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Set a Mook to Kill a Mook

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This is predominately a gaming trope, but may pop up elsewhere. In gaming, this is a specific type of Status Effect.

In a lot of games, there's a way for the heroes to trick the baddies into fighting each other.

With Mecha-Mooks like robots and gun turrets, this is typically accomplished by "hacking". Usually this involves creeping up to them and using a skill or playing a Hacking Minigame, or finding a computer terminal which controls their AIs. Less commonly, a special ranged attack might scramble their circuitry, or a called shot might take out their "differentiating between friend and foe" chip.

For Mooks made of meat, games may offer a wide range of charm, confusion, berserk, and possession effects. These are typically used to whittle a large group of foes down to one guy, who will probably be injured and wondering what the hell just happened.

In some games, a Mook who gets injured will immediately and deliberately return fire on all offending parties without any influence on the player's part. In these games, it is sometimes possible, through speed and agility, to trick bad guys into picking fights with each other in the best traditions of the Circular Firing Squad. If it is impossible for one mook to injure another (even accidentally), that's Damage Discrimination.

Note that this only includes situations contrived or exploited by the player. If a stupid enemy simply keeps bouncing grenades off an obstacle and standing there as the grenades explode at its feet (or stands there as grenades thrown by an ally explodes at its feet, or indiscriminately throws grenades even if allies are nearby), that's Artificial Stupidity. When different preexisting factions of Mooks fight each other as well as the player character, that's a Mêlée à Trois.

Compare Let's You and Him Fight, when single characters are pitted against another, and Divide and Conquer. Sub-trope of Evil Versus Evil.

Compare Draw Aggro, a mechanic where you bait certain opponent(s) to fight you; this trope is a variant of that where you make one of the foes draw the aggro towards themselves.

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Video Game examples

  • Battletoads: In the first level of Battletoads in: Battlemaniacs, skeleton mooks will try to strike back at whatever last hit them, so getting one to hit another will cause the two fight to the death unless you intervene.
  • In Dodge, the most common way for the enemies to be destroyed is by them crashing into each other in their pursuit of you.
  • Evolva: The genedisruptor beam allows you to make enemies fight against them. Unfortunately, your enemies can do the same thing.
  • The Overlord upgrade from Ghostrunner allows you to turn one enemy to your side for a short time and have them kill their allies. The in-universe explanation for this is that the Ghostrunner is hacking the neural implants of all these enemies.
  • Stubbs the Zombie: The detached hand allows you to possess any living human enemy and play as them, allowing you to kill that enemy's buddies.

  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has Berserk Darts, which cause any enemy hit with them to go berserk and attack anyone nearby. Any surrounding mooks will all focus their attention on the berserked mook, which means the easiest way to take out assassination targets is to just hit them with a berserk dart and watch as everyone gangs up on them. When the berserk time is up, the affected target dies. Unfortunately, berserked mooks will still go for you if they spot you.
    • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: You can use the Piece of Eden to cause mooks to fight each other. Other games in the series have Berserk darts or bombs, which cause mooks to attack everyone around them, doing more damage than usual. However, the AI still has its Mook Chivalry limitations in this mode — it will spend far more time taunting and dancing around than attacking.
  • Eternal Darkness: The Bind spell turns an enemy against its allies. There are a few places where you have to use this in order to make enemies behind a barrier kill each other.
  • Iji: A terminal late in the game can give you direct control of a Komato Annihilator.
  • Legacy of Kain: Kain's "Inspire Hate" makes every enemy in an area attack each other.
    This spell allows me to exploit the petty prejudices of man. Minor grievance would escalate to murderous rage and oh, the sweet terror when the spell wore off and they saw their hands covered with their neighbour's blood.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Octoroks will damage any monsters that get caught in their line of fire. Additionally, two of the enemy archers in Hyrule Castle can be tricked into shooting each other.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • While most monsters are not hostile to each other, Taluses and Guardians will attack each other when they meet. This doesn't happen easily, however, as they aren't found in each other's vicinity and Taluses don't leave their spawning areas, but Guardians can be lured into following Link into a Talus' territory and instigating a battle in this manner.
      • Enemies are immune to friendly fire from each other's melee attacks, but not from ranged attacks. Thus, it's possible to position yourself so as to make the Mooks you're fighting absorb the arrow fire of the archers sniping at you, and when an enemy tries to throw a rock or barrel at you it's quite possible for them to miss and hit and injure or kill another foe. For example, if a bokoblin or moblin is struck by a rock from an octorok, they'll turn around and attack it, as long as Link doesn't get close enough to become the bigger threat.
      • Shooting down a beehive causes its residents to attack the closest living thing. By default, this is usually Link — but with careful sniping it's fairly easy to knock a hive down from a distance and send the bees swarming after an enemy instead. The bees won't typically do enough damage to kill a foe, but will still send monsters fleeing in panic (which is useful for both scaring sentries away from their posts and scattering groups of enemies) and can also help soften a foe by taking off a chunk of their health.
      • Cuccos are otherwise normal chickens that, when struck, have a chance to spawn a large flock of Cuccos that will attack Link. It's possible to exploit this by goading an enemy into attacking you while you're holding one, which will cause the resulting flock of vengeful chickens to target and oftentimes kill the enemy in question.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:
      • Muddle Buds, when thrown, burst into a short-lived cloud of pollen that will cause enemies that touch it to become confused and attack other monsters, who will retaliate in kind. This process removes the normal immunity that monsters have to each other's melee attacks, and firing one or two off into the middle of an encampment can easily lead to all but a couple killing each other off.
      • The Soldier and Captain Constructs are still following the orders given them by their ancient creators to protect against invaders and intruders, and as such are as hostile to Ganondorf's monsters as they are to Link. There are several areas in the map where monsters camps and Construct patrols are close to each other, allowing Link to goad them into fighting by selectively burning off cover and watching from a distance as the feuding groups kill each other off.
      • Like in the first game, Moblins will toss Bokolins if they have nothing else weapon-wise to use against Link, on occasion they can be tricked into throwing them into hazardous terrain or water
  • Metroid Prime: In the Phazon Mines, you shut down a force field separating some Space Pirates from a horde of Metroids. As long as you don't draw their attention, they'll kill each other for you, maybe leaving one Metroid behind. There are also a couple of rooms where there are Metroids in containment tanks in rooms with Space Pirates (often Shadow Pirates). Blow open the tank, and there's a chance they'll encounter and kill the Pirates first. (There's also a chance they'll find you first, however.)
  • [PROTOTYPE]: The "Patsy" ability allows you to accuse others of being you as long as you're wearing a military disguise. Any other military in range will gladly gun down your target, then curse their screw up. You can even do it for them without punishment.
  • Psychonauts: Using Confusion Grenades on enemies causes them to infight. It's particularly effective on the giant Censors, who then proceed to pound the crud out of all the littler enemies.
  • Second Sight featured a similar ability to possess enemy soldiers and use them to fight. Humorously, soldiers would continue fighting each other even if you stop possessing a soldier, as the other soldiers don't know he's no longer possessed, and as far as the formerly possessed soldier knows, his colleagues are shooting at him for no good reason.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): During the boss fight against Rhino and Scorpion, it's possible to trick Rhino into running over Scorpion or throwing something heavy at him, taking him out of the fight. Not exactly a mook, but Tropes Are Flexible.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn't let the player use the Jedi Mind Trick, but upgrades for BD-1 allow the player to hijack damaged probe and security droids, turning them to your side.

  • The Immortal: You can turn two trolls against each other by throwing a troll ritual knife (used by trolls to declare a fight to the death) in between them, allowing you to sneak by them while they fight.

    Arcade Games 
  • The Fairyland Story: The caterpillar is invincible, but can be tricked into eating other enemies.

    Casual Games 
  • Iggle Pop!: The player can lure Mooks under a falling bomb sent by a special Mook. The blast will blow them away from the map for a few seconds.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Blue Dragon: The player can highlight multiple types of enemies within the encounter circle on the world screen before initiating combat. If they dislike each other, once on the battle screen the enemies will attack each other in a "Monster Fight", and until their antagonist is eliminated they'll completely ignore the player characters.
  • Breath of Fire III: The "Influence" Skill marks one target which all low-Int enemies will attack until death.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls: The massive size of the Bounding Demons in Lost Izalith causes them to damage each other with their attacks.
    • Dark Souls III: Some enemies are hostile to each other as well as to the player, and if another enemy aggroes them they'll ignore the player to take out the offender. Harald Knights in the Dreg Heap, for instance, will attack most other types of enemies.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V: Ihis is one of the easier ways to kill those dang Skull Eater squirrels: by taking over their minds with the Control ability from the Trainer class. You... have them eat their own skulls.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Edgar's Noiseblaster does no damage but inflicts Confusion upon the entire enemy party. As most of the enemies even late in the game are vulnerable to it, this can wind up being his Boring, but Practical weapon of choice.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Casting confuse on Biggs and Wedge will invariably have them beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, yelling at each other to stop.
    • Final Fantasy XI: The Beastmaster class can charm animals and monsters into fighting other enemies, including their own kind.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings: One of the best strategies for a certain boss battle is to make two groups of mutually antagonistic mooks fight each other while you sit back and bolster your forces to take on whichever battered group wins. It does require you to exploit several skills such as Haste and Invisibility, but it's far better than playing the battle as intended.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]:
    • You can recruit (through making them yourself) almost every Dream Eater you fight, but this can be taken even further in The Grid, whose Reality Shift allows you to reprogram your enemies into Action Bombs or just to fight other Dream Eaters.
    • The Confuse status effect makes confused enemies completely incapable of harming you or your allies and causes them to attack your foes exclusively. However, they won't attack each other if the only targets available are also confused and just run around erratically instead.
  • Monster Hunter has some interesting variations:
    • If you use a felvine-bomb on a monster, Melynx (a kind of monster which normally steals the player's items) and Felyne (which normally only attack if provoked) will attack the monster.
    • Monster Hunter: World brings the concept of "Turf Wars", where certain large monsters will fight each other as soon as they make eye contact, especially if one species competes with (or preys upon) the other. Naturally, Hunters are encouraged to exploit this mechanic as much as possible, as it tends to deal a lot of damage to the ones involved.
  • Phantasy Star: In some versions, Androids have Confusion Traps at their disposal, and some weapons can inflict Confusion with their Secondary Fire Special Attack. The Trap variant can affect a fairly sizeable group of enemies in one go, potentially leading to chaos as half a dozen Mooks suddenly start pounding on each other. This can be a welcome breather when badly outnumbered to say the least.
  • Tales Series: This can be induced with the Charm status ailment, although thanks to Health/Damage Asymmetry, it's mostly useful for getting enemies to ignore you temporarily.
  • Trails Series: Confusion is a status ailment, as is charm in some of the later games. It works especially well in the first Trails in the Sky, where several of the trickier boss fights can be made much easier (and more ridiculous) by simply casting Chaos Brand on all of the offending foes and watching them either wander off to the far corners of the battlefield or beat up their own allies.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Area 51 (FPS): This is one of your viral powers. Unfortunately, it uses up almost your entire viral power meter, enemy Mooks do almost no damage to each other, and the Mook affected by it will only last several seconds before dropping dead of massive organ failure. Luckily, you can use it on the Theta and Super Theta, and you can watch them attack their own mooks.
  • BioShock:
    • The Enrage! plasmid causes its target to berserk and attack anyone else near them.
    • BioShock 2 has Hypnotize, which has the same effect, but can also be charged up to get an enemy temporarily on your side. Especially useful if used on Brute Splicers and Prototype Alpha Series.
    • BioShock Infinite has the Vigor Possession, which even causes the one under the effect to commit suicide after the effect wears off (unless it's a robot).
  • Borderlands:
    • Luring different groups of enemies together will often cause them to start fighting each other; an example being: triggering a group of skags to attack while being near a group of bandits may cause them to start fighting, especially if the bandits accidentally shoot the skags while trying to hit you.
    • In Borderlands 2: If a Goliath's helmet is shot off, he turns into a Raging Goliath and will try to beat the closest thing around him to death. Every time he kills something however, he levels up and becomes more dangerous. And he will come towards you if there's nothing more in his way. If they kill enough of their fellow mooks, Goliaths can become some of the most dangerous enemies in the game, but the experience gained for killing them rises commensurately with their threat level, making "Goliath farming" a risky-yet-profitable venture.
  • Clive Barker's Undying had a similar resurrection power, but it was rather weak since it could only work on one enemy at a time, and resurrected enemies would crumble to dust after a couple dozen seconds and also had a random chance of turning on you and attacking you. However, the same spell only works on monsters. If used on a living person, it only lets you make them off themselves.
  • Descent: A cheat in Descent II turns all the robots' guns on each other. This is especially fun when playing with the level designer and putting all the bosses in one room.
  • Doom:
    • This is a major feature, although not made explicit through any particular power-up or ability. It was implemented in quite a simple way: if an enemy is damaged by another, it will stop targeting the player and instead focus on attacking whoever hurt it. There are a few restrictions, though: enemies are immune to their own kind's non-Hitscan projectiles (though they can still be damaged indirectly by an Exploding Barrel), and Archviles won't be targeted by other enemies (they'll still retaliate, and even better, have no cooldown time before switching targets, though this will usually be followed by the victim immediately being revived). This can be very useful in the hands of a skilled player, and some levels are even designed around exploiting this:
    • Doom: The first level of Episode 3, Hell Keep, starts you with a pistol and not much ammo with which to gun down all the imps in the first courtyard. Fortunately, it's easy to set up them up to shoot up or get killed by the cacodemons in the next room.
    • Doom II:
      • In Level 8, aptly called "Tricks and Traps", one room contains a Cyberdemon, a good sixteen Barons of Hell and four Invincibility power-ups — grab an Invincibility and get the Cyberdemon's attention, then watch the battle royale ensue.
      • Near the beginning of Level 20, "Gotcha!", a pair of platforms lower to reveal the two big boss enemies: a Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind, which promptly attack you. Of course, beating the two baddest demons in Hell at the same time would normally be a huge challenge, but thankfully, it's very easy to get them to hurt each other, then finish off the weakened survivor.
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry 3: Predatory animals will attack any humans that come near them, whether that be you or an enemy (though they tend to prioritize you if given a choice). Conveniently, many outposts (which require killing all enemies to liberate) have a cage with some sort of dangerous animal in it, such as a bear or a tiger. By staying out of sight and shooting the cage, you release the animal, which will then proceed to murder everyone in the outpost single-handedly.
    • Far Cry Primal: Hallucinogenic grenades can be used to turn enemies against each other. The effect is permanent, and the victims eventually die from the effect if they aren't killed fighting their comrades.
    • Far Cry 6: Any weapons or equipment that deal poison damage can make your enemies turn against their comrades before they succumb to the damage-over-time effects.
  • Half-Life:
    • Black Mesa: If you grab an automated sentry turret, it will be reprogrammed to shoot everything that movesnote , even the HECU soldiers who set them up in the first place.
    • Half-Life 2:
      • You can, with the help of Alyx Vance, hack turrets and rollermines. When the former comes into play, you know you're about to get pummeled; when the latter does, you know there's a bunch of enemies coming up when you don't have a weapon yet. Even before then, you can grab a vanilla sentry gun from behind and use it to kill hostile-to-all creatures like headcrabs, barnacles, and zombies.
      • Antlions will viciously attack you in droves whenever you're on their sandy turfs. But once you obtain the pheropod "bug bait" from the Vortigaunts, you can then turn the antlions into your helpful allies. They'll attack any enemy in your way, which includes Combine soldiers, turrets, manhacks, zombies, and even headcrabs.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved: In the level "Keyes", after you find the Flood-infected captain, a HUGE amount of Flood forms rush into the room. It's overwhelming, unless you realize you can open the door to the next area, which causes an equally irritating Covenant Spec-Ops team to enter the room. Then hide in the back corner while the two sides waste each other.
  • Instinct have the morgue area, filled with zombies. You can purposely trigger an alarm causing human mooks to enter the area, at which point they will immediately attack each other for you to pass.
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast: You can use the Jedi Mind Trick on enemies. At higher levels, they will see Jedi and Republic soldiers as friend and fellow Imperials as foe. Also, there are predators that attack everyone, so you can lure bad guys into the path of Rancors or and other monsters, sit back, and watch the fun. And by fun we mean "smashing, destroying, and devouring."
  • Left 4 Dead 2: The Bile Bomb mimics the effects of the Boomer's vomit. Splashing it on any zombie will cause a horde to swarm and attack the zombie(s) that have been hit by the Bile Bomb. Hitting the Tank with this earns you the Septic Tank achievement and Hilarity Ensues as you watch it being mobbed by its own kind. If you splash the bomb on two special infected, they will also duke it out to the death for more hilarity ensuing. Bile Bombs in VS mode is a major annoyance to the infected players since their screen gets covered in bile like they were vomited on by a Boomer and all the common infected will swarm the player and beat them to death. The hilarity stops ensuing if a Boomer vomits on someone, negating the effects of the bile bomb.
  • Marathon: Military discipline amongst the Pfhor must be very lax, as friendly fire-induced infighting os a staple of gameplay, made even more exploitable by a lack of ranged limitations, plus a number of preexisting grudges. Inducing such brawls in the series is eased by the fact that most enemies fire slow-moving projectiles. This tactic is probably the only reason the game is even winnable on higher difficulty settings.
  • PAYDAY 2: Cops can be forced to handcuff themselves, and if one has the Joker skill, they can be coerced into fighting for you. Their combat effectiveness is limited based on unit type and the AI, but fully investing in the Partners in Crime skill gives them a 90% reduction from incoming damage, making them very effective bullet sponges.
  • Perfect Dark: The Psychosis Gun permanently turns an enemy shot with it into an ally (at least, until they get gunned down by their former allies, which usually doesn't take long). It can only be normally found in one missionnote , and you only get four shots to last you the entire level— there are no ammo pickups for it, and it's unaffected by the Infinite Ammo cheat. Fortunately, that one mission contains a single guard inexplicably armed with dual Golden Magnums, who seems to have been placed there for the explicit purpose of being turned to your side.
  • Toward the end of the Subway level in Perfect Dark Zero, there's an option of stealthily shooting either a member of Killian's gang or a dataDyne soldier to provoke a firefight between the two groups.
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: You can get enemies to attack each other by manipulation of the food chain. If there's a number of different species in an area, then the larger ones will attack and kill the smaller ones. Megapedes are particularly prone to this, as they attack each other regardless of what the player does.
  • Postal 2 does this in a humorous way that seems to be social commentary on gun control. Basically, almost everyone in the town of Paradise carries a gun. If a citizen sees someone opening waving a firearm, they'll draw their own firearm and open fire in self-defense. The catch is, when several citizens draw their guns at once (i.e. in response to you firing into the air), they'll regard each other as a threat, and start shooting each other in self-defense. This can quickly escalate into a full-scale war between every citizen in the current map zone of town, especially when the police get drawn into the shootout as well. This tactic is necessary to go through the harder difficulties starting with "Hestonworld" and going through a Pacifist Run on difficulties lower than "They Hate Me". note 
  • Quake: Enemies will gleefully attack each other if provoked.
  • Requiem: Avenging Angel had the resurrection power, which allowed you to revive killed enemy soldiers to fight on your side. Notably, the power had no limits to it (other than requiring an intact, non-gibbed body), allowing you to essentially create your own personal army out of all the killed enemy soldiers in a level.
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood: Zombies will immediately spawn from any enemy killednote  and will attack anyone nearby, meaning that a long range kill of one of a group of enemies will likely result in the newly created zombie turning on his former comrades.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Rune: There's a weapon with a special power that turns an enemy against another when struck.

    Interactive Fiction 

    Mecha Games 
  • MechWarrior: Attaching a NARC beacon to an enemy mech, besides making it easier for your allies to hit it with missiles, can also cause enemy missile launchers to lock onto their own allies.

  • City of Heroes: The Confusion powers. However, you get less experience for mooks killed by those that are confused. On the other hand, (as of Issue 11) it's possible to Confuse without being spotted (and therefore targeted), even by the affected party after the effect wears off, and so it can be used to wear down groups whose attention a character couldn't possibly survive. It also works against players and in PVP.
  • Destiny: It's not rare to enter areas with enemies fighting each other (such as the Phalanx vs. the Taken). You can sit back and wait until they take each other down, but the problem is that this tends to take too long, which forces you to step in and the two factions to Gang Up on the Human (unless you decide to pick them off with your sniper rifle, since you can stay far enough for non-sniper enemies not to notice you).
  • Perfect World: The Venomancer class allows you to tame beasts to fight for you as Pets.
  • Warframe allows players to influence enemies to attack each other. Nyx's "Mind Control" ability turns any enemy into a temporary ally, while "Chaos" makes all nearby enemies go crazy and attack the nearest mook or player. The Radiation damage type that can be applied to weapons functions much the same way, allowing you to make a sniper rifle (or a flamethrower) that causes enemies to start beating the crap out of each other.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Priests have Mind Control, which is pretty straightforward. It lets you take control of a hostile humanoid character for about 30 seconds or until the Priest takes damage a minute, though it can break earlier and damage done to the Priest will reduce its duration.
    • A boss in Naxxramas hits so hard he's untankable — but conveniently enough, his students can be mind-controlled and have the exact skillset necessary to tank and survive his assaults. (In ten-man versions of the encounter, the raid can't rely on having two priests, so instead two mind-control crystals sit conveniently nearby.)
    • There are several achievements for having a boss kill their lackeys by positioning them properly.

  • The Adventures of Rad Gravity: You can trick certain enemies into shooting each other. This is the only way to kill the shielded robots on Utopia.
  • Epic Mickey: One of the purposes of the paint mechanic is to turn Blotling enemies against each other by turning them into Mickey's allies.
  • Fur Fighters: The game manual suggests this strategy. They even completely ignore the Player Character so it's possible to attempt to create an all out mook brawl.
  • Portal: When you are in a room with more than one turret, you can cause one to shoot down another. The victimized turret will actually respond to this with alarm, saying things like "Don't shoot!" and "Hey! It's me!". This is an especially important strategy since you have no way of attacking them directly. By setting up portals correctly, it's possible to have a turret shoot itself to death, all the while begging itself to stop shooting.
  • Robots is played by tricking the robots/Daleks into colliding with each other as they attempt to close in on the player.
  • The Simpsons Game:
    • In Shadow of the Colossal Donut, it's possible to get past the walls of the Springfield Prison, at which point two Rigellians will spawn. If you jump back over the walls to the main area with the Krustybots, the aliens will follow, at which point they and the robots will ignore you and fight to the death — meaning until the infinitely responding bots' Zerg Rush overwhelms the aliens.
    • Once the Simpsons's abilities get powered up in the Game Engine, Lisa gets the ability to do this with her saxophone blasts. Any enemy hit by them will become brainwashed and will turn on any other active enemies, attacking them until it's destroyed.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Age of Mythology: There are several ways to do this, such as the Atlantean Chaos and Traitor God Powers, the former of which turns a group of enemy units neutral for a time, causing them to attack anything nearby, including their own allies, and the latter of which gives you permanent control over a single enemy unit. There's also the Lampades myth unit, which can inflict the temporary Chaos effect on one enemy at a time as its special attack.
  • AI War: Fleet Command and its sequel have Reclamation/Zombification damage in general, present in Parasitic vessels and the Botnet Golem, among others. Enemies affected with enough of this damage will turn into "zombies" allied to the faction that turned them and hostile to all else, that will proceed to wander around killing things until they're taken out. It also counts as regular damage, so that if it surpasses HP they instantly turn even if nothing else hit them. Both the AI and you can make use of this, along with some minor factions (with the Nanocaust packing a souped-up version in everything they have). Structures, your bigger units, and Dire Guardians are immune, unless you turn on the Zombify Everything option in 2 (which turns the aforementioned Botnet Golem into a gigantic menace, not that it already wasn't).
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has various mind-altering technologies to achieve this. For one, there is outright mind control, used by Yuri, his clones and the Psi-Corps Trooper on individual infantry or vehicles in-game, and Psychic Beacons and Amplifiers on whole cities or regions, respectively, story-wise (plus the MasterMind and Dominator in the expansion Yuri's Revenge). Mind-control victims can be directed as one chooses, attacking their former allies. In addition, Yuri's Revenge adds "psychedelic" weapons, which cause their victims to go berserk, attacking their allies in a frenzy, however without the possibility of direct control. Units attacked by a frenzied ally will however not return the fire (so they do not start mutual infighting), which is not a huge problem as psychedelic weapons are area-of-effect, causing everyone within the target area to mindlessly attack each other.
  • Dawn of War:
    • The Dark Eldar Archon's Crucible of Malediction causes an enemy squad to attack itself and nearby units for a short time. Most useful on heavy units with status buffs.
    • The second level of every campaign in Retribution has you running away from a Baneblade, then overhear a traitor Guardsman telling his buddies to be careful with the targeting cogitators, as the turrets they control could go haywire. Guess what happens next. The Baneblade itself gets taken out by enormous plasma turrets at the very end.
  • Empire at War: In Forces of Corruption, you can bribe enemies into being on your side, though this doesn't work on everyone.
  • Pikmin:
    • With some proper positioning, it's fairly easy to use the cannonball boulders of the Armored Cannon Beetles and their offshoots kill off enemies you don't want to risk losing Pikmin against.
    • It's possible to goad Wollywogs into jumping on you while you're standing next to another enemy. If dodge in time, the Wollywog will land on the other enemy and crush them instead of you.
  • Rise And Fall: Cleopatra has a special power which makes enemy units around here switch to her side, when they switch they instantly start to attack what was their own army.
  • Starcraft II has the Infestor's Neural Parasite ability, which makes the target unit yours until the spell ends or the Infestor is killed. However, it requires the Infestor to stop moving, and there's a great big tentacle leading from it to the target to aid in targeting. The campaign version turns into a standard mind control spell with, aha, no strings attached.
  • Star Trek: Armada: Enemy ships can be boarded and captured, or assimilated if you're playing as the Borg, allowing you to use them against their original owners. There are also several special abilities that have this effect, such as the Klingons' Commando Teams, the Romulan hologram projector, and the Species 8472 Psionic Insanity (the latter two cause all enemy ships in range to begin firing on each other for a short time).
  • Warcraft III: The ability to take control of enemy units is considered broken in this game, so it usually comes with a downside (primarily that it can't be used on heroes or high-level neutral units).
    • The Alliance Spell Breakers have the 'Control Magic' ability, which allows them to take control of one enemy summoned unit at a time. The Gloves of Spell Mastery item also allows a hero to do this.
    • There is an item called the Scepter of Mastery that allows you to take control of a low-level enemy unit or creep, but it only has 3 uses.
    • The Dark Ranger, a neutral hero, has an ultimate attack that is essentially the same as the Scepter of Mastery, except with unlimited uses (although it has a high mana cost and a long cooldown).
    • The Banshee's Possession spell lets her take over an enemy unit's body at the cost of losing the Banshee itself.

  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer: With careful timing and luck, you can do this by luring enemies into damage each other if they happen to be in each other's way when they attack you.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: The Advanced Edition introduces the Mind Control system, which temporarily forces an enemy crew member to attack its allies or ship's systems (or repair or man your systems, if they're boarding your ship). More points in the system increase the duration and give the mind-controlled crewer a health bonus. It also introduces Hacking Drones, which hack the systems of an enemy ship. Some systems are merely shut down, but hacked O2 systems suck oxygen out of the enemy ship, while hacked Medbays hurt instead of healing, both of which qualify for this trope. For bonus points, hacking an enemy Mind Control system causes it to Mind Control a random enemy crewer into fighting for you!
  • In Streets of Rogue there are several items that do this. The hypnotiser mk. 2 makes enemies willingly turn against allies by making them feel full loyalty to you, natural enemies will attack on sight, antagonistic actions the player can take will get the same response if mooks do them to the victim. The biggest example would be the haterator or rage potion which inflict rage. This causes the victim to attack anybody they first see, and is considered the easiest dispoal of the mayor since he'll most likely attack one of his police guard causing them all to turn on him netting an easy kill.
  • SYNTHETIK: Using the Order 332 allows the player to hack the enemy to kill other enemies.
  • NetHack: Wearing a ring of conflict makes monsters attack everything in sight, including other monsters and you. Unfortunately, it means that peaceful monsters and even your pet will start attacking you.

    Simulation Games 
  • Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey: Your Hominid can get dangerous animals to fight and even kill each other by luring them near or dodging an attack from one so they encounter each other, often ending in the death of one of them. This is extremely useful as you can satiate a predator and make it stop pursuing, or get the predator outright killed and no longer pose a threat. There's even an entire set of evolution feats that run on this trope ("Astute Dominator of the (X)"), which you get by making a certain species of animal kill other animals.
  • Dungeon Keeper: The turncoat spell makes the target attack its allies as if they were hated foes.
  • Hardwar: This is a crude but potentially very useful strategy. When a hostile Moth targets you, you can cause a diversion by flying near another Moth, usually by bumping into them. If you're lucky, the stray shots from your attacker could hit the neutral Moth that you just bumped into and then causes that victimized Moth to retaliate against your would-be killer. This can be a rather effective means to escape a dogfight that you either want no part in or, if you're devious enough, employ Divide and Conquer tactics against your aggressor. It gets even better if you have offended a particular faction such as Lazarus, Klamp-G, and other similar groups: using this same strategy against pirates who haven't attacked you yet, preferably with no cargo in your hold, you can use the pirate Moth as bait against your offended faction Moth of choice and then once the pirate is locked onto your aggressor, you can kill the pirate yourself so that you will be granted amnesty by the offended faction of your choice.
  • Rimworld:
    • Since wild animals have a chance to go hostile when shot, it's possible to shoot a herd of wild animals while a group of raiders is nearby, turning them on each other. It's also possible, with clever construction or luck, to funnel raiders into an insect hive or sleeping mechanoid cluster and let them wipe each other out. One can even manage to trick a mechanoid cluster or insect hive into attacking each other, as they are automatically hostile because the insect hives were engineered to fight mechanoids.
    • Psychic Insanity Lances exist to take advantage of this. Activating one will drive the target berserk and make them attack anyone nearby, including their allies. This is a particularly effective way to break apart a raid with someone who is wielding a rocket launcher.
    • With the Royalty DLC installed, psychic pawns can have up to two powers that induce the Berserk state in other pawns, with one being single-target and the more powerful one having a decent area of effect. The latter in particular can neutralize entire raids almost on its own. A third power also allows them to drive all animals in an area into a manhunting rage; whilst this is of only minor use in vanilla (few if any factions make serious use of battle animals, and turning the local wildlife against raiders is probably not going to particularly effective) it can be much more potent with mods that have faction raiders who bring wardogs or even ride into battle atop trusty steeds. Those fancy medieval knights might not feel quite so brave when their horses have bucked them off and are trampling them into the dirt.
  • TIE Fighter implements a similar mechanic to the monster infighting in Doom: If you can lure an enemy ship into firing on another enemy ship, they will begin targeting each other. This only seems to work for capital ships though, and not fighters or bombers. Whenever there are two or more enemy capships flying side-by-side, a fun tactic is to get in between them and then watch them destroy each other (assuming you're flying something durable enough to survive the initial shots aimed at you from both of them).

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Desperados has one specific mission invoking this trope (Piggies in the Middle) revolving around pitting the forces of El Diablo's banditos against the US Cavalry so that Cooper's Gang can reach the train station.
  • Dishonored:
    • Walls of Light and Arc Pylons can be rigged to zap enemies instead of you.
    • One of the Wolfhounds in the Kennels is sick and prone to fits of rage, and there is a note warning not to open his cage. Doing this causes him to attack the guards and other dogs.
    • Once you have Level 2 Bend Time and Possession, you can stop time, possess an enemy, then walk them into another enemy's line of fire (or their own), although unlike most examples, you can't attack with a possessed enemy.
    • The sequel has Clockwork Soldiers that, just like Walls of Light and Arc Pylons, can be rewired to attack your enemies instead (including other Clockwork Soldiers). Alternatively, knocking off one's head shuts down its IFF altogether, causing it to attack anyone it hears, including you.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The cleared game gives you access to the non-lethal emotion bullets, one of which enrages enemies into attacking anything nearby, be it friend or foe.
  • Oddworld:
    • In the first game, and for most of the second, possessing enemies is Abe's only form of attack. In the third, Munch can also possess robots by hacking the computers that control them.
    • The Scrabs in the first two games, being fiercely territorial, will also attack each other if there are two of them on the screen and within reach of each other at the same time; even ignoring the player, briefly, to do so. This raises questions (in-universe as well) as to how this species ever reproduces.
    • Amusingly enough, you can do this to the Mudokons in the second game. If you slap a Mudokon, he'll slap you back, but if you're standing on the same space as another Mudokon and duck, he'll hit the other Mudokin instead. The second Mudoken will then slap the first one, who will slap the second one. They'll keep slapping each other until one of them dies, at which point every Mudoken on the screen will get depressed.
  • Splinter Cell. Often a soldier will be patrolling an area near a turret. Why the computer that controls the turret is always left unattended isn't explained, but you can sneak up to the computer and switch off the mechanism that allows it to tell friend from foe, causing it to open fire on the hapless mook(s.) You can then turn the turret completely off and explore the area as needed.

    Strategy RPGs 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics:
    • The "Steal Heart" Thief ability can charm one of your enemies into turning on his or her team. In an interesting variation, it only works on humans of the opposite sex from the user, but works on any and all monsters, which has some strange implications, at best. Additionally, Orators can talk enemies into actually joining you so you can recruit them after the battle. The monster thing is a side-effect of monsters counting as opposite gender of humans for the purpose of zodiac bonuses.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: The charm status effect makes anyone inflicted with it attack their allies.
  • Fire Emblem: The Berserk Staff is a usually enemy-only item that causes your units to attack anything in sight, regardless of what team they're on. In some games it's also available to the player, most notably in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, where it has a 100% success rate as long as the enemy's resistance is lower than the staff user's magic. This allows for things like forcing the Big Bad to fight against his fiancee.

    Survival Horror 
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins and Condemned 2: Bloodshot. If two enemies are in the same room together and they don't see you, they will probably attack each other instead of standing there. And you can angle yourself so if two enemies are attacking you one might hit the other one and they will attack each other. It makes sense in context, since all of your enemies are insane homeless poeple who don't have any loyalties to anybody.
  • Don't Starve: If you lure a hostile monster to another kind of hostile monster, they'll attack each other and give you a chance to escape or watch the fight and kill the softened surviving one.
  • The Ivy Serum from The Persistence forces any enemy you inject with it to become your ally for a sizable duration and attack any enemies in their sight.
  • In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the titular Nemesis can be used to kill other enemies by letting them get between him and his target, but he won't deliberately target them beyond punching them out of the way to get to Jill. This trope does come fully into effect in the Mercenaries Minigame, where you can encounter multiple Nemesises (Nemesi?) and, if you trick one into hitting the other, the two of them will target each other and fight to the death before resuming their chase of you.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Fear Effect 2 have an area containing enemy guards and numerous Cat-Eyes - robotic probes that functions as an Action Bomb. As Hana you're unable to access said area (or else be killed instantly), but as Rain you can hack into a control panel, triggering a cutscene where all the Cat-Eyes suddenly malfunctions and blows up the guards.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System's Control Tether weapon allows you to possess enemies that you've snuck up on; jam the tether into their data port and you will have full control over them until you release control or move the enemy out of control range.
  • Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy features the ability to take over another enemy soldier and clear out a path for you without damage to yourself.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has a special weapon that causes enemies to fight against one another. Artificial Stupidity kicks in when enemies who aren't doing this begin accidentally shooting each other.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Wampas have some pretty good early-game items tucked away in their cages. When released, they will go for the closest attackable target. This is usually the player, but can just as easily be an enemy. Thus, the easiest way to get the special weapons they guard is to set them free, then dash out of the room and close the door. The Wampas will immediately turn on each other and, once they are finished, only one (injured) Wampa will remain.

    Tower Defense 

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Advance Wars 2 Black Hole Rising, Black Hole's laser cannons will damage anything in their path, including their own troops. A number of missions more or less rely on this, such as using cheap units to block Black Hole units in the firing path of lasers to weaken them while you build up a proper response.
  • Incubation: There's an enemy called Cy'Coo who has a devastating artillery attack, which is nevertheless slow: it takes it one turn to aim and another turn to fire. Players can have the Cy'Coo to aim at one of their soldiers, then move that soldier away and trick an alien into walking on the soldier's former position..
  • Robots, found in the BSD Games package, has the various robots move towards the player, who can only run about or teleport. The robots are destroyed if they collide with each other or enter a scrap heap, made easy because the robots have no situational awareness of other obstacles.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Koei): In some of the games, there's a "Mislead" or similar tactic where a general attempts to trick an enemy general into fighting an ally, with one or both units taking damage. Since the success or failure of the tactic is usually based on Intelligence, and the damage done is based on a War or Leadership stat, many of the dumb ox officers can be hilariously lethal to their own side. Never, ever stand too close to Zhang Fei or Lu Bu if the enemy has a sharp "strategist" officer hiding in the back.
  • XCOM has always had ways to set aliens on each other, but the aliens can just as easily use most of these on you.
    • In the original and 'Terror From the Deep, psionic attacks and loss of friendly units can cause panic. Panic can cause a unit to go berserk, shooting at anything in range, friend or foe.
    • Outright Mind Control is also an option.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: There's the obvious option of Mind Control, but Psi Panic can (unreliably) get enemies to go berserk and shoot each other.
    • XCOM2: Robotic units can be hacked with a specific skill, soldiers with Psychic Powers can outright Mind Control enemies, and one type of enemies, the Muton Berserker, goes berserk if injured and strikes the closest target, friend or foe.

    Web Games 
  • Decision: The Poison/Rage Injection skills greatly boost an enemy's health and turn it hostile to everything else. Not only that, but other enemies immediately detect the change and start attacking it, and you get double the money for killing an enraged enemy. While it doesn't work on the stronger bosses, enraged units are still powerful enough to do a lot of damage. And even more broken in Medieval, where it not only works on all enemies, it can now hit multiple enemies in a line. One of the final skills makes the affected unit allied with you, though they're more difficult to keep alive.

    Western RPGs 
  • Cyberpunk 2077: The Cyberpsychosis quickhack gives you the power to drive your enemies berserk, mindlessly attacking friend and foe alike. The downside is that a cyberpsycho is hyper-alert and can quickly spot you if you peek out of cover, and since they're still connected to the same network as their former friends, everyone will know what you did and shoot at you as well. The upside is that if they're the last enemy remaining, you just need to hold out a few seconds longer and they'll commit suicide.
  • Deus Ex Universe:
    • The original game has "scramble grenades" that turn robots to your side.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War includes a Bot Domination augment, allowing the player to take control of nearby robots.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: An early obstacle is a fake police checkpoint. The easiest means of dealing with it is to inform an actual police officer of what's going on — she will immediately take a squad and kill all the fake cops.
  • Diablo:
    • The Necromancer's Confusion curse in Diablo II causes enemies to attack randomly, and of course can be used on a crowd to turn them against each other. There is also the Attract curse, which causes all enemies to attack the cursed target. Necromancers can also raise defeated enemies from the dead as their minions.
    • Paladins have an attack that temporarily makes an enemy switch sides. If Defeat Means Friendship, a good punch to the face means a brief alliance?
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the Command, Frenzy, Fury, Rally, and other similar spells which have this effect. "Command" lets you take control of a NPC or creature with a level lower than that of the spell's magnitude. The affected target will fight on your side for the spell's duration. "Frenzy" and "Fury" will cause the target to attack any nearby targets for the spell's duration. Rally will aggro a neutral target into joining the fight on your side for the spell's duration.
  • Fable has a sort-of version of this in the form of the "Summon" spell, which summons a spectral version of a weak monster. If that weak monster kills an enemy, it assumes that enemy's form and goes on to attack other nearby enemies. Also, the shade can take the form of some rather powerful enemies, notably in The Lost Chapters, one can get a shade of Thunder, the 7 foot tall greatsword wielding optional boss.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3:
      • If you shoot insects in the antennae, they go berserk and attack each other. The sidequest "Those!" has you pull this on an entire giant ant colony by disrupting their psychic link with the Queen.
      • The Mesmetron is a special unique weapon that can cause human characters to go berserk and start shooting at everyone nearby.
      • The DLC Broken Steel offers several opportunities to take control of Deathclaws and unleash them on unsuspecting Enclave troops. This is sweetly ironic, because the method in which it is done takes advantage of the technology the Enclave was using to subdue these beasts in the first place.
      • Mothership Zeta has Feral Ghouls, Raiders, and other wasteland enemies in cryostasis. If released, they fight against each other and the aliens.
    • Fallout 4: You can hack terminals to gain control of robots and turrets. However, this game also adds the Intimidate perk, which lets you pacify hostile targets by aiming down your sights at them and pressing a button when prompted. At higher levels of the perk, you can incite them to attack their fellow mooks and watch the carnage as your hostage fights his/her former allies. If you've pacified and incited more than one mook, they may attack each other. If they survive, you can just execute them since they've outlived their usefulness (or you just want their stuff), or you can let them go, after which they return to being hostile eventually (or as soon as you put your gun away).
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Aloy gains the ability to override machines, some of which can act as mounts, while others will turn against hostile machines.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: The games offer many opportunities for this, mostly related to hacking and reprogramming droids and automated defense systems, as well as Force Confusion for the non-hackable targets.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance: There are a few ways to temporarily turn enemies to your side (using Spider-Woman's special attack and a powerup from the Enchantress), but the most reliable is Doctor Strange's Mind Wipe. It only lasts a few seconds, but when used on large enemy groups it's deadly. In the optional CD missions, the easiest way to beat the bosses of the Asgard maps is to lure a few score trolls and clay warriors to the end of the level, have them surround the boss, and then spam Mind Wipe. If used correctly, the boss will be pummeled to death in seconds.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The AI Hacking skill temporarily makes geth (or other robotic enemies) attack each other. In addition, on Ilos there are armature repair stations that can be hacked to make the geth armatures attack other geth.
    • The second game lets you take control of organic enemies as well with Dominate, Morinth's bonus power. If you have AI Hacking as well, then you can pretty much make any enemy in the game do your bidding for about 20 seconds.
    • Mass Effect 3: Sabotage subsumes AI hacking, while dominate returns as a bonus power in the "Leviathan" DLC.
  • Might and Magic has mind-control magic, which occasionally works as advertised. Most monsters are immune to it, however, and it needs to be cast from quite a distance for the monsters to start attacking each other instead of you. Might and Magic VII has monsters that can fight each other, humorously allowing you to slaughter the entire village in the beginning of the game because you happen to lead the entire dragonfly horde to the peasants and their two guards.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: An incident has this happen without you even doing anything. When you're dungeon-crawling the old Ironfist clanhold, you come up to a room where there's a group of bugbears squabbling over ill-gotten gains (they can't decide how to split the loot). You can charge right in, or you can just wait quietly and let their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder whittle the gang down to two, who agree to split the loot fifty/fifty.
  • Tales of Arterra: You can have three undead guardians fight against one and another because they hated each others so much while living that their hatred carried in their afterlife.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines:
    • If you play a character from the Ventrue or Tremere clans, you can mind-control any random NPC into killing your enemies for you. If you're a Ventrue you can do the same thing through special dialogue options. Malkavians can also turn mooks into insane berserkers, or give them delusions or hallucinations that make them kill (you can, for instance, convince a Russian mobster that he is a grizzly bear and his two friends are salmon. Hilarity Ensues.)
    • If you have a high charisma stat, you can also play characters from various factions against each other, though this isn't always a good idea (you can talk one of the thin bloods into trying to kill Nines or LaCroix, for instance, but if you do, they will slaughter the thin blood and then be rather cross with you next time you talk to them.)

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto III and onward, unless two mooks are specifically on the same side, any mook will attack the mook that attacked it last (or run away). You can often offend someone into attacking you, and then get the police to kill them for you (or the other way around). Irate taxi drivers are particularly useful; climb onto the roof of their cab and they'll ignore you entirely, but when the guy chasing you throws a punch at your ankle and hits their car, they'll be brawling in no time.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: You can call the police on your mobile/a police car radio to report crimes in progress. Call them while engaged in a public firefight and they'll send squadcar after squadcar as your enemies mow them down (the cops themselves are fresh out of the ISM Academy). You can't continue to shoot the bad guys, though, or all the cops will turn on you.
  • Grounded: Some insects will fight other insects (never their own kind, obviously) given certain circumstances. Stinkbugs and bombardier beetles will pretty much attack anything that gets in range of them, and worker ants and mites will attack weevils (which are harmless but tasty) while ladybugs will hunt any aphids they see (since they do so in real life). Worker ants will fight anything that a soldier ant is fighting, and soldier ants will fight anything acting hostile, even if they're not hostile to them. If you wear the Red Ant Armor (which prevents red ants from attacking you unless provoked), you can attack other insects, lead them to the red anthill, and let the ants fight them for you.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction: Tanks always fire a round if Hulk crosses their sights — but they disregard any other tanks in their line of fire. One of the mini-games places Hulk in a map full of respawning tanks with all of his attacks disabled, challenging you to survive while tricking the tanks into destroying each other as long as you can.
  • Minecraft: If any mob that fires a projectile hits another enemy, a fight to the death ensues. Creepers actually drop a special item if they're killed by skeletons. If the mob attacked is part of a group (i.e. piglins, pillagers, etc.), the whole group will gang up on the one struck them first. However, piglins and pillagers will never intentionally attack their own kind.
  • Planet Explorers: Some animals tend to go after one-another, leaving the resulting corpses for the player to loot.
  • Saints Row IV: The Mind Control powers does exactly as described: cast it on one Mook (or more, since it's an area attack) and they'll glitch and start attacking the others in the immediate vicinity.

Non-video game examples:

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In World War II action series Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders, Baron Strucker's villainous secret organisation, Hydra, is raiding both American and Japanese shipping. When those nations send squads to investigate, it's easy for him to manipulate them into attacking each other instead (although the Raiders eventually work it out and form a fragile Enemy Mine alliance with their Japanese counterparts).
    • A crossover between Captain America and The Punisher has Frank perform an accidental version when he throws a knife at a machine-gun wielding soldier, whose finger locks up on the trigger and shoots several of his comrades despite being dead.

    Fan Works 
  • Steven Universe: and the Hunters of Arcadia: Jamie briefly humors the idea of having Gunmar and Yellow Diamond kill each other.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • Ringo easily lures thousands of monster-starved skahs warriors down to the abandoned city of Ehndris and, later, to the Vasyn warehouse, where they are promised monsters in abundance. They joyously pile into the Raleka guarding the warehouse, allowing John and Ringo to get a head start in breaking into the warehouse via the roof.
    • In New Zork, Paul escapes the "Hitler Youth" by causing hundreds of screaming Beaglemaniacs to swamp them.

  • F/X: Murder by Illusion: At the climax, the Technical Pacifist hero deals with the bad guy's mooks by using special effects tricks to make them kill each other while trying to kill him (for instance, by making a reflection of himself appear to a mook who shoots at it and kills another mook who was standing behind it).
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Monarch leads Rodan away from the city and out to sea, where he and King Ghidorah will hopefully kill each other. They do end up fighting, but instead of killing each other, Ghidorah non-fatally defeats and subjugates Rodan, who effectively becomes The Dragon as a result.
  • The Green Hornet Serials: The first serial uses a variant to wrap things up. The Hornet tricks two groups of racketeers into thinking each is about to betray the other. Since all of them are armed, and with the Hornet offscreen they can actually use their guns, it's not a long fight scene.
  • RoboCop 3: In the finale, a pair of killer ninja androids are about to gang up on Murphy, who's already proven vulnerable against a solo example of the same android. He avoids their attacks long enough for the hacker kid to re-program the two androids into targeting each other, and they simultaneously cut one another's heads off.
  • Rustlers' Rhapsody: Lampshaded and Averted. As the villains move to surround him, Rex says "You know, the way you've positioned yourselves, when the shooting starts you're liable to miss me and hit each other." The badguys look nervously at each other and them move back to their original positions.
  • Serenity: Mal kites a massive armada of Reavers to fight an equally-massive Alliance armada. His aim is to keep the Alliance busy so that he can slip through the now very-distracted Alliance fleet and get the secret of Miranda out to the Verse.

