One Piece: Top 10 strongest right-hand men in the series, ranked

Right-hand men are on a whole different level compared to the other subordinates (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Right-hand men are on a whole different level compared to the other subordinates (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Right-hand men are among the most significant One Piece characters. Within the crew, a right-hand man is the closest person to the leader of that group. As his strongest and most loyal subordinate, the right-hand man supports his captain in battle and gives him insightful advice.

Most of the time, the right-hand man holds the office of first mate - also known as the vice-captain - meaning he is the top officer on board the ship, only below the captain. The right-hand man assists the captain in the direst moments more than anyone else could. If the latter is elsewhere or incapacitated, the vice-captain may take over his job.

In One Piece, the right-hand man is usually the second strongest in the crew. He holds the rank of first mate, or as a similar authority despite not formally having that office. Being stronger than every other member of the group bar the captain, the number two is someone the entire crew can rely on. He gets authority from his superior individual strength.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1065 and reflects the writer's personal views.


From Kaku to Rayleigh, the 10 strongest right-hand men in One Piece, ranked from weakest to strongest

10) Kaku

Kaku is Lucci's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Kaku is Lucci's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Kaku was the second strongest member of the CP9. During the Enies Lobby Arc, he was the designated opponent for Zoro, the second strongest individual in the Strawhat Pirates. The power unleashed by their clash was such it shook the Tower of Law. However, when Zoro went all out, Kaku ended up brutally defeated.

Having the second highest Doriki in the CP9, Kaku's base physical abilities were the second best in the group. On top of that, he adds the abilities of the Ox-Ox Fruit, Model: Giraffe, which enhances his attacks and his body.

Kaku is also a skilled swordsman. He relies on the Four Sword Style. This is a combination of his Rankyaku technique and his swordsmanship, whose pinnacle is the Sky Slicer Rankyaku, a tower-slicing attack with comparable power to Lucci's ship-cutting technique.

Throughout the series, including the recent Levely Arc and Egghead Arc, Kaku was depicted as sort of a right-hand man for Lucci. After the time skip, they came back much stronger and were promoted to CP0. Unsurprisingly, Kaku was the only former CP9 member at Lucci's side.


9) Killer

Killer is Eustass Kid's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Killer is Eustass Kid's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Killer is Eustass Kid's loyal right-hand man. He is one of the Eleven Worst Generation Supernovas. Together with Zoro, he is one of the only two elite rookies who aren't the captains of a crew.

"Massacre Soldier" Killer excels in speed and agility. However, he is also able to endure damage. He uses his Punishers, two scythe-like blades, to perform swift and lethal attacks. By making his blades vibrate, he can generate shockwaves that bypass his opponent's external durability and hurt him from the inside.

Blackmailed with Kid's life, Killer was forced to work as an assassin, under the alias of "Kamazo". He challenged Zoro, but the swordsman inflicted a severe defeat on him.

Later, Killer and Kid joined the Wano Alliance. Killer was among the five most powerful Supernovas who confronted the Emperors in the rooftop battle, emphasizing his strength as a Commander-level fighter. Ultimately, the "Massacre Soldier" faced and brutally beat Hawkins, a fellow Supernova.


8) Katakuri

Charlotte Katakuri is Big Mom's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Charlotte Katakuri is Big Mom's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Charlotte Katakuri is one of the three Sweet Commanders of Big Mom Pirates. He is a genius and honorable fighter who is said to have never lost a single battle in his entire life. Big Mom's second eldest son, Katakuri is also her most powerful subordinate.

Katakuri is a fast and skilled combatant. His Observation Haki is especially developed, to the point where he is able to see slightly ahead in the future. Using this skill in conjunction with the powers of his Mochi-Mochi Fruit, he can swiftly avoid almost any attack. He also possesses a rather powerful Armament Haki.

During the Whole Cake Island Arc, Katakuri annihilated every threat. He even overwhelmed Luffy. However, he developed a sincere respect for the latter's bravery and tenacity, even acknowledging him as his equal.

When Luffy awakened his own version of Future Sight, he and Katakuri traded their best attacks. As a result of their final clash, the fight ended in a sort of mutual knockout.


7) King

King is Kaido's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
King is Kaido's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

"Wildfire" King is the number two for the Beasts Pirates. He is Kaido's loyal right-hand man and his strongest subordinate. He was originally named Alber, but Kaido appointed him as "King" after witnessing his strength.

