[[quoteright:320:[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TzeentchDidntSeeThatComing.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:[-Call it a hunch, but [[CaptainObvious I'd say things didn't go as planned here]].-] ]]

->''"Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht."'' ("Man plans, {{God}} laughs.")
-->-- '''A Yiddish proverb'''

Ah, nothing denotes how CrazyPrepared TheChessmaster is like the good old GambitPileup. Truly, there is ''nothing'' these twelfth-level omni-geniuses have not [[ClockKing contemplated in their equations]] and planned for with contingencies [[TimeForPlanB B through Z42t.]]

Then something, or [[SpannerInTheWorks someone]], happens. Not just something that the Chessmaster didn't know about, but something that he didn't know he didn't know. In fact, there was no way he could have known that he didn't know this. Thus the brilliant plan goes to pieces, with a deadpan "I Didn't See That Coming" once the dust settles. Less [[TheStoic Stoic]] fellows may go OhCrap or into VillainousBreakdown, though usually it's a SpannerInTheWorks that causes that reaction.

Problems tend to come in five varieties, of which varieties 3, 4, and 5 qualify for this trope:
# '''Known Knowns:''' There are the known dangers, these you deal with directly: My opponent has access to [[FrickinLaserBeams laser blasters]] -- I need DeflectorShields before I attack.
# '''Known Unknowns:''' These are the things strategists know they don't know, but they can prepare for the different possible outcomes: The enemy has his forces deployed elsewhere when you are StormingTheCastle, so you need one plan for what to do if these forces do not return in time (to take full advantage), and you need another plan for what to do if these forces do return in time (to avoid getting trapped in a pincer). Someone who is especially good at this kind is probably CrazyPrepared.
# '''Unknown Unknowns:''' Then there are the unknown unknowns, or even unknowable unknowns. These cannot be prepared for, planned for, or in any way anticipated. They are the bane of all well laid plans. This can often be a GenreShift, for example, and the character was in the dark because of the {{masquerade}}. The mage being surprised by the space alien, for instance, or TheMafia [[Manga/DeathNote not expecting]] PsychicPowers. [[DeusExMachina Acts of God]] and {{Outside Context Villain}}s tend to fit in here, unless characters are aware that they are a CosmicPlaything, and even then it's hard to know what you don't know, except that you don't know anything.
# '''Unknown Knowns:''' It happens. Sometimes the plotter knows a given [[TheFool person]], event, or variable is present... but doesn't see how it could ''[[{{Pride}} possibly]]'' impact their foolproof plans and proceeds to [[NotNowKiddo dismiss it]] or [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal mistreat those "irrelevant" to his plot]], and otherwise ignore [[SwordOfDamocles the sword overhead]] [[LaserGuidedKarma while whittling at the rope holding it there]]. In MysteryFiction, these people are the suspects and facts that are quickly [[BeneathSuspicion discarded in favor of the high-profile suspects]]. However, add up all the background chatter and the motivations for why [[TheButlerDidIt it was the butler]] becomes incredibly obvious. See TheDogBitesBack and EvilCannotComprehendGood
# '''[[EntertaininglyWrong False Assumptions]]:''' Even the most diabolical scheme can be doomed before it even starts if it's built on [[PoorCommunicationKills faulty information.]] That [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} ridiculously circuitous]] plan to steal the MacGuffin from the safe deposit box by sneaking into the bank disguised as security guards? The only thing TheHero's grandfather hid there was some [[AllThatGlitters old family memorabilia]]; the MacGuffin is hidden somewhere else entirely (if it even exists).

Any plotter claiming to have all five of these variables accounted for (and actually has a plot succeed) is very likely playing a GambitRoulette and [[DeusExMachina getting help from on high]] to do it.

A plotter who is aware that these can appear, builds flexibility into his plan, and improvises when they arise, is playing XanatosSpeedChess.

Compare SpannerInTheWorks, which very often is the unknown factor. See also DidntThinkThisThrough. If there wasn't a plan to begin with, possibly due to a GenreSavvy plotter knowing this will happen the moment they start, it's an IndyPloy.

----
'''Examples:'''

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* ''LightNovel/FateZero'', Unknown Unknowns example: [[{{Badass}} Rider]] was thinking he could defeat [[PhysicalGod Gilgamesh]] with his [[BadassArmy Ionian Hetairoi]] if he was only faced with [[HyperspaceArsenal Gate of Babylon]]. He did [[OhCrap NOT]] expect [[spoiler:to be faced with [[InfinityPlusOneSword Ea]], Gilgamesh´s own sword capable of [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroying the world]] and his entire army with it in a single swing.]]
** Also, [[TheChewToy Kayneth]] is ruined by a [[HumiliationConga series of these]]:
*** The first is a False Assumption: he had assumed that the other masters would have acted as mages and, in an attack on his stronghold in the higher roofs of the Hyatt Hotel, would have had to deal with his enormous preparations. Here comes Kiritsugu, who just [[StuffBlowingUp blows up]] [[DungeonBypass the whole hotel]] [[MugglesDoItBetter with explosives]]. Kayneth survives, but the explosion and the demolition destroy all of his defensive measures and almost all of his Mystic Codes;
*** In revenge for Kiritsugu's attack, Kayneth attacks him in the Einzbern Castle and runs head first in another False Assumption ''and'' an Unknown Unknown. The False Assumption is that his last Mystic Code could easily defend him from mundane weapons, but while Volumen Hydragyum can easily repel the pellets from Claymore Mines and the fire of a [[RareGuns Calico M950]] it has to concentrate to defend from the point blank fire of a [[HandCannon Thompson Contender chambered for .30-06 rounds]], and he survived with a wound only because the Contender is single shot. The Unknown Unknown happens when Kiritsugu returns with the Contender: this time Kayneth concentrate his defense and reinforces it with prana, [[JustAsPlanned not knowing it was exactly what Kiritsugu needed for his]] [[DepletedPhlebotinumShells Origin bullet]] to ''completely and irreversibly destroy Kayneth's ability to use magic'', nearly killing him through the sheer pain and leaving him paraplegic as a side effect;
*** After surviving Kiritsugu thanks to Lancer, Kayneth runs into an Unknown Known: his fiancee Sola-Ui is [[MadLove madly]] [[{{Yandere}} in]] [[LoveMakesYouCrazy love]] with Lancer, and tortures poor Kayneth to get the Command Seals. He could have avoided the torture and having to give up the Seals by calling Lancer with a Command Seal, but his False Assumption that Lancer was willing to betray him prevented him from it. These would both fall under Unknown Known errors if he'd bothered to read up on the myths regarding his own servant, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. Sola-Ui falls prey to Lancer's cursed beauty mark, as his future queen did in the myth. And she forced him to betray his lord with magic.
*** After much meddling, Kayneth is seemingly having some luck. Sure, he had to force Lancer to suicide and give up any role in the War, but he managed to have Kiritsugu force himself to not harm him first... And False Assumption and Unknown Unknown hit again in the form of Maya Hisau, Kiritsugu's assistant, who, before Kiritsugu signed the magical contract, had been ordered to kill Kayneth and Sola-Ui as soon as Lancer killed himself. To rub salt into the wound, Kayneth is just mortally and painfully wounded, and when he begs Kiritsugu to finish him he's told that he can't either finish him or tell Maya or Saber to do it due the oath (thankfully Saber has some pity and kills him on her own).
* Running into one of these is how [[spoiler:Light]] of ''Manga/DeathNote'' finally lost.
** Specifically a Type 4. It occurred to him his plan might have been anticipated, but underestimated his opponent's capacity to do so.
*** Actually Type 3: Shidou was a greater SpannerInTheWorks than anyone else, and there was no way Light could have foresaw the damage he did.
** Hell, come to think of it, it's what did [[spoiler:L in, as well. Being the world's greatest detective can only take you so far if your nemesis has a ''god'' on his side]].
*** Though in the [[TheMovie live action movie version]], [[spoiler:L actually came up with [[HeroicSacrifice a way]] to counter even that factor.]]
* Kyon of ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' gets a note asking him to meet in the classroom after school. He's pretty sure it isn't any of the SOS members, but he thinks a little about how he'll respond to each of them, if it is one of them after all. He knows that he does not know who it is. However, it was not possible for him to know that [[spoiler:Ryoko Asakura was actually an alien waiting there to murder him]]. He got hit with Didn't See That Coming, and it was not fun. At least, not for him -- for the audience, it was ''freaking awesome''.
* Quattro, the resident SmugSnake from ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'' encounters a tiny flaw that completely undoes her whole plan when she overlooks a few critical facts. First, [[spoiler: that Nanoha is a mage that specializes in blowing stuff up.]] Second, [[spoiler: that Nanoha is using a special booster system that makes her capable of blowing up even more stuff.]] And finally, [[spoiler: that Nanoha was using area search magic to look for the cyborg the entire time she was fighting against her adopted daughter, per Quattro's plans.]] On top of all that, somehow Quattro tends to overlook an even more critical fact regarding the way Nanoha [[DefeatMeansFriendship treats her friends and loved ones.]] While being ignorant of the third was a reasonable possibility, there is absolutely no excuse for the first two, not to mention Nanoha's tendency to befriend people. The end result... OhCrap!
** Of course, Quattro ''did'' see it coming in the end. She was just too late to do anything about it.
** On a wider scale, Jail and the cyborgs got blindsided completely by Section 6' available firepower, due to careful management of their {{Power Limiter}}s hiding what they were really capable of.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' . All the time, courtesy of [[ButtMonkey the universe's violent hatred of Lelouch]]. Seriously, the only plan to go off without a hitch was Zero Requiem, [[spoiler:which ends with ''{{suicide|ByCop}}''.]]
* [[spoiler: Alucard]] in ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' is finally finished off when [[spoiler: the Major gets him to weaken himself by unleashing his familiars, become injured by fighting a newly vampirised Walter, then try to restore himself by reabsorbing his familiars and all of the blood in the devastated London. The snag for Alucard comes when the Major has Schrodinger commit suicide and be absorbed by Alucard; Schrodinger's nature means that he ceases to exist if he cannot identify himself. Being absorbed by Alucard and melded with the souls of his familiars makes him unable to identify himself, causing him to cease to exist, and taking Alucard with him]].
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', the World Government captured Ace and imprisoned him, prompting Luffy to break in to get him out. Normally, one pirate single-handedly invading their fortress jail to break someone out under maximum security would be an easy matter to deal with. Unfortunately [[spoiler: Luffy ultimately set ''all'' their prisoners free, recruited as many as he could into fighting the World Government with the surprise aid of [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Buggy the Clown, Mr. 3]], [[{{Crossdresser}} Mr. 2 Bon Kurei]], and two ex-members of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. To top it off, a current Warlord, Blackbeard, turned on them for unknown reasons while everyone else was preparing for all-out war with Whitebeard. And wouldn't you just know it, numerous prisoners that Luffy recruited have [[PlotTailoredToTheParty the exact powers needed for the group to succeed]]. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. Things don't go as planned ''at all''.]]
** A better example is when Luffy goes for a rematch with Crocodile, and swallows a huge barrel of water to become a living water balloon. Crocodile is more than a bit surprised by this, though he recovers quickly.
** Enel had the same problem but worse. At least Crocodile knew about his own limits, and had a fall back plan. Luffy not only bypassed Enel's invincibility, but then completely ignored just about every attack Enel tried to use in retaliation. And then the kicker was that there is no rubber in the sky islands. Enel not only didn't see Luffy coming, but he didn't know his main weakness even ''existed''
** Luffy's "execution" (actually an attempted murder) in Roguetown is prevented when the executioner is struck by a bolt of lightning. Luffy's flabbergasted allies can only conclude it was DivineIntervention. However, it's really a type 4 all around, maybe even an IdiotBall moment. Why? They were atop a tall tower, the executioner wielding a metal sword, while ''[[WhatAnIdiot thunder was rumbling in the background]]''. [[spoiler: Although it is well implied that it wasn't natural lightning that struck.]]
** Zoro [[spoiler:begs Dracule Mihawk to train him so that he can surpass and defeat...well...Dracule Mihawk. He's actually trying to get stronger for the sake of the Straw Hats, but, he's not forgetting his own goal in the process.]] Mihawk [[spoiler:''agrees to it,'' knowing that he's helping to create the one swordsman he believes can defeat him. Simply ''because'' Zoro is willing to throw away his pride for the Straw Hats.]]
** [[spoiler:Sabo. ''No one'', not the Straw Hats, not Doflamingo, not even the ''audience'' saw him coming, making him a classic example of a SpannerInTheWorks. Makes you wonder what else the Revolutionary Army has in store for the rest of the series.]]
** The Dressrosa arc of the story is basically a long chain of these on all sides, starting with [[spoiler:Doflamingo changing the whole world's newspapers just to fool Law.]] Once the Straw Hats start their attack properly it gets to the point where somebody gets this every two chapters or so, culminating with [[spoiler:Usopp somehow startling Sugar into fainting, and Doflamingo surviving having his head chopped off.]]
*** Doflamingo assigns a bounty of 500,000 Beri on [[spoiler: "God" Usopp]], which is even higher than the World Government's bounty on Luffy.
* In ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', [[spoiler:[[DarkMagicalGirl Rue]] pulling a HeroicSacrifice and saving Mytho from TheCorruption through ThePowerOfLove]] blindsides Drosselmeyer so utterly that he spends the next five seconds gaping dumbfoundedly before finally going, "...[[FlatWhat What.]]" [[XanatosSpeedChess He does recover his plans rather quickly though -- just on a different rail]].
