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Defend Command

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"It isn't for fighting. It's for when the fighting's gone bad."

The titular command is common in Role Playing Games, where the character assumes a defensive stance that reduces damage received from enemies (usually by half), usually at the expense of not being able to take any other action in that stance. Hence, this command is regarded as useless (especially in turn-based environments where all actions require a full turn), although it can vary from game to game.

Occasionally, however, a boss (or, especially in Nintendo Hard games, just a particularly nasty enemy) will have a charged-up super move which is best survived by defending on the turn it fires, leaving players used to ignoring the command clueless as to how to survive. It's also a nifty way for the team's Squishy Wizard to conserve magic and/or being less at risk of being one-shot by enemies. More recent games, recognizing what a Useless Useful Spell defend traditionally was, have attempted to bring back its usefulness by allowing the defend command to have other tactical advantages beyond reducing any amount of incoming damage.

One variation may cause a defending character to become the sole target of enemy hostility, either by shielding the rest of the party (kinda hard to reach them when they're behind a big-ass shield) or to draw enemy attention as the character enters a defensive stance, which comes in handy if used by a character who can Counter-Attack.

Another variation causes the character to evade damage instead of guarding against it; attacks which whiff this way are just as effective as if they were dodged normally, and also useful to counter-capable characters. That said, beware the Always Accurate Attack, which can bypass even this. This version is exclusive to Turn Based Role Playing Games, as more action-oriented games have a dedicated Dodge command instead to replicate this effect.

A third common approach to expanding the use of the defend command is to cause defending characters to also regenerate resources when used. For instance, defend may regenerate a percentage of health or mana each time it is used (don't expect to be able to use it outside of battles). Alternatively, it may regenerate stamina or technique points used for performing more powerful attacks. While this approach will keep defend from being useless, it can go to the alternate extreme of having a party spending as much or more time defending as attacking, either to generate enough mana to heal or build up stamina to perform more powerful attacks. This can, in turn, draw out battles, even otherwise easy Random Encounters, with excessive defending. Whether this is preferable or more strategic then the usual quick all-out attack strategy of most RPGs is dependent on who you ask.

Outside of RPGs, other genre games (notably action games) have their own dedicated "blocking" button. Fighting Games may either have one, or (in 2D fighters) have the player simply holding the "back" button (i.e the opposite direction of where the character is facing). For fighting games especially, some games may have both standard blocking and an advanced form of blocking that is more useful but either harder to do or requiring some resource.

See also Stone Wall, which any character using this command becomes while it's in effect. See also Unblockable Attack, which can break through this. Some variants of Armor-Piercing Attack can also bypass the protection this command offers, especially if they're the Anti-Armor variant which does more damage to defending targets. Contrast Blocking Stops All Damage.


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    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3rd edition has "Fight Defensively" (-4 to attack rolls, but +2 dodge bonus to Armor Class) and "Total Defense" (+4 dodge bonus to AC, but requires a standard action to use (thus preventing the character from attacking), as well as preventing them from making Attacks of Opportunity)
    • 4th edition kept "Total Defense" from 3rd edition and still costs a standard action to use(like 3rd, this usually prevents the character from attacking) and now grants a +2 bonus to all defenses.
    • 5e adds the "Dodge" combat action, which gives attackers disadvantage (roll two, take the worst) on attack rolls against you, provided you can see them, and gives you advantage (roll two, take the best) on dexterity saving throws. The action system has been simplified in this edition, but dodging takes up the same action you would normally use on most things worth attacking with.
    • Adventure WG6 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. The Big Bad Tomorast replaced his hands with magical versions. One of their powers is that when clasped together in defense, they provide strong protection against both physical and magical attacks.
    • The Dwarven Defender Prestige Class in 3E has a "defensive stance" that gives it a big boost to AC and temporary Constitution bonus (meaning extra Hit Points) at the cost of remaining stationary.
  • Fabula Ultima has the Guard action, which gives a character resistance to all damage until their next turn. It can be also used to cover another character so that the second character can’t be targeted by melee attacks.
