In the Star Wars universe, the Dark Lords and Ladies of the Sith were a source of both terror and fascination. An ancient Order with its own code and philosophies, the Sith Order has counted numerous members over the years. The Sith Code taught its followers that “peace is a lie, there is only passion,” which makes it a direct counterpart to the Jedi Code. Sith value strength and power, and most will go to great lengths to obtain it. Because the Sith were, by nature, violent and bloodthirsty, Darth Bane created the Sith Rule of Two to preserve the Order. There must only be two, the Master, and the apprentice. This way, conflicts between Sith were largely prevented, and the Sith lineage lived on.
There have been many Sith Lords and Ladies since the Order’s creation, and they all mastered incredibly powerful Force techniques. Each Sith Lord or Lady had their own specialty and unique connection with the Force, and all of them were feared (and sometimes revered) in different ways. Sith technology and Sith philosophy became incredibly sophisticated, meaning the Sith could study the Dark Side of the Force in depth. Since most Sith already had a strong connection to the Force and unique fighting abilities, this means that they were all incredibly powerful, and, to make this ranking of 25 Sith Lords and Ladies, I took into account the impact they had on the Sith Order and the galaxy as well as their actual power. As a side-note, Snoke and Kylo Ren do not appear here as they are not technically part of the Sith Order.
25 Asajj Ventress
The thing with Asajj Ventress is less that she’s not powerful and more that she didn’t stay with the Sith Order for very long. She was a former Jedi and Count Dooku’s apprentice. Ventress was actually rather strong; strong enough to catch Darth Sidious’ attention; the Sith Lord ordered Count Dooku to get rid of his apprentice. Ventress escaped and enlisted Savage Opress to help her get revenge; after a final confrontation with her old master, she fled and went back to the Nightsisters. Ventress ultimately became a bounty hunter, making her time with the Sith short lived.
24 Jacen Solo (Darth Caedus)
Before the release of The Force Awakens, the story was that, after the events of Return of the Jedi, Han Solo and Leia Organa had three children: the twins Jaina and Jacen, and their little brother Anakin.
Jacen eventually became a Sith, going by the name of Darth Caedus—his character inspired Kylo Ren’s in the later movies.
He was trained in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force by Lumiya, and, as a Skywalker, was, of course, incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, not powerful enough to match his uncle Luke Skywalker, nor his sister Jaina, who ultimately ended him.
23 Darth Venamis
Darth Venamis was not technically allowed to use the name Darth, as he had not officially been made a Sith Lord. He was Darth Tenebrous’ apprentice, but as Darth Tenebrous already had an apprentice, Darth Plagueis, Darth Venamis’s apprenticeship had to be kept secret, because of the Sith Rule of Two. Darth Venamis was a skilled fighter and could use Force powers such as Sith lightning, but, ultimately, Darth Plagueis defeated him, and Darth Venamis never truly earned the name of Sith Lord.
22 Savage Opress
Like Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress wasn’t with the Sith order for very long. Savage Opress was Darth Maul’s brother; Asajj Ventress used him to get revenge on Count Dooku. He then rebelled against both Dooku and Ventress, and, with the help of his brother Maul (whom he’d helped get his strength back after his battle with Obi-Wan), founded the Shadow Collective. Unfortunately for the two brothers, Darth Sidious didn’t take kindly to seeing other Sith grow powerful and went to find them himself; Savage Opress didn’t survive the confrontation.
Starkiller was another secret Sith apprentice. He was born as Galen Marek and was abducted by Darth Vader as a young boy to be trained in the ways of the Sith.
While Starkiller was powerful with the Force, Darth Vader used him as a mere mercenary, preventing him from reaching his true potential.
He eventually met his end during a duel with Darth Sidious, and Darth Vader tried to clone his former apprentice so he could have a new one. The last surviving clone of Starkiller had to flee the Sith Order.
20 Darth Vectivus
Darth Vectivus is an interesting character, because, unlike most of the Dark Lords of the Sith on this list, he wasn’t found by a Master as a child. He lived a normal life at first, but, since the planet where he lived was infused with the Dark Side of the Force, he began to experiment with the Dark Side and eventually left his home to find the Sith and be apprenticed. He became Darth Vectivus, and, unlike most Sith, retained an ethical code and managed to live out his life until its natural end.
