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Although they often hold themselves apart from Muggles, the fantastical powers wielded by Wizards and Witches logically make them much sought-after by those in need of great power; and who is more concerned with developing and wielding great power than the military? In settings with little or no Fantastic Racism against magic-users, organized militaries may do just that, systematically seeking to recruit the mage down the street— or better yet, the entire Wizarding School across town— to help them fight their battles, often giving them formalized ranks and roles not unlike any other soldier.

Just what those roles are can vary, mixing and matching from a number of varieties:

  • Support: Support mages tend to stay out of the fighting proper. Instead, they make the Muggle soldiers around them better. White Mages may act as medics to get the wounded back in fighting shape more quickly than conventional medicine could, often back on the field before the battle has even ended. They may cast Status Buffs or beneficial auras that make their allies faster, stronger, and more resilient. Magical artificers may keep an entire army supplied with enchanted arms and armor. Other mages work strictly in logistics, magically facilitating easy communication between units through Telepathy, obviating the need for supply lines by teleporting in food and supplies, or even transporting whole armies where they need to be.
  • Military Intelligence: Common for Court Mages when the monarch they serve goes to war. They may scry out enemy positions or strategies with a Crystal Ball or other method of magical intelligence-gathering. Seers may predict their side's success or failure in more general terms and let their lord know when the omens favor war.
  • Artillery: Mages capable of flinging fireballs or other destructive spells may be analogous to artillery: ranged damage-dealers who must be properly placed and protected in order to be used to maximum effect. Common for Squishy Wizards who fit the Glass Cannon and/or Mighty Glacier archetypes. Their effect can range from as relatively small and mundane as a unit of Long Range Fighters who just happen to use spells as opposed to bullets or arrows, but to much the same effect, all the way up to a Person of Mass Destruction whose use is akin to a Fantastic Nuke, obliterating armies and fortifications at a stroke.
  • Special Forces: Particularly versatile mages may be deployed individually or in small groups in much the same way as special forces in Real Life militaries, small but powerful commando units that act with the surgical precision of a scalpel as opposed to the blunt, unsubtle hammer of a large Muggle army.
  • Officers: The Wizard Classic is known for wisdom, and the fact that Wizards Live Longer means they can rack up a lot of combat experience. Sometimes, this can be such a deciding factor that their magical prowess is almost secondary: their talents are wasted on the field, and they belong in command. Other times, they end up here because Asskicking Leads to Leadership, and who kicks more ass than a wizard? Often overlaps with Support and Intelligence roles, for a field commander who supernaturally knows all the best strategies and makes their men better fighters just by being there.
  • Mook Maker: Mages with some form of Summon Magic or the ability to create Golems may be able to magically create an army to suit their needs. Especially common for Necromancers who can create a Night of the Living Mooks on command. Often overlaps with the officer role if they also lead their summoned troops on the field.
  • One-Man Army: The most powerful of military wizards don't even need the rest of the army to back them up. They're the ones you send in when nobody else can get it done, and the Muggles are sent against lower-priority targets or relegated to mop-up duty. The only possible counters to such a powerful spell-slinger are an entire army full of Muggles (and even that might not work, certainly not without heavy losses), an elite squad of Mage Killers, or an equally powerful wizard.

Compare Super-Soldier, which is someone specifically augmented by the military to make them a better soldier, Church Militant, which may employ these if Religion is Magic. Compare Magic Knight and Mage Marksman, which involve magic-users also adept with conventional weaponry but who may or may not be a formal part of an organized military. When a conflict consists entirely or almost entirely of wizards throwing magic at one another, then you've got a Wizards' War.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: The Kushan military employs sorcerers as Mook Makers for their ability to spawn fanatically loyal Super Soldiers from a special Magitek "Man-Made Behelit", and as de facto officers for their ability to possess animals (usually tigers, crocodiles, and elephants, but occasionally also whales and large pterodactyl-like creatures) and give them supernatural strength and loyalty. Ganishka, the Kushan Emperor, is himself a One-Man Army capable of assuming a Nigh-Invulnerable mist form and wielding powerful lightning magic.
  • Black Clover:
    • The Clover Kingdom's Magic Knights are individually selected by squads' captains to serve as the country's military, whether it be handling local crimes or defending against invasions.
    • The Diamond Kingdom is focused on strengthening its army due to the country's poor resources. Their military soldiers are called Mage Warriors who are led by the Eight Shining Generals, with Mage Scholars performing human experiments to create powerful soldiers for the country.
    • Under the Dark Triad, the Spade Kingdom began using the power of devils to increase their military power, with the highest-ranked soldiers aside from the triad known as the Dark Disciples. They use said devil powers to invade the other kingdoms.
  • Dog Days: The Crest Magic used in Flognarde is simple enough that even Cinque, an Ordinary Middle School Student, can use it after receiving some basic instruction, meaning basically any named character can be a Magic Knight. The Kingdom of Biscotti has a literal example of Artillery, where they combine Crest Magic with mortars for long-range bombardment. The Dutchy of Pastillage specializes in Crystal Magic and aerial cavalry, meaning their main force consists of Totally-Not-Chocobo riders using magical firearms; when they recruit Cinque's friend Rebecca as their Hero, she becomes a Cute Witch Magical Girl flinging "Bullet Cards" down on her enemies while riding a Flying Broomstick (and occasionally using a magic gun of her own).
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The country of Fiore, and by extension the continent of Ishgal, relies on a combination of officially-sanctioned military mages in the Rune Knights of the Magic Council and the cooperation of legally-founded wizard guilds that act as mercenaries (such as Fairy Tail, Lamia Scale, Blue Pegasus, and the like) to combat crime from the dark guilds as well as perform other requests from either the government or the citizens. The Ten Wizard Saints are officially recognized by the Magic Council as the strongest wizards on the continent and can be officially called upon to act in the event of national emergency such as a hostile invasion.
