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Brought Down to Badass

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Amaya: So without your suit, you're useless.
Ray: And without your amulet, you're—
Amaya: A fifth-degree black belt.
Ray: ...oh.

The world of superheroes has all types. Some gain their powers through Training from Hell and gain Charles Atlas Superpowers, while others get them from some form of Applied Phlebotinum. Trouble is, most heroes with the latter form have an Achilles' Heel of some kind; it could be a Weaksauce Weakness, some Kryptonite Factor, or a Power Nullifier, that can rob them of their powers. When this happens, these heroes are left utterly useless, as their entire hero status rested on those powers. But sometimes, we will run across a hero who can still dish it out when their powers are gone. Basically, they have been Brought Down to Normal, but they aren't useless or helpless.

These heroes (or villains) may be Crazy-Prepared and trained in non-powered fighting in case of such an occasion. Or, they may have gotten their powers after learning five forms of martial arts. Or, maybe they just plain didn't use their powers to kick ass anyway, or just used their powers to enhance their already formidable fighting skills. Or, they're just that badass that they don't need powers to kick you into next week.

To qualify, a character must have had powers at one point, must lose them, and must still kick butt without them. If the character's powers have been changed or reduced, but they still have powers, it's not this trope (but it might be Fights Like a Normal).

Sometimes a character's powers also forced them to act rather conservatively (or handed them an Idiot Ball) to balance things out, but once powerless they start fighting in a smarter way - and can stop holding back.

This is the opposite of Empowered Badass Normal, although it can be a result of such a thing being reversed. See Badass Normal for those who never had powers to begin with.

Compare with Got the Call on Speed Dial or Power Loss Makes You Strong.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Uryū sacrifices his Quincy powers to defeat Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and is left as a normal human at the end of the Soul Society arc. He wasn't happy about it but felt compelled by honor to do whatever it took to win. Uryū's strangely capable of fighting hollows even without his powers, but particularly potent hollows, such as Menos Grande-level Hollows, would have killed him if not for his father's intervention. His father makes the decision to restore his powers accordingly.
    • Since Uryū is Ichigo's Foil, this ends up Foreshadowing what happens to Ichigo at the end of the Deicide arc: he sacrifices his powers in order to defeat Aizen, and spends the Time Skip before the Fullbring Arc Brought Down To Badass, with only physical strength and reflexes to rely on. He can still wipe the floor with pretty much any normal human, and he does get his powers back by the end of the arc.
    • During the Fake Karakura Town arc, Aizen sends Wonderweiss Margela to take down Captain-Commander Yamamoto, because Wonderweiss was engineered specifically to seal away the flames of Yamamoto's immensely powerful zanpakutō Ryūjin Jakka. While this leaves Yamamato unable to use his sword and its fire powers, the old man still has two fists. It's more than enough.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Acqua of the Back eventually loses his incredible powers, but he's still a walking tower of muscle and an experienced former soldier and mercenary.
    • Accelerator is weakened early on so that he can only access his powers for a matter of minutes, leaving him an ordinary person most of the time. He doesn't seem to mind all that much, and even when he uses up his power, he continues to kick ass without it. Though he does get himself some firearms training so that he isn't defenseless without his powers.
  • Code Geass has this precede one of the Moment of Awesome moments in the series. What does Magnificent Bastard Lelouch do when he lost his manpower, support, and the trust of the Black Knights and all he has left is his Geass power and his personal Knightmare frame, the Shinkirō? He uses what remains to Geass an entire military base to give him the forces to attack the Emperor's current base and then use his collection of explosives to trap his father with him with no way out that's what.
  • Darker than Black (second season): Even after losing his electricity-based superpowers, Hei still kicks serious ass. Which is hardly surprising, given the fact that he earned his nickname "Black Reaper" due to how good he was at killing contractors before he got his powers.
  • Dragon Ball GT: Having been reverted to a child by the Black Star Dragon Balls, several of Goku's abilities are affected by his less developed form; he can't maintain Super Saiyan 3 for very long, and unless he goes Super Saiyan 4, he can't even use Instant Transmission properly. Nevertheless, he's still a powerful fighter and able to hold his own against the worst villains the universe has to offer. This is perhaps best shown in the Super 17 Saga, where he's able to effortlessly overpower both Frieza and Cell at once without even going Super Saiyan.
  • Wrath in Fullmetal Alchemist always seemed to rely on his Charles Atlas Superpower more than his Magical Eye, so when he loses that and is badly wounded, he's still a terrifying threat to the protagonists — even the ones who have alchemy-related knowledge and abilities.
    • In The Movie for the 2003 anime (which takes place 2 years after the events of the show), Ed can no longer use Alchemy due to being trapped in our world. He's hardly helpless, however, as he's still an expert martial artist and good at thinking on his feet.
  • In "Manga/Getter Robo", the Getter Team are so accustomed to using the Getter that, even when forced to fight opponents in original Getter 1, or a customized variant of it Black Getters case, they demonstrate how skills and experience trump power. Case in point, in Shin Getter Robo, the trio are able to defeat the stolen Getter Robo G with Getter 1 despite it being less powerful, simply due to being able to combine instinctively and understanding the weaknesses of a Getter. Ryoma in Armageddon further demonstrates this, taking on an army of Getter Robo G's in just a Getter 1. Later on, he slaughter a giant invader that was dominating and even severely damaged Shin Getter Robo, partly due to his experience and the other being his Good is Not Nice and Mercy Kill attitude were he does not fall for the Invader using assimilated people to make it's opponents hold back out concern for harming their fellow man.
  • In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, despite losing her powers early on, Yuri's shown to still be a capable fighter, flinging around Snackies like they were nothing and being able to make last-minute saves during certain incidents.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Protagonists Jotaro and Polnareff are in one chapter attacked by a villain named Alessi who can de-age his victims into children with his Stand. Polnareff keeps his Stand upon becoming a child since he was born with it. However, Jotaro loses his Stand, since he didn't develop it until he was a teenager. Alessi thinks he's got the fight in the bag once Jotaro de-ages down to a seven-year-old, but Jotaro still has his nasty temper and fighting skills and manages to pummel Alessi into snot with only his own two meaty baby fists.
    • In a scenario from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage For The Future, Alessi blunders into this problem again when he tries using his Stand on Joseph Joestar. He successfully ages Joseph down to his early 20s, when he had no Stand and knew nothing about Stands. Unfortunately for Alessi, in his early twenties, Joseph was in his prime as a very strong young man and an expert in both martial arts and the usage of Hamon energy. Cue beatdown.
  • Mazinkaiser: For some reason, Tetsuya switches back into old Great Mazinger in the movie, but he's still as kickass as ever.
  • Medaka Box:
    • During the clash with the 13 Party, Flask Plan Supervisor Naze Youka reveals one of her tools to be a "Normlizing" liquid, which treats the amazingly superhuman abilities of Abnormals as a disease and "cures" them (temporarily), which is ironically the exact opposite of the Flask Plan's mission. It worked on both Kurokami Maguro, dulling his analytical genius, and Kurokami Medaka, making her body and mind work nowhere near as "perfectly" as before. However, Medaka is still able to defend her friends from the modified human Koga Itami simply by being able to move "normally".
    • Later, Kumagawa Misogi gives up his "All Fiction", a Minus Skill that turns anything into nothing (or rather, he gives up the Skill "Hundred Gauntlets" that he'd used as the foundation of "All Fiction"). As he can no longer undo his own injuries or death, the five successor candidates for Medaka assume that defeating him would be a walk in the part. Well, it was, but then one of them remembers that their leader Ajimu Najimi was keeping her eye on him since BEFORE he ever got "All Fiction". True to form, he gets right back up in spite of his wounded, defeated state and instantly binds them all with his trademark screws using his expert knowledge of "weak points". He even points out that it's merely their misconception that he ever relied on "All Fiction" to win at all.
  • In Metroid: Samus and Joey, Dangelo attempts to render Samus helpless by forcing her to fight with a broken Arm Cannon. She just beats him up with her bare hands instead.
  • My Hero Academia: During the Shie Hassaikai arc, Mirio Togata puts himself in the path of an experimental Quirk destroying bullet to protect the little girl whose body was being used to create said bullets. While the main antagonist, Overhaul, starts gloating about how he can't do anything anymore, Mirio immediately launches a counterattack, showing that while he doesn't have his powers, he still has the training and foresight that he developed in order to make the most of his abilities in the first place. He manages to keep fighting this way for several minutes, buying the other heroes enough time to catch up, and by the time they arrive he has given Overhaul enough of a beating that he's more worried about him standing back up and beating him up again than the superpowered hero he's currently fighting.
  • In Naruto, Kakashi Hatake loses his Sharingan to Madara during the final war, though Naruto restores his right eye. This renders him incapable of using the Sharingan techniques, or even using Raikiri properly, though he remains a highly-trained ninja and becomes the Sixth Hokage.
    • Boruto does this to Naruto and Sasuke during the Kawaki Arc. Naruto is forced to use Baryon Mode in order to defeat Isshiki, which ends up killing Kurama, costing Naruto his access to Kurama's chakra and abilities. Shortly after, Momoshiki takes control over Boruto and stabs Sasuke in his eye, destroying his Rinnegan and preventing Sasuke from using any of the abilities granted by it. However, Naruto and Sasuke are still extremely powerful combatants even without these abilities. Naruto still has his Sage Mode abilities and Sasuke still has his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Don't worry, Evangeline is still sealed by the School Curse, she can't be a threat... barring the century of martial arts practice she's had and the ruthless effectiveness of her puppet strings.
    • Nagi Springfield, a powerful mage, rescues queen Arika from a valley filled to the brim with monsters. Magic doesn't work in there, so he simply jumps in, evades hordes of critters, picks her up, and jumps out... using the monsters as a ladder. It should be noted that it was said a single bite from these monsters kills.
  • In One Piece, Blackbeard attacks Whitebeard with his darkness power, gloating about how it will nullify his earthquake ability... quite forgetting that he is facing the World's Strongest Man, standing at nearly 22 feet and armed with Murakumogiri, a Supreme Grade naginata even taller than he is. He still ends up getting the upper hand, though and ends up causing Whitebeard's death... with the help of his entire crew and after Whitebeard, who was already weakened by his old age and a large number of potentially fatal wounds, beat him to a pulp.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0: Even though she gives the Clarissa to Sara, Klariskrays II shows that she's still capable of holding her ground even without her Weapon of Choice. She manages to back Falz Appregina into a corner before she is forced to stand down due to Appregina using Mind Control to use ARKS as meat shields.
  • In Rave Master, an enemy disarms Haru of his magic sword and gloats. Haru punches right through his metal armor and says that all his constant fighting and carrying that heavy sword around have made him strong. It doubles as a nice Call-Back, as Haru notes that his first fight in the manga was against a foe who could turn his skin to metal and he couldn't even harm him without his blade, showing how much Haru has strengthened since then.
  • In Ronin Warriors, the titular characters form the Inferno Armor by lending main character Ryo the energy of their elemental armors, which usually causes them to transform back to the less powerful "underarmor" forms — less powerful because each of the warriors has shown some kind of superhuman ability while in that state.
  • In the manga version of Sailor Moon the Sailor Senshi are temporarily depowered. During this period, most of them are defenseless until they recover their powers... But Minako still gives a run for their money at the enemy, reminding the reader she was the one that, untransformed, defeated a brainwashed but still super-strong Makoto with a single kick.
  • It is eventually revealed in Saint Seiya: Episode.G that the Titans' are this since part of their power remains sealed. It really is a justification for explaining the Gold Saint's Plot Armor.
  • Slayers: When Gourry Gabriev lost his super mega giga artifact magic sword, he initially went through a period of depression and powerlessness. But after this brief period of despair was over, he quite adapted to kicking ass with a regular steel sword.
  • Souichi from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs lost his abilities before he even appears in the series, but not only is he a Pint-Sized Powerhouse who happens to be very skilled with a spear, he's one of the biggest One Man Armies in the series.
  • In Tiger & Bunny Kotetsu's powers are fading away, yet he still manages to do incredibly well in fights with superpowered opponents without them and without his powered armor. In the epilogue, he decides that he isn't going to let a lack of powers stop him from being a superhero until the day he dies.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Dlanor gets brought back to normal by a goat whose powers negate her Knox Commandments and finds herself unable to fight back. Will, on the other hand, gets Brought Down To Badass as he proceeds to HEADBUTT THE GOAT TO DEATH because he insulted the mystery genre. Do not. Insult. The mystery genre. In front of Will.

