Created By: ironcommando on September 16, 2017 Last Edited By: ironcommando on September 18, 2017
Troped

Anti-Structure

Effective against buildings and structures

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Main
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trope
Sometimes, the enemy that the heroes may face may not be a humanoid, monster, robot, or vehicle, but rather a structure or building. These tend to be very tough to take down thanks to their constructions and foundations, and in many cases either assemble minions, produce vital resources, or even attack on their own.

This is when an Anti-Structure weapon or unit comes in handy. Whether it destroys foundations, uses an EMP to disable the structure's electrical supply, or kills the inhabitants inside, it makes structures crumble or turn non-functional in record time. Anti-Armor, Armor-Piercing Attack or explosive weapons can often be one of these. Siege Engines, especially Battering Rams, are very commonly these due to their ability to break buildings with ease.

This type of weapon or unit is commonly found in Real-Time Strategy games where buildings often play a very important role. Oftentimes, an Anti-structure weapon is overspecialized at dealing with buildings only, and as such may be vulnerable to other things in the Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors cycle.

A subtrope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Anti-Cavalry, Anti-Air, Anti-Vehicle, and Anti-Armor.
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    Anime and Manga 
  • World Trigger: Invoked Trope regarding Chika, a Pint-Sized Powerhouse with more natural Trion reserves than any other character. This allows her to use sniper rifles as artillery cannons with frightening destructive force, but she refuses to directly shoot another living being. Enemies start taking advantage of this self-imposed restraint, regarding Chika's abilities as little else besides landscape-rearrangement.

    Video Games - Real-Time Strategy 
  • In the Age of Empires series, every civilization has siege weapons that are effective against buildings, but are weak against cavalry.
    • Age of Mythology:
      • The Norse god power "Undermine", which is available if the player chooses Heimdall when advancing to the Classical Age, allows the player to destroy enemy Walls and Towers effectively, but deals limited damage to Town Centers and Fortresses. Heimdall's myth unit, the Einherjar, also has decent attack against buildings.
      • The Norse myth unit known as the Mountain Giant (which is available if the player chooses Njord when advancing to the Heroic Age or Hel when advancing to the Mythic Age) is quite effective against buildings, and has a special attack that allows him to deal 120 crush damage to a single building.
      • The Atlanteans have an infantry unit known as the Destroyer, which is strong against buildings but weak against other infantry units.
      • The Atlantean myth unit known as the Behemoth (available if the player chooses Rheia when advancing to the Heroic Age) has a x5 attack bonus against buildings and has regenerating health.
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars gives each faction units dedicated to taking down structures. They can function against other things too, but either inaccuracy or Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors prevent them from being cost-effective in those roles.
    • The Global Defense Initiative — or GDI — ostensibly the 'Good guys' and the powerhouse faction usually rolls in with Tank Goodness aplenty, but against fortified positions, they do have specialist units:
      • First and foremost of these are their 'Juggernaut' Chicken Walkers. The Juggernaut's trio of cannons are so powerful that even the most sturdy structure falls in a few shots, but that same power also requires them to engage stabilizers before firing, and while the elevated position of their barrels give them fantastic range — Which can reach across the map if coordinates are provided by a sniper team — it also burdens them with Arbitrary Minimum Range; fast units can get in before they deploy and shoot them to pieces, safe from retaliation fire. This last point prompted the Steel Talon sub-faction to jury-rig a bunker onto their frame for garrisoning infantry, specifically to protect juggernauts against attackers attempting to close the distance. The resultant 'Behemoth' is still not intended to be used as anything other than a three-barreled wrecking ball, however.
      • If a structure is only defended by infantry, or you can somehow disable the vehicles/defences, a Commando can place C4 charges. C4 is placed instantly from close range, and take a second to arm after which the structure is rubble, no questions asked. Add in the Commando's jetpack, and a single commando can level a base in less than thirty seconds - provided said base isn't defended by something other than infantry.
    • The Brotherhood of NOD — or simply 'NOD' — the other 'good guys', is a much more subversive faction that cannot afford to have as high-profile units as GDI. Make no mistake - that just means you won't see their wrecking ball units before the building is rubble.
