Close Range Combatant

A fighter who specializes in close range combat. Is generally ineffective at long-range threats, or just plain lacks the ability to fight at long range.

In video games, especially fighting games, characters who are Close Range Combatants tend to have strong "physical" attacks but ineffective projectiles, or absolutely none at all. These characters tend to be Mighty Glaciers or Lightning Bruisers, their obvious strengths being highlighted by their complete inability to harm anything they aren't currently close to. Fragile Speedsters who have no projectiles can qualify as this, capable of quickly invalidating their short-range weakness, but their close-range requirement also adds an amount of predictability to their playstyle and corresponding risk - if the Mighty Glaciers ever get wise to the direction they're headed and manages to intercept beforehand or the Long-Range Fighter manages to plink them (such as along a thin and low corridor where pretty much no one can effectively dodge regardless of their speed), they expectedly die fast.

This only applies where long-range combat with projectiles or longer melee weapons like swords are a notable part of a work. It's not interesting in settings where close-quarters combat is the only kind of combat.

The inverse is Long-Range Fighter. Subtrope of Necessary Drawback and Competitive Balance.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • While the main method of combat is with swords, many of the characters are capable of fighting hand-to-hand. The Onmitsukido, in particular, specializes in hakuda; making this Yoruichi and Sui-Feng's preferred style of combat. They're so proficient at it, that they're able able to take on armed, captain level, opponents.
    • Mashiro also chooses to forgo using her zanpakuto, in favor of fighting unarmed. She even one-shotted Fura with her signature "Mashiro Kick!!"
    • Grimmjow is the only member of the Espada who fights hand-to-hand, as seen during his first battle with Ichigo, where he literally beat him from one side of Karakura Town, to the other.... even though the latter was using bankai!
  • Naruto: It's pointed out in at least two instances (by Shikamaru and Kakashi), that Naruto is pretty much worthless for an enemy specializing in ranged combat.
    • This is the weakness of Neji, Hinata, and Rock Lee in Part I. All three were Taijutsu Specialists without any other options besides kunai and shuriken for ranged combat. Neji was especially hit hard by this weakness while fighting the Long-Range Fighter of the Sound Four, Kidomaru, who could comfortably find his weakness from long distance and nearly killed him despite the defensive power of his Kaiten. Neji and Hinata learned ranged Jyuken techniques over the timeskip called Air Palms which can kill a whole bunch of White Zetsu at once, stun Kisame of all people, or even deflect enemy projectiles. Rock Lee however, since Taijutsu is his only option, doesn't have any method of long ranged combat unless he can master the Sixth and Seven Gates which turns punches into long range fireballs (Morning Peacock) or an explosive, long range punch in the shape of a tiger (Daytime Tiger).
  • Belkan Knights in the Lyrical Nanoha franchise. While they may have a few projectile attacks when they need to strike from afar, they specialize in overpowering opponents through magically enhanced melee combat, either armed or unarmed, depending on the practitioner. In particular, Schach Nouera and Micaiah Chevelle have no known ranged attacks.
  • Several mobile suits in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing are of this type: Deathscythe, Sandrock, and Epyon. Deathscythe often launches a kind of spinning claw/shield thing at opponents, but it's a once-per-battle weapon. Sandrock has no ranged attacks beyond occasional sword-throwing but compensates by bringing along a couple dozen backup suits with big guns (it also gains a gun of its own in its Mid-Season Upgrade... which it proceeds to never use). Epyon is limited to its sword and whip (one brief scene implies that it fires Vulcans at the Wing Zero, but this is generally attributed to an animation error rather than a canon weapon).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has Exia and 00 Gundam/Raiser as the prime examples, along with the Throne Zwei and its successor the Arche. The movie brings back the Raiser and introduces the 00 Q[ant], which is both this trope plus Attack Drones.
  • Close-range Power-type Stands from Jojos Bizarre Adventure, primarily due to the fact that they cannot manifest more than 2 meters away from their users.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Every faction in Warhammer 40,000 has some form of a close-combat specialist as a unit. Even armies like the Imperial Guard and Tau, who are focused more on mechanized warfare and ranged firepower:
    • Space Marines use Assault Marines and Terminator Assault Marines.
    • The Imperial Guard use Ogyrns.
    • Eldar use Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions, who each specialize on heavily-armoured infantry and lightly-armoured infantry respectively.
    • Dark Eldar use Wyches and Incubi.
    • Chaos Space Marines...well, as the resident evil, crazy faction, virtually every Chaos unit is pretty good at hand-to-hand. However, their close range combatants are the famous Khorne Berserkers, as well as Raptors, Mutilators, and Chaos Terminators. Chaos Daemons, meanwhile, have Plaguebearers, Daemonettes, and the ridiculously effective Bloodletter... And that's just the little stuff, you don't want to see the bigger things Chaos Daemons can bring to the table.
      • That said, it's practically mandatory that virtually everything aligned to Khorne will have to fit this trope. Even the recently introduced Khorne Lord of Skulls, while sporting no fewer than two guns, is optimized to use it's massive chanaxe.
    • Orks have... Many examples, but Ork Slugga Boyz, Nobz, Meganobz, even Gretchin count. Although you shouldn't expect too much from the last one.
    • Tyranids have Hormagaunts, Genestealers, Tyrant Guards, Warriors... And lots of each.
    • The Tau use Kroot auxiliaries. They're quite pathetic compared to some of the other examples listed here, and not just for game balance reasons. They're used just as meat-shields, and quite a few players forgo them entirely in favour of more vehicles and big guns.
      • The Tau actually have another close combat specialist: Commander Farsight, who pilots a custom XV 8 battle suit wielding a large alien blade that is implied to be either Necron or Eldar in origin, which would explain his long lifespan. In his personal moment of awesome, he duelled the infamously powerful Tyranid Swarmlord to a stand-stillnote . Many of his loyal troops train in close combat as well.
    • Sisters of Battle have the Sisters Repentia.
  • Star Fleet Battles. Some Hydran ships (such as fighters) are armed with fusion beams. While deadly at close range, they're ineffective at long range, which means that the ships have to get in close to the enemy to be effective. This allows opponents with longer range weapons to stay at a distance and pick off the Hydrans while they can't hit back.
  • Avalon Hill's PanzerBlitz and Panzer Leader. Infantry units have very short range, usually only 1 hex (adjacent), compared to the much longer ranges of tanks and artillery.
  • BattleTech features a few BattleMechs which are geared specifically for close-ranged combat, typically carrying ultra-autocannons, short-ranged missiles, and sometimes a giant metal sword or axe. The King Crab is a notable murder machine, because it carries two class-20 Autocannons, weapons which on their own can give a mech an Instant Death Radius. Newer melee mechs often feature experimental tech, such as the triple-strength myomer which lets them instantly decapitate a mech, once their artificial muscles have heated up to operational temperature.
    • Although it's worth noting that "pure" (or nearly pure) melee designs are relatively rare and unpopular. A classic example is the original Charger, which at 80 tons is equipped only with a handful of "popgun" small lasers — it's fast for its weight class and has powerful physical attacks if it does get that close, but it basically can't hit anything outside ninety meters and even up to that distance its ranged damage output is essentially pitiful. (Its original intended use was as a superheavy scout, not a frontline combat machine...and it says something about it that it fails in even that role.)

    Video Games 
  • In Super Smash Bros.:
    • Wario, a Lightning Bruiser without projectiles.
    • Sonic, a Fragile Speedster using Hit-and-Run Tactics.
    • Donkey Kong, the veteran Mighty Glacier character. He's become faster with each game in the series, however.
    • Jigglypuff, whose range is so short that one of her specials is a simple slap with her little flaps for arms. She is Difficult but Awesome as her playing style revolves entirely around getting close enough to the opponents to attack them and she specializes in aerial attacks.
    • Captain Falcon, who moves like a Lightning Bruiser but has attacks like a Mighty Glacier.
    • Marth, Roy, and Ike, swordsmen from the Fire Emblem series who fight like...well....swordsmen. Ike stands out here, because the sword he wields has a ranged attack, just not in the Smash Bros. games.
    • Little Mac, the boxer from the Punch-Out!! series. A ground-based Lightning Bruiser who builds up a Combo Meter to power his finishing strikes.
    • The Mii Brawler. A customizable close-range fighter who's faster and stronger and more straightforward than the other classes, but lacks versatility in their moveset.
  • In Borderlands 2;
    • Zero, the Assassin: Can be built as either this or a sniper, depending on the skills the player puts points into.
    • Gaige, the Mechromancer: Her "Ordered Chaos" skill tree allows her to accumulate anarchy every time she kills an enemy or empties a clipnote , which gives her boosted damage and close-range options at the cost of accuracy (making her an example of this trope who uses guns), as well as melee options. Her Death Trap is also one of these, as he fights with his claws initially.
    • As an NPC, Brick from the first game fights solely via running up to someone and punching them to death even though he could use guns in the previous game (though he was primarily proficient with shotguns and rocket launchers).
    • Krieg the Psycho can be built as a Melee character who is all about running up to the enemy and dealing as much damage as he takes.
  • Pokémon has Close Combat, which is described as the user getting in close to the opponent, but causing defense to fall due to being very close.
    • For that matter any mon whose moveset solely consists of contact moves. This playstyle can be stopped by moves and abilities that damage and disable strategies like that.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Magnus, an ally in Chapter 2, is this since he lacks the ability to shoot projectiles with his weapon. This is especially noticeable in Chapter 18, where Pit uses Magnus' body (long story) to fight off enemies.
  • Numerous characters of League of Legends' very many are melee-based. The extremeness of the degree of this trope applied varies — some can have abilities that are usable at range to let the character affect enemies without being right next to them making them a less rigid version of the trope, and/or have abilities that let them get next to enemies nearly instantly and quickly invalid that lack of range issue, but a few can only attack enemies when they've pretty much managed to get right next to them or slightly beyond that. They tend to hurt a lot when they do and be difficult to kill before getting that close.
  • The Pyro in Team Fortress 2 is built around this trope. His flamethrower stops working after a short distance but is very effective against those close enough. His shotgun works at a greater distance, but the pellets spread out to the point where they do little damage. The only long range weapon he possesses is his optional flare gun, but it has a slow fire rate and deals little damage except against enemies that are already on fire.
    • Players who want to really envision this trope can set up loadouts for either Soldiernote  or Demomannote  that can only deal melee damage.
  • Starting around Mega Man X4, Zero gains a far greater focus on swordplay to differentiate him from X. This requires him to be in close proximity to the target to do damage; he has some ranged attacks, but they generally pale, damage-wise, in comparison to his various sword moves. His own series, however, gives Zero a gun very much like X's for him to use instead of the sword, if the player chooses to.
  • Akihiko in Persona 4 Arena qualifies, with normal and persona attacks, to the point that using his persona Caesar is not a good idea.
  • Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3 have Melee and Unarmed characters. The former only uses various daggers, bats, swords, and the like, but does also have things like throwing knives/spears or tomahawks as a viable ranged option. Unarmed characters have nothing of the sort. While there is no shortage of Melee enemies, a large portions of your opponents use guns, making this a tricky build.
  • In Naruto: Clash of Ninja, Rock Lee and Might Guy are powerful in close combat, but lack the ability to throw shurikens or otherwise attack at range. Likewise for Naruto in his Nine-Tailed form.
  • Brawler mechs in the MechWarrior series typically drop most if not all of their long ranged weapon in exchange for high-powered ballistics capable of punching holes through armor at close range. The Fafnir in MechWarrior Living Legends has a variant which packs quad LB-X/20 shotguns, which allows it to kill anything under 30 tons in a single salvo at close range. Battlearmor in Living Legends is best suited for close ranged (as in, weaving between the legs of the Humongous Mechas) combat, as then it can bring its most potent firepower to bear - the Heavy Micro Laser, high-explosive sticky grenades, and the handheld Autocannon/2 bullet hose.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy Jecht is made of this trope—the closest thing he has to a long range attack is Ultimate Jecht Shot which is very telegraphed and situational. Other characters have elements of this trope (in fact, most of the cast is better in close quarters though not strictly helpless at range), but Jecht is by far the most pronounced, especially compared to the rest of the villains, most of which are slow, methodical and magic-focused (About half of them float instead of walking).
  • The Vanguard in Mass Effect 2 and 3 is built around this style of combat. Biotic Charge and Nova damage enemies around you while you get a damage bonus on shotguns. The heavy melee of a Vanguard is also quicker than the ones from other classes, increasing his/her close range capabilities even more.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has Parappa The Rapper, known for his small stature, and for having a style mostly based around the karate lessons he got in his game, and Heihachi Mishima, whose game rarely uses projectiles.
  • Max from Advance Wars. His direct units have increased firepower, but his indirect units have decreased firepower and range.
  • The Assault class from XCOM: Enemy Unknown wields a Short-Range Shotgun and is specialized in dealing massive amounts of damage in close quarter combat, and their skill tree is geared toward this, such as (in the Enemy Within expansion) the ability to take one extra shot a turn if they fire at an enemy located within four squares of them, or the ability to make a reaction shot at the first enemy who comes within four tiles of them, in addition to possible overwatch shots.
  • In Shadowrun Returns Physical Adepts are encouraged to be built for this, with almost all their Chi Casting skills meant to either deal damage at melee range or help them get close. It's not impossible to give an Adept a gun and some ranged combat skills, but given the shortage of Karma you've far better off specialising.
  • Terran/AGI Task Force fighters in the X-Universe series frankly qualify as this in gameplay. Specifically, the Electro-Magnetic Plasma Cannon is the only gun mountable on them and their fastest missile, the Poltergeist, is only really effective against interceptors and light fighters since the speed of the missile is too slow to catch the ever vexatious scout craft and it has horribly short range. Meanwhile, the EMPC has a slow firing rate and equally slow velocity of its projectiles which makes them particularly ineffective in engaging the aforementioned scout craft; unless they come head-on straight towards Terran/ATF fighters, scout craft can easily fly rings around them and slowly chip them to death, rendering the fighters helpless for several seconds until the scout craft flies straight at them again, presenting a brief and important opportunity for these fighters.
    • Ships made by Aldrin also qualify due to their prototypical but rather inferior versions of Terran guns.
    • The Flavor Text for Paranid ships states that their race-based weaponry tends them towards this trope. Subverted in gameplay in which they don't always follow this trope as they can mount any weaponry like all other ships from other races.
  • The Fighter class of Phantasy Star Online 2 is just as strong as its predecessor, the Mighty Glacier Hunter, but far more agile and fast-hitting. This trope is the downside; their attacks have short range and they lack crowd control options.

    Visual Novels 
  • Suzushiro of Princess Waltz. Whereas the other princesses all have either long reaching or projectile weapons, she relies entirely on the overwhelming power of her fists, with no ranged attacks whatsoever.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Most non-bending fighters are this. Ty Lee and Suki are the standouts as the former fights strictly using hand-to-hand alone, while the latter combines martial prowess with swordfighting and her fans.
    • The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has Ming-Hua, an armless waterbender who uses water as prehensile arms. Other waterbenders generally blast their opponents with water or shoot icicles at them, but she mostly just runs up to people and beats them up with watery Combat Tentacles.