Won't Work On Me

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Superman, we know you're the top Face and all, but come on.


In Speculative Fiction, there are a lot of ways for characters to resist the Stock Super Powers of their adversaries and nullify said opponent's resistances to one's own powers. These can come in the form of powers themselves, such as a Power Nullifier disabling other people's powers, or Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. Other times, a hero is just so determined that they can Fight Off the Kryptonite and use their abilities in unfavorable circumstances. Resourceful characters may discover an enemy's Achilles' Heel or Weaksauce Weakness, or lure them onto unfavorable Geo Effects.

Or they might just say, "Your power doesn't work on me."

For whatever reason, some characters can just ignore other character's powers on a whim. They might be naturally immune to every kind of magic, or their abilities are 'too powerful' to be resisted. Whatever the case, other characters' powers don't work on them and their own powers are unimpeded in the least. If heroes attempt to use The Worf Barrage, they'll step out of the Smoke Shield and casually dust themselves off. When the Barrier Warrior tries to block their attacks with a Beehive Barrier, they'll break it into hexagons and knock them out. It can also take the form of a wrestler using their ultimate move and eliciting little more than a raised eyebrow from their Made of Iron opponent.

They aren't canceling their opponent's powers, and they often aren't explicitly stated to be immune or resistant beforehand. They're just that good. Almost as if it were a make believe children's game where one of the kids refuses to "play by the rules" and insists they're invincible and immune to their playmate's imaginary powers. But that's impossible... Right?

Depending on execution, this can be a terrifying reminder of exactly why they're called the BIG Bad, or a very groanworthy way of adding Fake Difficulty for a hero. In fact, heroes only very rarely get the benefit of this trope. If a villain has benefited from No Sell for the first four acts, by the time the hero masters his powers/confidence in the fifth, it's likely that he'll be the one using No Sell along with a Super Mode or Heroic Resolve.

In Professional Wrestling circles, this is called "no-sell". In all types of acting, "selling" means an actor reacts as if he had been hit hard when the attack actually didn't even make contact (or was harmlessly light). Professional wrestling refers to it as a "no-sell" when the wrestler that was struck doesn't react to the hit (i.e. he just stands there, as if his opponent were punching a brick wall). Some wrestlers use no-selling as their entire schtick.

Compare Kung Fu-Proof Mook, which is when mooks do this, Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh, where the attacker uses hand-to-hand attacks instead of special powers, and Shooting Superman, for when this crosses over with Idiot Ball. Also see Contractual Boss Immunity and Useless Useful Spell for related video game mechanics. See Disability Immunity for cases when the attack happens to be not applicable to the victim rather than counteracted. See also Cross-Melting Aura for a way especially evil creatures No Sell their Weaksauce Weakness to holy items. A favorite of the Implacable Man and The Juggernaut.

The inversion is No Saving Throw (for when the attack always works) or Shooting Superman (for when you're the attacker).

