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Single-Use Shield

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The perfect outfit to pair with your Glass Cannon.

A shield or any other sort of Power-Up that goes away after one hit; essentially a One-Hit-Point Wonder as a power-up instead of a character's default state. As a power-up, it can also provide effects beyond its ability to take an extra hit (see Breakable Power-Up). Depending on how rare it is, it can easily end up becoming Too Awesome to Use.

See also Bandit Mook and Mooks Ate My Equipment for things that can treat ordinary armor as One Hit Point Wonders, unlike the rest of the game.


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    Video Games 
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, wearing a helmet allows you to take one hit without dying.
  • ALLTYNEX Second allows the player ship to take one hit and keep going; the second results in a life loss, and there's no way to get a shield back for the rest of your current life if you lose it. This is significantly less per-life generosity than other games in the series; KAMUI offers four points of shielding per life that can occasionally be refilled, and RefleX offers six with armor-refilling points in the game at the cost of giving you only one life. As compensation, however, it's the only game in the series to offer point-based extra lives.
  • Amorphous+: the Reactive Armor explodes on contact with an enemy while leaving the player alive, making him a Two-Hit Point Wonder.
  • Many vehicles in Armored Warfare mounts Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) kits starting at Tier 5. As the name implies, they negate an incoming projectile by exploding upon struck, but the ERA tiles get used up and expose the underlying armor. This is incredibly important for lighter vehicles, as their armor can only stop autocannons at most and HEAT shells (which ERAs are specifically designed to defeat) does extra damage to them. ERAs are also much less effective against kinetic shells, and certain missiles at higher tiers have Tandem HEAT warheads designed to punch through ERA plates and the armor beneath in one go.
  • The Binding of Isaac has a handful of such items, the original and most powerful being the Holy Mantle passive item. They prevent the first hit of damage when activenote . These are all incredibly powerful since damage usually comes as Death of a Thousand Cuts over the course of multiple rooms, and best of all, they stack.
  • Bionic Commando has a pendant, which lasts one stage, and can block a single projectile, but also goes away if you die some other way.
  • Ladybug shields in Centipede (1998) give the Shooter an extra hit, and can be stacked up to three, as indicated by the number of spots.
  • Chimera Beast has the Shell Armor and Scale Armor adaptations, which allow the player to negate two hits before the armor is destroyed.
  • Cho Ren Sha68k features a triangular power-up that can give the One-Hit-Point Wonder that is your ship a shield that can absorb one hit for your ship. Having your shield active at the end of the stage is worth 50,000 points, and you get extra lives every 1,000,000 points, so it's worth it to continue to avoid getting hit.
  • Crash Bandicoot
    • The witch Doctor's mask Aku-Aku protects him (and Coco, etc) from one hit. Picking up another will give you two hits of protection while grabbing a third will then give you temporary invincibility, which then resets back to two shields.
    • Crash Team Racing: The Aku-Aku mask is full invincibility (no longer an example of this trope), while the actual shield item gives temporary protection from a single attack/hazard, Having ten Wumpa fruit turns the shield from green to blue, meaning it lasts forever, so long as you don't take a hit.
  • Crimzon Clover World EXplosion's Arrange Modes have a shield that you can activate. The shield will take one hit before disappearing and activating an auto-bomb.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer has Glass Armor as a piece of wearable equipment that completely negates all damage from the next hit you take. It then shatters after doing so, because it's made of glass.
  • Dead by Daylight: Hex perks are Killer perks that generally have powerful effects with the trade-off that they are tied to a totem on the map. If the perk's corresponding Hex Totem gets cleansed by Survivors, the perk is lost for the rest of the match. The perk "Hex: Undying" is designed to take the bullet for other Hex perks. While Undying has its own effect of showing the auras of Survivors around unhexed Dull Totems, the perk's primary effect is that the first time a Hex Totem on the map is cleansed by Survivors, Undying will always be the one that's lost no matter which totem was actually cleansed. If Undying was not the cleansed perk, it will move to Undying's location.
  • Defense of the Ancients: the item Linken's Sphere acts as a recharging version of this. When the item is off cooldown, it will nullify the first spell that targets you before recharging. The buff can also be given to teammates in exchange for a longer cooldown.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Boots of Springheel Jak will prevent you from dying at the end one very, very long fall but are destroyed upon landing. Various exploits exist to survive said fall and still keep the Boots.
