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There's another question called Why didn't Doctor Strange use the Time Stone to prevent Thanos from claiming other Infinity Stones?.

This question is totally unrelated and was thought up before I have ever read that other question.

I understand that using the Time Stone can lead to negative effects. I also understand that you can still use it. For example, Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to age and un-age an apple in Doctor Strange.

So, why doesn't Doctor Strange use the Time Stone to age and un-age Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War? The two consequences

  1. Thanos is un-aged and is now Baby Thanos. I am sure Baby Thanos is much weaker and easier to defeat than Super-Strong, Muscular, Adult Thanos. The gauntlet cannot even fit on the hand of Baby Thanos! Then, Baby Thanos would be unable to harness the power of any super-powerful and mighty Stone. This consequence is beneficial for the Avengers.

  2. Thanos is aged and is now Elder Thanos. I am sure Elder Thanos is much weaker and easier to defeat than Super-Strong, Muscular, Adult Thanos. Age Elder Thanos enough and you get Dead Thanos. (Mr. Thanos can die of old age, right? Even if that age is really, really large.) Dead Thanos cannot fight the Avengers! And he surely cannot kill half the people in the universe. This consequence is also beneficial for the Avengers.

So then, why not use the Time Stone on Thanos?

Here is an analogy. Refer to it in your answer.

The Time Stone is the same thing as an "I Win" button. If I use the Time Stone, I press the "I Win" button and ... I win! If I do not use the Time Stone, I do not press the "I Win" button and I have to spend extra effort making sure every little detail of the complex plan works exactly the way I planned it - which is much harder, much more random, and much less guaranteed. Why not take the easy way out and press the "I Win" button? Win guaranteed. 100%.

In other words, I cannot see what can go wrong. Your answer can tell me what can/will go wrong or any problems with my assumptions. For example, I assume Thanos can be aged and un-aged. If this is not possible, support this argument in your answer.

Another thing to address. I do not want your answer to simply say "Well, Doctor Strange found a method that worked. Why complicate a plan by trying something that might not work." Show me that my plan might/will not work. Also, don't tell me there is only ONE case where the Avengers can win (which is what we see in Avengers: Infinity War). I know this is not true. Given that there are literally an infinite number of "branches" that occur when searching through the future, really, Dr. Strange was extremely lucky to find a winning future in just 14 million searches. There is more than one winning future.

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    Whatever it is you're trying to do by deleting and straight up reasking this question, give it a rethink. – Napoleon Wilson May 10 at 9:10
  • Each of the stones is it's own version of an "I win" button. Why didn't Thanos just use the reality stone to Immobilize the Guardians and Avengers on Titan like he did on Knowhere? Why didn't he use the power stone to explode Titan, since Dr.Strange can't breathe in space? Why didn't he use the Space stone to teleport everyone on titan into the the sun, or teleport Strange into space? – AAlig May 13 at 12:06
  • I don't think you put much thought into the time stone, its not a "I win button" against someone with the reality stone. If it was a simple "I win" button they would use it every time something went wrong. Everyone who knows anything about the time stone knows its flaws/danger and its power isn't limitless. – Jeffyx May 13 at 13:05
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+100

It was simply a way to move the plot forward as there were, in my opinion, multiple ways Dr. Strange could have defeated Thanos.

• He could have teleported Starlord away, as he did to Loki in Thor: Ragnarok, thus preventing him from punching Thanos at the critical moment that the gauntlet was almost removed.

• He could have used the same trick Wong did to the minion in creating a portal and cutting off Thanos's hand.

• He could have, as you said, used the time stone to either age Thanos to death or make him a baby.

As in all movies, the script is only as good as its writers.

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    Bullet 1 does not apply: Doctor Strange did not anticipate Starlord's actions before formulating his plan. Bullet 2 does not apply: This is the subject of a different question here. Bullet 3 is my question: Answer it. – J. D May 11 at 23:46
  • Athanatos, See edits. – J. D May 11 at 23:59
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    He saw over 14 million possible futures, of course he viewed Starlord's actions and could have taken appropriate action, therefore ending things before implementing a convoluted plan. – Athanatos May 13 at 21:14
  • I love it when an answer comes together! – J. D May 15 at 19:53
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tl;dr:

  1. Because a Time Stone spell is able to be broken out of.
  2. Because Thanos has the Space, Reality and Power Stones, allowing him complete manipulation over the powers of the Mystic Arts.

So, why doesn't Doctor Strange use the Time Stone to age and un-age Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War?

Because Dr. Strange and the Time Stone simply isn't powerful enough!

There are two major events in MCU that evidence this claim, the first being from Doctor Strange and the second from Avengers: Infinity War.


1. Strange and Kaecilius

Towards the end of Doctor Strange when Kaecilius opens the Dark Dimension to Hong Kong, Strange uses the Time Stone to reverse the events that had recently occurred. When doing so, he also [successfully] targets Kaecilius and company, as we see them running backwards in space/time along with everything else. However, even just a few seconds later, Kaecilius breaks free from the spell and continues fighting Strange.

