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Elemental Tiers

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The power of the elements. The basic building blocks of the world. The foundation of magic and the supernatural. Keeping the balance of the world at equilibrium.

Balance? Yeah, balance. Each element usually governs a certain part of nature, and for the world to operate properly, the elements must be equal in power. Else, there might be a risk of a world-wide disaster.... The balance might be realized by having one element being strong to another and weak to another.

Therefore, you would expect all things associated with the elements to be balanced as well, right? The Ice Blade should be as strong as the Fire Blade, right? The spell Water3 should deal the same damage as Thunder3, right? The Lightning Elemental and Wind Elemental should be equal in power, right?


Sometimes, things associated with elements are actually not balanced in power. There might even be a case where Fire is weak to Water, but the Fire elemental is so much stronger anyway that it completely defeats the Water elemental. This is actually more like Real Life than the alternative. Splashing someone with water should be as effective as hurling fire at them? Really?note 

This is particularly annoying to people who have favorite elements: imagine finding yourself forced to "upgrade" from your favorite element to the element you absolutely despise.

As a general rule, expect the elements of Light and Darkness to be stronger than other elements in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, but still belong in it. Related to Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness. Compare Element No. 5 or Infinity +1 Element, which are purposely designed to be much stronger and do away with the rock-paper-scissors completely. Compare also Spell Levels, where spells within the same element/school further have different power output levels.


