- Arms exhibition: The Karna-Arjuna rivalry starts when the princes are asked to display their skills at the arms exhibition. After equaling Arjuna's feats with utmost ease, Karna challenges him for a duel. The timely intervention of Kripa not only resulted in Karna being barred from the combat, but also questioned his societal status. Interestingly, that was the only time when Karna somewhat matched (or even proved superior to) Arjuna.
- Draupadi Swayamvara: After Arjuna wins Draupadi's hands, the kings who took part and failed, collectively attack Drupada and the Pandavas, who were under the disguise of brahmanas. An intense battle takes place between Karna and Arjuna. When the latter summons to divine weapons, the former withdraws from the duel as he feels the brahmana is invincible.
- Gosha Yatra: When the Gandharvas defeat and imprison the Kauravas in the Dwaitavana, Karna abandons Duryodhana and his brothers and flees the spot. It was Arjuna (aided by Bhima and the twins), who fought with the Gandharvas and used his influence to free the captivated Duryodhana.
- Battle of Matsya: During the cattle raid in the kingdom of Virata, Arjuna defeats the entire Kaurava army that had the likes of Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Shakuni, Duryodhana, Dushasana, Karna and Ashwatthamma, single-handed (literally). The only warrior from the Kaurava army who somewhat matched Arjuna was Bhishma. Arjuna comfortably defeats the rest in a one-to-one encounter. Finally, when all the maharathas organise a combined attack on him, he launches a divine weapon called Sammohanastra, which renders all of them unconscious. Bhishma is an exception though; he acts as if fainted in order to put an end to the battle (and save Duryodhana).
- Kurukshetra war:
- When the Kauravas formulate a plan to capture Yudhishthira alive, Drona admits his inability to do that in Arjuna's presence. Later, when Duryodhana blames Drona for not accomplishing this task, Drona says Arjuna's shooting speed, range and accuracy are comparatively much better than his.
- On the 14th day when Arjuna was on the look out to kill Jayadratha, he penetrates into the Kaurava army after facing the likes of Drona, Kripa, Shakuni, Karna and Ashwatthamma to avenge Abhimanyu's death. Nobody was able to stop him or protect Jayadratha from his wrath.
Almost all versions, abridged and unabridged, unanimously favour Arjuna.