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"When in doubt, shoot the mage."
Keladry of Mindelan, Tortall Universe

Mages (or other superpowered beings) get a big advantage against muggles. Even the most trained fighter can be killed or incapacitated by a single spell. Thus, to deal with mages you need these guys.

A Mage Killer is basically a Badass Normal whose capabilities of dealing with mages are somehow improved. He can resist harmful spells, prevent enemies from using them or reflect them back to enemies, for example. Anyway, enemies can't possibly defeat him with magic, and as a Badass Normal the Mage Killer has a major physical advantage over mages with no combat prowess (that is, 95% of mages). His additional ablities may involve detecting magic or tracking its users. Sometimes he may even use magic, but very rarely, and not the usual earthquakes and meteors, but something subtle or affecting only mages. If a Mage Killer is a member of an order who specializes in hunting mages, his anti-magic abilities are very likely to be a result of specific training. Anyway, a Mage Killer is usually very similar to a Magic Knight, only with anti-magic instead of magic. When they run into Magic Knights or Kung Fu Wizards, they've got problems.

Sometimes is a part of normal arms race or a niche — if there's a threat, everyone wants to get countermeasures, and if there's something, some critter sooner or later will eat it. Sometimes is added as an element of Fake Balance (situational advantage): instead of nerfing down superpowered entities in question, make up a selectively fearsome enemy for them, so they would not look best in all situations.

May take the form of a beast either trained or naturally suited to hunt mages. In the latter case, the creature often feeds on magical power.

Note that Anti-Magic is a power and Mage Killer is a character who fights mages and has abilities for that.

See also Cape Busters, for the anti-superpower (rather than anti-magic) version, and Demon Slayer, for someone who hunts demons instead of mages.

Examples of Mage Killer include:

Anime & Manga

  • Story of To Aru Majutsu no Index basically revolves around this trope: Touma has the "Imagine Breaker", both a Power Nullifier and an Anti-Magic, which he uses in one way: fist to face.
    • Not really as his Imagine Breaker is definitely anti-magic, it is also anti-science, he is also shown attacking espers just as much as magicians, as well as siding with them too.
  • There are a couple of characters in Fairy Tail who fit this trope to a T. Didn't help them to deal with Natsu, as they chose the worst possible tactics.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald in Code Geass is given a Geass Canceller in the second season, which can be activated manually to cancel a Geass active on anyone else (incidentally, this circumvents the once-per-person limit on Lelouch's Geass), as well as activating automatically if someone tries to Geass him, blocking the effect. He was also made into a cyborg for squashing Lelouch the Squishy Wizard.
  • Every character in Witch Hunter Robin, with a couple of caveats. Only witches can naturally resist each other's powers, blocking attacks and Geo Effects are perhaps the only shared abilities by all witches other than having a special ability. This is how Robin and Karasuma fight other witches. The rest of the human cast has to make do with wearing vials of Orbo and using bullets filled with the stuff, which naturally cancels witch powers and weakens them on contact.
    • In season 2, when the enhanced Orbo suit witch hunters hit the scene we find out that using living witches as Human Resources to make the stuff has very detrimental effects on the humans using the stuff.
  • The Huckebein family in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force all have powers which make them very good at fighting mages. In fact, the kanji for the name of their signature weapons actually read "Mage Killer". And by very good, we mean almost completely invincible.
  • Asuna Kagurazaka of Mahou Sensei Negima due to her magic cancelling abilities.
  • Medaka Box: To a degree, Zenkichi is this. Since he's the only normal of the main cast, he's an extremely formidable martial artist who can disarm and parry weapons, and prepares for almost any scenario. Abnormals have noted that he shows some resistance to their powers (most notably, Oudo's "Weighted words").
  • Mifune in Naruto is so fast with his Iaijutsu that he can stop ninja from doing hand seals. He uses this ability in his fight against the resurrected Hanzo.