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', a type 3 screws up [[spoiler: Kurt Godel's]] plan to make Negi an ally, as [[spoiler: he was totally unaware that Negi had a [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v30/c272/11.html source of information]] that that Kurt couldn't have possibly have anticipated.]]
** [[spoiler: Chapter 273 is basically just Kurt's whole Gambit falling to pieces around him. First he reveals himself as a powerful Shinmeiryuu swordsman; Negi overloads his defenses. Then he claims they can't escape from his projected space; Chisame disables it. Finally he claims that no one knows they're there anyway; Asakura reveals that all of Negi's friends outside have been watching what's happened through her artifact the whole time. Then, just to top it off, he gets smacked with [[BigDamnHeroes Ku Fei's artifact and Takamichi lamps him one from across the room.]]]]
** Then right after that, Ala Alba's preparations promptly got shot to hell by [[spoiler: the arrival of one of Fate's minions, causing their main retreat plan, as well as most of their backups, to fall to pieces.]]
* In ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'', this is pretty much the only reason why Giovanni loses against Red in the two battles they fought against each other. First time, he completely dominated Red from beginning to end, took down all his Pokemon except Pika, and knew that he could take Red down before it could attack. How was he supposed to know Red stole Lt. Surge's gloves so that Pika could charge up its attack in its Pokeball? The second time, his Deoxys is beating him and Mewtwo. Too bad Bill and Celio, miles and miles away from the battle, manage to steal the jewels that were allowing Deoxys to form change.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Kisame Hoshigaki probably shouldn't have stopped to KickTheDog after subduing Killer Bee- but who could have expected that [[spoiler: he'd be betrayed by his own EmpathicWeapon, leading to his defeat and death when reinforcements arrive?]] Certainly not [[AssPull the readers]], that's for sure... ([[spoiler: Actually, he ''did'' see it coming, since his "death" was a KansasCityShuffle to infiltrate the Cloud Village.]])
** [[spoiler: What he ''did'' fail to see coming was that Naruto would be able to detect ''murderous intention'', leading to his actual death.]]
** In the first movie ''Ninja Clash in the Snow'', there's a incredibly obvious Type 5: the evil ruler of Snow Country is trying to activate a machine that his peace-loving brother (who he overthrew) created under the assumption that it's a [[LogicalFallacies superweapon]]. The machine turned out to be [[spoiler: a system of mirrors designed to warm the country and trigger spring.]]
** [[spoiler:Madara did not expect Black Zetsu to betray him, seeing as he's ''supposed'' to be the manifestation of Madara's will. He isn't; he's the manifestation of '''''Princess Kaguya's''''' will. Princess Kaguya was the mother of the Sage of the Six Paths, and the first ever chakra user. She's also supposed to be ''dead''.]]
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' during the Kyoto arc, Shishio has set up an attack on Kyoto as a distraction for his real goal: to take his pre-Dreadnought era Dreadnought to Tokyo. He wasn't too surprised that Kenshin read through this ruse, however he and his Dragon didn't know about Sano and frankly didn't care when he showed up. [[spoiler: Until they found out he brought a former terrorist friends gift with him; a handful of bombs. It was this that managed to destroy the ship.]]
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': A type 4, bordering on type 5, screws up Aleister Crowley's plans big time when [[spoiler:Shiage Hamazura]], a completely normal Level 0, defeats a Level 5. From then on, [[spoiler:Shiage Hamazura]] becomes an unknown variable to be accounted for, forcing Aleister to use up resources in order to eliminate the unknown variable.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': for all of [[spoiler:Kyubey's]] {{Batman Gambit}}s and deception to further his plans, he fails to account for the one thing he's been tempting [[spoiler:Madoka]] with in the first place: [[spoiler:Madoka practically wishes to overwrite the entire universe.]] Although he still gets his true goal in a different way: [[spoiler:The Magical Girl system still helps counter entropy, and now finding out the truth doesn't lead humanity to resent him for it]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/RobotechTheShadowChronicles'', the last words of bad guys are "This was not foreseen", this being an explosion with a blast radius of ''Millions of kilometers''.
* In ''Manga/TheLegendOfKoizumi'' when Taizo and Sanada faces off against Yukio, they were expecting a powerful opponent, especially with the whole alien theme going on. [[spoiler: what they didn't expect was Yukio committing a Chombo, as in picking up the game pieces and ''punching Taizo in the face'' to void the game. Yukio would do this again, flipping the table, and somehow this boosts his luck for reasons currently unknown. Sanada would reply in kind, buy picking up the table and ''bashing Yukio clear across the room'' before the latter could flip the table again. Again, no one saw it coming.]]
* The second season of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' has a type 4 situation, involving a hijack of a mobile armor by the enemy… only to be foiled by a [[TeamPet Haro]].
** Aeolia Schoenberg, DangerouslyGenreSavvy mastermind that he was, built Veda to account for things he didn't see coming: Veda ensures that his plan is fulfilled in spirit, and can make adjustments to the original plan if unknown factors crop up that Schoenberg didn't see coming.
* Shimada serves as an Unknown Known for Rei during the Shishi Ou Cup in ''Manga/SangatsuNoLion''. Rei's so psyched toward engaging Gotou in the Finals match that he doesn't take the time to seriously consider how much of a threat Shimada can be, only to realize it too late when he suffers a humiliating defeat.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Aizen is defeated by two things he fails to see coming due to the amount of false assumptions he had been making from the beginning. [[spoiler:He wanted Ichigo to become more powerful but failed to understand how powerful Ichigo was capable of becoming and the [[SentientPhlebotinum Hogyoku]] suddenly de-powered him before he could complete his fight with Ichigo. Ichigo believes Aizen was [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor de-powered]] due to possessing a deeply hidden desire to be a [[IJustWantToBeNormal normal shinigami]].]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Board Games]]
* In TabletopGame/{{Shogi}}, remember that it's possible to have your captured pieces used against you.
* In a similar manner, TabletopGame/{{Chess}}, especially if a player [[FailedASpotCheck fails a spot check]].
* Since TabletopGame/{{Go}} has a ridiculously complicated {{metagame}} deciding who actually controls territory on the board, it's possible to make unorthodox (or slightly less orthodox) moves that result in a massive advantage. (For a glamorized version of how this might happen, watch any match in ''Manga/HikaruNoGo''.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Frequent ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' villain the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Thinker Mad Thinker]] is often foiled by things that even his supergenius intelligence can't predict, [[StrawVulcan such as random human behavior]].
* ''[[Comicbook/TheInfinityGauntlet The Infinity War]]'' has a resurrected Magus employ a complicated scheme to [[spoiler:seize all the Infinity Gems from Warlock and his Infinity Watch]]. Because the plan is too complicated requiring all his attention, the Magus literally ''doesn't see'' the [[spoiler:combined efforts of SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom and Kang interfering with his plan.]]
* The {{Satan}} CaptainErsatz from Creator/JMichaelStraczynski's graphic novel ''ComicBook/MidnightNation'' literally says this line word for word [[spoiler:after TheHero with the MeaningfulName of Gray turns down his offer, chooses self sacrifice, and turns the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil right against him, something which thousands of predecessors before him had all failed to do]].
* Malekith the Accursed in ''ComicBook/TheIncredibleHercules'' falls prey to this. [[EpicFail One panel]] after he revealed his scheme. [[spoiler: Who can stand against the mighty Grendell with Hercules and Comicbook/TheMightyThor both weakened? ''Zeus''. To add injury to insult, Grendell then ''fell on him''.]] Probably a Type 5, as the plan was based on the assumption that [[spoiler: Zeus was still dead.]]
* In a ''{{Dracula}}'' vs ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' crossover Dracula was struck with an ignominious Type 5. His plan was to drink Superman's blood and thus gain the powers of a Kryptonian. Unfortunately he was not aware that Superman is ''solar-powered'', and drinking his blood had a similar effect to trying to chow down on an active grenade.
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', [[spoiler:AIQ Squared's]] plot falls apart when he fails to plan ahead for [[spoiler: Siphon's Death Activated Super Power.]]
* In the ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' storyline ''ComicBook/EndsOfTheEarth'', Comicbook/DoctorOctopus' final grand scheme was to [[spoiler: flash fry all of humanity save .08% of them, so they can rebuild and remember him as the greatest monster that ever lived]]. When confronted with this, Spidey points out the big flaw in that plan: [[spoiler:they'll live... brain dead - their brains would be flash fried, too!]]. Doc Ock promptly wigs out and Spidey takes him down.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'', Mr. Dark has the Fable community to the wall. They can't run any more, and he is slowly shattering Haven's defenses. The Fables are planning a last ditch effort to defend themselves, but the chance of it actually working are slim. Then Mr. North, the North Wind, Bigby's neglectful father who he has had a serious love/hate relationship with, and who has often been shown to not really care about much outside his realm [[spoiler:sacrifices himself to shut Mr. Dark down ''permanently''.]] That it allows him to let his zephyr grandson live is a bonus. [[{{Pun}} A slam dunk]] with #4.
* In ''Film/MarsAttacks Franchise/TheTransformers'', Megatron decides to use the Martian invasion as a chance to ally with them and take out the Autobots. Instead, the Martians capture both Autobots ''and'' Decepticons. As Megatron yells at the aliens and vows to kill them all, Cliffjumper points out that, as robots calling themselves "Decepticons", they should have seen this coming.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* This tends to happen to heroes of PeggySue fanfics when the changes they make to the timeline come back to bite them in the ass. An excellent example of this occurs in ''Literature/HarryPotter and the Nightmares of Futures Past''; Harry rants to Dumbledore about his living conditions with the Dursleys at one point, and Dumbledore responds [[spoiler: by using memory charms on the Dursleys in an effort to improve the situation. When an unknown third party later removes the charms and Vernon ''remembers being charmed'', Harry's already-rocky relationship with the Dursleys turns downright venomous, culminating in a savage beating during the first year/second year summer break that leaves Harry in critical condition.]]
* [[spoiler: Tzeentch's failure to see the C'tan plans coming]] was what forced [[spoiler: the canon!40k gods]] to work together in ''FanFic/ThousandShinji''. Continues into ''FanFic/TheOpenDoor'', where [=newChaos=] forces occasionally find themselves facing things even the supposedly-omniscient [[spoiler: and inheritor of Tzeentcch's mantle]] Tzintchi fails to see coming and thus pay for it.
* Pops up left and right in ''Fanfic/TiberiumWars'', to both GDI and Nod. After all, GDI never saw the initial Nod assault coming, nor did Nod ever see [[spoiler: Havoc's mini-guerilla war]], [[spoiler: fifty thousand GDI Marines]], or [[spoiler: a ''division'' of Mammoth Tanks]] coming.
* In ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', the completely unexpected appearance of mobs of skahs in Ehndris diverts the baddies' attention and gives John and Ringo the chance to avoid a head-on confrontation with the Raleka as they race to get into the warehouse.
** Also, no one was expecting Kerrun to have a VillainousBreakdown and declare the skahs to actually be Idris (the mortal enemies of the Raleka), shifting the focus of the Raleka away from John and Ringo.
* ''FanFic/JewelOfDarkness'': Midnight's plan, to [[spoiler: torture Robin into insanity]] in order to force the Titans to disband, ultimately fails because she had no way of knowing that [[spoiler: [[TheDragon Ai]] was possessed/working for Trigon,]] was plotting against her, and would ultimately sell her out to the Titans. Robin also suggests that the plan would have failed anyway, because even if she had succeeded in [[spoiler: breaking him]], he has faith that the team would be strong enough to withstand it.
* ''FanFic/TheDilgarWar'' has a few of them, on all sides, but the most notable are Earthforce actually being able to take on the Dilgar best and not only win (this ability was Type 4 for the Dilgar high command, but Jha'dur knew they had the ability and tried to keep Earth neutral) but utterly annihilating them with an [[MoreDakka absurdly high number of]] [[NukeEm nuclear weapons]] (this was Type 4 for Jha'dur, who, when told of how many nukes were being fired at her, admitted she ''should'' have seen that coming but hadn't) and Jha'dur's attempt at [[spoiler: exterminating Earth's population with a plague]] being ambushed by an unbelievable Type 3 in the form of [[spoiler: a Minbari fleet led by Chosen One Dukhat in person who acted on information of the Vorlon]].
* In ''FanFic/AFightingChance'', the Minbari gets a major OhCrap when they realize that [[spoiler: Earthforce has broken their stealth]]. This instance is part Type 4 and 3, as in the backstory of this fanfic [[spoiler: the Dilgar had already did it once (and in fact they were the ones who sold Earthforce a few dozens of the stealth-breaking sensors complete with blueprints)]], but that happened to the Windswords who apparently never told anyone else.
* The ''LightNovel/FateZero'' fanfic ''The Fourth King'' has a terrifying type 3 when Kariya summons freakin' [[spoiler: ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'']] as Berserker. OhCrap, [[BringMyBrownPants soiled underwear]] and [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity]] ensued for everyone but Kariya and those protected by him.
* In ''Fanfic/GameTheory'', Precia's carefully laid plans repeatedly get hit with unexpected elements that screw up her strategy, but she manages to [[XanatosSpeedChess adjust accordingly]]. [[spoiler:Only it turns out that one of the aforementioned [[SpannerInTheWorks Spanners In The Works]] actually opened up the possibility of pursuing a ''better'' plan, making it an inversion.]]
* From ''FanFic/FantasyOfUtterRidiculousness'': Yukari Yakumo, Gensokyo's resident Chessmaster, admits as much when the moon is damaged in the wake of Coop and the Glorft's latest battle. Megas's unexpected teleportation into Gensokyo later sidelines her for most of the story.
