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Deployable Cover

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"Take cover? No, I make cover!"
So, you and your squad are off on a mission. You've got armour, guns, grenades, etc. - everything you need. But there's a catch - on this mission, there is likely to be little cover. What do you do? Take some of your own with you, of course!

Deployable Cover can be anything from an energy barrier that deflects bullets to a big pavise that can be planted into the ground to protect you from arrow volleys. Often, the deployable cover won't be as durable as natural cover, eventually getting destroyed after it is shot enough (though, in the case of an energy shield, it may reactivate after a short time). It will, however, last indefinitely if it is left alone.

If you carry the cover with you whilst making use of it, then it's closer to a shield.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A very unconventional use of fairies in Fairy Gone: these beings are impervious to bullets, so their users can manifest them as mobile cover as needed.
  • Planet Defensors in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing can be deployed to form a Deflector Shield.
  • Princess Kushana uses a creeping barrage in the NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind manga to cover a cavalry charge that wrecks the enemy's artillery, buying time to relieve her besieged soldiers.
  • Rebuild World: Sheryl's gang uses portable Deflector Shields barriers, originally to barricade their Home Base, but after they Took a Level in Badass into Men of Sherwood territory, they use these on the sides of flat bed trucks for a contract clearing a road of The Swarm of huge monsters, as well as presumably during The Siege. They take advantage of their mobile nature to swap out barriers as they take damage.
  • World Trigger has the escudo, a trigger that allows the user to create barriers from trion. Unlike the usual shield trigger, the escudo becomes a physical object, and is created by rising from some surface, rather than manifesting in the air.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions supplement Gadgets! The Force Wall Generator was a device which, when placed on the ground and activated, would create an energy shield to block incoming fire.
  • GURPS:
    • GURPS High-Tech (a book of real-world tech) details "explosives blankets" which SWAT officers can use to protect themselves from attack.
    • GURPS Ultra-Tech (a book of science fiction tech) has various portable force screen generators.
  • Middle Eath Strategy Battle Game: Corsair Arbalesters carry around big wooden pavises that raises their Defence characteristic by a large amount, as long as they are not Engaged in combat.
  • The Warhammer Siege Rules allow archer units to carry pavises.
    • The newest edition's common magic item list includes 'Fozzick's Folding Fortress,' which allows you to put up an entire watchtower in your deployment zone.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Tower shields can be planted, meaning the user sacrifices all actions and the shield's usual bonus to Armor Class and takes full cover (untargetable, although enemies can certainly aim for the shield) instead.
    • Many spells create or temporarily summon cover, such as in the form of walls of ice, stone, iron, or pure magic. Some have secondary effects like damaging enemies who try to breach them or being able to be tipped over onto an enemy's head.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The "Fish of Fury" tactic was a much-hated but technically legal maneuver for Tau players where Glass Cannon Fire Warriors could be deployed behind their Devilfish transport, and because the Devilfish is a Hover Tank, it allowed the Fire Warriors to shoot enemies behind the tank while preventing said enemies from shooting the Fire Warriors (or if they did shoot back, anti-infantry weapons don't do much against vehicles).

