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"Then I shall make you see... that your hopes are nothing—nothing but a mere illusion!"

Most villains (and the occasional hero, but this is largely a villain power), if given the chance, will employ magic or mechanisms to confuzzle his or her enemies and render them vulnerable, but a Master Of Illusion will go beyond merely using such trickery as a tool. Instead, he or she will hone it into a fine art form; milking it for as much trickery, espionage, and/or personal pleasure as they can derive from it.

Such powers are usually Psychic Powers in origin, although they can also be technological as well, creating Holograms which can be especially dangerous when they can make them solid (holograms also carry the bonus of being able to fool electronic surveillance). Despite lacking obvious means of attack like with Pyrokinesis and Telekinesis, they can use Cold Flames to burn, though resolute heroes may resist, or making a gaping hole seem like an even floor. A common variant is for the Master Of Illusion to trap the hero in a virtual reality simulation over which the villain has complete control. Of course, death or injury in the simulation will usually mean death or injury in real life, so any hero thus ensnared will have to be careful. Most Masters of Illusion aren't content to just let their VR deathtrap program play out by itself - what would be the fun in that after all? So they'll frequently appear in the simulation, usually as a cackling, monstrous tormentor who plays cat and mouse games with the hero and who mocks their every step. If the Master Of Illusion traps a hero in a Lotus Eater Machine, - or in a simulation of their ordinary, everyday life - they'll frequently appear as an ally of the hero, using this form to distract the hero from discovering their true whereabouts, or as part of a ruse to trick the hero into revealing some important confidential information.

In more insidious cases, the Master Of Illusion will appear to the hero as a romantic interest, either one the hero knows, or one that's been created whole cloth out of the hero's own memories and desires. This gives the Master Of Illusion the chance to screw with the hero's mind (and body, depending on how far the writers let things go.)

Masters of Illusion really needn't bother with such elaborate setups. It would be easy enough, after all, to destroy a spaceship by having its crewmembers press the wrong buttons and steer it into the nearest star (this type of illusionist may often use a variant of the "This Is Not a Floor" trick). Or to kill the heroes by having them confuse each other for enemies and fatally attack each other. But again, what would be the fun in doing something as simple as that? Masters of Illusion, having Trickster personalities by the very nature of their powers, will usually not be able to resist playing with their prey. Of course, this could--and usually does - give the heroes the time and/or chance to think up a way to counter the Master Of Illusion's powers, or leave clues that they are in an illusion in the first place, such as a Blank Book. Once the villain is destroyed, the world they create usually dissolves into nothingness - provided the defeat or death of the Master Of Illusion wasn't part of the illusion itself...

And really, as a hero... how would you know? Could you ever really be sure that you defeated the Master Of Illusion and escaped? Why is Schrodinger's Butterfly flapping nearby?

(Cue an echoing "Mwahahahahaha.")

Interestingly, the Master Of Illusion will very rarely turn out to be the Big Bad - this is because they're far less interested in ruling people than they are in just screwing with them. For some reason, the Big Bad who employs a Master Of Illusion never worries that he himself might be enthralled or under their control. (Although if he were, would the Master of Illusion allow him to experience any doubts?) Also, while the Master of Illusion is usually villainous heroic examples are hardly unknown. If the Master Of Illusion is the Big Bad, their power over illusions may become borderline Reality Warping.

Note: This trope doesn't apply to villains who occasionally employ illusory tricks to ensnare enemies. The Master Of Illusion is a specialist in generating manipulative hallucinations, and will usually possess no other powers apart from that. (Although when you have the ability to trick the Mighty Glacier into thinking that his 6-foot long claymore is a flyswatter and that a poisonous mosquito has just landed on the back of his buddy's neck, who needs other powers?)

See also Lotus Eater Machine, The Masquerade, The Treachery of Images, I Know What You Fear, and Cold Flames and Shapeshifting Seducer. Compare Glamour.

