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Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing

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"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Ever heard of the phrase "the best defense is a good offense"? Well, in this case, the best defense is... nothing. Sometimes the best move you can possibly make when you're up against the opposition is to simply do nothing. They'll just defeat themselves anyway through either idiocy or bad luck.

Sound absurd? It is. This is when a character doesn't just win through luck, but literally by not doing a single thing. No attacking, no defending, no moving, no dodging, no input of any kind whatsoever... and they still win.


Not to be confused with Rewarding Inactivity. Could lead to a Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals! situation. In video games, it may result in Achievement Mockery, and can be caused by Artificial Stupidity (or in certain cases, by A.I. Roulette).

Compare Zero-Effort Boss, Victory by Endurance, Paranoia Gambit, No-Sell, You Were Trying Too Hard and Powers Do the Fighting. Sheathe Your Sword is a subtrope where one deliberately chooses to refuse to fight to gain victory.

Trope Namer is a series of YouTube videos called "Luigi Wins By Doing Absolutely Nothing," originating from the Mario Party series. The player, as Luigi, stands around and does...well...absolutely nothing, and the computer opponents, all set to the easiest difficulty, defeat themselves.



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  • Several commercials for Energizer in 1993 featured some of the most notorious villains (including a few well-known ones, like Darth Vader) trying to catch the energizer Bunny, but were beaten each time, either via a sudden bout of incompetence or because his batteries simply outlasted the ones in their equipment, the Bunny often not even noticing they were there.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The titular character of Irresponsible Captain Tylor excels at this as entire series is based on the idea of victories by doing absolutely nothing. In one episode, Tylor is given a present by his crew, which he then passes on to the Raalgons as a gesture of goodwill. The Raalgons then target his ship, but it turns out the present was a bomb and they end up destroying themselves instead.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack: Titular Big Bad Char Aznable emerges as the victor of the Zeon civil war not through any grand scheming on his part, but simply by sitting out the entirety of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and letting his Zeonic rivals for power Haman and Glemy eliminate each other.
  • Major Ulube Ishikawa of Mobile Fighter G Gundam secures his position as the last claimant to the Devil Gundam simply by hiding his true nature from the rest of the cast and waiting for all his competition (Dark Kyoji, Master Asia, Prime Minister Wong) to take each other out. In particular, the Enemy Civil War that sparks between Master Asia and Wong is a massive boon to Ulube, and without it he wouldn't have been able to do much more than sulk from the sidelines as those two used the Devil Gundam's power however they saw fit.
  • In Naruto, this is how the titular character passes the written portion of his chuunin exams. The exams were deliberately made too difficult for genin to answer honestly, and to subtly push them into cheating (the idea is to test covert information gathering skills). However, on Team 7, Sasuke is the only one who actually realizes the point of the test. Sakura just takes the test straight, while Naruto panics and doesn't do anything until the end of the test- accidentally exploits a loophole in the rules: You win if you make it to the last question (a Secret Test of Character) without being caught cheating too much by the proctors. Since 'doing nothing' isn't actually cheating, Naruto manages to pass with his answer sheet left completely blank.
  • This is the climax of an episode of Patlabor. A fired engineer who blames Captain Gotoh for his dismissal comes to confront him in a homemade Humongous Mecha, but Gotoh simply stands there and watch as the poorly-built mech breaks down.
  • In a Filler episode of the Ranma ½ anime, a young wanderer is touted by the Tendōs family as the "perfect" example of a dedicated martial artist, mostly to goad Ranma into taking his training more seriously. He's even pushed as a new potential fiancé for Akane, in replacement for Ranma, again to make the latter jealous. Ranma doesn't take the bait, fully aware the newcomer is a clueless idiot, and does nothing in return. Indeed, at the end the guy makes a fool of himself by taking perverted Old Master Happōsai as a role model and following his panties-thieving ways, to the family's embarrassment.
  • Sailor Moon: Season 3's Witches 5 met their ends through a variant. While each of them did engage the Senshi directly at least once, each of their deaths came as a result of sabotage from a fellow Witch, stupidity, an Epic Fail and/or accidentally killing themselves. Truly this was a victory for the forces of good.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!; in the Battle City Arc, Yugi's first team duel with Kaiba as a partner against two Rare Hunters (not named in the original, alluded to be Lumis and Umbra unmasked in the dub) was a rather brief one where Yugi did almost nothing; he simply defended with Kuriboh and set Multiply, not taking any offensive action. Kaiba pretty much won this one without help, summoning Obelisk and flattening them, but it still counted as a win for both. (The purpose of this scene was to give Yugi a display of Obelisk's power, likely Kaiba's intent.)
  • In the backstory of No Game No Life, Tet, the god of games, ascended to become the world's sole deity after a war between the gods killed the rest, and he was the only one who didn't participate. In actuality, Tet didn't participate because he didn't quite exist yet.

    Board Games 
  • This cannot be done in chess, as the turn player is always forced to move — you can't "skip your turn". However, there are many situations when doing so would be advantageous, as any move you could make would end up weakening your position. One strategy involves deliberately attempting to maneuver your opponent into such a position. When both sides would end up losing if they were to move, it's known as Zugzwang. There's also stalemate — when a player has no legal moves but is not in check, the game is declared a draw. Arranging a position like this is often a good way of saving the game in a losing position.
  • In Mahjong, it is possible for the dealer (who goes first in the current round) to begin with a winning hand, ending the round right then and there.
  • Mafia/werewolf games can feature this in several circumstances:
    • A player receives a role that suffers from Crippling Overspecialization and is carried by their team.
    • Some feature a True Neutral role whose only goal is to make it to the end of the game without being eliminated. If you can be confirmed as such, it is possible to simply sit back and do nothing.

