->'''Pop Girl:''' Stupid child. I already saw how you die.\\
'''Cassie:''' Then you know it's not here and it's not today.
-->-- ''Film/{{Push}}''
%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

There are [[{{Seers}} a lot of characters]] who can foresee TheFuture, and sometimes the future is obliging enough to be [[TemporalMutability malleable to change.]] So, what happens when two characters capable of seeing the future and changing it have different ideas about where it ought to go? You get a case of Scry Vs. Scry.

These psychics pit not just their oracular ability against each other to see who can predict most accurately and farther in time, but also their ability to plan and manipulate: guiding allies, manipulating and [[YouCantFightFate outwitting enemies]], [[PokeInTheThirdEye mess with each other's foresight]], and trying to "[[IKnowYouKnowIKnow out]] [[ScrewDestiny foretell]]" each other's changes in a case of XanatosSpeedChess where the prize is control of Fate itself. This can potentially be the ultimate GambitRoulette, not the least because both sides are continually re-spinning the wheel on an unfavorable result.

There are a pair of related scenarios that parallel this. One is when two time travelers attempt to beat each other by progressively changing time and reverting the other's changes, their goal being to change time such that the other ceases to exist or is unable to TimeTravel. The other is when two crazy-good martial artists prepare for a duel: they lock eyes, work out all the moves they will go through, determine that it will be a draw or mutual kill, and ultimately decide not to fight at all.

The [[TropeNamer name of this trope]] is [[JustForPun a pun]] on Magazine/{{MAD}}'s ''Spy vs. Spy''.

Contrast PrescienceIsPredictable. {{Astrologer}}s may also get in on this feuding.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Much of ''Manga/{{X1999}}'' is conflict led by ''Yumemi'' or dreamseers on opposite sides.
* ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'': Both Yuuko and Fei Wong Reed are nigh-omniscient clairvoyants, and are often aware of each other's plans before the other side even plans them. And on top of that, Clow Reed, who'd been dead for hundreds of years prior, could see the future better than the aforementioned two and set it all up ''before he died''.
* The basis of ''Manga/FutureDiary'', where the titular diaries allow knowledge of the future, and all diary holders are forced to fight to the death.
* The manga ''Manga/AnnCassandra'' consists of the protagonists trying to ScrewDestiny when they learn of upcoming disasters (including one protagonist's death) while another tries to assert YouCantFightFate by subverting their attempts at every turn.
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' has two rival factions of {{time travel}}ers, with Mikuru and "Sneering Bastard" as representatives. The latter frequently expresses annoyance at the {{Stable Time Loop}}s he [[YouCantFightFate has to follow]], but he's here for ''something''.
* ''Anime/VisionOfEscaflowne'' is concerned with a battle of Scry Vs Scry between BigBad Emperor Dornkirk, who foretells and manipulates fate through technological means, and protagonist Hitomi, who [[spoiler:due to her ancestry]] has the talent naturally ([[spoiler:including [[RealityWarper the manipulation part]], though she doesn't realize this until late]]).
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' features a Scry Vs Scry battle between Quatre and Dorothy, albeit with both using the ZERO system, which directly interfaces with the user's brain with advance calculations predicting the most probable movements for victory or defeat. However, if the user's brain is unable to process the sheer quantity of raw data being interfaced, the user vividly hallucinates from all the possibilities and becomes overloaded by too many statistics and estimated values. The result is temporary insanity that causes the user to treat ''everything'' as a threat in need of immediate elimination. Quatre's battle with Dorothy was his effort to push through the insanity, and interestingly [[TellMeHowYouFight each eventually manages to identify their adversary without seeing them first.]] Then Quatre stops using the ZERO system for their next battle, yet is able to keep up with Dorothy anyway, hinting that he's the ''Wing'' equivalent of a [[PsychicPowers Newtype]].
* ''Manga/{{Aiki}}'' has a case of the martial artist version, in which Joukyuu, who is supposed to be a master of analysis, surrenders a fight against a similar stylist because he knows that he would lose.
* In ''LightNovel/MushokuTensei'' [[spoiler:Hitogami]] has foresight while [[spoiler:Orsted]] can predict the future based on the experience from his [[GroundhogDayLoop curse]]. The former is limited because once a change is initiated by either of them he cannot accurately see the future; the latter is limited by incomplete knowledge and his other curses. Rudeus ends up a pawn for both of them because he lies outside [[spoiler:Orsted]]'s knowledge.
* The first season of ''Anime/CardfightVanguard'' revolves around "Psyqualia", a mysterious power that allows one to perfectly predict the future and assure victory in the main card game. The final battle comes down to two Psyqualia users, and the villain's arrogance is dented when the hero points out that their powers essentially neutralise each other.


