"He who sees his own doom can better avoid its path. He who sees the doom of others can deliver it."
Sometimes, the most powerful fighter will not be equipped with such Stock Superpowers
as super-strength, or Nigh-Invulnerability
. Instead, they have the power to see into the future.
Why is this useful? Because it lets them know your next move, and plan accordingly.
Why this doesn't muddle up their ability to know what you're doing now
can be chalked up to the Rule of Cool
. Alternately, it can be Hand Waved
by saying that they're not looking that far into the future, or by noting their brain can keep up with both
Is often accompanied by Spider-Sense
, which warns the user of vague danger instead of predicting specific attacks.
Compare Kung-Fu Clairvoyance
where the hero seems to have this, but it's not canonically one of their abilities. Contrast with Super Reflexes
Not to be confused for Calling Your Attacks
, which is about calling out the names of your own attacks as you do them.
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Anime And Manga
- Sven's seer's eye in Black Cat allows him to see a few seconds in the future, thus detecting danger before it happens.
- In Code Geass, this is the Geass power given to the Knight Of One, Bismark. In the manga, Nunnally has it.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist (manga and second anime), the homunculus Wrath has a super power called the Ultimate Eye, which enables him to predict every single outcome of every single situation in his field of vision. It makes him unbeatable in combat. He gets defeated when one of the heroes stabs him through the body of a fatally wounded ally, which provided cover and prevented the power from warning Wrath of the danger. That isn't enough to kill him, but another of the heroes uses the opportunity to put out his Ultimate Eye, and as a result of that and his wounds, Wrath is defeated and killed in his next battle.
- The same power belongs to the homonculus Pride in the first anime, who is implied to use the power outside of combat as well in order to become the ruler of Amestris. Although he only fights a single open battle, he's completely unbeatable in it until Selim Bradley exposes him to the skull of his original body, paralysing him until Mustang can burn him to death enough times for it to stick.
- In Claymore, it is explained that Teresa's extraordinary strength comes from her ability to read her opponent's flow of yōki so well that she can predict their movements based on where it is flowing to in their bodies, and Clare seems to have inherited this ability, being able dodge before the opponent strikes. However, this makes them weaker when faced with an opponent who can either completely suppress her yōki, or one who has so much yōki overflowing in them that she can't determine what's what, and there are also certain techniques that can't be read, such as Ophelia's "rippling" sword.
- Takuma Fudou from Get Backers has this by way of precognition. He can look a few seconds into the future, and see what his opponents are going to do.
- The Big Bad of S-CRY-ed eventually gains this ability through telepathy, reading his opponent's mind and predicting their attacks from that. Ridiculously, this somehow allowed him to perfectly dodge a man capable of fighting at the speed of sound, who at one point was spinning faster than the human eye can follow.
- This is Diavolo's Stand ability in Part 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. He can also "erase" a 5 second section of time so that it never happened. As you might expect, this power is ridiculously broken.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Nodoka's artifact has the ability to read minds. While this doesn't quite fit the Clairvoyance part of the trope, the use we see most often is her reading her opponent's mind in combat and reacting to the opponent's plan.
- Mirai Nikki, being a series about people who receive ways to predict the future and are then sent to kill each other, has this in spades.
- In Naruto, upgrading to the three-tomoe state of the Sharingan gives this ability. If they're looking at someone in motion it will be like they can see exactly where and in what position that person's entire body will be in. However, there are some things, like the Animal Battle Aura of a tailed beast's host or Wood/Sand techniques, whose movement it can't predict very well. The other shortcoming is that knowing exactly what your opponent is about to do doesn't necessarily mean you're strong enough or fast enough to stop him from doing it.
- It's fairly useless against Ninjutsu specialists given that hand seals do different things depending on the sequence or element being used allowing the Sharingan user to be caught off guard.