      • They rely primarily on 'beam cannons' for demolition. These vehicles are small, lightly armoured, and slow. And they need to charge up their one attack: A continuous laser. What makes them anti-structure is their range, and the ability for multiple beam cannons to form a Converging-Stream Weapon. One beam cannon is a joke - five of them will melt even the best-fortified building in seconds. These beam cannons can also be used in tandem with their Venom VTOL craft to reflect the beam onto targets outside their normal range.
      • Like GDI, NOD also possesses a 'Commando' unit, the other faction's equal in all respects except one: The jetpack of GDI's commando is exchanged for a stealth-generator when stationary. A NOD commando can blow up a structure and be completely untargetable afterwards if detection is not available.
      • If you can get in close, 'Flame Tanks' will absolutely incinerate buildings. These 'tanks' are fragile and explode when destroyed, but their flames leave only smouldering rubble in less than a second. They function quite well as anti-garrison/anti-infantry units too.
      • The Expansion, Kane's Wrath, added the 'Spectre'. A dual-mode artillery cannon. Its normal mode is mobile and stealthed, capable of sneaking past opponents before it sets up and lets its single, massive barrel fire. This cannon is inaccurate and thus best used against structures, but make no mistake; should a mobile unit be hit by a Spectre's shell only the most sturdy vehicles will still be moving afterwards, and they will not be unscathed. Like the Juggernaut and Behemoth, the Spectre can also be fed Coordinates — this time by beacons placed by Shadow Teams — to land shots from across the map.
    • The Scrin forces are not averse to destroying planetary civilisations in their quest for Tiberium, and as such they come equipped for the job:
      • The most obvious anti-structure unit is the 'Devastator Warship'. A flying artillery platform which shoots spurts of plasma in the general direction of fire. A single one of these plasma globs barely hurt, but large structures are typically hit by five-to-ten at a time, and that makes the Devastator Warships exceedingly capable of handling not just large structures, but also large globs of slow, ground-based units. Air units and dedicated anti-air make shish-kabob out of them, however.
      • Should a single structure stand in their way, a solution might just be to take it over by way of Mind Control from their 'Mastermind' and 'Prodigy' commando units. While this only works for a single building at a time, losing a critical structure to your enemy can be a far worse blow than simply having it blow up. And in the situations where it isn't, the Scrin can just sell the building; destroying what was once yours and earning a solid payday in the process.
  • Dawn of War:
    • The Eldar Bonesinger can temporarily shut down a building with Wraithbone.
    • Dark Crusade: The Tau's Vespids can make a building take extra damage during a short time.
    • Soulstorm: The Ecclesiarchal Servitor has an ability that lets it do a big chunk of damage to a building after digging around with its mechadendrites.
  • Empire Earth:
    • The game's Siege Engines are actually divided into two categories: siege weapons proper (which deal high damage to buildings, such as battering rams, catapults and howitzers) and field guns (which deal high splash damage to infantry, such as balistae, bombards and artillery). Which isn't to say they can't do the other's job, they'll just take longer.
    • The Prophet can cause an earthquake to deal damage in a wide radius to buildings, as well as cause a firestorm that deals damage over time and spreads to nearby buildings.
  • Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom: Of the four types of soldiers available (Archers, Infantry, Cavalry and Catapults), Catapults are best used against cities with fortifications alongside infantry (to scale the walls). Otherwise, hordes of cavalry work best.
  • Halo Wars:
    • The UNSC Cobra vehicle is an Anti Vehicle unit that can transform into an Anti-Structure artillery gun.
    • The Covenant Locusts are explicitly referred to as "building-killers" thanks to their extremely long range, attack boost ability and effectiveness against static targets. They're not very effective against non-structures, however.
  • Iron Marines:
    • The Engineer units not only deal extra damage to structures, but also have a structure sabotage ability that prevents enemy structures from working for a while. This is vital against the Taskmaster, which is a large, armored enemy that constantly deploys Attack Drones and is considered a structure, meaning that most attacks are less effective against it and it cannot be affected by One-Hit Kill effects, but is vulnerable to Engineer weapons and sabotage.
    • On the Fell aliens' side, there's the Hammergrub, a Heavily Armored Giant Mook with lots of health, travels slowly, and only targets your structures, dealing big damage to them via a wrecking ball tongue. It doesn't attack the player's hero or squad units, but causes very minor Collision Damage on contact with them.
  • Starcraft II: The Overseer can drop a hunk of organic material on a building, preventing it from operating for a while.
  • Warcraft II: The Ballista and Catapult serve as the Alliance and Horde siege weapons, throwing giant arrows/rocks at the enemy, killing weaker units outright (if they're holding still).
