Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Nicodemus: I take it that this is the portion of the conversation where I reveal my plans to you? Harry: What have you got to lose? Nicodemus: And apparently you expect me to tell you of any vulnerabilities I might have as well. I am wounded by the lack of professional respect that implies. Harry: Chicken.
Ozymandias: "Do it?" Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
Villains who are chessmasters in The DCU and Marvel Universe can often have a good amount of overlap here, depending on the writer. For example, Incredible Hulk villain The Leader set a bomb to destroy a town at midnight. The Hulk managed to located said bomb and defeat the mooks guarding it with over two hours to spare - at which point The Leader revealed he also had a remote detonator, and blew the town sky-high.
During Grant Morrison's run on JLA, issues eight and nine had the villain "The Key" put the entire JLA into a Virtual Reality set up which he counted on them overcoming - at which point he'd use the energy of their victory to obtain Ultimate Power. He was stopped by a boxing glove arrow from Green Arrow's kid.
In the big movie, "The New Frontier" during Flash's introduction the villain distracts him during the escape by revealing that there are nine bombs hidden throughout the city. Barry runs around and finds eight of them only figuring out at the last second that there are only eight bombs. He throws them into the villain's blimp just as they go off.
Marvel Comics supervillain The Hood has demonstrated a great deal of savvy as he organized his Legion of Doom. Notably, he has realized that being defeated once does not mean you can't come back again and try again. He also realizes that villains usually fail because of impractical plans. Without a nemesis hero to have a vendetta against, he comes up with plans that have maximum profit.
Another Marvel baddie, Sidewinder, after spending his original years as a typical Genre BlindCard-Carrying Villain, came up with the then-remarkable idea of a criminal group organized like a business; if any of his Serpent Society are caught by authorities, he used his teleportation powers to free them in exchange for a cut of their loot. The Society even acted as a placement service, putting its members in touch with anonymous clients for special jobs. For an unusually long time in the 1980s, Captain America was running ragged trying to stop them and while their schemes were often foiled, they always got away. The only downside was that you had to have a snake theme to join. Why this sweetheart deal didn't lead to mass renamings and costume alterations toward the scaly side in the Marvel Universe is a mystery.
Poor Ted Kord (Blue Beetle II). In "Countdown to Infinite Crisis", he discovers the villain is actually Max Lord, his old boss in the Justice League, confronts him, refuses to join him, and is immediately shot in the head.
In Animal Man, the Psycho Pirate is so Genre Savvy, he actually has Medium Awareness (because he was the only one to remember the true events of Crisis on Infinite Earths). As such he's refused to sleep, knowing that he could at any moment be taken out of continuity. When the remnants of the Infinite Earths start to be restored by his existence (which he wants to happen), he realizes that it would be a bad idea if the insane Ultraman was restored.
When he first showed up Bane had a novel approach to taking out Batman; rather than an overly complex plan full of hostages and deathtraps, just orchestrate a mass jailbreak at Arkham. The villains wore Bats down enough for Bane to move in for the kill. At this point he gets Genre Blind, choosing instead to just break Batman's back, which, since this is a Dark Age comic (or, depending on who you ask, a Deconstruction of one), paves the way for a Darker and Edgier replacement Bats. Admittedly, the back-breaking would've been permanent if Robin's father's doctor hadn't been one of the few people in the world who could easily fix Batman's back, without resorting to the greater superhero community.
Another Batman villain, Black Mask, during his run as Gotham Crime Boss, portrayed some truly impressive genre savviness, using Batman's own plan against him and ended up wresting control of Gotham's organized crime during War Games, before anyone knew that he was still alive. He also got some killer lines because of it:
[When asked if Red Hood is crazy for offering to sell back their kryptonite for $50,000,000] Black Mask: No. The crazy ones would make a suit out of the rock and march into Metropolis and play king of the mountain. This one knows what he's doing.
Unfortunately for Black Mask, his Genre Savvy failed to save him from Catwoman. He predicted that as a hero, she wouldn't kill him despite the fact that he was trying to ruin her life and brutally kill her friends. He was wrong.
One Nodwick strip involves the title character attempting a plea-bargain with a Dangerously Genre Savvy Evil Overlord over the fact that she had conquered them "without rumors, signs and portents or escaped prisoners" as forewarning for them to find and stop her beforehand.
In Neil Gaiman's Black Orchid miniseries, the eponymous heroine is captured by a villain early in the story who comments how, having seen all the James Bond films, he's not going to lock her up in the basement or set up some elaborate deathtrap and leave her alone. Instead, he's just going to kill her. Then he does. Then, reasoning that a bullet might not kill a superhero, he sets her corpse on fire. And blows up the room. The last bit works.
Part of the reason why Lex Luthor, despite having no superpowers, is still Superman's worst enemy — he knows that in all his previous acts of villainy, Plausible Deniability was the only thing that has always saved him from getting outed publicly as a supervillain, and he knows that since all his power is because he's the Corrupt Corporate Executive head of an enormously powerful Mega Corp., he can't engage in any supervillain cliches that would cause people to realize he's a supervillain. Therefore, he never risks his image on one attempt to take over the world without a back-up excuse, so when he (inevitably) fails, Superman can't touch him, as no one can prove his guilt in court.
Megatron becomes quite Dangerously Genre Savvy in the Transformers comics. At this point Megatron has just been upgraded into a near unstoppable new body, but instead of doing something stupid like going for an all out assault on the Autobots he sets up a complicated and downright brilliant plan that allows him to take control over the minds of humans possessing devastating weapons supplied by the Decepticons, knowing full well Optimus would never even consider harming a human civilian. He later reveals that he's not doing this kill the Autobots, but to emotionally and mentally destroy them. He also waits to remove Starscream from power, kill Rodimus Prime, and blast the Matrix of Leadership into space so that nothing is left to stop him before starting up this plan.
Cobra Commander usually starts out the usual Genre Blind, incompetent villian we all know and love in many G.I. Joe comics. However we soon find out he's more than capable of learning from his mistakes. When he does, everyone ends up realizing just how dangerous a lunatic like Cobra Commander can really be.
In order to come back, he needed to chose a future host for his reincarnation by putting his Mark of the Beast on her; when he had to do it, he chose Shimy, the current Elementary Elf, and put his mark on her during the ceremony that gave her her elementary powers. Elementary Elves aren't allowed to relate what happened during said ceremony, so Shimy couldn't tell anyone what happened, her mark was assumed to have been left by the Elemental Spirits, and as a result his intervention went unnoticed;
Moreover, he expected people to try to stop him when the time would come, so he didn't just put his mark on her, but also on an item she was wearing; later, Shimy offered said item to her friend Danael; when the Five-Man Band succeeded in putting Shimy in a safe place while retaining him, Danael, having the idem on him, was technically wearing the mark, allowing Anathos to possess him as his plan B.
Later, when the heroes attempt to pull out a plan to ambush him, he anticipates it, including the fact this was all a diversion.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): The Nightmares were previously beaten by the combined power of the Elements of Harmony. To make sure this doesn't happen again, the first thing the Nightmares do is kidnap Rarity, then make her their new queen to make absolutely sure they can't be beaten the same way. Nightmare Rarity almost immediately tries to turn the Mane 5 against Luna, and when that fails has them captured and imprisoned in separate, magic-nullifying cells. She also stopped Spike's rescue attempt before he even had a chance to implement it.
Crazy AI Two is this in spades: before revealing himself for the first time he manipulates The Hero in shutting down One (AKA the only entity on Earth able to stop him). In his third appearance he gains control of an army of alien invaders, but is provident enough to create a backup plan to save himself if his attack doesn't work. His last appearance shows that he programmed his auditory sensors to not hear his creator's vocal password, something that would delete him.
Morgan Fairfax separates and disguises the two keys necessary to stop his Doomsday Device (while keeping them close enough if he needs them) and even if someone manages to find the keys he will still need a code to shut it down. On another occasion he refuses the Just Between You and Me scenery and simply try to kill Paperinik.
Darkseid managed this in The Return of Bruce Wayne. Batman has been hurled back to prehistoric times, and has amnesia to boot. Nevertheless, the readers all know Bruce will still make it home somehow, because he's Batman. As it turns out, that inevitability is exactly what Darkseid was counting on - he'd turned Batman into a bomb, so that when he made it back to his own time, all existence would be destroyed.
Sabretooth in the Ultimate Marvel continuity realises that Weapon X and government scientists have simply been overthinking the problem of killing Wolverine, with all their poisons, adamantium bullets and sci-fi weaponry. He decides to simply hold Wolverine's head under water with his superior strength, as Wolverine still needs to breathe even with a healing factor. Even if Wolverine survives the drowning, he'll be severely incapacitated (possibly even permanently) by brain damage from lack of oxygen. Unfortunately for him, Wolverine shows his own skill at this trope by employing a simple Groin Attack... with his famous claws that can cut anything. Even Sabretooth can't shrug off that kind of pain.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal manga series, Kaito had his ace stolen in a Duel....and then he revealed that he has prepared for that, by summoning a monster that can destroy his own ace. All because he KNEW such thing will eventually happen, due to his overuse of said ace.
The SI from Sleeping with the Girls is very much this, probably because he has watched all of the anime and read the manga of the universes he lands in, and so knows the tropes that guide them.
NewChaos from The Open Door shows touches of this. For just one example, they are aware that there are universes with even Bigger Sticks out there, as well as ones which near their level and can make up the differences with Reserves, and try to tread lightly around these.
Ruki: He's got a point. It's about time an evil Digimon came out with this idea.
Takato: Ruki, you're NOT HELPING!
Despite his unstable psyche, Daemon also proves to be rather savvy. He sends his troops out to retrieve Takato to avoid any risk to himself, and when they fail, he stops beating around the bush and sends his most overwhelmingly powerful weapon (himself) to annihilate the Tamers.
Part of the reason Imperfect Metamorphosis is composed of an increasingly elaborate series of Gambit Pileups is that nearly every faction is well aware of how things work in Gensoukyou, and do everything they can to counter any opposition (and counter their counters, et cetera). Unfortunately, the Genre Blindness of Team 9 repeatedly screws things over, and the one time everyone's Genre Savvy fails them (predicting Rin Satsuki is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds despite her still not wanting to hurt anyone) it causes no end of grief.
