It’s not just one of the earliest weapons ever created by man, it’s also one of the greatest. Thanks to its iconic image, simple nature, and wild degree of adaptability, the sword has managed to stay in the hearts of minds of people long after the creation of high tech weaponry.
Not only that, but it has spawn some of the most iconic weapons in film, television, video games, and books. Whether it is used to cleave through legions of enemies or to symbolize a hero’s greater power, swords in fiction have truly left their mark. But which is the greatest?
In a fictional clash of fictional swords, these are the blades that come out on top. Spanning myth and popular culture, the following 15 swords and their many wielders have hacked and slashed their way to victory and a place in the hearts of devoted fans everywhere.
One note, I’ve decided to leave off the lightsaber for the sake of competition, everyone knows that would be number one on every list if it was included! For an in-depth look at the creation, history, and use of the weapon, read Greatest Fictional Weapons: The Lightsaber.
15. The Gunblade – Final Fantasy VII
When The Buster Sword (more on that later) became such an iconic weapon in Final Fantasy VII, the developers at Square must have tried to up the stakes with Final Fantasy VIII. You can’t get much crazier than a humongous sword, so the evolution was natural – put a gun in it. Thus, The Gunblade, part sword, part gun, all impractical. But still enough to provoke envy.
Craziest Feature: Gonna have to go with the whole, shooting bullets out of a sword thing. Sure it wouldn’t work in real life, but this is a JRPG.
14. Atlantean Sword – Conan the Barbarian
Giant muscles need a giant sword, so low and behold, Conan the Barbarian’s Atlantean Sword! Full of ornate decoration and ridged blades, this sword is all testosterone. It’s good for chopping up giant serpents and cutting off heads, so it’s good enough to be on this list.
13. Hattori Hanzo Sword – Kill Bill
When you’re a betrayed assassin looking for revenge against a bunch of gun and sword wielding bad guys, you need a blade that suits your skills. So the Hattori Hanzo sword is perfect for The Bride’s revenge-fueled spree. And it sure is tough. After slicing through dozens of hit men of assorted shapes and sizes, it still doesn’t lose the sharpness of the blade.
Craziest Feature: It’s so sharp, it can cut the top of your opponent’s head off without them even knowing! Try not to touch the blade with your bare hand.
12. Masamune – Chrono Trigger
Originally split into two parts, the Masamune is the perfect sword for a noble frog man with all the skills of a knight. Since Masamune is particularly powerful against magicians, it works well for Frog’s quest to destroy the dark mage Magus. Even better, it’s a blade that is intertwined with the history-spanning battle against the world-devouring Lavos, making it even cooler.
Craziest Feature: Rather than deflect damage or gain strength for future attacks, the Masamune absorbs damage to heal its wielder. It doesn’t get much cooler than a frog wielding a healing sword in battle.
11. Anduril – The Lord of the Rings
Formed from the shards of the ancient blade Narsil, Anduril, aka The Flame of the West, is the rightful weapon of the true king of men. Not only is it a sign of the hero Aragorn’s nobility, but it’s instrumental in holding the ghostly army under the mountain to their pledge, which turns the tide of battle against Mordor’s forces in The Battle of Minas Tirith. Plus, it’s just really awesome looking.
Craziest Feature: How long is this thing exactly? Forget about swinging it right in battle, how do you even get this thing out of the sheath without help?
10. Soul Calibur – Soul Calibur
An ancient blade infused with it’s maker’s soul, the Soul Calibur is a force for good and the antithesis of the evil Soul Edge blade. What does it all mean? No one is quite sure. This is, after all, a fighting game, none of which have the most solid narratives. But it’s powerful, made of some type of crystal, and is the only hope of saving the world from all-consuming darkness.
Craziest Feature: It’s thinking and feeling force for good, but it’s somewhat deceptive to it’s own users, making Soul Calibur the first weapon that could strangely be classified as an antihero character.
9. High Frequency Blade – Metal Gear Solid
While Solid Snake may favor guns and fists, Raiden is all about the blade. And not just any normal blade. The High Frequency Blade is powered by alternating current and resonates at an extremely high frequency, which allows it to cut through anything by destabilizing the target’s molecules. When used by cybernetically-augmented ninjas, the blade can deflect bullets and slice through even the biggest and most powerful enemies.
Craziest Feature: The thing is so powerful, it can cut through entire Metal Gear robots in a single swipe. There goes the last bit of reality left in the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
8. Sword of the Daywalker – Blade
Cutting up vampires is definitely the way to go when trying to put an end to hordes of this undead nemesis. But Blade’s Sword of the Daywalker is far more than a normal, it’s infused with silver and etched with acid to make it especially dangerous to vampires. Thanks to his vampire-enhanced abilities and this handy weapon, Blade is able to cut through his life-long opponents like butter. Except the butter screams and turns into ash.
