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"On a scale of no grind to Korean MMO, it gets a Tony Hawk."
Kilian Experience, A Garbage Guide to Subnautica

A simplistic ranking system in which Power Levels are something other than specific measurements, usually in the form of broad categories.

Much like Character Tiers, this discussion centers on which character(s) are the most powerful. Unlike Character Tiers this happens inside the show/game and does not get deeply involved in the factors affecting the debate.

Inevitably, any series with this kind of grading system will be subject to Rank Inflation, sometimes to ridiculous levels just to keep up with things like the Sorting Algorithm of Evil. In the end the heroes will always be as Strong as They Need to Be, so all this rigamarole can get beside the point.

Compare Awesomeness Meter. Distinct from Power Levels which are specific measurements, this trope deals with less specific things. For example, if a character was rated at "709 in Ki Manipulation", that's Power Levels. But if they were rated a "Class 2 (of 5) in Ki Manipulation" that's this trope.

Common scales include:

  • Roman Numerals
  • Greek Letters
  • Latin Letters (commonly A through D, usually adding S above A if it gets into Rank Inflation territory, followed by even more S-es if that isn't enough.)
  • Colors
  • Geometric Shapes
  • Standard Numbers


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Stands from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are given letter grades in several categories such as destructive power, speed, precision, and so on. These really don't mean much, as the overall effectiveness of a Stand isn't how powerful it is, but how cleverly it can be used. Several of them are also pretty random in how they rank; most obviously, the Stands from Part 3 were only given their grades well after the fact, leading to Emperor (whose entire power is supernatural precision) having a Precision of E, and Tower of Grey (who casually ripped people's heads off) having a Destructive Power of E.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has the Mage Ranks used by the Time-Space Administration Bureau for those under them. The TSAB has a logical way of assigning ranks. They have Rank Promotion tests, and you advance to that rank if you pass, making you eligible for more positions (Air Combat Mages require a minimum rank of A, for example). Also, while the Combat Mage Rank of front-line soldiers like Nanoha and Fate is a decent gauge on battle prowess, there's also the less battle-oriented Composite Mage Rank and... well, to use the SS-Ranked Lt. Col. Hayate for example, she mentions that any of the Forwards under Nanoha's tutelage would kick her butt in a duel. Including Caro. Without her dragons.
  • In Claymore, there are normally 47 of the titular warriors, and they're ranked from 1 to 47, based on their relative power. Thus, it's possible for someone to go up in the rank, not because they got stronger, but because someone of higher rank died.
    • This is demonstrated in the aftermath of the War in the North arc. With many of the Single Digits dead and more than half of the existing Warriors along with them, the newer generations of Warriors were much weaker than their counterparts as they had to be pressed into service as quickly as possible.
  • All jutsu and missions in Naruto are ranked. Usually this scale goes D, C, B, A, S. Jutsu rankings indicate ease of learning and personal risk to the user, and a few Jutsu like rope escape and transformation are E-ranked. In the case of missions, however, it's a bit more realistic, as there is an organization giving out the rankings for a plausible purpose (assignment of missions to appropriately ranked ninja and charging of appropriate fees), and the rankings are shown to be mistaken on occasion (Tazuna lies about how dangerous protecting him is because the Land of Waves can't afford an A-rank mission).
    • The ranking of village-affiliated ninja themselves, however, is limited to a four tier system of chain-of-command: Genin ("low ninja"), Chuunin ("middle ninja"), Jounin ("high ninja"), and Tokubetsu Jounin ("specialist high ninja"; despite how it sounds is actually lower ranked than a regular Jonin). This is sensible — a village promotes a ninja who has proven he has gained the combat experience necessary to lead other ninja; this naturally goes hand-in-hand with becoming stronger, but a ninja can (and has) become the superior officer of more powerful ninja who were not ready to take command. However, if a ninja never takes the promotion tests, they will go unpromoted despite being appropriately qualified — as Naruto himself proves, being absent when all of his friends retook and passed the Chunnin Exam, and thus remains a genin.
    • There's also the Kage rank, which theoretically is supposed to go to the absolute, no question, strongest ninja in the village. In practice, however, Konoha at least is decided by a majority vote of the village's Jonin and then waiting for approval from the Daimyo of the Land of Fire. If you're severely lacking in the ability to mix it up with people who can legitimately claim to be Kage tier, but are incredibly famous, then you can get the position no questions asked.
    • During the Chuunin Exam arc, Kabuto has data cards (based on his own research, or so he claims) that numerically rank the various examinees on traits like physical strength, agility, and skill in various ninja arts. The accuracy and usefulness of these ratings never gets closely examined.
      • A similar set of six traits (Strength, Speed, Stamina, Ninjutsu, Taijutsu, and Genjutsu) are given for most characters in databooks specific to a period of time, each being a multiple of 1/2 from 0 to 5. It isn't clarified whether this numbers are supposed to some sort of quantitative measure or percentiles.
        While the first three have obvious ways in which they can be measured, there are a number of different factors the other three could potentially be referring to (variety, raw power, efficiency, difficulty of the techniques they have learned), especially with ninjutsu which is what essentially every technique that isn't based on bare-handed-attacks or illusions. For instance Hidan is given a Ninjutsu ranking of 5, but only showed use of one technique that is classified as ninjutsu.
    • Ninja are also S-D ranked in each village's "bingo book", presumably based on how difficult a mission it would be to take them out. This is largely only referenced with respect to "S-Rank" missing ninja, such as the members of Akatsuki.
  • YuYu Hakusho uses this starting from the middle of the Dark Tournament arc on, which factors into its Sorting Algorithm of Evil. The ranks run from E, D, C, B, A, and S. Toguro, the main antagonist of the first major story arc, is a high-level B-class, while the heroes are low to mid level Bs. Later on the heroes all rank up to high As, but a veritable swarm of S class show up, the first of which is Sensui, the next major antagonist and World's Strongest Man, ranking at a low S-class. A-Rank is the absolute upper-limit of the Spirit World's military capability, so S-class is just a euphemism for "everything too powerful for us to deal with." Demons on the higher end of this designation are somewhat offended by this, considering that they're ranked in the same class as demons that are as weak to them as E class demons are to the lower S-Class.
  • Dragon Ball's power rankings get shuffled like playing cards thanks to new forms, techniques, transformations and power-ups being introduced every few chapters and episodes. The Scouters from the Saiyan and Namek Arcs provide an interesting look into this concept:
    • Scouters heralded the concept of Battle Powers (or Power Levels) that measured somebody's ki level as a cold numerical rating, allowing troopers (and fans) to estimate the odds of a fight. A regular human was rated at 5, whereas the main characters, who could accurately be described as martial artist ki cannons, had Battle Powers in the hundreds when Scouters first showed up. They were also useful for FTL communication and tracking a target. However...
