Created By: WaxingName on September 21, 2012 Last Edited By: WaxingName on October 13, 2012
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Villain-Beating Artifact

Only with this can you take down the Big Bad.

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Whoa, not so fast there, sport! You can't go rushing out on your way to punch out Cthulhu. You see, the Big Bad is way too powerful for you to handle at your base power. You would be dealt a Curb-Stomp Battle in probably less than a second.

However, there is a way to defeat him. It doesn't just make the Big Bad easier to deal with, it's the only way to take him down. There is an artifact that has the ability to take him down, but it's able to be handled by anyone. It may be because the villain is an embodiment of evil and said artifact is made of enough goodness that it smites his evilness. It may be because the object is an Amplifier Artifact that boosts the hero's power to match the villain's. In that case, it's best to be careful with it so that it does not fall into the villain's hands.

Subtrope of Plot Coupon That Does Something. Sister Trope to Sword of Plot Advancement.

Examples

Literature
  • His Dark Materials has what is a subversion of this. The subtle knife is claimed more than once to be the only weapon capable of killing God (the supposed Big Bad of the series), and its owner is urged to take it to the guy opposing God so he can win the war. Then God turns out to be too old and senile to be the Big Bad, and simply dies of old age.
  • Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short story "Out of the Eons". Ages ago Adonair, an evil deity from another universe, tried to conquer the world and enslave humanity. The native gods could not destroy him but managed to trap him. At the beginning of the story Niall accidentally frees him. The only way to destroy Adonair is for Niall to drink a special white liquid (that was created by the gods at the same time as they originally trapped Adonair) and trick Adonair into possessing his body.

Live-Action TV
  • Supernatural
    • A special Colt gun and bullets, made by Samuel Colt himself, can be used to kill practically anything - but not Lucifer.
    • There's a special dagger which is used to kill demons (and the human they possess at the time). Regular daggers don't kill demons, just the host body. Its backstory has yet to appear.
    • In one episode the Monster of the Week is a dragon. As Sam & Dean learn, the only way to kill a dragon is with a sword forged with the blood of a dragon. Dean points out the anomoly: "So you need one [sword] to kill one [dragon], but you got to kill one [dragon] to make one [sword]. How does that work out?"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had some of these-such as Thor's Hammer, used to whomp Glory down to size.
  • Subverted in the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords." The episode features Martha Jones spending a year trying to locate a weapon divided into four parts that can defeat the Master, only to reveal at the very end that the Villain-Beating Artifact was a ruse to distract from Martha's real goal.
  • Once Upon a Time has a twist on this trope. The only way to bring down the Big Bad is to steal his dagger, but then you become the villain yourself.

Video Games
  • In most games in the Zelda series Link needs the Master Sword to defeat Ganon. Likewise, the Phantom Sword in Phantom Hourglass is needed to defeat Bellum.
  • The Three Sacred Treasures in Kid Icarus and Kid Icarus: Uprising are needed to defeat Medusa. Pit later tries to use them to kill Hades in Uprising, but Hades blasts them into nothingness. Pit then went to Dyntos to receive the Great Sacred Treasure, which fared much better, but it also got destroyed, but Pit and Palutena manage to kill Hades by using the Great Sacred Treasure's Wave Motion Gun on him, powered with Palutena's power.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog games have traditionally ended with Sonic (and sometimes whatever ally he has at the time) using the Chaos Emeralds to go super, since the Final Boss would be too powerful otherwise, and much of the time, they're out in space or otherwise flying, which Sonic can't do on his own. Though, he does later prove he can take down Chaos, the former Final Boss of Sonic Adventure, in Sonic Generations without the Chaos Emeralds, or at least he has grown much in strength since then.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, The Silver Sword of Gith is the only weapon capable of harming the King of Shadows. Unfortunately, it was broken into several shards the last time it was used, and your character isn't the only person interested in collecting them.
  • One quest in Arcanum requires you to find a specific dagger so that you can kill a wizard whose soul is bound to a demon. Killing the wizard with any other weapon will release the demon into the world. Also, the final boss can only be killed with one of two items, the Vendigroth Device or Kryggird's Falchion.
  • In the God of War series, the power contained within Pandora's Box is the only thing capable of killing a god. Kratos spends the first game trying to find and open the box so that he can defeat Ares. In God of War III he needs to open it again in order to defeat Zeus...or so he's led to believe, as the box is, in fact, still empty since the last time he opened it.
  • The original version of Doom 3 requires that the player use the Soul Cube (which they get early on) to take care of the final boss Cyberdemon. The other, smaller demons, however, weren't limited to such a weakness, not to mention the fact that the Soul Cube uses the souls of fallen enemies to power it up enough to take on the Cyberdemon. This is subverted both in later patches of single-player mode and in co-op mode.
  • Warcraft 3: not a specific weapon, but a damage type. Divine armor is only affected by Chaos damage, which is mostly reserved for the Legions of Hell or extremely strong monsters. In order to defeat the otherwise invulnerable demigod Cenarius, Grom Hellscream's orcs reactivate a demonic pact, allowing them to defeat him(by giving them Chaos damage).
    • Also, Illidan devours the Skull of Guldan which the Legion was using to spread corruption throughout the Night Elves' forests. This transforms him into a half-demon, and gives him the ability to defeat the demon Tichondrius.
  • In Chrono Cross, you can kill the Time Devourer just using force, but using that method, it's able to come back. The only way to kill it permanently is using the Chrono Cross.
  • Distilled down to its essence in Grow RPG: in addition to the best sword and armor, you've got to have the special blue orb that knocks the Big Bad's health meter down to where you can actually trade hits with it. (It may not be possible to reach the Big Bad without it, though.)

