Stone Wall

Every thrust of Rangidil's spear was blocked with ease;
Every slash of Rangidil's blade was deflected away;
Every blow of Rangidil's mace was met by the shield;
Every quick arrow shot could find no purchase
For the Monster's greatest power was in his dread blessing
That no weapon from no warrior found in all
Of Morrowind
Could pass the shield of Abernanit.

If the Glass Cannon believes that the best defense is a good offense, the Stone Wall tries for the reverse. His offense is nothing to write home about, if it even technically exists. But he's tough. Really, really tough. And if anything can put him down, odds are he's quick enough on the recovery to get right back up for round two.

When alone, a Stone Wall's strategy is often known as "turtling": a battle of attrition to see who tires out first, or a waiting game until the whistle blows. If his defense is something he physically constructs and builds, he can win a fight by slowly expanding outward until he leaves the enemy without a foot to stand on. Often has defensive buffs and minor healing magic, in which case you're dealing with a "Paladin Tank."

In team settings, a Stone Wall often takes care of "tanking" duties, interposing himself between the enemy and an ally, typically a Glass Cannon that can take care of dealing damage while the Stone Wall takes care of defense. By keeping the enemy occupied, he allows allies with greater attack strength but poorer defense to kill the enemy without getting killed. Characters who do this are called "Meat Shields" or "Party Tanks." Often have moves designed to force attention to themselves ("pulling aggro"). Sometimes called "Control Tanks".

This trope partly takes its name from a real-life example: Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson won the battle of Bull Run due to his strategy to not retreat from his line, no matter how bad things went for him. And for a while things went pretty bad. General Jackson himself is not an example of this trope despite the nickname, as outside of that particular battle, he was most noted for his offensive campaigns.

The direct inverse of Glass Cannon. A subtrope of Competitive Balance.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yakumo of 3×3 Eyes is a berserker type meat shield (emphasis on the 'meat'), as all he has is the amazing power to not die; his job is to stand in front of attacks and be dismembered. He later learns how to fight effectively.
  • Zushi in Hunter × Hunter is able to form barriers to soften truck-force attacks to where he's unharmed by them (he can still be knocked down, though he can also soften the impact upon landing), but he can barely fight otherwise. The barrier is invisible to an untrained eye, so from the point of view of a Muggle, it looks like the boy is impervious to damage.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Kuwabara clearly takes this role in the main team, with Yusuke being the damage dealer, Hiei as the speedster and Kurama having the sharp mind. Kuwabara doesn't have highly damaging moves like the Spirit Gun or Dragon of the Darkness flame. However, you know you have good durability if you managed to still get up after being in a tug-o-war with Byakko's tigers, repeatedly thrown down to the stone stadium floor by Rinku and stabbed in over 10 different areas by the Elder Toguro.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: In comparison to some of the higher tiers of the series, Sanosuke can come off as this; his attacks aren't always the strongest (at least in comparison to Saitou or Kenshin), but his endurance is one of his most outstanding traits.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Noboru Gongenzaka's deck focuses on monsters with high DEF, with a strategy forcing the opponent into attacking. His monsters have a lot of protection effects which increases the power of his defense as well and they don't rely on Spell or Trap Cards. Gongenzaka's Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei has also an effect that allows him to attack with his Superheavy Samurais while their are in Defense Position and their DEF will be used for the damage calculation. His Synchro Monsters can also attack in Defense Position while using their DEF for damage calculation.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, the Player Killer of Darkness (Panik in the dub) is noted to be one of these. Being a Dirty Coward, his main card is Castle of Dark Illusions, which has high defense, minimal attacking power, and makes his monsters impossible to attack. He also favors the use of Chaos Shield, which raises the defense of his monsters even further, but it locks his cards in place and keeps them from moving or attacking. This becomes his downfall, as it makes his strategy very inflexible.
    • Mukuro in the manga version of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds favors a Vehicle Deck. All his cards have 0 ATK, but due to the format he plays in (where the Duel is more of a race and attacking, even with a card with no ATK, slows the opponent down a little), he can win Duels by simply attacking once, then stalling until he wins the race.
    • The Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds anime had Team Taiyou, whose decks consisted primarily of low-level Normal Monsters, giving them no offense whatsoever outside of Speed World 2. Their strategy was to play Holding-Hands Majinn, a card that ups its DEF by that of all your monsters via the Power of Friendship and makes itself the target of all attacks, and Scrum Force, which keeps DEF-position monsters from being destroyed by card effects. This left them with an essentially unbreakable defense, letting them use the aforementioned Speed World 2 to chip away at the opponent and fulfil the requirements to summon Sleeping Giant Zushin.

    Board Games 
  • In Risk, there's always at least one person who will conquer Australia and then just sit there and build up troops while everyone else weakens each other. Since Australia only has one path in and out, massing all the troops on one territory makes it almost impossible to conquer without using every last one of your available armies. You have to take out Australia within the first few rounds or you're screwed. (No wonder Lex Luthor wanted it.) However, it also only shares a border with Asia, which very few players go for, meaning that it is logistically difficult for an Australia player to put their troops in a position to accomplish much on offense.
  • In Through The Ages: A Story Of Civilization, one of the Age 3 leaders is Mahatma Gandhi. A player who has Gandhi in play is not allowed to play Aggressions or Wars himself, but anyone trying to attack him has to spend twice as many military actions to do so.
  • In Chess, the concept of prophylaxis could be described as this. Rather than playing to improve your attacking chances, a prophylactic move is one that limits the opponent's opportunities. Former world champion Tigran Petrosian is probably the best example; while he had fewer wins than other world champions, he had almost no losses, even going through 1962 without losing a single tournament game.

