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Squishy Wizard

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The fact that you can warp reality does not change the fact that you're still just a puny dork in a dress.

"Well, I'm terribly sorry I spent my extensive lifespan unlocking the means to unravel the universe and reshape it according to my will rather than, say, jogging. It has a tendency to leave one relatively fragile."
Vaarsuvius, The Order of the Stick

It seems that many who possess great magical, mental, or otherwise mystical might are also in the worst of shape. They may be sickly, horribly ill, crippled, or just physically weak and puny; in general, people who have reality-bending powers seem to suffer for it in other areas.

There are usually reasons. Powerful psychics may suffer from this, as they can do anything with their minds — for what do they need their bodies? It may also be the result of a magical Old Master experiencing the declining health that comes with age. Alternatively, physical health can sometimes be traded for magical power, be it through a bargain of some sort or the use of very draining magic... or it may be more mundane: rather than go outside or exercise, the magicians spent all their time studying spells, and are thus very weak physically.note  From a Doylist POV, it's about game balance. Without their physical weakness there often wouldn't be any reason not to use them.

In terms of characterization, this trope creates a duality and contrast with the strong, stupid guy. Since Squishy Wizards tend to focus on powerful offensive attack spells ("Nuking"), they are also contrasted by The Medic, a form of Squishy Wizard who focuses on healing and defensive magic to stand in for their frail defense insteadnote . Squishy Wizards, because of their fragility, are often paired up with fighters in a Sword and Sorcerer ensemble or part of a full-blown adventuring party.

In addition, in combination with the concept of Drawing Aggro, this was one of the biggest contributors to the standard Damager, Healer, Tank party formation as seen in many MMORPGs — because characters that can nuke the hell out of the opposition and heal allies are usually the squishiest members of the party. The Stone Wall, who can withstand aggro and keep it off the others, was created to keep these squishy party members alive during those big battles.

Even when Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards applies, wizards are usually just quadratic in offense, not defense.

This trope is distinct from Disability Superpower, in that the power in question is not necessarily making up for the disability; rather, this trope refers to the lack of physical prowess that tends to accompany mystical powers.

In game mechanic terms, the Squishy Wizard is usually a Glass Cannon, being able to dole out big hurt but generally dying if a tough monster looks at it funny. Although the Squishy Wizard is sometimes not completely a Glass Cannon. They can have decent, or even good magical defense, to tank other wizards' (or a monster's) spells, but fall quickly to a single punch. On the other hand, some Squishy Wizards skip out on the 'cannon' part, providing powerful party utility (by empowering/healing allies, weakening/disrupting enemies, and so on) instead. This further encourages you to keep them out of the line of fire by making other people better at taking it/dishing it out for them.

It should be noted that not every wizard is squishy. In fact, one way to reduce squishiness is to simply give them some armor, and there's all kinds of armors. In fact, if say, a mage's magic doesn't work while wearing something like plate armor made from steel, there's the armor known as the gambeson, which is made from layers of linen, is fairly light, and is good against most types of mundane weapons, acting like the kevlar of the medieval world and prior. Of course, if even this proves to be too much, then a good wooden shield could do the job. Then there's just plainly enchanting the robes they already wear. Also, since a lot of magic users (depending on the setting) carry staffs that help them to focus their powers, there is almost no reason why they can't use their staffs (which are just big sticks) to whack some sense into the heads of would-be attackers, or just plainly knock them senseless. See Combat Medic, Magic Knight, and Kung-Fu Wizard.

Contrast Magically Inept Fighter, who are strong physically but weak with magic, and Magic Knight, Kung-Fu Wizard, and sometimes Mage Marksman when mages are capable of holding their own without magic. Compare Armor and Magic Don't Mix, Blind Seer, Waif Prophet, Black Mage, White Mage, and Shoot the Mage First, and Weak, but Skilled. Compare and contrast Genius Bruiser, who can be a mage and also have tons of muscles. Corollary to Magic Is Mental.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chise from The Ancient Magus' Bride is a Sleigh Beggy, physically weak but magically powerful mages.
  • Berserk has the young witch Schierke. While her magic spells make her even more effective in some situations than Guts, said spells generally take a lot of time to cast and while she's casting them she's completely helpless. And without her magic she's just a twelve-year-old girl with a staff, not at all suited for physical combat.
  • Shiki from Black Cat is a classic Glass Cannon. He's a Beast Master, and Summon Magic fan, with standard attacks that do more than anything this side of The Hero, The Big Bad, or The Big Good's finals, but a single pistol-whip can put him out of action. Of course that's after getting through the barriers, the armies of giant bugs, and the flaming sword made of magic seals.
  • Most mages in Black Clover rely entirely on their magic to fight and having little combat prowess. Asta defeats many of his enemies in single hits once he can bypass their magic. There are notable exceptions, such as Yami and Mereoleona.
  • Bleach: Guenael Lee, besides the power of invisibility and erasing his presence, he doesn't have anything else going for him. His only weapon is a common knife and once Yachiru got around his power, he was pretty much done.
  • In Brynhildr in the Darkness the witches we've seen so far don't seem any tougher than normal humans. Made most obvious when Chisato goes Taking the Bullet for Valkyria, suggesting that even she who is the World's Strongest Man still doesn't have the Super-Toughness to be Immune to Bullets.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator, winner of the Super Power Lottery, is able to take down an army untouched because he's literally untouchable and can make huge explosions by essentially stomping his feet. Unfortunately, Touma can hit him, and he has absolutely no physical training which means that a guy that could survive a nuke gets taken down in a street fight.
    • On that topic, many of the mages and espers Touma fight are like this. Except Kaori and other Saints, who are physically superhuman and can easily curb-stomp him.
    • Played with in the side series A Certain Scientific Railgun where a number of espers are shown to actually be decent at physical combat. The Big Bad of the last arc, however, uses an esper-crippling Brown Note and then beats them with superior physical strength. Who wins the day? Saten with a baseball bat.
    • Misaki Shokuhou is the fifth level 5 in the city, Mental Out, with telepathy and mind control so strong she can casually take control of an entire library full of mid level espers. Unfortunately for her, she uses this power to skip PE and make people fetch things for her.
      Shokuhou: [gasping for breath] Don't start running with all your might...
      Mikoto: I thought I was only jogging.
    • Fiamma of the Right has the power of Archangel Michael and fire manipulation, but he's a scrawny wimp who goes down in one punch. Good luck getting close enough to hit him though.
    • The Graviton Bomber was a bullied geek who gains the power to make explosions and decides to get revenge on everyone, even people who didn't do anything to him, by blowing them up. Mikoto, a 14-year-old girl, to prove a point about powers not being the only thing that matters, floors him with a single punch.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch has a Magical Eye and an excellent sense of strategy but is one of the weaker cast members. This is usually played for comedy. In one example, during the school festival in R2, he was outrun by Suzaku, Shirley, Kallen in a walrus mascot suit, and even Milly, dressed as a dead ringer for Little Bo Peep. During actual combat however, while his strategies can make or break battles, his combat abilities are subpar, and will usually lose in a one-on-one fight.
    • Meanwhile in the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion manga, Euphie is given this treatment, and shown to be unable to kick a soccer ball more than a few feet. This despite being a member of the Britannian Royal Family, and thus guaranteed to be at least somewhat intelligent and good with plans (she was able to "defeat" Lelouch, as he himself admitted, when it came to the SAZ), as well as being Cornelia's baby sis.
  • Kurumi from Date A Live has powerful magical powers, but in comparison to the other spirits she is not particularly strong, fast or resistant.
  • Marcille from Delicious in Dungeon is not much of a physical fighter, but let her get to a safe distance to work her magic and watch her mow down monster after monster with her spells.
  • D.Gray-Man: Though not strictly a magician but rather a reality warper, Road Kanelot has displayed very few physical feats especially compared to her superhuman Noah brothers. Her most impressive one being probably saltoing from flying umbrella and landing back on it which is a pretty common feat compared to most fighters of the series. However this is hardly an issue since her physical body is not really hers and damaging it is completely useless meaning that in spite of having the most terrifying abilities she is also pretty much invulnerable.... Suoer-power lottery much?
  • Played straight in Dragon Ball, the few cases we see of magic tends to not be directed towards combat. The one time a magician tried to fight was Babidi fighting Piccolo, and Piccolo quickly cut him in half (though it was a bit longer in the anime). Later, Buu easily kills Babidi by gagging him so he couldn't use any spells.
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai: Out of all of Dai's team, Pop packs the most power but is the most vulnerable to a hit. Dai and Crocodine aren't human and can tank hits, Hyunkel with his armor has the highest defense of the team and Leona and Maam can heal. Mitigated when he becomes a Sage and learns healing spells.
  • Dr. STONE: Senku is a non-magical Science Hero version. He may be a Teen Genius with enough scientific knowledge to potentially restore civilization, but compared to just about everyone around him, his physical abilities are practically nonexistent.
  • Whilst most of the Fairy Tail cast are either Kung Fu Wizards or Magic Knights, a handful of characters play this straight. Levy and Bixlow are both pretty weak if you can get past their magic (and if you have your eyes closed in Bixlow's case). Wendy and Lucy near the beginning were also pretty helpless if their Magic was overcome, though Wendy got by this by training and emulating Natsu's fighting style more and Lucy eventually figured out how to use her spirits' powers herself. This is discussed early on, when some mercenaries mention that most mages neglect to keep their bodies in shape while they study magic. They must not have met many.
  • Louise of The Familiar of Zero is a powerful mage that can't take much damage, so she requires the help of her Familiar Saito, the Stone Wall.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Hohenheim has truly amazing (literally godlike) alchemical powers, but in terms of athletics, is exactly the geeky Non-Action Guy he looks like. This is kind of surprising when revealed, given that nearly every other character is a good fighter or at least fairly athletic, and alchemists tend to be more of the Kung-Fu Wizard persuasion. In Hohenheim's case, though, he makes up for lack of athleticism by being able to regenerate, likely from From a Single Cell as the homunculi can.
    • While most alchemists are shown to be competent and agile fighters in addition to their powers, Father Cornello, Shou Tucker, the Gold-Toothed Doctor, and Tim Marcoh are exceptions. Since the former three are evil, it's to show what smug, cowardly, pathetic men they are behind their bravado. In Marcoh's case it's because he's a doctor and cares far more for healing than combat.
    • Roy Mustang could be considered a slight case of this. While he's in great physical shape, and his flame alchemy is versatile and devastating, he's never shown to be a great hand to hand combatant. As Riza puts it, he's useless when he can't produce fire (like when it rains) and needed her to protect him from Scar.
  • Goblin Slayer:
    • Wizard is a talented young witch who uses her staff to launch powerful fireballs. However, she is completely defenseless in close combat, and her fireball spell is a single-target attack with only a few casts per day, making it abjectly unsuited for enemies that like to swarm. This is fatal to her when she is attacked by numerous goblins in the cave her party has entered, and after they break her staff, she is completely at their mercy.
    • Priestess also qualifies for this. While her goddess grants her some miracles that she can use for combat, she has no chance in a real close combat. That makes her a case of Squishy Priestess.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Shippo has a lot of magical powers that are often useful or can be used in a fight. However, he is physically not particularly strong, and can be defeated by other youkai with one hit.
    • This applies to all Kitsune, Tanuki, Kawauso, and Itachi. They have powerful magical powers but are much weaker than the other youkai. But they are still stronger than humans.
  • A major factor of Stand Users in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Stands are powerful, come in many flavors and a representation of a person's fighting spirit. However many of the users are fairly weak physically and likely to go down easily once one finds a way around their powers. The Big Bad and The Dragon of Stardust Crusaders, (Dio Brando and Vanilla Ice) are an exception; even without their Stands they are still superhumanly powerful vampires.
  • Parodied with Megumin in KonoSuba. She knows one spell, which hits with the force of a small nuclear bomb, but casting it leaves her unable to move for several hours. Ironically, her being a small, teenage girl probably helps, because it makes it easier for her teammates to carry her to safety.
  • Big Bad example in Delphine Eraclea from Last Exile. She's developed some incredible More than Mind Control brainwashing technology to control anyone she wants, but, she's very weak physically. Especially with her inability to stop Alex from choking her to death with one arm.
  • Rundelhaus Cord in Log Horizon. In his early adventures into a dungeon with a group, he attracts too many enemies, and fails to let the tank gain aggro to focus the monsters on him instead of the former, forcing them to run away repeatedly. It's only after Minori put her foot down and they all discussed their abilities with each other that they finally start working as a team and manage to finish the dungeon.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Hayate Yagami is a Squishy Wizard in a team comprised mostly of Magic Knights. Ranking SS on the mage power scale, her main repertoire is a vast array of powerful spells that cover a wide-area, nuking everything in its path. At melee range, she's helpless and needs somebody else, usually her Wolkenritter, to keep the more troublesome enemies away from her. It was explained in the sound stages that she never learned any magic the way Nanoha and Fate did. Instead, the power and spell knowledge came from her Linker Core merging with the original Reinforce's, so it is entirely possible that she simply doesn't have any spells weaker than a tactical nuclear device. Seeing how she rarely gets a chance to practice her even those (each is accompanied by mandatory authorization by TSAB and advance evacuation orders, no kidding), she also needs Reinforce Zwei to aim them for her. This is odd considering that Rein Eins not only had the Nigh-Invulnerability to No-Sell everything thrown at her, but spells like Bloody Dagger show that she can fight effectively at the anti-personnel level.
    • One is free to doubt the canonicity of supplementary games, but The Battle of Aces shows that Hayate can handle herself quite well in melee. Either she is holding back that much in StrikerS or the game developers saw a need to prevent her from becoming a Joke Character like in Magical Battle Arena. This is explained by The Battle of Aces being an Alternate Universe to the main Nanoha Universe in which Ein is still alive and is around to teach Hayate how to use magic properly. BOA-Hayate already knows flight control in a few days after the main conflict of A's while Main Hayate takes months being taught by Nanoha and Fate in the Sound Stage. BOA-Hayate could likely defeat Main Hayate in a fight.
    • Explicitly pointed out in the case of Summoners, like Caro or Corona. The latter of which, in a 1-on-1 tournament, decided to rectify this issue by using her golem-manipulation magic on her own body, allowing her to copy the physical fighting techniques of close-combat mages despite not actually knowing said techniques. This almost works (her opponent is taken by surprise and she gets a few good hits in), but the copied techniques are all very predictable, and her opponent learns to dodge them and still knocks her out.
  • Played with in Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, where physical training actually allows magicians to gain MORE magic power, because when their bodies are stronger, it allows them to handle the strain casting spells puts on them. Pretty much every magician can hold their own against physical fighters as well because borg, which is a Deflector Shield that can only be broken by magic or metal vessels, is perhaps the most basic spell available.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Downplayed. Todoroki is by no means weak or un-athletic, in fact he's on the upper end of his class in terms of speed and strength. He just relies on the devastating long-ranged power of his Quirk so much that he falls into the danger of overspecializing, which is why Aizawa faces off against him during his exam, so as to negate his Quirk and force him to not rely on it temporarily.
    • Aoyama’s lasers are very powerful, but he's got no endurance. During their fight in the U.A. Sports Festival Arc, Ashido takes him down with a single punch once she evades his lasers and gets close to him.
    • Yaoyorozu can create just about any kind of object she wishes, but depending on the object, it takes time to make them. So she needs others to hold off the enemy while she creates the materials she needs. While her creations can do a lot of damage (like when she makes an entire cannon) and is possibly the most versatile Quirk of any character, in terms of direct physical prowess she's as normal as anyone else, as demonstrated in her fight with Kendo.
    • Aizawa notes that Midoriya is simply more physically fit than Shinso, so once Midoriya manages to break his mind control and the two enter a Quirkless grappling match he overpowers him with relative ease. He seems to have acknowledged this and is actively working on it; he's noted to be bulkier in muscle when he reappears after the U.A. Sports Festival Arc, but still not as fast or athletic as the students in the Hero Course.
  • Myriad Colors Phantom World: Haruhiko is a powerful summoner, but he is out of shape and can't take hits. At one point, Mai shares her memories to give him her martial arts skills, but it does him no good because he lacks the strength, speed, and stamina to apply them.
  • Naruto:
    • The puppeteers rely exclusively on their puppets to protect them and have no close combat skills whatsoever (with the exception of Chiyo, who was able to put up a fight against Naruto and his clone when she mistook them as enemies).
    • Nagato/the real Pain also qualifies relying on his six extra bodies which he can control from a distance, but only has one way to defend himself at close range (impaling someone with one of his chakra receivers and taking over their body) and can't move around easily — although it's not because of frailty from focusing on non-physical abilities, but a crippling battle wound.
    • Gaara, as he is very adept at jutsu (and makes heavy use of Shukaku's power), but almost never uses Taijutsu. (His stats confirm this trope.)
    • Kaguya Otsutsuki. While she has near god-like power, she has little to no physical abilities and relies on her raw abilities.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • It is explained that mages can infuse their bodies with magical power, converting it into physical strength. However, this requires a great deal of control, and it seems only well-trained mages can do this and even then, the standard mages will get destroyed by purely physical fighters. This is why they usually form pactio with fighters to protect them while they stay in the back line. It was originally presented as a trade-off, in that focusing on self-enhancement and physical training comes at the cost of improving magical versatility and maximum power yield, so that you're safer and more self-reliant, but there's a greater number of things you simply aren't equipped to handle.
    • Negi defeats martial arts masters in a single punch because he uses combat magic, but this prowess only come after he goes Magic Knight and starts seriously training in martial arts like a straight up warrior would. His unwillingness to depend on others has directly led both to his increased dependence on his students for noncombat support and most of his Black Magic-related problems.
    • Evangeline notes that beyond a certain level of power, the Magic Knight and artillery mage become indistinguishable due to the sheer amount of power a mage is then capable of channeling. None of the high-level mages in the story have problems with close-ranged combat.
    • The squishiness was why Kotarō initially despised western mages. He started respecting Negi after he proved not-so-squishy.
  • In one of the additional OVA-episodes of Ojamajo Doremi, the title character meets an ill (cancer, as it seems) girl called Nozomi, who believes in witches and that a witch's magic can only be strong, when her body is weak. Nozomi is discovered by the Ojamajos to be the ideal choice for becoming a witch-apprentice, since she seems already to be able to use magic to certain extent, even without using magic equipment or even a tap. However, Nozomi dies from her disease, before the girls are able to introduce her to the queen.
  • One Piece:
    • Nico Robin is squishy compared to the freaks of nature that inhabit the Grand Line and certain members of her crew. If you manage to get past her long-range powers, which can bring down strong fighters like Pell and Tashigi, then you have a good chance at victory. However, it is shown that Robin has greater endurance than most normal women, as seen when she survives beatdowns from Yama in Skypiea as well as Black Maria in Wano. So, although fragile compared to the Monster Trio, she's still easily the toughest chick of the Straw Hats.
    • Nami also fits, especially the wizard part, what with her Clima-Tact's ability to create mirages, rain, and lightning. However, physically, Nami's only slightly stronger than Usopp and despite some staff skills, needs the Monster Trio or Chopper to save her ass when the situation gets dire. Averted in Punk Hazard when Sanji gets put in Nami's body via "Freaky Friday" Flip situation by Trafalgar Law, where it's shown that Nami's body can actually do all the superhuman stuff Sanji does. So, Nami simply lacks the training and therefore is a Squishy Wizard as a result.
    • Caesar Clown. Despite (or, perhaps more accurately, because of) his Logia abilities, he's downright useless in a fight without them. That's why he relies on the fame of his far more powerful benefactors, because he's a weakling by New World standards and he damn well knows it.
    • And Caesar is not alone in this regard. Most Logia users who think they’re indestructible quickly turn into Squishy Wizards when their Nigh-Invulnerability is bypassed.
    • Sugar fits the part, too. Her powers were incredibly lethal, able to transform and enslave someone with simply a touch, making it hard to get close to her. (Even Robin, as mentioned above, was only able to hold her for a few seconds before succumbing.) Sugar herself, however, was rather fragile. The whole plan to take her out revolved around tricking her into eating a spicy berry and hoping she'd pass out. It didn't work, but scaring her with a Wild Take did the job.
    • Tama from Wano is pretty much a Good Counterpart to Sugar in this regard, her Devil Fruit power allows her to bring all the Beast Man SMILE users to the side of the heroes, which drastically turns the tide of battle in Onigashima. But Tama herself is a small girl, completely helpless to any attack, forcing the Straw Hats to fiercely protect Tama when Kaido’s Elite Mooks start targeting her.
    • Basil Hawkins is pretty squishy. Despite his powerful Devil Fruit, he outright admits to Luffy and Zoro that he wouldn't be able to take the pair in a straight fight. However, the nature of Hawkin's Voodoo Doll powers means that no matter how hard you hit him, the damage will pass on to one of his Mooks, leaving him unharmed. However, Admiral Kizaru's Light 'em Up Devil Fruit completely negated Hawkins's advantage. Also, Law and Killler were able to decisively overpower Hawkins once they bypassed the latter’s defenses.
    • Scratchmen Apoo has a devastating Devil Fruit Power that turns music into attacks. Even powerful combatants like Luffy, Zoro, and Admiral Kizaru have been caught off guard and badly damaged by his Devil Fruit power. However, with that said, Apoo himself isn't nearly as tough as other pirates. Kidd was able to knock him around pretty easily and Zoro (when pissed off enough) took him down with one Shishi Sonson. Also, Apoo’s Devil Fruit can be easily negated if you cover your ears.
    • Gecko Moria's shadow powers are extremely powerful and versatile, but the man himself is a rotund Lazy Bum with no actual fighting abilities, and is physically the weakest of the Seven Warlords. The difficulty in his story arc is merely landing any hit on him, and his final battle is very brief compared to most other Arc Villains after his top minion is defeated. It's heavily implied he was a once more capable combatant until a crushing defeat against the Emperor Kaido destroyed his fighting spirit. This ends proving to be why he's ousted from his position as a Warlord at the end of the Marineford Arc, as his fighting capabilities have dropped far below the threshold considered acceptable by the government.
    • Black Maria of Kaido’s Elite Mooks the Flying Six counts: while big and powerful enough to capture Sanji and put Robin through the ringer, she herself has little to tolerance for pain compared to rest of the Flying Six. Her fighting style besides brass knuckles and a polearm is primarily trickery and illusions in order to get an advantage over her opponents. Once Robin was able to get hold of Maria with her Super Mode, the fight ended decisively.
  • Both played straight and subverted in Overlord (2012) with Ainz Ooal Gown: compared to other Yggdrasil players, he is very squishy (or brittle in his case) but in the new world, thanks to a couple of skills, even the strongest of warriors and most powerful spells can't even scratch him.
  • Ranma ½: Saffron is possibly the most powerful character in the entire series capable of creating massive firestorms and incinerating pretty much anything. However, he is relatively frail compared to the martial artists of the series. Relatively frail means being mildly hurt by a boulder to the face so he's still far tougher than a normal human, it's just that the main cast could take a hit like that without batting an eye.
  • In Sailor Moon, the magically strongest senshi, Saturn and Moon, are both rather unimpressive physically. Mercury as well, being the support "caster" of the bunch.
  • An extreme case with King from The Seven Deadly Sins. His magical abilities are probably the strongest in the group, however, he is pathetically weak. According to Meliodas, he once lost a fight with a cat that stole his snack. His Power Level even lists his "Strength" stat as 0.
  • Princess Amelia of Slayers is a well-rounded sorceress. She can utilize an effective balance of White Magic and Shamanistic Magic. However, she's usually the one that gets tossed around the most: there's when the low-ranking demon Seigram nearly kills her with a toss into a cliff wall in the second season of the anime/seventh book, and another demon breaks several bones in her body in the sixth book/fifth anime season. She also doesn't wield a weapon, which puts her at a disadvantage depending on the situation. Surprisingly, Lina, a far more powerful sorceress, is less "squishy."; early in the series she is capable of actually matching an average swordsman, it's just that people who are in her team or people they are fighting are usually either highly skilled mercenaries or very powerful high class demons that are impossible for her level of sword skills or simply immune to physical attacks, but when her magic is sealed during the plot, she continues to show she know more than a thing or two in swordsmanship.
  • Sniper from YuYu Hakusho fits the trope perfectly. His power gives him an Always Accurate Attack Up to Eleven, making him virtually unstoppable at a distance, even against monstrously powerful enemies. However, once that distance is closed he's completely helpless.

