Created By: AnOtherT on October 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 16, 2014

Late Villain Nerf

His insurmountable ability\'s gone, now we can get him.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Someone (not necessarily a Villain) has an ability, a Game Breaker or something verging on that. The central reason he can't be defeated, hurt or even approached. Then, late in the story, someone applies some Phlebotinum that strips them of this ability.

Something of the Inverse of Eleventh Hour Superpower; in that this usually is applied to Villains, is the removal of a powerful ability but still happens late into a story.

Given that this happens late into a story, it's a spoiler trope.

Alternate Title Suggestion: Blinding The Basilisk.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • A few examples happen in Fullmetal Alchemist's manga and second series:
    • Father, soon after using millions of souls to trap 'God' within himself, has those souls extracted from him. This forces him to use the remaining hundred thousand souls to keep 'God' within him. He fails, spectacularly.
    • Greed's Instant Armour is revealed to be made of carbon steel, so Edward is able to transmute it into graphite (a weaker carbon compound).
    • Wrath's Ultimate Eye allows him to predict his enemy's moves, however if something blocks his vision he can't use his ability to counter it, because of this he sustains his first injury late into both the Manga and the second Anime.
    • Pride suffers this twofold, his shadows can't manifest in complete darkness or intense light and after forcing Mustang to perform human transmutation, his container starts weakening.
    • Mustang himself experiences a subversion of this. Being forced to perform Human Transmutation costs him his vision, and because his ability is to shoot flame he's practically left useless during the climax of the Final Battle, despite this process granting him the ability to use Alchemy without an array circle. It's a subversion because not only does his right hand woman help him to aim his attacks but also because his vision is restored after The Climax, Inverting this into an Eleventh Hour Superpower.

Comic Books
  • Watchmen's Dr Manhattan has his ability to see the future jammed by tachyons allowing Ozymandias to kill much of New York; and in the movie, to destroy several capital cities and frame Dr Manhattan.

Literature

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • October 18, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In the film adaptation of Ghost Rider the Big Bad is defeated when he absorbs millions of souls, making him vunerable to Ghost Rider's penance stare (which he was immune to because of his lack of a soul).
    • In Legend Of Dragoon the boss fight against The Divine Dragon is made significantly easier by using an artifact designed to weaken dragons (although this also weakens Dragoon attacks).
  • October 18, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    quick version in The Mummy: after using the book of the living on Ihmotep it appears to have failed. ("I thought you said it was going to kill him!") Ihmotep goes to attack Rick, walking right into his sword - only to discover his immortality is gone and thus he has been fatally wounded.
  • October 20, 2011
    AnOtherT
    • bump*
  • October 20, 2011
    HamburgerTime
    Possible Bleach example? Big Bad Sosuke Aizen has merged himself with the local Artifact Of Doom and made mincemeat of the entire cast, subsequently going to the human world to harvest the 100,000 souls he'll need to kill the Spirit King. Everything seems hopeless... until Ichigo shows up with his latest Shonen Upgrade and starts making mincemeat out of him, ending in the Artifact Of Doom deciding that Aizen is not a worthy master after all and taking back all the power it gave him, which gives Urahara time to stuff him in a can.
  • October 20, 2011
    KingZeal
    • In Infinite Crisis, the impossibly-strong Superboy-Prime is defeated by exploiting one of Superman's long-standing weaknesses: red sunlight. Superman and his alternate universe counterpart both grab Prime and drag him through Krypton's original red sun, making all three men Brought Down To Normal. The battle then comes down to a two-on-one fight with Good Old Fisticuffs.
    • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, the "President Thor" storyline is an Alternate Timeline where Everyone Is A Super, except Ben Grimm, who never got his powers. Later, Earth is invaded by the Skrulls, who were the ones that caused the Mass Empowering Event, secretly knowing that it would eventually kill everyone who was superpowered. At the end, Ben is left alone to fight the Super Skrull' whose superpower is the ability to copy the powers of any other superhuman he's near. When the Super Skrull mocks Ben by stating that he is now the last man on Earth, Ben casually takes off his jacket and cracks his knuckles. Then the Super Skrull realizes his mistake.
  • October 20, 2011
    nman
    • In The Druid Of Shannara, the adventurers are able to defeat Uhl Belk by making him drop the Black Elfstone.
  • October 20, 2011
    Damr1990
  • October 23, 2011
    AnOtherT
    • bump+, again
  • October 23, 2011
    X2X
  • October 23, 2011
    Ninjat126
    Don't we have this already? Possibly related to Brought Down To Normal?

