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Anti-Regeneration

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Fighting something with a Healing Factor is very difficult, as any injuries you inflict will rapidly be undone. Getting around this usually requires extreme force, special powers or tools, or clever tricks.

Ways of dealing with Healing Factor are:

  • Playing with Fire: Fire can cauterize wounds to prevent regeneration (including from death).
  • Kryptonite Factor: A special weapon or element, whether it be magical or scientific, can often do harm while ignoring a character's Healing Factor. Sometimes, this weapon or element will be connected to how the Healing Factor came about in the first place.
  • Excessive Damage: Healing Factor may have a limit of how much damage can be regenerated.
    • Complete Annihilation: Given situations like From a Single Cell, that is the only way to deal with such things.
    • A way of "distracting" the healing factor could be used, as in many instances, the regeneration power focuses on the most grave threat and moves on to lesser threats when those are dealt with, so a powerful toxin, disease, or radiation might take the full strength of the healing ability to combat, leaving the body vulnerable to more mundane damage like wounds, contusions, and bone breaks.
  • Achilles' Heel: There may be a specific place, such as the head, where something is the most vulnerable.
  • Preventing body parts from reattaching: Something that can reform itself can be defeated or severely hampered if a single body part is prevented from reattaching to the rest of the body.
  • Inflicting a Wound That Will Not Heal
  • Stealing the Healing Factor

Sub-Trope of Power Nullifier. Compare with See the Invisible and Immortal Breaker. Often the means of defeating a Reviving Enemy.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball features quite a few characters with Healing Factors who have had to be stopped.
  • One Piece: Buggy the Clown, who is capable of Detachment Combat, was initially defeated by Nami tying most of his body parts in a bundle before he could reassemble himself.
  • My Hero Academia: Endeavor defeats a Noumu with a "Super Regeneration" Quirk by making his flames hot enough to turn blue and carbonize the head off.
  • Toriko has shown various way to deal with characters and creatures with Healing Factor.
    • Brunch defeats Elg, a centaur that can create clones through regeneration, by putting him and his clones under an endless loop of electrification.
    • Midora bypasses Ichiyru's healing factor from Minority World, an ability that causes everything to behave in opposite ways than normally they do due to minor particles that defy physical law, by damaging him faster than he can regenerate with the Power of the Void.
    • Chiyo dices one of the branches of the Coral King into small and delicate pieces with a long ranged slashes and inhibit its regeneration by applying Knocking.
    • Overwhelming an someone to the point that their cells admit defeat will prevent them from regenerating and leave them at the mercy of the attacker.
  • In Soul Hunter, Chou Koumei's One-Winged Angel allows him to regenerate and, at the same time, grow even more by spreading his seeds around. Taikoubo ultimately does him in by using his reborn Dashinben to freeze him with incredibly icy winds from beyond the stratosphere.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo there are two notable examples:
    • As part of ther powers over Wood, Saishi of the Goyosei can regenerate at will from a single cell. Akira ultimately renders her power null by freezing and shattering her very cells, destroying her for good.
    • Juunishinsho Shindara the Deathless is empowered by a Mibu spell which gives him an incredibly powerful Healing Factor that makes him almost invincible in combat. Yukimura however manages to use his newly acquired Sekireigan and superior swordmastery to inflict so much damage that not even his spell can save him.
  • In 3×3 Eyes, the Wu's Healing Factor is shown to be flawless, to the point that Yakumo and Benares can recover even from complete disintegration, but there are still weaknesses... in the second series Yakumo is unable to regenerate his arm after it has been sealed in a special jar by Zhou Gui, and in the third one Xun Gui's stone breath makes Yakumo unable to regenerate or recover.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • The primary villain of Heavy Metal 2000 stumbles upon a fluid that can grant him Resurrective Immortality, provided he takes regular doses. Tyler goes on a quest for the source after attaining the key. He ends up squished under a huge stone door where regeneration would avail him naught. Further, The Mole unmasks himself, and attains access to the wellspring of eternal life. However, once the huge stone door closes, he's trapped in that chamber. As The Hero remarks: "Forever is a long time to spend all alone."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The beginning of Hercules Unchained has a fight against Antaeus, who recovers from all injury whenever he touches the ground. Unlike the original Greek myth, Hercules defeats Antaeus by throwing him into the sea.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In The Wolverine, Wolverine has a bio-mechanical healing suppressant device implanted in him, thanks to Viper. For a large portion of the film, Wolverine finds he is no longer healing as fast as usual and needs to have his wounds stitched up.
    • In Logan, it's finally revealed that the long-term effects of adamantium exposure is healing factor degeneration. Wolverine has had adamantium bound to his skeleton for years and isn't healing as well as he could. Ultimately, his healing factor is completely compromised and he dies.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs: Morphing normally heals all injuries, but there have been notable exceptions, few of which are explained beyond Drama-Preserving Handicap: suffering Mode Lock (Tobias is stuck in hawk morph at the beginning of the series so an injury would be particularly devastating, when the ability is restored he can heal but still has to live as a bird), a genetic disease (a crashed Andalite refuses to fight because the disease stays with him when he demorphs, while another is allergic to the morphing process and cannot repair his severed tail), time travel (Tobias breaks his wing while in the Cretaceous and can't restore it), and possibly old age (Jake ends up in a Bad Future where Rachel is a complete wreck in a wheelchair, with no indication that she'd lost her morphing ability).
  • In The Legend of Huma, the Dragonqueen's chief warlord Crynus was enchanted by the renegade wizard Galan Dracos to make him unkillable- his wounds close instantly as soon as the weapon that inflicts them is removed, and even decapitation didn't stop him (although his headless body does become very fixated on retrieving its head). Huma and Kaz attempt to impale him with the evil-destroying Dragonlance, but fail because, even headless, the body can tell what they're trying to do and it dives out of the way, which at least implies that it would have worked. Ultimately he's defeated when the Silver Dragon returns and unleashes a torrent of dragonfire on him, vaporising every last trace of his body.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • One of Hercules' task was to kill the Hydra, which regrows any heads you cut off. He succeeded when his nephew Iolaos started to cauterize the stumps with his torch.
    • The giant Antaeus challenged travelers to a wrestling match to the death, without mentioning that every time he was in contact with his mother the Earth (i.e., thrown to the ground), his health and energy were completely restored. When Heracles came along, he solved the problem by hoisting Antaeus in the air with one hand and strangling him with the other.
  • Often werewolves are given a healing factor that is neutralized by silver.
  • The Lambton Worm is an English legend about a dragon which kills by constriction and is difficult to kill because it can re-attach parts of its body that are cut off. It is eventually killed by John Lambton who, under the advice of a witch, lures the worm into the River Wear while wearing an armor covered in spearheads — the blades hurt the beast when it tries to constrict him, and the river flow washes its severed body parts away.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has this built into its game mechanics. For specific examples:
    • Trolls in Dungeons & Dragons possess a Healing Factor which can only be overcome by injuring them with fire or acid.
    • 1st Edition AD&D Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia, Greek Mythology section: each minute the giant Antaeus is in contact with the ground, he heals all damage and gains 25 additional Hit Points. The hero Heracles (Hercules) defeats him by lifting him off the ground and inflicting damage on him while doing so.
    • 1st and 2ndnd Edition AD&D. When someone wears a Ring of Regeneration, they can only be prevented from regenerating if their body is totally destroyed by fire or acid.
    • 2nd Edition AD&D Planescape boxed supplement Planes of Conflict. The Quesar live in the Upper Outer Plane of Elysium. They regenerate 1 Hit Point per round, even after being killed, as long as they're in daylight. To prevent them from regenerating you just have to keep them out of daylight, such as moving them underground or casting a spell to create darkness or summon thick cloud cover.
    • 3rd Edition introduced regeneration as a standard monster ability that converts all damage taken to nonlethal damage and cures a certain amount of nonlethal damage each turn; this makes one impossible to kill without a specific type of damage that does not get converted, usually fire or acid as with trolls. Other possibilities might involve silver for werecreatures or devils, cold iron for fae or demons, and absolutely nothing for the Tarrasque. Damage that bypasses regeneration cannot be healed by it, since regeneration only removes nonlethal damage and damage that bypasses regeneration remains lethal. That said, a creature with regeneration still falls unconscious when its nonlethal damage exceeds its current hit points, so a character who can't bypass the foe's regeneration can still (assuming that they are moderately competent in terms of raw damage output) inflict enough damage to knock the foe out and then continue to assault the unconscious enemy to pile on more nonlethal damage, then after ensuring the foe will be unconscious for long enough, do whatever they need to do in the area and then GTFO before they wake up.
    • 3rd Edition also includes fast healing, which heals a certain amount of damage (both lethal and nonlethal) on the bearer each round. This means that fast healing can't be bypassed, but since it doesn't convert lethal damage to nonlethal, a creature with fast healing can be killed by an opponent who can damage them fast enough to outpace the healing and bring them to -10 hp. Fast healing is virtually always low enough that is not difficult for any equal-level adversary with moderate competence in raw damage output to accomplish that task; it just becomes a bit more difficult than it would be otherwise.
    • There are also the Hydras, which, as in Mythology, will regrow two heads for every one cut if the wound isn't sealed — usually with fire or acid for most species, though the fire-breathing pyrohydra requires cold instead. They also have the aforementioned fast healing ability, meaning they regenerate wounds inflicted to the body very fast, although not beyond death, unlike trolls and other regenerating beings.
    • The 3.5th Edition sourcebook Dungeonscape adds Trollbane to the adventurer's arsenal, a poison that makes weapons coated in it deliver lethal damage to all regenerating creatures (not just trolls). Though the stuff being wiped after one strike, it's best to reserve a dose for a Coup de Grâce on a foe brought unconscious by nonlethal damage.
  • In Big Eyes, Small Mouth, any special attack with the No Regeneration modifier cannot be healed using the Healing or Regeneration attributes, and has to be healed naturally. The Incurable modifier is a stronger version of this, and basically inflicts Wounds That Will Not Heal.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • In Mage: The Awakening, the Abyss — a metaphysical wound in The Multiverse, separating the material world from the Supernal Realms — has the power to deal "resistant damage" that can't be magically healed. This is most often caused by absorbing the backlash from a Magic Misfire, but Black Magic practitioners can draw on the Abyss to inflict it as well.
    • In Werewolf: The Forsaken, werewolves take Aggravated damage from silver weapons, meaning that their Healing Factor can't fix it and they recover more slowly than a human would from the same injury. This is because Silver Has Mystic Powers granted by the Moon, a godlike primal Spirit with a deep-seated grudge against werewolves.
    • In Vampire: The Requiem, vampires take Aggravated damage from fire, sunlight, and some supernatural attacks; this can inflict immediate Final Death, takes days to regenerate (compared to seconds for a lesser injury), and consumes five times as much of their blood reserves to do heal. Zig-zagged in that they can train themselves to heal it faster.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon: The move Heal Block prevents the target Pokémon from healing, whether by its own moves, abilities, terrain, or items (for the last one, only Generation V and onward). Pokémon with the ability Liquid Ooze will also cause opponents that attempt to use draining moves on them to take damage instead of regenerating health.
  • Resident Evil 4: Regenerators and Iron Maidens can only be killed by using a special scope on a rifle to aim at specific places were the Las Plagas parasites are inside their bodies.
  • A few particularly powerful wizards in Arcanum have the ability to summon a regenerative cocoon at the moment of death, healing their wounds and increasing their lifespans. The Vendigroth Device is a weapon which was specifically designed to combat this technique, and exploits the fragile balance between magic and science to invert the cocoon and make it rip the mage apart instead.
  • The Serpent boss in Golden Sun: The Lost Age has a regeneration ability which lets it recover about 2/3rds of its max hitpoints at the end of every turn. However, the area above it has a series of light puzzles which, if completed, allow you to shine up to four beams of light onto it, potentially cutting its healing to a measly 30hp/turn instead.
  • Warcraft III:
    • The expansion introduced several freely available healing items that restore health and/or mana over time (Scroll of Regeneration, Clarity Potion...) with the caveat that the effect ends as soon as the unit takes damage.
    • Inverted with the Phoenix and Destroyer units, who have negative health and mana regeneration respectively. The Phoenix respawns every time it dies (unless its egg is destoryed), while the Destroyer has several spells that let it eat mana or status buffs to empower its attacks.
  • Overwatch: Ana's Biotic Grenade prevents enemies from healing temporarily, whether by Healing Factor or other healing sources.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has the GF Brothers, a pair of Earth-elemental minotaurs who gain the health-boosting 'Regen' buff when in contact with the ground. You can make the boss fight against them easier by casting the Float spell upon them to interfere with the Regen effect.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes has the Sneezing Zombie teammate, which prevents the plants and Plant Hero from healing as long as it's on the field. This is only useful against Plant Heroes with the Solar Class since they have the most healing-based cards, but is especially effective against them, shutting down the dangerous Heartichokenote  and Astro Veranote .
  • Diablo II: Some items may have the "Prevents Monster Healing" affix, which temporarily disables enemies' passive recovery of life points.
  • In Mass Effect 2, krogan and vorcha enemies can regenerate health when damaged. Burning them with an incendiary attack or using Warp on them will stop them from regenerating.
  • Vamp from the Metal Gear series has natural Healing Factor which is further augmented by experimental nano-machines in his body. When he's fought as a boss in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake manages to inject him with a nano-suppressing syringe, taking away enough of his healing for Raiden to kill him in the knife fight that follows.
  • In Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, Trolls do regenerate damage and heal indefinetively. You can kill them for sure using fire or acid damage.
  • In Darkest Dungeon, two enemies are capable of blocking healing moves from being used.
    • The Baron, the first boss of the Courtyard in the Crimson Court DLC, will summon four pods, one containing himself and the others containing Bloodsucker Mooks, which prevent healing moves from being used as long as at least one pod is intact. You can rupture a pod and release its inhabitant in one hit, no matter how weak, but doing this to all of them at once means you have to face the Baron and his flunkies all at the same time, and the Baron himself is enough of a handful to deal with.
    • The Hateful Virago, the ultimate Elite Mook of the Weald, can create Necrotic Fungi out of the corpses of her fallen allies. As long as at least one such Necrotic Fungus is on the field, you can’t use HP-restoring skills. The solution to this is to either eliminate the Hateful Virago first, make sure to kill the other enemies in a way that won’t leave a corpse, or eliminate any corpse left by a fallen foe immediately.
  • Skullgirls: Cerebella kills Miss Fortune, who swallowed the Life Gem that granted immortality to her, by crushing her. Given that Miss Fortune typically survives lethal attacks by reattaching severed body parts, there is no way it applies when said body parts are completely destroyed.

    Web Animation 
  • Death Battle has several fights where this is used by a character to defeat their regenerating opponent.
    • Deadpool vs. Deathstroke: The Carbonadium sword of Deadpool's is capable of removing Deathstroke's healing factor, allowing the Merc with a Mouth to decapitate him.
    • Kirby vs. Majin Buu: The fight ends with Kirby inhaling and blasting Buu's own attack back at him, pushing him into the sun. While the former didn't kill Buu due to his ability to regenerate from a single atom, getting blasted into the sun and thus having his atoms ionized certainly did.
    • Wolverine vs. Raiden: While the former had a very powerful Healing Factor and an adamantium skeleton, the latter's HF Muramasa, being a Vibroweapon, was capable of weakening the Adamantium's molecular bonds. Eventually, Raiden ends up slicing Wolverine's head off and cutting that to bits, preventing the mutant from regenerating ever again.
    • Hulk vs. Doomsday: Both combatants have a powerful healing factor, but Doomsday is able to overtax Hulk's by stabbing him with venomous bone claws several times and leaving said claws embedded in there.
    • Sephiroth vs. Vergil: Vergil had a top-notch healing factor that could easily allow him to shrug off impalement and even getting bisected. Sephiroth's Super Nova manages to overtax it via the heat and power of an exploding sun, allowing him to finish the weakened Vergil off.

    Web Comics 
  • One-Punch Man: Melzargard's head has a small marble-like brain which allows them to regenerate endlessly. If a marble is destroyed, the associated head melts instantly, and Melzargard dies once they're all destroyed. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that he has multiple heads and can freely move his brains within his body. However, his regeneration always begins with his heads, meaning that the brain can be easily found if his body is completely destroyed and forced to regenerate from scratch.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Queen Moon used black magic to neutralize Toffee's healing factor, making him unable to regenerate. That's why he's missing his finger. Later, Star goes Golden Super Mode and blasts him with so much magic at once that his healing factor can't keep up and he's left barely alive and unable to come back from getting a pillar crushing what's left of him.
  • Gems in Steven Universe can fully replace most of their bodies after some time because they're a projection of their gemstones. Damage to the gemstone itself mangles the rest of their body, is apparently very difficult to heal (Rose and Steven's healing powers are the only known way), and enough will kill them permanently. Gems trying to take other gems alive generally "poof" their bodies, then put their unharmed gemstone in a Containment Field that prevents regeneration. The standard strategy of the less merciful seems to be poofing the projected body before shattering the gemstone, while Bismuth's Breaking Point was designed specifically to shatter gems immediately mid-fight.

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