That One Attack / Touhou

Many of the tougher bosses in Touhou have that one spellcard which is incredibly difficult to navigate through without bombing or losing a life.

Some attacks can be made easier to practice efficiently through the use of Spell Practice mode, which lets you jump straight to practicing specific spellcards instead of having to run through the entire stage just to practice that particular attack. However, it doesn't let you practice non-spell attacks, and only a subset of gamesnote  offer Spell Practice. For the rest of the games, you'll have to use good old fashioned Practice Start, which starts you at the beginning of the stage.


Lotus Land Story
  • Gengetsu's infamous final pattern timeout phase. While normally Gengetsu is among the easiest Extra bosses in the series, attempting to time out her patterns turns them absolutely nightmarish, and her final pattern timeout is a full 36 seconds of the single most insane attack in all of Touhou, which has been nicknamed "Gengetsu Rape Time" by the fanbase for very good reason. When losing a full three lives (bombs included) to a single attack is considered excellent play, you know you have this trope on your hands. Even ZUN himself admits she's most likely the toughest boss out of all the games JUST from this.
  • Yuuka in Stage 5 has the Master Spark (yes, the original Master Spark, before Marisa copied it). Your only warning is a thin line going down the screen that lasts a split second, and unless you've seen it before you will get killed. Even once you know to dodge at the sides of the screen, the bullets that accompany the laser are fast, and hard to see because the screen is so brightly lit.

Mystic Square
  • In stage 4, while fighting a Dual Boss, players have a choice as to whether to fight Yuki or Mai in the second phase. Mai is usually cited as the easier of the two to fight, since Yuki's attacks tend to be more difficult, more random or fast and have many more bullets. Yuki's That One Attack is her third phase, which is an attack with a very large amount of health that lasts a long time, and basically spews very fast bullets chaotically all over the place, filling the screen. Inexperienced players who can't react or dodge fast enough will go through a lot of bombs or lives on this spell, since the health bar is large.

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
  • Patchouli Knowledge's Water Sign "Princess Undine" on Normal, which confines you with a tightening three-way spread of lasers before firing out several waves of large bullets. While it initially seems fairly doable, as the waves go on, the slow bullets and the laser spreads will work together to wall you, forcing you to waste a bomb. Strangely, the upgraded version of the spellcard, Water Sign "Bury in Lake" is a complete joke, mostly because it doesn't have the three-way laser spread. Thankfully, only ReimuB has to face it.
  • Remilia Scarlet mostly averts this on Normal, but on Hard and Lunatic, she gets two of them: Scarlet Sign "Scarlet Meister" and Scarlet Gensokyo. Scarlet Meister is often cited as the hardest spellcard in the Windows games, featuring dense spirals of huge bullets fired incredibly fast. This is followed by Scarlet Gensokyo, which is less frantic than Scarlet Meister, but also more random, and has no problem dropping bullets directly into your hitbox.
  • Flandre Scarlet's final spell QED "Ripples of 495 Years", while being rather minimalistic in concept, only consisting of rings bouncing from the edges of the screen, is actually the hardest thing in the stage, which gets really hectic as the rings increase in firerate and speed as you whittle its health to around 30% HP.

Perfect Cherry Blossom
  • For the Prismriver Sisters in stage 4, we have Merlin's opener, featuring curving and homing lasers with movement that is extremely hard to read. The attack is so bad that the fact that only Sakuya has to face it is the single greatest argument against playing as Sakuya, and more than a few players pick Reimu purely for this reason.
    • Lunasa is bound to destroy you if you've never played Perfect Cherry Blossom on hard difficulty. After the sisters' first collab spell card, the girl who got the most damage will attack you solo before them going collab on you again. Lunasa's solo spell cards for Easy, Normal and Lunatic difficulties are the easiest thanks to them being slow-paced and predictable; however, her Hard spell card develops into a fast-paced barrage of night-unavoidable bullets. Extra points because it starts the same as the others, just so you expect slow-moving micro-dodging.
  • Yuyuko's Deadly Dance: "Mortality: Dead Butterfly" releases several bubble-type shots that track you down while smaller butterfly danmaku rotate and cover most of the screen. This wouldn't be a huge problem if the bubbles weren't larger than the norm and therefore cover enough of the screen to hide some of the rotating danmaku.
    • Also, her last non-survival card Sumizome Perfect Blossom: "Getting Lost" is a confusing mess of aimed butterflies amidst smaller falling "cherry blossom" bullets, and like most final cards, it has a lot of health.
    • And then there's her survival card, Resurrection Butterfly, which is sixty-six seconds of surviving against waves of butterflies, the red waves of which fire at fast criss-crossing angles that are extremely hard to read.
  • Ran Yakumo has "Charming Siege from All Sides", which is often cited by Touhou players as a reason to hate the randomness inherent in some cards; in Charming Siege, if the RNG decides it doesn't like you, you bomb or you die. Even if the RNG does like you, the card is still very hard, consisting of dodging between bubble bullets, almost invariably within their sprites. And these same bubble bullets tend to cover up the smaller pellets which attempt the entire time to wall you. Almost inexplicably, Yukari's version of the card in Phantasm is so much easier the card becomes a joke.
  • Although Yukari doesn't share Ran's most dangerous attacks, she contributes her own: Double Death Butterfly. Butterfly bullets will start heading toward Yukari and then flying back down at incredibly awkward angles, and while they're flying down in ways that are nigh-impossible to predict, she'll be shooting dagger danmaku that flies straight down from all over the screen, which then proceeds to get pulled in just as the butterflies were - and with the Hitbox Dissonance associated with dagger danmaku.
    • And Boundary of Life and Death - it's the page image for Bullet Hell for a reason. The good news is that it doesn't get quite that hard until you get Yukari down to low health, but the problem is that having "only" four or five bullet types to contend with as opposed to the seven it eventually becomes can be more than overwhelming enough, and this card has a lot of health. At least Double Death Butterfly can be cheesed through if you bomb at exactly the right time thanks to the mechanics of the card - if there is one card during the fight that you will bomb multiple times over, it is Boundary of Life and Death.
      • You might be tempted to just time out Boundary of Life and Death as the spellcard seems easier if you don't attack Yukari. However, when the timer reaches the 30 second mark, the hardest part of the spellcard kicks in at full force akin to Gengetsu's last pattern timeout phase, being even faster than it's regular counterpart. Thankfully, it's not as difficult as the aforementioned example from Lotus Land Story, but it can still come as a nasty surprise for players expecting to cheese their way through the spellcard.