[[folder:Comic Books]]

* The ClockKing and Rose Wilson both have the power to see about 4 seconds into the future. Their fights tend to be evenly matched.
* Batman and Captain America's battle during ''ComicBook/JLAAvengers'': they exchanged a few blows to test each other, then decided that neither would win, at least for a very long time, and chose to talk things out instead.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Ultraman Lugeno and [[spoiler:Mater Mundaram]] eventually get into a scry vs scry situation towards the second half of ''Ultraman Moedari.'' Both can see the future and travel time, and try to manipulate it to their goals. [[spoiler: Neither gets what they want.]]
* A variation of this in ''FanFic/ChildOfTheStorm,'' between the time-traveller and {{Seer}} [[MagnificentBastard Dr. Strange]] and [[spoiler: Sinister]], who is actually not a precognitive or a time traveller, but is somehow immune to the former's foresight (it's implied that he had outside assistance). Strange, who's usually TheChessmaster and ''the'' MagnificentBastard of the series who manipulates everyone, has to scramble to keep on top of things, nearly killing himself and driving himself halfway mad to set it right, and actually messes things up for the first time in the story. However, he does still come out on top. And finds a way around [[spoiler: Sinister's]] immunity. This does not end well for [[spoiler: Sinister]]. At all.


* The two Watchers in ''Film/{{Push}}'', as per the quote at the top of the page. While they both have the power to see the future, it manifests in different ways: Cassie's visions come in the form of snatches of imagery, while Pop-girl is said to be able to divine ''intentions'', not just sights. This leads to a complicated GambitRoulette where the protagonist hands out sealed instructions to his allies, reasoning that Pop-girl won't be able to predict their actions if they have no idea what it is they're going to do until they do it - and then [[MemoryGambit he has his own memories of creating the envelopes erased]] to seal the deal. [[spoiler:It works without a hitch, but then it's implied that the entire events of the movie have been planned out in advance by an even more powerful Watcher.]]
* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', the Force grants its users limited precognitive abilities, so when Jedi/Sith go head to head, this ends up being the result. This same ability is also how they are able to block/reflect blaster bolts and such.
** In the [[StarWarsExpandedUniverse EU]], Luke Skywalker eventually gets good enough that some of his attacks land a split-second ''before'' the opponent sees him use it.
* Subverted by ''Film/FighterInTheWind'', a movie about Mas Oyama, a real life karate master. Before having a duel with his [[TheRival rival]] they have a vision of the katana wielding rival being stopped before he can unsheath his sword and then losing. When they do fight, however, the rival is able to draw his katana and ''lay it flat on his opponent's head'', showing that he could have easily won. Then they fight for real.
* There are some suggestions that the movie ''Film/{{Next}}'' may be one of these, given that [[spoiler:half the movie turns out to be the main character's precognitive vision]] and [[spoiler:the bad guys have been specifically ordered to stop him before he hooks up with his PowerUp[=/=]LoveInterest.]]
* The final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty in ''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows'' becomes this since both are capable of [[SherlockScan fully predicting fights]]. The first vision is narrated by Holmes and shows how he'd win. Moriarty then interrupts and narrates counters that he will be using. Holmes comes to realize through their mental debate that Moriarty will win because Holmes is injured but Moriarty is well-rested. When the fight takes place for real, Holmes [[spoiler:TakesAThirdOption and [[TakingYouWithMe drags them both]] [[HeroicSacrifice off the balcony edge]] to plummet down a ravine.]]
* At the climax of ''Film/BillAndTedsBogusJourney'' Bill & Ted are facing de Nomolos in a BattleOfTheBands. Each has a time machine, and each keeps changing the present by going back into the past in the future to fix things. Bill & Ted have the epiphany that only the one who wins will be able to go back to change things, including changing things their rival is going to change in order to lull him into a False Sense of Security.



