The Last Airbender Elements, Ranked

Throughout Avatar’s history, we’ve seen many variations of elements that have proved beneficial for survival and battle. While The Last Airbender features several of these techniques, The Legend of Korra expands previous abilities and introduces some new ones as well. So, without further ado, here is our ranking of the 17 best elements in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

17. Heat Regulation

Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

The Air Nation’s Heat Regulation ability excels in cold environments and allows these benders to withstand extreme weather conditions. When you watch the snowy-based episodes of The Last Airbender, you’ll notice that Aang doesn’t wear any warm clothing thanks to this handy trick. But, of course, we can’t forget about Tenzin and his family in The Legend of Korra since they utilize this technique to stay toasty in high-elevated places.

Compared to Firebenders, Heat Regulation is more efficient in freezing temperatures because it drains pyro powers. For instance, when Zuko travels through the snow in Book 1, Episode 19, he has difficulty keeping himself warm, whereas Aang has no trouble enduring it.

16. Sand-Bending

Avatar: The Last Airbender The Library Episode
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

The art of Sand-Bending is certainly a force to be reckoned with, especially for the people of the Si Wong Desert. Based on what we’ve seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender, this technique was strong enough to beat the great Toph Beifong, an individual who is regarded as one of the best Earthbenders in the world. However, even if it can be deadly in sand-filled areas, this method does have the drawback of being limited to these specific locations.

15. Spiritual Projection

Jinora in The Legend of Korra
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Metaphysical skills are reasonably complex on their own, so being able to produce a Spirit Projection is undoubtedly one of the most challenging methods to master in the Avatar universe. Nonetheless, Jinora performs this elemental talent a few times in The Legend of Korra, where she assists the new Team Avatar on many occasions. In particular, this capability lets her get to remote areas, spy on enemies, and communicate with others from a long distance.

Besides Jinora, an Air Nomad named “Mangal” used Spirit Projection to communicate and resolve issues in the Northern Air Temple during Avatar Kyoshi’s time.

14. Plant-Bending

Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Plantbenders are extremely powerful in swamps and jungles, in which they can control the water inside the vines. In the first and third seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Huu of the Froggy Swamp Tribe performs this talent effortlessly and can fend off various attackers for an extended amount of time using his monster-like form. Furthermore, unlike Sand-bending, plant wielders aren’t restricted to greenery-filled destinations since they can travel in this condition, as we’ve seen Huu do in the Fire Nation.

The Waterbender, Misu, also practices this style in The Search book series, as well as her freezing capabilities that turn flower petals into deadly weapons.

13. Spirit-Bending

Spirit-Bending in The Legend of Korra
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Spirit-Bending was first introduced in Book Two of The Legend of Korra, cleansing the negative energy from spirits. We’ve seen the benefits of this Water technique on several occasions, primarily when Avatar Korra saves Republic City with its positive enlightenment. Alternatively, the ability does have its limitations considering its non-effectiveness with spirit vines and other potent materials.

12. Healing

Korra healing herself in The Legend of Korra
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

The Waterbending Healing ability has continued to have a long successful history by remedying many people’s injuries. For example, during Kyoshi’s time, Doctor Atuat’s curing talents were strong enough to stop others from dying. On top of that, Katara has healed the group in various instances and is responsible for keeping Avatar Aang alive.

Still, you have to consider its weaknesses since this Waterbender method can’t cure internal injuries and illnesses, like Korra’s sickness in Book Four.

11. Combustion

Sparky Sparky Boom Man
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

In both shows, the primary cast has had their hands full with Combustion fighters due to their precise targeting system and destructive powers. When Team Avatar encounters one of these individuals, they have to run away on a few occasions to escape death, ultimately teaming up to take down a single man. Moreover, The Legend of Korra’s P’Li takes it up a notch with a curve-like attack, allowing her to reach her enemy from any angle.

Despite its strength, Combustion-Bending does have one crucial weakness where the user’s powers can backfire on them. For instance, when a rock hits Sparky Sparky Boom Man’s third eye tattoo on his head (his targeting system), it corrupts his aiming capability, and he ends up hurting himself.

10. Lightning Redirection

Zuko using Redirection
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

The Redirection method seems simple enough to perform, but it’s actually incredibly risky since it can result in death when not done correctly. In addition, it requires a Fire user to learn the movements of their opposing element, Water, making it even more difficult. Therefore, those who know how to use this skill are exceptionally talented because they can let their enemy’s lightning attack flow through their body rather than let it consume them.

9. Lightning

Mako using Lightning
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Considering the challenges of the Redirection technique, it comes as no surprise that Lightning itself is extremely powerful, as we’ve seen in numerous battles in the franchise. It is believed to be a rare ability because only a few have mastered it, including Azula, Fire Lord Ozai, and Xu Ping An.

It isn’t until The Legend of Korra that we see more Lightning wielders, like Mako and Lightning Bolt Zolt, but the technique is still classified as deadly for both the attacker and the target. Keep in mind that the user needs to harness a significant amount of energy and concentration for it to work, except for Azula, who can somehow achieve it during her deranged state.

