Immune to Flinching

In the genre of Fighting Games, this is the ability of characters to endure damage without suffering the "flinch", the recoil/stun animations that are associated with the hit. In some games this is known as having "Super Armor" (not to be confused with armor that actually is super-powered) or "Hyper Armor."

Believe it or not, those little flinching animations that accompany damage are actually an important tactical concern in these genres: Interrupting the player's control over their character means the opponent has a chance to land a Combo For Massive Damage. Without it, a fight would merely break down into two characters walking up and bashing each other as fast as they can until somebody's HP hits zero (not unlike your average turn-based RPG).

This works both ways (usually), but it can become a problem for Competitive Balance. Take, for example, a Mighty Glacier fighting a Fragile Speedster — no matter how strong the Glacier is, he won't be able to actually land any hits if he's constantly getting his attacks interrupted by the Speedster's Death of a Thousand Cuts; having some protection against flinching evens the playing field by giving him a chance to endure the Speedster's hits and land a counterattack. On the other hand, if the Glacier has too much protection, it's the Speedster who won't stand a chance because the Glacier no longer has to worry about his enemy's moves and can simply Attack! Attack! Attack!, while the Speedster can do nothing to stop his powerful hits from connecting.

Thus, this property is a double-edged sword, and many games provide rules on when a character is (and is not) immune to the flinch:
  • Sometimes it only works on a limited number of hits at a time — a character may be able to take a single hit without flinching, but a continuous stream of incoming strikes (such as a Combo) will "break through" and knock them aside just the same as a character without the protection.
  • It may be part of a character's Super Mode or Limit Break, giving those modes an extra tactical advantage, balanced by the limited periods in which they actually have access to it.
  • Sometimes it is dependent on the exact action being performed, and/or may require precise timing to execute — there may be a hidden Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship in play, where certain actions (e.g. Limit Breaks) will interrupt other actions (like basic attacks) even if the attacker receives damage. Some special moves may even have this as their defining feature, allowing an attacker can punch through (say) an opponent's rain of projectiles with careful timing. But be wary: Certain moves may also have other, more noticeable drawbacks to discourage a player from merely spamming these moves over and over throughout the match.
  • If the character is exclusively a Boss intended to be fought in a single-player (or multiplayer co-op) campaign instead of player-versus-player matches, they may have this as their default state. This becomes part of the battle's challenge, as it forces the player to time their attacks carefully so they don't get caught off-guard by one of the boss's own attacks.

Compare Feel No Pain and No Sell, which are non-gameplay versions of this trope; Knockback Evasion, which requires you to actively parry to avoid knockback; and Invulnerable Attack, which is invincible to everything. Related to Kung-Fu Proof Mook.


Examples from Fighting Games:

