Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


Genkai: Hm... I think I've seen this technique before...
Botan: You mean like Shorin might have stolen that technique from some psychic?

Genkai: No that's not it. I'm just saying he's throwing fireballs. It's a very cliche anime technique.

Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!

A common power for pyro-elementalists, wizards, psychics, dragons, Man-Eating Plants, and even martial artists. Fire, in spite of its fearsome appeal, is not known for being tangible or portable. Rolling it into a ball gives it the semblance of a physical structure, and lets you throw it, bounce it and dodge it at will, which are quite desirable traits in Video Games and tabletop games.

Fireballs have a tendency to move in an unusual fashion - possibly hovering or drifting at slow speeds, or by bouncing along the ground. Since a fireball is technically Pure Energy, the common laws of motion seem to be exempt.

What happens when a fireball impacts is, similarly, entirely up in the air. Maybe Stuff Blows Up, leaving a sphere of annihilation. Other times, it just puffs out like a harmless burst of wind. Only sometimes does it actually set things on fire.

Not to be confused with Fireball, Great Balls of Fire or Outrunning The Fireball. A Sub-Trope of Energy Ball.

Examples of Fireballs include:

Anime And Manga

  • Slayers: This is pretty much the secondary trademark attack of Lina Inverse.
  • Sasuke in the earlier Naruto episodes attacked with a giant fireball. He later makes another version that isn't only solid, but is capable of plowing through a stone wall.
  • Natsuru in Kämpfer has this as his her main offensive power.
  • Ace of One Piece takes this to its biggest proportions in the fight with Blackbeard.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Muhummad Avdol's Stand does this with a twist; the fireballs (called Crossfire Hurricane) take the form of flaming ankhs. The Fighting Game even makes Avdol into a Shotoclone.
  • Sailor Moon: Sailor Mars' Fire Soul attack is a fireball.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha franchise, these are Agito's most common attacks, may it be in the form of multiple small fireballs, or one huge fireball.



  • Wizard's Fire in The Sword of Truth series. Literally an enormous sphere of liquid fire.
  • Discworld: Despite the entire purpose of wizardry being to not use magic, the Dean has an enormous enthusiasm for throwing fireballs at things, and Ridcully has been known to do so as well. Pratchett has stated fireballs are one of the few acts of magic he'll let wizards get away with these days.
  • In The Magicians, one of the first battle spells our heroes learn is fireball.
  • Harry Dresden, of The Dresden Files, uses these on occasion, although mostly for intimidation. In combat he uses focused rays of fire. He also complained, during a roleplaying session, that the fireball in the game didn't behave realistically, as its area of destruction was a perfect sphere.
  • In The Wheel of Time, fireballs are a basic form of attack used preferentially against Shadowspawn. Most Aes Sedai and Wise Ones can throw them, having different techniques for doing so. The Asha'man, on the other hand, are trained specifically for combat, and use far more effective measures, like an expanding wall of flame and molten earth.

Live Action TV

  • Charmed. If demons aren't using fireballs, they're chucking Energy Balls.
  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai Plenty of fireballs get thrown around.
  • Galen sometimes makes fireballs in Crusade. In fact, he does it twice in one episode. First, to get Eilerson's attention (nothing like a fist-sized fireball two inches from your face to get you to shut up for a second). When Eilerson stops talking, Galen opens his coat, and has the fireball fly in. It's left to the interpretation whether it was an illusion or not. The second time is when he, angry at the telepathic alien, generates a fireball and prepares to throw it, before Gideon intervenes, claiming that Galen is not a murderer. Anyone who has read The Passing Of The Techno Mages trilogy knows better.

Professional Wrestling

  • An old trick not seen much in modern shows, the original Sheik was the most famous practitioner but Jerry Lawler did it too.

Tabletop Games

  • A common spell in Dungeons & Dragons and various other games. D&D's fireball is actually a bit different: the spell shoots a "glowing, pea-sized bead" that explodes upon impact into a gigantic sphere of flame (the actual "fireball"), doing nasty damage over a twenty-foot radius, making it the first ranged AOE damage spell that Magic Users can cast. There's also Flaming Sphere, a 10' wide ball of fire that rolled around on the ground at the caster's will. And then there's Delayed Blast Fireball and Meteor Swarm. Non-core improvements include things like Fallion's Fabulous Fireball (runs a programmed path, like blaster launcher in X-COM).
    • Forgotten Realms added a few more variations, such as Teleport Fireball or Symkalr's Forest (does not affect plant matter) / Friendly (e.g. don't burn elves) / Unfriendly (e.g. burn only orcs) / Deathbane (undead-only, but bypassing usual fire protections) Fireball spells that all cause the same damage as a basic fireball, but snuffs any fires they created.
  • Taken further in Hackmaster, which has multiple Fireball spells for every spell level.
  • Fireball was one of the first Magic: The Gathering cards, notable for combining with a Cast from Hit Points card for a combo.
  • An effective spell in GURPS: Magic that will set many things on fire. It gives access to the more powerful Explosive Fireball spell.
  • And a popular way of turning flammable nearby objects into flaming and exploding nearby objects in Shadowrun. Early versions of the game had it as a normalish spell; later ones split 'elemental' magic off.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle has a fireball spell. It's the signature spell in it's lore, meaning any and all wizards using that law can have it.
  • Just one of the many Blast spells used by sorcerers in Feng Shui.


