Follow TV Tropes



Go To

Genkai: Hm... I think I've seen this technique before...
Botan: You mean like Shorin might have stolen that technique from some psychic?
Genkai: No that's not it. I'm just saying he's throwing fireballs. It's a very cliche anime technique.

A common power for pyro-elementalists, wizards, psychics, dragons, Man Eating Plants, and even martial artists. Fire, in spite of its fearsome appeal, is not known for being tangible or portable. Rolling it into a ball gives it the semblance of a physical structure, and lets you throw it, bounce it and dodge it at will, which are quite desirable traits in Video Games and tabletop games.

Fireballs have a tendency to move in an unusual fashion - possibly hovering or drifting at slow speeds, or by bouncing along the ground. What happens when a fireball impacts is, similarly, entirely up in the air. Maybe Stuff Blows Up, leaving a sphere of annihilation. Other times, it just puffs out like a harmless burst of wind. Only sometimes does it actually set things on fire.

Not to be confused with Fireball, Great Balls of Fire! or Outrunning The Fireball. A Sub-Trope of Energy Ball.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Slayers: This is pretty much the secondary trademark attack of Lina Inverse.
    • Of course, her primary trademark attack is really just this on massive amounts of steroids.
  • Sasuke in the earlier Naruto episodes attacked with a giant fireball. He later makes another version that isn't only solid, but is capable of plowing through a stone wall. His older brother Itachi's version of the same attack looks like a miniature sun.
  • Natsuru in Kämpfer has this as his her main offensive power.
  • Ace of One Piece takes this to its biggest proportions in the fight with Blackbeard.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Muhummad Avdol's Stand does this with a twist; the fireballs (called Crossfire Hurricane) take the form of flaming ankhs. The Fighting Game even makes Avdol into a Shotoclone.
  • Sailor Moon: Sailor Mars' Fire Soul attack is a fireball.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha franchise, these are Agito's most common attacks, may it be in the form of multiple small fireballs, or one huge fireball.
  • Cure Rouge of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO! and Cure Sunny of Smile Pretty Cure! have fireball attacks.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Huo Haha is seen shooting fireballs out of his Magic Wand on a couple of occasions to attack the Supermen.

    Comic Strips 
  • Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls: In this story a ball of lightning crashes through the chimney during a storm inside the household and spins around across the room, causing grief damage to certain characters' clothers and even causing Professor Calculus to spin around too while sitting in his chair. Then the lightning ball crashes into a Inca mummy behind glass, causing it to explode without a trace.


  • Discworld: Despite the entire purpose of wizardry being to not use magic, the Dean has an enormous enthusiasm for throwing fireballs at things, and Ridcully has been known to do so as well. Pratchett has stated fireballs are one of the few acts of magic he'll let wizards get away with these days.
  • Harry Dresden, of The Dresden Files, uses these on occasion, although mostly for intimidation. In combat he uses focused rays of fire. He also complained, during a roleplaying session, that the fireball in the game didn't behave realistically, as its area of destruction was a perfect sphere and didn't take convection into account.
    • Wizards in general tend to prefer fire when it comes to offensive magic. What kind of fire they use is up to personal preference—heat rays, fireballs, and small mortars are all mentioned.
  • In The Magicians, one of the first battle spells our heroes learn is fireball.
  • Wizard's Fire in The Sword of Truth series. Literally an enormous sphere of liquid fire, almost napalm-like.
  • In The Wheel of Time, fireballs are a basic form of attack used preferentially against Shadowspawn. Most Aes Sedai and Wise Ones can throw them, having different techniques for doing so. The Asha'man, on the other hand, are trained specifically for combat, and use far more effective measures, like an expanding wall of flame and molten earth. The Dragon Reborn even teaches some of them how to make exploding fireballs that act almost like grenades.
  • Septimus Heap uses ThunderFlashes as fireball-like weapons, for example during the crashing and sinking of the Dragon Boat.
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned, Laeshana summons a fireball for use as a light source when the party is trapped in a cave. Later, we see the villain throw fireballs at Alaric.
  • In Rivers of London, Peter has been taught this (a combination of lux [light] with some other spells and an adjective that lets it be thrown) , but prefers to use a simple impello (pushing) spell in combat — he'd rather knock an opponent off their feet to be arrested than incinerate them. Despite this, and Nightingale's admonitions about unnecessary experimentation, he's been trying to create a homing version, but has thus far only produced a lux that buzzes around erratically.

