Plate mail, the skin of the chest, the rib cage, the heart — all useless against the mage who can reach directly for the soul.Some characters are defensive powerhouses, like the Barrier Warrior who raises the use of Deflector Shields into an unassailable art form. One popular tactic for dealing with such a formidable defense is to use an attack that their defenses can't block, an Unblockable Attack. It can be a punch, weapon, or spell that if it connects breaks whatever defenses the target has and leaves them reeling. This attack is so powerful that even a perfectly timed Block/Counter Attack won't work, the only choices the target has are dodging (thus dropping their defense) or preemptively attacking before their assailant finishes their attack. The Unblockable Attack usually has one or more drawbacks to keep it from being naturally overpowering. It may have a Charged Attack mechanic so the defender can potentially survive either by immediately dodging or jabbing very fast to stop the charge-up. Another limitation is it doesn't usually have a lot of Area of Effect or "splash" damage, giving the target plenty of space to run to in order to avoid getting hit. Similarly it will not be an Always Accurate Attack that can home in on targets wherever they may be and even if they dodge (in fact, an Always Accurate Attack will probably do less damage as a tradeoff). If the unblockable attack lacks these drawbacks it gives the attacker an "Instant Death" Radius that makes the game Nintendo Hard and the opponent akin to a god. The Unblockable Attack is similar to how a spell with No Saving Throw will No-Sell a target's mystic and mental defenses... provided it hits. The difference is that No Saving Throw attacks can be prevented from hitting by certain defenses, while an Unblockable attack can never be intercepted, only avoided or interrupted. This works equally well on actual physical defenses like fists, swords and shields, as well as intangible ones like a Beehive Barrier. The Boss Battle is likely to have this, and Mooks probably have attacks like this to make sure the player doesn't spend all the fight just blocking. The Unblockable Attack is usually signaled with a special animation. In Fighting Games, grapple/throw maneuvers tend to be unblockable as a rule, to encourage a player to use their defenses wisely; it also creates a Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors where Defend beats Attack, Throw beats Defend, and Attack beats Throw. See also Worf Barrage. Compare Invulnerable Attack and Armor-Piercing Attack.
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Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima! (and Love Hina) has Zanmaken: Ni no Tachi, a sword attack designed to ignore all and any magic barriers.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, when the titular hero fights against Ethan Stanley, he wins with a technique that he learned from The Elder himself and for which there is no defense, at least when the opponent is a non-master-class fighter. However, when Kenichi uses the same technique against Tirawit Koukin, Kenichi's Genre Savvy opponent, instead of trying to defend himself, simply launches a counter-attack.
- In A Certain Magical Index, One of Fiamma of the Right's powers via the Holy Right is to annihilate anything it hits without any destructive force, resulting in this. And there's no known drawbacks to using it.
- In A Certain Scientific Railgun, a minor villain has the ability "Equal Speed", which cause anything he throws to never lose momentum unless he breaks his concentration. He demonstrates by throwing a marble at a steel door. The marble plows right through it despite it moving so slowly.
- Fate/stay night gives us Gae Bolg, Lancer's spear which has an Always Accurate One-Hit Kill attack. When its ability activates the spear pierces the target's heart and reality is then rewritten to match that outcome. If you have a high enough Luck Stat or Divinity, it's possible to avoid having your heart pierced and 'only' take an almost-unhealable hit elsewhere on your body.
- In Turn A Gundam, this is one reason the Moonlight Butterfly is so powerful: it cannot be blocked. At best, some extremely powerful energy barriers were deployed against it and barely slowed it down; the ships generating the barriers succumbed to the attack and were forced down within minutes. And forget about avoiding it: in the backstory, the Turn A covered the entire Earth with it. The Turns are the only MS's that can resist it, due to their own nanomachine repair systems, and even they ended up sealed for eternity by each other's MB.
- In Bleach:
- Äs Nödt's Fear thorns can pass through any barrier, even a wall of ice. The only defense is to dodge or be immune to them.
