‘The Legend of Korra’: Is Mako a Better Firebender Than Zuko?

The Legend of Korra premiered on Nickelodeon in 2012 and was recently added to Netflix. The show’s four seasons centered around Avatar Korra, Aang’s successor in the Avatar cycle, and is a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. In their respective shows, both Korra and Aang are friends with firebenders, Mako and Zuko. So is Mako stronger than Zuko?

The Legend of Korra
Korra in ‘The Legend of Korra’ | Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Fans saw Zuko’s skill improve in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’

When Avatar: The Last Airbender began, Zuko had a great deal of firebending talent, but he was not a prodigy like his younger sister Azula. His firebending was fueled by anger, and he fought in a very volatile and hot-headed manner because of the trauma he went through from his abusive father, Fire Lord Ozai.

Over the course of the series, Zuko’s uncle Iroh, who is one of the most powerful firebenders, teaches him how to incorporate the bending techniques of airbenders, waterbenders, and earthbenders. Iroh also teaches Zuko how to redirect lightning.

In Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang and Zuko travel to the ancient Sun Warrior ruins to improve their firebending. There, they learn an ancient firebending technique called the Dancing Dragon. By the end of Season 3, Zuko’s firebending has improved a great deal and he no longer needs anger to firebend.

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Mako is an extremely talented firebender in ‘The Legend of Korra’

By the time viewers meet Mako, he is very talented at firebending. In the first season of The Legend of Korra, Mako is a professional athlete and has a pro-bending team with his earthbending brother, Bolin.

Mako’s firebending skills are apparent, and he is strong, precise, and able to produce lightning, which is not something every firebender can do. In Season 1 of The Legend of Korra, Mako is able to briefly overpower the main villain Amon.

When Amon catches up, he comments that no bender has been able to do that before and that taking away Mako’s bending is a shame. Throughout the series, Korra and Team Avatar face a number of formidable villains. Mako is able to hold his own against all of them, showing just how talented at firebending he is.

Is Mako a better firebender than Zuko?

The answer? It’s complicated. If you were to ask a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, they would probably say Zuko is stronger. The reasoning behind this answer is what makes the comparison complicated.

When it comes to talent, Mako is better than Zuko, but when it comes to power and training, Zuko comes out on top. Season 1 Mako most likely would beat Season 1 Zuko in an Agni Kai. However, Zuko’s firebending improves throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender, while Mako’s stays relatively the same in The Legend of Korra.

Mako is more naturally gifted at firebending than Zuko, but Zuko has the sort of training that would give him an edge during a fight. While viewers saw Zuko duel many talented firebenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the same cannot be said for Mako.