    Comic Books 
  • Oracle from the Batman and Birds of Prey books is frequently regarded as one by the few who see her due to her paraplegia and the fact that she concentrates on the mission control/hacker deity side of things. Those mooks who get in range of her clubs find out differently, usually the hard way (although compared to the people she runs with she is not that dangerous). This is perhaps to be expected, given that before she was shot and paralyzed by Joker, Oracle was Batgirl.
  • The heavily manga-influenced indie comic The Demon Mages stretches this trope to its literal extremes with sorceress/scientist Countessa Tesryon, a succubus (closer to an energy-vampire in this series) whose insides are described as being gel — like that of a spider. This has the effect of making her both physically durable (though still weak) and, to quote artist and writer Jason Robinson, "extra squishy".
  • In the Disney Mouse and Duck Comics, most witches are easily taken out if their magic is neutralized, helping those who are targeted by them to survive as shown in Magica's debut story, when at the end she's overpowered by the Nephews. Knowing this, in a later occasion Donald decided to just beat up Magica... Only to find out she had worked out in the meantime and can now match him blow for blow in a fistfight.
  • Doctor Strange is a Kung-Fu Wizard, but he's also a physically-ordinary human being, so compared to heroes with super-strength or unbreakable skin, he's pretty darn squishy. As with Wiccan and the Scarlet Witch, he's prone to being laid out early by a blow a superhuman could shrug off, just to preserve the drama.
  • Hellblazer: While he's not terribly squishy, John Constantine is notoriously bad at fistfights. Somewhat Depending on the Writer, he loses almost any even fight with a common punk. All that smoking doesn't help his Constitution score.
  • Mezmerella from The Incredibles. Her hypnotic abilities are impressively powerful and actually have a Lotus-Eater Machine effect on Dash, but the moment her power-channeling goggles are broken, it doesn't take much to bring her down.
  • In Isabellae, a European comic brought over by Dark Horse, Suiko Ashiwara is a master sorceress taught by her mother Dreide all the sorcerous knowledge Dreide learnt while travelling the world and studying under various masters including Abdul Alhazred. Unfortunately Suiko is also a penniless wanderer on a quest and sorcery usually requires ceremony or long incantations, so she spent many sleepless nights, hiding in fear from the rapists and murderers that lurked in the slums she sheltered in. To end that, she approached a wealthy sculptor and paid in sex, to get a statue of a giant warrior. She used her magic to turn the statue into a golem and was able to continue her quest in safety.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Loki is a downplayed example; most depictions have him as a weak fighter... in comparison to Thor. He does have super-strength and endurance, which added to his magic make him a very powerful opponent.
    • The Enchantress is in the same boat. She's got a lot of magical power at her command but has no combat skills and has been beaten by Thor easily.
  • Miksja from Polish comedy-fantasy comic Lil i Put (Lil & Put). While she's a very powerful wizard she needs a moment to concentrate. When caught off guard, her only option is to run.
  • Monsters Unleashed has Kei Kawade, aka Kid Kaiju. He has with the power to summon monsters that can level cities with ease and take on threats that are powerful enough to literally curbstomp the Totally Awesome Hulk. But he himself is still just an eleven-year old kid, meaning that it's very easy to get to him once his monsters are out of the picture.
  • In Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1, Doctor Faust proves to be this, concentrating so heavily on his magical skill that he has no defensive abilities whatsoever outside of those, and goes down in a single Groin Attack.
  • Nico Minoru from Runaways. If you can prevent her from summoning the Staff of One, she's powerless (although she has been seen using the odd spell without it). Then again, considering that drawing blood is what summons the staff, engaging her in combat still might not be a good idea.
  • The Molecule Man, at least until he discovers his full potential. For example, in the Secret Wars he is able to drop an entire mountain range that dwarfs the Appalachians on the heroes but is dropped by a single stab from Wolverine who had spent most of the series to this point getting swatted around by lesser villains.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Ixis Naugus wields such powerful magical abilities as Elemental Powers and Demonic Possession, but is such a lousy physical fighter that Bunnie Rabbot was able to knock him out with one punch.
  • Marvel's first Star Thief represents the extreme end of this. He's permanently paralyzed and insensate, none of his five senses work. Due to this, however, he gained the ability to use his dormant psychic powers to the full. First he learned to sense through other people; then, he gained the power to vanish stars.
  • Suicide Squad: Enchantress possesses an insane amount of magical power, to the point that she's able to defeat Superman and that John Constantine believes her to be fully capable of destroying the world. However, her human host, June Moone is a graphic designer and is about as physically fit as you'd expect from such. This has led to Enchantress being defeated rather easily if she's hit- at one point, she was comatose for hours after being headbutted.
  • X-Men has many:
    • Professor Xavier is of the most powerful telepaths on the planet, can go anywhere and into anyone's mind... but not up the stairs.
    • Jean Grey embodied this trope in her early days, as she had more power than her males peers combined, but the likes of Toad could take her down if he got close enough. Even in her later portrayals Jean despite being actually quite athletic still works better at a distance with her psi blasts, but averted with Dark Phoenix though as Phoenix Jean has enough Super-Strength to lift approximately 100 tons while possessed.
    • Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants alive; with his Magnetism Manipulation Mags can hold a Celestial together and alter the Earth's magnetic field just to save Kitty Pryde. Physically though he's just a reasonably buff (Depending on the Artist) old man and a well placed stab wound/optic blast/kinetic card/organic steel fist or simple strong attack can incapacitate him, though Magneto still has impressive endurance. Also unlike some mutants his power is susceptible to fatigue so he's kind of a Glass Cannon too.
    • Scarlet Witch often received this treatment in The Avengers, being taken out of battles almost immediately so that her hex powers wouldn't end things too quickly. Wanda is a woman who changed reality with mere words, but a solid blow will put her down.
    • Storm seems to play this straight as her Weather Manipulation works better at a distance while her male teammates get up close and strong attacks can knock Storm out of the air where she has the advantage. At other times Storm gloriously averts this, like when she got in a Knife Fight with Callisto and wasn't allowed to use her powers but to the surprise of everybody when she soundly won. Being raised on the streets really took the squishiness out of Storm.
    • Rachel Summers, daughter of Jean above, is an omega-level mutant with telekinesis and telepathy that are practically reality-warping and she's curb-stomped Galactus before, but in a pure melee she gets dropped fairly often including an absolutely vicious No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from her uncle Vulcan after he ambushed her.
  • Young Avengers: Billy/Wiccan is a magic-using Reality Warper who can deal out some serious damage, but, like Zatanna, a good hit to the throat can usually take him out of a fight. He is capable of silently casting big spells, but it almost always happens when under duress and tends to have unpredictable results such as accidentally putting everyone in Times Square into temporary magical comas. He's gotten better at using his powers properly without outright needing to speak, but ultimately he's still physically an ordinary teenager with no extra durability.
  • Zatanna from DC Comics can do anything with her spells, as long as she's able to say them. One hit to the throat or gut and she's out of the fight. A fact that The Joker uses to his advantage in the Batman storyline Trust. He shoots Zatanna in the throat and dumps her into a glass casket full of water, while he's got Batman trapped in a chair, helpless to watch as she dies. Turns out she's not so helpless when hit in the throat. She heals herself and escapes by writing the required spells on the side of the casket with her own blood. Zatanna has been shown exploring other ways of charmcasting, owing to her heritage as a bona fide sorceress. However, she has always returned to logomancy.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Sci-Twi gains enormous magical power while working with the Windigos. But when the power fails, and she is forced into direct combat she finds herself horribly outclassed by Aria, who is a trained martial artist, and very, VERY angry at Sci-Twi for hurting Sonata.
  • In Child of the Storm, while Harry Potter/Thorson steadily develops a series of very potent abilities that turn out to be very useful once they stop blowing up in his face, he's still a rather small and skinny thirteen year old boy, at least to begin with. While some proper nutrition and a growth spurt help somewhat with this, plus the slow and steady manifestation of his Asgardian heritage there's a small problem: for most of the first book, he's basically a small- to medium-sized teenager physically, he has no real combat training until halfway into the story. And as he finds out the hard way, he's not even stab-proof, much less bulletproof. Oh, and most of those out to kill him are in his dad's weight-class.

    He becomes less this trope as a combination of more serious combat training, wising up, and developing approximately Super-Soldier physical abilities by the start of the sequel means that he can take most human/near human opponents in close combat, and his Psychic Powers are vast, if still only partly trained. However, he is still not bulletproof (while he can pull a telekinetic Bullet Catch, he can only do it if he has warning), and when his Psychic Powers are blocked and he's thrown in an arena with the Blob a.k.a. Dudley Dursley, he's in real trouble, and winds up multiple broken bones before he figures out a way around his problem (he figures out that his Psychic Powers are contained rather than blocked entirely, starts using his magic creatively, and makes like Kon-El).
  • In The Dark Lords of Nerima, it's occasionally pointed out that the Sailor Senshi have dangerous and destructive spells at their disposal and are somewhat faster and stronger than the average human. However, compared to Ranma and the Wreaking Crew, they aren't as skilled in hand to hand combat and even the go to fighters of the Senshi Jupiter and Uranus are clearly outmatched in a straight up one on one fight. This is best displayed when Sailor Saturn, the resident Person of Mass Destruction, is nearly killed by a mercenary doped up on dangerous experimental Super Serum which gave him the strength and speed a faction of that of a Nerima fighter. A more serious example is when Sailor Moon confronts the Big Bad in the final battle and vaporizes him from shooter range. Unfortunately, he doesn't stay dead and he quickly closes on her and disables her with ease using a few pressure point attacks that leave her near death.
  • In Goku the Gamer (Rewrite), Oolong's Occult Owl form can inflict Confusion, cast spells, and even has a special ability to cast multiple spells at the same time. It also has only five hit points. Even Bulma had more than ten times that when Goku first invited her to his party. As a result, he dies to a single bullet from Bulma's uzi.
  • Harry Potter and the Natural 20: Milo spends a significant portion of this fic cursing the fact that he prioritized Charisma over Constitution during character creation.
  • The Night Unfurls:
  • In Of Quirks and Magic, Izuku is training to become a Master of the Mystic Arts like his mentor, Doctor Strange. While he gets a lot of mileage out of his numerous spells, he's still a teenager with crippled hands facing Lightning Bruisers with Super-Strength, quickly putting him on the back foot when the fighting gets too close for comfort.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, several characters have become Bloodliners, who are essentially humans who have Pokémon-related abilities. Anabel is a Psychic-Heart Bloodliner, which means she has the ability to learn any Psychic-type move, has their standard abilities including telepathy, telekinesis and Psychic Teleportation, and the capacity to understand any Psychic-type Pokémon. However, while she's very proficient in the use of her powers, she lags behind on the physical department, which becomes apparent when put through a harsh training regime by Iris.
  • Queen of All Oni:
    • Lung, Daolon Wong's former apprentice, is a powerful dark chi wizard, but is not that good at physical combat. As proven when Right curbstomps and kills him.
    • Jade, after her encounter with Lung, is reduced to this, as most of her physical strength has been burned away, forcing her to rely on her (increasingly impressive) magic skills.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Jovian and Jacqueline, or at least the originals who served as Hokuto's Co-Dragons. They're noted to have immeasurable magical reserves, with Apoch's Laser Blade and their own powers being the only known weapons or powers thus far that can actually penetrate their barriers or deflect their energy beams, but have been shown to be rather poor physical fighters; in both of their major fights in Acts IV and V, the minute someone actually bypasses their defenses, they go down rather easily.
  • Joseph Regent in Son of the Warp, who has some pretty wicked psychic powers, but is utterly inept at hand-to-hand combat.
  • There and Back Again: Evil Sorcerer Bloodraven has vast magical and psychic abilities and was once a fearsome combatant with sword and bow, but being more than a hundred years old and entangled in weirwood, he currently doesn't amount to any physical challenge, which also applies to his time possessing Bran Stark in the show's last couple seasons. When his cave is raided by a band of Free folk led by Tormund, all Bloodraven can do is protest feebly as everything of value including his sword is taken and the whole place burned down.
  • The Winx Club Loops: A Running Gag in regards to Valtor; while he's a powerful wizard feared by many, he absolutely sucks at melee combat (in spite of having an alternate form as a muscle-bound demon), which Flora and her friends have taken advantage of more than once.

