Round one: Weapon
Unfortunately for Gandalf fans, the grey one comes off rather badly by these criteria, barely managing to scrape Level Five magic user with his pitiful deployment of flare spells and the minor illusion. By contrast, Dumbledore fields an array of impressive spell-craft that sees his AD&D level reach the high double figures. Well done, old chap!
Round 2: Screen Persona
Of course, the true test of any great wizard is the stature of the actor employed to depict them on the big screen. Anything less than a grandee of the British theatre and you're not even in the running. Had the late Sir Richard Harris lived to act another day in the Potter movies, Dumbledore might have made it a close fight, but unfortunately, for all his strengths, Sir Michael Gabon is still one or two rings below the highest echelons of acting pedigree. No, when Hollywood needs a touch of genuine class for a fantasy action flick, no one is better suited to the task than the mighty Sir Ian McKellen. There isn't another actor, living or dead, who could fill Gandalf's pointy hat with the conviction McKellen brings to the role.
Round 3: Experience and Bravery
While we have established that Dumbledore is pure magic and channels it through his wand, there is a lot more to Gandalf than just magic. He has spent his life on the road, protecting all of Middle-Earth, fighting countless evil in the process, he's unique for wielding a sword AND staff in combat, this makes him certifiably bad-ass, even to go as far as taking down a first age demon, know as the balrog of morgoth, where he made the famous quote 'You shall not Pass!' Unfortunately for Dumbledore, he has spent too much time at the cosy, tendered position, of a high school headmaster, rather than help Harry on his quest, he is content for letting young children stopping evil destroy the world.
Round 4: Helping the hero
While Gandalf and Dumbledore are the Masterminds of their respective fields, both use plans to help young ones prevent evil, Gandalf trusts the one ring to Frodo, who must journey on foot to destroy it in the evils back garden, Dumbledore's pupil Harry, is destined to save the world, while we admire Dumbledore for settling political disputes and keeping evil parties off his scent (for a while anyway) Gandalf pretty much sacrificed himself led into an unwinnable battle in order to help Frodo destory the one ring!
Gandalf 3 - Dumbledore 1
So, hats off to the grey rider – a convincing victory about which there can be no further argument. Or can there? Cast your votes below for Gandalf or for Dumbledore and let me know your arguments either way.