* In ''FanFic/SonicXDarkChaos'', Maledict is a [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] who created an extremely elaborate GambitRoulette to defeat the Angels and conquer the universe. However, he didn't expect Sonic the Hedgehog to get pulled into the fray by mistake. [[spoiler: Nor did he expect his gambit to create a malevolent EldritchAbomination by mistake]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Type 3 occurs in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' when the Alliance releases the Pax. No one could have foreseen the [[spoiler:Reavers' creation]] Of course, their failure to do so is a classic case of the IdiotBall, as what kind of a moron doesn't run proper clinical trials before [[spoiler:dosing an entire fucking planetary population!]]
** A type 4 occurs later in the movie when [[spoiler: the Alliance's trap is derailed as Serenity charges at them with an army of Reavers.]]
--->'''Zoe:''' You know they're gonna see us coming.
--->'''Mal:''' No. They're not gonna see this coming.
* Creator/TheCoenBrothers movie ''Film/{{Fargo}}'' centers around a man trying to get out of financial trouble by hatching an EvilPlan to have some men kidnap his wife and pretend to hold her for ransom so he could get some money from her wealthy father to pay off his debts. The plan spirals completely out of control and causes the deaths of about five or six people, including the wife.
* ''Film/AnchormanTheLegendOfRonBurgundy'' probably executed this in the most humorously absurd manner. When Burgundy and company start butting heads with another news group, they bring along multitude of weapons. Soon, other rival news groups join, and they all get into one large and epic battle royale. At different times, one person gets killed with a trident, another gets caught in a net and dragged on the floor by two horses, someone gets a hold of a grenade, Luke Wilson's character's gets an arm chopped off, and then his other arm is ripped off by a {{bear|sAreBadNews}}.
-->'''Frank:''' ''(after getting his arm chopped off out of nowhere)''" Ugh! I did ''not'' see that coming!"
* The Joker's reaction to the eventual result of his social experiment in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' can be seen as an emotive example of this trope. Of course, being the Joker, he's not put off for long.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Emperor Palpatine thought it impossible that the natives of Endor (human child-sized savage creatures) [[RockBeatsLaser might be able to take advantage of their native terrain against the Empire's finest troops]] (though said natives did have help from a Jedi, a droid who could hack anything, and several crack shots). And he apparently never considered that a guy who [[LoveMakesYouEvil turned to the Dark Side to save his wife]] might [[LoveRedeems turn from it to save his son]]. If you take that plot from the EU, you could say that he ''did'' have a plan to survive the latter...but not for the Rebellion succeeding in blowing up the Death Star.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'', in a subversion of TheGuardsMustBeCrazy, the guard that the heroes are trying to fool instantly figures out that they're trying to pull a fast one over on him. Preed [[SarcasmMode subtly]] leans over and asks if [[TimeForPlanB the group has a plan B.]] Stith beats the crap out of the guard, and leads Preed to the following quote.
-->'''Preed:''' An intelligent guard. Didn't see that one coming.
** Type 4 occurs in the climax. The Drej have their entire fleet attacking the Titan station, hellbent on destroying it. Titan is running on auxiliary power, which isn't enough to activate the station. The Drej, being energy beings, are undefeatable...until [[spoiler: the heros realize that Drej energy can be absorbed and converted into station power. The entire fleet is destroyed.]]
* ''Film/OnceUponATimeInMexico'''s Agent Sands had a nice [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] scheme going. A number of things went wrong, including Cucuy going FaceHeelTurn and Mariachi and crew deciding to help the President instead of letting him die, but the one hitch that Sands truly did not see coming was [[spoiler:Ajedrez turning out to be not only TheMole, but Barillo's daughter]]. [[spoiler:Ajedrez]] even lampshades it: "You never saw it coming, did you?"
** Which makes for a nice bit of irony (or something) as [[spoiler:he shortly after loses the ability to see ANYTHING coming in an EyeScream moment.]]
* The type 4 is the whole plot of ''Film/UnderSiege'' with S. Seagal. Who would have thought that this annoying ''cook'' could be a threat to the very well conceived plan executed by the bad guys.
** The type 3 is the plot of ''Under Siege 2'' and a lot of action movies, like the ''Film/DieHard'' series, other of Seagal's movies and many others.
* In ''Film/KickAss'', Frank D'Amico never imagined that by framing the cop who refused to take his bribe, he would turn him into something far more dangerous. Big Daddy was so ridiculously efficient in destroying D'Amico's operation that if Kick-Ass wouldn't have [[SpannerInTheWorks accidentally provided him with a lead]], D'Amico probably wouldn't have realized who was after him until he was about to die.
* In the ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' movie ''All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker'', the BigBad Shadow Moon has Decade and Kuuga right where he wants them when [[spoiler: Kamen Rider Double comes out of nowhere for a CurbStompBattle ending with Shadow Moon embedded in the wall of his own castle]].
* ''Film/RichieRich'' fits type 5 almost word-for-word, as the Riches do in fact keep family memorabilia in their safe. Their money, rather sensibly, has been ''invested'' and isn't vulnerable to just being swiped.
* In ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'', Crow ''did'' know that breaching the hull of the Satellite of Love would result in dangerous decompression... yet he still somehow thinks tunneling back to Earth is a good idea and is taken by surprise when it doesn't work.
-->'''Crow:''' Whooooooooooa I didn't expect this! [...] Wow, this ''is'' confusing! Mike! You wanna hand me me my calculations? ''[The wind happens to blow Crow's calculations right into his face.]'' Thank you. ''[Reading.]'' Well, look at that. "Breach hull--all die." Even had it underlined.
* In ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean: At World's End'', A NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering Pirates are voting on who will be their leader. Naturally, they all vote for themselves. [[spoiler: Counts as type 4.]]
--->'''Elizabeth:''' [[SarcasmMode Elizabeth Swann]].
--->'''Barbossa:''' Barbossa.
--->'''Jack Sparrow:''' [[spoiler: [[SincerityMode Elizabeth Swann]].]]
** Jack Sparrow in general is type 4, no one (possibly including Jack himself) knows what he's going to do next.
* In ''Film/ClashOfTheTitans'' 2010, the heroes are all cornered by giant scorpions, then they are saved unexpectedly by the Djinn. No one ever expected that, not the characters or the audience.
* ''Film/TheSpanishPrisoner'': Almost everything that happened was planned out, but the plotters didn't predict that [[spoiler:Joe would just happen to hang on to a book that one of them left fingerprints on]].
* The Italian movie ''Scialla'' has the protagonists Bruno and Luca survive the mob thanks to a type 3. Luca had ''[[WhatAnIdiot stolen drugs and money from the mob boss' own home]]'', and was so pissed that not even Luca's father Bruno giving him back everything as soon as he found out calmed him. The boss was about to make an example of them... Then realizes that Bruno was his favourite high school teacher that he still adores, and lets them go. The boss' underlings and Luca even {{lampshade|Hanging}} this.
* Played at [[spoiler:and ultimately subverted]] in ''Film/TheGame'' when [[spoiler:Nicholas invades the building of the organization that's been running his life for the past few days with what one of the lead actors recognizes as a ''real'' gun, not one of their props, and she pleads with him that it's all a big surprise party and they're not really trying to kill him and he ends up shooting his brother just as it turns out there really ''was'' a cake and it all flies horribly off the rails, driving him to jump from the rooftop... and then it turns out that, no, that was a squib, the gun's loaded with blanks, and even that was all in the script.]]
* In ''Film/{{Pumpkinhead}}'', Ed Harley wants revenge against the kids who accidentally (and carelessly) kill his son. He has an old backwoods witch, Haggis, call upon a demon to do so. [[spoiler: But he didn't count on enduring his victims' death agonies every time "Pumpkinhead" makes a kill. Or having his soul condemned to hell for invoking a demon to murder for him.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' is absolutely full of this:
** Just about any strategy of Harry's relies on him knowing something that the BigBad doesn't, or him doing something the BigBad couldn't have expected.
--> Wile E. Coyote. Suuuuuper genius.
** In general, Harry has a lot of street smarts and [[CombatPragmatist fights really dirty]]. Regularly averting the SquishyWizard trope, Harry is physically fit, somewhat trained in martial arts, has years of brawling experience, and almost invariably packs a gun. On one occasion some wannabe Practioners tried to challenge Harry to a [[WizardDuel magical duel]], so he pulled out his revolver.
** How Harry killed [[spoiler: Aurora, the Summer Lady]] deserves special mention. Nobody ever thinks of [[spoiler: the Little Folk]], allowing Harry to smuggle them and some box cutters into the most pitched battle he could find. Just when he seemed spent... he opened the equivalent of a bag of poisonous bees in her face.
** Harry, the famed wizard detective, hired a muggle detective. He ''subcontracted''.
** Despite the number of times that Harry gets thrown into situations that he knows less about than he should, he continues to wisecrack his way through. Very occasionally, the baddies bring something so far out of left field that even Harry is rendered speechless. Demeter, Lara Raith, and Nicodemus all had their moments.
** Kringle, [[spoiler: aka Santa Claus]], has another name. [[spoiler: Odin]]. Boy did he love dropping that bombshell on Harry.
** The BigBad's plan in ''Literature/ColdDays'' is brilliant, comes out of left field, and is the only fitting successor to the plan from Literature/SummerKnight we've seen so far.
** Harry performed this on [[spoiler: ''himself'']] with a supernatural hitman and a memory wipe.
** In Harry's duel with [[EldritchAbomination He Who]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Walks Behind]], the latter corners Harry at a ''gas station''. Guess what happens. [[DestructiveSavior Guess.]]
** In the climactic duel in ''Literature/WhiteNight'', a BigBad is taken by surprise when the ground he's running on suddenly turns into frictionless dust.
** Now that Harry is buddies with the GeniusLoci of Demonreach, he gets to regularly pull these off on the island when he's fighting people only running on mortal senses. Even immortal sense aren't as good as ''intellectus''.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series, Hari Seldon is able to predict politics using math. However, the emergence of "The Mule", a {{mutant|s}} ([[spoiler:sort of]]), is so powerful that he alters the path of history. When Seldon's message about a Civil War (predicted for the time of The Mule's emergence) goes over like a lead balloon, the people realize that The Mule has altered the plan. Seldon has died by this time, so he doesn't get a moment to reflect, but the [[OhCrap reactions of the people who have up until then been relying on Seldon's fully accurate predictions are fairly priceless]].
** Of course, while Seldon didn't see the Mule himself coming, he ''did'' see the possibility of an unexpected variable coming and screwing with his plan, so he [[CrazyPrepared created a secret group tasked with correcting things if the unexpected occurred]].
* [[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Grand Admiral Thrawn]] was playing a very effective game of XanatosSpeedChess, until bitten by two or three Unknown Knowns. Specifically, [[SpannerInTheWorks Niles Ferrier botching his plan for the fringe]], causing a group of independent smugglers to join the New Republic in battle; [[TheStarscream C'baoth killing the ysalamiri and escaping his imprisonment]]; and his secret cloning facility being discovered, ''all at the same time''. All of this he ''might'' have been able to deal with. But the one thread that came loose in his plan, and led to his [[BodyguardBetrayal eventual]] [[TheDogBitesBack demise]], was all caused by one single Unknown Unknown, or, as Creator/TimothyZahn put it, a bit of information he didn't know and didn't know he didn't know: [[spoiler:that Leia was Darth Vader's daughter.]][[note]]Or, at least, that was the intention. The later ExpandedUniverse has had trouble deciding whether it was public knowledge or not.[[/note]] At the very least, he didn't know that the Noghri could detect that fact simply from Leia's ''scent''.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Dragaera}} Yendi]]'', a perfectly good plan to [[spoiler:install Sethra the Younger as Warlord]] was foiled because Aliera and Morrolan were standing in the wrong places and then Aliera revived Norathar and Cawti.
* Literature/TheCulture has its own term for Type 3 situations -- an "Outside Context Problem". For instance, a prosperous South Pacific island tribe suddenly discovering they've been colonized by an 18th-century European naval power -- the kind of situation a civilization only encounters the same way a sentence encounters a period, ''once''. The novel ''Literature/{{Excession}}'' revolves around one of these in the form of a NegativeSpaceWedgie.
* In Ben Counter's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' Literature/HorusHeresy novel ''Galaxy in Flames'', when Angron attacks [[spoiler:the survivors of their treacherous attack]], Horus is enraged -- with himself.
-->''"Angron is a killer!" snapped Horus, rounding on his Mournival son. "He solves every problem with raw violence. He attacks first and thinks latter, if he thinks at all. And yet I never saw this!"''
** Later on, Lion El'Jonson, one of the deadliest combat primarchs, utterly destroys the favored Daemon of the God of Fate, impaling it through the heart as it gives him a fancy speech about how omniscient it and it's master are:
-->''[[LampshadeHanging Did you see that coming?]]''
* In ''Beowulf's Children'', the sequel to ''The Legacy of Heorot'' by Creator/LarryNiven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes, Aaron Tragon's (the MagnificentBastard of the novel) schemes to colonize the mainland of the planet and becoming the new leader of the colonists is derailed by a rather spectacular Unknown Unknown. After [[spoiler: shooting Little Chaka and Cadmann to keep them from warning everyone of the imminent continent sweeping attack of the recently discovered ''huge flesh-eating "bees" with SuperSpeed'']], all in order to keep everyone from leaving, he goes back to the colony and tells everyone a story of how they were devoured by grendels. He puts on a ''very'' convincing act of grief and shame, while preparing to take the reins of leadership left behind by [[spoiler: Cadmann]]. All of a sudden, [[spoiler: the intelligent ''grendel'' protagonist approaches the colony, having ''saved'' Little Chaka, who proceeds to blow the whole scheme out of the water by telling everyone of Aaron's betrayal]]. The only reason Aaron avoids execution on the spot is the untimely arrival of the aforementioned [[spoiler: ''flesh-eating "bees" with superspeed'']].
