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"But I wanted to play with the big boys. And if I miss, it means I'm just another dude with a bow. It means I've been fooling myself this whole time. And that's why I never miss."
Hawkeye, Avenging Spider-Man
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The Master Archer is someone noted, either by the narrative or by other characters, for being an excellent shot with a bow and arrow, maybe to the point of being the best in the world. Maybe they hunt legendary beasts that can be felled only by the most skilled archers. Maybe they've proven their worth in competitions or on the battlefield, displaying Improbable Aiming Skills, executing Multishots or Splitting the Arrow with ease, or having their opponents Pinned to the Wall from a distance. Maybe they win with sneaky Trick Arrows. Or maybe they're a mysterious and anonymous figure who shoots their arrows from the shadows, and nobody knows where to find them. Either way, if they've got their arrows pointed at you, you better run — they can shoot you down from a distance, no matter how improbable it seems. This distinction immediately sets the character up as someone impressive or fearsome, especially if the bow and arrow is not a common weapon in the setting.

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In mythical or fantasy settings, expect them to have a famous or even legendary bow and/or some association with divinity. Certain species like elves may also be associated with archery, and thus many Master Archers are of this species.

A Master Archer may or may not be an Archer Archetype — that trope is about how archers are usually portrayed as aloof and associated with nature, and has nothing to do with actual skill or reputation. Just as a good sniper can be friendly or cold, a Master Archer can run the gamut of temperaments so long as they are renowned for their skill.

The ranged counterpart to the Master Swordsman. Compare The Gunslinger, a more modern gun-wielding equivalent who shares Improbable Aiming Skills. Someone using The Straight and Arrow Path, ie. archery in a setting with modern weapons, almost certainly needs to be a Master Archer to stay up to snuff. It's quite common for some wise guy to compare them to Robin Hood (though for them to really be Just Like Robin Hood, they'd also have to do the whole "rob the rich and give to the poor" bit).

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gamaran: Arata Nakaizumi, leader of the Nakaizumi Ryuu of Kyujutsu, fights with a bow and arrows in a series where melee weapons are far more common. He trained for years and has gained enough skill to master not just normal arrows, but the deadly Kuruiya (Crazy Arrows), which includes a super-heavy arrow, one able to curve midflight and a monstrous four-pronged one capable of shredding flesh and bones to short range. In his first appearance (before his ulterior training) he claims he could pin all the falling leaves from a tree to the trunk without having a single one touching the floor.
  • Kikyo of Inuyasha is an aloof and composed Lady of War revered by the titular character as a master archer and marksman. She can fire multiple arrows in quick succession and hit small, quick-moving targets from great distances. Her reincarnation Kagome decides to follow in her footsteps.
  • Earth of "Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki" is the Main Character of the series and is a player of One More Free Life Online. He mainly fights using bow and arrows, along with bombs, and whips. At the beginning, the archery class was looked down upon as a weak character, but he didn't mind and continued as he please.
  • Tigre, protagonist of Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a master archer who subverts the unearned god-like power of the Stock Light-Novel Hero by having an immensely impressive, but essentially mundane level of skill with his bow gleaned from years of hard training.
  • Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke begins the film killing a demonic boar god armed only with a bow, shooting the beast square in the eye while running full-pelt on the back of his elk and his feats of archery only get more impressive from there.
  • The Heroic Legend of Arslan has Gieve, who is introduced making a spectacular long range shot in order to put a captured general out of his misery and Farangis, who regularly takes on multiple armed soldiers at short range with her bow and wins. While virtually every warrior in the series is trained in the use of bows, Gieve and Farangis are noted as being exceptional shots.
  • Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion has many impressive archers, as most of its protagonists are samurai, but commoner Hitari is easily the most skilled and dedicated to the art of archery. He almost exclusively uses a bow as his weapon and pulls off impossible shots over the course of the series.
  • Wolfsmund features the eponymous folk hero William Tell, who is a master of the crossbow. His son, Walter, is also no slouch.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun has the Barbatos clan, who are all expected to be master archers. They can generate a bow magically and will always hit their target, and that's what they consider a basic level of ability. Bachiko Barbatos is an elite even among their clan and can do this with 100 arrows at once. Iruma himself becomes Bachiko's apprentice and she very quickly turns him into a master archer as well, to the point that people mistake him for being a member of the clan.
  • Berserk has the Apostle Irvine who, even in his human form, can shoot opponents ear drums and eyeballs out from impossibly far distances. This is helped by both his powerful sentient bow and sheer mastery of marksmanship.

