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Victor Gains Loser's Powers
Sometimes characters get stronger by leveling up. Other times they have to train under hard conditions to take a level in Badass. But there are times the character only needs to defeat his opponent and he'll get a boost to his strength, getting this way powers related to his enemy. There are some ways this can happen:
  • The character has an ability that lets him copy the powers of anyone he defeats. He doesn't need to kill his opponent (though that's what usually happens); just defeating his enemy will grant him any power his opponent had. He doesn't steal the power outright; he merely copies it.
  • The character learns an ability or special move (normally one exact to one his opponent had) after the match, or he may get an object that lets him use or learn the technique.
  • The character obtains a special weapon after the match. It can't be any common weapon: it must be a unique weapon, and sometimes the carriers are famous for carrying it. The weapon reflects the defeated opponent in some way, be it the same weapon he used or one that reflects the battle style among other things.

Subtrope of Power Copying. Compare with You Will Be Assimilated, where no defeat is needed because the enemy is made part of the character directly, and Power Parasite, where the power getting involves the original user can't use them anymore. See Your Soul Is Mine for one way this kind of thing can come about. See also Cannibalism Superpower.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kakuzu from Naruto has survived by taking the hearts of his defeated opponents, allowing him to use said opponents chakra type.
    • From Naruto too, Bee has acquired Samehada after his previous owner was killed.
  • The titular character of InuYasha wields the Tessaiga, a sword whose explicit power is to absorb the essence (and thus, the abilities) of the enemies it slays. Enemy throws an impregnable barrier? Kill the enemy, and the Tessaiga can break through barriers. Enemy turns to diamond and flings spears of the material? Kill it, and Tessaiga can turn to diamond and shoot off diamond spears. Enemy can slice open a rift into the world of the dead? And so on and so forth. Furthermore, these are not inherent abilities; Inuyasha deliberately switches them on and off, triggering the appropriate transformation on the blade's appearance.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a creature called Diabound, which absorbs the powers of every creature it destroys, including the Egyptian God Monsters.
    • Duels in Battle City had an ante rule: The winner got to keep the loser's rarest card. This is how Yugi gets Slifer the Sky Dragon and Jonouchi/Joey got Jinzo and The Legendary Fisherman.
    • In Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, when Yuma or Kaito wins a duel against someone with a Numbers card(s), they steal that Number. In Yuma's case, the real reason for this is to recover Astral's memories.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Beelzemon could use the techniques of the Digimon he'd absorbed in battle. This becomes a problem when he performs Leomon's Fist of the Beast King to free Juri from the D-Reaper Kernel Sphere and seeing the attack traumatizes her.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, several of the Bagra generals can absorb members of their armies to gain their powers. The first general to do so is MadLeomon.
    • In the franchise, this is a power of all Digimon in series where it exists. Starting with Tamers, continuing in Frontier, sitting out Data Squad, but returning in Fusion, is that when a Digimon dies, the bits of data it breaks down into can be absorbed (you don't have to be the one who did the killing to do this, though naturally, bad guys absorbing the data of victims is the most commonly seem form of this.) Because of the way the universe is set up, it is not seen as particularly heinous, though: different seasons have different rules about whether upon death a Digimon will revert to digi-egg to hatch again, or just stay dead; absorbing data has yet to appear in a "if the data floats away you'll be reborn but if it gets sucked up you're Deader than Dead" manner. However, while absorbing data makes you quite stronger, it giving you the actual powers of the one you absorbed is rare; Beelzemon used Makuramon and Leomon's attacks where before he couldn't, and Mercurymon used Seraphimon's data to become a warped version of him.
  • The victorious mechs in Gigantic Formula gain abilities, technology and personnel from the countries they defeat.
  • In the Thriller Bark arc of One Piece, Zoro did battle against the samurai zombie Ryuuma in order to claim his sword, one of a select number of Named Weapons, for himself.
  • This is the entire premise of Campione!. When a human kills a heretic god it triggers a ritual enacted by Pandora and Epimetheus, granting the victor at least one of the god's Authorities.
    • The ritual does have limits on what it considers the "victor". Perseus and Godou had a lengthy battle which ended with Perseus barely escaping death only to be immediately killed by another Campione while weakened. Neither Campione received an Authority as a result.