Inner Demons: Even though she believes herself to have already killed the other Element bearers by locking them inside a burning building, the first thing Queen!Twilight Sparkle does after setting herself up as Equestria's new Evil Overlord is to dispatch one of her chief lieutenants and a platoon of Elite Mooks to Ponyville to confirm whether or not they're dead.
Jade, due to having once been a hero herself, knows all the tricks of the trade and is using them to her advantage. For starters, she's avoiding World Domination plots and focusing on personal gain, since she knows overreaching is what led to past Big Bads being made Sealed Evil in a Can. When she punished Valmont for his betrayal and realized she'd done so in such a way that the heroes could capture and interrogate him, she immediately cleared out her lair before he could lead them to her though she made the mistake of leaving Daolon Wong behind to be captured.. And then there's the Batman Gambit that was Operation Steel Lightning, which ONLY failed because of Agent Wisker's unforeseen interference. And even then, she managed to get info on the tablet locations.
After being weakened by her encounter with Lung, Jade decides to put the hunt for the masks on the back burner until she finds the remaining Teachings tablets and uses them to restore herself and gain power, and a better position to bargain with the Generals. But she's still sending her minions after the masks anyway, to keep the heroes distracted in a Xanatos Gambit; if she gets the mask, that's good, but even if they lose, they keep the heroes busy long enough to find the tablets.
There's also the Tailor-Made Prison for any heroes they catch, designed so that they literally can't move. It's commented that Jade's not taking any chances of escape in the design.
Also, after seeing the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder afflicted Shendu betray his allies in the past, the Enforcers know not to trust him as far as they can throw him with the Ox Talisman, and shoot down his offer of employment when attempting to steal the Talismans.
When in the Vault of Endless Night, Ratso and Chow fall into a monster-filled pit. Jade isn't worried, lampshading how the Enforcers have a Joker Immunity by saying that they have a knack for living.
She also realizes that she's about to tempt fate by saying that she's about to win and stops herself (but the guardian is still released after she takes the tablet).
She has also taken measures against having her vulnerability to onions being used against her, using her eye-covering bandanna to protect her eyes, and wearing a similar one over her mouth after Viper throws part of an onion down her throat.
Finn shows shades of this as well, as when he's using Kuro's mask to fight the heroes, he hangs back and uses the Squid Khan to wear the heroes down without having to risk himself. Earlier, when Viper was trapped in the aforementioned prison, he ordered Right to watch her constantly, making a James Bond reference as he does so.
In Kage, Jade is as Genre Savvy as ever. Firstly, she is smart enough to give a fake name to Miranda and Nerissa in an attempt to leave them with little information about her in the event of a double-cross. She also manages to (apparently) fool them by saying she was tired from her previous battle after they see her instinctively escape into a shadow to avoid getting crushed by a rockfall, and they raise the question of why she didn't escape on her own. A few chapters further into the story, when Nerissa doesn't get mad at the Knights for failing to beat the Guardians, she realizes immediately that Nerissa is letting them off easy for some reason.
Alexander Sovereign from Ben 10 Fanfic Hero High: Earth Style and even more so in Sphinx Academy. Due to having no emotions he is never blindsided and cannot suffer Villain Decay, all the information that the team got on him he personally leaked, and took many situations into account to where he was even aware that the people against him would consider using a nuke to kill him even if would take 400,000 innocent people with him.
The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Doomsday Ascending has Ascentia Kortai, who carries no ignorance to the scope of her power simply by virtue of being an Original Character, when an Original Character villain shows up she immediately removes any and all canon characters from the vicinity where they might become horribly destroyed, and seems to understand Mary Sue cliches and uses them to her advantage. She also frequently disregards the attempts by the Princesses to flex their authority; she even treats them as equals when she meets them.
A Future of Friendship, A History of Hate: When Ruinate abducts the Mane Six in Episode 2, he intentionally leaves Twilight behind, because he figures if they're all together, there'd be too much of a chance that they might be able to get loose and use the Elements of Harmony on him. Then, after explaining to his captives how he plans on using their lifeforces to immunize himself to the Elements, he begins right away while Twilight is still passing through his challenges to try and reach them. And by the end of the chapter, even when they do manage to use the unlocked Elements on him, it turns out the whole reason he empowered his heralds in the first place was so that the Elements of Hatred would keep him from being re-banished, allowing him to escape.
Friendship Is Optimal: The artificial intelligence Celest-A.I., who is not only aware of how humanity would expect an evil A.I. to act and deliberately avoids this, but also knows how those trying to stop her would react and takes precautions against them, such as moving her servers deep within Earth's crust where they can't be attacked, and convincing the one person who can force her to shut down to emigrate to her virtual world.
Downplayed in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series - when Calvin and company find the Lightning Man, he shows a rather disturbing knowledge of them, something that they find disturbing. This is negated when it's revealed that he just got the information from the Brainstorms over Christmas dinner, which the heroes call him out on.
Mr. Cosmo from ''Sinful Behaviors'' has traits of this. He is aware of the power of the magic chalk and how Rudy stands some chance of beating him, so he makes sure to trap Rudy in his hideout in the real world were, even if Rudy has magic chalk, it's useless to him.
Another example is when he put something sharp under the door to Snap's cell so that the zoner is unable to use his 2D powers to get out.
At one point, Mr. Cosmo separates Rudy, Penny, Snap, and Skrawl. Mr. Cosmo does not assume that Penny won't be able to find help, so he immediately has her taken to Draow's room to try to have her killed.
Apparently, taking Jen's blood in the previous story gave Voldemort common sense. In Black Princess Ascendant, he walks to the Potter house (while he can't find it anymore, he did visit it under a previous Fidelius which lets him know where the house should be), casts every anti-transportation ward he can, then launches fiendfyre directly at where the house should be. He acknowledges that the Potters might still escape but that even if they do, they'll know that he's not fucking around this time.
Beelzebub from Sonic X: Dark Chaos. In episode 67, he lures Cosmo into coming alone to his lair. And then when Chris shows up, he kidnaps him too and basically brags to the Blue Typhoon that he has their friends in his grasp. Why did he do all of it? He wanted to study Tails's Shroud infection, and Beelzebub knew that Tails loved Cosmo and would do anything to protect her even if it meant facing a Demon leader alone. He wanted to make Tails angry on purpose to study the effects. And just in case anything went wrong, he installed a self-destruct mechanism and escape pod in his room.
Maledict himself stops screwing around by the end of the story. After capturing the Metarex leaders and Tsali, he lures Sonic and the rest of the Metarex to an area completely covered with artificial anti-Warp fields. And just in case they try anything funny, he holds the entire galaxy hostage in exchange for the Chaos Emeralds with the Galaxy Crusher - which is positioned outside the Milky Way to prevent any attacks. Only the intervention of his aide Firmus D'Arnazhee and a Big Damn Heroes attack by an Angel fleet saves the galaxy from annihilation.
Ganondorf in Tangled In Time, he doesn't kill Link as an infant because Link would be reborn and raises him as his son so Link would be too attached to fight him. Notably, Ganondorf makes sure that Link doesn't know to how use weaponry and it pays off when Link is forcibly time-traveled and aged into a teenager and barely knows how to fight with a sword.
This is the reason why in Bungle in the Jungle: A Harry Potter Adventure only amateurs and idiots use fire on any Inferi being used to guard something. Since they're kept in one location, all kinds of traps can be set to go off if someone uses a fire spell. According to Bill, one of the more common ones is to fill the area with a flammable gas or liquid to incinerate any intruders.
In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Stargate crossover Zeppo: Halo, Angelus is far more cunning than his canon counterpart. Rather than immediately announce his return, he along with Spike, Drusilla, and over 30 vampires try to kill Jenny first since she's the only one who might now how to re-ensoul him. Likewise he makes a point to act exactly the same as Angel around Buffy so she doesn't realize he's changed.
The villains in Power Rangers GPX tend to be this, given that the Rangers themselves are Genre Savvy, but the Big Bad of the "sequel", the Elf Commander Ragnar, is this story's Crowning Example. First, he refuses a Duels Decide Everything and Combat by Champion situation with the Red Ranger. Second, he recognizes the threat the Rangers can be and takes them seriously. Third, he recognizes the Queen can thwart his plans, so he not only manipulates her, but takes over the military, just in case. Fourth, he sets up a barrier surrounding the Rangers' city to prevent reinforcements and finally cripples an unmorphed Ranger so he can't deactivate that shield. Then there's also taking advantage of the Rangers' unwillingness to kill monsters.
In The Rise Of Darth Vulcan, arguably the most dangerous thing about the titular Villain Protagonist isn't his vast magical power or his ruthless, cynical personality. It's the fact that he's read both the Evil Overlord List and the Laws of Power (among other such Genre Savvy guides) and is more than capable of putting such information to tactical use; outside his first couple of encounters with the Mane Six, and getting captured after being knocked out in battle (which hardly reflects on him, given the circumstances), he's been able to stay ahead of, and even manipulate, his enemies throughout the fic. Even when he is captured, he just takes advantage of the situation to drive a wedge between Celestia and Luna before finally escaping, after which he relocates his forces to a new lair, and sets up a series of bolt holes for groups of them to escape to in case of attack, with only him knowing where all of them are, just in case.
In Sean Bean Saves Westeros, the "real life"Sean Bean is transported into the land of Westeros of A Song of Ice and Fire. Sean has read all (season-one-current) books in the series. That gives him a huge edge in surviving the political machinations of Westeros. In addition, his study of British history and lifetime as an actor come in handy. Now living as Ned Stark, not just playing him on TV, Sean Bean needs every advantage he can get.
Voldemort in the one-shot How to Win Friends and Take Over the World. Instead of killing Lily, he upholds his promise to Severus and simply stuns her (negating the trap she laid) and uses a curse that suffocates Harry instead of the Killing Curse (thinking a quick painless death was too good for him).
Films — Animated
Syndrome from The Incredibles doesn't automatically assume No One Could Survive That when Mr Incredible falls off the cliff into a waterfall. He throws a grenade after him to make sure. And then sends down some weird scanning drone. Doesn't work, but full marks for effort. If he was fully Genre Savvy, he would have then killed his secretary after practically letting her die. And not worn a cape, and realized the problem with his plan to have his hyper-intelligent, self-aware, learning killer robot roll over in defeat for him. In short, Syndrome is very Dangerously Genre Savvy, but he's also arrogant and overly theatrical, and sometimes these two traits will overrule his common sense and make him do something purely for the spectacle and/or ego boost. This leads directly to his downfall.