- Lille Barro wields a sniper rifle with blockable bullets. However, when he activates his special ability, The X-Axis, his rifle doesn't fire a projectile. Instead, his target and everything between his target and rifle's muzzle simply gets a hole punched through it.
- Naruto has Night Guy, the ultimate Eighth Gate attack. Any attempt at blocking or shielding from it will result in said defense being warped out of the way by the attack's immense speed.
- Bullets fired from guns are considered an unblockable attack in Racer and the Geek. This is because they're actually fairly new technology and no effective counters have been developed for them. Guns and their users are hated almost universally.
- A RWBY Zanpakuto: Aizen's Bankai, Motsuka Kakogetsu, makes anything his sword touches become an illusion that he can dissipate, making any attempt to block it useless.
- The Crane kick from The Karate Kid. Completely unstoppable in the first film, but when Daniel tries it in a real fight in the first sequel his opponent just sidesteps it and uses his momentum against him.
- The Death Star's superlaser. As Admiral Ackbar says, "Our cruisers can't repel firepower of that magnitude!"
- Avada Kedavra from Harry Potter cannot be blocked by shielding spells, and moves too fast for most wizards to get something in the way in time. It's also unsurvivable under normal circumstances, meriting it the rank of Unforgivable. The only way to stop it is to dodge it or put something like an immortal phoenix or a magical statue between yourself and it. (Though it's been hinted that it can be countered with another offensive spell.)
- The Garseddai gun from Ancillary Justice fires rounds that always penetrate exactly 1.8m into whatever they hit regardless of what material the target is made of or what armour or shielding it has.
- Star Trek: Destiny uses this to explain why the Transphasic Torpedoes introduced in the finale of Voyager are so effective against the Borg. Basically they're Quantum Torpedoes which use subspace to distribute their explosions across all possible shield modulation frequencies. Meaning no single shield can block their full force, only parts of it.
Live Action TV
- Legend of the Seeker is the TV version of the Sword of Truth books. In the book, the Sword cuts through everything. TV dropped that because sword fights are more exciting.
- Additionally, subtractive magic. Any subtractive magic.
- Certain Star Trek weapons, like polaron beams and chroniton torpedoes, are designed to penetrate a target's Deflector Shields. Of course, this usually lasts only until The Federation comes up with the right Technobabble to deal with the weapons in question.
- Dungeons & Dragons, particularly older editions, reveled in all kinds of "no-save" spells, i.e. spells that offered the target no chance to avoid, defend, or even mitigate damage or other effects.
- Exalted has various Charms that make an attack unblockable, undodgeable, or both. Of course, attacks like this will always fail before a perfect defense.
- Champions has the No Normal Defense advantage, that makes an attack ignore all points of defense or armor. (Any attack bought with this has to be No-Sell against one exception, eg a gas attack that won't work against the Life Support - Doesn't Breathe power.)
- Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 have mortal wounds, a game mechanic that represent extremely powerful and/or inevitable damage that a model or unit suffers. Such wounds hit and wound automatically and ignore all regular saves, some special rules allow the chance to save or recover such wounds however.
- Art of Fighting's Ryuko Ranbu couldn't be blocked and was so devastating that only Ryo, Robert, and the game's secret boss Mr. Karate had access to it. It was toned down in The King of Fighters, particularly the later installments where it was made blockable and did considerably less damage. At least, until 2002, where Robert gained a HDM version that has short range (as opposed to the usual fullscreen dash animation), but is again unblockable and drains just over half the opponent's energy.
- Worth noting that Art of Fighting was the first fighting game to feature unblockables along with desperation attacks in general.
- Michelangelo pays homage to Ryuko Ranbu with his own rendition of it in the SNES version of TMNT: Tournament Fighters. As is the case in Art of Fighting, Mikey's "rage guage" must be full, resulting in a full screen dash and an unblockable beatdown.
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow gives every monster this mechanic.
- In Distorted Travesty, "death wheels" (late game obstacles/attacks) cannot be dashed through.
