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Set a Mook to Kill a Mook

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That's him! He's the one you want!

This is predominately a gaming trope, but may pop up elsewhere. In gaming, this is a specific type of Standard 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 vs. 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 
  • It is very much possible to convince a monster in the story to kill another monster in a story the AI in AI Dungeon 2. How effective it tends to vary based on how the AI is feeling.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, on 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.
  • Military discipline amongst the Pfhor must be very lax, as Doom-like tactics of friendly fire-induced infighting are a staple of Marathon gameplay, Halo's predecessor series, made even more exploitable by a lack of Doom's species and ranged limitations, plus a number of preexisting grudges. Inducing such brawls in the Marathon 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.
  • Might and Magic games had mind-control magic which occasionally worked as advertised. Most monsters were immune to it, however, and it needed to be cast from quite a distance for the monsters to start attacking each other instead of you.
    • Might and Magic VII had monsters that could fight each other, humorously allowing you to slaughter the entire village in the beginning of the game, because you happened to lead the entire dragonfly horde to the peasants and their unstoppable army of two guards
  • The Freedom Force games include every one of the above-mentioned effects.
  • System Shock 2 features hackable gun turrets.
    • As does its Spiritual Successor, BioShock, which also has hackable security drones.
      • BioShock also has the Enrage! plasmid, which causes the target to berserk and attack anyone else near them.
      • It's also possible to do this with Big Daddies. A similar effect can be achieved by simply using one as a meat shield against any splicer with a ranged attack.
      • 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 gives us the Vigor Possession, which even causes the one under the effect to commit suicide after the effect wears off (unless it's a robot).
  • Fallout 3 has hackable turrets and security robots. Also, 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.
  • Like in previous Fallout games, in 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).
  • In Far Cry 3, predatory animals will attack any humans that come near them, whether that be you or an enemy (though they tend to prioritise you if given a choice). Conveniently, many outposts (which require killing all enemies to liberate) have a cage with some sort of dangerous animal (such as a bear or a tiger) in them. 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.
  • The Knights of the Old Republic 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.
  • Half-Life:
    • In 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.
    • Black Mesa takes it one step further: if you grab a gun turret without setting it off first, it will be reprogrammed to shoot everything that movesnote , even the HECU soldiers.
    • Also in Half-Life 2 are the antlions. These alien insects will viciously attack you in drones 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In MechWarrior Online Attaching a NARC beacon to an enemy mech not only makes it easier for your allies to hit it with missiles, it can also cause enemy missile launchers to lock onto their own allies.
  • 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.
  • The first three Oddworld games. 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 (well, one and a half) 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.
  • The Deus Ex games feature turret and robot hacking.
    • The original game also featured “scramble grenades” that turn robots to your side.
    • With a bit of finesse, you can also get a lot of people very mad at a vacuum cleaner. (Look for Fun with Simons... and UNATCO.)
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War includes a Bot Domination augment, allowing the player to take control of nearby robots.
    • An early obstacle in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 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.
  • The Bind spell in Eternal Darkness 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.
  • In 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 do the same thing to 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.
    • Sabotage subsumes AI hacking in ME3. Dominate returns as a bonus power in the Leviathan DLC.
  • In 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.
  • Iji: A terminal late in the game can give you direct control of a Komato Annihilator.
  • In Final Fantasy V, this 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. Don't think too hard about it.
    • Similar powers exist in Final Fantasy VI (“Control” – which requires Relm or Gogo to wear the Fake Mustache Relic) and Final Fantasy VII (“Manipulate” – an ability granted by Manipulate Materia). In all three games, they can be very useful when trying to learn Blue Spells/Lores/Enemy Skills.
    • Special mention goes to Edgar and his Noiseblaster - a weapon which does no damage but inflicts Confusion upon the entire enemy party. Considering that 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.
  • The Confusion powers from City of Heroes and City of Villains. 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.
  • This was a major feature of Doom, although not made explicit through any particular power-up or ability. It was implemented in quite a simple way: when fighting multiple enemies of different species, bait them into accidentally hitting an enemy of another species. This can be very useful in the hands of a skilled player.
    • The first level of Episode 3 of Doom, 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.
      • An important note is that same-species infighting never happens among projectile throwing monsters. This also extends to the fact neither the Hell Knight or the Baron of Hell can hurt themselves or each others' species with their green plasma balls [getting damaged is what causes infighting to start]. However, bullet/hitscan shooting enemies of the same species like the zombified humans and the Spider Mastermind are fair game to each other, and if one projectile-throwing enemy hits an Exploding Barrel that goes off and hurts is fellow of kin will get retaliation coming to it from the injured party, mostly ineffectually (due to the projectile immunity described above) unless they get within range of a melee attack, upon which one can hurt the other. Hilariously enough, depending on the version of the game, an enemy will melee itself to death if it hurts itself with a barrel explosion (if it's a purely ranged attacker like a former human, a Mancubus or an Arachnotron, it'll just shoot in all directions), it'll, a good bad bug known as "Barrel Suicide" that was fixed in most source ports.
