Derived from a common professional wrestling gimmick match, a tag team is a group of characters that take turns fighting, usually one-on-one. A common rule is that, in order to switch, the character must leave the stage and "tag" their partner so they can hop in.
In Video Games, this typically means a group of characters that the player switches control between. Whether or not the characters have separate HP meters is an important consideration — sometimes the HP meters are shared, and other times they are distinct. Most commonly seen in Fighting Games where the players can select two or three fighters and change them out between or during fights, possibly using one of teammates as an Assist Character during the fight as well. A Switch-Out Move may be present, as might a Combination Attack.
Tag Team Twins and Ricky Morton are sub tropes. Compare Swiss Army Hero, where one character has multiple forms they can switch between, and Swap Fighter, for video game characters whose gimmick is that they're a self-contained Tag Team.
Not to be confused with the 1990's rap group who wrote "(Whoomp!) There It Is" and "Pig Power In the House."
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Tag-team matches occur frequently in Kinnikuman, most commonly in the American Tour and Dream Tag Tournament arcs.
- In Sword Art Online, monsters only aggro on one player at a time. As such, players in parties take turns attacking a monster and "Switch" with teammates to recover, taking turns until the battle is concluded.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The earliest form of Tag Duels had four Duelists dueling each other in two-on-two Duels, where the sequence of turns followed this pattern. Player A1 > B1 > A2 > B2 and no player was allowed to attack on their first turn. Each player had their own fields, Graveyards (now known as GY) and Life Points, meaning that you still need to take down two targets with Life Points. Teammates were able to Tribute their partner's monsters or fuse them with their own, and sometimes the player was able to protect their teammate with their monster Taking the Bullet. As the generations went on, firm rules of Tag Duels have been established to make it truly this trope. Both teammates share the same field, GY and LP, meaning they can use their partner's cards however they want during their turn. This also means less space for them. Unlike the prototype forms of Tag Dueling, the team that goes second is allowed to attack during their first turn. Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V makes it a plot point to differentiate Tag Duels from Battle Royals (with the prototype form of Tag Duels being closer to Battle Royals), as Gongenzaka's Superheavy Samurai deck is severely handicapped by the Tag Duel rules, whereas Battle Royals don't have an immediate negative effect on his deck.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Yugi and his "Other Self" used this strategy to defeat Pegasus. They kept tagging minds to prevent him from using his Mind Scan ability, so he's unable to read their minds and see their cards.
- There have been duels where multiple Duelists teamed up against one single opponent, but there are only a few cases where a group of Duelists shared the same field, GY and LP with each other. The first instance was in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time, when Yusei, Judai and Yami Yugi dueled against Paradox. Paradox had 4000 LP like his opponents and he got his turns after one of the three has ended theirs. The second instance was in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, when Yuma, Shark and Kaito teamed up against Dr. Faker. Faker had 12000 LP whereas the three shared 4000 LP. After Faker initiating the duel with his first turn, he had to wait for all three of his opponents to finish their turns before he got his second turn.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, one of the most popular and powerful card archetypes of their time were the Gladiator Beasts, each of which have the ability to swap themselves out on the field for another one after they've battled that turn. This allows the user of such a deck to have enormous, previously unheard-of flexibility. The ability of the Gladiator Beasts is unanimously called "Tagging Out" by the fans.
- In Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash, Kaoru Matsubara lives at the forefront of Callista's mind and can swap bodies and places with her at any time. This allows the two of them to team up against opponents, swapping between their respective Lightning Bruiser and Fragile Speedster tactics on the fly and covering for each other's weaknesses.
- In the Indigo League of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, A.J uses this strategy against Red's Hypno, switching his Sandslash and Beedrill (the later of which can use U-Turn). He later tries to use it against Red's Gyarados, but fails.
- One of the Cars shorts, "Mater's Tall Tales," involves Mater spinning a yarn about once being a monster truck wrestler. When McQueen interrupts him, he merely brushes it aside with a "Don't you remember nuthin? We was a tag team!"
- Top Secret!. A Resistance fighter is battling a Nazi soldier in a tag team match inside a wrestling ring (don't ask). The fighter gets in trouble and tags his comrade outside the ring, who then enters and takes out the Nazi.
- The Gamers: Done as a parody, because the male player switches between his testosterone guided "sorceress" into the actual attractive female actress for his character.
- At the end of Toy Story 3, two of the toys are shown tagging out of the little kids' play area.
- Owen's Velociraptor pack from Jurassic World fight the Indominus Rex head-on while Owen stands a bit away from them, shooting at the behemoth. The second part of the final battle has Blue and Rexy the Tyrannosaurus rex fighting the I. Rex, Blue often jumping from Rexy's back to launch herself at their foe.
- Robot Wars featured the "Tag Team Terror Tournaments" during its two Extreme spin-off series. In theory, the two teams of two robots would take turns to fight one-on-one, with their partner waiting in the corner of the arena until their ally came back to tag them in. In practice, either the teammates would pile in shortly after the start of the fight as soon as it looked like their ally was in trouble, the fight would spill into one of the corners and drag the competitor there into things against their will and bringing the other one in to even the odds, or one robot would be rapidly disabled forcing their teammate to come out and try and the fight single-handedly. You could count the number of times actual tags were made on the fingers of one hand.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy, Caramon and Peter are part of a two-on-one duel against the Constellar cultist.
- Power Instinct is probably the Trope Maker for Fighting Games, first with Gogetsuji Legendsnote in 1995 (a year before X-Men vs. Street Fighter) and Groove On Fight in 1997.
- Donkey Kong Country: This is how the player switches between Kongs in all games; two-player co-op specifically assigns one player to each respective Kong.