Imperishable Night
  • Magic Sign - "Milky Way", used by Marisa. It fills the entire field with spirals of tricky-to-read star bullets, which then proceed to form smaller star bullets that hit you from the sides. Want to try and just slightly tap your way through the whole thing? Her familiars and their shotgun blasts laugh at you. And this is the first spell Marisa uses; thankfully the rest of the battle gets easier, though not by much.
  • Wanna try fighting the heroine of the series who has defeated most of the other characters on the list? Then get ready, because Reimu's Boundary: "Duplex Danmaku Field" will tear you apart. Presumably a fusion of Dream Sign: "Duplex Barrier", used by Reimu, and Yukari's Arcanum: "Danmaku Bounded Field", used by... guess who. Completely solid streams of bullets that are warped through a boundary, come at you again from behind, then hit the first boundary again and disappear. They can only be dodged by squeezing through the TINY gaps in between the ends of the streams where the boundaries wrap around. And then she starts firing talismans at you while you're trying to dodge the rest of the chaos.
  • There's also Curse of the Heavens: "Apollo 13" from Eirin. It sprays huge amounts of bullets everywhere, and the pattern the bullets follow is ridiculously hard to make out. Even more obnoxiously, the bullets are immune to your bombs.
    • If you feel confident enough in your precision, you can try to take advantage of the safespot (the very center of the whole mess, just above Eirin herself). This is actually the easiest way to unlock her Last Word, since it requires clearing "Apollo 13"... on Hard.
  • "Fujiyama Volcano" from Mokou, featuring bombs that take up large portions of the screen on top of extremely dense red circle patterns and extremely fast aimed streams.
    • And right before Fujiyama Volcano, we have the nonspell that has been given the Fan Nickname "rings of death". It moves at such an absolutely ridiculous speed, requiring superhuman reflexes even by Touhou standards, that losing two bombs to it is actually considered ideal; it's the second-fastest attack in the series only to Gengetsu's timeout phase. And since it's a nonspell, no Spell Practice for you. This video makes it look easy, but it's worth noting that the description specifically singles out the attack as essentially impossible.
    • Mokou's first spellcard, Limiting Edict "Iwakasa's Moon Curse", features rotating streams of daggers that fly out, lock onto your position, and then fly back in, as well as dense static streams of smaller bullets. For a first spellcard, it's surprisingly hectic.
  • Every single Last Word. Really. And true to its name, it's the ultimate spellcard for every character in the game (including the main characters)and is THE perfect skill test for any Touhou player. As if the requirements to get them weren't difficult enough, you'll have to capture them on Spell Practice in order to get 100% Completion. Some of them are recycled spellcards from previous games (ever wondered how Resurrection Butterfly -100% Reflowering- would look like? That's pretty much Yuyuko's Last Word; Saigyouji Flawless Nirvana.)
    • Special mention goes to Wriggle's Last Word, Unseasonable Butterfly Storm. Despite Wriggle otherwise being the game's pushover Warmup Boss, and her last word being one of the first ones new players unlock...this card is a solid contender for hardest spellcard in the entire series, with the only case against it being the fact that it can be captured through sheer dumb luck, unlike most of the other examples on this page. Good luck finding a player who can capture this thing consistently, though...

Shoot the Bullet
  • When talking about impossible spell cards, nothing comes close to the photography game Shoot the Bullet (and by extension its sequel Double Spoiler), which is basically a collection of these. The game uses a unique control scheme, which makes beating spell cards as much an exercise in puzzle solving, as in bullet dodging. They start fairly easy, then get progressively harder, then reach the usual Touhou difficulty level, then pass it and then they keep going until they're completely Off The Scale.
    • Even by this standard, Kaguya's Seamless Ceiling of Kinkaku-ji manages to stand out, what with its circular spinning bullets, lasting for seven photographs and getting harder with each one. If you don't know how to properly herd the creation of the bullet streams, the card becomes even more impossible than it already is. It's vastly considered the single hardest card in the game, even though it appears in stage 9 out of 11.

