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Multiform Balance occurs when creators take care to make each multiple form of a Voluntary Shapeshifter, such as a Henshin Hero, a Swiss-Army Hero or a Morph Weapon-type Swiss-Army Weapon, useful in its own way. The easiest way to do this is to make each one suited for a certain tactical situation or to use certain tactics. For example, a werewolf doing a Partial Transformation to a Wolf Man may not be able to talk, but can still use weapons and has greater strength than a man, but isn't as fast as a wolf (except maybe if it can go onto all fours).

In essence, it's applying Competitive Balance between each of the character (or weapon)'s forms. In fact, the character types laid out in Competitive Balance or other power balancing tropes can be quite useful in describing the character's forms. To be precise, the "balance" usually only applies to "basic" forms, with a Joke Character form only being used when the character doesn't have access to the basic forms. Lightning Bruiser and Super Mode are mostly a Mid-Season Upgrade and superior to basic forms in every aspect; if the balance also applies to these forms, it's usually by making them a Deadly Upgrade, Limit Break, Hour of Power, or otherwise Awesome, but Impractical.

Related to Stance System, with each form being considered as different "stances". May overlap with Evolution Powerup, especially if new forms are gained/discovered as the plot demands, although Multiform Balance can switch back and forth. Can also overlap with Swap Fighter, which often offer a set of characters that cover each others' weaknesses. When Humongous Mecha use this trope, it's usually done with Mecha Expansion Pack or Transforming Mecha. May also be done with Shed Armor, Gain Speed.

Contrast Master of All and Power Creep, which can invalidate specialized min-maxing forms.

Examples with their own pages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: omake-only character Reel, as Kamen Rider Skull the Second, has multiple Rider forms he can change between, but the omake chapters only show two: his default form, and his strongest. Word of God states that his fifth form is his Super Mode, Kamen Rider Skull Xtreme, and the form used for battle in the final omake is his sixth and final form, Kamen Rider Skull Gold Xtreme.
  • Scoob and Shag has the Preacher, who has the power to change the density of his own body, getting only the beneficial effects. Increasing a body part's density makes it much heavier and resistant to damage, but doesn't hinder his movements at all, allowing him to hit much harder. Vice-versa, decreasing a body part's density allows him to move it much faster without making it frailer. The obvious limitation is that he can't use both effects on the same part.
  • As per Kamen Rider tradition, Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante gives Hoshi some forms to play around with... But it ultimately becomes a subversion as the "balance" the forms serve are more balance patches to the previous forms as opposed to the usual "one form's strong and the other's fast", though once Hoshi gets a more stable powerset, they become this trope.
    • Ashen Mount: Joke Character, as Hoshi wrote this form for when Dante runs out of flames.
    • Fuji Mount: As this was originally the only form Hoshi would give Dante, he's by default the Jack of All Stats.
    • Yellowstone Mount: Proposed to be a Mighty Glacier or even a Super Mode outright to address the power imblance with the other Creations, but due to how his powers are fueled by both fire and anger, it only served to turn Hoshi into The Berserker.
    • Sakurajima Mount: Made to address Yellowstone's Unstoppable Rage, Sakurajima releases all the pent up fire and rage and, in the process, turns Hoshi into a Fragile Speedster.
    • Toranity Mount: Made as a proper Super Mode for Hoshi and by far the most stable form of the non-Fuji Mounts, balanced out by how long it takes to get the power up going in question.
  • In The Echo Ranger, Izuku Midoriya gains access to Tommy Oliver's powers combined in a single Power Coin, giving him three Ranger forms. Tommy's Virtual Ghost explains that each one has a stronger point: Mode Green has speed, Mode White has raw strength and offensive power, and Mode Black is the most balanced but also has the strongest defense.

  • Animorphs: While each of the kids have their own unique morphs, there are several occasions when they've morphed the same animal (sometimes to exploit the fact that the animal goes into a stupor when being acquired, long enough for them to escape, like the hammerhead shark or the T. rex). The inverse of the trope bites them in the ass when they attack the Yeerk pool all in polar bear morph and nearly die.

