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One solution against a Heavily Armored Mook (or, occasionally, Shield-Bearing Mook, or people/vessels with Deflector Shields) is to use an Anti-Armor attack or ability to easily defeat them.

Ways this can happen:

  • Extra Damage Against Armored Targets: This weapon/attack makes having armor a disadvantage. It may work by concussive shock wave that slams the subject around inside the armor instead of him simply being thrown back, or being cooked alive inside heat-insulating carapace armor by flamethrowers. The attack may not work (or less effectively if they do) on unarmored enemies.
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  • Armor Cracker: This weapon/attack reduces the defense of the target. It may work by removing the armor off the Mook, removing the shield off a Shield-Bearing Mook, Clothing Damage, using The Nudifier, or disabling the Deflector Shields (usually by EMP). In games with a dedicated "Armor Meter" or "Armor Points", this weapon/attack may do significant damage to that meter rather than the HP meter; if they have Regenerating Shield, Static Health, it may either slow, or stop the shield from the regenerating. If the effect is a debuff, it's likely also a Damage-Increasing Debuff.

Compare Armor-Piercing Attack, where the attack pierces armor/defenses entirely without playing with the armor itself.

Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Armor Is Useless. Compare Anti-Air, Anti-Infantry, Anti-Vehicle, Anti-Structure, and Anti-Cavalry.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Heavy weapons like lascannons and missile launchers that hit hard enough to damage the heaviest of targets, as well as weapon types with special properties that make them particularly powerful against armored foes:
    • The iconic boltgun is designed to penetrate armor then explode inside. Tha latter part makes it just as effective against lightly-armored infantry, just messier.
    • Melta weapons, either guns or bombs, are short-ranged but intensely hot and are doubly-effective at penetrating a vehicle's armor.
    • Aeldari "lance" weapons, such as the bright lance or dark lance, aren't quite as powerful as a conventional lascannon, but are so efficient that they make enemy armor above a certain thickness redundant. In some editions of the game, this ment that lances had an easier time piercing the heaviest of enemy tanks, but aren't quite as lethal against light vehicles.
    • Graviton weapons are ideal for taking down infantry in Powered Armor, as they increase the target area's gravitational field so that affected foes are crushed by their own equipment — the heavier the armor they're wearing, the more liable they are to suffer fatal damage.
    • Necrons: In previous episodes of the game some Necron weaponry and units had special rules to represent their effects on enemy armour. The Entropic Strike special rule, for instance, could destroy a target’s armour outright, leaving the target model highly vulnerable should it survive the attack.
  • In Planet Mercenary heavy armors and vehicles with “hull points” are completely impervious to small arms that don’t have the Anti-Vehicular Payload (AVPL) quality. Such as the Strohl BH-250 Plasgun as demonstrated in the associated webcomic here


    Video Games 
  • Brothers in Arms:
    • In Hell's Highway, you can have access to a Bazooka team in certain levels. As their name implies, they can be used against tanks. In practice, however, they tend to be used more in the Anti-Structure and Anti-Infantry role, with only one level allowing them access against tanks.
    • In Road to Hill 30 and Earned in Blood, there's the Panzerfaust and Bazooka, which are usually provided to players whenever there's an enemy tank later in the level they're found in.
  • Company of Heroes: There are a few infantry units which by unit-type are much tougher than other infantry units. Universally, the way to get through that are tank rounds or flamethrowers. Additionally, many anti-tank specialized units are close to useless against infantrymen as their weapons tend to have a very small area of effect that will almost certainly miss infantry just about every time (though rare lucky hits can happen) while still liable to strike a vehicle's much larger hitbox, though plenty of the more well-rounded vehicles have guns firing rounds that are useful against both.
  • Fire Emblem: Armorslayers, Heavy Spears, and Hammers are effective against armored enemies, as are Rapiers and other such Lord-exclusive weapons.
  • Dawn of War: Units noted as being efficient against vehicles will do less damage against unarmored targets (though they may be able to cause Knockback).