  • GURPS has the All-Out Defense maneuver, which allows the character to attempt two different defenses against each attack — or alternately, to focus on a single defense type (parry, dodge or block) for a +2 to that defense. In GURPS, characters suffer a shock penalty to attacks on the turn after they've been injured, so an All-Out Defense can actually be useful for a character to get their bearings after a painful wound.
  • The Legend of the Five Rings RPG has the Full Defense stance, in which the character cannot attack and has their movement reduced, but is harder to hit. How much of a benefit the stance gives varies depending on the character's Defense skill and which edition you are playing.
  • The One Ring: Heroes can choose to "roll with a hit" as a reaction, halving the damage they suffer but costing them their action on their next turn.
  • Shadowrun. Early editions allowed characters in melee combat to use the Full Defense option, which reduced incoming damage and could cause an opponent to miss altogether.
  • Fate-based games starting all the way back with Spirit of the Century have the full defense action, which provides a +2 bonus on all defense rolls. This is made more significant by the fact that a defense roll that beats the attack by enough (generally defined as "by 3 or more") actually grants the defender a small temporary situational advantage — "spin" in earlier versions of the game and a "boost" in later ones starting with Fate Core — which they or their allies can then potentially exploit on a later action. Most of these games also come with stunts that actually improve full defense (SotC itself has Flow Like Water and Flawless Parry, boosting the benefit from a full defense using the Fists or Weapons skill respectively to +3 instead of just +2) or provide extra perks to a sufficiently good defense roll (like dealing damage to the attacker via reflexive counterattack).
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Characters can use their entire turn to take a defensive stance, giving attackers a major penalty on their roll to hit them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: A major game mechanic, in which any monster (except Link Monstersnote ) can be told to defend (as it is Special Summoned, or once per turn if it's already been in play for a turn). Defense Position monsters cannot attack, and will (usually) absorb the entirety of an attack that destroys them (when not defending, any damage left over after destroying the monster will hit its controller). Each monster also has separate stats for its combat ability when inside and outside Defense Position, so telling a monster to defend could make it much better or worse at combat.

    Video Games 
  • The 7th Saga increases your attack strength for the turn after you defend as well as the usual defence increase.
  • Absinthia: Played with. All of the main party members have a skill that heals their MP a bit, reduces damage taken for that turn, and buffs them in some way. However, they can be prevented from using that skill if an ailment prevents them from using any skill in general, essentially sealing their ability to defend. Additionally, the guest character Ruthea has no equivalent to the defend command, and instead has a skill that heals more MP than the defensive skills.
  • Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis has a defend command that only reduces damage from the single next attack, but is actually used quite frequently when the player's trying to build up their AP to unleash a more powerful attack the following round.
  • Active Defence from Arcuz II. You can upgrade this skill further, such as making an enemy attacks deal damage to your mana instead, or even restore your HP and MP if you guard just as the enemy hits you.
    • The Lizard Folk Mook has a ridiculous version of this. It sports a spear and a rather tiny shield. It'll hold up its shield very often, which makes it unable to move but makes it completely damn immune to damage from all directions, and if you hit it then, you'll get hurt instead.
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden gives each party member unique defend commands. Barkley's simply reduces incoming damage, Balthios' makes him Counter-Attack when hit, Vinceborg's restores his VP and BP, Cyberdwarf's has him absorb some of the damage an ally would take if they get attacked, and Hoopz' defend command gives him a 100% evasion rate.
  • Brave Hero Yuusha: It has a defend command.
  • The "Default" command in Bravely Default halves all damage and also stores up actions to use for a burst of "Brave" attacks. Effective use of Default is a key skill for players seeking to master the battle system.
  • Carrion has the Keratosis ability, which causes the Villain Protagonist monster to create a temporary hard outer shell that protects it from most damage. This even allows it to No-Sell the explosive traps that latch onto it and blow it up for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Quite useful in Child of Light, where the defend ability not only allows you to take your next turn faster in the Combatant Cooldown System, but it can also be upgraded to reduce 80% of incoming damage. This works well with Oengus' Taunt when maxed out, which allows him to regenerate 50 health a turn while most enemies that are forced to attack him will deal much less than that while he defends.
