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Flechette Storm

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"Knife to meet you, Sakuya."

Glory: What's this, bag of tricks?
Willow: Bag of knives.
[a dozen daggers lift out of the bag and fly at Glory]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Tough Love"

Okay, so flinging pointy death from above is all well and good, but what if you aren't adept at archery? Never fear! Just grab your favorite knife, shuriken, deck of cards, or anything else that's small and razor edged, and start tossing.

Meaning "little arrow" or "dart" in French, a flechette is any pointy projectile — smaller than your traditional arrow or crossbow bolt — that can be thrown or fired with the intention of cutting, impaling and/or poisoning your opponent, and most societies have their own brand of flechette projectile that can be used. Thrown or fired, just like a Rain of Arrows, a veritable hail of these weapons are quite effective in cutting down large groups, and it's no surprise that most warriors specializing in thrown weaponry depicted in fictional media are able to create that tempest with a few simple tosses. If the flechettes are magical or infused with Ki, expect them to function like homing Reverse Shrapnel. Since these projectiles are very sharp, they have a lower than average tendency to actually hit anything, though they may well stick your clothing to the wall.


Sometimes shaking out some loose feathers works like this too, and the same goes for spines, stingers, and other long and sharp-pointed body parts.

A subtrope of Spam Attack. Compare Storm of Blades and Rain of Arrows. On a smaller scale, it is very similar to a Macross Missile Massacre.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Suzu of Ayakashi Triangle is able to bring to life origami to use an Attack Drones. Once she gets a outfit that stores many of them, Suzu can fire them all at once, and they'll even been drawn with glowing energy contrails like an Itano Circus.
  • The vampire Caerula Sanguis of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order is able to write Chinese characters with a volley of knives. Well, one character, at least: Death.
  • In the early chapters of Blade of the Immortal, Rin uses a technique called "Curtain of Death", which is essentially a flurry of small knives thrown at the enemy. However, the limitations of using such a technique are remarked upon by at least one character, and eventually Rin stops using them altogether.
    • Most of it comes form the fact she, 1) doesn't aim (in fact she doesn't look at the target at all) 2 yells out the name. She still somewhat uses it, as a last option.
  • Bleach:
    • When Byakuya's sword is released, it shatters into many pieces (thousands in Shikai, millions in Bankai). The blades float in the air mirroring the image of cherry blossom petals on the wind. Controlled by either Byakuya's mind or gestures, the blades can be launched through the air to cut the target to ribbons.
    • The Privaron Espada Cirucci Sanderwicci's released form, which includes two wings each with five half-moon shaped blades. She can fire the blades at an opponent, guide them in flight and make them return to her if they miss.
  • Karl's from Blood+ has an arm allows him to rapidly fire huge spikes from his hand.
  • In Brave10, this is one of Hanzo's signature attacks.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Yue and Ruby Moon can conjure projectiles and magically throw them at opponents.
  • Many a Digimon character has such an attack, such as Renamon's Diamond Storm attack, Peckmon's Kunai Wing attack, Cherubimon's Thousand Spears, and Ice Devimon's Avalanche Claw. That's just a few — a complete list would be very long, especially if we include the characters who didn't appear in the TV series.
  • While the Gundam franchise is no stranger to Attack Drones, those were always ranged weapons. It wasn't until Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny that melee-type drones were introduced. However, it didn't really reach this trope until Mobile Suit Gundam 00 brought in its GN Fangs in large enough numbers to qualify.
  • Hellsing:
    • Tubalcain Alhambra of does this with magic playing cards, which succeed in preventing Alucard from using his Healing Factor. Unfortunately for Alhambra, they're not nearly enough to defeat him.
    • Father Alexander Anderson can do this with blessed bayonets, which he summons at will. He also uses them as swords, often Dual Wielding them.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: During Jotaro's final battle with DIO in Stardust Crusaders, DIO uses The World to freeze time so that he can toss dozens of knives towards Jotaro. While Jotaro is able to use Star Platinum to block some of DIO's knives, enough make it through to seriously injure the guy, though not enough to incapacitate him (in part due to the fact that Jotaro came prepared with Improvised Armor). This technique became famous enough to become a defining part of DIO's combat methods in the various JoJo's Bizarre Adventure video games and in most fan-portrayals of him, despite it only being used once.
    • Also used in Stone Ocean by Pucci, DIO's last loyal follower once he acquires Made in Heaven against Jolyne and Jotaro in a sick Ironic Echo of DIO's most infamous move. Only this time, Jotaro can't use Star Platinum to save himself or his daughter.
    • Used once again in Steel Ball Run by Diego Brando From Another World who possesses THE WORLD once more and uses it against Johnny Joestar in their final battle, making the technique less of a One-Scene Wonder and more of a cruel recurring attack that the Joestar family faces.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Maoyu, Archer seems to be this, rather than an actual archer. His weapon is never shown, but when he waves his hand, people just start to fall over and die. "As if struck by arrows".
  • In Moonlight Mile, a fast-moving cloud of space debris strikes the International Space Station, crippling many of its life support systems.
