There have been tales of vampires as long as humans have told stories. Since the days of the first accepted civilizations in mainstream history (Sumeria), to even further back shrouded eras of pre-history. There is something about blood-sucking entities that stalk us unseen that really vibes with humanity’s archetypal fears. Perhaps they are a metaphor that keeps repeating in our cultural myths as an ancestral memory warning us to fear the night. Maybe the theme is something darker yet unknown. In any case, let’s explore these life-draining beings of evil and see where “the damned” stack up against one another on a tier list.
Keep in mind that there will be vampire breeds I left out because there are just too many, and I don’t want to get pedantic. So, if I don’t cover your favorite, let me know in the comments, and I’ll cover it soon. There are usually multiple versions of vampires across all cultural legends concerning particular vampire bloodlines, so I’m just going to have the ones I find most interesting on this tier list. Also, I will be ranking them on types and not individuals from myth or media. Otherwise, Alucard from Hellsing would instantly win, and the vampire chronicles Lestat would automatically be up there, too, because how could you leave Lestat out? I’ll rank them on sheer power and threat level to humans based on both strengths and weaknesses. Let’s begin.
Psychic vampires may be annoying and depressing if someone is unaware of what’s going on, but they are not dangerous. The majority are mortal humans, making them easy to defeat across the board. There are bottom feeders in spirit lore like shadow beings residing in the astral plane who also feed on emotional energy, but being killed by a psychic vampire is extremely rare.
Nosferatu are vulnerable to all the classical vampire weaknesses. They are not pureblood vampires. Instead, they are turned into this bloodline by another vampire, usually a lesser one. They are ugly and monstrous, making them unable to pass as humans or gain influence. While Nosferatu do have many physical abilities other blood-drinkers possess, they lack psychic and magical attributes. Vampire Hunters usually take them out, and killing one is often a right of passage.
Callicantzaros from Greece have the unfortunate limitation of only being able to hunt on Christmas day and a week to twelve days later. They attack prey with long fingernails capable of ripping them to shreds. The Callicantzaros can be tricked, and there are many ways to deal with them any average person can perform.
Asanbosam only live in the deep, deep, forests of Africa and prefer to suck blood from people’s thumbs. They hunt by dangling from trees and waiting for prey to walk under them to snatch them up. Asanbosam can be fatally injured like any organic creature found naturally in nature.
Burulacas are another Greek vampire, but this one is made of excrement and slime while also being a breed on the brink of extinction. Burulacas have many vulnerabilities and a lack of power, leading to their demise. However, they are deadly to unarmed unprepared humans, especially in the wilderness.
Azeman are an all-female breed of vampires that appear like ordinary human women during the day. However, they transform into blood-sucking bats at night and hunt for prey, but Azeman can also shapeshift into a variety of forms. Azeman prefer to suck blood from someone’s big toe, which rarely results in death. They can be stopped with effort and slain in their human form during the day (which is easier).
Bhuta are a vampiric spirit of a person killed violently in any way who did not receive proper funeral rites. Their appearance can differ, but bhuta usually look like a ball of light, bat, or owl. They typically feed on humans using a reanimated corpse. Bhuta can never rest on the ground, though, so it’s easy enough to prevent an attack. Just lay flat on the floor, and they can’t touch you. But on top of that, there are tons of other ways to avoid bhuta attacks too.
Danag are pretty much normal humans and live out their whole lives as ordinary people unless they drink blood. After getting a taste, they become immortal and hunt humans at night. There is a variation on the legend saying Danag were gods, but other than that, these vampires are mostly harmless unless they drink blood for some reason.
Kudlak/Vukodlak are vampires with supernatural powers that seem human in life, but upon death, their change into vampirism is complete, and their power dramatically grows. They shapeshift into animals commonly while hunting. Kudlak/Vukodlak can be stopped by severing its tendons before death or by digging up the body and cutting them… But, staking them into the ground works too.
