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Invisible Means Undodgeable

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The one time lightning can't do everything.

"You cannot dodge what you cannot see!"

So, a wizard battles a knight, throwing lightning about, raining fire from the sky, shooting beams of evil, all of which, the knight deflects with his Magic Cool Sword. The wizard then brings out a new spell: a vague invisible force that hits the knight, who is helpless to stop it.

So, the question is raised... How come the knight was so easily able to stop lightning bolts, which move far faster than anything humans can react to, but was unable to stop this?


Invisible Means Undodgeable.

Magic Swords, incredible dodging skills, barriers, shields, and the like are more than a match for any spell that can be seen. The moment that a spell becomes invisible, though, all of these things are useless. The spell will travel through any protective charm or barrier, even if all previous magic was casually guarded.

And this moves beyond just magic too. For psychic powers, or just normal invisible things, the moment something goes invisible, it will not be dodged.

Note that this trope only applies when there is a contrast between visible dodgeable attacks and abilities, and invisible undodgeable ones. If everything is undodgeable, then it doesn't count. For instance, in all of the tabletop games based on d20 System, attacking while invisible completely negates the target's Dexterity defense bonus, and the same applies to invisible projectiles unless the target can see who's shooting and guess the trajectory.

Sometimes overlaps with hitscan attacks. Also, compare with Rule of Perception, Thought-Controlled Power, as well as Always Accurate Attack. Contrast Projectile Spell, for when magic spells behave more like projectiles (and can be potentially dodged) when it's better if they don't.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Black Cat, Creed Diskenth's Imagine Blade is created by his Tao powers and the only part that is visible is the hilt. Its length is also variable, so dodging it with any degree of success means keeping track of the angle of the hilt. Train comes up with an alternative method early in the story: he sacrifices his off hand to find the blade, blasts it out of Creed's hands, then shoots him in the chest with an explosive bullet.
  • A few techniques in Naruto, such as Shinra Tensei/Bansho Tenin, most genjutsu and sound based attacks.
  • Played mostly straight in Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with Kira's invisible air bombs he uses towards the beginning of the climactic fight, derived from a combination of his Killer Queen and the Stray Cat stand. Even he has initial trouble directing them, later using mathematical formulas to direct them on the fly.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Invisibility is a card itself. It aligns with this trope in function, as it enchants a creature so that it cannot be blocked by anything except for Walls.

    Comic Books 
  • Played with with Darkseid's Omega Beams. While they are visible, and technically dodgeable, he maintains conscious control of them after firing, which is rare for visible magic.
  • In Hellblazer issue 250, the protagonist John Constantine went face to face with a demon which easily pummels him down. When John was in a chokehold, he gave a smile, and the demon spontaneously exploded. John later tells the reader he killed the demon with a spell.
  • Averted when it comes to superheroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil who are usually pretty good at detecting and dodging invisible opponents due to their Super-Senses.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Force in Star Wars. Lightsabers and dodging skills can evade all sorts of Force powers, such as Force Lightning. The moment someone starts a Force-Choke, though, it's over.
    • In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren likes to take advantage of this when dealing with targets that are outside of his physical reach. He telekinetically grabs both Poe and Rey at different points in the film, holding them motionless so that he does not have to bother chasing down agile, blaster-toting adversaries.

  • Averted in the Dragaera novels, in which Vlad often Lampshades how he doesn't have any idea what his allies' or enemies' invisible sorcery is supposed to do, he just does his best to hide behind Spellbreaker and dodge any gestures directed towards him.
  • Played with in the Lord Darcy novel Too Many Magicians. It was only luck and an unreliable talent for seeing a few seconds into the future that allowed Lord Ashley to survive the first rush against a Polish spy with an invisible sword. But after that he was able to work out where it was by watching the still-visible hand that wielded it.
  • Journey to Chaos downplays this trope. Invisible spirit blasts are a lot harder to dodge then visible mana bolts but it is still doable. Eric prefers tanking them with a barrier to reduce the impact rather than take a chance at getting hit full force.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who has several examples.
    • All of the highly advanced alien races that use visible projectiles, such as the Daleks or Cybermen, are easily avoidable. However, the Time Lords have a glove that absolutely destroys things from time. It's both invisible and undodgeable.
    • In addition, Bad Wolf (Rose Tyler, after seeing the heart of the TARDIS) uses invisible undodgeable magic, as well as Sutekh.
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": The Doctor ends up getting smacked around a bit by the invisible Monster of the Week because only Mad Artist Vincent can see it unaided, and the Doctor is very startled because he initially assumes that Vincent's reaction to the monster is a psychotic break.
  • In Firefly, the two unnamed agents tracking the main characters have a sonic device which kills everyone anywhere near them. It only produces a noise, and is never avoided by anyone it is used on. Potentially justified as it seems to have a debilitating effect that prevents the victim from just turning around and running as fast as they can the moment it becomes clear that it is a weapon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons. Attack spells such as Charm Person, Sleep and Power Word Stun are invisible and cannot be dodged or deflected with weapons.
    • In the 4th Edition, if the attacker is invisible (or the defender is blind), they merely gain combat advantage. Invisible waves of force from a visible attacker gain no such advantage. There's a few powers that can turn a weapon invisible and give a temporary bonus (due to the surprise, but you can still see the attacker's hands move).
    • This is pretty much why 3rd and 4th edition split saving throws respectively defenses against magical attacks into the Fortitude/Reflex/Will triad — a spell you can see coming your way can usually be dodged, so Reflex applies, but if it's invisible, the target will simply have to apply Fortitude or Will instead to tough it out.
  • Subverted in Tabletop Game/Exalted — Martial Arts Charm Tiger-and-Bear Awareness explicitly does not allow to see invisible spirits, instead granting supernatural Spider-Sense which allows to dodge or parry their attacks, or even attack them.