    Live Action TV 
  • Charmed. If demons aren't using fireballs, they're chucking Energy Balls.
  • Buffy didn't often use these, and in fact, Wesley's attempt to launch one in the Angel series finale was intercepted by the target, an old warlock with one foot in the grave, who simply sucked the fireball into his own palm and let it dissipate.
    "I mean, really. I crap better magic than this."
  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai Plenty of fireballs get thrown around.
  • Galen sometimes makes fireballs in Crusade. In fact, he does it twice in one episode. First, to get Eilerson's attention (nothing like a fist-sized fireball two inches from your face to get you to shut up for a second). When Eilerson stops talking, Galen opens his coat, and has the fireball fly in. It's left to the interpretation whether it was an illusion or not. The second time is when he, angry at the telepathic alien, generates a fireball and prepares to throw it, before Gideon intervenes, claiming that Galen is not a murderer. Anyone who has read The Passing Of The Techno Mages trilogy knows better.
  • Game of Thrones: In contrast to their book counterparts, whose magic is more subtle, the Children of the Forest in the show can apparently cast fireballs. They behave more or less like the famous Dungeons & Dragons spell: a small fiery bead that whizzes toward the target and explodes on impact into a ball of flame.
  • Once Upon a Time: This offensive spell has become so exploited by Regina and most witches and warlocks that it's frustrating considering that with magic they can do a lot of other incredible and spectacular things, even if Zelena was the only one who changed a bit 'from the second part of the fifth season onwards, with green fireballs that incinerate instantly as soon as they come into contact with the target.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • An old trick not seen much in shows later than 1998, the original Sheik, Jerry Lawler and Jim Cornette all did it. The closest thing to a famous post WCW example would be Kane, though even then he did it rarely after the demise of the company. It is more popular in some regions than others, such as El Mega Triple Campeon de AAA throwing fireballs around Mexico and the Caribbean but not making much mark in the continental USA, where his use of them in Wrestling Society X killed the promotion's tv deal when it upset MTV executives. The effects of a fireball range from burn marks to temporary blindness to instant blazes. They are considered a cheat during matches but can be used for "heroic" actions in other circumstances, such as when a baby face is cornered by multiple enemies or protecting a charge.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Fireball is a signature spell carried over into all editions of the game. the spell shoots a "glowing, pea-sized bead" that explodes upon impact into a gigantic sphere of flame (the actual "fireball"), doing nasty damage over a twenty-foot radius, making it the first ranged AOE damage spell that Magic Users can cast. There's also Flaming Sphere, a 10' wide ball of fire that rolled around on the ground at the caster's will. And then there's Delayed Blast Fireball and Meteor Swarm. Non-core improvements include things like Fallion's Fabulous Fireball (runs a programmed path), Teleport Fireball or Symkalr's Forest (does not affect plant matter) / Friendly (e.g. don't burn elves) / Unfriendly (e.g. burn only orcs) / Deathbane (undead-only, but bypassing usual fire protections) Fireball spells that all cause the same damage as a basic fireball, but snuffs any fires they created.
  • Taken further in Hackmaster, which has multiple Fireball spells for every spell level.
  • Magic: The Gathering has Fireball as the iconic red direct damage card. It has been reprinted in some form in most sets and was part of one of Magic's earliest Game-Breaker combos - the Cast from Hit Points based Channel Fireball Deck.
  • An effective spell in GURPS: Magic that will set many things on fire. It gives access to the more powerful Explosive Fireball spell.
  • And a popular way of turning flammable nearby objects into flaming and exploding nearby objects in Shadowrun. Early versions of the game had it as a normalish spell; later ones split 'elemental' magic off.
  • Warhammer has a fireball spell. It's the signature spell in its lore, meaning any and all wizards using that law can have it.
  • Just one of the many Blast spells used by sorcerers in Feng Shui.
  • The German role-playing game Midgard features a version that can explode for fairly significant damage for a game that normally goes out of its way to try to avert the "magic as fantasy artillery" trope...with the slight drawbacks being that the fireball manifests right next to the caster, floats through the air at a very sedate pace (about one foot per second), and can go off prematurely if its creator's concentration is disrupted before it has reached its intended position.

