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Quotes / Xanatos Gambit

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Izaya doesn't care if he dies, he wants society to reject Shizuo. If he beats him, cool. If he dies, then Shizuo's a murderer. No matter what happens, he gets his way.
Aoba Kuronuma, Durarara!!

    Film - Live-Action 

Hamilton: My Lord, the princess might be taken hostage, or her life be put in jeopardy.
Longshanks: My son would be most distressed by that. But if she were to be killed, we would soon find the King of France a useful ally against the Scots. You see, as king, you must find the good in any situation.



It's Caesar's trump card, his last resort, so even if he loses, he still wins.
Shane Schofield, Area 7

Look what your true goal is, then start looking for the ways to reach it.

He seemed to have made triumph possible and ruin impossible. At the worst, he would stand as well as he had stood before I crossed his path [...] at best, there would be none left to stand against him.

Littlefinger stroked the neat spike of his beard. "Lysa has woes of her own. Clansmen raiding out of the Mountains of the Moon, in greater numbers than ever before... and better armed."
"Distressing," said Tyrion Lannister, who had armed them. "I could help her with that. A word from me..."

Captain Pellaeon: We're attacking Mrisst?
Grand Admiral Thrawn: It's certainly ripe for the taking. And a base there would give us the capacity to launch attacks into the very heart of the Rebellion.
Pellaeon: Except that the Rebellion must know this. They'd launch a massive counterattack, sir, if we so much as made a move toward Mrisst.
Thrawn: Exactly. Which means that when we're finally ready to draw the Coruscant sector fleet into ambush, Mrisst will be the perfect lure to use. If they come out to meet us, we'll defeat them then and there. And if they somehow sense the trap and refuse to engage, we'll have our forward base. Either way, the Empire will triumph.

Someone who only wins when he's dealt a great hand of cards is a fool, not a gambler.
Fortunato, Void Dogs

The key to strategy... is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory.
Cavilo, The Vor Game

Reason? Singular? Dear boy, you really did learn nothing from me, didn't you? Never run with any plan in which there is only one desirable outcome.
Parson Miles, The Zombie Knight

But there were degrees of misfortune, levels of random chance that her masters were willing to accept - even encourage. What looked like chaos to an outsider was actually the end result of careful manipulation. Management, for want of a better word. It was, after all, the greatest skill Thorne's masters possessed. To control the uncontrollable, to influence and guide the elements that appeared impossible to govern.

    Live-Action TV 

What I came here to get, I got. Even her. Guess you could call it a bank shot. Yes, I've had a nice day.

Garak: You, on the other hand, seem to have left your retirement far behind. Unless you're simply on a pleasure cruise with your pointed-eared friends...?
Tain: (to Odo) Cunning, isn't he? He makes a racial slur within earshot of two Romulans, putting me in the position of either defending them — thus giving away my allegiance to them — or letting the comment pass, in which case he's managed to plant a seed of discord between us.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Improbable Cause"


There is a small rahi, called a Water Wraith. So small, so insignificant is it, that larger fish do not even consider it a worthy meal. But every now and then, a bold water wraith will attack a fish much larger and more powerful than it. It is a one sided battle, of course, that ends with the poor Water Wraith in the mouth of its foe. Of course, what the larger fish quickly discovers is that the outer shell of a water wraith is coated with deadly poison. The larger fish dies instantly and the water wraith escapes to feast for months on its foolish and very dead opponent. Sometimes, my brothers, the best way, the only way to win... is by losing.
Makuta Teridax, BIONICLE

Little Toa, you have not yet begun to see even the barest outlines of my plans. I have schemes within schemes that would boggle your feeble mind. You may counter one, but there are a thousand more of which you know nothing. Even my... setbacks... are planned for, and so I shall win in the end.
Makuta Teridax, BIONICLE


Every way makes my gain.
Iago, Othello

    Video Games 

They have seen all of history, all of its possibilities. They have seen all the endings. But they must know, the goddess Etro is already dead. Her end is final. No man, woman, or god can bring her back now. Ignorant and blind to their true mission, they did exactly what I wanted.
Caius Ballad, Final Fantasy XIII-2

You are just one of many roads I might choose to take. Trust me. I made certain of that.
Master Xehanort, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Eraqus: You never admit when you lose.
Xehanort: That's because I never lose.
Kingdom Hearts III, during a flashback after the Final Boss

Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma - let's call it a two-sided coin. If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars. But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species. If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse. Either way, the game is rigged. [...] But suppose you throw a coin enough times. Suppose one day... it lands on its edge.
Kain, Legacy of Kain



Let us assume that Batman wins. Doom's machinations are such that even if Batman manages to be triumphant, his victory will only come about in a way that somehow furthers Doom's overall villainous schemes.
Black Mage, 8-Bit Theater

That's nothing, because MY plan included everything in your plan, but also some other stuff that gives me the upper hand after all!

Parson: Ansom is bound to capture me for you? That's what I'm guessing, anyway.
Charlie: Good guess. Yes, you and your artifact, of course.
Charlie: When you're working for Charlescomm, you'll learn. We prefer to play games that don't even contain a losing outcome. You see?
Parson: Yeah, yeah... You turned it into a no-lose situation by rejoining him.
Charlie: Oh, no!
Charlie: No, I got paid to turn it into a no lose situation. :)
Parson: :P

If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.
General Tarquin, The Order of the Stick

Elan: Aren't you going to rant about how they escaped your clutches?
Tarquin: Hey, I know a daring escape when I see one. Besides, the crowd LOVES that stuff. Listen to them cheer. Good thing, too. These games were starting to suck.
Elan: I don't get it. They defied your authority! Doesn't that make you angry?
Tarquin: Sure, but not as mad as spending fifty grand on a propaganda event that no one even remembered would have. Plus we confiscated the bounty we paid them, right?
Kilkil: Yes, sir. As well as the full WBL for an NPC of their level, times two, minus their gladiator equipment and the cost to replace the soldiers that just got eaten... I calculate that the empire turned a total profit of 66,435 gp on their capture.
Tarquin: See? Why should I get upset, they paid for these entire games and-
Gannji: HEY, TARQUIN! Choke on this!
(the hurled spear hits the wall just over Tarquin's head)
Kilkil: Correction: 66,437 gp.
Tarquin: (evil grin) Their every move makes my victory more complete.

    Web Original 

Taker is a master of Mind Games, his entire career shows that. And he's also a man to [not] ignore unpleasant possibilities. He'll plan for any occasion, he'll have back ups and back ups for back ups. I guess he might have a back up for the back up of the back up, but that's merely confusing speculation.

It's like, even when we win... he wins.
Strong Bad, Homestar Runner

You know, I look at it this way: either A, we go through there, and get the flag back, or B, we stay here, and I get to kill you. Either way, I win.
Church, Red vs. Blue

    Western Animation 

Win/Win for me... Win/LOSE for you.
Mozenrath, Aladdin

So even in defeat, the detective manages to achieve some small measure of victory...
Ra's Al Ghul, Batman: The Animated Series, "Off Balance"

Owen: It would seem that your plan has gone awry, sir.
David Xanatos: Not really.

Norman Osborn: Something occurs to me — either Spider-Man is destroyed, or you get Oscorp. Whatever happens, you win.
Kingpin: That's why I'm the Kingpin.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series, "The Spider Slayer"

    Real Life 

Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War


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