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The patient warrior who waits until their opponent commits to an attack will be rewarded with a good opportunity to smack the other guy, hard. This is the principle behind counter attacks in games and other types of fiction. Often, in exchange for the cost in tactical opportunities (and need for good timing), these attacks will be significantly more powerful than normal attacks, sometimes to the point of being {{One Hit Kill}}s.

See also ActionCommands and CrossCounter. Some counter attacks require the user to [[TakingYouWithMe not care about surviving the attack being countered]]. However some attacks, like the UnblockableAttack, can't be countered, only evaded. May lead to DeathOrGloryAttack if used to (try and) stop a particularly strong move. May also result in AwesomeButImpractical if the timing is too strict. Characters built around this may become DifficultButAwesome.

A necessary strategy for defeating any TennisBoss.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', Negi does this against [[BoisterousBruiser Rakan]], absorbing his attack then sending it back along with his own lightning spear in a convoluted yet [[Awesome/MahouSenseiNegima awesome]] fight scene. [[spoiler:Although it still wasn't enough to take the lunkhead down.]]
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Sensui's entire close combat fighting style revolves around this, deflecting the enemy's punches and kicks with his arms, then while their guard is down, counters back with a kick. This fighting style allows him to completely demolish Yusuke, a physically much more powerful and very skilled fighter, effortlessly during their first encounter.
* RumikoTakahashi seems fond of giving these to her male protagonists. Manga/InuYasha uses the devastating Backlash Wave technique which requires an attack of significant strength to be thrown at him first. Manga/{{Ranma|OneHalf}}'s Hiryuu Shoten Ha technique goes a step farther than most techniques in fiction and requires a psychological component: to use this counter, Ranma must maintain a state of mind with no aggressive intent while his opponent or opponents must be attacking with aggressive intent. The Hiryuu Shoten Ha works on a yin and yang mechanic where two battle auras meet like bodies of cold and hot air to form a tornado. When properly employed the blast of energy can send multiple opponents at their full strength into [[HomeRunHitter lower Earth orbit]].
** Most of the techniques of the Fist of a Thousand Seas (Umisenken) are devised precisely to counteract, or complement, those of the Fist of a Thousand Mountains (Yamasenken). Notable in that Genma, [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass of all people, is the creator of both of these supremely powerful schools]].
* [[CrazyAwesome Seigfried's]] Of Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple entire fighting style consists of him transferring energy back towards his opponents by [[EverythingsBetterWithSpinning spinning.]] He also waits until the last moment possible to jump back, and make it appear like his opponent is hitting him, while he's really not, creates the illusion of him being invincible.
* Series thick with {{Sword Fight}}s don't hesitate to use these frequently, although they are rarely named. ''LeChevalierDEon'' is rife with ripostes, notably at the climax of D'Eon's first fight channelling Lia and Durand's first match with Tiellagory. Served Durand right for [[NiceHat messing with Tiellagory's hat]].
* Vega Obscura, the pilot of the Berserk Fury in ''ZoidsNewCentury'', is shown to fight this way. When he gets knocked out while fighting Bit and the Liger Zero in the final episode, the Berserk Fury itself takes over and begins fighting more aggressively, leading to its eventual defeat.
* ''BakiTheGrappler'' has Kaku Kaioh who can absorb punch from the world's strongest man and send the power of that attack back.
* In ''GGundam'', Domon devises new attacks specifically to counter the {{Finishing Move}}s of the FiveManBand; the [[DoppelgangerAttack God Shadow]] creates afterimages which catch Chibodee's [[RapidFireFisticuffs Machine Gun Punch]] and the [[EverythingsBetterWithSpinning God Slash Typhoon]] cuts down George's [[AttackDrone Rose Hurricane]]. The God Field Dash doesn't specifically counter Argo's [[DishingOutDirt Gaia Crusher]], but Domon uses it to put extra stress on the Bolt Gundam's knees, which were already strained by the move.
* Early in ''{{Kinnikuman}}'', the titular hero faces off against Jesse Maivia, master of reversing enemies' moves against them. Unfortunately for him, [[CripplingOverspecialization by relying on his move reversals so much, Jesse did not have any techniques of his own]]. Kinnikuman took advantage of this by doing nothing and then using Jesse's confusion as an opening to perform a move that Jesse had no way of countering.
* FragileSpeedster Miyata's entire boxing strategy is based around using counterattacks to use his opponent's strength against him. Of course, with even the slightest miscalculation his counterattack will lead to a CrossCounter that will probably not fare well for him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* This forms the basis of Ryunosuke Tsukue's fighting style in ''Film/TheSwordofDoom'', most easily seen in his fight with Bunnojo. Both the cruel nature of the style and its reactionary nature are implied to be caused by or a cause of Ryunosuke's evil but listless personality.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Literature}}]]
* One piece of Sky Masters tech introduced in the DaleBrown book ''Rogue Forces'' is a system that allows a plane to blow up incoming missiles with FrickinLaserBeams, then attempt to fry the missile-launcher as well.
* In the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, there is a [[LaserBlade lightsaber]] style called Soresu which revolves around waiting for an enemy to make a mistake...or simply get tired.
** It should be mentioned that Obi-Wan Kenobi is a master of this lightsaber style, which made him the council's top choice for the mission to hunt down and defeat [[SpamAttack General Grievous]] in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Roleplay]]
* ''Roleplay/DestroyTheGodmodder'': counter attacks are the only feasible way to block player-directed attacks.
