Teh Gladiators is a fantasy gaming webcomic written by Uros Jojic and drawn by Borislav Grabovic. Launched in 2008, it follows the adventures of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who, through various circumstances, wind up playing Arena matches in WoW during the Burning Crusade and find spectacularly improbable ways to win. It later branches out into the main storyline of Wrath of the Lich King, and is now working its way through the author's hilariously wacky version of Cataclysm.
The main characters are:
- Gorrok, an Orc Warrior who decides to fight in the arena to expiate for royally pissing off Thrall. He's the Only Sane Man, a Deadpan Snarker, and the only actually competent combatant.
- Vallant, a Human
Hunter"lover, not a fighter" who is completely, embarrassingly stupid, yet manages to win battles through Accidental Aiming Skills.
- His "pet", Trevor, who is a Lovable Coward rat. No, that's not redundant.
- Spin, a Tauren hippie, who has yet to actually do anything useful except wave a staff around
Their occasional companions have included two Murlocs with macabre tastes and penchants for Alchemy and Engineering; Leeroy Jenkins (yes, the literal Trope Namer), and during their journey through Cataclysm, a couple of Gnome Druids.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Vallant's whole character is based around this. Ironically, when the Scroll of Unconditional Victory is dispelled, he starts hitting what he aims at.
- Affectionate Parody: The comic's attitude towards WoW.
- After the End: A Bizarro Universe parody in the Cataclysm arc.
- Alternate Continuity/Fanon: Although it follows the broad elements of Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, the comic's plot is radically different from the official story line. With Cataclysm, the author openly stopped even trying.
- Anti-Hero: Gorrok, who became a gladiator through a series of mischances involving Onyxia, terrible luck at dice, and a poorly timed use of the Bloodrage ability. Spin and Vallant would qualify except that they're so ineffectual that it's hard to label them "heroes".
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Parodied in the Cataclysm Tauren, who are so stubbornly militaristic that they sacrifice half their population in an attack on a door. That they had a key to open.
- Berserk Button: For Vallant, threatening Trevor (or Leeroy). For Yolanda, harming Vallant.
- Bizarro Universe: The comic's version of Cataclysm turns Azeroth into this, with complete role reversals for the various races: Orcs are pacifists; Humans are moronic cannibals; Gnomes are nature worshippers; Tauren are militaristic; etc. The landscape and many major NPCs are similarly turned on their heads. Oh, and Teh Glads succeed in their quests. Truly disturbing.
- Camp Gay: The Blood Elf leader in Silvermoon City, apparently.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Occurs once the comic moves out of the Arena and starts getting involved in the main storyline of the game.
- Condemned Contestant: Technically, Teh Gladiators, although it's more like "fight in the Arena to avoid being executed or imprisoned for life."
- Deadpan Snarker: Gorrok
- Dead Sidekick: Trevor's Heroic Sacrifice to defeat X32A.
- Death Is Cheap/Non-Lethal K.O./Plotline Death: These tropes are mixed up in a rather schizophrenic manner. Defeated Arena foes may simply show up again for the next match, or they may be Killed Off for Real. It's also unclear which deaths in the main story are supposed to be permanent. Teh Glads themselves never seem to suffer anything more than a Non-Lethal K.O. no matter how much injury they take; but then there's the death of Trevor. It's possible that this is deliberately making fun of the same tendencies in WoW.
- Deus ex Machina: Arguably, the ending to both the Burning Crusade Arena arc and the Wrath of the Lich King arc, as the former ends with Vallant accidentally aggroing Illidan, and the latter ends with every single raid boss in the game fighting against the Lich King.
- Disaster Dominoes: Expertly achieved by Vallant in the near total destruction of Booty Bay, here.
- The Ditz: Vallant and Leeroy.
- The End of the World as We Know It: What the Cyclonator X32A does to Azeroth. The X33A nearly does this as well but Arthas made the mistake of sticking Leeroy into it. The Cataclysm arc is a weird parody of After the End.
- Evil Twin: Death Knight Trevor, for Luke, sort of — see below.
- Face Palm: Gorrok's favorite gesture of disgust for his companions' idiocy, with bashing his head against a wall as a close second.
- Funny Background Event: When Thrall and Bolvar are surveying the wreckage caused by X32A here, look at Thrall's horse. Also the Running Gag in the Cataclysm arc with the savage human chomping on Spin's hindquarters.
- Gladiator Games: The Arena, obviously.
- God-Mode Sue: What the Scroll of Unconditional Victory accidentally turns Teh Gladiators into, in universe.
- Gone Horribly Right: The Scroll and X32A.
- Handsome Lech: Vallant, who only wishes he were The Casanova.
- Headdesk: This is Only Sane Man Gorrok's second favorite method (behind Face Palm) of expressing his disgust/despair with his companions' idiotic antics.
- HeelFace Turn: The X33A.
- Heroic Sacrifice: *sniff*... poor Trevor.
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: After Leeroy gets fused into the X33A by the Murlocs, Vallant talks him back to his senses, but not until after he's wrecked Silvermoon.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The post-Cataclysm humans are cannibalistic savages.
- Interspecies Romance: Yolanda and Vallant. Well, from Yolanda's point of view, anyway. Vallant is far too squicked to reciprocate.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Directly present in the story, with Leeroy (the character) actually pulling a Leeroy (the trope) on several occasions.
- Lovable Coward: Trevor, whose preferred method of combat is to stick his head in the ground until the danger passes. This ends up being a Chekhov's Gun.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Leeroy is Vallant's dad. Which should surprise nobody, given their natures.
- Mad Scientist: The Murlocs, who assemble a Frankenstinian monster using a medley of parts taken from defeated Arena foes. They do it a second time on Arthas' behest in the Lich King arc, and yet again in the Cataclysm arc using quest items dropped from various old world raid bosses.
- Mind Screw: The ending of the Wrath of the Lich King arc, lampshaded within the comic itself.Spin: "Can somebody please explain the madness behind us?"
Vallant: "I have no idea!"
- My God, What Have We Done?: The reaction of Bolvar Fordragon and Thrall after realizing that giving Teh Gladiators the Scroll of Unconditional Victory has made the X32A invincible.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Spin, who hooked up with Teh Gladiators after an incident involving a stoned Kodo ride.
- Only Sane Man: Gorrok, an actual Warrior and arena trainer.
- Pinball Projectile: Forms the basis of Vallant's Accidental Aiming Skills, such as when he fires straight forward and somehow kills a Rogue sneaking up on him from behind.
- Shout-Out: To The Karate Kid, in the big showdown between Death Knight Trevor and Luke. Also, in the same sequence, there are numerous references to speeches and locations in various raid dungeons.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Teh Glads bluff their way into Thunder Bluff in the Cataclysm arc by exploiting the Tauren guards' Literal Mindedness, as seen here.
- This Cannot Be!: Quoted literally by Arthas.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Leeroy and crab cakes, which makes fun of the Memetic Mutation from the Trope Namer. They're also a Chekhov's Gun, as Vallant uses them to bring Leeroy back to his senses.
- Turns Red: Spoofed; when Trevor gets Vallant's The Beast Within buff, he's still a coward.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Reversed. The Murlocs are named Sharon and Yolanda, as Vallant finds out to his horror.
- Villainous Breakdown: Arthas, after seeing his plans fall into ruin thanks to Teh Glads.
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: What Veron Rockhoof enjoys getting up to, with Spin as the unwilling prank victim.