Examples of Master of Illusion include:


Anime & Manga

  • Mukuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn is master of illusion, and to a lesser extent, Chrome.
    • Actually, most users of mist powers are masters of illusion, like Marmon and Genkishi.
    • The current Big Bad Deamon Spade can give other members in this page a run for their money.
  • Tomo from Fushigi Yuugi traps the heroine in a Lotus Eater Machine which resembled her life in Japan. He enters the simulation, impersonates a student and tries to seduce her. (He does this less because he's attracted to her and more because her powers are tied to her virginity.)
  • Phoenix Ikki, Gemini Saga and Virgo Shaka from Saint Seiya
  • Dais from Ronin Warriors uses illusions to trick the heroes into attacking each other. He also uses psychological warfare to trick one of the heroes into believing that his own Empathic Armor will eventually corrupt him.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, the Trickster Demon in Youko's sword shows her illusions in an attempt to get her to kill herself and do morally reprehensible things. (It also gave her good advice from time to time, so she never quite knew when to listen to it and when not to.) Eventually, Youko learned that the sword reflected her own thoughts and fears back onto her, and she decided, instead of fearing the sword's power, to use it as a tool for understanding herself.
  • Yugi from Tenchi in Tokyo usually uses this as her power.
  • GetBackers loves this trope, as it allows them to Reset Button all the heart-wrenching deaths in an arc when it turns out that most of it didn't actually happen. The IL arc was an example of a technological version (with supernatural help), and Divine Design was a purely magical one.
  • While many characters in Naruto can create illusions (a sensible ability for the magic-using ninja), the undisputed master is Aloof Big Brother Itachi Uchiha, who forced his little brother Sasuke to relive the deaths of their family at his hands over and over, on two separate occasions. Most people affected by his illusions become mentally scarred. It's even mentioned long after his death that Sasuke's illusion techniques still can't compare to Itachis. And important thing to note is that Itachi doesn't solely rely on his Sharingan to cast illusions, making the whole "don't look in his eyes" plan a lot less useful.
    • This ultimately leads to a bizarre battle when two of these, Sasuke and Itachi, both used an illusion to make the other think they won -- which is followed up with more illusions within the first illusions. And more within THOSE! If there was ever a fight scene that could be accurately described using the phrase Mind Screw, this would be it. They don't even move until a few chapters after the battle starts! It's all illusions! This is probably why genjutsu isn't used that much by protagonists; if it's used by more than one side, it gets real confusing and old, real fast.
    • It has recently been revealed that Tobi, the apparent Big Bad of the series and Danzo can create illusions and make them real using the power of the Sharingan & Senju cells. Just one of many many many insanely powerful and unbalanced techniques, those magic eyes make possible.
    • The 2nd Mizukage has also been revealed to be a Master of Illusion in his fight against the Allied Shinobi Forces. After his clam creates mirages he tries to offer advice on how to defeat them, with hilarious results.
  • Big Bad example: Sosuke Aizen from Bleach. Although it should be noted that illusions are not his only power.
    • His illusions are so powerful than anyone who sees him release his zanpakuto even once falls prey to them any time afterward. There's no sure-fire way to tell if the illusions are fake or real unless you happen to know more about whatever he's casting an illusion of than he does (as is the case when Unohana examines his "body"). His zanpakuto fits his personality perfectly, as Aizen is the creepy, mysterious, manipulative Big Bad. He also consistently shows us that illusions are not a 'soft' power.
      • Well, there is one way to be sure if you're being tricked: Ichimaru Gin, Aizen's Dragon, finally finds out that the only way to become immune to Aizen's illusions is by touching his zanpakto. Then he dies.