** The godmodder's primary form of retaliation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/FengShui'''s Path of the Healthy Tiger is built upon [=counterattack=]s. The second power on the list, Tiger Stance, activates when you take damage from a martial arts attack, and Unyielding Tiger Stance, the next one down, requires only that you get attacked with a martial arts attack, and in both cases allows you to make a free martial arts attack on the opponent out of sequence. Most characters who are serious about Tiger style take the full three-schtick Tiger package which includes both major powers.
* ''{{Exalted}}'' has a whole slew of combat charms that grant one or more lightning-fast counterattacks. The stronger ones often combine the simple counterattack with a particularly nasty bonus effect.
** Ready in Eight Directions Stance is particularly ridiculous, since it allows you an automatic counterattack at ''every attack aimed at you'' for 4-6 seconds. When combined with a perfect defence, attacking a Solar with this Charm active is rather like sticking your hand in a wood chipper.
** The Shard Burn Legend, a love letter to ''Franchise/StreetFighter'', ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' and ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'', has a number of Defensive Techniques that are non-events if the enemy doesn't attack. Of note is the Tennin technique Bridge of the Resilient Cat, which allows the user to counter ''bullets'' by striking their trajectories.
* ''MageKnight'', in its second iteration, had a Counterattack special ability, though it was activated by the initial attack missing. It was frequently paired with the Parry ability, which gave the defender a better chance of being missed by a melee attack (and thus triggering the Counterattack).
* D&D Minis had a Riposte ability, which did allow the target to make a Counterattack prior to the initial attacker's attack. When two critters with Riposte were fighting each other... it got ugly. And confusing.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3.5 has the feast Karmic Strike and Robilar's Gambit, used to great effect in the famous "Jack B Quick" build, which hit back up to 6 times for every hit it received. Fighters can also take a "Counterattack" alternate class feature.
* ''{{GURPS}}: Martial Arts'' telescopes most varieties of counterattack into a single difficult to pull off technique. There are also rules for trying a riposte or a stop hit.
* A few characters in ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'' have counter attacks that trigger when they get hit by a target. However, these are not optional: If a hero hits themselves and they have their coutner in play, it triggers and they hit themselves again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/FableII'' has these as a buyable ability although the timing can be tricky.
* Found in too many fighting games to count. Many fighting games will have 'Counter' appear if you land your attack while the opponent is attempting their own. Some even give boosts.
** A lot of fighting games feature an ability that lends itself to swift counterattacks -- parrying. In the ones that have it, you typically parry an attack by either pressing a button or pressing the joystick forward the exact moment the attack would hit you, and you'll negate the damage. Projectile-based super attacks and other multi-hit moves may have to be parried multiple times in a row, as showcased by insanely-skilled ''Street Fighter 3'' player Daigo Umehara in his CrowningMomentOfAwesome against Justin Wong at EVO 2004.
** Carefully timed dodges, blocks, counters, and reversals are the core of ''VideoGame/{{Lugaru}}''[='s=] one-button fighting system.
* ''BloodlineChampions'' has a multitude of abilities that do this.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Immaterial and Missing Power]]'' gives a knockback boost which can lead to (stronger) wallslams and (stronger) groundslams, a lot of juggle points, and the inability to tech when a counter on anything stronger than a poke lands. This allows for some massive aerial combo strings if you're good enough. The sequel, on the other hand, had counters [[HomeRunHitter launch the opponent 50 feet in the appropriate direction.]]
** In addition, Sakuya has an attack that automatically counters melee attacks, but leaves her vulnerable to projectiles, Iku has an attack that reflects projectiles, and Youmu has ''both''.
** In the main games, deathbombing/Final Spells can be seen as this.
* The ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series is replete with examples:
** The moves "Counter" and "Mirror Coat" return twice the damage incurred from physical or special attacks, respectively. "Metal Burst" can counter either type of attack (but with a 50% increase in power), and "Bide" makes the user to wait two turns before countering all the damage received during that time.
** "Endeavor" reduces the opponent to the same HP as the user, while "Destiny Bond" causes the opponent to faint [[TakingYouWithMe if the user was KO during the same turn]].
** Wynaut and Wobbuffet are built ''entirely'' around counterattacks, their repertiores consisting of the aforementioned Counter, Mirror Coat, and Destiny Bond.
** The move "Sucker Punch" is unusual in that it hits hard and strikes first, but only if the opponent was readying a damage-dealing attack on the same turn. Likewise, the move "Me First" can mimic the opponent's move with stronger power, but only when the user is fast enough to act first.
** Two moves, Revenge and Avalanche are moves that double in power if the user takes damage first. The move Payback is actually an aversion rather than an inversion: it doubles in power if the opponent moves first, ''regardless of whether damage was dealt''.
** Inverted by the move Focus Punch, which is a powerful move but always goes last and fails if countered (i.e. the user gets hit on the same turn).
* Also common in the recent ''Zelda'' games. In addition to frequent use of the sword or shield to [[PlayingTennisWithTheBoss reflect enemy projectile attacks]], ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' have melee counters. The "Mortal Draw" in ''Twilight Princess'' is especially risky as Link must have his sword and shield put away to use it, though it's [[OneHitKill still worth using despite that]].
** Many tough enemies are almost impossible to harm when they aren't trying to hit you, as well. Especially Darknuts.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' outright added a parrying ability, used by shaking the nunchuck for Link to thrust his shield forward. Learning to parry attacks is worth it, since timing it right can stun enemies or knock their projectiles right back at them, and it doesn't [[BreakableWeapons wear down your shield's durability]].
*** [[spoiler: Mastering the Shield Bash's parrying ability is also just about the ONLY way to survive the final boss fight's first stage without a ton of healing and damage reduction potions; just attacking outright will take him down eventually, but you'll lose nearly all your hearts to his counter attacks in the process, while LINK's counter attack strategy can prevent the boss from ever regaining the initiative until he gets serious for the second stage.]]
