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Stone Wall

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"Don't worry, my friends! I am your shield!"
Reinhardt, Overwatch

If the Glass Cannon believes that the best defense is a good offense, the reverse is true of this guy. The Stone Wall's offense is nothing to write home about, if it even technically exists. But he's tough. Really, really tough. And if anything can put him down, odds are he's quick enough on the recovery to get right back up for round two.


A Stone Wall's strategy is often known as "turtling". In warfare, the strategy is a battle of attrition to see who tires out or makes a mistake first. In sports, their favored tactic is a waiting game where they get an early lead and then just wait until time runs out. If his defense is something he physically constructs and builds, he can win a fight by slowly expanding outward until he leaves the enemy without a foot to stand on. Often has defensive buffs and minor healing magic, in which case you're dealing with a "Paladin Tank." In rare cases, he may also have access to Fixed-Damage Attacks, which by their very nature ignore stats, giving them at least a little access to actual offensive power. However, more offensively oriented characters will still always have a higher damage output with regular attacks. Although in very rare cases, typically at a high level, he'll gain access to an attack that scales off his Defense rather than his Attack, allowing him to finally deal some serious damage at last.


Alternatively, Stone Walls can try the opposite tactic, berserking: throwing themselves at the enemy without a thought for defense. Relying on their inherent toughness to keep them alive, Stone Walls can use suicidal tactics to make up for their dismal attack power. This strategy is especially common for Stone Walls whose toughness is completely automatic, rather than something they need to work at.

In team settings, a Stone Wall often takes care of "tanking" duties, interposing himself between the enemy and an ally, typically a Glass Cannon that can take care of dealing damage while the Stone Wall takes care of defense. By keeping the enemy occupied, he allows allies with greater attack strength but poorer defense to kill the enemy without getting killed. Characters who do this are called "Meat Shields" or "Party Tanks." They often have moves designed to force attention to themselves. Sometimes called "Control Tanks". In television shows, the Stone Wall is rarely the protagonist, because viewers want a main character who can kick ass themselves.


This build has a number of flaws that can be exploited. Fixed and percent damage attacks, along with armor piercing attacks, ignore their thick defenses. Defense-reduction debuffs may be somewhat effective in exposing them to peril, but damage-over-time debuffs are invariably fatal unless cured. And if the break meter is directly tied to your defensive ability, expect anything with the ability to damage it to do so with extreme prejudice. An Instakill Mook will also be able to one-shot it as if its defenses aren't even there.

This trope partly takes its name from a real-life example: Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson won the battle of Bull Run due to his strategy to not retreat from his line, no matter how bad things went for him. And for a while, things went pretty bad. General Jackson himself is not an example of this trope despite the nickname, as outside of that particular battle, he was most noted for his offensive campaigns.

Contrast Glass Cannon, which is the inverse with strong offense and weak defense, and Lightning Bruiser, which is tough and fast without sacrificing strength. Contrast Mighty Glacier, who is strong but lacks speed. Not an unusual trait of the Weak, but Skilled, Gentle Giant, Cowardly Lion, or Iron Butt Monkey. Padded Sumo Gameplay is what happens when everyone in a game is a Stone Wall.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • This is the character trait of Green characters in Accel World. The Green King is known as The Invulnerable, is so durable he can only lose battles by time out, and regularly goes monster hunting alone (unfortunately, later in the story this makes him a frequent victim of The Worf Effect). Even lesser greens have similar durability, however, with the level one Lime Bell failing to even take Scratch Damage from people several levels higher than herself.
    • Interestingly some of the most powerful Reds have this trait as well, with Scarlet Rain, the red king, possessing her Immovable Fortress which withstood dozens of players attacking her at once, and Crimson Kingbolt having the ability to create a Giant Mecha out of scrap metal powerful enough to withstand a legendary monster
  • Yuuno Scrya from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a second or third tier combatant at most, not just because he's the only mage in the cast without a magic-boosting Device, but also because he doesn't have much talent at conventional offensive magic.note  However, his defenses are actually stronger than those of the Device-using mages (at least stronger than Nanoha's, by her own admission in the Sound Stages), which allows him to play the "Meat Shield" role and free them up to concentrate on offensive tactics. Once, though, he had to fight somewhat like a Berserker, throwing himself at Vita to keep her occupied. Even a wall is daunting when it's flying right at you. He didn't manage to hurt her, but she also failed to hurt him.
  • Yakumo of 3×3 Eyes is a berserker type meat shield (emphasis on the 'meat'), as all he has is the amazing power to not die; his job is to stand in front of attacks and be dismembered. He later learns how to fight effectively.
  • Zushi in Hunter × Hunter is able to form barriers to soften truck-force attacks to where he's unharmed by them (he can still be knocked down, though he can also soften the impact upon landing), but he can barely fight otherwise. The barrier is invisible to an untrained eye, so from the point of view of a Muggle, it looks like the boy is impervious to damage.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho:
    • Kuwabara clearly takes this role in the main team, with Yusuke being the damage dealer, Hiei as the speedster and Kurama having the sharp mind. Kuwabara doesn't have highly damaging moves like the Spirit Gun or Dragon of the Darkness flame. However, you know you have good durability if you managed to still get up after being in a tug-o-war with Byakko's tigers, repeatedly thrown down to the stone stadium floor by Rinku and stabbed in over 10 different areas by the Elder Toguro.
    • Sensui recalls thus during his fight, mentioning playing an RPG where he maxed out his character before facing the final boss: he's so over-equipped that the boss can barely scratch him, but his attacks have long since hit the Damage Cap and he's facing a Damage-Sponge Boss, meaning even his 9999-damage attacks take many, many turns to bring the boss down. This related to the heroes facing him, because none of them could really hurt him either, but their Heroic Willpower was keeping Sensui from taking them down.
    • Yuu Kaito takes this trope Up to Eleven with his "Taboo" ability: Within the territory activated by his power, no one can attack anyone else through violence, and the only way to "defeat" opponents is by wordplay, as speaking the word that is forbidden when Kaito himself sets up his ability causes one who says the forbidden word to lose his/her own soul, making him a literal Badass Pacifist.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: In comparison to some of the higher tiers of the series, Sanosuke can come off as this; his attacks aren't always the strongest (at least in comparison to Saitou or Kenshin), but his endurance is one of his most outstanding traits.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters, the Player Killer of Darkness (Panik in the dub) is noted to be one of these. Being a Dirty Coward, his main card is Castle of Dark Illusions, which has high defense, minimal attacking power, and makes his monsters impossible to attack. He also favors the use of Chaos Shield, which raises the defense of his monsters even further, but it locks his cards in place and keeps them from moving or attacking. This becomes his downfall, as it makes his strategy very inflexible.
    • Mukuro in the manga version of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's favors a Vehicle Deck. All his cards have 0 ATK, but due to the format he plays in (where the Duel is more of a race and attacking, even with a card with no ATK, slows the opponent down a little), he can win Duels by simply attacking once, then stalling until he wins the race.
    • The Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's anime had Team Taiyou, whose decks consisted primarily of low-level Normal Monsters, giving them no offense whatsoever outside of Speed World 2. Their strategy was to play Holding-Hands Majinn, a card that ups its DEF by that of all your monsters via The Power of Friendship and makes itself the target of all attacks, and Scrum Force, which keeps DEF-position monsters from being destroyed by card effects. This left them with an essentially unbreakable defense, letting them use the aforementioned Speed World 2 to chip away at the opponent and fulfil the requirements to summon Sleeping Giant Zushin.
  • The Bando Spiders in Eyeshield 21, especially before Akaba was allowed to play again. They mostly score on field goals and don't rack up big yardage, but their defense is smothering.
  • Assassination Classroom: Koro-sensei normally isn't a Stone Wall, but his last-ditch Ultimate Defense Technique takes the trope to an extreme: With an explosion, he condenses most of his body into a ball-shaped crystal barrier around him, which makes him totally invulnerable. The drawback is that for the next 24 hours, he's reduced to a talking head and can't move an inch on his own, let alone attack.
  • Darkness of Konosuba is a Crusader, prioritizing defense over offense. She takes this to the extreme however; being so heavily invested in defense that it's almost impossible for her to actually hit anything with her sword because she doesn't put any of her skill points into offense or accuracy. That said, she's also a masochist, to the point that she ends up freaking out whomever she's fighting by going in great detail what she wants to have happen to her.
  • Murasakibara in Kuroko's Basketball, due to being over 2 metersnote  tall and really wide. It doesn't take him long to run from one end of the court to the other (when he actually bothers). Most of Yousen's regulars are over average height and are known for their strong defence, so much so that they're nicknamed the "Shield of Aegis", and have won several games by refusing to let their opponents score at all.
  • A Certain Magical Index plays with this: Kamijou Touma's power, Imagine Breaker, together with a limited form of precognition, not to mention him being insanely hard to kill, makes him Nigh Invulnerable to any type of magic or esper power. However, he has the strength of a normal human (well, not entirely normal), and can be harmed by conventional means (eg., anything that isn't supernatural).
  • In Dragon Ball Super, Botamo can redirect energy that comes in contact with him to another dimension, allowing him to take attacks unharmed. There is no known upper limit to how much he can take, so for all intents and purposes, Botamo is invulnerable. However, he has only rudimentary skill in fighting, is very slow, and cannot fly. He also only fights in tournaments where he can be ringed out, which is exactly what his opponents do to him.
  • Another main character example is Naofumi Iwatani, the titular character of The Rising of the Shield Hero. As the titular Shield Hero, his legendary weapon is a shield, which, while leaving him near useless as far as offensive potential goes, gives him top-notch defense. He usually leaves offense to his party members- notably Raphtalia and Filo. Thoroughly averted when he unleashes the power of his Curse Series shield, which gives him enough firepower to shred bosses that the other heroes can barely inflict Scratch Damage on, though it comes with a risk of losing himself to his rage.
  • Taiju from Dr. Stone has superhuman endurance and strength and could potentially be a damn good fighter if it weren't for the fact that he's an Actual Pacifist who refuses to hurt anyone. He's more than willing to use his insane durability to shield and protect others, however.
  • From BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense we have another main character example: the main heroine Maple has every skill point she wins invested in VIT (Defense), resulting in a build that makes her almost invulnerable to most attacks. That is, she depends on pragmatism and creative use of her other skills to defeat even mook enemies.
  • Tia from Zatch Bell! starts the story with two defensive spells, a round shield and a bubble shield, plus a single attack spell so weak that a mamodo can block it with an arm. She later gains a sword that heals whatever it hits and an upgraded version of her bubble shield spell that surrounds the opponent instead and can reflect weaker attacks back at them. Until she finally gains a strong attack spell much later in the story, she has to rely on allies for attack power and act as their support to defeat any enemies, and even after gaining her strong attack she remains primarily a defender because it can only be used when she is extremely angry.
  • Buso Renkin: Captain Bravo's Silver Skin is said to have the greatest defensive abilities of any buso renkin but lacks any form of destructive offensive ability. While he does try to compensate for this weakness with impressive barehanded-combat skills, he is still unable to cause the level of destruction more offensive buso renkin are capable of.