  • In the Halo series, plasma weapons do a lot more damage against energy shields than they do against unshielded targets. In particular, while the regular plasma pistol shot is considered largely useless in both multiplayer and the campaign, if you hold down the trigger to make a charged shot, any shielded target hit by it will have their shielding completely drained, leaving them open to headshots from ballistic weapons.
  • Warcraft III: the Fortified armor type is weakest against Siege attacks and resistant to all others. Heavy armor type (mostly having more innate armour value than other unit types) has no weakness except for Magic attacks (which are either laughably weak, coming from the Squishy Wizard casters, or horribly high, coming from the heavy flyers).
  • StarCraft II: a variety of units have attacks that have a base damage and bonus damage versus certain armor class or other qualifiers like biological. Things that have bonuses against armored targets include the Protoss Stalkers and Immortals, the Terran Siege tanks and Marauders (who are themselves armored). Zerg carapace doesn't count as armored in most cases, but one Firebat upgrade that does more damage against light targets mentions cooking everything in their exoskeleton.
  • World in Conflict has Anti-Tank soldiers than can help crack buildings and land vehicles. They are liabilities against almost everything else, lacking a machine-gun like the Rifleman squad against infantry and being unable to attack air units.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, lancers are soldiers carrying rocket launchers, which are so heavy that slows them, making them impractical against other soldiers. However, they're the most useful units against tanks and other armored enemies.
    • 4 introduces the Grenadier class, with one of the upgrade trees for their weapon of choice, the Elias line of mortars, being pure anti-tank power. Other then that, the Gautt R is an anti-tank sniper rifle, with others of similar strength (the ZM SG XD & X2) being seized weapons from DLC Aces. A similar anti-tank weapon, a rifle for your Scouts/Engineers (the ZM Kar X) is seized from a DLC Ace. The Dunkels, normally enemy-exclusive, are obtainable after completing the The Two Valkyria DLC.
  • In the later Civilization games, units can be given promotions that grant them an attack bonus against enemy armored units. Late-game units like the Anti-Tank Gun and Helicopter Gunship are dedicated anti-armor units, and have a 100% bonus against tanks.
  • In Mass Effect:
    • Garrus has Armor Piercing Ammo. Also, there are some attacks (Incinerate, Carnage) that qualify for this.
    • Several weapons also deal bonus damage to shields, barriers, armor, or any combination of the above. The most notable is perhaps the N7 Typhoon, a graduate of the University of More Dakka; the Typhoon is a machinegun that deals 50% more damage to all of the above and takes time to spool up to its maximum rate of fire — but once it does, it gains a 50% increase in damage output. It can methodically chew through anything, making it invaluable in multiplayer.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 3: the Tera Drill skill does more damage to the target the more buffed its defense is.
  • The Pokémon series has no straight examples, but the Dark-type strike "Punishment" inflicts greater damage in direct proportion to the number of Status Buffs the opponent has on them, including Defense and Special Defense.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Powerful tank rounds do less damage to infantry than they do to harder targets, requiring multiple shots to take down a single rifleman. It's often better to simply run over infantrymen.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: the German Tank Destroyer is useful against tanks, but too speicalized for anything else.
  • In Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity, the Zeus-Class Fusion Gun does extra damage against armored Pfhor, and they explode when killed with it. Described in-game as an upgraded model of the Mercury-Class Fusion Gun from Marathon 1, specifically made to short-circuit the Pfhor hardware.
  • League of Legends has a mechanic that fit this trope: the game's defences include armour and magic resistance for physical and magical damage respectively. The counters to it include flat and percentage reduction and penetration stats for both of the defences. As flat directly subtracts of the target's defences and commonly the most players will manage to get of flat armour and magic penetration is around 50 (possibly reducing armour by another 45 by an item and magic resistance by another 20 from an item) while armour and magic resistance on a player can easily rise above 200+ and 150+ if they build for it, flat penetration is better against targets with little to no defences, while the percentage armour and magic penetration items (which ignores 40% of your target's defence respective to the item) are anti-armor that is more effective against targets which have more defences and less against those which have less. True damage also ignores your target's armour and magic resistance entirely, but is countered by (aside from a few examples) being a flat value that can be overcome by having more health instead. Also, high health can be countered by effects which cause attacks to do damage based off a percentage of the target's health, found in an item... the percentage being inefficient against targets which have a smaller health pool anyway.
