Status-Buff Dispel
aka: Dispel

"The Sorceress points at you and a beam of very sticky light bursts out of her finger. It strikes you and you suddenly feel very, very normal."

Many games include a spell that will allow you to negate Status Buffs that some enemies have a propensity to cast on themselves. It's frequently known simply as a "Dispel" or a similar name. Out of necessity, it is also one of few spells that ignores "reflect"-type status buffs.

This can even be used tactically - if an enemy likes to spend several turns casting multiple buffs upon itself before attacking, it'll all be for naught when you just dispel all of them in one action, and the enemy will probably waste turns trying again instead of choosing to attack you directly. Conversely, if an enemy likes to dispel your status buffs, you can dedicate one character to repeatedly casting the same buff over and over so the enemy spends time constantly dispelling it rather than attacking.

But be warned: Not all status buffs (or dispels) are created equal! Sometimes the ability to dispel a status effect is linked to the characters' respective skill levels (e.g. a low-level caster probably can't dispel a high-level status buff, or only removes one buff per casting instead of all), and complete immunity to dispels isn't out of the question either; especially for bosses, and doubly so if they Turn Red. Also note that since the dispel action is usually a spell in and of itself, you can often prevent it from being used in the first place by Silencing the caster.

Sub-Trope of Dispel Magic, which reverses or removes magical effects in general rather than just buffs. See also Field Power Effect.


