Single-Use Shield

A shield or any other sort of Power-Up that goes away after one hit; essentially a One-Hit-Point Wonder as a power-up instead of a character's default state. As a power-up, it can also provide effects beyond its ability to take an extra hit.

See also Bandit Mook and Mooks Ate My Equipment for things that can treat ordinary armor as One Hit Point Wonders, unlike the rest of the game.


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    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic collects rings. If he's hit, he loses his rings instead of dying.
    • The shields found throughout the series also qualify.
      • In the first two games, they did nothing more than take one hit for you.
      • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC version of Sonic Generations, flame, bubble and lightning shields are available. While they are active, they protect the player from flames, let the player breathe underwater and attract rings, respectively. All three will (at least in S3&K) reflect projectiles without taking damage, but they still disappear after one hit from anything else (and in the case of flame and lightning, touching water). They even grant special powers to Sonic, activated on pressing the jump button while in midair (replacing his weak "insta-shield" move that slightly extends the range of his jump attack momentarily and gives him a very short invincibility frame): the flame shield lets him dash forward rapidly; the bubble shield lets him dash downward rapidly (Ground Pound!); while the lightning shield gives him a Double Jump.
      • The 3D games, the Sonic Advance series, and its handheld successors, have two shields available. They both act the same as in the first two games, but one will attract rings.
      • The fan-made Sonic Robo Blast 2 has no less than five such shields available — the blue Force Shield, which can take two hits; the white Whirlwind Shield, which gives your character a double jump; the green Elemental Shield, which makes you fully immune to environmental hazards; the red Armageddon Shield, which can be detonated to damage everything nearby; and the yellow Attraction Shield, which draws in rings, but shorts out in water.
  • In Ghosts 'n Goblins and its sequels, the player character's armor disappears after one hit, but they do have the benefit of starting each life with armor equipped. Super Ghouls And Ghosts also offers a shield powerup which can block one projectile attack only.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. series, just about any time Mario takes a hit, he loses his current powerup (Yoshi, Mushroom, Fire Flower, etc.).
  • In DotA, the item Linken's Sphere acts as a recharging version of this. When the item is off cooldown, it will nullify the first spell that targets you before recharging. The buff can also be given to teammates in exchange for a longer cooldown.
  • League of Legends has several spell shields that block a single enemy spell. Sivir has one that returns more mana than it costs if it intercepts a spell, Nocturn has one that briefly increases his attack speed if it intercepts a spell, and the item Banshee's Vail provides a permanent one to whoever holds it that goes on a long cooldown after it breaks.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Sniper's Razorback protects him from a single instant-kill backstab, at which point he has to go back to the resupply room to get a new one.
  • Amorphous+: the Reactive Armor explodes on contact with an enemy while leaving the player alive, making him a Two-Hit Point Wonder.
  • The WarCraft item Amulet of Spell Shield automatically blocks one negative spell before requiring a 40-second cooldown. Savvier enemies will hit the hero carrying it with a weak spell first, then pull out the harder-hitting attacks.
  • In Crash Bandicoot series, the witch Doctor's mask Aku-Aku protects him (and Coco, etc) from one hit. Picking up another will give you two hits of protection, while grabbing a third will then give you temporary invincibility, which then resets back to two shields.
    • Crash Team Racing however changes it. The Aku-Aku mask is full invincibility (no longer an example of this trope), while the actual shield item gives temporary protection from a single attack/hazard, Having ten Wumpa fruit turns the shield from green to blue, meaning it lasts forever, so long as you don't take a hit.
  • Final Fantasy X had the "Nul Element" spells (NulFire, NulIce, etc.) which could absorb one attack from the matching element (regardless of strength) when cast, the highest version, "NulAll", combined all four elemental shields.
  • In Odin Sphere, the "Fire/Ice Spirits" potions surround the player with three rotating elemental spirits, which can absorb one strike each.
  • Bionic Commando has a pendant, which lasts one stage, and can block a single projectile, but also goes away if you die some other way.
  • The Mega Man series has the Spike Barrier/Shock Step/whatever it's called, which protects you once from the instant-death spikes. But you have to jump to safety before the Mercy Invincibility wears off, or...
  • The Shield orcs in Orcs Must Die! have a shield which they drop after a single hit.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Boots of Springheel Jak will prevent you from dying at the end one very, very long fall but are destroyed upon landing. Various exploits exist to survive said fall and still keep the Boots.
  • In Wardner, the protagonist is normally a One Hitpoint Wonder but can find or buy a cloak that protects him from being hit once. There is also a sewing kit that protects the cloak once.
  • The shield powerup in Out Zone can only take one hit before disappearing.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has several spells that serve this purpose:
    • Tetrakarn and Makarakarn create shields for each memeber of the caster's party that repel one physical attack and one non-Almighty, non-One-Hit Kill attack spell, respectively. However, both shields typically also wear off at the end of the current turn.
    • Tetraja creates a shield for each member of the caster's party that protects from one Light- or Dark-elemental One-Hit Kill spell. Unlike the -karn spells, Tetraja usually stays active until it takes an attack.
    • The "Void/Drain/Repel (Element)" spells in Digital Devil Saga, much like the Nul spells of FFX mentioned above (Void Fire, Void Ice, etc.). Technically they last for a whole turn rather than one hit, but the way the Press Turn system works, it's highly likely that getting an attack nullified by a Void spell means the attacker's side's turn immediately ends. Especially early on, they are absolutely critical to keep from being horribly butchered in boss fights (and some regular fights), as the series only offers up to five playable characters in your roster (though in Digital Devil Saga 2, you can have a sixth one if you play your cards right) rather than the hundreds of demons with greatly-varying elemental affinities that you can choose from in other Megami Tensei games.
  • Elona - has a spinoff, Elona Shooter, which uses the Holy Grail of Jeure.
  • Gun Nac: The Wing power-up.
  • Ōkami
    • By racking up long attack chains, Ammy earns levels of "godhood" in battle - an invisible barrier that can block up to three hits from enemies. There are also items (Traveler's Charm and Godly Charm) that can bestow/recharge this barrier immediately.
    • During the battle against Crimson Helm in the Gale Shrine, the eight Satomi Power Orbs surround you and each one will absorb one hit for free. Combined with the godhood barrier, this can make you invincible against up to eleven attacks.
  • Triggerheart Exelica: The Triggerheart's Anchor Shot can grab a Ver'mith vehicle to use as a shield, but it's destroyed in one hit.
  • The Quest Of Ki: The Barrier item allows Ki to take one hit from anything that isn't a Will O'Wisp.
  • Cho Ren Sha 68k uses this trope in the form of a triangular power-up that also has a bomb and a powerup available as alternative options. Having your shield active at the end of the stage is worth 50,000 points, and you get extra lives every 1,000,000 points, so it's worth it to continue to avoid getting hit.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus has collectible horseshoes that function similar to the Aku Aku masks in Crash Bandicoot. Later games gave him and other playable characters a health bar.
  • Both Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends have these in the form of hearts that you can find and which follow you around. You can only have one at a time.
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, wearing a helmet allows you to take one hit without dying.
  • Kolibri has shield rings that disappear after taking one hit.
  • In Hearthstone, there are a couple of minions that come with Divine Shield, which negates one instance of damage. Paladins specialize in applying Divine Shield.
  • Chimera Beast has the Shell Armor and Scale Armor adaptations, which allow the player to negate two hits before the armor is destroyed.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Stoneskin in older editions of Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. A fighter can receive a scroll that gives him a Death Servant. At any time thereafter, if the fighter is about to be killed, the Death Servant will push the fighter to safety and accept the attack that would have killed the fighter. It will only do this once.
  • Several kinds of magical armor in Warhammer provide an excellent armor save but are destroyed the first time they save a wound.
    • Similarly the Dark Eldar Shadow Field gives the best save possible in the game, but breaks the first time it fails.
  • This is how regeneration works in Magic: The Gathering. Regenerating a creature gives it a single-use shield that saves it the next time it would die. That said, most sources of regeneration can be used again as many times as you can pay their cost.

    Non-Game Examples 
  • In an episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Eva Unit 0 is equipped with a shield made from the thermally protected underside of a decommissioned space shuttle, in a last-ditch attempt to hold back Ramiel's ridiculous firepower. When striken, the makeshift shield quickly and entirely melts down but gives Shinji the scarce seconds needed for him to aim and fire back.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the eponymous hero starts off using a triangular shield he picked up during his stage show (a Mythology Gag to the characters' roots). The shield is used precisely once as a guard against the Red Skull's fist. The Red Skull caves it in and it is quickly discarded.
  • Bastille from the Alcatraz Series wears a jacket made from spun fibers of Defender's Glass. It can take one blow that by rights should kill her, but then it's ruined and she has to get another.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo, Magister Honna's headband was enchanted to protect even against One-Hit Kill, No Saving Throw artifact weapons. However, it could only do so once, burning up afterward.
  • Reactive armor, on tanks, is designed so that when hit by a shaped-charge it explodes. It actually works quite well, but the explosives get used up.
  • Shardplate from The Stormlight Archive can block a Shardblade, but doing so causes the piece of Plate hit to shatter. Luckily, it grows back over time.
  • Enforced by javelins in Ancient Rome. The javelin was made with a hardened point, but a very soft haft that would bend on impact. Thus, if an enemy tried to block, the javelin would embed itself in his shield, making it basically useless. (Shields were unwieldy enough at the best of times, let alone with a several-foot-long metal shaft sticking out at a weird angle.)