->''"They know the science of war... but not the art!"''
-->-- '''[[OurElvesAreBetter Eldar Warlock]]''', ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar II''

This is a character who takes delight in the elegance of war. At the one on one level it results in the preference for beautiful weapons and elegant tactics. Or it can result in a character who uses planning when GoodOldFisticuffs would have a greater chance of ensuring victory. Not necessarily incompatible with CombatPragmatist, though it can verge on CombatSadomasochist when taken too far.

Goes well with WarriorPoet and BloodKnight and may sometimes overlap. The sister trope is ShowyInvincibleHero, when heroes care more about being badass rather than elegant. Many [[TheFightingNarcissist Fighting Narcissists]] play at being this.

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!!Examples:

* [[Franchise/StarWars Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus]].
* The Operative in ''[[Series/{{Firefly}} Serenity]]'', especially compared to Mal. Also Atherton Wing. Though he's less formidable than the Operative, he did kill a dozen men in duels and has a great love of swords.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Rose cares so much about elegence in fighting that he objects when he's helped out of rubble because it ruined his attempt to artistically escape it.
** Played with in the case of Yumichika who abhors ugliness but who defines beautiful combat by the BloodKnight style of the 11th division. Turns out he's hiding his true combat style because it's not what 11th division allows.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'':
** Admiral Pellaeon: he has long been tired of the act of war itself, but loves tactics for their own sake. Matching wits with an equally skilled opponent and so on.
** Grand Admiral Thrawn, too, was a big fan of strategy and elegance. In fact, his last words, after being successfully assassinated, were: "But... it was so artistically done." He even appreciated being on the ''receiving'' end of war.
* Martin van Creveld wrote an entire book on the subject called ''The Culture of War''.
* Vega of ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' fame: the only thing he loves more than fighting (in his trademark flamboyant style), in fact, is [[TheFightingNarcissist himself]].
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', champions of Slaanesh tend to exemplify this trope. Their sense of aesthetics gets more and more bizarre as they progress.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** This is essentially one of the Eldar's [[PlanetOfHats hats]].
** Plus [[MeaningfulName Lucius The Eternal]], who fights all the more furiously against worthy opponents, but goes into apathetic ennui against unskilled enemies. Also, a lot of the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Dark Eldar]] now embody this even more than their "[[BlueAndOrangeMorality good]]" cousins, with a lot of the troops competing to get the most elegant/spectacular/daring/hilarious kills.
** There's also an alien race, mentioned in the fluff, that lives by HollywoodTactics and measure success and victory in battle by how cool they were able to make the battle look, not if they succeeded at any tactical or strategic goals. This makes them infuriatingly annoying to fight, and unfortunately they have some very flashy technology that will kill you just as dead as any other species' weapons (just in a more flashy way).
** The Viskeons were a ProudWarriorRace who delighted in the intricacies of hand-to-hand combat and individual duels, [[HonorBeforeReason to the point where they held ranged weapons in disdain and refrained from using them]]. Eldrad Ulthran guided a Tyranid hive fleet into the Viskeon's planet to protect an Eldar maiden world. Against the ravenous and incalculable hordes of Tyranid monsters, [[CurbStompBattle they didn't last a single night]].
* In ''Manga/VinlandSaga'', Askeladd bemoans how no-one these days has any notion of beauty in fighting, everyone just screams and charges wildly. This attitude does not stop him from being a brutally effective fighter.
* Treize Khushrenada of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing''. He goes so far as to betray his benefactors (even when their forces on the verge of winning) simply because they want to use computer-controlled Mobile Suits in place of human pilots, which Treize believes ruins the beauty of warfare and turns it into a "game" played by anyone rich enough to afford their own army, with the innocents caught in the middle suffering.
* Lotton the Wizard from ''Manga/BlackLagoon''. Laughable in this case as all he is actually good at is making an entrance; though to be fair, it is never shown if he is a decent shot because he's yet to get one off.