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    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, buffs and debuffs (called auras) can be removed with a number of spells, almost all of them in white and green. But don't stress, blue, red, and black wizards! Once whatever the aura is enchanting is gone, the aura goes away too. This is why many players don't use auras.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several spells along these lines.
    • The basic one is Dispel Magic, which with its ability to potentially simply wipe out all ongoing "magic" in a fair-sized area no matter its type or source may well be the trope maker. (It's actually been increasingly toned down over successive editions — at least one old one had a failure chance, checked for each spell to be affected, of 5% times level difference only if that spell's caster was in fact higher in level than the dispel's own and simple automatic success otherwise.)
    • The warlock class from edition 3.5 is notable for having access to multiple variants of Dispel Magic which it can use at-will, making it excellent at both Status-Buff Dispel and Counterspell tactics. These include Relentless Dispelling (clings to its targets and affects them again on the next turn), Voracious Dispelling (inflicts damage for each spell successfully dispelled) and Devour Magic (absorb spells from a creature to temporarily gain extra hit points).
    • The Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil Prestige Class focuses on wielding prismatic spells (high-level magic which combines seven elemental energies with wildly varying effects) in the form of barriers that harm anything that touches them. Its capstone ability, "Kaleidoscopic Doom", is a dispelling effect which doesn't just remove status buffs, it transforms each of them into a barrier of a different color, which all discharge against the victim at the same time.
    • For the highest-level casters, there's "Mordenkainen's Disjunction", a spell which utterly rips apart the fabric of magic within the area, ending all other spells automatically and also permanently destroying magic items - this effect even has a chance of working on artifacts, which are normally either indestructible or close to it. In practice it tends to be Awesome, but Impractical, since you're destroying your own loot. The drawbacks for successfully disjoining an artifact are far worse: Not only does this attract the attention of powerful beings with a stake in the artifact's existence, but if you fail a Will save you lose your spellcasting abilities forever.
  • Exalted has the The Greater Sign of Venus. When used by a Chosen of Serenity it shuts down almost all Essence effects within several miles (the list of exceptions can be counted on one hand) and renders artifacts powerless for several hours. Needless to say, getting hit by this in the middle of a fight is not pleasent for anyone involved.
  • GURPS has the Dispel Magic spell and the Neutralize advantage.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy: Pretty much all of them.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 relegates it to an item, the Dispel Tonic.
    • Of course, knowing the usefulness of Dispel, some games will make some buffs un-Dispellable. Zdei in particular have the ability to get Ice Spikes, the worst form of paralyze in the game, and it can't be dispelled. That's not even mentioning some endgame boss buffs, such as complete immunity to physical damage. There's also magic immunity, but since most forms of Dispel are magic...
    • Also in most Final Fantasy games, some debuffs are completely immune to regular cleansing like Esuna or Remedy, which Dispel is then needed. The thing is if the person in your party has buffs on them and is hit with a debuff that only Dispel can remove, you'll have to decide on whether to let the person suffer a little in order to keep the positive buffs or expose them by using Dispel and negate everything.
    • It's popular to have a boss in Final Fantasy games that tries to remove all your status buffs periodically. Sometimes, their AI will do it to the exclusion of anything else, leading to some very easy battles if you keep putting your buffs back up before their turn comes around. The first fight against Edea in Final Fantasy VIII, for example, is a cakewalk if you have Carbuncle, as she'll do absolutely nothing but dispel the Reflect effect as long as you keep casting it.
    • Dispel is of critical need against many bosses and Marks in Final Fantasy XII, since they tend to start off with assorted buffs precast. BUT. Once you reach a certain point in the game, bosses and Marks will throwing up a "Paling": bufflike shields that either entirely negate magical damage or physical damage. Or both. This means either reconfiguring gambits or just WAITING for a portion of the fight while your foe beats you up, heals, or summons mooks, and you CAN'T DO ANYTHING to the damn boss/Mark until the Paling wears off.
    • There was a boss in Final Fantasy V that used a spell called "Gravity 100" which dispelled Float status from all of your party members. If you had a character with equipment that permanently set Float status, it would use that spell exclusively.
    • Final Fantasy XIII had this ability for Saboteurs, who could cast bad status effects on enemies as well.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has the One Ilm Punch for Monks, which removes a random buff on the target. In PvE, it's generally considered to be a complete waste due to high TP cost and lowering the player's potential DPS output. In PvP, the same skill can cripple players since some jobs require specific buffs to work. In the Diadem, the Brachiosaur's Disaster ability can remove several buffs from you and can also inflict Slow, Blind, and Paralysis.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • A particularly annoying tendency for late-game bosses in the games (starting with Dragon Quest III) is to use a "wave of ice" to wipe out all of your party's Status Buffs. These are also usually the type to come at you with powerful weapons or magic, so if they use this attack instead, that means less damage against you... until your next turn. However, this attack can be exploited by having one party member cast a single buff spell every turn, meaning the bosses will only ever attempt to remove them.
    • In Dragon Quest IV, you get to turn the tables on those bosses by using the Zenithian Sword as an item, which yields the very same buff-removing effect.
    • Same effect, different name in Dragon Quest IX. This time around the Disruptive Wave, as it's called this time, can be used by the party once learned by the late game Sage.
    • If you use claws, you get an ability that does the same thing, but does damage and only targets one enemy. Quite useful against bosses.
  • In Pokémon, the "Haze" move (pictured above) eliminates all stat modifications for both combatants. "Brick Break" can also be used to instantly destroy temporary shields like Reflect and Light Screen. Defog will also clear Safeguard and Mist, which prevent statuses and debuffs respectively. These moves are very important in the metagame; a strong team will very often have a "Hazer" or "pseudo-Hazer". (Pseudo-Hazers use moves like Roar to force a switch-out, which is another way to clear the opponent's buffs.)
    • In Gen III with the Colosseum games, Shadow Shed worked as a non-damaging Defog and Brick Break simultaneously, and has a single PP which never runs out. The only downsides are that [A] it's a Shadow move, and [B] it hits your group as well.
    • Gen V introduced Clear Smog which restores the stats of the target in addition to doing damage (which makes it un-Tauntable), though it doesn't work at all against Steel (who are immune to its element).
    • Gen VI introduces "Topsy-Turvy", which does something even more extreme — instead of removing status buffs, it reverses them into debuffs (and debuffs into buffs)!
    • Gen VII introduces Marshadow's Signature Move, Spectral Thief, which steals all the target's stat boosts (but not debuffs) before doing very high damage, boosted further if any Attack boosts were stolen.
  • Earthbound had various shield breaking spells and items. The most direct of these is PSI Thunder, which destroys enemies' psychic shields when it zaps them.
    • Jeff's Neutralizer machine nullifies all status buffs active in a battle, both allied and enemy.
  • Most of the Shin Megami Tensei games and spinoffs have Dekaja. There's also Tetra Break and Makara Break, which destroy reflecting spells. Dekunda dispels lowered statuses from your party. Later games feature Silent Prayer, which resets everyone's stats to base and is a favorite move of mid- and late-game bosses.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, Hell Biker has a special move called Hell Exhaust, which acts as both a dispel and a full-party Force elemental attack.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Adramelech has his own move Hellish Brand, which combines Agidyne and Dekaja on one target. The Final Boss has a buffed Dekaja that removes all positive statuses on the party, including skills such as Doping, Charge, and Concentrate.
  • Golden Sun has the "Break" psynergy. Unfortunately the only boss that it would be really useful on, is immune to psynergy (including Break), buffs his defense, and decimates yours. Oh yeah, and he knows Break too. Of course, you can always buff yourself anyway, thus giving the survivability of temporarily having those buffs, as well as forcing the boss to repeatedly Break you. When you fight Bonus Bosses that move multiple times per turn and do crazy damage, taking one less nuke every other turn can be a lifesaver.
  • The M-Gear of Ace Online has the powerful Purify skill that negates not only buffs, but also special attack modes like Siege Mode, Big Bang, and Berserker.
    • The Purify is really one of M-Gear's strongest skill. Not only it had a rather short cooldown, its 10 SP requirement is very, very cheap. While Purifying Big Bangs are pretty much a necessity (since failure thereof can mean doom to anybody within its explosion radius), Purifying other Gears randomly is a very valid tactic. Then the skill was patched such that if it dispels an enemy Status Buff, their cooldown period is removed as well (except the Final Skill Moves, such as the aforementioned Big Bang and Berserker), so usage of Purify will have to be more strategic.
  • Fina is the one who has this attack in Skies of Arcadia. The last two bosses can dispel buffs to the party, as well.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age had this as a spell, even calling it Dispel.
  • The Sanctuary spell in Breath of Fire III and Breath of Fire IV. Unfortunately, using this spell also dispels the buffs used on the party.
  • World of Warcraft's dispel mechanics are quite complex. Most buffs and debuffs are given one or another category, with most classes having the ability to remove effects in one or two categories. For example, the priest can remove both positive and negative magic effects as well as diseases, while the druid can remove poison and curse effects. There are also effects that can't be removed at all, of course. Mages can dispel curses, and also steal beneficial magic effects and give them to allies. Shamans can learn a spell that will dispel a curse, poison, and disease effect all at once, and can also place a totem that automatically clears poison and disease from nearby allies every few seconds. Paladins have a similar spell, but they can only remove a poison, disease, and/or magic effect all at once; it doesn't work on curses. Hunters can dispel magic and rage effects by shooting their opponent.
    • Though the Cataclysm expansion is vastly altering which classes get which spell abilities:
      • Only healing-specced characters can remove Magic debuffs on allied characters, save a few exceptions(such as the Warlock's Imp, with Singe Magic).
      • Curse debuffs can be removed by Mages, Shamen, and Druids, regardless of specialization.
      • Poison debuffs can be removed by Druids, Monks, and Paladins, regardless of specialization.
      • Disease debuffs can be removed by Monks, Paladins, and Priests, regardless of specialization.
      • More in line with this trope, some characters can remove buffs on enemies. For example, an opponent's Rage effects can be dispelled by Druids, Rogues, and Hunters.
      • Similarly, Hunters, Shamen, Mages, Priests, and specially-glyphed Warriors and Death Knights can dispel Magic buffs on enemies.
  • WarCraft III also has quite an intricate system of dispelling, with every faction having a unit with a mass-dispel ability that removes all buffs and debuffs, and damages all summoned units, in an area of effect. These can be extremely effective against most auto-casted or area-effect buff/debuff spells used by the majority of casters in the game, but they also remove your own status effect spells at the same time, if you used any. Some abilities are more precise, though, like the Dryad's Abolish Magic which automatically takes buffs off enemy units and debuffs of of yours, and the Spell Breaker's Spell Steal, which steals enemy buffs for your benefit and reflects their debuffs back on them.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has Force Suppression and the more powerful Force Breach. Darth Malak is exceptionally and annoyingly adept at using it right after you've finished using all your buffs.
    • Which makes this fight even harder that it already was for Light Side players, who tend to have to rely more on buffs than pure attack abilities.
  • Baldur's Gate II goes to town with this. It has Dispel Magic (has a chance to dispel ANYTHING). Remove Magic (only affects enemies). A wide variety of spells that specifically target a mage's layers of protective spells. A kind of spell that removes magic resistance. Two spells that combines both of these aspects. One that works over time and gradually dispels spells... Some of the trickier bosses have overlapping immunities and protections. Bonus Boss Demogorgon, for instance, is immune to spells of 5th level and below (rendering him immune to Lower Resistance) he is however, not immune to Pierce Shield (an 8th level spell) except that he comes out of the box with Spell Immunity: Abjuration, which requires Ruby Ray of Reversal (the only Status-Buff Dispel that is not of the Abjuration school) to dispel...
  • The final boss of Shadow Hearts: From The New World will instantly counter buff spells with Lost Progress, which cancels them - and then hit you with a follow-up attack. The Bonus Boss has the same trick.
  • Ragnarok Online has Dispel, which removes almost all of buffs and debuffs. In a game, where the amount of buff you have on yourself may get around TWENTY+ this might be sometimes frightering and makes people swear in front of their screens
  • Several items in Chrono Trigger grant immunity to negative status effects. This seems to be a status in and of itself, as at least a few enemies, including the Final Boss, have techniques specifically designed to remove it. Oddly, enemies will use these techniques even if you lack status immunity.
  • Super Mario RPG has "Shredder", a boss-only attack - and the only bosses that use it are the final boss and the optional boss. The game normally doesn't emphasize status buffs too much, but anyone trying to low-level-run the game will be in for a rough ride.
  • In the Tales series, Dispel does this for enemy powerups. Restore is the friendly version.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, the Druid's "Calm" spell removes any status effects from the enemy, while the Knight's "Chivalry" does this to both the player and the enemy.
  • Suikoden Tierkreis: The "Release" mark, which is not widely useful seeing as enemies rarely ever give themselves Alert or Fury, and is only learned by one character anyway.
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City:
    • The game plays with this through the Princess class. "Negotiation" gets rid of an ally's buffs, trading them for healing, while their "Inspire" skill gets rid of any debuffs and restores their TP as well. "Ad Niliho", meanwhile, weaponizes this — not only does it strip away the enemy's buffs, it deals considerable damage in the process.
    • More generally, applying status buffs and debuff of generally opposite effect will cancel out and remove both. This happens even if one (de)buff was considerably stronger or longer-lasting than the other or if it had other affects—for instance, Vulcan Stance makes normal attacks do more damage and hit all opponents, but an attack debuff spell will remove both.
  • Dispel, of the Mysticism school, is used in The Elder Scrolls universe to cure Standard Status Effects on the Player Character or allies, but at the same time also works as a Status Buff Dispel.
  • The Void status effect in Star Ocean: The Last Hope not only removes status buffs/debuffs, but disables any passive abilities on the character, as well. Getting rid of it as soon as possible is generally in one's best interest.
  • In Secret of Mana, Dispel is one of Shade's spells. Initially it can remove any status buff except Wall (reflect); Wall can be dispelled once Shade reaches Lv.4 or higher. Dispel can also be used to distract the game's Final Boss, as it will spend time re-casting Wall on itself rather than firing Lucent Beams at your party members.
  • In Sonny, there's the Electro Bolt skill, which deals both physical and magical damage while dispelling one buff per skill level. This is a very useful skill to have.
  • Star Trek Online has the science captain ability "Subnucleonic Beam", which wipes out all active buffs on the target but leaves active debuffs alone. Subnuke also increases the target's bridge officer cooldowns for a period of time, based on the user's auxiliary power level. A science captain who's quick on the subnuke trigger can be a nightmare for the average escort jockey to fight in PVP, as it can quickly ruin an Alpha Strike.
  • Vector Thrust has aircraft with ESCM (Electronic Support Countermeasure) capability that can negate the datalink connections used by other enemy electronic warfare aircraft.
  • Warframe has several.
    • The Stalker — a powerful NPC who hunts down players who have killed bosses — can almost immediately dispel any status buff, and is outright immune to almost all ability Standard Status Effects.
    • Corpus Nullifiers create a bubble around them that is immune to Warframe powers and disables any status buffs when the user enters the bubble. The Corpus robot, Zanuka (and the Harvester), can use a weakened version of the Stalker's dispel ability to disable some status buffs, but is vulnerable to most powers.
  • Kingdom of Loathing's Naughty Sorceress opens with a "beam of very sticky light" that removes all your beneficial status effects. Since "stack an absolutely preposterous number of buffs" is a viable and common strategy for tough fights in this game, it's pretty debilitating. She also cuts your familiar's effective weight in half, which isn't quite so bad but can hurt depending on what you're using (for example, if you were hoping for the Levitating Potato or Untamed Turtle to Take The Bullet).

Alternative Title(s): Dispel