Western Animation
  • In Samurai Jack, the title character's sword is the only weapon capable of taking out Aku, since the sword was forged out of goodness.
  • The Elements of Harmony in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, wielded by the "mane six", were needed to take down two villains: Nightmare Moon and Discord. Celestia suggested that they use it on the Changeling Queen, but they never get the chance to use it due to being captured before that can happen.
  • The Dreamstone is depicted this way, being the key to giving the heroes good dreams and protecting them from Zordrak's Argorribles giving them nightmares. Oddly however in a couple of instances the Dreamstone was stolen, the argorribles could be neutralized and scared away rather handily by alternate magic, leaving wonder as to why the heroes and villains see it as so pivotal in the first place.
  • In Adventure Time, Billy's gauntlet has the power to seal the Lich. The Lich destroys it before Finn can use it against him, and Finn ends up using the Power Of Liking Someone A Lot to destroy his physical form.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • September 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Supernatural
      • A special Colt gun and bullets, made by Samuel Colt himself, can be used to kill practically anything - but not Lucifer.
      • There's a special dagger which is used to kill demons (and the human they possess at the time). Regular daggers don't kill demons, just the host body. Its backstory has yet to appear.
      • In one episode the Monster Of The Week is a dragon. As Sam & Dean learn, the only way to kill a dragon is with a sword forged with the blood of a dragon. Dean points out the anomoly: "So you need one [sword] to kill one [dragon], but you got to kill one [dragon] to make one [sword]. How does that work out?"
  • September 21, 2012
    Ryusui
    • In Adventure Time, Billy's gauntlet has the power to seal the Lich. The Lich destroys it before Finn can use it against him, and Finn ends up using the Power Of Liking Someone A Lot to destroy his physical form.
  • September 22, 2012
    Astaroth
    How does this relate to Sword Of Plot Advancement?

    • In Neverwinter Nights 2, The Silver Sword of Gith is the only weapon capable of harming the King of Shadows. Unfortunately, it was broken into several shards the last time it was used, and your character isn't the only person interested in collecting them.

    • One quest in Arcanum requires you to find a specific dagger so that you can kill a wizard whose soul is bound to a demon. Killing the wizard with any other weapon will release the demon into the world. Also, the final boss can only be killed with one of two items, the Vendigroth Device or Kryggird's Falchion.
  • September 22, 2012
    Chabal2
    Also from Zelda, the Silver Arrows (at least in A Link To The Past).
  • September 22, 2012
    Astaroth
    In the God Of War series, the power contained within Pandora's Box is the only thing capable of killing a god. Kratos spends the first game trying to find and open the box so that he can defeat Ares. In God of War III he needs to open it again in order to defeat Zeus...or so he's led to believe, as the box is, in fact, still empty since the last time he opened it.
  • September 22, 2012
    MrRuano
    • The original version of Doom 3 requires that the player use the Soul Cube (which they get early on) to take care of the final boss Cyberdemon. The other, smaller demons, however, weren't limited to such a weakness, not to mention the fact that the Soul Cube uses the souls of fallen enemies to power it up enough to take on the Cyberdemon. This is subverted both in later patches of single-player mode and in co-op mode.
  • September 23, 2012
    Generality
    ^^^ Link receives Light arrows in most of the games, as an Eleventh Hour Superpower. Usually he needs both to defeat Ganon.
  • September 23, 2012
    Psi001
  • September 24, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    I believe the bosses from Gauntlet: Dark Legacy have items like this that make them easier to beat (although it is possible to do so without them...not sure if it counts).
  • September 24, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^If it's not necessary as dictated by the plot, then it's not an example.
  • September 24, 2012
    JohnDiFool
    I want to say that Buffy had some of these-such as Thor's Hammer, used to whomp Glory down to size.
  • September 26, 2012
    Chabal2
    Warcraft 3: not a specific weapon, but a damage type. Divine armor is only affected by Chaos damage, which is mostly reserved for the Legions Of Hell or extremely strong monsters. In order to defeat the otherwise invulnerable demigod Cenarius, Grom Hellscream's orcs reactivate a demonic pact, allowing them to defeat him(by giving them Chaos damage).
  • September 26, 2012
    Astaroth
    ^ Also, Illidan devours the Skull of Guldan which the Legion was using to spread corruption throughout the Night Elves' forests. This transforms him into a half-demon, and gives him the ability to defeat the demon Tichondrius.
  • September 28, 2012
    morenohijazo
    In Chrono Cross, you can kill the Time Devourer just using force, but using that method, it's able to come back. The only way to kill it permanently is using the Chrono Cross.
  • September 28, 2012
    Mitholas
    I would like to contest the Buffy example. The troll hammer (not Thor, troll) is more a convenient tool than a villain-beating artefact. It was laying around The Magic Box, was extremely heavy and therefore packed a huge punch, but that doesn't mean it's the one thing they could beat Glory with. At the worst it hurts her and weakens her, but I doubt it could ever really kill her. If the hammer is considered a VBA, then I would argue that the wrecking ball should be too.

