"When in doubt, shoot the mage."
Mages (or other superpowered beings) get a big advantage against muggles
. Even the most trained fighter can be killed or incapacitated by a single spell. Thus, to deal with mages you need these guys.
A Mage Killer
is basically a Badass Normal
, or something close
, whose capabilities of dealing with mages are somehow improved. He may be able to detect or track magic
, resist harmful spells
, prevent enemies from using them
or even reflect them back to enemies
. Defeating a Mage Killer
with magic is difficult or impossible, and his mundane skills give him a major physical advantage over mages with no combat prowess, which is most of them
(a Magic Knight
or Kung-Fu Wizard
may give him problems). Some Mage Killers even use magic themselves, but not regularly
, and not the usual earthquakes and meteors but something subtle or affecting only mages
. If a Mage Killer
is a member of an order who specializes in hunting mages, his anti-magic abilities are very likely to be a result of specific training
. Anyway, a Mage Killer
is usually very similar to a Magic Knight
, only with anti-magic instead of magic
this is a part of a normal arms race or a niche — if there's a threat, everyone wants to get countermeasures, and if there's something, some critter sooner or later will eat it. Sometimes
this is added as an element of Fake Balance
(situational advantage): instead of nerfing
down superpowered entities in question, make up a selectively fearsome enemy for them, so they would not look best in all
A Mage Killer may also be The Witch Hunter
if he does his job out of a sense of religious fervour
or hatred towards mages
. If he himself is magically empowered, either he sees an inherent difference between religious miracles
and arcane magicks, or he's a good old-fashioned hypocrite
. In settings where everyone is magical
, the Mage Killer is often an Un-Sorcerer
May take the form of a beast either trained or naturally suited to hunt mages. In the latter case, the creature often feeds on magical power.
Note that Anti-Magic
is a power
and Mage Killer
is a character
who fights mages and has abilities for that.
See also Cape Busters
, for the anti-superpower (rather than anti-magic) version, and Demon Slayer
, for someone who hunts demons instead of mages.
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Anime & Manga
- A Certain Magical Index basically revolves around this trope: Touma has the "Imagine Breaker", both a Power Nullifier and an Anti-Magic, which he uses in one way: fist to face. The magicians of the story consider him to be The Dreaded, though in later installments they start to wise up and use more conventional weaponry against him (like guns), which he has no defense against.
- Fairy Tail: There are a couple of characters who fit this trope but their use of poor tactics doomed them in their battle with Natsu
- Code Geass: Jeremiah Gottwald is rebuilt into one of these. The local mages use a power called 'Geass' and part of this mage killer's upgrade is a Geass Canceller. It can be activated manually to cancel a Geass active on anyone else as well as activate automatically if someone tries to Geass him, blocking the effect. The second part of his upgrade is a cyborg body with a Blade Below the Shoulder and bullet immunity.
- Every character in Witch Hunter Robin, with a couple of caveats. Only witches can naturally resist each other's powers; blocking attacks and Geo Effects are perhaps the only abilities shared by all witches other than having a special ability. This is how Robin and Karasuma fight other witches. The rest of the human cast has to make do with wearing vials of Orbo and using bullets filled with the stuff, which naturally cancels witch powers and weakens them on contact.
- In season 2, when the enhanced Orbo suit witch hunters hit the scene we find out that using living witches as Human Resources to make the stuff has very detrimental effects on the humans using the stuff.
- The Huckebein family in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force all have powers which make them very good at fighting mages. In fact, the kanji for the name of their signature weapons reads "Mage Killer".
- Asuna Kagurazaka of Mahou Sensei Negima! is one due to her magic cancelling abilities. This makes her Negi's most valuable ally because she can negate the power of his enemies.
- Medaka Box: To a degree, Zenkichi is this. Since he's the only normal of the main cast, he's an extremely formidable martial artist who can disarm and parry weapons, and prepares for almost any scenario. Abnormals have noted that he shows some resistance to their powers (most notably, Oudo's "Weighted words").
- Mifune in Naruto is so fast with his Iaijutsu that he can stop ninja from doing hand seals. He uses this ability in his fight against the resurrected Hanzo.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, the eponymous Unicorn Gundam is fitted with a "Newtype Destroyer" system - a Super Mode that activates in the presence of enemy Newtypes, dramatically boosting the Unicorn's specs and allowing it to hijack psychically-controlled weapons. Ironically, this system causes so much strain on the pilot that only Newtypes are capable of using it.