Mountain of Faith
  • Nitori's spellcard as the midboss of stage 3, Optics "Hydro Camouflage", is pretty easy on Normal, but on higher difficulties, bright bullets are added that make the card almost a mandatory bomb; otherwise, prepare for extremely tight micrododging with a high probability of clipping.
  • Aya is the first Stage 4 boss to not change her attacks depending on which character you use. However, she instead has a survival card, Illusionary Dominance/Peerless Wind God. It's mercifully short, but given Aya's Super Speed, that's all the time she needs to cover the screen with Danmaku. Your best bet is to stick to the corner and hope you don't get walled.
  • Misayama Shrine Hunting Ritual, the 3rd spellcard from Mountain of Faith's final boss. Trying to navigate through knives aimed ahead of you while avoiding a pattern of circle bullets has stopped many a perfect runner on Normal. Only appears on Normal and Easy, thank god.
    • Next up is Miracle of Otensui. The player is confined to the bottom one-third of the screen, and attacked from both sides by streams of projectiles. The only way to avoid getting completely walled is to misdirect one stream while moving through the other — it gets easier with practice, but for anyone playing Mountain of Faith as their first game, working out this card is far harder than anything else in the game. Another problem with this spellcard is that is also difficult on Eas, because it makes the streams slower and therefore ridiculously dense. If anything it's even harder than the next pattern.
    • And then comes Kanako's final spellcard, Mountain of Faith/Virtue of Wind God, That One Attack on two difficulties. It's considered one of the hardest attacks in the series on Lunatic, where you will get assailed with wave after wave of amulet walls that are dense and come at various angles, require quick dodging through some tight spaces—and, of course, like all final spellcards, it takes a long time to defeat and bombs do nothing. However, it is also That One Attack on Easy, where the attack is slowed down a lot; instead of making the attack any easier, it just clutters the screen with amulets and forces you to guess at the amulets' hitbox and make tight dodges between them, a skill most Easy players probably do not have. In fact, this attack is considered easier on Normal, as shown in this video, which shows just how brutal the attack is on the supposedly easiest difficulty.
  • Suwako's penultimate spellcard, "Suwa War ~ Native Myth vs. Central Myth". Thin vines of danmaku 'grow' up to the top of the screen, before withering and falling down. As the vines fall, large flower bullets are fired from the top of the screen. While it starts out easy, as the clock runs down, it speeds up to a ridiculous degree, with the phases rapidly blending together and cluttering the screen. This video makes it look easy, but you can still see the player struggling to avoid being walled in the last few seconds.

Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
  • Youmu's Closed-Eye Slash "The Bullet-Cutting Spirit Eye from Roukan". Youmu's ghost half hangs out in the air above the middle of the stage, while Youmu slashes at you across the stage. To damage it, you hit her ghost half. This is easier said than done. Her ghost half fires out rings of bullets that her slashes cut into multiple smaller bullets, and the slashes come fast enough that it's difficult to evade both them and the bullets. It's not uncommon to get clipped and juggled for half your life bar. Thankfully, this spellcard only shows up towards the end of Tenshi's story.
  • And speaking of Tenshi, after you beat her the first time as the Final Boss of story mode, she busts out her last spell: "Scarlet Weather Rapture". Floating in the air, she unleashes hard-to-dodge waves of bullets and four-directional lasers that rotate and sweep the stage. As she loses health, she adds in a gigantic aimed laser that can easily shred half of your health bar if it hits. And when she's on her last bit of HP, she starts spamming them constantly. Unless you have done a lot of practice or are exceptionally skilled, expect to have a bad time trying to beat her.

Subterranean Animism
  • Satori's patterns differ depending on the shot type chosen, so thankfully it is possible to avoid any attack she is using, but even so Double Death Butterfly has to be mentioned. Yes, it's that Double Death Butterfly, ripped directly from PCB Phantasm. Of all the cards that ZUN could have brought back, why the hell did he choose that one? And it doesn't help that ReimuA, the shot type that has to face it, is otherwise considered the best shot type in the game.
    • ReimuC players on the other hand have to deal with Tengu Macro Burst, another really nasty one, with large and fast arrowheads bouncing around off the walls all over the screen.
  • Orin in Stage 5 has two of them: Cat Sign: "Cat's Walk" and Atonement: "Needle Mountain of a Former Hell", both of which require very quick micrododging. In the former, the micrododging is done at incredibly awkward and randomized angles, while in the latter, the micrododging itself is straightforward but the wheels of spinning spirits certainly aren't (and it's pretty tight even if you know how to predict the wheels). You'd be hard-pressed to find a player who wouldn't consider at least one of these the hardest part by far of fighting Orin.
    • Her final spellcard, "Rekindling of Dead Ashes", is another nasty one. Not only are the zombie fairies from her first spellcard back in force, but they're bringing some new tricks. Specifically, they will flood the screen with vertically moving fireballs and huge six-way spreads of orbs, often with several of them firing off orbs at the same time. The fairies will herd you around the screen, keeping you away from Orin and possibly forcing you to try to time out the attack - which is easier said than done.
  • Koishi has Rorschach in Danmaku, which requires you to dodge circular waves of bullets on top of each other, which will usually overlap to make dodging them nigh-impossible. And having three waves coming at once - often with two more following quickly behind - is not unheard of. If you don't have bombs ready...good luck.
    • And if you can beat that, there's another That One Attack waiting for you, and this one's much worse: Genetics of the Subconscious. Take the circular wave patterns from Rorschach, and add movement throughout the screen making Koishi nigh-impossible to hit, which essentially forces the player to time out all of it - almost two minutes of it. And the way the bullets spawn is merciless - to be more precise, they can spawn inside your hitbox if you're too close to Koishi, and some of them spawn off the screen where your bombs won't affect them and where you can't see them - leading to cases like this. Combine all of that with the bomb immunity expected of a Bonus Boss and you have yourself one utter nightmare of a spellcard.

