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"Instant Death" Radius

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Too close!

"Oh, and this melee class is working just super. I love getting wasted before dealing a single hit in."
Leo of VG Cats 184 (see picture)

Sometimes the best way to make a powerful boss character is to make sure that they have really, really good melee/short-ranged attacks. So good, in fact, that it's just about impossible for a player character to get anywhere near this boss without ending up dead in a matter of seconds. This is because the boss in question is contained in an Instant Death Radius — an attack range in which they can easily kill you, but in which you are just about incapable of even getting close enough to touch them, let alone denting them.

Done well, this kind of enemy can force a player into using a very clear kind of strategy — keep as far away from it as possible and use ranged attacks, wait for an opening when it can't attack and strike quickly, or throw enough Cannon Fodder units at it that it can't wipe all of them out at once. But other times this kind of enemy can be incredibly aggravating when there's major character customization involved. Sure, you want to play a melee-focused class such as a warrior, but guess what — the monster's attack radius is much larger than yours, and their attacks are substantially stronger. Level up as you might, trying to go mano a mano with this thing is going to result in your death no matter how many Critical Hits you land (generally zero — one if you're lucky).


A Puzzle Boss may invoke this trope as a way of making it perfectly clear to the player that they're not going to beat it by conventional means, as will the Tactical Suicide Boss to ensure that the player waits for their opening. A Short-Range Shotgun may cause this effect. See also Area of Effect; a monster with an Instant Death Radius may make use of such area-of-effect abilities centered on itself as a means of denoting that radius. A player character may have a very powerful special ability, typically a Limit Break Herd-Hitting Attack, that also utilizes this trope as a handy tool for dealing with hordes of enemies.


