The Most Powerful Sith In Star Wars History

Over 1.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Powerful Sith In Star Wars History
Voting Rules
Vote up the Sith Lords who make the Dark Side even darker.

Ever since Darth Vader threw down against Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, fans have wondered who the most powerful Sith Lord is. Is it Darth Vader with his fearsome Force chokes? Is it Palpatine with his Thor-like command over lightning? Or is it an obscure Sith Lord from a novel only the truest fans have bothered to read? Being a Jedi is all well and good, but the power of the Sith has proven to overcome even the strongest of Jedi.

In the Star Wars universe, the Sith have been around for thousands of years. Beginning with a group of rogue Jedi splitting off from the Order, they've gone from a handful of dark side practitioners to an entire empire of evil, with a strict policy of no more than two Lords at a time. The way of the Sith encourages fighting among their ranks, so whether the total amount of Sith at any given time is two or 2,000, they're all trying to usurp one another for the title of the Dark Lord. 

It seems pretty clear the most powerful Sith are more powerful than the most powerful Jedi, but who exactly is the most powerful of all the Sith? 

Photo: 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox

  • 1
    968 VOTES

    Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus
    Photo: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords / LucasArts

    Where He Came From: Darth Nihilus, before he was a Sith lord, was a target of the conflict between the Mandalorians and the Republic. The Republic's forces, led by a Jedi general, fired a superweapon on Malachor to end the conflict. It terminated basically everyone on and around the planet, but Nihilus somehow survived. In the aftermath, Nihilus acquired an insatiable hunger that he could only momentarily satisfy by draining the life force of those around him. Due to his strange condition, he was eventually found by a Sith named Darth Traya and trained in the ways of the Dark Side. 

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Alongside a fellow Sith named Sion, Nihilus dispatched his master because she did not want to wage an all-out conflict against the Jedi. He then went on a rampage across the galaxy in which he greatly reduced the Jedi's forces. 

    His Strongest Moment: Darth Nihilus was known as the Lord of Hunger due to his unique ability to consume the life-force of entire planets, which he did to the world known as Katarr. Darth Nihilus's strange curse that caused his insatiable hunger also eroded his body. So he bonded his soul to his Sith armor before it was too late. His physical body was no more, and his armor became his only connection to the physical world.

    968 votes
  • 2
    1,051 VOTES
    Darth Vader
    Photo: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Where He Came From: Darth Vader's life story was told from start to finish throughout the Skywalker saga. As a young boy, he was enslaved on the planet Tatooine. A Jedi named Qui-Gon Jinn found him and brought him to Coruscant, where he began his Jedi training at a much older age than was typical. As he grew, he developed feelings for Padme Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, which led to his temptation to the dark side at the hands of Darth Sidious. Convinced the Jedi were misled, he helped Palpatine execute Order 66, solidifying his place at the Dark Lord's side. 

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Darth Vader led the march on Coruscant's Jedi Temple, where he famously slaughtered Jedi of all ages, including a group of helpless younglings. Darth Vader's mighty fist was equally as important as Palpatine's mind in achieving control of the galaxy. 

    His Strongest Moment: Darth Vader's strength was constantly on display throughout his appearances. While his assault on the Jedi Temple in Revenge of the Sith and brutalization of the Rebels in Rogue One are well-documented, Vader's most impressive feat of strength was actually shown in Darth Vader #13 as part of the Vader Down storyline. In the book, Vader was taken down and went up against most of the Rebel Army on his own. Instead of surrendering, he activated the Rebel's grenades with the Force, taking out most of them in one swift move.

    1,051 votes
  • 3
    916 VOTES
    Revan
    Photo: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic / Marvel

    Where He Came From: Revan, the protagonist of the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, like most Jedi was brought into the Order at a young age and trained to be a guardian of the Republic. Revan disagreed with how the Jedi handled the Mandalorian war, so he disobeyed orders and got involved directly with his friend Malak. They investigated rumors of Sith involvement in the fighting and discovered a secret Sith empire. Disenfranchised from the Jedi, they readily accepted their new place among the Sith. 

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Revan sought out ancient Sith artifacts and eventually discovered the Star Forge, which was capable of generating the basic building blocks of the universe. Revan used it to create an infinite fleet of starships. As a Sith, he naturally used that fleet to take on the Republic, costing countless lives. 

    His Strongest Moment: Revan was something of a warlord, whether fighting for the Galactic Republic or against it. He was able to use his immense Force abilities to alter the tide of war. For example, he used the Force to instantaneously make Jedi join the Sith, and to augment the power of his followers during conflicts. 

    916 votes
  • Emperor Palpatine
    Photo: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    Where He Came From: The future emperor of the galaxy, Palpatine began his life as a young aristocrat on Naboo. While still on Naboo, Palpatine met a traveling businessman who was, in reality, a Sith Lord named Darth Plagueis. Plagueis took Palpatine under his wing, and under the Sith's dark tutelage, Palpatine eliminated his father. Palpatine remained in politics throughout his descent into darkness, and as his political influence grew stronger, so did his power. Eventually, Palpatine felled Plagueis and became the Sith Master.

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Palpatine was one of the most successful Sith Lords (if not the most successful) to ever wield a red lightsaber. The prequel films documented his rise to power, in which he became the indefinite chancellor of the galactic senate, then eliminated the vast majority of the Galaxy's Jedi population and declared himself emperor of the galaxy. His most evil act of all was orchestrating the destruction of Alderaan, an entirely peaceful planet. 

    His Strongest Moment: Palpatine's strength was mostly in his brilliant tactical mind, but it is also notable how he basically never lost a fair fight throughout the series. He held his own when multiple Jedi Masters came to apprehend him in Revenge of the Sith, and he defeated Luke in Return of the Jedi. His greatest feat of strength was probably when he took on Jedi Master Yoda, the leader of the Jedi. In a fight between the leader of the Sith and the Jedi, Palpatine came out the clear victor.

    896 votes
  • 5
    634 VOTES
    Darth Bane
    Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars / Cartoon Network

    Where He Came From: Darth Bane existed 1,000 years before the Clone Wars. During his time, he fought against the Jedi Order as a member of the Brotherhood of Darkness. He was around for the end of the Sith Empire and watched as the Jedi Order defeated the Sith. Darth Bane was the sole survivor, becoming the de facto new Dark Lord of the Sith. 

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Darth Bane proved his value to the Dark Side by creating the Rule of Two. He believed the Jedi Order was able to defeat the Sith due to a weakness in the Sith Empire caused by infighting. He decided that at any given time, there should only be two Sith, and he set in motion the plan that would eventually allow the Sith to overthrow the galaxy 1,000 years later. 

    His Strongest Moment: In the new Star Wars canon, Darth Bane is the sole survivor of the destruction of the Sith, but it isn't known why or how. Still, even in ambiguity, this is an impressive act of strength.

    634 votes
  • 6
    535 VOTES
    Darth Plagueis
    Photo: Star Wars: Darth Plagueis / Del Rey

    Where He Came From: Although Darth Plagueis's past was fleshed out more in the now noncanon Star Wars Legends books, little is known about Plagueis in the Disney canon. His origin is a mystery, but fans do know that he took Palpatine on to be his apprentice. He was completely obsessed with immortality but ultimately couldn't save himself from his own apprentice. In the Legends canon, his birth was preordained by the current Sith Lord, Darth Tenebrous, who brought together two people he felt made a worthy couple to sire an apprentice for him. 

    His Dark Side Bona Fides: Too little is known about Plagueis's exploits in the current canon, but in Legends, his potential for evil was shown early. While still at preschool age, he used a Force mind trick to convince one of his classmates to take their own life. Later, after discovering his master had a second apprentice, Plagueis defeated the apprentice but kept him alive to experiment on. 

    His Strongest Moment: His greatest power, according to Palpatine, was his ability to harness midi-chlorians to create life. This ability, along with his unusual penchant for prophecy, was where Plagueis's true strength came from, not brute force. 

    535 votes