->''Whatever my one vulnerability is, I will fake a different one. For example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the climax when the hero whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my reaction will be 'Hmm... I think I need a shave.'''
-->-- ''EvilOverlordListCellblockB''

As every smart hero or villain knows, the best way to defeat most adversaries is to AttackItsWeakPoint. But said savvies will also know that this is coming, and may very well decide that they don't like being shot in their weak point. This is where the Fake Weakness comes in: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin faking a weakness]], whether it's [[AttackItsWeakPoint an actual flashing weakpoint]], a WeaksauceWeakness or just an AchillesHeel, to put your opponents off their guard and make them waste valuable time and energy on a RedHerring before you proceed with the [[CurbStompBattle curb stomp]].

Compare IAmNotLeftHanded and BriarPatching. Related to, but not to be confused with FakingTheDead. Often this is used as a justification for OurVampiresAreDifferent and the like, because if you start debunking beliefs in ''fake'' weaknesses, they might start stumbling onto the ''real'' ones.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In the anime version of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' during the battle between [[ConfusionFu Kyoraku]] and [[TheGunslinger Starrk]], the later intentionally holsters his right gun every time he fires a large Cero in an effort to trick his opponent into thinking that he needs to recharge a shot after every attack while continually firing weaker ones with his left gun. When Kyoraku attempts to exploit this, Starrk whips it back out and shoots him point-blank.
* In ''Manga/{{Heroman}}'', the BigBad implants some information about his race in the mind of a guy who later does a HeelFaceTurn. This information includes the fact that the massive eye on his chest is a weak point that can be targeted to kill him. The titular robot punches said eye, putting his fist right through it -- at which point the eye socket ''clamps down on his arm'', immobilizing him long enough for the BigBad to [[spoiler:outright ''kill him'']].
* In a flashback in the first episode of ''Literature/{{Moshidora}}'', Minami, playing in a junior baseball game, intentionally makes a terrible wild swing at the first pitch she faces, letting the pitcher think she is a terrible batter who will be easy to get out. On his next pitch, she makes a solid hit.
* Played straight and inverted at the same time in ''LightNovel/Overlord2012'', [[EvilOverlord The title character]] fights against [[spoiler:[[OurVampiresAreDifferent Shalltear]]]], as an undead, he is vulnerable to fire and holy magic, so he [[spoiler: uses an item which protects him from holy attacks]]. During the fight he acts as if he was [[NoSell resistant]] to [[spoiler: fire]] but still [[WeakenedbytheLight very vulnerable]] to [[spoiler: holy magic]], tricking his opponent into spamming [[spoiler: holy attack]] while also using the False Data:Life spell to make it look like he has less hit points than he actually has. He also pretended to not know anything about quite a few of her skills and spells while he knew about them since the beginning ([[spoiler:in fact, since Shalltear's creation]]) to trick her into wasting them. The [[OhCrap face of pure horror]] from said opponent once she realizes that she's been tricked and is now low on Mana is priceless.
* In ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'', Shana is fighting Sorath and Tiriel, who keep regenerating. Shana notices a magical plant in the distance and attacks it, but it fights back and restrains her. The two reveal they put the plant there because they knew she would mistake it for their SoulJar.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Subversion in ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'': the heroes were led to believe that they had to recreate the white light of creation to stop Nekron, but their first attempt only made him stronger leading the heroes to believe they'd fallen victim to this trope. Turns out they needed to free the white entity itself to do the job right (and resurrect Nekron's undead anchor, Black Hand.)
* There was one ''ComicBook/XMen'' story where people discover ancient scrolls with rituals that would destroy ComicBook/{{Apocalypse}}. It turns out that they were created by Apocalypse himself, just to get people to try them out. The [[WesternAnimation/XMen '90s animated series]] used the same plot.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10589711/1/Falling-Up Falling Up]]'', both [[WesternAnimation/GravityFalls Mabel and Dipper Pines]] pretend to have specific weaknesses. Mabel pretends her powers are bright and flashy and that she requires an amulet to use them. Dipper pretends to have a weakness for redheads after Mabel asks, "Would you rather your enemies throw redheads or grenades at you?"
* Xander in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5237318/1/Crush Crush]]'' pretends to have [[ExtraOreDinary powers over magnetism]] when he's actually a GravityMaster. This becomes a plot point when he's put before a KangarooCourt that has a TailorMadePrison for people with magnetic powers. Xander calmly crushes the cell holding him, then plays it off as manipulating the magnetic fields between atoms.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'':
** [[spoiler:Metroman]] pretends to be vulnerable to [[spoiler:copper to fake his own death, because he has come to feel he and Megamind are in a rut and he wants to explore another career.]]