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     Action RPG  

  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls: Lightning is the most powerful element in terms of both gameplay (almost nothing has decent Lightning resistance except DLC bosses, which have massive resistances to everything) and lore (it was the element of Top God Gwyn, and the Achilles' Heel of the otherwise Nigh-Invulnerable everlasting dragons). Fire and Magic, by contrast, are significantly less useful overall. In the case of Fire, many of the early game bosses are resistant or (in the case of Queelag) almost immune to it, while in the late game, the Demon Ruins, Lost Izalith, and the Kiln of the First Flame are exclusively populated by enemies who highly resist it. Magic has the advantage of finding some more usability in the early game, but it falls off hard starting in Sen's Fortress, and almost everything in the Duke's Archives and the Crystal Cave takes very little damage from it.
    • Dark Souls II: At launch, Lightning and Fire seemed to be jostling for the top spot as the most powerful element. Fire was very useful against the many Hollows in the early game and the monstrous foes later on (made even more exploitable by the early availability of a Fire Longsword in the Forest of Fallen Giants, while Lightning took care of most armored enemies: in addition, many enemies that were resistant to one element were weak to the other, as in the case of the Fire-resistant enemies in Iron Keep being cripplingly weak to Lightning. Lightning still seemed the better option overall, though, particularly since a large number of areas are partially submerged or raining, which lowers Lightning resistance and boosts Fire resistance. However, after the release of the first DLC, Lightning and most of its damaging miracles were heavily nerfed, making Fire a much more consistent option for the second DLC area, which consisted entirely of Fire-resistant enemies.
    • Dark Souls III: Continuing the trend of the previous two games having a back-and-forth between Fire and Lightning damage, Lightning was most likely originally intended to be the most powerful element once again, since most of the Lightning weapons and spells aren't obtainable until pretty late in the game. However, Lightning ended up being merely decent, while the most useful element in terms of gameplay is Fire, the earliest and easiest element to obtain (you can choose a Fire Gem as your starting gift, which lets you turn your starting weapon into a Fire weapon immediately after beating the tutorial boss). Every boss during the first half of the game is massively weak to Fire with the exception of the Old Demon King, and during the later half of the game and the DLC, all bosses are either weak or at the very least minimally resistant to Fire, with the exception of dragons and one specific DLC boss. Fire is also nearly always effective versus Hollows and fleshy foes, and will even stun and stagger Hollows, dogs, Corpse-Grubs, and Pus of Man, the which are Demonic Spiders in their own right. This is on top of all the other bonuses pyromancy receives over sorcery and miracles, including faster cast times, easier attainability, minimal investment needed, and viability for PvP.
  • Elden Ring:
    • While the best element in the game is up for debate, it's pretty unanimously agreed upon that Holy is the absolute worst, because most of the game's major bosses massively resist it. Of the bosses important enough to drop a Remembrance,note  only a single one (the Regal Ancestor Spirit) has a Holy weakness, with every other boss having Holy resistances ranging from "respectable" to "almost immune". The Final Boss, in particular, has so much Holy resistance that at one point the game's wiki erroneously reported that Holy damage actually healed it. While that is not the case, Holy damage is still so ineffective that trying to use it against the Final Boss is essentially a Self-Imposed Challenge.
    • The game's weather system incidentally causes Lightning to be better than Fire, just because if it happens to be raining, everything standing outside in the rain gets increased Fire resistance and reduced Lightning resistance. The same is true for anything standing in a pool of water, plus any Lightning attacks that strike the surface of the water will cause a Lightning AoE. The only way to reduce something's Fire resistance is to chuck an Oil Pot at it, which any player in PvP who isn't a total moron will surely dodge and most enemies will input-read and automatically dodge. Also, there are enemies with 100% Fire resistance. Granted, there's only two such enemies, one is practically harmless, and the other is only found in one area of the game, but still. Even Holy doesn't have anything that resistant to it. Finally, the favoured spot for PvP duelling is the Academy Main Gate site of grace in Liurnia, where it rains a lot. Invaders, meanwhile, will often encounter gank squads at the Boilprawn Shack, also in Liurnia and surrounded by ankle-deep water.
  • The Monster Hunter series treats its elements equally from a mechanical perspective, but an individual game's monster roster and available equipment may tip the scales for or against certain elements. The one consistent thread across every game is that Dragon is very rare, and only stronger monsters get to use it.
    • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate made the Slime status effect (known as Blast in later games) far too powerful, allowing it to easily lock down monsters while doing obscene damage.
    • Monster Hunter: World had significant distribution problems; Fire was majorly overrepresented among monsters, while Water and Ice were nearly absent. As a result, Fire damage, Water resistance, and Ice resistance were fairly worthless traits for equipment; Fire resistance, on the other hand, could be quite valuable. While Dragon damage didn't have many strong matchups either, it fared better thanks to the addition of the new Elderseal effect which would let it suppress the powers of elder dragons. The Iceborne expansion helped smooth out the imbalance by introducing more strong Water and Ice monsters.
    • Monster Hunter: Rise avoided its predecessor's issues with roster diversity, but equipment diversity took a nosedive with the third title update. The new Crimson Glow Valstrax armor set offered massive buffs when at low health, at the expense of suppressing any elemental damage other than Dragon. Conveniently enough, not only did the corresponding weapons have Dragon damage, but they also came with high base damage and massive amounts of white sharpness, which trivialized sharpness management without the need for any armor skill investment. The Sunbreak expansion would end up shattering its monopoly, as the buffs were no longer as significant in Master Rank, and other armor sets offered much more flexibility.
    • Monster Hunter Stories 2, much like World, opted to dramatically overrepresent Fire monsties at the expense of Water and Dragon. To add insult to injury, Water had almost no monstie skills that could crit, while Dragon completely lacked any Speed skills.

     Beat Em Up 

  • In the game EOE: Eve of Extinction, each weapon has a specific element and is also more powerful than the one that came before it.