8. Flight

Zaheer entering the void
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Flight is possibly the rarest skill compared to all the other elements because there haven’t been many individuals who have learned it. Guru Laghima was the first to master this technique by letting go of his earthly tethers (detaching himself from emotions and relationships), a feat that Aang struggled with when unlocking his Avatar state. As a result, Zaheer was inspired by the Air Nomad’s triumph and used it to escape an entire army during Book Three of The Legend of Korra.

In addition to this achievement, Zaheer utilized Flight further when battling Korra and the Air Nation, where he could avoid attacks and swiftly move around the battlefield.

7. Metal-Bending

Toph Metal-Bending
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

During ATLA, Metal-Bending was a completely foreign concept that had never been done before until Toph maximized her Seismic Sense to manipulate the earth inside it. With this power, she won countless fights in her youth, including when she wrapped herself in metal to create a suit of armor. Then, she enhanced Metal-Bending even more with her academy, teaching other Earthbenders about the dynamic sub-element.

Fast forward to The Legend of Korra, we see how much the ability has grown due to the toughness of the Republic City Police and the Metal Clan. City officers use this skill by equipping a wire to swing from place to place, whereas the clan’s home base showcases the element’s talent with their impenetrable metal fortress. Last but not least, if it weren’t for Toph’s skill, Korra would never have been healed fully because she could detect the metallic substance in the Avatar’s body during Book Four.

6. Fire

Aang and Zuko
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

One of the four core elements, fire, mainly excels in offensive tactics, which is why this nation reigned supreme for a hundred years. Besides the previously mentioned sub-components, other techniques display these benders’ unique fighting styles. For example, Azula can ignite a flame beneath her feet to increase her speed and temporarily fly, making it more challenging to defeat her in battle.

But, what is possibly the most frightening about Fire-Bending is the enhancement of power from comets, leading to the eradication of the Air Nomads and the great showdown between Aang and Fire Lord Ozai. On the other hand, these benders have weaknesses with solar eclipses, cold environments, and a lack of self-control for unhinged wielders.

5. Earth

Toph Beifong
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Earthbenders have continuously demonstrated their brute force in The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra by helping the Avatars win various fights. When you think back to all the groups in the series, these fighters are one of the most well-known because of their versatile abilities, including the Dai Li, the Metal Clan, and the Republic City Police.

Even without these teams, Toph Beifong alone shows the true strength of these benders since she has helped the original and future Team Avatars countless times with her superior prowess, like her Seismic Sense, defensive capabilities, and metal manipulation.

4. Lava

Ghazan in The Legend of Korra
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Lava-Bending is another rare skill that is difficult to master due to the fact that it involves both earth and fire. One of the first times we see this sub-element in action is when Avatar Kyoshi breaks apart two whole peninsulas with lava, creating her own island to protect her people. Then, there’s the time when Roku goes head-to-head with an active volcano and ultimately saves his village through this technique.

As for offensive strategies, The Legend of Korra’s Ghazan demonstrates its worth by creating deadly pools of lava to ward off enemies, as well as a makeshift tool that melts the wooden structure of his prison. Eventually, when Bolin learns this method, he develops a lethal lava disc to cut through metal and a variety of weapons.

3. Air

Aang performing an Air trick
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Although the Air Nation is known for being a peaceful and carefree civilization, they are one of the most exceptional fighters in the Avatar universe. In particular, Aang performs it frequently to avoid and escape the Fire Nation’s clutches multiple times through his swift movements, accelerated speed, and energetic air attacks. You can also consider the Airbender’s level-headedness during battles, allowing them to strategically plan their actions instead of letting things get too out of control.

On the darker side, the element’s suffocation ability is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t mess with Airbenders because it grants them the power to extract the air from someone’s lungs, killing their target in the process.

2. Water

Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Since water is basically all around us, Waterbenders are possibly the most superior warriors considering their free range of using it in almost every environment. Looking back at the Avatar episodes, these warriors have generally overcome their weaknesses, like when Katara uses her sweat to escape prison or when Hanma takes the water from plants to make a weapon.

Not only can these fighters create ice projectiles and heal their allies, but they can also thrive in the ocean, which is one of the most dominant biomes of the four nations. However, even though Waterbenders are weak to lunar eclipses and lightning, they still have the best technique in the franchise, Blood-Bending.

1. Blood-Bending

Hanma using Blood-Bending
Image Source: Screenshot via Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Out of all the elements in the series, Blood-Bending is the most fearsome and powerful because of its ability to control someone through their blood. In ATLA Book 3, Episode 8, Hanma exhibited its mighty strength by becoming a human puppet master and holding an entire village hostage with the energy from the full moon.

Yet, just when you think it can’t get any scarier, The Legend of Korra brings it back, where the main antagonist, Amon, can now utilize Blood-Bending to take away a bender’s abilities without the need for the full moon. With both these methods in mind, you can undoubtedly see why it is the best elemental form, especially since there aren’t many individuals who can perform it successfully.

The water sub-element even became outlawed in the later timeline since it is too overpowered and classified as evil in the Avatar world. That said, being that it has made its mark in both shows, there could be a possibility of the technique returning in another installment, increasing the fear factor further with its dark energy. The Last Airbender Elements, Ranked

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