The enemies are approaching; They’re charging at great haste. Their swords are drawn and their casters are primed and ready. The archers have their arrows drawn – We’re surrounded. Send the soldiers to the front of the lines, we need to show them the best offense is a great defence – We’re going to put our shields up this week, as we check out our Top 10 Shields – We could do with the protection!
10) Theta – Red vs Blue
Of the many slivers of the splintered AI powering the Freelancer project, the Theta fragment has the most child-like and reserved personality, and so is particularly adept with an energy shield that helps him protect his Freelancer partner; codename North Dakota. To make sense of any of that, just go watch all of Red vs Blue.
Under Theta’s control, the shield’s impenetrable wall can be micromanaged down to the fragments of seconds required to let a rifle bullet leave the dome while a hail of automatic fire is kept at bay. At the limitations of the shield’s power, he can narrow down the segments of the dome required to keep attacks at bay when a complete shell can’t be maintained.
Theta is a minor character, shy and reserved alongside his “big brother” North, he seems oddly lost in the control of the villainous Meta. But he may also be one of the most intelligent shields anywhere on this list.
9) Tōru Kokonoe’s Blaze – Absolute Duo
Whilst a relatively unknown title by most of the entities on this list, Absolute Duo is an anime featuring Tōru Kokonoe, a boy who enrolled in the Kouryou Academy. He works to get stronger but also to get to understand his Blaze; a type of spiritual energy which is usually harnessed into a weapon, befitting its wielders soul. However, Tōru’s weapon is irregular, as his is actually a shield, as he just wants to protect people.
Tōru, along with his ‘Duo’ partner, Jullie, is someone he has to train with and even share a dorm with. Tōru would do anything to protect Jullie – Which is why his Blaze has taken the form of a shield. It’s nothing poignant, but it’s nicely symbolic. Worth checking out, even if you only look at the Light Novels, which appear to be great. It’s quite hard to get ahold of this one – It’s not even on Crunchyroll, but apparently it’s on Funimation.
8) Shield of Wonder – Goblins
When struck, this magic shield creates a random magical effect, three words which most D&D players recoil from in horror. It fell into the horde of the goblin clan when it turned briefly into a monster and devoured the arm of the elf who held it; but many of the magical effects are as beneficial as they are terrible. Among the possibilities are fountains of bubbles, blasts of lightning, sapping the strength of the striker and giving it to the wielder, or causing the wielder of the shield to altogether vanish for good.
It was a calculated risk on the part of the new barbarian Complains, when cornered against insurmountable odds, to charge shield-first into a field of spears, taking the brunt of all the points onto the chaotic artifact. The ensuing chaos lost him a finger, part of an ear, a chunk of soul, infected him with a slowly growing demonic force – and saved him and his friends.
7) Braum’s Shield – League of Legends
Braum is a big dude – In fact, the best comparison I can make for Braum is Alexander from Fullmetal Alchemist. The biggest difference is that whilst Alexander uses his huge muscles and big fists to deadly effect, Braum is equally as muscular but uses an enchanted vault door as his weapon of choice. It’s both a weapon and a shield to him, making him one of the tankier champions to select.
The variations of Braum’s vault door are quite amusing too, with Santa Braum being one of my favourites (he carries a damn chimney!) The story of how Braum gets his shield is quite amusing, as the huge muscled hero of the Freljord was unable to rip the door off its hinge, or punch through it or anything, even though he was the strongest man of all. So, to save the boy trapped behind it, he punched a tunnel through the mountain. This was fine, until the mountain started to crumble and cave in on them as they tried to escape. The door fell, so he grabbed it and held it up, to protect them – And when all the rubble had fallen, no one was injured and no scratches on his door.
And that’s why Braum’s weapon is a shield – Which is a door enchanted by fellow champion, Ornn. That’s a story for another day.
6) Reinhardt’s Barrier Field – Overwatch
Get behind the rectangle.
Among Germany’s members of the Overwatch is old man Reinhardt. A giant in power armour, as wide at the shoulders as he is tall and inches thick. Formerly of the Crusaders, he joined the international force after losing his mentor. A rocket propelled hammer and clawed fists serve as the bulk of his offence, but for those not currently wearing an entire tank, he also carries an energy barrier capable of withstanding incredible punishment.
Becoming a slow-moving but still walking bulwark for those with the heavier guns, the shield can be fired through on one side, but more importantly, not the other. No need to stick your neck out just to get a shot, but you will need to be ready to run for cover when the barrier inevitably falls. Reinhardt need not worry about such things, he just has to wait for a recharge.
5) Greatshield of Artorias – Dark Souls
Ranking pretty high on our list, the Greatshield of Artorias is honestly one of the most incredible looking shields I’ve ever seen. Honestly, when you look at the sheer size of it, along with just how beautiful the model is, it’s an item you know you’re going to want. Oh, but hold on, what if this shield happened to be the best shield in the game? In a game that’s notoriously difficult at that? Wouldn’t that just make it even more sought after?
Yes, indeed, the Greatshield of Artorias is the best shield in the game. It blocks all poison, toxic and bleed effects, as well as having an absurdly high durability. When we also looked at the popularity of Dark Souls, we knew we were onto a winner. We have some more famous examples coming up, but considering people ask if other games “are as hard as Dark Souls”, you’d better fight with the best protection you can!