    Comic Books 
  • Angel: After the Fall: After sending L.A. to Hell, the Senior Partners also turn Angel into a human as a means to deprive him of his vampire powers when he needs them most. Thanks to a variety of spells and charms, he keeps in the game.
  • Hank Pym and Bruce Banner have on various occasions throughout their careers gone from Ant-Man and Hulk (respectively) to "genius scientist" as their "superpower," making them even more dangerous. (In Pym's case, he was a "genius scientist with a Bag of Holding." Be very afraid.)
  • Avengers Academy: At the end of the series, Veil willingly takes a formula that removes her powers, as they would've killed her otherwise. However, this does nothing to erase all the combat training she went through at the titular Academy, as she quickly demonstrates to the Alpha Bitch and jerk jocks at her new school.
  • In one story arc, Captain Atom lost his powers for a while. Which still leaves him as a former special ops commander with years of combat experience in Vietnam and the hand-to-hand skills to go toe-to-toe with Batman.
  • Black Canary went for a while without her Canary Cry, instead relying on her hand-to-hand ability. Since the character only gained said power after a couple decades of being a Badass Normal, this was more of a Brought Back Down To Badass.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: during the Season 11 comics, Buffy is drained of her powers to leave the Safe Zone she was placed in as part of the Supernatural Crisis Act. Even without them, she manages to take on a Jerkass MMA fighter harassing a girl in the park and wins.
  • Captain America:
    • Steve Rogers, most commonly known for his role as Captain America, in his own mini-series got exposed to vita-rays that deactivated his Super serum, reducing him to a scrawny 100lb weakling. When half a dozen goons enhanced with the same serum came to execute him, he easily dealt with every one of them. The man fought in WW2 and is one of the best-trained soldiers on the planet, muscles only account for so much... Not to mention that he's usually fighting opponents many times stronger than him anyway.
    • During Ed Brubaker's run, The Falcon was captured and stripped of his wings by a group of extremists. Unfortunately for the terrorists, nobody informed them that the Falcon was an accomplished brawler long before he met Captain America, or that he spent several years fighting alongside Cap before even getting his flight harness. Cue epic ass-whupping...
  • Carol Danvers lost her powers briefly in one of her series, and continued to kick ass thanks to her years of training in the Air Force Special Ops. In fact, she's lost her powers more than once and always remained an effective combatant afterward. After Rogue took her powers, she was a recurring ally of the X-Men while considered permanently depowered. The name "Ms. Marvel" scarcely came up; she was just Major Carol Danvers, ass-kicker extraordinaire, up for supervillain or space adventures alongside anyone in spandex. In an issue of X-Men long after Carol had parted ways with the team, Rogue gets depowered and is left practically catatonic after soldiers sexually assault her. That's when the Carol Danvers personality living inside her head (which Rogue absorbed along with Carol's powers) steps in. She proceeds to escape from prison and rescue the also depowered Wolverine. The two of them do very well throughout the story despite being on their own with no powers.
  • Cassie Lang lost her Sizeshifter ability after coming back from the dead. She kept the hand-to-hand training she's been through. Having done sparring drills with Captain America, she's a certified teenage badass.
  • After she found out Zee had brainwashed her into becoming a vigilante (long story), Catwoman duct-taped Zatanna's mouth to prevent her from casting spells, but forgot that all Justice League heroines go to Amazonian fighting training Summer camps. During the ensuing fight, Catwoman also pointed out that as a stage performer, Zee likely followed a pretty intense workout regimen to begin with.
  • The Deadpool storyline "Suicide Kings" ended up depriving Deadpool of his trademark Healing Factor, but not his mercenary skills. Taskmaster had to retrain him, though, since most of his tactics boiled down to "run in like a complete maniac and let my healing factor do the work."
  • Doctor Strange is a master of the mystic and martial arts. Anti-Magic only gets rid of one of those.
  • Empowered is a self-inflicted on-and-off case of this. She gets her powers from her super-suit, but it tears easily, and she loses power the more Clothing Damage she incurs. However, when her suit is intact, she's usually trying to use its powers, which are flaky at best even when it's in perfect condition. Once it's damaged, however, she's usually forced to get creative... and she can be stunningly clever when she's backed into a corner, which, combined with the fact that nobody takes her seriously, can often leave the perpetually-unlucky superheroine just the opening she needs to pull through in even the worst of situations.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Guy Gardner thinks he's this, as was seen in the 1980s Justice League International series. He took off his Green Lantern ring to have a mano-a-mano showdown with Batman over leadership of the League. Batman knocked him out with one punch. (Guy's subsequent change of personalities came when he bumped his head while searching for his ring afterwards.) Batman (): so skilled that his punches cure brain damage. He also once goaded Hal Jordan into a no-rings-allowed fistfight. It didn't go quite as badly for him as the aforementioned encounter with Batman, but Hal was more than holding his own until the cops broke them up.
    • Kilowog is the combat instructor for the Green Lantern Corps, and one of the most powerful Lanterns ever to wear the ring. But take that ring away, and you're left with... well, a guy with the Super Strength, training, and skills to fight Superman to a standstill.
    • The plot of the Green Lantern mini-series from DC Future State involves all of the Green Lantern rings losing their power after the Central Battery on Oa dies. Even without superpowers, John Stewart is unwilling to give up on helping people, and so he forms a team consisting of other former Green Lanterns to continue fighting evil across the universe.
  • The Incredible Hulk: After being temporarily deprived of his ability to transform into the Hulk by the Red Hulk, Bruce outfitted himself with self-designed "Bannertech", which included a mentally-controlled mobile operating system that he could use to hack sophisticated systems within moments, a gamma and Old Power-fueled force-field, a pocket teleporter and a molecular repulsion field that could be used to simulate levitation. In fact, several characters actually remarked that Banner was infinitely more dangerous without the Hulk and desperately sought to re-power him in order to decrease the threat he posed.
  • Immortal Iron Fist: Iron Fist has his link to his chi powers broken at one point, but the fact that he had to train to be a martial arts master and defeat a dragon to get those powers in the first place means he's still pretty damn strong.
  • Iron Man:
    • Tony Stark would like to remind you that even without his armor, he's a Gadgeteer Genius capable of MacGyvering a solution to any pressing issue. And if push comes to shove, well — he's also been trained in hand-to-hand combat by Captain America.
    • In Brian Michael Bendis' run, Rhodey is captured by a Japanese villainess named Tomoe, who steals his War Machine armor. He still handles himself quite nicely against Tomoe's ninjas, pointing out that even without his armor, he's an Avenger and an ex-Navy Seal, with all the years of combat experience and training that those two jobs entail.
  • JLA: Act of God, an Elseworlds story, had the premise that every super-powered person on Earth one day lost their powers. Some members of the Justice League retrained, re-equipped, and went back into action watched over by their new mentors: the Badass Normal heroes of Batman, Robin, Huntress, and Nightwing.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: After causing the death of her husband Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid smugly negates Princess Projectra's powers and assumes she's helpless. She snaps his neck with her bare hands.
  • In Marvel 100th Anniversary Special, Spidey loses his techno-symbiote suit to the Kingpin, yet still manages to kick its ass and ultimately destroy it.
  • Thor and The Incredible Hercules of the Marvel Universe have both had their godhood stripped away at times. Thor first did this in the late 60s-early 70s. Temporarily stripped of his powers by Odin, he still sought to fight for justice. At one point for some reason he had to go up against The Thing, who said "Even without yer powers, you ain't no pantywaist!" He replied that he was still himself, powers or no powers. It happened again in the late nineties, where he proved to be just as capable a fighter as Captain America. Hercules burned out all of his godly powers at the end of Chaos War, leaving him without any Super Strength at all, but he still fights supervillains and criminals. He has access to some magical weaponry and is highly skilled at using it, but even then can barely keep up. Yet he still kicks butt.
  • Power Pack: at least twice during the original series, the kids lose their powers to the Snarks. It doesn't stop them from still fighting off the giant space lizards though, and they actually reclaim their powers in the process.
  • Spider-Man lost his powers once or twice, notably in the '70s; when tricked to drink a potion that nullified his spider-powers, he manages to burst out of several lengths of rope tying him up on a chair by flexing his muscles and getting pissed off — looks like playing superhero daily helps build up upper body strength. On top of that, he remains a skilled chemist and physicist, good enough to show up the likes of Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, and Tony Stark. He has, more than once, used his intellect to escape baddies while preserving his secret identity. There was, notably, a time when Spidey had his Spider-Sense burnt out, making him vulnerable to just about anything. He ended up getting help from Shang-Chi, who developed a brand new martial art, the Way of the Spider, to compensate.
  • Squirrel Girl: On the Marvel Wiki, her power level used to be maxed out in every category. At the moment, it's been brought down to consistently above average across the board (except energy projection), with higher stats in Strength and Fighting Skills.
  • Superman:
    • The main superhero lost his powers and just intimidated criminals by, y'know, being Superman at them. This was in the same arc where he became Electric Blue Superman. By now, Superman has so much experience suddenly losing his powers in the comics that he hardly breaks his stride, even when he's the only powerless person on a planet full of Kryptonians.
    • In 52, he lost his powers again for just about exactly one year until Superman: Up, Up and Away!. He did retire from crime-fighting, but instead spent the time pulling off Intrepid Reporter tricks that even gave Lois herself gray hairs. For example: wanting to get an interview with Supernova, he jumped out of his office window, betting that Supernova would save him.
    • In JLA Foreign Bodies, Superman demonstrated to supervillain Kobra that even without his powers and with his mind inside the villain's body, his fighting skills are more than enough to let him match and defeat him while Kobra is in Batman's body.
    • In the bottled city of Kandor, Superman becomes, well, Batman, going by Nightwing (and yes, this is the inspiration for Dick Grayson choosing his new name.)
    • It bears mentioning that Superman was personally trained in boxing by no other than Muhammad Ali himself.
    • All-Star Superman: Lex Luthor steals Superman's powers, and Supes is Brought Down to Normal. The result? Supes beats Luthor. With his brains, no less.
    • At the end of The Death of Superman, when he really comes back, he has no powers, just his good ol' fists, and a bunch of automatic machine guns. He storms the Cyborg Superman's/Mongul's base just with that, keeping up with both the powered Superboy as well as Steel, a genius creator of some superweapons which were being used by criminals, and who made himself a suit of Powered Armor capable of keeping up with said superweapons. He does get his powers back at the end of the arc, of course (and more), but he was pretty badass in the meanwhile.
    • Happens in Elseworlds story "Superman: Last Son of Earth". When Earth faces destruction, scientists Jonathan and Martha Kent send their infant son Clark off in a rocket, which eventually lands on Krypton, where he is found and adopted by Jor-El and Lara. Clark has extreme difficulties surviving with Krypton's greater gravity and red sun that saps his strength, until he encounters a dying alien who entrusts him with a ring, making him the new Green Lantern. He is eventually sent to investigate activities on Earth, which wasn't actually destroyed completely, but has suffered a post-apocalyptic collapse of civilization. When he lands in Metropolis, he is captured by Lex Luthor, who takes his ring and throws him in a cell with Lois Lane. Clark complains that without the ring he is powerless, and lashes out at the wall... smashing a hole. Growing up on Krypton does a body good, apparently.
    • In the Who is Superwoman? storyline, Reactron nullifies Supergirl's powers, expecting an easy kill. He soon finds out the hard way that Kara was already a pretty good martial artist before leaving Krypton, and she has been trained by Wonder Woman and Batman since her arrival.
      Supergirl: I trained with Batman. With the Amazons. I know first level Klurkor. Just because I can't use heat vision doesn't mean I'm helpless.
    • In Action Comics #337, Supergirl gets stranded on an unknown planet where she's rendered powerless by its green sun. Even so, Kara uses her own smarts and resourcefulness to overcome every danger while finding a way to fix her ship.
    • When Superboy (Kon-El) temporarily loses his powers he does not stop being a hero; he just uses gadgets instead.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Clark Kent has to bring an Intergang cell down despite being depowered at the time. So he gets in touch with a scientist, borrows an anti-gravity device, lets it loose in the Intergang's lair, and takes several mooks down using nothing but his fists and experience in moving around in zero-gravity environments.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four: After the Fantastic Four alter history so that their accident never happened, Ben Grimm is naturally no longer a giant rocky monster... but he's still badass enough to beat the crap out of the Skrull leader.
    • The Ultimates: Loki lost his godhood, but even without it, Loki proves to be a pain due to his wits and knowledge of the arcane.
  • Valhalla: Thor is at one point challenged over his over-reliance on Mjölnir and dared to go on an epic quest without it. It turns out that when Thor is forced by circumstance to exercise his forebrain, he is just as able to think and charm his way out of trouble as he is at smashing his way out. Also, while he was forbidden from carrying the hammer, he was not forbidden his anything-catching gauntlets, his strength-amplifying belt, or his coat of mail, all of which he wore. Mjölnir is an important part of his arsenal, but far from all of it.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): For a while in the '70s, Wonder Woman had to give up her magical powers and learned kung fu to keep on fighting crime.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Circe steals Diana, Donna, and Cassie's powers, which does not make any of them step down; Cassie started out her hero career with no powers of her own anyway and Diana and Donna have years of martial arts training and experience. Diana is able to get back her powers herself even with a completely human set of abilities.
  • X-Men:
    • At one point in Claremont's run, the X-Men wound up on Magneto's island fortress (with a volcano machine) and all depowered. It took Cyclops to point out that they are still very well-trained and athletic people with a wide and varied skillset; he is a skilled pilot and tactician, Storm was a thief and still carries lockpicks, Nightcrawler was an acrobat, Colossus is still very strong, Shadowcat is good with computers, and Wolverine still has his claws. Together they manage to wreck the doomsday device... and are still subdued in moments once Magneto realizes the X-Men are actually there.
    • Storm went through a long stretch without her weather powers, but with a Mohawk, a new leather wardrobe, and a take-no-crud attitude that made her just as dangerous as she had been when she was slinging lightning bolts or throwing tornadoes. Though her powers came back, she still possesses remarkable hand-to-hand prowess when she needs to use it.
    • While not all being as badass as Storm, most if not all of the X-Men receive hand-to-hand combat training in preparation just in case they are robbed of their gifts/their gifts are rendered ineffective by their enemies, especially the females. Cyclops has beyond military-level training over years of conditioning, and Jean Grey has demonstrated kung-fu skills (she aided Beast taking out armed attackers with psi-shielding at a period when her telekinesis was thought either dormant or transferred to Psylocke, who classifies as a ninja action girl with or without her powers). And every girl who becomes a follower of Wolverine is soon able to kick ass by default.
    • Cyclops deserves particular mention: given that his powers can be a major liability, he has trained himself to fight blind if he loses his visor/glasses. He's also demonstrated that when depowered, he's just as good a shot with a gun as with his eye beams. (In fact, he's got near-Hawkeye-level Improbable Aiming Skills. And everybody refuses to ever play pool against him.)
    • Prodigy of the Young Avengers (formerly from the New X-Men: Academy X) was one of the few people to stay at the academy after being depowered by the Decimation, and with good reason — he was given the gift of being able to remember everything he ever learned from people using his powers, making him an expert in multiple fields. Having spent lots of time around fighters like Wolverine and Cyclops, this includes martial arts and tactician training. When his powers went away, all the combat skills he'd already learned via those powers didn't.
    • Wolverine is an interesting variation — when he lost his adamantium during Fatal Attractions, it also temporarily short-circuited his Healing Factor due to the damage done. While he was still a good fighter, he doubted his usefulness due to the fact he relied heavily on both. It took a 10-Minute Retirement and a Bat Family Crossover to really get him back in the game.
    • Sunspot from the New Mutants loses his solar absorption powers as a result of contracting an illness from the Terrigen Mists. At the same time, he takes on a leadership position with the New Avengers and shows that without his powers he's still a genius chessmaster and a highly efficient fighter trained by both the X-Men and the Avengers. It's then revealed that he didn't actually lose his powers, but the illness instead put them in overdrive and made it too dangerous for him to use them.
    • The villain Tarn the Uncaring is an Omega-level Arakki mutant who can rewrite his foes’ bodies on a genetic level, reshaping them or cancelling powers. When he fights a formal duel in X-Men Red (2022), against Omega-level energy-manipulator Vulcan, they both try this tactic and are simultaneously Brought Down to Normal. Vulcan thinks this makes it a fair fight. Tarn, who's spent a thousand years fighting for his life in a world plagued by demons, easily beats him to death without using powers.