* Creator/DavidEddings:
** ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' and the follow-up series ''Literature/TheMalloreon'' involves a conflict between two prophecies, which are personified and able to communicate with the protagonist and the villain respectively.
** ''Literature/TheRedemptionOfAlthalus'' actively pitted two [[FiveManBand groups]] with the ability to change the past and future against each other, with the major edge of the protagonists being a creative boy who tends to have [[CrazyEnoughToWork completely unorthodox applications]] of the capability.
* In the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' saga, Alice can see the future and Edward can read minds. When they play chess, this results in a repeating cycle that ends with Alice knocking over her own king without either ever moving a piece.
* Discussed in ''The Cursed'' by Creator/DaveDuncan, in which those who see the future essentially go insane if they change said future. One oracle who's a supporting character had a friend who went insane this way, and the heroine is told that to truly understand him she should ask him whether he saw the future where the friend did nothing or the future where the friend went insane. (Incidentally, she never asks, allowing the author to avoid that bit of FridgeLogic.)
* A few times in ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'', such as Emperor Paul vs. Guild Steersman Edric in ''Literature/DuneMessiah'' ([[spoiler:Paul wins]]) and Paul vs. his son Leto II in ''Literature/ChildrenOfDune'' ([[spoiler:Leto II wins]]).
** [[MagnificentBastard Leto II]] eventually decides that the existence of competing prescients is nothing but a burden on humanity, and so enacts a [[Literature/GodEmperorOfDune millenial plan to breed humans who are invisible to prescience]], as well as facilitating the creation of a device which conceals anything or anyone contained within, all for the sake of putting a bit of chaos back into human development. His conversation with Siona in the desert could indicate that he did this, along with encouraging the diaspora of humanity after his death, to ensure that no matter what horrible catastrophe happened, not even a prescient person could find and eradicate all of humanity. The memory he showed her may have been from the Butlerian Jihad against the killer robots.
* In ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'', all the factions have people who can read alethiometers, though Lyra has the ability to read it with greater speed and accuracy than the others, and [[WildCard she's working on neither side]].
* In ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'', Allomancers can see a few seconds into the future--not enough to generally be useful, but enough to give them a massive tactical advantage in battle--by using the fictional metal [[AppliedPhlebotinum atium]]. When two atium-using Allomancers get in a fight, the result is a very... compressed version of this trope.
* In ''Literature/GoodOmens'' Crowley (a demon) points out that while, yes, prophesies say that God will win in their final conflict, there are also those that say the devil wins. Naturally, all of the prophets that say the former are already on God's side and all that say the latter are on Lucifer's side, suggesting that both should be taken with a grain of salt.
** Aziriphale (an angel) claims that all these predictions are just propaganda, and if there were no uncertainty, there wouldn't be any point to the war between Heaven and Hell in the first place.
** He also points out that all prophets, except for Agnes Nutter, had some sort of "static" preventing them from predicting the future with total accuracy.
** By the end Crowley adjusts his view [[spoiler:describing the war [[XanatosGambit as a game of solitaire that God couldn't ever really lose]]]].
*** But that's because God isn't really on Heaven's side, but his own, and perhaps of humanity, that both Heaven and Hell consider mere pawns.
* In Creator/StephenBaxter's ''Literature/XeeleeSequence'' book ''Exultant'', Humanity fights a War against the [[StarfishAliens Xeelee]] over the Milky Way Galaxy where both sides can send information backwards in time using [[FasterThanLightTravel FTL]]. In practice, neither side can ever get an advantage. This goes on for tens of thousands of years.