    Live Action TV 
  • While Multiform Balance with Super Sentai (and Power Rangers) mecha is usually achieved through Mecha Expansion Packs, a couple of Sentai mecha have multiple configurations that serve different purposes. Choujin Sentai Jetman and Mirai Sentai Timeranger have five jet mecha that can either combine into a larger jet or a humanoid robot.
    • Additionally, Timeranger's TimeRobo had two modes: The close combat oriented TimeRobo Alpha and the agile ranged TimeRobo Beta. Impressively, TimeRobo multi-form balance extends to its Super Mode when combined with TimeShadow. Alpha and Beta each have their own combination.
    • Both individually and as a team, the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger take this way past any logical level. With the ability to swap between the forms of two hundred previous rangers the Gokaigers can in theory match their combat needs to just about any conceivable situation plus, from heavy hitting close quarter fighters with Dynaman to swift and deadly ninjas with Kakuranger and just about everything in between. The same holds true for Gokai-oh with the assorted Greater Powers granted by previous teams giving it a variety of combat modes. The movies show they can borrow the powers of Kamen Riders and Metal Heroes as well.
    • In Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, Yamato can switch powers between the agile Zyuoh Eagle which can fly, and the strong Zyuoh Gorilla, and later on the Zyuoh Whale Super Mode, which gives him water powers and a Hand Cannon. Sixth Ranger Zyuoh TheWorld also has multiple modes, with the balanced rhino, speedy wolf, and powerful crocodile, plus a powerful Super Mode that gives him addition weapons based on all three of his animal powers. In the final episode, Yamato reveals an ultimate form that combines all three of his powers, throwing balance out the window.
    • In Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, the two main Humongous Mecha have two forms each depending on which team they're associated with at the moment. The Lupinrangers' mecha, Lupin Kaiser and X Emperor Slash, are faster and more agile; while the Patrangers' versions, Pat Kaiser and X Emperor Gunner, are tougher and hit harder. This also applies to the Sixth Ranger, who is a member of both teams; though he has reversed stats as his Lupin X form is the armored one and Patren X is more nimble.
    • Yodon, The Big Bad of Mashin Sentai Kiramager has two additional personalities that he can change into. His true form is the strongest and is nearly impossible to defeat in battle but can't survive for long periods outside of a polluted environment. His other two personalities don't have the same weakness to pure environments and each have their own unique abilities that Yodon's true form doesn't have.
    • Tsukaizer of Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger has three different upgraded forms, one based on Ohranger improves his firepower, one based on Shinkenger improves his swordsmanship, and a Super Mode based on Timeranger that drastically increases his speed and power. His first two upgraded forms are achieved by merging with one of his two brothers. His personal vehicle is the Battleship CrocoDaiOh, which has the ability to change into three different humanoid robot modes with different abilities depending which of the the three brothers it combined with.
  • The Ultra Series uses this trope from the start of the Heisei era.


    Tabletop Game 
  • In Pathfinder the shifter class gains access to a selection of animal aspects as they level, each of which has a minor form, where they mostly retain their original appearance but gain some kind of bonus based on the aspect chosen, and a major form, where they transform entirely into that animal. While they can eventually keep multiple minor forms active at once, it's expected a shifter will choose some aspects based on the different roles their major forms are suited to, such as turning into a tiger for combat, a mouse for stealth, and a falcon for flight.
  • The Naturalist's Form ongoings in Sentinels of the Multiverse each have their own mechanical benefits: Crocodile deals more damage and buffs a lot of damaging effects, Gazelle has a lot of recovery and control options, and Rhinoceros is durable and has access to card draw. Naturalist gameplay relies heavily on shifting between these forms to get whatever effects online that are most useful in the current situation (although the Hunted Naturalist is able to stack the symbols, just not the Forms).
