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Back Stab

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"Nothin' beat surprise — 'cept rock."

Found usually in RPGs and Stealth Based Games. A type of attack that gives you a chance to use stealth and surprise your victim, dealing massive, often lethal damage with a single hit.

Usually a Back Stab requires the player character to be right behind the target. Often this is the only way to dispatch an enemy undetected. This attack is a staple of assassins, spies, and other similar characters or character classes.

As with One-Hit Kill, some enemies can be immune to this (typically those lacking the biology that make any one particular spot on its body more vulnerable than another, such as slimes or golems). The opposite of this is typically the Finishing Move.

Tabletop and video game-specific subtrope of In the Back. This is for a gameplay mechanic. If the non-game example does not explicitly refer to one (e.g., rules, damage bonuses, etc.), please move to In the Back. Not to be confused with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, though the two may overlap.


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Video Games

  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed had two different versions of these; the discreet Low Profile Kills you could do within two feet of a guard and walk away from without attracting attention, and the flashy High Profile Kills that scared the crap out of everyone but could be initiated while running and from a greater distance.
    • In the sequel, Ezio can not only use the styles of kill described above, but in a straight-up fight if you work your way around behind somebody who is fighting someone else, and hit the attack button, Ezio will (unless they're not a mook) do an instant kill move with his current weapon. With the long sword and hidden blade, it's an honest-to-god back stab. With the short blade, he actually grabs the enemy with his free arm and plunges the blade into their chest. And with a hammer he, well....what happens is very....crunchy.
  • Back Stab allows you this special move to take down enemy mooks from behind. The title is actually double-meaning though, as your character is an innocent man backstabbed by your former commanding officer.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum gives the eponymous hero a few low-profile KO moves like the Silent Takedown (performed from behind) or the appropriately named Corner Takedown. In Predator stages, these moves can be pretty important since most enemies are packing heat and you can't take sustained fire for very long. In Batman: Arkham City Batman can also perform a quicker but noisier Knockout Smash.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, the enemy soldiers are nearly impossible to defeat in normal combat but have a weak spot in the breathing tanks they wear, which you can hit if you sneak up behind them or shoot them with a gyrodisk. One hit there leaves them stumbling around helpless, a second one makes them fly into the air and explode.
  • Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain has almost the same implementation of the idea as Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, but did it first.
  • In the original Castle Wolfenstein, you did double damage to opponents if you attacked them from behind. In the sequel, your character could backstab and kill any Nazi soldier in one hit if you had the dagger equipped.
    • The instant-kill dagger backstab was brought back for RtCW.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has the Dead Pirate soul - you can attack enemies from behind normally, but this soul allows Soma to do double damage to an enemy attacked from behind. Combine it with a strong soul or weapon, and the damage output can be rather high!
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • One of the weapons in Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven was the baseball bat. A fully charged swing from behind would knock anyone out cold instantly. There was little use for this (Mafia being a run-and-gun game for the most part, after all), but there's a part of "Better Get Used To It" mission where Tommy and Paulie are beating the crap out of the hoodlums with bats - and with careful maneuvering around the bad guys, Tommy could score several one-hit-KOs this way. Just be careful not to hit Paulie with this attack.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones gives the Prince the ability to do something called "Speed Kills" where if the enemy doesn't know you're there you can basically jump on their back and kill them instantly.
    • These become pretty important late in the game when failing to use Speed Kills will result in being outnumbered in the ensuing battle very quickly. Against enemies that love to counter your every attack. And those Quicktime Events were the ONLY way to finish off certain bosses. If you kept failing the speed kill, the boss just would not die.
  • [PROTOTYPE] allows you to do a stealth kill from behind, which allows you to kill someone and immediately take their place without alerting anyone, as opposed to simply killing them with gore all around.
    • Inverted in the trailer, which had a move not in the game where blades came out of Mercer's back into a guy who had grabbed him from behind.
  • You can even do this in Red Dead Redemption if you come up behind someone with the throwing knife out. And yes, it's very awesome.
  • In the Uncharted series melee attacking an enemy in the back will insta-kill them, assuming they haven't seen you.

    Action Games 
  • You can execute a variety of one-hit kill attacks (depending on armament) from behind in Lugaru: The Rabbit's Foot while your victim is startled or if you sneak up unnoticed. Thrown knives are also a one-hit kill on unarmored mooks, but are almost always dodged by wary targets.
    • One of these, with the sword, is actually called "Backstabber" (the others are "Spinecrusher" for the unarmed melee move, and "Tracheotomy" for the knive-to-the-throat).
  • Oni has the Backbreaker move, which can only be performed when behind a target but can One-Hit Kill most enemies.

    Action RPGs 
  • Sneaking behind someone in Alpha Protocol gives you the option of a back stab or a nonlethal takedown with a button prompt. Both are One Hit Kills that cause the victim to go down for the count silently, but the killing one is slightly faster.
  • Bloodborne changes the backstab mechanic into visceral attack. In order to backstab an enemy, you have to land a charge attack from behind to stagger the enemy, then land the visceral attack.
  • Bloody Spell allows you this move to take down enemies from behind. You'll shove your blade through their backs instantly, though stronger enemies will recover after falling down and fight back.
  • In Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, backstabbing your way through the game is a legitimate tactic. Most enemies will die instantly and quietly by a dagger through the top of the spine. Even better, their fellows will come to check the body, often with their backs to the shadows. Another tactic is to use the staff's special attack to knock an opponent onto their back, then rapidly switch to daggers to deliver a finishing blow.
  • Many humanoid enemies (and a few nonhumanoid ones) can be backstabbed in Dark Souls. Especially effective when paired with the Hornet Ring, which increases Critical damage by 50%.
    • In multiplayer, backstabs are infamous for being overpowered or at least very unfair because of Hit Box Dissonance and lag, especially since the moment you start an attack from a position considered the "back" your opponent is immobilized until the attack is complete, letting people "fish" for backstabs by suddenly rolling to someone's side, locking on mid-roll to change direction, then attacking. For this reason Dark Souls II changed the mechanic so an attack from the back just starts a stab which doesn't immobilize the enemy until it makes contact, giving them a chance to dodge or turn around.
    • The Ironclad enemies in Dark Souls II wear armor that resemble tortoise shells that No-Sell backstabs. Getting behind them is actually a bad idea since they will simply fall backwards to deal heavy damage. Player characters who wear the armor also enjoy immunity to backstabs. The Jester's Robe also prevents backstabs and other sources of Critical Hits from doing extra damage, though the animation will still play.
  • If you attack an enemy from behind in Demon's Souls this is what will happen. Especially useful for the Thief class and pretty much any dagger user because daggers are the only weapon that get an extra bonus (even more than others' weapons) doing so, and fatal daggers pretty much do Massive Damage in these situations.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution and its sequel, attacking an enemy who isn't actively in combat with you — or who are, but unaware of your presence — allows you to do a takedown, either downing or killing them with a quick cutscene. Some lethal takedowns actually do stab their victims in the back.
  • The Elf in Dragon's Crown has the Backstab skill, which lets her deal more damagenote  whenever she attacks an enemy from behind with a dagger.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, if you manage to get behind an enemy, you can backstab them for a damage bonus.
    • Possible to do in Morrowind with a high enough Sneak skill. Striking an enemy while undetected gives you an increased Critical Hit chance.
    • Oblivion:
      • You generally need to be behind your enemy to deliver a Sneak Attack (dealing a basic 4x damage, but increasing with your Sneak-skill). But if you're good enough at sneaking, the enemy bad enough at detection, and the shadows deep enough, you CAN actually sneak-attack somebody in the face. You can also sneak attack at range with a bow.
      • If your sneak is high enough, you can even hit the enemy with another sneak attack, and then another, and another, and so on and so forth.
    • Skyrim:
      • Skyrim has a perk in the Sneak skill that causes sneak attacks with dagger-type weapons to do 15x normal damage. Realistically this can only be done when behind an enemy. Often triggers a brief execution cinematic, depending on the weapon used and the type of enemy.
      • On top of that, there are gloves you can find that give "double back-stab damage" allowing daggers to do 30x normal damage and one-shot just about anything in the game, including some Dragons. By the way, if you abuse Smithing, Alchemy, and Enchanting with the modifiers from The Sallow Regent and Ahzidal's set, and pray at the Shrine of Boethiah, it is possible to get a dagger that hits for over 1000 damage naturally with no exploits. This means you can deal over 30,000 damage with a single backstab (not even a power attack!)
      • If you max out Sneak you get a perk that lets you click your crouch button to vanish briefly to disorient attackers... long enough for a stealth attack. Yes, you can backstab someone right in their face. You can also facestab people by using the Illusion spells Invisibility and Muffle, which when combined together make you essentially undetectable no matter what your skill in Stealth is.
  • All melee weapons in E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy can stealthily one-hit-kill any enemy (besides the Interceptor) with a back stab. On the other hand, most weapons don't particularly need the damage - the Damocles sets enemies on fire and gibs them, and the Arrancadora De Tripas (Gut Ripper) creates warp distortions and lightning upon contact with flesh, then gibs them. Both weapons make a ton of noise when doing special damage, which has no effect on their stealthiness.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 includes backstabbing, along with stealth chainsaw kills. Attacking in general while undetected results in a Sneak Attack Critical on whoever is hit. While not necessarily a guaranteed kill, it provides a very high damage bonus for executing.
      • Earlier titles have the Silent Death perk, which grants double damage for melee attacks from behind while sneaking.
    • Fallout 4 also has backstabbing, and includes the perk Ninja, which increases the amount of damage dealt when attacking an unaware target.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has enhanced damage for non-detected backstabs with a dagger weapon.
  • In Let It Die, you suplex unaware enemies from behind, and since it's this game's equivalent of a stealth attack no one hears your fighter screaming when he smashes their friend's head to the ground.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the DLC character Kasumi Goto's signature ability is Shadow Strike. She cloaks herself, making her invisible to everyone (including you), runs up to an enemy, and stabs them, at which point she turns visible again. It's notable mainly for being one of only two melee abilities in the entire game (the other is Vanguard Shepard's Charge).
    • Playing as an Infiltrator class can also give you a damage bonus if you attack while invisible.
    • Stealth kills returned in Mass Effect 3, with Shepard now able to pull enemies from behind cover (after sneaking into melee range) to stab them to death with the omni-blade. In addition, each character class has its own heavy melee attack, usually a variation on the omni-blade stab. (If playing a biotic class, the omni-blade is replaced by a biotically-charged punch or backhand.)
      • In multiplayer, the N7 Shadow (essentially a cross between the Infiltrator and Cerberus Phantoms, complete with sword) gets a version of Kasumi's Shadow Strike as one of their abilities. Slightly weird in that the ability teleports the user behind the target's field of view rather than the character model; if your target is peeking out from cover, you'll materialise in front of their body (instead of inside whatever they're hiding behind), but 180° from where they're looking.
      • The Vanguard's Biotic Charge + a heavy melee from behind the target, or a heavy melee from behind by a cloaked Infiltrator, can also have this effect.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2's Fighter class has the "Wise Stance" skill, which increases damage dealt when hitting enemies from behind but decreases the damage from attacking head-on. (Their other skill, "Brave Stance", is the opposite.)
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus: Thrown Pokéballs have a higher chance of success if they hit a Pokémon from behind, and Pokémon caught in this way grant higher cash rewards from the Professor. Catch rates also increase when throwing a Pokéball at a Pokémon unaware of the player's presence, especially if it's asleep, and doing so is required for some research tasks. Amusingly, the NPC who explains these mechanics to the player reveals himself in the post-game to be the Big Bad, and attacks the player now that they've outlived their usefulness.
  • Flece from Summoner had a backstab ability that could get completely out of hand. Not only could a number of items giving stackable bonuses to backstab raise it to absurd levels about halfway through the game, but Flece had a bunch of abilities that could knock an enemy prone in the heat of combat (virtually unopposed with a chain attack.) Since you get huge bonuses when attacking prone enemies, this means Flece could repeatedly deal well over 3000HP of damage in a couple of attacks, vastly outclassing the rest of the party.
    • Sangaril has the same ability in Summoner 2. If the enemy doesn't realize she's there, it deals such heavy damage that in most cases it's a one-hit KO. Once she learns Paralyze, you're pretty much set. It's no use on Bosses or monsters who are resistant to Piercing, though.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, you can Sneak behind most anthropomorphic enemies (i.e. humans and vampires but not monsters) and perform a "stealth kill". To elaborate, the "stealth kills" include:
    • Neck Snap with your bare hands (also the default animation if you carry a ranged weapon).
    • Slashed Throat with a knife.
    • Chest Impalement with a katana or anything similar (complete with Japanese sound effect).
    • Swinging your sledgehammer above your head and smashing your enemy's head into tiny little pieces. No kidding.
    • Swinging a bush hook into the victim's neck at high speed, both impaling and breaking the neck at the same time.
    • Another more useful (if less satisfying) method of back stabbing was to sneak up on a (humanoid) foe, grab him, and suck his blood till he drops dead. Not only is it stealthy, it also replenishes your blood supply, which allows you to use Disciplines. A good strategy for character with a low stealth stat but have the Trance Discipline is to use it on any unwary foe, run up, drain him dry, and repeating the routine for the next 50 enemies or so.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles series there's plenty of combat arts that deal more damage and/or provide additional bonuses when used from enemy's back or side.
    • In the first game every such art has unique properties. For example, Shulk's Back Slash merely deals double damage when used from behind, while Riki's Bitey Bitey deals no additional damage, but fills the Party Gauge and doubles Bleed duration. There's also a gem type that increases damage, inflicted from behind, effectively turning everything into a backstab.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Positional arts are largely the same as in the first game, but it also introduces an inversion - an art that provides bonuses when used from the front.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 streamlines the system, equalizing positional bonuses for all combat arts. Arts with "Back attack ↑" property deal 100-150% more damage, while similar properties for side and front attacks provide smaller bounses, making backstabs generally stronger.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 makes positional arts an integral part of its combat system. When an Attacker character correctly uses one, it charges their Talent Art. Back and side attacks now have equal damage multipliers, which is still larger than that of "Front Attack Up" arts. Positional attacks with special effects also return, now able to inflict Status Effects only from certain positions, most commonly from the enemy's back.

    Adventure Games 
  • The thief class in the Quest for Glory series could sometimes do this. In the fifth game, the thief could sneak up behind certain enemies and knock them out with a blackjack to the back of the head. In the Fan Remake of the second game, the thief could sneak up on random enemies in the desert and throw a dagger in their back for extra damage. (if your strength and throwing were high enough, this would usually drop the lesser monsters in one hit)

    Beat 'em Up 

    Fighting Games 
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In Melee, one of the possible bonuses for Classic mode is the appropriately named "Backstabber", obtained for primarily attacking opponents from behind.
    • 3DS/Wii U adds two characters with attacks that have bonus effects if done in the back: Robin's Nosferatu absorbs more damage from the enemy is they are caught from behind, and Shulk's Back Slash has increased power if it strikes his opponent's back, just like in his home game.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Battlefield series. Getting knifed in the back is a humiliating way to go in multiplayer.
    • Varies by the game. In Battlefield 2142 and the Bad Company series, every hit with a knife is lethal. Aside from Bad Company 1, however, the time it takes to draw and use your knife is generally longer than how quickly an enemy can just shoot you, it's generally only safe to utilize it as a backstab.
    • Battlefield 3 actually rewards you with a special animation if you manage to pull off this move, involving your guy stabbing the enemy and removing their dog tags in a single stroke.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock awards bonus damage for sneak attacks with the wrench as well as guns. This can get ridiculous by stacking tonics that increase the sneak attack damage of the wrench and the damage of the wrench in general, turning it into the strongest weapon in the game. Especially since you don't even need to actually play stealthily at all. Simply stun an enemy with Electro Bolt or Insect Swarm and the game will count them as being unaware of your presence for the duration of the stun even if they were just shooting at you a second ago, so you can walk right up to them and smack them right in the face and still get full damage for a "sneak" attack.
    • The Burial at Sea DLC for BioShock Infinite adds the ability to perform sneak-kills with the Air Grabber, the Rapture equivalent of Columbia's Sky-Hook. If you melee an unaware enemy, it's a One-Hit Kill. Though when Elizabeth does it, they're just knocked unconscious for the duration, not killed. This is the only way to hurt enemies with the Air Grabber as Elizabeth; otherwise it just pushes them back.
  • In Borderlands 2, Zer0 has a "Backstab" skill that gives him bonus melee damage if he attacks someone from the back as well as an "Ambush" skill that gives him bonus damage if he attacks enemies from behind or ones that aren't targeting him. Additionally, his Decepti0n Action Skill gives him a damage bonus if he attacks from cloak.
  • In the later Call of Duty games, the player's knife is an instant kill to unsuspecting enemies.
  • In Counter-Strike, the knife, which is available to all players, has two attack modes: slashing and stabbing. The latter does much more damage at the cost of being much slower, and is a guaranteed one-hit kill against a player whose back is turned.
  • The Endless Nightmare sequels allows you to do this, provided if the zombies, ghouls, or demons have their backs facing you. A green indicator will appear on a target's back to notify when you can execute the attack, depending on the entries you either stab them literally in the backs (Hospital), deliver a Neck Snap (Shrine) or bludgeon their skulls with a brick (Prison).
  • If you sneak up behind Combine soldiers in Half-Life 2, you can dispatch them with a single pistol bullet to the back of the head, even on Hard mode.
  • Far Cry:
    • In Far Cry 3, you can use various types of backstabbing that include: stabbing a person and then using their grenade or gun to kill more enemies, killing them from above or from below (from a ledge, for example), or throwing a knife to kill an enemy near the guy you just killed. Unlike other examples, you don't necessarily need to stab them in the back, they only need to be unprepared when you attack.
      • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has, in addition to stealth backstabs, the ability to assassinate a second enemy with a shuriken immediately afterwards.
    • Ajay from Far Cry 4 can do this against the driver of another vehicle.
  • Halo:
    • You can hit someone with your gun. Normally this is mainly useful against weak or injured enemies, but from behind it's a one-hit kill. Flood are immune to this (except in Halo 3, but that's because they're weak in that game to melee in general), but it's pretty damn hard to get behind them in the first place anyways.
    • When Bungie said that Halo 3: ODST would feature "tactical stealth gameplay", this is pretty much what they meant. Being a normal (if exceptionally trained) human, your best bet for surviving in New Mombasa is attacking patrols from behind, "silently" taking out the enemies in the back with melee attacks. Straight-up firefights are also possible, but much riskier.
    • The games from Halo: Reach onward have assassination animations, several of which involve literally backstabbing someone.
  • The Assassin's class in Hexen II acquires this skill once she reaches a certain level. It only multiplies the Katar's damage instead of killing instantly, otherwise it pretty much fits to a T, down to the name of the skill. Not that it's easy to do outside of multiplayer.
  • In Postal 2, the Balisong is not all that strong a weapon when used from the front, even against civilians, but shank an unaware person from behind and the damage is enough that most will go down in one stab. This is not guaranteed on cops, soldiers, or Taliban, however.
  • The chief modus operandi of the Spy class in Team Fortress Classic and Team Fortress 2.
    • The Pyro has a weapon suited for this tactic, the Backburner, which, while not a guaranteed instant kill, triples the already high flamethrower damage when used from behind (and even if the enemy gets away, there is a good chance that he'll die from the burn damage). The problem is the Knife registers a backstab from 80 degrees to each side of the enemy's back… axis, and the Backburner, only 45 degrees. In addition, if the target turns around after being fired at, the triple damage stops rolling in and the Pyro is quickly blasted in the face (compared to the Spy's backstab being instant death). Hence the fandom name "BADburner"…
      • From the Love & War Update comes the Back Scatter, a shotgun for the scout that gives a smaller clip size and less accuracy in exchange for doing mini-crits when shooting someone in the back at close range.
    • There are a handful of counters for the Spy's instant-kill backstab: A Medic's UberCharge (active) makes him invulnerable, the Sniper's Razorback shield (passive) blocks one backstab attempt and momentarily paralyzes the Spy's handsnote  and a Scout with Bonk! Atomic Punch (active) which makes him invulnerable. Throughout the game's patching other ways have existed to survive being backstabbed without invulnerability, such as the Spy's Dead Ringer watch (active) which fakes death and once reduced damage by 9/10 (since the back stab's damage is equal to 6 times your health they only lose about half their current health). As of this time, any backstab against a target that is not invulnerable will kill.
    • There's also "Your Eternal Reward", an alternate knife that requires the Spy to sacrifice an entire cloak meter to make use of his disguise kit, but upon a backstab immediately disposes the victim's body and causes the Spy to take his appearance - allowing him to easily infiltrate and destroy a large group without them noticing.
    • Due to some glitches the spy can sometimes backstab people in the face. This is usually referred to by the community as a facestab. Also the inverse can happen where a spy can slash at someone's back registering as if you were attacking them from the front. And even sometimes the game registers a hit, and plays a sound, but nothing else happens. This is sometimes called a failstab. This bug happens when 2 players have different ping of 100 or more, or the server had a small bug. Reattempting to do the stab again works most of the time.
    • And, finally, there's the Heavy's pair of winter mittens, the Holiday Punch, which, when punching someone from backstab range, forces them to stand in place and do their "Schadenfreude" taunt (laughing uncontrollably). Which can be exploited to hilarious ends. It even works on Übercharged enemies and Bonk scouts. Though they will remain invulnerable unless their charge runs out, the delay can waste much of the eight-second uber. If the medic himself is hit, however, he will not be able to heal for the duration of the taunt, meaning his teammate(s) will suddenly find themselves vulnerable.
  • In Titanfall, enemies on foot (including Grunts, Specters, and other Pilots) can be dispatched immediately from behind with an attack from the rear which replaces their kick with a Neck Snap.

    Hack and Slash 
  • The next gen Ninja Gaiden 3 allows you to use these on occasions. Seeing Ryu Hayabusa using stealth sure is at odds with the rest of the series.

  • In City of Villains, the "Assassin's Strike" and "Hide" abilities are the entire point of the Stalker class, which is otherwise a somewhat weaker version of City of Heroes' Scrapper.
    • Were. The Assassin's Strike itself was changed so it lands a To Hit Debuff on everything within 30 feet and has a 25% chance of making everything within 30 feet quake in fear. Furthermore, their overall damage was raised, and they now possess a chance to land critical hits outside of Hidden status, a higher chance than that of Scrappers! In addition to this, each teammate within a certain distance of them grants a + 3% addition to their critical hit chance. On a tightly grouped team, a Stalker can have up to 31% chance to land a critical! Scrappers are still better head-on combatants, but Stalkers hold their own in a fight.
      • A Stalker attack always has a chance to crit. If performed from stealth, it's a 100% chance to crit, thanks to their class ability "Assassination". Using the special "assassin's strike" attack allows them to Backstab the opponent for extra damage. Toss Placate in, and they can get a free crit or even another Backstab in while in the middle of a fight. The Arachnos Epic Archetypes also possess this ability (with the sole exception of the Crab Spider).
  • As mentioned in Tabletop Games, this is a favored Rogue tactic in Dungeons & Dragons Online. One of the best ways to get a Sneak Attack on someone is to use your Sneak ability to get behind them and then make with the stabbing.
  • In the free MMORPG Lunia, Tia has the backstab attack, whose damage is tripled if she uses it against the enemy's back.
  • Nexus Clash gives bonus damage for attacking from hiding, at the cost of some accuracy. However, it is that it's possible to sneak attack somebody over and over again. In one earlier version of the game, it was possible to sneak attack with a fire truck. The Fallen even have a whole skill tree of backstabbing-based powers that employ a special backstabbing dagger.
  • The Backstab is an innate ability of all Dagger weapons in Pirates of the Caribbean Online, giving bonus damage for an attack against any enemy if you hit them in the back.
  • The "Mortal Rising" skill that Dhan assassins get in the MMORPG R.O.H.A.N. Online allows a chance for a crit on the first attack that you make out of stealth mode, which goes up to 100% when maxed-out (pretty much guaranteeing a crit on the first attack), and is especially nasty when used with "Deadly Blow," a buff which increases your crit damage based on how much Agility you have. "Sudden Attack" is another skill that allows you to attack for high damage while still in stealth mode before coming out of it for combat.
  • Ragnarok Online has this as one of the Rogue class' skills. It's strong enough to take out weaker enemies in a single hit but eventually gets completely overshadowed by stronger, less situational skills, largely due to it receiving a nerf that causes targets struck by it to automatically turn around, preventing it from being spammed.
  • In Runes of Magic, the Rogue class has two abilities that require you be behind the target, and a skill that instantly warps you behind your target. Backstabs, however, are not the main focus of the class.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic's Scoundrel class has the Backblast ability, which is a backstab with a shotgun.
    • And the Operative class, the Imperial mirror of the Scoundrel, has the more traditional backstab with a (vibro)knife.
    • Over on the Force-using side of things, the Jedi Shadow and Sith Assassin have similar abilities that use a double-bladed lightsaber.
  • Tower of Fantasy:
    • Certain weapons like Crow's daggers can deliver a devastating attack that can only be initiated while crouching behind the target.
    • Breaking certain bosses' shields can allow a player to cling to their back and stab them for a few seconds, dealing massive damage while the boss tries to shake the attacker off. This is helpful in team battles as it gives the rest of the party a few seconds of free damage.
  • In World of Tanks, you'll find that attacking your opponents in the back is very efficient, as tanks always have the armor strongest in front.
  • Rogues in World of Warcraft get several moves that are only effective from behind:
    • Backstab (self-explanatory), which requires a dagger in the main hand.
    • Garrote (does damage over time)
    • Ambush (a more powerful version of Backstab which can only be used while stealthed)
    • Shadowstep (instantly teleports the rogue behind their target and increases their movement speed and the damage of their next attack (absolutely lethal when it's combined with one of the above. It can easily deal 3000 damage with no twinking).
    • And there's Cheap Shot, a move that stuns the target and gives two combo points (other skills give one). It's as cheap as it sounds. Although only requires stealth or the Subtlety tree's Shadow Dance, the rogue can smack some muppet in the face if they so choose.
    • Druids can change into catform to imitate Rogues, having several moves that can only be used from behind as well: Shred and Ravage (roughly equal to Backstab and Ambush, respectively). Pounce on the other hand (which stuns and has a similar effect to Garrote) only requires stealth but can be used frontal as well (although doing so is riskier).
    • Furthermore, all melee attacks benefit from the attacker being behind the target. Attacks made in this manner cannot be parried or blocked. Unless you're attacking an NPC.
      • The computer can even dodge attacks made in their back. Don't ask how they pull that off.

  • Awesomenauts: Leon can pick up the Backstab Blade item, which causes his auto-attacks to deal extra damage to targets from behind.
  • Dota 2: Riki the Stealth Assassin has his passive Cloak and Dagger skill that allows him to deal additional damage based on his Agility when attacking from behind.
  • Heroes of the Storm: Although they don't deal extra damage from behind, Valeera's openers and Zeratul's Vorpal Blade ability teleport them behind their target, likely to obliterate whoever they jumped on.

    Multi-User Dungeons 
  • Thieves and Assassins in Discworld MUD get this command. All players can learn the similar Ambush command.
  • The Thunder Dome II and Thunder Dome X MUDs have the greatest variety of sneak attacks. Rogues could backstab to initiate combat and later circle to get multiple backstabs in the same combat. Assassins could also disembowel, a surprise attack to the guts. Spies could interdict for massive damage at the start of a fight, and attempt again in mid-fight. A ninja could neck-break, often an instant kill performed barehanded. Pirates could throat-stab. Barbarians and wrestlers could suicide roll, grappling an enemy from behind and spinning backward, smashing the enemy's head into the ground.

  • Flashback's 2013 remake gives Conrad an "Execution Sneak" ability, and awards the "Finish Him" achievement for pulling it off for the first time.
  • Rockman 4 Minus ∞: In certain battles, Shadowman will seemingly leap off-screen before performing this One-Hit Kill move.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • In all games since the second one Sly can OHKO enemies if he gets right behind them without being detected. Otherwise he has to brawl and they usually alert other guards that way. This move is still somewhat noisy until it's upgraded to 'Silent Obliteration'.
    • Bentley gets this ability in the third game, even if you omit the sleep dart. By slipping a BOMB into the back pocket. Sneaky, yes; stealthy, doubtful.

  • The Binding of Isaac: The item Backstabber causes Isaac's tears to deal double damage and apply a hefty Damage Over Time if they hit enemies from behind.
  • Dead Cells: The Assassin's Dagger and the Blowgun deal critical damage if it hits the enemy's back. The Vorpan and Panchaku is an inversion, which deals critical damage if you hit them from the front.
  • Heavily used by certain builds in Dungeon Crawl, where it multiplies damage according to your Stabbing skill.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In The Age of Decadence, attacks to the back of a character inflict 10 bonus damage, while attacks to the flanks inflict 5.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura there's a Backstab skill that gives you a good damage bonus if you attack an enemy from behind, and a HUGE damage bonus if you attack from behind and the enemy is also unaware of your presence.
  • It's a spell Lars can use in Aveyond if he chooses to join the Elite Mage guild.
  • The Thief classes and the Ranger subclass Stalker in the Baldur's Gate series can backstab. The Assassin class appears in the second game as a Thief subclass. Along with a couple other benefits, their backstab multiplier tops out at x7 (at level 21) instead of x5 (at level 13) for other Thief classes. Someone on Bioware's forums twinked out an assassin as much as the game's rules would allow and got 1064 damage out of one backstab – easily more than enough to one-shot anything not immune to backstabs.
  • Case 02: Paranormal Evil: Miasma zombies and vampires are powerful when attacked from the front or side, but weaker when attacked from behind. Unfortunately, back attacks cannot be used against the ones summoned during the Final Boss fight.
  • In Chrono Trigger, sneaking up behind a guard during the prison break-out scene allows you to 1-hit them to make them 'Pass out' without an actual fight scene.
  • Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel both feature this as an offensive tactic for characters wielding daggers and other small blades. In the first one, a character must learn a talent to unlock it, and it can be hard to line characters up right; in the second, anyone can do it as long as they have the right weapons equipped, and there's a handy cone stretching behind enemies that shows where you need to be standing to do it. Backstabs are automatic critical hits, which start at 55% more damage and scale with other skills.
  • Dragon Age: Rogue class are capable of the same thing. Park Leliana or Zevran behind an enemy to inflict massive damage.
    • Anyone can take advantage of flanking bonuses in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. Rogues can develop more expert skill at this, with wider flanking angles, increase critical chance and damage, and completely penetrate defenses. DA2 gives them this as an active attack, which allows them to Flash Step directly to the rear.
  • Edge of Eternity has a damage bonus for attacks from behind.
  • In Evil Islands, backstab does extra damage but does not guarantee a kill. If you're attacking a strong enemy, you must be sure to aim to the head if possible to perform the most damage possible. You can also spend your EXP points on a backstab upgrade that increases damage when attacking from behind (the hero starts with this).
  • In several Final Fantasy games, if your target is facing away from you when you attack it, you will deal double damage.
    • Final Fantasy XV has it in the form of 'Blind-Side' damage and occasionally combines it with Combination Attack via Link Strikes which are often triggered this way.
    • Final Fantasy XI has the Thief class have two different abilities: Sneak Attack, which deals large damage when behind an enemy, and Trick Attack, which, at first, deals somewhat more damage than a normal attack when behind a party member, and passing the hate from that attack to that party member. Both are normally combined, normally called SATA, to ensure the tank has good hate, but this changes at level 60, when the Assassin trait allows Trick Attack to have the same massive damage effect as Sneak Attack, and thusly both abilities are used separately, normally using a Weapon Skill with Trick Attack.
      • In addition, the Ninja class gains the Innin ability at level 40, which, while not a "true" backstab, gives them a decent size bonus to accuracy and critical hit chance when attacking from behind (at the expense of lowering their own evasion) for a short time.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has comparable abilities to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: they don't need to be executed from behind, but with all other skills, doing so significantly increases their chance of success.
      • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 replaces the accuracy boost (which would be unnecessary because most attacks are perfectly accurate by default) with more damage: 50% extra on the sides, 100% extra in the back. The Sneak Attack skill is the closest to an actual backstab as it changes the side boost to 100% and the back damage boost to 300%.
      • And in the original Tactics, while attacking from behind usually didn't boost damage, it did guarantee a hit with physical attacks, ignoring dodge or block bonuses from shields. The Sword Grasp ability still worked fine, though.
      • More specifically, there are 3 categories of "dodging." Class evasion works only from the front and depends on your class (Thieves and Ninjas dodge more, for example). Shield evasion works from both the front and the sides, although only a few classes can equip shields. Accessory evasion (granted by capes) works regardless of which direction the attack is coming from, although not everyone wears capes because the accessory slot is pretty valuable. Tactically, attacking from the side is usually just as good as from behind, except against knights with shields. The aforementioned Sword Grasp ability just ignores all this and blocks everything.
      • In fact, all games based on the Tactics Ogre formula grant some form of attack bonus when you attack from behind (and a slightly diminished one when attacking from the side).
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the Scoundrel class gets a "Sneak attack" feat that does extra damage to an opponent that is facing away from the attacker or otherwise incapacitated (stun, stasis, horror). A particularly fun and nasty trick against Mandalorian raiders or Dark Jedi is to have your PC and one character draw their fire while you have Mission a little ways away in stealth mode, armed with the nastiest melee weapons you have on hand. Have her sneak up on the biggest mook and engage critical strike. Takes a little work, but the result is worth it.
  • The Mother series has this (you got a free hit at the start of the battle, or an instant kill if you were overleveled), but you also could be attacked from behind yourself.
    • Somewhat awesomely, Duster the thief from Mother 3 has the ability to potentially make the enemy's preemptive attack effort blow up in their faces by either hitting them with a spinning back kick, still getting the first attack in the round, or by jumping behind them, where the battle begins as if you were the one to sneak up on them.
  • In Neverwinter Nights (3rd edition D&D) the assassin has a chance to not only do massive damage but also paralyze an opponent on a successful "death attack" as long as the opponent is unaware of their presence (stealth mode). This is partially subverted by the primarily fighter-based feat "devastating critical" where a noisy, clanking, plate mail-wearing powerhouse actually does a one shot critical hit kill without any sneaking or flat-footing of the foe.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth: One of the special attacks of the thief class is the Back Stab that pierces defense and can inflict the bleeding status.
  • This is a feature in the Telepath RPG series: attacks from behind get a 50% damage boost. Most of the strategy involves getting as many backstabs as possible or protecting your own units from them. Assassins are a Critical Hit Class that specializes in this: their attacks can go up to a 200% bonus instead of the usual 50%.

    Sandbox Games 
  • In The Godfather: The Game you can garrote an enemy if you manage to sneak up behind him unnoticed. It's not particularly powerful, though; its only real use is to take out the victim without alerting people not in line of sight, and since standard strangulation from the front is equally silent, the only real advantage is the extra Respect. In the sequel, the Neck Snap is at least faster and you can also order Bruisers to do stealth kills. You will also occasionally have enemy mobsters attacking you from behind even if you cleared the path beforehand.
  • 'Stealth kills' are introduced to the series from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Of course, civilians (and cops) don't really pay attention if CJ is running around with a minigun, so him having a knife works fine. Move up behind victim, target, attack, giggle maniacally. Oddly, though, this tends to increase the wanted meter more than when you just go up and hack them up with a katana and stealth be damned, but hey.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • In SYNTHETIK, the Assassin class has "Scoundrel's Dagger". Stabbing the enemy from behind will deal 2x damage.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Corvo from Dishonored, being a trained assassin, has this ability which can even work against other assassins.
  • In the Hitman series, 47 has special attacks (garrote, syringe, or chloroform, along with some special attacks) that automatically kill or disable an unaware target. These attacks are almost always much easier to perform from behind (the garrote specifically only works from behind).
  • In the Metal Gear games, the player can sneak up on an enemy and point the gun at the back or side of their head. This makes them drop their gun and, in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, lets you steal their Dog Tag.
    • From Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater onwards, it's difficult to perform the CQC Grab (and follow up with a chokehold or throat slit) unless you approach your target from behind.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, when the player does this they can now execute a "body search" feature, which will usually make for gaining better items than found normally from enemies.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance if Raiden can get behind an enemy, he can stab them in the back and slice them apart for a Zandatsu. Averted in the Jetstream DLC, with Sam lacking any stealth attacks and can only kill in direct combat.
  • The Tenchu series was practically built around these, as a ninja kills without being seen. If you can get into striking range of your target without being spotted by him or anybody else, your attack instantly kills him - in a rather flashy way - without so much as rousing the guards. Tenchu 3 has a separate one for every possible way you could approach a target and a special one that's triggered when your target is standing on an incline.
  • In the Thief series, Garrett can knock out guards with a single hit from his blackjack on the noggin. He can also kill most unalerted enemies with a single blow from his weapon (a short sword in Dark Project and Metal Age; a dagger in Deadly Shadows), or (versus human enemies) with a broadhead arrow to the head. However, the resultant noise and blood stains, and mission requirements that discourage or even ban killing on higher difficulty levels, make blackjacking the more practical method of enemy elimination. Deadly Shadows plays this trope the straightest, as you must be directly behind the target to score a blackjack or backstab.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Haunting Ground, you can order your dog Hewie to sit, then trick your stalker into showing his back to the dog; if you order Hewie to attack at that moment, he will perform a "critical attack" which inflicts more damage and stuns the stalker for longer, plus Hewie will not take any damage from being shaken off.
  • As stealth and resource management are very important in The Last of Us and its sequel, it's recommended to take enemies out this way. What's notable is that, unless you craft shivs or are playing as Ellie (who has her own pocket knife), there's less "backstabbing" involved in stealth kills and more "choking your enemies to death".
  • Left 4 Dead has an achievement for killing Infected in a single shove. The only way to do so is to shove an oblivious Common in the back.
  • Sneaking behind enemies in The Persistence and hitting them will suck out more stem cells than you'd get from a normal attack, as well as doing enough damage to one-shot the grunts on the first floor.
  • In Resident Evil: Revelations 2, backstabbing is one of the combat options that it behooves a player to master since straight-up melee combat is less than stellar and ammunition is rare and best saved for bosses (who are immune to this ability, obviously). Claire and Barry knock their victim down and stab them with their knives, and Moira bludgeons them over the head with her crowbar. This feature returns in Resident Evil 4 (Remake).
  • The Evil Within and its sequel allows the player to stealth kill enemies by sneaking up from behind and doing a quick stab to the head. This is very much a necessity in these games, even how scarce resources are.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • One of the ways Chomper in Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare can devour a zombie whole is by attacking from behind, aided by being able to cover the enemy in sticky goop to make them more susceptible to this. This manner of killing combined with needing to stealth to use it effectively has the devs compare Chomper's role with that of the Spy from Team Fortress 2.
  • Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy has a single stealth attack, smacking someone over the head when their back is turned. Notable in that most players would be too busy throwing their enemies around like rag dolls and setting them on fire to notice this feature.
  • The Scout class in Transformers: War for Cybertron has access to an ability called Backstab that increases melee damage (and since the Scout's melee weapon is a blade, it's a proper stab), though not enough to allow for a one-hit kill. In reference to certain more infamous instances of this trope, scoring a Backstab-boosted melee kill earns a bonus called "Rogue".
  • All melee weapons in Warframe can be used for a sneak attack with many different animations depending on the weapon being used from the traditional back stab with a sword or dagger to having their throat slit, being garroted with a whip, a Neck Snap with bare hands, or being knocked to their knees and beheaded with a large axe.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Age of Wonders 3 allows a form of this for every melee attacker unless the target is guarding, which is called Flanking. But if the unit has the Backstab ability, it hurts a lot more.
  • Battle for Wesnoth gives some attacks the "backstab" trait, which causes double damage when flanking a target. More precisely, some units have the weapon special "backstab", which causes double damage to the target if the attack that's got the weapon special is used and there's a unit hostile to the target behind it.
  • BattleTech allows any attack made from the rear arc of an enemy to completely ignore that enemy's defensive actions, such as taking cover or defensive bracing, and deal full damage to the (usually quite weak) rear armor portion of the target. This is a great way to cause severe damage to internal components, which is also a great way to find an enemy's ammunition stowage and detonate it. And God help anyone on the receiving end of a Hatchetman's hatchet attack from behind — such a hit can split small 'Mechs from cockpit to hip joints in a single blow or cave in the entire side of an assault 'Mech.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark: The Scoundrel class’s Sneak Attack inflicts massive damage when attacking the target from the back or the sides. In general, most attacks do more damage when attacking from any direction other than the front.
  • Gladius: You get a huge bonus to damage if you hit an enemy from behind. Many lightweight gladiators, especially bandits, also have a Backstab attack.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, a successful hit with a throwing knife is a One-Hit Kill unless the target has spotted the thrower (in which case it does a pitiful amount of damage instead).
  • In Sunrider 4: The Captain's Return, units have individual armor values for each of their four sides. The backside generally has little or no armor, meaning that any attack from behind will do more damage.

Other Media

    Card Games 
  • In an expansion of Magic: The Gathering, the relatively new creature type Rogue was given exclusive domain over the ability "Prowl," which was an alternate casting cost for spells that could only be paid if an opponent had been damaged by a rogue creature. Sometimes, paying the prowl cost garnered extra effects for the spell, and in its early stages, Prowl was called "backstab."
    • It also has the "Ninjitsu" ability - if a player is about to be damaged by an unblocked creature, that creature is replaced by the (usually more powerful, special-ability wielding) Ninjitsu-using creature. The implication is that the Player is backstabbed by the Ninja who, up until that point, was disguised as something else.
  • Hearthstone: Implied by the Rogue card Backstab (as well as similar cards like Shadow Strike, Dark Iron Skulker, and SI:7 Extortion), which deal high damage for their cost but can only target undamaged characters. The implication is you sneak up on them before they know they're being attacked.
  • Munchkin has 'stab your buddy' as one of its taglines (the other two being 'kill monsters' and 'take their stuff'), and characters with the rogue class can do just that by discarding a card to give someone else a -2 bonus to their current combat. Amusingly enough, they can't backstab monsters, only other players.
    • Munchkin Epic Rules adds a similar power to Epic Elves (although they can use their power against monsters as well), and Munchkin Bites has the Power "Evil Eye" that allows the player to discard N cards for a -N bonus to any other player currently in combat.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Japanese game show Battle for Money (Sentōchū), which basically having rules like dodgeball but without a boundary line, this prompted players to strike others' back note  at blank range. It had been done on several occasions, particularly well-known as one player who he essentially back-stabbed in two consecutive games - both were in a situation while taking caution to the strong players in the front with his partner, then a third player coming from nowhere at the back and deal a point-blank hit and eliminated him.
    • A back-shield (can be purchased from item shop) can defend such an attack, though it cannot defend the head or most parts of the legs, backstabbing such player would be much harder.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Thieves in 1st and 2nd edition multiply their damage when they attack an enemy from behind with a dagger or shortsword. The multiplier goes up as they level.
    • Third edition renamed the ability from "backstab" to "sneak attack" because it was no longer required to be behind the enemy to use it; you simply had to catch the enemy by surprise or in a position where they cannot adequately defend itself. The damage bonus changed from multiplying the weapon's damage to doing bonus dice damage stacked onto the weapon damage. The weapon restriction was also removed, with the exception of siege weapons, despite the scene in The Gamers.
    • In 4th edition, this is called gaining "combat advantage." Fourth edition also brought back the weapon restrictions, apparently to keep rogues using their traditional weapons.
    • In 4th Edition Essentials, thieves get Sneak Attack and Backstab. You can even use them both at the same time.
    • Assassins, who were playable characters before 2nd edition, got this as well, and also had an "assassinate" ability that could One-Hit Kill anyone if they succeeded on the roll against a surprised opponent and dealt damage even if they missed.
    • Blackguards (anti-paladins) also get sneak attacks (significantly less than Rogues and Assassins as well as non-core sneak attackers), but given that they are heavy armor wearers, they will usually only activate on a flanked or disabled foe.
  • In GURPS:
    • Sneaking up behind a person is very effective because you can make an All-Out Attack (improve accuracy or damage by sacrificing defenses) without fear of reprisal.
    • With the addition of GURPS Martial Arts, it is also possible to use a Telegraphic Attack instead or in addition to All-Out. Telegraphic attacks are more accurate but easy to defend against. The trouble is, you can't defend from an attack you're not aware of.
    • There's also an attack enhancement that causes it to suddenly appear behind the target.
    • GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (an homage to classic dungeon crawling) lets sneaky characters make a difficult skill roll at the start of a fight to appear behind the closest enemy, in perfect position to shank them. Explained as you being so sneaky you were there all along...
  • If you can successfully sneak up on someone using Intrusion in Feng Shui or otherwise catch them unawares, your opponent's Dodge Value is zero for the purpose of your first attack on him, meaning you will be dealing some pretty nasty damage. Beware the "unaware" opponent with the Hair Trigger Neck Hairs gun schtick, though, lest you get caught by an Offhand Backhand...
  • An "unexpected attack" in Exalted cannot be defended against, which is a huge deal because the combat system is balanced on the assumption that every attack that gets through will be dulled at least a bit by defense. There are several Charms specifically designed to let the user make an unexpected attack. On the other hand, some Charms will also permit the user to defend against unexpected attacks.
  • Sneak Attack is one of the standard abilities in Mage Knight miniatures. Since MK minis have defined 'front' and 'back' areas, all that's required is to be adjacent to the target's back area. It doubles the attacker's damage.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: All damage is capped depending on your Power Level, and attack bonus is one of the most expensive attributes to buy during character creation, so many players take other options in order to improve it. Sneak Attack is one of them.
  • Paranoia encourages PCs to wait till their enemies already have their hands full with something else before trying to blast them. "Ideally, he should not be sure he's being attacked at all, or at least not be sure who's attacking him."
  • In The Dresden Files game, setting up an ambush successfully means that the targets have to roll their defenses from 0 in the first round of attacks. This makes ambushes particularly effective on high-level characters, for whom the normal defense might roll from 5 or higher, and the dice only allow for, at absolute best, a +4 result. (This is a rule seen in a number of Fate games all the way back to Spirit of the Century — if you're caught by surprise, your first defense roll is at Mediocre (+0). It's not used in all Fate builds, however; the Fate Core System rules for example don't actually include it, though it's still quite possible to reap surprise bonuses through creative use of the Create Advantage action with a relevant skill — like Stealth or Deceive, say — and/or by taking suitable stunts even there.)
  • Hero System: A character surprised in combat gets his Defensive Combat Value halved for the first attack by the surprising attacker. Someone surprised out of combat not only gets his DCV halved, but Called Shot penalties are halved (making it much easier for the attacker to hit vital areas) and Stun damage is doubled as well.
  • In BattleTech, the series' signature Humongous Mecha have extensive Subsystem Damage, including three sections for its rear torso armor. Rear torsos are generally very lightly armored, allowing even a light mech to core through it and start inflicting damage on internal components. Some mechs mount rear-facing weapons to protect against rear attacks, and mechs without lower armor actuators like the 'Rifleman' Anti-Air mech can flip their arms a full 180 degrees to fire backwards.
  • Necromunda: The Backstab weapon trait, introduced in the 3rd Edition of the game, signifies a weapon that is particularly useful when attacking a foe from behind, granting the attack a Strength bonus when used to attack an enemy from outside their vision arc. The Backstab skill, meanwhile, indicates that fighter is so skilled at this manoeuvre that they are able to count any melee weapon that they use as having the Backstab weapon trait, whether it is a knife or a BFS.
  • Starfinder: Operatives, basically the Science Fantasy equivalent to the Rogue, have a "trick attack" ability that deals extra dice of damage and/or inflicts status debuffs, but the Operative needs to pass a high DC Stealth or other skill check (determined by their subclass) to get the extra damage first.

  • Seeing as he's based on the standard Final Fantasy class, it should surprise no one that Thief of 8-Bit Theater favours this tactic, typically resorting to this move first if he's forced into a fight. Of course, he'll back stab you in more ways than one.
  • Nerf NOW!! gives this advice.
  • In the world of Homestuck, attacks from behind (regardless of stabbiness) tend to ignore hit points and be more automatically deadly, though the most recurring instance of this is by Jack Noir, so this trope still gets plenty literal use.
  • The Order of the Stick follows D&D rules, so Haley the rogue gets a huge damage boost if she attacks unaware opponents. She's always an asset in combat, but by sneak attacking, she can take even a story-important character down in a few seconds (or round, in this case).

Alternative Title(s): Sneak Attack


Jin Stealth-Kill

One specific stealth kill lets Jin kill Monguls with a stab through the back.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BackStab

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