An antagonist can be classed on three orthogonal parameters:

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

This is a method of quantifying the first one.
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Franchise/{{Superman}} is locked in a battle with Lex Luthor, who is threatening to melt the polar icecaps and flood the world. Meanwhile, in [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Gotham]], the Joker is going to gas the city. Meanwhile again in space, the GreenLantern is getting ready to defend against the invading Sinestro Corps. All of these examples have villains that are exhibiting differing levels of threat.

You can class various villains on [[SuperWeight tiers of the type of threat they present]] to the world and the heroes. The SortingAlgorithmOfEvil will usually ensure that the hero's successive opponents will each be higher on the scale than the last, but, due to the [=SAoE=]'s caring about effectiveness as well as scope, not always. In general, the hero will also have the same potential for destruction as his villains, but usually is slightly below them, because underdogs are more relatable. Having a wild range of villains may help avoid causing a feeling that TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed because EvilOnlyHasToWinOnce. Having a hero with a StoryBreakerPower usually upsets this dynamic, or forces a jump in villain up the scale.

Most series that lean towards the realistic side of [[SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness the scale]] do not venture beyond [[ApocalypseHow Planetary Threat level]], as Galactic and above tends to put a lot of pressure on WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. Shifting too far up the scale, especially over a short period of time, is an easy way to JumpTheShark.

When talking about some villains, this is very much related to how much they can [[AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit abuse the Kardashev Scale for death and maiming]]. Contrast with SlidingScaleOfAntagonistVileness, when you're talking about the audience's reaction to a character rather than the threat they represent, and SlidingScaleOfVillainEffectiveness when talking about how well they succeed.

* '''Personal Threat''': The villain poses significant harm to a single person or small group of persons.
** Examples: most serial killers from {{slasher movie}}s, any normal person severely pissed off, most comic book {{Bad Ass Normal}}s, the average [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] who doesn't refrain from drinking human blood, [[ThePrincessAndTheFrog Dr. Facilier]] (although he slips into a city threat by offering the souls of New Orleans to his "friends"), the more mundane [[DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney]] villains (such as [[Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians Cruella de Vil]] and [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast Gaston]]) and the not so mundane but violently petty ones (like [[Disney/SnowWhite the Queen]] and [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent]]), ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'''s first-season villains (Ira Gaines, the Drazens. Then again, killing David Palmer could trigger significant civil unrest), [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Joe Chill, Catwoman, Toyman, the Riddler, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Penguin, Man-Bat, Black Mask]], [[ThomasTheTankEngine The Diesels and Spencer]], [[{{TUGS}} the Zed Stacks, the Pirates, and Johnny Cuba]], [[MarvelComics Chameleon, Electro, Bullseye, the Scorpion, the Kingpin, the Vulture, the Green Goblin]], [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} GLaDOS]], [[NetHack the Wizard of Yendor]], [[{{Terminator}} the various Terminators]], [[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick the Linear Guild]], [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer the Trio]], [[Series/{{Angel}} Holtz]], [[BuffyVerse Spike]], [[Series/{{Outcasts}} The XPs]], most villains from the first season of Bleach, [[OsmosisJones Thrax]], and [[spoiler:David]] from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''.

* '''City Threat''': Villain possesses capabilities to do significant damage to or destroy a city.
** Examples: Diego del Torro in 1701 A.D.: The Sunken Dragon, a typical NonMaliciousMonster (mitigated by the fact that, unless hungry, will never strike first and their TrueNeutral alignment, but increased due to their raw destructive power and being hard to kill), SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy,]] [[TheFlash Captain Cold]], [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} Demona]], [[DCComics Doctor Light, Parasite, the Fearsome Five]], [[SpiderMan Doctor Octopus]], [[MarvelComics Baron Blood]], [[ComicBook/TeenTitans Deathstroke the Terminator]], [[PowerRangers Rita Repulsa]], some of CaptainPlanet's RoguesGallery, most ''PowerpuffGirls'' villains, [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Team Rocket]], the alien ship from ''VideoGame/SimCity'', and bad guys from ''SinCity'' could also count for that matter, [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Dr. Robotnik/Eggman]] (although sometimes a Planetary Threat as well), [[Series/TwentyFour Syed Ali, Vladimir Bierko, Samir]], the [[Series/{{Angel}} Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart]] [[spoiler:until its change of management]], most ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' "[[GoodAllAlong villains]]", [[VideoGame/{{Fallout}} the Enclave]], [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame the Disney version of Frollo]], and [[Series/{{Lost}} The Others and Martin Keamy's mercenaries]].

* '''State/Province Threat''': Villain can wreak enough damage to destroy or otherwise defeat a large group of cities.
** Examples: [[MarvelComics the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants]], some of ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'''s {{Big Bad}}s (Stephen Saunders, Habib Marwan, Abu Fayed, Jonas Hodges), the [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft Defias Brotherhood]], [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Prometheus]], [[Anime/DigimonFrontier The Evil Hybrids]], [[PhineasandFerb Heinz Doofenshmirtz]].

