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Physical bruisers will tend to have limited prowess with magic, if they can even cast spells at all. This character is an absolute monster when you challenge them to a melee fight, but they're likely to have trouble against magic users (unless they are a Mage Killer
Justifications for this vary. Sometimes martial and magical prowess are not mutually exclusive by nature, but seldom go together because both take so much specialized training that few have the time and talent to master both. Sometimes it's enforced because Armor and Magic Don't Mix
, so warriors would rather not waste time learning spells that they won't be able to use while armored. Or maybe the magic-users in a given setting embrace a philosophy of Technical Pacifism
that would be at odds with training to disembowel their enemies. Or maybe there's no in-story justification at all, which can lead to the Fridge Logic
that if there is no major barrier between learning both the martial and arcane arts, why this character hasn't brushed up on their magic skills?
Regardless, in games the real reason
tends to be Competitive Balance
, although if the balance is poorly implemented, Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards
This trope is only applicable in settings where it is commonplace for characters to have Functional Magic
, Psychic Powers
or other supernatural abilities
. If only a few people or no one has supernatural abilities in a work, then a character's lack of aptitude in the supernatural arts is not notable since, logically, pretty much no one has aptitude with the art to begin with.
Contrast Squishy Wizard
, which has strong magic but weak physical skills, and Magic Knight
, which is skilled with both weapons and magic. Compare Badass Normal
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Anime & Manga
- Kamijou Touma of A Certain Magical Index is completely unable to use magic because of his Imagine Breaker arm. So he simply punches his enemies to submission, magicians or espers alike, regardless of power level.
- Kenpachi Zaraki of Bleach is a physical powerhouse, able to defeat almost any opponent he faces with his overwhelming strength, but he is completely unable to tap into the higher-level zanpakuto abilities that the other Gotei 13 captains use on a regular basis. He also doesn't have access to Kido spells (though it may simply be hard to learn in the first place, as Ichigo and Renji also lack it).
- Kuzumi Taiga of Mx0 is a normal high school student who accidentally earned a reputation at Wizarding School Seinagi Academy as a high-level magic user, despite being completely unable to use magic himself. While he is generally able to compete with his classmates and maintain this illusion with quick wits, sometimes he is forced to rely on his brute strength, which is much greater than his peers due to being forced to train in martial arts with his sister.
- Rock Lee of Naruto is incapable of any ninjutsu or genjutsu (both requires good chakra control), so he focuses on taijutsu (martial arts) instead. Downplayed by his mentor Might Guy: He can do some ninjutsu (Summon Magic, for example) but he simply prefers to use his fists and legs.
- Fang-Fang Huang of Rosario + Vampire originally thinks of himself as a magic Summon Master, but eventually learns that he is more suited to physical combat since his summoning is random and rarely, if ever helpful. He does end up in a Battle Couple with an actual magic user, though.
- Downplayed with Hagrid from Harry Potter. He is a half-giant who was expelled from the wizard school Hogwarts and not allowed to use magic by the Ministry (on top of his wand getting broken). Despite this, he can still cast spells with a piece of his wand hidden in his umbrella, but he has to rely much more on physical strength than the rest of the cast when it comes to fighting. Being resistant to magic thanks to his heritage helps, too.
- In the Myth Adventures series Aahz is a Pervect wizard who, due to a spell cast by another wizard just before he died of unrelated causes, can't actually do any magic. Fortunately he's big and tough, and he still has the knowledge to school his apprentice Skeeve in the art of magic too.
- In Dungeons & Dragons this is a recurring theme. Physically inclined classes like Fighters and Monks will have powerful physical attacks but no magic.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. Khorne, Chaos god of war, sees magic as a tool for cowards and traitors (his opposite god Tzeentch is the god of magic and backstabbers, so...), and so is the only one without a list of spells, but his followers are very strong physical fighters (when not The Berserker), and his 40K champion is immune to magic. Magical items and weapons, however, are acceptable.
- Katt from Breath of Fire II is a subversion. She starts off as a physical damage based Glass Cannon. However, she begins to learn high level magic quite early, but doesn't have enough AP to use it until the higher levels (or if she's fused with the right shamans).
- Ayla from Chrono Trigger is one of the two characters that cannot learn magic, and the other one (Robo) has futuristic weapons that simulate magic pretty well. Ayla will typically be your strongest physical attacker.
- Dawn of War, powerful melee units tend to have very bad ranged attacks when they have them at all (Berserkers, Nobs, Assault Terminators) while ranged units don't last long at all in melee (Fire Warriors, Guardsmen). Terminators and Obliterators were an exception, but were nerfed in following games to follow this trend.
- In the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series, characters who either existed before Ki Attacks became common in the source material (such as Yajirobe, Nam, or Great Ape Kid Goku) or rely primarily on brute strength (such as Videl or Spopovich) have little to no ki-based abilities; Many of them cannot fly, and their standard ki blast either has an incredibly slow firing rate or is just throwing weak rocks at the opponent instead. Note that in this series, flight and ki blasts are abilities that are so ingrained into most of the cast as to be a basic game mechanic.
- Zigzagged in Dragon Quest IX, classes like the Warrior and Gladiator never learn any spells. however, the Job System lets you keep the passive stat boosts earned from one job to another, so a warrior can end up being a powerful mage.
- Elsword. 5 of 9 characters, by default, excel in physical power (Elsword, Raven, Chung, Ara and Elesis) and they have little magical power and defense as a result. In particular, it is mentioned that Elsword's weakest point is indeed at magic (whereas the other four can have some decent, but still not impressive, magical attacks). They can advance either to a purely physical class that plays with this even straighter, or a class that develops their magic power instead, subverting this trope.
- In EverQuest, Warriors, Monks, Rogues, and Berserkers don't have a mana bar. Every other class does, and uses some form of spells in their arsenal.
- Final Fantasy
- In general, throughout the series physically-inclined characters like Monks, Dragoons, Warriors and Paladins will have no magical ability, and low Magic if they are somehow able to learn spells.
- In Final Fantasy V, the boss guarding the spell Holy, the Minotaur, is physically very powerful, having the same Strength stat as the final boss, but it can only attack without magic. At the end of the battle, it tries to use Holy on the player, and actually is unable to use the spell is was guarding in the first place due to being so physically focused!
- Subverted for Ramza in Final Fantasy Tactics. his default job in the game is The Squire— albeit one with unique abilitiesnote and more balanced stats. like other squires, there are no magic based skills for him to learn... except one, which can be learned a la Blue Mage by getting hit by it... a method never hinted at anywhere in the game. so you can spend the entire game without any magic for ramza's squire job.
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy, most heavy-hitters like Garland, Cloud, Jecht, and Gabranth, have a variety of close-range physical moves, and one or two ranged magical moves mostly to keep them from being entirely helpless against evasive opponents.
- Arche from Fortune Summoners spends the majority of the game without a single spell. And she only gets two magical moves by the end of the game and she still aren't allowed in magic class. But she more than compensates for this with her sword skills.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Terra has strong offensive attacks but weak magic, and most of his exclusive skills are physical attacks.
- Chie in Persona 4 has the highest physical attack, but weak magic (and doesn't learn as many advanced ice spells as Teddie, even though she uses the same element). Most of her strongest persona abilities are physical attacks (which Cast from Hit Points) and physical buffs. Additionally, Kanji gets the higher-level Electricity spells, but his Magic stat is so abysmal he doesn't really perform better than Chie at magic.
- Pokémon, attacks are classified as either working off of Attack or Special Attack. Many Pokemon excel in one stat but are lacking in the other, thus limiting their versatility.
- StarCraft, the strongest units in terms of offensive power usually don't have any special abilities, such as the Battlecruiser, Archon, Siege Tank, or Ultralisk.
- Super Mario RPG, Bowser is a Mighty Glacier with high attack and defense, but awful magic attacks.
- Warcraft III, the strongest melee units (Abominations, Tauren, Knights) only have one passive ability (the Abomination has an active one to restore health). The Druid of the Claw isn't as strong as the others, but has more abilities to make up for it.
- World of Mana
- In Secret of Mana, while two of the protagonists, the girl and the sprite, learn new spells each time you meet one of the mana spirits, the boy never learns any magic. When he asks Undine, the first spirit, why she can't grant him spells, she replies that his sword will eventually become more powerful than any spell the spirits could teach him.
- Kevin of Seiken Densetsu 3 hits like a truck, but learns extremely few magic spells relative to the other characters; it's possible for him to have access to no skills or spells after the first class change if you send him down his more physically-oriented path, and only two down his other path, when every other character will have several by that point.