"I want to show you this picture here. Now, as you can see, the corpsmen are dropping like flies. This is because the enemy are not upholding the Geneva Convention, and they are in fact trying to pick off the hospital corpsmen first; we estimate that the average lifespan of a hospital corpsman, from the time his feet hit the water to the time he almost makes it to the beach, is — uh — seven seconds."
In Real Life war, medics are supposed to be special: The Laws And Customs Of War, specifically the Geneva Convention, dictate that medical personnel are non-combatants and shooting one is a serious war crime. So is impersonating one so that the enemy won't shoot you. Also, the moment a Medic attacks you, they are classed as a combatant and can be shot at.
For tactical reasons, there's no real point in shooting at medics either (well, except psychological reasons); in combat, a downed soldier usually remains down for the current battle (with medical treatment and recovery occuring slowly over the days, weeks and even months that follow. Medical care also costs the enemy money), and medics are also trained to treat the enemy as well as their own comrades if at all possible, provided that they aren't presenting a threat. And they can only assist one soldier at a time anyway. In fact, you usually want to leave medics well alone since retrieving a fallen comrade usually requires the help of an additional person, so this puts at least one other potential enemy out of action, making the fight easier.note Of course, The Medic, and the feeling that if something happens the medic will be there to save you, is a big plus to morale. But morale isn't what's shooting at you right now.
But if you're in a Video Game, you can forget all about that, because videogame medics are magical.
Unlike Real Life, a video game medic will magically heal critically wounded soldiers back to full combat effectiveness in a matter of seconds - and in many cases, reviving soldiers Back from the Dead isn't any more difficult. This makes an enemy healer a primary target, because when left alone, they will ultimately start reviving and healing your enemies almost as fast as you can take them out; enemies accompanied by healers effectively become Nigh Invulnerable so long as the healer is present, so if you want to have any hope of winning, you must Shoot The Medic First.
Just be prepared for an occasional Roaring Rampage of Revenge from the medic's True Companions, or that the boss may spontaneously Turn Red when he learns his healer has been taken out.
When medics won't put up with getting attacked first and actually start fighting back, they become a Combat Medic.
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Anime and Manga
Despite her being more of a Combat Medic, Wendy from Fairy Tail gets targeted by Faust once he figures out that she's enhancing Natsu and Gajeel's powers. She's also the first target when she and her friends battle Hades. She's rescued both times by Natsu and Horologium, respectively.
Nodoka isn't a healer, but her mind-reading abilities often make her a target as well.
More often than not, Princess Amelia from Slayers usually winds up as the first target when the main party faces a major foe (if not her, heavy-hitting magic user Lina is the first target). Amelia is a monk variant of a Magic Knight, but when Sylphiel, who is more this trope (and downright horrible with offensive magic), is not with them, she serves as the group's healer.
In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga Doctor Marcoh uses a Philosopher's Stone to heal an incapacitated ally mid-battle. When Pride figures out what's happening he starts attacking Marcoh instead of his more dangerous and battle-ready opponents Alphonse and Heinkel.
During the fight against one of the Big Bads, Frieza/Freeza, in Dragon Ball Z, the previously-mentioned villain realizes that Dende was using his healing powers to keep the heroes in the fight. So immediately after completing his last transformation he promptly kills the little Namekian. It worked to his advantage, too, because the heroes, (specifically, the Saiyans Gohan and Vegeta) receive a power-up after recovering from serious injuries (an ability referred to as Zenkai.) If there were only one of them, they wouldn't be a threat. Two acting as a tag team, however, could convert it into a battle of attrition- one gets beat up and then the other keeps Frieza busy while Dende heals the downed Saiyan, and then they switch. Repeat until Zenkai boost makes one or both of them stronger than Frieza. And that's without considering that their primary objective was "survive until Goku recovers from his injuries and takes over the fight." Well, everyone except Vegeta's...
Tsunade's abilities were developed with this trope in mind: give the medics absolutely lethal close-combat abilities and enemies won't target them for their vulnerability, and give them training in evasion so they can also avoid attacks.
Madara announces that he will target Tsunade first when fighting all the five kages.
An enemy adopts this tactic near the end of the Shaman King manga.
In PokÚmon Special, one of the first things Sird does when she comes up against Yellow and Red is manipulate Yellow into using her powers vainly, knowing that she'd have a much better chance at victory if Yellow (who is capable of both Super Empowering and Healing Hands) is unconscious.
Done literal in G.I.Joe. Doc, the team's original medic, is the first named Joe character with a figure to die. Due to a misinterpreted order.
Inverted in The Bridge On The River Kwai- The Medic is the only named character to make it out of the film in one piece (all except one other person is killed, and the only other survivor already has a serious wound in the foot).
In the second Dungeons & Dragonsfilm (the one that everyone didn't hate quite so much), the group's cleric is the first to get himself killed. Gary Gygax, on the DVD commentary, sums it up for us: "They are doomed without a cleric!"
In Letters From Iwo Jima, the Japanese soldiers are shown a photo of a medic and explicitly told: "This is your target. The enemy will sacrifice many lives to save this one." Truth in Television, as noted below.
In Saving Private Ryan, in a notable scene at the beginning, a medic is trying to stabilize a fallen soldier on Omaha Beach, seemingly without concern for the sheer number of bullets flying around. After he stabilizes the soldier, he makes the mistake of getting too excited, at which point a bullet goes right through the wounded soldier's helmet, killing him instantly. The medic gets very upset. That same medic later kinda-sorta takes part in combat by making an unarmed distraction run towards a machine gun nest and gets shot and killed. His squad gets very upset.
This trope is subverted in general mostly in the Omaha Beach scene, as by the rail of gunfire it looks like the German soldiers aren't shooting at the medics, but at the wounded soldier's they're trying to save.
The younger General Zevo from Toys plays an arcade game in which destroying a UN aid truck incurred a score penalty of a thousand points, but destroying an enemy tank only scored a hundred. After one too many trucks drove in between him and an enemy tank, he started going after the trucks exclusively.
Tortall Universe Keladry of Mindelan wants to remind you all that when in doubt, shoot the wizard.
During one of the first battles with the Vord in the Codex Alera series, the Vord send their Takers to infest Aleran knights and legionaires. The hosts make the Legion's healers their primary target. Justified, in that Aleran healers are watercrafters who can restore soldiers with minor to moderate injuries to fighting condition in minutes. Later, when the Vord Queen herself infiltrates a Legion camp, she makes a beeline to the healer tents to raise some hell.
