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Anti Escape Mechanism

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In games, certain characters, such as Fragile Speedsters, are annoyingly hard to kill: even if you manage to inflict lots of damage to them and reduce their Hit Points to nearly zero, they can easily use their superior speed to run away from the fight and escape to safety. So frustrating!

In order to give the slower characters a chance to finish off their speedy nemeses, many games grant them an Anti Escape Mechanism. These moves, which come in various flavors, can make escape more difficult for those who go against foes possessing them.

They are also sometimes used by certain enemies, especially bosses. When they're the ones who have an Anti Escape Mechanism, the purpose is either to prevent players from taking a break mid-fight in order to heal, or to discourage the use of hit-and-run tactics that might allow one to slowly whittle away at the boss' health. Lesser Mooks may also have these: their purpose is to drain your resources in order to make upcoming fights harder, and forcing you to confront them is one way to ensure they fulfil their duty.

Moves that fall under this umbrella include:

  1. You Will Not Evade Me: A move which grabs an enemy from a distance and pulls them to your location.
  2. Conversely, a move which allows YOU to rapidly or instantly cross a certain distance.
  3. Moves which hinder your opponent's mobility by slowing them, stunning them, or holding them in place.
  4. A Status Buff which grants you temporary Super Speed.
  5. A move which manipulates the terrain, creating an obstacle in your foe's escape route.
  6. A move which allows you to see your opponent's location even when they're out of your field of vision, preventing them from juking or hiding from you.
  7. An attack that has a much longer range than your other moves, catching foes by surprise when they think they're outside your range.
  8. In turn-based games where running away consists of choosing "Escape" from a menu, a move which simply prevents that option from being picked.

Game examples:

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    Tabletop Games 
  • With its fourth edition, Dungeons & Dragons formally introduced the concept of 'forced movement' and with it powers that allow the user to push, pull, slide, or even teleport unwilling targets across the battlefield. One fairly basic example is the first-level druid at-will power Thorn Whip, which on a hit inflicts damage and pulls the target two squares towards the user.
    • Not that it was unheard-of before. Third Edition monsters with Improved Grab pull grappled opponents into their own space, rather than moving into the opponent's space like in a normal grapple. Spells like Baleful Transposition or Telekinesis and powers like Baleful Teleport or Telekinetic Thrust can reposition targets against their will and to great detriment. In the earliest editions (and the third, for that matter), the infamous Balor had the ability to yank you into melee range with its whip, where you would get burned by the flames surrounding the demon's body.
    • One of the first such powers to see print actually caused something of an uproar among the fanbase at the time. Not because of its power level as such — it only pulls already-nearby enemies into melee range, ones further away aren't actually affected — but because it was a fighter power (Come and Get It) that felt "too much like magic".
  • Daemon Princes of Slaanesh in Warhammer 40,000 can take the psychic power Lash of Submission, which allows to them move an enemy squad a certain distance. This is often used to bring enemies that are specialized in ranged combat into melee range and out of cover, where the Prince can then attack the (usually hopeless in close combat) enemy units without the penalty for charging into rough terrain. Little wonder that "Lash Princes" are a common sight in tournament level Chaos armies.
    • Additionally, the Lash of Submission is often used to move lots of important enemy units very close together so that all of the Chaos player's mortars/rockets/orbital bombardment/etc. can all be fired for full effect on them simultaneously.
  • The Lunar Exalted can render escape pointless by perfectly matching the opponent's running speed in mid-flight, no matter what magic or obstacles are in their way.
  • In Fury Of Dracula, a fight between a vampire and a vampire hunter has a mechanism of the respective players putting down cards representing weapons, defensive items, or actions. Each deck has a card that allows the character to escape a fight that's going badly and also a card that can be used to block the opponent's escape: a vampire may use Mesmerize to halt a fleeing hunter, while a hunter may use Crucifix to block the escape of a vampire.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon series:
    • The abilities Shadow Tag, Arena Trap, and Magnet Pull prevent the opponent from escaping or switching out. Shadow Tag doesn't affect ghost-types and Pokemon who have the same ability (in order to prevent endless stalemates), Arena Trap doesn't affect Pokemon who can fly or levitate, and Magnet Pull only affects steel-types.
    • Trapping moves such as Block and Mean Look also block the opponent from fleeing or switching out.
  • Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and Dota 2 have many characters with moves of this type. Notable examples include:
    • Pudge has many moves to prevent escape: his Meat Hook, which grabs foes from a distance and brings them to him, Rot, which damages and slows nearby foes (but is Cast from Hit Points), and Dismember, which holds a target in place for several seconds while heavily damaging it.
    • Bloodseeker is very hard to escape from: his passive ability Thirst increases his speed when enemy heroes are missing health points and gives him true sight on foes who are near death, while Rupture inflicts heavy damage as the target moves.
    • Clockwerk's ultimate ability Hookshot is like the opposite of Pudge's Meat Hook, as it drags you to the target's location, stunning and damaging them. After closing the distance, his Power Cogs create a barrier which must be destroyed by attacking it, slowing down his opponent's escape, and his Battery Assault skill inflicts several mini-stuns on them, slowing down their retreat. If his target manages to get away with barely any health, Clockwerk can finish them off with his Rocket Flare ability, which has global range and also grants vision over the area where it was targeted.
    • Slardar's Guardian Sprint gives him temporary Super Speed, albeit at the cost of taking increased damage while it's active. When he gets in close, his Slithereen Crush and Bash of the Deeps can keep his target stunned, while Corrosive Haze gives him vision over the target, allowing him to keep track of their location when they try to flee.
  • One augment for your ship in FTL: Faster Than Light is a FTL-engine scrambler which prolongs time it takes for enemy ships to jump away.
  • Awesomenauts:
    • Against most foes, you're safe if you manage to get behind one of your turrets. However, a few characters have attacks which can hit from behind that barrier. Coco's Ball Lightning has a rather long range and strong damage, making it a great move with which to finish off a fleeing target. And Rocco's Precision Shot is especially notable, as it has infinite range, allowing you to snipe fleeing foes from any distance.
    • Leon Chameleon can use his tongue to pull enemies back to him. Additionally, his attacks deal extra damage when hitting from behind, making them particularly effective against fleeing foes.
    • Admiral Swiggins can use his anchor to do this in two different ways: first, he can use it as a grappling hook to zoom into an enemy's location. Second, he can chain an enemy to it, preventing them from moving more than a short distance from the anchor unless they destroy it.
  • Overwatch:
    • Roadhog's Chain Hook can grab enemies and pull them towards himself.
    • Zarya's Graviton Surge creates a sphere can hold multiple enemies still if they're caught within its area of effect.
    • Mei's primary weapon can slow enemies or freeze them solid. She can also create Ice Walls to block escape routes.
    • Lucio's Speed Boost increases the movement speed of nearby allies, and Amp It Up temporarily increases it even more.
    • Orisa's Halt! fires a projectile that pulls enemies towards itself when detonated.
    • Widowmaker's Infra-Sight and Hanzo's Sonic Arrows will both temporarily make the enemy team visible through walls. Infra-Sight reveals every enemy on the map. Sonic Arrow only reveals enemies within ten meters of where the arrow lands, but it recharges much faster.
  • Diablo series:
    • Four of the abilities that Elite Mooks in Diablo III can have are some form of this. "Teleporting" allows them to teleport in front of you, "Jailer" temporarily traps you in one place, "Vortex" sucks you towards them, and "Waller" allows them to create a stone wall that fences you off, the only escape route blocked by the monster. These may or may not be deadly, depending on whether the monster has a deadly melee attack or another ability to complement it (such as "Fire Chains").
