An antagonist can be classed on three orthogonal parameters:

* [[SlidingScaleOfVillainThreat How much danger they, or their plans, pose.]]
* How effective they are.
* [[SlidingScaleOfAntagonistVileness How much the audience is supposed to hate them.]]

This is a method of quantifying the second one.

Note that this does not cover any degree of sympathy; rather, it covers how probable their success is. To expand on this scale's orthogonality to the other two: it is entirely possible for a CompleteMonster to fall at 'credible' or even 'low' on this scale (for example, a monster who is merely chief [[TheDragon henchman]] to, say, [[ComicStrip/FlashGordon Ming the Merciless]]); and it is possible to have a villain who bats at the level of {{Superman}}, but is so dumb that most of his threat comes from the fact that his plans will inevitably fail in a spectacular way.

Further, please do not add in Villainous organizations, groups, or nations to the Examples section at '''High''' or '''Infinite''' levels, and be particularly aware of FanMyopia.

'''None:''' The villain succeeded in his evil scheme, but it wasn't destroying the world at all, it was... [[PokeThePoodle to step on a flower?!?]] Or alternatively, there's [[NoAntagonist no villain at all]].
* HarmlessVillain
* MinionWithAnFInEvil
* CrazyCatLady
* PeekABogeyman
* The most agreeable examples of TheExtremistWasRight
* ''Examples:'' The ''WesternAnimation/LeagueOfSuperEvil'', Swiper from ''WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer'', [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Team Rocket]] (Pre-''Best Wishes''), Professor Chaos of WesternAnimation/SouthPark, [[Series/{{Lexx}} President Priest and Bunny]].

'''Low:''' [[VillainBall The villain can be safely allowed]] to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard foil their own scheme.]]
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain
* NoOneRespectsTheSpanishInquisition
* VillainousHarlequin
* GoldfishPoopGang
* ''Examples:'' Most ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' villains, Dr. Drakken from ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', ''Series/InvaderZim'' (most of the time), [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Waluigi]], [[WesternAnimation/AdventureTime The Ice King]], [[WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures The Dark Hand]], many villains written by Creator/DeanKoontz, [[WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb Dr. Doofenshmirtz]], the [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E19ADogAndPonyShow Diamond Dogs]], [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Mashmyre Cello]] ([[TookALevelInBadass in the first half of the series]]), [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Dr. Eggman]] (from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' to ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed''), [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} The Pack]]. [[Anime/SailorMoon The Dark Kingdom]] qualifies due to [[TheLoad Queen Beryl's poor management]], though most of its villains are Credible threats in their own right.

'''Credible:''' [[EvilOverlordList Rarely succeeds]], but only because heroes take action.
* EvilOverlord
* TheEmpire
* ''Examples:'' Most [[Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney]] villains, the Master from ''Series/DoctorWho'', ''Series/InvaderZim'' (on his worst days), Ming the Merciless from ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'', The Galactic Empire from ''Franchise/StarWars'', [[Franchise/{{Transformers}} The Decepticons]] (occasionally highly effective), [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft Twilight's Hammer]], [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender The Fire Nation]] (whenever [[MagnificentBastard Azula]] isn't available as a strategic consultant), [[WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra Tarrlok and Verrick]], [[VideoGame/{{Fallout}} The Enclave]], [[LordOfTheRings Sauron]] during the late Third Age, [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Dr. Eggman]] (pre-''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' and post-''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed''). [[SuperMarioBros Bowser]] (pre-''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'') fits here, but is frequently highly effective against anybody other than the Super Mario Brothers, though he'd be more effective [[HoistByHisOwnPetard if he didn't kidnap Princess Peach.]] The typical villains from PowerRangers / SuperSentai also fall into this category, [[Literature/{{Redwall}} Most Redwall Villains]], [[Series/{{Lexx}} Schlemi/Fifi, Brizon and most minor villains]], [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} Demona]], [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed Patrick Zala & Muruta Azrael]], [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeedDestiny Lord Djibril]], [[Anime/FullMetalAlchemist The Homunculi]].

'''Inadvertent:''' May succeed without realizing it, so heroes must be especially cautious.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters
* HumansAreMorons
* HumansAreCthulhu
* NonMaliciousMonster
* ObliviouslyEvil
* ThenLetMeBeEvil
* MikeNelsonDestroyerOfWorlds
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds
* HeroWithAnFInGood
* NatureIsNotNice
* ''Examples:'' The crew of the ''Series/RedDwarf'', the Red King in ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', the replicants of ''Film/BladeRunner'', [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Everfree Forest creatures]].

'''High:''' Almost always succeeds when not thwarted by a hero and have a decent number of victories under their belt; expect them to [[YouCantThwartStageOne get a secondary goal completed]] even when they lose.
* MagnificentBastard
* TheChessmaster (when evil)
* GenreSavvy (when evil)
* GreaterScopeVillain
* HeroKiller
* KnightOfCerebus
* NotSoHarmlessVillain
* FromNobodyToNightmare (when evil)
* CorruptCorporateExecutive
* TheMenInBlack (when evil)
* OmnicidalManiac
* ManipulativeBastard (when evil)
* NoNonsenseNemesis (when evil)
* ''Examples:'' [[Series/DoctorWho The Daleks]], [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} David Xanatos]], [[WesternAnimation/YoungJustice The Light]], [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Gendo Ikari]], [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI Kefka Palazzo]], [[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire Littlefinger]], [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Hazama, Yuuki Terumi, Relius Clover, and Izanami]], [[StarWars Palpatine, Darth Vader]], [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Grand]] [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Admiral Thrawn]], [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender Princess Azula]], [[WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra Amon, Vaatu, Unalaq, Zaheer and Kuvira]], [[Manga/DragonballZ Freeza, Cell, and Majin Buu]], [[Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld Katsuhiko Jinnai]], [[Anime/{{Patlabor}} Richard Wong]], [[WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko XANA]], [[WesternAnimation/KimPossible Shego]], [[Film/TheDarkKnightSaga Ra's al Ghul, the Joker, and Bane]], [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Bowser]] (The Galaxy games and pre-''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'') whenever the Super Mario Brothers aren't around, [[note]][[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy if he doesn't get himself unintentionally killed with the entire galaxy when trying to recreate it around his own Sun, making him ''more'' of a threat,]] [[KickTheDog especially since he's happy to endanger the galaxy.]][[/note]] [[Series/{{Smallville}} Lionel Luthor and Brainiac]], [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED Rau Le Creuset]], [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Haman]] [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Khan]], [[Literature/TheSilmarillion Morgoth]] (pre-War of Wrath) and [[TheLordOfTheRings Sauron]] (pre-Third Age), Comicbook/{{Thanos}}, [[WesternAnimation/AdventureTime The Lich]], [[VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2 Raul Menendez]], [[Manga/{{Inuyasha}} Naraku]], [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Kyubey]], [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Nightmare Moon, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Lord Tirek and Starlight Glimmer]], [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure Dio Brando, Kars, Yoshikage Kira, Diavolo, Enrico Pucci, Funny Valentine]], [[Film/JurassicWorld The Indominus Rex]], [[Literature/TheHungerGames President Snow]], [[Anime/{{PsychoPass}} Shogo Makishima, Kirito Kamui & the Sybil System]], [[Series/{{Lexx}} His Divine Shadow, Mantrid, Prince and Vlad]], [[Series/{{Arrow}} Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Ra's al Ghul and Damien Dhark]], [[Anime/{{Hellsing}} The Major]], [[WesternAnimation/CouragetheCowardlyDog Katz]], [[Series/{{Supernatural}} Azazel, Lucifer and Crowley]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts Master Xehanort]], [[Anime/DragonballSuper Goku Black, Zamasu]], [[WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda Tai Lung]], [[WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2 Lord Shen]], and [[WebAnimation/{{RWBY}} Cinder Fall]].

'''Infinite:''' [[TheBadGuyWins The villain will always win, and the heroes will always lose]], [[CruelTwistEnding even if the heroes should by all rights win]]. This may be due to the villain being truly all powerful, or the heroes being utterly incapable of confronting them in the first place, let alone stopping them. At best, the heroes could delay or annoy the villain, but the villain will triumph in the end regardless and the heroes can only evade or escape the villain once its goals are met.
* InvincibleVillain
* EldritchAbomination (esp. in stories where you can't [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu punch them out]])
* CosmicHorrorStory
* GodIsEvil (unless there's some sort of good [[TheAntiGod Anti-God]] that can meaningfully oppose Him. [[Literature/TheSalvationWar Iron chariots work, too]].)
* YouCantFightFate
* RageAgainstTheHeavens
* DownerEnding
* ShootTheShaggyDog
* VillainSue
* DiabolusExMachina
* AsLongAsThereIsEvil
* ''Examples'': Many horror stories where the protagonists die or suffer a FateWorseThanDeath like ''Film/FinalDestination'', the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, ''Literature/BattleRoyale,'' [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Big Brother]], [[Literature/BloodMeridian Judge Holden]], [[Literature/ItsAGoodLife Anthony]] [[Series/TheTwilightZone1959 Fremont]].