"Fact: The key to any successful cooperative test is trust. And as our data clearly shows, humans cannot be trusted."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 either Lethally Stupid, or 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.
— Cave Johnson, Portal 2
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Anime and Manga
- Berserk: Both Guts and Griffith.
- Guts, in a sympathetic and non-evil 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. Slightly less sympathetic.
- Corkus did make a few pathetic attempts on Guts's life.
- 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.
- And the series started off with Piccolo pulling this on Goku, though partly because he had to to finish off Raditz. (He still wanted to kill Goku himself.)
- In Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech, Kamjin the Ally-Killer/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. To be fair, in the two occasions shown they had it coming: the first time one of his men jumped the gun in an ambush and nearly ruined it when even Kamjin/Khyron, rightly known for attacking even when unnecessary, was waiting for the right moment (he even lampshaded it); the second time, instead, some of his men were talking of deserting in the middle of a battle before Kamjin/Khyron, who reacted by shooting one to try and get the other to fall back in line (they ran, and the chase started).
- Broken Blade: Girghe had no issues backstabbing his own team mates for no reason whatsoever.
- Sasuke is a team killer.
- Sakura genuinely cared for his well-being and always did her best to support him. And how does he repay her? By trying to electrocute her, strangle her, and stab her into the face within the same five minutes.
- Karin was Sasuke's teammate in Taka - until he decided that she had outlived her usefulness. It's made even worse by the fact that she saved his life multiple times and helped him figure the enemy's attacks out mere minutes beforehand.
- Mizuki, the first antagonist of the series, was revealed to be this in a filler arc when it was shown that he killed his teammates during a mission for being weak.
- Kakuzu often loses his temper and kills anyone nearby, which as a member of Akatsuki, usually resulted in him killing his partner. Eventually, he was paired with Hidan because even if they hated one another, Kakuzu wouldn't be able to kill him.
- Kisame did this to a group of code-breakers from the Mist village to prevent them from falling into the enemy's hands. When he gets teamed up with Itachi, he makes note of how they both massacred their comrades.
- Pre-Heel–Face Turn Gaara makes death threats against his teammates (who happen to be his older brother and sister) when they object to taking unnecessary risks in the Forest of Death.
- Sasuke is a team killer.
- Comes up a lot in Bleach among the villains. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez lost his rank when he lost his arm (that held his rank tattoo) and was replaced by Luppi Antenor. Grimmjow came back and the two fought over the rank, with only one surviving. Zommari Rureaux and Nnoitra Gilga did this to their fellow espada. Rudbornn Chelute was an arrancar whose job was to slay defeated arrancar. And Giselle Gewelle did this to her former boss.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Seiryu does this to Byakko
- Invincible: This is how we find out that Omniman is not quite the hero that everyone thinks he is.
- 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.
- In Hornets' Nest, Ignored Expert Captain von Hecht shoots SS officer Taussig after a heated spat that ends with Taussig refusing to acknowledge the danger the dam is in. He then lies to Taussig's Mook Lieutenant and says "The shock of the incident was too much for the Major."
- In The Bridge at Remagen, Major Kreuger shoots two of his men who try to run away. He's later executed himself by the SS.
- All of the Joker's team at the beginning of The Dark Knight.
- In The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission, there's a very bizarre scene on the train wherein General Dietrich shoots his aide Schmidt. Apparently Schmidt was beginning to suspect Dietrich intended to assassinate Hitler, and Dietrich shoots him to keep him quiet, but this is never explicitly stated.
- Those Wacky Nazis sure do love doing this. SS Major Kaempffer blows Captain Woermann away in the film version of The Keep. They'd just had a heated argument, and then heard gunshots outside. Although never explicitly made clear, Kaempffer had apparently been looking for an excuse to kill Woermann for constantly criticizing him. As a bonus, he also seemingly did it to steal Weormann's cross in a doomed effort to protect himself from Molasar.
- Cypher in The Matrix, after becoming disgruntled with life in the Real World and making a deal with the Agents to re-insert him into the Matrix.
- 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
- One of the ongoing subplots in Firefly is Jayne's willingness to sell out The Team, specifically River and Simon. The subplot is resolved when Mal finds out about Jayne's attempt to turn in the Tams to the Feds on Ariel and almost throws Jayne out the airlock as the ship is taking off for it.
- Battlestar Galactica: Tragically and repeatedly due to Cylon infiltrators.
- On NCIS, poor Special Agent Lee, a rare semi-sympathetic version, was forced to kill Langer after a loved one was kidnapped.
- The previous leader of Torchwood Three killed his entire team and then himself, leaving Jack Harkness to rebuild the team.
- In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Vexacus kills both Zurgane and Motodrone as part of his plan to seize control of Lothor's ship.
- In LALaw, Stuart is so upset on how another paintball player is cheating — he's continuing to play after he was shot and had to forfeit his chip — that Stuart begins shooting him multiple times. Brackman tells Stuart, who is one of his teammates, to knock it off — he's proven his point — but Stuart keeps shooting the guy, so finally Brackman shoots Stuart, then says, "Give me your chip."
- Bringing a bunch of magically gifted teenage girls together is going to cause this at best, but the most obvious example from American Horror Story: Coven is Fiona Goode, the Supreme Witch of the Coven. The first instance is because she thought Madison was the next Supreme, so Fiona killed her in order to prevent Madison replacing her and draining her powers/life force. She later kills Nan in a deal with Papa Legba. This isn't the first time, as Myrtle rightly believes that Fiona killed the Supreme of the last generation as well in the same manner, as she killed Madison but was unable to do so.
- 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 on Skalathrax. When night fell, the sub-subzero cold caused both sides to stop fighting and look for shelter. Kharn took offense at this lack of moral fiber and ran around setting the shelters on fire, regardless of who was in them. Through this act, Kharn singlehandedly destroyed both the World Eaters' and the Emperor's Children ability to function as a unified force (limiting them to mercenary work or small warbands), was chosen as Khorne's immortal champion, and was given the fanon reputation of a Psychopathic Manchild who sticks melta bombs on troop transports for fun.
- The Commissar is supposed to kill the men in his company, and for any reason he wants (the actual effect being to have them stop pissing themselves at the giant tank/alien monster/ravenous daemon and shoot it).
- Horus is worse than standard team kills because this team was his family.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the Skaven had this as one of their hats. They alone could target units with ranged weapons without caring if they hit their own forces. Given that Skaven Canon Fodder were so cheap in points that We Have Reserves kicks in, a Skaven player should think nothing of trading off a few of their chaff units in exchange for hitting the enemy as well.
- Mr. Welch has occasionally forged Weapons Of X Slaying to take out particularly annoying party members.
- In Paranoia, everyone is expected to be this, and the game specifically tempts them with motives and opportunities aplenty.
- 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.
- One video showed a Team Fortress 2 server that briefly deactivated Friendly Fireproof. The second the players realized what had happened, they began shooting their teammates.
- Friendly Fire can be very powerful at higher difficulties in Left 4 Dead 2, so it's a very popular tactic for griefers. Fortunately, it's just as easy to work together to keep the griefer dead until they Rage Quit (Though you'll be down a man, and with only four survivors that's quite significant on its own). Friendly fire does full damage at the highest difficulties, but is reduced on lower difficulties. On easy, most weapons do no damage to teammates, with only molotovs, gas cans, and propane tanks remaining an option for would-be team killers.
- In Planetside 2, team-killing will result in warnings and eventually your weapons being locked down. The New Conglomerate faction has a reputation for team-killing, largely because their weapons are high-damage and slow-firing, so NC troops firing wildly and accidentally hitting their allies can kill them near-instantly.
- This gets to be a problem with MANA Turrets and MAX suits used to lay down suppressing fire on a corridor, generally one of the better ways to hold off an attack. Then you get Light assaults barging into the 10-lane bullet highway. Repeatedly. Then the bullet-hose keeping the enemy off you is shut down for teamkilling and you lose.
- Many traditional RPG's such as Final Fantasy allows you to KO 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 provides you with 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 an impressive six seconds longer. In-game, there are several co-op achievements that involve deliberately murdering your partner.
- In Septerracore putting certain combinations of characters in your party is ill-advised, as they will occasionally swipe at each other for real damage.
- In The End Times: Vermintide, the enemy Skaven have no compunctions about hitting their allies with AOE effects if the players are also threatened by the attack. This was a trait of the Skaven from the Table Top Game Warhammer.
- The Halo games' Multi Player allows players on the same team to kill each other, though doing it enough times will result in the offender being kicked out for poor sportsmanship.
- 8-Bit Theater has 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.
- 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.
Church: Oh, my god. I'm the team-killing fucktard!
- Caboose accidentally killing Church (the first time)? Church's fault.
- Granted, it was Gamma who tortured Alpha with simulations in the past, so it could have been Gary/Gamma simply screwing with him.
- Sarge will take every opportunity to kill Grif.
- 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.
- According to the novels, this is how Lorth Kordigän ended up being Helkazard's successor. Intially, Helkazard was being replaced by a council of which Lorth Kordigän was member among many.
- Trespassers Of The Multiverse Gaiden: Bisnif. His very skills are geared for this, and he outright attacks his own teammates and puts them at risk.
- Total Drama:
- Courtney becomes one in World Tour in order to get a chance to vote off Gwen.
- Scott is a characteristic example in Revenge of the Island. He seems more interested in eliminating his own teammates than the other team, wanting to lull the other team into a false sense of security so they will eventually be easier to pick off. 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, presumably because he knows that such a strategy wouldn't work twice.