  • Brian Regan has a routine about how you never see point-counterpoint arguments for reading, since no one can argue against it without looking like such an idiot that the pro side wouldn't even have to speak.
    Con side: Hey, let me tell you somthin': reading don't never doed nothin', 'cause if you had.. If you has... Have had... Have haseded... If you did haveded... Hasededeved... A book, and you looks.. had looks... have looks... has looks... Have lookeded, lookedeveded, have lookededed at it... Then you might not even know why you had doed that.
    Pro side: I have nothing to add.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • In Asterix and the Roman Agent, a prisoner is presented to Caesar as being able to spread discord and infighting without even trying. The prisoner is brought in (by two arguing guards), and as soon as he arrives the rest of the Senators descend into ratting each other out, mudslinging, and name-calling, with the prisoner pointedly looking smug as he hasn't uttered a single word and already caused a brawl.
    • In Obelix and Co., Asterix does absolutely nothing to stop the current Roman plan to destabilize the village, believing the situation will inevitably self-destruct. It does.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: A running gag in the album "El ascenso" is that Mort and Phil do all the work to catch criminals that by a series of Contrived Coincidences always end up falling in the hands of rival agent Migájez, who then takes all the credit.
  • In one of the The Authority: Kev miniseries, Kev got attacked by both the PIRA and the Ulsters simultaneously. Of course, since the two factions hate each other far more than they hate him, he simply points them out to each other and let them kill each other off.
  • The Simpsons: Mr. Burns holds a competition to improve the power plant, with the winner getting a whole five dollars as a reward. Homer ultimately wins despite having been asleep the whole time because everyone else's ideas end up causing disaster (Lenny's idea of setting up Christmas tree lights gives everyone seizures, Carl's idea of hamsters results in ten-foot hamsters attacking everyone).
  • In the Superman / Silver Surfer Intercontinuity Crossover, a Skrull fleet is about to invade a planet full of defenseless innocents... until the Silver Surfer places himself between the fleet and the planet. He doesn't do anything, he doesn't even speak. His mere presence is enough to make the terrified Skrull commander order the fleet turn around and retreat. This happens because, in that story, the Surfer's reputation as a (former) herald of Galactus is treated as very serious business. And another herald of Galactus, Nova, had decimated another Skrull fleet in the past, right before her master devoured their original homeworld.

    Fan Works 
  • The Trope Namer is referenced in chapter 7 of Adventures on the Friendship Express:
    Rarity: So we're all taking part in this?
    Sonic: Seems that way. Unless you want to hope you'll win by doing absolutely nothing?
  • A Thin Veneer - The Shadows consider their victory over the Vorlons in their philosophical debate to be this, as the Federation, Klingons and Gorn's strength allying with the humans on the other side of the universe isn't considered a perfect match for their own Darwinist ideals, but fits their philosophies far better than the philosophies of rigid controlled order fronted by the Vorlons, and thus feel they have won their argument, leaving the playing field after announcing this to all races.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When Deadpool and Colossus fight in the former's titular movie, Colossus just stands there tanking every blow on his metallic carapace (including a crotch punch), while Deadpool graphically breaks his own bones with every blow.
    Colossus: This is embarrassing. Please, just stay down.
  • Attempted in Ghostbusters. Whatever the team thinks of will become the form of The Destructor, so all they have to do is not think of anything and they win, right? Alas, Ray had already thought of something.
  • At the Oktoberfest scene of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Clouseau wanders aimlessly through the festival while dozens of assassins end up killing each other while trying to kill him. The easiest incident to describe is when he enters the center stall at a restroom, while two gunmen enter the other two. Clouseau bends over to pick up a dropped roll of toilet paper at the moment the assassins fire, resulting in a Mutual Kill.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Indiana Jones has nothing to do with the defeat of the Nazis at the end of the movie. He and Marion just shut their eyes and the Nazis are destroyed by the sight of the power of God when they open the Ark. It is one of the most literal examples of Deus ex Machina since the middle ages. Some argue the only difference would be Marion being killed and that, alone, justifies Indy's involvement.
  • Near the beginning of Twins, a motorcycle-riding thief tries to steal Julius Benedict (Arnold Schwarzenegger)'s suitcase. Julius is so strong that he is able to hold onto the suitcase without even noticing that the man is trying to steal it, and the thief falls off the motorcycle on his back. Even after the attempted theft, Julius doesn't realize what the man had been trying to do and unironically tries to give him medical assistance.
  • Done for dramatic effect in TRON: Legacy during the fight in the End of Line Club. Clu's guards are wrecking the good guys, when Kevin Flynn walks in, and... everything just stops, right before the good guys get a sudden burst of energy and the guards slow down. Just Kevin being in the room is enough to let the heroes win the fight.