    Card Games 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Rock-type is mainly geared toward Turtling play, as Rock-types tend to have low ATK and high DEF, as well as quite a few of them having the ability to flip into face-down Defensive Position. There was even a Rock-type Structure Deck at one point built entirely on building an uber-strong defense. Formerly shown above was Labyrinth Wall, which does nothing to most other monster cards on its own, but has 3000 DEF, meaning it can shrug off even an attack from Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
    • However, there are also cards like Spirit Reaper (Zombie) and Marshmallon (Fairy), who simply can't be killed in battle, but have some of the worst stats in the game (though they both have some damaging effects, with Spirit Reaper's attack-and-your-opponent-discards effect, and Marshmallon doing 1000 damage when attacked face-down).
    • Decks that focus on alternate win conditions look like this. Final Countdown Decks typically feature a crapload of defensive cards and not much else, and Burn or Mill Decks often completely ignore attacking the opponent in favor of stalling while they whittle down their resources. No presence, no offensive power... so they make it as hard as possible to get a hit in while they try to complete their own strategy.
    • The aforementioned Superheavy Samurai archetype, an archetype of Machine-type monsters with low ATK and high DEF. The fighting members of this archetype have effects that range from being indestructable in battle or reducing the ATK and DEF of enemy monsters to 0, etc. Superheavy Samurai cards that contain "Soul" in their names have effects that can be activated from the hand, either as Equip Cards or as Hand Traps. Others have effects that can be activated from the graveyard to protect the Superheavy Samurais from the graveyard. Despite this archetype focuses on defense, it's also strong in offense. The boss monster of the Main Deck, Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei, allows every Superheavy Samurai on the field to attack in Defense Position and their DEF will apply for the damage calculation. With Big Benkei having 3500 DEF, it's a very powerful beatstick, and it is very easy to summon Big Benkei, e.g. Giant Rat can Special any EARTH Monster with 1500 or less ATK, and Big Benkei has only 1000 ATK, so the Trap Card Bottomless Trap Hole won't destroy and banish it. The Synchro Monsters of this archetype have also high DEF and they can attack in Defense Position with their DEF and have strong effects that can only be activated as long as you don't have any Spell or Trap Cards in your graveyard. Some other monsters rely on having a Spell/Trap free graveyard, but since this archetype already has so many defense mechanism like the Soul monsters as Equip Cards and Hand Traps, Spell or Trap Cards aren't necessary for this archetype, which makes it the first archetype that can be played without any Spell and/or Trap Cards.
  • Walls and other creatures with Defender in Magic: The Gathering are essentially this — by the very definition of the ability they can't attack and many deal little or no damage to enemy attacking creatures that they block. On the other hand, they can be very tough for a relatively low cost; the actual Wall of Stone card is a good example. It's worth noting, though, that the game also features a number of subversions and that these may be becoming more common since the defender ability was formally introduced and divorced from the 'wall' creature type (the original rule being simply that 'walls can't attack').
    • Among creatures that can actually attack, this is the defining trait of treefolk. Indomitable Ancients is the most extreme example: It can dish out 2 damage but can take up to 10 and has no other abilities. The card Doran, the Siege Tower is specifically designed to invert this and turn such creatures into powerhouses by making all creatures deal combat damage equal to their toughness instead of their power, a windfall for most treefolk.
    • Throughout Magic's history, there have been entire decks dedicated to turtling, creating an impenetrable defense that allows them to win through Scratch Damage or by forcing an opponent to run out the clock by running out of cards to draw. Snow White and Project X both sought to gain absurd amounts of life through combos, ensuring your opponent will never take you down to 0. The classic UW control decks had hardly any win conditions, but tons of removal and permission spells to keep them alive. And then there's...
    • Turbofog, everyone's least favorite Lorwyn-era tourney deck! It had very few creatures, defensive or otherwise, but stuffed itself with damage prevention, counterspells, control, life-gain, and just a few cards to recycle itself and increase its runtime. Its only win condition was to last so damn long that the opponent's deck ran out of cards, an instant lose, or more likely that the opponent simply lost patience and accepted his (eventual) defeat.
  • In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Shedinja makes a Stone Wall not out of itself, but the player: Shedinja does not count towards the 6 Pokémon to knock out to win a game, so someone packing a deck full of Shedinja would force the opponent into a war of attrition.
  • In Little Alchemist, there are cards that have zero base Attack but high enough Defense to negate all but the most powerful attacks, including a literal Great Wall. It's still possible to (eventually) defeat an enemy who uses a lot of these cards, though, by setting your class to Elementalist and gradually whittling down their health with minor but unblockable combo damage dealt every turn.

    Comic Books 
  • Compare Butterball/Boulder, a fat young man whose power of being completely invulnerable to harm also makes his body immutable; he can't lose weight (except with a near-starvation diet), can't build muscle, doesn't get tired, and will never be able to develop any actual combat capabilities. He washed out of Camp Hammond and landed in the Shadow Initiative with minor league villains.
  • Turtle from the latest Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is incredibly durable, almost completely invulnerable to harm. However, his total lack of extraordinary offensive capabilities hardly wowed the Legion when he tried out, landing him and his Glass Cannon pal Sizzle in the Legion Auxiliary with the hope that they'll develop moves to compensate for their weaknesses.
  • Diamond Lil, associated with Alpha Flight (as both hero and villain), is pretty much invulnerable, but not super-strong. She is a fair fighter and not at all slow, but wouldn't be much of a problem for true heavyweights because she just can't hit that hard.
  • Brit is a comic book character created by Robert Kirkman who is an average-sized man of about 60 who is completely invulnerable to harm, thanks to a serum created by his father. Unlike many other invulnerable characters in the Image universe, he has no other abilities, having the strength of a 60-ish-year-old man who works out.

    Films — Animated 
  • Violet of The Incredibles: near-impregnable defense, but she's hard-pressed to actually do anything to her aggressors.
  • Po, The Everyman hero of Kung Fu Panda initiates almost no offense even in his climactic duel with Tai Lung, instead relying on his fat to absorb the damage of Tai Lung's punches and nullify his Pressure Point attacks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied with the Black Knight of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Despite having all four of his limbs cut off, he still boasts that he's invincible... even though the protagonists only want to pass him. While he's (extremely) vulnerable to Arthur's sword, he still keeps trying to fight even after taking damage that a Loony Toons character would deem excessive.
  • In Kick-Ass, the titular character is a Badass Adorable Action Survivor with no training for actual combat, but has metal plates in his bones as well as fucked up nerve endings that gave him a very high tolerance for pain.

