Top 10 Dr. Strange Superpowers Explained in Detail

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Steven Strange

Doctor Stephen Strange was once the most well-accomplished surgeon of his era in the “normal” human realm. After an accident ruined his hands and his career, he went in search of anything to gain back his former glory.

What he found was Kamar-Taj (literally meaning “Moon Crown” in Arabic), located somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains. Along his journey to gain back the use of his hands, he instead became one of the most powerful magicians in the world, and indeed one of the more powerful mortal beings in the universe. Read on to find out what makes him so super.

10. Martial Arts

This may not be the first thing someone thinks about when they hear the word “superpower,” but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. With the help of his sparring partner, Wong, Dr. Strange can keep up his strength and reflexes. His fighting prowess also makes him powerful even if his real “powers” should ever fail him. In the Strange Tales comic from 1951, issue #140, the good Doctor defeats the evil Dormammu purely by use of martial arts.

From inside The Defenders: Volume 1, issue 9

To give you a basis for comparison on exactly how well endowed Doctor Strange’s martial artistry really is, he is fast enough to duck the super-fast Mantis, something not even Thor (despite his literal centuries of training and inherently superior strength and speed) can manage.

9. Energy Blasts

Most of Doctor Stephen Strange’s powers are granted to him (mainly) by mystic beings called the Vishanti. This godly trio lets him call forth “bolts” of energy, such as the Bolts of Bedevilment, or the Flames of Faltine.

In one comic, Doctor Strange wanders listlessly, having lost his infamous cloak of levitation, as well as the New York-based sanctum which he calls home. He is unshaved, hopeless, and powerless to destroy one of Mordo’s creations that is ravaging the city.

From inside Doctor Strange: Volume 4, issue #21

Looking around, he realizes that magic is everywhere, as long as you look hard enough, and he summons the Flames of Faltine to destroy the beast Mordo has employed. Although incredibly powerful, the flames do little damage to the beast. What they do end up doing is reminding Doctor Strange that all is not lost, which leads the man to summon his strength and fight again.

8. Telepathy

Even without his mystical devices, Doctor Strange is a master at reading minds. He is rarely without his mystical devices, however, and the Eye of Agamotto specifically can amplify his telepathic abilities beyond most things in the universe.

From inside Fantastic Four: Volume 1, issue #243

Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, and one of the most fearsome baddies in the Marvel Multiverse was taken down by the telepathic abilities that Doctor Strange possesses. The Doctor mimics a tactic used by satan-inspired Ghost Rider and forces Galactus to relive every death he has ever caused. This onslaught of terror gives the Fantastic Four time to deliver a swift kick, taking down the colossus.

7. Teleportation

Usually accompanied by his Cloak of Levitation, Doctor Strange does not have to exert too much effort to be able to fly. However, he can fly without the cloak if needed. While it is one of the first tricks any magician learns, the ability to move things with his mind with ease definitely sets him apart.

Even more amazing, however, is the fact that he can quite literally appear from thin air. He is first able to teleport using his mystical devices (or infinity stones) to help him in the Strange Tales comics from the 50s and 60s.

Even the movies show him using a device to travel, called the Sling Ring.

Over time, however, his practice pays off in a big way. As long as his endpoint is in the same dimension as the start, he is often able to teleport with relative ease. In fact, after the Civil War story arc in the comics, he is the metaphorical cabby for the New Avengers. They don’t have access to a cool quinjet like the traditional Avengers, so Doctor Strange uses his teleport abilities to take them all wherever they need to go.

6. Demon Possession

I’ve mentioned before that most of Doctor Strange’s powers come from divine beings, called the Vishanti. These three beings, Agamotto, Hoggoth, and Oshtur, are not the only ones he gets his magic from, they just happen to be the most prevalent.

What this means, in laymen’s terms, is that he is a conduit for their magic, much like a wand is for a human witch or wizard. The difference is that a wand can’t make any decisions on what magic is channeled through it, and Doctor Strange is usually the one in charge of what magic comes out of him.

The keyword there is “usually.” Often he needs more help than he can channel himself, and so he will ask the powers-that-be to inhabit his body. This increases the power he can channel exponentially.

Cover of Doctor Strange: Volume 2, issue #80

Because of his intense training, and attention to detail, he has even been known to inhabit their bodies instead. Or he can possess the body of someone near to him. In the comic, he literally borrows someone else’s body to perform surgery on his own body.   

