I will freeze you from within... until all that remains is an icy husk!
While fire is the traditional means
of destroying evil, sometimes cold works just as well. This can range from liquid nitrogen to just luring your opponent into a very cold place. Attacking people in this way almost always results in an instant kill
through immediate cessation of bodily function, although in real life it would still take time to induce hypothermia or stop the heart.
Likely to be used by An Ice Person
. May involve a Freeze Ray
, Literally Shattered Lives
, Depleted Phlebotinum Shells
, or being Locked in a Freezer
. See also Kill It with Water
and Kill It with Fire
. Not always related to Impossibly Cool Weapon
. For the non-lethal version of this trope, see Harmless Freezing
. Anyone wearing An Ice Suit
is likely to try to Kill It With Ice.
Likely to appear in video games that use Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
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Anime and Manga
- Being An Ice Person, Admiral Aokiji in One Piece can freeze someone solid, then kill them by shattering their frozen body. Even barring that, they can still die if thawed improperly.
- Bleach: The definitive user of this trope is Captain Hitsugaya. He possesses the strongest ice/snow type zanpakutou in Soul Society and therefore the entirety of his powers centre around killing enemies with ice.
- Rukia also possesses an ice/snow type zanpakutou and therefore her powers are also based around this trope.
- In Slayers, there are a variety of ice-based magic spells, ranging from the "weak enough to use on yourself as air conditioning" to the "instant kill if used on a human". The strongest such attack is Dynast Breath, which freezes the target within ice. The ice then shatters, and the victim with it.
- Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Negima!, when she can actually use her magic, specializes in dark and ice spells. Her most powerful spell shown, Kosmike Katastrophe (translates roughly as End of the World), freezes a massive demon, then shatters it with a snap of her fingers. The spell breaks the second law of thermodynamics to freeze a 150 square foot area in absolute zero temperatures. She also has a smaller-scale ice spell that's supposed to freeze the target for a few years, but Asuna manages to break out of it quickly enough due to her magic nullification ability.
- Evangeline's latest spell, Endless White Nine Heavens, is an original ice-lightning spell made specifically to combat constructs, and locks-on to an enemy and continually freezes them and their surroundings solid while leaving them conscious, so they can suffer for all eternity.
- In the magic system of Negima!, ice spells are considered higher-level than fire spells of roughly equivalent power, because ice spells violate more of the laws of physics.
- Dio Brando, of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fame, had the vampiric ability to lower his own body temperature to the point where any flesh he touches freezes solid. He uses this ability to kill Will A. Zeppeli, freezing his body before shattering him like glass.
- Darker than Black has November 11, an interesting case: he can freeze virtually any liquid, but there has to be a readily available source of said liquid first, like a pool of water, and can't simply summon ice out of nowhere. He also has to make contact with said liquid, and can't use his powers from range.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, it turns out a Briggs winter is even capable of incapacitating a homunculus.
- In Dragon Ball, Goku manages to beat a rubbery monster named Buyon by causing the cold air outside to freeze him, and he broke him afterwards.
- Sailor Mercury eventually learns ice-based attacks.
- Cygnus Hyoga and Aquarius Camus are great examples. All their attacks are ice-themed.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura incapacitates the Watery card by tricking her into entering a walk-in freezer and then locking the door. Wait a bit, and capturing her became a simple matter.
- Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z: Him is weakened by cold (because, as a demon, he's all about hellfire and brimstone).
- The most powerful Ice Magic in Fairy Tail, Iced Shell, can trap its target in an (mostly) unbreakable block of ice that will eventually kill it since freezing is not harmless. The downside is that the caster's own body becomes the ice.
- Silver, the Ice Devil Slayer and one of the Nine Gates of Tartaros, wields an extremely powerful form of Ice magic that is especially effective against his fellow demons.
- This was shown in the JLA comic as one of the few effective ways of hurting Plastic Man. Since he is apparently immortal, actually killing him is out of the question.
- The standard method employed by Mr. Freeze in the Batman franchise (sometimes non-lethally but often with deadly effect).
- While it doesn't actually kill her, this is one method for defeating Killer Frost. She absorbs nearby energy, so encasing her in ice cuts off her power supply.
- Captain Cold has an ice gun capable of creating fields of absolute zero. Like the Kosmike Katastrophe spell by Evangeline from Negima! this works by violating the second law of thermodynamics.