Gaming examples

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    Tabletop Games 
  • Several classic BattleTech designs (Hunchback, Victor, Demolisher, Atlas, you name them) have a reputation for this. The thing they have in common is the AC/20 — the biggest autocannon in the game, short ranged but able to inflict potentially crippling damage all to a single location in one shot. As a result, most units much prefer to stay outside its nine-hex 'bubble of doom'.
    • This also applies to the Gauss Rifle family and Particle Projector Cannon weapons, both of which may hit only 75% as hard as the AC/20, but reach out to a range in excess of 20 hexes while being capable of taking off a 'Mech's head with a single shot.
    • DropShips, when landed on the surface of a planet, are effectively enormous battle fortresses, typically carry upwards of a dozen long ranged weapons like LRM-20s and the aforementioned Gauss Rifles and PPCs. Because of their sheer firepower and the ability to almost instantly destroy anything that gets near them, commanders usually try to avoid directly attacking one. The dropships are often essentially boss battles in the videogame adaptation, MechWarrior The reason for this is actually because a grounded dropship is a huge Sitting Duck and they don't have all that much armor relative to their size, so packing overwhelming firepower is their only real defense.
    • Hilariously, one of the most ridiculously awful 'Mechs in the game, the Urbanmech, has a variant called the UM-R60(L), which removes its primary weapon (the powerful, but not overly so AC/10) and replaces it with an AC/20. While it doesn't carry a lot of ammunition, the end result is a 30 ton 'Mech, one of the lightest and definitely the slowest in the game, being capable of destroying an Assault 'Mech (weighing between 80-100 tons) in a surprise attack if it gets lucky. And gets in range fast enough, since the Urbanmech is very, very slow. While the Urbanmech is mostly considered a joke 'Mech, it is a foolish MechWarrior that doesn't treat it as a threat.
  • Call of Cthulhu deliberately gives this capability to its upper-tier Eldritch Abominations to discourage Munchkins from fighting them. The titular Cthulhu has an unblockable, undodgeable One-Hit Polykill at close range, and the power levels actually go up from there. The actual Instant Death Radius for any of the big nasties in this setting is best defined as "You can see it." Most characters will take such a big hit on the Sanity Meter that if they make their Sanity Check, they still have a good chance to go temporarily insane. The remainder will probably blow the roll so badly that they bow down and begin worshiping their new dark gods.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition was lousy with this, as monsters with reach (such as any monster that was larger than you) could lay serious hurt on you with an Attack of Opportunity if you got within its radius, and unless the monster was using a reach weapon, it could threaten every square within its radius, meaning you could not charge or otherwise get close without sucking up an Attack of Opportunity and taking some heinous damage (because any melee monster worth its salt invariably has very high Strength, and high Strength = high attack bonus = high damage). A caster or archer could just hang back and blast them at range, but if you were a fighter or other class whose primary focus was on melee and wielding the weapons you would normally expect such characters to wield (swords, spears, axes, hammers and other weapons with normal reach), you could pretty much forget about actually doing any damage or contributing to the fight in any way other than being a "meat shield" for the others. Little wonder that the five-foot-step rule, which was called "shifting" in 4th Edition, was clarified in 3.5.
    • It got much worse if the enemies were good at tripping or grappling; one Huge monster in the Monster Manual 4 has an anti-magic grab, preferred subterranean environs, and moves with a faster climb speed than many characters of the appropriate level could run. Fortunately (or unfortunately for the DM) Attack of Opportunity optimized character builds can invert this trope entirely. Many, many, MANY hypothetical character builds on the Wizards of the Coast forums could not be approached without provoking tons of AoOs; these characters would attack a foe if that foe attacked him, attacked a nearby ally, or moved — hell, even if they did nothing at all.
    • The main thing though isn't the AoOs, but the full attack that follows. You can expect even the half-decent melee enemies to utterly annihilate you later on accordingly or at least beat you to within an inch of your life before you get another turn. Not sometimes, but every single turn. Dragons are infamous for this, as the higher age categories get six or more attacks per round. And the only way to stand up to regular melee enemies in close combat is to either be an Evasion Tank (see Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards) or just be heavily effect, stuff that would normally be a Game-Breaker is required for basic competency.
    • One of third edition's supplements introduced a monster-only feat "Large and in Charge" which allowed them to add knockback to their attack of opportunity against human-sized attackers.
  • Most powerful melee characters in Infinity, with the added bonus that due to Hidden Deployment you can walk straight into a model's Instant Death Radius without ever knowing it was there. Commonly occurs with ninjas. Powerful ranged weapons such as the HMG or sniper rifle are even scarier, due to Infinity's rules system allowing troops to fire on enemies they see acting even in the opponent's turn; to prevent the first turn from being a death sentence as four sniper rifles punch holes in anything that moves, Infinity battlefields are supposed to have a massive amount of terrain.
  • The rules for nukes in Mekton: Anything in the blast radius is automatically destroyed, barring GM intervention. Anything within twice the blast radius takes 10 times damage to every location, and probably dies. Anything within four times the blast radius takes full damage to every location.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 getting too close to any elite melee unit can and will lead to your stuff getting demolished. The list changes depending on the version of the rules, but Khorne-marked units, Titans, anything in Terminator armour, Carnifexes, and Necron Praetorians are always worth giving a wide berth.
    • Many melee-oriented named characters take this trope and run away with it. Kharn the Betrayer, Ghazghkull, Abbadon the Despoiler, Captain Lysander, and many more will all hand you your ass if you get too close.
    • The Eldar Revenant's Instant Death Radius is the size of a normal game table (12" move plus 60" range). Good luck.
    • The Primarchs. Four to five hundred points, if you end your turn within 12" of one you can kiss your unit/expensive combat character goodbye.
    • Eversor assassins should not be allowed anywhere near your army unless you want the entire thing to get brutalized. Yes, even the tanks.
    • The Vindicator's Demolisher cannon has one of the best stats for a weapon in the game, but pitifully short range for a weapon of it's type. One of the reasons the unit is not very popular is because everyone knows about it and the maximum distance, so they will go to absurd lengths to stay out of it while peppering the tank with anti-tank weapons.
    • The Warlord Titan has one of the biggest ones in the game; ignoring all of it's weapons, just by dying it will hit everything within a 36 inch radius (NOT diameter) with an attack powerful enough to atomize them. Basically, going up against one, the best result you can hope for is a draw unless you have a titan of your own.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception has the Shock Cannon on the Gleipnir and Archelon Fortress that shows a red flashing circle on the Enemy-Detecting Radar when it's ready. If you get into it, say bye-bye. The mission Blitz, as well as Solitaire from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, has circles of radar coverage that, while not killing you outright, will cause a mission failure if you wander into them. In Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, anyone who made the mistake of getting within 850 feet of Mobius One using a QAAM-equipped plane had effectively received his death sentence. X also has the mission In Pursuit, where "high-performance SAMs" protect a group of jammers from you, flying within their coverage is a death wish. In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, getting in the range of MPB Ms won't immediately kill you, but unless you're skimming the surface of the blast, you might as well have been instantly shot down. In general, anything with the Tactical Laser System effectively has an Instant Death Arc - anything foolish enough to be in the firing circle when one of these is spitting out of a Morgan or FALKEN is getting fried.
    • Ace Combat 7 has the Arsenal Bird's active defense system, an electromagnetic shield that it can surround itself with basically at will. If you're inside the radius when that happens, you're dead. The shield shows up in the DLC mission The Ten Million Relief Plan, with small drones that are intended to block your missiles by making them blow up early. However, if you fly through the shield, you'll take 10% damage every half a second, which makes them functionally impossible to approach.
      • Ace Combat 7 as two pilots that are both this: Trigger and Mihaly Shilage. Mihaly will shoot down anyone that he gets close enough to, no questions asked, with the notable exception of Trigger. Trigger, on the other hand, is the antithesis of this for his allies, to the point that "Stick with Trigger, and you'll make it" becomes a survival mantra for the second half of the game: he's still absolutely devastating to his enemies, but he makes sure that anyone around him survives as well.
  • Alpha Protocol:
    • A player can specialize his character in stealth and melee attacks (and since there aren't very many stealth games out there, a lot of fans of this playstyle bought Alpha Protocol), and then run into the game's bosses that can't be snuck up on, and can kill you in a few hits while they can take 50 shotgun shells to the face. There isn't really a way to beat these bosses unless you invested in some guns. The problem is that these bosses only pop up after the first act, so you might have invested several hours in character that can't get past these bosses.
    • There is a skill called Point Blank Shot that allows you to finish a melee combo with a pistol shot. It's extremely powerful against bosses, but requires you to invest a lot of skill points in your melee ability (it's the last skill you unlock, at 13 out of 15 ranks in), meaning you're either specializing in it early to the detriment of your other skills, or you're not going to have it for the first few bosses.
  • In Amorphous+, the gravity-controlling Void Eater has an attack where it sends out a deadly shockwave, killing anything in the radius. Worse, the radius is larger than your character's BFS swing. You will need to know when the Void Eater will use an attack where it becomes vulnerable, so you don't get turned into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • The final boss of Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. Unless you knew exactly what was coming (and the only way to do so is with a walkthrough) and equipped your melee fighters with all the normally-useless elemental protection you can get, getting in close with him is a deathwish.
  • Armored Core for Answer has Assault Armors, which is also an exploding sphere of pain, usually a Useless Useful Spell done by the player. However, a certain Battleship Raid boss called The Answerer can also do this. And while it takes ages to charge, get caught in it and you might as well kiss 4/5ths of your health goodbye. On a related note, thanks to the plethora of heavy missiles and laser cannons on the underside, approaching it from the bottom is hazardous for your health.
  • Many Forgotten Realms games, but the Baldur's Gate series in particular uses this trope.
    • Sometimes the use of this trope is forgivable, as when you confront a powerful demon. Other times it's just somebody's random bodyguard who's so good at creaming that he causes the near-instantaneous Berserk "spell" to fail. Baldur's Gate II inverts this by eventually giving the player access to a character who can transform into a creature with an Instant Death Radius.
    • Beholders, on the other hand, are a lot less scary once you get all up in their business. According to the official D&D Monster Manual, they are well aware of that fact.
    • Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance however has this trope in full effect on harder difficulties. The melee character gets oneshot by almost anything before he can close range and swing his weapon.
  • Mathematically, if not thematically, inverted with Hakumen and Nu-13 of BlazBlue. As bosses in a fighting game's Arcade Mode, they have smarter AI than the opponents the player has fought before. This means they seem conscious of the fact that there are ranges at which they can attack, but most characters can't hit them back. Hakumen has a space between "whatever range his opponent can hit at" and "the end of his BFS" where he can attack with impunity. Nu has vicious and unpredictable ranged attacks —for Nu and her Confusion Fu, the Instant Death Radius is the half of the screen farthest from her.
  • Both Martyr Logarius and the final boss of Bloodborne have an attack where they jam their weapon into the ground and a few seconds later, unleash a massive shockwave. The range is almost the entirety of the arena. It might not instantly kill you, but it will leave you vulnerable in a game where you never want to be vulnerable.
  • Borderlands 2: Krieg the Psycho's Mania build, which is based around melee damage and shield recovery delay, with either the Love Thumper or the Flame of the Firehawk shield. The Love Thumper is a Maylay Shield (adds damage to melee attacks when shields are down) but which throws explosive blasts onto the attacks for giggles, while the Flame of the Firehawk is a Nova Shield (emits a blast of elemental energy when it goes down) that keeps blasting until shields recover again. Either way, if Krieg is nearby and his shields are down, the various menaces of Pandora are going to regret it.
  • Bounty Of One: The Onion item can make the player into one of these. By itself, it deals 1/5 of a player's damage to all enemies in a small radius around them every half-second. However, the cooldown can be reduced further making it deal damage much more often, the area size can be increased, and it can score Critical Hits meaning that with sufficient Critical Chance and Critical Damage, many enemies that enter your radius will die in seconds, if not immediately.
  • On Veteran difficulty in most Call of Duty games, enemies with automatic weapons within two or so meters can instant-kill you. Sometimes even with pistols.
  • The Cave Troll enemy Took a Level in Badass in late 2000s Castlevania games and now has an electric attack that spreads an azure ring around him. If you get caught inside it, the ring will stun you at every hit which takes away in the worst cases 90-100 lifepoints every nanosecond. The only way to survive is to heal yourself while still being hit, otherwise you can only hand over your ass to the monster. This was quite a shock to everybody playing Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin who was coming off from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. If you say you didn't die on this thing at least once, you are a goddamned LIAR.
  • Every boss in Champions of Norrath is this. Doesn't matter if your class is supposed to be melee only, you don't go near these things. The sequel's bosses tend to be a bit less dangerous in melee, although there's still a few that getting close to will get you killed in a hurry.
  • City of Heroes has quite a few bosses whose melee powers are much more formidable than their ranged attacks. Some even have damage auras, where if you are standing next to them, you'll get hurt, badly, even if you haven't drawn their attention yet. A melee character trying to take on such an enemy is going to be in a world of hurt without some serious support, and that's not even factoring in resistances on the part of the enemy...
    • Such damage auras are also available to the players, so they can invoke this trope on lesser foes. Still, the archvillain versions are seriously amped up in the amount of damage they deal.
    • Most notable is the Envoy of Shadows, an AV of the resident Demonic Invaders who has TWO damaging auras, fire and darkness. I guess it must be what it's like to try and melee a Spines/Dark armor scrapper
  • The first Code Lyoko DS game tends to rely on you blocking and reflecting shots. Why? Because when you get too close into melee range, the monsters start using unblockable melee attacks. Combine this with an upgrade/revive system that can make the game Unwinnable, and it becomes apparent that Lyoko has become Goddamn Bat Country.
  • The Purifier mechs in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, exclusive to the Black Hand faction in the expansion is an older prototype of the Avatar mechs. It lacks the ability to upgrade itself, but it comes pre-equipped with flamethrower that can be fired while moving. Once you get the 'Purifying Flames' upgrade though, it becomes this trope incarnate. Nothing can withstand more than a few seconds being bathed in its flame, your best bet is to never let it get in range.
