Squishy Wizard

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    Ah, mages... Such powerful spells, and yet you can kill them if you sneeze on 'em.

    "Well, I'm terribly sorry I spent my extensive lifespan unlocking the means to unravel the universe and reshape it according to my will rather than, say, jogging. It has a tendency to leave one relatively fragile."

    Vaarsuvius, The Order of the Stick

    It seems that many who possess great magical, mental, or otherwise mystical might are also in the worst of shape. They may be sickly, horribly ill, crippled, or just physically weak and puny; in general, people who have reality-bending powers seem to suffer for it in other areas.

    There are usually reasons. Powerful psychics may suffer from this, as they can do anything with their minds—for what do they need their bodies? It may also be the result of a magical Old Master or The Obi-Wan experiencing the declining health that comes with age. Alternatively, physical health can sometimes be traded for magical power, be it through a bargain of some sort or the use of very draining magic... or it may be more mundane: rather than go outside or exercise, the magicians spent all their time studying spells, and are thus very weak physically.

    Or, y'know, it could just be game balance. Because otherwise, we'd have a Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards situation.

    In terms of characterisation, this trope creates a duality and contrast in the character very similar to, and at the same time the complete opposite of, the strong, stupid guy. Since Squishy Wizards tend to focus on powerful offensive attack spells ("Nuking"), they are also contrasted by The Medic, a form of Squishy Wizard who focuses on healing and defensive magic to stand in for their frail defense instead. Squishy Wizards, because of their fragility, are often paired up with fighters in a Sword and Sorcerer ensemble or part of a full-blown adventuring party.

    In addition, this trope, in combination with the concept of "aggro," was one of the biggest contributors to the standard Tank/DPS/Heal/Nuke party formation as seen in many MMORPGs—because characters that can nuke the hell out of the opposition and heal the party are usually the squishiest members of the party, the Party Tank, who can hold aggro and keep it off the others, was born because something had to be done to keep these squishy party members alive during those big battles.

    This trope is distinct from Disability Superpower, in that the power in question is not necessarily making up for the disability; rather, this trope refers to the lack of physical prowess that tends to accompany mystical powers.

    In game mechanic terms, the Squishy Wizard is usually a Glass Cannon, being able to dole out big hurt but generally dying if a tough monster looks at it funny.

    Of course, it should be noted that not every wizard is squishy. See Combat Medic, Magic Knight, and Kung Fu Wizard. The Hero of the story is likely to be one of those instead of this trope.

    Not to be confused with another meaning of squishy.

    Compare Blind Seer, Waif Prophet, Black Mage, White Mage.

    Examples of Squishy Wizard include:


    • Armchair detectives and other characters in and based on classic investigative literature may fit this trope when compared to traditional police as presented in such stories. There are exceptions, however; Sherlock Holmes in the second category has been known to outfight an athletic suspect despite being a long-time cocaine addict.

    Anime and Manga

    • Pretty much any White Magician Girl in an RPG Anime.
    • In Mahou Sensei Negima, it is explained that mages can infuse their bodies with magical power, converting it into physical strength. However, this requires a great deal of control, and it seems only well-trained mages can do this—although the benefits are made obvious when Negi defeats martial arts masters in a single punch.
      • Even then, the standard mages will get destroyed by purely physical fighters, which is why they usually form pactio with fighters to protect them while they stay in the backline. Negi's prowess only come after he goes Magic Knight and starts seriously training in martial arts.
        • It was originally presented as a trade-off, in that focusing on self-enhancement and physical training comes at the cost of improving magical versatility and maximum power yield, so that you're safer and more self-reliant but there's a greater number of things you simply aren't equipped to handle. As Negi's unwillingness to depend on others has directly led both to his increased dependence on his students for noncombat support and most of his Black Magic-related problems, this seems to be borne out.
        • However, his master, Evangeline, noted later that beyond a certain level of power, the two become essentially indistinguishable due to the sheer amount of power a mage is then capable of channeling. None of the high-level mages in the story have problems with close-ranged combat.
      • The squishiness was also why Kotarō initially despised western mages. He started respecting Negi after he proved not-so-squishy.
    • Princess Amelia of Slayers is a well-rounded sorceress, being able to utilize an effective balance of White Magic and Shamanistic Magic. However, she's usually the one that gets tossed around the most: there's when the low-ranking demon Seigram nearly kills her with a toss into a cliff wall in the second season of the anime/seventh book, and another demon winds up breaking several bones in her body in the sixth book/fifth anime season. She also doesn't wield a weapon, which puts her at a disadvantage depending on the situation. Surprisingly, Lina, a far more powerful sorceress, is less "squishy."
    • Lelouch in Code Geass, despite his excellent sense of strategy, is one of the weaker cast members, and this is usually played for comedy. In one example, during the school festival in R2, he was outrun by Suzaku, Shirley, Kallen in a walrus mascot suit, and even Milly, dressed as a dead ringer for Little Bo Peep.
      • Played for comedy? Tell that to the hundreds of Japanese who died because Lelouch couldn't outrun and overpower his kid sister in a dress.
        • That's actually par-for-the-course for Code Geass: things that seem funny at first can be played brutally straight later on, whilst serious aspects of the show can suddenly be seen in a funny way when in a different context. This is true of Real Life, as well. Meanwhile in the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion manga, Euphie is given this treatment, and shown to be unable to kick a soccer ball more than a few feet. This despite being a member of the Britannian Royal Family, and thus guaranteed to be at least somewhat intelligent and good with plans (she was able to "defeat" Lelouch, as he himself admitted, when it came to the SAZ), as well as being Cornelia's baby sis.
    • In one of the additional OVA-episodes of Ojamajo Doremi, the title character meets an ill (cancer, as it seems) girl called Nozomi, who believes in witches and that a witch's magic can only be strong, when her body is weak. Nozomi is discovered by the Ojamajos to be the ideal choice for becoming a witch-apprentice, since she seems already to be able to use magic to certain extent, even without using magic equipment or even a tap. However, Nozomi dies from her disease, before the girls are able to introduce her to the queen.
    • Hayate Yagami of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a Squishy Wizard in a team comprised mostly of Magic Knights. Ranking SS on the mage power scale, her main repertoire is a vast array of powerful spells that cover a wide-area, nuking everything in its path. At melee range, she's helpless and needs somebody else, usually her Wolkenritter, to keep the more troublesome enemies away from her. It was explained in the sound stages that she never actually learned any magic the way Nanoha and Fate did. Instead, the mad power and spell knowledge came from her Linker Core merging with the original Reinforce's, so it is entirely possible that she simply doesn't have any spells weaker than a tactical nuclear device. And seeing how she rarely gets a chance to practice her even those (each is accompanied by mandatory authorization by TSAB and advance evacuation orders, no kidding), she also needs Reinforce Zwei to aim them for her.
      • Which is odd considering that Rein Eins not only had the Nigh Invulnerability to Won't Work On Me pretty much everything thrown at her, but spells like Bloody Dagger show that she can fight effectively at the anti-personnel level.
      • One is free to doubt the canonicity of supplementary games, but The Battle of Aces shows that Hayate can handle herself quite well in melee. Either she is holding back that much in StrikerS or the game developers saw a need to prevent her from becoming a Joke Character like in Magical Battle Arena.
        • The Battle of Aces is an Alternate Universe to the main Nanoha Universe in which Ein is still alive and is around to teach Hayate how to use magic properly. BOA!Hayate already knows flight control in a few days after the main conflict of A's while Main!Hayate takes months being taught by Nanoha and Fate in the Sound Stage. I honestly believe that BOA!Hayate can defeat Unison!Main!Hayate in a fight.
    • In Sailor Moon, the magically strongest senshi, Saturn and Moon, are both rather unimpressive physically. Mercury as well, being the support "caster" of the bunch.
      • Of course, Saturn's weakness has nothing to do with her magical abilities, and everything to do with a frail constitution and redefining waif. Yet she still has the Silence Glaive, so messing with her isn't a good idea on any level. And Sailor Moon isn't useless in a direct fight—she has one hell of a flying kick.
    • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator, winner of the Superpower Lottery, is able to take down an army untouched because he's literally untouchable and can make huge explosions by essentially stomping his feet. Unfortunately, Touma can hit him, and he has absolutely no physical training which means that a guy that could survive a nuke gets taken down in a street fight. Actually, everyone Touma fights is like this when you get down to it. Except Kaori, who utterly curb stomps him without even using divine powers. Which he actually could cancel out, but still.
      • She curb-stomped him because she didn't use any powers.
      • Played with in the first season of the side series A Certain Scientific Railgun where a number of espers are shown to actually be decent at physical combat. The series' Big Bad, however, uses their own uniqueness against them in a crippling way that doesn't even require them to actively use their powers and then beats them with superior physical strength. Who wins the day? Saten with a baseball bat.
    • While not Wizards in the traditional sense, the puppeteers from Naruto have this problem too, as they rely exclusively on their puppets to protect them and have no close combat skills whatsoever (with the exception of Chiyo, who was able to put up a fight against Naruto and his clone when she mistook them as enemies).
      • Nagato/the real Pain also qualifies relying on his six extra bodies which he can control from a distance, but only has one way to defend himself at close range (impaling someone with one of his chakra receivers and taking over their body) and can't move around easily—although it's not because of frailty from focusing on non-physical abilities, but a crippling battle wound.
      • Arguably, Gaara, as he is very adept at jutsu (and makes heavy use of Shukaku's power), but almost never uses Taijutsu. (His stats basically confirm this trope.)
    • Nico Robin of One Piece is quite squishy (at least compared to the insane strength most people in the Grand Line exhibit) if you manage to get past her long range power. As a result, once the enemy gets in position to give her direct blows, she's screwed.
      • Nami also fits, especially the wizard part, what with her Clima-Tact's ability to create mirages, rain, and lightning.
      • Subverted with Usopp, the only "normal" member of the crew. He's managed to survive beating that would KILL lesser men, but what makes him squishy is the fact that he's a screaming coward. There are particularly strong enemies that have easily beaten him, however.
      • Chopper is fairly squishy when he's not using the Rumble Ball.
    • Subverted in The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Apparently, being physically fit is a necessity if you want to wield powers capable of destroying entire civilizations. Who'd have thunk it?
    • Shiki from Black Cat is a classic Glass Cannon. He's a Beast Master, and Summon Magic fan, with standard attacks that do more than anything this side of The Hero, The Big Bad, or The Big Good's finals, but a single pistol-whip can put him out of action. Of course that's after getting through the barriers, the armies of giant bugs, and the flaming sword made of magic seals.
    • Hohenheim in Fullmetal Alchemist has truly amazing (literally godlike) alchemical powers, but in terms of athletics, is exactly the geeky Non-Action Guy he looks like. This is kind of surprising when revealed, given that nearly every other character is quite athletic/quite a good fighter, and alchemists tend to be more of the Kung Fu Wizard persuasion.
    • Big Bad example in Complete Monster Delphine Eraclea from Last Exile. She's developed some incredible More Than Mind Control brainwashing technology to control anyone she wants, but, she's very weak physically.
    • Played straight in Dragon Ball, the few cases we see of magic tends to not be directed towards combat. The one time we see something might be used for it with Babadi, in which his magic proves completely useless in fight.