The protection afforded to medics also extends to hospitals, thus the 4077th is almost never targeted directly throughout the series. The few times it is, it's mentioned. Notably, in one episode a tank driver rolls in badly wounded, and the tank is left in the base. A weapon that big does trump the hospital protection, and the camp is shelled for most of the episode. Klinger tries to hide it under a hospital tent, but the North Koreans don't buy it. Hawkeye eventually has to start it up, learn to steer it, get it out of the base, and then run away while the mortar teams blow it up.
Another episode had an incompetent North Korean bomber pilot (nicknamed "5 O'Clock Charlie") repeatedly flying over the camp attempting to bomb a nearby ammo dump (he misses every time) while the staff watches and takes bets on whether he'll hit it. Burns, annoyed at the pilot's persistence, sets up an anti-aircraft gun to try and shoot 5 O'Clock Charlie down. However, due to his inexperience, Burns accidentally destroys the ammo dump instead. Thinking that he finally hit his mark, 5 O'Clock Charlie flies away and never returns.
5 O'clock Charlie in fact may not be a pilot for the North Korean air force, but instead a local with an ancient plane and home-made bombs. Once the U.S. gained control of the sky the main bomber used by N.K (and possibly Russian) pilots was the PO-2 bomber, an ancient wood and canvas biplane that was so slow most U.S. planes zoomed past it (so fast they couldn't pull a shot before overshooting it)
C*A*V*E features the camp having to bug out due to shelling from their own side. It was a paper work mix-up and since they were unable to find the proper codes to prove they were who they said they were they couldn't convince anyone that they were a) a US unit or b) a medical unit.
Played straight in The Pacific when a wounded Japanese soldier detonates a hand grenade, killing himself and two medics trying to help him.
The Klingons and Jem'Hadar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine don't exactly target medics first, but they have no qualms about killing them. This leads to a number of scenes where Starfleet doctors and medics are firing phasers and beating up people. Grimly lampshaded by Doctor Bashir in a seventh-season episode; a seasoned soldier comments on his proficiency with a phaser, and Bashir responds that he's had to use one far too many times, which he considered ironic since he joined Starfleet to heal people.
In Star Trek VI, the assassins who beam aboard Kronos One take out the Klingon surgeon, giving Bones a chance to try and save the chancellor get charged with murder.
One of the common bits of street wisdom is "Geek the mage/shaman first." Not just because of the healing, but because an angry mage can dish out more hurt than most firearms. Hurt that ignores most conventional forms of armor, if they use mana-damage rather than physical-damage spells.
On the other hand, the resident roving medics of DocWagon counter the Shoot the Medic First strategy by sending their medics out with heavily-armed bodyguards. DocWagon High Threat Response teams like to arrive in VTOL gunships.
Subverted in "optimized" games. The healing spells available to divine casters could easily cause this trope, but these spells don't tend to be used in combat because the caster has better thingsto bedoing. That, more than any healing ability, is why you take out an optimized divine caster first.
Specifically, even the best healers can't heal as fast as mediocre damage-dealers can deal damage. The first healing spell that's worth casting in combat is probably cure light wounds, available at level 1 when the linear warriors have the damage advantage. The second is probably cure minor wounds, the absolute weakest healing spell which is mainly used to stop wounded characters from bleeding to death with the minimum possible opportunity cost. The third is probably heal, first available at level 11 and the best spell in the game for keeping pace with a single-target damage dealer (it can also make an excellent weapon for beating on undead). Ultimately, characters can generally prevent more damage by eliminating opponents than they could heal with spells. This is to say nothing of the fact that good clerics can spontaneously cast healing spells anywayŚmeaning that if an enemy unexpectedly criticals and they need to cast a healing spell, they can lose a prepared spell they won't need for the encounter.
A rule that has been consistent throughout all editions of D&D however is 'Kill the Mage first'. Sure, the healer is the one keeping their party up, but the nuker and battlefield control specialist is the one that poses the single biggest threat to your team's survival, through nasty spells that can wipe out your whole party to spells that can keep your party from acting at all and all sorts of other nastiness.
In the 4th Edition, healers can heal a character in a round as a minor action, leaving them a full suite of "better things" to do in combat as well.
Pathfinder attempted to rectify this problem by making clerics and their buffs less potent as a means to kill the enemy while giving clerics the power to heal multiple party members in a single round several times a dayŚwithout using their spell slots. Assuming a 5th level game, using your most power healing spell (3.5) to heal one person for 18-19 (on average) may seem like a waste not only of your action, but of your very limited slots in the Vancian Magic system. In Pathfinder, healing everyone for 10-11 with a power that doesn't eat up your spells (42 total in a 4 member party) is a lot more efficient. The larger the adventuring party, the more powerful and attractive this becomes. In a six member party, a seventh level cleric could heal over 100 HP on average with a single channel. This becomes more useful if the GM is following "cinematic" logic, with enemies engaging more than one character at a time, or if they're being Genre Savvy and realizing that Critical Existence Failure means smashing one guy down at a time makes more sense. Of course, cagey players can easily force monsters to not gang up on a single party member through maneuver and smart tactics. And cagey monsters can prevent the party from doing the same.
Medic type models that are often part of units and can prevent a lot of deaths. If the rules weren't preventing most existing units from picking out certain models of a unit, these would die first. In fact a few units, like the Vindicare Assassin and Eldar Farseers with the Mind War power are able to pick out enemy models from units. In these cases the "medics" are the first to die. Examples of medics in Warhammer 40,000 are Ork Pain Boyz, Space Marine Apothecaries and Imperial Guard Medics (or more precisely Veterans with medi-packs).
Anything that will damage a Grey Knight Paladin is already almost certain to give his Combat Medic no chance to save him, as the enemy will target those nasty paladins with weapons which ignore their armor and/or are strong enough to have a chance to kill them instantly (they usually die in two hits). These types of weapons cause Critical Existence Failure the Apothecary can't save them from. It's Awesome, but Impractical in a codex usually considered a Game Breaker and Tier Induced Scrappy.
Vampires and Necromancers. Vampire Counts army can bring back destroyed undead infantry and make units bigger; needless to say most games involving a Vampire Counts army rapidly turns into a "kill all their casters before the endless hordes of zombies overwhelm me".
In a wider sense, there are various rules in play to prevent players from specifically targeting a given unit's standard bearer, musician or leader (who are in effect "morale medics")... not that it stops players from trying.
Pretty much the main tactic for snipers in AT 43, as medics can bring anyone back form the dead regardless of what shot them. (Also officers, but that's for other reasons, namely the fact that without officers your army cannot be used.) Lampshaded in the game's fluff: one of the UNA's leaders was forced to ride in a mech after almost dying twice in a week from sniper fire, namely sniper fire coming from tanks.
The video game Flight of the Intruder (loosely based on the film of the same name) in which the player flew an A-6 Intruder tactical bomber in The Vietnam War, penalised the player 1000 points (in a game where achieving the mission objective scored a few hundred) for hitting the hospital.
In Urban Dead, while there isn't an explicit Medic classnote There is an actual Medic class in the game, but its initial skills make it so difficult to gain XP (which is notoriously hard in the game already) most players give up on the class before they reach level 2. to attack, zombie groups will tend to target NecroTech buildings because these are the only buildings capable of producing revivification syringes, which can return almost any character (particularly dead defenders) to life.
Prevalent enough that the term "pvp tank" refers predominantly to healers, especially Priests.
Highlighted in the Faction Champions encounter of the "Trial of the Crusader" raid dungeon, when the players have to take on several members of the opposing faction in psuedo-PVP, Arena-style combat with some of the PVP mechanics — making the opposing faction's healers the priority target.
Similar to the Faction Champions is the Illidari Council fight in Black Temple. While you couldn't "kill her first" (the four NPCs share a single health pool) Lady Malande was more than capable of healing her group through most attacks unless you assigned specific roles to players to knock out her healing spells before she could cast them.
Lampshaded in-game. Lord Victor Nefarious is infamous for his quotes when his mooks are not doing a good job against the players: "Foolsss...Kill the one in the dress!" and "Concentrate your attacks upon the healer!" Of course, by the time you engage him in combat, he has conveniently forgotten that little piece of advice. He has other ways to mess with the healers, though.
Subverted by the princess of Ironforge in Blackrock Depths (if you were Alliance). She would run around harassing your healer, and healing the crap out of Thaurissan. If you touched her at all — damage, crowd control, stuns, mana burn, anything — she wouldn't flag friendly after Thaurissan died and you couldn't complete the quest. note And then sometimes she wouldn't flag friendly anyway, but that's something different. So you had to just let her run around and try to burn the boss faster than she could heal him.
Monsters actually do follow this to an extent. Healing generates threat towards all monsters in the area, whereas damage only generates threat towards the monster it hits. So if there's an unoccupied group of monsters around, they will ignore the tank and damage dealers and head straight for the healer. However it also doesn't take much to get them to forget about that and start trying to kill the one wearing more metal plates than an armoury.
This happened accidentally in the early days of the Burning Crusade expansion. Kael'thas Sunstrider, the final boss of the Tempest Keep raid, was a 5-phase fight. For the first 3 phases he'd have mooks attack you, and would finally join the fight himself in the 4th phase. However, due to a coding bug, he'd accumulate healing threat during the first 3 phases, so when the raid group finally got to phase 4 he'd have accumulated so much healing threat that he'd attack the healers and only the healers. It made the fight unwinnable, but it was an amusing bug.
The game makes this very difficult to pull this off. The Doctor profession is fairly easy to kill in the beginning of the game, but towards the end requires a coordinated effort from a strong force to take down, all this while throwing out gigantic 'Battle Group Heals' that give ginormous amounts of life to every ally in the immediate vicinity, and this isn't counting the ultimate 'nyah-nyah' heal...on top of all this, Doctors are unlike 'clothies' in other games in that they tend towards HUGE amounts of hit points and nano points.
The Adventurer, the nominal backup healer, has various tiers of healing capacity, and the ability to both evade many normal hits as well as soak up damage on top of all that.
The Meta-Physicist, the closest healer after that, typifies the 'priest' stereotype and also was Made of Plasticine for most of the game's history until recently, when they became Nigh Invulnerable.
The Meadow Bugle airframe, more commonly known as the M Gear, is not only the healer/mechanic class in Ace Online, it's also the airframe with the highest defense, presumably to keep the brigade's healers from getting swiss-cheesed by the A Gears on sight. M Gears that form the head of any spearheading formation of B Gears are always aimed at first, to break up the flight formation.
Although the game does not have player classes, it does have a few rings that grant healing abilities (and one of the ring sets is titled Medic). The simple act of using a healing ability once on another player is often enough to draw aggro from the enemies that were previously menacing the patient (or to make new recruits in a boss battle initially target the healer).
Also, some enemy types can now heal their cohorts, such as Tiny Witch Doctors. Unfortunately, there's no visualization for this besides seeing the HP bar jump back up, so you may need to read the updates or the wikis to figure out who the medics are.
Still, the only enemies capable of healing seem to prioritize on healing themselves, which would help a new player find out about their existence. It kinda doesn't, since only three enemies heal others, and one is too fragile to be noticed, and the other two come coupled in swarms of other enemies where people would rather use targetless AoE attacks.
Dream Of Mirror Online uses a job system that let every player to have his own healing skill, and dedicated healers to wear enough defences to survive the team warriors. Anyway, as they can buffer allies and resurrect (a skill that requires both specialization and a specific weapon type), it's better to deal them first. And then, there is a monster family that works this way. The Septic Snake (a combat monster) can call for help, attracting the Herb Snake, a monster that automatically heals nearby snakes. The Herb Snake, if attacked, calls for help, attracting Septic Snakes...
Star Wars Galaxies qualifies even more than most games. Pre-CU, the Combat Medic was one of the most broken classes in the game, as not only were they the only class (out of three healing classes) that could cast area-heals, they also were capable of laying down poisons and diseases on their enemies, which were typically virulent enough to render an enemy PC incapable of acting in combat until they found a Doctor capable of healing their wounds.
Likewise, in Star Wars The Old Republic, the best way to deal with Griefers is to make sure you kill the healing companion they're using first, then kill the griefer. BioWare tried a workaround where you can't being companions into PvP areas.
