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Basic Trope: The true Big Bad is revealed after the Disc-One Final Boss is defeated.

  • Straight: Lord Bad is defeated, but it transpires Emperor Evulz was the real villain all along.
  • Exaggerated: Lord Bad was a flunky to Baron Cruel, the Big Bad ... who was a flunky to the Bigger Bad Count Dastardly ... who was a flunky to the Even Bigger Bad Duke Egregious ... who was a flunky to the Ridiculously Big Bad King Overly Long Gag ... who was a flunky to the Biggest Bad, Emperor Evulz.
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  • Downplayed: Lord Bad was a flunky to Emperor Evulz ... who either turns out to be an Anti-Climax Boss (relative to Bad) or is taken in by the Supporting Leader offscreen.
  • Justified:
    • Lord Bad is commanding Emperor Evulz's forces in the region as the Emperor has matters to deal with elsewhere.
    • Lord Bad has bigger goals in mind but smart enough not to try to try to overthrow Evulz.
    • Lord Bad is a Puppet King serving Emperor Evulz. The latter can't rule directly and the former is happy being the face of power.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Emperor Evulz is not the real villain despite the heroes suspecting this trope.
  • Double Subverted: Except for the fact that he's just pretending to confuse the hero.
  • Parodied: Lord Bad is an actual puppet, with Emperor Evulz being its literal puppetmaster as well.
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  • Zig-Zagged: After the Five-Man Band defeats Emperor Evulz, they learn that Lord Bad was in control of Emperor Evulz. After defeating him, they learn Emperor Evulz was in control of Lord Bad. Both are controlling each other.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "Just wait till he begins gloating about his master."
  • Invoked: "Ah. You have beaten me. But dying here is a boon compared to having to report my failure to my master..."
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  • Exploited: The evil organization keeps a strong ruler behind as backup for when heroes just barely overcome his Elite Mooks.
  • Defied: Emperor Evulz is killed by Lord Bad before the heroes find out about him.
  • Discussed: "Is he the real Big Bad? I don't know why, but it looks like he could be the pawn of a greater evil..."
  • Conversed: "Why does it seems like every bad guy seems to be commanded by another bad guy?"
  • Played for Laughs: Emperor Evulz is revealed as being literally behind Lord Bad.
  • Played for Drama: The heroes, tired after beating Lord Bad, are swiftly killed by Emperor Evulz without effort.
  • Deconstructed: Emperor Evulz and his minions are so wrapped up in a web of schemes that nobody knows who's really in charge.
  • Reconstructed: Emperor Evulz remembers that he is, not his minions.
  • Implied: The Cassandra tells the heroes that there's another villain helping Lord Bad, but nothing else about him.

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