  • In Deus Ex, the shotgun can fire sabot rounds, which are far more effective against bots than buckshot; but buckshot is better against soft targets. That's besides the more explosive means of dealing with bots, like rockets or grenades.
  • Ragnarok Online:
    • The Ice Pick, a dagger-type weapon which not only completely bypasses an opponent's armor, but also does more damage the more heavily armored the opponent is.
    • The Monk's Occult Impaction skill likewise deals higher damage to targets with high defense.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Magnet-shroom can steal metal objects that would raise the defense of certain zombies.
  • 007: From Russia with Love has the occasional Heavily Armored Mook armed with a heavy machine gun. Bond's solution is to shoot off the straps holding the mook's armor on.
  • The X-Universe series has Regenerating Shields and Static Hull Integrity. Most weapons in the series do more damage to shields than armor since that's where most of most ships' hit points are, but the Teladi-designed Gauss cannon fares better against armor than any other weapon in the game. This becomes important in X3: Albion Prelude since every ship in the game received a major buff to armor.
  • The aptly-named Armor Breaker Auto-Ability in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is this. Available only to Feral Pack Monsters in Commando role (most notably Chichu), the Ability increases the wielder's strength if the target's physical resistance is "Halved" or "Resistant". The boost is such that killing a target with such resistance can be done faster than against a target that does not have any resistance at all.
  • The 3D Legend of Zelda games require Link to remove the armor from Darknuts before he can kill them. For example, Wind Waker forces him to remove the breastplate by getting behind the Darknut and slashing the straps, which can be done either with stealth or a parry attack, and the helmet requires a parry attack or the head.
  • Gelyan's Armor Crusher in the flash turn-based strategy Ge Ne Sis. The higher the opponent's defense is, the more damage it deals.
  • Fallout:
    • Most weapons with "pulse" in their name (pulse grenade, pulse gun) do little or no damage to most organic target but tremendous damage to robots and/or people wearing Power Armor.
    • Fallout: New Vegas introduced different ammo types to the various ammunition-using weapons, among them anti-armor rounds. The rounds ignore the target's Armor Points when hitting, damaging foes directly, with a tradeoff for less damage overall.
  • In Wasteland 2, most attacks have their damaged decreased if their armor penetration is lower than the enemy's armor level, but energy weapons work the other way: they do more damage when the enemy's armor is above a certain threshold. The reasoning given behind this is that more armor means more metal, so more of the weapon's energy is absorbed by the target. This ended up being problematic and counter-intuitive in a number of waysWhy? , so Director's Cut simplified this to enemies and armors either being conductive (generally higher armor value, but taking more damage from energy weapons) or non-conductive.
  • Gears of War: Berserkers are very heavily armored, so COG soldiers typically use the Hammer of Dawn to kill them. In cases where the Hammer of Dawn can't be used, the Scorcher flamerthrower and Incendiary Grenades can be used to soften their armor and thus make them more vulnerable.
  • Titanfall: Most small arms do little to no damage against Titans, so Pilots carry specialized Anti-Titan weapons. Against other Pilots, such weapons tend to be ineffective because they're slow to fire, inaccurate, and/or do unspectacular damage—the Archer rocket launcher won't even fire without a Titan to lock onto. By contrast, Titanfall 2 introduced "Grenadier" weapons that are meant for use against Pilots or Titans, but take up a Primary weapon slot.
  • Warframe: An enemy's armor stat gives them Damage Reduction against all sources and types of damage, and several factions equip their troops with regenerating shields, but there are ways around both.
    • Puncture damage is universally strong against armor, while impact damage is universally strong against shields. The light armor used by some Grineer is weak to corrosive damage as well, while their heavy armor is weak to cold and radiation. Corpus shields are vulnerable to magnetic damage, while the Eidolons' shields can only be brought down with void damage. And toxin damage (and its damage-over-time status effect) completely ignores shields.