    • The continent of Alakitasia had a similar guild system in place before the formation of the Alvarez Empire, which assimilated all the guilds (both legal and dark) into its ranks before taking over the continent. The military is thus mostly made up of mages, with the empire's Spriggan 12 also serving as the highest heads of the military alongside being their strongest warriors short of Emperor Spriggan (aka Black Wizard Zeref) himself.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Amestrian State Alchemists are desirable recruits, automatically granted the rank of Major and able to rise much higher. They tend to act as human artillery units in wartime and government-sponsored researchers (often bordering on Mad Scientist levels) in peacetime. In exchange, they gain access to branches of the National Central Library closed to the public, which hold a wealth of information about high-level alchemy. In addition, they are granted a generous salary that further facilitates their research. However, some independent alchemists hold contempt for their colleagues who sell out to the state, and civilians in the countryside with less favorable views of their government show disdain for state alchemists, who they compare to attack dogs leashed to the military. "Dogs of the Military" and "Human weapons" are both common insults for state alchemists.
  • Howl's Moving Castle: Most witches and wizards are drafted into the military due to a contract they have to sign before entering the Royal Sorcery Academy. Most of them have to turn themselves into Bird People and, if they survive combat, Shapeshifter Mode Lock has usually set in and they've forgotten they were ever human. They're led by a Court Mage called Suliman whose work includes erecting forcefields around the palace, making decoys of the king and depowering deserter mages.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Due to the fact that the TSAB outlaws traditional mass-based weaponry, literally everyone serving in a direct combat role will be a mage by default (with one exception). Reference is also made to the fact that really powerful mages tend to shoot up through the ranks quickly, which occasionally leads to resentment from muggle officers.
  • Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka: The Magical Girls are utilized as elite counter-terrorist operators.
  • Naruto: Just about every military encountered seems to be composed exclusively of ninja, most of whom make liberal use of explicitly-magical ninjutsu powers. Most fall under the general umbrella of Special Forces and operate in small four-man cells, although the more powerful ones can act as artillery up to and including One-Man Army / Person of Mass Destruction levels.
  • Strike Witches centers around multiple Multinational Team military units composed of magic-wielding girls as a way to defend the humanity against the alien invasion.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The army of the Black Moon contains entire units of military sorcerers casting spells at the enemy.
  • Fables: While not a "mage" in the usual sense, Bigby Wolf has been known to put his supernatural prowess (he can shapeshift from a human to a powerful giant wolf form and back at will, and has some wind-based powers as the son of the North Wind) at the service of his country during wartime, most recently in World War II. A Full Episode Flashback shows him leading a special forces detachment to infiltrate a German castle in which Ghostapo scientists are attempting to reverse-engineer Frankenstein's monster.
  • Gravel: The titular wizard is a member of the British Special Forces and as such is assigned to do "black" ops from time to time by the government, which has made him bump heads with members of the British wizard community that, putting it nicely, look down their noses at the Muggles (as such, quite a few of said "black ops" had been to kill some of the more insidious members of said community).

    Fan Works 
  • A.A. Pessimal, in Discworld fanfic, explores the idea of a major army having its own support corps of wizards, normally allocated as one per unit to seek and nullify magic users deployed by the enemy. Fun is had with the name: the RHEME, the Rimwards Howondaland Esoteric and Magical Echelon. (Note: The British Army has a support and logistics unit called the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, REME for short).
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Asgard is alluded to have all of the various varieties in its armed forces. Specifically, Loki generally functions as an intelligence gatherer and special forces operative.
    • MI13 use magical practitioners primarily as support staff to help with healing and speed of deployment, with their technology carrying the real offensive punch. However, it should also be noted that their commander Peter Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black is, in fact, a powerful wizard in his own right.
  • Emperor: Harry begins as the One-Man Army version in the British Army, while a few others act as Special Forces. After The Masquerade is broken, mage soldiers begin to join in other roles.
  • In What a decade brings, a Little Witch Academia fanfic, Luna Nova fights an Apocalypse Cult alongside Jegertroppen (the Hunter Squadron), a real-life Norwegian all-female squadron that in the fic employs witches. Subverted at the end, where UN treaties crack down on the use of magic in warfare.
  • The Palaververse: The post on Ovarn notes their all-mage military organization, of the Black Company:
    the Black Company, where the relatively small number of magic-wielding black sheep born in Ovarn are fostered and tutored under [the] central authority, and then offered generous wages to act as an elite guard and flexible military company.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • In the original trilogy, the Dark Side Force-user Darth Vader mostly acts as an officer, "motivating" the admirals of the Imperial Fleet and commanding starships to hunt down the Rebels. Occasionally, he also takes the field himself and acts as an elite soldier, such as when he pilots a TIE Advanced starfighter in the Battle of Yavin.
    • On the Rebel side, Luke Skywalker's nascent Force reflexes make him a natural Ace Pilot and are directly responsible for the destruction of the first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. The power of having a Force-user on the field is demonstrated again in the Battle of Hoth, where he is able to take down a powerful AT-AT walker on foot using only a lightsaber and a thermal detonator. In Star Wars Legends (formerly the Star Wars Expanded Universe) he is eventually awarded the rank of general, but dislikes military command and devotes most of his energies to founding and leading the new Jedi Order.
    • While he is largely preoccupied with being a Sorcerous Overlord, Emperor Palpatine uses his own Force powers largely for military intelligence, basing his military strategies on what he has foreseen with his Force clairvoyance. He's fully capable of throwing down when the need arises, it's just that it seldom does after he solidifies his political power.
    • In the prequel trilogy, the Jedi are ostensibly a peacekeeping force more akin to an elite police force in monk's robes or an order of particularly badass diplomats than soldiers per se. After the Clone Wars break out, however, they often act as de facto officers commanding squads of Clonetroopers, and are sometimes also deployed as special forces or elite bodyguards or escorts for VIPs. Jedi Knights who fight with the Republic Army are awarded the rank of General, and even Padawans (apprentices) are automatically awarded the rank of Commander.

  • Air Awakens: The army of the Solaris Empire has a whole Black Legion consisting of sorcerers.