** And then in one of his later ''Xeelee'' novels (''The Ring'' I believe) you find out that the Xeelee were really mainly fighting another entity entirely. One with the intent of essentially destroying every star in existence so as to let themselves live longer and easier. Humanity was only ever a distraction that the Xeelee put up with until we got too annoying then they put us in our place. Oh and those pesky [[spoiler: photino birds? They win, the Xeelee loses. The known universe is abandoned.]] As this was the first novel in the sequence I read it was a rather disturbing first impression of the Xeelee.
* The martial-arts version is discussed in ''Market Forces'' by Richard K. Morgan, with one character speculating that the system would be prejudiced against those with itchy eyelids.
* Pretty much the entire plot of Creator/RobinHobb's ''[[Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings Farseer]]''[=/=]''Liveship Traders'' series eventually turns out to be a case of this.
* The short story "How Much Shall We Bet?" from Calvino's ''Literature/{{Cosmicomics}}'' is about two cosmic beings taking bets on what will happen over the course of human history. It starts out with predicting the most significant historical events (e.g. the first civilizations, great historical leaders), but after all the major events have already been bet on, the predictions get more and more trivial (e.g. Which way will that particular person turn on a particular day? What will be that newspaper's headline on a specific day?) with the narrator losing an increasing number of bets as his seemingly foolproof system begins failing along the way.
* In ''Literature/TheCycleOfFire'', during Jaric and the Morrigierj's climatic duel, both can see all the likely futures for months ahead, possibly centuries, but the Morrigierj prevents Jaric from seeing the positive outcomes.
* In Greg Keyes' ''Literature/KingdomsOfThornAndBone'', between [[spoiler: the Born Queen and the Hellrune]]
* In ''Literature/AConnecticutYankeeInKingArthursCourt'' by Mark Twain, the Boss engages in this trope with various cranks and quacks (including Merlin). He is, strictly speaking, also a fraud - though having been thrown back in time 13 centuries does tend to give him a bit of an advantage.
* This appears to be the case in ''Literature/NightWatch'' between Gesar and Zabulon, two Great Others[[note]]which means they are "above categories" -- power of each is so close to the physical limit, no Other can get significantly stronger -- and possess vast experience and the appropriate mindset; most Great Ones are many centuries old[[/note]]. Any Other can visualize fate lines and predict outcomes, sometimes decades in advance, both sides employ seers and prophets, but Great Ones take into account and cover many more paths. Supposedly this is what distinguishes Great Ones from merely "above categories". Some characters attempt to do the unexpected, only to realize this was all part of the plan.
* ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' has Zedd describing the use of magic in battles like this. Wizard forces are on the back lines simultaneously attacking and dispelling each other across the battlefield, so the end result is a bunch of guys waving their hands with nothing going on a majority of the time. When fireballs aren't destroying your army is a good sign your wizards are doing their job.