- Mortal Kombat 9 has a rounded Tag Team mode.
- Every Marvel vs. Capcom game, starting from X-Men vs. Street Fighter all the way up to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Same goes for the SNK vs. Capcom fighting games (barring SVC Chaos), Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Street Fighter X Tekken.
- The Naruto: Clash of Ninja fighting games feature "Two-Man Squad" battles where each side fights in a tag-team manner, with the characters on standby regenerating their lost chakra and (some of their) lost HP. Story-based missions which require a particular finishing move means We Cannot Go On Without You if that character is knocked out.
- In Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the player could switch Mario's partner at any time, but doing so typically required one turn.
- In regular Pokémon battles you can have a team of up to six Pokémon but only one Pokémon is present in battle at a time; switching Pokemon requires a full turn (allowing the opponent a free strike). Later generations introduce a small number of two-on-two and three-on-three battles to mix things up.
- The fifth generation also introduces "rotational" battles, three-on-three battles where only one Pokémon on each team can participate at a time, but switching between them is a free action.
- Skullgirls, much in the same way that it works in Marvel vs. Capcom.
- Soul series:
- Soulcalibur II has a Team Battle mode where you fight with multiple characters, but you only switch when your current fighter is defeated.
- Certain single-player battles in the Story and Tower of Lost Souls modes of Soulcalibur IV utilize what is known as "Active Matching Battle" (AMB). Players control a team of 2-3 fighters (pit against a CPU team of 2-4 fighters) and can switch to the next character on standby, even mid-combo, so long as at least one node in a three-tier gauge is available. When one combatant is defeated, the succeeding character in the lineup will simply run in to continue the battle (unless they're considered important enough to toggle a round intro beforehand).
- The F2P spin-off game Lost Swords uses a Partner system similar to the above AMB, with the player being able to choose their "second" character from a list of allies prior to each mission. In battle, the Partner Gauge would slowly fill up over time and once it reached maximum capacity, the player could then switch out to their ally and control them until the gauge emptied, with any damage taken during that time only expediting the rate at which the Partner Gauge decreased.
- Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 have this as the basis of the game.
- Viewtiful Joe 2: Joe and Silvia share the same HP meter and have to physically tag in and out. Holding down the tag button results in a damaging Combination Attack, which grows more powerful depending on the length of their VFX Gauge and the duration of their charge.
- In Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle, both characters have separate HP meters, and the round ends when one is depleted, no matter how much HP the partner has left.
- Dead or Alive, starting from the second game, has a Tag Mode.
- Some entries in The King of Fighters series have modes where characters can be swapped in and out of battle. 2003 and XI implement a Multi-Shift system in the vein of the Marvel vs. Capcom games as the default form of battle.
- In the Warriors Orochi series, you form a team of three fighters, and while each of them has their own life meter, the game is over if any one of them is defeated by the enemy.
- "Dramatic Change" mode in the Wii version of Castle of Shikigami III. One player controls two characters who share a life meter but can be switched in and out at any time.
- Added to the Sengoku Basara series in the Expansion Pack of the third game. Rather than having a bodyguard, the player can bring in another playable character who they can swap with.
- Starting from Mega Man X7, the Mega Man X series uses what is known as the "Dual Hero" system, allowing you to bring 2 characters (of three — and later, six — available ones) into a stage, with each character having separate health bars. Their different abilities lets them tackle different parts of the stages easier. Mega Man X8 would greatly expand upon the mechanic: Players can call upon their partner to free them with a Tag Assist/Rescue Change when trapped by certain enemy attacks and once the Attack Gauge is full, they can perform a Double Attack that demolishes everything on screen and does heavy damage to bosses/mini-bosses. Additionally, when a character takes critical damage (even from spikes with the right equipment), they'll immediately switch out to their partner and slowly recover a set portion of their health. However, the player will be unable to use them again until the Attack Gauge is refilled.
- Maribato! is a Fighting Game featuring the characters from Maria Watches Over Us as playables: You can pick a team of two soeurs, and go all-out against another team of two. In a similar fashion to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, you can switch characters in the midst of battle.
- Dragon Ball FighterZ features a tag system evocative of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, with a squad of three characters.
- Touhou Hyouibana ~ Antinomy of Common Flowers goes to unusual lengths to justify why this mechanic is present when it wasn't in previous Fighting Games in the Touhou series. The plot revolves around a technique called Perfect Possession, wherein a "master" invites a "slave" into their body and can transform into them to use their powers. In mechanical terms the team has a single life bar, and the "slave" character can only remain out temporarily but also has Regenerating Health (capped at the amount they had when they were summoned).
- Blazblue Cross Tag Battle features a 2v2 system where characters can switch each other out, use their partner to call in one of multiple assist attacks on command, or use powerful Combination Attacks. Players can also drain their entire Tag Gauge to use the second character for unlimited assists one after another for a period, in the manner of a Puppet Fighter. The game will feature an original episodic story, with one plotline for each of the four featured franchises (Blazblue, Persona 4, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY), which revolves around the characters being whisked away into another dimension by a mysterious cosmic entity, with a single spoken instruction: the side that gathers the "Keystones" gets to return home.
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid uses a three-character tag system like Marvel vs. Capcom 2/3 and Dragon Ball FighterZ.
- When Ménage à 3 dips into the world of professional wrestling, it features at least two tag teams — "Roxxy and Moxxy" (Roxie and Brandy) and "The Tempests" (Maura and Tess).
- The Simpsons go to Japan and attend a Sumo wrestling match; Homer gets in a scuffle with one of the sumo wrestlers, then Bart tags in and uses a folding chair on the sumo wrestler.