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Weak to Magic

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"You know, you've never been any good against magic. And magic's what I'm all about."

A character that is Weak to Magic is, as you might expect, more easily damaged by magical means as opposed to mundane ones in settings with magic or a close equivalent to it. This can be for reasons ranging from magic being antithetical to their being, tactical or Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors at work, and more. While a traditional Squishy Wizard has great magical power but lacks much in the way of physical strength or endurance, a character that is Weak to Magic may actually have great magical power, but still can't take getting hit by magical attacks.

Compare Magically Inept Fighter for characters who lack skill with using magic, but aren't necessarily weak against it.

In a modern setting, may overlap with Immune to Bullets. Compare Weak-Willed for when someone is vulnerable to mental attacks, which can overlap if the mental attacks happen to be magic-based. Cold Iron and Science Destroys Magic are for cases of magic being weak against technology. Contrast Anti-Magic for things that nullify magic, as well as Mage Killer for characters with a high resistance to magic (oftentimes at the expense of physical durability). For the inverse of this trope, see Resistant to Magic.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Downplayed in that they're not particularly weak to it, but Kryptonians such as Superman are capable of being damaged by magic and magical weapons like an average human would, despite their Nigh-Invulnerability, making magic one of the only ways to directly harm them that doesn't involve the use of Kryptonite. This weakness is portrayed inconsistently, however. In some cases, a Kryptonian needs to avoid being struck by a magical sword or fire because they will cut or burn them like a normal person, but in a different story, being struck by a magical hammer or lightning will only hurt slightly more than being struck by any other sufficiently-powerful weapon or energy source. Depending on the Writer, magic's effect on Kryptonians vary greatly - in one issue of Trinity (2008), being in magic-rich Skartaris causes Superman's powers to shut off except for his Heavyworlder low-end super strength and toughness.
  • In Seven Soldiers, Gloriana Tenebrae is vulnerable to the magic of Caliburn.
  • At times, higher order magic can cause serious harm to the Shazam/Marvel Family.
  • In Doctor Strange, the Imperator has magic as his Achilles' Heel.
  • Like all Strontians, Kallark/Gladiator has a weakness to magic.
  • Despite being powered by a mystical connection to Cyttorak, the Juggernaut/Cain Marko of X-Men is known to be vulnerable to high levels of mystical attack.
  • In Hack/Slash, Nef Black Magic can cause permanent harm to Slashers. Also counts as Wrong Context Magic given the Nef demons are from Another Dimension of Planet Heck.
  • One of the Scarlet Witch's first Took a Level in Badass moments (during the Shooter/Perez era) came from her realizing Ultron had no real defenses against magic, especially probability-warping magic. Even the best computers, after all, rely on millions of little circuits working perfectly; a simple hex bolt can make ALL of them crash at once, no matter how unlikely. It's Downplayed in that Ultron can regenerate his circuits in seconds, but still - she made a better showing against him than any of the other Avengers.
  • In general, when comics treats magic as reality-warping or primordial then everything is vulnerable to magic, such as Marvel having their mightiest and most gigantic Celestials getting killed by a regular-sized magic axe. Likewise DC's most powerful gods and entities have often been harmed with relatively minor magic.

    Fan Works 
  • In Manehattan's Lone Guardian, Leviathan enters Equestria with a weakness to magic-based illusions, which she has no real counter for.
  • Pokémon Wack: Poison, Fire, Magma, Ghost, Chaos, Cosmic, and Ogre are all weak to Magic-type moves. Some Pokemon that are especially weak to magic include Chestburste (Poison/Cosmic), Nobunaga (Chaos/Fire), Zodiac Unown (Cosmic/Magma), the Gengar line (all of them are Ghost/Poison), and the Chandelure line (all of them are Fire/Ghost).