* In ''Literature/CourtshipRite'', the Kaiel clan play this game on a regular basis; the leader, or chief priest, is actually called the Prime Predictor. Cheating--that is to say, manipulating events to help your prophecies come true--is not only allowed, but encouraged, and it's never ''entirely'' clear whether there's any actual psychic component to the predictions, although it's strongly suggested. All that ''really'' matters is that your predictions prove to be more accurate than the next fellow's.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series, this is essentially impossible due to the nature of psychohistory. The actions of a population and the large-scale events that will happen in the future can be predicted with near-perfect precision, barring a case of DidntSeeThatComing that throws the entire game out of whack and provided that that group has no psychohistorians of their own advising them. However, SelfFulfillingProphecy is averted, so a group that can themselves predict the future can't be predicted with any accuracy; thus, conflicts between factions capable of psychohistory need to be resolved with what amounts to old-fashioned plotting and scheming.
* Toward the end of ''Literature/TheSack'', politics and business have devolved into leaders taking turns asking the titular alien. Nothing good comes out of it.
* Wencit does this with the various dark wizards in ''Literature/TheWarGods''. Wencit tends to create several layered glamours so that he can [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow trick the dark wizards]] into thinking they've seen through his glamour when they've only seen through the outer layer.
* Braid, the BigBad of ''Literature/TheInfected'' is a particularly potent precog intent on starting a war- because, she says, the alternative will be even worse. The hero has a similarly strong, but almost entirely subconscious, precog talent. Various counters to Braid's power are raised and discussed, such as invisibility or telepathy or other precogs to counter her, but ultimately the heroes spend most of the series uncertain as to whether they're actually thwarting her plans or advancing them.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', the fact that this trope is in effect for every precognitive in existence is the only reason that humanity stands a chance against [[HumanoidAbomination the Simurgh]]. [[spoiler: It is later revealed that Simurgh does not in fact suffer that weakness - she merely lets people believe she does.]]
** However, [[spoiler:Contessa]] [[OneHeroHoldTheWeaksauce does not have this limitation]], which makes her [[StoryBreakerPower incredibly overpowered]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' parody show ''The Curse of Fatal Death'' had the Doctor and the Master in a standoff of sorts where they compete to change the past so that the present would work to their current advantage. Obviously the person who was able to go back the ''furthest'' into the past and anticipate the changes that the other would make would come out on top of the situation. (The standoff ended with the Master accidentally falling into a sewer that took him 300 years to climb out of. He somehow managed to do this ''three times''.)
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' has the martial artist variant, though eventually they do start fighting for real. Who the eventual winner would have been isn't clear, as they didn't finish the fight.
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'': In the season seven episode "Styx Feet Under", the charmed ones can predict who is going to die next (due to having Death's list), but their opponent has access to a fortuneteller.
* The Psychic vs. Psychic episode of ''Series/{{Psych}}'' is even titled "Psy vs. Psy". However, it's subverted in that both the main character and his new competition are {{Phony Psychic}}s simply trying to out SherlockScan each other and [[spoiler:that in said competition gets a leg up because she was involved with the counterfeiter they were trying to track down]].
* The central conflict of ''Series/TruCalling'' ended up being between Tru, who sees a murder victim's face and sometimes gets information on their identity and cause of death, and Jack, who has a vision of their last moments and thus sees how they actually died. The two then race to prevent or ensure the victim's death.
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Hiro (a time traveler) faced Usuntu (a precognitive) who "painted" visions of the future. [[spoiler: Usuntu won. Every time Hiro teleported back in time, he would find a fresh painting of Usuntu knocking him out by hitting him over the head with a shovel. The image would then come true.]]