    Films — Animation 
  • Elsa's ice powers from Frozen allow her to freeze over an entire land, and can kill anyone just by striking them in the heart; but she has the resilience of an ordinary human girl. To the point that she nearly gets killed from a crossbow from two Mooks and later she almost gets slashed in half by a mere sword.
  • Subverted with Jafar in Aladdin. He's thin as a rail and apparently old, but can gallop a horse across desert and successfully struggle against a much younger and more athletic Aladdin, even without the use of his magic.
  • Kamek in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is able to use magic to freeze and entire army in place and warp around at will but unlike the rest of the cast who can take a beating, he goes down to Peach's sucker punch at the wedding and stays down until everyone gets sent to Brooklyn for the final battle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played straight in classic Dungeons & Dragons tradition in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves with the Red Wizard Sofina, who possesses phenomenal magic power as she is officially Epic-Level, but doesn't have much physical resilience. Once the heroes get a Power Nullifier bracelet onto her wrist during the climax, her life expectancy drops to a few seconds as Doric shapeshifts into an Owlbear and quite literally smashes her into the pavement.
  • Hardcore Henry has Akan, a man with massive psychokinetic powers that allow him be a dangerous threat, with him tossing people around. However, he has the same durability as an average human, and is restrained and beheaded once Henry manages to get through him.
  • Subverted with Wizards in Harry Potter as it's frequently shown that as well as having greater power they can survive all kinds of damage and explosive spells, so only less sturdy wizards (like Hermione) fall under this trope. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them it's even implied Wizards biologically are tougher than Muggles, as Newt gives Jacob, a regular dude, protective gear, saying his "skull is susceptible to injuries" when dealing with Erumpent. Nicolas Flamel is a straighter example of a squishy — or, more accurately, brittle — wizard, as the mere act of shaking his hand will break a few fingers. This doesn't make his magic any less powerful.
  • In The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, Gandalf's portrayal subverts this; he often comes across as physically feeble due to his (apparent) age, but he's a rugged wanderer who can hold his own in battle and travel long distances on both horseback and foot. Indeed, he kicks serious ass with both his staff and his sword Glamdring, to the point where he almost never uses his magic in a fight except against another supernatural being. This is of course mostly because the Wizards of Middle-earth aren't actually humans, but Maiar (the setting's equivalent to angels and demons). This subversion applies to the other Wizards too; Saruman isn't quite the swordmaster that Gandalf is, but he can still take a beating if his duel with Gandalf is any indication, while Radagast is able to fight off the Witch-King by just whacking him with his staff.
  • Zigzagged throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • Loki is interesting example as he qualifies but only in comparison to his brother and other super beings since he favors magic and range over close quarters combat. However Loki still is a Demigod and when he arrives on Earth in The Avengers he butchers trained soldiers in seconds, curbstomps Captain America and then does a Neck Lift to Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man before throwing him out a window. Still, Loki is effortlessly overpowered by the likes of the Incredible Hulk and Thanos (fatally), so squishy regardless.
    • Frigga, like her son Loki, values magic over physical strength, though she manages to subvert this slightly as in Thor: The Dark World she easily beats Malekith with a sword. However, Kurse quickly overpowers Frigga with one arm and then stabs her, killing her instantly. In comparison Frigga's first son Thor, survived getting stabbed multiple times among worse injuries, so Frigga despite technically being a goddess is still a Squishy Wizard as well.
    • Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful characters in the MCU. In Age of Ultron she disintegrates three Ultron Bots in a single blast of magic and can bend vibranium (otherwise impervious to damage) with her telekinesis, in Infinity War she can use her magic to destroy an Infinity Stone and in Avengers: Endgame she soundly overpowers Thanos when enraged. Physically, however, she's pathetic... Hawkeye is able to take her out effortlessly and even Non-Action Guy Bruce Banner manages to overpower Wanda with a headlock (though she breaks out of it in seconds with her magic). Banner even lampshades it by saying he could choke her to death without going green. True, Wanda does recover from getting blown into a window in Infinity War, so she's slightly tougher than the average human woman at least. By Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the "squishy" part seems to no longer apply, as she's seen tanking several hits, showing that she magically enhanced her defenses.note 
    • Averted in Doctor Strange (2016) as it's shown the Masters of the Mystic Arts give their students Training from Hell to turn them into Kung Fu Wizards thus removing squishiness from them. Strange in particular gets a Space Shard through his torso and later on is even tossed around by Thanos himself but recovers far quicker than a normal human would be able to. Played straighter with the Ancient One who like Strange gets stabbed with a Space Shard, but unlike Strange dies in surgery as a result.
    • Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is The Empath and with her powers she can incapacitate God-likes being such as Ego and Thanos. On the flip side, a falling rock knocks Mantis out and she is easily overpowered by stronger characters e.g. Spider-Man and of course Thanos.
    • Ebony Maw, Thanos's Number Two, becomes an Adaptational Badass in Infinity War, having telekinesis which allows him to kick Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Spider-Man's asses in New York. However, Maw is still wounded by a flying shard of concrete that Strange and Wong shoot back at him, then Tony easily blows Maw out of his own ship with one missile.
  • Alaya, the Player Character wizard in Of Dice and Men. When Tara, her player, asks the Dungeon Master why Alaya keeps dying so much, he replies, "You're the party's wizard. It's kind of your job."
  • Subverted by the Jedi Knights of Star Wars, who undergo Training from Hell in order to complement their mental mastery with physical discipline. The Star Wars Expanded Universe places Jedi Consulars (and their Shadow Archetype — Sith Sorcerers) as this, but only by comparison. Consulars are primarily diplomats and healers, relying on their diplomacy training to prevent a fight, and heavy usage of Force powers instead of lightsaber combat if diplomacy fails. As a result, Consulars usually fall back on the simpler or defensive styles of lightsaber combat (Form 1, Form 3) and are vulnerable to the styles that require physical strength. Sith Sorcerers are often physically corrupted or weakened by their use of Dark Side experiments, but unleash insane amounts of power at anything that threatens them...or just mildly annoys them.
  • Jane, of The Twilight Saga, is implied to be this. In Alice's vision, she shows no apparent ability to fight or run as fast as any other vampire, unlike her brother. When her torture ability is disabled by Bella and she is approached by Alice, she becomes very fearful and tries to run away. Unfortunately, she is choked by Alice and subsequently killed by Sam.
  • Subverted in Warlock (1989). For the most part the Warlock indeed relies on his eldritch powers and avoids physical confrontation. In the climax Redferne challenges him to take the final pages of the Grand Grimoire from him by force alone, without magic. The Warlock agrees and it looks like a typical Batman Gambit when the hero plays on the villain's hubris to even the scale, but the Warlock holds his own pretty well in a fight and it's Redferne who has to resort to supernatural means to stop the Warlock from kicking his ass.
  • Played straight throughout the X-Men Film Series as Professor Xavier, Jean, Storm and Magneto are some of the most powerful Mutants (despite some Adaptational Wimp portrayal) and yet all of them can be taken down with the simplest attacks. Specifically Jean and Storm (before the latter’s Heroic Second Wind) were overpowered by Toad of all people. Even the Dark Phoenix was killed by single stab of Wolverine Claws despite being a "Class-5" Mutant. Almost averted by Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class thanks to her diamond powers, so Magneto incapacitates her with a bed stead.

  • Carr Delling, protagonist of the Kingdom of Sorcery trilogy, starts as a fairly athletic young novice. By the time the last installment of the series begins, he's a prematurely-aged powerful wizard crippled by a teleportation freak accident.
  • Lone Wolf:
    • Grey Star, the protagonist of the 4-book spin-off World of Lone Wolf, exemplifies this, especially compared to the extremely badass Psychic Knight of the main series. Although Grey Star gets the same basic stat rolls as Lone Wolf, he receives none of the healing powers, combat-enhancing disciplines, or special items, and is heavily penalized if he ever has to fight bare-handed or with a weapon other than his magic staff. Sure, he can use his magic to multiply the damage inflicted by the staff — but this cost precious Willpower points that are put to much better use casting spells. The best strategy to win those gamebooks is certainly to avoid combats like the plague — and in fact, Books 2, 3 and 4 can all be finished without any fights if you're lucky (not so much with Book 1, though).
    • Banedon too, in the Magnamund Companion adventure featuring him. He's a bit more adept with weapons than Grey Star, but the few opponents he can fight hand-to-hand are tough, even with the Status Buff spell "Vigour". In Shadow on the Sand, his Journeyman magic sure lay waste on enemies, but when forced in close combat against a Drakkar he's severely wounded and would be dead without Lone Wolf.

