Created By: Discar on November 8, 2013 Last Edited By: Discar on December 23, 2013
Troped

Shoot The Mage First

Killing the blaster-type enemy first.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Launching in 24 hours if there are no objections.

One of the disadvantages of being on the wrong side of a Squishy Wizard is that they are usually extremely dangerous. On the other hand, they are also the easiest to eliminate. Therefore, taking them out first usually makes the rest of the battle that much easier.

This is also a common tactic in settings without actual magic, where destroying the Glass Cannon who can destroy half your team in a single attack is a high priority.

Compare Shoot the Medic First, which is specifically for healers and support types.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film 

  • In the climax of Red Sonja, Sonja is fighting against her Arch-Nemesis, Queen Gedren. Every time she gets close enough to attack, a Mook teleports Gedren away and Sonja has to chase her down again, while the mage uses Voodoo-like magic to cut Sonja with a dagger. After this happens two or three times, Sonja has enough and chops the guy's head off.

    Literature 
  • In the Tortall Universe, Kel often remembers her teacher's advice: When in doubt, shoot the Wizard.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Common advice in Shadowrun, where "Geek the mage first" is one of the first rules a new shadowrunner learns.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set booklet Cyclopedia of the Realms, section "Pirate Isles of the Inner Sea". On pirate ships it was a standard procedure for archers to make anyone who was appearing to cast a spell their first target.

    Video Games 

  • Killing the casters first is a good rule to follow in Dungeons & Dragons Online, given the general danger of spellcasters in D&D in general.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2
    • The Explorer Zombie wields a torch that can instantly burn your plants, and he moves fast. Thankfully he's about as durable as a common zombie. Using ice-element plants work too, to put out his torch.
    • Ra Zombie can steal the suns around him if you're not quick to retrieve them. If you kill him, he'll give the suns back.
    • Prospector Zombie, if not taken down fast, can use his dynamite to leap high across your defenses and end up in the last column, then starts eating from the back. Plants that can hit backwards (such as Split Pea) and plants with ice element (which stops the wick) is his perfect counter.
    • Piano Zombie can command all the other zombies to dance and switch lanes, screwing with your strategy. Kill him and the zombies will continue walking normally.
    • Tomb Raiser Zombie will periodically stop and throw a bone onto a random tile, and a tomb will raise from it, blocking your frontal shots. There's an achievement for killing him before he does so.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, in the Charmed Ridge level, there are cat mages who'll hinder you in many ways, one of them is enlarging the Rhynoc Mooks, making them invincible in the process. Hit the cat mage to make the mooks return to normal and killable.

    Webcomics 

  • In The Order of the Stick, when fighting Team Tarquin, the Order is quick to dog-pile on the arcane caster the second they get the chance, knowing he's physically the weakest. However, said team also has a powerful psion, who might not be as strong as the arcane caster, but still isn't anything to sneeze at.

    Web Video 

  • In Counter Monkey, Spoony repeatedly discusses this trope since Wizards are the primary area-of-effect elemental damage dealers. Competent opponents know they are the biggest source of pain and should be dealt with first. He further advises players who are Wizards to not dress like the stereotypical Wizard to disguise their identity and avoid being singled out.

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • November 8, 2013
    DracMonster
    Title sounds like "Quick, give the wizard some Nerd Glasses!" to anyone who hasn't played shadowrun.

    Murder The Mage First or Smash The Glass Cannon First, perhaps.

    In Case Of Combat Break Glass Cannon... nah.
  • November 8, 2013
    KarjamP
    "Smash The Glass Cannon First" sounds great if we would be expanding the trope for Glass Cannons.
  • November 8, 2013
    Astaroth
    Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards ought to be bluelinked somewhere in the description IMO
  • November 8, 2013
    kjnoren
    Definitely needs a better title. It's also a case of simple target priority (similar to Shoot The Medic First) - always try to eliminate the most dangerous opponent first, especially if it's vulnerable in some way.

    Thus the rise of counter-battery and counter-artillery tactics in the real-world militaries and so on.

    Not sure this is really tropable - seems more like an excuse for introducing a Trope Namer.
  • November 8, 2013
    Koveras
    How about Sorting Algorithm Of Tactical Threat?

    1. Nuker
    2. Medic
    3. Ranged damage dealer (sniper)
    4. Melee damage dealer (rogue)
    5. Melee tank
  • November 8, 2013
    Discar
    ^^ Just because something is common and/or exists in real life doesn't mean it's not a trope.

    ^ Sorting algorithms rarely work well.
  • November 8, 2013
    KarjamP
  • November 8, 2013
    aurora369
    Why geek? Turn the mage into an obsessive fan of comic books or video games, as soon as possible?
  • November 8, 2013
    troacctid
    I don't see how "Geek" is better than "Shoot" here.
  • November 8, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ~and another downvote for "geek", i have none of their reasons, it just sounds retarded to me.

