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Practical Taunt
In Real Life, taunting your opponent will do nothing but irritate them. In games, they often do more.

"Taunt" is a common debuff or utility attack in games. Its most common effect is forcing enemies to target the taunter, but it can vary. Note, they can be Awesome, but Impractical and still count for this trope, they just need to do something besides mocking thy enemy; otherwise, it's a Taunt Button.

Compare Status Buff.

Examples:

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     Card Games  

  • In Battle Spirits, cards with the "Clash" ability forces the opponent to block if possible.
  • In "James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game", taunting a captured spy raises his point value.
  • The Magic: The Gathering card Taunting Elf causes all of the defending opponent's creatures to block it when it attacks.

     Folklore  

  • In Celtic folklore, being satirized by a bard is pretty much the same as being cursed; it could give you boils, affect your abilities as a warrior, or even kill you.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In all manner of Dungeons & Dragons games, both video games and tabletop, Taunt is a skill that has some debuff effects on enemies. In addition, player characters often have the dialog option to taunt particularly arrogant creatures (such as Demons and Dragons) to get so mad they do something really stupid, such as ignore the fact that their hoard is being looted in the background, or the demons to get so furious to blurt out their True Names, which ends up giving the Player Character limited control over them.

     Video Games  

  • This can become a necessity in Morrowind if you're sent on a mission to eliminate someone. Murder is against the law, but if you can provoke the target into attacking you, you can fight back and kill them completely legally under self-defence. Amusingly, just taunting them is often not enough - you have a relationship measure that, if it sinks too low, simply leads the target to believe that you are Not Worth Killing, and they will ignore you no matter how much you taunt them. If however, you compliment and/or bribe them into liking you better, you gain enough of their respect that your taunts are effective. They will pull out their weapon and go to town.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, each character has an action that can be activated with the R1 button and varies from style to style. Among these are taunts that heal a small portion of health and taunts that boost attack power for a period of time. These were largely removed in the next games, with Havik retaining the self-healing taunts and a few characters in Armageddon having attack-boosting taunts.
  • In Diablo II, the Barbarian has the taunt ability, which lowers an enemy's defenses, and more importantly, provokes ranged attackers into fighting up close.
  • In Street Fighter III, each character's Personal Action (read: "taunt") has its own individual Status Buff. For example, Q (already something of a Mighty Glacier/Stone Wall) can bolster his defense with each taunt, for a maximum of three times.
    • Same goes for Makoto, but it's her attack power that increases for 1 hit only.
  • Super Smash Bros.: If Kirby taunts while having a Copy Ability, he loses it. (This allows him to acquire a new, more useful copy ability, or just suck enemies up and spit them out.)
    • Luigi's down taunt works as a Meteor Smash, and Snake's taunt can damage with the box.
  • Eternal Champions allowed taunts to drain an opponents "inner strength," which was needed to perform special attacks. Since the CPU could pull off any moves any time without regard to their inner strength, this mostly just meant you, the player, never got to use any special moves in arcade mode because your enemy immediately would taunt away your means to do them.
  • In X-Men: Next Dimension, taunting charges up the super meter faster than most moves. Rogue's is also her only default projectile.
  • Plenty of characters blow a kiss as a taunt, with the ability to stun. The first that come to mind are Rogue in X-Men: Next Dimension and Doronjo in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Polimar can charge up his attack power by using his normal taunt or performing the Storm Kamae special, which causes him to pose and gives him access to 3 followups. This is represented by three Polimar emblems on the bottom of the screen; one lights up each time he does either.
    • Also, the emblems allow him to cancel any of his ground specials with another special (one cancel per emblem, and you can also keep cancelling the slide followup from Storm Kamae back into Storm Kamae to psych the opponent out). Having three emblems is also the only way Polimar is able to use his Level 3 Hyper Combo.
    • Doronjo's taunt, a blown kiss, also doubles as a short range missile. It even doubles as her assist move!
  • Team Fortress 2: all classes have at least one taunt that can be used as an attack, such as the Scout's Home Run, the Soldier's Kamikaze (and Lumbricus Lid), the Pyro's Hadoken, Execution, and Armageddon, the Demoman's Decapitation, the Heavy's Showdown, the Engineer's Dischord and Organ Grinder, the Medic's Spinal Tap, the Sniper's Skewer, and the Spy's Fencing.