* '''National Threat''': Villain can destroy a country or [[VillainWorld take it over]] and [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny turn it into]] a CrapsackWorld. The path to DiabolicalMastermind tends to end here, but not always.
** Examples: [[{{Superman}} Lex Luthor]], BlackAdam, [[Franchise/{{Digimon}} Devimon and Etemon]], [[ASongOfIceAndFire Littlefinger and Varys]], [[KingArthur Morgan le Fay]], [[WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures Shendu and his Demon brethren]], [[TheFlash Gorilla Grodd]], [[IronMan the Mandarin]], [[SuperMarioBros Bowser]], [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Ganondorf]], [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry King K. Rool]], [[WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}} Phobos]], Franchise/{{Godzilla}} and most other {{Kaiju}}, [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Kotomine Kirei]] in the Fate route, the [[{{Everworld}} Sennites]], many {{Disney}} villains such as [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} Jafar]], [[Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective Professor Ratigan]], [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ursula]], [[Disney/TheLionKing Scar]], and [[Disney/{{Mulan}} Shan Yu]], [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft the Horde]] and [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft the Alliance]] in each others' eyes, often other countries in both fiction and real life.

* '''Global Threat''': Villain poses significant threat to the world at large, up to and including WorldDomination and/or EarthShatteringKaboom. In worst case scenario, is an OmnicidalManiac. Usually via large army, colossal superpowers, or a DoomsdayDevice. EvilOverlord tends to describe them. An UltimateEvil or a fictional [[TheEmperor Emperor]] is likely to be portrayed as a villain of at least this threat level. At this point, you should start checking out ApocalypseHow.
** Examples: [[MobileSuitGundamSEED Rau Le Creuset]] [[Manga/DeathNote Light Yagami]], [[DCComics Vandal Savage, Amazo, Brainiac, Doctor Destiny, General Zod, Doomsday, Bizarro, Ra's al Ghul]], [[EndersGame Achilles de Flandres]], [[TheIncredibles Syndrome]], [[Franchise/{{Digimon}} Myotismon and the Dark Masters]], [[Manga/DragonBall The Red Ribbon Army and Piccolo Daimao]], [[Manga/{{Naruto}} Madara, Obito, Sasuke, Orochimaru, the Akatsuki]], [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]], [[VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon Darkrai]], [[MarvelComics Doctor Doom, Apocalypse, Kang the Conqueror, Ultron, Red Skull]], [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist the Homunculi]], [[DGrayMan the Millennium Earl]], [[Characters/NorseMythology Loki]], [[TheSilmarillion Morgoth]] and [[TheLordOfTheRings Sauron]], [[{{Manga/Monster}} Johan]], [[Series/DoctorWho the Cybermen]], [[Franchise/{{Metroid}} Mother Brain, Ridley and the Space Pirates]], [[Franchise/AdvanceWars the Black Hole army]], [[VideoGame/EarthBound Giygas]], most major {{Nasuverse}} villains, [[VideoGame/ChronoTrigger Lavos]], [[{{Contra}} Red Falcon]], [[VideoGame/CaveStory the Doctor]], [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Team Aqua and Team Magma]], most ''FinalFantasy'' villains, the Gyaos in the 90s {{Gamera}} trilogy, [[GeneralProtectionFault Trudy]] and [[spoiler:[[GeneralProtectionFault Nega-Nick]]]], [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Utsuho]], possibly [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Flandre Scarlet]], [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Kotomine Kirei]] in the Heaven's Feel route, [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Gilgamesh]] in Unlimited Blade Works, [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion SEELE]], [[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Xykon and the Snarl]], [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]], [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquer the Brotherhood of Nod and the Scrin]], the [[VideoGame/{{Myth}} Fallen Lords]], most of the {{Big Bad}}s of Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer, [[Series/{{Angel}} Jasmine]], [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom Dark Danny]] (albeit only implied), [[VideoGame/SystemShock SHODAN]], {{Satan}} in UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}} and UsefulNotes/{{Islam}}, [[Anime/DigimonTamers the D-Reaper]], [[Series/{{Lost}} the Man in Black]], [[{{Exalted}} the Deathlords]], [[MegaManZero Weil, Omega, the Guardians]], [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender the Fire Nation]], [[Series/{{Heroes}} Adam Monroe]], [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft the Twilight's Hammer]], [[TheCaligula Visser Three]] from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Doctor Robotnik]], [[GreekMythology The Titans and Protogenoi]], [[Literature/TheBible The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse]].