    Film 
  • The Highlander films featured this, as an immortal would gain the power and skill of any other immortals they beheaded.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sylar from Heroes lived this trope. He was a serial killer who was addicted to stealing powers by cutting open characters skulls. Many of whom he actually liked.
  • In Charmed, Warlocks are supposed to have the ability to steal the powers of any supernatural beings they kill. However, they never actually did this very much, and this attribute of theirs was mostly just used as their motivation for trying to kill the main characters. The only Warlock character who actually went around stealing abilities was a single-episode Monster of the Week. Season 7's Big Bad, Zankou, also had the ability to absorb the powers of those he killed, but he only used it once, in his introductory episode.
  • Applies to Highlander: The Series. To quote Joe Dawson in the opening narration "The winner takes his enemy's head, and with it, his power." Although it's not as pronounced as some of the other examples, immortals do sometimes pick up traits or skills after a quickening.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim: Several of the Inves Games in the first arc of the series result in the loser giving up a Lockseed to the winner, which may be used for either summoning Inves or by the Riders for form changes. Later in the series, Gaim defeats Sigurd in battle and claims the latter's Cherry Energy Lockseed, gaining access to his second Jimber Arms form.
  • In the Super Sentai series Abaranger, we get a more sinister version: the Cursed Armor is transferred to whoever defeats the current wielder. That means that if there's one thing worse than having to take down your own corrupted wife, it's having her evil armor latch onto you and drive you insane.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, a vampire can diablerize a more powerful vampire, gaining a portion of its power at the cost of the other vampire's soul. This is against the rules of vampiric society, however, and can be discerned by changes to the feeder's aura.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim functions on this principle; the Dragonborn (And presumably other dragons), upon killing a dragon, eat its soul and gain its knowledge of how to use the Thu'um.
  • Every single Mega Man except Trigger follows this trope to certain extents, some in unique ways. The series was also the former Trope Namer for Power Copying.
    • The Classic series seems to have it as an innate ability of top end robots, since Mega Man, Proto Man, and Bass can all use the weapons of defeated Robot Masters. In Power Fighters, Duo can too. Roll has only been shown to use Robot Master weapons, and only in the non-canon Marvel vs. Capcom series. (Furthermore, its successor Tatsunoko vs. Capcom ditched this aspect in her new moveset.)
    • EXE has his Souls/Crosses/etc. It had this as well in the form of chips.
      • More details: Souls and Crosses fit into this trope solely on the level of a gameplay mechanic. In-universe, Souls and Crosses are manifestations of The Power of Friendship. Souls occur when MegaMan and whichever of his companions at the moment experience a strong moment of empathy; Crosses, however, occur when Lan earns access to various other NetNavis by successfully completing various tests posed by the respective Operators (each of which involves Lan assuming control of that particular NetNavi). Notably, each Test occurs as a "class", which suggests that Link Navis are not necessarily exclusive relationships.
      • More details 2: Battle Chips are various weaponry that may be used freely by NetNavis, many of which consist of an enemy's attack or ability, and are derived by defeating the corresponding virus or NetNavi. There were originally only the distinctions of standard chips and Navi Chips (the latter being limited), but the third game introduced the Standard - Mega (Navi Chips and those of equivalent power) - Giga (basically Finishing Move chips and fifth-level Navi Chips) classification that would last on through Mega Man Star Force. Battle Chips will only appear if the enemy is taken out efficiently - the leftover data stagnates as time passes, and Standard and Navi Chips may change code or even power level, respectively. (Of course, for collection purposes, this may be sometimes necessary).
    • In ZX and ZX Advent, Grey and Ashe go the extra mile and completely copy the forms of bosses.
    • The Star Force series has this in the form of Mega Cards that are gained from defeating bosses and regular enemies.
      • The Card Force in Star Force is largely a simplification of the Battle Network system, such as removing chip codes to make streamlining easier. Many of the same rules apply.
    • Zero often simply learns a new fighting move mimicking the boss.
      • Certain skills may be learned by doing particularly well at a boss battle. The Z-Knuckle in 4, on the other hand will actually rip an enemy's weapon out of their hand and/or body.
  • A staple of the Kirby games, where, after beating a mini-boss, the titular hero can eat and copy their ability.
