Created By: Eddy1215 on September 30, 2013 Last Edited By: Eddy1215 on January 27, 2016
Troped

Mook Depletion

A villain finds he has completely run out of minions

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captainmarkle taking over this draft


Needs Examples, Needs a Better Description

Sometimes, a villain's biggest problem is that his forces are diminished to the point where they can't stand up to the hero. Sometimes this is simply because the hero is such a Badass that their tactics and training don't help the mooks one iota. Most often, however, it's a side effect of Shoot the Messenger, You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, Zerg Rush and You Have Failed Me. The villain may think We Have Reserves each time he kills someone, only to find out in the end he used his reserves up. Usually the villain has a terrible case of Genre Blindness to allow this to happen.

It can also result from a case of Screw This, I'm Out of Here! which steams from the Mooks having enough of the Bad Boss routine or because they're not getting enough pay, if they're getting any at all. Alternatively, the Big Bad may simply be cut off from reinforcements and lack the means to get them to help.

This trope also applies when a villain is too stupid to not leave behind a platoon of guards when he sends his men into battle, thus leaving his base vulnerable to direct attacks.

Can be avoided if villain has a Mook Maker, unless it is destroyed by the heroes.


Examples

Comic Book
  • Parodied in Les Innommables: Colonel Lychee, the dog-man and a random sailor go ashore to bury some valuable bones. The Colonel shoots the sailor, and tells the angry-looking dog-man that this way they won't have to worry about the sailor blabbing. The dog-man then tells him that they could just as easily have killed him onboard their ship, now they'll have to row themselves back.

Film
  • In The Ten Commandments Rameses sends his entire army after Moses and the departing Israelites only to be told that they were all killed when the Red Sea parted, and then un-parted. The final shot of him is on his throne, silently contemplating how he can rule his country with no army to back him up.

Literature
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels states that there was a point during Grand Admiral Thrawn's tenure as Imperial high commander where he realized the Empire's TIE Interceptor losses had gotten to the point where they couldn't be considered expendable anymore, and he began having them equipped with Deflector Shields.
    • The Hand of Thrawn duology starts with Supreme Commander Gilad Pellaeon (Thrawn's former flag captain and second-in-command) deciding to sue for peace with the New Republic after a test of a new weapon system for fighting while cloaked fails miserably. He comments that this point the Empire is down to one shipyard that can't even keep up with the demand for fighters, never mind capital ships, and they're having to buy the former from outside contractors.
    • About two-thirds of the way through the New Jedi Order series, there's a high-level strategy meeting for the Yuuzhan Vong high command. Supreme Overlord Shimmra chews out his warmasters for their prior We Have Reserves attitude: with the Galactic Alliance just having destroyed a major Yuuzhan Vong fleet to kill a mid-level general, they now have no strategic reserve left, meaning not only can they no longer advance, they don't have enough troops left to hold their conquests. This is ultimately one of the factors that costs them the war.
  • In the Revenge of the Sith novelization, General Grievous invokes You Have Failed Me every time one of his bridge officers slips up. Towards the end of the space battle, he kills one more then realizes he's just finished off the last of his bridge crew.
  • In The Elusive Bride by Stephanie Laurens, Major Gareth Hamilton is pursued across the Middle East and Mediterranean by the fanatical "Uncle", a commander of the Black Cobra cult, who has hundreds if not thousands of mooks at his disposal. But due to Hamilton's skill at enlisting allies, by the time the chase reaches the Channel coast of France, Uncle has suffered the loss of his entire army; his sole surviving lieutenant assassinates him for incompetence.

Live Action TV
  • A Horrible Histories song about Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, suggested that he liked to do this so he wouldn't have to share his treasure with so many people, and that it led to his downfall when he was boarded and didn't have anyone left to help defend.
  • In the three part Season Finale of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Trakeena equips her Sting Weavers with bombs as part of her final attack on Terra Venture. The kamikaze tactics succeed in destroying two of the Rangers' Megazords, but as a result, Trakeena loses her entire army.