** This comes to bite Megamind in the ass later. It turns out, a trap made of solid [[spoiler:copper]] can't stop the rampaging [[spoiler:superhero-turned-villain Titan who had Metroman's powers.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the film ''Film/SevenSamurai'' the lead samurai says, "A good fort needs a gap. The enemy must be lured in. So we can attack them. If we only defend, we lose the war."
%%* [[spoiler:Skynet's EvilPlan]] in ''Film/TerminatorSalvation''.

* One ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' book featured aliens with translucent skin and completely visible internal organs. When Jake has to fight them he realizes that no animal would evolve such perfect targets for a predator and deduces that they must be distractions. He hits one of the aliens in the one empty spot and it drops almost instantly.
* In Literature/TheBible, Samson made up quite a few of these to mask his true WeaksauceWeakness of cutting his hair. However, it was less an attempt to be cautious and more an attempt to get Delilah to stop pestering him about it. Upon learning each "weakness," Delilah would send some Philistine soldiers to try it out, only for Samson to laugh and kill them. [[WhatAnIdiot He apparently learned absolutely nothing from this,]] and eventually told Delilah his real weakness.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** The new(ish) Count de Magpyre of ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'' added fake banishment rituals to several holy books. After those rituals fell out of use due to being completely ineffective, he and his family [[AcquiredPoisonImmunity built up a resistance]] to the standard vampire weaknesses instead.
** The witchfinder Perspicacia Tick is herself a witch, hunting prospective witches for recruitment rather than for [[BurnTheWitch terminal]] purposes. She distributes a manual on witch hunting and disposal to the more intolerant villages, with tips like tricking the witch into complacency with a good meal and bed for the night, nullifying her magic with a silver coin in each boot, and leaving ''immediately'' after binding her with easily escapable knots and throwing her into the nearest lake.
* In ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'', the [[EmotionEater vampire-like]] Molasar allows himself to be studied by a Jewish history professor. In one session, the professor brings in several holy symbols. Molasar ignores most of them but reacts violently to a Christian cross. [[spoiler:It's later revealed that he's not really afraid of the cross, but only reacted the way he did to feed off of the destruction of the professor's faith. Later in the book one of the German officers tries to use a cross to ward off Molassar [[CrossMeltingAura and it goes very, very, badly for the German]].]]
* It is implied in ''Literature/TheMadnessSeason'' that many of the weaknesses that popular culture says belong to vampires were fabricated by their kind so that they could escape angry mobs relatively unharmed. Of particular interest is their "weakness" to wooden stakes. A properly skilled immortal is able to absorb the organic matter in the wood before it causes any damage to their heart. Unfortunately, some vampires wind up assuming that these weaknesses are the real deal, giving them a genuine aversion to such mundane things as garlic and holy water.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Sylar does this in the third season of ''Series/{{Heroes}}''. Danko stabs him in the back of the head when he betrays him, which is the only spot that can stop the regenerating man via putting him in a coma as long as something is stabbed back there. Sylar gets up, though, thanks to his shape-shifting powers he got with Danko's help. He can now move his weak spot anywhere on his body, as he gloats.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' has the Janitor convincing JD that he goes into a trance when he hears the word "popsicle". Of course this just serves as another way to lull JD into a false sense of security.
* On ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', Damon stabs [[spoiler:Mason Lockwood]] with a silver knife, which backfires when it turns out that werewolves arenít actually vulnerable to silver, and he just made an enemy of someone who wanted to live in peace. And eventually we find it's more than fake -- silver jumpstarts their HealingFactor.
-->'''[[spoiler:Mason]]:''' You know, I think werewolves were probably the ones who started this whole "weak to silver" thing, just for moments like this.

* Glynn Washington of ''Radio/SnapJudgment'' tells a story from the perspective of a frustrated supervillain.
--> Kryptonite? Please, I think he started that nonsense. I tried everything: kryptonite rays, kryptonite missiles. Once I had the fool locked in a kryptonite ''coffin''. "Oh, oh, it hurts, kryptonite, kryptonite." Then he broke out and started tearing up my secret lab! He just never stops. Then... ''then'' he's got the nerve to put on some glasses, and suddenly he's incognito. Like I'm stupid.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Zigzagged in ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'' in several different ways:
** By default, the classic vampire weaknesses of running/holy water, holy symbols, and other folkloric weaknesses (like dying if pricked by rose thorns) don't work. Except both the first and second edition of the game feature rules for vampires who ''are'' vulnerable to them despite this not being the norm.
** The traditional "stake through the heart" is a straight-up zigzag of the trope. On the one hand, it ''does'' force a vampire into Torpor, leaving them a seemingly dead corpse. On the other hand, that state ends the moment the stake comes out, so a vampire can easily fake its death by letting itself get staked and then having some minion pull the stake out after the ignorant monster hunters have congratulated themselves on their victory and gone home.

