-> ''"That's the problem. He's a brilliant lunatic, and you can't tell which way he'll jump. Like his game, he's impossible to analyze -- you can't predict him, dissect him... which of course means he's not a lunatic at all."''
-->-- '''Anatoly Sergievsky''', ''Theatre/{{Chess}}''

Some fighters have [[FragileSpeedster speed]], some have [[MightyGlacier strength]]. Proponents of Confusion Fu have ''unpredictability''.

Their attacks and motions are random (or seem to be), making them difficult to read and predict. Perhaps their priorities and motivations are so different from your own that attempting to guess their next move doesn't work, or perhaps their bodies are structured in such an unfamiliar way that you do not recognize the movements that foretell a particular action.

They are the natural nemesis of those blessed with AwesomenessByAnalysis. Stylish Confusion Fu fighters sometimes double as {{Dance Battler}}s. This style is often used by {{Bunny Ears Lawyer}}s and CrazyAwesome characters.

In gaming, most of these characters tend to be JackOfAllStats characters, as their versatility makes them very unpredictable in gaming.

Sister trope to SpannerInTheWorks, in a general sense. The reason why something CrazyEnoughToWork might ''actually'' work. RefugeInAudacity is a favorite tactic. See also DrunkenMaster and DrunkenBoxing. Compare ImprovFu. Contrast StrategySchmategy, where the randomness is [[HanlonsRazor unintentional]]. Not to be confused with WhatTheFuAreYouDoing.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex:''
** Oriana Thompson is dangerous for, among other things, ''never'' using the same magic spell twice due to the nature of her 'Shorthand' flash cards. This makes her very difficult to predict. This ultimately works against her when Touma notices that the way she designed her attacks to be unpredictable means that her attacks never come from the same direction twice in a row -- and it's not a conscious choice on her part, but something literally built in. This allows him to dodge her attacks perfectly by running through the space her previous attack covered (though this is only actually explained in the light novels).
** Acqua of the Back often uses his [[MakingASplash water powers]] to slide around chaotically and make it hard for his opponents to keep track of him.
** Rensa's facial expression doesn't change, she barely has any body language, and her involuntary muscle movements like blinking and breathing are completely regular. This makes it very difficult to predict her in battle. Ultimately, she can't keep it up forever, especially if she gets upset.
* ''Manga/{{Aiki}}'': One of the bizarre training regimens involved doing a crazy dance so that your strikes couldn't be seen.
%% Ikki in ''Manga/AirGear'' does this in his battle with Buccha.
* The main character in ''Manga/AngelDensetsu'', Kitano Seiichiro is feared by other delinquents, not because of his terrifying appearance (though that does play a role) so much as his utterly incomprehensible behaviour. The truth of the matter is that Kitano is a genuinely good person who only wants to help others, with an unfortunate tendency to run towards people shrieking incoherently when upset.
* This is the main danger of the Aberrant Titans in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. Most Titans move relatively slowly for their size, grab the closest humans, and attempt to kill them, usually by eating them. Aberrants crawl, jump, run, and have no reasonable pattern to predict who they attack or where they go.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Happens during the fight between Starrk and Kyouraku. After it becomes clear there are a lot of similarities between these two reluctant fighters, Starrk is convinced he's fighting a kindred spirit. Then it's revealed that was a red herring and the only thing they truly have in common is that they're both BrilliantButLazy. Lampshaded by Kyouraku himself:
-->'''Starrk:''' I thought I told you not to do uncharacteristic things, Captain-san!\\
'''Kyouraku:''' It's not good to keep forcing this characteristic thing, Espada-san. And, if you're going to talk about characteristic, not having a characteristic behaviour is characteristic of me.
* This of course is ''Manga/BoboboboBobobo'''s forte. [[note]]Other than his mastery of Hanage Shinkin, that is.[[/note]] Its an official fighting style that consists of confusing your enemy until they give up - or at least until they're so confused they can't defend against your one actual offensive finishing move. Basically everyone's style revolves around this concept, one way or another, although their offensive finishing moves tend to fit the styles' actual description. Fighters who have this as their core fighting style are known as Hajike/Wiggin' Specialists. Their only known natural enemy are the [[NoNonsenseNemesis Idiot/Joke Killers]].
* ''Manga/DiamondNoAce'' has this in the form of the main character, Sawamura Eijun. Because he has a flexible body, his pitching form hides his left arm (he is a southpaw) until just before he releases the ball, making the ball seem to start out later and giving the batter less reaction time. Because he didn't have anyone to teach him the nuances of pitching when he was younger, he never learned how grips can change a pitch trajectory, and combined with his naturally flexible body, he grows up throwing a fastball that ''breaks at random.'' He supplements this natural pitch with proper inside and outside pitches that even utilize the depth of the strike zone, as well as the changeup, none of which visibly change his pitching form. [[spoiler:Later, he learns how to bat from the bunting stance, meaning he's even confusing ''at bat.'']]
* ''Franchise/DragonBall''
** In the first Tournament arc of ''Manga/DragonBall'', Goku and his sensei Master Roshi (in disguise) end up face-to-face in the finals. Both eventually resort to the trope. Since Goku's shown himself to be a ''very'' fast learner (copying Roshi's trademark Kamehameha just by watching him do it ''once''), Roshi decides to catch Goku off guard with a DrunkenMaster technique (something Goku ''can't'' imitate because he's never been drunk). But Goku counters with a technique specially suited to him: the Crazy Monkey style (basically, fighting more like a monkey). Now Roshi can't figure Goku out since he's not familiar with living with beasts in the wilderness.
** Not only that, but in the preliminaries Goku completely stumps an old-fashioned kung-fu master because of his wide open stance and lack of traditional technique. Fortunately what Goku lacks in formal skill he makes up for with raw talent.
** Majin Buu, especially in his basic (or [[FanNickname Kid Buu]]) form. The dialogue implies that this isn't the strongest form of Buu, but ends up being the most dangerous by far because there is no reason to his behavior. Of course, the fact that he's [[AxCrazy violently insane]] also helps.
** Before anyone knows who he is, Cell pulls a couple of these on Piccolo, Trunks and the others. Since he has the cells of all of the strongest fighters, he knows almost all of their attacks, many of which are unique to them. He abuses this to get the upper hand on Piccolo whilst in his Imperfect Form. Piccolo at this point is considerably stronger than Cell, but Cell then performs a Kamehameha, which shocks Piccolo enough to allow Cell to grab him. When Trunks and Krillin show up, he then uses Solar Flare to escape.
* In ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}''. First, there's the Dragonfly formation, which uses two quarterbacks that have to be in synch with one another to allow split-second, unpredictable plays.
* Natsu from ''Manga/FairyTail'' tries the same trick against a similar opponent -- only Natsu can apparently fight quite efficiently when his thought processes shut off. Even better, it doesn't seem like he was actively trying to not think -- [[IdiotHero his thoughts stop rather easily.]] He's also miscalled attacks, misleads his opponents by seeming less skilled/strong than he actually is, and he isn't above dance battling if charging straight at his enemy doesnt work.
* ''VideoGame/GateKeepers'': The SuperPrototype beats the AwesomenessByAnalysis enemy general because its lack of a PowerLimiter makes it impossible to completely control. The general can't predict its random motions and thus can't hit it or defend against its attacks. The downside to not being able to control the prototype exactly is the risk that the attack you want to make isn't always [[RammingAlwaysWorks the attack you get]].
%% Ginji and Ban, the protagonists of ''Manga/GetBackers''.
* This is the Ooarai tankery team's core strategy in ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'', most notably demonstrated in their battle against Kuromorimine. Made necessary by the fact that almost all of their opponents are far better equipped ''and'' possess a numerical advantage as well.
* ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo''
** Takamura ends up fighting one of these for the World Championship belt -- a crazy american who goes up against Takamura's orthodox boxing-style with a wild, crazy, uncontrolled street-fighting style, including weird sways and punching upwards from a bent-backwards position. Amusingly enough, this resulted in them turning into a RedOniBlueOni matched pair, even though Takamura is usually as crazy as they come...
** In the manga match-up of Itagaki vs Saeki, Itagaki has a rough start of it largely because he's an instinctive fighter but the quality of his opponent is making him [[CentipedesDilemma overthink his moves]]. Once his trainer gets him past that, however, Itagaki is able to grab the advantage, becoming able to repeatedly hit Saeki because there's no trackable rhythm to his movements. In fact, the only thing going through Itagaki's mind is a one-player game of Shiratori.
* ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'': Masaki diagnoses Yuu's fighting style as this in chapter 89 - while Yuu genuinely has raw power, the reason why he can beat better conventionally trained foes is due to mixing styles into an unpredictable blend.
* ''Franchise/JojosBizarreAdventure:''
** Joseph Joestar, protagonist of [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureBattleTendency Part 2]], uses a mix of improvisation and ObfuscatingInsanity to [[TrapMaster lure his opponents into traps]]. In the anime adaptation, even the theme song has lines calling for him to confuse his enemies into submission.
** Esidisi dabbles in this as well. When Joseph cuts off his arm, the first thing the unstoppable, {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le Pillar Man with a powerful HealingFactor does is...[[VillainousBreakdown cry like a little girl.]] Then claim that he only did it for stress relief. Needless to say, he's the only character in Part 2 that [[AwesomenessByAnalysis Joseph isn't able to predict]] (at first, anyway.)
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple:''
** The title character attempts this against Siegfried, because Siegfried can seemingly predict every single move Kenichi makes. In a rare subversion, it doesn't work, and Siegfried sees through it and ends up still countering Kenichi's moves.
** Berserker is the straighter use of this trope. He's UnskilledButStrong to such a degree that he was Ragnarok's number two fighter and TheDragon to Odin. His utter lack of formal training made him difficult to predict for any character who faced him. When he ''did'' receive formal training, it focused on actually refining this trait.
* This is Ryuko's initial strategy against Houka Inumuta in ''Anime/KillLaKill''. Houka is an information gatherer with AwesomenessByAnalysis skills. Ryuko predicts he's the type to say things like "I can predict your every attack." Her response is to get as reckless as possible, attacking beyond what he anticipates. When that seems to fail, her response is get even ''more'' reckless.
* Employed by several characters in ''Manga/KurokoNoBasuke'':
** The eponymous character and [[spoiler:his Rakuzan High counterpart, Chihiro Mayuzumi,]] use misdirection and their own natural [[TheNondescript lack of presence]] to effectively "vanish" from the court, letting them quickly alter pass courses and steal the ball by coming out of nowhere.
** Daiki Aomine employs unconventional tricky movements derived from streetball, and is also able to make shots from unusual positions without entering a proper shooting form.
* An unintentional example occurs in the ''Videogame/{{Medabots}}'' anime; Ikki, Koji, and Space Medafighter X are supposed to represent Japan in an international Robattle tournament, but since Space Medafighter X consistently fails to attend any of the matches, Ikki and Koji are forced to disguise their friends as X and substitute them for him. Since each of their friends has a different medabot and a different fighting style, their opponents perceive Space Medafighter X as bringing a different bot to each round of the tournament, and his tactics as being impossible to predict.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''
** ''Naruto'' has Rock Lee, but [[DrunkenMaster when he's drunk off his ass]], which is [[CantHoldHisLiquor easily accomplished.]]
** Naruto himself is often referred to as the "number one ninja at surprising people". This is the main reason he was able to beat Neji and Kakuzu: both times he caught them off-guard by using a [[DoppelgangerAttack Shadow Clones]] charge in which the real one was hiding where it made the ''least'' amount of sense for him to be.
** A smaller example is Hidan's scythe, which he swings around on a cord making it fly around in a manner that's incredibly hard to predict and thus block (and if you even get a scratch [[BloodMagic you're pretty screwed]]). That's probably why the first thing Shikamaru did in the rematch was destroy the cord with an explosive.
** Bee's swords style (where he [[DualWielding wields seven swords in everything but his hands]] while spinning around) is too damn weird for even the [[CombatClairvoyance Sharingan to predict.]]
* Angels, the main antagonists of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', fit the trope to some degree: though they're all considered the same species, and each one for its own part seems to conform to a single pool of skills and abilities, there is little to no continuity amongst them, as each is radically different from the others.
* ''Manga/OnePiece:''
** Monkey D. Luffy. The methods he used to defeat [[AGodAmI self-proclaimed god]] [[PsychoElectro Eneru]] were not just due to [[ElementalRockPaperScissors having the properties of]] [[RubberMan rubber]], but catching him off-guard even when another of Eneru's godlike abilities is ''predicting your attacks by reading your thoughts''. He did this by ricocheting his attacks off a wall, Luffy himself didn't know which way they'd ricochet, and therefore had no control over his own attack, which means that Eneru couldn't read his mind to evade them.
** His first attempt to defeat the mind-reading was to think about nothing, but since this consisted of him turning off his mind dodging only on instinct, he could only move out of the way of the attack and not counter in any way.
** Due to his [[RubberMan rubber body]] and childish demeanor Luffy often uses unpredictable and just plain weird tactics - like using one of the mooks as a human puppet, or attempting to eat his opponent, who is invulnerable to regular attacks. Several times he gained an advantage in battle simply because the enemy didn't take his new technique seriously until the first hit.
** Usopp, not being one of the (as he calls them) super-powered freaks of the crew, utilizes a mixture of various gadgets and just plain trickery, including [[CallingYourAttacks calling out the]] [[SubvertedTrope wrong]] [[CallingYourAttacks attack name,]] playing dead and randomly [[RunningGag flicking rubber bands at his opponents.]]
** Satori used balls, stuffed with various items, from harmless flowers to bombs or living predators as a weapon. His attacks were heavily based on the fact that the enemy had no idea which balls were rigged and with what.
** His brothers, twins Hotori and Kotori had hidden weapons with different effects. They also wore the same clothing and rapidly switched places between each other, so the enemy wouldn't know which one had which weapons.
** Sanji ususally acts as a [[LightningBruiser lightning bruiser]], but in the fight with Jabra he used an assortment of tricks, like pretending to run away, only to attack the opponent once he started chasing him or [[CallingYourAttacks calling out his attack]] [[SubvertedTrope and then use different one.]]
* ''Manga/PingPong'': Peco's preferred style. He doesn't conform to any established mode of play, darts all over the table, and switches up his rubber so often that it's impossible to predict his shots. Wenge notes that it's perfect for his exuberance for table tennis.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'': One episode revolved around a boy trying to train his Zangoose to battle Seviper. Ash grabbed the SmartBall for once and pointed out to him that a Seviper's mouth and tail are equally dangerous, and trying to dodge one will just get you hit by the other. Eventually, the boy gets an epiphany and tells his Zangoose to run in zigzags, confusing Seviper and preventing it from hitting Zangoose with either of its weapons.