19 Darth Millenial
If you’re anything like me, you chuckled when you read the name, too. Darth Millenial, however, was a fearsome Sith Lord and a force to be reckoned with (pun intended). He was a Sith Lord and Shadow Hand, apprentice to Darth Cognus, and he had impressive Force powers such as seeing into the future. He disagreed with his Master and with the Rule of Two, and eventually founded the Dark Force religion. His followers were violent and ruthless, and it’s almost surprising that Millenial didn’t meet a violent end.
18 Darth Gravid
Many Sith are former Jedi who were drawn to the Dark Side of the Force. We don’t hear as much about Sith who are drawn to the Light Side of the Force, but Dark Gravid was one of them.
Unfortunately for him, trying to reconcile Light Side teachings and Sith ideologies drove him to insanity.
He tried to sabotage the Sith and managed to do a great deal of damage to the Order before being taken down by his apprentice, Darth Gean.
17 Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku)
It pains me to put Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) so low on this list, as Sir Christopher Lee, who played the Sith Lord, brought the character dignity and power.
However, if you look at the story, Darth Tyranus was just another one of Darth Sidious’ many pawns.
He became the future Emperor’s apprentice after Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated Darth Maul, but Darth Sidious simply used Dooku to get Anakin Skywalker to join him and turn to the Dark Side, conveniently disposing of the Count in the process.
16 Darth Tenebrous
Darth Tenebrous was a powerful Sith Lord, but his contempt for his apprentice Darth Plagueis ultimately led to his downfall. He had a rationalistic approach to the Force and was fascinated with the idea of predicting the future. Tenebrous was also a talented duelist and powerful Force user; he even mastered red Sith lightning. However, while he had planned to attain immortality by possessing his apprentice, he eventually met his end at Darth Plagueis’ hands, showcasing once again the cycle of violence within the Sith Order.
15 Darth Talon
Darth Talon was a Sith Lady, who, much like Darth Maul, covered her body in intricate Sith tattoos. She was a Twi’lek and a powerful, third generation Sith who worked as Darth Krayt’s Hand and eventually became one of his most trusted mercenaries. Darth Talon was skilled both in lightsaber combat (her acrobatic style of fighting marks her as an Ataru user) and in Force techniques, including the infamous Sith lightning. She was one of the major antagonists of Star Wars: Legacy.
14 Aurra Sing
Aurra Sing was yet another Jedi Padawan who turned to the Dark Side of the Force. While she wasn’t technically a Sith Lady, she did use lightsaber and Force techniques, and worked for the Empire, serving under Sith Lord Darth Vader, which makes her closer to the Sith than, say, Kylo Ren, who, while he was powerful with the Dark Side of the Force, wasn’t actually part of the order. Aurra Sing was a renowned Jedi hunter and a great menace to the Jedi.
13 Darth Cognus (Huntress)
Just the name Huntress is enough to give you an idea of how fearsome this Sith Lady was. Darth Cognus was a mercenary with a perfect track record, who apprenticed with not one but two legendary Sith Masters: Darth Bane, and Darth Zannah.
She had great psychic and telekinetic talents, and she could diminish other’s abilities to use the Force.
Because of this, she was a formidable opponent in combat, and it would be a mistake to underestimate her. Unlike most Sith, she favored other weapons such as blasters over lightsabers.
12 Darth Malak
Darth Malak was born on the planet Quelii, where he lived before he fled to the Galactic Republic and began training as a Jedi. He was a close friend of Revan, a fellow Jedi who would also become a Sith Lord, and eventually, Malak’s Sith Master. He betrayed his former friend and Master and ruled ruthlessly over the Empire, having taken the title of Dark Lord of the Sith. However, it turned out that Revan, who had gone back to the Light Side of the Force, wasn’t gone, and he ultimately defeated Darth Malak.
11 Darth Gean
Like Darth Talon, Darth Gean was a Twi’lek Sith Lady; she was apprenticed to Darth Gravid. She was the one who ended him, as she was powerful enough to break through the shields he had installed around his fortress.
Darth Gean stopped Darth Gravid from doing yet more damage to the Sith Order.
She was, however, badly injured during the fight, and, much like Darth Vader and Darth Maul, had to wear prosthetic limbs. Unlike Vader’s armor, however, her prosthetics didn’t temper with her connection to the Force.
10 Darth Vader
Talking about Vader, one of the reasons he’s not higher on this list is precisely that his prosthetic limbs stop him from using some of his Force powers—he can’t use Sith lightning, for instance. But beyond that, Vader’s Master Darth Sidious manipulated him and stopped him from using the full extent of his powers.
Yes, he was instrumental in Darth Sidious’ plans, but he was still, sadly, the Sith Lord’s instrument.