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken. Each of a Uratha's five forms has its uses and weaknesses.
    • The Hishu (human) form is most likely to pass among mortals and best suited for social dealings.
    • The Dalu (wolf-man) form allows added strength and enhanced senses while retaining human form, but still pings Lunacy a little.
    • The Gauru (monster two-legged wolf) form is the strongest, most damaging form, but can only be used for a limited time and is locked in a state of rage that makes any action but attacking something a failure.
    • The Urshul (dire wolf) form is fastest of all and quite strong, but will still ping Lunacy heavily.
    • The Urhan (wolf) form will blend in most easily in nature and could maybe pass for a wolfdog in urban environments.

    Video Games 
  • Breath of Fire IV: When Ryu transforms, whichever form he chooses provides a percentage boost to his stats, resulting in the following arrangements: Master of None (Aura), Jack of All Stats (Wyvern/Weyr), Mighty Glacier (Behemoth/Mammoth), Lightning Bruiser (Myrmidon/Knight), Glass Cannon (Mutant/Punk) and Super Mode (Kaiser). Fou-lu's dragons roughly follow the same percentage boosts as Ryu's; just replace Aura, Wyvern and Kaiser with Astral, Serpent and Tyrant (Fou-lu doesn't have Myrmidon or Mutant, and he has a Behemoth like Ryu), respectively.
  • Kheldians in City of Heroes are another example, though they don't start out with all the forms. Nova form is a Glass Cannon, Dwarf form is a Stone Wall, and with the basic human form being somewhere in between, and having a much greater choice of attacks, including the ability to deal decent damage at close range. Some players try to specialise in only one form, but by most accounts the best choice is to make use of all three forms, swapping as necessary.
    • Unfortunately due to the way powers and slots worked actually using all three forms for combat wasn't practical. Instead most Kheldians were built to fight using only the Nova and Dwarf forms while occasionally dropping into Human form to apply buffs. The exceptions to this tends to eschew forms entirely, simply sticking with the basic human form.
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory does this to MagnaGarurumon's Starlight Velocity attack, which it can only use after ditching its armor and guns. While said attack is a simple case of Shed Armor, Gain Speed in the rest of the franchise, here its un-armored form is treated as an outright Mode Change called MagnaGarurumon SV that has Starlight Velocity as its Signature Move. The Shed Armor, Gain Speed aspect is reflected in it having a higher speed stat than the base form at the cost of having lower health.
  • Morphling in Dota 2 has Attribute Shift, which lets him exchange his base Strength for Agility and vice-versa over time. Since Strength gives HP and Agility increases his damage and attack speed, this means he can change between a Stone Wall and Glass Cannon or in-between whenever the situation arises. One of his other ability, Adaptive Strike, has two seperate versions of the skill where one has more stun duration and knockback the more Strength he has than Agility, and a higher damage multiplier the more Agility he has than Strength.
  • Final Fantasy X-2's version of the series' Job System allows the three playable characters to switch jobs (in this game, called dresspheres) even in the midst of battle as the situation calls for it, courtesy of the Garment Grid system.
  • The gameplay of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is pretty much built around this trope. Switching back and forth between Giana's cute and punk forms at exactly the right moment is the key to solving many puzzles.
  • Heroes of the Storm: This is Varian's entire gimmick. He starts out as a Master of None for the first 9 levels, but once he hits 10, he can choose between one of three Heroics to specialize. Taunt increases his health but lowers his attack speed and gives him a brief stun ability, Colossus Smash increases his attack damage but lowers his health and gives him an armour-weakening leap, and Twin Blades of Fury increases his attack speed but lowers attack damage and gives him extra movement speed after he hits a basic attack. Each of them are watered-down versions of the archetypal character of that role, and Varian's strength comes from his ability to fill any slot his team needs.
  • Kingdom Hearts II has its Valor and Wisdom Forms spiking the player's physical and magical stats (respectively) at the cost of the other. Then comes Master Form and Final Form, which balance melee attacks and magic by making both of them highly effective.