It also applied in reverse during dungeon raids. Take, for example, the Deathwatch Bunker which was, up until the NGE, the hardest dungeon in the game. Part of the challenge was in the fact that one of the players in your party had to be a non-combatant crafter so you could use the forge at the end of the dungeon to make a piece of Mandalorian armour as a reward. You would think this fragile little non-com would be your most valuable member who had to be protected at all costs. However, every single guide published on the matter specifically stated that your crafter was second in priority to any Doctors you brought along, as they were the only professions capable of resurrecting dead characters.
In Guild Wars, you pretty much have to kill monks and ritualists if you want to kill anybody else. Especially in the smaller (4-man/6-man)arenas. Fort Aspenwood is the worst example, since if there's more than one or two healers the Luxon team can't win without either being very good or very lucky. Even the monsters get into the act, especially in Hard Mode.
Anything but an dangerously zealous effort to take down a high-level priest will likely not succeed. Many would go so far as to say that the priest is the real tank of the game....
Given paladins and their strong role on defense, they somewhat fit in this category despite their armor. Not only can they literally tank, they make for decent (if far less effective than high priests) healers AND can link with allies to reduce damage taken. They are also one of the few classes that can naturally (i.e. without great gear) survive one hit kills, have strong AoE, and can hilariously kill other players by simply standing there and allowing their opponents to die from the reflected damage simply because they have far more health than pretty much any other class. Paladins may not be able to out heal damage as well as a priest, but potion spamming in this game pretty much makes them invincible against anything but massive team effort.
The game features a boss called the Magus Sisters, comprised of Cindy, Mindy and Sandy. Cindy can revive the other two bosses(!), so if the player doesn't catch onfast enough, death is inevitable.
The trope repeats later in the same game when fighting the Giant's CPU, which is accompanied by an "Attacker" and a "Defender". You can guess what those do. Subverted in the DS remake though, where due to the relative strengths it's actually far easier to take out the Attacker first and save the Defender for last, despite The Smart Guy flat-out telling you to shoot the Medic first.
It's Shoot the Escort First in Final Fantasy X, because when you battle Seymour the first time, he has two guards who cast shell on him and protect on themselves. They will intercept any physical attack directed at Seymour, and they will recast their spells if you use Dispel. They will also heal Seymour if his HP gets low, but that's not likely while they're still around anyway, because they also use high potions on themselves whenever they're hit. There are only two ways to kill them: either steal a high potion from each of them to disable their Auto-Potion ability, or use a technique that one-shots them (generally an Overdrive). Or just keep attacking them till they run out of potions, as they will use a potion even if they've only lost a single hit point.
Final Fantasy XI has Beastmen imps that are healers in Campaign. The healing isn't normally a problem, however. It's the powerful area buffs that drive players nuts, especially Phalanx.
The cat-type enemies in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Best case scenario, they're annoyances. Worst case scenario, you are faced with a healer who spams area-of-effect healing magic while surrounded by very powerful fighters and has wayyyyy too much HP for you to take down quickly.
This used to be doubly true when fighting Midgard in Dark Age Of Camelot, because their healers doubled as mezzers, which in the early days of Camelot were ridiculously overpowered: no resists, no break out of mez panic button, no progressively decreasing mez duration, no nothing. A real "We win" button. Ganking the healer was so prevalent that Midgard tanks often carried round shields into battle instead of the much better kite shields, because it made them look like healers and hopefully they'd eat the first wave of backstabs/nukes/mezzes/arrows.
For a straight example, see the Golden Hydra final boss of Suikoden I. It has three heads. The first two heads deal damage. The third head can't attack, and instead heals and revives the other two heads. Guess which head dies first?
Also, in Suikoden II the Final Boss looks like a giant wolf with two heads. It has four attackable areas. Both heads and two legs. Throughout the whole battle, one of the legs will not do ANYTHING AT ALL, while the heads attack with physical and magic damage and the other leg deals out debuffs. That is, until you have almost beaten the boss, and the passive leg will revive the other parts and heal them. Unless you have a godly party, the only thing you can do is reset and Kill The Medic First.
In the games, the Star Magician would be a very easy fight... if he couldn't summon Refresh Balls to spam healing Psynergy (Earnest Ply in Lost Age, Pure Ply in Dark Dawn, and both heal 1000) whenever necessary or possible. While there are other high-threat balls, guess what dies first if you plan on winning.
Green Requiems can't attack you. They just act as a healer to other Heartless and try to stay out of your reach.
If you let Crescendos run around, they heal everything to max health, but in Kingdom Hearts II, if you use a Reaction Command at the right time, they will drop HP orbs. Not very helpful if there are more than one of these little buggers and you can't hit them all at once, i.e. Chicken Little.
Inverted with Potos. They will only cast Heal Light on the entire enemy party when their own HP gets low. Thus, it makes sense to target the Potos last.
But played straight with the God Beast of Darkness, Zable Fahr. Once you kill the two heads, a third head comes out, heals the other two and then they attack hard. Suddenly those other two heads don't matter anymore, you go for the new one that has the capacity to revive them...
If you ever find yourself playing Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer, it is quite important that you kill any Fluffy Bunnies that are in the general area.
The enemi AI distributes their attacks pretty evenly in Skies Of Arcadia, but most of the bosses target Fina, the party's Squishy Wizard, first (her stats are lower than the others', learns all magic types quickly, and three of her special moves revolve around healing and regeneration, with the last one being able to revive all of your other party members). Vyse is usually the other target for bosses (if you level him and buff him properly, his power can exceed Drachma's)
A Medic can hide behind a Heavy Weapons Guy and heal him continuously. For this reason, Medics tend to have very short lifespans when not hiding behind a Heavy. The main part of Medic strategy is using all the time you're not spending shooting other enemies to dodge and hide.
Medics also have the powerful siege-breaking Ubercharge ability, making them an even more important target.
Because of the Ubercharge, Pyros are also popular "medic buddies." Soldiers and Demomen are best friends with a Medic equipped with the Kritzkrieg due to the devastating power of a crit-boosted explosive weapon.
An Engineer lugging his toolbox, indicating that he's about to deploy something (typically a level three sentry), will find himself the target of every enemy in the area.