King is the last survivor of the Lunarian race. Using his natural-born power, he can endure any kind of injury without receiving damage, or trade some of his durability to boost his speed. He can also create and control magma-like flames to perform devastating attacks.

Thanks to the Ancient Zoan he ate, King can transform into a pteranodon, gaining wings durable enough to block strikes that previously cut Kaido's tough body. He can also fly at high speed and attack with tremendous destructive power.

During the Wano Arc, King faced Zoro, giving the latter a hard time. However, after unleashing his Advanced Conqueror's Haki, Zoro straight up overwhelmed King. Regardless of the one-sided outcome, One Piece fans really enjoyed the fight, which featured a clash between two powerful and loyal right-hand men.


6) Marco

Marco was Whitebeard's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Marco was Whitebeard's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Edward Newgate's former right-hand man, Marco, was the second strongest individual in the Whitebeard Pirates. After Ace and Newgate's deaths during the Paramount War, Marco led the remnants of the crew into taking revenge against the Blackbeard Pirates.

However, the Whitebeard Pirates lost that final battle and disbanded afterwards. Despite this failure, Marco's strength appears to be respected by nearly every One Piece character, due to his status as a highly experienced and influential pirate.

Marco owns the Bird-Bird Fruit Model: Phoenix, a Mythical Zoan that allows him to transform into a phoenix. This enhances Marco's physical strength, and also gifts him with flight ability and exceptional healing powers. Until he has enough stamina left, Marco can self-regenerate any kind of damage.

This ability allowed him to hold his own against Kizaru and Big Mom. He was able to block attacks from King, and even from Kaido. Exploiting his regenerative abilities, Marco was able to stall King and Queen. He wasn't able to hurt them significantly, though.


5) Sabo

Sabo is Monkey D. Dragon's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Sabo is Monkey D. Dragon's number two (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Sabo is the number two for the Revolutionary Army. He is Monkey D. Dragon's right-hand man and the chief of staff of the organization. Sabo is the adoptive brother of Monkey D. Luffy and Portuguese D. Ace.

Sabo lost his memory after his boat was destroyed by a World Noble. He was saved by Dragon, who recluted and trained him. After regaining his memory, Sabo reunited with Luffy and decided to carry Ace's legacy by consuming the Flame-Flame Fruit, which the latter formerly possessed.

After the events of Levely Arc, where he and his comrades successfully fended off Fujitora and Ryokugyu to rescue Kuma, Sabo's reputation skyrocketed. This helped him earn the moniker of "Flame Emperor."

Once he ate the Flame-Flame Fruit, Sabo was able to manipulate fire. He can use that power in conjunction with his Advanced Armament Haki and his peculiar martial art style, the Dragon Claw Fist.

Sabo was able to easily defeat Vice Admiral Bastille and Blackbeard Pirates member Jesus Burgess.


4) Benn Beckman

Benn Beckman is Shanks' number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Benn Beckman is Shanks' number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Benn Beckmann is an extremely powerful and influential pirate who holds the role of first mate of the Red Hair Pirates. He is Shanks' right-hand man and the latter's strongest and most trusted subordinate.

Benn's fighting abilities have been directly compared to Shanks'. Hence, their connection recalls the one between Luffy and Zoro, or Roger and Rayleigh.

Having the highest IQ of any character introduced in the East Blue Saga, Benn is one of the smartest One Piece characters. Benn also has immense attacking power. He has remarkable agility and physical strength. Using his Armament Haki, he shoots bullets that can penetrate any opponent.

Even Marine Admiral Kizaru, one of the most powerful individuals in the World Government's employment, felt threatened by Benn and chose not to engage with him when the latter had him held at gunpoint.


3) Roronoa Zoro

Roronoa Zoro is Monkey D. Luffy's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Roronoa Zoro is Monkey D. Luffy's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

A master swordsman who aims to become the World's Strongest, surpassing Dracule Mihawk, Zoro is Luffy's right-hand man. A testament to the fact that they have comparable fighting capabilities, these two are the only two Straw Hats to share certain strength-related achievements.

As One Piece author, Eiichiro Oda, officially confirmed, Zoro is the second strongest individual in the Strawhats, and acts as the vice-captain of the crew. Excelling in physical prowess, Zoro unleashes deadly slashes with his three swords coated in Armament Haki.

He can also infuse his attacks with Conqueror's Haki, a feat that puts him among the absolute strongest characters in the One Piece series. After unleashing the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki, Zoro outclassed and defeated King, the number two of Beasts Pirates.