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' uses counterattacks to make up most of its fencing system. Alta´r only shoves away foes when countering a grapple, but countering foes' weapon strikes are [[OneHitKill instantly fatal]]. This is the best way to depopulate the city guards of the Holy Land given the [[MookChivalry kindness of the guardsmen in generously waiting their turns to attack you one at a time]].
** There are times when countering with either sword only knocks an opponent back unless it's followed up by another button press at the correct moment. The Hidden Blade will always be fatal on the counter attack, though. As for waiting for the guards... the more skilled professional soldiers will gladly let you sit back -- and then guard break your weapon and beat the hell out of you.
** In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', the tougher enemies (correlating to how much armor they wear) have a different animation when a counterattack isn't lethal and can even counterattack ''you'' (albeit without damage), but counters remain the best technique to kill everything. The Brutes (wielding axes or bastard swords) and Seekers (wielding polearms) cannot be countered by the longsword/mace/hammer (shared weapon slot) or the short blade, but ''can'' be countered by said axes, bastard swords, polearms, the Hidden Blade, or disarmed (as a well-timed "counter attack" with your Fists) when using your hands -- at which point you can [[HoistByHisOwnPetard kill them with their own weapon]], or just time your side step/dodge and you're be instantly behind your enemy, at which point any weapon is lethal.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' is supposed to encourage taking the initiative and attacking first, as the developers felt that the effectiveness of counter kills led to time-consuming encounters due to this encouraging defensive play ''especially'' since you could now block with the Hidden Blade equipped. Part of the changes to the combat system is Executions, which allow Ezio to chain {{One Hit Kill}}s after killing an enemy normally. In practice, a counter is still a perfectly legitimate means of getting that first kill. Also, aggressive countering - staying on the attack and tapping the block button to counter the wiseguy trying to interfere - as opposed to defensive countering - holding the block and waiting for enemies to strike - is now the way to go.
* Connor, the protagonist of ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' can counter two attacks at the same time, a la ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity''.
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'' uses this heavily. Beware, however, since some sand creatures are capable of countering the Prince's counter. Luckily, the Prince can counter the counter of his counter, which can itsef be countered, and so on and so forth. Successfully countering a sand creature knocks them down and leaves them open to be Retrieved.
** Also used in the sequels ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaWarriorWithin'' and ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheTwoThrones''. The effects of successfully countering an opponent change because of the Free Form Fighting system, but they will always give the Prince an advantage.
** Timing a block correctly in ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'' leaves an enemy open to attack.
** The most common fighting tactic in ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia1'' is to wait for the opponent to attack, then defend and counter the attack. One of the enemies actually utilizes this tactic himself, and will not attack until the prince attacks him first.
* In ''VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures: On The Rain-Slicked Precipe Of Darkness, Episode 1'', Counter Attacks results when you get 'perfect timing' on a block-trigger. Completely nullifies damage, and hits the opponent with a basic attack instead. In the X360 version, there's even an achievement for winning a battle using nothing but counter-attacks.
* In ''{{Achaea}}'', the Monk-class has access to the mother of all counters. Once you activate it, the next person to hit you is [[OneHitKill insta-killed]], with a very nice description that involves [[PowerFloats hovering]], GlowingEyesOfDoom, and EyeBeams.
* The most common form of this in the ''Franchise/TalesSeries'' is the Pow Revenge skill, which provides a chance for the user to automatically toss a Pow Hammer at the assailant whenever they get hit.
** Perhaps the best known villainous user of this in the series is [[VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny Barbatos Goetia]], whose fighting style in his first appearance revolves heavily around counterattacks that are performed in response to certain common actions, such as using magic, standing behind him, and running away from him. The one counterattack he retains in all of his appearances is performed in response to item usage, and is generally potent enough to discourage one from using items at all.
*** He also has a more mundane counterattack that's performed shortly after being struck in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2''. Your characters can counter this counter with the Guard Strike ability, which in turn triggers another counter from him, which can result in silliness like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFT2Z7N3UGw&list=PLC6399A12C710926A&index=25&feature=plpp_video this]].
** In addition to Pow Revenge, ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' has the Guardial Artes skill, which allows multiple characters to use artes immediately after guarding an attack. There's also Raven with his Counter Arrow skill, and Rita with her Counter Spell skill, both of which can be used whenever they stagger from a hit.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'', multiple characters have moves of this nature.
** In Melee, Peach, Marth, and Roy have these, though the last of the three is most noteworthy, due to his counter's strength being based on how much damage the countered move would've caused. There's also Mr. Game and Watch, who after catching three projectiles with his Oil Panic special can unleash their combined destructive force in a single attack.
** Brawl replaces Roy with Ike, whose counter functions in the same fashion. Marth's counter was upgraded to function similarly, but isn't as strong, due it triggering faster. It also adds Lucario, whose Double Team counter can become an extremely powerful KO move if he's at a high damage percentage, but is less reliable due to its physics.
* Also common in console {{RPG}}s. ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' had two accessories, the [=RageBand=] and the [=FuryBand=], that would give the equipped characters a 50% and 70% chance to counter any attack that targeted them, and the DS UpdatedRerelease adds a few more. In this case, to 'counter' meant to slap the foe with a normal attack after they had already damaged you. Fortunately, the game had a broad definition of 'attacks' in this context; the final boss would ocassionally change the [[AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield Amazing Technicolor Background]], and while this did no damage, it could still provoke attacks from characters equipped with these items. Apparently, wearing these headands made people very critical of others' tastes in interior decorating.