This is true of Engineers in general, being, well, The Engineer, capable of deploying turret guns, teleporters, and health and ammo stations. That last building in particular is seen as a priority target since it can heal enemies and refill their weapons, extending the team's stamina, and so some people will Shoot The Dispenser First. It doesn't help that the Engineer is one of the squishiest classes in the game. Engineers with Gunslingers are even higher on the "to kill" list, because if left unchecked they can poop out sentries at an insane rate. Combined with the Frontier Justice and a lone Revengineer can lock down an entire area by himself.
This was also an important strategy in an old flash game based on the Jungle War games
In Starcraft: Brood War, it's advantageous to take out the medics first when fighting against Terran marines. When fighting against troops in Bunkers, SCVs become quite annoying, since they can repair during the fight. Unfortunately, the AI does shoot the SCVs (though not usually medics).
On the other hand, the Zerg AI partially averts this, as the Terran Medics prove to be surprisingly high-priority targets for special powers, such as the Queen's Spawn Broodling ability, which kills them outright. And how.
In Star Craft II units have different priority settings as part of their unit data, which determines how big of a target that unit is when the enemy attacks. Though it might take a few seconds you'll find in most battles now the enemies go for the Medics first thing.
In Warcraft 3, a number of units are capable of casting healing spells. The ones to really watch out for however, are the heroes that possess healing abilities, most notably the Paladin, Death Knight and Shadow Hunter. Allowing any of these to use their abilities makes dealing any damage to the enemy army extremely difficult, making these guys a high priority target. The fact that the Death Knight and Paladin can't heal themselves is yet another reason to go after them first.
In Half-Life 2, the rebel medics are obviously committing war crimes, as they use SMG's and rocket launchers. Of course, the baddies do far worse on a daily basis, so...
Well, they would be war crimes if the Combine hadn't replaced all forms of government. It's not a crime if the organization that made the law no longer exists.
Part of the reason you don't often see people solo-queuing as Support Champions in League of Legends is because of this trope. Pick someone like Soraka, Sona, or Karma? Then the smart players will focus on you just as much as they will someone who is inflicting a lot of damage. Expect for an Assassin to target them. Even some non-healing support champs can become targets, like Teemo (who has a lot of annoying debuffs and can do some serious damage with the right items).
Enemy priests not only have the ability to heal your foes from nearly dead back up to perfectly fine, some of them can put your units to sleep. And ask any random player how many characters he's lost because of a bishop with a Berserk staff...
In addition, the enemy AI will always select a unit that can't fight back first, in addition to preferring the unit with the lowest defense. Not only can unpromoted healers not fight, but they're generally the physically weakest units you have. This means that the enemy will literally attack the medics first in almost all situations.
In some games, enemy units that are wounded will purposely retreat to be healed by their priest. This is particularly frustrating in Thracia 776. Seisen no Keifu, because of its unique gameplay, has some armies that surrounding a Squishy Wizard wielding a reserve staff, which heals ALL units within ten spaces of it. Great. In Path of Radiance, this also means taking advantage of the heal bushes, but that is more annoying than an actual threat.
City of Heroes has several of these, but the Tsoo Sorcerors are by far the worst. If enemy medics are annoying, how much worse are teleporting enemy medics??? Sky Raider Engineers and Rikti Communication Officers, although not medics, are other examples of - ahem - "non-combatants" who have to be taken out first.
The final battle of the Lord Recluse Strike Force, acknowledged as one of the hardest battles in the game. 8 PC villains vs 8 (grossly overpowered) NPC heroes. For the villains to have any chance of winning it is vitally important to knock out the heroine Numina first, as she can heal and even revive downed heroes.
And, of course, there are the Roman SURGEONS who don't even have any offensive ability, yet are always targeted by players first with overwhelming force and much hatred. Good thing these events take place hundreds if not thousands of years before the Geneva Convention.
As for players, there's actually much less emphasis on healing because buffs and debuffs are so much more powerful. So taking out the Defender first is usually a good idea, not that the enemies can take advantage of that. Although the rules are different in PVP, barely anyone does that anyway.
Can go hilariously wrong in PVP, especially when players from other games who are used to "healers" who really only heal suddenly run up against a Defender who has been soloing and has chosen an offensive power set.
The Medic in Quake II can also resurrect non-gibbed enemies. At least he doesn't have magic fire powers...
In Company of Heroes, players can build medic stations that spawn unarmed medics that go out into the battlefield to retrieve wounded soldiers. When enough soldiers are gathered, they are formed into a free infantry squad for the player. Needless to say, allowing your opponent to do this is a bad thing, so it becomes a gameplay imperative to shoot the medics. The AI won't automatically target enemy medics though, so the player has to manually give the command.
While Jagged Alliance 2 does first aid more or less realistically, the opposing forces aren't going to avoid shooting them, but given that their commander has already committed any number of human rights violations, this makes sense.
Also, the medics (as ex-military or never-military) tend to be armed and dangerous themselves, with no qualms about shooting the bad guys just before patching the good guys' wounds. This moves them right out of protected status.
Kind of expected since any medic you use in the game are, like all your other characters, professional mercenaries who made fame killing people. Some Medics might be famous for saving more than they killed, but for that to be a statement it means they killed a lot too.
Averted in the Video Game/MOTHER series: enemies that can fully restore other enemies' HP tend to explode when destroyed, dealing heavy damage to the party. It's usually recommended that you kill the medics last.
Any game in the Final Fantasy Tactics series. White Mages or any units who can heal, revive, and buff are always your main targets. Sometimes they not only just heal, but may have abilities from other jobs to fight with.
One storyline battle has a White Mage who sometimes is also given Calculator skills. If you don't kill it as soon as humanly possible, you will regret it dearly.
The enemy AI in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance will always try to go after units with jobs that are considered "high-priority", like White and Red Mages, not caring about what stats or other abilities said units have on them. There was an instance where a Viera White Mage was attacked by a Gladiator (ignoring a weakened Sage nearby), only to miss thanks to the Viera having the Reflex R-Ability. She then promptly dispatched the Gladiator with Last Breath.
If you played the PSP version of Tactics Ogre, you'll find that the more advanced AI actually includes this trope into their tricks instead of "Surround and beat the player".
Diablo II, shamans and there's the unique shamans that can revive other shamans. This is why you should not only kill shamans first, but destroy their bodies immediately with a corpse vine, corpse explosion or get a frost spell kill so their body bursts into harmless ice cubes.
One boss in Parasite Eve has 3 targets on its body and one of them acts as a medic, healing itself or the other targets. While this "medic" doesn't heal as fast as the others in the above examples, it can be troublesome if players hadn't leveled up Aya properly or power up her guns.
The ideal strategy for fighting the Axem Rangers in Super Mario RPG is to kill ruin Pink's make-up first. She can heal, which pretty much sells her position as first to go down. The Strategy Guide even suggests this.
White Magikoopas. Yes, there are other kinds that raise Defense and Attack and make their allies intangible and imbue them with electricity, but go after these guys first.
The first one also had Medi Guys, which are Shy Guys in little while flying vehicles with a red cross on the front. Like pretty much any enemy-healing unit in video games, they should be priority.
Also the battle against Bowser and Kammy near the end of Thousand-Year Door, where the only real sane route (provided you're not using one of the game's many Game Breaker strategies) is to throw everything you've got at Kammy and then worry about the much stronger, more durable Bowser.
The final battle of New Super Mario Bros, against both Bowser and Bowser Jr, kind of fits in here. If you attempt to defeat Bowser first, Bowser Jr will automatically revive him. Gotta beat the little guy first or you'll get absolutely nowhere.
The Floral Horrors. Growing in Site 16 in 2300 AD, they make fighting companion enemies... an experience.
A boss that you fight on your way to escape the castle in 1000 AD, the Dragon Tank, has a head that occasionally heals its parts, each of which has a separate entry in the Bestiary.
The Mother Brain boss in 2300 AD is accompanied by not one but three medics. If you take out all of them though, she Turns Red.
The fight against Lavos Core is something of an exception: it looks like a Flunky Boss consisting of a humanoid-looking part in the center and a "Lavos Bit" on the left and on the right. The Lavos Bit on the right can revive the other two, so normally you'd want to kill it first. However, unless at least one of the other two parts are dead, it will take almost no damage from attacks, so, in this case, you have to kill the medic last. (And when you do kill it, you win the fight immediately, guaranteeing you will indeed kill it last.)
The first battle against The Scrappy in Jedi Academy has him teamed up with two healers, and it's literally impossible to defeat him until you hack both of them to pieces. Worse still, the healers have nearly implacable defense and perfect Force reflexes, so in order to kill them you have to beat the Scrappy within an inch of his life, attack them, and repeat until victory.
In Ogre Battle, killing healers first tends to be bad for your units alignment. (This same factor is also applied to other "good" aligned units, such as Paladins.) Played straight with evil units, who get bonuses from losing alignment like that...
One of the later battles in the original Neverwinter Nights had this as the only way to win - the enemies had a medic capable of performing an infinite number of resurrections, and while you may be able to resist their blows, you'll never progress to the end of the game unless you Disintegrate him, shoot him, or otherwise remove him from the equation. Frustratingly, one of your allies - Linu - can serve as a light Medic for the enemy by casting Harm on undead, which heals them...but it is a very easy way to take down Aribeth.
When you are playing tanks in World In Conflict multiplayer, the first guys you shoot are the repair tanks. Then, you shoot the AAs. And only then you shoot other tanks. If you mess up the order, you are as good as dead. Oh, and try to place your armored brutes between your own repair guys and the enemy armored brutes. Because they know all that, too.
In Age Of Wonders, cleric-type units, which boast the Healing ability, can only do so once per game turn (and thus once per battle, or not at all if they already used healing before battle), but tend to be targeted anyhow because they boast a reasonably powerful ranged magical attack. More advanced units with Healing also tend to be targeted quickly because they usually possess other, dangerous, abilities, and finally, Leaders are * always* targeted first, when practical-more pointedly than potentially having healing spells they can cast multiple times per battle, they tend to be the most dangerous units on the field.
In Return To Castle Wolfenstein and its standalone expansion Enemy Territory, the Medic class is by far one of the most dangerous classes. Not only can they instantly revive downed teammates, but as long as they have ammo, they can turn themselves into a literal One-Man Army.
Wolfenstein, its sequel, has Scribes, who can project impenetrable shields over nearby soldiers, as well as Elite Guards, who can resurrect dead soldiers as Despoiled creatures. Needless to say, both classes of enemy are priority targets in a firefight.
If you're playing Left 4 Dead in VS mode and you're the one who protects everyone or heals others (or if you are just that good of a player), you can bet your life that the infected players will all target you.
Although this is usually less because the "medic" is a threat (since the main goal of Infected teams is to simply separate & then constrict the individual survivors until they become "downed", and not necessarily to kill them), and more because a "medic" survivor and his "patient" will both have to stand completely still while the health pack is being used. And if there's a Spitter and/or a Jockey/Charger nearby ...
In Command & Conquer: Renegade in the multi-player, enemy engineers and medics can be a serious pain in the ass. Especially if you're Nod. Given enough of them(even the free engineers), a tank can be repaired more than you can damage it. On siege maps, it's a very common tactic to have 3-4 technicians/hotwires(350 credit super-engineers) per vehicle on the side that's laying siege. The only ways to break that siege is with more engineers/techies/hotwires backing up your vehicles, plus at least one sniper to pick off the enemy. A single GDI mammoth tank with two hotwires is nigh-invulnerable.
In the original game, medics were not quite that powerful (slowly heal one soldier while standing next to him), but since Battlefield 2, they can instantly resurrect dead teammates to full health, which DOES make them an important target. Also medics in BF2 are extremely capable fighters on their own already. Good luck taking out an entire squad of them.
Well, the Battlefield 1942 medics are quite an nuisance compared to assault class. The submachinegun has low recoil, making it easy to pick off enemy soldiers, and being able to heal themselves make it a difficult ordeal to kill them as if you die, they will come back in full health.
In Bad Company 2, the M60 machine gun was horribly overpowered for quite a while, leading to most games being half medics, and half snipers.
Notably in Battlefield 3, the Assault class has to choose between AOE healing or an extra assault weapon (either a grenade launcher or a shotgun) for the first class ability, but once the defibrillator (revive device) is unlocked it's always the second gadget, which can make them priority targets in certain circumstances.
Of course, in practice, Battlefield is so fast paced and it's hard enough to take down any enemy, that actively targeting a medic is more a case of luck and aiming in the right place. Actually trying to only target medics will just get you shot by the rest of his squad.