    • An inversion in Prototype: your character is the Villain Protagonist on the receiving end of the nerf.
    • Any villain with Plot Armour will lose it just in time for them to die. (Is this too obvious/meta?)
    • In the Flash RPG Sonny, the final boss takes a huge damage nerf during your fight with him. When you watched him fight, he was doing enough damage to kill you in one or two hits. When you fight him, he's just another tough-to-kill boss.
  • October 23, 2011
    Trotzky
    Harry Potter book 7 Voldemort is given the Idiot Ball, because Harry must win.
  • October 23, 2011
    Bisected8
    Not really, given all his actions are based on the assumption that no one knows about his Horcruxes, let alone has already destroyed them so as far as he knows, as long as he enters combat with Harry, he's unstoppable ( since as far as he knows he can't die).
  • October 23, 2011
    AnOtherT
    • Alex Mercer isn't really an example, there's not one central ability that his enemies have to overcome to beat him (in fact, his strength is his adaptability).
    • Voldermort 'is' an example, however: the seventh book is all about destroying parts of his soul so, when they succeed, Voldemort becomes mortal, and therefore, defeatable.
    • A hypothetical and textbook example would be DC Comics's Darkseid, if his 'Omega Effect' was ever taken away.
  • October 28, 2011
    AnOtherT
    bump
  • October 28, 2011
    Bisected8
    You can bump by editing and saving the OP without making any changes.
  • October 28, 2011
    cityofmist
    Not a power per se, but in Corpse Bride the dead can't harm Lord Barkis because he's alive. When he dies at the end of the film, they come after him.
  • October 28, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    This sounds like a justified version of Lowered Monster Difficulty, to be honest.
  • November 6, 2011
    THEKINGOFSOMEWHERE
    In Mortal Kombat Deception, you break the pieces of the Kamidogu that surround Big Bad Onaga in order to weaken him.
  • November 6, 2011
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    this kind of sounds like Puzzle Boss, is it?

  • November 8, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Why is 'late in the story' a requirement? And if it's not villain only, why is villain in the name? Needs A Better Title. Power Stripped Enemy?
  • November 8, 2011
    Omeganian
    The fifth book of Tales Of The Magic Land features a double case. At the beginning of the book, the evil witch Arachna is put to sleep for 5 000 years. This proves rather difficult, since she has shapeshifting powers. When she awakens, thecwizard who defeated her is long gone - but she has forgotten the shapeshifting spell. Later, the heroes are marching out to confront her. The problem is, the giant mecha they built for the purpose is not very fast, and the witch has a flying carpet. So, an army of mice marches out to eat it.
  • June 12, 2014
    Westrim
    bump
  • June 12, 2014
    KingZeal
    Related to Antagonist Abilities, where any one of the powers on that list could be the one that gets nerfed to let the heroes win.

    Frequently used in Anime and Manga due to Japanese villains often being a metaphor for "reality" or the harshness of a cold, logical universe. The Japanese Spirit trope is used to justify this trope, as the hero's hidden abilities, righteous resolve, and unyielding bravery allows him or her to outlast the villain's broken ability.
  • June 12, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 12, 2014
    bitemytail
    Can also be a form of Villain Forgot To Level Grind, if the villain didn't so much lose power as fail to keep his original lead.
  • June 12, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: In the 3rd season finale The Mayor, who as part of his preparation for ascension became 100% invulnerable, ascends to full demonhood. But now that he has ascended, he's no longer 100% invulnerable. Buffy and her army of high school seniors take him down.
  • June 12, 2014
    Mr.Movie
    Can we just put in a disclaimer that there will be spoilers, so that most of the examples aren't covered up?
  • June 12, 2014
    bitemytail
    ^ This seems like a good idea.
  • June 12, 2014
    Generality
    Related to You Cant Thwart Stage One: the heroes can't prevent the villain's transformation into a One Winged Angel, but they can often undo whatever allowed the transformation, usually turning him into a Clipped Wing Angel.

    For a title... Eleventh Hour Villain Depower? I like that 'cause it rhymes.
  • June 12, 2014
    Quatic
    Pirates Of The Caribbean — the title pirates are able to plunder at will because they are essentially undead, and so cannot die — until the end, when the return of the last stolen coin makes them all mortal again. Right in the middle of a fight where they're winning by advantage of that status. The irony is that they'd been working the whole time to regain their mortality. They just got it back at a really bad time for them.
  • June 12, 2014
    DAN004
    Honestly, don't we already have this?
  • June 13, 2014
    Arivne
    Film
    • Big Trouble In Little China. The Big Bad David Lo Pan has spent the entire movie as an immortal and unkillable spirit who's trying to become solid (and mortal) again. When he succeeds, the Hero Jack Burton throws a knife into his head and kills him.
  • June 13, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added the word "Examples".
      • Sorted examples by media and added media section title(s).
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
    • Corrected spelling (tacyons, abiliy, darness).
    • De-capitalized Significant Capital(s): (Carbon Steel, Graphite).
  • June 13, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Changed "in the second Harry Potter" (what does that even mean?) to "in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets".
  • June 14, 2014
    azul120
    The Bleach example happened because of a Kido Urahara shot into Aizen that sealed the power he acquired from Hougykou.
  • June 16, 2014
    NESBoy
    In the Tubba Blubba story arc in Paper Mario, Tubba Blubba himself has 10 HP, but cannot be harmed at all. Mario eventually finds Tubba Blubba's heart locked away in a windmill and does battle with it. The heart escapes and goes back into Tubba Blubba's body, leaving him vulnerable enough for Mario to defeat him.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=23fhi9sq2egwjyn1vr7un3kq