  • In one Cortex Command Game Mod, there are robots known as Zombie Bots, which can instantly gib anybody within their claw attack radius.
  • Several examples in Dark Souls I exist:
    • The boss fight with Seath the Scaleless. His attacks consist of area denial by raising crystal columns in predetermined spots. While you can dodge it and get close to him, you better not take it for granted as Seath can make the entire surrounding area you fight in covered in crystals. And if the damage doesn't kill you, the Curse effect probably will. Interestingly, the miracle Wrath of (the) God(s) in both Dark Souls and Demon's Souls function the same: an exploding sphere of pain.
    • Quelaag and Nito both have powerful area of effect attacks similar to the Wrath of the Gods. Avoiding Quelaag's can be tricky thanks to the lava she spits on the ground throughout the battle that you might dodge back into.
    • Inverted with the Hydra, whose ranged attack is hard to dodge and basically impossible to block (being essentially nine separate, moderately powerful attacks converging in one spot from slightly different angles), but his bite attack is pathetic by comparison. Once you've gotten into melee range, pretty all you have to worry about is the sudden drop-off underwater and reaching the last remaining heads before it lifts them back up.
    • The Four Kings also have this ability, incredibly frustrating because their equally devastating melee attacks do less damage if you're close to them and while you are trying to get away you might blunder into the arms of one of the others.
  • In Dark Souls II, the Final Boss Queen Nashandra has a powerful area of effect attack that could easily kill anyone in melee range. Fighting her at a distance is less challenging since she's so slow and her only ranged attacks are not too difficult to avoid.
  • In DC Universe Online, the Doomed Metropolis battlezone has a two major hazards that act like this. The first is Doomsday himself, who has a strange purple field around him. Those are Doomsday Spores, which will sap your HP almost instantly unless you have used an antidote that protects you for five minutes. Sadly, that's the only way you can get in and help Superman fight Doomsday. The other are small clouds surrounding citizens you need to get rid of. They sap your HP, but not as quick or as deadly as squaring off against the Big D.
  • The wall-based Guardian necromorph in Dead Space is one of these. Getting within a certain radius of it while it's still alive (well, alive-ish) will instantly decapitate your character.
  • Deep Rock Galactic:
    • Glyphid Bulk Detonators have an aura of visible sparks surrounding them at all times; if you're within this aura, you are probably going to get stomped into the earth in a blaze of fire and pain, which is bound to kill you at higher hazard levels. And if you just killed it, you should vacate an even bigger radius around it because its final explosion will definitely kill you if you're anywhere vaguely nearby.
    • Nemesis bots shouldn't be approached for any reason; they can grab you in their claws in the blink of an eye and will spend the next few seconds pressing you into electrified paste, usually not dropping you until you're downed. Their barrier launcher at range is comparatively easy to deal with.
  • Vergil from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening will start summoning Spiral Swords once you lower him to 2/3 health in Dante Must Die mode. As the name suggests, this creates swords spinning around him that damage and hitstun you. Since you are on DMD, prepare for a world of hurt when he takes advantage of this. Inverted with Beowulf: He's a toughie in close, so you might think that sticking to Dante's guns is the way to go. Well, he's got a nasty, nasty feathers of light attack that he may use when you get Dante too far from him, and then you're in trouble. Big trouble.
  • In Devil Survivor and its sequel, most bosses and some enemy teams with Viles or Dragons in them have the ability to engage teams from a distance, letting them attack without worry of retaliation unless your team also has an increased attack range. When this range exceeds your movement range, this trope starts to manifest. One particular late-game boss, Belberith, has an Instant Death Radius of the entire map you fight him on.
  • Player example in the classic Doom games, if the player is packing the BFG. One shot at point-blank range downs everything in the game except for bosses. Even then it is capable of taking out the Spider Mastermind in a single shot at that range. And tables on the Doom wiki indicate it is theoretically possible to do the same to the Cyberdemon. Only theoretically, though, the random numbers of the damage make that practically impossible.
    • Speaking of Spidey, while it is possible to try to punch the Cyberdemon to death, trying to do it to Spidey will more often than not end badly because her hitscan mega-chaingun will eat you alive and render you unable to actually touch her because of knockback.
    • Brutal Doom gives the Cyberdemon an instakill stomp attack which makes it extremely impractical to fight it with short-range weapons.
  • Dota 2 has a few examples of this, but none stand out as much as Ursa. One of his abilities is a melee-range slow, the other three are some variation of "horribly murder whatever's standing next to me". If Ursa is even moderately farmed and is standing next to an enemy, that enemy is dead.
  • In Dragon Age II, the duel with the Arishok can be really easy or really hard depending on what type of character you are playing. The Arishok has no ranged attacks, but makes up for that with brutal melee attacks. He's also pretty fast, so staying out of his Instant Death Radius while trying to attack him or drink a healing potion isn't easy. Mage!Hawke, despite being a Squishy Wizard, has an advantage since mage staff attacks are ranged.
  • Dragon's Dogma has a few examples of its own, mostly from Bitterblack Isle:
    • The most obvious is Death, who only has two attacks: one to put players and their pawns to sleep, and one to kill them. Nothing in the game can stop his scythe attack from killing you, and if you're inside its swing it doesn't even have to touch you. Your character can revive with a Wakestone, but your Pawns will have to be rehired. It is highly advised that your party has a very high sleep resistance if you're planning to face him. Or, don't.
    • Corrupted Pawn sorcerers become this if you can't stop them from casting maelstrom. It will draw you towards it with significant force, and once you're close enough it will juggle you in the air dealing significant damage every few seconds. This alone will kill even max level players if they don't heal, and if it's done in a room with really strong enemies like Gorecyclops (that can also have their own Instant Death Radius), Total Party Kill ensues.
  • The Final Boss from Drakensang 2: Phileasson's Secret has a deadly spell called "Vacuum Horribilis" (Horrible Void) which will annihilate any character caught inside. However, the radius isn't that large and he has to stand still for a while, leaving him open for spells and long-ranged attacks.
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, getting too close to any of the end-of-episode bosses will result in you getting crushed to death beneath their feet.
  • Dungeon Crawl has hydras, which get to make an attack with each head every turn. Unless you have a fire-branded slashing weapon to lop off their heads or ridiculous AC and damage reduction, fighting an eight-headed hydra in melee is a losing proposition. The unique boss the Lernean Hydra has twenty-seven heads and can do enough damage per round to kill a mid-level character four times over, making engaging it in melee a very quick means of suicide.
  • Both Lord Dredmor and Vlad Digula have one in the four squares you can melee them on, in Dungeons of Dredmor. Sure, when they're only close and visible, while you can pelt them with spells, so can they, and Fulminaric Bolts hurt like hell, but getting up close and personal without massive evasion rates is asking for it. In Dredmor's case, his staff strikes are survivable, but they will corrupt your equipment horribly, no matter what. Digula himself just nose-drills your guts out with four elements at once , and each element's damage alone would make for a formidable blow. Taking a nuke to the face (yes, this game has (magic) nukes, and yes, he can dole them out like candy) is the better option.
  • While playing Dwarf Fortress adventure mode, if you lose stealth within about 10 squares of a giant cave spider, no one will find your body unless you have companions to take the bites first. And Armok help you if you get a web-spitting Forgotten Beast or Titan, be it Fortress or Adventure mode. You will get webbed, with the removal of dodging and blocking such a thing implies, you will get smacked by a limb bigger than you are, and you will die.
    • Crossbow range in Fortress Mode also qualifies. Let's just say that crossbows could potentially punch through all of your internal organsnote  and leave it at that. And they used to have firing rates akin to machine guns. Today, it's not quite as bad, but you can still take a bolt to a limb and immediately pass out from pain, thus ensuring you will spend the next few minutes getting clubbed to death. Approach with caution.
    • Forgotten beasts can get attacks that spew large amounts of poisonous gas/mist/dust all around them, and depending on how merciful the Random Number God is feeling that day, it kills your dwarves at varying speeds, with the worst making them bleed all the blood they have in two seconds or so. And that's not mentioning the physics glitch that makes the dust variant of it knock your dwarves around at alarming speeds, ensuring someone will get a fatal meeting with a stone floor/wall.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • While many monsters can floor you with a hit or two in Final Fantasy XI, boss-level Monk monsters can use Hundred Fists, an ability that allows non-stop, no-delay attacks that pretty much insta-kill anyone that has hate. Normally only Paladins have a chance to not die, provided that they have the Sentinel ability at the ready, or Invincible if Sentinel is still on a timer... that is, if said Paladin actually uses Invincible! Thieves could also survive with Perfect Dodge, but a Thief rarely tanks outside of soloing, if ever, so you might not see it as much.
    • More literally is the final boss of the DLC story pack, A Crystaline Prophecy. The final boss is a stationary crystal. It has some hard hitting aoe spells, but nothing players haven't tangled with before. The problem? It also has an aoe attack centered on itself that charms all party members in range and turn them into a cute little plant monster (in look). And it can use Draw In to drag the current target of its ire right into proximity. Melee players have been screwed in trying to find parties for this fight, which is why it pays to have many spellcaster friends.
    • Charybdis is a giant octopus who can multi attack up to six times per round. The only way to fight him solo is to either load up a ridiculous amount of evasion gear on a Thief so he can't hit you or to slow his movement speed as a Red Mage and run around the room until your damage over time spells slowly whittle down his hp over the course of several hours.
    • Odin's Astral Flow Zantetsuken is an Instant Death Radius, it will kill any player close by who is not "showing reverence". (AKA, resting. And then it still causes a fair amount of damage.) It actually works for players with Odin, but only a chance of it instantly KO'ing every mob in the vicinity.
    • Several Notorious Monsters have "aura" effects, status ailments that will apply to players if they are within range. While some of them are strictly annoying, some of them can kill you, such as Poison, Bio and Doom. Yes, Square loves killing you so much that there are mobs that can kill you even if they aren't thinking about you.
    • This is subverted in Final Fantasy XIV against Titan. After a quarter of his HP is gone, he starts a massive AOE attack. You get to see the radius where this affects and you'll notice it doesn't cover the entire arena. This is the gotcha: you're not supposed to stand outside the radius. If you do, you'll fall to your death as that part of the arena crumbles. However, you still have to stay as far away from Titan as you can since the attack does more damage the closer you are to him.
      • At the same time Titan (especially Extreme Mode) played it straight. By making (near)instant death areas around the players. To elaborate: one of his attacks created a circle around several players (increasing in number as his health lowered) which in short order explode for massive damage. Most players -could- survive one such explosion, but with all the other non-avoidable AoE damage going on it was still pretty much death (or at the very least would seriously piss of your healers if you got hit). The problem came from the tiny battle area, so to avoid totally filling it with explosions the only viable strategy was to stack all players together and move as a group to avoid each sequentially programmed attack. This condensed all the explosions into one place which WAS instant death for anyone who hesitated even half a second in running when the circles appearednote  (and god help you if anyone targeted started running EARLY).
    • Primals in Final Fantasy XIV usually have some kind of "instant-death attack" that requires a gimmick to survive. Ifrit will use Hellfire to utterly obliterate anyone on the battlefield unless you destroy the Infernal Nails that he channels the ability through, which allows you to survive. Garuda summons Maelstroms that will cause significant damage if a player stands in them, which she uses to restrict the battle arena, and will summon a deadly wind attack from the center of the arena that can be survived, but only by tanks. The trick is to prevent her from destroying the stone pillars during the battle, and take shelter behind them to protect yourself from the wind.
  • The Flowsand Lord in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has an attack that works like this: Enemies within its massive range get pulled onto tiles right next to him and get hit with a large amount of damage, which he absorbs to heal himself. And its range is so large that once you're hit with it, it's next to impossible for a character to move out of range before he uses it again. There are only five classes in the entire game that can hit him from outside the range of his attack, and you fight him early enough that you're unlikely to have any of those classes.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance:
      • If you leave a character within range of the Black Knight, they are going to die. Horribly.
      • Ashnard does enough damage to take out most characters in one move, and has a flying movement range of 10! On Hard, he will take any opportunity he can to kill weaker characters.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, Surtr's Weapon of Choice Sinmara deals a flat 20 damage to anything within two spaces at the start of his turn, and his playable incarnation has a unique C skill that also debuffs everyone in the same radius while buffing himself. Anything that gets too close to him is going to be eviscerated.
  • Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich puts the instant death radius on your side. Tricolor has no ranged attacks, and she's painfully frail, but her sword attacks can annihilate anything that gets close. Learn how to lure enemies around corners, and your only threats will be enemies that are instant-deathier than she is.
  • Berserkers in Gears of War will tear you to pieces instantly if you allow them to get within melee range.
  • Mobile Bosses in Gundam Vs Series have a death sentence for suits with motion wave guns as their standard arsenal as most of them have Attack Drone units to blindside your suit while their charge attack can knock off three quarters of your health.
  • In Heat Signature, Predators have a circular purple field. When you enter into it, they will instantly teleport and stab you with their sword.
  • Hellgate: London Tormentors have a damage radius that may not be instant, but if multiples overlap it becomes quick enough to be virtually instantaneous. They approach at a slow creep, but terrain and turns can trap a player inside the field.
  • Pretty much all the bosses of Hotline Miami are not advisable to get into normal melee against. Fisker, Biker and the Bodyguard will kill you dead if you get too close and need special tactics in order to kill — Fisker needs to be shotgunned to death, Biker can only be attacked after he throws his cleaver at you and goes to retrieve it, and the Bodyguard needs to have the trophy you're using as a weapon thrown at her.
  • In Just Cause 2, you fight the Russian agent Alexander Mirkov who is armed with an APC-mounted minigun on top of a skyscraper. The fight would be trivial if you could just grapple your way to the top of the vehicle and dispose of him up close, but the area around the APC is full of proximity-triggered explosives that will kill you instantly if you get too close.
  • Likewise, in Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, taking a bullet at point-blank range usually results in an instant death.
  • In Killzone 2 the knife is a One-Hit Kill both for you and your enemies.