The Engineer class is the 'medic' for Vehicles. Often people will buddy up as a tank driver/gunner combination and work in tandem to keep their vehicle operation. Some vehicles have enough capacity to hold three people. Trying to take out a tank with 2 engineers repairing is impossible for a single infantry player unless he can kill the engineers first.
A particular boss in Demon's Souls can be resurrected indefinitely until the player realizes that some mook is in charge of keeping the boss alive. This mook is not (technically) even in the boss room.
In earlier Command & Conquer games, generally the side with the weaker (early-game) infantry had a Medic unit to compensate. The expansion to Red Alert also introduced a Mechanic, who was a Palette Swap of the Medic who repaired vehicles in a flash.
Played straight in that your medic could also target enemy units (his healing targets units directly), but he can't actually "attack," thus he'll run up to the enemy completely defenseless and be in danger of getting shot or hit with splash damage.
Warcraft2 was particularly unfair with this. The only healing unit in the game was the Human-side Paladin, which is an upgrade of the Knight and hence a frontline combat unit that's hard to pick off. Furthermore, because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, it was notoriously much easier for the AI to rapidly use several Paladins' healing spells on each other in a fight.
Global Agenda, being (actual gameplay-wise) a clone of Team Fortress 2, is starting to invoke this trope less than half a month after release. It goes double if the enemy medic has decided that shooting/stabbing you is a better use of his time than healing his teammates...
Lost Odyssey starts off by showing us what happens when healing magic is applied en masse to an entire army. The bad guys are cutting down the good guys, but then the good guys keep getting healed back to full effectiveness right in front of them. The bad guys would have had to target the healing mage tower to have any hope of winning this war of attrition, had a giant meteor not fallen on everything.
In any game that features some kind of enemy-affiliated healing devices, it'a sound idea to shut down those before you go at the mofo himself. Healing statues for Alastor in Painkiller, healing...generators for Larva in Serious Sam 2 and medical stations in Bioshock come to mind.
Simultaneously both more difficult and unintentionally common in MAG, since the only indication of being a medic is the healing device when wielded, whereas the ability to heal or revive is available as early as level 3 (the minimum to buy the Medi-Kit and/or to spec one's skill points into the revive branch), and performing revives is the fastest way to level up — so in practice, almost everyone is a medic.
Gears of War: Kantus monks (svelte, high-ranking foes with penchants for funny hats and belts) have the ability to completely heal any Locust grunts within the range of their powerful screams, regardless of how much damage the poor schmucks may have incurred. To make matters worse, Kantus have a nasty habit of cartwheeling around, hurling ink grenades and their screams can immobilise any player characters within range. However, Kantus are not immune to getting a chainsaw through the chest cavity.
In the RuneScape mini-game Pest Control, players try to destroy portals to another dimension that the Void creatures are coming from, and protect the Void Knight in a fortress. Said portals are healed by Spinners, and it's pretty hard to take one down without first killing the Spinners, not that many people don't try to kill the portal first anyway. The Spinners aren't very tough, but they're often defended by Brawlers and, like everything else, can be spawned infinitely.
Also in RuneScape is the a specific combat room in the Dungeoneering skill, where players must kill four exiled summoning creatures to pass through. Any experienced team will ignore the warrior, ranger and mage at first in order to wipe out the healer.
Healers (and monster units that have healing abilities, such as the Succubus) are almost always the first target of choice in Disgaea games. The second? Anything that has a stat buffing ability... Which is also something that Healers specialize in.
Sonic Unleashed, the damn healer things in the Night Stages. They can heal anything and everything but itself. Normally, this isn't so bad, but in the DLC stages where there can be millions of enemies in a compact area...
In Achron, the CESO Blackbird can repair units at speeds so fast it can greatly affect the outcome of a battle. The "Smart Idle" upgrade makes healing units (such as the Blackbird or the SOP) use their healing ability automatically if there are any injured friendly units nearby. This leads to them attracting a lot of focused fire.
Not only that, but if you just send your army to attack without targeting a specific unit, they willShoot the Medic First.
In Age of Empires if an enemy squad has a priest/monk, it pays to get rid of him as early as possible. Monks not only heal their own side, but also convert enemy units.
Played straight in Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault. The player has to shoot the Japanese medics, only because they fire Nambu pistols at you. Your own corpsman is armed with a .45 pistol, and he tends to get shot as well. An example of truth in television (see below).
In Kagetsu Tohya Nanaya is getting pissed off because every time Shiki is close to death, such as being a severed head looking at his body, Len resets the day and Shiki is back to normal. Eventually he decides that even if it's breaking 'the rules' Len has to go first. Fortunately, Kouma Kishima shows up and pulls an Eviler than Thou off.
Fat Princess has this. Generally, if someone on the other team has a Priest behind him, you're likely to go down quick if you don't kill him.
In Spiral Knights, there are two types of healers, Silkwings and Goblin Menders. Silkwings have to hug their heal targets and have an AOE heal on death, but separating them makes them easy to deal with. Menders, on the other hand, are absolute pains in the neck to deal with. They can heal at a range, faster you can do damage. They have AOE shield and heal abilities. And on Tier 3, they can raise their allies from the dead. Kill the menders FIRST.
The only issue is when Silkwings are surrounded by a mob of enemies. Hitting any enemy BUT the Silkwing will cause it to change position to heal the creature you just injured. This can be a problem if you're in the higher tiers, since you have to keep moving to avoid losing health. Oh, and while you're moving, so is the mob; and the Silkwings tend to stick themselves RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. Have fun.
The Bishop Chessmen in Devil May Cry 3 can actually heal their fellow chessmen, so better flail on them first and fast (they can also spit out lightning and create a localized explosion).
Cosmic Break has this fiendish MoeRobotGirl, Melfi, that shoots healing arrows and can still use healing bits. They charge faster than others support units too, making them the ultimate healing support units. Everyone just loves to kill her.... Until her Chibi version came out. Now everyone's conflicted.
In the General Knoxx DLC for Borderlands, the Crimson Lance have many types of soldiers and one of them is is a Combat Medic. While these guys only use standard rifles to attack you with, they set up turrets that heal the other soldiers, which can get annoying real fast unless you quickly destroy the turret or kill the medic. These guys also show up when you fight Knoxx and can restore his health completely if you aren't paying attention.
Medic: Oh God, they're shooting medics too! They're not playing by the-
DC Universe Online has a few of these in the High Level Duo Missions, thankfully they all glow bright neon green so they are easy to pick out and shoot at, the worse of the lot are the OMAC Nanosmyths where if one of these is in the room NOTHING IS KILLABLE till you take the Nanosmyth down and even then the heal effects remain for at least 3-5 seconds after you kill them, if you want to survive the mission you must drop them fast.
In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, always kill the Necromancers first, otherwise any other mook will have barely hit the ground before they raise it again. Things get even more complicated when you have to fight multiple Necromancers at once, since they can raise their former comrades to rain more destruction spells upon unsuspecting players.
For this reason, you don't just kill Necromancers first, you make sure that the fallen foe is either disintegrated or zombified by you before anything else has the chance to raise it.
Cerberus Combat Engineers can set up gun turret tripods, repair the tripods' shields, and also repair Atlas walkers. They are high priority targets, especially in the moments before they remove the folded up turret off their back.
The new wave of Reaper minions include Marauders, Reaper-fied turians who can buff their fellow husks. The in-game codex states that Alliance marines have standing orders to take them out first.
This doesn't come up a lot in Dragon Age: Origins, since most enemies eschew healing in favor of Zerg Rush tactics. In the Warden's Keep DLC, however, there is a fight against a boss-level Rage Abomination which is accompanied by a quartet of zombie mages who constantly cast healing spells on it. The fight is basically impossible to win until they've all been taken out (which is easier said than done, since they themselves will resurrect several times before going down permanently).
In the Legacy DLC for Dragon Age II, if the player takes a particular path, Hawke and party will encounter a Revenant backed up by three Arcane Horrors, each of which casts a spell over the Revenant that, taken together, make it literally immune to all forms of damage. In this case, you have no choice but to shoot the medic first.
In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter, there's a collection of Mobile Suits who are specialized in healing. Usually classified with the "Repair" tag on their name, they're the same suit as usual, but with an added Repair weapon. This goes into annoying levels in the mission "Destroy the Apsalus II", where there are two Acguy Repairs who will heal the Apsalus II to full health if you don't kill them. Oh, and they have Lock-On Jammer, meaning you have to MANUALLY target them after a certain HP percentage.
The so-called Logistics Ships in EVE Online are critical to any fleet of significant size. The Shoot the Medic First approach is so effective that, in some cases, due to capacitor chains between the ships, taking down a single logistics ship (either by blowing it up or jamming its sensors) is enough to completely break down the repairs.
There's a short sequence in the webcomic where a villain recommends this strategy but the other villain scoffs it off because "the other guy does more damage" or the like.
Later in the story the Final Boss thinks he's invincible because his "Bytes" (weird spellcasting turnip-things) keep reviving him whenever he gets beat up. That the heroes would realize they just need to destroy the Bytes first apparently hadn't occurred to him.
A notable aversion, during the second battle between Miko Miyazaki and the Order, Miko does not attack Durkon because he only provides healing to his other party members and does not attack her. In this case, she actually does follow so-called rules of war because Durkon is acting strictly in the capacity of being a traditional medic.
Played with earlier, when a monster tried to attack two characters...who were both clerics. Hilarity Ensues.
In this Concernedstrip, Genre Blind Gordon Frohman believes he won't be shot at because he's a medic, due to the belief that he is protected by subsection B of the resolutions of the Geneva International Conference. Of October. 1863.
In ''Flintlockes Guide To Azeroth, Schweitzer cites this as the reason he never does anything to help the party. Well, except that one heal... which he cast on himself.
Averted in the battle between Julie's group and Kayla's group in Our Little Adventure. Julie told her group not to attack Kayla (who is a healer and didn't directly attack Julie's group once in the whole battle.) Naturally by not attacking Kayla, the battle became harder and much longer.
Truth in Television: the Japanese in WW 2 (having no medics themselves) were infamous for targeting medics. They didn't sign the Geneva Conventions until 1953.
The Americans and British and Germans, in regards to each other, did not deliberately target enemy medics...but Germany and Russia did not honor these rules in their battles and the fighting, in general, was a lot more personal.
Erwin Rommel, Nazi Germany's famed "Desert Fox," once exploded at an Italian naval official who proudly told him that the navy had sneaked a load of gasoline across the Mediterranean by hiding it in a hospital ship. Rommel was pissed because he had been trying to convince his British enemies to stop bombing those hospital ships.
In 'Nam, the VC shot down the U.S. forces' medical evacuation helicopters first.
The VC's uncaring attitude towards noncombatants is why most medics were given shotguns for their own protection. Combat Medic indeed.
The VC often left their own wounded where they fell (although obviously not always), since they knew their enemies had better health care and was obliged to take care of them if possible.
Neither the NVA nor the VC always targeted medics. They would purposely wound soldiers, rather than kill them, and allow them to be extracted, since they knew that wounded soldiers took more resources to remove from the battlefield and treat than it took for dead soldiers to be declared MIA or recovered later and buried.
This is one of the reasons why the U.S. lost public support for the Vietnam War.
The Wilhelm Gustloff (note that according to the article, it was not "legally" a hospital ship).
It is generally accepted that the Gustloff carried combat troops on its last journey, making it a military target, that sadly also transported droves of innocent civilians.
While not actually dealing with medics per se, recent studies suggest that some antibiotic-resistant microbial populations came about because some individuals with the resistance gene expended resources in order to protect non-resistant individuals.
The elementary school game Doctor Dodgeball. Instead of leaving the field when they're hit, players sit down until their team's designated "doctor" touches them to bring them back into the game. Not surprisingly, the "doctor" tends to run around with a whole team of decoys.
Alternatively, both teams keep it a secret who their doctor is, and several other people intentionally run around towards players sitting down as sacrificial lambs and decoys to suck fire up while the doctor runs around and tags them.
Palestinian terrorist groups have been filmed using UN ambulances to transport uninjured gunmen, rifles, and rocket launchers throughout the Gaza Strip. UN spokespersons have claimed the drivers were forced to assist the terrorists, but UN ambulance drivers are required to report all such violations immediately to their superiors, and the drivers of the videotaped ambulances did not. Instead, the drivers insisted they were not coerced by terrorists in any way until after they were made aware of the existence of the videotape.
Terrorists took it to a whole other level when the concept of 'secondary' explosives was put into play. The first one blows up and causes the usual death and injury. Then the second one sits and waits until the rescuers show and blows them up.