  • Zig-Zagging Trope in 100 Cupboards, which has a few different types of magic users. Generally they rely on magic to deflect physical attacks, but there are exceptions:
    • The Green Men are rare and tend to be at least capable on the battlefield, though not particularly skilled. Darius, however, has no apparent physical prowess but can No-Sell bullets to the head.
    • The wizards (mostly evil) look down on weapon fighting, and at one point three are taken down in a few minutes by two teenagers (one a seasick noncombatant) and a faerie.
    • The Witch-Dogs are battle magicians without weaponry, but use trained wolves for physical protection.
    • The faeren are capable warriors with magic and weapons (maces, for choice), and keep a standing army.
    • Nimiane is physically extremely weak, along with being blind, but she's so powerful it doesn't really matter.
  • Adventure Hunters: Regina has neither Lisa's Super-Strength nor Artorius' paladin skill so she's powerless without her device. This comes up more often than she'd like.
  • Bazil Broketail: Thoroughly averted. The magic spells are usually not as impressive nor destructive as in your typical modern fantasy setting and those that are powerful often require complex rituals to perform them, and thus are not very useful in actual battle. Thus, the wizards and sorcerers in this setting do not rely on their magical powers too much and are also trained in melee combat. A prime example is Lessis of Valmes herself, who looks deceptively frail, but is in fact surprisingly strong and skilled with knives and swords.
  • Inverted in The Black Company series, in that strength of magic makes a wizard harder to kill. Evil Overlord level wizards can not only survive but function while suffering from wounds that even the most advanced life support systems would be unable to cope with, like having your head cut off. In Dreams of Steel, Soulcatcher dismembers, burns, and scatters the ashes of a defeated rival wizard, treating it as unremarkable standard procedure.
  • Sonea in The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, wins a critically important duel, that would determine whether she could continue as a commoner to learn magic, simply by the fact that her opponent had never done any exercise, and in a later scene couldn't even punch hard enough to leave a bruise on her shoulder. Sonea on the other hand, having grown up without magic, was more than capable of breaking his nose and bruising his eyes badly enough to leave him blind until treated.
  • Black Swan: Averted by Von Rothbart, who according to Odile specifically disdains sorcerers who rely on their magic at the expense of mundane strength and combat skill. To that end, he's kept his body quite fit, is very adept with a sword, and has warded himself against most metals used in weapons although the one he neglects to does him in eventually.
  • The 1973 proto-TV Tropes compendium The Book of Weird (originally published in 1967 as The Glass Harmonica) describes with utter realism those common (and a few less common) elements found in your Standard Fantasy Setting. On the subject of Wizards, Author Barbara Ninde Byfield advises us to "Trust those wizards who are thin and fine drawn. Mighty muscles, ruddy cheeks, and genial dispositions bespeak wizards who when apprentices sneaked out to play instead of applying themselves to long days over hot crucibles and long nights poring over scrolls, tomes, tablets, and tracts."
  • Inverted in Coiling Dragon. Although Linley initially thinks that magi are weak, he is told that this is only true when they are compared to warriors of equal rank. In reality, as magi train, the magic accumulating in their body makes them stronger.
  • Brandon Sanderson:
    • Most of the magic systems in The Cosmere avert this (the eponymous Mistborn and Surgebinders from The Stormlight Archive both get considerable physical abilities from their respective magic), but Shai from The Emperor's Soul is a straight example. The magic she uses, called Forgery, basically allows for small scale, somewhat limited Reality Warping, but requires exhaustive knowledge about the nature and history the thing being modified, becoming a Forger has much more to do with being a scholar than a warrior. However, if she does have to fight, she has a Soulstamp that will temporarily rewrite her own history so that she becomes an incredibly lethal warrior.
    • From the same novella, the Bloodsealer is quite frail as well, especially since he seems to take a bit of psychic feedback when his skeletals are destroyed. Since he's the only one who appears, it's unclear if this squishiness is the norm for Bloodsealers.
  • Discworld:
    • Wizards in the Discworld novels in general tend to be unhealthy in a different way: most of them are Big Eaters (a "light snack" at Unseen University can run to several courses) and unlike many examples of that trope they do become hugely overweight. Exceptions include the Mustrum Ridcully, the current Archchancellor (an enthusiastic hunter, angler and martial artist, and a firm believer in healthy exercise, resulting in a Boisterous Bruiser who once went two rounds bare knuckle boxing with Detritus, a troll considered badass by troll standards), Rincewind and the Bursar (both of whom fit the "frail and emaciated" version of the trope, although Rincewind is capable of a fair turn of speed, perhaps making up for his total lack of magical ability), and the Librarian (who will squish you if you get on his bad side). Ponder Stibbons, meanwhile, went from plump to skinny, and has a classic Geek Physique, meaning that he's a different kind of squishy.
    • Vividly demonstrated in The Light Fantastic: Trymon, the novel's Big Bad is possessed by the Things from the Dungeon Dimension, has read the most powerful book of magic around and is a pretty potent wizard in his own right. He is beaten up in hand-to-hand combat by Rincewind!
    • The trope is mostly averted overall though, indeed, before Ridcully, the major method of advancement in the University was killing a wizard of a higher grade with non-magical means, leading to a tendency amongst wizards to be quite tough — while they were still quite large, for the most part, they tended to be sharp as a tack. Squishiness is preferred, since everyone remembers on some level what happened the last time(s) wizards decided that they preferred power to the buffet table. Grass didn't grow in certain places, and if it did, it grew in some very disturbing shapes and forms.
    • However, it is also noted in Unseen Academicals, that despite the fact that the Wizards (Ridcully excepted) seem to be large, fluffy and harmless creatures quite divorced from reality, they can quite easily force their way through a large crowd of borderline football hooligans at a street football match.
    • Averted with the witches, who rarely use magic — they live just the same life as everyone else, which in the places where witches tend to live is a very hard life with lots of physical work.
  • The Dragon Knight:
    • Carolinus is a AAA+ Magickian, one of three who have that particular rank. However, he is also an elderly man, who has been through more than a few physically harsh situations, that would have eventually killed him, if not for James' interventions.
    • Subverted for James himself, who has a certain amount of an athletic background, fights decently enough while using knightly weapons and armor, and can turn into a dragon.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Subverted compared to normal humans, but played straight compared to supernatural beings. Wizards are no more squishy than normal humans, and if anything their minor magical healing factor abilities grant them the ability to recover from nearly any injury given enough time (although "enough time" may be years). It's even been suggested that their ability to perfectly heal contributes to their centuries-long lifespans. The vast majority of Wardens (Wizard soldiers/police) seem to be in pretty good shape. However, wizards are still human, and basically all supernatural beings—like vampires, demons, ogres, trolls, things that hunt trolls—are faster, stronger and tougher than humans, meaning that among such supernatural beings Wizards (and all humans) are quite squishy.
    • Harry himself has dismissed direct physical enhancement as an impractical use of magic given the number of required secondary alterations. Although with the help of powerful outside forces, Denarian transformations and the Winter Knight Mantle demonstrate it is possible. It's possible having worked out those problems means giving up some claim to be human, and the White Council seems very reluctant to think of a nonhuman as a "wizard", making the term self-enforcing. At one point, Harry goes on a rant lampshading this trope during an alley duel. His enemy turns out to be an exception. Oops.
    • Personally, Harry does his best to defy this trope. He runs regularly, trains aikido (it's his best friend's preferred style, and has techniques for staff fighting, which are useful when you habitually carry one already) and generally carries a handgun too. Considering how dangerous all the things he's fighting are, he's basically taking every edge he can possibly grab to stay alive. It also helps when he (somewhat regularly) get's into fights with other humans for one reason or another and doesn't want to use magic to kill or hurt them. On one occasion, he uses a blast of fiery destruction to distract a monster, then runs up and just punches it in the face.
      Harry: Man, the yahoos I scrap with never seem to anticipate that tactic.
    • There's at least one wizard who has the ability to act as a close-quarters bruiser: Listens-To-Wind, whose specialty is in effortlessly deflecting enemy magic and then beating the shit out of enemies as a bear the size of a minibus. He is the White Council's best medic, so he doesn't get into fights too often if he can help it, though.
  • Raistlin from the Dungeons & Dragons-derived Dragonlance Saga, who traded his health for magical power, resulting in a chronic, racking cough. Another mage is introduced who was also forced to sacrifice his great athletic prowess for his magic. This is a rule for Dragonlance wizards: they're basically a religious order, and their gods forbid them from doing any more weapons training than is necessary for self-defense, so they can better concentrate on their magic.
  • David Eddings:
    • In The Elenium trilogy, Otha, the Emperor of Zemoch, is an immortal graced with unimaginable magic powers by his god. He's also lazy and stupid, and over the millennia of his existence has morphed into something that is described as being roughly analogous to Jabba the Hutt in appearance. He can't even walk; he has to be carried around on a litter by slaves.
    • In Polgara the Sorceress, Polgara notes that despite his elderly looks, Belgarath will as readily resort to bar brawling tactics as to magic. Not to mention Beldin who casually tosses people twice his size around. Or Garion, who tends to prefer his BFS to magic. Or Empowered Badass Normal Durnik, who was a blacksmith before dying and coming back as a sorcerer. David Eddings likes averting this trope. In The Mallorean it is revealed that Belgarath is only cosmetically elderly, since (as had previously only been implied) sorcerers could both consciously and subconsciously alter their human form to fit their desires as well as shapeshifting to animals.
  • The Elminster Series: Mages are repeatedly shown as dependent on their magic only, while helpless generally without it (some exceptions exist though). In many cases, they neglect to protect themselves against normal weapons, thus they can be felled through ambush, surprise or being attacked from the rear even when they still have their magic as well. Elminster himself is an exception at least early on, having learned to use swords, knives and crossbows before practicing magic, which skills he retains afterward.
  • All wizards in Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. To make matters worse they can temporarily be killed Wicked Witch of the West style, by soapy water (with a little lemon juice).
  • Jonan from Forging Divinity is, in stark contrast to the other protagonists, pretty much worthless in a direct fight. He makes up for this in his cunning and knowledge of sorcery.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Voldemort is described as being very tall, thin, and bony, with chalk-white skin and spidery hands.
    • Harry could use a little meat on his bones too in the book, having been described as rather thin, though this is due to being rather underfed being raised by his abusive aunt and uncle. By Goblet of Fire, he's revealed to be quite athletic-looking once he takes off his clothes, though Adaptational Attractiveness could also be at play. By Order of the Phoenix, he starts shooting up and getting more lean than skinny. Justified in that after living at Hogwarts he's properly fed healthy full meals and gets involved with sports (Quidditch), which (particularly when combined with puberty) would lead to a more muscular figure.
    • In Order of the Phoenix, Neville is mocked by a whole group of Death Eaters for his pathetic skills with magic. A second later and he proceeds to tackle one of them to the ground and display the "other" use of a wand by stabbing it into the Death Eater's eye. The others seem somewhat shocked by such unorthodox tactics, giving Harry a chance to act.
    • Also, despite otherwise being heavily based on real British boarding schools (though severely understating the inter-student violence), Hogwarts is notably lacking any sort of PE program, where real British boarding schools tend to be enthusiastic participants in relentlessly physical sports like Tennis, Athletics, Football (soccer) and, of course, Rugby Union — indeed, in the latter case, private school alumni usually make up at least half the England rugby team, even though they consist of only 7% of England's students — with multiple teams per year group and per sport, and compete fiercely with each other on a weekly basis in term time. Hogwarts, by contrasts, has one sports team per house, (a sport in which most of the movement is done by magical broomstick), which plays one match against the other three houses a year, and nothing else. Though admittedly, depending on the teacher their classes (especially Care of Magical Creatures) may be a bit more physically demanding than the average Muggle classroom. And having to run up and down the stairs in a huge castle to get anywhere — often taking the long way round to avoid moving stairs and Peeves — does help.
  • Justified in the Heralds of Valdemar books: maintaining your skills as a magic-user is a full-time job. Maintaining your skills as a fighter is a full-time job. Yes, there are people who do both, but they do so by giving up any pretense to having a life outside their skills and still tend to prefer one over the other. There's a saying to the tune of "Mage training, combat training, a social life; pick two". This is discussed off and on in later books, especially By the Sword — Mercenary Captain Kerowyn has to explain to magic-wary Valdemarans that magic is not all powerful and that mages go splat just as easily as anyone else; perhaps more. Also, in this setting low-level mages Cast from Calories and magic users who aren't particularly gluttinous tend to being thin and frail.
    • On the other hand, while few mages learn professional-level fighting skills, quite a few of them still maintain high degrees of physical fitness. Elspeth is a good example; she got her start as a fighter and was trained since childhood on the sword, but preferred keeping a distance. After completing mage training she very rarely closed with enemies anymore, usually using a bow and throwing knives, but continued riding her Companion even as her other physical skills took a back seat.
    • Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron of the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy was a Magic Knight in his twenties and had some skill with the sword, but as he reached his thirties and his career took a more political turn his combat ability suffered and a regular fighter tended to be able to beat him in sparring matches.
    • When it comes to which powers are better, Magic or Psychic?, Magic is far more versatile and can do anything Psychic Powers can do and more - but psychic skills take less time to train and less effort to maintain once trained, so psychic characters are rarely squishy.
    • Kethry of the Vows and Honor trilogy has no fighting training to speak of, but she's in very good shape, walking and riding and keeping up with her warrior companion on their travels. She gets around squishiness most of the time thanks to an Empathic Weapon that can take control of her body to buff her strength and speed and fight with the skill of a master swordsman.
  • In the Hurog series, most people who are professional wizards are squishy. Justified because it's mostly a desk job. On the other hand, the protagonist, Ward, has some magical skill of his own and he is a Gentle Giant and not at all frail. Then there is Oreg, who is a powerful mage, but also a kind-of ghost, and has the body of a 17-year-old boy and can shapechange into a dragon after he is freed. Not squishy.
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • Riders in general subvert this. They are generally both capable in combat and some of the best magic users around. Having a Dragon watching your back tends to help in both regards, of course.
    • Oromis is the Cripple who is Whole. He can't use large amounts of magic and he has seizures from time to time. This (especially the latter) contributed to his death in Brisingr.
    • The High Priest (Priestess?) of Helgrind gave up all of its limbs (and part of its tongue) in ritual self-mutilation. It also possesses incredible psychic powers which it uses in a mental battle with Eragon, Arya, Angela, and Solembum. Oh, and it battles these super-powerful magicians all at the same time.
  • Subverted by Azusa in I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. Her class definitely falls into this trope with its abilities and stat spread... but Azusa has such a high level (the title of the work refers to her) that her combat-oriented stats are still incredibly high, just in the 400s-500s instead of 800s-900s like her more magic-oriented stats. She is capable of uprooting trees and tossing full grown dragons around like they were toys, and is capable of doing so for long, sustained fights such as the disastrous Red Dragon Wedding, making her squishy only in comparison to her nigh-godlike magical power.
  • In Jason Cosmo and its sequel, mages supposedly have fast recuperative abilities and enhanced stamina (apparently the result of magical energy constantly pouring into the body), but we virtually never see any evidence of this, with the exception of the Lancer of the story, arcane master Mercury Boltblaster. Mercury has the excuse of spending much of his life travelling to obtain the finest education in the world in martial arts and swordsmanship, to avoid having to depend on spellcraft. As he spends much of the books either unable to cast spells or unable to do so without calling hostile and (ludicrously) overwhelming force to his exact location, this turns out to have been an excellent use of his time.
  • In Nick Perumov's Keeper of the Swords series, there is the world of Evial, which features a "Rule of one Gift", meaning that you simply CANNOT be both a good wizard and a good fighter. In another world Mel'in, the physical weakness of most wizards allowed the young Emperor to successfully wage war against wizards. Nevertheless the same series there are Battle Mages, who are both super strong wizards and good fighters.
  • Averted in The Lightbringer Series. The setting's magic, called drafting, mostly summons inert Hard Light called Luxin. Actively using Luxin generally requires physical activity, be it via hauling on oars or using the luxin to fight. Many drafters don't actually use their drafting in combat, but anyone who does is more along the lines of a Magic Knight than a traditional wizard. Plus the narrative focuses on the Blackguard, elite warrior-drafters who are in peak physical form and are excellent warriors with or without using their drafting.
  • In The Locked Tomb, necromancers are physiologically predisposed to squishiness, because the metabolic predisposition that enables the manipulation of death-energy also makes it difficult to build and retain muscle mass.
  • Subverted by Gandalf, Saruman, and the other Wizards in The Lord of the Rings; they're actually Maiar (powerful spirits older than Middle-earth itself) assuming the form of wizened old men, and thus are as formidable physically as they are magically (with Gandalf in particular being a pretty good swordsman).
  • Aggressively defied in Lythande. They do exist in this universe — Lythande knows some mages that focus only on magic and ignore physicalities, and finds them weak and foolish... so Lythande, who is a rather magically-powerful immortal mage, dual-wields daggers and is no slouch with a sword.
  • Many of the hydrites in the German SF series Maddrax have mental powers, but they are physically weaker than humans.
  • The eponymous characters of The Magicians have a borderline-godlike array of magical powers that can make them virtually unstoppable in combat once they've gotten used to the stress of the battlefield. Unfortunately, they remain physically ordinary human beings unless they're already magically buffing their health: in the climax, the Beast is able to get the drop on one magician by biting his hands off before he can finish casting a spell, and though Alice is able to keep him at bay with a combination Wizard Duel / Shapeshifter Showdown, all the Beast has to do is deliver a single Megaton Punch and she's down for the count. The same cannot be said for Alice as a Niffin, who manages to rip the Beast's head off with her bare hands.
  • The Magician's Nephew: Played straight with Uncle Andrew ("That was what turned my head grey. One doesn't become a magician for nothing. My health broke down in the end") and subverted spectacularly with Jadis, who is superhumanly strong. Of course, the fact that Jadis is from Another Dimension has something to do with that.
  • Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments, has immense magical powers, but is still susceptible to physical injury. Considering how many enemies have Super-Strength, Super-Speed, and Super-Reflexes this can be a weakness. Not only Magnus Bane, but all warlocks, are the common children of demons and humans, and although they almost always have magical powers, they are not really stronger than mundanes.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Mule": The Mule, a mutant gifted with Psychic Powers, is described as a physical giant by the poor weakling Magnifico. Other characters assume there's some exaggeration at play, as Magnifico is spindly and barely able to hold up his own body. However, it's a complete fabrication, because Magnifico is the Mule.
  • Justified for humans in the Myth Adventures series, where Aahz observes that, judging by Skeeve's learning curve, human lifespans aren't long enough to master both combat and spells. Nonhumans like Aahz and Tananda have longer to practice and can thus become both magically competent and non-Squishy. Humans are also one of the physically less formidable races to begin with; Skeeve's bodyguards Guido and Nunzio are terrifyingly powerful fighters by human standards, but pretty much every nonhuman in Skeeve's crew (except maybe Vic) could crush them without breaking a sweat.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Odyssey famously gives us Circe — who had no trouble at all turning Odysseus's men into pigs once they'd fallen into her trap, but immediately folded when her magic (due to a little help from Hermes) failed to work on him. Thankfully for both sides, in this case defeat meant friendship.
  • While most of Tamora Pierce's mages are skilled in combat as well as weaponry, in the fourth Protector of the Small book, the villain Blaise relies on his seven-foot bodyguard for protection.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In Princesses Don't Do Summer School, this situation is highly implied when Selvi criticizes how the less physically enduring members of her party aren't handling their walk in the forest well. And the two members that she's criticizing, are the witch and the priestess, and since the latter's God of the Moon grants her magic, they're both primarily mages. The only other magic-focused character is having no issues, but she's the Druid, which is all about nature, so it's expected that she wouldn't have problems in the forest.
  • Prophecy Approved Companion: As said in the first chapter, when talking about the second mentioned Potential Saviour of All Living Creatures:
    [Qube] was certainly doing a lot better than the only other Mage amongst the Golden Children. Even though he was another Potential Saviour of All Living Creatures, he had no healing abilities at all, and could only spam the weakest of fireballs while his Prophecy Approved Companion spent more time sculpting his body than learning how to actually protect the squishy wizard wannabe.
  • The Reluctant King: Dr. Karadur is a frail old man for all his magical skills and thus little help with physical fights. Luckily, he has Jorian to deal with that.
  • Septimus in Septimus Heap is smaller and slower than his sister Jenna, which gets discussed there and then.
  • Terry Brooks' Shannara series toys with this notion in the form of the Wishsong users, who are Glass Cannons of the first order, and can easily be taken down once you get past the magic of the Wishsong. Since the Wishsong gives them Reality Warper powers, however, getting past it is not an easy prospect. The trope is averted by the vast majority of the Druids and the villainous magic users. Allanon verges on Kung-Fu Wizard, Walker Boh can take beatings that would make most shounen protagonists wince, and the various Big Bads are typically all but indestructible.
  • The Space Trilogy: Merlin considers himself to be this in the third book; when told that he wasn't to use magic the same way that he did a millennium and a half ago, his assumption was that there would be a fight using spears and swords, and admitted that he wouldn't be good at that kind of fighting.
  • Spellhacker: Remi is a very gifted spellweaver. However, they are immunocompromised due to surviving the spellplague, and Remi isn't as physically capable as other members of the team.
  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth
    • Averted by Grumph, due to being a half-orc. He has no issues mixing it up in melee when he has to. Initially, he would use a curved shortsword made from demon bone, which caused blood posioning - later he added said shortsword to his wizard staff. He also likes to make use of a spell that increases the physical strength and toughness of the one whom he casts it on, mainly himself.
    • Played more or less straight by other primary spellcasters, who aren't as physically strong as half-orcs. Still, most will bring along a back-up weapon for those times that they are out of magic or can't cast spells due to being in an anti-magic area.
  • Split Heirs: Hydrangea's wizards were quickly dispatched by the Gorgarians as their magic required long, complicated incantations and gestures, while they were just weak old men.
  • In The Supervillainy Saga Gary Karkofsky is actually an aversion. While he's not very powerful in a world of Flying Brick superheroes, he's actually got durability as one of his superpowers. It means he's a decidedly "un-squishy" wizard despite the fact it most often is used to allow him to survive the beatings he gets.
  • John Brunner's Telepathist introduces Howson, whose telepathic power is second-to-none. Yet he is afflicted with haemophilia, scoliosis and never went through puberty, because the region of the brain that controls the growth of the body was overwhelmed by the area that governs telepathic ability.
  • The Thousand Sons normally avert this trope, as they possess the combat skills and superhuman attributes of ordinary Space Marines in addition to being powerful sorcerers. Ctesias, however, plays it straight: he’s a master summoner with thousands of daemons at his beck and call, but the millennia he spent and the methods he used to bind all those daemons into his service have left him sickly and emaciated, and he can’t hold a candle to his fellow Thousand Sons in physical combat.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's To Ride Pegasus series, Peter Reidinger is the world's most powerful psychic Talent, with a totally paralyzed body. It's only because he is paralyzed, in fact, that he was able to discover his powers by telepathically calling for aid.
  • Most medicine cats from Warrior Cats. Though they are trained in self-defense they have nowhere near as much combat training as warriors. There is one exception: Yellowfang was a warrior before becoming a medicine cat and was pretty badass.
  • Defied with the Asha'man of The Wheel of Time. When Rand sets up his Wizarding Boot Camp, he insists that the recruits learn swordfighting and hand-to-hand combat so they can defend themselves without magic if need be. The Aes Sedai usually plays the trope straighter; that's why they have Warders.
  • Most Qirsi from The Winds of the Forelands are short-lived and frail owing to the rigors of their magic. The exceptions are Weavers, the rarest and most powerful form of Qirsi — of the two Weaver characters, Grinsa is described as very physically fit, while Dusaan is built like a warrior king.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted with Cyvus Vail on Angel, an elderly demon sorcerer who appeared barely able to walk at first, but when attacked turned out to be faster and stronger than someone in his prime. Although as a demon, it's possible that this is just in comparison with humans and by his own species' standards he was very weak.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow was BOTH Smart Girl and Squishy Wizard. She was fragile, shy, and physically weak, but was first choice for research and magic. Later she becomes powerful enough that she can use magic to make herself tough enough to beat up Buffy. She took an axe to the back and got right back up.
    • Of the Trio, Jonathan is the most magically adept.
    • It doesn't take much for Buffy to knock The Shadow Men to their knees.
  • Farscape: Played straight: When the Evil Sorcerer Maldis, shortly after losing his intangibility, is killed off by a single punch to the head. Which makes him explode... somehow.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Bran Stark's main arsenal is his warging. But being a cripple and the fact that he always has to remain stationary while doing said ability means that he's very vulnerable from attacks.
    • Dany is a good Dragon Rider but she's not really trained for actual combat, thus making her vulnerable when not riding any of her dragons.
  • Although not exactly "squishy", Sylar from Heroes is shown as vulnerable whenever he is unable to use his powers — he gets beaten up by Peter and has to run away really fast from Noah Bennet. When he can use them, on the other hand, he is possibly the most powerful character on the show.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Zedd, though he still occasionally manages to knock an enemy out with a blunt weapon from behind in cases where he can't use his magic. The series is also frequent in reminding its viewers that as powerful and dangerous as a Confessor might be, a crossbow bolt can take them out as easily as anyone else.
  • The titular character of Merlin fits this. He's the most powerful warlock in the world, but he's also skinny and physically weak and easily trounced when Arthur's using him as training practice. From Series 3 on, he inverts this; nowhere near Arthur's level, but skilled enough.
  • Eleven from Stranger Things, her powerful telekinesis makes her the strongest character in the cast and she’s even capable of defeating an Eldritch Abomination, however like Jean Grey (whom she’s based off) Eleven is very physically fragile. This is justified given she's a small pre-teen girl. It’s highlighted during her fight with Flayed Billy in Season 3 as while Eleven might be more powerful than him, Billy's Super-Strength in close quarters rendered Eleven's advantage obsolete, requiring Mike to come to her aid while Billy was giving her a choking Neck Lift.
  • Most of the humans who use magic, Hunters and Witches, in Supernatural are also physically strong. However, prophets seem to be frailer than other magic users and in the past were guarded by an archangel. Both Chuck and Kevin suffered from headaches and seemed to be physically drained by the effort of interpreting God's word.
  • The eleventh season of The X-Files shows Jackson Van De Kamp. He has powerful psychic powers, especially the creation of illusions. But he is physically as strong as a normal teenager.

  • Gloryhammer: Inverted. Zargothrax seems to have little in the way of offensive magic, preferring to act through summoned creatures, minions or artifacts. However, he has used his magic to achieve near-Complete Immortality, to the point where being trapped in ice for a millenium and standing at ground zero of an explosion that destroyed the Earth are minor inconveniences.
  • Jinx of wrote a Dungeons & Dragons Filk Song called "Always the First to Die" about the travails of a D&D player playing a mage (see the Wizard example from Dungeons & Dragons below), who finds that the promise of a powerful character at high levels isn't worth it when the mages he plays can't survive long enough to get to that level of power.
    Mage two was an elf named Shue; he found a poison trap.
    Mage three was an NPC, so I had to give him back.
    Four and five went really quick, and six was just the same.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, seiðr (a kind of sorcery) was considered argr ("unmanly"), and capable of making men who practice it weak and helpless. Which didn't stop Odin, the king of the Aesir, from practicing it.