    Video Games 
  • While technically dodgeable, Akuma's infamous Shun Goku Satsu in Street Fighter II mostly follows this form, having the screen go black, and the damaging the player hit by the move.
  • Psynergy in Golden Sun, to at least the people in universe who can't see Psynergy.
  • Inverted in one Touhou Project boss fight. Reisen Udongein Inaba can make her bullets invisible, but they can't actually hit you while invisible. But of course you still need to be careful since they still move and may reappear on top of you.
  • Godzilla: Save the Earth zigzags this, with Space Godzilla. Some of his moves, such as his grab, play it straight, being invisible and undodgeable, while other invisible attacks are quite blockable and some visible attacks go through all guards.
  • A variant in Mega Man X: Command Mission: One of the Status Effects is Blind. Apparently, aside from lowering the affected foe's accuracy, this status effect will also lower their evasion rate ("you can't dodge what you can't see").
  • Played with in the Final Boss in Double Dragon 3 has one attack that is an invisible energy wave — you can't dodge it, but you can block it if your timing is good.
  • Frank West in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has his "Snapshot" attack in which he takes a shot with his camera. This move has no shown form, but it can hit the opponent anywhere (even while grounded), though it does small damage and can be blocked.
    • Also Magento's level 3 hyper: Gravity Squeeze can hit you from anywhere.
  • In Midnight Suns, one of the status conditions is Concealed which prevents the character from being targeted by attacks. Attacks that don't target such as area of effect ones will still hit.
  • Inverted in Final Fantasy VI, in which a character or enemy rendered invisible by the "Vanish" status becomes incapable of dodging (usually visible) magic spells, including One-Hit Kill spells that are normally Useless Useful Spells due to a near-100% miss rate.
  • Mass Effect 3: When Shepard uses an offensive power like Warp, Concussive Shot, or Incinerate, they fire a visible projectile that enemies can dodge. Squad members, however, do not fire visible projectiles if they're not in the camera frame when they activate the power, resulting in it always hitting the enemy with perfect accuracy.
  • Variation in Metroid Prime: the Chozo Ghosts turn invisible then move elsewhere before turning visible again to attack Samus. You can't attack them in this intermediate invisible form until you get the X-Ray Visor, which lets you view them at any time. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes does the same thing with the Dark Pirate Commandos and the Dark Visor.
  • Rather ironically, given its source material, Star Wars Battlefront 2 averted this with the Jedi heroes. All force powers are blockable by any other lightsaber-wielding being (including General Grievous) as long as they are blocking while facing the attack that's coming at them, even Force Choke and Force Push/Pull. Getting hit from behind or the side leaves you vulnerable, which makes Saber Throw the best attack against other Jedi, because while it will do no damage on the initial throw, it will hit on the return. However, since they can't block, no trooper can dodge a Force attack.
  • Sonny: Attacks without a projectile or a melee swing cannot miss. While the enemies have their share, some builds can abuse these too; this fact is part of what makes Shock Therapy-based builds so devastating, their main method of offense and buff-removal cannot miss.
  • Subverted in Talesof Zestiria — Sergei Strelka's lacks spiritual power to see the Seraphim, but his fighter reflexes are so keen, he can parry their attacks. In fact, he confuses the cast for a moment, because it looks like he can actually see the attack.

    Western Animation 
  • Bloodbending in Avatar: The Last Airbender as well as its Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, has only ever once been stopped, but never dodged. After all, it's pretty hard to stop someone from manipulating the water in your blood if they know how. Airbending also had shades of this, since the transparent lines to show it were mostly for the audiences benefit, and it was not an easy element to counter without experience, in part why Aang and Zaheer were such formidable opponents.
  • Magic in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is full of this, having clearly dodgeable projectiles, as well as unstoppable telekinesis-styled magic.
  • HIM's Magic from The Powerpuff Girls (1998) is full of this. The girls go toe to toe with him whenever he uses projectiles and beams. However, the moment he changes to his invisible Thought-Controlled Power, they're helpless.
  • Bat-Mite from Batman: The Brave and the Bold, in the Animated Adaptation of Emperor Joker. Bat-Mite can alter reality to his very whim. However, when trying to power up Batman to battle the Joker, he shoots out an energy beam, which misses, and powers up the Joker instead. Practically every other spell Bat-Mite ever does is with a snap of his finger, and those spells never miss.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "See No Evil", Lloyd Ventrix uses stolen invisibility technology to put up a good fight against Batman. Once Batman outmaneuvers him by poking holes in a water tower to cover the area in spray and reveal Ventrix's position, his superior fighting ability makes short work of the villain.