    Literature 
  • The Pharaoh from Soon I Will Be Invincible. Though pathetic by most measures, he is something of a nuisance because his power (activated by his hammer) is complete immunity to injury. Even taking an artillery round head-on does nothing more than push him into the ground a few feet.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The lightsaber style of Soresu is essentially the Turtling variant of this trope, created to defend both against multiple blaster-wielding foes and single opponents. However, it requires both the endurance and the concentration to last until the opponent (finally) shows a weakness in their defense, or else it will merely delay the inevitable. Obi-Wan Kenobi is acknowledged in canon as the ultimate master of this technique, and is said to be able to protect himself from up to twenty strikes per second in the novelization of ROTS.
    • The Sun Crusher is a Lightning Bruiser against a planetary target, packing torpedoes with the ability to cause a sun to go supernova. Against other ships it is this trope; its hull is invulnerable, but since its ship-to-ship weapons protrude from the hull, they tend to get taken out early in any given fight leaving it with no method of dealing damage save ramming.
  • In The Reckoners Trilogy The Professor/Limelight is this, with one ability that's good for protecting from harm (a forcefield), one ability good for recovering from harm (a Healing Factor), and one ability that's good for escaping and disabling an enemy's weapons ( the ability to disintegrate non-organic matter). But when it comes to offense he's reduced to guns and making an Improvised Weapon by carefully disintegrating steel to create a sword or knife. Appropriately during the main battle he acts as a tank battling Steelheart, who he's incapable of damaging, while the others try to find his Achilles' Heel.
    • This changes in the second book, as he demonstrates that he's capable of much greater versatility with his forcefields and can use them crush people to death (which would still not have harmed Steelheart, but few things could), he just chose not to until he lost his mind to power.
  • In the Ken Macleod novel Newton's Wake, the Search Engines used by the Carlyle's "combat archaeologists" are large tracked vehicles with an almost impregnable hull and top-of-the-line firewall software to prevent posthuman Brown Note attacks from effecting the crew. However, search engines have no offensive armaments whatsoever. Lucinda Carlyle gets a rude surprise when a supposedly backwater Lost Colony has a platoon-level support weapon that can punch straight through a search engine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Unit19G is nearly impossible to make flinch (to the point where he can withstand 5000 degrees centigrade), but he isn't too great on the offense.

    Sport 
  • In Cricket, the traditional role of the opening batsmen is to play defensively and hang around and blunt the initial barrage of the opposition's fast bowlers in order to set up the team's innings, often scoring quite slowly. (In)famous "stonewallers" include Bill Lawry for Australia and Geoffrey Boycott for England. However, in recent years, ODI and Twenty20 cricket especially have featured more aggressive openers, as the strategy has been to exploit the fielding restrictions that are in place early in the innings.
    • Making something of a comeback in Test matches: England in particular have capitalized on the "dropping attention span" of some of their opponents: witness the efforts of their current top order, Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott. Though granted, all three of them score faster than Boycott did.
    • Bowlers can also be Stone Walls, looking more to dry up runs and pressure batsmen into making mistakes than take wickets through attacking bowling. In an inverse of the situation in batting, this type of bowler is more popular in T20 and ODI than in Tests.
  • "Turtle-balling" is a common tactic in American Football, in which the offense does just enough to gain a lead of more than one score, then uses a combination of stifling defense and a relentless running game to prevent the opponent from catching up. Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers coach in the 1990s and early 2000s, perfected the technique; when his teams built a lead of 11 or more points at any point in the game, victory was practically guaranteed. In such situations, his teams lost once and tied once... and won 102 times.
  • Many defensemen in sports (again, soccer and hockey are examples) play without any offensive drive. For example, the Buffalo Sabres' Robyn Regehr.
  • The goalkeeper, in most sports that use one (soccer, hockey, etc.) cannot leave the goal box and never scores.
  • William Felton Russell. He didn't score much and his shooting percentages were mediocre, but he is an 11x NBA champion, 5x MVP and widely considered the greatest defender in NBA history.
  • Pitchers in the National League. The pitcher generally has a very low batting average (though some have one that rivals other position players), and often a low speed, too, but they are the standard bearer for the defense to the point of being analogous to a goalkeeper. The position is so specialized that the American League has a rule that you are permitted to have one designated hitter to hit in place of one defensive player without taking him out of the game, and everybody chooses to bat for the pitcher.
    • Catchers are generally either this or a Mighty Glacier, because squatting so much tends to ruin your knees, making them rather slow on the bases, so their offensive capabilities tend to be limited to raw power. Defensively, the catcher is The Lancer to the pitcher, because the catcher must catch (or at least secure) strike three in order to complete a strikeout, pitches that are not fouled off by the batter are live (and so runners can attempt to advance before, during or after a pitch) and because the catcher's job is to guard home plate. Pitchers get credited for wins like goalkeepers, but catchers look the part because of the protective gear.
  • The rope-a-dope strategy in boxing, as best seen in the Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Wait against the ropes, guard face, taunt during clinches, throw occasional jab to opponent's face. Repeat until opponent is tired, then start delivering beatdown.
    • In the 1980 heavyweight fight between Randall 'Tex' Cobb (who had one of the most durable chins in the history of boxing) and Earnie Shavers (widely regarded as the hardest puncher in heavyweight history) Cobb, who was not known for great offense, won the fight by simply walking through Shavers' punches until Shavers tired and Cobb was able to knock him out.
      • George Chuvalo, Micky Ward, and Kelly Pavlik were other popular fighters who would just absorb their opponents' punches in order to deliver their own.
  • Boxing has also seen a number of fighters over the years who specialize in defense to the point of being all but untouchable, and only need to use a minor amount of offense because their opponent simply can't land anything on them. A few such fighters include Willie Pep, Niccolino Locche, Wilfredo Benitez, Pernell Whitaker, and Floyd Mayweather. Muhammad Ali was this at times, mostly in his youth, and even Mike Tyson, who was most famous for his power, showed some of this ability as well.
  • The tactic of "flooding" in Australian Rules Football is a version of this, having so many players around the ball and likely opposition targets that the opposition can't get a clean possession. The Sydney Swans are noted exponents of this, while in the 2013 Preliminary Final, Fremantle did it well enough to beat Sydney at their own game.
  • "Parking the Bus" is a term used in Association Football to describe teams that after gaining a lead, drop almost all of their players back behind midfield for defense. Chelsea has made this their primary strategy in the English Premier League.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Anyone making use of a one-handed weapon and a held shield in D&D is a lesser example of this trope regardless of their class, suffering a substantial loss of offensive power compared to a two handed weapon. (D&D is also subject to the Armor Is Useless trope in many editions, thereby negating the point of such an approach. In 4th edition, however, it was a viable strategy; some characters equipped with shields could render themselves virtually impossible to hit in two defenses.)