* Used in the musical version of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'', where a rumor is perpetuated that [[spoiler: water will make Elphaba melt]], and [[spoiler:she]] [[RetCon uses it as a way to fake]] [[spoiler:her]] death.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AdventureQuest'', King Frost's stats imply that he takes double damage from Fire attacks. The stat window is a filthy liar. Fire damage heals King Frost and makes his attacks much stronger. In a similar vein, the Razorclaw's stats also imply that it takes double damage from fire. Fire actually does hurt Razorclaw a lot. It also sets it on fire, giving Razorclaw the ability to retaliate with high fire damage in addition to its standard darkness attack.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'': it can't be certain if Lavos [[ItCanThink was doing this on purpose]], but in the final stage of the battle against it [[spoiler:the [[AttackItsWeakPoint core you need to destroy]] is ''not'' the vaguely humanoid part in the center--that's just another part that will regenerate after being destroyed. The real core is the limb-like part on the right, which looks identical to the non-essential part on the left.]]
* This trope is inverted by Archer from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' in the "Unlimited Blade Works" route when he gets into a fight with a 'not-holding back' Lancer. Lancer attacks and blocks faster than Archer can react, so Archer spends the entire fight on the defensive and creates intentional weak points in his defense in order to predict where Lancer will attack next in advance and block the attacks ahead of time. These are not fake weaknesses, however -- Archer comments to himself how, if he misses a single block, he'll end up ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice. Without these weak points he'll die a certain DeathByAThousandCuts instead. [[spoiler:Archer's objective isn't to win anyway, it's merely to drag out the fight long enough for the heroes to defeat Caster.]]
* One enemy in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' (found in the last dungeon) casts an EnemyScan on itself each turn. This is all it does. The scan shows you its HitPoints (a little over the 10000 Damage {{Cap}}) and that it's weak to lightning. Cast a lightning spell on it and while you do actually do more damage, it causes the creature to [[TurnsRed Turn Red]] and unleash a brutal counterattack. Though, anyone who trusts an enemy named "Trickster" deserves what they get.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyMysticQuest'', the ancient prophecy that says a hero will arise to defeat the Dark King was, it turns out, made up by the Dark King himself. That doesn't mean, of course, that you can't defeat him anyway.
* The final boss in ''VideoGame/GoldenAxe'' also counterattacks the player if attacked while knocked down.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'', where multiple characters throughout the first two thirds of the game will comment on how your character seems to have a flaw in his/her fighting style that they distracted themselves trying to exploit while you whupped their asses. All of them conclude that it is merely a clever ruse and compliment your master for such ingenuity in teaching you. [[spoiler: Thing is, once your master reveals himself as the BigBad, he proceeds to show you how to PROPERLY exploit the weakness in your character's style]].
* Trinitro Man's nitroglycerin-filled head capsule in ''VideoGame/MegaManUnlimited''. Hit it and it will deal a good amount of damage to the boss. Hit it 3 times and Trinitro Man [[TakingYouWithMe blows the hell up along with Megaman]].
* Played with in ''VideoGame/MegaManX4'' when battling Double. He ''is'' weak against Double Cyclone as it does more damage to him than any other weapon, but using it causes pieces of his body to break off and morph into [[GoddamnedBats little flying attack robots]] that make the battle ''much harder''.
* ST Arachnus from ''[[VideoGame/BattleClash Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge]]'' will sometimes reveal a hidden weak spot in its abdomen after you hit it with a powerful attack. While attacking this spot ''does'' deal a considerable amount of damage, destroying it also opens you up to a barrage of bullets from the lower body that is almost impossible to defend against.
* In the ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' series, the Gypceros will sometimes stagger and fall to the ground as if dead, only to thrash about moments later, most likely causing damage to any player that had attempted to move in to carve the corpse up.
** In later games, it actually is possible to carve the Gypceros when it plays dead. It just isn't a particularly smart thing to do because of the aforementioned thrash attack.
* Shao Kahn of ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' does a taunt that makes him seem vulnerable. Attack him during this, however, and he'll nail you with a painful counterattack.
* In ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'', the boss Bad Girl will sometimes fall to the ground, seeming like a big opening for you to attack... [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty take a single swing at her while she's on the ground]] and she'll parry, and the game will enter a cinematic of her beating you to death. Seems like a trap for gamers who are used to bosses who periodically leave themselves vulnerable, right? Well, not quite - she actually has two "fall to the ground crying" animations. One leads to the instant kill, and the other genuinely ''is'' an opportunity to knock her senseless. The trick is [[spoiler:to check her hands: [[SublimeRhyme If one's still on the bat,]] ''[[SublimeRhyme do not attack]]'']].