  • Naruto:
    • A minor character uses umbrellas to shower his enemies with poisoned homing needles. He pulls this out on Gaara during the chunin exams, but it doesn't work.
    • Haku from the Wave arc also used ice needles at the beginning of his fight against Sasuke.
    • Tenten can summon a rain of shurikens, kunais, needles, and any other sharp metal objects a ninja may carry with them.
    • Sasuke can do a similar trick by continuously throwing shuriken and summoning more using seals he tied to his wrists.
    • Itachi is a master of this, having successfully countered Sasuke's summoned arsenal of shuriken with his own, without breaking a sweat. He also broke the Rinnegan's shared vision link by blinding all of Nagato's summons with a barrage of projectiles.
    • Sasori's Hiruko puppet, which had both as kunai launcher in its mouth and a senbon cluster bomb.
    • The Third Hokage has a technique which can take a few throw shuriken and turn it into a full-blow Flechette Storm.
    • Konan can make one of these using pieces of paper.
    • Gaara could do this in his Shukaku form
    • Naruto's Rasen Shuriken attack is a Fuuma Shuriken made of thousands of tiny blades of wind chakra, and is optimally used when thrown.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Setsuna's artifact, Sica Shishikushiro, which can be summoned as 16 flying daggers to attack a target with. Most of the time, they act as cover fire, not as an attack meant to do serious damage. Also, they can be controlled remotely, so they work well when pinned (like in her second battle with Tsukuyomi).
    • Fate Averruncus uses a similar attack. He's also seen using a Flechette Storm in the 1st Mou Hitotsu no Sekai OVA during the gateport battle, when he summons a group of small rock-spears and fires them forward.
  • Hanzo, the Koga ninja leader in the Ninja Scroll movie, throws dozens of shuriken at Tessai with enough force to break off thick tree branches. Unfortunately, since Tessai can turn his skin into stone, the shuriken just bounce right off and Hanzo gets his arms ripped off for his troubles.
  • In One Piece:
    • Kaku uses a variation of Rankyaku where the projectiles bounce off the ceiling and hit the enemy like raindrops.
    • Hody Jones' Yabusame attack, where he throws a barrage of water droplets at his enemy that pierce through them like arrows.
    • In the anime, "Flower Sword" Vista does this using his swords and rose petals.
  • Mint in Ranma ½ tosses a flurry of knives at his foe as his opening attack. Usually enough to pin them against a wall.
    • In the manga version of the Martial Arts Takeout Race, Cologne pulls this off against Shampoo in order to show off how skilled her great-granddaughter is (Shampoo, currently serving another table with her back to the wall, deflects all of the daggers and sends them right back where they came from, without once turning away from her customers or spilling their order).
    • This is fundamentally Mousse's primary tactic in fighting, though he tends to use a rather eclectic assortment of projectiles.
  • In Sakura Wars: The Movie, Ratchet Altair's Eisenkleid can summon several exploding knives to kill off demons, as demonstrated during the battle at the Imperial Theater.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Spell Card Thousand Knives. Also, Winged Beast-Type monsters usually are depicted as having a feather-based variant.
    • Also in the Tenth Anniversary Movie, this is how Malefic Truth Dragon's Kill 'Em All effect works.

    Comic Books 
  • Once in a while, Diabolik whips out gadgets that shoot dozens of darts tipped with poison or sleep agents to deal with multiple enemies.
  • Magnattack, a lower-tier Invincible villain, does this with the 88 metal plates surrounding his magnetized body. A bonus is that he can naturally recall them because of his powers.
  • A demon tries to use this on Lucifer in the "Nirvana" miniseries, which works about as well as you might expect.
  • This is the gimmick of several Marvel characters Bullseye and Ultimate Hawkeye, who can turn anything into a projectile. Also Gambit does this with the added bonus that he can make anything he touches go boom.
  • Doctor Doom from Ultimate Fantastic Four has the ability to shoot razor sharp spines of his own living metal body at people.
  • Riptide of the X-Men villains The Marauders could spin at high speeds and fling out blades that could even pierce Colossus's skin.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Butcher Bird, Kaneki's ukaku wings are mostly used for this.
  • Used by Asakura in the prologue extension chapter of Kyon: Big Damn Hero.
  • In Naruto: Ramen Days Naruto learns Kunai Kage Bunshin. Whereas Kakashi used it to turn a single kunai into ten, Naruto overpowers it, turning a single kunai into "a solid wall of black". Kakashi then insists he never use that technique unless all allies are behind him.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, this is one of Keiji's tricks. He can throw his shuriken with an emphasis on high speed, insane accuracy, extreme range, or any combination of the three, but when he goes all-out on speed... well, there's a reason he carries several hundred shuriken on his person at once.
  • Frustrated by Tenten and Haku's projectile skills, Sakura develops a way to throw senbon en masse very fast in A Teacher's Glory. She uses it to kill one of Orochimaru's snakes.
  • In Vapors, Minato Namikaze uses Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu to do this so well that Aiko breaks her mission face to Squee over it before pulling out every daddy's girl trick she has to get him to teach her.