Incubus and Succubus
Incubus and Succubus are sexual vampires with records going back to Sumeria. They hunt in three realms: the dreamlands, the astral plane, and the material world. Encounters vary, but many are sexually themed, and while the victim may even enjoy it, the entity feeds on their essence. Victims usually develop a mental health condition while plagued by physical exhaustion, and sometimes the encounters over extended periods result in death. Victims get better quickly with no long-term side-effects other than trauma most of the time.
Langsuir vampires are always beautiful women from Malaysia that rise in undeath forty days after dying in childbirth. This bloodline relies mostly on appearance to hunt because they seem so unthreatening. Langsuir feed from a hole in the back of their neck and are defeated if someone shoves their hair in the hole. However, most they come across are ripped to shreds by their razor-sharp fingernails.
Manananggal are evil blood-sucking vampiric monsters from the Philippines that are horrific to look at for many reasons. They detach the upper part of their body and grow bat-like wings to hunt for prey. Manananggal are vulnerable to garlic and sunlight, but if you find the lower half of its body while it’s off hunting, you can kill it safely by destroying the lower half. Daggers, vinegar, spices, and a stingray tail fashioned into a whip will also be efficient in fighting them.
The nachzehrer are vampires of recently deceased people who return from the grave to attack family and village acquaintances. Some believe a nachzehrer would leave its grave, shapeshifting into the form of a pig, and pay a visit to their family members to feast on their blood. If a nachzehrer rings the bells of a church, then all who hear it die. They also kill people with shadows. This bloodline can be killed by placing a coin in its mouth then decapitating it.
Kappa are turtle-like river vampires from Japan, specializing in sucking blood from the victim’s anus. They are deadly but can be reasoned with, bribed, or tricked into giving up their power. Kappa are primarily a threat to the unprepared or foolish. Despite many of them being children’s size, they have superhuman strength and durability.
Yara-ma-yha-who from Australian folklore hangs from trees waiting for human prey to drop down and drain the victim’s blood. They then devour the victim’s body, regurgitate it, eat it again, throw it up again, and repeat the process over and over until the victim becomes a Yara-ma-yha-who. They are incredibly strong and immune to harm for the most part. Luckily they waddle when walking, unable to run. All you can do to protect yourself is run away if you can.
Baobhan sith only exist in Scotland. They are beautiful young women who wear a long green dress that hides the strange deer-like lower legs. She can shapeshift into a crow or raven to hunt and spy, but that’s usually not required because of her seductive appearance. A baobhan sith drinks the blood of humans and hides from the sun like all typical vampires. They are weak to iron and appear as if out of nowhere to men who speak out loud about wanting company in the wild.
Strigoi are a type of vampire with many incarnations and a pretty powerful assortment of supernatural abilities that make them formidable creatures of the night. However, this power is tempered by all the traditional vampiric weaknesses. Strigoi are powerful but get B-tier because they seem to have OCD (like a lot of vampires) and can be stopped by just throwing stuff on the ground because they’ll be unable to resist stopping what they’re doing to count sand you threw on the ground for example. So if someone is prepared, Strigoi are not as high of a threat as their high power level would suggest.
Grim Vampires are traditional European vampires. They are vulnerable to the classic tools in hunting the damned: stakes, fire, the Sun, beheading, Holy Water, garlic, Holy Symbols, ext. They have no reflection, and appearance can differ significantly from beautiful to horrifically ugly. Their power level can vary greatly based on age or the vampire that created them but are always vulnerable to stereotypical vampiric weaknesses.
The Ekimmu are one of the oldest vampires that hunted the Assyrian and Babylonians in ancient times. They’re unique in that they drink blood and absorb energy like a psychic vampire. Ekimmu are violent and angry. They appear as vampiric winged demons, living shadows, or even strong wind. They spread disease, pain, and death. Ekimmu latch onto people and become one of the most challenging entities to exorcise. Only magic and prevention can protect humans from Ekimmu.