  • The Imperial Court Magic Corps Special Missions Annex in Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor is an elite unit of mages that serves the Alzano Empire and handles special threats that are too much for ordinary mages. Glenn used to be a member, but he left.
  • Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: People with psychic or magic abilities (in this universe, acknowledged as the same, the only difference is if you need a ritual to use it) in the military, and also the police force, are called "wizards". They are normal soldiers or cops, but just have a 'special skill', the same as 'snipers' are normal soldiers, they just have sniper training that other soldiers don't. There isn't much information as to what they do in the military, but their primary purpose seems to be sensing enemy magic users or preternatural creatures and what they are doing with their magic, since magic in this universe is much more subtle than others (hurling lightning bolts is not a thing that most magic users can do). Some also have special talents to help them sense what others have experienced or if someone is telling the truth, which is helpful in investigation. Wizards are also expected to know more about preternatural creatures and magic users so they are the go-to person in their unit for information on how to deal with them.
  • The Arts of Dark and Light: The Empire Savondir organizes its mages in a special royal corps, which effectively functions as its State Sec.
  • Barry Trotter: The Snape expy of all people joins the army after leaving Hogwash.
  • Bas-Lag Cycle: Thaumaturges, as the mages are known, are present in all books of the trilogy and used by many different city-states in their militaries. In New Crobuzon, thaumaturges are educated at the city's universities and often appear as officers or surgeons working with the militia. Notably, magic is much more finnicky in this world, requiring a great amount of effort and sometimes several thaumaturges working in concert to cast war-hexes. Elite thaumaturges of the New Crobuzon militia, the elementarii, making a major appearance in the third book during the city's war against Tesh and New Crobuzon's hunt for the Iron Council. Tesh appears to use thaumaturgy very heavily in its military, with its soldiers inflicting surreal wounds on the militia forces and its most powerful thaumaturges able to destroy entire cities through elaborate rituals.
  • The Black Company: Wizards often play a very important role in battles, their spells often have a terrifying — and deadly — result for the simple foot soldiers. In most cases here they seem to be functionally artillery, with the most powerful fitting into the One-Man Army role.
  • Commonweal: The Commonweal requires mages to periodically serve in the military for a time, a tedious obligation for many. Their armies also use handy bits of magic like enchanted banners that raise morale and allow a commander's orders to be instantly relayed by telepathy.
  • Dragonvarld: Grald has sired and raised an elite army of humans who have the dragon magic. Both male and female, they're trained to fight together. Males wield offensive magic, females defensive to protect them from enemies.
  • Dread Empire: The Tervola are the mage class of Shinsan, the titular empire, and traditionally serve in military roles. Because Shinsan is both a magocracy and a militocracy, the Tervola typically function as officers, with full Tervola serving as generals and military governors while Aspirants (who are in training to become Tervola) fill out much of the rest of the officer corps. Tervola can also fill most of the other described niches for military mages, depending on the needs of the moment and the individual Tervola's own skill set.
  • Felicia, Sorceress of Katara: In the short story "The Magi Decree" (published in the anthology What Happens Next) Felicia takes a general's commission in the Dogonian army. Though the Magi Council forbids her from using magic except to counter any used by the enemy, and given her history with them it takes a lot to convince them the enemy is using magic.
  • The Great God's War: Amikan and Bellegerin sorcerers get drafted en masse into the army whenever it's time for another battle in the Forever War between the two kingdoms. Their use falls pretty squarely into the Artillery category, with sorcerers being placed high up over the battlefield behind the lines so that they can rain down destruction on the enemy.
  • The Greatest Magicmaster's Retirement Plan: Originally, magic was mainly used to support people's daily lives, but the Fiend invasion forced humanity to focus on military applications for magic. This also led to the establishment of academies to train prospective Magicmasters. Depending on the magic one specializes in, one can become suitable for specific roles, such as how wind magic can be used to survey an area and gather intelligence.
  • In Grimoire's Soul, Kesterline's Mages double as both its state police and the closest thing it has to a military, as due to their country's isolationism and lack of large-scale conflict, a proper standing army doesn't make much sense.
  • The Grisha Trilogy: Magic-users called Grisha are recruited into the military as soon as they are identified (which works because in the surrounding countries, Grisha are either burned as witches or vivisected for their organs), and serve in a separate, elite unit. They play a combination of support and combat roles depending on the nature of their powers. For example, some Grisha can heal, control the weather, or craft special fabrics and weapons. Others can shoot fire or kill people with their minds.
  • Inheritance Cycle has both sides employ mages who can snuff out a company with a single word. The Empire's approach seems to be to conceal their mages among the ordinary soldiery and have them protect their fellows, while the Varden hunt down these mages, kill them, and move on to the army-killing.
  • The Iron Teeth: Mages are recruited by the various kingdoms to fight in their wars. These combat mages are trained by the mage guilds but then handed over to the army. They are valued assets, but ultimately expendable, and not considered to be true members of the guilds that trained them.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: The magician Jonathan Strange is sent to help the British effort in the Iberian Peninsular during the Napoleonic wars, answering directly to Lord Wellington. However, he is firmly set against killing with magic, and instead serves primarily as Support. He creates roads for the army to use, uses scrying to find out what the enemy are doing (though as he notes on several occasions, this is rather limited — it shows the subject easily enough, but doesn't say where they are), and illusions to confuse the enemy (including swapping an important captured officer for a golem). He later graduates to occasional Weather Manipulation and rearranging parts of the local countryside for strategic value. This graduates to a Running Gag, as later motives include escape (the city of Brussels is threatened? Move it to the Great Plains of North America), petty convenience (e.g. moving an entire city 10 miles rather than bothering to correct all the maps), and drunken bets. Later in the book, the Spanish government are mentioned as sending complaints about this habit. He also very unhappily delves into necromancy to gather intelligence.