  • Warcraft III: Siege damage does extra damage against Fortified armor (the type most buildings use) and reduced damage against light armor (somehow). Every faction has a Siege Engine to deal with towers from beyond attack range, but they also have other specialized units:
    • Alliance:
      • Mortar Teams attack buildings from afar, and can even shoot without spotters or conduct recon with their Flare ability.
      • The dwarven-made Siege Engine (formerly Steam Tank), which despite its name and appearance is basically a steam-driven battering ram, as its barely-above-melee-range gun is unable to target units (one upgrade gives it a Macross Missile Massacre against air units).
      • The Flying Machine can be upgraded to bomb ground forces, but needs to be in large numbers to do any damage, as its primary function is scouting and Anti Air.
    • Horde:
      • The Demolisher (formerly Catapult) fires huge rocks and can be upgraded to set them on fire.
      • The Raider, a BFS-wielding orc riding a wolf with Siege damage. This makes them inefficient at line combat (and are actually weaker than a grunt), but their ability to bring air units to ground keeps them useful. The Fel Orc Raider has Chaos damage and is a full-blown Lightning Bruiser.
      • The Troll Batrider, whose damage is quite low, but makes up for it with its Liquid Fire ability, which prevents the target building from being repaired and greatly reduces its attack speed.
      • The Far Seer's ultimate causes an earthquake that deals high damage to buildings and slowing any units caught in it.
    • Undead:
      • The Meat Wagon hurls corpses at long range (spreading disease where it fires) and stores corpses for use by necromancers and hungry troops.
      • The Frost Wyrm is an undead dragon whose Freezing Breath prevents buildings from attacking or producing. However, it attacks very slowly and doesn't have Siege *** damage, making it very bad at taking out buildings by itself.
    • Night Elves:
      • Glaive Throwers (formerly Ballistae) throw big metal throwing stars and can be upgraded to hit the unit behind it.
      • Chimerae can be upgraded to do very high damage to buildings.
      • Mountain Giants have the ability to rip a tree from the ground to increase their damage against buildings (and other units).
    • The Tinker's ultimate transforms him into a robot with the Demolish ability, which gives him triple damage against buildings.
    • The Sea Witch's ultimate summons a slow-moving tornado which traps units in cyclones and deals damage to buildings as long as it's near them.
    Video Games - Other 
  • League of Legends: Ziggs' passive ability "Short Fuse" causes his next basic attack every few seconds to deal bonus magic damage, which is doubled against enemy structures. His active ability "Satchel Charge" sets an explosive charge that detonates after a short while or when reactivated. However, when used on a tower that is below 25%-35% health, it will instantly detonate and instantly destroy the tower.
  • Team Fortress 2 has certain weapons that are more effective against the Engineer's structures:
    • The Spy's Sappers cause an enemy Engineer's structures to become nonfunctional and eventually destroys them if not removed.
    • The Pyro's Homewrecker deals double damage to the structures built by opposing Engineers.
    • In "Mann vs. Machine" mode, there are Sentry Busters, which specifically target Sentry Guns, run up to them, and explode them (along with anybody in the radius).
    Real Life 
  • Bunker Busters are bombs designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground, such as military bunkers. A heavy and narrow missile tube allows it to pierce through earth and concrete, where the warhead blows up from the inside.
  • Thermobaric weapons. This type of warhead differs from normal explosives by producing a prolonged and extremely destructive blast wave, often destroying the enclosed rooms in the building and whoever is inside them.
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • September 16, 2017
    KZN02
    Halo Wars: The UNSC Cobra vehicle is an Anti Vehicle unit that can transform into an Anti-Structure artillery gun.
  • September 16, 2017
    Chabal2
    • Warcraft II: The Ballista and Catapult serve as the Alliance and Horde siege weapons, throwing giant arrows/rocks at the enemy, killing weaker units outright (if they're holding still).
    • Warcraft III: Siege damage does extra damage against Fortified armor (the type most buildings use) and reduced damage against light armor (somehow). Every faction has a Siege Engine to deal with towers from beyond attack range, but they also have other specialized units:
      • Alliance:
        • Mortar Teams attack buildings from afar, and can even shoot without spotters or conduct recon with their Flare ability.