    Films — Animation 
  • The premise of the animated film Justice League Dark. An unknown force is taking control of people causing them to murder indiscriminately under the belief that victims are demons. The Justice League attempts to intervene after parents start murdering their children, but most members, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are known to be vulnerable to magic. The threat to the world is too great if one of these powerhouses were to become magically brainwashed, so Batman assembles a Dark Magic / Occult equivalent which includes John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Black Orchid, Jason Blood, and Swamp Thing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor assumes he's impervious to the mind-meddling Scarlet Witch is using to whammy the human Avengers. However, she proves able to trigger visions in his mind. Additionally, magic is the primary weapon of Loki, Thor's adopted brother and main antagonist. It is repeatedly demonstrated in scenes in Thor, Thor: Ragnarok, and other MCU films that Thor has difficulty detecting when Loki is using magic to deceive him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the season 1 The Flash crossover with Arrow, Barry assumes his metahuman ability makes him immune to Roy Bivolo's anger-inducing powers. In reality, it actually makes him more susceptible, interacting negatively with his enhanced biology, making him dangerously angry, violent, and very difficult for his non-powered team and allies to counteract and neutralize.
  • In Grimm, Nick Burkhardt, the Grimm, is an enhanced human, easily shaking off things that would injure if not kill most humans, usually requiring no more than a quick nap. However, he is kidnapped by Baron Samedi whose wesen power allows him to turn people into mindless zombies. Nick's Grimm physiology allows him to override Samedi's control, but the magic clashes dangerously with his enhanced combat skills and heightened situational awareness creating a nigh unstoppable killing machine that doesn't discriminate between the innocent and the guilty.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Zelena is vulnerable to White Magic.
  • In "Spell", the season 4 episode of Smallville, Lana, Lois, and Chloe are possessed by the spirits of vengeful witches who were burned at the stake. Clark tries to stop them but they use their magic to overpower him, strip him of his powers, and restrain him. Eventually, he escapes and burns the book that released the witches' ghosts, undoing the possession. Afterwards, visibly shaken, he tells his parents that magic is real and it can actually hurt him.
  • On Supernatural, the angel Castiel is impervious to nearly everything on Earth, but season 10 reveals that even angels are effected negatively by magic. This is likely because witches are believed to draw their powers from an unholy covenant with a demon. When cast upon a holy vessel, the grace of an angel and the evil taint of sorcery fight for supremacy. Across multiple episodes, Castiel is visibly, physically distressed, even having seizures and crying blood tears as his grace fights to expel the tainted magic from his vessel.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Characters with the ability Magic Sensitivity can innately detect magical phenomena, but apply their score as a penalty on magic resistance tests.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In Advanced D&D, when a character wants to be affected by beneficial magic (e.g. a healing spell), they can decide to temporarily fail their saving throw and/or neutralize any magic resistance they have. Unfortunately, if a clever enemy arranges to hit them with a magical attack at that moment, the target has no defense against magic at all, and is automatically affected by the attack.
    • Mundane weapons pass right through incorporeal monsters, magic weapons have a 50% chance of hurting them, and specially enchanted "ghost touch" weapons and spells that deal Force damage deal full damage.
  • Ironclaw: Ghosts, phantoms, and shades can only be damaged by magic.
  • Shadowrun: One of the reasons mages are so powerful is that summoned spirits are very difficult to kill without magic. It's not so much that they've actually got a weakness to magic as that they're ridiculously hard to harm without magic.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Daemons' otherworldly nature gives them extra Damage Reduction against mundane forces, which is bypassed by spells and magical weapons.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Varies in regards to the Tau. They have little to no Warp presence, meaning they have no psykers and are (with one possibly Retconned exception) immune to the corrupting aspects of the Warp, unlike humans and Eldar. However, it also means they don't really know how to deal with psychic powers and the daemonic invasions they cause.
    • Despite the power of their technology, the Necrons are vulnerable to psychic powers. As they no longer have souls of their own, they cannot harness the power of the Warp themselves for protection. That said, they have the technology to suppress the Warp in localized areas, rendering psykers and daemons in these areas practically helpless.