      • Another person who reached this conclusion was the commander Yamamoto. He waited for Aizen to stab him in the gut, saying the spiritual pressure of his zanpakuto stabbed into him could not be fake. Whether this means Aizen can only manipulate the five senses or Yamamoto was lucky enough to pin Aizen's weakness is not clear, though.
  • Kogarashi, the titular Kamen no Maid Guy, has among his (infinitely many) powers one called "Daydreaming Maid Guy Illusion." His uses for it are rather... creative. Such as scaring his master Naeka out of a forced fasting, sending one of her kendo rivals into a rampage, and other fun and games. He is a Sociopathic Hero.
  • Akio Ohtori in Revolutionary Girl Utena has elements of this, but in his world believing illusions is effectively making them real; he even makes presumably dead or terminally ill people hallucinate that they are alive and well, and they indeed are, as long as the illusion holds.
  • Caldina from Magic Knight Rayearth. Starts out as a villainess (though not a full blooded one), then has a Heel Face Turn and sides with the heroines, becoming their Cool Big Sis in the second half.
  • A rare heroic example is Mako Urashima, the heroine of the old shoujo manga Mahou no Mako Chan, which is heavily based on The Little Mermaid. Thanks to a sapphire pendant given to her by her father, the King of the Sea, after becoming an Ordinary High School Student Mako can use mermaid magic to cast diverse illusions.
  • Zorin Blitz from Hellsing.
  • Takumi Nishijō from Chaos;Head could be considered a master of illusion; of course his illusions mostly affect himself. But given that half the time he doesn't know if it's reality or not, I'd say it applies.
  • Quattro of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S takes pleasure in using her powers of illusion against the protagonists. Towards the end of the season, she even tricks Vivio into trying to kill her adoptive mother, Nanoha.
    • Teana, meanwhile, is a heroic example, using invisibility and projected images to confuse foes on the battlefield.
  • In one episode of Pokémon, "Malice in Wonderland", Mismagius shows off Master of Illusion powers by hypnotizing all the main characters (except, inexplicably, Brock's Croagunk).
    • Zoroark, a Pokémon from the fifth generation, has the ability to take on the appearance of the Pokémon she faces in a battle. The illusion breaks when she takes sufficient damage. To top that off, Zoroark is the main Pokémon in the 13th movie, appropriately titled Zoroark: Master of Illusions. Zoroark's ability is showcased in a trailer for the 13th movie, where she assumes the appearances of the Legendary Beasts from Generation 2 (who are also featured Pokémon in the film) and Ash.
    • Zoroark's previous stage, Zorua, also possesses the same ability and stars in the 13th Pokémon movie alongside Zoroark.
  • The main characters of Wolfs Rain are real wolves that give off the illusion of humans. Much to the disappointment of (some) fangirls.
  • Road Kamelot of D Gray Man. She uses it to Mind Rape people.
  • Titan in Yu-Gi-Oh GX initially employs this to make people think he holds a Millennium Item. The trick is foiled when the protagonists realize that different people see different things (Hayato sees one arm vanished from Judai and Sho sees the other arm, for example), and the trick is broken.
  • Hagall from Ah! My Goddess has the power to project illusions into her opponents minds, which then become real to them.
  • Silky from Tenshi ni Narumon has the power of creating illusions in the vacuum space that she resides in, as well as making her dolls alive
  • Plasma the Light Demon from Yaiba can create perfect illusions manipulating the light in the surroundings.
  • Heroic example: Mystogan/Mist Gun from Fairy Tail is a mysterious man who usually tries to avoid contact with anyone else in the title guild. His illusions are so convincing and so well used that he's an S class mage, and is tied with Laxus Dreyar for strongest mage in the guild. You later find out his reason for staying mysterious: he's an alternate universe counterpart of a man who is a hated criminal in this world. He's here to stop his nation's king from carrying out a deadly plan, and he doesn't want to be mistaken for the criminal while he does his work.
    • Midnight can do this by bending light before it reaches his target's eyes.
  • Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss is one but then again he is a Kitsune so what do you expect?
  • Mayu from Tokko can project images into the minds of anyone within a certain range.