  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Garland's EX Mode gives him super armor to anything that isn't armor piercing (or an HP attack).
  • In the Gundam Battle Assault titles, boss mechs have this as their default state, sometimes at the expense of being able to guard/block against attacks.
  • In the Marvel Vs Capcom titles, larger characters like Juggernaut or Sentinel have various amounts of Super Armor — there is also "Hyper Armor" status which temporarily renders a character completely immune to flinching and knockback. Boss characters (like Galactus) have this as their default state.
    • Juggernaut in X-Men: Children of the Atom is probably the Trope Codifier, having debuted the Super Armor attribute when he was a boss character.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 gives two notable examples (aside from Galactus mentioned above):
      • Nemesis is in a constant No Sell state. He simply has no animation to indicate his reaction to pain, true to his juggernaut status from Resident Evil 3. His ability to keep walking through most attacks is balanced by his exceptionally slow movement speed, large size, and inability to dash.
      • Hsien-Ko has a level 3 Hyper that removes her Power Limiter and places her in a Hyper Armor state, meaning that NOTHING can stop her for the duration of the hyper and her attacks are strengthened as well. This allows for players to activate Hyper Armor status, then switch her out with another character and use her assist attacks to back them up- while she's still in Hyper Armor status. Any damage she takes while on screen will regenerate back to what it was, and her hyper armor will not wear off until she is switched back in.
  • Street Fighter IV gives every character a focus attack, which allows them to endure one hit without flinching while it is charging; they will also recover the damage taken during the charge if they don't receive another. Every character has a move that breaks this armor, but two fast Light attacks will also work. Some Ex attacks also grant this armor while in use.
    • Ultra SFIV introduces the Red Focus attack, which gives the character performing it INFINITE Super Armor, allowing them to absorb as many attacks as their health bar allows.
  • In Super Smash Bros., many of the slow, hard-hitting characters (Bowser, Ganondorf, etc.) have attacks that cannot be interrupted by an opponent's move, although they will still flinch from attacks in their default state. Certain special attacks (like Ike's "Aether" strike) also have short moments in which the character is not interrupted or knocked back by any attacks, even ones which would otherwise KO them.
    • Bowser's Giga Bowser mode doesn't flinch at all, and is essentially immune to being directly KO'd as a result. note 
    • Little Mac in the fourth game has this as one of his main features: most of his ground attacks give him Super Armor. Not his air attacks though...
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, giant characters Gold Lightan and PTX-40A are Mighty Glaciers; extremely slow and unwieldy compared to the rest of the cast, but in exchange they are nearly impossible to flinch, and can stomp through even the strongest special moves from other characters easily. As a handicap, hitting them too many times in succession does end up dizzying them, leaving them open for an extended beating, while other characters can't be dizzied outside of Alex's Stun Gun Headbutt super. Most special throws also work on them just as well as normal characters despite their size (which they lampshade in some of their victory quotes) and some characters have moves that bypass their armor completely and put them in hitstun just like anyone else.
  • The final boss of Skullgirls, Bloody Marie, initially wouldn't stop attacking if you hit her. This was changed in a patch to allow her to flinch after a certain amount of attacks.
    • Cerebella has two moves that have a certain number of hits of armor: her Lock 'n' Load special and her Tumbling Run. She can even perform another move during her Tumbling Run that allows her to have two more hits of armor. Her Level 3 Blockbuster has unlimited armor during startup, similar to the Hyper Armor above.
    • Almost all of Painwheel's normal attacks gain armor when you charge them, and the number of hits her armor can take depend of the strength of the attack used. In addition, any damage she takes during the charge-up period will be added to the damage she'd normally give, so it acts as a sort of Counter Attack.
      • This gets taken Up to Eleven when she's using Hatred Install, where she can survive Cerebella's Level 3 Super, the strongest single attack in the game, and do an insane amount of damage with the combo after it. Take a look.
    • Big Band also has super armor in three of his moves, namely Brass Knuckle, Take the "A" Train and his Level 1 Blockbuster Super Sonic Jazz. All three moves have two hits of armor, but performing his taunt changes the amount of armor hits on Super Sonic Jazz to 15.
    • Eliza's Solar Barge move has unlimited armor against projectiles, and transforming into Sehkmet gives her permanent armor while constantly draining her super meter.
  • The Typhoon weather effect in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody gives both players Super Armor but also makes it impossible to block until the weather ends.
    • Tenshi's "State of Enlightenment" spell card and the Dragon Star system card in Hisoutensoku temporarily gives this effect to the user.
  • The Final Boss form of System U-D in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny has this as long as her Mana Shield is up. Einhart's Unchain Knuckle move temporarily grants her a more limited version that prevents her from flinching against long ranged attacks.
  • The effects of Ohtsuchi (the Earth arcana) in the Arcana Heart series tend to involve this. Passively, Earth gives homing guard cancels and charged attacks points of super armor. When activated, the character receives hyper armor for the extent of the activation, but at the cost of being unable to block.
    • Fiona's Karetov special attack grants one point of super armor in its animation, while its super equivalent Excalibur grants two.
  • The Great Apes (And later other "Giant" characters) in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games are all immune to flinching from smaller characters' basic attack strings, and are also immune to rush specials and grabs. True to form, Broly doesn't flinch from normals that much, either.
  • Certain characters can gain armor properties on their moves in Mortal Kombat 9. However, the bosses have quite a few moves that can do this and it makes them hard to deal with up close. Shao Kahn in particular turns into an SNK Boss whenever he decides to just activate free super-armor for several seconds, which is often.
    • In Mortal Kombat X, Jason Voorhees can grant himself temporary Super Armor with certain variations, with the catch being that after a while he is left in a vulnerable state.
  • In [[Video Game/Oni]], one of the two possible final bosses (Muro in his "daodan" form) is entirely immune to being knocked back or knocked over while he has his shield active. Several other minor opponents (mostly robots) are also immune to knockback and the stun effect from the VDG Gun, which otherwise disables human opponents for several seconds. Partially justified in that robots would not flinch due to feeling pain, but it gets ridiculous when you can hit a robot in the Atmospheric Processor level with a Superball Gun (a pocket howitzer) at point-blank range and it still comes at you undeterred (although it still takes damage) - even you will have been flung across half the room and possibly heavily wounded as a result of your own weapon blast. There is a cheat to grant players the same immunity to knockback/knockover/stun.
  • The de facto boss of Sonic the Fighters, Metal Sonic, has a variation: where most of the characters flinch particularly hard when their "shields" are broken, his reaction is so much smaller that he can recover, reach forward, and smash you into the floor or something.
  • Some characters in the BlazBlue games gain immunity to projectiles (as well as Carl and Relius' puppets) when performing certain moves, such as Tager's magnetism charge. They can still be hit by normal attacks, which knock them out of the attack, however.
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle, Josuke has a special counterattack where the oponent insults his hair, which gets him royally pissed off. This grants him temporary immunity to flinching and increased attack, with the drawback being that he constantly walks towards the oponent.
  • Tekken Revolution has certain moves that are invincible to strikes (these attacks emit a red aura when used). This concept has evolved into Tekken 7's "Power Crush" attacks, which work similarly to the aforementioned Focus Attacks from Street Fighter IV (as the attack is winding up, your character cannot be hit out of the attack and the animation will play even if your opponent is attacking).
  • In Virtua Fighter the wrestler character Wolf has a move called "Repel Wall" where he lunges forward slightly and will No Sell lighter punches & kicks, taking damage but not flinching. This gives him an opening to slap or grab his opponent.

