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Attack To Distract

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Someone engaging in a fight with someone specifically to distract that person

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
WarJay77 on Sep 10th 2018 at 11:48:37 AM
Last Edited By:
WarJay77 on Oct 4th 2018 at 7:01:40 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

This trope occurs when one party deliberately attacks another, not intending to win, but intending to stall, tire and distract their opponent.

It can be The Big Guy taking on an army of Mooks to allow The Hero to fight The Big Bad. It can be one single mook fighting the Hero to keep them from ruining the Big Bad's plan. It can be a character recklessly attacking some guards to allow their friends a safe passage. Whatever the reason, the core is that someone gets attacked and this attack is part of a plan to keep them focused on the wrong thing.

The key to this trope is that the attack is part of an active distraction plan. It's usually an active offensive move rather than a defensive one, but someone can still enact this on the defensive side, which may result in a Draw Aggro situation.

Compare Distracted by the Sexy, where the character has to play distraction through their looks instead of their fighting skills. A possible cause of the villain succeeding at first. Occasionally overlaps with Hold the Line, You Shall Not Pass!, and I Am Your Opponent. If the distraction is meant to help come to someone's rescue, this overlaps with Big Damn Heroes or The Cavalry.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Happens a lot in Dragon Ball where any of the weaker heroes engage the villain in order to buy time for either Goku or the current champion to show up.
    • In the Saiyan Saga, all of the Z-fighters take on Nappa to stall him until Goku returns from the afterlife. All of them save for Krillin and Gohan end up being killed.
    • In the Namek Saga, Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta are forced to face of against the Ginyu Force while Goku is travelling to Namek from outerspace.
    • Subverted in the Frieza Saga where the Z-Fighters and Vegeta thought they actually stood a chance against Frieza at first due to how much stronger all of them had gotten, especially when a newly strengthened Piccolo joins the battle. However it comes into play again when Piccolo needs to buy time for Goku to charge up the Spirit Bomb.
    • In the Cell Saga, while most of the people who fight Cell (Piccolo, Android 16, Vegeta, Future Trunks) had a chance at beating him, Tien who is leagues out of their weight class engages Cell using his Dangerous Forbidden Technique to stall him in order for Android 18 to escape.
    • In the Buu Saga, Goku himself is on the giving end for once, where he uses his newly acquired Super Saiyan 3 and stalls Babidi and Majin Buu in order to buy time for Trunks to find the Dragon Radar. Though unlike most examples, Goku could have beaten Buu if he fought with everything he had, but chose to leave him around so that the next generation would have a chance to prove themselves.

Film- Live Action

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: When Martha has to distract the guards outside the aircraft hanger, everyone assumes it means she has to be sexy. Then the music comes on, and it turns out her character is a Dance Battler who proceeds to beat up all the guards as her friends sneak in.

Literature

  • In Harry Potter, James Potter tries to hold off Voldemort when Voldemort tries to kill Harry, to allow Harry and his wife to escape. To say it doesn't work out very well for anyone involved would be a bit of an understatement note 

Video Game

  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: In 2 levels, Gunvolt is told to attack different facilities and the bosses that guard them so that his employer Asimov can infiltrate/take over said facilities safely while they're distracted.
  • In the first episode of Life Is Strange, Nathan shows up to menace Max while she's talking to her friend Warren. At that moment, Max (literally) runs into her Beleaguered Childhood Friend Chloe, and Warren starts a fist fight so she can get into Chloe's car and escape.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Zero 3: Zero tried to enter the rocket containing Omega to slay him while the latter's still dormant. Unfortunately for him, the Baby Elves are in the way and attack him, becoming the Dual Boss of the mission. Although they're defeated, they succeed in distracting Zero for long enough for the missile to reach the Dark Elf's destination, allowing Omega to absorb Dark Elf to empower himself.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent: Before the Final Boss fight, there'll be a cutscene where the 4 Enemy Mega Men block Ashe/Grey's way, intending to bum rush her/him. Fortunately, Vent/Aile comes to hold the four back by fighting them, allowing Ashe/Grey to go to the Final Boss.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokemon Emerald: When trying to reach Archie team's hideouts, the grunts and admin Matt openly admit to fighting you only as a distraction.
    • Pokémon Ranger Shadows Of Almia: When Team Dim Sun attack the Ranger Union, the player is attacked by Heath's Electivire while Ice tries to get Isaac to come back to Altru.

Feedback: 20 replies

Sep 10th 2018 at 11:51:30 AM

Not thrilled with the description and I know there are examples I'm forgetting, so feedback please

Sep 10th 2018 at 12:07:56 PM

  • In Harry Potter, James Potter tries to hold of Voldemort when Voldemort tries to kill Harry. To say it doesn't work out very well for anyone involved would be a bit of an understatement note 

Sep 10th 2018 at 12:09:23 PM

This have some things in common with Hold The Line.

Sep 10th 2018 at 12:13:42 PM

^ Hmm, you're right. Definitely comparable at the very least...

Sep 10th 2018 at 12:15:30 PM

You added my example before I fixed the markup, so I fixed it in the main article as well.

Sep 11th 2018 at 1:45:00 AM

  • Mega Man Zero 3: Zero tried to enter the rocket containing Omega to slay him while the latter's still dormant. Unfortunately for him, the Baby Elves are in the way and attack him, becoming the Dual Boss of the mission. Although they're defeated, they succeed in distacting Zero for long enough for the missile to reach the Dark Elf's destination, allowing Omega to absorb Dark Elf to empower himself.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent: Before the Final Boss fight, there'll be a cutscene where the 4 Enemy Mega Men block Ashe/Grey's way, intending to bum rush her/him. Fortunately, Vent/Aile comes to hold the four back by fighting them, allowing Ashe/Grey to go to the Final Boss.

Sep 11th 2018 at 9:25:37 AM

  • In the first episode of Life Is Strange, Nathan shows up to menace Max while she's talking to her friend Warren. At that moment, Max (literally) runs into her Beleaguered Childhood Friend Chloe, and Warren starts a fist fight so she can get into Chloe's car and escape.

Sep 11th 2018 at 5:56:37 PM

  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: In 2 levels, Gunvolt is told to attack different facilities and the bosses that guard them so that his employer Asimov can infiltrate/take over said facilities safely while they're distracted.

Sep 11th 2018 at 11:57:30 PM

  • Happens a lot in Dragon Ball where any of the weaker heroes engage the villain in order to buy time for either Goku or the current champion to show up.
    • In the Saiyan Saga, all of the Z-fighters take on Nappa to stall him until Goku returns from the afterlife. All of them face for Krillin and Gohan end up being killed.
    • In the Namek Saga, Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta are forced to face of against the Ginyu Force while Goku is travels to Namek from outerspace.
    • Subverted in the Frieza Saga where the Z-Fighters and Vegeta thought they actually stood a chance against Frieza at first due to how much stronger all of them had gotten, especially when a newly strengthened Piccolo joins the battle. However it comes into play again when Piccolo needs to buy time for Goku to charge up the Spirit Bomb.
    • In the Cell Saga, while most of the people who fight Cell (Piccolo, Android 16, Vegeta, Future Trunks) had a chance against him, Tien who is leagues out of their weight class engages Cell using his Dangerous Forbidden Technique to stall him in order for Android 18 to escape.
    • In the Buu Saga, Goku himself is on the giving end for once, where he uses the newly acquired Super Saiyan 3 and stalls Babidi and Majin Buu in order to buy time for Trunks to find the Dragon Radar. Though unlike most examples, Goku could have beaten Buu if he fought with everything he had but chose to leave him around so that the next generation would have a chance to prove themselves.

Sep 12th 2018 at 3:24:42 AM

  • Capitalized the title so the proposal can be launched properly.
  • Examples section
    • Corrected spelling (immeadiately, distacting).

Sep 14th 2018 at 8:15:07 PM

Are you sure this isn't Draw Aggro? More contrast is needed.

Sep 14th 2018 at 8:33:38 PM

Draw Aggro draws the attention of a threat to one person. This one involves an active attack, usually one person going out and starting the conflict. Both are distractions and theres a lot of overlap, but Draw Aggro doesn't need to involve a fight and Attack To Distract can cover cases of the active aggressor playing distraction, not just the defender.

Sep 15th 2018 at 12:29:01 AM

^That one isn't about stalling, it's more like directing attention to one person.

  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito, Asuna, and Klein attempt to save a Too Dumb To Live squadron who decided to face the floor boss known as the Gleam-Eyes by themselves. Kirito sees that they are severely outmatched with everyone's HP dropping below half, so resorts to unleashing his unique skill, Dual Wielding. But needing time to take the his second sword out from his inventory, Kirito tells Asuna and Klein (in a now memetic line): "Keep it occupied for 10 seconds". While Asuna and Klein strike at it and keep it away from Kirito, he materializes the second sword unleashes his "Starburst Stream" to finish the boss off.

Sep 18th 2018 at 3:13:00 AM

Hold on, I just found Delaying Action which is very close to this.

Sep 18th 2018 at 9:56:23 AM

^ ...Huh... that really is pretty close... but...

I really don't know honestly.

Oct 4th 2018 at 1:57:01 PM

Bump, any idea on what I should do with this?

Oct 4th 2018 at 7:01:40 PM

In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds" Riker separated the saucer and attacked the Borg cube with both halves simultaneously. In addition, he attacked with an antimatter spread deliberately to confuse the Borg. Lots of flashy explosions, but little real damage. While this goes on Data and Worf are sent in with a shuttle to rescue Picard while the Borg are distracted.

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