  • Star Wars has the voxyn, who were made by Yuuzhan Vong to hunt Force users. They could blanket their presence in the Force, but otherwise had no Anti-Magic powers, but they compensated for it by ability to track Force-sensitives and some other useful abilities like having a neurotoxin for blood, acid breath, etc.
    • The terentatek is quite similar in concept, only created by the Sith instead, and specifically meant to hunt lightsiders. Aside from being strong in the Dark Side and possessing deadly venom, their outer hide is also immune to the effects of the Force, and they themselves feed off the blood of Force-sensitive beings. The damn things are so nasty that the Jedi Order routinely held galaxy-wide "Great Hunts" aimed at exterminating them.
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality book "For Love Of Evil", when Parry tries to escape, the knights hunting them have a magic user on their side. Said magic user acts as a Mage Killer for the church by helping in tracking Parry down. He is also the indirect cause of Jolie's death.
  • John Dart in The Candy Shop War has an excellent resistence to magic, a Healing Factor, and is trained in dealing with rogue mages. However, he can't kill anyone, because any damage he does to someone else will also be delt to him.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy has the Resistance, humans who are born with a varying degree of Resilience to magic and are using their Resilience to slowly overthrow the Magician Government. Except for the Mercenary, who has the greatest Resilience to the point of being set on fire and being dubbed an Implacable Man and uses his resilience to make money.
    • Actually subverted with the Resistance, as they are quickly decimated when confronted with a truly powerful magical spirit.
  • Spy Master Valek in Maria V. Snyder's Ixia and Sitia books.
  • Mistborn has Hazekillers, warriors specifically trained for taking on Allomancers. While they do fine against single-metal users, they're not so hot against the titular sorcerers, who can use all the metals' powers.
    • Hazekiller tactics are to Zerg Rush the Mistborn in an all-out attack. Failing that, they're there to stall for time until their own Mistborn arrives. The only really effective counter to Mistborn is other Mistborn.
    • Another option is to use Mistings (single-metal users) in assassination squads to support one another, effectively emulating the Mistborn's abilities through teamwork. At the beginning of the second book, one such assassin squad nearly gets the betterof Vin, the Mistborn protagonist, though this is because they had a Mistborn in their group pretending to be a mere Misting.
  • The Wheel of Time has the Gholam, a creature engineered to be immune to magic and used as an assassin. It's also an immortal vampiric ninja.
  • In Fate/Zero, the prequel novels to Fate/stay night, Kiritsugu Emiya is a mage who specializes in killing other mages. He does this by combining magic with technology in ways which most old-fashioned mages would never imagine (such as equipping his familiars with miniature cameras to negate the effects of illusion on their senses) and by having "Origin Bullets" which make the magic in a person's body explode, then fuse the remains back together into an unusable knot.
  • The Wardens in The Dresden Files are wizards who are also specialists in both fighting supernatural forces and in taking down "warlocks" (in other words, rogue wizards who abuse their powers). To that end they have special training in combating warlocks, and carry specially-crafted swords that undo enchantments and magical constructs with a touch.
    • The Dresden Files has a number of examples of this. The mercenary Kincaid always brings special weapons to his battles, including exploding-tipped spears and paint guns that shoot holy water balls. He's also Dangerously Genre Savvy, and explains to Harry that the way to kill him without falling prey to his death curse would be sniping him from a thousand yards away, killing him before he even notices the shot. It works. But Harry gets better, to his dismay.
    • Harry himself spends some time as one of these when he mentions in Storm Front that he always carries a handgun with him, because wizards never expect you to take a break from slinging fireballs to shoot them in the head.

Live Action TV

  • Aredian, the titular character of the Merlin episode "The Witchfinder."
  • Appears in the Forever Knight episode "Bad Blood", where we learn that a mortal who isn't completely killed or turned by a vampire gets enhanced senses and intuition that they often use to kill vamps.
  • The Mord'Sith in Legend of the Seeker, who have the ability to turn magic against whoever wields it.


  • There are many Jedi hunters in the Star Wars universe, with reasons to hunt the Jedi ranging from personal revenge, to programmed objective, to just money. Notably, advance assassin droid are often used to kill Jedi because of their lack of connection to the force, thus leaving Jedi unable to detect their intent to kill until it's to late.

