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Glass Cannon

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Frail, but deadly.

"I'm the caster, y'know! It's like I'm a cannon made out of glass. Like a...y'know, like a dainty figurine so ornately decorated you can't imagine how something so fragile manages to exist in this brutal, ugly world...and it makes you weep."
Black Mage, 8-Bit Theater


In short: they can dish it out, but they can't take it. The Glass Cannon is characterized by insane attack power coupled with pathetic defensive ability.

Occasionally referred to as a Glass Dragon, Glass Cannons are prevalent in RPGs and fighting games, as the cast needs to be big enough that "takes hits like a chump" becomes a viable character trait. In RPGs, the Glass Cannon tends to be a Squishy Wizard. Not all Squishy Wizards are completely Glass Cannon, though. A Squishy Wizard still can have decent or good magical defense but abysmal physical defense (and the aforementioned good magical defense may be undermined by low hit points), and likewise, a brawler may have good physical defense but poor magical defense (though physically-oriented units are more likely to have a good amount of hit points). Artillery or archer units in Real-Time Strategy and Turn-Based Strategy games also tend to have this trait, as they're meant to be far away from combat, or at least in the back of the formation. If a boss happens to be a Glass Cannon, that's a Rush Boss.


This can even apply in real life. Some military weapons and vehicles can deal a lot of damage, but they're easily destroyed if they take a hit. Athletes who play contact sports can also count if they run up really good statistics but are also easily injured.

Make the Glass Cannon incapable of taking any punishment at all and you've got a One-Hit-Point Wonder. A matchup between two of these usually results in Rocket-Tag Gameplay. When the enemy tries to take out the Glass Cannon as fast as possible, it's Shoot the Mage First. They may have a Full Health Bonus ability as another way to encourage them to avoid getting hit.

Glass Cannons often overlap with the Fragile Speedster; characters of that type tend to put out high damage and dodge most incoming attacks, but go down quickly if they do get hit. Alternatively, the Fragile Speedster may be the only one able to dodge or may be more acrobatic while the Glass Cannon may be quick, but stuck on the ground. Also often overlaps with Long-Range Fighter, using range to keep out of harm's way. The direct inverse of Stone Wall, who takes it but can't dish it out. Compare and contrast Mighty Glacier, who can dish out at the expense of speed rather than toughness, and Lightning Bruiser, who can do the same without sacrificing anything (or sacrificing a "secondary" characteristic, such as range). A vessel mounted with a Wave-Motion Gun may have some aspects of this immediately following its use, as the Power Limiter of the weapon often is that it leaves the vessel defenseless for a time. See also: PVP Balanced and Instakill Mook.


Not to be confused with actual cannons made of glass, which would be its Trope Namer: Glass Weapons.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Shin Kazama of Area 88 fits the type. He deals a nasty blow to Saki's head during a temporary psychotic rage, but Mickey floors him with one punch.
  • Musashi Miyamoto from Baki the Grappler is an almost textbook example. He is a master swordsman who is perhaps the only person in the world who can match Yujiro Hanma. Yet his physical strength and durability are regularly portrayed as sub-par, often being injured by much weaker opponents. This is somewhat subverted by the fact that he can block attacks with his sword. This is exaggerated even further when he uses his 'abstract cutting' and fights without his sword, increasing his offensive power, but no longer even being able block attacks.
  • Shiki, The Dragon and (sort-of) Squishy Wizard from Black Cat. His normal attacks do more damage than anything this side of The Hero, the Big Good, and the Big Bad's final moves, but he goes down with one pistol-whip from Train.
  • Bleach:
    • Ikkaku's sword is unpredictable, dangerous, and incredibly powerful. However, it breaks easily because its shikai form is a wooden spear, and the bankai's overpowered force makes itself brittle. Ikkaku is refusing to use his power correctly and has been chastised for that by Iba. It's heavily implied that his misuse of his power is why the weapon keeps breaking so easily; the Zanpakutou inventor, Nimaiya, openly tells Renji and Ichigo that Zanpakutou which are not correctly used will break easily. Ikkaku himself is not this trope, having immense stamina and the ability to shrug off wounds with sheer willpower.
    • Chojiro Sasakibe is said to rival the Captains in strength (and has a bankai that Captain-Commander Yamamoto himself recognizes as immensely powerful), but his first on-screen fight (such as it is) has him as one of the three Vice-Captains that an bare-handed Ichigo knocks out with a single punch. Apparently, for all his strength he has a glass jaw.
    • Ran Tao in the anime filler Bount Arc is a very skilled spell user but her stamina is heavily compromised by her extreme age.
  • Buso Renkin: Papillon's Back-Powder Buso Renkin, Near-death Happiness, has enough firepower to blow large holes in concrete, and dismember regular humans, but his disease means that he suffers from a severe lack in stamina compared to the other homunculi.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • The Japanese National Team. They've got excellent scorers in Tsubasa, Aoi, and Hyuga as well as great GK's like Wakabayashi and Wakashimazu, but one of their biggest flaws is how easily their defense can be torn and the rival teams can try their luck at scoring. And since the two Waka GK's are prone to Game Breaking Injuries...
    • Single player version: Jun Misugi. Excellent strategist, very dedicated, great at teamwork, marvelous scorer... and with pathetic stamina due to being an ex-Ill Boy. Hence why he's seen more often than not in manager positions and doesn't play until it's mandatory.
  • Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index is a strange example of this. Normally he's Nigh-Invulnerable thanks to his ability to redirect all vectors within a certain radius of him (if he has an oxygen tank, a nuke wouldn't faze him). He's also incredibly powerful to the point of being able to casually break a continent if sufficiently pissed. However, once that fancy ability of his is bypassed, he's nothing more than a scrawny teenager waiting to be pummeled.
  • Death Note: Light Yagami and all other Death Note users definitely qualify. They can kill anyone whose face and name they know, but are no more bullet resistant than anyone else.
  • Marcille of Delicious in Dungeon is a powerful mage who becomes capable of standing toe-to-toe with the Lunatic Magician, the creator of the dungeon, for a brief period of time before overexerting herself. Keep in mind, she was the only person in the party capable of even slowing the Magician down. She's also pretty weak physically and not able to take many hits.
  • Wisely of D.Gray-Man can be considered this compared to other Noah (they are all physically superhumans anyway). His power allows him to One-Hit Kill anyone by crushing their brain with a mere glance. However, when he indirectly received an attack on his head he was stunned for the rest of the arc. Besides, he declares himself as "not a fighter".
  • Kaioken in Dragon Ball Z allows Goku to multiply his strength and speed at the cost of significantly lowering his stamina.
  • May of Fullmetal Alchemist has quite a few different ranged attacks with her alkahestry, but is one of the least durable characters, partly the result of being a young girl.
  • Getter Robo: In general, most of the Getter Robo mecha tend to take very visible damage in the course of battling. In particular, Armageddon and Shin VS Neo have plenty of lavishly-detailed battle damage marks and scars forming as the Getters get crushed and even get their arms ripped off. While they can exhibit very impressive and outright terrifying offensive potential, the Getters tend to get beat-up far more than many traditional Super Robots.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Tieria Erde's Gundam in The Movie, the Raphael, is equipped with Big Friggin' Wave Motion Guns that can also function as Attack Drones. However, due to said Gundam not being equipped with real GN Drives as well as the lack of resources used while it was being created, all defensive capabilities were sacrificed in favor of its offense. His earlier Gundam Nadleeh qualifies as well: it's essentially a Fragile Speedster with the Exia's close-combat attack power. Naturally, it's only used in emergency as it's a Dual Mode Unit, its other form being Gundam Virtue.
    • The GN Arms from the first season, too. Lockon absolutely owned everyone with it until Ali incapacitated him with a single well-aimed shot at his beam cannon. Then it turned out the Gundam piloting the exoskeleton is tougher than the actual exoskeleton! Another example of this trope is the Gadessa: its main weapon is a Wave-Motion Gun with ridiculous range... and not much armor. It still has a backup weapon and a beam saber but its defensive capabilities are nowhere near those of the others, as Lockon took it out in the final battle with a point-blank burst from his Gundam's sidearm after Playing Possum to lure it close.
    • Even seen in Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO during the gravity front. Zaku's are portrayed as having tremendous and devastating firepower...but one direct hit from a tiny tank or missile team can still one shot them. Fortunately, it seems that even non new type mook Zeke's can Dodge the Bullet.
  • Hajime no Ippo:
    • Minor character Eleki Battery who fought Kimura is definitely one. He has enough power to knock Kimura down in one blow, however, all Kimura needed to do was land one hit to his body to knock him down.
    • Also Ryuichi Hayami, who's got very good counters and speed as well as strength... but one well placed punch and he's out. This gets so bad that, when Kobashi manages to deal him a REALLY well-placed hit in the jaw, the injury he sustains forces him to retire.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Diavolo's Stand in Part 5, King Crimson, is one of (if not THE) most powerful Stands in terms of raw striking power, with an A rank in Power and Speed. However, it has an E rank in terms of durability. This is why Diavolo tries to end his fights with a single strike, as he can't survive an extended assault.
    • By part 6, Jotaro's Stand, Star Platinum, has degraded from Lightning Bruiser to this. It maintains its legendary speed and strength, and it has a much bigger range than in part 3; but Jotaro's age combined with the strain inflicted on him when he uses its time stopping power resulted in its durability dropping from rank A to E.
    • Stand users in general, with a few exceptions like DIO, aren't any tougher than those without powers; so any with a particularly potent offense is going to fall into this if they start taking direct hits. Most noticeable with Iggy in Part 3, who has a very powerful stand with a wide range of abilities, but is still a small dog with all the fragility that one would expect. This leads to him being mortally injured from a few strong kicks.
  • Megumin from Konosuba was built around this concept, and then some. She can (and feels a need to) nuke an area once per day, but doing so drains her to the point where she is too exhausted to even move for a while. Likewise, that Explosion spell is the alpha and the omega of her spell selection.
  • In The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, the main character Weed considers his non-combat title-class to be this, he calls his class a "glass sculptor" as his unique attacks do a lot of damage, but because he is a crafter class, he cannot equip heavy armor, and does not receive the ordinary damage reducing skills of, say, a warrior.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate's Sonic Drive form introduced in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. It improves on her original Sonic Form by giving her a lot of oomph to complement the speed increase, boosting her magic powers to astounding levels and letting her access Bardiche's Riot Zamber form. But much like the original Sonic Form, all of this comes at the cost of armor, so all it'll take is one good hit to make her fall. Not that it proves to be much of a detriment; so far, only Erio has managed to land a hit during a mock battle in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, where it indeed wiped out most of Fate's Hit Points.
    • Hayate has also shades of this: her spells range from nuclear explosion to... bigger nuclear explosion, but it comes with looooooong casting time and inability to take hits. She even said Caro would win against her in one-on-one. This is counterbalanced by the fact that Hayate almost never fights one on one; even without her other allies, most of the time she still has Reinforce with her, who can separate and hold off a target with a slew of not quite as powerful, but quite a bit faster spells while Hayate prepares her Wave-Motion Gun.
    • Lutecia Alpine is an S-rank summoner who, in StrikerS, is capable of summoning insects that rival Caro's powers, but has hardly any moves with which to protect herself. However, as of ViVid, she appears to have developed the magical capabilities to fight alone well enough to enter the tournament alongside Vivio and her friends.
    • The Numbers from StrikerS are very powerful, but they can't take hits that well and most of them seem to not have defense skills. Their teamwork makes them dangerous, but if you're strong or skilled enough to take one after another down, then it's not a problem. In the Grand Finale, all Numbers are defeated by one or a few hits.
    • Micaiah Chevelle from ViVid has a Barrier Jacket (or Knight Clothing) which is designed to give her immense speed for minimum defense. This speed supports her extremely powerful sword attacks greatly, but her lack of defense becomes a lethal disadvantage against Lightning Bruiser Miura who has melee versions of Nanoha's Starlight Breaker.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya: due to obtaining his Quirk, One For All, later in life, he has no idea how to moderate its insane power at first. Because of this, he has to shatter the bones in whatever limb he uses it in. As a trade-off, the immense power it produces can demolish entire buildings, topple giant robots, and create massive gusts of wind. He leans away from this as his control improves, allowing him to restrict the damage to just one of his fingers and later spreading the power throughout his body evenly to give himself a much smaller boost to his strength and speed without hurting himself. But he still has to carefully moderate how he's using One For All, lest his concentration breaks and he accidentally uses its full power and hurts himself again.
    • Seiji Shishikura is a pretty extreme glass cannon. His power, "Meatball," allows him to reshape the flesh of anyone he comes in physical contact with, which pretty much instantly immobilizes them. He can even detach chunks of himself and shoot them at others, which will adhere to them. In his introduction, he effortlessly inflicts one-hit KOs to at least a dozen heroes. However, if he so much as takes damage, anyone he's shaped into meatballs will revert back to normal. That is, for him to be effective, he cannot be hit by any attack, no matter how small.
    • Kaminari's power is the ability to discharge an enormous amount of electricity into the surrounding area. The problem is, once he does this, the power basically fries his brain and turns him into an idiot, meaning that he gets one shot before becoming totally useless for the next hour or so. And he's not any physically stronger than a normal human, making him something of a sitting duck. Later on, he starts to train specifically to avoid this issue.
  • Alyssa of My-HiME has the ability to cause devastation on a large scale with her Child, Artemis, but unlike other Himes, does not have an Element to protect herself, instead relying on Miyu's assistance.
  • Itachi Uchiha is basically this in Naruto. Despite having three of the most powerful attacks in the entire manga, Itachi's base arsenal lacks versatility. Not only that, a sufficiently strong character could One-Hit KO if they got close (though since Itachi is one of the fastest characters in the series, this is extremely difficult). His stamina is particularly low as well, meaning he can't fight for extended periods. Those three powerful attacks? They cost more than 30% of his total chakra, meaning he can't spam them like his brother Sasuke can. This is likely a result of the fact that he is dying from a serious illness during the events of the series, and was likely more of a Lightning Bruiser when he was healthy (indeed he is referenced as single-handedly defeating armies years before the events of the series). Subverted by the fact that one of his techniques gives him a giant exoskeleton that turns him into one of the most durable characters in the series but he can only maintain it briefly. Completely subverted to the point he arguably becomes a Stone Wall after his reincarnation. Not only is he immortal and virtually indestructible, but he also has endless chakra reserves meaning that he can maintain that giant exoskeleton indefinitely and spam all the extremely powerful techniques he could previously use only sparingly. His physical strength too appears to increase dramatically or at least be restored to the level it had been when he was healthy, with him easily overwhelming a Naruto who had access to almost all of the Ninetails' chakra with kicks alone.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:
    • Justified and deconstructed with the resurrected God-Warrior. Because it hatched prematurely, just as the Ohms were charging at the humans, it was only able to fire off several powerful beams at them before disintegrating. Unfortunately, the humans were depending on it to defend against the Ohms. Had it not been for Nausicaä's intervention, the humans would have been completely eradicated.
    • A less justifiable case comes from the Tolmekian airships. For all of their guns, a whopping four of them don't stand a chance against a single Pejite interceptor, forcing Nausicaa and her band to escape with Kushana in tow.
      Mito: These are some flimsy ships...
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Chachamaru has what may be the strongest offensive attack in the series, a killsat artifact so devastating that she struggles to find practical usage for it. However, it's also slow and offers no defensive advantages whatsoever, meaning that after disabling Fate with it temporarily she ends up cut in half by Quartum with absolutely no way to defend herself or any real ability to negate the damage. The only thing going for her defensively is that she has less vital points than an actual human.
  • One Piece:
    • Nami's Clima Tact can make very dangerous lightning attacks, and while they take some time to charge up, her offensive power with these makes her one of the most dangerous Straw Hats. She is one of the very few people who can hurt Luffy with a regular punch, though it is because she "beats up his spirit". Her durability, however, is very puny and no better than that of real life human.
    • King Elizabello II of the Prodence Kingdom's signature attack, the King Punch, can make a hole in an enemy fortress wall, though it takes an hour to charge so he needs to be protected while preparing it. When tried out in an arena, it basically destroyed it, and would have killed the audience if a Barrier Warrior hadn't been standing by. Unfortunately, he's nothing special in terms of toughness, getting one-shotted by the same barrier warrior immediately afterwards. With a punch, at that.
  • Genos, the "Demon Cyborg" from One-Punch Man. He can annihilate entire mountains with his Arm Cannon, but he often fights people who are way out of his league and so he often winds up looking like a piece of modern art. Good Thing We Can Rebuild Him.
  • Ouja No Yuugi: the magic-wielding strategists are powerful, but fragile glass cannons, and have to be protected by their generals on the battlefield.
  • Ash's Pikachu in Pokémon: The Series has powerful electric attacks, especially by the standards of its species. It can take out grass type Pokemon who can resist electric attacks and even the occasional ground type, who are supposed to be immune to electricity altogether. However, Pikachu is still a very frail Pokemon and is easily overpowered numerous times throughout the anime.
  • Lillidan Crauser of The Prince of Tennis. He is extremely powerful, able to curb-stomp a bloodshot Kirihara using even greater violent play than him. However, he lacks stamina and defense. Considering this it comes as no surprise that Devil Akaya completely trashes him in a matter of minutes.
  • Ranma ½:
    • The Big Bad of the final arc has powers bordering on a Person of Mass Destruction and he can tank Ki Attacks, but a rather pampered life has lead him to be rather weak against physical attacks. Of course, this is just compared to the completely Made of Iron fighters in most of the series (he was called a wuss for being moderately injured by a boulder... being thrown by tornado winds that were drilling into the ground and altering the course of an underground river).
  • Akane Tendo as well. Though she can dish out punches with the best of them, she has nowhere near the healing speed or toughness of any of the other characters; while she is too skilled to be The Load in an actual fight, she is still regarded by some as a Damsel Scrappy because she insists on getting into a fight, but somebody (mainly Ranma) usually has to keep an eye on her because she can't take the hits they can.
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace: Akechi can dish out a lot of damage due to his correspondence karate, but breaks bones after hitting tougher and older opponents.
  • Sk8the Infinity: Cherry Blossom is one of the best and most agile skaters in S and possibly the most intelligent of all, but unlike other adults such as Joe, Shadow or Adam, Cherry has shown little skill and physical resistance being quickly injured and rendered unconscious by the hit Adam gave him with his skateboard. Temporarily leaving him with an arm in a cast and a time in a wheelchair.
  • King from The Seven Deadly Sins is capable of dispensing incredible attacks with his Morph Weapon. However, he is a massive Squishy Wizard as he can't even physically beat an old man with a bad back in unarmed combat.
  • Similarly, Hisashi Mitsui from Slam Dunk is one of the best 3-point scorers in Japanese HS basketball. But around 3/4 of an intense game, he's almost completely knocked out and unable to merely walk outside the basketball fields.
  • Space Battleship Yamato has the Super Battleship Andromeda. All the ships in the Andromeda fleet have double wave motion guns but still get easily destroyed just by the force of the White Comet's vortex.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, this is the defining characteristic of the Rinkaku Ghouls. Their kagune possess incredible striking power, but the cellular structure is brittle and easily damaged.
  • In the first season if Yu-Gi-Oh! (where the card game was the least like its Real Life equivalent) both Zombie and Machine-Type Monsters were described like this, incredibly strong on offense but really bad at anything else, especially defense. (Of course, the actual game isn't like this at all, at least not all the time.)
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Shun Kurosaki is not only a skilled duelist, but very strong, skilled, and agile in hand to hand combat. However, he's laughably easy to knock unconscious and gets injured frequently. His English voice actor Matt Shipman has commented on this shortcoming a few times.