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]


[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', [[OurElvesAreBetter Eldar]] Farseers, Chaos worshipers of [[TheChessmaster Tzeentch]], and some human psykers are all capable of foresight. With the setting what it is, any competition between them results in catastrophic body counts.
** Then throw in the Cabal from ''Legion'' and watch as everything goes straight to hell on the GambitPileup Express.
** Whats makes the whole thing even more confusing is that Tzeentch is such a obsessive [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]] that sometimes the person he's going up against is himself. As the god of change the only thing that matters is playing the game, since winning would lead to a form of stagnation.
* Time Combat in ''TabletopGame/{{Continuum}}'' works like this. Rival spanners try to undo each other's changes in the timestream and, in so doing, [[TemporalParadox frag their opponent into quasi-sentient time goo]].
* Rather common in both ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' and ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'', and actually within the reach of a starting player character. As a result, you get a non-negligible number of Mages who walk around warded in things which prevent others from scrying them, while they're looking ahead in the future constantly.
* ''TabletopGame/GURPSSupers'' has an example in its "Mixed Doubles" supplement: Hunchback was a British precog whose powers allowed the Allies to counter the advantage of the Nazi's own precog during world war two.
* The martial arts version crops up in ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'' during [[SingleStrokeBattle iaijutsu duels]]. Each swordsman gets a limited ability to "see" some or all of his opponents stats, and some battles end before the first stroke if one combatant decides he's completely outmatched. It is not considered dishonorable to forfeit a duel this way.
* In ''TabletopGame/KitsuneOfFoxesAndFools'' the Scrying Pool allows its user to look at another player's hand once a turn, but they can look at your own hand as well by spending one foxfire.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The plot of ''VisualNovel/TimeHollow'' revolves around main character Ethan Kairos manipulating time to stop an antagonist using the same abilities as himself.
* ''VideoGame/{{Achron}}'' brings us the time-travel version of this. In multiplayer. The players are entities that can shift their perception up and down the timeline freely, [[RippleEffectProofMemory while still remembering versions of events]] that became undone.
* VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX and later Back Cover tells the story of five Foretellers who are given 5 prophecy books by their master. These books foretell about a traitor among them and they are suppose to work together. Each foretellers eventually use the information from the prophecies to direct their Union against each other.
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' has this in spades. Especially interesting considering the series' (awesome) unholy marriage of YouCantFightFate and ScrewDestiny: AntiHero Kain knows that he has a world-shattering SadisticChoice coming, and so goes back through slightly altered versions of the same events over and over again, hoping that, eventually, the right ButterflyOfDoom will come along and allow him to TakeAThirdOption. Naturally, [[GambitPileup it gets more complicated from there]].
* In ''SamAndMax'', the tutorial on how to use Max's psychic powers in season 3 is actually a psychic flash-forward to the climax of the episode, showing how Sam and Max defeat Skun-Ka'Pe. Near the end of the actual first episode, [[spoiler:Skun-Ka'Pe takes the Toy of Power that let Max see the tutorial and is able to take the items Sam and Max needed to win before they even begin their plan]].
* In ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'', two Chronicles, Black and White, allow their holders to hop backwards and forwards in time, as well as to jump between alternate timelines. Stocke tries to save the world by using the White Chronicle to guide it through its [[GoldenPath "True History"]], while the wielder of the Black Chronicle tries to do the exact opposite.
* At the apparent end of ''VideoGame/AstroBoyOmegaFactor'', Astro Boy is given time-travel powers so that he can go back and change the BadEnd he got. However, the BigBad has ''also'' acquired time-travel powers, and as a result events play out ''differently'' the second time around. Astro Boy has to jump from time to time and place to place in order to figure out where and when he'll be able to confront the BigBad directly.
* Rachel and [[spoiler:Hazama]] in ''VideoGame/BlazBlueCalamityTrigger'' are the two characters who retain all of their memories in previous cycles of the StableTimeLoop the universe is caught in. As thousands of loops have already occurred, both have a good idea of what will happen with any particular action they do. Naturally, the two of them have opposite goals, and throughout the game, they subtly manipulate every other major character without letting them notice a thing.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Celesto Morgan versus ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan''... sort of. Their conflict [[LensmanArmsRace escalates beyond this]] fairly quickly, but when they first butt heads, it's as competing oracles.
** Also Dominic vs. Vilrath in the Visions of Doom arc. [[spoiler:Or so it appears at first. In fact, Vilrath is Dominic's [[AloofOlderBrother Aloof (and evil) Older Brother]] Jacob, and he knows all about Dominic and his family not from scrying, but simply because he is (or was) part of that family.]]
* In ''Webcomic/CaseyAndAndy'' strip 209 two highly intelligent good and evil counterparts try to outwit each other while predicting their opponent's countermeasures.
* Lady Toyama from ''Webcomic/TheDreadful'' appears to be a seer with an addiction to amnesia dust, which results in her doing this against herself.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Chessmaster and Mrs. Potter in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse''. The methods by which they use their precognitive abilities are very different - during the Halloween Invasion, the Chessmaster shows himself to be a consummate micro-manager, sending instructions to his minions every few minutes in response to every little change in the situation on the ground. Mrs Potter, on the other hand, does nothing but make a single phone call [[spoiler:''to the Chessmaster himself'', which distracts him at a critical moment and leads to a turn in the tide of the battle.]] Well, Mrs. Potter also made absolutely sure all her pieces were in the right place to do things. Still, Guess who wins?

* High frequency trading in the stock market can resemble this. Various algorithms attempt to predict market moves and outpredict other traders' algorithms to make money off market conditions that last fractions of a second.