One of his mooks was actually decently Genre Savvy as well. The one hunting Violet used dirt to find her hiding in water, and was stopped from shooting her dead only when Dash intervened. The rest of them though...
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: After indulging in typical Nothing Can Stop Us NowEvil Gloating, the Wicked Queen suddenly stops mid-Evil Laugh to ponder, "But wait!" pause "There may be an antidote! Nothing must be overlooked!" Unfortunately that's as far as her savvy goes, because she scoffs at the notion that her Show White could actually be revived by true love's first kiss. She says out loud that the dwarfs will think Snow White is dead, and will bury her alive. (In some written versions her remarks are less family-friendly, reasoning that the fairest girl in the land must have had her first kiss, and more, a long time ago.)
In The Great Mouse Detective, when Ratigan learns that Basil is on the case, he realizes that it is inevitable that the great detective will track him to his lair. So he sets a trap for him there. And, because he's such a Magnificent Bastard, he also sets up a decoy trap in the bar that fronts his hideout so that Basil will easily avoid it and be lulled into a false sense of security. Too bad he then proceeds to blow it by not just having his pet cat eat him. Bonus points for realizing that crushing Basil's self-esteem and sending him into a Heroic BSOD was the most effective tactic to try.
Disney's Cinderella has Lady Tremaine. When she realized that Cinderella is the girl that the Prince has fallen in love with, she locked Cinderella up in the tower where no one could hear her cries and kept the key on hand. When that failed (thanks to Cinderella's mice friends), she tripped the footman carrying the glass slipper so Cinderella wouldn't have proof she was the right girl. That backfired when Cinderella reveals she carried the other half of the pair of slippers.
Sykes from Oliver & Company was also shown at one point to be of this trope. At one point, Oliver's friends arrived to rescue Jenny from Sykes, and attempted to infiltrate his base by disguising themselves as a Pizza Delivery. Sykes deduces that the guy wasn't actually a Pizza Delivery person because he doesn't recall ever ordering pizza that day, and arms himself with a gun.
Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent and her raven are made of this. The raven figures out that Aurora was hiding in a forest cottage after seeing the fairies' streams of magic, knowing that if the good fairies are there, so is Aurora. Maleficent has Aurora fall into her trap while the fairies are leaving her alone, then captures Prince Phillip and chains him because he's the only one to break the spell. Also the story implies fairies are powerless without their wands, so she turns to a dragon which nearly kills him, something that doesn't even have a need a wand to begin with. If not for Supernatural Aid in effect, she would've won. If you look closely after the prince plunges that sword into her chest, you'll see her lunging at him with her jaws wide open, implying that she was intending to kill him as she died. That's right, even in death, she's Genre Savvy!
"You're lying. He's not a slave and you're not traders. Look at the way he stands. He doesn't carry himself like a slave. Probably ex-military. Akrennians always threaten before asking a favor, it's tradition. And your robes are made out of bedspreads!"
Prince John from Robin Hood has a surprising moment of being Dangerously Genre Savvy. Earlier, he and his men failed to see through Robin and Little John's gypsy costumes. So when Prince John stages an archery tournament, he is more perceptive, seeing through Robin's stork disguise (which is actually pretty convincing) and sets a trap for Robin once his guard is down. Although, possibly he didn't so much see through the disguise as reason that only Robin Hood could have shot the way the stork did.
In My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks, The Dazzlings are all over this. They were smart enough to go after the human Luna and Celestia before they can stop their plan, and after the Rainboom's failed attempt to stop the Dazzlings early in the film, Adagio figures out they have magic and manages to manipulate them into arguing with each other after manipulating Trixie into trapping them so she and her cronies can feed on their magic, making it a Near Villain Victory.
SunsetShimmer from the first filmtries to be this, but only really manages to do so as part of the backstory (explained in detail in the comics).
Frozen gives us Hans, a villain savvy enough to even fake Love at First Sight, do a romantic duet with the heroine, stand up to the oily Duke of Wessleton to look like the good guy, and come off overall as an entirely reasonable young prince. He only slips up when Anna thinks she can get True Love's Kiss from him to save her from a curse and he decides to explain how that won't work since he was just using her and leaves her to die.The Reveal of all this is as chilling as the movie's title, because this villain made sure no one saw it coming…except perhaps fans who were expecting the plot twist where the true villain is never obvious.
Mother Gothel from Tangled has the foresight to know that she'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar with Rapunzel. Rather than being a cold stepmother figure to her and giving her motive to run away, she instead impersonates Rapunzel's birth mother and uses her love as emotional blackmail to keep Rapunzel in the tower forever. Gothel also gets points for realizing that Rapunzel is missing from the tower after seeing a riderless horse nearby. She ultimately fails the test, however, when she underestimates Flynn's love for Rapunzel and inadvertently allows him to cut off all her hair, killing Gothel in the process.
Films — Live-Action
The killers in the Scream series, who murder people using the horror genre tropes and cliches.
Serendipity: How? That's the only thing I couldn't figure out. Azrael: Oh no, I've seen way too many Bond movies to know that you never reveal all the details of your plan, no matter how close you may think you are to winning.
During the heist on one of the mobs' banks, he does not tell the goons he hires that they're robbing the mafia, sets them up to kill each other with the promise of a bigger share of the money and disguises himself as one of them in order to make sure that he's the only one left among the robbers.
He offers to help the increasingly desperate mafia in dealing with Harvey Dent's aggressive and successful campaign to remove Gotham's criminal elements, while wearing explosives strapped inside his coat in case they decided to decline and just kill him right there (he did rob one of their banks earlier, after all). After getting rewarded for completing said task, he promptly burns his share of the money and removes them from play when they're at their weakest.
After kidnapping both Harvey Dent and Rachel, he has them placed in two separate locations rigged with bombs set to explode on a time limit short enough that only one of them can be rescued. To make the choice even more sadistic, the locations are mixed up, meaning if they went after Harvey, they'll find Rachel and vice-versa.
Pays the emotionally devastated Harvey Dent a visit at the hospital, convinces him that society is to blame for Rachel's death and sets him loose to enact vengance upon the corrupt officials responsible for allowing the kidnapping to happen. This solidifies Harvey's change into Two-Face, irreversibly ruining his reputation as Gotham's white knight.
He even knowingly subverts the Gang of Hats trope. The Joker's Mooks have been committing crimes in cheap rubber clown masks, so for the climactic finale at the construction site his men (nearly) fool Batman and the GCPD by simply wearing street clothes and pretending they'reBound and Gagged, while the hostages are the ones in clown masks and - even though they're also bound and gagged - have guns taped to their hands so they appear threatening!
In the 3rd film, The Dark Knight Rises, Talia ensures there are no loose ends when detonating the nuclear bomb. She attempts to trigger the bomb before the timer hits, refuses to drive towards the fusion reactor location, and activates the flooding of the reactor to ensure the heroes never succeed in stopping the bomb.
Bane is also this for almost the entire movie, with only one major slip-up, though he certainly learned from it in the end, deciding to defy her request and kill Batman realizing he's too dangerous to be left alive. Only Catwoman's timely arrival saves him.
Budd from Kill Bill, as he's the only one who chooses to outright shoot Beatrix rather than engaging in a bladefight first. However this also means that Elle poisons him with a Black Mamba serpent for it.
Benedict uses his new-found knowledge of tropes to his advantage in a climactic scene, by leaving one chamber in his gun empty to convince Jack Slater that he forgot to reload.
Slater pre-emptively shooting his cupboard. "How'd you know someone was in there?"
Idiot Balled by Danny when he decides to give a failed speech about talking too much instead of shooting when you have the chance, because what usually ends up happening is that in the time it takes for the bad guy to finish a long-winded sentence gloating about his victor- You're no genius yourself, kid. Ironic in that Danny should be the only one in-in-universeGenre Savvy enough to not fall for this.
Zig-zagged by Danny, who knows his movie tropes and repeatedly points them out when sucked into a movie, allowing him to break the plot a few times. However, he believes himself to be an action star. This leads him to conclude that he can safely play chicken against the villain when the villain is in a car and he is on a bicycle. He then realizes he is a comedy sidekick and swiftly abandons his plan - and of course, Hilarity Ensues but he is otherwise unharmed.
The Fallen, from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Upon learning of the living prime (Optimus), the only one who can kill him, he refuses to leave his lair until Prime is eliminated, sends his three best Decepticons to accomplish said feat, waits for them to succeed and puts his plan into motion. Later, when Prime is revived, he immediately teleports in, rips the matrix out of Prime's chest, and gets out. If it weren't for Jetfire, he probably would've won.
The Decepticons in Transformers: Dark of the Moon learned their lesson from the last film. Instead of falling to Earth as protoforms and causing a worldwide scene, they travelled to Earth via Sentinel's space bridge, then scanned alternate forms before disappearing into the night.
Danny Roman in The Negotiator. Not only was he an expert hostage negotiator before becoming a hostage taker, but the S.W.A.T. team members opposing him were his co-workers whom he's known for years. Because of this, he's able to foil every trick they use against him, and manipulates their rules of engagement to his advantage. He even hand-picks a hostage negotiator who's never worked with him before, reasoning that, since one or more of those he'd thought were his friends are the ones who'd framed him in the first place, the only negotiator he could trust would be a total stranger.
Michael Myers in Halloween. Unlike most movie serial killers, he prefers to observe his victims carefully and patiently first, not just randomly kill people anywhere, anytime. When he does kill, he prefers sneak attacks, ambushes, or otherwise using the element of surprise, not just all-out swinging away with his weapon like Jason or Leatherface usually does. He's also aware that Dr. Loomis is his Arch-Enemy, and so usually doesn't makes a move when he's around.
In the second movie, he cut the wheels of every single car around the hospital just to make sure that Laurie wouldn't be able to escape if she somehow got out of the hospital and tried to escape by driving away.
In Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, he got the information where Laurie lived by breaking into his old nurse's house during the night, and then killed the nurse so that she wouldn't tell the world about his return. When he found the school there that Laurie worked at, he waited until all the students left on a school trip before he went in. And there's much more that proves Myers' savvy nature.