    Comic Books 
  • DCU:
    • Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) is the DCU's best archer and has trained many younger characters to follow in his footsteps. His first origin story was that of an archaeologist who studied Native American fighting techniques before it was retconned into getting stranded on a deserted island and teaching himself archery to survive. The end result is a nigh-superhuman ability at shooting arrows that strikes fear in the hearts of supervillains and allows him to keep up with his superpowered peers.
    • Emiko Queen is Oliver's half-sister, introduced in the New 52 continuity, and serves as the second Red Arrow. She is an exceptional archer whose Improbable Aiming Skills are attributed to instantly calculating wind, angle, speed, and distance during archery and combat.
    • One of Green Arrow's most persistently recurring foes is Arthur King (real name: Malcolm Merlyn) aka Merlyn the Archer. He's a former member of Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins and one of the few who can match or even best Green Arrow in an archery contest. In some continuities, he's Green Arrow's mentor-turned-rogue.
    • Roy Harper, the first Speedy and the first Red Arrow, was a remarkable archer from childhood and his skill with a bow was what earned him a place as Green Arrow's sidekick.
  • ElfQuest: Strongbow's entire tribe are expert marksmen, but they still call him when they absolutely need something dead with one arrow. He never misses.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Hawkeye: Clint Barton is the canon's foremost archer. His accuracy is nigh-superhuman due to much training, and he achieves things an average human can only dream of. In addition to being a Master Archer he is also skilled with several other weapons and is a highly trained martial artist.
    • According to Clint himself, Kate Bishop of the Young Avengers is the best archer he's personally seen. She took to archery after an incident of sexual harassment and has since used her formidable skills to get her teammates and Clint himself out of many scrapes.
  • Sonya Savage of Danger Girl. Her skill with a bow is described by one character as "beyond definition" and it is stated that world-class archers view her as a deity.
  • The Grimm Fairy Tales 'verse, Robyn Hood is generally acknowledged as being the greatest archer in the world; able to effortlessly match the feats of legendary archers. None of the other heroes doubt her abilities to take on monsters, demons and other supernatural entities armed only with a bow and arrows.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brave: Tomboy Princess Merida is a highly skilled archer, which she demonstrates by winning her own hand at an archery contest by Splitting the Arrow of one of her suitors. She then utilizes her archery throughout the film.
  • Beetle from Kubo and the Two Strings is an incredibly skilled archer. When he first appears, he splits an arrow multiple times. This foreshadows that he is Kubo's father, Hanzo, who was said to be skilled at archery.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Lord of the Rings: While Legolas Greenleaf was noted as a good archer in the books, the films exaggerate this skill of his — he manages to hit his targets while hanging upside down or surfing down a staircase while on a shield and takes down a fully-armed oliphaunt with only his bow and arrows.
  • Hawkeye, as mentioned under Comics above, transferred to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (mostly under his "civilian" name of Clint Barton) with his skills (and his taste for gadget arrows) intact. On his first (uncredited) appearance in Thor, a S.H.I.E.L.D. commander calls for a marksman, and the initially faceless agent who responds is seen reaching towards a rack of sniper rifles — and taking a bow. At that point, every comics fan in the audience nods.
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood is a strong candidate for Trope Codifier. Splitting the Arrow may have originated (on film) here. Further, if Robin wants to send an Arrowgram, it lands exactly where it can be instantly read by the intended recipient. If he wants to shoot a mace out of Sir Guy's hand, he can do so despite the fact that both are on horseback. And if he decides to skip the disarming and go straight for the kill, you're dead where you stand.
  • As noted in the Literature folder, Susan Pevensie is first given this role in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and she returns to it in Prince Caspian. She quickly masters the ability to hit bull's eyes from considerable distance, despite having never so much as held a bow before coming to Narnia, and in the sequel, she's actually powerful enough to throw an arrow into a man's heart.
  • Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon has three in the protagonist Nam Yi, his sister Ja-In and the antagonist, Jyuushinta. All three archers make incredible shots and are noted by the cast to be incredibly skilled. Nam Yi is definitely the best example, however, as it is his archery skills that allow him to go on a one man geurrila war against the invading Manchu soldiers and he can even bend the trajectory of his arrows in any direction he wishes.
  • The Great Wall has Matt Damon's William Garin, an Irish mercenary who is able to impress the powerful warriors of The Nameless Order, despite his outsider status.

