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Star Wars: 10 Best Sith Lords, Ranked

Only ten there are. No more. No less.



Sith Lords

There have been many Darths throughout galactic history, and not all were created equal. After all, in a galaxy far far away, there’s going to be a lot of beings and life-forms, and hence a lot of skill ranges and abilities on offer for its Sith Lords.

However, to celebrate Star Wars Day, we’ve managed to come up with the top ten. Ranked according to power, potential, and general badassery.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true …

A Sith Lord … Are You Sure?

 Are the words of a certain Master Windu to Anakin Skywalker upon discovering the true identity of the elusive Darth Sidious. But they could equally be applied here.

Things in the Star Wars universe are often split into Canon, Legends, non-Canon, et cetera. As a result, there’s some Sith Lords whose existence and/or biography is questionable to say the least.

For the purposes of this list, we’ll stick as close to the in-universe ‘facts’ as possible, whilst diving into the murky realms of non-Canon when badassery requires it.

10. Darth Sion

Image: DeviantArt

One of the more ‘raw’ Sith Lords, Sion exists in the time of the old Sith era (roughly 4000 years before the events of A New Hope), and makes an appearance as one of the primary antagonists in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Otherwise known as the Lord of Pain, rage, ferocity and strength are his hallmarks.

Lacking the brains of a Darth Sidious or the all-roundedness of a Darth Tyranus (a.k.a ‘Count Dooku’, who could easily have occupied this tenth-place spot), Sion makes up for it with the ability to keep his scarred and fragmented body alive through the Dark Side of the Force. Sort of like a suitless Darth Vader.

best Sith Lords
Image: LucasFilm

9. Darth Maul

Sometimes dubbed a mere ‘Sith Assassin’, Maul is actually much more than that, and were it not for his unlikely demise (leaving even Sidious surprised) in what is one of the best lightsaber duels of Star Wars, he would have gone on to achieve much more. Whatever you think of Obi-Wan’s later career, Maul was the superior swordsman at the time, but perhaps less in tune with the Force overall. Plus, how many other people have a dual-bladed lightsaber?

A menacing, horned Zabrak with red-and-black skin, Maul looks like your perfect Sith Lord. And the one time we hear him talk, it’s a smooth, silky voice that quite simply oozes confidence. But if it seems ridiculous to find out that he survives after being cut in half and falling one thousand feet, it’s got to be remembered that that’s pretty much what Darth Sion does.

8. Darth Nihilus

Image: The Force Universe

A name that sounds rather like ‘annihilate’, and that’s exactly what he does. More Ringwraith than man, Nihilus is instantly recognisable with his skeletal-like mask and dark robes, giving off faint echoes of Darth Vader. Known as the Lord of Hunger, he worked together with Darth Sion to overthrow Darth Traya.

They then began a purge of the Jedi, almost succeeding in wiping them out completely, and it’s his brutality and ruthlessness that makes him a fan favourite. Capable of draining entire planets of Force energy, he quite frankly deserves to be on anyone’s list.

7. Darth Traya

Darth Traya - Sith Lords
Image: CultureSlate

Another relative unknown, but anyone with the power to levitate multiple lightsabers in mid-air and have them strike an opponent surely deserves a place on the list. The head of the Sith Triumvirate, Traya was Darth Sion’s Master, along with Darth Nihilus.

She’s an interesting one in terms of allegiance and doesn’t quite fit the stereotype, because following her betrayal at the hands of Sion and Nihilus, she turned her back on the Sith, adopting the name ‘Kreia’ and existing outside the influence of both Sith and Jedi. She even grew to hate the Force itself, attempting to destroy it. Obviously unsuccessful … but anyone with that kind of ambition is a force to be reckoned with.

6. Darth Bane

Image: LucasFilm

A shadowy, almost semi-legendary figure, Bane’s significance isn’t truly felt until long after his death, and you could say he shares the credit for Order 66. A thousand years prior to the Clone Wars, the Sith were down and out and things had to change. Responsible for evolving the Order, Bane came up with the Rule of Two and the Sith Grand Plan.