  • In The Laundry Files, the titular British occult intelligence service's magic users are generally glorified desk jockeys, but if they ever get called into the field they usually serve as scouts, specialists, and officers. James Bond-style stunts happen once in a blue moon, if ever. Being an intelligence agency, their muscle is typically provided by regular guys with guns and anti-occult training. The few mages who are strong enough to be one-man armies end up in management.
    • The alfär, an invading army of elves from another universe, play it straighter. They have a lot more and stronger mages at their disposal, and they're either living artillery or support (maintaining invisibility spells and confusing intelligent projectiles). Their mages are also all vampires, and restricted by the fact that they combust when exposed to sunlight and that their strength comes from casting from other peoples' hit points — by the time they hit thirty, they'll have eaten some three to four hundred slaves, depending on how old they were when they were vampirized and how often they see combat.
  • In Pact, Aimon Behaim uses his skills as a practitioner in World War Two, specifically to help counter the practitioners on the Nazis' side. In this case, neither army knows about the existence of magic, meaning every practitioner has to work in secret.
  • The Powder Mage Trilogy: The titular powder mages are a special division of the Adro military and serve as enhanced riflemen. They also serve as officers. For example, Tamas, one of the main characters and a powder mage, is Field marshal of the entire army. Knacked, another set of magic users, also serve in the military but are treated as normal soldiers.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: The Dread Empire of Praes used to be quite well known for its use of off-the-wall sorcerous rituals. Following the Reforms the Legions of Terror stamp out a basic mage who can heal, scry for communication and espionage and maybe ward against the same, throw a fireball and know just enough magic theory to not be caught totally off guard when the devils or the Fae show up. They're then incorporated into a specialist unit with ten mages and ten soldiers with large shields who protect the mages. A number of more learned or traditional sorcerers scoff at the half-trained, cookie-cutter Legion Mages, but having a consistent support ability and being able to concentrate firepower seems to be working out very well for the Legions so far.
  • The Queen of Ieflaria: Rhodia has battlemages, powerful enough to take down dragons (at least in groups). A force of them gets sent to Ieflaria with Princess Esofi. Ieflaria has been suffering attacks from dragons, so receiving battlemages is a key part of their alliance to Rhodia.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Gnostic Hunters are wizards who essentially act as counterinsurgency operators. Their job is rooting out and destroying cults of the gods of the solar system's other planets, which have the potential to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In The Saga of Tanya the Evil, mages serve as specialized military units. They have weaker firepower than artillery and lower speed and altitude than aircraft, but are more flexible and maneuverable than either. These attributes make them the best type of military unit for urban guerrilla warfare and special operations. The main character, Tanya von Degurechaff, is an Aerial Mage and an exception to the aforementioned description as she is capable of taking down entire platoons of mages and bomber planes by herself.
  • In La Saga de los Confines, by the argentine Liliana Bodoc, when Misaianes, the son of Death, plans to conquer the continent of The Fertile Lands, he sends his army equipped with metal weapons, horses and cannons, and also sends Drimus, his most faithful magician. Although his broad, if vaguely defined, magical powers are very useful, Drimus is most effective in manipulating the conflicts and divisions that exist between different nations and peoples. On the other hand, The Fertile Lands have the “brujos de la tierra”, one of them is Kupuka, who is The Beastmaster, and who helps win an important battle by appearing in command of an army of jaguars, wild boars and swarms of wasps. and mosquitoes. There is also Piukeman, who shares mind and sight with a falcon, and who is very useful in gathering information about enemy troops.
  • Shadow Ops: Latents don't really have a choice about this trope. Those who manifest powers are required to turn themselves in, and doing so almost invariably leads to either military service or a degrading suppression program. Those who do not (or those who manifest Prohibited forms of magic—no, you don't get to choose what you get) are labeled outlaw "Selfers" and either killed or effectively enslaved in secret bases. Those who do wind up in the military are treated as special forces, artillery or support, depending on their powers and strength.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Mance Rayder's wildling army uses wargs, who are able to possess animals, for intelligence-gathering, scouting out enemy strength and positions from the bodies of birds. They also use animals such as wolves and bears as Attack Animals in battle.
    • As Stannis Baratheon's Court Mage, Melisandre uses her ability to see visions in fire to counsel him on military strategy.
    • In preparation for what would later be called the Battle of the Blackwater, Tyrion Lannister employs a guild of pyromancers to create mass quantities of what they call "the Substance" and others call "wildfire" to be flung by catapult at Stannis' ships. From the audience' perspective it appears to be similar to Greek Fire, which in Real Life is not, of course, magical, but the pyromancers report that "certain spells" involved in its manufacture have become "more efficacious" after The Magic Comes Back, allowing them to make more of it than anticipated, so its creation is apparently magical in-universe.
  • Spellster: The best spellsters of the tower in Damarn are selected for military service, controlled by their superior officer with a collar. If ordered to, they can use their magic on the Undyeans, their enemies. Undyeans also have many spellsters in their ranks.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy introduces the "battle meditation" Force power, a battlefield-covering aura affecting the combatants' mental state. The meditating Force-user's allies are filled with confidence and clarity, while especially powerful ones also assault their enemies with fear and confusion. Grand Admiral Thrawn measures the effect of battle meditation as giving nearly a 40% buff to every category of pilot performance. However, only a few Force-users are capable of effective battle meditation, and using it occupies their full attention. Overusing it can result in Crippling Overspecialization (it's speculated that the reason the Battle of Endor was lost so decisively after the Emperor's death is that he was using it to control the Imperial Fleet, throwing them into confusion when it was removed). Thrawn comes up with an innovative use for it: by stationing a cloaked ship on the inside of a planetary shield and having Joruus C'baoth use battle meditation to coordinate its fire with that of an uncloaked ship on the outside of the shield, he creates the illusion that turbolaser fire is passing right through the shield as though it weren't there.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: The Istari (demigods or angels who take the form of Wizards Classic) are strictly forbidden from dominating the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth or "matching Sauron's power with power". Some of them bend or break this rule, however:
    • Saruman simply goes rogue altogether and goes full Sorcerous Overlord, raising and commanding an army of orc-human hybrids implied to be created or bred by magic. He also uses alchemy (or just scientific knowledge more advanced than is common in the setting) to create a gunpowder-like substance to attack the walls of Helm's Deep, and uses a Crystal Ball for intelligence-gathering and communication with Sauron, whom he serves but plans to double-cross.