Comic Books

  • The above pictured Mysterio, a villain from Spider-Man falls into this trope, though his illusions are all based from his previous employment in the special effects industry. It's also done on occasion by Chameleon.
    • Mysterio's illusions are described as being based on his special effects experience, but this is rarely consistently applied. One glaring example occurs in the out-of-canon "Old Man Logan", where a flashback reveals that on the day the villains won, they had Mysterio use his illusions to make Wolverine think everyone in the X-Mansion was one of the villains. Mysterio's illusion is so convincing that Wolverine doesn't snap out of it until he's killed all of them. That kind of deception just wouldn't be possible with Hollywood special effects.
      • Well, he's not above using drugs and stuff. And the Mysterio in "Old Man Logan" was Francis Klum, who has mutant mind-control powers.
    • Mysterio even titles himself "The Master of Illusion".
    • The original Mysterio committed suicide in Daredevil, and in his subsequent appearances may or may not have Came Back Wrong, with actual illusion-casting powers.
  • The Flash villain Abra Kadabra. Born in the 64th century, he initially used technology from his time that seemed like magic to the people of the present; however, he has recently gained the power to perform actual sorcery by striking a Deal with the Devil.
  • Heroic example: Mandrake the Magician, regarded by many as the first superhero. Appeared first in 1934, making this Older Than Television.
  • The Riddler from Batman, particularly in the animated series, was fond of tormenting Batman with illusions and virtual reality.
    • The Scarecrow does it even more, specializing in your deepest fears.
    • The Mad Hatter as well, when his Hypno Trinket thing is interpreted as trapping the victim in The Wonderland.
  • X-Men's Jason "Mastermind" Wyngarde. Two of his three daughters are even better at it (the third has different powers).
  • The only heroic X-Men character with this power is Danielle Moonstar, formerly of the New Mutants. By using her illusion power in conjunction with her basic telepathy, she can cast images based on someone's greatest fears or desires.
  • Batman foe Dr Tzin-Tzin.
  • Minor Spider-Man foe, Mirage.
    • Equally minor foe Fusion, who appeared in only two stories. (Admittedly one of them was awesome.)
  • Spellbinder in The DCU.
  • Princess Projectra from Legion of Super-Heroes is a heroic version of this; her illusions can fool anyone even when they know that she's using her powers on them.
  • DC Comics' Brainwave started off as a master of illusion, then inherited his dad's telepathy. Then he got stuck in the Heel Face Revolving Door, not so much because he was that awesome, but because nobody could remember which side he was on last (or, in one case, that his dad, who had similar powers and used his son's appearance because he was a freaky midget dude, was dead).
  • Phobia, an old Teen Titans villain, has powers like the "fear" version of Danielle Moonstar's. Starting with Identity Crisis, Phobia has been turned into an incredibly squicky version of this trope, with her abducting heroes and villains to become her playthings.
  • Marvel's Squadron Supreme has Moonglow, whose myriad abilities are all illusions. The team's Hot Witch Arcanna also uses illusions, but as an incidental part of her magic powers.
  • Doctor Strange at times (usually when he wants to get rid of enemies without using force). His enemies Nightmare, Mephisto, and D'Spayre are more aggressive about it and all have attempted to catch him in a Psychological Torment Zone.
  • This is a specialty of Darth Andeddu from Star Wars Legacy. Darth Wyyrlok, in a pure Crowning Moment of Awesome, defeats him by taking control of his illusions and turning them against him. Andeddu is so fooled that he is killed even though they were illusions, not solid.


Film

  • Hook from Push can make any object look like another. He uses this as a Mundane Utility quite often, passing off relatively small amounts of money as large bills, and impressing people with his variation of card tricks. Used extensively in the climax. His illusions aren't permanent though, and the object will shift back to its original form after enough time has passed.
    • Unfortunately, when Division found out he was doing this, his wife inexplicably turned up dead the next day after being involved in a car accident... despite the fact that she doesn't drive.
  • Clive Barker's Lord Of Illusions features two of these.
  • The Shadowplayer in the German Expressionist classic Warning Shadows.
  • A non-superpowered version of this was FX, about a special effects master who finds himself set upon a criminal conspiracy and has to wipe them all out.


Literature

  • Sorceress Iris of the Xanth books had this as her Talent, and is capable of projecting illusions over long distances.
  • Mara in Lord of Light. Based on Indian mythology, naturally.
  • In Royal Chaos, the sequel to comedic fantasy Jason Cosmo, the wedding of a main character turns tragic due to what he immediately recognizes as the intervention of one of these. This leads to going on a quest to discover just which Master Of Illusion was responsible (there turn out to be several candidates with equally strong motives) and kill him/her/it (one's a shapeshifter as well), despite that they're clearly just being toyed with whenever the Master bothers to check in to see how they're doing. Pretty much all the uses of illusion mentioned above come into play at some point against the heroes.
  • Archimago in The Faerie Queene
  • Peter Riviera in Neuromancer has the ability (enhanced by circuitry replacing a lung) to project the holographic products of his twisted psyche as art, distraction, weapons of terror, and even offensive lasers.
  • Jacob Maskelyne, the Wizard, of the Seekers of Truth. When he's really bringing his A game, no one near him can detect anything that he doesn't want them to.
  • Mars is Heaven, the classic sci-fi short by Ray Bradbury. An expedition to Mars is surprised to find an Earth village populated by all their deceased relatives, only to realise too late it's a trap designed to lure them outside their rocketship so they can be easily murdered.
  • 'Spook' of The Shapeshifter series, pity his powers don't work on his nemesis.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Thuvia, Maid of Mars, Carthoris and Thuvia witness a battle between auburn-haired, white skinned men, green men, and banths. But when it ends, they see only the bodies of the last two. Shortly thereafter, they learn that the city uses such illusions to protect itself -- and are accused of being illusions themselves.