  • This is a common battle tactic in Iain M. Banks' Culture series. By using effectors to reprogram enemy ships to destroy each other, a Culture warship was able to exponentially increase the rate at which it could destroy an enemy fleet.
  • Constance Verity Destroys the Universe: Having cloaked herself from fate's eyes on her with the Strand of Hemsut, she takes it off when it becomes apparent that Patty plans on killing Hiro, causing all of the assassins who think she's an Apocalypse Maiden to show up and clear out Patty's goons in an attempt to get to her and using the chaos as a distraction to get Hiro away from there.
  • The Dresden Files: In the short story "Heorot", Harry tricks a pack of malks into attacking the grendelkin by using illusions to make the grendelkin look like himself. Meanwhile, he's rescuing the grendelkin's captive in its guise.
  • The Executioner: This is a favorite tactic of the Executioner during his war against The Mafia, by playing on pre-existing tensions in whatever Mafia family he's targeting. So much attention is focused on the One-Man Army dressed in black who's decimating them with long-range sniper fire or full military assaults that they never suspect the smooth-talking Black Ace hitman sent from New York to deal with Bolan, or the lowly foot-soldier ringing up the boss to warn of treachery from an ally, might be Bolan himself.
  • The Hobbit: Invoked when the dwarves and Bilbo are captured by trolls, who want to cook them and eat them. Gandalf uses a combination of ventriloquism and mimicry to keep them arguing about the exact recipe long enough for the sun to come up, turning the trolls to stone.
  • Myth Adventures: Skeeve's most successful battle against Big Julie's army is when he uses a combination of illusions and Gus flying overhead to get the Empire's soldiers fighting each other. At first it's by accident, as archers targeting Gus start hitting the next formation unintentionally, but Skeeve quickly takes it further, raising up illusionary Imp soldiers among the Imperial troops' own ranks and making the officer whom Skeeve (wrongly) believes had treacherously executed Aahz resemble a Pervect, so he gets lynched by his own men.
  • Warbreaker: This is the safest way to use the sentient sword Nightblood. He was originally Awakened with the command to "destroy evil," but since a sword doesn't understand good and evil very well, he tends to draw the attention of and corrupt anyone who would use him for selfish purposes. People who would use Nightblood for their own ends will fight and kill each other to possess him, with the winner usually committing suicide. Thus an effective way to use Nightblood without risking drawing the blade (and all of the horrible consequences that would involve) is to throw it into the middle of a group of enemies and let them kill each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor sometimes demonstrates his Guile Hero skills via this trope, taking down everything from a quartet of Weeping Angels to several billion Daleks raining destruction down on Gallifrey by having the thing they're attacking from all sides simply vanish, leaving them open to one anothers' attacks a la Circular Firing Squad.
  • The Expanse: In the Season 1 finale, "Leviathan Wakes", Miller clears the way to the docks for himself and Holden by inciting a fight between The Conspiracy's main Mooks and their Hired Guns by stoking the Belters' (correct) belief that they about to be left behind. The two of them then make a break for it in the ensuing gunfight.
  • Nikita: In "The Next Seduction", Nikita is trying to get a dirty bomb away from both Gogol and Division. She eventually resorts to luring Gogol to the airstrip where Division is about to fly the bomb to headquarters, then stealing the bomb in the ensuing gun battle. Gogol's leader Ari Tasarov compares her plan to the plot of Yojimbo; she points out that it was a book first.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible: This turns up a couple of times. In both cases, the trick is to wreak so much havoc that the defenders would be tricked into thinking that they had a much larger enemy to deal with than they actually did. (The "friendly fire isn't" principle is why the uniform was eventually invented.)
    • Judges 7: Gideon, after having his 32,000 men pared down to 300 by weeding out the ones without good defensive instincts, gave each man a pitcher with torches inside and a shofar and told them to do like he did. When they reached the edge of the Midianite camp, he blew his shofar, and the others did the same, and they all broke their pitchers and shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" This set the Midianites fighting each other and fleeing.
    • 1 Samuel 14: Jonathan and his armorbearer went up to fight the Philistines, reasoning that God is just as good at saving His people through a few as He is through many. By the time Saul and the 600 with him reached the battle, he found that the Philistines were fighting each other in their confusion.
  • Classical Mythology: In the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason defeats an army of soldiers grown from dragon's teeth by throwing a rock into their midst. In the manner of a cafeteria food fight, each believes the others have betrayed them, it snowballs, and they quickly slaughter each other. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: This is a common use for "Charm Person", "Charm Monster", "Suggestion", and similar spells.
    • This is not a guaranteed success. The affected creature simply perceives you very favorably and can often be convinced to do things which are dangerous or out of character. Smart DMs make the players actually play out that use of Charisma, making this much less effective as a combat spell but downright devastating out of combat.
    • "Confusion" and "Chaos" do have the effect of making the affected mindlessly attack whoever's nearest to them, including their own allies (they also act confused in other ways, but this is one of the major ones).
    • 4th Edition's fey pact Warlocks are good at making it difficult for enemies to discern between friend and foe. Their highest-level powers involve full-fledged domination.
    • The Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate skills can achieve the same effect without the limitations of magic if the players are clever enough, such as disguising themselves, infiltrating the enemy's camp, and then sowing discord. This applies in every RPG which has any kind of social stats.
    • Geas spells in pre-4th Edition and Pathfinder can force an enemy to fulfill a quest of your choice, such as making a bandit officer lead you to the bandit hideout and help defeat the other bandits before releasing them from the spell.
    • A clever illusionist can use their spells to create this effect with a little creativity.
  • Unknown Armies: The House of Mirrors spell makes everyone else present see everyone as the spell's target. Trigger-happy enemies can easily end up gunning each other down if they don't realize what's happening.

    • In the climax of the 2008 webserials, a group of Bohrok sleeping in the Archives of Metru Nui are awoken to take out the oncoming enemy horde of Rahkshi.
    • Back in 2003, when the Bohrok-Kal were introduced, Tahu led a swarm of reprogrammed Bohrok to take down Nuhvok Kal. Unfortunately, they were launched into space by Nuhvok-Kal's gravity power.
    • The Rahkshi Kurahk also uses its Staff of Anger to turn its foes against each other.

  • Dominic Deegan: The king's totally trustworthy royal seer (actually an infernomancer) uses some magic to make the knights at the palace attack everyone who could possibly oppose his evil plan. Then, as an enraged noncontrolled starts mowing through them, he releases the magic, leaving them paralyzed with confusion. Briefly.
  • Kid Radd: G.I. Guy uses a skill to possess a bunny that called more bunnies faster than the heroes could defeat them. After using the bunny to attack its allies, he made it commit suicide, prompting a What the Hell, Hero? from Radd.
  • The Order of the Stick: Xykon uses a "Symbol of Insanity" spell, inscribed on a bouncy ball, to cause a roomful of paladins to attack each other. For bonus points, when the single survivor momentarily regain her senses (as the effect is permanent), she commits ritual suicide.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: In Chapter 10, when Emil has to deal with a bunch of long-legged trolls and Mikkel and Sigrun are dealing with a sea beast, the long-legged trolls get taken care of via being lead right into the sea beast's tentacles.
  • Yokoka's Quest: Mao happens to position himself such that the king centipede attacking him bites and kills a smaller snake-centipede.
  • Conversational Troping in the El Goonish Shive NP story "Tedd Video Game Opinions", when Tedd is explaining his ideas for using transformation magic to achieve things that most games let you do more directly, because it's more fun that way. His first example is that instead of frenzying emeny mooks so they attack their own side, you turn one of them into an angry bear.


Video Example(s):


Interpol vs. Vincenetti Gang

Sly and Bentley pit Interpol and the Vincenetti Gang against one another in "Turf War!" so that Carmelita would get rid of Octavio's security team for Carnivale.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SetAMookToKillAMook

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