    • As stated by Word of God, Scouters were introduced to deconstuct themselves: by then the heroes had learnt not only how to sense ki levels naturally, but also how to suppress their own, giving lower readings and fooling their opponents into a false sense of security (which dovetailed poorly into their arrogance; they wouldn't accept the new readings and attack anyway). Scouters also emphasize brute strength among the ranks as they didn't take technique into account: someone with the ability to pause time or use the Spirit Bomb can overcome someone with a higher rating. And finally, the very presence of one meant that destroying it will render your opponent unable to measure or track you, putting them at a disadvantage. Combine this with Strong as They Need to Be, and ultimately this trope is in full effect despite using hard numbers.
    • Once Scouters disappeared after the Namek arc, the power of a fighter was determined by sensing it, so ki levels were conveyed with verbal comparisons or how much somebody's power caused environmental damage. They were also retired for logistical reasons: Frieza had a Battle Power of 1 million, and the next two arcs introduce characters and forms vastly more powerful than him (the Androids in particular had no ki that the heroes could sense, let alone a scouter), so measuring them would be impractical on the order of trillions. This didn't stop fans from trying to assign numbers to the characters through guesswork of course, which was not helped by differences between the manga, the anime, the Non-Serial Movies, and their dubs.
  • One Piece uses a bounty system as a rough power ranking: The Marines issue a bounty on a pirate relative to the threat the Marines believe he/she represents. Inaccurate as it may be, it works because the characters believe in it; enough that pirates with high bounties can make lesser pirates pee their pants with their mere presence, and you get lines like "How could pirate X beat pirate Y? X Has a mere 50 million bounty, while Y has 150 million! It can't be!" Of course, it's a direct tribute to Dragon Ball's power ratings.
    • Your bounty is directly related to how much the World Government sees you as a threat. This doesn't necessarily have to relate to physical strength like it usually does, as it could also relate to the knowledge and intelligence one possesses. Notable exceptions include Nico Robin, who received a 79 million Berry bounty at the tender age of 8 for being able to read Poneglyphs, rather than being a strong fighter. This fact is directly exploited by Blackbeard, who, despite being one of the strongest men in the world, had a bounty of 0, due to staying off the radar until he was ready to make his move.
      • In reference to the 'threat level = bounty' idea, among groups with relatively similar power levels, the highest bounties tend to go to the most Ax-Crazy. Examples include Donquixote Doflamingo of the Seven Warlords of the Sea and Eustass Kid of the Worst Generationnote . This makes sense since, all other things being equal, someone who goes around slaughtering people For the Evulz would be considered more of a threat than someone who raids the occasional merchant ship.
      • It's been stated that the most wanted man in the world is the Revolutionary, Dragon. This probably has little to do with Power Levels and more to do with the fact that he's the head of an organization that wants to violently overthrow the World Government. Basically, he's the most wanted by the World Government in the same way that Osama Bin Ladin was the most wanted by the U.S. Government.
    • It's made clear in-universe that bounties are flawed as a measure of a pirate's threat level (either in terms of their fighting ability or their overall threat to the World Government) not only because the government sometimes has inaccurate information but also because the government sometimes deliberately issues bounties that are lower than what a character would merit from a purely objective assessment of their threat level. Sometimes letting world at large know how big a threat somebody is would actually make them even more dangerous, because it would make people wonder why they're seen as such a threat, and investigating that might more widely expose secrets that the World Government is desperate to keep hidden. This is the case for both Robin and Luffy.
    • During the Enies Lobby arc, one character had a (apparently annoying) habit of ranking the other members of his assassin group based on how hard they hit, measured in Dourikis. The average marine has 10, most of the CP9 members have 600-800, Kaku and Jyabura have 2,200 and 2,180, respectively (and Jyabura is upset over the very small difference), and Rob Lucci has 4000. Interestingly, the actual leader had a score of nine, a subversion of the usual Rank Scales with Asskicking.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Espers are graded depending on the strength of their power, from 0 to 5. It's possible for one to ascend from a lower rank to a higher one, but extremely difficult. The main character, Touma, has a power that's officially ranked level 0 because his power isn't actually an esper ability, negating any ability he might have had otherwise. Imagine Breaker is still at least on par with any level 5 power out there: his right hand destroys any esper power and magic spell that it touches, meaning he can block anything from stray magical flames to raw kinetic force that would turn anyone else into a fine mist. This pisses off one level 5, Mikoto, who doesn't understand how he's never been stopped by her lightning bolts despite the sharp disparity in their rated powers.
    • A more random version is the numbers within the Level 5's. They aren't combat strength, although, with a few exceptions, it works as such. They seem to be an indication of how important they are for research purposes. For instance, Misaka (ranked 3rd) and Mugino (ranked 4th) are by all appearances mostly equal in raw power (Mugino might even be more powerful in terms of pure destructive force), but Misaka's abilities have far more broad applications, and she can do a lot more with them. Meanwhile, Misaki (ranked 5th), has Mind Control abilities that some would consider more effective and impressive than either of the aforementioned two, yet she's ranked lower (though it should also be noted that in addition to her having no combat capability herself, Misaka is completely immune to her abilities and there are hints Mugino has similar resistance). The unknown ranked 6th seems to have a similar non-direct-combat ability as Misaki. And Gunha is ranked 7th, the lowest, simply because nobody (including himself) has any idea of what the true nature of his power is or how it works. The only thing that's clear is that the #1 (Accelerator) and #2 (Kakine Teitoku) rankings are very obviously deserved: Accelerator is so broken that no one, not even Misaka, is even capable of touching him, and he can theoretically do virtually anything she can do, with even more power and precision; while Kakine's powers are so strong and versatile that he once fought off multiple other Level 5's at the same time, and he's capable of actually harming Accelerator, though the latter still destroyed him in combat.
  • Kiddy Grade has C-class, S-class, and G-class ES members, where their class refers...well, approximately to the awesomeness and/or power of their ability.
  • Deliberately invoked in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, when the Nijiima, the local gossip and all-around rodent of a man ranks Kenichi's "Fighting Rating" at 62, and and Takeda, his next opponent at 80, to which Kenichi points out that the numbers mean absolutely nothing, and actual fighting can't be ranked like that.
  • In the Manga version of Sailor Moon S, the Witches 5 have levels assigned to them. Eudial is level 78, Mimete is level 40, Viluy is level 202, Tellu is level 404,and Cyprine is level 999.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi, in the manga version, does this with Jack Rakan's power chart. Of course, he states that other factors determine the chances of victory, but his basis for the data is questionable at best. One character even mentions who'd ever fight an Aegis Warship, and Negi, who's power level was 500 at the time imagined himself losing to 1001 cats, each with .5 worth of power. On the side of that were letter rankings, with Negi just slightly above A, while the 'Mysterious Boy' had a power level of around 3000 and a ranking of AAA.
