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Counterpart Artifacts

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Two (or more, in this case usually elemental) artifacts, each of which is a counterpart of the other. Typically they are either identical but distinguished by their users and names, or Yin and Yang-like different.

One common plot element is the Hero having to acquire an Artifact of Hope to allow him to defend against and/or defeat the villain, who has the Artifact of Doom, making each item a Nemesis Weapon to the other. It's also common to distribute them among siblings, partners or a group of True Companions.

There may be a Set Bonus by having all of them. They may also benefit from Like Cannot Cut Like.

They might be in some way morally aligned; in this case, they're the object equivalent of Good Counterpart/Evil Counterpart.

If each piece of a set of corresponding objects is elementally attuned, each of their wielders will usually have Personality Powers corresponding with the object's element.

Compare Holy Hand Grenade and Unholy Nuke, which are (usually) two spells that oppose like this. See also Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object, Empathic Weapon and Evil Weapon. Often combined with Stock Weapon Names. Only the Chosen May Wield is also common. Often Colour-Coded for Your Convenience.

Not to Be Confused with Sword Counterpart/Gun Counterpart.

Sometimes you Gotta Catch Them All to enter a place or learn a special technique; compare All Your Powers Combined, Dismantled MacGuffin, and Signature Device.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inuyasha. The title character bears the sword Tessaiga which can kill 100 demons/yokai at a time. His brother Sesshomaru uses the sword Tenseiga, which can't harm living beings (but can kill underworld creatures) and can bring creatures back to life. Each sword was created from one of the fangs of their demon father.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light has the villain Anubis wielding the Pyramid of Light, the eighth Millennium Item created in the image of Yami Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and as such appears as an inverted white version of it.

    Comic Books 
  • The Legend of the Chaos God is a Disney multi-'verse crossover comic centering on an ancient monster kept imprisoned after it was sealed into a ruby crystal with a gold setting. As long as the crystal and setting remained separate, the monster couldn't escape. But someone stole the two and wanted to revive it. The consciousness in the crystal influenced characters as it tried to get itself reunited with the setting.
  • Wonder Woman: The Lasso of Truth and the Lasso of Submission. Cassie's Lightning Lasso is made to call the other two to mind but doesn't really fit as it's designed to channel Zeus' powers through her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Mummy Trilogy the black Book of the Dead awakens Imhotep and grants him immortality, while the gold Book of Amun-Ra makes him vulnerable.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced the Darkhold in its serial television installments, an Artifact of Doom that grants knowledge of whatever the reader wants but inevitably corrupts them into obsessively and immorally achieving their goals. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness makes it the central driver of conflict, but also introduces the Book of Vishanti, an Artifact of Hope that provides knowledge of whatever the reader needs to overcome their enemies.

  • In the second Dinotopia book, 'The World Beneath', Arthur searches for the other half of an old key that opens a door in the World Beneath. Its owner, Oriana, ends up going with him on the expedition.
  • Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. The twin swords Stormbringer and Mournblade, one possessed by Elric and the other by Elric's cousin (and enemy) Yyrkoon.
  • Harry Potter: The wands of Harry and Voldemort are rare in that they both contain a feather from the same phoenix and react when used against each other.
  • Maybe parodied in Journey to the West: After stealing the dreaded Crinsom Gourd (capable of sucking inside and melting people called by name in front of it) and putting a fake in its place, Monkey challenges the owner Silver Horned King to a duel, claiming that he possess the "male" counterpart of his gourd. He does an identical trick later, this time claiming that he possessed the "female" counterparts of a trio of deadly bells.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel had an episode involving the title character needing to find the parts of a key that would open a portal and allow him to find a young man being held prisoner in another dimension. He was being pressured into via Cordelia being tormented by a Wolfram and Hart guy who'd hacked her visions.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Initially, Sauron wanted to create two rings of power for himself and Galadriel, but Galadriel learns just in time about true identity, causing him to flee. Celebrimbor still creates three Rings of Power for the Elven kind, at Galadriel's request: Vilya, Nenya, and Narya.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dungeons & Dragons starting at least with AD&D 1.0 quickly became full of these, thanks to the signed alignment system; good/evil equivalents of artifacts and spells just suggest themselves. For example, the Regalia of Might: It has Good, Neutral and Evil sets — each including a crown, orb and scepter.
    • A non-alignment based example would be elemental summoning items: bowl commanding water elementals, brazier commanding fire elementals, censer controlling air elementals, stone controlling earth elemental.
    • Modules UK2 The Sentinel and UK3 The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet was a magic item designed to destroy the Keep of Adlerweg. The Sentinel was created to oppose and eventually destroy the Gauntlet.
  • The Mightstone and Weakstone from Magic: The Gathering (and its associated novels) are two halves of a Thran powerstone that was used to open a portal to Phyrexia on Dominaria. They later became Urza's eyes when his planeswalker spark ignited.

