Created By: SpookyMaskDecember 1, 2011 Last Edited By: SpookyMaskJanuary 13, 2013

Weakest of the Strong

Hahaha! You\'ve just barely beaten me, but I am just the weakest member in [x]!

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The tendency of heroes facing a powerful enemy belonging to some organization then after villain is barely defeated, he claims that he was only weakest member in the group. Purpose seems to be to make villain group seem powerful by having even their weakest members be strong.

Sometimes its not the member itself who say they were the weakest, but the stronger members. Also, member doesn't need to be always defeated, its possible for him to mock the heroes after defeating them with this.

Kinda similar to Sorting Algorithmof Evil I guess, though this is of the cliche for them to state it. Also similar to Those Were Only Their Scouts.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • December 1, 2011
    HandsomeRob
    In Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple, Tanimoto Natsu reveals that Fortuna, the master that had taken nearly the entirety of the Shinpaku Alliance to beat (with most of them badly injured sans Tanimoto himself) was on the low end of the master scale, basically a weakling compared to those who would come later.
  • December 1, 2011
    dalek955
  • January 11, 2013
    Thecommander236
    This different from Those Were Only Their Scouts because there are several series that have a ranking system that only the best of the best can even be in. Either this is the top (Num) or everyone has a number or rank but only the S(Num) are the top of the top.
  • January 11, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    I think this qualifies as an inversion and a subversion: Richard Adams's book Watership Down was made into an animated feature in 1978. The villain, the powerful and power-mad General Woundwort, has invaded the burrows of Watership Down. There, he encounters and battles Bigwig to a blood-soaked stalemate. Woundwort inquires why Bigwig is so valiantly defending mere females. Bigwig replies that he's obeying his chief. Woundwort is aghast; he thought Bigwig was the Chief rabbit of Watership Down. The implication is that Woundwort is getting ripped up by a sentry, and he will next face a bigger, stronger, perfectly intact rabbit. The subversion is that Hazel is the Chief Rabbit, and Hazel is much smaller and weaker than Bigwig.
  • January 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... who gave this a hat?
  • January 12, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    "This different from Those Were Only Their Scouts because there are several series that have a ranking system that only the best of the best can even be in."

    What?
  • January 12, 2013
    StarSword
    Between Those Were Only Their Scouts and the Sorting Algorithm Of Evil, I think we have this covered. Dehatting and moving to discard.
  • January 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Agreed. This is really redundant.
  • January 12, 2013
    Thecommander236
    "What?"

    Okay, an example then.

    In TOME, the server of the game world was made by six administrators. As it turns out, defeating an admin meant that, by tradition, you had to fight each admin in order of strength. This wasn't because the strongest was the leader, rather it was just to add excitement to the tradition or some other non-sense. Technically, it wasn't Those Were Only Their Scouts because the second strongest one was the owner of the company, but as admins they all had equal power in the game. It also wasn't Sorting Algorithm Of Evil because they were admins of a videogame who were just doing their job.
  • January 12, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    Not sure I completely understand that distinction between "strength" and "power" but it seems irrelevant. Those Were Only Their Scouts is not restricted to literal scouts, and that is totally consistent with Sorting Algorithm Of Evil ("Each major enemy or group of enemies is more powerful than the last") and possibly a whiff of Rule Of Escalating Threat. Tropes Are Flexible.

    Besides, even if it were a slam-dunk, one example is not convincing. I dimly understand you mean "least of the elite" but that is just starting on a higher rung of the SAoE ladder isn't it?
  • January 12, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Fighting strength and power/influence over people. For example, Nave Seals are strong fighters. The President is a powerful man.

    I was about to say that each of the heroes in those TOME fights were all one equal level as well but that isn't true.

    Any who, you are right I think this should be deleted and I'll do that before I go to bed (I want to give someone a chance to prove us wrong). The only thing I'm worried about is that in Sorting Algorithm Of Evil, the words "hero", "neutral", and "gray" never come up. Again, I'm not sure my TOME example belongs in that trope. Maybe we need to expand it to include it as well as my other example from Armored Core.
  • January 12, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    Power in the sense of influence does not seem relevant.
  • January 12, 2013
    Thecommander236
    To Sorting Algorithm Of Evil, yes, but to Those Were Only Their Scouts... The point I'm trying to is that non-villainous fighters are not included in the description of Sorting Algorithm Of Evil and Rule Of Escalating Threat has a grand total of... less than a dozen tropes.... Close the folders and search my keywords up there. Not once does it say that the "enemy" can be not evil. The first sentence of the trope sums it up well.

    Villains will appear in strictly ascending order by menace.
  • January 13, 2013
    TheHandle
    I think this trope shows promise. It's always a nasty surprise when the first bad guy you beat at great expense turns out to be the lest of the opponents you'll be facing. It's a specific form of Yank The Dogs Chain, and a cheap way of causing maximum drama in the first fight. It's also an easy way for a writer of serials not to bother to come up with the entire roster of opponents; it buys them creative time, to think up stuff and to test the waters.
  • January 13, 2013
    Thecommander236
    But is it Sorting Algorithm Of Evil? And if the characters your fighting aren't evil (maybe you are a Villain Protagonist)?

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