Examples from other genres:

  • In the Mega Man series starting with Mega Man 7 Robot Masters (or Mavericks) can typically endure blaster fire without flinching, although they often do recoil when hit with their particular weakness; Wily and Sigma bosses, as well as Ride Armors, are immune to flinching and knockback.
  • Mega Man Battle Network provides Super Armor as an ability of certain Navis; MegaMan couldn't achieve it himself until Battle Network 2 introduced the Style Change system (it was native to the Guts Style); Battle Network 3 introduced the Navi Customizer, which allowed Mega to install Super Armor almost whenever he wanted. This is useful for getting a high battle rank, as flinching will reduce it.
    • The Powers as Programs concept carried over into sequel series Mega Man Star Force, bringing Super Armor with it. However, since this is a game based on high speed and quick reflexes, unless you have a Super Mode that provides it, Super Armor is normally available only late in the game and at a prohibitively high cost. Sometimes you can achieve it through a member of your Brother Band.
  • In Dragon Age II, Aveline's unique "Indomitable" ability makes her immune to knockback and stun. This leads to a humorous moment against the Final Boss: the boss stuns everything in the area, then starts monologuing. Aveline keeps attacking the whole time.
  • Enemies in Odin Sphere may or may not flinch when struck by the player's attacks, and bosses are immune to flinching as their default state. The player can receive this status only through use of the "Painkiller" potion (which also reduces damage by half); the "Fire Spirits" and "Ice Spirits" potions also allow the player to absorb three hits without damage or flinching.
  • Maplestory has this as an ability for many of the classes (officially named Stance after the name of the first skill to give it). Each of the adventurer warriors, Aran, Battlemage, Dual Blade, and Evan has a 90% chance of not flinching due to a class skill. All adventurer magicians, Wild Hunters, and Cannonshooters have similar skills (mount in the case of Wild Hunters), but which have a lower probability of triggering. Some classes like Mechanic and Demon Slayer can receive 100% protection from flinching at earlier levels.
  • Mass Effect 3's Multiplayer mode has a particularly insidious version of this with the Geth Hunters. While you can indeed knock virtually any enemy in the game back to buy yourself precious seconds, the hunters can still shoot you even in the middle of their stun animation.
    • The N7 Destroyer in Multiplayer gets this ability while in Devastator Mode.
  • MMORPGs and Action MMOs often give each character class at least one move with this property so they can break stunlocks in PVP. How balanced they are is often debated among players.
    • The Dwarves of Warhammer Online have a tactic that is a partial example of this. The tactic is called "Stoutness of Stone" and it allows them to recover from being knocked down or stunned in half the time they normally would.
    • Guild Wars has a few stances, enchantments, and a ward that does this.
  • In the Dark Crusade campaign, some heroes can use wargear that reduces the effects of knockback.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, there's a ring that can be found that considerably reduces the distance you get pushed back. Can be quite useful when most powerful enemies knock you back when you hit them.
  • A few Pokémon (Cradily for example) have the Ingrain move that allows them to root themselves into the ground to prevent being removed from battle. There's also the "Suction Cups" ability, which innately prevents a forced switch (Lileep/Cradily and Octillery).
    • There is also the ability Inner Focus, which, well, prevents the Pokémon from flinching (flinching causes a Pokémon to lose its turn).
      • Another ability, Steadfast, raises the user's speed stat when it flinches, but does not prevent it.
  • In Terraria, knockback can be bothersome in battle as well as exploring (such as being hit into a tall chasm, taking fall damage). The player can equip the Cobalt Shield or its upgrade, the Obsidian Shield, which both completely prevent knockback.
    • It's not uncommon to latch onto the ground with one of several grappling hooks when fighting a boss that does dangerous amounts of knockback.
  • Sometimes referred to as "Penetrate" (Iron Will in the English translations) in some of the Tales Series games. It's the ability for some bosses to take a certain (Sometimes visible) amount of hits or damage without flinching, after which they can be caught in a proper combo, but they'll regain their flinch resistance once the combo ends. Also shows up in a more traditional fashion with the bosses frequently being immune or highly resistant to flinching while attacking even without this and the party being able to utilize it with skills, buffs or by activating the game's Super Mode. Of particular note is Rowen from Tales of Xillia, who can become an outright Game Breaker through skills that make him Immune to Flinching during a spell's cast time.
