Dangerously Genre Savvy

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The solution to poor guards? Giving them a proper instruction manual.

Mysteriape: (about Spider-Ham) "I suggest we fight him one at a time and slowly wear him down until --"

Dr. Octopussy: "You need to crack open your dome and take a fresh whiff of your plan, Mysteriape. That trick NEVER WORKS!"

Some villains don't play by the rules. A point comes when a typical Genre Blind villain would make the tiny, critical but common mistake that would lead to their defeat like every other villain before them in an identical situation. You've Seen It a Million Times before.

But this time, the villain has an attack of Real Life common sense and uses their genre savviness to their advantage. No need to waste your breath asking Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him—they do!

In brief, a villain that's read (or even written) a rule or two on the Evil Overlord List, and will usually bring attention to this very fact. Though they don't always overlap, being Dangerously Genre Savvy does help on the road to being a Magnificent Bastard.

A subversion of the Villain Ball. The opposite of Contractual Genre Blindness. Compare Flaw Exploitation, and Fake Weakness. May lead to Defied Trope and (from there?) Reality Ensues.

Examples of Dangerously Genre Savvy include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Yu-Gi-Oh universe revolves around the fact that villains have to defeat someone in a duel before killing them/stealing their Artifact of Doom/stealing their soul/activating their plan to Take Over the World. In Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Saiou makes history by being Dangerously Genre Savvy to this convention, several times in the space of a few episodes:
    • First, rather than duel Judai for the MacGuffin that can activate his Kill Sat, he holds Edo hostage and forces Judai to trade the Macguffin for his friend's life. Judai then challenges him to a duel, but Saiou points out that now he doesn't have to.
    • Neos manifests and protects the Macguffin from Saiou, thereby forcing him to duel Judai. During the duel Neos is destroyed, and Saiou sends a Brainwashed minion to activate the Kill Sat while he continues to duel Judai to keep him occupied, using his powers to keep him from fleeing.
    • As an overall, Saiou has spent the entire season predicting the future and sending minions at Judai - he's realized Judai can Screw Destiny and has defeated every minion thus far. He knows that Judai is the Invincible Hero and thus not only avoided dueling him, but was perfectly aware that if he did duel Judai he would lose, which is precisely why he got the Macguffin another way.
    • Actually, it was the Light of Ruin that did all that. Saiou wanted Juudai to be able to change destiny, because then Juudai could change *his* destiny to be the Light's host. The Light of Ruin is indeed Dangerously Genre Savvy: Because it also captured and tormented Juudai's destined partner, guardian, and possibly lover Yubel.
  • Nakago from Fushigi Yuugi often fits this trope. At one point he sends his minions to fend off the heroes who are attempting to keep him and Yui from summoning Seiryu. The heroes beat the minions and battle their way to the top of the tower where the summoning should be taking place—only to find the summoning ritual taking place in another tower not too far away. (Nakago had sent his minions to lure the heroes into climbing the wrong tower.)
  • Some Mechanical Beasts from Mazinger Z fought dangerously smart. For example, Grengus C3 would lure Mazinger to a lake and then would hit the lake's surface, splashing the cockpit with water and efficiently blinding the pilot -Kouji Kabuto-.
  • One Piece: Crocodile captures the heroes in an indestructible cage, rigs the cage to be flooded, and throws away the key, which gets eaten by one of many giant crocodiles in the area. For bonus points, the key thrown away was a fake, and the real one was with Crocodile the entire time. He also anticipates pretty much every possible counter to his plans, including taking into account Heroic Sacrifices and such. (And no, he couldn't have just shot them.)
    • The amazing thing about this plan is it actually had no mistakes in it. The only reason the straw hats get out of this is because Crocodile didn't know that there was another pirate in Luffy's crew, Sanji, who would come and break them out of the cell. If Crocodile had known Sanji existed, they would have been doomed. Not only that, he has three layers of plan to kill Luffy. The only reason he fails is because of a massive amount of Plot Armor.
    • After the time skip, Sentoumaru notes to himself after hearing reports of the Straw Hats reappearing that they must have become stronger than their last encounter. So he brings with him two Pacifista to investigate, whereas one Pacifista was previously able to curb stomp the entire Straw Hat crew. Luffy, Zoro and Sanji were effortlessly able to destroy the two Pacifista and made their escape. But hey, it was the thought that counts.
    • When trapped alone on the Thousand Sunny, Caribou, knowing he had no way to take on the entire crew, pretends to be a coward and weakling, while hiding his Logia powers. If it wasn't for Franky catching him, he might have picked off the Straw Hats before the Monster Trio came back.
  • At the end of Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Big Bad Dio Brando comes upon Jotaro faking his own death to lure Dio within punching distance. Dio puts an ear to the ground to hear for a heartbeat, though it doesn't work because Jotaro stopped his own heart with Star Platinum to add to the effect. Dio still decides it would be safer to decapitate him from a distance with an uprooted stop sign.
    • Which is exactly what Jotaro wanted. In the OVA at least, the second bout of carefulness would have won, had Polnareff not pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • Done again in Part 5 with the White Album fight, in which said power is a suit of ice that protects the User from nearly every type of attack. It has a hole in the back which lets the user breathe but is the only weak spot on it. One of the heroes tries to aim his gun at the hole but not only is stopped due to the villain "Knowing his own power's weakness" but has the bullet shot back at him by "White Album Gently Weeps" which is freezing the air around the villain so nothing can move.
    • And done once more in part 5, where Prosciutto shoots one of the protagonists thrice in the head after dealing a crippling blow him. Mista is saved by his stand catching the bullets for him, though.
    • Kira from Part 4 was genre savvy to the point of paranoia.
  • Shinobu Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho. May be justified because he used to be a Spirit Detective, and so would know where exactly Yusuke is coming from in terms of strategy and whatnot. His genre savviness is lampshaded like crazy- he enjoys movies and TV shows (and even does a running commentary on a movie WHILE FIGHTING YUSUKE), and, because of Chapter Black, one could say that his genre savviness extends to people.
  • Light from Death Note is well aware that the most likely way for him to be defeated is for him to say something about the case that only Kira could know, and so repeatedly goes over exactly what has and hasn't been reported in the news.
  • In stark contrast to the game it's based on, villains of the Pokémon Special manga frequently attack the trainer directly. Notably, in Red's battle with Giovanni, the Rocket leader's strategy centered around separating Red from his Poké Balls! The heroes are also willing to use this tactic, so long as the opponent used it first.
    • Another common tactic in the manga is to destroy the buttons on the Poké Balls, preventing the Pokémon inside from being called out. One memorable moment was when Blaine and Mewtwo used the last bit of their energy to attack Lance's Poké Balls, but it turned out Lance was even more dangerously genre savvy as he already let his Pokémon out beforehand.
    • After seeing Yellow's powers in action, Storc/Sird wisely decides not to fight her, and later taunts her into using said powers in a non-combat situation to tire her out faster.
    • A one-off trainer by the name of Katie got into a good bit of this in the anime - rather than sending out Pokémon one by one, her strategy involved swapping them out any time she was up against an obvious type advantage. It doesn't sound like much for anyone who's played the games, but given some of the rule-bending that gets on in the show, it's downright ingenious. It's helped along, of course, by Ash deciding not to do this in their battle for no logical reason.
  • In Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex, Section 9 faced the commander of the Umibozu. He proceeded to wipe the floor with every single member of Section 9 but Major Kusanagi, who had to deceive her own teammates and use tactics relying on pure chance to win not lose. Also, when an whole floor explodes and his men dig six destroyed cybernetic bodies from the wreckage, he is not fooled.
  • Asura in the Soul Eater anime shows a rather interesting amount of dangerous genre savvy: He fires at innocent bystanders during his epic fight with Shinigami to make his opponent Take The Bullet, backstabs, kills and eats The Chessmaster he was allied with before her plan presumably came to the 'You Have Outlived Your Usefulness' stage, stabs Death the Kid in the middle of a long Transformation Sequence (he couldn't know it activated an Eleventh-Hour Superpower), and finally defeats Maka's Eleventh-Hour Superpower by actually taking the time to analyse it instead of just wasting his time screaming This Cannot Be!. He was only a lack of a Just Between You and Me speech away from actually winning...
    • Medusa, while was an impressive Magnificent Bastard before Asura's awakening (manipulating his return to life, while being the nurse of the school where he was locked, and inflicting the black blood on the main characters), proved to be possible the ultimate Chessmaster, Magnificent Bastard AND Dangerously Genre Savvy, not only manipulating the heroes (who were, at that time, more powerful than her) using the body of a little girl (knowing they wouldn't hurt her while using that body), convincing Shibusen to attack Arachnofobia (her sister's opposing organization) and hunt some witches (some which were good) after giving them the Upgrade Artifact they were searching (knowing that she will get a better deal in the end) and almost killed the main characters with success after achieving her goals: In the end, Shibusen defeated her biggest foe for her, she got a new body (and got even more powerful), and didn't lost anything for that (Her plans for BREW were exactly give it to Shibusen and get a secure pass for her previous actions).
    • The only part that didn't work was killing Maka. Medusa apparently didn't consider Shinigami sending a Death Scythe and his meister along too. Not that this caused much of an issue for Medusa, she's adapted before and she did so here, retreating rather than getting into a fight she couldn't be certain of winning.
  • Cornelia of Code Geass shows a constant and amazing amount of genre savviness at virtually every turn conceivable. The single best one of these happens to be when V.V. decides to surprise her and attempt to start a bit of a speech up. Not taking any freaking chances, given that she's in the middle of a lair of mind-control-researching wankers, she simply goes for the old school method of saying shut up - knife in the face. (Too bad it didn't take)
    • Charles also counts, for predicting Suzaku would eventually turn on him, knowing his backstabbing nature, and having the one other person who knows about Geass who also has the power to Worf him, Knight of One Bismarck Waldstein.
    • Heck, from Schneizel knowing well enough to not go to far with his schemes and giving his would be rivals enough ground to keep them from rebelling, to Lelouch's Crazy Preparedness, this show is full of the trope.
    • Mao thinks he's this and wonders if Lelouch will try to get around his mind-reading powers by launching a robotic attack or lecturing him into submission via videophone. He didn't count on Lelouch doing both simultaneously.
  • In Claymore, Ophelia backs Clare up against a cliff, cuts off one of her arms, and slashes her across the chest, causing her to plunge into the rushing river far below. She sees Clare reaching for her arm as she falls, though (since she would be able to reattach it), and realizes Clare had chosen that location hoping that she would think that No One Could Survive That. Naturally, Ophelia is standing there when Clare looks up after making it to shore somewhere downstream.
  • Makoto Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin is Genre Savvy enough to counteract the most powerful moves of at least three of the strongest fighters in Japan ( Sanosuke, Aoshi and Saitou) and almost do the same with the fourth ( Kenshin).
  • Digimon Adventure: Our War Game: Diablomon does not fuck around. First, in his initial encounter with the heroes, he skips a level in evolution, tricking them into thinking he was a level weaker than he really was, then he brutally averts Transformation Is a Free Action when they try to match him. Now that he's aware that there are people after him, he calls every single phone number on the planet]], clogging up phone lines and disrupting their Internet access and ability to pursue him. When they bypass that with a military satellite uplink, he uses that same uplink to hack the military and lob a nuclear missile in their direction, cutting off the only opposition to him at their source of power. Of course, they're still coming after him before the nuke hits, so he then multiplies himself up to a million times and overwhelms them through sheer numbers. Then there's his Batman Gambit in the sequel which tricks the Chosen into enabling him to emerge in the real world. Again, Diablomon does not fuck around.
    • Normally, one Digimon doesn't launch an attack when the opponent is calling their attack and starts performing it. Angewomon back in Digimon Adventure cut off her opponent midsentence with her own attack on two occasions, once against Big Bad Myotismon and another time against The Dragon and The Rival Lady Devimon. She still calls her own attacks, but she does it fast enough to interrupt them. Both times, this resulted in her scoring the killing blow. Not quite as Dangerously Genre Savvy as Diablomon, but still quite smart.
    • Apocalymon had traits of this. In his first fight, he was smart enough to attack the children directly, destroy their transformation trinkets, and try and delete them right then and there. Of course the kids managed to counter Genre Savvy him and ride their Digimon the second fight, learning from their previous mistake.
  • In Heroman, the Skrugg have already demonstrated this trope, not ignoring the heroes, but focusing on them, and improving upon the mechanisms of their army to accommodate fighting the robot the main character has. They also don't shirk off problems, as they stop Will, their currently best soldier, before he does something stupid on the field.
  • Demon King Piccolo from Dragon Ball. The good guys come over to his location and plan to steal the two dragonballs in his dropship, and quickly wish for Shenlong to send him away or destroy him, since at that point, he's basically the strongest being walking the Earth. Piccolo notices the group has the five remaining balls, so first he walks outside in view with the dragonballs in hand, and swallows them. Meaning the only way they could get them back is if they physically defeat him, which, again, at this point, is nearly impossible. Worse, he comes across the one person who can use the Mafuba (Evil Containment Wave) he fears so much, and he dies in battle, so he easily takes the groups' five dragon balls, summons Shenlong, kills Chaotzu immediately when he tries to make his wish before him, makes his own wish to be restored to his physical prime, and then to top it all off, kill Shenlong so that nothing may ever threaten him. This was probably the bleakest the series had been at that point.
  • Gin Ichimaru from Bleach. In a series that thrives on Shonen fighting tropes, he's best known for being the only one to screw all of that and consistently fight dirty, and thus far it has always worked. Targeting innocent bystanders to distract heroes, backstabbing people engaged in other fights, explaining his powers to his opponent just like everybody else only to later reveal he was lying... twice...
  • Kumagawa Misogi from Medaka Box is shown to be this during the Student Council Battle. He reveals that his involvement in the Manager of General Affairs battle was just to stall Medaka and Hitomi while he had his Minus student council attack Medaka's student council members that were in the middle of training. He states he didn't care about the outcome of the General Affairs battle because he would have his minions take out the next two participants essentially giving his side two wins in the process. If they waited until the training finished, he was sure his side would have lost those matches. So Kumagawa planned it all from the start.
    • Ajimu lives and breathes this trope, to the point where she refuses to fight against the main characters because as soon as she does she'll become the Big Bad, and the Big Bad always loses.
    • Like almost all other tropes involved, this gets (rather brilliantly) deconstructed in Ajimu's case: It turns out being Dangerously Genre Savvy is an actual mental disorder, brought on by becoming dangerously detached from reality and believing they are in a comic book instead. Most other people become unimportant "background characters", they start seeing tropes everywhere, and they start more and more dangerous behavior as they try to fail at something, anything as they subconsciously attempt to reaffirm their belief in reality. For most people this results in them failing harshly and calming down. In Ajimu's case, as she is a near Physical God, she literally can't fail at most anything.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: Eriru, despite being quite dumb, is probably the most Genre Savvy of the Dark Lovers. Her schemes are the best at deliberately luring the Mermaid Princesses to her (though catching them is another matter), but her real savvy appears when some event or location is mentioned in an episode, and she always insists on following it up, possibly due to Medium Awareness that if something is mentioned in an episode, it must be important.
    • Her first appearance showed a twinkle of competence. The princesses attack by singing, so she simply plugged her ears
      • Not to mention the fish that were attracted to music.
  • In Fairy Navigator Runa, the first evil fairy Runa fights exhibits this trope. He attacks her before she's transformed or even knows what's going on, then retreats when Mokke and Senuri show up to fight him.
  • Mag Mel, the fourth Big Bad of Bakugan is this. He's stayed about three steps ahead of everyone, uses minions that cannot turn against him in any fashion and he can off with a thought if they try, uses his Psychic Link with Dan both to free himself from his alternate universe prison and spy on the heroes, and sends his Co-Dragons in the disguise of humans to infilitrait Bakugan Interspace and cause chaos as a distraction while he goes along with his plans. And that's all before he gets out of his prison. Once he's out, he attacks Gundella to lure the Brawlers there so he can still what he wants from Dan and Drago, managing to steal half of it despite the fact that he loses the fight. And then it turns out that his invasion was merely a distraction so he could cripple Bakugan Interspace, leaving the Brawlers trapped there when they return. He then absorbs his last remaining Dragon right in front of Dan, tricking Dan into giving him the chance to absorb the last thing he needs. Justified by the fact he's actually the previous season's Big Bad Emperor Barodius, and has done a really great job at learning from his past mistakes.
  • Aureolus Izzard in A Certain Magical Index once demonstrates this trope in action, when Touma keeps deflecting his attacks with his Anti-Magic right hand.

