The 20 strongest swordsmen in One Piece, ranked as of 2023

Among the most prominent characters in the series are some powerful swordsmen (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Among the most prominent characters in the series are some powerful swordsmen (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

In One Piece, the most powerful swordsmen can enhance their swords by infusing them with Haki. Some of them, like Gol D. Roger, Roronoa Zoro and Shanks, can even coat their blades with Advanced Conqueror's Haki.

The rarest feat for a swordsman is to turn his sword into a Black Blade. Only Ryuma, a samurai hailed as the "Sword God", and Dracule Mihawk, the current World's Strongest Swordsman, have been able to achieve a Black Blade.

Zoro, a master swordsman who serves Luffy as his loyal right-hand man, aims to surpass the fearsome Mihawk. With the formidable "Hawk Eyes" sitting on the throne of the current strongest, follow this thread to find out who are the mightiest swordsmen that One Piece has ever featured.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to chapter 1076 and reflects the writer's personal views.


From Smoothie to Ryuma, the most powerful swordsmen in One Piece, ranked weakest to strongest

20) Smoothie

Smoothie as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Smoothie as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Smoothie is one of the Sweet Commanders in Big Mom Pirates. Within the crew, she is inferior to Big Mom and Katakuri, and comparable in strength to Cracker and Perospero. Using her sword, Smoothie can send powerful flying slashes.

Owing to the abilities of the Wring-Wring Fruit, she can drain liquid from people and objects. She can transfer that liquid into her body to enhance her capabilities, including her swordsmanship.


19) Inuarashi

Inuarashi as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Inuarashi as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

One of Oden's Nine Red Scabbards, Inuarashi is the "Ruler of the Day" of the Mokomo Dukedom. In every way, he is the peer of Nekomamushi, the "Ruler of the Night."

Like his counterpart, Inuarashi has great physical capabilities, further enhanced by his Sulong form. Using this transformation, Inuarashi beat Jack the fourth strongest member of the Beasts Pirates.

Inuarashi, Denjiro, Ashura Doji, and Kinemon combined their strengths to perform a technique that mimicked Oden's Two Sword Style and Armament Haki. Unfortunately, Kaido endured the attack and stood back up without any problem.


18) Denjiro

Denjiro as seen under his alias of "Kyoshiro" (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Denjiro as seen under his alias of "Kyoshiro" (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Denjiro was stated to be the best swordsman among all the Nine Red Scabbards. Going under the name "Kyoshiro," he pretended to work as the bodyguard for Oden's usurper, Orochi.

During the Onigashima raid, he reunited with his comrades and combined his strength with them to challenge Kaido. However, given the incredible might of the Emperor, they were unable to meaningfully damage him, despite performing a joint attack.


17) Kaku

Kaku in his post time skip incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Kaku in his post time skip incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Kaku is an elite agent of CP0, meaning that he is one of the strongest assassins at the service of the World Government. Throughout the series, he was depicted as sort of a right-hand man for Rob Lucci.

After the time skip, both came back much stronger than they were in Enies Lobby. Despite possessing Armament Haki and an Awakened Zoan form, however, Lucci and Kaku were no match for Luffy and Zoro, respectively.

Kaku can turn himself into a human-giraffe hybrid, enhancing his physical capabilities. His Awakened Zoan form grants him a further boost in power. Using his peculiar Four Sword Style, Kaku combines his devastating Rokushiki techniques with this swift swordsmanship.


16) Vista

Vista as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Vista as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Vista was the fifth strongest member of the Whitebeard Pirates, below Newgate, Marco, Ace, and Jozu. The Whitebeard Pirates were an all-powerful crew, but they ended up defeated in the Paramount War in Marineford.

During the battle in Marineford, Vista proved his prominent status within the Whitebeard Pirates and his individual prowess as a swordsman. Even Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman, praised Vista's Flower Sword Style.


15) Ushimaru Shimotsuki

Ushimaru as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Ushimaru as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Ushimaru Shimotsuki was an honorable and selfless swordsman who was a direct descendant of Ryuma, the legendary samurai. He was the last daimyo of Ringo, before Kaido and Orochi's takeover.

Ushimaru's prowess as a fighter was notable. A proficient dual-wielding swordsman, he could flow Armament Haki through his blades to enhance his cutting power. Ushimaru bravely fought Kaido, but unfortunately, was no match for the Emperor.


14) King

King as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
King as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Being Kaido's loyal right-hand man and strongest subordinate, King is the number two of the Beasts Pirates. As the last survivor of the godly Lunarians, King can endure any kind of injury without receiving damage. He can also trade some of his durability to increase his speed.

King was hailed as "Wildfire" for his ability to perform devastating attacks with magma-like flames. Using his Ancient Zoan Fruit, he can shield himself with wings tough enough to block techniques that pack enough power to cut Kaido.

King's Zoan powers also granted him high-speed flight and boosted strength, further enhancing his Armament Haki-powered swordsmanship. King was able to give Zoro a hard time. However, he ended up annihilated after Zoro unleashed his Advanced Conqueror's Haki.


