This is an index, but it's also a handy guide to tropes specifically relating to common player tactics deployed in video games. Taking a read through these tropes may even give you some tips to try during play...
For tactical combat gameplay tropes, see Common Tactical Gameplay Elements.
Tactical Tropes include the following:
- Boss-Altering Consequence
If you complete certain objectives or obtain certain items or abilities before fighting a boss, they can have unique effects on bosses that often make them easier in a manner aside from normal fighting.
- Button Mashing
Don't know which button to press? Completely new to a Fighting Game? Press anything and hope for the best. Some educated guessing is advisable though, what did you think pressing forward and B would do?
- Cherry Tapping
Less a tactic and more a form of humiliation. Deliberately using a weak attack or deliberately weakened character to defeat the enemy in the most embarrassing way possible.
- Combo Breaker
Breaking big chains of hits with a special move.
- Confusion Fu
Remember, predictability is a weakness. I hope you people who play Fighting Games are listening!
- Damager, Healer, Tank
One character draws the enemy's attention, while the others heal them and backstab the enemy.
- Draw Aggro
The art of focusing the enemy's attention on the guy who's actually capable of taking hits.
- Elemental Ignorance
For when you just have to use fireball on the fire elemental.
- Fishing for Mooks
Too many to deal with at once? Try luring them away one at a time and continuing the slaughter from the shadows!
- Gathering Steam
Some weapons and enemies take a while to get ready, this opens up a window of opportunity for you.
- Grapple Move
Grab the enemy to bypass its blocking of your attacks.
- Highly Specific Counterplay
A very narrow option for counterplay.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics / Kiting
Shoot, run away, shoot, repeat.
- Immune to Flinching / Super Armor
Certain contexts where a character can endure attacks without flinching, getting knocked back, or having their own actions interrupted.
- Item Farming
Grinding for items for whatever purpose.
Getting moved or pushed around when you take damage, or for its own sake.
- Ring Out
You made your opponent step out-of-bounds. You win!
- Ring Out
- Lead the Target
Shoot along the path the target is likely to follow to avoid them "outrunning" your shots.
- Leeroy Jenkins
The Berserker in video game form. (Though this is more an absence of tactics.)
- Level Grinding
Committing mass murder of random monsters for experience.
Unbalancing equipment, spell casts, armour, and any other stat-influencing items to privilege a specific trait to the detriment of another. A common tactic of a Munchkin.
- Money Grinding
Get enough money for whatever purpose.
- Mucking in the Mud
You know that when you see a mudpit or a mud bog, you can go through it. Just be aware that there are only a few safe spots, and there are some swamps in which you can go too deep...
- Ninja Looting
Refusing to share the best items after a team effort has brought an enemy down. Very frowned upon.
- No Scope
Not using the scope to aim on a weapon you would be expected to do so with (e.g. a Sniper Rifle).
- One Stat to Rule Them All
Some abilities are so overpowered and / or versatile that you'll end up prioritizing them above all the others.
- Optional Stealth
A video game mission where stealth is encouraged, but not vital to win.
- Path of Greatest Resistance
The way to go is the way the enemies are coming from.
- Pause Scumming
If in constant danger of death, pause often, giving you more time to react.
- Player Data Sharing
Get more content from other players.
- Randomized Damage Attack
An attack/ability that has its damage/quality etc randomized per each usage, forcing you to be wise on using it.
- Reduce Aggro
Items and abilities that make foes less likely to go after you.
- Save Scumming
If in constant danger of death, save often, minimizing loss of progress.
- Scissors Cuts Rock
Having a type advantage doesn't necessarily mean that victory is even likely.
- Sequence Breaking
Breaking the pre-determined order of events the game designers have laid out. May shorten the game considerably... or screw up your game file. A risky tactic, but valuable for completing Speed Runs.
- Shoot the Mage First
Shooting the blaster of the enemy group to prevent them from doing major damage.
- Shoot the Medic First
Shooting the healer of the enemy group to prevent them from healing the others/themself.
- Situational Damage Attack
An attack that depends on some certain variable/action that can make it more powerful.
- Stats Dissonance
A character's stats do not convey how they should actually be played in-game.
- Straight for the Commander
Killing the enemy commander will win you the battle regardless of how the enemy army is doing at that moment.
- Strategy, Schmategy
Being unpredictable because you have no idea what you're doing.
- Tactical Door Use
Monster chasing you? Shut de do'.
- Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors
Cavalry can run down crossbowmen, crossbowmen turn pikemen into pin-cushions, pikemen turn cavalry into horse-kebab. That sort of thing.
- Three-Strike Combo
A basic combination of three attacks that form the basis of more complex tactical options found in many video games of different types.
- Throw the Mook at Them
You can throw Mooks at other enemies/objects in order to damage them.
Using only one narrow tactical option to devastating effect, often to the chagrin of other gamers. A common subset is "Turtling" (a passive defense where you do as little as possible, waiting for your opponent to move).
- Zerg Rush
Sending waves upon waves of cheap, weak units in order to overwhelm a more tech-aware enemy with sheer numbers.