Dhampir are crossbreeds of human and vampire and can differ in power depending on the strength of the vampire parent or the pureblood/half-blood nature of the parent vampire. If the dhampir’s vampire parent was born a vampire, not originally human, and turned, their tier may go up to A depending on circumstance. Dhampir have all the unique gifts of vampires but none of the weaknesses, but still, need to consume blood to survive (though there are exceptions rarely). In extremely rare cases, a dhampir can even be more powerful than regular vampires across the board other than ancients or other extremely powerful vampires. Most of the time, they are a solid B tier, though.
Brahmaparusha, are brain-eating vampires from India. They wear the intestines of their victims around their necks like jewelry. It keeps a skull on it, and when it finds a victim, it cuts their throat and pours their blood into the skull like a cup, then drinks it. Only after all the blood has been drunk do they move on to devour the victim’s brains. There is no known way to slay or defend yourself against a Brahmaparusha vampire other than running away if you can. The only thing that keeps this vampire from Tier S is its lack of magical powers and superhuman abilities other than strength and invulnerability.
Nelapsi are vicious bestial vampires that usually hunt fully naked or in ragged burial rags. Despite their brutal nature, they appear mostly human other than their eyes, fangs, and teeth. A single nelapsi vampire has destroyed entire villages by themselves countless times in history, making sure to drain the blood of every villager and their livestock before moving on. They also carry plague, so surviving nelapsi attacks are improbable. Even if a victim manages to escape, they’ll drop dead from disease later. Nelapsi have superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, healing, and eyes that cast plague. They are vulnerable to Holy Icons and fire, a stake through the heart, then decapitation. Garlic may keep some kinds at bay. However, sunlight won’t harm them, or any of the other classical vampiric weaknesses, for that matter. The only time they are vulnerable is when they sleep during the day. Trying to fight nelapsi at night is guaranteed death.
Neuntöter are a walking bio-terror weapon of pestilence and decay. They have killed millions in pandemics throughout the ages. These vampires’ bodies are a horrific display of open sores spilling pus and slimy blood. Neuntöter make Tier A from the sheer amount of death they cause when turned undead. These bloodsuckers need to be prevented from existing in the first place by putting a lemon in the mouth, beheading, and then burning the body to ashes. One sign a neuntöter will rise upon someone’s death is if a child is born with a complete set of teeth or a spoon in its mouth. If the precautions are not met, this vampire will spread a horrific plague after it rises from death nine days after its life comes to an end.
The varacolaci is a Romanian vampire originating from a child that died without being baptized, among other ways. They could also be hereditary from vampiric bloodlines. Varacolaci hunt all year and are one of the strongest vampires. They drain people of blood but leave no wounds, avoiding vampiric suspicion from other humans. Varacolaci can go anywhere on the hunt thanks to their shapeshifting that ranges from a cat to an insect, like a flea or spider. Their raw power is shown in their ability to cause both a solar and lunar eclipse. But like higher-tier vampires, they also have magical abilities and can astral project in an eldritch monster form. The only ways to defeat a varacolaci are complex rituals or moving its body when the monster is astral projecting because it will get lost in its astral form. Varacolaci are extremely powerful and deadly vampires that easily deserve Tier A.
Gothic Vampires are immune to all the classical vampire weaknesses and can only be killed by the complete destruction of their hearts or high-tier occultists. Their power and abilities are unique to the individual, but they share an overall consistency. Gothic Vampires can shapeshift into bats, wolves, mist, among many more possibilities. These deadly monsters can sense life force and manipulate it. They’re hypnotic, telepathic, superhumanly strong, and fast. Some Gothic Vampires can even teleport. They’re highly intelligent, charismatic, eloquent, seductive, and ambitious.