Video Games
  • This happens in Dead Space 3. By the third act Isaac has killed so many Unitologist cultists (with lots of deliciously ironic help from series staple baddies the Necromorphs) that when cult leader Jacob Danik wants to throw more of them at Isaac to slow his pursuit, he's audibly desperate after being informed that he's almost run out. There's enough of them left to cause Isaac and Carver trouble in the following DLC (and judging by the number of severed limbs found, that must have been several dozen at least).
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the Space Pirate Commander battles you with a horde of Pirate Commandos. It is possible to kill all the Commandos until it's only him left, but doing so takes a while and is pretty tough, especially since he's the second to last non-Final Boss in the game.
  • Examples for Borderlands 2:
    • Towards the end of the main quest, the game forces you to fend off waves and waves of Hyperion loaders while Claptrap tries to open a gate (key word being tries). Eventually, the AI guarding the gate is forced to announce that its reinforcements have been depleted, at which point Claptrap finally opens the door. Played With in that more Hyperion loaders show up as you, Brick and Mordecai get closer to the Vault; so in this case mooks were available but Hyperion deemed further defence of the gate to be a waste of resources.
    • From the Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt DLC, Professor Nakayama grows increasingly more panicked as the Vault Hunters get closer to his ship and he realises that he's been Bullying a Dragon this whole time. He subsequently throws as many of the tribesmen in your direction in the desperate hope that it will work. When his final secret weapon is destroyed, he realises that he's entirely alone and has nothing left to defend himself with.
  • At the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the title organization has worn out the ranks of the Elder One's followers so thin that he has no choice but to attend the Final Battle with just himself and his dragon.
  • In Legacy Of The Void, the Big Bad Amon has brainwashed humans with zerg-protoss hybrids, fanatical protoss, and void-energy clones of regular units at his command. Over the course of the campaign, you remove his ability to reinforce the first two types (by destroying their production facilities and allying with their leader respectively).

Webcomic

Web Video
  • The Nostalgia Critic's review of Mad Max: Fury Road has Impractical Joe literally catapulting his fanboys after the critic and Curiosa until he realizes he only has the guitarist left. The guitarist plays a chord that sounds remarkably like "Uh-oh".

Western Animation
  • Invoked in one episode of Aladdin where after Abis Mal told his men who failed him they would be executed, Haroud warned that he wouldn't have any men left if he kept that up.
  • In one episode of Sheep in the Big City, the General kept dropping his men through Trap Doors. Eventually, when he and his right hand man were chasing the titular character in a helicopter, they lost control of it because the General had dropped the pilot through the trapdoor.
  • In the third Futurama movie, "Bender's Game", Momon insisted on all her forces being sent into battle, which left her lair defenseless for Fry to invade. It also didn't help that all her minions ended up getting killed. True, she won in the end, but the trope was still in affect.
  • In one Rocky and Bullwinkle "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment featuring King Midas, the king called for his board of directors to help him become popular with his subjects, and executing those who failed him. At the end of the cartoon, he has no directors left.
  • Transformers. This trope is probably the reason Megatron puts up with Starscream.
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Doof-2 sent his army of Mecha-Mooks into Dimension-1 to conquer its tri-state area. Unfortunately, instead of making more, he sent the ones that were enforcing his own tri-state area, enabling the resistance to make their move.
  • In Transformers Prime, Megatron's usual attitude is We Have Reserves with most of his Decepticon soldiers, and occasionally even his lieutenants. True to this trope, he even ends up killing plenty of them himself in mad attempts to finish off the Autobots. He is forced to rethink this attitude after a mutated C.Y.L.A.S. inadvertently starts a small-scale zombie infection, which kills off a number of troops and subsequently forces Soundwave to banish the Insecticons after they are brainwashed by Airachnid, depriving them of their Elite Mooks. When the Autobots finally make it to the Nemesis in the penultimate episode, Megatron concedes that they probably don't have enough troops to win.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • September 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Suggesting Depleted Mooks
  • September 30, 2013
    Eddy1215
    The suggestion doesn't seem to fit.
  • September 30, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    A Horrible Histories song about Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, suggested that he liked to do this so he wouldn't have to share his treasure with so many people, and that it led to his downfall when he was boarded and didn't have anyone left to help defend.
  • October 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Then just Running Out Of Mooks would fit. :P
  • October 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Dr Mc Ninja: One arc has him facing off against a man who keeps sending bad-guy Ninja after him, and killing any who screw up. When the Doctor comes knocking at his door, he finds out he killed all of his Mooks, leaving him defenseless.
  • October 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Uh, title needs an emphasis on how the bad guy loses his mooks because of his mistreatment, not because the heroes kill all of them. :P