Examples of Won't Work On Me include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Dragon Ball, Taopaipai cannot be harmed by the Kamehameha no matter how powerful it is. It just glances around his body like water. His clothes can't say the same.
    • During the Red Ribbon saga, General White, a big, husky man, gives Goku a punch directly to the gut. Goku remarks that it felt like a fly landing on him, and returns the blow with an uppercut that sends White bouncing off the ceiling.
    • Tien does this to Yamcha's first Kamehameha when they fight for the first time.
    • Numerous fights in Dragonball Z featured this trope, usually at early stages in each fight to establish the strength of the latest foe. The fight against Vegeta and Nappa is a perfect example, with every energy attack used against them being a No Sell until Goku shows up. When Cell achieved perfect status, he didn't even notice Krillin attacking him.
      • If fact, the very first violent clash in Dragonball Z was this trope, with Piccolo's energy attack against Raditz doing absolutely nothing.
      • In Movie 8, the titular villain, Broly, takes a Kamehameha Wave point-blank. The look of horror on Goku's face when Broly taunts him for it is priceless.
      • Any time a barrage of Ki Attacks leaves a cloud of dust/smoke obscuring the target, you can rest assured that they'll emerge completely unscathed once a convenient gust of wind blows the cloud away. At most, you'll see some Clothing Damage.
      • Goku himself does a variation of it to Frieza after achieving Super Saiyan form: Frieza is getting frustrated at how Goku effortlessly dodges all of his Ki Attacks, until Goku deliberately lets one hit him right on the kisser. Goku's head snaps back as if he took real damage, but then he raises his head and reveals the attack didn't even leave a scratch.
  • In Kinnikuman, when Screwkid stabbed his 'you've failed me' boss Big the Buddo, he was so overpowered he disintegrated due to how ineffective his attack was. That's right, the villain who killed two major superheroes in one blow and gave two others a real run for their money was so weak by comparison that the recoil of hitting the guy killed him. And Budo was holding back. Budo then took finisher attacks from other heroes without flinching at all, even moves that would have defeated major villains from the previous arcs. In fact, it took THREE supreme attacks to finally defeat him.
  • In Bleach Ishida had a chance to fight an Espada in Hueco Mundo - too bad that the Espada in question just happened to be immune to Quincy powers... in fact, he claimed he could make himself resistant to any powers, provided he got a chance to study them beforehand.
    • Mayuri later does the exact same thing to the Espada.
    • The villain of a filler arc had the power to negate all Shinigami powers, even the Head Captain's. Conveniently, Ichigo has Hollow powers he can use instead, making him the only one who can fight back. Nevermind that the Head Captain has amply demonstrated that he doesn't need his powers to beat you down.
    • Aizen does this a lot, even in the face of ever more powerful attacks directed his way by the heroes. His new favorite phrase appears to be "That would have worked on me before I evolved"
      • Then post-Dangai Ichigo turned around and did the same thing to Aizen, brushing off his most powerful attacks like they were nothing and forcing Aizen to evolve two more times to even put a scratch on him.
    • Heck, Ichigo got hit with this hard when Getsuga Tensho became So Last Season.
    • The Arrancar have an ability called Hierro that makes their skin extremely hard (how hard apparently depends on their spiritual pressure, with some exceptions). Nnoitra appears to have a particularly strong version: after Chad uses an attack to critically injure a former Espada's released form, Nnoitra is completely unaffected by the same move. He later goes on to shrug off several hits from Ichigo's bankai.
  • One of the examples where the hero frequently benefits is in Mahou Sensei Negima, whose protagonist regularly shrugs off attacks and abilities far beyond other characters, through dint of good power and good training. Exemplified by Jack Rakan, who at one point takes a massive chain of specialized, unique attacks dead-on, culminating in being run through on a titan-slayer lance and left pinned. He promptly removes the obstruction and stands back up smiling.
    • And then he manages to will himself back into being after being erased from existence. Twice!
    • An earlier incident had Madoka attempting to slap Kotaro after he accidentally walked in on Ako while she was changing. He blocks the slap, so she punches him in the face. His reaction is a completely deadpan "Ow."
    • A humorous interlude in which everyone is confessing their worries and Makie's only problem is that she can't think of any worries turns out to foreshadow her being completely unaffected by "Poyo"'s Lotus Eater Machine artifact. The funny part about that is the other character who no-sells the same spell: the resident complainer Chisame.
    • Let's not forget Asuna's trademarked and absolutely broken innate Magic Cancel. As in, she's immune to anything but beneficial magic, and this is especially notorious when she's walking through a gigantic Great Magic mine and canceling it around her as she goes.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Souther was able to literally laugh off Kenshiro's strongest moves during their first fight and send poor Ken face-down onto the pavement with X-shaped face lacerations directly afterward. Souther was born with dextrocardia, a condition that reversed the sides of his body that the heart and blood vessels -- and thus the pressure points needed to be hit to actualize the Hokuto Shinken style -- were on.
  • Lyrical Nanoha at the end of the second season goes all out, puts Raging Heart into its Excelion mode, does a super charge attack to break a barrier and fires everything she has point blank at The Book of Darkness... who just looks at her when the smoke clears with a clear sense of 'Didn't I just tell you that that isn't going to work? Twit.' Yeah, TWIT. Because she's so much stronger (and also not evil) that using harsher insults would be a waste.
  • Ghost, the last Real Funeral Wreath, in Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Try to use Dying Will Flames on him results in him just absorbing them, and physical attacks aren't any more effective.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho's Dark Tournament finals, during the Bui vs. Hiei battle, after Hiei absorbs the power of the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, he No Sells a Meteor Move.
  • Happens in One Piece whenever the ill-defined Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors system of powers comes into play. The most famous (and satisfying) is the beginning of the fight between Luffy (made of rubber) and Eneru (made of lightning), in which Luffy takes multiple One-Hit Kill moves in a row without a hair on his head being harmed.
    • Though it turns out Eneru is a perfectly capable physical fighter, and capable of using his magic powers creatively to harm Luffy (such as using electricity to create heat, which can hurt rubber). It's still a rough fight.
    • During the early parts of the East Blue saga, Luffy shrugs off blunt force with the phrase, "That won't work on me, I'm a rubberman." Over time, his enemies tend to 1) realize earlier that blunt force and guns won't work on him and switch tactics accordingly, 2) supply enough blunt force to actually hurt him, albeit less than he should be, (Shadows Asgard, Rokuougan), or 3) use Haki to get past his Devil Fruit power. However, at times, his powers work to protect him, such as when he survives human form Lucci's Shigan aimed at the neck because he is a rubber man.
    • Brook is able to No Sell Ikaros Much's moisture-sucking squid spears thanks to the fact that he's a living skeleton. There's nothing to drain.
    • Since his upgrade, Brook is able to survive most physical harm (even decapitation) due to his newfound 'soul' powers. Turns out his true form is that of a spirit, and he's merely possessing his old body.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index's Touma literally has this for a superpower, in that his right hand will negate any and all things supernatural. Power to kill me with a thought? Yeah-no.
    • Of course, if one were to, say, sever his right arm, he would be relieved of this power. Good thing Touma is the sort of person who can no-sell losing a freaking arm. In the latest light novel, severing his arm just unleashes something worse.
    • Terra of the Left's power is to assign numbers to people and objects. Nothing can be harmed by something of a lower number. By doing this to himself, he's practically invulnerable. This also works in reverse, allowing higher-ranked flour to slice through lower-ranked brick walls. The Knight Leader has a similar ability to Terra's, by making the opponent's attack power change to zero.
    • Also Accelerator in a way reflect every thing thrown at him unless you're Touma
  • Hayate the Combat Butler Machina is apparently immune to the most powerful Isumi's incantations. No explanation for this yet.
  • When Scar tries to pull his signature Your Head Asplode Face Palm of Doom on Father in Fullmetal Alchemist, there's the characteristic red arcs dancing around Father's head and then… “Interesting, an alchemical deconstruction.”
    • Also, when Ed & Al decided to try and fight him with their alchemy, Father simply put his foot down and alchemy stopped working everywhere, soon afterward however, Mei showed up and her Xingese alkahestry actually did work. A CMOA for both characters, really.
  • When Kirby tried using his inhale ability on Meta Knight in an episode of Kirby Right Back At Ya, he is completely unaffected for some reason.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Cloud attempts to use the Omnislash, his ultimate Limit Break from the game, on Sephiroth. Sephiroth proceeds with evading the first strikes, blocking a couple more, deflecting one strike with enough force to push Cloud back, and finally impales Cloud on the Masamune when Cloud attempts the final cut.
  • In Gakuen Alice, Mikan's power nullification Alice has this effect, leading to her being even unaffected by Natsume's awesomely aggressive fire powers.
  • From Fairy Tail, any Dragon Slayer can No Sell an attack of their own element by eating it and giving themselves a power upgrade in the process.
    • The legendary evil-destroying magic Fairy Glitter had no effect, when Cana tried to use it on Bluenote. The latter even explains that the difference in their sheer magical power is so great, that no matter what spell she uses, the result will be the same.
    • And then there's Hades, who simply No Sells everything thrown his way.
    • Ultear's Time Arc allows her to No Sell Creation magic Unless it's made of blood.[1]
    • Zancrow cannot be harmed by fire until Natsu combines his and Zancrow's flames into a Yin-Yang Bomb. Also, Nastu punches him hard enough to send him flying, then drops a tree on him, with no effect.
    • Gajeel's Iron Dragon Scale armor lets him No Sell all of Natsu's flame attacks when they first fight. Needless to say, the rest of that fight is one big Curb Stomp Battle.
  • Stein No Sells in his First appearance where he negates Black*Star's Ki Attacks and caught Maka and Soul's Witch Hunt.
    • Also Asura No Sells a Black*Star's Ki Attacks as well.
  • Tekkaman Blade has the Blastor transformation. When it first appears, Lance attacks, we get a little explosion and Lance thinks he's won. Cue Blade standing completely unharmed. Later in the fight, Lance fires a Voltekka point blank. Cue Blade flying through the blast to attack Lance again. The fight ends when D-boy uses Blastor Voltekka to show that Lance's No Sell skills are NOT up to par.
  • In Durarara!!, Saika transmits The Virus through cutting people, adding them to its Hive Mind. This doesn't work on Shizuo, because The Virus requires that the victim be afraid of it, and Shizuo is only afraid of himself. It also didn't work on Celty, but she's technically undead, and it might not have been trying to infect her.
  • The entire reason why Evangelions are used to fight Angels. AT Fields are basically No Sell fields to anything without an AT field or weaponry many powers of magnitude greater than nuclear weaponry. This allowed one character to wipe out an entire army by herself, after JUST waking from a coma, in End of Evangelion.
  • Code Geass used a mecha version of this trope with the introduction of the Guren-Seiten in R2:18. Most of Kallen's strategy when she's not attacking is to simply no-sell everything the enemy throws at her. In fact, Suzaku actually breaks one of his swords when she does this.
  • Naruto: Itachi's Susanoo's Yata Mirror allows him to no sell any attack.
    • The Third Raikage no sells a GODDAMN RASENSHURIKEN... despite it being fueled by the Kyuubi's chakra. For perspective, that's an attack which quite literally kills you on a cellular level.
      • He apparently did this with pretty much any attack. The only attack capable of damaging him was actually his own attack.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lordgenome's Lazengann has a hidden row of teeth on its abdomen - which, coincidentally, are strong enough to stop and shatter a Giga Drill Break from Simon.
  • In Last Exile, the Silvana pulls this during its "duel" with the Goliath.
  • Inuyasha: Toukijin is revealed to be so powerful it can possess anyone even its own creator, resulting in not even the Main Character or Ultimate Blacksmith from being able to approach it. They try to warn Sesshoumaru away from the sword saying it's too dangerous to touch, but he picks it up anyway. Sesshoumaru immediately chastises the sword for trying to take control of his will and the evil aura promptly vanishes in response. The Ultimate Blacksmith is extremely disquieted upon seeing that Sesshoumaru's will is so powerful he didn't even have to make an effort to squash the sword's will.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun, episode 3: The villain has been subduing schoolgirls by using an electric stun-gun on them. When the villain tries to use it on Mikoto (who is an electrokinetic), she stands there, takes it, and smiles. Cue an Oh Crap moment for the villain.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In the Legion of Super-Heroes comics, Nemesis Kid's ability to adapt to his enemy's powers is frequently applied this way.
    • In the LSV War, Blok was suddenly revealed to be immune to telepathic abilities after the villain Esper Lass tried to control his mind: "I am BLOK, Esper Lass... and your power has no claim on me!" Umm, since when?
  • Mutant siblings (or other close relatives) in the Marvel universe are sometimes unaffected by each other's abilities. Sometimes even when that would make no physical sense...
  • Trauma's fear based shapeshifting powers failed when he tried to use them against Norman Osborn and The Hood because the source of the Hood's power, the Dread Demon Dormammu, has a ceasefire agreement with the source of Trauma's power, his own father the dream demon Nightmare.
    • Trauma once tried to use his powers against The Hulk, transforming into the Abomination, into the Juggernaut, into Brian Banner, and even Bruce Banner, none of them even giving the Hulk pause. When questioned as to why he was immune, Hulk put it simply; he has no fear.
  • One of Superman's stated weaknesses is magic. In some Canons, this means that magic spells will not work on him at all, meaning that spells fizzle, bounce, pass through him or otherwise react to him like Anti-Magic. In other canons, though, it simply means that magic affects him like it would affect anything that's Nigh Invulnerable, which is to say not much (magically-generated fire doesn't burn him unless it would burn rock, but he can be Mind Controlled as easily as any Human Alien), thus averting this trope.
    • In some canons Superman's invulnerability simply didn't work against magic at all, even if the same attack didn't work on less invulnerable characters. It varied with the story.
    • Superman in general can No Sell just about anything except his Kryptonite Factors or world-shattering raw power.
      • Note that in the picture above (which comes from the second Superman versus Spider-Man special) Superman had already been knocked around by the Hulk, but decided to stand his ground using his full power to calm the monster. The story hints that if he hadn't succeeded, the Hulk (whose strength increases the madder he gets) would have eventually overcome even that.
  • The Quiz, a member of the Brotherhood of Dada (opponents of the Doom Patrol) has "every superpower you haven't thought of yet", which means just that - she can give herself any power, but her opponent can No Sell it just by thinking of it... unfortunately, while he does that, she'll just think up a few other powers to continue with. Also, she can easily No Sell her opponents by coming up with a unique power that counters theirs; she defeated the Negative Man with "power to conjure spirit-proof jars" and trapping the negative spirit inside.
  • The second issue of US-1 featured an ordinary trucker who was tough enough to completely ignore being hit in the head with a wrench.
  • This is one of Popeye's trademarks. The sailor's ability to take punishment has stymied more foes than his ability to dish it out. In one memorable instance, Popeye gets shot in the stomach at point-blank range, only to spit the bullets out into his hand. As he tells his stupified attacker, "What, didja think I was a softy?"
  • Forgotten Realms Comics had a brief demonstration of magic immunity and circumvention thereof. It ran thusly:

nameless Cyricist: Give up! I cannot be harmed by your spells.
Elminster: Perhaps so. But are you equally immune to falling masonry?
nameless Cyricist: <Oh Crap + Big No>


Film[edit | hide]

  • For the most part of the first movie the agents in The Matrix, then Neo during and after the climax, and throughout the series until he fought the Oracle-empowered Smith.
  • Played with in Spaceballs. When Lone Star tries to give the Vulcan neck pinch to one of the Spaceballs, it has no effect. The Spaceball then says "No, no, you're doing it all wrong. It needs to be at the shoulderblades." Lone Star then tries again at that location, and the Spaceball says "Yeah, that's it" and passes out.
  • The X-Men films:
    • In X-Men 2, Professor Xavier, being the world's most powerful telepath, is too powerful for Jason's Mind Manipulation fluid to control him. So Stryker puts a Power Nullifier on Xavier and has Jason telepathically assault him for hours... and even then, it takes the better part of two days for Jason to wear down Xavier.
    • In X-Men 2 Magneto performs a No Sell of his own in the same movie, thanks to his telepathy-blocking helmet: while the mind-controlled Xavier is attacking the mutants of the world with his powers, Magneto is completely immune to the psychic attack that has literally every other mutant on Earth writhing on the ground in agony. For good measure, once he's managed to temporarily disable Cerebro and stop the attack, he finds himself face to face with Jason, who makes one final attempt at telepathically attacking him- to no avail; cue horrified stare from Jason, as Magneto smugly taps the side of his helmet by way of explanation.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Shaw's helmet, later Magneto's, enables him to protect himself from Xavier's abilities. In the climax, he enters a psychic-proof chamber in his submarine, and he still wears the helmet. This turns out to be a perfectly sensible precaution.
  • Inverted in Serenity, when Mal sells a nerve-cluster blow that doesn't actually affect him in order to fool his opponent.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
    • Jabba: "Your mind powers will not work on me, boy."
    • The Phantom Menace
    • Watto: "What you think you are, some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian! Mind tricks don't work on me, only money."
  • In Superman Returns, one criminal tries to shoot Supes in the eye. The only effect is a little 'doink' sound. And a flattened bullet.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean's Davy Jones does this, even going so far as to disarm Will in At World's End after he stabs Davy with a rapier, by reaching round and bending the point of the rapier so it couldn't be drawn out of his body.

Jones: "Missed!... Did you forget? I'm a heartless wretch!"

  • Variation in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is fighting the massive German mechanic at the airfield. The mechanic obviously feels the punches and grunts with each hit, but he doesn't even move despite Indy throwing his fists full-force into his jaw. Then the mechanic delivers a single jab that knocks Indy on his ass.
  • The Dragon in The Girl Who Played With Fire can't feel pain, so he tends to do this to any attacks against him.
  • Somewhat lampshaded when The Man In Black attacks an unmoving Fezzick in The Princess Bride.

"I just wanted you to think you were doing well!"

  • Captain America the First Avenger: During their first meeting, the Red Skull is completely unfazed by Cap's punch to the jaw. And then he punches the Captain's shield so hard he dents it.
  • In Red Dawn, the Wolverines are being pursued by a Hind gunship and they managed to hit it with an RPG. Unfortunately, although the helicopter sways violently at the hit, it recovers and continues the pursuit.
  • The eponymous Prince of Space, at least in the English translation, is fond of reminding his foes that their guns have no affect on him (though he will still try to dodge).

Prince of Space: When will you learn? Your weapons are uselss against me!
Crow T. Robot: Though they scare the crap out of me anyway.

