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Warrior vs. Sorcerer

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"The wizard casts fireball!" "Well, I cast sword!"
Marina: Wizards are SCHOLARS. And they don't do "magic tricks". They are masters of the arcane arts, able to bend the elements to their will! But you knights have fun hitting each other with pointy metal sticks.
Pearl: Oh, we will! Have fun wearing your battle pajamas on the back lines.

When warriors and sorcerers are depicted as enemies or rivals. This trope is one of the oldest examples of human fighting skill, cunning and grit being pitted against superpowers and is very common in Sword and Sorcery settings which feature a Barbarian Hero against an Evil Sorcerer in a classic Brains Versus Brawn, Brains Evil, Brawn Good conflict as Magic Is Mental.

Usually, the warrior is The Hero and the sorcerer is the Big Bad (it is possible, but rare, to have the reverse be the case). They are usually a Badass Normal who relies on their fists, brains and weapons (which may or may not be magical) to win and may be aided by a good wizard or another supernatural being who serves as The Mentor and/or the Big Good.

If the warrior does have superpowers it will come in the form of them having enhanced physical abilities they were born with or where bestowed onto them by someone else. They might also be a supernatural martial artist, Magic Knight, Kung-Fu Wizard or ki manipulator. In that case, their sorcerer rival will be a Squishy Wizard who has little to no skill in melee combat. If the warrior is simply a Badass Normal, it is also possible for the sorcerer to have some skill in melee combat to allow for physical brawls while having an inherent advantage because of their magical knowledge.

The warrior is also likely to be a professional Mage Killer.

Warrior Versus Sorcerer need not be as simple as a clash between good and evil; it can also be a clash between ideologies. Warriors might see magic as evil, uncontrollable or dishonorable. Wizards might view themselves as superior to warriors because of their powers and magical knowledge or may see warriors as simple-minded brutes.

See also Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards (sorcerers being more versatile than warriors who rely purely on might). Compare Dragons Versus Knights where the dragons take the place of the sorcerer. Contrast Sword and Sorcerer which is about sorcerers and warriors working side by side as partners or friends.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: The hero of the story is Ichigo Kurosaki and the original Big Bad of the manga is Sozuke Aizen. Ichigo has the Cool Sword and enhanced physical abilities of a Shinigami but no training in kido, the magical arts of the Shinigami. Aizen, on the other hand, is trained in all forms of Shinigami combat, particularly kido which he frequently employs in battle.
  • A Certain Magical Index: The main protagonist is Touma Kamijou who relies on his brains, fists and ability to negate anything supernatural. These weapons serve him well against any evil magicians he goes up against such as Fiama of the Right.
  • Dragon Ball Super: The Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga has the Saiyan warriors Goku and Vegeta fighting the evil wizard Moro.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
      • In both the anime and the manga, Jonouchi Katsuya is a Badass Normal with no magic or Olympus Monsnote . His deck contains numerous Warrior-type monsters and monsters with a warrior aesthetic, reflecting his past as a street fighter. In the Battle City finals, he duels Yami Marik, the arc's Big Bad. Yami Marik knows Shadow Game magic and wields one of the three Egyptian God cards, the most powerful cards in the Duel Monsters game outside of Exodia. Despite being at a severe disadvantage, Jonouchi holds his own against Marik through cunning, grit and a bit of luck. He even comes close to beating Marik and becomes the first character in the show to scare him.
      • Yugi's ace card is the Dark Magician and his deck contains a number of spell cards and cards revolving around spell cards. Him and Jonouchi have dueled thrice, first in the Duelist Kingdom finals, then in Battle City finally Marik is possessing him, and later in the conclusion of the Battle City arc. Nonetheless, they are still friends.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds:
      • Invoked in Aki Izayoi's duel with Jill deLauncebeaux. Aki has Psychic Powers she has difficulty controlling and is known as "the Black Rose Witch". Jill uses a Warrior monster deck, dresses like a medieval knight and in the English Dub, fancies himself a gallant knight who is out to slay an evil witch.
      • Aki has two duels with Yusei who uses a warrior deck and has martial arts skills. The first one is during a tournament and the second one is Yusei trying to help Aki.