  • Ume from the Naruto fan fiction Sugar Plums does a trick in a similar vein as Tenten in that she summons several projectiles from a seal. Except, by several she does thousands of senbon needles all at once. Though it's noted in character that picking all of them up afterwards is a pain.
  • This is Boldores And Boomsticks' Marian's primary method of attack, using Leafage and Razor Leaf. Ruby's been practicing with her to use her semblance in a similar way.

  • Guns firing very small-calibre dart-like projectiles have been a staple of science fiction almost as long as the ubiquitous "blaster". In earlier works they're usually called "needle-guns" or "needlers", but flechettes entered the lexicon after their real-word use in artillery rounds, and speculative future firearm proposals. For example:
    • Isaac Asimov's novel The Stars Like Dust.
    • In Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series, Flandry regularly packs a blaster and a needler (often firing poisoned needles).
    • Dan Simmons's Hyperion novels.
    • William Gibson's Action Girl Molly Millions favours a flechette pistol ("fletcher") firing poisoned or explosive darts.
    • Honor Harrington features flechette guns as one of the more common small arms in the series. They're mostly used aboard ships and similar environments-the hailstorm of little darts that one flechette gun fires is entirely capable of chewing a whole group of humans into cat food, but aren't powerful enough to go through heavy armor, meaning that they're unlikely to rupture the hull of the ship. Pulser guns, the most basic small arm, also follow the same principle, rapid-firing a stream of hypersonic darts.
    • In The War Against the Chtorr, the AM-280 rifle fires 18-grain flechettes at 3000 rounds-per-minute; a rate high enough to chew through the segmented bodies of the alien worms. With any other rifle they're virtually Immune to Bullets.
    • In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice Bothari is killed with one of these.
    • Just one of the many weapons used by the Howlers in one of the Animorphs books.
      • And the Blue Meanies in the Remnants books.
    • In Starfist, this appears to be the standard weapon for all human military forces outside the Confederation Armed Forces.
    • Hammer's Slammers: a standard weapon of frontier governments, and mercenaries too cheap to buy powerguns. Both of whom tend to get their arses handed to them by the Slammers with their energy weapons and tanks.
    • The Space Marines of the Sol Federation in Paul E. Cooley's Derelict series use flechette pistols and rifles as their standard light arms. They are not very effective against the exo-solar creatures they encounter on Mira (the eponymous derelict)...but they find that the stun rounds they also carry work much better...and the tritium-dosed flechette rounds they use later in the story, even moreso.
  • Ship-based flechette guns are used to terrifying effect in The Ellimist Chronicles. As the protagonist's species lives on floating crystals in open air, flechettes work extremely well. The novel describes the crystal seen stained with blood as it slowly falls from lack of power.
  • The terrorist bomb in Black Sunday (and the novel's film adaptation) is designed to work this way — hundreds of thousands of steel darts suspended beneath a blimp's control cabin would be blasted by half a ton of plastic explosive into (and through, as a test-firing shows) an unsuspecting Super Bowl crowd.
  • Discworld's Sergeant Detritus wields a huge crossbow modified to fire a whole sheaf of arrows. On top of this, the bow is so powerful that the arrows tend to shatter into flaming shrapnel from the sheer stress of acceleration. It has, in universe, been nicknamed "The Piece-maker".
  • The Big Bad of Eisenhorn: Hereticus wears a cape made of razor-sharp blades, and he can fire these blades at people by spinning really fast. One of Eisenhorn’s associates is caught on the receiving end of this: he crumbles like cottage cheese.
    • Contrast this to The Elric Saga story where Elric, in a time of great need, is surprised when the Black Sword calls upon the power of its millions of brothers and sisters, who answer the call and act as a mobile cloud of meat-mincing and soul-killing blades to the Big Bad that was threatening to overwhelm Elric.
  • Jarlaxle from the Forgotten Realms has a pair of bracers that are capable of summoning a dagger with a flick of a wrist, which he then throws with unerring accuracy. The good news is, one in three of these daggers is an illusion (or so he says). The bad news is, he is capable of throwing a stream of them faster than most archers shoot. More bad news, the D&D rules on illusions mean you're probably better off running for cover than taking 1 in 3 odds, unless you're feeling suicidally confident.
  • In Good Omens, 17th century witch Agnes Nutter is described as having stuffed her dress with gunpowder and nails before being burned at the stake.
  • In the Legacy of the Aldenata novel Gust Front, the conventional (if up-armored) tanks used to engage the US east coast invasion regularly used "beehive" rounds against the Posleen, firing a storm of flechettes from their 120mm main gun, although it's said they keep a round or two of their "silver bullet" anti-tank sabot rounds for nostalgia's sake.
  • The Darwinists in the Leviathan trilogy have among their biological arsenal creatures called flechette bats. The bats feed on metal projectiles which they unleash in a (quite literal, in this case) shit-storm of pointy death when signaled.
  • Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius is gifted with the manifestation of the Black Sword for the universe where he is Eternal Champion — the deadly Needle Gun that pumps out tiny, but soul-killing, black needles in large numbers.
  • There are a LOT of descriptions of this in Shadows of the Apt, particularly after the snapbow gets into general use.
