In the story I'm writing there's war between two sets of magical girls with six members each. In act one three of the good magical girls die in duels, and are replaced with three new magical girls. Act two is mostly a series of one vs. one, two vs two, one vs. two duels broken up with moments where the characters train, get to know each other etc. The third act sets up and concludes a climatic seven vs. seven battle. (Their leaders join in for the final battle.) The problem I'm already seeing is that I want every character besides the three that die at the beginning to make it to the final battle, but their spending the entire middle having duels to the death, where their trying their absolute hardest to kill each other in brutal ways. I want to them to have engaging suspenseful duels, but I have to do it so both combatants come out out alive, without making it obvious to the reader that each character has "plot armor." Here are the factors in the story that could in theory keep them alive. -Nature, Love, and Death have the ability to heal pretty much any wound. I have a scene planned where Earth remarks that Love once healed her when she was cut completely in half, so their healing abilities are pretty powerful. -Each character has a gem around their neck that allows them to teleport back to their home base. They do this whenever they are out numbered or severally injured. (And can't be healed where they are.) -Many of the villains are sadist's and will take their time with kills, which sometimes gives enough time for help to arrive. -Due to the way their magic interacts some combinations of characters are incapable of finishing each other off, thus causing any duels between them to end in a stalemate. I think I can get a lot of millage out of these factors but what are some ways to avoid "plot armor" cliches in general?