That being said, it is completely and entirely possible to break free from a Time Stone spell.

(Right now you might be saying, "yeah, but Thanos isn't a Master of the Mystic Arts". Well, that leads us to the second event.)


2. Thanos and the Mirror Dimension

When Thanos and Dr. Strange fight head-to-head on Titan in Avengers: Infinity War, Strange attempts to put Thanos in the Mirror Dimension but Thanos literally shatters the Mirror Dimension wall using the Power Stone and then re-purposes the shards into an attack using the Space Stone.

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Given that space and time are intimately related, and that the Reality Stone is able to control the real world in any way the user sees fit, with a combination of the Space, Reality and Power Stones, Thanos could easily counter the effects of the Time Stone. I mean, if Kaecilius was able to do it without any of the infinity stones, Thanos would undoubtedly have no problem.

Lastly, Thanos is not an apple and the two shouldn't be compared.

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    Thanos is not an apple -[citation needed] – AAlig May 13 at 12:16
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But who said Doctor Strange didn't use Time Stone against Thanos. He clearly used it to see many future possibilities, 14,000,605 to be exact.

And only one where they succeed.

So why mess up more when he already know what to be done.

And if you are talking about time-loop, then it's already covered:

Why does Doctor Strange not bind Thanos in a time loop?

  • I believe you are misunderstanding me. I'm not talking about a time loop. I'm not talking about the future possibilities (I've seen an answer here that said it's not that there was only 1 possibility for victory: It's that Doctor Strange went through 14,000,604 possibilities before finding 1 for victory. I am talking about aging or un-aging Thanos like Doctor Strange did with an apple. – J. D May 10 at 3:32
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    @J.D first it's based on the assumption that he got mastery of ageing /de-ageing and second it will work on Thanos too and third it might be part of 14,000,604 – Ankit Sharma May 10 at 9:16
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    @J.D he's found a way to win, and it doesn't involve using the time stone. Therefore if he wants to win that way he needs to not use the time stone. – OrangeDog May 10 at 13:28
  • @AnkitSharma So, challenge the assumptions in your answer. Don't tell me the assumptions (they certainly exist). Show me they are not true in your answer. – J. D May 11 at 23:45
  • @AnkitSharma See edits. – J. D May 11 at 23:59
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It's not the answer you want. But it's an answer that (to me, at least) makes sense given what we had seen of Strange and the Time Stone by Infinity War...

Strange just had no way to put such a plan in motion.

Consider the only known uses of the Time Stone by Doctor Strange so far:

  • aging and de-aging an apple (scene). Seemed to take a good bunch of concentration, but you could argue that Strange was still fairly new to magic, and it was indeed his first use of the Eye...
  • stopping Kaecilius and rewinding time in the final fight (scene). That also seemed to require tremendous focus, and that was against an enemy who, while powerful, had a skillset comparable to Strange's.
  • Dormammu. Time loop, so not re-used each time.
  • seeing all 14 million futures (scene). That needed to be done in a meditation-like posture, suggesting it was also not "easy use".

Where I'm getting is that the Time Stone seems hard to use, whereas his other regular powers (which I'll call "sparky magic" for lack of a better word) appear to be cast faster and have more adaptative functions (lasso, shield, blasts...) - basically sparky magic deals higher Damage Per Second.

During the fight on Titan, the priority is to prevent Thanos from snapping his fingers and immobilize him. The Guardians and Avengers do try, but Thanos punches them away, and almost never has to fight all of them at once - so Doctor Strange cannot take the time to slow down and use the Eye of Agamotto/Time Stone. This is noted by Thanos as well:

You're full of tricks, wizard, but you never once used your greatest weapon.

Why do you think he didn't? It's not to hide it from Thanos - Thanos is very well aware Strange has the Stone, that's why he's here after all. The Time Stone takes too long to load, and Strange can't risk getting hurt/having the Stone stolen when casting. Hence, no unaging/deaging.

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    I was halfway through typing up an answer, but basically, this. Probably worth emphasizing as well that the aging/de-aging process would not have been instant, and Thanos could easily have interrupted it before it was finished. Basically, to use OP's analogy, Strange never pressed his "I win" button because Thanos never let him. – F1Krazy May 12 at 21:42
  • I'd add that the risk to loose the stone when it's out in the open, visible for Thanos was something that was also factored in. Using the stone would have required to reveal its "hiding place". – Frank Hopkins May 13 at 9:32
  • @FrankHopkins given how Thanos goes for the Eye and snatches it from Strange, I think he very well knew – Jenayah May 13 at 9:37
  • @Jenayah are we talking about the same scene? Where he finds out the eye is fake and later strange takes the time stone from the stars? To me that indicates Thanos has an idea that the stone isn't actually there (cause you know, Strange doesn't use it which also seems to make Thanos suspicious), but no clue as to where it actually is. – Frank Hopkins May 13 at 9:40
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    @FrankHopkins ah, forgot that. I feel a bit stupid now :p good point then, will edit later – Jenayah May 13 at 9:42

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