  • The Leechgrave in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is like this, forcing the player to kill off the four Tentaclaws to allow the main part to be attacked safely (your death is pretty much guaranteed if you try to go for the main part otherwise, and your attack won't do nearly as much damage either).
  • The Last of Us: Bloated infected automatically kill Joel by grabbing his mouth and forcing it wide open until his jaw breaks whenever they get close enough to him.
  • League of Legends:
    • Mage champions tend to be this. Almost all of them have short range and/or manually aimed skillshots, usually disables that will set you up for a full combo if you predictably run straight at them. Due to this, melee champions are typically built (almost) full tank - this reduces their damage output but lets them actually survive long enough to get in close. Realising melee was not viable, the developers countered with a series of melee champions equipped with gap closers, fast movement speed, active or passive counters to magic burst, and high natural damage to enable them to build tank without losing much damage output. This effectively turned the tables and suddenly it was the melee characters who had instant death radiuses, usually corresponding to the range of their dash. The only way to survive some of the worst bruiser excesses was to stay completely out of range and (desperately) (try to) kite them.
    • Darius is a melee bruiser with zero ranged attacks and no gap closer, but a fairly short ranged pull. Once he pulls you into melee range and starts to apply bleed stacks, you are probably dead unless you have a blink or your Flash is off cooldown. If you manage to stay out of range of that pull, however, he is slow and trivial to kite. Many of the recent bruisers also into this category, ala Riven, Vi, etc. Like most games of this type, teamwork is paramount and can even defeat a heavily fed character.
    • Outside the meta, in order to prevent spawn-killing, the spawn location (known as the Fountain) has a turret-like laser that deals 1000 true damage a second, which means 1000 unblockable damage every second. For reference, most people end games at anywhere from 1500 to 5000 health, meaning death is dealt in seconds.
  • Player example in Left 4 Dead, especially 2. In the first game, shoving was infinite at first, and anything that isn't a Tank or Witch will be knocked back and stunned for a good while, which lead to stunlocking Infected players in Versus mode. This was later fixed with "melee fatigue" for Versus, which carried over to all modes of the sequel. However, the latter has included melee weapons, which are a One-Hit Kill on anything smaller than a Charger, two-shot a healthy Charger, and clear out swarming hordes fast like nobody's business. And they don't have fatigue. Again, the only ones able to break the stalemate properly are a Tank, which is rare to spawn by the Director, and the Witch, which isn't playable.
  • Used a couple times in The Legend of Zelda, usually as an indicator that the enemy or boss needs to be stunned before it can be attacked.
    • Gyorg, the giant fish boss in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Attempting to take the fight to him in the water will put you in range of his unavoidable (and highly damaging) bites.
    • The final battle in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a test of patience; get too close, too quickly, and you'll take a quick sword to the face.
    • Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword can quickly become this if you don't figure out how to play quickly or are starting to panic and start randomly swinging. It doesn't help that he's the first boss either (though at this point, if you're doing badly enough, he'll start giving you pointers on how to fight him, mainly because he's an arrogant bastard).
    • Skyward Sword also has The Imprisoned. The most obvious method to defeat it involves chopping off its toes. This is made difficult by the fact that it shoots out shockwaves from it's feet every time it takes a step. Also, this is one of the game's recurring boss battles and you don't have any real ranged attacks or ways to stun it for the first few times. You could, of course, just jump on his head and skip the stunning part entirely.
  • Thresher maws in Mass Effect will instantly kill the player who gets close enough to them. Good thing the Mako has a rocket launcher.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • All of the heavy enemies except for the Geth Prime have an attack where they grab you and One-Hit Kill you if you get too close. It's not too bad with the Atlas, since the thing is a Mighty Glacier, but the Brute is a Lightning Bruiser that rushes you, Banshees can Flash Step, and Phantoms are disturbingly quiet. And all of them are aggressive about using the attack, too.
    • In multiplayer, two player classes, the N7 Fury Adept and Asari Valkyrie Sentinel, have a power called Annihilation Field which creates an Instant Death Radius around them for a limited time when activated. Any enemy that gets close will take damage over time, have their defenses weakened, and get primed for a biotic detonation. Add in a light but powerful weapon like the Wraith Shotgun and they'll destroy everything that gets close in very short order.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the BattleArmor relies on short-ranged weapons for the bulk of its firepower, as its long ranged weapons have poor DPS. Annoyingly for battlearmor players, approaching anywhere near something armed with low-caliber autocannons is a recipe for instant death, as a single blast from any of the rapid fire autocannons will gib them. Worse still, Anti-Air tanks and battlemechs are also Anti-Infantry. As such, battlearmor players must coordinate with their allies to take down anti-infantry vehicles before they can approach the enemy and begin to RIP AND TEAR!
  • Touching any boss or miniboss enemy in Mickey Mousecapade is instant death.
  • The Dark Gundam from Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 onwards is sort of like this. It is surrounded by several Gundam Heads that fire off lasers and pound down on you. You have to defeat one of them first because otherwise the Dark Gundam disperses this smoke around it, causing your Gundam to instantly power down and be open to attacks. This is not terribly bad at first but at around half health the Dark Gundam itself starts attacking, and it and the Gundam Heads start firing lasers everywhere around them, dealing massive damage if your powered down.
  • Tigrex in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has a tail whip that trips you and pulls you toward him. If you are close and not in front of him, this is basically all he does. If he hits you with one, he hits you with as many as he wants (i.e. you die).
  • In Nectaris, it's best to avoid moving a ground unit within six hexes of any enemy Atlas SS-80, since the Atlas can then hit it with one of the most powerful attacks in the game. On the advanced maps, the enemy often has multiple Atlases pre-deployed in close proximity. A stand-out example is Deshta, where the enemy base is protected by two Atlases guarding a chokepoint also lined with Triggers.
  • Ninja Gaiden, Xbox remake, has the Gleaming Blade move and its Ultimate Technique versions. They do a number on normal enemies and can punish even Master Ninja bosses significantly.
  • No More Heroes:
    • Once Shinobu starts charging her Desperation Attack (Gengoken), run for your life! If it connects, you will die. Unless you have your health upgraded to the max, which you won't unless you're on New Game+.
    • Bad Girl's One-Hit Kill attack sets up an Instant Death Radius around her as well.
    • Chainsaw mooks from the second game are extremely dangerous to take on at close range thanks to being nigh-Immune to Flinching and dishing out huge amounts of damage. Fortunately, the Peony has a massive attack radius once your ecstasy gauge is high enough, and is strong enough to make them flinch.
  • Throughout endgame boss battles in Perfect World, this trope is both played straight (if the boss throws down a red circle or red cone, run like hell) and inverted (the yellow dome/blue flower/etc. is the only part of the battlefield wherein players are safe) on a VERY frequent basis.
    • Probably the most infamous straight example lies immediately before the fight with Dawnlight Halls' final boss, Natya Veda, the Great Advisor. Natya Veda's sanctum is protected by a narrow stone walkway over deadly lava, with five aptly-named Death Wards that One-Hit Kill any player who steps into their auras. From the beginning of this gauntlet to the end wherein players kill a "FMI Summoner" that has called forth the invincible "Inevitable Nightmare" responsible for chasing players down the passage, ranged classes must break the Death Wards one by one, while melee classes use their entire repertoires of Status Effects to crowd-control the monsters along the passage (especially the "Guardian Statues" which will throw players into the lava, the aura of the nearest Death Ward, or backward to the Inevitable Nightmare - all of which will result in instant death - if left unchecked). Should the Nightmare reach the Summoner, or the nearest unbroken Death Ward, the entire gauntlet will reset itself.
  • This goes for just about any 3D Phantasy Star game.
    • In Zer0, Octo Diablo sits in the water in the middle of the stage, away from melee reach, with the only way to damage it with swords is by going after the damage-giving tentacles. Not only that, but he has a Spin Attack that does three sets of damage to anyone close enough, and by close enough, we mean anyone that isn't up against the outer borders of the stage.
    • Like Octo Diablo, Reyburn has a nearly-unavoidable Spin Attack for anyone who gets too close, however his ranged attacks are just as bad. Subverted with Humilias, where the safest place to be in the fight is right up close near his legs.
    • And God forbid you choose to make a melee-specialised character in Phantasy Star Universe. The bosses seem hell-bent on ruining any character that even remotely comes close to melee range.
  • Pikmin: Virtually every boss that doesn't have a ranged attack relies on this. Normal mooks count as well aside from the "instant" part: they'll hold the attacked Pikmin hostage for a little while, and if you can kill them quickly enough, said Pikmin will be released, oftentimes unharmed. To note, there isn't any IDR to the captains; they just deal some serious, but survivable, damage.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: MC Zom-Bs in the Neon Mixtape Tour. When their Rap Jam plays, they gain the ability to spin their microphone around them, taking most non-defensive (and even some defensive) plants out instantly in a 3x3 radius. Even Wall-Nuts are not much of a help, being killed within two attacks. Thankfully, MC is a Glass Cannon that goes down fast... except for the fact that the Breakdancer Zombie also gains an ability during the Rap Jam. Said ability helps him push zombies forward into your defences, including MC Zom-B who then proceeds to wipe out your plants with his mic.
  • It's generally a bad idea to go melee with the stronger enemies in [PROTOTYPE]; hit and run tactics are usually the way to go. This is especially true when fighting Badass Normal Cross. Yes, his missile launcher hurts. But his stun baton is even worse. This is inverted in the case of tanks. Aside from using your own vehicle, the more powerful melee powers such as the Hammerfist or the Blade are the best methods to take out tanks. Especially the Thermobaric Tank. When you face that beast, the goal is to stick to it as closely as possible to keep it from firing. Otherwise, it will kill even a fully upgraded Alex with full health in one or two hits. But it's (mostly) okay, as pretty much all normal infantry that Alex gets close enough to will usually die within seconds, and even the aforementioned Elite Mooks aren't much problem if they're caught alone. Then you get to Groundspike Graveyard and Tendril Barrage Devastators, which can expand the radius somewhat...
  • Solvaring from Quest 64 attacks with a powerful beam of magma if you stay at a distance. If you get in close, though, he attacks with an even more powerful and unavoidable rock spike attack.
  • In Rainbow Six Vegas 1 & 2, if you encounter an enemy at point blank range, you're pretty much dead. Most noticeable when you turn a corner with an enemy hiding right around it. This is probably to discourage rushing your enemies, but it's quite obvious that their accuracy and reflexes make you wonder if these guys actually distinguish friend or foe. Even worse, they become Demonic Spiders when they rush you. And with most of the games, particular on Elite difficulty, if an enemy sees you, they will more than likely get a near-instant One-Hit Kill shot. Even at long range.
  • Dr. Salvador's only attack in Resident Evil 4 is a One-Hit Kill melee attack. This, combined with being a damage sponge, makes getting in close a very bad idea. Also, Ganado with Plagas sticking out of there heads are generally a bad idea to approach. The whip Plagas can keep attacking even when knocked down, and another type also has a One-Hit Kill melee attack. Gigantes are also massive giants that should only be approached via quick-time event..
  • Risk of Rain 2: The final boss from Survivors of the Void has an attack where it opens a void portal that sucks in everything into it, killing anything it touches instantly. Melee survivors are at a tacticaly disadvantage solely because this move exists. Not only that, the animation for it is so long that you'll die right after Dio's Best Friend revives you unless you were caught near the end of the attack animation.
  • TzTok-Jad, the original Final Boss of Runescape, is almost exclusively fought at a distance with ranged weapons or magic. Jad's attacks hit hard, potentially being a One-Hit Kill on any but the healthiest combatants. These can be completely blocked with the correct protection prayer, which is possible due to the lengthy animations on his magical and ranged attacks. Jad's melee attack, however, is extremely fast, and cannot be reacted to. Those wishing to fight the beast hand-to-hand must keep their melee prayer up at all times, while swapping to the appropriate magic or range prayer and back as needed.
  • The Secret World has several bosses, like the Corroder and Recursia, the Many-in-one, who invert this with devastating attacks that will cause instant death to anyone outside a small radius around them.
  • In Sengoku Basara, several of the Mighty Glacier fighters have this going on, especially if you take their Super Arts into account. Going into melee with Honda Tadakatsu, Tachibana Muneshige or Shimazu Yoshihiro (and especially getting caught in their Super Arts) can cost you a significant amount of your health bar in an instant. Oda Nobunaga takes this to extremes in the third game, however: When channeling his gigantic demonic Super Mode, he cannot be flinched, his attacks have titanic reach, deal horrible damage, and juggles you to boot. The only way to deal with him if you don't have a good ranged attack (preferably with knockback) is to simply run away until he stops channelling it.
  • Many very large enemies in Serious Sam like the huge lava golem, Ugh Zan III or reptiloid highlanders have deadly melee attacks which can kill player almost instantly.
  • In Silent Hill 2, Pyramid Head qualifies as it. He's really hard to shake off once you get grappled. Also, during the first battle, his BFS attacks will kill you in one hit. In the first game, the Split-Head can insta-kill you with its vertical jaws when it Turns Red.
  • In Soldier of Fortune: Payback, enemies do quadruple damage if they shoot you within about 6-10 feet or so, which results in a point-blank shot pretty much resulting in instant death. The last 3 levels ramp up the challenge to Fake Difficulty levels by increasing this Instant Death Radius to about 50 to 70 feet!
    • The Torturer in II will ventilate you instantly with his M60 machine gun if you get in his sights at close range. Ditto for Sanchez, who you have to take out by throwing a grenade into his hiding place.
  • Space Invaders: Infinity Gene has the "Field" weapon that fires lasers which zap any does that fly within a certain area around your ship. When fully powered up, the field covers about 75% of the screen, meaning that just about anyone that gets anywhere near you is toast.
  • Rancors in pretty much any Star Wars game will wipe out player characters in a single hit if they get too close. In the games where they can actually be killed, namely Knights of the Old Republic, you'll want to do so with lasers and mines.
  • This is exactly what happens when you get too close to a really good Zangief player (or a really effective computer-controlled Zangief) in Street Fighter. He can't instantly KO you, but there's a psychological intimidation factor involved: You're basically fighting an Implacable Man who will punish every little mistake with a Spinning Pile Driver or its much more brutal version, the Final Atomic Buster. Even at a distance you're still not safe as he can close the gap with his running powerbomb or his Siberian Express from V . Jumping's not safe either as he'll catch you with the Aerial Russian Slam from Alpha 2&3, the more powerful Siberian Blizzard from SSFIV, and the less powerful but still painful Borscht Dynamite from V.
