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03:34:47 AM Nov 19th 2011
reply: Literature
  • Fred Saberhagen's Berserker novel Berserker's Planet. A cult on Hunter's Planet regularly has tournaments where the contestants fight to the death. Little do the competitors know that the ultimate controller of the cult is a disabled Berserker which is doing its best to carry out its programming to destroy all life.

Tabletop RPG
  • Champions campaign The Great Supervillain Contest. The Crimson Claw sets up a competition between the Earth's greatest supervillains to determine which one is the most powerful. The prize is the Emerald Eye of Azog, which will increase the winning villain's already great abilities. What the villains don't know is that once the winner bonds with the Eye, it will take him over and turn them into a gate that will allow dangerous demons to come to Earth.

Western Animation
  • Teen Titans episode "Winner Take All". A number of teen superbeings are teleported to an unknown location, where the Master of Games invites them to take part in a Tournament of Heroes that will determine which of them is the greatest young hero on Earth. What the competitors don't know is that when they lose, they're trapped within the Master's jewel so he can use their powers.

reply: Master of Martial Hearts is a big time (and convoluted as hell) case of this. The tournament revolves around the "Platonic Heart," a mythical jewel that can supposedly grant any wish to a girl who acquires it. Every girl who loses the tournament is Mind Raped into an Empty Shell state before being conditioned into sexual slavery and sold. The entire thing is being conducted as a Cycle of Revenge by the daughters of two sisters who wound up on the losing end of a similar tournament organized by Aya's father, which Aya's mother won. The two cousins want the same thing their mothers got put through to happen to Aya as revenge against both of her parents, and they don't care about what happens to the other contestants.

reply: Mahou Sensei Negima! had a tournament whose hidden purpose was to gather evidence of the existence of magic and flood the media with it.

  • The plot for Mega Man 6 involves a certain Mr. X ,who is totally not a disguised Dr. Wily, organising a fighting tournament for robots with prizes for the laboratories developing them; Megaman has to stop the eight finalist robots of the contest after Mr. X reprograms them to Take Over the World in his steed.

reply: The archery tournament in the various versions of Robin Hood. It's simply a ruse for the bad guys to flush out Robin, knowing full well that he would not resist entering the tournament and winning it, especially if the prize is a kiss form Maid Marian.

reply: Double subverted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Everyone thinks its a ruse to kill Harry during the contest. In Truth, it is rigged for him to win, so he can be captured at the moment of victory

reply: Wow, thanks for the examples, I didn't expect that many so soon. ^^;

reply: Hmm would The Quick and the Dead qualify here?

reply: Eastern Animation: The Adventures of Captain Vrungel cartoon is about an international regatta with the purpose of smuggling out a stolen sculpture.

reply: Video Games
  • This is pretty much The King of Fighters in a nutshell, most prominently during The Orochi Saga ('95-'97) and The Tales of Ash (2003-XIII), where the primary motive of the baddies is to unseal Orochi (although for varying, but no less equally evil purposes). This has happened so frequently that characters start lampshading why there can't be a regular fighting tournament that doesn't serve as the instrument for The End of the World as We Know It every once in a while.

reply: How about The Last Starfighter? A video arcade game is secretly a test to find a starfighter.

reply: This is essentially the entire plot of Shaman King. The tournament is to determine the greatest shaman alive...oh yeah and then they get to bond with God and do whatever they want with the world.

reply: @JohnDiFool: You'd have to elaborate, I'm not familiar with that movie...

@Omeganian, X 2 X: Added both of your examples.

@randomsurfer: But is there a tournament where people compete at the game or is it just a game that is a hidden test?

@BooleanEarth: Who are these "they" you are referring to? I am not familiar with that anime, either...

reply: The organizers of the tournament. With a purpose that's neither sinister nor hidden. Everyone, including the viewer, knows what the purpose is, and that's why they participate. Shaman King isn't an example.

reply: Virtually every Tournament Arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! to the point where it's commented in-story how refreshing it is to go to a tournament that's only a tournament. (It still manages to get hijacked by a villain's scheme, but at least that wasn't in the host's plans.)


Video games

  • Bloody Roar can be best described as X-Men meets the King of Fighters. Each tournament revovles around diplomatic tensions between zoanthropes and humankind due to experiements being conducted on zoanthropes, behind the scenes. The tournament itself is merely a front to lure the strongest of their kind to be test subjects, by pitting them against others of their kind with legendary beast power... or genetically enhanced super beings.

reply: The Street Fighter tournaments are set up by Shadaloo to attract powerful martial artists from around the world, which Bison can use as host bodies.

reply: ^ Well, that's only really in Alpha, which actually didn't involve a tournament. In Street Fighter II, Bison's holding a tournament to get revenge on the characters who ruined his plans in Alpha 3. In Street Fighter IV, Seth from S.I.N. (Shadaloo Intimidation Network, the weapons division of Shadaloo) holds a tournament to gain data (and Ryu) to complete his BLECE Project, an unknown bioweapon. The tournament in Street Fighter III: New Generation/2nd Impact subverts this, though. The Illuminati is judging people the world wide to see who is fit to live in the new utopian world foretold in their ominous prophecy, but their leader Gill is a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

reply: I think more Tournament Arcs use this than don't, actually.

reply: ^ I wouldn't be surprised, since a plain Tournament Arc is rather boring.

reply: I seem to remember that in Robin Hood, they had an archer tournament specifically to lure Robin Hood out. Someone with better memory than me will have to mention what versions include this though.

reply: ^ That example is already listed under the oral tradition. ;)



Deltora Quest- Book IV: The Shifting Sands. Leif, Barda, and Jasmine enter in a tournament for money to continue their travels. Problem is the tournament is a trap. After Jasmine wins, they are kidnapped by the evil Shadow Guards as a method of keeping the population quiet IIRC.

reply: This seems like a Spoilered Rotten trope, where you just have a single warning at the top of the page.

reply: ^ Looks that way.

reply: In The Quick and the Dead the gunfighting tournament is primarily a way for the Big Bad to eliminate any threats to himself and intimidate any of the locals who might try to oppose him. He knows that there is an assassin gunning for him and that the Kid is itching to take him on. The tournament is a trap for them to face him in the open where he can gun them down in a duel. It is implied that if anyone proves too much of a threat, his Mooks will gun that person down.

reply: I can't believe YuYu Hakusho hasn't been submitted yet...

The Dark Tournament ark is already pretty, well, Dark, but then it is revealed that the true purpose is for betting and power brokering behind the scenes.

The later Demon World Tournament is a complete aversion of this trope, especially considering where it takes place.

  • This happened a couple of times on Tales from the Crypt, where a contestant in a contest murders the odds-on favorite, only to find out too late that the "prize" for winning is death. In one case, an actor literally kills for a chance to play Hamlet only to discover that he was really auditioning to play Yorick (the skull). In another case, a beauty-pageant contestant kills another, only to discover that the pageant is "Miss Autopsy".

reply: Speaking of YuYu Hakusho, "Dark Tournament" would probably be a far superior title than the mouthful it currently is.

reply: Sekirei for obvious reasons. Fate/Stay Night for spoilerific ones.

reply: Almost all of the Tekken videogames.

reply: @ThePope: While it's certainly shorter, I don't think it conveys the idea of the trope clearly enough.

@saikou: Not Self-Explanatory. And this trope is spoilerific, anyway.

@oztrickster: Please elaborate.

reply: Tekken 2, Kazuya announces the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 2 to get rid of Heihachi and his other enemies. Tekken 3, Heihachi announces the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 3 to lure Ogre out in order to capture him using the contestants as bait. Tekken 4, Heihachi needs to get the devil gene to become immortal so he announces the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 4 to lure Kazuya and Jin out to obtain the devil gene.

reply: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist gives us Duelist Kingdom, which is a ruse to draw Yugi into a battle against Pegasus so that Pegasus can win the Millennium Puzzle from Yugi and trap his soul in a card. Then there's also Kaiba's Death-T in the original manga, which was Kaiba's way of trying to kill Yugi and make it look like it was part of the game.

reply: I think that's enough examples and hats for launch, but there is still the matter of the title. Tournament Conspiracy?

reply: Can somebody add Robin Hood to the references list?

reply: ^ What do you mean? It's already there.

reply: Is the new title OK for launch?

reply: Can we make the title "Archery Tournament" since Robin Hood was the best known example of this (The Odyssey is the earliest)?

reply: Ok for the new title not ok for Archery Tournament, who sound like an ordinary archery tournament

reply: @Caveat: Archery Tournament would give the impression that this is about archers' competition. Also, No New Trope Namers.

@VioletOrange: Thanks, one vote pro. Just a couple more and I'll finally launch it.

reply: ^ Didn't realize we weren't using TropeNamers anymore... when did that come up for discussion?

reply: ^ It's been slumbering around YKTTW for a month before launching today.

Also, thank you very much for rewriting the YKTTW when I haven't even asked for it. Since you are so eager to violate the basic rules of etiquette, I henceforth stop making any edits to this YKTTW. It's up to you. Just remember that the hats were given to the old write-up, not yours.

reply: ^ I'm newish & thought that posts were here for editing help. All I did was clean up the grammar, fix spelling errors, correct broken links, add a few references, & generally fix problems that were in the draft. Sorry to offend you.

reply: Launching using the name "Not Just A Tournament" since that is the name that can be used the more easily within another article's plot description.
04:03:10 AM Nov 19th 2011
Except that it would be nice to ask whether everyone is OK with the new title first.
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