Craziest Feature: Equipped with a secret button that must be pushed every time it’s gripped, unknowing baddies will have their hands literally exploded by booby-trapped springloaded blades if they steal Blade’s weapon.
7. Energy Sword – Halo
At first only used by the Covenant Elites, getting to use the Energer Sword in Halo 2 drove fans of the series wild. And with good cause, this weapons has been and always will be awesome. This double-bladed scythe can cut down even the fiercest opponents and can turn the tide against The Covenant and The Flood alike. Armed by the best players, not even the most heavily armed combatants can stand a chance and seeing a Energy Sword-wielding Spartan charging your way is both frightening and awe-inspiring.
Craziest Feature: Hold down the swing button for long enough, and you’ll lunge at your opponent through the air. Hack the system with a rocket launcher switch and you’ll shoot across the entire screen! Totally l33t.
6. Green Destiny – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
It’s more than just he Macguffin that propels the narrative of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Green Destiny is a memorable blade in its own right. With a green-hued extra long blade, The Green Destiny is a subject of envy and desire, sparking a theft that propels the entire movie. It’s also part of many amazing duels, looking even better when swung by a skilled ninja gracefully floating through the air.
Craziest Feature: It’s literally perfectly made. Any weapon that clashes with The Green Destiny is carved to pieces, making its wielder extremely deadly.
5. Master Sword – The Legend of Zelda
Link and The Master Sword go together like peanut butter and jelly. That being said, The Hero of Hyrule always seems to be separated from this powerful weapon at the start of nearly every Legend of Zelda game. But Link gets his hands on The Master Sword, it’s game over for evil doers everywhere. Equal parts stylish and intimidating, The Master Sword is the kind of weapon that strikes fear in the hearts of any opponent and is best when combined with the majesty of the Hylian Shield.
Craziest Feature: As “The Blade of Evil’s Bane,” The Master Sword is the only weapon capable of defeating true evil, most often in the form of Ganon.
4. Soul Edge – Soul Calibur
If a sword could be the embodiment of a death metal band, than it would be Soul Edge. Part demonic soul, part fleshy being, and part unbreakable blade, The Soul Edge is one intimidating sword. Add the fact that it’s absolutely enormous and any opponent carrying this heavy sword is intimidating. Not only will this thing end the lives of anyone in its wielder’s way, it will consume their souls for good measure afterward!
Craziest Feature: Soul Edge’s appearance changes from game to game, not just because of developer redesigns, but because it’s literally a living weapon with the ability to shapeshift according to its wielder’s style.
3. Excalibur – Arthurian Legend
The most famous sword of all time? Most likely. Excalibur is more than just a lethal and magical weapon, it stands for England. While the myth alternates between having the weapon pulled out of a stone and given to King Arthur by The Lady of the Lake, whoever is deemed worthy to wield Excalibur is the once and future king of England. As a magical weapon, it also bestows great, if somewhat unclear, powers upon its user, allowing him or her to beat back the legions that threaten the royal kingdom.
Craziest Feature: Not only is Excalibur powerful enough to beat any foe, but wielding its scabbard will heal any wound! Talk about an overpowered weapon.
2. Buster Sword – Final Fantasy VII
Quite possibly the most famous weapon in all of video game history, The Buster Sword is loved by fans the world over. Used by Cloud Strife in his quest to save the world and defeat Sephiroth, The Buster Sword is extremely deadly because of the combination of size and sharpness, slashing and slamming through countless enemies in this classic RPG. While it may be slightly improved in the form of the Buster 6 (a giant Buster Sword that can break into six separate blades), you just can’t beat the original.
Craziest Feature: Sheer size and width. The Buster Sword may actually be usable in real life, but it certainly cannot be good for your back.
1. Keyblade – Kingdom Hearts
It’s strange, a little silly looking, and far from realistic, but The Keyblade is completely awesome. As a mysterious magical item bestowed upon worthy users, this sword is instrumental in the war between Light and Dark. Not only is it a deadly weapon in melee combat, but the Keyblade can be modified through keychains, adding new properties and abilities for even greater effectiveness. Seemingly bonded to the souls of users, Keyblade wielders can never truly lose their weapons and can call upon them at a moment’s notice. The more a user understands the Keyblade, the deadlier he or she becomes.
Craziest Feature: This thing can literally open and close portals to other dimensions. Plus, it can lock the hearts of various worlds, protecting inhabitants from the hordes of Heartless seeking to envelope all of reality. That’s crazier than the fact that this blade is a giant key.
Honorable Mentions: The Sword of Power, Ivy’s Whip Sword, Triple Sword, Ragnell, Z Saber