How strong is Blackbeard without his Devil fruit? To answer this; Shank’s history needs to be dissected to a fair extent in order to fully understand the depth of Blackbeard’s powers. There’s only 1 person who truly knows how strong he is and that is Shanks.
Shanks (27 years old) was first seen in chapter 1 with Luffy who was aged 7 at the time, although Shanks arrived at Windmill Village when Luffy was 6 years old.
In the Ed war which occurred 3 years before Roger’s execution, Shanks didn’t have a scar and he was 12 years old at the time and 15 at Roger’s death.
If we remember, Shanks told Whitebeard that he didn’t receive this scar from Mihawk, it means Shanks fought with Blackbeard around the time his duels with Mihawk were widely known about.
Based on current information, in my opinion, Shanks fought Blackbeard Teach probably on his way to Windmill Village from the Grand Line which puts him between the ages 25 – 26 when he fought Teach.
Luffy was 17 years old when Shanks and Whitebeard met on the Moby Dick and 22 years had flown by since Roger’s death. So when Luffy was 7 years old, 12 years had gone by since Roger died; Roger died 5 years before Luffy was born.
Chinjao claimed to have fought Garp 30 years ago to a 19 year old Luffy, so this grudge Chinjao harboured against Garp had begun to grow 11 years before Luffy was born. This means we saw Chinjao and Garp use haki 6 years before Roger’s death, so haki was already something common in the New World and a requirement to survive.
If Shanks was sailing with Roger at the age of 12, he must have been a pretty exceptional pirate and must have been very well aware of haki especially being under the counsel of Roger and Rayleigh.
It’s easy to intuitively assume that Teach doesn’t possess haki because of his Devil fruit power, but that isn’t necessarily the truth. Backing up abit, we know Teach has at least been a Whitebeard Pirate for at least 22 years since we saw him on Whitebeard’s ship when Shiki visited; it should naturally be assumed he has haki just like we assume Mihawk does. To read the details of Teach possessing haki, read the spoiler below…
Teach being an unliked character in tandem with such a powerful ability acts as a red herring that makes one easily conclude that he’s not a haki user; with that being the case, I’ll be presenting some points that indicate he’s very much a haki user.
The first time we’re introduced to Blackbeard, he’s able to tell that Luffy should be worth more than 30 million Beries due to sensing his spirit.
Then next time he sees Luffy, he says Luffy’s haki is stronger before which means the first time they met, he sensed his haki too or he wouldn’t know it’s stronger now; this hints that Teach is at least capable of Observation haki.
In order to understand whether BB possesses Armament haki, it’s necessary to under how his abilities work. Blackbeard said the only way he can nullify devil fruit abilities is by holding on to the person or by grabbing as we see him say here.
The only time he de-activated or nullified Ace’s powers was while grabbing Ace here.
When he Grabs Luffy too, Luffy’s Gear 2nd de-activated and his body became void of Devil friuit powers temporarily until out of his grasp again in which he resumes Gear 2nd mode.
Luffy punched him initially while in Gear 2nd, but Luffy remained in Gear 2nd unlike when he got grabbed by Blackbeard which means touching Blackbeard doesn’t nullify abilities, except he’s the one doing the grabbing.
Whitebeard was still able to grasp unto Blackbeard firmly and use his abilities which means it’s only when Blackbeard is holding or grasping that abilities become nullified.
So, when he’s not Grabbing, his powers are not in effect which means when he attacked Ace here…
he couldn’t nullify Ace’s abilities which means he had to haved use armament haki because Ace is a Logia.
And, if Blackbeard didn’t possess armament haki, how could he hold fire too?
Fighting Blackbeard Teach.
Shanks: Whitebeard…I’ve gone through many battles and suffered various wounds, but what aches now is this one! This isn’t a wound from adventures, nor did I get this from Mihawk; Your man “Blackbeard” Teach was the one who inflicted this wound! And it’s not like I was careless.
Do you understand what I’m trying to say here Whitebeard!? He’s been waiting for a chance…he didn’t take a position of a captain or make himself known; all this time, he’s been hiding in the shadow of the famous “Whitebeard!” – and now he’s gained “power” and started to take action.
Shanks makes sure to emphasize that despite fighting daily with Mihawk, the one who gave him is facial scar was none other than Teach himself ad it wasn’t a careless mistake on his part, but testament to Teach’s strength alone; this heavily implies that Teach himself is stronger than Mihawk too.
Not only does Shanks point out that Teach was able to scar him, he also insists that the Great Whitebeard should not go after Teach denoting how much of a threat he considers Teach to be, despite the fact he’s speaking to the World’s Strongest Pirate.
It’s obvious from Whitebeard’s expression that he doesn’t believe Teach is as strong as Shanks is making out and this is why Shanks attacks Whitebeard to prove his own strength to Whitebeard as indication that Teach’s power parallels his.
Some of the Whitebeard Pirates think Shanks attack Whitebeard in an attempt to initiate a war, but Marco says Shanks isn’t that reckless.
For Marco to so confidently not be intimidated by Shank’s reckless move is proof that he deems Whitebeard stronger and Shanks probably knows this too. The Redhair are also quite calm because they know Shanks is just trying to make a point in proving just how strong Teach is.
It means Teach is as strong as Shanks which is why he pleaded with Whitebeard to have Ace pull out of his hunt for Blackbeard. At this point; Shanks hasn’t even fought Teach with his Devil fruit, so it’s quite indicative of just how powerful Teach is without a fruit.
Another thing to take into account is despite the fact the Yami Yami no Mi negates Devil fruit powers, it also makes his opponent’s attacks stronger. His resistance to pain is testament to his strength too or the attacks from both Sengoku and Garp would have killed him despite the pain being amplified by his fruit.
One thing we’ve learnt about Teach is that he’s pragmatic and objective, he holds no grudges and doesn’t do anything unnecessarily. He also has no pride and is willing to be belittled for his goals, this is why the Whitebeard Pirates never truly knew how strong he was and why Whitebeard didn’t believe Shanks.
Putting things into Perspective:
- How many Yonko have been present since Roger’s death? 4 Yonko.
- How many years has it been since the last Pirate king? 24 years in current time line.
- Are the Yonko weak? Not at all.
Though the Yonko are not weak; Yonkos like Kaido are all still trying to increase the strength of their armies and Big Mom is still focusing on increasing her fleet.
Blackbeard knows being powerful enough to be a Yonko is not enough (which he is without his Devil fruit), but with 2 Devil fruits he’s much stronger than any Yonko out there and more so once he masters the Gura Gura no Mi.
He has both a Devil fruit that negates devil fruit abilities as effectively as Kairoseki (seastone) and another Devil fruit which deals more damage than any other; if anything, this shows just how much smarter Teach is compared to other pirates and how much planning along with patience he’s put into fulfilling his goals.
Theory by Hannibal Psyche