  • A common criticism of Stephen King's The Stand is that the protagonists don't really do much against The Empire created by Randall Flagg. His people are already losing faith in his infallibility by the time Our Heroes show up to make their titular stand, and desertions have become common. Then one of his tragically crazy henchmen shows up with a nuke in tow, which is detonated by Deus ex Machina. The heroes don't do much besides watch. And die.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the tour of the factory is actually a Secret Test to determine which of the five Golden Ticket finders will become Mr. Wonka's heir. Charlie passes the test and wins the factory by not touching/doing anything he shouldn't during the tour, unlike the four bratty kids who each take themselves out of the running in the process. Complaints that Charlie is thus a Pinball Protagonist/Useless Protagonist are addressed in adaptations via tweaks to the storyline; both film adaptations add (different) moral crises for Charlie to overcome while the climax of the 2013 stage musical puts his creative drive to the test.
  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
    • Marvin stops a gigantic robot tank from crossing a bridge by doing nothing but standing there and explaining to the tank that he wasn't given any weapons to protect himself with. This sad tale throws the tank into a fit of destructive rage, with which it takes out the floor underneath itself.
    • At the end of the first book, the protagonists are pinned down by gunfire from two cops, who suddenly die without the protagonists even doing anything. It turns out that their life support systems were controlled by their ship's main computer, which committed suicide after Marvin made contact with it and told it his life's story.
  • Foundation: Korell, which has been trading with the Foundation for a while, decides to declare war. Hober Mallow, who established that trade route and is now the Foundation's Mayor, has his ships retreat, never presenting fight. Korell still loses because (a) with the war, the trade route has dried up, and they do not have the technological know-how to fix what the Foundation sold them, which ranged from luxury items to devices that made industry far more efficient and profitable and (b) without being attacked, there is no Patriotic Fervor for Korell to hold out without what they bought from the Foundation, eventually causing a coup. Plus, by avoiding a fight, the Foundation prevents the still-living Galactic Empire (one of whose Viceroys has been dealing with Korell on the side) from learning the danger presented by the Foundation before the stage is set for the Empire's defeat.
  • in "The Man Outside" by Evelyn E. Smith, 11-year-old Martin is told that one of his far-future descendants, Conrad, is coming back through time to kill him. He is told this by the first of a succession of "cousins" (actually his descendants, of which Conrad is another), who are there to protect him. Down the years, as the family wealth is used to protect him, give him a good life and shelter him, he learns that one of his sons invented interstellar travel, and Conrad is upset that this was abused to rape other planets to Earth's benefit (not that the others put it quite that way); Conrad is seeking to kill Martin so his son is never born and hence never invents the super-drive. So Martin ends his life alone, on a luxury ocean yacht his future family bought for him, and with them surrounding him. As Martin is near death, he sees a descendant whom he hasn't seen before, and who looks the most like he did in his youth, and says "Hello, Conrad, I've been expecting you." He talks to Conrad, who confirms what Martin had figured out years earlier — that Conrad's plan all along was to announce his death threat, and thereby panic his brothers and sisters into doing what they did, thereby achieving the same result without violence (or any action at all). The descendants fade away as Martin dies, and the unmanned yacht drifts the ocean for years.
  • In The King's Avatar, this is how the attractive Zhou Zekai became Glory's most popular and commercialized male player, because the other male players weren't as marketable. Ye Xiu is a recluse. Huang Shaotian is a loose cannon. Han Xenqing is scary. Wang Jiexi has mismatched eyes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In BattleBots, like with Robot Wars below, technical malfunctions can happen that render a robot completely nonfunctional. However, even from the 2015 competition and later, where the bots have to prove they can at least move before a match begins specifically to avoid this trope, this can still occur:
    • Sharkoprion won its first fight, a 3-way battle between Deviled Egg and Kraken, in this way. Deviled Egg ran into Sharkoprion's saw, causing it to flip over and be unable to move. Then, Kraken attacked Sharkoprion and stopped working in the process. As Sharkoprion was still operational, it was given the win by default.
    • In Ultimo Destructo vs. Valkyrie, the weight of Valkyrie's spinning disk caused it to tip over, lifting Valkyrie's wheels off the floor. From there on out, Valkyrie was unable to do anything.note  Ultimo Destructo won the match simply by proving it still worked.
  • The 2001 revival of Card Sharks had two players calling one row of seven cards. One player could sweep the first six and get an incorrect call on the last card, giving their opponent the win.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Tenth Planet", the Doctor ultimately does nothing and the Cybermen and their planet is destroyed by absorbing too much energy. The invasion would have played out exactly the same way if the Doctor and his companions had not been there.
    • Episode "Warrior's Gate". The Doctor eventually realises the way to defeat Rorvik is simply to give him enough rope to hang himself.
  • Invoked in Finders Keepers. Failing to find an item in the room searches means the money goes to the other team. In theory, a pair of contestants can sweep the Hidden Pictures rounds and bomb every room search, giving their opponents the right to advance to the bonus round by doing nothing. This never happened in its run.
  • Very early on in the CBS run of The Joker's Wild, spinning three Jokers won you the game, no questions asked. But when a champion spun three Jokers on his very first spin, leaving the challenger without an opportunity to play. They fixed this the next episode by requiring that if someone spun three Jokers, they'd have to answer one question.
  • Game of Thrones: Balon Greyjoy technically wins the War of the Five Kings. Of course he has nothing to show for it, having sat on his throne and done absolutely nothing while the other four kings killed each other off and his children Theon and Yara acted as House Grejoy's agents in the war. And of course, that inaction comes back to bite him when his brother Euron returns and throws him off a bridge to his death: because his do-nothing leadership has made him so unpopular among the ironborn, Euron is able to freely confess to the crime and use it to garner support from the people for his claim at the kingsmoot, where any other fratricide in Westeros would have been harshly condemned.
    • Echoing Balon's do-nothing victory by default in the final season is Cersei Lannister, who becomes the seeming Final Boss of the series by default simply by sitting out the battle against the Night King. Of course, with the victory of the Stark/Targaryen alliance against the dead her 'victory' is fleeting, but for a moment she's the last Big Bad standing.
    • The ultimate champion of this is Bran, whose contribution to the defeat of the Night King consists of revealing some important secrets at the right times and then sitting in one place and acting as bait. He is then made King of Westeros in the finale despite (and at least in part because of) having played no role whatsoever in the civil war.
  • The Price Is Right:
    • The pricing game "Switch?" involves two prizes, each with a price in front of it. The prices may or may not be right for the two prizes, and the contestant may choose to either have them switched, or do nothing. Since it's a 50/50 chance either way, doing nothing will win the prize as often as switching.
    • If the first two contestants go over $1 in the Showcase Showdown, the third player automatically advances to the Showcase by default. However, they still get to spin the wheel once to try and earn a bonus spin.
    • On one episode, a contestant was about to play the infamous pricing game Ten Chances. Normally, the board has cards with the names of its three prizes on them, taken off to reveal a second card with the numbers that the player had to use to form the price, and then one more with the answer. However, the aforementioned number cards were missing, meaning that when Bob took the name card off, the answer came up instead! On all three prizes, meaning that the contestant won by default. The aforementioned contestant then proceeded to win the Showcase Showdown by default because the other players went over. He won a shredder, oven, a car, and advanced to the Showcase, by doing almost nothing (except winning a One Bid, of course).
  • This would sometimes happen on Robot Wars, especially in the early series: one robot would break down right at the start of the fight, and the other would go through without having to lift a flipper.
    • In Series 3, Beast of Bodmin won its entire heat by doing almost nothing: it was losing its first battle until one of its opponent's tracks came off and it stopped moving, it won its second battle when its opponent drove up Beast of Bodmin's wedge and turned itself over, and in the heat final it was again losing until it pushed its opponent into the House Robots, who did all the damage for it (although feeding your opponent to the House Robots has always been considered a perfectly valid strategy).
    • Series 2 Reserve Rumble winner Jim Struts was a practically-unarmed walkerbot that was so painfully slow it couldn't really do anything anyway (but being a walker, was so big that the other competitors didn't know what to do with it). It just slowly plodded across the floor while every other competitor either broke down or was trashed by the House Robots around it, and took the win by default.
    • In Series 10, Track-tion (a repurposed bomb-disposal robot built and driven by a group of 12- and 13-year-olds) was faced with the terrifying prospect of having to fight Apex with its 39kg spinning bar. The Vulture team loaned them an armoured front plow, but everyone was expecting Track-tion to end up scattered all over the arena floor. Instead what happened after "Activate" was called went like this: Track-tion moved forward a little bit, Apex spun up their weapon, Apex delivered a glancing blow to the plow which bounced off, the recoil caused Apex's bar to come unpinned and start hitting the back of the robot, Apex exploded. Track-tion won.
      • Track-tion's example actually goes further. In the opening round, they were taken out in a single exchange, not even landing a glancing blow on their opponent, leading to a 'Robot Redemption' battle against Apex, detailed above. This allowed them into the heat semi-finals where they were drawn against the robot that beat them in the first round, again losing in a single exchange, which placed them into the 3rd/4th place fight. The losers of the other semi-final were so badly beaten up during their match that they were unable to get their robot working in time for the fight, causing them to withdraw, giving Track-tion 3rd place a spot at the 10 Robot Rumble during the Grand Final without them having actually done a thing in the entire heat.
  • Survivor: When Russell Hantz made the Final Tribal Council in back-to-back seasons and was defeated in a landslide, his fan base accused the winners (Natalie and Sandra) of this. All winners avert this trope, however, as building relationships with the jury is not the mark of a contestant who "didn't do anything!"
  • The West Wing: While the Santos and Vinick presidential campaigns are duking it out, a nuclear power plant near San Andreo, California starts to melt down. During a previous debate, Vinick had declared that nuclear power was completely safe. This would be bad enough for him, but to make things even worse, the Santos team digs through some old documents and finds out that Vinick lobbied to open that specific plant in the first place. They briefly consider hitting Vinick hard with this in the press, but reason that such a manoeuver would earn them heat for playing politics with a tragedy. Instead... they do nothing. No interviews, no campaigning, no anything. The Santos team just waits for the press to discover the damning evidence themselves. It works: Vinick is drawn into a major scandal without any effort on Santos's part required. His home state of California, once seen as solidly red, suddenly looks like a toss-up, and his approval ratings sag in several other key states as well. Vinick wins California anyway, but this debacle still narrowly costs him the election.
  • In LazyTown, Robbie's plan in "The Laziest Town" hinges on being lazy enough to make LazyTown the official laziest town. While everyone else is moving around at top speed, he stands perfectly still and only moves to stop everyone else from moving. When Sportacus tires out too soon he almost wins, until Robbie's victory dance ends up saving the town.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Charlie defeat Mac in a fight by going limp. Mac then tries to drag Charlie out, but proves so talentless at this that he exhausts himself and passes out.