  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, Tigress has spent the last 20 years punching ironwood trees both as a way to work out anger and to toughen up. When she spars with Po, he punches her outstretched palm and hurts himself, and she doesn't even blink.
  • In the midst of showing off just how much of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass he is, the Beast ends up getting dropkicked in the face, and then punched and kicked on either side of his head in tandem. Other than his face deforming around the offending extremities, he doesn't even budge.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Valek in Maria Snyder's Ixia and Sitia books is immune to all magic, but has no magical power himself.
  • This was Lord Raith's power in The Dresden Files, in addition to the usual abilities of a White Court vampire; he's basically immune to magic. As it turned out, Harry's mother managed to get through his protection with her Death Curse, and used it to make him unable to feed.
    • The local eldritch abominations are immune to pretty much everything. Harry's mother seems to have known how to beat this.
  • In the Twilight novels, Bella is immune to Edward's telepathy, although he can sense everyone else. This is part of her allure for him.
  • The jordain from Halruaa (The Magocracy in Forgotten Realms), are almost totally immune to magic—only the strongest spells can penetrate their resistance. And, of course, they have Magehounds capable of piercing a lot of magic resistance, in case some jordaini goes rogue. One of protagonists of Counselors and Kings is the product of a jordaini birth gone awry: she possesses both magic and resistance to it. Of course, Game Breaker and much Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Yuuzhan Vong are immune to The Force. They can't be sensed, the Jedi Mind Trick is useless, and they can't be touched by telekinesis. However, Force Lightning works just fine, and experienced Force-users can simply attack them indirectly with telekinetically thrown objects. This is because the sentient planet that they lived on forcibly stripped the entire species from the Force. You can use the Force to, say, throw something at them, because you are using the Force on the object but you can't, for example, sense them because there is literally nothing to sense. Though a few Jedi eventually find a way to do so anyway by tapping into a different facet of the Force.
  • Fanny Price of Mansfield Park is the only woman in the world so far whom Handsome Lech Henry Crawford finds immune to his charm (although "she felt his powers"), leading to I Love You Because I Can't Control You (this being Jane Austen, though, Reality Ensues). The parody mash-up Mansfield Park and Mummies expands on this and makes Fanny the only human immune to Mary Crawford's (now a vampire) hypnotic powers.
  • Later books in the Sword of Truth series has people immune to magic turn up. The infamous evil pacifists fit into this category.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil is shown to be completely immune to the corrupting powers of the One Ring, as well as it's more practical effects like invisibility.
    • This turns out to be a case of Blessed with Suck for Frodo and the other Hobbits; they can't ask Tom to keep the One Ring safe for them, because he's so disinterested in its power that he'd likely forget about it and leave it somewhere.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Walker, Texas Ranger: The 1998 episode "Warriors" sees the leader of a supremacist group kidnap a genetic researcher, so he can force her to share her secrets to help him in his ultimate goal ... create an army of genetically superior soldiers that can help him rob banks, murder, rape women and control the drug and black markets. The enforcer of the group is one of their creations, a muscle man whom Walker cannot faze at all, even with his patented roundhouse kick. When the muscle man beats up Trivette and attempts to slam him into a concrete wall, Walker tries to shoot the man ... but he simply absorbs the bullets, thanks to the DNA that allows him to be instantly healed and not be hurt by gunfire. During the final confrontation, the man mountain has Walker beat ... but the researcher shows up, throws flammable liquid in his face and then a torch, which sets him aflame ... and stuns him long enough for Walker to recover and finally dropkick him to his death (out a plate-glass window and into a storage area conveniently full of gasoline barrels).
  • The Wonder Years: In the 1989 episode "Fate," Kevin tries standing up for Winnie's honor when - upon learning that her (temporary) boyfriend, Billy, the school bully - has been bad-mouthing her behind her back. Kevin confronts Billy and tells him to knock it off. Billy does a "says who?" act, after which Kevin slugs him with an uppercut ... that doesn't even faze Billy. Of course, Kevin gets the hell kicked out of him, before Billy calls him pathetic and he and his buddies leave Kevin writhing in pain.
  • Peter, Sylar and Arthur Petrelli of Heroes are all at one point or another able to resist being affected by other people's powers. Justifiable since most of them already have those powers, but still jarring in that it shows just how much of the Superpower Lottery they've all won.
  • In the Farscape episode "I Shrink Therefore I Am," a masked bounty hunter reads the thoughts of the crew for information shortly after capturing them. However, when Scorpius is captured and scanned, he merely rolls his eyes and remarks "That won't work on me." In Scarran.
    • Multiple characters are shown to be able to resist the Scarran heat probe. In "Bringing Home the Beacon", Grayza warns Akhna that all the Peacekeepers present are immune and John repeatedly manages to lie (or half-lie, at least) to various Scarran attempts at truth-seeking.
    • Einstein tends to do this when his guests start getting agressive; not only is he capable of stopping pulse blasts in midair, he very casually waves away the Scarran heat probe when Staleek tries to use it on him.
  • This usually happens in Super Sentai when their Humongous Mecha gets a Mid-Season Upgrade. Cue a shot of the new Mecha walking through a hail of explosions fired by the Monster of the Week, which used to work against the old model.
  • Angel is able to resist the misogyny-inducing touch of Billy because he had already lost the hatred and anger he brought out in other men.
  • The ID cards handed out to the members of UNIT in the Doctor Who episode Aliens of London turn out to be assassination devices perfectly capable of killing humans, but the Doctor isn't a human; he's able to resist the electrical current long enough to take the ID card off his jacket and attach it to the nearest alien.
    • All Torchwood employees are trained to resist psychic influence, making psychic paper useless against them. In fact, showing them the paper tips them off that the person showing it is up to no good.
    • Played with in The Sea Devils, where the warden claims that his guards are immune to The Master's hypnosis, and even shows one guard shrug off an attempt without even batting an eye for the Doctor's benefit. Whether they actually are or not is a entirely different matter, as he's in cahoots with The Master.
    • Rory Freakin' Williams. Trapped in a hotel where everyone finds a room containing their greatest fear, he just keeps finding exits. Also, the Eyedrive.
  • This happens quite often on Supernatural, but a particularly amusing example was Sam's nonchalant immunity to Veritas' truth-inducing powers, and the epic fit she throws when she realizes he can lie to her with impunity.
    • Earlier in the series, Dean gets into an argument with Castiel that ends with Dean punching him in the face. Cas' head moves a little from the impact, and Dean nearly breaks his hand. And he clearly didn't learn his lesson, as he does the same thing in a later episode with a Cupid, with the exact same result.
  • In The 4400, Isabelle is often immune to other characters' powers. Notably Shawn is unable to kill her when he tries in one episode.
    • However, Jordan is immune to her powers, as well as to Graham's, the Messiah kid in The Wrath of Graham. Jordan cal also take away their powers.
  • Happens in Stargate SG-1 with the two Goa'uld Ha'taks who reach Earth's orbit. The Pentagon orders the launch of two ICBMs modified for orbital travel and whose nuclear warheads are enhanced with naquadah. The Goa'uld notice the incoming missiles and raise their Deflector Shields. The warheads explode, dealing absolutely no damage to the ships. Anubis pulls several of these by enhancing standard Goa'uld shields with Ancient technology, allowing them to withstand Asgard and Tollan weapons, which could previously One-Hit Kill Ha'taks.
    • In the Stargate Atlantis finale, the Asgard-designed plasma beam weapons prove entirely useless against a ZPM-enhanced super-Hive, even though they work perfectly well against normal Hives.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II": after one of Trek's first (and most epic) season-finale cliffhangers, the Enterprise-D finally unleashes its modified-deflector superweapon against the Borg... to no effect. (Then again, it was Worf at the controls...)
    • The Borg are basically No Sell personified. Any energy weapons used against them work once or twice, and then they adapt and the attack is useless. Plus their assimilation process means they know everything that their drones knew in their former lives, making existing defenses and battle plans obsolete. When they later suffered from Villain Decay, this became an Achilles' Heel; they were so dependent on this technique that they were literally incapable of learning anything any other way, and had no concept of tactics at all when they attacked an assimilation-proof species that could get around their shield adaptations.
    • In the two-part episode "Gambit", a Vulcan weapon called the Resonator amplifies violent emotion to kill a target, but consequently has no power over those who clear their minds of violent thought. The climax of the episode has Picard, Riker, and Worf no-sell the weapon until its user gives up.
  • On an episode of Burn Notice, Team Westin is trying to protect a man wrongfully accused from a bounty hunter while they work to clear his name. When the rival bounty hunter shows up at Fiona's house, Michael buys her and the client time to escape by fighting the man. Unfortunately, he has about six inches and a ton of muscle on Michael, and he just shrugs off Michael's strikes with an annoyed glare. Cue Michael staring up at him with a worried "Ohhh damn."
  • A Special Effects Failure version in Star Trek as Kirk is fighting the Gorn in TOS. Kirk hefts a massively heavy styrofoam boulder and hurls it at the Gorn. His outfit is so bulky that he doesn't even notice he got hit until he heard the noise.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Unlike other performances, pro wrestlers are hitting each other, although they at least try to pull their punches. Wrestlers (in)famous for no-selling include Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and John Cena and these men are famous in particular for absorbing their opponent's finishing moves and suddenly recovering to full strength, despite being on the recieving end of a lengthy beating beforehand. This was memorably subverted during a tag match in WCW during the 90's, when Hogan's tag partner Randy Savage, facing a two-on-one situation, decided to display a little Functional Genre Savvy and hit the apparently unconcious Hulk with his finishing move, the Flying Elbow. Hogan immediately no-sold the move and jumped to his feet to help Savage fend off their opponents.
    • Rarely seen in WWE but fairly common elsewhere is the "delayed sell", where a wrestler no-sells a move long enough to deliver his own equally devastating move before collapsing.
    • In his heyday, Ric Flair was known for taking a devastating hit and keeping his feet, nonchalantly taking a few steps before literally face faulting.
      • As demonstrated here. [1]
  • In the aftermath of Hulk Hogan's first major starring role in the 1989 movie "No Holds Barred" (a professional wrestler battles a corrupt television producer), a storyline was devised to pit Hogan against co-star Tiny Lister Jr., in Lister's role of man-monster Zeus, in a "real life" feud. (The explanation being that "Zeus" was annoyed and jealous over Hogan's star billing.) Zeus the wrestler made several appearances at wrestling cards, usually to interfere in matches involving Hogan and his friend, Brutus Beefcake, and the trope came into play when Hogan and/or Beefcake would try to fight off Zeus ... but Zeus would stand there, absorb the blows and smile as though he were not hurt! Eventually, a match was set up for Summer Slam 1989, with Hogan-Beefcake taking on Zeus and Randy Savage (with whom Hogan had been feuding, and Beefcake starting that spring); Zeus initially no-sold everything Hogan and Beefcake threw his way, but eventually they figured out his lone weak spot: his eyes, which – if you poked his eyes – you could stun him long enough to hurt him. The "unfazable monster" gimmick worked for awhile, but eventually Zeus succumbed to Hogan, and in a "final" steel cage match in December 1989, Zeus little more than jobbed to Hogan ... a far cry from the imposing monster that was initially promoted as "unbeatable." (In actuality, Lister – whom actually shared mutual respect for Hogan and had no problems with his second billing – had very little formal wrestling training, and Hogan has written in his autobiography that he agreed to go easy on Lister because of this.)
  • Quite a few wrestlers use this as their main gimmick. Kevin Nash's career took off after he used the No Sell.
  • In various shows, Ric Flair will often say "I made you" to Sting. He is referring to the 1988 inaugural Clash of Champions PPV, where Flair and Sting fought to a 45 minute draw, where Sting developed his gimmick of no selling Flair's moves, particularly the "Whoo Chop."
  • A staple for The Undertaker, where he incorporated the no sell into his "rising from the dead" persona, where he would sit up after taking his opponent's Finishing Move. If you see him lying out completely straight after taking a finisher, he's very likely about to do this, especially if his opponent hasn't covered him immediately. Cue an Oh Crap face from said opponent.
    • Kane, whose gimmick borrows a lot from his Kayfabe brother, would do this a lot as well.
      • Kane's fairly regular associate the Big Show also does this, especially against smaller opponents.
  • Hulk Hogan made it part of his persona as well. The first step in his "Hulking Up" process is to start no-selling everything. After that, it's all over.
  • Never mind his size, strength, agility and general ferocity, the biggest hurdle to anyone seeking to beat Umaga was his ability to no-sell pretty much anything, even something legitimately damaging like a flying metal staircase to the head. They didn't call him the Samoan Bulldozer for nothing.
  • A weird glitch in WWE Day of Reckoning video game happens when an AI player is hit with a finishing move more than 3 times, they will stop selling the move.
  • In every one of the Nintendo 64 pro wrestling games that make use of the AKI engine (which there are several; starting with WCW vs. nWo: World Tour in 1997, ending with WWF No Mercy in 2000), the main counter to striking moves is animated as the character defending himself by simply sticking out his chest and absorbing the blow without flinching at all. This gameplay mechanic is particularly jarring, as it's possible to have the little 'ol geriatric (80+ years old!) Mae Young casually stick out her chest and take a direct hit in the form of a full unrestrained smash from a charging 7' 5", 550-pound legendary Andre the Giant without moving an inch.
  • According to one meme, Vampiro merchandise is not available in Mexico due to Vampiro refusing to sell ANYTHING there (even the dreaded martinete, or piledriver, which is INSTANT DEATH in lucha libre).
  • Similarly, one common snark from smarks is that the only thing John Cena sells is merchandise.
  • Subverted by Kellie Skater in SHIMMER, who claims to be "pure adamantium" and "virtually indestructible". This is about as true as JBL's claims that he is a wrestling god.
  • Related to no-selling is sandbagging, when a wrestler resists an opponent's slam or pick-up technique, making it difficult if not impossible to perform. While mostly a case of simply being too green to distribute their weight properly, some wrestlers intentionally sandbag when facing someone they don't like. Hardcore Holly was infamous for sandbagging against any and all rookies.
    • This came back to bite Holly in the ass. In a televised match with then-rookie Brock Lesnar, Holly started sandbagging and delivering stiff shots (i.e. real punches). Eventually, Lesnar got Holly into a powerbomb position, went to put him on his shoulders. Holly sandbagged the lift, Lesnar did the move anyway, which ended with Holly being dropped on his neck, breaking it and causing him to be legitimately out for 13 months. Apparently it didn't occur to Holly that a guy built like Brock Lesnar would have little trouble lifting him unassisted.
      • On the plus side, no one was dumb enough to try that with Lesnar again.
  • Wrestlers who are leaving a company will sometimes do this as Hercules demonstrates here.
  • Mick Foley once made a joke at Al Snow's expense by saying, "I'd like to congratulate Al Snow on his lucrative Laz-E-Boy endorsement deal, which is odd, because Al usually doesn't sell chairs."
    • Explanation (and I only offer one because a lot of the time, a guy no-selling is because they're jerks, but not the case here): The joke occurred after a match wherein, after a lengthy sequence that saw Snow suffer a legitimate concussion (which neither Snow nor Foley recognized at the moment), Foley hit Snow with a chair several times and Snow just shrugged all of them off. Foley went on to ask Snow about it after the match (when the effects of the concussion were becoming apparent) only to have Snow ask, "What chair shots?", as he legitimately did not remember the whole incident (at least according to Snow, but, knowing Snow and Foley's longtime friendship, he probably was being honest).
      • Though actually it was Road Dogg, not Mick Foley, who delivered the chairshots. Mick simply recounted the story in his second book.
  • Ultimate Warrior no-sold pretty much anything, even Triple H's Pedigree. Trips had been temporarily demoted to Jobber at the time in punishment for the Madison Square Garden Incident, though.
    • Not true, the MSG Incident was actually a month or two AFTER his match with the Warrior. Triple H was simply a rising star and was squashed by the Warrior for no good reason.
  • The Japanese wrestlers in Dragon Gate USA tend to not sell anything until they reach their limit, at which point they collapse. Bryan Alvarez likened this peculiarity of Dragon Gate USA singles matches to a live-action fighting game.
  • During a cage match between Bruiser Brody and Lex Luger in the late 80's, Luger did something to displease Brody. Rather than attacking Luger, Brody's (Arguably much more menacing) response was to simply stop selling and stare at his opponent for the rest of the match. Given Luger's limited offense, the next several minutes consist of Luger throwing punch after punch at Brody, who just stands there, glaring a hole through him, until a genuinely terrified Luger hightails it over the side of the cage and escapes to the locker room.
  • Wrestlers with high-risk styles, such as cruiserweights or hardcore wresters, sometimes instictively no sell huge moves to reassure themselves that they aren't seriously hurt. Two examples written about in their books include Chris Jericho immediately jumping up after a huge blow to his neck (to prove he didn't get crippled, a huge fear of his) and Mick Foley no selling a C4 explosion under the arm!


Sports[edit | hide]

  • According to legend, famous Cricketer W.G. Grace was once clean bowled in the first over of a match. Grace simply re-set his stumps and took block again, telling the bowler, "They've come to watch me bat, not you bowl."
  • Fedor Emelianenko no sold what Seanbaby called "the greatest suplex in the suplexiverse" against Kevin Randleman in 2004 after landing directly on his head and neck, swept to side control and submitted Randleman with a kimura in less than a minute following. Holy shit.
  • Roller derby players actively strive to achieve a no sell. Players who can take a block without so much as being knocked off course or flinching are not only excellent defensive and obstructive players, they are also terrifying to the opposing team.


Stand Up Comedy[edit | hide]

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

Card Games[edit | hide]

  • Magic: The Gathering has a few variants:
    • "Indestructible" means a card can't be destroyed by damage[2] or by effects that say "destroy". Other ways of affecting it still matter, though, as does, in the case of creatures, reducing toughness to zero.
    • "Protection from X" means that a permanent cannot be damaged by anything with property X, enchanted or equipped with anything with property X, blocked by anything with property X, or targeted by anything with property X. This can be a double-edged sword, though.
    • "Regenerate" works similar to indestructible, but requires you do something to activate it. It is a bit different: Something can still try to destroy it, but then the regenerated permanent is tapped.
    • "Absorb X" means "Every time a source would deal this creature damage, prevent X damage."
    • "Shroud" means that a card can't be targeted. "Hexproof" means it can't be targeted by cards your opponents control.
    • "Madness" means you can play it, for its madness cost, when you are forced to discard it (whether due to a cost, an opponent's effect, One With Nothing, having too many cards in your hand at the end of your turn, etc).
    • Counterspells take all of the above a step further and stop the opponent from trying anything to begin with.
    • Finally, there are cards which cannot be countered.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh has its own versions.
    • A pair of trap cards known as Spirit Barrier and Astral Barrier. Spirit Barrier prevents the player from taking damage, as long as they have a monster on the field, but monsters can still take damage. With Astral Barrier the player can take attacks for the monsters instead. Combined, the player can No Sell literally any attack for his monsters.
    • Vennominga, the Deity of Posionous Snakes has it's own version. Like the Anime's God Cards, it has protection from all spell, trap and monster effects, and can remove from play another snake from the grave to revive itself if it dies.
    • Some cards like the Xing Zhen Hu Replica or the Nordic Relic Laevateinn prevent other effects to be activated in reaction to them, effectively making them uncounterable once activated.

Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]

Generally, immunities to specific attacks and/or Standard Status Effects are almost always present and are the main purpose of Damage Typing. As a game model grows, it's more and more likely to get into Lensman Arms Race of effects, immunities and immunity-breaching effects.

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, up to 3rd edition, monsters like golems and Will O' Wisps are immune to most kinds of magic. When fighting such a creature, typically the wizards will sit around and feel useless while the warriors run up and hit it with swords.
    • Amusingly, clay golems are No Sell to warriors as well, since their clay skin resists sharp things such as swords and arrows and spears. (Oh, and their fists can inflict cursed wounds.) It's up to the hammer-wielding cleric or paladin to smash them in with bludgeoning, or the wizards to polymorph into a better form, or to the wizards to use Sunfire which ignores magical resistances.
    • This was also a trait of the most powerful of demons. In the earliest versions of the game, the Balrog was completely immune to spells cast by casters of sixth level or below—on top of general 79% magic resistance.
    • In the BECMI edition of D&D, Immortals are the equivalent of gods. An Immortal's true form was completely immune to even the most powerful mortal magic, and the most that even the most powerful of mortal magical weapons (+4 or +5) could do to them is Scratch Damage.
    • In D&D 4e, Gods are immune to anything thrown at them from anything below level 21. Anyone not of epic level, who have some trace of divinity themselves, is completely incapable of affecting the gods in any way.
    • Theoretically, sphere of invulnerability or antimagic shell gives everyone inside immunity to most magic. Practically, high-level wizards expect to confront highly magic-resistant opponents (and each other) sooner or later, so they care to get attacks that bypass these things. There are also spells immune to simple dispel, especially curses, greater enchantments and strong magic defences, and some can even keep out 'antimagic shell' and/or prevent it from forming, if not break existing one. Andrui's Baneful Backfire (Greyhawk) neutralizes a dispel attempt and retaliates, Curse of the Grinning Skull and Dispel Shunt (Forgotten Realms) reflect dispels back (former) or anywhere in range the caster wants (latter).
    • Forgotten Realms had a (mostly implicit) history of magic "arms races" - development of spells intended to defeat spells that in turn were developed to defeat the older and simpler spells.
      • A few spells compromise even 'antimagic shell' (it suppresses other magic, not makes a true magic-dead zone, or it would disable itself upon activation) by working on a deeper level: 'Lauthdryn's Cleaving', 'Lesser Cleaving', 'Mystra's Unraveling' and 'spell shear'[3]. Also, 'Sphere of Ultimate Destruction' (non-FR spell) ignores it, due to creating a controlled sphere of annihilation — planar rift that does naughty things to the underlying continuum; and so does 'Black Blade of Disaster' (due to creating… a rift of similar nature, but fancy-shaped).
      • The main purpose of 'Silence' spell is to disable verbal components of other casters. What Forgotten Realms "arms race" did to this one? Introduced 'Vocalize', which allows its caster to circumvent this specific side of silence. 'Dispel Silence' (obviously gesture-only) cancelling silence in the area. And 'Power Word, Silence', which trumps 'Dispel Silence' and prevents activation (yet not ongoing effect) of 'Vocalize', No Saving Throw, but affects only a single target for "the rest of this round and the next" duration.
    • Damage resistance in D&D also works as a kind of No Sell, although it is limited to low to mid level damage. And of course there are ways to weaken or boost it.
  • A particular trait of a bad game master will be to arbitrarily nullify the character's actions regardless of a die roll if it would upset his storyline or make his Villain Sue look bad.
    • Subverted by Paranoia, where the rulebook specifically tells GMs to disregard any and all inconvenient dice rolls, including rolling dice in plain view and ignoring the results.
  • The Tau in Warhammer 40,000 have so little Warp presence that it grants them some protection from Chaos's mind-affecting abilities, although a Chaos creature manifested in the physical world can still eat them without difficulty.
  • The Cosmic enhancement in GURPS lets you ignore one normally ironclad limitation and often gets used like this. Static also makes you totally immune to the effects of one powerset.
  • Any mid-level or higher Exalted character will most likely have some form of perfect defense, which allows the character to dodge or block any attack, even attacks that are otherwise unblockable. These require motes, so you can't use them forever, but it still tends to turn high-level combat into battles of attrition waiting for one of the combatants to run out of motes.
    • Solars have so many Charms of this nature that some fans build "Paranoia Combos", which contain as many different No Sell powers as possible. This can get up to lists like "1st Melee Excellency, Seven Shadow Evasion, Reflex Sidestep Defence, Integrity-Protecting Prana, Leaping Dodge Method, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness Technique, Kitchen Sink Meditation".
      • One of their charms is even explicitly called Immunity To Everything Technique.
  • Mundanes in GURPS: IOU can do this to anything "weird", going so far as to turn aliens into guys in rubber suits a high levels.
  • Scion gives us Ultimate Stamina. Its use? Pay thirty Legend points and any damage to you just... doesn't work that round. At all. Its weaker cousin is Solipstic Defense, where one attack per scene (you choose which one) passes harmlessly through you.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering fandom, there are several jokes about Jace Beleren countering opponent spells by simply saying No.
  • Berserkers in Iron Heroes have this as a class ability. It's described as just ignoring the effects of things like, say, that goblin's sword. (And they can enhance this ability the same way any proud tanking knight enhances his plate armour, too.)
  • One of the advanced Dementation abilities in Vampire: The Masquerade (available only to characters of sixth generation or lower, which generally includes only NPCs and diablerists) allows the character to completely ignore an object for the duration of an encounter. For example, everyone else may see a perfectly ordinary sword pass straight through him harmlessly, but the character himself will wonder why the unfriendly chap is swinging his empty hand around like that.
  • Strangely implemented in BattleTech with what is known as the Phantom 'Mech ability, the only sort of 'mystical' ability put forward by the franchise. In the Kell Hounds sourcebook, the ability basically disrupts enemy targeting systems by causing the 'Mech to 'disappear' from sensors, making the pilot using it nearly impossible to hit by imposing an automatic +4 to-hit penalty as well as doubling the range counted by the weapon. This could mean that an enemy just a few spaces distant suddenly counted as twice as far away (and incurring some horrific range difficulty modifiers, up to +4), or worst of all, considered 'out of range' of a weapon. The average pilot needs to roll a 4 or higher out of 2d6 to hit a stationary target. Suddenly, that previously 4-or-better hit requirement now requires an 8 or higher because of this ability, and the shot becomes much more difficult...or impossible. Canonically, only three pilots ever exhibited the ability in the course of the Warrior trilogy, with two of them genetically related and the third being a primary antagonist to the first two. The effect of not selling enemy attacks in the fiction, though, is considered both so rare and so traumatizing that the only warriors to survive the experience take themselves out of battle and into retirement or hermitage for a timespan on the order of years.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Several of the World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling video games had a special "token" which, when unlocked, could allow a player to temporarily (usually for one match) be invincible to an opponent's attacks.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Jedi Sentinels, and Badass Normal Canderous Ordo, have passive abilities that grant them immunity from Mind Rape force user attacks. The problem is, since only the player can use these attacks, and not enemies, this is a Useless Useful Spell.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMO sequal, which includes non-force sensitive characters, demonstrates that both the Bounty Hunter and Smuggler characters are not "weak minded" when a Force User attempts to use a mind trick on them. This gives both characters a priceless opportunity for snark.

Jedi: (waves hand) You will drop your weapons, and surrender to me.
Bounty Hunter Player Character: (waves hand) You, will realize what a complete idiot you are.
and
Sith Sorceress: (waves hand) You want to attack the Jedi.
Smuggler Player Character: I want to laugh at how ridiculous you look.