* [[AxCrazy Vigo]] from ''Manga/{{Psyren}}'' gets frustrated when [[spoiler:Shao]] reads his mind. First tactic- think so much that it's much harder to read him. Second tactic- '''stop thinking'''. [[spoiler:It works frighteningly well.]]
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', when [[SinkOrSwimMentor Hiko Seijuro]] [[TrainingFromHell retrains]] Kenshin, he uses confusion fu to prove a point about Kenshin being over-reliant on AwesomenessByAnalysis. He raises his sword, then kicks Kenshin. He telegraphs a move, then does a different move, etc.
* ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'''s Mugen uses a style based on apparently random sword strikes and spinning kicks which make him unable to be beaten by (or to beat) the classically trained Jin, although he eventually gets taken apart by AwesomenessByAnalysis master Kariya Kagetoki who works out the patterns underlying Mugen's instinctive attacks while commenting that, [[{{Deconstruction}} because he attacks on nothing but instinct, he involuntarily reveals all his limitations to his enemy.]]
* Sexy Commando style in ''Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi yo!! Masaru-san'' is all about this. A typical move in the style goes like so: 1. do something utterly weird; 2. when the opponent stands there boggling at the weirdness, punch his lights out.
* In ''Manhwa/ShinAngyoOnshi'' this is pulled off in army level. Seeing how the BigBad relied heavily on mind reading, Munsu rolls dice to determine the army's strategy.
* ''Anime/StarDriver'': This is pretty much the reason for Takuto's spotless winning streak: he makes a point of never showing a skill or ability unless it's absolutely necessary in surviving the fight so that the Glittering Crux have no idea what their opponent is capable of (and thus have no way to counter it) even a dozen battles into the series. Heck, Takuto still had some items in his bag of tricks for the very final battle.
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'': Beatrice's fickleness is part of what makes her so hard to fight. Battler's method usually relies on "turning the chessboard around", i.e. think from his opponent's perspective. But that only works when the opponent's goal is clear and when we assume they try to do the best move. Bernkastel explains early on that Beatrice often makes unnecessary moves that don't seem to make sense and are only meant to confuse the opponent.
* The ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' Franchise:
** ''Anime/YuGiOh:'':
*** Jounouchi/[[DubNameChange Joey]] from ''Anime/YuGiOh'' builds his deck around this trope, many of his cards (Time Wizard, Roulette Spider, Graceful Dice, Skull Dice, etc.) revolve around [[GambitRoulette sheer luck of the draw]] and can either give him an incredible advantage or get him into a worse mess than before.
*** The Mind Shuffle Technique or topdecking blindly to counter Pegasus' Millennium Eye. Much like the ''Manga/OnePiece'' example above, mindreading is useless if your opponent doesn't know what the face down card is either.
** ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'':
*** While most duels in the ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' franchise end with a character pulling out some "never seen before" card that allows him/her to make a comeback one turn short from suffering a humiliating defeat, ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' is an extreme case where, on some occasions, the character in question obtains the card '''during''' the match. Shooting Quasar Dragon, we're looking at you as Yusei mystically creates your card.
*** Jack pulled a similar feat, creating Red-Nova Dragon mid-Duel by forcibly seizing control of and sealing a super-powerful ancient demon through the sheer power of his own [[HotBlooded Hot-Blooded Awesomeness]].
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho:''
** When Yusuke in finds out that Sensui is reading his attacks, he tries to confuse him by stopping in the middle of the fight to take a swim in a nearby lake, and then used the distraction to wrap his t-shirt around Sensui's arm so he couldn't dodge his attacks.
** Earlier, when he was scouting for psychics, he found a boxer wannabe who could read thoughts. So Yusuke boasted he'll throw a punch just short of him and kept thinking of that. Little did the other guy realize Yusuke had enough power that he didn't need to actually ''hit'' the guy to knock him out. Yusuke threw the punch exactly as he claimed; it was the shockwave of spirit energy that followed that finished the attack.

[[folder:Board Games]]
* Often seen in the chess world. Many's the amateur who succeeds through offbeat play, and even at the grandmaster level, some players favour bizarre openings like 1. b4. A 19th-century example, William Potter, is described in ''Lasker's Manual of Chess'':
-->''Potter probably saw through the emptiness and the presumption of the style then dominating and with his style of play he seemed to call out to his contemporaries: "You want to beat me right from the start by force of your greater genius? Look! I make ridiculous moves, and yet you cannot beat me. Become, I pray you, more modest and more reasonable."''
* Though not nearly as often as popular culture would think it happens. While you can certainly irritate grandmasters with offbeat variants in the opening, leading them astray from their vast knowledge (and often crazy preparedness) about mainstream openings, trying confusion fu later in the game will way more often than not lose you the game in a single move without you even realizing it. The problem is that the general knowledge (as opposed to the specific knowledge of Lasker's time) got way more advanced during the last century.
* Chess-playing computers play like this -- not bound to any strategy or school, but simply by picking the moves that will, in the long run, have the greatest chance of success. Or should have... Kasparov did win his 3rd and 4th games in a 4-game match against a computer by ensuring that there was no positive history for the computer to rely on in the games they'd played -- and going into purer Shrodinger Fu than the computer was designed for netted him a win while playing black. Future iterations do not have this vulnerability; it is currently pretty much impossible for an unassisted human to beat a dedicated chess computer, and ''phone apps'' have won Grand Master tournaments by a landslide.
* Google's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlphaGo Go-playing program]] had a similar effect. It completely ignores normal board control strategies and the current point balance while it made the moves it calculated were most likely to lead to final victory, and as a result nobody had any idea what the hell it was doing until it won. Several moves that were, in retrospect, core to its victory were thought to be mistakes at the time because they gave up points.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* In TabletopGame/{{Poker}}, the most dangerous players at the table are the ones who always call and raise at random. It's impossible to tell whether they have a good hand, so calling their raise is a very risky business -- but at the same time, folding means you'll lose your earlier investment when they could easily just be sitting on a high card. Aside from that, online players who sit down at physical tables tend to completely ignore their opponents' physical expressions and focus on their betting patterns, simply because you can't read people online. This tends to throw off live players, though it can also create an exploitable weakness because the online players don't train themselves to get rid of their own tells.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In an issue of ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' Sinestro cites this as the key reason he can never beat Hal Jordan.
-->'''Sinestro:''' You're too blasted unpredictable. Set a plotter or a schemer in my path, I'll crush their bones to dust. You've escaped that fate not because of something as silly as willpower. Nor because of your prosaic notions of justice and morality. You've survived because your actions never make sense. Yet despite yourself -- and this is the truly infuriating part -- your instincts always see you through.
* Done in ''Regifted'' during a hapkido tournament; the main character takes a move from her sparring buddy, that she describes as idiotic, ''and it works''; no-one would know to expect it.
* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}}, from Marvel Comics. To the extent that he once defeated ''[[AwesomenessByAnalysis the freakin' Taskmaster]]'' by sheer unpredictability -- Tasky thought that Deadpool was about to get angry and sloppy, but he ''really'' just started on a dance number. True, Confusion Fu has already been proven to be an effective strategy against Taskmaster (for example, Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} used a similar trick to goad Taskmaster into jumping in front of a moving car), but Deadpool beat the Taskmaster by ''being Deadpool''.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', Dan says that Rorschach was a good fighter because he was unpredictable. Probably related to the fact that he's [[CrazyAwesome not quite sane]].
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
** This is usually the reason given as to why ComicBook/TheJoker can occasionally actually win at hand-to-hand combat against the Dark Knight.
** Tim Drake managed to overcome [[ComicBook/Batgirl2000 Cassandra Cain's]] bodyreading ability by throwing out all style and just going with what felt natural, despite the face that this is not how her abilities work.
** Batman himself is sometimes portrayed this way, not due to his moves being random, but due to the fact that he sticks to the shadows and [[CrazyPrepared employs gadgetry.]] You might know Batman is stalking you, but you don't know which direction that Batarang/gas grenade/grapple/fist is coming from. He's been known to, among other things, trick an opponent (like Woman Woman's [[MirrorUniverse alternate universe]] [[EvilCounterpart counterpart]], [[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueCrisisOnTwoEarths Superwoman]]) coup with super-breath into thinking he was using a [[SmokeOut smoke bomb to cover his escape]]. She simply inhales all of the smoke... [[CrowningMomentofAwesome whereupon Batman informs her that it was also anesthetic gas.]]
* One of the main reason how ComicBook/JohnConstantine from ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'' manages to outwit omniscient gods and EldritchAbomination. His plans and strategies are so complicated and genius, even {{God}} didn't see it coming.
* ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'': This is one of the three ways to beat Midnighter, as it completely confuses the precognitive computers in his brain. (The other two are "Be better at AwesomeByAnalysis than he is" and "Be so powerful that it just doesn't matter if he predicts your moves or not.") Taken [[UpToEleven to extremes]] in the DC/Wildstorm crossover, where Midnighter takes one look at the Joker, tries to predict him and has a ''petit mal'' seizure.
* ''ComicBook/{{Nextwave}}'' famously and hilariously had ''Schrodinger's Death!''
* The Quiz, from the appropriately named ''Brotherhood of UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}'', had the superpower of "anything you haven't thought of yet". A particularly nonsensical example was the ability to turn people into toilets with flowers in them. In fact, her ability was so chaotic, it was only defeated by the power of Lists. The Comicbook/DoomPatrol fought her by running away and yelling out powers, so she couldn't use them.
* During a ''ComicBook/SecretSix''/''ComicBook/SuicideSquad'' crossover, Catman explains that he is able to hold up in his fight against Bronze Tiger because Bronze Tiger has "a defense for every style... and styles are for $%#@ing idiots." He then proceeds to [[ManBitesMan take a big bite out of Bronze Tiger's jugular]].
* [[TykeBomb May]] from ''ComicBook/TheInterman'' knows many fighting styles and uses them at random- which makes her a very dangerous opponent for Van Meach, a DittoFighter who needs time to adapt to each new challenge.
* In the Brian Bendis series of Comicbook/MoonKnight, the title character can manifest the personalities of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, Franchise/SpiderMan, or ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} and, so doing, adopts their weapons and fighting styles. To say that this is unexpected by his opponents is an understatement. It also saves his life several times when fighting Count Nefaria.
* Speaking of Franchise/SpiderMan, with his speed, agility, spider-sense and ability to climb or swing anywhere he wants, he has often invoked this trope with opponents having difficulty predicting his movements.
* In the ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' story arc where the league had to fight the ComicBook/{{Martian Manhunter}}'s alter ego Fernus the Burning, Batman found a solution to fighting a shapeshifter who could predict your every move by reading your mind: bring in ComicBook/PlasticMan, a shapeshifter whose mind is so chaotic that his thoughts bear little connection to his actions.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'':
** The central strategy of Harry Potter's Chaos Army. Harry lacks Draco Malfoy's cultural knowledge and [[ManipulativeBastard political acumen]], and he doesn't quite match Hermione Granger's raw aptitude for learning. Harry actively courts traitors and sows confusion among all three armies while training his own soldiers to adapt to the chaos. It works... most of the time.
** Most people - especially his enemies -- suspect that Dumbledore's [[ObfuscatingInsanity apparent insanity]] is an act to mask his true intentions. However, some speculate that he may actually have cracked along the way...
* [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Socrates]], ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''' [[ThePrankster resident prankster]], uses the [[TimeStandsStill Time Pauser]] during a climatic fight to appear "everywhere and nowhere", as the fic puts it.
* ''FanFic/FriendshipIsAura'': Unlike in the Franchise/{{Pokemon}} games, Lucario has access to his ''entire'' moveset, which any Pokemon player can tell you is ''a lot of moves''. This is how Lucario beats most of his big opponents.
* ''FanFic/UponAFallingFeather'' has Pinkie Pie fight like this, to [[CrazyAwesome rather impressive effect]].
* ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** Lots of characters do this when they need to fight. As in the above, Pinkie Pie is the stand out due to having performed a SplitPersonalityMerge, making her a considerably saner {{Cloudcuckoolander}} who runs on ToonPhysics. This results in her doing such things as weaponizing a HardWorkMontage or use OffscreenTeleportation after being thrown out a window to come back in through the ''other'' window with a flying kick.
** This is pretty much the norm for every character in [[BadFuture Dark World]], as one side is run by [[MadGod Discord]] and the other is ''fighting'' Discord. Twilight even invokes this trope when they're planning to fight Discord (and makes good use of it later with her vast amount of spells) because any well laid plan is destined to fail in this situation. She even outright refuses to come up with a single plan, instead opting for a list of optional goals that can be completed in any order, with the rest of the "plan" being an IndyPloy.
** This is particularly clear with [[FutureBadass Dark World Derpy]], whose flying style is completely unpredictable and thus makes her very difficult to hit.
** Another notable example is Dark World Spike, who's a GeniusBruiser that's spent the last thousand years pretty much reading whenever Discord wasn't using him as his personal ride. When faced with Rancor, Discord's little sister and TheDragon, he breaks out everything from TickleTorture to chiropractic massage to simply pinning her wings and letting gravity do the rest to bypass her [[AnthropomorphicPersonification immunity to violence]] and fight her off.
** Notably subverted with the [[BigBadWannabe Valeyard]] who, while he came to the fight CrazyPrepared with layers upon layers of backup plans, ultimately had ''lost'' the Doctor's knack for this and {{Indy Ploy}}s. Because of this he's ultimately out-thought and beaten.
* In ''Fanfic/MassEffectHumanRevolution'', Jules' fighting is a blend of moves from many styles, making it impossible for Adam to analyse and develop a counter.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Drunken Master'':
** Wong Fei Hung in ''Film/LegendOfTheDrunkenMaster''. His drunken boxing style is ALL ABOUT doing stuff that seems insane or physically impossible to do.
** In the first ''Film/DrunkenMaster'' movie Fei Hung's master, Su Hua Chi, teaches him the style and how it's based on the 8 Drunken Immortals- Fei Hung learns 7, but refuses to learn the last since it's based off a woman's style. Fast-forward to the final battle against the assassin, [[BigBad Thunderleg]], where Fei Hung bests Thunderleg's Devil's Kick style. Thunderleg switches to the Devil's Shadowless Hand instead, besting Fei Hung each time he demonstrates another Drunken Immortal's style, until he gets to the 8th- Miss Ho. He admits to his master he didn't learn the style, so Su Hua Chi tells him to [[spoiler:combine the other 7 styles and improvise, creating a hilarious and nearly unpredictable improvised style which defeats Thunderleg's Shadowless Hand.]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' : As anyone who's fought Jack Sparrow more than once knows he's a wicked [[TheChessmaster Chess Master]] with a one-track mind; sometimes the only way he can win a fight is by being unpredictable.
