The Four Emperors (Yonko) in One Piece are among the most powerful characters in the whole franchise and also among the most intriguing ones. Their roster didn’t change much over the years, and they are considered to be a formidable force by practically everyone, rivaling some other major players. In this article, we are going to compare two of the Emperors to determine who the stronger one is and who would win; the characters in question are Shanks and the late Whitebeard.
Shanks was stronger than Whitebeard at the moment of the latter’s death. Old Whitebeard was “the strongest man in the world”, but at that age, he would’ve lost to Shanks, who was much younger and a brilliant fighter. A younger Whitebeard, though, would easily have defeated Shanks.
The rest of this article will further elaborate on the above-given answer, as we are going to compare Shanks and Whitebeard in more detail. Through several categories, you are going to see who the stronger of the two is and why our answer is like it is.
Origins & Overview
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 simple name exudes great power, as Baggy himself proved; his claim that he previously had a “brotherly bond” with Shanks was one of the many things that earned him the respect of ex-inmates at Impel Down. In addition, Baggy did not hesitate to use the names of Shanks and his former captain, Gol D. Roger, to maintain his respect among them.
Edward Newgate, also known as Whitebeard, “The Strongest Man in the World” was the captain of The Whitebeard Pirates. Whitebeard was part of the Four Emperors during his lifetime, he was killed in the Battle of the Ford Navy by his former subordinate Marshall D. Teach (and his crew). He symbolically represented all the Free Pirates including the Emperors, the New World, the old era of Roger.
As Yonko, Whitebeard and Shanks are on the same level of notoriety, which is why we could not pick the winner here. Sure, Whitebeard was eventually killed and replaced by Blackbeard, but that doesn’t really mean that Shanks is any better in the context of this general category.
Point: Both (1:1)
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Shanks also possesses incredible resistance to pain, so much so that he remains impassive after losing his arm to a Sea King. Even with only one arm, Shanks has enough power to effectively counter Whitebeard’s Bisento with his sword, although the latter was a large man capable of easily overpowering giants and platoons of the Navy.
Whitebeard had superhuman physical strength. He stopped a giant Galleon with one hand while it was racing, so he easily managed to take the giants by force. He could also jump very high despite his size and weight. He also had extraordinary stamina and vitality despite his great age.
Whitebeard was still fighting even after having had his internal organs charred and half of his face torn off. Finally, during the war at the top, he survived on the battlefield with 267 swords, 152 bullets, 46 cannon shots, two huge holes on his chest and all this added to his serious heart disease.
Now, this point goes to Shanks simply because we didn’t compare them at their primes. For the sake of this comparison, we considered the old Whitebeard and Shanks in his prime, which is why this point ultimately went to the latter. In his prime, Whitebeard would have been stronger than Shanks.
Point: Shanks (2:1) Whitebeard
Shanks is the only one among the Four Emperors that doesn’t have Devil Fruit powers, as he has never eaten one; from what we can gather, it seems that Shanks never had any desire to eat a Devil Fruit whatsoever.
Whitebeard ate a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit, the Gura Gura no Mi which provided him with the ability to slice through the air and anything in front of his attack; he could thus cause tsunamis and earthquakes, by gripping the air with his fingers and could also cut very large portions of land and sea causing them to wobble.
By combining this ability with his Bisento, he could also make slashing attacks out of it. According to Sengoku, its fruit is capable of destroying the world.
Basically, anyone with a Devil Fruit wins against Shanks in this category, which means that Whitebeard also gets this point. Shanks doesn’t use any Devil Fruit powers, so it’s quite clear why Whitebeard gets this point.
Point: Whitebeard (2:2) Shanks
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 the Haki of Kings and the Haki of Armament.
Whitebeard perfectly mastered the three types of Haki. His highly developed mastery of the Haki of Observation is demonstrated in the flashbacks. It also seems that he was able to put his Armament Haki in his Bisento. Fossa informs that Whitebeard possesses the Haki of the Kings during the Battle of Marineford.
Sure, Whitebeard was an impressive Haki user, but in all honesty, Shanks is probably the best and most powerful Haki user in the whole franchise. He has trained specifically to use these powers and even in his prime, Whitebeard would not stand a chance against Shanks’ Haki skills.
Point: Shanks (3:2) Whitebeard
Shanks is usually depicted with a sword. Although his use was only briefly displayed, the fact that he was able to match a Whitebeard hit with just one arm is a clear indication of the strength of his attacks. Mihawk is classified as the greatest swordsman in the world, and Shanks is a former rival of the latter which makes it possible to judge his mastery of the weapon.
Edward Newgate’s weapon of choice is revealed to be a Bisento, a huge Japanese halberd. It is a sharp weapon, measuring its size, that is to say nearly 5 meters. By concentrating his Haki in his Bisento, Whitebeard can make dozens of opponents fly with a single blow. With Whitebeard’s tremendous powers and fighting skills, the Bisento is a formidable and quite powerful weapon.
On par with Mihawk and Zoro, Shanks is certainly the better swordfighter among the two, especially when compared to an old(er) Whitebeard. Shanks’ swordsmanship skills become even more impressive in light of the fact that he is this powerful while using only one hand for fighting.
Point: Shanks (4:2) Whitebeard
Shanks vs Whitebeard – Who would win?
And now for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. Let us continue.
Now, this comparison considered an old Whitebeard and a young Shanks. Had we compared Whitebeard at his prime, he would have easily defeated Shanks, but since Shanks is much younger than Whitebeard, that would be a very hypothetical clash. That is why we opted for the contemporary conditions, despite the difference, and that is why we are fairly certain that Shanks would win.
Shanks is younger, he is an amazing fighter, a skilled swordsman and is probably the best Haki user. Whitebeard was killed by Blackbeard, ultimately, he was also very sick and much weaker than he was, although he was still among the most powerful characters in the franchise; compared to most other characters, Whitebeard was a monster, but Shanks was so powerful that he would certainly win.