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 inconspicious, 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, as are daggers and short swords. Very likely to be a Combat Pragmatist and/or an Underhanded Hero. Expect this character to be the one 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.
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, or The Chick in a group — at least they get to do more than as The Heart. In a Five-Man Band, The Lancer or The Smart Guy can double as the sneaky guy. If serving in The Squad, a not uncommon variation is serving as the point man, where the sneaky guy often takes on elements of the Big Guy.
- 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.
- Kouta Tsuchiya in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts.
- 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.
- Nightcrawler in X-Men. His nimbleness and ability to Wall Crawl, blend into shadows, and Teleport allow him to slip past enemy lines undetected.
- 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.
- Bilbo Baggins is hired for this very role by the dwarf party in The Hobbit, although he's himself initially unconvinced.
- Benito Valdosta in The Heirs of Alexandria series. Trained as a thief and a very good climber.
- Martinez in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead.
- Jame in Chronicles of the Kencyrath, especially in God Stalk, the first book.
- Gray Mouser in Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar books.
- 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 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).
- The eponymous Reynard the Fox from The Reynard Cycle
- Silk in the Belgariad.
- Poplock Duckweed in The Balanced Sword by Ryk E. Spoor.
- Caius Blohm in David Drake's Redliners is a point man variation.
- Ding Chavez in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, introduced in Clear and Present Danger, is another point man variation.
- 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 the first born 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.
- Fero in The Reconstruction.
- The Spy class from Team Fortress 2.
- Kasumi Goto in Mass Effect.
- Altaïr, Ezio and Desmond of Assassin's Creed fame.
- Zer0 from Borderlands 2.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fire Emblem Fates: Nina is extremely good at stealth and recon, making her one of the army's premiere 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rattrap from Beast Wars. Likes cheese, tunnels, and being sarcastic. Dislikes giving the other guy a chance to shoot first.
- Smokescreen ends up becoming this in Transformers: Prime. He's less experienced than the other Autobots, but after acquiring the Phase Shifter he puts it to creative use.
- Beck from TRON: Uprising is a Fragile Speedster, especially compared to Mighty Glacier Tessler or Lightning Bruiser Tron. But he outclasses both of them at being sneaky.
- Robin and Miss Martian in Young Justice, by virtue of mastering the Stealth Hi/Bye and Visible Invisibility, respectively. Aqualad takes the role if there's water involved, and the team as a whole generally plays The Sneaky Guy to the public celebrities that are the Justice League.
- 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.
- Tunnel Rat fills this role in G.I. Joe: Renegades.