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Sword Drag

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A character that carries a sword will, at some point, drag the tip of the blade across a floor or wall. This is usually done to intimidate or to catch the attention of another character, or simply to invoke the coolness factor, but rarely does it have any practical application. It can also be associated with an Ax-Crazy character or a Villainous Breakdown, because if someone holding a sword goes into a Primal Stance or becomes Limp and Livid, they tend to forget they're holding it and just let it drag. Or it might just be that they can't actually lift the sword for any length of time, either because they're tired, the sword is too big, or the sword is just that heavy.

It generally causes Swirling Dust and Sword Sparks, but with the floor, not another sword. Might also be the source of a Sinister Scraping Sound.

Naturally, this would be a terrible maneuver to use in real life as it would wear down any good sword, slow down the wielder, and telegraph the coming attack to an extremely obvious degree - to the wielder's would-be target, seeing their opponent dragging the sword across the floor pretty much explains exactly what they plan to do with it when they get close enough. Thankfully in fiction, we have the Rule of Cool to make up for that. No, this is not about drag queens armed with swords.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Guts' sword in Berserk frequently drags his BFS across walls and floors, often leaving smashed cobblestones behind him. It's also common for his sword to end up buried in the ground after a blow. Justified; the sword is never particularly sharp to begin with, used more like a bludgeon than a bladed weapon.
  • Found aplenty in Bleach, often with character's swords ripping clean through walls without breaking stride. It's justified due to the fact that their swords are actually a part of their soul, and regenerate all damage over time.
  • Saya of Blood+, and also her sister Diva in their final confrontation.
  • Justified in Claymore, in which a secondary character does this to boost the power of her attack (and uses an unbreakable sword). The theory is that the drag slows down the swing, giving you more time to put kinetic energy into it for the same distance covered (which with a sufficiently spring-like blade and slow-twitch biased muscle development could actually work). Her opponent does note that it's a very predictable move that you can't pull twice.
  • In the Hellsing anime series, during his duel with Alucard, Father Anderson drags his bayonets along the floor and ceiling (one in each hand) of the subway car he is in. When he brings them together to strike Alucard, it causes the car to split in half.
  • Amazingly inverted in Highlander: The Search for Vengeance where Malike uses his chainsaw sword to propel him towards his opponent.
  • Louis XV, before he kills Anna, in Le Chevalier d'Eon.
  • Justified with Mikoto in My-HiME; her BFS is just about as big as she is, and it's how she powers up her attack
  • Sasuke uses a variant with his Chidori in prior to the Time Skip in Naruto. Whether he had any practical reason to do so, such as concerns over slicing off his limbs, is unknown, but what is known is that the owner of the hotel whose wall he gouged in half probably wasn't happy.
  • Acrobat Cabaji of One Piece deliberately does this to kick up a blinding dust cloud. He calls it Circus Trick: Murder at the Steam Bath.
  • Variation: Combusken's Sky Uppercut in the Pokémon anime, starts with him dragging the tips of his claws along the floor, making some sparks and then doing the Uppercut. That only happened during a couple of instances in the Kanto Grand Festival. The attack isn't normally executed like that. Another variant: when Ash was battling to capture the Taillow that has been menacing the group, the Taillow drops to the river and dips its wings against the water while charging towards Pikachu.
  • Justified with Shishio in Rurouni Kenshin who does it to ignite the oil covering his sword and set the sword on fire. His sword also sharpens when worn down instead of dulling.
  • Mugen of Samurai Champloo does this once or twice. However, like much of the chambara expressed the series, it is portrayed more realistically, with Mugen sliding the side of his sword rather than carving into the floor with the tip.
  • Crona with Ragnarok in Soul Eater in Limpand Livid moments when they're particularly unstable. Switches abruptly into — slightly — more reasonable movements when Medusa reminds Crona what they need to do. Can look as though Crona is being dragged by the Equippable Ally rather than vice-versa.

    Comic Books 
  • Wolverine does it too, running hunched with his claws carving the floor or walls. At least in his case he has the excuse that it's not like doing so is going to blunt them any. Most notably, he's depicted doing so on the iconic cover of Ultimate X-Men #1.