  • League of Legends has a lot of dual-mode champions that can change modes at will, but the most unique of them all is Gnar, a cute prehistoric yordle that flings boomerangs from a distance, while being able to transform into a tanky beast when enraged, albeit for a few seconds.
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance
    • The player character Agent starts as a Master of None (Generalist) and can switch to any of five other classes — Glass Cannon (Blaster), Lightning Bruiser (Scrapper), Mighty Glacier (Bruiser), Jack of All Stats (Tactician), Fragile Speedster (Infiltrator) — by buying and equipping the appropriate uniform. Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors is in play, so each of those classes has an advantage over one class and a disadvantage against a second. The Agent can also remain as a Generalist, neither weak nor strong against any class.
    • Several heroes have alternate costumes, and a change in costume also means a change in class. (ex.: Spider-Man, an Infiltrator by default, can also become either a Scrapper with his Future Foundation outfit, or don the Black Suit, turning into a Bruiser.)
    • Punisher has the ability to switch classes at will, each class has its own attack unique from the other and can be either target single or group enemies.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Mega Man's ability to fuse with Rush in Mega Man 6, creating the Power and Jet Adapters. In Mega Man 7, the abilities of both adapters are compressed into a single, Super adapter.
  • Mega Man X's ability to switch between different armors in some of his games. The armors vary between each game, but Ultimate Armor would be consistent.
  • Mega Man Zero 2, Zero starts out as a Master of None (Normal), but fulfilling certain conditions in a mission unlocks specialized upgrades: Fragile Speedster (Active), Mighty Glacier (Energy and Power), Stone Wall (Defense and Erase), Lightning Bruiser (Rise and X), Glass Cannon (Proto) and finally, Super Mode (Ultimate).
  • Mega Man ZX Advent: This game allows you to take on the boss' forms after you defeat them. Your normal untransformed form and the bonus form "Model a" are Joke Characters (armed only with a non-chargeable buster and cannot dash), Mega Man forms are Jack of All Stats, Bifrost form is a Mighty Glacier, Argoyle and Hedgeshock forms are Fragile Speedsters, Buckfire form is a Lightning Bruiser, Queenbee and Vulturon forms are Stone Walls (with their weak attacks and ability to fly, Queenbee is longer-ranged while Vulturon is shorter-ranged), and Chronoforce and Rospark are gimmickynote .
  • One of the weapons in Monster Hunter a player can wield is the Charge Blade, a sword and a shield with good attack, good defence and average mobility. This duo can combine on fly into a big axe with slow, hard hitting attacks and no defensive capabilities. The Charge Blade is quite well rounded but rather difficult to learn.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has two examples:
    • The Red Stinger changes its form depending on its position on the lawn. When it's near the house, it will be a Glass Cannon. Near the middle, it gains extra defense but fires half as fast as a Jack of All Stats. When it's far from the house, it will become a Stone Wall unable to attack. However, it's quite bad at defending, as it's unable to take as much damage as a proper wall.
    • The Nightshade has two modes of attack depending on whether there's a Moonflower nearby to power it up. When uncharged, it's a Close-Range Combatant that slaps zombies for heavy damage, using up one of its three petals in the process. When it's charged, it becomes a Long-Range Fighter that will fire out and regenerate these petals, at the cost of dealing halved damage.
  • Pokémon
    • The Mythical Deoxys has various forms with differing distributions of stats. Normal Forme is the Jack of All Stats form (although in terms of in-game stats, it's more of a slightly less extreme Attack Forme), Attack Forme is the Glass Cannon form, Defense Forme is the Stone Wall form, and Speed Forme is the Fragile Speedster form (although in terms of in-game stats, it's actually more balanced and defensive than Normal Forme).
    • Generation V's Darmanitan has a normal form that is a Glass Cannon, but when certain Darmanitans' Hit Points go below half they automatically switch to Zen Mode, which is a Mighty Glacier. This was a poorly-done attempt, though — all the damage is received before the switch, and getting knocked out in one hit is not too unlikely in the glass cannon form. Even if they do survive, the higher defensive stats are not very useful with less than half Hit Points left.
    • Generation VI introduces the Steel/Ghost sword Aegislash. Its Shield Forme is a Stone Wall. As soon as it uses an attack, it turns into the Glass Cannon Sword Forme. Using its Signature Move King's Shield turns it back into Shield Forme.
    • A Zygarde with all 100 of its Cells and Cores is capable of switching between 10% Forme, a fast but frail canine, or the bulkier and slower serpentine 50% Forme. Either forme will have the Power Construct ability, which transforms Zygarde into the even bulkier Complete Forme once it Turns Red.
    • Rotom has 5 alternate forms, each with a different typing based on appliances: Normal Rotom (Electric/Ghost), Heat Rotom (Electric/Fire), Wash Rotom (Electric/Water), Fridge Rotom (Electric/Ice), Fan Rotom (Electric/Flying) and Mow Rotom (Electric/Grass).
    • Both Arceus and Silvally can have different forms for ALL typings in the game.
  • The various offensive shapeshifting powers in [PROTOTYPE] are balanced like this. Claws are quite fast and have a slow ranged attack composed of spikes erupting from the ground and impaling the target from below, Musclemass is only useful for making long ranged attacks so it is almost wothless in close-combat, Hammerfist gives massively devastating splash damage attacks with really slow speed, the Whipfist has awesome range, anti-air attacks and crowd control capabilities in exchange for power and the Blade is similar to the Claws but replaces the latter's impalement attack with a brutally powerful aerial attack that can One-Hit Kill tanks.
  • Robotech: Battlecry features Transforming Mecha like the rest of the franchise, though it boils down the transformations to a few basic points.
    • The offensively-minded Fighter is the fastest of the three forms and packs the most raw firepower since it uses the largest missiles, but is the least agile due to requiring a large turning circle and has a very limited ability to use cover, relying on pure speed instead.
    • The defensive Battloid form is the slowest in terms of movement and is unable to use missiles, but is the most agile form due to its ability to put cover between itself and enemies and possesses both the best anti-missile defense and the most accurate ranged attack.
    • The middle of the road Gerwalker mode can both use cover and fire missiles while being faster than the Battloid and more nimble than the Fighter, but it lacks the defenses of the former and the speed of the latter, making it the form most vulnerable to enemy attacks.
  • The old Electronic Arts game Shadowcaster features a lead that could form pacts with various creatures to "accept the form of X", each form having its own uses.
  • StarCraft 2: The Terran race has this as a characteristic of several mechanical units.
    • Hellions are speedy but fragile off-road cars, equipped with a flamethrower that deals bonus damage to light units and can hit multiple targets in a straight line. In this form they are used for scouting or hit-and-run attacks. After you build an armory they can transform into Hellbats, small mecha which waddle at a somewhat slow pace but gain increased hitpoints, the ability to be healed by medivacs, and a flame attack that hits an arc of targets immediately in front of it. This second form is basically a replacement for the classic Firebat unit; Hellbats are typically put in the front line of a battle to get stuck in with the enemy and tank for the squishier units behind them.
    • Vikings come out of the starport as air superiority fighters which can only shoot air-to-air missiles, but they can land and transform into walking mecha with Gatling guns that only shoot ground-to-ground. The transformation takes some time to complete, and vikings are not well-regarded as front line ground units, so the walker mode tends to go under-utilized.
    • Siege tanks have two modes, both with their uses.
      • Siege tanks come out of the factory in tank mode, in which they can move freely around the battlefield. In this mode the gun has fairly low damage per attack but high attack speed, which actually gives it good single-target DPS. On one hand the maximum range of the gun is only medium-distance at best, but on the other hand it does not suffer from Arbitrary Weapon Range and can even keep shooting enemies that have closed into mêlée distance. It lacks splash damage, and therefore can only hurt one enemy at a time, but this also means that there's no fear of accidentally hurting itself or other friendlies when it shoots the enemy. Therefore, if enemy forces (especially mêlée attackers) manage to charge into the Terran force while the tanks are still in tank mode, it's often better to leave them in tank mode instead of trying to transform into siege mode when it's already too late.
      • Siege mode transforms the tank into a stationary artillery piece, which is the mode in which siege tanks can have the biggest effect on the battlefield. In it the individual shots do more damage to the primary target, and also deal splash damage to anything that's right next to the target. This makes siege mode superior for destroying clumps of enemies, although the single-target DPS might actually be inferior compared to tank mode because of just how slowly it fires. The splash damage can also deal friendly fire, so one must beware of shelling enemies which have closed to mêlée attack range. Speaking of range, siege mode allows the tank to shoot a massive distance even beyond what its own vision can see, making scans or forward observers necessary. This large radius of fire allows tanks in siege mode to either deny a large area to enemy ground units, or besiege an enemy base or army from a safe distance.
      • The catch to tanks being in siege mode is that they're extremely vulnerable to close range and especially mêlée attack, since they cannot shoot enemies that get too close to them, and a group of siege tanks will probably end up hastening each others' deaths with splash damage when they automatically shoot the zerglings/zealots/whatever that are swarming the tanks next to them. It doesn't help that they can't try to run away until they finish transforming into tank mode, so if the enemy closes it's already too late. The good news is that a well-positioned line of siege tanks protected by terrain or frontline units is hard to asssault if they can see and shoot the enemy from standoff distance. Still, it becomes necessary at some point to shift back to tank mode to either advance or withdraw. The transformation to tank mode makes them momentarily unable to shoot and removes their huge defensive radius, so transforming and repositioning siege tanks requires good situational awareness.
    • The Thor is a Humongous Mecha whose back armament transforms to either use missiles that deal a low amount of splash damage to multiple air targets, or big guns that deal high damage to single air targets. The former is more useful when dealing with a swarm of more fragile flyers like mutalisks, while the latter is better against capital ships such as carriers.
  • Skully has the three different golems you can transform into by entering a magical clay pool, forming a Multiform Balance of sorts, useful for platforming elements, breaking walls, or accessing tricky areas. It starts with the Mighty Glacier Strong Golem, a huge, muscular clay giant who can break walls with it's fists and powerful Dishing Out Dirt attacks, and is followed by the fast-moving Fragile Speedster Golem, Fleet Footer, who has Super-Speed. And finally you get Jolly Jumper, a well-balanced golem with the ability to Double Jump.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has Shulk. He's a Mechanically Unusual Fighter whose playstyle centers around a Stance System composed of 5 Monado Arts. Each of those arts boost one of his stats for a few seconds at the cost of reducing others. For example, "Jump" increases his jump distance while lowering his defense, and "Smash" increases his launch ability at the cost of weaker attacks and lower defense against launching.
    • Invoked with Zelda and Sheik in Melee and Brawl. Zelda is the Squishy Wizard with longer range specials and normals with stronger kill power, and Sheik is the Fragile Speedster who has very fast mobility and attacks, but lower damage. In Melee, there was no reason to switch to Zelda 99.9% of the time, and things weren't much better in Brawl.
    • Subverted with Pokémon Trainer in Brawl. The idea behind the character was that you had three fighters at your disposal — the lightweight Squirtle, the middleweight Ivysaur, and the heavyweight Charizard — each with their own distinct strengths and weaknesses, but they attached a "fatigue" mechanic to them, which forces you to not stick with just one Pokemon and learn to use all three effectively to master them all. Unfortunately, the fatigue mechanic proved to be a Scrappy Mechanic and the Pokémon were poorly balanced, with Ivysaur being one of the worst individual fighters in the game. Ultimate did justice to them by removing the restrictions and balancing them much better.
    • Pyra and Mythra are a Tag Team "transformation" character where both sides share the same normals, with Mythra being the faster one and Pyra being the stronger one. Their main differences are in their special moves.
  • Patty Fleur from the PS3 and Remastered versions of Tales of Vesperia. She randomly switches between multiple forms with different specialties.
    • Normal Form is balanced and can do most things well.
    • Advance Form has fast movement and attacks, but Artes have shorter range.
    • Brainiac Form has slow movement and shorter combos, but her Artes have longer range and she can cast spells faster and use support spells.
    • Critical Form is the rarest form, but it combines the advantages of every other Form.
  • Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap features this as its central hook, with the hero spent virtually the entire game involuntarily transformed into various animal-like creatures, each featuring unique abilities.
  • Druid shapeshifting in World of Warcraft is designed so each form has its own distinct use in gameplay. Unshapeshifted (AKA "caster" form) is for the Combat Medic, with a temporary treant form for emergency healing. Cat form has stealth, bursts of speed and deals melee damage. Bear form is a Stone Wall, able to take a lot of damage and keep enemies off their allies. Moonkin form has good armor, but is geared towards ranged damage. While all Druids have access to Bear Form and Cat Form, they have to specialise in one of these four roles and the other forms become situational (cat form to hide from enemies, bear form to survive heavy damage, and so on). They also have travel forms of a bird, a stag or a seal, that are entirely about moving long distances and have no use in combat.

  • The Were race in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. They have three forms, human, normal and 'primal' (animal), which basically form a Sliding Scale of Magicalness. As humans, they're immune to magic; in their normal form, they're Muggles with some minor bonuses; and as animals, their magical power is increased.
  • In El Goonish Shive,
    • Some of Grace's pure forms have positive and negative attributes the other pure forms or combination forms don't. Her full squirrel form is small but doesn't allow her to speak and her omega form is powerful and allows her to fly but its 3 tails can complicate things.
    • When magic "doesn't change", but does make many things that spells used to include automatically become less automatic, it's explained that there's a "balance" to how you adjust things, so you can increase one thing by reducing another, but only if the idea the two things are related makes sense to you. Eliot's superhero spell now has a distributable points system, although the points aren't "real", just a way for him to understand the system.
  • The Preacher from Scoob and Shag can either boost his own speed; or boost his defenses and strength. He also has an attack that makes him both fast and strong - but he cannot change direction while he's performing it.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10 has this as its core concept. The protagonist, Ben Tennyson, wears an alien watch-like device which he can use to shapeshift into a large variety of aliens beings, each with its own super-power (one has Super-Speed, another is Playing with Fire, and so on). He started out with only ten, but got new forms as the series progressed, and it was explicitly stated he could potentially have more than one million. This begins to get averted later in the series when certain alien forms are described as strictly superior to others.
    • The Nemetrix from Omniverse is an even more specialized variation. It's designed to specifically counteract the Omnitrix's aliens with their natural predators. Whatever power or weakness an alien has, the Nemetrix's aliens are either counters or exploiters to/of those powers/weaknesses.
  • In Generator Rex, Rex can create a variety of mechanical constructs that include the Smack Hands, the Boogie Pack, the Slam Cannon, the Block Party and the Blast Caster. Balance is mostly kept by making Rex only able to build one type of machine at a time (And even with a few season upgrades he can only create two by the end of the series) and making every machine have a secondary mode (The Smack hands can spin to create a stronger attack, the Blast Caster can generate electricity, the Boogie Pack can launch a few projectiles to grab enemies, and so on).
  • The Transformers mainly use their vehicle modes for speed/transport/stealth and their robot forms for basically anything else, namely combat. Non-vehicle alt modes often have different, more specific utilities. Those with multiple alternate forms, such as triple-changers, have a wider variety to choose fromnote , while combiner team members combine with others to form a larger being for more power, in exchange for drawbacks such as lowered intelligence.