@De_Saad acolyte My initial instinct was also the Spectre or Dr. Fate. However, just as Trigon’s tie to his dimension and reliance on a gateway and having to charge to full power, even though he’s more than a match for most anyway, that period where he’s not at full power or fully omnipotent, gives a valuable window of opportunity to gain the advantage before he could. His reliance on a gateway to our world is another disadvantage as a magic user powerful enough can seal him away before he gets a chance to fully emerge and, those willing to do whatever it takes to defeat him, could just destroy his doorway altogether and leave him trapped, but that would take someone willing and able to kill Raven.
As for Spectre and Doctor Fate, although two of the most powerful supernatural beings, both share a potentially very limiting crutch they are forced to rely on. Well, two actually. More so with Dr. Fate, they require a compatible human host and with Fate, remove the helmet, remove the host who mostly relies on the helmet, then fate looses the fight. As Spectre has no corporeal form, he too requires a host for a different reason that ties into Fate’s other major limitation, they both have a strict set of rules they have to follow. Spectre can’t act on his own will and needs to be carrying out vengeance for something to be able to intervene. He also needs one to be able to use his powers, and the host needs to possess specific qualities upon death and die under the right conditions to be able to qualify as a host for Spectre. It wasn’t always as limited until, without a human host or regulations on his powers for too long he started to get carried away with his power and lack of responsibility and ended up going to far and forcing the Presence to intervene. He concluded that the spirit of the Spectre should require a human host to remind him what it was like to be alive and give him a more grounded view of morality. It also, limited his power and made him unable to act on his own, leaving up to the host to decide when and how to use his power. Even then, if the Presence deems the Spectre’s involvement less than absolutely necessary, he’s powerless to act. The only human to really be able to abuse the power of the Spectre was Hal Jordan, and when he did it it had widespread negative repressions. Even then he was only able to take control because of the strength of his will and his time and talent spent wielding the power of the Green Light of Will, which gave him experience controlling powerful forces. Even with that, he wouldn’t have been able to take control for any significant amount of time or feat of power if it weren’t for the spirit of the Spectre distracted by his constant battle with Parallax while Hal was playing host to both entities. If it weren’t for that, he would be just as bound to the rules as any other host. Those limitations could be a major disadvantage and used against him.
As for Fate, the rules that govern him aren’t as strict and limiting, but the amount of control Kent Nelson allows Nabu to have over his mind and body is limiting. He fears that one day, Nabu will take control for good, so he uses the power of fate as seldom as possible when he can, but always will if absolutely necessary, except under one condition. Even if Kent Nelson wants to acts, as a Lord of Order, Nabu must abide by certain restrictions that depend on the balance of the cosmic scales. His duty as a Lord of Order is to make sure the cosmic scales between order and chaos remain perfectly in balance. If the scales tip towards order, Nabu can not act. If the scales are uncertain and his intervention could tip the scales in any direction he can’t act. If they are perfectly balanced, but his involvement would tip them towards order, he can’t act. He can only fight if either the cosmic scales tip towards chaos, or his participation would not tip the scale in either direction. As such a powerful cosmic entity, he must have strict rules to be fair and to keep him in check. They showed what would happen if Spectre had no regulations and no human host, the results were negative to say the least and ended with Spectre going mad with limitless power and nothing to stop him from using it. He had decided it was his power to use and he no longer needed to follow the rules. He will do what he pleases, and the rules of the universe will bend to his will and they no longer had a choice in the matter. It was his power, his body, and he decided it was time for his freedom from the rules of reality. He controlled reality, so that meant he made the rules. He’s been following them, but he was away from any sense of humanity long enough to become detached and conclude that with no human host, there was nobody to stop him or limit his power. That mentality in a being that powerful is incredibly dangerous, and because he nearly broke reality, his rules became stricter.
So yeah, Fate may be the least limited of the three, but they all have exploitable significant limitations and anyone smart enough and powerful enough to abuse those rules and limitations could render them unable to fight and pull off a victory.
(Honestly though, in my opinion, the real world reasoning behind this is not only sound, it benefits the characters significantly. With no limits and no way to loose Spectre and Fate would be too powerful and there would never be any stakes because they will always win with no challenge. That gets boring pretty quickly, so limitations circumvent that problem unless you give then too many limitations, then they become too weak and limited and end up loosing what made the character so great in the first place. It’s kinda the same reason a solo series for Spectre or Doctor Fate never really work out. If they have a solo series they would have to loose often enough to make winning a challenge or else they end up always winning with no challenge nothing to overcome or work towards. If they have to constantly loose and overcome challenges like most heroes, they would end up loosing too often and to easily which would weaken the characters and take away what makes them so great in the first place. It’s the balance between the human and cosmic entities that make them compelling characters and if the stories lean more one way than the other, it’s not long before the character drops in popularity and fall into obscurity. The only way to truly make these characters work so well and be so revered, is by making their appearances and use limited. That way, every time one of them gets involved and gets time to show off what they can do, feels like a real event and it makes the stakes seem higher if they have to call in the big guns. It gives them just enough time in the spotlight just often enough, that it keeps the character interesting and makes their appearance really feel like a big deal. It also let’s them show off their power with less limitation because when they show up, then it’s a threat big enough to not only require them, but give them a challenge. Limiting how often that happens is a significant storytelling tool that has helped the characters remain so popular and so powerful so long. Also, if the character begins to dip in popularity and become less revered by fans, it’s just because it’s been to long since they’ve been reminded what makes the character so awesome, and it doesn’t take much for people to remember once they see them in action against. There’s also the advantage of having them loose a fight they took on their own because it lets the other characters and readers know this villain isn’t here to play and he’s a big enough threat to be able to take out one of their big guns. This forces the heroes to regroup, use what they’ve learned about the foe and come up with a plan that favors creativity over power, because clearly throwing power at it and trying to fight them traditionally is clearly not going to work. It makes the story more compelling as the victory seems less certain and you don’t already know how they’re going to pull it off, because they are forced to think differently, which allows for more creative uses of certain characters and shows fans that certain characters are capable of more than previously thought, but you also know they can’t do it to often because the risks would be to high and they barely pulled it off the first time. Then there is the other storytelling devices that is used in similar situations and it’s another favorite of mine that shows different sides that help to further develop certain characters by showing what they are capable of, what they’re willing to do, and why. This storytelling device is the common enemy story that shows a similar threat but instead of simply pushing the hero’s power, you push their mental and moral limits. It’s compelling to see Lex Luthor swallow his pride enough to admit that he needs Superman’s health, and alternatively how far Superman would be willing to go and what kind of threat it takes for him to put his principles aside, swallow his pride, and let down his guard in order to trust Luthor long enough to work with him and win. Sometimes the results are truly surprising and makes for deeper storytelling and compelling character development. Then, there are also the stories where they tease genuine character development and have it all be a ploy to show off how far the character was willing to go to accomplish their goals or how long it takes for their true colors to bleed through and how it finally happens, reminding what makes that villain so great and it’s interesting to see how close they come to actually succeeding. It’s this variety in story telling, structure, and character development and the conflict that it revolves around that make me love comics so much.
(Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent there. That happens sometimes when I start talking about why I love comics so much. It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to that subject.)