Undefined Fantastic Object
  • Ichirin's King Kraken Strike, which shakes the screen while dropping erratically moving bullets down. It also forces the player to stay at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Although it is relatively doable on Easy and Normal and a little hectic on Hard, s5!Nazrin's Greatest Treasure receives a noticeably large buff on Lunatic. She fires lasers in a 12-way formation around her which then splits into many fireball bullets (which have a reputation for being obnoxious to read), moving relatively fast for its density in many random angles, making for a lot of hectic moments with wall jumps and scary micrododging. Shou's variant Radiant Treasure Gun, even with the added yellow lasers and while being one of her hardest attacks, is more learnable and consistent since the bullets curve in a loop-like pattern (although where they curve is random).
  • Another infamous fireball-heavy attack that's doable on lower difficulties yet murderous on higher ones is Byakuren's first spell, Good Omen "Nirvana's Cloudy Way in Purple". Byakuren fires pink fireball lanes (going left) that overlap with purple raindrop lanes (that goes right instead), resulting in a pretty heavy micrododging spell and requires good hitbox knowledge to be able to get a decent caprate.
  • While the pattern is pretty doable on Normal, Byakuren's second nonspell on Lunatic is notorious for its stream of multiple quick homing lasers amidst a dense pattern of small fireball bullets. Almost impossible unless you follow a very specific route, which brings it from almost impossible to ridiculously hard.
    • Another one from Byakuren: Great Magic: "Devil's Recitation" It's hard enough at the start, but then when she adds in four humongous lasers...
    • Her third spellcard, Light Magic "Star Maelstrom", takes a leaf out of Shou's book and sends waves of curving lasers at you from both sides of the screen. Good luck tracking their erratic paths fast enough to dodge them all.
  • EX-Kogasa's Halo "Karakasa Surprising Slash". Everything else EX-Kogasa uses is trivial, but this attack can easily burn through several hard earned bombs or lives.
  • Nue's Nue Sign: "Undefined Darkness". See Princess Tenko-Illusion, in the Perfect Cherry Blossom section above? Imagine that, except that the bullets are now erratic and all over the place, and some of them are covered by dark clouds that make them invisible, which means planning your route is nigh-impossible. Far and away the hardest spellcard in the Nue fight.

Hisoutensoku
  • Story Mode Utsuho Reiuji's Artificial Sun's Spot. She fires rings of mini-suns, one of which has a sunspot. If you dash through that one, the whole ring disappears. However, on Hard and above, the rings contain so many mini-suns that you will probably run out of spirit before you've grazed through the correct mini-sun and you will get juggled for over 4K damage. However, you can also break the rings by shooting the spotted sun. It's easier for Cirno, who has a move that reaches across the entire length of the screen, but it's still very hard to do right.

Double Spoiler
  • See the Seamless Ceiling of Kinkaku-ji example from the Shoot the Bullet section? ZUN, being a Trolling Creator, decided to bring it back for this game. And make it harder, turning it into Vague Recollection of Kinkaku-ji. (Mercifully, however, you only have to take 3 photographs this time.)
    • Fittingly, it's used by Satori Komeiji, whose main gimmick in Subterranean Animism was copying the most traumatic spell cards from the protagonist's past battles.
  • Byakuren's awful "Star Sword Apologetics". It starts off looking like her final spellcard from UFO, but then you find out the gimmick - every time you take a picture, the amulets in the picture get replaced with daggers. This gives you no way of clearing the screen, and this card requires seven pictures, which makes it one of the most hellish cards in the game.
  • EX-5, aka Marisa's Astronomical Instrument "Orreries' Solar System", which is sometimes considered even worse than "Vague Recollection of Kinkaku-ji". Marisa hangs out in the center of the screen, while several familiars orbit her and fire aimed lasers at you.

Great Fairy Wars
  • You see Mokou's 'rings of death' in the Imperishable Night entry? Say hi to Luna Child's Light Sign "Bright Night". It's not quite as bad as Mokou's attack, since Luna's rings come in waves and can be frozen with the right timing, but it's still hellish if you aren't expecting it.

Ten Desires
  • Yoshika Miyako's final spellcard, Desire Sign "Saved Up Desire Spirit Invitation"/Desire Sign "Score Desire Eater". She fires out a storm of kunai, followed by a spiral of lasers, and then summons a whole bunch of desire spirits. If you don't intercept the desire spirits, Yoshika will devour them and heal a huge chunk of her life bar. Intercepting the desire spirits basically forces you to get up close and personal with Yoshika while she's firing the lasers. On the bright side, if you're playing Youmu, her Charged Attack can easily outdamage Yoshika's healing; however, Youmu is, at best, Difficult, but Awesome. This spellcard quickly became notorious for being absurdly difficult to capture, especially on the higher difficulties.
  • "Tongling Yoshika", Seiga Kaku's second-last attack on Hard and Lunatic, consisting of curving lasers, large thunder orbs, and dagger danmaku. Shooting Yoshika results in her getting very close to your character while still shooting the curving lasers and thunder orbs that become extremely hard to dodge due to their proximity. And suffice it to say, not shooting Yoshika is absolutely not an option.
  • Miko's penultimate attack, Laser of Seventeen Articles/Honour the Avoidance of Defiance, is another example, due to the lasers shooting out ridiculous numbers of amulet seals. "Ridiculous numbers" meaning "so many that it's hard to see the lasers". You best hope is to pray you can make it to the largest gap between lasers before the next wave fires. Get caught between a pair of close lasers? Good luck. And god help you if you're using Youmu while going for card capture.
  • Mamizou Futatsuiwa's Seventh Duel "Wild Deserted Island". A wave of randomly moving birds followed by a wave of dogs comes at you from the left side of the screen. While you're still trying to weave through the wave of dogs, another wave of birds and dogs comes at you from the right side of the screen. forcing you to either go as far left as possible or try to weave through a storm of large, erratically moving bullets with nebulous hitboxes.

Hopeless Masquerade
  • Mamizou's final spellcard Transformation "Gate of 100 Oni". It deals absolutely ridiculous damage and sends your popularity flying well into the negatives.

Double Dealing Character
  • Yatsuhashi's final spell, Koto Music "Social Upheaval Requiem", is widely overlooked by many due to the fact that only B-shots face it and they are seldom used by the playerbase. The general idea of the spell is that Yatsuhashi hangs out high up on the screen at an edge (she starts at the top right) and music notes spawn from the bottom (their spawn points start on the left). After a few seconds, Yatsuhashi and the notes will switch to the other side while you're supposed to follow her and dodge the notes in the process. The difficulty lies in the behavior of the notes, they're very unpredictable and change trajectory at random times, which can close off gaps at random, essentially adding a lot of risk factor into the spell.
    • It should be mentioned that the sprites of the notes are also animated and wiggle as well, making it even more annoying to judge the hitboxes. And if that wasn't enough, some of the notes instead of going up and leaving offscreen can also curve around back to the bottom just to make it easier to block gaps and catch you offguard by having you run into them. Finally, whenever Yatsuhashi moves from one side of the screen to another, she fires 6 aimed orbs at you just to make it easier for you to bump into seemingly minor bullets that you didn't account for. While rather doable on Easy and Normal, the notes are twice as dense on Hard and Lunatic, making it a really luck-based and inconsistent spell with many chances to die.
    • Meanwhile the Lunatic version, instead of amping up the density of the notes, adds in a second spawn point on the opposite corner instead; thankfully it's less dense and has a short pause every second but they do ensure that you have to move away from Yatsuhashi and lose out on damage when she's not moving, not to mention it also raises the amount of bullets curving back to the bottom. It's pretty much the hardest spell in the game to consistently capture to say the least, which is enough to drive Lunatic No Miss No Bomb players away from using B-shot for LNN; in fact the first B-shot LNN has only been done 3.5 years after the game's release.
  • The spell before it, "Echo Chamber", is no slouch either. Yatsuhashi fires 2/3/4-way note bullets (on E/N, H, L respectively) and they slowly turn clockwise and bounce off the top and sides of the screen. It's an absolute mess to read, luckily the one saving grace about it is that the the bullets always start spawning directly below Yatsuhashi which makes it semi-routable depending on her movement. Even then the gaps are still pretty tight and the spell can change drastically if she moves down.
  • Shinmyoumaru's third-to-last spellcard, "You Grow Bigger!" makes your hitbox grow in size for the duration of the spellcard. While this might sound extremely unfair, the entire spell is static and the core concept is just streaming while being restricted in a lane by blue kunai. Rather doable with Reimu although if you aren't using her, the card suffers from Hitbox Dissonance as well; your character's hitbox is smaller than the actual hitbox, requiring a tighter and strict streaming route in order to capture.
  • Raiko Horikawa's sixth spellcard, Sixth Drum "Alternate Sticking". Raiko rams the sides of the screen, releasing waves of large bullets and dense walls of smaller bullets. For starters, the horizontal motion and Raiko's positioning make it hard to damage her unless you're playing a homing shot type. Also, every time she rams the walls, the waves of small bullets get denser.

Impossible Spell Card
  • Compared to the likes of Shoot the Bullet and Double Spoiler, clearing Impossible Spell Card using Seija's cheat items isn't very difficult at all. Attempting to clear every scene without these items, however, is an entirely different story. Many of the scenes undergo a massive difficulty spike without items, on par with or even surpassing the spell cards in the camera games. Getting a no-item clear of all 75 scenes is an incredibly difficult and frustrating feat, so difficult that only eight known players in the West have unlocked this achievement. Here is one such player who has achieved such a feat.
  • On 10-4, Remilia's "Fitful Nightmare." It is Gengetsu's Rape Time 2.0, lasting 12 seconds per phase. Thankfully the knives themselves form lanes, but surviving this requires you to do roughly three-quarters of a circle around Remilia, and doing so requires arguably the single most precise movements in the entire series. This is bar none the most difficult spell card to do a no-item clear of, and it is not uncommon for attempts to clock into the thousands.
  • 10-5 Yukari's "Impossible Danmaku Barrier" is also an incredibly tough attack, consisting of four waves of danmaku "barriers". The first wave isn't very tough to dodge. The second wave requires you to utilize an almost pixel-perfect safespot to get past the diagonal barriers, with no telling where the safespot is. The third wave requires pixel-perfect dodging through several rings of bullets. The fourth wave pins you into a corner and forces you to dodge randomly moving bullets in a very tight space. The worst part about this attack is that every single attempt gives you completely random waves, so no-item clearing the spell is solely dependent on extreme amounts of luck and precision.
  • 10-7 Miko's "Seventeen Article Constitution Bombs" is perhaps the single worst example of luck spell cards in the entire series. When the spell starts, you must dodge the talismans, then quickly go to one of the top corners before the red orbs explode into many helix lasers. The window for reading the lasers is extremely short, and it is very easy to get trapped by the lasers. On top of that, Miko has a lot of HP, meaning that you'll need to survive many waves of this spell card before finally capturing it.
  • Other aggravating scenes in the game include:
    • 3-3: Keine fills the screen up with blue amulets and fires four very dense waves of red bullets. The red bullets alone force you into the corner to dodge these, and the blue amulets all over the screen makes it difficult to move around.
    • 4-3: Extremely dense sets of butterfly bullets drift up from below. Good luck dodging and dealing enough damage at the same time.
    • 4-6: Fast, criss-crossing sets of bullets mixed in with randomly falling pink bullets. There is a trick that involves tapping downwards, but even then you'll need to be able to dodge at least one wave to be able to pull it off.
    • 5-2: You'll need to be very good at re-streaming arrow bullets which are also mixed in with randomly moving note bullets. Any bad movement at all can get you walled instantly.
    • 6-5: Momiji's "bites" have a trick to them - one of the lasers is aimed. Even so, all the other lasers move at random, and it is very possible to get walled with each passing wave.
    • 7-4: Predicting where the red lasers will turn is nigh impossible and it is likely to get nasty combinations of lasers. The center is safe from vertical lasers, but the horizontal lasers are entirely random, and the blue amulets can wall you easily along with them.
    • 7-6: No matter how good you are at dodging knives or manipulating movement, Sakuya can and will teleport you on top of a knife, killing you instantly.
    • 8-6: Mamizou fires a ring of people bullets at your current position, which have awkward hitboxes and move around randomly. After three waves, the people start shooting at you, from all directions. Pray that you don't get randomly shotgunned by one.
    • 8-7: Another re-streaming scene, this time with knives that have enormous hitboxes. Like in 5-2, you do not get any breaks here, and the slightest slip-up will get you killed.
    • 9-1: Misdirecting the red bullets is a must, or else they will wall you at the very bottom. Even so, the yellow bullets are randomly fired and can ruin your progress at any point.
    • 10-2: You must dodge extremely fast circular bullets coming from below, followed by quick reaction-based lasers. By itself, it is not so bad, but due to the card's immense amounts of HP, it is very likely you will need to survive many waves of this.
    • 10-3: Misdirecting the spark is the least of your worries. It is the randomly drifting fireballs which will move about in any direction, and you must also weave through this to misdirect the spark again.