5. Transfiguration

Transmutation, transfiguration, or even alchemy are all essentially the same thing for our purposes: they are all names of the magical ability to turn one thing into something else entirely. A mere party trick for a magician of Doctor Strange’s ability, he uses this trick to change thin air into gold to pay his bills.

Dr. Strange – The Sorcerer Supreme (Video Clip)

As the Ancient one states here, “Matter is energy; sorcery is simply the art of wielding that energy.” While this is a very simple test of transmutation, changing the stone from heavy to lightweight is the first step to changing the stone into a swimming pool. While Doctor Strange isn’t known for using this specific ability too often (except maybe turning thin air into gold to pay the bills on occasion) and it is unknown just how cosmically he can wield this power, it is assuredly a more useful power than one might think at first glance.

4. Astral Projection

Astral projection is the ability to have an out-of-body experience on purpose. Letting his soul roam free from his body in the “astral realm” lets him live for up to 24 hours without the need for food, sleep, or even oxygen.

This power does have its downsides. For instance, if his body is moved without him knowing it, he is completely unaware. This can make that last hour before the 24-hour limit frantic as he attempts to find himself. He also cannot manipulate the physical realm. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this rule is bent slightly, as he can move things with intense concentration or explosive emotion as seen when he and Kaecilius’s lackey Lucian have a “spirited” battle (see what I did there?).

The reason I have this ranked so highly as a power, despite its obvious weaknesses, is how it can be used. Afterall, knowledge is the most powerful weapon anyone has. It would be easy for Doctor Strange, uninhibited by gravity and able to travel in space and time on a whim, to gather intel to truly tip the scales in his direction.

3. Time Manipulation

Time travel is something I’m willing to bet every one of us wished we could perform. Whether it is because we want to change the past or see the future, or just slow down the aging process, every one of us has dreamed of it at one time or another.

Doctor Strange, because he’s just that awesome, can actually do this. With the help of the Eye of Agamotto in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is actually an Infinity Stone, he is able to create a loop in time more than once. Using the stone/ artifact, he outwits the demon Dormammu, taking beating after blow after death after every painful end to his life that anyone could imagine. Because of the time loop he never actually perishes, and eventually, his patience proves to outlast the demon’s so that he can bargain for the safety of Earth.

He also uses his ability to un-destroy most of New York. I’m sure the city planning committee would be incredibly grateful if they were actually aware.

2. Dreamer

With the use of his aforementioned telepathic abilities and his ability to astrally project his soul into another realm, Doctor Strange can actually enter someone’s dreams. This brings on some mind-shattering thoughts about dreams being their own realities, but let’s move away from the nightmares. Let’s instead talk about… Nightmare.

We first meet Doctor Stephen Strange in the Strange Tales comics, issue #110 from 1963. In that story, one of his first tricks is to enter someone’s dream to battle Nightmare. The evil demon-entity almost succeeded in trapping and destroying Doctor Strange before we could really grow to love him. Instead, with the help of the Ancient One, he escapes back into the physical realm.

Later, in issue #116, Nightmare begins to trap people in the dream world. This leaves their bodies defenseless, similar to being in a coma. As I said before, Nightmare is one evil bastard, and so he creates booby traps in the dream world, both for Doctor Strange as well as the innocents that he has captured. Eventually the Doctor is able to traverse around the traps, and rescue the people from their eternal sleep. Doctor Strange is known as one of very few people to ever have the power to stop Nightmare, although as of yet he is never destroyed.

Nightmare is one truly evil bastard. It takes a lot of effort to finally put a stop to the demon, which shows exactly how powerful the ability to dreamwalk truly is. If the good Doctor decided to go to the dark side… well, I’ll let you sleep on the thought.

1. Uber-HyperAwareness

Knowledge is the best weapon in any fight. I have always and will always believe that. It’s what makes the Astral realm such a cool place to hide. Doctor Strange takes that quote a few steps further. Using all of his talents together, he actually has the really cool ability to see… well, everything. Just shy of godlike omnipotence, he can tap into way more than the regular five senses us regular-folk are used to using.

Although this is more of an underlying power than one that is used during specific times, combining these senses and the knowledge of so many under-realms running alongside ours, as well as with the help of the Eye of Agamotto/Time stone, he can keep us safe from special anomalies, from astral demons, or from invaders from every walk of life. Or death.


I am Ashlyn, Mother of Goblins, Queen of Snakeys and Puppies, Writer of Abundance, and Eater of All the Foods.
Gamer Since: 1988
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Civilization VI
Top 3 Favorite Games:Civilization IV, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, The Sims 3: Dragon Valley

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DanCMaltbie 5 years 11 months ago

Great work!

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