    Comic Books

    • Professor Xavier of the X-Men, the most powerful telepath on the planet, can go anywhere and into anyone's mind... but not up the stairs.
    • Loki from The Mighty Thor is a subversion. Most depictions have him as a weak fighter...by Asgardian standards. Asgard being a World of Badass where the kids are as strong as Spider-Man, that doesn't mean much. He does have super-strength and endurance by mortal standards, which added to his magic make him a very powerful opponent.
    • Oracle from the Batman and Birds of Prey books is frequently regarded as one by the few who see her due to her paraplegia and the fact that she concentrates on the mission control/hacker deity side of things. Those mooks who get in range of her clubs find out differently, usually the hard way (although compared to the people she runs with she is not that dangerous).
      • This is perhaps to be expected, given that before she was shot and paralyzed, Oracle was Batgirl.
    • Marvel's first Star Thief represents the extreme end of this. He's permanently paralyzed and insensate, none of his five senses work. Due to this, however, he gained the ability to use his dormant psychic powers to the full. First he learned to sense through other people; then, he gained the power to vanish stars.
    • The heavily manga-influenced indie comic The Demon Mages stretches this trope to its literal extremes with sorceress/scientist Countessa Tesryon, a succubus (closer to an energy-vampire in this series) whose insides are described as being gel—like that of a spider. This has the effect of making her both physically durable (though still weak) and, to quote artist and writer Jason Robinson, "extra squishy".
    • Zatanna from DC Comics can do practically anything with her spells, as long as she's able to say them. One hit to the throat or gut and she's out of the fight.
      • A fact that The Joker uses to his advantage in the Batman storyline Trust. He shoots Zatanna in the throat and dumps her into a glass casket full of water, while he's got Batman trapped in a chair, helpless to watch as she dies. Turns out she's not so helpless when hit in the throat. She heals herself and escapes by writing the required spells on the side of the casket with her own blood.
        • Apparently, even if most stories show inconsistency about that, Zatanna has been shown exploring other ways of charmcasting, owing to her heritage as a bona fide sorceress. However, she has always returned to logomancy.
      • That's not the only thing squishy about her...
    • Billy/Wiccan from Young Avengers. He's a borderline Reality Warper if you make him mad enough, but, rather like Zatanna, a good hit to the throat can take him out of a fight.
    • John Constantine is notoriously bad at fistfights, somewhat depending on the writer. And all that smoking doesn't help his Constitution score none either.
    • Nico Minoru from Runaways. If you can prevent her from summoning the Staff of One, she's powerless (although she has been seen using the odd spell without it...)
      • Then again considering that drawing blood is what summons the staff engaging her in combat might not be a good idea.
    • Mezmerella from The Incredibles. Her hypnotic abilities are impressively powerful and actually have a Lotus Eater Machine effect on Dash, but the moment her power-channeling goggles are broken, it doesn't take much to bring her down.
    • The Scarlet Witch often received this treatment in The Avengers, being taken out of battles almost immediately so that her hex powers wouldn't end things too quickly.
    • Averted HARD in Gold Digger with Gina's archmage father Theodore Diggers. He explains that every molecule of his body is under his conscious control, so a werewolf breaking his spine is annoyingly painful but not in the least incapacitating. Several other mages, warlocks, etc. in the series are Badass hand-to-hand, too.
    • Graviton from The Avengers comics. His power over gravity is almost equal to Magneto's power over magnetism. He can lift a skyscraper into the air (and has no need to focus his attention on it to keep it aloft) or crush it under its own weight. Not only is he able to fly, he can tow a dozen or so allies along with him. But his mortal body is still that of the physics researcher he once was. To give just one example, after the Acts of Vengeance storyline, he and the other villains who had assaulted Spider-Man during that arc went after him as a team, and he was the primary reason they curb-stomped him in round one. Round two, however, Spidey went straight for Graviton in an ambush, blinding him with webbing and knocked him out in one punch, and with him out, he was able to take down the other villains with ease.

    Fan Works

    • There are two Squishies and three aversions in With Strings Attached.
      • Squishy #1: Ringo. Physically normal, he completely lacks any defensive or movement magic, requiring him to be toted around and protected by the others. On the other hand, he can harass you from a hundred miles away, so he's quite the Glass Cannon.
      • Squishy #2: Brox. Brox is currently in a five-year-old body and has no stamina for casting spells.
      • Aversion #1: Grunnel can climb a hundred-foot flight of stairs without breaking a sweat.
      • Aversion #2: Stoffer Briggs, the Farming Wizard, is a tough old dude.
      • Aversion #3: Paul and his three spells. Paul is about as not-squishy as it is possible to be.

    Films -- Live Action

    • Gandalf and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are generally portrayed as physically feeble due to their (apparent) age, but not so much that they can't hold their own in a battle or ride long distances on horseback.
      • Gandalf, at least, is an aversion of this trope (just as he was in the book). He is shown to be anything but physically weak, and he kicks serious ass with both his staff and his sword. This is, of course, mostly because the Wizards aren't actually human beings, or elves for that matter (they're something closer to angels or minor gods).
        • and, more specifically, "Then Gandalf revealed the strength that lay hid in him; even as the light of his power was hidden under his grey mantle. He leaped up on to the faggots, and raising the sick man lightly he sprang down again, and bore him towards the door."
    • Considering how easy it is for Rogar to kill him, Ambrose in The Gamers definitely qualifies.

    Game Books

    • Grey Star, the protagonist of the 4-book spin-off from Lone Wolf, also exemplifies this, especially compared to the extremely Badass Psychic Knight of the main series. Although Grey Star gets the same basic stat rolls than Lone Wolf, he receives none of the healing powers and combat-enhancing disciplines or special items of the latter, and is heavily penalized if he ever has to fight bare-handed or with another weapon than his magic staff. Sure, he can use his magic to multiply the damage inflicted by the staff—but this cost precious magic points that are put to much better use casting spells. The best strategy to win those gamebooks is certainly to avoid combats like the plague—and in fact, Books 2, 3 and 4 can all be finished without any fights if you're lucky (not so much with Book 1, though).
    • Carr Delling, protagonist of the Kingdom Of Sorcery trilogy, starts as a fairly athletic young novice. By the time the last installment of the series begins, he's a prematurely-aged powerful wizard crippled by a teleportation freak accident.


