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Shoot the Mage First
One of the disadvantages of being on the wrong side of a wizard is that they are usually extremely dangerous. On the other hand, they are also frequently the easiest to eliminate. Therefore, taking them out first usually makes the rest of the battle that much easier.

This is also a common tactic in settings without actual magic, where destroying the Glass Cannon who can destroy half your team in a single attack is a high priority.

Wizards who serve as Enemy Summoners are also disproportionately valuable targets, as killing them off stems the tide of summoned mooks and may even banish/destroy the existing ones.

Compare Shoot the Medic First, which is specifically for healers and support types, and Straight for the Commander, which is targeting the leader or general.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the climax of Red Sonja, Sonja is fighting against her Arch-Nemesis, Queen Gedren. Every time she gets close enough to attack, a Mook teleports Gedren away and Sonja has to chase her down again, while the mage uses Voodoo-like magic to cut Sonja with a dagger. After this happens two or three times, Sonja has enough and chops the guy's head off.

    Literature 
  • In the Tortall Universe, Kel often remembers her teacher's advice: When in doubt, shoot the Wizard.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Common advice in Shadowrun, where "Geek the mage first" is one of the first rules a new shadowrunner learns.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set booklet Cyclopedia of the Realms, section "Pirate Isles of the Inner Sea". On pirate ships it was a standard procedure for archers to make anyone who was appearing to cast a spell their first target. Considering that mages start out with an AC of 9 and can only improve it by means of magical items, archers are deadly to mages who don't have a Protection from Normal Arrows spell up.

    Video Games 
  • Killing the casters first is a good rule to follow in Dungeons & Dragons Online, given the general danger of spellcasters in D&D in general.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2
    • The Explorer Zombie wields a torch that can instantly burn your plants, and he moves fast. Thankfully he's about as durable as a common zombie. Using ice-element plants work too, to put out his torch.
    • Ra Zombie can steal the suns around him if you're not quick to retrieve them. If you kill him, he'll give the suns back.
    • Prospector Zombie, if not taken down fast, can use his dynamite to leap high across your defenses and end up in the last column, then starts eating from the back. Plants that can hit backwards (such as Split Pea) and plants with ice element (which stops the wick) is his perfect counter.
    • Piano Zombie can command all the other zombies to dance and switch lanes, screwing with your strategy. Kill him and the zombies will continue walking normally.
    • Tomb Raiser Zombie will periodically stop and throw a bone onto a random tile, and a tomb will raise from it, blocking your frontal shots. There's an achievement for killing him before he does so.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, in the Charmed Ridge level, there are cat mages who'll hinder you in many ways, one of them is enlarging the Rhynoc Mooks, making them invincible in the process. Hit the cat mage to make the mooks return to normal and killable.
  • Inverted by Jedi-hunters, or at least former Jedi-hunter Atton Rand, during the Jedi Civil War. Rather than attack Jedi directly, it was far safer and more effective to gun down their Muggle allies first.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, when fighting Team Tarquin, the Order is quick to dog-pile on the arcane caster the second they get the chance, knowing he's physically the weakest. However, said team also has a powerful psion, who might not be as strong as the arcane caster, but still isn't anything to sneeze at.

    Web Video 
  • In Counter Monkey, Spoony repeatedly discusses this trope since Wizards are the primary area-of-effect elemental damage dealers. Competent opponents know they are the biggest source of pain and should be dealt with first. He further advises players who are Wizards to not dress like the stereotypical Wizard to disguise their identity and avoid being singled out.


Robe and Wizard HatWizards and WitchesSimple Staff
Shed Armor, Gain SpeedPower at a PriceShoot the Medic First
Sequence BreakingVideo Game Tactical IndexShoot the Medic First

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