  • Defending in Chrono Cross not only reduces damage, but also recharges the stamina that is depleted whenever you attack or cast spells. As such, you'll be making heavy use of the command throughout the game.
  • Sort of used in the Civilization series, with the Fortify command, which provides a defensive bonus to any unit using it. But it does mean they can't move until you unfortify them.
  • In Cosmic Star Heroine, the eighth slot in each party member's Limited Move Arsenal is reserved for an ability that recharges their other abilities, making them usable again, along with some other effect, usually a temporary damage reduction but also available are other effects like healing your party for a minor amount, painting a target on yourself, buffing the party's attacks, disarming an enemy or just hurting them for a minor damage.
  • Dark Chronicle improved the Defend command over its predecessor, greatly reducing (or entirely blocking) incoming damage, protecting the player from being knocked to the ground. If an attack was blocked entirely, any status effect from it would be blocked as well. It was also part of the button combination required to pick up and throw enemies.
  • In the first Dark Cloud, the Defend command reduced damage from attacks, but it required a target lock to function, and did not protect the player from powerful attacks that would knock them to the ground.
  • Guard in Darkest Dungeon is an effect where the guarding unit takes the hit for the guarded (save for a few exceptionslist), and three classes have variations on it. The Man-at-Arms has Defender to Guard one ally while buffing his protection. The Houndmaster does the same with Guard Dog, but buffing his dodge chance instead. The Antiquarian forces someone else to guard her, but gives them a buff to protection and dodging. Enemies with shields like the Bone Defender and the Pelagic Guardian also have guard skills.
  • In DC Universe Online, blocking reduces most damage to about 1/4, but the player cannot attack while blocking; some player special attacks backfire if the target used block. For some boss special attacks, block may or may not reduce damage, but they usually have the added bonus of neglecting special effects.
  • Having a party member defend in Deltarune reduces the damage that they take from attacks while also increasing the Tension Point gauge, enabling other characters to use their spells.
  • Disgaea: Its version of the Defend command increases defensive power by 50%, but in return the character will lose 2 counters from their Counter-Attack stat for the turn. Some games, however, do things a little differently:
    • Disgaea D2: Barbara's evility, Passiveness, allows her to not only get a 50% Attack and Defense buff while guarding, she is guaranteed to counter when hit. This game also introduced Protection Actions, where a character with a high-enough Likability with another character will take an attack intended for them. The Armor Knight class gets 3 Evilities related to defending: Advance Guard is an 80% damage reduction when defending, Defender allows for unlimited Protection distance, and Defensive Stance gives an auto-guard to frontal and side attacks.
    • Disgaea 5 has the Armor Knight return, and her Hero's Shield Evility allows her to take an attack intended for an ally while defending, but up to 3 times. She gets a whole host of other defend-command Evilities, such as Hold the Line (prevent enemies from passing), Synch Guard (reduce ally damage taken by 10%), and Swift Stance (counter up to 20 times when defending).
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, the hero and Angelo can get the Defending Champion ability, which is similar to the defend command except it reduces damage to 1/10th instead of 1/2.
    • In Dragon Quest IX, the first shield ability you learn is Blockenspiel, which has the same effect as defending, but you still get to attack. Extremely useful when a monster gets pissed and only attacks one person. The only downside is that it costs 4 mana, but that's not exactly a huge drawback.
  • In Dungeons of Aether, every character's second ability immediately grants +2 Defence.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: The guard command recovers both NP and DP, in addition to reducing damage taken.
  • The End Times: Vermintide and Vermintide II: Any melee weapon can be used to block incoming attacks, to shove enemies by attacking while blocking, or to stagger them by timing the block command mid-attack. The effective range and Stamina cost vary by weapon; offhand shields grant the best defense and can negate attacks that other weapons can't, such as ratling guns and warpfire throwers.
  • The "Defend" tactic in the Epic Battle Fantasy series halves damage taken for one turn. Given the hefty damage enemies can deal (especially on higher difficulties), its quite useful.