    • Gandalf largely limits himself to an advisory role to leaders like Denethor and Theoden, and seldom offers advice that couldn't have reasonably been given by any wise and learned adviser without special magical knowledge. The exceptions are just before and during the Battle of Minas Tirith. Just before, he performs a rearguard action to repel the Ringwraiths harrowing Faramir's unit's retreat into the city with what are clearly magical means, though the specifics are vague due to the point-of-view character observing from miles away. During the battle, with Denethor neglecting the defense of the city and his heir and chief captain Faramir indisposed, Gandalf takes de facto command of the city's defense. He relinquishes command to Aragorn at the first opportunity.
    • The Forces of Evil however are not under any restriction to withhold their magics in combat. Since Sauron is both weakened without his ring and not that good a fighter anyway, he delegates command of his armies to his Ringwraiths, many of whom are sorcerers and have dark powers due to their corruption by their own rings. The Black Captain, otherwise known as the Witch-King of Angmar, is especially strong and acted as the Frontline General during the Siege of Minas Tirith. His very presence terrifies the men of Gondor and he personally empowers the battering ram Grond so it can smash open the gates of the city.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The first notable instance is the Second Battle of Cairhien in the fifth book, in which Rand uses himself, Egwene, and Aviendha as artillery, raining down destruction on the battlefield from an observation tower, while an army of Aiel warriors handle the ground combat.
    • The Green Ajah of the White Tower, known as the Battle Ajah, is ostensibly an order of military mages, as they prioritize combat magic and are focused on preparing for the prophesied Last Battle. Their order's head is even called the Captain-General. In practice, they're Mildly Military at best, although as the only order which allows members to bond multiple Warders (magically-enhanced bodyguards), those who do can count as officers and support mages in addition to artillery.
    • The rediscovery of Traveling becomes extremely important to the siege of Tar Valon; the Aes Sedai (an order of female magic-users) take an oath to never use their power as a weapon, but they have no such proscription against transporting an army of men with weapons exactly where they need to be to cause the most damage. This is so effective that afterward, the ability to open a Gateway becomes the new measure of an Aes Sedai's strength and authority.
    • The Seanchan have this baked into their entire military. They systematically test all citizens for magical potential and conscript mages to fight as slave soldiers, bound by a magical leash that compels them to obey. They are mostly used as artillery.
    • This is built into the structure of the Black Tower, which Rand founds to train male mages to help fight the Last Battle. Combat training, both with the One Power and swords, is prioritized, and the first rank of initiates are called Soldiers. They fill the Special Forces role.
    • After merging with the memories of his previous life, Rand, already the de facto supreme commander of several militaries and a living artillery piece, becomes a full-on One-Man Army. The only reason he can't win the Last Battle all by himself is that it's the sort of fight that requires several armies.
    • Taken to its logical extreme in the Last Battle itself, which has just about every known magic-user in existence fighting on one side or the other. While many mages are used as artillery, the fact that Traveling has become widespread means they're at least as useful for logistics. Among other flashier uses, a portal with one end high above the battlefield and the other in a general's tent makes for easy intelligence-gathering.

    Live Action TV 
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: The witches of Salem agreed to serve with the Massachusetts Colony militia in return for ending persecution of them. Later, this carried over into the US. In the modern day the US Army has witch soldiers.
  • Shadow and Bone: Grisha in Ravka are recruited into the Second Army at ten, as soon as they are tested or identified as Grisha. There, they stay in the luxurious Little Palace to train before going out with the First Army (made up of normal people). In other places, the Grisha are killed (like Fjerda) or end up taking shady jobs (like Kerch).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Depending on the setting, wizards are most often used as artillery and clerics as support, though depending on build they could potentially fill almost any of the given roles. Specific examples:
    • The 3.5 Miniatures Handbook introduced a "Warmage" class that was designed specifically to act as a One-Man Army.
    • In the Forgotten Realms the nation of Cormyr has the War Wizards, who support the royal army in combat as well as fighting on their own.
    • The continent of Khorvaire in Eberron has just come out of a century-long war, so it would honestly be surprising if it didn't have these - and, indeed, magic on the battlefield is so prevalent that non-casters with the capacity to use magical items (such as rogues and artificers) are formed into squads of "wands" to provide support with the items they are named after. There are also groups of mercenary wizards, such as the Manifest Legion - a squad of hired summoners, who specialise in things like breaking enemy charges by conjuring a surprise fiendish dire wolf or three directly in the way of the approaching cavalry, with predictably unpleasant results.
  • GURPS Technomancer. After several atomic detonations brought magic to the Earth, many national militaries have taken magic users into their ranks and use their skills in combat. The term for a combat wizard is "warlock", presumably as a pun on the "war" part, and there's usually one per company in high-magic militaries like the United States. (There are also low level grunts who have no combat spells, but enough Magery to point a wand or use a scrying tool; they aren't considered warlocks.) Mage-only divisions of the US Army include the 101st Spellborne, originally an air division that moved from planes to carpets and dragons, and the 13th Special Operations Group (Magical Operations), a "black ops" squad that used to have "Necromantic" in its name.
  • Shadowrun. When the magic returned to the world some humans gained the ability to use it. Most countries recruit and train hermetic mages and nature shamans to help in warfare. Several countries, such as the UCAS (United Canadian and American States), Native American nations and the elven nations (Tir Tairngire and Tir na Nog) are particularly well-known for their combat mages/shamans.