  • Donald Sykes from Panopticon Quest. He has the highest sphere count of the party, but doesn't have any of the physical-boosting augmentations of even the near-baselines like Guofan, Harlan or Jamelia.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy:
    • Sorcerers and other magic-users (convocators, etc.) are not exempt from this trope, even with the large possibilities of customizing them that this game offers. Lowest life points per level and high costs of the abilities to attack, parry, and use armor, even if it does not interfere with their ability to cast spells or invoke creatures, say it all.
    • Averted by casters specializing in Creation magic, especially ones that also take the Arcane Warfare metamagic tree branch. Creation magic offers a lot of long-duration buffing spells that include things like increased maximum health, increased resistances (both status and elemental), accelerated regeneration, shielding (so they can use their magic-aiming ability to parry things), and a "you must be this damaging to hurt me" barrier against things not capable of cutting energy, as well as offering direct healing spells. The Arcane Warfare metamagic branch cranks up the shielding aspect in particular, making the shields able to absorb much more damage and have a better effective parrying ability with which to do so. It's not impossible for them to go so far as to be a party's tank, especially if they also delve into Peace (easier group shielding, better parrying with magic shields) or Earth (has a long-duration armor buff that can outclass full plate) magic; the main restriction on all this is that much of humanity in the main setting does not think kindly of the supernatural.
  • In The Dark Eye, all magic users have trouble with heavy armour, since iron interferes with magic. Druids have a religious taboo against smelted metal, so they can't even use a regular knife (they do get skill points for flintknapping, though). Wizards specifically are forbidden by law to wield weapons bigger than a dagger, or wear armour heavier than a gambeson.
  • Magic-users in The Dresden Files can end up falling into this trap somewhat easily because (a) they need to spend a chunk of refresh on their powerset, leaving little to nothing for more "mundane" human-level stunts and (b) the system sharply constrains how many "top-level" and second-tier skills any given character can have and being competent at magic practically requires being good in three specific skills — Conviction, Discipline, and Lore — that, while not without their mundane uses (Conviction in particular sets the length of a character's mental stress track), aren't exactly very applicable to combat. Going the Magic Knight route is possible to an extent, but that character is just apt to end up average at best (and possibly subpar) at anything that's not magic or fighting, which as in any modern setting is its own potential handicap in the Dresdenverse.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Wizard Character Class (also known as the Magic-User and the Mage in earlier editions) is the Trope Maker in regards to tabletop RPGs. Throughout the editions of D&D, the Wizard has the smallest pool of Hit Points of any playable class. They also start with little to no armor, and thus have the worst Armor Class of all starting Player Characters, making them easy to hit even by weaker enemies. This results in the Wizard being the least survivable of all PCs at low levels — their ease of being hit because of their AC combined with their low HP makes it incredibly easy for them to die, especially in earlier editions where Critical Existence Failure was the norm and it was very possible for a starting wizard to be a One-Hit-Point Wonder, or vulnerable to being one-shotted in their very first fight. This is balanced against the practically godlike power that the Wizard can achieve at high levels, provided that they can live long enough to reach that point.
    • Psions in 3rd and 3.5 Edition had the same problems with squishiness as the Wizard — not only did they have the lowest Hit Die like the Wizard, but also like the Wizard, they had no proficiency in armor whatsoever, making them quite fragile at low levels, again being made up for by how powerful their powers could get at high levels.
    • Blagothkus from the Tyranny of Dragons adventure for 5th Edition is a cloud giant wizard. Compared to a typical cloud giant, he has less health, lower Strength and Constitution, weaker saving throws, and less accurate melee attacks, in exchange for an arsenal of spells that can inflict high damage. Mind you, Blagothkus is still a giant with superhuman levels of strength and durability, so he's primarily squishy by cloud giant standards.
    • The two species of arcane dragons are more magically powerful but much less physically robust than other dragons, dealing less damage with their physical attacks and possessing only a fraction of the hit points expected of their Challenge Rating.
    • There are a number of spells that allow wizards to avert the trope (at least for a number of turns), notably Mage Armor (increases base AC), Shield (increases AC for a turn with a reaction, also blocks Magic Missile), and Tenser's Tranformation (prevents the user from casting further spells, but gives extra AC and hit points, lets them use weapons more than competently, advantage on Strength and Constitution throws, etc.).
  • Eon: Lampshaded. The gamebook actually dares you to avert this, pointing out that there is nothing in the rules that stops you from putting your wizard in plate armor on a horse with a lance... but in practice, the cost of making a semi-competent magic user is such that you'll probably have to neglect most skills not related to magic.
  • Exalted mostly averts it, as anyone can learn Sorcery under the right circumstances, and there's nothing preventing a sorcerer from learning Resistance Charms. The Twilight Caste of the Solars were originally all about averting this, as when their Anima Banner flared, they could reflexively "harden" it to avoid taking damage. After the 2.5 Errata, the concerns about being one-hit-killed while prepping to cast a spell were reduced, so the Twilights were given magical senses instead; that said, the Resistance charm notes above still apply.
  • The Fantasy Trip plays this pretty straight. Wizards have to pay twice as many memory slots to learn non-magic skills (like how to swing a sword), and get penalized for wearing armor or carrying weapons (handwaved in-game by claiming that ferrous metals interfere with magic.)
  • GURPS:
    • Anyone can purchase the Magery advantage and Spell skills quite freely; however, unless you have a lot of character points to build with, it's difficult to build a character who is both a powerful spellcaster and a mighty warrior.
    • 3rd edition has a sort of built-in aversion; casting magic costs Fatigue, and Fatigue is a substat of Strength, so mages want to have a decent Strength.
    • 4th edition bases Fatigue on Health instead; Strength now determines Hit Points. And Fatigue can now be raised independently of Health, so a Wizard can use Strength and Health as Dump Stats, freeing up points for magic spells and the like, at the cost of making himself squishier.
  • Legend of the Five Rings subverts this in various ways. Mechanically spellcasting depends heavily on a character's Rings. Each Ring has two traits, one physical and one mental, so any Shugenja (spellcaster) worth his scrolls has at least one good physical trait. Fire users are very agile and Earth casters are very durable for example so the "Wizard" is not much more "squishy" than any other character. There are no class restrictions to wearing armour and wielding honking big swords if someone is a shugenja either; the restrictions are largely social. Carrying a katana implies that you know how to use it, wearing armour states that you are a military combatant rather than a priest like other shugenja.
  • The various "magical" creature types in Magic: The Gathering, such as wizards and shamans, tend to have lower power and toughness (on average) when compared to more smash-mouth creature types, such as beasts and warriors. As such, they tend to have more varied and useful abilities, taking the role of support or utility creatures. The new Planeswalker cards, introduced later, undermine this by making some fairly (if variably) tough characters who are, essentially, powerful wizards. One case of this appears in abilities with Gideon Jura, who as an ability that doesn't affect his loyalty that turns him into an indestructible 6/6 human soldier.
  • Mazes and Minotaurs: Magicians have base Hit Points of 8 and cannot wear armor, making them far less durable than Warriors or Specialists.
  • Spellcasters in Scarred Lands can't wear armor, because spellcasting causes the caster's body to produce a large quantity of heat. In fact, they can't wear much at all. (Explains a lot of book covers, doesn't it?)
  • Shadowrun is mostly in the same boat as GURPS.
    • Anyone can pile on armor and anyone can be good at dodging and have a high Body stat, but Mages have to spread their points thinner, though, because they have magic to spend them on. And non-mages can afford to pile on cyberware and bioware that can give substantial defensive bonuses, while mages and adepts cannot due to cyber and bioware eating your Essence, which is needed for both magic and adept powers.
    • Wizards maintain a high casualty rate in Shadowrun due to a simple aphorism: "Geek the mage first." The cheapest heavy-damage abilities are magical, as are the only rapid healing abilities. Thus, the one throwing fireballs and healing spells gets the first clip emptied into him.
    • Drain; a few too many spells combined with poor rolls on Drain Resistance, and the mage ends up knocking himself out.
  • Warhammer 40,000 plays this straight by most races' psykers, with the exception of some being real hardcases, such as Tyranid Hive Tyrants (but not Zoanthropes), Space Marine Librarians, Grey Knights and Chaos Daemons. Eldar Farseers are actually tougher than most other Eldar, due to slowly turning into crystal.
  • Warhammer:
    • Wizards (apart from an extra wound or two) are barely more resilient than an average foot soldier. Then there's the Slann: although they can't fight in combat, they are near as dammit impossible to kill, having the second-highest number of wounds in the entire game, are always surrounded by Temple Guard to protect against physical attack, and have big shiny magic shields to protect against ranged. Also avoided by Vampires; already more than equal in combat to the Lords of any race except Chaos, you can then trick them out and make them the equal of almost any magic Lord. Speaking of Chaos, their wizards also have a tendency of being a lot harder than they have any right to be; mortal Chaos Sorcerers are the only wizards in the game that can wear armour. For the complete antithesis of Squishy Wizard, nothing beats sticking a couple of magic levels on a full-fledged Greater Daemon.
    • Vampires aren't dedicated wizards, the magic using lords of most factions start at level 3 and can be upgraded to level 4, Vampire Lords start at level 2 and can only be upgraded to level 3, so they might be better described as Magic Knights than wizards. Similar deal with Archeon in the Chaos army, who is in addition to being arguably the strongest fighting model in the game (currently), is also a level 2 wizard.
    • Ogre Butchers are Smash Mooks that practice a form of magic known as Gut Magic. And due to a quirk in the rules (which is acknowledged by the design team as technically legal, but not intended) they can also wear magical armor. Note that the basic Ogre Butcher has a statline the same as most enemy generals, allowing them to more than hold their own in a scrap.
    • Then there is the High Elf mage Teclis, who is the extreme of this trope. Aside from having 3 wounds (which is meh by lord standards), he has the worst defensive stats in his army, who are Glass Cannons to begin with... and the best magic rules in the game. According to the fluff, Teclis' body is so weak he needs a regular diet of healing potions just to stay alive.
  • Mages in all The World of Darkness games are by far its most powerful and versatile supernatural creatures in general — but since they're physically human, they're still Squishy Wizards compared to vampires, Prometheans, werewolves, and demons, and need time to set up their more impressive feats, not to mention the risk of a Paradox backlash if any Muggles see them working "magick."