  • In the Pokémon games, a couple Pokemon have an ability called Mold Breaker (or its variations Turboblaze or Teravolt) which essentially lets them ignore the defensive effects of their target's Ability and damage them anyway.
    • Also Rayquaza's Air Lock (or its variation, Cloud Nine) ability, which negates all weather effects caused by abilities or attacks.
    • And Bibarel and Quagsire's Unaware, which lets them ignore all stat changes in opponents (except for Speed, as that would be mechanically problematic in group battles). Unless the opponent has the aforementioned Mold Breaker, in which case, they will No Sell your No Sell.
    • Clear Body, which prevents negative stat changes inflicted by the opponent, or Soundproof (and the unused Cacophony), which makes sound-based attacks useless, or Levitate, which makes the Pokemon immune to Ground-type attacks, etc, etc...really, the list of Pokemon abilities like this could go on forever.
    • The ability Keen Eye, which acts as an immunity to accuracy reduction.
    • The ability Scrappy, which lets Normal and Fighting-type moves pummel the Ghost-types that they are usually unable to hurt.
    • Type resistances/immunities. Just how does a mole take no damage from a lion ramming into it while covered in electricity?
    • And then, in the move category, we have Gastro Acid (functions similar to Mold Breaker, above, but with all abilities) and Haze (functions similar to Unaware, above). Clever application of the moves Mimic, Role Play, Camoflage, Skill Swap, Worry Seed, Conversion, and Conversion 2 also could result in this (depending on what move/ability/type is imitated/replaced)
  • You can invoke this in Iji. When you press the use button right as you get hit you still get damaged, and you get flung the normal distance, but you look like you are ready to drink a cup of tea once the explosions wear off. It's called "Teching", and is sometimes for accessing hidden areas.
  • In Thief 3, the Golems are totally immune to your puny weapons until you get the Rune of Unmaking (for your blackjack, no less). When first running into them, it was rather disheartening to hide in the shadows, line up a perfect arrow right between the golem's shoulder blades, and not only have it deal no damage with a pathetic "donk" noise, but the golem doesn't even notice.
    • Then you're loading the wrong arrows. Try a different piece in your repertoire.
  • In Fate/stay night, Berserker's Noble Phantasm "God Hand" negates any attacks of B rank or lower, meaning that only an insanely powerful attack can harm him. And as if that wasn't enough, it also gives him twelve lives and makes him immune to any attack which killed him before.
    • If activated instead of used passively, Avalon allows the user to No Sell EVERYTHING. From a rain of countless legendary Noble Phantasms to the single most powerful artifact weapon in the whole of the Nasuverse (capable of tearing apart spacetime and destroying the world), Avalon just ignores the whole thing.
      • Hell, if the user(s) will(s) it to, Avalon can reflect said attack.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, the Secret Project The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm renders all your bases and units completely immune to all Probe Team activity (i.e. espionage) whatsoever. Naturally this makes it a must-have for the University, whose emphasis on transparency, freedom of speech, and freedom of inquiry (For Science!!) means that their government leaks like a sieve. The same is true for any faction running the University's preferred Social Engineering choice, the Value of Knowledge (same reasons, same effect).
    • It is also a bane for the Data Angels, who rely on their probe teams to sabotage the other factions and steal their technology and energy. On the other hand, since There Can Only Be One of each Secret Project, the Angels won't face this problem if they just build it themselves.
      • It's only half the bane, as the angels are exclusive to the expansion, and in it there's an upgrade one can design probe teams with, that give them a bonus against normal factions and allow (although it's still harder than normal) actions against Algorithm protected units.
  • In the Fallout universe, this is what power armor is supposed to imbue to the wearer against lighter small arms.
    • Subverted: Power Armor only gives Armor Class (makes you harder to hit), high damage resistance and Strength (more HTH damage, can wield heavier guns and carry more weight). It gives nothing specific when it comes to critical hits. With the right perk, you can do a lethal critical hit with a thrown flare. Which could normally deal only one HP damage. Even without this perk, you could still do a lucky hit, and blind your opponent.
      • Not entirely true. In the first 2 games Power armor and Enclave Power armor did make you immune to small arms fire. If your damage resistance was above a certain %,non-armor piercing ammo couldn't damage you. Now, unless you did the tricks to get Power armor near the beginning, you wouldn't notice it much as the enemies around that period in the "normal" game would have heavier weapons/ammo and could penetrate it easier. However, getting the enclave suit ASAP in Fallout 2 makes the majority of the game a cake walk as the majority of enemy shots bounce off harmlessly. Not miss, literally deal no damage.
      • Same for various robotic enemies (or party members), especially in Tactics, but also in essentially all of the other games in series. Small, non-AP rounds will generally do nothing to robots... and certain organic enemies, unless you hit their weak spots.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics - The Golem summon blocks physical attacks for three rounds and the Samurai's Blade Grasp reaction ability negates physical attacks (and makes the character virtually untouchable at high Brave levels).
  • Many fighting games have a mechanic called Super Armor, where a character No Sells weak attacks; a good example of this is the Hulk in Marvel vs. Capcom. Even rarer is Hyper Armor, which means the character No Sells everything; this is usually reserved for gimmick characters like Metal Zangief from the same series.
    • This was also popular in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (Sparking! in Japan) series. Giant apes/robots didn't physically react to, and barely took damage from, all but the strongest characters' non-super attacks; Legendary SSJ Brolly likewise pretty much shrugs off anyone who isn't Super Saiyan 2 or higher as well. Got toned down almost to the point of being removed in Raging Blast.
    • Special mention goes to Nemesis from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. As well as having a ton of hyper armour moves, including one that COULD NOT BE STOPPED during development, he has no block animation. He just takes the hits unfazed.
  • In Street Fighter III, parrying an attack with most characters has the character take a defensive pose. Hugo, however, seems content with puffing his chest and No Selling the attack. Q, likewise, just sticks out his torso, dusting off afterward.
    • Hugo is a professional wrestler, so it seems to be an intentional example of No Sell.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, the hero character is completely immune to curses of any kind.
  • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, DK and Diddy Kong are the only animals in the jungle immune to the Tiki Tribe's hypno-powers. One tiki finds this out the hard way.
  • In Nippon Ichi titles, you can no-sell enemy attacks by having sufficient levels of DEF or SPD, or by standing on a Geo Panel that grants invincibility. Irritatingly, so can your opponents.
  • On Legendary with the right skulls turned on in Halo: Reach, the stronger enemies will be practically invincible. Sniper rounds? Rocket launchers? Please.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Presea Combatir can get an ability where she essentially no-sells any attack that doesn't do enough damage. Seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLjWa7GAGL8
  • Hunters in Prototype occasionally no-sell direct hits from a tank - They still take damage, but it won't slow them down or otherwise impede their trying to kill you. You can shoot them with assault rifles and machine guns right up until they die without them pausing their attacks.
  • One of the things which makes Shao Kahn (and to a lesser extent Goro and Kintaro) an SNK Boss in Mortal Kombat is that he can turn off hitstun at random, allowing him to attack while the player is in the middle of a combo. Combined with his very high attack power and downright brutal special moves, it makes him very difficult to defeat.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, Metal characters fit this trope at the beginning of the fight, as being metal makes a character highly knockback resistant. Due to Smash's main mechanic (fighters get knocked back further and further as they take more damage), they gradually sell more and more until they get KO'd. Of course, they also fall very quickly, and in a game where the victory condition is to get a Ring Out, it balances out.
    • Brawl also introduced Super Armor for its heavier characters: during certain moves (like Ike's Aether), while you still take damage, you No Sell the knockback from all but the heaviest hits.
  • Giant beam of death that blows away everything from gods to vampires? Flandre Scarlet doesn't so much as develop a cough from it.
    • The final spellcard of the final boss, as well as all extra stage bosses are immune to bomb damage. except in fairy wars - Perfect Freeze works as well on the 3 fairies and Marisa as it does on anything else in the game. Kanako's final spellcard is particularly unfair in this manner since against her final spellcard, bombs even lose most of their bullet clearing ability. And she's the stage 6 boss. In addition to these situations, there are survival spellcards, which render the user literally invincible, the only way forward is to time it out. all Extra bosses from Flandre onwards have at least one.
  • Fire Emblem's fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth instalments feature the Nihil skill, which when equipped on a unit disables the combat skills of any opposing unit. Seeing as later bosses tend to wield the really quite broken mastery skills, it's virtually a mandatory skill for those characters whom you intend to use to kill bosses near the end of the ninth and tenth, especially the Black Knight (who himself has it in Radiant Dawn). There's also the Parity skill, which disables skills and nullifies terrain bonuses on both participants in a fight.
    • The Eight installment has Great Shield, which is given to Generals whose high defense means they'll no sell anything that isn't stong against them. Great Shield takes care of them.
  • The Bohr Waveform Device used by the Allies in Red Alert 3 Paradox is a machine designed to set up No Sell situations by reversing the traditional counter system, making tanks immune to cannons and infantry Immune to Bullets.
  • The player can pull one of these in Deus Ex Human Revolution by not getting the biochip "upgrade". When the game's resident Dragon Lady tries to shut you down using the backdoor installed, you can just stand there and grin as she has a very small Oh Crap moment.
    • For that matter, several individuals are unaffected by the CASIE Aug, or at least savvy enough to figure out when it's being used on them.
  • Par for the course for the strategy for Mega Ten games. Demons have very wide resistance variations, so some demons may come off as counters for other, more troublesome demons. Though the games permit enough skill customization so that enough effort can efectively render any glaring weakness moot, the games being Nintendo Hard means that, of course, some bosses will still make your life hell unless you completely and utterly overpower them, and sometimes even that is not enough. A prime example is the final boss of Persona3, who has an action that will completely No Sell literally everything you can throw at it until it decides it has had enough fun staring at you with that Slasher Smile.
    • The scripted fight that ends the game, however, has our voiceless protagonist gain enough power to No Sell death itself.
    • Even worse with this, however, is Beldr from Devil Survivor. Even on a New Game+, everything you throw at him will fail, all the time, except his lone Weaksauce Weakness, getting punched in the face with a cellphone strap. This essentially makes every single spell and every single character in your entire team useless, except for the main character's physical skill. Good luck.
      • A lesser example from the same game is the Battle Aura auto skill, which nullifies all attacks that deal less than 50 damage.
    • Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne has the Masakados Magatama, which not only gives a massive bonus to all stats, it will even include immunities allowing the Main Character to literally No Sell everything except for Almighty-type moves. This gets carried over to Digital Devil Saga, in which he appears as an excruciatingly difficult Bonus Boss - still having the same immunities.
    • As a rule of thumb, though, several types Demonic Spiders in the series have a very nasty tendency to No Sell most conventional attacks. At best, they will be nulled. At worst, they will be repelled. Of course, given enough investment, you can have your private team of Olympus Mons capable of No Selling most enemy attacks as well.
  • Used to show off the Reapers' superiority over, and contempt for, the Citadel races in Mass Effect. In the Battle of the Citadel, Sovereign is completely unaffected by the massed firepower of the Citadel fleet and makes a beeline for its objective, not even bothering to deviate for an entire turian cruiser, which it rams out of the way casually. It's also suggested that this is the usual effect of trying to attack mass relays or the arms of the Citadel, since they are also Reaper technology.
  • Similarly, several of the RPG-style Castlevanias have ignore-damage powerups, usually wearable items. One example is the Hercules Ring in Portrait of Ruin. They're fun to play with, but risky—you'll quickly learn to watch your HP closely when you use one.
  • One "Game-Breaker" in NFL Street has the running back become so powerful that he can take hits from the opposing team unfazed.
  • In Dragon Age II, siding with Janeka during Legacy will result in her trying to bind Corypheus to her will. He blocks the spell before he's even fully awake.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we have the Thu'um called "Become Ethereal". It's meant to make you temporarily invulnerable (and also harmless) so you can escape, but if you just don't wanna deal with a hostile crowd and rush through you can use it too. It will negate all harm to you, including fall damage.
  • Galactic Civilizations: a common tactic during a war is to raid enemy freighter runs, thereby cutting off their economies. The Galactic Privateer building renders you totally immune to this, so when someone grabs the Conflict Ball the only trade routes you risk losing are the ones that are already directed towards that civilisation.
  • The Doomwood saga of Adventure Quest Worlds features super-badass undead abomination Vordred, whose main schtick is being immune to light-based magic, the main means of Paladins and others to destroy the undead, rendering them utterly screwed—for this reason, he is known as the "Paladin Slayer." It is learned during the final showdown that Vordred's armor of skulls is how he can No Sell light-based magic, and when Artix blasts the armor apart with the spirit power of his entire undead army, defeating him finally becomes possible by means of pinning down his Shadow form using Artix's own Shadow so that he can no longer regenerate.
  • Characters in City of Heroes with high enough defense can no sell pretty much anything, making a "soft capped" defensive build extremely valuable. Negating attacks is also the hallmark of several endgame Destiny powers, which (in addition to serving as a massive Status Buff) also allows you to no sell an attack for the entire league. (Clarion negates controls, Rebirth can heal through almost anything, Ageless can counteract slow and endurance drain effects, and Barrier just makes you Nigh Invulnerable). The rarely seen "Phase Shift" effect also allows you to become completely immune to everything, but prevents you from affecting anyone but yourself.
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations has a rare heroic example: When the Assassins under Abbas try to use Assassinations on Altair, it only hurts him, but doesn't One-Hit Kill him like when he does it to others.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Bob: There's Charlotte. And she's got a ring [...]
Gren: And that slightly glazed not-all-there look in her eye.
Bob: Well... she kinda always looks like that.