    Fan Works 
  • Animorphs:
    • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: Elfangor may have given up his morphing ability and tail-blade in "What if Elfangor and Loren raised Tobias?" when he became human, but he's more than willing to point a gun at someone he thinks is a threat to his son.
    • In Dæmorphing, Tom accidentally-on-purpose becomes a Hork-Bajir nothlit, but he's still more than capable at fighting. He helps to capture the Pool ship in The Presence of Justice.
  • Avengers of the Ring series
    • In Avengers of the Ring, the energy-draining properties of the vortex that sent the three Avengers to Middle-Earth also drains Thor and Bruce's energy; in their first fight against a group of Orcs, Bruce only retains a degree of Hulk's enhanced healing and his limited knowledge of hand-to-hand combat without being able to actually transform into the Hulk, and Thor's only exceptional abilities are a degree of enhanced strength and the ability to call Mjolnir back to himself after throwing it in a manner that Rogers compares to an Olympic event.
    • In Scarlet Witch and the Thirteen Dwarves, Ultron has lost his drone army and is restricted to a single body that is weaker than the primary form he possessed in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but develops new skills after Sauron instructs him in magic.
  • In ByAnyOtherName, even stuck in a weak body with a weak golden core and unable to use his necromantic abilities, Wei Wuxian is still a master of talisman-making and will pacify walking corpses with nothing but a borrowed guqin.
  • In Child of the Storm, Thor loses Mjolnir at a couple of points. However, he's still a Physical God with Super Strength and 1,500 years of combat experience. How does he prove this? He gets angry and puts a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the Juggernaut.
    • Also, it doesn't hurt that while Mjolnir can store energy, and allows him to manipulate the weather more precisely, he can still use his Shock and Awe powers without it.
    • Harry has his Psychic Powers (which are very strong, and which he's come to heavily rely on) blocked at a couple of points in the second book, Ghosts of the Past — or rather, he can't use them on anything he can't touch. However, this still leaves him as a notch or two above a normal human, a highly trained martial artist with an unusual tolerance for pain, and, oh yes... he's still an exceptionally powerful (if still inexperienced) wizard. And that's before he learns how to turn them inwards, and mimic Flying Brick powers.
  • Composure: Princess Celestia's first action after being blown up and waking up in a field of rubble, unable to use magic or fly, next to a pony she does not recognize? Attack her with enough force to shatter stone.
  • Even with his literal Gary Stu powers removed, Emeris from Consequences of Unoriginality is stated to be in the 0'75% higher end of Unicorn Power Levels by Word of God. As he shows Rainbow Dash, he doesn't need his curse to be awesome.
  • In The Dark Side of the Mirror Verse, Mirror Spitfire was The Dragon to Mirror Celestia, and granted pyrokinesis by Celestia. However, after Celestia's Heel–Face Turn, she loses these powers. She's still able to put up a good fight with Mirror Gilda and nearly kill her during her fight.
  • Like in canon, all the mages lose their magic in Fairy May Cry upon being transported to Edolas, while Dante and Modeus lose their demonic energy (removing their Healing Factor and reducing their physical prowess). Despite this, the latter two are still Master Swordsmen and Dante retains his Improbable Aiming Skills, allowing him to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle on a group of guards armed with magical weaponry.
  • Weiss in Fighting for the Future, due to her Mental Time Travel, only has the memories of her future self and not her combat experience, so she needs to relearn how to fight effectively since she lacks her swordsmanship skills. She does, however, retain her glyphs and summons at the same level that they were at post-Volume 7, which she puts to good use when the White Fang attack a ship she was on. It's also stated by the doctors at the mental institution she was being held in that if she weren't regularly sedated, she'd have broken out a long time ago with her Semblance alone.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Calamity:
    • Ragna hasn't been able to use the Azure Grimoire for the five years he's been in Nohr. Doesn't stop him from fighting off and defeating all sorts of foes like Faceless and the various warriors he encounters. He gets back up to his standard level once Rachel reactivates the Grimoire, though he has yet to use any of its abilities.
    • Noel can't seem to use her Murakumo abilities or Bolverk. She is a skilled archer to compensate.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fifth Path: When she travels back in time, Byleth loses the divine power she got from merging with Sothis. However, she's still "the second strongest Mercenary in Fodlan" (strongest after Jeralt dies) and "The Best Sword User in Fodlan" and can hold her own against the likes of the Death Knight with zero problem.
  • In The Heart Trilogy, the great fire drake Smaug is turned into a human. While no longer the flying, fire-breathing Juggernaut in this new form, his physical abilities are superior to those of average humans, making him a Lightning Bruiser. While his senses are not as superb as they are in his true form, they're still better than with average humans. He can also use his Dragon-spell along with other magic.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl loses her powers when she travels to Rokyn, but she is still able to deter Mordrus's plans via her brains and fighting skills.
  • Cozy Glow from How I Lost My Mother spends most of the story trying to find her lost magic that was taken away by Princess Celestia. After reclaiming it along with Grogar's Bell, Cozy opts to use Grogars' Magic in her fight against the Princesses and with Twilight and her friends. After her defeat and before she and the others could be turned into stone by Celestia, Luna, and Discord: she utilizes her rediscovered magic to overwhelm the threes' collective magic.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, the Servants in the story have been incarnated as humans and subject to DanMachi's rules. Because of this, not all of them are as strong as they would be normally. But they still retain many of their skills and are formidable opponents regardless. In addition, they can regain much of their original strength by obtaining falna and leveling up as adventurers.
  • The J-WITCH Series:
    • In "Tohru Who?", Valmont manages to steal the Heart of Kandrakar, robbing the W.I.T.C.H. girls of their Guardian forms and the bulk of their elemental magic. However, by this point they've all been training with Jackie extensively, so despite the lack of magic, they're all still more than capable of holding their own in a fight with the Dark Hand even before they get the Heart back.
    • When Saint Nicholas has his magic stolen by Wong, he's still powerful enough to fight Krampus purely with muscle power.
    • In "A Demon's Wings in the Witches' Town", Miranda manages to steal the Heart from Will at the start of the fighting. But despite not being able to enter their Guardian forms and take on their full power, the girls show once again that Jackie's training has paid off, as they handle themselves fairly well against the Knights of Vengeance until they manage to get the Heart back.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Kara moves to Rokyn where she's depowered. Nevertheless, she learns wrestling moves and different martial art styles with which she manages to defeat a band of Kryptonian criminals led by Faora Hu-Ul, one of the deadliest enemies ever fought by Superman.
  • In Legacy (Sekiro/Kimetsu no Yaiba), Wolf no longer has his Resurrective Immortality after Kuro's. He also relinquished the Shinobi Fang to Kiyoshi, leaving Wolf without an arm and his many Lazulite tools. Despite this and time deteriorating his skills, he's still a fearsome opponent who is not to be taken lightly.
  • After arriving on Azeroth in Metagaming?, Harry and Luna lose the godhood they had attained in Westeros but both are still The Archmage with several centuries of experience under their belt.
  • In Power Rangers Clockwork, Arika/Ultimate Goddess Arcadiarika, her world's version of Carter Grayson, and Sean/the Ultimate Red Legendary Ranger all lose their powers after Brynja Velothi sends them to the tunnels. In the first chapter, the former two are still strong enough to fight through skeletons, with Ari!Carter using some swordplay the moment he obtains a sword. And unlike what happened to Arika in Super Sentai vs. Power Rangers IV, she retains her memories, personality, and leadership as the goddess of her own world.
  • Jason Shepard, aka Lightstorm, hailing from Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm. His skill is great enough to fight the toughest of Negaverse drones even without powers, and he considers attacking and killing entire squadrons of heavily-armed humans to be training.
  • In Recoil, Taylor loses her insect-control powers after being sent into the past. Her sharp mind and mundane combat skills are still intact, though.
  • In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, all of the "Big Five" (that is, the main characters of each series) suffer this to one degree to another. Usagi/Sailor Moon and Nagisa/Cure Black have been depowered to their first transformations, and in Usagi's case, the Silver Crystal is gone. Sakura has lost twenty of her Cards, and her wand has reverted to its original form. Nanoha is still recovering from her grave injury during the Gadget Drone Incident between A's and Strikers, and Madoka... well, the story is post-Rebellion, so all her powers are still in Homura's hands.
    • Later, Homura gets forcibly subjected to this by Fantine near the close of Act II, as punishment for her reckless use of power, which risked the exposure of the heroes' sanctuary. Her stolen abilities are siphoned away, leaving her with only the powers of her first Puella Magi form.
  • Dante in Son of Sparda D×D gets sent to the D×D world without any of his Devil Arms, limiting him and preventing him from using his Devil Trigger. He's still a kick-ass Invincible Hero regardless.
  • Temporal Anomaly: After encountering Sougo and with him removing their piece of the Flower, the Intoners lose access to their ability to use the power of their song and cannot enter Intoner Mode anymore. Even after this loss, they all are still powerful combatants that are much, much, MUCH stronger than your average soldier in this world.
  • XCOM: RWBY Within: After being Trapped in Another World, team RWBY find themselves without access to their Aura or Semblance powers and with only limited Dust for their special weapons, but they lose none of their skill and training. Once they're decked out in proper armour and get used to the local weapons they go straight back to kicking ass and taking names. If anything they get even more badass, because not having Nigh-Invulnerability and various individual superpowers means they have to compensate with better tactics.
  • Arrow: Rebirth: Oliver gave Superman hand-to-hand combat training just in case he ever got exposed to red sun radiation. Not only do those lessons come in handy, but it turns out that even stripped of their powers, Kryptonians have faster reflexes and greater muscle density than humans.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, the majority of the climax has Joaquin without his precious medal, having to fight as a mortal again. After a brief moment of surprise due to the loss of his powers, he shows he's just as skilled with a blade as before.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Freddy vs. Jason. Freddy Krueger loses his nigh-invulnerability and reality-warping powers when he's dragged into the Real World, but this doesn't mean he's going down without a fight. He's still Made of Iron and strong enough to inflict lasting damage on Jason Voorhees (with assistance from improvised weaponry and Jason's own Machete).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man:
      • Another suitless Iron Man example: he would like to remind you that without the suit, he's still a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. Taken even further in Iron Man 3, when Stark manages to jury-rig a taser glove, a tranquilizer nailgun, and Christmas bauble flashbangs.
      • After being forced out of the Iron Patriot suit, Rhodey shows himself still effective as a soldier.
        Rhodes: No, no, no, don't open—open? OK, here we go...
        (Rhodes jumps out and punches The Dragon in the face and only backs down when the Big Bad breathes fire)
    • The titular character of Thor may have been stripped of his powers and Mjölnir but that doesn't stop him from beating up S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to get back Mjölnir. After all, even without his powers, he's still an extremely skilled Asgardian warrior whose body is just about 100% muscle.
      Agent Coulson: It's not easy to do what you did. You made my men — some of the most highly trained professionals in the world — look like a bunch of minimum-wage mall cops.
    • Avengers: Infinity War has Bruce Banner lose access to his Hulk powers, as after the Curb-Stomp Battle he suffered from Thanos, he's gotten fed up from being used as an attack dog, and refuses to come out. This doesn't stop Bruce from entering the fray thanks to the Hulkbuster that Tony retired after Age of Ultron, and despite his inexperience with it manages to get a major kill with his guile.
    • Avengers: Endgame double subverts a similar example when Banner becomes an intelligent version of Hulk after working things out with him after the Time Skip. His right arm is critically injured after using the Infinity Gauntlet they built themselves but continues to fight alongside everyone else for the final battle.
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife and Resident Evil: Retribution: At the beginning of the former, Action Girl Alice is injected with a serum by Big Bad Albert Wesker that removes the superpowers she had previously gained from the T-virus. Though she subsequently gets her ass handed to her in the ensuing fight, she remains enough of a Badass Normal to fight off zombies and later defeats Wesker in a rematch. By the end of Retribution, Wesker injects her with the T-virus again, restoring her powers. Except he lied.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In The Wolverine, Wolverine's Healing Factor is dialed down to near-human levels. While his adamantium skeleton and multiple lifetimes of traumatic injury have rendered him superhumanly strong, tough, and resistant to pain, he's still left considerably weaker since his injuries accumulate rather than healing automatically.
    • Downplayed with Deadpool in Deadpool 2. While in the Iceblock prison, he's fitted with a Power Nullifier collar that neutralizes his mutant power. He's still a mercenary with ten years in the Special Forces under his belt; however, he's also suffering from the generalized cancer that his Healing Factor was keeping at bay. He obviously doesn't have long to live in these conditions (which he welcomes). During the prison break, he's still able to fight off some inmates and to slow down Cable, preventing him from killing Russell, but he can't last long against the Cyborg Mutant from the future. Luckily for him, the collar gets busted after a spine-crushing fall.

    • The Toa Nuva lost their elemental powers when the Bohrok-Kal stole the source of their elemental powers. Subverted in that they could still use their mask powers, but they did have to rely on their wits, skills, heavy armor, and (of course) huge-ass weapons to do the majority of the work for them.
    • Jaller quickly learned the hard way being a Toa of Fire in the watery abyss of the Pit is not easy, as he found out that while he could still use fire, it was both weakened and would quickly drain his stamina from the effort. He still has his sword, his gun, all his training and experience as a fighter, plus a handy giant crab friend he picked up, and manages to kick ass just as well as his fellows.
    • In the 2010 storyline, Tahu was reverted from a Toa Nuva to a normal Toa, forcing him to fight in the Final Battle without the increased power levels he'd gained over the last couple of years. However, he still had regular Toa-level Playing with Fire abilities and several years of combat experience, allowing him to defeat Nektann in a duel. Subverted once he gathered all six pieces of Golden Armor and gained enough Combo Platter Powers to be a complete story-breaker. Fortunately, the story pretty much ended at that point anyway.
  • Jaenelle Angelline in Black Jewels loses her Black and Ebony Jewels at the end of the original trilogy after defeating Hekatah and Dorothea, going from being a Physical God to a normal member of the Blood. However, none of this stops her from being a strong Queen that can literally rip out people's spines if she needs to.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew Jadis, a witch whose power once killed every living thing in her home dimension, is magically transported to London and finds herself deprived of her magic powers. Except she's still seven feet tall and able to rip lamp posts apart.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex reminds the depowered Lux and Lone Star of their Boxing Lessons for Superman; they still have useful skills.
  • Dexter has Chutsky, losing an arm and a leg, literally, and still kicking ass at Brian's level. There's less than half of Sergeant Doakes and he still hounds Dexter, albeit not with the same stamina. Dexter unfortunately didn't fair so well when he was Brought Down to Normal in the third book by losing his Passenger, but in the 5th, where he just shunned it, still showed skill, even if only in avoiding death.
  • Discworld: In Hogfather, when Susan enters the Tooth Fairy's realm (where death does not exist), she loses the abilities she inherited from her grandfather. Being Susan Sto Helit, this makes her very angry, and she uses a bit of psychoanalysis and a few punches to take down a trained and psychotic assassin.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: In Corambis, a council of wizards binds Felix Harrowgate's powers. He fights off possession by a phantom, saves a country from being destroyed by its Sealed Evil in a Can, and eventually gets his powers back, mostly through smarts and sheer force of will.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden once found himself completely magically drained at an inopportune moment during a fight with a lycanthrope berserker... so he shot him in the knee with his .38 instead. It almost worked.
    • Later, in Skin Game, works better when he realises that without his magic and the mantle of the Winter Knight, he's not a high-end wizard or the supercharged, low-level superhuman badass who can't feel pain he was before... but he still has muscle from months of training with it on (and his native Healing Factor to repair the damage). This allows him to (barely) survive a cage match with Tessa and Imariel.
      • Also in Skin Game, a non-protagonist variation. The archangel Uriel has to transfer his "grace" — the angelic power — to a former Knight Of The Cross in order to help the latter survive a Fallen Angel attack. The desperation measure leaves him completely human temporarily. Most of the other characters freak out, considering they end up in a siege, and his death would have...serious consequences. Only for him to reveal that, depowered or not, he still has the experience of "fighting wars before earth existed", and is more than capable of holding his own in a full-on fight, even with only human levels of strength and speed.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: In The Son of Neptune, Percy loses the invulnerability he had previously gained in The Last Olympian early on in the book… and then spends the rest of the story reminding you why he was badass before he went and bathed in the River Styx.
  • In Legion Of Angels by Ella Summers, an angel must pass a test to be promoted to an archangel. They and whoever they choose as their partner must drink a potion that gradually strips them of their magic until they're brought down to human levels whilst they undertake a dangerous and difficult mission.
  • In the first novel of Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures, there is a wizard named Aahz who loses the ability to cast magic. Despite this loss, he's still a Pervect, a species that combines huge magical skills with great technological prowess and massive physical abilities. So even without being able to cast spells he's still nearly unstoppable in combat and has plenty of wits and skills to draw from outside of that. And that's without factoring in all the people he knows.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her, Robot Penny no longer has access to her inventing superpower, but can still hold her own in a fight, able to adapt her plan on the fly to use her limited resources to their highest potential.
  • Has happened several times to Eddie Drood of Secret Histories, whenever his torc's power is suppressed or forfeit in some way. Although he can't manifest his Drood armor under such circumstances, he still has his family's expertise in unarmed combat, his cover-identity Shaman Bond's slate of arcane know-how and dirty tricks, and his own stubbornness and integrity to keep him going.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Darth Vader is a case of this. The lava bath and loss of his limbs take a tremendous toll on his abilities, reducing his Force potential by two-thirds, barring him from using some Force powers entirely, and forcing him to re-learn lightsaber combat to compensate for his less mobile prostheses. This being Darth Vader, he manages pretty well all the same, thanks in part to The Power of Hate.
    • A New Dawn features a self-inflicted case of this: Kanan Jarrus survived Order 66 when he was just a teenager and has spent the eight years since doing everything in his power to make sure his Force abilities don't come back. But even with him actively suppressing them, he's still a very good fighter who lasts far longer against the Cyborg Count Vidian than anyone else.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn Trilogy, there is a creature called a ysalamiri that "pushes back" the Force. A Jedi's powers don't work within 4 meters of an ysalamiri, or anywhere at all in a forest crowded with enough of them. Luke Skywalker finds himself in such a forest, completely cut off from the Force, and yet he's still able to take down a base full of Imperial stormtroopers with nothing but a good blaster at his sidenote  and a basic knowledge of structural engineering. Mara, thinking that if anyone has reason to be worried it's him, between being stripped of his powers, on a strange planet whose very name is unknown, and with her, the Imperials, and the vornskyr lining up for the privilege of killing him, is grudgingly impressed: he's quick-witted, observant, and maddeningly serene. This is only one of several examples in Zahn's novels of Luke's ingenuity getting him (and, often, his friends) through a situation, rather than having Luke brute-Force his way through. Mara herself is similarly depowered by the ysalamiri, but it's even less of an issue for her because she'd already lost her Force powers for years and they were just starting to come back. She expects that to give her an advantage over Luke; she was used to it and he wasn't. As mentioned above, she was mistaken.
  • The Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance: After Kaladin kills Syl (his Bond Creature and the source of his supernatural powers), he still manages to take down a chasmfiend with some help. Armies usually run from chasmfiends rather than fighting them.
  • At various times in the Sword of Truth series, Richard is stripped of pretty much everything (his magic on more than one occasion, his friends, his freedom in several different ways, his love, and even his self-confidence), and invariably not only gets it back but becomes more powerful as a result.
  • In Ward, main character Antares is a Flying Brick who has a forcefield that, while brittle, lends her invulnerability while active and also grants her super strength. However, for years following herpower-related horrific mutilation in Worm, using her powers just reminds her of the worst part of her life. So, for about two years, she refrained from using it at all and instead trained in close combat and firearms. This comes in handy when she later confronts Contender, an axe-wielding villain whose power traps opponents with him in a Pocket Dimension where superpowers don't work. She manages to overpower him in his own dimension with nothing but her armored costume, skill, and determination.
  • Vaness of The Witchlands is a very powerful Ironwitch, so to restrain her, the Hell-Bards put an Anti-Magic collar on her while she's unconscious. When she wakes up, she promptly incapacitates a man twice her size with her bare hands and would've run away if it wasn't for Lev.
  • This is an enforced trope by Rand in The Wheel of Time. Having experienced being depowered multiple times, he trains relentlessly in both swordplay and Aiel martial arts, despite being the most powerful mage in the world at this point. When he goes on to found his own magic school, he hires a "blademaster" fencing teacher so that every student will learn at least enough to be physically capable if depowered.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Superboy, this happens a few times to Superboy. In "The Haunting of Andy McAlister", he and his friends are trapped in a Wild West town without his powers, but manages to defeat several outlaws in a Bar Brawl.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Professor Randolph is a retired Asgardian Berserker. Which means he is only a Really 700 Years Old superhuman with Super Strength, is tough enough to crumple a combat knife bare-handed without injury, and has a Healing Factor.
    • Skye gets this several times.
      • In "S.O.S., Part 2" she spends half the episode with her hands locked in power-suppressing gauntlets, forcing her to rely on the fighting skills learned from May.
      • During the "Agents of HYDRA" arc, Framework!Daisy had not undergone Terrigenesis, so Daisy couldn't quake her opponents, but she still had all of her combat training from the real world. Then May puts her through Terrigenesis in "No Regrets", giving Daisy her powers in the Framework.
      • In Season 5, Daisy gets an inhibitor when she is captured by the Kree, meaning she can't quake the Kree she fights. So she resorts to using her bare hands to fight them.
  • Angel:
    • Wesley was shot and nearly killed after having taken the first of his multiple levels of badass, temporarily confining him to a wheelchair and making him useless in hand-to-hand combat, the basis of most of the show's action sequences. When faced with a demon in his weakened state, Wesley grabbed a shotgun and blew it away. He didn't forget about his handiness with guns after he recovered and occasionally used them thereafter.
    • Angel robbed Jasmine of her magical influence over people, but she was still able to smack him around like a rag doll.
    • Sahjahn actually considered it a favor when he was made corporeal because although it made it possible to kill him, it also allowed him to deal death and destruction himself, his love of which was the reason he was made incorporeal in the first place.
    • The gang stripped Illyria of some of her power, leaving her still Badass enough to be a useful ally (stronger than most other vampires and demons), but not enough to wipe out half the city if the mood struck her.
  • In the massive Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), the cast end up visiting the Smallville universe. Clark Kent has since given up his powers, but he is still extremely strong and capable, sold very effectively because Tom Welling is significantly bulkier than he had been during the original series run. He manages a Punch Catch against Lex Luthor without any trouble and his imposing physique makes it completely believable.
  • Babylon 5: Alfred Bester is a Psi Cop (basically Internal Affairs for the local Mutant Draft Board), a position only open to the most powerful category of telepaths, and Bester's abilities are powerful even by their standards. However, when he is stripped of his telepathic abilities by a cocktail of "suppressor drugs", he still proves to be a highly skilled investigator and interrogation expert, as well as an excellent marksman.