Aureolus: I see. Truly your right hand can dispel even my Ars Magna without exception. That would mean you can't dispel an attack that your right hand cannot touch. Bring a pistol into my hand. Load with magic bullets. Usage is shooting. Number of rounds is twelve. (summons pistol, Touma makes an Oh Crap face) Begin firing with a speed that exceeds human motion recognition! (shoots a crater into the wall behind a scared-shitless Touma) I won't kill you easily. Entertain me a bit more. Mass-produce the previous process, simultaneous firing using ten hidden rifles!

  • The "Unknown Enemy" of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE are notably more intelligent fighters than normal for Gundam Mooks. For example, one camped outside a hangar and shot inside the moment they start opening the doors to disable mobile suits before they can launch. And when the Gundam appears and disables one of them, the leader immediately scans its new foe, signals a retreat, and destroys its downed ally so the Federation can't analyze it for data. Then they start bombing the colony from outside, where no military forces are deployed. And in the second episode, when a supply crate with a new weapon is launched to the Gundam, the UE it's fighting immediately tries to shoot the crate down rather than let the Gundam have it.
  • Curren of Huckebein from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force is showing signs of this. Squishy Wizard Person of Mass Destruction threatening your family with a spell that has No Ontological Inertia? Shank her In the Back! Make sure it's non-fatal so her own people don't get any funny ideas about a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Threaten to send their already distrustful superiors some blackmail material so that they back down too.
  • Reilan from Haou Airen knew that she would NOT get away with having her love rival Kurumi set to be gangraped. Why did she pull it anyway? Because she used that as a part of a Thanatos Gambit, which would theoretically give her the last laugh -- via getting Kurumi traumatised beyond belief, leaving Hakuron with his hands empty as Kurumi would blame him, and having Reilan herself dead and thus away from other consequnces that could be even worse. It almost worked, even!
  • Gungnir, aka the Nehushtan Armor from Senki Zesshou Symphogear - right after appearing she tries to kidnap Hibiki and calls Tsubasa on being Wrong Genre Savvy, for thinking that she is the main character here.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam a group of Zeon infantry proved themselves very genre savvy: while they had a Zaku, they knew it was no match for the Gundam, so they used it to lure the Gundam out, rush it on jetbikes and place time bombs on it, causing a collective Oh Crap in the crew of the White Base and failing only because they had no remote to detonate them before Amuro and the crew managed to disable them. It's notable because not only they outperformed anyone else who had tried to destroy the Gundam, but also because colonel M'Quve would use the very same tactic, albeith on greater scale and greater resources, to successfully disable the White Base.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

Ozymandias: "Do it?" Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.

  • Marvel and DC's Chessmaster villains can often have a good amount of overlap here, depending on the writer. This editor recalls the time that Incredible Hulk villain The Leader set a bomb to destroy a town at midnight. The Hulk managed to located said bomb and defeat the mooks guarding it with over two hours to spare - at which point The Leader revealed he also had a remote detonator, and blew the town sky-high.
    • During Grant Morrison's run on JLA, issues eight and nine had the villain "The Key" put the entire JLA into a Virtual Reality set up which he counted on them overcoming - at which point he'd use the energy of their victory to obtain Ultimate Power. He was stopped by a boxing glove arrow from Green Arrow's kid.
    • In the big movie, "The New Frontier" during Flash's introduction the villain distracts him during the escape by revealing that there are nine bombs hidden throughout the city. Barry runs around and finds eight of them only figuring out at the last second that there are only eight bombs. He throws them into the villains blimp just as they go off.
  • Marvel Comics supervillain The Hood has demonstrated a great deal of savvy recently as he organized his Legion of Doom. Notably, he has realized that being defeated once does not mean you can't come back again and try again. He also realizes that villains usually fail because of impractical plans. Without a nemesis hero to have a vendetta against, he comes up with plans that have maximum profit.
  • Another Marvel baddie, Sidewinder, after spending his original years as a typical Genre Blind Card-Carrying Villain, came up with the then-remarkable idea of a criminal group organized like a business; if any of his Serpent Society are caught by authorities, he used his teleportation powers to free them in exchange for a cut of their loot. The Society even acted as a placement service, putting its members in touch with anonymous clients for special jobs. For an unusually long time in the 1980s, Captain America (comics) was running ragged trying to stop them and while their schemes were often foiled, they always got away. The only downside was that you had to have a snake theme to join. Why this sweetheart deal didn't lead to mass renamings and costume alterations toward the scaly side in the Marvel Universe I don't know.
  • Poor Ted Kord (Blue Beetle II). In "Countdown to Infinite Crisis", he discovers the villain is actually Max Lord, his old boss in the Justice League, confronts him, refuses to join him, and is immediately shot in the head.
  • In Animal Man, the Psycho Pirate is so Genre Savvy, he actually has Medium Awareness (because he was the only one to remember the true events of Crisis on Infinite Earths). As such he's refused to sleep, knowing that he could at any moment be taken out of continuity. When the remnants of the Infinite Earths start to be restored by his existence (which he wants to happen), he realizes that it would be a bad idea if the insane Ultraman was restored.
  • When he first showed up Bane had a novel approach to taking out Batman; rather than an overly complex plan full of hostages and deathtraps, just orchestrate a mass jailbreak at Arkham. The villains wore Bats down enough for Bane to move in for the kill. Of course, at this point he gets Genre Blind, choosing instead to just break Batman's back, which, since this is a Dark Age comic(or, depending on who you ask, a Deconstruction of one), paves the way for a Darker and Edgier replacement Bats. Admittedly, the back-breaking would've been permanent if Robin's father's doctor hadn't been one of the few people in the world who could easily fix Batman's back, without resorting to the greater superhero community.
  • One Nodwick strip involves the title character attempting a plea-bargain with a Dangerously Genre Savvy Evil Overlord over the fact that she had conquered them "without rumors, signs and portents or escaped prisoners" as forewarning for them to find and stop her beforehand.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Black Orchid miniseries, the titular heroine is captured by a villain early in the story who comments how, having seen all the James Bond films, he's not going to lock her up in the basement or set up some elaborate deathtrap and leave her alone. Instead, he's just going to kill her. Then he does.
  • Batman villain Black Mask, during his run as Gotham Crime Boss, portrayed some truly impressive genre savviness, using Batman's own plan against him and ended up wresting control of Gotham's organized crime during War Games, before pretty much anyone knew that he was still alive. He also got some killer lines because of it:

[When asked if Red Hood is crazy for offering to sell back their kryptonite for $50,000,000]
Black Mask: No. The crazy ones would make a suit out of the rock and march into Metropolis and play 'king of the mountain'. This one knows what he's doing.

    • Unfortunately for Black Mask, his Genre Savvy failed to save him from Catwoman. He predicted that as a hero, she wouldn't kill him despite the fact that he was trying to ruin her life and brutally kill her friends. He was wrong.
  • Part of the reason why Lex Luthor, despite having no superpowers, is still Superman's worst enemy—he knows that in all his previous acts of villainy, Plausible Deniability was the only thing that has always saved him from getting outed publicly as a supervillain, and he knows that since all his power is due to the fact that he's the Corrupt Corporate Executive head of an enormously powerful Mega Corp, he can't engage in any supervillain cliches that would cause people to realize he's a supervillain. Therefore, he never risks his image on one attempt to take over the world without a back-up excuse, so when he (inevitably) fails, Superman can't touch him, as no one can prove his guilt in court.
  • Megatron becomes quite Dangerously Genre Savvy in the Transformers comics. At this point Megatron has just been upgraded into a near unstoppable new body, but instead of doing something stupid like going for an all out assault on the Autobots he sets up a complicated and downright brilliant plan that allows him to take control over the minds of humans possessing devestating weapons supplied by the Decepticons, knowing full well Optimus would never even consider harming a human civilian. He later reveals that he's not doing this kill the Autobots, but to emotionally and mentally destroy them. He also waits to remove Starscream from power, kill Rodimus Prime, and blast the Matrix of Leadership into space so that nothing is left to stop him before starting up this plan.
  • Cobra Commander usally starts out the usual Genre Blind, incompentant villian we all know and love in many G.I. Joe comics. However we soon find out he's more than capable of learning from his mistakes. When he does, pretty much everyone ends up realizing just how dangerous a lunatic like Cobra Commander can really be.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • The SI from Sleeping with the Girls is very much this, probably because he has watched all of the anime and read the manga of the universes he lands in, and so knows the tropes that guide them.
  • NewChaos from The Open Door shows touches of this. For just one example, they are aware that there are universes with even Bigger Sticks out there, as well as ones which near their level and can make up the differences with Reserves, and try to tread lightly around these.
  • In Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality, both the protagonist and antagonist are. In particular, Voldemort WROTE an equivalent of the Evil Overlord List, and made a Horcrux out of the Pioneer Plaque, which is currently outside the solar system...
    • Let's not forget Harry's recent speech to Hermione:

I decided not to do the obvious stupid thing that everyone does in books, try to keep you safe and protected and helpless, and have you get really angry at me, and push me away while you go off on your own and get into even more trouble, and then heroically pull through it successfully, after which I'd finally have my epiphany and realize that blah blah blah etcetera. I know how that part of my life story goes, so I'm just skipping over it.

Piedmon: "I know of your powers, Digimon Tamer. I won't allow you to digivolve!"
Takato: "Hey, that's definitely not fair!"
Piedmon: "Who cares!"
Ruki: "He's got a point. It's about time an evil Digimon came out with this idea."
Takato: "Ruki, you're NOT HELPING!"

  • Part of the reason Imperfect Metamorphosis is composed of an increasingly elaborate series of Gambit Pileups is that nearly every faction is well aware of how things work in Gensoukyou, and do everything they can to counter any opposition (and counter their counters, et cetera). Unfortunately, the Genre Blindness of Team 9 repeatedly screws things over, and the one time everyone's Genre Savvy fails them (predicting Rin Satsuki is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds despite her still not wanting to hurt anyone) it causes no end of grief.
  • Inner Demons: Even though she believes herself to have already killed the other Element bearers by locking them inside a burning building, the first thing Queen!Twilight Sparkle does after setting herself up as Equestria's new Evil Overlord is to dispatch one of her chief lieutenants and a platoon of Mooks to Ponyville to confirm whether or not they're dead.
  • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfic Whispers: Nightmare Moon interrupts Celestia's first attempt to activate the Elements of Harmony by charging her.
  • Queen of All Oni: Jade, due to having once been a hero herself, knows all the tricks of the trade and is using them to her advantage. For starters, she's avoiding World Domination plots and focusing on personal gain, since she knows overreaching is what led to past Big Bads being made Sealed Evil in a Can. When she punished Valmont for his betrayal and realized she'd done so in such a way that the heroes could capture and interrogate him, she immediately cleared out her lair before he could lead them to her though she made the mistake of leaving Daolon Wong behind to be captured. And then there's the Batman Gambit that was Operation Steel Lightning, which only failed because of Agent Wisker's unforeseen interference.


Films - Animated[edit | hide]

  • Syndrome from The Incredibles doesn't automatically assume No One Could Survive That when Mr Incredible falls off the cliff into a waterfall. He throws a grenade after him to make sure. And then send down some weird scanning drone. Doesn't work, but full marks for effort. If he was fully Genre Savvy, he would have then killed his secretary after practically letting her die. And, of course, not worn a cape, and realized the problem with his plan to have his hyper-intelligent, self-aware, learning killer robot roll over in defeat for him. In short, Syndrome is very Dangerously Genre Savvy, but he's also arrogant and overly theatrical, and sometimes these two traits will overrule his common sense and make him do something purely for the spectacle and/or ego boost. This, of course, leads directly to his downfall.
    • One of his mooks are actually decently genre savy as well. The one hunting Violet used dirt to find her she was hiding in water, and only was stopped from shooting her dead when Dash intervened. The rest of them though...
  • Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs: After indulging in typical Nothing Can Stop Us Now Evil Gloating, the Wicked Queen suddenly stops mid-Evil Laugh to ponder, "But wait!" pause "There may be an antidote! Nothing must be overlooked!"
    • Unfortunately that's as far as her savvy goes, because she scoffs at the notion that her Show White could actually be revived by true love's first kiss. She says out loud that the dwarfs will think Snow White is dead, and will bury her alive. (In some written versions her remarks are less family-friendly, reasoning that the fairest girl in the land must have had her first kiss, and more, a long time ago.)
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, when Ratigan learns that Basil is on the case, he realizes that it is inevitable that the great detective will track him to his lair. So he sets a trap for him there. And, because he's such a Magnificent Bastard, he also sets up a decoy trap in the bar that fronts his hideout so that Basil will easily avoid it and be lulled into a false sense of security. Too bad he then proceeds to blow it by not just having his pet cat eat him.
    • Bonus points for realizing that crushing Basil's self-esteem and sending him into a Heroic BSOD was the most effective tactic to try.
  • Disney's Cinderella has Lady Tremaine. When she realized that Cinderella is the girl that the Prince has fallen in love with, she locked Cinderella up in the tower where no one could hear her cries and kept the key on hand. When that failed (thanks to Cinderella's mice friends), she tripped the foreman carrying the glass slipper so Cinderella wouldn't have proof she was the right girl. That backfired when Cinderella reveals she carried the other half of the pair of slippers.


Films - Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • The killers in the Scream series, who murder people using the horror genre tropes and cliches.
  • Scott Evil from Austin Powers was very Genre Savvy. When dad wants to use the overly complicated death trap of doom, Scott offers to shoot Austin. Needless to say, Doctor Evil was pissed that his son didn't want to play by the villain's handbook.
  • Dogma:

Serendipity: How? That's the only thing I couldn't figure out.
Azrael: Oh no, I've seen way too many Bond movies to know that you never reveal all the details of your plan, no matter how close you may think you are to winning.

  • The Joker in The Dark Knight Saga is almost ludicrously Genre Savvy... and uses his knowledge to kill a lot of people, making him very dangerous.
  • Budd from Kill Bill could be seen as this as he's the only one who chooses to outright shoot Beatrix rather than engaging in a bladefight first, though he does it with Rock Salt ammo so that he could bury her alive. However this also means that Elle considers him giving her an unworthy death and poisons him with a Black Mamba serpent for it.
  • Last Action Hero
    • Benedict uses his new-found knowledge of tropes to his advantage in a climactic scene, by leaving one chamber in his gun empty to convince Jack Slater that he forgot to reload.
    • Slater pre-emptively shooting his cupboard. "How'd you know someone was in there?"
    • Idiot Balled by Danny when he decides to give a failed speech about talking too much instead of shooting when you have the chance, because what usually ends up happening is that in the time it takes for the bad guy to finish a long-winded sentence gloating about his victor- You're no genius yourself, kid. Ironic in that Danny should be the only one in-in-universe Genre Savvy enough to not fall for this.
  • The Fallen, from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Upon learning of the living prime (Optimus), the only one who can kill him, he refuses to leave his lair until Prime is eliminated, sends his three best Decepticons to accomplish said feat, waits for them to succeed and puts his plan into motion. Later, when Prime is revived, he immediately teleports in, rips the matrix out of Prime's chest, and gets the hell out. If it weren't for Jetfire, he probably would've won.
    • The Decepticons in Transformers: Dark of the Moon learned their lesson from the last film. Instead of falling to Earth as protoforms and causing a worldwide scene, they travelled to Earth via Seninel's space bridge, then scanned alternate forms before disappearing into the night.
  • Royce from Predators remains Dangerously Genre Savvy throughout the duration of the film, the most notable moment coming when he fends off the final Predator by using the surrounding fire to muck up its senses and kill it.
  • Danny Roman in The Negotiator. Not only was he an expert hostage negotiator before becoming a hostage taker, but the S.W.A.T. team members opposing him were his co-workers whom he's known for years. Because of this, he's able to foil every trick they use against him, and manipulates their rules of engagement to his advantage. He even hand-picks a hostage negotiator who's never worked with him before, reasoning that, since one or more of those he'd thought were his friends are the ones who'd framed him in the first place, the only negotiator he could trust would be a total stranger.
  • Michael Myers in Halloween. Unlike most movie serial killers, he prefers to observe his victims carefully and patiently first, not just randomly kill people anywhere, anytime. When he does kill, he prefers sneak attacks, ambushes, or otherwise using the element of surprise, not just all-out swinging away with his weapon like Jason or Leatherface usually does. He's also aware that Dr. Loomis is his Arch Enemy, and so usually doesn't makes a move when he's around. In the second movie, he cut the wheels of every single car around the hospital just to make sure that Laurie wouldn't be able to escape if she somehow got out of the hospital and tried to escape by driving away. In H20, he got the information where Laurie lived by breaking into his old nurse's house during the night, and then killed the nurse so that she wouldn't tell the world about his return. When he found the school there that Laurie worked at, he waited until all the students left on a school trip before he went in. And there's much more that proves Myers' savvy nature. The beginning of Resurrection reveals what may be his most epic savvy moment.
  • Wild Wild West has this exchange:

Gordon: I only have one request: that you aim for my heart, my heart which has loved this country so much.
Loveless: Shoot him in the head.
Gordon: Damn.

  • Stansfield in Léon: The Professional expects a hard confrontation with Léon and tells an assault team in full gear to be careful, while he stays out of the shooting. Once the team is beaten (as he kind of expected) he sends backup in full force, and still is prepared to counter the quiet exit Leòn attemps.
    • Also a Xanatos Gambit. If Leon doesn't defeat Stansfield's team of crooked DEA agents, then he's dead and Stansfield's problem is over. If Leon does defeat them, as he's quite likely to do, then Stansfield can just get every cop in the city (including all the honest ones) to dogpile on Leon because he just killed half a dozen federal agents. 10-13, 10-13, shots fired, officers down.
  • Dalton Russell from Inside Man has his robbery work perfectly because he was aware of everything that could happen.
  • Arguably Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. From blowing up a car in order to get medical supplies while people are distracted by the explosion to walking around in socks so his victims won't hear him coming.
  • Rustlers Rhapsody is a genre parody of old B-movie westerns, in which the hero has been through the standard plot formula in so many towns that he becomes Genre Savvy to everything that's going to happen. This time, however, the villains gets Dangerously Genre Savvy themselves and figure out a way to subvert the formula.
  • One-off James Bond villain Auric Goldfinger is one of the few antagonists in the series who is this, and chuckles at the notion that he should torture Bond for information instead of just killing him. Bond has to talk Goldfinger into the torture to escape his death.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Discworld the Magpyrs from Carpe Jugulum have become immune to traditional vampire weaknesses and use this to their advantage. The good guys still win, but they have to struggle a bit for it. It's even subverted when the traditionally vampiric count proves to be far more powerful than the Magpyrs, and has survived because when he's "defeated", he'll wait until the heroes are gone and forgot about him before resuming his ways. Which is exactly why both the Heroes and villagers like it. It gives them excitement, the heroes work, and nobody really gets hurt.
    • Another Discworld example, this one going both ways, shows up in Men At Arms, when Vimes is being fired at by someone with the "Gonne". Vimes pokes his helmet up above the window sill to see if the assassin is still there. Instead of shooting the helmet, the assassin fires a bullet directly through the wall where Vimes would have been standing, had Vimes been using the traditional arrow to hold up the helmet. One step ahead, Vimes was actually several feet further to the left, using a ten-foot pole to lift his helmet.
    • The Last Hero: The Evil Overlord, Evil Harry Dread, has always lived by the Code, which is basically remain Genre Blind and, in return, he will always be allowed to escape. The Silver Horde and Cohen the Barbaian respect him because of it and even take Evil Harry Dread with them on their quest.
    • Mort: "This isn't the kind of person who ties you up in the cellar with just enough time for the rats to eat through your ropes before the floodwaters rise. This is the kind of man who just kills you here and now."
    • Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari. He specifically designed the dungeons under the Patrician's Palace on the assumption that the first thing a usurper does is to throw the previous ruler into the dungeon. Sure, there's a huge lock and lots of bars and bolts, but all those bars and bolts are on the inside. And he has a key to the lock, but that's incidental.
  • The Queen in Tanya Huff's humorous short story "A Woman's Work..." is always winning because she's not only read the Evil Overlord's List, she's made it the operating manual for her rule. Not accidentally, the story is found in the anthology If I Were an Evil Overlord.
  • The Vord Queen. When faced with Araris Valerian, most dangerous swordsman in Alera in Chrome Champion mode, she freezes him, causing him intense pain.
  • The villain Nicodemus in the fifth novel of The Dresden Files, Death Masks, when having Harry captured, keeps him in an absolutely inescapable position where Harry is both bound and his magic negated, noting that he would be an idiot to underestimate him, and intends to kill Harry simply by cutting his throat. We are then treated to this piece of dialogue:

Nicodemus: I take it that this is the portion of the conversation where I reveal my plans to you?
Harry: What have you got to lose?
Nicodemus: And apparently you expect me to tell you of any vulnerabilities I might have as well. I am wounded by the lack of professional respect that implies.
Harry: (grinding his teeth) Chicken.

    • Nicodemus even comments, point blank, that Harry has defeated and/or slain quite a numbner of powerful, dangerous beings, but adds that, by and large, most of them were morons. Nicodemus is not a moron, and the truth is that Harry only escapes from him by what is fairly clearly Divine (in the highest sense) intervention and a genuinely sacrificial sacrifice on the part of a true hero.
    • Entertainingly, after he's rescued, he comments that Nicodemus "Must have read that Evil Overlord List."
      • Fast-forward to Small Favor and Harry fleeing Nicodemus's men thanks to confusion caused by Gard and Hendricks's Big Damn Heroes moment, their radios going on the fritz because of the island's magical energies, human henchmen trying to track a human enemy by footprints, oh, and that whole "no tongue" thing.

Nick should have taken my advice and read that evil-overlord list. Seriously.

    • Harry himself definitely fits this trope, to such an extent that Word of God says Nicodemus, a 2000 year-old fallen angel, is terrified of Harry.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga novel The Vor Game has Admiral Oser order his mooks to throw Miles out an airlock, and to cut Miles's tongue out if he starts talking, knowing from experience that Miles has an amazing gift for gab and winning people over to his side. So amazing in fact that he accomplishes this later in the book with Oser himself!
  • The villain in The Jennifer Morgue intentionally sets up a situation where he's the megalomaniacal billionaire James Bond villain who can only be stopped by a playboy British special agent with a tuxedo full of special gadgets, his plan being to stop the magic spell creating this just at the moment where Bond would foil the plot. Even his minions display this: just before the villain or his equally evil wife start monologuing about their plans, The Dragon or any mooks present quickly excuse themselves so they don't find out too much and have to be dealt with.
    • Also contains Wrong Genre Savvy, since the main character is misled by his employers to believe he is the Bond character (in order to focus the villain's attention on him), when in fact he is the Bond Girl and his girlfriend is the Bond character. Likewise, by the end the villain thinks he's broken the geas and has everything in his back pocket... despite the fact that he's still monologuing and not killing anyone when he gets the chance.
  • Denth from Warbreaker has been a mercenary for centuries and has learned all the tricks and stereotypes associated with said profession. To paraphrase a quote from him about one of his enemies: "He just fell from a top story window to certain doom. Of course he's alive!"
  • The pragmatic Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

I have no qualms about accepting a useful idea merely because it wasn't my own.
You were expecting, perhaps, an all-out attack? That I should seek to cover our defeat in a frenzy of false and futile heroics? We haven't been defeated, merely slowed down a bit.
I Want Them Alive if possible. If not-- if not, I'll understand.
Infiltrators have access to the main ship's computer. Shut it down.

    • There's also the scene where he explains why Space Is an Ocean... and then elects to attack in the third dimension. Needless to say, he wins.
  • In Chronicles of Chaos by John C. Wright, the final villain the children face is Crazy Prepared enough that he nearly kills them all outright. It takes a Villainous Rescue to save them.
  • Subverted in the Dale Brown novel Plan of Attack. The villain spends a scene explaining to an underling how he believes Patrick McLanahan will carry out his counterattack and giving instructions on how to stop it, making predictions based on what readers have seen is indeed Pat's modus operandi - only for Pat to go about it differently. Then, knowing that the Air Battle Force has weapons they can use to intercept missiles, he orders a Macross Missile Massacre that includes nuclear missiles. Unfortunately, he fails to realise that Even Evil Has Standards, which leads to his downfall.
  • In the children's book Mungo and the Spiders from Space, the evil Doctor Frankenstinker knows that Evil Always Triumphs in The Middle. So what does he do? He rips out the last page of the book, leaving Captain Galacticus trapped forever.
  • Lord Sunday pretty much exemplifies this trope in his book of Keys to the Kingdom. Throughout the series, Arthur has made friends with and later elevated to high positions the first people he meets in any particular realm he enters. So what does Sunday do? He disguises himself as a common gardener and makes sure he is the first person Arthur meets in his realm, giving him a very good opportunity to stab Arthur in the back whenever he feels like it.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: A subtle example: Captain Nemo knows the Power Trio will attempt a Great Escape because he don’t want to impose them The Promise to keep in the Nautilus, so he only let’s the Power Trio explore islands without any civilized life connection or navigates in the surface of the seas that are either non frequented by ships or are actually affected by a natural event that could cause the death of the escapees (like a submarine eruption or the Maelstrom).
  • Dark Lord Mogrash from Another End of the Empire by Tim Pratt hears a prophecy from a sybil concerning a child born in a certain village: "If allowed to grow to manhood, he will take over your empire, overthrow your ways and means, and send you from the halls of your palace forever". Rather than slaughter the village (he knows a survivor will rise up to behead him in that situation), he makes the village into a testbed of reform. When he finds the three boys most likely to take his empire, he raises them as his own sons instead of trying to kill them. In the end the prophecy still comes true, but in a way that leaves Mogrash alive and a changed man who just wants to enjoy peaceful retirement. He even falls in love with the sybil who sees enough of the future to know that they will be happy together.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Anubis. The best example is probably that he tries to kill off the heroes even before his first on-screen appearance.
    • And Ba'al. There's a reason why this guy has outlived all other villains in the Stargate Verse. Notable for not believing his own A God Am I propaganda, unlike every other Idiot Ball carrying Goa'uld. In Stargate: Continuum, he actually used the Jaffa desire for freedom to recruit them as allies, instead of just forcing them into slavery (though they still apparently consider him a god; whether or not they worship him as one is not clear). And of course, instead of approaching Earth with the usual melodramatic Large Ham speech, he claims to come in peace. The best part is that he was serious about both claims, the former because he presumably considered it unwise not to honor his deals and the latter because he was so fond of Earth culture that he didn't want to ruin it. Not to mention that with a loyal and grateful Teal'C and the ingenious Earth humans on his side he could become even more powerful than he already was. His downfall in that scenario was that he became Genre Blind when it came to his queen and failed to realize that while Vala was sneaky but loyal, Qetesh in Vala's body was a betrayal waiting to happen.
    • Senator Kinsey does this in his own way, recognizing the Tropes of the program as an excuse to shut the SG Program, because counting only SG-1's encounters with the Goa'uld, they don't look like that big of a threat to account for keeping the program on-line. He wasn't exactly a villain, but his political agenda was suspiciously antagonizing to the Earth's survival.
  • Crowley on Supernatural. He correctly deduces Lucifer’s inherent hatred of Demons, while his Demonic compatriots are all blind to this. In season six, he takes the Winchesters very seriously as a threat and takes appropriate steps to foil them (including faking his own death), even pointing out all the Big Bads who were killed or defeated by failing to do just that.

Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!

"Castiel. Haven't seen you all season."

  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Sontaren Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", the Sontaran leader acts like a military leader instead of marauding invader, which is a distinct rarity in the series. "A general would be unwise to reveal his strategy to the opposing forces!", he says, refusing to reveal anything about their plans, and even keeps his cool after the Doctor started taunting them for using "cowardly tactics" (which is probably the worst insult you can give to a Sontaran). And when the master plan (turning the Earth into a Sontaran cloning world) fails, the General decides to go with the next best thing and use his enormous battleship to conquer the Earth conventionally (naturally, they fail as well).
    • The Sontarans as a species also do this. Sci-fi law dictates that all relentless alien armies must have an obvious weak point. Rather than try to hide it, the Sontarans actually leave their weak spot (on the back of their necks) unprotected and unhidden on purpose. It forces their troops to keep pushing forward no matter what and never retreat, since retreating would mean exposing their weak points.
    • In the "Key to Time" story arc, the White Guardian gives the Doctor the task of recovering the six pieces of the Key to Time before the evil Black Guardian's servants succeed in gathering them, so the Doctor goes on a season-long epic travelling from planet to planet finding and collecting pieces. When he reaches the final piece it's in the hands of the Black Guardian's servant - who skipped straight to the last piece and then spent all his effort laying a trap for the Doctor there, knowing that the Doctor would bring the rest of the pieces with him when he arrived. After completing the Key, the supposed White Guardian that had come to collect it was really the Black Guardian in disguise, but fortunately the Doctor already deduced this and he disperses the Key back into its component parts rather than handing it over to him.
  • Arthur Petrelli from Heroes seems to know all of the tricks of the trade for being a villain. When Hiro looks into the past and sees what made Arthur what he is, Arthur wipes away every memory of Hiro's in the last 15 or so years. He recruits Sylar and makes sure to assist in his reformation from psychopathic serial killer to empathic anti-hero. He mentally rapes the head of the opposing organization, who happens to be his own wife. He isn't above killing his own sons if it means that he can further his plans. He makes sure that everyone in his organization knows exactly what will happen if they go against him, whether it's sending them back to their previous horrible life or killing them.
    • He suffers a critical Genre Savvy failure though, when upon hearing Sylar say he's done working for him, he doesn't immediately find and kill Sylar by removing his powers and giving him a quick neck snap. Poor form there Arthur...if you're going to be a murdering dick, at least murder the one who's actually got the balls to kill you, rather than concentrating on the whiny, emo fringed nurse or the spineless, easily manipulated alcoholic would be politician.
    • In all fairness, the most likely reason he never tries to kill Sylar is because he can't. He figured the safest thing to do would be to hope Sylar simply stopped helping him, rather than risk angering the only human on Earth more powerful than he was.
  • Lothor of Power Rangers Ninja Storm seems to have noticed that all previous Power Rangers villains used the same plan (send a monster to attack the town, when the Rangers show up make it grow huge) over and over again, with the same result (the Rangers kill the monster.) So he devised a plan which hinged on the Rangers beating him in every episode. Turns out dead monsters get sent to the Abyss of Evil, and if you overload it with too many (say, by killing them with your giant combining mecha) the Abyss will overflow and evil will cover the Earth, making Lothor all-powerful in the process. Oops.
    • Subverted on one occasion where he tries to turn multiple monsters giant at once to overwhelm the rangers, but can't because he "didn't pay for the memory upgrade" on the device which grows them.
    • Venjix of Power Rangers RPM did it a little differently. He sent in subtle infiltration and infection agents, and at the same time sent in big, noisy crushing monsters. The rangers were so busy fending off the latter that they never noticed the former until it was too late.
    • The original Green Ranger was also Dangerously Genre Savvy, immediately recognising a group of teens dressed in red, blue, black, yellow and pink as the rangers' civilian forms, as well as starting a fight at giant size, waiting for the rangers to call the Megazord, then shrinking down and hijacking it. When the rangers start to gain the upper hand in direct confrontations he sneaks into their Mission Control, destroys all the equipment, and kills the source of the rangers' powers.
    • Power Rangers SPD likewise has the defected A-Squad shooting at the main Rangers during their Transformation Sequence. It doesn't quite work, but points for trying.
  • Power Rangers' Japanese counterpart gives us Basco from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. He will not fall for a Fake Defector, and the reason he has such a suspiciously large Air Vent Passageway in the jail cell is that he is waiting on the other side of the vent with his pistol drawn.
  • In a Reality TV shows, these guys are easily the types that the casting people want to avoid... unless they become the Fan Favorite, by which time the producers will often slant the rules to keep them around. After all, the fan favorite is what makes the ratings! Reality game shows often have to be entertaining and maintain certain ratings, so producers want to try and keep these types of players out because after all...when they're not just an incredibly overconfident type who brags about his accomplishments and genre savvyness to the Confession Cam, they just keep their mouths shut a lot of the time.
    • On Survivor: Samoa, Russell Hantz established himself as this right from the get-go. Knowing that the early game was spent trying to establish your resources (fire, shelter, etc.), Russell sabotaged his team by hiding tools and food. He then explains (via Confession Cam) that he's counting on the fact that the producers hid the Hidden Immunity Idols on the island before the game started, based on the history of the show. Later, in the Heroes Vs. Villains season, Russell counted on the other survivors not having watched his previous run (because it hadn't aired on American television yet) to build his all-female alliance again and undermine everyone else. The fact that Russell didn't count on the social aspect of the game (which led him to lose in the final two and final three of his first two seasons) is a inversion of this trope.
    • Kristina Kell established herself as this from the get go just as well, like Russell did. She knows that the two Wesleys returning are both Dangerously Genre Savvy, so what do you do? She immediately went idol hunting, and managed to find it without clues faster than anyone has ever done before, and tried to tell everyone that Rob had to go. But Boston Rob had his own plans...
    • Jonny Fairplay from the Pearl Islands season copied wholesale the tactics of Rob Cesternino, a Genre Savvy fanboy from the previous season. No one on his tribe caught on, and it worked wonders. But what really sets him apart is that, realizing that there would eventually be a "loved ones visit"(where you get to see a family member or friend for a day), he faked his grandmother's death in advance of going on the show. His grandmother would be one of the pre-selected people for the loved ones visit, and after she doesn't answer, the production staff then moved down to the next person on the list. This guy, when he show up, informs everyone that Jonny's grandma died. Almost everyone, including the host himself, bought into it. Jonny's influence? Again, the previous season, where Jenna received leniency from her tribe mates for her bad behavior because her mom was terminally ill.
  • From the American Big Brother:
    • Dr. Will knew that if you won competitions, people often target you as a threat when you fail to win or can not win one by default, so what did he do? He got everyone to intentionally think he was completely worthless and easy to beat so they targeted people who were actually lesser threats than he was. Despite winning a total of zero challenges, he is still considered one of the best people to have ever played the show.
    • In a similar vein, Kevin from Season 11. When the twist was announced that whenever your "Clique" had won Head of Household, he had the perception to consider not voting to evict Casey because even if he won, he and his best friend Lydia would be immune. Similar to Dr. Will, he intentionally threw important challenges so the other alliance wouldn't target him. When the house was told that there was a special twist coming and that nobody was safe, he actually tried to win the veto because that was the only way he could be safe. When his alliance was forcefully put on the block when said twist was used, he actually voted against the alliance's "leader" because he knew he had to go sooner or later and that he was the swing vote. Then after that, power shifted and he intentionally tried to make himself seem easy-to-beat so that Jeff, Jordan, Michelle, and Russell would save him for last. Then after he is put on the block and might actually go, he convinces Jeff to shoot himself in the foot and evict Russell, stacking the odds against Jeff the very next Head of Household competition. Then, he intentionally took Natalie and Jordan to the final three, knowing he could beat Jordan in the finals, and that Natalie would take him to the finals if she somehow won the final head of household. (He even had plans to vote out Natalie because he knew Jordan had fewer "allies" in the jury house) However, what he did not expect was Jordan to suddenly pull a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, win the final head of household, and evict him. (And Jordan knew that Kevin could have beaten her, anyways.)
    • In season 13, Kalia zig-zags this. She knew that she could not just grovel to the veterans because they would toss her the first chance they got. So she aligns with Daniele, who jumeped ship from their alliance and cut off on her own...and considers that if it's her and Daniele in the finals, the four remaining vets would vote against Daniele, so she intentionally tried to not seem like she was sociopathically pushing her way through the game as well to further ensure Jeff would vote for her. This would have worked if she wasn't Genre Blind to her being Honor Before Reason (and nominating Lawon because he misunderstood the twist) and if Pandora's Box conveniently saved Rachel and Jordan in the most blatantly contrived bailout in reality TV history EVER.
      • From the same season, Shelly attempted this (and failed). She begun to continuously check the Fortune Teller prop in the house, hoping for a twist that would benefit her. Instead, this was actually Pandora's Box.
  • Deconstructed in a very harsh fashion with Meeka Claxton on VH-1's Basketball Wives. She looked at a lot of blogs about the show along with blogs that deal with the cast. From that point, she based their personalities on what was written about them. Not only that, after reading those blogs, she thinks that she knows Basketball Wives like an open book. It turns out great when Evelyn and Jennifer, the popular side that Meeka was trying to be on, start to get annoyed by her behavior. Tami, on the other hand, keeps telling Meeka that she should get to know the cast for herself instead of basing it on what other people say. Unfortunately, she doesn't, and it only gets better from there. In Italy, Meeka starts lying about her encounter with Tami and Royce, claiming that Tami said Evelyn and Jennifer are the "fake side", when Tami actually said "popular". She even threw insults about Tami towards Suzie, who is known for being a chatterbox that doesn't keep secrets. The insults from Meeka came out of Suzie when Tami was trying to agree to disagree with her. But wait, it got even better. After finding out that Meeka is still speaking ill of her, Tami and the rest of the crew go to a club. A huge argument from Tami and Meeka start to blow up and she punches her in the face. Meeka decides to fly back to Miami, leaving Italy, and leaves a letter saying that Tami is classless and that she hopes that Tami isn't causing any problems to the cast. Tami's response? "Dear Meeka, write this letter to someone who gives a fuck." She is now considered The Scrappy of the show by most of the cast, and by lots of viewers.
  • In the premiere episode of Nikita, Nikita brazenly shows up at party to threaten Percy, the head of Division, confident he won't attack her in a room full of politicians and government employees. Then she discovers that Percy had anticipated the possibility and has some of his people waiting for her.
    • It was also revealed that Percy has set up "black boxes" all over the world containing all of the U.S. government's dirty secrets from the past twenty or thirty years; if Percy dies, that information goes public and presumably brings down the government.
  • Demonstrated (very rarely) by Special Guest Villains on Batman:
    • The first Mr. Freeze was this because instead of a Death Trap, he just shoots Batman with his freezing gun.
    • Catwoman was this as well when she simply had a drugged Batman thrown from a twelfth story window! Once again he was prepared.
    • One bad guy tricked Batman into a Death Trap. He actually makes death traps for a living and wanted Batman to show him how to escape out of the one he just made. He had two hitmen waiting outside for when Batman and Robin escaped to shoot them both.
  • Dr. Mark Sloan of Diagnosis: Murder, of all people, demonstrated a shocking amount of Genre Savvy in a multi-part arc in which he was kidnapped by the deranged son and daughter of a serial bomber who had been executed as a result of Sloan's investigation. Even as a hostage he succeeded in playing the siblings against each other while providing clues to his son the cop and other partners in crime-solving that led them to the kidnappers. A federal agent assigned to the case supplied the lampshade; "Some people you should not kidnap! I swear, if Mark Sloan is your enemy, shoot him in the head, otherwise he will make you suffer!"
  • Scotty, any time Kirk and Spock left him in command of the Enterprise in Star Trek the Original Series.
  • The Reaper (a.k.a. George Foyet) from Criminal Minds. The man is even willing to nearly lethally stab himself in order to throw the FBI off his trail. Talk about Crazy Prepared.
  • In the Not Only but Also parody of Thunderbirds, the villain easily defeats the team by cutting their puppet strings.
  • Abed on Community has an encyclopedic command of tropes which has kept him and the members of the study group alive long into a Zombie Apocalypse, two Paintball Wars, and piloting a space simulator.
  • Wonder Woman: Queen Hippolyta knows that Steve Trevor will be worshipped by the Amazons at Paradise Island. To avoid that, she plans to send one of the amazons with him to his own country. And then:

Princess Diana: But all the girls will want that task.
Queen Hippolyte: I know. To forestall any ill feelings, I have planned a tournament of athletic games, by which I alone will determine the strongest, nimblest, and most likely candidate for the assignment.