  • In The Phantom of the Opera, during one of the confrontations between Raoul and the Phantom, the Phantom shoots fireballs out of his staff at Raoul.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Warlords, a 1980 Atari game, had the players trying to break down each other's forts with fireballs - put into play by a flying dragon - which could be bounced off the players' shields and even caught on them, but would blast bricks out of a wall.
    There be warlords of brawn and might
    Defending their crowns of gold;
    Beware the power of The Black Knight,
    A power-hungry foe!
    The dragons spit their fireballs:
    Warlords! Hold up your shields!
    'Tis time to protect your castle walls
    Until The Black Knight yields.
  • The Diablo series loves this trope — fireballs are used in many different varieties by many different characters and monsters, up to and including the Big D himself. The manual explains that fire is the easiest element to conjure magically, because it's essentially molecular chaos. Simply flood the environment with magic and fire is the usual result. Forming that into a cohesive ball and projecting it is apparently the next easiest trick.
  • Ragnarok Online provides it as one of the most basic parts of the Mage's arsenal and is one of their only options for causing splash damage. It's quickly outclassed, and is thus learned mostly for the sake of gaining access to better spells.
  • The Avernum series, as a Mage spell that does prodigious splash damage.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a fireball spell. It can also be used to set stuff (that is, the Grease spell) on fire.
    • Fireball itself is a bread-and-butter spell for any mage. Wide area of effect, deals good damage on impact, then deals damage over time and has a knockdown effect? Hells yes we want it. The only drawback is you have to use two other spell slots for the lackluster Flame Blast and Flaming Weapon spells to get it.
  • The Eye of the Beholder series (which was based on the Dungeons & Dragons rules) had not only the spell itself, but also traps that would launch a Fireball at the unlucky victim.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Fire-based magic is a staple of the Destruction school of magic throughout the series, rounding out the Fire, Ice, Lightning trio with Frost and Shock magic. The most basic form of a ranged fire spell is a simple fireball. More powerful versions exist, giving the fireball greater damage and/or a larger Area of Effect explosion.
    • In Morrowind, a simple Fireball spell (with a small AOE) is available for purchase in the First Town. Much more powerful versions can be acquired (or created) later.
    • Oblivion gives you Fireball as a starting spell.
    • Skyrim promotes Fireball to a Adept level spell and adds a glorious explosion upon impact. There is a lower level, non-exploding "Firebolt" variant that behaves similarly to Oblivion's fireball.
  • The Flame Dart spell in the Quest for Glory series of RPG / Adventure Game hybrids.
  • In one Golden Sun: The Lost Age lighthouse, there are several traps that consist of an obstacle-ridden hallway you need to navigate while a statue periodicaly hurls ginormous fireballs at you that cause damage and send you back to the beginning of the hallway.
    • There are also several Psynergy that use fireballs: "Fire" and its upgrades, "Fireball" and "Inferno"; "Juggle" and its upgrades, "Heat Juggle" and "Fiery Juggle"; and "Raging Heat" and its upgrades, "Fiery Abyss" and "Dire Inferno."
    • Fireball is a field Psynergy in Dark Dawn. And yes, you are expected to use it, a lot. Even as Matthew (thanks for the Mars Djinn loan, Garet!).
  • Averted in NetHack: its 'fireball' spell simply creates several fiery explosions.
  • In some Final Fantasy games and related Square Enix games, the fire/fira/firaga spells are represented by fireballs, although most games they are more of summoning flames at the target destination. Other spells may or may not count as well, again on a game by game basis.
    • Final Fantasy VI, Fire, and Fira are summoning flames at the feet of the target, but Firaga summons a condensed ball of fire that crashes into the target and explodes.
    • In Crisis Core, the Fire/Fira/Firaga spells shoots medium sized fireballs, in Dissidia Final Fantasy Cloud's Fire/Fira/Friaga spells take the same form, rather than the pillar of flame the spells took on in Final Fantasy VII
      • Also from the Dissidia games, Terra's Fire attack has her launch a fireball, which, interestingly, homes while clinging to the ground.note  Kefka's fire-based attacks also take the form of Roboteching fireballs, and the Onion Knight's Firaga attack has him launch a fireball in an arc that explodes for HP damage upon connection (3 at once if he's in his Sage Super Mode).
    • In most Kingdom Hearts games, Fire/Fira/Firaga are homing fireballs. There's also Mega Flare, a large fireball that nukes everything in sight when it explodes, and Firaga Burst, a gigantic fireball that shoots over a dozen smaller ones at nearby targets.
      • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, the fire spells are, in order of Fire to Firaga, a homing fireball, a non-homing fireball, and an exploding napalm ball.
  • The Flame Core Psych acts as this in The World Ends with You, with the added bonus of being a Pinball Projectile that can bounce off of the screen and enemies for additional damage.
  • Black Sigil's Aurora has spells that are along the line of Fireballs, More Fireballs, and Really Big Fireballs.
  • Fireball in the Tales Series is a staple spell that depending on the game, fires one or a multitude of small burning missiles that deal damage when they hit; the number sometimes increasing with repeated usage. There's also Burn Strike, a bigger Death from Above variant, and Flare Bomb, an explosive seeking variant.
  • Surprisingly averted in the Pokémon games. While there are a whole host of energy balls in-game (including a move called Energy Ball that is Grass-type and a Steel-type energy ball called Flash Cannon), there is no 80 power ball-shaped Fire-type move.
    • Pokémon Black and White introduced the move Searing Shot, a signature move of the expected Mew counterpart Victini, which has an impressive 100 base power. And if you look at it, Ember might count as well (the user shoots many tiny balls of fire at the opponent).
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield gives us an actual fireball in Pyro Ball, Cinderace's signature move. Bonus points for using its feet to heat the pebble that serves as the projectile's core, and its 120 base power surpasses Searing Shot.
  • Mass Effect 2: The so called "Tech Power" Incinerate is this in all but name.
  • The Star Ocean series has this as a basic fire spell. At higher levels, it can split into 3 separate fireballs, dealing greater damage.
  • In Secret of Mana, one of the first powers gained by the fire spirit Salamander is this. The fireballs get larger at higher levels.
  • Neverwinter Nights: A good way to 'lockpick' for the impatient. Oh and useful against enemies I guess.
  • Mages in World of Warcraft can shoot fireballs, as well as Pyroblasts, fireball's larger slower cousin. Warlocks also get Incinerate (an unusual-looking fireball with a snakelike movement pattern), Soul Fire, and Chaos Bolt. There are a great number of other fire spells, but most of them don't use an Energy Ball form.
  • Perfect World: The Mage class gets two: one when they first start, which looks suspiciously like a playing card that's been set on fire, and a more beefy one later.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Just punch a brick ceiling, grab a flower half the size of your body, and change into white overalls. Or just blow it out of your mouth if you're a plant, a turtle or a dinosaur. (Some of these fireballs bounce along the ground, while others just drift through the air.) Fireball creatures known as Podoboos are also known to hang out in lava pits, and some of their cousins just float around in mid-air.
    • These powers are also used by the Super Smash Bros. versions of these characters. Mario's are pretty much the same as in his own games, whereas Luigi's go in a straight line (defying gravity) and are green.
    • Conversely, these are enemies in the original Mario Brothers game. Despite being fire, if you're really lucky, you can kill it by hitting the ground under one.
  • The Curry powerup in Super Smash Bros. allows you to spit a constant tri-directional stream of fireballs at your enemies.
  • Older Than the NES with Mario Bros. and its wavy fireballs.
  • Fireballs tend to be blown at you by Zo(l/r)as, statues, burning eyeballs and such in the early The Legend of Zelda games. A spell in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link lets you toss them around with your sword.
  • Cave Story features a fireball gun. The fireballs, of course, bounce along the ground.
  • These show up as enemy projectiles in Gunstar Heroes, too.
  • A fireball is a standard projectile in Warcraft 3. There's also a spell that hurls a fireball to stun a target.
  • While the famous Hadouken from Street Fighter is informally called a fireball, it really isn't; it's just a regular ball of ki. However, Ryu and Akuma can imbue their ki with fire with the Shakunetsu Hadouken (Scorching Hadouken).
    • A more direct example is seen in Dhaslim's "Yoga Fire" where he spits a fireball that can engulf his opponent.
    • In the Malibu Street Fighter comic, the base Hadouken and Sagat's Tiger Shot were fireballs.
  • Kirby can turn himself into one, or spit them out, when he gets the right ability.
  • The Metroid series has violas and multiviolas, which are fireball creatures.
  • Purple has a power-up that lets you throw destructive Super Mario Bros.-like fireballs that can melt frost-blocks.
  • The "Gouenken" spell from Bujingai. Starts with a relatively small ball and end up with a miniature sun in level 3.
  • Dracula in Castlevania uses fireballs as his main attack in most games and besides ol' Drac - there are the bone pillar enemies, fishmen in some versions and etc that will spit fireballs at you. In some games, you can get variants of this ability.
  • Castlevania-spiritual successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Miriam can absorb abilities from the demons she faces. Among them are Flame Cannon and 8-bit Fireball which hurl a salvo of fireballs.
  • Imps in the Doom series love throwing fireballs at you. Cacodemons spit them at you. Hell Knights and Barons of Hell hurl green fireballs that hurt a lot more. And Mancubi and Revenants shoot fireballs at you that act a lot like rockets — and the Revenant's have the ability to home in on you like a heatseeker.
  • Albion has them in the form of spells, as well as parts of dungeon traps and puzzles. When seeing them, the resident scientist is left wondering what holds them together and speculates that the planet is intentionally trolling psysicits.
  • In Joe & Mac, players can throw fireballs to incinerate enemies.
  • Borderlands 2 has Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep, where one of the special grenade mods is called Fireball. As expected, instead of a grenade, your character fires a flaming ball that explodes on contact an enemy or terrain. Unfortunately, it's also a Painfully Slow Projectile. Lead the Target!
  • In keeping with its goofy and incredibly nonsensical tone, especially around the holidays, Team Fortress 2 has the Helltower magic spells for Scream Fortress 2013. One of the most common ones is the fireball spell, which allows any player to fire a team-colored flaming blast that behaves much like a rocket. The Meteor Shower spell is somewhat similar, but instead of simply damaging or igniting a target, it transforms into an Area of Effect Herd-Hitting Attack that rains actual explosive fireballs in the immediate area.
  • Chrono Cross has the Fireball element, the tier 1 Red attack. A ball of flame appears, and launches three fireballs before launching itself. The tier 2 Magma Bomb works similarly.
  • In Faria, fireballs are stationary, invincible hazards that appear completely at random in some tower rooms.
  • A fairly common bullet type in Touhou, and one that's gone through a few variations. First Embodiment of Scarlet Devil had ugly spiked ball looking things. Then Imperishable Night introduced an oddly liquid looking substitute that had an unclear hitbox and was a pain to dodge. Then Mountain of Faith introduced spheres with animated auras, of which warm-colored versions work well for fire.
  • Shantae
    • The first Shantae game had Fire Balls that worked like improved pike balls, revolving around Shantae at a faster rate to protect her from enemies.
    • Risky's Revenge had more typical Fire Balls that Shantae launched in front of her from her hands and continuously burned their targets until they die. The game also had the Spit Fire, an upgraded version of the attack that launches three fireballs Spread Shot style. Besides serving as the only long-range attacks in Shantae's arsenal, they're also used to burn away the occasional overgrown plant-life that blocks her path.
  • Brave Hero Yuusha: Flickerflames have a Fireball spell.
  • Black & White: There's the offensive Miracle 'Fireball'.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest: The Uncommon Character: Human Torch (Johnny Storm)'s Fireball ability:
    Johnny hurls a fistful of flame, torching the opponent.
  • When you have Phoenix, Crystal and eventually the Human Torch in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, you can expect some epic-sized fireballs to be hurled.
  • Dark Castle has always featured fireballs. In the 3rd game, Merlin will give you the fireball spell, cue the flaming death of mooks.
  • Kalypso Media's Elements of War is set Twenty Minutes In The Future, where humanity has the technology to manipulate weather. One such futuristic unit is the F1-BL Fireball, a helicopter that can shoot fireballs at ground enemies.
  • In Warhammer: Dark Omen, even before you get your first wizard your warband has someone capable of shooting fireballs. The commander Morgan Bernhardt is the proud owner of Grudgebringer, a magical sword that's been enchanted to cast the fireball spell.
  • In Gemstone Warrior and its sequel Gemstone Healer from SSI if you want to scratch your enemies, shoot them with your crossbow. If you want them dead, use a fireball on them. Unfortunately your supply of fireballs is very limited and finding them in the underworld is rare.
  • Capcom had Magic Sword where the second last weapon the heroes can pick up is the Flame Sword which can shoot powerful fireballs.
  • Dragon's Crown, both the Wizard and Sorceress have abilities that let them shoot fireballs. If the Elf has learned Elemental Lore and is standing near a source of fire (such as a torch in hand), she can shoot fireballs as well.
  • Main character, Areus in Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll can hurl medium-ranged fireballs as a skill from the Rune Fighter class.