  • Warhammer: Every faction has a magic-using character of both hero and lord tier (excluding the Dwarfs, who cannot use traditional magic). In fact, the premier Wizarding School of the setting, the Altdorf Colleges of Magic, were specifically founded to provide the Empire with Military Mages: the vast majority of wizards who graduate from it are simply the ones who don't mage, errr, make the cut as full-fledged Battle Wizards. Other factions may have a more or less strictly regimented relationship between their wizards and their armed forces, but every faction (again, excluding Dwarfs) have access to them. Most Lores have spells that allow wizards to fill several of the roles above, depending on which spells they have access to.
    • In general, all factions capable of magic have general-level wizards who can lead armies and thus serve as Officers in addition to their other roles, such as Imperial Wizard Lords, High Elven Archmages, Dark Elven Supreme Sorceresses, Orc and Goblin Great Shamans, and the like.
    • The Lore of Heavens can play a number of different roles depending on context. Off the field of war, it's an Intelligence lore that allows its astromancers to read the stars for omens, warnings and information of the future. In campaign, it's a Support lore that can ensure favorable weather for marching armies while harrying enemy forces with endless rains, blizzards and inclement conditions. In battle, it's an Artillery lore that sends lightning bolts and meteors raining down around the enemy's ears.
    • The Lore of Light is also very focused on Artillery, and is especially useful against the undead and daemonic entities most vulnerable to its beams of cleansing light. It also provides the Empire with a Magitek laser cannon in the form of a complex array of lenses through which a powerful light spell is cast, which the lenses focus into, for all intents and purposes, a powerful laser beam.
    • The Lore of Life is much more of a Support lore, and includes a large variety of buffing and healing spells, in addition to a few offensive powers.
    • The Lore of Beasts is a different kind of Support lore; it cannot heal, but is very useful for making allied soldiers tougher, stronger and more ferocious. Its highest-level spell allows wizards to summon a powerful flying monster, such as a manticore, a wyvern or a chimera, under their control, which if used properly can turn the tide of a battle.
    • The Lore of Fire is one of the most suited to an Artillery role, as a lot of its spells focus on throwing fireballs or unleashing storms of flame. A few of its spells, however, augment allied soldiers by giving them Flaming Swords and the like, allowing fire mages to also play a Support role.
    • The Lore of Metal is another mix of Support and Artillery, as capable of killing foes by turning them to metal as it to make their weapons rust to nothingness in their hands.
    • The Lore of Shadows mostly plays another sort of Support role by planting fatigue, confusion and fear into enemy soldiers' minds and by creating illusions and hiding allied forces.
    • The Lore of Death is a fairly straightforward Artillery lore, as most of its spells are some variety of "make people die".
  • In Warhammer 40,000:
    • Psykers usually fill in for mages. In the Imperial Guard Sanctioned Psykers usually act as artillery, while astropaths provide intelligence, sending and receiving telepathic messages across interstellar distances.
    • Chaos Space Marine Sorcerers are probably the truest example, since they combine the military training of a Space Marine (albeit a renegade one) with psyker abilities and a generous dose of quite literal Black Magic.

    Video Games 
  • Abyss Crossing: Nehan is an officer in the True World's Ministry of Magic and specializes in offensive magic.
  • BlazBlue: The NOL Academy is both a Military Academy and Wizarding School made for finding and teaching teens with potentials to become warriors of Magitek to serve in the NOL's army. Some of them serves as Praetorian Guard, some as intel units, and a few (like Tsubaki) serves NOL's unofficial black ops unit.
  • Dragon Age: Knight-Enchanters are mages who serve in the military (mainly the Orlesian armed forces), often without Templar supervision. This is very rare, however, because mages are distrusted by the general population, and it takes a lot of dedication and effort to receive that rank for a mage. Vivienne, a companion in Dragon Age: Inquisition, has received Knight-Enchanter training, although it is unknown where, if at all, she had served before. The Mage Circles are often used as artillery when necessary, and are kept in line by templars in the field as well, even if they aren't Knight-Enchanters.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The office of Imperial Battlemage is both a high-ranking adviser to the Emperor and a Magic Knight who usually specializes in the Destruction school, implying that they can be deployed as artillery. Those in this station have acted variously as a Hypercompetent Sidekick (Zurin Arctus to Tiber Septim in some apocrypha), an Evil Chancellor (Jagar Tharn to Uriel Septim VII), and The Good Chancellor (Ocato to Uriel VII and Martin Septim, who would also become The Creon and, eventually, Potentate for the Septim Empire for a time following the Oblivion Crisis).
    • Imperial Battlemages are also a branch of the Imperial Legion who act as Magic Knights on the battlefield, being an important asset to the legions dating back to the First Empire. They act variously in support roles (namely healing and protection spells), gathering military intelligence (using Illusion-class spells to scout enemy forces), artillery (with high powered Destruction-class spells), as summoners (using Conjuration-spells) and as just plain Magic Knights who combine magical abilities with plate armor and melee weapons (averting the Squishy Wizard stereotype). The protagonist of the spin-off Dungeon Crawler An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire was in training to become an Imperial Battlemage prior to the events of the game.
    • Several of the Mage Species races, such as the Altmer (High Elves) and Bretons (mostly human Uneven Hybrids), employ rank-and-file soldiers who are naturally gifted in the skills of magic and use spells to supplement their more standard combat abilities.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II: Emperor troops, like Soldiers and Sergeants, will often attack you in groups alongside proficient magic users, like Sorcerers and Wizards. Sometimes the latter actually end up being more annoying and harder to kill than the physical attackers.
    • Final Fantasy VI: The Empire uses Magitek to infuse soldiers and machines with magic, creating a magic-wielding army. Soldiers who can use magic directly rather than needing to pilot machines are called Magitek Knights. The most prominent named Magitek Knights are:
      • Terra is a slave soldier controlled by a mind-control crown. She does not appear to have a formal rank, but is used by her Magitek-riding handlers as a Living Weapon.
      • Kefka is a Psycho Prototype who acts as The Emperor's Court Mage and The Heavy ( until usurping the role of Big Bad in the game's latter half) and holds the rank of Commander. He acts as an officer and artillery, commanding small detachments of troops such as the one that attacks Narshe and the task force assigned to retrieve Terra after the game's intro.