* '''Multi-Planetary Threat:''' Forces able to credibly threaten more than one planet or solar system, but probably not able to dominate a galaxy. GalacticConqueror starts here.
** Examples: Dr. Eggman/Robotnik, who has actually conquered [[VideoGame/SonicColors an alien planet and used its inhabitants as energy,]] all major races in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' (Borg, Dominion, Klingons, Romulans, UFP, etc), [[Anime/DragonBallZ The Saiyans and the Ginyu Force]], the younger races in ''Series/BabylonFive'', [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaClassic the Cylons]], [[VideoGame/HalfLife2 the Combine]], [[{{Starcraft}} the Zerg]], [[{{Everworld}} Ka Anor]], [[Literature/HonorHarrington the People's Republic of Haven]], the [[StarControl Ur-Quan]] [[TheJailer Kzer-Za]] and [[OmnicidalManiac Kohr-Ah]], the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Tau Empire]] and the ancient [[OurElvesAreBetter Eldar]] and [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Dark Eldar]] from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', [[Franchise/{{Godzilla}} King Ghidorah and Hedorah]] (Showa version), the [[VideoGame/{{Marathon}} Phfor Empire]] and [[SeriousSam Notorious Mental]], [[BattleTech The Successor States, the Clans and the Word of Blake,]] [[VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars the Suul'ka Horde]], [[Franchise/StarFox Andross]], [[MagnificentBastard Grand Admiral Thrawn]] and the other post-Palpatine Imperial warlords of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse usually blurred the line between this and Galactic Threat: their ambition was usually galactic, but aside from Ysanne Isard, Thrawn himself and the Emperor Reborn they rarely had a credible chance of reconquering the galaxy, and by [[AntiVillain Admiral Pellaeon's]] time the Empire falls squarely into this territory, the [[Literature/BlackFleetCrisis Yevetha]], the [[ComicBook/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders]] and most other non-Sith antagonists in the Star Wars EU also fall somewhere in this category.

* '''Galactic Threat''': The Villain has the capability to destroy or control the best part of the galaxy. {{Galactic Conqueror}}s are this threat level.
** Examples: [[Franchise/StarWars Emperor Palpatine, most other Sith Lords]], [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse the Yuuzhan Vong]], [[Franchise/StarTrek The Borg (again), Species 8472]], [[Series/BabylonFive First Ones]], [[JusticeLeague Despero]], [[{{Dune}} the Fremen]], [[MarvelComics the Skrull Empire]], [[DCComics Sinestro, Parallax]], most of the non-Heartless ''KingdomHearts'' villains (sort of), [[SpaceChannel5 Purge]], the ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' villains, [[Anime/DragonBallZ Frieza and Cell]], [[Series/DoctorWho the Dalek Empire]], [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitans Trigon the Terrible]], any major villain group in the StargateVerse, [[{{Gradius}} the Bacterions]], [[Franchise/MassEffect the Reapers]], [[{{Transformers}} the Decepticons]], [[WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce the Highbreed and the DN Aliens]], [[{{Mardek}} the Governance de Magi]], several races from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' (the [[OmnicidalManiac Necrons]], the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Tyranids]], the [[NegativeSpaceWedgie unending tides]] of [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity Chaos]], the [[MoreDakka Orks]], and, hell, the [[CrapsackWorld Imperium of Man]] itself), [[Literature/AFireUponTheDeep the Blight]], [[Literature/{{Excession}} the Excession]], [[{{Foundation}} the Empire, Foundation, Second Foundation, Gaia]], [[Literature/{{Lensman}} Boskone]], [[VideoGame/{{Marathon}} the W'rkncacnter]] (low-level estimate), [[Franchise/{{Halo}} The Covenant]], [[Literature/HonorHarrington the Solarian League and the Mesan Alignment]] (at least for the known galaxy from humanity's point of view).