Laurie Strode also counts in H20, at the end when Michael is about to be taken away in an ambulance but Laurie hijacks the ambulance and drives away so she's able to kill him.
Gordon: I only have one request: that you aim for my heart, my heart which has loved this country so much. Loveless: Shoot him in the head. Gordon: Damn.
Made even more Genre Savvy is because Loveless was unaware of a bullet proof vest as Gordon just finished inventing it. Also, when Loveless tries to kidnap President Grant, Gordon shows up disguised as the president so Loveless will let the real one go and take him instead. Instead he takes both men.
Stansfield in The Professional expects a hard confrontation with Léon and tells an assault team in full gear to be careful, while he stays out of the shooting. Once the team is beaten as he kind of expected he sends backup in full force, and still is prepared to counter the quiet exit Leòn attemps.
Dalton Russell from Inside Man has his robbery work perfectly because he was aware of everything that could happen.
Arguably Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. From blowing up a car in order to get medical supplies while people are distracted by the explosion to walking around in socks so his victims won't hear him coming.
Rustlers Rhapsody is a genre parody of old B-movie westerns, in which the hero has been through the standard plot formula in so many towns that he becomes Genre Savvy to everything that's going to happen. This time, however, the villains gets Dangerously Genre Savvy themselves and figure out a way to subvert the formula.
One-off James Bond villain Auric Goldfinger is one of the few antagonists in the series who is this, and chuckles at the notion that he should torture Bond for information instead of just killing him. Bond has to talk Goldfinger into the torture to escape his death.
The Red Skull, in Captain America: The First Avenger, shows quite a bit of this before he (literally) picks up the Villain Ball (or, shall we say, the Villain Cube?) at the last moment. He expected his former Nazi superiors to call him on his plans, and eliminates them before they can report. He anticipates Erskine's attempt to replicate the Super Serum, and dispatches an assassin that's mostly successful in thwarting the Super Soldier research, leaving time for HYDRA to grow without Captain America's direct military counterattacks to Skull's resources for months. When Captain America first invades one of his many headquarters, he recognizes the threat instantly and immediately arms all the installation's self-destruct devices. He also realizes the usefulness of Dr. Zola by giving him the keys to his personal car, allowing Zola to escape so as to continue their weapons development—but also having the scientist preserve his Cool Car. This backfires when the heroes use Skull's precious vehicle to catapult Captain America onto Skull's superbomber to thwart his final plans.
By having many installations for Cap's team to take down, the Skull's plans almost work, buying him enough time to build his Doomsday Device. The final base appeared to be thoroughly prepared for (or even expecting) any small-team heroics that doomed Hydra's sister bases, but unfortunately for them a Big Damn Heroes moment where all of Cap's forces invade at once throws off the defenses faster than he anticipated. And while he didn't try to waste time in letting Cap hang around, opting to immediately shoot Cap seconds after he is brought before the Skull, he is interrupted by said Big Damn Heroes moment.
In The Avengers, when Hawkeye fires an arrow at Loki, he catches it in mid-air and smirks in Hawkeye's direction, having foiled the assassination attempt. The arrow then explodes, Hawkeye having figured Loki would catch it. You can also see what may have Loki checking the arrow to see if it was an explosive one. Which is why it's an explosive one that he's never seen before, with a backup timer just in case he caught it.
The World Security Council had two F-35s with nukes rather than just one, so when the first one goes down by Fury, the second one took off seconds later.
The bad guys' whole Evil Plan could be considered one. Their objective with the orbiting Helicarriers with the capacity to snipe anyone anywhere on the planet is to kill off potential heroes before they can become threats. Even if the target appears to be someone harmless like a high school student or reporter or surgeon, as they've learned from Steve Rogers that even the weakest feeblest person can turn into their worst enemy.
The villains' attempt to capture Captain America makes sure all the odds are against him. They attack him in a cramped elevator, filled with a dozen Mooks disguised to look like random SHIELD agents, lock a supermagnet on Cap's arm so that he can't use his shield and gets his arm stuck to the wall, then swarm him all at once in hopes of overwhelming his great strength. When that doesn't work, they opt for just killing him with all the firepower they can muster.
The Agents in The Matrix generally shoot first and don't bother asking questions at all. They're proficient in hand-to-hand combat as well but don't resort to that until their guns are empty. Agent Smith in particular shows a healthy respect for the protagonists; in the beginning he tells the overconfident police captain that the men sent after Trinity "are already dead", and later he fires several shots point-blank into Neo's chest when he has the opportunity.
Khan (except when he isn't), who is pretty much reliving several major revenge epics. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that Khan's quoting of Moby-Dick is because he knows where his obsession will lead, and doesn't care. It takes Joachim's death to make him remember the consequences would extend beyond himself — like Queequeg's death, and paralleling Spock's.
Kirk, thanks to the fact that he knows more about how Starfleet and their ships operate than Khan does. He is able to pull a number of remarkably cheap tricks to regain the upper hand because of this. Not to mention that he knows he can hand Khan the Idiot Ball by mocking him.
In Star Trek: Generations, Soran is quite savvy about villainy in general and mocks Picard's attempts at talking him down.
Soran: I know why you're here. You're not entirely confident you can shoot down my probe, so you've come to dissuade me from my horrific plan. Good luck.
Notably, Picard almost succeeds in talking down Soran from blowing up the star by bringing up Soran's dead wife and child... only for Soran to realize what Picard is doing and countering with "nice try".
Watchmen: After revealing his plan to destroy multiple major cities worldwide in order to achieve world peace, Veidt reveals that he has essentially done this
TRON: Legacy: Clu proves he had all of his User's genre savvy and then some. First, he uses Flynn's frequent absences and the Programs' resentment of the Isos to gather support. Then, he ambushes Flynn and Tron with intent to kill both. Flynn gets away, but making sure Tron was out of the picture not only left Flynn grieving a friend, but took out the guy capable of rallying any opposing Programs against him. And since it would be a real shame to let a fallen enemy go to waste, he pulls the Reforged into a Minion trope and turns the Grid's champion into The Dragon and executioner! Follow it up with coordinated attacks on the Iso cities that the User can't stop, a viral outbreak that can be blamed on the Isos, and making damn sure the portal back to analog flickers out, leaving Flynn unable to get help from the User world. Who says it's not a "Perfect System?" Twenty years of this doesn't dull it a bit. When a Mook informs him that the heroes must have been killed (remember, no one leaves a body behind in cyberspace), Clu's response is to increase the patrols.
When you get down to it, the Djinn's entire modus operandi. He actively advises humans to make wishes, even those who are aware of his nature so they can try to beat him at his own game. He always finds a loophole, and even lampshades how futile these attempts are, since it's nearly impossible to outsmart an eternal being.
The Djinn apparently learned from his mistake at the end of Wishmaster by the second film. When Morgana's boyfriend (who had a part in unleashing him) wishes he was never born, the Djinn, instead of screwing with time, simply regresses him to nothing.
He also realizes that telling people that the wish would cost their soul freaks them out enough that they won't make a wish, so he says "and a pack of cigarettes" to a convict, making the first condition seem like a metaphor or joke.
Inverted in Patriot Games. When an Irish terrorist cohorts attack the van transporting him to prison, the lead guard very quickly realizes that he and his colleagues are doomed. Hence, he puts up no resistance when they use another guard as a Human Shield, immediately unlocking the door. And when asked if he has any last words before he's executed, he simply tells them to "Get on with it and be on your way", knowing full well that any pleas for his life will be futile.
Pacific Rim: After several years of being curbstomed by Jaegers over and over, the Kaiju adapt to their tactics enough to cripple the Jaeger Program and whittle down the available pilots and mechas.
Leatherback has an EMP ability that is able to disable Striker Eureka, the most deadly Jaeger in existence, and leave the Jaeger helpless against attack.
Knifehead directly attacks the pilots of Gipsy Danger, as does Otachi, who goes for Crimson Typhoon's head. Otachi also has a prehensile tail that can counter Crimson Typhoon's third arm.
The portal where the Kaiju are emerging from has a DNA scanning feature to ensure only Kaiju can pass and so that humans can't just chuck a bomb down it.
A rather subtle one at the end of Following, harkening back to what started the whole thing. After framing the Writer for the Blonde's murder, Cobb makes his escape through a crowd. He pauses to look around if he's been followed again, then disappears forever.
Lilith is this in Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood. She knows that Rafe Guttman knows that vampires "always" bite their victims on the neck. So Lilith turns Catherine Verdoux into a vampire on the sly by biting her on the thigh. (There's also Fridge Brilliance in that Lilith knew that Rafe wouldn't be able to inspect Catherine's bare thigh without coming off as an Accidental Pervert, which would in turn give Catherine a perfectly good excuse for stopping him if he tried to do so.) In this way, Lilith is able to "win" even after her death, which arguably makes her the most formidable villain on this page.
When she hears that the fairies have taken the princess into hiding, Maleficent does not waste sixteen years looking for her. She does not send out incompetent grunts. She sends her Dragon, who proves to her that this was the right move by finding them in under a day.
Knowing that iron burns fairies, King Stefan has his entire castle filled with all sorts of iron traps, and wears a full suit of iron armor to his fight with Maleficent.
During the climax of X2: X-Men United, William Stryker recognized that the mutant that had just been captured wasn't the real Wolverine and ordered "him" shot immediately. Also, aware that Mystique was loose in the base, he ordered the platoon of soldiers guarding Dark Cerebro to kill anyone approaching - even if it was him.
Viper from The Wolverine, who seems to know about Logan's Healing Factor, along with using Mariko as a Distressed Damsel to force him to come to the facility where she plans to take his mutant powers away. She even deliberately taunts him to make him pull his claws out while he's restrained in a chair.
In The Brass Teapot the grandsons of the Teapot’s previous owner know exactly how the Teapot works, so they let John and Alice pay the price in pain and then rob them of the cash after they have accumulated a big stockpile of it. They even know better than to touch the Teapot.
Mehmed in Dracula Untold, knowing how powerful Vlad is, arranges for a decoy to be seen leading his army while he sneaks into the monastery with a few men to go after Vlad's wife and son.