- Shizune in Perfection Is Overrated has two powers that work well against the Himes, who mainly attack through their Elements and Childs. The first is a Silencing Aura, which reduces the effectiveness of the powers of everyone near her, and increases in potency as more people are near her. The second, the Silencing Sigil, completely prevents one person from using any special powers. In order to counter this threat, Natsuki obtains a pistol and uses it to kill Shizune. In the side story, A Common Enemy Without A Common Cause, Shizune is at a strong advantage over her fellow SUEs, who are even more reliant on their powers than the Himes are, but gets mortally wounded by two nameless police officers.
- Shadows Awakening:
- Fang, one of Daolon Wong's new dark chi warriors, can create energy daggers that when stabbed into a magic user, temporarily disable their ability to use magic. Wong specifically gave her this power to get back at Uncle for removing his powers (before he got them back at the beginning of this story).
- Later, when Jade creates her own tribe of kunoichi-khan, they decimate Wong's wizard-khan, the Phantom later reveals to Wong that since his tribe was attacking her and the J-Team at the time, the Temple reacted to that threat and designed her tribe to be skilled against magic using opponents.
- Star Wars has the voxyn, who were made by Yuuzhan Vong to hunt Force users. They could blanket their presence in the Force, but otherwise had no Anti-Magic powers. They compensated for it by the ability to track Force-sensitives and some other useful abilities like having a neurotoxin for blood, acid breath, etc.
- The terentatek is similar in concept, only created by the Sith instead, and specifically meant to hunt lightsiders. Aside from being strong in the Dark Side and possessing deadly venom, their outer hide is also immune to the effects of the Force, and they themselves feed off the blood of Force-sensitive beings. The damn things are so nasty that the Jedi Order routinely held galaxy-wide "Great Hunts" aimed at exterminating them.
- High level assassin droids have often been used to kill Jedi, due to their lack of force presence, meaning the Jedi don't know about the danger until it's too late. While a Jedi can still sense danger when there's no aggressive thought pattern guiding it, it's much harder that way, which can give the droid a critical advantage.
- John Dart in The Candy Shop War has an excellent resistance to magic, a Healing Factor, and is trained in dealing with rogue mages. However, he can't kill anyone, because any damage he does to someone else will also be dealt to him.
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy has the Resistance, humans who are born with a varying degree of Resilience to magic and are using their Resilience to slowly overthrow the Magician Government. Then inverted when they are confronted by a truly powerful magical spirit (i.e a mage-killer-killer) and are quickly decimated.
- The Mercenary has the greatest Resilience to the point that being set on fire is no problem. He's dubbed an Implacable Man and uses his resilience to make money.
- Spy Master Valek in Maria V. Snyder's Ixia and Sitia books.
- Mistborn has Hazekillers, warriors specifically trained for taking on Allomancers. While they do fine against single-metal users, they're not so hot against the titular sorcerers, who can use all the metals' powers.
- Hazekiller tactics are to Zerg Rush the Mistborn in an all-out attack. Failing that, they're there to stall for time until their own Mistborn arrives. The only really effective counter to Mistborn is other Mistborn.
- Another option is to use Mistings (single-metal users) in assassination squads to support one another, effectively emulating the Mistborn's abilities through teamwork. At the beginning of the second book, one such assassin squad nearly gets the betterof Vin, the Mistborn protagonist, though this is because they had a Mistborn in their group pretending to be a mere Misting.
- The Wheel of Time has the Gholam, a creature engineered to be immune to magic and used as an assassin. It's also an immortal vampiric ninja.
- In Fate Zero, the prequel novels to Fate/stay night, Kiritsugu Emiya is a low-level mage who specializes in killing other mages (well, heretical mages, at least, and anyone else he's been hired to kill). He does this by combining magic with technology in ways which most old-fashioned mages would never imagine (such as equipping his familiars with miniature cameras to negate the effects of illusion on their senses) and by having "Origin Bullets" which make the magic in a person's body explode, then fuse the remains back together into an unusable knot.
- Just to give you an idea of how brutally effective and pragmatic his methods are, here's an example: Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald is in the thirty-second floor of a hotel. His bounded field covers twenty-four floors (even going over the drainage pipes), there are three magical furnaces for his use, and he has ten summoned evil spirits and apparitions — a veritable magus' fortress. How does Kiritsugu deal with this? Apply a small amount of C4 to the supports and bring the entire place down. If Kayneth didn't have his Mystic Code to shield him (which Kiritsugu uses against him to fry his magic circuits later), he would've been dead there and then.
- The Nasuverse also features the Black Barrel, a Conceptual Weapon which annihilates any magic it shoots. The more magic someone (or something) has, the more powerful the Black Barrel becomes, to the point that it can One-Hit Kill the Ultimate Ones. Also, it can only be used by an ordinary, non-magical human being, making it the ultimate weapon for a Mage Killer. Problem is, in every story except Angel Notes (which takes place in the far distant future), the thing's been lost for ages, though (much less powerful) replicas of it will pop up here and there.
- Any Servant with the skill "Magic Resistance" has some degree of Anti-Magic, but anyone with rank A (like Saber's A rank magic resistance is considered as a Mage Killer, due to the fact that it's hard to damage her with any magic spell). Gilgamesh gets some credit due to the fact that he has items (treasury) that counter magic, even with a rank E magic resistance.
- The Dresden Files :
- The Wardens are wizards who are also specialists in both fighting supernatural forces and in taking down "warlocks" (in other words, rogue wizards who abuse their powers). To that end they have special training in combating warlocks, and carry specially-crafted swords that undo enchantments and magical constructs with a touch.
- The mercenary Kincaid always brings special weapons to his battles, including exploding-tipped spears and paint guns that shoot holy water balls. He's also Dangerously Genre Savvy, and explains to Harry that the way to kill him without falling prey to his death curse would be sniping him from a thousand yards away, killing him before he even notices the shot. It works. But Harry gets better, to Dresden's dismay.
- In a short story in Side Jobs, we find that after Harry's apparent death, Karrin Murphy has become very effective at this, due to learning the ins and outs of magic use (she is a Badass Normal herself). She even earns Gard's (a Valkyrie) respect
- Harry himself spends some time as one of these when he mentions in Storm Front that he always carries a handgun with him, because wizards never expect you to take a break from slinging fireballs to shoot them in the head.
- In Shadow Ops, the Supernatural Operations Corps is a special unit of the United States military tasked with killing or containing out-of-control Latents and other magically-oriented threats, using magic of their own. The only US military branch that doesn't participate is the Marine Corps, who operate their own Suppression Lances, which suppress enemy magic directly and then take down the threat with conventional firepower.
- As seen in the page quote, Keladry of the Tortall Universe'' carries special arrows for killing mages. She has Stormwing arrows that ignore magic barriers and griffin arrows that aren't affected by magical interfence.
Live Action TV
- AdventureQuest Worlds has The Inquisitors an order that hunts down mages.
- The Spell Breakers and Faerie Dragons in Warcraft III.
- Felhunters in Warcraft are demonic beasts that feed on magic and hunt magic users. They are highly resistant to spells and can drain a mages mana and prevent his spellcasting.
- Magina the Anti-Mage from Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. While he can be and often is built as a DPS machine, his passive Mana Burn attack bonus, added resistance to magic damage and ability to damage a target based on its lack of mana all point to this trope.
- The Silencer, from Dota 2. His backstory states that he's the end product of centuries of carefully picked pairings to create the most powerful mage to ever live. Growing up, he showed no special talents or abilities, causing other children to mock him. And on the day of testing he used the one spell he developed, Silence, bringing all the other students down to normal so he could kick their asses in single combat.
- While also a mage, Rubick functions like this. In his backstory, he killed various mages with their own spells. In game, he has a skill that naturally grants him and nearby allies magic resistance, and a spell that temporarily takes the target's most recently used spell. All of this means one better hopes to either cast a weaker spell immediately or kill him, lest he uses your strongest spells against your own team.
- The Nyx Assassin is also a formidable mage killer. Impale can easily stun slow mages, Manaburn can damage them with their own mana reserves as well as their Intelligence stats, and Spiked Carapace makes them regret any retaliation they manage to get off. If they prove tougher than he expected, Nyx can cloak himself with Vendetta and backstab them For Massive Damage.
- Pugna's Death Ward deals damage based on the amount of mana needed to cast a spell, and Life Drain, which sucks up HP and gives it to him. These both work very well with the rest of his kit, and in a game where most wizards are squishy.
- Yet another good Mage Killer is Lucifer The Doom. He has high hp, which while lowered in use against physical damage thanks to his low armor, doesn't affect it's ability to absorb magical attacks. His ultimate Doom shuts down both spells and items, which often are other spells that could otherwise be used. His LVL? Death ability acts as a interrupt against channeled spells and he can kill most summoned creeps that the enemy bring out with his Devour, gaining their abilities in the process. After he has nullified everything a caster has in their aresenal, he just walks up to them and beats them to death with his burning sword.
- Kassadin in League of Legends is specifically designed with that in mind, seeing as he has a distance closing spell, a silence and a built in magic resistance mechanism - storywise he specifically hunts down mages to prevent them to opening a gate to the Void. Interestingly and ironically, developers wanted him to be a Magic Knight with majority of his damage being physical and the spells only acting for utility purposes, but it turned out he's much more effective being built as a mage himself.
- Veigar acts as one as well despite being a mage himself, since his ultimate relies on the amount of Ability Points (basically the game's version of magic damage) the opponent has to deal any noticable damage. On characters like Rammus, it barely does a thing. On Cassopeia or even himself it tends to do more than half their HP.
- Talon is a popular middle lane champion for a reason similar to Kassadin. He's an AD assassin, so Genre Savvy players who build Magic Resistance (expecting another mage at mid) have to change their items or be extremely vulnerable. He might be melee, but he has an instant blink that silences his opponent, taking away their advantage of spells and range, and then he can just go to town on them afterwards.
- Galio as well, his passive grants him half of his Magic Resistance stat as Ability Power, encouraging him to stack lots of it. Combined with a shield that increases his defenses and heals him back each time he's hit for a few seconds. Perfect candidate to shrug off the fast burst of damage that mages usually rely on.
- The templars in Dragon Age. They're an order of warriors who form the militant arm of the Chantry — the game's Christian analogue — and are trained specifically to hunt down rogue mages and abominations. The Chantry gets them addicted to the magic-enhancing substance known as lyrium, which ensures their loyalty and allows them to resist magical effects.
- Well, it ensures their loyalty, anyway. As Alistair will tell you, templar abilities will work fine without lyrium; lyrium just enhances their abilities, or so he was told.
- It should be noted that Templars can easily wipe the floor with an Arcane Warrior
- If the Player Character is a warrior, he or she can learn Templar abilities. If they're also a dwarf, they come with a built-in resistance to enemy spells. Oh yeah, and a PC mage can learn Mana Clash, which can slaughter an entire group of enemy mages all at once, sometimes before they even see you.
- Baldur's Gate 2 has 'Inquisitor' kit for Paladins and 'Wizard Slayer' kit for Fighters. The Inquisitor gets immunity to charm and hold, and the ability to use Dispel Magic and True Sight multiple times per day at double power in return for losing the paladin's (already very limited) spellcasting ability, and is a borderline Game Breaker. The Wizard Slayer gets a very low (1% per level; max fighter level is 20) magic resistance and chance of making mages miscast magic by hitting them in return for not being able to use magic items at all, apart from weapons and armour (and, following a patch, potions). To say it is not a Game Breaker would be something of an understatement.
- The Assassin from Diablo 2 is a member of the Viz-jaq'taar, an order formed by the Vizjerei mage clans and tasked with hunting down and eliminating rogue mages who traffic with demons.
- The Mesmer in Guild Wars is often played in such a role by interrupting an enemies spells or draining them of the energy needed to cast spells.
- There two elite Magehunter skills for Warriors, which have added effects and are unable to be blocked by an enchanted enemy, and a Magebane Shot for Rangers, which interrupts skills, and adds recharge to spells.
- According to the bestiary in Final Fantasy XII, Bombs were artificial monsters made for this purpose during an ancient war. During gameplay, the first type of Bombs you encounter do not attack you unless you attack them first or cast any type of magic within a certain proximity of them. They are resistant to fire(the most basic offensive magic) and explode when low on health(the way they explode is specifically designed to go through magical defenses).
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the Templar class, unique to the very non-magical Bangaa, specializes in killing mages, with abilities such as Silence, Soul Sphere, and high attack and magic resistance.
- In Fire Emblem: Genealogy Of The Holy War, the second generation Lord, Seliph, is often set for this role due to his high RES growth and his Legendary Weapon giving him an additional 20 RES. He also uses physical attacks which, considering most casters have low defense...
- Let's not forget Ares. He has the same high RES growth as Seliph, and his Legendary Weapon, the Demon Sword Mystletainn, grants him a + 10 boost in RES (along with the Critical Skill and a + 20 boost in Skill, meaning its tears into those mages even harder than Seliph). He's THE character of choice for killing mages until Seliph gets his Tyrfing, which only happens late in the game.
- Ares is not as potentially mage resistant or as powerful in general than Seliph due to the fact that you cannot affect his base stats due to having no control over his parents. Seliph's high RES base and growth comes from his mage mother, who has one of the highest RES stat and growth in the game; if you took the time to arena abuse her in the short time you had access to her, Seliph will have insane stats in all categories, making him a physical and magical train-wreaking tank.
- As for the series as a whole, Pegasus Knights. Until 10, where Wind Mages would rip Pegasus Knights to pieces, Peg Knights are known for high RES making them highly effective at killing magic wielders.
- Mist in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn can become this with a little effort. As a Cleric/Valkyrie she has an incredibly high RES stat that makes her all but immune to magic attacks. Once she promotes to Valkyrie she gains the ability to use swords and with a little effort can easily fulfill this role.
- Ronan in Thracia 776 often catches a lot of grief for being a weapon-wielding class (he's an Archer) with a ridiculously high MAG growth, but it just so happens that Thracia 776 doesn't have a RES stat and resistance to magical attacks is based on the MAG stat. As most enemy magic users would naturally have better MAG than DEF, having a unit that has high MAG but is attacking against the DEF stat is quite the boon.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II, Atton Rand is discovered to have been a Jedi hunter during the Jedi Civil War. He was part of a squad that was trained in ways to kill Jedi, or capture them and torture them into insanity and make them fall to the Dark Side. There is a also a dialogue option that allows him to tell you the ways in dealing with Jedi, provided you have sufficient Relationship Values with him.
- Addendum: HK-47 was well versed in the assasination of Jedi, meatbags. If you have sufficient Influence with him, he can teach you how to kill Jedi.
- Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds uses bounty hunters to counter Jedi.
- Dark type Pokémon were introduced in Pokemon Gold And Silver to counter the Game Breaker Psychic type. They are outright immune to Psychic attacks and their attacks do double damage. They invoke the Badass Normal feel of this trope by appearing to be ordinary animals.
- To elaborate, almost no Dark-type attacks use shadowy magic or the like (exceptions including Night Daze and Dark Pulse). Instead they rely mostly on trickery and more underhanded moves.
- There are also some Pokemon that could be used competitively to deal with Special attackers by way of high Special Defense and high attack, like Virizion.
- The Last Story has a type of Crossbow bolt made expressely for the purpose of dealing with enemy casters from afar, dealing heavy damage, especially on headshot.
- SCP Foundation has Dr. Clef, who specializes in killing Reality Warpers, and, to a lesser extent, everybody else who have to deal with superpowered humanoids.
- Note though, that they don't have any kind of Anti-Magic. They mostly deal with humanoid SCPs with a combination of psychology, cleverness, We Have Reserves, and More Dakka. Except Dr. Clef. He uses reality warping to cancel reality warping, and then uses psychology, cleverness, class Ds, and big guns.
- Isaak Friels from Fate Nuovo Guerra. Luciano's dragon Evgeniya is more or less a Distaff Counterpart of Kiritsugu above, only replace "Origin Bullets" with "Reaper Drones".
- Ty Lee from Avatar The Last Airbender is able to block bending and temporarily paralyze limbs by hitting the body's Pressure Points.
- In Sequel Series The Legend Of Korra the Equalists emply a number of Mage Killer tactics in their crusade against benders. These include Chi-Blockers using the same techniques as Ty Lee, a leader who can remove a bender's powers permanently, and Mini Mecha constructed from metals too pure to be affected by Metalbending.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Cad Bane claims to specialise in hunting Jedi, and carries a wide variety of equipment designed specifically for counteracting them, such as cortosis bullets that short out lightsabers, jet boots to prevent him from being Force-thrown, sniper rifles for taking Jedi down from afar, and probably many others. He relies just as much on strategy to get the job done— endangering innocents is probably his favourite tactic, as it takes advantage of his foes' natural altruism to unbalance them in a fight. He prepares himself for Sith, or at least Jedi who are slipping to the Dark Side, as well. For example, he has artificial breathing tubes that kick in if somebody uses the Force to choke him.