    • Several status effects are designed to weaken armored and shielded enemies. Heat damage isn't strong against any kind of armor, but its status effect halves the enemy's armor value while they're burning. Slash damage is actually resisted by armor, but its status deals damage over time that completely ignores the enemy's armor. The corrosive status effect reduces enemy armor by anywhere from 16-80% depending on the number of stacks. Magnetic damage already deals heavy damage to shields, but its status effect multiplies damage of all types that an enemy takes to their shields.
    • There are also numerous Warframe abilities designed to strip armor and damage shields. For example, Hildryn's Pillage hits all enemies around her and removes 25% of their current armor and shields; Mag's Magnetize covers an even wider area, but it removes a flat 400 shields and armor from each enemy it passes over; and Vauban's Bastille removes 10% of an enemy's maximum armor for every second they spend trapped inside it.
    • Certain augments can also assist abilities: Hydroid has an augment for his Tempest Barrage that can apply corrosive procs, while Ash's Seeking Shuriken augment can remove anywhere from 70% to 100% of an enemy's armor for several seconds. Kavat companions have Sharpened Claws, which can completely strip away armor from the target. (Interestingly, both Hydroid and Ash have an ability that acts as an Armor-Piercing Attack, dealing True Damage which cannot be mitigated by any means.)
    • Lastly, there is the "Shattering Impact" Melee Mod, where any weapon with Impact damage removes a small, set amount of armor from the target upon hitting them. This Mod was mostly used with the Sarpa Gunblade, since the pellets from its ranged attack dealt guaranteed Impact damage.
  • Overwatch:
    • Sombra's Ultimate, EMP, can nullify enemy shields and even Lucio's Sound Barrier.
    • Torbjorn's 2018 rework has his Molten Core Ultimate being able to damage armored enemies more significantly than unarmored ones.
  • Borderlands: Corrosive/acid weapons are particularly effective against armored targets.
  • In the first two BioShock games, there are anti-armor ammo to deal with turrets, cameras, security bots, and the Big Daddies (for 2, Big Sisters and Alpha Prototypes).
  • XCOM: Long War: Chem Grenades can nullify half of a target's Damage Reduction. Gauss weapons also have a chance to ignore one point of DR.
  • XCOM 2: Armor points deduct damage from an attack before it hits the health points. There are multiple ways to shred it, most commonly high explosives and a Corporal Grenadier.
  • Iron Marines: The Hero Unit Mark X's machine guns will permanently reduce the armor value of enemies it hits.
  • Kingdom Rush: In Kingdom Rush: Vengeance'', the Hero Unit Asra has a passive ability called Quiver of Sorrow, which causes her crossbow bolts to permanently reduce the enemy's physical armor per hit.
  • Pikmin 3: Rock Pikmin specialize in shattering and destroying hard, crystalline objects that other Pikmin can't so much as scratch. Thus, when facing enemies such as the Armored Mawmad or the Calcified Crushblat that are completely encased in crystalline armor, Rock Pikmin play a vital role in destroying their targets' armor plating to leave them exposed to other Pikmin's attacks.
  • Hearts of Iron IV has two stats that simulate armor in units: Armor and Hardness. The latter plays this trope more straight than the former as units with lots of hardness take increased damage from hard attacks and reduced damage from soft attacks, making hard attacks effectively the anti-armor option. The actual Armor stat instead significantly reduces all incoming damage unless the attacker has sufficient armor piercing to penetrate it, in which case the armor bonus is completely nullified.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Jujitsu was invented in Japan so that samurai could fight with other heavily armored opponents in melee combat. The idea was that since melee weapons would be ineffective against armored opponents, the martial art used techniques that turns the opponents own weight against himself, and also used techniques that involved manipulation of locking techniques and pressure points to force the opponent into submission.
  • High-explosive squash head (HESH)/high-explosive plastic (HEP) shells comprise a type of multipurpose explosive munition useful against a wide range of hardened targets. Instead of penetrating or exploding on impact, HESH shells are filled with plastic explosive that "squashes" on contact with a hard surface, like reinforced concrete or tank armour. Less than half-a-second later, the shell explodes, causing destructive shockwaves to ripple through the contact surface, pulverizing concrete into dust and deforming steel plating to such an extent that pieces break off and become dangerous shrapnel. This type of munition has become less effective against modern main battle tanks, but still works fine against concrete fortifications and most other vehicles.