- In the Gundam Battle Assault line of games, Beam Saber attacks are unblockable, but slower to strike (and more telegraphed) than normal attacks. Deathscythe Custom's beam scythe, which it uses for its regular attacks, are also unblockable.
- The Mega Man series has attacks that can damage Shielded mooks:
- Mega Man 4 has the Rain Flush, which is a rare case of an Unavoidable Unblockable Attack. It even hit enemies like Metools that are under their helmets!
- Mega Man 6 has the Power Adaptor's charged attack.
- Mega Man 9 has the Black Hole Bomb and the Tornado Blow. The former sucks in regular Mooks (including shielded ones), the latter blows everything off the screen (and is also unavoidable).
- In Onmyōji, Gaki's "Gei'inbashoku" skill, which may or may not allow her to swallow an enemy whole but still deals damage nonetheless, cannot be blocked even by Seimei's Deflector Shield.
- In Iji, mercy invincibility won't protect you from being hit by the Velocithor, Nuke or Phantom Hammer.
- Ralf Jones (originally from Ikari Warriors) gains in later installments of The King of Fighters a (S)DM (that's KOF terminology for a super) called Galactica Phantom. It's unblockable and does absurd damage off the bat. Using it as a counter deals even more damage to opponents (it can even result in an instant KO), and the move can even bite a chunk out of the bosses' lifebar. The tradeoff? It takes quite a few seconds to fully charge, making it something of a Death-or-Glory Attack. And even if your opponent gives you the time to muster up your strength, a simple jump or roll is all that's needed to dodge it. The only exception to this is EX2: Howling Blood, where the move has a much shorter charge time (at the expense of some power) and is included as one of Ralf's normal specials.
- Pokémon has several moves that ignore or remove damage mitigation effects.
- Giratina has a powerful signature move called Shadow Force. Giratina disappears on the first turn and strikes on the next. Shadow Force removes the effects of moves like Protect, Spiky Shield and Detect (and ignores Minimize in the Generation VI games), so to avoid being hit, the target must be on the semi-invulnerable phase of Fly, Dig or Dive, or be immune to Ghost-type moves. Phantom Force, being a weaker version of Shadow Force, has identical effects.
- Similarly (but less impressively), the move Feint can hit through moves like Protect, Detect, Quick Guard and Spiky Shield, and removes their effects for the rest of the turn.
- There are lesser examples in Brick Break and Psychic Fangs, which hit through Aurora Veil, Reflect and Light Screen for full damage and dispel them.
- Pokémon that have the ability Infiltrator ignore Safeguard, Mist, Aurora Veil, Reflect, Light Screen and Substitute when attacking.
- In Mabinogi's Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors, the Smash attack can break through the Defend move. No melee attack works against the Counter Attack move.
- The (melee) Windmill attack is uncounterable... but it's very blockable.
- In Vindictus, smash attacks cannot be Guarded by Fiona's shield, but they can be blocked using Heavy Stander.
- These are a staple of the Soul series, with virtually every character having at least one unblockable move. They are typically slow, highly telegraphed, and can be easily ducked or dodged by an alert opponent. Should it land, however, the resulting damage is often quite high.
- The Soul Charge ability also present in the games makes some more common attacks unblockable as well.
- Some special weapons make their characters unable to block any attack, most notably Misturugi and the Damascus Blade. It makes up for it with greatly increased damage.
- This is also the case for Tekken, another Namco fighting series that preceded Soul Edge and Soulcalibur.
- The Soul Charge ability also present in the games makes some more common attacks unblockable as well.
- Street Fighter:
- In Street Fighter I, the Shoryuken cannot be blocked. To add insult to injury, each of the Shoryuken's 3 hits takes off an entire third of the target's health. Get up close to your opponent and pull it off and the round is yours.
- Street Fighter EX has Guard Break. By using up a portion of the super bar, the character in question would wind up and deliver a strike that would nullify the opposing player's guard and cause them to stagger around while dazed for a few seconds. If it connected with an airborne player, they would instead be relaunched into the air for another juggle. These moves could also be countered.
- In Street Fighter IV every character has access to the Focus Attack. When charged to full power, it is unblockable. It also will ignore the first hit you take. Every character also has access to one attack that shuts down the Focus Attack.
- Two Dark creatures Spiral Knights have attacks that cannot be completely shielded. Grimalkins main attack ignores shields and Apocrean Harvesters which deal reduced damage though shields, in a game where shields usually completely block attacks.
- There are quite a few of these in Mortal Kombat. Sheeva is practically a specialist in this, with a jump move that crushes the opponent (but can be easily sidestepped), a ground stomp that hits the entire level (but anyone in the air avoids it), and four separate grab moves.
- Fear Is Vigilance has the body-slam attack — which is slow, but breaks through blocking.
- On top of the usual throws, almost all Final Smash attacks in Super Smash Bros. Brawl are unblockable, even by characters with special countering attacks.
- In the Wii U/3DS version, Little Mac's KO Punch is notable among standard specials for its ability to ignore both shields and countering moves on top of being quick and extremely deadly. A number of move customizations also can ignore shields, but tend to be very slow and easily dodged.
- Many of the stronger enemies and bosses in Dark Souls have attacks that will hurt you no matter how good your shield is, and many of them ignore parrying..
- Elemental damage also works this way. If your shield doesn't block magic damage, even the most pathetic Soul Arrow will punch straight through.
- Also played with a little with some attacks. Getting hit with a high-powered attack (such as a hit from a sword the size of a bus) will always knock you over unless you're using some form of enchantment to keep you stable. However, if you get your shield in front of it and have high enough Endurance, you'll flip in midair and make a Three-Point Landing, taking no additional damage and recovering almost instantly. Of course, you'll probably take a beating to your stamina, but it still looks cool.
- This also goes for your attacks on enemies as well. An upgraded Zweihander will one-hit crushbliterate any Hollow soldier right through its big, black shield.
- In Dark Souls III, the Darkdrift katana's weapon art causes it to deliver a strike that cannot be blocked by anything. Often used in PvP to punish turtlers who constantly hide behind shields.
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron has a Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors weapon system for the player, with a sword, bow and shield. The shield is slow, has a minuscule range, and has no super speed moves, but it not only allows to move while blocking, it can block otherwise unblockable attacks even from bosses! Granted, some of the bosses do have unblockable attacks (or that eventually wear down the weapon's durability and break it mid block) but the shield averts this trope in relation to the other weapons.
- Low blows in Fight Night are unblockable because there is no "Guard Family Jewels" button. While ordinarily this will get you disqualified, it often take 2-3 for the ref to do it, so you can safely knock a guy out once with a cheap shot. Or you can turn Disqualification off entirely and crotch-punch your way to the championship.
- Some artes in the Tales Series have the ability to break through guards at a certain rate, and abilities that allow you to charge your attacks can often add this property to them, as well. Bosses also frequently have them to encourage to use of side/backsteps or free run to avoid damage instead.
- Exists in the fighting game installments of Touhou, usually come from Remilia (ginormous penetrator spear), or Marisa (Wave Motion Gun).
- The wall of fire Dogadon creates in his battle with Chunky Kong in Donkey Kong 64 (it can still be dodged).
- Playstation All Stars Battle Royale has Charged Attacks, like Kratos' Head of Helios and Spike's Magic Punch. Cinematic Level 3 Supers (like the ones used by Spike, PaRappa and Heihachi) combine this with Always Accurate Attack and Smart Bomb.
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy has multiple tiers of priority for attacks and blocks, so determining what constitutes a proper Unblockable Attack is a bit tricky. But if your character has no moves with blocking property, then all HP attacks and some Braves are unblockable, if your character has a good-priority blocking move then HP attacks are unblockable, if you're Jecht, then nothing is unblockable but the high-priority ones will stagger you too, and if you're Exdeath, nothing is unblockable, full stop. And to mix things up a bit, there's the Emperor's Starfall attack: essentially no matter who you are, if he finishes casting Starfall, you are getting hit. If he finishes—Starfall requires about eight seconds to charge.
- Pick a Shin Megami Tensei game and you'll spot this trope. Persona 3 has the infamous (and aptly named) "Armageddon" attack, which cannot miss, cannot be blocked, and can destroy almost any opponent in a rather spectacular fashion. If it's a That One Boss, it almost always can inflict Almighty damage, giving the boss the option of wiping out the party immediately or — in the more sadistic variant — when the boss gets bored and the player has come to believe victory is possible. The bonus bosses break the game's damage limit. Aside from Armageddon, however, it is possible to miss and/or dodge an Almighty attack; these attacks simply can't be blocked by anything.
- About 40% of all attacks in Final Fantasy VI break defenses.
- World of Warcraft: While any attack can become this if the attacker has enough hit rating, tanking classes generally get abilities that always hit to ensure that they can keep the attention of bosses. The Warriors Overpower is notable for being usable mostly AFTER an enemy has avoided one of their other attacks.
- Old tank mechanics produced an odd variation for enemy attacks. Due to the way damage was calculated Critical Hits and the now defunct Crushing Blows could only land if the attack was not dodged blocked or parried. It wasn't so much that crits and crushes were unblockable, but merely that they could only land if the player failed to block or parry.
- In most Final Fantasy games, there'll be an attack or a spell that can ignore defenses or defense enhancing buffs, thus the character will take full damage even with max defense. Likewise, some enemies have the ability to cause a status effect, even if you're wearing gear that is supposed to block said effects.
- Momentum spell from Elements allows creature to pass through all enemy's defences. This not only includes shields that reduces damage or block attacks - creatures under this spell doesn't take damage from damaging shields (fire shield), don't get affected by shields, that put negative effects on the attacker, don't miss, and can even attack enemy, when he is airborn or shifted into another dimension. Sapphire chargers and weapon Titan has this by default.
- In From the Depths, almost every type of weapon has some sort of active or passive countermeasure (such as angled armor against projectiles or IR smoke against lasers), but not with Particle Cannons. These huge energy weapons fling charged particles at a significant fraction of light speed and can bore straight through lightly armored ships with no countermeasure other than 'more armor'. Luckily, particle cannons are huge, power-hungry, fragile, and if its acceleration tubes are damaged the particles can exit within the ship and rip it apart from within.
- In Marvel: Contest of Champions, all level 3 Super Attacks are unblockable and unavoidable. When one is used, it triggers a cutscene where the aggressor unleashes a long string of heavy attacks against their opponent.
- Guacamelee! indicates attacks that you cannot use your dodge roll to avoid with fire in the original version, or a purple glow in the Super Turbo Championship Edition version.
- Command & Conquer: Generals is all over the place. Some large projectiles (truck-launched SCU Ds and Tomahawk missiles) can be shot down, while the US Paladin tank has a laser that can shoot down unit-launched missiles. Superweapons are unblockable (the building itself needs to be destroyed/depowered), and while the air-launched General powers (A-10 strike, fuel-air / EMP / anthrax bomb) can be shot down with enough guns, only the Chinese artillery barrage is entirely unblockable (you can hear it firing, and with enough map coverage you'll see the incoming shells on the minimap, but the only defense is to keep your units moving and dispersed).
- Fire Emblem: Thracia 776: The "Luna" Skill allows any unit that possess it to have a top 20% (25% if wielding a skill boosting weapon) chance to not miss the attack and deplete the enemy of all defense (either magical or physical) for that one attack; same concept applied for the "Solar" Skill, but instead of neglecting the enemy its defense, the amount of damage inflicted will be absorbed by the attacker.
- Flechette of Worm can make any object she touches completely ignore most of the laws of physics for a short time, which allows any projectiles she uses to bypass any and all defenses until they are already inside her target.