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David Xanatos does it again

  • David Xanatos from Gargoyles is usually one step ahead of the Gargoyles, and everyone else. He frequently got away with actions that would send a normal man to jail for the rest of his life (although he was jailed for a short time), and was a member of the Illuminati's guild. Of course, since Xanatos was such a smooth talker, he would make you believe he was your friend all while positioning the knife in your back.
    • He might adequately be described as Lex Luthor (Evil Corporate Mastermind) mixed with Doctor Doom (genius inventor and likes mixing magic with science), only handsomer, possibly richer, and with none of the flaws that cause their plans to collapse, namely ego inflation issues and revenge obsessions. He even tends to take his defeats in stride, regarding them as a learning experience.
    • There's a reason it's called a Xanatos Gambit.
      • Uncannily enough, his SECOND LINE in the show is "Magnificent!"
      • Notably, during the first story arc, Xanatos is "defeated" and sent to the slammer. Unfortunately, this means he has nothing to do all day EXCEPT formulate new plans within plans.
    • Xanatos's creation, Thailog, is one as well, solidified when he betrays and then outwits his maker in his very first appearance, leading a fearful Xanatos to speculate that Thailog may be even smarter than he is. Going by the comic continuation, Thailog seems to have inherited his father's fondness for schemes that profit him no matter the outcome as well.
    • Let's not forget Xanatos' wife, Fox, who also managed to outsmart him on one occasion. He even refers to her as his equal!
      • His proposal amounted to "We get along, we'll have good kids, and we're the only ones as smart as each other."
    • Heck, even Xanatos' assistant, Owen Burnett, puts himself in this trope's territory, his true identity being Puck and all.
  • Megatron of Beast Wars: He's a user and abuser of his followers, a gloating sadist who enumerates the ways he's beaten his enemies as he's standing over them in his moment of triumph, a master manipulator who is only served by his underlings' treachery... and yet he carries off scheme after scheme with audacity, panache, and an almost vaudevillian flair. Nor does he work in small potatoes; his schemes include two bids to rewrite history as well as consuming his namesake's spark to add to his own personal power. Magnificent. Bastard. Yesss.
    • Hell, he singlehandedly took over Cybertron and devoured the sparks of his entire species and became a GOD in the (contested) sequel series.
    • If nothing else, his apparently keeping Tarantulas and Blackarachnia around simply so he can keep his wits sharp by predicting their betrayals would qualify him for this.
    • In the BOTCON exclusive story "Reaching the Omega Point," by Simon Furman, the tyrant Shokaract - who has all the powers of the Dark God Unicron - travels back in time to the Beast Wars, and beats the crap out the most powerful Transformers in existence with ease. What does Megatron do? He tries to BLACKMAIL Shokaract, threatening to destroy the "Dark Essence" that the demigod had come to protect. He fails, but provides a crucial distraction that ultimately dooms Shokaract.
    • His Transformers Animated counterpart also comes close, if not equal with him. This guy manipulates Sumdac to repair his body, avoids the mistake of his predecessors by killing Starscream the first chance he gets, coaxed the Constructicons into his employs with just a couple barrels of fine oil, and pulled a Xanatos Gambit on Starscream to ensure that the Omega Supreme clones didn't imprint on Starscream or Megatron himself, but on loyal Lugnut. And when he got physical, he got physical. In a rather defining moment that puts him in this trope, after receiving the Allspark Key which grants him a new body, he subsequently pummels Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. When Optimus effectively tells him to bring it on because he won't give up the location of the Allspark, Megatron rather smugly reveals he already has the Key which will lead him directly to it and that he was only kicking the crap out of Optimus for his own amusement.
      • Really, his only mistake was not figuring out a way to kill Starscream after it became clear that normal methods weren't working, an incident which rather clearly fell under Rule of Funny.
        • It is also worthy to note that this Megatron is so incredibly Badass that he doesn't even bother to remember any of the main Autobot's names unless it suits him (i.e. when he captured Bulkhead and when he fought Optimus Prime one-on-one in the final ever episode). The reason why? He does not consider any of them to be any threat to him. Only when Optimus fights him one-on-one in the Grand Finale does Megatron seem to regard him as being above the status of '"annoyance" and equal to "Worthy Opponent".
      • Also his plan with Soundwave; the first is to use him as replacement body.However,when it clears that Soundwave had grown sentient personality, he changes his plan; he convinced Soundwave to fight for the robots with him. Other Megatron usually will fall with his Villain Ball and continue with their plan; even if it risk that the target will betray them.
  • Impostor Dan, from Dan Vs. After stealing Dan's identity, and endearing himself to everyone in town, he is finally taken down by Dan. Being a Magnificent Bastard, he gets out of prison and becomes a telemarketer. He uses his position to drive Dan insane, using a hidden transmitter to act as the voice inside his head, renting an apartment, just to capture them both, and even knowing the characters so well that he can place traps exactly where they will be. When Dan chases him with a baseball bat, he gets a cop to taser him twice. He even manages to do all this while being completely likable, suave, and normal.
  • Dolf from Alfred J Kwak. While he may start off as a mere naughty kid and a bit of a bully, as the series progresses Dolf becomes more and more devious and evil, to the point where he becomes an Adolf Hitler Expy. After years of being abroad, Dolf returns to Great Waterland and manages to stage a coup d'etat, removing the King from his palace and even amassing an army. After falling from power, he returns again after the King has abdicated and now partakes in the first democratic election. In order to get ahead of the other candidates, he hires foreigners to damage the dam that keeps the land from being flooded. He then drops out of the race, saying he has to help the people and can't waste time on elections. He then publicly funds repairs of the dam, making him immensely popular and boosting his chances at the election once he reenters. The only witness, a jellyfish spy called Lispel, attempts to blackmail him, which promptly backfires when Dolf attempts to shoot him to death in order to eliminate any chance of his plans being foiled. Had Lispel not survived the shooting and informed Alfred, Dolf's plan would have succeeded.
  • Megabyte from Re Boot. The low, British baritone voice of Tony Jay certainly helps, but this is one of the few cartoon villains that has never suffered from any sort of Villain Decay, and is actually considered more dangerous as the series progresses. His most magnificent moment (besides the guitar duel) is when he took advantage of the web invasion and subsequent Enemy Mine situation to strand Bob, Mainframe's champion, in the web. While Daemon is more powerful and dangerous, Megabyte's return in season 4 evoked much more fear from the main cast. What makes this so Magnificent is how his dispatching of Bob is so un-magnificent. He shoves him and presses a button. Dead easy. It also helps that judging by the season four cliffhanger, he wins.
    • Megabyte's bastardy in the first few seasons was completely overshadowed by what he got up to in the fourth season. At this point, he has decided to forgo his pursuit of power in favor of personal revenge, which he does in truly epic fashion. He uses his newfound Voluntary Shapeshifting to return to Mainframe in the guise of the original (Season One/Two) Bob, and comes within literal seconds of marrying Dot just to mess with everyone's heads.