 "They lay in piles," she murmured. "There were thousands of them but a minute ago."

  • In Everworld, the witch Senna Wales started casting psychic illusions at age eight, and only got better at them as she grew older. Even after her power-up upon entering Everworld itself allowed her to use several new types of magic, illusion remained her strongest suit. She is able to make herself appear to be anyone or anything she can picture in her mind, turn invisible, and exclusively exclude certain targets from her trickery, allowing certain people to see her while she is invisible to others. She is also apparently able to spot others using illusion, as another witch tried and failed to fool her with the same tactic in the ninth book.
  • In A Planed Called Treason, there's a tribe that specializes in this. The only way they can be detected is by moving in a faster relative timeframe (the trait of another tribe). It leads to some squicky revelations in regards to a prior encounter when the protagonists realizes that it wasn't a woman that seduced him.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows in Zamboula", Baal-pteor uses this to delude Conan into fighting shadows.
    • Kull faces a race of them in "The Shadow Kingdom".
  • Lasciel from The Dresden Files is one of these, but mainly just to Harry. When she first came out to play, she had Harry believing she was a bookstore employee, and even decked out an entire run-down tenement to look like comfortable housing to forward the illusion. This made Harry look somewhat delusional to everyone else as he talked to the woman that wasn't there. When Harry calls her on it, she shows how nasty she can get by triggering a curtain of fire, forcing Harry to go running for the fire escape... which doesn't exist, and would've resulted in him falling to his death if he hadn't hesitated.
    • Harry's apprentice, Molly, is also very skilled at illusion. While she's not good at physical magic, veils are second nature of her, and in time, she learns to use the combat applicability of bringing the sound and lights of a rave straight to a battlefield.
      • In Ghost Story, Molly has found numerous ways to use small illusions to get people to fight each other, such as making a dirty cop think that the man bribing him is reaching for a gun.
  • Rokur Gepta, the last Sorcerer of Tund, in the Star Wars Expanded Universe's Lando Calrissian trilogy. For example, he has a You Have Failed Me moment quite a bit like Darth Vader's in Episode V, except that instead of choking his minion to death, he tortures him with images of his worst nightmare. (He later subjects Calrissian to a similar treatment.)
    • It's eventually revealed that He's a Croke, a species of Always Chaotic Evil arachnids who specialize in this sort of powers. The fact that he inherited all the secrets of a powerful force sect made a bad situation far, far, worse.
    • In this universe, we also have a bunch of Force-users adept at this power. For example, Exar Kun uses a similar trick as the one described above to torture Corran Horn with his own fears. Corran himself, like his ancestors, is also proficient with illusions, which almost makes up for them not having telekinesis. And how does Corran use it? Sometimes in battle, and sometimes so Tionne can see how she’d look with different hair.