* Near the end of ''Film/{{Chocolate}}'', Zen gets rather badly beaten by [[spoiler:a man with Tourette's syndrome. Her usual method of evading attack, anticipation, is ruined by his tics -- she can't tell them apart from his attack tells. Only when she starts mimicking his tics does she get any offense in.]]
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'': So says Creator/JossWhedon in the commentary, regarding the [[CurbStompBattle end fight]] between River and the Reavers:
-->'''Joss:''' My wife often refers to this style of fighting as "just keep waving things until they go away."
* In ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'', this is what lets the physically nonthreatening villain stay alive (temporarily - not a spoiler, it's a ''Bond'' film). He flails about so wildly that [[Film/JamesBond Bond]] can't really fight him effectively - that is, until the ''downside'' of wild flailing is illustrated, when the villain performs an inadvertent axe-foot interface that is excruciating to watch.
* In ''Film/{{Push}}'', this is how the good guys hide their plan from the precognitive Pop Girl. Nick writes the individual steps of the plan down and seals them in envelopes, which are marked as to when and where they are to be opened. He then has his memory wiped so even ''he'' won't know what the group's going to do until he opens the envelopes he carries.
* In the earlier ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' films monsters would sometimes have a hard time even getting close to the three headed space dragon King Ghidorah because he'd keep moving his heads around in wild ways like a total spaz that it was hard to predict which volley of gravity beams he fired from his mouths would hit or miss or if he would rake them across an enemy monster's body or readjust his aim if he missed or not and because there is no glowing or charge time he spammed these rays like no tomorrow. It's because of this he'd hit any attacking monsters half the time and the other half miss. He wasn't a dangerous planet killing monster because of strength but because of how wild he was. He is chaos incarnate!
* Blaze, in ''Film/DelusionsOfGrandeur'', finds himself at one point facing a nobleman who seems to be a much better fencer than him. His solution? Taunt his opponent with erratic sword moves, before literally kicking his butt.
* In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', Peter Quill is a baseline human in a galaxy of superhuman aliens (and that's not to mention the angry gods). He gets by with gadgets and trickery. At the end, he [[GoLookAtTheDistraction distracts]] [[BigBad Ronan the Accuser]] by [[spoiler:challenging him to a dance-off while singing "Ooh Child"]].
-->'''Ronan:''' What are you doing. ... ''What'' are you ''doing?''
* ''Film/TheCrazyFamily'': The son exhibits this during the battle-royale.
* The original version of ''Film/GameOfDeath'': The whole point of the movie was to demonstrate that an unpredictable fighting style is superior than any formalized system. Bruce Lee's associates use a traditional style and fail. He uses a fluid, adaptional system and succeeds.

* In ''The Oval Amulet'', Paragrin beats Cam by swinging wildly. Kirk, however, knows what he's doing.
* ''Literature/TheFourthRealm'' by John Twelve Hawks: The [[HeroSecretService Harlequins]] are sworn to protect the titular [[TheChosenOne Travelers]] from a [[TheEmpire totalitarian shadow government]] which seeks to [[{{Anvilicious}} eliminate liberty and free choice]]. To fight these control-freaks, Harlequins "cultivate randomness". They are deliberately unpredictable in battle and go so far as to use random number generators to make decisions in order to confound predictive tracking algorithms.
* ''Literature/TheElenium'' by Creator/DavidEddings: Taking it to other levels, the reason Sparhawk can stick the metaphorical middle finger up to the gods is because he moves outside destiny, and therefore even the ''gods'' can't predict what he's going to do next. In one of the few cases of this ''ever'', this is {{Jossed}} ''in-universe''. To wit: [[spoiler: In ''Literature/TheTamuli'' trilogy which follows on the heels of the ''Elenium'', one of the fundamental forces of the universe says that even its own path may be thwarted by random chance; lesser beings like mere Gods are just as subject to deviation from their intended plan. The gods are freaked out at Sparhawk/Anakha because Anakha is said universe-shaping powers' ''son'', making him not only a God but a God more powerful than any in the world, unique in the universe - if only he could release his full potential.]] It's implied (though never directly stated) that the whole "lack of destiny" deal is a smokescreen to help keep him from realizing exactly what all of this implies.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Rincewind is a walking entropy generator. Being The Lady's favorite pawn (which works against you just as often as for you) can confuse everybody, even [[TheGrimReaper Death]] himself. His [[DeathsHourglass hourglass]] is equally unpredictable due to its strange shape.
---> [[AC:with him here, the only certain thing is uncertainty. and I'm not even sure of that.]]
** It's also precised that Rincewind's favourite method of fighting bare-handed is to strike badly, but as many times as possible, and with maximum strength (which doesn't mean very much in his case) in order not to let the opponent the opportunity to realize how terrible a fighter he is. Not to mention faking the use of his nonexistent magic powers in a voluntarily ridiculous and over-the-top way, just to give him the time to score a Groin Attack or any other non-magic trick.
** When Mort and Death fight it's noted that while a scythe is not preeminent among weapons of war, once it gets spinning its practically impossible for anyone, including the wielder, to tell where it's going to be next.
** In ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', Polly ends up winning a sparring match with her squad's [[TheNeidermeyer absolute bastard of a corporal]] by deliberately using a swing that only a complete amateur would use, thus catching him off guard long enough to headbutt him.
* ''Literature/TheScar'' by Creator/ChinaMieville: Uther Doul has a probability-altering sword that's this trope at its most literal. It passes through all the paths it could potentially have taken with each swing, and he's taught himself a style to maximize the effect. It's not a totally random and uncontrolled style. Complete randomness would cut himself up as much as his enemy. Complete control would leave too few alternate possibilities to be effective. It has to be somewhere in the middle, controlled but not precise.
* An example occurs in the second book of Brandon Sanderson's ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' trilogy, when Vin counters Zane's ability to see the future by using his movements to figure out what she's going to do next, and then doing something else.
* In Creator/FredSaberhagen's early ''Literature/{{Berserker}}'' stories, the berserkers were {{omnicidal|Maniac}} self-replicating war machines whose combat strategies were driven by a random number generator, seeking to avoid predictability at almost any cost. As the series progressed, this aspect of the berserkers' programming came up less and less often and the berserkers' strategies became much more logical.
* The woman known as Schrodinger's Cat in Eric Flint's ''Literature/JoesWorld'' series. When she fights it's possible to keep track of where she is, or what she's about to do, but not both.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': Harry Dresden often defeats opponents with hundreds, sometimes ''thousands'' of years of experience on him, buttloads more magical talent and skill, and vastly superior physical abilities often by doing things that are the exact opposite of sensible. With a bit of [[GambitIndex every Gambit trope ever]] thrown in. Yes, even UnwittingPawn. On himself.
* In Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/{{Ringworld}} The Ringworld Throne]]'' and ''Ringworld's Children'', doing this sort of thing is the only way Luis Wu can stay in the game against the superhumanly smart protectors... until he becomes a protector himself.
* Achilles from the ''Literature/EndersShadow'' series. While not as intelligent as the other battle school students, he is able to outsmart them all by keeping them guessing. This is particularly frustrating to Bean, who [[spoiler:eventually kills him by being unpredictable himself; in ''Literature/ShadowOfTheGiant'', Achilles trusts that Bean will act to preserve his unborn embryos, but Bean elects to shoot him and let them die, rationalizing that it is for the greater good and Achilles likely was either bluffing or intended to kill them regardless.]]
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is a proponent of this style as part of playing the political game, and [[spoiler: after he arranges the killing of Joffrey and takes Sansa on his ship]] tells her that when executing a plan, it is important to sometimes appear to be working against one's known aims or best interests and/or openly work towards fabricated goals you never intend to reach, all to just to keep the enemy guessing. Funnily enough, this crops up much, much earlier. Arya Stark once accidentally overheard Varys complaining to Illyrio Mopatis that he has ''no'' idea what Littlefinger is really up to.
* ''Literature/LightAndDarkTheAwakeningOfTheMageknight'': Alsono's preferred form of combat is being unpredictable. Combined with FragileSpeedster and his opponents have no idea what he's doing at any given moment.
* In ''Literature/TheSeaOfTrolls'', [[TheBerserker Berserkers]] are immune to trolls' mind-reading powers because their mindless, frenzied style of fighting is impossible for the trolls to decipher.
* Book 1 of Darren Shan's Demonata series starts off with the main character spending most of his childhood learning to play chess, specifically so that he could grow up to challenge a demon whose sole hobbies are playing chess and tormenting the protagonist's family throughout history though no one bothered to tell him that part until later. When he does ultimately face down the demon, he realizes that the only way to beat someone who has spent literally millenia doing nothing but playing chess, is to pay absolutely no attention to the games at all, instead spending the time chattering inanely and only looking at the boards enough to ensure he didn't move a piece illegally. [[spoiler:He wins, and in the process frustrates the demon so badly that Lord Loss proceeds to all but flip the table in his indignation and announce that Grubs's performance was a disgrace to the game, then pretty much rage-quit that plane of existence.]]
* In the Literature/AlexCross novel "Pop Goes the Weasel", the main villain is a serial killer who randomly chooses victims with roleplaying game dice (as part of a semi-fictional game in-universe). The villain isn't that classical super-genius serial killer, but it's hard to predict what a serial killer will do if even the serial killer themselves don't know what they'll do. In at least one instance, the killer plans a murder but then aborts it at the last minute because of the dice roll.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** In ''Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger'', Hiramekimedes, master of AwesomenessByAnalysis, kept losing to Hiroto, who was even better at it... [[spoiler: so he went OneWingedAngel and adopted a ''nonsense-based'' style, calling himself Detaramedes (''detarame'' = nonsense), fighting crazily and yelling things like "1+1=300!" He was winning until Sousuke, who has the usual HotBlooded hero's style of "charge in mindlessly and win via plot convenience," stepped in. ''Throwing his sword and riding it like a surfboard,'' he managed to finalize Detaramedes singlehandedly.]]
** ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' has Gokai Green, "Doc" Don Dogoier. His teammates are all talented sword- and[=/=]or gunfighters, but he isn't; instead he (kind of) makes up for it by doing all sorts of wacky things like using a trapeze, [[WrestlerInAllOfUs wrestling moves]], {{Improvised Weapon}}s like tree branches and buckets, and even tripping and pratfalling. In effect, Don has '''weaponized''' being the PluckyComicRelief ButtMonkey. He actually manages to put one over on a character called [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Strongest Soldier in the Universe]] precisely because that guy underestimated him thanks to his wackiness.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The idea is sort-of mentioned in passing in "Resurrection of the Daleks". The Daleks, and their enemies the Movellans, are engaged in a war against each other. Both sides are more machine than animal (the Movellans are possibly androids, maybe cybernetically enhanced bio-forms), and each side controls their entire battle fleet from a giant supercomputer. Because both fleets are using [[StrawVulcan purely logical]] tactics, the computers never launch an attack, as the opposing computer can instantly create a counterattack scenario. They both realize that the only way for either side to win is to turn off their battle computer and do something random, as a totally logical battle plan is doomed to fail due to its own predictability. Oddly, the story immediately before that featured one side of a conflict being run by another such computer, and the other by human leaders, and the computer was winning, which was said to be inevitable.
** And invoked by the Doctor in the first season finale of the new series: The Doctor has no plan, and that just scares the Daleks to death. At least, according to him.
** The Eleventh Doctor suggests attacking an armada of evil alien spaceships with three unarmed people because they'll never expect it. He then mentions that the reason they'd never expect it is because they would kill them instantly and tries to think of another plan.\\\
The best part about his plan? He eventually resorts to it, simply standing, seemingly fearlessly, atop Stonehenge to face an enormous armada of fully armed alien battleships, whilst giving a speech about just how awesome he is and how afraid all his enemies should be of him, given how many times he has defeated them from a seemingly unwinnable position, and urging them to 'let someone else try first'. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome All the spaceships run away.]] Horrifyingly subverted when [[spoiler:it turns out the aliens had been bluffing the Doctor the whole time. The entire thing was a trap to seal him away in the Pandorica so that the [[CoolShip TARDIS]] wouldn't explode and destroy the universe.]]
* ''Series/SmartGuy'': ChildProdigy TJ is [[SmartPeoplePlayChess beaten at chess]] by a computer. In the rematch, he wins by deliberately making bad/random moves, having learned while practicing how hard it is to play against someone who doesn't know how to play well. [[LogicBomb The computer virtually melts down in response]]. Believe it or not this is, almost, TruthInTelevision. Beating a computer this way may not work, but it's definitely possible to last longer against computers of TJ era by playing randomly. This is because computers play chess by calculating every possible move, and every possible move that results from every possible move etc etc. They will do this while your thinking, and they are better at it then you are. By playing quickly it's possible to drastically shorten the time a computer has to process and so force them to make worse moves because they had to play before they finished calculating. This has proven effective against Big Blue and similar computers.
* A variation appears in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', where the android Data proves unable to beat a Stratagema grandmaster. For their rematch, he intentionally plays to ''draw'' rather than win, and frustrates the grandmaster to the point that he [[RageQuit leaves the table]].
* A variation in ''Series/{{Glee}}'', when the football team performs the dance from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" to the utter bafflement of the opposing team... which gives them the window of opportunity needed to score a touchdown. [[BellisariosMaxim Fitting the realism level of the show]], there is no way a stunt like that would even be remotely legal in an actual game, even at high school level.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'s'' John Crichton, whose best moments usually come when a plan fails horribly and he resorts to taking advantage of the confusion and [[IndyPloy winging it]]. It helps that he's pretty much [[CrazyAwesome slipped aside the bonds of sanity]] to be able to accept his circumstances by halfway through the first season. It also helps that while everyone recognizes him as TheFool, they often [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass forget that he's a certified genius.]]
* This is [[TheTrickster Sheridan's]] favourite tactic in ''Series/BabylonFive'' and it's implied that other races are afraid and suspicious of humans because of their frequent use of unconventional tactics and overall unpredictability.
* Woody of the series ''Series/SunTrap'' is the unquestioned master of this trope. He can do almost anything he wants because no one can keep up with his InsaneTrollLogic. His use of this in the season one finale even results in the BigBad experiencing a heart attack from stress.
* On the robot fighting show ''Series/RobotWars,'' this was the trademark of one-time Grand Finalist Stinger. Basically a flanged mace mounted between two armoured wheels which contained all the electronics, Stinger was almost impossible to actually damage- it had no vulnerable external components and the armour on the wheels was ''extremely'' thick. It attacked by either driving at opponents really quickly then suddenly reversing, causing the mace to fly over and smash down on their target, or whirling around on the spot like a mad dervish, bludgeoning any opponent foolish enough to approach. The robot was ''incredibly'' hard to steer effectively (each wheel was driven independently, meaning it drove like a ''VideoGame/VirtualOn'' robot that can't strafe and has a tendency to oversteer when turning) and in its first appearance it crashed out in the first round when it simply careened into the open pit, but it was almost impossible to fight effectively, simply slipping away from almost all attacks- its famous 4th Wars run to the finals was only ended when it lost the judges' decision against [[TheAce Chaos 2]] on quality of control.