    • Diablo himself has a similar attitude in the second and third games. If you try to run away, there's a good chance he'll raise a bone prison around you, then close in and pound on you while you're immobile. He blocks town portals in the same way, cutting off that route of escape.
    • The Barbarian's Ancient Spear allows him or her to yank an enemy into melee range for some well-deserved melee beatdown.
    • The Butcher's meathook attack from the end of Act I allows him to do this to you, with the added bonus of stunning you once you're in melee range and opening you up to a free attack.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Archimonde will zap players attempting to flee from him with a beam that instantly kills them (and if the tooltip is to be believed, their descendants as well).
    • Several bosses (especially stationary ones) include a mechanic where if there's no player in melee range of it, it will instead do a hard-hitting attack damaging not just fleeing players but the entire raid, and will wipe it in short order if nobody jumps into the fray, forcing the raid to keep at least one member fighting it (usually a tank).
  • "Teleport to" and "teleport foe" are fairly common abilities within Angband and other roguelikes. Usually found on phase spiders, blink dogs, and mid-to-high-level magic-using bosses.
  • In the freeware game Power of the Mind, the (telekinetic) final boss Arogath is driven into an Unstoppable Rage by your ultimate thwarting of his plan, and lashes out in a berserk frenzy. If you try to hide from him, he bellows "You...will...not...hide...from... ME!!!" and uses his power to gravity-nuke and flatten the entire area, destroying all possible cover for a huge radius.
  • Fallout 3 has a bug in Grayditch: sometimes, alerting the Fire Ant Queen to your presence then trying to escape will make the queen teleport to your location, physically blocking the way out.
  • Several characters in League of Legends are known to play this trope straight:
    • Blitzcrank can do this to anyone on the enemy team with his ability Rocket Grab, usually followed up by uppercutting the target into the air. He is commonly banned because of the fear that he will land that one Rocket Grab onto a squishy carry in the late game, or that he will land tons of grabs during laning (where he is usually paired with the team's ranged carry) and set off a snowballing effect.
    • Pantheon and Twisted Fate share a method of being unavoidable: Both champions have an extremely long range teleport for their ultimates, and both can stun their targets upon completing the port. As a bonus, Twisted Fate's ultimate also functions as a Defog of War. Tahm Kench also can teleport with his ultimate and given enough time stun and eat his enemy. Nocturne has a dash of similar range, but he requires vision of the victim (compared to both teleports being ground-targeted).
    • Thresh has three ways to do this: A hook similar to Blitz's grab that trades the full pull-in for an option to have Thresh dash to the enemy, a chain sweep that can knock enemies back slightly, and his ultimate that creates a box that cannot be walked through without a crippling movespeed debuff. Usually, these are all comboed together. It's also in his backstory: he singles out a target and hounds them until they can't take it anymore, then captures their soul.
    • If Thresh is actually terrifying, you should know that Nautilus has four methods of ensuring his foe will not escape his wrath. First, he can pull an enemy with his anchor to close distances, then he can make the ground around explode to slow him down, and anytime Nautilus hits a basic attack on the enemy it will stun him temporarily. And if all the previous isn't enough to make the fucker stop trying to run, he can also send a underground targeted charge that will follow and knock him upward.
    • Darius can potentially pull the whole enemy team close with his ability Apprehend.
    • Diana and Orianna downplay this trope a bit with their area-of-effect pulls.
    • The trend continues in a way with Illaoi, while she doesn't have a way to physically pull enemy champions to her, what she can do is pull an enemy champion's spirit right from their body and force it to stand before her while she freely beats the tar out of it, echoing some damage to the spirit's owner. Should the spirit be slain or the owner run too far away, they become a vessel for some time, and while they're safe from Illaoi herself doing further damage, they are no longer capable of evading Illaoi's God. Who will send Combat Tentacles from any walls the vessel stands near that freely take a swing at the poor chum. Leading to some situations where Illaoi can kill you from the other side of the map.
    • Camille's ultimate has her jump onto a single targeted nearby champion and briefly create an arena from which there is no escape, regardless of how many dashes, blinks, jumps, or Flashes you have available. Once Camille jumps on you, your only options are to fight back and kill Camille, survive until the arena dissipates, or have Camille herself leave the arena, which ends the effect early.
  • NetHack: Once you've found him and woken him up, The Wizard of Yendor will reappear periodically wherever you are, and taunt you for thinking you could elude him (if he was alive and on a different dungeon level). A slightly different taunt appears if he was killed instead (he revives after a while). Several high-level monsters, including the Wizard, will teleport to your location if you try to run away from the fight but are still on the same level.
  • Like many MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm has plenty of ways to prevent the opponent from fleeing or evading. A few examples:
    • Stitches, like Pudge in DOTA, has a hook that pulls in enemies.
    • Sonya has a hook that pulls her to enemies.
    • Illidan can flip over people, putting himself between them and escape.
    • Diablo is like Illidan, but instead of putting himself in front of an enemy hero, he picks up the hero and puts them behind himself - generally leaving them surrounded by enemy heroes with a Big Red Devil between them and escape.
  • In Atlas Reactor, the Frontliner characters all have moves that pull opposing targets to them, or slow/stop them from moving to let the Frontliner close the gap during movement. That is to say, all except Rask, who throws targets away from himself instead.
  • Streets of Rogue has many items that can keep enemies from escaping, such bear traps and dizzying grendades. An interesting variant comes up in the terrain generation in later levels (or anywhere with the mixed-up floors mutation) in the form of large indestructible barriers that the police can raise when alarmed, quarantining their target (often you) to a small area where avoiding a shootout can be difficult.

Non-game examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryoko uses this while fighting Inumuta, whose uniform has the ability to turn invisible. Instead of trying to find him, she simply grows her own uniform to cover the whole arena and flattens him like a fly.
    Inumuta (panicked): Evasion... impossible!

  • Sin City: Marv wins his second fight with Kevin by letting him get close and then handcuffing themselves together, therefore preventing Kevin from evading his devastating punches.