- Sonic the Comic Robotnik uses this to destroy Brutus spraying him with liquid nitrogen.
- Well, John in With Strings Attached could easily kill something with ice, but being an Actual Pacifist, he explicitly rejects such behavior, except when it pertains to the undead. He's perfectly willing to riddle skeletons and zombies with ice shards.
- In the Pony POV Series, ice is one of the only things Draconequi like Discord cannot affect with their powers. Ice is created by taking away heat and their magic doesn't work on something born from the absence of something.
- In A Minor Variation, weather captain "Hurricane" Fluttershy incapacitates Gilda the griffon by luring her high enough that her wingfeathers freeze up. She even quotes Iron Man: "How'd you solve the icing problem?"
- Fantasy Of Utter Ridiculousness: Megas's flaming sword can be turned into a frost sword when Coop turns on the air conditioner. Fittingly, it's powered by a Mega Slush.
- Examples from the Calvinverse:
- In one old ghost story, a ghost that dripped water all over its victims and made them miserable was defeated by being lured into an ice house. The cold froze the ghost's water and turned it into an icy statue.
- The Heroes of Olympus:
- The result of getting hit by Hyperborean breath. Percy uses this to his advantage.
- Khione, the goddess of snow, is fond of doing this.
- Cold-gas weapons (both spray projectors and rocket warheads) are used in The War Against the Chtorr, though the hero doesn't find them as reliable as flamethrowers.
- The first deathtrap in Ripper is a loaded crossbow aimed at someone in the dining room, its stock propped on top of an ice cube. As the ice melts, its stock settles onto the shelf and depresses the firing lever by its own weight.
- Liquid Nitrogen Grenades make an appearance in Matthew Reilly's Ice Station, but don't cause the instant freezing usually seen with this trope. Instead, people exposed to them freeze from the outside in.
- They're already dead, but in Dante's Inferno (part of the Divine Comedy), the lowest circle of hell has traitors distorted and frozen in ice for all eternity. This is the same level that Brutus, Cassius, and Judas reside on, but with the added bonus of having their feet chewed on by Satan.
- Judas was actually in there head first, what with being the worst traitor of them all.
- Jack London's classic short story "To Build a Fire" tells of a rather foolish and unsympathetic gold miner in Yukon Territory who goes off on a journey alone and winds up freezing to death after he falls into water and is unable to build a fire to warm himself.
- The Left Behind series has a somewhat different version of this trope: Enigma Babylon One World Faith leader Peter Mathews was killed by sharp feathers made from an ice sculpture of him.
- The Dresden Files: The more powerful Winter Fae can do this. Wizards can do it too; Harry first used ice by using his fire spell to draw heat from a puddle, freezing it and causing his pursuer to slip. Later he becomes the Winter Knight, and can use more traditional ice attacks, like freezing someone solid.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the pilot episode, Q immobilized a redshirt by freezing him after he drew a phaser; he doesn't die, but it's implied he might have without immediate medical attention.
- Also, Security Chief/first season regular Tasha Yar, but Q agrees to restore her when Picard protests.
- Star Trek: Voyager ("Displaced"): When Voyager's crew is trapped in a prison with different environments for different species, Tom and B'Elanna dispose of two Nyrian mooks (from a very warm planet) by luring them into a subzero habitat. Later Captain Janeway beams the rest of the Nyrians there, and threatens to keep them there until her ship is returned.
- In the Doctor Who serial Planet of the Daleks, the centre of the planet Spiridon is filled with ice instead of lava; thus an "ice-flow" is used to destroy the Dalek army.
- A victim of the week on NCIS was killed by liquid nitrogen.
- Also in The X-Files episode "Roland".
- It's also revealed that the alien virus can be rendered harmless by lowering the temperature of its environment.
- Heroes: Tracy. Later adds Making a Splash (drowning people in enclosed spaces) to her arsenal.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Mirror!Phlox tortures a Tholian by reducing the temperature in its cell. When it drops low enough, the poor Tholian shatters. Unusual in that Tholians normally live in a superheated environment, and the cell was still well above normal for most folks.
- One demon in the Angel episode "Expecting" was taken down with liquid nitrogen.
- Primeval has a fungus monster that can only be killed by subzero temperatures. Connor nearly dies after trapping himself in a freezer with it.
