Created By: shiro_okami on December 12, 2012 Last Edited By: shiro_okami on July 6, 2014
Nuked

Forceless Speedster

A fast character who can\'t dish out heavy blows, but makes up for it with fast strikes.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
The name about sums it up: the Forceless Speedster is fast. He can attack so fast you can't react. He can come within striking distance in the blink of an eye. Essentially this trope is about a character who makes up for a lack of brute strength by having a quicker attack speed (and thus possibly a higher attack rate), whose attacks are so fast they are indefensible, and/or is so fast they can (and often do) overtake any opponent that tries to evade them.

Still, being fast has its downsides — even though you have mobility you lack brute strength. After all, it's hard to keep up that kind of speed when a BFS or Epic Flail is weighing you down. As a result, the Forceless Speedster can only deal Scratch Damage and is often forced to rely on Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, Spam Attacks, or Death of a Thousand Cuts. Even if they can't perform a One-Hit Kill, it doesn't matter if they can attack so fast (and so frequently) that their opponent can't react.

A form of Necessary Drawback. Compare Fragile Speedster, who is very fast but has low durability. Contrast Mighty Glacier, who sacrifices speed for strength and durability, as well as Lightning Bruiser, who is fast without any loss to strength or durability. Sometimes overlaps with Stone Wall for a character with great durability and mobility that's nearly impossible to take down but is poor at dealing damage.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, unlike the other swordsman who use full length katana, Aoshi prefers relying mostly on speed and quick attacks with shorter swords, using a tanto and a literal Death of a Thousand Cuts tactic in his first appearance and later uses two kodachi.
  • Both Yoruichi and Soi Fon in Bleach are both waifs who use their skill in both hakuda (hand-to-hand combat) and shunpo to launch very sudden and very quick attacks.
  • In One Piece, Luffy is very skinny before the Time Skip but also very quick with his Gum-Gum Gatling and later learns soru.
  • The Correl, a mobile suit from After War Gundam X, is a Humongous Mecha example of the trope. It's so delicate that it can't use any weapons other than a beam knife, but it's so fast that it can inflict Death of a Thousand Cuts on most enemy mobile suits it fights, and it nearly totals Garrod's Gundam. The downside is that it doesn't have any armor either, and Garrod destroys it by using a Gundam's weakest weapon: vulcans.
  • Lyrical Nanoha
    • Chantez from ViVid has Super Speed as her personal skill. However, her attack power and her defense are very weak compared to her speed. Guess how her fight against Victoria ended, who is a Mighty Glacier with a Stone Wall defense.
    • Vivio became one in ViVid, as she has lost most of her power in the Grand Finale of StrikerS. Not only she has much weaker defense, her attack power has also decreased in spades, but she's still very fast and her Counter Hitter skill allows her to strike immediately back, even if she can't dodge an attack. It becomes really clear during her battle against Miura that her attack power is too weak.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: Negi Springfield, in the author's love of gaming references, fights this way in his standard form, along with wind and lightning (attack:1800, defense:800, speed:4800). His other form (which he can seamlessly switch to) is a Mighty Glacier who fights with darkness and Mana Drain (attack:3800, defense:2200, speed:1200). He eventually progresses to Lightning Bruiser.
  • Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. It helps that his lethality comes from being a Combat Pragmatist, Especially in relation to all of his muscled, bruiser opponents. This also applies when he's fighting in his AS. In the first season's finale, he manages to win the fight between him and Gauron by attacking Gauron so rapidly and repeatedly that Gauron is unable to concentrate on using the lambda driver (at least, for an extended period). And in the physical fistfight with a muscled terrorist, he managed to beat the guy by speedily kneeing him and tasering him.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, a bat demon that Yusuke encounters during the Genkai Tournament arc is very fast but his attacks cause little more than paper cuts, which Yusuke takes advantage of.
  • In IGPX Immortal Grand Prix, Fantine's mech is so fast it's capable of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, being built more for speed than toughness than even most Forward mechs, which are usually lighter anyways than the Midfielders and Defenders.

     Comic Books 
  • The Flash, or really any hero/villain uses Super Speed to attack but has only ordinary strength.
  • Blurr from Transformers lacks the physical strength to make his quick attacks very useful.

     Video Games 
  • Chun-Li in Street Fighter II lacks the bulk and brute strength compared to male fighters like Zangief but attacks faster and is able to launch a flurry of kicks (Hundred Rending Kicks).
  • Chip from Guilty Gear has low defense and attack, but he's so fast he can land a good number of blows on slower characters.
  • In Elsword, Infinity Sword, Blade Master and Sakra Devanam all specialize on dealing lots of weak but fast hits and very lengthy combos. They're quick on their legs, as well, with special abilities that enhance their movements in a number of ways.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, many characters are the type of "good mobility and quick attacks but low-damaging", such as Firebrand, Strider Hiryu, Rocket Raccoon and Zero, to name a few.

     Western Animation 
  • Dash from The Incredibles can dodge and deliver Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, but his blows only stun the bad guys he fights. Of course, he's only about 10 years old—presumably he'll get stronger as he grows up.
  • Wally West in Justice League is this: he can run incredibly fast but builds very little momentum doing it, so he can be stopped at full-speed by a single well-placed punch. The only time he gains enough momentum to do some serious damage, he has to run around the freaking planet first. This is in contrast to Superman, who can run just as fast but hits like a train (at least).
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • December 12, 2012
    StarSword
    We keep trying to put this up and it keeps getting discarded. My version.

    As it is this seems a lot like Gradual Grinder.
  • December 12, 2012
    WaxingName
    The description is at odds with the laconic. The laconic is about how many attacks the character can deal, while the description is about evasion.

    Which is the true definition of this trope?
  • December 12, 2012
    darkclaw
    About the Chun-Li example, being smaller does not mean you are weaker. Look at Bruce Lee for an example...he is insanely strong but small and toned, not buff.
  • December 12, 2012
    StarSword
    Simulation Games:
    • Many Terran and ATF ships in X3: Terran Conflict and Albion Prelude are a cross between this and Stone Wall. They're tough, agile, and fast, but their weapons have weaker damage output compared to the Commonwealth equivalent. In particular the Yokohama and Aegir frigates lack a dedicated anti-capital weapon, forcing them to rely on either missile spam or corvette-grade guns against larger warships.
  • December 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Could swear we have this somewhere, but....
  • December 14, 2012
    shiro_okami
    @ Star Sword: No, our tropes are not the same. However, this is similar to Gradual Grinder, but more specific, possibly a subtrope.

    @ Waxing Name: Sorry if it was confusing. I made some changes, is it better now? The trope is essentially about how many attacks a character can deal due to being faster.
  • December 15, 2012
    Koveras
    • Wally West in Justice League is this: he can run incredibly fast but builds very little momentum doing it, so he can be stopped at full-speed by a single well-placed punch. The only time he gains enough momentum to do some serious damage, he has to run around the freaking planet first. This is in contrast to Superman, who can run just as fast but hits like a train (at least).
  • January 17, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Way too close to Gradual Grinder and Death Of A Thousand Cuts. This is really redundant, even if it is more specific.
  • January 17, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Dash from The Incredibles can dodge and deliver rapid-fire punches, but his blows only stun the bad guys he fights. Of course, he's only about 10 years old--presumably he'll get stronger as he grows up.
  • January 18, 2013
    Chabal2
    • Jigglypuff and Kirby from Super Smash Bros might count: while they're by no means powerless, they will die very quickly in prolonged fighting (and will have a hard time dealing significant damage to heavier characters), and so it is best to use their jumping ability to stay out of harm's way and attack when convenient.
    • This trope comes into play in one of the Ciaphas Cain novels: the planet is under attack from forces including a Chaos battleship and its escort, while the only available defense ships are a few military ships and hastily-armed merchantships, miners, civilian craft, etc. While both escorts more or less cancel each other out, the battleship is drawn into the midst of all the smaller craft, who begin firing all at once. Individually none of them stand a chance, but their combined firepower and much better reaction time is enough to damage it (the narrator compares it to the local equivalent of a bull stung to death by bees).
  • January 18, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Chip from Guilty Gear may count. He's got low defense and attack, but he's so fast he can land a good number of blows on slower characters.
  • May 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Fragile Speedster also specify "low damaging attacks". This is redundant.
  • May 3, 2014
    acrobox
    ^ seconded
  • May 3, 2014
    shiro_okami
    ^ ^^ No, it does not specify low damaging attacks. The description of Fragile Speedster says that an example may overlap with Stone Wall and be poor at dealing damage, but it also says that an example may overlap with Glass Cannon, and some of the examples have high damaging attacks.

    Actually, that part about overlapping with Stone Wall should be removed, because Stone Wall is all about durability, the Fragile Speedster description explicitly saying this, which is a blatant contradiction.
  • May 3, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Ah, I see.

    Luffy example does not count; despite his size he's monstrously strong, even more with Gear 3rd. He's more Lightning Bruiser.

    And group examples based on media plz.

    Btw
    • Elsword Infinity Sword, Blade Master and Sakra Devanam all specialize on dealing lots of weak but fast hits and very lengthy combos. They're quick on their legs, as well, with special abilities that enhance their movements in a number of ways.
    • Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Many characters are the type of "good mobility and quick attacks but low-damaging", such as Firebrand, Strider Hiryu, Rocket Raccoon and Zero, to name a few.
  • May 4, 2014
    MrL1193
    Considering the fact that the last Trope Repair Shop thread to address tropes of this type failed to even reach a decision about which stat combinations deserve their own tropes, I find myself doubting that this sudden revival of an old YKKTW will get anywhere...
  • May 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ that doesn't mean these tropes are off limits, right?
  • May 4, 2014
    acrobox
    @ shiro okami ^^^^ that's a really small syntax thing

    " A Fragile Speedster often relies on Hit-and-Run Tactics or Confusion Fu to gain an advantage over slower foes. If the character has little offensive power and uses speed as a way of evading attacks, he may resemble a Stone Wall. "

    just add another line saying "they may also make up for low attack power by using their speed to score many weaker hits in a short amount of time, resembling Death Of A Thousand Cuts"

    which is really an oversight anyway and should be there as per its distinction in the Competitive Balance supertrope.

    This is redundant

    we can solve problems with edits without further complicating them with new tropes
  • May 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ he pointed it out himself: "Fragile Speedster may hit like a truck in which case they overlap with Glass Cannon."

    Thus this is primarily about speedster with weak attacks. The speed can be action speed or movement.
  • May 5, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    It also means this trope isn't limited to fragile speedsters.
  • May 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ exactly :D
  • May 5, 2014
    TrueShadow1
    I prefer the Competitive Balance definition:

    * Fragile Speedster: Sacrifices overall power for mobility

This way, we can see that Fragile Speedster vs Mighty Glacier works on a different scale than Glass Cannon vs Stone Wall. The former on speed vs power, without specifying offense power or defense power, while the latter on offense vs defense, without specifying in what form. Under these definitions, this trope is redundant.
  • May 5, 2014
    acrobox
    ^ exactly
  • May 5, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ That one is wrong. To be right, the name would have to be non-indicative.

    The current definition of Fragile Speedster requires a low defense and high speed. If you would like to prove Fragile Speedster should fit the definition under Competitive Balance, I invite you to do a wick check and post in TRS. It is accepting new threads.

    NJA: excuse me, the new definition has been posted, without wiki consensus. I now feel the need to make a Wick Check myself.
  • May 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ so...?

    (Reads Fragile Speedster, reads "for low attack power...")

    That needs fixing.
  • May 5, 2014
    shiro_okami
    @ acrobox: Change to the description means nothing without changing the trope name. In order to truly redefine a trope, the new definition needs to be reflected in the name, the description, and the examples. I'm not opposed to redefining Fragile Speedster to include both weak defense and weak offense, but ONLY if the trope is renamed to reflect the changes. Fragile Speedster clearly reads "low durability, high speed", and does not infer "low attack power, low speed" at all. Don't leave the job half-done.

    If there is no consensus to rename the trope, anything referencing "low attack power" in the description should be removed.
  • May 5, 2014
    TrueShadow1
    I would argue that "Fragile" implies "low attack power" as well. If you get damaged easily, probably you won't be able to damage much stuff either.
  • May 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Tell that to Glass Cannon
  • May 6, 2014
    acrobox
    Fragile means weak. Weak can be low offense or low defense.

    Glass Cannon mitigates this by virtue of being a cannon. It's an oxymoron.

    Further many examples have low attack power already. That's part of why it contrasts with Mighty Glacier so well. Its the Power Trio of Character builds. Regular - Jack Of All Stats, Strong and Slow - Mighty Glacier, Weak and Fast - Fragile Speedster. it shows up everywhere all the time.

    Getting bogged down in whether strong or weak implies offense or defense is missing the point.
  • May 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ are you implying that we don't need Glass Cannon or Stone Wall if that's the case?

    thing is, there are 3 axis, as opposed to your two: offense, defense and speed. That's where it gets complicated.
  • May 6, 2014
    acrobox
    no. Mighty Glacier and Fragile Speedster operate on two axis, Power and Speed

    Glass Cannon and Stone Wall exist on two axis. Offense and Defense.

    The four dont all operate on the same axis. Trying to force them to is why it falls apart.
  • May 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ More like proper thinking is required on playing with 3 axis. Which not many people have. :P
  • May 6, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ I'm pretty sure Fragile Speedster operates on speed and defense, not power. Mighty Glacier is low speed, high/medium power, high/medium defense (only requirement seems to be "slow", any power/defense combination is fair game). the rest are correct though.

    But I've noticed that Fragile Speedster does make it sound "low attack/defense makes up for how fast one can attack."

    So terrible name. Checked the examples and some people claim "Glass Cannon overlap"... except that's technically how it should be. also, nearly nothing but Zero Context Example in the games folder.

    though as Fragile Speedster is used now(due to name), this is indeed redundant.

    Fragile Speedster is supposedly "High speed, medium attack, low defense" as seen in it's PlayingWith.Fragile Speedster. If we use that definition, this is distinct.
  • May 6, 2014
    acrobox
    even if it was conceived as low defense, the way that it has been used has made it evolve into something more relevant and less limited by virtue of the examples the community has added over time.

    It's become about an archetype, not a specific stat distribution.

    I still think if we try to do the three axis you're going to have to scrap all of them and start from scratch.

    Doing them in pairs of foils how its laid out in Competitive Balance keeps it together.
  • May 6, 2014
    acrobox
    / the Plaing with definition includes shows that fragile speedster, in its base form is: " can move fast, but lacks resistance and has the strength of the Jack of All Stats. "

    but all the different versions of it include "moves in a blur, but can barely even put a scratch on her enemies" and can "use her momentum to pierce through enemies' defenses. " and Inverted: Mighty Glacier.

    Power can fluctuate, Fragile Speedster already includes Forceless Speedster by virtue of Tropes Are Flexible and is meant to be a direct foil to Mighty Glacier
  • May 6, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    There are numerous ways the tropes could be laid out. The definition of Fragile Speedster, however, is not the inverse of Mighty Glacier.

    Usage needs proving via Wick Check.
  • May 6, 2014
    shiro_okami
    That's it. I'm getting the dictionary.

    fragile
    1. able to be broken easily
    2. in a weakened physical state
    3. delicate; light
    4. slight; tenuous
    synonyms: delicate, brittle, frail

    According to the definition, "fragile" does mean weakness, but a specific kind of weakness, partitcularly that of a weak body/form/constitution (as in defense). Of the seven definitions listed on dictionary.com (4 of them I listed above), only one makes any mention of lack of force. Furthermore, lack of strength/power is neither part of the popular definition nor a popularly understanding or inferred meaning of the word "fragile", which is what really matters. If the trope definition is being changed to include a low attack power aspect, the trope name should be changed.

    Now, we can change the trope name to something like Weak Speedster and finally make it a true inverse of Mighty Glacier, or all the descriptions must be changed in order to mean the same thing. Has anyone done a Wick Check yet? Is it time to start a TRS thread?
  • May 6, 2014
    DAN004
    If it's brought to trs, I'd suggest that it needs a little soft split to specify which compartment was weak.
  • July 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Well?
  • July 3, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Rev Runner of the Loonatics Unleashed took out two Mecha Mooks by running in rapid circles around them while wielding an impact wrench. In just a few seconds, every single bolt in their mechanized bodies fell out, followed by their bodies collapsing into a junk pile.
  • July 3, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Just so we're clear, everyone knows that realistically Super Speed would put a lot of force behind a punch. i.e. Quicksilver's big scene in X Men Days Of Future Past
  • July 3, 2014
    acrobox

    I'm on it. about to do a wick check.

    I'm pretty sure that Fragile Speedster already covers this by virtue of being the appointed foil to Mighty Glacier, and most people use it as such too.

    You really only need to make minor tweaks to the Fragile Speedster page IMHO.
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ agree.
  • July 4, 2014
    acrobox
    Quick findings:

    Did a 53 count wick check.

    39 cases indicated Fragile Speedster is a broad enough trope to cover Forceless Speedster. New trope unnecesary.

    13 cases indicated Fragile Speedster was specifically low defense. Creating a Forceless Speedster as a separate trope is fine.

    1 I couldn't make sense of.

    I'll post the full write up in the Fragile Speedster Discussion tab.

    Feel free to run your own check.

  • July 4, 2014
    NemuruMaeNi
    This ykttw would look prety bad compared to existing tropes (at least some of them). Descriptions having poor standards backfires.

    I. You can recognize a pattern in consistent, repeating action bits, like: he hits often or he hits occasionally; he favors very precise strikes; he shrugs off most of the incoming damage attempts; he disables an opponent first and only then delivers blows; he never aims, instead sprays; he can only down a mook after connecting a standard hit 300 times, while his colleagues take nine to fifteen.

    II. You can only try and fail at any objectivity when going by qualities inherently lacking a universal criteria. He is strong but poorly defended ("strong"? "poorly"?); he moves fast, but his attack would do little damage (faster than what? little damage to whom?); he is heavy and loud (betcha he wouldn't last on our local bazaar regardless).

    You can't properly have a pattern behind a list of criteria-less character traits, if there isn't something solid to translate from (kind of paragraph I material). This ykttw is about being definitely fast and definitely weak. Yeah, that'll float all the way down the sewers just fine. (Unless no one is ever again allowed to have doubts.)
  • July 4, 2014
    shiro_okami
    Just so we're clear, everyone knows that realistically Super Speed would put a lot of force behind a punch. i.e. Quicksilver's big scene in X Men Days Of Future Past.

    Yeah, I know force = mass x acceleration, but the idea these characters would pack a bigger punch if their strength matched their speed. Besides, Strengthless Speedster doesn't sound like a good name and Weak Speedster is too vague.

    You really only need to make minor tweaks to the Fragile Speedster page IMHO.

    The description, or even the examples, are not the problem. The problem is the name which specifically refers to one type of weakness, and trope names take work to change, and also influence how the trope is used/misused.

    @ acrobox: Thanks for the Wick Check.
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Try TR Sing it.
  • July 4, 2014
    shiro_okami
    I tried starting a new discussion in TRS, but when I hit the "Save" button the next page says "You cannot start new threads until X:XX time". Does this mean that the discussion was saved and is just waiting to be reviewed by the mods, or does it mean that I need to retype the first post all over again later?
  • July 4, 2014
    acrobox
    So then now the issue is, do we change the name of Fragile Speedster? Am I right?
  • July 4, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ it means you'll have to retype it.

    ^ unclear. That's a trs decision, not a ykttw decision.
  • July 4, 2014
    acrobox
    So then, discard this ykttw?
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not yet. That trs will likely need to link to this ykttw.
  • July 4, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ you can link to a discarded YKTTW you know...

    discarded =/= deleted. it's still there, only findable to the person who discarded it.
  • July 4, 2014
    SpiderRider3
    Western Animation
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ "only findable to the person who discarded it."

    That's why I said don't discard it...
  • July 4, 2014
    shiro_okami
    it means you'll have to retype it.

    Darn, that post was rather long. I wish the the site would tell you that you can't start a new thread before it sends you to the page to make one, rather than afterwards.

    EDIT: TRS thread started, now waiting for it to be opened by mods.
  • July 4, 2014
    MrL1193
    By the way, you can still find discarded YKTT Ws in the launch list.
  • July 4, 2014
    acrobox
    so...
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
    Started? Where?
  • July 5, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Mr L 1193

    not older ones.
  • July 5, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    First: the thread was closed

    Second: acrobox's wick check does not show the trope being used for low defense very often.

    Third: Shimaspawn's reason for closing is that attack power is not relevant to Fragile Speedster. Misuse would be in the form of a wick check that tested for (1) high speed and (2) low defense. According to acrobox, 19/53 are about low defense.

    Fourth: a redefinition to make Fragile Speedster about any fast character (except for Lightning Bruiser, or maybe covered as a subtrope) would still require TRS consensus.

    Link: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1404524346094009200&page=0

  • July 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ So...?

    Can we still have this or not?

    I guess Ask The Tropers is the place to go.
  • July 5, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    So shimaspawn basically said we won't have (low offense low defense high speed) and (high offense low defense high speed), which doesn't answer having a trope about (low offense high speed).
  • July 5, 2014
    DAN004
    All this cuz of Glass Cannon and Stone Wall (and Lightning Bruiser) and ppl trying to mix them with MG and FS. :P

    Anyways your first bracket is Fragile Speedster and the second is Paper Ram. Assuming we still have that.
  • July 6, 2014
    shiro_okami
    Maybe I should have asked to make the trope more restrictive so that there would be no split, only low offense, low defense, and high speed, and cut the examples that don't fit, but its too late now.
  • Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=s6gpa10ahn0sph6usge1o7fv