Urban Legend in Limbo
  • Sumireko Usami's second Spell Card, Psychokinesis "Telekinesis: Illegal Dumping" can be this. Sumireko creates a storm of debris that rushes forth from above or below whilst Sumireko regains her AI control, making it challenging to get a hit on her without being slammed by debris.
  • In the PS4 version, Fujiwara no Mokou's last spell, "Until This Life, Repeated Countless Times, Burns Away". Mokou resurrects and proceeds to burn everything. The big ball of fire she's in gradually builds up to a point where you don't even have room to attack her anymore and must simply dodge her barrage of smaller fireballs, pillars of fire and the expanding hot nova waiting for her to burn herself to her last death for this fight.

Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom
  • Clownpiece's second spellcard, Prison Sign "Flash and Stripe" can bring even seasoned danmaku veterans to tears. In a fit of patriotism, she releases several red horizontal lasers that move downwards. If you didn't manage to position yourself properly in the beginning of the spell, you will either die at the bottom of the screen or waste a bomb. And this is only the beginning. If you did manage to position yourself properly, Clownpiece will release several star danmaku in waves you have to maneuver through before the red stripes-part repeats over, as it forces you closer to the bottom as you go. While this may seem doable at first, the waves of stars just becomes denser as you chip away the boss' health bar. Wasting a single bomb is, for a normal player, considered a good run.
  • Junko's "Pristine Lunacy" is a nasty one. Junko fires out a ring of lasers, which spiral around her and wiggle before flying offscreen. The lasers then come back onscreen before circling around her one final time and flying offscreen. While the lasers are circling around her the last time, she fires off the next round of lasers, which blend in with the other lasers and make it extremely hard to read.
    • Her final spellcard, Pure Sign "Purely Bullet Hell/Pristine Danmaku Hell", is a chaotic, randomized mess. Junko starts out with sluggish purple and red rings before adding in dense, fast-moving blue rings. There's no consistent pattern; you simply have to read and dodge everything, even towards the end when she adds in 24-way lanes that confine you and clutter the screen even more. Capturing it requires a ridiculously high skill level, many Lunatic 1cc-level players can take from hundreds to thousands of attempts before managing to luck out a first cap (assuming Lunatic). Thankfully, unlike most final spells, it's not immune to bombs; if you didn't use them all up on "Pristine Lunacy", this is the time.
  • Hecatia Lapislazuli takes a leaf out of Clownpiece's book with Moon "Lunatic Impact". Hecatia swings three huge moons around the screen and tries to smash you with them. Every time a moon hits the side of the screen, it drops a row of star bullets from the top. To make things worse, the moons block your shots, making it difficult to even damage Hecatia.

Hidden Star in Four Seasons
  • Narumi Yatadera's Magic Sign "Bullet Golem" and its Hard/Lunatic version "Gigantic Pet Bullet Lifeform" are very difficult for a Stage 4 spell card. A single, gigantic bullet homes in on you, while it shoots out smaller bullets rapidly around itself. Every few seconds, Narumi calls it back, relieving some pressure if you were in the corner... but on all difficulties above Easy, it shoots out even more bullets as it comes back. Releases and bombs don't stop the large bullet, and if you're in the corner too early, you'll have to unfocus and pray you don't run into anything else. It's even worse considering that the other two spellcards this boss has are very easily captured, and her nonspells aren't too bad either, making this almost a mid-boss Difficulty Spike. Thankfully, the spell is routable since the bullets have static spawn points relative to the "pet", making it static (discounting the purple bullets) if you follow a route for it, though the execution isn't trivial either.
  • Mai and Satono's Dance Sign "Behind Festival", a hellish combination of their individual second spellcards. It consists of falling arrowhead bullets, erratically moving falling stars and the kicker: Whenever an arrowhead hits the bottom of the screen, it transforms into an amulet that homes in on your position. The randomness of the unrelenting omni-directional barrage makes it a very difficult spellcard to capture without using releases.
  • All four variations of Okina's final spellcard in her Stage 6 incarnation. For starters, she fully drains your season and shot power leaving you without your sub-shot or access to releases and forcing you to face it with your character's very base shot. While her HP is balanced to make it last about as long as other final spells, she moves frequently in all of them, meaning you have to constantly follow her (except for the Fall one) in order to be doing damage. And she's completely immune to bomb damage during the attack. Still though, those are the least of your worries compared to the patterns themselves:
    • "Hidden Breezy Cherry Blossom": Okina moves around creating spirals of shard danmaku, with each individual line of bullets folding backwards at an angle that alternates each time in an attempt to wall you. As you whittle her health down, she adds in randomly falling bullets, starts shooting out larger orb bullets, and for her final phase, she then begins to shoot out a tight ring of small red bullets accompanied by larger red glowing orbs. This spell is universally the worst of them all due to being extremely prone to walling you: the 2nd phase's bullets have random velocity and angle, the 3rd phase's orbs clump at the bottom right under Okina making it difficult to traverse beneath her and the 4th phase's rings and orbs WILL make for a lot of awkward situations what with the pink bullets/orbs constantly blocking gaps while having to follow the folding lane in a very hectic and luck-based attempt to not get walled in. It says something when many players find it to be even harder than Junko's final spell mentioned above and considering that one can take hundreds of attempts already...
    • "Hidden Perfect Summer Ice": Okina moves clockwise in a circle in the upper-mid portion of the screen, emitting large icicles in all directions. Eventually, she adds in small icicles (crisscrossing in a similar fashion to Aya's final), a constant output of a ring of orbs that home in on you and a semi-tight ring of light blue icicles. One of the glaring problems in this spell stems from Okina's movement and the fact that the larger icicles can block a gap in the smaller ones, forcing you to take another gap... which becomes far harder when Okina is closer to the middle since the time you get to read is only as half as when she is on the top. Not to mention that on higher difficulties, the aimed orbs are fast enough to make restreaming impractical until she is at the top, forcing you to only move in one direction.
    • "Hidden Crazy Fall Wind": Taking a page out of Aya, Okina zips around the screen leaving arrowheads behind in her wake. As she loses health, she adds in an aimed spread of bullet danmaku, more arrowheads and a large ring of bullet danmaku on top of her previously mentioned aimed shots.
    • "Hidden Extreme Winter": Okina creates and continually activates a two pronged laser on each side of her, forcing you to stay in line with her as she slowly moves from side to side on the screen. The initial ring of raindrop danmaku she emits as she moves is quickly supplemented as she loses health, with her adding in more raindrops in a spiraling pattern at the end of her first phase, an additional and much more dense ring of raindrops at the end of her second and a ring of glowing blue orbs in her last.