Even before unlocking that game-changing skill, Zoro proved his strength. He overpowered his fellow Supernovas, Hawkins, Killer, and Apoo. Later, he fought on Luffy's side against Kaido and Big Mom. Zoro was able to block their combined attack. He also severely injured Kaido, leaving him with a scar.


2) Shiryu

Shiryu is Blackbeard's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Shiryu is Blackbeard's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

The former Head Jailer of Impel Down, Shiryu is a merciless and deceitful individual. He was shown to be a formidable swordsman who uses his blade Raiu, a Famous Sword, to perform deadly attacks at extreme speeds.

Before the time skip, Shiryu was as powerful as Magellan, the other Head Jailer of Impel Down. Magellan entrusted him with defeating the Blackbeard Pirates. However, after meeting Marshall D. Teach, Shiryu became interested in him. He reneged on Impel Down and joined the Teach's crew.

After the time skip, Shiryu improved his fighting capabilities and obtained the Clear-Clear Fruit. Allowing him to use his swordsmanship while invisible, this ability enhanced his stealth skills and made him one of the most lethal fighters in the One Piece world.

Shiryu was stated to be the number two in the Blackbeard Pirates, more powerful than any other member but Teach. However, with the confirmation that Aokiji is a member of the Blackbeard Pirates, a debate has sparked.

At this point, Shiryu and Aokiji may have comparable strength. It's also feasible that one of them is slightly stronger than the other.


1) Silvers Rayleigh

Silvers Rayleigh was Gol D. Roger's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Silvers Rayleigh was Gol D. Roger's number two (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Very few characters can compete with "Dark King" Silvers Rayleigh, the former first mate of the Roger Pirates. More than a simple subordinate, he was the Pirate King's right-hand man. Due to his strength and prominence, Rayleigh was directly compared to individuals of Whitebeard's caliber.

As the man who was the number two of Gol D. Roger, Rayleigh is a living legend. He is an immensely powerful swordsman and Haki master. He is one of the strongest users of Conqueror's Haki, and can even utilize the upgraded version of this extremely rare ability.

Even after old age and inactivity weakened him, Rayleigh remained still strong enough to fend off Admiral Kizaru and intimidate Blackbeard, one of the Four Emperors.

Considering how powerful he is even as an old man, in his prime, the "Dark King" would be one of the strongest One Piece characters. Given the noticeable parallel between Zoro and Rayleigh, hopefully, one day the former will be able to reach and surpass the latter's level.


Final Thoughts

The first mates of the past and present Four Emperors (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
The first mates of the past and present Four Emperors (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

There is a remarkable difference in strength between the average subordinates and the most powerful ones. The latter are the second strongest individuals in the entire crew and hold the rank of right-hand man and first mate. Some first mates, such as Zoro and Rayleigh, even possess the Supreme King's Haki, just like their captains.

The color spread of One Piece chapter 1031 portrayed the "number twos" i.e., the second strongest individuals from the most prominent groups and crews.

  • Roronoa Zoro - The number two of Strawhat Pirates, and Luffy's right-hand man.
  • Silvers Rayleigh - The number two of Roger Pirates, and Roger's right-hand man.
  • Benn Beckman - The number two of Red Hair Pirates, and Shanks' right-hand man.
  • King - The number two of Beasts Pirates, and Kaido's right-hand man.
  • Katakuri - The number two of Big Mom Pirates.
  • Killer - The number two of Kid Pirates, and Kid's right-hand man.
  • Marco - The number two of Whitebeard Pirates, and Whitebeard's right-hand man.
  • Sabo - The number two and chief of staff of the Revolutionary Army.
  • Shiryu - The number two of Blackbeard Pirates.
  • Bepo - The number two of Heart Pirates.

In a subsequent SBS column, One Piece author Eiichiro Oda stated that all the characters depicted in the chapter 1031 color spread are the second strongest men in their crew. He explained that while not all of them hold the official rank of first mate, they all carry out a similar authority due to being much stronger than their comrades.

Even among right-hand men, there is a distinction. Some are significantly weaker than their captains. This is the case with Marco compared to Whitebeard, King to Kaido, Katakuri to Big Mom. Others are close in strength to their captain, like Benn Beckman with Shanks, Zoro with Luffy, Rayleigh with Roger.

In any case, every leader needs a powerful and reliable number two on his side. For instance, Luffy can count on Zoro, Shanks can depend on Benn Beckman, and Roger used to rely on Rayleigh.

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Edited by Madhur Dave
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