* Music/JamesBrown doesn't know karate, but he knows ka-razy.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* This is the key behind [[RedBaron Gracie Hunter]] Wrestling/KazushiSakuraba's success. Tire and bedazzle the foe with dazzling agility, take them off guard with tom foolery, beat their throat in with your open hand...
* The fighting style of [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]] has been called "Unpredictable Scientific Virtuoso". His enemies in Gateway Championship Wrestling, Operation Shamrock, sought to figure him out, without much success. However, his trainer, Kid Kash, does do a fairly decent job of figuring out Delirious...fairly. This actually worked out against him when he was working with Wrestling/MsChif and she repeatedly struck him at times she didn't expect him to be in a certain place, including an accidental blind mule kick to the balls.
* The one finishing move everyone sees coming from Delirious and Kid Kash trained Wrestling/DaizeeHaze is the German Suplex...except when its the tiger suplex. Then there is the heart punch, which sets up the springboard Daizee Cutter, or Cashed Out jawbreaker face buster combination, or slumber in the tight roller, or being driven to the mat with the mind trip, or being put out with a Yakuza Kick...
* When Wrestling/{{Boogeyman}} finally started getting put in matches, this, combined with NoSell, played a large part in him steamrolling all opposition. From his build and preferred finishing moves, one would expect a power wrestler but sometimes he would just strangely gyrate instead of attempt any grapples, shaking off any in turn attempted on him and strikes just causing him to gyrate more. Then he uncanny agility and leaping distance usually only seen in the "high flyers". And then he sometimes had the unnerving strategy of charging [[AxCrazy while shards of glass were embedded in his head]].
* Wrestling/CodyRhodes changing his gimmick to Stardust has elements of this, as Stardust has a completely different fighting style and move set from him, throwing off opponents who were prepared to counter Cody's moves.

* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}}:
** There are a handful of baseball pitchers who throw the knuckleball. Essentially throwing the ball with no spin, allowing the imperfections (mostly the seams) to determine the flight path. Such pitches are so unpredictable (even the pitcher doesn't know what will happen, the catcher usually wears an oversize mitt to help snag them), that some batters take the day off rather than have their timing and instincts ruined for the next several games.
** Even more so is the spitball. Similar to the knuckleball, it has an unpredictable trajectory, but because it doesn't require a special grip to be thrown, it can be thrown at higher speeds, and due to the dirt, grime, and tobacco juice that accumulates on the ball, it is more difficult to see. It is banned from most professional leagues due to this fact - a spitball ''killed'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Chapman Ray Chapman]] during a poorly lit game after going astray and hitting him in the head, resulting in its ban in 1920. Its equivalent is still legal in Cricket, with certain exceptions (for instance, gouging the ball with your fingernails is unacceptable, while spitting on one side and polishing the other is no issue).
** "Effectively wild" baseball pitchers, who have great breaking-ball stuff or high velocity and terrible command, work this on hitters. Better offensive teams and pitchers can usually shell a wild pitcher with trained plate discipline and waiting out a pitcher to walk guys on or lay a mistake down the heart of the plate, but most league-average players will usually chase their bad balls out of the zone and work their own way into trouble, either out of a sense of aggressiveness in anticipation of getting a mistake to hit or a ball being just close enough to the strike zone to chase. Whereas more effective pitchers will execute a game-plan that involves intentionally throwing balls to fool the hitter and the hitter countering by trying to figure out the plan of attack, wild pitchers with no semblance of control usually befuddle hitters into having no clue if they're getting a ball or strike in any count and it throws their usual hitting approach out of whack.
** Jim Bouton wrote in ''Ball Four'' of his teammate Mike Marshall's belief that the most effective way to keep a hitter from dialing in was to throw pitches in a completely random non-pattern irrespective of the count.
* In cricket, some fast bowlers like to bowl the ball so that the seam (which on a cricket ball is much more prominent than on a baseball, running straight around the circumference of the ball) strikes the ground on the bounce, producing a pretty unpredictable bounce on the right kind of pitch. Of course, this makes it unlikely to direct itself towards the stumps, but the idea is to hope that a batter will take a swing at the ball and 'edge' it, resulting in an easy catch for the wicket keeper. Such a tactic is, as you'd expect, known as 'seam bowling' and the bowler who uses it a 'seamer'.
* UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball:
** The Wildcat Formation. There are four main plays (two rushing, two passing) that can be run from the Wildcat Formation, and all of them look exactly the same until the play is actually executed, making it difficult for the defense to anticipate what they must do. The Wildcat is an interesting example. After seeing Ronnie Brown and the Miami Dolphins paste the recently near-undefeated New England Patriots with the Wildcat in 2008, several other teams misunderstood the ''reason'' it worked (the Dolphins simply surprised the Patriots with a scheme they had not thought to prepare for) and began to implement the Wildcat into their normal offensive playbooks. Once defensive coaches had a few weeks to study the Wildcat, defenses adjusted to counter the Wildcat and offenses designed around it were stopped cold. Today, the Wildcat is almost entirely out of vogue... which means that if a team is very careful about using it sparingly, it can still be an effective surprise attack.
** There are a surprising number of Confusion Fu techniques in American Football, and almost every play utilizes them to some extent. Many running patterns are designed to confuse the defense and make them lose track. Beyond known plays such as the play action (start with what looks like a run play, but then go to a pass) the draw (the converse, fall back like you're about to pass while you're actually executing a running play), a quarterback can use his eyes or do a pump fake to fool an unsuspecting defensive player to think he will throw in a certain direction. He may also alter his pre-snap cadence to make it harder for the defense to time the snap. He may fake a handoff, then run the ball himself (a "bootleg"). Running backs will follow a blocking pattern until the defense adjusts to it, and then cut back and run the other way. Receivers will make moves to throw a defensive back off his coverage. Sometimes two or more receivers will cross routes, making it difficult for all the defenders to track them. Skilled defenders are just as capable of utilizing confusion by continually moving before the snap, or lining up in an apparent zone and then blitzing through linemen not expecting a strong pass rush.
** The zone read and option plays, which figure heavily into college football (with the former becoming more prevalent in the pro game with the advent of mobile quarterbacks), which allows the quarterback to read the defense and then decide after the snap and the defense commits whether to hang onto the ball or give it off to a tailback. This gets even more headache-inducing for the defense with the option, since the quarterback and tailback are running parallel to each other so that the quarterback can A) keep it and run if the defender chooses to stay with the tailback or B) if the defense commits to the quarterback, wait until he's about to be tackled before pitching it to the tailback, allowing him a lot of space to run with one less defender to worry about.
** And then there's just doing something so completely unexpected that the defense has no idea what's going on. Case in point? [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIdI8khMkw This.]]
** Every team will have a couple trick or gadget plays that rely on this in their playbook (the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuDFd9zL2HA Statue of Liberty play]], for example), even up to the professional level. Such shenanigans are generally frowned upon, however, as when they fail they tend to fail catastrophically (and additionally make the playcaller look like an idiot).
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i7VKQwDS2s&nohtml5=False This play]] - whatever it was intended to do - shows that confusion for the sake of confusion is not a successful tactic. There are probably three people in the world who understand this play. One is in an insane asylum, the other is dead and the third has forgotten all about it.
* Retired fighter [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts Genki Sudo]] owed most of his striking success to this tactic, being primarily a grappler. It was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlW0_r_japA awesome to watch]]
* Mansour Bahrami is a tennis player known for his crazy fake outs and trick shots. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Vqp6UveIU&feature=channel_video_title It is a sight to behold.]] It should be noted that Mr. Bahrami primarily plays in exhibition matches which do not adhere strictly to the rules. Many of his tactics, though not all, are against the rules in a regular tennis match.
* UsefulNotes/{{Capoeira}} has much the same thought in mind with its DanceBattler making you hard to predict because you are always in motion. Also for the sheer fun of it.
* In game theory, this is known as a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategy_%28game_theory%29#Mixed_strategy mixed strategy]]. For example, in rock-paper-scissors, if you went with a pure strategy, such as always picking rock, anyone who knows your strategy could easily beat you. If you use a mixed strategy, and pick rock a third of the time, paper a third of the time, and scissors a third of the time, then there's no strategy that can consistently beat you. In more complex games, there are more complex mixed strategies, where not all choices are picked with the same probability.
** Do make sure, though, that you are truly randomizing whether you pick rock, paper, or scissors - if you're just going in a predictable pattern (i.e., 1st round rock, 2nd round paper, 3rd round scissors, 4th round rock, etc.), or even adhere ''too'' strictly to the 1/3 probability guideline (to the point where every three throws feature rock, paper, and scissors in some order), astute opponents will pick up on it and pre-empt you.
** Another example is from soccer penalty kicks. Because the shot is taken from so close, the goalie has to decide whether to go left or right as they will not have time to react if they wait until ball is kicked. Meanwhile, the kicker has to decide whether to aim for the left corner or the right corner. Both players randomize which way to go based on the probabiities of scoring. Research has shown that professionals move to the left or right with a frequency that is within 1% of what game theory predicts.
*** This is discussed by the authors of the Freakonomics blog in ''Think Like a Freak'', then invoked. If you're the kicker, and you know the keeper will almost certainly either dodge left or right, where should you aim? Right down the middle. They give several reasons for why players rarely use this tactic, one of which is the fear of shame (and an angry crowd) at kicking the ball dead center and having the keeper catch it easily.
*** Probably the gutsiest penalty kick down the middle was [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd1Hr96IenI this]] from Czechoslovak Antonin Panenka at the ''final'' of the Euro 1976. It worked and it beat [[GermanicEfficiency Germany]] in the only penalty shootout they ever lost. Maybe England should hire Panenka as a penalty shootout coach.
* Muay thai champion Manson Gibson is a known Confusion Fu user. His amateur kung fu-based fighting style has been described as "capoeira-esque", using all kind of attacks from absurd angles and making a deep use of EverythingIsBetterWithSpinning.
* This is a good volleyball setter's job. If it is obvious which attacker he/she is setting, they will probably be blocked. The set should ''look'' obvious, but be misleading, so that the blockers will go up against the wrong player.
* Kickboxer and MMA star Wrestling/BobSapp was an example in which opponents could not read his attacks due to how UnskilledButStrong they were. Thanks to his large arms, he could inflict damage from every angle, and due to his lack of classic training, he indeed attacked from every angle.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'':
** [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orcs]] have the Animosity special rule, meaning that each turn there's a chance that any given greenskin mob might ignore orders and squabble amongst itself, shoot at or even charge a friendly unit making funny faces at them, or let loose a mighty "WAAAGH!" and charge at the enemy. If the army's general can't predict how it's going to behave, how can the enemy?
** Skaven are similar. Is that ratling gun going to fire more lead than an entire Empire battalion or explode into white hot fragments? Will the Warp Lightning cannon blow a hole in the battlefield or electrocute half your own side? These are the questions to keep your opponent on their toes.
* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'':
** [[Characters/Warhammer40000Orks Orks]] have the dreaded [[TeleFrag Shokk Attack Gun]], which has a lengthy table for both {{critical failure}}s ''and'' [[CriticalHit critical successes]], meaning that whenever it fires something interesting is going to happen. Looted vehicles have a chance of jolting forward each turn when their drivers hit the wrong button. Hitting a ramshackle Trukk dead-on with a lascannon might make it clatter apart comically without injuring its occupants, or send the flaming wreck veering off like a missile. Madboyz might tear the enemy general apart with their bare hands or stand around picking grubs out of each others' noses...
** If an Inquisitor calls in an orbital bombardment both sides get edgy, and not just because it's starship-grade ordnance being fired at the table. Because the targeting is taking place miles above the battlefield, accuracy is somewhat compromised, so the most you can say is that ''something'' within 24" of a landmark is about to have a very bad day.
** [[TheLegionsOfHell Chaos Daemons]] deploy ''after'' the enemy army is done setting up, or to paraphrase [[Literature/TheArtOfWar Sun Tzu]] they can discern the enemy's form while remaining formless. Unfortunately when they ''do'' deploy only half of the Daemonic army starts out on the board, with the rest having a random chance of turning up each subsequent turn.
** Deep Striking in general works out like this. You can set down those drop troops or tunneling monsters anywhere on the board, but there's a chance that they'll deviate from the point you designate, and if they try to land in impassible terrain or an enemy unit they either suffer a one-turn delay or CriticalExistenceFailure.
** As a meta-example, certain players. Kids new to the hobby might have picked up whatever units they thought looked coolest (such as half-naked chicks wielding six-foot chainsaws) without having an inkling of what they're actually capable of. Other gamers might be trying out a wonky new army list, thrown together a kit almost at random, or are deliberately trying to baffle their opponents.
** An in-universe example is found in the 5th Edition [[Characters/Warhammer40000Necrons Necron]] codex - Imotekh the Stormlord is an incredibly skilled general, bordering on prescience of his opponents' tactics, represented in-game to make him three times more likely than anyone else to steal the initiative and take the first turn due to him out-thinking and countering his opponents' plans. However, as an enemy without a plan can never be out-planned, he will ''always'' fail to steal the initiative against Orks due to the sheer impossibility of second-guessing total anarchy.
** On a strategic level, this is something that the [[Characters/Warhammer40000Eldar Eldar]] are well known for. Their seers are skilled in reading the skein of fate to divine the future and heavily employ CombatClairvoyance, both in personal combat and in planning their warhost's maneuvers. Since [[ForWantOfANail the smallest thing can have unexpectedly powerful effects on the future]], this has the effect of giving the Eldar at war the appearance of being very random and impossible to predict, when in fact it is all part of [[ThePlan a very carefully planned gambit]].
** Tzeentch crosses this with TheChessmaster and turns both of them UpToEleven. Tzeentch represents change, sometimes simply for its own sake, but he also happens to be the setting's ultimate planner. It is said that every action, no matter how random, is all part of Tzeentch's plan. Even the times when his forces lose terribly (which may have the effect of killing off a weaker champion so a greater one will rise, or overstretching a foe so they can be defeated by a different force later). As such, it seems to be impossible to beat Tzeentch because even a victory will be playing into his ultimate plan. Of course, authors can't seem to agree on what the ultimate goal of Tzeentch's plans are (or if he even has one), which means he's either the universe's greatest MagnificentBastard or an esoteric MadGod. The fact that there is no shortage of confusion about whether Tzeentch is randomness incarnate, or whether that randomness is all part of a greater plan (and, thus, not random at all) is itself [[MindScrew delightfully Tzeentchy]]).