    • In the first three games, defending would grant a unique bonus to each character - Matt would take less damage from physical attacks (1/8 before the EBF Collection update, 1/4 after), Natalie would recover MP from magical attacks, and Lance would have his Evade increased by 30%.
    • Starting with Epic Battle Fantasy 4, defending instead works by applying the status effect of the same name, which halves damage taken, but makes you unable to counterattack.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 introduces the ability for equipment to grant additional effects upon Defending, whether that be positive status effects, or stat buffs (including offensive buffs).
  • In Etrian Odyssey, tank-type classes often have passives that let them restore HP when guarding and automatically guard when they take damage (even if they didn't use the command itself!). Some of them also have skills that Draw Aggro from enemies, which work well in conjunction with guarding to conserve TP in a protracted fight (as opposed to using guard skills to reduce damage to allies or take damage in place of them).
  • In Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, the Knight class’s Defend ability halves the damage they take from attacks until their next turn. It also heals them slightly. Their Protect ability lets them shield other units from harm.
  • In Final Fantasy games, Defend generally halves physical damage only, providing no protection against magic. In games with ATB, the character will defend indefinitely until they are issued a different command, giving it some use as a way to keep one character on standby. The series is also replete with examples of Draw Aggro, and it's frequently a job requirement of the Knight and/or Paladin classes.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • Yang gets the Brace command in addition to the standard Defend. It takes a bit of time to come into effect, but cuts physical damage by three-fourths instead of half. Using the DS remake's Augment System, you can give the Brace command to other characters.
      • Cecil automatically shields characters with low HP from enemy physical attacks, and also includes a "Cover" ability that can be used to shield any other character from harm.
    • Final Fantasy V features the Knight class, which has a Cover ability much like Cecil's in that it shields low-HP characters. The Knight class also gets the Guard skill, which completely nullifies all damage from any physical attacks.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the Defend command can be equipped to characters junctioning an appropriate GF, and when used completely negates physical damage and halves magical damage. It's quite useful when combined with Cover (user takes physical attacks directed at other characters) and Counter (retaliate against physical attacks). It's also useful when fighting Omega Weapon as a way to survive Terra Break.Explanation
    • Final Fantasy X'
      • Aeons have the Shield ability to reduce damage until their next turn by 75%, though this prevents their Overdrive gauge from filling up. Notably, unlike the Defend of your normal party members, this applies to all damage, not just physical damage.
      • The Sentinel ability (found in Auron's part of the Sphere Grid) combines this trope with Taking the Bullet. It causes the user to take physical attacks in place of other characters for half damage.
    • Sentinels in Final Fantasy XIII use nothing but this and variants of Provoke in battle, but each has a varying effect:
      • Steelguard: The character guards, and takes less damage from each consecutive hit received.
      • Mediguard: The character regenerates HP while guarding.
      • Vendetta/Entrench: The character automatically counterattacks based on certain criteria.
      • Elude: The character may dodge damage altogether when attacked.
  • Fire Emblem has a variant in that some units who end their turn without doing anything can get a boost to defensive stats. For example, in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dedue's personal skill boosts his Defense if he ends a turn without taking an action, and Alert Stance, an ability gained by improving a unit's Flying skill, increases a unit's avoidance if you end a turn without taking an action.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, when you have an Invisibility Cloak you can activate it to temporarily get extra 60 percentage points to your evasion rate along with stopping the enemy weapons from charging. Once you use it though, you have to wait for ionization to wear off before you can use it again.
  • Golden Sun has a defend command. Characters automatically go into defend if you tell them to wait (or take too long in a linked battle). Various defense Djinn also exist to provide protection to the whole party, and then there's Sveta's Pack Defense in Beastform...
  • In Grandia II, Defend is actually useful — you can see when something is about to hit you, the damage reduction is extreme, and if you don't use it there's a chance you'll be hit out of whatever you would have tried instead. It's also useful if you equip one character with an item that reduces incoming damage below a certain threshold to 0 and a skill that greatly increases the probability of being targeted; now you have a tank who can soak most attacks while the rest of the party dispatches enemies with impunity.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic series has, from III onward, a defend command to use instead of attacking.
  • Jade Cocoon gives the defend command a very valid use: when a Mon defends an attack they regain a decent chunk of MP. It's a very handy tactic when grinding experience, as it saves you needing to waste time to return to the village to rest or waste Shab Liquors to recover magic instead.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Defend halves all damage and blocks all status attacks (other than instant KO), and recovers 10% of the character's maximum HP. The free healing is totally necessary, considering the laughably small inventory you're able to carry (32 items total).
  • Legend of Legaia offers the Spirit command that, in addition to reducing damage taken for that turn, also recharges AP and increases the number of attacks you can make for the next turn.
  • Legaia II: Duel Saga also has a Guard command. It does not allow more attacks, but there is an accessory that lets you double (and later triple) your strength after you Guard. The increased damage is sufficient for a moderately leveled party to one-shot the final boss.
  • Lords of Magic has a "defend self" command, where the unit will stand still and not attack, but gains extra defense. This one was actually useful vs. the AI in the game.
  • Luxaren Allure: Called Guard here. It also increases Impulse.
  • In the Mario & Luigi games, the same buttons you use to control your character triggers a defensive move (either with a jump or a hammer) when it's the enemy's turn, with the added bonus of a counter-attack in most cases. In Bowser's Inside Story Bowser himself has a purely defensive ability (ie. he won't counter) by crouching down, except it only protects him from aerial attacks; he still has a counter move opposite that ability.
    • In Paper Jam and the remakes a new action called "Emergency Guard" is introduced to be used when the player is struggling with an enemy attack. Holding the guard button will make all characters perform a block that reduces the damage taken.
  • In Mega Man X7, one of Zero's Ex Skills, the Gokumonken (learned from Soldier Stonekong), is a passive ability where Zero takes a defensive stance, blocking small projectiles and counter-attack against stronger and close-range attacks.
  • In Miitopia, there are multiple abilities that behave this way.
    • The first is actually a personality quirk. Any Stubborn Mii has the quirk Patience, which has a chance to activate automatically upon being attacked, reducing incoming damage by half.
    • There's the Warrior Skill, Proud Protector, which, on top of reducing incoming damage by half, also makes them cover any allies who would get hit by incoming attacks.
    • The Tank's Defend skill is the same as Patience: It gives the Tank a chance to, upon being attacked, brace themselves for impact automatically, reducing incoming damage by half.
  • Players in Minecraft can hold shields up to reduce incoming damage, but cannot attack during that phase and are reduced to a crawling speed.
  • The Mother games: In Mother 3, using Defend also reduces the rate at which the character's rolling HP meter ticks down. This comes in handy during the final battle with the Masked Man, where, due to plot reasons, there's not much you can do besides defend yourself and do your best to survive.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth has a guard command that reduces damage by more than half. Better yet, the guard stance can be maintained even while pressing a key to advance time. However, guarding too many attacks will result in a guard break, leaving the character stunned and vulnerable.
  • Odin Sphere: In the original release, only Gwendolyn and Cornelius sport a defend option that reduces damage taken (Gwen using her buckler shield, and Cornelius using his sword). The Updated Re-release gave Mercedes, Oswald and Velvet defend options as well, upgrading everyone to Blocking Stops All Damage, albeit with a guard meter that can leave the player stunned if it breaks.
  • In the roguelike Omega, you can configure your combat style among attacks and defences. For example, you may choose to attack three times, or replace one of the attacks with a defend command. However, you need at least three defence commands to guarantee coverage on the High, Center and Low attacks.
  • The Paper Mario series has a real-time equivalent: pressing A just before an attack hits Mario or his partner will reduce the damage taken by 1 and protect from any side effects the attack would have had (such as poisoning).
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door adds a more conventional "Defend" command, which increases defense by 1 for the turn in addition to the reaction guard, as well as a Superguard that blocks all damage and counters physical attacks but has stricter timing requirements.
  • It's also present and useful in Patapon where "Chaka chaka pata pon" increases the defense of the said units a lot.
  • Episodes 3 and 4 of Penny Arcade Adventures have a well-balanced Defend command: damage taken is slightly reduced and the character will receive their next turn more quickly than normal, which is useful since characters gain a magic point every turn. There are also some abilities that reward further bonuses for defending.
  • In Persona 4, the Defense command not only reduces the amount of damage you take, but also nullifies Critical Hits and elemental weaknesses while preventing the character from receiving status conditions during the turn. This makes it surprisingly useful to the point that not using it is sometimes outright suicidal. In fact, it's so useful that the game's first major boss fight is basically just a glorified tutorial on guarding, since the player must guard when the boss uses Power Charge(more than doubles the next attack's damage) or guards itself(which telegraphs a move that hits the player's weakness).
    • Persona 3 Portable adopted the same mechanic. In the original, there was no guard command, making it more difficult to prepare for enemies' charged attacks.
    • Persona 5 has the same effect for the Defend command and makes you learn to use it by pitting you against an Archangel with Charge and Vajra Blast. Failure to heed the tutorial will lead to a Total Party Kill.
  • Pokémon: Wild XXX used Protect! Wild XXX Protected itself!
    • The main use of actually using that is to stall while something else kills your foe. In early generations "something else" would be the status conditions like Toxic, while in later generations it's usually your allies in double and triple battles using moves such as Surf to hit everything on screen. Wide Guard and Quick Guard have an added bonus of protecting your allies, but only do anything against multi-target and increased-priority moves.
    • If you can guess which move your opponent will use, then Protect can also be helpful to counter moves like Hyper Beam and Solar Beam, which have an idle turn while the user recharges (allowing you to Protect yourself when they're actually attacking, and strike back when they aren't).
    • There's also Detect, which is pretty much the same thing.
    • Also, some moves raise defense stats, like Harden, Defense Curl, Withdraw and Vespiquen's Defend Order. Defense Curl also powers up the Rollout move.
    • Pokémon X and Y brings us Aegislashnote  and its signature move King's Shield. It is similar to protect, except any attacker who used a contact move also gets their attack lowered by 2 levels. It can't block status moves, however.
      • Also from X and Y, Chesnaught's signature move is Spiky Shield. Like King's Shield, it's a Protect variant that also has a negative effect on any attacker that uses a contact move, in this case taking out 1/8 of its max HP.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon brings us Toxapex and its signature move Baneful Bunker. It is similar to King's Shield and Spiky Shield, except any attacker who used a contact move also gets poisoned.
    • It should be noted that damaging Z-Moves are so strong that they will still do damage even with those defense moves, but it's only 25% of the damage they would have dealt. Max Moves and G-Max Moves in Pokémon Sword and Shield have the same Protect-breaching effect.
    • Pokémon GO allows you to reduce an incoming attack's damage by a whopping 75 percent, by waiting for the yellow "flash" (the timing of this appearing varies depending on the attack, but each has one) then quickly swiping left or right to "Dodge" out of the way note . This greatly reduces the effectiveness of a Gym-defending Pokemon's otherwise devastating attacks such as Hyper Beam, and allows for more thoughtful battles than simply Attack! Attack! Attack! as well as imperfect type matchups still being viable.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: Averted. It doesn't have a Defend Command. Instead, it has Focus, which restores some of the Mana which also reduces damage taken by how much Mana is left when enemies attack.
  • Rakenzarn Frontier Story's defense command, in addition to reducing damage, also builds the character's SP by 10 each time it's used. This can be very handy for building up SP for attacks or a Limit Break.
  • Rogue Galaxy's Defend command was very much similar to Dark Cloud 2 (block or reduce incoming damage, prevent knockdown, pick up and throw enemies). But all party members had action meters that periodically needed recharging; successfully blocking an attack during this time would recharge the meter immediately.
  • Sacred Earth Series: The Focus command reduces damage and heals LF, EP, and EX, but has a one turn cooldown to prevent the player from spamming it.
