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The Sneaky Guy

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The Sneaky Guy is the one in The Team who searches things out, looking for traps, enemies, and other hidden things. If they go first, they sneak and hide, not relying on speed and strength like The Big Guy. They are usually mobile, carrying little equipment. They rely on spotting danger first, stealth, reflexes and their wits to stay alive. They are often stealthy, but the focus can also be on choosing paths thought impossible, being inconspicuous, or some other strategy.

In a fight, the sneaky guy will probably try to stay inconspicuous, looking for a weak spot to exploit or a way to confuse the enemy. Ranged weapons are common, while for melee combat, daggers are by far the most popular choice. Very likely to be a Combat Pragmatist and/or an Underhanded Hero. Expect this character to be chosen for scouting and infiltration missions.

Many games, like Dungeons & Dragons, has prepared roles for the sneaky guy, like thief or rogue.

Related tropes are Stealth Expert, Technicolor Ninjas, Army Scout of the western movies, or the Scarily Competent Tracker. Sometimes clad in a Spy Catsuit. If a character manages to be both good at fieldcraft and fighting straight-up, it's usually a Ranger or the point man variety. Depending on how stealthy they are, the Ninja may qualify.

The sneaky guy corresponds to the thief in Fighter, Mage, Thief, just as The Big Guy corresponds to the fighter and The Smart Guy to the mage. Duos with a Big Guy are common. The Sneaky Guy can also easily serve as the Beauty in a Beauty, Brains, and Brawn trio — at least they get to do more than as The Heart. If serving in The Squad, a not-uncommon variation is serving as the Designated Point Man, where the sneaky guy often takes on elements of The Big Guy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Jozak Gurrier in Kyo Kara Maoh!, a spy who is regularly sent on missions in places where the protagonists just happen to be going next. A Recurring Character just to the side of the main cast, he's known for his repeated knack for showing up behind enemy lines just in time to rescue Yuuri and company from whatever trouble they've gotten themselves into.
  • Kabuto Kirisaki fills this role for the drifters in Psyren being a usually unwilling participant in the battles initially only skilled at running and hiding, but his keen eyes and being amongst the first to link the similarities between the geography of Psyen and the modern-day world, which leads to one of the most important discoveries of the series. Later, after awakening his PSI, Menace, he fits this even more, using his power to help the drifters avoid attacks and the like, and prefers to avoid a straight fight if able.
  • In Rune Soldier Louie, which is basically set in a Dungeons & Dragons universe, Merrill is the thief of the group and a master at lockpicking.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman usually plays this role whenever he's with the Justice League, skulking around to look for his enemies' weaknesses while the rest of the team fight. Justified, since most of his teammates are Physical Gods while he's a normal human being, and he does his best work as a detective, anyway.
  • While it is impossible for girly Ninja girl Ibuki of Street Fighter fame to be this in the games, the Street Fighter comics has an extra called "Case Closed" in which Ibuki is sent by her ninja village to infiltrate a high-security military base and steal a high importance briefcase. She doesn't have any problem getting in and only fails when another fighter called Q was unexpectedly there and brought unwanted attention. She does escape afterwards simply by using her superhuman jumping ability.
  • Glenn in The Walking Dead is more given to slipping quietly around opposing forces than engaging them head-on, which also serves to not attract Walkers to his position. While The Sneaky Guy often carries connotations of being at least a little bit of a Dirty Coward, Glenn is anything but: he puts his life on the line every time he goes on a supply run and saves lives doing it.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Steve Trevor is quite good a scouting out an enemy fortification or hideout and then returning with the information without being noticed. As it's not his book though he usually finds that Diana's tactic of allowing herself to be captured and brought along by the bad guys has gotten her there first and on the rare occasions the villain has stumbled across a way of restraining her that is tricky for her to escape from he helps her out.
  • Nightcrawler in X-Men. His nimbleness and ability to Wall Crawl, blend into shadows, and Teleport allow him to slip past enemy lines undetected.

  • Some Semblance of Meaning, a Hunger Games fanfic, has Phlox—so stealthy that she was able to lurk at the outskirts of the Careers' camp, stealing supplies, for at least several days straight, without ever getting caught.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Peeta in The Hunger Games. He's shown to be very strong but almost never engages in physical violence, preferring to hide using his camouflage skills.