  • BIONICLE: the Mask of Light and the Mask of Shadows. They were combined once in The Movie.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age: Origins had the twin rings Dusk and Dawn, while the expansion had Dumat's Spine and Dumat's Claw, a sword and a dagger created from the bones of the first Archdemon.
  • Egoboo: The Sporks of Yore. They serve as a Dismantled MacGuffin, and each of them is attuned to a different virtue.
  • Seraphim, the sword of Exit Fate protagonist Daniel Vinyard, and its counterpart Cherubim.
  • Final Fantasy: A recurring theme related to the series's themes of Dark Is Not Evil and balance between light and darkness is that the four Elemental Crystals have counterpart Dark Crystals. They pop up in I, III, and IV. V has no Dark Crystals, but does have a counterpart quartet of Crystals in the second world.
    • The Ultima Weapons from Final Fantasy VI are mentioned to be this, even though only one of them is a piece of equipment (namely a sword), while the other one is a monster.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth seeks the Black Materia that can call Meteor. Aerith in turn has the White Materia that can call Holy, which can destroy Meteor.
    • Final Fantasy XII has the Dawn Shard, Dusk Shard, and Midlight Shard, three pieces of Nethicite originally wielded by the Dynast-King, Raithwall. All three shards were carved from a much larger crystal, the Sun-Cryst. Much of the early plot is centered on trying to find one or more of them while keeping them out of the hands of The Empire. They are both powerful political/historical symbols, signifying being the heir to the Dynast-King, and potent magic weapons in the hands of the Empire's Mad Scientist.
      • A more straightforward example from the same game is the sword the Dynast-King used to carve the shards off the Sun-Cryst and the new sword given the Ashe by the local Powers That Be to signify her as his successor. The older sword could be used to destroy the Sun-Cryst (freeing Humanity from the Gods' tyranny), while the newer one could be used to harvest shards of divine Nethicite in order to forge an empire of her own (and take revenge on those who killed her family and enslaved her kingdom). When the party goes in search of the Sun-Cryst, even she isn't sure which one she intends to use when they find it...
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there's the Ayuvuir Red and Ayuvuir Blue, originally dual-wielded by the Hero Gaol.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has the two blessed swords formerly wielded by the heroine Altina, the golden Ragnell and the silver Alondite.
  • * Kingdom Hearts has a million and one Keyblades, and with several Keyblade wielders, it's no surprise that this trope is pulled every so often.
  • Sora and Mickey: both have the standard 'Kingdom Key' weapon, except Mickey's is gold. It shows they're one and the same, but Mickey is higher-status.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a set of five elemental clubs for the Seal Clubber, which are smithed from a Bad-ass club and an item obtained from an Infernal Seal, and a high-tier chefstaff for each element, all of which are made of a staff associated with the respective elements and elemental feathers, noodle dishes, mushroom wine and wads.
  • Kingdoms Of Camelot on Facebook has four elemental Guardians: Wood, Ore, Stone and Water, each of which raises production of that resource (water actually raises Food, there is no 'water' resource) and adds to attack or defense stats in battle. Set Bonus applies here.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The iconic Triforce is portrayed in this game as this, with Zelda having the Triforce of Wisdom and Ganon the Triforce of Power. It wasn't until the second game that the Triforce of Courage was introduced (and, starting from that game's ending, associated permanently with Link).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The Goddess/Master Sword and the Demon King's sword, Ghirahim. Also, among the collectibles you can find are Amber Relics (pretty much anywhere); their counterpart, the Dusk Relics, can also be found pretty much anywhere but only during the Silent Realm trials.
  • Might and Magic VIII has Elsenrail and Glomenthal. Though they have no story influence, their flavour texts describe them as linked yet opposite, with Elsenrail being the Blade of Light and Glomenthal being the Blade of Dark, and the forging of these Swords of Balance having destroyed the Forge of Chaos.
  • These pop up a lot in the Pokémon games, usually tied to legendary Pokémon in some way.
    • Ho-oh and Lugia, mascots of Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes, get not one but two sets. The Rainbow Wing and Silver Wing are their respective feathers, while the Clear Bell and Tidal Bell are simply associated with them; both sets can be used to summon the respective birds.
    • Groudon and Kyogre, mascots of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and their remakes, get the Red Orb and Blue Orb, which are used to control the two titans in some way. Normally, the Red Orb is linked to Groudon while the Blue Orb is tied to Kyogre, but the anime switched it around for some reason. As of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Orbs also allow Groudon and Kyogre to undergo Primal Reversion. Heart Gold and Soul Silver added a third Jade Orb for Rayquaza, but it hasn't been seen since.
    • Dialga and Palkia, mascots of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, get the Adamant Orb and Lustrous Orb respectively, which boost their same-type attack bonus when held. Platinum adds a third counterpart, the Griseous Orb, for its mascot Giratina, which has the additional effect of transforming Giratina into its Origin Forme.
    • Arceus, special snowflake that it is, gets an entire set to itself: the 16 (later 17) Plates, each of which represents a different elemental type. While any Pokémon can hold a Plate to boost the power of moves of the respective type, Arceus can use them to change its own type and the type of its signature move, Judgment.
    • Reshiram and Zekrom, mascots of Pokémon Black and White, get the Light Stone and Dark Stone; unlike most of the other Pokémon examples, these ones actually are the legendaries in question, being the remnants of the dragons' bodies after their clash in the backstory. Interestingly, fans have discovered a third counterpart called the God Stone in the games' code, but it was apparently Dummied Out; the common assumption is that it would have been linked to Kyurem or the original dragon.
    • Genesect gets a set of four Drives, special cassettes that change the type of its signature move Techno Blast when held, as part of its upgrade by Team Plasma.
    • Solgaleo and Lunala, mascots of Pokémon Sun and Moon, get the Sun Flute and Moon Flute, which were created to offer prayers to the aforementioned legendaries and can be used to summon them. Interestingly enough, both flutes must be used together to have any effect; it's the location that determines which of the two legendaries gets invoked.
    • Silvally was an attempt to recreate Arceus and its power, so it's no surprise that it got its own equivalent of the Plates, special disks called Memories, which alter its type and the type of its signature move Multi-Attack.
  • The Soul Series has Soul Edge and Soul Calibur which represent chaos and order (Calibur was made from a purified shard of Edge, so it's still kind of evil). Both get stronger when Soul Edge absorbs souls.
  • Suikoden:
  • Suikoden V has the Dawn and Twilight runes; they're opposites to each other, but not opposed, as they both work to keep the Sun rune in check.
  • The Atlantean Scion from the original Tomb Raider. Three pieces, one for each ruler of Atlantis.
  • Wild ARMs 3 has a pair of gemstones that act as counterparts with one another. Unfortunately, they react like matter and antimatter when they come in contact with each other.