* Usually what causes any of {{The Chessmaster}}s in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' to finally slip up.
** Tyrion is left badly injured after a battle, and while he's comatose, [[spoiler:every single one of the men on his side is either turned to Cersei's side or replaced.]] Given the circumstances, he manages a spectacular recovery, which is promptly destroyed when [[spoiler:Joffrey is murdered and Tyrion is framed for it]]. It's yet to be seen whether or not he will manage to come back from this one, but [[spoiler:he's probably going to meet Daenerys soon, and Tyrion's most beloved dream has always been to ride a dragon...]]
** [[SmugSnake Cersei]] resurrects [[ChurchMilitant the Swords and Stars]] and has them charge her rival with treason; unfortunately, [[spoiler:the Swords and Stars decide to ''torture'' the man she sent to testify against Maergery, and, trying to save himself, he tells them everything, including Cersei's own crimes.]] Then, just to rub salt in the wound, [[spoiler:her actions towards Jaime come back to bite her in the ass when he refuses to champion for her and instead continues on his own campaign.]]
** Robb, Catelyn, and most of the Stark campaign gets screwed by [[spoiler:Robb marrying the wrong woman and pissing off House Frey, leading to The Red Wedding.]] [[EvilDetectingDog Readers should see this one coming, though.]]
** Arguably, the entire country of Westeros got screwed when Eddard Stark met Joffrey Baratheon. [[spoiler:Instead of allowing Lord Stark to live in exchange for a false confession, the newly-crowned Joffrey has him executed, and thus the War of the Five Kings is kicked off with a bang.]]
** Tywin Lannister certainly didn't expect [[spoiler:a vengeful Tyrion shooting him in the bowels with a crossbow while he was in the privy.]] Of course, most people don't expect they will [[spoiler:die on the toilet.]]
* The villains of the last ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia Narnia]]'' book ''Literature/TheLastBattle''; Shift, Ginger, and the Calormene warlord Rishdan, all meet a nasty end due to one horrifying Unknown Unknown: [[spoiler: the demon Tash is ''real''. And ''pissed''.]]
* [[StrawVulcan Archmagos Khobotov]] in ''Literature/SoulDrinkers'' discovers a few problems with his plan for stealing the Soulspear and back-engineering it - one Unknown Unknown and two Unknown Knowns.
** Unknown Known 1: he threatened Space Marines with a spacegoing artillery piece and [[StrawVulcan assumed they'd do the logical thing and back down]], despite the fact that these Marines are descended from the most headstrong of the loyal Primarchs, and Marines are [[HonorBeforeReason not very logical people]] in any case.
** Unknown Known 2: threatening a star fort without considering that there may be vehicles on board...vehicles the Soul Drinkers used to take over the artillery piece.
** Unknown Unknown from later in the book: [[spoiler: a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch was [[TheChessmaster running the whole thing and turned up to take the Soulspear for himself]]]].
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' short story collection "Short Trips and Side Steps" featured a story called 'The Android Maker of Calderon IV'. The title character has meticulously engineered a plan to get revenge on the Third Doctor (who thwarted his plan to set up a technocracy) and assassinate the planet's government by building an android in the form of the Doctor responsible as a suicide bomber. Then he activates the return beacon the Doctor left behind...and the Fourth Doctor steps out, giving us a demonstration of the Unknown Unknown, and a marvellous quote for anyone who's ever been on the receiving end of this trope:
-->''Bugger.''
* A Type 4 blows up the BigBad Storm King's EvilPlan in TadWilliams' fantasy epic ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn''. Specifically, he didn't care who showed up for the final ritual to [[spoiler:unite the Three Swords and reverse time so he could return to Osten Ard]], but one of those people turned out to have been primed to figure out his weakness at the very last second, and another happened to be carrying the ChekhovsGun necessary to defeat him afterwards.
* A Type 4 is what brings Sauron's downfall in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', specifically that [[EvilCannotComprehendGood he never thought that anyone would actually deny the power of the Ring]], nonetheless that two insignificant creatures would actually have the audacity to sneak into Mordor and then destroy his RingOfPower.
** The Witch-King had an OhCrap moment when he realized that [[spoiler: [[NoManOfWomanBorn women can use swords]]. ]]
*** Sauron was right, in fact--nobody denied the power of the Ring in the end. Of course he couldn't possibly fathom that one of those would be idiot enough to victory dance on a cliff above a massive lava pit...
**** Tolkien noted in correspondence that part of Saruon's problem was a more basic miscomprehension; he believed that after the Fall of Númenor, God had ceased to care what happened to His creation, that the Second Fall of Man had been the last straw. He was wrong.
** Sauron really had won, by all accounts. Aragorn's army was hopelessly outnumbered, and Frodo had claimed The Ring for himself. In a way, this trope is double subverted. Early on, Gandalf notes that they have the advantage because Sauron cannot comprehend the idea of someone trying to destroy The Ring. What Gandalf didn't see coming was that ''Sauron'' was right. In Mordor, where the Ring's power was greatest, ''no one'' could resist it. Sauron's flaw was an example of GenreBlindness. He assumed that Middle-Earth is a CrapsackWorld, when it was not. What he didn't see coming was the almost literal DeusExMachina that caused Gollum to fall to his death. As it was an accident, the only real way to interpret this is an act of fate.
*** Some see Gollum's fall as a way for Tolkien to avoid forcing Samwise to execute a Hero Maneuver. When first read, Frodo's failure and then Gollum taking the Ring from him looked a lot like a setup that would allow Sam to knock or tackle the Ringbearer into the lava without the rather unbelievable concept of being able to do it to his best friend. The accident simply meant that the pair got to survive the war together, but Sam's presence meant that success didn't have to rely on luck alone.
**** And yet another is that Gollum was under a geass from Frodo; that he ''never'' let Sauron have the Ring; ever. (He swore on the Precious.) Once Gollum had the Ring over the brink of Mount Doom; there was only one way to fulfil the geass. (Not that Gollum was conscious of what he was doing.)
* In ''[[Literature/CiaphasCain Cain's Last Stand]]'', Varan gets hit by type three in that [[spoiler: he didn't know that Cain's aide, Jurgen, was a [[AntiMagic blank]], so when he met up with Cain to discuss [[ISurrenderSuckers the terms of surrender]], the psychic ability that allowed him to instantly convert people to his cause wouldn't work. Cain ends up kicking his ass off a skyscraper. Literally.]]
-->''"Well, that was unexpected..."''
-->'''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Chaos Warmaster]] [[Literature/CiaphasCain Varan the Undefeatable]]''', [[FamousLastWords last words]]
* [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Lord Vetinari]] subverts the trope by accounting for '''Didn't See That Coming'''. Instead of planning, he waits until the unexpected (or the expected--he has a very firm grasp of human nature) happens, then drives the situation to his advantage from there. Even when it seems like he's miscalculated, people prove every bit as stupid or clever, dogged or unmotivated, loyal or treacherous as he expects. He is a master at XanatosSpeedChess.
* In latest addition to Literature/TheWheelOfTime series, ''The Gathering Storm'', Rand [[spoiler:pretends to begin playing Graendal's game of manipulation and subterfuge, then obliterates the palace she's in with a column of balefire.]]
-->''How do I outthink someone smarter than I am?''
** The following book [[spoiler:subverts this. Apparently, one way to handle Unknown Unknowns is to spy on your enemy until the last possible second, and have someone around that can serve as a body double...]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': "Nobody will ever guess that I've made {{Soul Jar}}s, and even if they do they will never find them. What? They did and they did? FUUUUUUUUUUUUU-"
** Voldy has one as well before the series takes place. He seriously did not expect a mother's love [[EvilCannotComprehendGood to cause his curse to backfire like it did]]. He later admits his mistake...[[ChekhovsGun but he doesn't]] ''[[ChekhovsGun learn]]'' [[ChekhovsGun from it]].
** The legacy of the Elder Wand, which Voldemort so desired in ''Deathly Hallows'', was supposed to die with [[spoiler:Dumbledore, by having Snape kill him '''by his command''']]. However, unexpected and unbeknown to everyone till the very end, [[spoiler:Draco Malfoy had already inadvertently gained the wand's allegiance at the end of ''The Half-Blood Prince'' by Disarming Dumbledore (thus defeating him) beforehand]]. Then a few months later, [[spoiler:Harry overpowers Malfoy at the Malfoy Manor, which subsequently transfers the Elder Wand's ownership to '''him''']]. According to [[spoiler:wand lore, one only has to defeat the Elder Wand's current master to win over its ownership; whether the previous master was in possession of the wand does not matter]]. Thus, even though Voldemort [[spoiler:is in possession of the Elder Wand in the final battle, he cannot unleash its full power, nor can he harm Harry with it, as the wand has already sworn allegiance to Harry, making him its true master]].
*** Also counts as an unknown known: [[spoiler: Voldemort believes that Snape is the true owner because he killed its previous owner. Its previous owner was Dumbeldore, who got it from Grindelwald, who was killed by Voldemort.]] Oops.
** The BigGood Dumbledore gets his own moment. He's a supremely intelligent wizard, completely in control of himself, plans years and years in advance and all his guesses, intuitions and plans come exactly as he wishes. The one mistake he makes? [[spoiler:When hunting for Voldemort's horcruxes, he's unprepared for the fact that the chosen object was in fact a lost artifact in its own right, the Resurrection Stone - TheRemnant of a quest Dumbledore abandoned nearly 80 years ago, which cost him the life of his sister and his relationship to his brother. Confronted with a single opportunity to meet his sister and beg for her forgiveness, Dumbledore [[GenreBlindness let his guard slip]] and fiddled with the object despite it being curses(which he knew fully well). This resulted in him getting a curse that makes him SecretlyDying for the better part of a year.]] What makes Dumbledore so awesome is that he's able to capitalize on his own mistake and have it adjust into a pitch perfect end-game.
--> ''"I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being--forgive me--rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."''
* Caesar from Creator/MatthewReilly's ''Area 7'' puts a microwave transmitter on the president's heart, so that he can set explosives to blow up half of America the moment he dies. [[spoiler:He also puts one on his own heart to prevent the heroes killing him if his plan fails.]] He didn't anticipate that the heroes could fake the signal using the black box from an AWACS plane [[spoiler:allowing Schofield to [[CombatPragmatist just shoot him]].]]
* ''Lit make mistakes like the next Literature/SeptimusHeap'' - ''Magyk'': This is [=DomDaniels=] reaction when Marcia reveals that the Apprentice the Heaps have just saved is actually him.
* In the fourth ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' book, ''Plains of Passage'', Attaroa tries to kill Ayla to show her tribe what happen to those who resist her, only to be killed by Wolf, who has been hiding in the woods. Since [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Wolf]] is the world's first domesticated wolf, there really wasn't any way Attaroa could have even suspected that he exists.
* The appendix of ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' (the first ''Dune'' book) argues that the Bene Gesserit order should have foreseen that the Kwisatz Haderach they were trying to create would not serve the order.
** They were also making it easy for their members to fake being messiahs in case of emergency, so they underestimated the real thing.
* In ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove'', Kerim gives a speech on this trope:
-->This is a billiard table... And you have hit your white ball and it is traveling easily and quietly towards the red. The pocket is alongside. Fatally, inevitably, you are going to hit the red and the red is going into that pocket. It is the law of the billiard table. But, outside the orbit of these things, a jet pilot has fainted and his plane is diving straight at the billiard room, or a gas main is about to explode... And the building collapses on you and on top of the billiard table. Then what has happened to that white ball that could not miss the red ball, and to the red ball that could not miss the pocket? The white ball could not miss according to the laws of the billiard table. But the laws of the billiard table are not the only laws.
* ''[[Literature/CallahansCrosstimeSaloon Callahan's Lady]]'' has a couple of doozies in its final story. The Professor, the [[ConMan World's Greatest Conman]], bought $50,000 in counterfeit ten-dollar bills from [[PsychoForHire Tony Donuts]]. After the money had been disposed of, Tony demanded the bogus bills back, so the Professor was forced to [[TheCaper rob a bank, to pass real money to Tony for his fakes]]. Unfortunately, after bringing Tony the [[SchmuckBait nice, neatly bound sequential bills]], Tony [[spoiler: realizes the money isn't his counterfeit cash, because ''he'd never figured out how to work the serial number increment mechanism on his press'', and thus all his counterfeit money had ''the same exact serial number''.]] Perfect example of a type 4; clever people have troubles properly accounting for real stupidity.
** Subsequently, Tony falls to a type 3 -- [[spoiler: he's not in a caper novel, [[GenreShift he's in a time travel book]]. He's prevented from murdering the professor via 1) time/space travel [[BigDamnHeroes getting the heroes there on time]] and 2) future technology [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment permanently removing his capacity for physical violence]] -- he ends up with catastrophic failure of coordination any time he tries to hurt someone.]] The GenreShift is too much for him.
* The BigBad of ''Tantalize'' (a ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' knockoff), had a pretty good plan and executed it well, but got well and truly screwed by something he never anticipated: [[spoiler: ''three'' of his FiveBadBand were secretly werepeople who betrayed him, killing his fourth and last ally in the process.]] To be fair, [[AssPull the readers didn't see it coming, either.]]
** Also, he didn't expect that [[spoiler: Quincie would abandon him for Kieran after all]], though that might more accurately be {{Hubris}}.
* In the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' novel ''The Short Victorious War'', Havenite battlecruisers expecting a lone Manticoran light cruiser stumble upon a dreadnought. [[CurbStompBattle The results are... obvious.]]
