Created By: FOFD on July 24, 2013 Last Edited By: KingZeal on March 29, 2014
Troped

Powers Do The Fighting

Character doesn't need to go to much physical effort during combat.

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Trope
When your Asskicking Pose is an armfold, you know you're a Badass.


The inverse of Fights Like a Normal, this is when a character goes to almost no physical effort during combat, instead letting his magic or powers fight for him, usually resulting in several low-grade henchmen exploding, melting, disintegrating, being erased from existence, or any of the above.

Often, this is used to show how powerful the character is via The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort. Your bullets stop cold and drop to the floor while he engages in Casual Danger Dialogue. Your Kamehame Hadoken bounces off his Beehive Barrier, which then turns into a swarm of actual bees. Followed by him putting you into a Psychic Strangle. Getting this character to dodge or otherwise physically defend himself generally triggers either Villain Respect for his Worthy Opponent, or "I'll Kill You!!" and an Unstoppable Rage. (Although this is usually the point where the character turns out to be more stoppable than previously indicated.)

However, it can also be a case of Squishy Wizard or Disability Superpower, where the character is simply incapable of physically fighting, and Psychic Powers are all he's got. A subversion is to have the character use Super Speed to physically run up and punch you or pluck thrown items out of the air in the blink of an eye, or a Time Master who keeps pausing the action.

Compare Long-Range Fighter who may or may not still have to move a lot and focus on the target, and Instant Death Radius when this is taken to the extreme. Sometimes overlaps with Thought-Controlled Power, but not all examples here are thought-controlled.

Contrast Full-Contact Magic where gestures are more than needed.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Bleach, Byakuya does this throughout the Soul Society arc, since his main power is to break his sword into a cloud of tiny fragments that he can control remotely and he's good enough at Flash Step that he can teleport while appearing to stand still. In his fight with Ichigo he's pushed hard enough that he has to start using gestures to direct them faster, and generally has a Not So Stoic moment.
  • Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist gets thrown around like a ragdoll during certain battles, but he attacks by launching shadowy tendrils from just about anywhere on his body or in his vicinity.
  • Naruto
    • Gaara is protected by his sand, so for most of his fights early on in the series, he stands by while the sand deflects projectiles and destroys his enemies for him.
    • Naruto's chakra shroud has a mind of its own, and can launch its own attacks separate from his own.
  • Nico Robin from One Piece specializes in this, though (mostly since Time Skip) she has no problem to go up close and personal when needed. Her powers, from the Hana-Hana no Mi, lets her sprout copies of any of her body parts anywhere, from herself, the ground, walls of building, to people's bodies. She uses them mainly to strangle people from afar.
    • Trafalgar Law, with his Op-Op Fruit, can manipulate position of things within a radius, or "room", as if everyone around him are patients Strapped to an Operating Table. He rarely moves much from his position (aside from using hand gestures) while doing so. Downplayed, though, in that he's also a competent close-range fighter when the situation calls for it.
    • Discussed once - it's mentioned by Pekoms of Big Mom Pirates that Logia Fruit powers who practice this trope fully have short lifespans in the New World, because many fighters there employs Haki which, among other things, can bypass Logia's immunity to direct attacks.
  • Ryuuho from s-CRY-ed hangs back and allows his Altar, Zetsuei, to do most of the fighting for him. Ryuuho is one of the most powerful Altars in HOLY, and Zetsuei is more than capable of defending Ryuuho from attack while dominating other Altars simultaneously.
  • In Tiger & Bunny the villain Jake Martinez has an extremely versatile power of creating barriers, which allows him to be unfazed by even the most powerful attacks, and can be used just as powerfully offensively. Because of these abilities, he never has to put any effort into fighting, which means that he can't handle it when he receives even the slightest injury.
  • Toaru Majutsu No Index: Accelerator's power is passively on reflect, causing enemies to defeat themselves even when Accelerator is wholly unaware of the attack.
    • The villain Jake Martinez has an extremely versatile power of creating barriers, which allows him to be unfazed by even the most powerful attacks, and can be used just as powerfully offensively. Because of these abilities, he never has to put any effort into fighting, which means that he can't handle it when he receives even the slightest injury.

Comic Books
  • Superman can often leave ordinary mooks in the hospital by doing absolutely nothing when they try to sock him in the jaw.
  • X-Men:
    • Magneto almost never does anything physical, preferring to just stand or hover in place with an amused expression while destroying those around him with random bits of metal.
  • Characters like Spawn and The Darkness can frequently use their powers to produce shadowy masses of tentacles, in order to drag, mutilate, or capture their foes.