    Comic Books 
  • Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja are arguably the Trope Codifiers for comic books.
    • Conan is the Warrior to a number of Evil Sorcerers, like Thoth Amon, Yara and Thugra Khotan to name a few.
    • Red Sonja has also clashed with her fair share of evil wizards and witches, Kulan Gath being the most frequent of them. Sonja has mentioned a few times that she despises magic because of how often she has seen it used to harm innocents.
    • Kulan Gath and Thulsa Doom have also been depicted as opponents to both Sonja and Conan.
  • The Mighty Thor:
  • Starfire (1976): The titular character is a rebel leader trained in various forms of conventional combat and fights a gun and a sword. One of her enemies is a sorceress called Lady Djinn]].
  • Wild CATS Wild Storm: Zealot is an alien martial artist and Master Swordswoman whose Arch-Enemy is the Evil Sorceress Tapestry. As Zealot is a Wonder Woman Wannabe who wears red, this would make Tapestry her equivalent of Circe, who is also an evil sorceress and is associated with the color purple.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • The titular character is a superhumanly strong and fast Warrior Princess who fights with a sword and a magic lasso. One of her most iconic enemies is Circe, a misanthropic witch. The Phil Jiminez run even has a three-issue arc titled "The Witch and the Warrior" which revolves around Diana and Circe's enmity.
    • Another evil magician among Diana's rogues gallery is Thomas Asquith Randolph, the White Magician. He was once a hero but ultimately became obsessed with gaining power. He was defeated by Diana with help from her fellow Amazon Artemis and, ironically enough, Circe.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Blood Sword: If you're playing as an Enchanter, one encounter you can have is with "your greatest foe", an evil armoured knight whom you Killed Offscreen before the book started. He is resurrected by magic to try and take revenge by killing you this time.
    "Guillarme speaks, his voice sounding cold and tinny within his black helm. 'We meet again for one final encounter, you spell tossing churl. This time it is I, Guillarme le Cauchemarnote , who shall send you down into the icy embrace of Lady Death.' He gives a curt, contemptuous salute and then closes for the kill."
  • Conan the Barbarian: The most common nemeses for Robert E. Howard's original Conan The Barbarian were evil sorcerers of one stripe or another. And even the one time a sorcerer helps Conan instead of opposing him, the sorcerer's methods are so unnerving that at the end, the triumphant Conan states he wouldn't mind if he never saw the sorcerer again.
  • Discworld: One paragraph describes why wizards and warriors don't get along. It essentially boils down to each side calling the other gay (warriors accuse wizards of wearing long robes and can't perform magic when a woman's around, wizards retort that warriors sure do spend a lot of time in gyms surrounded by muscular men wearing very little leather clothing).
  • The Seventh Sword: The novels are set in a fantasy world with a traditional struggle between samurai-like "swordsmen" and "sorcerers". The sorcerers are actually mundane scientists, and the events of the series are a plan by the setting's gods to end the rivalry and create an alliance between them.
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter: The climactic battle is between Rothbart, a repented wizard-turned-warrior who preferred sword to sorcery even before losing his magical powers, and Gottwald, a sorcerer who always hides behind his magic. Rothbart forces him to fight him in an honest battle, but Gottwald is such a coward that he turns into a rat and tries to flee at the first opportunity, and is unceremoniously killed not even by Rothbart, but by a random soldier watchman who panics at the sight of the shapeshifting.
  • Wulfrik: Wulfrik is contacted by a Kurgan shaman named Zarnath who tells him he can rid Wulfrik of his curse (wander the Earth for eternity killing what the Chaos gods tell him to), in exchange for Wulfrik's Seafang (a teleporting longship). Wulfrik agrees, but then Zarnath betrays him and leaves him to die. Wulfrik escapes and discovers the shaman is actually an Imperial wizard (who'd foreseen his death at Wulfrik's hands and tried to avert it), leads an armada to find him and makes sure he dies slowly. Had the wizard let Wulfrik be, he'd have been killed sooner or later through mundane means.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Witch Hunter: The main protagonist is a trained gunman who fights evil witches. The titular Witch Hunter organization consists of fighters as well. While some members of the titular Witch Hunter organization have super powers, they also rely on weaponry and combat training as opposed to witches who focus solely on magic.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000:
    • The War God Khorne despises magic and forbids his warriors from using it if they want his favor. Magic weapons and the like are permitted so long as they result in more bloodshed, and the base of the Skull Throne is a massive forge where kidnapped sorcerers and cowardly warriors toil away creating enchanted weapons for his champions to use. Meanwhile, Tzeentch's followers tend towards a manipulative, backstabbing mindset, and so look down on Khornates as simple-minded brutes.
    • Fantasy's dwarves are standard gruff fighters and miners who distrust and dislike magic due to its potential for corruption. They use runes instead, which aren't as powerful but are far more reliable and less likely to lead to madness.
    • In 40K, the World Eaters Legion cemented their allegiance to Khorne by slaughtering their Librarians. Now they roam the galaxy in eight-man warbands looking for things to kill and be killed by.
    • The Space Wolves do have some magic users among their ranks (which they claim/believe is different from Warp magic as it's based on their cultural traditions), but are primarily warriors who prefer close combat. Their Arch Enemies are the Thousand Sons, a Legion of Space Marines dominated by sorcerers who are considered some of the most powerful psykers in the galaxy.