Fangames
  • In Labyrinth of Touhou, there's Djinn Storm, which empties all party members' SP, including the SP of those in reserve.
    • Destroy Magic, which reduces the SP of all active characters to 0; in other words, Djinn Storm, but less annoying.
    • Another highly annoying move is Shadowstep, which deals almost no damage, but more than makes up for it with an ungodly high chance to paralyze your party members.
    • Curse of Vlad Tepes is an odd example; it's a self-buff that does wonders on Remilia's offensive stats, but also has a chance to poison her and always paralyzes unless you can raise the resistance. If the poison takes effect, that means she will continually take damage when nobody is taking a turn, and her own turn will never come around until the paralysis lifts. Meaning she'll probably be dead before you can take advantage of the buffs. Oh, and there's no way to resurrect people outside of the dungeon. If you have Meiling or any other character that can clear statuses, then this isn't a problem.
    • Just about every major boss has one of these. The Final Boss, for instance, has a move that increases every single one of her stats by 75%. If she decides to use it twice, even over-leveled tanks with maximized defense boosts are at risk of a One-Hit Kill. Other boss moves include Chen's Kimontonkou, which is the first attack buff in the game that has no drawbacks. It also has low cooldown, so she can use Flight Of Idaten at least twice before anyone else gets a turn, and with the increased strength, it's almost a One-Hit Kill.
    • Slash of Eternity, used by Youmu. If you think that defeating her ghost half first is a good idea, this attack should change your mind, for the horrendous damage it can do to your members. And she uses it instead of Present Life Slash, the less-damaging version only seen with her ghost half intact.
    • Rinnosuke's ability to change elemental forms, making what's already a Marathon Boss even more drawn-out. Not only that, his inactive forms actually regenerate HP.
  • Yuyuko in Koumajou Densetsu II has Resurrection Butterfly, one of the few attacks in the game that can insta-kill you. Plus there's a red butterfly that constantly seeks you out throughout the fight, and if it touches you, you're dead.
  • In Marine Benefit, there's the stage 3 boss Tsubame Minazuki's second card, Great Ocean of Stormy Weather. Enormous bullets fill the screen and start moving all over the place, attempting constantly to wall you...and unlike most enormous bullets in Touhou, these have almost a 1:1 hitbox-sprite ratio. While it can be brute-forced with pure memorization, the paths to take completely change from one difficulty level to the next. And on Lunatic, there is one point where the bullets force you into a space that is the size of your hitbox - even memorization can't save you.
    • The Eight Million Laughing Gods is a very unique survival card - it goes with the fifth stage boss' gimmick of giving the player a bubble to stay in, killing the player if they go outside of it. It then shuffles the bubble all around the screen, making it all but certain that the player will - and by its nature, it is nigh impossible to properly deathbomb the card, meaning it can burn through resources very, very quickly. This card has no bullets fired at all, and ironically it's the most dangerous card in this Bullet Hell.
    • Megumi Yaobi, the aforementioned fifth stage boss, makes a return as the stage six midboss with only one spellcard: Silent Siren. She swore revenge after you beat her in stage five, and by the gods, does this spellcard ever show it. This card forces you into a fairly narrow trail of bubbles, requiring nearly constant diagonal movement at a fast pace, while at the same time dodging bullets coming from all around the screen at every possible angle with a nearly unreadable pattern. And if that wasn't enough for you, Megumi blocks your path with her own body, since in Touhou, the boss' sprite is as lethal as any bullet. The Lunatic version in particular, here named A Fantasy's Transience, is so absurd its difficulty borders on parody. The only known Challenge Gamer to take on this card on Lunatic has explicitly called it harder than the above-mentioned Virtue of Wind God, despite the latter lasting five times as long. Here is her video of it.
    • Kanpukugu, the extra stage boss, has differing spellcards depending on which character you are using, so it is possible to avoid any of her cards by simply picking a different character. Not that it helps much, as all three characters have to face a "Gathering Void" card.
      • Sanae's card, Gathering Void -Rainbow-, fires lines of colored bullets while having colored smoke rise from the bottom of the screen. The smoke makes the bullets impossible to see. You have to memorize the color of the smoke, memorize where the bullets of that color are, and make sure you're in a spot where they can't hit you, all while dodging all of the other colored bullets that you can see. Commence brain overload.
      • Marisa's card, Gathering Void -Black-, creates a black Fog of War effect all around the screen at the same time it spawns bullets all around Marisa. Did we mention these bullets are black? Did we mention these bullets move in a pattern reminiscent of Apollo 13, listed above in the Imperishable Night section?
      • Reimu's card, Gathering Void -White-, is generally considered the worst one, which is really saying something. Before the card names were translated, Gathering Void -White- was colloquially known as "the impossible spellcard", with its vibrating bullets moving in awkward patterns and walling the player constantly while getting harder to see with every second that goes by. Words can't properly describe this card - it really does have to be seen to be believed.
  • Youmu in Phantasmagoria Trues on Advanced difficulty has "Land Without Light or Space", a spellcard that causes a delay on your character's movement - in other words, if you press the right key, your character will stand still and then move right about a second later. Meanwhile, Youmu is filling the screen with dagger danmaku. This is about as unfair as it sounds.
    • Yukari, meanwhile, has Faint Engraving "Eternal Horizon" (which she only uses on Standard difficulty), which surrounds your character with two spinning lasers, forcing you to move all around the screen while Yukari throws bubble bullets into the lasers - all of which are spawning smaller shots of their own. And if you bomb or die at any point (and you will), you'll probably wind up outside the lasers. They shoot completely undodgeable walls outside of themselves, meaning you'll almost certainly need to bomb or die again.
      • And if you think you're safe after getting through that one, immediately after beating Eternal Horizon, you face "Phantasm of Eternal Recurrence", which consists of endless waves of spinning lasers with tiny gaps coming at you from both sides. The gaps are extremely difficult to read because of the spinning, and even if you do manage to read them, you're almost certain to get walled a wave or two later - if not by the lasers, then by the pellets Yukari is throwing at you in the meantime. Oh, and when you gain Mercy Invincibility from dying or bombing? Yukari does too, a distinction only shared with the Bonus Boss and the Final Boss' final attack (neither of which Yukari is in this game). And this card has a lot of health.
    • Hieda no Akyu, the Terminus stage midboss, has Heaven's Stream "Demise of the Thought Spirit World". Akyu shoots (thankfully harmless) pseudo-lasers to the bottom of the screen, where they hit a white boundary, become harmful, and bounce back up to hit you. If you think you can deal with lasers coming from the bottom of the screen, imagine dealing with those lasers while Akyu is directly shooting enormous bullet wheels downward. You're all but required to make wide movements to avoid the wheels, and good luck doing that while reading the lasers and not getting randomly walled. To cap it all, the pseudo-lasers Akyu shoots down still look nearly identical to the real ones from the bottom, making it easy to die because you mistook a death trap for a fake amongst all the chaos of this card.
  • In Riverbed Soul Saver, there's Urashima Stream, the penultimate card from the stage 4 boss. It's a survival card that requires you to circle all around the screen while dodging bullets coming from the walls...and if you try to go into the center, the boss outright stops the timer on you. It's rather telling that the final boss also has a survival card...and it's nowhere near as hard as this one.
    • Nomi no Hanie's spellcard, Jacob Wrestles the Angel/Haji of Ten Men's Strength, definitley places her in the Wake-Up Call Boss status; While what she shoots at you isn't dense, the main problem lies in the fact that you are basically being led towards the edges of the screen, where a ring of bullets is placed to limit your play area. Coupled with the speed at which Hanie advances towards you, even on Normal, is equal to a huge bomb sink if you don't know what you are doing.
    • Sword-Captor Sukune, the final card used by Tarumi Takenouchi. Magatama circling the screen constantly leaving bullets in their wake, giant anchors flying at the walls leaving bullets in their wake, giant fists flying directly at the player, fireballs coming down from the top of the screen, the boss shooting bubbles everywhere, while everything that hits the walls splashes bullets so you can't even dodge it from the bottom for a better read - the sheer number of things going on all at once has been known to trip up even the most experienced players, and this is just on Normal! On Lunatic, well...see for yourself...
    • While the final boss' timeout card (as mentioned before) is not That One Attack, the one before it ("Masquereidoscope") makes up for it in spades. If you thought curving lasers were hard to read, try spinning lasers that constantly change direction...with other spinning lasers on top of them. It's theoretically possible to destroy the orbs that spawn them, but they move around at such a ridiculous rate that you will definitely have to dodge a lot of them before you manage to deplete this card's health - and the orbs respawn, and they block your shots, so in practice this card has a lot of health.
      • Speaking of cards with a lot of health, the final boss' final attack ("Shangri-La Genesis") has three health bars. And every time you deplete one, the attack changes completely - you're basically getting three spell cards for the price of one. Individually they fall slightly short of being That One Attack, but they are harder than normal - and failing just one of them means you fail the whole attack, so if you're trying to capture this thing, good freaking luck.
    • An unexpected one comes in the form of the final nonspell of the Phantasm Stage boss, Abe no Kiyohime; while her previous nonspells revolved around getting past familiars that were more of a threat than her, this nonspell consists of rotating hexagonal rings of amulets that slow down at the end of each wave. Assuming you attempt to follow it as a lane, you also have to keep in mind of the next wave which is fired in the opposite direction. One certain Challenge Gamer even states that it's quite the Difficulty Spike when compared to Kiyohime's whole past repertoire.
      • Then, suddenly, comes her now rather infamous survival spell, Shiki's Sealed-Room Murder. While the wall-crawling bullets from Yato's survival spell are still here, Kiyohime's version decides to incorporate her signature cross familiars in a rather devious way; A (non-harmful) laser grid is set up whilst the familiars (which thankfully do not have hurtboxes) come from the screen's corners, bouncing around the play area and aim for you every other wallbounce. Whenever the familiars cross a grid point, laser boxes close in on the area said familiar was in. Now while that already sounds like quite the chore to deal with, the familiars eventually explode into flame bullets which you absolutely cannot dodge up close, forcing you to move into very awkward positions around the screen. The familiars get faster each wave, and will keep you on your feet until you most likely run into the wall-crawling bullets. Needless to say, any casual attempts to keep an eye on so many angles will just not work.

0/99
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ThatOneAttack/Touhou