    Fan Works 
  • No stars in sight: Cuaroc, the metal beast on Vroengard, uses a massive claymore that he drags through the ground by the blade as he wanders around his island, leaving a narrow trail carved into the earth next to his footprints. Having been hunted by Cuaroc for decades, Formora can tell if he's nearby by listening for the sound of his sword scraping over the ground.
  • In Ryan vs. Dorkman 2, Ryan drags his lightsaber through a puddle of water. At another point in the film, Ryan swings his blade into the floor, throwing a shower of sparks into his opponent's face.
  • In You Awaken In Razor Hill, a World of Warcraft Fanfic involving an Orc Hunter, Pyramid Hogger's presence is announced by the sound of his BFS scraping along the floor. Scrape.

    Films — Animation 
  • Done in the original animation called Dragonboy through a reverse on the common knight saves princess from dragon (twice when the dragon goes to save the princess and then the princess goes to save the dragon). In this animation, the knight drags his sword for sinister effect.
  • Cloud himself does this once at the end of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. But he had just gotten stabbed in nearly every part of his body by Sephiroth, then shot in the back by Yazoo and/or Loz with a glowing magically charged bullet that exits spectacularly out his chest, so we can't really blame him either.
  • In the Justice League: Gods and Monsters short Twisted, Harley Quinn drags her sledgehammer on the ground this way, one of the many nods to how mentally unstable she is. Justified as using a more blunt weapon like a sledgehammer won’t really affect it that much if at all.
  • The Wolf does this in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish after he manages to make Puss bleed and fear him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Blade Trilogy, the titular character is fond of this before a big fight scene as an intimidation tactic, dragging the tip in a half-circle then turning the blade 90 degrees.
  • The Crazies (2010) has a pitchfork drag. One of "the crazies" shambles toward a field hospital ward full of people who are strapped helplessly to beds and cannot move. Horror ensues.
  • In Hotel Rwanda, the extremist Hutus intimidatingly slide their machetes along roads while marching toward the slaughter of Tutsi refugees.
  • Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street does this with his claws against walls, but then, literally, his whole schtick is being as frightening as he can...
  • Gipsy Danger pulls this off in Pacific Rim. Only it's actually done with a very long and narrow freighter, but the visual is the same.
  • One of the zombies does this (though with a fire ax rather than a sword) in Resident Evil (2002).
  • Used realistically in Rob Roy to indicate that the character is so exhausted from less than five minutes' fighting that he can barely lift his sword.
  • The Hutu extremists also do this in Sometimes in April, another movie about the Rwandan Genocide.
  • Star Wars:
    • As with Wolverine above, lightsaber users don't need to worry about dulling or damaging the blade, which removes the main Fridge Logic problem with doing this.
    • Revenge of the Sith features a scene in which General Grievous spins four lightsaber blades like propellers. The blades are shown to be chopping into the floor as he advances on Obi-Wan.
    • In the novelization, Vader drags his lightsaber along the wall in a corridor, just for the fun of it, while slaughtering the Separatists.
  • There is a great example in Sucker Punch. When the first giant Samurai approaches Baby Doll to attack, he drags a bladed staff halfway across a plaza.
  • In TRON: Legacy, during the Lightcycle match, Clu drags his Deadly Disc against the floor while speeding on his Cool Bike, getting a nice trail of color-coded sparks. The Identity Discs appears to be indestructible, though, so it solely damages the floor.