  • SD Gundam G Generation plays with the trope a bit. Only units that have a shield equipped can Defend, but all units can use the Evade command, which reduces hit chance by one third. In addition, some units have special defensive abilities that can nullify or greatly reduce damage from certain types of attacks. Unlike some other strategy RPGs, enemies will default to Evade or Defend when unable to counterattack.
  • Skies of Arcadia has a variation: Aika's Delta Shield negates all magic, and Enrique's Justice Shield halves physical damage to the party. Put 'em together and you've got a solid defense while leaving two characters free to attack or charge up the SP bar. This combo is practically required for some of the Superboss fights.
  • Soma Spirits: As seen in an official screenshot for Rebalance, for one.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In Save the Light, Connie's Protect has her guard an ally and automatically counter enemies for them for a short time. During this, she can still use her other moves without interrupting her protective stance.
    • In Unleash the Light, Garnet's Counterattack puts her in a defensive stance where she can inflict damage on enemies while blocking. However, you still have to time your blocks to counter them.
  • Stick War: The game allows you to garrison all of your units, miners included, in your base, while invulnerable castle archers fend off the enemy. However, doing so will leave your monument open to attack.
  • Super Mario RPG has both the vanilla Defend command and a variant based on the "Timed Hits" system. The "Timed Hits" version allows Mario and his partymates to reduce damage by pressing B at a specific point during an enemy's attack animation (which sometimes takes some guesswork); particularly well timed hits will actually reduce the damage to 0 and can even prevent instant death attacks. True to the trope, the "regular" Defend command is almost completely useless, even moreso than most other RPGs because a) It's more efficient to just attempt the Timed Hits version — which does not require spending a turn on the player's part — and b) It doesn't protect against magic attacks.
  • Super Robot Wars offers units being directly attacked the option of defending or evading instead of retaliating. Defend halves damage taken and Evade halves the chance of being hit. Both have their uses, depending on the mech under fire.
  • The Tales Series makes guarding a practical option by including skills that provide benefits like HP/TP restoration for guarding attacks at the last moment, allowing you to turn any arte into an Invulnerable Attack if performed immediately after blocking a hit, and also simply allowing you to cancel some attacks early for combo or safety purposes.
  • Theia - The Crimson Eclipse: The guard command reduces damage and heals a bit of the user's HP, but it also lowers the Mastery gauge, making it harder to activate Mastery bonuses.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: The Focus command reduces damage and restores a small percentage of MP. Xandra's Observe command also reduces damage, but without MP recovery.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: It has a defend command that halves damage, from all sources, even One-Hit Kill attacks that hit the damage cap of 9999, turning them into 4999.
  • Warcraft III's footmen have the Defend ability, in which they raise their shields to greatly reduce incoming piercing damage (e.g. arrows), sometimes sending the attack back (interestingly, the bandit axeman and spearthrower units have the animation for it, but don't have the ability by default). However, it makes them move veeeeeeery slowly. Spell Breakers had a magical version of this spell, though they now have complete immunity to magic.
  • In World of Warcraft, Warriors have Defensive Stance, which used to reduce damage dealt and damage taken by 10%. In Cataclysm, it was changed to eliminate the damage penalty. Its inverse, Berserker Stance, formerly increased crit chance and damage taken. Now it provides a +10% to damage dealt without an increase in damage taken.
  • The newer X-COM continuity have a few of these.
    • Both XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 have "Hunker Down", an ability that all combatants able to use cover have by default. In the first game it doubles the cover's defense value (so hunkering behind full cover decreases the enemy's hit chance by a massive 80%) and gives immunity to critical hits, but denies line of sight and is negated if the user gets flanked. In the latter, it increases defense by 30 and gives 50 dodgenote , along with the same crit immunity, and puts out the fire if the user was burning. VIPs you're escorting can hunker down in 2, but in the first they can only use "Head Down" to add 10 to their defense, though they can use it while out of cover as well.
    • XCOM 2 also features Parry, a Momentum move that a Templar can use after attacking with "Rend". It negates any and all base damage from the first attack against the Templar, but doesn't block against status effects like poison, fire, non-damaging psionic effects, or a Viper's tongue pull. On another note, it triggers even if mechanically speaking, the shot would have missed.