Playing With: Combat Pragmatist

Basic Trope: The Combat Pragmatist is a character who is defined by his or her willingness to do anything in a fight to win.
  • Straight: Bob challenges Alice to a sword fight but she pulls out a gun instead and shoots him.
  • Exaggerated: Bob challenges Alice to a boxing match and she opts to blow up the entire gym with Bob inside it.
  • Downplayed:
    • Alice engages in a sword fight with Bob but during the fight, she grabs a rock from off the ground and smacks him with it to avoid being skewered.
    • Bob challenges Alice's teammate, Charlie, to a one-on-one fist fight. While Alice initially stays out of the fight, Bob pulling out a knife prompts her to shoot him declaring that if he won't stick to the rules neither will she.
  • Justified:
    • Alice needs to hurry for whatever reason and has no time to waste in a prolonged sword fight.
    • Bob is a much better swordsman than Alice and she doesn't want to be killed.
    • Alice already had a gun on hand so why not use it?
    • Bob is the Villain and Alice is a firm believer in Pay Evil unto Evil
    • Alice doesn't even use a sword and only has a gun so by her logic she was using the only weapon she had at the time.
  • Inverted: Alice purposefully handicaps herself in the fight against Bob "to make it fair".
  • Subverted:
    • Alice pulls her gun and tosses it aside in order to fight Bob fairly in a swordfight.
    • Alice is a Good Is Not Soft heroine who does what she can against villains but is much more restrained when sparring with fellow heroes.
  • Double Subverted: During the fight, she gets knocked down and, seeing that she is about to be killed, grabs the gun and shoots Bob.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob challenges Alice to "an honorable sword fight." She pulls a sword, then presses the trigger at the bottom of the sword's hilt, which fires a bullet out the end of the blade and kills him. "What, your sword doesn't shoot bullets?"
    • Alice surprises Bob by pulling the gun on him bragging about how stupid he was for using a sword against a gun. But she is a lousy shot in which Bob easily dodges her blast and then slashes her down.
    • Alice: What? It was a fight nobody said it had to be a sword fight, not my fault he didn't bring a gun with him.
    • Alice: Ha! You stupid wannabe Hero! Only a moron would bring a sword against a gunslinger like me! Bob: You do realize that I am practically bullet proof right? Alice: Oh... Heh heh, oh yeah I did forgot about that... well this is awkward.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice will fight fair until she's losing, then go for whatever dirty trick will put her on top. Then she'll fight fair again unless it's taking too long, at which point she'll use the necessary tactics to end the fight quickly.
  • Averted: Alice fights Bob in a fair sword fight.
  • Enforced: The writers want to show how pragmatic Alice is in a fight for character development and/or a little humor.
  • Lampshaded:
    • "Why would I fight fair when I could just shoot you?"
    • "Since when has being a paragon of honor ever worked out for anyone?"
  • Invoked:
    • Alice brings a gun to the sword fight, knowing Bob would be too honorable to have one himself.
    • The Big Good hired Alice to defeat Bob, knowing she'll be more likely to shoot him and get it over with, unlike more honorable heroes.
  • Exploited: Combat pragmatists are gathered in a spec-ops team send into dangerous missions where their pragmatic approach to fighting will give them the edge.
  • Defied: Bob realizes Alice would likely pull a gun so he wore a bulletproof vest, forcing her to fight more fairly.
  • Discussed: "Alice might not fight fair but at least she gets the job done."
  • Conversed: Two characters watch the scene play out in a movie and discuss how practical Alice is.
  • Implied: "Bring a sword to a sword fight if you must but I've always preferred bringing guns."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob is Genre Savvy enough to bring a gun of his own, knowing Alice would not be honorable enough to fight fair.
    • Alice's way of fighting is seen as dirty; she quickly gains a bad reputation as a weakling and/or Dirty Coward for not fighting with strength, skill, or honor.
    • Alice's lack of standards while fighting means that, in the rare instance where she is defeated, Bob shows her no mercy because he does not expect it in turn.
    • Alice is normally alright with using underhanded tactics because her opponents are normally scum anyways but is a bit hesistant when she is forced to fight a brainwashed ally.
    • Alice shoots Bob down and claims herself victorious but was deemed the loser as she failed a Secret Test of Character and was banished due to her underhanded ways.
    • The Big Bad tries to exploit Alice's cynical underhanded nature by getting Alice's pragmatic tactics to horribly backfire on her.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice counted on Bob bringing a gun, so she brought a grenade.
    • Alice doesn't care; she prefers whatever gets the job done.
    • Alice for once brought a sword just like Bob did - under the knowledge that once she start ignoring the rules, others would follow suit, and she would have a difficult time dealing with other opponents in the long run.
    • A story that tries to give the Aesop that just because someone is not strict with their Moral Code that doesn't mean they have no morals at all, so in other words just because Alice doesn't follow a strict code does not mean she is evil.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob pulls a sword and does a lot of flynning. Alice shrugs, pulls a gun, and shoots him.
  • Played For Drama: Bob tries to kill Alice with a knife and nearly succeeds. In desperation, Alice grabs a gun and opens fire.

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