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Basic Trope: Superpowers or magic abilities to summon and control the elemental forces of nature.

  • Straight: All the mages in the setting wield one of the four classical elements: wind, water, earth or fire.
  • Exaggerated: ...Not to mention lightning, darkness, light, gravity, or poison, among others.
  • Downplayed: Some mages seem to work better with rock or fire than with other substances, but it’s not a huge limiting factor.
  • Justified:
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    • The world has different physics than our own, and the world really is made up of varying quantities of earth, air, fire and water.
    • In the world, only certain constructs can be called into being, such as water, and it can be filtered into certain shapes as well. A good amount of cities are built using these summoned elements as well.
    • The elements are really forces of nature/the universe in themselves, aligned with emotions, philosophies and other things far more intrinsic and deep than simple substances/energy. Manipulating them is basically the core of the world's magic, or even close to theurgy.
  • Inverted: Elemental forces can selectively control certain Russian superhumans.
  • Subverted: Supervillain Infernus, well known for spewing fiery destruction, suddenly launches a ball of ice at the heroes.
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  • Double Subverted: He has an ice-cannon built into his gauntlets: he’s still a fire mage.
  • Parodied:
    • Along with vaguely normal elements like wind or water, there are also more obtuse elements like "cheese" or "heart" and The Dreaded Element Of Surprise.
    • Mages in the setting wield literal Elemental Powers, such as silicon, sulfur or bromine. Naturally, the scariest ones control radioactive elements like Plutonium.
  • Zig Zagged: Some mages seem to be able to use any sort of magical powers and some are limted to controlling one element, but elemental ones are not subject to the same limits as the others for some weird reason.
  • Averted: No elemental powers appear in the work; if there are any superpowers, they’re going along different lines.
  • Enforced: A collecting card game has a set number of elements with all cards assigned one, to allow control of possible builds and prevent (or minimize, at least) game breakers.
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  • Lampshaded: "Air... Water... Fire... And I’m an earth mage. Right then. I think we’re good to go."
  • Invoked: A general sets up a combined forces attack with the code names Fire, Wind, Water and Earth.
  • Exploited: The superhero Anarchy steals a fire truck in order to fight his nemesis Infernus.
  • Defied: "Wha? Why should I be limited to only move fire? That’s stupid!"
  • Discussed: "As You Know, class, in this world there are four known elemental magics..."
  • Conversed: "The writers on this show freaking love Aristotle don’t they?"
  • Plotted A Good Waste: The story is used to deliver An Aesop about how everyone is special, even those who use heart.

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