13) S-Hawk

S-Hawk as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
S-Hawk as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Seraphims are cyborgs that combine the signature abilities of the former Seven Warlords with the special powers of the Lunarian race, which grant them immense durability.

S-Hawk, the Seraphim based on Dracule Mihawk, has shown fearsome swordsmanship. He wields a sword that (although it is not a Black Blade) resembles Mihawk's Yoru. Undoubtedly, S-Hawk has been emphasized as the strongest among all Seraphims.

A single slash from S-Hawk has split Amazon Lily's biggest mountain in half. Even Blackbeard, one of the Four Emperors and a notably resilient individual, needed to cover himself in Armament Haki to withstand S-Hawk's attack without getting seriously injured.


12) Trafalgar D. Water Law

Trafalgar Law in his most recent incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Trafalgar Law in his most recent incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

One of the few owners of the mysterious Will of D., Trafalgar Law is the captain of the Heart Pirates and a notable member of the Eleven Supernovas of the Worst Generation. He is a tactical and dangerous fighter.

Most of Law's attacks involve a combination of his swordsmanship and the Ope-Ope Fruit, which allows him to manipulate anything within the range of his abilities. His best technique, Puncture Wille, consists of a shockwave that implodes everything that his sword pierces.

During the Wano Arc, Law achieved the Awakening of his Devil Fruit abilities and teamed up with Eustass Kid. Exploiting the advantage in numbers, Law and Kid managed to beat Big Mom, one of the Four Emperors.


11) Roronoa Zoro

Roronoa Zoro in his most recent incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Roronoa Zoro in his most recent incarnation (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Roronoa Zoro is a master swordsman who aims to become the World's Strongest, surpassing even Dracule Mihawk, the current title holder. Zoro is Luffy's right-hand man and the second-in-command of the Straw Hat Pirates.

Zoro is the only Straw Hat who is, to a certain extent, close in power to Luffy. Both possess the extremely rare Conqueror's Haki and are part of the Worst Generation. Their connection is similar to that of Rayleigh and Roger.

Nowadays, Zoro is strong enough to put up a solid fight against most Admirals and Emperors, although he is yet to fully reach their level. He injured Kaido, leaving him with a scar. After unlocking the Advanced Conqueror's Haki, a rare game-changing ability, Zoro annihilated King, Kaido's right-hand man.


10) Oden Kozuki

Oden as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Oden as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Oden was the leader of the Red Scabbards. He was an influential pirate whose reputation for strength was sincerely respected by individuals of the caliber of Roger, Whitebeard, and Kaido.

A mighty samurai, Oden was famed for his personal Two Sword Style, based on his two blades, Enma and Ame no Habakiri, coated with his powerful Haki. Before Zoro's arrival in Wano, Oden was the first person who could wield Enma.

20 years ago, he fought on equal grounds against Kaido, the Yonko known as the "World's Strongest Creature". He severely injured him, leaving him with a scar. Due to an unfair distraction, Oden ended up losing. Still, he greatly impressed Kaido. Even today, he holds Oden to high esteem.


9) Shiryu

Shiryu in his post time skip incarnation (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Shiryu in his post time skip incarnation (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Shiryu is a fearsome swordsman who uses his blade, Raiu, to perform deadly attacks at extreme speeds. A wicked individual who enjoys killing mercilessly, Shiryu is the former Head Jailer of Impel Down,.

Before the time skip, Shiryu was as strong as the deadly Magellan. Upon meeting Teach, Shiryu reneged on Impel Down and joined the Blackbeard Pirates, becoming the second strongest in the group, just below the captain himself.

After the time skip, Shiryu improved his fighting capabilities. He also gained the power of the Clear-Clear Fruit, which allowed him to become invisible. This ability enhanced his stealth skills and made his swordsmanship even more lethal.


8) Ryokugyu

Admiral Ryokugyu as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Admiral Ryokugyu as seen in One Piece (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Aramaki, better known as "Ryokugyu," became a Marine Admiral after the time skip. He easily beat King and Queen (although they were already weakened from before) as well as the Nine Red Scabbards. He also defeated and captured Edward Weevil.

Using his Woods-Woods Fruit, a Logia-type, Ryokugyu can create and control plant life. He can overwhelm his enemies with large-scale attacks, impaling them with sharpened tree branches that dehydrate living creatures.

Some fans assumed that the katana Ryokugyu carries around is a Black Blade. However, to this day, nothing concerning Ryokugyu's sword and his level of proficiency in wielding is known, leaving the subject open to speculation.


7) Fujitora

Fujitora as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Fujitora as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Issho is a blind swordsman who joined the Marines during the World Military Draft, becoming known as Admiral Fujitora. He and Ryokugyu have a great reputation for strength, and are hailed as "monsters".

Owing to the Press-Press Fruit, Fujitora can create and manipulate gravitational forces, which he can combine with his swordsmanship. Fujitora's Observation Haki is exceptional, allowing him to fight effectively despite being blind.

A testament to his prowess, Fujitora, even while manifestly holding himself back, was able to fend off Sabo, the second-strongest member of the Revolutionary Army.