  • In The Phantom of the Opera, during one of the confrontations between Raoul and the Phantom, the Phantom shoots fireballs out of his staff at Raoul.

Video Games

  • Warlords, a 1980 Atari game, had the players trying to break down each other's forts with fireballs - put into play by a flying dragon - which could be bounced off the players' shields and even caught on them, but would blast bricks out of a wall.

There be warlords of brawn and might
Defending their crowns of gold;
Beware the power of The Black Knight,
A power-hungry foe!
The dragons spit their fireballs:
Warlords! Hold up your shields!
'Tis time to protect your castle walls
Until The Black Knight yields.

  • The Diablo series.
  • Ragnarok Online provides it with a nice mage spell. It's useless - it has low power and small range of explosion.
  • The Avernum series, as a Mage spell that does prodigious splash damage.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a fireball spell. It can also be used to set stuff (that is, the Grease spell) on fire.
    • Fireball itself is a bread-and-butter spell for any mage. Wide area of effect, deals good damage on impact, then deals damage over time and has a knockdown effect? Hells yes we want it. The only drawback is you have to use two other spell slots for the lackluster Flame Blast and Flaming Weapon spells to get it.
  • The Eye of the Beholder series (which was based on the Dungeons & Dragons rules) had not only the spell itself, but also traps that would launch a Fireball at the unlucky victim.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion gives you a fireball as a starting spell.
    • Skyrim promotes Fireball to a Adept level spell and adds a glorious explosion upon impact. There is a lower level, non-exploding "Firebolt" variant that behaves similarly to Oblivion's fireball.
  • The Flame Dart spell in the Quest for Glory series of RPG / Adventure Game hybrids.
  • In one Golden Sun: The Lost Age lighthouse, there are several traps that consist of an obstacle-ridden hallway you need to navigate while a statue periodicaly hurls ginormous fireballs at you that cause damage and send you back to the beginning of the hallway.
    • There are also several Psynergy that use fireballs: "Fire" and its upgrades, "Fireball" and "Inferno"; "Juggle" and its upgrades, "Heat Juggle" and "Fiery Juggle"; and "Raging Heat" and its upgrades, "Fiery Abyss" and "Dire Inferno."
    • Fireball is a field Psynergy in Dark Dawn. And yes, you are expected to use it, a lot. Even as Matthew (thanks for the Mars Djinn loan, Garet!).
  • Averted in Nethack: its 'fireball' spell simply creates several fiery explosions.
  • In some Final Fantasy games and related Square Enix games, the fire/fira/firaga spells are represented by fireballs, although most games they are more of summoning flames at the target destination. Other spells may or may not count as well, again on a game by game basis.
    • Final Fantasy VI, Fire, and Fira are summoning flames at the feet of the target, but Firaga summons a condensed ball of fire that crashes into the target and explodes.
    • In Crisis Core, the Fire/Fira/Firaga spells shoots medium sized fireballs, in Dissidia Final Fantasy Cloud's Fire/Fira/Friaga spells take the same form, rather than the pillar of flame the spells took on in Final Fantasy VII
      • Also from the Dissidia games, Terra's Fire attack has her launch a fireball, which, interestingly, homes while clinging to the ground.[1] Kefka's fire-based attacks also take the form of Roboteching fireballs, and the Onion Knight's Firaga attack has him launch a fireball in an arc that explodes for HP damage unpon connection (3 at once if he's in his Sage Super Mode).
    • Most Kingdom Hearts games Fire/Fira/Firaga are homing fireballs.
      • In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, the fire spells are, in order of Fire to Firaga, a homing fireball, a non-homing fireball, and an exploding napalm ball.
  • Black Sigil's Aurora has spells that are along the line of Fireballs, More Fireballs, and Really Big Fireballs.
  • Fireball in the Tales (series) fires a number of small burning missiles that deal damage when they hit. However, there's also bigger versions Burn Strike and Explosion. Tales of Hearts has a variant in Flare Bomb, shooting a single small projectile that erupts when it hits.
  • Surprisingly averted in the Pokémon games. While there are a whole host of energy balls in-game (including a move called Energy Ball that is grass type and a steel-type energy ball called Flash Cannon), there is no 80 power ball-shaped fire-type move.
    • Pokémon Black and White recently introduce the move Searing Shot, a signature move of the expected Mew stand-in Victini, which has an impressive 100 base power. And if you look at it, Ember might count as well. (the user shoots many tiny balls of fire at the opponent)
  • Mass Effect 2: The so called "Tech Power" Incinerate is this in all but name.
  • The Star Ocean series. At higher levels, it can split into 3 separate fireballs, dealing greater damage.
  • In Secret of Mana, one of the first powers gained by the fire spirit Salamander is this. Similar to the Star Ocean example, it can split into multiple fireballs at higher levels.
  • Neverwinter Nights: A good way to 'lockpick' for the impatient. Oh and useful against enemies I guess.
  • Mages in World of Warcraft can shoot fireballs, as well as Pyroblasts, fireball's larger slower cousin. Warlocks also get Incinerate (an unusual-looking fireball with a snakelike movement pattern), Soul Fire, and Chaos Bolt. There are a great number of other fire spells, but most of them don't use an Energy Ball form.
  • Perfect World: The Mage class gets two: one when they first start, which looks suspiciously like a playing card that's been set on fire, and a more beefy one later.
  • Super Mario Bros.: just punch a brick ceiling, grab a flower half the size of your body, and change into white overalls. Or just blow it out of your mouth if you're a plant, a turtle or a dinosaur. (Some of these fireballs bounce along the ground, while others just drift through the air.) Fireball creatures known as podobos are also known to hang out in lava pits, and some of their cousins just float around in mid-air.
    • These powers are also used by the Super Smash Bros. versions of these characters. Mario's are pretty much the same as in his own games, whereas Luigi's go in a straight line (defying gravity) and are green.
  • The Curry powerup in Super Smash Bros. allows you to spit a constant tridirectional stream of fireballs at your enemies.
  • Older Than the NES with Mario Bros. and its wavy fireballs.
  • Fireballs tend to be blown at you by Zo(l/r)as, statues, burning eyeballs and such in the early The Legend of Zelda games. A spell in Zelda II the Adventure of Link lets you toss them around with your sword.
  • Cave Story features a fireball gun. The fireballs, of course, bounce along the ground.
  • These show up as enemy projectiles in Gunstar Heroes, too.
  • A fireball is a standard projectile in Warcraft 3. There's also a spell that hurls a fireball to stun a target.
  • While the famous Hadouken from Street Fighter is informally called a fireball, it really isn't; it's just a regular ball of ki. However, Ryu and Akuma can imbue their ki with fire with the Shakunetsu Hadouken (Scorching Hadouken).
  • Kirby can turn himself into one, or spit them out, when he gets the right ability.
  • The Metroid series has violas and multiviolas, which are fireball creatures.
  • Purple has a power-up that lets you throw destructive Super Mario Bros.-like fireballs that can melt frost-blocks.
  • The "Gouenken" spell from Bujingai Swordmaster. Starts with a relatively small ball and end up with a miniature sun in level 3.
  • Dracula in Castlevania uses fireballs as his main attack in most games. In some games, you can get variants of this ability.
  • Imps in the Doom series love throwing fireballs at you. Cacodemons spit them at you. Hell Knights and Barons of Hell hurl green fireballs that hurt a lot more. And Mancubi and Revenants shoot fireballs at you that act a lot like rockets—and the Revenant's have the ability to home in on you like a heatseeker.


  • Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick casts Fireball quite often.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot and Justin fight a fire summon that spits fireballs. These fireballs are more like grenades than anything else though and have more explosive punch than heat.

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, mage Fey has cast these, although only at opponents it wouldn't kill or disfigure. The crazed pyrokinetic Fireball didn't have any such qualms.

Real Life

  • One Bullet Away: Nate Fick (of Generation Kill fame) is standing around with his convoy in an Iraqi town, when what he describes as flaming pumpkins come flying over the adjacent river, barely missing him and smashing into the street and buildings around them. After a few moments he realizes the Marines are being targeted by antiaircraft fire.
  • There is a class of devices for use by stage magicians called "hand flashers". One of the more spectacular versions is a short metal tube that fits into the palm of the hand, which, when loaded with a wad of flash paper, can be used to throw a basketball-sized ball of fire across a room.
  1. In the prequel, this attack can link to an explosive Firaga HP attack if it connects