    • Princess Diana is denied access to the tournament, so she throws a tantrum and retires to the summer palace… only to participate in secret and winning, to show her commitment and knowing that his mother will forgive her.
  • Iain Harrison from Top Shot realizes from day one that as long as the teams remain evenly matched, the competition will remain relatively fair. He therefor sabotages his own team, breeding discord so subtly that the show's own producers failed to notice. Red Team's total collapse eliminates several serious competitors early on and paves the way for Iain's total victory in Season 1.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Though his gimmick since his Heel Face Turn has been being Genre Savvy enough to outwit even Triple H and Ric Flair, recently Batista has upped his game to this level, by attacking The Undertaker with a steel chair during his entrance.
    • Chris Jericho did a similar thing in his 2009 feud with Rey Mysterio - Mysterio has a habit of bumping heads with young fans wearing replicas of his mask... so Jericho went and got himself a Mysterio mask and T-shirt, bumped heads with Rey during his entrance, then jumped over the barricade and assaulted him.
      • Rey Mysterio promptly returned the favor the following week and sat down next to two others who were wearing Edge shirts upon his 2010 return to Raw. His first night back on the show, Edge points out that he returned from a serious injury and went on to everything he was supposed to in order to get the fans to like him, yet they pretty much just cheered him because he was feuding with Chris Jericho.
  • In a Royal Rumble match, you're eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and having both of your feet hit the ground. Thus, there's often a show-off spot where someone is thrown over the top rope, catches hold of it, and 'skins the cat', pulling themselves back up over the rope and back into the match. Most famously, this was used by Shawn Michaels to win a match when his opponent turned his back and assumed he was knocked out. In a more recent Rumble, Steve Blackman was thrown out by Kane, snagged the ropes, and got in the classic position to recover...and then Kane smacked him over the head with a garbage can, crushing his Hope Spot.
    • And then you have John Morrison doing this.
    • Kofi Kingston hand-walked to safety at the 2012 Rumble so his feet wouldn't hit the floor.
    • And a few years back, Shannon Moore being this trope (if not dangerously anything else) enough to stick around after his elimination so that his personal Jesus Matt Hardy, Version 2.0 could land with both feet on him, and thus not the floor, and remain in the match.
    • In short, any spot where a wrestler skillfully exploits this two-part technicality tends to signify awareness.
      • Then you'd think Zack Gowen would technically never be able to be eliminated. You know, since he has only one leg, after all.
    • Both Macho Man Randy Savage and Bob Backlund have found themselves thrown through the ropes onto the ground (therefore not being disqualified), and used this to recuperate and wait out a couple more disqualifications before returning to the ring.
  • Sting used to be one of the most Genre Blind characters in pro wrestling...until Immortal showed up. The Story Arc has caused Sting to go from Good Is Dumb to Dangerously Genre Savvy. Since this happened, he's not only been a much better judge of character, but managed to plan for the interference they'd use against him to win the title.
  • So far, almost EVERY Money In The Bank winner is this, cashing it in while the champion was down and exhausted from a grueling match or other beatdown. (The sole exception is Rob Van Dam, who merely went for "home turf" advantage in a no-DQ match at ECW One Night Stand.)


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Although not a part of any particular canon, a lot of groups have the Veteran Player, that guy who knows the game so well that he over thinks things, not in a way a character would, but from past experience. Not in a malicious way, but just out of natural action. And God Help You if you have two of them.
    • New players check doors and chests for traps. Veterans check the ceilings.
  • Acererak, the lich responsible for the Tomb of Horrors, clearly knows your average group of adventurers very well. The whole place is littered with Schmuck Bait and ways forward that are hidden behind much more obvious paths, the Rule of Three is exploited, and he even made a low-grade copy of himself, complete with illusion of a Collapsing Lair and a bag of loot containing a map to a faraway, nonexistent dungeon.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In A Shoggoth on the Roof during the song "To Life" (based on Lovecraft's Herbert West--Reanimator), when Herbert reveals that in order to reanimate Dr. Halsey, he first had to kill him. While first claiming that he used an "ingenious plan", it is quickly revealed that he "just shot him".


Toys[edit | hide]

  • In Bionicle, Big Bad Makuta cast the Physical God Mata Nui into an unending sleep, allowing him to fill the resulting power vacuum (the reason he didn't just kill Mata Nui is because that would bring about The End of the World as We Know It). Good enough for most kid-franchise villains, but Makuta knows that some heroes will come along and wake Mata Nui up Because Destiny Says So. Rather than fight it, he bases a Xanatos Gambit around it that would give him even more power. It works. During a crucial part of the awakening, he's able to commit Grand Theft Me and, as the universe's new Physical God, he sends Mata Nui's spirit into exile.
    • He even decides to take care of his 'Toa problem' before he even begins his universal takeover so they don't mess up his plans later on. Not to mention realizing that exiling Mata Nui's spirit was a bad idea, so he resolves to go after Mata Nui once he finishes with the Toa.
    • There's also Tuma, the leader of one of the tribes on the world that Mata Nui ended up on. Now, on this world, Gladiator Games have become Serious Business with valuable resources riding on the outcomes. Instead of just sending fighters to win those resources in the arena for him, Tuma used the fights to study the other tribes and then sent in an army to just take them (having figured out that the tribes were too caught up in their rivalries to ally against him).


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Neptunia's entire premise is a parody of video games, and revolves around this trope. Every character in the player's party knows they're video game characters, and frequently correct each other on RPG rules, often making references to other popular RPG's. The Fourth Wall is broken constantly, such as during the tutorial, when Neptune comments off-handedly that she has amnesia, so she asks if another character could please explain the game mechanics for the player. During Neptune's ultra-flashy and lengthy transformation, she may even shout, "No attacking while I'm transforming!" In another instance, the character IF gets in an argument with a random NPC, upon which she points out that her stats are much higher than his. Neptune threatens the same NPC, but IF corrects her, saying that while they can argue with him, she's not allowed to kill NPC's who are critical to advancing the story. Even deaths of characters not important to the story are foreshadowed this way, as the characters all point out at one point that that the character that's with them doesn't even have his own animations or artwork, so he is obviously going to die soon. When he does in fact die as they expected, Neptune says she totally called it.
    • They take it to such a level that, in an early dungeon, Neptune will complain that it's boring fighting in a dungeon with low-level monsters while having no cool skills yet, upon which another character says every RPG has to start out this way, whether they like it or not, or the game would run out of material too fast.
  • Gregory Barrows, the Time Crisis 4 Big Bad, is unusually Genre Savvy for a Light Gun game villain; he not only allows his Faceless Goons to use their secret weapon from the VERY beginning of the game and outruns the heroes in a race to get more of said weapon, he actually manages to hide his true plans until the last level (while usually they're given away on the game's "insert coin" trailer). And, on a minor note, the Stealths he stole and sent to destroy all major cities in the US with nuclear missiles are controlled by a separate informatic system, so they can't be hacked by usual computers to be stopped, thus using the Evil Overlord List rule #50.
  • Mega Man 8 has Dr. Wily's fortress inside an underground lava pit, guarded by a giant robot, protected by an energy barrier, with the first two stages requiring specialized vehicles to even get through before you can get inside. When Mega Man first tried to attack, he was grabbed by the robot and nearly electrocuted to death before he could even get close; it took Duo's intervention to save him. And even when Mega Man got to Dr. Wily, the old coot paralyzed him with an energy trap and was going to just blast with a Wave Motion Gun; again, it took Duo to save him and destroy the gun. This is all justified for two reasons: Mega Man tried to kill Dr. Wily at the end of the last game and Dr. Wily had recently gotten a powerful alien energy resource, so he would use the power to keep the little robot far away or go for overkill in case he got to him.
  • In Super Mario RPG, the status quo is for Mario to hold up any newfound star for around six seconds for the player to see, after it floats around for a bit and drops into his hands. The sixth Star, apparently not being guarded (besides the Czar Dragon), gets swiped out from Mario's clutches via the Axem Rangers right before it can touch his hands.
    • Really, the entire Smithy Gang is petty Genre Savvy when you think about it. The first minion Mack waits until Mario is busy chasing Croco out of town before invading the Mushroom Kingdom. The second member, Bowyer, realizes you're ganging up on him three to one and introduces a unique gimmick to help even the odds. Yaridovich catches on to Mario's method of looking for the Star Pieces by going from town to town, so he heads to the next town in his path, locks up the citizens and masquerades as the townspeople so he can get Mario to retrieve the star for him. And then when he reveals the deception, he uses the hostages as leverage to make you give him the star anyway.
  • When Jonathan and Charlotte confront Dracula in his throne room at the end of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Death insists on defending his master. Instead, Dracula breaks Mook Chivalry and even his own final boss tradition (to Charlotte's surprise) by suggesting that they double-team the opposition. While this doesn't work out in his favor, Charlotte still compliments him for having the idea.
    • About a century and a half earlier, in Rondo of Blood, Dracula actually sends his forces to attack Richter's hometown in Wallachia. Luckily for Richter, he was out training at the time; when he hears news of his the attack (and abduction of several townswomen), he rushes back; the end result is exactly what you'd expect to happen in a Castlevania game in regards to a Belmont facing the Dark Lord.
    • Aside from these two events, Drac seems to spend most of the series afflicted by chronic Genre Blindness.
  • Vassal Beauty Queen Etna from the Disgaea: Hour of Darkness series has her moments of this, too. Most noticeably in the first game, where the first appearance of the Prism Rangers prompts her to simply shoot two of them while they're in the middle of their Transformation Sequence. The remaining one produces the following gem:

Prism Red: "Curse you! Shooting before we even have a chance to transform... How inconsiderate! Are you demons?!"
Etna: "Uh-huh."
** JARRING CHORD**
Prism Red: "...Oh my gosh! I completely forgot about that!"

    • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, in addition, gives us Mao, who immediately comes up with the following plan to become an Evil Overlord: get his title changed to hero, thereby invoking contractual immortality, kick the current Overlord's ass via Narrative Causality, and simply take the guy's place when it's all over. Unfortunately, the Disgaea world itself is Genre Savyy, and the Hero title is actually turning Mao into a Hero.
  • Again subverting the trope, Jon Irenicus of the Baldur's Gate series continually rebuffs the protagonist's attempts to find out any information about him - "No, you warrant no villain's exposition from me." Unfortunately, he leaves his journals (in multiple copies, even) and a disaffected Lovable Traitor behind, from which you can piece together his evil plan anyway.
    • He at least justifies keeping them. Because he had his soul removed, he's suffering from memory problems and keeps the journals as a reminder of what he was doing (or something to that effect).
    • And there's one point where a careless and unprepared frontal assault on Irenicus simply results in him killing the whole party at once in a way he had prepared based on knowing the protagonist's soul (which he had been pratically dissecting as part of his research) so well. Or something. Before that, he has already made plans to incapacitate the party when they meet, and expects the protagonist to perish as a result of what is in store for them...
      • His greatest piece of Genre Blindness is expecting the 'perish' part. And when it turns out you don't, he performs a Villain Exit Stage Left and goes on with his Evil Plan, and does not expect you to try to hunt him down for Revenge and for getting your soul back. Which is a bit silly, given the first part of his plan was exactly to expect you to hunt him down for Revenge or for getting Imoen back.
  • In Grim Fandango, when confronting Big Bad Hector Le Mans, Manny attempts to illustrate his own Genre Savvy. Manny asks if this is the part where Le Mans tells Manny his plans, and he, Manny, proceeds to spell them out in elaborate detail. Responding with a simple "No", Hector shoots Manny, stating that this is the part where he dies painfully.
  • Rubicante, the elemental lord fiend of fire, in Final Fantasy IV is met twice in the game; the first time, he is by himself against your five-man party. Later, he battles your party again. Unfortunately for you, he picked up on the notion of forming a party to defeat a much stronger foe and returns with the other three elemental fiends in tow. At least he's nice enough to restore your party's HP/MP before the battle.
    • Unfortunately for Rubicante, Gameplay and Story Segregation means that this plays out as a Boss Rush instead of fighting all four fiends simultaneously. There just isn't enough room on the screen for all four of their battle sprites to be displayed at once.
    • Not to mention that one of his precautions for being the Fiend of Fire is to have an iceproof cloak.

You are an interesting one indeed. Such powers, unleashed by anger alone! But they will not avail you. The frozen winds of hell's ninth circle could not penetrate this cloak of flame I wear.

  • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future when you enter in to the surveillance room in the Mecha Luke notes the lack of a self-destruct button.
  • Super Paper Mario:
    • A certain Koopa Troopa. What does he do when he sees you coming? He jumps, smashes a block, grabs the star and starts chasing you.
    • Dimentio gets a moment of this: he averts No Sneak Attacks and assassinates Mario by blowing him up.
  • In Brutal Legend, when Lars confronts Doviculus by proudly proclaiming himself to be the king of humanity, he gets skewered almost immediately. "Well, that was easy." And just before that, Doviculus magnificently abuses the Villains Never Lie principle to break La Résistance from the inside.
    • Which, of course, ties in nicely to the whole concept of the game: The overrated star who didn't earn his fame (very blatant example during the fetch quest) falls, and the unappreciated support character who's been doing all the real work rises to become the true star.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Jaeger is apparently the only Europan smart enough to put armor over his tank's weak point.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, in an unexpected display of Genre Savvy, the second temple boss, "Fraaz, Master of Icy Fire", destroys the fire and ice torches laid out in the room, the only instance of Boss Arena Idiocy involved in the fight.
    • However, it immediately vanishes afterwards as Fraaz continues to alternate attacks despite being only vulnerable to the leftover flames/ice of the previous attack while using the attack of the opposite type
    • Before that, in The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening, there was a miniboss who, at the end of the fight, would exclaim, "Argh! I can't defeat you! I'm outta here!" then would teleport out of his boss arena. Even worse, he raids the treasure chest in the next room, which supposedly held the dungeon's item, and leaves a note in order to taunt Link. But what makes him dangerously genre savvy is that, when you find and beat him again, he flees at the last second again. You have to find him again three times before he decides that running away is hopeless... and puts up a decent fight to the death.
    • And then there was The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, in which Ganondorf pulled a Xanatos Gambit by tricking the kids into doing his dirty work for him. He knew perfectly well that little Princess Zelda suspected him of disloyalty; he was counting on it. She commissioned Link to collect the Spiritual Stones, which would allow him to acquire the Master Sword, which would allow the opening of the Sacred Realm -- exactly where Ganondorf wanted to go. Ganondorf couldn't do it himself, because he literally cannot touch the Master Sword; but because he's a Magnificent Bastard, he knew how to pull the right strings.
      • And then what does he do after that? He only gets one third of the Triforce, but figures out that Link and Zelda probably hold them. Thus he waits for the day Link reappears and lets him run around fighting his minions and freeing the Sages knowing Zelda will eventually reveal herself to him. And when she does, Ganondorf kidnaps her and takes her to his tower, and of course Link follows, bringing the two remaining Triforce pieces right to his throne room. This guy was good.
    • Ganondorf does it again in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, where the King of Evil has learned to rein in his ego and instead spends much of his time working in the shadows, trying to alter the circumstances that led to his imprisonment in the first place. Pretty much the only serious miscalculation he made was his overreliance on some of his minions. Oh, and a very devastating case of Too Slow.
  • Zoran Lazarevic, the Big Bad of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is this, at least in situations where Nate is trying to bargain with him. He's clearly been in enough of them that he knows exactly what to do in order to take the bargaining chip away from him. It happens twice:
    • The first time is when Nate tries to get Lazarevic to release Elena, saying that he will give him the information he seeks in return. Lazarevic simply has Flynn search him. Upon finding the map, he declares: "You have nothing left to bargain with, Mr. Drake." He then leaves and tells Flynn to kill them both, which is actually falling into traditional villain behavior, showing that he is Genre Savvy in some areas but not others.
    • The second time is near the end of the game, when Nate tries to pull a Put Down Your Gun and Step Away by taking one of his men hostage. Lazarevic simply laughs, gives a grand speech about willpower in which he compares himself to men such as Hitler and Stalin (even calling them "great men"), and then shoots the hostage himself. It helps that he's a Complete Monster.
    • However, despite those two instances, he does tend to be Genre Blind in most other situations, especially the one leading to his (very appropriate) Karmic Death.
    • And let's not forget that he actually points out that Nate had killed hundreds of his Mooks in the process of getting face to face with Lazarevic and then questions how someone like Nate can consider him a monster.
  • The Reapers of Mass Effect are scarily good at what they do. When they aren't performing their genocide, they seal themselves in dark space beyond the galaxy where no one will ever explore to prevent themselves from being punched out. They deliberately leave Lost Technology lying around, knowing that it will be found and used as the basis for all space travel, allowing them to curb stomp every space-faring civilisation. And they made what they knew these civilisations would use as the main political, financial, and military hub of the galaxy, the Citadel, into an enormous mass relay into dark space so when they begin the invasion they could immediately wipe out the main political structure and military force and disable all other mass relays, leaving the rest of the galaxy easy pickings. The only reason they're not doing that this time around is because of Shepard. Basically s/he's taken all of their options away.
    • Mass Effect 3 shows that they are well aware of the threat posed by a completely united galaxy, so do their best to divide and conquer. In particular, they are aware that it is practically inevitable that powerful megalomaniacs will try to reverse-engineer their indoctrination power as a means to dominate them and the rest of the galaxy (Javik said this happened in the last cycle), so they simply let them try, knowing that it will cause said megalomaniacs to fight those who are trying to destroy the Reapers. Also, the Reapers are safe in the knowledge that no organic mind, no matter how strong, can beat them in a battle of wills, and that it is inevitable that anyone studying indoctrination will eventually fall prey to it.
    • After conquering a planet and cutting off its military and communications, the Reapers act like it is a war of conquest rather than extermination, and force the conquered governments to come aboard them for "peace talks" (allowing them to be indoctrinated), and thus make the conquered governments help them in rounding up their citizens. It should be noted that this tactic backfired big-time against the turians, whose own Genre Savvy let them take the opportunity to smuggle bombs onto the Reapers and take them down in suicide attacks combined with external military action, which become known in-universe as "The Miracle at Palaven".
    • Sovereign in the first game proves to be this while monologuing at Shepard. At first glance it appears to be the usual round of Bond Villain Stupidity, with the villain explaining their entire plan to the hero. However, pay attention to what it says; Sovereign is smart enough to lord its superiority over Shepard without actually giving him/her any information that would actually be useful in stopping its plans. Later, when it came time to attack the Citadel, Sovereign rushed directly into the station, letting the geth fight the fleets circling outside.
    • Harbinger from the second game is made of this. In the first ten minutes of the game, it has the Normandy destroyed in a devastating surprise attack and kills Shepard in the process, then spends a good part of the next two years hunting down the Commander's body just to ensure that s/he was out of the way. It never says I want him/her alive, informing its minions "I want his/her body recovered, if you can.", possibly for study, but above all else wants him/her DEAD. It also never once comes near Shepard physically, instead ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL of minions on the battlefield, and doesn't even want to be in the same galaxy as Shepard, only entering the Milky Way when it becomes obvious that Shepard has destroyed all its other options.
    • The Illusive Man dumped an absurd amount of resources into resurrecting Shepard, because he realizes Shepard's Magnetic Hero tendencies would be a Good Thing (tm) to have on his side. Furthermore, he does not want to compromise Shepard's personality by implanting a control module, believing that the qualities displayed in Shepard would be diminished if s/he were firmly under TIM's thumb.
  • In Okami, the final boss grabs and shocks the godly bejeezus out of Amaterasu in the middle of her victory howl. Admittedly, he does nothing to stop it when a Combined Energy Attack brings Ammy back, but he still spends the rest of the fight blocking himself off whenever you try to use the Celestial Brush, which is used for all the most powerful abilities.
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the dragon bosses, Nefarian, repeatedly yells at his comrades/mooks to kill the healers first, which is always the first rule in PVP combat. If they actually listened to him, it would work; fortunately for the players, they don't.

"Foolsss...Kill the one in the dress!"

    • Though Nefarian shows his savvy when talking to his mooks, when you finally fight him in his dragon form, he does not adhere to his own tactic.
    • The major gimmick of the Nefarian encounter in BWL is that once again, Nefarian is ridiculously genre savvy. He breaks the ranged weapons of Hunters, forces Shamans to drop totems that benefit him, shifts Warriors (including your likely tank) into the old +Damage taken Berserker Stance, roots back-stab happy Rogues in front of his terrifyingly powerful cleaves and breath attacks... some are more effective than others and the Hunter Call in particular was a vicious Player Punch.
      • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything too, as when the Death Knight class was added 2 expansions later, Nefarian, by then an overlooked encounter still attuned to classic WoW level 60 raiders, gained an ability that affected this new class.
    • In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the Faction Champions heal each other and target the player with the lowest health. It's one of the most chaotic fights in the game.
      • It should be pointed out though that this particular encounter is specifically modeled upon Arena PVP, with (at least pre-Cataclysm) much different strategy and tactics from other WotLK raid encounters because of this.
    • Also from WotLK, Big Bad himself, The Lich King, reveals his savvy after looking like an idiot for most of the game. He fights all the players in his throne room, letting them weaken him. When they get close to victory, he kills them all instantly, saying that he needed to know that the PCs were the greatest fighters in the land, because then he can raise them as his undead slaves, and conquer the world (Of Course!). Problem is, he hits Tirion Fordring's Berserk Button, and ends up losing.
      • Also Arthas' dad, Terenas Menethil, returns from within Frostmourne as a ghost to resurrect everyone, resulting in the entire raid bashing on the Lich King unopposed for the last remaining 10 percent of his life. It's an incredibly satisfying end to the saga.
    • Nefarion's back in one of the opening Cataclysm expansion's raids, Blackwing Descent, and said Raid's Heroic Mode could just as easily be called "Dangerously Genre Savvy/Nefarion Is A Gigantic Douchenozzle" mode (for example, adding new adds in one encounter, turning off all the useful side effects of boss abilities in another encounter, improving a boss's attacks in a third encounter)... And then he semi-blows it again with his own Heroic mode fight, where one of his mechanics allows careful players to steal power to make their attacks stronger, hence making it possible to defeat him.
      • The Omnitron Defense System is the most infuriating example of this. Every time Nefarion interferes, he transforms a major golem attack to have the reverse effect of its normal counterpart. Thus, anyone following the standard survival strategy against those attacks are guaranteed to die or even wipe the raid.
  • Kerrigan in Starcraft is also an example of this during Brood War and Starcraft II. Once she reasserts control over herself following the death of the Overmind, she often plays her opponents against each other, in order to consolidate her own power base. Almost all of the events of Brood War benefit her somehow, even during the UED campaign. This is taken Up to Eleven in Starcraft II, when she allows Raynor to grab the artifact pieces, knowing that he is going to bring the artifact right to her in order to use it, saving her the trouble of finding the pieces herself.
  • The old adventure game The Journeyman Project arguably counts. Eliot Sinclair, the xenophobic Big Bad, sends three robots back in time to prevent humanity from joining with a friendly alien race. The thing is, he helped invent the original time machine, so he knows exactly how time travel works in this universe. So, he rides to the roof of the player's apartment building long before the past is changed with a sniper rifle. If the plan works, so be it. If it doesn't work, he'll still be on the roof, with a perfect spot to kill the alien delegates...
    • He even has a backup plan to his backup plan, having rigged a nuclear bomb to destroy the entire city if his assassination attempt fails.
  • In one instance in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Michael (the player character) runs into Wakin of Team Snagem. Rather than engage in a Pokémon Battle, Wakin calls out his Gloom and has it use Sleep Powder - on Michael himself! He then proceeds to jack the kid's Snag Machine while he's out cold. Why in the entire history of the games the other criminal groups don't use this strategy still eludes many of us to this day.
    • While not a game, the villains in the manga do attack the Trainers directly quite often and are in general seen as much more of a competent threat to the protagonists.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, Ghetsis is this. He raised his son N to believe that Pokémon and humans need to be separated for the greater good of both. Then he put the kid in command of Team Plasma, a group of fanatics and idealists dedicated to doing exactly that. Why? Because he needed a "hero" to capture the legendary Pokémon with the power to do this so that he and his cohorts could be the only ones with Pokémon, which would allow him to take over Unova and from there Take Over the World.
      • And then in the sequels Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, he becomes the first villain in the main games to order his Pokémon to attack another trainer directly in an attempted homicide. Said trainer happens to be the Player Character, a Kid Hero.
  • One of the best examples of this is King K. Rool of Donkey Kong Country fame. He tries to trick the player into leaving or turning the console off by summoning a fake credits roll after you seemingly defeat him the first time.
    • Nintendo did this again in Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. When you talk to the "sign-loving Subrosian" after having destroyed 100 signposts, the game triggers a fake reset (makes it look like the game reset itself). It then goes back to normal after a few seconds.
  • LeChuck in Tales of Monkey Island, takes advantage of Guybrush's puzzle solving abilities to start a huge Xanatos Gambit, goes for beating up Guybrush rather than set up an overtly elaborate trap, and actually kills him when he gets the chance.
  • In Portal 2, the final boss Wheatley. During the final fight, he thinks of everything that you could use against him and stops it from happening. No portal surfaces, start the neurotoxin immediately, bomb shields for him, and bombs for throwing at you. The only reason he loses is because Chell had to reactivate the gel flows in the lower levels, one of which includes Conversion Gel to make portal surfaces...and even if he loses, he still manages to trap the Stalemate Button so you can't switch him out with G La DOS in case he does lose. What finally defeats him is his lack of knowledge of the main ingredient of Conversion Gel.
    • That, and not having GLaDOS' first hand knowledge that Chell won't give up and is very hard to kill.
    • Not to mention the fact that, while he explained every other part of his "Four Part Plan" to Chell, he purposefully left out Step Five.
    • Even earlier than that, Wheatley makes a big deal about this "big surprise" that's waiting for you if beat all of his test rooms, and then suddenly springs it in the second-to-last room. Even G La DOS admits that it was a pretty good trap.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII the Fal'Cie take advantage of the strength of humanity instead of underestimating it like most villains. They very nearly win because of it.
    • You could argue that the Fal'Cie are the most genre savvy villains in the series. Usually, the crystals give the heroes super powers to save the world from the cosmic horror from another dimension. In FFXIII, the Fal'Cie, who I guess ARE crystals, give you super powers to DESTROY the world in order to force the cosmic entity to come back from the other dimension. Basically, they take the entire premise of the first few FF games, turn it on its head, and come close to winning because of it. Unfortunately for them, they didn't bank on a second cosmic entity stepping in.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy Golbez shows an incredible amount of genre savvy, which he combines with equal parts Magnificent Bastard and Xanatos Speed Roulette. He knows that a group of heroes with a dream are bound to overcome obstacles (probably because all of his allies lost to do-gooders with dreams), so he 1) Convinces Kain to buy him time and talks him into talking the Warrior into not messing things up, 2) plants the Wild Rose on Firion/Laguna to get them rolling the whole dream thing, 3) CONVINCES COSMOS to do a heroic sacrifice necessary for the plan to work (and to get God to sympathize with their side) 4) Stalls Ex-Death long enough for Kain to help Lightning and co. seal off the rift, so no more endless horde of monsters can spawn (might have been part of his plan), and 5) Actively encourages the heroes, such as Cecil and the Onion Knight on their quests to get the crystals. Ultimately, no one does more for the heroes to save them than Golbez.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Agatio proves surprisingly Genre Savvy for someone Alex (and Nintendo) had assumed was Dumb Muscle. He plays along with Alex to intimidate Felix's party into cooperating with them, because it also plays into his plans to Take Over the World once the Lighthouses are lit. He sets a trap to split Isaac's party at Jupiter Lighthouse (because four on two isn't fair, and Mia has a type advantage), and similarly catches Felix without his entire group at hand. His downfall is the involvement of a completely unknown party, the Wise One, and half the player characters didn't know about that.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the last DLC, Lonesome Road, features Ulysses, the Player's rival. He spends the entire DLC watching the Courier cross the Divide from unreachable safe vantage points and when the confrontation comes, is well aware he'll probably die, so he brings regerating Eyebots that heal him, repair his weapons and armor, and attack you and lets the local pyschopath enemies, the Marked Men, into the arena to make sure that even though he'll probably die, so will the Courier.
    • He's also clever enough to start the nuke launch before you even enter the final area to confront him, because he expects you'll defeat him one way or the other. That way, his plan to nuke the Long 15 will proceed without him. By Talking the Monster to Death, he's even around to lampshade that particular piece of savvy planning directly afterwards, even as he helps you foil it.
  • This backfires on Alduin in the opening of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He tries to kill the Dragonborn right off the bat. Unfortunately for Alduin, as the event he was interrupting was the Dragonborn's(unjust) execution. Later on, during a second confrontation with the Dragonborn, he refuses to stick around and leaves his powerful, newly-resurrected minion to deal with him/her because he has more important things to do, like reviving more dragons. This also backfires; all it does is give the Dragonborn another dragon soul to snack on. For the most part, though, he in Genre Savvy enough to avoid the Dragonborn direclty and keep resurrecting his draconic soldiers; as the game's main quest progresses more and more dragons begin to appear, signifying that Alduin is winning simply because The Hero can't be everywhere at once to stop him from expanding his army.
  • The AI of Fire Emblem games has gotten Dangerously Genre Savvy around Jugdral. While they still do march one by one to their deaths, they basically have become Spiteful AI and don't care so much about winning so much as making you lose or Rage Quit and restart the mission. The AI knows you're going to go for 100% survival, and will attempt to kill one character to force you to Rage Quit. This leads to some interesting quirks like seeing enemies walk right past the lord at full health simply to attack the White Mage or Spoony Bard the player character accidentally left undefended, or intentionally sending characters one by one to their deaths by a character's counter-attacks specifically to weaken them for another unit to kill them.
  • In Lunar Silver Star Harmony, Ghaleon actually demonstrates some of this in the final fight. Instead of randomly picking a target or going for the person closest to him, who does he go for first? He goes right for Jessica or uses powerful attacks that hit everybody and then picks on a low-health target like Nash or MIA while you're licking your wounds the next turn.
  • Barbatos in Tales of Destiny 2 is actually this when you fight him. He is well aware that in Destiny 2, Magic is actually the best way to deal damage, so he starts countering magic attacks used against him, yells at the player for healing, and what happens if you use an item? He charges over to the person who used it (knocking down everyone in his path), and shouts "NO. ITEMS. EVEEEERRRRRRRR!" and beats them up. The ensuing beat-up likely undoes any effect that the item may have had on you.
    • And in the Tales of Destiny remake, what happens if you set all the battle to "Auto" and run around in circles so you can get easy experience without actually beating the game? Eventually, Barbatos shows up and slaughters you. IF you're on the easiest mode? He kills you in one hit.
  • For that matter, you can probably consider a lot of Artificial Brilliance this trope - sometimes the AI intentionally does smart things, or is programmed to respond to the way the player uses his tactics.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Elan: Give me the antitoxin! I know you have one!
Kubota: Twelve Gods, why would I be carrying the antitoxin on my actual person? I drank it twenty minutes ago, it will be effective for the rest of the hour.

    • This is also a sly reference to how antitoxin works in the tabletop game. Antitoxin doesn't act as a magic cure: it just increases your resistance to poison and ability to shake it off. Thus, it's most effective to take antitoxin before you get poisoned in the first place.
    • Also V when he/she waxes off Kubota to get rid of any distractions later on.
    • Tarquin tops them all by deducing the fact that he MUST be able to run an evil empire successfully due to the fact that heroes need something to thwart. From #763:

Tarquin: You're a bard, right? How many stories have you heard in which a single hero vanquishes a wicked empire?
Elan: I don't know... dozens, I guess.
Tarquin: What is the one thing they all have in common? The one fact they all share?
Elan: The hero always wins!
Tarquin: Arguable. No, the one thing they all have in common is this: the wicked empire exists. It has existed for some time, and will continue to exist if no heroes intervene. Don't you see, Elan? The rules of drama to which you subscribe as a bard tell us that such tyrannies can exist -- indeed, must exist -- and persist long enough that no one realistically thinks that they can be defeated. Else, where's the drama in a hero opposing them? And if such kingdoms are necessary, why shouldn't I rule one?

    • He takes it even further when he points out that if Elan defeats him, it will be the greatest story ever and he'll become a legend, making it clear to Elan that no matter whether he's overthrown or not, Tarquin wins.

Tarquin:That's the beauty of it all, my son. If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.

Mrs. Claus: You waste time toying with me while someone else is toying with you! You think you're invulnerable, but ...
Bun-bun: Here's where you'd start playing head games with me, but ...
(Bun-bun's Living Shadow hurls Mrs. Claus into the air)
Bun-bun: Sorry, we accidentally launched you into orbit!

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has 80s action movie star Frans Rayner, who pretty much invented all ninja movie tropes since they were based on his true story. However, he doesn't quite get it until he comes back in the Army of One story, and invokes the Inverse Ninja Law by cloning the Doctor for a one-on-one-hundred fight.

Frans: I remember... When you stormed my mansion, and you alone cut through my army of ninjas... And I kept hearing... "He's just one man! He's just one man!" I didn't realize it until then, but that was how I defeated your people in the 80s. I was just one man.

    • Of course, Doc realized what Frans was doing, and switched sides, thus dividing the ninjutsu between them again.
  • Jack Noir of Homestuck is normally just supposed to be The Dragon to the King and Queen within the game of Sburb. His ambition however, drives him to deliberately break the rules and then proceeds to singlehandedly carve a bloody swath across the battlefield as well as Prospit itself, instead of sitting back and letting the normal order of the chess war proceed. Word of God states this is why he's the most dangerous character of the series; he's willing to cheat to achieve his goals.
    • Saying that, he's not above making the odd massive Evil Overlord List error... like honouring his bargain with PM.
      • Note that this is a literal case of Genre Blindness. Jack assumed that his bargain (giving the Uber Bunny to PM) would still work out in favor, believing that the Uber Bunny would be obedient to him if he ever crossed paths with it again. This fails due to Jack, being a boss character, not being familiar with how RPG equipment works.
  • Truck Bearing Kibble (which is very much like Perry Bible Fellowship in its humor) has this cartoon which either features a puppeteer very dedicated to his art, or a puppet who knows that to Take a Third Option is sometimes the better choice.
  • Akuma TH's version of Robotnik wised up and built a mech with an armored cockpit, preventing the heroes from attacking the usual weak point. Unfortunately, he forgot to take precautions against Shadow simply teleporting into the cockpit with Chaos Control. The Undertaker (No, not that one) has this occasionally as well—when he invents an attack that homes in on and chases down a specific target, he designs it so that it will simply pass through him if the target tries to return it to sender. Unfortunately, they have their moments of Genre Blindness as well.
  • It's the entire premise of Erfworld, where a gamer geek gets sucked into a reality where the laws of nature seem to have been replaced by fantasy wargame rules. Once he gets the rules figured out, his total disregard for conventional goals and his penchant for being a Rules Lawyer make him the finest general in the land. For example, early on, Parson needs to find a way to keep Ansom's approaching army from besieging Parson's city. Parson has a much smaller army, so he sends his units to attack just Ansom's siege engines and then retreat. Parson knows that because his side keeps retreating, Ansom will assume he's winning, and therefore won't pay much attention to his minor losses. By the time he realizes what's happening, his siege engines have been decimated, seriously hurting his chances of taking Parson's city by force.
  • Mynd from Bob and George started out with jokes being made at his expense (he started out lampshading his introductionary role in the comic and looking for a light switch in the dark) and having not read the comic, but when he goes full tilt on his attack on the Mega Man universe, he becomes a savvy Knight of Cerebus. In fact, the author intended to have Mynd spend a week finally going on an Archive Binge on the comic, culminating with his discovery of the Evil Overlord List.
  • In Adventurers! the party encounters this enemy after setting themselves up for the battle with the boss of the Ice Cave.
  • Gort the Villain Protagonist of Darken fame, decides, instead of playing it like a good villain should, that he would just get on of this assassin allies to stab the hero in the back whilst he hero is lecturing his nemesis.
  • Vole the Ex-Jager of Girl Genius just proved himself to be an example of the trope. Also, Smarter than the Average Jagermonster, when he told Gil and Tarvek, currently surrounded by motion detecting death clanks, that if one of them jumps up to distract the FMADDs,[1] the other might be able to get away in time to rescue Agatha. Needless to say, they both tried to make the sacrifice.

Tarvek "You know, perhaps we should have discussed this."

    • Ironically, he makes a big mistake right afterwards. Namely, he forgets the number one rule for surviving in Girl Genius: do not make a Spark angry. Ever. And then pissing off Gilgamesh of all people...
  • In Final Blasphemy, Dr. Wily employs several robot clones of himself, has the robots attack Jeremy all at once, catches him off-guard with hidden battle armor under his labcoat, equips said armor with protection in case of a Groin Attack, and also employs at least one human clone. When Jeremy kills the latter, it makes him a murderer.
  • Jigsaw of Zodiac Zodiac qualifies. What fool would keep such a weakness exposed ? indeed.
  • In Spinnerette, the evil drider Spinnerette (they used to compete over who should be entitled to use the name) reveals that she figured out easily Heather's identity through pure deduction.

Evil Spinnerette: It was easy enough to find you. Your ridiculous dialogue as Spinnerette made it clear you were a comic book fan. I had my minions stalk the local comic book stores, looking for a short girl with a disguise that could hide six arms.
Female Minion: Once we overheard you mention Dominic Deegan, we knew a fake bullying would easily gain your trust.
Male Minion: And seeing the way you and Mecha Maid interact, we figure a little girl-on-girl action wouldn't hurt.

  • In Minion Comics, Von Gernsbach is challenged to reveal his evil plans, and retorts by asking if he should do this because "you will die soon, and so I spill all the plans, and then there is the escaping and the foiling?" He reveals his plans anyway, because "the ranting. The ranting, it is my greatest love."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Evil Overlord List
  • Los Hermanos, a member of the Global Guardians, is Dangerously Genre Savvy. He's the hero who notes that if there's no body, there's no villain death, or mentions the fact that sending the villains to prison never works. Everyone around him complains about his "pessimism", but he's never been wrong yet.
    • Simon Bar Sinister and Penny Dreadful, two villains from the same setting, never put captured heroes into deathtraps. They simply whip out the guns and start blasting.
  • Dr. Diabolik of the Whateley Universe. He builds plans which actually depend on the hero (apparently) winning while he (supposedly) gloats. He treats his minions extremely well and always rescues them if they get caught: as a result he is hated by Interpol because his mooks never turn traitor. He has two children: he treats them very well. He is fully aware of the cost of running a large villainous organization and always makes sure his attacks provide himself and his staff with enough loot. He has a robotic arm, but he no longer wears clothing which lets it show, because someone could spot it and use that knowledge against him. He never confronts the superheroes directly, and has never been caught.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Long Feng: You have beaten me at my own game.
Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.

  • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has a Big Bad named Amon. By the end of episode four, he has Korra completely at his mercy, psychologically terrified of him, and he could easily kill her if he wanted to. Why doesn't he do so? Because he knows that doing so will make her a martyr, and it will inspire people to bring him down. He's saving her for last, and he makes sure that she (and the viewers) know it.
    • Also, how does he put her at his mercy? Rather than show up to face her alone like she thought he would, he shows up with about two dozen chi-blockers who ambush her from the dark and quickly beat her into submission.
    • Amon is also smart enough to only publicly attack people who have it coming to them. For example, the first two victims of his bending-removal abilities are a mafia-style crime lord named Lightning Bolt Zolt - whose powers are exactly what you think they are - and a pro-bending team that didn't even try to hide the fact that they cheated their way to the top by paying off the refs.
    • Then we have Sato, who in his Face Heel Turn, created an army of Mechas for Amon, making sure that they were Metalbender proof. He also led Tenzin, Lin, and Korra into a trap. This led to putting up a solid platinum wall, which was also Metalbender proof.
      • Sadly for him, he didn't count on his daughter Asami refusing to join him, which ended in a temporary setback for him.
  • In the animated series of Disney's Aladdin, the foolish and incredibly Genre Blind villain Abis Mal was partnered with an assistant named Haroud who was incredibly Genre Savvy, but his intelligent suggestions were usually shot down by his boss' hubris and lack of foresight.
    • This is part of Mozenrath's Character Development. He starts out Savvy enough to quickly learn what exactly Aladdin will or won't risk his life for, yet he's still prone to Evil Gloating, Death Traps and not foreseeing that another villain might double cross him. It doesn't take long though before he subverts the classic tale by kidnapping the hero instead of the princess, and he knows enough about magic to get the drop on the heroes time after time. He also realises that the heroes won't just hand over Genie for Aladdin's life, so he lures them to where his secret weapon is stored. In a later episode he also points out how he could be gloating, but chooses not to, manages to foresee Aladdin's sneak attack after he was told that the hero was dead and proceeds to kick their asses, one after the other. They only won that time because they had additional help.
  • Shego in Kim Possible. She knows most of the flaws of Dr. Drakken's plans (while mocking him), she insults the Evil Laugh, she'd take the direct approach. Probably because she was once a hero herself. Interestingly, when she finally uses this Genre Savvy in A Sitch In Time, she manages to take over the world. She only loses because she lost her Genre Savvy during the process and doesn't kill Kim immediately when she has the chance.
    • "If the chasm is bottomless, how can you fill it with water?" "IT'S VERY, VERY DEEP ALRIGHT?!"
    • In "Rufus in Show": Falsetto Jones puts Kim and Ron in a Death Trap... and sticks around to watch it work! (He may still be a Harmless Villain, but even Kim warns him how dire a breach of tradition this is.)
    • Ron was also this both times when he was accidentally turned evil. So much so that he knew well enough to scan for the frequency of Kim's kimmunicator as well as set up a decoy plan to distract her from his real goal. The second time, he mocked another villain for not realizing the full potential of her plan: if you can turn people evil with a ray, the very first person at whom that ray should be pointed is the hero.
      • To said villain's credit, she didn't realize that the show's hero was Kim, not Hego.
  • The Venture Brothers: The Monarch's whole character is his conflict and frustration between his dangerous genre savvyness and his very literal Contractual Genre Blindness. However, everyone else suffers from Contractual Genre Blindness, and the one enemy that didn't (Jonas Venture Jr.) thoroughly kicked his ass (and was just going to kill him) before being informed about guild rules and how a man with a private army with wings and a giant flying cocoon would be extremely dangerous if he ever got tired of being defeated too quickly and started committing real crimes.
    • Monarch's henchmen #21 and #24 have been through so many catastrophic failures in the past and lived to learn from them that they have become practically indestructible. They brag about this fact to henchman #1 while on a mission to Spiderskull Island, explaining in detail every single trope and convention that #1 blindly leaps into and how horribly he will die as a result while they walk away unscathed. They are right of course, correctly predicting that he gets slaughtered by Brock Sampson while they use the oldest trick in the book to avoid him, pretending to be mannequins in the Jonas Venture museum exhibition room and later commenting how cliche that was.
      • This is best explained by 21 and 24 themselves:

Henchman 21: You still don't get it. 24 and I have been on, like, a thousand missions. We've been shot at, dipped in acid...
Henchman 24: Brock Samson hit me with a car. Drove right into my kidney. Here I am!
Henchman 21: Yeah, we can walk across this floor and nothing would hit us. But then like this huge log would swing down and take your head off.
Henchman 24: Hey, here; what's your name?
Henchman 1: Henchman number 1.
Henchman 24: See, you are nameless.
Henchman 1: I'm Scott Hall, my name is Scott Hall. Okay?
Henchman 24: No, won't help.
Henchman 21: Yeah, now it's just pathos. So you're dying in my lap and I'm all "Scott! Scott don't you quit on us! Don't you dare!!"
Henchman 24: You just made your unavoidable death more pathetic.

  • In the Transformers franchise, Megatron in his many incarnations is known for putting up with traitors when any reasonable leader would have killed them off long ago. Megatron of Transformers Animated? His policy for Starscream is to shoot him on sight and have him thrown in a river. The tactic proved so effective that the writers had to make Starscream immortal to keep using him, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.
    • Upon finally getting control of Omega Supreme, he decides to not use the original superpowered autobot (since the techno mind control he use to control him is far from perfect) and instead clones him three times. He then lets Starscream knock him out of the way during the imprinting process specifically so Lugnut can then knock out Starscream and be imprinted on instead. That way the clones will be loyal rather than taking Megatron's independent nature.
    • Although he initially displayed some heavy Genre Blindness, Transformers Prime Megatron started display heavy amounts of this as the series went on. When Optimus Prime loses part of his memory in "One Shall Rise", Megatron took over measure he could to maintain the charade of not being evil, but knew still Optimus would see through it eventually. Unfortunately for him, it happened sooner than he planned due Starscream breaking onto his ship. Finds another Starscream in his ranks in the form of Airachnid, moves to have her killed immediately. Confronted by 4 clones of Starscream in "Aramad", he knows that they're all power hungry backstabbers like the original and tries to turn them on each other. It doesn't work, but it came close.
  • David Xanatos of Gargoyles usually refrains from underestimating his opponents, knows the actual capabilities of his Mooks, will not test the immortality potion on himself, refuses to seek revenge on his enemies as it's a 'sucker's game', and he never crosses the Moral Event Horizon that would keep the Gargoyles from working with him in extreme situations.
  • The Xs: The relationship between supervillain Glowface and right hand man Lorenzo Suave is the same as Abis Mal and his henchman Haroud in Aladdin: The Animated Series. He is much more intelligent than his master, who tends to hatch up idiotic schemes like building a giant ray gun to bring the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben to life in order for them to wrestle so he can sell tickets. In fact Lorenzo is actually is the most normal of the tv series' villains - when Glowface was sick as well as other S.N.A.F.U. agents, he proved to be a better villain than Glowface or any of the other members.
  • In Batman the Animated Series, crime boss Roland Daggett proves himself to be this in "Batgirl Returns":

Batgirl: So what are you going to do? Leave us over one of these vats with acid burning through the rope?
Daggett: (laughs) If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that you crime-fighting types are very resourceful. So, I'll just have my men shoot you and throw your bodies in the vats.

  • The Batman episode "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind" features an AI called the Digitally Advanced Villain Emulator (D.A.V.E), who was programmed to be Genre Savvy, his personality being a blend of various villains, and he anticipates and counters everything Batman throws at him. For example, after their first fight, Batman surreptitiously sticks a tracker on him. Their next encounter begins with this gem of a line:

D.A.V.E: "You probably want your tracking device back? Another predictable move."
Batman: "Then my next move won't surprise you either." (For the record, it didn't.)

You probably want to know how I uncovered your secret. It was simple, really. Using information readily available to anyone, I began by narrowing down my search through Gotham's population of 750, 832 males. Those not falling inside Batman's probable age of 18 to 36 were eliminated. Medical records revealed body type matches. Tax records indicated those who possess the wealth and resources to create his technology. But the true key to the puzzle was deducing who of the remaining candidates had motive to become the Batman. After all, every great hero must have an origin. And when Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind put it all together, the answer was obvious; Bruce Wayne, son of the late Thomas and Martha Wayne.

  • Gibbs in Titan Maximum has one such moment at the end of the first season. When the heroes manage to deactivate the timer for his bomb and beat him up, Gibbs just remote-detonates the thing and escapes while they're celebrating.

Gibbs: "Enjoy your teammate friendship asslickin' kum-ba-ya bullshit while I just go ahead and win."

    • This is even more impressive because the bomb was located inside an energy beam that rendered it virtually inaccessible. The bomb and method of placement were both specially built specifically so it could survive inside the beam. It would have been very easy for Gibbs to assume the bomb would not have been deactivatable.
  • Psycho of Toxic Crusaders has the uncanny ability to perfectly predict what will happen later in the episode, every single episode. Of course, his boss always refuses to believe him.
  • Tombstone from The Spectacular Spider-Man has his business partners create members of Spidey's Rogues Gallery and release them to wreak havok. This forces Spider-Man to ignore his extremely profitable empire of regular criminals in order to deal with the latest costumed freak after his head. Tombstone outlines this entire plan to the titular hero while pummeling him/offering him a job. He then states, quite coldly, that his response doesn't matter as he'll turn a profit either way.
    • Norman Osborn outdoes Tombstone, being the one to dethrone him. Plus, there's the part where he tricks Spidey into thinking that his son Harry is the Green Goblin by faking a limp, dressing his son Harry (who has been taking the Goblin formula as Spidey knows well) as the Goblin, and then breaks his son's leg to make it look like the Goblin Spidey's been fighting all this time was Harry. He also hires the Chameleon to impersonate him so he has an alibi. In the penultimate episode, after his identity has been outed, he fakes his own death in a case of Know When to Fold'Em.
    • Heck, even Rhino has his moments - he immediately deduces that if Peter Parker is always getting photos of Spider-Man, they must have some sort of connection and the best way to get latter is through former. And he used one of Spidey's own tactics against him.
  • Contrary to the page quote, the Sinister Six in Spider-Man: The Animated Series actually bother to attack Spidey together. While he's depowered. It isn't much fun for him.
  • The Brain for most of his appearances as Teen Titans Season Five's Big Bad- in the opening two-parter, he loses only because Beast Boy is Crazy Awesome and therefore unpredictable; in subsequent episodes he sharpens his game and ends up predicting his enemies' moves like clockwork. Unfortunately for him, he suddenly becomes Genre Blind in the final episode, forgetting to have his minions check for bodies or considering that they might fall prey to the Conservation of Ninjitsu until it was too late.
    • He also, once more, fell victim to Beast Boy's Crazy Awesome as well at that point.
  • The Lich from Adventure Time. There's a reason It Only Works Once on him: he goes out of his way to prevent you from using the same thing on him twice. He was also smart enough to avoid a direct fight with Finn and Jake until he had the chance to regain at least some of his strength.
  • The Mega Man cartoon had a couple instances of this. In "The Big Shake", Wily discovered Light and Megaman were working on a device to stop his earthquake machine. His response was to direct a maximum-powered earthquake directly at Light's lab in an attempt to kill them all, or at the very least wreck the machine.
    • In "Campus Commandos", Protoman shot Mega's Arm Cannon while he was distracted, breaking it for about half the episode.
    • In "Future Shock", Wily is aware that if Megaman makes it to the time machine, his conquest of the future will end. So he orders Protoman to rig it to explode.
    • Pharaoh Man doesn't stand around while Mega Man's doing what he does best, and after he spouts his catchphrase, Pharaoh Man punches him.
    • A couple of Wily's death traps were fairly genre-savvy; the robots have attempted to kill Mega while he's weakened or unconscious, and in "Brain Bots" Megaman was handcuffed to the floor as a spiked ceiling descended on him.
    • This occurrence in "Robo-Spider":

Wily: I've got to turn up the power... Wait, what am I worrying about? There's no way Megaman can stop my Robo-Spider!
*pause*
Wily: I'm not taking any chances. *turns up power*

    • Upon discovering Dr. Light made an antidote to his retrograde virus in "Robosaur Park", Wily immediately decides to destroy it. After Mega intervenes and they play keep-away with the antidote, it ends up back in Wily's hands. Wily then hops in the Skullker to fly away from the heroes, and destroy the antidote someplace where they can't interfere.
  • Thus far, the majority of the villains in Young Justice have been very pragmatic, manipulative, and exceedingly Genre Savvy. Doctor Desmond immediately realized the threat represented by the team of Meddling Kids and took steps to have them copied and eliminated. His only mistake was miscalculating how much free will the Superboy clone and the rest of his minions had. His employers, the Light, take it the next level and constantly use the League's heroics and interference to their own advantage. Of course, what do you expect from villains created by Greg Weisman?
  • In The Fairly Odd Parents episode 'Emotion Commotion', Timmy becomes this when he wishes he had no emotions, even going as far as to pointing out that they couldn't build a boat in Gilligan's Island because it would end the series. Also Crocker can be this from time to time, mainly in the specials.
  • Technus in Danny Phantom, who was known for his Genre Blindness, surprisingly became this in his third appearance when he refused to shout out his plan, even though he briefly went back into it towards the end of the episode. In his fourth main appearance, his savviness improved so much that he knew to use Danny's feelings for Valerie to distract him while he attempted to gain access to a satellite which would allow him to control every machine on the planet, send Valerie's suit under his control after him so that when he wasted it, it would hurt Valerie, and even give Valerie a new, improved suit so that she could keep him busy while he took control of all technology. His only mistake was not realizing how upset Danny would be for inadvertently hurting Valerie.
  • Discord of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is well aware that in Equestria The Power of Friendship is literally magic, and is equally well prepared. After stealing the Elements of Harmony, the only magic capable of defeating him, he separates the mane six and uses mind games to corrupt five of them into the antithesis of their Element, breaking their connection to the Elements of Harmony to render them useless. And yet when Fluttershy proves too resistant he skips the games and corrupts her with brute force magic instead, showing that the games are just for fun and he's perfectly willing to break his own rules and Mind Rape his enemies into submission if necessary.
    • Afterwards, he can't simply "discordate" Twilight Sparkle, as her Element ("the most powerful and elusive Element: Magic" in his own words) doesn't have an obvious opposite. So he... does nothing. No, he just sits back and watches as the torment from her twisted friends, the chaos inflicted on Ponyville, and the Elements of Harmony failing to activate drives her off the Despair Event Horizon, breaking all by herself. Ultimately, the only thing he did wrong was being over-confident (and Celestia having a backup plan).
    • Celestia herself is pretty damn Genre Savvy. Aforementioned plan was only implemented long after Discord thought he won, and didn't necessitate her being anywhere near the ponies, thus he wouldn't be paying any attention until it was too late. Furthermore, that plan was only possible because of events she set in motion long before to stop a different Sealed Evil in a Can (who she knew was going to escape and had a plan for that eventuality already prepared). You don't be the God Empress for a thousand years without learning a thing or two.
    • The Power of Love is almost as potent as The Power of Friendship in Equestria, so along come the changelings, beings who feed on love to make them very powerful. Their queen not only impersonates a Love Goddess so she receives a lot of love, but organises their invasion to coincide with a wedding, ensuring that there is plenty of love going around on which to feast. As she sings herself: "This day is going to be perfect~".
  • The Garden Snake from American Dad rigs an entire building to explode, and in order to keep everyone inside, he rigs every single possible exit he can imagine, which covers a lot of ground. He also set the explosives on a locked timer so the CIA wouldn't be able to kill him. Otherwise they'd be left with no way to stop the bomb. He also kept the CIA busy with false demands, having no real intent of stopping his plan for whatever reason. He explains that, since his religion forbids so many other forms of entertainment, he's had a lot of time to watch movies and learn from the mistakes other fictional terrorists make.
  • Parodied in an episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Grounder, who is usally an idiot, has become super smart resulting in him becoming very Genre Savvy and he ends up nearly defeating Sonic once and for all. What ultimately foils his plan? His fellow mook Scratch, who is too Genre Blind to relize that he'll just screw up everything, ruins Grounder's entire plan in a half-assed attempt to help out. He does this despite the fact that the whole time Grounder is flat out yelling at him not to get involved and is repeatedly telling Scratch he dosen't need any help.
  • XANA from Code Lyoko was occasionnally Genre Blind, but would usually be quick to learn from his mistakes, and even before that he would display surprising amount of genre savvyness occasionally.

Notes

  1. Fun-Sized Mobile Agony and Death Dispensers