Avatar: The Best Bending Duos, Ranked

Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender and its various spin-offs, much of the fun comes not just from seeing what individual benders can do, but how they interact. Each installment in the series focuses on a different Team Avatar and features both heroes and villains who work in tandem to accomplish more than they ever could apart. However, these pairs rarely got the chance to face off, leaving those wanting to sort out the best of the best with a lingering question.

Just which Avatar duo makes for the best fighting pair? There is some fierce competition across the shows, comics and novels, but there's no questioning that these five represent the cream of the crop.

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Aang & Toph

Thinking in broad terms, it may seem hard to pick one duo among the Gaang as representing the best the team had to offer in combat, especially since they hardly ever actually fought in duos. While there are plenty of instances of them combining waterbending, earthbending, and airbending outside of combat to shape clouds or purify a river, the Gaang mostly fights separately. The big exceptions are Aang and Toph.

Aang works in tandem with Katara plenty, but his synergy with Toph stands out as the best. While storming the Earth King's palace, Aang and Toph wordlessly rose earthen defenses and raised their allies on platforms. The Day of the Black Sun also showcased their coordination as Toph and Aang resisted Azula and her Dai Li agents. Earth may have been Aang's most difficult element to learn, but once he got the knack for it, Toph whipped him into fighting shape successfully.

Wing & Wei

The true power of tandem earthbending comes from a far unlikelier source. Whereas Aang and Toph are two of the most powerful benders seen in the franchise, it's hard to beat the synergy of Toph's grandchildren Wing and Wei. The twins are an energetic pair of metalbenders who invented their own sport together, and their mother Suyin makes it clear early on how proud she is of them.

Once they get into combat, it's easy to see why she's so proud. Wing and Wei bend far larger structures than either of them could separately, boosting each other through the air or raising ammunition out of the ground for one another. The fact that their coordination works perfectly with their mother, linking up with Suyin's own fighting style to prove they're effective in any combination just goes to show how powerful teamwork can be.

Desna & Eska

Wing and Wei aren't the only twins on the list; this waterbending duo edges them out. The sister and brother team of Desna and Eska come from their own powerful bending bloodline, with the Avatar for a cousin and Unalaq as their father, but they harnessed their talents in a  completely unique fashion. With an extreme economy of motion, Desna and Eska barely while bending, and they cooperate so well it's almost like they have a spooky telepathic link.

Both proved a major threat to Korra when pursuing her through Fire Nation waters and forcing their cousin to employ the Avatar State in fending them off. Later on, they showed what their talents could do against Ming Hua as they erected an entire obstacle course of massive icicles in a matter of moments. In both cases, the twins were not ultimately successful, but they were edged out by some of the strongest and quickest bending in the series.

Kyoshi & Rangi

While animation makes some of the subtleties of a fight with many moving components easier to follow, it would be a shame to leave Kyoshi and Rangi's teamwork out of consideration. In a lot of ways, the two women are opposites. Kyoshi wields her power with overwhelming blunt force and a head-on approach, whereas Rangi's fighting style emphasizes skill and precision over anything else. In fact, Rangi's fighting style became the basis for the Kyoshi Warriors the Earth Kingdom Avatar later founded, and therein it becomes easier to see just how well the two could work together.

Throughout the novels The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi, the two help keep each other alive, pushing each other away from attacks and covering for them with other combatants. By the end, they worked flawlessly together to accomplish feats no pair before have been seen doing. Kyoshi buys Rangi time to produce a white-hot flame that tears through pillars of stone, and when Kyoshi releases a colossal fireball, Rangi redirects it at their opponent for a second chance to hit. As a pair, they're almost impossible to beat.

Mako & Bolin

It's often tempting with such rankings to try to find a top choice that avoids the obvious, but in the case of Mako and Bolin, it's just too clear how superlative they are in this category. While a lot of bending teams throughout Avatar feel incidental, the Firebender Mako and his earthbending brother Bolin are a clear case where partnership is integrated into their every scene together. It started with their career as pro-bending athletes weaving and dodging around attacks, but in the service of Team Avatar, they became even better.

Together the pair held their own against Ghazan and Ming Hua on one occasion before besting them all together later on. Bolin provides Mako with pillars of earth to boost his jumps and shields to help guard him all while Mako lays suppressing fire that keeps their opponents off balance. They're a clear case of superb benders on their own accomplishing even greater feats together, and the fact that they wield two totally separate elements gives them a clear edge over many who would contend against them for this top spot.

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