    • In the Stealth Sequel UQ Holder!,the Mahora Martial Arts Preliminaries have participants ranked from "E" to "S", with E being the lowest. Your ranking is determined by your points and defeating someone of a certain rank gives you their points worth. Get enough and you'll rank up, but only people who have "S" rank and have defeated another "S" rank can go to the finals next year.
  • In Fairy Tail, we actually rarely hear about rankings other than the S-ranked mages. However, it's somewhat subverted in the sense that while the likes of Gray and Natsu are presumably A-rank, they've both taken down S-ranked mages of other guilds with difficulty, and Erza admits to Jellal that an enraged Natsu is probably on par with her, and Makarov agrees during the Laxus arc. This seems to be the case of different guilds having different standards for what they consider an S-rank to be, and might not necessarily be just based on combat prowess.
  • Bleach: The Espada are officially ranked from one to ten. They're actually ranked from zero to nine. Numbers five to ten made sense but numbers one to four seemed completely random, with #2 having an ability that seemed more deadly than anything #1 had and #4 seeming more powerful than #3, in part due to a special ability he hid for unclear reasons. Word of God clarified that they're ranked on reiatsu level, not physical strength, and that #0 had more raw power than the others, but lacked any special abilities. This however comes off more like a Hand Wave, because it's stated elsewhere in the series that reiatsu is the main deciding factor in who wins in a fight, and both Kenpachi and Ichigo have a tendency to beat characters much more skilled than they are through sheer power alone. Indeed, Ichigo's duel with Kenpachi spelled out that if the difference in reiatsu is too great, it becomes physically impossible for the weaker fighter to so much as scratch the stronger one.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the CGG uses a ranking system to classify how dangerous a Ghoul is considered to be. The exact standards used to determine rating are never explained, beyond how much damage the Ghoul has done in previous efforts to hunt them. This results in not only major variance in strength between individuals in the same Rank, but also more aggressive Ghouls being ranked higher than Ghouls that are more powerful, but not as well-known. The lowest mentioned is B-Rank, while the highest is SSS-rank, given to the legendary Hero Killer, the One-Eyed Owl. Rating is used to determine how deep inside Kokuria any captured Ghouls are sent with it generally considered a waste of time to imprison lowered ranked Ghouls.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Black & White, Connoisseurs are ranked on a four-tier system: C (apprentice-level), B, A, and S (expert). Cilan is class-A; his rival Burgundy is class-C, but acts like she's class-S.
  • In the My Hero Academia Ultra Archive and Ultra Analysis books, each character is given a roman numeral/latin alphabet rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (Ultra Archive) and 1 to 6 (Ultra Analysis), with both using the E to S ranking. Each book has 5 stats ranked, with Power, Speed, Technique, and Intelligence being in both books, with Ultra Archive having Cooperativeness as its fifth stat and Ultra Analysis' fifth stat being something unique to each character, which is usually used for a joke (example being Bakugo having a 1/6 in 'Proper Language' or Uraraka having a 6/6 in 'Frugality'. Though in Ultra Archive some characters can Broke the Rating Scale in regard to one stat, such Nezu getting a 6/5 for Intelligence and All Might getting a 6/5 for all stats.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, there's a ranking system that goes F, E, D, C, B, A ("Hazard"), Special A ("Calamity"), S ("Disaster"), and Special S ("Catastrophe"), with "-" and "+" modifiers to indicate if a monster or adventurer is on the lower or upper echelon of their rank. Notably, this ranking was designed with the inference that a party of adventurers is taking on a single monster of the same rank, so if adventurers are going to hunt a rank B+ monster, multiple rank B+ adventurers are needed (at least 3 people), which goes to show how outgunned normal people are against most monsters. Also, while adventurers are ranked by their proficiency, monsters are ranked by their magicule capacity rather than their combat experience, so often two monsters with the same rank can have wildly varying strength levels depending on their skillset. Notably, while an improvement over the original system of Novice < Beginner < Intermediate < Advanced System where "Advanced System" included everything A rank and above, it's noted to still be flawed In-Universe where someone (human or monster) can be much stronger than their rank suggests (for example, Charybdis has the raw power of a Demon Lord at its disposal to make it S Class, but since it's a mindless beast that can't leverage that power to its full potential, it's classified at a "mere" Special A Class instead). Later on in the series, Rimuru goes so far as to classify another rank for the truly exceptional members of Special S+ class, called very simply "Super Awakened".
  • Played for Laughs in 'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess. In the chapter parodying isekai tropes, the Hell-Lord faces various enemies, who tend to brag about their "Dark Power Level", ranging from 100 (for the first Elite Mook) to over 900,000 (the Big Bad). Ex points out the ridiculous amounts of Rank Inflation involved here.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men's aren't really Power Levels, unless you think Mr. Immortal, an Omega Rank mutant, is one of the strongest mutants out there (Mr. Immortal's power is to return from the dead... and that's it.) Hell, every X-Men character has that power! In Mr. Immortal's case, it's absolutely impossible for him to ever stay dead, but this does absolutely nothing to help him win a fight.
    • In the movie series, mutants are apparently graded on a five-tier system based on the potential abilities their mutations give them. Magneto is a Class 4 mutant, while Jean Grey is a Class 5.
    • Averted by the Mutant Threat Rating used by the government in The 198 Files, which takes into account personality as well as powers. Kitty Pryde is ranked on the highest level (up there with Magneto!) simply because the agency making the files knows she's strongly moral and can't be bought, controlled or silenced, which coupled with her intangibility power makes her a massive potential security risk to their black ops.
    • A guide breaks it down to six categories based on appearance and/or level of power and control.
  • In the old Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, you had Class 100 Strength: "Those who could lift at least 100 tons above their heads." It was pretty much meant as code for "Off the scale" so you'll find people like Thor and Hulk in the same tier with explicitly weaker characters like Colossus.
    • Marvel's official site has a seven point system for abilities - although the resulting insensitivity of the scale has led to some gross errors in ranking, especially when comic book power levels technically range from Street to Cosmic.
    • It gets worse if you take into account the power rankings on the trading cards, which often seemed to be assigned completely at random. Fortunately those aren't canon.
    • The DC equivalent to the OHOTMU, "Who's Who," seemed to use Superman as a vague baseline for upper-tier powerhouses ("As strong as", "not as strong as," "stronger than," etc.)
  • Sand Masters of White Sand have seven power levels their Fantastic Rank System is based around, but it's uncertain how exactly they measure it. Is it the number of sand lines one controls? The length or strength of those lines? The versatility?