Being immortal, the older they get, the more a Gothic Vampire’s power grows. Some are so powerful and uniquely gifted the vampires they create themselves are bound to their will like slaves, but they die if the Gothic Vampire that created them is ever killed. This is the archetypal aristocrat vampire, but in truth have no limitations in how they conduct themselves or what culture they come from. One of the things that makes them a higher threat on top of their massive power level is their ability to walk in daylight (they just prefer the night, but are not bound to it). Some of these vampires are also potent necromancers, and able to raise undead corpses to fight for them. However, it’s also important to remember that not all Gothic Vampires are on the same level, and many are far from a Dracula-type level threat and whatnot. For the most part, though, a victim is dead long before they even realize they are in danger from a Gothic Vampire.
Vetala are a ghost-like vampiric entity that possesses corpses, usually fresh because they do not decay while having a Vetala inside them. They can leave the body at will and are indestructible as long as the body exists. Drinking blood is a vetala’s main sustenance, but they also sometimes enjoy eating fresh flesh and transforming into a skeletal monster with massive tattered wings. They are extremely dangerous and kill kids and adults equally without remorse. But vetala also torments for pleasure because they are usually extreme sadists. These vampires are also dangerous to souls between life and death or anything in the astral plane. They can be repelled by a particular mantra, or bound by a powerful occultist, but are otherwise mostly unstoppable. Vetala cause massive levels of death, destruction, and suffering, with little opposition.
Upier (or Upior) have such a thirst for blood they literally bathe in it and sleep in it. Its body is a supernatural vat of blood so full if you stake it, then burst in an eruption of gore like a grenade. They prefer to feed on old friends and family they had while alive. Upier have immense strength and sticks its barbed tongue into your neck to drain you dry. These powerful vamps are immune to all normal vampire weaknesses (for the most part), and usually just go to sleep, and are never defeated by humans.
Penanggalan are horrific looking just being a woman’s demonic-looking head with dangling internal organs billowing glossily in the wind as it flys in the night. The organs glow too and are used like tentacles to oppress victims. Penanggalan can also grow their hair longer at will to use as a weapon. This vampire is incredibly sneaky and can stick its long hose-like tongue into you from a distance and even through cracks in walls and doors and the like. If there is an opening it will drain you dry of blood through its tongue like a straw before you wake up. The Penanggalan has similar weaknessess to the Manananggal metioned previously. The reason why it’s so high on the tier list is because of its talent at stealth. You can’t fight what you don’t know is there, and this vampire is rarely caught, allowing it to feed unopposed for ages.
Matriarch/Patriarch vampires. These insanely powerful vampires are usually the first of their breed and granted incredible strength from the source of their undeath. They can turn or create other new vampires of their own bloodline, but the power level goes down really quickly with offspring generations. In most lore, if the original vampire is slain, the rest of the breed they spawned die too unless the source of vampiric power is transferred somehow to a new Matriarch/Patriarch. In fiction, Dracula would be a good example of this or even Akasha from the Vampire Chronicles.
Ancients could be any of the different vampire breeds. The only difference is that they are so old, their power level has grown to an unimaginable scale. They have all the strengths of any particular vampire breed, just enhanced far beyond the younger ones, as well as the same weaknesses, but the weaknesses are less damaging. In some cases, the vampire’s size grows too such as in a strigoi ancient, and many become leaders of their particular vampire bloodline or great enemies of them. Ancients of the same breed usually hate one another and will either kill each other on sight or go into hibernation while another is active in the world.
Deity Vampires are easily the most powerful and deadly out of them all. They are usually primordial spirits or god-like entities that actually generate the various breeds of vampires with the essence of undeath animating their supernatural bodies. Examples are the Sumerian Lamashtu, the Hebrew Lilith, or the spirit of demonic blood infection of ancient Egypt. These vampires are few in number but on a whole different level capable of millennia of bloodshed with no end in sight. Deity Vampires can be an archetypal personification, an esoteric virus, or something otherworldly beyond human comprehension. In the majority of Dracula stories, he is empowered by Satan himself for example. However, some are straight-up gods.