  • Elona has a spinoff, Elona Shooter, which uses the Holy Grail of Jeure.
  • Picking up a Glass Guon Stone in Enter the Gungeon provides the player with a small shield that orbits around them, blocking any incoming shots that it intercepts. If the player takes damage, then any Glass Guon Stones they had on them will break.
  • Fallen London has two examples:
    • If you reach 8 Wounds while having a Horsehead Amulet, it will be consumed to take away 8 CP of Wounds, which is usually enough to save you from going to the boat trip.
    • The loss of the Dream qualities inflicted by the State of some confusion can be prevented by a vial of Honeyed Laudanum (which can be bought for 9 Fate either on an opportunity card or in the House of Chimes), although each vial is only good for one incident of insanity.
  • Final Fantasy X had the "Nul Element" spells (NulFire, NulIce, etc.) which could absorb one attack from the matching element (regardless of strength) when cast, the highest version, "NulAll", combined all four elemental shields.
    • Final Fantasy Record Keeper has several buffs applied through Soul Breaks which act in this manner. "Blink" allows characters to evade a single physical attack. "Magic Blink" does the same for magic attacks. "Astra" lets characters evade a single debuff. "Stone Skin" puts up a barrier that absorbs damage equal to a percentage of each character's max HP, usually 30%, and given how hard bosses hit it's not out of the ordinary for the barrier to be eaten away in a single attack.
  • For the King:
    • "Protect", an ability granted by several Spell Books, is cast on a friendly target to No-Sell the next attack that would hit them.
    • The rare consumable item Star Matter generates a shield that negates a total of three hits against the Player Party.
  • As Freedom Planet is built on a Sonic-based engine, the shield items featured in it behave much the same as the ones from that series, with unique quirks and immunities for each. However, they don't enable any special moves for any character and can take multiple hits. Some characteristics still exist in the sequel.
    • The Fire Shield protects against flame, as expected. It also roasts enemies in close proximity to the user. In the first game, the shield is lost on contact with water.
    • The Water Shield provides air for its user. It also blocks bubble-based attacks.
    • The Earth Shield blocks crystal-based attacks and attracts gem pickups. In the sequel, it stops earth-based attacks.
    • The Wood Shield protects against poison and attracts life petals.
    • The Metal Shield blocks damage from spikes and electrical hazards. In the sequel, it also stops bladed weapons.
  • In Ghosts 'n Goblins and its sequels, the player character's armor disappears after one hit, but they do have the benefit of starting each life with armor equipped. Super Ghouls And Ghosts also offers a shield powerup that can block one projectile attack only.
    • This is expanded on in Project × Zone: Arthur stays behind to set off a powerful bomb, only to show up none the worse for wear, just in his skivvies. Although his armor is only good for one hit, it WILL protect you from that hit, no matter how powerful it may be.
  • Giana Sisters: In the original game and its sequels, Giana loses her Punk powers upon getting hit and turns back to normal.
  • In Hearthstone, there are a couple of minions that come with Divine Shield, which negates one instance of damage. Paladins specialize in applying Divine Shield.
  • Hydorah features an item that puts a purple aura around your ship that allows it to survive one hit without blowing up. Even better, you can lose that power-up and still get the "Perfect!" reward at the end of the level.
  • Into the Breach features a few mech tools that can give any unit—whether it be your mech or even a civilian building—a shield that completely absorbs one attack before disappearing. Freezing gives the same effect, but obviously makes the unit immobile.
  • In Jazz Jackrabbit, shooting a screen with a green gem gives you one free hit without losing health. There is also a "fire shield" (a red gem) that protects you from four hits (in the latter case, the number of gems rotating around you indicates how much strength the shield has). There is also the caged bird Hiphop who automatically shoots bullets at any nearby enemies he sees and blocks one attack from damaging you, disappearing in the process.
  • Kolibri has shield rings that disappear after taking one hit.
  • League of Legends has several spell shields that block a single enemy spell. Sivir has one that returns more mana than it costs if it intercepts a spell, Nocturn has one that briefly increases his attack speed if it intercepts a spell, Malzahar has one as his passive ability, and the item Banshee's Vail provides a permanent one to whoever holds it that goes on a long cooldown after it breaks.
  • Levelhead: Red Armor Plates allow GR-18 to survive a single hit. Blue Armor Plates, introduced in The Void update, also allow GR-18 to survive a single hit, but unlike the red ones, they can be stacked.
  • In Maldita Castilla, you can find a shield that essentially acts as an extra hitpoint for Don Ramiro as long as he doesn't put another item into his inventory. Note that losing that shield by taking damage will still disqualify you from getting the perfect bonus on completing the stage.
  • The Mega Man series has the Spike Barrier/Shock Step/whatever it's called, which protects you once from the instant-death spikes. But you have to jump to safety before the Mercy Invincibility wears off, or...
  • The Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force games have the Barrier chip/card, which grants Mega Man a barrier that can absorb up to 10 points of damage before disappearing. Even the weakest enemies will do at least that much damage, making it good for one hit. What makes Barrier useful is that it nullifies the excess damage, and an attack that hits the barrier won't make you flinch. There's stronger versions of Barrier with more HP, but it doesn't take long for enemy attacks to overwhelm those either.
  • In Odin Sphere, the "Fire/Ice Spirits" potions surround the player with three rotating elemental spirits, which can absorb one strike each.
  • Ōkami
    • By racking up long attack chains, Ammy earns levels of "godhood" in battle — an invisible barrier that can block up to three hits from enemies. There are also items (Traveler's Charm and Godly Charm) that can bestow/recharge this barrier immediately.
    • During the battle against Crimson Helm in the Gale Shrine, the eight Satomi Power Orbs surround you and each one will absorb one hit for free. Combined with the godhood barrier, this can make you invincible against up to eleven attacks.
  • The Shield orcs in Orcs Must Die! have a shield that they drop after a single hit.
  • The shield powerup in Out Zone can only take one hit before disappearing.
  • Pokémon: Mimikyu's Disguise ability will protect it from a single damaging attacknote , after which the disguise is busted for the rest of the battle. However, this doesn't protect or trigger against Status moves such as Toxic or Will-O-Wisp, nor does it protect against harmful weather conditions.
  • The Quest Of Ki: The Barrier item allows Ki to take one hit from anything that isn't a Will O'Wisp.
  • Both Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends have these in the form of hearts that you can find and which follow you around. You can only have one at a time.
  • In Richman 8, there's a card called Bubble, and it makes a bubble that protects the character in it from one hurtful attack from mines, timer bombs, or any kind of missiles.
  • In Ring of Red, Subarmors can take 3-4 hits, and frontline AFW's, such as the Medium and Anit carry two of them. Lose one and you won't have the other next battle, inexplicably. They cannot be replaced until next deployment (even if the shield is clearly bolted-on scrap, as in the case of the North Japan Medium AFW). One of the many uses of infantrymen (especially rocket launcher infantry) is to break these shields so your main gun can hit the enemy mech without ablating them first.
  • Rogue Squadron: The "advanced shield" upgrade can be found in one of the levels that gives this to all your ships. The shield eats up the first instance of damage you take, no matter how powerful or how weak it is. It can be somewhat aggravating when the first enemies you encounter in a level are a bunch of probe droids that destroy your shield with their puny lasers.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has several spells that serve this purpose:
    • Tetrakarn and Makarakarn create shields for each member of the caster's party that repel one physical attack and one non-Almighty, non-One-Hit Kill attack spell, respectively. However, both shields typically also wear off at the end of the current turn.
    • Tetraja creates a shield for each member of the caster's party that protects from one Light- or Dark-elemental One-Hit Kill spell. Unlike the -karn spells, Tetraja usually stays active until it takes an attack.
    • The "Void/Drain/Repel (Element)" spells in Digital Devil Saga, much like the Nul spells of FFX mentioned above (Void Fire, Void Ice, etc.). Technically they last for a whole turn rather than one hit, but the way the Press Turn system works, it's highly likely that getting an attack nullified by a Void spell means the attacker's side's turn immediately ends. Especially early on, they are absolutely critical to keep from being horribly butchered in boss fights (and some regular fights), as the series only offers up to five playable characters in your roster (though in Digital Devil Saga 2, you can have a sixth one if you play your cards right) rather than the hundreds of demons with greatly-varying elemental affinities that you can choose from in other Megami Tensei games.
    • Shin Megami Tensei V has the Dampener items; sold by Gustave (with the exception of Phys Dampeners), they Null one hit from the specified element for each demon currently deployed. The "[Element] Block" spells do the same, of course. The ability to do this is somewhat impractical outside of boss fights or Abscess showdowns, where the enemies in question are likely to last long enough to draw in magatsuhi for a turn of guaranteed crits; picking the right element to block in this fashion exhausts two press turns, which oft ends the enemy phase since only late-game or powerful bosses (or high-powered Ishtar or the Motoasakusa Abscess) have more than that.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus has collectible horseshoes that function similarly to the Aku Aku masks in Crash Bandicoot. Later games gave him and other playable characters a health bar.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
    • Sonic collects rings. If he's hit, he loses his rings instead of dying. You can recollect them before they disappear, but no matter how many you lost you'll only be able to grab back 10 or so at most.
    • The shields found throughout the series also qualify. In the first two games, they did nothing more than take one hit for you.
      • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC version of Sonic Generations, and Sonic Mania, flame, bubble and lightning shields are available. While they are active, they protect the player from flames, let the player breathe underwater, and attract rings, respectively. All three will (at least in S3&K) reflect projectiles without taking damage, but they still disappear after one hit from anything else (and in the case of flame and lightning, touching water). They even grant special powers to Sonic, activated on pressing the jump button while in midair (replacing his situational "insta-shield" move that slightly extends the range of his jump attack momentarily and gives him a short invincibility period): the flame shield lets him dash forward rapidly; the bubble shield lets him dash downward rapidly (Ground Pound!); while the lightning shield gives him a Double Jump.
      • The 3D games, the Sonic Advance series, and its handheld successors, have two shields available. They both act the same as in the first two games, but one will attract rings.
  • The fan-made Sonic Robo Blast 2 has no less than five shields available — the blue Force Shield, which can take two hits; the white Whirlwind Shield, which gives your character a double jump; the green Elemental Shield, which makes you fully immune to environmental hazards; the red Armageddon Shield, which can be detonated to damage everything nearby; and the yellow Attraction Shield, which draws in rings, but shorts out in water.
  • Sonic Time Twisted had three unique shields — the Wind Shield allows Sonic to fly, the Ice Shield makes his Insta-Shield wider and freezes enemies; and the Rock Shield can be fired at enemies. The Rock Shield also grants immunity to spikes despite being just a pair of rocks that float around your character, oddly enough.
  • Spark the Electric Jester is made on Sonic Worlds engine like Freedom Planet, but the usual shield is limited to Spark's Knight Jester form. The shield comes up every time the combo gauge fills up, but if you swap forms it is cancelled out. You also have to wait for quite a while to regain the shield after losing it, which keeps it from being overpowered.
  • Splatoon 2 Has the ink armor special, which provides you and your team a body shield that lets them tank an extra hit before it shatters.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. series, just about any time Mario takes a hit, he loses his current powerup (Yoshi, Mushroom, Fire Flower, etc.).
  • The beetle in Thumper can take only two hits without healing, with first one breaking the metallic wings to reveal more organic ones.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Sniper's Razorback protects him from a single instant-kill backstab, at which point he has to go back to the resupply room or wait for 30 seconds for it to regenerate.
  • Terraria has the Holy Protection buff which is acquired for the next 30 seconds after striking an enemy while wearing a full set of Hallowed armor. You will dodge the next attack, regardless of damage but can/will still receive the debuff from said attack if it has one. The dodge has an internal cooldown of 30 seconds after it activates meaning you can reactivate the buff if it expires naturally without being hit. (Originally, this buff was granted by a full set of Titanium armor before the 1.4 "Journey's End" update).
  • The Trails Series has a few spells like this.
    • The Sky Games have Earth Guard, which puts a shield that blocks one attack, physical or magical, on one character. Earth Wall is the AoE version. Some particular bosses have the Secret A.I. Moves version: Earth Guard EX, which makes a Double Use Shield. Julia Schwartz has a regular Craft that bestows the effect on herself.
    • Kevin's S-Craft Grail Sphere applies the same effect in a wide area, and when used at 200 CP grants a double-shield.
    • The Cold Steel Games split the effect into Craft Guard (for physical attacks) and Arts Reflect (for magic, which is also an Attack Reflector). Adamantine Shield is now the spell that grants Craft Guard to the party, while Crescent Mirror grants Arts Reflect. Emma has a Craft that also grants Arts Reflect (Crescent Shell), while Jusis can grant Craft Guard with Platinum Shield.
  • Triggerheart Exelica: The Triggerheart's Anchor Shot can grab a Ver'mith vehicle to use as a shield, but it's destroyed in one hit.
  • The Warcraft item Amulet of Spell Shield automatically blocks one negative spell before requiring a 40-second cooldown. Savvier enemies will hit the hero carrying it with a weak spell first, then pull out the harder-hitting attacks.
  • In Wardner, the protagonist is normally a One Hitpoint Wonder but can find or buy a cloak that protects him from being hit once. There is also a sewing kit that protects the cloak once.
  • Water's Fine features a bubble that not only gives you effectively one more hitpoint but also prevents your Oxygen Meter from draining.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 2nd edition, the spell Stoneskin renders the target immune to a small number of physical attacks — anything from a blow from a Sword of Sharpness to a boulder hurled by a giant. The protection lasts until it's exhausted.
    • Module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. A fighter can receive a scroll that gives him a Death Servant. At any time thereafter, if the fighter is about to be killed, the Death Servant will push the fighter to safety and accept the attack that would have killed the fighter. It will only do this once.
    • A popular house rule among old-school gamers allows characters to sacrifice their shield to negate a hit, in addition to the shield's normal effect of improving their armor class. This is a bit of an edge case, though, since the player gets to decide whether to lose the shield or just take the damage.
    • In 5th edition, "Shield" is a spell that increases your AC for a single turn (making you harder to hit) and completely nullifies the Magic Missile spell. It can be used several turns in a row as it's a reaction (meaning you choose whether or not to sacrifice a spell slot to dodge an attack), at least until you run out of spell slots.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, regenerating a creature gives it a single-use shield that saves it the next time it would die. That said, most sources of regeneration can be used again as many times as you can pay their cost.
  • Warhammer:
    • Several kinds of magical armor provide an excellent armor save but are destroyed the first time they save a wound.
    • Similarly the Dark Eldar Shadow Field gives the best save possible in the game but breaks the first time it fails.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Some Lucky Charms have the property to No-Sell a single attack that would hit their bearer, breaking in the process.

    Non-Game Examples 
  • Bastille from the Alcatraz Series wears a jacket made from spun fibers of Defender's Glass. It can take one blow that by rights should kill her, but then it's ruined and she has to get another.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the eponymous hero starts off using a triangular shield he picked up during his stage show (a Mythology Gag to the characters' roots). The shield is used precisely once as a guard against the Red Skull's fist. The Red Skull caves it in and it is quickly discarded.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Introduced in "Nero's Spell (Part 1)":
    "magical trinkets and consumables- that reminds me..." [...] a ceramic disc with three embossed runes.
    "Here, that's for you. I acquired an extra." Cathy looked at the ceramic amulet resting on her open palm and traced the golden lines with one finger. "Magical? What does it do?"
    "One-use shield charm. Crack it to release the spell. It's meant as an emergency defence.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo, Magister Honna's headband was enchanted to protect even against One-Hit Kill, No Saving Throw artifact weapons. However, it could only do so once, burning up afterward.
  • In an episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Eva Unit 0 is equipped with a shield made from the thermally protected underside of a decommissioned space shuttle, in a last-ditch attempt to hold back Ramiel's ridiculous firepower. When struck, the makeshift shield quickly and entirely melts down but gives Shinji the scarce seconds needed for him to aim and fire back.
  • Explosive reactive armor, on tanks, is designed so that when hit by a shaped-charge it explodes. It actually works quite well, but the explosives get used up.
  • Some "trauma plates", small slabs of armour plating that slip into pockets inside a Bulletproof Vest, are made of extremely strong ceramic materials like boron carbide. They're lighter than steel or titanium, but if they take a hit from a sufficiently powerful firearm they'll shatter. This is generally intentional as shattering dissipates the force of whatever hit the plate instead of sending it into the wearer.
  • Shardplate from The Stormlight Archive can block a Shardblade, but doing so causes the piece of Plate hit to shatter. Luckily, it grows back over time.
  • The pilum, a type of javelin used in Ancient Rome, was made with a hardened point on the end of a soft iron neck that would bend on impact. Thus, if an enemy tried to block, the javelin would embed itself in their shield, making it basically useless. (Shields were unwieldy enough at the best of times, let alone with a several-foot-long metal shaft sticking out at a weird angle.)