4) Spellbreaker – The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
The relic of the daedric prince Peryite, this dish-like shield swallows half the potency of spells thrown at you by your enemies. It drinks the breath of dragons and it is massively bolstered by perks that absorb magicka, or resist elemental damage.
It seems odd for the prince of disease and pestilence to offer a shield of Dweomer design. Lowest in the pecking order of the Daedra, and gatherer of the souls of vermin, Spellbreaker makes it worth your while, carving through a small army of vomiting Bretons and Dwarven constructs to obtain. Let us not forget that Peryite sees his infections and diseases as a means to cleanse the world and to protect the natural order, which magic perverts and changes. Better that a champion of Peryite be empowered to bring down those who would twist nature to their own will.
3) Hylian Shield – The Legend of Zelda
The Hylian Shield is one of video games most iconic shields – No, I’d go so far as to say it is the most iconic shield. With its unique design, the Hylian Shield is one of the few bits of gear that Link has relied on consistently throughout the Legend of Zelda franchise. Okay, so it’s not been in every game in the franchise and no, it’s not always called the Hylian Shield, but ultimately Link’s always been able to rely on a shield – and the Hylian Shield is the most famous.
This blue shield is a favourite amongst cosplayers, as well as fans of video games in general. There are many people out there who sell Hylian Shield replicas, both metal and cosplay prop quality. It’s so deeply ingrained in geek culture, it’s hard to argue with this one being anywhere but the Top 3 spot. But, when we compared it to our next two shields, the Hylian Shield is somewhat average by contrast.
2) Vibranium Shield – Captain America
The physics defying properties of Vibranium, the fictional metal of equally fictional properties, distilled into a near-indestructible circular buckler, painted in red white and blue, because ‘Murica. Captain America has no symbolic weapon, though a skilled marksman, he is better suited to combat with his discus-like shield, capable of throwing it unerringly into fields of enemies and precisely concussing one after another after another.
The shield has been broken by incredible forces, although it’s proven capable of withstanding the force of Mjolnir, arc reactor beams, and the distilled bolts of pure Tesseract energy from HYDRA agents. The ability of vibranium to absorb vibration seems highly inconsistent, and how Cap so quickly trained in his potent frisbee is unclear, but it’s one of Marvel’s greatest icons, so earns our second place spot.
Only the shield of a god could have topped the list! Aegis, shield of Zeus, the king of the gods, or occasionally by Athena. It is said to have borne upon it the head of Medusa, or perhaps a Gorgon, or perhaps that it was a still living head and that the thing itself was made of the hide of a gorgon. Sometimes it is described as a breastplate, but more commonly as a shield.
The word is synonymous with protection, used to describe forces of defence and the act of wardenship, but none of the shields above could be more terrible a weapon than one with the head of Medusa itself, eyes still writhing and according to mythology, forever capable of petrifying those who behold them. No wonder Apollo drove an army into the sea when he charged the Achaeans with Zeus’ own shield on his arm.
Sometimes a shield should be aggressive, not defensive – Braum, a bit earlier in the list, taught us this much! So it’s no great surprise that our next to mentions are both very aggressive, but in their own unique ways, they are some form of defence
The Shield – WWE
After a recent return on Monday Night RAW, The Shield is a wrestling faction within WWE. Okay, so they’re not an actual shield, but hey, we didn’t say Top 10 Shields would be specifically limited to actual shields, did we? The Shield are made up of three members: The Architect – Seth Rollins, The Lunatic Fringe – Dean Ambrose, The … Big Dog – Roman Reigns. We’ll never understand what makes him a big dog, but he’s a big part of the puzzle.
The three wrestlers are arguably part of the most dominant faction in the PG era, at least at the time of writing. Whilst you could make a fair argument for The New Day, in terms of dominating the opposition, The Shield reign supreme. They’ve won numerous titles, all three are Grand Slam champions in a relatively short amount of time – and they have been part of some excellent stories.
… Except Roman Reigns. He’s a bad dog.
Red Turtle Shells – Mario Kart
One of the most feared weapons in Mario Kart, the Red Turtle Shells are projectiles that can home in on your opponents. They can be stopped in a variety of ways – Throw a banana or a projectile of your own at them, or go around a tight corner – There are many ways to get around it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not cruel whenever it’s launched. WIth this in mind then, why oh why have we mentioned it in a Top 10 Shields list as an Honourable Mention?
The Red Turtle Shells in Mario Kart can act as a shield: When you get the item that gives you three of them in one go, they float around your racer. These floating Red Turtle Shells can take one projectile hit. Alternatively, if someone bashes into you, they can sort of protect you against them a bit. So sometimes the best defence is a good offense… Especially when it can double up as a shield!
At ease soldier, it looks like the enemy have let down. They’ve put their swords away as they’ve realised our mighty defence is far greater than their piddly projectiles. Them mages thought they could get around us with their spells, but our shields just knocked them right back at them. Now, we can rest a little bit easier – And whilst we have a moment to reflect, it’s time for you to help us choose our next Top 10 list.
With that, we’re going to unequip our favourite shields and think about what we’ve just told you. Did you think we got the right shields in the list? Was the order correct? Did we forget an all-important shield which really should have been in here? Did the Vibranium Shield deserve the nod over the Aegis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook or Twitter pages.