- An aquatic Monster of the Week on Tremors: The Series was killed by dumping dry ice into the aquaduct it was submerged in. Unusual in that the heroes could have shot it or blown it up quite easily, but needed to keep its carcass intact to avoid contaminating the area with the mixmaster in its tissues.
- A bitchy fashionista on CSI: New York fell onto the bent stem of a liquid nitrogen tank, which injected her chest with the frigid fluid and literally froze her heart solid.
- In the Traveller Double Adventure "The Chamax Plague/Horde", the title alien monsters are defeated by luring them into an icy snow field and with a cold-generation field, respectively.
- Forgotten Realms' god of rot Moander has penchant for controlling slaves via parasitic vines. Since they were of tropical variety any area spell cold enough to harm a victim was overkill for them. Later Moander itself got a piece of paraelemental ice delivered and force-fed.
- In Pokémon, this is the standard way of dealing with Dragon-types, since the only other type that's super-effective against them is their own (or, starting with Generation VI, the Fairy type). You will want something else for Reshiram, Dialga, Palkia, and Kyurem, however.
- Even without dragons, you can eliminate any Pokemon with a type combo of Dragon, Grass, Ground, and Flying with a single well-placed shot of the cold stuff.
- In Mass Effect, a secret research lab is built in high mountains on a permanently frozen planet, the idea being that if anything goes wrong, the cold would stop whatever they create from leaving the labs. In case of an emergency, the doors are locked and the power cut off, and after a week or so, cleanup teams with arctic gear can take care of the frozen mess.
- Another example: Cryo and Snowblind rounds freeze targets solid with predictable results. This is one way to keep Krogans from regenerating and coming at you again.
- The sequels add Cryo Blast as a tech ability, and the Avalanche heavy weapon.
- The N7 Paladin class in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer has the Snap Freeze ability that sprays freezing liquid in an arc in front of the Paladin. It can cause damage on its own but is particularly useful for slowing enemies down and increasing the damage they take.
- In Magicka Ice and Frost are both 2 elements you can use.
- The Legend of Zelda has the Ice Arrows, which freezes enemies upon contact. Weaker enemies will be killed the moment they're thawed out, while stronger enemies will need either another Ice Arrow or to be dealt with up-close.
- Mel the Torrent Witch starts out with a simple water spell, but she later learns Ice Crush, her strongest magical attack second only to Claire's Volt Storm. She is also the Combat Medic.
- Mortal Kombat: Sub-Zero, being An Ice Person in general, hands out plenty of these as Finishing Moves.
- One can use the Ice Wand weapon in American McGee's Alice to kill opponents with cold; they freeze solid and then fade away.
- Diablo II introduces the Cold element to kill stuff and be killed with. Has a chance of successfully shattering stuff as well.
- Being An Ice Person, this is Vexen of Kingdom Hearts's weapon of choice. Erm, besides his big-ass, spike-covered shield.
- Metroids are extremely vulnerable to cold, which is probably the only reason why Samus has an Ice Beam.
- And why, when Samus becomes part Metroid in Metroid Fusion, the X start coming after her with ice-cold parasites that hurt her if absorbed, at least until she can get the Varia Suit to withstand extreme temperatures.
- Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime 3 enhance Samus's arsenal with Ice Missiles instead. For Fusion, this is because Samus is told that the Metroid-based aspect of her physiology would reject the Ice Beam. It's likely that this is a deliberate lie. She does get the Ice Beam for the final battle against the Omega Metroid.
- The page image shows the result of the Ice Spreader from Metroid Prime, one of several "Beam Combo" items that are hidden, optional upgrades.
- In Other M, a rogue group of Federation scientists manages to engineer some Metroids immune to cold, effectively rendering them invincible. Fortunately, all living specimens of this group were killed in an explosion before they became mature. Doubly fortunately, the rest of the Federation realizes exactly how stupid creating invincible Metroids is, and do not continue the project.
- Torch Bearer from Demigod switches between this and Kill It with Fire.
- Crysis has frost-based aliens armed with ice-shard guns. Later on, you can get one of their weapons to use against them. And it has infinite ammo, too!
- Atempted in Dead Space with the hunter, which you have to lure into a cryogenic chamber to freeze it solid. While this seems to work at first, it manges to kill it as much as any other things you've tried so far. In the end, it requires firing the rocket engines of a space ship into its face to really kill it dead.
- One of the bosses in the final level of Kid Dracula requires to shoot it with an ice projectile which is almost completely useless elsewhere.
- Quick rule of thumb: if Mega Man is up against both a fire-using boss and an ice-using boss in the same batch of Robot Masters, the one using fire will usually be weak to one using ice, though this is occasionally inverted. Otherwise, Kill It with Water.
- In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, while few enemies die outright from being frozen with the Ice Flower, it does turn many into ice blocks which can then be crushed with a Ground Pound or thrown into walls. This is the most convenient way to handle Dry Bones.
- In Warcraft III, the Scourge specializes in ice attacks (since Evil Is Deathly Cold), particularly the Lich heroes.
- In World of Warcraft, Mages and Death Knights are both capable of specializing in Ice-based attacks. Also, Shamans have Frost Shock. Averted with Hunters, whose freezing traps don't kill, but merely immobilize an enemy in ice or create a slick surface that slows enemy movement. As mentioned above, many Scourge mobs also tend towards ice.
- One fascinating quirk of dwarven physics in Dwarf Fortress is that any water exposed to open air below freezing temperature, freezes instantly along with anything that was unlucky enough to be in it. When you melt or dig out the ice, only things left are bones and metal equipment.
- Red Alert 3 gives the Allied faction several new ice-based superweapons and units, including Cryoblasts and Cryocopters. While the ice itself doesn't do any damage, it does leave frozen targets vulnerable enough that a single shot from the weakest infantry unit will shatter an Apocolypse tank.
- You have a lot of options to do this in a standard Final Fantasy game: the Ice/Blizzard series of spells is generally one of the Black Mage's basic abilities, ice-elemental equipment is usually obtained around the half-way point, and summoners have Shiva (or Mateus in the Ivalice games).
- Hexen: Beyond Heretic has the Mage's Ice Spell, which if you kill someone with it, they freeze, and you can shatter them like glass.
- Shining Series
- Melty Blood has one in White Len.
- Freezing to death from staying outside too long is one of the ways you can let Nancy Drew die in Treasure in the Royal Tower and White Wolf of Icicle Creek, and in one of these games the villain tries to get rid of her this way.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, at the end of the first act, the party's gotten in Edea's way for a bit too long, so what does she do? Impale!
- The Soviets in War Front Turning Point love their liquid nitrogen weapons.
- This seems to be Soulcalibur's (and by extension Siegfried's) goal for the entire world in Soulcalibur IV.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, frost damage hurts health and stamina. A lot of enemies in Skyrim favor ice too. The more powerful Undead shoot frost from their hands, vampires fling spikes of ice magic, Wispmothers fling volleys of ice spells while their children attack, Ice Wraiths are hostile elemental spirits of ice and air, and Dragons occasionally use the Frost Breath Shout. The native people of Skyrim, the Nords, developed a hardy resistance to cold in response to the various ice-wielding menaces in Skyrim. Including Skyrim itself, since it's the coldest province in Tamriel. Conversely, ice isn't that practical for the player character to use since so many of the enemies in the game are resistant to it. Taken to an even higher level in Dragonborn with the return of Bloodmoon's Stalhrim. Players can now forge weapons made of enchanted ice that are on the same level as Ebony weapons that also increase the power of any Frost enchantments placed on them.
- Used to truly spectacular effect by the Kingslayer in the intro video of The Witcher 2, with an ice bomb instantly freezing an entire ship (and almost everyone on board) liquid nitrogen-style
- Bioshock has the Winter Blast plasmid, which freezes splicers when hit, then you can shatter them into pieces with your wrench or any other weapon before they thaw out for a few seconds. The drawback here is that you won't get loot after doing this method. Later on, some splicers will have attained this ability, and are much resistant to your own ice-based attacks. Therefore, do the opposite thing on them, which isn't hard to figure out...
- Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance has several magical spells that work like this, with the potential for turning enemies into little ice chunks if you have the proper spell setup. They either turn all blue for a time where you can hit them physically to shatter them, or if you do it long enough, they shatter all on their own. It's not really practical to do this sometimes because they might be immune to it for some reason or another, or it's rather mana-intensive to do this for long periods.
