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Paper Mario series
In the Paper Mario series, First Strikes can be used by Mario to damage or possibly defeat enemies before he takes his first turn in battle. Bosses and mid-bosses (with a few exceptions), and some enemies like M. Bushes and Hurt Plants cannot be harmed by usage of a First Strike, and First Strikes can be used against Mario; for example, if a Koopa Troopa successfully attacks Mario with its shell, Mario will get hit by the First Strike and take damage.
In Paper Mario, Goompa first mentions this to Mario as they walk through Goomba Village. To do a First Strike, Mario can simply jump on the enemy, hit it with his hammer or with an attack from Kooper or Bombette, depending on whether or not the enemy has spikes. First Strikes from enemies can be avoided by dodging the attack or by using the Chill Out badge.
Due to the absence of the RPG-styled battling system throughout the majority of the game, First Strikes are absent from Super Paper Mario.
In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a First Strike has an added mechanic. By collecting HP-Up Hearts, the Hammer and jump power will increase every time when the one's digit is at a zero from five. If the power is enough to directly defeat the enemy on the course, the enemy will be defeated and will drop a coin without starting the battle. Similar mechanics return in Paper Mario: Color Splash, with attack power increasing with every Big Paint Star collected and enemies dropping more than one coin when defeated directly on a course with a First Strike.
Mario & Luigi series
First Strikes in the Mario & Luigi titles are similar to Paper Mario's First Strikes with one key difference – a first strike on one enemy in the field will damage all enemies in the battle. However, in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, a First Strike with a hammer works differently: when Mario or Luigi in Superstar Saga, or Baby Mario or Baby Luigi in Partners in Time, hammer an enemy on the overworld, all enemies in the battle become dizzy. In later Mario & Luigi games, a First Strike with a hammer instead damages all enemies.
Bowser can also use First Strikes by punching or breathing fire (the latter of which can burn foes) on the enemy in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey.
In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, a First Strike with a hammer can also cause enemies to begin the battle with the SPD-Down status ailment, and Hand Powers can now be used to perform First Strikes; aside from damaging enemies, Firebrand can also burn enemies and Thunderhand can also make enemies dizzy. These effects, bar the Hand Powers', return in Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey.
As in the Paper Mario series, enemies can also do First Strikes to one of the characters. However, if the enemy or one of its projectiles hits a character in the back, they will instead trip and will not get up until it is their turn or if they are damaged by an attack. If the front character is hit, the battle will start as normal.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team