    Video Games 
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: Astrake has several offensive spells that don't require him to equip rings and has high MP and MAG growth, but his defenses and HP are low. Astrake also has reduced HP regen, meaning he has to rely more on his skills to maintain his HP.
  • Abyss Crossing: Alice has the highest magic attack, but the lowest HP and defenses. Unlike fellow offensive mage Nehan, who can buff both offensive and defensive stats, Alice can only buff her own offense.
  • Aion follows this trope in an odd way. Sorcerers and Spiritmasters, who use offensive spells (and summoned monsters in the SM's case) are forced into wearing robes and having little HP in exchange for bending the universe to their will, and thankfully have some shield spells as protection. Clerics and Chanters (healing and buffing classes respectively) however, apparently don't spend as much time with the books, being allowed to wear chainmail armor and wield decent weaponry while beating things into submission without the use of offensive spells.
  • Riannon in Aquapazza moves much slower than the other characters and relies on long-distance zoning tactics.
  • Battle for Wesnoth's wizards and other magic users are generally fairly squishy, particularly at lower levels. Taken to extremes with the Dark Adept, who has no melee attack at all.
  • Below the Root: Pomma starts out with the highest spirit score, and is considered a holy child (meaning she gets favorable treatment from both Erdlings and Kindar) but is a physically frail nine-year-old girl who needs to look for strength boosting elixir and/or take frequent meals and naps to prevent keeling over. A more robust character like Neric won't need as frequent naps or meals, but had to seek out more training to boost his spirit score, and may not get a warm welcome at certain houses.
  • The spellcasters in Betrayal at Krondor are an interesting example. Seeing as casting spells depletes stamina and then health, in that order, they're technically Glass Cannons mechanic-wise while not being actual Squishy Wizards; They are less tough than the warriors and casting spells by itself makes them more vulnerable to going down if an enemy lands a hit on them, but in-game logic dictates that they're actually pretty physically tough to be able to cast powerful spells for a prolonged period of time. That being said, Owyn begins the game with strictly inferior weaponry, strength, health, and defense, eventually climbing his way to badass only by participating in the majority of the game's battles, stat-boosting sidequests, and training sessions. Another playable spellcaster, an old man named Patrus, has such horrid physical stats that he'll probably spend most fights on the ground, bleeding to death.
  • The Spiritual Successor to Krondor, Betrayal in Antara, features Aren, who starts off much the same as Owyn; weak armor, low stats, and poor movement. Justified, as all magic in the game is still Cast from Hit Points, and he only really gets any useful spells after the first act of the game is over.
  • In-universe example with Noel from BlazBlue. She's stated to have received below average academic and athletic scores from testing, but she makes up for it by having the highest Ars Magus aptitude score ever recorded in the history of the NOL Military Academy. The poor athleticism thing seems to be an Informed Flaw, though; her fighting style is very acrobatic, though she is quite a Fragile Speedster in gameplay terms, so maybe it is true.
  • Alfred in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon has the lowest HP out of all the characters (tied with Long-Range Fighter, Robert) and his attack has him whack an enemy with his staff at pitiful range, but his sub-weapons are incredibly strong, including creating a flame shield that blocks weak projectiles, an ice missile that freezes enemies and makes them die in one hit, projecting himself to hit at a safe distance, and lightning orbs that tear through the screen for a very high cost.
  • Nina in the Breath of Fire games is this to varying degrees in all of them, but probably the most prominent example is in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter; being engineered to become a living air purifier with no thought given for her own longevity means she's very frail. She can throw around powerful elemental spells and set nasty magical traps to stop enemies cold, but her low HP and stamina ensures she'll probably drop from one or two solid hits.
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: The Mage marionette has low HP and defense, but high resistance and intelligence, the latter of which determines its magic damage.
  • Tolietnator and Him in Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion. The former uses toilet paper and a plunger to fight and his PTE is an extreme Game-Breaker. The latter can transform to attack, and weird recovery, and he has a bunch of annoying glitches.
  • Chest:
    • Raks is a level 70 mage who starts with over 800 Magic Attack, but his HP is only in the 2000s.
    • Downplayed with Hyroin II. While he's more durable than every enemy in the game and has many deadly spells, he'll likely fall after a fully charged Determined Blow or My Turn, making him a Rush Boss.
  • In Children of Mana, Poppen has the best magic stats of all four playable characters, but atrocious defense and HP.
  • City of Heroes:
    • The Controller and Defender archetypes, who are "wizards" in that they possess a far greater range of powers than the more combat-oriented archetypes and have access to heals, buffs, debuffs and status effects that the others generally don't. They also have the joint-lowest hit points and virtually no defensive capabilities. The Blaster, Controller and Defender are, in fact, often collectively referred to as "Squishies" by the players of other archetypes (though the Blaster is more of a Glass Cannon).
    • In City Of Villains, the Corruptor, Dominator, and Mastermind fill this position — although the Corruptor overlaps with Glass Cannon, and the Mastermind is the best pet summoner and when used right is almost a Game-Breaker. The game in general is a bit less focused on party roles and the "balanced party" concept than usual, resulting in more aberrations to the norm. Powerset and build choices are significant to level of squishiness, and an occasional complaint with recruiting certain Defender subtypes is that their personal survival abilities are so good they'd rather be soloing.
  • In Clash of Clans, Wizards shoot powerful fireballs, but can't take much of a hit. The Zooka (a bazooka-wielding female soldier) is the equivalent in Boom Beach, made by the same developer.
  • Dark Devotion has Nekosh, Keeper of the Books. He can mess you up with his fire magic and demonic scythe, but once he gets off his pulpit and comes within your reach, you’ll discover that he has very little health for a boss: you can kill him with just a few attacks. Of course, killing him is not the end of that fight
  • Played with in Darkstone. Although the wizard class starts with the lowest strength and the weakest weapons, through the use of attribute enhancing rings and elixirs, it is possible to have wizards who have similar strength to a warrior as well as the capability of wielding weapons from other classes. As well as having typical druid powers, like transforming into a werewolf. Still pales in comparison to the damage they can put out with magic and throwing weapons, however. (Especially due to the cancellation glitch, moving while in the middle of a throw stops the animation, allowing for a rapid-fire attack)
  • In the Dawn of War series, you have actual Squishy Wizards, Psykers, who teleport in, blast everything to death (or not to death) with their psychic abilities, then (hope to) run away to regenerate their energy and let their abilities cool down. And on the other hand, you have Religious Magic (or Daemonic Intervention, or Chaotic Sigils, or <insert more lore-o-babble here>), used by the actual soldiers able to withstand a few hits.
  • Since V from Devil May Cry 5 has pathetic physical strength and crappy health compared to Dante and Nero, he uses Familiars to fight enemies for him and then, once their health is low enough, finishes them off with his cane or summons ethereal copies of his cane and rain down on demons. This all makes V very Difficult, but Awesome to play. It's also lampshaded In-Universe as V struggles to get around Red Grave City without falling over, can barely keep up with Dante without tiring himself out and, unlike other characters, he realistically struggles to lift Sparda. It's also revealed that V is dying since he's a Soul Jar and can only save himself by fusing with Urizen, whereupon he becomes Vergil.
  • In The Denpa Men, Denpa Men with antennas (essentially, magical powers) have far weaker physical stats and tend to be slower than Denpa Men without skills. The more offensively-oriented the skill, the weaker their stats tend to be, too — so a Denpa Man who can blast all enemies with light will have weaker stats than one who can merely blast one enemy with light, who will have weaker stats than the speed-upper, who will have weaker stats than the 'man who merely cures Poison for a living.
  • The Necromancer in Diablo II is overpowered in the offensive spells department, and at the same time is frustratingly squishy.
  • Diablo III has two such classes: the Wizard and the Witch Doctor. Interestingly, the Wizard himself is more of a Glass Cannon than the Witch Doctor. The former deals a large amount of direct damage, while the Witch Doctor relies on summoned pets, indirect damage and status effects.
  • Mages and Skulls in Disgaea are by far the frailest units in the game. The exception to the rule (Flonne, when properly trained) easily demonstrates why; magic units that could take a hit would be total Disc One Nukes.
  • Diver Down, and more specifically the character of Jenna, demonstrates why this trope should never be applied to a system that doesn't allow casters to leave the front lines. Better cast a protective spell at the beginning of any tough fight, or she's going down.
  • Maxwell from Don't Starve has the lowest HP in the game, but can summon shadows to fight for him, and he starts out with the best weapon and armor in the game.
  • Mages in Dragon Age: Origins are, in theory, the squishiest class. In practice, mages tend to a) put a truckload of points into Constitution to fuel Blood Magic, b) pick the Arcane Warrior specialisation and run around in full plate, c) pick Spirit Healer and just heal the damage back, or d) pick Arcane Warrior and one of the other specialisations mentioned above and thus out-Warrior the party Warrior. It's just as much of an issue in Dragon Age II, which lacks Arcane Warrior but gives the Spirit Healer specialisation a passive talent that gives them +10 Constitution and significantly increased health regeneration.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest: By the time they get to the Dragonlord, most players (who avert this trope by being able to use weapons and armor and cast spells) can kill his first form in three hits. The Dragonlord's true form, which does not use magic and primarily attacks with his fire breath and claws, on the other hand, is a lot tougher, to the point that you're better off attacking and using healing spells than wasting your MP trying to magic him down.
    • In Dragon Quest II, the Princess of Moonbrooke is a powerful mage, but a poor attacker.
    • In Dragon Quest III, Mages and Priests are far frailer than the Warrior, with smaller HP pools and much more limited armor selection, though the latter's sky-high Agility still makes them tougher than the spellcaster.
    • Dragon Quest IV:
      • Borya has low HP and Defense, but makes up for it with an assortment of useful spells.
      • Played straight in the original game with Meena, who was a good healer with low defense. It is averted in the remakes, though. While she doesn't have the robustness of, say, the female Hero or Torneko, she's still able to take a few hits, and has a wide selection of weapons and armor to choose from, to the point that she's about as much of a Magic Knight as the Hero/ine; give her the full set of Metal Babble/Liquid Metal gear, and she's a lean, mean, monster-mashing machine.
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • Bella's physical stats are awful and she is much better suited to casting spells. Too bad you can't control her.
      • Madchen is a great magician, but stat-wise, she tends to take after her mother; this is most obvious when her mother is Nera, who is the Hero's weakest potential bride.
      • While King Korol is a deadly mage, his physical attacks are absolutely pathetic.
    • Dragon Quest VI: Depending on how you develop Milly, Ashlynn and Nevan, they can become great spellcasters with poor physical stats.
    • Dragon Quest VII: Maribel's a good mage, but her HP and Defense need several seed boosts to keep her alive against tougher foes.
    • Dragon Quest VIII: Jessica can wipe out whole enemies with her spells and can dish out decent damage, but she's not very resistant to damage herself.
    • In effect somewhat different in Dragon Quest IX: while Mages do have lower than average Resilience and HP as well as less gear that provides decent defense available, you can still give them roughly average durability with the right gear... it's just a bad idea. You see, unlike with Attack, weapons do not give a very significant boost to Magical Might; most of the boosting for that stat comes from your clothing. So, while you could have a mage with a decent amount of durability it comes at the cost of magic powerful enough to do decent damage.
    • Dragon Quest XI: Veronica can wipe out waves of enemies with her magic, but having the lowest HP pool and defense in the party means she will crumple like a wet tissue paper the moment a powerful enemy decides to target her.
    • Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and The Blight Below: Nera's the most magic-oriented character in the game, but her Defense is low.
  • In Dragon's Dogma mages and sorcerers can only wear the lightest armor, and have to stand still to cast their spells. On the other hand, the hybrid Magic Knight class carries the biggest shields in the game. The Magick Archer class has roughly the same defenses as a normal archer.
  • Just like in the regular game, Dungeons & Dragons Online makes wizards and sorcerers the squishiest of all the playable classes, with elven and drow mages being especially squishy due to lower Constitution. Playing them is mainly reserved for those who are good at the game, as just like the regular game, low levels can be unforgiving as hell for mages. Also those who know exactly what spells they'll need for their next quest; wizards in particular are designed for And Knowing Is Half the Battle... um, Crazy-Prepared.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • For Player Characters in the series, this tends to start out as the case for "wizard" type characters but tends to become averted as they level up, following along with Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. Downplayed (after Daggerfall) due to their class/skill/levelling systems — the distinction between wizard-types and other-types are softer than in most other games. It is entirely possible to have what is otherwise a mage-type that uses heavy armor (which in Morrowind and Oblivion will also lead to the stat governing health being more advantageous and easy to increase). When it comes to Skyrim, the removal of the class system means that this trope is more something you grow into as you put more resources into magicka and your magical skills than something you start as.
    • In-universe, the Altmer (High Elves) are the most physically frail race on average, but also have the highest natural talents for magic. They do employ armed-and-armored soldiers as well, but each and every one of these soldiers uses magic as a supplement in combat, and still tends to be squishier (on average) than the standard rank-and-file soldiers of more combat oriented races, such as the Nords and Orcs.
    • The Bretons, while still a bit more hardy than Altmer, they are the most physically frail and most magically gifted of the races of Men. Notice that says physically frail, as the Bretons have the highest resistance to magical attacks of any race — Man, Mer, or Beast. They make for excellent Magic Knights and Mage Killers as a result.
  • Most electronic warfare ships in EVE Online, while quite useful in battle, have no tank whatsoever.
  • Reyvateils in the EXA_PICO series can't attack or defend and tend to have very low hit points. Instead, they sing a song to either cast a powerful recovery magic every turn, or to build up a Combined Energy Attack while the enemies are busy attacking their bodyguards, and then launch it and hit for massive damage. The only exception for the first two games is Coccona, a Cute Bruiser who fits as a bodyguard instead of a singer.
  • EXTRAPOWER: The pyramid witch Blackberry is a powerful wizard, but all her intelligence doesn't grant her extra defense. She can easily be overwhelmed in Attack of Darkforce if she is not hiding behind hardier characters. In Giant Fist, she is a little more durable given the Action-Adventure focus of the game, but is a physically weaker character option and survives best when cleverly cycling through her spells to nuke her foes. Unfortunately, this isn't true if she's fought as a boss, in which case she'll have the sturdiness of a boss fight on top of her awesome wizardy offensive.
  • Familia: Sero has a wide variety of elemental spells, but has low HP growth. While he starts at a higher level than Lono, the latter will quickly surpass him in HP in a few levels.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Noted to be generally true of Caster-class Servants. The game's Caster is an unbelievably powerful spellcaster, but she is considered among the weakest Servants because the others all outdo her in physical capability. In fact, in Unlimited Blade Works, she is taken down easily by a mere human being in a fist fight, which would be completely out of the question for any other Servant.
    • Rin notes that the tendency for mages to be physically weak is quite well-known, and many modern mages train themselves in some form of physical combat to mitigate this. Rin herself is reasonably athletic, knows basic martial arts, and can use magic to strengthen her own body. In fact, she's the one who beats up Caster.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy has the Black Mage, who can use high-level offensive magic, but ranks dead last in terms of HP growth, Vitality, and Strength, and he is tied for last with the White Mage in terms of hit rate. The weapon and armor selection for the Black Mage is also beyond pathetic. The White Mage also has low physical stats, but not nearly to this extent.
    • In Final Fantasy II, equipping heavy armour decreases your Intelligence and Soul stats, so if you equip your mages with heavy armour, their magic will be almost useless, and if you equip your mage with light armour, they'll take heavy damage when they're hit. This was changed in the GBA/PSP Updated Re-release, so heavy armour will no longer decrease your magic stats, so now your wizards won't be squishy.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • Edward can use his instruments to put status effects on opponents, but suffers from low HP, weak defences, and subpar attack strength (to the point where Edward would lose a purely physical fight with Rydia, a seven-year-old-girl). In the GBA version, this is inverted beyond level 70, as his stats undergo the greatest gain potential; but that's only if he's taken into The Very Definitely Final Dungeon combined with a lot of Level Grinding.
      • Tellah zigzags this. Early on, he's one of the few examples anywhere of a Stone Wall Wizard, averting this. When he first joins your party, his HP is significantly higher than the other characters, and the enemies are still weak enough that he can take some damage. When he comes back, he becomes a stone wall again, as he is still initially sturdier than Palom and Porom, and until you complete Mt. Ordeals, he lacks most of his spells and his only real purpose is to help the kids conserve MP. As the game goes on, he gradually eases into the role of Squishy Wizard as his stats actually decrease with level-ups. By the time his role in the game is finished, he is far and away the physically weakest character in your roster, so much so that his physical weakness becomes plot-relevant.
    • Aerith, the White Mage of Final Fantasy VII, fits this role quite well, especially if you load her up with enough attack magic Materia, which boosts the MP and Magic stats while nerfing her HP. Though her healing magic can negate this, In-Universe Aerith is certainly a Squishy Wizard as well considering Tifa, Zack and Cloud could survive getting slashed (and even impaled in Cloud's case) by Sephiroth... while Aerith on the other hand.
      • Played completely straight in the Final Fantasy VII Remake with Aerith's ranged support gameplay. Whilst Cloud, Barret and even Tifa (once you buff her up) can take hits, Aerith cannot having the lowest HP and Vitality in the party, requiring her to be protected constantly in battles. Aerith more than makes up for this with the best Magic and Spirit stats though, and in the story she can even defend against Sephiroth’s attacks with her magic.
    • Final Fantasy XI provides the means to subvert this trope The red mage and white mage can both be very survivable if they are equipped correctly, and the blue mage isn't all that bad a starting point for a non-squishy spellcaster either. The combination of the spell Stoneskin, which provides what's effectively a small pool of bonus Hit Points, and Utsusemi, an ability to nullify hits that is activated through expendable tools which can be accessed by setting your support job to Ninja, is the most powerful and popular way to do it, but there are other approaches as well.
    • Lulu and Yuna in Final Fantasy X do not take hits well at all. At the very least, they both make up for it by having the best evasion stat in the game and simply dodging. Oh, and for some reason Lulu comes with game-best physical defense, though not enough to offset her game-worst HP by much.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has Hope Estheim. He has the highest magic stat in your party and is the only one who can learn every offensive spell. However, he also has the lowest HP in your party.
    • Black Mages in Final Fantasy XIV are very squishy even by DPS job standards. They deal terrific single-target and AoE damage and are the undisputed best in a pure damage race, but not only do they have the low defense and health that come with the job, they also have barely any mobility or utility skills. The fact the game revolves around dodging large telegraphed AoE attacks and that spells need to be channeled before casting means they'll fall behind if they don't get many opportunities to stand still and dish out damage. Players joke that really stubborn Black Mages would rather cast their nuke and die from an attack than move away.
  • The Nu Mou race in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2. They are small in stature and have very slender limbs, making them a magnet to enemies who have high attack power, like the Bangaa. Obviously, the Nu Mou have the best magic stat out of all the races and use many kinds of offensive and elemental spells.
    • A2 somewhat lampshades the physical weakness of the nu mou by having one of the nu mou clan leaders in a cup tourney asking you to be gentle on them since they are old and their bones aren't what they used to be.
    • Conversely, Geomancers, the only magic-focused Gria, have below-average magic attack (and physical attack) but very high physical and magical defense. This makes them Masters of None, because the still below-average HP and limited armor selection makes their defense only slightly above average.
  • Finding Light: Malady has low HP and Power, but high Intelligence, making her the party's best offensive caster.
  • Micaiah from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is particularly noteworthy, as she is 1) the main character 2) in a game where mages are sub-par units 3) the leader of an army mostly made up of Fragile Speedster types, which makes for some... interesting strategy.
  • Merlin, the wizard in the classic game Gauntlet, has the worst armor (he has zero, actually), and he's hopeless at fighting. However, when it comes to his magical ability, watch out.
  • Golden Sun:
    • While every character in the game uses offensive "magic", Ivan stands out. He's got the lowest defense and attack of the party, worse than even Mia, the healer. However, he's a Fragile Speedster in addition to being a Glass Cannon, his weapons' special effects activate much more frequently than anyone else's, and with the right sword, he can deal tremendous physical damage.
    • This seems to be a theme of the Wind Seer class accessed by Jupiter Adepts as Sheba from The Lost Age and Ivan's daughter Karis in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn all share the same high agility and psynergy points but bottom of the barrel HP, attack and defense.
    • Himi, also from Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is noteworthy for being a Venus Adept whose stats (low HP, attack and defense but high PP and agility) are almost the polar opposite of other Venus adepts like Isaac, Felix and Matthew who range from Magic Knights to Masters of All if properly customized.
  • Guild Wars:
    • Played straight at first glance, where the magic-oriented classes do have the weakest armor, but they all have ways to bolster their defenses, especially those who pick up Ranger, Monk, or another class that gives them access to defensive abilities.
    • Earth Elementalists are the extreme however. They have an armor spell that alone adds more armor than a Warrior has, Ward Against Melee, which causes 50% of enemy melee attacks in an area whiff, Ward Against Elements, which provides a healthy bonus against elemental attacks, and Eruption, which blinds (90% miss chance) enemies in an area for up to 15 seconds. With the addition of other spells, an Earth Elementalist can prevent huge amounts of damage to himself and his party.
    • Played straight with mesmers though. Low armor, almost no direct damage dealing capabilities, and an extreme lack of self heals means that this is a VERY squishy wizard.
  • The Combine Advisors in Half-Life 2. They are large grub-like creatures that need mechanical arms and wear some sort of breathing apparatus, but they possess powerful psychic abilities. At their weakest they're still capable of telepathic attacks that leave Gordon (and the player) disorientated, scaling up to lifting multiple humans off the ground at once and immobilising them completely, with the current known peak of their personal power shredding buildings and smashing through defences without noticeable effort.
  • In Highborn, the Wizard units that can be recruited in towers will go down in one hit but are able to deal a lot of damage with their magic if they get the first strike. Their unit description explains that a lifetime of being cooped up in a tower studying old tomes doesn't leave room for exercise.
  • Wizards in Incursion are exceptionally vulnerable to surprise attacks. They also need to see things from afar to kill them reliably — combine this with meager spot and listen skill ranks.
  • In Infernax, one of the unlockable bonus characters you can play by entering "Gardakan" as your name is a classic robes-and-pointy-hat wizard who uses spells to fight. His magic attacks have the highest range of any in the game (apart from the Purposefully Overpowered M60-toting Maxine Gunn), but this is balanced by his laughably poor defences. When starting fresh without upgrades, the lowly zombie you face as the first enemy in the game can kill him in one hit.
  • Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask: Kururugi serves this role in the party, their fighting style entirely revolving around their Shikigami powers.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Donald Duck is a textbook example. Due to his utter lack of defense, hit points, and a way to replenish his magic points which forced him into attacking enemies physically, poor Donald seemed to die every time that a Heartless breathed in the same room as him. Fortunately, the sequel made him less of a glorified punching bag and more of a valuable party member... unless you're on Critical Mode, in which case his lack of either Second Chance or Once More means he'll be getting one-shotted on a regular basis while Goofy (and hopefully, Sora) will at least survive long enough to heal.
    • Aqua from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has the worst defenses, lowest HP and weakest physical attacks of the playable trio, but is by far the most formidable mage with exclusive access to several powerful spells.
    • Of all the playable characters introduced in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, Kairi overall has the worst defense and lowest HP of them; though it is more than made up for by having a very high magic stat, access to all tier 3 magic, the best shotlock of the new characters, and a highly damaging Limit used in tandem with Sora.
    • Ansem, Seeker of Darkness is a played-with villainous example. While he doesn't have the lack-of-health-and/or-defense you typically see in characters of this trope, he still favors hit-and-run Black Magic and relies on his "Guardian" to do the up-close attacking for him. However, his One-Winged Angel form subverts this by giving him a physical weapon, though he only uses this at the end of the very first game.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, each class is aligned with one of the three stats, giving it a boost. Muscle increases your Hit Points, and Moxie increases your evasion chance. There is no defense given by high Mysticality though, so if you don't increase your other stats Saucerors and Pastamancers end up pretty squishy. While Saucerors gradually become less squishy be gaining access to powerful regeneration effects, Pastamancers don't have that luxury besides summoning certain Thralls to aid them defensively. The Avatar of Jarlsberg is a step up in both squishiness and wizardliness: their spells are always pretty damaging and can conjure up the best foods, but have limited healing and refuse to attack physically (due to Jarlsberg's crippling germophobia).
  • Played straight in the Legacy of Kain series with Moebius the Timestreamer. Take away his vampire-paralyzing staff and Knight Templar mooks and all you've got is a skinny old guy that could be knocked over with a feather.
  • The Legend of Heroes - Trails:
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: Veran is relatively defenseless when not possessing someone, going down in only three sword strikes.
    • Yuga, the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Whereas Ganondorf is a mighty Magic Knight even without the Triforce of Power, Yuga relies on magic and trickery. Although he was clearly underestimating Link, he was forced to turn him into a painting after being beaten in their first fight and was forced to retreat during their second encounter or Link could have defeated him.
  • Light Fairytale: Ayaka has the highest magic stats of all playable characters, but has low HP, attack, and speed. She also can't use physical attacks, but has a free healing skill.
  • Lords of Magic has this and the enemy AI is very aware of it, making a beeline for your mages the second battle starts. The main thing that makes the Death faction's special creature the Lich superior to other mages isn't its immense mana pool, but the fact that it has decent physical stats and the Defend ability, allowing it to cast some spells and turtle up instead of you devoting all your concentration to keeping it alive.
  • In LostMagic, this is the justification for your Monster Allies; however with the right Sadistic Choice and resulting All Your Powers Combined Upgrade, you can subvert this by using the elemental "Dance" spells in which Isaac, the protagonist, runs up to an enemy with his staff charged and smacks several different kinds of snot out of said enemy.
  • Luminous Arc 3: Yuu has tremendous MAG and MP, two AOE attacks and one life draining attack, easily outkilling and outdamaging everyone else in the game. Unfortunately he also has horrible HP and DEF (two hits will kill him), slow movement and poor range. Sara and Shion share a similar problem with worse stats.
  • Every single playable character in Magical Starsign is a squishy wizard with a different elemental affiliation.
  • Magicka plays it for laughs, since the players can and will kill each other as or more easily than the enemies with their own spells.
  • The OHRRPGCE game Magnus has quite possibly the squishiest wizard ever: Quio (or Ouio; the game can't make up its mind), who starts with just a little over fifty Hit Points, about half of that of each of the other heroes. Needless to say, he falls very quickly.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis:
    • Pamela starts off with poor physical defense made worse by a number of Cast from Hit Points spells, but subverts the trope once she unlocks Physical Immunity. Coupled with her high magic resistance and Life Drain spells, she makes an incredible tank.
    • Roxis, on the other hand, keeps this status throughout the game. Even Jess takes hits better than he does, and she's Secretly Dying.
  • Manafinder: Savius is the least physically fit of the nomad leaders due to his age, but he can deal a lot of damage with his magic attacks. He also brings two mooks to his boss battle to make up for his low durability.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the first game, all of the "support" classes (Engineer, Adept, Sentinel) have powerful support abilities based around technology or biotics, some of which border on Game-Breaker, but can only wear lightweight armor. The more combat oriented classes with support abilities (Infiltrator, Vanguard) have more armor and weapons skills but consequently less support capability. On the other hand, all biotics can learn Barrier, which provides significantly better shields than the best armor Soldiers can buy. And their lightweight armor tends to provide better defenses against biotic and tech attacks. Quadratic, indeed. However, the Engineer was the squishiest because in addition to lacking Barrier, it lacked the firepower that makes the other two classes Glass Cannons and/or Magikarp Power so this class would have to be doing a lot of hiding behind cover and allies in the early game with so many enemies that were either organic (ex. Thorian Creepers and Rachni) or Geth too high-level to immediately take on without some serious level-grinding.
    • In the sequel, Shepard can wear any type of armor regardless of class, but the support classes tend to have somewhat lower health. In addition, the squad members with biotic and tech powers tend to have lighter armor, with characters like Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, and Jack having little to no armor at all. Oddly enough, while Engineers and Adepts are not noted for having strong shields (Engineers in particular are advised to only stick their heads above cover when they have to), the Sentinel's Signature Move, Tech Armour, makes it surprisingly durable, especially if combined with a talent like Energy Drain in 3, which in extreme cases will allow a Sentinel to stand out in the open, in front of basic geth troops, without actually losing any health.
    • Most of the multiplayer Adept variants in 3 are pretty squishy...except of course the Krogan Shaman, who is a six hundred pound Proud Warrior Race Guy.
  • Minion Masters: Except for the Wizard Puff, all Puffs have useful abilities as long as they are on the bridge such as giving an extra mana every few seconds, giving a shield to all ground minions every few seconds or healing you. They can, however, all be one-shoted by every minion that does damage.
  • Mother:
    • Ana in EarthBound Beginnings is the only party member capable of using offensive PSI and has huge library of PSI abilities (both offensive and healing). Her attack and defense are abysmal however, her non-PSI attack does one maybe two damage and while her PSI attacks are useful in battle she's typically knocked out before real use can be made of them. She can make a great healer but can't use her powers if knocked out (which is often) ironically she learns the PSI to revive knocked out members far before anyone but being unable to use them on herself means lots of expensive hospital trips. Made worse is the fact she joins the party at Level 1 while other party members are typically between the Level 18-30 mark meaning lots of level grinding to get her to the point were she can survive.
    • Similar story with EarthBound's Paula who also starts out at level 1 when you get her and you have to travel through an area that has monsters that tend to one shot her. Although unlike Ana, she doesn't stay as that squishy and she isn't totally incompetent in physical damage as is the norm for this trope.
    • Kumatora in Mother 3, unlike her preceding PSI users, is touted as a tougher, more masculine character, yet is still physically behind her partners Lucas (a preteen) and Duster (a leg-impaired thief) while being just about even with Boney (a dog).
  • Miriene from Mystic Ark, though to compensate, she's the only character in the game who learns a spell to protect allies from spells for a limited amount of time.
  • Being based on Dungeons & Dragons, the Neverwinter Nights series follows the trope. Pure wizards start with pathetic hit points — it's absolutely impossible to survive without allies to act as tanks, because you start with pathetic defensive spells and anything that so much as sneezes on you will rob you of all your hit points. And you can't even go all tin-can happy, because wearing armor reduces your spellcasting abilities. It takes a surprising amount of progression before you can cast enough defense to afford some tanking yourself; in the meantime, you'll be entirely dependent on your party for survival.
  • Wizards in Nexus Clash are no more durable than they were at their Mortal beginnings. Some Wizards learn an elaborate array of defensive spells and enchantments to make up for this, but others believe that the best defense is a good offense.
  • 9S in NieR: Automata can't hit as hard as 2B or A2 and can only carry one weapon, but has the ability to hack enemy units to cause them to self-destruct for massive damage.
  • Octopath Traveler has Cyrus and Primrose, both of whom boasting strong elemental attack power for their spellwork (Cyrus has access to Fire, Ice, Lightning by default while Primrose casts Dark elemental spells by default). They also have pitifully low HP and physical attack status, and their physical defense is nothing to brag about, either.
  • Similarly, Osvald from Octopath Traveler II is the Scholar of the group, and he has low HP and physical stats.
  • Invoked in Outward. You start out unable to use magic and can only get mana by temporarily trading maximum HP and stamina for it. The more you load up on mana, the squishier you'll be.
  • In Phantasy Star IV, this is the case with most of the primary magic-users; Raja and Kyra, both potent magicians, benefit very little from being armed with physical weapons (Raja because he has low attack power and low natural defense, and Kyra because her magic is plentiful and much stronger than her regular weapon attack anyway). Designated party wizard Rune can cast so many spells between visits to the Trauma Inn that he can reasonably be given two shields as opposed to a weak staff. Since most other characters have their hands tied with weapons, this easily puts Rune's defense on par with everyone else. Early on when he first joins the party, giving him two shields, putting him at the front, and letting him clear the screen of monsters in one or two rounds is the best way to level grind. It's entirely possible to spend most of the game with your squishy wizards near the front of the party while your melee fighters take a safer spot at the back.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, the technique (magic) using class called Forces have nearly negligible physical attack and defense power and upon reaching ultimate difficulty, their own magical attacks become mostly ineffective against enemy resistance. However, once they find high-level disks for the spells Deband and Jellen, all Forces break this trope entirely and are capable of boosting the party's defense and lowering the enemy's attack so much that they become like kittens.
  • Pillars of Dust: Angela and Igorim are mercenaries with high special stats, but low health and defense. This makes them good for clearing regular mobs, but difficult to protect during boss fights.
  • The Witchdoctor class in Pirate101 specialize in using Hoodoo to do a variety of tricks from summoning undead minions to draining their enemies life force and healing themselves with it. But they're not able to equip heavy armor, and generally aren't the best at taking a punch.
  • Pokémon:
    • As a psychic example, Alakazam. According to the Pokédex fluff in Emerald, its muscles are so weak that it has to use its psychic powers just to stand and move around. Most Psychic Pokémon are infamous for having low defense and HP in contrast with high speed and Special Attack. The exceptions are usually Legendary Pokémon. Even Mewtwo became this when the Special stat was divided into two stats. Also, Alakazam has the second highest permanent base Special Attack of all non-legendary Pokémon, beat only by Chandelure (though Porygon-Z ties with it; Zen Mode Darmanitan and Blade Forme Aegislash also beat it, but only as long as they're in their corresponding formes). Pokémon with high Special Attack and Speed are called Special Sweepers. In competition, Special Sweepers are used to wipe out as many Pokémon as quickly as it can before ultimately dying... very good examples of glass cannons in action. (Chandelure, for the record, has competent defenses, and thus does not fit this trope quite as well as Alakazam, although it does have low HP.)
    • Other notable examples include Gengar, Mismagius, Florges, and several Electric-type Pokémon, such as Jolteon, Manectric, and Heliolisk.
  • The Wizard class in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords suffer from this. Battle (Attack power) and Morale (Hit Points and spell resistance) stats are the lowest of the four class AND the most expensive to upgrade (3 points each per Level Up. You only get four points to spend). But he does gain the powerful Fireball spell fairly quickly, and in the upper levels (around 35 or so) becomes an efficient death-dealing machine. (The Druid is similarly HP-challenged, but has some of best defensive spells in the game and learns them fairly quickly.)
  • Wizards in Ragnarok Online are quite squishy. They do have a shield that uses their mana to soak up damage, though.
  • Mages in Retro Mud, which is balanced out by the fact that they don't see much danger.
  • While Cierra from Riviera: The Promised Land does have the lowest physical defense of the main characters, she also has the highest magical defense, Hit Points and vitality.
  • Casters in Ryzom can be utterly devastating with high-level spells and magic, but have to wear light armor to get the most out of it without a penalty and may have to Cast from Hit Points if they want to not use too much Sap (the game's equivalent to Mana); thus, should their target survive long enough to get into melee range (or otherwise retaliate)... the Caster likely won't.
  • Sacred Earth - Promise: Perrine Aylin has the best magic stat growth of the entire party, has low physical defense and HP, and all of her skills deal magic damage. Her stats are ideal for using the Spell Extend mechanic to wipe out groups of weaker enemies.
  • Sengoku Basara:
    • Otani Yoshitsugu is a psychic with leprosy. He's confined to a palanquin he levitates with his telekinetic powers, and attacks enemies using telekinetically manipulated praying beads. His HP, attack and defence stats are decisively below average, in addition to his slow movement rate and horrible turning radius.
    • Oichi in her third game incarnation is similar. Using magically conjured shadow hands to attack and throw mooks about from a great distance, Oichi's body is in itself little more than a puppet dragged along by those very same hands and is defenceless without them. Like Yoshitsugi she depends mostly on keeping enemies at a safe distance where she can keep stun-locking them.
  • Shade: Wrath of Angels has sorcerer enemies who attacks with ranged spells, like fireballs or thunderbolts, but otherwise having pathetic stats. They don't have parrying abilities, gets killed with quick slashes once you bypassed their ranged attacks and can be shot if you happen to have a gun.
  • Shadow Hearts series:
    • Alice, quintessential White Magician Girl and Li Zhuzhen, old Taoist adept from the first game and surprisingly not Halley. Despite being a Street Urchin with ESP powers, he's a balanced character like Margarete whose mayor weakness is that his skills take a huge chunk of his rather limited MP pool.
    • Covenant: Gepetto, old puppeteer that attacks via Cornelia and specializes in offensive magic, Anastasia Romanov (No, seriously) who is able to gain the attacks of the enemies that she takes photos of and Lucia, alluring exotic dancer fortuneteller who can buff the party with her Aromatherapy skills.
    • From the New World: Main Character Johnny, surprisingly enough. Making him a support unit is the best way to go. There's also Hilda in her slim form and Mao, Al Capone's bodyguard and giant cat/Drunken Master/aspiring starlet par excellence.
  • Shadow of the Wool Ball: The scrawny-looking wizard cats are among some of the weaker enemies in the game, health-wise. Except for the black-robed wizards, who are beefier and notably tougher.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei I, the Law Hero is more squishy than the others, and leans heavily on his spells or his gun. The Heroine wavers between Squishy Wizard and White Magician Girl.
    • Persona:
      • In Persona and Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, persona selection and stat growth determine a character's role. Maki is very squishy in the first game. In Innocent Sin, Jun is overall squishier than the other characters. You can also choose to build your protagonist (unnamed in the first, Tatsuya in P2:IS, and Maya in P2:EP) as squishy or not as you like.
      • In Persona 3 and Persona 4, the protagonist's squishiness depends entirely upon the persona he has equipped, but usually is more of a Magic Knight. Yukari is more of a Squishy Wizard in P3, while Yukiko is similarly so in P4.
      • Ann is the resident Squishy Wizard in Persona 5. Great at raining fiery death upon enemies but bad at taking hits and attacking physically due to mediocre HP and worse strength. Hilariously, this seems to be a case of Gameplay and Story Integration as Ann is a model that hit the genetic jackpot and can remain fit despite not exercising and subsisting on junk food and sodas. Ann's unhealthy lifestyle is most likely responsible of her squishiness.
    • In the Devil Survivor games, focusing most of your points into one stat is better than rounding out, so the protagonist is either a vicious brawler or this. Yuzu also tends towards this, as does Amane.
  • Radiant Arc: Aria is a mage with powerful all-hitting spells and an MP stealing spell to make her magic sustainable, but has low defenses.
  • In Shining Force I and II, mages and clerics are usually at the bottom end of the stats ladder and, if you don't constantly use their powers even in inappropriate situations you might not get enough XP to keep them up with the others. Unless you are using Monks. In the first game, the only Monk has higher attack than the rest of the starting party. In the second game, (Master) Monks are so overpowered that the fighters might as well stay at home. Unfortunately for the good guys, the bad guys in II have monks too, but not nearly as hyper-strong.
  • Sinjid:
    • Mages in Shadow of the Warrior and Priests in Sinjid have powerful magic abilities, but are lacking in health and physical strength. Depending on the build you choose, the Priest can either be a magically-based Glass Cannon or a magically-based Fragile Speedster. Interestingly enough, the Mage inverts the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards trope; it starts out stronger than the Warrior, but becomes outclassed by it lategame. The Priest plays it straight, however.
    • Skeleton Mages have no physical attacks and are fragile without their cloaks, but make up for it with their healing abilities and magic attacks.
    • Warlord Niroshi is both this and a Stone Wall; He has poor physical strength, but has high vitality and speed, can summon barriers that block all damage, and likes to summon and hide behind his Risen Fighters while sniping you from a distance.
  • Henrietta and Wonder Tweek from South Park: The Fractured but Whole: the former is the best support healer and can deal considerable damage, while the latter has a variety of abilities that can inflict status effects on enemies as well as a devastating ultimate boasting good range, damage and the ability to inflict confusion on them. Both however have very low health, meaning that they're basically sitting ducks if they get surrounded (moreso for Tweek due to him lacking any means to knock enemies back).
  • Used literally in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Could be seen here.
  • The Protoss High Templar from StarCraft are powerful psychics that can unleash psionic storms to devastate entire armies. However, a single Zergling can kill one of these guys if it makes it into melee range. This more or less applies to all the other casters in the game as well. Only in game though. In the lore a High Templar is a veteran zealot who has no issue slaughtering a dozen zerglings in hand to hand without even bothering to strap his armor on. Tassadar could extend his wrist blades far enough to cut mutalisks out of the sky. You can probably see why they left that part out of the game.
  • Star Wars:
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in the Knights of the Old Republic games and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Start off in the first game with a Scoundrel class, then upgrade to Consular, and you have a classic squishy wizard. A Soldier who cross-classes into a Guardian ends up more or less a Magic Knight, as they don't have the sheer power of a Consular, but they won't need it with that much hit points. Kreia in the second game is very squishy, especially since she also loses a hand early on in the story, but her ability is to share buffs with the Player Character. The Disciple in the same game is a subversion; starts off as the tankier Soldier class, and then cross-classes into Consular with enough influence, meaning you have a tank (heavy armor, heavy weapons) who can put out crazy amounts of Force abilities. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Consular Sage is a classic case of this, meaning they'll be leaning heavily on their companion to do the tanking. However, the Consular Shadow can be a full on subversion, specced as a tank that still puts out crazy amounts of Force-powered damage.
    • Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious has no lightsaber in Star Wars Battlefront (2015), relying exclusively on The Force. However, this trope only applies to his lack of physical attacks; his Force-Lightning-based attacks are nothing to sneeze at, his Force Dash gives him a downright scary burst of speed, he has good health/defense, and his Imperial Resources ability can even heal nearby allies (or, of course, himself).
  • In the experimental flash game Storyteller by Daniel Benmergui, when a knight and a sorcerer overlap, the knight always kills the sorcerer.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Fittingly Rose and Menat focus on range instead of close combat and their defenses are lacking compared to other fighters.
    • Dhalsim counts as well having poor defense but some of the best range and special moves in the games to point of a Game-Breaker, averted In-Universe as Dhalsim tanks a punch from Satsui no Hado Ryu in Street Fighter V.
    • F.A.N.G is a villainous example his poison powers are meant to keeps opponents at bay while his actual close quarters strength is pitiful. However his V-Trigger, Dokunomu puts a poisonous aura around him upping his defense greatly.
  • Suikoden series:
    • Most mages play this straight. However, due to the front and back line nature of the party (that is to say, a full party of six will always have three in front, and three in back), and that only certain enemies and attacks can hit the back row, mages are pretty safe. To provide balance, the primary casters are only able to use short range weapons, weapons that can only attack from the front row. Given how few spells a mage can cast before resting during the early game, you're stuck between letting the mage get the crap beaten out of her, or letting her do nothing half of the time.
    • In the first game, Ted is the holder of the Soul Eater rune (which does exactly what it sounds like it would) and dies fairly early on in the game because of this.
    • Viki is one of the strongest magic users and has a unique "Blinking Rune". She is also the weakest physically and sometimes joins the Tenkai Star's army because she's looking for her next protector.
  • The Eschaton Cultists from Sundered may have powerful spells to ruin the player’s day and a magical shield to protect them from harm, but they also have very little health. Once their shield goes down, they tend to die in one or two hits.
  • Mallow in Super Mario RPG. Literally.
  • The Apprentice and Siren classes in Symphony Of War, along with their respective upgrades, are typical unarmored spell casters, capable of dealing out major damage, but can easily be one-shotted if hit by melee weapons.
  • Somewhat averted in Tales of Maj'Eyal. All the caster classes have spells or abilities that help them deal with incoming damage. For example, Archmages can create energy shields, Paradox Mages magically toughen their skin, and Necromancers use their mastery of death to survive at negative health, so they're not necessarily squishy if you know what you're doing. However, these defensive spells are subject to cooldown and thus need to be used at the right time, which is trickier than simply relying on a warrior's superior armor and health. They're also vulnerable to being dispelled by antimagic or other casters.
    • The previous iteration of the game, Tales of Middle Earth, featured the sorcerer class, which gets more spells and magic power than other mages can ever dream of but also suffers up to a 50% HP cut.
  • The Tales Series:
    • Tales of Eternia's Keele Zeibel embodies this trope — right down to his long, flowing robes, anemic appearance, and his quintessential mage's staff. Since childhood, he has been awkward, clumsy and sickly (and thus a target of taunts and teasing courtesy of Reid), but makes up for it by being a dedicated and highly intelligent (and argumentative, and anti-social, and obstinate...) university student who learns some immensely powerful spells as the game progresses.
    • Tales of Symphonia's Genis Sage. Just witness his scene in the string of false Heroic Sacrifices.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: Xandra has low physical attack and defense and doesn't even have a basic attack command. However, she can learn a large variety of spells and has the best Mystic and Agility growth.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE:
    • Kiria Kurono is the game's dedicated mage. She has the highest Magic stat, high magic defense, and access to some of the game's most powerful spells. She also has the lowest Maximum HP, one of the lowest physical defenses, and the lowest Strength. The latter doesn't matter much, since Kiria is also the only party member with no physical skills.
    • Tsubasa Oribe, despite wielding a lance as a weapon, is also this. Her Magic is nearly as good Kiria's and she has access to both Zan and Agi spells, but her defense, attack, and HP are low, and she's the only party member who is weak to two types of physical attacks.
  • Tokyo Xanadu: Yuuki's attacks are more focused on range as he can shoot rapidly and is also the only character who can shoot while moving. This comes at the cost of him having the lowest HP out of the party members.
  • Touhou Project:
    • All magicians are physically human (even the youkai ones). It's certainly the case for Alice. Marisa is fairly athletic, but it's unclear how much this actually helps. Patchouli might be the most notable example, though, as she is asthmatic, sickly and physically weak, but a phenomenal spellcaster when she doesn't lose her breath while reciting her spells. Byakuren, however, is a Kung-Fu Wizard (buffs are a wonderful thing). It's mentioned in Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit that magic users tend to use ingredients such as arsenic and mercury in their concoctions, and it's their continued use that ruins their health.
    • Due to being inherently weaker than humans in general, the stronger fairies come out as being a variation of this while lacking in the intelligence aspect, capable of fighting both humans and youkai alike with their abilities, occasionally even those of vastly higher power levels, but are at the mercy of whoever manages to physically apprehend them. Luckily, they get Resurrective Immortality for the inevitable situations where this occurs.
  • TRON 2.0: Benevolent A.I. Ma3a is insanely powerful — able to wipe out an entire battalion of attackers given sufficient time. However, it's on Jet to buy that time for her. Justified as it turns out. An AI like Ma3a or Master Control is physically weak, but Ma3a's powers are all the more impressive as she's part User.
  • Aubrey and Saki in Uncommon Time. They have good magic stats (though slightly worse than Meirin), but it's a rare occurrence when their physical attacks do any damage at all. In Aubrey's case, this can be changed after the first Bonus Dungeon, as equipping Altair's scythe Luthier gives them much better physical attack at the cost of giving up the magic bonus of their regular weapons.
  • All of the monsters in Undertale, compared to humans. They attack using magic, which is quite capable of making short work of the protagonist, hence the need for a dodging mechanic. But the protagonist, in turn — a child, mind you — is also able to beat any one of them to death with their bare hands. When humankind and monsterkind came to blows long ago, the monsters were nearly wiped out and had to retreat underground.
  • Wandersong: Miriam's magic is very powerful, to the point where she can fight Audrey Redheart to a standstill. However, she goes down from one sneak attack and it takes her quite some time to recover.
  • Warcraft: Every faction's casters are very fragile, vulnerable to most ranged attacks, spells, siege weapons, dedicated anti-caster units and abilities, and of course melee units if they get close enough. Caster-type heroes like the Archmage and Lich are also kind of fragile compared to other heroes, but get all the defensive benefits of being heroes, still.
  • Warframe:
    • Several of the warframes, but Mag is probably the archetypical example, since she's one of the starting 'frames. She has very low health and armor, paired with only moderate shields. But if you learn how to use her, she can clear entire maps by herself.
    • The Operators, the ones piloting the warframes. Despite all their incredible Void powers, they are ultimately still children with no physical enhancements or combat training. They move slowly, go down like wet cardboard in combat, and are the only player-controlled avatars that actually take falling damage. This was also part of the backstory; the Orokin initially tried to use them as weapons by themselves, but they were just too fragile to be useful. They only became the Tenno when combined with the warframes; the Operators were placed in a hidden Reservoir where they could pilot the warframes remotely. The warframes were physically strong and had real combat training, but the Technocyte Plague had ravaged their minds and made them impossible to use on their own.
  • Doubly so in Warhammer Online: not only are Bright Mages and Dark Elf Sorcerers weaklings who have fewer hitpoints than everyone else and lack any form of armor whatsoever, but their spells can actually cause a magical backlash which hurts them too. Hilarity ensues when they somehow manage to blow themselves up trying to kill you (which is rare, admittedly. Because they kill you very, very fast).
  • World of Warcraft:
    • True for most spellcasting classes. While their hitpoints can easily compete with the other classes, mages, priests and warlocks can only wear cloth armor which offers low protection against physical hits, and fare poorly in most defensive type of stat such as defense or dodge. In theory, random items could provide any sort of stat, but those never keep up with the more "conformist" items. There are more hardy hybrid types, but they tend to be worse at spellcasting in return.
    • Although eliminated from the Player Versus Player metagame, a common PvP Priest build used to involve acquiring as many Armor-increasing as possible, along with the armor-enhancing self-buff Inner Fire, which with good equipment could lead to an AC similar to mail and a shield, rendering them nigh unkillable healers.
    • Paladins (a tank/healer hybrid) were known to outperform Priests in healing power, but only if they exclusively used cloth items, earning them the nickname Clothadin.
    • Warlocks, on the other hand, tended to prize sheer amounts of stamina (which increases their health) rather than stats that generally improve the amount of mana and mana regeneration. They can essentially trade health for mana instantly, and then drain the life of their victim to recoup the health loss. With proper talents they can also have damage reduction comparable to wearing mail with Soul Link and Demon Armour.
    • Magi, after being nerfed badly, complained on the WoW Fora: "We're not glass cannons anymore, we're glass peashooters!"
    • Another great example would be the Warlock's Imp minion. It only has long-ranged attacks, which do huge amounts of damage (compared to the other demons at least), however has very low defense and relatively low health. A non-caster could easily kill one in three or four whacks with their weapon.
    • While all three cloth-wearing classes are somewhat fragile, mages are probably the straightest example, as a warlock can rely on their bulky, tanking Voidwalker Minion in solo play, while even shadow priests have some self-healing capability. Mages, on the other hand, don't get a tank minion and are completely unable to heal themselves while in combat.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Averted with a vengeance by Caranthir. On top of being more powerful than any other sorcerer in the game series, he is over seven feet tall, wears plate armor and is good enough to duel Eskel (whose skills Geralt, widely considered the World's Best Warrior, speaks well of) to a standstill on his quarterstaff skills alone.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Ethereals are incredibly frail and weak physically. On the other hand, their immense reservoir of psychic energy shields them from many attacks and makes them effectively as tough as a looming Muton Berserker.
  • In XCOM 2, the Sectoid and Codex enemy types serve as spellcasters among the enemies encountered in the early to mid game. They are also never armored, have low hit points compared with mid-game enemies, and extremely vulnerable to specific weapons (sword for the Sectoids, and anti-robot weapons for the Codex). One the other hand, the late-game spellcaster enemies, the Gatekeepers and Avatars, are far from squishy, with the Gatekeeper being nearly as heavily armored as the massive Sectopod war machine.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense:
    • Ethereals in UFO: Enemy Unknown are frail aliens who couldn't walk, much less use BFGs, if not for their immense psi powers. The difficulty of fighting Ethereals compared to, say, Mutons makes UFO a deadset Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards situation.
    • Its sequel, Apocalypse, at first plays it straight, but eventually subverts it. "Hybrids" start with mediocre physical stats in comparison to baselines humans but can, through training, eventually achieve physical stats on par with veteran humans, while also becoming mental gods.
  • Melia in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 has natural ability to manipulate ether energy, which is about as close to magic as it gets in the game's setting. Her defensive stats aren't actually any worse then the rest of the bunch, but her HP is barely over a third of the amount that the toughest party members possess at max level. On the other hand, she's the only party member who's capable of dealing over a million damage in a single attack under the right circumstances.
  • XenoGears:
    • Elly and her Vierge gear. She's generally focused around using Ether based abilities, and thus her physical attacks provide a low output.
    • Maria is a 13 year old girl and while her etheric attacks are okay, her physical prowess is very poor - especially in comparison to a party composed of soldiers, martial artists, gunfighters, mutant beast men, and so on. However, she can summon her surprisingly powerful Gear at will and beat the crap out of pretty much anything that way.
  • Double Subversion in the online game Zening. Angela is meant to be the team healer, and comes with 3 spell slots, as well as a whopping 108 Hit Points. Unfortunately, she has abysmal attack power.