  • Snow Crash: "They'll listen to Reason." Deconstructed though — though devastatingly effective at turning anything in its path into hamburger and/or tinfoil scraps, Reason requires a lot of power (in the form of what appears to be an RTG) and puts out a lot of heat (presumably a combination of said RTG and railgun plasma). It's also an Obvious Beta — the prerelease firmware crashes at a moment when Hiro needs it.
  • In some Star Wars Legends book or another, it's stated that Mon Calimari Cruisers have "bomb blisters" — bubbles on the hull that look like just another Mon Cal hull bubble, but explode for decent backblast and a hailstorm of starfighter-shredding shrapnel. Good tactic for a rebel/New Republic starfighter pilot: drag a squadron of baddies across this and have the cruiser set it off just as you pass out of range.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Buddha's Palm: Yu Hua the Dark Action Girl flings a seemingly endless supply of throwing knives in her last fight. And when it seems like she's running dry on knives, she actually combines a dozen remaining knives into a Deadly Disc that homes into her target.
  • At the climax of Carrie Carrie uses her telekinesis to hurl household implements at her abusive mother, killing her.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:
    • Villain Jade Fox brings us this in the form of poison darts, which she fires from a blowgun at a rate that rivals Gatling guns!
    • In the same climactic battle, Li Mu Bai kills Jade Fox by using the Green Destiny sword to shatter her own blade into a burst of steel shards that impale her.
  • The rambler's spear in Flag of Iron. Besides a projectile launcher on its front, its back also contains an automatic needle-launcher, which can fire hundreds of needles all at once. This is the special weapon used to overpower the film's main villain in the final battle.
  • Gravity utilizes this with the concept of Kessler Syndrome: The destruction of one object in orbit creates a high-speed debris cloud that can destroy anything in its wake (and create more debris as it does so), slowly moving lower and lower until it enters the atmosphere and burns up. A worst-case scenario could take centuries to clear up.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort uses magic to shatter every nearby window and direct the thousands of shards at Dumbledore. Dumbledore counters by casting a barrier which turns the glass into sand before it hits him.
  • Tien Hao from Legendary Weapons of China never seems to run dry on shurikens. He managed to throw more than 40 shurikens on one scene without needing to resupply, and yet never seem hampered by carrying all those projectiles.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela's primary form of offense is summoning innumerable spikes, knifes, swords, and anything else sharp and pointy to throw at her opponents.
  • In Spiral, The glass thrower trap is one of the most simple traps, but Cruel and Unusual Death doesn't begin to describe it. The victim, Pete, is suspended by the arms and has to rely on Zeke finding a key to free him. Meanwhile glass bottles are fed to an industrial shredder, then launched at him by an industrial fan at high speed, with only seconds of reprieve before starting up again. Zeke doesn't free him in time, with Pete dying a slow and agonizing Death of a Thousand Cuts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel has Maude's ghost doing this with knives killing some person.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow develops skill at magic, she also learns to use telekinesis. When Glorificus drains her girlfriend's sanity, we get a glimpse of future "Dark Willow" as she attacks Glorificus after her first attack, which hurts her for the first time in the series, she telekinetically flings a bag of knives at the Hell-Goddess. Since she's a lot tougher than steel, this second attack didn't work so well. When she does become Dark Willow in Season 6, she uses Buffy's Wall of Weapons against her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech, the Humongous Mecha progenitor of the aforementioned Mech Warrior, features the LB-X series of autocannons, which fire fragmenting 'cluster' rounds instead of traditional cannon shells. While called a Battlemech-scale shotgun, they are depicted as firing explosive submunitions rather than solid buckshot-like projectiles. This trope gets taken Up to Eleven with the Hyper Assault Gauss Rifle, or HAG, as well as the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle. Both operate like standard Gauss Rifles, but instead of firing one large projectile, they both fire multiple small projectiles simultaneously, scouring the target like a sandblaster. Finally, there's the Anti-Personal (AP) Gauss Rifle, which works on the same idea but with a much smaller scale as an anti-infantry weapon.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In AD&D2 and before, base rate of fire for throwing daggers or knives was 2x, darts 3x and shurikens (in Oriental Adventures) varying up to 4x per round. Specialized warriors, along with attack and damage bonuses, has rate of fire up to 5/round with knives or large shurikens and 6/round for darts and small shurikens. Note this meant a fighter specializing in darts did more damage per round than one specialized in two handed swords! At least until they run out of ammo (which at that attacking rate would not take long).
    • D&D3 also had Prestige Classes for this type of fighting, including the Master Thrower, who specialises in throwing lots and lots of knives, and the Bloodstorm Blade, who specialises in throwing things very, very hard.
    • The Rogue class in 4 edition of has a number of abilities which hurl a knife, individually, at every single enemy in a 15-foot-by-15-foot square. If you use a magic dagger, you even somehow manage to hurl the same knife at every one. One of these attacks even hurls said knife to such effect as to blind every victim with blood streaming into the eyes!
    • The Telekinesis spell can be used in this way in 3.5 edition and perhaps others.