Voldemort from Harry Potter. He knows where to strike people to make it hurt, and while he is woefully ignorant of "certain kinds of magic", he still knows his ways. In Deathy Hallows, after Harry and his friends escape from Malfoy Manor with Bellatrix' wand, he instantly makes sure that the other Death Eaters know (or at least hear rumors) that she and some other Death Eaters are currently grounded and confined in the manor. He also makes sure it's known that her wand has been taken - so that anyone who may see Bellatrix walking around outside or having her wand would instantly be suspicious of her. Similarly, Voldemort makes sure to be told if anyone goes to the Lestrange vault in Gringotts, since he knows that the only reason someone would go in there is to retrieve the Horcrux he had put in there.
And as soon as he realizes that Harry is after the Horcruxes, Voldemort decides to check on his other Horcruxes - going from least protected (the Ring in a box under the floor board of the old Gaunt place) to best protected (he alone knows Hogwarts and, hence, the Horcrux hidden there is perfectly safe) and brings his snake Nagini, another Horcrux, with him. He won't let her out of a magical cage that serves to protect her from that moment on... Not until he kills Harry.
And he puts a hex on his own name, making it so that his Death Eaters are automatically alerted of the location of anyone who says "Voldemort". He does this because he knows that only the people who are openly against him pronounce his name. Everyone else either calls him "You-know-who" and "the dark lord." Harry, Ron and Hermione were captured and brought to Malfoy Manor because of this hex.
In the Discworld the Magpyrs from Carpe Jugulum have become immune to traditional vampire weaknesses and use this to their advantage. The good guys still win, but they have to struggle a bit for it. It's even subverted when the traditionally vampiric count proves to be far more powerful than the Magpyrs, and has survived because when he's "defeated", he'll wait until the heroes are gone and forgot about him before resuming his ways. Which is exactly why both the Heroes and villagers like it. It gives them excitement, the heroes work, and nobody really gets hurt.
Another Discworld example, this one going both ways, shows up in Men at Arms, when Vimes is being fired at by someone with the "Gonne". Vimes pokes his helmet up above the window sill to see if the assassin is still there. Instead of shooting the helmet, the assassin fires a bullet directly through the wall where Vimes would have been standing, had Vimes been using the traditional arrow to hold up the helmet. One step ahead, Vimes was actually several feet further to the left, using a ten-foot pole to lift his helmet.
The Last Hero: The Evil Overlord, Evil Harry Dread, has always lived by the Code, which is remain Genre Blind and, in return, he will always be allowed to escape. The Silver Horde and Cohen the Barbaian respect him because of it and take Evil Harry Dread with them on their quest. Their cheerful acceptance of his inevitable betrayal actually reduces him to tears.
Mort: "This isn't the kind of person who ties you up in the cellar with just enough time for the rats to eat through your ropes before the floodwaters rise. This is the kind of man who just kills you here and now."
Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari. He specifically designed the dungeons under the Patrician's Palace on the assumption that the first thing a usurper does is to throw the previous ruler into the dungeon. Sure, there's a huge lock and lots of bars and bolts, but all those bars and bolts are on the inside. And he has a key to the lock, but that's incidental.
The Queen in Tanya Huff's humorous short story "A Woman's Work..." is always winning because she's not only read the Evil Overlord's List, she's made it the operating manual for her rule. Not accidentally, the story is found in the anthology If I Were an Evil Overlord.
The Vord Queen from Codex Alera. When faced with Araris Valerian, most dangerous swordsman in Alera in Chrome Champion mode, she freezes him, causing him intense pain.
The villain Nicodemus in the fifth novel of The Dresden Files, Death Masks, when having Harry captured, keeps him in an absolutely inescapable position where Harry is both bound and his magic negated, noting that he would be an idiot to underestimate him, and intends to kill Harry simply by cutting his throat. We are then treated to this piece of dialogue:
Nicodemus: I take it that this is the portion of the conversation where I reveal my plans to you? Harry: What have you got to lose? Nicodemus: And apparently you expect me to tell you of any vulnerabilities I might have as well. I am wounded by the lack of professional respect that implies. Harry: (grinding his teeth) Chicken.
Nicodemus even comments, point blank, that Harry has defeated and/or slain quite a number of powerful, dangerous beings, but adds that, by and large, most of them were morons. Nicodemus is not a moron, and the truth is that Harry only escapes from him by what is fairly clearly Divine (in the highest sense) intervention and a genuinely sacrificial sacrifice on the part of a true hero.
Entertainingly, after he's rescued, he comments that Nicodemus "Must have read that Evil Overlord List."
In his next appearance, Nick does have two major instances of not being Savvy First, on the island for the climax, he has dozens of his loyal but 100% human followers, on the island as back up. This means discerning Harry and his human friends' feet from them in the snow is hard. Second, those loyal followers . . . have their tongue surgically removed. Kind of hard to use a radio or effectively ask for a confirmation when someone approaches
Harry himself definitely fits this trope, to such an extent that Word of God says Nicodemus, a 2000 year-old fallen angel, is terrified of Harry. One big reason is Harry learned how to bypass the power of the Judas Noose, which nearly instantly heals Nicodemus of any physical harm as he wears it like a tie, by simply strangling him with said noose.
And Johnny Marcone, who gave all his businesses instructions to give Harry royal treatment because he figured his buildings were considerably less likely to burn to the ground during one of Harry's visits if he's disoriented from being treated like a sultan. He also had cheap, flimsy, replaceable doors that would not turn into dangerous shrapnel placed at dramatic entry points of his buildings for when they inevitably get blown off their hinges, along with reinforced steel ones at any strategic entry points.
A lot of vampirestry for this, but they rarely succeed.
Paolo Ortega, for example, tries to cheat during a formal duel, which just winds up pissing off Harry, the Archive, and Harry's mentor Ebenezar McCoy, the last of whom responds by dropping a satellite on him.
Vampires are bound by mental habits and rules to an even greater extent than the Fae, though less obviously. Ortega probably _is_ genre-savvy enough to realize that he would almost definitely win by playing fair (he actually brings it up at one point), but the Red Court are actually psychologically locked into their role as predators so he's compelled to avert the trope at the last moment by seizing at any advantage possible.
A White Court vampire who manages to capture Harry in Proven Guilty tries to do something similar to Nicodemus above, but fails to make it actually inescapable.
Mavra is the real thing, though. Rather than try to take Harry on in a straight magical fight, she sets up all sorts of traps and the like, such as keeping a group of hostages underneath a land mine rigged to go off if the current to it stops, mixing her sleeper agents in with normal people so they have to check everyone, and trapping Harry in a narrow hallway with flamethrowers aimed at him. While his shield spell can keep the napalm from actually hitting him, it doesn't block the heat and his hand burns to a crisp. She also has one of her servant vampires dress up as her so the group doesn't realize where she is, and she may have intentionally orchestrated the entire thing to get blackmail material.
Jared Kincaid, an elite assassin who once worked for Vlad II, Dracula's father. He is half-human, half-demon with some physical perks. He also knows the best way to kill a wizard: With a sniper rifle and be 1000 yards away when the bullet passes through the guy, thus avoiding any chance at a Death curse. And his suggestion to Marva's above plot was to blow the place up without even entering it. Doing this would have increased the chances of Mavra's final death.
It's worth noting that not all of the wizards are as dumb about modern technology as they appear, and in fact most of the ones the audience is personally acquainted with are pretty thoroughly omnicompetent after years or centuries of the entire magical world trying to kill them, including those parts of the magical world versed in modern warfare. Given that Harry himself has granted himself flamethrower immunity and demonstrated both conditional spells and anti-kinetic shields, it's possibly and even quite likely that Kincaid's not QUITE as genre savvy as he imagines.
Not to mention that older wizards have used advanced orbital mechanics to create massive kinetic weapons without even crossing the actual line into black magic... the fact that they can't use an iPhone doesn't mean they aren't prepared to deal with the tech, and it's easy to forget that Harry is literally the youngest wizard on a council where experience tends to trump power in a straight fight...
The Vorkosigan Saga novel The Vor Game has Admiral Oser order his mooks to throw Miles out an airlock, and to cut Miles's tongue out if he starts talking, knowing from experience that Miles has an amazing gift for gab and winning people over to his side. So amazing in fact that he accomplishes this later in the book with Oser himself!
The villain in The Jennifer Morgueintentionally sets up a situation where he's the megalomaniacal billionaire James Bond villain who can only be stopped by a playboy British special agent with a tuxedo full of special gadgets. His plan is to end the magic spell causing this just at the moment when Bond, the only person in the world in a position to do so, would foil the plot. This would make the special agent a normal agent who could be dealt with by mundane means, and no one else in a position to do intervene. Even his minions display this: just before the villain or his equally evil wife start monologuing about their plans, The Dragon or any mooks present quickly excuse themselves so they don't find out too much and have to be dealt with.
Also contains Wrong Genre Savvy, since the main character is misled by his employers to believe he is the Bond character (in order to focus the villain's attention on him), when in fact he is the Bond Girl and his girlfriend is the Bond character. Likewise, by the end the villain thinks he's broken the geas and has everything in his back pocket... despite the fact that he's still monologuing and not killing anyone when he gets the chance.
Denth from Warbreaker has been a mercenary for a very long time and has learned all the tricks and stereotypes associated with said profession. Most notably:
He just fell out the third-story window, plummeting toward certain doom. Of course he'll live!
I have no qualms about accepting a useful idea merely because it wasn't my own. You were expecting, perhaps, an all-out attack? That I should seek to cover our defeat in a frenzy of false and futile heroics? We haven't been defeated, merely slowed down a bit. I Want Them Alive if possible. If not— if not, I'll understand. Infiltrators have access to the main ship's computer. Shut it down.
There's also the scene where he explains why Space Is an Ocean... and then elects to attack in the third dimension. Needless to say, he wins.
A minor Bounty Hunter in the final book of Galaxy of Fear, seeing that a bounty has been taken out on two human kids with no combat training and their protective shapeshifter uncle, plans to just shoot the uncle rather than try to take him captive. Unfortunately for him, just because Tash can't fight does not mean she's helpless... but he couldn't have known she could do that, anyway.