- One Piece
- The Mantra (or 'mantora') ability of the Skypeian Priests works like this. The main character overcomes this by turning his brain off and moving at random. He overcomes another by working together with other fighters to leave the Mantra-powered foe with absolutely no options. A secondary character overcomes a Mantra-powered foe by performing an Interface Screw on him, making him lose control and sink headfirst into a quicksand-like mud. After all, what good is the ability to see into the future if you can't find a way out or if you don't have control over your own actions anymore?
- It is revealed much later on that this skill is called Mantra by the Sky Islanders, but is one of three types of Haki, called the "Color of Observation" or "Kenbunshoku". Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji developed it during the Time Skip, and Usopp awakened it in the Dressrosa arc.
- In Psyren we have Kabuto Kirisaki, whose psychic ability "Menace" acts as both Spider-Sense and Combat Clairvoyance. He can see incoming danger as a white aura a few seconds before it actually happens.
- In Saint Seiya, A Silver Saint has this ability and it proves hard to defeat for the heroes.
- Jun of Saki has the ability to read the flow of a Mahjong game and uses this to her advantage by cutting off her opponent when they're about to win. Unfortunately for her, Mihoko also has the ability to perfectly analyze a field to see what's going on and has a presence that disrupts Jun's ability.
- Parodied in Soul Eater. A mook shows up who has this ability. Sadly, he can't react that fast and ends up throwing himself at his opponent's fist at the first opportunity to save himself the bother — all he saw was different ways he'd get his ass kicked.
- The Villain of the Week Nurse Okamoto/Hina in episode 5 of Star Driver has this, able to anticipate all of Takuto's moves... unfortunately, it also came with a fanservice mode. And since she couldn't stop checking out Takuto she lost.
- The Informed Ability of Eila in Strike Witches. This allows her to forgo using magical shields entirely, being able to see and dodge Frickin' Laser Beams. However, problems arise in an episode when she's not considered for a mission alongside her girlfriend Sanya requiring her to be protected from those Frickin' Laser Beams while she's a sitting duck, aiming her rockets...
- Shiki in Tsukihime due to his ability to perceive death, knows when he's about to be hit by a lethal blow. Since his opponents are a lot more powerful than him, that's nearly every blow. That doesn't help him in numerous Bad Ends.
- Brad Crawford of Weiß Kreuz has the ability to see bits of the future, making him a formidable fighter.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ishizu Ishtar can see a minute or so into the future, see what will happen, and plan her own move accordingly. Pegasus' Millennium Eye is also a variation of this, able to see the mind of his opposing player and figure out what strategy they use.
- The ZERO System from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing works like this, except that it's technological rather than a superpower. It's an advanced combat analysis complex that puts together massive amounts of battle data and tactical analysis and feeds it directly into the pilot's brain, including predictions of what the enemy's going to do. Combined with the mindlink the System creates, this allows the pilot to move and react as if the Humongous Mecha were part of his own body. The problem is that it tends to evaluate everything as a potential threat, and to assume all potential threats are imminent threats, meaning that often the ZERO System's recommended course of action is "destroy everything in sight". Combined with the sensory overload of all that data being dumped into the pilot's brain, it takes considerable willpower and emotional control to use the ZERO System without going insane. Heero, Zechs and Quatre all master it to the point that they can use it with no problem at all by the end of the series, and Dorothy is able to instantly use it without hindrance, perhaps on account of already being a bit crazy.
- In the final battle, Quatre somehow seems to still be able to do this even after he disconnects the ZERO System from his Gundam. Despite Psychic Powers supposedly not existing in Gundam Wing.
- An unusual case in Until Death Do Us Part, the sidekick girl can foresee the future and has, on several occasions, remotely-directed the heroes by predicting which moves will let them dodge the incoming attacks. Although this ability keeps them alive and able to fight, it doesn't always let them escape without injury.
- YuYu Hakusho has a minor example in Murota, who gained precognition from the opening of the portal to the Makai. He used this ability to win street fights for money, but proves useless against Yusuke due to the vast difference between their speed. Elder Toguro later gains this ability by taking over the body of Gourmet (who ate Murota), though once again it proves useless against Kurama.