  • The Poise stats in Dark Souls granted by heavier armor to compensate for its weight makes you more capable of taking damage without having your actions interrupted or getting stunned. All characters, including enemies, have Poise. Being hit drains Poise which regenerates after a moment, much like a hidden stamina bar. When Poise is completely drained, the character becomes stunned. Having one more point of Poise than is being dealt will prevent the character from being stunned by that hit.
    • On the same vein, its spiritual predecessor Demon's Souls grant hyperarmor properties on certain heavy weapons, particularly greataxes and greathammers. This is important, because Poise had not been introduced yet, meaning knockback is unaffected by your armor. This means wearing heavier armor isn't usually a good choice.
  • In Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning there is an ability on the warrior skill tree with this as an ability. When on the Fateless One (you) treats hits like gentle shoves.
  • In Warriors Orochi, Power characters don't flinch when hit by normal attacks and harder to stagger compared to other characters (charge attacks will still stagger them, however).
  • Darksiders has the Stone Armor ability.
  • Rook in Yomi has Rock Armor as his character ability, which he can activate by discarding cards to land an attack despite being hit by a faster attack.
  • The "Stonewall" perk available in several Fallout games made being knocked down by anything less likely in 2 and Tactics while in New Vegas it provides some extra damage threshold and completely prevents knockdown from melee weapons specifically.
  • For the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, this is the innate racial ability of the Dwarves. A few powers and prestige classes also grant this ability.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, one of the powers, called "Super Armor," raises defense and prevents knockback. There's also "Brief Invincibility," which makes the uses invincible for a short time, and "Aries Armor," which reduces damage received, and prevents status effects and knockback.
  • In Borderlands 2, Krieg was made to be heavier than the other characters so that he suffered less knockback and can go toe-to-toe with enemies for his melee-centric gameplay style. However, this also makes it so that he's incapable of grenade jumping or completing certain challenges that involve springing characters up to a certain point.
  • In Warframe this is one of the benefits from Rhino's "Iron Skin" and Valkyr's "Hysteria" powers. Some warframe mod cards can give a chance to resist knock-down, but never 100%.
  • In Sengoku Basara the heavier characters flinch less easily than the lighter ones, to make up for their slower attacks that take longer to charge. Honda Tadakatsu and Tachibana Muneshige are all but immune to it. Oda Nobunaga, in addition to being much more resistant to it than his weight class would indicate, also has access to a Super Mode that makes him immune to flinching in the third game.
  • PlanetSide 2's soldiers are vulnerable to "flinch" which causes weapon accuracy to drop when the player is damaged or near an explosion. One of the implants significantly reduces the flinch, making reaction fire more accurate. A separate implant makes soldiers immune to the effects of Concussion (and Whiteout) grenades, which cripples movement and aiming speed, along with copious amounts of Interface Screw.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Each class has a different mass that the impulse of an attack is divided by, making heavier classes affected less by attacks with the same amount of knockback.
    • Soldiers wearing Mantreads ignore 75% of the knockback caused by damage, but not the Pyro's compression blast, which does only knockback. Thankfully, knockback from one's own Rocket Launcher is not affected either.
    • The Sniper's Cozy Camper prevents the crosshair jerking around when you take damage, and decreases knockback by 20%.
    • The Ubercharge for the Quick-Fix makes both the patient and Medic immune to knockback and any other ability that impairs movement, like the Scout's Sandman or Natascha.
    • Inverted by the Shortstop, which has the downside of increasing the effect of knockback by 40%.
    • In Mann Vs. Machine, Demoman can upgrade any of his shields to get as much as 90% knockback resistance. This makes engaging in melee combat much easier as you don't have to fear getting pushed back when going for a kill or getting stopped in the middle of a charge.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's bosses had Absolute Defense, where you had to deal a certain amount of damage in a single combo before they would actually take damage. The defense is rendered as a Beehive Barrier that finally shatters when you finally exceed it.