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** An old staple of the game, starting with 2nd edition, is the Wild Mage. Conceptually, his casting power level is modified by a die roll whenever casting a spell, and each spell has a small chance of producing a "wild surge", which is something completely random from a long list. The original list had 100 entries, but various fanmade lists on the Internet are far longer. Then he gets a spell that does nothing ''except'' produce a random effect. In 4th edition, this is severely toned down. The "Chaos Sorcerer" has numerous random effects (such as attacks that deal damage of a random element) but lacks true wild effects because they don't fit the strict ruleset, or because they would be disadvantageous to the caster. Usually a player character (and this can be highly frustrating to the ''other'' player characters), but there's nothing stopping the Dungeon Master from throwing one at you.
** The new Chaos Sorcerer has an element of unpredictability in most of his attacks. Heck, every attack you make has a 10% chance of moving ''everyone'' on the battlefield either toward you or away from you.
** Before that, there was the Wand of Wonder, which was Wild Magic on a Stick. Best used when desperate... or bored.
** The Wild Mage in ''D&D'' Miniatures also has the Wild Surge, but its effect simply modifies spell damage. Contrasted with the Green Slaad, a chaos monster whose spells also have random effects but could include ''fireballing'' your own army.
** Speaking of Slaadi, as embodiments of pure chaos they do ''everything'' this way. This should certainly include fighting. In 2nd Edition ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'', Slaadi were discussed as having utterly chaotic personalities, but preferring to fight their enemies one-on-one is slugging matches just so each ''individual'' would prove how tough he was.
** ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' in its various expansions discussed how Confusion Fu is actually a ''weakness'' of the tanar'ri (demons). Their unpredictability meant they can't get together and make a plan against their enemies, as they go off and do whatever they felt like. Even a bad plan is better than disorder, and their enemies (the devils) usually haveexcellent plans. Every once in a while, the tanar'ri do something absolutely brilliant out of sheer chaos, but most of the times they simply rely on WeHaveReserves.
** A 3rd edition sourcebook includes "Drunken Boxer" as a PrestigeClass.
** In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' and editions 1-3.5, an inexperienced player playing an illusionist will have trouble figuring out what to do with the class. A good illusionist will have the party's enemies chasing shadows, running into walls, falling off cliffs, and attacking their allies by mistake long before reaching 5th level. Unlike some Confusion Fu classes, the illusionist has to confuse his enemies with well-controlled and clever use of his powers, not rely on randomness.
** Also in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' is the Brawler class (a hybrid of the Fighter and Monk classes) which more or less has this as its primary class feature. The Brawler has the ability as it levels up to temporarily gain access to Combat Feats it doesn't know, allowing an experienced Brawler to become an InstantExpert in tripping or grappling in one fight and pull an entire Monk fighting style out of nowhere in another. This allows the Brawler to be a very versatile and unpredictable fighter, and one the GM can't always anticipate.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has the infamous [[http://www.crd-sector.com/uv/r&d/weapons.htm#Probability%20Grenade Probability Grenade,]] which can and do end sessions in a TCK (that's Total Complex Kill, yup). The list, however, is so off the wall that it can only go here. You will learn to ''fear'' result 00 (which puts what happens entirely in the hands of [[KillerGameMaster the Game Master]]). [[note]]This being TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}, of course, what happens on a roll of 01-99 is ''also'' in entirely in the hands of the Game Master.[[/note]]
* ''TabletopGame/FengShui'' has a martial arts style based upon consuming alcohol. Yes, that's right, ''consuming alcohol''. Needless to say, some of those fights can get a little strange...
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** The flavor text for Spiraling Duelist alludes to this: "I never move the same way twice. The rotters can't grasp chaos."
** From an actual gameplay sense, this can come up in tournaments thanks to so called 'rogue' decks. Every deck has things it can't deal with, so there's a 'sideboard' of 15 cards that can be swapped into the deck between games to help deal with the opponent's deck in any given match. Some players are able to devastate tournaments by using new strategies that players don't have a way to counter with their sideboard. Of course, the deck has to be powerful enough to beat the unsideboarded version of the top decks as well...
* In ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'', when you declare the target of an effect (when you activate a card but before its effect resolves), your opponent can Chain cards according to your target to counter it. If your card requires selecting a random target, or performs an action without needing a target, your opponent will not be able to play around it as effectively as you will only decide what to go for after they have finished their response.
* In the game ''Flash Duel'', most characters have abilities that strengthen or debuff their opponents in a fantasy style sparing match. Lum's abilities plays a different game altogether. One ability allows the player to win for having a Poker Flush, or his other ability (out of three) gives your opponent a chance to forfeit the match to avoid losing the game!
* ''Codex: Card Time Strategy'' (another game by Dave Sirlin) has [[http://www.sirlin.net/posts/codex-anarchy-spec the entire Anarchy spec]] themed around chaos and unpredictability. One of its iconic spells throws [[ThreateningShark two sharks]] out of nowhere at the opponent. The flavour text explicitly invokes this trope:
-->''"When you do something they don't expect, they have to actually think about how to respond. Most people aren't equipped to actually think if their precious plan goes wrong." - [[CrazyAwesome Captain Zane]]''
** Zane likes this trope. Another of his pieces of flavour text is pithier:
-->''"[[IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Do I look like someone with a plan? I just DO things.]]" - Captain Zane''
* Zig-zagged in [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} Burn Legend]]. While the completely random "pick a move arbitrarily" system tends to fade away as players gain more experience and begin planning out what counters they're likely to need next turn, randomly chosen moves still have their place - occasionally you'll pick a move that counters ''their'' move, when they thought they were countering ''yours''. Of course, just as often you'll pick moves that have nothing to do with each other. Tennin tend to be the worst at this, since their combat style is heavily formalised.
* Arc dodgers in ''TabletopGame/XWingMiniatures'' rely on this. The best arc-dodgers - Soontir Fel's TIE Interceptor and Fenn Rau's Concord Dawn Protectorate Starfighter - have both boost and barrel roll actions, making them really good at repositioning on the fly, and a high Pilot Skill, allowing them to see where the enemy goes before deciding how to reposition. Han Solo's "Heroes of the Resistance" version will have a similar effect; his ability to deploy ''anywhere'' outside of weapons range of enemy ships - at Pilot Skill 9, the highest unmodified PS in the game - means that wherever your opponent wants him to start, he won't; you'll almost always have at minimum half the table to deploy in.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In {{fighting game}}s the general term for using psychology against you opponent is "mind games". Common mind games include rapidly changing attack patterns as soon your opponent thinks he has you figured out, or randomly switching between highly aggressive and defensive play styles. A meta-example involves using the random character select in tournaments - provided you're at least competent with all characters, your opponent not knowing who they're about to face until the last second can let you get the drop on them before they have a counter-strategy worked out. Of course, if you run into someone who's SeenItAll, expect to get trounced. (That is why most people stick to learning one or two characters.)
%%* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE8_1WbEd3g 3D Fighter Maker.]]
* The Japanese baseball game ''[=98Koshien=]'' comes with an animation editor so players can customize their team's pitching animations. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gjfZABX8Kw So much more needs to be said, but the words don't exist.]]
* ''VideoGame/BattleCapacity'' has Kitsunoh and Fidgit. The former loves setting up traps with long-lasting projectiles and diagonal headbutts, while the second has insane combo ability with a long range launcher, an equally long range air catcher, and an airgrab.
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear''
** Faust. Three of his moves are explicitly random, one super involves ''swimming through concrete'', and his Dust (a universal popup attack) has him become a tornado, change into a child with a baseball bat, smash the opponent, and tornado back. In ''XX'', Venom challenges him to a fight on the grounds that he needs to train against someone who doesn't follow human logic.
** Zappa. He's an ordinary man, who happens to be possessed by no fewer than seven different ghosts, and they do the fighting by using him as a puppet, leading to incredibly strange attacks and movements. He also randomly summons these ghosts one at a time, changing his moveset as he goes. While the player has no way of telling what ghost might pop up next, neither does the opponent.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue''
** ''Calamity Trigger'' has the insane EldritchAbomination Arakune, who fights much like you'd expect an insane blob-thing to fight. He can teleport, turn invisible, glide, fire out projectile clouds with random properties, and some of his moves are actually ''fake-outs'' for teleports. The game is made by the people who made ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'', home of the former Trope picture. Arakune is ''even more crazy'' than he is. His [[FanNickname unofficial nickname]] is [[MemeticMutation Where The Fuck Is He Now]], because that's all anyone could say when they fought him after the initial release.
** Now accompanied by [[MagicalGirl Platinum the Trinity]], who has six different modes to switch between. Her randomness is limited by the fact that her next mode can be seen by both players, but anything beyond that is as random as Zappa's ghosts.
** ''Central Fiction'' has its two newcomers:
*** [[BattleButler Hibiki Kohaku]], a skilled assassin whose fighting style involves using his shadow clones to confuse and throw opponents off. He may send his shadow clone forward to attack or attack himself while leaving a shadow clone behind to confuse opponents.
*** [[LadyOfBlackMagic Nine the Phantom]]. In stark contrast to the other characters in the series, Nine doesn't have a traditional drive. Her ability, The Abyss Diver, is a stock system similar to Platinum's above that revolves around her casting three types of elemental magic ([[PlayingWithFire Fire]], [[BlowYouAway Wind]], and [[MakingASplash Water]]). She can stock up to three ribbons of each, which allow her to cast powerful spells. [[DifficultButAwesome It also makes playing as Nine a daunting task as to master her, you must memorize]] ''[[DifficultButAwesome all 20 combinations, what they can do, and how to use them efficiently]]''. She's essentially Dormammu on steroids.
* [[TheKlutz Hanataro]] from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}: Shattered Blade'' is a JokeCharacter who was given a story mode to fight through. Because of his ability to trip at the slightest change in wind direction, his attacks are completely unpredictable. His sword attacks ''heal'' his enemy, and the best way to beat the story mode is to trip and roll into your opponent to damage them, then run away until the match timer is over. He's not meant to be taken seriously, but he's still unpredictable.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar 2'': In "Last Stand" mode, the hero Ork Mekboy has two types of teleporter armor. The standard "Teleporta Pack" allows controllable teleporting within a certain range. The other is the "Mad Teleporta Pack"; this grants the Reactive Escape and Reactive Teleport traits. The former trait is a 15% chance to teleport the mekboy to a random nearby location when the Mekboy is hit by a melee attack whilst the latter is a 50% chance to teleport the ''attacker'' to a random nearby location when the Mekboy is hit by a melee attack. The result of this is that when fighting a wave primarily composed of melee troops both you and your opponents are being more or less constantly teleported around the arena with absolutely no control over it. Its worth noting that from a practical perspective this is probably not a very helpful piece of equipment as it is just as likely to throw you into danger as get you out of it.
** This has improved even further lately with the "Juiced up tellyporta" accessory which adds the "Ported!!" trait. Now the act of teleporting anything causes it to explode at the end of its journey. This includes both enemies and yourself. So now not only do melee enemies get randomly teleported away but the majority instantly die at the end of it in an explosion. And if you yourself get teleported you blow up anything you teleport into.
* ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive'':
** Brad Wong uses DrunkenBoxing, making his movements indirect and unpredictable. Due to the nature of the counter system, making your character do this is one of the most significant skills.
** Ayane's ''Mugen Tenshinryu Hajimon'' fighting style contains a lot of twirling and delayed attacks, making it difficult to tell ''when'' exactly her movements will actually hit you, which makes countering her a pain.
* In ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients'', most heroes have four skills; three normal and one [[LimitBreak ultimate]]. The Invoker hero has three "reagents", which grant minor buffs life increased speed or damage or regeneration, and Invoke, which grants a skill based on which reagents are active. Since there are ten possible combinations and the effects include summoning, buffing, disabling, creating temporary walls, four different attack spells (one with unlimited range), and turning invisible, it's very difficult to tell what an Invoker will do next. Since the Invoker is limited to having two skills readied at a time, it also makes him DifficultButAwesome.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Depth}}'', newer shark players often have poor control, and newer divers often have similiar issues with aiming. Both tend to make up for these short-comings with enthusiasm. Thus, shark players can be surprised by a newbie diver bold enough to chase after them, and divers may have difficulty when a newbie shark is lunging and dashing around the map with no rhythm or reason.
* [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI Kefka]] in ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy''. He doesn't shoot fireballs at you; he tosses out fireballs that [[{{Roboteching}} zig-zag to hit from the sides, or stop and change direction at random]]. He doesn't shoot an ice block at you; he shoots an ice block that stops partway through the air, then explodes into shrapnel. His meteors don't hit you, they hit ''around'' you and fly at you after bouncing on the ground. His [[OneWingedAngel EX Mode]] ability makes all of his attacks even ''crazier''; his fireballs multiply after being thrown, that ice shrapnel homes in you on a second time after the initial shatter, and those meteors bounce in place when they land before zooming at you. There's a reason his fighting style is dubbed "Mad Mage" and others calling his attacks [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance being hit with magical awesome]].
** The sequel, ''Dissidia 012'', gave this attribute to [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV Gilgamesh]]. With every melee attack, he picks a random weapon out of eight, each with varying effects. The Naginata has increased attack range, Masamune gives you double EX Force from hits, Excalibur does double damage, [[JokeItem Excalipoor does one damage with every hit]], and so on. However, unlike Kefka, Gilgamesh becomes ''more'' predictable in EX Mode, choosing a set of weapons and sticking with it until he reverts to his normal form.
* In the online MMORPG ''VideoGame/{{Dofus}}'', there's a class based on doing damage on the roll of a die or the flip of a coin called Ecaflip's Coin. Two attacks even go out and heal the target after it damages it.
* The Rogue class in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', even ignoring their skillset, have an unpredictable, acrobatic range to their attacks that make them impossible to counter. Adding in Subterfuge, Sabotage and Scoundrel gives them more means to sow confusion and keep on the move in battle.
* MMORPG ''VideoGame/EveOnline'' is notoriously immune to this, ship fittings are crucial to attaining victory, meaning ship fits done poorly will simply result in newbies being crushed (this is of course, a game where a group of low experience players can take down a veteran, since combat mechanics are not reliant on experience point total or reflexes). This is part of what makes the game infamous for its brutal [[http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3088/2335016192_6003c39c4c_z.jpg?zz=1 learning curve.]]
** Great players play this straight - Bad players [[StrategySchmategy simply don't know what they're doing]] and aren't really invoking this trope in the first place. Good players [[BoringButPractical know what tactics work and stick to them]] making them easily figured out and planned against. Great players know that being predictable means your enemy likely knows how to counter what you plan to do, so liberal doses of randomness can keep them guessing and score impressive victories with bizarre strategies that shouldn't actually work.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** Most Nobodies in have some degree of unpredictability, due to their random stretching and boneless flailing. Organization XIII members (in fact, any Nobodies resembling regular humans) don't have this advantage. [[ThatOneBoss Not that they need it.]]