    • While most of Tamora Pierce's mages are skilled in combat as well as weaponry, in the fourth Protector of the Small book, the villain Blaise relies on his seven foot bodyguard for protection.
    • Raistlin from the Dungeons & Dragons-derived Dragonlance Saga, who traded his health for magical power, resulting in a chronic, racking cough. Another mage is introduced who was also forced to sacrifice his great athletic prowess for his magic.
      • This is actually a rule for Dragonlance wizards: they're basically a religious order, and their gods forbid them from doing any more weapons training than is necessary for self-defense, so they can better concentrate on their magic.
        • This wasn't any different than any other Dungeons & Dragons mages, since at that time wizards were pretty limited in their weapon proficiencies and couldn't wear armor. The big difference was that elf and half-elf wizards weren't allowed to multiclass.
    • The Mule in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
      • And, for that matter, Hari Seldon who generally appears in a wheelchair. Prelude to Foundation (that deals with a young Seldon) describes it as almost sacrilege to think of him outside of that chair. Even moreso as a good martial artist, which he was.
    • Wizards in the Discworld novels tend to be unhealthy in a different way: most of them are Big Eaters (a "light snack" at Unseen University can run to several courses) and unlike many examples of that trope they do become hugely overweight. Exceptions include Mustrum Ridcully, the current Archchancellor (a firm believer in healthy exercise), Rincewind and the Bursar (both of whom fit the "frail and emaciated" version of the trope, although Rincewind is capable of a fair turn of speed, perhaps making up for his total lack of magical ability).
      • In the case of the Bursar, he is so insane that on the Discworld, "going Bursar" is an expression for losing your mind.
      • To be fair, even Ridcully is described as a large man. However, under his fat is muscle, which sets him apart from the other wizards. Ridcully is, in fact, a perfect example of Stout Strength.
      • Vividly demonstrated in The Light Fantastic: Trymon, the novel's Big Bad is possessed by the Things from the Dungeon Dimension, has read the most powerful book of magic around and is a pretty potent wizard in his own right. He is beaten up in hand-to-hand combat by Rincewind!
        • It is noted, though, that the only reason that Rincewind has survived so long is that he has the body of a long-distance sprinter and the soul of a wizard.
    • He might not be an actual wizard, but Miles Vorkosigan Saga's genius for tactics, strategy, and the Indy Ploy—especially the last—might as well be magic for all the scrapes it's gotten him out of. He's four-foot-nine fully grown, his bones nearly powder (until he has them replaced by synthetics).
    • Justified in the Heralds of Valdemar books: maintaining your skills as a magic-user is a full-time job. Maintaining your skills as a fighter is a full-time job. Yes, there are people who do both, but they do so by giving up any pretense to having a life outside their skills, and usually giving up on getting a good night's sleep as well.
      • This is Discussed Trope off and on in later books, especially By the Sword—Mercenary Captain Kerowyn has to explain to magic-wary Valdemarans that magic is not all powerful and that mages go splat just as easily as anyone else; perhaps more.
      • On the other hand, while few mages actually learn professional-level fighting skills, quite a few of them still maintain high degrees of physical fitness. Then again, the fact that in the Valdemar books manipulating high amounts of mana is work equivalent to heavy manual labor helps explain why there are so few fat, out-of-shape wizards. Of the various magic-using protagonists in the series, Kethry of the Vows and Honor' trilogy is the best example of a Squishy Wizard - and even she gets around it most of the time thanks to an Empathic Weapon that can take control of her body to confer upon her the skills of a master swordsman.
    • Voldemort in Harry Potter is described as being very tall, thin, and bony, with chalk-white skin and spidery hands. Harry could use a little meat on his bones too in the book, though in the Goblet of Fire film, he's revealed to be quite athletic-looking once he takes off his clothes.
      • In Order of the Phoenix, Neville gets himself mocked by a whole group of Death Eaters for his pathetic skills with magic. A second later and he proceeds to tackle one of them to the ground and display the "other" use of a wand by stabbing it into the Death Eater's eye. The others seem somewhat shocked by such unorthodox tactics, giving Harry a chance to act.
      • Also, despite otherwise being heavily based on real British high schools, Hogwarts is notably lacking any sort of PE program. They have one sports team, (a sport in which most of the movement is done by magical broomstick) and nothing else. Though depending on the teacher their classes may be a bit more physically demanding than the average Muggle classroom.
      • An aversion by Dumbledore. In Goblet of Fire, when Barty Crouch Sr. is found, Dumbledore is capable of running fast enough to keep up with a teenager fit enough to compete in the Triwizard Tournament.
    • In Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus in Flight (a Prequel to The Rowan) Peter Reidinger is the world's most powerful psychic Talent, with a totally paralyzed body. It's only because he is paralyzed, in fact, that he was able to discover his powers by telepathically calling for aid.
    • In the Elenium trilogy by David Eddings, Otha, the Emperor of Zemoch, is an immortal graced with unimaginable magic powers by his god. He's also lazy and stupid, and over the millennia of his existence has morphed into something that is described as being roughly analogous to Jabba the Hutt in appearance. He can't even walk; he has to be carried around on a litter by slaves.
    • Also in David Eddings Polgara the Sorceress, where Polgara notes that despite his elderly looks Belgarath will as readily resort to bar brawling tactics as to magic. Not to mention Beldin who casually tosses people twice his size around. Or Garion, who tends to prefer his BFS to magic. Or Badass Abnormal Durnik, who was a blacksmith before dying and coming back as a sorcerer. David Eddings likes 'verting this trope.
    • Oromis of Inheritance Cycle is the Cripple who is Whole. He can't use large amounts of magic and he has seizures from time to time. This (especially the latter) contributed to his death in Brisingr.
      • And the High Priest (Priestess?) of Helgrind gave up all of its limbs (and part of its tongue) in ritual self-mutilation. It also possesses incredible psychic powers which it uses in a mental battle with Eragon, Arya, Angela, and Solembum. Oh, and it battles these super-powerful magicians all at the same time.
    • John Brunner's Telepathist introduces Howson, whose telepathic power is second-to-none. Yet he is afflicted with haemophilia, scoliosis and never went through puberty, because the region of the brain that controls the growth of the body was overwhelmed by the area that governs telepathic ability.
    • Most medicine cats from Warriors. Yellowfang was quite the Badass, though.
      • It has been noted on at least one occasion that all medicine cats are trained as warriors. Of course, less than a page after pointing this out, Leafpool was nearly shoved off a cliff by two nameless characters, which would suggest that they do know fighting, just not very well. Not very well at all.
      • Trained in self-defense, but not fully trained as warriors (they are expected to sit out battles and heal the injured, not fight directly). Yellowfang was an exception in that she was a fully trained warrior before becoming a medicine cat, something which is rare but not forbidden.
    • In The Dresden Files, wizards are not any more squishy than normal humans. In fact, their magical abilities grant them the ability to recover from injury that is beyond standard human capacity, enabling them to regenerate from third degree burns if given enough time and live for centuries (and Harry and plenty of other Wardens are in pretty good physical shape). However, wizards are still human and when compared to vampires, demons, ogres, trolls, things that hunt trolls, fallen angels, dragons and other super-strong monstrosities, they are subject to this trope. In one book, Dresden mentions that he's become so used to successfully fighting off magical assaults, that it never occurred to him that a sniper's bullet would do him in without so much as a saving throw. Ultimately, this is how he is killed.
      • Harry himself has dismissed direct physical enhancement as an impractical use of magic given the number of required secondary alterations. It's possible having worked out those problems means giving up some claim to be human, and the White Council seems very reluctant to think of a nonhuman as a "wizard", making the term self-enforcing.
      • There's at least one wizard who is a pretty powerful close-quarters bruiser: Listens-To-Winds, whose specialty is in effortlessly deflecting enemy magic and then beat the shit out of enemies as a bear the size of a minibus.
    • In Nick Perumov's Sword Guardian series, there is the world of Evial, which features a "Rule of one Gift", meaning that you simply CANNOT be both a good wizard and a good fighter. In another world Mel'in, the physical weakness of most wizards allowed the young Emperor to successfully wage war against wizards.
      • But in the same series there are Battle Mages, who are both super strong wizards and good fighters.
    • All wizards in Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. To make matters worse they can temporarily be killed Wicked Witch of the West style, by soapy water (with a little lemon juice).
    • Justified for humans in the Myth Adventures series, where Aahz observes that, judging by Skeeve's learning curve, human lifespans aren't long enough to master both combat and spells. Nonhumans like Aahz (and possibly Tananda) have longer to practice and can thus become both magically competent and non-Squishy.
      • Humans are also one of the physically less formidable races to begin with. Tandy, a trollop (female version of a troll), is every bit as powerful as her 8 foot tall musclebound walking carpet of a brother, Chumley, and while Aahz is actually shorter than Skeeve (something that the artists usually got wrong), Pervects are insanely strong, have scales that are almost indestructible against anything other than fire, plus vicious claws and fangs. Forget wizards, even physically formidable combat specialists Guido and Nunzo end up looking squishy next to them.
    • Sonea in The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, wins a critically important duel, that would determine whether she could continue as a commoner to learn magic, simply by the fact that her opponent had never done any exercise, and in a later scene couldn't even punch hard enough to leave a bruise on her shoulder. Sonea on the other hand was more than capable of breaking his nose and bruising his eyes badly enough to leave him blind until treated.
    • Most Qirsi from The Winds of the Forelands are short-lived and frail owing to the rigors of their magic. The exceptions are Weavers, the rarest and most powerful form of Qirsi—of the two Weaver characters, Grinsa is described as very physically fit, while Dusaan is built like a warrior king.
    • Somewhat inverted in the Black Company series, in that strength of magic makes a wizard harder to kill. Evil Overlord level wizards cannot only survive but even function while suffering from wounds that even the most advanced of life support systems would be unable to cope with, like having your head cut off.
    • In Jason Cosmo and its sequel, mages supposedly have fast recuperative abilities and enhanced stamina (apparently the result of magical energy constantly pouring into the body), but we virtually never see any evidence of this, with the exception of the Lancer of the story, arcane master Mercury Boltblaster. Mercury has the excuse of spending much of his life travelling to obtain the finest education in the world in martial arts and swordsmanship, to avoid having to depend on spellcraft. As he spends much of the books either unable to cast spells or unable to do so without calling hostile and (ludicrously) overwhelming force to his exact location, this turns out to have been an excellent use of his time.
    • Deliberately averted with the Asha'man of The Wheel of Time. When Rand sets up his Wizarding Boot Camp, he insists that the recruits learn swordfighting and hand-to-hand combat so they can defend themselves without magic if need be.
      • The Aes Sedai usually plays the trope straighter; that's why they have Warders.
    • Septimus in Septimus Heap is smaller and slower than his sister Jenna, which gets discussed there and then.
    • Played and subverted in the Inheritance Cycle. Common wizards generally stay away from fights and let the soldiers do the fighting, though because elves have superhuman strength and speed, we often see them fight and use magic. Also subverted with dragon riders, who are trained in physical fights and magic. Probably the biggest subversion is with shades, who can use magic without any restraint as well as possessing super-speed and strength, though how strong they are compared to elves isn't made clear.
    • Terry Brooks' Shannara series toys with this notion in the form of the Wishsong users, who are Glass Cannons of the first order, and can easily be taken down once you get past the magic of the Wishsong. Since the Wishsong gives them Reality Warper powers, however, getting past it is not an easy prospect. The trope is averted hard by the vast majority of the Druids and the villainous magic users. Allanon verges on Kung Fu Wizard, Walker Boh can take beatings that would make most Shounen protagonists wince, and the various Big Bads are typically all but indestructible.
    • Elric was born with both his squishiness and his magical aptitude. That said, his squishiness prevented him from taking part in as many physical pursuits as he would have liked, so he spent much of his youth reading and becoming even more magically adept. In other words his magic came from his squishiness, rather than the other way around.