    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, mage Fey has cast these, although only at opponents it wouldn't kill or disfigure. The crazed pyrokinetic Fireball didn't have any such qualms.

     Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • One Bullet Away: Nate Fick (of Generation Kill fame) is standing around with his convoy in an Iraqi town, when what he describes as flaming pumpkins come flying over the adjacent river, barely missing him and smashing into the street and buildings around them. After a few moments he realizes the Marines are being targeted by antiaircraft fire.
  • Ball lightning is one of the least understood meteorological phenomena known to man. Essentially a ball of light that occurs during a thunder and or lightning storm, these little (or huge) buggers have been known about since antiquity. By the late twentieth century most of the scientific community had deemed ball lightning a myth, however the proliferation of color photography soon would prove the existence of phenomena and by the early 2000s with the advent and wide use of the internet and digital photography its existence was positively confirmed. Nobody knows exactly what the stuff is though, other than a ball of light with electric properties. They are semi-rare as whole: only a quarter of Americans surveyed have claimed to see it (must only claim to when prompted, as they don't initially report the sightings for fear of being deemed crazy or a liar). Its reported characteristics vary wildly-some times it can pass though people without harming them, at other times they discharge massive amounts of electricity, even up to a normal lightning strike. Ball lightning can sometimes move erratically and swiftly but often seems to move slowly and lazily. These balls of light often seem to also be attracted to wires, electrical appliances, and metal. There are many theories as to what exactly ball lightning is, however ball lightning's rarity and unpredictably will likely mean that this phenomena will likely remain unexplained for several more years.
  • In Earth's gravity, the oxygen used by fire rises as it heats up, giving flames the pointed shape we're used to seeing. In low gravity, the gasses have nowhere to rise and form a spherical flame instead.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Balls Of Fire


El Jefe fireballs

El Jefe shooting fireballs with his swords.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / Fireballs

Media sources:

Main / Fireballs