    • The original taunts were very much Awesome, but Impractical; They could hurt/kill your opponent, but were so slow and obvious that one would have to be an idiot to be hit by them. This was intentional, as it was meant to be a way to defeat your opponent in the most humiliating manner possible. With more taunts there came more interesting effects that didn't fit this rule though.
    • When the Medic taunts with the Kritzkrieg, he regains 10HP. If he taunts with the Amputator, all nearby allies regain health. Engineer's Eureka Effect taunt "teleports player back to spawn and replenishes all health, metal and ammo". Pyro's Mmmph "Fills all health, enables a primary weapon crit boost, and gives 75% damage resistance for the duration of the taunt". Heavy and Scout have items they consume when you click the shoot button, though these items do the exact same thing when you taunt with them.
    • There are several taunt achievements, and getting a certain amount of achievements can get you achievement items.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Deadpool's taunt, a speech bubble, can also be used as an attack.
    • It gets better in the Ultimate version: Deadpool can cancel into and out of a taunt, making it a tool for combos.
    • Thor has an extra taunt; a long-winded speech that fills his team's hyper bar as he continues to speak.
    • Taunts can also be used to bait attacks pretty well, as you can still call assists (if rush in on Spider-Man as he calls you a loser, you'll have to eat Akuma's Shoryuken for example). You can also cancel a taunt into a crossover combination (So if you try to attack Zero as he compares you to a training program, you'll have to eat the entire opposing team's Super Moves at the same time). Last but not least, you can X-Factor cancel out of a taunt (meaning if you attack a taunting opponent, they'll go into their Super Mode and have the perfect opportunity to unleash a deadly combo). So the only time it's safe to attack a taunting opponent is if they have no Hyper bars, already used X-Factor and are down to the last character on the team.
  • In the Sengoku Basara series, many taunts have an effect on the character's moveset, for example, powering up one of their special attacks. They can also be used to charge the Basara Attack Gauge.
  • Some characters' taunts in Jump Super Stars have special effects; for example, Eve gets a super jump. The stunning kiss from above is included too, but it goes to... Kazuki.
  • The taunting action in Assassin's Creed II makes an opponent attack sooner, so you don't have to wait as long to counter the attack.
  • In Mabinogi, the giants' Taunt skill attracts the aggro of all nearby monsters, taking the pressure off any teammates.
    • Giants also get a skill that makes them virtually invincible but immobilizes them, so Taunt is a good way of attracting enemies within range when they use said skill.
  • Art of Fighting was the first fighting game to have this feature. Taunting affects the opponent's spirit gauge, lowering it, which limits their ability to use special attacks. Specials also suffer from reduced range and become weaker as the gauge depletes. Art of Fighting's spirit management system and use of taunts offered a strategic element meant to prevent players from simply spamming special attacks.
  • In earlier iterations of The King of Fighters, taunting lowers the other player's power bar. In more recent installments, it actually does the reverse, allowing opponents to gain a bit of meter.
  • In BlazBlue, taunting in story or arcade mode completely fills your heat meter (useful in story mode if you have to end a fight with a special move to unlock a given ending).
    • Certain characters can cancel attacks with a taunt to chain combos more effectively.
  • In the Star Control games, the Pkunk's special action is taunting its opponent — this doesn't harm the opponent, but does recharge the Pkunk's combat batteries.
  • In Devil May Cry, taunting restores your Devil Trigger gauge and boosts your Style Gauge. Of course the higher on the Gauge you are the longer and more elaborate the taunts get.
  • In zOMG!, the Taunt ring is used to draw enemies' attention
  • Pokémon:
    • The move Taunt is used to make the target only use offensive moves.
    • Torment prevents the target from using the same move twice in a row.
    • Growl, Leer, and Screech reduce the opponent's stats.
    • Flatter and Swagger make the opponent's attack stats raise, but confuses them.
    • Parting Shot lowers the foe's stats and switches the user out.
    • Notably, Taunt, Torment, Flatter and Parting Shot are all Dark-type moves.
  • Mogul Khan, The Axe, a hero in Defense Of The Ancients, has this as one of his spells. While buffing himself up with tons of extra armor, he taunts his enemies magically such that all nearby enemies are forced to attack him, preventing them from attacking anyone else for a few seconds.
  • In Super Dodgeball for Neo Geo, characters from both teams can charge a meter to unleash an unavoidable, highly damaging team attack. The only way to prevent it is to lower the enemy's meter by taunting him.