    Board Games 
  • In Risk, there's always at least one person who will want to conquer Australia and then just sit there and build up troops while everyone else weakens each other. Since Australia only has one path in and out, massing all the troops on one territory makes it almost impossible to conquer without using every last one of your available armies. You have to take out Australia within the first few rounds or you're screwed. (No wonder Lex Luthor wanted it.) However, it also only shares a border with Asia, which very few players go for, meaning that it is logistically difficult for an Australia player to put their troops in a position to accomplish much on offense.
  • In Through The Ages: A Story Of Civilization, one of the Age 3 leaders is Mahatma Gandhi. A player who has Gandhi in play is not allowed to play Aggressions or Wars himself, but anyone trying to attack him has to spend twice as many military actions to do so.
  • In Chess, the concept of prophylaxis could be described as this. Rather than playing to improve your attacking chances, a prophylactic move is one that limits the opponent's opportunities. Former world champion Tigran Petrosian is probably the best example; while he had fewer wins than other world champions, he had almost no losses, even going through 1962 without losing a single tournament game.
  • In Diplomacy, this is the usual strategy for Italy since it is surrounded on three sides by water and land-based attack routes into Italy from the north is hampered by impassable Switzerland. These geographic features makes both attacking Italy and Italy attacking anyone difficult — in tournament play it is statistically both the least likely country to win and the least likely country to be eliminated outright.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Rock-type is mainly geared toward Turtling play, as Rock-types tend to have low ATK and high DEF, as well as quite a few of them having the ability to flip into face-down Defensive Position. There was even a Rock-type Structure Deck at one point built entirely on building an uber-strong defense. Formerly shown above was Labyrinth Wall, which does nothing to most other monster cards on its own, but has 3000 DEF, meaning it can shrug off even an attack from Blue-Eyes White Dragon. This later evolved into the somewhat more aggressive Rock Stun; its offensive strategy was pretty much the "swing with Level 4 1900 beaters" tactic that'd gone out of fashion long ago, but it could shut down most anything the opponent did to stop those beaters from slowly hacking through their defenses and LP.
    • There are also cards like Spirit Reaper and Marshmallon, who simply can't be killed in battle, but have some of the worst stats in the game (though they often have some damaging effects, such as Spirit Reaper's attack-and-your-opponent-discards effect, and Marshmallon doing 1000 damage when attacked face-down).
    • Decks that focus on alternate win conditions look like this. Final Countdown Decks typically feature a crapload of defensive cards and not much else, and Burn or Mill Decks often completely ignore attacking the opponent in favor of stalling while they whittle down their resources. No presence, no offensive power... so they make it as hard as possible to get a hit in while they try to complete their own strategy.
    • Ghostricks have almost no attacking power whatsoever, and their fluff depicts them as a bunch of Creepy Cute benign spirits who play pranks on people, then run and hide — to that end, many of them are based around flipping themselves to face-down DEF. However, they also have a truly absurd number of cards based around blocking attacks, redirecting hits, or reducing damage, making getting a hit in on them fairly difficult. A game with a Ghostrick player can stretch out for quite a while. The archetype also has multiple ways of winning without making significant attacks, including Skeleton's milling, Warwolf's burn damage, and Angel of Mischief's instant win condition.
    • Herald of Perfection (and its upgraded form, Herald of Ultimateness) have subpar ATK for a Ritual of their level, but impressive DEF and the ability to negate any effect simply by discarding a Fairy. They can block pretty much anything the opponent tries, but they can't do much by themselves and eat up too much of your resources to support other strategies easily. Herald decks tend to be based on sitting on the guy while trying to assemble their own win condition.
    • Yubel has a rather nasty Attack Reflector ability, is indestructible by battle, and upgrades itself when destroyed by other means, but it has no stats at all and (in the real game) cannot use its effect while attacking, meaning you need to lure the opponent into hitting it.
    • Stardust Dragon's offensive stats are poor at best for a Level 8 Synchro, but its ability to block destruction-based effects by tributing and reviving itself gives it (and your other cards) much more survivability than others of its kind.
  • Walls and other creatures with Defender in Magic: The Gathering are essentially this; by the very definition of the ability they can't attack and many deal little or no damage to enemy attacking creatures that they block. On the other hand, they can be very tough for a relatively low cost; the actual Wall of Stone card is a good example.
    • Among creatures that can actually attack, this is the defining trait of treefolk. Indomitable Ancients is the most extreme example: It can dish out 2 damage but can take up to 10 and has no other abilities. The card Doran, the Siege Tower is specifically designed to invert this and turn such creatures into powerhouses by making all creatures deal combat damage equal to their toughness instead of their power, a windfall for most treefolk.
    • Throughout Magic's history, there have been entire decks dedicated to turtling, creating an impenetrable defense that allows them to win through Scratch Damage or by forcing an opponent to run out the clock by running out of cards to draw. Snow White and Project X both seek to gain absurd amounts of life through combos, ensuring your opponent will never take you down to 0. The classic blue-white control deck has hardly any win conditions, but tons of removal and permission spells to keep them alive. And then there's...
    • Turbofog, everyone's least favorite Lorwyn-era tourney deck! It had very few creatures, defensive or otherwise, but stuffs itself with damage prevention, counterspells, control, life-gain, and just a few cards to recycle itself and increase its runtime. Its only win condition is to last so damn long that the opponent's deck runs out of cards (an instant lose), or more likely that the opponent simply loses patience and accepts their (eventual) defeat.
  • In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Shedinja makes a Stone Wall not out of itself, but the player: Shedinja does not count towards the 6 Pokémon to knock out to win a game, so someone packing a deck full of Shedinja would force the opponent into a war of attrition. Infamously during its time, a mirror match between Shedinja decks in the Long Beach Regionals went into overtime and remained in overtime for 90 minutes due to neither player being able to inflict a knockout that counted.
    • The Durant Mill deck can also be viewed as a case of this: It's not meant to attack, but to last long enough to completely deplete the opponent's deck, relying on a rule in which a player loses if his or her deck is empty at the beginning of his or her turn.
    • Before that was the Mewtwo Mulligan deck. Mewtwo had a move where you discard 1 Psychic Energy attached to it, and Mewtwo could not be affected by any of the opponent's attacks. As a result, a viable competitive deck popped up containing 1 Mewtwo and the rest Psychic Energy, to attach onto Mewtwo and be discarded each turn until the opponent's deck runs out. In addition, a Mulligan, hence the deck's name, is a rule in which if you don't have any usable Pokémon in your initial hand, your opponent draws a card. This rule made it very likely your opponent will have fewer cards in his or her deck than you, guaranteeing you a win later on. This strategy got so out of hand, as there were no real counters to it at the time, that the Mulligan rule was changed to make drawing the card optional to defang this deck.
    • Wailord EX decks that ran no energy at all became popular at one point and are still seen in the expanded format. The idea is to use various item cards to heal your Wailord and render your opponent unable to attach energy and damage it, until your opponent runs out of cards in their deck.
  • In Little Alchemist, there are cards that have zero base Attack but high enough Defense to negate all but the most powerful attacks, including a literal Great Wall. It's still possible to (eventually) defeat an enemy who uses a lot of these cards, though, by setting your class to Elementalist and gradually whittling down their health with minor but unblockable combo damage dealt every turn.

    Comic Books 
  • This is the main hook of C.F. in Deadpool. Supposedly standing for "Cannon Fodder" (although a strong argument can also be made for "Cluster Fuck"), he's... well, he's... incredibly malleable, with skin that's impossible to penetrate so much as stretch. He's hurt just as easily as anybody else, but no real lasting damage is done; he once proudly showed off a scar he received when he took an RPG to the stomach. He also has very little fighting skill and is pretty dumb.
  • Butterball/Boulder, a fat young man whose power of being completely invulnerable to harm also makes his body immutable; he can't lose weight (except with a near-starvation diet), can't build muscle, doesn't get tired, and will never be able to develop any actual combat capabilities. He washed out of Camp Hammond and landed in the Shadow Initiative with minor league villains.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Turtle is incredibly durable, almost completely invulnerable to harm. However, his total lack of extraordinary offensive capabilities hardly wowed the Legion when he tried out, landing him and his Glass Cannon pal Sizzle in the Legion Auxiliary with the hope that they'll develop moves to compensate for their weaknesses.
    • Third-string member Laurel Kent is a distant descendant of Superman. Five hundred years down the line, those Superpowerful Genetics have been diluted to the point that her only remaining power is Kryptonian-level invulnerability. Defensively, she could walk off a nuke; offensively, she's a girl in her late teens with some martial arts training.
  • Diamond Lil, associated with Alpha Flight (as both hero and villain), is pretty much invulnerable, but not super-strong. She is a fair fighter and not at all slow, but wouldn't be much of a problem for true heavyweights because she just can't hit that hard.
  • Similarly, Emma Frost in her diamond form. In this form she's more invulnerable than fellow X-Men, Colossus, the guy who's the usual tank for the team. Unfortunately by superhuman standards, she's a flyweight who can lift at most 2 tons in diamond mode and she loses her top tier mental powers when she's transformed. So in fights where she turns into diamond she'll go up against enemy heavy weights mostly to tank their hits and then turn her attentions to the enemies she can actually hurt.
  • Brit is a comic book character created by Robert Kirkman who is an average-sized man of about 60 who is completely invulnerable to harm, thanks to a serum created by his father. Unlike many other invulnerable characters in the Image universe, he has no other abilities, having the strength of a 60-ish-year-old man who works out.note 
  • Drax the Destroyer has had a couple different powersets through the years, but this has always been one of them. Because he never had the ability to overpower Thanos and ended up relying on this, his current incarnation has given up his original Flying Brick powers and just doubled down on his ridiculous durability, making him into an example of the berserking variant of this trope.
  • Captain America tends to fill this role in more high-powered stories. He's no slouch in terms of fighting skill, but his lack of Super Strength means he needs to put in a lot of work to fight characters with any kind of enhanced durability. However, his signature shield can block pretty much anything, letting Cap survive for quite a while against characters way outside of his weight class.
  • Marvel UK comics had the vigilante Night Raven. He was Nigh-Invulnerable and immortal which allows him to survive his start from the 1930s and continue his crime-fighting into contemporary times. He's got no offensive powers though so he needs his revolvers and some good brawling skills to take out his targets.

    Comic Strips 
  • In this Hägar the Horrible strip, Hagar faces an enemy knight whose thick armor makes him invulnerable to arrows, spears, and swords. However, since the knight has no sword or apparent means of attack, Hagar is able to walk right up to him and push him into a moat.

    Fan Works 

  • White Sheep (RWBY): When making full use of his Grimm powers, Jaune is a Lightning Bruiser and one of the most dangerous individuals in the world. Unfortunately, he has to hide his powers at Beacon, leaving him with only his sword (which he is terrible with) and his ridiculously overpowered Aura. While he has no offensive power whatsoever and can't even dodge properly, he can just stand there taking hits for an hour until his opponent drops from exhaustion. During the Vytal Festival tournament, his team's main plan is to have Pyrrha (a championship tournament fighter) just handle everything, but their backup if they face a genuinely dangerous opponent is for Pyrrha to hide behind Jaune while he tanks the hits.
  • Promotion to Queen: Naofumi has no offensive ability as the Shield Hero, but his defenses are such that he uses an acid strong enough to melt bone to clean some monster blood off his hands.

    Films — Animated 
  • Violet of The Incredibles: near-impregnable defense thanks to her Barrier Warrior abilities, but she's hard-pressed to actually do anything to her aggressors.
  • Po from Kung Fu Panda is a large Panda. He is slower than most of his allies and his opponents, and his own punches rarely hit hard, but Po's fat allows him to literally rebound many attacks and ignore otherwise debilitating hits. Even as his speed increases in the films he still takes out most of his foes by hitting the enemy back with their own attacks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied with the Black Knight of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Despite having all four of his limbs cut off, he still boasts that he's invincible... even though the protagonists only want to pass him. While he's (extremely) vulnerable to Arthur's sword, he still keeps trying to fight even after taking damage that a Looney Tunes character would deem excessive.
  • In Kick-Ass, the titular character is a Badass Adorable Action Survivor with no training for actual combat, but has metal plates in his bones as well as fucked up nerve endings that give him a very high tolerance for pain.
  • In Wagons East, Harlow and Larchmont are both much better at taking damage than giving it. When they have a fistfight, the fight takes hours before Larchmont is defeated.

  • The Pharaoh from Soon I Will Be Invincible. Though pathetic by most measures, he is something of a nuisance because his power (activated by his hammer) is complete immunity to injury. Even taking an artillery round head-on does nothing more than push him into the ground a few feet.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The lightsaber style of Soresu is essentially the Turtling variant of this trope, created to defend both against multiple blaster-wielding foes and single opponents. However, it requires both the endurance and the concentration to last until the opponent (finally) shows a weakness in their defense, or else it will merely delay the inevitable. Obi-Wan Kenobi is acknowledged in canon as the ultimate master of this technique, and is said to be able to protect himself from up to twenty strikes per second in the novelization of Revenge of the Sith.
    • The Sun Crusher, from the Jedi Academy Trilogy, is a Lightning Bruiser against a planetary target, packing torpedoes with the ability to cause a sun to go supernova. Against other ships it is this trope; its hull is invulnerable, but since its ship-to-ship weapons protrude from the hull, they tend to get taken out early in any given fight leaving it with no method of dealing damage save ramming.
  • In The Reckoners Trilogy, Jonathan Phaedrus is this, with one ability that's good for protecting from harm (a forcefield), one ability good for recovering from harm (a Healing Factor), and one ability that's good for escaping and disabling an enemy's weapons ( the ability to disintegrate non-organic matter). But when it comes to offense he's reduced to guns and making an Improvised Weapon by carefully disintegrating steel to create a sword or knife. During the final battle of the first book, he acts as a tank, battling Steelheart, who he's incapable of damaging, while the others try to find his Achilles' Heel. This changes in the second and third books, as he demonstrates that he's capable of much greater versatility with his forcefields, using them to enclose and crush people and to create spears of hard light. He always had these abilities, but chose not to use them until his sanity was overcome by the effects of his powers.
  • In the Ken Macleod novel Newton's Wake, the Search Engines used by the Carlyle's "combat archaeologists" are large tracked vehicles with an almost impregnable hull and top-of-the-line firewall software to prevent posthuman Brown Note attacks from affecting the crew. However, search engines have no offensive armaments whatsoever. Lucinda Carlyle gets a rude surprise when a supposedly backwater Lost Colony has a platoon-level support weapon that can punch straight through a search engine.
  • In The Malazan Book of the Fallen, the marine Lt. Tarr strikes at the same speed he talks — which is very slow. And that's if he decides to fight, he dislikes combat and had a reputation of going hours in a battle without doing a single attack. However he's a genius with a shield and wears a lot of armor, making him almost impossible to tag even by elite warriors. His drill sergeant once attacked him for over an hour and couldn't land a single hit.
  • ‘’Harry Potter’’: Severus Snape is distinctive from most Death Eaters in that while most of them are more aggressive, Snape primarily uses defensive spells, only going on the offensive when his opponent tired and started making mistakes or if he was facing an incompetent duelist. To give an example, most his duel with Harry Potter in the sixth book is Harry throwing curse after curse at Snape and Snape parrying them all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cobra Kai has four noteworthy examples:
    • Aisha, from the namesake dojo, favors the turtle-and-soak strategy, which involves a lot of defense. As soon as her opponent loses steam from attacking or otherwise falters, she issues one or two blows to end the match.
    • Chris is one to let the opponent launch first, then respond, in line with his sensitive and peaceful nature. In most other respects, he is the Spear Counterpart of Aisha, right down to their build.
    • Demetri and Sam, with their thinner builds, turn Weak, but Skilled into an art form. Though they usually fall prey to the first attack in a confrontation and do not do well on offense, they are so patient and tenacious that they can often surprise more powerful opposition (Hawk and Tory in the school brawl).
  • Unit19G is nearly impossible to make flinch (to the point where he can withstand 5000 degrees centigrade), but he isn't too great on the offense.
  • In the UK robot fighting tournament Robot Wars, Bigger Brother was this trope. The robot's pneumatic flipper had some punch but was nothing special in a tournament where most robots had mechanisms to help them flip back over, but it was armoured with steel which was successively thickened and reinforced over the years and even boasted a thick rear shield made of cobalt-titanium; even Razer and Hypnodisc, both known as The Dreaded for their highly destructive weapons, did absolutely nothing against it. The robot was also intentionally designed to have a decent gap between the plating and the internals so anything that did penetrate would be unlikely to hit anything vulnerable. In a famous match against the former, Hypnodisc ripped off Bigger Brother's flipper and shredded its armour, and Bigger Brother still beat it.
    • In the reboot series, there was also Cherub - a lifter designed originally to do handstands, it never effectively used its one weapon. However, it took ludicrous amounts of damage, including being trapped under the arena flipper, and still ran. It got through to that episode's final, mostly thanks to excellent driving.
  • BattleBots has its fair share too:
    • The aptly-named Turtle has no weapons but is a wedge on all sides (meaning opponents and their weapons are more likely to slide over it) and has some rather tough armor, tough enough to be the first bot to have ever broken the spinning blades of 3-time champion Hazard (which demolished most of its other opponents in that and following years).
    • Zion is a simple rectangular wedge (though it later had an arm that slowly moved upward) but was one of the few middleweight bots to have never been knocked out—every match Zion participated in had it remaining in working order to the end, even the rumbles in which many bots face each other (and it was picked on in its first one)—in other words, there was absolutely nothing in its weight class capable of taking it down, including two fights against Hazard. Pretty impressive for a bot created out of a church's youth group program.
    • DUCK! only has a small, ineffective flipper as its primary weapon, but because it is so ridiculously durable, it simply outlasts enemy bots that break themselves when attacking it. It has advanced to the late stages of tournaments in spite of always being the underdog due to its lack of offense.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data challenges a grand master to the fictional game Strategema and loses quite badly. In their rematch, Data rethinks his strategy, no longer playing to win but only seeking to prolong the game as long as possible until his organic opponent's finite patience gives out and he quits the game in disgust.

    Play By Post Games 
  • Achilles from Fate/Nuovo Guerra is Nigh-Invulnerable (save the Achilles' Heel), has a mystical shield, and possesses high speed. Her spear, on the other hand, is nothing special outside a curse that creates unhealing wounds, and though her strength is superior, it's nothing special compared to other heroic spirits like Mordred and Uther.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During his run in the WWF to create interest in the 1989 movie No Holds Barred, Tiny Lister reprised his role as that movie's Zeus – an unbeatable man-monster who could withstand all offense from the world's best wrestlers without so much as flinching. He wasn't necessarily the largest or even strongest wrestler the WWF had, but the combination of his No-Sell and Bear Hug could theoretically outlast anyone. In in-ring confrontations prior to SummerSlam 1989, the trope was fully enforced, but once he got in actual matches, it was averted; eventually, by taking enough punishment following an eye poke, Zeus would be worn down and set up for defeat.
  • Road Block in WCW. Slow, clumsy, not a particularly devastating striker or technician, but so fat that almost no strike could hurt him and few wrestlers were strong enough to move him.

  • Cricket:
    • The traditional role of the opening batsmen is to play defensively and hang around and blunt the initial barrage of the opposition's fast bowlers in order to set up the team's innings, often scoring quite slowly. (In)famous "Stonewallers" include Bill Lawry for Australia and Geoffrey Boycott for England. However, in recent years, ODI and Twenty20 cricket especially have featured more aggressive openers, as the strategy has been to exploit the fielding restrictions that are in place early in the innings. Making something of a comeback in Test matches: England in particular have capitalized on the "dropping attention span" of some of their opponents: witness the efforts of their current top order, Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott. Though granted, all three of them score faster than Boycott did.
    • Bowlers can also be Stone Walls, looking more to dry up runs and pressure batsmen into making mistakes than take wickets through attacking bowling. In an inverse of the situation in batting, this type of bowler is more popular in T20 and ODI than in Tests.
    • And finally, fielders - many cricket fans have seen shots that looked like they were certain to go for four stopped by spectacular saves from a fielder. South Africa's Jonty Rhodes was particularly well known for this.
  • "Turtle-balling" is a common tactic in American Football, in which the offense does just enough to gain a lead of more than one score, then uses a combination of stifling defense and a relentless running game to prevent the opponent from catching up. Bill Cowher, the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach in the 1990s and early 2000s, perfected the technique. When Cowher's team built a lead of 11 or more points at any time in the game, victory was practically guaranteed. Cowher's teams found themselves in this situation 104 times during his tenure; they won 102 of those times.
  • William Felton Russell. He didn't score much and his shooting percentages were mediocre, but he is an 11-time NBA champion, 5-time MVP and widely considered the greatest defender in NBA history.
  • Pitchers in the National League. The pitcher generally has a very low batting average (though some have one that rivals other position players), and often a low speed, too, but they are the standard bearer for the defense to the point of being analogous to a goalkeeper. The position is so specialized that the American League has a rule that you are permitted to have one designated hitter to hit in place of one defensive player without taking him out of the game — virtually everybody chooses to bat for the pitcher. The one major exception since the introduction of the DH in the 1980's is San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgardner, and he is considered extremely remarkable because of how unusual it is for a pitcher to hit as well as he has.
    • Catchers are generally either this or a Mighty Glacier; squatting so much tends to ruin your knees, making them rather slow on the bases so their offensive capabilities tend to be limited to raw power. Defensively, the catcher is The Lancer to the pitcher, because the catcher must catch (or at least secure) strike three in order to complete a strikeout, pitches that are not fouled off by the batter are live (and so runners can attempt to advance before, during or after a pitch) and because the catcher's job is to guard home plate. Pitchers get credited for wins like goalkeepers, but catchers look the part because of the protective gear.
  • Boxing:
    • The rope-a-dope strategy, as best seen in the Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Wait against the ropes, guard the face, taunt during clinches, throw occasional jab to opponent. Repeat until opponent is tired, then start delivering a smackdown. Ali did this in the aformentioned Rumble by getting Foreman to tire himself out in the first few rounds, then laying into Foreman with powerful punches until Foreman hit the canvas.
      • This strategy is called the 'outboxer' style: keep your guard up, wait for your opponent to make a mistake, then let them have it. Despite his well-earned reputation for his punching power in Badass Boasts, Ali was a master of this style, leading him to winning multiple World Heavyweight Championship belts in boxing.
    • In the 1980 heavyweight fight between Randall 'Tex' Cobb (who had one of the most durable chins in the history of boxing) and Earnie Shavers (widely regarded as the hardest puncher in heavyweight history) Cobb, who was not known for great offense, won the fight by simply walking through Shavers' punches until Shavers tired and Cobb was able to knock him out.
    • Boxing has also seen a number of fighters over the years who specialize in defense to the point of being all but untouchable, and only need to use a minor amount of offense because their opponent simply can't land anything on them. A few such fighters include Willie Pep, Niccolino Locche, Wilfredo Benitez, Pernell Whitaker, and Floyd Mayweather. Muhammad Ali was this at times, mostly in his youth, and even Mike Tyson, who was most famous for his power, showed some of this ability as well.
    • Canadian boxer George Chuvalo, was famous for his ability to take a beating from anybody. He stayed in the ring with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, and was never knocked down. After his first match against Ali, which he lost on points, Chuvalo joked that "Sure, I lost the match. But afterwards, Ali went to the hospital with bleeding kidneys, and I went out dancing with my wife."
    • Joe Grim could barely box like a true professional, but could take a beating from nearly any boxer. In fact, he won his matches by letting his opponents wail away at him until they get too exhausted to fight any longer and punching them out with all his might. Research also showed that his skull was twice as thick around the brain as an average human skull.
  • Seanbaby describes Mixed Martial Arts fighter Kazuyuki Fujita as one of these, noting that his sole fighting assets were "a clumsy takedown and a forcefield where his brain's reflexes should be." He was a fairly inept physical combatant despite his natural strength, but he was also infamous for being virtually impossible to knock down. He tangoed with some of the best MMA fighters of his day, rarely getting in any hits, but also surviving blows that would have sent lesser men sprawling. Similar to Joe Grim, he often took home wins because the opponent was too exhausted to keep going - in his match against Ken Shamrock, he won when Shamrock started having heart palpitations.
    "I am not so great a puncher, not so great a kicker. I don't really have anything all that great, but in today's vale tudo, the strongest is the one that can take a beating."
  • The tactic of "flooding" in Australian Rules Football is a version of this, having so many players around the ball and likely opposition targets that the opposition can't get a clean possession. The Sydney Swans are noted exponents of this, while in the 2013 Preliminary Final, Fremantle did it well enough to beat Sydney at their own game.
  • Association Football:
    • "Parking the Bus" is a term used to describe teams that after gaining a lead, drop almost all of their players back behind midfield for defense. Chelsea has made this their primary strategy in the English Premier League.
    • Some teams or managers put defense above all things, a tactic known in Italian as Catenaccio (literally "door bolt"), which was most famously used by Helenio Herrera's Inter Milan of the Sixties and Marcello Lippi's World Cup-winning Italy side in 2006, albeit in a vastly updated form. Another common term, coined by former Chelsea coach José Mourinho, is "parking the bus" for the occasions where everyone is put in front of the goal. Prevalent national teams that follow(ed) this are Switzerland — the "Catenaccio" was even first known as "Swiss Bolt"; in The World Cup in 2006, they were eliminated without conceding a single goal in four games — and Ireland — in three World Cups, tied 8 out of 13 games, scored and conceded 10 goals, only once scored more than one goal, and highest amount against was 2.
    • The goalie is the only player allowed to touch the ball with their hands, allowing them to defend the goal in ways literally no one else can do. However, they also never are far from the goal itself, cannot provide any offensive pressure, and are never in a position to score a goal themselves. They also still need to be fast enough to react and move in a position to stop score attempts.
  • In American Football there is a common saying "Offense wins hearts, Defense wins championships" — needless to say, many teams have made and won the Super Bowl with a crummy or average offense (and a no-name Quarterback) but a good Defense. There have been names coined to collectively describe those defensive units in American football lore; to name a few, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the "Steel Curtain", the New York Giants had the "Big Blue Wrecking Crew", the Minnesota Vikings had the "Purple People Eaters", and the Seattle Seahawks had the "Legion of Boom".
    • On offense, guards' and tackles' main job is to protect the quarterback while he attempts to throw a pass and to provide some holes for the running back to go through and gain some critical yardage. Their opponents are typically defensive linemen and linebackers who will most likely try to disrupt the QB by either sacking him or force a turnover by having him fumble the ball and also try to prevent RBs from gaining yardage for either a fresh set of downs or a touchdown. On rare occasions, guards and tackles might also have to watch out for defensive backs like safeties and cornerbacks as they can sometimes be used to surprise the offensive linemen to get to the QB.
  • The Neutral Zone Trap in ice hockey could become an effective version of this in a usually fast-paced sport. When a team used the trap, often to protect a lead, their five mobile players would all move into the neutral zone and force the other team to try and muscle their way through, which rarely worked, or just dump the puck into the defensive team's end and hope they could get to it first. An Obvious Rule Patch was later implemented in several leagues to make it harder to successfully use the trap to slow down the game; one of the reasons the trap worked was because a rule prevented a pass from being made from behind a team's blue line past the center (red) line, preventing long passes that could circumvent the trap. That rule was removed, allowing teams to break out more easily.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Anyone making use of a one-handed weapon and a held shield in D&D is a lesser example of this trope regardless of their class, suffering a substantial loss of offensive power compared to a two-handed weapon. (D&D is also subject to the Armor Is Useless trope in many editions, thereby negating the point of such an approach. In 4th edition, however, it was a viable strategy; some characters equipped with shields could render themselves virtually impossible to hit in two defenses.)
    • The "Lockdown" build, which wields a long-reach weapon, focuses on making attacks of opportunity in response to as many types of action as possible, then uses them to deliver nondamaging attacks which halt movement. While it will take a Lockdown user longer to defeat his enemies than one that counterattacks normally, it means he can keep Close Range Combatants from getting close enough to attack him, and prevent Long Range Fighters from getting far enough away to do the same.
    • The Knight class from the 3.5 Player's Handbook II is a meatshield type- their offensive skills are not much compared to a Fighter, but have the Knight's Challenge mechanic, allowing them such tricks as forcing all moderately-powerful enemies to attack the Knight in preference to any other party member or cause all less-than-moderately-powerful enemies to cower in fear. Taken Up to Eleven with their capstone ability, the appropriately-named "Loyal Beyond Death". If a knight takes enough damage to kill them (without running afoul of the Chunky Salsa Rule), they can spend a challenge use to simply refuse to die, and act normally for one more round. This can go on until they finally run out of challenge uses and suffer Critical Existence Failure.
    • The Spring Attack feat line allows a character to attack in the middle of their move, and it requires both decent Dexterity and two feats that boost Armor Class. Because of this, it makes the character tricky to attack and hard to hit when they do get attacked. However, it also heavily drops damage, since you only get one attack per turn while on the move, and it takes up feats that could be used to boost your strength. It's mostly not favored, since while kiting the opponent to death sounds appealing, it takes so much longer than the alternative that the enemy can simply ignore the Spring Attacker and eat the rest of the party in the meantime.
    • Monks in 3.x are often seen as this. Though their hitpoints are average, pushing everything to their defensive stats can make them impressively survivable, their saves are great, they're very fast, they receive Spell Resistance and Evasion, and they're among the few characters that can consistently dodge Touch-based attacks. However, their damage (especially while using their superior mobility) is decidedly below average, and pushing those points into Dexterity and Wisdom leaves little room for Strength, which makes things even worse. A common joke about monks is that they're the best class in the game for surviving, and not much else.
    • The Survivor Prestige Class has a number of handy defensive abilities and good save bonuses, but it's the only class in the game to have no Base Attack Bonus at all.
  • There are certain Gifts in Werewolf: The Apocalypse which allow for this; there is in fact a specific Steel Fur Gift for Glass Walkers that triples the size of the wolf using it and makes them into a giant defensive wall for their pack, complete with pointy, sharp fur. Usually this is more of a deterrent and leaves the wolf with no attacking ability, but a pack with enough sufficiently strong wolves can then push their large, prickly packmate down inclines and towards unhappy targets.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Courts of Clubs and Tears have access to a number of Charms that boost their defense or penalize their enemy's offense, but relatively few Charms to boost their own damage. This is also a matter of philosophy: Clubs prioritizes harmony and doesn't like hurting others unless it's absolutely necessary, while Tears is all about prioritizing your survival and that of your chosen allies above all else.
  • It is very simple to build an Exalt like this, since defensive and offensive skills and abilities are bought separately — there is nothing stopping you from investing your entire divine power into defense, becoming all but completely untouchable, while still remaining completely rubbish at attacking. note 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy:
    • It's perfectly possible to invest points on just defense and/or the wear armor ability and/or hit points, with the Weaponmaster archetype being the one that has easier to become thisnote .
    • As far as the magic paths go, this is the combat modus operandi of the Creation path. Heals, regeneration, resistance boosts (both status and elemental), extra maximum health, powerful shielding, cannon fodder minion spawning that also tends to be most competent defensively, and more besides; on the flip side, Creation has no damage spells and very few aggressive spells at all (and most of those can also double as buffs).
  • In X-Wing Miniatures, Y-Wings have a mediocre 2-die main attack, only Agility 1, and a remarkably bad move dial, but 8 total hull and shield. Getting Y-Wings to actually hurt people reliably generally requires buying either a turret or a couple of racks of torpedoes, and getting them to move at speed reliably basically requires you to be playing Scum and Villainy.
  • Rather fittingly, most things pertaining to the element of Earth in Legend of the Five Rings result in this, ranging from the Earth Ring governing one's maximum health to the Earth Ring's component stats having to do with physical and mental resilience to a ton of magical effects related to Earth providing fairly large chunks of damage reduction in an otherwise rather lethal setting. The more pacifistic among the Earth Shugenja are prone to exploiting this, simply responding to violence by armoring themselves up and waiting for the aggressor to give up once it becomes obvious they're not accomplishing anything.
  • In BattleTech, Humongous Mecha that go the route of a stone wall are often called "zombies"; mounting as much heavy armor as possible, using damage-resistant equipment like the Compacy Fusion Engine and small cockpits, and eschewing high-damage weapons that run the risk of damaging the operator such as Gauss Rifles with their infamous Made of Explodium nature. The Word of Blake's advanced Celestial series mechs are zombies, mounting surprisingly weak weapons for their tonnage but making up for it in durability.
  • The Severan Dominate in Warhammer 40,000: Only War. They know that they have no way to compete against the Imperium's vastly superior resources and manpower, so their ultimate strategy is to hunker down and make the Imperial Guard bleed for every inch they take. If they manage to hold out for long enough, the Imperium will likely be attacked elsewhere by some other threat like Chaos, da Orks or the Dark Eldar/Drukhari and the higher-ups will "give up" on retaking the Dominate to prioritise the new threat. In gameplay this means usually that Dominate forces will have the Home Field Advantage against The Squad.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Bastion archons are a fairly literal take, being literally composed of living rock. Their primary purpose is to protect specific sites and prevent those who would harm them from getting past them, and they are very good at it. They are literally impossible to move once their plant themselves down, they have high health and automatic healing and they can cast spells such as blade barrier and wall of stone to place physical barriers in their foes' way. They are also highly sedentary beings, and the most difficult part of dealing with one is to convince it to budge from where it is now — most bastion archons spend their eternal lives guarding the very location where they were created.
    • Sacred Shields, a paladin archetype, replace their ability to smite evil with an ability that makes it so their allies suffer less damage from a designated enemy, their energy channel is changed with sharing his shield with all nearby allies and they bond with their shield instead of a weapon or mount.
  • It's relatively easy to build a character in Mutants & Masterminds with the Immunity power cranked up to the point that you're immune to all damage, or the Immortality power cranked up to the point that you come back from the dead the turn after dying. However, this eats up so many points that the character is unlikely to be able to do much else. It largely isn't considered broken, since there are many methods to deal with an invulnerable character (for instance, teleporting them a hundred miles away, mindcontrolling them, or trapping them in a forcefield).

    Video Games 
Beat 'em Up
  • Captain Silver from Battle Circuit. His power-up deals with him and everyone getting a huge defense boost, but it doesn't power his nor anyone else's offense in anyway.

Collectible Card Game

  • Hearthstone:
    • Most Taunt minions are statted like this. Since the entire point of Taunt is protecting your other minions and Hero, this makes sense. Ones that aren't statted like this are never played unless they have another effect. Compare the popular and strong Sen'jin Shieldmasta to Evil Heckler, a card that costs the same and has more total stats, but lower health. Evil Heckler never saw play outside of the Arena.
    • Journey to Un'goro added a set of three tar beasts (Tar Creeper, Tar Lurker, and Tar Lord) that enforce this. They're purposefully overstatted Taunt minions... but only on the opponent's turn. On your turn, they all have a measly 1 attack, leaving them basically worthless for trading.
    • Control Warrior, Mage and Priest decks turn their own hero into one of these. They maintain massive amounts of health or armor and focus on keeping the opponent's board clear, without actually bothering to damage the opponent. They ultimately subvert this by the end of the game by closing it out with some kind of finisher, but until that point they play this to a tee.
  • KanColle: Wa-class transport ships have pathetic firepower, outright nonexistent in their most basic form. However, even the basic form has higher HP than a heavy cruiser, while the stronger forms have HP on par with battleships.
  • Elements has one unit named "Armagio" who has 1 attack point, but 25 health points (the highest of any normal unit in the game). Its ability "Gravity Pull" lets it figuratively turn itself into a shield by directing damage the would go against the player onto itself instead.
  • Culdcept: Wall cards had either little or no attack power depending on their element. However, not only were they cheap to put on a board, they were very tough and often had special abilities to improve their survival rate (ie regeneration or temporary increase of health during a battle).
  • Shadowverse: Many Havencraft followers have higher defense than attack, along with a lot of card effects that raise more defense than attack.

Fighting Game

  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • R.O.B. is a very heavy character, and he has one of the best recoveries (he can fly), making him abnormally difficult to knock out. He also has two projectiles, with his Eye Beams and gyros, which means he has an easy time with keeping his distance from the opponent. However, none of his attacks do much damage, and most R.O.B. players focus on slowly chipping away at the opponent.
    • Shulk can become this via his Stance System. Activating Monado Shield turns Shulk into the heaviest character in the game for a few seconds, greatly increasing his defense; however, this comes at the cost of his mobility and attack power.
    • Ultimate has spirits that can bolster defense, the most extreme example being the Absolutely Safe Capsule from Mother 3 which maximizes defense with no boost at all to offense. There is also a Brick Wall Dojo that any primary spirit can visit to shift towards this.
    • Also in Ultimate, the Dragon Quest Hero has the spell "Kaclang". When cast, it renders the Hero almost completely impervious to damage. Unfortunately, he cannot move, jump, or attack while the spell is active, nor can he cancel the spell prematurely, forcing him to wait for the spell to end before he can act again. Also, a Kaclang'd Hero has one critical weakness: another Hero can use Metal Slash to kill him instantly.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Guile's traditional playstyle is very rigid: you throw Sonic Booms across the stage and wait for your opponent to jump, then punish with a Flash Kick. You still want to be moving on your opponent as Guile has some good moves to open up someone up close but by and large, it's a very patient game when it comes to Guile because his attacks force him to charge his specials before executing them, requiring time.
    • Q from Street Fighter III. Often considered a bottom-tier character, Q has one major thing going for him: his high stamina. He can also increase it by taunting. And the increase is applied on each of the first three taunts he does in a round. Once he's taunted thrice, his health is almost doubled. At that point the match changes from "opponent juggles Q into oblivion" to "Q takes everything thrown at him and chips the opponent to death with Dashing Punches".
  • Advanced Variable Geo 2 gives us Judoka Kyouko Kirishima, whose normal attacks are very conventional and lack the punch of those of the other characters. However, she takes somewhat less damage than most characters, and is balanced out with an array of high-power counters.
  • Another four years later saw SNK make a true "Counter Wall" in the form of Seth. Even more defensive than Kasumi Todoh, Seth's low-output, unimpressive normal and special attacks are made up for by a noticeable amount of defensive and high-output counters... among which is a counter-based Limit Break which hits hard.
  • Final Fantasy V: Exdeath is one of the most extreme cases, in Dissidia Final Fantasy, given that his moveset revolves mostly around Counter Attacks. Essentially, what an Exdeath player wants to do is stand in one place and nullify or deflect anything the opponent throws at him, using a non-counter move only if the opponent tries not attacking him or as a finisher. Think Wobbuffet placed into a 3-D fighting game context.
  • Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat is probably the Trope Maker for turtle fighters. Sub-Zero players are widely known and often reviled for assertively setting up damaging Ice Clone traps and waiting for their opponents to make their move. This is especially true in MK4, where Sub-Zero has most of his other tactics nerfed, but this one is left untouched.
  • Good Gods in Black & White 2 are these. Fitting of their 'Good' nature, these Gods use strong walls to discourage (and, because of the AI, utterly stop)) enemy militaries from attacking. The downside of this is the (general) inability to kill said enemy troops, but the occasional Fireball doesn't dent your Good Rating.
  • Iceman in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes does not take Scratch Damage while blocking, and can easily throw a quick low damage projectile at any opening given, allowing a skilled player to slowly chip away at opponents' health and/or wait out the clock.
  • Tenten in the Naruto Storm series, but especially Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, is a bizarre example of this: one of her special moves is to lay mines surrounding herself, which is intended to keep opponents from coming close. She doesn't have to move from her spot, as she can fight entirely through projectiles (including some rather lengthy projectile combos). In true Stone Wall fashion, she has the lowest damage output of the entire series.
  • 'Giant' style wrestlers in Fire Pro Wrestling. The Giant fighting style has very low Affinity level in every stat but Punch and Rough — they can't even perform power moves or lariats efficiently in spite of their size, and tire quickly unless their moveset is heavy on Punch and/or Rough moves. However, the Giant defensive style is very guarded and difficult to crack; early in a match, they can't be thrown even with the simplest takedowns, and have to be worn down gradually with strikes and submissions. Also, the lack of effective offensive weapons means there are a lot of points left to put into defense for Create-A-Wrestlers.

First-Person Shooter

  • In classic Doom, this role falls to most non-hitscan enemies. They have better defenses than the zombie chaingunners and shotgunners, but lack their undodgeable attacks. The Pinky in particular has above-average health, but is restricted to a rather slow melee attack, making it borderline harmless in a one-on-one fight as long as the player keeps backing up. Fanmade maps tend to use these enemies as meatshields, forcing the player to either get around them or blast through them before the chaingunners chew through their health.
  • Half-Life:
    • The Zombies are a good example of this in the Half-Life franchise. They may not be strong, but their toughness overall is rather high, except whenever it comes to shooting the Headcrabs off of them, which is a close enough weakness that Zombies normally have in common in various media.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • For the Meat Shield version, a Heavy Weapons Guy with Natascha equipped can be one of these. For the price of lower firepower, anyone caught by these bullets will get slowed down, resulting in anything between a minor annoyance to a complete death trap depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the Natascha negates 20% the damage taken when the Heavy is below 50% health. Add a Medic into the equation, constantly healing the Heavy from any damage he might pick up from a lucky shot, and you've got a solid wall.
    • A heavy carrying the Fists of Steel and being healed by a Medic can be almost unkillable, but is reduced to melee attacks if he wants to keep the protection.
    • An Eyelander (or reskins) and Chargin' Targe wielding demoman being healed by a medic. The Charging' Targe providing resistance to fire and explosive damage and the eyelander healing the demoman and increasing his speed and health upon killing enemies. The downside is not being able to equip the stickybomb launcher, making him unable to lay traps and limiting his ability to kill enemies at range.
    • Tanks in Mann Vs. Machine don't have any offensive capability other than inching towards your base carrying a bomb, but they take impressive amounts of punishment. To get the achievement for killing it within 20 seconds of it spawning, the recommended method is five wrangled sentries pointed exclusively at the thing.
    • Also in MvM, the Scout, oddly, becomes this, in the inverse of his usual game role. His scattergun is designed to handle one-on-one situations while up-close with the enemy, making it decidedly lackluster unless fully upgraded at beating back the hordes. But he's as fast as ever, faster still if upgraded properly, and unlike other classes, when he picks up money, his health increases, and can go above his limit. A particularly nimble scout can have something like 600 health. On top of that, many players swap out the pistol for the Mad Milk (which gives everyone Life Drain on the splashed enemies) and the bat for the Fan-Of-War (which does almost no damage but lets everyone do more damage to attacked enemies), further reducing his offensive power in exchange for support and versatility.
    • A common Soldier setup is to combine the Black Box (a rocket launcher with reduced clip size and a Life Drain effect) with the Concheror (passive health regeneration, can activate a team buff that gives everyone in the area increased speed and Life Drain), and often adding in the Escape Plan for good measure (melee weapon that boosts speed when at low health), resulting in a character that regains health at absurd speed, at the cost of having little more than three rockets to work with for offense. It's informally nicknamed "The Bad Box" due to its association with poor players using it as a crutch and being very frustrating to play against.
  • Shield Operators in Rainbow Six Siege sacrifice their ability to carry a primary weapon for the defense of a ballistic shield, which cannot be penetrated by any normal gunfire at all. They wield handguns alongside the shield, but cannot fire them accurately without moving the shield away from their face to aim. Therefore their offensive power is very poor outside of extreme close range, but they are also nigh-unkillable from the front without exceptional aim (to target the hand extended to hold their gun) or the use of explosives or Smoke's gas. A melee attack, as well as being electrocuted by Bandit, will cause them to lower their shields momentarily, allowing a follow-up attack. Montagne, however, takes the cake, as he is a shield operator whose special ability allows him to extend his shield down and outwards, fully covering him from the front and sides at the cost of his ability to attack.
  • The AAV7A1 AMTRAC in Battlefield 3. It has a weapon virtually useless against armor that has an extremely sluggish rotation rate. However it has extremely good armor that can withstand 5 packs of C4 being detonated at once (other vehicles are fully destroyed with 3) and can function as a spawn point for the entire team which allows it to indirectly take down Tanks just by getting the tank to focus on it while the endless spawning team mates focus on taking it down.
  • In Overwatch, Reinhardt is one of two characters who does not have a ranged weapon and despite it being a giant space-age hammer, its damage output isn't too stellar. His only ranged attack has a cooldown and his strongest attack is a hard-to-aim charge (that also has a cooldown). But to make up for this, he has a ton of health (most of it being armor) and he can deploy a front-facing barrier that can absorb massive amounts of damage and is big enough cover any teammate that's behind him.
    Reinhardt: "Don't worry, my friend! I am your shield!"
  • Among the Heroes of Star Wars: Battlefront 30-5, Leia and Palpatine serve as this. They have high health, the ability to block incoming fire and (in some modes) healing pick-ups, but their defensive abilities leave them with a rather one-dimensional offensive moveset.
  • Paladins:
    • Fernando has the almost the lowest attack of any champion, but his defense is unmatched. With the most HP of any champion (By comparison, most heroes only have around 2-3 thousand HP.) and packing a shield that can withstand even more, and you also have cards that allow you to boost his health even further. This is enough to withstand any ultimate bar the Dragon Punch, and even then Fernando's own ultimate will stop the Dragon Punch cold
    • Terminus' only ranged attack is a small energy blast that deals little damage on its own. However, in addition to having a minimum of 4000 health, he can project a field in front of himself that can soak up unlimited damage for a short time—which actually gives him extra charges of his ranged attack for potentially devastating (but still uncommon and reliant on enemies shooting at him when the power is active) damage bursts.


  • Tanks in World of Warcraft avert the trope, often ending up at or near the top of the damage dealing for their group. This is because, in World of Warcraft, much of a tank's threat generation is caused by damage output, and the tank often spends most of the fight attacking multiple enemies with close-range area-effect attacks to hold threat.
  • The tanking classes in EverQuest, which include paladins, shadow knights, and warriors, play this trope straight. While the damage output of these classes is respectable, their primary focus is in holding the attention of the enemy. As such, their ability to deal damage is underplayed in favor of improving their damage-taking abilities.
  • In City of Heroes and City of Villains, one defensive choice for Tanker/Brute is Stone Armor. There's a power in that set called "Granite Armor", which turns you into a special character model (a living stone statue type of thing). While you have that active, you have somewhere between 15% and 25.2% Defense against all but Psionics, 37.5% and 63.7% damage reduction against all but Psionics, and high resistance to all status effects. The tradeoff is that you do 30% less damage, take three times longer to recharge across the board, run less than a third your normal speed and cannot jump.
  • EVE Online:
    • Due to the balancing factors present in the game's fitting system, any ship that is fitted for maximum defense is going to sacrifice maneuverability, speed, and damage output in order to achieve the most defensive ability. Some ships, such as the Drake, the Rokh, the Prophecy, and others are actually designed around the concept of surviving a fight by having a hard shell while only having moderate damage capabilities, while ships like the Dominix and the Armageddon, which can rely on remote drones to deal damage rather than their own weapons, can afford to dedicate more power and resources towards defensive modules. Some of these designs are even used as "bait ships" — ships that have tremendous damage-soaking ability in exchange for being ponderously slow and practically toothless, but still retaining the ability to warp-scramble attackers (thus keeping them from fleeing). Of course, the whole point is to trick a group into attacking your nigh-invulnerable ship, then calling in your friends to ambush them.
    • The recent patch to Mining Barges and Exhumers has transformed several mining ships into Stone Walls. While all Exhumers grant a 5% bonus to shield resistances per level of Mining Barge skill (which you need to have maxed out just to fly an Exhumer), the Skiff takes it one step further by also adding a 5% bonus to Shield Hitpoints per level of Mining Barge. It also has more mid-slots than any other Exhumer, and since it only has to equip one mining laser, has the most extra CPU and Powergrid for fitting shield modules. This allows the Skiff to fit a buffer tank that can exceed 90,000 effective hitpoints. However, since it is a mining ship, it has poor handling and virtually no offensive capabilities other than drones.
  • Paragons in Guild Wars. Warriors are loaded with defensive skills, but their offense is at least halfway decent. Paragons, however, have armor that's on par with a warrior, can carry a shield for extra defense, and are absolutely packed with defensive skills and partywide defensive buffs. Killing a Paragon who knows what he's doing is an exercise in frustration. They aren't very dangerous though, and their offense is mildly annoying at best.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, the RAcaseal has the highest Defense, second-to-highest HP, and pretty high Evasion. The result of this is being a godly tank. However, their damage output is nothing to write home about.
  • The Ice School in Wizard101 is the only class that can equip gear with resistance to all attacks other than crowns gear. Even though later gear allows other schools to equip similar gear ice still has the best resistance. Also ice has the weakest attack spells and many defense-based spells and can even steal defensive charms and slow healing effects from enemies.
  • AceOnline has the M-Gear. It shtick is stacking as much defense as it can to wither enemy attacks. A properly leveled M-Gear can hold off an attack by as many as thirty assailants at once without so much as breaking a sweat. Its crushing lack of attack power though, is more of an annoyance when level grinding, because enemy mobs give paltry amounts of EXP that killing many of them quickly is the only way to effectively level up.
  • Among the tank jobs of Final Fantasy XIV, the Paladin exemplifies this idea. Compared to Warriors, Dark Knights, and Gunbreakers, their options for doling out damage are underwhelming. When it comes to sheer survival, however, the Paladin is hard to beat: they have very high defense in comparison to other tanks, and their skillset is centered around damage mitigation and staying alive long enough for their teammates to fell the enemy and win the fight.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

  • League of Legends: Multiple characters, including Braum, Nautilus, Leona, and Maokai, have pretty bad damage scaling, but astonishing durability. They're often a popular choice for support roles: the low damage output means they don't need to worry about last-hitting too many minions and thus preventing their carry from getting gold, while the durability lets them soak up damage that might otherwise endanger that carry. Ones with nasty crowd control abilities can even contribute a fair bit in teamfights - Cho'gath is particularly notable for this given how much effort it takes to put him down in the late-game.

Platform Game

  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels has the Buzzy Beetle, which in these games are functionally identical to the Koopa, and therefore aren't an active threat to players like the Lakitu or Hammer Bros. However, their immunity to fireballs makes them very tricky, if not impossible, to dispose of. Later games would avert this by giving them additional ways of attacking the player, while simultaneously giving them additional weaknesses such as the spin jump or Yoshi's tongue.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: The Tanuki suit has a mode that turns Mario to stone. You can't be hurt, but you can't jump on enemiesnote  or use the tail-swat attack.
    • Games from Super Mario 64 onward have the occasional Bully enemy, which can neither harm or be harmed directly: they ram into Mario and company in the hopes of pushing them into a Bottomless Pit, Lava Pit; etc., which is also how they themselves are defeated.
  • Olaf of The Lost Vikings is a very basic example of the Shielding variety (with an actual shield, no less!). He can't attack at all, but he can block any attack. Simply place him in front of an enemy to absorb all of its attacks while Baleog takes it out.

Real-Time Strategy

  • AI War: Fleet Command:
    • Wormhole Guardposts have four million hit points, which exceeds some of the biggest ships both you and the AI can throw at each other. It has an attack value of 2.
    • The Botnet Golems are pretty terrible for an actual offense on enemy territory, since they can't even touch anything immune to Reclamation damage, so they're useless even against a bog-standard Guard Post. However, almost every unit used in any attack is vulnerable to Reclamation, and the sheer amount the Golem's Insanity Beam puts out is so absurdly huge it can chew up whole waves by itself, and spit them all out hostile to the AI. A well-placed Botnet Golem can swallow an entire Cross-Planet Attack and return it to its sender in hostile form.
    • Bubble forcefields tend to pull everything in this direction, completely soaking up all damage for everything they protect but halving all damage coming from within them; until it falls, attack is nerfed, but defense is near-perfect. Mobile forcefields such as those found on Spire ships, riot control starships, forcefield guardians and AI forcefields don't have this damage penalty however.
    • The sequel's Macrophage harvesters aren't particularly damaging, but thanks to their attacks stealing HP, a protective buff that cuts all damage coming from long range, and simply enormous HP and shields, they are absurdly durable. A single harvester can tie up a whole fleet for a decent while, chipping and whittling them down the whole time.
    • Also in the sequel are the Ablative Trolls. Unique for a swarming type strikecraft, they're exceedingly durable, at the expense of some attack power, so they're much less likely to die from a single grenade weapon
  • Command & Conquer:
    • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command & Conquer: Red Alert games, the Armored Personnel Carrier has heavy armor, but only a light machine gun. Though it is meant to carry troops around the field, it is almost always used as a stone wall unit.
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the war miner, though mainly a resource harvester, is armed with a small machine gun, but has enough armor to defeat tanks on a one-on-one battle. Same with the slave miner in the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack. Also in the YR expansion, the Allies have access to the Battle Fortress, which is the the most heavily-armored unit in the game and is armed with a light machine gun, though it can be garrisoned with five infantry, who can shoot out of the vehicle, making it one of the best units in terms of armor and firepower, hence turning it into a Mighty Glacier when fully loaded.
    • The Allied Assault Destroyer in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is heavy, slow, and packs a not-terribly-impressive gun for its cost. However, it has impressive armor to begin with, and its special ability both increases its durability and redirects projectiles from nearby allied units to the destroyer, at the cost of not being able to shoot at all. (It can, however, still crush things, including many light vehicles.)
  • Netstorm has several towers whose only function is to absorb the enemy shots, with no attack whatsoever. Technically, any building would suffice, but the towers automatically switch the attention to themselves and usually have higher HP. The Bulwark takes the trope Up to Eleven (and the price is appropriate).
  • This is how Sins of the Prophets implements the Halcyon-class (not to be confused with the Autumn-class pioneered by the Pillar of Autumn) — it has pathetic firepower for how late it is available, but it has almost capital ship-level durability.
  • The British Commonwealth from Company of Heroes pretty much relies on defense for their modus operandi. Their abilities allow you to create trenches, emplacements, and provide defensive buffs. For an example of units, the Royal Engineer's Churchill tank can be their best example. While they're sluggish and have a weak cannon, they're well-armored on all sides that reduces penetration.
  • The Dwarfs in Total War: Warhammer have a vast variety of heavily-armoured melee troops backed up with devastating crossbows, gunners, cannons and even flamethrowers. However, they have no cavalry at all and their infantry are extremely slow, the only exception being the completely unarmoured and vulnerable Slayers. Strategically speaking the Dwarfs are poorly suited to chasing down and outmanoeuvring the enemy and instead are better off holding their ground and daring the enemy to come to them.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon:
    • The Tug is the toughest sloop-sized ship in the game by far, as it has 1110 HP, over twice as much as a Warsloop (550 HP) and over 3 times as much as the Torpedo Boat (350 HP), however, the Tug is also the poorest armed ship available to the Royal Navy, as it is only equipped with 1 medium gun and 2 light guns (which is even less than the Warsloop's 1 light and 4 medium guns), the Tug is also very slow for such a small ship, moving at only half the speed of a Torpedo Boat. Although the Tug lacks firepower and speed, it makes up for it in being the second cheapest ship available to the Royal Navy, costing only 30 Victory Points compared to their third cheapest ship, the Warsloop (which costs 40 Victory Points) and by the fact that the Tug's engines are powerful enough to tow a Weapon Barge, without much trouble, which can compensate for the Tug's lack of firepower.
    • The Imperial and Pirate Tenders, both have a high HP count of 2800 HP and 2845 HP respectively, but are very poorly armed for a ship of their size, with the Imperial Tender only being equipped with 4 medium guns and the Pirate Tender with 4 medium guns and 1 light gun.
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has the Nightelves' Mountain Giant who are indeed made of stone. They have an astonishing 1600 hitpoints, similar to a Town Hall structure, but attack slowly and for unimpressive damage. Their defenses can be boosted with Hardened Skin to reduce damage taken by 12 units, and Resistant Skin to mitigate spells cast upon them. Their "medium" armor-type is well rounded too resisting many damage types, and only receiving extra damage from "normal" attacks (most melee attacks). Their taunt move takes advantage of their colossal endurance by forcing enemies around them to target them instead of the more frail Nightelf units.
  • StarCraft II has the Terran Planetary Fortress. It's a fortified Command Center so massive, it is unable to lift off with its Atlas Boosters like other Command Center variants, and has a massive 1500 Hit Points. It can be upgraded to 5 armor points, making it just shy of the Terran Battlecruiser's 6-armor maximum, and nearby SCVs can postpone mining to quickly repair the Fortress when it's under attack. However, while the Twin Ibex cannons may give the impression of power, they're only sufficient against holding off a small attack, and need proper support to last longer against a larger, properly coordinated attack. Siege Engines will be able to take on a Fortress without reprisal, which is another major reason why the Terran army needs to support them.

Rhythm Game

  • In Patapon 3 Guardira class and Slogturtle have weak attacks, but they hold a massive shield which blocks most of the attacks and helps to cover the other units near them.


  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery, the Ancient Stone Beast is an example of this. Though it's the boss of the Earth Temple, it deals far far less damage than its slaves, the earth elementals and stone grues. Being a Stone Wall, it has a PV note  of 60, and over 1k HP.
  • 100 Rogues has the White Knight monster class. While upgrading a certain skill makes its damage output better, almost its entire skill tree is dedicated to making it tougher than before.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, you can equip your dwarves with dual shields. This gives them two chances to block any attack. In adventure mode, it is possible to wield hundreds of shield at a time, making the adventurer nearly impervious to attacks. Needless to say, though, shields aren't great for attacking with.
  • One of the challenges in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth turns you into one of these. You do subpar damage and you're pitifully slow, but you start off with seven red heart containers note  as well as a mask that can sometimes nullify shots from the front. This can be brought Up to Eleven by gaining even more heart containers as well as using protection orbitals (such as the Big Fan).

Role-Playing Game

  • The Sentinel role in Final Fantasy XIII is unable to directly attack enemies, but can taunt enemies to target them and possess exceptionally high defense and hit points.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest III, Priests have few offensive spells and low power attack, but excellent defense.
    • The Paladin class of Dragon Quest IX are this trope. Their attack is merely passable, but ye God is their defense high. Past level 45 they'll only take Scratch Damage from physical attacks, and if you teach them the shield skill Magic Mirror they'll be completely immune to magical attacks, which means if you use their Forbearance ability— which takes damage for the entire party— your adventuring party is nigh-untouchable. Even before they learn all those high level abilities they're exceptionally useful since they learn the defense-boosting Kabuff spell and magic defense-boosting Magic Barrier spell at fairly low levels. They are defensive beasts.
  • Many, many Pokémon, in varying degrees — not only between offense and defense, but the game's special and physical attack classifications.
    • Perhaps the most extreme example of this trope in the entire series is Shuckle, a Bug/Rock type Pokémon that not only has the highest Defense (tied with Mega Steelix and Mega Aggron) and Special Defense stats of out of any Pokémon in the game, but also sports some of the lowest HP, Attack, Special Attack, and Speed.
    • The queen of the example belongs to Cresselia. Her HP is ridiculously high, with an amazing Defense and Special Defense stat to back her up as well as having access to several fantastic status moves, making it impossible for most Pokemon to take Cresselia down with just one hit, even if it deals super effective damage to her. However, her offensive stats are pretty underwhelming, especially for a Legendary Pokemon.
    • Two good examples are Umbreon and Mandibuzz, which is unusual for Dark-types. Their Defense and Special Defense are incredibly high and they have very good HP as well, but their offensive stats are low. Both do learn Foul Play, a move that uses the target's Attack stat when dealing damage and have access to a wide variety of useful status moves.
    • The best-known example is Blissey, who has absurdly high HP (with a maximum of 714 points, the game's highest) and Special Defense, as well as healing moves. The item Leftovers, which heals 1/16 of the holder's maximum HP each turn, is incredibly effective here, as well as the move Softboiled, which restores up to 50% of the user's maximum HP. Even with her abysmal Defense stat, Blissey's enormous HP allows her to take a few physical moves. And forget about status moves — not only can Blissey heal them with Heal Bell or Aromatherapy, her ability Natural Cure removes any status when she switches out. Finally, the moves Double Team and Minimize, which increase the user's evasion, can compound Blissey's defensive strategy by making her hard to hit in the first place. Her stellar defenses come at the cost of speed and damage with below-average Special Attack, bad Speed, and outright abysmal Physical Attack (which maxes out at 10, one of the lowest in the entire series).
    • Wobbuffet has an absurdly high HP, but it cannot attack by itself. It has to rely on taking attacks and retaliates with either Counter and Mirror Coat. Since Wobbuffet has Shadow Tag, which prevents the opponent from switching out, it's very risky to attack it. A Mirror Match was Unwinnable by Mistake in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, since no player could switch out and they couldn't attack. This was rectified in future generations so if two Pokémon with Shadow Tag were to face each other in battle, they can switch out freely.
    • Aegislash in its Shield Forme possesses excellent defensive stats that even Legendary Pokemon may have a hard time dealing with it, along with its Secret Art King's Shield. Which not only blocks attacks, but also sharply lowers the target's Attack if it dares to make direct contact with it. Its offensive stats are pretty awful though, which isn't important as Aegislash can switch to Blade Forme whenever it uses an attacking move.
    • Bastiodon's defenses are both incredibly high, and its offensive stats are both very low, though it has access to one move that gives it some offensive capability, Metal Burst, a counter-attacking move. It does have two double weaknesses, to Fighting and Ground, but it has the ability Sturdy, meaning it can't be knocked out with one hit. It also gets bonus points for being a literal stone wall, having a castle wall for a face.
    • Toxapex boasts an incredible base 152 Defense and 142 Special Defense, plenty of resistances due to its Water/Poison type, can heal itself at will or when it switches out, making it incredibly difficult to take out without relying on stat boosts (these can be removed with Haze however), can learn a move that boosts both its defenses, and has a Secret Art that blocks attacks and poisons whatever makes direct contact, but its offenses are quite lacking. It does have an ability that guarantees critical hits on poisoned enemies, but even then it's not much of an offensive powerhouse.
    • Pyukumuku has solid defenses with 130 on each side, and it can have an ability that ignores stat boosts, but it is completely incapable of attacking and is in a three-way tie for the slowest Pokémon in the series. Fortunately, it learns a few useful support and debuff moves to make it somewhat worthwhile, and it can heal itself.
    • Cosmoem is a more extreme example, as its defenses are one point higher than Pyukumuku's, and it can buff itself with Cosmic Power and take advantage of Eviolite, but it can't do anything to an enemy period because it only learns three moves, all of which only affect itself.
    • Lugia's offensive stats are lousy for a Legendary Pokémon, but it has high HP and Defense, and its Special Defense is massive even by Legendary standards. It also boasts two strong defensive abilities: its standard ability Pressure increases the opponent's PP usage, meaning they'll probably run out of moves before Lugia runs out of health, and its hidden ability Multiscale reduces the damage it takes at full health. Furthermore, it can heal easily using either Roost or Recover, and can Whirlwind enemies out of battle to remove stat boosts or enable switching again, making it Nigh-Invulnerable against brute force.
    • Rock and Steel type Pokémon are generally designed as impressive damage sponges. Normal attacks don't faze them as much as other types, they boast the greatest defences even if they don't hit like a Fire or Fighting type would in terms of raw power. Ice-types are also often designed as this, but they really shouldn't be as the increased defenses don't quite make up for their mountain of weaknesses.
    • Eviolite turns most Pokémon into this: it heavily boosts defensive stats, but it can only be used on a Pokémon that can evolve, meaning its attacking stats usually come out lackluster compared to its fully-evolved counterparts. The most favored Eviolite users are already Stone Walls to begin with, since they aren't losing much, including Dusclops and Chansey, who end up being better than Dusknoir and Blissey at their jobs.
    • Rest/Talk, or giving a Pokémon Rest (puts it to sleep for three turns, removing status, and fully restores its health) and Sleep Talk (picks another random move while sleeping, fails if it picks Rest) tends to result in this. It sacrifices two moves that could be used for coverage, removes control, and adds a one-in-three chance of doing absolutely nothing while sleeping, but as long as the user can't be knocked out in three turns, they're basically immortal.
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • Gregorio is known as old Iron Wall, sporting a massive shield, although we never see him fight. His fleet sports high defense and is often more reserved when it comes to firing the cannons, saving up for ram attacks.
    • Then there is the boss fight in Yafutoma where the player must fight against a literal turtle, which has a high defense count already but also has a special skill that renders all attacks down to 1HP damage and allows it to heal every turn. The only saving grace is that it can't attack in this form allowing you to focus on gaining SP to perform your own special attacks when his defense drops.
  • Estelle from Tales of Vesperia has the most staying power and worst killing power in the game. She has excellent Defense stats, she can cast healing magic, her Elemental Artes all add a defense buff of some sort, and she's the only playable character who thought to bring a shield. By contrast, Estelle's damage is outright terrible. Her attacks have a very short range, she has the game's lowest Strength stat, she can barely stagger enemies in a game where such a thing is crucial to survival, and her Mystic Arte is also the game's weakest among the party members.
    • Estelle retains this pattern in the mobile game Tales of Crestoria, . While she's a Super-Super-Rare class character, she has the lowest attack power of any SSR character, and one of the lowest in the entire game. Her Mystic Arte, Sacred Penance, also does very little damage; most other characters can outdo its damage with their basic attacks. However, her HP and Defense are both massive, and her Awakened ability increases her HP and Defense stats even further. Also, she has First Aid to heal allies, and Sacred Penance also restores a lot of HP to everyone in the party. This makes Estelle a solid choice for staying power, but at the cost of pitiful damage output.
  • This is the default strategy for Peco in Breath of Fire III. He has the highest natural HP and second highest natural Defense totals in the game, with average attack and low magic. Oh, and he recovers about 5% of his max HP every combat round. So he's already very difficult to kill, and most people will apprentice him to Fahl (who gives the best level up gains for, as you might guess, HP and Defense), making him Nigh-Invulnerable. The fact that Peco starts at level 1 and can therefore give himself the aforementioned level up gains right off the bat helps a lot.
  • Though he's generally better off being played as a Lightning Bruiser with a little less lightning, it is possible and in some cases advisable to play Paladin Cecil from Final Fantasy IV as a shielding/turtling Stone Wall in the somewhat-more-customizable DS remake. Start with his already excellent defense and HP stats, give him some Infinity Plus Or Minus One Armor (which generally only he can equip), and give him an ability set including Draw Attacks, HP+50%, and Brace. Draw Attacks means that every monster with a single-character-hit move will use it on him instead of the other, less-well-defended characters, HP+50% does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and Brace reduces all incoming damage by 75%. For the remaining slot, you can stick him with White Magic, which allows him to cast buffs on himself and heal the damage the takes. As if this wasn't enough, you can also stick him in the back row, which will reduce his offensive output but will also even further increase his defense. Combine all of these, and Cecil is Nigh Invulnerab, which can be quite useful as that game can be Nintendo Hard, especially in the endgame or bonus areas. However, this build also severely reduces his ability to deal any damage, even with the best weapon in the game, but Glass Cannon Rydia and Fragile Speedster Edge are more than capable of making up the difference.
  • Sword-and-shield Warriors in the Dragon Age series typically lean towards this, focusing on abilities that deflect damage rather than dish out the hurt.
    • Shale, the DLC party member from Dragon Age: Origins, is one when using Stoneheart, which eschews offense for effective Turtler/Shielder abilities instead.
    • The Arcane Warrior class, a heavy-armor-wearing mage/tank hybrid. Their abilities allow them to either nullify or greatly reduce all damage, and they have access to any regular mage spell, such as heals and crowd control. If built correctly, they can resist all spells, as well. Add poultices into this for when mana gets low, and the Arcane Warrior can be nearly invincible. The only catch is their abilities use so much mana that all they can really do is auto-attack and occasionally heal, making battles take a long time.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The Protector class for the first two games. While their offense will sometimes be the weakest of the front row, most Protectors will simply laugh at hits that would have overkilled other characters a few levels higher than they. They have skills that further increase their/ally's defense, attract enemy attacks towards themselves, resurrect themselves automatically once per battle, take hits for other, squishier units, and nullify, to add insult to (non)injury, physical attacks.
    • The third game has the Hoplite, which has a major focus on defense. Most of their skill tree is dedicated to improving their ability to take hits, shield others, recover from damage or status effects, and even nullifying damage. If you subclass into Ninja and put a focus on the evasion tree to learn how to dodge, you get something that's incredibly hard to kill. Unfortunately, because all your skill points are bound up in defense and avoidance, the character is reduced to Cherry Tapping when they do attack.
  • In Super Mario RPG, the Lazy Shell armor turns any character into a Stone Wall, causing their Defense and Special Defense stats to skyrocket but lowering their Attack and Special Attack by just as much. It becomes a Game-Breaker when equipped on Princess Toadstool, who is a healer and therefore has no business attacking anything to begin with. You'll never lose a battle again since she can just keep reviving your other party members whenever they die, while never coming remotely close to death herself due to her insanely high defense.
  • Paper Mario has the Stone Cap item. This will turn Mario to stone for a few turns, during which he can neither attack nor take damage. However, his partner can still act, making this a Game-Breaker in many situations.
  • Luigi is this in the Mario & Luigi series, in contrast to his brother, who is a Glass Cannon. Luigi by default has higher HP and Defense, as well as a higher jump that allows him to dodge enemy attacks with more ease, but his damage output tends to be lower than Mario's.
    • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time features the Safety Badge, a badge for sale in Toad Town's shop which greatly decreases the wearer's damage output both on the receiving and giving ends.
  • Jimmy's Revolting Blob form in Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. It suffers a penalty to offensive stats and it has no direct offensive skills, but it gains defensive bonuses and can provoke enemies to draw attacks.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • As a general rule, Tough tribe Yo-kai have high HP and Defense, at-best middling offensive power, and inspirits that buff allies. A handful of the sturdiest Tough Yo-kai (like Swosh, Castelius Max, and Impass) also have Soultimates that boost their own defense and draw enemy attention.
    • Noway, Impass, and Walldin are literal expressions of the trope: they're living walls and are noted for being obstinate and unmoving in all matters.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Orcs are this compared to the other races of Tamriel. While not as physically strong as the Nords or as skilled with large weapons, the Orcs are without doubt the best users of heavy armor in the setting and get the highest bonuses to their heavy armor skill. Thus, they are able to endure a level of punishment that would have killed anyone else dozens of times over. The Septim Empire specifically recruited Orcs to serve as elite heavy infantry in their Legions, and their success in this role helped them to become more accepted throughout the empire. Orcs also have an innate racial ability to activate a powerful Berserker Rage, which temporarily turns them into a Lightning Bruiser, allowing them to take and dish out massive amounts of damage.
    • Shadowmere, a mystical horse rewarded from a Dark Brotherhood quest in Skyrim, has a whopping 1637 health, higher than that of low-tier dragons (a regular horse has 289 health), coupled with a Healing Factor that puts even trolls to absolute shame. It is not uncommon to see Shadowmere trade blows with dragons without suffering any significant harm. Realistically, for most of the game, essentially the only way for Shadowmere to die is to fall from great heights, and the only enemies that could conceivably pose a threat to it are the likes of the Ebony Warrior. On the offensive, however, Shadowmere does not hit any harder than a regular horse, which is not very hard at all. This does not stop Shadowmere from drawing the attention of enemies quite well, serving as a useful meat shield to a squishy Dovahkiin.
  • This is the basic status of the Templar Job in Bravely Default, as their offense is nothing terribly impressive, while also having the highest natural physical and magical defense, gaining a passive that makes the Defend Command even more effective, and having an ability that completely negates the next attack each party member receives. When combined with the Knight's ability to Dual Wield shields, a Templar can live through just about anything.
  • Barik from Tyranny comes included with a set of extremely heavy armour that's permanently stuck to him by the Edict of Storms, is kitted out as a sword-and-board fighter by default, and can learn taunt moves that force enemies to attack him. All that armour makes his Recovery absolutely atrocious and as a result his damage potential is much lower than Verse or Killsy's, but on the plus side it also renders him all but invincible to most of the game's enemies (his Achilles' Heel being bludgeoning damage, which is the rarest type of weapon damage). In the game's lore Barik belongs to the Stone Shields, a soldier in the Disfavoured whose job it is to throw up a shieldwall and make the enemy wear themselves out banging on their shields until they're exhausted and the Disfavoured can slaughter them all.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The Ruler class resist every standard class (except Avengers, their counter class, and Berserkers, which hit everything hard), but in exchange don't get an advantage over anything but the vanishingly rare Moon Cancer class (and Berserkers, which get hit hard by everything). The quintessential example is Jeanne d'Arc, who boasts the highest HP in the game and adds a host of skills meant to reduce damage, but the third lowest ATK of the five-star Servants (outdone by many four-stars), a deck with only one Buster card in it, and almost no offensive tricks. Even her Noble Phantasm is nothing but defensive buffs, and when not upgraded, it stuns her after use. This makes her the absolute queen of stall teams, but near-useless if you want to finish a match quickly.
    • Mash Kyrielight, as expected of someone whose class is called "Shielder", fits this well. Her HP is high, she has tons of defensive abilities, including her Noble Phantasm, and her class gives her no weaknesses, meaning no enemies hit her effectively. However, it also gives her no enemies she can hit effectively, her ATK is kind of bad, and she lacks any self-damage-boosting skills, so her damage contribution is basically just going to be adding to the occasional Buster chain.
    • Cu Chulainn, especially his original Lancer version, tends towards this playstyle. All three of Lancer Cu's skills are based on defense: he can dodge three attacks directed at him, he revives himself if his health hits 0, and he can cleanse himself of status effects while also healing himself. However, this obsessive focus on defense means that his damage is no better than a baseline silver Servant, aside from his Noble Phantasm having an instant-death effect (which rarely ever works). Cu can feasibly solo some very hard bosses with the right setup... just don't expect him to do so quickly.
    • A Lancer who operates in a similar fashion is Leonidas I, considered a fairly good unit, especially for a two-star. As expected from the king who famously held the line during the Battle of Thermopylae, his kit is centered around using taunts to Draw Aggro towards him and using his naturally high defense and Guts in order to take hits for the team while the damage dealers focus on overwhelming the enemy. Mash herself calls Leonidas one of the greatest shield-bearing Servants, and even his enemy, Gorgon, compliments him for his Determinator status in the Babylonia Singularity.
  • Fallout 2 has the Pariah Dog, an infamous companion that serves entirely as The Millstone. It recruits itself into your party when you stumble on it, and while it's in the party, it drops your Luck Stat to 1 and inflicts you with the Jinxed trait, which vastly increases the odds of critical failures for everyone present. In a fight, the dog will simply run for it, fleeing right off the edge of the screen if it can, and never even trying to defend itself. However, to ensure that you're stuck with it as long as possible, the dog has the second highest HP of anything in the game, very high AC, and anything trying to shoot it is going to do so while their gun is constantly jamming or going off in their face.

Simulation Game

  • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation's A-10A is essentially this in in air-to-air combat but a Lightning Bruiser against ground targets. It can soak up a phenomenal amount of damage, but as a ground-attack platform, its standard loadout doesn't include many options for facing off against other jets.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, some Humongous Mecha mount depreciated Standard Fusion Reactors, which are massive (requiring a sacrifice in speed, or firepower) but damage-resistant compared to the more common Extralight fusion reactors. The Atlas is the most notable example with a standard reactor, losing out on firepower and speed in exchange for being the single most durable mech in the game. In earlier versions of the game, the Hephaestus Hover Tank (popularly know as "Hepatitis") was comically durable due to an armor typo but only had the firepower of a light scout mech, and for many years the Bushwacker "Prime" variant had so little firepower relative to its armor than in a 10 vs 10 Bushwacker-only joke battle, the 30 minute mission timer ran out before the teams were able to kill each other.
  • In Pocket Arcade Story's fighting mode, Mochipon-Jet is this. While his attacks are on the weak side and he's slow, his high level of defense more than makes up for it.

Sports Game

  • Stephanie Morgan in the Backyard Sports series has amazing defense in every game because of her experience at shortstop. Her offensive abilities are terrible.
  • The Terminator Trolz and the Vile Vulgars in Mutant League Football. The Trolz' defense is elite, but their offense advances the ball slowly. The Vulgars' weak offense struggles to gain ground, and usually they can only score off fumble recoveries caused by their brutal run defense.
  • In Mutant Football League, the Spiritual Successor to the above: the Cracksumskull Jugulars (prior to roster updates reflecting the real Jacksonville Jaguars' decline and return to irrelevance) had an agile defense that grabbed INTs constantly and took pride in scoring, which is good because their middling offense and special teams couldn't always be relied on to.
  • Defensive characters in Mario Strikers such as Waluigi are very fast and have excellent tackling skills, but tend to struggle at scoring because of low shooting power.
  • 2020 Super Baseball
    • The Tropical Girls. They excel at fielding due to great speed and agility, which makes them tough to score on. However, they don't score much themselves due to (for the most part) weak hitting.
    • The Ninja Blacksox are one of the least powerful/efficient teams in the game both at the plate and on the mound. What offense they have is carried primarily by blisteringly fast baserunning and a couple of decent batters, but with top-line fielding they don't have to score many runs to come out on top.

Survival Horror

  • In House of the Dead, fat zombies tend to fulfill this role; they usually don't do any more damage than their skinnier counterparts do (occasionally less, because they don't hit as many times as a skinnier zombie would before you put them down), but they can also usually take more shots. In House of the Dead 2, a hefty zombie can take an entire clip or more of handgun bullets to the torso before dying.
  • Ashley's Armor alternate costume from Resident Evil 4 has her be completely invulnerable to any damage, and she can not be picked up by enemies and carried away other than when the plot calls for it. She cannot do any damage to anyone except for when you are playing as her and use the lamps.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's, your only defense against the antagonistic animatronics are two steel doors on either side of your office. Unfortunately, you can't just leave both doors shut all night: they drain power needed to survive the night. Also, on later levels, turtling increases the chance of Freddy simply teleporting into the room and murdering you.

Tower Defense

  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • The Wall-nut, Tall-nut, and Pumpkin of the shielding variety. These plants solely exist to do nothing but take damage for your easily-killed attackers as well as impede the zombies' advance, having no offense of their own. However, all three plants sure do a good job at it. In the sequel, using Plant Food on either of these takes their durability Up to Eleven.
    • The sequel introduces the Infi-nut. He has slightly less durability than a Wall-Nut, but he can instantly regenerate himself to full health periodically, as long as his projector exists. Using Plant Food on him will make him project a force field that shields the entire row from zombies. Primal Wall-Nut was also added, who recharges faster then the Wall-nut, and can survive two Gargantuar smashes.
  • Being an expy of Plants Vs Zombies, Mini Robot Wars has the Shielder (who functions similarly to the Wall-Nut) and the Warrior (like the Shielder, except that he has a weak attack).
  • The Battle Cats:
    • The Tank Cat line of units, which all have high health coupled with low cost and cooldown, but exceptionally weak attack power. Lampshaded in the descriptions, which all state their durability, followed by "Strong enough to move a pebble/small rock/two small rocks.", depending on evolutionary stage.
    • Units that have "Resistant" (damage from indicated type is reduced by 1/4 ~ 1/5) or "Insanely Tough" (same as Resistant only it’s 1/6 ~ 1/7) as one of their abilities are usually known to be able to soak up a ton of damage vs their target traits, but their offensive capability can range from bad to kind of decent, but still lacking compared to most units.
    • For the enemies, Wall Doge acts as one. Like her name might suggest, she is mainly used as a wall thanks to her high HP and her tendency to spawn in groups, but has poor damage in return.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • In Battle for Wesnoth, the Dwarvish Guardsman line has pretty poor attacks, but good resistances and an ability that doubles their resistances on defense. User-created content provides an even more extreme example: the Steppe Shieldbearer line from the Extended Era is unable to initiate combat, but has very high resistances.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Dragon Laguz are probably the closest thing that Fire Emblem has to a Stone Wall; their breath weapon doesn't impress, but they have a frickton of HP and aren't so much as tickled by anything other than Thunder magic.
    • It's also common practice to strip the Crutch Character or the Mighty Glacier of their weapons so that they can draw enemies to attack them for little to no damage without killing them with a counterattack, making them function as literal walls and nothing else.
    • Kishuna of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade can't attack at all, but his defensive stats are only matched by the game's final bosses and he's a walking field of Anti-Magic. It's particularly a scary prospect, as getting to one secret map requires you to kill him in one round before he teleports away the very next turn.
    • Marty of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 has very low accuracy and speed growth thus making it unlikely for him to hit. You'll often mistake him for an example of Muscles Are Meaningless until you look at his incredibly high constitution, HP, and defense growth. These traits make Marty ideal for rescuing and capturing.
    • Bard/Dancer units tend to have unnaturally high Speed, Luck, HP, and Magic growths, making them nigh-unhittable. They also can't attack at all, as their skillset is based on giving allies a second turn. Their defenses are just so they can dodge a few hits if an enemy catches them.
  • Nippon Ichi games tend to have offense-only in the late game, but sometimes a defensive character just stands out.
    • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness had the Galactic Demons, monsters born in the depths of space and made of living stone. They have very low movement (often only 2 tiles), but made up for this with not only the highest Defense and Resistance stat growth among the useable classes, but also the highest Defense and Resistance Aptitudes for equipment (150%!), on top of near-immunity to the game's Standard Status Effects. A properly leveled and equipped Galactic Demon could shrug off blows from the game's Bonus Boss with ease.
    • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories has Taro, Adell's younger brother. Though having 4 movement tiles, his strength lies in his HP, Defense and Resistance modifiers. One special is a self-heal, another is a DEF/RES buff, and his last special reduces the target's offensive stats, letting him tank even more. Combine this with his passive ability giving him an even larger buff to his Defense and Resistance when at critical HP.
    • Knights from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. They struggle to do any decent damage in battle owing to their mediocre attack stat and low accuracy, but they make fine shields for squishier characters like Pyremages and Archers. They work even better in groups of three, when they'll occasionally cast a pre-combat buffer that boosts their entire squad's Defense by 20%.
    • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance gives us Usalia, who kicks this trope up and down the Item World. She defaults with having higher than normal DEF, RES and SPD attributes and has defense-oriented Evilities, including one which improves her evasion from any direction and a default which reduces damage for herself and everyone around her based on the number of folks in proximity. While placement is key, unlike the typical "fire-and-forget" tank, proper outfitting and play make Usalia stupidly unkillable, on top of having decent offenses by NIS standards and one of the best Overloads in the entire game.
  • Although a party game with several mini games in it, Mario Party 3 has Whomp in Duel Mode, whose main purpose is to protect the main player with his good defense and requires a salary of 3 coins for each turn. However, he cannot attack the main opponent or his/her partners when they are in front.
  • Civilization V has a few of these. Due to how it is possible to win a game peacefully, without going to war with other people, the stone walls in this game are very good for winning a peaceful victory while deterring anyone who tries to invade.
    • The Shoshone. All of their units get a 15% increase to combat power when fighting on friendly territory. Due to how all of their cities get an extra 8 land tiles around them the moment they're founded, the Shoshone have a lot of extra friendly territory to be more powerful on. On offense, though, it's mostly a long wait until you can pick up the Comanche riders.
    • Morocco. When the game starts, they are usually placed within a desert, and if they stay in the desert, they are very hard to invade. They are able to build the Kasbah improvement on desert tiles instead of Forts. Unlike normal forts, which simply provide a 50% defense boost to units in them, the fact that they also provide boosts to gold, food, and production boosts transforms deserts from comparatively useless terrain to something that keeps Moroccan cities growing, while still having the 50% extra defense to units in them, so invaders have to go through them before they can get to the cities. Their special unit, the Berber Cavalry, which replaces the normal cavalry, only increases this, as they become more powerful when fighting in friendly deserts. Add in the fact that they're a trade-focused empire, meaning that invading them will likely cut out a big pile of money for you, and few people will invade Morocco... and for that same reason, Morocco's in no hurry to invade anyone else, because that would cut off their trade.
    • Korea. It has two unique units that nobody else has access to. First is the Hwacha, a replacement for the Trebuchet that is about 62% more powerful than the Trebuchet, but lacks an offensive bonus against cities, making it excellent for defending but not that great at bombarding enemy cities. The other is the Turtle Ship, which replaces the Caravel. It has about 55% more combat strength than the Caravel, but it is unable to travel into deep oceans. Similar to the Hwacha, it is great for defending your own coastline, but not very good at going on the offensive.
    • Ethiopia. If someone else has more cities than Ethiopia, all Ethiopian units get a 20% combat bonus against them. Their special unit, the Mehal Sefari, which replaces the Rifleman, only increases this, as it can get up to a 30% combat boost the closer it is to the capital. And these stack, giving Ethiopia up to a 50% combat bonus while defending, making them very hard for some big bully to take down. However, the very same bonuses that make them so strong defensively also make them suck on offense; the Mehal Sefari's boost stops working when travelling to attack far-off cities and, as Ethiopia conquers enemy cities, it will eventually have more cities than the enemy, thus disabling that other bonus too.
    • Babylon. Its Unique Building, Walls of Babylon, provides a larger bonus to city strength and HP than normal Walls, but does nothing for offence. It also has the Bowman, a unique Archer with some added punch, who can then be stationed in a city to make it basically impregnable. Aside from that, though, Babylon's offensive potential is pretty much nil — however, its real focus is Science, meaning that after a few turns, Babylon's tech advantage will more than make up for its lack of special offensive units.
  • Push cards and Sgt. Blok in Calculords. Push units can push enemy advances back and usually have high HP, but little to no offensive power. This doesn't mean they aren't threatening, since any units pushed back to their base are destroyed automatically. Many push units also possess armor that protects them from damage below a certain threshold. A simple yet effective strategy is to fill a lane with push units (with an armored one at the front), and buff the lane's health and/or armor. Sgt. Blok is an enemy commander who makes extensive use of push cards, to the point of having very few attack cards in his deck; his advances an be hard to stop as he has plenty of armored troops to put at the front of a line.
  • The Sentinel class in Wild ARMs XF. They have a strong natural defense and armors that solely focuses on defense, but they're the weakest in terms of physical power when compared with other physical based classes. Their designated weapons also do not provide much attack power when compared with other classes' weapons.
  • Telepath Tactics:
    • Spearmen. They lack the extra-powerful single-target attacks of other melee classes, and they have fewer counterattacks, but they have a boatload of health and can use the best defensive equipment. They even get an ability that makes them more likely to be attacked upon promotion.
    • Cavaliers, too. Though they're a lot weaker than other melee classes, they have a ton of health and can wear the best armor.
  • In Nectaris, the M-77 Trigger mine has the same attacking and movement potential of a literal stone wall (i.e. none whatsoever). However, for gameplay purposes, it is a proper unit that, like other units, can be supported by other adjacent allied units (including other mines), and can gain experience from successfully defending against attacks, which commonly happens since it's tied with the Giant for best defense in the game.
  • Rampart in Atlas Reactor has the highest HP in the game, and his signature move Bulwark deploys a giant shield that No Sells all attacks from a single cardinal direction. Rampart pays for this with having no dash outside his ultimate, low energy gain, and his offensive moves are limited in range and damage.
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned: The Sisters of Sigmar as a faction. Their units have universally below-average strength but rather good weapons skill, so even if the damage of their strikes isn't high they still hit reliably and parry well. The real draw off the Sisters though is their robust HP, near-universal ability to equip heavy armour, exceptional morale and plethora of support magic to back up their troops. Between all this, the Sisters are hard to shift and a menace in open combat.
  • XCOM 2: The SPARK, a robotic combat unit introduced with the Shen's Legacy DLC, wields a giant cannon that can dish out the hurt, but the unit's abysmal aim and mediocre offensive abilities make it much more suited for tanking duties. The entire left side of their skill tree is dedicated to facilitating this playstyle by giving the SPARK extremely thick armornote , healing capabilities, the ability to force a panic check on any enemy that attacks them, and finally an ability that increases their durability even further while redirecting all attacks against allies in their vicinity towards themselves. SPARKs are also natively immune to fire and poison, they tend to have significantly more health than their human comrades, they can be sent into combat regardless of how damaged they are, and suffering heavy damage will never affect their morale because, unlike human operatives, SPARKs don't have a Will stat.


  • The Alien from the Web Game Immor Tall cannot attack, but can take damage from the enemy soldiers and prevent the family from getting killed. Unfortunately, there is a limit to that, and he dies after the final attack on the family.
  • 100% Orange Juice: Fernet may have lowered attack and evasion (-1 and -2 respectively) but her 6 HP and +2 Defense means she can easily tank damage. On maps with regeneration effects she shines.
  • In Meteos, Arod functions in this way. Meteos is a Falling Blocks puzzle game where each civilization has different physics. Arod is the one with the weakest gravity, so blocks fall slowly and are cleared slowly. In multiplayer, this creates the effect of Arod being slow to attack with garbage blocks, and when it does, it doesn't usually hit that hard. However, the slowness also means attacks from opponents come slowly, allowing the Arod player ample time to defend and withstand those attacks. Arod wins matches by sheer endurance, waiting for the opponent to slip up and destroy themselves.
  • Cube Colossus: An Shoot 'em Up, with multiple playable ships to shoot from. One of them is A.M.U-02, described as:
    High Shield, Slow Move, Weak Attack.

    Visual Novels 
  • Valeria Trifa, the acting commander of the Longinus Dreizehn Orden from Dies Irae is in possession of the Divine Vessel, the physical body of their leader Reinhard. This grants him defenses unrivaled by anyone else but the man himself. His attacks by contrast are rather slow and not very powerful, resulting in him most of the time just letting his opponents hit and bounce off him while sneaking in a counter attack every now and again. Should he unleash his Creation Figment though, then his defenses will flip, turning him into a Glass Cannon instead.

    Web Comics 
  • Phil from Yosh!! He has an amazing ability to recover from injuries and Anti-Magic, but doesn't actually know how to fight.
  • Achilles from Grrl Power. His only superpower is that he's invincible. The 'can shrug off attacks that would destroy matter on the subatomic level' kind of invincible. He is functionally super strong as well (his invincibility allows him to use his muscles with more strength than a normal human could without injury) but it's nothing impressive compared to people with real super strength.
  • O-Chul of The Order of the Stick has spent his entire career taking every survivability feat possible. This pays off when he get captured and tortured to the brink of death for months on end. As a paladin he sees himself as a protector first and an attacker second.
    O-Chul:A lot of people are going to get hurt tomorrow. All we can do is stand in the way of that and say, "Not them. Me. If you need to hurt someone, hurt me.
  • Sheena from Kid Radd is an NPC who only appeared in cutscenes in her original game, and thus is completely invincible since she was never coded to take damage. She's also completely incapable of attacking anyone, because she was never coded to do that either. It's not until she inadvertently fuses with herself from her game's sequel in which she's Promoted to Playable that she has the ability to switch to that form and finally have offensive options (at the cost of losing her invincibility.)

    Web Original 
  • TierZoo treats real life animals and how well they survive as Character Tiers in an MMO "game", and there are naturally some builds (species) that have high defensive but lower offensive stats:
    • Geese have abysmal offensive capability but surprisingly good health and mobility which makes them annoying to take down. They pair this with an intimidation build to troll their opponents. This however makes them rather poor in a city meta, where they are only D-tier because their only threat is in their intimidation, and most builds who can resist it will easily beat them.
    • Porcupines. Their build has an abysmally low attack stat, low HP, poor stealth and slow mobility. However, their defense stat is sky-high thanks to their Quills ability that hurts melee attackers and causes damage over time.
    • Surprisingly, the video on turtles shows them zig-zagging this. While there are a few turtles that play into the stereotype of being tough but slow, such as the tortoise, several of the turtles shown either have great aquatic mobility or can deliver sizeable damage with their bite.
    • Baleen whales have the highest HP stat in the game thanks to their massive size, but their main weapon in their baleen is only good at killing krill and is ineffective against anything larger. That said, they do have a decent attack stat, since a Tail Slap from a whale is still very painful.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Simpsons episode "The Homer They Fall", Homer is revealed to be a Stone Wall, with Dr. Hibbert noting that his brain has a fluid cushion around it that acts like a football helmet. He can withstand constant blows from his boxing opponents, but is a very weak fighter. He wins fights only by waiting for his opponents to become exhausted, and then pushing them over. However upon confronting Drederick Tatum this tactic fails as the Tyson Expy is heavyweight champion, and easily capable of hitting hard enough to knock out Homer.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The title character has the power to create shields both of the weapon and bubble variety that, combined, can withstand even the strongest Gem weaponry. Unfortunately, he does not have any meaningful offensive abilities, so his teammates must end fights for him. This changes in the third season, when he begins to develop a few offensive abilities, including a spike version of the his shield and greater physical strength.
    • Peridots, at least modern ones, are very durable but possess no other exceptional physical abilities without the aid of technology. Given they're a Servant Race of technicians, this durability was probably protection against mechanical accidents. The Peridot the cast are familiar with discovered ferrokinesis strong enough to impale another gem with an iron bar, so she's not exactly toothless anymore.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "Courage vs. Mecha-Courage", he was put in a battle at the coliseum against the aforementioned Mecha-Courage. Needless to say, Courage has no skills as a fighter and is predictable beaten to a pulp. However, Mecha-Courage was the one who fell down at the final round since Courage is so determined to take a beating that it wore the robotic mutt out of its batteries.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, waterbending is a primarily defensive art. Waterbenders do not have the more typically aggressive offensive moves, instead focusing on redirecting their opponents' moves away from themselves, and most of their offense comes from their defense by turning their opponents' energy against them. In the context of the Hundred Years War, the Northern Water Tribe demonstrates this strategy as a whole. As Zhao pointed out, they were able to survive a hundred years of war as the landscape itself was an icy fortress. However, they lacked the ability or resources to mount any offensive campaigns against the Fire Nation. Notably, Iroh's defensive tactic to redirect lightning is inspired by waterbending tactics.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Atrocians like Ben's transformation The Worst have bodies that are practically indestructible, able to tank anything from physical and energy attacks, lava, and acid, though they still feel pain. They lack physical strength and have no attacks.

    Real Life 
  • Although Stonewall Jackson himself doesn't really fit this trope, another American Civil War officer, George Henry Thomas, certainly does. Fighting for the Union, Thomas became known quickly as a great defensive general. The Battle of Chickamauga, where, after his superiors bungled their battle strategy and caused a disaster that lost the army (which was already outnumbered by 10,000 men) a full third of its strength, Thomas rallied the remaining troops into a stiff defensive position and fought off wave after wave of Confederate attacks. This gave Thomas his famous monicker "The Rock of Chickamauga". Later, his methodical mindset became an irritant with his superiors. General Grant once complained, "There is no better man to repel an attack than Thomas, but I fear he is too cautious to take the initiative.” He wasn't so much cautious as methodical — you could maneuver around him fairly well, but you attacked him at your great peril.
  • Chiselers in table tennis are players who solely play defense, whittling down their opponent's bodies or psyches. A famous match between two world-famous chiselers (Alex Ehrlich and Paneth Farcas) lasted two hours and twelve minutes before the very first point was scored, and that was because Farcas's arm had locked up. The referee had to be replaced part way through, as his neck began to lock up. The match led to table tennis receiving a time limit of twenty minutes.
  • Israel's Masada is a literal example of this, being a fortress built atop a towering mesa. No projectiles could come close to reaching the top, and it took a 30-foot high rampnote  for the Romans' battering ram to reach it. Unfortunately, the occupants of the fortress lacked the manpower and weaponry to fend off the Roman forces when they finally reached the top.
  • The M4A3E2 "Jumbo" Sherman of World War II actually had a smaller gun (75mm) than the standard M4A3E8note  (76mm), but had significantly more armor plating. It was slower and had offroad treads. It was used to deal with bunkers and fortified positions, supporting infantry as they pushed inland out of the beachheads during the initial stages of the Normandy invasion. note 
    • British tank doctrine during World War II had two main types of tank: "Cruiser" tanks, which operated as mechanized cavalry and often fell into Fragile Speedster, borderline Lightning Bruiser territory, and "Infantry" tanks which, as the name suggests, were designed to provide support for infantry and were more centered around this dynamic. The Churchill tank had even more armor than the famous Tiger I and all but the biggest German guns had trouble disabling it, but its own main gun was rather underpowered and inadequate to deal with other armored threats, and it may have been slow, but due to its design being made it was slow everywhere, able to traverse mud, trenches, hills, and other nasty terrain that would've stumped most other tanks.
  • Switzerland has traditionally adopted this as its military style. They remain famously neutral, never going on offense — but to this day, it remains one of the most strongly fortified countries on earth. Their military capabilities are almost entirely focused on defending against invasion, so while they could never have invaded their neighbors, they've also remained uninvaded themselves — a claim their more powerful neighbors cannot make.
  • The famous Il-2 Sturmovik, was nicknamed the Flying Tank because it had steel armour protecting the cockpit, engine, fuel tanks and other vital parts from enemy AA-guns and a rear gunner to keep away enemy fighters. The payoff was that it had a much lower speed than lighter armoured single seat ground attack planes like the P-47 Thunderbolt and Hawker Typhoon as well as a much smaller payload in bombs and rockets. Most attack planes since have been Fragile Speedsters with few exceptions like the A-10 Warthog and the Su 25 Frogfoot.
  • The real life military tactic of the Shield Wall was essentially this. Soldiers would form a line where their large shields either touching or overlapped, extend their spears, and wait. Trying to go on the offense with an intact shield wall was slow and difficult, because everyone would have to move at the same pace, which could be tripped up by differing terrain, or someone getting tired and not being able to hold up the heavy and cumbersome shield for defense. Trying to attack a shield wall was a daunting task without overwhelming numbers, however, because while simply standing with a raised spear or making a short stab with a sword isn't very impressive offense, it's very good at keeping the men in the shield wall protected while the attackers either die or wear themselves out trying to breach it. As such it was the backbone of the Greek phalanx, the Roman legions, and continued in use all the way to the late Middle Ages.
  • There is also the power of literal stone walls. Fortifications made out of stone by themselves have no means of attack and are completely immobile but the wall created a tall barrier that the enemy either has to find some way over, under or through to get into the city/keep that lays behind the wall. Since attacking a fortification before the invention of cannons was such a daunting prospect, one common tactic when faced with a stone fortification was to surround it and wait till the defenders starve to death.
  • The crupellarius gladiator type was distinguished by a primitive plate armor stronger than even the standard battle dress of the era. In one slave rebellion, Roman soldiers confronted by crupellarii found their swords so ineffective that they had to break out pickaxes and hatchets to do any damage. However, the armor was heavy and ungainly, and the gladiators in question were fighting in the hot Italian sun, meaning that crupellarii had to be very cautious and conservative when moving and attacking or risk heat stroke.
  • In World War I, the "female" variants of the British Mark tanks fits this bill. The female variants had just as much armor and were as slow as the male variants. The male variants had large cannons, the female variants were only equipped with machine guns. This made them great against infantry but left them with no offensive capability against even lightly armored positions. In the first tank battle of the war (as well as the first one in world history), a pair of female Mark 1s were unable to do anything against a German tank.

Alternative Title(s): All Block No Bite, All Defense No Offense


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