    Comic Books 
  • In the show Angel the Senior Partners are built up to be this great unmatched evil that span multiple dimensions and can bring about the apocalypse. In the comic book spin-off Spike we see what the actual Senior Partners look like: 15 ft tall demons that can fire deadly lightning bolts. The problem? The Senior Partners are relatively fragile compared to other Buffyverse Big Bads. Spike fires at one with a pair of machine guns and it's left crying in the corner letting our heroes get away in defeat. It's revealed that the reason the Senior Partners conduct their evil scheming though law firms is that they lack the brute strength to take over worlds through sheer force.
  • In the Batgirl story arc The Attack Of The Annihilator, the titular villain's energy blasts are powerful enough to bring buildings down, but physically he is still a regular human, for which a simple punch or kick can hurt him.
  • Emp's hypermembrane suit from Empowered. Amazing Super Strength, flight, energy beams, who knows how many other powers...and the durability of wet tissue paper. Good thing it can repair itself.
  • Fantastic Four member Human Torch's flame powers give him high movement speed and an offensive edge. Unlike his allies, though, he typically lacks any way to use his powers to defend himself other than flying out of the way. This example changes based on who's scripting the book — Johnny's also been shown to make himself bulletproof by melting the slugs before they hit; on other occasions, he's pulled the same thing on various flammable or meltable objects up to a bulldozer that was thrown at him by She-Hulk.
  • The same is true of Marvel Universe magic users like Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, or Wiccan. They can do frightening things to time and space with little more than a gesture and some concentration, but they can also be rendered helpless by a Tap on the Head, drugs, being overwhelmed by bodies, being distracted in mid-spell, or simply being Bound and Gagged.
  • In the Elseworlds comic The Nail, depicting an alternate reality where Kal-El wasn't found by the Kents, Lex Luthor was able to use DNA samples taken from Kal-El's ship to create the Liberators, who are essentially Bizarros disguised as robots; although powerful enough to break Green Lantern's arm through his ring-shield, when deprived of the advantages of superior numbers or a surprise attack, they soon fall apart when subjected to any actual damage in a fight as their genetic structures were unstable.
  • Omega the Unknown: Unlike his original incarnation, the 2007 Omega's only superpower lies in his ability to fire energy beams. Otherwise, he's just as vulnerable to regular injury and exhaustion as anyone else.
  • Runaways:
    • Nico Minoru has extremely powerful magic abilities, but is also a typical Squishy Wizard (and a skinny one at that; it was once implied that she had an eating disorder.) On the other hand, since her magic is fueled by her blood loss, the constant danger means that she never runs out of power for her spells.
    • Klara Plast has powerful plant-controlling powers, but she is also a 12-year-old girl with no enhanced physical attributes.
  • Scott Pilgrim: Todd Ingram, Ramona's third ex, is even more powerful than Gideon due to his immense psychic powers, yet after being depowered by the Vegan Police he goes down to a single headbutt from Scott.
  • The Spider-Man villain Dr. Octopus may have control of four powerful and deadly metal arms, but he's otherwise a normal, somewhat out of shape human. Once the super-strong Spidey gets past his formidable defenses, Doc Ock goes down pretty quickly. This ultimately led to his death as his body couldn't take the punishment various superhumans had dealt him any longer.
  • Superman villain Superwoman can use powers of various alien races, including Kryptonians: super-strength, flight, eye-beams... Nonetheless, in Who is Superwoman? she proves to be a total pushover when it comes to a physical brawl, being easily beaten by Supergirl when Kara gets serious (and angry).
  • Transformers: Wings of Honor has Lyzack, quick and deadly with a sword, but she was built as a support mech, and can't take much damage (a single punch sends her flying).
  • In Über, the Nazi "blitzmensch" superhumans have Eye Beams powerful enough to demolish towns and sink warships at ten-kilometer ranges, but their bodies are as fragile as a normal human's, allowing the stronger "panzermensch" to rip them apart at close range.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Two of the Heyday triplets display superhuman abilities, having Super Speed and being able to jump further than a normal human, but they're both taken out much more easily than normal human Holliday Girls when the mob targets them.
  • X-Men:
    • Many telepaths, such as Professor X, have powerful Psychic Powers but are extremely poor at defending themselves, and aren't of much use against opponents immune to telepathy (like robots).
    • Cyclops' Eye Beams are devastatingly powerful, but if anyone actually hits him he's just as vulnerable as any non-powered human. Well, any non-powered human in peak physical condition with iron willpower and light body armor, but still — a lot of X-Men fight scenes start with Cyclops getting punched out or shot with regular bullets, because (from a writing perspective) otherwise he could settle the whole business with a look.
    • Storm may have god-level power, but up close, while she's hard to hit, she's just as easily hurt as anyone else. Same with most of the other X-Men whose specialty is offensive power.
    • Sunspot is an interesting case in that he has solar-powered Super Strength but not the Nigh-Invulnerability that usually comes with it, such as with fellow bruisers Colossus and Rogue. So he has a super-powered punch and can lift tons with ease, but can go down pretty quickly in a fight if he's not careful.
    • X-Man, Nate Grey, is an example early on in his career. He's more powerful than Apocalypse (beating the AOA version nearly to death in one of his first serious fights), is ranked on a par with the Dark Phoenix for pure power, and equated with Franklin Richards, later squaring off with the likes of Thanos. However, he's still just human, physically speaking, which is unfortunate, since for much of his early series, he tends to lead with his fists and/or his chin, and his genetic degeneration means he has very little stamina. This leads the likes of Dark Beast, X-Cutioner, and other relatively low-level opponents who can get past the first shot posing a real threat to him early on. Unlike most, though, he trains up — more stamina is just the start (there is a reason that Dark Beast is terrified of him) and ends up becoming effectively indestructible as a being of psychic energy.
    • Prism, an on and off member of the X-Men villain Mister Sinister's Marauders, is literally made of glass. He can store light and energy (such as sunlight or Cyclops' optic blasts) and redirect it to devastating effect. But he is still made of freaking glass. Jean Grey killed him once by throwing him into a wall (not even that hard).
  • Zatanna can kill people with a (backwards) word (not that she ever has, she is a superhero). Only the stronger magical, divine, or cosmic beings in the DC universe can resist her powers. However, she isn't any more durable than most humans and can be taken down with a single well-placed punch. Overlaps with Squishy Wizard. In Identity Crisis it is even explicitly mentioned in the narration-bubble: She is the most powerful member of the team, if she can get the words out. Slade Wilson (Deathstroke the Terminator) pokes her in the stomach, so lightly that it does not even hurt that much, but once she begins to vomit from the damage to her liver she is out of the fight.

    Fan Works 
  • In An Entry with a Bang!, the marauding pirates with their Battletech... uh, tech... are somewhat confused by the fact that while Clancy-Earth has highly effective BVR capability, their warmachines can't take hits worth a damn.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Most mortal magical practitioners — and, indeed, powerful mutants — as being this: they can deal out a lot of damage, even reshape the world in the case of high end examples like Magneto. However, as is repeatedly emphasised, if someone gets in close and knows what they're doing (or if they're disarmed), then they are in serious trouble.
    • Harry is a particular example after his powers start to kick in around chapter 60 of the first book, making him Flying Firepower, even after he technically becomes Made of Iron, because he's operating on such a high level (as in, against Omega Class opponents) that it takes at least standard Asgardian level durability to compete defensively. It's indicated during a temporary Plot-Relevant Age-Up that he'll become more of a Flying Brick, with time.
  • The Firefly fanfic Forward puts an emphasis on River being one of these; she's portrayed as fast and powerful, but one good hit puts her down, which happens several times in the story.
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, some starships rely on their BFG destroying all opposition before it can shoot back, having only light armor. In the sequel, Origins, Jack and Brick start off this way with their teaching style, only to realize later on how problematic the technique could be.
  • Lightning Bolt is one of these in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War. She is the only pony of the main heroines to have a powerful special attack (Shining Spark), but she is prone to being injured during prolonged battles.
  • Devastator in The Measure of a Titan is practically the paragon of this. His powers are theoretically capable of splitting a planet in half, and he can use them to fight multiple high-level metahumans at once, but he is as fragile as any normal human, and heals as slowly also.
  • Midori is one in Seven Days Survivor, as per Word of God and comments from the other characters. Minato explicitly includes a dedicated healer (Either himself or Yukari) on the team when Midori is in play simply to keep her up.
  • In The Games We Play, the White Tiger style offers massive boosts to offence and mobility, but no buffs to defence. It left practitioners capable of dealing lots of damage, but being no tougher than an ordinary human. This was only slightly mitigated by the later development of the White Tiger's Hide, and is exacerbated by the Cast from Hit Points nature of the style's two strongest skills. As a result, while a master of the style is a tiger, tiger burning bright, he will not last the night. Jaune gets around this problem by picking up other defensive skills.
  • The Mass Effect story Mesozoic Effect introduces a whole class of ships that follow this rule, known as battlecruisers. Like their historical counterparts, they mount the firepower of a dreadnought on the frame of a cruiser, but stuffing in such a huge spinal gun leaves almost no room for armor. Mass production of these ships is apparently one of the things the Treaty of Farixen was designed to prevent. The Pangea Alliance's frigates also fall into this category, as they forgo armor for superior engines and racks upon racks of fusion missiles.
  • Jen in Princess of the Blacks has functionally infinite magical reserves due to being able to channel the Earth's magic, only limited by how much she can channel at once. However, not having a magical core of her own makes her far more vulnerable to others magic. A spell designed to have someone instantly awake and alert sends her into an adrenaline fueled panic.
  • Aesir: Cross Wars: Crushadion was incredibly powerful, with attack power rivalling Azazel, but against Uriel, she went down in 2 hits.
  • A key issue with Ash's battle style in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines; Pokémon such as Squirtle can hit hard, but their unevolved state limits the amount of punishment they can take in return.
  • Steve Rogers' eventual fate in The Hell that was Given after being shot with tranq darts filled with an antidote for the Hydra Super Serum. While Steve keeps his strength and speed, he loses the fortitude he gained and goes back to being an asthmatic with a weak heart, so using his abilities causes a near fatal asthmatic episode.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: Toxic the bay pony is a very dangerous enemy due to being a Poisonous Person and able to damage anyone he touches with poison. But, when Flash fights through the pain of his poison long enough to hold him in place he is taken down with just one hit via a point blank blast from Flash's gear.
  • Both Yoruichi and Tatsuki in Game and Bleach hit hard but can't take as much damage, especially Yoruichi. While Tatsuki has far higher health and comparable physical stats (barring dexterity where Yoruichi has over three times as much) each blow Yoruichi lands takes out over a third of her health, despite Yoruichi holding back and deliberately aiming for Tatsuki's armor. On the other hand, a single blow by Tatsuki takes out all of Yoruichi's health and leaves her unconscious.
    • Ichigo's hollow form doesn't have the best defenses but it has a very powerful Cero. As a result, most of his fights start and end by him firing a Cero at his enemy.
  • Callista in Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash has reality warping, speed, obscene cutting power and versatile weaponry that give her a tremendous leg up on her opposition, but anyone capable of matching her speed can easily demolish her in 2-4 hits.
  • Harry and Luna in Metagaming? have diverse skills and are, respectively, an archmage and a high priestess whose abilities outstrip pretty much everyone who isn't a faction leader. However, they come from a world with so little magic that the two have functionally no magical resistance at all, so a Curse of Agony that would be rather painful for anyone else is more excruciating than the Cruciatusu Curse to Harry. Furthermore, their artificial bodies were indestructible on Westeros but now are merely fairly durable, with Onyxia dealing significant damage to Luna's ribs and spine with a single blow.
  • The Transformers comic Chronicles treats Action Masters as this, particularly the main one Banzai-Tron. The process of becoming one shuts down their transformation ability, but it also vastly increases their strength, speed, and agility by infusing them with far greater vitality — and as Banzai-Tron was already a master of martial arts, he's able to take down a half-dozen Autobots by himself in seconds, including killing the famously doughty Ironhide. However, that increased vitality also means they feel double the level of pain, meaning that Prime is able to stun him simply by using the tires in his chest to give him a severe case of road rash, before ripping off his arm.

  • Battleship correctly shows that modern-day missile destroyers are this. They carry lots of missiles and the Aegis system allows them to Macross Missile Massacre an enemy, but they lack any real armor to protect them from return fire. The CIWS guns do an admirable job trying to protect the ships from the alien attack, but the enemy employs the More Dakka tactic to overwhelm the defenses. Their aforementioned Aegis systems also failed to work given that the attackers were often too close and failed to properly show up on radar.
  • Roarke (implied to be Mephisto) of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance compares himself to a flamethrower made of paper while explaining to Danny about his powers; he is unable to use his full power while in the human world because of his fragile human body. Thus, he needs to possess Danny, the boy being his son and all.
  • In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Megaguirus is so fast she can Flash Step circles around Godzilla, and is strong enough to knock Godzilla down and even lift him into the air and throw him. Her main strategy involves confusing him with her high speed and painful wing frequencies, giving her the opening to fly past and strike Godzilla repeatedly and pick him up. Once Godzilla manages to catch Megaguirus's stinger in his mouth and bite it off, she's completely defenseless, and goes down to a single shot of his Atomic Breath.
  • Katniss of The Hunger Games is a quickdraw with a bow and takes out several competitors in seconds. Compared to the opposition, she is untrained in how to fight up close, and is slowed down significantly by relatively minor injuries.
  • Mad Max: A psychological application of the trope in the form of the Nightrider. While most of the pursuit has him in total control of both the situation and his faculties, taunting the MFP relentlessly over the radio, one near-miss with Max reduces him to a blubbering, insecure, terrified wreck.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Scarlet Witch has immensely powerful telekinesis, but she has to concentrate on whatever she wants to affect and seems to take a short time to ramp up to full strength. This makes her nearly unbeatable if she can focus on a single opponent (notably in Avengers: Endgame where she completely overpowers Thanos one-on-one), but much more vulnerable against unexpected attacks and any hit that does get through disrupts her current focus (such as in Captain America: Civil War where during a mission she accidentally destroys an office building).
    • Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home has full control of his Attack Drones disguised as Elementals, whose holographic projections are capable of warping their senses as well as pelting them to death with bullets, which makes him incredibly deadly when out of reach. However, Beck himself has the resilience of an ordinary human to the point that, when Peter manages to close the distance and find him, he goes down rather easily without putting up much of a fight.
  • In The Mighty Ducks trilogy, the titular team provides an athletic example. They use lots of Confusion Fu on offense, but their defense is rather lacking. This is pointed out in the third movie by Coach Orion, who teaches them how to play "two-way" hockey.
    Orion: I've seen your tapes. I know you can score goals; I just don't know if you can stop them.
  • In Pacific Rim, the Japanese Jaeger, Coyote Tango, has huge retractable cannons mounted on its shoulders, but is apparently the most lightly armored of the Jaegers.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the flashback to the DL-6 incident shows that young Edgeworth was able to bite Yanni Yogi hard enough to distract the baliff from hitting his father, and later threw a gun at him hard enough to knock the guy out. When Yogi shoves him hard enough to be knocked against a wall though, Edgeworth collapses almost immediately. Given that he's a kid, it's pretty justified.
  • Ghostface in the Scream movies, unlike most iconic Slasher Movie killers, is not an Implacable Man who can No-Sell any attack the heroes can come up with. Under the mask in each film is an ordinary man or woman without any supernatural abilities, armed with only a knife, who the heroes can easily push around if they get the chance. However, unlike the lumbering Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, Ghostface is fast and regularly runs after his or her targets, and one stab from that very large knife is usually enough to debilitate a victim and allow Ghostface to go for the kill.
  • Star Wars:
    • TIE Interceptors, whose armament — twice or even occasionally thrice that of the more widespread TIE Fighters — means they actually represent a threat... for a short while. Their shielding is no better than that of the Fighters (that is to say, they have none whatsoever), so they break apart as soon as someone shines a laser pointer at them. Though if one actually watches the films, Rebel fighters actually die just as easily when not flown by main characters. So one wonders what those shields are for.
    • The MG-100 Star Fortress SF-17 bomber in The Last Jedi is an exaggerated and infamous example of this trope in the Star Wars saga. It's a giant target that is sluggish, poorly shielded, and possesses a brittle hull. But carries a massive payload of magnetic proton bombs that can destroy a single dreadnought if it reaches the target. Unfortunately the bombs need to be in close proximity to the target, and the magnetic bombs can be a hazard to wingmen should a bomber be destroyed.
    • The AT-ACT from Rogue One has the same offensive power as the Mighty Glacier AT-AT, but much weaker armor.
    • The Xyston-Class Star Destroyer from Rise of Skywalker can blow up planets, but has no shields and can be blown up with one or two shots to its main cannon.
  • In The World's End, the Blanks have inhuman strength and agility, but you could burst their heads open with a well-thrown punch. This probably explains why our heroes, a bunch of a middle-aged, out-of-shape men, are able to deal with crowds of them.
  • X-Men Film Series: The ultimate example is Professor Charles Xavier, whose considerable telepathic powers are generally taken Up to Eleven by allowing him to take control of minds halfway across the world, potentially commit genocide, and even transfer his consciousness to his comatose twin brother. He can't take any more punishment than any other human, though, and he's paralyzed from the waist down and restricted to a wheelchair.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Professor X is the second-most powerful mutant (third after Jean Grey accesses her Phoenix Force), and the story even makes a point about how a "god" is incomplete without his psychic ability ("To be everywhere, to be everyone"). But because his telepathy is ineffective against Apocalypse's Psychic Block Defense, Charles is totally defenseless; he's no more physically resilient than any other human, and as a paraplegic, he can't even try to run away from his captor.
      • Quicksilver's Super Speed, which normally gives him a huge advantage over his foes in combat (Apocalypse is flying through the air when Peter is punching him),note  is nullified after Apocalypse traps his foot into the ground and breaks his leg. In the vicious hands of the god-like mutant, Maximoff is as fragile as a toy.
  • Metro in Real Steel would be a Glass Cannon, as he beat down Atom badly but got taken out by one hit.

  • The third GrailQuest book, Gateway of Doom, contains an interestingly extreme example with the Bota-Botas. Their only form of attack is their war-cry, and rather than fight back at you they will concentrate on absorbing enough energy from the earth to be able to make the war-cry. The moment one of them manages to do so, you will die. There are six of them in total, and each one has so few LIFE POINTS that one hit is enough to kill them... but you can only hit one of them per round, and they take six rounds of combat to absorb enough energy, so there is no room for manoeuvre at all. If even one of your attacks misses, you're dead.

  • Deliberately invoked in the 1632 series. When the USE attacks Denmark with ironclad warships more advanced than anything else at the time, Prince Ulrik counters by building a fleet of longboats armed with spar torpedoes. Being little more than large rowboats, they're easily gunned down by the USE navy, but they can be built sufficient numbers to swarm the larger battleships, and, if they get close enough, it only takes one good torpedo hit to disable an ironclad.
  • In the Bolo books, there are Enemy units that are just counter-grav platforms mounting Hellbores. They can be easily swatted by said supertanks, but can be a problem if allowed to attack. They aren't One-Hit Kill-capable, but the numbers are always on their side.
  • In The Dresden Files Harry mentions that wizards are like this; for all of the magical firepower they can throw around, they are still mortal humans and still need all of their squishy internals to work. They can mitigate this somewhat with defensive enchantments like projected shields and bulletproof clothing, but these are still subject to limits. Harry also frequently ntes that most supernatural creatures are Made of Iron compared to humans.
  • Jade in Fallocaust is one of, if not the most powerful character in a series full of them. However, he lacks the pure muscle of some of his brothers, and several characters manage to incapacitate him by virtue of getting a lucky hit in.
  • In Honor Harrington there are several ships like this. At one end of the extreme are outdated Solarian Navy ships which put more focus on offensive weapons than counter missiles and point defense lasers. Likewise, Maya's Arsenal ships which are capable of carrying thousands of long range missiles, but are just converted freighters and have no defense at all.
    • Special mention to HMS Wayfarer and her sisters: converted freighters, sluggish and armored for crap, but carrying super-dreadnought-class main guns capable of carving up a battlecruiser like a roast turkey, a complement of light-attack craft capable of laying down significant hurt in their own right, and, oh yeah, the first roll-out of the Manitcoran Missile Massacre.
    • Honor's first cruiser, the HMS Fearless was refitted with weapons that would allow it to kill far bigger ships. But the weapons' ridiculously short range and the lack of any decent defenses resulted in a single resounding success during the first fleet exercise, and getting 'destroyed' in every exercise thereafter once the opponents had realized the threat and decided to give some payback for the first success. Fortunately for them it worked again against an actual enemy who thought the defenses of the Fearless were spent and closed to point blank range to eliminate them.
    • The Manticoran LACs introduced in Echoes of Honor are armed with battlecruiser grade grasers, but they're not very survivable should an opponent decide to focus on them. In universe, LACs in general are described as "eggshells armed with hammers".
  • The Hunger Games: Despite being quick-thinking, agile, and a good shot with a bow and arrow, years of being underfed really limits how much stress Katniss's body can take.
  • Not surprisingly the Lensman universe plays with this one, but the vulnerable sluggers are always accompanied by copious numbers of their exact opposite — ships that are all shield and nothing else (sometimes not even a human crew). There are, however, usually large numbers of balanced ships in the same fleet.
  • Coinshots in Mistborn are a kind of Misting who have only one power: the ability to telekinetically shoot metal away from their bodies. This makes them able to dish out a ton of damage, since a Coinshot with a pouch of money is basically a human machine gun, but they have no greater ability to resist damage than anyone else. Have a half-dozen Coinshots protected by about the same number of Thugs (Mistings who can increase their strength, speed, and durability to superhuman levels) though, and you've got yourself a small but very effective army.
    • Somewhat averted in The Alloy of Law, as firearms have become commonplace, and Coinshots are possibly the only Mistings who can reliably deflect bullets (Lurchers, who have the opposite ability, generally pull bullets toward a metal plate carried on their chest).
  • Leila in the Night Prince series. A human ordinarily couldn't hope to defeat even the youngest vampire, yet with her electricity whip, Leila once killed a group of five vampires. Before that, she took out a group of three. This is purely an offensive power, though; she's as fragile as any other human.
  • Malika in An Outcast in Another World is an exceptionally strong spellcaster for her age, but she hasn’t bothered boosting her HP or Stamina very much.
  • Deathpoint in The Reckoners Trilogy can kill almost anyone just by pointing at them but lacks a "prime invincibility", meaning that he can be killed just as easily as anybody else.
  • Second Apocalypse: Anasurimbor Inrilatas is half Dunyain by birth, inheriting his Lightning Bruiser father's strength, speed and intellect. However, when he attacks a fellow Dunyain descendant, Maithanet, he gets his face crushed in, causing Maithanet to sneer that he had "his mother's bones."
  • Worm:
    • Besides enhanced timing and perception, Flechette/Foil has no defensive abilities. She has, however, demonstrated the ability to cancel the Siberian projection, which no other cape in history has managed to do. She was also able to kill a cloned Grey Boy which had only been done previously by one of the most powerful characters in the story. It's later revealed her power literally cannot be defended against, even by other superpowers.
    • Shatterbird's power is to control glass. She can cause serious citywide devastation by using her powers to shatter all the glass in her range, but her powers give her no defensive buffs aside from using glass as makeshift armor, unlike most of he other Slaughterhouse 9 members, who generally survive joining by having something up their sleeves to protect them when pissed-off heroes inevitably land hits.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has most of the Inhumans, at least the ones relevant to the series. Most of them only gain one power, and while that power tends to be very useful, they generally lack anything else to protect them. In particular, the series' lead Daisy Johnson has a power that is comparable to The Incredible Hulk in terms of damage she can dish out, but excessive use of it can injure her and beyond that she's a rather short woman who, while exceptionally combat trained and more resilient than most, can still be overpowered and outmatched by stronger combatants or numbers. As a result of this, the Inhumans that avoid this status, such as Hive and Lash (who both have a very wide array of powers that include super-fast healing factors and/or invulnerability), are treated as pants-shittingly terrifying as a result, while Joey, whose power to control matter makes him both bullet proof (bullets just melt) and useful in combat situations, is a Story-Breaker Power who got Put on a Bus to avoid him being able to solve most problems.
  • In Andromeda, the two Deep Stand-off Attack Ship classes: Righteous Fist of Heaven and Siege Perilous. Both are, essentially, artillery ships. They are armed significantly better than a Glorious Heritage-class cruiser like Andromeda Ascendant, but they lack any fighters and their defenses have been reduced to make room for more offensive missile tubes. They are to appear on the battlefield, launch a Macross Missile Massacre (60 missile tubes on the Fist and 180 on the Siege), and then disappear back into slipstream before the enemy has a chance to retaliate. There were hundreds of Righteous Fist of Heaven-class ships in the Commonwealth Space Navy, but they were in the process of replacing them with the newer Siege Perilous class when the Nietzscheans rebelled. Only three of the latter were completed (Balance of Judgment and Wrath of Achilles), and one was destroyed in drydock. 300 years later, the restored Commonwealth built an upgraded version and named it Resolution of Hector.
  • Babylon 5 has the Centauri warships. Their firepower is high enough that they usually destroy their targets with one or two shots, and their rate of fire is high enough that a single Centauri battlecruiser overwhelmed the station's Interceptors faster than multiple EarthForce warships would be able to in other occasions, but once you manage to hit them they go down quickly.
  • Game of Thrones: While riding her dragons, Daenerys is a person of mass destruction, capable of sinking an entire fleet of ships by herself and managing to deal a massive blow against a good third of the Lannister army during the Battle of the Goldroad. Having said that, outside of her immunity to fire, Daenerys is still as vulnerable as any normal human being to blades and arrows. When she lands with Drogon on the ground to remove a scorpion bolt from him, she is practically defenceless to Jaime's do-or-die charge and she likely would have been run through if Drogon hadn't interposed himself between them. In the end, after Daenerys undergoes a Face–Heel Turn and burns a surrendered King's Landing, Jon Snow fails to dissuade her from further destruction and, agonized, reluctantly kills her with a single stab from his dagger to stop her.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kuuga's Pegasus Form grants Kuuga enhanced senses at the cost of overlording his brain if he uses it too much. This form grants him the Pegasus Bowgun, which shoots out a powerful air of arrow, but needs to be reloaded. It has the weakest defense out of Kuuga's base five forms.
    • Kamen Rider Blade: Garren's base Ace Form is specific tailored for its gunslinger-oriented design and with Rouze Cards combos, Sakuya can attack much harder and defeat Undead with little difficulty from its strong attacks. However, its defense is the worst out of the four riders, and needs to constantly be on the offensive at close and long range. Tachibana's health in the beginning also attributes to his form's weak defense in the beginning.
    • Kiva's Bassaha Form can one shot opponents with its Bassaha Magum, has sharp vision for firing accuracy, is good for aquatic combat, and can create water on dry land. However, its physically weaker than Kiva's base, Dogga, and Garulu forms and Kiva has a tough time tanking attacks or tiring out while in Bassaha Form.
    • In Kamen Rider Gaim, Ryugen's main Budou Arms is stats wise nearly identical to Gaim's Orange Arms, but has little armor and defense. To compensate for its lack of close combat, Ryugen can overpower his opponents with its long range abilities and strong Dragon blasts.
    • Drive's Type Deadheat is much stonger than his three main basic forms in all categories but is risky to use from going berserk and damages Shinnosuke physical if he battles in it for too long due to exposure from the Dead Zone.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Kamen Rider Snipe has more speed than Kamen Rider Brave and is stronger physically than Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, but has lower defenses than both due to the being the basis of the shooting game genre. He has more offensive potential due to his ranged weapons but also has moves that can hurt himself and cause collateral damage if he's not careful.
  • David Haller from Legion is possibly the most powerful mutant ever, with immensely strong telekinesistic, telepathic, and Reality Warper abilities. However, he’s as vulnerable to physical damage as a regular human being is.
  • In an episode of Lois & Clark, Lex Luthor creates a boxer that he believes can take on Superman. The boxer delivers a flurry of punches that stagger Superman. For a moment it looks like Superman is actually on the ropes, but then he simply flicks the boxer in the forehead and knocks him out.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) episode "The Camp" has super strong robots that are ludicrously fragile. An untrained woman can tear them to pieces.
  • In robot combat events, such as Robot Wars and BattleBots, full-body spinners (robots with a chassis that rapidly spins and has blades, spikes, or hammers attached to it) tend to fall into this category: While they are able to deliver some of the strongest attacks ever seen in robot combat, any opponent who can slip through their offense or can withstand multiple blows without breaking can easily and quickly render them useless. In particular is Mauler 5150, which is infamous for getting tipped upside-down by pretty much anything that its spinning doesn't wreck first, such as with a light tap from Jabberwock.
    • Any robot with a flywheel too. They're very devastating weapons, but also very heavy too, usually taking up 20%-25% of the robot's weight allotment. Designers, forced to shed weight to ensure it's light enough to compete, often go for shedding armour first. Flywheels also tended to have enormous recoil when they struck something, causing damage to internal components. One of the best examples would be Robot Wars' Hypno-disc, which became the reason bots had to invest on heavier armor after utterly tearing apart another bot in its very first match, and would generally mangle its opponents spectacularly. But it had the problem the rest of its chassis was rather frail and easy to shove around, and a bot with enough armor could simply outlast it by tanking its strikes until it tore itself apart. Most of its losses were from having taken so much damage even after a Curb-Stomp Battle it had to battle with incomplete repairs.
    • Nightmare from Battlebots is one of the finest examples in robot combat. The details have changed over the years, but at its essence Nightmare's basically a monstrous vertical flywheel mounted on a spindly, easy-to-tip three-wheeled frame with exposed tires (although it did get wheel guards for the 2015 reboot). Whenever Nightmare fights, someone is leaving the Battlebox in pieces — usually depending on who gets the first hit.
    • Deep Six's 2019 version consists of an enormous vertical spinning bar that alone takes up over half of the robot's weight. The rest of the robot exists mainly to allow that bar to spin and move about. As a result, of its three matches fought that year, two of them ended in it eliminating itself from the fight by recoil — on its first hit.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Jem'Hadar Fighters are able to deal heavy damage, at least early on, with only a few bursts of their phased polaron beams, but a few phaser cannon shots or a single torpedo are enough to either cripple or destroy them. This is deliberate on part of the Dominion, with the Fighters being cheap but deadly throwaway ships with minimal and expendable crew, and no features that aren't essential to combat.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Lou from Choushinsei Flashman. An Action Girl functioning as the secondary muscle of the team, Lou relies on kick attacks more often as a possible way to conserve her physical strength due to even her strongest and punch based attacks easily exhausting herself in battle.
    • Luka Millfy from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is not only the strongest fighter on her team, she's also the most evasive due to her lower physique and choosing to only focus on melee combat, leaving her open to attack.
    • Ian Yorkland from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has a preference in long-range combat with no defense, relying heavily on evasion and strong & quick fighting style until Ramirez forces him to consider his defensive options.

  • Taako from The Adventure Zone is an insanely powerful wizard, capable of casting giant fireballs and missiles of pure magical energy, and has on one occasion dealt 160 damage with one hit. He also has pathetically weak armor and low max-HP, meaning he can get knocked out of the fight with just a few solid hits, and needs healing most often out of all of his teammates.
  • The Runepunk podcast series from RPGMP3 features a character called Kieron Hammerfall, an Andari Runecaster. Kieron is imbued with momentous arcane power, as well as the durability of a dry twig.
  • Antares from Sequinox can dish out a decent level of damage, but has next to no defence and therefore has to hide behind her Scorpie minions.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Masakatsu Funaki in both pro wrestling and mixed martial arts, the latter even more so. Susceptible to take downs and no chin, he relied on simply submitting you before you hit him.
  • Kevin Nash, big guy around seven feet tall, likes to brag about how badass he is, tears his quadriceps by stepping through ring ropes.
  • Many power wrestlers tend to be injury prone, such as Mark Henry and Gangrel and Jazz. Batista's case was lampshaded by Triple H, who teased an Evolution reunion to deal with Legacy, only to reject the idea because Randy was a jerk and Dave was always hurt. It was also lampshaded by AJ Styles in a wonderful Take That!.
    AJ: (in response to Dave calling him a Spot Monkey) I think it's funny that a guy who takes a bump and tears his back tells me I don't know how to wrestle.
  • Minoru Suzuki was an example of a mixed martial artist, who in turn went back to pro wrestling as his injuries started to rack up. He was solid in taking down people and submitting him, but some hits were enough to stop him.
  • Many "high flier" wrestlers such as Matt Sydal, who showed these tendencies right out of Gateway Championship Wrestling, are also this trope, the commentators actually yelling at him for doing a cannon ball off a balcony after returning from injury. Místico became one when he went to WWE and was repackaged as "Sin Cara".
  • CM Punk is a downplayed example, as his famous hour long matches and Garbage matches make it hard to view him as "fragile" but he's one of the few wrestlers who will actually sell for the notoriously non athletic Paul Heyman. Punk has only "sold" when Heyman was wielding a weapon, but Madusa and Chris Benoit wouldn't even do that much. Punk can hoist wrestlers like Raven and Samoa Joe up, if they get careless, and knocked the likes of BJ Whimter and Alberto Del Rio unconscious, so he could presumably harm Heyman much worse than Heyman could harm him.
  • WSU has many examples, such as The Human Tornado (before they became an All Women's fed in 2007), Marti Belle (large spirit, small frame), The Fly Girls (Niya's really strong anyway but both tend to get tossed around simply because they're so short), the AC Express (great at countering moves, tend to be gone as soon as they don't).
  • The Queen Of Cats La Felina in the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation. Able to go entire matches taking virtually no offense from opponents only to lose in the end.
  • La Rosa Negra's self appointed bodyguard Noemi Bosques. One the top ten bantam weight boxers in the world, top three in the country, most of Rosa's would be assailants shrink away from her fist and those that don't get floored. Boxing bantam weight's 110-118lbs, making NONO noticeably smaller than her charge and quickly brushed aside by the few who managed to get her before she could land a punch.
  • Manny Ferno in Puerto Rican EWO. Perhaps the best spear in the business ("una lanza incredible!"), but he's much smaller than most men who use the move, to the point one of his other moves, which involves putting his weight on the back of his opponent's neck, has seen him flung skywards.
  • Part of the reason why Ashley Massaro's momentum was killed in WWE. She only wrestled for three years, yet suffered about as many injuries as someone who had been wrestling for ten.
  • Layla also became very injury prone in her final years.

  • In American Football, quarterbacks can do punishing damage throwing the ball downfield and serve as the offense's field general. However, if the Stone Wall offensive linemen screw up their blocking assignments, the quarterback usually doesn't have the strength or mobility to do anything except brace for impact and try not to get hurt by the 300+ pound men piling onto him. Mobile quarterbacks like Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson have the speed to evade defenders, but exposing themselves out of the pocket keeps the trope in force: both quarterbacks have suffered gruesome injuries — Prescott a compound fracture of the leg when tackled on a run during a game, Watson tearing an ACL in practice running a read-option play — trying to make plays on the go.
  • Bob Sanders, safety in the NFL, long of the Indianapolis Colts. One of the league's hardest hitters, maybe the best safety in all of football... when he was healthy, which for a while was about as rare as the Colts beating the Chargers in those days (the latter is no longer rare for the Colts). Sanders frequently spent half the regular season on the injured list, which might be because he played so hard all the time, running full-force into offensive players on every play. The Colts finally released him after the 2010 season, and Sanders played one more (injury-shortened) season for the Chargers before being dropped for good.
  • The Eagles' Michael Vick fits the archetype perfectly. With his freakish speed and arm strength, Vick is the single most dangerous playmaker in the league... as long as he doesn't get hit too hard. In 9 seasons, he's played all 16 games only once, and has spent quite a few contests limited due to one injury or another. Not counting the 2 seasons he missed while answering to "Federal Inmate #33765-183".
  • Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins is frequently ranked as one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks of all time, setting or breaking numerous records. Sadly, during his professional career, the Dolphins had one of the worst defenses in the league. He got to play in only one Super Bowl, Super Bowl XIX in the 1984-85 season, where the Dolphins were throttled 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers. It probably didn't help that he wore the #13 jersey.
  • Hockey player Eric Lindros was called the "Next One" by pro scouts in the late 1980s, in reference to Wayne Gretzky's nickname of the "Great One" as the single best player to ever put on skates. Lindros seemed to have it all, from massive size to impressive speed to a gifted scoring touch. When he made it to the National Hockey League, he was one of the most dominant players in the league...and one of the most injured, which led him to top both the scoring charts and the injury reports.
  • The "Seven Seconds or Less" Phoenix Suns of the mid-2000s had arguably the most potent offense in NBA history, but their porous defense caused them to never reach the NBA Finals. The 2016-20 Houston Rockets, under the same head coach as the Seven Second Suns in Mike D'Antoni, suffered similar fates in the postseason with one of the most potent offenses in the league but an inability to stop anyone in turn.
  • In baseball, the Colorado Rockies, although part of it is out of their control. Coors Field in Colorado is a mile above sea level, and the thin air exponentially boosts fly balls to incredible degrees, even with the somewhat deep field dimensions. This, in effect, has turned the Colorado Rockies franchise into baseball's perpetual Glass Cannon; no matter the roster, they will be atop offensive categories in the league and at the bottom in pitching. While the Rockies have no trouble developing or signing hitters, developing or convincing pitchers to come there is a whole other story. This forces Colorado into simply bludgeoning teams to win at home, since they can even the odds against teams with superior pitching, who will be negated by the altitude of the park.
  • Mixed martial artists:
    • Alistair Overeem is known for two things: his freakish knockout power and his glass chin.
    • Brock Lesnar was known for his incredible speed and strength, which he used to ragdoll heavyweights and pummel them into paste... unless he got hit on the chin, in which case he'd instantly turtle up.
    • Johnny Walker became infamous for this. Out of all the 23 fights in his record, only five went past round one. He either completely destroys his opponent or gets destroyed in the first round.
    • Andrei Arlovski had excellent hand speed and punching power, but was notoriously easy to knock out.
  • Many a college basketball star player wound up falling short once in the National Basketball Association as their bodies just couldn't stay healthy. The Portland Trail Blazers had two big cases in Brandon Roy, who was Rookie of the Year yet only lasted five seasons before his knees forced a retirement at the age of 27, and Greg Oden, who missed what would be his rookie season recovering from surgery and would then only play 82 games across two seasons before again spending a whole season on the injury list that made him be waived (and to make it worse, the guy picked right after him, Kevin Durant, would become a superstar).

    Tabletop Games 
  • There is an old (board and miniatures) gaming expression called the fuzzy wuzzy fallacy (after the Rudyard Kipling poem). Basically it states that a unit's effectiveness goes up proportionate to the square root of any increase in firepower (provided the defense stays the same). For example, the above Mech has roughly 3.5 times the firepower of the old version. FW numbers say that it's about 1.87 (the root of 3.5) times as effective as the old one, given that both die just as easy (and will draw fire like no-one's business).
  • Magic: The Gathering: Between the five colors, red is the one that most exhibits this trope. Most mono-red creatures tend to have very low toughness, but higher power. Since red is more about dealing as much damage to its opponent as quickly as possible, its creatures don't need to survive, just take a few cheap shots in.
  • The Battletech universe:
    • The Hunchback IIc BattleMech exemplifies this trope. It mounts two Ultra Autocannon-20s which, more or less, is apocalyptic firepower for any 'Mech (each Ultra AC can do 40 damage, which will destroy any mech its weight or less with a center hit), but sacrifices almost all of its armor in order to do so. Little wonder it's popular with Death Seeker Mechwarriors. In fact, a recent sourcebook clarifies: It was made as pretty much the Clan's equivalent of a Death sentence. Any warrior assigned to a Hunchback IIc is explicitly not expected to come back from their next battle.
    • In the same vein, the dinky UrbanMech mounts an AC/10, but has only 6 tons of armor — appreciable for its size of 30 tons, but still not very much. However, any light mech will be cored if Urbie hits it, and more than one Urbie makes things get very dangerous in a hurry unless you outrange them. Plus they're such cute little things!
    • See also the Hollander family. The original was a 35-tonner packing a mighty Gauss Rifle... and only that. With only four tons of armor for protection, it can barely take a hit from its own weapon. Other variants tried to mitigate this with limited success, but a few actually doubled down on it. One variant of the 45-ton Hollander II carried a Heavy Gauss Rifle, but had so little armor it stood a chance of killing itself every time it firednote .
    • A lot of "support" 'mechs, like the classic Archer or the frankly ridonkulous-looking Yeoman, will mount a lot of long range weapons like LRMs, but have little armor or weapons for close-and-dirty combat.
    • There are a few vehicles like this, such as the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, effectively a rehash of a World War II design, and the tiny 5-ton Savannah Master — the fact that it was deliberately designed to take on enemy Battlemechs has to count for something. Neither design has much armor, but both have a lot of firepower for their size. The Savannah Master has the firepower and speed to equal to a 'Mech four times its size, but can be destroyed by a single laser hit from its own gun. Meanwhile, the Hetzer is larger and slower, but mounts a huge, dangerous 200 millimeter autocannon in its hull that has a chance to bring down even the mightiest of 'Mechs with a single hit — without giving it more than a token amount of armor to cover its fragile, boxy hull.
    • In the novels particularly, the old Inner Sphere Rifleman 'mech is notorious as a deathtrap, with rear armor somewhere between cardboard and tin can levels. You don't want to be standing in front of it, though — each arm mounts an autocannon and medium and large lasers.
    • The Hellbringer (Loki) Omni is another fine example of a machine that will slaughter most enemies in its weight class and down if they get too close, but will crumple and burn if anything with a decent gun looks at it funny. Its configurations focus on massed long range hitting power, with things like particle cannons, Gauss rifles, and autocannons coming into play. The primary variant is a highly accurate killing machine with enough firepower on it to literally slag four tons of armor in a single salvo and even includes various equipment upgrades like ECM or anti missile defenses. At 65 tons and with only 8 tons of armor, though, while it is slightly better protected than the aforementioned Hunchback IIc, it'll have an extremely bad day if a sufficiently armed 'Mech draws a bead on it. It's so light on armor that it actually can't even absorb an AC/20 shot dead center — something that more than a few 15-tons-lighter 'Mechs can do.
    • The Adder/Puma is another high grade glass cannon. Its primary configuration carries dual ER-PPC weapons and includes a targeting computer to make them highly accurate. Any 'Mech who takes a Boom, Headshot! from one of those guns is down for the count, no matter the size of it. The Adder, however, is all of 35 tons, has about 6 tons of armor, and generally isn't going to stick around very long once an enemy sniffs it out.
    • The Cougar is, if anything, even more extreme than the Adder. While weighing the same 35 tons, its armor is pared down to just five and a half tons, and its speed is further cut to levels more often seen on Clan 'Mechs twice its size, making it less capable of dodging attacks. In exchange, it now boasts a full nineteen tons of firepower, meaning that over 50% of this thing is guns. Its basic configuration carries two highly accurate long-ranged lasers and a pair of long range missile racks. One of its alternate models matches the Adder exactly for deadliness with its dual PPC loadout, while another is a perfect copy of the Archer, a highly respected Inner Sphere 'Mech that is twice the size of a Cougar.
    • The Hollander is a classic example, being sluggish, lightly armored, and inherently fragile — it weighs 35 tons, carries a mere 4 tons of armor, and one side of its torso is packed full of volatile, explosive capacitors. It's so fragile that a large laser hit to any body part is enough to seriously threaten its continued existence. However, those same capacitors power a 15-ton Gauss rifle, which packs enough kinetic energy to bore a hole straight through smaller 'Mechs or smash a ton of armor off bigger ones, and Sniping the Cockpit is a One-Hit Kill on any 'Mech.
    • The Excalibur is a mighty-looking machine and boasts both a Gauss rifle and a long range missile pack in its primary configuration. It even moves at a healthy 86 kph, impressive for a 70-ton 'Mech. It buys that mobility and long-range prowess with a woefully thin seven and a half tons of armor, enough to weather one or two light missile barrages, but not enough to survive repeated fire from bigger guns like a PPC or a 100mm autocannon.
    • There's a variant of the Shadow Hawk that adds a second short range missile launcher, a second medium laser, and two more heat sinks to its chassis. This changes the Shadow Hawk from a mediocre Master of None into a respectable barrage vehicle at short range — it can leap into battle and unload all its weapons without too much stress on the heat gauge. The problem is that it buys this firepower in armor, reducing it to an anemic 4.5 tons of armor, less that some 'Mechs half its size... and it still carries four tons of highly volatile missile and autocannon ammunition in its chest, so one unlucky hit could lead to a lot of Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Carefree Hedonist characters in Bliss Stage start out with 7 instead of 6 relationships, most of which have very high Intimacy and form very powerful psychic weapons. Only TWO of those relationships have enough Trust for the weapons they manifest as to survive a critical failure.
  • This is the modus operandi of the Norse team in Blood Bowl. Catchers/Runners get Dauntless to take down opponents far above their own weight class and Blitzers/Berserkers are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, every single human team member starts with an Armor Value of 7...the same as a regular goblin. This makes Attack! Attack! Attack! actually a viable strategy for them since they absolutely need to maintain the initiative. If the momentum shifts against them the entire team quickly turns into messy stains on the astrogranite...
  • In Chess, the Knight fulfills this role in an interesting way. Every chess piece is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, but Knights have a unique move that allows them to capture pieces without fear of threat and hop over normally-reliable defenses. It's the only piece in the game that can threaten a Queen without being taken in return. However, that unique move happens to be the Knight's only style of movement — meaning if another piece aside from another Knight threatens it, the Knight has no way to fight back aside from fleeing.
  • In Diplomacy, Austria and Germany are considered high-risk/high-reward countries to play due to their central location on the board: Germany can be attacked by five out of six rivals in the first year, and Austria is statistically the most likely country to be eliminated in tournament play. However, if Germany is able to form a good alliance (especially with either England or France) and Austria is able to weather the storm and scramble for the Balkans early on, they can become strong contenders for an outright victory. Russia also qualifies for Glass Cannon status due to its size (it starts with one more unit than other players) and tendency to be feast-or-famine in tournament play (it wins outright at a fair clip but is also the second-most likely country eliminated).
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4E gives us the Striker set of classes (Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, Barbarian, though the Barbarian has pretty good HP, if lackluster starting armor): Insane damage output, but rely on the Defenders to hold down the thing they're attacking so that they don't get crushed.
    • 3.5 psionics has the wilder class. Less than a fourth of the powers of a Psion, but can up each powers output by your level, turning a single level 3 character into something capable of cutting down much higher level enemies on average rolls. Has little health and can daze/weaken themselves afterward. Unfortunately, the downsides add up to make it Awesome, but Impractical.
    • Some 3.5 characters, using a number of different sourcebooks, can become this trope. As an example, take an ordinary fighter and give him Power Attack, a feat which subtracts attack accuracy in exchange for higher damage. Then take a feat called Shock Trooper, which shifts the accuracy penalty to armor class — i.e. it makes you easier to hit. This build, known as the 'Charger build' and often by the name Glass Cannon, results in a character able to do massive damage when he charges in and attacks ... but at the cost of an armor class that a small child throwing rocks could probably hit.
    • 3.5 Rangers gain a number of combat style feats to enable either Dual Wielding or archery, a damage boost from Favored Enemy, and spells like Hunter's Mercy and Blade Storm to up their damage further. It's also quite common to dip into Scout and take Swift Hunter, meaning they receive the benefits of Skirmish's damage boost. However, Rangers are restricted to wearing light armor, their need to boost multiple stats tends to give them middling Constitution, and their HD is a merely average d8 rather than the d10 of Fighters or the d12 of Barbarians. Though not incapable of taking a hit, Rangers really don't like being the only tank character in the group.
    • Duskblades utilize a nasty form of Full-Contact Magic that can reduce most level-appropriate foes to dust, but possess virtually no defensive spells, middling HD, and similar armor restrictions to the Ranger.
    • Rogues became this with the buffing of Backstab into Sneak Attack, enabling them to output some rather crazy damage against vulnerable or flanked enemies. With proper feat setup and equipment, a Rogue could take down most level-appropriate foes in one round. However, they have the second-worst saves in the game (only Reflex), are limited to light armor, and have poor HD. If they don't assassinate their target in the first round, they tend to struggle. In general, this ethos is common among skill-based characters, with the Ninja, Factotum, Spellthief, and Scout all having similar strengths and weaknesses.
    • 5e has fewer intricacies than other editions, but most Arcane casters (aka magic users who do not derive their power from faith or deities) still fit this trope. Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is in full effect, and spell casters can do some serious damage even at first level, with spells like Magic Missile, which deals little damage but never misses, or Firebolt, which has a higher potential damage output than fighters with short swords at the same level. note . However, most casters are Squishy Wizard, and a single hit can be enough to take them out.
  • The Zealous in Fleets: The Pleiad Conflict has only six health and can't support many consorts, but it not only has eight strength, but its special ability allows it to attack twice, for a whopping sixteen strength attack.
  • Legend System: The Sage and Shaman classes. Courtesy of their numerous and powerful spell-like abilities, Sages can put out a lot of pain from both close-up and at a distance, on top of their considerable crowd-control and support options, but a poor BAB combined with No Self-Buffs means they're rather fragile if an enemy actually manages to get through the onslaught. Shamans, meanwhile, can inflict staggeringly high single-target damage via their Imbue Spell ability, but suffer from many of the same durability problems as the Sage. Legend being what it is, both of these classes can become less squishy (or more in exchange for more power) via multiclassing.
  • There are plenty of Magic: The Gathering cards that have high power but low toughness. However, the card Glass Golem seems to deliberately invoke this trope.
    • Not to mention cards like Rocket Launcher and its later cleaned-up cousin Goblin Cannon, which take the "cannon" part more literally.
    • Also, a number of Illusion creatures are designed to hit hard, but die as soon as targeted by anything.
    • Force of Savagery is another extreme example. It has massive power but zero toughness so it automatically dies when it enters the battlefield unless its toughness is being passively boosted.
    • Perhaps the most extreme example lies with Master of Cruelties. It has a moderate Toughness of 4, and a mediocre Power of 1, and can only attack alone without backup. However, it also packs First Strike and Death Touch, thus becoming instant death to any creature that blocks it. Even worse, if its attack connects without being blocked, the unfortunate player's life total instantly drops to 1.
  • Coinshots in Mistborn Adventure Game. Just like in the source material, these guys can essentially become human machine-guns, but they have no defensive powers and inferior Health when compared to an unpowered character.
  • Dark Pokémon in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, when introduced, had very low HP but either high damage, low Energy requirements, or useful effects. This trait was cast aside in "EX Team Rocket Returns," however, as the Dark Pokémon in that set were just as hardy as anything else. Nevertheless, there are still a few specific species of Pokémon whose HP are lower than other fully evolved Pokémon from their sets but make up for it with other means, such as Raticate, Delcatty, Castform, and Durant.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Court of Storms has access to a number of Charms that can enhance a Princess's attacks or let her make a Counter-Attack when harmed in various ways, but at the cost of disabling any defensive Charms she may possess. In addition, some of Storms' best attack Charms are Cast from Hit Points, and Storms' Invocation and Practical Magic mean that a Princess of Storms actually gets more powerful when seriously injured.
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse, several of the heroes have low HP, numerous self-damaging effects, and low or action-intensive damage resistance, but can dish out staggering amounts of damage.
    • Chrono-Ranger focuses on multiple low-damage pings that he buffs with his Bounty ongoings. He can also pick up Hunter and Hunted, which can, in max-bounty conditions, buff his damage output by 6 per individual shot (which can also give him, say, a 12-damage irreducible shot with the Masadah as a power use)...but also gives every attack directed at him +6 damage, which combines with his underwhelming HP to mean that you probably don't want to do this unless it's the end of the game.
    • Absolute Zero and Nightmist are actually very effective tanks... if they can get their key equipment out and keep it out. If they can't, then their playstyles, which rely around punching themselves in the face in various ways, will end very, very badly for them.
    • The Wraith has very little damage resistance, a HP in the mid-twenties, and is very dependent on her equipment. When said equipment is out, even without buffs from anyone else, she can deal a surprising amount of damage.
    • Setback is a heavily randomised hero, who can, with the right cards out, potentially have the best heal in the game; he has an Ongoing that puts him on a HP equal to his Unlucky pool when he would otherwise die. He also has cards that cause him to hit himself as well as the enemy, cards that give him bonuses but cause him to take damage if his Unlucky pool gets too high, and an Ongoing that gives him bonus damage equal to 1/3 of his Unlucky pool, but also increases damage directed at him by the same amount, which can lead to the right card play at high Unlucky doing 15+ damage.
    • Fanatic tends to take risks with her HP and rely on her life-restoring armour and access to healing effects to avoid this being lethal; Sacrosanct Martyr and her Prime Wardens version's power, in particular, reduce her HP in exchange for damage output or free plays/power uses, and another card of hers lets her discard 3 to deal damage equal to the health she's lost — one of the few cards that can deal over 20 damage in one shot without any buffs at all, but only if she's on the edge of death.
    • Lifeline relies heavily on cards that deal at least a little damage to him, and can choose to lean into the high-risk, high-reward playstyle with Cosmic Immolation, a +2 boost to all damage he deals and takes. The 1-3 turns you'll have with him after pulling that one will be destructive indeed, and then he will be twisted into a pretzel.
    • KNYFE has a few cards that hurt her for extra plays/power uses, extremely weak defensive options such as damage reduction that only works against one enemy, no healing...and the ability to hit like a truck. She actually has a reasonable HP pool, but this is offset by all of her other defensive vulnerabilities.
  • Star Fleet Battles has:
    • Fast Patrol Ships (formerly known as Pseudo-Fighters). They can carry devastating armament, but their shields are paper-thin. The rules even refer to them as "eggshells armed with sledgehammers." PFs with Warp Booster Packs gain extra warp-engine power, which they can pump into their weapons for an even bigger punch, but are even more vulnerable to enemy fire.
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Han Solo is a glass cannon. He carries his most powerful pistol in the galaxy the DL-44 Blaster Pistol. He can overpower his enemies in great distances. He has three outstanding output abilities: 1) Rapid Fire: A long range ability to let him rapidly fire repeatedly without over heating against group of enemies. 2) Lucky Shot: A long ranged charge up blaster so powerful it can break Darth Vader lightsaber blocks and it can lock on soldiers and vehicles. It can lock and take out a group of Imperial starfighters in a single shot. 3) Shoulder Charge: A short-ranged ability let Han Solo to lower his shoulder into his enemy to apply damage. It only works in line of sight. Han Solo defense is terrible. His hit points will drop faster than you can say "Oh S***!" He can't handle in a melee. He is doomed if surrounded by a group of Imperial soldiers and Galactic Heroes. The only way to avoid short melee is activate shoulder charge for a great escape.
  • Many of the aircraft carriers in Victory in the Pacific are this, with low armor factors and airstrike with a bonus die-roll modifier representing the highly-trained pilots, but most notable is the Japanese carrier Hiryu, the sole fleet carrier with an armor factor of only 1.
  • In the Flying Frog game Touch of Evil, the schoolteacher only has three hit points and no healing factor. However, loading her inventory up with books adds two additional fight dice per book. Collecting all the books on the board gives her three hit points...and up to twenty-two dice's worth of damage. By the game's mechanics, that's theoretically enough to one-shot Cthulhu.
  • The Eldar and Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 often overlap this with Fragile Speedster.
    • The Dark Eldar are more of Glass Cannons than the Eldar, given the amount of firepower that squads of Dark Eldar can pump out for a relatively low cost and the eschewing of even what little armor their cousins use.
      • Harlequins are even more of a glass hammer/cannon than other Eldar. Absolutely unparalleled in hand-to-hand combat, they can rip right through a unit of Assault Terminators like tissue paper; but one good round of shooting from a basic Marine squad and they're splattered all over the landscape.
    • The Space Marine Thunderfire cannon. In fact, all artillery pieces were like this prior to 6th edition. As an artillery piece, anything shooting at it has a 50/50 chance of hitting either it or the Techmarine manning it. Hitting the Tech is not a huge issue, with a 2+ armor save, but if the cannon itself is hit, either a penetrating hit or glancing hit will completely destroy it (until 6th edition, when artillery guns were given a very strong Toughness value of 7 and two "wound points"). But it has a range of 60', and puts out four explosive shells per turn.
    • And Tau Fire Warriors, who are no tougher than Guard Stormtroopers and suck in close combat. However, they're armed with a gun that will punch through Stormtrooper armor, the Stormtrooper wearing the armor, and keep going out the back.
      • Speaking of Stormtroopers, their hellguns can punch right through Space Marine armor. Too bad for the shorter than normal range.
    • The Tau's Vespid allies overlap this with Fragile Speedster. They have a gun that can blast clean through Space Marine armor from 18" away, and can move reasonably quickly, but even with T4 and a 4+ armor save, they still go down like chumps to even a brief encounter with heavy bolter fire.
    • Ork Boyz: they have a massive amount of attacks for a rank-and-file trooper (three attacks per Boy, four on the charge), and... paper thin armor. Kinda balanced out by their ridiculously low point cost, but when they get showered by bolter fire, expect a lot of Boyz to drop.
    • Daemons also deserve a mention — most of them pack a punch, but die like flies against standard Imperial weaponry because their "armor" is intentionally designed to be fickle. They have a 33% chance of surviving anti-starship weapons, but a 67% chance of dying to a single small-arms round to the face.
    • The Imperial Guard Hellhound. Most Imperial Guard vehicles are Mighty Glacier, but the Hellhound, for all the flamethrowers it mounts, can go up with a mild hit due to the tanks being hit.
    • The Rogue Trader rulebook specifically describes Raider-class spacecraft as "glass cannons, able to throw out heavy fire but unable to take it in return".
    • Eldar and Dark Eldar spacecraft in Battlefleet Gothic have wimpy armor, no shields, ridiculously powerful engines, and some of the nastiest guns possible.
    • Most walkers, due to them having medium to light armor all around, as opposed to the incredibly tough front armor and weaker side and back armors of conventional tanks. The Penitent Engine and Ork Killa Kans in particular have it bad, as their armor is no better than the lightest transports in the game (the Penitent Engine is an open topped vehicle too). The only aversion so far is the Soul Grinder, which has near land-raider levels of armor while packing very effective guns and devastating melee capability (its only real weakness is everything else in the army tends to suck).
    • Imperial and Renegade Knights are devastating weapon platforms capable of wielding rapid-fire battle cannons and massive gatling guns simultaneously. However, they only have an armour value of about 13 and their ion shield can only protect one facing at a time. On top of this, the absolute cheapest Knight is about 325pts and only has six hull points, about twice that of the much tinier Space Marine Dreadnought; the kitted-out ones can close in on 500 points, still with only six hull.
    • The Chaos Forgefiend with three ectoplasma cannons is capable of tearing through heavily armoured elite forces in seconds — its blasts can disintegrate entire squads of Grey Knight Terminators. However, those same cannons are prone to overheating and damaging its hull, which is comparatively fragile at 3 Hull Points for a 200 point unit.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has a few. Night Goblin Fanatics follow it the best — they deal the same damage as a giant catapult but are even easier to kill than a normal goblin and have a chance of killing themselves. There are, however, many others.
  • Wood Elves are similar to 40K's Eldar, being both this and Fragile Speedsters. They have little to no armor but can give out a lot of hurt with possibly the best core units compared to their prices.
  • High Elves have very few units with toughness higher than 3, but they make up for it with Speed of Asuryan, gaining attack bonuses if their Initiative score is higher... and at 5 initiative on most of them, it usually is. This rule also ignores striking order penalties for weapons, so they can wield whopping weapons willy-nilly at no penalty.
  • Wizard 101: Storm wizards in wizard 101 has tremendous single and area of effect attack spells. But their hp and defense is terribly low.
  • In X-Wing Miniatures, the TIE Phantom has a massive four-die main attack, the only ship in its size class with such a statistic, and can take the potent Crew and System upgrades. On the other hand, when uncloaked, it is no more durable than a humble Z-95 that costs considerably less. The dominant Phantom build, when Phantoms are run at all, is specced around getting to a high Pilot skill, taking an upgrade that lets you cloak after attacking, and praying that you get initiative so you can get that precious +2 Agility to make you die slightly slower.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • This was the standard design philosophy for an ace card roughly until Stardust Dragon showed up: a card with 2800 ATK or more, with an effect that lets it kill even more monsters and do even more damage than its ATK score would suggest, and no protection or negation abilities whatsoever. The most infamous examples should probably be the Chaos monsters, which can easily knock off half your opponent's LP in a single turn on their own, but fold like a wet paper bag to a garden-variety Bottomless Trap Hole or Sakuretsu Armor. To this day, many older archetypes, such as HEROes, Batterymen, Ancient Gears, and Cyber Dragons, fit into the mold of "can kill an opponent in one turn, will probably lose if they fail to do so."
    • As of 2020, this role falls to Gren Maju da Eiza — its effect lets it obtain a truly ludicrous ATK value of 400 for every banished card, which is particularly impressive for a level 3 monster with no summoning conditions. However, Gren Maju has no protective effects of any kind, which means that it can be killed easily the moment the opponent takes their turn. Most Gren Maju decks are all about removing enough of the opponent's defenses for Gren Maju to take a swing, which will probably kill the opponent in one hit.
    • There are various cards, like Goblin Attack Force, Indomitable Fighter Lei Lei, Spear Dragon, and Mad Archfiend that have incredibly high ATK, but zero DEF and move into defense position when it is time for your opponent to strike.
    • Clear Vice Dragon has double the ATK of the monster it's attacking. When it's not attacking, it has 0 ATK.
    • Similarly, Metalmorph gives the equipped card a massive attack boost, but only while attacking.
    • Dragon Master Knight has a titanic ATK stat and an effect that makes it stronger, but it has no defenses whatsoever from card effects.
    • Berserk Dragon has 3500 ATK and 0 DEF, which would already qualify it for this trope. However, it goes the extra mile, with an insanely strong offensive effect (can attack all cards your opponent controls) and a tendency to fold quickly if it doesn't knock out the opponent in one shot, due to growing weaker every turn it's on the field.
    • When Armityle the Chaos Phantasm is attacking, it has 10,000 ATK; the highest fixed number in the entire game, and twice as high as the highest-ATK monster in the game. When it's not attacking, it has zero — and on top of that, it can't be destroyed by battle, meaning the opponent can keep attacking it over and over as if they were hitting you directly.
    • Many monsters have effects that increase their ATK but not their DEF — Tyranno Infinity, for instance, gains 1000 ATK for every banished Dinosaur, meaning it can go up to flatly ridiculous values, but its DEF is always 0. For the most part, this doesn't actually impact survivability as much as you'd think, as monsters only use DEF while in Defense Mode.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the gladiator arenas that pass for Ace Attorney courthouses, Athena Cykes is very intelligent but easily intimidated or guilted by the prosecuting side into giving up prematurely. She's won several cases, but only as part of a team.
    • Manfred von Karma masterminded what was more-or-less a perfect crime, but is unable to keep emotionally composed when faced with failures or unexpected events — no matter how small. Hence, the homicidal temper tantrums that get him jailed. Presumably, after years of relying on falsified evidence to win cases, he forgot how to win real arguments.

    Web Animation 
  • Mera Salamin in Epithet Erased has a powerful destructive epithet that can defeat the likes of Indus in one blow, but her stamina stat is tied for the lowest in the cast. Just kicking a box in frustration is enough to break one of her toes. This is mostly due to a case of Power Incontinence; her “Fragile” epithet allows her to weaken and break practically anything, but also weakens her body and causes her constant pain. Using it in combat actually causes her to take damage.
  • The three gods in the Sock Series have very destructive powers but can be killed in rather simple ways, such as being crushed by a magical shrinking cylinder, being cut in half by a tongue or being bitten in half.

  • 8-Bit Theater's Black Mage described himself in these words, a few days after this page was launched.
  • Ran Cossack from Bob and George is an exaggerated version. His Cossack Buster is the most powerful weapon in the comic amongst the various robots, but even a slight breeze can kill him. Death only annoys Ran, however; he has a Body Backup Drive at home, complete with teleporter to return him to the place he was last alive.
  • Chirrut in the Rogue One adventure in Darths & Droids turns out to be this. Pete applied his usual extreme Min-Maxing to the character, making him formidable in combat, with a Dodge modifier so high that he was literally incapable of being hit by a direct attack... at the cost of having only 9 hit points, resulting in him dying the moment he was hit by an area of effect explosion.
  • The titular Dominic Deegan shares a handful of qualities with Marvel Comics' telepaths, i.e. physically weak while mentally untouchable. He describes himself as his body being "frail and weak, but [his] mind is a fortress you have no hope of conquering."
  • Played with with the titular Kid Radd. On the offensive side, his Mega Radd is technically only able to charge enough to deal 255 damage within his own game, but thanks to sloppy programming, there's actually no preset upper limit, meaning it's as powerful as the number of bits in the console he's on. When he's out on the internet, its power is effectively limitless, making him potentially strong enough to destroy the entire internet. On the defensive side, he can only take four hits before dying, but it doesn't matter what hits him. Getting hit with a nuclear bomb does the same amount of damage as having a Mook walk into him.
  • This is the case with Gralo, the Big Bad of The Night the Magic Died. While immensely powerful and capable of causing a universe wide extinction on his own, he's only protected by being able to eat any magic sent his way to a Walking Wasteland level and isn't exceptionally durable without it. Once that's bypassed, he is easily wounded and easily defeated by the Princesses.
  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick fits this trope. As with Black Mage, they fall pretty squarely in Squishy Wizard territory.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Torg is capable of killing just about anything when his Cool Sword Chaz is powered up and starts glowing. While his sword is unbreakable and nearly unstoppable, however, Torg himself is as physically vulnerable as your average human being. It doesn't help that the sword's true potential can only be unleashed when it's fueled by the blood of the innocent, a cost Torg is understandably reluctant to pay.
  • In Suppression, Charlie is a electricity-wielder who was kidnapped by the villains so that he could power their entire facility. He can give off enough electricity to blow off Maxwell's arm. He is also skinny as a rail and has neither armor nor the ability to take a hit.
  • Coffinshaker from What's Shakin' is a fairly powerful fire mage, but without his reliance of fire, is mostly vulnerable to all other attacks.
  • XRS: Despite its vaunted capabilities, the XRS is extremely vulnerable when its energy shields are down.

    Web Original 
  • Cobra Kai has two notable examples, from that dojo:
    • Hawk is a combination of The Berserker and Blood Knight. He thrives on fighting and throws some wicked shots that can overwhelm his opponent (as the tournament at the end of the first season showed). While it wasn't much of a problem in the first season, the second season brought this trope into full force. Training under Kreese, he would become surprised when a defense-oriented opponent (such as Demetri) held him off for a while. In such a case, it usually takes only one shot to lay him out (as both Robby and Demetri ended up doing). But in the third season, he neatly subverts the trope by internalizing Kreese's "fight smart" lesson — and utterly obliterating Brucks during tryouts.
    • However, Unskilled, but Strong Tory plays this trope straight throughout: great at charging and has some wicked kicks and punches of her own. Problem: she's not much better defensively (especially against Sam, who is Weak, but Skilled) and tends to get pissy when she can't put away an opponent fast enough. Once she loses her cool, one good shot can stop her.
  • DSBT InsaniT: 'VRcade' shows that Evil Balloon is far stronger than he looks...but also as fragile as he looks.
  • Left POOR Dead: The zombies are clearly dangerous, but never seem to manage to do any damage and are felled by even a gentle push.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Typical firebenders have no special defensive abilities whatsoever. The only known modern defensive firebending technique was invented by Iroh by studying waterbending for inspiration and is very situational (only useful against other firebenders), with the ancient defensive moves of the Dragon Dance having been long lost (to most). However, they are capable of laying waste on a scale the other bending disciplines are incapable of. Iroh, Zuko, and Jeong Jeong all display some defensive ability later on though, implying that this weakness is at least partially a result of the destruction-oriented Fire Nation Culture at the time.
    • Also, the Avatar State. With it Aang can be the most powerful bender to ever live, but if he is killed in it, the Avatar as a whole will cease to exist.
    • Ironically enough, Toph Beifong, of all people, outs herself as this in The Legend of Korra. Although presented as one of toughest characters (if not the toughest) in the over-arching Avatar-Korra narrative (even from the point that she first appears as a young child), when a very elderly Toph participates in the mission to free the Beifongs being held captive by Kuvira, she only engages in the prolonged battle at one point: at the very end, she sends a massive earth-bending attack that knocks the entirety of Kuvira's force (which was so large that all the rest of the Beifongs combined were struggling against it) momentarily out of commission. But if there is any question as to why she didn't engage in the fighting sooner, she dispels it in the next scene: she's too old for this $#%& — "My fighting days are over. Don't tell Korra, but my back is killing me now!"
  • The assassin Curare from Batman Beyond seems this way. She's a deadly combatant with a sword, incredibly fast and agile, and very hard to lay a glove on, but when Batman actually manages to do so, it seems to hurt her badly.
  • In the classic Donald Duck short "Canvas Back Duck", Donald ends up in a boxing match against Pee-Wee Pete, and is only saved from a merciless pummeling when he accidentally discovers Pete has a (literal) glass jaw.
  • Eddy's Brother from Ed, Edd n Eddy. Word of God has gone on the record as saying that unlike Eddy, who's had pain dished out to him but has built up more of a resistance to it, Eddy's Brother had been the one dishing out pain all his life, but had never been on the receiving end of it, and thus has a very low pain threshold.
  • Kung Fu Panda has Master Shifu, a Red Panda. He's incredibly fast and strong, able run rings around and throw the far larger and heavier Po, a panda, but has a lack of stamina and reach against larger opponents. It often takes one blow from a sufficiently strong opponent to take him out, though getting that hit before being defeated is hard due to his aforementioned speed and own surprising strength.
  • Transformers Animated:
    • Soundwave can easily take on multiple Autobots at the same time with The Power of Rock, has a massive number of various gadgets, and can control machines, but he's made of Earth machines mashed together, which means that even Sari's little hand-blast can put a hole in his shoulder, and when he is forced into melee combat, he is smashed apart in single blows. This contrasts with normal Decepticons, which are both figuratively and literally Made of Iron.
    • Swindle. As a result of his arms dealing he has some of the most impressive weapons in the universe, but is the only Decepticon in the whole show that Bumblebee's stingers have ever been effective against.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The Red Lion is stated and shown to be a Fragile Speedster but it also has a heat beam that can melt starships and a back-mounted Wave-Motion Tuning Fork that can destroy whole sections of a massive space station.

    Real Life 
  • Since the introduction of gunpowder in The High Middle Ages, artillery is (probably) the very first and oldest definition of this trope: deadly when given a chance to attack from a safe distance but easily neutralized by the destruction of its crew and/or the cannon itself.
  • Between the development of practical firearms and bulletproof body armor, armor became obsolete so armies just stopped using it. Similarly, although muskets were often unreliable and inaccurate over long distances, bullets could rip flesh and shatter bone if they hit. Everyone could either One-Hit Kill their enemy or be OHK'd themselves.
  • Before gunpowder, there were Battering Rams, whose only functionality and purpose was to knock down walls. They were slow and heavy, and unless they were constructed with an outer shell, they were completely helpless against ranged and melee combatants. When carried by people, as opposed to supported by ropes or chains, those carrying the ram would be defenseless themselves, as both their hands would be occupied. In spite of these drawbacks, they continue to be used by modern-day police forces and fire brigades to enter locked doors; the latter even benefits from being used in a non-combat context, with the raw power of the battering ram only helping them in their goal to extinguish the fire as soon as possible.
  • Most anti-tank weapons teams count as this. Whether armed with an anti-tank rifle, manning an anti-tank gun, or carrying around a guided missile launcher, they have the power to potentially destroy an enemy tank before it gets the chance to destroy them. However, they lack any protection other than their firearms, and the sheer bulk of their weaponry limits their mobility, making them easy targets if detected.
  • Tank destroyers. Popular back in WW2, they were Exactly What It Says on the Tin — usually armed with a tank-grade BFG to destroy enemy vehicles with great efficiency, using the element of surprise. However, their limitations compared to regular tanks (lack of armour, a gun with limited traverse, or both) make them vulnerable to a well-coordinated counterattack. In modern warfare, the role of tank destroyer has been taken up by helicopter gunships, though a number of lighter vehicles have been adapted to the purpose as well.
    • Modern wheeled tank destroyers are armed with large calibre guns and very mobile, though lacking in armour. They're not supposed to take on enemy tanks unless necessary, as their main missions are tactical reconnaissance and fire support.
    • American tank destroyers during World War II in particular were very lightly armored, in most cases lacking a roof for their turret which exposed the crew to all kinds of nastiness. They usually mounted a relatively powerful anti-tank gun in a fully-traversing turret and were extremely fast: the M18 Hellcat can clock up to 55 mph on good roads. (That's 88 km/h for the rest of the world.) Conversely, M36 Jackson sported a 90 mm M3 cannon, which was able to defeat any German armour at any distance. Last Jacksons participated in the Yugoslavian Wars of Disintegration and were finally phased out in 2002.
    • Though the German and Soviet tank destroyers tended to go in the opposite direction, with heavy armour and powerful guns with limited traverse, they also produced a large number of lightly-armoured, open-topped self-propelled guns which were often used to take out enemy armour. In the case of Germany, some of these were specifically designed and pressed into service as tank destroyers, following their encounters with superior Soviet armour.
  • This a big reason that the USMC didn't adopt the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife (and its derivative Marine Raider Stiletto) for general issue during WWII. While the needle point profile was excellent for killing things with a stab in the right place, it was too fragile to do anything else when compared to the more durable spear point profile. Because of the shortcomings in its design, the Ka-Bar knife was issued to the Marine Corps in 1942, as it was simply more versatile.
  • The Swedish Thirty Years' War era Leather Cannon. It was basically a copper barrel wrapped on stout leather, like cow hide. The idea was to make the cannon light enough to be mobile and easily carried, which it was. It weighed 40 kg (90 lb) and could easily be carried by two men. Unfortunately it also was prone on over-heating — leather is a good heat insulator — and tended to burst if three or more shots were shot in succession without letting the barrel cool down a bit. Purely as a weapon it was a failure, but as a concept it revolutionized the role of the field artillery.
    • This was excellently highlighted in an episode of MythBusters, where the cannon was recreated and fired. Their prototype replica cannon successfully damaged the targets, but broke on the first firing. They still considered it a successful recreation because the output of the cannon was comparable to a period iron cannon, and because of its historical reliability issues.
  • Aircraft carriers exist to operate aircraft. Anything not related to operating aircraft is usually considered unnecessary, as the embarked aircraft give the carrier the effective ability to spot and engage enemy targets in a radius of several hundred miles or more. That they also tend to be crammed full of munitions and volatile aviation fuel is just icing on the cake. Taken Up to Eleven by Japanese WWII carriers, which had an enormous airplane capacity, but tended to ignite violently on two or three hits, largely because of poor damage control and internal design. They attempted to rectify this with Taiho, with the design expected to remain able to operate after multiple bomb and torpedo hits. A single American submarine-launched torpedo caused a fuel vapor explosion that sank her. Modern day aircraft try to subvert this by loading them up with the best anti-air and anti-submarine defenses possible, but hold superiority mostly due to just how huge the ship is and how deadly the aircraft and how precise the targeting and sonar systems are.
  • The American Northampton, Portland, and New Orleans class heavy cruisers, designed in the 1920s and '30s, were particularly infamous examples of this. These ships were designed as light cruisers under the WWI definition with nominal armor and heavy 8" guns, but were reclassified as heavy cruisers as a result of the Washington and London naval treaties due to their gun calibers. These ships suffered horrendous losses during the war due to their inadequate protection, including three being sunk with within two hours during the Battle of Savo Island in 1942.
    • "Treaty Cruisers" of this era (so named because the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 placed strict limits of 10,000 tons displacement and 8" / 203mm gun caliber on cruisers, and the the London Naval Treaty of 1930 refined this by codifying the difference between heavy and light cruisers) were almost all glass cannons. The tonnage limit made it nearly impossible to build a truly balanced heavy cruiser, with enough armor to have any meaningful defense against its own guns. The only way to achieve heavy cruiser with acceptable firepower and also acceptable armor was by building them significantly heavier than was legal and then lying about it.
  • Light tanks by definition are supposed to be very mobile, primarily designed for scouting and exploiting breakthroughs in enemy lines, so they would often give up armour in exchange for greater speed and range. Although many fall under the Fragile Speedster category, several designs (particularly the American M24 Chaffee and M41 Bulldog, as well as the French AMX-13 series) qualify as Glass Cannons, having sufficient armament to tackle heavier armour.note  A good example would be the British "Crusader" cruiser tank: extremely fast and agile and armoured with the superb 6 pounder 57 mm cannon, which was able to knock out any German tanks at the desert, but itself vulnerable.
    • The American M551 Sheridan (technically an "armoured reconnaissance/airborne assault vehicle") provides a remarkable example of this trope, being poorly armoured but armed with a low-velocity 152mm gun. Put into context, its shells packed almost as much explosive as heavy artillery shells. It could also fire anti-tank missiles, which could theoretically take out any contemporary battle tank, though these were almost never used.
    • The Soviet BT-series tanks were among the fastest tank designs of WWII, and were also fairly well-armed for their time with a high-velocity 45mm gun. They could reach speeds of up to 72 km/h on good roads, and had good range to boot. However, their light armor couldn't protect against anything much more powerful than rifle-caliber gunfire.
      • BTs were actually the typical European "cruiser tanks", that were envisioned to work much like the horse cavalry as a raiding and attack force, and thus featured high mobilitynote  and firepower at the expense of the protection, unlike the "infantry tanks" that were planned to advance in the infantry ranks against the enemy fire and so were heavily armored but slow. These narrow niches were, however, proven to be impractical in the actual fighting, and the later types become much more balanced machines.
      • In the 1930s, the Soviet Union experimented with mounting rockets on tanks, producing this monstrosity. Due to several defects with the design (namely horrifying lack of accuracy), it was never put into production.
    • The modern Russian Sprut-SD(P) light tank is basically a T-90 125-mm smoothbore cannon put into the BMD-3 APC chassis. It packs a huge kick, is extemely fast and nimble, and is actually air-droppable, being envisioned as a paratroopers' own tank destroyer, but its thin aluminum shell can't really take anything much above the small arms fire.
  • Main Battle Tank design took something of a detour in this direction during the 1960s, at least in Western Europe. Confronted with widespread HEAT weapons, against which steel armor required prohibitive thickness to stop, the designers of the French AMX-30 and German Leopard I dispensed with the heavy steel armor of many contemporaries in favor of greater mobility afforded by the lighter weight. Not that they were un-armored, mind you, but they were emphatically not designed to take hits from anything larger than autocannon and keep trucking. This detour ended in the 1970s with the development of composite and reactive armors, which could provide protection against HEAT weapons without prohibitive weight costs.
  • Missile transporter-erector launchers are arguably the ultimate example of Glass Cannons in real life, being armed with a weapon that can wipe out a small town but completely lacking any means of self-defence. With that said, the concept inverts this in that the launchers are hard to track down and can relocate after firing.
  • For much of their existence, submarines have proven to be exceptionally deadly against ships, utilizing their stealth to sneak up on surface vessels and sink them before the latter can react. However, if they are detected before they have a chance to fire, submarines pretty much lose the only advantage they have.
    • Ballistic missile submarines take the concept to an extreme, in that they are armed with enough nuclear weapons to vaporize a small country, though are virtually incapable of defending themselves if detected.
  • Torpedo boats were essentially small but inexpensive vessels armed with torpedoes, and later on destroyers after the later took the role of the former. They have sometimes managed to sink even vessels as heavy as battleships, they also were highly vulnerable to gunfire from larger ships, especially WWII Japanese ones with their explosive "Long Lance" torpedoes.
  • WWI style Monitors were shallow draft ships of questionable seaworthiness onto which the largest spare gun(s) at hand was crammed. Basically a floating artillery battery, they had the advantage of being cheap and able to get in very close to shore where traditional naval ships could not go, even going up rivers.
  • Anything the Finnish Navy can throw in. Their ships are crammed with oversized guns and missiles, and outfitted with minelaying equipment, but have no armor whatsoever — they rather employ hiding in the archipelago as their defensive strategy. It helps that Finland has one of the most diabolical archipelagoes and littoral waters in the world. There is always a small island behind which you can hide.
  • Japanese cruisers during WWII. They had excellent firepower, especially thanks to their long-range torpedoes already mentioned above. However even if they were not badly armored a lucky hit on the torpedo launchers could be enough to disable or even sink them, as happened during the Battle off Samar. Japanese torpedoes used highly-compressed pure oxygen as its fuel oxidizer rather than the typical compressed air used by other nations. This allowed the infamous Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo to be faster and longer-ranged than other torpedoes despite being larger and carrying a much heavier warhead, and also made them nearly invisible in the water since they produced no wake. But oxygen is also intensely flammable, so having the air tanks filled with pure oxygen instead of 21% oxygen and 78% inert nitrogen meant any explosion near the torpedoes would set them on fire and detonate their large warheads.
  • Japanese aircraft during the early stages of WWII; while fast for the early 1940s and well armed, they had next to no armor or safety features such as self-sealing fuel tanks or armored glass to protect pilots and crew. While some Allied designs were notorious for taking hundreds if not thousands of rounds of ammunition and still flying, even a short burst of gunfire would be enough to set a Zero ablaze and generally take its pilot with it. Later designs had armor and speed to match next generation Allied fighters, but by that point Japan had lost the best of its pilots and could only send up half-trained rookies to fight.
  • Humans are generally a race of Glass Cannons in that our technological ability to inflict damage is much greater than our technological ability to defend against damage. They had to build NORAD inside a small mountain to maybe protect it against nukes. On the purely physical level, with peak physical training, you can dead-lift hundreds of pounds, fight several other people or animals at once, and even kill with your bare hands if need be. But you have no natural external armor, and your vital organs are still vital and vulnerable to nasty things such as being stabbed or shot.
  • Many venomous snakes and bugs can seriously injure or even kill with a single bite/sting. but with the snakes, the second you grab the back the head or they run out of venom, all they can do is wriggle helplessly or try to escape. It's even worse for the arthropods, since if you can see them coming, all it would take is a shoe or a newspaper to take them out. Of course, not needing defenses is much the point of having venom in the first place; the reason so many are brightly colored is that they realize the threat of injury is a much more effective deterrent than most any physical defense.
  • Small dromaeosaurs such as Velociraptor had a sickle claw on their feet that could deal grave damage and bleeding to prey, especially if they managed to slash a prey's throat. However, thanks to their small size, one good hit from a larger dinosaur could gravely injure or even kill them.
  • The technical, basically a four-wheel pickup truck with a weapon mounted in its bed. It's quite speedy and maneuverable, and thanks to its heavy weapons (which have historically included things like rocket pods, anti-aircraft cannons, and turrets from proper fighting vehicles), it can be a terror to even armored vehicles if it gets the drop on them. It also has the armor of, well... a pickup truck.
    • Historically, the "technical" evolved out of the portée anti-tank guns used in WW2. This concept was evolved independently by Britain and Germany and was seen as an expedient to get the best possible use out of their standard towed guns, in the wide-open spaces of North Africa and Russia. The standard British AT gun, the two-pounder, was over-engineered and its carriage was simply too fragile to withstand being towed across rocky North African terrain. Britain got round this by scrapping the carriages and welding the gun assembly into the cargo-bed of the trucks that had once towed them, creating a fast and manoevrable self-propelled gun which remained vulnerable to counter-fire. Germany did likewise with many of its PaK 35 37mm weapons. When the USA entered the war in 1942, it copied the idea by marrying its 37mm anti-tank gun to the cargo bed of light trucks, usually the Dodge 3/4 tonner.
    • The Willys MB were often converted to combat vehicles, most notably by the SAS "Desert Rats" in North Africa; the nimble little vehicles could be mounted with a staggering amount of firepower, including but not limited to Tommy Guns, twin Vickers .30 cal machine guns, M2 50 caliber machine guns, and even bazookas, and usually carried all these weapons all at once to rain absolute hell on German bases. However, the core vehicle was still the humble Jeep, which typically had armor measuring between nil and none. For this reason, the Desert Rats would operate primarily at night, forming raiding parties that would rush in, cause as much damage as possible, and then rush out before the enemy even knew what hit them.
  • The Macuahuitl, a pre-Spanish-conquest-era Meso-American weapon which is essentially a large wooden club embedded with obsidian blades. Said obsidian blades make for a deadly weapon capable of easily blowing off a person's head, and it was even capable of decapitating horses. Unfortunately, obsidian is very brittle in comparison to steel, so these blades easily shattered if they hit anything hard enough such as steel plating/blades.
  • Generally speaking, octopuses have a smorgasbord of tools and skills for killing prey. Most species have: a very sharp beak, excellent camouflage, the ability to squeeze through small holes, and incredible intelligence. Some species even have venom, and there's still more. However, their soft, squishy bodies make them very vulnerable to predators like sharks and large fish. Some, like the coconut octopus, use coconut shells or seashells to defend themselves, as those things are much harder than their bodies.
  • Most muscle cars can easily keep pace with sports cars that cost more than twice as much... when racing on a straight road. The "muscle" refers to their massive, highly-tuned engines, and in their original configurations in the '60s and early '70s, these engines were dropped into family sedans that were given just enough modifications to handle their power. While this kept them very affordable compared to dedicated sports cars, it also meant that they had the handling of large American sedans, and were prone to spinning out if you tried taking on tight corners in them. This is why oval racing predominates in American motorsport: because the emphasis was originally on showing spectators what they could do in a car that they could buy from any dealership (the old slogan being "win on Sunday, sell on Monday"), tracks that played to those cars' strengths predominated, while more technical circuits fell by the wayside. More modern muscle cars typically offer more high-performance models that come with suspension and handling upgrades to go with the monster V8 engines, but these usually come at a higher price point.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): All Offense No Defense


Genichiro - Way of Tomoe

He is less durable without his samurai armor, needing only one Deathblow to defeat in both instances where you fight him. Victory can occur in just a few seconds. However, Sekiro's own posture accumulates rapidly under Genichiro's increased aggression, and the general has new moves that will demolish fully-upgraded healthbars in individual swings.

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Example of:

Main / GlassCannon

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Main / GlassCannon