One Piece has stood the test of time when it comes to long-running shows, but even it isn’t exempt from ‘Who Can Beat X’ debates. Like with Blackbeard, of all people. Though that one makes sense, considering where the manga has gone in terms of his character arc. He was pretty powerful, but of course, more characters have emerged as stronger. So understandably, fans have a lot to consider here.
As One Piece begins to make headway into its final arc, the Straw Hats have been getting reacquainted with old foes and meeting new allies along the way, as is the usual fare. At the same time, figures from the Pirate crew’s past have begun to appear and are looking to be set up for a larger role as we progress further into the eventual finale. Notable among these larger-than-life characters who are starting to make their moves is Marshall D. Teach, better known by his more infamous nickname, Blackbeard.
Despite his reputation within the world, we still know very little of where he stands in terms of individual power, at the present. But some of his previous major battles include fighting Shanks long before gaining the Dark-Dark Fruit and managing to scar him, defeating Thatch and Ace who were both Division Commanders in the Whitebeard Pirates, as well as defeating the remnants of Whitebeard’s crew during the Payback War.
However, it’s still hard to conclude whether the man is an unstoppable behemoth, or if his victories come solely due to his patience in enacting complicated plans. Such as the one that leads to him personally killing Whitebeard and claiming his Devil Fruit, a feat that would have been otherwise impossible for him in a straight-up fight. That said, we can reasonably surmise that the following folks stand a fair chance at going toe to toe with the Emperor, so let’s get into another round of Lore Analysis!
First Up: The Admirals of the World Government
Though the Summit War of Marineford took its toll on the Marines, it also showcased the vast gulf in power between the Admirals and their underlings. The actions of Kuzan, Sakazuki, and Borsalino during the conflict showed that they were more than a match for Whitebeard himself, being able to keep up with him with extensive exertions on their part.
Though an actual one-on-one duel with the beloved deceased Emperor isn’t a possibility, the Admirals’ powers appear to be significant enough that they could probably be in an even match with any of the current Emperor. This was further evidenced by newcomer Aramaki’s handling of two of Kaidou’s top executives with ease. Blackbeard has also, for the most part, attempted to avoid going into an open confrontation with any of these higher-ranked marines as shown when he retreated when faced with the prospect of facing Sakazuki shortly after the Marineford War.
In addition, we have yet to see an Admiral be defeated by anyone up till now whereas we’ve seen the demise of up to three Emperors. So perhaps that might say something about the Admiral’s chances of losing in a fight, even if it is against someone who has the power of two Devil Fruits. They are also masters of Haki,the spiritual energy that only the best fighters can harness. We have seen how big a difference possessing Haki can make during combat in the Wano arc and Whole Cake Island arc, even if one doesn’t have access to a Devil Fruit.
So, while the Admirals have a ton of characters that could rival Marshall D. Teach, I think it’d be a waste to let any of them actually beat Blackbeard. He’s built up so much, you know?
“Red-Haired” Shanks: Battled Blackbeard Before!
But what about individuals outside of the Admirals? While infighting isn’t heard of, there are quite a few Pirates that could take Blackbeard on. For example, our very own ‘Red Haired’ Shanks, a fellow Emperor.
While the outcome of Shanks’s previous duel with Blackbeard is still unknown, we know they were both at the time able to contend with one another to the point Shanks was left scarred. While we still don’t know the exact amount of time that has passed since then, we can see that Shanks does seem to be taking Blackbeard much more seriously now. And given they are both after One Piece, the treasure that the entire premise is based on, both sides will need to drum up whatever strength they are having to defeat the other.
However, can we expect Shanks to beat Blackbeard? I don’t know. I feel like his moment already went by so it’s unlikely he’ll get another chance for a direct fight.
Monkey D. Luffy: Might Just Be The One To Beat Blackbeard
Okay admittedly, this one might just be a bit of a cop-out. You know, because Monkey D. Luffy is the protagonist of the series. But hear me out, because this is the Shonen series and we all know what the end goal here is. By the end of things, Luffy will be the strongest Pirate alive.
But what about currently? Well, Luffy has shown significant growth in these last few years, having recently gone head-to-head with Kaidou and usurping his position as an Emperor, along with awakening the powers of his Devil Fruit to greater heights. As greater challenges await our favorite Straw Hat, time will tell whether he will face off against the man partially responsible for Ace’s demise or if someone else will beat him to the punch.
But between us? We think this might be the perfect setup for Luffy to extract some sweet, sweet revenge for his beloved bro-in-arms, Ace. So, it isn’t a matter of who could beat Blackbeard, but when.