6) Shiki

Shiki as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Shiki as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

A former member of the Rocks Pirates, Shiki became the captain of his own crew, the Golden Lion Pirates. He challenged Roger in the Battle of Edd War, but he and his fleet were wiped out by a sudden storm.

Shiki attacked Marineford, where he was beaten and subdued by Garp and Sengoku. He didn't stand a chance against the combined might of the two, but the battle between them was fierce enough to destroy half of Marineford.

Shiki dual-wielded his swords Oto and Kogarashi with great proficiency. He combined his swordsmanship with the power of the Float-Float Fruit, which allowed him to fly, as well as levitate any non-living matter that he touched.


5) Silvers Rayleigh

Silvers Rayleigh in his prime days (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Silvers Rayleigh in his prime days (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Rayleigh is the former right-hand man of Gol D. Roger, the Pirate King. He wasn't just Roger's strongest subordinate, he was his partner, with a status comparable to him. Rayleigh's swordsmanship and Haki earned him fame as the "Dark King".

A testament to his strength, his Conqueror's Haki was directly compared to that of Shanks. Monkey D. Garp hyped Rayleigh as a legend of the same caliber as Whitebeard, the World's Strongest Man.

In his prime, Rayleigh was stronger than the Admirals and most of the Emperors. Even as a retired old man, he remained powerful enough to intimidate Blackbeard and successfully fend off Admiral Kizaru.


4) Shanks

Shanks as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Shanks as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

The captain of the fearsome Red Hair Pirates, Shanks is one of the Four Emperors. He is a charismatic and charming individual who has been Luffy's role model since the beginning of the series.

In combat, Shanks wields Gryphon, a large saber, exhibiting his swordsmanship and Haki mastery. He can fight on comparable grounds to Dracule Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman. Even Whitebeard considered their battles legendary.

Despite losing one arm, Shanks is strong enough to clash with Whitebeard. Unleashing his superior Conqueror's Haki, Shanks can stop others from using their Color of Observation. With his powerful aura, he forced Ryogyoku, a Marine Admiral, into spontaneous submission


3) Dracule Mihawk

Mihawk as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Mihawk as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Dracule Mihawk is the current World's Strongest Swordsman. Undoubtedly, he is one of the mightiest fighters in the One Piece series. Mihawk is a man as strong, if not stronger, than Shanks, who is an outstanding individual in his own right.

Ever since Shanks lost an arm, Mihawk has been waiting for an even stronger challenger. That person will likely be Zoro, who is continuously improving to reach the level required to confront Mihawk and his fearsome Black Blade.

To this day, fans have only witnessed a glimpse of Mihawk's capabilities. Even his most casual swings can cut in half icebergs as big as mountains. Unsurprisingly, Mihawk's presence in the Cross Guild is enough to raise the organization to the status of Yonko crew.


2) Gol D. Roger

Gol D. Roger as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Gol D. Roger as seen in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Roger is the only one to have earned the title of King of Pirates. Together with his unparalleled crew, he conquered the Grand Line, reaching Laugh Tale and finding the legendary One Piece treasure.

He didn't rely on a Devil Fruit, but on his outstanding Haki, which enabled him to clash with Garp's physical strength and Whitebeard's Quake-Quake powers. Even a mighty swordsman such as Oden felt outmatched against Roger.

Roger's weapon of choice was Ace, a sword ranked among the Twelve Supreme Grade Blades, which he enhanced with his fearsome Haki. Roger died undefeated, and his extraordinary accomplishments inspired the ongoing Great Piracy Era.


1) Ryuma Shimotsuki

"Sword God" Ryuma (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
"Sword God" Ryuma (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

"Sword God" Ryuma was an unparalleled samurai who single-handedly protected Wano from pirates and World Nobles. Unbeknownst to him, people hailed him as "King," the strongest warrior in the world.

Ryuma's status was immense. He was even compared to Joy Boy. Even hundreds of years after his death, people consider Ryuma to be "Wano's Greatest Hero," despite Wano being blessed with other great samurai, such as Oden Kozuki.

Ryuma died undefeated. While he was alive, he possessed an incredibly powerful Armament Haki, which allowed him to turn his sword Shusui into a Black Blade. Only he and Dracule Mihawk were ever able to achieve this exceptional feat.


Final thoughts

Swordsmen are among the strongest fighters in the series. They can unleash devastating slashes that prove to be lethal for their targets, and are highly destructive for their surroundings.

They can use swords to protect themselves from incoming attacks, and even strike their foes from a distance, performing flying slashes. Using Haki, swordsmen can enhance all their defensive and offensive abilities on a whole other level.

From cutting steel to hardening the swords, Armament Haki is crucial for swordsmen. The mightiest representatives in the category can even coat their swords with Advanced Conqueror's Haki, or permanently toughen their swords, making them Black Blades.

A testament to the immense competitiveness within the category, some high-caliber swordsmen, such as Cracker, Ashura Doji, Kawamatsu, and Kinemon, weren't able to make this list of the absolute strongest, despite being powerful fighters in their own right.