Playing With / The Worf Effect

Basic Trope: A (supposedly) powerful fighter is defeated, for the narrative purpose of showing how strong is the (usually new) opponent.
  • Straight: Bob, a mighty warrior, is easily defeated by Charlie in order to show off his new Artifact of Doom.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Bob loses against the Big Bad in said villain's introductory chapter in order to demonstrate this but still fares well against the run-of-the-mill Mooks that pop up later and even defeats a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Justified:
    • Worf Had the Flu
    • He's tough, but they're tougher. The fight demonstrates this.
    • Bob is pretty strong, but overconfident and fights people stronger than him. His defeat serves the double purpose of showing Alice how dangerous those people are, and also not to be overconfident.
    • Because Bob is so mighty, he is sent to fight the most powerful enemies and determine how they fight.
  • Inverted: Bob is portrayed as a wimp. He beats up the new opponent himself, showing how pathetic this guy is.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: In the rematch, Charlie says I Am Not Left-Handed and demonstrates his true level by flooring Bob again.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob, supposedly The Big Guy, gets his ass kicked by anyone who enters the room. He can't even win arguments against newer people.
    • A teddy bear easily kills Bob and is hailed as the mightiest foe the heroes have ever faced.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob defeats a powerful opponent, who turns out to be Only Mostly Dead. After this, Bob unveils an Eleventh Hour Superpower, in which he defeats the opponent again, only for them to get back up...
  • Averted: Bob isn't a jobber and instead has a variable win-loss record.
  • Enforced: "Hey, we need to show off how powerful this new opponent is! I know, put him up against Bob!"
  • Lampshaded: "Why do I always lose against the new villain?"
  • Invoked:
  • Defied: Bob, fighting a critical battle, reaches into Heroic Resolve and wins a fight he was about to lose.
  • Discussed: "So, you just throw Bob at the new villains to see how strong they are?"
  • Conversed: Bob and Alice are doctors, and while sitting in the lounge, the topic turns to Bob's impressive musculature, at which point Alice comments, "But, then again, it means you're the first one to get knocked out if a supervillain shows up".
  • Deconstructed: Bob realizes that he's ultimately a jobber, and this starts to take a mental and emotional toll on him, leading him to quit.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob decides that his purpose is to lose so his teammates can learn the fighting styles of his opponents, and rejoins.
    • Bob chooses to learn from Charlie about his strength and weakness.
    • Bob accepts that he is Overshadowed by Awesome and deliberately fights using a highly defensive style to tire his opponents rather than defeat them. When the time is right, he wisely retreats so The Hero can do his job.

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