    Web Animation 
  • Tonin: Vilano-san can use his magic to disintegrate people but someone can hit him during the time it takes him to cast the spell. Prior to Season 1, he tricked a spirit into making him indestructible to avert this problem. After he's seemingly killed from being hit with his Weaksauce Weakness, he becomes squishy again.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage has been described as "weak" and "noodly" by his party members. Also smelly, but that's irrelevant.
      Black Mage: I'm the CASTER, y'know. It's like I'm a cannon made out of glass. Like a... y'know, like a dainty figurine so ornately decorated you can't imagine how something so fragile manages to exist in this brutal, ugly world... And it makes you weep.
      Red Mage: I... would've just stuck with Glass Cannon, probably.
    • Such claims aside, however, the facts would seem to contradict this, as he has frequently survived consecutive collisions, impalements, incinerations, and the like, any one of which would, if the damage were distributed evenly over an average RPG party, probably result in a Total Party Kill. (Indeed, BM is often subject to The Worf Effect, and thus must be quite durable to avoid having been Killed Off for Real.) His skill with daggers has proven sufficient to slaughter hordes of massive sea monsters without the aid of his ungrateful party members, and the one time a spinal injury did result in his death, he was no longer bound by the restraints of a physical body and simply took control of Hell and came back. Alternatively, his ability to survive these injuries may be due to Sarda's hateful patronage. Sarda makes sure he survives, but in a very brutal manner. Sarda wants Black Mage to HURT, and hurt A LOT. He literally teleported him to "Hurt, Australia" and dropped said continent on him. Black Mage survived, of course, but was blamed for destroying a city with the tidal wave.
  • Adventurers!:
    • (Paraphrased): "That's your boyfriend!? Bwahaha! At least the MAGE has an EXCUSE to be a scrawny wimp!"
    • Ardam's Evil Counterpart, Whizrom, is even squishier.
  • Aetheria Epics's first story primarily stars a magic-user who is pretty useless at physical combat and goes down without much effort. It hasn't stopped the readership from voting for her to try it a few times, though.
  • The Four Witches in Blonde Sunrise have immense power, but are physically about as weak as their human hosts and can be killed in any way a person can.
  • Daughter of the Lilies: Thistle, the mage in Orrig's mercenary team, can manage brief feats of athleticism, but shows no combat expertise beside her magic, has little enough stamina that a short sprint leaves her gasping for air, and faints from overexertion more than once.
  • Dominic Deegan, as his prosthetic leg, false teeth, and note from his doctor expressing disbelief that he's not dead can attest. Though he is rather strong on the psychoplanes. And his younger brother Gregory was rather frail at first, though that was due to infection by the blight of the undead, once that was removed his White Magic went into overdrive. And every mage mind controlled by King David Johann practically falls apart when attacked thanks to his magic rotting them from the inside. Though there's also several exceptions, such as Milov Danovich the Spellwolf, The Infernomancer who is practically unkillable thanks to his pact with the demon of wounds, and Dominic's other brother Jacob the self-proclaimed "zombie alive".
  • Drowtales:
    • Chrys'tel has shades of this. So far, she's gotten her ass handed to her pretty much any time she engaged someone in close quarters combat, including against Ariel, Shinae Sate'ja and a mook who took advantage of her not restraining his arms and likely would've killed her if not for interference. She's a very effective fighter from dragonback and when using her blood sorcery, but close quarters seems to be a weakness of hers.
    • By Word of God, Snadhya'rune put all her training into controlling mana and nether arts in all their forms, especially the various forms of summoning. However, she completely neglected any form of martial arts. As a result, in Chapter 50, despite having blocked or shrugged off every magical attack her sister Nishi'kanta could throw at her with no visible effort, she goes down with embarrassing ease when Nishi simply climbs into the massive summon Snadhya's controlling and starts braining her with a rock.
  • Parodied in the D&D arc of Goblin Hollow with the half-giant wizard.
  • Grrl Power: Sydney Scoville has one of the most impressive set of superpowers of the setting thanks to her orbs, both in matter of sheer power and versatility. Beyond them, though, she's an entirely normal human being — and a rather nonathletic lightweight woman at that. She cannot lift a 39-kg minigun by upper body strength alone (and the effort of trying gets her lightheaded) and her punch ranks as "bunny" on the Punchomatic 6000.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name: Hanna seems to fit this trope: a scrawny little guy who writes runes as his main form of attack.
  • Jupiter-Men: Downplayed. Arrio knows his way around a fistfight because of his past as a Reformed Criminal and possesses powerful, varied magic. But his ability to fend off giant monsters with his fists is limited compared to Quintin, Jackie, and Nathan. He also doesn't have a means of getting around quickly like the other Jupiter-Men. At one point, he misses out on a dramatic confrontation because he's the only member of the Jupiter-Men who has to take the stairs to get to the top of a building.
  • Looking for Group:
    • Lampshaded in strip #406. Hell, even Tim, the mentally challenged troll, calls Richard "Squishy". This running gag is amusing but inaccurate. Richard has proven himself in physical combat more than once. And being undead, he does not bleed or feel pain.
      Richard: What's with you and rocks today?
      Krunch: [hefting a HUGE stalactite like a club] You make a satisfying squishing sound.
    • Benny, on the other hand, is a much straighter example since she has lost every physical fight she's been in (not counting the bar fight in her first appearance due to Early-Installment Weirdness).
  • Mob Psycho 100: Mob is one of the most powerful psychics in the world, and by using his telekinesis on himself, he can boost his strength, speed, and durability to superhuman levels. However, if he isn't using his powers, he is a scrawny wimp who can't run without gassing himself. Later in the series, he works out and improves his body.
  • In Nodwick this is true with both Artax and, to a lesser extent, Piffany. Of course, if anyone actually does hurt Piffany, it is certain to bring the the rage of the other three heroes (and possibly the Powers That Be themselves) down on the transgressor at full force.
  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius provides the opening quote. See also V's duel with the Black Dragon:
    Black Dragon: What would happen when we turn the magic off? Anti-magic Field. Fascinating. It appears that you cease to be a mighty wizard and become a fragile pointy-eared monkey. While I? I am still a dragon.
  • Pickle Inspector of Problem Sleuth has a massive Imagination stat, giving him Reality Warper powers in the imaginary world the characters can access while drunk, but his Vim stat is incredibly awful.
  • Runewriters has Jonan, who even looks like an enfeebled old man (he's 29).
  • It is well know that mages in Shape Quest follow this, specifically when they are forced to use physical combat against one another.
  • Iblis from Sidekicks has powerful mental powers but was knocked out by a single punch to the gut from Kyle.
  • Slightly Damned: Angels and Wind Demons. Angels are the most powerful magic users of all the races and wind demons coming in second. Angels however get the majority of their power from three different pendants and while they can still use magic without them it's significantly weaker and even a seraph is nearly helpless against a demon, while wind demons are described as the physically weakest of the demon types their "squishiness" is relative as all demons seem to be Made of Iron they still have the physical edge over humans and angels.
  • Played to the hilt during the "Torg Potter" stories in Sluggy Freelance. Torg, despite having no magical powers, is often shown physically manhandling wizards (though it helps that he's a grown man at a school for wizards in their early teens). He advances pretty far in the wizards' "Try-Gizzard Tournament" in part because of the "Running with Scissors" challenge, since wizards are "notoriously weak in the knees." And even the mightiest of dark wizards isn't much of a match for "Torg wielding a 26" chrome plated .724" back-bored barrel with a buckshot core.
  • Tower of God is full of badasses, but the main exception are the Light Bearers. While Wave Controllers and Fishermen whup ass, they keep an eye on the battle field and devise strategies. Lero-Ro and Khun Aguero Agnes subvert this. The former has shown he can dish out the damage in direct combat whilst the latter has said the only reason he's a Light Bearer is because he likes to give orders.
  • Weregeek illustrates this with Sarah's mage's attempt to wipe out a roomful of orcs in the D&D game. Said spell was her last one.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Inky gets knocked out in one blow at the start of the fight against two tunnel dwellers (though so does Pinky).

    Web Original 
  • The "jammers" in Shadow Unit have reality-warping psychic abilities, but tend to be physically vulnerable for an extremely good reason: killing people with your brain burns calories. A lot of them. And if you think that sounds like a selling point, ask yourself when was the last time you went into ketosis after missing lunch.
  • In the Whateley Universe, powerful mage Fey was considered a pushover in a close-up fight. After she was nearly beaten to death by a mutant ninja, she's been learning Tai Chi and learning how to use a scimitar. It appears to have worked rather well, considering her fight against Mule.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • A somewhat more literal example. The episode "Wizard Battle" features a wizard named Abracadaniel, whose body is squishy:
    Abracadaniel: It's how I survive.
    • The Ice King. Without his crown, he has no magical powers, and without his beard, he cannot fly. Take away either one and he's a scrawny, helpless old man.
  • Mozenrath of Aladdin: The Series. The necromantic magic he uses is VERY powerful, but it continuously drains his physical strength and life energy.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Benders in general are a bit of an interesting balance. Bending is basically a form of martial arts and generally results in most master benders being in excellent shape. However, being in good shape doesn't automatically translate into actual combat skills, and most Benders are so used to relying on their powers that without them they're basically helpless against someone with actual combat training, or simply someone stronger than them. Certain individuals like Zuko and Azula seem to have significant combat training outside of their bending, but this is by no means the norm. This ends up being a Logical Weakness when it comes to chi-blocking as Ty Lee is The Dreaded for how she closes in on benders and turns off their powers with just a few simple light yet precise jabs, leaving them completely vulnerable until it wears off.
    • With that said, even a Dark Action Girl like Azula falls under this trope due to her lack of physical strength, which is justified since she's a 14-year-old girl. During the siege of Ba Sing Se, Aang is getting trounced by Azula until he makes a Earth-Bending stone fist and pushes her back effortlessly. In the comics Zuko, her older brother, can Neck Lift Azula like she weighs nothing.
    • Katara is a waterbending master, but she lacks physical strength, isn't very agile, and has no talent for hand-to-hand combat. She's completely helpless without Bending, as lampshaded by Mai in "Return to Omashu". In the episode "The Waterbending Scroll", Katara tries to run away from the pirates, not yet having the Bending ability to fight them herself, but runs right into Prince Zuko, who is able to grab her with no effort.
    • Toph is an interesting example because she is otherwise The Big Guy with her earthbending. Without it, she is a small blind girl. Unlike Katara however, she is almost never trapped without access to earth or metal and is already an earthbending master when she meets Team Avatar.
    • Similarly Ozai, despite being in prime physical condition, seems to lack any capabilities outside of bending, and during the eclipse (when both are temporarily without bending) Zuko is able to intimidate Ozai into keeping his distance simply by brandishing his swords. When he loses his bending permanently, he makes up for it by being more cunning and manipulative than usual.
  • Sypha from Castlevania outstandingly manages to just avert this; sure she doesn't have crazy physical might of Alucard or even Trevor but nevertheless Sypha is much sturdier than any other human woman and possesses far more power than her male companions. In Gresit she survives falling many stories onto rubble, but most impressively Sypha in the Final Battle tanks blows from goddamn Dracula who is able to kill mortals with simple strikes. Still Sypha is still the most injured in the aftermath, so she still has shades of this.
  • The Dragon Prince:
    • Played with. Mages don't typically get involved in combat situations, preferring to use other means to solve their problems. This gives the impression that this trope is played straight. However, when they do enter battle, they are capable of athletic feats similar to other warriors. This along with their magic make them as powerful combatants in close combat as well as from a range.
  • Presto and Sheila in Dungeons & Dragons (1983): Presto can conjure all kinds of things from his hat, and Sheila has that invisibility cloak that is handy for sneaking into places they aren't supposed to be. However, they are probably the weakest of the Young Ones when it comes to an actual brawl, lacking Hank and Diana's athletic backgrounds, Eric's shielding, or Bobby's ability to deal damage.
  • Gargoyles: The Magus is not much use in combat without his magic, and in the second episode, he is specifically noted as being unable to wield a sword.
  • Daolon Wong from Jackie Chan Adventures is the only Big Bad to not possess any hand-to-hand fighting skills and relies entirely on his magical powers. Subverted with Uncle who may not possess as much raw power as Wong, but remains a formidable combatant despite his age and frail appearance.
  • Masters of the Universe:
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Volpina is an Evil Knockoff of Rena Rouge. Rena Rouge has improved physical abilities, but can only use her illusion ability once before losing her powers and needing to recharge. Volpina isn't as strong as Rena Rouge, but can create as many illusions as she wants.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight Sparkle sometimes is and sometimes isn't shown to be one. Overall, she seems to be a downplayed example. Although she does lack in physical strength, she does have stamina and endurance to spare (necessary for her Iron Butt Monkey status). Occasionally, Twilight manages to compensate for her lack of strength by using her vast knowledge to accomplish a physical task in the most efficient manner that requires less brawn (as shown when she wins fifth place in a race involving dozens of competitors without using magic, because she knows a lot about the proper technique even though she had never raced before).
  • Raven from Teen Titans (2003) isn't as squishy as she could be, seeing as she has at least some martial arts moves, but she's still the most vulnerable to direct physical attack of anyone on the team, and if her spellcasting is interrupted the effect will usually fizzle (or worse, go haywire). Her being the most vulnerable physically isn't just because she's squishy, but also because everyone else on the team has some considerable physical abilities, as the other members are a martial arts master, a cyborg, super strong and a shapeshifter. Her shields are still the way to go to protect the whole team from explosions or similar attacks.
  • In Teen Titans Go!, Raven has become so dependent on levitation that she can no longer use her legs properly. This is likely a case of Flanderization, however.
  • Zatanna again in Young Justice. She's in good physical condition but she lacks the extensive combat training of Artemis or Robin. Prior to Zatanna's introduction to the show, Miss Martian also functioned like this: she had powerful offensive abilities with her telekinesis and telepathy, but her only defensive abilities were camouflaging herself or phasing through objects and she tended to go down quickly if she was actually hit.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Scientists Are Unfit, Squishy Mage, Squishy Witch


Silva Iron vs. Mash Burnedead

The braggart Second-Year from Lang House that specializes in Iron-Magic learns just how out of depth he is when he faces off against Mash: A Muggle that had spent his entire life honing his body and strength with physical training while claiming that it's "Muscles Magic".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SquishyWizard

Media sources: