be gone” backward.
She can also teleport through dimensions with a thought, trap incredibly powerful demons inside her hat, and so much more. Even if you take away her magic, Zatanna is an advanced martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant. In Zatanna Vol. 2 #1, we learn that her father taught her how to fight, sayings she should rely on her wits, and her fists should her magic fail.
However, all that is nothing compared to what the Scarlet Witch was capable of on several occasions. Now, she is the most powerful when she goes insane and doesn’t always have access to such powers. Still, some of her features are very important to mention, as they put perspective on why some people call Wanda the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
Remember the God of Chaos, Chthon, that I’ve mentioned earlier? You know, the guy that gave Wanda access to Chaos Magic and ultimately made her as powerful as she is? He’s sometimes referred to as the “multiversal cancer” and is widely considered one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
He could destroy universes in a “blink of an eye,” killed Doctor Strange by simply being in his presence. His mere existence corrupted and poisoned Eternity – one of the oldest, most powerful entities ever to exist. Want to know what happened to Chthon?
Well, Wanda completely decimated him. She ate Chthon – completely absorbed him and became the Goddess of Chaos, absorbing the True Darkhold, which contains “infinite knowledge” – meaning her magical skills are, quite literally, infinite.
On another occasion, Wanda became the conduit of the Life Force, granting her unfathomable powers. She created the House of M – rewriting the entire planet’s reality, making Magneto the supreme leader and others his subordinates. At the end of the storyline, she simply uttered the words “no more mutants” and wiped off the powers of 99% of the mutants in the world.
Later, in the Uncanny X-Men, it was revealed that those words affected not only the planet but the entire multiverse. Sure, Wanda’s powers were amplified then, and she lost them later, but you see where I’m going with this.
DC fans, excuse me if I could not find the best of the best features Zatanna had ever done. I haven’t read all her comics, so these were the only ones I could think of and find through research. However, there’s a reason Wanda is considered to be one of the most powerful beings in the universe. She gets the point here, and it’s not even close.
Point: Scarlet Witch (4:3) Zatanna
Scarlet Witch vs. Zatanna: Who Wins?
In the end, the scoreboard says 4:3 for Scarlet Witch, and I think that’s about the same number of victories she’d have against Zatanna in a seven-fight series. Wanda’s magic is certainly, undoubtedly more powerful, and, given her experience, she’d simply overpower Zatanna in most cases.
Also, Zatanna never uses dark magic and never attacks to kill – only to defend herself or subdue the opponent. On the other hand, Wanda has no issues with killing, especially when she goes “unhinged,” which is yet another advantage for Scarlet Witch.
However, DC’s sorcerer has a good chance, too, for several reasons. First, Zatanna’s intelligence and composure in battle would allow her to outthink and outsmart Scarlet Witch, especially when Wanda goes insane – which she does quite frequently.
Also, Wanda has no real mental or telepathic protection. Zatanna could simply utter “peels” (sleep in reverse) and say nighty-nighty to Scarlet Witch. That is if she’s even given a chance to utter a single word before Wanda decimates her.
In the end, if you take away their magic and it’s pure hand-to-hand combat, Zatanna beats Wanda, hands down. She had trained her entire life and is prolific in melee combat. Although Scarlet Witch also received training from Captain America, she’s just not on Zatanna’s level in that regard.
To conclude, Scarlet Witch wins based on the sheer power and magnitude of her magic, but Zatanna has a solid chance at victory as well. It’d ultimately depend on the storyline and the writer’s preference.