Subverted in the Dale Brown novel Plan of Attack. The villain spends a scene explaining to an underling how he believes Patrick McLanahan will carry out his counterattack and giving instructions on how to stop it, making predictions based on what readers have seen is indeed Pat's modus operandi - only for Pat to go about it differently. Then, knowing that the Air Battle Force has weapons they can use to intercept missiles, he orders a Macross Missile Massacre that includes nuclear missiles. Unfortunately, he fails to realise that Even Evil Has Standards, which leads to his downfall.
Lord Sunday exemplifies this trope in his book of Keys to the Kingdom. Throughout the series, Arthur has made friends with and later elevated to high positions the first people he meets in any particular realm he enters. So what does Sunday do? He disguises himself as a common gardener and makes sure he is the first person Arthur meets in his realm, giving him a very good opportunity to stab Arthur in the back whenever he feels like it.
Dark Lord Mogrash from Another End of the Empire by Tim Pratt hears a prophecy from a sybil concerning a child born in a certain village: "If allowed to grow to manhood, he will take over your empire, overthrow your ways and means, and send you from the halls of your palace forever". Rather than slaughter the village (he knows a survivor will rise up to behead him in that situation), he makes the village into a testbed of reform. When he finds the three boys most likely to take his empire, he raises them as his own sons instead of trying to kill them. In the end the prophecy still comes true, but in a way that leaves Mogrash alive and a changed man who just wants to enjoy peaceful retirement. He even falls in love with the sybil who sees enough of the future to know that they will be happy together.
Visser One from Animorphs is this all over. In her very first appearance she facilitates an escape for the Animorphs because they're of more value to her alive and embarrassing Visser Three than as trophy prisoners for her enemy. Later in VISSER we're introduced to her backstory as a low-ranking commander. Her first onscreen act is to execute a mouthy subordinate - and then rescue the Yeerk from the dying host, just to show her new recruits that she 'has the helping hand as well as the killing blade'. It's telling that the Animorphs would much rather have Visser Three in charge of the invasion instead of her.
In the Den of Shadows series, Jessica has written multiple books about the vampire world. This knowledge helps her to kill Fala.
In the italian novel Cyberspace, most of the characters' lives are spent in the titular virtual world. One character, an "avatar sculptor", finds out that someone stole the list of his clients and the avatars he made for them. However, he made a backup... on a floppy disk, which he always keeps offline and out of hackers' hands.
Matthew Keller, from White Collar, knows the FBI playbook better than most agents. He's also a cunning Chessmaster capable of thinking five or six moves ahead. This makes him the series most dangerous villain by a long shot.
Anubis. The best example is probably that he tries to kill off the heroes even before his first on-screen appearance.
And Ba'al. There's a reason why this guy has outlived all other villains in the Stargate Verse. Notable for not believing his own A God Am I propaganda, unlike every other Idiot Ball carrying Goa'uld. In Stargate Continuum, he actually used the Jaffa desire for freedom to recruit them as allies, instead of just forcing them into slavery (though they still apparently consider him a god; whether or not they worship him as one is not clear). Instead of approaching Earth with the usual melodramatic Large Ham speech, he claims to come in peace. The best part is that he was serious about both claims, the former because he presumably considered it unwise not to honor his deals and the latter because he was so fond of Earth culture that he didn't want to ruin it. With a loyal and grateful Teal'C and the ingenious Earth humans on his side he could become even more powerful than he already was. His downfall in that scenario was that he became Genre Blindwhen it came to his queen and failed to realize that while Vala was sneaky but loyal, Qetesh in Vala's body was a betrayal waiting to happen.
Senator Kinsey does this in his own way, recognizing the Tropes of the program as an excuse to shut down the SG program, because counting only SG-1's encounters with the Goa'uld, they don't look like that big of a threat to account for keeping the program on-line. He wasn't exactly a villain, but his political agenda was suspiciously antagonizing to the Earth's survival.
Crowley on Supernatural. He correctly deduces Lucifer's inherent hatred of Demons, while his Demonic compatriots are all blind to this. In season six, he takes the Winchesters very seriously as a threat and takes appropriate steps to foil them (including faking his own death), even pointing out all the Big Bads who were killed or defeated by failing to do just that. He uses the Winchesters to dismantle the Leviathans while staying on the sidelines. All this means he ends up outliving every other villain on the show.
Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!
In the Doctor Who story "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", the Sontaran leader acts like a military leader instead of marauding invader, which is a distinct rarity in the series. "A general would be unwise to reveal his strategy to the opposing forces!", he says, refusing to reveal anything about their plans, and even keeps his cool after the Doctor started taunting them for using "cowardly tactics" (which is probably the worst insult you can give to a Sontaran). And when the master plan (turning the Earth into a Sontaran cloning world) fails, the General decides to go with the next best thing and use his enormous battleship to conquer the Earth conventionally (naturally, they fail as well).
The Sontarans as a species also do this. Sci-fi law dictates that all relentless alien armies must have an obvious weak point. Rather than try to hide it, the Sontarans actually leave their weak spot (on the back of their necks) unprotected and unhidden on purpose. It forces their troops to keep pushing forward no matter what and never retreat, since retreating would mean exposing their weak points.
In the Key to Time story arc, the White Guardian gives the Doctor the task of recovering the six pieces of the Key to Time before the evil Black Guardian's servants succeed in gathering them, so the Doctor goes on a season-long epic travelling from planet to planet finding and collecting pieces. When he reaches the final piece it's in the hands of the Black Guardian's servant - who skipped straight to the last piece and then spent all his effort laying a trap for the Doctor there, knowing that the Doctor would bring the rest of the pieces with him when he arrived.
In the new series' season three finale, Martha Jones describes her task as a journey to assemble a weapon, split into four pieces scattered across the globe in four different countries, which is capable of killing a Time Lord outright. After her capture she openly laughs at the Master for having bought that story, which she fed to a known mole, and she almost definitelygot captured on purpose.
"Asylum of the Daleks" demonstrates that even the Daleks, usually the epitome of Bond Villain Stupidity, can be this.
The Doctor: You're going to fire me at a planet? That's your plan? I get fired at a planet and expected to fix it? Rory: In fairness, that is slightly your M.O. The Doctor: Don't be fair to the Daleks when they're firing me at a planet!
Arthur Petrelli from Heroes seems to know all of the tricks of the trade for being a villain. When Hiro looks into the past and sees what made Arthur what he is, Arthur wipes away every memory of Hiro's in the last 15 or so years. He recruits Sylar and makes sure to assist in his reformation from psychopathic serial killer to empathic anti-hero. He mentally rapes the head of the opposing organization, who happens to be his own wife. He isn't above killing his own sons if it means that he can further his plans. He makes sure that everyone in his organization knows exactly what will happen if they go against him, whether it's sending them back to their previous horrible life or killing them.
Lothor of Power Rangers Ninja Storm seems to have noticed that all previous Power Rangers villains used the same plan (send a monster to attack the town, when the Rangers show up make it grow huge) over and over again, with the same result (the Rangers kill the monster.) So he devised a plan which took advantage of the Rangers beating him in every episode. Turns out dead monsters get sent to the Abyss of Evil, and if you overload it with too many (say, by killing them with your giant combining mecha) the Abyss will overflow and evil will cover the Earth, making Lothor all-powerful in the process. Oops. Subverted on one occasion where he tries to turn multiple monsters giant at once to overwhelm the rangers, but can't because he "didn't pay for the memory upgrade" on the device which grows them.
Venjix of Power Rangers RPM did it a little differently. He sent in subtle infiltration and infection agents, and at the same time sent in big, noisy crushing monsters. The rangers were so busy fending off the latter that they never noticed the former until it was too late.
In Tokumei Sentai Go Busters, after Enter sees the Go-Busters defeat the MegaZord he summoned he immediately asks his boss for permission to delay their attacks for a while and build up energy, then summon multiple MegaZords at once. Fortunately for the protagonists his boss is too impatient to allow it.
Reality TV producers try to avoid these players; the show has to be entertaining to keep the ratings up, whereas truly dangerous players - not just incredibly overconfident types who brag about their accomplishments and genre savvyness to the Confession Cam - just keep their mouth shut a lot of the time. Unless they become the Fan Favorite, which does lead to high ratings, at which point the producers will often slant the rules to keep them around.
On Survivor: Samoa, Russell Hantz established himself as this right from the get-go. Knowing that the early game was spent trying to establish your resources (fire, shelter, etc.), Russell sabotaged his team by hiding tools and food. He then explains (via Confession Cam) that he's counting on the fact that the producers hid the Hidden Immunity Idols on the island before the game started, based on the history of the show. Later, in the Heroes Vs. Villains season, Russell counted on the other survivors not having watched his previous run (because it hadn't aired on American television yet) to build his all-female alliance again and undermine everyone else. The fact that Russell didn't count on the social aspect of the game (which led him to lose in the final two and final three of his first two seasons) is an inversion of this trope.
Kristina Kell established herself as this from the get go just as well, like Russell did. She knows that the two Wesleys returning are both Dangerously Genre Savvy, so what do you do? She immediately went idol hunting, and managed to find it without clues faster than anyone has ever done before, and tried to tell everyone that Rob had to go. But Boston Rob had his own plans...
Jonny Fairplay from the Pearl Islands season copied wholesale the tactics of Rob Cesternino, a Genre Savvyfanboy from the previous season. No one on his tribe caught on, and it worked wonders. But what really sets him apart is that, realizing that there would eventually be a "loved ones visit" (where you get to see a family member or friend for a day), he faked his grandmother's death in advance of going on the show. His grandmother would be one of the pre-selected people for the loved ones visit, and after she doesn't answer, the production staff then moved down to the next person on the list. This guy, when he shows up, informs everyone that Jonny's grandma died. Almost everyone, including the host himself, bought into it. Jonny's influence? Again, the previous season, where Jenna received leniency from her tribe mates for her bad behavior because her mom was terminally ill.
Dr. Will knew that if you won competitions, people often target you as a threat when you fail to win or can not win one by default, so what did he do? He got everyone to intentionally think he was completely worthless and easy to beat so they targeted people who were actually lesser threats than he was. Despite winning a total of zero challenges, he is still considered one of the best people to have ever played the show.