Film
  • X-Men: The Last Stand has a scene where Jean Grey/The Phoenix strolls across the battlefield, and anyone that gets near her is instantly obliterated.

Video Games
  • The final boss of Knights of the Old Republic II doesn't fight you directly at first—because she Force-levitates three lightsabers to attack you simultaneously from all sides. It's only after you destroy them that she goes after your personally.
  • The Leaf Shield power-up from Mega Man 2. The downside is, if you move, the shield goes away.
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
    • Having the Fire Shield allows Sonic to enter his "waiting" animation, while also withstanding any form of lava or fire, contact which would normally result in instant death. You can even, hilariously, stand on lava.
    • As Super Sonic, Badniks automatically pop when they make contact.
  • The Star Cloak in Terraria causes stars to fall out of the sky and injure anything that harms you. If used against weak enough enemies, the Cloak can easily take them out with no involvement from the player.

Webcomics
  • Lampshaded by Elliot in El Goonish Shive during the fight between Grace and Damien. He realizes that because the latter has nearly godlike powers (which would end the fight immediately in any other instance), he never actually needed to learn how to fight properly.
Community Feedback Replies: 71
  • July 24, 2013
    DracMonster
    Lets His Powers Do The Fighting might be the concept you're looking for, if we don't have it. (Several of your examples arent really shields as such.) I think this would basically be the polar inversion of Fights Like A Normal, where during combat the character doesn't go to any "physical" effort, he stands there or strolls along in an Unflinching Walk through the action while his powers take care of opponents. Possibly engaging in some Casual Danger Dialogue to pass the time.

    It would be distinct from Nigh Invulnerable, the character doesn't necessarily have to be invulnerable or even particularly broken, the nature of his powers (like telekenesis) may just give the illusion of him "not making an effort." Of course, it could also very well be used to intentionally show he IS broken.
  • July 24, 2013
    Bisected8
    Compare Attack Animal, where you literally have something else do the fighting.

    • In Bleach, Byakuya does this throughout the Soul Society arc, since his main power is to break his sword into a cloud of tiny fragments that he can control remotely and he's good enough at Flash Step that he can teleport while appearing to stand still. In his fight with Ichigo he's pushed hard enough that he has to start using gestures to direct them faster, and generally has a Not So Stoic moment.
  • July 24, 2013
    DAN004
    People who practices this trope is often a Squishy Wizard. Compare Long Range Fighter, Instant Death Radius, and Luckily My Powers Will Protect Me (when people call this trope out).

    • Nico Robin from One Piece specializes in this, though (mostly since Time Skip) she has no problem to go up close and personal when needed. Her powers, from the Hana-Hana no Mi, lets her sprout copies of any of her body parts anywhere, from herself, the ground, walls of building, to people's bodies. She uses them mainly to strangle people from afar.
  • July 25, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Tabletop Games

    • Roleplaying game spells like Blade Barrier or any offensive aura spell has the main idea of letting your opponents hurt themselves attacking you.
  • July 25, 2013
    Arivne
    Namespaced and italicized work titles, corrected some improper Example Indentation.
  • July 25, 2013
    Stratadrake
    What's a name like that doing in a definition like this?
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 26, 2013
    DracMonster
    Hey FOFD, you still want this one? Otherwise I may just take it under my wing.
  • July 26, 2013
    robbulldog
    Leaf Shield from Mega Man 2. Downside is if you move, the shield goes away.
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ Take over plz.
  • July 27, 2013
    KingZeal
    Added a page pic.
  • July 27, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Uh, oops, dueling edits, I think I accidentally fed your pic to the Data Vampires, try again.
  • July 27, 2013
    FOFD
    So THIS is why I couldn't find my YKKTW... the title was changed.

    Sorry, I've been busy. Uh... wow. Thanks for the responses guys, I need to read through these.

    EDIT: Not to sound lazy but... I like most of what you guys changed. I liked the original title more, but other then that, you guys really improved this.

    NUTHA' EDIT: I think Ryuuho from s-Cry-Ed might count for this. While he does occasionally get involved in the fight, his fighting style relies on his automated sentrybot being on the offensive, while he just hangs back.