  • Tidus's Provoke skill in Final Fantasy X, if successful, makes an enemy attack him only, or even drive down the enemy's accuracy. It sounds like a spell, but it's performed through a rude gesture and sometimes a verbal taunt. "Hey hey hey!"
    • Final Fantasy XIII has this as an ability for the Sentinel role. The default tank, Snow, just waves the enemy forward and says something like 'Come on!' or 'I can take it'!
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Taunt is a generic Warrior class skill used to instantly boost all nearby enemies' aggro, making them attack the tank instead of weaker party members. In Dragon Age II, it is part of the Warmonger talent tree and has an even better effect, transferring all aggro towards other party members to the tank.
  • Lee Chaolan from Tekken has one where he leans back and wags his finger at his opponent, beckoning them to come at him. The thing is, while this may look like a taunt, it also has the more prominent utility of being an alternate stance that gives him access to moves that are great at countering a reckless charge, which is the likely reaction for someone who falls for the taunt. A second one has him lean in and say "Come on!" to the opponent, but if they try to punch him during the taunt, he flips behind them, landing in a perfect position to attack.
  • In League of Legends, Rammus, Shen and Galio have taunt abilities. Taunts make their target incapable of performing any action but autoattacking, and will interrupt a channeled spell, useful in itself.
    • Rammus' taunt reduces enemy armor. He has another ability that increases his defense and hurts people who hit him, with obvious synergy.
    • Shen has a dash ability that taunts all the units that he passes through, which can be handy for directed them away from a fleeing ally.
    • Galio's ultimate unleashes a powerful explosion, but he has to channel to do it. But because it also taunts everyone nearby, it prevents them from running out of range, and makes it much harder to interrupt the channel. The explosion also increases in strength based on how many times he's hit while channeling it.
  • Every tank spec in World of Warcraft has a taunt, which boosts the tank's threat level to that of their target's current target and forces the target to attack them for a few seconds no matter what.
    • For a while the Paladin's Hand of Reckoning taunt used to deal damage, although the amount wasn't significant.
  • Most of the Shin Megami Tensei games have a "Taunt" spell, which increases enemy attack power while severely lowering their defense. Combined with Dekaja, a Status Buff Dispel, this can be a very effective ability.
    • Changed entirely in Devil Survivor: it makes enemies more likely to attack the user (instead of their allies) and buffs their defense.
  • Scarface: The World is Yours: Taunting helps to fill out the Balls meter, speeding you on to another Blind Rage.
  • In Super Monday Night Combat, taunting rewards the player with a little bit of cash. This is because the match is televised in-universe, so the players are rewarded for posing for the fans.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Symphonia, taunting restores some of the Unison Attack gauge.
    • Taunting in Tales of Vesperia boosts the Overlimit gauge by a significant amount, but multiple abilities give it additional effects, such as restoring HP/TP and making enemies target or not target you. Raven has another practical use for it in that it causes enemies struck by a particular arte of his to explode when he does it.
    • In addition to retaining the TP recovery, taunts in Tales of Xillia have other functions for some of your party members: Milla gains the ability to charm foes, while Elize switches giving extra power to either her martial or arcane artes.
  • In God Hand, Gene's taunt pisses off enemies, making them stronger, and raises the Dynamic Difficulty - but it also refills his God Hand gauge and allows him to lure enemies out of the pack. This game is all about effective crowd control dynamics, making well-used taunts the key to success.
  • The Wing Commander series has a special keyboard command for taunting enemies, which can make the target of the taunt redirect their attack to you from whatever they were previously shooting at. This is particularly useful when the enemy is targeting the subject of your Escort Mission, which usually has the defensive strength of wet tissue paper.
    • This could be very effective strategy for 3 ships. Ships with the charging mass weapon could charge their shot before firing to increase damage (by the time you can re target a new foe and close after a kill your mostly charged), while the top-tier bomber had a very slow firing but devastating main weapon. All these ships could effectively kill anyone in 1-2 hits, but missing with your shot was costly since it took so long to charge a new one. Worse, most of these ships were bombers which were slow, with low maneuverability made it very hard to aim the shots you couldn't afford to miss. Cue taunting a foe into a direct charge, firing your fully charged weapon as soon as they are remotely close, then varying away in time to avoid most incoming fire (and debris from an exploding ship). This was the only way to achieve certain secondary mission objectives which required a high percentage of mook kills (50-75) with a bomber too slow to even reach (must less kill) foes fast enough to prevent allies from scoring too many kills.