While Vader was a powerful, ruthless Sith Lord, feared all over the galaxy, he would have grown much, much more powerful had he kept training with the Jedi.
9 Lady Lumiya
Lumiya was the Sith Lady who turned Jacen Solo to the Dark Side of the Force. She, too, was gravely wounded in battle and received prosthetics similar to Darth Vader’s. She fought with a tough lightwhip. She also used a variety of other weapons in combat, some of which were incorporated into her prosthetics. Like Vader, she became more machine than human. Lumiya was more than just a female Vader, however. She had her own fighting style and her own unique connection to the Force.
8 Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis was Darth Tenebrous’ apprentice and Darth Sidious’ master. He ended both his Master and Tenebrous’ illegitimate apprentice, Darth Venamis. Darth Plagueis the Wise, as he was known, had a fascination for knowledge, and spent a lot of time focusing on his research. According to his apprentice, Darth Sidious, he had learned to keep people from perishing by manipulating midi-chlorians. Plagueis was incredibly powerful, but, eventually, he fell to his apprentice’s hand, and Darth Sidious rose to the rank of Sith Master.
7 Darth Revan
You might know Darth Revan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He fought on both sides of the Mandalorian Wars, first as a Jedi, then as a Sith and Darth Malak’s master, and then as a Jedi again. He was powerful with the Force, to begin with, but ultimately, his knowledge of the two sides of the Force gave him power most Sith Lords only dream of. He met his end and was resurrected, and mastered many Force techniques; he could, for instance, corrupt Jedi.
6 Darth Zannah
Darth Zannah was Darth Bane’s apprentice, which makes her the first apprentice under the Sith Rule of Two. She was an incredibly powerful Sith Lady, and a talented Sith sorceress. Darth Zannah was also a skilled fighter; she mastered the Soresu lightsaber form. Zannah also used her sorcery in battle, sometimes driving her enemies to insanity with illusions, sometimes using dark side tendrils to destroy them. Much like Darth Bane himself, she was ruthless and cunning, and one of the most fearsome Dark Ladies on this list.
5 Darth Nihilus
The name Darth Nihilus was enough to strike terror into the hearts of those who heard it. His hunger for power became so great that the Dark Side nearly consumed him.
Nihilus survived by binding his consciousness to his mask and armor.
The Sith Lord became the Lord of Hunger, “a wound in the Force, more presence than flesh” (Wookiepedia). His mastery of the Dark Side of the Force was nothing short of legendary, and, long after his end, his mask remained imbued with his spirit and his power.
4 Marka Ragnos
Marka Ragnos was one of the few Sith Lords who became a Force ghost after his demise (a power usually reserved to Jedi). He was the Emperor of the Old Sith Empire and the one who led the Sith to their Golden Age.
He wielded a Sith sword, and his mastery of the Force made him nearly invulnerable in battle.
Like Darth Zannah, Marka Ragnos was both a skilled fighter and a talented Sith sorcerer and is remembered as one of the most powerful Sith in history.
3 Darth Traya
Darth Traya was, like many others on this list, a Jedi before she became a Sith. She was Revan’s Jedi Master and Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus’ Sith Master. With them, Traya formed the Sith Triumvirate. She mastered numerous Dark Side techniques and became one of the most powerful Sith Ladies the universe would ever know. She could, for instance, use the Force to wield her lightsabers without using her hands, and could use shatterpoints to see far into the future.
2 Darth Bane
The creator of the Sith rule of two, Darth Bane shaped the Sith Order as we know it. He was a ruthless, powerful man, and a Sith legend. He was intent on destroying the Jedi, but believed the Sith could only do so by cunning and manipulation; for that, they had to survive their internal conflicts, hence the Rule of Two. Darth Bane’s legacy lived on through his apprentice and her apprentice after her, etc. He paved the way for Sidious’ rise to power and destruction of the Jedi Order.
1 Darth Sidious
Darth Sidious, also known as Sheev Palpatine, or later, the Emperor, was an incredibly powerful Sith Lord. Cunning and manipulative, he succeeded in destroying the Jedi Order and re-establishing the Sith Empire.
Darth Sidious’ double identity was an undeniable asset in his plans, as most didn't suspect the beloved Chancellor Palpatine until it was too late.
In the Star Wars extended universe, he had almost god-like powers, and, for instance, created a Force Storm, bending the space-time continuum. He was also skilled in Sith Sorcery and a gifted lightsaber fighter.