- In Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Caerula Sanguis has this ability due to a combination of being able to read an opponent's neural impulses and 700 years of combat experience, allowing her to both perfectly predict and influence an opponent's moves.
- In Fist of the North Star, Hokuto Shinken practitioners have this ability thanks to Awesomeness by Analysis: after seeing your first few moves (or, with the really powerful opponents, a few minutes of fight), they can predict perfectly what you're gonna do, and react to that. Best shown in the fight between Rei and Raoh: after seeing he's completely outmatched, Rei decides to launch an all-out attack that will kill Raoh but leave him completely exposed to Raoh's equally lethal attacks, we see him doing it and killing Raoh at the cost of his life... And then it's revealed it was Raoh playing it all in his mind after seeing Rei putting himself in position to jump him, at which point he proceeds to counter Rei's attack.
- That said, it was Subverted a few times: aside for the fights between Hokuto Shinken practitioners (where the prediction ability of both fighters cancel each other out), we have Souther (who not only was practically immune to Hokuto Shinken, but had a few tricks Kenshiro failed to predict in their rematch) and Juza (who practices Confusion Fu to the point he's impossible to predict. He's still done for because Raoh is that much stronger than him).
- This is the special ability of the Tharsis Kataphrakt in Aldnoah.Zero. At the moment though, it's still uncertain whether the machine is simply an advanced combat computer a la Wing ZERO or if its Aldnoah Drive actually allows it to see into the future for real.
- Midnighter in The Authority, a result of Awesomeness by Analysis.
- The second Batgirl has this. They try to justify it via Training from Hell, but it doesn't take very well. It's less of a psychic ability and more of the ability to judge her opponents' body language.
- Birds of Prey villain Archer Braun
- In Doom Patrol Negative Man (nee Flash Forward) can see the immediate future but due to his relative wimpiness his only use in a fight is coordinating his teammates based on his visions. Eventually he loses control of it and can't stop seeing the distant future, before being given medication that suppresses his powers altogether.
- Dream Girl in pre-any-reboots Legion of Super-Heroes could do this. Not only that, her ability to do it was taken from a much older LSH story.
- Spider-Man, depending on how the writers feel his significant sense should work.
- Superman villain Massacre. Superman eventually figured out that Massacre's actual ability is being able to read his opponent's nerve impulses to predict their actions and knocks him off guard with a ricochet attack and presses the advantage to keep Massacre from regaining his bearings.
- In a Teen Titans comic, Clock King is able to clobber Robin by virtue of being able to see a few seconds into the future and knowing what his next move in combat is going to be.
- Ravager has a similar power. In the final issue of Terror Titans, she wipes the floor with Clock King by fighting dirty and not giving him time to react to his visions. It was retconned later that her power is based on Awesomeness by Analysis. Deathstroke, who shares the same powers as Ravager, explained this to her.
- The short-lived Wolverine villain Mr. X (two-time winner of the Least Original Name prize) relied in combat on the fact that he could read people's minds and tell what they were about to do. Oh, and the fact that he was a kung fu master. But it was his ability to predict moves that gave him the edge he needed.
- As in canon, Cassandra/Batgirl/Angel uses this with great efficiency in Angel Of The Bat. However, it is stated that she needs to be very focused in order to use it, and pissing her off too much causes her to get sloppy. This, combined with the fact that she is struggling to hold onto her recently accepted Christianity against villains who are Christian terrorists gives the bad guys something to exploit.
- Averted in the Dune series, where several people can predict the future. Mentats can predict the future by way of "projecting" the possible outcomes of a given choice and choosing the most logical one as the one most likely to happen, but their role was not usually that of a front line combatant. Additionally, they are not actually prescient and are not always right. The Kwisatz Haderach and the Space Navigators do have actual prescience, but yet when it comes to combat, prescience is useless because of too much happening too fast. During one fight, the most Paul could see was that possible futures include him winning and him being carried out as a corpse. note This is because the power does not necessarily predict possible outcomes individually on an action by action (or reaction by reaction) basis but rather works by giving visions that are years-long based the chain of events that could be triggered by a single action. Additionally, prescience can be nullified by the presence of other prescient individuals, and some individuals and objects are immune to prescience.