    Print Media 
  • Automobile magazine once ran an article comparing Lincoln and Cadillac, including a list of products the two companies had similar and which was better. For a model created for the gas crisis, Lincoln was crowned the winner for "nothing". Then again, Cadillac's entry was the Cimarron.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • As a warm-up dark match for their first show, SHIMMER held the "Come As You Are Rumble", a comedy Royal Rumble-style match. All competitors in the ring were eliminated over the top rope in a pile-up before the last competitor, Jimmy Jacobs, entered, leaving him as the winner.
  • Happened at CHIKARA The Infinite Gauntlet 2019, May 11, 2019. The last four people in the ring were Hallowicked, Solo Darling, The Whisper and Enzuigiri Evan. Hallowicked kicked the other three out and the momentum took him out as well. Then Ophidian came in at #33 and won because the other 32 participants were already eliminated.
  • On the July 12, 1986, WWF on MSG Network, "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart won a battle royal in similar fashion. In classic Memphis heel style, he spent the entire match hiding under the ring, occasionally ducking his head out to see what was happening. The last two guys left in the ring were Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and The Junkyard Dog, and they eliminated each other, giving Hart the win.

  • Baseball has several ways to advance without technically doing anything athletic.
    • You can get onto first base without batting at all. You just have to hold back and watch as four pitches outside the strike zone are called balls to be rewarded first base. Make this happen when your team has the bases loaded, and done, a free run that may even win you the game if it's the last inning. This doesn't happen often, but a few pitchers have poor command of the ball (especially tall ones) and may screw themselves over because they can't throw pitches in the strike zone consistently. Such an incident actually happened during Major League Baseball's 2011 season. San Francisco Giants reliever Santiago Casilla came to the plate for his first career at-bat in eight seasons. He stood as far from the plate as he could with the bat down, apparently trying to get intentionally called out. This threw off Marlins pitcher Jose Ceda so badly that he failed to throw a single strike, and walked Casilla on four pitches. In other words, a batter who deliberately tried to strike out was awarded first base without doing anything.
    • Eddie Gaedel was a 3'7" midget signed by the St. Louis Browns in 1951 and ordered not to take his bat off his shoulder for what would be the only at-bat of his career; his strike zone was said to be 1.5 inches high. He watched four pitches go by, was awarded first base, and replaced by a pinch runner. The next day, the league voided his contract on the grounds that it made a mockery of baseball. Gaedel never took the field again, but made thousands of dollars from subsequent public appearances.
    • A balk awards all runners currently on base to advance one base for free, which occurs when a pitcher does something that he's not supposed to do, such as starting his pitching motion and stopping. A few baseball games have even been won this way.
  • Any sport where a ball is served (tennis, volleyball) can have this trope happen when one of the players consistently fails the serve and awards the opposition several free points. Some tennis fans call this "breaking your own serve".
  • Similar to baseball, Cricket has a couple of ways that the batting team can be rewarded for doing nothing, lumped together under "Extras" or "Sundries". Basically is a bowler sends a ball so wide that the batsmen has no way a realistically hitting the ball (called a wide) or the bowler is judged to have screwed up in a such a way that the delivery is illegal (usually going past a designated mark on the pitch or occasionally a very unorthodox bowling action and called a no ball) the batting team gets an extra run and effectively a do-over on that delivery, all without the batsmen having to do a thing. The other two forms of sundries (byes and leg byes) are basically scoring runs off missed shots and actually require batsmen to run but on rare occasions byes can go to the boundary for four automatic runs without the batsman doing anything and is generally a sign of poor form on the fielding teams part (or a very unpredictable pitch). If such a ball hits the wicketkeeper's helmet, when they opt to take it off, then the batsmen can be awarded runs without running. Either way, games have been won and lost on sundries, and the extra ball is especially important in the shorter forms of the game. The fielding team can be awarded an effective wicket if the batsman is injured or unable to turn up for batting when their turn arrives. Also somewhat relevant, if the batsman dislodges their own stumps. Previously, if the batsman 'handled' the ball by picking it up without permission.

