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The most powerful video game villains of all time

Picture of Alduin
Alduin, the huge and powerful dragon from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Since their inception, video games have become a huge part of our society. Originally played only by arcade goers and computer fanatics, they’re now a common sight in almost every household.

Pretty much everyone has played some form of video game in their lifetime, and pretty much everyone has been touched by the stories and characters from at least one game that they’ve played.

It’s a fact that video games are akin to movies today in terms of how much of a societal impact they have. We all love our favorite heroes, but what makes the stories in these games so compelling is the fact that they have very dislikable villains.

Over time the villains in games have become more and more developed, to the point that they now have just as much backstory as our beloved heroes. In fact, sometimes they’re even more developed than the hero.

To keep stories relevant and interesting though, game designers have made their villains increasingly more and more powerful over the years, to the point that today we’re often fighting demigods and omnipotent beings.

As a testament to how ridiculously powerful our video game villains have become, let’s take a look at some of the most insanely powerful evil characters we’ve ever faced.

1 The Lich King

Picture of The Lich King
The Lich King from Warcraft, easily one of the most powerful video game villains

Ruling over the undead scourge from the icy peaks of Northerend, The Lich King is perhaps the most memorable enemy from the entire Warcraft franchise.

This is likely due to the fact that no matter where you stand in the “humans vs orcs” dichotomy, the undead scourge and the Lich King are the enemy.

This collective rise against a common enemy is always a great way to cement a villain as being the ultimate evil.

What makes the Lich King so powerful is that he commands a vast army of undead minions telepathically from his frozen throne in the northernmost frostiest region of the realm.

He also managed to possess a plot central character, Arthas, and eventually transformed Arthas into his vassal.

2 Sephiroth

Picture of Sephiroth
Sephiroth, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VII

Just the name of this villain has the ability to send shivers down virtually anyone’s spine.

As one of the main antagonists of the Final Fantasy universe, and primary antagonist of the ever popular Final Fantasy VII game, Sephiroth is certainly one of the most memorable video game villains of all time.

However, his power is also vast and immense, limited only by your imagination.

He’s a master swordsman capable of swinging his blade so fast that you can’t even see him move, and able to carve into rock or metal with ease.

If that isn’t enough, he also has a wide range of mystical powers such as teleportation, the ability to induce hallucinations, levitation, along with casting staple magical spells from the Final Fantasy universe.

This great villain’s evil persona seems to only be overshadowed by his immense power and his seemingly limitless capabilities.

3 Sarah Kerrigan

Picture of Sarah Kerrigan
Sarah Kerrigan, the self-styled Queen of Blades aka the Zerg Queen

Originally a protagonist in the first Starcraft game, Sarah Kerrigan was entered into the Terran Ghost program during childhood due to her impressive aptitude in terms of psionic power.

During the fateful battle of New Gettysburg however, she was captured by the insectoid alien species known as the Zerg, and we all thought that was the last we’d see of her.

Blizzard had another plan for her though. Due to her impressive psionic powers, the Zerg Overmind had her infested and turned into one of them, mixing her psionic powers with the vast physical and evolutionary capabilities of the Zerg species.

After the fall of the Overmind, Sarah Kerrigan took command of the Zerg and became the primary antagonist of the Starcraft franchise.

With the ability to turn invisible, slice and dice any living thing apart with her brutal claws, and command a vast number of Zerg colonies, this fallen human is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

4 Ganon

Picture of video game villain Ganon
Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

The main antagonist of the Zelda series, this vile villain has come in several shapes and sizes. In the original Legend of Zelda game, Ganon was simply an enormous monster.

However, in subsequent games he was given more human features, albeit temporarily as he is known to shed his human skin to transform back into a devilish creature once again if the need arises.

What makes this villain so powerful isn’t the fact that he’s secretly an evil beast, or that he wields some impressive magical capabilities, but it’s that he possesses the Triforce of Power, an iconic embodiment of god-like power, granted to him by the goddess Din, one of the three creators of Hyrule.

The fact that this monster wields the power of a god is what makes him devastating and feared, and also what makes him a compelling and exciting villain to face off against.

5 Dagoth Ur

Picture of Dagoth Ur
Dagoth Ur, who is the primary antagonist of Elder Scrolls: Morrowind

Originally named Voryn Dagoth, this elven politician from the Elder Scrolls series is anything but a boring politician.

When he began the war against the Dwemer to stop them from building a robotic god to use as a weapon, he sealed the fate of the Dwemer race and completely eliminated them from existence.

The only reason we know they ever existed is because their ruins litter the landscape of Tamriel and their visually impressive armor and weapons are regularly wielded by many in the Elder Scrolls franchise.

The transformation of Voryn Dagoth into Dagoth Ur is what made him so powerful though, as he used the same tools the Dwemer master craftsman Kagrenac had designed for constructing their robot god, to extract godlike power from the Heart of Lorkhan.

This power had its drawbacks however, as Voryn started to become mildly insane from its consumption.

He was locked inside of Red Mountain by the ever famous Lord Indoril Nerevar, where his madness continued to ferment over many years of slumber.

Due to the power he had extracted from the heart however, he was immortal and he spent the next several centuries plotting his escape.

His plans begin to come to full fruition in the third installment of the Elder Scrolls saga: Morrowind, where he is the primary antagonist who must be defeated using the most unconventional means.

6 Diablo

A picture of video game villain Diablo
Diablo, who looks like a video game villain if ever there was one

The posterchild of the Diablo franchise, the Lord of Terror is certainly one villain that no one can ever forget.