  • Fengshen Yanyi: just to underline how much of a brutal savage Wu Wenhua is, he's always described as dragging his weapon (a humongous club with nails made from a whole three trunk) behind him, even as he's charging at the enemy or running away in fear.
  • Quite a few people do this with lightsabers in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, starting in The Thrawn Trilogy. When you need to get to the next room, or the floor beneath this one, and you don't have time to find a door or a stairwell, it's just expedient to drag a lightsaber through it, either carving a hole or just weakening it enough to break.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: In the episode "One Minute", one of the cousins does this with his axe while going after Hank.
  • In Chinese Paladin, a Brainwashed and Crazy Ah Nu does this after killing Mo Yixi.
  • Doctor Who: In "Before the Flood", Moran's ghost stalks Cass while dragging an axe along the floor. Cass cannot hear him approaching because she is deaf.
  • Game of Thrones. In the climatic finale of Season 4, Tyrion Lannister takes a crossbow, and the goats-foot-lever used to cock it, off his father's Wall of Weapons, letting the latter drag along the stone floor as he walks down the corridor towards the privy where Lord Tywin is. Tyrion has crossed the Despair Event Horizon after finding his former Love Interest in father's bed and strangling her, so it signifies his general I-don't-give-a-fuck-anymore attitude.
  • In GARO, Suzumura Rei does this at least once to scare Kaoru.
  • In one episode of Highlander, Duncan approaches the Villain of the Week and scrapes the tip of his katana on the concrete floor, to distract the villain from his intended victim.
  • Kamen Rider Double : Ryu Terui does this with the Engine Blade during his first appearance, but rather than intimidation it's simply because the sword is so heavy that he can't wield it properly without transforming into Kamen Rider Accel.
  • In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Kamen Rider Wrath will scrape his Absurdly Sharp Blades against each other, creating Sword Sparks. You'd think it'd dull them, but his ability to curb stomp good Riders never suffers.
  • Sense8: In the second season finale Sun chases down her criminal brother Joong-ki. Once she has him cornered she grabs a long piece of metal rebar and drags it behind her as she walks towards him. She ultimately can't bring herself to kill him but the threat is still there.
  • The Governor does this with a shovel in The Walking Dead, while he's hunting Andrea through a dark, empty building. Serves to demonstrate that while his quarry is desperately trying to avoid making any sound, he's not afraid to give away exactly where he is (partly because he also has a gun).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Paul Bunyan is said to have created the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe along the ground when he was trudging along to California through the desert because he was too hot and tired to carry it properly.

    Video Games 
  • Teo, the sword-wielding feline protagonist from Bound by Blades will drag his sword on the ground while running. It seems to charge his swinging attack, allowing him to deal greater damage on bosses.
  • The first trailer of Brütal Legend sees Eddie do this with an axe.
  • During the Release Date Trailer, the Lamb of Cult of the Lamb does this to their sword after just using it to slice apart a monster about to eat a prospective follower for the Lamb's cult.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood , a Follower of Romulus does this in Cestius' Pyramid. It was not him doing the ass-kicking.
  • Equipping Salamandra to your legs in Bayonetta 2 will have Bayonetta do this automatically when she runs, complete with a gratuitous amount of Sword Sparks.
  • Enemies with weapons like lead pipes and heavy flashlights will occasionally do this in BioShock.
  • Solange from Code of Princess does this with the DeLuxcalibur because the sword really is too big for her that she has to drag it around just to move.
  • The Black Knights from Dark Souls tend to do this a bit. Semi-justified, since it's usually the prelude to a big, air-launching upwards sweep attack. A player armed with a Black Knight weapon can do this as well.
  • The Raincoat Killer from Deadly Premonition does this with his axe.
  • Diablo II
    • The Stranger with the huge Broadsword in the intro.
    • The expansion pack features the Reanimated Horde, skeleton warriors with big two-handed swords that drag on ground as they walk.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Garland does this constantly with his shapeshifting sword. You can hardly blame him — in its default form, it puts Cloud's to shame — being longer, wider, thicker, and just generally larger than the entire heroic cast.
  • Heavy Blades in The World and Edge Punishers in The World R:2 of .hack tend to hold their blades low with tips barely touching the ground. This is more obvious during CG cutscenes where sparks are rendered to accompany the effect.
  • Although it's not in the actual game, the main character Hawke drags his spear while charging a Dual Wielding qunari in a cinematic trailer for Dragon Age II.
  • The Flame Blade in Dynasty Warriors 8 (DLC in the base game, made Sun Quan's main weapon in Empires) weaponizes this: the friction from dragging it across the ground sets the blade alight, powering up its attacks temporarily.
  • This happens in Fable if you try to wield a heavy weapon without sufficient strength.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Kriemhild wields her husband Siegfried's sword Balmung. She drags it along the ground a lot, both because she is insane and an untrained warrior, and because the sword is really heavy.
  • Final Fantasy VII's motorcycle chase sequence has Cloud do this with his Buster Sword.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, the Seifer vs. Squall fight in cutscene makes use of this extensively.
  • One of the cutscenes in Halo Wars has the Ax-Crazy Arbiter do this, with obvious justification.
    • In Halo Wars 2, a flashback to the day Atriox forsook the Covenant shows him doing something similar with the bladed side of his gravity hammer.
  • Roxas does this with his Keyblades during a cutscene fight in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • The League of Legends champion Tryndamere runs around dragging his sword behind him with one hand. But then again, with a sword like that, you have to wonder if he kills stuff by cutting with the blade's edge or just smashing with the weight of it.
  • The Redeads in Twilight Princess carry their ginormous cleavers this way. It takes an agonizingly long time for them to swing said cleavers overhead... which is why they're also a case of The Paralyzer, whose scream stuns Link juuuuuust long enough for the clade to connect.
  • In Little Nightmares II, Mono does this with all the weapons he wields. It's a Justified Trope, however. His small size causes most weapons that people would regard as "small" (like a hammer or a a soup ladle) are like large weapons, resulting in him dragging it along the ground.
  • Kai Leng is Mass Effect 3 is reduced to this after being beaten by Shepard.
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes has the Cyborg Ninja sweep his sword along the ground while fighting Snake for the first time. Possibly justified, since his sword was impossibly strong and sharp, and Snake was lying on the ground at the time.
  • Goss Harag from Monster Hunter: Rise is the unholy combination of a yeti, oni, and polar bear that can freeze its paws into large icy blades. And if it stuns you, it will drag one of its bladed paws against the ground while it slowly moves in to brutalize you further.
  • Occurs twice in [PROTOTYPE], both with Alex Mercer and Captain Cross. Mercer's example comes when he finally defeats the parasite that's been restricting his powers; in a fairly awesome scene, he develops both the Armor and the Blade powers, dragging the tip of the blade in a circle around him. Cross's example is dragging his shock staff across the ground in anticipation of fighting Infected. Both examples are justified, somewhat: Alex's blade is a shapeshifter weapon, so he can easily repair any potential damage, and Cross's staff doesn't have an edge to ruin.
  • In Resident Evil, both videogame and film incarnations, the Executioner drags his axehammer on the ground. Again, justified because the weapon is only slightly smaller than the Executioner himself.
  • In RuneScape there is a two-handed melee ultimate ability that does this.
  • In Samurai Shodown, one of (Dual Wielding) Yagyu Jubei's special attacks (the "Nikakurato") has him charging towards the opponent with a shoulder smash while dragging his wakizashi along the ground- leaving sparks behind. After a solid hit or few with the shoulder smash, he then lunges upward with his katana into a soaring slash capable of a Clean Cut if it finishes off the opponent.
  • Kojuro in Sengoku Basara does this when he enters Berserk Mode, apparently to seem more threatening toward opponents. In the anime season 2 he pulls it off in fine style against Hanbe and his mooks.
  • Silent Hill
  • The scenario is revived in Silent Hill: Origins with The Butcher and his Meat Cleaver.
  • As of Pyramid Head's Guest Fighter appearance in Dead by Daylight, he can now use this trait as one of his special mechanics. Scraping the Great Knife along the ground will open up trenches that will inflict a survivor with a special "torment" status effect when they walk across them. That effect gives him the ability to basically skip over hooking survivors by instead sending them to special "cages of atonement", or, if they're on their last legs, just flat-out killing them on the spot.
  • In Soul Calibur III if you are playing as Nightmare or Siegfried, there are two versions of the same cutscene with slightly different dialogue upon reaching the Forgotten Cathedral, wherein Nightmare arrives and approaches Siegfried while dragging a new version of SOUL EDGE. Justified, naturally, as this is one of the more famous of video game BFSs. It is made all the more sinister by the fact that Nightmare is actually the will of the cursed sword made solid and given "life". So, Soul Edge is effectively Sword Dragging ITSELF in order to achieve this effect. The creepy eye doesn't make it any less frightening, nor does the menacing sound of the blade sparking on the ancient stone. Later, in Nightmare's ending, he does this while sliding down a castle wall before slaughtering the knights within.
  • A magazine ad for Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has Kyle doing this with a lightsaber after Zorro Marking the wall with the game's insignia.
  • Slayers in The Suffering will often drag one hand-blade along the ground as they charge. The sound is often the first sign that they're coming. It also often kicks up sparks which are sometimes the first thing you see if they're coming out of the darkness.
  • Lucina does this in her approach to attack Captain Falcon in her and Robin's reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/Nintendo 3DS. Justified in that Falchion is an unbreakable magic sword which presumably wouldn't suffer too much from such an act.
  • In Time Commando, if you equip the giant club in the Prehistoric level or the axe in Ancient Rome, you'll wind up dragging them behind you when you move (which slows you down considerably) because they're too heavy to carry regularly.
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation has one level where Lara must face undead knights who move very slowly and drag their swords along the ground except when they're actually attacking. They're also immune to all of Lara's weapons and can take more than half her health with a single attack.
  • In Transistor, the protagonist Red drags the titular Transistor behind her at all times, since it's almost as tall as she is. The "wear down the sword" bit comes up in an unused line where Royce expresses his distaste upon watching Red drag it around. It's still sharp enough to stab through Red at the end.
  • In Twisted Metal for PlayStation 3, you can drag a chainsaw on the ground to make it red hot so it does more damage.
  • Dullahan's entrance in Vagrant Story is heralded by the sound of his sword scraping on the floor. When he enters, he drags it for another moment, and then cuts a mystic circle around himself.
  • Yakuza 2 has Ryuji Goda do this towards the end of the game, but this is only PS2 Exclusive; Ryuji just points his blade and brings it closer to his face.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: The White Fang Lieutenant drags an active Chainsaw Sword along the floor of a moving train, presumably to save his strength given that it's as tall as he is and he wields it one handed repeatedly during the fight with Weiss.
  • DEATH BATTLE!: Sweet Tooth drags his signature machette on the floor as he walks toward The Joker to finish him.

    Web Videos 
  • In the trailer for the RedLetterMedia review of Revenge of the Sith (yes, they released a trailer for an upcoming movie review), Nadine drags the tip of her machete along an alley wall as she goes to confront Plinkett and seek revenge for what he did to her and her baby during the previous two Star Wars prequel reviews.

    Western Animation 
  • Huey did this for a moment in a fight with Riley on The Boondocks, ensuring at least some damage to the floor.
  • Code Lyoko
    • William (as XANA's Dragon) tends to do that; not surprising given the size and weight of his sword. He even draws a full Eye of XANA on the floor the one time he is translated to the real world, but there he is just being a show-off.
    • Ulrich is also guilty of this while riding his Overbike. Of course, being in a virtual world their swords won't dull.
  • Snake Eyes does this occasionally in G.I. Joe: Renegades.
  • In the beginning of episode "Dethwater" of Metalocalypse, Nathan Explosion does this with an ax in the music video for "Thunderhorse", just before decapitating Murderface.
  • When Gigabyte has Bob and Dot cornered in the ReBoot episode "Gigabyte", he drags his giant claw across the alley wall in this fashion, apparently for no reason other than to further intimidate the people he'd already cornered.
  • During Season Five of Samurai Jack Jack faces off against a very tall assassin who wields a very large sword he controls musically; it flies around at his command. When Jack, stripped of his other weapons, finally cuts Scaramouche down he drags that sword over before heaving it up for the strike, though he doesn’t take it with him because it’s too heavy.
  • In Star Wars Rebels, the Grand Inquisitor does this in "Gathering Forces" using his own red lightsaber in one hand and the knocked out Kanan's blue lightsaber (exemplified by the whole thing taking place in a dark, abandoned base) as he menacingly approaches and taunts Ezra about how he's going to die.
  • Wakfu: A variation. The Big Bad Qilby pulls off a menacing Scythe Drag at one point during his battle with Yugo over Qilby and Shinonome's Dofus.
  • In Young Justice Moded!Blue Beetle does a menacingly good job with his blades in "Intervention".

    Real Life 
  • One technique commonly used by cavalry involves holding your sword downwards and out to the side while riding. Doing so allows you to utilize the forward momentum of your mount to increase the power of an upward slash. Occasionally, the sword may drag along the ground: this is usually either unintentional, or done for psychological reasons.
  • Knife fighters fight from a low crouch and, if they're on a hard surface like pavement or concrete, will sometimes scrape the tip of the blade along the ground to psych out an opponent.
  • Some haunted houses and mazes (including Universal's Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream) have actors drag their prop blades across walls and floors to scare the guests, sometimes while running at them.
  • In 1924, the Chilean military had a budget raise stuck in congress, who at the time were more concerned with stalling whatever laws were being written rather than get anything done. Thus, a small squad went to protest by way of dragging their sabers all over the congress floor as they walked. It worked, as that week saw a massive outpour of backed-up laws being passed.


Video Example(s):


There's no need to rush

You don't need to be flesh and blood to make use of this trope - even if you're a mecha, taking your time on the approach will ensure everyone knows you are fully capable of cracking skulls before the first blow connects.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / MenacingStroll

Media sources: