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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:

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 and Broken Armor Boss Battle. Compare Anti-Air, Anti-Infantry, Anti-Vehicle, Anti-Structure, and Anti-Cavalry.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A flashback arc of Berserk has Guts put in a lopsided Duel to the Death, where he's only given a blunt sword and has to fight a young noble in very heavy armor. After finding the armor is too well made to penetrate, even with a direct hit or by going for the joints, Guts thinks back to a childhood battle when Gambino fought a similar enemy. After forcing the noble's weapon and arm low, Guts shoves the sword up the gauntlet's sleeve, wrestles his opponent to the ground, and shoves the sword's crossguard into his opponent's eyeslot. While he's in pain, and everyone surrounding is in shock, Guts pulls off his helmet and holds the sword up to his neck to get a Human Shield.
    Gambino: A sword can do more than just slash and stab. In particular, it's the ideal tool for disabling nobles in heavy armor.
  • DNA²: Karin always wear an extremely resistant set of futuristic armor, so the first thing Mori (who hails from the future as Karin) does against her was to spray her with a fluid that melts the material it's made of.
  • One Piece: Sanji typically fights only with his legs and being the Team Chef makes him firmly believe that kitchen knives should not be bloodied in battle, as they are sacred instruments meant solely for the preparation of food. In one fight, he battles an enemy who uses food as armor and weapons, so he decides to use knives in this case to remove said armor since it would be no different from using knives to prepare a meal.
  • Gundam:
    • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam and sequels set in the Universal Century, beam weapons are able to One-Hit Kill even heavily armored targets with a single direct hit (save for rare exotic defenses or even rarer obscenely heavy armor), even shields only lasting a few such hits at most. But their more limited ammo, rate of fire, and potential collateral damage of their power means many mecha and warships include machine guns for dealing with weaker targets.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: The mecha and most spaceships use Nigh-Invulnerable "Nanolaminate armor". And then there's the Dáinsleif railgun, which tosses a harpoon-like metal rod so hard that it can punch through the armor. Most mecha that gets in the way are instantly torn to shreds, heavier vehicles only last a little bit longer, and the result of shooting it from orbit is quite a sight. It's a weapon so brutal that the universe's Fictional Geneva Conventions outlaw its use, which of course shows how little Gjallarhorn cares about following them, in the final arc of the anime.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: A few anti-armor weapons and ammo types exist in the game. The most common and well-known is armor-piercing autocannon ammunition. It's generally considered Awesome, but Impractical because it imposes a penalty on attack rolls when fired and only provides half the shots per ton of ammunition as regular autocannon ammo, but if it hits it gets a chance to score a crit even if it doesn't breach the target's armor (unfortunately made at a penalty, which puts the odds of actually causing a crit with it quite low). Where it and other anti-armor weapons like tandem-charge short range missiles and Reengineered Lasers actually succeed is when faced with an opponent that has an armor type that reduces the damage that it takes from attacks- such weapons and ammo ignore the damage reduction, which is vital if you want to actually damage them before they can deal too much damage back.
  • 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
  • In Fabula Ultima, the Weaponmaster's Breach skill lets them forgo inflicting damage on a successful melee weapon attack to instead destroy the target's equipped armor or shield.


    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires II: The Polish unique unit Obuch inflicts a debuff that lowers their targets' melee armor every time they attack, meaning a group can shred even heavily armored units like Teutonic Knights or Boyars to pieces.
  • AI War: Fleet Command has Zenith Polarizer ships, which both pierce armor, and deal more damage the higher the enemy's armor value is. They can quickly tear apart anything with an armor value of 50 or more, but have trouble damaging anything with low or no armor.
  • Apex Legends has the Disruptor Rounds weapon upgrade, which increases damage to targets if their shields haven't been fully depleted yet. It also has an Inversion in the Hammerpoint Rounds upgrade, which deals increased damage if the victim has no shields left.
  • In The Banner Saga, there are Strength points and Armor points. Armor protects Strength from attacks and, if it's high enough compared to the attacker's own Strength, it adds a deflection chance, but it can also be attacked directly to expose the target. Damage inflicted to Armor depends on the attacker's Break stat, which is unaffected by damage taken like Strength is.
  • 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).
  • Bonfire has multiple examples:
    • The fire Damage Over Time effect will reduce Armor in addition to inflicting damage. One of Zhu's skills improves this effect.
    • The Hex ability does little damage, but severely reduces the Armor of the target.
    • Odilons' Crosshair Aware effect will sharply reduce Armor before triggering their beam attack.
  • Borderlands: Corrosive/acid weapons are particularly effective against armored targets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 specialized for anything else.
  • 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.
  • In the Dark Souls series, heavy armour is typically weak against thrust and/or strike damage, depending on the game. The former presumably finds gaps in the armour to stab through and the latter presumably just caves in the armour and pulverizes the squishy meatbag inside of it through sheer blunt force. Also, since heavy armour is typically made out of metal, and metal conducts electricity, lightning damage is usually a good choice against heavily armoured foes as well. Then again, in Dark Souls, lightning is good against almost everything, especially in the first game.
  • 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 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.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II:
    • The Status Effects "Acid" and "Suffocating" destroy physical and magical armor points (respectively) over time, but can't damage Hit Points.
    • The advanced Warfare skill "Overpower" strips all the target's physical armor points if and only if the user's current physical armor total is higher than theirs.
  • 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.
  • Endless Sky: Human technology generally deals similar damage to shields and hull, but alien technology can be quite different, such as Sunbeams that deal immense shield damage but very little hull damage. They're quite useful for rapidly disabling ships without destroying them.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: Introduced in the third game, the Tera Drill skill (renamed to Giga Drill in 4 and 5) deals increased damage to enemies who have buffed their Defense or Magic Defense. Starting from the fourth game, it also deals 1.5x damage if the enemy has the Defend status effect.
  • 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 1 and 2 featured armor-piercing variants of certain ammo types, though due to a bug the armor-piercing effect wasn't implanted properly, meaning that armor-piercing rounds generally dealt flat-out less damage without actually ignoring armor.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, most types of ammo come in several variants, and most of the rifle bullets note  have an armor-piercing variant. These typically do slightly less damage than the standard variant of the same bullet but ignore a certain amount of the enemy's Damage Threshold. If your damage isn't higher than the enemy's DT, you will only do Scratch Damage, so taking a small hit to damage to ignore a lot of DT can make a world of difference. Some ammo types also naturally ignore a small amount of DT even in their standard variants, such as 5mm rounds and all types of energy weapon ammo. Armor-piercing 5mm rounds are the undisputed king, ignoring a whopping 25 DT on the enemy, which is only slightly less than the best Power Armor in the game gives (minus the helmet).
  • Final Fantasy
    • The Meltdown spell from Final Fantasy VIII drops enemy Vitality (this game's equivalent of defense against physical attacks) to 0.
    • There is an Armor Break status and skills that inflict it in Final Fantasy X. This essentially nullifies 'Armored' status of enemies that have it (such as Armored Moles) and decreases the defense against physical attacks to 0. Auron can learn the Armor Break skill, and the status can be inflicted by other ways such as his Banishing Blade Overdrive or by Rikku mixing Frag Grenade. There's also an equivalent status affecting magic resistance in Mental Break.
    • The Gunner Dressphere in Final Fantasy X-2 has the Table-Turner attack, which increases in power depending on the target's own defense.
    • 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.