  • Armor-piercing shells from the big-gun warship era during the first half of the 20th century qualify. The same projectile that's designed to punch through an opposing battleship's armor and go off inside might just as easily go all the way through a comparative "tin can" like a destroyer without so much as triggering its fuse. It would also have less explosive filler than a non-AP high explosive round, making it less useful for general bombardment purposes.
    • Air-dropped bombs could be similarly equipped, either for use against armored warships or against land fortifications. Oftentimes the fuse would be on a slight delay, giving the bomb time to dig in before going off. More than a few such armor-piercing bombs were simply naval artillery shells modified to be dropped from a plane (such a weapon destroyed the battleship Arizona by setting off her forward magazine at Pearl Harbor). Another use for such delayed-fuse penetrating bombs is to damage foundations under buildings, or to cause runways to cave in. Or just to act as a booby-trap against repair crews when the bomb goes off a while after the bombers have cleared out. Another practical application of this type of bomb is that they could be dropped with relative safety from low altitude, with the delayed fuse minimizing the risk of the bomber being caught in their own blast.
  • The venerable anti-tank rifle was born out of a need for weapons which would enable lightly-equipped infantry to take out attacking tanks on their own. Prior to their proliferation such units would have had to count on indirect artillery fire, which might be unavailable if the enemy had artillery superiority, or 'direct' artillery fire from a 'small' artillery piece that the infantry would have to lug around with them (disassembled or no). Most of them were developed just after WWI and some saw service during WWII, but against the much heavier armor of mid-late war tanks most were only effective at the worryingly short range of 50m or less. Virtually all of them were out of service in their intended roles by the end of WWII, but some saw use as the first generation of anti-materiel rifles.
  • For that matter, the smaller artillery pieces have seen quite a bit of use as anti-armor guns. Set up in a prepared position in the path of an enemy advance, they could be devastating, especially if they were able to target an exposed flank. Many tank destroyers, vehicles designed to destroy enemy armored vehicles, consisted of a truck with one of these guns mounted on top of it, and could count on being shredded if the enemy tank got the first shot. Still, their lighter weight meant they could travel quickly from position to position without much of the wear and tear that the heavier tanks would have to deal with.
    • Another method for developing tank destroyers was to mount the most powerful guns available in a tracked vehicle chassis. Either the vehicle would be lightly armored and possibly equipped with a fast-traversing turret to make them Glass Cannons, or they would be massively armored, with the gun mounted in the main body of the vehicle, making a Mighty Glacier.
    • The current take on the tank destroyer is an armored car with light armor (rated against small arms only) and a tank gun, similar to (and often inspired by) the B1 Centauro.
  • Anti-tank guns, which were prevalent during WWII. These are artillery pieces specifically designed with penetrating tank armor in mind, achieving this by firing special armor-piercing shells. Normally, these were towed into position and set up, but both sides figured ways of putting these guns on the chassis of various tank destroyers, both turreted and turretless.
  • The modern successor to the anti-tank rifle is usually some variation on a shoulder-fired missile, of which the most famous are the bazooka used by the Americans in World War II and the RPG-7 created by the Soviet Union.
  • A variety of weapons existed in the pre-gunpowder age for dealing with armor-clad soldiers and knights. Many of them were various types of hammers, which might have a head with a blunt end to bludgeon an opponent senseless with, and a spiked end to pierce through the armor once the enemy was on the ground.
  • If all else fails, planting powerful explosives in the ground (either dedicated anti-armor mines, or improvised bombs made from artillery shells) could be very effective if you could get the enemy tank to drive over it (roads are popular for this, obviously). Another method is to plant the bomb some distance away off to the side of the road, with the explosion propelling a fast-moving (and in the case of shaped-charge bombs, molten) projectile at the target, essentially a poor man's anti tank gun.

Alternative Title(s): Anti Armour


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