  • The later Dynasty Warriors games have a stat for this, called "combat resistance." Rage mode gives significant boosts to all of the characters' stats, combat resistance obviously included, and some fighters like Guan Yu and Xu Huang can boost theirs with Ex attacks. A few characters in the story missions also start out with boosted attack power and combat resistance, which you're usually encouraged to dispel by accomplishing a strategy that grants you the upper hand.
    • Lu Bu naturally is no stranger to flinch immunity. Sometimes, you can't make him flinch if your attack stat is too low either. Sometimes, like at Hulao Gate in 8, it's impossible to make him flinch no matter how strong you are. And that's not to mention he can invoke Hyper Armor at any time by using one of his Musou attacks in a certain way.
    • In earlier games, just having a high-enough defense stat on a low-enough difficulty mode made it so weaker enemies could never flinch you. Arrows were the only weapons that always flinched you regardless, but even then, there's an item specifically dedicated to eliminating arrow flinching.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam also has flinch immunity. Mobile armors only flinch if being hit during certain animation frames (during which they get highlighted with arrows), or if hit by a smash attack while not in these animation frames (a smash attack that hits them during these frames knocks them down instead). Most regular mobile suits are always vulnerable to flinching while not defending - but in the second game, The O is immune to flinching while doing a melee combo, making it a very dangerous opponent.
    • Also in the second game, the "Fighting Instinct" skill makes the player's suit immune to flinching at all times, except against instant-knockdown attacks. Despite also making the player take more damage, this skill is Game Breaker tier precisely because it turns the player into The Juggernaut who can stunlock and roll over their opponent with relative impunity.
    • And of course, all mobile suits are immune to flinching (and all damage as well) while doing an SP attack.
  • In a similar vein, Hyrule Warriors has Focus Spirit, which is pretty much Rage mode to a tee. Some of the characters' biggest, strongest and slowest attacks also give them temporary Super Armor and every character has an unlockable skill in their Skill Tree that allows them to take up to 3 hits in quick succession without being interrupted.
    • Hyper Armor is the last stage of buffs that can be granted to enemies by morale boosts, but Ganondorf is a fan of entering the battle already enveloped in it.
    • Much like Lu Bu, Cia has on-demand Super Armor that she can activate just by using her Strong Attack.
  • The Dwarves of Warhammer Online have a tactic that is a partial example of this. The tactic is called "Stoutness of Stone" and it allows them to recover from being knocked down or stunned in half the time they normally would.
  • Guild Wars has a few stances, enchantments, and a ward that does this.
  • Saints Row The Third has an optional Upgrade of "No Ragdoll", which makes you no longer get knocked over by explosions.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has the ability to nullify Stun, which results in Knockback, as well as a host of other ways to manipulate your stats to reduce Knockback values or increase your chances of surviving the impact.
  • Champions has two ways to do this, Clinging and Knockback Resistance.
  • SD Gundam Capsule Fighter has its Mobile Armors with this ability automatically. There are also certain suits, such as the Astray Red Frame "Powered Red" and the GP-02 Physallis, who have this as an ability. Nine times out of ten, these two suits tend to be banned in matches because of it.
  • In the freeware re-release of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, the Advanced Gyroscope available to many of the games' Humongous Mecha makes them far more resistant to the effects of screen-shake and knockback from high-powered weapons like the Gauss Rifle, and makes them all but immune to being knocked on their ass from massed high-power weaponry. A significant part of the multiplayer is timing your weapon's reloads with the enemies' to blast them and throw off their aim just before they fire, so the Advanced Gyro is very useful device for brawlers.
  • This can be an issue for some proper characters programmed in MUGEN. Some boss characters, such as the Cyberbots R.A.D., Girantina, or Omega Zero, often flinch little-to-no times from attacks. Since the game is freeware as well, there are a number of characters Super Armor is given to and then they are given unbelievable amounts of attack damage.
  • In Urban Reign Super Armor's one of the rarer self-buff abilities, most commonly available to characters with the "Mighty" moveset.

Alternative Title(s):

Super Armor