    Live-Action TV

    • Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was both Smart Girl and Squishy Wizard. She was fragile, shy, and physically weak, but was first choice for research and magic.
      • Although subverted when she becomes powerful enough that she can just use magic to make herself strong and tough enough to beat Buffy up anyway. And took an axe to the back and got right back up.
    • Subverted with Cyvus Vail on Angel, an elderly demon sorcerer who appeared barely able to walk at first, but when attacked turned out to be faster and stronger than someone in his prime. Although as a demon, it's possible that this is just in comparison with humans and by his own species' standards he was very weak.
    • Although not exactly "squishy", Sylar from Heroes is shown as quite vulnerable whenever, for some reason, he is unable to use his powers - he gets beaten up by Peter and has to run away really fast from Noah Bennet. When he can use them, on the other hand, he is possibly the most powerful character on the show.
    • Played hilariously straight in Farscape, when the Evil Sorcerer Maldis, shortly after losing his intangibility, is killed off by a single punch to the head. Which makes him explode... somehow.
    • The titular character of Merlin fits this. He's the most powerful warlock in the world, but he's also skinny and physically weak and easily trounced when Arthur's using him as training practice.
      • Mostly subverted, as when he actually has a sword, from Series 3 on, he's quite skilled. Nowhere near Arthur's level, but skilled enough.

    Tabletop Games

    • The Trope Maker gaming-wise has to be Dungeons & Dragons, as the Wizard Character Class always has the smallest Hit Die (often a four-sided D4), determining their number of Hit Points. And not only that, but they also start with no armor, and wearing armor inflicts a percentile Arcane Spell Failure chance that goes up as you get heavier armor. This, needless to say, cuts down on mage survivability at lower levels, especially since the AC system that D&D uses determines how hard you are to hit rather than damage, and Wizards get precious few spells at first level on a Vancian Magic system.
      • This is true in 1st and 2nd edition. In 4th edition this would probably be played straight, except that enemy damage output is so low that no-one is squishy as long as enemies divide attacks, and everyone is squishy if enemies focus their attacks on one target at a time which renders the question of "more" or "less" squishy moot.
      • And, the above is for 3rd edition; before that, wizards (who were called Magic-Users in the earliest editions and Mages in 2nd Edition) could wear no armor at all, ever, having to rely on magical items like Rings and Cloaks of Protection and Bracers of Defense to raise their AC. Unless, of course, it was an elf, and even then it took a major (and rare) treasure item to get this capability (elven chain mail), and you had to be a multi-classed fighter/mage.
      • The Rules Cyclopedia, the definitive resource for Basic D&D, tells you straight out on page 19 where the Magic-User class is introduced about how a mage should not adventure alone and that his survivability is rather low without others to protect him. It also has Elf as a class that can use all armor but can only use up to fifth-level magic at their highest level (10th) unlike the mage who can get up to level 36 with up to ninth-level magic.
      • Jinx of Jinx.com wrote a D&D Filk Song called "Always the First to Die" about the Squishy Wizard problem.
      • This has changed a little bit, but not entirely, in 4th Edition. Controller classes (of which the only one currently presented is the Wizard) get the lowest number of starting Hit Points, the lowest rate of HP gain per level, the fewest number of healing surges, and are only proficient with the worst armor in the game. While it is possible to overcome these deficiencies with feats, it takes a lot of investment that could be spent elsewhere. Of course, they are also the only class that has a number of Area of Effect abilities.
        • Of course, in 4th Edition, you can add your Dexterity bonus OR your Intelligence bonus to your AC when wearing no armor or light armor. Guess what's the wizard's primary ability score. Plus, wizards get numerous defensive and evasive spells. Overall they're not nearly as squishy as rogues.
        • Sorcerers in 4E unleash their power though 'psychical discipline', have strength as a key ability and have basic weapon skills. Some can also reinforce their bodies with magic. Definitely not squishy.
        • Constitution-based Warlocks are among the toughest of the caster classes. This was explained as their powers being harmful to the mortal body by default. One such build, the Infernal Pact Warlock, can even gain temporary hp when Cursed enemies die, improving their staying power even more.
        • Leading to the popular nickname "clothroach" for an Infernal Pact Warlock. Dark Pact warlocks don't have the same sack-of-HP qualities, but if you hit them, you take a pile of damage and are weakened. Sort of a horrible supernatural porcupine.
        • There are also Prestige Classes of "melee spellcasters" who subvert this Trope rather well, being able to use magic and martial skills with near-equal efficency: Bladesingers, Hexblade Warlocks, and Eldritch Knights; while their spell selection is more limited than that of a Wizard, they can go man-a-mano with a foe rather well.
      • Lampshaded in this Bug Martini strip.
      • This is, of course, why most successful wizards (other than Illusionists and Transmuters)[1] know the stoneskin spell. It's not the only protective spell such wizards use, of course, but certainly the most popular, as it makes the recipient impervious to a predetermined number of physical strikes, and does not "wear off" until the predetermined number is reached.
    • Mages in all The World of Darkness games are by far its most powerful and versatile supernatural creatures in general—but since they're physically human, they're still Squishy Wizards compared to vampires, Prometheans, werewolves, and demons, and need time to set up their more impressive feats, not to mention the risk of a Paradox backlash if any Muggles see them working "magick."
      • Then you have the Technocracy, the Sons of Ether, and the Virtual Adepts, which can be complete subversions of this trope in the right circumstances (like a friendly GM). Because the way the system is set up, the rules of the universe is defined by what most people believe to be possible; i.e. technology and science works because people believe it should. All three of these mage groups use very scifi-style magic and magical devices like: power armor, plasma rifles, cybernetics and bioengeneering. Which means you can end up with a spell slinging Space Marine character capable of taking on a tank battalion single-handedly. (The Technocracy has five Conventions, each of which has a sub-department dedicated to Breaking Things And People. The Void Engineers have actual Space Marines.) And there's the Akashic Brotherhood, martial artist mages.
    • Warhammer 40,000 plays this straight by most races' psykers, but averted by some being real hardcases, such as Tyranid Hive Tyrants (but not Zoanthropes), Space Marine Librarians, Grey Knights and Chaos Daemons. Eldar Farseers are actually tougher than most other Eldar, due to slowly turning into crystal.
      • Eldrad Ulthran in particular takes the cake for badass psyker: not only is he the Eldar's single greatest psyker (and the Eldar are some of the strongest in the universe), he managed to beat down Abbadon in melee combat. Yes, a singularly talented wizard just trashed the current[when?] Big Bad of the 40k universe at his own game.
        • Though in actual gameplay Eldrad is only a slightly better in combat than a regular Farseer (who are in turn, mostly weaker than H Qs of other armies apart from their wargear), and him beating Abbadon is mostly a case of Cutscene Power to the Max, in actual gameplay Abbadon is likely to tear apart before he even gets a chance to attack.
      • Blood Angel Librarians are a massive subversion, their two powers are one which gets them into melee quicker, even in Terminator Armour, and the second gives them more attacks, not to mention their Chief Librarian Mephiston is a beat-stick in his own class, with only a few models in the game likely to have chance against him.
    • Mostly played straight in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, as wizards (apart from an extra wound or two) are barely more resilient than an average foot soldier. Then there's the Slann: although they can't fight in combat, they are near as dammit impossible to kill, having the second-highest number of wounds in the entire game, are always surrounded by Temple Guard to protect against physical attack, and have big shiny magic shields to protect against ranged. Also avoided by Vampires; already more than equal in combat to the Lords of any race except Chaos, you can then trick them out and make them the equal of almost any magic Lord. Speaking of Chaos, their wizards also have a tendency of being a lot harder than they have any right to be; mortal Chaos Sorcerers are the only wizards in the game that can wear armour. For the complete antithesis of Squishy Wizard, though, nothing beats sticking a couple of magic levels on a full-fledged Greater Daemon. Then laughing.
        • Important to note that Vampires aren't dedicated wizards, the magic using lords of most factions start at level 3 and can be upgraded to level 4, Vampire Lords start at level 2 and can only be upgraded to level 3, so they might be better described as Magic Knights than wizards. Similar deal with Archeon in the Chaos army, who is in addition to being arguably the strongest fighting model in the game (currently), is also a level 2 wizard.
      • And there are the Ogre Butchers, Smash Mooks that practice a form of magic known as Gut Magic.
    • Can be averted in GURPS, as anyone can purchase the Magery advantage and Spell skills quite freely; however, unless you have a lot of character points to build with, it's difficult to build a character who is both a powerful spellcaster and a mighty warrior.
      • Third Edition has a sort of built-in aversion; casting magic costs Fatigue, and Fatigue is a substat of Strength, so mages want to have a decent Strength.
      • Fourth Edition bases Fatigue on Health instead; Strength now determines Hit Points. And Fatigue can now be raised independently of Health, so a Wizard can use Strength and Health as Dump Stats, freeing up points for magic spells and the like, at the cost of making himself squishier.
    • Shadowrun is mostly in the same boat as GURPS. Anyone can pile on armor and anyone can be good at dodging and have a high Body stat, but Mages have to spread their points thinner, though, because they have magic to spend them on. And non-mages can afford to pile on cyberware and bioware that can give substantial defensive bonuses.
      • Wizards maintain a high casualty rate in Shadowrun due to a simple aphorism: "Geek the mage first." The cheapest heavy-damage abilities are magical, as are the only rapid healing abilities. Thus, the one throwing fireballs and healing spells gets the first clip emptied into him.
      • Don't forget Drain. A few too many spells combined with poor rolls on Drain Resistance, and the mage ends up knocking himself out.
    • The Fantasy Trip plays this pretty straight. Wizards have to pay twice as many memory slots to learn non-magic skills (like how to swing a sword), and get penalized for wearing armor or carrying weapons (handwaved in-game by claiming that ferrous metals interfere with magic.)
    • In The Dark Eye, all magic users have trouble with heavy armour, since iron interferes with magic. Druids have a religious taboo against smelted metal, so they can't even use a regular knife (do get skill points for flintknapping, though). Wizards specifically are forbidden by law to wield weapons bigger than a dagger, or wear armour heavier than a gambeson.
    • Spellcasters in Scarred Lands can't wear armor, because spellcasting causes the caster's body to produce a large quantity of heat. In fact, they can't wear much at all. (Explains a lot of book covers, doesn't it?)
    • Exalted mostly averts it, as anyone can learn Sorcery under the right circumstances, and there's nothing preventing a sorcerer from learning Resistance Charms. The Twilight Caste of the Solars are all about averting this, as when their Anima Banner flares, they can reflexively "harden" it to avoid taking damage. They're the sorcery specialists of the Solars—sorcery takes time to use, and makes you a very shiny and obvious target while you work—so they need that ability.
    • The various "magical" creature types in Magic the Gathering, such as wizards and shamans, tend to have lower power and toughness (on average) when compared to more smash-mouth creature types, such as beasts and warriors. As such, they tend to have more varied and useful abilities, taking the role of support or utility creatures.
      • Although the new Planeswalker cards (setting aside the fact that players are planeswalkers themselves for a moment) undermine this by making some fairly (if variably) tough characters who are, essentially, ludicrously powerful wizards.
        • One case of this appears in actual abilities with Giden Jura, who as an ability that doesn't affect his loyalty that turns him into an indestructible 6/6 human soldier.
      • This doesn't stop the fact that quite a few wizards can be killed by squirrels.
      • It's Magic. Giant behemoths that the art shows trampling entire forests can be killed by squirrels.

    Video Games

    • Within most RPG video games (as with their Tabletop Games predecessors), mage-types inevitably have the lowest Hit Points totals, resulting in the idea of the wizard being the most "squishable" and in need of protection.
    • Yuu in Luminous Arc 3 has insane MAG and MP, two AOE attacks and one life draining attack, easily outkilling and outdamaging everyone else in the game. Unfortunately he also has horrible HP and DEF (two hits will kill him), slow movement and poor range. Sara and Shion share a similar problem with worse stats, but this trope is largely averted by Ormurudi and Inaluna in the same game, who have the HP necessary to take more of a beating.
      • Also averted by Mavi in the first game, who is supposed to be a witch and yet seems to be more tuned to fighting on the front line than casting spells.
    • The spellcasters in Betrayal at Krondor are an interesting example. Seeing as casting spells depletes stamina and then health, in that order, they're technically Glass Cannons mechanic-wise while not being actual Squishy Wizards; They are less tough than the warriors and casting spells by itself makes them more vulnerable to going down if an enemy lands a hit on them, but in-game logic dictates that they're actually pretty physically tough to be able to cast powerful spells for a prolonged period of time.
    • Played straight in the Legacy of Kain series with Moebius the Timestreamer. Take away his vampire-paralyzing staff and Knight Templar mooks and all you've got is a skinny old guy that could be knocked over with a feather.
    • Mages in Retro Mud, which is balanced out by the fact that they don't see much danger.
    • As a psychic example, Alakazam from Pokémon. According to the Pokedex fluff in Emerald, its muscles are so weak that it has to use its psychic powers just to stand and move around.
      • Even though movement is controlled by the mind anyway.
      • Most Psychic Pokémon are infamous for having low defense and HP in contrast with high speed and Special Attack. The exceptions are usually Legendary Pokémon.
        • Heck, even Mewtwo became this when the Special stat was divided into two stats.
      • This is very fitting, considering its English name is the same as the overused term for magical tricks.
      • Also, Alakazam has the second highest permanent base Special Attack of all non-legendary Pokémon, beat only by Chandelure (though Porygon-Z ties with it; Zen Mode Darmanitan beats it too, but only as long as it's in Zen Mode). Pokémon with high Special Attack and Speed are called Special Sweepers. In competition, Special Sweepers are used to wipe out as many Pokémon as quickly as it can before ultimately dying... very good examples of glass cannons in action. (Chandelure, for the record, has competent defenses, and thus does not fit this trope quite as well as Alakazam, although it does have low HP.)
    • In the first Suikoden, Ted is the holder of the Soul Eater rune (which does exactly what it sounds like it would) and dies fairly early on in the game because of this.
      • Most Suikoden mages play this straight. However, due to the front and back line nature of the party (that is to say, a full party of six will always have three in front, and three in back), and that only certain enemies and attacks can hit the back row, mages are pretty safe. To provide balance, the primary casters are only able to use short range weapons, weapons that can only attack from the front row. Given how few spells a mage can cast before resting during the early game, you're stuck between letting the mage get the crap beaten out of her, or letting her do nothing half of the time.
    • The OHRRPGCE game Magnus has quite possibly the squishiest wizard ever: Quio (or Ouio; the game can't make up its mind), who starts with just a little over fifty Hit Points, about half of that of each of the other heroes. Needless to say, he falls very quickly.
    • Micaiah from Fire Emblem is particularly noteworthy, as she is 1) the main character 2) in a game where mages are sub-par units 3) the leader of an army mostly made up of Fragile Speedster types, which makes for some... interesting strategy.
      • Many magic-using characters fall into that scheme. Some classes can't even defend themselves since they can only use staves, which most commonly restore hitpoints. Even worse, they can only heal others, not themselves. The interesting twist on this is that in certain Magic user heavy chapters, your big burly Knights will look like Squishy Wizards due to having little Magic shielding.
        • The only point where this becomes unbalanced in the favor of nonmagical units is because yes, while the nonmagical units are quite weak to magical attacks, they at least tend to have more HP overall, so they can take more of the hard hits that they are otherwise weak to, whereas magical units generally have low HP, so a solid physical hit will leave them in far worse shape.
      • Most FE mages tend to subvert this trope at higher levels, to be honest. Sure, at low levels they'll be mainly hiding behind meat shields and living off gimp kills, but usually when they class up it unlocks a whole world of hurt. Suddenly they're front line fighters; sure, they still have poor defence and health, but the enemy only have a 30% chance to hit them, and they get one-round killed in return. Made even more feasible in Radiant Dawn when all combat mages automatically gain the "Flare" skill, an ability that has a chance of draining health off the enemy, usually completely restoring any hp you may have lost. And since in Radiant Dawn the last three chapters are made of enemies who pretty much use magic exclusively, and mages are the only people in your army with decent resistance...
        • ... Except for in FE10, some of the mages have terrible speed, rarely doubling the enemy and sometimes getting doubled. Ilyana, Soren, Sanaki, and Micaiah all suffer from this, and yet most people agree that these 4 are actually the best mages in the game and that the others are nowhere near as good.
        • FE7 somewhat subverts this with Pent, who despite being a prepromote and having mediocre overall stats, is noticeably hard to kill due to unusually high HP and nasty magic damage. The enemies in the desert where you first meet him can testify to the latter: if you do nothing and watch, there's a very, very high chance that Pent will singlehandedly slaughter everyone but the two bosses all by himself, and he will severely injure the bosses too, though they'll likely end up killing him.
          • The game actually lampshaded this by adding a bonus chapter after that, which can be unlocked by gaining a minimum amount of EXP within the desert chapter with your entire party.
        • FE4 and FE5 also subverts this somewhat with Sety, an already insanely fast Sage who has a Holy weapon Holsety, which gives him such overkill speed, it effectively renders all enemies', even most bosses', chance of hitting him down to the single digit percents. In FE5, he will get attacked by about 40+ enemies over the course of the extra stage of chapter four and will rape. Every. Last. One. of them without ever getting scratched more than twice.
          • Canon!Sety is also notable, for the fact that if his Speed grows high enough, or you gave him the Speed Ring, while equipped with Holsety, he won't be attacked at all by the enemy because they literally cannot hit him, no not 1% hit rates, 0%. This is a double-edged sword: It'll take longer for you to slaughter every enemy on the screen, but he makes an excellent Castle Guard (And if it's the main castle, you could combo this with guerrilla tactics out of said castle to cheese fights like Hannibal or Brian). He's far from squishy as is (See above), but when that becomes direct invincibility, some players warn against it, because the AI of this game is not as dumb as it is in later entries.
        • Genealogy also has Yuria/Julia- a partial subversion: She's apparently weak (Has very low Physical Defense and HP), but at the same time she's likely to be equipped with Resire, a spell that replenishes her HP based on how much damage she deals, which is immense due to her 100% Magic Growth, which given if she is attacked and not 1-shot, she will likely leave the fight with more EXP and no less HP than she started with, armed with Resire, even bosses need to fear her.... then she gets Narga.
    • True for most spellcasting classes in World of Warcraft. While their hitpoints can easily compete with the other classes, mages, priests and warlocks can only wear cloth armor which offers low protection against physical hits, and fare poorly in most defensive type of stat such as defense or dodge. In theory, random items could provide any sort of stat, but those never keep up with the more "conformist" items. There are more hardy hybrid types, but they tend to be worse at spellcasting in return.
      • Although currently eliminated from the PvP metagame, a common PvP Priest build used to involve acquiring as many Armor-increasing as possible, along with the armor-enhancing self-buff Inner Fire, which with good equipment could lead to an AC similar to mail and a shield, rendering them nigh unkillable healers.
      • At least at some points in the games ever-changing mechanics, Paladins (a tank/healer hybrid) were known to outperform Priests in healing power, but only if they almost exclusively used cloth items, earning them the nickname Clothadin.
      • Warlocks, on the other hand, tend to prize sheer amounts of stamina (which increases their health) rather than stats that generally improve the amount of mana and mana regeneration. They can essentially trade health for mana instantly, and then drain the life of their victim to recoup the health loss. With proper talents they can also have damage reduction comparable to wearing mail with Soul Link and Demon Armour.
      • Magi, after being nerfed badly years ago, complained on the WoW Fora: "We're not glass cannons anymore, we're glass peashooters!"
        • But this was fixed and mages at this point seem to be where Blizz wants them.
        • "The point of a fire mage is not to survive. The point of a fire mage is to die but leave a smoking crater behind." i.e. If you specialize in Fire magic as a Mage, expect to be even squishier. Hell, one of the Fire talents makes you blow up if you've been squished too much.
      • Subverted, at least partially, by Shamans (except Enhancement, which are focused on melee) and Balance Druids. Caster Shamans are allowed to wear Mail armor, which is one step below Plate (the highest level). Balance Druids only get Leather (a step below Mail), but once they reach a high enough level they gain their Moonkin Form, which increases their armor to near-Plate levels.
      • Another great example would be the Warlock's Imp minion. It only has long-ranged attacks, which do huge amounts of damage, however have very low defense and relatively low health. A non-caster could easily kill one in three or four whacks with their weapon.
        • This trope is however, subverted to hell with mages that are boss enemies.
    • Also true in Warcraft - every faction's casters are very fragile, vulnerable to most ranged attacks, spells, siege weapons, dedicated anti-caster units and abilities, and of course melee units if they get close enough. Caster-type heroes like the Archmage and Lich are also kind of fragile compared to other heroes, but get all the defensive benefits of being heroes, still.
      • Their a couple exceptions with campaign exclusives, the demigod Cenarious who is basically a Night Elf Keeper of the Grove with his stats shot through the roof, having the the 2nd highest HP in Reign of Chaos and divine type armor which causes normal attacks to only inflict a single point of damage to him. The other is Archimond (the final boss, in a manner of speaking), how has the 3rd highest HP, divine armor, immunity to spells, and is fully capable of laying waste to entire armies.
    • Final Fantasy XI provides the means to subvert this trope. The red mage and white mage can both be very survivable if they are equipped correctly, and the blue mage isn't all that bad a starting point for a non-squishy spellcaster either. The combination of the spell Stoneskin, which provides what's effectively a small pool of bonus Hit Points, and Utsusemi, an ability to nullify hits that is activated through expendable tools which can be accessed by setting your support job to Ninja, is the most powerful and popular way to do it, but there are other approaches as well.
      • In Final Fantasy IV Edward might fit the trope. He can use his instruments to put status effects on opponents, but suffers from low HP, weak defences, and subpar attack strength (to the point where Edward would lose a purely physical fight with Rydia as a seven year old girl, based on their stats). Unfortunately, given that he employs status effects, he's all round useless.
        • Not completely useless. For example, in the GBA version when you can take him through the Cave of Trials, keeping Edward equipped with the Lamia Harp is a good thing since its Confusion status effect often results in the monsters killing each other rather than attacking your party.
        • Subverted beyond level 70, when his stats undergo the greatest gain potential (depending on the stat level up combinations, as in the SNES/GBA versions, whenever a character undergoes a level up beyond 70, there are several stat change combination possibilities, many of which actually include STAT DOWNS), possibly an artifact of a programmer joke prior to the realization that Edward would be dropped from the party within the early arc of the game.
        • Final Fantasy IV features a (temporary) aversion as well, in the form of Tellah, one of the few examples anywhere of a Meat Shield Wizard. When he first joins your party, his HP is significantly higher than the other characters, and the enemies are still weak enough that he can take some damage. Considering that Rydia is extremely low-level at this point and highly vulnerable, one of Tellah's roles is to provide a little physical distraction from the fragile child. When he comes back, he becomes a Meat Shield again as he is still initially sturdier than Palom and Porom, and until you complete Mt. Ordeals, he lacks most of his spells and his only real purpose is to help the kids conserve MP and take hits for them so they can stay alive long enough to Twincast. As the game goes on, he gradually eases into the role of Squishy Wizard as his stats actually decrease with level-ups and by the time his role in the game is finished, he is far and away the physically weakest character in your roster—so much so that his physical weakness becomes plot-relevant!
    • In Final Fantasy II, equipping heavy armour decreases your Intelligence and Soul stats, so if you equip your mages with heavy armour, their magic will be almost useless, and if you equip your mage with light armour, they'll take heavy damage when they're hit. This was changed in the GBA/PSP Updated Rerelease, so heavy armour will no longer decrease your magic stats, so now your wizards won't be squishy.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has Hope Estheim. He has the highest magic stat in your party and is the only one who can learn every offensive spell. However, he also has the lowest HP in your party.
    • Tales of Eternia's Keele Zeibel embodies this trope—right down to his long, flowing robes, anemic appearance, and his quintessential mage's staff. Since childhood, he has been awkward, clumsy and sickly (and thus a target of taunts and teasing courtesy of Reid), but makes up for it by being a dedicated and highly intelligent (and argumentative, and anti-social, and obstinate...) university student who learns some immensely powerful spells as the game progresses.
    • While Cierra from Riviera: The Promised Land does have the lowest physical defense of the main characters, she also has the highest magical defense, Hit Points and vitality.
    • In Golden Sun, where every character uses offensive "magic", Ivan stands out. He's got the lowest defense and attack of the party, worse than even Mia, the healer. However, he's a Fragile Speedster in addition to being a Glass Cannon, his weapons' special effects activate much more frequently than anyone else's, and with the right sword, he can deal tremendous physical damage.
    • In Phantasy Star IV, designated party wizard Rune can cast so many spells between visits to the Trauma Inn that he can reasonably be given two shields as opposed to a weak staff. Since most other characters have their hands tied with weapons, this easily puts Rune's defense on par with everyone else. Early on when he first joins the party, giving him two shields, putting him at the front, and letting him clear the screen of monsters in one or two rounds is the best way to level grind.
      • This is actually the case with most of the primary magic-users of PSIV; Raja and Kyra, both potent magicians, benefit very little from being armed with physical weapons (Raja because he has low attack power and low natural defense, and Kyra because her magic is plentiful and much stronger than her regular weapon attack anyway). It's entirely possible to spend most of the game with your squishy wizards near the front of the party while your melee fighters take a safer spot at the back.
    • In Phantasy Star Online, the technique (magic) using class called Forces have nearly negligible physical attack and defense power and upon reaching ultimate difficulty, their own magical attacks become mostly ineffective against enemy resistance. However, once they find high-level disks for the spells Deband and Jellen, all Forces break this trope entirely and are capable of boosting the party's defense and lowering the enemy's attack so much that they become like kittens.
    • The Wizard class in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords suffer from this. Battle (Attack power) and Morale (Hit Points and spell resistance) stats are the lowest of the four class AND the most expensive to upgrade (3 points each per Level Up. You only get four points to spend). But he does gain the powerful Fireball spell fairly quickly, and in the upper levels (around 35 or so) becomes an efficient death-dealing machine. (The Druid is similarly HP-challenged, but has some of best defensive spells in the game and learns them fairly quickly.)
    • Ethereals in UFO: Enemy Unknown are frail aliens who couldn't walk, not to mention use BFGs, if not for their immense psi powers.
    • Every single playable character in the DS RPG Magical Starsign is a squishy wizard with a different elemental affiliation.
    • Battle for Wesnoth's wizards and other magic users are generally fairly squishy, particularly at lower levels. Taken to extremes with the Dark Adept, who has no melee attack at all.
    • StarCraft: The Protoss High Templar are powerful psychics that can unleash psionic storms to devastate entire armies. However, a single Zergling can kill one of these guys if it makes it into melee range. This more or less applies to all the other casters in the game as well.
    • Patchoulli from Touhou Project is asthmatic and physically weak, but a phenomenal spellcaster... when she doesn't lose her breath while reciting her spells.
      • It's actually mentioned in Wild and Horned Hermit that magic users of Marisa's class tend to use such ingredients as arsenic, and it's their continued use that ruins their health.
    • The Controller and Defender archetypes in City of Heroes. They're "wizards" in that they possess a far greater range of powers than the more combat-oriented archetypes and have access to heals, buffs, debuffs and status effects that the others generally don't. They also have the joint-lowest hit points and virtually no defensive capabilities. The Blaster, Controller and Defender are, in fact, often collectively referred to as "Squishies" by the players of other archetypes (though the Blaster is more of a Glass Cannon).
      • And in City Of Villains, the Corruptor, Dominator, and Mastermind fill this position—although the Corruptor overlaps with Glass Cannon, and the Mastermind is the best pet summoner and when used right is almost a Game Breaker.
      • And the game in general is a bit less focused on party roles and the "balanced party" concept than usual, resulting in more aberrations to the norm. Powerset and build choices are significant to level of squishiness, and an occasional complaint with recruiting certain Defender subtypes is that their personal survival abilities are so good they'd rather be soloing.
    • Donald Duck in the first Kingdom Hearts is almost a text-book example. Due to his utter lack of defense, hit points, and a way to replenish his magic points which forced him into attacking enemies physically, poor Donald seemed to die every time that a Heartless breathed in the same room as him. Fortunately, the sequel made him less of a glorified punching bag and more of a valuable party member.
    • Ana in Earthbound Zero. She is the only party member capable of using offensive PSI and has huge library of PSI abilities (both offensive and healing). Her attack and defense are abysmal however, her non-PSI attack does one maybe two damage and while her PSI attacks are useful in battle she's typically knocked out before real use can be made of them. She can make a great healer but can't use her powers if knocked out (which is often) ironically she learns the PSI to revive knocked out members far before anyone but being unable to use them on herself means lots of expensive hospital trips. Made worse is the fact she joins the party at Level 1 while other party members are typically between the Level 18 - 30 mark meaning lots of level grinding to get her to the point were she can survive.
    • Mages and Skulls in Disgaea are by far the frailest units in the game. The exception to the rule (Flonne, when properly trained) easily demonstrates why; magic units that could take a hit would be total DiscOneNukes.
    • Played straight at first glance in Guild Wars, where the magic-oriented classes do have the weakest armor, but they all have ways to bolster their defenses, especially those who pick up Ranger, Monk, or another class that gives them access to defensive abilities.
      • Earth Elementalists are the extreme however. They have an armor spell that alone adds more armor than a Warrior has, Ward Against Melee, which causes 50% of enemy melee attacks in an area whiff, Ward Against Elements, which provides a healthy bonus against elemental attacks, and Eruption, which blinds (90% miss chance) enemies in an area for up to 15 seconds. With the addition of other spells, an Earth Elementalist can prevent huge amounts of damage to himself and his party.
      • Played straight with mesmers though. Low armor, almost no direct damage dealing capabilities, and an extreme lack of self heals means that this is a VERY squishy wizard.
    • Averted and played straight in Darkstone. Although the wizard class starts with the lowest strength and the weakest weapons, through the use of attribute enhancing rings and elixirs, it is possible to have wizards who have similar strength to a warrior as well as the capability of wielding weapons from other classes.
      • As well as having typical druid powers, like transforming into a werewolf. Still pales in comparison to the damage they can put out with magic and throwing weapons, however. (especially due to the cancellation glitch, moving while in the middle of a throw stops the animation, allowing for a rapid-fire attack)
    • Lulu and Yuna in Final Fantasy X do not take hits well at all. At the very least, they both make up for it by having the best evasion stat in the game and simply dodging. Oh, and for some reason Lulu comes with game-best physical defense, though not enough to off-set her game-worst HP by much.
    • In Shining Force I and II, mages and clerics are usually at the bottom end of the stats ladder and, if you don't constantly use their powers even in inappropriate situations you might not get enough XP to keep them up with the others. Unless you are using Monks. In the first game, the only Monk has higher attack than the rest of the starting party. In the second game, (Master) Monks are so overpowered that the fighters might as well stay at home. Unfortunately for the good guys, the bad guys in II have monks too, but not nearly as hyper-strong.
    • In Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Pamela are what you consider as a spellcaster since she has access to mostly mage boosting equipment, to use her best skills she needs to Cast from Hit Points in general. But as you grow her skills up, she eventually develops an ability that makes her totally invulnerable to all physical attacks.
      • Eventually this leads into a subversion. Pamela with time actually becomes your BEST tank in the game. She comes armed with the ability to completely nullify physical attacks but her armor also gives her a large resistance bonus. Couple that with a few Mirrors of Gargol and she'll be taking 10-15 damage per hit from the standard magic attack. Her regular group hitters involve her sucking up her opponent's HP for herself or the team so she is already hard enough to damage as it is. Her attack assist also recovers SP so that you can keep using the skill everytime she pulls out. Her defense assist renders her completely invulnerable. To top it off, she has the ability to revive on the next turn after she is KOed. Bring on the pain, she can take it with interest.