** The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Mysterious Figure]]. You never know just how he'll two-shot you. Maybe he'll do his spear-whip two times in a row, or maybe he'll do his blade combos after it, or maybe his tornado attack. Or perhaps he'll use Megaflare and then some unavoidable thing before you can cast Curaga. Or maybe he'll just do a random combo of all of these while having ten copies of himself running around the field doing each their own thing as little balls of light fly around trying to stab you with more spears, lagging your [=PSP=] to high-heaven.
** [[Film/TronLegacy Rinzler]], who has a rather weird flipping attack style that hits at strange times (and hits ''hard''), which is not helped by the [[InterfaceScrew changing gravity]]. No wonder he's ThatOneBoss.
** Sora himself has shades of this in Kingdom Hearts II. Many of the Reaction Commands against bosses involve him befuddling his opponents and redirecting their attacks or stealing their weapons.
* While he's fairly straightforward in other aspects, Wukong from ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' has one move that uses this heavily: Decoy. It turns him invisible, but leaves a copy of him that explodes after a few seconds. If Wukong's opponents are not paying much attention he can make them just waste attacks and spells on his copy then get hurt by the following explosion. Or he can use the period of invisibility to get to cover, change directions after casting it to throw pursuers off his trail, ''not'' change directions because they'll think you did, and [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow variations thereupon]], or not cast it at all. The ability looks the same as if you had suddenly stopped moving, so some people will stop and their enemy will ignore the real Wukong to chase after an imaginary invisible one.
** Also present in juking that any champ can do, changing directions at unpredictable times to throw off aim, or times where it's predictable that the enemy would attack (preemptively dodging as soon as you're in range is a fairly effective example), or changing direction the moment the enemy loses sight of you all help to dodge attacks and confuse the enemy.
** Shaco is very adept at confusing the hell out of his enemies. He can clone himself, and the duplicate can attack but cannot use abilities. If the clone dies and he is in a tough spot, he can turn invisible--possibly to escape or to kill an unsuspecting player. He also does increased damage when attacking from behind, delivering a healthy dosage of ParanoiaFuel as well.
** Similarly, [=LeBlanc=], [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Deceiver,]] has a kit that is designed to invoke this in the right hands. Her passive, Mirror Image, activates when she drops below 40% health. She stealths for one second, and when she reappears, she spawns a controllable clone of herself that deals no damage, forcing enemies to play SpotTheImposter, let her escape, or [[TakeAThirdOption kill them both,]] which is unfeasible at lower levels and may result in wasted cooldowns and mana. She also has an ability called Distortion, which dashes her forward a short distance, leaving a pad on the ground. Within 4 seconds, she can reactivate the ability to [[TeleportersAndTransporters teleport]] back to her starting pad. Enemies now have to choose whether to aim their attacks at where she dashed to or where she started from, which a [[MagnificentBastard savvy]] or [[SuperReflexes quick]] [=LeBlanc=] can use to her advantage. Add to that her ultimate, Mimic, which allows her to copy her last used ability, and now you have many more possibilities for jukes and tricks. Add to ''[[UpToEleven that]]'' the fact that it's possible to reduce the cooldowns of both those abilities by up to 40% and you have the means to create a veritable TeleportSpam.
* In ''VideoGame/LufiaTheLegendReturns'', Ruby has a few moves that rely on pure chance, such as "Fortune Dice", which simply has randomized effects, and "Double Up", which makes you play a card-guessing game to increase the power of the attack - a good run can be incredibly devastating, but guess wrong even once and you get a laughably weak attack. Of course, she's a habitual gambler whom you meet in [[CasinoPark a casino]].
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': This trope is directly discussed by Joker and EDI. While EDI can control the ship all by herself, the ''Normandy'' can achieve maximum performance if Joker is manning the helm due to the page quote.
** In the previous game, you can get this effect from the Mako APC. The handling is so bad that even you probably have no idea where you're going next, so the enemy are going to have serious trouble anticipating your next movement.
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' games that involve a light/dark system, one side effect of going dark is the ability to pull random Battle Chips out of goddamn ''nowhere''. When you fight a DS Navi (most often [=MegaMan=]'s own dark side), you can be moments from winning, only to get slaughtered by a [=GigaChip=]. But since this is random, DS Navis are just as likely to use low-level chips or miss you completely. If you choose to go dark yourself, you get the same ability in a modified form -- your dark side will take over when your HP runs out, fighting randomly for a while. In this case you'd better hope for ''good'' random draws, because you come out of berserk mode with just 1 HP.
* Claymores in ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' online are only dangerous when placed at precise angles around corners... or in the middle of the ground with no rhyme or reason.
* Havok from ''Franchise/MortalKombat: [[VideoGame/MortalKombatDeception Deception]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombatArmageddon Armageddon]]'' is basically ''Mortal Kombat'''s answer to Voldo: A rotting corpse that rotates its limbs and neck, making it extremely unpredictable and visually unsettling.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Some Pokémon do this. Mew can learn all TM and HM moves in the game and has the stats to do fine in whichever archetype it needs. Smeargle takes this even further; while its stats are much worse, it learns Sketch, which permanently copies a move and can be used to learn ''almost any move that exists in the game''. (Save Sketch itself and Chatter)
** In competitive battling, the Pokémon capable of this typically have reasonable offenses in either spectrum and/or defenses that they have multiple possible competitive movesets which, in extreme cases, require different counters. Due to the guesswork involved, you might inevitably lose at least one Pokémon to them due to learning the moveset one turn too late.
*** Mega Charizard takes this to a different level, having two different Mega Evolutions each with different abilities, weaknesses, and stat spreads. Guessing wrongly commonly leads to Mega Charizard X setting up a Swords Dance or Dragon Dance to sweep with, or Mega Charizard Y obliterating you with a sun-empowered STAB Fire Blast.
** Similarly, Arceus's ability, Multitype, allows it to become any one of the 18 elemental Pokémon types, providing that it is holding the corresponding plate for each type (i.e., Draco Plate for Dragon-type).
** Zoroark, introduced in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', evokes this at times, as its ability, Illusion, pushes players to carefully discern whether they are actually facing the Pokémon they are ''seeing'' or a Zoroark in disguise instead.
** Metronome is an attack capable of causing the Pokémon to use ''any'' available move in the game. The move Assist has a similar but more controlled effect, as the Pokémon using it will pull off a random move from any of its party member's current movepools. Sleep Talk is a very minor example of this, as it uses one of the user's ''other'' moves at random.
*** Played with in the anime, where May's Munchlax and Skitty probably won more contests with Metronome and Assist (respectively) than without.
** Greninja can become a master in this thanks to its Hidden Ability, Protean. While Greninja is normally Water/Dark, Protean allows it to change into the type of whatever move it's about to use. Since Greninja can outspeed 97% of the entire Pokedex[[hottip:*:And thirteen of the twenty-three that it can't are either Mega Evolutions of otherwise slower Pokemon or Legendaries]], and its movepool includes everything from Flying to Psychic, this means it can pretty much turn into any type that would screw over its opponent the most, ''especially'' opponents with a type advantage over it.
** Website/{{Showderp}} is a group of competitive Pokemon players that specializes in this, with varying degrees of success.
* Jack in ''VideoGame/PowerStone''. He walks on all fours with knifes in his hands and feet and has surprisingly long reach despite his main weapon being daggers. His Power Stone form has the longest non-projectile reach and has giant chainsaw hands with unique combos.
* ''VideoGame/PunchOut'''s [[{{Oireland}} Aran Ryan]], Wii version. He has no "idle animation" like the other opponents and never holds still, and slides all about the ring throwing in random punches. Also unlike every other fighter it's impossible to land a combo on him unless you counter him mid-attack. He's also a [[CombatPragmatist foul stinking cheat]] and incorporates headbutts, elbow strikes, horseshoes in his gloves and perhaps most blatantly of all a ''boxing glove on a rope'' that he swings around like a flail, into his attacks. Also, [[AxCrazy he's fucking crazy]]. We mentioned the crazy, right?
** Every Minor (except Disco Kid) and Major Circuit fighter in Title Defense has some sort of feint, delayed attack, or other unpredictable movement, which is the main source of the mode's NintendoHard reputation.
*** Even Disco Kid to some degree, as his left jab can be delayed or not, though he's not as bad as everyone else.
** [[spoiler: Donkey Kong]] beats even Don Flamenco in the taunt-and-counter department, with multiple taunts, each with their own counter-attacks, and a lot of his attacks have similar build-ups. And sometimes he'll just accidentally hit himself in the face and give you a free star.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' has a small version of this; the Vyrewatch are a specific enemy that are normally undefeatable; it's said that they are able to read your mind so that they can predict your moves. Thus, you have to use an unpredictable weapon to land a strike on them. The [[EpicFlail Ivandis flail]] is a weapon which can only be controlled in a general sense - "swing it at that guy". Even the wielder can't tell where the blow will land, or from what angle, so the predictive telepathy is worse than useless.
** Oddly, the more Vyrewatch you kill with the flail, the more skilled you become with it... but counterintuitively, this ''improves'' the flail's efficacy, rather than allowing you (and thus the telepathic Vyrewatch) to predict its movement better. A true straight playing of Confusion Fu would have the flail become slowly less effective as its wielder gained experience with it -- green recruits would be the best Vyre slayers, predictable veterans would be dead meat.
*** It's entirely possible that the user's body gets more accustomed to using the flail properly, but the user's thoughts amount to little more than "swing stick, kill Vyrewatch". Being able to read a mind is pointless if the body is acting on successful previous experiences without thought.
* ''VideoGame/SoulSeries''
** Voldo. Very few characters in the series can keep up a volley of attacks at an opponent while ''facing the opposite direction''. Or while prone. And then there's his variety of interesting grab attacks, the most acrobatic of which is occasionally known by the FanNickname of "[[Literature/WheresWally Where's Voldo]] [[ShoutOut Now]]?"
** Ditto with Yoshimitsu. Yoshimitsu's repertoire includes propeller-based flight, teleportation, healing himself from the LotusPosition, {{Seppuku}}, spinning until dizzy, using his swords as stilts or pogo sticks, and a health-draining face grab, to name a few. Sometimes several of the above occur at once, and the health-drain also unlocks limited usage of a small move pool consisting of [[ShoutOut an attack borrowed from each Tekken character]].
** Also applies to Maxi: he has seven different stances and different moves from them, making him difficult to read.
** Can be used when playing Stance Roulette with Siegfried by rapidly switching between his 4 different stances and mixing up the attacks deployed from them.
** Nearly half of [[AnimeChineseGirl Xianghua's]] style revolves around the use of feints, counter stances, and evasive maneuvers to either avoid attack, or position herself to attack. Her counter stances are purposely designed to make her appear open to attack and are usually accompanied [[PracticalTaunt by a taunt]] to bait the opponent, but they're recognized by the brief purple glow of her sword. If they fall for it, she'll auto-impact their attack and immediately follow up with an auto-counter (where she'll say: "Gotcha!"). And she can take it a step further, since many of her attacks can be delayed, or cancelled (which is indicated by [[ILied "Just kidding!"]]) to throw off their timing.
** While all of the aforementioned characters are using unconventional stances to make their movements hard to read, nobody epitomizes this trope in Soul Calibur more than Lord Geo "Le Bello" Dampierre, a con artist with a pair of punching daggers appearing in ''Broken Destiny'' and ''V''. Dampierre's damage output is pitiful compared to most characters, his range is practically nil, and he tends to take a lot of damage from attacks. What Dampierre has going for him, however, is how utterly ''bizarre'' his attacks are. A number of his moves involve him hurting himself and falling over, but Dampierre is one of the only characters who's at his most dangerous sprawling on the ground; characters unfamiliar with his fighting style are likely to eat several dangerous low-line attacks or Dampierre's extremely long and surprisingly damaging attack throw. While virtually all of Dampierre's moves look utterly ridiculous, he can prove himself a LethalJokeCharacter ''very'' quickly if someone just pays attention to him moonwalking, stubbing his toe during a kick, or Russian dancing to air-juggle rather than the damage or ring-outs this can cause.
** Charade from ''II'' mimics a random fighter every round. So does Inferno (plus a few exclusive moves,) only with all the flames covering it it can make it harder for his opponent to see who he's mimicking.
* ''Franchise/StreetFighter''
** Dhalsim is quite possibly the first fighting game character to use this style, as his various angled jump attacks and different teleportation moves make him great at screwing with the opponent's head.
** Gen from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterI'' onward has two different fighting styles that he switch on the fly, even when getting attacked, jumping, attacking, etc.. The fighting styles not only change his attacks, but also change his jump and walk physics, give him multiple supers (four at a time in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV''), and change his standing and crouching hurtboxes. If a Gen player uses him just right ([[DifficultButAwesome much, much easier said than done]]), the opponent will never be able to predict his next move.
** In later versions, we're given Crimson Viper, El Fuerte and Abel, all introduced in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'', and each one whose primary gameplay revolves entirely around scoring a single knockdown and keeping your opponent in an endless guessing game.
** Don't be fooled by the grappler get-up and moveset, because R.Mika in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterV'' possesses some of the craziest mix-up potential in the game. That's saying something considering that two of the game's characters[[note]] Nash and Bison, the latter has this ''as a super mode''[[/note]] can freaking teleport. How is this possible you ask? Simple, her AssistCharacter[[note]] Yamato Nadeshiko, Mika's tag team partner[[/note]], when summoned, will come crashing on you with no input as to ''where'' the attack will come from. Guess wrong, and kiss 20-50% of your health goodbye. Guess right, and the insane blockstun will guarantee that Mika gets to perform either a mix-up, or a command grab, or just about ''anything''.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''
** Mr. Game & Watch and Wario, thanks to their low-frame animations. Also, Game & Watch has genuine unpredictability in his Judgment attack.
** Luigi, starting in ''Melee'', is a mild case of this. Although he looks like Mario, his moves function notably differently, throwing many people off. Several of his moves are designed to come from nowhere, his Green Missile can randomly launch him at killer speeds, and several of his moves (most notably his forward+A on the ground) are designed to be longer than they look. His floaty nature and low traction make him hard to combo. Finally, his Final Smash move in ''Brawl'' is just plain weird, inflicting random [[StandardStatusEffects status ailments]] on enemies (and inflicting sitar music on all the players).
** Sonic is another mild case; the unpredictability comes from the sheer number of his moves that start with very similar spinning animations but do wildly different things and the fact that he can still attack after his recovery move. In particular, the ''Smash Bros.'' Wiki has severe trouble in gauging Sonic's Tier level, since, while the character doesn't perform universally well in tournaments (unlike high tier characters, such as Meta Knight) Sonic performs so radically different depending on who is playing him that any kind of tier level is theoretical at best. It also helps that, under certain circumstances, he can instantly shield out of some of his spins (during side-B's charge if it's not fully wound up, and during a down-B spindash if you're in the air and land).