    Video Games 
  • Halo:
    • This piece of equipment in Halo 3 is the Trope Namer. You just tossed it out and it would throw up a shield that you could shoot through while blocking your enemies' shots.
    • 3 also had the Bubble Shield, a form of deployable cover that created a sphere of protection 4m in diameter to wherever it was tossed. It could be walked through, but anything thrown or fired at it was unable to penetrate, even your own shots. Halo: Reach included it as an armor ability, making it smaller and able to heal any anyone inside it.
  • Global Agenda features this in standard and Limit Break formats for the Robotics class.
  • The Block ability in S4 League.
  • The Geth in Mass Effect seem to be fond of deploying hexagonal energy shields in areas with little cover.
    • The Collectors in Mass Effect 2 also deploy shields, circular but still with a glowing hexagonal pattern in them.
    • Similarly, in the collector base mission, one of your party must create a Biotic shield to repel seekers and maintain it during the fight.
    • Cerberus in Mass Effect 3 deploys similiar shields, though they can be easily disabled by shooting the generator.
      • In Multiplayer, the Geth Prime character class eventually brought back the energy shields from the first game, which is especially useful given that the Prime is one of the biggest playable characters and incapable of crouching behind cover.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition introduces a new wall-of-ice spell that allows you to protect yourself and divide enemies.
  • The Borderlands series:
    • In the first game, Borderlands, the Soldier's turret features an energy shield, as well as shooting things.
    • Borderlands 2 has the Commando with a turret, which can create a shield with the right talent.
    • In Borderlands 3, one of Zane's Action Skills is a hologram barrier that can be deployed to protect him and his allies as well as amplify damage by shooting through it. He can also make the barrier surround him so that he can reap the benefits while still being mobile.
  • Girders in Worms can be deployed absolutely anywhere on the map and sort of magically spring into existence, and can be used for a certain degree of cover wherever it is needed.
  • In at least the third Ratchet and Clank game you can buy deployable cover.
  • Command & Conquer series:
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the Allied GI units can deploy sandbags which gives them increased damage resistance and also allows them to deploy their machine guns, but this renders them immobile. The Guadian GI in the expansion can do the same, using metal plates instead and deploying a missile launcher. This increases their damage resistance but also protects them from being turned into roadkill by vehicles. How they get sandbags and metal plates anybody's guess and worse, how they set them up in less than a second. .
    • GDI riflemen in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars can build foxholes, which are basically Garrisonable Structures though this cost some cash and takes a while to build, and if you leave them empty, the enemy can use them too.
  • The Locusts in Gears of War have bombs that make pillars of earth shoot up from the ground, which they then use as cover.
    • Gears of War 2 introduces a shield that can be made into this.
    • Gears of War 3 will have Silverbacks, mech suits that can turn their legs into cover at the cost of not being able to move while they do it.
  • Eldar guardians in Dawn of War 2 may deploy energy shields.
  • Unreal featured a forcefield item that could be activated to seal off a doorway or provide cover in a gunfight.
    • The sequel featured laser barriers you could set up by placing special portable posts. It played vital role in several defensive scenarios.
  • The gameplay of Fracture was built around the Entrencher, a device which in theory could raise and lower the ground to create cover and foxholes as needed. It didn't work well enough to make up for otherwise bland gameplay and story writing.
  • StarCraft: Zerg Defiler can cast a spell that creates a cloud of smog, rendering all direct ranged attacks useless against units under it, including your own.
  • Starcraft II ups the ante with sentries, the premiere defensive units of the Protoss. Their standard defense, the force field can be used to prevent melee units from getting up close and to keep ranged units out of attack range when you pair them up with Colossi. Their secondary defense the guardian shield reduces incoming damage to great effect since it does so over a wide area.
  • Engineers in Stronghold are capable to create cheap and expandable shields that can be deployed in the battlefield to protect other units from enemy fire.
  • The Auger's secondary fire in the Resistance series places a short-lived, man-sized wall of energy in front of the user, which is impervious to everything except Auger shots.
  • Every Homeworld game has something that's supposed to work this way. The original game's Defence Field Frigates were an out-and-out Useless Useful Shipnote . Cataclysm introduced Sentinel fighters that worked a bit like the Planet Defensors referenced in the Gundam Wing entry on a smaller scale, and were slightly more useful. Homeworld 2 introduced a new Defence Field Frigate that corrected most of the original's deficiencies, but had a short duration and a long cooldown period.
  • Squad's main feature is the setting up of Forward Operating Bases to defend or attack enemy bases. This requires a Squad Leader to start a deployable cover and the non-leader roles to dig it with shovels to build it.
  • The Instant Wall in Amorphous+. It protects you from most Glooples except Grinders (but it breaks their shell), Void Eaters, and a few others.
  • Engineers in Planetside 2 can deploy machine-gun turrets with shields that can provide pretty decent cover.
  • Engineers in Star Trek Online (player characters and NPC Bridge Officers) can deploy Cover Shields, person-sized Beehive Barriers that protect a small firing position, or Force Field Domes that cover a larger area and prevent enemies from entering it.
  • In Nectaris, Triggers are somewhat like a form of deployable cover, despite looking like land mines and acting like units for most purposes, though they can neither move or attack once deployed.
  • Warframe:
    • Grineer Mooks like to deploy inflatable "blunts" which do nothing but provide cover. They're effectively immune to gunfire, but they can be easily popped with a melee weapon. They also slowly lose health over time.
    • The Corpus units on Jupiter and the Orb Vallis can deploy vector shields, energy barriers that are taller and narrower than the Grineer blunts but are otherwise functionally identical.
    • The Volt Warframe's Electric Shield ability creates a barrier of electricity that blocks all projectiles and strengthens allied gunfire that passes through it. He can optionally pick the barrier up and move it around.
    • A more down to earth variant is Atlas' Bulwark rock walls, which he can summon out of the ground. In a pinch, he can also turn it into a boulder and send it rolling forward to crush enemies.
    • Frost is a variation; his Snow Globe surrounds a sphere-shaped area around him, blocking enemy damage as long as the ice's health bar lasts. This makes him a popular defensive Warframe as he can safeguard objectives or block choke points.
    • Gara's Mass Vitrify allows her to form an expanding ring of glass walls as a secondary effect of its crowd-controlling ability. It's a little less effective as a defense than Frost's Snow Globe, as her glass walls are open on the top, but she can easily shatter them to power up her other abilities to obscene levels (in the millions of damage per second if you have enough time and energy to set it up).
  • A few characters in Overwatch have different versions of this:
    • Mei's Ice Wall ability lays down a solid chunk of ice that blocks both incoming and outgoing fire.
    • Reinhardt's Barrier Field is a mobile shield that can absorb a great deal of punishment as long as the player holds down the button to activate it. However, he can't attack and use the barrier at the same time.
    • Winston's Barrier Projector lays down a temporary shield bubble that protects from all angles, though it has a limited duration and resilience.
    • Orisa can throw down a stationary force field wall that protects her and her comrades from one direction. This was until Overwatch 2, which reworked her kit into a more offensive one and removed her shield.
    • Sigma has his Experimental Barrier, a floating version of Reinhardt's that functions a bit differently. The player can hold down the button to move the shield forward in whatever direction they're facing, and then press the button again to retrieve it.
    • 2's newcomer Ramattra has one too, however it only stays up for a few seconds after deploying it. It's usually used to create space for your team or provide quick cover from an active enemy Ultimate, rather than just putting it in one place for an extended period of time.
  • Most defensive plants in Plants vs. Zombies and Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time are these as the player can plant them down for defending their easily-killed offensive plants. These often lack an attack but forces most zombies to eat them and therfore halting their advance. Of course, there are certain zombies who can One-Hit Kill them.
    • The Wall-Nut acts as basic cover with good health.
    • The Tall-Nut has even more health than the Wall-Nut, and it also prevents zombies from vaulting over it. In the sequel, it prevents zombies from flying over it or being launched over it.