** ''Mission of Honor''. Manticore was on alert and ready for trouble, but [[spoiler: Oyster Bay]] still succeeded because [[spoiler: the Mesans were not using impellers, which the Manties knew to look out for, but their new spider drives, which were a completely new technology.]]
** The Solarians have been screwed multiple times by the Unknown Known of Manticoran [[spoiler:and Havenite]] technology being well ahead of theirs. It's not as if they didn't consider the possibility; they just rejected it out of hand.
** The discovery of the Lynx Terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction (which no one could have predicted) disrupted [[spoiler:the Alignment]]'s plans, forcing them to bring about the Manticoran-Solarian conflict ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, this is at least part of what led Queen Elizabeth to make peace with Haven. If it hadn't been for the Solarian threat, she probably would have simply forced Haven into submission. However, they also didn't anticipate [[spoiler:Herlander Simoes' defection, which led to the Manticorans and Havenites learning about the Alignment and forming a military alliance. On the one hand, this will help bring about the downfall of the Solarian League even sooner. On the other hand, the fact that the Grand Alliance doesn't know about the Renaissance Factor or where the Alignment's base is is the ''only'' thing keeping them alive.]]
*** The [[spoiler:Mesan Alignment]] also got shafted by Oversteegen kicking their ass at Tiberian, the entire clusterfuck in ''Crown of Slaves'' that resulted in [[spoiler:the establishment of the Kingdom of Torch]], and [[spoiler:HMS ''Hexapuma'' catching a Jessyk freighter using a false transponder, and that one only happened because Aikawa Kagiyama was ''bored'' and decided to do a detailed analysis of a random ship for fun]]. In fact, they've been having a major problem in this department for some time, starting with Manticore managing to stand up to Haven in the first place.
* Pretty much the reaction of the Malwa Empire and Link every time their carefully-made plans encounter the titular Byzantine general of the ''Literature/BelisariusSeries''. A prime example was when he [[TrojanHorse walked into an enemy-held city as a nameless "prisoner"]] of a [[spoiler:unit of Kushans who'd changed sides]] that the enemy had no idea existed; the men were believed to have been wiped out with the rest of another Malwan force that had been obliterated.
* A ''spectacular'' type four happens in the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' book ''Princeps' Fury'' to [[spoiler: [[TheChessmaster Gaius Sextus]] during the fall of Alera Imperia]]
-->[[spoiler: Gaius: Crows. Didn't even look at them twice]]
* ''Literature/NuklearAge'''s Dr. Menace encounters one every few seconds, as one after another of her plots fail in ''DeusExMachina'' style. Her first kidnapping plot failed when a just-introduced supporting character happened to catapult into her abandoned warehouse base, destroying the building, her orbital death ray failed when Nuklear Man decided to show off by firing a Plazma Beam into the sky, her plan to convince Nuklear Man to turn evil via telepathy failed when Dr. Genius happened to contact him telepathically soon afterward and he mentioned it in passing, her plan to capture her alien visitor failed when the alien happened to be an nigh-omnipotent god... Her plans not only failed, but failed in the most frustrating style possible. It is mentioned several times that she was finding it more and more difficult not to start screaming.
* In ''Literature/TheScar'', Silas Fennec succumbs to a Type 4 when he overlooks [[spoiler: Armada's tugboats and their potential as explosive ramships.]] His oversight directly leads to [[spoiler: the utter decimation of the New Crobuzon fleet.]]
* In the backstory of the ''Literature/MercyThompson'' series, a trophy wife kills her husband with a pair of gardening shears, and pins the blame on the gardener. How was she to know he was a fey, who can't touch iron without being burned? And even if she somehow knew ''that'', how was she to know the Grey Lords had chosen this moment to [[UnmasquedWorld break the masquerade]]?
* In Creator/JackCampbell's ''Literature/TheLostFleet'' novel ''Invincible'', Desjani warns that her great plan is also a terrible plan because they know so little about the aliens that it relies on some assumptions that could easily be thrown off. They go with it anyway, though.
* ''Literature/TheForerunnerSaga'' reveals the truth about the connection of the Forerunners and Humans in ''Franchise/{{Halo}}''. [[spoiler:Humanity use to be an interstellar empire and were allied with the San 'Shyuum(aka the PROPHETS) in their war against the Flood. Plus they also ended up fighting with the Forerunners over territory, the Humans have defeated the Flood, but lost to the Forerunners who devolved them back on Earth.]]
* In ''Literature/HonorHarrington: The Short Victorious War'', the People's Republic of Haven opens the war by covertly preying on Manticoran shipping, ambushing convoys with superior forces. One such raid goes pear-shaped when, instead of the lightly defended convoy they expected, Battlecruiser Divisions 141 and 142 drop out of hyper within energy range of the dreadnought HMS ''Bellerophon'', which by a complete fluke was passing through the system while rotating home. The Peeps even manage to get off the first shot, but cause only minor structural damage before the dreadnought's return fire pastes them. And the best part? It was the night shift, and ''Bellerophon's'' officer of the watch was a ''communications officer'' who won by reading down a list.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* Pretty much every episode of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', starting with Episode 1.
* In an episode of ''Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles'' a local gangster discovers that Sarah is a fugitive and tries to blackmail her. To make sure she would play along, he sends one of his henchman to kidnap her children. Since Sarah's "daughter" is actually a [[DeceptivelyHumanRobots killing machine]] from the future, that plan goes [[HilarityEnsues really bad, really fast]].
* An episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' featured the return of a bunch of hyper-intelligent, genetically engineered "friends" of Dr. Bashir's, who, upon thinking on the Dominion war situation, decide it was in the best interest of all involved if the Federation surrendered or was defeated quickly and the Dominion won (which would save billions of lives in the long run, and end in a galaxy-wide rebellion to overthrow it). They go to give the Dominion some classified Starfleet tactical data, but are stopped when one of their own tells on them. Dr. Bashir rubs it in, explaining that if one person can uproot their brilliant plan, then maybe their calculations might become nil due to the uncalculatability of human nature.
** A very subtle double example, as the payoff is in an earlier episode: the Dominion worked out the ''exact same'' projections, and had a counter to it: [[spoiler:When they won, they were going to purge Earth, as an example.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', a paedophile tries to force a little girl into his car. He really had no way of knowing that [[FairyCompanion fairies]] were interested in the girl and that they were [[TheFairFolk not the Disney kind]]...
** In ''Children of Earth'', Jack Harkness falls prey to a Type Four: he knew that the 456 were capable of [[spoiler: curing viruses deadly to humans]], but it never occurred to him that they could create and instantly release one if anyone tried to resist their demands. [[DiedInYourArmsTonight And he learns this in the worst way possible.]]
* The Volume Four finale of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', "An Invisible Thread" involves [[spoiler:Peter having used Sylar's shapeshifting power to impersonate the President, heading off Sylar's attempt to shapeshift into the President and become him. From Peter's dialogue, it is clear that Sylar probably knew that Peter had replicated one of his powers, but wouldn't have expected him to have taken something so mundane.]]
** The Volume Four premiere had a Type Four. Danko, having rounded up most of the specials and put them on a plane to a detention facility, agrees to free Claire in order to mollify Nathan Petrelli (her father). He admits that her power ([[GoodThingYouCanHeal regeneration]]) doesn't make her a threat to society. However, he didn't know that Nathan has no real control over Claire, or that being immortal and all but immune to pain means that she can and will carry out acts normal people would consider suicidal. [[spoiler:Claire escapes from Nathan, gets on the plane via the landing gear, frees the captive specials, and ends up causing the plane to crash. Now the government has to round up the specials all over again, only this time they're actively evading capture.]]
* ''Series/StargateSG1'': After capturing SG-1 in a planet he recently conquered, Cronos decided to publicly execute them so that the locals would see how foolish it is to try to resist him. Unfortunately for him, during the execution it was revealed that [[spoiler:they were actually SG-1 robotic Doppelgangers]]. Kind of hard to keep claiming to be an [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien all-knowing god]] when you can't even [[JawDrop keep your jaw closed.]]
* In ''Series/TheOfficeUS'' every time Dwight tries to do something manipulative it falls prey to this. He even lampshades it.
--> Just once, I would like to be a [[TheChessmaster puppetmaster]] and have nothing go wrong. Just once.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** [[BigBad The Master]] had planned to kill Buffy, gaining the power to escape his prison and open the Hellmouth, bringing about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. If he thought about Buffy's allies, he dismissed them as powerless. Unfortunately, while his plan to kill Buffy worked, Xander knew CPR. Buffy therefore returns from the dead, and proceeds to kill the Master. Considering the Master has been in a prison for hundreds of years, it's possible that [=CPR=] itself was an "unknown unknown" to him. The idea that a human could come back to life through non-supernatural means may well have been completely foreign to him.
** In Season Two, Spike and Drusilla had a plan to destroy the world. They had resurrected the Judge, a demon who, according to prophecy, could not be killed by any weapon forged. They did not take into account several hundred years of advancement in weapons technology, and [[NoManOfWomanBorn Buffy blew away the Judge with a rocket launcher]]. Given that The Judge was defeated last time he rose up too, they might not have actually expected him to destroy the world (which Spike rather likes), but they were certainly expecting a bigger death toll than ''two''. One of which was one of their own minions.
* On ''Series/CovertAffairs'', Auggie experiences a 4-5 combination when he appeals to his ex-girlfriend Natasha for help on a case, and is somewhat surprised and dismayed when she refuses to help, still angry that he landed her in jail previously. He says the trope name verbatim when she slaps him upon their first reunion...except he means it literally, having been blinded since their last encounter.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', after Jha'dur, the last [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Dilgar]] was captured; she managed to get a pardon in exchange for developing her immortality serum. Just before she was about to go to earth she gloated to Sinclair that the serum can only be manufactured by killing [[PoweredByAForsakenChild other people]] and that her capture was actually part of her plan to make the rest of the races just as bad as hers was. What she didn't realize was that the vorlons were not the enigmatic reclusive weirdoes that they seemed to be, but were actually [[spoiler: [[TheChessmaster manipulative ]]Precursors]] who saw right through her plan and destroyed her ship to stop it. Also, since the vorlons themselves were forced to act openly and directly instead of manipulating events from the [[AccidentalPun shadows]] as they usually did, Jha'dur herself could be considered a SpannerInTheWorks.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In 1st season episode "Sightings", Colombian drug smugglers use the underground facilities of a supposedly abandoned navy base in Texas where they have a cocaine processing facility without the locals knowing anything about it. Obviously, they didn’t foresee that the disappearance of a young local girl would lead the Navy to send two of its most resourceful investigators and foil the whole operation.
* ''Series/TheShadowLine'':
** Gatehouse gets this in his first encounter with Glickman, when he realises that Glickman knew he was coming in advance and prepared countermeasures; namely, [[spoiler:a large bomb, which destroys his shop and almost kills Gatehouse]].
** In the next episode this happens to Glickman himself. [[spoiler:He contacts his girlfriend not knowing that she's working for Counterpoint. She then stabs him to death.]]
* In ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'', former TheDragon Damaras has defeated the Gokaiger, capturing Captain Marvelous for execution, killing the others, and letting LovableCoward Don live out of mercy. Then his plan gets completely derailed when Don actually comes back to mount a rescue, relying upon their little-known TeamPet to rescue Marvelous while he distracts everyone else (and is lampshaded by Marvelous' EvilFormerFriend Basco outright saying the trope's name when Don first shows up). [[spoiler:And then we find out that Basco only faked killing the other Gokaigers, which he reveals as he literally backstabs Damaras.]]
* In ''{{Series/Blackadder}} the Third'', Edmund is tied up on "[[LampshadeHanging an unrealistic grassy knoll]]" by the highwayman The Shadow, who plans on coming back to kill him later. Just when all hope looks lost, his BumblingSidekick Baldrick shows up, wanting to get the Shadow's autograph. Blackadder thanks Baldrick for teaching him an entirely new sensation: being genuinely pleased to see him.
* ''{{Series/Salem}}'': Rose claims that she has seen and manipulated everything that has happened, including Mary killing Mercy. Turns out Mary turned Mercy into a witch, and Mercy then swiftly beheads Rose.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* On the one hand, Game Masters are very often on the receiving end of PC ADD (not AD&D, though the similarity is telling) and are often forced into {{Railroading}} the plot. On the other, PC's can be struck by a ''very'' creative GM who gleefully goes OffTheRails with them and reprimands misbehavior [[RocksFallEveryoneDies creatively.]]
* This happens quite a bit to the Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marine chapter in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. [[CrazyPrepared They plan any action they take for years, carefully plot out every single possibility...]] Then their rivals, the Space Wolves, just run in and beat the shit out of them when they least expect it. You'd think they'd learn by now. (The current page image is a parody of this scenario; Tzeench, God of XanatosSpeedChess, is repeatedly beaten back by the fan-made [[TestosteronePoisoning Angry Marines]].)
** One example took place in the Gothic War. Chaos runs in and has the Imperial Navy on the ropes, they're clearly winning with their plans falling perfectly into place. Then out of the blue the Ork pirates which have been pestering the Imperial decide it might be fun to attack Chaos for a while.
** The bread and butter of the Alpha Legion, to the extent where their very existence has been denied by the Imperial Inquisition three times. It's not really clear who's side they're even on.
** There was the time when Craftworld Iyanden was getting swamped by an Ork Waaagh!, forcing them to raise even more Wraiths. Then out of the Webway the Dark Eldar come in to save the Craftworld Eldar, their reason they were amused to the Eldars angst in summoning the dead.
* Happens to virtually everyone in ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', especially when Adorjan or the Exalted are involved. Let's put it this way: in Autochthonia, one of the nations implemented a form of currency to keep the Populat happy during a series of high-profile scandals. Now there are illicitly wealthy members of the Populat bribing their way out of their responsibilities, regulator corruption all over the place, counterfeiting rings springing up, and similar chaos, and nobody has any idea what to do about it.
* The Clan Invasion in ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'', the Inner Sphere did not expect facing powerful high tech invaders with technology far more advanced than anything they have.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* ''Theatre/ThrillMe'', in a case of known unknown: Richard ''knows'' that Nathan exists, and is, in theory, aware that Nathan is smart. Nathan can, after all, hold his attention. Richard [[OutGambitted does not expect]] Nathan to pull a XanatosGambit for the sole purpose of keeping the two of them together (in life or death).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6n2LMg8i3s The impact of the Wii Remote]] is more one for the industry '''itself''' than any in-game thing, but it's pretty much '''the''' perfect example. Only Gamespot saw it coming… in an {{April Fools|Day}} joke.
* Bob Page from ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' had a plan [[AGodAmI to become a]] PhysicalGod by merging with a nigh-omniscient AI that was only ''mildly'' impeded by the player ''[[NukeEm nuking his base of operations]]''. It's completely thrown out the window, however, by the AI deciding [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness it wants to merge with the player instead]].
** Ol' Bobby seems to have a real problem with AI's. Another AI that his organization was using for anti-terrorist operations went rouge when it classified ''them'' as terrorists, then began actively sabotaging their plans. And, of course, he made the classic Villain flop-up by ''continuously'' underestimating JC's abilities.
* Calypso sometimes runs into this in ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal''; he doesn't always pick the most dependable players. [[MonsterClown Sweet Tooth]] tends to do this most often, but he's gotten caught off-guard by others as well. At least ''four'' characters turn the tables on him in ''Twisted Metal 2''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}''. [[spoiler:After his [[TheReveal Reveal]] as TheChessmaster, Shuji Ikutsuki plans to sacrifice most of the party by forcing RobotGirl Aigis to murder them, in order to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. He's just about to succeed... and at that point, the player is reminded that Ikutsuki forgot to crucify the dog, too.]]
** [[spoiler: [[Franchise/ScoobyDoo "And I would have gotten away with it, too! If it weren't for you meddling kids and that dog!]]]]
* And it happens again in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', if you manage to find the true ending. The game itself works against you here, making you wait until most of the way through the good ending and then ignore two of its attempts to turn you around, that it's really no wonder the true final boss is surprised you got that far.
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'', [[MagnificentBastard Kane's]] always a step ahead. Of everyone. GDI, Scrin, his own generals. Then in ''Command & Conquer 3'' [[spoiler: he undergoes a VillainousBreakdown when Kilian's forces ally with GDI. And then in Kane's Wrath, when it's revealed just how proficient Kane is at playing a GambitRoulette, he's yet again surprised when Alexa reveals to have tried to destroy LEGION, and tricked Kane into executing Kilian, out of her ''devotion to Kane''. That said, he still wins out in the end]].
** In the First game its seemed as though Nod has successfully defamed GDI and caused the UN to cut off all funding from them leaving them vulnerable for their forces. But instead it was all a BatmanGambit by GDI to trick Nod into lowering their guard, when Nod forces began attacking GDI bases they ended up facing fully armed forces.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' has a backstory example: Fhjull Forked-Tongue, LawfulEvil devil manages to trap a deva, a very incarnation of truth and LawfulGood, only to have it undone by the fact that the deva ''lied'' to him. The result of this (which is never precisely explained) is that Fhjull is now trapped into performing charity to any who asks.
* In ''VideoGame/BlazBlueCalamityTrigger'', Hakumen says a variation of this in his Arcade path when [[spoiler: Nu-13 turns out to be the ninth fight instead of the last one.]]
** Hazama runs afoul of this trope in ''[[VideoGame/BlazBlueContinuumShift Continuum Shift Extend]]'', variant 3X. [[labelnote:Here's the rundown.]][[spoiler:During the events of ''Wheel of Fortune: Calamity Trigger'', Hazama makes an attempt on Jin's life, only to have himself parried by a half-dressed squirrel beastkin he initially recognizes as Makoto Nanaya, but when she asks about Noel, who was obliterated in Ibukido during this timeline, he starts running questions through his mind on just who she is. This Makoto, as he finds out far too late to salvage the rest of his ''Wheel of Fortune'' plot, is actually an extracontinuual anomaly, and not only has she been asking questions about things that didn't happen in ''Wheel of Fortune'', but she also brought Noel up before Tsubaki Yayoi - the resulting confusion caused Tsubaki to not meet with Hazama for prescheduled {{mindrape}}, so Hazama has to come up after her, and since Continuum Shift Makoto has been in recent contact, she was nowhere near Relius, who Hazama was outsourcing her handling to. His plans completely toppled and his patience having expired, he decides to kill her where she stands - only Rachel shows up and gets her out of there, leaving him alone with his seething rage. Back in ''Continuum Shift'', when Hazama catches Makoto chatting with Jin and not on assignment in Ikaruga, he finally puts two and two together, and his actions relegate his newfound priorities with her - outsource to Relius or '''''kill on sight'''''!]][[/labelnote]]
** Hazama, once again, runs afoul of this trope [[spoiler:in ''Chronophantasma'' - this time, Type 4, against ''the exact same perpetrator''.]] [[labelnote:Got time to kill?]][[spoiler:Having completed everything in ''Continuum Shift'' proper according to his own specifications, he is confident enough in his ability to control affairs that rather than keep Tsubaki Yayoi (the wielder of the Izayoi and Hazama's anti-Hakumen shield) on a tight leash with him at all times, he lets her run around Ikaruga on her own. This is in blatant ignorance of the fact that the last time he caught Makoto and Tsubaki with each other happened to be the instance mentioned above. True enough, Makoto finds Tsubaki, only Kagura Mutsuki happens to interrupt the fight and let Tsubaki run free. After being filled in (and likely getting a knuckle sandwich or two for his trouble), Kagura orchestrates a trap to lure Tsubaki back to Makoto, Noel and Jin to break her brainwashing, and the trap works as intended. Afterwards, Terumi gets into a fight with Hakumen, and when he thinks he can evade Hakumen's Time Cutter, Trinity pins him in place so he can't - and because Tsubaki is now off fighting alongside Makoto against Relius and his cadre of puppets, Terumi can't use her to stay Hakumen's blade. Due to {{synchronization}}, both Hazama and Terumi are now [[KilledOffForReal dead]].]][[/labelnote]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', [[spoiler: Fontaine's]] plot to [[spoiler: get Jack to kill Andrew Ryan to let him take over Rapture]] went of without a ''hitch''....except for those Little Sisters....
* ''No one'' seemed to see Yuna and her Guardians coming in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', least of all [[spoiler:Lady Yunalesca, who has never been challenged before and was certainly not expecting to get the shit kicked out of her [[OneWingedAngel horrifying medusa-head form]], thereby destroying the traditional (but not, as she claimed, "only") way to defeat Sin.]]
** Since the only way that she could reasonably be defeated was if the player read a guide beforehand, that was probably a reasonable point of view.
** Nobody predicted that [[spoiler:''Sin itself'', or rather Jecht, was capable of setting into motion events that would lead to its destruction.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', [[spoiler: Barthandelus']] plan to turn the l'Cie into the instruments of Cocoon's destruction hinges on them breaking when he slams them into the DespairEventHorizon, inducing them to follow their Focus and using the power of [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Ragnarok]] to kill Orphan. [[spoiler: Fang]] comes close in the end, but not close enough: [[spoiler: Barthandelus']] failure to recognize humans as more than mere tools is the undoing of his schemes, as the l'Cie ultimately save Cocoon ''[[LiteralGenie by subverting their Focus]]''.
* Sun Li, Glorious Strategist for the ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire''. Yeah, marvelous {{plan}}. Flawless, right down to [[spoiler: deliberately putting flaws in the Player Character's fighting style]]. But...he really didn't expect that [[spoiler:The Water Dragon]] was running an equally good one to counter it.
* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'' despite the [[AbusivePrecursors Reapers]] being terrifyingly thorough when it comes to wiping out all life in the galaxy, they still can't foresee every outcome:
** The Reapers didn't plan for [[spoiler:the Protheans to stop the keepers from activating the Citadel Relay. Nor did they anticipate the keepers evolving in manner that could be exploited to this end]]. This is noteworthy as it also relied on the Reapers only weakness: [[spoiler: their expectations. They ''expected'' the Protheans to futilely fight until extinction. They ''didn't'' expect them to accept their fate and FlingALightIntoTheFuture, essentially using their last fighting chance to give future sentient life better odds of survival.]]
** [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 Harbinger]] recognized [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]] as a major threat, and had him/her eliminated. He didn't count on Cerberus being able to resurrect Shepard, rebuild the Normandy, and point him/her right at the Collectors.
** [[spoiler:The original Shadow Broker didn't see the betrayal by his AlwaysChaoticEvil yahg agent until it was too late.]]
** In a ''Mass Effect'' novel, the Illusive Man captures Paul Grayson, a rogue Cerberus agent, and has him implanted with Reaper nanites, effectively turning him into a Saren-type Husk. He keeps Grayson sedated and has Kai Leng on standby to kill Grayson if necessary. Then the research station is attacked by a turian squad sent to stop Cerberus and rescue Grayson. The Illusive Man's plan is ruined, and he barely escapes with his life. Unfortunately, the turians experience this as well. They rescue Grayson but have no idea that he's already under Reaper control.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', [[FishOutOfTemporalWater Javik]] reveals that the Protheans had actually intended [[spoiler:the ''[[TheChosenOne Asari]]'']] to lead the Galaxy against the Reapers in the next Cycle; influencing their early civilisation in order to give them a decent headstart. Upon waking up from 50,000 years of hibernation, Javik is naturally taken aback to discover that they're sitting on their hands, while it's ''[[TheUnChosenOne Humanity]]'' who are leading the charge.
** In the ''Citadel'' DLC, the Mysterious Figure is remarkably prone to this: not bothering to trap Glyph and allowing Traynor to grab her toothbrush before leaving both come back to bite said Figure in remarkably elaborate ways later on.
** ''Mass Effect 2'' squad member [[CombatMedic Mordin Solus]] relies on this trope to give him an advantage when going into a dangerous situation. He states in a conversation with Shepard that people see species like turians and asari as obvious threats because of their strength and capabilities, but because he's a salarian (amphibious lizard people who are comparatively physically weak as a species, yet intellectually superior), his enemies "[[VerbalTic *sharp inhale*]] never see me coming". Extra points for the {{Slasher Smile}} with that last bit, and for being ex-special ops and plenty dangerous in his own right. Omega quickly learned not to judge him by his diminished physique and spastic behavior (especially after he displayed the bodies of several mercs who tried to extort money out of him outside his ghetto clinic as a warning to others).
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', [[RebelLeader Yuan]] has a foolproof plan for getting hold of the PlotCoupon that will allow him to save the world: all he has to do is [[HostageForMacguffin threaten the son]] of the person who can unlock the seal on the [[PhysicalGod Summon Spirit]] that grants it. It probably would have worked, if the BigBad hadn't been traveling with the party incognito...
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' - Pity poor Sebastian [=LaCroix=]. For an ineffectual-seeming idiot Prince, he manages to make [[SurprisinglyEliteCannonFodder surprisingly good use of the PC]] and then [[spoiler: turn the entire city against you when he [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness doesn't need you anymore]]]]. Problem is, there was simply no way he could count on [[spoiler: you defeating the Blood Hunt and any and all other opposition by yourself, Caine empowering you to defeat his Dominate, ''and'' Jack [[ZeroWing setting him up the bomb]]]]. Okay, the first might have been something he should have expected, but the rest almost amounts to a DiabolusExMachina from his perspective.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** Several of these nail [[spoiler:Manfred von Karma]]. He didn't see [[spoiler:Larry Butz]] arriving with key information, didn't expect Phoenix to get useful information out of a parrot [[spoiler:even after retraining it to destroy ''the'' most useful]], and, most importantly, he spends the entire case manipulating the Judge... but never expects the Judge to truly hold devotion to law and order over any fear he may have of him. This last one screws [[spoiler:von Karma]] over more than everything else.
** Also, in [[VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth Miles Edgeworth's game]], [[spoiler: Quercus Alba is unbeatable, until a series of these brings him down. Notable in that multiple completely unpredictable (from his perspective) events are required for him to be arrested]].
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'' [[spoiler:Tirnoch created the Fateless One so that he/she could free Tirnoch from her prison that she was destined to hold her forever]]. This part works perfectly. What [[spoiler:Tirnoch]] ''didn't'' see coming was [[spoiler:the Fateless One being powerful enough to kill her.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''
** ''[[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Pokemon Platinum]]'''s Cyrus captures the [[OlympusMons Legendary Pokemon of Time and Space]], and prepares to use them to destroy the universe to end human suffering. Unbeknownst to him, they were [[RuleOfThree two-thirds of a trio]], and the [[EldritchAbomination Legendary Pokemon of Matter/Antimatter]], long ago banned from reality and stricken from mythology out of fear, isn't too pleased with him for this...
