One solution against a Heavily Armored Mook is to use an Anti-Armor attack or ability to easily defeat them. Unlike Armor-Piercing Attack, this does not just bypass defenses, but it does more damage to units than if they weren't armored and are most likely impractical against anything else. In other words, where armor is normally an advantage, Anti-Armor makes it into a disadvantage. There is some Truth in Television to this: Real Life armour-piercing rounds have a tendency to overpenetrate and thus deal less damage to unarmoured targets.

Examples include:

Typically involves Stuff Blowing Up. Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Armor Is Useless. Compare Anti-Air, Anti-Infantry, Anti-Vehicle, and Anti-Cavalry.


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    Tabletop Games 
  • Eldar "lance" weapons (such as the Brightlance or Darklance) in Warhammer 40,000 are highly effective anti-armor beam weapons that use arcane processes to render armor redundant beyond a certain point as the beam bores through it. Thicker armor does nothing to mitigate this, leaving heavy tanks just as vulnerable as light tanks. However, as elegant against heavy armor as it is, it lacks the "punch" of more brute-force weapons, and against more lightly armored targets it is less effective than some of its cruder equivalents such as lascannons.


    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: Armorslayers, Heavy Spears, and Hammers are effective against armored enemies, as are Rapiers and other such Lord-exclusive weapons.
  • Dawn of War: Units noted as being efficient against vehicles will do less damage against unarmored targets (though they may be able to cause Knockback).
  • In the Halo series, the plasma pistol is considered one of the most useless weapons in multiplayer and the campaign unless you hold down the trigger to make a charged shot. If this charged shot hits the target, whether it's an alien or a Spartan, it will completely drain their protective energy shields, leaving them open to headshots from ballistic weapons. It will also disable the engine, though not the weapons, of any vehicle it hits.
  • Warcraft III: the Fortified armor type is weakest against Siege attacks and resistant to all others. Heavy armor type (mostly having more innate armour value than other unit types) has no weakness except for Magic attacks.
  • StarCraft II: a variety of units have attacks that have a base damage and bonus damage versus certain armor class or other qualifiers like biological. Things that have bonuses against armored targets include the Protoss Stalkers and Immortals, the Terran Siege tanks and Marauders.
  • World in Conflict has Anti-Tank soldiers than can help crack buildings and land vehicles. They are liabilities against almost everything else, lacking a machine-gun like the Rifleman squad against infantry and being unable to attack air units.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, lancers are soldiers carrying rocket launchers, which are so heavy that slows them, making them unpractical against other soldiers. However, they're the most useful units against tanks and other armored enemies.
  • In Civilization 4, there's an anti tank unit that has a 100% bonus against armored units such as the tank. You can also promote units to 'ambush' with a 25% bonus against armored units.
  • In Mass Effect, Garrus has Armor Piercing Ammo. Also, there are some attacks (Incinerate, Carnage) that qualify for this.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 3: the Tera Drill skill does more damage the more buffed the defense of the target.
  • The Pokémon series has no straight examples, but the Dark-type strike "Punishment" inflicts greater damage in direct proportion to the number of Status Buffs the opponent has on them, including Defense and Special Defense.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: the German Tank Destroyer is useful against tanks, but too speicalized for anything else.
  • In Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity, the Zeus-Class Fusion Gun does extra damage against armored Pfhor, and they explode when killed with it. Described in-game as an upgraded model of the Mercury-Class Fusion Gun from Marathon 1, specifically made to short-circuit the Pfhor hardware.
  • League of Legends has a mechanic that fit this trope: the game's defences include armour and magic resistance for physical and magical damage respectively. The counters to it include flat and percentage reduction and penetration stats for both of the defences. As flat directly subtracts of the target's defences and commonly the most players will manage to get of flat armour and magic penetration is around 50 (possibly reducing armour by another 45 by an item and magic resistance by another 20 from an item) while armour and magic resistance on a player can easily rise above 200+ and 150+ if they build for it, flat penetration is better against targets with little to no defences, while the percentage armour and magic penetration items (which ignores 40% of your target's defence respective to the item) are Anti-Armor that is more effective against targets which have more defences and less against those which have less. True damage also ignores your target's armour and magic resistance entirely, but is countered by (aside from a few examples) being a flat value that can be overcome by having more health instead. Annnnd high health can be countered by effects which cause attacks to do damage based off a percentage of the target's health, found in an item... the percentage being inefficient against targets which have a smaller health pool anyway.