    Video Games 
  • The Trope Namer is a series of YouTube videos called "Luigi Wins By Doing Absolutely Nothing," originally about the Mario Party series. The player, as Luigi, stands around and does nothing, and the computer opponents, all set to the easiest difficulty, defeat themselves. It later expanded to include the Super Smash Bros. series, this time on the hardest difficulty, so that the opponents slip off the stage due to flashiness. Then Mario Kart 8 Deluxe introduced auto acceleration and "smart steering" (intended to keep inexperienced players from going off the tracks), allowing Luigi to win a 50cc race this way.
  • More generically, games with Matchmaking may, on very rare occasions, put a player into a match mere moments before it is concluded. As a result, it is still considered a "Victory" even though the player was not able to do anything at all.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee has an end-of-battle bonus called "Switzerland" that the player only receives if they never attacked their opponent(s) in any way yet somehow ended up winning the match. The catch is, the player mustn't have been hit either.
  • Advance Wars 2 features a deployment map (so you start with no units and you have to build them) where Colin has to hold off the enemy (that is, not lose) for fourteen days. There are two ways to lose in AW: being routed, or having your HQ captured. The thing is, the AI in this chapter focuses on building up a force planning to rout you — and you can't be routed if you don't have soldiers in the first place. So you can go the whole battle without building a single unit and win.
  • Freelancer:
    • It's rare, but possible, for a mission target to be located inside a sun corona. If this happens, simply coming close enough for the enemy ships to spawn results in an instant victory as they are fried by the heat.
    • Some enemies spawn inside hazardous areas, like minefields or radiation zones. These tend to die, too, but more slowly.
    • Similar things tend to happen in almost every game if random spawns can happen inside hazardous areas and enemies are not immune to environmental effects. Very few AIs survive that — one of the reasons why they are usually granted immunity to the environment.
  • There exist quite a number of Super Mario World hacks for "automatic levels" where Mario is sent through the levels without any user input. Sometimes this is synced to music, and sometimes it's just to show off cool stunts. Many of these levels can be seen on YouTube. These would then resurface for Super Mario Maker wherein they are fairly common, and one of the official sample levels is an automatic level.
  • Xenoblade has an in-game achievement called, "Some Help You Are!". To unlock it, you have to initiate a battle, then literally stand there while your AI controlled party members do all the work.
  • The secret ending in Far Cry 4 is done this way. After the opening cutscene, Affably Evil Big Bad Pagan Min tells Player Character Ajay Ghale "Don't move, I'll be right back." If the player doesn't leave the starting room for fifteen minutes, Pagan Min comes back, gives Ajay what he wants with no strings attached, and the game ends.
  • Far Cry 5 has a similar hidden ending where refusing to cuff Joseph Seed for a full five minutes makes the Sheriff agree that trying to arrest Seed would be a very bad idea, and Seed lets the group leave without a fight.
  • Gradius final bosses typically put up laughably weak amounts of offense as you shoot them into oblivion. A few, such as those of Gradius, Gradius Galaxies, and Gradius V, on the other hand, have as much firepower as a piece of plastic, so you can win simply by idling until they self-destruct.
  • Two bosses in Undertale will do this to you, stalling their attacks so that you can't do anything.
  • The first phase of the Shagohod Battle in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater consists of riding a motorcycle while fleeing and dodging the thing in a massive tank compound. Eva's doing the all the driving and none of Snake's weapons can even scratch the thing; there is absolutely nothing you can or need to do until Eva escapes the tank compound. By driving into the enemy base crawling with soldiers. That's when Ocelot and hordes of soldiers, many of whom have motorcycles of their own, enter the battle and it goes from "kicking back and watching Eva do the work" to "frantically gunning down dozens of enemies so Eva can survive long enough to get the two of you out of there."
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, if you encounter a Rebel scout ship with no shields in an asteroid field, and provided your own ship has functioning shields, it's possible to do nothing and watch as the asteroids blow the scout into pieces. If you have enough shields and evasion, it's very possible to win this way without taking any damage.
  • In Dance Dance Revolution, if you play the beginner chart to "CHAOS" with the CUT option set to ON 1note  modifier, no steps will show up due to all of the steps that would otherwise appear officially falling on non-quarter beats and you'll clear the song without having to do anything. Subverted, in that you'll get a D grade due to having 0 points.
  • In Nickelodeon Party Blast, it is possible to win each level in the Food Fight minigame simply by hiding in a safe spot from the other players and having them throw food at each other. Some of the most notable safe spots are are the back room of The Krusty Krab, one of the tables at Bloaty's Pizza Hog, and the top of the refrigerator at Tommy Pickles' house.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, if you commit Sequence Breaking to reach Ribbon without collecting any mobility upgrades or the Piko Hammer, you'll fight her despite having zero offensive capabilities...but Ribbon's HP will automatically drain out in a matter of seconds. You might take damage by standing still, but Ribbon will lose HP well before she can wipe out Erina.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, you get the Dependent title for Genis if you control him in a battle and win without doing anything. Note that "doing anything" includes moving and getting hit by enemy attacks.
  • Any time you fight Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2, all you have to do is avoid its attacks and wait until a cutscene triggers the end of the battle. Shooting it makes the battle end faster, but isn't necessary. This includes the fight against the Twin Pyramid Heads.
  • In the first Silent Hill, if you enter the final boss battle with no ammo, the boss will keel over dead straight away. The same thing happens to Silent Hill 2's final boss, though replace "straight away" with "after some time has passed".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • One of the pleasures of getting all the Chaos Emeralds; many of Robotnik's vehicles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 can be defeated in Super Form by standing in the right place, and letting Robotnik get hit by you until he's out of hit points.
    • In some sections of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Shadow has to fly a hang glider while being attacked. The Mercy Invincibility is so generous and the sections short enough that it's entirely possible to get through without touching the controller, as shown here. Of the three stages the glider appears in, Crisis City is the only one that can't be beaten by doing nothing.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, if you have Toki set as your partner and you encounter a single random-encounter demon or a demon horde and she jumps in with a successful Temporal Blade, the battle will end immediately without you having to do anything. This can also happen if you have Gaston as your partner, as he occasionally cuts into your turn to attack, but he'd have to have a significant level advantage over the enemy for it to happen.
  • Final Fantasy V:
    • The "Quickleak" exploit allows you to win any battle this way, after a short setup. First, cast Quick. As your first Quick action, do anything that inflicts the target with Sap. Do not use your second Quick action. Wait a very very very long time as Sap drains their HP, 2 points a tick, unable to respond because you are still in the middle of Quick.
    • This is how you beat Gogo, who mimics whatever you do with the power souped up. You could brute-force it if you're particularly overleveled, but by setting the controller down for two minutes (even though you only have seven minutes' worth of air), he will acknowledge your mastery of mimicry and eject himself.
    • Also, the Berserker class attacks without the player's input, as will any character with the class' "Berserk" ability equipped. Rig all four characters with this and the game plays itself. Don't expect this one to work against bosses.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, any fight with solo Umaro becomes this, since he attacks on his own and you can't control him. For especially difficult fights, you may want to go get a book.
  • Overwatch:
    • The game ends its rounds with a "Play of the Game", which shows off the most impressive moment in a given match, such as large multi-kills, lifesavers, and the like. For a character like Torbjörn, whose playstyle involves maintaining an automated turret gun, it's not uncommon for him to get the Play of the Game from his machine mowing people down while he's off doing nothing of merit, such as mindlessly hammering a wall, being dead, or staring at Widowmaker's butt.
    • A later update gave everyone "resting" emotes to taunt the enemy with; as Torbjörn, you can literally sit on your ass and do absolutely nothing while your turret rips enemies apart.
  • Likewise, the Engineer from Team Fortress 2 has a taunt called the Rancho Relaxo. The Engineer places down a toolbox which promptly unfolds into a lounge chair, complete with umbrella and drinks. This taunt loops indefinitely until either the player cancels it or the player is attacked. It's totally possible (if your teammates are especially good at thwarting Spies) to set up a sentry gun in a really good spot, spend most of the round taking it easy, and still end up with the most points.
  • In Mendel Palace, the boss fight in the Sumo house can be won by standing perfectly still as the boss transforms you into a Sumo. Her attempt to attack you will trigger the Sumo's Counter Attack: a Shockwave Stomp that sends her flying into the wall.
  • Lemmings:
    • "The Apple Bonus Level". Just crank up the release rate and watch as the lemmings stroll into the exit without your help.
  • In fan-made Doom WADfile HACX MAP16, the aim is to find the four switches which together cause the exit to rise from the ground — or you could just turn around at the start of the level and "use" thin air, ending the level as soon as it begins.
  • One of the most anticipated, and hence most derided when it finally arrived, games on the Spectrum was The Great Space Race. The main criticism of it was that it played quite happily without user input.