In a similar vein, Kevin from Season 11. When the twist was announced that whenever your "Clique" had won Head of Household, you couldn't be nominated for eviction, he had the perception to consider not voting to evict Casey because even if he won, he and his best friend Lydia would be immune. Similar to Dr. Will, he intentionally threw important challenges so the other alliance wouldn't target him. When the house was told that there was a special twist coming and that nobody was safe, he actually tried to win the veto because that was the only way he could be safe. When his alliance was forcefully put on the block when said twist was used, he actually voted against the alliance's "leader" because he knew he had to go sooner or later and that he was the swing vote. Then after that, power shifted and he intentionally tried to make himself seem easy-to-beat so that Jeff, Jordan, Michelle, and Russell would save him for last. Then after he is put on the block and might actually go, he convinces Jeff to shoot himself in the foot and evict Russell, stacking the odds against Jeff the very next Head of Household competition. Then, he intentionally took Natalie and Jordan to the final three, knowing he could beat Jordan in the finals, and that Natalie would take him to the finals if she somehow won the final head of household. (He even had plans to vote out Natalie because he knew Jordan had fewer "allies" in the jury house) However, what he did not expect was Jordan to suddenly pull a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, win the final head of household, and evict him. (And Jordan knew that Kevin could have beaten her, anyways.)
From the same season, Shelly attempted this (and failed). She begun to continuously check the Fortune Teller prop in the house, hoping for a twist that would benefit her. Instead, this was actually Pandora's Box.
Wil from Season 14 was essentially a human lie detector. Several times while he was up on the block other players would come talk to him, telling him that he was just a pawn, he was entirely safe, nobody was going after him, etc. He saw RIGHT THROUGH every single lie they told him, but played along with it before going into the Diary Room and blatantly stating he didn't believe a word the others were saying, even calling Janelle out on her fake tears.
Deconstructed in a very harsh fashion with Meeka Claxton on VH-1's Basketball Wives. She looked at a lot of blogs about the show along with blogs that deal with the cast. From that point, she based their personalities on what was written about them. Not only that, after reading those blogs, she thinks that she knows Basketball Wives like an open book. It turns out great when Evelyn and Jennifer, the popular side that Meeka was trying to be on, start to get annoyed by her behavior. Tami, on the other hand, keeps telling Meeka that she should get to know the cast for herself instead of basing it on what other people say. Unfortunately, she doesn't, and it only gets better from there. In Italy, Meeka starts lying about her encounter with Tami and Royce, claiming that Tami said Evelyn and Jennifer are the "fake side", when Tami actually said "popular". She even threw insults about Tami towards Suzie, who is known for being a chatterbox that doesn't keep secrets. The insults from Meeka came out of Suzie when Tami was trying to agree to disagree with her. But wait, it got even better. After finding out that Meeka is still speaking ill of her, Tami and the rest of the crew go to a club. A huge argument from Tami and Meeka start to blow up and she punches her in the face. Meeka decides to fly back to Miami, leaving Italy, and leaves a letter saying that Tami is classless and that she hopes that Tami isn't causing any problems to the cast. Tami's response? "Dear Meeka, write this letter to someone who gives a fuck." She is now considered The Scrappy of the show by most of the cast, and by lots of viewers.
In the premiere episode of Nikita, Nikita brazenly shows up at party to threaten Percy, the head of Division, confident he won't attack her in a room full of politicians and government employees. Then she discovers that Percy had anticipated the possibility and has some of his people waiting for her.
It was also revealed that Percy has set up "black boxes" all over the world containing all of the U.S. government's dirty secrets from the past twenty or thirty years; if Percy dies, that information goes public and presumably brings down the government.
Demonstrated (very rarely) by Special Guest Villains on Batman:
Catwoman was this as well when she simply had a drugged Batman thrown from a twelfth story window! Once again he was prepared.
One bad guy tricked Batman into a Death Trap. He actually makes death traps for a living and wanted Batman to show him how to escape out of the one he just made. He had two hitmen waiting outside for when Batman and Robin escaped to shoot them both.
Dr. Mark Sloan of Diagnosis: Murder, of all people, demonstrated a shocking amount of Genre Savvy in a multi-part arc in which he was kidnapped by the deranged son and daughter of a serial bomber who had been executed as a result of Sloan's investigation. Even as a hostage he succeeded in playing the siblings against each other while providing clues to his son the cop and other partners in crime-solving that led them to the kidnappers. A federal agent assigned to the case supplied the lampshade; "Some people you should not kidnap! I swear, if Mark Sloan is your enemy, shoot him in the head, otherwise he will make you suffer!"
Scotty, any time Kirk and Spock left him in command of the Enterprise in Star Trek.
The Reaper (a.k.a. George Foyet) from Criminal Minds. The man is even willing to nearly lethally stab himself in order to throw the FBI off his trail. Talk about Crazy-Prepared.
Abed on Community has an encyclopedic command of tropes which has kept him and the members of the study group alive long into a Zombie Apocalypse, two Paintball Wars, and piloting a space simulator.
Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex knows she's going to get her way, and she'll be a Smug Snake till it happens. Averted in later seasons, where Alex is wrong more and more frequently.
Wonder Woman: Queen Hippolyta knows that Steve Trevor will be worshipped by the Amazons at Paradise Island. To avoid that, she plans to send one of the Amazons with him to his own country. And then:
Princess Diana: "But all the girls will want that task."
Queen Hippolyte: "I know. To forestall any ill feelings, I have planned a tournament of athletic games, by which I alone will determine the strongest, nimblest, and most likely candidate for the assignment."
Princess Diana is denied access to the tournament, so she throws a tantrum and retires to the summer palace... only to participate in secret and win, to show her commitment and knowing that her mother will forgive her.
Iain Harrison from Top Shot realizes from day one that as long as the teams remain evenly matched, the competition will remain relatively fair. He therefor sabotages his own team, breeding discord so subtly that the show's own producers failed to notice. Red Team's total collapse eliminates several serious competitors early on and paves the way for Iain's total victory in Season 1.
In QI, you'd expect Alan Davis to be Genre Savvy through sheer experience, and sometimes he deliberately picks up the Idiot Ball for comedic value, but he does on occasion trick other people into saying the forfeit answer, such as in the "Jungles" episode.
Nukus from Beetleborgs is smart enough to trick the Beetleborgs into destroying all the monsters he brought back, allowing him to combine them into one, much more powerful monster, then manipulate them in a situation in which said monster destroys their Humongous Mecha, and then pull off The Starscream and succeed, becoming the second season's Big Bad. While he's not more successful than his predecessor, he still shows his savviness; when the Beetleborgs becomes powerful enough to actually fight with him on equal footing, he gets himself a power-up, when they win a war over the control of an extremely powerful Humongous Mecha, he goes to create its Evil Counterpart for himself. In the second season finale, he seems to realize he was so successful in the previous season partly because of him being an Outside-Context Villain (being the only monster not brought from Art Fortuns' comics, but a drawing of his evil brother Les) which he no longer is (as all baddies in the second season have been created by Les), so he starts experimenting with his powers and creates a boderline Eldritch Abomination to fight the Beetleborgs.
Chris Jericho did a similar thing in his 2009 feud with Rey Mysterio - Mysterio has a habit of bumping heads with young fans wearing replicas of his mask... so Jericho went and got himself a Mysterio mask and T-shirt, bumped heads with Rey during his entrance, then jumped over the barricade and assaulted him.
In a Royal Rumble match, you're eliminated by being thrown over the top rope and having both of your feet hit the ground. Thus, there's often a show-off spot where someone is thrown over the top rope, catches hold of it, and 'skins the cat', pulling themselves back up over the rope and back into the match. Most famously, this was used by Shawn Michaels to win the 1995 event when his opponent turned his back and assumed he was knocked out. In the 2001 Rumble, Steve Blackman was thrown out by Kane, snagged the ropes, and got in the classic position to recover...and then Kane smacked him over the head with a garbage can, crushing his Hope Spot.
Kofi Kingston hand-walked to safety at the 2012 Rumble so his feet wouldn't hit the floor.
In 2003, Shannon Moore being this trope (if not dangerously anything else) enough to stick around so that his personal Jesus Matt Hardy, Version 2.0 could land with both feet on him, and thus not the floor, and remain in the match.
In short, any spot where a wrestler skillfully exploits this two-part technicality tends to signify awareness.
Then you'd think Zack Gowen would technically never be able to be eliminated. You know, since he has only one leg, after all.
Both Macho Man Randy Savage and Bob Backlund have found themselves thrown through the ropes onto the ground (therefore not being disqualified), and used this to recuperate and wait out a couple more disqualifications before returning to the ring.
Santino Marella showed that he was...perhaps not dangerously, but rather HilariouslyGenre Savvy when, after realizing that he had no chance of taking out Triple H or John Cena from an overseas battle royal, he spared himself any further punishment by grabbing himself by the collar and eliminating himself.
Stingused to be one of the most Genre Blind characters in pro wrestling... until Immortal showed up. The Story Arc has caused Sting to go from Good Is Dumb to Dangerously Genre Savvy. Since this happened, he's not only been a much better judge of character, but managed to plan for the interference they'd use against him to win the title.
So far, almost EVERY Money in the Bank winner is this, cashing it in while the champion was down and exhausted from a grueling match or other beatdown. (The two exceptions are Rob Van Dam, who merely went for "home turf" advantage in a no-DQ match at ECW One Night Stand, and John Cena, who lost his opportunity thanks to outside interference from The Big Show).
The champions themselves have grown savvy of this as well. When Punk won the WWE Championship at the MITB 2011 PPV and was about to leave the company with it, Vince immediately grabbed a headset and demanded that Alberto Del Rio, the winner of the RAW MITB match of that night, cash in on him now. It didn't work on Punk for three reasons: 1. Punk had enough time to recover from that grueling match with Cena; 2. Punk is the only guy other than Edge to cash in the MITB briefcase twice; and 3. Vince was calling for Del Rio right in front of him. Punk then proceeded to kick Del Rio in the head just as he arrived, shrug, blow a goodbye kiss to Vince, and run off with the title.
In WCW, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero were feuding, with the stipulation that Chavo had to wrestle Stevie Ray of Harlem Heat immediately before their match. Chavo tapped out to Stevie Ray's pre-match handshake, leaving him fresh for the next match.
In virtually any tabletop game, a lot of groups have the Veteran Player, that guy who knows the game so well that he over-thinks things, not in a way a character would, but from past experience. Not maliciously, but instinctively. And God help you if you have two of them.