    Video Games 
  • Albion has one of the most interesting aversions on record. The Kenget Kamulos are a warrior culture, and they have magic-users, but they hold magic users in very high esteem. As far as they are concerned, all Kenget Kamulos are warriors, and sorcerers are just a kind of warriors that can kill their enemies from a football field away with their bare hands.
  • Battletoads: The games pit a trio of humanoid toad warriors against an evil sorceress known as the Dark Queen.
  • Devil May Cry 2: The Big Bad of the game is Arius, an Evil Sorcerer who seeks to claim the power of an ancient demon. He is opposed by Dante and Lucia, the game's heroes. Dante fights with a sword and a pair of guns while Lucia is a Dance Battler who uses two short swords and a bunch of knives. The two heroes are a half-demon and an artificial demon respectively, but have no spellcasting knowledge, instead using their weapons, fighting skills, and mystical items in tandem with their superhuman physical abilities.
  • Dragon Age: The series as a whole has an example of institutionalized warrior-wizard enmity. Said enmity is between the Circle of Magi and the Templar Order — a branch of the Chantry composed of non-mage knights whose sole purpose is to be the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Magi's heads in case power goes to their heads. In DA2 and DAI, this system finally breaks down and the two institutions go for each other's throats after centuries of uneasy peace.
    • Dragon Age II:
      • Inverted if Hawke is a mage, who struggles to contain and maintain stability in the city of Kirkwall as tensions continue to rise between the resident Templars led by Knight-Commander Meredith and the Kirkwall Circle Mages.
      • Played straight with one of Hawke's companions, Fenris, an elven warrior and former slave who's been spending the past few years hunting down Tevinter slavers, all of whom are magistersnote . More specifically, his personal questline deals with hunting down the magister named Danarius, who has been keeping Fenris' mother and sister as slaves.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Invoked, and slightly downplayed, if the Inquisitor is either a Rogue or Warrior class, as they lead the titular Inquisition against the Darkspawn magister Corypheus. Downplayed only in that the Anchor, a magical artifact that fused itself into the Inquisitor, gives them some control over the Fade and the various rifts throughout the world of Thedas.
  • Dragon Quest has featured warriors and knights fighting magic-wielding sorcerers and monsters throughout its history.
    • Dragon Quest features the sword and shield-wielding Hero in his quest to defeat the sorcerous Dragonlord to rescue Princess Gwaelin and eradicate the monsters ravaging the land.
    • Dragon Quest III pits the Hero against Archfiend Baramos, a magic-wielding dragon-like monster. Baramos turns out to be the Disc-One Final Boss, as the even more powerful sorcerer Zoma is The Man Behind the Man. The Hero's sword and armor would later be acquired by his descendant, the Hero of the first Dragon Quest game, to defeat Dragonlord.
    • Dragon Quest VI: The muscular, sword-wielding Hero first faces Dread Fiend Murdaw who wields magic in addition to his monstrous abilities. The Big Bad Mortamor puts him to shame, packing Kaboom, Bounce, and abilities like Disruptive Wave. Legacy versions of his boss battle in later games also have him use Kafrizzle and Kafrizz.
    • Dhoulmagus is the main antagonist of Dragon Quest VIII, who stole a staff in hopes of becoming the greatest magician in the world. He iss opposed by the Hero, a sword-wielding royal guardsman, who defeats him and later slays Rhapthorne, an even more powerful scepter-wielding demon of legend.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The Nords are a Proud Warrior Race, and in recent years at the time of the game have become distrustful of the College of Winterhold and of mages in general. Part of this is due to changing attitudes about magic by the Nords, who have come to see magic as a more "dishonest" way of fighting and entry to Sovngarde is restricted to those Nords who die honorable deaths. Members of the College typically have a disdainful view of the local Nords, but aren't going out of their way to antagonize them. Ironically, if the Dragonborn ventures to Sovngarde as part of the game's plot, Tsun will welcome you warmly as the Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold if you have earned the title, and lament that the Nords have stopped respecting "the clever craft."
  • EXTRAPOWER: The ongoing conflict between the brave hero Zophy and the pyramid witch Blackberry, whose life goal is to resurrect the ancient wizard Diamond Mine and impose magical global rule under him. Blackberry believing he would be a Benevolent Mage Ruler, Zophy believing he would be a Sorcerous Overlord and that Blackberry is heading down the path of evil. And so Zophy challenges Blackberry's pyramid and thwarts her plans at every turn. The Dark Force invasion forces the two of them to work together in defense of the Earth, but it's made perfectly clear that it's a temporary truce and that they'll see each other on opposite sides of the battlefield again if Blackberry returns to her objectives after.
  • Jade Empire: The Imperial Arena arc can be concluded by having you taking control of the Black Whirlwind, a hulking mercenary who only uses two axes, to face off Kai Lan the Serpent, an evil Kung-Fu Wizard, in a duel to the death. It's even lampshaded as "might meets magic".
  • The Legend of Zelda: The most commonly depicted conflict across multiple games is between Link, a humble young man who mainly fights using swords and other physical tools with any magical abilities being limited to enchanted trinkets and/or Bequeathed Powers, and Ganon(dorf), a demonic sorcerer who can use all sorts of powerful Black Magic even without the Triforce.
  • MediEvil: The main protagonist of the games is Sir Daniel Fortesque, a knight who was killed and revived as a skeleton. The respective main villains of the first and second games are Zarok and Palethorn, both of whom are sorcerers.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The Hero of the first game is the Warrior Monk Liu Kang. The Big Bad is Shang Tsung, an evil Voluntary Shapeshifting sorcerer with a penchant for stealing souls. Liu Kang defeats Shang Tsung and the two have been bitter enemies ever since.
    • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Shang Tsung earns the enmity of two warriors in this game. One is Kung Lao, Liu Kang's friend and fellow Shaolin Monk who seeks to avenge his friend's death at Shang Tsung's hands. The other is Kenshi, a swordsman who was blinded by Shang Tsung's treachery and seeks to kill him as revenge. Kenshi never gets to confront Shang Tsung and Kung Lao dies in battle against the sorcerer.
    • Mortal Kombat 9: In addition to retelling Liu Kang's decisive battle against Shang Tsung from the first game's tournament, Kung Lao's penultimate battle in story mode has him taking on both Shang Tsung and Quan Chi at the same time and winning.
    • One of the few evil Edenians in the franchise is Tanya, an evil Lady of Black Magic. Her chief enemies are Kitana, Jade and Sindel note . While these three do have superpowers, they are not explicitly stated to be magicians and are treated more as warriors.
    • Scorpion was the greatest fighter and assassin of the Shirai-Ryu clan before he was killed and resurrected as a specter with Hellfire powers. His Arch-Enemy is the evil sorcerer Quan Chi, who slaughtered Scorpion's family and clan.
  • Nox: There is an undeclared war between the Fire Knights of Dun Mir (warriors) and the wizards of Castle Galava (sorcerers), with both factions attacking each other on sight, even though it is unclear why they are actually fighting. If the player chooses to play as the Warrior or the Wizard class, they will have to fight their way through their respective enemies' headquarters and kill their leader (while the Conjurer class remains neutral and receives help from both leaders instead).
  • Phantasy Star Online 2:
    • The Guardian is canonically a Hunter before speccing in the Fighter, Hero, Phantom, and Etoile classes. Their Arch-Enemy in Episode 2 is Luther, a Photoner from an ancient civilization who specializes in the use of Techniques and has the ability to stop time, having stolen it from the body of Klariskrays I.
    • In Episode 4, Adam Sacrid, the leader of Earth Guide, has a certain rivalry against Phaleg Ives, Mother Corps' Disciple of Fire and an immensely powerful hand-to-hand combatant. When Adam takes the field himself, he uses magic-like attacks with his command of Aether. True to form for this trope, the bloodthirsty Phaleg turns out to be a Noble Demon who wishes the best for humanity as individuals, while Adam is a Well-Intentioned Extremist so obsessed with evolving humanity that he's willing to forcibly transform everyone on Earth into Phantasms.
  • Prince of Persia:
    • The original two games have the eponymous Prince as the heroic warrior opposing Jaffar, an evil Magic Knight.
    • The Sands of Time trilogy once again has the Prince as a heroic Warrior Prince. The Big Bad of the first and third games is the Vizier, who is an evil sorcerer.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight: The final battle of the story is between Sonic and Dark Queen Merlina. Sonic is a Knight in Shining Armor who wields a sword, while Merlina is an Anti-Villain sorceress fighting to save her world.

  • The Order of the Stick: The Arch-Nemesis of Roy, leader of the titular Order, is Xykon, an undead Lich sorcerer. However, this is due to circumstances outside of Roy's control; Xykon once killed the mentor of Roy's father Eugene (who was a wizard) and Eugene swore a blood oath to kill Xykon (preventing himself and any of his descendants from going to the afterlife until Xykon dies), but later gave up on it when it became a hassle. Eugene's strained relationship with his son also prompted Roy to instead follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Horace, as a swordsman, which disappointed Eugene. It was only when he was old and on the verge of dying that Eugene suddenly dumped the burden of the blood oath on Roy, forcing Roy to pursue Xykon. However, throughout the course of the story and his many encounters with the villain, Roy grows to despise the lich for his own reasons and decides to kill him not only for the blood oath, but because the lich genuinely needs to be stopped. To highlight the differences in their talents, Roy once tried to fight Xykon on the back of an undead dragon, but Xykon simply used flight to get away and then cast meteor swarm to destroy the dragon, causing Roy to plummet to his death. (He gets better.) Likewise, Roy's sword also gets reforged with magical ore making it very deadly to spellcasters and undead entities.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: Aladdin and Jasmine clash with a few evil sorcerers and sorceresses in the show. The most memorable and recurring of them is Mozenrath, whom Iago even calls "Jafar jr".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The episode "Jet" has a duel between the eponymous Jet, a Badass Normal who fights with hookswords, and Aang, the last of the airbenders. Jet is planning to destroy an Earth Kingdom village that has been claimed as Fire Nation territory, even though the people in it are civilians. Aang, who has lost his people to the Fire Nation is against this.
    • Another one with Jet occurs in "City of Walls and Secrets". This time his opponent is the firebender Zuko, whom Jet is trying to out as a Fire Nation member. Since Zuko is trying to keep his cover, he fights using only swords. Jet comments that he is tiring out and will have to use firebending at some point. Fortunately for Zuko, the police arrive and take Jet away for disturbing the peace.
    • "The Blue Spirit" has the Yuyan Archers, an elite squad of Fire Nation archers. They are tasked with hunting down and capturing Aang, a task they actually succeed in. Despite this, they are never seen again.
    • Zuko has a confrontation with his father Ozai during the Day of Black Sun, where all firebenders have their powers shut down. While Ozai is a superior firebender to Zuko, Zuko's skill with swords give him a better fighting chance than his father who has no means of defending himself without his firebending.
  • Castlevania: A Magic Knight vs Squishy Wizard example. Isaac has some skill in magic, specifically as a Maker of Monsters and Necromancer. However, he mostly Fights Like a Normal, using either a spiked belt or a magic dagger. In "The Harvest", Isaac faces an evil magician who has mentally enslaved an entire town to his will. While the Magician has immense power, he is also physically frail and weak. He is utterly helpless once Isaac gets past his defenses and shrugs off his mind control.
  • Masters of the Universe: He-Man is a warrior who fights with a sword that grants him super strength. His Arch-Enemy is the skull-faced sorcerer Skeletor.
  • Mummies Alive!:
    • The main heroes are warriors from Ancient Egypt who uses mystical weapons and armor to fight an evil magician.
    • Rath vs Enchantra is a Magic Knight vs Squishy Wizard/Lady of Black Magic example. Rath fights with a sword and is the only one of the mummies who knows magic. Enchantra relies solely on magic and is Rath's Pupil Turned Evil.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: The titular hero is a warrior who draws power from a mystical ninja garb. The main villain is an Evil Sorcerer.
  • Samurai Jack: The eponymous main character is a heroic Samurai. His Arch-Enemy is a demonic sorcerer named Aku.
  • ThunderCats (1985): The series pits a team of Cat Folk warriors against an evil lich. This applies to the 2011 reboot as well.