With so many different ways of fighting in One Piece, it’s surprising how many trained swordsmen exist throughout the series. It seems at least every crew has one trained swordsman, with One Piece’s primary crew, Straw Hats, having two.
Although strength can be measured in a myriad of different ways in One Piece, swordsmen have two key boxes they must check: Armament Haki, and standard and Advanced Conqueror’s Haki. Without these two, the gap in strength between the five strongest and the next best is simply too great.
Here are the five strongest swordsmen in One Piece and five more who are still weak.
5 strongest swordsmen in One Piece
1) Dracule Mihawk
As the strongest swordsman in the entirety of One Piece, it should come as no surprise that Dracule Mihawk is first on this list. Mihawk is the benchmark Zoro must strive for and is arguably his final opponent. He is also the only known living swordsman with a black blade, further emphasizing his superiority and dominance.
2) Roronoa Zoro
Having recently unlocked standard and Advanced Conqueror’s Haki, Roronoa Zoro is likely second only to Mihawk in terms of strength. His defeat of King solidifies his dominance and paints Zoro as a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
Furthermore, it’s incredibly likely Zoro will use his Advanced Conqueror’s Haki to create a black blade, matching Mihawk in that feat.
3) Kozuki Oden
Although only possessing standard Conqueror’s Haki, Kozuki Oden was an incredibly gifted and strong swordsman. Oden was able to badly wound Kaido using his Oden Two Sword Style, and likely would’ve done further damage were it not for interference.
Even more impressive is that the Akazaya were also able to wound Kaido using Oden’s swordplay, solidifying his inclusion on this list.
4) Silvers Rayleigh
As the right hand man of the Pirate King Gol D. Roger, Silvers Rayleigh is undoubtedly one of the best swordsmen in One Piece. Even in retirement, he was able to go toe-to-toe with Admiral Kizaru during the Sabaody Archipelago arc.
Anime-only scenes expand upon his prime, particularly in Oden's flashback, further solidifying his dominance with the sword.
Even with one hand, Shanks has been shown to be one of the strongest swordsmen in One Piece. When seen together, he and Mihawk constantly poke and prod each other about fighting again.
Add in Shanks’ expertise in all things Haki as well as a lifetime’s experience of being on the Grand Line and he is undoubtedly part of One Piece’s top five swordsmen.
5 One Piece swordsmen who’re still weak
While his Foxfire Style and wounding of Kaido with Oden Two Sword Style was certainly impressive, Kin’emon still has plenty of room to grow. The Scabbard lacks Conqueror’s Haki, yet does have good Armament and Observation Haki.
Kin’emon also lacks true Grand Line fighting experience, as he never left Wano with Oden and has only been outside for roughly 6 months.
Although Cavendish and his alter ego Hakuba are skilled swordsmen, they also lack Conqueror’s Haki in both its standard and Advanced forms. The two do have blinding speed, especially when Hakuba is in control. However, outside of flashy techniques, they aren’t particularly strong.
Hakuba seems more combat-capable than Cavendish, but neither qualifies as anywhere near the strongest One Piece swordsmen.
A member of the Worst Generation, Killer is yet another swordsman who needs work before approaching the strongest in the series. While certainly capable of it, Killer’s main flaw is that he’s yet to be shown using any type of Haki.
Regardless of how impressive his unique and flashy swordplay is, Killer can’t be considered anything close to a top swordsman until he wields Armament Haki.
4) Basil Hawkins
Another Worst Generation member, Basil Hawkins, is also a swordsman who needs more work before approaching the strongest. While he has been shown to be able to use Observation Haki, this isn’t the case with Armament Haki.
Even if it’s assumed he can use Armament as well as Observation Haki, he still lacks Conqueror’s Haki. Unfortunately, this is one of the largest barriers for being one of the strongest swordsmen in One Piece.
Although certainly one of the strongest overall individuals in One Piece, Law lacks the reputation as a swordsman to approach the top ranks. His swordplay, in combination with his Devil Fruit, is incredibly deadly and destructive, but that is not enough.
In terms of swordplay, Law is shown to be lacking standard and Advanced Conqueror’s Haki. Although the other major boxes are ticked, lacking Advanced Conqueror’s Haki is his biggest shortcoming.