  • All paladins have a natural No Sell with the Axe of Prissan in Goblins. In order to ensure it is wielded by a paladin for good, the weapon is magically enchanted to pass harmlessly through any paladin it strikes. The enchantment also extends to anything attached to the axe.
    • As revealed later this can be manipulated. The goblins tied a rope to the axe and then threw it through Kore. While the rope was still inside Kore, it was severed from the axe and rematerialized inside his throat.
  • Order of the Stick's prequel Start of Darkness has Xykon kick off his ascension (Or de-scension) to lichdom by taking Lirian the Elf druid in a Curb Stomp Battle. None of Lirian's magic affects Xykon, including turning herself into a dragon to fight better.

Xykon: Are you starting to get it yet? Your claw/claw/bite doesn't impress me, I have Damage Reduction up the wazoo.

    • The Monster in the Darkness also has incredible Damage Reduction, to the point that he didn't even notice Belkar attacking him. Haley's next suggestion was to run the hell away as fast as possible.
  • PITCH BLACK with "Animal Guards".
  • Inverted in Battle Bunnies, page 51: Your defense won't work against me.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Looney Tunes: Yosemite Sam, who has billed himself as fearsome and unbeatable, took this to absurd extremes in the 1960 cartoon "Lighter Than Hare," when he boasted that his "unbeatable robot" would take out Bugs Bunny. Sam guessed wrong!
  • In one episode of South Park, the gang get real "ninja" weapons and pretend-fight against Butters as "Professor Chaos." Professor Chaos repels heat and ice attacks, so Kenny uses his non-elemental attack, a real ninja star into Butters's eye.
    • Similar to the example in the introduction, Cartman picks the ninja power to have whatever power he wants. In a practical sense, it's straight up No Selling.
  • In one episode of the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 cartoon, Shredder gets his hands on a ray that makes people afraid. He uses it on the turtles, of course, to which Krang angrily calls him a fool, saying something to the effect of "this does not work on mutants!" Of course, Krang never once mentioned that (in)convenient fact earlier in the episode. And, to add insult to injury, Shredder gets hit with the ray by the end of the episode, and it works on him just fine - leading to his subsequent humiliation. Then again, this incarnation of Shredder...
    • There is another episode with a fear ray that does work wonders on the Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady, and Shredder himself... But Krang, while not totally immune, is less affected.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, "The Puppetmaster":

Katara: You're not the only one who draws power from the moon. My Bending is more powerful than yours, Hama! Your technique is useless on me!

  • A heroic (or at least antiheroic) example of this can be found in Lilo & Stitch: The Series: many of Jumba's mind-altering experiments don't work on other experiments, or in some cases, at least, on experiments created after the one with mind-altering powers. Stitch (who himself has no mind-altering powers to be hindered by this rule) was the last of Jumba's original creations, and is thus immune to all of them.
    • Jumba once shrugs off losing 99% of his intellectual capabilities without missing a beat because "1% of evil super genius is still pretty good."
  • Fluttershy from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic in "Stare Master". She is being turned to stone by a cockatrice and one might expect her to have some clever solution to the situation, as is typical with such stories. Instead she just ignores it and stares the creature down and lectures it until it's intimidated into stopping and breaking the enchantment on her.
  • The Joker tries to use his laughing gas on Poison Ivy after she and Harley upstage him. She lets out a brief laugh before revealing that it doesn't work on her.
  • Aquaman in Justice League Unlimited after his opponent tries to drown him in a massive wave. He just stands there, not as much as blinking.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • There was also the (likely apocryphal) tale sideshow performer who's stage name was "Oofty Goofty", also billed as The Wild Man Of Borneo. He took a job as a sideshow wildman and had covered his body in hair set in place with tar. A week later he grew ill from what is said to be an inability to perspire due to the thick tar. It nearly proved impossible to remove, with doctors at a hospital having to put tar solvent on his body and leave him on a roof, where it melted off of his body. Some time after that, he was thrown out of a saloon onto a hard cobblestone street and claimed later to feel no pain from it. He then utilized his newfound resistance to pain by inviting the citizens of San Francisco to take a whack at him with a baseball bat for ten cents a swing. Worked out pretty well...Until boxing champion John L. Sullivan took up the challenge and broke the bat over Oofty's back and fractured three of his vertebrae.
  • Generally averted in Real Life, however - people who can't feel pain often die young because they miss or ignore injuries that later develop or prove life-threatening.
  1. It has no effect on living things, to be precise.
  2. More precisely, by a state-based action that destroys creatures that have lethal damage
  3. an elven spell never given in stats