** They also let you counter other non-attack moves, such as the Black Tyranno's roars during its countdown. Turns out these headbands also cause loud noises to enrage the wearer. ([[DontExplainTheJoke Technically, the roar inflicts Sap, which is considered an attack by the game.]])
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' and its many derivatives often use this trope, usually with the Monk class if there is one:
** The Monk class in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'''s DS version has the "Retaliate" ability which causes the monk to counterattack with double his normal attack damage every time he is hit with a physical attack that turn.
** The DS remake of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' has items that teach abilities with one being a counter ability.
** The Monk job in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' comes with a Counter ability, which gives a (fairly high) random chance for the character to respond to any physical attack that hits them with one of their own. Giving this ability to characters in other jobs (or in the Bare or Mimic jobs, each of which automatically give the character all non-command abilities from classes they have mastered) allows this ability to be effectively combined with other useful combat abilities, such as [[DualWielding 2-Swords]].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', Cyan's second [=SwordTech=] ability, Retort, causes him to respond to the next physical attack with one of his own. This ability is the final trigger for the [[GoodBadBugs Psycho Cyan glitch.]], the short version of it being that it causes Cyan to consider his own counter attacks as an attack from the enemy, leading to an endless loop that won't end until every enemy is dead.
*** Retort actually responds to any physical attacks between when it's activated and when Cyan's ATB bar fills up again, allowing him to counter multiple moves if he's attacked more than once. Considering the fact that Cyan is the MightyGlacier, this can be an effective way of getting him to hit powerfully multiple times in a single turn if the enemy keeps attacking him.
*** Shadow also randomly blocks certain physical attacks and counters with his dog Interceptor.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', certain [[PowersAsPrograms materia]], when equipped, enable counter-attacks. The Counter Attack materia does [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as it says]]: every time the character is struck with a physical attack, s/he has a 10%-50% chance (depending on the level of the materia) to hit the attacker right back with a physical attack. If the enemy's physical attack is part of a multi-hit combo, s/he can potentially counter each blow. Additionally, multiple Counter Attack materia can be equipped onto a single character, allowing him/her to [[DisproportionateRetribution counter every physical blow multiple times]].\\
\\
There was also Counter materia you could link to another materia, so you'd counter with a specific spell or command. If used right, multiple pairs of Counter Command + Mime can have you counter attack with a LimitBreak equal to how many pairs you have equipped! Even up to 8 [[SpamAttack Omni]][[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown Slashes]] [[GameBreaker can be done in a single turn this way]]. Though the materias in question are one of a kind and you need a lot of LevelGrinding to get multiple copies of them.
*** Possibly unique variant in AdventChildren; in the penultimate battle between [[TheDragon Kadaj]] and [[TheHero Cloud]], Kadaj (as the [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome battle music goes into the middle eight]]) [[DesperationAttack leaps at Cloud]], and Cloud uses the LimitBreak [[SingleStrokeBattle Finishing Touch]] to hit him in mid-leap, which sends Kadaj flying across the the battlefield, prompting Kadaj to have his [[OneWingedAngel "reunion"]]...
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' lets characters equip weapons with various perks, including Counter (which triggers when hit with physical attacks), Evade&Counter (which triggers upon dodging physical attacks, AND increases the character's evasion rate), and Magic Counter (which triggers when hit with magic attacks, but the character counters with a physical attack).
*** These can be combined with [[OneHitKO Deathstrike]] to make fiends commit SuicideByCop.
** The Monk class in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has a Counter trait, which cancels an enemy attack and has you use an attack of your own. There's even an ability that boosts this counter rate, but it also removes most of your defense, so most of the time using the ability is paramount to suicide. Warriors also have a countering move, but it requires them to actually take damage before hitting back.
** The first bosses of ''IV'' (Mist Dragon), ''V'' (Wing Raptor), ''VI'' (Whelk) and ''VII'' (Guard Scorpion). They have two phases, one of which is a defensive state that will counter with a strong attack if you hit them.
** [[StoneWall Sentinels]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' have the abilities Vendetta (endure damage for a set amount of time and deliver a powerful counter afterwards), Entrench (similar, but trades a weaker counterattack for being in guard state the whole time) and can learn a passive ability which lets them auto-counter after dodging at an attack. In fact, counters are their only method of dealing damage at all.
** ''FinalFantasyTactics'' has a number of counter-attacks, one of the most useful being Hamedo. A guy goes to hit you, and you hit him first...''hard''. (Sometimes enough to kill him. You can actually survive a surprise attack while at near-death by virtue of the fact that he never actually landed his blow before you countered). Unfortunately it only works against humans and even then only physical attacks, making it of dubious usefulness at best.
** FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance also has several variations: Counter, which works against all physical attacks whether they hit or not; Bonecrusher (commonly considered the most useful), which deals 50% more damage than Counter but requires that the attack hits and Strike Back which lets you evade and counter but only against basic attacks. There is also a version for spells too (called "return magic") which hits the enemy with the spell they just used on you, but only if you have the mana. And against enemies like the flans which are healed by the element they use, this can backfire badly.
*** The same applies to FinalFantasyTacticsA2, with Bonecrusher keeping its crown.
** In ''DissidiaFinalFantasy'', [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV Exdeath's]] move set is built around countering and [[BarrierWarrior blocking]], while Tidus's distinguishing feature is his reliance on DeadlyDodging. Though these two characters are built around the concept of counter-attacking, many other characters dabble in it: [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI Warrior of Light]]'s Shield of Light, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyII Firion]]'s Shield Bash, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII Cloud of Darkness]]'s [Wrath] Particle Beam, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Sephiroth]]'s Scintilla, and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII Vaan]]'s (switch) Sword & Shield are all block-and-counter moves, while the Cloud of Darkness, Prishe, and Vaan have a couple dodge-and-counter moves.
* VideoGame/SuperRobotWars has a Counter skill, but it works differently, seeing as the defender makes an attack anyways (as long as it can). This variation makes the unit that Counters go first.
** In VideoGame/SuperRobotWars in general, every attack done leave the attacker open for a counterattack. In fact, sending a powerful robot alone among an army of weak mooks will allow you to defeat them much faster that if you attacked them one by one. On the other hand, when facing more powerful foes, you will start to realise that if you don't finish your opponent, it would be wise to outrange them, be able to avoid their counter attack or repair the damage afterward.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'', the Kid has the ability to counter enemy attacks with the the shield. However, to counter attacks and not merely deflect them, the shield must be drawn the moment before the attack lands. If the timing is right, the attack will be reflected back to the attacker ForMassiveDamage.
* LiveALive has Loads And Loads Of Counters, both on the PlayerCharacter and enemy side. Cube, the robot, even has a counter that heals itself and nearby allies.
* MetalGearSolid4 introduces this for the first time in the series, letting Snake return fire if he gets knocked onto his back. There's something very satisfying about reclining comfortably while blowing messy holes in the person that put you in that position to begin with.
* VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance has one happen if the player does a well timed parry, called a Parry Counter. This does as much damage as a combo and often makes battles faster while minimizing damage you take. On the hardest difficulty, Revengeance, its power is multiplied by 10, allowing them to hit both mooks and bosses ForMassiveDamage. Certain enemies however, will either evade the counter or attempt to counter it. You can counter said counter, leading to some potentially long counter wars.
* Sonja in AdvanceWars somewhat specializes in counterattacks (which are automatic for all units in the game anyway, but the first strike is generally stronger as the counterattacking unit will take losses first). However, Sonja's units during her super power gain the ability to strike first on defense, and even gain a boost.
* Some abilities in VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft work as counters, although most of them require the caster to block, dodge or parry the attack first. The Parry mechanic also works like this. It prevents the attack from hitting, and causes the person who parried make their next attack faster, in a clear representation of a parry-riposte.
* ''[[RiseOfTheKasai The Mark of Kri]]'' had a counter move that only worked with your sword sheathed and caused Rau to kill the enemy with their own weapon.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' has the Superguard, an [[ActionCommands Action Command]] which negates all damage from an attack and damages the attacker for 1HP. It can also deflect some projectiles.
** Vital in the ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' series.
** VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam also has CLOTHES that automatically counter attacks afterwards (with a bolt of lightning hitting the enemy afterwards to deal out said damage). It's pretty useful on the later bosses, since their attacks do a ludicrous amount of damage anyway. And on Hard Mode, where attacks do about 7 times their usual damage to the hero (letting you get even on harder enemies without moving a muscle).
* In the ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic'' series counter-attacks are usually treated as normal attacks and deal the same damage. However some spells specifically increase the counter-attack damage, making it more potent than the regular attack as long as the spell is active.
** Some units also have special abilities for counterattacks. Griffins especially have a history of being able to counterattack multiple times and may be given abilities like dealing more and more damage with each counterattack within the same turn.
* The {{Onimusha}} series lives by this trope. Central to the combat system is the 'Issen' technique, which requires the player to hit the attack button at the precise instant before an enemy attack would connect with you, thus resulting on a one-hit kill of the opponent. When pulled off correctly, it was possible to wipe out an entire room of enemies in under 2 seconds. However Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams simplifies it so that a simple strike from the magic attack button can start off an Issen chain (though doing it the classic way nets you more souls).
* While the Royal Guard style from ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'' and ''4'' does not need perfect timing to use normally, blocking or releasing at the moment the enemy attack hits completely nullifies the damage and, in the latter case, dramatically boosts the damage dealt. This is one of the ways of pulling off the really difficult NoDamageRun and killing the hardest-difficulty bosses much faster.
** By extension, ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' also permits you to counter enemy attacks once you have the Moon of Malaa-Kalaa accessory. If you just tap the left stick towards an attack before it hits you, Bayonetta will parry it and negate the damage. The timing with this isn't very strict, since you can rapidly tap towards an attack and still parry it, but if your timing is exactly right, she'll automatically counterattack after parrying. This is the only way to get Witch Time when fighting some enemies, and it's just as difficult to time correctly as using Bat Within (pressing the dodge button the exact moment you get hit to negate the damage).
* Happens automatically for certain classes in ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}''. Some classes can perform a counter-counter, and some can counter that, and so on. This can go on for minutes at a time.
** In the [[VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories second game]], Fist weapons add on 2 extra counters and have a higher counter chance, and the Item World can add extra counters to a weapon. The Nekomata class dealt more damage when they countered. There are also Geo Blocks that give extra counters.
** The [[VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice third game]] ups the ante with the addition of multiple counterattack related abilities, the most potent of them being Lion Stance, which adds the damage taken from the countered hit to the counter. Coupling this with the Nekomata's ability to counter special attacks can result in some truly ridiculous amounts of damage (In a game where damage is ''already'' ridiculous by conventional standards).
** Gets cranked UpToEleven in the [[VideoGame/Disgaea4APromiseUnforgotten fourth game]]. There is a Geo Effect called Forever Counter that raises the number of counter attacks so high that if two characters get into a counter war while affected by it, only one them is going to come out alive if they aren't both invincible.
* All physical attacks in ''JeanneDArc'' are automatically countered, provided the attacker is in weapon range of the original target. The only exception is with the Archer class, which can't counter anything at all.
** Additionally, there are the Skill Stones ''Counter'' and ''Counter II'', which enable the target to preempt the foe's attack and cancel it with one of their own (as long as they're both within weapons' range, again). Attacking a character equipped with ''Counter II'', even with special techniques, is usually an exercise in futility.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' 3, delivering a finishing blow using a Battle Chip properly timed to be a counterattack sounded a chime and awarded Bugfrags ([[GlobalCurrencyException a second and much more valuable form of currency]]) if you went on to win the battle. If the chip can hit multiple enemies, multiple Counter Hits on multiple enemies stack.
** In 4, this was changed to be more intuitive -- any properly timed chip counterattack can award a Counter Hit regardless of whether or not it was the finishing blow, but chips which [[ColourCodedTimestop darken the screen]] are not eligible. The reward was also changed; a Counter Hit briefly paralyzes the enemy or enemies, makes your ''next'' chip attack do double damage (which is a lot more valuable than doubling the attack that scored the Counter Hit itself, since the attacks you want doubled are often hard to counter with or not even eligible), and bosses don't get the usual MercyInvincibility after a Counter Hit. However, the double damage doesn't stack with multiple Counter Hits on multiple enemies, and you lose it if you get hit before your next chip attack, plus Bugfrags became RandomDrops and therefore harder to obtain.
** The various Anti chips present throughout the series will automatically trigger a counterattack against the opponent if they attempt to attack in a particular fashion after they've been used. Anti-Damage is the most basic one, allowing Mega Man to negate the damage of an attack by using a ninja substitution technique, then throwing one or three shuriken at the the assailant depending on the game.
* The counters in ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive 4''. It's amazing how much damage some characters can do with them.
** Really, the whole series. Counter attacks are probably one of the most notable aspects of the series...besides that ''[[{{Fanservice}} other]]'' feature.
* Much like the ''JeanneDArc'' example above, ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' has automatic counterattacks as long as the attacked unit has a weapon with the proper range. Most of the damage you deal will probably be from counterattacks.
* YagyuJubei as depicted in the ''SamuraiShodown'' games. Starting from the second game onward becomes especially dangerous with the ''Yagyu Shingan-to'', a powerful Counter Attack maneuver where he parries and traps an opponent's weapon with his wakizashi, leaving the target open to an immediate strike from his katana.
* The original KingdomHearts had a move [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin literally called]] counter attack. It was only usable in the quarter of a second immediately after blocking an enemy attack.
** The second also had "Counterguard," which was more forgiving in its timing. Was also technically usable without the Guard ability (attacking at the right moment can yield the same effect), just much more unreliable/risky. Another move, "Retaliating Slash," allows Sora to strike back after a strong attack knocks him off balance.
** ''Birth by Sleep'' and ''Dream Drop Distance'' follow a similar model. Each character has access to a "counter" move after guarding successfully and a "payback" move when knocked off balance, each tailored to their fighting style.
* The key to victory in ''PunchOut'' is to dodge and counterattack. In early fights, the enemies tend to hang open for quite some time; the window rapidly closes as the game goes on. In addition, launching your own attack successfully just before the opponent does theirs deals extra damage and grants you a [[LimitBreak Star]].
* The Witch in ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' will only attack if you attack first. Protip: [[DeadlyLunge Do not]] [[OneHitKill attack her]].
** Well, if you attack her, or annoy her, or fart in her general direction...
* Guarding in the right way into an enemy's attack in ''SoulCalibur'' will Guard Break them, knocking them off balance. They can recover in time to guard break your own attack. There are also several more direct counters, when the attack is blocked and prompts a very quick attack in response. The most dramatic may be in ''Soul Calibur 3'', when the Katana and Shuriken style counters by blocking and then hitting their opponent in the face with a giant fiery shuriken.
** ''Soul Calibur 4'''s custom abilities meant you could increase the potency of this strategy; with a combination of high level Auto-Impact combined with Impact Edge and Impact Heal, the "offensive counter" strategy mentioned above works quite effectively; so equipped, the character can rush in and do their offensive moves, but with good timing they will do even MORE damage and regain health every time they parry an enemy's attempt to fight back. In the hands of a player who's really good at Guard Impacts, this can turn nearly any fight with special abilities enabled into a CurbStompBattle.
* VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum's combat system is based upon Attack and Counter-Attack, rather than the more traditional Fast and Strong attack buttons. Some of Batman's counters are wince worthy, like grabbing a thug's leg in mid kick, then giving them a kick of your own straight to the groin.
* Hakumen from ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' has several moves of this sort. His standard Drive has him retaliate with various kinds of throws, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuggahxKKmU Yukikaze]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtTgDCYdERU is a]] SingleStrokeBattle, while [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiO7eQFK0_4 Akumetsu pays awesomely transparent]] {{Homage}} to [[StreetFighter Shun Goku Satsu]].
** [[LittleBitBeastly Makoto]] [[ActionGirl Nanaya's]] Space-Counter is a command parry rather than a drive like Hakumen's. Successful use will daze the opponent, leaving them open to a direct Impact reprisal that blows through them and sends them spinning skyward. An ''Extend'' {{nerf}} prevents this from being used too rapidly in succession.
** [[LargeHam Bang]] [[HighlyVisibleNinja Shishigami's]] drive, [[HotBlooded Burning Heart]], is an interesting example. The move contains him doing a [[ElementalPunch fiery punch or kick]] which still works on its own. However, if Bang is hit before he can do his move properly, he will not only block it, but it allows Bang to teleport certain distance, either to appear behind the opponent or to cover distance.
* The Dark Step is a manuever in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' that's triggered by dodging just as you block an attack. The background goes black, and Travis can launch a series of hits on the enemy without retribution.
* With the right timing, Kratos could counterattack in the ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' games. The first required a certain level of the Blades of Chaos, while the second required the Golden Fleece to be obtained. The ability to counter is given to you from the beginning since Kratos keeps the Golden Fleece from the last game.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', the Pyro can essencially do this by reflecting projectiles with the airblasts produced by his default flamethrower. This can be particularly devastating against a critbuffed Soldier, but also works on Demomen, Snipers with the Huntsman, another Pyro's flaregun and even sentry rockets, but it's harder to pull off.
* Zafira's Iron Wall Stance in ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Battle of Aces'', which allows him to block long-ranged attacks and immdiately counter with one of his own. In addition, all characters have a generic counter attack when fighting in melee range.
* In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'', Ryu is capable of countering attacks.
** ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' has the reprisal attack which your party and the enemies are capable of doing. Peco has the highest reprisal rate and can be used as a front line tank since he has the highest HP growth.
* In ''FireEmblem'', if a melee unit attacks another melee unit or a ranged unit attacks another ranged unit, the defending character will counterattack. If the defending unit's speed is high enough, it will attack ''twice''. If the attacking unit's speed is high enough, then''it'' will counterattack after the defending unit does.
* The ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' franchise often provides skills of this nature, even outside the natural "Reflect" abilities that demons/Personas can be imbued with. They usually have names such as "Counter" (low chance,) "Counterstrike "(medium chance,) and "High Counter" (high chance.) When these skills activate, the targeted character receives zero damage and the attacker is hit back with damage ''greater'' than what would have been inflicted, which makes them essential against physical powerhouses with high defenses.
* The StreetFighter character Akuma has the Raging Demon move (aka Shun Goku Satsu or Instant Hell Murder). While it can be used as a normal attack, it is designed to counter almost any move in the games, as Akuma charges into the opponent while they are trying to attack.
* Half the moveset of [[VideoGame/ArtOfFighting Ryuhaku Todoh]] and [[FatalFury Geese Howard]] revolve around this. [[{{Engrish}} "PUREDIKUTABU!"]]
** Also Ryuhaku's heiress and daughter Kasumi. Makes sense since they both practice [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido Aikido]], a martial art based heavily on redirecting the attacks that you receive.
* GuildWars has the skills riposte and deadly riposte which automatically counter any attack used against the character.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' has the Counterattack skill, which takes an incoming melee attack and sends part of it[[note]]The exact percentage of the attack that gets returned depends on the defender's Counterattack skill rank.[[/note]] right back, with the defender's attack added to it. Extremely useful against [[MightyGlacier certain bosses]].
** And in the prequel, ''{{Vindictus}}'', it is a key skill for Fiona, requiring a smash immediately after guarding against a non-smash attack to deliver a vicious attack against the enemy that attacked her (as well as everything else within range!). The skill eats shields for breakfast, though, meaning that a good Campfire skill (which regenerates the quality of your armor and shield after sitting at it) is essential for her.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' had a nano aug that would cause explosive munitions to detonate prematurely within a certain range of the aug's user. Leveled up high enough, it can even make missiles blow up inside the launcher when fired.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' has the djinni Reflux, which when used will attach to a chosen party member and counter every attack inflicted onto that character during the turn.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'' gives you the shield ability Back Atcha, which protects against normal attacks and counters with an attack of your own. Available to both ally and foe (the shield using ones), your counter may not always hit the attacker if there are more than one opponents (rather, it'll hit one of them at random).
** The Warrior's Workbook item acquired through a sidequest grants a counter-attack ability to the Warrior class when they're holding the item.
* In ''[[SaGa2 SaGa 2 / Final Fantasy Legend II]]'', using the "Counter" and "Revenge Sword" items ("Cross Counter" and "Grudge Sword" in Japanese) would allow the character using it to immediately attack any enemy that attacked him/her/it during the turn. Several monsters also have specialized counter abilities.
* Though the timing is precise to the point where [[OhCrap even if you time it right it may just fail outright anyway]] (if you're lucky it will consider it a block if you're using a shield) it's possible to pull off a counter attack in ''DemonsSouls'' by parrying an incoming weapon strike with a small shield, certain weapons, or even [[BarehandedBladeBlock your own empty hand]], if you immediately press the attack button afterwards your character will dish out a brutal riposte, the style of which are [[ForMassiveDamage the most damaging physical attacks]] [[OneHitKill possible in the game.]] Even more damaging than sneak-attack backstabs. Gets ridiculous when you learn the timing to parry the BFS wielding [[DemonicSpiders Golden Skeletons]] with nothing but your open hand...
* Parry & Riposting returns in ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', but with a slightly more forgiving timing window.
* At least one Wrestling/{{WWE}} video game had a feature where, if you were able to counter the [[StoneColdSteveAustin Stone Cold Stunner]], had a special icon available, and had the ankelock as a FinishingMove, your character would grab the opponent's foot and drive him to the ground for the anklelock, in homage to how KurtAngle defeated StoneColdSteveAustin at ''Unforgiven 2001''.
** Sadly that mechanic has been taken away but you can still counter any move though.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', the [[StoneWall shieldmaiden Aveline's]] unique ability Retaliation allows her to instantly counter every melee attack aimed at her for a short time.
* Some of the Ultra moves in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' '''must''' be pulled out when your chara is attacked by their opponent, otherwise they won't work. (If they're blocked, also, you'll be open for a counterattack.) When they conntect, however? Total beatdown. The most obvious examples are [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BZRb1KRm2g Fei Long's Gekirinken]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NHUOTyDCkU Cammy's Cammy Quick Combination]].
* Done in the {{Suikoden}} games, with the added bonus of dodging the attack that you're countering. Every game also has a rune that greatly increases the chances of one happening.