    Er... I'll just wait for some more input, since the article has been massively altered.
  • July 27, 2013
    DracMonster
    I did the rewrite. Like I said up there, if you want control back, thats fine.
  • July 28, 2013
    FOFD
    Someone put "several of these don't fit the reworking, I'll sort them out later". I'm curious as to which ones they wanted to change.
  • July 28, 2013
    falver
    Toaru Majutsu No Index: Accelerator's power is passively on reflect, causing enemies to defeat themselves even when Accelerator is wholly unaware of the attack.
  • July 29, 2013
    Koveras
    I think this must often overlap with Thought Controlled Power.

    • The final boss of Knights Of The Old Republic II doesn't fight you directly at first--because she Force-levitates three lightsabers to attack you simultaneously from all sides. It's only after you destroy them that she goes after your personally.
  • July 29, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    Smug Snake should be replaced by Smug Super, but otherwise a good example of Example As A Thesis.
  • July 29, 2013
    FOFD
    Alright, I'll just start revising and integrating the recent comments.
  • July 29, 2013
    DAN004
    I prefer the "Character doesn't need to go to much physical effort during combat".
  • July 30, 2013
    dalek955
    • Magneto almost never does anything physical, preferring to just stand or hover in place with an amused expression while destroying those around him with random bits of metal.
  • July 30, 2013
    DracMonster
    Ok, um, Kingzeal had added the Armfold thing when he put in the pic, it was supposed to be an image caption, not a summary of the page. Image markups act funny in YKTTW.

    On a second read, the only example which doesn't really fit is the first superman one. (The second one works.)
  • July 30, 2013
    KingZeal
    You are correct. But the Data Vampires have it now.
  • July 30, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I think we can safely say superman is a No Sell example, and removable from here.
  • July 30, 2013
    captainpat
    The first paragraph can by removed for being an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

  • July 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Add my and Bisected8's examples plz.
  • July 31, 2013
    SharangaShark
    The Star Cloak in Terraria causes stars to fall out of the sky and injure anything that harms you. If used against weak enough enemies, the Cloak can easily take them out with no involvement from the player.
  • July 31, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    If the character itself is not aware, then it might be caused by Power Incontinence
  • August 1, 2013
    Melkior
    I did a small spelling correction.
  • August 1, 2013
    Hodor
  • August 4, 2013
    FOFD
    Looking at integrating recent comments. Removing chaff from the article. Etc.
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Editing some examples
  • August 25, 2013
    FOFD
    Does anybody agree that this overlaps with Thought Controlled Power?
  • August 25, 2013
    FastEddie
  • August 25, 2013
    Omeganian
    About Knights Of The Old Republic II; You actually do fight the boss directly at first, the sabers only come after you cut off her one remaining hand.
  • August 25, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^^ heavy overlap, yes
  • August 25, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Well the Superman example isn't thought-controlled. Overlap, yes, but separate. :P
  • August 25, 2013
    KingZeal
    Another Bleach example:

  • August 25, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ Yes. If we did a venn diagram, I'd imagine 60-90 percent of the two tropes would overlap. Very similar, but still distinct. Neither is contained by the other.

    Since Fast Eddie doesn't like the name, we need to start brainstorming new ideas.
  • August 25, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ None of them says that the combatant lets the power does the fighting.
  • August 25, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I don't know why you feel that way. "Stock Still" is a colloquial term meaning the person doesn't move, and "combat" or "fighting" means they are... well... fighting despite not moving. That's what the trope is, just a different name.
  • August 26, 2013
    DAN004
    Okay, I see. I just don't understand what "stock still" means. =P

    Anyways contrast Full Contact Magic, Projectile Spell
  • August 26, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    That's why we draw in people from multiple Small Reference Pools. I wouldn't have known it needed to be explained.

    Good call on Full Contact Magic, but why not go one higher to Magical Gesture? I don't think Projectile Spell is related at all, can you explain that?
  • August 27, 2013
    lycropath
    Ansem the Seeker of Darkness from Kingdom Hearts typically fights by standing with his arms crossed and letting his Guardian Entity do the work.
  • August 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • DP7:
      • Randy O'Brien's power is having a dark projection of himself (called an "antibody" ) emerge and do whatever while he is safely away from the action.
      • Lenore's skin emits a "fatigue-poison inducing bioluminescence" which basically means if you see any of her body you fall asleep.
  • August 28, 2013
    YeOldeLuke
    Once his sentry is erected, Engineer from Team Fortress 2 doesn't have to do much other than watch it gun down enemies as they run by. Many popular deathcams show an Engineer taunting, offering a high-five, or AFK while his sentry shot the crap out of you.
  • August 28, 2013
    DAN004
    @ crazysamaritan: I'm no native English speaker, sir. :P

