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*** It's one of the better and more subtle [[AnAesop Aesops]] of the series that ''all'' the members of the trio are far more successful when they do things the honest way. When reduced to selling things or reporting at League Tournaments and the like, they are extremely successful business people. When he competes fairly, James often rivals and even beats the twerps at various pokemon events. Meowth is revealed to be an accomplished noodle chef, pilot and negotiator at times. And in Sinnoh Jessie [[spoiler: actually makes it to the semi-finals of the Ribbon Cup]] once she stops cheating and relying on gimmicks. They aren't failures who happen to be evil, they fail ''[[SanityHasAdvantages because]]'' they do things the bad way.

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*** It's one of the better and more subtle [[AnAesop Aesops]] of the series that ''all'' the members of the trio are far more successful when they do things the honest way. When reduced to selling things or reporting at League Tournaments and the like, they are extremely successful business people. When he competes fairly, James often rivals and even beats the twerps at various pokemon events. Meowth is revealed to be an accomplished noodle chef, pilot and negotiator at times. And in Sinnoh Jessie [[spoiler: actually makes it to the semi-finals of the Ribbon Cup]] once she stops cheating and relying on gimmicks. They aren't failures who happen to be evil, they fail ''[[SanityHasAdvantages ''[[EvilWillFail because]]'' they do things the bad way.

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* {{Justified}} in ''Fanfic/SonOfTheSannin'' with the Otogakure genin trio, Zaku, Kin and Dosu. While they were under Mizuki, he wasn't interested in teaching them anything. After they're taken prisoner by Konoha and placed under Anko's tutelage, she makes sure to train them properly ([[TrainingFromHell if to sadistically harsh levels]]), to the point they're able to defeat their former teacher when he's brought back as an Edo Tensei zombie (also helped by the fact that [[VillainForgotToLevelGrind he wan't any stronger than when he was alive]]).

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* Inverted with Alison DiLaurentis in Series/PrettyLittleLiars. When introduced (in flashback), it was as an AlphaBitch who blackmailed, mutilated, and terrorized the people around her to get what she wanted, and for much of the show her ultimate allegiance to the Liars is in question. When she become an unquestionably good character, she also seems to lose all ability to take care of herself, and the Liars must save her multiple times from her own bad decisions.

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* Series/BakuryuuSentaiAbaranger has a surprising example with [[SixthRanger [=AbareKiller=]]]. While a SixthRanger in Franchise/SuperSentai who starts off a villain is typically subject to a RedemptionDemotion, [=AbareKiller=] had gone through a peroid of VillainDecay thanks to his suit starting to breakdown. Once he joined the heroes, he TookALevelInBadass.
** Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger has [[DarthVaderClone Wolzard]]. While he was certainly a threat as a villain, [[VillainForgotToLevelGrind due to the heroes getting stronger he gradually possed less of a threat.]] As it turns out he was a FallenHero, and being [[BrainwashedAndCrazy corrupted into a villain]] by the series made him weaker, because his true identity Isamu Ozu/Heavenly Saint Bragel was '''FAR''' more powerful, single handedly [[CurbStompBattle curb stomping]] enemies who the show's titular heroes lost against.


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* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' has Rider serve as an antagonist in the first two route. In the ''Fate'' route she is a StarterVillain, and in the ''Unlimited Blade Works'' route she dies off screen. The ''Heaven's Feel'' route has Rider become an ally where she proves far effective [[spoiler: and even manages to survive the end of the route.]] This is justified in universe by Rider being held by having a weak Master in the first two route, when she has a much stronger master in the ''Heaven's Feel'' route she showed how strong she really was.

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* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' has Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a [[HarmlessVillain hilariously inept]] MadScientist whose plan barely pose a threat and would typically be annoyance at best even if his ArchEnemy didn't stop him. When he actually tries to do good, while still an idiot, he is far more successful, helping


** Miss Nettle was the disgruntled and fame-hungry apprentice to the [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Three Good Fairies]], but had no success in defeating them or Sofia. But once Sofia directs her to use her gift with enchanted gardening to actually help others, she sees for herself how much joy her plants bring to people, and turns over a new leaf. By "Ivy's True Colors," she's even trusted to find a cure for a sleeping curse randomly affecting the animals.

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** Miss Nettle was the disgruntled and fame-hungry apprentice to the [[Disney/SleepingBeauty [[WesternAnimation/SleepingBeauty Three Good Fairies]], but had no success in defeating them or Sofia. But once Sofia directs her to use her gift with enchanted gardening to actually help others, she sees for herself how much joy her plants bring to people, and turns over a new leaf. By "Ivy's True Colors," she's even trusted to find a cure for a sleeping curse randomly affecting the animals.


* Ambuscade from TabletopGames/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse went up and down in competence and effectiveness lore-wise, but gameplay-wise he's a bit of a joke and is considered a great starter villain for new players. But as the hero Stuntman he is ''much'' more powerful, able to pull off insane out of turn combos with massive damage output in the right hands.

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* Ambuscade from TabletopGames/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse went up and down in competence and effectiveness lore-wise, but gameplay-wise he's a bit of a joke and is considered a great starter villain for new players. But as the hero Stuntman he is ''much'' more powerful, able to pull off insane out of turn combos with massive damage output in the right hands.



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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Ambuscade from TabletopGames/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse went up and down in competence and effectiveness lore-wise, but gameplay-wise he's a bit of a joke and is considered a great starter villain for new players. But as the hero Stuntman he is ''much'' more powerful, able to pull off insane out of turn combos with massive damage output in the right hands.
** The same goes for Baron Blade, who was literally ''designed'' to be a starter villain and in each of his subsequent appearences in the card game he uses less and less tech. But as the temporary hero Luminary he pulls out all the stops with a ton of robots, devices, and a frikken ''space laser!'' He even finally gets to drop the moon (at least, a piece of it) onto the earth.
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* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales2017'': Flintheart Glomgold is tedious to deal with, but his ego and ComplexityAddiction mean he's never hard to defeat. At one point, he literally loses his entire fortune to a ''child'' ([[spoiler:Louie]]). But when it comes time to challenge the Moonlanders, those same factors work in his favor because the entire invasion is set up to stymie Scrooge's efforts. Glomgold is such a different type of opponent, his scheme serves as ConfusionFu, and he's a large factor in the ultimate victory.


* The Monarch in ''WesternAnimation/VentureBrothers'' tends to sinewave between IneffectualSympatheticVillain and NotSoHarmlessVillain when fighting Dr. Venture, possessing reasonable skill and considerable resources but not able to leverage either due to his VillainBall and the efforts of [[OneManArmy Brock Samson]] and [[GadgeteerGenius Sergeant Hatred]], and mostly being carried by his two {{Hypercompetent Sidekick}}s. Whenever he's fighting other villains, though, whether through EnemyMine, EvilVsEvil, or [[spoiler:his heroic identity as the Blue Morpho]], he becomes frightfully effective, thanks to his will and mercilessness being employed against an opponent not protected by ContractualGenreBlindness.

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* The Monarch in ''WesternAnimation/VentureBrothers'' tends to sinewave between IneffectualSympatheticVillain and NotSoHarmlessVillain when fighting Dr. Venture, possessing reasonable skill and considerable resources but not able to leverage either due to his VillainBall and the efforts of [[OneManArmy Brock Samson]] and [[GadgeteerGenius Sergeant Hatred]], and mostly being carried by his two {{Hypercompetent Sidekick}}s. Whenever he's fighting other villains, though, whether through EnemyMine, EvilVsEvil, EvilVersusEvil, or [[spoiler:his heroic identity as the Blue Morpho]], he becomes frightfully effective, thanks to his will and mercilessness being employed against an opponent not protected by ContractualGenreBlindness.

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* Ken Ichijouji from ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''. As the Digimon Emperor, he was a petulant SmugSnake who frequently had his plans defeated by the Digidestined and was curb-stomped by TK. After his HeelFaceTurn, he was able to digivolve Wormon into Stingmon and was able to DNA digivolve with Davis with the two being the only ones on the team to achieve mega form. He also got to seal away Daemon.

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** Arguably, [[spoiler: Ben Solo]] becomes a much better fighter once he [[spoiler:gives up his Kylo Ren identity, soloing his former comrades, the Knights of Ren, in less than 20 seconds. [[JustifiedTrope It makes sense]] considering he is no longer shackled by his feelings of fear and inadequacy]]


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* ''SuperMarioBros'': This happens with Bowser in a few games. Usually, this is because the player can control him so he doesn't [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros get tricked into stuff]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros like jumping]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii to let enemies pass]], [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3 smashing through the floor into a]] BottomlessPit, [[VideoGame/SuperMario64 charging at an enemy known for jumping ability]] [[WhatAnIdiot that would let him grab his tail and throw him into a bomb]], etc.

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* ''SuperMarioBros'': ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'': This happens with Bowser in a few games. Usually, this is because the player can control him so he doesn't [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1 get tricked into stuff]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros like jumping]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii to let enemies pass]], [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3 smashing through the floor into a]] BottomlessPit, [[VideoGame/SuperMario64 charging at an enemy known for jumping ability]] [[WhatAnIdiot that would let him grab his tail and throw him into a bomb]], etc.


* [[Wrestling/{{Christian}} Christian Cage]] is probably the ultimate example of this trope. After turning his back on the fans he simply got more and more pathetic, and boring to the point in 2003 it seemed like he couldn't win a match clean if his life depended on it, even against 150 pound Spike Dudley. After returning to ECW many new fans were shocked to see he could actually escape from an arm bar and with the crowds behind him tag teams have to cheat to beat Christian in two on one matches.

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* [[Wrestling/{{Christian}} Christian Cage]] is probably the ultimate example of this trope. After turning his back on the fans he simply got more and more pathetic, and boring to the point in 2003 it seemed like he couldn't win a match clean if his life depended on it, even against 150 pound Spike Dudley. After returning to ECW many new fans were shocked to see he could actually escape from an arm bar armbar and with the crowds behind him tag teams have to cheat to beat Christian in two on one matches.



* Alex Riley may be the best example of this trope. As Wrestling/TheMiz's apprentice, he was of little competence except when he needed to take a beating in lieu of his teacher. Once Miz lost the title, he began to berate his protege until he lost one rematch too many and he fired Riley in the ring. [[TheDogBitesBack Riley would turn on his former leader]] and immediately gain new found in-ring competence as he would defeat Miz several times and find himself in almost immediate title contention despite being portrayed as a mere rookie months earlier on NXT.

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* Alex Riley may be the best example of this trope. As Wrestling/TheMiz's apprentice, he was of little competence except when he needed to take a beating in lieu of his teacher. Once Miz lost the title, he began to berate his protege until he lost one rematch too many and he fired Riley in the ring. [[TheDogBitesBack Riley would turn on his former leader]] and immediately gain new found newfound in-ring competence as he would defeat Miz several times and find himself in almost immediate title contention despite being portrayed as a mere rookie months earlier on NXT.



** In the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha'' games, as villains [[Anime/VoltesV Prince Heinel]] and [[{{Anime/Daimos}} Prince Richter]] are at best difficult mid-bosses but still pawns of the Balmarians and [[Anime/{{Gaiking}} Dark Horror Army]] respectively. As heroes, they are freedom-fighting symbols of revolution, risk their lives -[[HeroicSacrifice and eventually lose them]]- for others, and even assist the Alpha Numbers against both [[PhysicalGod Irui Ganeden]] and [[EldritchAbomination Keisar Ephes]], albeit the second time in [[NotTooDeadToHelp spirit form]].

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** In the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha'' games, as villains [[Anime/VoltesV Prince Heinel]] and [[{{Anime/Daimos}} Prince Richter]] are at best difficult mid-bosses but still pawns of the Balmarians and [[Anime/{{Gaiking}} Dark Horror Army]] respectively. As heroes, they are freedom-fighting symbols of revolution, risk their lives -[[HeroicSacrifice and eventually lose them]]- for others, and even assist the Alpha Numbers against both [[PhysicalGod Irui Ganeden]] and [[EldritchAbomination Keisar Ephes]], albeit the second time in [[NotTooDeadToHelp [[NotTooDeadToSaveTheDay spirit form]].



** Gumshoe's competence skyrockets any time he's asked to do something that isn't detective work. He can get a bridge built on a mountain in the dead of winter overnight, build complex, perfectly functioning gadgets out of junk, fight off a gang of mob goons bare handed and ''always'' bring that vital evidence to the courtroom in time. But notice basic logical discrepancies? Not a chance.

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** Gumshoe's competence skyrockets any time he's asked to do something that isn't detective work. He can get a bridge built on a mountain in the dead of winter overnight, build complex, perfectly functioning gadgets out of junk, fight off a gang of mob goons bare handed barehanded and ''always'' bring that vital evidence to the courtroom in time. But notice basic logical discrepancies? Not a chance.



* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' pretty much any enemy joins you exactly as they were... meaning you can level them and make them far more powerful than they were before, tearing through legions of their companions.

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* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' pretty much any enemy joins you exactly as they were... meaning you can level them and make them far more powerful than they were before, tearing through legions of their companions.


* M'baku in ''Film/BlackPanther'' begins as an adversary of T'challa who challenges him for the throne. After losing their duel and being spared he later aids T'challa in stopping Killmonger. This leads to him becoming the first Jabari chieftain to sit on the ruling council in Wakanda's history.

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* M'baku in ''Film/BlackPanther'' ''Film/BlackPanther2018'' begins as an adversary of T'challa who challenges him for the throne. After losing their duel and being spared he later aids T'challa in stopping Killmonger. This leads to him becoming the first Jabari chieftain to sit on the ruling council in Wakanda's history.

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