    Western Animation 
  • In Blackstar, the Powersword and the Starsword were created by a fission of the Powerstar. Johnny Blackstar wields the Starsword against the Overlord, who covets it.
  • In Filmation's re-imagining of the Blackstar concept, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), He-Man and Skeletor originally each wielded half of the Power Sword. This concept shows up in the earliest toy and comic releases, but was scrapped by the time the first episodes were in production.
  • The Mask: Brother Mask and Sister Mask, which can control the Mask's powers. Tragically, the legend of these Sibling Masks was Dr. Pretorius' fabrication. Sister Mask DOES allow him to control Stanley with a remote control. Naturally, Stanley is decidedly not happy when he finds out.
  • Rankin/Bass Productions:
    • In the 1980s version of ThunderCats, the Sword of Omens had an evil counterpart in the Sword of Plundarr.
    • The relationship is inverted in the reboot series: the Sword of Omens was created as a good counterpart to the Sword of Plundarr, forged from the metal slag that was left over after its creation.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, many Shen Gong Wu have sister Wu that are used in conjecture in order to utilize their abilities more effectively. The most notable ones are the Yin-Yang Yo-Yos, either of which allow their user to enter the Yin-Yang world, but both are needed in order for the user to come back out with their chi whole, otherwise a good user will become evil and vice-versa.