    Gamebooks 
  • Lone Wolf is often given the opportunity to be proved one. The best example arises in the Grand Master story "Dawn of the Dragons", where he is given the option to kill one of the titular antagonists by firing an arrow into its eye. It requires a certain magical ability to make the point of the arrow diamond hard, and of course, ridiculously good aiming skills, but the payoff at being able to kill such a terrifying and mighty creature with such a puny seeming weapon is seriously worth it.

    Literature 
  • The Dreamers series by David Eddings takes this to its Logical Extreme with Longbow, an archer who has literally never missed a shot in his life. He began as a simple hunter but wins great renown as a warrior in the international army assembled by the Elder Gods.
  • Lin 'Feixing' (actually, his twin sister Wangyue) from Female General and Eldest Princess first rises to prominence when she successfully masters a two-stone bow — something that only a few soldiers in the entire Northern Army are strong enough to accomplish. After getting promoted to commander of the archery regiment, she quickly qualifies to three-stone bows (something that only half a dozen people in the entire empire can do), as well as mastering horseback archery. While 'Feixing' is no slouch in any form of combat, her archery is what really puts her on the map — as well as facilitating her life-changing meeting with Princess Li Xian, who first develops interest in 'Feixing' after watching her fire a hundred arrows into the practice target.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen is an extremely talented archer, having grown up hunting in the wilderness. She doesn't think much of it at first, but Peeta praises her as being so skilled she can consistently hit a deer or even a squirrel in the eyes so that it dies without the arrow tearing through the edible bits.
  • In A Practical Guide To Evil Indrani, fittingly named Archer, is likely the best shot with a bow in the world. She wields a bow made by a legendary craftman that even strong orks cannot draw which fires arrows the size of javelins. She can shot and kill moving opponents from a mile away, and easily fires something like one arrow per second.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Silmarillion: Beleg is renowned as an exceptional archer, who was known for his strength and ability to fire arrows over great distances. His name "Cuthalion" even means "strongbow".
    • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth: Duilin of Gondolin is referred to as the "swiftest of all men to run and leap and surest of archers at a mark".
  • The Wheel of Time: Birgitte Silverbow is a legendary hero and preeminent archer in all her Reincarnations. In the time of the books, she first demonstrates her skill by cutting a swathe through a pitched riot, striking each target through the same eye.
    • Tam al-Thor, the protagonist's adoptive father, is the best archer in the Two Rivers, which makes him also one of the best in the entire world.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia give this role to Queen Susan the Gentle. Aslan explicitly gives her the bow so that she can defend herself from a distance, because he doesn't want her in battle, and she masters it quickly.
  • Circe: Defied by Odysseus. He's a remarkable bowman and everyone on Ithaca knows it, but he did not bring his archery skills to the table at Troy because the bow was associated by the cowardly Paris, and so it would not have been a good look on Odysseus.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms has a large number of people showing off their archery skills. Perhaps the most famous is Huang Zhong, whose skill is described as "equal to piercing a willow leaf at a hundred paces."
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Per the rules of the Nasuverse, a servant summoned under the Archer class must be renowned for their use of a ranged weapon in some way (not necessarily archery). Apocrypha's Archers are Atalanta and Chiron of Classical Mythology, who both demonstrate some impressive archery skills. Chiron in particular nearly manages to snipe the equally-renowned Achilles from a distance so far Achilles couldn't sense him and manages to deflect one of Atalanta's own arrows.
  • In Maoyu, Grandpa Archer is renowned for felling his enemies at lightning speed with a bow and is one of the few people who could remotely keep up with the Hero. Subverted when it's revealed that he never actually uses a bow, but the way he stood in the backline and killed his foes that quickly made others assume he was a master archer.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Anguy, a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners who, despite being a commoner, outshoots several highly skilled nobles with expensive training during the Hand's Tourney and uses his prodigious skill to help the Brotherhood win several guerilla battles against better armed and more numerous opponents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow imports Green Arrow from comics to TV, complete with formidable bow skills (even if it does drop the "Green", at least for the first three seasons). It also adds a number of other highly competent archer characters.
  • One of the guest villains on Batman (1966) is named The Archer. Created specially for the show and played by Art Carney, he is an evil modern-day Robin Hood clone and is an expert shot with the bow and arrow.
  • Anguy the Archer from Game of Thrones is able to make impossible, perfectly timed shots in his relatively short screentime, distinguishing himself against a cast of trained archers.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Mahabharata:
    • Arjuna is the world's best archer, master of celestial weapons and the wielder of Gandiva, a Legendary Bow made by the gods. He performs great solo feats of heroism and is able to fend off dozens of soldiers on his own with his bow.
    • Karna, Arjuna's secret half-brother and Arch-Enemy, would be the world's greatest archer... if not for Arjuna. They're nearly evenly matched, and Karna has most of the same special abilities as Arjuna, but Arjuna defeated him several times due to technicalities or cheating.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Artemis and Apollo, twin gods of the moon and sun, are both depicted as archers par excellence, and sometimes credited as the inventors of the sport. Artemis is also portrayed as a goddess of the hunt, shooting down many beasts at night with her silver arrows.
    • Orion, a mortal hunter who was so great at archery he won the affections of Artemis.
    • Odysseus wins his wife and his home back by stringing a bow that none of her suitors can string, and then shooting better than any of them.
    • Heracles/Hercules was another legendary archer. His bow was so powerful that no one without his Super Strength could draw it, and after he dipped his arrows in the blood of the hydra they were so poisonous that a single scratch would be fatal.
  • Robin Hood is a folk hero known specifically for being a Master Archer who robbed the rich and gave to the poor. He'd use his bow and arrow to accomplish several impressive feats towards this goal. Many tropes related to archery, such as Multishot and Splitting the Arrow, either originated with him or were popularized by an adaptation of the legend.
  • William Tell, Swiss folk hero, is a variant in that he was reportedly known for his skill with the crossbow. He famously successfully shot an apple on his son's head when forced by an evil lord.
  • In Chinese myth,the Earth was being fried by ten suns and Hou Yi the master archer shot down nine of them.

    Video Games 
  • Lyralei, the Windranger from Dota 2 is noted for being exceptionally skilled with a bow and arrow thanks to a blessing she received from a wind spirit. Her talents include her Shackleshot, which binds foes with ropes, Powershot, an arrow powerful enough to cut down trees, and Focus Fire, which lets her loose arrows at an extremely high rate (though at the cost of reduced damage per shot).
  • Fate/Grand Order takes this Up to Eleven. While being a famous mythical or historical warrior is required for being summoned as a Servant, and several Archer-class servants are already Master Archers in their own right (eg. Arjuna, Robin Hood, Atalanta, to name a few), the game introduces the concept of "Grand Servant" — of each class, this servant is the most accomplished, ever. The Grand Archer is Orion of Classical Mythology, portrayed here as an extremely muscular man extolled as Greece's greatest marksman, but he later gives up this title.
  • The Reach of Cra from Dofus and the Wakfu series specialized in bows and long-range fight, with the strongest members and the Cra Goddess having perfectly mastered the bow.
  • Hanzo of Overwatch is a Japanese member of a criminal clan who, despite living in the 21st Century, fights with a bow and arrows and is quite deadly with them. His biggest rival is his brother Genji, who is a cyborg ninja.
  • Link from The Legend of Zelda is typically portrayed as famous for his archery skills whenever it gets overtly pointed out. This is especially true in Breath of the Wild, where his mid-air Bullet Time archery is one of the reasons his fighting skills are so legendary, to the point that the primary concept art for him in this game portrays him using this technique with Ancient Arrows. Breath of the Wild also introduces the Rito Champion Revali, whose mid-flight Multi Shot archery skills are the main reason he was recruited as a Champion and are what make him famous among the Rito even a century after his death.
  • Archery is one of the skills which the Dragonborn can master in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. By bringing the skill up to level 100, they can perform trick shots, zoom in on targets, and achieve other unusual abilities that no other character in the game is seen to do.
    • In regards to NPC's, there are three master archery trainers in the game, which would imply they are the three finest archers in Skyrim. They are; Niruin, A wood elf and marksman for the Thieves Guild, Angi, a reclusive archery trainer living in the mountains and finally Sorine Jurard, a Dawnguard weaponsmith and crossbow specialist.
  • Bloons Tower Defense 6:
    • Quincy is a monkey that uses a crossbow. The bolts bounce between Bloons, and later upgrades let him fire multiple bolts at once. His level 3 ability is shooting at almost four times the speed, while level 10 has him fire a large amount of arrows at the Bloon closest to the exit.
    • The Dart Monkey's bottom path upgrades turn it from throwing darts to shooting a crossbow. The Crossbow Master upgrade lets it shoot incredibly fast, often dealing critical hits that do a lot of damage.
  • Jacques from Suikoden III is one of many archers in the game, but is the only one to have an S rank in accuracy (Making him the best shot in the game, statistically) and his sniping and stealth abilities are highlighted several times.
  • The Fire Emblem series, being universally set in a war-ravaged western fantasy context, naturally has some examples
    • Jeorge from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is considered the greatest archer in Archanea and something of a celebrity in Marth's retinue because of it.