* '''Universal Threat''': Villain can [[DimensionLord conquer the universe]], or even cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt - all of creation blinked out or ground beneath an iron boot. {{Dimension Lord}}s are this threat level.
** Examples: many {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, [[DCComics Mr. Mxyzptlk, Darkseid]], [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Glory]], [[MarvelComics Galactus]], [[MarvelComics Thanos]] when in possession of the [[CosmicKeystone Infinity Gauntlet]], [[Anime/DragonBallZ Majin Buu]], [[Anime/DragonBallGT Baby and Omega Shenron]], [[Franchise/{{Digimon}} Apocalymon and Millenniumon]], [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV Exdeath]], [[WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}} Nerissa]], [[PowerRangers United Alliance of Evil]], [[Series/DoctorWho The Master]], [[StarOcean the Ten Wise Men/Luther]], [[GurrenLagann the Anti-Spiral Collective]], (only at this level because it is uninterested in other realities) [[SuperMarioBros Bowser]] in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', [[spoiler:King Boo]] as of ''VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon'', [[StephenBaxter the Xeelee and Photino birds]], [[Franchise/{{Halo}} The Flood]], [[Videogame/{{Starcraft}} The Zerg]] (again), [[VideoGame/{{F-Zero}} Deathborn]], [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Cyrus]], [[spoiler:The Seer]] from ''Webcomic/KidRadd'', [[Literature/LifeTheUniverseAndEverything the Krikkits]], [[VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}} U-DO, the Gnosis]], [[VideoGame/{{Meteos}} the planet Meteo]], potentially [[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon Alma Wade]] if she gets around to it, [[spoiler: Senna Wales]] from ''{{Everworld}}'', LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya if she ''ever'' finds out about her powers, [[{{Dogma}} Azrael]], [[MagicTheGathering Yawgmoth]] (while his creation Phyrexia steps into Multiuniversal), [[Series/DoctorWho Weeping Angels]] when given something big enough to feed on, [[TabletopGame/{{Scion}} The Titans]], [[{{Exalted}} the Balorean Crusade]], [[Videogame/{{Metroid}} The X Parasites]], Walternate in ''Series/{{Fringe}}'',.

* '''[[TheMultiverse Multidimensional]] Threat''': Just to one up those small-timers above, these guys won't stop at a single universe; they'll cross time and space to either take control or just smash all of reality to pieces. See MultiversalConqueror.
** Examples: Dr. Eggman again, not [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006 once,]] not [[VideoGame/SonicRushSeries twice,]] but [[VideoGame/SonicGenerations THREE TIMES,]] The [[CrisisOnInfiniteEarths Anti-Monitor]], [[TurtlesForever Ch'rell/Shredder]], [[Comicbook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage Galactouse]], [[Comicbook/FantasticFour Abraxas]], [[Literature/TheWheelOfTime the Dark One]], [[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Kaiser Ephes, Dark Brain, The Edel Bernal, Gaioh, Euzeth Gozzo]], {{Noein}}, [[AliensAteMyHomework BKR]], [[Series/DoctorWho Davros and the Daleks]] (in the series 4 finale of the new series), [[spoiler:The Crimson King]] in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', [[spoiler:the Authority]] in ''HisDarkMaterials'', The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Version 2.0 in ''Literature/MostlyHarmless'', [[{{Transformers}} Unicron]] (somewhere between this and the above; he's a multiversal being that devours realities one universe at a time), Count Bleck [[spoiler:and Dimentio]] in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', [[Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber Brand]], [[KingdomHearts the Heartless]], [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Yukari Yakumo]], Professor Calamitous in the ''NicktoonsUnite'' series (not so much in his [[JimmyNeutron source material]]), [[spoiler:Pandemonium]] in ''GeneralProtectionFault'', [[ProtectorsOfThePlotContinuum Mary Sues, the League of Mary Sue Factories and the Enforcers of the Plot Continuum]], most villains in ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' (notably the FinalBoss), Baal from ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'', [[http://www.enworld.org/forum/2873260-post1.html the Mortiverse]] and [[GameBreaker Pun-]][[http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19869366/The_most_powerful_character_EVER pun]] from [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D]] 3.5, the [[YoungWizards Lone Power]], [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries The Guardian of Forever]], [[StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime Luther Lansfeld]], [[spoiler:Father Balder inside Jubileus]] from ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'', [[{{Sliders}} the Kromaggs]], [[CthulhuMythos Azathoth]], [[Series/DoctorWho the Time Lords]] (pre-time lock), [[spoiler:the Silence]] of ''Series/DoctorWho'', [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Lord Vyce and the Entity]], [[{{Exalted}} the Neverborn]], [[TabletopGame/MageTheAscension the Nephandi as whole, especially the Aswadim]], [[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering Nicol Bolas as well as Phyrexia]] (assuming each plane counts as a universe), [[Comicbook/DoomPatrol the Decreator]], [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles The Outsiders]], [[{{Persona 2}} Nyarlathotep]] and (it has been said but never shown on-screen as being true or false), [[spoiler:Lord English and Jack Noir]] from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', [[spoiler:The Machine, and First People, although it was an unintended side effect, and is resolved in two episodes.]] All the high ranked witches from ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'', such as [[spoiler: Bernkastel, Lambdadelta and Featherine Augustus Aurora]]. [[VideoGame/WorldofWarcraft The Burning Legion]] is this type of threat, as well as Garrosh Hellscream and the Iron Horde (potentially, if Garrosh can muster up the brains) which intends to take over even TIME ITSELF, likely using the Bronze Dragonflight traitors. The Mad Mind of ArthurCClarke's ''The City and the Stars'' may not be able to do this alone, but the blowback of his clash with his benign alter-ego Vanamonde might well "ring down the curtain on Creation" when and if it happens.

See also SuperWeight, which is more about measuring characters (including villains) in terms of raw power.

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