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So a character once had some kind of amazing powers, but they had to give them up for some (doubtless suitably noble) reason. Or maybe the villain took their powers away, or they lost them in some other way. Point is, their powers are gone. Bummer, isn't it? But don't worry, they won't stay De Powered for long. With a bit of Applied Phlebotinum or some intervention by the Powers That Be, they'll have new — and maybe even better — powers.

Compare Re-Power, which also involves a character getting a new powerset, but as part of a re-imagining or Alternate Universe. A subset of Powers as Programs.

Examples of Discard and Draw include:

Anime and Manga

  • Toward the end of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga (and second anime), Roy Mustang loses his eyesight but gains more powerful and diverse alchemy as a result of being forced through the gate. At the end, he even gets his eyesight back courtesy of a Philosopher's Stone
  • In Bleach, Ishida explicitly states he would lose all his power and could never be a Quincy again if he takes off his gauntlet. He takes it off. After the filler arcs, he has a new and better power. To be fair, however, the reason he wasn't told there was a way to regain them was probably because it's potentially fatal.
    • The exact same thing happens to Ichigo earlier. After rather stupidly attacking Captain Kuchiki when he showed up to grab Rukia to be a Damsel in Distress for the Soul Society arc, Byakuya attacks him in such a way as to remove his shinigami powers. Urahara immediately puts him through some Training From Hell to bring them back, since Byakuya only removed what Ichigo stole from Rukia in the very beginning. A seemingly unanticipated quirk in the process ("seemingly" because you never can be sure with Urahara) results in Ichigo also gaining Hollow powers.
    • And, he's at it again. After losing all of his powers again in a major battle and post-timeskip, Ichigo is once again gaining powers, now using fullbring as a source.
      • Third time's the charm. After Kugo Ginjo steals said Fullbring, he gets his an upgraded version of his Soul Reaper powers back with help from Rukia, Uruhara, his father, and pretty much everyone else he knows. Ginjo was NOT happy.
  • Recently, in the manga of Naruto, during Itachi's and Sasuke's final battle: After pushing his little brother to his limits and bringing Orochimaru out, Itachi (who wanted this) uses Susanoo to seal Orochimaru away, removing all of his influence from Sasuke. Soon after that, Itachi implants his Tsukuyomi, Amaterasu, and Susanoo into Sasuke. Soon after the battle, when he regained consciousness and heard the truth from Madara, Sasuke develops his own Mangekyo Sharingan.
    • To add a little to the above, Sasuke replaced the more alien powers he got from Orochimaru with his clan's more natural (loosely speaking) powers.
  • Lina Inverse from The Slayers was once cursed by a demoness, and lost all her magic powers. She started to wear talismans that gave her enough boost up to do at least some small spells. When the demoness was killed, the curse ended, and Lina not only got her powers back but also added one of the setting's most powerful spells to her repertoire. She still wears the talismans, which now make her destructive spells even more destructive! Or rather, wore them - she had to sacrifice the talismans to cast one of her spells later.
  • This happens with a lot of Gundam shows to facilitate a Mid-Season Upgrade.
    • In Gundam SEED, Arthrun self destructs his Gundam to try and kill Kira, who is at that time his enemy. However, he gets a new, better Gundam a few episodes later. In Gundam SEED Destiny, The Savior is irreparably damaged after a fight against Kira and the Freedom. A few episodes later he upgrades to a better Gundam again.
    • Likewise, in both series Kira upgraded to a stronger model shortly after his original machine was destroyed.
    • In Gundam X, the GX is retrofitted with numerous guns after it is nearly destroyed in a fight against Carris, trading the Satellite Gun for the the somewhat less powerful but far more practical Harmonica Cannon.
    • In Gundam 00, Gundam Exia is nearly destroyed at the start of the second season. Setsuna then switches to the titular 00. At the end of the series he goes back to Exia for the final battle.
      • Then in The Movie, he briefly pilots the partially rebuilt 00 operating on a particle condenser as when the 0 Gundam and Exia fragged each other with a Cross Counter, both's GN Drives were destroyed; he ultimately switches to the 00 Quan[T] that's designed specifically to take advantage of his Innovator nature.
    • Occurs repeatedly throughout Gundam Wing, most notably with Wing Gundam Zero. Originally Quatre uses it to replace Sandrock, but later loses it and goes back to his rebuilt and improved Sandrock Custom. Zechs sacrifices the Tallgeese so he can capture Wing Zero in the meantime. A brief while later after that, after a duel with Heero he also loses it, though in return he gets the powerful Epyon. In fact, all five of the Gundam pilots, along with Zechs, at least briefly pilot Wing Zero.
      • It should also be noted that pretty much all the pilots had their own Gundams blown up, and sometime after piloting Wing Zero, got a new/repaired and upgraded version.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory:, After Kou and Gato both destroy each other's Gundams, they each get a gigantic mobile armor shortly afterwards. Kou's even has a new Gundam attached.
      • Of course, things aren't guaranteed to go well even if one has a shiny new toy as Kou still failed to stop the colony and was later court-marshalled for stealing the GP-03, only let go when Captain Synapse committed suicide to take responsible for it.
  • In GaoGaiGar, the titular mech's Once an Episode finishing move is switched from Hell and Heaven to the Goldion Hammer because of the risk of serious harm.
  • In Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~, Lena overloads the Lofty Crimson Jade during her first fight with M9, but soon afterward, gets the Blue Sky Sapphire from Miyu, which is more powerful and suited to her abilities.
  • In One Piece, Nami's Perfect Clima Tact no longer has the Tornado Tempo ability (since in execution, it's more akin to one of Usopp's other "joke" features), but its other abilities are much more powerful (for example, she can create thunderbolts more quickly and has multiple mirages of herself).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid eventually reveals that the Cradle Incident in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S removed nearly all of Vivio's original Sankt Kaiser powers, having lost not just the Relic and everything it bestowed, but her protective Sankt Kaiser Armor aura as well. The plot of Vivid essentially has her taking advantage of this to train herself on a new Supernatural Martial Arts power set and style that fits her personality and interests more.