        • The dwarven-made Siege Engine (formerly Steam Tank), which despite its name and appearance is basically a steam-driven battering ram, as its barely-above-melee-range gun is unable to target units (one upgrade gives it a Macross Missile Massacre against air units).
        • The Flying Machine can be upgraded to bomb ground forces, but needs to be in large numbers to do any damage, as its primary function is scouting and Anti Air.
      • Horde:
        • The Demolisher (formerly Catapult) fires huge rocks and can be upgraded to set them on fire.
        • The Raider, a BFS-wielding orc riding a wolf with Siege damage. This makes them inefficient at line combat (and are actually weaker than a grunt), but their ability to bring air units to ground keeps them useful. The Fel Orc Raider has Chaos damage and is a full-blown Lightning Bruiser.
        • The Troll Batrider, whose damage is quite low, but makes up for it with its Liquid Fire ability, which prevents the target building from being repaired and greatly reduces its attack speed.
        • The Far Seer's ultimate causes an earthquake that deals high damage to buildings and slowing any units caught in it.
      • Undead:
        • The Meat Wagon hurls corpses at long range (spreading disease where it fires) and stores corpses for use by necromancers and hungry troops.
        • The Frost Wyrm is an undead dragon whose Freezing Breath prevents buildings from attacking or producing. However, it attacks very slowly and doesn't have Siege damage, making it very bad at taking out buildings by itself.
      • Night Elves:
        • Glaive Throwers (formerly Ballistae) throw big metal throwing stars and can be upgraded to hit the unit behind it.
        • Chimerae can be upgraded to do very high damage to buildings.
        • Mountain Giants have the ability to rip a tree from the ground to increase their damage against buildings (and other units).
      • The Tinker's ultimate transforms him into a robot with the Demolish ability, which gives him triple damage against buildings.
      • The Sea Witch's ultimate summons a slow-moving tornado which traps units in cyclones and deals damage to buildings as long as it's near them.
    • Dawn Of War:
      • The Eldar Bonesinger can temporarily shut down a building with Wraithbone.
      • Dark Crusade: The Tau's Vespids can make a building take extra damage during a short time.
      • Soulstorm: The Ecclesiarchal Servitor has an ability that lets it do a big chunk of damage to a building after digging around with its mechadendrites.
    • Starcraft II: The Overseer can drop a hunk of organic material on a building, preventing it from operating for a while.
    • Empire Earth:
      • The game's Siege Engines are actually divided into two categories: siege weapons proper (which deal high damage to buildings, such as battering rams, catapults and howitzers) and field guns (which deal high splash damage to infantry, such as balistae, bombards and artillery). Which isn't to say they can't do the other's job, they'll just take longer.
      • The Prophet can cause an earthquake to deal damage in a wide radius to buildings, as well as cause a firestorm that deals damage over time and spreads to nearby buildings.
    • Emperor Rise Of The Middle Kingdom: Of the four types of soldiers available (Archers, Infantry, Cavalry and Catapults), Catapults are best used against cities with fortifications alongside infantry (to scale the walls). Otherwise, hordes of cavalry work best.
  • September 16, 2017
    NightShade96
    • In the Age Of Empires series, every civilization has siege weapons that are effective against buildings, but are weak against cavalry.
      • Age Of Mythology:
        • The Norse god power "Undermine", which is available if the player chooses Heimdall when advancing to the Classical Age, allows the player to destroy enemy Walls and Towers effectively, but deals limited damage to Town Centers and Fortresses. Heimdall's myth unit, the Einherjar, also has decent attack against buildings.
        • The Norse myth unit known as the Mountain Giant (which is available if the player chooses Njord when advancing to the Heroic Age or Hel when advancing to the Mythic Age) is quite effective against buildings, and has a special attack that allows him to deal 120 crush damage to a single building.
        • The Atlanteans have an infantry unit known as the Destroyer, which is strong against buildings but weak against other infantry units.
        • The Atlantean myth unit known as the Behemoth (available if the player chooses Rheia when advancing to the Heroic Age) has a x5 attack bonus against buildings and has regenerating health.
  • September 17, 2017
    ironcommando
    Added those examples. I'm not really a huge RTS player, though, so I'm not too good at finding examples for this.
  • September 17, 2017
    ironcommando
    Just realized that Siege Engines exist as a trope, although those would most probably be a subtrope of Anti-Structure since there are things other than siege engines which are effective against structures.
  • September 18, 2017
    Theharbo
    • Command And Conquer Tiberium Wars gives each faction units dedicated to taking down structures. They can function against other things too, but either inaccuracy or Tactical Rock Paper Scissors prevent them from being cost-effective in those roles.
      • The Global Defense Initiative — or GDI — ostensibly the 'Good guys' and the powerhouse faction usually rolls in with Tank Goodness aplenty, but against fortified positions, they do have specialist units:
        • First and foremost of these are their 'Juggernaut' Chicken Walkers. The Juggernaut's trio of cannons are so powerful that even the most sturdy structure falls in a few shots, but that same power also requires them to engage stabilizers before firing, and while the elevated position of their barrels give them fantastic range — Which can reach across the map if coordinates are provided by a sniper team — it also burdens them with Arbitrary Minimum Range; fast units can get in before they deploy and shoot them to pieces, safe from retaliation fire. This last point prompted the Steel Talon sub-faction to jury-rig a bunker onto their frame for garrisoning infantry, specifically to protect juggernauts against attackers attempting to close the distance. The resultant 'Behemoth' is still not intended to be used as anything other than a three-barreled wrecking ball, however.
        • If a structure is only defended by infantry, or you can somehow disable the vehicles/defences, a Commando can place C4 charges. C4 is placed instantly from close range, and take a second to arm after which the structure is rubble, no questions asked. Add in the Commando's jetpack, and a single commando can level a base in less than thirty seconds - provided said base isn't defended by something other than infantry.
      • The Brotherhood of NOD — or simply 'NOD' — the other 'good guys', is a much more subversive faction that cannot afford to have as high-profile units as GDI. Make no mistake - that just means you won't see their wrecking ball units before the building is rubble.
        • They rely primarily on 'beam cannons' for demolition. These vehicles are small, lightly armoured, and slow. And they need to charge up their one attack: A continuous laser. What makes them anti-structure is their range, and the ability for multiple beam cannons to form a Converging Stream Weapon. One beam cannon is a joke - five of them will melt even the best-fortified building in seconds. These beam cannons can also be used in tandem with their Venom VTOL craft to reflect the beam onto targets outside their normal range.
        • Like GDI, NOD also possesses a 'Commando' unit, the other faction's equal in all respects except one: The jetpack of GDI's commando is exchanged for a stealth-generator when stationary. A NOD commando can blow up a structure and be completely untargetable afterwards if detection is not available.
        • If you can get in close, 'Flame Tanks' will absolutely incinerate buildings. These 'tanks' are fragile and explode when destroyed, but their flames leave only smouldering rubble in less than a second. They function quite well as anti-garrison/anti-infantry units too.
        • The Expansion, Kane's Wrath, added the 'Spectre'. A dual-mode artillery cannon. Its normal mode is mobile and stealthed, capable of sneaking past opponents before it sets up and lets its single, massive barrel fire. This cannon is inaccurate and thus best used against structures, but make no mistake; should a mobile unit be hit by a Spectre's shell only the most sturdy vehicles will still be moving afterwards, and they will not be unscathed. Like the Juggernaut and Behemoth, the Spectre can also be fed Coordinates — this time by beacons placed by Shadow Teams — to land shots from across the map.
      • The Scrin forces are not averse to destroying planetary civilisations in their quest for Tiberium, and as such they come equipped for the job:
        • The most obvious anti-structure unit is the 'Devastator Warship'. A flying artillery platform which shoots spurts of plasma in the general direction of fire. A single one of these plasma globs barely hurt, but large structures are typically hit by five-to-ten at a time, and that makes the Devastator Warships exceedingly capable of handling not just large structures, but also large globs of slow, ground-based units. Air units and dedicated anti-air make shish-kabob out of them, however.
        • Should a single structure stand in their way, a solution might just be to take it over by way of Mind Control from their 'Mastermind' and 'Prodigy' commando units. While this only works for a single building at a time, losing a critical structure to your enemy can be a far worse blow than simply having it blow up. And in the situations where it isn't, the Scrin can just sell the building; destroying what was once yours and earning a solid payday in the process.
  • September 18, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    • World Trigger: Invoked Trope regarding Chika, a Pint Sized Powerhouse with more natural Trion reserves than any other character. This allows her to use sniper rifles as artillery cannons with frightening destructive force, but she refuses to directly shoot another living being. Enemies start taking advantage of this self-imposed restraint, regarding Chika's abilities as little else besides landscape-rearrangement.
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