Untouchable Until Tagged
One lucky stab or shot leads to a death-ensuring dogpile.
Better Name

(permanent link) added: 2013-10-15 18:07:30 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2014-01-19 12:51:18)

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Has a name crowner, please vote! =3

"The more that hit you, the more that will."
Callista Ming, Star Wars: Children of the Jedi

This is when a hero, usually the hero or a top-billed friend of theirs, seems to be doing absolutely great in a fight — no enemy even so much as grazes them— only to suddenly get an unlucky stab/shot get through their defenses. And just like a Dutch dam, one little leak (of blood) is all it takes for their whole defense to come down and every enemy Mook to land dozens more attacks and quickly ending them.

Normally the initial attack was already lethal and everything else was just icing on the cake. Usually they still manage to kill a few dozen more enemies before being felled by injuries. This is often caused by enemies (either intentionally or through luck) exploiting the character's Achilles' Heel (whether Attack Its Weak Point, Kryptonite Factor or other things).

A couple of subversions are to have the character survive the onslaught and show up some time later, have the lucky hit cause a Minor Injury Overreaction, or become akin to a wrecking ball pin-cushion that's more destructive for having been put so close to death (without actually dying). An aversion is to merely have them take grazing damage throughout, or have lethal attacks kill instantly or post battle.

A side wide version of this trope that replaces the lone hero with a Mook Maker structure is a common occurrence in Real-Time Strategy games, especially in mods similar to DOTA or AOS. Units can keep slaughtering each other for all eternity, but losing a single unit-producing structure almost guarantees that side's doom as their defenses are swamped (unless they manage to balance out the numbers).

See also Keystone Army. Contrast Minor Injury Overreaction. Compare One-Hit-Point Wonder. Compare Injured Vulnerability, Lowered Monster Difficulty, and Not So Invincible After All.

Comic Books
  • At the end of the Marvel Comics Onslaught crisis the Hulk hits Onslaught so hard there's a tiny crack in his armor, which is more than anyone else could do. This is all the other heroes need to finally get through to defeat him.

Film
  • The Matrix Reloaded. For most of the "Burly Brawl" fight between Neo and Agent Smith Neo does quite well, not defeating the Smiths but holding his own. Near the end, as Neo is jumping from one Smith to the other, a Smith jumps out of nowhere and takes him down, allowing all of the other Smiths to dogpile on him. Because he's the One he throws them off and escapes, but it's a near thing.
  • When Boromir is fending off the Uruk-Hai in Lord of the Rings he is killing them non-stop with nary a lucky hit, until their leader manages to snipe him from afar.
  • Mars Attacks! Near the end Byron Williams faces off against a horde of Martians in hand to hand combat so the others can escape. He repeatedly punches the Martians until one of them jumps on his back and prevents him from defending himself, whereupon the rest swarm over him and take him down. Watch it here.

Literature
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