    • Even more so, Archviles will never receive retaliation from other monsters. On the flipside, Archviles are very quick to get a temper and will immediately switch targets to whatever hurt it most recently (other monsters have a cooldown period before they switch targets) ending the unfortunate minion in a world of pain. Of course, being an evil healer, an Archvile can just resurrect the demons it kills.
    • In Level 8 of Doom 2, 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, a pair of platforms lower to reveal a Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind which promptly attack you, though the level seems designed for you to trick them into fighting each other.
      • In fact, the Spider Mastermind seems designed to use monster infighting as his downfall; his main weapon is a chaingun which will provoke attack from anything else it hits — even other Spider Masterminds. In addition, once he begins firing he will fire continuously at the target even for a few seconds after it has left his view. This allows the player to make himself a target and then run behind another enemy who will invariably be caught in the crossfire. Because of its rapid-fire weapon and high damage rate, the Spider Mastermind is best defeated by using its gun to provoke other enemies, letting them get a few counter-hits in, then attacking the Spider Mastermind while it is busy dealing with the new target. Trying to take one down while standing in the open trading fire is a sure-fire way of committing suicide most of the time (because Spidey's chaingun is a hitscan weapon and cannot be dodged).
  • Destroy All Humans! has the “Protect” command on hostiles in the first two games, and later the Zombie Gun.
  • The Beastmaster class in Final Fantasy XI is able to charm animals and monsters into fighting other enemies, including their own kind.
  • The Venomancer class in Perfect World allows you to tame beasts to fight for you as Pets.
  • 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.
  • A ring of conflict does this in NetHack; unfortunately, it also makes peaceful or friendly monsters attack you.
    • NetHack also features a variety of ways to turn hostile creatures into pets (and mounts!), including the Charm Monster spell and Scrolls of Taming.
    • NetHack also allows the player to tame certain animals by feeding them.
  • The “Steal Heart” Thief ability in Final Fantasy Tactics 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.
  • This is quite fun to do 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.
  • Blue Dragon has an interesting take on this: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Of course, the same spell only works on monsters. If used on a living person, it only lets you give one type of order.
  • 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 
  • In Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, you can bribe enemies into being on your side, though this doesn't work on everyone.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its sequel, the charm status effect has the result of making anyone inflicted with it attack their allies.
  • In 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.
  • The Psychosis Gun in Perfect Dark. It's rather memory-intensive, however. It can only be normally found in one mission.
    • It does have its own cheat specifically for its use in any mission. Unfortunately, the Infinite Ammo cheats don't apply to it, and you only get 4 shots. And the one or two mooks on your side will probably get mowed down by the 5 or so you fight at a time anyway.
    • 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 and causing a firefight.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, you have the Berserk Staff. Usually it's an enemy only item that causes your units to attack anything in sight, regardless of what team they're on, but in some games it's available to the player, most notably in 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 fun things like forcing the Big Bad to fight against his fiancee.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
    • World of Warcraft takes this one past mooks: one boss in Naxxramas is built on this trope. Said boss hits so hard he's untankable — but conveniently enough, his students not only can be mind-controlled, but have the exact skill-set 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. One wonders how the boss didn't see this coming.)
    • There are actually several achievements for having a boss kill their lackeys by positioning them properly.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots's 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.
  • This was one of your viral powers in the Area 51 FPS game. Unfortunately, it was almost completely worthless since it used up almost your entire viral power meter, enemy Mooks did almost no damage to each other, and the Mook affected by it would only last several seconds before dropping dead of massive organ failure.
  • 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.
  • In 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 eachother, 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.)
  • This is also in Final Fantasy VIII with its confusion spell. It's played for laughs in the fight with Biggs and Wedge at the beginning of the second disk. Casting confuse on them will invariably have them beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, yelling at each other to stop. Hilarity Ensues. This is actually one of the better ways of dealing with them.
  • In some of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video games, there will be a “Mislead” or similar tactic where a general will attempt 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.
  • The Necromancer's Confusion curse in Diablo 2 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?
  • 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.
  • In 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.
    • Indeed, by setting up portals correctly, it's possible to have a turret shoot *itself* to death, all the while begging itself to stop shooting...
  • Left 4 Dead 2 uses this with the Bile Bomb, which mimics the effects of the Boomer's vomit. Splashing this 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. Don't try it on the Witch...
    • 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.
  • In 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.
  • In [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.
  • In Champions of Norrath and its sequel, there are two spells like this: Convert for the living, and Convert Undead for the undead. They are learned by the high elf cleric and dark elf shadow-knight.
  • In the Turn-Based Strategy game 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. Very clever 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…
  • In 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.
  • Metroid Prime has this once in the Phazon Mines, where 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 Stealth 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.)
  • The game manual for Fur Fighters even suggests this strategy. They even completely ignore the Player Character so it's possible to attempt to create an all out mook brawl!
  • Averted in Odium - the enemies won't attack if their attack would hurt an ally (or themselves). Which means you can protect yourself from some wide-range attacks by standing next to an enemy (preferably a tranquilized or frozen one...)
  • In Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, 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.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, you can use the Piece of Eden to cause mooks to fight each other
  • Minecraft lets you do this with skeleton archers. If they shoot at you and one of their arrows hits another enemy, a fight to the death ensues. Creepers actually drop a special item if they're killed by skeletons. In the Nether, the easiest way to kill zombie pigmen is to trick a fire-spitting ghast into blasting them.
  • In The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, tanks will 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 actually 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.
  • In Shadows of the Empire, Wampas have some pretty good items (for the early game at least) 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.
  • And in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and its sequel Jedi Academy, 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."
  • Jedi Fallen Order doesn't let the player use the Jedi Mind Trick, however upgrades for BD-1 allows the player to hijack damaged probe and security droids, turning them to your side.
  • In 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.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies, the plant "Hypno-shroom" will cause the zombie that eats it to turn back and attack its fellow zombies in its lane until the hypnotized zombies are either eaten by other zombies or left the yard.
  • It's not rare in Destiny 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).
  • In some versions of Phantasy Star, 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.
  • Dungeon Keeper. I'll just let the Mentor say it.
    "The temporary illusions of the turncoat spell makes the target attack it's friends as if they were hated foes. Oh delicious remorse."
    The Mentor
  • One of the purposes of the paint mechanic in Epic Mickey is to turn Blotling enemies against each other by turning them into Mickey's allies.
  • In 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.
  • In Evolva, the genedisruptor beam allows you to make enemies fight against them. Unfortunately, your enemies can do the same thing.
  • This can be induced with the Charm status ailment in the Tales Series, though thanks to Health/Damage Asymmetry, it's mostly useful for getting enemies to ignore you temporarily.
  • In 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 also causes this, as confused enemies are completely incapable of harming you or your allies and will 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.
  • One of the powers you can get in Saints Row IV is Mind Control, which 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.
  • An incident in Neverwinter Nights 2 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.
  • In The Fairyland Story and Don Doko Don, the caterpillar is invincible, but can be tricked into eating other enemies.
  • In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain's "Inspire Hate" is this, making every mortal 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 enemies in Quake I will gleefully attack each other if provoked, similarly to Doom.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Advanced Edition of FTL: Faster Than Light 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!
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • In Rune, there's a weapon with a special power that turns an enemy against another when struck.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • 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.
  • In Planet Explorers, some animals tend to go after one-another, leaving the resulting corpses for the player to loot.
  • In Orcs Must Die! 2, The Sorceress' wand can temporarily Charm enemies, causing them to attack their comrades. If they're killed, they explode and stun nearby enemies. Some of her traps can also induce the Charm status effect as well.
  • 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.
  • Monster Hunter has some interesting variations:
    • If you use a felvine-bomb on a monster, Melynx (a kind of monster which normally steals the players 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.
  • Cops in PAYDAY 2 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.
  • In the casual game Iggle Pop!, the player might lure some regular Mooks under a falling bomb sent by a special Mook. The blast will blow them away from the map for a few seconds.
  • The XCOM series has always had ways to set aliens on each other, but the aliens could just as easily use most of these on you...
    • In the original and Terror From the Deep, psionic attacks, or loss of friendly units could cause panic. Panic could cause a unit to go berserk, shooting at anything in range, friend or foe.
    • Outright Mind Control was also an option.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there was the obvious option of Mind Control, but Psi Panic could (unreliably) get enemies to go berserk and shoot each other.
    • And in XCOM2, robotic units could be hacked with a specific skill, soldier with Psychic Powers could outright Mind Control enemies, and one type of enemies, the Muton Berserker, was Exactly What It Says on the Tin, that is The Berserker, which would go berserk if injured and strike the closest target, friend or foe.
  • This is a crude but potentially very useful strategy in Hardwar. 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.
  • The game known variously as Robots or Daleks is played by tricking the robots / Daleks into colliding with each other as they attempt to close in on the player.
  • 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.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn Aloy gains the ability to override machines, some of which can act as mounts, while others will turn against hostile machines.
  • In SYNTHETIK, using the Order 332 allows the player to hack the enemy to kill other enemies.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Zombies in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood 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.

Non-video game examples:

    Comic Books 
  • One crossover between The Punisher and Captain America has Frank perform an accidental version when he throws a knife at an machine-gun wielding soldier, whose finger locks up on the trigger and shoots several of his comrades despite being dead.

     Fan Works 
  • In 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.
    • Also, in New Zork, Paul escapes the "Hitler Youth" by causing hundreds of screaming Beaglemaniacs to swamp them.
  • In Steven Universe: and the Hunters of Arcadia, Jamie briefly humors the idea of having Gunmar and Yellow Diamond kill each other.

  • Mal Reynolds kites a massive armada of reavers to fight an equally-massive armada of Alliance in Serenity. 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.
  • Lampshaded and Averted in Rustlers' Rhapsody. 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.
  • 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.
  • At the climax of F/X: Murder by Illusion, 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).
  • In the finale of RoboCop 3, 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.

  • This turns up a couple of times in The Bible:
    • 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, "''The sword of God and of 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.
      • In both cases, the trick was 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.)
  • Invoked in The Hobbit 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.
  • Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest is likely a Trope Codifier.
  • In The Dresden Files 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.
  • 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.
  • A favorite tactic of The Executioner during his war against The Mafia, by playing on pre-existing tensions in whatever Mafia family he was targeting. So much attention was focused on the One-Man Army dressed in black who was decimating them with long-range sniper fire or full military assaults, they'd 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.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Nikita episode "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.
  • 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.

  • 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 
  • This is a common use for “Charm Person,” “Charm Monster,” “Suggestion,” and similar spells in Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Though it does not guarantee success. The creature perceives you very favorably and can often be convinced to do things which are dangerous or out of character. Smart DM's make the players actually play out that use of Charisma, making this much less effective as a combat spell, and downright devastating out of combat.
    • “Confusion” and “Chaos” do have the effect of making the affected mindlessly attack whoever's nearest to them, like say their own allies (they also act confused in other ways, but this is one of the major ones.)
    • Dungeons & Dragons 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.
  • The House of Mirrors spell in Unknown Armies 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.

    Web Comics 
  • In 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.
  • In 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.
  • In 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.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent 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.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Mao happens to position himself such that the king centipede attacking him bites and kills a smaller snake-centipede.


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 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SetAMookToKillAMook

Media sources:

Main / SetAMookToKillAMook