    Karmic Mook Loss? (okay, my title's not that great)
  • October 1, 2013
    Eddy1215
    The villain killed off his own mooks. That's why he's in a pickle.
  • October 1, 2013
    Hodor
  • May 12, 2014
    DAN004
    Okay, I like the new title better.
  • May 12, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In a sketch on Monty Pythons Flying Circus a Very Important Film Executive fires all his Yes Men while brainstorming a movie starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day, so he's left alone with his crazy ideas.
    ...and then Rock Hudson says 'I'm a very rich film producer and I need a lobotomy' and then Doris Dog says 'I think you're very handsome and I'm going to take all my clothes off' and then Doris Dog turns into a yak and goes to the bathroom on David Lemming.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump?
  • January 5, 2015
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
      • The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels states that there was a point during Grand Admiral Thrawn's tenure as Imperial high commander where he realized the Empire's TIE Interceptor losses had gotten to the point where they couldn't be considered expendable anymore, and he began having them equipped with Deflector Shields.
      • The Hand Of Thrawn duology starts with Supreme Commander Gilad Pellaeon (Thrawn's former flag captain and second-in-command) deciding to sue for peace with the New Republic after a test of a new weapon system for fighting while cloaked fails miserably. He comments that this point the Empire is down to one shipyard that can't even keep up with the demand for fighters, never mind capital ships, and they're having to buy the former from outside contractors.
  • January 5, 2015
    Earnest
    Videogames

    • This happens in Dead Space 3. By the third act Isaac has killed so many Unitologist cultists (with lots of deliciously ironic help from series staple baddies the Necromorphs) that when cult leader Jacob Danik wants to throw more of them at Isaac to slow his pursuit, he's audibly desperate after being informed that he's almost run out. There's enough of them left to cause Isaac and Carver trouble in the following DLC (and judging by the number of severed limbs found, that must have been several dozen at least).
  • January 8, 2016
    Tuckerscreator
    • In Metroid Prime 3 Corruption, the Space Pirate Commander battles you with a horde of Pirate Commandos. It is possible to kill all the Commandos until it's only him left, but doing so takes a while and is pretty tough, especially since he's the second to last non-Final Boss in the game.
    • In the Revenge Of The Sith novelization, General Grievous invokes You Have Failed Me every time one of his bridge officers slips up. Towards the end of the space battle, he kills one more then realizes he's just finished off the last of his bridge crew.
  • January 8, 2016
    Chabal2
    Super Stupor: A villainess demands to know why her base hasn't been set up yet, only for the henchman to tell her that she killed all the others.
  • January 9, 2016
    Koveras
    • At the end of Dragon Age Inquisition, the title organization has worn out the ranks of the Elder One's followers so thin that he has no choice but to attend the Final Battle with just himself and his dragon.
  • January 9, 2016
    zarpaulus
    Webcomics
    • In Eight Bit Theater Kary killed all of her minions, basically because she got bored, and the last one of them (apparently her accountant) explained how she had no minions left. Before she killed him and decided to fight the "Light Warriors" herself.
  • January 10, 2016
    StarSword
    Star Wars Legends again:
    • About two-thirds of the way through the New Jedi Order series, there's a high-level strategy meeting for the Yuuzhan Vong high command. Supreme Overlord Shimmra chews out his warmasters for their prior We Have Reserves attitude: with the Galactic Alliance just having destroyed a major Yuuzhan Vong fleet to kill a mid-level general, they now have no strategic reserve left, meaning not only can they no longer advance, they don't have enough troops left to hold their conquests. This is ultimately one of the factors that costs them the war.
  • January 11, 2016
    Chabal2
    Legacy Of The Void: the Big Bad Amon has brainwashed humans with zerg-protoss hybrids, fanatical protoss, and void-energy clones of regular units at his command. Over the course of the campaign, you remove his ability to reinforce the first two types (by destroying their production facilities and allying with their leader respectively).
  • January 11, 2016
    randomsurfer
    Fractured Fairytale is a trope, don't link to it as if it is a work. What you want to do is:
  • January 12, 2016
    Arivne
  • January 12, 2016
    Chabal2
    Parodied in Les Innommables: Colonel Lychee, the dog-man and a random sailor go ashore to bury some valuable bones. The Colonel shoots the sailor, and tells the angry-looking dog-man that this way they won't have to worry about the sailor blabbing. The dog-man then tells him that they could just as easily have killed him onboard their ship, now they'll have to row themselves back.
  • January 12, 2016
    randomsurfer
    In The Ten Commandments Rameses sends his entire army after Moses and the departing Israelites only to be told that they were all killed when the Red Sea parted, and then un-parted. The final shot of him is on his throne, silently contemplating how he can rule his country with no army to back him up.
  • January 12, 2016
    captainmarkle
    Towards the end of the main quest for Borderlands 2, the game forces you to fend off waves and waves of Hyperion loaders while Claptrap tries to open a gate (key word being tries). Eventually, the AI guarding the gate is forced to announce that its reinforcements have been depleted, at which point Claptrap finally opens the door. Played With in that more Hyperion loaders show up as you get closer to the Vault.
  • January 23, 2016
    captainmarkle
    • In Transformers Prime, Megatron's usual attitude is We Have Reserves with most of his Decepticon soldiers, and occasionally even his lieutenants. He is forced to rethink this attitude after a mutated C.Y.L.A.S. inadvertently starts a small-scale zombie infection, which kills off a number of troops and subsequently forces Soundwave to banish the Insecticons after they are brainwashed by Airachnid, depriving them of their Elite Mooks.

    Anyone else interested or can I try and take it over?
  • January 23, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ go ahead son
  • January 24, 2016
    captainmarkle
    Added one or two more examples, also tried updating the description.
  • January 24, 2016
    Chabal2
    The Nostalgia Critic's review of Mad Max Fury Road has Impractical Joe literally catapulting his fanboys after the critic and Curiosa until he realizes he only has the guitarist left. The guitarist plays a chord that sounds remarkably like "Uh-oh".
  • January 24, 2016
    Lumpenprole
    In The Elusive Bride by Stephanie Laurens, Major Gareth Hamilton is pursued across the Middle East and Mediterranean by the fanatical "Uncle", a commander of the Black Cobra cult, who has hundreds if not thousands of mooks at his disposal. But due to Hamilton's skill at enlisting allies, by the time the chase reaches the Channel coast of France Uncle has suffered the loss of his entire army; his sole surviving lieutenant assassinates him for incompetency.
  • January 25, 2016
    captainmarkle
    Added examples and updated formatting.
  • January 27, 2016
    Eddy1215
    Sorry I haven't been keeping track. Usually, the tropes I suggest don't get a lot of attention. Any chance captainmarkle and I co-manage this trope?
  • January 27, 2016
    BURGINABC
    Well, maybe you could go ahead and launch it and let the whole wiki co-manage it? It looks to be pretty far along, and has five hats.
  • January 27, 2016
    Eddy1215
    ^Very well.
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