** In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', [[spoiler: [[TheManBehindTheMan Ghetsis]]]] was not expecting the protagonist to be able to summon the other Legendary Dragon of Unova, nor that the player's relationship to their Pokemon really was [[ThePowerOfFriendship friendship]], rather than using Pokemon as tools, ''nor'' that this second revelation would cause N to doubt his own cause and [[WorthyOpponent challenge the player character]] over the validity of their beliefs. As a result, the player ultimately [[DefeatMeansFriendship befriends N]], and [[spoiler: Ghetsis's plan to conquer Unova through FantasyGunControl falls to pieces. And [[VillainousBreakdown so does he]].]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the Thalmor were quite confident the Civil War in Skyrim would ultimately end in their favour. If the Imperials won, their Thalmor allies would be free to continue their efforts to infiltrate, influence and undermine a province of the Empire. If the Stormcloaks won, the Empire would be weakened significantly, recall their troops and leaving Skyrim wide open for the Aldmeri Dominion to launch an invasion. What they ''didn't'' see coming was the return of [[BigBad Alduin]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the World-Eater]], the [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt resurrection of the Dragons]], and the arrival of [[CrystalDragonJesus the Dragonborn]].
** The Dragonborn can potentially end up throwing a huge wrench into the Thalmor's plans for Skyrim by siding with either faction: either they face a reunited and re-invigorated Empire, or a still fairly powerful and not-being-continually-drained Cyrodiil and a rather powerful and ''[[ScrewYouElves very]]'' hostile independent Skyrim, and either winner also gets a new ally in the form of a PhysicalGod.
* ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaVictory'': Mr. Badd's plan to neutralize all the goddesses in Gamindustri worked flawlessly, leaving him and his organization free to move in and take power. He didn't count on a [[{{Xbox}} foreign CPU]] to show up and derail the step of the plan.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SilentHill1 Silent Hill]]'', Dahlia didn't count on [[spoiler: Kaufmann]] having more than one [[spoiler: vial of aglaophotis]].
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', the Independent Path ends with the 4 year-long-struggle between the Legion and NCR for control over the Mojave, as well as the 200-year-old plans of Mr House, completely derailed by one lone package [[WildCard Courier]].
** While Mr House, the NCR, the Legion or Yes Man send the Courier to parley with the various minor factions to rally support for their side in the second Battle of Hoover Dam, the one faction ''none'' of them expected to get was [[spoiler: an [[BadassGrandpa elderly]] contingent of [[TheRemnant Enclave Remnants]] from Navarro, whom your companion Arcade can introduce you to]].
* In the original ''[[VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' the [[TheEmpire Taidaan Empire]] fell due nobody anticipating the Kushan Mothership escaping the Kharakian Genocide, creating a powerful fleet and invading from the unguarded border as they were busy with a large rebellion.
** Also, the rebellion itself. The emperor and his advisors had expected the people to be cowed in awe from the emperor's ability to see the Kushans, descendants of their ancestral enemy the Higaarans, violate the treaty preventing them from developing again hyperspace technology, and cheer upon their final distruction in the Kharakian Genocide. Instead the people realized the Kushans had ''forgot'' the treaty and were not hostile, and [[HoistByItsOwnPetard the Kharakian Genocide sparked the long-brewing rebellion that the emperor was planning to prevent with this act]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0120.html This]] ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'' strip neatly showcases how PC's can become incredibly paranoid of these dangers (make sure to read the comments at the bottom).
* ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'': [[http://www.lfgcomic.com/page/229 This strip]].
-->'''Beholder:''' Thus it was written...
-->'''The Archmage:''' This was not supposed to happen.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0386.html "You know, the first two, I probably should've seen coming. The leprechaun costume? Not so much."]]
** The identity of the champion.
---> [[spoiler:Thog: thog is the Champion, thog's friends! And thog will keep fighting to the end! ]]
* Happens all the time in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''. Often followed by Riff's CatchPhrase, "Let me check my notes."
** One particularly memorable moment is an inversion.
---> '''Riff''': Torg, why are there pants on the floor?
---> '''Torg''': They're my emergency pants.
---> '''Riff''': ...why do you have emergency pants?
---> '''Torg''': I don't know, but in [[BringMyBrownPants every situation]] I could think up, I was ''glad to have them''.
*** Followed about twenty strips later by magical moths that eat all clothing. '''"[[CrazyPrepared This looks like a job for]] ''[[CrazyPrepared emergency pants!]]''"''' He ''did'' see it coming, even though he couldn't have.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', [[GambitPileup no character ever gets]] to have everything go according to plan. Something always happens just when you least expect it. They can only be better or worse at [[XanatosSpeedChess being on top of the chaos]].
* ''Webcomic/{{SSDD}}'', the Oracle is usually successful in his {{Gambit Roulette}}s due to the fact that he was designed to make accurate predictions, but [[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20010601.html apparently]] TimeTravel throws him off.
* Kale Williams utters those exact words in the QuetzaDrake's ''Webcomic/FurthiaHigh'' comic, when [[spoiler:Campy shows up to the school dance with a male date.]]
** Ashley averts it when she calmly replies, "I did."
* In an ''Webcomic/{{XKCD}}'' [[http://www.xkcd.com/592 comic]], some nerds figure out how to end all relationship drama (via a mathematic equation, naturally), but upon testing their theory in the real world, all the relationship drama, in fact, SPIKES, leading one to say "Holy shit... people are ''complicated!''
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'':
** Our IdiotHero is on the edge of a cliff with The Yellow Demon jumping at him -- [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/000709c so he runs back and the cliff falls]]. Bet you the demon didn't see it coming.
** And the sickly Met Demon actually has an attack. [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/050524c X uses the trope name]]
* The defunct webcomic ''Filthy Lies'' had one character daydream a SelfInsert fic where he was a JerkassStu (using Felix Felicis, for example, to have a threesome with Hermione and Ginny) in the events of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince''...who, during the climax, ended up screwing everything up so that all the good guys died. [[spoiler:He even took the big moment away from Snape by accidentally bumping Dumbledore off the top of the tower with poor broom handling before Snape could perform Avada Kedavra.]]
-->'''Snape:''' I did ''not'' see that coming.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', when Abe disarmed the elf. Anybody who forgets he's fighting a wizard after having to overcome his spells just to get there ''deserves'' to be [[spoiler:[[MacrossMissileMassacre spammed]] by [[http://egscomics.com/?date=2009-07-04 exploding crows]]]] on the spot.
* A chain of these in ''Alanna''. [[spoiler: [[BigBad Tristan]] has forcibly bonded OB, the god of lightning and dissection, to himself, and EB, the god of Frost and Destruction, to the protagonist]]. All he needs to do is capture the protagonist, and he pretty much wins. He knows that the protagonist has a lightning sprite that can absorb his electrical attacks to become stronger, but considers it to be a non-factor because sprites are easily banished. He also knows that [[spoiler: EB's creations will obey her, but isn't worried because he has a small army of Amalgams, and also knows that OB's creations can only function under OB's orders]]. However, he was completely unaware of several important facts: firstly, [[spoiler: OB's creations had a small degree of autonomy, and had built a clone of OB to guide them; Tristan didn't know about this because Fake!OB was non-functional, but the protagonist managed to get it operational. In return, Fake!OB sent OB's creations against Tristan for the final battle, and also gave the protagonist's lightning sprite a warding that made it impossible for Tristan to banish. lastly, it gave her a means to communicate with the imprisoned Real!OB]]. Tristan's [[OhCrap reaction]] to this is absolutely [[CrowningMomentOfFunny priceless]]. [[spoiler: More importantly however, Tristan is unaware that there was a complication during EB's bonding]]. At the start of the story, "Spirit Guides" (Actually [[NoFourthWall the readers, who give the protagonist suggestions on what to do]]) were bonded to the protagonist, [[spoiler: occupying the place where EB was supposed to go, meaning that EB is actually bound to ''the readers'', instead of the protagonist. Since we can sever our connection with the protagonist at any time, the readers are essentially provided with a big red button labeled "Screw Tristan's plans six ways to Sunday." And Tristan certainly couldn't have predicted the readers using this information to prove to the original OB that Tristan's plan couldn't work, and that this would cause OB to take advantage of Tristan's unstable mental state when he tried to go OneWingedAngel to leave his body]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2006-03-12 Lil' Evil flips off God and runs off. God asks him where exactly he thought he could hide.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* In ''WebVideo/TheSalvationWar'', this is the downfall of several figures in the story, not least of which include the antagonists [[spoiler:Satan and Yahweh]], while in contrast much of human military tech shown in the story is concerned with trying to prevent this. In particular, [[FourStarBadass General]] [[spoiler:of the Armies]] [[TheStrategist David Petraeus]] is shown on several occasions accounting for known unknowns.
* Despite all of the completely ludicrous things they managed to pull off in [[WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog Dr. Horrible]], I still don't think anybody was expecting Bad Horse to be an ''actual'' horse.
* In the "40K Rejects" series by Mini War Gaming dot com, in Episode 3 (''The Tale of an Ork''), Captain Slaughter and co. are looking for the five Ork Shokk Attack Guns. They capture several Orks in combat, and Slaughter interrogates them one by one. The first few are gibbering idiots, but the third is quite articulate. His intelligence and knowledge intrigue Slaughter, who is subsequently shocked to discover that [[spoiler:the Ork is actually "the Warboss in disguise"!]]. Slaughter's reaction to it is priceless:
-->Slaughter: Out of all the unforeseen things I've ever seen!
* Ranger has multiple times fallen victim to the first type in Roleplay/ComicFuryWerewolf. He's several times forgotten key facts which are public information due to focusing too hard on the details. One of the worst is how he's twice forgotten about the vigilantes, and even [[spoiler: forgot about the alpha's ability to convert]] until he was dead and too late to warn the village.
* In TwitchPlaysPokemonRed, [[MindHive the Mob]] came up with a cunning plan to make sure that [[TheAce Bird Jesus]] didn't get released or deposited when they went to the PC. If they fainted everyone in the party ''except'' for Bird Jesus, he couldn't be put in the PC because then Red would have no usable Pokemon, right? As it should so happen, this leads to variety five - in the first generation of Pokemon, you ''can'' deposit the only Pokemon in your party... leading to Red managing to black out [[EpicFail inside a Pokemon Centre!]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Happens quite a bit in ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'', leading to a character [[CatchPhrase using this line]].
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', Brainiac is surprised when he blasts off Franchise/{{Batman}}'s suit [[spoiler:and Franchise/{{Superman}} is underneath it, having taken on the guise of Batman with Bruce Wayne having gone missing (due to Brainiac kidnapping and brainwashing him for his plans)]]. His reaction is typically understated...
-->'''Brainiac:''' "[[spoiler:Kal-El]]! ...This occurrence was highly improbable."
* Amanda Waller in ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]''.
-->'''Lex Luthor:''' Did you really think you could take me all by yourself?
-->'''Amanda Waller:''' Actually, yeah. But on the off chance I might've been wrong...
-->[The founding Leaguers have entered through the window]
-->'''Flash:''' Ta-da.
** Which is immediately followed by another one: It turns out that ''Brainiac'' is underneath Lex's suit. ''And '''skin'''''. I guess he learned his lesson...
** Then, of course, there was the episode "Wild Cards." In the middle of Joker's bomb threat on Vegas being aired as a reality TV show, Batman manages to talk to Harley Quinn alone. He insinuates that Joker seems awfully close to Ace, the new henchgirl. Harley storms off toward her puddin' in a jealous rage, but not before throwing and landing a solid punch on Batman for enlightening her. Cue to a shot of Joker staring blankly at a television screen after the exchange is over.
--> '''Joker''': Have to admit, I didn't see ''that'' one coming...
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': Azula, the DangerouslyGenreSavvy [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] and expertly MagnificentBastard, "miscalculated" one thing, possibly in her life: [[spoiler:[[EvilCannotComprehendGood Mai's loyalty to Zuko]].]]
** In the AlternateUniverse short "[[HighSchoolAU School Time Shipping]]", Zuko, understandably, utters this when Katara reveals her choice of date to the dance: [[spoiler:the Blue Spirit, Zuko's ''[[SecretIdentity alter ego]]''.]]
** Fire Lord Ozai faces a couple in the last episode: an Unknown Known [[spoiler: Aang regaining control of the Avatar State]] and then and Unknown Unknown [[spoiler: Energy Bending]].
** [[WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra Korra]] has a habit of landing in the middle of #3. Because she has no information on her enemy (and very few means of getting it), every episode or two, her enemies pull out something she didn't know about and proceed to hit her with TheWorfEffect. The most brutal example was [[spoiler: when Tarrlok turned out to be not only a bloodbender, but [[WrongContextMagic able to bloodbend under any moon phase]], something established to be impossible in the original series]].
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperHeroSquadShow'', shapeshifting mutant Mystique infiltrates the Squad as SHIELD agent ComicBook/BlackWidow. The plan to get access to the heroes' store of plot devices almost works, but then villain Screamin' Mimi turns out to be undercover SHIELD agent Songbird. SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom just quietly observes "I didn't see that one coming" and [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere flies away through the ceiling]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** The episode "Homie the Clown" has Homer unable to get the thought of Krusty's Clown College out of his head, even imitating the mashed potato scene from ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' (except he sculpts a circus tent) and seeing his family in clown makeup and waving ads. Eventually he stands up and declares "I'm tired of you people holding me back! I'm going to clown college!" Bart simply remarks, "I don't think any of us expected him to say that."
** Invoked in the episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" where Bart and Milhouse get into a giant fight. Groping around for a weapon, Bart finds Milhouse's new Magic 8-Ball and clocks him upside the head with it. As he looks at the shattered hunk of plastic in his hand, Bart remarks "I bet [it] didn't see that coming."