  • Tobias sometimes in Animorphs. Being trapped in a hawk body meant he didnít go to school like the rest, so he often kept watch for new Yeerk pool entrances and watched what the controllers were doing. All the kids had morphs suitable for being sneaky when needed, though.
  • In the Dragaera novels, Vlad's friend Kiera the Thief has a reputation as being able to steal anything and relies on stealth rather than combat prowess.
  • In The Dresden Files Archangel Uriel, The Watchman, fits this bill amongst the other Archangels. He is Heaven's wetwork agent, the one who keeps a low profile but some work is still known (such as the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt) and labeled as one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous of them. As the guardian of freewill, he will use any means inside the rules to help protect humanity's right to choose.
  • Benito Valdosta in The Heirs of Alexandria series. Trained as a thief and a very good climber.
  • Bilbo Baggins is hired for this very role by the dwarf party in The Hobbit, although he himself is initially unconvinced.
  • In the Redwall books, Martin the Warrior (who would be The Fighter) is best friends and partners with Gonff the Mousethief, who plays this role (there might be a Lankhmar allusion here).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Glenn in The Walking Dead (2010) is more given to slipping quietly around opposing forces than engaging them head-on, which also serves to not attract Walkers to his position.

    Video Games 
  • Dead by Daylight: Claudette Morel, one of the playable survivors, is an unusual case as she isn't a character based around stealth. What makes her become this is how players can take advantage of her small frame, dark outfits and dark complexion to become almost invisible on the already dark maps. Then you have her prestige cosmetics that apply blood to her face and clothing, allowing Claudette to camouflage on maps with plenty of foliage.
  • Robin Hood from the Fate Series. In his debut game Fate/EXTRA, he uses underhanded tactics to defeat his enemies, by concealing his presence and laying traps (notably, poison), very similar to the Assassin-class. In Fate/Grand Order, Robin is also typecast as a scout while still retaining his usual M.O. for traps and poison. He scouts places ahead for his party, keeps a low profile and, if possible, a long distance from the enemy and he can sneak into places that sub-par Assassins can't get into. In supplementary materials, it's even stated that Robin Hood is capable of being put in the Assassin class.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Nina is extremely good at stealth and recon, making her one of the army's premier scouts. When asked by Caeldori to just get the location of the enemy and their numbers for a mission, she came back with very detailed notes about their weaknesses, what patrol routes they take, and the locations of their weapons.
  • If a character from a MOBA game has a stealth mechanic, they'll more likely end up as this, sneaking to the enemy ranks while invisible and catching them by surprise. Examples include Riki, Gondar, Nyx Assassin, Clinkz from Dota 2, Evelynn and Twitch from League of Legends, Loki and Ao Kuang from Smite, Nova and Zeratul from Heroes of the Storm.
  • It is possible to play the Hero like this as a Thief in Quest for Glory. In a lot of cases, there is stuff to steal, and stealth can get a lot of results without risk. In the Fan Remake to Quest for Glory II it is even possible to play the Thief as a backstabbing assassin. Not honorable at all, but it works.
  • The pointman in Vietcong. In the first game, he's always an LLDB member, thus making him The Face as well in certain situations where he's the only guy who can talk to a Vietnamese who doesn't understand English. Some of the VCs count as well, given their stealthy tactics. He doesn't appear in the second game except in one level in the VC campaign.
  • Glenn in The Walking Dead (Telltale) is more given to slipping quietly around opposing forces than engaging them head-on, which also serves to not attract Walkers to his position.


    Web Original 
  • PARKER from The Last Stage by Nat One Productions relies heavily on stealth to be effective. He is the only member of the team that can pick locks and infiltrate places quietly, and was designated on more than one occasion to tail suspects without being seen.

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Displayed in "The Blue Spirit" in Book One: Water. He combines this with elements of the Point Man/Big Guy by taking out soldiers and remaining in the shadows until he rescues Aang. Once detected, he still was able to get Aang out alive, before being shot by an arrow. Later, displayed when he snuck onto the Zhao's warship after surviving an assassination attempt. Followed by sneaking into the Water Tribe Kingdom and entering the Oasis, without being seen. That's just season one folks.
  • Rattrap from Beast Wars. Likes cheese, tunnels, and being sarcastic. Dislikes giving the other guy a chance to shoot first.

Alternative Title(s): The Sneaky Gal