    Video Games 
  • The Juggler enemies in Chrono Trigger can switch between Stone Wall forms that either take high damage from physical attacks and little from magic, and vice-versa.
  • Deltarune: In the second chapter's secret Weird Route, you'll fight Spamton NEO as the chapter's final boss. When you deplete his HP to 6%, he'll drastically increase his defense stat and decreases his attack stat, making it impossible for Kris to defeat him because Spamton keeps healing with fried Pipis. However, magic attacks will still deal normal damage to Spamton, which eventually gets used on Spamton when you call for help.
  • Dragon Quest IX: Imbuing weapons with elemental magic causes huge damage boosts and is almost mandatory for the later boss fights. Unfortunately, the only information on what monsters are weak to what element involves a lot of guesswork, as they're not always as logical as "water beats fire".
  • In Dragon's Dogma, ghost-type enemies such as Phantom, Phantasm, Specter, and Wraith are highly resilient to physical attacks due to being incorporeal spirits, and the only way you can damage them with physical attacks is to let them possess one of your pawns and then strike them. However, they are susceptible to magic and enchanted weapons, especially Holy magic. The Living Armor residing at the Bitterblack Isle also shares this characteristic after you have destroyed the armor and exposed the ghost inside.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Zig-zagged by the High Elves, the most magically attuned race. In Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion, their strong connection to magic causes them to take extra damage from magical or elemental attacks, but it helps them resist other effects, like magical paralysis.
    • Those born under the astrological sign of the Apprentice gain extra mana, but are more vulnerable to magical effects.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, physical attacks and magic are put on the same weakness/resistance continuum as elemental damage so that their damage multipliers stack with the elemental ones. Most of the winged Cie'th have magic as a weakness.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Golden Sun: Enemies attacked with elemental Djinn not only take more damage from the ones they're weak to, they give extra gold and experience if killed via Djinn rather than standard attacks or Psynergy.
  • In Honkai Impact 3rd, Mecha-type entities (whether they're Valkyries or the Mecha-Mooks) take more damage from Psychic-type entities.
  • Kingdom Hearts II uses this trope to justify why Sora and co. can hurt the undead pirates in Port Royal (who were described as immortal in the film). In addition, although they can only damage said pirates while they are exposed to moonlight, each element of magic has a specific debilitating effect on the pirates regardless of their state; ice freezes them, thunder reduces them to slow, jerky motions, etc.
  • Kingdom Rush series:
    • Armored enemies take less damage from physical attacks but are weak to magic which ignores armor. Only two enemies in the series are exceptions, since they have both armor and magic resistance. Although, one of those two (the Paragons) have lower magic resistance than armor, so they still count.
    • Ghosts, Phantom Warriors, Spectral Knights and the purple Ancient Ghost can only be damaged by magic, as they No-Sell physical attacks due to Intangibility. Spectral Knights are especially tricky as they are spawned when a highly magic-resistant Fallen Knight is killed.
    • Blood Gnolls actually take extra damage from magical attacks compared to every other enemy in the series. A good thing too, since they have a good bit of health, deal lots of damage, and move very quickly.
    • Legends of Kingdom Rush gives us the Dark Knight, which has a ton of regenerating Body Armor as Hit Points, but low actual health. Magic attacks in this game ignore armor entirely and damage a character's health directly, and a sufficiently powerful magic attack will instantly KO him.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon with a low Special Defense stat take more damage from special-based attacks on top of the franchise's Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. Many Rock- and Steel- types tend to fall under this with high Defence, but lacking in Special Defence. Strangely enough, Steel-types are also Resistant to Magic in terms of type advantages, as they resist both Psychic- and Fairy- type moves.
    • In terms of type matchups, the Fighting-type is both weak to and less effective against Psychic- and Fairy- types, the two types which are closest to being magical.
  • Undertale: In the neutral/pacifist routes, you fight the Mad Dummy, a ghost possessing a dummy. FIGHTing won't do any damage to them because they're a ghost, but you can lure their magic attacks into hitting the Mad Dummy until they fire the minions who are launching the bullets. This is averted in the genocide route, where they become so angry that they fuse with their body, making them weak to physical attacks.
  • Warcraft III:
    • Units with Heavy armor (mostly tough, high-end melee units) are more susceptible to Magic attacks. In standard games, Magic attacks come either from casters (which do pitiful damage) or heavy air units (which do scary amounts of damage).
    • The Banish spell slows the target and causes it to become ethereal, meaning they can't attack or be attacked except by Magic and spells, and take additional damage from all magic sources.
    • Tauren Spirit Walkers can switch between ethereal and corporeal forms at will, casting spells in either one.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night and related media, Servants are said to completely immune to non-magical attacks, and even nukes wouldn't be able to hurt them. However, they can be harmed by other Servants and any attack that has mana in it, like spells, supernatural weapons, or objects or people that have been enhanced by Reinforcement magic. Then again, many Servants have Magic Resistance which nullifies or at least reduces the effects of spells.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: In Goku vs. Superman (the first one), Goku's starter magic stick is possibly the most effective attack he uses against Superman, drawing blood because Superman is vulnerable to magic things. However, he doesn't keep on using it as the battle escalates, and based on what's said about his character in the introduction, he probably wouldn't want to use such a cheap trick to win.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-2608 is a species of mayfly that's a variant of this trope: it dies when exposed to the supernatural effects of other SCPs, but also when exposed to mundane pollution. This is explained as it being vulnerable to any changes in its environment, supernatural or not. This property results in it being used by the Foundation as an advance warning system for other SCPs.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Deadman is vulnerable to Magics relating to ghosts.
  • Ben 10: Ben and his Omnitrix tend to fare worse against magic users than they do against mad scientists or aliens, which is why magical enemies tend to be Gwen's niche. Word of God says that, aside from Terraspin, Ben's aliens have a hard time countering magic, even Alien X, and the Omnitrix is incompatible with beings with magical DNA.
  • Aku from Samurai Jack shows the most fear for and damage against divine powers or weapons, but magic comes a close second in the number of things able to hurt or counter his powers, at least more so than any "normal" weapons which he straight-up No Sells. The Scotsman's Ghost is even able to directly counter a barrage of his attacks using Celtic Magic in the finale.

Alternative Title(s): Weak Against Magic