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Long-Range Fighter

Someone or something who specializes in ranged combat, but is less effective against close-up threats.

Such characters are likely Glass Cannons, with their range and damage being always feared as long as someone isn't next to them. This kind of Long-Range Fighter tends to be Difficult but Awesome, as their strengths are useless if the player or their teammates doesn't manage to keep aware of enemy positions and keep them out of close-combat, but their advantages are very blatant when pulled off. As such, the risk of this character type being a Game Breaker can be rather significant since one of the only things worse to suffer than getting easily killed is getting easily killed when you can barely see your enemy and can't hope to fight back. This will hopefully be mitigated by their opponents' tools (varying in many ways, from speed to close in to Smoke Out to cover them while they're far away), environment (usually by letting opponents Take Cover and hope to flank the Long-Range Fighter), or themselves (such as their close-range weakness being very, very, very distinct) in some way.

Other examples can overlap with Fragile Speedsters, with their range and speed providing an obvious synergy. This character then usually has the drawback of low offensive power, leaving them only able to inflict Death By A Thousand Cuts; regardless, the Mighty Glaciers will probably wish losing to them was over with faster, and likely consider them Demonic Spiders. The Difficult but Awesome degree of this character can vary over how easy it is to employ their speed and how generally easy it is to kill them in the game. A game of otherwise mostly close-combat will likely make using their strengths simple enough, while games with more easy-to-use range will cause playing this character to require more deliberation or reflexes lest they fall victim to projectiles (even errant ones).

Yet other examples, often seen in sci-fi settings, are Mighty Glaciers that sit back and try to shell opponents with their greater range and firepower but lacking the agility to bring its guns to bear on nearby, faster-moving targets who can whittle them down while they have no recourse but death.

Mostly applies to video games, but may count for characters in other media.

Opposite of Close Range Combatant. Subtrope of Necessary Drawback and Competitive Balance.


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     Anime And Manga  

  • In Gundam Wing, Trowa's "Heavyarms" Gundam was equipped almost exclusively with long-range weapons (with a single pop-out physical knife as an Emergency Weapon), where the other Gundams relied more often on Beam Sabres or other close-range weapons. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz upped the ante with "Heavyarms Custom" being equipped with even More Dakka. Its appearance in Gundam Battle Assault 2 reflects this, with almost its entire repertoire of attacks being of some manner of projectile or shot.
  • After War Gundam X: Leopard Gundam in a nutshell, as well as its upgraded form of Leopard Destroy.
  • Gundam 00 has this in the form of Virtue Gundam and its successor Seravee Gundam, as does Dynames Gundam and its successor Cherudim Gundam. Reborns Gundam also does this while in the form of Reborns Cannon.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has a few of these as well. Of the first generation Gundams, the Buster Gundam was the only one without some form of beam saber, leaving it entirely reliant on its combinable beam guns and missiles. Of the second generation Calamity Gundam was armed entirely with a variety of guns. Few if any mobile suits in the sequel were quite as specialized carrying at least an Emergency Weapon to cover close combat.
    • The ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam was also designed with an emphasis on long range combat; Even more so it's successor, the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom (which currently serves as the page image for Beam Spam). Mind you, neither unit was a slouch when things had to get up-close-and-personal, but they were intended to work in tandem with the ZGMF-X09A Justice and the ZGMF-X19A ∞ Justice respectively, which were geared towards Close-Range Combat.
  • The eponymous lead character of Lyrical Nanoha series specializes in ranged combat (though her melee skills are just as good, by the misfortune of repeatedly having to face close-range fighters in combat). Her favorite student Teana is almost exclusively a ranged fighter from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS onward.
  • Temari, and to a lesser extent, Tenten in Naruto. Temari has a giant fan that she uses to blow giant gusts of wind at her opponent. Tenten has a variety of weapons at her disposal and can fight any distance from the opponent, however her jutsu are mostly used from a far distance.
    • Gaara's fighting style is like this after the Time Skip, though unlike most others he has a solid defense with his sand which is strong enough to block attacks that can destroy an entire city with much effort. Mostly he just fights at long range because his attacks aren't any less effective.
    • Both Kidomaru and Tayuya specialize in long-range combat, using arrows and genjutsu against their enemies respectively but are vulnerable against a close-range assault. Likewise, their partners Jirobo as well as Sakon & Ukon specialize in close-ranged combat.
    • Deidara attacks with animated sculptures made of exploding clay. Although explicitly described as a Long-Range Fighter, he subverts the implied Crippling Overspecialization by still being capable enough of getting away from a whole team of close-range specialist while missing both of his arms.
  • Usopp in One Piece, from all of the weapons he's invented, he has a few different hammers for different occasions for close-range and that's about it.
  • Volkein from GUN×SWORD fits into this easily as all of its weapons are guns and missiles.
  • Ramiel from Neon Genesis Evangelion and to an extent Arael especially since they have no known close range attacks.
  • Frederica from Psyren mostly fights using long ranged flame-attacks that can do great damage even over extreme range. She can engulf herself in a big body of fire to also fight in close range but her physical abilities are lackluster, so she lacks the speed to combat melee-experts on short range.
  • Stands in Jojos Bizarre Adventure has this in two forms. Most long range Stands have less direct abilities & attacks, generally rank low in precision, and are less effective if forced in to melee range. There are also automated Stands, which can operate independently at a range far, far away from their users but can only operate on simple, "pre-programmed" instructions, such as focusing exclusively on the biggest heat source in a room.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ultra Seven: Dinosaur Tank. Name says all although it does have some close range capabilities.
  • Ultraman Dyna: Satan Lovemos is pretty much laser guns and cannons on treads.
  • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: The King Joe Blacks with their large arm cannons and energy blasts while divided into ships. Also applies to Litora to a lesser extent.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The entire Tau race in Warhammer 40,000 have this as their hat, to the point where they employ another race entirely as mercenaries to deal with hand to hand combat. Only the Imperial Guard and the Orks can put out more shots per turn than the Tau, but the Tau can pump out more powerful shots, and more accurately too, thanks to Markerlights.
  • Similar to the Tau, the Hivers in Traveller have a powerful space fleet and prefer to win battles without ever seeing the enemy. If ground combat is required, they leave it to their allies the Ithklur (who love to mix it up at close quarters with the enemy).
  • Many long-range weapons in BattleTech have minimum ranges, making it harder to hit within that minimum range. Exaggerated by certain Mechs that simply pile more and more of them on top of eachother, such as the Catapult which focuses on long-range missiles, and the Plasma-artillery totting Awesome.

    Video Games 
  • Before anything else, in fighting games, the vast majority of characters in the "Zoner" or "Keep-Away" archetypes qualify as such.
  • In StarCraft, Terrans are this. With the exception of the SCV, all terran units are ranged.
  • Sakura, Part 1, in Naruto video games. She often has a good, fast, and strong shuriken combo.
    • The Ultimate Ninja Storm series has several, though Part 1 Sakura isn't one of them. (She's a Trap Master instead.) Tenten, Shino, Temari, Deidara and Utakata are all prime examples. The Puppet Master characters (Kankuro, Sasori and Chiyo) are a variation: they control puppets from a distance, which do their fighting for them. The Second Mizukage (a non-playable enemy) is the most powerful example, whose projectile combos are quick, rapid, break guard easily, and can't be easily dodged.
    • In the US-exclusive Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution series, Komachi. She can throw needles at her opponent at a very fast speed, and she is the only one who initiates their special move with a long-range attack.
  • Street Fighter II's Dhalsim is pretty much the forefather of this in fighting games. He can attack from a halfscreen away, using his extendable/retractable limbs; though they are punishable. To make up for this, he suppliments his arsenal with breath attacks that can strike from anywhere onscreen. And, in later installments, he gains the ability to teleport (originally a glitch); used chiefly to put distance between himself and the opponent.
    • Sagat is played like this. Just look at how many Tiger Shots are thrown in the whole match.
    • Guile is played more effective at playing mind games with his signature Sonic Boom.
    • Street Fighter III has Necro, seen by many as the new and improved model. His limbs are flexible, whereas Dhalsim's are linear, plus his attacks are faster; making them harder to predict or react to. And, while he's primarily a ranged fighter, he's just as lethal in close quarters. A stark contrast to his predecessor.
  • Final Fantasy games frequently feature characters who can use ranged weapons (such as bows), letting them stay in the back row and deal the same damage as in front row or target enemies in the back row with no reduction in damage. From the back row, they take less physical damage, which is important because, fitting this trope, they typically have lower defenses and hit points than the melee weapon party members.
  • Yukari and Aigis from Persona 3 use bows and guns respectively, and your main character can choose to use a bow. On the field, their attacks have a large reach and can hit most opponents easily compared to short range weapons. In battle, long range characters have the advantage of not falling when they miss an attack, however they have a relatively low accuracy.
    • Persona 4 has Yukiko and Naoto, who use throwing fans and pistols respectively. However, Yukiko tends to favor magic attacks over physical combat.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has a few. Terra's attacks usually launch enemies away and chain into larger attacks, for example. Kefka is an interesting example: he can cast some long range spells, but they usually make erratic movements because of his Confusion Fu. Laguna uses his gun in most of his attacks. The most prominent example from the series, however, is Ultimecia, who can subject her enemy to a Rain of Arrows from the other side of the stage.
  • This is what made Nu-13 so deadly in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. She had a 5-hit meterless projectile combo that hit 3/4 of the screen away, making it impossible for some of the slower characters to approach.
  • Diablo: The Rogue character class in Diablo, and the Amazon character class from Diablo 2, along with the Rogues you can hire in Act I. Both specialize in bows, crossbows, and javelins.
  • The Vanquisher from Torchlight specialises in ranged weapons and abilities (although she can also use traps and close ranged ambush tactics).
  • Several ships in the Star Control games are this, but none so much as the Earthling Cruiser. The Cruiser has a very weak short range attack, but if an enemy can close, the Cruiser is probably toast. If the Cruiser can stay away, however, it can pretty much kill anything with its MX Peacekeeper missiles, which can cross the bulk of the screen and have excellent (they're called fire-and-forget for a reason) tracking. The Chenjesu Broodhome is also very much one of these. The Mmrnmhrm X-Form could transform from a long-range fighter to a short-range one, making it one of the deadliest ships in the game. On the Hierarchy side, the Spathi Discriminator could fire a long-range tracking missile from the rear of the ship, meaning it could shoot while running away.
  • The Pixies in Monster Rancher have their strongest attacks at long range.
  • Colonel Mael Radec in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is terrible up close, but very, very effective from a distance. He's been given 8 types of projectiles and bombs, and all of his Supers are ranged, including a Level 3 Super in which he picks off his enemies in a first-person shooting mode.
  • In Dune II the missile tank couldn't hit targets that were close to it. If it tried to the missiles would go wild and hit random squares close by.
  • Smash TV and the sequel Total Carnage: The playable characters use only firearms, no melee weapons.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance: The two catapults used by dark elves in Niffleheim are exclusively used in long range and upon getting within thirty feet of them will make them defenseless.
  • Ghost Rider at Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, his chain has incredible reach and he's able to punish several ranged characters with more ease. His close range options, on the other hand, is limited (although if you can land a Penance Stare, you can dish out good damage. Problem is, 3 bars and a grab move, good luck landing it well)
  • The Tatsu Steed dream eater along with the various beetle dream eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D possess a variety of extremely long range attacks, but next to nothing for dealing with close range targets effectively. Taking them out first is generally a good idea, as they make going toe to toe with other more melee capable enemies a pain.
  • Chester from Tales of Phantasia uses bows and arrows in combat, letting him deal damage on par with Cress from afar.
  • Hunters started as 'Fights exclusively at range' in Wo W; they were able to use melee weapons but did Scratch Damage with them. note . But with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, they've lost their deadzone and can use their abilities and ranged weapons in melee range.
  • This is Peacock's specialty fighting style in Skullgirls. Most of Peacock's special attacks are projectiles of some kind, such as cannonballs, bullets, walking bombs, car/plane-riding bombs, and lasers. On the other hand, she's not very good at mixing up the opponent up close...
  • The X-Universe series features the Missile Frigate and the Bomber ship classes, which rely on long-ranged anti-ship missiles rather than projectile weapons for their offensive capacity. The ships are capable of leveling entire sectors and fleets on their own, but god help you if a fighter gets close to the ship and starts shooting your missiles down as soon as they launch, because at best, the ships have only a pair of rear-facing turrets, and some of them don't even get that.
  • Most fire-support assets in MechWarrior Living Legends sacrifice close range usability for withering firepower to pour down-range. Long Ranged Missiles fire massive salvos of accurate, guided missiles, but will simply arc over targets within 150 meters (and assets that carry LRMs often only carry LRMs). Arrow IV launchers fire a single massive high-explosive guided cruise missile, but have a minimum range of 300 meters and will generate an enormous amount of heat when fired; plus, the launcher is so heavy that assets typically can only carry the missile launcher, with nothing for up-close fighting. The Long Tom Artillery Piece is a 30 metric ton cannon which can one-shot any asset lighter than 50 tons with a direct hit, but it almost always requires assistance from allies to find a good firing solution, while the gun is incapable of aiming down to fire at nearby enemies, plus it has tissue paper for armor and no secondary weapons.
  • In Shining Force, Archers/Snipers, Rangers/Bow Knights, and Brass Gunners can shoot two or three (depending on the quality of arrow) spaces away, but are helpless up close. Knights if armed with spears can attack up close or afar, but spears tend to be weaker than lances. Thieves and Ninjas in Final Conflict can also attack close or afar, but unlike most examples of this trope, they're lethal from any distance.
  • It's possible, with the right commands, for the main characters in the Kingdom Hearts series to use long-ranged attacks. One party member and villain, Tron/Rinzler, will specialize in this type.
    • And there's also villains such as Clayton and Xigbar who are this trope.
  • This is how the Infiltrator class plays like in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Incinerate is a great offensive power usable from a distance, and Tactical Cloak makes you invisible, which allows you to flank your enemies easily and line up the perfect headshot. They'll also get a damage bonus on Sniper Rifles and even slow down time when using them (though only in single-player).
    • Engineers and Adepts, as Squishy Wizards, are strongly encouraged to stay behind something heavy and throw ranged tech or biotic attacks at every opportunity. Sentinels would be this, too, if Tech Armour didn't make them alarmingly tanky.
    • The M-44 Hammerhead is a Glass Cannon with a heavy rocket launcher and no armour, so the pilot is strongly advised to try and handle enemies from a safe distance.
  • Fire Emblem has the Archer class, and its promoted form the Sniper, which can only attack from a distance. Mages are not exclusively long range fights as they can strike units next to them, but it's often not worth risking the counter attack as each one is a Squishy Wizard.
    • There are throwable lances and axes that can hit enemies at 1-2 spaces away. The Levin Sword and Bolt Axe allow any melee weapon wielder to cast magic at range.
  • Likewise, bow users in the Vandal Hearts are most effective from a distance. In the original game, Archers took extra damage from sword-wielders.
    • And once again, magic users are fragile and work better from a distance.
  • The sniper class from Xcom: Enemy Unknown is the go-to long distance fighter. They're the only class whose hit chance gets better with longer range, which combined with their squadsight ability to shoot at any enemy that can be seen means that provided there are no obstacles, they could be shooting at enemies from the other side of the map.
  • Although this trope generally doesn't come into play for first-person shooters for reasons mentioned above, the Sniper of Team Fortress 2 still qualifies for this trope because his sniper rifle is perfectly accurate and its damage is largely unaffected by range, whereas pretty much every combat-oriented class is encourage to fight at fairly close range by inaccuracy of Hit Scan weapons, slow movement speed of projectiles, and/or severe damage penalties for attacking from far away. Sniper is thus favored to attack from a distance because the damage loss to all other classes' attacks makes up for his low health and slow attack speed.
  • Grit from Advance Wars. His indirect units have increased firepower and range, but his direct units are weaker.
  • Ranged units in Heroes of Might and Magic usually have an optimal range - shooting any further reduces the damage dealt, so does attacking in melee. Some shooters, however, are mixed melee fighters with "No melee penalty" - while others are true Long Range Fighters with "No range penalty", meaning they deal maximum damage no matter where they shoot.
  • Samus Aran, Captain Olimar, Snake, Zelda, Mega Man and Duck Hunt from the Super Smash Bros. series all specialize this way. Good as their projectiles are, however, Olimar and Zelda still need to get in close to deliver a KO effectively, and Samus and Snake, while technically able to KO from afar, still find it difficult to do so.note  Mega Man actually does have good, reliable long-ranged KO moves, but is also relatively weak up close. Duck Hunt, who represents NES Light Zapper games, has a number of moves that work best at long range. Link and Young/Toon Link are debatable examples, as they have at least four different kinds of long-range moves, one of which is a grab, but their uses are limited and the Links generally prefer to get up close anyway.
  • In Sonic Boom, Tails is capable of long-ranged combat, using sticky bombs in Shattered Crystal and bombs and rockets in Rise of Lyric. In the latter, he also has a Buddy-bot which can operate devices in otherwise unreachable areas and attack enemies relentlessly, giving Tails and the others an opening to reprise or deal with other threats. Sticks also has her Precision-Guided Boomerang to tag switches and attack enemies at a distance.
  • Mycale, Anonym and Perfecti from Akatsuki Blitzkampf all fit here, in one way or another. Mycale is an expert in Summon Magic and has Magical Girl-like abilities, Anonym is a practitioner of Gun Kata who's at her best when she shoots her foes away, and while Perfecti has a bayonet as her weapon her speciality is attacking with her quite nice array of projectiles.
  • Lady in Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition has this as her preferred fighting style after being Promoted to Playable. It's also her primary fighting style in the cinemas of Devil May Cry 3. Although this is justified - the other playable characters are Half-Demon so can take much more punishment than her.
  • From The Battle Cats, we have Nerd Cat. Although he has low health and an Arbitrary Minimum Range, he has the longest range of all Cats in the entire game! His evolved form, Hacker Cat, gains an Area Attack, making him an even straighter example.

    Web Original 
  • The Long-reach man-tank in Babe Ruth: Man-Tank Gladiator has extending tentacles capable of reaching a good distance.
  • Coco Adel of RWBY is a svelte fashionista girl who fights with a huge minigun which also folds up into her handbag when she's not using it. With her weapon, Coco can casually shred whole ranks of Grimm and blast giant varieties of Grimm which earlier on gave the eponymous team heroines of the story an arduous fight. However, if someone can get close enough to her, her huge gun turns from a death-dealer into a liability: in her brief battle against the villainous Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, Mercury made a fool of her and danced around her and her huge Stone Wall teammate, and Emerald was able to isolate Coco and annihilate her with a single backstab.

    Real Life 
  • This was kind of the whole point of archers.
  • Bows were ultimately replaced by firearms, which were so easy to use (and eventually, devastatingly effective) that they rendered melee weapons obsolete. Now, pretty much all soldiers are primarily this trope; however, it should be noted that soldiers are also trained in close-quarters combat as well, so they are actually the "Can do any range but prefer long distance attack" type of long-range fighters. Of course for even farther fighting, we have snipers and designated marksmen, and beyond that, artillery. Artillery batteries usually can't even see their targets, and have to be told "Shoot THIS SPOT" by a forward observer near the spot in question.
  • From the point of view of the animal kingdom, of course, this is humanity's hat. The most refined projectile attacks of other animals are debris flung by monkeys without particular accuracy and fluids squirted by insects, fish, and reptiles. None of those has a range over 10 meters, and in general, can hardly be classified as fatal. Meanwhile, since the invention of the sling and bow and arrow, we are able to consistently deliver death from beyond that range. And when firearms come into the fray, well... Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't even begin to cover it.
    • Even before slings, we had been better at throwing rocks and such than other primates. This is one reason humans invented slings in the first place, as a way of throwing rocks better.
  • Perimeter shooters in basketball.
  • The days of ship-to-ship confrontation are long gone. With the advent of aircraft carriers in World War II, and long range missiles soon after in the Cold War, navy battles are fought in BVR (beyond visual range).