Undefeatable through ordinary combat, the world of Sanctuary’s only hope is that his power can be contained in a soulstone and locked away to be guarded for the centuries.

Of course this plan never seems to work, as we wouldn’t have three installments of the game if it did.

Diablo uses various tactics to escape his soul prison such as corrupting the minds of mortals (Diablo I), calling upon his demonic servants to free him and ultimately wage war on Sanctuary (Diablo II), and promising immense power to a witch if she manages to free him and grant him a host body to manifest in (Diablo III).

Among this archdemon’s vast array of powers is his iconic and brutal red lightning that’s been known to kill players who are unwary enough to allow it to caress their pixelated bodies for more than a second.

He also has the ability to manipulate and play on the fears of his adversaries by creating illusions and instilling them with terror, as well as the power to encase any foe in a cage of bones that is nearly impossible to escape from (unless of course, you’re properly geared).

There’s also his power over fire that even the most well-trained fire mages of Warcraft couldn’t even fathom.

Oh, not to mention command over an infinite horde of terrifying demonic creatures.

7 Dormin

Picture of Dormin
The terrifying Dormin from Shadow of the Colossus

Few video game villains are as ominous and crafty as Dormin from Shadow of the Colossus.

This crafty devil was originally the undisputed god of the Forbidden Land until one day a turn of events lead the people to believe that it was evil.

As such, a shaman named Lord Emon fragmented and sealed Dormin away in the bodies of the sixteen colossi, the enemies that Wander (the player character) must defeat throughout the game.

Wielding vast powers of psychological manipulation, mind control, and possession, as well as the ability to return from the dead, Dormin is a seriously powerful and omnipotent being who simply can’t be defeated by conventional means and must be imprisoned in order to preserve the sanctity of life in the Forbidden Land.

Interestingly enough the player character doesn’t actually fight Dormin during the game, as you are essentially the vassal of the spirit, doing its bidding due to being possessed.

8 Malthael

Picture of Malthael
Malthael from the Diablo franchise, who is even more powerful than Diablo

The angel of death is one of the most memorable enemies from the entire Diablo franchise, as his mission and goals appear to be somewhat noble: to end the war between angels and demons and create everlasting peace in Sanctuary.

His methods on the other hand are quite questionable as he seeks to eliminate all of humanity in order to achieve this goal.

After facing the ever powerful Diablo in Diablo III, we may have thought we defeated the most powerful enemy in the Diablo universe.

We couldn’t have been more wrong however, as Malthael proves to be far more lethal than Diablo himself.

Due to his ability to be completely attuned to everything around him, Malthael is capable of detecting the direction of a strike before the striker even begins their attack.

This allows him to defend from any potential attacks with lightning speed and lethal precision using his twin scythe hooks.

This is only the tip of his powers however, as his combat prowess is only part of what makes him lethal.

By having complete control over death itself, Malthael can call upon the spirits of the dead to tear the flesh from his adversaries, making this fallen angel one of the most feared and powerful video game villains of all time.

9 Mehrunes Dagon

Picture of Mehrunes Dagon
Mehrunes Dagon from Elder Scrolls, who has ambitions to destroy the world…obviously

As one of the 17 Daedric Princes of the Elder Scrolls universe, Mehrunes Dagon wields immense godlike power. He’s perhaps the fiercest and most terrifying of all, as he is in fact the prince of destruction and change.

With a title like that, you can easily assume that this villain is incredibly powerful. His ambitions of destroying the world begin to be realized in the fourth installment of the franchise, Oblivion, where he begins opening portals to his hellish realm of Oblivion across the Imperial province of Cyrodiil.

This leads to what is now referred to as “The Oblivion Crisis”, in which at one point the omnipotent prince of destruction himself climbs forth from a portal to wreak havoc and destruction across the Imperial City.

The player character can’t even hope to stand against him, and your primary prerogative during this moment of gameplay is to in fact avoid the monster as much as possible until Emperor Martin Septim can release the power of Akatosh to banish him back to his realm.

This goes to show that the power of this Daedric prince can only be stopped by the power of another god on equal footing.

10 Alduin

Picture of Alduin
“World Eater” Alduin, who is the first dragon ever born

Any villain that bears the name “World Eater” is definitely one with incredible power.

This enormous and powerful dragon is the primary antagonist of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and brings forth a new era of dragons to annihilate the world.

He appears in the world of Tamriel from time to time to destroy the place and start everything from scratch.

Perhaps that’s why the Elder Scrolls universe is still using medieval technology after being around for thousands of years.

Being the first dragon ever born, Alduin is the master of all dragons in the Elder Scrolls series, and as such he is the final enemy in the climax of Skyrim.

Defeating him brings an end to the new era of dragons and brings peace and stability back to Tamriel.

This dragon is so eternally powerful however, that the player must travel to the spiritual realm of Sovngarde in order to be able to defeat him.

With his command over dragons and ability to perform essentially any dragon shout in Skyrim, Alduin stands as one of the fiercest and most devastating villains ever created.

The most powerful video game villains: A conclusion

Throughout our years of gaming we’ve fought all sorts of enemies, from giant dragons to demigods, to enormous monsters, and even superhumans.

Although these villains are our most hated enemies a lot of the time, they’re also the primary force that drives us to complete our favorite games.

Without them we wouldn’t have titles such as Diablo, Warcraft, Elder Scrolls, or many others.

That’s why, through all our seething hatred for these characters we should take a moment to thank them for keeping our game world interesting.

For keeping it challenging and entertaining, and for continuing to guide us through stories that have become deeply ingrained in our culture.

Because without darkness there can be no light, and without either you really don’t have much of a game.