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Bested By The Inexperienced

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Sometimes experience doesn't mean you'll live

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
MikeDanCatch on Aug 3rd 2018 at 6:09:35 PM
Last Edited By:
MikeDanCatch on Aug 11th 2018 at 5:28:08 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Sometimes all the experience and training in the world will not protect you. Sometimes luck is not on your side and even the top mercenaries in the world have nothing against luck. Sometimes someone can pick up a gun and manage to take out a few people.

There are four ways that this trope is in effect:

  1. Blind Luck: Someone with little to no training picks up a gun, fires and kills someone who is far better trained. Similar to Accidental Aiming Skills.
  2. Superior Tactics: The inexperienced use tactics that the elites were not prepared for. They may be the best but they can be surprised. Usually, this would be a Combat Pragmatist.
  3. Cheap Shot: A Dirty Coward shoots the experienced in the back. Falling under In the Back or other cowardly moves.
  4. Non Fatal: The non-lethal variety. Sometimes, a new guy in chess can put someone with practice in checkmate.

Note: Cheating does not count because unlike just being normally inexperienced, cheating means that there are rules being broken and no skilled person can really beat a cheater.

Different from The World's Expert on Getting Killed because that trope is about an expert on a subject being killed by someone/something they are knowledgeable about. This trope is about different levels of training between opponents.

Sister Trope to Beginner's Luck due to both having some degree of luck being involved. Can be joined with Unskilled, but Strong

This is mostly a Death Trope is be warned of unmarked spoilers.


Examples: Anime and Manga

  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: In Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro faces off against Telence T. D'Arby, a highly skilled pro video gamer, in a baseball video game, despite having never played any video game before. He predictably bungles up most of the first round... until he finally says that he's "gotten the hang of it" and scores a home run, then proceeds to prove that it wasn't blind luck, just ridiculously fast rate of learning. It's only when Telence starts cheating with his mind-reading Stand that Jotaro starts cheating himself (via having his grandfather Joseph surreptitiously hijack the controller).

Comic Books

  • Watchmen: Former superhero Hollis Mason (Nite Owl I) is killed by a gang of street thugs who over power him. Justified because its one against many and he is much older. But he still puts up a good fight.

Film - Animated

  • Cars 3: Non race car Cruz Ramirez switches out with Lighting McQueen and is able to win her first race against a number of experienced racers.

Film - Live Action

  • Collateral: Max kills Vincent when he wildly shoots and a lucky shot hits Vincent. Vincent, a trained hitman, tries to get good shots that just hit the train door
  • Lone Survivor: The Taliban kills three well-trained Navy SEALs and forces the fourth to run.
  • Predators: Edwin blindsides Isabelle while she is distracted and stabs her with a knife laced with neurotoxin.
  • True Grit: Young girl Mattie kills Chaney, an experienced outlaw.
  • Red Dawn (1984): The Wolverines are able to kill Russian Spetsnaz. The Spetsnaz are the best of the best in the Russian military.
  • Rambo IV: A missionary kills a soldier with a rock.
  • Gladiator: Invoked. Commodus stabs Maximus before the fight to ensure his victory (thus making it seem like the weaker fighter would win). However, Maximus is strong enough to kill Commodus before scumming to his wound.
  • Star Wars: In the context of A New Hope with the Informed Ability of Stormtroopers, Luke is surprisingly able to take them down. Not as surprising in later films.
  • The Professional: Formidable badass Leon is killed when Stansfield cowardly shoots him in the back of the head.
  • Whiplash: Andrew loses his position as lead drummer to Connolly. A weaker drummer. Zig-zagged since it was Fletcher's tactic to push Andrew to the edge.
  • Terminator: Sarah Connor is able to beat an unstoppable death machine without any real training.
  • Logan: Wolverine gets his ass kicked and eventually killed by X-24, his perfect clone. While X-24 is a perfect clone, he doesn't have the experience that Logan has.
  • Green Room: Pat and Amber are able to kill a few Neo-Nazis without any 'real' combat experience. Pat went paintballing and used his tactic of rushing his opponents for that against the neo-nazis.

Literature

Live-Action TV

  • The Wire: Omar Little, someone who has survived numerous shootouts and ambushes is killed when an unsuspecting kid shoots him in the back of the head because he wanted to earn street cred.
  • House: Primarily in season four, super genius House is proven wrong by younger doctors trying to gain a career.
  • Hannibal: In the Season 2 Finale, Hannibal Lecter is able to escape from two well trained FBI agents.
  • Deadwood: As Truth in Television, Wild Bill Hicock was shot in the back while playing poker by Jack McCall, who was angry over losing to Bill at cards.
  • The Suite Life on Deck: When Cody is temporarily distracted during his chess championship, he puts London in charge. Despite being a Brainless Beauty she pulls a move that wins the match against her intelligent and experienced opponent- unfortunately for Cody, this means she wins the title for herself instead of him.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White is able to scary veteran cartel member Tuco Salamanca into working with him despite being a mere high school teacher.

Video Games

  • Call of Duty: A non-lethal variation. In basic training, the player (usually the new guy) can outshoot a lot of guys practicing just because it's a player.
  • Pokémon: While VERY unlikely, the player can be beaten by someone younger than them.
  • Until Dawn: A group of college students are able to kill numerous Wendigos with minimal knowledge in survival.
  • Most online shooters will have this but mostly from either luck in a one on one gunfight or because someone is sitting in a corner.

Web Video

  • Video Game High School: When Brain returns from being AFK, he kills The Law with minimum effort. Granted The Law was toying with him for being AFK and not fully paying attention.
  • Battlefield Friends: The N00b, of all characters, is the one who is able to kill the 100 Colonel. In fact, it's the only time the 100 Colonel is shown dying on screen.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Played with. Aang first runs into Toph in an earthbender fighting competition while he's looking for someone to teach him earthbending. He uses airbending and beats her. However, neither knew the others skillset but both were the best, so whoever won would have been this trope. In the sequel series, Toph can now dodge'' airbending.

Feedback: 34 replies

Aug 3rd 2018 at 7:16:00 PM

How does the description differ from The Worlds Expert On Getting Killed? And isn't The Wire example a better fit for I Just Shot Marvin In The Face?

Aug 3rd 2018 at 7:27:49 PM

@Miss_Desperado Unlike The Worlds Expert On Getting Killed, this isn't an expert who is killed. It's more about the elite of the world being killed by someone who has little to no experience. For example, in say Lone Survivor Afghan soldiers kill 3 Navy SEA Ls. They don't have nearly the same amount as training but still killed them. Another example could be from Rambo IV when a missionary beats a soldier to death with a rock. No training killing someone with moderate training. As for The Wire it isn't I Just Shot Marvin In The Face because it was intentional because Kenard killed Omar to get into the game. Omar doesn't see kids are targets thus didn't give him the time of day.

Aug 3rd 2018 at 9:11:17 PM

Happens a lot in anime, I think?

And does luck have to occur here? The less experienced one may simply win through their skills and using wisdom that older characters may not have.

Aug 3rd 2018 at 9:33:45 PM

Luck doesn't always have to occur. Someone could just use dirty tactics to win (like The Wire example). As for anime, frankly, I have no idea. In a way, its kind of like the underdog winning. Except it's more life or death.

Aug 3rd 2018 at 10:44:15 PM

Might overlap with Guile Hero if the inexperienced character uses their wits to win?

Aug 3rd 2018 at 11:17:13 PM

The way I was thinking like, the wimp with little to no experience kills someone at the top of their game.

Aug 4th 2018 at 1:00:29 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added media section titles as per Media Categories.
    • Corrected spelling (variate, force -> forces).
    • Split up a sentence with a comma splice into two sentences.
    • De-Red Linked Wiki Words we don't have by using null tags ([= =]).
    • Italicized work names as per How To Write An Example - Emphasis For Work Names.
    • Put media sections in alphabetical order.
    • Blue Linked work names by correcting namespaces.

Aug 4th 2018 at 1:01:53 AM

If this ends up with a lot of spoilered text, it should have a "Beware unmarked spoilers ahead" warning at the end of the Description and have the spoiler markup removed.

Aug 5th 2018 at 5:59:19 PM

The description says "luck" too much. That's the problem

Aug 6th 2018 at 2:54:34 AM

The title "Bested by Inexperienced" sounds better.

By the way, does it count if the inexperienced either cheats, or is Unskilled But Strong?

Aug 6th 2018 at 7:38:00 AM

Aug 6th 2018 at 7:51:03 AM

@4tell0life4 Unskilled But Strong would be acceptable as long as the aforementioned Unskilled But Strong individual beats someone who is skilled. For example In Logan: X-24, a clone with no real combat experience is able to kick the shit out of Logan who is around 200 at this point in time.

As for cheating, that is no. This is because unlike just being normally inexperienced, cheating means that there are rules being broken and no skilled person can really beat a cheater.

Aug 6th 2018 at 10:21:18 AM

Sounds related to Achievements In Ignorance. There was this quote from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court there:

"The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second-best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot."

Aug 6th 2018 at 10:47:50 AM

Achievements In Ignorance is similar except one major thing. In the context of Achievements In Ignorance, it relates to the physics of a certain medium being broken. This trope refers more to the rules of combat. If I'm being honest, the quote would probably fight better here.

Aug 6th 2018 at 11:03:20 AM

^ well, the page does seem to have a number of examples.

Aug 6th 2018 at 11:28:44 AM

It does but it seems more based on the physics of a stated medium

Aug 6th 2018 at 11:57:01 AM

  • The Suite Life On Deck: When Cody is temporarily distracted during his chess championship, he puts London in charge. Despite being a Brainless Beauty she pulls a move that wins the match against her intelligent and experienced opponent- unfortunately for Cody, this means she wins the title for herself instead of him.

Aug 6th 2018 at 1:55:49 PM

Avatar The Last Airbender: Aang first runs into Toph in an earthbender fighting competition while he's looking for someone to teach him earthbending. He didn't exactly intend to cheat but he only used airbending against her, resulting in her being easily beaten. In the sequel series, she can now dodge airbending.

Aug 6th 2018 at 8:26:03 PM

@intastiel: Actually, yeah. Good call!

@Chabal 2: So, was he cheating or no? If it's considered cheating then it won't count.

Aug 6th 2018 at 9:32:22 PM

It's an earthbending match, and Aang doesn't do that in that occasion (he hasn't learnt it yet). I'd call it cheating but nobody in universe does, so...

Aug 8th 2018 at 1:06:31 PM

@4tell0life4: Okay so I contemplated it and I decided to add it because, since Toph is the top earthbender and in-Unverise it wasn't considered cheating.

Aug 8th 2018 at 2:40:37 PM

I suggest re-titling this to 'Bested by the Inexperienced'. It's a minor issue, but 'Bested by Inexperienced' sounds slightly like a typo or broken English. Also, I originally read it as 'Bested by Inexperience', which could be interpreted as the protagonist's being bested by their own inexperience.

Aug 8th 2018 at 7:38:13 PM

Using bested by, in this instance is actually grammatically correct. Personally, I don't like how Bested By The Inexperienced sound.

Aug 8th 2018 at 7:41:28 PM

I think Bested By The Inexperienced sounds better, as it does sound a bit clunky and weird this way.

Aug 8th 2018 at 7:43:37 PM

It's not so much 'bested by' as 'inexperienced'. It's not grammatically incorrect, per se, but it doesn't sound natural with the sentence structure. It creates ambiguity. 'The inexperienced' implies 'the inexperienced people', while 'inexperience' doesn't read as naturally.

Aug 8th 2018 at 7:42:55 PM

Well okay then. Fair points. Lemme edit.

Aug 8th 2018 at 7:44:03 PM

Does it seem launch-ready? I don't want to jump the gun and start going crazy about it.

Aug 9th 2018 at 7:10:25 AM

Did you mispell "variety" as "variate" in the description? Also, here's a manga/anime example:

  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: In Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro faces off against Telence T. D'Arby, a highly skilled pro video gamer, in a baseball video game, despite having never played any video game before. He predictably bungles up most of the first round... until he finally says that he's "gotten the hang of it" and scores a homerun, then proceeds to prove that it wasn't blind luck, just ridiculously fast rate of learning. It's only when Telence starts cheating with his mind-reading Stand that Jotaro starts cheating himself (via having his grandfather Joseph surreptiously hijack the controller).

Aug 10th 2018 at 12:37:37 AM

  • Changed * to # to auto-number a list.
  • Changed Type numbers to descriptive names as per Type Labels Are Not Examples.
  • Corrected spelling (variate -> variety).

Aug 10th 2018 at 2:18:20 PM

  • On Breaking Bad Walter White is able to get the better of seasoned criminals like Tuco, Gus or Mike because he does not play by their rules and is highly unpredictable. He is also willing to take suicidal risks to accomplish his goals.

Aug 10th 2018 at 5:06:41 PM

"Cheap shots" is a form of cheating. The above example should count too.

Aug 10th 2018 at 5:50:11 PM

@4tell0life4 : which example are you referring to?

@nielas: this would refer to Tuco, by the time Gus and Mike are dealt with (seasons 4 and 5a) Walter has become enough of a threat to be considered seasoned. As for Tuco, he was never really bested by Walt. Walt made an entrance in season 1 but Tuco was killed by Hank.

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