    The closest thing related to Glory I can think of is the Dagon Sphere, but that really has more of a Kryptonite Factor.
  • September 28, 2012
    isk2837
    His Dark Materials has what is, IIRC, a subversion of this. The subtle knife is claimed more than once to be the only weapon capable of killing God (the supposed Big Bad of the series), and its owner is urged to take it to the guy opposing God so he can win the war. Then God turns out to be too old and senile to be the Big Bad, and simply dies of old age.
  • September 28, 2012
    chicagomel
    Can this start out as It May Help You On Your Quest?
  • September 28, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Yes
  • September 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short story "Out of the Eons". Ages ago Adonair, an evil deity from another universe, tried to conquer the world and enslave humanity. The native gods could not destroy him but managed to trap him. At the beginning of the story Niall accidentally frees him. The only way to destroy Adonair is for Niall to drink a special white liquid (that was created by the gods at the same time as they originally trapped Adonair) and trick Adonair into possessing his body.
  • September 30, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Would silver bullet vs. werewolves, stakes vs. vampires, etc., count as this?
  • September 30, 2012
    Dhalilhia
    In Devil Survivor, there's a boss called Beldr what can be beaten only if the main character has acquired...a phone strap. It's made from mistletoe (Devil's Fugue, as it's called in the game), and Beldr is really vulnerable to that plant. This is a reference to a Norse mith starring a god called Baldr, killed by a mistletoe spear.
  • September 30, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^^That's more of a Kryptonite Factor.
  • October 2, 2012
    idealrain
    The naming example could be the Deadly Hallows. This was the whole point of the last Harry Potter book, where the trio was hunting Horcruxes!
  • October 5, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Might confuse with what the Deathly Hallows actually were.
  • October 11, 2012
    mew4ever23
    We might have this one - Mac Guffin. Needs help to differentiate, I think.
  • October 11, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^No, this trope is more specific. It's much more important than driving the plot.
  • October 11, 2012
    sgamer82
    • Subverted in the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords." The episode features Martha Jones spending a year trying to locate a weapon divided into four parts that can defeat the Master, only to reveal at the very end that the Villain-Beating Artifact was a ruse to distract from Martha's real goal.
  • October 12, 2012
    mew4ever23
    ^^And there it is, it's The Same But More Specific. It's a Mac Guffin specifically for defeating the Big Bad.
  • October 12, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^We already have tons of The Same But More Specific versions of Mac Guffin. This one is also quite common, so I think it's tropeworthy.
  • October 13, 2012
    Arcaneace
    Also a mac guffin usually drives the plot but this doesn't necessarily have to so yeah it qualified
  • October 13, 2012
    Lorialet
    Once Upon A Time has a twist on this trope. The only way to bring down the Big Bad is to steal his dagger, but then you become the villain yourself.
  • October 13, 2012
    Lorialet
    By Once Upon A Time, I mean the series.
  • October 13, 2012
    elwoz
    Distilled down to its essence in Grow RPG: in addition to the best sword and armor, you've got to have the special blue orb that knocks the Big Bad's health meter down to where you can actually trade hits with it. (It may not be possible to reach the Big Bad without it, though.)
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