** In the episode "500 Keys", a secret Superintendent Chalmers and Principal Skinner have been keeping for years is exposed due to [[ItMakesSenseInContext Homer buying a returned wedding cake and Maggie locking herself in the car]]. Skinner says [[BatmanGambit they'd planned for the cake]], but not the baby. Chalmers insists he should have seen it coming, even though Maggie hadn't been born at the time.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'', "Grounder the Genius", had the eponymous bumbling robot minion accidentally end up with Dr. Robotnik's stolen Super Genius Program in his head; he instantly transforms into an [[TheChessmaster uber-chessmaster]] with enough smarts to incapacitate Sonic and decide that the bad doctor [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters has no place in his own schemes for world domination]]. In the end, he has Sonic and Tails on the ropes with a lightning generator and announces that he's thought of every possible occurrence... except the one where fellow bumbling robot minion Scratch shows up trying to help [[LosingYourHead and accidentally knocks his head off.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'', Mumm-Ra and the evil Mutants had succeeded in capturing ALL the Thundercats - except Snarf. When the Mutants discuss whether they should get him too, they all laugh at the notion that little, dorky Snarf could in any way possibly affect their plans now that they've essentially won. Little did they realize Snarf's talent for communicating with animals, as well as being so small and weak to be ignored to begin with, turned out to be their undoing.
* It was almost a RunningGag in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' how many bad guys would have Kim and/or Ron absolutely nailed to the wall, fail to account for [[TeamPet Rufus]] chewing through their bonds or hitting the self-destruct for the KillSat, and then are absolutely stunned that their plans were foiled in the end. And they usually never learned otherwise no matter how many times it happened to the same villains. In an early episode Drakken did manage to spot Rufus in time to foil him (because a mind controlled Kim pointed it out) but he winds up underestimating Kim's ''[[AnnoyingYoungerSibling brothers]]'' instead when he doesn't believe they have a portable version of a device that (as seen earlier in the episode) is normally the size of a refrigerator.
** And then the villains in the GrandFinale face an ''[[Awesome/KimPossible awesome]]'' Unknown Unknown in the form of Ron's Mystical Monkey Power.
* This was one of Hunter's {{Catch Phrase}}s in ''WesternAnimation/RoadRovers''.
** "Yet another unexpected twist."
--> '''Hunter:''' "I would NOT have predicted this!"
--> '''Colleen:''' "[[LampshadeHanging Face it, Hunty. The Psychic Network, you're not...]]"
* The events of the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' ChristmasEpisode lead Fry to lament, "I never thought it would end this way... gunned down by [[BadassSanta Santa Claus]]. Honestly, I didn't see it coming!"
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Applejack says this in "Swarm of the Century", when the voracious parasprites, instead of eating her apple crop, ate her barn instead.
** The two things that Discord hadn't planned for were [[spoiler:Celestia breaking Twilight out of her HeroicBSOD by sending her the letters her student had sent her the entire previous season and Twilight somehow reuniting her friends and breaking them out of Discord's MindRape so they could use the Elements Of Harmony to defeat him.]] The former is likely an Unknown Unknown he couldn't have expected and the latter is a Known Unknown: he knew about who was involved but hadn't foreseen how they could do anything to stop him at that point.
** After [[spoiler: Chrysalis's true form was revealed in front of Celestia and her plans explained, it was obvious that Celestia wasn't going to stay still about it. What wasn't obvious was that the queen of the Changelings had already gathered enough strength to beat the Princess. Not even Chrysalis expected that!]]
** Done heartbreakingly so in ''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightsKingdomPart2 Twilight's Kingdom Part 2]]'' when [[spoiler:Discord turns against the other ponies and captures the Mane Six (save for Twilight). Discord mentions that they should have seen it coming, only for a heartbroken Fluttershy to admit she hadn't at all -- she was so convinced her friendship with him was ironclad, she never thought he'd turn his back on her. This turns into an IronicEcho when Discord himself is betrayed by Lord Tirek and Applejack tells him the same exact thing]].
* In one ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode, when Kenny died, Stan didn't react the usual way. (i.e. shouting [[CatchPhrase "Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!"]]) Instead, he said, [[InvertedTrope "Well, who didn't]] [[DeadpanSnarker see that coming?"]] Played straighter in another episode where the plot has already been resolved, and then in the last scene a [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere giant bird busts through the ceiling and eats Kenny,]] prompting a [[FlatWhat flat "What]] [[PrecisionFStrike the fuck?"]]
* Discussed by Edward's friend (voiced by Samuel Jackson) in ComicStrip/TheBoondocks. He talks about how there are known unknowns, things that we know that we don't know, and unknown unknowns, namely things that we don't know that didn't know, in order to justify how the plan that they had to capture a killer was so far going badly.
* In the second to last episode of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', during the FinalBattle [[spoiler:Jinx]] [[HeelFaceTurn switches sides.]] Cyborg comments "I didn't see that coming". Control Freak nods in agreement while being pinned down by Cyborg.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Connie runs into the house sobbing and says that Bobby broke up with her[[note]]Only not really, it's a ruse[[/note]]. Kahn's immediate response is "Wow, you just taught me the meaning of 'total surprise'."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' has Bloo running against Mr. Herriman for the position of governing the house. This happens in response to Bloo's slander of simply saying "Herriman smalls like poo!".
-->'''Herriman:''' But that's mudslinging! ''[[VisualPun (gets mud thrown in his face)]]'' Should have seen that coming.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode, ''Boom Boom Out Goes the Ed'', Ed says this after Eddy throw the TV Set at him for can realizing there’s a blackout.
* Junior, intent on embarrassing Ted who hadn't brought back The Lost Shrine of Zagawa, is stunned (along with everyone else at the press conference) when George knocks down a dinosaur skeleton. "Wow. I didn't see that coming."
* In the final story arc of ''[[WesternAnimation/OnceUponATime Once Upon a Time... Space]]'', both the [[BigBad Humanoids]] and the combined fleet of the [[TheFederation Confederation of Omega]] were completely caught by surprise when [[spoiler: ThePrecursors decided to show up and made a star go nova right as the Humanoid armada passed by]]. Goes close to AssPull, except [[spoiler: one of the Precursors appeared saltuarily during the series to comfort Psi when she was in trouble, and the ship that shows in the final episode had already appeared in the first one and showed their technological superiority]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The submarine USS San Francisco once ran smack into an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_San_Francisco_(SSN-711)#Collision_with_seamount Underwater MOUNTAIN.]] Apparently, the captain and crew should have seen that coming if they were doing their jobs right (the captain ended up relieved of duty). So that would make this a case of unknown knowns.
* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, the Austro-Hungarian battleship ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Szent_Istv%C3%A1n SMS (Seiner Majestät Schiff) Szent István]]'', [[GeniusBonus which translates as "His Majesty's Ship Saint Stephen"]], was torpedoed and sunk by two Italian motor torpedo boats that ''just happened to pass in the area''. This goes under the Unknown Knowns category, as the Austro-Hungarians knew that the Italians used motor torpedo boats and considered them a threat due their tendency to attack their fleet in the harbours. They just didn't expect them to be able to torpedo a battleship in the middle of the sea in spite of a destroyer and torpedo boat screen (and in fact thought it had been submarines until the Italians started bragging).
** The Italians tended to be involved in this during the war. When they declared neutrality in 1914 they caught everyone by surprise, as Italy was in a military alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany at the time. Only, it covered ''defensive'' wars, and technically Austria-Hungary attacked first. Falls into False Assumptions, as everyone had thought Italy and Austria-Hungary had managed to put aside their border dispute (Italy hadn't).
** In 1916 the Italians were completely caught by surprise by the Austro-Hungarians attacking: doing some math they had figured the enemy didn't have the manpower to fight Russia on one front and mount an offensive on the other, and the Austro-Hungarian nearly broke through. Then the Austro-Hungarians were caught on the receiving end of this: the Russians attacked en-masse, forcing them to move all the attacking troops on the other side of the country. Both falls into Unknowns Known: the Italians had noticed the massing of troops but dismissed it, and the Austrians should have seen the Russian attacking that fast.
** Italian artillery was another False Assumption: given the state of Italian industry, everyone expected the Italians to be unable to produce a lot of guns, only for them to field the second largest artillery park of any power in the war, to the Austro-Hungarians' growing horror.
** The Battle of Caporetto contained a few of these. First the Austro-Hungarians and Germans broke through due the Unknown Known of the new German tactics and the False Assumption gas didn't work in high mountain, helping the breakthrough. Then the Austro-Hungarians ran into the Unknowns Unknown of the ''multiple'' reserve defensive lines that Cadorna and some of his subordinates had passed the previous year predisposing just in case: while a ModernMajorGeneral wasted an artillery trap that could have annihilated a prong of the assault and the Italians (whose army had almost completely dissolved under the pressure of the enemy attack and the low morale, with many soldiers deciding they would just return home) didn't get to the Tagliamento river in time to stop the enemy, by the Piave river the Italian soldiers had decided that the invader was to be defeated, reformed the army and held the line, and on the north the Austro-Hungarians discovered that a good chunk of the immense Italian artillery park had been placed on a mountain they couldn't cut off from supplies.
** 1918 has the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, a massive case False Assumption. By that point everyone had figured that the Allies would win the war, and the plan was for Austria to negotiate peace and Germany to fight through the winter to get better peace conditions. Then the Italians surprised everyone (including their own allies) by launching a sudden and massive offensive that they weren't supposed to have the morale and will for. Thanks to this and the Italian artillery being brought UpToEleven, when the Italians were finished the Austro-Hungarian army had been ''annihilated'' as a coherent force and was running, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had barely managed to surrender unconditionally before collapsing, and Germany had to beg for peace before the Italians marched through Austria to attack them from the south.
** Finally, the very last of the war: by the time the armistice on the Italian front took effect and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had started collapsing, [[{{Determinator}} the Austro-Hungarian Army had]] ''[[{{Determinator}} reformed as a coherent fighting force]]''. This falls under False Assumptions, as everybody had assumed that no army could do this... In spite of the Italian Army doing almost the very same thing exactly a year before. The Italian high command was very happy that the armistice had taken effect as the Austro-Hungarian Army proved they had outlasted the empire they served and laid down their arms (not surrendered) a ''regiment or division at time''.
* Overlapping with Unknown Knowns and False Assumption, the sinking of [[UsefulNotes/RMSTitanic the Titanic]] has this trope written all over it.
* 9/11
** Technically untrue with regards to the intelligence services. It wasn't so much that 9/11 was unexpected, at least by counter-terrorism professionals - between them, the CIA and FBI had enough intel to sweep the attackers up, but for "the Wall", a bureaucratic device that limited cooperation between the two agencies - Mohammed Atta even put the actual name of his hotel on his landing card! It is just that the attack happened before people expected it to, so more a case of '''Known Unknown.''' Of course, the US ''public'' was totally blindsided.
** Related: US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's attempt to explain the "Unknown Unknowns" concept at a wartime press conference was widely mocked by the ill-informed and malicious. Of course, as this was regarding the apparently absent WMD's in Iraq, the criticism may have been warranted. Those phrases became so strongly associated with Rumsfeld that he even named his published memoirs "Known and Unknown".
* Mount Vesuvius was the first experience Roman civilization had with a full-fledged volcanic eruption. They had to invent a word to describe what happened.
* Emperor Justinian of the UsefulNotes/ByzantineEmpire, almost did manage to reconquer the Roman Empire. But ThePlague arrived.
* The end of the era of isolation of Japan in the 19th century happened because of this: The Japanese assumed that no European superpower was going to waste their valuable resources in trying to invade Japan after the country isolated himself in the medieval era, since they have to go around Africa just to avoid the Middle East (then one of the few ways to reach the Far East and in that era, it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire) and by the time the Europeans could reach Japan, the Japanese could have enough time to fight back. The Tokugawa Shogunate didn't consider the ''American continent'', as their knowledge of the world was only limited to Europe and Asia, and since the United States didn't have to worry about dealing with Africa and the Middle East, except traveling straight in the Pacific Ocean to Japan, it was too late for the Tokugawas when Commodore Matthew Perry forced the Japanese to open to the rest of the world.[[note]]It turns out the Americans (and by default, Perry) studied a lot about how Japanese culture works via the Dutch and previous Western contacts with Japan, and also by entering previously in Japan using Dutch flags, taking into account the Japanese [[MistakenNationality could not distinguish between an American and a Dutch]]. Have the Japanese found out about this deception previously, the history could be different.[[/note]] This also happened again in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII by attacking Pearl Harbor and expecting the U.S. and the rest of the world to fight against them to the death. This time, the result was '''even worse'''.
* The whole rise of the Internet (the commercial one) can be considered one for the '''entire''' human race, as nobody considered how important the net was going to get in so few years, and many companies and even entire industries sunk thanks to, and also ''because of'' the Internet, to the extent that many governments and industries now seem hellbent on trying to tame it with mixed results.
* All the Scandinavian countries were into this in 1814. In Norway, nobody expected the Treaty of Kiel, being handed over to Sweden without questioning. In Sweden and TheBritishEmpire, nobody dreamt of the Norwegians actually going as far as declaring independence, actively resisting a union with Sweden. The UsefulNotes/NorwegianConstituentAssembly made a drastic impact on every setup made in January 1814, changing the rules completely come November that year.
* If you watch the video of the Army-[=McCarthy=] hearings, it is obvious that "Tailgunner Joe" is completely blindsided by Joseph N. Welch's "have you no sense of decency" speech. He can barely speak for a few moments.
* The whole Ukraine crisis between Russia and the rest of the world was completely ''unexpected'' for everyone, since it reverted the situation to the ColdWar-era levels and it's now causing LOTS of unexpected changes around the world.
* In the "Wild West", an unarmed sheriff marched up to a very-much armed man and demanded he surrender his guns. The man laughed. The sheriff knocked him out with a punch to the face.
[[/folder]]
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