* Amaterasu has a counter in ''{{Okami}}''. Whenever she successfully blocks an opponent's attack with her Reflector (which must be set as a sub-weapon), she can counter with an [[SpinningPiledriver izuna drop]] for ''massive'' damage. She can still perform this counter in ''MarvelVsCapcom3''.
* ''VideoGame/AceCombatAssaultHorizon'' actually manages to incorporate this into aerial combat. If the player is being chased in a Dogfight Maneuver, then with the right positioning they can execute a counter-maneuver to loop behind their assailant and begin a DFM against them. Enemies can do the exact same thing, mind... but players with twitch reflexes and a bit of luck can perform a counter-counter-maneuver, which slows time and puts the enemy right in the middle of your cannon sights for a good couple of seconds, more than long enough to tear apart anything not a boss. [[AntiFrustrationFeatures Fortunately]], that trick is exclusive to the player.
* Effectively every melee-focused combatant in ''VideoGame/PlaystationAllStarsBattleRoyale'' is given a counter, besides [[VideoGame/GodOfWar Kratos]], [[VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance Raiden]] and [[VideoGame/DevilMayCry Dante]] mentioned above (in Dante's case, they use his parry maneuver [[VideoGame/DmCDevilMayCry from the reboot]] instead of the Royal Guard). Other examples include [[VideoGame/HeavenlySword Nariko]], [[VideoGame/{{Tekken}} Heihachi]] and strangely Franchise/SlyCooper (perhaps to make up for his lack of a block mechanic).
* VideoGame/JoJosBizarreAdventureHeritageForTheFuture
** Chaka, Khan and Black Polnareff have one of these as specials. Furthermore if they successfully connect, they "learn" the move that they countered so if the opponent uses that move on them again and its blocked, they will flash white and the player can press a button to instantly attack back. Chaka has a super where he can automatically learn ALL of his oppoennts moves at once!
** Rubber Soul also has one.
** Shadow DIO also has a variant Counter Teleport move where he starts reading a book. If the player hits him during this, he instanttly warps (or rather, stops time and walks) behind you whilst his book drops to the ground with an exclamation mark showing up.
* ''VideoGame/KillerIsDead'' has the Dodge Burst, Counter Smash, and Counter Shot. Counter Smash works after doing a Just Guard (pressing block when a Wire flashes red) and pressing the [[ActionCommands button prompt]] that appears afterward (Y on 360/Triangle on PS3). The Counter Shot works by doing a Dodge Burst on gun wielding Wires. The last two counters you have to buy with your upgrade points.
* ''VideoGame/IggyReckinBalls'' allows you to counter-slam an opponent if you time it properly. It can be done with both the basic slam and the multi-slam, but not the circular throw.
* As with ''Heritage to the Future'', there are any number of counters in ''VideoGame/JojosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle''. Diavolo in particular bases his entire fighting style around countering the opponent; he goes so far as to have ''both'' of his Heat Moves built on this trope (his Heart Heat lets him automatically Stylish Evade any regular attack while it's running, and his Great Heat has him pose, retaliating to getting hit with an extremely powerful attack).
* In the game adaptation of ''VideoGame/OnePiece'' on GBA, counter attacks form the bulk of Tashigi's moveset. If you're not careful, she'll automatically dodge your attack and counter with one of her own.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VisualNovels]]
* In ''FateHollowAtaraxia'', Bazett's Noble Phantasm, Fragarach, is considered "the ultimate counter-attack", and instantly kills any opponent who tries to use their Noble Phantasm against her. Using it as anything but a counter-attack however, makes it little more than an irritation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Webcomics}}]]
* The [[DualWielding Twin Rose]] Style in ''Webcomic/{{Flipside}}'' solely consists of counter attacks. This is parodied in an omake, where, when faced with an opponent who won't attack (flipside) she's reduced to hurling random objects instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:RealLife]]
* Epee fencing. The best times to attack are either right as an opponent lowers their guard to attack or right after a successful parry. The lack of pesky right-of-way rules helps too.
** Those same right-of-way rules make ripostes particularly important in foil and sabre fencing. A successful parry cancels the attacker's right-of-way, thus giving you the point if both fighters hit together.
** Parry-riposte-parry-riposte-parry-riposte... continue until someone screws up or gets bored.
* Played with in medieval European swordsmanship. Many of the most effective defensive movements are designed to simultaneously strike your opponent in the face or groin.
* "Soft/internal" martial arts fall under this category, with Tai Chi being the poster boy for this in most kung fu flicks. Aikido counts as well. A saying among kung fu sigungs goes, "The first one to strike wins the fight. The first one to commit to a strike loses the fight."
* The whole point of counter-battery fire. Heavy artillery and rocket positions are somewhat risky to use near the frontline as their trajectory (or in the case of rockets the smoke trail) can be followed back to the source which is then [[StuffBlowingUp shot to hell]] with MoreDakka.
** Sniper hunting in WWII usually took the form of this: put something tempting (like a scarecrow dressed in an officer's uniform, as the Finland Winter War demonstrated) to a place where the sniper sees it [[SchmuckBait and hope he takes a shot at it]]. Once he's revealed his position, you have several options available: artillery, anti-material rifles... bad thing is, snipers have caught up with it pretty quickly and nowadays they never take two shots from the same position.
** The Vietnam war was the first conflict that saw widespread use of the WildWeasel. Basically, bait the enemy into firing a SAM at you then haul ass while the others bomb it. Even better, first-generation Wild Weasels only had unguided bombs and no radar-detecting gear, needing them to either wait for the SAM to fire and follow the smoke trail or find the SAM with their eyes.
[[/folder]]

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