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Lightning Bruiser

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He's just picking up steam!... and rubble, rebar, glass shards, a body count, groceries...
"He was never motionless or in the same place an instant; springing, side-stepping, whirling, twisting, he offered a constantly shifting target for their swords, while his own curved blade sang death about their ears."

The Lightning Bruiser is an Archetype that sets itself apart from the competition in that it is able to take and give a lot of damage and can move quickly. When considering strength, speed, and toughness, the Lightning Bruiser does not trade off one advantage for another the way, say, the Fragile Speedster trades off durability for speed, the Glass Cannon trades durability for power, the Stone Wall trades offense for defense or the Mighty Glacier trades mobility for power.

To prevent the character from becoming a Game-Breaker or Story-Breaker Power, the Lightning Bruiser may have weaknesses beyond strength, speed, and toughness: a lack of range, technique, intelligence, magical capability, or magical resistance are some of the challenges these characters can face, as would be a high resource cost that prevents them from seeing much use. Sometimes, the Lightning Bruiser may be balanced by being less interesting than its counterparts: it hits fast and hard, and it can take a punch, but it doesn't do much else. In fighting games, they are typically balanced by poor or situational approach options and inadequate or nonexistent defensive options; they struggle to actually get in, and they can take a hit, but they can't do much to keep themselves from getting hit. If it's a strategy or MOBA title, they typically either plateau at higher levels or start out weak, and usually have minimal utility or kits that don't lend themselves to alternative roles. If it's a game that incorporates Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth, they may be locked into combat and rely on their teammates to fulfill the other niches. On the other hand, The Hero might be one of these, and is simply much more powerful than everyone else. Lightning Bruisers are relatively common as video game protagonists for this very reason - it explains why they're capable of taking down hordes of enemies single-handedly.

Either Faster Than They Look or Stronger Than They Look may apply if the Lightning Bruiser looks more like a Mighty Glacier or a Fragile Speedster, respectively. The resulting surprise factor is useful for getting an edge on unsuspecting opponents.

Like the Fragile Speedster, the Lightning Bruiser is well-suited to Confusion Fu; unlike a Fragile Speedster it can also use a more direct approach without needing to rely on Hit-and-Run Tactics to stay safe. The classic Flying Brick Super Hero archetype is usually a Lightning Bruiser. Compare and contrast Acrofatic and Master of All, with which it may also overlap. Compare and contrast also Jack of All Stats, which is similarly well-rounded but not exceptional in any particular area in the way a Lightning Bruiser is.

When adding examples, keep in mind: This trope only exists relative to other characters in universe. A statement that a character is strong, fast, and durable does not define them as a Lightning Bruiser; most Action Heroes already demonstrate those qualities. A character is a Lightning Bruiser if they are explicitly stated to be stronger, faster, and tougher than most of the other characters, or if it is stated explicitly that another character of comparable speed or strength is a Fragile Speedster or a Mighty Glacier.

Note that being a Lightning Bruiser has nothing to do with using lightning-based attacks or magic, though they can overlap to the same character.

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  • Darwin's Soldiers, Alfred is noted to be much faster than almost everyone else. In addition, he is the second strongest person in their group.
  • Several examples from Fate/Nuovo Guerra:
    • A notable one is Uther Pendragon: he has top-level endurance, a Dragon Affinity that boosts that endurance even further as well as protects against status-lowering effects, a Rank-A holy sword that specializes in armor piercing, and AGI to throw it down with the rest of them. His main problem is his limited range, and the off-chance that somebody might come equipped with an Anti-Dragon Noble Phantasm.
    • Another is Mordred, who hefts a Rank A++ Wave Motion Sword that has a secondary ability of slowing down enemies by making their weapons heavier with each stroke they exchange, has enough speed to keep up with most speedsters, and reasonable defense. As the war progresses, however, she grows closer to Mighty Glacier Saber Alter, due to the growing power of the corrupted Grail.
    • As mentioned, several Servants (like Odysseus and El Cid) have top-level AGI paired with superior defense and strength.
  • Several characters from the fantasy crossover RPG Dark Clouds Gathering on Rplegacy, but particularly Marth of the Legion of Light

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Nasuverse doujin game Battle Moon Wars, Arcuied — when she finally stops playing around as a Magical Girl — turns into this. With her innate True Ancestor ability and her ridiculous stats, she can laugh off enemy damage, dish out insane damage with criticals, and still dodge, despite being a nominal Super-type character.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Berserker. Insane strength, surprisingly fast, and has natural armor that can't be penetrated by anything but the most powerful attacks. Not to mention that he also has twelve lives that all need to be claimed before he's offed. On top of that, he also gains immunity from whatever does manage to kill him the first time.
    • Lancer. He's the fastest hero and also the best defender, thinking nothing of fighting over several other heroes at once (though Assassin unnerves him somewhat). Also has a cheap instant kill attack, powerful magic and a primary limitation of being unable to win the Grail War because not only is he not a protagonist, his Master won't let him win either.

    Web Animation 
  • A key trope/attribute for the various characters that have turned up in DEATH BATTLE!, especially when said characters come from Comic Books (especially DC and Marvel), Anime (especially Dragon Ball and other Shōnen) and Video Games. A lack in strength, speed and durability can often mean a brutal victory for the character who isn’t lacking in those traits comparatively. Even characters who are Lightning Bruisers by peak human standards (such as the Bat-Family) tend to have quite a high mortality rate on the channel against characters who have genuine superhuman strength, speed and toughness.
    • There’s also plenty of battles where one character just excels at just one or two of said Lightning Bruiser traits to such a ludicrous degree that their opponents can’t deal with it. Like “Mario VS Sonic (2018)where Sonic’s speed was definite advantage but Mario’s ridiculously high strength and durability (not to mention his surprisingly good reflexes) trumped Sonic’s own Lightning Bruiser-ness. Then there’s “Ghost Rider VS Lobo” where Lobo as per DC Herald standard was immensely physically stronger than his opponent, but Ghost Rider’s supernatural defences as well as his speed, meant Lobo could neither kill him or escape Ghost Rider long enough to figure out a way (holy weapons) to do so whereas Ghost Rider had the ability the keep up, survive everything Lobo threw at him and then make his opponent Deader than Dead.
    • Extreme Super Speed in conjunction with sufficient Super Strength and Super Toughness is frequently why one character wins out against another, see “Wonder Woman VS She-Ra”, “Thor VS Vegeta” or “2021 Cloud VS Link (2021)”. Though superior speed isn’t always the deciding factor as seen in the aforementioned “Mario Vs Sonic” or “Lex Luthor Vs Doctor Doom”.
  • Madness Combat: Hank counts as this, especially after his magnification. In his MAG form, not only has his strength and endurance taken a massive boost along with his size, but his speed has also been increased heavily, with the computer listing his speed as supposedly being even higher than his strength at a staggering 50, allowing him to evade hits from the Mag Agent: V3 and briefly dodge heavy gunfire from the Auditor.
  • Most of the freelancers in Red vs. Blue qualify as this.
    • A special mention goes to Agent Texas and Carolina — like most freelancers, they just look like normal soldiers (albeit in armour) but are exceptionally fast and hard-hitting, even amongst their fellows.
    • Agent Maine/The Meta, which despite being exceptionally large and wearing some heavy power-armour, can move at lightning speeds.
  • RWBY: While most of the time Penny simply manipulates her blades, when she actually does get moving she both moves fast and hits hard. She has the physical strength to stop vehicles with her bare hands and even pull planes out of the sky and she can boost her speed in an almost rocket-boost style fashion when she needs to. She is the first character to genuinely put Pyrrha on the defensive in battle. Penny is secretly a combat robot, the first artificial being capable of generating Aura. As a result, she is phenomenal in terms of speed, strength and toughness. She is only defeated by accident; when Pyrrha is tricked into using her full magnetism Semblance, Penny loses control over her blades which are controlled by wires. The wires wrap around Penny's body and pull tight, garroting her in multiple places, tearing her to shreds.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • In Stacy Plays' Dogcraft series, Basil is the most athletic wolf and a good fighter. She was also blessed with super speed after being struck by lightning.
  • In Tribe Twelve "Mary Asher's Phone Call", Slendy reveals that the reason he can be anywhere, everywhere, no matter what isn't because he somehow teleports. He's just really fast. Especially unnerving since he's usually motionless.


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Alternative Title(s): Gran Turismo Tank, Weboriginal



The Russian Badger explains that, while Fencers in the game Earth Defense Force 4.1 are technically Mighty Glaciers due to their slow speed, exploiting their dash cancel makes them faster than the Wing Divers.

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