* Michael Westen in ''Series/BurnNotice'' fights with a concern for elegance. He is also a CombatPragmatist.
* The Sword Monks of ''Literature/TheScavengerTrilogy'' devote their lives to combat asthetics. They raise fighting to a form of sculpture -- an artwork carved in time, position and flesh.
* ''Manga/SoulEater'''s Death the Kid has slight elements of this due to his OCD-like obsession with symmetry. It's the reason why his weapon partners are the Thompson sisters; there are two of them, and they transform into identical guns, allowing him to fight with symmetrical weaponry. When one of the sisters is incapacitated, he refuses to use the other on her own for that reason.
* In ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', many characters would wear this description with pride, but the Big Bad, The Major more than the others. His love for war surpasses any loyalty he might have ever had for Nazi ideals, his desire to create it is his sole motivation in life, and he extolls his immortal amore for every facet of conflict with greater poetic fanaticism than the most radical religious zealot.
* Miho from ''ComicBook/SinCity'' uses a lot of leaps and slashes, going through various ninja weapons in the process. Considering she's usually fighting random mob {{Mooks}}, it seems a little much.
* [[HornyDevils Nifilhema]] in ''{{Lusternia}}''. It's a package deal of CombatAestheticist, TortureTechnician, CombatSadomasochist and MadArtist: she spends most of her time devising tortures as unnecessarily intricate and harrowing as possible, for the sheer artistry of it. Her followers are much the same way, killing their enemies with as much style and finesse as possible.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The Minbari are this. They have elaborate rituals around combat as around everything else, and their warships are the most pretty.
** Londo Mollari is an ''intrigue'' aestheticist. For instance he goes out of his way to [[spoiler:assassinate Emperor Cartagia with a jeweled hyperdermic needle]]. He appears not to be alone about this: Apparently Centauri have as loving a care for their poisons as humans have for swords.
* The ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' series is all about killing demons with maximum style. Both Dante and ''the player'' are expected to be Combat Aestheticists.
* Pretty much Zhang He's personality in ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'', although in ''7'' it's somewhat tempered with seriousness later when [[spoiler:Xiahou Yuan is killed during the fighting at Mount Dingjun]].
* Most folk in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' are [[CombatPragmatist too practical]] for that. But their warship AI Tagioalisi is [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2012-03-10 a bit]] like [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2012-08-05 this]]. Also, has [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2012-04-11 poetic moods]].
* In ''VideoGame/VegaStrike'', judging by [[DialogueTree communication lines]], for all their differences both Rlaan ("Hulls pop like vibrant seeds. Splashing photons in a void. I am sticky.") and Aera ("A superior display -- may we both be remembered...") have such trends.
* Sani, one of the Four Heavenly Kings from ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'' espouses this philosophy. While most others search for rare ingredients because they're delicious, he's only interested in those that enhance beauty. He frequently tries to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] the 'JustInTime' trope (generally failing) because he thinks swooping in to the rescue in the nick of time is 'beautiful'. At one point, he refuses to sample a legendary ingredient simply because its sheer deliciousness causes anyone who tastes it to break out in a huge, inelegant smile.
* HK-47 of ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' at times expresses sentiments like this, most explicitly at one point in the sequel where he outright calls his assassinations art. In context, this is a positive aspect, as HK-47's art tastes runs towards the minimalistic -- he prefers clean, efficient kills that limits collateral damage (he is happy to have ''groups'' as targets, of course. He ''is'' still a [[RoboticPsychopath murderous robotic psychopath]]). This is contrasted with his HK-50 knock-offs, who goes out of their way to kill as many people as they can without jeopardizing the mission (at one point, one of them even rejects the term assassination droid in favour of calling his function ''wanton slaughter'').
* [[TheGrimReaper Mata]][[DashingHispanic dor]], the living embodiment of beautiful killing, in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei''.

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