    • Shinon from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the sniper of the Greil mercenaries, may be the The Friend Nobody Likes thanks to his bad attitude and arrogance but his allies all begrudgingly admit to his immense skill with a bow. He even takes on an apprentice in the form of teenage archer Rody and is seen making several spectacular shots in various cutscenes.
  • FromSoftware have a few in their Soulsborne series of games.
    • Hawkeye Gough, one of the four legendary knights of Gwynn from Dark Souls is a giant renowned for his ability to slay dragons with his greatbow, all the while being a Blind Weapon Master.
    • Simon from Bloodborne is a famed hunter who, in a setting in which firearms are common, made a name for himself hunting Yarnham's deadly beasts armed with a longbow.
  • Ghost of Tsushima
    • First there is Ishikawa a famed master of Kyudo, sought after by various nobles as an archery instructor.
    • Then, there is Ishikawa's finest student, a commoner named Tomoe, who uses her newfound skills to actually instruct the invading Mongols in the way of Japanese archery.
    • Finally, protagonist Jin himself can complete his archery training under Ishikawa and become a master in his own right.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • The Hero Shirou is a downplayed example — he is only a high schooler and only did archery as part of his high school's archery club, but his hit rate on the school range is near perfect: He only missed a shot once in his entire year, which according to Shirou was on purpose just to see what it felt like to miss. He later quit the archery club because he had nothing to learn from it.
    • Servant Archer summoned during the Grail War is a strange subversion — he's a skilled bowman, able to snipe a man-sized target from kilometers away using an Energy Bow in the Unlimited Blade Works route — but his favourite weapon is a pair of shortswords and almost all his battles are done at short range. Archer is the Future Badass version of Shirou, and his natural skill with the bow was a reason he was summoned as Archer.
    • Finally, Servant Berserker (Herakles from Classical Mythology) is stated to have been a master archer by the narration — sadly, he's summoned to the one class where all his combat skills are completely suppressed by madness. Late in Heaven's Feel, Shirou is able to use Berserker's sword to copy the original hero's skill, letting him adapt one of Herakles' bow techniques — said technique allows him to inflict a hundred blows on his opponent near simultaneously, simulating how Herakles in the Fate-verse used his bow to strike every head of the hydra off using a barrage of arrows.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Yuyan Archers, an elite squadron of archers renowned throughout the Fire Nation for their stealth, accuracy, and ingenuity. In "The Blue Spirit" they prove more than a match for Aang, a young boy with prodigious bending potential and power, despite being nonbenders.
      Zhao: Their precision is legendary. The Yuyan can pin a fly to a tree from a hundred yards away without killing it.
    • Longshot, a member of the Freedom Fighters, also counts. He is also a nonbender and shown to hold his own against the Dai Li, who are deadly earthbenders.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: Robin Hood, one of the figures from the Land of Legends, embodies the myth of the greatest archer who ever lived, which he demonstrates by shooting an arrow lengthwise with another arrow and then doing the same to the second with a third, and by getting a bull's eye with five arrows at once. When the legends start fading, he loses his aim and suffers an emotional breakdown as a result.

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