        • This is played less straight with the other supposedly squishy mage as well. Although Jess has weak physical defenses, she is the group healer and she also comes pre-equipped with guts. The game has a quirk where in multi-hit attacks, even if you die, the next hit actually has a chance to bring you back to life provided that you do not have 0 HP on the last hit of the combo. This means that she has a high chance of keeping up the fight at 1 HP. She also has the strongest standalone attack command in the game.
        • The most accurate description of a Squishy Wizard is not a wizard at all but the group's Berserker, Nikki. The only thing good about her is her speed and her attack. Everything else, she falls victim to meh territory. As a result, you'll have a character that cannot take hits well late game and has no real means to keep herself alive. In fact, the characters best suited for staying alive are the ones not built for the purpose. Even Roxis has better stats than her.
    • This is the justification for your Monster Allies in Lost Magic; however with the right Sadistic Choice and resulting All Your Powers Combined Upgrade, you can subvert this in a player-made Crowning Moment of Awesome—by using the elemental "Dance" spells in which Isaac, the protagonist, runs up to an enemy with his staff charged and smacks several different kinds of snot out of said enemy.
    • The Necromancer in Diablo II is overpowered in the offensive spells department, and at the same time is frustratingly squishy.
    • In the Roguelike TOME, the Sorceror gets more spells and magic power than other mages can ever dream of, but becomes twice as squishy as they are.
    • The online game Zening Double Subverts this trope. Angela is meant to be the team healer, and comes with 3 spell slots, as well as a whopping 108 Hit Points. Unfortunately, she has abysmal attack power.
    • The Nu Mou race in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2. They are small in stature and have very slender limbs, making them a magnet to enemies who have high attack power, like the Bangaa. Obviously, the Nu Mou have the best magic stat out of all the races and use many kinds of offensive and elemental spells.
      • A2 somewhat lampshades the physical weakness of the nu mou by having one of the nu mou clan leaders in a cup tourney asking you to be gentle on them since they are old and their bones aren't what they used to be.
      • Conversely, Geomancers, the only magic-focused Gria, have below-average magic attack (and physical attack) but very high physical and magical defense. This very much makes them Masters of None, because the still below-average HP and limited armor selection makes their defense only slightly above average.
    • The Combine Advisors in Half-Life 2. They are large grub-like creatures that need mechanical arms and wear some sort of breathing apparatus, but they possess powerful psychic abilities. At their weakest they're still capable of telepathic attacks that leave Gordon (and the player) disorientated, scaling up to lifting multiple humans off the ground at once and immobilising them completely, with the current known peak of their personal power shredding buildings and smashing through defences without noticeable effort.
    • Both averted and played straight in Myth: The Fallen Lords.
    • In experimental flash game Storyteller, when a knight and a sorcerer overlap, the knight always kills the sorcerer.
    • Doubly so in Warhammer Online: not only are Bright Mages and Dark Elf Sorcerers weaklings who have fewer hitpoints than everyone else and lack any form of armor whatsoever, but their spells can actually cause a magical backlash which hurts them too. Hilarity Ensues when they somehow manage to blow themselves up trying to kill you (which is rare, admittedly. Because they kill you very, very fast).
    • In Kingdom of Loathing, each class is aligned with one of the three stats, giving it a boost. Muscle increases your Hit Points, and Moxie increases your evasion chance. There is no defense given by high Mysticality though, so if you don't increase your other stats Saucerors and Pastamancers end up pretty squishy.
    • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 is sort of like this. While not employing magic per se, he can mask his true identity and even become invisible, has an instant kill move from behind, can leech energy from Engineer buildings. However, he has a very small amount of health, his only projectile weapon is a weak pistol, and his Butterfly Knife is very weak when not backstabbing.
      • The Engineer, with a minute or two of prep time, becomes an immovable object. Without that minute, he's a pudgy scientist with only a shotgun and wrench for any real protection.
      • Subverted recently, now he only need 2.5 seconds and a wrangler to destroy your level 3 Wrangler-protected sentry, Then, when his sentry is destroyed, he will kill you with crits from his shotgun. Fourteen of them will guarantee a shutout.
    • Miriene from Mystic Ark, though to compensate, she's the only character in the game who learns a spell to protect allies from spells for a limited amount of time.
    • Diver Down, and more specifically the character of Jenna, demonstrates why this trope should never be applied to a system that doesn't allow casters to leave the front lines. Better cast a protective spell at the beginning of any tough fight, or she's going down.
    • In effect somewhat different in Dragon Quest IX: while Mages do have lower than average Resilience and HP as well as less gear that provides decent defense available, you can still give them roughly average durability with the right gear... it's just a bad idea. You see, unlike with Attack, weapons do not give a very significant boost to Magical Might; most of the boosting for that stat comes from your clothing. So, while you could have a mage with a decent amount of durability it comes at the cost of magic powerful enough to do decent damage.
    • Wizards in Ragnarok Online are quite squishy. They do have a shield that uses their mana to soak up damage, though.
    • Korean MMO Aion follows this trope in an odd way. Sorcerers and Spiritmasters, who use offensive spells (and summoned monsters in the SM's case) are forced into wearing robes and having little HP in exchange for bending the universe to their will, and thankfully have some shield spells as protection. Clerics and Chanters (healing and buffing classes respectively) however, apparently don't spend as much time with the books, being allowed to wear chainmail armor and wield decent weaponry while beating things into submission without the use of offensive spells.
    • Poppen in Children of Mana is this, having the best magic stats of all four playable characters, but atrocious defense and HP.
    • In Mass Effect, all of the "support" classes (Engineer, Adept, Sentinel) have powerful support abilities based around technology or biotics, some of which border on Game Breaker, but can only wear lightweight armor. The more combat oriented classes with support abilities (Infiltrator, Vanguard) have more armor and weapons skills but consequently less support capability. OTOH, all biotics can learn Barrier, which provides significantly better shields than the best armor Soldiers can buy. And their lightweight armor tends to provide better defenses against biotic and tech attacks. Quadratic, indeed.
      • In the sequel, Shepard can wear any type of armor regardless of class, but the support classes tend to have somewhat lower health. In addition, the squad members with biotic and tech powers tend to have lighter armor, with characters like Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, and Jack having little to no armor at all.
    • Just like in the regular game, Dungeons and Dragons Online makes wizards and sorcerers the squishiest of all the playable classes, with elven and drow mages being especially squishy due to lower Constitution. Playing them is mainly reserved for those who are good at the game, as just like the regular game, low levels can be unforgiving as hell for mages.
    • Reyvateils in the Ar tonelico series (most of them anyway) are this combining with a very dangerous Glass Cannon. Basically, they can't attack or defence and tend to have very low hit point. Instead, they sing a song to either cast a powerful recovery magic every turn, or to build up a Combined Energy Attack while the enemies are busy attacking their bodyguards, and then launch it and hit for Massive Damage.
    • Averted and played straight in the indie RPG Hero's Realm. Most wizards are quite squishy, but Zefiryn is both a wizard and a werewolf.
    • Otani Yoshitsugu from Sengoku Basara is an Evil Sorcerer with leprosy. He's confined to a palanquin he levitates with his telekinetic powers, and attacks enemies using telekinetically manipulated praying beads. His HP, attack and defence stats are decisively below average, in addition to his slow movement rate and horrible turning radius.
      • Oichi in her third game incarnation is similar. Using magically conjured shadow hands to attack and throw mooks about from a great distance, Oichi's body is in itself little more than a puppet dragged along by those very same hands and is defenceless without them. Like Yoshitsugi she depends mostly on keeping enemies at a safe distance where she can keep stun-locking them.
    • RPGs from Bethesda tend to subvert this trope as the game progresses. Wizard-type characters do start pathetically weak compared to pure warriors, but then you gain experience and abilities, and by the end of the game you're wearing enchanted defensive vests and making potions so insanely powerful gulping one can send your stats up to demigod levels. Cue instazapping everything to death and beating, slicing and pincushioning the survivors with stupidly damaging enchanted weapons.
    • Done mostly in Chrono Trigger, with Lucca and Marle being the physically weakest characters. Subverted with Magus, who when you face as a boss is by far the strongest enemy up to that point, and when he becomes usable he's still reasonably durable in addition to having a very strong set of spells. It should be noted that Chrono Trigger is a bit of an odd example since everyone except Ayla and Robo can use magic (though the latter's laser beams count as Shadow-elemental).
    • Generally subverted in The Legend of Zelda series if the wizards are enemies. While they don't possess any physical attacks (apart from Gannondorf, though he also has the Triforce of Power which puts in Physical God territory), magic using enemies do tend to be rather durable. Played straight if a magic user is an ally, however.
    • Melia in Xenoblade Chronicles, whose natural ability to manipulate ether energy is about as close to magic as it gets in the game's setting. Her defensive stats aren't actually any worse then the rest of the bunch, but her HP is barely over a third of the amount that the toughest party members possess at max level. On the other hand, she's the only party member who's capable of dealing over a million damage in a single attack under the right circumstances.
    • Wizardry makes most armor and weapons unusable for spellcasters, even if one already has weapon or shield skill at 100% before switching the class. And they won't actually get to use many of the allowed weapons either, since they are vulnerable and as such must be kept in the second row, thus fight with what can reach from there - quarterstaff, whip, darts or sling. And they won't be good even at those, since you need them to train Oratory, and this happens when they kill enemies with spells. The exception is Alchemist, who doesn't have a grind-able skill and thus grows weapon skills faster by whacking weaker monsters all the time, to save mana for tougher encounters. To a lesser degree the same applies to Bard, who is low on hitpoints, can use light armor, light shield and Thief or Mage weapons - they also tend toward 2nd row and need to grind Music and Oratory, but usually have low mana and ends up closer to Thief - training Music, Ninjutsu and a weapon skill at once via "Lute(Sleep) - Hide - Backstab[2]" routine when there's no need to constantly play music, and plain "hide - backstab" against enemies who don't sleep.
    • Merlin, the wizard in the classic game Gauntlet was one of the oldest examples of this Trope in video games. He has the worst armor (he has zero, actually), and he's hopeless at fighting. However, when it comes to his magical ability, watch out.
    • The Deception franchise involves your Villain Protagonist character luring would-be adventurers into Death Traps, but if one of them actually reaches your character, you've had it. The Nightmare Princess is the only game where you can attack your victim directly, but even then, it's a good idea not to until they're near-death.
    • Ganondorf Defies this Trope. In games where he is Ganondorf (rather than his bestial alter-ego Ganon) he's both a warlock and a swordsman, not unwilling or unable to stand up to Link in close quarters combat, and is as difficult to defeat as the next Final Boss.

    Web Comics


    Black Mage: I'm the caster, y'know. It's like I'm a cannon made out of glass. Like a... y'know, like a dainty figurine so ornately decorated you can't imagine how something so fragile manages to exist in this brutal, ugly world... And it makes you weep.
    Red Mage: I... would've just stuck with Glass Cannon, probably.

      • Such claims aside, however, the facts would seem to contradict this, as he has frequently survived consecutive collisions, impalements, incinerations, and the like, any one of which would, if the damage were distributed evenly over an average RPG party, probably result in a Total Party Kill. (Indeed, BM is often subject to The Worf Effect, and thus must be quite durable to avoid having been Killed Off for Real.) His skill with daggers has proven sufficient to slaughter hordes of massive sea monsters without the aid of his ungrateful party members, and the one time a spinal injury did result in his death, he was no longer bound by the restraints of a physical body and simply took control of Hell and came back.
      • Alternatively, his ability to survive these injuries may be due to Sarda's hateful patronage. Sarda makes sure he survives, but in a very brutal manner.
        • Sarda wants Black Mage to hurt, and hurt a lot. He literally teleported him to "Hurt, Australia" and dropped said continent on him. Black Mage survived, of course, but was blamed for destroying a city with the tidal wave.
    • Adventurers! (paraphrased): "That's your boyfriend!? Bwahaha! At least the MAGE has an EXCUSE to be a scrawny wimp!"
    • It is well know that mages in Shape Quest follow this, specifically when they are forced to use physical combat against one another.
    • Weregeek illustrates this with Sarah's mage's attempt to wipe out a roomful of orcs in the D&D game. Said spell was her last one.
    • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name seems to fit this trope: a scrawny little guy who writes runes as his main form of attack.
    • Played to the hilt during the "Torg Potter" stories in Sluggy Freelance. Torg, despite having no magical powers, is often shown physically manhandling wizards (though it helps that he's a grown man at a school for wizards in their early teens). He advances pretty far in the wizards' "Try-Gizzard Tournament" in part because of the "Running with Scissors" challenge, since wizards are "notoriously weak in the knees." And even the mightiest of dark wizards isn't much of a match for "Torg wielding a 26" chrome plated .724" back-bored barrel with a buckshot core.
    • Aetheria Epics's first story primarily stars a magic-user who is pretty useless at physical combat and goes down without much effort. It hasn't stopped the readership from voting for her to try it a few times, though.
    • Lampshaded in Looking for Group #406.

    Richard: What's with you and rocks today?
    Krunch: (hefting a HUGE stalagtite like a club) You make a satisfying squishing sound.


    Web Original

    • In the Whateley Universe, powerful mage Fey was considered a pushover in a close-up fight. After she was nearly beaten to death by a mutant ninja, she's been learning Tai Chi and learning how to use a scimitar. It appears to have worked rather well, considering her fight against Mule.
    • The "jammers" in Shadow Unit have reality-warping psychic abilities, but tend to be physically vulnerable for an extremely good reason: killing people with your brain burns calories. A lot of them. And if you think that sounds like a selling point, ask yourself when was the last time you went into ketosis after missing lunch.
    • Actually invoked in The Guild, in which, while confronting Zaboo's mom, Tink tells her to lay off Codex, saying "she's squishy."
    • The Beacon, a mystic superhero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, was once described by a teammate as "fluffy". Another teammate called her "well padded." She describes herself as a big beautiful woman. Either way, she tends to avoid close combat as she's horrible at it and always gets her butt kicked when it happens.

    Western Animation

    • Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. As shown in "Boast Busters", she's easily the best at magical stuff in Ponyville, but as shown in "Winter Wrap-Up", she's also easily the worst at physical stuff in Ponyville.
      • Though in "Feeling Pinkie Keen", she falls down a ditch, gets slammed by doors, is stung by a swarm of angry bees, falls down a steep stairwell, then later takes a flower pot to the head, followed by an anvil, a hay cart and a piano. So she probably has a lot of hit points
      • Averted in Season 2, where she proves to have gotten much more physical, as she can carry a huge boulder and can actually hold her own in a fight against Changelings.
    • Magnificent Bastard Mozenrath of Aladdin. The necromancy magic he uses is VERY powerful but, it continuously drains his physical strength and life energy.
    • Adventure Time: A somewhat more literal example. The episode Wizard Battle features a wizard named Abrakadaniel, whose body is literally squishy:

    Abrakadaniel: It's how I survive

    • Raven from Teen Titans isn't as squishy as she could be, seeing as she has at least some martial arts moves, but she's still the most vulnerable to direct physical attack of anyone on the team, and if her spellcasting is interrupted the effect will usually fizzle (or worse, go haywire).
    • Zatanna again in Young Justice. Magic aside, she can dodge a thrown sword, she can jump between rooftops, she can pull off a diving save, but when she actually attempts physical combat, Harm drops her in one hit.
    • Merlin himself is the Big Good in Trollhunters, and is an obvious subversion, wearing plate armor 24/7, not an easy task for an old man like himself.
    • Inverted completely by Chrissy's mother in Little Demon. Skilled in sorcery, but also ridiculously buffed, skilled in many fighting styles and Power Tattoos all over her muscular frame, she can easily beat up the average human without magic. Her skills in witchcraft are a necessity to protect Chrissy from her father.

    Real Life

    1. Abjuration's opposing schools
    2. which allows to use short weapons anyway