     Eastern RPG 
  • In Elden Ring there are four elemental damage types: Magic, Fire, Lightning and Holy. Out of the four, Magic and Fire are tied as the best; magic is effective on damn near everything (though nothing is particularly weak to it either) and there are a lot of spells with it, allowing it great versatility. Fire is less universal, but there are plenty of enemies who are especially weak to it and may even get stunned when attacked with fire. Fittingly, the Sword of Night and Flames is considered one of THE best weapons in the game, due to it dealing normal, magic and fire damage at the same time, and having a weapon skill that allows either shooting a concentrated ray of magic or a wave of flames. Lightning comes second, being strong against armored individuals and not having any particular weaknesses. Holy, however, comes at an absolute last due to one simple fact: damn near every major boss in the game is extremely resistant to Holy damage, making weapons and spells that innately deal holy damage near useless against them; they do have some limited utility in fighting specific undead bosses, but those are all optional and fairly rare.
  • Common in the Final Fantasy series with the Summon Magic; the recurring summons Shiva, Ifrit, and Ramuh are ice, fire, and electricity respectively, but their power is usually based on the order you find them, although the difference is minimal. They are usually surpassed by the water-elemental Leviathan, who is still weaker than the non-elemental Bahamut.
    • Holy and Dark spells are almost always the last elemental spells one encounters in any given Final Fantasy game, and therefore the strongest in base power. In particular, the "Holy" spell is almost always Last Disc Magic, and often one of the few offensive options available to the White Mage.
  • In Final Fantasy, the fire and lightning spells were on lower spell levels from the ice spells, and therefore ICE1/Blizzard did more damage. This is probably due to influence from Dungeons & Dragons, where the iconic Fireball and Lightning Bolt spells are on a different level from the iconic ice spell Cone of Cold.
    • In a lot of FF games, there are more uncommon elements like Air and Earth, but they are harder to come by or use and are a Useless Useful Spell.
    • You also fight the Four Fiends in order of their power, although elements are swapped around: Lich (Earth), Marilith (Fire), Kraken (Water), and lastly Tiamat (Wind).
  • In Final Fantasy II, many enemies resist the Death element, making the sole Death-element spell (Death) a Useless Useful Spell. The Matter-element spells that act as instant-death, on the other hand, are rarely resisted and can be outright Game Breakers with a bit of levelling.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, you fight the Elemental Archfiends in order of their strength, from the weakest, Scarmiglione (Earth), then Cagnazzo (Water), Barbariccia (Wind), and finally the strongest, Rubicante (Fire).
  • The various elemental type enemies in Final Fantasy X are encountered one by one as you advance through the game. The ones you meet in a recent area will be stronger than the ones you previously meet. Ditto for the various elemental Flans. The trend continues with Final Fantasy X-2, although the order of strength has been juggled around.
  • While Final Fantasy XI utilized Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors - Stone < Aero < Blizzard < Fire < Water < Thunder - it also handed out new spells very slowly. Black Mage received them the quickest at the rate on 1 every 4 levels (speeding up a little at higher levels). With 6 spells per tier - received in the order Stone/Water/Aero/Fire/Blizzard/Thunder - this meant there were as many as 20 levels between Stone and Thunder, and thus even against something weak to Stone you'd still do more damage with Thunder or Blizzard until you received the next tier of Stone and started the whole cycle over. Once at level cap any element besides Thunder of Blizzard was basically worthless - until Merit spells were added, then it was whichever merit spell you had.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, the elemental weapons vary wildly in power. Often they are only effective in the chapter they are first available.
    • Another example. Each Esper is associated with an element, but they are divided into three tiers.
    • In terms of conventional spells, Water magic oddly stops at Watera for the party. Higher-level Water spells do exist, but they're enemy-exclusive, making Water by far the weakest element for your characters later in the game.
    • Yet another example. In this game, after performing a chain of Quickenings, you may perform an extra attack called a Concurrence. There are eight Concurrences, and while they all do Non-Elemental damage, their animations are very clearly based on the elements. Their order from weakest to strongest are: Inferno (fire), Cataclysm (earth), Torrent (water), Windburst (wind), Whiteout (ice), Ark Blast (lightning), Luminescence (light), and Black Hole (darkness).
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, while Aero has the same power as other basic spells, Aerora and Aeroga are stronger than other -ra and -ga spells. Aerora is as strong as -ga spells of other elements, and Aeroga is even stronger. However, they also cost more ATB meter, making them slower to cast. Most characters can't even cast Aeroga until 3/4th of the game.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, Black Mages and thaumaturges have access to Fire, Ice, Lightning spells, though out of those fire does the most raw damage (though ice recovers MP and tends to inflict the Bind or Heavy status, and thunder is a Damage Over Time spell). White Mages and Conjurers have access to stone spells, which like fire deal raw damage, while aero similarly does Damage Over Time. All of these spells have stronger Elemental Tiers. Oddly, there is no plain old water spell like in previous games, only giving access to Fluid Aura, which is a knockback skill. It's made even more strange because enemies have been shown to use Water spells very frequently. Though White Mages also have access to Holy, which does a fair amount Areaof Effect damage.
  • While the basic Fire, Ice, and Lightning elemental spells were all equal in spell level Bravely Default, its sequel Bravely Second made all Lightning spells one spell level higher than their equivalent Fire and Ice spells. This meant you would need to have a higher job level as a Black Mage to use Lightning spells than to use their equivalent Fire and Ice spells (for example, Fira and Blizzara require having four job levels in Black Mage to use, while Thundara requires having six job levels.) While Thunder spells in Second are not numerically more powerful than the Fire and Blizzard spells, they're a lot more valuable for exploiting elemental weaknesses, as nearly every armored and mechanical enemy in the game is weak to lightning.
  • In EarthBound (1994), elemental attacks have different areas of effect. Ice is a single-target, Fire hits a whole row but does less damage, and Lightning targets a random enemy and is prone to missing frequently unless there are many enemies. So even if you're facing a lightning-vulnerable boss you probably want to use ice, and same goes for if the fire-weak enemies are on multiple rows.
    • This issue was fixed to a degree in Mother 3, where PK Thunder is much more accurate and PK Fire now hits all enemies no matter what. In both games, however, the elemental attacks end up being mostly outclassed by Non-Elemental PSI like PK Starstorm and PK *insert name of choice* Omega due to them having higher damage and not being resisted by anything (Late game bosses are generally just less resistant to a particular element, rather than weak against it).
  • In the Dragon Quest games, lightning spells are typically the most powerful in each game and exclusive to The Hero (or the Hero vocation).
  • Golden Sun:
    • The ultimate weapon in all three games is earth-aligned, in spite of the fiery animation of the latter. The Infinity Plus One summon is fire-aligned, but so very impractical (and seeing little use) that the Infinity Minus One summons are used (and more for their effects than straight damage).
    • Though this trope is subverted because the most useful element in the last two games are wind/lightning-aligned since almost all enemies take super effective damage against it. Even the resident Game-Breaker in the third series is a Wind Adept. Earth-aligned offenses, though strong, are resisted by the same lot of enemies as well.
    • The elemental imbalance is actually mentioned in the second game- because the Mercury (water and ice) and Jupiter (wind and lightning) beacons are lit, the world is starting to turn cold too fast, to the point where when you first enter the Mars (fire) lighthouse, it's frozen over.
  • In the first Atelier Iris game, the first and weakest offensive Mana Item you're able to synthesize is the Bomb Ice (Ice). Then you get the Obake Bag (Dark), Flame (Fire), Thunder Rod (Lightning), and finally the strongest one is Dragon Gem, which is also fire-based.
  • In the second game, Atelier Iris 2, Ice items are again the weakest, since there are only two of them and the stronger one only deals medium damage. Meanwhile, there are a lot more Fire-based items and the second strongest item (Cerberus Flute) is Fire-based. The strongest item, however, deals all four elemental damage at once.
  • Seems to be a trend in Atelier series.
  • Shin Megami Tensei games:
    • Certain games have the 'Element' race. They always have Erthys as the weakest, then Aeros, then Aquans, and Flaemis with the highest level. Sometimes they are followed by Paracelsus' elementals, but the element order stays the same, with Gnome as the weakest, followed by Sylph, Undine, and Salamander. Not that their levels matter much, since they're usually fusion fodder. note 