New players check doors and chests for traps. Veterans check the ceilings. And Dangerously Genre Savvy veterans let somebody else check the ceilings.
In A Shoggoth on the Roof during the song "To Life" (based on Lovecraft'sHerbert West—Reanimator), when Herbert reveals that in order to reanimate Dr. Halsey, he first had to kill him. While first claiming that he used an "ingenious plan", it is quickly revealed that he "just shot him".
In Twice Charmed, Lady Tremaine realizes that Cinderella might be recognized by the Prince, so she tells Franco to shrink her. Then, she has him use his magic to make Anastasia and Drizella graceful and beautiful so they'll catch the Prince's eye.
There's also Tuma, the leader of one of the tribes on the world that Mata Nui ended up on. Now, on this world, Gladiator Games have become Serious Business with valuable resources riding on the outcomes. Instead of just sending fighters to win those resources in the arena for him, Tuma used the fights to study the other tribes and then sent in an army to just take them (having figured out that the tribes were too caught up in their rivalries to ally against him).
Lycidia from Okashina Okashi. After overthrowing the Queen of a RPG kingdom, she has the castle hallways remade (#62-63), her soldiers trained in basic marksmanship (#56), listens to her messengers (#91)...
Elan: Give me the antitoxin! I know you have one! Kubota: Twelve Gods, why would I be carrying the antitoxin on my actual person? I drank it twenty minutes ago, it will be effective for the rest of the hour.
This is also a sly reference to how antitoxin works in the tabletop game. Antitoxin doesn't act as a magic cure: it just increases your resistance to poison and ability to shake it off. Thus, it's most effective to take antitoxin before you get poisoned in the first place.
Tarquin may as well be the Greek God of this trope. He tops them all by deducing the fact that he MUST be able to run an evil empire successfully because heroes need something to thwart. From #763:
Tarquin: You're a bard, right? How many stories have you heard in which a single hero vanquishes a wicked empire? Elan: I dunno... dozens, I guess. Tarquin: What is the one thing they all have in common? The one fact they all share? Elan: The hero always wins! Tarquin: Arguable. No, the one thing they all have in common is this: the wicked empire exists. It has existed for some time, and will continue to exist if no heroes intervene. Don't you see, Elan? The rules of drama to which you subscribe as a bard tell us that such tyrannies can exist — indeed, must exist — and persist long enough that no one realistically thinks that they can be defeated. Else, where's the drama in a hero opposing them? And if such kingdoms are necessary, why shouldn't I rule one?
Tarquin is so savvy that he can figure out what the heroes know about his team based on how his team are all talking about their secrets. I.e. the fact that Malack is a vampire has been revealed because they're openly talking about it instead of obliquely referring to it as a "condition" or something otherwise vague.
Ultimately, Tarquin could be viewed as a deconstruction of the idea. He tends to treat people like plot elements or narrative pieces instead of like people, and thus is cruel and vengeful to people who don't fit the "story structure." He even kills his son Nale, commenting that he was just cluttering up the narrative (though his main reason for killing him was unrelated) and almost immediately afterwards tries to turn Elan into the main protagonist by ordering his army to kill the rest of the Order except for Haley.
With #931, Elan takes a big step towards this. His plan for dealing with his father involves defying tropes, and assumed the Order would fuck up protecting Girard's Gate and get it destroyed. Which they did, but it was intentional this time.
Redcloak is also a very good example. Unlike his boss, he actually uses military tactics instead of relying on brute strength; he refuses to rely on classic elementals as Elite Mooks, instead using stronger and rarer ones; after some Character Development, he refrains from using the We Have Reserves tactic; he avoids taking unnecessary risks like fighting the enemy one-on-one; and when he needs to keep a secret, he ensures that all the witnesses to it are dead.
Mrs. Claus: You waste time toying with me while someone else is toying with you! You think you're invulnerable, but ... Bun-bun: Here's where you'd start playing head games with me, but ... (Bun-bun's Living Shadow hurls Mrs. Claus into the air) Bun-bun: Sorry, we accidentally launched you into orbit!
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has 80s action movie star Frans Rayner, who invented all ninja movie tropes since they were based on his true story. However, he doesn't quite get it until he comes back in the Army of One story, and invokes the Conservation of Ninjutsu by cloning the Doctor for a one-on-one-hundred fight.
Doc realized what Frans was doing, and switched sides, thus dividing the ninjutsu between them again.
Rayner also only has one physical weak point which through training he is able to move about his body. Naturally, he eventually moved it to his leg which he then had amputated.
Jack Noir of Homestuck is normally just supposed to be The Dragon to the King and Queen within the game of Sburb. His ambition however, drives him to deliberately break the rules and then proceeds to singlehandedly carve a bloody swath across the battlefield as well as Prospit itself, instead of sitting back and letting the normal order of the chess war proceed. Word of God states this is why he's the most dangerous character of the series; he's willing to cheat to achieve his goals.
Saying that, he's not above making the odd massive Evil Overlord List error... like honouring his bargain with PM.
Akuma TH's version of Robotnik wised up and built a mech with an armored cockpit, preventing the heroes from attacking the usual weak point. Unfortunately, he forgot to take precautions against Shadow simply teleporting into the cockpit with Chaos Control.The Undertaker (No, not that one) has this occasionally as well — when he invents an attack that homes in on and chases down a specific target, he designs it so that it will simply pass through him if the target tries to return it to sender. Unfortunately, they have their moments of Genre Blindness as well.
It's the entire premise of Erfworld, where a gamer geek gets sucked into a reality where the laws of nature seem to have been replaced by fantasy wargame rules. For example, early on, Parson needs to find a way to keep Ansom's approaching army from besieging Parson's city. Parson has a much smaller army, so he sends his units to attack just Ansom's siege engines and then retreat. Parson knows that because his side keeps retreating, Ansom will assume he's winning, and therefore won't pay much attention to his minor losses. By the time he realizes what's happening, his siege engines have sustained 60% losses, seriously hurting his chances of taking Parson's city quickly.
In Adventurers the party encounters this enemy after setting themselves up for the battle with the boss of the Ice Cave.
Gort the Villain Protagonist of Darken fame, decides, instead of playing it like a good villain should, that he would just get one of this assassin allies to stab the hero in the back whilst the hero is lecturing his nemesis.
Vole the Ex-Jager of Girl Genius just proved himself to be an example of the trope. Also,Smarter than the Average Jagermonster, when he told Gil and Tarvek, currently surrounded by motion detecting death clanks, that if one of them jumps up to distract the FMADDsnote Fun-Sized Mobile Agony and Death Dispensers, the other might be able to get away in time to rescue Agatha. Needless to say, they both tried to make the sacrifice.
Tarvek: You know, perhaps we should have discussed this.
Ironically, he makes a big mistake right afterwards. Namely, he forgets the number one rule for surviving in Girl Genius: do not make a Spark angry. Ever. And then pissing off Gilgamesh of all people...
In Final Blasphemy, Dr. Wily employs several robot clones of himself, has the robots attack Jeremy all at once, catches him off-guard with hidden battle armor under his labcoat, equips said armor with protection in case of a Groin Attack, and also employs at least one human clone. When Jeremy kills the latter, it makes him a murderer.
Jigsaw of Zodiac Zodiac qualifies. What fool would keep such a weakness exposed ? indeed.
In Spinnerette, the evil drider Spinnerette (they used to compete over who should be entitled to use the name) reveals that she figured out easily Heather's identity through pure deduction. Rather than use it against her friends and family, she instead pretended to have reformed and invited Heather into a death trap.
Colonel Glass provides a textbook example here, complete with a Shout-Out to this very site. The Slasher Smile is just the icing on the cake.
In Minion Comics, Von Gernsbach is challenged to reveal his evil plans, and retorts by asking if he should do this because "you will die soon, and so I spill all the plans, and then there is the escaping and the foiling?" He reveals his plans anyway, because "the ranting. The ranting, it is my greatest love."
The Evil Overlord List is all about a villain who makes a handy guide to being a savvy villain.
Los Hermanos, a member of the Global Guardians, is Dangerously Genre Savvy. He's the hero who notes that if there's no body, there's no villain death, or mentions the fact that sending the villains to prison never works. Everyone around him complains about his "pessimism", but he's never been wrong yet.
Dr. Diabolik of the Whateley Universe. He builds plans which actuallydependon the hero (apparently) winning while he (supposedly) gloats. He deliberately plays up being a Card-Carrying Villain to keep people from realizing that he is actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist, as this leads them to underestimate him. He treats his minions extremely well and always rescues them if they get caught: as a result he is hated by Interpol because his mooks never turn traitor. He has two children: he treats them very well. He is fully aware of the cost of running a large villainous organization and always makes sure his attacks provide himself and his staff with enough loot; still, his real income comes from manipulating the stock markets through his raids, and he engages in industrial espionage along the way as well. He has a robotic arm, but he no longer wears clothing which lets it show, because someone could spot it and use that knowledge against him. He never confronts the superheroes directly, and has never been caught.
Red vs. Blue: Agent Texas set a trap for Agents Washington and Maine based on where highly trained ex-PFL agents would recognize an obvious trap. Wash sees the perfect ambush zone, set by a trained soldier like a Freelancer, so he stops their Warthog. Dead center among the mines. Then they all activated.
CT!Pillman refuses to tell Tucker any secret plans, motivations, or weaknesses with the latter cornered, skipping right to the executing.
"Sorry, you'll never know."
Normally Church will try and fight with his sniper rifle, despite his total lack of capability with it. When he finds out the Meta can take Freelancer armor powers, including Wyoming's time-loop power, he immediately makes a break for a rocket launcher.
Giovanni of Twitch Plays Pokémon Red knows the Mob's weaknesses very well. They lack the co-ordination to complete a spin puzzle, so he builds multiple spin puzzles in his hide-out and watches the chaos unfold. Later, it's revealed that his Gym is built on a ledge - and when only one down input is needed to make poor, hapless Red jump off the ledge, this makes the Gym almost completely inaccessible. His son Silver in Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal is even worse - he attacks AJ when the latter is at his weakest (such as at the end of Victory Road) and he uses a Ghost-type on his team, which the Mob struggles to hit due to poor moveset choices.
Ichigo Kurosaki from Omni Bleach Abridged in some situations is this to a level that he practically borders the 4th Wall.