      • Celes was infused with magic as a baby, after the process was perfected and no longer caused insanity. She holds the rank of General. We never actually see her commanding troops, but dialogue tells us that she was in charge of the campaign to capture the town of Miranda. Besides the offensive and healing abilities that all mages in the setting share, she has a unique magic absorption ability that makes her an effective counter-mage, although ironically this doesn't prove useful until she turns against The Empire.
      • General Leo also acts primarily as an officer, leading the siege of Doma Castle but never taking the field himself that we can see. He's more than capable, however, having a unique multi-target magical Shock attack not equaled by the party until the endgame. Unfortunately, the only time we see him use it is when he's fighting Kefka after the latter gets a massive Next Tier Powerup, and Leo comes down with a fatal case of The Worf Effect.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, magic is drawn from materia, crystallized Mako energy, and anyone with materia can use magic. Judging from their in-game actions, SOLDIER 3rd class special forces' standard equipment includes Bolt, Ice, and Sleep materia, and higher-ranked special forces such as SOLDIER 1st class and the Turks are assigned even more powerful materia based on their current mission.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII Students of Military Academy cum Mercenary Organisation Balamb Garden learn to use magic in a process called Para-Magic, similar to the Materia from the previous entry above; of all the Gardens Balamb is the only one that follows this practice. Once they graduate it is common for these Students to move onto Military postings. Due to the variety of magic on offer they can fulfill several roles; Artillery (elemental Black Magic), Support (White Magic for healing and buffs, some Black Magic for debuffs) and Intelligence (Scan to decipher enemy strengths and weaknesses). Also good enough to qualify for the Special Forces category given some of the Black Ops work they sometimes get.
      • The grunts of the main nations are also quite capable of casting too, to say nothing about the officers.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Black Mages are ranged units whose attacks can take advantage of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors and don't benefit from altitude, unlike archers. White Mages act as The Medic, and Summoners are most akin to artillery, with powerful Area of Effect attacks as well as healing and buffs, although these tend to be less efficient than those of the White Mage.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, Black Mages are actually artificially-created golems used as slave soldiers by the Alexandrian army. Vivi was intended to be one as well, but is a Super Prototype which developed free will and apparently escaped. Standard Black Mages appear to be used exclusively as artillery; the more-powerful flying Black Waltzes are special forces assigned to solo tasks. Vivi himself can act as both artillery and support, empowering Steiner to use powerful elemental sword attacks.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0: The Vermilion Bird Crystal bestows people in the Dominion of Rubrum with the power of magic, and so magic serves as the primary weapon for most Rubrumite legions. Fire, Ice, Lightning spells are even classified with truncated firearm names - RF (rifle), SHG (shotgun), MIS (missile), ROK (rocket), and BOM (bomb)
      • The game's opening showcases the usual formation of Rubrum's military; Wall spells are maintained, between which MIS spells are fired at the enemy, and when the enemy brings out the big guns, Eidolons get summoned to even the field. This mostly fits the Support and Artillery types; Eidolons cost too much for summoning platoons to fall under Mook Maker.
      • Said opening consists of the Godzilla Threshold being crossed, and Rubrum steps up their game. Agito Cadets are sanctioned into auxiliary forces, which serve the Special Forces type; performing missions that the main legions cannot handle themselves.
      • Magical power diminishes with age, peaking around 16-17 and plateauing until the mid-20s at most before a decline starts; when a soldier is deemed unfit for battle, they are relegated to the Officer type, where their battle experience is put to use planning strategies and teaching Agito Cadets.
      • Class Zero consists of fourteen individuals who fall sharply under the One-Man Army type, and they are the playable characters; three Classmates Zero on the right front can make or break a war.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has a few examples itself.
      • Scholars, which are a playable Job in the game, were the backbone of the military power for the ancient Nym civilization, serving as field medics and tacticians for the Royal Nymian Marines to help fend off the superior numbers of their attackers during the War of the Magi.
      • Mages of all types are recruited into Eorzea's Grand Companies. Conjurers are especially prominent to keep everyone in the fight.
      • Garleans of The Empire are biologically incapable of using magic, but have mages in their ranks as conscripted soldiers.
    • Final Fantasy XV has a special forces example with the Kingsglaives from the Kingdom of Lucis. They are deployed for key battles and surgical missions much like a real life commando unit, and the Comrades DLC for the main game allows you to play as a player-created Glaive who survived the sacking of Insomnia.
    • Final Fantasy XVI has it's native magic users, Bearers and Dominants, used for military purposes. Bearers are discriminated against in general and often forced into slavery (their magic isn't that strong to make a huge difference in a straight up fight, the non-Bearers have other ways of utilising magic, and that's before the inevitable disadvantage of numbers is taken into account) and used as disposable cannon fodder by most of the major nations. Dominants are (most of the time) treated with more respect, or rather caution, as trying the same thing with them, the incarnation of what passes for the settings Gods, would result in the offending country being wiped off the map, as they are each a One-Man Army, often only deployed when another Dominant shows up due to the sheer collateral damage they would cause. Both categories seem to tend towards the pure Artillery and damage output.
  • Fire Emblem: The armies featured often have magic users among their ranks as ranged attackers or using very powerful artillery spells that can be used from across the game map. Fire Emblemthe Binding Blade is particularly notable for having one of the highest military positions in the kingdom of Etruria being that of the Mage General.
  • Grim Dawn:
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Bastila Shan has mastered a Force technique called battle meditation that raises the effectiveness of her allies; she works closely with the Republic Navy to coordinate fleets in battle.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords goes in to why this can be a bad idea. The Jedi that fought with the Republic against the Mandalorians were instrumental in turning the tide against the invaders. However the empathic nature of the Jedi's power worked against them: they were terribly affected by the stunning amount of suffering and loss of life. Some were driven mad and others turned to the darkside. Come the next war a lot of the Jedi were fighting on the other side against the remaining Jedi that hadn't fought in the last one. The whole cycle repeats and soon there are very little Jedi left in the galaxy.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Force-wielding PCs have their own agendas apart from the war, but they can stop to lend a hand to their faction's military forces over the course of the story. In the KOTFE/KOTET expansions, a Force-using character becomes this as the Alliance Commander, while Zakuul's elite forces are also largely made up of Force-users.