  • In Deus Ex, the shotgun can fire sabot rounds, which are far more effective against bots than buckshot; but buckshot is better against soft targets. That's besides the more explosive means of dealing with bots, like rockets or grenades.
  • Ragnarok Online has the Ice Pick, a dagger-type weapon which not only completely bypasses an opponent's armor, but also does more damage the more heavily armored the opponent is.
    • The Monk's Occult Impaction skill likewise deals higher damage to targets with high defense.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Magnet-shroom can steal metal objects that would raise the defense of certain zombies.
  • 007: From Russia with Love has the occasional Heavily Armored Mook armed with a heavy machine gun. Bond's solution is to shoot off the straps holding the mook's armor on.
  • The X-Universe series has Regenerating Shields and Static Hull Integrity. Most weapons in the series do more damage to shields than armor since that's where most of most ships' hit points are, but the Teladi-designed Gauss cannon fares better against armor than any other weapon in the game. This becomes important in X3: Albion Prelude since every ship in the game received a major buff to armor.
  • The aptly-named Armor Breaker Auto-Ability in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is this. Available only to Feral Pack Monsters in Commando role (most notably Chichu), the Ability increases the wielder's strength if the target's physical resistance is "Halved" or "Resistant". The boost is such that killing a target with such resistance can be done faster than against a target that does not have any resistance at all.
  • The 3D Legend of Zelda games require Link to remove the armor from Darknuts before he can kill them. For example, Wind Waker forces him to remove the breastplate by getting behind the Darknut and slashing the straps, which can be done either with stealth or a parry attack, and the helmet requires a parry attack or the head.
  • Gelyan's Armor Crusher in the flash turn-based strategy Ge Ne Sis. The higher the opponent's defense is, the more damage it deals.
  • In the Fallout games, most weapons with "pulse" in their name (pulse grenade, pulse gun) do little or no damage to most organic target but tremendous damage to robots and/or people wearing Power Armor.
  • In Wasteland 2, most attacks have their damaged decreased if their armor penetration is lower than the enemy's armor level, but energy weapons work the other way: they do more damage the higher the enemy's armor value is. The reasoning given behind this is that more armor means more metal, so more of the weapon's energy is absorbed by the target.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Jujitsu was invented in Japan so that samurai could fight with other heavily armored opponents in melee combat. The idea was that since melee weapons would be ineffective against armored opponents, the martial art used techniques that turns the opponents own weight against himself, and also used techniques that involved manipulation of locking techniques and pressure points to force the opponent into submission.
  • Some anti-tank weapons don't penetrate armour but in instead rely on 'spalling', hitting the target hard enough to make pieces of the interior fly around and kill the crew. Most modern tanks are designed to prevent this though.
  • Armor-piercing shells from the big-gun warship era during the first half of the 20th century qualify. The same projectile that's designed to punch through an opposing battleship's armor and go off inside might just as easily go all the way through a comparative "tin can" like a destroyer without so much as triggering its fuse. It would also have less explosive filler than a non-AP high explosive round, making it less useful for general bombardment purposes.
  • The venerable anti-tank rifle was born out of a need for weapons that could make infantry capable of attacking tanks more-or-less successfully, without needing to resort to enormous and heavy anti-tank fieldpieces. Most of them were developed just after WWI and some saw service during WWII, but the much heavier armor of the time meant that something as small as a rifle couldn't penetrate. Virtually all of them were out of service in their intended roles by the end of WWII, but some saw use as the first generation of anti-materiel rifles.
  • A variety of weapons existed in the pre-gunpowder age for dealing with armor-clad soldiers and knights. Many of them were various types of hammers, which might have a head with a blunt end to bludgeon an opponent senseless with, and a spiked end to pierce through the armor once the enemy was on the ground.

Alternative Title(s):

Anti Armour