    • The Garlic has less health than Wall-Nut, but it diverts zombies to other lanes.
    • The Pumpkin protects any plant it's planted on from non-lobbed attacks.
    • The Infi-Nut has less health than the Wall-Nut, but if the hologram is left alone or killed, the projector will regenerate it to full health. Its Plant Food powerup produces a column-wide force field that blocks zombies on all lanes and can even withstand One-Hit Kill attacks.
    • The Pea-Nut is a combination of this and an attacker, firing peas at zombies while providing defense.
    • The Sweet Potato combines being this trope along with Draw Aggro, attracting zombies from adjacent lanes and forcing them to eat it.
    • The Chard Guard has less health than a Wall-Nut, but can also Knock Back groups of zombies that approach it. It can only use the knockback ability three times, however.
    • The Endurian acts as one while damaging any zombies that attack it thanks to its spikes.
    • The Red Stinger is one when placed on the right side of the lawn, though since he costs three times as much as a Wall-nut and has less than half the health of one, this isn't really all that useful.
    • The Primal Wall-Nut is similar to a Wall-Nut, except it costs more Sun, has a far faster recharge time, and best of all, can even withstand certain zombie attacks that would destroy most other defensive Plants in one hit.
    • The Explode-O-Nut acts as a Wall-Nut with less health, but when it's killed, it will explode in a 3x3 area and One-Hit Kill most zombies.
    • The Hot Date acts like a Sweet Potato, drawing zombies from adjacent lanes and forcing them to eat it, but once it's fully eaten it will also explode into a lane of flames that One-Hit Kill most normal zombies it affects.
    • The Holly Barrier's a more traditional example. Like Endurian, it has good durability and it hurts zombies attacking it. It also can launch a berry at a targeted tile that knocks back zombies, and if the tile doesn't have a plant or obstacle it'll leave a spiked barrier that also damages zombies attacking it.
    • Plants Vs Zombies 2 also contains a Zombie that uses this. The Tomb Raiser zombie will throw a bone on a random tile, creating an unplantable tomb that takes damage from and blocks straight shots.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes introduces more plants that play this role. Wall-Nut, Pea-Nut, Garlic, and Sweet Potato also return.
    • The Water Chestnut has slightly more health than Wall-Nut, and can be placed in the water.
    • The Mirror-Nut has the same amount of health as a Wall-Nut, and it damages the zombie hero whenever a nut plant receives damage.
    • The Poppin' Poppies create three Deployable Covers, in the form of Lil' Buddies. Each Lil' Buddy is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, but will heal the plant hero for 2 HP each when spawned, for a total of 6 HP.
    • The Prickly Pear has slightly less health than Wall-Nut, but when it takes damage, it deals 4 damage to a zombie in its lane, if there is one.
  • Splatoon has the sub-weapon Splash Wall, which is basically a pair of windshield wipers on a rig set up to spray a wall of ink to block enemy fire. They have limited duration and durability, but immediately splat anyone trying to go through them.
  • In Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, Levant has a skill called "The Last in Line" that spawns a short line of Hard Light shields that block enemy movement.
  • In Rainbow Six Siege, A common gadget for all members of the defending team (and defenders in general) is the Deployable Shield, which provides a small amount of cover just enough for a player to crouch behind. Some also use it as an obstacle by putting it inside a doorway, having just enough space to fully block the door, forcing the enemies to either, leave it alone and try another route, leap through it or even outright destroy it. Year Four's operative Goyo carries an explosive version of this shield called the Volcán Shield. Which has a fuel canister that allows it to function as an explosive Booby Trap.
  • The Division had a waist-high deployable cover.
  • Engineers in Planetside 2 can deploy cover for two soldiers, affectionately nicknamed "baby gates" for their waist-high dimensions and common use to block doorways.
  • Rust lets players instantly plop down full-health structures on any unused terrain, so it is very common to ambush a player, only for them to deploy cover and heal. There are structures clearly meant to be cover, like waist-high barricades, but the walls used to ring compounds are also popular, and scrappy players will use whatever they've scavenged, like repair benches and water barrels.
  • Transistor: The power of Cheerleaders. They generate protective shields around their target. The 2.0 version also makes its targets invincible, and 3.0 shields itself as well.