Live-Action TV

  • In an episode of Painkiller Jane the team hunts an enemy that uses illusions to kill people on the Witness Protection Program that were murderers, and is caught by the protagonists with his power apparently neutralized. When they go to check up on him at the internment center, he was "transferred to another facility"... but there was no other facility.
  • Farscape has two examples. First, Delvian Pa'us of a high enough level can alter one's perception of reality to the point of completely rewriting their memories. In the episode Rhapsody in Blue, while visiting a Delvian colony, the Pa'u's used this power of illusion to prevent the crew from leaving before their business concluded; one Delvian even convinced Crichton that she was his fiancee who had traveled with him on the Farscape project. A more classically villainous example is Maldis, a recurring character with some very impressive magical powers, among them being the ability to project visions and illusions. Given that he was also an Emotion Eater, he used this particular power to provoke fear and rage from his victims, which he would then feed on.
  • Star Trek: Voyager episode "Persistence of Vision" an alien tries to capture Voyager by drawing illusions from their subconscious fantasies (a Negative Space Wedgie does the same thing in "Bliss"). Eventually Janeway captures the alien and threatens to lock him up for the duration of their journey, whereupon he replies "I'd really like to accommodate you, but you see...I'm not really here" whereupon he vanishes. In "Coda" an alien takes the form of Janeway's father and tries to convince her that she's been killed. The afterlife he's trying to entice her into is actually his realm where "you will nourish me for a long time." And there's the sinister clown in "The Thaw", the creation of the fears of a group of aliens in suspended animation. Unfortunately he completely dominates their world and can kill them through stress-inducing illusions (like being decapitated by a guillotine) if they attempt to leave.
    • Subverted in "Remember", "Memorial", and "Living Witness" in that the person creating the illusions isn't a villain; they're just trying to inform people about a shameful incident in their own history.
    • The oldest Star Trek example must be the original pilot, "The Cage", footage of which was reused in the only Original Series two-parter, "The Menagerie". The Talosians, alien inhabitants of planet Talos 4, are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens with psychic powers who use them to cause the illusion so realistic that their victims will believe anything - that they found a camp of crash survivors from many years before, that they are beautiful when they are in fact disfigured, or re-create whole landscapes out of memories of the victim (how the victim moves around such a landscape while in fact he's in a small cage, is left unanswered, but probably the movement is part of the illusion). A Talosian not only manages to convince his victims there's no hole in the wall (that they just made with a phaser), but also threatens the example from page text: to manipulate Enterprise crew into pressing wrong buttons and driving their ship into a crash.
    • In the Next Generation episode "Devil's Due" a con artist used holograms, transporters, and tractor beams to try and fool a planet into believing she was their version of the devil, here to collect on a thousand-year-old deal.
  • The Trickster in Supernatural, especially in his first appearance.
    • Also War in Season 5, who manages to dump a whole town into armed conflict using no more than illusionary black demon eyes on people.
  • Company agent Candice Willmer of Heroes, using her power of illusion to impersonate Simone Deveaux (to keep the NYPD from arresting precog Isaac Mendez), Sandra Bennet (as part of a sting to catch HRG betraying the Company), Niki Sanders (to kidnap technopathic kid genius Micah Sanders), and Niki's Super-Powered Evil Side Jessica (to keep Niki from taking Micah back). To keep Micah from escaping, she cast an illusion that made every door and hallway lead back to the room he just left. She also created a simulation of a Maui beach inside a rundown shack in the middle of a Central American jungle and tried to seduce Sylar into working for the Company by offering to make all his fantasies come true (assuming said fantasies included a geisha; blonde, athletic twin women, and even himself).
    • Later in Volume Two, we are introduced to Matt Parkman's evil father Maury, who has learned how to use his Telepathy to project illusions into people's minds.
  • Chuck Norris dealt with one such Indian shaman in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. The bad guy multiplied himself to confound Walker, but he realised only one of the images is breaking a sweat. It seems to be relatively common way to defeat illusionist villains.
  • The Fair Folk use this as their primary power in the 1998 Merlin-1998 series.


Tabletop Games

  • Vampire: The Masquerade has the Ravnos clan and their specific Discipline, Chimestry. Its general levels range from affecting one sense alone to creating illusions so tangible they do damage. When you get into the elder levels, reality gets... strange.
  • Geist: The Sin Eaters has the Phantasmal Key, which deals with the hallucinatory and ephemeral aspects of death and the afterlife. When filtered through the various Manifestations, its powers include cloaking oneself in guises so horrific they rend sanity (Caul), causing someone to experience terrible visions (Curse), hitting someone with an illusion so powerful it causes damage (Rage), and causing yourself to look like anyone else (Shroud).
  • In Magic the Gathering:
    • This is a standard ability of blue magic. The typical mechanical representation is that the illusory creature you summon is cheaper than usual, but opponents can Shatter The Illusion--if the creature is targeted by some effect, the illusion breaks and the creature dies.
    • This common weakness is negated by "Lord of the Unreal," a wizard that beefs up illusions and makes them impossible to target.
    • Jace Beleren is a prominent user of illusion magic in the storyline.
  • Dungeons and Dragons has plenty of illusion spells, and Halfling Bards tend to be illusionists.