    Video Games 

Fighting Game
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • R.O.B. is a very heavy character, and he has one of the best recoveries (he can fly), making him abnormally difficult to knock out. He also has two projectiles, with his Eye Beams and gyros, which means he has an easy time with keeping his distance from the opponent. However, none of his attacks do much damage, and most R.O.B. players focus on slowly chipping away at the opponent.
    • Shulk can become this via his Stance System. Activating Monado Shield turns Shulk into the heaviest character in the game for a few seconds, greatly increasing his defence; however, this comes at the cost of his mobility and attack power.
  • Q from Street Fighter III. Often considered a bottom-tier character, Q has one major thing going for him: his high stamina. He can also increase it by taunting. And the increase is applied on each of the first three taunts he does in a round. Once he's taunted thrice, his health is almost doubled. At that point the match changes from "opponent juggles Q into oblivion" to "Q takes everything thrown at him and chips the opponent to death with Dashing Punches".
  • Before there was Q, several Fighting Game characters made use of Counter Attacks to act as pseudo-walls, usually to make up for otherwise bland movesets.
    • Advanced Variable Geo 2 gives us Judoka Kyouko Kirishima, whose normal attacks are very conventional and lack the punch of those of the other characters. However, she takes somewhat less damage than most characters, and is balanced out with an array of high-power counters.
    • Another four years later saw SNK make a true "Counter Wall" in the form of Seth. Even more defensive than Kasumi Todoh, Seth's low-output, unimpressive normal and special attacks are made up for by a noticeable amount of defensive and high-output counters... Among which is a counter-based Limit Break which hits hard.
    • Exdeath is one of the most extreme cases, in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, given that his moveset revolves mostly around Counter Attacks. Essentially, what an Exdeath player wants to do is stand in one place and nullify or deflect anything the opponent throws at him, using a non-counter move only if the opponent tries not attacking him or as a finisher. Think Wobbuffet placed into a 3-D fighting game context.
  • Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat is probably the Trope Maker for turtle fighters. Sub-Zero players are widely known and often reviled for assertively setting up damaging Ice Clone traps and waiting for their opponents to make their move. This is especially true in MK4, where Sub-Zero has most of his other tactics nerfed, but this one is left untouched.
  • Good Gods in Black & White 2 are these. Fitting of their 'Good' nature, these Gods use strong walls to discourage (and, because of the AI, utterly stop)) enemy militaries from attacking. The downside of this is the (general) inability to kill said enemy troops, but the occasional Fireball doesn't dent your Good Rating.
  • Iceman in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes does not take Scratch Damage while blocking, and can easily throw a quick low damage projectile at any opening given, allowing a skilled player to slowly chip away at opponents' health and/or wait out the clock.
  • Tenten in the Naruto Storm series, but especially Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, is a bizarre example of this: one of her special moves is to lay mines surrounding herself, which is intended to keep opponents from coming close. She doesn't have to move from her spot, as she can fight entirely through projectiles (including some rather lengthy projectile combos). In true Stone Wall fashion, she has the lowest damage output of the entire series.

First-Person Shooter
  • For the Meat Shield version, a Heavy Weapons Guy in Team Fortress 2 with Natascha equipped can be one of these. For the price of lower firepower, anyone caught by these bullets will get slowed down, resulting in anything between a minor annoyance to a complete death trap depending on the circumstances. Add a Medic into the equation, constantly healing the Heavy from any damage he might pick up from a lucky shot, and you've got a solid wall.
    • A heavy carrying the Fists of Steel and being healed by a Medic can be almost unkillable, but is reduced to melee attacks if he wants to keep the protection.
    • Similarly, a Eyelander (or reskins) and Chargin' Targe wielding demoman being healed by a medic. The Charging' Targe providing resistance to fire and explosive damage and the eyelander healing the demoman and increasing his speed and health upon killing enemies. The downside is not being able to equip the stickybomb launcher, making him unable to lay traps and limiting his ability to kill enemies at range.
    • Tanks in Mann Vs. Machine don't have any offensive capability other than inching towards your base carrying a bomb, but they take impressive amounts of punishment. To get the achievement for killing it withing 20 seconds of it spawning, the recommended method is five wrangled sentries pointed exclusively at the thing.
    • The Engineer alone is very brittle compared to other classes. However once he has a sentry and dispenser up and running, then he will become a turtling master.
  • The AAV 7 A 1 AMTRAC in Battlefield 3. It has a weapon virtually useless against armor that has an extremely sluggish rotation rate. However it has extremely good armor that can withstand 5 packs of C4 being detonated at once (other vehicles are fully destroyed with 3) and can function as a spawn point for the entire team which allows it to indirectly take down Tanks just by getting the tank to focus on it while the endless spawning team mates focus on taking it down.

