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Counterpart Combat Coordination
Red Ranger: It's finally arrived! A showdown versus the Psycho Rangers! Let's get em, guys!
Green Ranger: Ow! Dude!
Red Ranger: Oh, sorry Green, I was aiming for Psycho Green. Wait, why's Psycho Yellow punching himself in the face? Alright, time out, all 10 of us!note 

This is when a team of characters, generally Color-Coded for Your Convenience, faces off against their counterparts, and specifically plans for or around any possible confusion that could arise by the matching schemes and themes. As with the Psycho Rangers page, confusion could be invoked by one side by an Opponent Switch.

Maybe it's to help each other understand what's going on. Maybe It's Personal, or to stop a case of The Only One Allowed to Defeat You. If this shouldn't be possible due to the characters looking nothing like each other, this is meant to invoke a bit of Rule of Funny.

Designated Girl Fight is a related trope. May lead to Fearful Symmetry.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In the second season of The Nineties Sailor Moon, when the Sailor senshi face the Ayakashi sisters. Every senshi fights the sister who has similar powers and serves as her Evil Counterpart: Koan uses Dark fire against Mars, Bertier uses Dark water against Mercury, Calaveras uses Dark whip/chain against Venus and Petz utilizes Dark thunder against Jupiter.
  • Many fights in One Piece function along these lines, to the point where once combatants on both sides are known, it can be predicted who will have each fight. Most crews fought by the protagonists, for example, seem to have a clear (physical fighter) leader, a Knife Nut, and another physical fighter, to match up with Captain Luffy, swordsman Zoro and kicking guy Sanji. The Blackbeard Pirates are expected to have this kind of fight with the Straw Hats, thanks to the number of analogues. Though lately, Oda has been switching up the formula to keep it from getting too stale or predictable.

Comics
  • Superman and Batman do this so often, they'll occasionally switch just to throw their opponents off. Batman being The Chessmaster, he refers to it as castling.

Live-Action TV
  • This pops up from time to time in Super Sentai / Power Rangers whenever there's a squad of Psycho Rangers.
    • In the "Gangsta Crizzab" episode, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers are beaten by their counterparts in a straight up fight. Instead of trying any confusion, they have to go back and get empowered weapons from Zordon, which pretty much breaks their rule of "don't escalate fights when you don't have to". The parody lampshades this with quotes like "It's time for some Black on Black crime!"
    • The Trope Namer Psycho Rangers knew the moves of their respective Space Rangers inside and out, and by learning their voices, switched back the first time they tried an opponent switch. Then Blue Ranger T.J. comes up with the idea of making everyone blue, and to make sure it works, having the Silver Ranger dress up as "Psycho Silver", to make the Psycho Rangers even more confused. It works, and the Psychos eventually resort to attacking each other to make sure they are the only ones who can beat their counterparts. For the rest of this run of the Psycho Rangers, coordination wasn't needed again as the rangers could go 2-on-1 from this point forward.
      • ...And then they went right back to it both times the Psychos were revived. When it happened on Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, it resulted in two teams of Rangers going against the Psychos. The Black Space and Green Galaxy rangers, being the only color that changed regularly between seasons, went against the Black Psycho Ranger. The Magna Defendernote , not having anyone to fight, stood around like a chump until he could fight the person who summoned the Psycho Rangers.
    • Played with when the Dino Thunder and Ninja Storm Rangers played Let's You and Him Fight, as the expected color-coding was averted. Yeah, the two Red Rangers fought each other, but the other two fights were a Yellow vs a Blue, being based on gender instead of color (Yellow Dino Ranger vs Blue Ninja Ranger was the Designated Girl Fight, Blue Dino vs Yellow Ninja was between guys).
    • However, colors rather than genders set the matchup when Power Rangers S.P.D. did a ranger-on-ranger fight. Rather than switching, they win by simply having greater experience by this point, as the battle happens in the penultimate episode of the season.
  • In the Chuck episode Chuck Versus The Frosted Tips, a version of this takes places when Chuck, Sarah and Casey confront Gertrude, Morgan and one of her goons. Gertrude and Sarah fight in a Designated Girl Fight, Chuck tries to talk Morgan, his best friend back from his recent insanity and Casey is left beating up the other henchman.
  • One of the highlights for Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Superhero Taisen are the battles between the eponymous heroes that are arranged in such ways. For example, Blade vs. JAKQ (Card-themed), Kabuto vs. Red Buster (Super Speed), and so forth. And naturally, Decade vs. Gokai Red, being the lead characters of Reunion Show seasons who can use the powers of their predecessors.

Video Games

Web Comics
  • In The Order of the Stick, the protagonists face off against their evil counterparts in the Linear Guild: Roy vs Thog, Elan vs Nale, Haley vs Sabine, Vaarsuvius vs Zz'dtri, and Belkar vs. Yikyik.

Web Original
  • In "Ayla and the Great Shoulder angel conspiracy" in the Whateley Universe, Team Kimba is trapped in a holographic simulation against members of the New Olympians best suited to beating them, until Phase sicks Generator on the foe who has completely stopped Flying Brick Lancer, Phase (with the trickiest power set to make work right) takes the power mimic, and sends Bladedancer after the inventor (who has weapons specifically designed to stop Phase).

Western Animation
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, three tattooed, adult male criminals (one of them black) dress up as the girls, and fool everyone but Miss Bellum, including the girls themselves. Both teams wind up attacking each other during the fight, despite everything listed above, and the girls flying, until they agree to attack their counterparts only.
    • Averted for most of the fight with the Rowdyruff Boys. Both sides simply go berserk on the nearest enemy.
  • In Justice League, the original Justice Lords episode had the teams fight their counterparts, more or less. The Flash fought Lord!Superman as the other Flash died causing the lords to form. Superman was off getting permanent help (from his personal nemesis, naturally). Batman and Lord!Batman had a one-one one fight earlier on.
    • In the later episode Divided We Fall, this was yet again the standard, with "Brainthor/Luthoriac" constructs designed to resemble the Lords. As it turns out, Flash, Batman and J'onn beat their counterparts pretty much instantly. Superman and Wonder Woman have to trade partners because Superman can't kill his ownnote , while Green Lantern John Stewart and Shayera swap and rather transparently let loose some old frustration. Of course, we can never be too sure if J'onn beat his clone, because they both shapeshifted into the same thing.
  • Teen Titans does it too, with switching opponents being the solution.
  • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the League faces off against their alternate universe counterparts, twice in some cases. Not all of them had counterparts on both sides, so the ones without them were incapacitated in some way to allow for this fight style.

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