  • In Jetpac, once one got to the fourth planet it was possible to rack up a ridiculously high score by landing Jetman on the right-hand platform, switching off the TV and going out for a few hours.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In series' lore, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, made a wager with Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, in which they would both torment an artist who served Vaermina to see who could most influence him. While the artist was accustomed to Vaermina's nightmares and used them for inspiration, she pulled away what protections she was giving him and inflicted horrific night terrors on him. This resulted in him being inspired to create terrifying and grotesque art, which drew fame and acclaim due to its pure nightmarishness. When Sheogorath's turn came to torment the artist, he did nothing at all. Confused and feeling betrayed by Vaermina for the sudden lack of nightmarish inspiration, the artist was driven to rage and began to lose his mind. He started turning that anger into insults to kings and blasphemies against the gods in an attempt to get some response out of Vaermina. Eventually, his insanity grew to full on madness, and his blasphemies and insults became too much to be ignored, and he was put to death, with his soul traveling to Sheogorath's realm, the Shivering Isles, proving who had won without a doubt. And it all happened without Sheogorath doing a thing.
    • Another of the myths surrounding Sheogorath has a wizard come to Sheogorath asking for power. Sheogorath says he can have it, if Sheogorath fails to drive the wizard insane within three days. The fear drives said wizard completely bonkers even though Sheogorath hadn't actually bothered doing anything.
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, this is effectively the Thalmor's long-term strategy: use Ulfric Stormcloak as an Unwitting Pawn to start a bloody civil war and drain the Empire's resources so when the second war eventually kicks off, their exhausted human enemies and "allies" will fall easily. The Dragonborn can intervene on either side and bring the civil war to a decisive conclusion, thwarting the Thalmor's plan: if the Imperials put down the rebellion, they consolidate their hold on Skyrim and High Rock and can rebuild for the war they know is coming; if the Stormcloak rebels win the war, it results in a Thalmor-hostile independent Skyrim; and in either case, the winning side will have the aid of a One-Man Army Physical God.
  • In Gauntlet, in case you find yourself on a level where you have insufficient keys to reach an exit or which is too complicated for you to get through, if you wait a while all doors unlock themselves. Wait even longer, and all walls turn to exits.
  • Some of the missions in FreeSpace -series can be completed without any effort from the player. You can just set your ship to full speed, head away from the battle, increase time compression and sit back until you are given permission to return to base. Good example of this is the misson Doomsday in the first game, where you're supposed to defend a destroyer against waves of enemies until the personnel on board have evacuated. This objective is optional, as the mission will be considered completed once the destroyer inevitably goes down. You will get a medal if you manage to hold the line until all the escape pods have launched and departed, though.
  • The community of Happy Wheels is prone to contain "don't move" and "heart donation" levels. They are very similar to the levels in Super Mario Maker, where the player does not perform any input and the many mechanics of the level will bring the player (or the player's heart) to a finish line or victory trigger. However, despite this, it might not work on all devices due to different processing speed.
  • The Witch's House can be won by having Viola not enter the titular house. Just stand outside and wait for one hour to pass in real time, and the wall of thorny roses blocking the player's path will crumble, letting them leave. This is because the witch's body has died at that point, and her magic ceases to block your way.
  • In Town of Salem, there are several conditions in which this can happen:
    • During All Any, it is possible for town to win on Day 2 because the game either picked all town members or the only neutral roles were non-killing (ie, Survivor, Guardian Angel, Executioner, Jester).
    • Much like the SC 2 Mafia mod that spawned it, it's possible to do this as a Survivor. The survivor's win condition is to be alive at the end of the game. If the investigative roles can confirm you and/or if the rest of the players actually believe your claim (It's harder than it sounds.) then it's entirely possible to just sit back and receive a win despite not voting anyone up or lynching anyone.
    • This also sometimes happens with the Jester role. The Jester's win condition is to be lynched- so they try to look suspicious to get voted up. Sure enough, some jesters will actually be completely silent (Especially if they get voted onto the stand) so they look like an evil player who Rage Quit.
    • Very very rarely, an executioner can win this way. The Executioner's goal is to get a certain player lynched. If you have a particularly lynch-happy town, they might vote an executioner's target up for no apparent reason, meaning the Executioner did not have to convince the town that their target is in fact scum.
    • While uncommon (Depending on the faction they chose), an Amnesiac can be confirmed via Investigator, Consigilere, or Potion Master... then simply pick the role of the winning faction, resulting in them winning without performing their role's functions.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, it is possible kill enemies who perform leaping attacks by simply standing on a ledge. If you position yourself right, usually by being close enough to aggro an enemy but on a lower platform so they leap right over you, you can provoke the enemy to perform a leaping attack that sends them plunging into a pit or poisonous swamp. You can even use this to kill the False Jester, since unlike most boss arenas, you can run out of it and lead him after you to an area with a bottomless pit.
  • Indiana Jones is a repeat offender here. As with Raiders of the Lost Ark above, if Indy had never become involved in the events of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the Nazis would have found Atlantis, messed with the God Machine, and killed themselves and destroyed the city — which is exactly what happened anyway.
  • One way to kill the Bonus Boss which is the Grim Reaper in Persona 5 is to find him during flu season and wait for the flu to kill him.
  • In the Midnight Trivia Miracle Quiz mini-game from Persona 4: Golden, it's possible for you to win by doing nothing while your team pick the wrong answers and have negative points.
  • Hilariously, if you decide to just lay the controller down as soon as Frank lands on the mall in Dead Rising, you can wait out the 72 in-game hours (6 hours real-time) and still get the good but not great Ending B. That is, without ever encountering a single survivor in the mall, swinging a weapon, encountering a zombie, or even watching the first cutscene, you "earn" the second-best ending in the game. Mahatma Gandhi would be proud of you!
  • At the end of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a survival gauntlet where you have to hold out against a large amount of zombies. In theory. In practice you can kill the first four to lower the platform, then activate the Zombie Walk (which prevents zombies from noticing you, and lasts indefinitely as long as you stand still or move continuously) and all you'll have to do is wait for it to end completely uncontested.
  • Giliath Osborne in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II wins the entire Civil War while absolutely doing nothing because at the end of the first game, he was shot before he could declare war against Calvard by an assassin and isn't present for most of the civil war that happens in the sequel. It's only after he decides to show up in person, fully alive and all, that he declares that he's won the entire conflict because the nobles sabotaged their chances by showing off their worst while the good nobles got caught in the crossfire. Helps that the Dragon-in-Chief, Rufus Albarea, is actually a Mole in Charge as he's actually part of Osborne's side.
  • Due to the way Stardew Valley's Fishing Minigame works, it's occasionally possible to reel in a fish (and even get a perfect catch) by not doing anything at all after you've cast the line.
  • In Pokémon, it can happen that you claim victory over an enemy Pokémon with no effort on your part if the enemy uses Selfdestruct or Explosion and fail to finish your Pokémon off; for better results, have a Rock- or Steel-type out, as they take half damage from Normal-type attacks, and for best results, have a Ghost-type out, as they are immune to Normal-type damage. Less commonly, it is possible for an enemy Pokémon to lose if they repeatedly use Jump Kick or Hi Jump Kick (both of which deal damage to the user if they miss) and there's a high enough disparity between their accuracy and your Pokémon's evasion that they are unable to reliably land a hit.
  • This was actually Sofia Lamb's strategy for surviving the Rapture Civil War in the backstory to Bioshock 2. Rather than getting involved in the conflict between Andrew Ryan and Atlas or trying to stage her own powerplay, Lamb kept her head down for over a year while the two of them slugged it out. Admittedly, most of this was due to the fact Lamb's base of operations was Persephone, a near-impregnable facility kept hidden from most of Rapture: all she had to do was keep the defenses manned, run a few experiments to pass the time, and wait until the two opponents wiped each other out. Then, once the first game came to an end, she emerged from Persephone and took control of the entire city.
  • Thanks to your final guest party members in Kingdom Hearts III (Especially Roxas and Xion) being quite powerful and hard-hitting and the bosses being downgraded from before, it's possible to "beat" several end-game bosses by doing absolutely nothing.
  • In World of Warcraft, it is possible to be placed into a dungeon right before the final boss goes down, or a battleground right as it ends. Similarly, some players during the "Trial of style" minigame did not pose or even bother to transmog yet still win as their existing transmog fits the theme.
  • The Binding of Isaac: If you have the Gnawed Leaf (which makes you invincible after a few seconds of no action, which lasts until you move or shoot again) and any autonomous damage-dealing item, from orbitals to familiars and things like Daddy Long Legs, most rooms in the game can be cleared by basically just moving in and leaving your keyboard entirely alone for a few minutes. Even powerful bosses are not immune.
  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is already pitifully easy to win at thanks to an AI opponent that doesn't move at all, or one that does move but stops right before the finish line. However, thanks to the game being in an extremely buggy probably-not-even-past-the-alpha state, sometimes the game will declare you winner ! as soon as the race starts.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ever since Gaspen Payne from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies was dismissed from practice as a prosecutor, he moves to K'hurain in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, where he quickly rises to the position of Chief Prosecutor, along with the moniker "The Incredible Payne". However, it's easy to succeed when the Defense Culpability Actnote  renders defense lawyers all but extinct, merely making his victories a matter of seeing the victim's final moments via a channelling, and the judge declaring a guilty verdict.

    Web Animation 
  • Mentioned in Freeman's Mind when Freeman encounters a pair of NPCs located near a Door to Before for the second time, and gripes that "those two have accomplished more by standing in one place than I have by running all over this facility leaving a trail of bodies."
  • Episode 100 of Red vs. Blue has a rare instance of winning by doing nothing out of pure abject laziness. During the events of the episode the rogue, homicidal AI Omega jumps from person to person due to its ability to Body Surf through radios, but can be forced out of someone either by the AI's choice or by knocking out the host. For the Red Team hosts, they get punched in the head; first Simmons (repeatedly), then Donut, then Sarge. When O'Malley finally infects Grif, he is the only Red to not get beat up by Tex when he notes that he suddenly has an urge to conquer the universe, but that it's out of character for him because that would take work. His response is to not do anything at all...whereupon he promptly falls asleep standing up. Omega either can't wake Grif up or is so disgusted by his laziness that he abandons Grif altogether to jump to another host.
  • The Super Mario 64 Bloopers episode "Stupid Mario Party" does this twice:
    • In one mini-game where Kermit the Frog tries to murder Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi, Yoshi wins by standing completely still, despite actually wanting to die.
    • Near the end of the game, the group's car lands on a chance space. The resulting Chance Time ends with Mario, Peach and Yoshi being forced to give Luigi all of their coins and winning him the star as a result, meaning Luigi wins by doing absolutely nothing.
  • In reference to the Trope Namer, the YouTube channel Level UP has made several videos in which Luigi simply stands there in a given level of Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. while events contrive around him to propel him to the finish.

    Web Comics 
  • Zigzagged in Freefall, while Blunt is outlining the horrors of robot-driven society to an audience of humans who think it sounds like Utopia, Sawtooth goes to interrupt. Sam quotes the Napoleon line. Sawtooth explains that the robot reaction might be quite different, and he needs to avert that, as:
    Sawtooth: If he convinces even two percent of the robots... we will have a huge problem.

    Web Videos 
  • Let's Play: Sonic 2006. One mandatory side quest in Sonic 2006 is a very out-of-place Knights and Knaves logic puzzle, where the player gets clues from various guards to find the specific guard who can unlock a particular door. The twist is that the guard in question is the same guard who sends you on the side quest in the first place. Pokecapn and his friends, playing the game for the first time, get the highest possible score on this side quest just by talking to the guard over and over and barely paying attention to what he says.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of the The Legend of Zelda cartoon that was part of the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show started with Link in his room reading. Two pairs of Ganon's troops storm in and try to kill him, only to defeat each other. The last two even manage a Mutual Kill. After seeing this, Link goes back to reading and says "Wow, I'm good." When the Moblins rebel against Ganon and try again, the entire army wipes themselves out.
  • A Saturday morning episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) had the turtles studying an art taught by Splinter called Wu Wei. The art involves allowing your enemy to defeat themselves through their own destructive energies. They end up using it against Shredder and Krang at the end of the episode. It works when Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally fire their new superweapon while fighting over a comic book.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Homer They Fall" former boxer Moe discovers that Homer has the perfect head for boxing because it turns out he has an extra quarter inch of shock absorption fluid around his brain, making him impervious to headshots. However, Homer has zero stamina in the ring — he gets winded after throwing one punch. Moe decides that Homer's strategy should be to let his opponent tire himself out punching Homer, then when he's exhausted Homer just kind of shoves his opponent down, "knocking" him out. Which is almost nothing.
  • Most episodes of The Dreamstone culminated in the Urpneys failing due to some blunder or contrived bad luck, with the Noops usually winning Despite the Plan.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The episode "Big Pink Loser" has Patrick gaining a trophy "for doing absolutely nothing longer than anyone else".
    • In the episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V", Mermaid Man hires the main cast to pose as superheroes against Face Heel Turned Barnacle Boy's villain group "Every Villain Is Lemons". However the team's ineptness with their super powers leads them to all injure themselves, while the villains look on dumbfounded.
    • In the episode "The Great Snail Race", SpongeBob, Squidward and Patrick enter a snail contest, with Patrick's contestant being a snail-sized rock he found on the ground.note  While SpongeBob's snail Gary crashes and Squidward's snail forfeits the race to be by his side, Patrick's "snail" somehow got to the finish line.
  • Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner: Aside from occasionally sneaking up from behind and startling him with a loud "Beep beep!", the Roadrunner does nothing to Wile E. He just runs off or stands back and lets Wile E. get Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • In the Garfield and Friends U.S. Acres short "Rooster Revenge", Roy plays a practical joke on Orson, and when Wade asks Orson what he intends to do about it, he replies "The worst thing I can think of: absolutely nothing!" He lets Roy drive himself crazy waiting for Orson to get even.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Oracle" centers on Gumball trying to avoid a prophecy showing him naked at a mall. He first tries to just sit in place at home, but he's too hyperactive to stay still and once he ends up there anyway, he's too paranoid to stay in place.
  • In the Gravity Falls mayoral elections, Stan Pines is disqualified for his criminal record, Bud Gleeful for trying to kill the Pines family, and Soos Ramirez for not doing the paperwork. The sole remaining candidate, and thus mayor, is Tyler Cutebiker, who had done little to nothing during the race.
  • The Samurai Jack episode "Jack vs Aku" starts with Aku sending robots after Jack as he always does, and after the first two mess up (as they always do) he sends an army of Mecha-Mooks after him. They mess up worse, one of them tripping, falling into another, and a chain reaction starting that destroys the whole army; Jack didn't have to do anything at all.
  • An episode of Xiaolin Showdown opens with the monks engaged in training duels. After getting repeatedly defeated by Omi, Raimundo frustratedly tries to use the Tangleweb Comb artifact on him. However, Omi does nothing and watches as the Comb tangles up Raimundo instead, knowing that it requires a clear mind to use so his anger would interfere with it.
  • An episode of Cro had this happen in the present day part. Phil accidentally drops a school of piranha into Dr. C's diving tank while she and Mike are using it. This sets up the story of the prehistoric part. When we get back to the present, Phil is looking through an encyclopedia to find out how to deal with the piranha. It turns out they don't have to do anything. Phil dropped the freshwater piranha into a saltwater tank. When the piranha hear this, they go belly-up.
  • The Mean 6 episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Queen Chrysalis create clones of the six ponies to use as henchmen. They prove to be much more difficult to control than she anticipated, cue Enemy Civil War, and the six clones are killed by the Tree of Harmony while Chrysalis escapes. Other than having a couple of fairly colorful interactions with a few of the clones, without realizing they're even clones in the first place, the Mane Six are wholly unaware of this and "win" the day just by going camping.
  • After Rick manipulates Beth into divorcing him during season 3 of Rick and Morty, Jerry gets his revenge by being...Jerry. Hapless, dumb Jerry. Despite all of Rick's super-genius and borderline Machiavellian attempts to stop it, Jerry finds his way back to Beth by seasons end. Even Rick admits his utter averageness is unbeatable.
    Rick: You win, Jerry. You win! No amount of genius can stop your dumb mediocre vacuous roots from digging into everything and everyone around you and draining them of any ability to fend you off.


Example of: