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1%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1577889763049505400²%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.²%%²[[quoteright:315:[[VideoGame/StreetsOfRage https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sor2_finale_5.png]]]]²%%²->''"In chess, the pawns go first."''²-->-- '''ComicBook/{{Magneto}}''' right before [[WeHaveReserves his first wave gets mowed down]], ''Film/XMenTheLastStand''²²The BigBad could easily step in and join the fight at any time, but instead he chooses to wait until all or at least most of their subordinate forces are defeated. Unlike OrcusOnHisThrone, he's not necessarily passive or staying off-camera, this is a case where he has made a conscious choice to spectate for this particular battle. A sub-trope of WeHaveReserves, with the big bad or TheDragon as the reserves.²²May show that the villain has [[WeHaveReserves no regard for his henchmen's lives]] and just wants to get his money's worth out of them, that he considers fighting alongside lesser forces beneath him, or that he's too overconfident to consider the heroes a threat. If he's watching from a SlouchOfVillainy, it's likely to be all three. If the villain could conceivably have won if he'd stepped in earlier, he may be holding the VillainBall.²²On the other, more {{pragmatic|Villainy}} hand, the villain may be letting his minions [[VictoryByEndurance soften up the heroes]] while minimizing risk to himself, or taking the opportunity to [[TellMeHowYouFight observe the heroes' fighting style]]. Or maybe he plans to [[WeCanRuleTogether try to recruit them]] if they're good enough to defeat his EliteMooks. Or maybe he uses the minions as [[WeNeedADistraction distraction]] so that the villain can be free doing their main objective while the heroes are either hindered or stuck fighting the wrong battle. ²²Usually occurs at the top end of the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil, with the FinalBoss.²²Compare MookChivalry, FlunkyBoss, RunTheGauntlet, BossRush. Not an uncommon tactic for TheNeidermeyer. Contrast FrontlineGeneral.²²----²!!Examples:²²[[foldercontrol]]²²[[folder:Anime & Manga]]²* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'': It's revealed that all the season's prior {{Big Bad}}s were working under Apocalymon, and he has all their special attacks in his own moveset.²** Even earlier than that, in the original miniseries the reason Devimon resorted to relying on [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Black Gear-infected]] Digimon to attack the children after his attempt at simply murdering them in their sleep failed is because he wanted to make sure that when they confronted him again, he'd know all about their moves and abilities. [[DidntSeeThatComing Patamon evolving into Angemon]] and channeling all his strength to perform a MutualKill was the only reason Devmon was defeated. Even then, he mocked Angemon for a SenselessSacrifice and gleefully informed the kids that even more powerful and dangerous Digimon were waiting for them.²* ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' uses this to an effect in the latter half of the Universal Survival arc. After Jiren proves to be so overwhelmingly powerful after his first fight with Goku. The remaining Universe 7 warriors find themselves facing off against the other remnants of the other universes' warriors while Jiren and his Pride Troopers, Toppo and Dyst, just step back and watch. Granted some of the other universes could've attacked them as well but figured Universe 7 was the easier of the two to deal with first and went after them. By the time all the other universes are gone save 11. Universe 7's crew, which by this point included Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Android 17 and Frieza, are battle weary and going up against opponents who're barely even roughed up.²* In the original ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' TV series's finale, Alucard fights through hordes of vampire-ified police officers and civilians to get to Incognito - who is actually an authentic, Ancient Vampire of the same "vintage" (power level) as Alucard (compared to the "watered-down" Nth-generation natural vampires an Artificial Vampires he'd been fighting the rest of the series). Alucard still goes through the recently turned vampire SWAT team like they were wet tissue paper -- but when he finally faces Incognito, he explicitly taunts Alucard that he was letting him use up his finite amount of silver-tipped bullets on his pawns, so now he's running low on ammo. ²* ''Anime/MonsterRancher'' begins with the Searchers fighting some low level but minor mooks. As they get further, soon end up against the elite commander, the Big Four. The leader, Muu, does step in mid-season, but only to find out where his true body lies. Eventually after the Big Four are defeated, he calls in his highest commander, General Dullahan who sends his elite monsters after the group who sure enough, are the toughest challenge yet before Dullhan himself and eventually Muu, who has regained his body by that point and instantly goes after them.²* In ''Manga/RuroniKenshin'', Makoto Shishio deliberately had one of his mooks engage Kenshin in battle, but Kenshin defeated him without so much as drawing his sword by engaging in ExplosiveOverclocking (the mook was proud of his speed, but failed to notice Kenshin slowly ''increase'' his speed until the point the mook's body couldn't keep up). Shishio quietly inquired if this meant the mook couldn't even force Kenshin to demonstrate a single one of his techniques... [[YouHaveFailedMe and getting the hint the mook makes one last desperate charge that does indeed force Kenshin to counter with one of his moves]].²* Both ''Manga/SailorMoon'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''Anime/PrettyCure'' deal with the heroes fighting with the evil-summoned MonsterOfTheWeek, which ruins their day. As per MagicalGirlWarrior standards, they deal with the problem themselves. The latter usually have a theme to their summoning each season.²* In ''LightNovel/TheRisingOfTheShieldHero'' [[spoiler:Medea]] could, at any time, achieve her end goal by personally [[spoiler:destroying the world]]. Instead she sends an army to fight the defenders and observes the battles because [[ForTheEvulz she enjoys watching her enemies struggle and fail]]. She only intervenes if her forces are in danger of losing ground as she doesn't want anyone else to win.²* In one episode of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Manjoume makes it inside North Duel Academy (the rival to the regular Duel Academy) and quickly finds out the rules to their "hazing ritual" from Yuri Edogawa, a guy who claims to be their top student. A new student has to duel the top fifty students from least skilled to best, until he loses. Manjoume gladly accepts that challenge and starts kicking some serious A, while Edogawa does little but watch from a rocking chair. After Manjoume defeats the top four under Edogawa ''simultaneously'', Edogawa finally gets up and duels him; he's slightly more of a challenge, but Manjoume still triumphs. At that point, the school's chancellor appears, telling him that he's passed the SecretTestOfCharacter that he's been put through the entire episode, and also says he's earned the right to take over as top student. (Claiming he never really liked Edogawa much anyway.)²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Comic Books]]²* In the ''ComicBook/{{Batman}}'' comics, Bane used this to brutal effect. In the original ''Knightfall'' arc, Bane was smart enough to send other villains against Batman to either weaken him first, track him down, or simply observe his fighting style so he can learn from it. Various subsequent iterations in different continuities and media have played with this to different degrees (some treat Bane as a dumb brute, while surprisingly, the Nolan-verse live-action Bane - though intelligent - ''did not'' do this but chose to fight him head-on (because in that incarnation, Bane explicitly had the same training background with the League of Shadows that Batman did). A good example is from the Bruce Timm animated universe: Bane decides to shadow Killer Croc until Batman eventually fights him, and when the mob boss who hired Bane to fight Batman questions this, he explicitly states it is so he can observe Batman's fighting technique. ²* In ''ComicBook/SantaVersusDracula'', Dracula uses the kids he vamped to soften up Santa and his group first then his own forces (Frankenstein, Wolfman, Invisible Man and Igor) before confronting Santa himself. ²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Fan Works]]²* In Creator/AAPessimal's ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' fic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11536013/15/Hyperemesis-gravidarum Hyperemesis Gravidarum]]'', a group of killers with a grudge are trying to take down the people who closed down a good operation and put them in prison. They are crazy, but not stupid: knowing they are attacking an Assassin, they recruit a platoon of "meat-shields" to take the brunt of the attack and soak up casualties, promising them fifty dollars a head ''after'' the fight. Very few of them are still standing at the end. ²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Literature]]²* In ''Literature/HarryPotter,'' [[BigBad Voldemort]] often shows reluctance to go into a battle unless a) he has no choice, or b) he's absolutely sure that he can't lose (though of course, this will get subverted so our heroes can survive). In the final battle Harry's visions show him holding back as his forces attack the school, and Hermione actually sounds shocked and indignant that he's not willing to fight himself. ²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]²* Two nested occurrences of this trope appear at the end of ''Film/{{Equilibrium}}''. First [[spoiler: Brandt and [=DuPont=] calmly watch Preston kill the guards]], then [[spoiler: [=DuPont=] calmly watches Preston [[CurbStompBattle curb stomp]] Brandt]], and only ''then'' does [[spoiler: [=DuPont=] fight Preston]]. All of this happens in the same room.²* In ''[[Film/KillBill Kill Bill: Volume One]]'', when The Bride comes after {{Yakuza}} boss O-Ren Ishii ("Cottonmouth"), she first faces the mooks who are dining with her, then the "Crazy 88" squad who roll in on motorcycles. When she kills them all (leaving one last youth among them to run away), she then faces O-Ren in a quiet winter garden setting behind the building.²-->'''The Bride:''' Any more subordinates for me to kill?²* In ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'', Magneto holds back while his hordes of lesser-powered mutants blitz Alcatraz, telling his right-hand man, "[[TropeNamer In chess, the pawns go first]]." This moment serves as one of Magneto's major KickTheDog moments: for all his grand-standing on mutant rights and brotherhood and superiority, he's just as willing to watch them get slaughtered. When the opening charge of weaker mutants gets taken out by the human forces' new PowerNullifier weapons, Magneto explains to Pyro (who he'd held back from joining the attack) "That's why the pawns go first."²* The final fight in Creator/JackieChan's ''Film/ProjectA'' has the heroes mowing down waves of enemies while the head pirate San-po makes a point of standing back and watching the fight.²* In ''Film/{{Dredd}}'', happens along a sorting algorithm. Gang leader Ma-Ma has Judge Dredd and his rookie Anderson trapped inside of her 200 level skyrise under lockdown, but she honestly ''hopes'' that the initial groups of low-ranking thugs she sends will kill him. She advances to sending more men, to using ''miniguns'' against Dredd, but nothing stops him. Once all of the pawns are used up, she sends in the knights - a squad of four Dirty Cops to take him out. She only does this reluctantly because it is very expensive. Nonetheless, during their ensuing fight the corrupt Judge Lex taunts Dredd that he used up all his ammunition fighting the canon-fodder from Ma-Ma's gang (which he needed now more than ever because the other Judges are as well-armed and trained as he is). The tactic worked, and they come the closest to killing Dredd: he runs ''completely'' out of ammo mid-fight, and suffers a gut-shot as a result. To push the analogy even further, Ma-Ma herself turns out to basically be the King. While not completely helpless, she's no match for Dredd in a one-on-one fight, who throws her off the top of the building to her death.²* Justified in ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld''. Scott has to defeat Ramona's evil exes in order to date her in a video-game-like Canada. Gideon, the BigBad, assembled the seven evil exes and can easily kick Scott's teeth in. We meet him fairly early in the plot and he takes an active role in events, but he forgoes fighting Scott and even tried to make peace with Scott before the end of the film.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Live-Action TV]]²* Pretty prevalent in a lot of ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' series.²** ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'', Queen Bansheera kept sending more of her forces to power up her son Imputs, and then later on started doing so to power up herself.²** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' was the more blatant about this as Lothor kept sending more and more of his generals out to be sacrificed. [[spoiler: But turns out he had a reason for it, as each monster defeated kept filling the Abyss of Despair up enough that it would be opened, reviving all the monster defeated and starting his conquest for world domination.]] ²[[/folder]] ²²[[folder:Tabletop Games]]²* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' supplement "Ninja Hero" the martial arts version of this is explained as a specific perk of being master of a fighting school--if challenged, you can deflect it to your students first, to see if the challenger is worth your while, and also spot any weaknesses in their fighting style you can exploit. (An actual skill in the Hero System called "Analyze Style.")²* In ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', the Penal Legions of the Imperial Guard, who are typically used for minesweeper duty by being marched across minefields or explicitly to soak up enemy ammunition during heavy sieges. To a looser extent, the Imperial Guard as a whole are viewed as pawns by the Imperial hierarchy, meant to hold the enemy in place until the Space Marines can arrive and take decisive action. This isn't exactly a fair comparison, however, as the Imperial Guard can be an effective fighting force and ''drastically'' outnumber the Space Marines. Strictly speaking, the chess analogy still fits: the Imperial Guard may be pawns, but massed numbers of pawns can still take out the queen (given that for every one who falls, ''ten more will take his place!'')²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Video Games]]²* In ''VideoGame/CastleCrashers'', the PreFinalBoss fight with a {{Necromancer}} has him revive two waves of enemies from the corpse-filled room before facing the players by himself as a DuelBoss.²* In ''[[VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsChroniclesOfMystara Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom]]'', when your party confronts [[FinalBoss Deimos the Lich]], he summons [[DualBoss two Mud Golems]] to fight against your party and he only leaves his throne after you have defeated both of the Mud Golems.²* In the first entry of the ''VideoGame/KunioKun'' series ''Nekketsu Kou¨ha Kunio Kun'' (as well as its Western localization ''Renegade''), Kunio would fight {{Mooks}} while the stage's boss would hang to the side and watch. When you were down to two or three mooks, the boss would then join in the fight.²* {{Subverted|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/GodHand'' with the boss Afro Fist. While he initially sits back and lets his two ladies do the fighting for him, the moment one dies or his couch gets destroyed, he begins to fight... with no cutscene warning to the player either!²* This is apparently what the [[VideoGame/StreetFighter Street Fighters]] are doing in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterXMegaMan''.²* The God King in ''VideoGame/InfinityBlade'' doesn't bother rising from his SlouchOfVillainy until you've defeated his minions. Comes full circle in the third game, the God King challenges the Worker of Secrets in the opening, who is too busy updating his blog (or whatever he's doing with his computers) to pay much attention until his guards are down.²* Subverted in ''VideoGame/TheIncrediblesRiseOfTheUnderminer'': The heroes think that the [[EternalEngine powerplant]] foreman Dug is doing this, but it turns out that [[TrappedInVillainy he was never loyal in the first place]], and was deliberately getting all his bodyguard robots destroyed at the heroes' hands so he'll be free to [[OptOut negotiate with them]].²* In ''VideoGame/ProjectXZone,'' boss and mini-boss units will skip their turns until your units get close to them, while the {{Mooks}} start charging from the beginning.²* The ''{{ComicBook/Spawn}}'' video games. The demon king Malebolgia is your most common enemy, and he's always seated on a giant throne in Hell. In the SNES title, he shoots lightning from his hands while you box with the Mad One. Afterwards, he gets off his throne and sends you to fight his creation, the New Breed. In ''Eternal'' for [=PlayStation=], he stays in the background during the rematch with Violator.²-->'''WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd''': He's just sitting there in the back! ''[[SoulEating Eating souls!]]'' ''Like'', sitting in the back of a bar eating buffalo wings!²* In the ''VideoGame/{{Vindictus}}'' mission "Friends?", unlike most missions, the boss doesn't spawn immediately when you enter the boss room. Instead, you face a constantly replaced swarm of {{Mooks}} and EliteMooks, and the boss doesn't show up until you've taken out one hundred of the latter.²* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', some of the instance bosses do this. For instance, when you enter Emperor Thaurissan's throne room in Black Rock Depths and start cutting your way through his courtiers, he will make remarks like "They were just getting in the way anyways."²* The fight with Hercules in ''VideoGame/GodOfWarIII'' starts with you fighting a small legion of skeletons. He joins the fray assisted by more skeletons, only making it a one-on-one after you defeat them.²* The Kingdom Hearts series:²** During ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad Organization XIII]] mostly threaten [[TheHero Sora]], by summoning [[{{Mooks}} lesser non-human nobodies]]. Their powers lead to TheHeartless fighting for them, and only in the end when they're cornered by Sora do they fight back. [[spoiler:They actually have a good reason not to, since they want Sora to use his Keyblade on the Heartless, to collect hearts for their [[TitleDrop Kingdom Hearts]]. They even stop summoning them and go after Sora and his friends once Kingdom Hearts is complete.]]²** In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII'', this is Justified as part of [[spoiler: Master Xehanort's plan]]. The members of the True Organization XIII [[spoiler: are meant to fight Sora and co. because a clash of light and darkness is needed to create the weapon that Xehanort needs to accomplish his goal. Xehanort does not care in the slightest about what happens to them after that]].²* The Paper Mario series:²** In ''VideoGame/PaperMario64'' General Guy will deploy his elite soldiers to fight Mario and only emerges directly into battle once all of the Shy Guy combatants are down.²** In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioColorSplash'', Lemmy will not fight Mario until Mario defeats all of his circus performers. The last group will provide Mario with a trampoline so Mario can meet Lemmy on the roof of the tent. This is a [[JustifiedTrope justified case]] in that Lemmy guards the Green Big Paint Star, which Mario needs to restore the fountain in Port Prisma--Lemmy's strategy is to hide the Big Paint Star where Mario can't get it, as Lemmy never actually intended to fight Mario in the first place, instead making Mario waste his time fruitlessly at the circus.²* Baroness Von Bon Bon's fight is like this in ''VideoGame/{{Cuphead}}''. The first three phases are each against one of her minions selected from a pool of five. Bon Bon herself only starts fighting in the final phase, and even then she relies mostly on her living castle.²* In the ''VideoGame/KingdomRush'' series, several of the bosses play this trope. They stand at the sidelines and send their minions after you first, only joining in once all the waves have been cleared. This usually also ends up being their undoing since the minions give gold to allow you to upgrade your towers enough to take on the boss.²* This is how the fights against Mr. X go in the first two ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'' games. He [[SlouchOfVillainy sits on his throne menacingly]] while hordes of {{Mooks}} attempt to kill you (in the second game, he sics his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Shiva on you as well). After enough henchmen/Shiva are defeated, he joins the fight, brandishing his signature tommy gun. A similar scenario seems to play out in the third Streets of Rage game, except that after defeating the mooks [[spoiler: [[ActuallyADoombot the supposed Mr. X is revealed to be a robot, which you have to defeat.]]]] ²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Web Comics]]²* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' book ''Dungeon Crawlin' Fools'', the BigBad Xykon tells his minion to arrange the mooks with the weakest monsters on the highest levels and the strongest ones near his throne room, mostly so the weakest mooks can be slaughtered for his own entertainment.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Western Animation]]²* The first time we see "Father" of the Delightful Children From Down the Lane in ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', he's the BigBad Badass. Once his Children are beaten by the Kids, he takes them on and does great... until an adult Nigel Uno gets the upper hand with a soft-ice-cream spraying machine to cool off his fires.²* {{Subverted|Trope}} in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''. When [[TheConqueror Kuvira]] goes into a one-on-one battle with [[KungFuJesus Korra]] over control of Zaofu she turns to her forces and announces that [[VillainousValour she won't send them into any confrontation that she's not willing to take on herself]].²* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'': During one attack on the Maximals' base, Megatron told Quickstrike to go first. Inferno asked why he wasn't chosen to take point, to which Megatron replies, "When expecting booby traps, always send the boob in first!" Sure enough, Quickstrike got splattered before Megatron could finish the sentence.²[[/folder]]²----

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