    Projectile Spell is about a spell which takes form into a projectile bullet (which takes time to go to the target and may be blocked) and must be aimed carefully. Meanwhile this trope often requires little to no focus and may or may not hit the opponent immediately when it's used.
  • August 28, 2013
    DAN004
    When the power is to summon creatures to fight enemies, that's Minion Master or The Beastmaster.
  • August 28, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^That ones VERY debatable. Normally an engineer has to defend against invisible spies sapping his sentry, people sneaking up behind and a lot of other things. An engineer can only stand around if the other team is really terrible.
  • September 19, 2013
    FOFD
    Bump.

    We had 4 hats, I remember, but now we have 3.
  • September 19, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    But Projectile Spell doesn't require any use of gestures. This trope doesn't say a character doesn't concentrate, just that they don't need to fight physically.
  • September 20, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ So I guess the opposite of this trope would be Full Contact Magic then?
  • September 20, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    current image shows, but looks rather lame. something like this would be better. or a better shot of Gaara standing around while his sand does the work.

    Anime & Manga

    • In Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, some Stand Users are advanced enough that they can just stand around while making their Stand do their attacking for them.


    also, Cyclops being an example is questionable. he actually has to aim his eye beams. stuff don't automatically get lasered as soon as The Glasses Come Off.
  • September 20, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ like you already said. Contrast means "look at the differences between".
  • September 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • The ruthless wizard Nekron from Ralph Bakshi's Fire And Ice has mastery over ice and cold, expanding his glacial empire ever southward. Nekron is too lithe and fey to engage his enemies physically. However, he can pin his adversaries in place with shivering cold, and even compel them to slay themselves.
  • September 24, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    hmm, so would someone count as this if he/she uses Magical Gesture? or do they strictly have to just stand/walk around while their powers fight for them to count?
  • September 27, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I think so. So long as it isn't Full Contact Magic or Magic Dance.
  • September 27, 2013
    reflaxion
    Added webcomic example El Goonish Shive.
  • December 31, 2013
    KingZeal
    I think this is launch worthy. If the OP is gone, may I do the honors?
  • December 31, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    It needs a new name, by order of Fast Eddie.
  • December 31, 2013
    DAN004
    What about Static Fighter? (i.e "static" refers to one who doesn't move much)

    In The Law Of Power Proportional To Effort, this trope goes to Tier 8 and 9.
  • January 1, 2014
    KingZeal
    Eddie never stated what's wrong with the name. I mean, the name pretty much states exactly what it is, so I can only assume length is the problem.

    If that's the case, how about Powers Do The Fighting?
  • January 2, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ It's most likely Fast Eddie considers it to be a "line of dialog" title because it has the word "his" (possessive form of "he") in it.

    See the bottom of the No New Stock Phrases page for a list of pronouns that have this effect.
  • January 2, 2014
    KingZeal
    So then what I suggested above should work, no?
  • January 2, 2014
    KomodoClassic
    • Western Animation: Teen Titans. When Raven fights, she does so using her powers, in contrast with Starfire, who also uses her Tamaranian super-strength.
  • January 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Title's kinda weird...
  • March 29, 2014
    krimzonflygon2
    I think Lucy's worth mentioning. She pretty much just walks in a straight line, head bowed, while everything is shredded around her.

    Other than that, I think it's tropeworthy. Post it.
  • March 29, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comics
    • Gert Yorkes and Klara Prast of the Runaways have both relied on their powers to do their fighting for them. Gert made extensive use of her pet dinosaur, while Klara just summons plants.
    • The Dutch Doctor of The Authority was notorious for being a lazy combatant who preferred to just use magic to get rid of potential enemies. Of course, when you have the power to turn people's bones into cologne with a thought, a light touch is probably preferable.
  • March 29, 2014
    zarpaulus
    • In Use Sword On Monster Humphrey and other "sword-swingers" get their combat skills from some sort of magic that just takes over and runs them on autopilot once they start fighting. In his words trying not to kill is like "pulling a bus with my brain"
  • March 29, 2014
    xanderiskander
  • March 29, 2014
    dalek955
    Add a link in the Superman example to Shooting Superman.
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