  • Fire Emblem: Armorslayers, Heavy Spears, and Hammers are effective against armored enemies, as are Rapiers and other such Lord-exclusive weapons. These weapons have x might when attacking normal units, but 3x (or 2x in a few games) might against armors. In the Jugdral games, anti-armor weapons instead inflict guaranteed critical hits (attack power x 2).
  • For the King: Among the many Status Effects that can be inflicted in combat are Armor Down, which reduces the target's physical Damage Reduction by a set amount for a few turns, and Resistance Down, which reduces their resistance to magical damage. The effects can't damage Hit Points or reduce armour below zero, only clear the way for other attacks.
  • Gears of War: Berserkers have bulletproof hides, so COG soldiers typically use the Hammer of Dawn to kill them. In cases where the Hammer of Dawn can't be used, Kill It with Fire. Fire will also temporarily soften them up and make them vulnerable to regular gunfire as well. In fact, the humble Scorcher flamethrower may even be preferable to the Hammer of Dawn in this case, since repeated short puffs of flame can easily stunlock a Berserker while keeping her nice and squishy so that the rest of the squad can magdump into her with impunity.
  • Gelyan's Armor Crusher in the flash turn-based strategy Genesis 2009. The higher the opponent's defense is, the more damage it deals.
  • Gundam Evolution: Certain skills like the Gundam's Hyper Hammer or Zaku II Melee's Shoulder Charge can disable enemy shields instantly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Iron Marines: The Hero Unit Mark X's machine guns will permanently reduce the armor value of enemies it hits.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 3D The 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Phoenix Point:
    • Weapons with a Shredding value deal that much extra damage directly to armor. Almost all weapons have a Shred value, but New Jericho's gauss rifles deal +5 extra shred damage (compared to the baseline assault rifle's 10). Weapons with a Piercing value outright ignore that much armor.
    • Acid damage acts like poison and shred, dissolving a certain ammount of armor and HP per turn and removing 10 from its Stack.
  • 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.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Magnet-shroom can steal metal objects that would raise the defense of certain zombies.
  • 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.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the moves Behemoth Blade, Behemoth Bash and Dynamax Cannon inflict double damage on Pokémon that are Dynamaxed, counteracting the HP boost given by Dynamaxing.
  • 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.
  • Resident Evil 4 (Remake): Ada Wong can purchase a charm that allows her to use her Grappling-Hook Pistol to disarm enemies of their shields.
  • Save the Light: Besides Garnet's Rocket Punch from the first game, which has her Ground Punch's shield-breaking effect since Amethyst lost her shield-breaking move following her retirement of Purple Puma, Opal's Super Charge Shot breaks shields and lowers the enemy's defense. Pearl's Fireball attack can also be upgraded to break shields and also inflict burns, while Connie's sword can be upgraded to have the same effects as Garnet's Rocket Punch.
  • 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.
  • Gunners and Dragoons in Symphony of War will blast their enemy armor as if their opponents were wearing nothing at all.
  • Titan Quest: Defense Mastery's Rend Armor reduces enemies' Armor stat for a time.
  • Unicorn Overlord features several classes built around this:
    • Warriors wield (very) large stone mauls, which do immense damage to armored units.
    • Wizards and other casters also function as this due to their ability to ignore physical armor.
    • Witches, besides their own spells, imbue allies' weapons to turn part of their physical damage into magical damage, which ignores armor.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, lancers are soldiers carrying rocket launchers, which are so heavy that it 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide: Certain attacks like the Surge Staff and the Krak Grenade deal improved damage against heavier armored targets. The Krak Grenade in particular is faithful to its Warhammer 40,000 incarnation by not only magnetizing onto Heavily Armored Mooks, but also dealing massive damage to them. Crushers, the non-boss enemies with the second-highest amount of hitpoints and the toughest armor all over their bodies, will be one-shotted by a single Krak Grenade stuck to them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • XCOM:
    • 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. Permanently removing those armor points is called "shredding" by the game, and there are multiple ways to it, most commonly high explosives and the "Shredder" ability of Corporal-rank Grenadiers, which allows them to shred armor with gunfire from their Cannons.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Anti Armour



Literally translated as "tank fist" in German, the Panzerfaust is a man-portable single shot disposable rocket launcher designed to destroy enemy tanks and other lightly armored vehicles. Of note is that its shaped charge warhead can penetrate up to 200mm of armor at up to 60 meters away.

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Example of:

Main / AntiVehicle

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