    • The ultimate technique of the telekeinetic bladestorm "Blade Supernova" qualifies as an omnidirectional version of this. "Orbiting Blades" and "Galaxy of Blades" may also qualify.
  • In Eclipse Phase shard pistols and the larger shredder spray streams of monomolecular diamondoid shards that are great at penetrating armor but not too much damage.
  • Sorcerers in Exalted can learn a spell called "Death of Obsidian Butterflies." The sorcerer sends a cloud of glass shards covering an area 30 yards wide, 100 yards long and 10 yards high. This is a first circle spell.
    • Cascade of Cutting Terror, which can be done with any thrown item, causing it to multiply hundreds of times to strike over a wide area (with the duplicates vanishing after hitting). For emphasis: ANY thrown item. Including daggers, icicles, coins, peanuts, tuna fish, peasants, elephants, etc.
    • A GURPS supplement provided rules for a similar power. Except you don't necessarily need magic.
  • The "shrapnel gun" in Hc Svnt Dracones is one of Spyglass's nastier products, it shreds pieces of junk into a storm of flying shards that count as poisonous.
  • Corvus Belli's wargame Infinity has the chain rifle, a flechette firing template weapon. The reasoning the game gives for it's existence is actually relatively plausible, and it functions (hence the name) by having a chain strip flechettes of metal from a steel block and then accelerates them to supersonic speeds. The result is the target being hard pressed to dodge the approaching wall of hot metal with small holes in it.
  • Magic: The Gatheringthere are a few cards using this trope.
  • MechWarrior features the needler line of infantry weapons; though called pistols and rifles, they actually are more like smoothbore shotguns of varying size, and fire shredded, brittle shards of plastic designed to go right through clothing and armor and shred flesh, something they could do with frightening effectiveness. Their main downfall was a lack of range. The nastiest version was the Firedrake Support Needler, a massive gun usually mounted on Battle Armor that fires metal projectiles instead of plastic, and just to make sure that the target is Deader Than Dead the projectiles are filled with chemicals that burst into flames upon contact with oxygen, insuring that the target is set on fire as it's torn to shreds.
  • Paranoia has needle guns available at Blue clearance. Lots of damage in a hurry, but they also malfunction about as often as everything else in Alpha Complex, exploding in your hand or just jamming up.
  • Pathfinder has the level 2 spell Fiery Shuriken, which uses a single shuriken as material component. When cast, it can create up to eight flaming shurikens that hover around the spellcaster and can be launched as either a volley or individually. It's base damage as a whole doesn't really impress, ballparking it's damage as a weaker Scorching Ray, but it really shines if you can reliably get sneak attack, as each of the projectiles is a ranged touch attack and so can benefit from the bonus damage. One of the few low-level direct damage spells that scales surprisingly well with some planning.
  • The Jovians in Rocket Age use repulsion float weapons, with the rifles firing masses of plastic shards, to prevent the loss of the metal that is so precious on Jupiter.
  • Flechette rounds are a standard form of ammo in Shadowrun. They raise overall damage, but due much less damage against any sort of impact armor.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar of make extensive use of shuriken weaponry — a solid plasti-crystalline core of ammunition is sliced into molecule-thin shuriken, which are then catapulted out of the gun by magnets at a firing rate of over a hundred rounds per second.
    • The Dark Eldar use similar "splinter" weapons, though they use an incapacitating poison, frozen into a crystal, that dissolves into the enemy's blood upon impact to allow for the easy capture of slaves/prisoners/toys.
    • Tau vehicles are often equipped with a close-range defense system called a flechette launcher. If any enemy troops get too close then the launcher goes off and saturates the immediate area with high-velocity shrapnel.
    • And now Space Marines also started to stick claymore mines with appropriate amount of shrapnel on Land Raiders.

    Video Games 
  • The level 3 final animation of the Thousand Kill Combination Attack in Agarest Senki 2.
  • In Arc Rise Fantasia, Serge's Excel Trinity, Million Regret, has him throwing (ostensibly) a million knives, made of ice, at the enemy.
  • BlazBlue has ν-13 and Λ-11 who both share a Drive attack called "Sword Summoner". (II in Lambda's case), which has them shooting hard-light swords in a succession of combos. Both have Distortion Drives involving a storm of these swords being flung at the opponent.
  • Zer0 of Borderlands 2 has an end-tier skill called "Death Bl0ss0m, in which he tosses explosive kunai while in Decepti0n mode.
  • Gambit's Royal Flush in the Capcom vs. series.
  • The "Thousand Blades" Item Crash attack in Castlevania.
  • The Ice Blast powers in City of Heroes resemble flechettes made up of shards of ice.
  • In Command & Conquer: Renegade, Havoc gets a Tiberium Flechette launcher. It rips all non-mutant units to shreds.
    • All of the three or so enemies you encounter after getting it, that is...
  • In DC Universe Online, the Shuriken Storm move in the Martial Arts weapon style.
  • Dead by Daylight has the Killer The Trickster, a K-pop star turned serial killer. His power, Showstopper, is throwing knives at the Survivors in an increasingly rapid pace. If he runs out of knives, he has to reload them at a locker. When he's landed enough hits on survivors, he can activate his ability Main Event, which has him throw knives almost faster than the player can aim them, and he gains unlimited knives for the duration.
  • Vergil from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening can shoot a stream of magical swords. After summoning them around himself, he can make them fire even faster.
    • As Nelo Angelo from the original game, he was also quite fond of summoning those swords around Dante as well before cutting loose.
    • Dante's Lucifer devil arm from Devil May Cry 4, which can be used like this.
  • This is the basis of Wang Yuanji's moveset in Dynasty Warriors 7 and 8. Her Weapon of Choice is throwing knives, and while the individual hits do rather pathetic damage, they add up quickly and also serve to rapidly fill her Musou gauge.
  • Gale, the ranged weapon of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron combines this with Dance Battler.
  • Stefano Valentini from The Evil Within 2 is very adept at throwing knives, and during his boss fight, he's capable of throwing small blades at you from across the room, which are so fast that you'll have to duck to avoid them.
    • One of Blackberry's spells in Attack of Darkforce is to summon a ring of swords that fly out and home in on the enemy. This is more pronounced in Giant Fist where the action plays in real time, and the player can be on both ends of it, playing as Blackberry or receiving the hurt against her boss battles.
    • Bonus Super Boss Dark Force uses a couple in the first two phases of his boss fight in EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance. In the first phase, the second attack he rotates through launches large arrow-shaped clusters of stars at the player, which explode and scatter upon hitting the opposite side of the screen. In the second phase, he saturates the entire screen in needles pointing all directions, which suspend in the air and prevent the player from safely moving, and then has them fire off at once in whichever direction they're pointing.
  • Flechette rounds are available for shotguns in Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. Incredibly effective against unarmoured targets, especially when used with an automatic shotgun, but nearly useless against anyone with decent armour.
    • Fallout: New Vegas also has flechette shotgun shells.
    • The Harpoon Gun in Fallout 4: Far Harbor has a "Flechettes" modification that turns it into a harpoon shotgun.
  • True Assassin in Fate/stay night. As the limits of what people can carry are actually fairly realistic, he only throws a total of around 40 dirks, a kind of special throwing dagger. However, he does unload them all in a matter of seconds when he wants to. Not that he ever manages to do any good with them but...
  • The Final Fantasy series has the cactuars and their 1000 Needles Fixed Damage Attack. Also the 10,000 Needles attack — often a One-Hit Kill.
  • The Limit Break of Cat Girl Nano-Nano Pudding's Cool Ship in the Galaxy Angel gameverse is the aptly-named Needle Flechette, which impales surrounding foes with ship-sized needles made out of Nanomachines.
  • The Hunters from Half-Life 2: Episode 2, firing hails of flechettes which explode with energy after a short time. They're extremely tough and can tank ridiculous amounts of gunfire, but are extremely weak to their own flechettes. The most effective way to kill them is to use the Gravity Gun to pick up an object to shield yourself with, and then throw it at them once it's covered in flechettes.
  • Halo:
    • The aptly named Needler, which shoots guided explosive crystaline needles made of "blamite".
    • The also aptly named Spiker carbine and Spike Grenades from Halo 3 fire long red-hot metal spikes in an automatic spray or cone-shaped blast respectively.
  • One of the many ways to die in Haunting Ground is a very messy version of this trope.
  • And on the other side of the line, flechette rounds are available for shotguns later on in Jagged Alliance 2 v1.13 (which is perhaps the poster child for Gun Porn). Much more expensive than traditional buckshot or slug rounds, flechettes can tear through armor and whatever's behind it, making the shotgun a viable close/medium range weapon in the endgame.
  • The Rogue class of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has an attack where a cloud of blinding smoke is thrown followed by a flurry of daggers that causes bleeding damage.
  • In the fights against Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, he can conjure a flurry of red diamond-knives at Link. To counter this, Link can slash them right back at the source.
  • One of several types of firearms Alph in Luminous Arc can use in place of casting spells is the Flechette Gun.
  • Marathon Infinity introduces the KKV-7 10mm SMG Flechette, a gun that fires flechettes instead of bullets. The weapon is known for its very high rate of fire and the ability to be fired both underwater and in the vacuum of space.
  • Spiral from Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes had the Dancing Swords attack, which after summing six swords to circle her, she can fire them one at a time towards her opponent, all of then at once toward her opponent, shoot them straight up, or even in every direction at once.
  • In Mickey Mousecapade, Pete's primary attack is a near-constant storm of homing daggers.
  • Rogues in NetHack have the unique ability to throw several daggers in a single action. The number they can throw at once increases with experience.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: One of the earlier power-ups you can collect allows your ninja protagonist to flip in the air and spin around in circles, flinging a few dozen throwing knives in every single direction in the process.
  • Of Orcs and Men has Styx's Flying Daggers and Rain of Blades attacks.
  • In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the Fracture shard splits the Spirit Arc's arrows into 3-5 shorter ranged darts that deal 50% of the normal damage individually, but when fully upgraded, it delivers a total of 250% damage per volley. Combining the full upgrade with the Quickshot shard produces a massive Game-Breaker, especially against bosses.
  • A PAYDAY 2 DLC adds special ammo for shotguns. Among them is the Flechette that fires a dozen dart-like projectiles per shot. The needles are less damaging, but they have higher range and accuracy than the standard shells and they can pierce armor.
  • Persona 4's version of Alice's Die For Me! attack features kunai attached to cards raining down from above.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2, the Bouncer class's Dual Blades have Photon Arts that employ "photon blades" generated from thin air. The Dual Blades Gear also allows the player to fire off a cluster of these blades at enemies.
  • Before PSO 2, Phantasy Star III had a class of weapon called the Needle, which could be dual-wielded and would target every enemy within a column, making them ideal for clearing screens of trash mobs until character levels and equipment grew powerful enough to make Needles redundant.
  • The Pin Missile and Poison Sting attacks in Pokémon.
    • And Spike Cannon, Twineedle and Icicle Spear...
  • Ryu from Psycho Dream can spam a seemingly endless amount of throwing blades - three at a time, Spread Shot-style - on enemies, the blades which he have a limitless supply of.
  • Quake and the infamous Super Nailgun, a man-portable minigun that fires these.
  • Shadow Man does this as the Bonus Boss of Wily Stage 4 in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity.
  • Saints Row IV has the Knifethrower, a Gatling gun that shoots butcher knives that can be upgraded to have infinite ammo. Very lethal against humans, but to balance it out it can't damage vehicles aside from popping tires and breaking windows.
  • Azami Mochizuki in Sakura Wars (2019) can summon kunai and throw it at the enemy, given her ninja training.
  • At one point in Shiver: Poltergeist, the titular poltergeist levitates all the sharp cutlery from the dining-room table and hurls it at Ricardo, who thankfully takes cover behind a chair.
  • Ibuki in Street Fighter III has a special move in which she does this by throwing a dozen of kunais at the opponent.
  • Super Mario RPG is full of enemies with such attacks, such as the bee-like Buzzers. Attacks like thornet (which poisons its target) and fungispike (which turns the target into a mushroom) involve enemies shooting a dart-like projectile at party members.
  • Sheik's neutral B move in Super Smash Bros. is the aptly-titled Needle Storm.
  • The Ice Needle spell in the Tales Series, which fires a minimum of three shards of ice depending on game. Sometimes the mage simply throws them, but sometimes they form directly above the enemy's head and drop. And yes, the archers in the series naturally have techs for this.
  • The Medic of Team Fortress 2 can shoot a rain of needles filled with a mysterious substance at the enemy, and can even earn an unlockable that allows him to absorb the damage as health. Demonstrated here.
  • Terraria:
    • A group of harpies can easily inflict this on you if you're not careful. Some holiday-themed bosses also attack this way.
    • Spiked slimes gain this as a special attack in Expert Mode by scattering spines all around them when a player gets up close. Said spines can also inflict status effects depending on the type of spiked slime that uses the attack.
    • Nailhead uses a spreading needle projectile move whenever he is struck, making it dangerous to engage him head on.
    • There are also weapons that can allow you to do it as well, one prominent example being Vampire Knives.
  • Sakuya Izayoi from Touhou Project uses this in combination with her stopping time, in a Shout-Out to Dio Brando. Just look at the page image.
    • Her predecessor from the PC-98 era, Yumeko, also a Ninja Maid, does this with swords and minus the timestopping. Too bad no one remembers her.
    • Yoshika Miyako in Ten Desires also uses this, with kunai-like bullets.
    • A lot of other characters use a lot of knives or swords in their attacks, too, such as Ran and Yukari in their boss fights (whose non-spells are 100% kunais).
  • If Hawkeye undergoes a light class change in Trials of Mana, his level two weapon technique, the 'Flying Swallow Toss,' has him using multiple throwing knives against his foes.
  • Parodied in Undertale. After being hit by their own projectiles enough, Mad Dummy foregoes their usual attacks and announces a new one: throwing as many knives as they can at the player. Unfortunately for them, their first knife turns out to be the only one they have.
  • Unreal Tournament has the flak cannon, which fires superheated shards of metal in shotgun fashion. Its alternate mode shoots out a flak bomb that, upon contact with a physical object, explodes into said shards.
  • Wizardry VII had "Blades" spell good for shredding a group of low-agility opponents (bad Missiles resistance), such as plant or Squishy Wizard types, "Whipping Rocks" is blunt variant of the same.
  • The Rogue class's Fan of Knives ability in World of Warcraft, inherited from the Night Elf Warden hero unit in Warcraft III's expansion.
  • Subverted in the X-Universe. The game's two flechette weapons are almost universally ignored by players since the flechettes rarely actually hit anything, though players sometimes pair Cluster Flak Arrays with Ion Disruptors because the latter gun jumps between targets, and can use the flechettes produced by the former to do so, significantly boosting the range of the disruptors.
    • X Rebirth's Inertial Hammer fires a shotgun-like spread of charged particles wrapped in a ferromagnetic fluid, which will ricochet after hitting a target. Rapid-firing the weapon in close quarters will create a swarm of flechettes bouncing back and forth.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: In her default job as an office worker, optional party member Eri has a special ability where she throws a handful of tacks at enemies, striking all enemies in an area multiple times.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Used by Mai. This is also a waterbending move involving icicles. A fully realised Avatar can do this with earthbending.
  • One Jackie Chan Adventures episode had a Death Dealer Mook who could do this.
  • From Season 4 of The Legend of Korra, Kuvira's main method of attack is to trip up or blind her opponents with dozens of small strips of metal, which she can quickly fashion into blades if she's going for a killing blow.
  • The Stilleto Mask worn by the villain Sly Rax in M.A.S.K. has the ability to fire a seemingly infinity supply of small darts at his opponents.
  • Accidental example in Sing: during the concert at the climax, Ash the porcupine rocks out so hard that she starts flinging quills all over the theater. By the end of the song, most of the audience is hiding behind their chairs, and of course the main antagonist is turned into a pincushion.
  • Tom and Jerry has one episode where Jerry throws a bunch of knives at Tom by pulling the knives — at an infinite supply, supposedly — from a thought bubble.

    Real Life 
  • Discussed in a common military saying: "Don't worry about the bullet with your name on it. Instead worry about shrapnel addressed to 'occupant'".
  • The Brits had a go of this trope in World War I. They built a type of fighter airplane called the Blackburn TB. It was a twin-fuselage long-range anti-Zeppelin floatplane. Allegedly. The Blackburn TB, in addition to having the unfortunate tendency to explode, had a maximum speed of 85 mph, which is slower than some Zeppelins. Compounding the TB's difficulties was the sheer impracticality of its means of attack: it was unarmed, save a mere 60 pounds of exploding darts and had to climb over the Zeppelin, somehow evading its anti-air guns, and drop the flechettes on top of it. Which is somewhat difficult, considering that Zeppelins flew at nearly four times the TB's maximum altitude. The 9 TB fighters built never so much as CAUGHT a Zeppelin, much less destroyed one. Not surprisingly, the TB is regarded as a total failure of an airplane.
    • The weapon intended to be used by this aircraft was a canister of Rankin darts, a 1 lb explosive missile-shaped flechette-type of bomb which was commonly carried in packs of 24. It was made obsolete when incendiary ammunition for machine-guns was perfected, which didn't require a pilot to fly above the zeppelin and bomb it.
    • Before the advent of machine-gun-armed aircraft, there was a wide variety of attempted armaments, and flechettes were one — simply dropped or tossed at targets as the plane flew by.
  • During the Second World War, British weapons developers toyed around with the idea of a grenade that shoots out hundreds of poison-tipped needles. It was scrapped early on, as it didn't actually do a better job than a typical shrapnel grenade that was already in use, and the fact it violates dozens of tenets of The Laws and Customs of War didn't help either. This is the kind of grenade you expect Dark Eldar warriors to use, not real soldiers.
  • There are a number of different types of air burst munitions, which explode in midair and scatter shrapnel or flechettes over a wide area. This makes it more effective against infantry in the open and light armored vehicles at the cost of reduced effectiveness against armored vehicles or hardened structures. Air burst artillery shells were used extensively during World War One. World War II, and The Vietnam War. A more modern variant of this uses an aircraft-dropped cluster bomb The CBU-107 loaded with flechettes of various sizes. These are used against power stations and antenna farms as they cause minimal collateral damage compared to explosives without the risk of seeding the area with unexploded bombs that could present a risk to civilians after the conflict is over.
  • There is a round for Artillery called a "beehive round" for the buzzing sound masses of flechettes make as they fly through the air. The original round was fired from a leveled 105mm Howitzer. Some recoilless rifles also fire this shell. Israeli tanks can carry Flechette shells.
  • It was fairly common on ships if they ran out of cannon balls before they ran out of gunpowder would resort to stuffing anything into cannons, including nails, knives, and glass. The effectiveness of this strategy however, as shown on Mythbusters, varied wildly on a given material.
    • The most well-known use of this tactic was probably by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Royalist rebellion of autumn 1795. A rioting crowd assaulted the Tuileries palace, and Napoleon "cleared the streets with a whiff of grapeshot," starting Napoleon on the road to political success and eventually his place in history.
    • Another case was the use of grapeshot against the rebel forces during the Decembrist revolt in Russia in 1825. It's best shown in the 2019 movie Union of Salvation, which has been hailed as the most accurate on-screen representation of grapeshot.
  • In the U.S. you can purchase flechette rounds for shotguns. They're made by replacing the buckshot pellets with little razor sharp steel needles. They're remarkably effective in their stated purpose.
  • Used by suicide bombers to increase damage.
  • The Steyr ACR, a rifle designed for the Advanced Combat Rifle trials, fires flechette rounds. It and similar weapons never became adopted because the flechettes being fired suffered several issues such as being too light to have significant stopping power individually and lacking accuracy and effectiveness beyond short range.


Video Example(s):


Storm of Magical Needles

The Daoist uses a storm of magic needles as a projectile attack.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / FlechetteStorm

Media sources: