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Spectral Weapon Copy

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"Imitations, faker, huh? Yeah, that doesn't sound too bad. I certainly am a faker ... I had the wrong idea. My magic isn't creating swords. First of all, I can't do such a skillful thing. That's right. There's only one thing I can do, and that is to put shape to my mind...
...That's right. I don't create swords. I create a world that contains infinite swords ... There's no need to be surprised. These are all imitations."
Shirou, Fate/stay night

A specific weapon choice — whatever it is — that is not original.

This doesn't refer to said weapon being a Shoddy Knockoff Product, but rather, the weapon is a copy made from Applied Phlebotinum, like Hard Light, Elemental Powers, Life Energy or what have you.

Sometimes it is possible for the user to create multiple copies at once, and make a literal Storm of Blades or Flechette Storm with it.

Often overlaps with Spontaneous Weapon Creation. Sometimes a subtrope of Shaping Your Attacks.

Compare Self-Duplication when the thing being copied is yourself. As well as Laser Blade, Flaming Sword and Energy Weapon for other weapons that are incorporeal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Variant in Naruto: the Third Hokage has a jutsu called "Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu" where he throws his shuriken and then puts off some Hand Seals, after which the shuriken multiplies itself as it flies to its target.
  • In the climax of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon creates a drill out of pure Spiral Energy, and some of his own blood, to impale the Anti-Spiral. This is foreshadowed in the second expanded movie, where Simon, while imprisoned, creates a spectral copy of his Core Drill, but doesn't use it as he's unsure of the right course of action.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America used a Hard Light version of his shield (generated by a projector in his right glove) on a few instances when he didn't have access to his real (vibranium/steel) one. In a few cases, writers actually remembered that he still had access to the glove after getting his real shield back, letting him Dual Wield or loan his physical shield to an ally without leaving himself unarmed.
  • This is Green Lantern's whole shtick. He can form a Hard Light version of anything he can imagine. Guns, bombs, nuclear missiles, you name it. Or hit you with a spectral truck. Or literally drop a bridge on you; he's flexible like that.
  • Psylocke's most well-known power is her ability to generate a psychic blade. Originally, when her powers were purely telepathic in nature and could not inflict physical damage, but after her powers abruptly changed, she was able to generate a telekinetic katana that could slice through nearly anything.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: As said in Divine Opposition, Part 1, if needed, the Mantle-empowered Avatar can create "phantom blades".

  • Beware of Chicken: The signature technique of the Verdant Blade Sect is the Blade of Grass, which creates a spectral copy of the user's blade. A novice in the technique, like An Ran, might only produce a single, smaller, fragile copy, but Xiulan, with longer experience and greater power, is able to multiply her two swords into thirty-two, all of them near-exact copies of the originals. (And then she wields them remotely.)
  • Subverted in Reaper Man, where Death sharpens his scythe on everything from whetstones to anvils to sunlight, and it's still not enough. He goes to the smith and tells him to destroy it, intending to face the new Death with the ghost of his former blade, but ends up having to improvise when the smith fails to do his job.
  • Around the middle of The Wheel of Time series, Rand tends to create a sword of fire in the image of the sword his father gave him (and which got melted in the second book). Various characters note that it's a rather ineffective use of a power that can be used to destroy enemies from afar, but he prefers it because he's more comfortable with the sword and reluctant to use his magic any more than necessary.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The X-Files episode "Via Negativa", someone is chopping off people's heads, apparently using an ritual axe, that has not physically left the museum it's in; a mystic is using his power to make a copy of the axe.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: This is the shtick of the Soulknife, a rogue that creates weapons out of mental energy.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder ghosts bear spectral versions of whatever equipment they carried in life, and which have any powers the original possessed. These disappear if anyone takes the original from its resting place, which is why ghosts tend to be particularly down on graverobbers.
  • In the Transformers RPG, characters can spend an Energon Point to generate a melee weapon made of pure Energon for a single scene. Characters of the Warrior job can do this without spending an Energon Point.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Vergil's Summoned Swords which he can generate from thin air with demonic energy, which he uses for Reverse Shrapnel and Human Pincushion attacks, are actually copies of Force Edge, his father's personal sword. The same applies to Nelo Angelo—who is Vergilin the original.
    • This continues into Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition where Vergil is a playable character. Due to the Force Edge being in Dante's possession, then being awakened into it's Sparda form and finally being absorbed by Dante to create Devil Sword Dante. Vergil now uses Mirage Edge as a phantom replacement for Force Edge, it basically looks like a much larger version of his summon swords/mirage blades.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, custom characters don a spectral sword in order to use Future Trunks', Janemba's, and Dabura's special attacks. Oddly, this is even the case if they have a physical sword equipped.
    • Likewise for Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, where Trunks' sword is joined by the Power Pole and Janemba's sword.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: The Seiken / Light Blade / Light Sword skills make sword-shaped objects that seem to be made of light.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, the Conjuration school of magic includes spells which can temporarily summon Daedric (the highest tier crafting material) weapons and armor. The drawback for these weapons is while they are powerful, especially in the early to mid-game where Daedric weapons are rare to non-existent and can be used in places where you lose your stuff, you cannot improve them at all, as they are magical constructs rather than actual weapons.
    • Skyrim takes this further, by having summoned weapons actually appear ghostly (in previous games, they use the same models/sprites as the permanent versions of the weapons).
  • This is a special ability of Seofon of the Eternals in Granblue Fantasy. Using a certain magic, he can create a copy of any sword he's ever seen.
  • Delsin in inFAMOUS: Second Son can fight up close with swords made of whatever power he's using at the time (Neon, Video). Video also includes the Bloodthirsty Blades, which appear in packs of at least 3, and can fly at whatever target he marks. Evil Karma ups this to 5 of them. In the case of video, all the swords are inspired by the weaponry in Eugene's favorite MMORPG, Heaven's Hellfire (which he owns several replicas of).
  • Grim Dawn has the Nightblade mastery, which specializes in conjuring phantasmal blades as projectiles and barriers.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the Fateless One generates weapons made from the Weave of Fate during Reckoning Mode Finishers. In a rather awesome display of Gameplay and Story Integration, the Fateless One defeats the Balor by replicating the legendary spear that was supposedly the only weapon that could kill it (lost earlier in the battle when the warrior who tried to slay the Balor with it was killed) using the Weave and hurls it into the Balor's eye.
  • Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series wields a spectral version of the Soul Reaver sword, a weapon forged by the legendary vampire Vorador and intended to be wielded by a champion of the vampire race. The series' other protagonist, Kain, wields the Reaver's physical form.
  • Lunar Legend: when Alex has no weapon, he uses some kind of "Magic Power sword" for his skills. However, it's only a justification for unchanged animations, and Alex's stats remains unchanged.
  • In Path of Exile, Spectral Throw and Spectrail Helix is a skill which throws a spectral copy of your melee weapon as a projectile. Spectral Shield Throw tosses a spectral copy of your shield that shatters into smaller projectiles on impact, and its damage scales with the shield's stats.
  • In Samurai Warriors 3, Kanbei Kuroda uses an "Orb", but the one he actually uses for attacking is an Energy Ball version of said orb, which he summons out of nowhere and he can multiply at will.
  • Soul Series:
    • Necrid's weapon in Soulcalibur II was a glowing orb. His moveset, however, is based off of different moves from every other character in the game. As such, the orb usually shapeshifts into an energy form of the weapon of the person whose move he's using.
    • In Soulcalibur III, Nightmare wields "Soul Edge (Phantom)" — a spectral manifestation of the cursed sword, which at the time was sealed away.
    • Soul Calibur IV has Algol who can create simulacrums of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur as placeholders for the real things.
    • In Soulcalibur VI, Azwel creates weapons out of a shard of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur.
  • Elsword
    • Eve's basic skill Illusion Strike creates copies of her Attack Drone and sends them all forward to smack the enemy.
    • Elsword as Infinity Sword specializes in this - he can magically copy his special sword Cornwell and have a literal Storm of Blades with it.
  • Variant in Touhou Project: Sakuya the Time Master can take any of the knives that she has thrown in the past or the future and then throws them alongside the present ones, and she even could make a pseudo-laser made of knives.
  • Warframe: The Pyrana Prime, an automatic hand-shotgun, can summon a spectral copy for Guns Akimbo action if the player gets 3 kills within a short window, doubling their fire rate.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

  • El Goonish Shive: This is the power granted by Susan's magic mark. She can summon magical copies of anything stored in a chest which she has marked with a copy of her magic mark. She can only have one copy at a time, and they poof if subjected to too much force, but it's still a very handy spell to have.

    Web Original 
  • In Tales of MU, Coach Callahan prevents serious injuries in her combat training classes by letting the students use "mocked" weapons. The student places the real weapon in a magical device called a mockbox, and it produces a spectral copy that can hit as hard as the real thing and cause just as much pain but not cause real injuries.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Spectral Weapon Copies