    seconding Break The Glass Cannon First. though In Case Of Combat Break Glass Cannon is good too...
  • November 8, 2013
    TheHandle
    Yup. Shoot The Mage First if you want to be specific, or those two ^ are nice too.
  • November 8, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Thirding that
  • November 9, 2013
    Koveras
    @Discar: Sorting algorithms don't work? I haven't really followed them, but they always seemed to me like a neat idea... Are you citing an established consensus or just your opinion? No offense meant, but I have already gotten a false impression once about sliding scales because I mistook another troper's opinion for the troper hivemind consensus...
  • November 9, 2013
    DAN004
    I get an impression that sorting algorithms and sliding scale leads to a LOT of discussions. But still, I love your idea, sir Koveras. Just that you need to make another YKTTW.
  • November 9, 2013
    Koveras
    Maybe I will make one, if this one gets launched... if it doesn't, it may still be repurposed. :)
  • November 9, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Killing the casters first is a good rule to follow in Dungeons And Dragons Online, given the general danger of spellcasters in D&D in general.
  • November 20, 2013
    DAN004
    Dunno if these counts as "mages" but...
    • Plants Vs Zombies 2
      • The Explorer Zombie wields a torch that can instantly burn your plants, and he moves fast. Thankfully he's about as durable as a common zombie. Using ice-element plants work too, to put out his torch.
      • Ra Zombie can steal the suns around him if you're not quick to retrieve them. If you kill him, he'll give the suns back.
      • Prospector Zombie, if not taken down fast, can use his dynamite to leap high across your defenses and end up in the last column, then starts eating from the back. Plants that can hit backwards (such as Split Pea) and plants with ice element (which stops the wick) is his perfect counter.
      • Piano Zombie can command all the other zombies to dance and switch lanes, screwing with your strategy. Kill him and the zombies will continue walking normally.
  • November 22, 2013
    jrh03
    Just curious, is there any relation to (and is there a trope for) that thing usually in horror movies where the wise old whoever explains to everybody what's going on, and a soon as its established that so and so understands whats happening and what to do, so and so gets whacked, right in front of the other characters eyes? (Think Samuel Jackson in Deep Blue Sea)
  • November 22, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 4, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons, 1st Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set booklet Cyclopedia of the Realms, section "Pirate Isles of the Inner Sea". On pirate ships it was a standard procedure for archers to make anyone who was appearing to cast a spell their first target.
  • December 6, 2013
    KingZeal
    Film:

    In the climax of Red Sonja, Sonja is fighting against her Arch Nemesis, Queen Gedren. Every time she gets close enough to attack, a Mook teleports Gedren away and Sonja has to chase her down again, while the mage uses Voodoo-like magic to cut Sonja with a dagger. After this happens two or three times, Sonja has enough and chops the guy's head off.
  • December 6, 2013
    Ellowen
    In the Tortall Universe Main character Kel remembers her teacher's advice: When in doubt, shoot the Wizard.
  • December 6, 2013
    CrazyCatKid
    Paper Mario series : it's always suggested to take out the mages. Paper Mario : The shyguy mages will heal enemies and the koopa mages can add effects to enemies including invisibility. The goombario tattle suggests to take them out first. Paper Mario TTYD : When you battle Bowser and Kammy Koopa ( a witch) you have to take her out before she can power up Bowser.
  • December 6, 2013
    CrazyCatKid
    In Sonic Heroes, Mytic Mansion level, you have to take out the mage robots before they transform into giant, hammer wielding robots.
  • December 7, 2013
    Discar
    Crazy Cat Kid, please properly format your examples so that there are actual links and Example Indentation. I'm supposed to be able to take your examples and paste them directly into the draft, rather than figure out what you're trying to say.
  • December 7, 2013
    DAN004
    • In Spyro3, in the Charmed Ridge level, there are cat mages who'll hinder you in many ways, one of them is enlarging the Rhynoc Mooks, making them invincible in the process. Hit the cat mage to make the mooks return to normal and killable.
  • December 8, 2013
    AgProv
    Real Life: Possibly the worst position to have in an infantry section is to be the guy with the squad light machine gun. You can do most damage, but you're only wearing the same level of protection as any rifleman. The LMG is always a priority target: take them out and the firepower an enemy section can put up is effectively halved. The same thing happens - in spade-loads - to the assault engineer approaching your position with a flamethrower tank on his back. In Stalingrad, captured assault engineers were frequently executed in inventively nasty ways, as a warning to others not to carry a flamethrower. And should the tank on your back be ruptured...

    This also applied to heavier kit. In Normandy in 1944, the only Allied tanks that could take on a Tiger or a Panther on anything like equal terms were the comparatively rare Sherman Firefly variants with the dedicated 17pndr anti-tank weapon. These were issued to conventional M4 Sherman squadrons at a ratio of one per four regular Shermans. The Germans soon learnt to target these first, thus leaving only the relatively ineffectual 75mm-armed tanks. (They were distinguished by a far longer barrel and slightly different turret).
    • [[Tabletop Games]]:
    • Squad Leader reproduces this aspect of WW 2/modern combat pretty realistically.

  • December 8, 2013
    DAN004
    Add the examples plz.
  • December 13, 2013
    Discar
    DAN 004, I need actual links to add your examples. Ag Prov, don't have one example referring to another.
  • December 13, 2013
    DAN004
    Well I already linked Plants Vs Zombies, but in case of my another example, it's from Spyro Year Of The Dragon.
  • December 14, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    • Counter Monkey, Spoony repeatedly discusses this trope since Wizards are the primary area-of-effect elemental damage dealers. Competent opponents know they are the biggest source of pain and should be dealt with first. He further advises players who are Wizards to not dress like the stereotypical Wizard to disguise their identity and avoid being singled out.
  • December 22, 2013
    Discar
    Launching in 24 hours if there are no objections.
  • December 23, 2013
    DAN004
    OBJECTION! I gave you my hat. =P
  • December 23, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    OBJECTION!

    description too short. at least take a page off of Shoot The Medic First, which describe its trope with more detail. it really helps the description to include some brief analysis as opposed to the extremely straightforward "this trope is about killing the most dangerous enemies first. end of story."

    also notice the "see also" stuff and possible side effects of having the trope in play at the end of Shoot The Medic First.
  • December 23, 2013
    Discar
    If you have any suggestions for additions to the description, please, provide them. I don't have any, so this is the best I can do.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=z58udnhhlpizy2hh3kssr1mo