  • Samus in Metroid: Fusion had all her abilities copied by X. After killing X-infected bosses (which tend to be able to produce similar attacks), she can absorb the X-parasite to regain that power.
    • Metroid Prime 2 does something similar, where, after losing most of her starting abilities to a mob of Ing, she has to regain them in one-on-one boss battles where they're used against her.
    • In Metroid Zero Mission, Samus somehow gets the Charge Beam this way, even though her opponent, Deorem (A.K.A the "Charge Beam Beast"), never used anything like it. Metroid Prime also has a few examples, such as the Varia Suit from Flaaghra, the Spider Ball from Thardus, and the Phazon Suit from the Omega Pirate. Metroid Prime 3 has Samus gain the Ice Missiles, Plasma Beam, Grapple Voltage, and all the Phazon upgrades this way.
    • In Metroid Prime 3, fighting the other Hunters that got corrupted nets her a new ability closely related to them.
  • Soma Cruz from Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow can equip the abilities of monsters by defeating them and absorbing their souls. It is revealed in the former that he gained this ability by being the reincarnation of series Big Bad Dracula. Now, Dracula himself never displayed this ability until it was retconned in by Dracula absorbing Death in Portrait of Ruin, but it's been described as a variation of Dracula's greatest power — to command all the monsters in his castle.
  • In Pokémon you can get the bosses' powers—in a sense. Most Gym Leaders' final Pokémon either have a move they shouldn't learn by leveling up, or have a move that is just really easy to spam. When you beat them, they usually give you a TM of it.
  • Emerl from Sonic Battle gets one random skill card from each character in the battle after every battle in which it participates in Story Mode. The cards allow Emerl to use fighting moves from the other characters.
  • Many spells in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords can be learnt by the player by capturing the monster that uses them (by solving a puzzle) and then learnt in the citadel (by means of a special game mode). A few spells can also be accessed by capturing a mount. However, in all cases, the player has higher mana costs than the monster that normally uses them (or the class that learns them normally).
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake gains an ability from the defeated members of the BB Corps. Furthermore, defeating the BB Corps non-lethally will result in the player getting their face (via OctoCamo).
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, the yet-to-be Big Boss could acquire the bosses camouflage suits (except The End's) by dropping their stamina to zero instead of their health, along with The End's special weapon, the tranquilizer sniper gun Mosin Nagant.
    • A variation occurs in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, where the player can actually recruit the boss characters by defeating them. Python requires a non-lethal takedown, Cunningham requires both a non-lethal takedown and defeating him before January 1, 1971, Gene requires a non-lethal defeat and either recruiting 200 soldiers (NTSC version), or completing boss rush (PAL version), and Null simply requires defeating him both times regardless of lethality, as he'll be available the next playthrough. After recruiting them, you can also access their weapons (Liquid Nitrogen grenades, Laser, Bowie Knives, and Machete, respectively), although they are the only ones allowed to use them.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance after defeating certain bosses you'll unlock their weapon. The descriptions explicitly state that they're copies made by observing the bosses, rather than the originals; hence why you don't get them immediately.
  • Gaiares let the player "capture" an enemy's weapon and use it, though the captured weapon didn't always look the same as when the enemy used it.
  • Kingdom Hearts does it somewhat subtly. Strike Raid, Ars Arcanum, Ragnarok, and Sonic Blade all come straight from the movepool of the boss you just beat. But they do have different names, and their executions are slightly adapted to fit the powers of the Keyblade.
  • Devil May Cry has been an embodiment of this trope in the third and fourth games. Dante and Vergil) can claim the powers of slain boss enemies after the fight. Whereas in DMC 3 it seems to happen almost as an afterthought in Dante's case (Vergil does it intentionally after killing Beowulf), in DMC 4 Nero is shown intentionally 'harvesting' these powers after every boss he defeats, since he could ostensibly leave the shiny orbs on their pedestals (or not, as you HAVE to have the things on the pedestals to advance).
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a portion of the Broken Circle quest that plays like a massive homage to Mega Man. The hero must defeat (or aid) 5 individuals to gain their powers, then use said powers to track down and defeat a sub-boss for each of the 5 areas. The end-boss of the sequence completes the Mega Man homage with a Boss Rush consisting of all the previous sub-bosses before you can fight his "true form".
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Yuri can gain stronger fusions. To do that he must defeat monsters in the real world to gain their souls and then sacrifice those to the appropriate elemental gravestone. Then he has to fight an incarnate of the fusion spirit before he can use it. In the case of his more powerful fusions, this amounts to beating a god and stealing its power.
  • Quistis Trepe from Final Fantasy VIII can learn the abilities of some enemies by using an special object they drop after they're defeated.
  • The fan-made game called Mega Mari (based on Marisa Kirisame of Touhou) plays with this notion: the game is a "clone" of Mega Man 2 (with massively jacked up difficulty) which involves Marisa (or her friend Alice) defeating eight bosses, stealing their weapons in the process, before gaining access to Patchouli's castle/library so Marisa can steal some more books from the poor asthmatic sorceress.
    • Adding to the replay value is that you pick whether Marisa or Alice gets an upgrade from each victory, and that they pick entirely different weapons of the enemy to copy. It's possible to win with any choices, though it may become (even) harder.
    • In regular canon, most of Marisa's spells are stolen from previous opponents although she has no explicit spell-copying ability. Fighting people just gives her ideas.
  • Ace Combat Zero has you acquire some planes in this fashion. As in, shoot down a named ace squadron flying a particular type of plane, and it's yours to buy.
  • Guild Wars has a skill called Signet of Capture that lets you capture a skill from a defeated boss. This is one of two ways to learn elite skills, and the only way to learn a skill you haven't unlocked on your account.
  • Kratos in God of War tends to do this to his enemies, in one of two ways. Either he'll steal the weapon straight out of the enemy's hands (and beat them to death with it) or he'll cut the enemy to pieces and use one of their body parts as a weapon. For example, taking off a Gorgon's head and using it as a petrifying ray gun on his enemies, or stealing the wings of Icarus from the man himself as he's flying.
  • In Scaler, Scaler has the ability to transform into other lizard-y creatures by defeating a specific amount of that particular creature.
  • In Rune Factory 3, you can upgrade staves with boss drops, which then allows you to use that boss's special attack. They tend not to be too practical, though, as they use a prohibitively large amount of RP.
  • In Kongai, the Gem of Souls enables its possessor to absorb the innate ability of any opponent the character kills.
  • One very neat feature in Blood Storm was that defeating an opponent would grant you their signature ability.
  • In the Final Fantasy series, Blue Mages gain the use of any spell that hits them in a battle that they subsequently survive. A sort of shorter-term variation on this trope, as surviving the spell they're absorbing is more a one-round demonstration of superiority than the final defeat of their opponent.
  • In Bravely Default, all job classes aside from Freelancer are obtained by defeating bosses of those respective positions. You also may pick one of the skills you were using before to carry over. Interestingly, this is also a case of Powers as Programs as the object that allows you to take the new job is called a job asterisk.
  • Dark Souls and Dark Souls II:
    • Most bosses drop souls that can be crafted into weapons and/or spells. In some cases, the weapons and spells are copies of those used by the bosses. In other cases, the weapons look like they were made out of the bosses' remains. Some of the boss weapons allow players to use the same special attacks the bosses used.
    • Sometimes the only way to obtain equipment is to kill enemies who use that equipment. Thanks to the Random Number God, this can be a time-consuming process.
    • Both games have merchants who sell armor sets that resemble certain bosses after the bosses are defeated.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In the sixth season of Red vs. Blue, Reconstruction, the new Big Bad known as the Meta steals AI and Armor Enhancements from the bodies of Freelancers that he's killed.
  • /tg/'s Joker Quest is based entirely around this: Upon his death, the titular Red Joker's unique armour and title is immediately transferred to his killer.

    Western Animation 
  • The series' ultimate evil, Vilgax, gets this ability himself when he's reintroduced in the later seasons of Ben 10: Alien Force, using it to absorb the powers of the galaxy's greatest heroes after he beats them and takes over their planets. Naturally, he does this ten times before going to Earth to take on Ben 10. While he uses a machine to do that he can only claim the enemies powers after he's defeated them in combat. Yes, this means when he started, he didn't have any of the powers he displayed in Alien Force.
  • In the second episode of Ninjago, Skales becomes leader of the Hypnobrai after defeating Slithraa in a duel. This causes Skales to have his legs turn into a giant snake tail and also gain new markings on his body while Slithraa is reduced to another mook.

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