MMORPGs
  • Tanks in World of Warcraft avert the trope, often ending up at or near the top of the damage dealing for their group. This is because, in World of Warcraft, much of a tank's threat generation is caused by damage output, and the tank often spends most of the fight attacking multiple enemies with close-range area-effect attacks to hold threat.
  • The tanking classes in EverQuest, which include paladins, shadow knights, and warriors, play this trope straight. While the damage output of these classes is respectable, their primary focus is in holding the attention of the enemy. As such, their ability to deal damage is underplayed in favor of improving their damage-taking abilities.
  • In City of Heroes and City of Villains, one defensive choice for Tanker/Brute is Stone Armor. There's a power in that set called "Granite Armor", which turns you into a special character model (a living stone statue type of thing). While you have that active, you have somewhere between 15% and 25.2% Defense against all but Psionics, 37.5% and 63.7% damage reduction against all but Psionics, and high resistance to all status effects. The tradeoff is that you do 30% less damage, take three times longer to recharge across the board, run less than a third your normal speed and cannot jump.
  • EVE Online:
    • Due to the balancing factors present in the game's fitting system, any ship that is fitted for maximum defense is going to sacrifice maneuverability, speed, and damage output in order to achieve the most defensive ability. Some ships, such as the Drake, the Rokh, the Prophecy, and others are actually designed around the concept of surviving a fight by having a hard shell while only having moderate damage capabilities, while ships like the Dominix and the Armageddon, which can rely on remote drones to deal damage rather than their own weapons, can afford to dedicate more power and resources towards defensive modules. Some of these designs are even used as "bait ships" - ships that have tremendous damage-soaking ability in exchange for being ponderously slow and practically toothless, but still retaining the ability to warp-scramble attackers (thus keeping them from fleeing). Of course, the whole point is to trick a group into attacking your nigh-invulnerable ship, then calling in your friends to ambush them.
    • The recent patch to Mining Barges and Exhumers has transformed several mining ships into Stone Walls. While all Exhumers grant a 5% bonus to shield resistances per level of Mining Barge skill (which you need to have maxed out just to fly an Exhumer), the Skiff takes it one step further by also adding a 5% bonus to Shield Hitpoints per level of Mining Barge. It also has more mid-slots than any other Exhumer, and since it only has to equip one mining laser, has the most extra CPU and Powergrid for fitting shield modules. This allows the Skiff to fit a buffer tank that can exceed 90,000 effective hitpoints. However, since it is a mining ship, it has poor handling and virtually no offensive capabilities other than drones.
  • Paragons in Guild Wars. Warriors are loaded with defensive skills, but their offense is at least halfway decent. Paragons, however, have armor that's on par with a warrior, can carry a shield for extra defense, and are absolutely packed with defensive skills and partywide defensive buffs. Killing a Paragon who knows what he's doing is an exercise in frustration. They aren't very dangerous though, and their offense is mildly annoying at best.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, the RAcaseal has the highest Defense, second to high HP, and pretty high Evasion. The result of this is being a godly tank. However, their damage output is nothing to write home about....
  • The Ice School in Wizard101 is the only class that can equip gear with resistance to all attacks other than crowns gear. Even though later gear allows other schools to equip similar gear ice still has the best resistance. Also ice has the weakest attack spells and many defense based spells and can even steal defensive charms and slow healing effects from enemies.
  • AceOnline has the M-Gear. It shtick is stacking as much defense as it can to wither enemy attacks. A properly leveled M-Gear can hold off an attack by as many as thirty assailants at once without so much as breaking a sweat. Its crushing lack of attack power though, is more of an annoyance when level grinding, because enemy mobs give paltry amounts of EXP that killing many of them quickly is the only way to effectively level up.

Platform Game
  • Mario's Tanuki suit has a mode that turns to stone. You can't be hurt, but you can't act.
  • Olaf of The Lost Vikings is a very basic example of the Shielding variety (with an actual shield, no less!). He can't attack at all, but he can block any attack. Simply place him in front of an enemy to absorb all of its attacks while Baleog takes it out.

Real-Time Strategy
  • In Command & Conquer 1 and Red Alert 1 games, the Armored Personnel Carrier has heavy armor, but only a light machine gun. Though it is meant to carry troops around the field, it is almost always used as a stone wall unit.
    • In Red Alert 2, the war miner, though mainly a resource harvester, is armed with a small machine gun, but has enough armor to defeat tanks on a one on one battle. Same with the slave miner in the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack. Also in the YR expansion, the Allies have access to the Battle Fortress, which is the the most heavily armored unit in the game and is armed with a light machine gun, though it can be garrisoned with five infantry, who can shoot out of the vehicle, making it one of the best units in terms of armor and firepower, hence turning it into a Mighty Glacier when fully loaded.
    • The Allied Assault Destroyer in Red Alert 3 is heavy, slow, and packs a not-terribly-impressive gun for its cost. However, it has impressive armor to begin with, and its special ability both increases its durability and redirects projectiles from nearby allied units to the destroyer, at the cost of not being able to shoot at all. (It can, however, still crush things, including many light vehicles.)
  • Netstorm has several towers whose only function is to absorb the enemy shots. Technically, any building would suffice, but the towers automatically switch the attention to themselves and usually have higher HP. The Bulwark takes the trope Up to Eleven (and the price is appropriate).
  • This is how Sins Of The Prophets implements the Halcyon-class (not to be confused with the Autumn-class pioneered by the Pillar of Autumn) - it has pathetic firepower for how late it is available, but it has almost capital ship-level durability.
  • The British Commonwealth from Company of Heroes can be best summed as the Stone Wall. Since their abilites allow you to create trenches, enplacements and provide defensive buffs. For an example of units, the Royal Engineer's Churchill tank can be their best example. While they're sluggish and have a weak cannon, they're well armored on all sides that reduces penetration.

Rhythm Game
  • In Patapon 3 Guardira class and Slogturtle have weak attacks, but they hold a massive shield which blocks most of the attacks and helps to cover the other units near them.

Roguelike
  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery, the Ancient Stone Beast is an example of this. Though it's the boss of the Earth Temple, it deals far far less damage than its slaves, the earth elementals and stone grues. Being a Stone Wall, it has a PV note  of 60, and over 1k HP.
  • 100 Rogues has the White Knight monster class. While upgrading a certain skill makes its damage output better, almost its entire skill tree is dedicated to making it tougher than before.
  • One of the challenges in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth turns you into one of these. You do subpar damage and you're pitifully slow, but you start off with seven red heart containers note  as well as a mask that can sometimes nullify shots from the front. This can be brought Up to Eleven by gaining even more heart containers as well as using protection orbitals (such as the Big Fan).

Role-Playing Game
  • The Sentinel role in Final Fantasy XIII is a prime example of this. Sentinels are unable to directly attack enemies, but can taunt enemies to target them and possess exceptionally high defense and hit points.
  • The Paladin class of Dragon Quest IX are this trope. Their attack is merely passable, but ye God is their defense high. Past level 45 they'll only take Scratch Damage from physical attacks, and if you teach them the shield skill Magic Mirror they'll be completely immune to magical attacks, which means if you use their Forbearance ability— which takes damage for the entire party— your adventuring party is nigh-untouchable. Even before they learn all those high level abilities they're exceptionally useful since they learn the defense-boosting Kabuff spell and magic defense-boosting Magic Barrier spell at fairly low levels. They are defensive beasts.
  • Many, many Pokémon, in varying degrees - not only between offense and defense, but the game's special and physical attack classifications.
    • Perhaps the most extreme example of this trope in the entire series is Shuckle, a Bug/Rock type Pokémon that not only has the highest Defense and Special Defense stats of out of any Pokémon in the game, but also sports some of the lowest Attack, Special Attack, and Speed values.
    • A good example is Umbreon, which is unusual for a Dark-type. Both of its defensive stats are incredibly high and it has very good HP as well, but its offensive stats are low. However, it can learn Foul Play, which gets a STABnote  and uses the opponent's attack stat, which will likely be higher than Umbreon's. It can also learn Payback, which also gets a STAB and doubles in power when the user goes last, which is more likely than not given Umbreon's sluggish speed.
    • The best-known example is Blissey, who has absurdly high Hit Points (the highest in the game, in fact, with a maximum of 714 points) and Special Defense, as well as healing moves. The item Leftovers, which heals 1/16 of the holder's maximum HP each turn, is incredibly effective here, as well as the move Softboiled, which restores up to 50% of the user's maximum HP. Even with her abysmal Defense stat, Blissey's enormous HP lets her take a few physical hits - as long as they aren't Fighting-type, but even then it typically takes a strong STAB Fighting-type move for Blissey to succumb to a one-hit knockout. And forget about status moves - not only can Blissey heal them with Heal Bell or Aromatherapy, her ability Natural Cure removes any status when she switches out. Finally, the moves Double Team and Minimize, which increase the user's evasiveness, can compound Blissey's defensive strategy even further and make her even harder to hit. Her stellar defenses come at the cost of Speed and Attack, with Speed being a paltry 55 and attack being 10, which is the lowest stat in the game. Her special attack is a relatively impressive 75 (this is only impressive compared to her Attack, as 75 is still fairly low for a Pokemon's highest attack stat).
    • Wobbuffet has high HP and good defense, but it cannot attack by itself. It takes attacks and gives them stronger back to the opponent, which often knocks them out in one hit. Since Wobbuffet has an ability that prevents the opponent to switch out, it is very risky to attack it. A Mirror Match is impossible to win, since no player can switch out and they cannot attack.
  • If you're playing Pokémon Colosseum, you start with a Glass Cannon and a Stone Wall in your party. Umbreon is the latter, and is hugely underrated in this role. It has high Defense and Special Defense, and makes up for its low Attack and Speed with its use of status effects.
  • Shedinja is this, but with a nasty Kryptonite Factor. It has pretty average Attack and awful Speed... but it has the ability Wonder Guard, which makes it invincible and lets it chip through even the toughest defense. Unless the opponent has a Fire, Rock, Flying, Ghost, or Dark move, in which case Shedinja dies instantly.
  • Aegislash: Its Shield Forme and signature move 'King's Shield' possess such extreme defensive properties that even legendary Pokemon have a hard time fighting it, but the Shield Form has awful attacking stats and it pretty much needs priority to outspeed anything.
  • Bastiodon: Its defenses are both incredibly high, and its offensive stats are both very low. It does have two double weaknesses, to Fighting and Ground, but it also has the ability Sturdy, meaning you can't OHKO it with anything.
  • In Skies of Arcadia Gregorio is known as old Iron Wall, sporting a massive shield, although we never see him fight. His fleet sports high defense and is often more reserved when it comes to firing the cannons, saving up for ram attacks.
    • Then there is the boss fight in Yafutoma where the player must fight against a literal turtle, which has a high defense count already but also has a special skill that renders all attacks down to 1HP damage and allows it to heal every turn. The only saving grace is that it can't attack in this form allowing you to focus on gaining SP to perform your own special attacks when his defense drops.
  • This is the default strategy for Peco in Breath of Fire 3. He has the highest natural HP and second highest natural Defense totals in the game, with average attack and low magic. Oh, and he recovers about 5% of his max HP every combat round. So he's already very difficult to kill, and most people will apprentice him to Fahl (who gives the best level up gains for, as you might guess, HP and Defense), making him Nigh Invulnerable. The fact that Peco starts at level 1 and can therefore give himself the aforementioned level up gains right off the bat helps a lot.
  • Though he's generally better off being played as a Lightning Bruiser with a little less lightning, it is possible and in some cases advisable to play Paladin!Cecil from Final Fantasy IV as a shielding/turtling Stone Wall in the somewhat-more-customizable DS remake. Start with his already excellent defense and HP stats, give him some Infinity Plus Or Minus One Armor (which generally only he can equip), and give him an ability set including Draw Attacks, HP+50%, and Brace. Draw Attacks means that every monster with a single-character-hit move will use it on him instead of the other, less-well-defended characters, HP+50% is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and Brace, when active, reduces all incoming damage by 75%. For the remaining slot, you can stick him with White Magic, which allows him to cast buffs on himself and heal the damage the takes. As if this wasn't enough, you can also stick him in the back row, which will reduce his offensive output but will also even further reduce the damage he takes. Combine all of these and the man is Nigh Invulnerable, which can be quite useful as that game can be Nintendo Hard, especially in the endgame or bonus areas.
  • Shale, the DLC party member from Dragon Age: Origins, is one when using Stoneheart, which eschews offense for effective Turtler/Shielder abilities instead.
    • Alistair, and any other Warrior character following the Shield skill tree, is likewise the party's defensive expert: only one skill branch is offensive, the other two buff up his armor and make him immune to knockdown, flanking, backstabs....
    • The Arcane Warrior class, a heavy armor wearing mage/tank hybrid. Their abilities allow them to either nullify or greatly reduce all damage, and they have access to any regular mage spell, such as heals and crowd control. If built correctly, they can resist all spells, as well. Add poultices into this for when mana gets low, and the Arcane Warrior can be nearly invincible. The only catch is their abilities use so much mana that all they can really do is auto-attack and occasionally heal, making battles take a long time.
  • Final Fantasy X has Lulu. Your party's Black Magician Girl, she starts off with depressing speed and attack power, but an impressive amount of defense...and the highest evasion stat in the game. Teach her Guard from another character's grid, and you'll be the next best thing to completely immune to physical attacks until the end of time.
  • Etrian Odyssey has the Protector class for the first two games. While their offense will sometimes be the weakest of the front row, most Protectors will simply laugh at hits that would have overkilled other characters a few levels higher than they. They have skills that further increase their/ally's defense, attract enemy attacks towards themselves, resurrect themselves automatically once per battle, take hits for other, squishier units, and nullify, to add insult to (non)injury, physical attacks.
    • The third game has the Hoplite, which has a major focus on defense. Most of their skill tree is dedicated to improving their ability to take hits, shield others, recover from damage or status effects, and even nullifying damage. If you subclass into Ninja and put a focus on the evasion tree to learn how to dodge, you get something that's increadibly hard to kill. Unfortunately, because all your skill points are bound up in defense and avoidance, the character is reduced to Cherry Tapping when they do attack.
  • In Super Mario RPG, the Lazy Shell armor turns any character into a Stone Wall, causing their Defense and Special Defense stats to skyrocket but dropping their Attack and Special Attack. Equipped on Toadstool, it can make a party nearly unstoppable.
  • Paper Mario has the Stone Cap item. This will turn Mario to stone for a few turns, during which he can neither attack nor take damage. However, his partner can still act, making this a Game Breaker in many situations.
  • Luigi is this in the Mario & Luigi series, in contrast to his brother, who is a Glass Cannon. Luigi by default has higher HP and Defense, as well as a higher jump that allows him to dodge enemy attacks with more ease, but his damage output tends to be lower than Mario's.

Simulation Game
  • MechWarrior Living Legends has the Hephaestus (also known as "Hepatitis") hovercraft. It has pathetic weapons, it's very fast and has the armor of a 60 ton main battle tank, making it one of the most infuriating vehicles to fight - the player in the Hepatitis can simply spin around the enemy slowly whittling them down while laughing off most damage. Prior to its buff in the final update, the Bushwacker "Prime" was a stone wall to such an extent that in a 8 on 8 scrimmage composed solely of Bushwacker Primes, the mission timer ran out before the two teams could kill even half of each other; the Bushwacker chassis has an amazing amount of armor and speed for its mass, but the Prime had absolutely pathetic DPS that depended entirely on Scrappy Weapon with terrible ammo economy backed up by missiles with an Arbitrary Minimum Range.

Sports Game
  • Stephanie Morgan in the Backyard Sports series has amazing defense in every game because of her experience at shortstop. Her offensive abilities are terrible.
  • The Terminator Trolz and the Vile Vulgars in Mutant League Football. The Trolz' defense is elite, but their offense advances the ball slowly. The Vulgars' weak offense struggles to gain ground, and usually they can only score off fumble recoveries caused by their brutal run defense.
  • Defensive characters in Mario Strikers such as Waluigi are very fast and have excellent tackling skills, but tend to struggle at scoring because of low shooting power.

Survival Horror
  • In House of the Dead, fat zombies tend to fulfill this role; they usually don't do any more damage than their skinnier counterparts do (occasionally less, because they don't hit as many times as a skinnier zombie would before you put them down), but they can also usually take more shots. In House of the Dead 2, a hefty zombie can take an entire clip or more of handgun bullets to the torso before dying.
  • Ashley's Armor alternate costume from Resident Evil 4 has her be completely invulnerable to any damage, and she can not be picked up by enemies and carried away other than when the plot calls for it. She cannot do any damage to anyone except for when you are playing as her and use the lamps.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's, your only defense against the antagonistic animatronics are two steel doors on either side of your office. Unfortunately, you can't just leave both doors shut all night: they drain power needed to survive the night. Also, on later levels, turtling increases the chance of Freddy simply teleporting into the room and murdering you.

Tower Defense
  • Plants vs. Zombies has the Wall-nut, Tall-nut and Pumpkin of the shielding variety. These plants solely exist to do nothing but take damage for your easily-killed attackers as well as impede the zombies' advance. However, all three plants sure do a good job at it. In the sequel, using Plant Food on either of these takes their durability Up to Eleven.
    • The sequel introduces the Infi-nut. It has slightly less durability than a Wall-Nut but it can instantly regenerate itself to full health periodically, as long as its projector exists. Using Plant Food on it will make it project a force field that shields the entire row from zombies.
  • Being an expy of Plants Vs Zombies, Mini Robot Wars has the Shielder (who functions similarly to the Wall-Nut) and the Warrior (like the shielder, except that he has a weak attack).

Turn-Based Strategy
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, the Dwarvish Guardsman line has pretty poor attacks, but good resistances and an ability that doubles their resistances on defense. User-created content provides an even more extreme example: the Steppe Shieldbearer line from the Extended Era is unable to initiate combat, but has very high resistances.
  • The Dragon Laguz are probably the closest thing that Fire Emblem has to a Stone Wall; their breath weapon doesn't impress, but they have a frickton of HP and aren't so much as tickled by anything other than Thunder magic.
    • It's also common practice to strip the Crutch Character or the Mighty Glacier of their weapons so that they can draw enemies to attack them for little to no damage without killing them with a counterattack, making them function as literal walls and nothing else.
    • Marty of Fire Emblem Thracia 776 has very low accuracy and speed growth thus making it unlikely for him to hit. You'll often mistake him for an example of Muscles Are Meaningless until you look at his incredibly high constitution, HP, and defense growth. These traits make Marty ideal for rescuing and capturing.
  • Knights from Soul Nomadandthe World Eaters. They struggle to do any decent damage in battle owing to their mediocre attack stat and low accuracy, but they make fine shields for squishier characters like Pyremages and Archers. They work even better in groups of three, when they'll occasionally cast a pre-combat buffer that boosts their entire squad's Defense by 20%.
  • Although a party game with several mini games in it, Mario Party 3 has Whomp in Duel Mode, whose main purpose is to protect the main player with his good defense and requires a salary of 3 coins for each turn. However, he cannot attack the main opponent or his/her partners when they are in front.
  • Civilization V has a few of these. Due to how it is possible to win a game peacefully, without going to war with other people, the stone walls in this game are very good for winning a peaceful victory while deterring anyone who tries to invade.
    • Korea. It has two unique units that nobody else has access to. First is the Hwacha, a replacement for the Trebuchet that is about 62% more powerful than the Trebuchet, but lacks a offensive bonus against cities, making it excellent for defending but not that great at bombarding enemy cities. The other is the Turtle Ship, which replaces the Caravel. It has about 55% more combat strength than the Caravel, but it is unable to travel into deep oceans. Similar to the Hwacha, it is great for defending your own coastline, but not very good at going on the offensive.
  • Push cards and Sgt. Blok in Calculords. Push units can push enemy advances back and usually have high HP, but little to no offensive power. This doesn't mean they aren't threatening, since any units pushed back to their base are destroyed automatically. Many push units also possess armor that protects them from damage below a certain threshold. Sgt. Blok is an enemy commander who makes extensive use of push cards, to the point of having very few attack cards in his deck. His cards often have armor, as well, making his advances hard to stop.
  • The Sentinel class in Wild ARMs XF. They have a strong natural defense and armors that solely focuses on defense, but they're the weakest in terms of physical power when compared with other physical based classes. Their designated weapons also do not provide much attack power when compared with other classes' weapons.

Other
  • The Alien from the Web Game Immor Tall cannot attack, but can take damage from the enemy soldiers and prevent the family from getting killed. Unfortunately, there is a limit to that, and he dies after the final attack on the family.
  • 100% Orange Juice: Fernet may have lowered attack and evasion (-1 and -2 respectively) but her 6 HP and +2 Defense means she can easily tank damage. On maps with regeneration effects she shines.
  • Some of the vehicles from World of Tanks are capable of pulling this trope, particularly when being the top-tier tank in a match. In fact, being able to pull off this trope in a match nets the "Steel Wall" achievementDetails 

     Web Comics 
  • Phil from Yosh!! He has an amazing ability to recover from injuries and Anti-Magic, but doesn't actually know how to fight.
  • Achilles from Grrl Power. His only superpower is that he's invincible. The 'can shrug off attacks that would destroy matter on the subatomic level' kind of invincible. He is functionally super strong as well (his invincibility allows him to use his muscles with more strength than a normal human could without injury) but it's nothing impressive compared to people with real super strength.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Simpsons episode "The Homer They Fall", Homer is revealed to be a Stone Wall, with Dr. Hibbert noting that his brain has a fluid cushion around it that acts like a football helmet. He can withstand constant blows from his boxing opponents, but is a very weak fighter. He wins fights only by waiting for his opponents to become exhausted, and then pushing them over. However upon confronting Drederick Tatum this tactic fails as the Tyson Expy is heavyweight champion, and easily capable of hitting hard enough to knock out Homer.
    • This is actually Truth in Television to an extent. Joe Grim was infamous for being nearly impossible to knock out despite his terrible boxing ability. Using a higher endurance to wait for your opponents to wear themselves out, then come off the ropes and take them down is a legitimate boxing strategy as well, most famously used by Muhammad Ali in his match with George Foreman.
    • Homer can also take a cannonball to the stomach as seen in "Homerpalooza", though obviously in that situation it's not really possible for him to fight back.

    Play By Post Games 
  • Achilles from Fate Nuovo Guerra is Nigh Invulnerable (save the Achilles' Heel), has a mystical shield, and possesses high speed. Her spear, on the other hand, is nothing special outside a curse that creates unhealing wounds, and though her strength is superior, it's nothing special compared to other heroic spirits like Mordred and Uther.
  • Ellis Nineveh from the Fire Emblem original universe Skylessia's first generation was a waifish young man so physically unimpressive that even at 3rd Tier, he was incapable of lifting a Battle Axe. He was also such a Determinator that when a demon ripped his dominant arm from his body, he got back up and beat said demon to death with it.

    Real life 
  • Joe Grim could barely box like a true professional, but could take a beating from nearly any boxer. In fact, he won his matches by letting his opponents wail away at him until they get too exhausted to fight any longer & punching them out with all his might. Research also showed that his skull was twice as thick around the brain as an average human skull.
  • Similarly, Seanbaby describes MMA fighter Kazuyuki Fujita as one of these, noting that his sole fighting assets were "a clumsy takedown and a forcefield where his brain's reflexes should be."
  • Chiselers in Table Tennis are players who solely play defense, whittling down their opponent's bodies or psyches. A famous match between two world-famous chiselers (Alex Ehrlich and Paneth Farcas), lasted two hours and twelve minutes before the very first point was scored, and that was because Farcas's arm had locked up. The referee had to be replaced part way through, as his neck began to lock up. The match led to table tennis receiving a time limit of twenty minutes.
  • Canadian boxer George Chevalo, was famous for his ability to take a beating from anybody. He stayed in the ring with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, and was never knocked out, but rarely ever hit back. After his match against Ali, which he lost on points, Chevalo joked that "Sure, I lost the match. But afterwards, I went out dancing with my wife, and Ali went to the hospital."
  • Israel's Masada is a literal example of this, being a fortress built atop a towering mesa. No projectiles could come close to reaching the top, and it took a 30-foot high rampnote  for the Romans' battering ram to reach it. Unfortunately, the occupants of the fortress lacked the manpower and weaponry to fend off the Roman forces when they finally reached the top.
  • The M4A3E2 "Jumbo" Sherman of World War II actually had a smaller gun (75mm) than the standard M4 (76mm), but had significantly more armor plating. It was slower and had offroad treads.


Alternative Title(s):

All Block No Bite, All Defense No Offense, Defensive Tank, Swordless Shielder