  • Between versions of Virtua Fighter 5, Jeffrey's Threat Stance was changed from a raised knee to a taunt that involved him beating his chest and snarling at the opponent. The chest-beating taunt did minor damage and knockback to the opponent, but more importantly, set the opponent up for any number of Jeffrey's massively damaging combos.
  • Taunts have appeared in a few Koei games:
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark Of The Millennium has a specific example. Normally taunting will raise your opponent's super meter, so this is generally not practical and in fact will harm you. However, should you be coming towards the end of a round and your opponent happens to be using K-Groove with a near-full bar, taunting at this point will push the meter over the edge and into a raged state. Again, could be bad (since you just handed them a level 3 super) but once the round ends, their meter will be empty regardless of the outcome because a K-Groove meter that's in the process of draining will not carry over to the next round.
  • In general, Professional Wrestling video games reward taunting by bringing you closer to being able to execute your finisher. Particularly in the Def Jam series of video games, you won't be able to execute your finisher without taunting (taunting with a full power meter puts you into "Blazin'" mode, which then enables you to execute your finisher; most pro wrestling games simply allow you to execute a finisher at any time once your power meter is full or you have a finisher stocked).
  • Skullgirls intends to implement this with subtle buffs your character can gain after a taunt. The first example of this, Peacock, has it so that if you successfully pull off a taunt, the next item that will come down when she completely charges her Shadow of Impending Doom will always be the one based off of Hsien-Ko's Tenrai-Ha.
  • The DLC character Sam in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance can taunt his enemies, which causes them to glow red, attack more aggressively and makes their attacks do block damage along with making them uncounterable, but it also makes them more predictable and greatly lowers their defense, allowing Sam to do double damage to most enemies and cut weaker enraged enemies apart with his normal attacks.
  • Monkey can do this in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It can either be used to draw enemies to him (and therefore away from Trip), or to goad the Bullfight Boss to run into walls.
  • Every character in Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle has multiple taunts, which can lower their opponent's Heart Heat gauge when they're prone. Joseph also has a counter which lets him copy his opponent's taunt to gain an entire bar of his Heart Heat gauge and increase the strength of his hamon attacks.
    • Josuke manages to invert this: one of his moves causes his opponent to taunt his hair. Cue attack buff.
  • In One Piece: Grand Battle! Rush (brought to the states as just One Piece: Grand Battle) as well as the American-made sequel, Grand Adventure, Crocodile's taunt makes him whip out a poisoned version of his claw, meaning that any attacks with the claw that connect will poison his opponent.
  • Planescape: Torment has Morte, the floating skull. His "Litany of Curses" ability causes enemies to chase down and attempt to engage in melee combat with Morte (even if it's a ranged attacker like a Mage). He levels it by example; if he hears an NPC get angry and start swearing, he makes a mental note of whatever they said for future reference.
  • In Sid Meier’s Pirates!, shouting a taunt during a swordfight will briefly cause you to move faster and your opponent slower, making it much easier to dodge and counter the next swing. Understandably, taunting at the wrong time and getting stabbed for it doesn't have quite the same effect.
  • Soul Calibur: Xianghua's taunts are an integral part of her fighting style. Her feints are accompanied by a taunt to make her seem open to attack, as are her counter stances, which are indicated by a brief purple glow on her sword. If she successfully baits an attack, she auto-impacts it and says, "Gotcha!", then immediately follows up with an auto-counter. She also taunts whenever she cancels an attack, which is indicated by, "Just kidding!", and can cancel her evasive moves as well which is indicated by, "Hey!".
  • Xenoblade: For much of the early going, Reyn is your damage sponge, who's job is to divert the enemy's attention by drawing aggro to himself, which is what he has "Mad Taunt" for. It's his Talent Arte, which boosts his aggro so that the enemy has no choice but to lock onto him. Plus, he has multiple Artes designed to draw aggro and refill his talent meter at the same time, meaning, he can reuse Mad Taunt, just as its effects have begun to wear off. Thereby, keeping the enemy's attention focused squarely on him.

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