Toys

  • Several characters in Bionicle, including Makuta, Toa of Psionics and anyone using a Mask of Illusion.


Video Games

  • Zexion, one of the members of Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts. Illusions are pretty much the only things he uses with the heroes, and he doesn't even get to be a boss battle in the original Chain of Memories. Of course, that doesn't make him a pushover.
    • Final Mix + And Re: Chain of Memories show just how far the Cloaked Schemer can impliment his powers. Creating copies of himself and his book, creating pocket worlds where meteors rain down on you, and even mimicing your weapon and fighting style.
  • Reisen Udongein Inaba of Touhou Project has the ability to refract and twist light and other waves, both disorienting and confusing her enemies with illusions and inducing insanity.
    • Nue Houjuu has a variation on this power: she can disguise the true shape of things. Including herself, so no one has ever seen her true form, and she has appeared different to everyone who's ever seen her.
  • Stanislaus Braun ensnares the main character in his virtual world as part of the story of Fallout 3.
  • The Mesmer class of Guild Wars boils this trope down into a spellcaster profession, with illusion (in addition to domination and inspiration) magic as one of their primary attributes.
  • In City of Heroes, Illusion Control is a powerset for heroic Controllers.
  • The Spy in Team Fortress 2 can disguise as one of the enemy's team in order to backstab them, or as a different class of his own team in order to cause confusion and misleading.
  • Hargon from Dragon Quest II. A good deal of the game is spent just trying to find a way to break through his illusions.
  • Pokémon Black and White introduces Zoroark and its pre-evolution Zorua, who come with the ability Illusion. In the games, the disguise is dependent on the Pokémon positioned last in the player's party. However, the illusion is broken whenever the user takes direct damage from another Pokémon's offensive move.
  • Laughing Octopus in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots is arguably this. She's able to hide herself as nearly anything or anyone within the small medical clinic you fight her in, sometimes turning invisible, pretending to be your Robot Buddy, cloaking herself with inky mist, sometimes even just playing dead as one of her subordinate soldiers. While all this is going on, an extremely disturbing soundtrack laced with dissonant laughter plays. Laughing Octopus also effectively has access to the powers of Doctor Octopus, too, due to the four large mechanical tentacles attached to her.
  • Emperor Ladantine of Lusternia was a Master of Illusion and a Dream Weaver, making him an adept spy and very dangerous after his Face Heel Turn. He managed to hide the fact he had become a lich through illusion - though he slipped up at least once, when it was noticed he was not affected by the extreme heat of the Plane of Vortex, cluing the good guys in as to his real nature.
  • Anyone holding one of the Pieces of Eden becomes one of these in the Assassin's Creed franchise.
    • This is used as an explanation for many seemingly impossible or unlikely events in history, including Jesus's miracles. You can even do some of it in the games, such as Altaïr using an Apple of Eden to defeat an entire army by causing them to think an army of assassins is striking them down.
  • Mother Maya from Strange Journey is so goddamn powerful, her illusions can warp entire dimensions.
  • Jagar Tharn from The Elder Scrolls Arena kidnapped the emperor and used his magic to look and sound just like him.
  • This is the theme of the jester-like Illusionist class in Eden Eternal. Blending this sort of illusion with both stage and true magic. Though not much of it is seen in actual gameplay.
  • Izanami, the Big Bad of Persona 4. Fitting, as the game's central theme is about finding the truth.
  • This is a specialty of Darth Phobos from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. She takes Juno Eclipse's form, makes it look like there is an army of her, and even clouds Starkiller's vision.


