14 Once Upon a Time characters with powers ranked from boring to badass

Magic is the name of the game on OUAT, and here's what we think about the powers and abilities we've seen on the fairy tale series.

Courtesy: ABC
Courtesy: ABC /

Magic is the name of the game on Once Upon a Time! It's one of the elements that made the show so special and fantastical to watch. Over the years, there were many characters, powers, and overall magic featured on the fairy tale series. Because of that, we decided to rank them!

From the Author Powers and mermaids to the Savior and villains, here are 14 Once Upon a Time characters with powers ranked from boring to badass. Read on below!

Emma's superpower

Now this power could sometimes come in handy, but it ranks low on our list because of its unreliability. Emma's superpower was only really used when it fit in the story. There's many times where she was lied to or tricked by a villain, and she had no idea what was actually going on. This could have been utilized much better. But it wasn't, and it made for a not so interesting magical ability.

Cruella de Vil

This crazy gal's one and only power was the ability to persuade animals to do what she wants. In particular, she uses Dalmatians of course. It's not really explained how she ended up in the Enchanted Forest if she's from the real world, but that's a different issue. In terms of being cool, this one really isn't great. Sure, animals can get aggressive. But in terms of coolness, this one ranks low.

Author Powers

It's understandable why there's the role of an Author in the magical world. This partly gave us the backstory of the storybook, and as we learn later, there's many of them. Isaac and Henry are the two Authors we see in Once Upon a Time, and frankly it's a pretty boring magical ability. All you get to do is write and keep record of what happens with a magic quill. Isaac tried to go rogue, but there were consequences to that decision.

Spinning straw into gold

Rumple and Cora are the only two magic users who are able to spin straw into gold. The Dark One had this ability first, and taught it to Cora when he was falling for her. Other than this allowing Cora to marry Prince Henry, this power is pretty useless. Rumple didn't need riches, he had the Dark One powers. And after Cora proved herself, that's it. Spinning straw into gold isn't really needed for the bigger picture or to defeat someone. It's just there.

Accelerating pregnancies

This one is kind of an awkward one. It worked for the story in a sort of funny way. But then I also stop to think about it and accelerating a pregnancy is so weird. It happened the first time when Dark Swan sped up Zelena's in season 5, followed by Evil Queen 2.0 doing the same in season 6 with Belle. I mean I guess it's useful, but not a favorite of mine for sure.


Now the powers of a genie are actually pretty impressive, being able to teleport to any realm. But, it comes with a price. You're bound to a master and the lamp, and are stuck making three wishes for each person that comes along controlling it. It's not really all that it's cracked up to be. Sidney was already a genie, while Aladdin and Jafar get turned into one. With Sidney also being the Magic Mirror, he got to see and travel through them. But again like his genie form, he was a prisoner in a way.


We have two main mermaids that appeared on Once Upon a Time, as well as the creatures in Neverland when the group of heroes and villains voyaged there to rescue Henry. Let's start with Ariel. Her magical ability is to be able to travel between realms. While it's not a power that necessarily packs a punch, it's very useful because it's not easy to do so as was established in the show. At least, it's not supposed to be that easy but you can get into my rant about that here.

Urusla is able to do the same, as well as lure sailors to their death. Not the nicest thing to be doing on a Friday night. But, having that enchanting voice isn't a bad power. What I think is actually the most interesting were the finicky mermaids from season 3 who can conjure storms. They created a pretty bad one while the Nevengers were on the Jolly Roger.

The Apprentice

Another useful power is the one of the Apprentice. And that's to open Magic Doors that create portals between the magical world and the non-magical realms. Again, it's not a flashy power, but one that's super useful and is impressive in my book.


Ruby, Maleficent, and her daughter Lily all have the power to shapeshift into an animal or creature. We've seen how Red can be an unforgiving wolf, as poor Peter met his end at the hands of his love (accidentally!). I'm sorry Peter, but it is an impressive and useful ability to have overall. What's even cooler? Definitely turning into a giant fire-breathing dragon!

Dragons are epic and creatures us sci-fi/fantasy fans are always intrigued by. The mistress of all evil's OUAT adaptation may not be one of my favorites, but she does stand out with her ability to turn into a dragon, as well as being able to cast the Sleeping Curse (as the Evil Queen does too). And apparently she can't die. So you know, immortality can be useful.

Elsa/Snow Queen

Alright, let's get to the flashier powers because I'm not going to lie, these are the funner ones! Elsa and the Snow Queen are both able to manipulate cold temperatures and create ice. This is helpful when fighting their opponents and blasting with ice, making them freeze in place. Ice is also sharp, so this magical ability is definitely a powerful weapon to have.

Fairy magic

What's cool about fairies and their magic is that they can actually do a lot of the same things that the villains can do (which we get into below). But these tiny creatures use their abilities for good. Let's start with what makes them stand out. And that's the use of Pixie Dust. The Blue Fairy is the one who reigns over all the fairies, and Tink was one of them.

She used Pixie Dust to lead Regina to her True Love, Robin, in the past. Though she didn't go in to meet him. Fairies can also accelerate or reverse aging, as we saw with Pinocchio. They also conjure objects, heal most injuries, can immobilize others, shapeshift, teleport themselves or someone else, and make potions. They're very versatile so it's definitely handy to have a fairy around!

Emma Swan

While her "superpower" in being able to tell detect lies doesn't rank highly on our list, Emma and her powers as a whole are definitely badass! The Savior and daughter of True Love slowly grows into her magical abilities. But by the end of the series, she's grown so much and can do it all: cast spells, blast her opponents, move objects with her mind (like tampering with Killian's hook, remember that? She was so proud of herself!), and more. Of course the biggest one is having the power of True Love in her, which makes our favorite Swan special.


Merlin was epic all in his own right, I mean just watch the video of him walking into the jail all bravado and badass. He's probably the most powerful magic user that was ever on the show, given his powers by the Gods. The wizard can literally do anything that the heroes, villains, and fairies can do. Plus, add to that seeing the future, not aging, controlling plants, and more. Merlin was one of my favorite side characters and it's such a shame he had a tragic backstory and an even more tragic end.

Courtesy: ABC /

The Villains

Whether you want to admit it or not, the ones with the most badass powers are definitely the baddies! I mean, they have the best magical abilities in terms of their own gain and the flash that comes with it. The OUAT villains may cause trouble, but they really are the fun part of the story and they need to come in with some pizzazz. I just love how theatrical the Evil Queen and Rumple are, and how dramatic Zelena is.

Most of the baddies on Once Upon a Time were all able to basically do the same thing. That includes conjuring objects, energy blasts, heart ripping, immobilization, making potions, casting spells, the telekinetic choke (rude) or push, conjuring fire, shapeshifting, and teleportation. The following villains could do all or most of these, and some of them even more:

  • Evil Queen
  • Rumplestiltskin
  • Cora
  • Pan
  • Zelena
  • Dark Swan
  • Dark Hook
  • Evil Snow
  • Gideon (when he didn't have his heart)
  • The Black Fairy
  • Maleficent
  • Nimue

Some of the antagonists had other abilities that made them stand out too. Being a god, Hades almost had a limitless amount of magic and coulnd't be killed, except for the Olympian Crystal. And Jafar had the ability to turn someone into ash. Yeah, that's definitely a tragic and painful way to go.

All seven seasons of Once Upon a Time are streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

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