Tabletop Games

  • War Machine has the Mage Hunters of Ios, a group of elves specializing in assassinating enemy magic users. Most of them don't actually have anti-magic powers, but they are highly trained to fight against mages.
  • Warhammer 40000 has blanks, who are humans with a negative warp presence, which are very unsettling to be around, and can hamper psychic powers and warp-based entities within their vicinity; assassins from the Culexus Temple undermine basic human psychology, require an enormous exertion of will to even fire on, and wear devices that store and feedback warp energy, independently, for every single psyker present, with NO limit. Oh, they're also completely invisible to purely psychic beings like Daemons. Speaking of, daemons and mortal champions of Khorne are often blessed by their patron with resistance or immunity to psychic powers, as Khorne loathes sorcery; Flesh Hounds (daemonic beasts of Khorne) always wear collars blessed this way, and Khorne often sends them to hunt for psykers.
  • Dungeons and Dragons:
    • D&D 3.5 has a few prestige classes suited to this: the Mage Slayer, which gains a lot of damage potential against spellcasters but gets no magical powers of its own, and the Suel Archanamach, which is more like a special policeman who uses his limited Anti-Magic spellcasting power and martial prowess to keep mages in line.
      • Also the Occult Slayer, a Mage Killer prestige class that is given lots of bonuses against casters and can eventually bat projectile spells right the hell back at the caster.
        • The Character Builder's Guide provides ideas for being a Counterspeller, which isn't a Prestige Class but merely a Fighter with some levels in magic-using classes.
    • While basic beholders have anti-magic rays, beholder-kin gauth have more powers that makes it a threat to magic-users, as well as a healthy appetite for enchanted items.
    • Forgotten Realms has a lot of monsters — there are hakeashar, magekiller (created by spell), magedoom (created by spell), balhiir (exotic extraplanar), sometimes visiting Nilshai... Magocracy Halruaa has a Jordaini order creating and training magic-resistant elite warriors, so that ruling wizards have counselors (and sometimes bodyguards) not influenced by magic.
      • Al-Qadim has Spellslayers with spell-like abilities, one of which temporarily disrupts wizards' spellcasting capability.
    • Certain magical weapons were enchanted to be effective against mages and enchanted monsters that could use spell-like abilities.
    • The ordinary Monk, with his high Wisdom score, extreme mobility on the battlefield and Stunning abilities that require Fortitude Saves to resist, is this in effect, if not intention or spirit.
      • The Arcanopath Monk prestige class, on the other hand, is this in effect AND intention, recieving a host of abilities allowing them to deflect and reflect spells, as well as punching the mage in question so hard they forget how to cast spells at all.
    • The Spellthief is, well, just that. They make decent skill monkeys, but their real advantage is the multiple spellcaster-slaying abilities they obtain: extra damage (via Sneak Attack), spell resistance (including the ability to STEAL it from others), stealing spells, and eventually absorbing spells hurled at them (yum, fireball!) and then flinging them back in the same action. Oh, yeah, and this works with divine magic, too. "Holy Word? Oh, look, your own god just turned on you."
    • The Psion-Killer golem. It can dispel psionics every round and is outright immune to most powers.
    • Golems in general in 3.5 are immune to magic. They can only be purchased as squaddies at epic levels for just this reason.
    • Some Warlock builds work this way. Warlocks can use their invocations whenever they like, and one of them is treated as Dispel Magic, the universal counterspell. While not exactly a fun strategy, hold action to counter will effectively lock down an enemy caster.
  • The Banishers of Mage: The Awakening are mage killers who are, irony of ironies, also mages. Difference is, while most mages consider their Awakenings a wonderful trip to the higher realms of experience, they considered it a ticket to hell and a mark of damnation. So they try to make up for it by using their magic to kill other mages, usually in ways that involve polluting and tainting the magic of others.

Video Games

  • Adventure Quest Worlds has The Inquisitors an order that hunts down mages.
  • The Spell Breakers and Faerie Dragons in Warcraft III.
    • Felhunters in Warcraft are demonic beasts that feed on magic and hunt magic users. They are highly resistant to spells and can drain a mages mana and prevent his spellcasting.
    • Magina the Anti-Mage from Defense of the Ancients. While he can be and often is built as a DPS machine, his passive Mana Burn attack bonus, added resistance to magic damage and ability to damage a target based on its lack of mana all point to this trope.
      • The Silencer, from Dota 2. His backstory states that he's the end product of centuries of carefully picked pairings to create the most powerful mage to ever live. Growing up, he showed no special talents or abilities, causing other children to mock him. And on the day of testing he used the one spell he developed, Silence, bringing all the other students down to normal so he could kick their asses in single combat.
  • Kassadin in League of Legends is specifically designed with that in mind, seeing as he has a distance closing spell, a silence and a built in magic resistance mechanism - storywise he specifically hunts down mages to prevent them to opening a gate to the Void. Interestingly and ironically, developers wanted him to be a Magic Knight with majority of his damage being physical and the spells only acting for utility purposes, but it turned out he's much more effective being built as a mage himself.
    • Veigar acts as one as well despite being a mage himself, since his ultimate relies on the amount of Ability Points (basically the game's version of magic damage) the opponent has to deal any noticable damage. On characters like Rammus, it barely does a thing. On Cassopeia or even himself it tends to do more than half their HP.
  • The templars in Dragon Age. They're an order of warriors who form the militant arm of the Chantry — the game's Christian analogue — and are trained specifically to hunt down rogue mages and abominations. The Chantry gets them addicted to the magic-enhancing substance known as lyrium, which ensures their loyalty and allows them to resist magical effects.
    • Well, it ensures their loyalty, anyway. As Alistair will tell you, templar abilities will work fine without lyrium; lyrium just enhances their abilities, or so he was told.
    • It should be noted that Templars can easily wipe the floor with an Arcane Warrior
    • If the Player Character is a warrior, he or she can learn Templar abilities. If they're also a dwarf, they come with a built-in resistance to enemy spells. Oh yeah, and a PC mage can learn Mana Clash, which can slaughter an entire group of enemy mages all at once, sometimes before they even see you.
  • Baldur's Gate 2 has 'Inquisitor' kit for Paladins and 'Wizard Slayer' kit for Fighters. The Inquisitor gets immunity to charm and hold, and the ability to use Dispel Magic and True Sight multiple times per day at double power in return for losing the paladin's (already very limited) spellcasting ability, and is a borderline Game Breaker. The Wizard Slayer gets a very low (1% per level; max fighter level is 20) magic resistance and chance of making mages miscast magic by hitting them in return for not being able to use magic items at all, apart from weapons and armour (and, following a patch, potions). To say it is not a Game Breaker would be something of an understatement.
  • The Assassin from Diablo 2 is a member of an order designed to hunt down and kill mages.
  • The Mesmer in Guild Wars is often played in such a role by interrupting an enemies spells or draining them of the energy needed to cast spells.
    • There two elite Magehunter skills for Warriors, which have added effects and are unable to be blocked by an enchanted enemy, and a Magebane Shot for Rangers, which interrupts skills, and adds recharge to spells.
  • According to the bestiary in Final Fantasy XII, Bombs were artificial monsters made for this purpose during an ancient war. During gameplay, the first type of Bombs you encounter do not attack you unless you attack them first or cast any type of magic within a certain proximity of them. They are resistant to fire(the most basic offensive magic) and explode when low on health(the way they explode is specifically designed to go through magical defenses).
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the Templar class, unique to the very non-magical Bangaa, specializes in killing mages, with abilities such as Silence, Soul Sphere, and high attack and magic resistance.
  • In Fire Emblem Genealogy Of The Holy War, the second generation Lord Character, Celice, is often set for this role due to his high RES growth and his Legendary Weapon giving him an additional 20 RES. He also uses physical attacks which, considering most casters have low defense...
    • Let's not forget Ares. He has the same high RES growth as Celice, and his Legendary Weapon, the Demon Sword Mistoltin, grants him a + 10 boost in RES (along with the Critical Skill and a + 20 boost in Skill, meaning its tears into those mages even harder than Celice). He's THE character of choice for killing mages until Celice gets his Tyrfing, which he gets late in the game.
    • As for the series as a whole, Pegasus Knights. Until 10, where Wind Mages would rip Pegasus Knights to pieces, Peg Knights are known for high RES making them highly effective at killing magic wielders.
    • Mist in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn can become this with a little effort. As a Cleric/Valkyrie she has an incredibly high RES stat that makes her all but immune to magic attacks. Once she promotes to Valkyrie she gains the ability to use swords and with a little effort can easily fullfill this role.
  • In Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II, Atton Rand is discovered to have been a Jedi hunter.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds uses bounty hunters to counter Jedi.
  • Dark type Pokémon were introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver to counter the Game Breaker Psychic type. They are outright immune to Psychic attacks and their attacks do double damage. They invoke the Badass Normal feel of this trope by appearing to be ordinary animals.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender is able to block bending and temporarily paralyze limbs by hitting the body's Pressure Points.
  • In Sequel Series The Legend of Korra Chi-Blockers use Ty Lee's techniques in their terrorist campaign against benders. Their leader Amon is also proficient in these techniques and he can apparently energybend to remove a bender's powers permanently.
  • Cad Bane claims to specialise in hunting Jedi, and carries a wide variety of equipment designed specifically for counteracting them, such as cortosis bullets that short out lightsabers, jet boots to prevent him from being Force-thrown, sniper rifles for taking Jedi down from afar, and probably many others. He relies just as much on strategy to get the job done-- endangering innocents is probably his favourite tactic, as it takes advantage of his foes' natural altruism to unbalance them in a fight.