- Subverted slightly in Duke Nukem 3D with the Freezethrower. It fires frozen nitrogen crystals that bounce around the room and damage any enemies they hit (including yourself if you're not careful), but when they reach death, they instead freeze solid, at which point they are a One-Hit-Point Wonder - although they will harmlessly thaw out after a few seconds (but can still be downed or re-frozen in one hit).
- In Drowtales, Sil'lice is one of the most skilled Ice Sorcerer's, let alone sorcerers in the setting. As she fights, the battleground is coated and covered in layers of frost and her opponents begin to suffer first frost bite, then begin to freeze solid. This is used for some disturbing Fingore when one of her opponents blocks her sword blow, only to have her fingers snap off from the impact.
- Stonewater the orc in Dominic Deegan can conjure ice to use as a weapon; it is just as effective as holy magic against demons (which is to say, very) because the orcs believe ice to be sacred.
- Red Mage of Eight Bit Theater has a tendency to throw around ice spells. His most epic is easily using Ice-9 to freeze the Fiend of Fire into a Bag of Holding.
- Slightly Damned: The demon Lazuli uses ice magic to summon sharp, pointy icicles. They are very fatal, and rather messy.
- Old Man Winter of Snow By Night does this to every bird he sees.
- Tigatron of Beast Wars fame used a gun that was seen to instantly freeze other Transformers.
- Used in the Disney Afternoon cartoon Darkwing Duck to immobilise a super-villain made of liquid. It was ultimately only a temporary solution.
- This was one method of dealing with the otherwise untouchable Inque in Batman Beyond. However, after repeated exposure, she figured out that compressing herself in a ball would keep most of her body active while only freezing the outside layer.
- "Now remember, there may be some momentary discomfort."
- In Avatar The Last Airbender, an bonus pop up noted Katara only cover the face of firebenders when she freezes people. This is presumably because others can't survive.
- Nonlethal variety: Batman was able to subdue Clayface this way in one episode of Batman: The Animated Series. (However, the villain got the jump on him when he tried it a second time later in the episode.
- The Swedish Empire in 1700, Napoleon in 1812, and Hitler during WWII all tried to invade Russia, and Russia kicked them all out the same way; by letting the really nasty Russian winters (sometimes called General Winter) drain their forces, then defeating them.
- Finland took advantage of this against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940. The brutal winter that year caused great problems for the Soviet advance, helping the Finnish to resist effectively, despite being ridiculously outnumbered. They had to give up and surrender some territory in the spring though.
- Partial subversion; many historians now say that winter is not the worst time to campaign in the arctic. Indeed apparently the Finns were praying for spring to bring them lots of good old fashioned mud.
- Only a partial subversion. When the first freezes of winter come in the far north it actually helps an army on the move when the mud freezes over; Hitler's Wehrmacht made better progress when the hard freeze came. However, when the temperature dropped to thirty below and the blizzards came, they suffered terribly.
- In the case of Napoleon's men, another reason they ended up dead of hypothermia might have been tin disease, the transformation of white tin (Sn's main form at room temperature) to brittle grey tin (which eventually crumbles into powder) beginning at temperatures of 13.2 degrees Celsius. This transformation is slow at first, but drop the temperature to -30 degrees Celsius and below and the reaction should kick-start. Napoleon's men used tin buttons. The temperatures could have been that low in Russia. Go figure.
- David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed said that the Puritans unwittingly chose a very good spot to place their colony. While a New England winter is hard on humans, it actually does kill germs.
- Like its liquid counterpart, ice will tear up the landscape given time. No matter how hard the rock, even a little crack will doom it in the right climate.
- In many types of extermination in the real world, cold temperatures, or freezing, is used to kill pests. It can be ineffective, or take a long time.
- Kill It with Fire, and cold temperatures, are used to kill bed bugs and other pests in some cases, other than poison, in which the house's temperature is lowered, or raised, substantially. This can take multiple attempts, such as the process being done every other day or so for a year. And if the problem persists, once again, another year.
- As shown on Mythbusters, one of the most effective ways to disarm a bomb is not to cut the wires, but to freeze it with liquid nitrogen. This stops the electrical components from functioning and is quite effective. Mythbusters showed that if the bomb squad in Lethal Weapon 2 had used liquid nitrogen to freeze the bomb in Murtaugh's bathroom, the dive into the bathtub would have been unnecessary. They simply could have stood up and walked away.
- Cryosurgery. It can kill cancer cells in a considerably cleaner way. The extremely cool name is a bonus.