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Team Killer
"Fact: The key to any successful cooperative test is trust. And as our data clearly shows, humans cannot be trusted."
Cave Johnson, Portal 2

A Team Killer is a person who murders other people on their own team.

If you are a member of a group of people dedicated to doing dangerous work, you're probably depending on the other members of your group to back you up. You might not like them, but you'll trust them at least enough not to shoot you in the back. That way, when they shoot you in the back anyhow, the betrayal just makes it all the more shocking.

Villains might do this to each other for any number of reasons, because villain team-ups are generally unstable things at best. Villainous team-killing is most often done to demonstrate how evil someone is. Heroes normally don't team-kill, or at least believe that they shouldn't, because they depend on the Power of Friendship to bring them through things that would destroy less unified groups.

Played for Drama, a Team Killer is usually a reprehensible person, who everyone despises as a traitor. Team Killing is often a Moral Event Horizon. A pre-emptive strike to stop a party member from doing something despicable is even more tragic. Occasionally Team-killing is depicted as Necessarily Evil, but even then it's nearly always morally ambiguous at best.

Played for Laughs, a Team Killer is a comedic sociopath taken to its logical extreme, and chances are pretty good that the Team-Killed deserved it.

The term originates in online multiplayer First-Person Shooter games, where certain adolescents take joy in deliberately killing their team-mates. "What the hell, man? Don't team-kill!" is used as an admonishment to this very day. Team killing tends to earn the ire of server admins as well, which can result in the team killer being kicked and/or banned from the server.

A Team-Killer who kills his own employees might be a Bad Boss; see You Have Failed Me and You Have Outlived Your Usefulness for elaboration. In large amounts, it's We Have Reserves.

See Betrayal Tropes for a list of many of the people, reasons, and methods involved in Team Killing. For when Team Killing is done in a strictly meta-videogaming sense, see Griefer or Player Killing.

No real-life examples, please. In real life, the matter of who's on what "team" tends to be a lot less distinct than it is in fiction.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Berserk: Both Guts and Griffith.
    • Guts, in a sympathetic example, did this when he was just a kid to one of his adoptive father's men during a battle as revenge for raping him.
    • Griffith's case involved sacrificing his entire goddamned army to become the fifth member of the Godhand.
  • Rave Master: Lance kills Bis, one of his underlings, apparently because he was taking too long to kill an enemy that Lance wanted a turn with.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta kills Nappa, his fellow Saiyan, when the latter is defeated by Goku.
  • In Robotech, Khyron the Backstabber earns his title not from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, but because he tends to shoot his own men when they run or when they're in his way.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: In one of the past timelines episode 10, Mami killed Kyoko in fear that they would eventually turn into witches like Sayaka. Madoka killed her in return before she could cause any further deaths.
  • Broken Blade: Girghe had no issues backstabbing his own team mates for no reason whatsoever.
  • Naruto:

Comics
  • Invincible: This is how we find out that Omniman is not quite the hero that everyone thinks he is.

Film
  • Aliens: Burke attempts to have Ripley and Newt impregnated by a facehugger in order to smuggle alien embryos back with him, which would render them ticking time bombs. Thankfully, he fails.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan kills The Other for lecturing him on showing respect in Thanos's presence.

Literature
  • The Bible: Judas is so infamous that his name is now a synonym for "backstabbing traitor." He's the inspiration for the Finding Judas trope.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts: Lijah Cuu kills troopers Bragg and Meryl and tries to murder Saint Sabbatine herself before being brought down...but not before killing fan favourite Colonel Badass Colm Corbec in the crossfire.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Munchkins do this to steal exp and items.
  • Most factions in Warhammer 40,000 do at least a little bit of Team Killing. The Orks and Chaos in particular have built societies on it. Specific characters known for being Team Killers include:
    • Kharn the Betrayer earned his name this way.
    • The Commissar is supposed to kill the men in his company, and for any reason he wants.
    • Horus is worse than standard team kills because this team was his family.
  • Mr. Welch has occasionally forged Weapons Of X Slaying to take out particularly annoying party members.

Video Games
  • Pick any team-based multiplayer game where Friendly Fireproof is not enabled. Griefers are often team-killers.
    • In World of Warcraft, it's possible to use certain encounter mechanics to kill your fellow party members (for example, standing next to someone with a debuff that harms everyone nearby). Most people do this by accident, but the potential for deliberately killing someone exists.
  • Many traditional RPG's such as Final Fantasy allows you to KO'd your own team members, and many are willing to do so for reasons such as protagonist-based Level Scaling, Can't Drop The Hero, and The Scrappy that pointlessly reduces EXP rewards.
    • In certain Final Fantasy games, certain moves or abilities will only work if other people in the party are knocked out. This can lead to players intentionally attacking their own team just to get the effects they were seeking.
  • It's a common element in the Disgaea games that killing too many of your own units, intentionally or not, often locks you out of the better endings.
  • Dissidia 012 has Kain playing the Well-Intentioned Extremist variant of this. He also convinces Warrior of Light to join in on the plan, and they're both chewed out quite extensively by Lightning when the betrayal is revealed. Kain has really good reasons for doing so, however; Golbez tipped him off that if the manikins defeat any of the warriors during the war, they'll be Killed Off for Real, as the gods will not be able to revive them. This is why the likes of Lightning, Kain, Vaan, Laguna, Tifa, and Yuna are not present in the first game; they died ensuring that the Rift would be closed, preventing a huge influx of manikins into the cycle of war.
  • In Baldur's Gate, if you recruit Minsc, Dynaheir, and Edwin, the former two and the latter will eventually go at it.
  • There are several points in Dragon Age: Origins where you can kill party members (or party members can kill you) as a consequence of "ethical disagreements".
  • The same can happen in another Bioware production, Mass Effect, the most glaring potential examples being Samara in the second game: you can kill her off just like that and employ her murderous daughter to fulfill the same role on the team. There is no substantial loss nor gain from doing so.
  • In Jade Empire, the player character can do this to about half of his/her party.
  • In Metroid: Other M, there is a mysterious character known as the Deleter. It is clad in armor identical to that of the Galactic Federation soldiers Samus works with over the course of the story and was sent with the 07th Platoon to kill all witnesses to prevent them from discovering the links between the Bottle Ship and the Federation. While the subplot is dropped before being fully solved, it's heavily implied that the person in question is James Pierce, the communications expert of the squad.
  • In NieR, the final ending provide you the choice: either kill Kainé, putting her out of her misery, or give up your own life to get rid of the Shade possessing her.
  • In Ultima V, Saduj is a joinable NPC who will attack your other party members the minute you enter combat with him in the party. This pretty much serves you right, not only is he an open supporter of King Blackthorn whom your party is actively working to overthrow, but his name is clearly "Judas" spelled backwards.
  • The Portal 2 quote atop the page comes from a preview trailer for the game, where one stick figure pushes another into a fire for no reason. The solution: robots! After rigorous trust exercises, robots are able to work together for a impressive six seconds longer. In-game, there are several co-op achievements that involve deliberately murdering your partner.

Webcomics
  • Black Mage. Sometimes Red Mage or Thief, but mostly Black Mage.
  • Referenced in Penny Arcade, when the Twelve Apostles are playing Halo.
    Peter: Christ, Judas is team killing again.
    Christ: Judas, don't be a dick.
  • Yeon from Tower of God is a fire mage that regularly fries her own team members by accident, among them Ja Wangnan, the main character whose life is in danger because he keeps failing the tests. When they meet yet again, Hilarity Ensues.
  • There's no fatalities in The Order of the Stick, but Vaarsuvius and Belkar have come close on occasion.
    Roy: Dammit, Vaarsuvius, I've told you before, we do NOT blow up members of our party!
    Roy: (to Belkar) If you kill Elan for XP, we'll kill you for XP.

Web Original
  • In Red vs. Blue, Caboose accidentally killing Church was something of a running gag. Whenever they want Caboose to kill somebody, they just tell him to "help" the enemy. He has the largest body count of the Blue and Red Teams and all of them were team kills. He nearly depopulated a Blue Army base off-screen. Command even has a keyboard shortcut for recording Caboose's team kills: Ctrl+F+U.
    • Caboose accidentally killing Church (the first time)? Church's fault.
    Church: Oh, my god. I'm the team-killing fucktard!
    • Granted, it was Gamma who tortured Alpha with simulations in the past, so it could have been Gary/Gamma simply screwing with him.
  • Vegeta (unsurprisingly - see above) in Two Saiyans Play. He's especially trigger-happy when he and Nappa play Magicka, and indulges in the Evil Laugh while doing so.
  • Noob has shown this a couple of times:
    • In Season 4, Gaea ends up factionless in presence of her guild and a couple of fanboys of hers from the enemy faction. Her Face-Heel Turn happens via her getting her fanboys to form a Pick-Up Group with her and killing her guildmates to get reputation with her new faction.
    • In Season 5, Roxana doesn't let a bunch of members of her faction stand in the way of a chance to deal decent damage to the game's Big Bad.

Western Animation
  • Total Drama
    • Trent was one for the Killer Grips in Total Drama Action, thanks to Owen giving him some bad advice.
    • This is part of Scott's strategy. He seems more interested in eliminating his own teammates than the other team. He's sneaky enough that he can pull this off without getting booted. As of All Stars he drops the act and starts playing fair.


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