Web Comics

  • Mort from Gunnerkrigg Court just uses his powers to scare people (and he isn't even very good at it). Martin seemed to have similar powers, though he was using them unconsciously--and fooling himself as well.
  • Girard Draketooth from The Order of the Stick is / was a master illusionist (probably on Epic Level). Until now, we haven't seen much of what he can do, but that will hopefully change.
    • Elan, by virtue of his bardic magic can also cast illusions, and has gotten more adept with them over the course of the comic.
    • Eugene Greenhilt has been named Best Illusionist of the Year by the Wizzie Awards at least 3 times.
  • Fata Morgana in Flipside, so well that she can trick spells with her illusions.
  • Vish, an angel of the Trickster Goddess in The Water Phoenix King, at the end of Book 4, in order to prevent Kawunei from killing his escaped slave to protect his reputation. He promises to teach the art to Anthem after revealing the truth.
    • The dubious sorcerer-adventurer Vax regularly employs illusions as a way of evening the odds in melees, using charms and talismans as the magical equivalent of Snakes-In-A-Can [1].
  • Jack Snipe, from Erfworld, is a Foolamancer, a caster with powers of illusion and misdirection. His use of them on the battlefield repeatedly demonstrates the main purpose of illusion magic: to get the enemy to look the wrong way at the right time.
    • He's no slouch at elaborate and planned deceptions, either, fully capable of casting an illusion over an entire army (spoilers in that link). In the backstory, he was capable of hiding whole cities.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the Demonic Duck (being a professional distraction) is also a self-proclaimed master of illusion.

 Justin: That couldn't have been an illusion! She tickled me!

Duck: What part of "master" are you failing to understand?

  • Magick Chicks gives us Jacqui, who can pilot multiple illusionary bodies simultaneously with no one noticing any discrepancies.

Web Original

  • In the Red Panda Adventures episode 51, "The Puzzle Master", this is how the villain ensnares his victims in a seemingly endless maze.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, multiple characters are Masters of Illusion. Peekaboo, a member of the Vandolls supervillain team, creates light-based images. Mindscape projects images into the minds of her opponents, as does the Indian supervillain Rakshasa. Amethyst is a sorceress who specializes in illusion magic. Dream Catcher manipulates people's dreams and can bring them into reality as illusions. Figment, a student at the Hyperion Academy, creates holograms.
  • Confundus of the Whateley Universe loves to do the illusion bit, but has other powers she can call on (but only one at a time: she's a Package Deal Psychic). Then there are Beltane and Thorn, who are both masters of illusion because they're tricksters: they both manipulate ectoplasm.


Western Animation

  • Zarm, a shape-shifting evil spirit from Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
    • Gaia, the good spirit can do this as well. Her spirit appearance can be summoned by Mat-Ti's Heart Ring, or she can appear to tell Planeteers they had eco-crisis cooking up.
  • Mad Mod in the Teen Titans animated series is a tech-based master of illusion, controlling holographic emitters by use of his cane.
  • Another good Master of Illusion: On Jem, Synergy's output are life-like holograms.
  • The teenage Guardian, Scooter, from The Gobots, uses his holograms to help the Guardians trick the Renegades.
  • Speaking of bots, Transformers Generation 1 had Hound as their illusion master--but Megatron saw though Hound's fake rocket base.
  • The Cloaked Skull from Teamo Supremo.
  • In Static Shock, the West African hero Anansi the Spider has the power of storytelling, granted to him by the sky god Nyame; this tends to manifest itself as the ability to project illusions. He can also walk on walls for some reason too, although that can just be another illusion!
    • Another, slightly more villainous example from Static Shock; Mirage, Boom's kid sister, also has the power to create illusions. Unlike Anansi, she received her powers from the Big Bang that gave all of the other show's metahumans their superpowers.
  • Heroic example: Action Mom Helen Bennet/Mother-1 from Bionic Six.
  • The Psycho Pirate, as portrayed in Batman the Brave And The Bold. He traps Batman and the Outsiders in a Your Mind Makes It Real simulation so he can feed off their negative emotions. What takes it to Master Of Illusion level is when Batman exits the simulator and sees Psy Pi off-handedly kill the Outsiders, and flips out. Turns out Bats is still inside the sim, and the apparent deaths were an illusion to trick him into powering Psy Pi with his rage.
  • In Defenders of the Earth, Mandrake the Magician is actually called this during the Theme Tune Roll Call.

 "Master of magic, spells and illusion, Enemies crumble in fear and confusion! Mandrake!"

  • She hasn't used it much, but Rarity from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has this is one of her magical abilities, as shown in "Suited For Success" when she used it to provide special effects for her second fashion show. Pretty much everypony's entrance involved completely changing the stage into some fantastic location, all done by Rarity's magic.
    • Zecora also uses illusions to spice up her telling of the story of Nightmare Night.
  • Darcy from Winx Club uses this as well as her psychic powers to manipulate people for her own purposes.
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