    • In Persona 3, Bufu and Zio spells have higher MP costs than Agi and Garu spells. They actually have the same power, but Bufu and Zio can inflict Freeze and Shock ailments, respectively, while the other two only deal damage.
    • In Persona 5, Agi spells cost the same as most other elements, but can now inflict Burn. Garu spells do extra damage to foes afflicted with Burn and are cheaper than other elements. Frei spells do extra damage to foes afflicted with Freeze, Shock, or Burn, and Psi spells do extra damage to foes afflicted with Confuse, Despair, Fear, Rage, and Brainwash. Kouha and Eiha spells... have no particular upside and no access to Severe-level damage (except one skill that is unique to Tsukuyomi).
  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan has this with the Runemaster class. Runemasters, unlike the Alchemist and Zodiac classes of previous games, have a drastic difference in what their three elemental spells do: volt spells target an entire line, fire spells deal splash damage, and ice spells pierce to hit the back line. The imbalance is heavily weighted to volt, as targeting a whole line for equal damage is better than targeting one thing for full damage and things next to it for splash, or one thing in each line, assuming there even is something in the back. Bosses which have multiple parts are a common thing as well, and volt spells hit each part for full damage, which is something neither of the two can do. While later tier spells just hit everything, that costs more TP, meaning volt is best for conserving it whether wandering around a labyrinth or fighting a boss.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the first generation, Psychic was the clear top-tier element, as the only two intended weaknesses were Bug (which had no good offensive attacks) and Ghost (which also had no good offensive attacks, and due to a programming oversight was accidentally made to deal no damage at all to Psychic Pokémon, anyway). Meanwhile, nothing but Psychic itself actually resisted Psychic moves, making them a strong coverage option; while Normal and Dragon had comparably-few poor offensive matchups, neither had any good offensive matchups like Psychic did. The next generation introduced Dark and Steel types to combat this, and every year Psychic's power has been waning. Some things remain constant, though - Poison has pretty much always been at the bottom of the rankings, even though it got an advantage against the newly-introduced Fairy-type. But a given type may have wildly different performance offensively versus defensively. For instance, Ice-type attacks are very good (four enemy types are weak against them, one of which is otherwise weak only to itself and a newly-introduced one) but being an Ice-type is terrible (four weaknesses, three of which are incredibly commonly used; and a single resistance, to Ice). Steel-type is the opposite (the majority of other types do reduced damage against Steel-type Pokémon, but only three take extra damage from Steel-type attacks).
    • The move Stealth Rock has had this effect on the metagame. Its effect is to do damage every time a Pokémon switches in, and that damage is of Rock typing. Since its introduction, nearly every team has carried the move and it is much easier to set up than to remove, with the result that a Pokémon can drop a tier or two just because it carries a Rock-type weakness and has to take a truckload of damage before it can even do anything.
  • Less by design but outcome schools of magic in World of Warcraft had this going on initially. Holy and Arcane had little to no weaknesses, while Fire, Nature and Shadow spells were frequently unusable because many enemies were immune to them. At the same time, raiders needed a lot of resistance those elements in the first raids.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the Light and Dark elements are often seen as endgame elements for players because they have no weaknesses, weapons of that element have a good variety of attack boosting skills and high attack stats, they have some of the most powerful summons to boost those weapon skills, and several characters aligned to that element are incredibly useful for DPS racing in raids.
  • In Trails Series, the seven elements are divided into two groups. The lower ones consist of Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind and the higher ones are Time, Space, and Mirage. Spells belonging to the latter three are generally considered Non-Elemental for gameplay purposes. Trails In The Sky the 3rd takes place in a realm called Phantasma, and the fact that they play a part in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors indicates Phantasma is a separate dimension than the real world.

  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:
    • The elemental enemies are scattered across the game locations, and naturally the ones located in later areas are stronger. The first elemental you'll meet is the Thunder Elemental in the lower sections of Dian Cecht Cathedral, then Light Elemental in the upper sections, then Dark Elemental in the Secret Sorcery Lab, then Fire Elemental immediately after in Inferno Cave, and the final one is Ice Elemental in Glacial Tomb.
    • In the second Zangetsu battle, he has four phases, each stronger than before. In the first phase he uses his standard sword and throwing daggers. In second phase he imbues them with fire, causing explosions with each sword swing and dagger throw. In the third phase he uses lightning, causing lightning strikes instead of explosions. While the lightnings are slightly less wide than the explosions, they also cover the entire height of the arena. In the final phase he uses ice powers. Now his sword causes a wave of icy explosions that persists after he finishes attacking, and his thrown daggers explode into icicle shards that travel in the eight direction.


  • In Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, the elemental talons and saddles (weapons and armor, respectively) feature a gradual progression of values for base strength and upgrade limit. The sequence is Fire < Water < Thunder < Ice < Earth.

     Turn Based Strategy 

  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III, the elementals have a hierarchy of power: Air elementals are the weakest (level 2), then Water elementals (level 3), then Fire elementals (level 4), and the strongest are the Earth elementals (level 5). The Armageddon's Blade expansion, which added an elemental-themed town called Conflux added in even stronger Psychic elementals (level 6) and upgraded versions of all elementals (Storm, Ice, Energy, Magma, Magic)
  • In the first Disgaea game, the various tiers of Dragon and Great Wyrm monster classes have many variants of skills that differ only in the element. For the Dragon class, each tiers learn different combinations of elemental skills, although only the weakest one learn any Wind. For the Great Wyrm class, the first tier learns Fire skills, the second one learns Wind, and the third Ice. The fourth and fifth are Non-Elemental, and the sixth and final tier learns Fire again.
  • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the core three elements of Fire, Wind, and Thunder all have their spells be of the same accuracy and might of a spell of their rank, with the only difference being weight. Due to the way weight works in this game, that means, say, Elwind and Elfire are identical except that Elfire drops your Speed by 10 points more. Unless your character has a higher Thunder or Fire rank or you just don't have a strong Wind tome right now, there's no reason to even consider anything else; even the game's Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors only boosts accuracy and evasion, and the latter drops if you're being slowed down. What's more, the legendary Thunder and Fire tomes, Mjolnir and Valflame, are Unusable Enemy Equipment, being reserved to bosses, so Wind is kind of the strongest thing by default. Light and Darkness are also definitely intended as this, as they're neutral to each other and strong to everything else, are the only variety of tome to boast extra abilities, are incredibly rare in terms of users (only four playable characters can use light magic, and dark magic is enemy-exclusive), and have legendary tomes that are Purposefully Overpowered even by the standards of legendary tomes. That said, with the exception of the basic Light, they're also as heavy as Fire tomes (and Aura and Hel are even heavier), which can dampen them somewhat.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Ice reigns supreme due to the sheer number of monsters that are weak against it, which range from the common Goblins to the rare but very dangerous Hydras; the only things it's not useful against are the seldom seen Blue Dragons, who absorb it, and the Bombs, who resist it. Lightning is a very close second; it may not have as many enemies that are vulnerable to it, but nothing resists it either. Plus, it gets a damage boost during rainy weather, making it a very dependable element all-around. Finally, Fire is at the bottom. A lot of enemies are resistant to it, and the monsters that it is strong against are typically undead, which are much more easily dispatched with curative spells and items.
  • Terra Battle initially only has Fire, Ice, Lightning, and Darkness, all of which are on equal grounds. Then, a patch introduces the Photon and Graviton elements, which deal extra damage towards Darkness and Lightning, respectively, but not vice versa, making them superior to the old elements. A later patch then follows suit with Solar and Lunar elements, which deal extra damage to Ice and Fire respectively.

     Western RPG 

  • Zigzagged in Evil Islands, even though it seems the designers wanted to play this trope straight. Fire magic is rendered obsolete because of this trope, but it's averted with acid magic, and lightning magic is the ultimate magic instead, despite coming at the middle of the game (check the Last Disc Magic entry there for more info, but to be short, some reasons are lightning magic doing extra damage against enemies wearing metal armor, and high mana cost and magic requirement on acid magic combined with a low range of attack).
  • Runescape's elemental Hand Blast spells come in five tiers of power; within each tier, air, water, earth, and fire are sorted in increasing spell level and damage output. Similarly, the Ancient Magicks use smoke, shadow, blood, and ice as alternative elements.
  • Might and Magic:
    • The most notable example is in VII. The four classical elements and self-magic (Body, Spirit, Mind) constitute the basic magic schools your casters can start with. The Dark and Light magic, on the other hand, are available once you choose the path (which determines which one you can use), finish the path initiation quest, and can be learned only by a handful of classes, and only after final promotion (plus only specialized spellcasters can grandmaster it). The spells also cost more cash to learn and MP to cast, but are more potent than those from basic schools.
    • Less noticeable but still present in VI and VIII. Here you can learn Dark and Light magic from the beginning but the spells are still more expensive, so you won't use them much without quickly draining your MP. In VI, the mastery of Light and Dark magic is much harder to achieve than for other schools, especially if you go for both, and the final spell can be obtained only in single guaranteed copy from a game-spanning sidequest.
    • In VI-VIII one can consider Energy as highest elemental tier. To you, it is available only via blaster weapons (or at all in VIII), only strongest monsters such as Gold Dragons or robots deal Energy damage, and nothing can resist it ever.
    • In X the magic schools are put on more or less the same level, but the strongest enemies are of fire, dark and light affinity. Notably, the Very Definitely Final Dungeon is full of nothing but dark enemies. The expansion pack dungeons, available only upon completing the game, have on the other hand nothing but light aligned enemies.

Non video game examples

  • The Four Gods in Chinese myth are each associated with a direction and an element in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. Xuanwu represents Water and north. Qinglong represents Wood and east, Zhuque represents Fire and south, and Baihu represents Metal and west. Then there is the fifth and the strongest beast, Huanglong, who represents Earth and the center. Averted in the Japanese version, where there is no beast to represent Earth and the center is associated with void instead.
    • In Chinese elements, Earth is one of the elements in the rps. Specifically, in the destructive cycle, it destroys water and is destroyed by wood, while in the constructive cycle, it supports metal and supported by fire. Yet the beast that represents Earth is stronger than other beasts. It's not actually treated as the strongest in actual mythology. Although it almost certainly is in fictions.
  • This is alluded to in The Wizard of London when Lady Cordelia is working on her plan to Grand Theft Me David, though it's important to note that this is what she believes to be in play, and may merely be mistaking "more obvious in its destruction" for "more powerful".
  • In the Phantom Lord Arc of Fairy Tail, we have the Element Four. Aria of the Air is explicitly stated to be the strongest of them all. And if you want to get technical, Black Steel Gajeel and Master Jose Porla are even more powerful than him.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: In the category of the Eight Elemental Attributes, five of them form a set where Earth > Space > Wind > Water > Fire > Earth, but they're trumped by a superior set consisting of Light and Darkness opposing each other in equal measure, and a final tier where Time is superior to all of them.
  • In 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons, a supplement introduced the orb of cold/fire/acid/electricity/sonic/force spells. While each elemental version of the spell was of the same level, they dealt different amounts of damage. Fire typically dealt the most damage, with sonic and force generally dealing the least. This was probably due to the fact that after a few levels, just about every monster worth its salt has fire resistance - or even immunity - while very few are resistant to sonic and nothing resists force except for very specific defensive spells. Additionally, each element came with a secondary effect (paralysis, nausea, deafness, etc.) with the sole exception of force which only dealt damage.
    • In 4th edition, out of the nine types of elemental damage, Radiant and Psychic have the combination of not being resisted by many creatures and having excellent support in terms of items and feats (with Radiant also being super effective against just about all undead, who tend to have a decent presence in most campaigns). Thunder, Lightning, Frost, and Fire are all well-supported with some powerful tricks even when resisted, while Acid is basically neutral. The only stinkers are Necrotic and Poison damage, since they have few unique tricks and are commonly resisted by many enemies (such as undead), with many creatures who are outright immune to poison entirely, necessitating the odd Obvious Rule Patch for those who wanted to poison their foes.
    • There are the basic 6 elements (Fire, Water, Wind, Ice, Stone, and Earth), and then there are Elemental Light and Darkness. Light is explicitly more powerful than the other elements in Toa and Matoran because it was one of the first Elements they were created in, while Shadow is considerably more powerful than the base 6 because it's used almost exclusively by one species that has other powers. In addition, all beings are said to have a literal light and darkness in them, which is also part of Elemental Light and Shadow.
    • Above Light and Shadow, there stands the three "elements" of Life, Time, and Creation, each of which is personified in a Legendary Mask (the Ignika, Vahi, and the one that Arktakha wears) that would destroy one of these fundimental laws of the matoran universe should the associated mask be destroyed. The masks themselves are also extremely hard to use: The Ignika demands a sacrifice for the use of its power, currently no one has been able to master the vahi without being sucked into its own time dilation bubble, and so far no one other than Arktakha has used the Mask of Creation, as he won ownership over it during the creation of the universe (and he is very stingy about its usage).
    • Finally, there are also various "secondary" elements like Plasma, Magnetism, Sonics, Plantlife, etc...While not inherently less powerful than the core 6 elements, they are much less known and used because their users are few and far between (Matoran and Toas of these elements are rare and almost never appear in the stories, while the only toys ever released that used these were the 6 Bohrok Kals, and they were explicitly 6 individuals rather than 6 breeds).
  • Digimon has the shield-themed Ludomon line, who changes element with each evolution. The Rookie stage Ludomon is a small humanoid figure in an armor made of shields. The Champion stage TiaLudomon gains a wolf-themed armor and ice shields. The Ultimate stage RaijiLudomon is a flying robotic figure who can generate electricity-based Beehive Barriers. The Mega stage Bryweludramon is a giant dragon made of fire, who is covered with shields.