    Western Animation 
  • The Herculoids:
    • Episode "The Time Creatures". The title opponents could press a button on their helmets and create a force field barrier in front of them.
    • Episode "Invasion of the Electroid Men''. The title creatures could create an energy wall as a movable barrier.
  • Space Ghost episode "The Looters". Brak's ray shelter can generate an Impregnashield (a rectangular force field) in front of it.

    Real Life 
  • The Pavise was a shield designed to protect archers and crossbowmen from incoming projectiles. They often had a spike in the bottom, allowing it to be put in place, thus protecting the owner without them having to hold it.
  • The Mantlet was a movable barrier that would protect from arrows, that could be put into position by the soldiers using it.
  • Shell holes are often used as cover. In a variation of this trope, troops have at rare times requested artillery fire just to create them.
    • In 1915-1917, (Allied) armies experimented with the use of a "creeping barrage" tactic, where the artillery would continually lay down fire just ahead of the advancing troops, using the shell blasts themselves as a form of cover. Creeping barrages soon became obsolete when the Germans realised (as a result of trying to conserve their increasingly scarce ammunition) that short, concentrated, and intense barrages on short sections of the enemy lines followed by lightening-fast assaults and break-throughsnote  were much more effective than either creeping barrages or the massive (week-)long barrages (followed up methodically but painfully slowly across a broad front) that had preceeded them both. 'Creeping Barrages' and 'Massive Barrages' were just too slow to result in anything more than tactical advances, as the enemy would always have enough time to bring up reserves to strengthen their lines, something that brief barrages followed by rapid assaults and breakthroughs managed to avoid (In theory, anyway. In practice, Germany's logistics capabilities were always too weak to properly sustain strategic offensives).
      • It's worth noting that 10% casualties were expected in a tactical advance covered by a properly-executed creeping barrage; most of those casualties were not due to enemy actionnote  but rather due to defective shells and mis-aimed artillery pieces resulting in some of the barrage hitting one's own troops.
      • The Canadian Military is often credited with inventing the Creeping Barrage in WW1 and used it to great effect a number of times, which is quite possibly why Adolf Hitler had such respect for Canadian troops in World War II. The Vimy ridge memorial notably was guarded by a cadre of SS with orders to shoot anyone attempting to defile or mock it.
  • the veined octopus sometimes carries coconut halves around to use as portable armor. When it sees a predator it reassembles the coconut halves into a ball with itself protected inside.
  • When dismounted, troops can use friendly vehicles, such as Infantry Fighting Vehicles and tanks as cover during gunfights. This way they can have some protection from the small arms fire that likely makes up the majority of any fight, and are better able to pick off anyone carrying an anti-tank weapon. If you ever choose to use this technique, remember that the vast majority of motor vehicles are not actually bulletproof.
    • Be wary of being near vehicles with reactive armor, as it explodes into clouds of sharp, hot, toxic shards when struck by some forms of anti-vehicle weaponry.
  • There are actually foldable kevlar-sheets that can be carried around like a suitcase (it intentionally resembles one) and quickly folded out to give some level of protection agains pistol caliber weapons. They fit here since they aren´t that mobile and the user has to manually hold them up with one hand while returning fire with the other.
  • Sandbags. Load them on a truck, take them with you, and in five minutes team of two can construct cover for themselves. If you can't take a truck with you, you're out of luck, though, damn things are heavy.
    • A large scaled up version of this called the Concertainer (or Hesco barrier) is basically a metal-mesh reinforced bag that folds out into a cube about 1.5m in each side and filled with dirt and rocks. While originally used for flood protection, militaries have found them extremely useful in creating a cheap, but effective wall for semi-permanent bases.
  • Some enemies were more clued up than others concerning the preferred attack tactic of Ghengis Khan's Mongols. Knowing the prelude to a Mongol assault was a massive arrow storm, at least one defending army with time and leisure to choose the battleground provided massive amounts of trenches and pavisses to shelter and protect. They were still defeated either when outflanked by superior Mongol mobility, or by ill-discipline leading the troops to fall for the bait of the feigned retreat and pursue, thus drawing the enemy away from their defensive preparation.
  • The Jersey Barrier used for traffic is often deployed to protect pedestrians or road workers from traffic. Militaries have also used them not only to redirect traffic at checkpoints or gates, but use as improvised cover in a pinch.


Video Example(s):


Cover Deployed Here!

Turtle can deploy a shield to block bullets and explosives. It features a hexagonal design, befitting its use as an energy shield.

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Example of:

Main / DeployableCover

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