Instead of the power squabbles and mass armies of the past, the Rule of Two stipulates only two Sith can exist at any one time: a Master, and an Apprentice. In a sort of twisted evolutionary cycle, the idea is for the Sith to grow stronger through accumulated skill and knowledge via the Apprentice killing the Master. The aim being to achieve the Grand Plan of hijacking the Republic and destroying the Jedi.

5. Darth Plagueis

Darth Plagueis
Image: LucasFilm

Another ‘behind the scenes’ Sith Lord, most of us only know of Plagueis by way of Palpatine’s sinister bedtime story to Anakin at the opera house in Revenge of the Sith. Yet as Master to the up-and-coming Darth Sidious, he was instrumental to the latter’s rise to power. A whole book’s even been written about him.

Although a large part of his value comes from helping Sidious fulfil his Dark Side potential, Plagueis was clearly a very powerful political manipulator in his own right (going by the pseudonym Hego Damask II in daily politics). A servant of power, he mocked his inferiors and pursued nothing less than the quest for immortality. He died shortly after the events of The Phantom Menace (probably as much a result of watching it, as of Sidious’s blade).

4. Darth Vader

best Sith Lords
Image: LucasFilm

Like many other Sith Lords, Vader was formerly a Jedi. And although weakened by his suit following the injuries sustained on Mustafar, he’s still a fully-armed and operational Sith Lord nonetheless. A high-quality lightsaber duelist, Force user and fighter pilot (i.e. Death Star trench run), his skills never left him.

Vader’s so ruthless that even executing Imperial generals on the spot with his signature move, the Force Choke, isn’t deemed out of the question. The only things letting him down are his inability to use Force Lightning and the fact he never becomes a Sith Master, forever playing second-fiddle to Sidious. Although in true Sith fashion, he does also hold the honour of killing him.

3. Darth Revan

Darth Revan
Image: GameInformer

Jedi, Republic war hero, Sith Lord, and then Jedi again … Revan is a man who wears many hats. Chief character in the widely-acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic role-playing game, he plays a pivotal role in both the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War set during the Old Republic era approximately 4000 years before the Battle of Yavin.

The fact that he switches sides so often is almost proof of his close connection with the Force, as both Dark and Light are able to shine through him in almost unlimited measure. Telekinesis, Force Sense, Force Lightning, lightsaber combat, you name it … Revan can do it.

2. Darth Vitiate

Darth Vitiate - Sith Lords
Image: LucasFilm

A guy with a name like a Roman Emperor, and just as that institution lasted for over a thousand years, so too does Darth Vitiale – making him the longest-living Sith of all-time. In fact, he ruled an empire for beyond a hundred years, being the first Galactic Emperor in the Star Wars universe, long before Palpatine.

Proving his loyalty to the Dark Side at a tender young age (aww, isn’t he adorable?), Vitiate not only has the honourable mention of killing both of his parents, but also of taking over his entire village. From there, it was only a few steps to the rank of Sith Lord. It was he who was responsible for converting both Revan and Malak to the Dark Side.

1. Darth Sidious

Darth Sidious - Sith Lords
Image: LucasFilm

If Darth Bane is the guy who came up with the Sith Grand Plan, then Darth Sidious is the one who carries it out. His reign might not be as long as that of Darth Vitiate, but the manner in which he achieves it makes him arguably the most devious schemer in the history of the galaxy.

Some notable achievements include killing his Master in his sleep, masterminding both sides of the Clone Wars, and the resurrection of his own body. Shunning lightsaber combat when possible, Sidious preferred the raw use of the Force (POWERRR!!), but still single-handedly managed to defeat three of the most talented Jedi Masters of the time within seconds in his office (we’ll let you decide whether Windu really won …).

Michael is a plucky wordsmith and all-around pop culture enthusiast who believes that games and films are more than just a casual pastime and deserve to be thought and written about. Most of them, anyway! When he’s not working, writing, or out hiking in nature, he also enjoys old black-and-white horror films, matching his dark sense of humor.