* Perhaps not the straightest example, but about halfway through ''VideoGame/PaperMario64'', Bowser flat out asks Peach about Mario's weaknesses. If Peach answers honestly, there will be several [[BossInMookClothing powerful]] enemies around the next game area, but if she tells Bowser that Mario is deathly afraid of healing items, he will take this at face value, and there will be several useful items scattered around the area instead.
** The same thing happens in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' with [[ShapeShifter Mimi disguised as Merlee]] asking Mario what terrifies him the most.
* The {{tanuki}} from ''Sexy VideoGame/{{Parodius}}'' looks like he has two weaknesses: his face and [[GroinAttack his balls.]] While shooting his "other" soft spot disrupts his psychic attacks, shooting him there too many times causes him to turn into a CuteMonsterGirl that is much harder to defeat.
* In the NintendoHard ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} FES'' epilogue, The Answer, a lot of the bosses have a specific weakness. However, they also have the corresponding Dodge/Evade skill [[FakeDifficulty with an extremely higher percentage to evade said weakness than their names indicate]].
* The BonusBoss Contrarian King in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' starts off the battle by casting Red Wall on himself, which makes the target strong against fire attacks: enemies with elemental weaknesses generally try to cover them by casting the appropriate Wall spell on themselves, and taking advantage of them is strongly encouraged by the game. However, once it wears off and you try to cast a fire spell on him, he just absorbs it, causing you to both heal him and waste your turn. Though, like Trickster above, if you take a boss with that name at face value, you deserve what you get.
* A programming bug caused this in ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'', where Psychic-type Pokémon were supposed to be vulnerable to Ghost-type attacks, but ended up outright immune to them instead.
* Done in ''VideoGame/SakuraWars: [[VideoGame/SakuraWarsSoLongMyLove So Long, My Love]]'' by Ranmaru. During your second fight with him, the head of his mech is no longer his weak point and acts only as a distraction. The demonic bunny learned from his previous attempt. [[spoiler: This time, he's hiding between the main body and the propellers.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ScottPilgrim'', both Natalie Adams and Todd Ingram have powerful counterattacks if the player tries to attack them while they're knocked down.
* Comes up in ''VisualNovel/SharinNoKuni''. [[spoiler: Hozuki's limp AND Kenichi's drug addiction. They're both faking them to get the other's guard down, and it works in both cases.]]
* Dampierre of ''VideoGame/SoulCaliburV'' has a Critial Edge move called The Land of Plenty, which he pretends to be panicking and executes a Guard Impact to parry off attacks, if the others hit him at this moment, he ripostes with an AssShove in response. You can counter him with Devil Jin's DivingKick or any unblockable ranged projectile, such as Cervantes' Pistol Sword.
* The player might be able to do that with certain characters in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha''. Stand just out of range, taunt, then strike them when they move into range. Works best with someone with long range like Vega (claw).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Spacetrawler}}'', Yuri gets captured by some not-too-bright alien mercenaries who intend to torture her but know nothing about human physiology. She pretends to be horrified at the prospect of eating chocolate or butterscotch, so the aliens duly try to torture her with these. In the following pages she is given more and more "tortures" of the same vein. [[spoiler:Things go south when her torturers decide to cut off her limbs instead.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* As quoted above, the EvilOverlordList condones this sort of action.
* A small one appeared in ''Literature/TheSalvationWar''. A group of human insurgents were wiping out small groups of demons and their outposts, but always retreated when the Grand Duke of the area came with his army, making him assume that the humans feared him and his presence would always win battles. The fact he was leading his force made him easy pickings in an ambush.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', [[AwesomenessByAnalysis Tattletale]] realizes that the Simurgh, the most "human" of the Endbringers, is doing this. Simurgh appears to be a fifteen-foot-tall humanoid with wings sprouting asymmetrically all over her body, but Tattletale realizes that the body itself is of no use to Simurgh, as she's a powerful telekinetic and telepath and not even human. Instead, the center of her cognition and power is located in the main joint of her largest wing, the most well-protected point on Simurgh's body.
* In the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'', Phase gets a fake weakness put on his powers testing results: dark chocolate, administered orally. So now he can have enemies try to stop him by bringing him delicious desserts.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' is set in a dystopian future where Mandy, [[Literature/GodEmperorOfDune now a giant slug-thing, rules the world by her production of spice]] (namely cinnamon) and keeps around clones of Billy to keep her company. She tells Billy the "secret weakness" to her cinnamon power was frogs, and when he inevitably blabs to LaResistance it turns out she knew this would happen and was using this trope.