  • Trails Series:
    • Established as early into the series as the first game, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, is that what singlehandedly changed everything the world over was the creation of the orbment, which used specialized magical rocks called 'Quartz' to introduce Magic from Technology. While mostly known for its effect on communications - and, naturally, how the ability to communicate over long distances near-instantly changed how wars were fought - orbments also allowed for massive flying battleships and orbment-powered tanks, weapons, and soldiers. The nation the first series in the wider work takes place in, Liberl, was once considered one of the weakest backwaters on the continent of Zemuria - the use of orbments to create a massive, deadly air force changed a losing war with the massive Empire of Erebonia into a winnable fight, with orbment-equipped soldiers being the backbone of the effort to get Erebonia evicted from the nation.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky sees the narrative turn to a military academy and, later, a branch of that academy for deliquents and students with special needs. The actual classes on military strategy all tout the significance orbments have on the battlefield, allowing for mass communications with the lastest models that trump the 'home-phone' style communication orbments of the past and making warriors who aren't physically imposing or crackshots with ranged weaponry veritable beasts with their access to magic. Even potential soldiers, like Laura, who have no skill in magic itself still benefit from orbments, since magic that empowers others and the magical might drawn from a personal orbment like an ARCUS allows people with prodigous martial skill but little talent in magic to grow even stronger.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is mostly about the Fifth Crusade against the demons of the Worldwound, with the player character being promoted to Commander of the Crusade in short order. Being set in the Pathfinder universe, there is naturally an abundance of magic-users (especially clerics and paladins) amongst the crusader ranks. The Commander even gains some extra godlike powers, on top of any magical abilities already possessed.
  • The Secret World:
    • All three main factions use the magically-empowered player characters as special forces, sending them into the field alone with only their powers and their wits to rely on. Of course, as Gaia's Chosen, players possess both Resurrective Immortality and immunity to the effects of the Filth, making them ideal candidates for dealing with situations too dangerous for ordinary mages and ordinary soldiers.
    • Enemy forces commonly possessed of magic, including the mercenaries of the Nine Houses and the Orochi Mitsubachi, tend to operate as special forces as well. In particular, the Mitsubachi were meant as an elite group right from the beginning - specifically formed to counteract the players.
    • Carter of Innsmouth Academy is being earmarked for this role by all three secret societies. As "Carter Unleashed" demonstrates, she's tough enough and versatile enough to serve as an effective one-man army. However, the real draw of her powers lies in artillery: she's the sorcerous equivalent of a battlefield nuke, and her magic could result in "thaumonuclear devastation" if misused.
    • Theodore Wicker serves as both an Officer and Support during the Hell Dimensions dungeons, especially once he's forced to give up his plans of rebuilding Hell in favour of leading demonkind to war: having made himself effectively immortal through dark rituals, the wonky passage of time in hell has granted him several centuries to hone his skills to incredible extremes, until he's not only experienced enough to manage the strategic maneuverings of an entire revolution, but powerful enough to match Eblis himself in a Wizard Duel. Also, he proves to be a very effective healer and source of military when the players are forced to act in his stead, first by guiding you across the ruins via telepathy, then by healing your wounds in the final boss battle.
    • Several Jinn in service to Eblis apparently serve as artillerymen, using their powers in conjunction with specially-modified demons to bombard the enemy with meteors - as you find out when you attack the artillery position.
  • Vandal Hearts: Clerics act as The Medic and Mages as artillery, and the latter are particularly useful against Armor units, which have incredibly strong physical defenses but are vulnerable to magical attacks. Monks, a subclass that can be accessed by both Clerics and Mages, are Magic Knights and Jacks of All Stats with excellent movement speed, decent physical attack and defense, and enough skill with both magical offense and magical healing to be used as either The Medic or an offensive mage in a pinch.
  • World of Warcraft: Both the Alliance and the Horde employ multiple forms of magic-users in their army. Being that both are essentially major continent-spanning superpowers permanently stuck on the brink of the industrial revolution, and almost routinely threatened by major threats, Mages (And all other adventurers) joining the army is practically expected, and canonically happens during Wrath of the Lich King for the Player.

  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The setting is defined by two things: a disease that changes a small portion of its victims, both human and animal, into extremely dangerous monsters and an unexplained The Magic Comes Back episode. The armies of the nations that survived the initial outbreak are hence very interested in having a few spellcasters to help fight the monsters in question. Actual ones are seen in the form of Onni and Lalli, though the latter is a night scout by profession.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : Benders, people who possess Elemental Powers, are an important part of every army. Not only are they often at the forefront in every battle, but they perform important support tasks: waterbenders can heal wounded, earthbenders quickly build walls, trenches and fortifications, and firebenders drive much of the technology of the fire nation, like its steam tanks.
  • The Dragon Prince: Although Lord Viren primary mission is to serve King Harrow as an advisor, he is seen taking part in both planning strategies for battles as well as the fighting itself. He's perfectly capable of fighting Rayla's parents and Rayla herself on his own.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Inquisitors, Dark Side users trained by Darth Vader, are tasked with hunting and killing Jedi who escaped Order 66, as well as tracking Force-sensitive infants. They're a combo of Officers (nobody but Vader and Palpatine seems to outrank them) and Special Forces (they usually go alone or in small groups of two or three). Kanan and Ezra could be considered as this when they join the larger Rebel Alliance, as Special Forces.


Video Example(s):


Jonathan Strange At Waterloo

Employed as a magician by Lord Wellington, Jonathan Strange (AKA Merlin) uses his powers in the Battle of Waterloo - both for defence and attack.

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Example of:

Main / MilitaryMage

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