    Fan Works 
  • The Dimensional War uses threat levels, from 0.1 (a common mosquito) to 10 (the planet-busting Big Bad). A code for the latter's appearance? "We have a ten."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman invents a bunch of technobabble to describe a ghost that includes referring to it as a "Class V." The Ghostbusters roleplaying game makes this legitimate, creating an entire system of classes with Roman numerals. The ranking system here doesn't necessarily rate how difficult a ghost is at handling. Rather, it's just a simple system for categorizing ghosts. For example, the only difference between Class III and Class IV is if the ghost can remember its name, Class VI are non-human, and Class VII are metaspecters (that is, demons, deities, and the like). Classes III through VI aren't necessarily progressively more powerful, smart, or difficult to handle, just less and less human.

  • The Asterisk War: There is an official ranking system of student battle skills in Asterisk, and every participating student's names are recorded in a ranking book. This led to the top twelve fighters, recorded on the first page of the rankings, being called "Page Ones" and being accorded special privileges at their schools. Its repeatedly mentioned that this is not an accurate representation of the strength of each character, since multiple factors can determine your placement in the rankings. Examples:
    • Someone might be stuck in their current placement because the opponent(s) that they must defeat to advance just so happened to perfectly counter their abilities, or vice versa. Protagonist Ayato becomes the top-ranking student of Seidoukan after defeating the previous holder of that rank, Kirin, but it's not because he is necessary a superior fighter, but rather because Kirin didn't take advantage of his time limit and was unaware of his true fighting style.note  Ayato even notes that this tactic would only work once (Kirin diversifies her repertoire as a consequence of this duel and their subsequent Senpai-Kohai friendship, which would make a rematch interesting).
    • There are those that do not participate in duels either because they wish to hide their true strength, or because they don't care about it. Saya, for example, is roughly as powerful as 5th-ranked Julis, but is unranked: as the local Rei Ayanami Expy, she doesn't care overmuch about her public image.
    • There are alternate power ranking charts on various In-Universe fansites, but every site uses its own formula and a lot of it is based on fan preferences, so results can be pretty wild.
  • Discworld wizards rate magical ability from Level 0 - Normal person to Level 8 - Supreme wizard. This terminology is dismissed as basically meaningless by Granny Weatherwax ("It's all part of the game") and even wizards acknowledge that it fails to define sourcerers (Level Infinity) and Rincewind (Level some negative number).
    • Although, after he defeated a sorcerer he's technically one himself now. He's also a professor, but that's totally within the trope of random titling even in the real world.
    • The level system is even more useless when you consider that in the pre Archchancellor Ridcully days, you generally attained such positions by killing all the wizards between you and the position you were after.
    • Its uselessness was precisely the point. Even after the Sourcerers, Wizards were still relatively powerful and ambitious. Since every rank has a maximum capacity applied (eg. only eight Level 8 wizards at any given time), it encourages a Darwinist approach to rank ascension. In the end, Wizards ended up fighting each other for meaningless titles instead of, say, enslaving the Muggles and so on (In the Ridcully era, assassination of senior wizards has been replaced by academic politics, which serves much the same purpose and is even more vicious).
  • Practically parodied by Goldy Gilded in The Eminence in Shadow. He assigns combat levels to people based on their looks and aura, with the numbers appearing in his eye like it's a scouter. He gives Gonzales a level of 1,364 and Mundane Mann a level of 33, only to drop it to 28 after he beat Gonzales while Goldy wasn't looking, eventually dropping it to 17 the following day. Goldy gives himself a combat level of 4,330 and is baffled that Mundane doesn't seem to care. Mundane is actually Cid, who intentionally used bad poster and shabby equipment so he could play the Not So Weak dark horse. Goldy is the only one who brings up any sort of power levels and they aren't brought up again.
  • Diana creates a system for this in Gone. The ranks typically go from 0 to 4, with 0 being no superpowers, 1 being weak, and 2 and 3 getting progressively stronger. Only The Hero and the Big Bad are 4's. On the other hand, Little Pete's Disability Superpower earns him about a 10. Diana's own power is the ability to read others' levels.
  • Spirits and other "border-creatures" in Shaman Blues are ranked by stars, with one star being regular ghost with mild telekinetic abilities and five being a full-blown deity, although the system seems shaky, seeing that the wraith Witkacy (a beginner shaman) beats has three stars, which begs the questions of just how much is lumped into four stars rank.
  • The Harry Potter textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ranks magical creatures on a five-tier system, from X (boring creatures like flobberworms) to XXXXX (dangerous wizard-killers like dragons and acromantulas).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Gaim has a ranking system for the Lock Seeds used in its Mons game which determines the strength of the summoned mon, with the standard system going from D to A. When a few people start using the Lock Seeds to transform into Armored Riders, most of them use A-rank Lock Seeds, but a few of the minor Riders use lower-ranked Lock Seeds (Nobody uses the one that's ranked D). The Lock Seeds' inventor later comes up with "Energy" Lock Seeds that are even stronger and ranked S. Even with this system, it's still shown that skill counts for something, since Zangetsu and Bravo are experienced warriors and quite a bit stronger than the other A-Seed Riders (Zangetsu can even challenge someone with an Energy Lock Seed); and between the three lower-ranked Riders Gridon (rank B) falls behind Kurokage and Knuckle (ranks C and C+) due to his incompetence.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • CMLLGaceta ranks the luchadors it covers in five different areas(strength, agility, speed, experience, technical skill) by percentage points, 100(seemingly) being as good as one can get.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The gameline of Hero Clix has a point value (or Power Level) for every Comic Book character they've turned into a figure. These values are added for all the heroes and/or villains on your team (to make 100, 200, 300 or more point teams); however these are secondary to the traits and powers the "clix" or figures have. Things like Spider-Man's ingenuity are treated as Outwit, an power canceling power. Probability controlling heroes get Probability Control, letting you reroll bad dice. Players themselves can value a "weak" 20-30 point figure over a 100 point one because it's more efficient or has powers in a better order. All in all, it's a fairly robust system.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Like most miniature games, 40K assigns each model a points value to reflect its effectiveness (an Ork is 6 points, a Space Marine 15 points, and so on). The setting itself also features this to a degree, as the Imperium assigns "threat ratings" to different aliens (a Tyranid Gaunt is "minimal," while a Carnifex is "extreme").
    • 40k background also has "the Assignment", a system to classify the psychic power.
      • The ranks are based on Greek letters. To sum it up, it uses it uses Rho as the "zero point", and going in reverse (towards Alpha) the higher the psychic potential is, and goes forward (towards Omega) as it goes into negative psychic potential. For the average person, they'll be measured as Rho or Pi, which is effectively a non-psykers.
      • Going up the scale, Omicron to Kappa denote unconscious and uncontrollable psyker talent that is of such a minor level that it only manifests under high stress, and gets frequently handwaved by the common citizen as "good luck" or "fluke" occurrences; Iota and above are the "true" psykers, including the battlefield-worthy "Sanctioned Psykers"; Delta and Gamma are 1-in-a-billion kind of rare, and deemed a true security threat that must be "acquired" by Imperial authorities; and Beta and Alpha theoretically possess too high psychic power for the human mind/brain to handle, and thus the majority of them tend to be mentally unstable, at best. And beyond those is Alpha Plus, which is reserved for the guys who can mind-control cities and snap a Humongous Mecha in half with their mind; the only known verified example is the Emperor of Mankind, and probably Magnus the Red.
      • At the other end of the scale (i.e. Sigma to Omega), "negative" psyker ranks denote people with negative warp presence. Sigma and Tau are merely "psionically dense" (i.e. the Tau racenote ), and are less prone to psychic influences, like being "deaf" to telepathy and resistant to the influences of Chaos. while Upsilon to Psi have varying degrees of anti-psychic resistance. Omega designates the rightly-dreaded Untouchables (a.k.a. Blanks, Pariahs), who are basically walking fields of psychic Anti-Magic that are described as being effectively soulless. So far, only humans are known to produce Untouchables, and the very strongest of them are swept up by the Imperium's Officio Assassinorum as their anti-psyker specialists.
    • Also in-universe, the Inquisition uses a two-part rating scale to classify threats to humanity. The first part describes the nature of the threat: Hereticus (human, mutant, or abhuman), Xenos (alien), Malleus (daemonic), and Obscuro (true nature unknown). The second part gives the danger of the threat, and ranges from Minima (poses little threat to a competent fighter) to Terminus (potentially world-ending or worse).
  • This can happen when players in Point Buy Systems that give non-combat abilities like wealth or beauty a point value use those same values to determine how powerful a character is. By paying for literally everything with the exact same points all coming out of one big pool, it's necessarily left very, very fuzzy just what if anything a character's final point total is actually supposed to be a measurement of (other than, well, "the number of points this particular player spent on this character")...and this isn't at all helped by the fact that many of these games are also highly susceptible to Min-Maxing, frequently allowing for two or more ways to get the same abilities at different point costs (or even a more powerful package more cheaply than the one the player actually wanted) by exploiting various quirks in the character creation rules.
  • All versions of Dungeons & Dragons use Hit Dice (and/or level) as a general numeric classification. Most stats are derived from it, but since an animal's d8 Hit Dice are a bit different from a paladin's d10 Hit Dice plus class features, secondary systems are also used to categorize monsters by combat difficulty.
    • Most modern versions of the game use Challenge Rating, a number which approximately means "this monster is a average but not too hard encounter for a party of four level X characters."
    • The first edition of Dungeons & Dragons classified every monster with a Roman numeral from I (giant rats, goblins) to X (ancient dragons, demon princes). These classifications were combined with monster rarity to put together encounter tables ... though frankly, virtually every level X monster was incredibly rare in any game world with an ecosystem.
  • Magic: The Gathering experiences this in several ways:
  • Character Point scores in GURPS are sort of a power ranking but since they measure absolutely everything about the character using them as rankings turns out completely random. The classic example is the 1000CP accountant who can mentally collate spreadsheets with all the money going through multinational corporation but will probably lose a fight to a 50CP thug. Even then, certain characters (like Mickey Finn) are explicitly "off the scale" and can't be assigned numbers.
  • Mutants & Masterminds features a "power level" system, which doubles as Character Level. It determines the maximum number that can put into the character's defenses, skills, and attacks, and in the case of players, how many points they start with. Most books claim that Power Level 1-4 consists of ordinary humans and animals, 5-8 consists of street-level or pulp heroes, sidekicks, Elite Mooks, and generic threats like dinosaurs, 9-12 consists of more powerful heroes and villains who usually protect or threaten entire cities, 13-15 are major heroes and villains that operate on a planetary scale, and 16-20 is in Physical God territory. There's also "PLX", which represents characters so powerful that their strength can't really be expressed by the system, reserved for characters like Galactus or Mr. Mxyzptlk. Notably, though, it doesn't express how many points a character has access to, only how high certain numbers can go - so long as they're on equal terms in pure combat numbers, one hero might have several times as many points and dozens of abilities at an equal rank to another hero's single one, and they would be the same PL. A good example is the officially-statted-out version of Batman, where he's technically PL 12 but has so much esoteric training that his point count comes out to just below the starting point count of someone at 19.
  • The Basic and Advanced versions of Marvel Super Heroes ranked power (and everything else) on a scale from 1 to 100, broken into named tiers ranging from Feeble, Poor, and Typical through Monstrous and Unearthly. The Advanced version added categories above and below this, with the highest ranks reserved for a Cosmic Being like Galactus or the Beyonder. The system was plagued by two problems. First, the categories lumped together characters with vastly different abilities (Jocasta can lift 5 tons, Nova can lift 40 tons, but they have the same rank in Strength because the cutoff was at 50 tons). Second, attributes like Reason and Psyche had no possible objective measurement, making assigning and interpreting values mostly guesswork.
  • BattleTech assigns “battle value” to different ‘Mechs. The three generally accepted methods of determining force limits are Max value (in c-bills, the in-universe currency), Max battle value, and Max tonnage. Generally speaking, a higher cost for a ‘Mech means it has a higher battle value, and usually a higher tonnage as well. However, most ‘Mechs are specialized to one (or two, for Heavy and Assault class) role, and lack versatility outside that role, meaning that having a higher battle value isn’t going to ensure victory if your opponent can counter or exploit a weakness that you’ve left open. In-universe, most lances and stars (4 or 5 ‘Mech squads, respectively) have varying makeups, designed around their purpose on the battlefield: an Assault lance usually only has two actual Assault-class ‘Mechs, rounded out with a Heavy and a Medium to remain versatile.

  • The Transformers originally gave toys a bio with some stats on the back of the box. These included things like rank, speed, intelligence, firepower, strength, and endurance, rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Even at the very start when the first wave of toys came out there were weird things, like Optimus Prime having a higher speed rating than Sideswipe and a higher intelligence rating than Wheeljack, but things really got bad as things went on. Brawn, for example, was the original "strong" Autobot, only to see a series of much stronger characters released, like the Dinobots or the citybots like Metroplex and Fortress Maximus, who still had their stats on the same scale as Brawn, indicating that the diminutive mini-SUV was somehow as powerful as a robot the size of a skyscraper. The various Transformers media pretty much ignored the biography stats of the characters and gave them relative power levels that mostly made sense for each character's size and alt-modes.

    Video Games 
  • Brawl Royale's opening cinematic shows Matt's stats in terms of Powah, Epic, Swords, and Flash, depicting their ratings via (practically meaningless) white bars.
  • In the Mega Man X series, X is ranked B, while Zero is S (or SA). In the later games of the series, completing levels with zero deaths, finding all the hidden items, taking minimal damage, etc, allowed you to get a higher hunter ranking, which went as high as MH/UH (D, C, B, A, SA, GA, PA, MH/UH for X5/X6; D, C, B, A, AA, AAA, S for X8).
    • At least there's an actual in-universe reason for X and Zero's initial rankings. Zero is capable of getting the job done no matter what the cost or danger, and therefore gets the highest rank (at the time), Special A class. X, on the other hand, dislikes fighting, and is hesitant in combat situations that require decisiveness, resulting in a lower ranking even though he's just as powerful as Zero.
    • Gets stupid considering that, at the beginning of X5, X is still considered a B-rank hunter despite bringing down Sigma on at least four separate occasions. Somewhere over the course of this game he canonically jumps all the way to Special A class. Exactly what made the difference is never made clear - perhaps Signas just thought he looked cool with Zero's Laser Blade?
      • At the conclusion of X5, X has lost the hesitation that held him back, becoming as confident as Zero (hence Special A). X7 made him go in the complete opposite direction. He gets better in X8 and Command Mission.
      • To wit, by the time of X8 and Command Mission, X, Zero, and Axl are all canonically considered to be legendary S Rank Hunters.
    • Dynamo from X5 and X6 is compared to a SA class Hunter, implying his skills are on par with or perhaps even surpass that of SA class, but this is largely an Informed Ability given how easily X and Zero can get him to retreat (he's no pushover, though). To his credit, Dynamo is perhaps the only villain to know when to cut his losses.
  • Mega Man Legends uses these for Digger licenses (higher license means you can access better dungeons). The S-Class license doesn't actually give you any special access, which is good, since the test to get it is a pain in the butt.
  • Guilty Gear uses a letter grade for the threat levels of characters, with Dizzy being ranked S due to her being a Command Gear that could cause a war. Unusually, the organization assigning the rankings seems to place extra emphasis, not simply on combat ability, but on political clout and how easily a given character is to manipulate, neither of which has any real practical relevance in a fighting game. Several highly-trained professional assassins and ninjas are given fairly low ranks due to the fact that their various quests for vengeance make their movements easy to predict and control, and when you get right down to it, "killing people" is pretty much their only skill set. On the flip side, Axl Low, who's a sweet-hearted goofball with limited fighting ability, has an exceptionally high ranking - he's a time traveller, so he's almost entirely unpredictable, and he also has knowledge of the past that the government definitely want to keep suppressed.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, there are A B C D E ranks that indicate how well you completed a level and how good your Chao's stats are.
    • Chao stats can go as high as S, which is one rank above A.
    • Many Sonic the Hedgehog games (most of the main series since SA2) use this letter ranking system, and many that don't use some other type of letter ranking. For example, Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure had S A B C ranks, based on how quickly you completed the level, how many tricks you did, and how many rings you had. There was a cap for the maximum number of points each could give.
  • In the Fire Emblem games, a character's ability to use a type of weapon (sword, lance, axe, bow) was represented by a stat that could increase through level ups in the first and third games, and later was ranked by S, A, B, C, D, and E, with S as the highest and E as the lowest. One game had SS, or S+ in the German version (given, well...). Some games don't have an S rank or an E rank at all. These weapon ranks usually increase through repeated use of the weapon in combat and/or promotion to an advanced class.
  • Many rhythm games score you on a letter scale after a stage. DanceDanceRevolution, granddaddy of them all, goes from F to AAA (and AAAA on unofficial simulators), while In the Groove uses all the normal letter/± combinations plus S-, S, S+, and one to four stars. Also some mods of Unofficial simulators go up to AAAAA.
  • The Resident Evil series does this a lot, as well, with rankings from F to S depending on how well you did in the game (overall time, health items used, etc). Resident Evil 5 took this to an extreme by ranking you for each individual chapter, as well as the game overall.
  • Subverted for the weapons in Team Fortress 2, which are graded by levels: stock weapons being level 1 while unlockables being higher. The levels make no difference whatsoever, because the game is designed to be as balanced as possible, and are there for purely cosmetic purposes.
    • The levels were actually supposed to be the number of achievements for that class you needed in order to unlock the item. There was a bug that caused the levels of the random drop items to be randomized, so players hoarded the high-level items for bragging rights.
  • Garou: Mark of the Wolves gives you a rating after each round you win. They go C, B, A, AA, S, SS, SSS, and MIRACLE. You have to destroy your opponent in roughly five seconds to even have a shot at the higher two rankings.
  • Viewtiful Joe has five rankings for quality - V(iewtiful), A, B, C and D. It's possible to get a "Rainbow V", if the player gets all Viewtifuls for a level, and getting Rainbow Vs on every stage unlocks unlimited VFX.
  • Picross DS awards rankings A through E for Daily Picross based on time, and grants an S ranking overall to players who have As on all the types of Daily Picross.
  • The World Ends with You has * , A, B, C, D and E ranks for performance in battles.
  • In Wild ARMs 4, Yulie and her fellow test subjects are raked by a lettering system based on their abilities to control the titular Arms. A B+ like Yulie can control but not wield arms and a F like her brother needs a drug to even gain control of an Arm
  • In Elite Beat Agents, your score (due to the bonuses it gives) is based primarily on how many hits you get in a row. Your rank is based off how many 300s, 100s, 50, and Xs you get. They are independent of one another, so you can get a higher rank but with a lower score.
  • Mass Effect averts this: letters denote military operational specialty, and numbers denote proficiency and commendations in that MOS. The numbers go from 1 to 7. The only letter that has been explained is N, which is special operations (it's assumed that whatever Joker's letter is, his number is definitely 7).
  • Urban Rivals assigns cards a minimum and maximum star rating based on it's current abilities and stats, to limit the total power of a hand in tournament matches and better equalize for skill of play. Often the ranks are based on cards with similar function, sometimes they're evaluated based on play-testing before release. A few have been re-ranked due to unexpected gameplay impact, but cards that turn out to be so off-the-scale that they're broken are simply banned from tournament play.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game shows the different classes of ghosts whenever you scan them. Class I is pathetic, not even needing to be captured, just dispersed with the proton pack. Class III's and up require capture, but III's aren't a big deal. Class V's are somewhat nasty. Class VIII's are huge and dangerous, capable of incapacitating a Ghostbuster with one hit, and are usually deities or otherwise superpowered. There's only one Class IX in the game, and it's the final boss.
  • In the Darkstalkers series, monsters are ranked by letters. "S" Class is powerful enough to be considered a god, "A" Class are the rulers of Makai, "B+" Class is what most of the playable characters are, "B" Class is an average creature that can wipe out a first-class human army, "C" Class is probably what you are, and "D" Class is but a wild beast.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Masters have a form of Enemy Scan which allows them to measure the abilities of enemy Servants, represented by the Status Screen. For Shirou this information appears as something resembling a Tabletop RPG character sheet (inspired by the Servants' loose Character Class mechanic), but according to Rin it can be anything from colours to symbols depending on the person. Despite this, every spinoff has retained Shirou's format and terminology, to the point where even Servants themselves mention "Rank D skills" and the like.
    • Servants themselves aren't given a single arbitrary Rank, but their individual parameters are. The arbitrary part is because each parameter is the sum result of various unmeasured factors — ATK (attack) Rank is influenced by arm strength and weapon power.
    • And individual Noble Phantasms also receive their own ranking based, roughly, on how much destruction they are capable of causing with a single use; anti-personnel, anti-army, anti-castle, or anti-world. The last referring to Noble Phantasms that directly interfere with reality, especially in a large area — overwriting it (EMIYA), tearing a hole in it (Gilgamesh), or large-scale Reality Warping (Qin Shi Huang) have all been seen.
  • In the StarCraft Expanded Universe novels, terran psychics are given a Psi Index (PI) rating, from 0 to 10. A typical terran has a rating of 0-2, those with a rating less than 5 have weak powers such as the ability to sense psionics or feel others' emotions, and those with a PI of 5 or above can read minds and are required to become ghosts. PI 8 or higher allows (but does not guarantee) telekinesis, and is extremely rare. Only three psychics have rated a PI 10 without drug enhancement. Two of them, Nova Terra and Sarah Kerrigan, are major characters. Their powers, especially Kerrigan's, went through a lot of Power Creep, Power Seep in the novels. Zerg can have psychic powers, and protoss always do, but they're not rated on the same scale.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduces Spirits, the souls of characters who were wiped out by Galeem, and they are rated from one to four stars — Novice, Advanced, Ace, and Legend. There really doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to why characters receive their ranks; why would a single Wild Gunman be more powerful than Team Chaotix? And why is Prince Richard stronger than both?

  • The Monster Hunters in Monster Hunting Made Easy had rankings from A to Z with A as the highest. The comic often made fun of S ranks. One character with an S rank thought that it was the highest, just like in many video games. He was then told that the S stands for "special".
  • In Captain SNES: The Game Masta, there is a database that holds the power data for every character. The characters actually are given four ratings, which correspond to their characteristics. The guide for this can be found here and the database itself can be found here.
  • In Patchwork Champions, there are both H and V rankings on a scale of 1 to 10. An H ranking is for heroes, and is based on the usefulness of their powers to rescue and protect people, while a V ranking is for villains, and based directly on how your powers benefit you personally. Essentially, someone with a high V fighting someone with a high H should have the V win, but once you start introducing other people the system stops working for power.
  • Weak Hero has the Shuttle Patch rankings, an online list of all delinquents in Yeongdeungpo that are ranked by complex algorithms created by Timothy Park. Said rankings aren't the be-all end-all of a character's strength or success, as demonstrated in such instances as the Rank 15 Gray taking out Rank 5 Wolf- while this boosts Gray up to Rank 8, Wolf remains at Rank 5 since his win record otherwise is strong. Ultimately the ranking exists as a general shorthand for what you can expect from a character, and for characters in-universe to get hyped about potential showdowns.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Extreme Ghostbusters features the Tentabrog, considered a class 13, a class never seen before. However, all it took to defeat the ghost was to smash the orb it was bound to.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: All the heroes and villains in K.O.'s world have a "power level" listed on their "POW Card" that's based on their strengths, skills, and experience. They're not a particularly hard-and-fast ranking, as in some episodes a sufficiently determined low-level character can just about hold their own against a higher-level character, while in others a low-level character can't even scratch a high-level character without help. One of the last episodes of the series has the new CEO of the company that makes POW cards admit the rankings are pretty arbitrary, so T.K.O destroying the company, and all of its card data, resulted in little to no consequence.
  • In The Venture Bros., the Guild of Calamitous Intent ranks their villains on an "Equally Matched Aggression Level" in order to make sure that they are paired with an appropriate nemesis. The system was started after a overconfident villain attempted to kidnap Rusty Venture as a child and was very quickly murdered by the Action Man. The system is based on the power and threat the villain poses to their adversary; the Monarch was ranked "9 or 10" when he had an army of Mooks, a floating fortress, and his wife backing him up, but after he lost all of that and was left with just the equipment on his back and his old top henchman, he dropped to a 4 (and that was pushing it), though he managed to raise his rank through effort. Augustus St. Cloud, an out-of-shape rich guy with a lot of old movie props who lost a fight to an arthritic old woman, was considered a 1. It's also demonstrated that the system is pretty messy and easy-to-game; simply doing a lot of odd jobs for the Guild can get them to raise your level, while truly dangerous opponents who simply prefer not to fight can often have rather low ratings since Aggression makes up a major factor of the ranking.

    Real Life 
  • The Super Weight system on This Very Wiki ranks everyone from most helpless and wimpy damsels in distress and the heaviest of the loads to the mightiest of physical gods and the most liberal users of Author Powers on a 89-point scale going from -1 to 7.
  • The belt color systems used by many martial arts can be seen this way. In theory, only two ranks matter — student and master — with the rest simply being gradations of experience between the two. Most reputable teachers heavily emphasize that belt rank doesn't really mean much in an actual fight, especially if you're in any of the beginner ranks. Even a first degree black belt doesn't necessarily denote mastery so much as it denotes the first step on the road to mastery.
  • The US military has something similar to this. Some jobs require the ability to lift various amounts of weight, and they assign these to letters. For example, being able to lift 60 lbs is J and allows you to be in J strength jobs, while being able to lift 100lbs is rated N. The full list is E: no requirement F: 40-lbs G:40+ lbs H:50+ J:60+ K:70+ L:80+ M:90+ N:100+ and P:110+
    • The IDF assigns two primary values to each new recruit: a medical rating called a "Profile", and a catch-all behavioral rating called a "Quality Group" value. These determine the recruit's potential, which corps he/she will serve in, which jobs will be available to him/her, etcetera. These values are meticulously calculated from all the information the military has on the recruit (including interviews and examinations done before recruitment), but the result is often a completely arbitrary classification of a person based on very incomplete data. Then again, with dozens of thousands of recruits to process each year, there really are no alternatives.


Video Example(s):


Equally Matched Aggression

The Guild of Calamitous Intent runs on a ranking of EMAs to keep would-be villains without the proper means to fight from throwing their lives away against far stronger opponents.

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Main / RandomPowerRanking

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