*** This may be why Robotnik, having an IQ of 300, cannot really be successful against Sonic.
** Some of the characters, while otherwise predictable, have one or two moves that can mess with people's heads. Mario's cape attack flips the directions his enemies are facing, which can confuse new players that don't know why they suddenly are attacking backwards. In ''Brawl'', King Dedede's projectile normally is just a Waddle Dee, but has a small chance being a Waddle Doo, a Gordo, or an item; in ''3DS and Wii U,'' it's always a Gordo, but can be bounce along several different paths.
** Similarly, Peach usually uproots turnips from the ground, but every so often she'll get a Bob-omb.
** One of the reasons Meta Knight is the only one in S class in the tier list is that almost all of his special attacks can be used as recovery moves (on top of his five jumps) so it is impossible to predict how he will get back on the stage. Also his down B teleport move can really mess with people's heads.
** Zelda can teleport to where she is already standing.
** Olimar uses Pikmin in all of his attacks. Each color of Pikmin has different properties, and when Olimar creates them, they spawn randomly. When Olimar performs an attack, the line cycles, so his next attack will use the next Pikmin in line. This means that different strategies open up depending on what order your Pikmin are in. Fun times for both players.
** Dash-dancing in ''Melee'' largely attempts to achieve this effect.
** The playstyle of ''Super Smash Bros. Melee'' player Joseph "Mango" Marquez could be described as this, as he is known for his unorthodox mixup game and flashy punishes.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'':
** The Spy can pretend to be other classes, of both his team and of his enemies, forcing the enemy team to waste ammo on anybody and being paranoid about everybody. They can also use alternate cloaking items to drop fake body when hit, making it hard to tell if you killed the Spy or he is invisible and about to backstab you.
*** On servers with friendly fire enabled, it is ironically easier to check for spies since your teammates will flinch and cry out if they are real when you hit them and will react like a teammate on a non-friendly fire server if they are a disguised enemy spy. Of course, they will also take the full brunt of the damage you apply, so it's best not to check for spies with a high-crit-chance melee weapon, though the flamthrower will still not harm your teammates.
*** On the flip side, playing as a Spy can be made more difficult if your opponents operate this way. Randomly turning around, walking in irregular patterns, and suddenly backing up can cause many a Spy to miss his backstab, especially if he's new to the game. Spies operate heavily on knowing where their enemies would ''normally'' be, so if you're somewhere unexpected (down a back corridor, pressed against the wall where a Spy would normally walk, etc.) this can also throw Spies off, and you might even accidentally run into some invisible ones.
** The Scout can double jump. This doesn't sound impressive, but a good Scout is a nightmare to deal with, being able to change direction while in the air and be impossible to hit, or SEE. And because of his high speed, you can never be sure whether a Scout is genuinely running away or circling around to ambush you again.
** An increasingly common tactic with the Engineer is to put his mini-sentries in random places that make no sense outside of how unexpected they are, and then put up a new one in a different location as soon as the old one is destroyed.
** The randomizer mod gives ''everyone'' this. Scouts with sniper rifles? Spies with miniguns? Backstabbing Soldiers? Heavies with flamethrowers? Rocket launcher Pyros? It's all possible, and you have no way to know what weapon your foe is carrying until he fires.
** Due to the way this game handles lag, someone with a bad connection can be a nightmare to fight, what with their movements resembling TeleportSpam and their attacks fading in and out of existence without much of a pattern. Pyros are known for teleporting onto unwitting faces with the flamethrower blazing, Heavy's [[MemeticMutation boolets]] occasionally curve around corners, Spies might {{backstab}} you in the face, or you might get struck down by a projectile that decided to appear out of thin air right in front of you, and neither you nor your opponent know when any of these might happen. In particular, laggy players are essentially impossible to properly deal with for spies and snipers, as both rely on a single moment of high precision, which is impossible to achieve when someone's connection is hiccuping: Chances are the foe'll just teleport right when you press the button, either wasting a bullet or leaving the poor spy stranded in the middle of enemy lines without a disguise.
** In Medieval Mode, where every weapon is disabled except for melee weapons (and a few others), engaging an enemy becomes a dance, as combatants will alternate between closing in and spacing themselves out until someone decides to swing.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'':
** Eddie Gordo (and his student Christie Montiero), with his weird capoeira ground-fighting moves, is sometimes impossible to predict unless you know his character inside and out. Not only that, most of the moves those characters use cannot be reversed. A random button masher using these characters is actually much harder to beat then someone who actually trying to do moves they plan on, until they truly master the character.
** Lei Wulong has several different stances, plus a variety of moves that can be used from the ground or while facing the other direction.
** Ling Xiaoyu also has two stances, some effective combos that hit someone behind her, and the ability to roll or cartwheel off to the side of her opponent.
** Dr. Boskonovich from ''Tekken 3'' has an unfortunate tendency to fall over for no apparent reason but capitalizes on it with several ground combos. In ''Tekken Tag Tournament 2'' Dr. B's moves are vaguely similar to [[VideoGame/SoulSeries Dampierre]] in that half of his [[WhatTheFuAreYouDoing goofy moves]] cause him to reel in pain, which puts him in a good position to mixup his opponents. He also [[MadeOfExplodium explodes a lot]], either for juggles, mobility, or making his moves safe.
** Mokujin. At the beginning of each round, he randomly chooses the moveset of a random character to fight with.
** Zafina from ''6''. Her attacks are similar to Voldo from the ''Soul'' series in that her movement is highly unpredictable, full of extreme body contortions and sneaky attacks. Hitting her can also be challenging as she can get her body very low to the ground. Unfortunately, that hasn't saved her from being [[CharacterTiers low tier]].
* ''VideoGame/TorchlightII'' has a skill for the [[SquishyWizard Embermage]] that lets his attacks with a wand have a chance to cause a random effect, including acid rain, shadow bats exploding and a meteor out of nowhere. It gets better, though: The ability also applies to certain skills, including Shockbolts, which both emits several curving projectiles and has them hit enemies several times before dissipating, and every single hit has a chance to trigger an effect. High levels in both can make both your enemies and [[InterfaceScrew your computer]] fall to your knees.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' character Marisa Kirisame does this in the fighting game spin-offs of the series, ''Immaterial and Missing Power'' and ''Scarlet Weather Rhapsody'', with quick and annoying attacks that mess with combos, including the dreaded "[[AssKicksYou Butt Attack]]".
** ''Hisoutensoku'' added Suwako, who takes this trait and amps it to 11. Her default standing position is ducking, ducking makes her ''taller'' by summoning a lily pad underneath her, she air dashes by flapping her arms, she ''swims'' through the ground in both her ground dash and several of her moves, and many of her attacks involve summoning trees in various places. She does not even walk. '''She hops.'''
** Both ''Scarlet Weather Rhapsody'' and ''Hisoutensoku'' involve some random factor because of the weather and deck system: The weather will mess with you depending on which one that comes up, while the deck system allows you to either change your moveset on the fly or use super moves at the cost of cards.
** We might as well add Hong Meiling's final opponent. You've been fighting against typical opponents, all the while the background gradually becomes more simple in style. Then a giant catfish shows up. You already know the entire battle will be random.
** [[MasterOfIllusion Reisen Udongein Inaba]] has shades of this in both shooters and fighting games. In shooters, she uses bullets that can shift, turn, multiply, stop and/or become invisible mid-flight. In fighting games, her moveset is similarly built around deceptive attacks, like a missile whose explosion appears ahead of the missile itself, two physical attacks that look the exact same on startup, or attacks that use illusionary copies that may or may not be able to attack on their own. The kicker? Many of her illusion copy attacks involve movement with the copy being created mid attack or just after making you wonder if she followed through or if the follow through is a decoy...the difference between the 'heavy' and 'light' versions of the attack are which image is the decoy so have fun guessing.
** And the fighting game ''Hopeless Masquerade'' added the UnexpectedCharacter, [[EmptyShell Koishi]] [[PerceptionFilter Komeiji]]. What wasn't unexpected was that she would use confusion-fu. What ''was'' unexpected was how random and confusing it would turn out to be. Well enough for the fact that her normal attacks include things like {{sneez|eOfDoom}}ing (which fails by having Koishi catch her nose if attempted twice in quick succession) or having an IdeaBulb, her forward dash has her turn intangible while prancing onwards and, after a few steps, ''skips''... which is actually an attack, by the way... The top of the mousse is that one of her attack buttons doesn't do anything. ''Until slightly later on in the fight, provided certan conditions are met.'' At first she's likely to be just as unpredictable to the one using her as she is to the opponent.
--->''"Koishi is a silly character that no one fully understands yet. [[MemeticMutation Please wait warmly]] while Koishi mains start to learn what they're doing."''
* ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter''. Shun Di, especially in ''VF 4 Evo'': starts out predictable, [[DrunkenMaster but you get enough drinks in him]], and there's basically no position he can't be a threat from.
** Real life example, certain ''VF'' players use a playstyle called ''abare'' which emphasizes using an unusual style outside of what is considered the safe way to play a character to win a match.
* Bal-Baros in ''VideoGame/VirtualOn: Oratorio Tangram'' can leave his arms and hip-guns floating anywhere around the stage, meaning his can hit you from unexpected angles if you're not careful.
* Players in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' who make active use of the Engineering profession for combat purposes often succumb to this. Most of their gadgets have a chance of backfiring, so an engineer toting a net launcher may snare a foe for several seconds, or launch themselves headfirst into melee with the foe. Rocket boots may yield a short but powerful burst of speed, or they may explode and hit everyone nearby. The shrink ray is guaranteed to change the size of ''something'', but whether something grows or shrinks, and whether that something is the wielder or the target is up to chance.
** Engineers fit this trope and the GlassCannon one as well. Due to high cost and low profit margins, players who specialize in engineering are traditionally some of the poorest in the game, with the crappiest armor and weapons. Fighting one can be a CurbStompBattle or you can find yourself turned into a chicken and taking over 5000 damage from a death ray.
** The randomness to Engineer craftables was eliminated with the second expansion; now everything works and is guaranteed to work. Perhaps to make up for that, everything was nerfed to hell.
* Peacock from ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'' is an AxCrazy {{Toon}} who uses a huge variety of weapons and absurd objects pulled out of Hammerspace to attack her foe with. She pulls out pies, {{Bang Flag Gun}}s, mallets, chainsaws and more for close-range hits. She shoots AbnormalAmmo out of her revolver, tosses [[CartoonBomb walking bombs]] around, and can pull out a full-fledged cannon for long-ranged hits. On top of that, she has a veritable cornuciopia of random items she can summon from the sky to fall on her foe, from flower pots to {{piano|Drop}}s to [[Franchise/JojosBizarreAdventure steamrollers]] and more. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
* You're practically forced to fight this way in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''; sword-wielding enemies are very good at blocking deliberate sword strikes from any direction. To hit them, you must either fool them into thinking you're swinging in one direction and then actually swing in a different direction (which is pretty tricky), or swing randomly like a maniac until you hit them.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfTanks'', one of the best ways to use the nimblest light tanks, especially the T-50-2, is being as "random" as possible in maneuvering once shots start firing. Hitting them becomes incredibly difficult, and they're known for their ability to sneak past large columns of tanks to strike at the weak artillery in the rear.
** Also used by Camouflage-centric Tank destroyers. Basically their tactics connsist of picking the most inane spot possible, holing up in there and waiting for someone to pass by so they can blow him/her wide open with a [[{{BFG}} High caliber gun]].
*** This includes abusing the physics engine to hang over a cliff and shoot things under it, blowing up a building to use it as cover, and even just sitting [[HiddenInPlainSight somewhere out in the open]] if they have a high enough camo rating.
** The VK 30.01 (H) is notorious for having an extremely diverse selection of guns, most of which look quite similar at the first or second glance from 300 meters off. You never know what you'll find when you end up facing this particular tank--will it stay at long range punching holes in your armor with its monstrous Waffe 0725 gun? Will it suddenly lurch around the corner and vaporize half your hit points with a 10.5 cm howitzer? Or have you encountered a crazy person who equipped the fast-firing 5cm cannon and plans to keep you constantly immobilized while his artillery friends finish you off? The only way to know is to watch it fire and hope you can recognize gun sounds and shell behaviors.
* Patty Fleur in the UsefulNotes/{{P|layStation3}}S3 version of ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia''. Almost all of her attacks have random effects, some of which can actually end up damaging herself or the entire party. The things used for said attacks are just random, including a mini rocket ship she can ride out of the battlefield, presents with harmful "gifts" in them, a frying pan, and mahjong pieces.
* Nanashi's move set in ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' is mostly based around the fact that she's basically impossible to kill and can do fun stuff like throw her head at people and pop tombstones out of the ground. These and some of her other abilities make her very difficult to predict both in terms of gameplay and outside it, where she manages to score a victory over Lily and then Taiga without either having any idea what she just did.
* ''VideoGame/WarlordsBattlecry III'': the Empire can hire "Foreign Mercenaries", which basically amounts to a random unit from another faction (basic, stronger or a general, so this covers nearly every single unit in the game) for a slightly expensive price which can be cut in half with some upgrades, making it quite cheap. It can be done as much as you like, making it perfectly possible to amass an army whose units are unknown to you and your enemy until the dice are cast, which can be a good strategy sometimes, a bad one some other times, but it's ''always'' fun.
* Mesmers in ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' are considered one of the strongest classes in pvp due to their MO being screwing with your head. A properly built Mesmer can go in and out of stealth while dropping flawless clones of themselves nearly every second, guaranteeing that if you lose sight of them for even a second, odds are you won't find the real one until the clones all bum rush you for a devastating suicide bomb, followed before even ''more'' clones, rinse repeat, you're dead.
* Dali=Dali in the mecha fighting game ''Schmeiser Robo'' pilots a [[AMechByAnyOtherName Walker]] whose gimmick is fighting upside down. Some of his moves involve spinning wildly.
* A minor example, but ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'' has a [[TitleDrop Warframe]] called [[ShoutOut Loki]] that contains an ability which creates a decoy of himself. This confuses enemies into attacking the decoy if it's closer to them than the player actually is. The ability, [[DifficultButAwesome with practice]], can easily block multiple enemies from attacking anyone smart enough to keep away from their targets that are affected by said decoy.