Comic Books

  • In the Marvel Universe, Ms. Marvel was permanently drained of her superpowers by prolonged contact with Rogue, but later received even better powers due to experiments by the Brood. Considering that her original powers included near-invulnerability, flight, and super strength, that's really saying something. (Eventually, those powers wore off and returned her back to Ms. Marvel levels.)
    • Of course, this has happened to Rogue too. Not long after she lost Ms. Marvel's powers, she absorbed Sunfire's in their place. Which incidentally are rather similar to the powers Ms Marvel had in her Binary days, though on a lesser scale.
    • To say nothing of the time Psylocke went from telepathic to telekinetic (while Jean did the opposite) and then to shadow powers.
  • In the DC Universe, we have Guy Gardner. Once he lost his Green Lantern ring, he stole a yellow ring from his old bosses, the Oans. The new ring got destroyed (while he was fighting to save the GL Corps, by the way). After spending time as a Badass Normal, he trekked into the jungle to find some alien Super Serum which gave him new powers involving living armor and pulling swords out of his own body. Eventually, he got a new GL ring and rejoined the Corps, but first he spent time in "The Corpse," a black-ops section of the GLC with stealthier powers.
    • And in a late '90s storyline, the real Superman became an energy being. And then was split into two energy beings, each of whom believed themselves to be the original. And then the two energy beings merged back together, and became Superman Classic.
    • Resurrection Man also has this in addition to well, resurrecting. Every time he returns he has a different power of wildly varying usefulness For example take: Resurrected with: Quantum telekinesis, including sensory expansion on a near-cosmic scale , flight, molecular disintegration of targets, also includes an undefined resistance to 'reality warp'. Now compare that with: Resurrection with: Is a woman. The "catch" being that the power he gains would've prevented his previous death. Ex: he drowns, he can breathe water (or doesn't need to breathe all) when he revives.
      • But doesn't that come with a power of its own?
    • Donna Troy is virtually the DCU poster-child for this trope, having gone from being Wonder Girl to Troia to non-powered, then recruited as a Darkstar, then serving briefly as (respectively) non-powered, dead, cosmic something-or-other, and now (I think) Wonder Girl again.
    • Similar but simpler arc for John Stewart, who stopped being a Green Lantern for a while, but then also became a Darkstar, lost that, was an awesome architect for a bit, and is now a Green Lantern again. But at least he stopped killing planets.
  • Several characters, most notably Quicksilver, go through this in House of M.
    • Jubilee lost her powers after the House of M storyline. And got new ones with a power suit.
      • And now Jubilee is a vampire. Go figure.
  • Christian Walker lost his superpowers before the beginning of Powers, but later he is chosen to become a Green Lantern-esque defender of Earth by an advanced alien race.


  • At the climax of the Black Jewels Trilogy, Jaenelle must drain all the power from her jewels, which shatter, but she then gets a new jewel, which encompasses most of her previous power range. She's still not as powerful, but she was the one that made sure she dropped a power level afterwards.
  • In the Chanters of Tremaris trilogy, the protagonist loses her powers after they are drained by a massive-scale working, but in a later book gains new powers — in the form of a long-lost art which no one else has mastered in centuries, no less.
  • At the end of White Night, Harry Dresden loses the powers granted by Lasciel's Shadow, including the ability to enhance his spells with Hellfire. Not too far into the next book, Small Favor, (set one year after White Night) the Archangel Uriel grants Harry Soulfire, Hellfire's not-so-nasty counterpart.
    • Although Soulfire is not without its' own issues. Where Hellfire had the downside of being the result of a demonic infestation, and represented using said demon's powers the replacement is powered by, you guessed it, the user's soul. Which while it is replenished by living, and he's only using very small bits of it at a time, it's still possible to run out of it which would have the bad side effect of killing him Deader Than Dead.
  • Croyd "The Sleeper" Crenson from the Wild Cards series is practically this trope personified. Whenever he goes to sleep, he undergoes a weeks-long metamorphosis into a new form and gains new powers. He can become an ace or a joker, and lives in constant fear of drawing the black queen, so he tends to use amphetemines whenever he senses sleep sneaking up on to extend his awake periods. (There's a reason his line in the Aces Jingle is "Sleeper waking, meals taking. Sleeper speeding, people bleeding.")

Live Action TV

  • Piper in Charmed lost her time-stop powers only to gain explosion powers. Later, she gets both at once.
    • She never actually lost her freezing power, she just accidentally used her explosion power whenever she tried to freeze something, because the activation gesture was the same.
    • Cole is a better example. He started out with stock demon powers due to being half-demon, then Pheobe depowered him, and then he became the host of the Source of All Evil and had powers due to that, then got killed and depowered and hung around at the edge of life and death grabbing powers from the dying, and came back to life with Reality Warper type powers, and then got Killed Off for Real.
  • Occurred at the end of most of the early Power Rangers seasons, when the Rangers would lose their powers, just to get some new ones at the beginning of the next. This ceased in Lost Galaxy, as this was the first year of yearly cast replacement.
    • A variant occurs in the "Dark Wish" arc of Mystic Force: The Rangers lose their powers, then get their old powers back along with a Super Mode.
    • Of course, the very first instances of this happened to Tommy in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He lost his powers as the Green Ranger, then got them back again to a somewhat limited extent, then lost them again, before finally being given the powers of the White Ranger.
  • The Beetleborg series did this when moving from Big Bad Beetleborgs to Beetleborgs Metallix.
  • Happens a lot on Heroes, probably because it'd be impossible to write anything challenging for Hiro, Peter or Sylar if their powers didn't get nerfed at least once a season.
    • In fact, this trope pretty much sums up Peter's power in the last two seasons. To clarify to those who don't know: Peter's power was originally Mega Manning, but he was nerfed so that he can only have one power at a time, 'discarding' his card and 'drawing' from whoever he is copying.
  • In Kamen Rider Agito had Kamen Rider G3, a manmade Rider system built to fight the Grongi. Unfortunately, the more powerful Lords as well as the mystical based Agito and Gills, outmatch it. So they eventually decomission it and replace it with the G3-X armor, which comes with more power, thicker armor, and increased combat ability.
  • The titular Rider of Kamen Rider OOO seems to lose Medals just as he gains new medals, so that he never has access to more than two full color combos at any given time.
  • In Misfits the second season ends with all the main characters buying new powers after having sold their original ones.

Tabletop Games

  • Very literal in the Magic: The Gathering card game. In the game's original metanarrative, the players are godlike wizards called planeswalkers; your deck is all the spells in your memory, while your hand is what spells you've brought to mind right at that moment. Instant and sorcery spells go to the graveyard after being cast, and every turn you draw one (or more, depending on game variant and/or whether you play certain spells that turn) card from the library, constantly changing up your current power set. Extended logically from this, spells that force a person to discard cards strongly imply elements of Mind Rape when taken to the game's metanarrative, and are named accordingly. (Mind Rot, Mind Twist, Mind Shatter, etc.)
    • There are also some cards which make you draw some cards, then discard some. Usually, as in that example, the number you draw is one or two more than the number you discard. (Counting losing the spell itself, you end up with 0 or 1 more cards than before.) And then there are the inverse ones, such as Wheel of Fortune and Windfall.
    • Did we mention that --Blue-- loves cards like this?
      • Red has discard and draw, cards that often have you draw and then discard at random, or discard everything you've got to redraw. Blue has straight up draw. There are also cantrips, cards that allow you to draw as part of the spell being cast, in every colour.
  • Not nearly as noticeable in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, as the player isn't represented by any single title in the metanarrative, but there are shades of this; several hand-destroying cards have Mind Rape-specific names like Mind Haxxorz (no, really) and Penalty Game! that invoke a sense that the player's being subjected to an actual Penalty Game from the Shadow Realm.
    • Some cards literally do this. "Card Destruction", "Graceful Charity", and "Dark World Dealings" are probably the most well-known.
    • Plus the relatively straight playing of this trope when Yugi loses Exodia in Episode 3, thus preventing him from using it to win later on, making him, y'know, actually have to play the game. Fear not though, as he then trades up in Season 2 for an improved deck that progressively adds the three Egyptian God Cards. Additionally, he plays around with the god-ish Timaeus in the Doma arc, but doesn't (and can't) keep it.
    • Is becoming more and more common; Destiny Draw, Allure of Darkness, Rare Value, Common Charity, and more are all variations of "get rid of one card and draw two". As a general rule, nearly every new archetype gets a variation of this mechanic.
  • The Gamma World setting for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons has this literally as well. A rule mechanic has you draw "Alpha Mutation" cards, which give you an extra encounter power, or bonuses to rolls, or something similar. However, if you roll a one at any time, you discard your Alpha Mutation and draw a new one. Additionally, you draw an new Alpha Mutation at the end of every fight.
  • Munchkin sets that involve Powers also include curse cards like "Your Powers have changed!" where you have to replace your powers in play with other powers from the discard pile. The bad part is that you just lose your powers if you can't replace them (i.e. there are no powers in the discard pile or ones you can't use because of your level.)

Video Games

  • In the Pokémon series, no monster can learn more than four moves. They can improve their skill sets by forgetting old moves and replacing them with better ones.
  • This happens to both Cecil and Rydia in Final Fantasy IV. To be specific, Cecil rejects The Dark Side and abandons his Dark Knight powers, becoming a Paladin in the aftermath (with a more noble set of abilities). Rydia, meanwhile, gets sucked into Another Dimension; when she comes back, not only is she several years older, but she has more powerful black magic and Summon Magic (at the cost of losing her white magic).
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, magic and summons work this way. Only instead of forgetting old spells and summons, they're discarding bits of their own memory. Because of this, it takes half the game for the characters to realize they share an important plot point in their backstories.
    • As for the summoned monsters themselves, they can learn up to 22 abilities, which sounds like a lot, until you discover that some new abilities cause old ones to become redundant. A special item called Amnesia Greens allows the player to select and discard one ability from a summon's lineup.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Snow loses the 'Hand Grenade' ability after becoming a L'Cie. Notable in that he's the only character in the game to permanently lose an ability (characters like Hope and Vanille who don't initially get the Commando class upon becoming a L'Cie will lose the 'Attack' command, but they can gain it back later).
  • Played straight in Lost Kingdoms, since you have to use cards to attack and are limited to four for a hand. The second game at least didn't remove cards from the deck when you manually discarded them.
  • Near the end of Half Life 2, Gordon Freeman loses all of his equipment with the exception of the gravity gun and his HEV suit, both of which become supercharged by dark energy. The gravity gun can interact with energy spheres and all organic matter, killing the latter instantly when held or hit by a projected object; meanwhile, Gordon's suit gains increased reactive armour energy reserves and can recharge both armour and health reserves from Combine power stations with greater efficiency.
  • For the last segment of Zork: Grand Inquisitor, the player must use a spell which reverses the effect of every spell he knows. As a result, he loses the ability to unlock any door, travel via time portal, separate magical energies, and turn purple things invisible, but gains the ability to seal any door (keeping guards safely locked up), willfully avoid traveling in time, turn invisible things purple (which lets the player find an invisible fence), and combine magical energies ( which solves the game's final puzzle)
  • Mega Man combines this with Bag of Spilling in between every game.
  • In the beginning of Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, the Gun Del Sol from the first game is stolen. Shortly thereafter, though, Django acquires the Sol De Vice, a solar-powered magic gauntlet which lets Django enchant melee weapons. And even later, he is transformed into a vampire, losing his enchantments and gaining new ones. However, later in the game you get back your gun and human form.
  • In Baldur's Gate 2, the protagonist eventually loses the special powers (s)he gained during the first game, but soon afterwards gains the ability to turn into the Slayer, an avatar of the God of murder.
  • This happens to Kratos in God of War, not once but twice, shortly after the start of each sequel game. In God of War II, Kratos loses his powers when he drains them into the Blade of Olympus, only for Zeus to kill him with it, and in God of War III, Kratos falls off Mount Olympus, drops the Blade of Olympus, plummets into the River Styx, and successfully surviving it drains him of all his god-orb fueled powers, including the health and magic earned with sacrifices. In both cases, right after Kratos loses his powers, what remains of him lumbers forward slowly until the next cutscene kicks in.
  • Many of the Death Knights in World of Warcraft were once paladins, who lose their Light-based powers from the evil acts they commit in the Lich King's service, but in the process, they are able to use new dark powers, which the freed Knights of the Ebon Blade use against the Lich King. A similar process happens to Sylvanas and her Dark Rangers.
  • Mortal Kombat: In death, the original Sub-Zero (Bi-Han) seemingly lost his ice-based powers, but as Noob Saibot he has entirely new, shadow-based ones.

Western Animation

  • In Ben 10 Alien Force, when Ben puts the Omnitrix on the first time in years it changes shape and replaces the 10+ aliens he had before with a new set. The guy that made it eventually explains that the things has sets of ten that it changes between because there are far too many different aliens in it to navigate through at once. After briefly getting voice activated access to any alien in the Season Finale, it gets set to another whole new set of 10.
    • No, it doesn't, though it does some minor trading in for some of the classics from the original series, with a total of 1 previously-unseen alien being added to the line-up
    • Seems to have happened to Kevin also, albeit off-camera between shows. Certainly, his power on Ben 10: Alien Force is a lot less versatile than what he was capable of on the previous show.
    • In the series finale, Ben self-destructs the Omnitrix to keep Vilgax from using it. He then forces Albedo to give him the more powerful Ultimatrix by activating its self-destruct sequence as well. Unlike Vilgax, Albedo doesn't call Ben's bluff. Because a)the Ultimatrix is on his wrist and b)he just saw Ben wasn't bluffing.
  • Similarly, in the first season finale of Ben 10's sister series, Generator Rex Van Kleiss absorbs Rex's nanites, bringing Rex down to normal. Fortunately, the special nanites set up 10 episodes in advance were still there, and allowed Rex to get back his powers, and then some.
    • Counts for Van Kleiss to. Rex cured him earlier, depowering him. So Kleiss took his powers as a replacement.