    • Other fighters from the series are also IDRs in their own way. For example, two of the former members of Mad Gear Hugo from III & IV and Abigail from V. Hugo has a lot of throws in his arsenal including Avalanche Press, the distance closing Meat Squasher, the Shootdown Backbreaker anti-air throw and the dreaded Gigas Breaker and Megaton Press Super Arts/Ultra Combos. Hugo can use Ultra Throw which wallbounces opponents and setting them up for either a Shootdown Backbreaker or a Megaton Press. Abigail is more of a striker, but the way he can destroy opponents' health bars with his attacks, he's still a death radius. Abigail's Nitro Charge will force you to guess whether a.) Punch you b.)Dive into you c.) throw you D) Parry/Repel you with his V-skill I. A wrong guess will send you into a world of hurt. Abigail's V-Triggers are also to be feared. Max Power increases his Heavy Punch's power and damage. Hybrid Charge gives him a Juggernaut-style Headbutt.
  • In Syphon Filter if you see the flashing "headshot" indicator above your head, you better run for cover ASAP or your head's going bye-bye. The snipers never miss. Some bosses will also headshot you if you get too close; one requires you to shoot the lights out so you can nonlethally subdue him.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The game has the Sentry Guns, and the Engineer getting ready to build said gun can actually see the range of the weapon via a translucent colored sphere with the radius measured out from the barrel. Needless to say, anyone on the opposite team who comes within this range will find themselves on the wrong end of a lead barrage. Though luckily for the other team, attacks to buildings suffer no damage falloff and thus most classes can destroy an unguarded one with ease if they can hit it from outside its range.
    • The Pyro is a blazing deathball within a space of about five meters, and also possesses a rather effective array of melee weapons as well. Any further out however, and nothing in the Pyro's arsenal but secondary weapons will be able to hit you at all.
    • The Heavy basically turns into an Instant Death Radius up to medium range any time the minigun is revved up. At point blank range, anything that has the misfortune to be in front of a Heavy—even another Heavy—will die in less than a second. (The stock minigun has a DPS of around 500, in a game where the maximum health any character can have at any time, without hacking or modding the game outright, is 450). And if the Heavy gets random crits with the Minigun, the death radius expands significantly because crits both increase damage and negate damage falloff. After the Love and War update, it's a little less "instant", as the gun's damaged starts out at half power and increases to full after a continuous second of firing, but at point blank he can still kill another Heavy in less than a second. A later update changed the ramp-up for the minigun to the first second of being spun up, so the heavy's larger instant death radius is maintained through bursts of fire as long as the minigun remains spun-up.
    • Sniper is a strange inversion: if you're a fair distance away and he sees you, Boom, Headshot!. However, if you get in close, it's a toss-up over who will survive, since it's tricky to use the Sniper Rifle at close-range, but Sniper also has some good melee weapons and an SMG.
  • Melkor in ToME has such utterly nasty melee attacks that trying to kill him by whacking him with a sword is a losing proposition. In addition, strict melee types are the ones that will be the most inconvenienced by his summoning magic. And we are talking about an optional boss at a point in the game where any character has long ago hit the level cap, so just trying to munchkin it out won't be very effective.
  • While many Touhou Project bosses have attacks that are downright impossible to survive in melee (as opposed to only nigh-impossible at range), special mention must go to Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism's Yuugi Hoshiguma, whose "Knockout in Three Steps" literally inverts this trope. The attack generates a few bullets adjacent to her, before covering everything outside a certain radius with bullets; the only way to survive is to go up close, thus remaining inside the non-instant death radius.
  • Town of Salem has rampage, and attribute exclusive to the Werewolf, Juggernaut, and Pestilence. It causes you to attack all visitors to your primary target on top of being able to attack anyone who visits you should you stay home. This can result in a theoretically infinite number of kills a night, although the more players you kill the higher the chance you have of being called out via process of elimination.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Selvaria's zone extends to anything in her field of vision. Basically, she carries a More Dakka BFG with the accuracy and range of a sniper rifle!, not to mention she has the high ground from the start of the mission, and you have to climb up from the bottom. With her firing on you the whole time. Even worse, some of your units actually start inside her Radius, meaning they'll probably die the moment you attempt to move them. The only way to stay alive is to be completely hidden from view, which is easier said than done seeing as she has the mobility of a Scout. (Being out of view on your turn doesn't necessarily mean you'll be out of view once she finishes moving...)
  • Every boss in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume other than the first one can automatically use a special attack at the end of their chain of attacks against you, even if they wouldn't be able to do so had you taken another story path and recruited them. Unless you have a lot of HP or you're using one of the main character's unique abilities, this is for all intents and purposes an automatic knockout. What's worse, if your characters attack en masse and the counter manages to KO one of you without the use of a special, they'll use the special on a second attacking character, typically knocking them out too. Against sword-using bosses like Darius, this means you shouldn't let anyone other than the main character get within reach of the counter, and maybe not even him until you've worn your foe down a bit. Against mages like Liselotte, well, here's hoping you've got at least five revival items on hand. And then there's the final boss of the good path, whose counter targets every character who attacked her and has a chance of stunning anyone who survives it.
  • Vindictus' Wake-Up Call Boss, the Gnoll Chieftain, is the first major boss you face that primarily uses smash attacks on you, as opposed to normal attacks. At the level that you first face him, two to three hits with his giant hammer are enough to kill you, and one of his smash attacks is a powerful whirlwind sweep which clears a sizable radius around him, making staying out of range and using hit-and-run tactics as he's recovering from a smash key to surviving the battle. Higher-level players have an easier time dealing with him, both due to experience in dealing with such bosses and having better armor and more HP.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine multiplayer, getting in line-of-sight of someone with a braced heavy bolter or melee range of someone with a Thunderhammer and Killing Blow is instant death, but only if they're looking at you.
  • The Kayran boss in The Witcher 2 is electrified by a sorceress "assisting" you. The Kayran doesn't seem any worse for wear, but you'll get electrocuted if you get too close. The boss itself has monstrously powerful melee attacks for a second Instant Death Radius, which cover almost the entirety of the fight arena. Thankfully there are a couple very specific safe areas you can run to, and the attacks can be dodged.
  • World of Warcraft has many examples, as well as some inversions:
    • While boss mechanics can vary wildly, there tend to be some baseline concepts common to all. Most bosses have some sort of ground AoE that will appear randomly in the arena and will devastate anyone who stands in it, a cleave or breath attack that will devastate anyone standing in front of the boss (except the tank, who must face it away from the group), and some sort of tail whip that punishes anyone standing behind the boss. In other words, while everyone has something to worry about, melee players generally have an extra layer of proximity to the boss from certain angles to worry about. Many bosses exaggerate it further by having a whirlwind or other close-range AoE that forces all melee players (sometimes even the tank) to temporarily flee or be instantly destroyed.
    • Frequently found on at least one of the members of each Quirky Miniboss Squad (Maulgar, Kaelthas, Illidari Council).
    • The Shade of Aran will pull casters in to melee range shortly before casting his instant death radius spell.
    • Demonform Illidan is so dangerous in melee that he's tanked not by a regular tank class but by a warlock, so they can hold aggro without getting near him. (And also because he only deals spell damage in this form, making their armor useless.)
    • The Zombie Chows during the Gluth encounter in Naxxramas. In the Northrend version of the instance, they have 500,000 health points - more than some heroic bosses. They have to be kept in line to avoid them from healing Gluth, but they have a melee attack that applies an armour-reducing debuff. Thus, they're usually kited by ranged attackers with a slowing ability, like frost mages.
    • Yogg-Saron, befitting his status as an Eldritch Abomination, basically has this when players reach his brain. It casts a 20 second cast time spell that turns everyone still in there insane... which is worse than death in the sense that they are turned against the other players and the effect persists through death, making it pointless to use any in-combat means to revive them.
    • Sindragosa pulls the entirety of the group to the centre of her oddly shaped hitbox before beginning to cast a devastating aura attack. It happens quickly enough that players are recommended to turn around while they're flying through the air.
    • Inverted by Loken in the Halls of Lightning; who while possessing a periodically-used lightning-nova attack that can inflict severe pain on lesser-geared characters in a significant radius, also has a pulsing electrical aura that actually does more damage the further away you are from him.
      • Loken is a spiritual successor to Murmur in the Shadow Labyrinth, which had an inverse version of this trope active whenever he wasn't casting his nova attack in the heroic version, meaning that everyone had to stay fairly close to the boss and run away at the right time just outside the circle on the ground that marks the radius. A few other (mostly immobile) bosses had comparable abilities they only used when no one was near them, mostly to prevent players from trying to cheat.
    • Certain outdoors raid bosses will apply "Mark" debuffs against players they kill which will stop the player from fighting them again for a while. This is done to prevent graveyard zerging. The four Nightmare green dragons place a Mark of Nature that puts you to sleep if you approach, the blue dragon Azuregos freezes you into an iceblock if you try, and the Outland Fel Reaver Doomwalker has a Mark of Death. You guess what it does.
    • Several Heroic Bosses in Cataclysm have an Instant Death Radius as part of their fights:
      • Rom'ogg Bonecrusher pulls everyone into Melee Range and spawns an object called Chains of Woe that binds everyone to that spot. It must be quickly destroyed before Rom'ogg completes his attack and basically one-shots most players in range.
      • Ozruk has the ability Shatter, which causes a visible radius to appear around him as he lifts a leg. If you do not run out of the radius in time, you pretty much die. To make matters worse, he paralyzes everyone before using it, so you need to have a Damage Over Time effect on you in order to escape. Luckily his mechanics do provide such options.
      • Assad has a sort of 'inverse death radius', in that everywhere but a designed safe zone is the death radius every now and then. To complicate matters, he casts Static Cling which you need to jump to avoid.
      • Vanessa Vancleef has an Instant Death Radius right at the end of the fight, where she basically tries to take you down with her by igniting a barrel of Gunpowder. Luckily you have several seconds to run.
    • As a panic button, administrators can spawn avatars that have a literal instant death radius.
    • Mist of Pandaria inverted this trope with some of the rare-spawn champions. If an attacking character moves outside of a set range, the champion will trigger an attack that is lethal or nearly so.
      • The Pandaren champion has an AoE in which he'll periodically perform a whirlwind-type attack that chases his current target, forcing players to flee. If they move outside his range, he'll cast an attack that can take more than half their health in one hit.
      • The Champion of Arms and Shadows in the Landfall patch both have powerful attacks that only trigger when a player attempts to flee. Arms will perform a leap to their target, potentially one-shotting them, while Shadows will perform a similarly-powered knife throw.
    • The Throne of Thunder raid adds Blizzard's answer to the Tonberry, Gastropods. Giant snails that fixate on a player and crawl towards them, anything they touch dies. Very dangerous for melee to attack as it will occasionally change the player it's fixating on, and immediately change direction; even worse, you fight them in a sewer with narrow paths to walk on, and a circular staircase where the banister will block your shots, meaning ranged players have to get fairly close to attack.
    • One frequent version of this is an Instant Death Radius in front of the boss for anyone but the tanks. Dragons and some beasts also have one in the back (swatting players with their tail) that anyone needs to avoid.
  • XCOM series has a few:
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
      • Captain-level Assaults in can get Close Combat Specialist, a skill that grants an automatic reaction shot against any enemy that gets close to them, with no need for Overwatch. Keep in mind, Assaults favor shotguns, and in the late game can pack the Alloy Cannon, one of the most powerful soldier weapons in the whole game. And even better, there's no limit to how many times it can trigger, so up to eight enemies can get shot by rushing close to an Assault with a fully loaded weapon if you have Ammo Conservation developed in the Foundry. This tends to spell doom for Chryssalids and Berserkers, as they're melee-exclusive and tend to sprint straight to the first enemy they see when revealed, which tends to be an Assault; Chryssalids in particular tend to be one-shotted by Alloy Cannon reaction fire that manages to hit. With the "Training Roulette" Second Wave option, any soldier can get this, and it can stack with Opportunist, a traditionally Sniper-exclusive skill that removes the aim penalty of reaction shots and allows them to crit.
      • S.H.I.V.s can jump on the bandwagon with the "Sentinel Drone" Foundry project. It works exactly like Close Combat Specialist, with the added benefit of the S.H.I.V. regaining 2 health at the end of every turn. It's only got one drawback compared to CCS: if the S.H.I.V. tanks a Critical Hit, Sentinel Drone is disabled for the rest of the mission.
    • In XCOM 2, Rangers, the successors of Assaults, can learn Bladestorm, a skill that works much the same as Close Combat Specialist, but instead of a reaction shot, it's a free slash with their considerably powerful sword. With better equipment than the basic metal blade, it can stun enemies or set them on fire, and like Close Combat Specialist, there's no limit to how many times it can activate per turn. War of the Chosen amps Bladestorm even further by introducing the melee-oriented Templars who have the devastating Rend attack and can learn Bladestorm if you're lucky, and the Lost, zombies that embody Bladestorm fodder. That said, all that awesomeness breaks and breaks hard when a Bladestorm unit gets their personal space invaded by a Muton, the one enemy unit that can Counter-Attack melee strikes with their bayonets to devastating effect.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles features Spike attacks. There are proximity spikes, where being near the enemy deals damage, counter spikes, where attacking deals damage, and topple spikes, where toppling the enemy and then attacking deals damage. There is no way to tell what spike an enemy has, and some spikes come in Status Effects flavor. For example, The Dragon has a paralysis counter spike, and the Bonus Boss has an Instant Death counter spike.
  • Paranid ships in the X-Universe series can mount a gun known as the Phased Shockwave Generator, which instead of shooting solid slugs or energy bolts produces an expanding wavefront of high-energy death. Because of how splash damage works, anything struck by the wavefront takes absurd amounts of damage (which is the main reason it was nerfed to capital-ship-only in X3: Terran Conflict). Paranid capital ships can mount PSGs to cover almost all attack vectors, which makes approaching within 1.5 km of a hostile Paranid so armed an extremely bad idea. Kha'ak capital ships on the other hand, have Hitscan anti-capital ship weapons, which are perfectly capable of slicing any fighter craft to bits within a second, unlike standard anti-capital ship weaponry which are incapable of tracking fast targets, and even more unlikely to hit said fighters with their slow moving disco balls of death
  • Ekinard from Zenonia 3 spews toxic clouds that follow you around effectively making it impossible to hit him EVEN WITH THE RANGED CLASSES. The only way to beat him is with hit-and-run Cherry Tapping.

Other examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Colossal Titan from Attack on Titan doesn't have the agility of its smaller brethren, but its ability to emit ultra-hot scalding steam from its body makes trying to Attack Its Weak Point very unwise.
  • Bleach: Barragan had two such abilities: his Time Dilation Field, which slows anything that comes near him to a crawl, and Respira, which spreads rapidly upon touching any area of the victim's body and kills them — unless they quickly amputate the affected body part. Both of these abilities made it impossible for Sui-Feng to even land an attack, since she couldn't risk getting anywhere near him, without getting slowed down or having it affecting any part of her body.
  • Lucy and all other Diclonii from Elfen Lied can manifest telekinetic "vectors" that are capable of tearing apart any human within their range. Normally, a Diclonius' vectors only have a range of a few meters, but particularly powerful Diclonii can extend this range.
  • In Fairy Tail this comes as part and parcel for anyone that has Ankhselam's Curse. Basically it's a situational instant death radius that, ordinarily, only activates when a certain condition is met and is typically not active otherwise. The only problem is that the condition that activates the curse is when said cursed one cherishes the value of life, and so long as that person even slightly cares about anyone, they run the risk of the curse randomly going off and killing everything in the immediate area. This means that in order to prevent the unintentional deaths of those the cursed one holds dear, they pretty much have to either become a stone cold sociopath who has no concept of life having value, or live in self-imposed exile away from everyone lest the curse activate and murder scores of people. This aspect, along with Complete Immortality and a severe case of Mind Rape, are designed to ensure that no one with the curse can ever find happiness, and is the primary reason why Zeref's life sucks so much.
  • From Fullmetal Alchemist, we have Wrath. Thanks to his Implausible Fencing Powers, Charles Atlas Superpower and Combat Clairvoyance, he only needs a single sword to take on an entire company of soldiers, maybe a grenade to take on the occasional tank or two. It took a double Suicide Attack just to finally wound him, and even in his weakened, crippled state, no one dared to take on his challenge. Although finally the Badass Preacher took it, and duked it out to the bitter end.
  • Hunter × Hunter has Nobunaga Hazama, an assassin from the Genei Ryodan clan who, via his katana, can kill with certainty within a radius.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Even discounting their actual abilities, stands with low range but high power shouldn't be approached without a plan, as it's likely to end with you obliterated under a massive barrage of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs (or, as in the case of King Crimson, a single Megaton Punch). Factor in Stand abilities, which can get quite bizarre and sometimes overpowered but can only be applied under certain strict conditions, and the end result is that approaching some Stand Users without knowing what they can do is often tantamount to suicide. That said, it's usually the heroes who have powerful, short-ranged Stands, meaning that they usually face the opposite problem of getting through the enemy's barrage of supernatural weirdness and deploying their own "Instant Death" Radius.
  • Haruka Kotoura from Kotoura-san gives a telepathic version: It's the first thing viewers see.
  • Maken-ki!: Tesshin's martial prowess is so formidable and his aura's so imposing, that stepping anywhere within his attack range ensures his opponent's death. That includes even S-rank ability users such as Minori, which has earned him the title of Tesshin "the Fatal Hand" Kushiya.
  • Ramiel, the fifth Angel from Neon Genesis Evangelion, has an Always Accurate laser powerful enough to melt through an Eva's armor in seconds (and even with a shield, it doesn't take much longer) and can possibly fire it indefinitely (and surprise attacks from underground don't work either, as it detected Unit-01 long before it surfaced.) Needless to say, it effortlessly wipes out anything and everything in range, and the only option is to fire at it with a giant sniper rifle from outside its Instant Death Radius. Ramiel then reveals it can attack outside that radius... but its accuracy isn't perfect at that range.
  • From One Piece:
    • Caesar Clown can manipulate gases. This, along with other uses of that power, allows him to remove oxygen from area around him, suffocating anyone, who comes to close to him.
    • Mihawk will immediately curbstomp anyone who gets within range, befitting of his status of World's Strongest Swordsman; and don't think staying at range will keep you safe either. Notably, even the resident Leeroy Jenkins realizes that attacking him head-on is a bad idea.
  • Thorkell "The Tall" from Vinland Saga is presented as all but having this. Thorkell is at least seven feet (2 meters+) tall and dual-wields pole axes in battle, complete with all the speed, skill and coordination you wouldn't expect from someone as big and old as him. (Although he certainly doesn't look like it, Thorkell is about 50 years old when he first appears.) Fights involving Thorkell and opponents without Plot Armor usually start and end with Thorkell swinging his axes as though they were daggers and limbs beginning to fly long before anyone gets close enough to threaten him.
  • Black Trigger Organon from World Trigger creates circular blades that surrounding the user. The blades cover a wide area and can down a few buildings in one go.

    Comic Books 
  • One early issue of Ultimate X-Men involved a young mutant with a literal Instant Death Radius — quite a wide one, too — that he couldn't turn off no matter how much he wanted to. Only Wolverine could survive in close proximity to him due to his Healing Factor rebuilding his cells faster than the mutant's aura could break them down. Wolvie commiserates with the kid on his lousy lot in life and offers him his first drink before offing him for the safety of those around him. The same plot happened before in a four part Wolverine and The Punisher crossover. A situation where a young mutant had a death radius that couldn't be turned off and was reluctantly killed by Wolverine before more people died. The difference being that it was a Morlock girl instead of a boy, and she was trying to head to the surface from the chamber she was sealed in underground to contain her powers.

  • Referenced at the climax of Hero (2002). The Emperor deduces that the only reason the 'hero' killed so many of China's greatest criminals was to earn a private audience with the Emperor that would put the Emperor within the hero's Instant Death Radius generated by an Always Accurate Attack with a range of 10 paces. He's right, but asks the hero to hear him out and then decide whether to strike.
  • This trope kicks off the plot of a 2017 sci-fi / horror film called Radius. A man awakens from a horrific accident, only to find out that anyone who gets within fifty feet of him dies instantly. A large chunk of the plot is finding who or what can reverse the effect.

  • In the Drenai saga, Druss effectively has one of these when he's wielding his battle-axe Snaga.
  • In Andrew Vachss's Burke books, Max the Silent is generally described as having one, with Terminal explicitly doing a Lampshade Hanging of the "stay out of his reach if you don't want to receive a Curb-Stomp Battle" aspect.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Mandrakes are plants that look like deformed human infants. They have a tendency to cry when pulled out of the ground, and as their cries are fatal to everyone that hears it, their death radius is basically earshot with no warning if you can't see it coming. And wizards have the power to amplify sounds to unnatural levels.
  • Ships of the wall in Honor Harrington can almost instantly annihilate anything smaller than them that strays into their energy weapon burn-through range. This is vividly demonstrated in The Short Victorious War: One Manticoran dreadnought. Two divisions of Havenite battlecruisers. The latter die to a man barely inconveniencing the former. However, this example is downplayed: while they can burn through your Sidewalls, they cannot punch through any impeller wedge, no matter how weak. The People Republic's blunder was amplified by sending battlecruisers, the most arthritic non-wall ship class on the helm, which could not block the line of fire in time.
    • Also, treecats. Get within jumping range of a hostile one without body armor, and you'd better hope he settles for blinding you.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Shardblades are usually about 6 feet long, weigh almost nothing, and pass through almost anything with little to no resistance. Any flesh hit is instantly killed, including killing a person if their spine is hit. Using a Shardblade against opponents without a Blade or Shardplate of their own basically just amounts to wide, sweeping swings that instantly cut down entire squads of men unfortunate enough to be nearby. They're not very practical upclose, but if the user has Shardplate, you're now in close proximity to someone strong enough to probably punch a hole through you, wearing armor you'd be lucky to scratch. Taking a Shardbearer with both Blade and Plate (without Shards of your own) basically just invovles throwing as many bodies as you possibly can at them in an attempt to overwhelm them. Needless to say it doesn't generally work.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: this seems to be an ability of the godmodder. Almost any entity that manages not to have its weapons jam suddenly when they fire at it die before they get to him.

    Web Comics 
  • The picture above is from a VG Cats strip about Dungeon Crawlers.

    Web Original 
    • This trope is the reason why Knuckles was defeated by Donkey Kong, since the former needed to get into close range and the latter had physical capabilities that could easily squash him.
    • In "Carnage vs. Lucy", the range and power of Lucy's vectors slice him to bits whenever he tries to get close, just like her victims from Elfen Lied. However, Carnage's Healing Factor easily pulls himself back together.
  • TierZoo mentions that sauropods had two, one much more deadly than the other. The first was their naturally long tails, which, while not as damaging as an ankylosaur tail club, could still knock down predators. The second was the range of their stomp attack, which was described as the most devastating move in the game that knocked a predator down and dealt lethal damage.
  • Behemoth of Worm can create fire inside people's bodies if they come too close to him, which is even called a 'kill radius' in universe. He can also start emitting radiation with an even bigger kill radius. This limits the parahumans fighting him to using long-range attacks exclusively, except for those with some kind of power that would allow them to survive getting set on fire from the inside out (such capes do exist, but are a definite minority).

    Western Animation 
  • In the Season 3 Rick and Morty episode "The Rickchurian Mortydate", a Secret Service agent gets close to Rick only to suddenly die for some unexplained reason.

    Real Life 
  • Guns in general display this trope to such a degree that there's a reason soldiers don't use swords or axes anymore.
  • Anyone within a certain distance of the epicenter of a nuclear explosion will be vaporized. Period.
  • If you fall into the event horizon of a black hole, you get sucked in and crushed. Period. (though in reality you would probably die from the gravity and heat long before you reached the actual event horizon).