- The main character from the Alex Verus series is one of the best examples of this. He's usually going up against opponents far more powerful than him, but survives through always being one step ahead.
- Prince Po from Graceling has a variation of this as his Grace. While he can't see the future, he can sense people's intentions toward him. If someone's going to punch him, he'll know it before they so much as twitch. He's a very talented hand-to-hand fighter on his own merit, and his Grace amplifies it exponentially.
- One spectacular aversion in the book Iapetus, in which after the normal protagonist has had his complete helplessness around espers repeatedly proven to him, he encounters a community leader of an esper colony; a physically brutal sociopath who enjoys killing "monkeys" and feels the protagonist has stolen his girl. And who is unconscious after one punch to the jaw that nobody sensed before it landed.
- The metal atium grants Combat Clairvoyance to allomancers in Mistborn. In-universe, burning atium is believed to make the user completely unstoppable (allomancers can have a number of other powers as well) except by someone else also burning atium. When used against someone who does not have atium, it allows the user to see a single before-image of the opponent which allows them to react to the other's future actions. When both opponents use atium, both are flooded by an incredible array of constantly shifting options, as one reacts to the other's future actions, the other reacts to that, etc, which manifests as both opponents seeing several before-images of each other. Atium also specifically enhances the allomancer's mind in order to deal with the new information. Despite the power atium grants, each book in the original trilogy highlights a weakness of atium. One is a case of sophistry: apparently atium shows an opponent's future actions, but not the action of starting to burn atium, leading to a moment of confusion that the opponent exploits. Also, while atium can predict the actions of the opponent, it does not predict the possible outcomes of the user's actions, meaning that atium-use relies on the opponent acting first. Thus, another weakness is that the power can be tricked by deciding on a course of action, and then once the atium-user foresees the action and reacts to it, to quickly switch gears and react to the atium-users reaction' this has the effect of the atium-user seeing the opponent's before-image "split". The last weakness is that not matter how much atium an allomancer has they can still be overwhelmed by exhaustion if they fight long enough against too many enemies.
- The main character Kellen in Mercedes Lackey's The Obsidian Trilogy. He is a Knight-Mage, and when he's fighting can see his opponent's next move just in time to get out of the way. Can also see open places before they are open.
- This is also a use of the rare ForeSight ability for Heralds. Heralds with mind-reading powers have the option to do this in combat, or take it a step further and mess with their opponents' minds to make their attacks miss, though for most this is an unethical use of their power.
- Too Many Magicians features a character with this power.
- The mind-reading version occasionally happens to background characters in Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series, though all of the major heroic characters either are telepaths themselves or unreadable.
- Hope Adams of The Otherworld has the ability to sense chaotic emotions/events. In one book, this allows her to sense bad thoughts (such as thinking about pulling a gun on someone) before they occur and intercept them, thus giving her some form of Combat Clairvoyance.
- Played with in Weber's Hell's Gate series. While most people's Precog deal with specific disasters like volcanoes or forest fires, he Calirath talent is 'People Precog', dealing with tragic or sweeping events with /people/. It works quite well when the Calirath is going to be risking death in a battle — the stronger Caliraths can even use it to fight with, and the visions grow stronger if the person has a good chance of dying. In the book itself, the Crown Prince uses the Calirath talent to arrange a battle that they will most definitely lose so it's a great victory — but because he saw his death and made sure to follow it to ensure his men the greatest chance at victory, he dies.
- The Dunyain from Second Apocalypse can't technically see the future, but they can read their opponents' expressions and body language and predict their actions before they perform them.
- Alice Cullen uses her clairvoyance against other vampires, both for fighting and playing chess - which leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny where she and Edward (who has Psychic Powers of his own) play a game of chess in their minds without even touching any of the pieces, whch ends with Alice placing her king on its side to signify her surrender.
- Edward's telepathic power, while not this ability per se, is also specifically addressed as acting in this fashion throughout the series, as it allows him to counter his adversaries' moves before they carry them out.
- Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Ghost-Sight. As the name implies, a ghostly foreimage warns the user what their opponent will do just before they do it and thus giving the user precious seconds to counter. If the user's opponent is too fast for them to predict, or too fast for the user to respond, then it's more or less useless.
- In Hidden Talents by David Lubar, Flinch has precognitive abilities. He can see a few seconds into the future—and uses it to play dodgeball.
- In Evgeni Proshkin's Your Half of the World, people called Forwards can see several minutes into the future and are thus able to pick the most desirable outcome. Most intelligence agencies and Mega Corps seek to enlist Forwards, as each one is worth an entire analytical department. The main character is a Forward named Til Hagen who discovers that someone is eliminating other Forwards. The thing is, a Forward cannot be killed by anyone other than a more powerful Forward (i.e. someone who can see further in time). In order to survive, Til must be able to outsmart someone who may have already foreseen all his possible moves.
- In The Poster Children, Ida Mae has a limited precognitive ability, allowing her to see about five seconds into the future and thus predict where her opponents will be and what they will do next. Unfortunately, she has yet to practice this with her teammate (and prefers working alone, considering him a deadweight as he's not much of a fighter).
Live Action TV
- In Charmed, Phoebe's power of premonition is utilized in this manner.
- Implied in Firefly to be one of the (many) reasons River Tam is a One-Man Army. Her brain is very advanced - she could definitely handle processing both present and future events and act accordingly.
- Daniel Jackson was given three seconds' worth of precognition in the Deep-Immersion Gaming episode of Stargate SG-1.
- Dungeons & Dragons has a few spells that do this by giving their caster damage resistance.
- Not just spells, but various feats, class/race abilities, skills and item properties work as boosts to Initiative rolls, keep you from being subject to surprise attacks, be able to use interrupting abilities, move out of the way, have someone else take the damage, or otherwise ticking off the GM.
- This is also what numerical "insight" bonuses represent— knowing where an opponent's attack will land makes a character harder to hit, and knowing where an opponent's weak spots are going to be positioned makes a character better at hitting him.
- Invoked Trope in the d20 Modern Agents of PSI setting, one of the various Psionic Powers is Combat Prescience, giving the user a +2 Insight bonus on attack rolls for it's duration.
- Invoked Trope in Cyberscape, you get Offensive/Defensive Kata calculators/computers, chips implanted in the brain analyzing the current battle and comparing it to millions/trillions of battle sequences, calculating the most probable enemy attack, defensive weak spots, and giving advance warning to dodge attacks/exploit weak spots. The net result is an insight bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls (for the offensive calculator/computer), defense, reflex save, and listen/spot check to avoid being surprised (for the defensive calculator/computer).
- In the RPGs GURPS and Champions the advantage Danger Sense covers this, though usually players don't spend enough points to make it monstrous. Spider-Man, is the inspiration.
- In Warhammer 40,000 this is part of the reason that Eldar psykers are effective in close combat. The other reason is the rest of their repertoire of powers usually involve eldritch lightning or psychic flames.
- On a more strategic level, Eldar commanders use this to guide their warhosts to victory. Often, warhost commanders tend to be senior seers or aided by senior seers, who skein the threads of fate to determine what the best course of action is, and then they telepathically send this information through to lesser seers and warlocks, who function as squad leaders. Because of this, Eldar warhosts move and react to enemy action with an almost uncanny and very confusing degree of alacrity.
- Averted for the Oracle of Tzeentch - he is possibly the greatest seer of the universe but his powers are only useful in long-term Xanatos Roulettes; he is actually blind to the present (one head sees the future and the other the past) and so physically a pushover by greater demon standards.
- In The Dresden Files' RPG, the custom power "A Few Seconds Ahead" that canon character Abby has allows her to see a few seconds into the future. The in-game effect of this is that it allows her to use her high Lore skill to dodge attacks rather than her lower physical skills.
- In The World of Darkness Vampire: The Masquerade Eyes of Chaos, one of the powers of Dementation, the signature discipline of the Malkavian clan, makes the user impossible to suprise.
- Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid does this by using his psychic powers to read and react to the player's controller input. Plugging the controller on the second player slot denies him this ability.
- The Vyrewatch in RuneScape have the ability to predict what move an opponent will make with a normal weapon. This allows them to dodge all attacks, making them immune to all weapons, except the one you make during the quest they're introduced in.
- Lambda of Wild ARMs 4 has the Blue Destiny ability, which lets him calculate the future and allows him to completely avoid the attacks of anyone in his sight most of the time, even if the attack is normally unavoidable.
- In Xenoblade, Shulk gets the ability to see glimpses of the future after taking hold of the Monado, allowing him to Screw Destiny on a regular basis. Due to Gameplay and Story Integration, the party can get visions of would-be lethal attacks in battle, allowing the chance to find a way to make the attack less deadly (protect them via Status Buff, have another take the hit, etc), delay the attack, or even shattering the future outright by quickly dispatching the enemy. In his appearance in Super Smash Bros., this translates as a Counter Attack ability.
- The rewind ability in the Prince of Persia series lets the titular prince know what an opponent is going to do next, and react accordingly.
- In Knights of the Old Republic (particularly the sequel), this is a much-revered ability among the Echani. A short-term version is a fairly normal exercise for Jedi (who use their Psychic Powers to see the future) and Echani fighters (who don't), but the most legendary examples of the art can see events unfolding weeks or months in advance. A novice might plan the next couple of blows, a veteran might plan a whole battle — but Revan can plot an entire campaign.
- In Erfworld, Book Zero shows a little bit of this, in the form of Delphie Temple. Normally, Delphie is an annoying Predictamancer, but in a fight, she instantly takes a level in badass.
It amounted to the caster using her juice to see things happen a second or two ahead, so that she could aim where the enemy would be, and to move where the enemy's return blows and arrows would not land. Most importantly to this plan, a Predictamancer could know whether or not a shot or blow she was about to initiate would be a hit. If it wouldn't, then she simply did not take the shot.
- Averted in Dominic Deegan during a fencing class.
- The Girl of A Girl and Her Fed has this power.
- Foreshadow in Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a crimefighter who occasionally partners with Battlecat, battling organized crime in New Orleans. He's an almost unbeatable hand-to-hand combatant due to his ability to see just far enough into the future to know what they will do. He's even used this power to dodge bullets. The Eye of God, an expert swordsman and member of the super-terrorist group known as "The Mujahedin", can do the same thing. One wonders what a fight between Foreshadow and the Eye of God would be like.
- Jo Donner has this power in the Whateley Universe, and she's at Whateley Academy learning how to use it better.
- In Worm, the tinker superhero Armsmaster has a heads-up display in his helmet that includes a combat style simulator which — when provided with sufficient video documentation of an opponents fighting style — grants him this.
- Contessa, enforcer for Cauldron plays this a little straighter, by seeing "the path to victory" and following it to completion. Its effective enough she describes her power simply as "I win".
- The Number Man's power is a variation: instead of knowing what's going to happen, he can predict the reigion where the next attack will come from. This means all he has to do is be not there. Every time.
- Francis Grey, from The Batman, does this by way of rewinding time.
- Though its subverted, when he tries to use it on Batman in a direct fight, only to fail 'three times' due to Batman feeling a sense of 'deja vu' which he now knows means time has been reset.
- Demonstrated in Xiaolin Showdown as one use for a Shen-Gong-Wu that let the user see the future. Master Fung uses it to beat all the Monks except Raimundo, who promptly decides it's not worth trying ("I knew you would say that").
- TMNT 2012 villain Victor Falco exposes himself to a small amount of mutagen and gets the power to read his enemies' minds. The only way that Donnie can defeat him is to learn Mikey's signature "Fighting without Thinking" technique.