* ''VideoGame/HauntingGround'': Daniella loves employing this tactic against Fiona; when you're hiding from her, she will wait outside of the room you're hiding in to catch you leaving, leave and then re-enter a second later when the [[BlatantLies "COAST CLEAR"]] text appears, and, if she's really in the mood to freak out Fiona, hide ''in your hiding spots'' between chases. When you fight her openly, she will stop at random times for no reason (or sometimes, to scream or laugh), sometimes she'll suddenly break out into a run, whack the floor near Fiona - making her flinch and therefore leave herself open to further attack - or start walking with robotic movements that can only be intended to weird the player out and distract them. Or, as a worst case scenario, she'll knock Fiona down, get on top of her and slit her throat. GameOver. No matter what, the average player will soon learn that the best strategy when facing her is to put a great distance between her and Fiona, and ''keep it that way''.
* The TowerDefense game ''VideoGame/CanterlotSiege'', Discord doesn't follow the path when he appears and walks around the map freely, making his path very difficult to plan for. In the third game, the BonusBoss randomly rearranges the positions of your towers when they appear.
* In ''Videogame/YuGiOhReshefOfDestruction'', Marik's deck uses lots of strong monsters with varied attributes, so the usual strategy of filling your deck with monsters of a beneficial attribute won't work against him.
* In ''Videogame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'', Claptrap's [=VaultHunter.EXE=] ability is a RandomEffectSpell that analyses the battlefield and randomly chooses an ability it deems appropriate for the situation, with certain abilities affecting other player characters. This can range from making him [[GunsAkimbo copy his current weapon]] and make him and his teammates fire uncontrollably to suddenly giving everyone rubber ducky inflatables that cause them to bounce uncontrollably. It's even brought up in a sidequest about the origins of the main four Vault Hunters, in which Jack is told that in order to make a Claptrap even somewhat combat-viable, he has to work ''with'' it's inherent stupidity rather than against it.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', Zant is somewhere between this and UnskilledButStrong, due to [[spoiler:his being a Ganon-powered Psychopathic Manchild]]. In ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'', however, he plays this as straight as it gets, able to fire a MagicMissileStorm from atop a totem pole one moment and SpinAttack through armies the next. This makes him DifficultButAwesome as a PC and (often) ThatOneBoss as an opponent; as the former, staying in one combat mode too long causes him to mess up his attacks and get stunned, and as the latter, baiting him into doing this is the ''only'' reliable way to make him expose his Weak Point Gauge.
* While ''VideoGame/DiveKick'' completely averts this (two buttons - diving and kicking), it also plays it straight with many a characters's skills. Ranging from using RocketBoots, BigHeadMode, DittoFighter, and more, it's rather difficult to know who's the more workable character. Lampshaded by [[SaintsRow Johnny Gat]] of all people in his ending, where he claims that all of the confusion is from the other fighters.
* ''VideoGame/RisingThunder''
** Crow can create an area in which he is invisible for a few seconds, making it literally impossible for the enemy to tell what his next attack or two will be. He also has an arcing projectile which can be throw different distance with an animation that looks the same until the thing leaves his hand.
** Talos has two special {{Grapple Move}}s that [[YouWillNotEvadeMe pull the enemy in]] and [[ImmuneToFlinching have armor]]. One only grabs and enemy on the ground, the other only in the air, pressuring the enemy into a guessing game of whether to attack from the front or try to jump over him.
* In the doujin FightingGame ''VideoGame/EternalFighterZero'':
** Mayu Shiina has this as her fighting style, as she uses her animal-like moves to fight, and incorporates a lot of acrobatics in her moves and jump and seemingly random directions, to finally dive kick her opponent, or grab her and pound her into the ground.
** Nayuki Minase counts to a lesser extent, as she fights mostly in a sleepy state, and can increase her offense and mobility as she consumes strawberry jam.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'':
** Archer lives and breathes this trope. He prefers DualWielding ''swords'' in melee combat, rather than using the bow every other Servant expects him to rely on. His dress, weapons, and abilities do not match those of any known mythological hero, his personality is decisively non-heroic, and he has a magus-level knowledge of magical phenomenon, making it impossible to identify him. On top of this, he is shown to use multiple Noble Phantasms belonging to very different myths, in some cases even [[ExplosiveOverclocking sundering the Phantasms as part of his attacks]], normally a near-unthinkable, one-time TakingYouWithMe attack -- and no explanation as to where he acquired his Phantasms is forthcoming. Archer's preferred fighting style itself is also refined to inflict as much confusion as possible. He deliberately leaves openings in his guard so that he can control and counter where his opponents will strike, which has the added effect of making it difficult to tell if a slip up is exactly that or just a ploy. The swords that he wields he will ''[[PrecisionGuidedBoomerang throw like boomerangs]]'' at random trajectories, only to [[SpontaneousWeaponCreation pull new ones out of thin air]]. Just about all Servants have a trick or two up their sleeve, but Archer is the only one who games his every opponent from the get go. Due to this, none of the other Servants can predict him, often giving him the advantage even though his low physical stats mean he should have no ability in melee combat.
** [[spoiler:Kuzuki]] is master of an unconventional martial art that incorporates odd, hooked and snake-like movements: while this makes it less energy effective, attempting to dodge or block attacks as if they were straight punches from a "normal" style allows the user to hook back and pierce the opponents' defence, landing telling blows. Once the enemy sees through the unusual movement pattern, however, the style loses its effectiveness.
** [[spoiler:Gilgamesh, the Archer of the previous Holy Grail War, has access to a HyperspaceArsenal full of the prototypes of every hero's Noble Phantasm. Because he's a collector who's never trained in melee combat, when he chooses to go into melee he makes up for his lack of traditional skill by switching his weapons in between strikes and utilizing different magical effects in the process. This allows him to catch even [[MasterSwordsman Saber]] off-guard and force her to retreat from melee. When they have a rematch later, Saber realizes that she can only parry his weapons, since blocking would be suicidal as long as she doesn't know what the weapons' abilities are.]]
* In ''[[VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry Ougon Musou Kyou/Cross]]'' all of [[{{Meido}} Shanon's]] regular attacks look [[{{Dojikko}} accidental]], hitting opponents with anything that would be used in her typical chores: serving trays and carts, entire tea sets, carpet beaters, scrubbing brushes, and her apron.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Nemen Yi, the Chosen of Battles in ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'', fights using a unorthodox Sidereal Martial Arts style that involves MediumAwareness and BreakingTheFourthWall, literally. She jumps between panels of the comic strip, breaks off a piece of the gutter to throw at an enemy (which then pins them in place, because ''the gutter doesn't move''), tosses her opponents across panels, and uses the perspective of the comic to hit enemies out of her reach -- the RealLife equivalent of "I squish your head". It's enough to utterly baffle her Abyssal opponents, with whom she mops the floor quite handily. It doesn't hurt that, in ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', Sidereals can make themselves impossible to predict by most people.
** She also looks down towards the following panels of the comic to see what will happen in the future. Yep, Sidereals.
* Lord Sykos from ''Webcomic/TheWotch'' is particularly dangerous because, though his moves are random, each individual move is also incredibly clever and effective, showing a keen understanding of the psychology of most magicians.
* Vriska of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is armed with the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004099 Fluorite Octet]], a set of [[NumerologicalMotif eight eight-sided dice]] that "execute a wide range of highly unpredictable attacks" when rolled; the higher the roll, the more powerful and lucky the attack. It's implied this is a bit of a double-edged sword, as getting a low roll against a sufficiently powerful opponent would leave the attacker defenseless. However when she rolls the highest possible number, all 8's,(which, incidentally, has a probability of 1/8^8 of being rolled, or 1/16,777,216) she [[spoiler: channels the fighting soul of her ancestor and is able to go toe to toe with an omnipotent super being]].
** Becomes a GameBreaker once she ascends to the God Tiers, as her role as the Thief Of Light means that she is guaranteed good roles when she needs them.
** The Pop-A-Matic Vrillyhoo Hammer, which combines the Fluorite Octet with the Warhammer of Zillyhoo, does this, but on a smaller scale. Whenever you successfully bonk someone on the head with it, a list of 8 appears, and one status from that 8 is triggered.
* [[http://survivingtheworld.net/Recitation48.html This]] Webcomic/SurvivingTheWorld comic advocates this strategy for Rock-Paper-Scissors.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Superheroic teenager Random from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' gains a new set of superpowers every time he wakes up. This makes it impossible for his opponents to plan ahead when confronting him, as they never know what he's going to be capable of.
* Appears on ''WebVideo/TheGuild''. Kwan is revealed to be a champion-level gamer [[UpToEleven in Korea]]. He was defeated by [[spoiler:Mr. Wiggly]], who seemingly picked his spells at random -- including spells so unorthodox that Kwan hadn't bothered defending against them.
* CrazyAwesome Jade Sinclair (Generator) of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse seems to live this trope. Up against a mercenary in power armor? She beat him by first stabbing herself on his blade. Up against an unbeatable holographic simulation? She invented the Radioactive Condor Girl attack.
** Although plenty of Team Kimba characters have tried this move at least once. Fey, opposing The Necromancer and a host of prepared spells his minion Nightgaunt was firing at her back, opted for an uncontrolled release of wild magic that manifested as hundred of hobgoblins she had no control over.
* Mannequin from ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' has this down to a science.
* Creator/GavinFree is a ''master'' of this in various ''Creator/AchievementHunter'' videos. Granted, it usually [[HoistByHisOwnPetard works against him]], but when he pulls this off correctly, it is beautiful.
* The Nostalgia Chick in Suburban Knights does this by imitating a Lord of the Rings montage and speaking gibberish, then suddenly punching her opponent in the face.
* In ''Series/{{Noob}}'', this was the specialty of Ash, the RealMoneyTrade guy, during his time as legetimate player. [[spoiler:Spectre]] kept him close due to his lone weakness basically being DidntSeeThatComing.
* Used in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' as an argument [[spoiler:for why Deadpool wins over Deathstroke. While Deathstroke is TheStrategist and a masterful one at that, all the tactical acumen in the world can't do a thing to predict absolute insanity.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' episode "Planeteers Under Glass", Dr. Blight's evil computer MAL takes over an environmental simulation and is able to block out the protagonists' attempts to regain control. Then Wheeler steps in to confuse MAL into submission by randomly inputting commands into the terminal, [[ChekhovsGun like he did earlier in the episode]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': Crazed toymaker Quackerjack. In addition to his deadly toys, his sheer instability and unexpected acrobatics make him as much of a challenge as the other members of the [[FiveBadBand/WesternAnimation Fearsome Five]].
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' called "Harmonic Convergence" shows Bumi ravaging a whole Northern Water Tribe camp with his usual goofy antics. He decides not to tell Tenzin about it because Tenzin has always dismissed his stories earlier.
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' where Cartman thinks he died plays with this, in that Cartman actually intended to use his ghostly spookyness as the tactic. However, being that Cartman was entirely visible, what the criminals saw definitely qualifies as this trope, and were simply too weirded out to react.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'': Master Splinter, as befits someone that advises [[CombatPragmatist victory over fairness]], fights like this. He'll distract his opponent anyway he can, even if that means licking them in the face. His weapon at first appears to be a cane, but conceals a knife and tangling line. And if that doesn't work, he'll drop to all fours and fight like, well, a rat, something that catches even a master ninja off guard.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' episode "The Duelist and the Drifter" RascallyRabbit and TricksterMentor the Drifter befuddles opponents with his DanceBattler brand of NotQuiteFlight {{Nonchalant Dodg|e}}ing that involves drifting on currents of wind like a leaf, and also employs {{Brandishment Bluff}}s, heavily exploiting the reflexive movements of those who attack him.
* In ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' Spider-Man and White Tiger use this to beat Taskmaster who can quickly copy their moves. They do this by switching weapons and turning the lights off. Just like the Comic Books example above, Taskmaster has an OhCrap moment when he hears Spider Man brought along Deadpool to capture him. Deadpool humiliates Taskmaster by dancing all over him.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In the rare cases Pinkie Pie is actually drawn into a fight, you can bet her style is going to be very unpredictable.
** Against the changeling army in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E26ACanterlotWeddingPart2 A Canterlot Wedding Part 2]]", she begins by excitably urging a foe to take her own form ("Do me! Do me!"), then start [[EquippableAlly using Twilight Sparkle as a magical machine-gun]], and finally pulls out the party cannon to blast changelings.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E9SliceOfLife Slice of Life]]", this the most likely explanation as to why Pinkie Pie is seen on a unicycle spinning plates on sticks at one point during the fight against the bugbear -- she must be trying to confuse the monster. The scene is too short to tell whether it's working or not, though the bugbear does give her a stare.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Creator/BruceLee was in fact a huge advocate of this trope:
-->Become unpredictable, strike from your subconscious mind, let your moves flow out from your individual essence. Even the most masterful opponent will fall from a strike that has no history or reference, the moves created from your own individual unique essence may surprise even you.
* [[Literature/TheArtOfWar Sun Tzu]] was a proponent of this, though he referred to "orthodox strategies" and "unorthodox strategies"; in fact, he said that implementing orthodox strategies at unexpected times was an unorthodox strategy in and of itself.
* The Karate school [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genseiryu Genseiryu]] is a more controlled version of Confusion Fu; while it doesn't employ the outright random attacks of many examples on this page, the style is founded on the idea of the practitioner gaining the advantage over his opponent by making his movements and attacks difficult for his opponent to read or predict.
* DrunkenBoxing runs on this -- it's meant to be hard to predict, using flowing movements that emulate a drunken stagger.
* This is a standard tool in military tactics, particularly for convoys. Rather than have one secure route, it is far better to have several slightly-less-secure routes and choose between them at random. That way, even if one route is compromised, the odds are against it being the one that you are using. Convoys escorting high-profile people, such as the President of the United States, use a similar strategy with their vehicles as well as their routes - have several identical vehicles and move them around at random.
* In UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the Soviet Air Force did this with their formations of fighters in that they would fly in a disorganized mob moving in the general direction of where they were going, By doing this, they were able to prevent the generally superior Luftwaffe from getting the drop on them.
* Some people with knowledge on how to misdirect human attention -- mentalists, illusionists, pickpockets, etc. -- have been known to apply said knowledge when cornered into a fight.
* [[http://31.media.tumblr.com/204a37f970f2fd31967aa29088c11a89/tumblr_mhn739RLSE1ql2603o1_250.gif Confusion Fu in a nutshell.]]
* At the onset of the [[UsefulNotes/TheArabSpring The Libyan Civil War]] when the protest was showing signs of becoming an insurgency, the Libyan Armed Forces made sound, strategic calculations on what assets to protect and where the rebels were likely to be operating. Unfortunately for them, the [[http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/02/the-gun-smugglers-lament-libya-zawiya-osama-kubbar-qatar-weapons-arms-proxy/ rebels were a disorganized, chaotic mess]] attacking targets that made no sense to attack and just being generally unpredictable. This ended up working to their advantage, preventing the armed forces from predicting their movements and crushing them long enough for the rebellion to gain momentum.