  • What is Walter White in Breaking Bad without Saul, without his meth empire, without his cover, and wanted by every authority in the country? Note, at this point, his body is so ravaged by cancer that he can't even wear a ring on his finger. Answer: A ruthless Chessmaster who is the danger, securing his family's future by threatening his former friends with just laser pointers, a carjacker who treks all the way to his home without getting detected by anyone, securing multi-dollar arms transactions without any hitch, appearing and disappearing at Skyler's new house in spite of heavy security by the DEA without anyone wiser, poisoning the only loose end who will go after Walt's family using ricin with an elaborate Batman Gambit, building a freaking machine gun with nothing more than a car engine and garage key, using said machine gun to kill every last one of his remaining enemies with a masterful application of Wounded Gazelle Gambit, avenging his brother-in-law singlehandedly, and then executing a Dying Moment of Awesome. He indeed is the one who knocks.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • It's been stated that Glory was considerably weakened upon being banished to Earth and trapped in human form, and she's still capable of curb-stomping Buffy and the Scoobies any day of the week.
    • In Season 3's "Helpless," Giles is forced to strip Buffy of her powers using powerful mixtures of adrenaline suppressors and muscle relaxers as part of her Cruciamentum, a rite of passage to test the Slayer's intellect and wit. Buffy comes out on top against Kralik, the Ax-Crazy vampire the Council set her up against, by exploiting his dependency on anti-psychotic pills, swapping the water he drinks with them with holy water.
  • Chuck gets his powers from a government supercomputer stored in his brain called the Intersect. The Intersect 2.0 allows the user to tap into fighting knowledge. Chuck lost the Intersect and his best friend Morgan got it. Morgan turned into a Jerkass and made a Face–Heel Turn. Chuck fights him and is easily a match for Morgan. With the corrupted Intersect out of Morgan's head, nobody has any version of it now. It hasn't stopped the team from being quite badass.
  • Doctor Who:
    • During his third incarnation, the Doctor was stripped of his knowledge of time travel and exiled to Earth by the Time Lords. He still managed to save the Earth and often the Universe every other episode even with those handicaps.
    • In "The Eleventh Hour", the Doctor finds himself with neither his sonic screwdriver nor his TARDIS. He still manages to save the world in 20 minutes with some creative Internet usage.
    • The companion Rory Williams fits this, too. He spent 2000 years as a Roman Centurion with the memories of a trained warrior, and furthermore, one made of plastic and with a gun in his hand. Even after being normal again, he still manages to kick ass and punch Hitler.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
    • In one episode, Hera strips Zeus of his godhood and exiles him to Earth, assuming he will become miserable and quickly killed. While Zeus does get confused by life as a mortal (he had to ask Hercules what this unpleasant sensation he was feeling was: pain), he easily wins a Bar Brawl.
    • In another episode, Hercules loses his strength and still beats up the god Strife. Strife only turns the tables when Ares reminds him to use his powers. Zeus then returns Hercules' strength for round two.
  • Heroes: He may have gotten the cool walking scene in Volume 2, but Peter Petrelli certainly turned up the heat on his awesomeness during his S3 Brought Down to Normal phase, thinking situations through, teaming up with the Haitian to take down Arthur, basically being a much better, smarter person than his V2 persona. Luckily, he retained these qualities even after he regained powers, mainly because he was no longer a God-Mode Sue.
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, despite the previous 34 Super Sentai teams losing their powers, many of them are still quite capable of fighting without them as episodes featuring the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, Chouriki Sentai Ohranger, and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger easily show.
    • The king of this is probably Ryo of the Celestial Fire Star, who can keep up with Gokai Silver and still do all of the insane Dairanger posing and martial arts in his forties.
  • The current page quote comes from Legends of Tomorrow. Ray lost his suit to Tokugawa and ended up being forced to help his teammates destroy it, feeling completely useless without it because he relied on it in their fights. Amaya, on the other hand, amplified her impressive normal fighting skills with her animal abilities (usually "gorilla strength"), so losing the amulet isn't too much of a problem for her. Ultimately ended up being Double Subverted because Ray, wearing only samurai armor, could hold his own in a swordfight against Tokugawa wearing his suit (though only using it as a Powered Armor and not to the full extent of its abilities).
    • Played straight in Season 3, when Amaya herself does briefly lose her amulet to Nora Dhark, and does indeed manage to fight well without it.
  • Loki (2021):
    • In "Glorious Purpose", Loki is trapped in the Time Variance Authority's dimension, where his magical powers don't work and his strength is reduced to a normal human's level. He manages to briefly escape through sleight of hand and guile, and manages to defeat Hunter B-15 with his fighting skills.
    • Similarly, in "Lamentis", Sylvie is shocked to learn her powers don't work in the TVA's dimension, but she still beats several people up with her fighting skills.
  • Lucifer: Amenadiel was "the Fist of God," the most powerful of God's children. When he loses his powers, he starts actually avoiding fights for once. When he does get into fights, however, it turns out that he's still very much a threat. He spent his entire life mastering mortal martial arts and is able to curb-stomp an immortal with a hefty Healing Factor.
  • A fairly surreal version occurs in an episode of Lois & Clark, on Lois and Clark's wedding night, H.G. Wells appears from the far future, with a device that lets people experience their prior reincarnations. He informs them that they are soulmates, destined to meet and fall in love in every life, but are also under a curse that will kill them on the first night they have, ahem, relations... he takes them through two of their past incarnations, one in Medieval England and one in the Wild West, in an attempt to remove the curse, and in each, Clark is a vigilante hero with a Secret Identity, apparently also part of his destiny. However, since both these incarnations are human, Clark is a Badass Normal for the majority of the episode, easily capable of beating up multiple opponents without his powers.
  • Merlin:
    • Once Morgana loses her magic, she proceeds to kick multiple ass, with just a sword.
    • Merlin gets depowered twice, and both times proves that does nothing to stop him from being his Determinator self.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • Tommy can still kick ass after losing the Green Ranger powers the second time because he's a fourth-degree black belt.
      • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder opens with a morpherless Tommy who hasn't donned spandex in years kicking the asses of a small army of Mooks to escape the Big Bad's island by diving into the sea (and presumably having to swim to shore unaided.)
    • Use of this trope in Gosei Sentai Dairanger kept its footage from being used in the second season of MMPR, as the bulk of the series had unmorphed fights complete with unmorphed role calls.
    • This happens too many times to list in the later Power Rangers seasons. This was done partially because they became less reliant on dubbing over Super Sentai footage as time went on.
    • In the Grand Finale of Power Rangers Ninja Storm; the rangers lose their powers as the Big Bad Lothor gloats about his apparent victory. The rangers then promptly remind him they're still trained ninjas and proceed to kick his ass anyway. It's the only season where the final battle is with not the Zords, not the Ranger powers, but just the Rangers fighting as themselves (against the villain who'd stolen their powers, no less.)
  • At the end of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon the Sailor Senshi lost their powers. In the Special Act, set a few years after the end of the series, a group of low-level youma try and kidnap Minako, quickly subdue her bodyguards... And back down in terror after Minako kicked one in a concrete pillar so hard to ''shatter the pillar's surface''. Youma and bodyguards alike understood why Minako complained of her bodyguards' weakness when the youma started defeating them… In the same Special Act, we are shown that all the Sailor Soldiers are still badass: Rei attacked the Big Bad of the episode while without her Senshi powers and survived, albeit needing to be hospitalized; Ami resorted to Car Fu to beat up the low-level youma and escape one of the Big Bad Dragons; Makoto simply beat up a horde of Mooks; and Mamoru and Usagi (who was implied to be pregnant) quickly subdued a freakin' fake Shitennou each to cover each other's running away, with Mamoru later temporarily incapacitating all of the fake Shitennou.
  • Smallville:
    • This has happened to Kal-El more than once. By the ninth season he has learned enough Kryptonian martial arts to, while depowered, be a credible threat to a villain who had previously handed him his ass while they were both powered.
    • Another Kryptonian, Jor-El's lab assistant Raya, managed to survive for over 20 years trapped in the Phantom Zone, without her powers. One could argue this definitely qualifies her as one of the biggest badasses in the entire series.
  • When Lex Luthor shows up in Supergirl (2015), he's become a Handicapped Badass and Dark Lord on Life Support, but still effortlessly manipulates all the other characters. Then subverted when he gets an injection of Harun-El, curing him of his self-imposed cancer and bringing him back to his normal self.
  • Although Castiel lost most of his Angel powers over the course of the fifth season of Supernatural, he still managed to kick a fair amount of ass via ingenuity and good old-fashioned nerve. Castiel has always been good at hand-to-hand combat against angels, and in Season 9, human!Castiel takes out an angel with nothing but an angel blade. He basically goes from being homeless to regaining his powers and an angel following without help from anyone else. Because he's just that good a leader.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the Tyranny of Dragons module, if the ritual to summon Tiamat isn't stopped outright, Tiamat will show up as the Final Boss. However, there are several things that the heroes can do to at least partially disrupt the summoning enough to weaken her, such as freeing the sacrifices or preventing her Dragon Hoard from reaching The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Each of these things reduces Tiamat's maximum health by 75 points each and imposes other restrictions on her (like losing her immunity to most spells and reducing her Armor Class). Even with all of the restrictions in place, Tiamat is still far from an easy opponent, with hundreds of hit points and multiple powerful attacks. It's just that the penalties on Tiamat make the battle one the heroes can probably win as opposed to outright slaughter.
    • Wizards are well-advised to be careful how they use the Anti-Magic Shell spell. After all, while their own powers are completely negated by the spell, an enemy warrior's magic sword is still a sword, and a masterwork one at that.
    • This happened to the gods Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul after their resurrection post-Time of Troubles. While Bane and, to a lesser degree, Bhaal maintained their divine portfolios, Myrkul did not, as his place as god of the dead was usurped by Cyric and later Kelemvor. Still, he's better of than he was when he was dead.
  • Certain scenarios may result in one of the Exalted being deprived of Essence, making it impossible for them to use their various forms of magic. However, even without their Charms or sorcery, an Exalt is still at the peak of human ability and can trounce any mortal contenders that try to beat them in their "weakened" state.
  • Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution: Certain drugs will block espers from using their talents, but their baseline stats are still well above those of a normal human.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, a Space Marine without his Powered Armor and BFG is probably more dangerous than before. This shows up most prominently in the Space Marine Battles series.

    Video Games 
  • Absinthia: In the previous games, Lilith was an angel who eventually became a demon. After losing to the party of Celestial Hearts, she claims that she has been reduced to being a human. She's still a powerful Magic Knight who can casually summon Typhus of all beings as an undead minion.
  • Asura's Wrath:
    • According to the developers, Asura has lost most of his godly power being sealed away for 12,000 years. Even without them, he slaughters mooks like they are nothing, can keep up and takes hits from Wyzen after growing over 60 meters tall, and when angry enough, stops Wyzen's Tennessee-sized finger in his planet-sized state and punches it and Wyzen into oblivion.
    • There are a few times where Asura loses his arms completely as a result of some battle. Despite that, Asura fights on regardless, taking on Yasha and a Gohma Striker (putting up a decent fight in the former case and winning offscreen in the latter).
    • The final battle against Chakravartin involves Asura getting knocked out of his shiny new Destructor form and reduced back to his normal form. Asura still keeps up with and eventually defeats Chakravartin once and for all.
  • In BlazBlue, this trope applies to all members of The Six Heroes to some extent.
    • Hakumen was once one of the world's most powerful beings, so much so that the only being implied to be around his level still said Hakumen was the sole reason why they managed to slay the Black Beast. After he was imprisoned in the Boundary for 90 years, the one who salvaged him could only get 20% of his existence out of there. However, 20% of Hakumen's former full power turns out to be several levels above what most characters can handle, as he is able to hand Ragna's ass to him with ease.
    • Valkenhayn R. Hellsing and Jubei were both badasses extraordinaire in their prime when they fought the Black Beast, but you can't fight old age and 90 additional years have definitely weakened their bodies. They can both tear the more youthful characters of the game a new one with ease, though, and Jubei is still regarded as the World's Strongest Man.
    • Trinity Glassfield hasn't been quite as lucky: After being manipulated, betrayed, shanked, and thrown into a Cauldron by Terumi, she lost her body and her soul was sealed into the Nox Nyctores, Muchourin. Right now her soul resides in the body of Platinum the Trinity, the resident Token Mini-Moe and she still plays a key role in the battle against evil.
    • Konoe "Nine" A. Mercury's fate was a bit more ambiguous; after getting caught up in Terumi's shaking of Trinity she had been presumed dead but was revealed to have been resurrected and turned into Terumi's cohort, Phantom, who had to be reduced to a plot device and glorified transportation service due to her Story Breaker Powers. However, she regains control over herself and her full powers come Central Fiction and casually sets out with a plan of her own: To create a new capital-G God.
    • And as for Yuuki Terumi, their Token Evil Teammate, he has been reduced to a literal specter of his former self and has to rely on possession, life links and Observers to not get stuck with a bad case of Ret-Gone. He's still an Evil Genius and Manipulative Bastard par excellence and the Artificial Human he inhabits is still strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the best of them. In Central Fiction he finally reclaims his former power again. Turns out that Terumi is the original owner of the Susanooh Unit that Hakumen uses and is actually Takehaya Susanoo no Mikoto, Physical Jerkass God and Destroyer Deity par supreme... It's a bad time for everyone.
    • Outside of the Six Heroes, Jin Kisaragi is also struck with a temporary form of this during Continuum Shift in order to both reinforce his badassery and drive players nuts.
    • Even Ragna gets in on this. Also throughout CP when his Azure Grimoire is sealed off. Sure, he doesn't exactly fare a whole lot, but he manages to hold his own well enough despite the handicap. After his Character Development and gaining both the use of his limbs and sight he becomes more efficient in combat and by CF he trounces through most of the playable roster and even defeated Nu-13 all without using the Azure Grimoire, with the latter being something he was never able to do prior.
  • One of the major aspects of the returning character of Psycho in Crysis 3 is his angst over being "skinned" and having his Nanosuit taken away. He sees it as being Brought Down to Normal. Thing is, he still manages to kick nine kinds of ass even without it, despite being in his fifties. He was in the SAS and Delta Force, after all.
  • The Darksiders games all have you playing as one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but circumstances in each game prevent them from wielding their full apocalyptic horseman power, operating around 1/10 of their full potential. This does absolutely nothing to slow any of them down, taking down various strong enemies and even godlike beings with strategic use of what power they do have and a whole lot of skill that they kept.
  • Valvatorez in Disgaea 4 was originally titled the Tyrant due to his netherworld being absolutely terrified of him. He may have been an equal to Baal. After no longer drinking blood, he was reduced to a Prinny Instructor who Zetta (official title: The Most Badass Frickin' Overlord in All the Cosmos) considers a Worthy Opponent.
  • Corvo in Dishonored 2 might qualify if you refuse the Outsider's gift in the visit to the void. In the opening cutscene, he uses the Outsider's gift from the prior installment to fight off the initial group of guards until Delilah strips him of the Mark and turns him to stone. His playthrough without powers demonstrates how he earned his title of Royal Protector before the Empress's assassination: with his athleticism, stealth, swordsmanship, and various weapons/equipment.
    • Then there's the mission "A Crack in the Slab", during which your powers don't work and instead you get something that lets you shift between two time periods. None of this is surprising, considering that you play the first mission each in Dishonored, Dishonored 2, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider with no powers.
  • Cullen is this in Dragon Age: Inquisition since he's defected from the Templar order. He no longer takes the lyrium which gives Templars their abilities; however, he still has all of his discipline and military training, so he's still very highly regarded by the soldiers serving under him.
  • The Player Character in Dragon Quest IX. S/he starts out as a Celestrian (basically an angel) but is partly Brought Down to Normal early in the game. By the end of the game, this trope comes into full effect, since by now the character is probably a very powerful character but sacrifices his Celestrian abilities permanently to fight the Big Bad.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Near the end of the A Realm Reborn arc of Final Fantasy XIV, the dragon Midgardsomr steals away the blessing that the goddess Hydaelyn granted you (and it is even assumed that Hydaelyn allowed it). You end up spending a good deal of Heavensward winning that right back fight by fight.
  • In Fury Unleashed, the first thing Chaos does when it enters the Heros neck of the multiverse is strip him of most of his magic. However, the Hero still has his Charles Atlas Superpowers and firearms training, and a single spell.
  • God of War II: In the first level of the game, Kratos attacks Rhodes as a giant, but Zeus, in the guise of an eagle, blasts him with lightning and shrinks him down to normal size. As the soldiers of Rhodes discover the hard way, just because Kratos is normal-sized now doesn't mean he's any less capable of going One-Man Army on them.
  • Cirno, of all people, plays this trope in Hidden Star in Four Seasons when she chooses to fight the powerful goddess Okina Matara (one of the Great Sages of Gensokyo, a rank she shares with the likes of Yukari Yakumo) at the worst moment possible for a fairy like her. What happens? Cirno wins.
    • She had already played that trope in Touhou Hisoutensoku when, despite melting around her opponent Utsuho (who controls nuclear fusion and is considered one of the most badass bosses in all of Touhou), she wins.
  • In Infernal, Lennox (the protagonist) is in this position three times. At the start of the game, he has lost his angelic powers as a result of being fired. Later, Lucius Black revokes Lennox's new demonic powers when Lennox appears to have failed and has been questioning orders, but is persuaded to return them on the basis that they need each other. Finally, Black takes the powers back when he and Lennox fight in the final boss battle. Lennox isn't ever helpless, however.
  • Killer Instinct has T.J. Combo, a world-champion heavyweight boxer and a jock asshole who used cybernetic implants to boost his strength. When his cheating was caught out and he was subsequently disgraced, he had a huge Break the Haughty/Heel–Face Turn moment and decided to make up for it by coming back to the Ultratech tournament with the intention of winning it without his implants. Just to point out, this means going up against cybernetic killing machines, genetically engineered dinosaurs, skeleton warriors and people with all kinds of crazy superpowers with nothing but his fists. Ballsy as hell.
  • In The King of Fighters XI, Villain Protagonist Ash Crimson gets the jump on Iori Yagami after he succumbs to The Riot of the Blood and becomes Orochi Iori (for those not in the loop, the seal on Orochi had been weakened in this saga), trashing his teammates Kyo Kusanagi and Shingo Yabuki. This leaves Iori without his trademark cursed purple fire. What does he decide to do? Slash the hell out of his foes with his hands. Unfortunately when this same thing happened to Chizuru Kagura in the previous game, she was hit hard by Chickification, being regulated to the sidelines and her confidence shaken. Thanks to a Cosmic Retcon due to a Temporal Paradox-induced Heroic Sacrifice by Ash in KOF XIII, both Iori and Chizuru regain their powers.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Near the climax of the game, Riku temporarily takes Sora's Keyblade away from him since he was originally its destined wielder and mockingly trades it for the wooden sword that Sora used to spar with him, thinking that Sora is powerless without it and the powers it bestowed upon him. In spite of that, Sora is still capable of destroying Heartless with his wooden sword (even if it takes considerably more effort than it would with the Keyblade), thanks to the strength and fighting experience that he's gained throughout his journey as well as the fact that he still retains his magic.
  • Kingdom Hearts III: In the prologue, Sora seeks help from Hercules after having lost most of his powers following the events of Dream Drop Distance. By the time he’s finished with his latest trek through Olympus, he’s managed to defeat all four Titans all while various characters repeatedly assert how comparatively weak he is.
  • Subverted in [PROTOTYPE]. At one point in the game, the main character temporarily loses his ability to generate Shapeshifter weapons, bringing him only slightly back to normal. But he still gets to keep his superhuman strength and agility, still allowing him to karate kick helicopters out of the sky.
  • In Saints Row IV, many story missions strip the Boss of their powers, and later the Zin can do so on command with suppression grenades. But the Boss was a One-Man Army long before they got powers, and losing them just means the enemy lives a little bit longer.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge: Over the course of the game, Shantae is stripped of her genie powers and spends the rest of the game and the sequel, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, as a powerless human. It doesn't slow her down one bit.
  • Sonic Labyrinth: The Gamer Gear has Eggman shove Sonic's feet into special shoes that seal away his super speed. Sonic ends up making up for it with his Spin Dash attack.
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters: Gig was sealed in a sword for millions of years, lost most of his godly power, lives as a formless spirit sealed in the body of a mortal, and only gives the main character a very small share of what's left. They are still able to destroy pretty much anything on their path. Also still considered one of the Nippon-verse big three alongside Zetta and real Zenon.
  • The whole story arc of StarCraft II through the first two parts of the trilogy involves bringing Kerrigan back from Zerg infestation. Come the beginning of Heart of the Swarm, while she can still control Zerg, she is quite capable of kicking ass without their help, as she was one of the most powerful ghost troops prior to infestation. In the very first level, she single-handedly destroys a Humongous Mecha with her psionic abilities alone. Similarly, Raynor is able to go toe-to-toe with Tychus, while the latter was the only one wearing power armor.
  • Rosalina from Super Mario Bros. is incomprehensibily ancient with an extensive level of god-like powers. So she is naturally nerfed on the occasion she is a playable character, able to be killed by Goombas like everyone else. That doesn't mean she is totally helpless, though. Rosalina is still able to defend herself handily, particularly in games Super Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros..
  • Sword of Paladin: After Nade becomes a Paladin, he gains a massive stat boost and a very powerful Limit Break. At the end of Chapter 1, he has to preserve Sophie in a stasis dimension using the Paladin powers of time and space, but this means he has less power to reserve for himself, resulting in a stat penalty until he can properly revive Sophie. He's still a formidable warrior even after being nerfed, as shown when he defeats Captain Eagle in a friendly duel.
  • Tales Series:
    • Judas in Tales of Destiny 2 willingly decided to stop using Chaltier, thus no longer being considered a Swordian Master (in a world where you need some kind of Green Rocks to cast magic and a Swordian is powered by the purest version of said Green Rocks and was at a much lower level than he should be likely due to being dead for an undetermined period of time. He still taught himself how to dual-wield at least, before Leon's play style was retconned, learns two more magical proficiencies, and remained a hyper-competent Magic Knight.
    • Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss gets hit with the temporary version. He joins the party very early at a game-breaking level 45, with access to many high-level fonic artes. And then he's hit with a Power Limiter that brings him back down to level 1 and cuts you off from the majority of his spells. At around the same time, he briefly loses access to the Tartarus. But he's still Jade Curtiss the man so cool he doesn't even take his hand out of his pocket when casting spells, whose arm is magically fused with a spear, and who has to wear glasses just so his eyes don't make everything around him explode. Seriously.
      • It gets better. Due to the Power Limiter nature of his glasses, Jade is essentially *always* in this state. He made the glasses specifically because he wanted to be this trope. You'd think he'd take his glasses off to deal with a big threat, right? Dragons, Mechs, the Six God Generals, and even a clone of his nigh-unstoppable teacher (who is herself the Optional Boss of the game) aren't enough to get him to take off his glasses. He's just that badass. It takes the Final Boss to make him stop playing around.
    • At the beginning of Tales of Xillia, Milla (the human incarnation of the Lord of Spirits, Maxwell) loses most of her insane summoning power when the four elemental spirits are kidnapped by the bad guys. But she's still a Determinator of unbelievably epic proportions, and after Alvin teaches her a thing or two, she's a fair hand with a sword and a good mage to boot.
  • In The World Ends with You, The Composer has temporarily downshifted into a baseline human form, which includes a corresponding decrease in power. A rogue Reaper tries to take this opportunity to kill him off and steal the position, only to learn that even in this form, the Composer is fully capable of stopping bullets with his mind.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Dunban was once the legendary hero of the Homs, wielding the Monado and cutting down hordes of Mechon on his own, credited with being the primary reason the Homs won the war. By the time of the game a year later, he's bedridden, weak, and his right arm is permanently paralyzed because wielding the Monado's power took too much of a toll on him. Partway through the story, however, he joins the party anyway, wielding a regular sword left-handed. He can't take on an entire army of Mechon alone anymore, but he's still among the more useful party members in combat.

    Web Animation 
  • In HFIL, all of the MCMs are forced to wear ki-dampening bracelets that rob them of all of their superhuman abilities (barring psychic or magical powers like Guildo's ability to stop time). Despite this, Cell is able to completely dominate the Ginyu force in a 4-on-1 fight thanks to the combined knowledge of his genetic donors giving him roughly a century and a half of martial arts experience.

  • In 8-Bit Theater, Lich notes that by removing his soul from the Earth Orb he had hidden it in and returning it to his body, the Light Warriors have successfully made him mortal, but he's still a mage vastly more powerful than they are.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase, even without her crazy powerful magic, is still a very experienced martial artist who can bench press 160 poundsnote  and (along with Ellen) was able to recapture an escaped gorilla.
  • In The God Of Highschool, this ultimately happens to Mori Jin. After the events of Ragnarok he is stripped of all his divine power and equipment. This is ultimately played with as he is still left with his divine body, making him stronger than the new generation of mortals. He also begins fully training in martial arts allowing him to not only reach his previous peak of power but surpass it in time for the final battle with Mubong Park.
  • Grrl Power has this happen to Maxima twice.
  • In Looking for Group Richard can lose his powers if he fails to perform the proper actions. When he is depowered and imprisoned Benny laments how he's useless until Richard pulls out one of his recent botanical experiments.
    "Even without magic, I'm never powerless. Or any less dangerous."
  • In The Order of the Stick, the dragon that ambushes Vaarsuvius casts an Anti-Magic field to escape a Forcecage. As she points out, this means the Squishy Wizard elf is now just Squishy, while the dragon is still a dragon.

    Western Animation 
  • Atomic Puppet: Captain Atomic may no longer be able to use his superpowers as a sock puppet, but that doesn't prevent him from still being able to face off a variety of villains.
    AP: Puppet or not, I still got it!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Azula, even when deprived of her firebending on the Day of Black Sun, still manages to keep Aang, Toph, and Sokka busy and away from her father long enough for the eclipse to get over with. The DVD Commentary mentions a funny story behind that: she decided Mai and Ty Lee would be her friends exactly because she'd be able to learn some of their abilities, and indeed the aforementioned scene does have her using some very Ty Lee-ish moves. Along with having a concealed bladed throwing weapon literally up her sleeve that could only be something she picked up from Mai.
    • Same with Zuko — normally, he's an at least decent firebender (he beat Zhao in an Agni Kai early on with just the basics, and his skill notably improves over the course of the series), while Ozai is The Greatest Firebender in the World. But during the eclipse, Ozai is at his mercy because Zuko is a master swordsman while Ozai never bothered to learn non-firebending combat. Also, when Zuko has to hide his powers while traveling in the Earth Kingdom and as the Blue Spirit, he is still able to take on several bandits, match Jet in a fight, and break Aang out of a Fire Nation fortress.
    • It runs in the family. His uncle Iroh is considered one of the only Firebenders capable of taking on Ozai. But, like the previous two, loses his powers on the Day of Black Sun. That's when he breaks out of the prison he's in and is still considered a One-Man Army!
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Lost Soul", the Batsuit is taken over by a hostile AI. Terry goes up against it equipped only with one of Bruce's old utility belts and Nightwing's old mask to conceal his identity, and wins.
  • Due to the Omnitrix's energy system, this is a regular occurrence in Ben 10. Even when the Omnitrix is recharging, Ben is not as helpless as you would think. Some of his greatest and most intense fights are won in his human form and he looks great doing it.
  • Hal Jordan and Kilowog in Green Lantern: The Animated Series are both quite competent fighters even without their power rings. This comes in handy in "Razer's Edge", when they are trapped on an asteroid filled with yellow crystals (which cancel out Green Lantern power rings) and ambushed by a troop of alien guards.
    Hal Jordan: I was kicking butt long before I got this ring!
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Zig-zagged in "The Mask Of El Toro Fuerte". Jackie and the Dark Hand learn that the Ox talisman was in the possession of El Toro Fuerte, a Mexican lucha wrestler who was winning matches with it. After the talisman is taken by the Dark Hand, El Toro tracks them down and grapples with Tohru aboard the Dark Hand's plane, holding his own without wielding the talisman. But when he and Jackie are back in the village, Tohru immediately beats them both.
  • From Justice League:
    • In one episode, Superman ended up in a world with a red sun (Earth), robbing him of his power, and still manages to survive, kill the leader of a pack of wolf-like animals to become their leader, and team up with Vandal Savage to take back a nuclear fusion device from a bunch of giant mutant insects.
    • In an episode where the League travels back in time to World War II, Green Lantern John Stewart's power ring runs out of juice in the middle of a battlefield. He quickly recalls his Marine training and goes native with a squad of US infantrymen.
  • In Justice League Action, Steppenwolf tries to take out Superman by transporting them both to a planet with a red sun, stripping him of his powers. Superman still manages to beat him, even after breaking his leg. By the time Batman and Big Barda finally make it over to help, the fight is already over.
  • In the Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) cartoon, Mega Man steals the power of a Robot Master, after which they don't do much of anything (or were already beaten up). Pharaoh Man, on the other hand, responds by punching Mega Man in the face.
  • In OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, Laserblast was a renowned superhero who was believed to have lost his life in a lab explosion. In truth, he survived but lost his Energy Absorption superpowers. With his already-prominent feelings of inadequacy heightened by this, he went into hiding and soon became a gifted scientist, performing numerous experiments on himself to regain what he had lost, but to no avail — though he did become a Snake Person. Becoming disillusioned, he completely abandoned his former life and started selling his scientific developments to various supervillains. With his newfound wealth and scientific skills, combined with his already being an expert hand-to-hand combatant and tactical genius, his lack of superpowers did not prevent him from becoming a notorious and successful villain in his own right: Professor Venomous.
    "You don't need powers to have power!"
  • Hunter from The Owl House is a witch who lacks innate magic, meaning he's fully reliant on his staff or Palisman for casting spells. Taking his staff away puts him at a major disadvantage when facing magical foes, but hardly makes him helpless — Hunter already Fights Like a Normal by using his staff as a blunt weapon and is more than capable of holding his own in a physical fight. Case in point in "Labyrinth Runners" — even half-starved, more sleep-deprived than usual, and having just suffered a severe panic attack, Hunter puts up such a fight against two adults twice his size that they have to sedate him to get him to cooperate.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb Crossover event, Mission Marvel, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Hulk all lose their powers, but they still manage to kick some serious butt in the final battle of the episode!
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: Randy ends up saving the day a couple times without his ninja suit, usually when it's taken from him or its powers stop working.
  • Samurai Jack: Jack's magic katana is his best, most deadly weapon and capable of cutting through pretty much anything and killing supernatural evils. Without it? He's still the World's Best Warrior and a One-Man Army. Best shown in Season 5, where he lost the sword during the Time Skip, but still manages to annihilate an army of Beetle Drones with less effort than he originally did and defeat a powerful bounty hunter.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Adora was given extensive warrior training long before she found the Sword of Protection. So even if she loses the sword and can't transform into She-Ra, she can kick a lot of butt.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Solar Power", Lytener uses a device that screens out the elements of yellow sunlight that empower Superman. However, Clark is still a big muscular farm boy with considerable fighting experience, and thus more than a match for a physically average desk jockey with no combat skills.
  • Teen Titans: When Starfire and Raven switch bodies, Raven can't let go of her emotions to fuel Starfire's powers (because Raven's powers require immense control), but she's not helpless. She makes do until she learns how to use them at the last second by using fighting techniques similar to Karate against the puppet versions of the male team members.
  • Winx Club:
    • At certain points in the series, the titular club's powers are weakened or otherwise suppressed entirely, but they're still effective in battle. It helps that they're often aided by their boyfriends, the Specialists, all of whom are trained as Badass Normals.
    • In the climax of Season 1, Bloom's powers are stolen by the Trix to raise the Army of Darkness. Even without magic, she refuses to stay behind when her friends go to confront the Trix. When the Winx travel to Domino Castle, she proves effective as a strategist, helping the other Winx to coordinate their attacks. She even manages to kill some monsters on her own. With a stick.
    • In Season 6, all the Winx, minus Bloom, have their powers stolen by the Legendarium. For a while, they have to fight without their magic, combating the monsters from the book in unconventional ways. They still manage to win their next few battles, gaining their new Bloomix forms in the process.


Video Example(s):


Cell vs. the Ginyu Force

Even with all of his Ki restricted and unable to use the power he had while alive, Cell still has the combined knowledge of Z-Fighters to avoid being a pushover.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (37 votes)

Example of:

Main / BroughtDownToBadass

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