Bob: Why, Megabyte?! Why do this?!
Megabyte: It Amused Me.

  • Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender. She's a sociopathic firebending prodigy, but she does it with such style and planning that you can't help but admire her (but hopefully not too much). She manipulates everyone around her, including her own brother, and her plans in the second season require her to out-maneuver another Chessmaster, Long Feng, which she does, effortlessly. Her Crowning Moment of Awesome was conquering Ba Sing Se with little effort and killing Aang with a lightning blast in the middle of his Transformation Sequence in a Dangerously Genre Savvy moment in the second season finale. Keep in mind that she's only fourteen.
    • She wove Manipulative Bastard with The Chessmaster by exploiting sleep deprivation. Heck, she succeeded in killing Aang.
    • Azula is succeeded by Amon in The Legend of Korra, who has obtained this status in record time, SIX EPISODES! Every thing this guy does only gains him more followers. He sends a threat to city hall, and knows that they won't listen and just heighten security at the Pro Bending arena. He then has his fellow equalists disguise as simple audience members and sneak in their weapons by hiding them in their popcorn. Turns out he wanted the entire poice force there so he could take them all out at one before they could stop him and show the whole stadium how powerless they were. He also might have payed off the Pro Bending referees to not call out the Wolfbats team's cheating to ensure that they'd win the match, so Amon could then make an example of them by taking away their bending. And he knows how to take advantage of the situations: he always makes sure that people see the truth of his extremist beliefs that benders abuse their powers. It helps that the first thing we ever see him really do in the show is taking bending powers away from dangerous crime bosses.
      • Technically, he may have achieved this status in THREE episodes, because although he achieved it by the end of Episode 6, he didn't appear in Episode 1, 2, or 5. Yes, this entire feat was accomplished in just three episodes. (Technically, he does appear in the first episode, but just at the very end merely saying "I'm going to put my plan into action now", so he doesn't really do anything until episode 3.)
      • His plan in episode 6 was actually a win/win for Amon. If they do listen to his threat and stop the Pro Bender finals, then the government and police force look weak and useless against him and his Equalist movement. If they don't listen to his threat, well, we saw what happened when they didn't.
    • Book Two of the series gives us Varrick, the goofy, quirky, eccentric, but charismatic business genius who is also a criminal mastermind seeking to profit off of the Water Tribe's war. As he cheerfully puts it, "If you can't make money during a war, then you just plain can't make money!" He does several crooked, rotten, underhanded things that could put the fortunes, reputations, and lives of others on the line while being on the side of the good guys. And even when he's outed as a crook, he keeps the characters' respect by pointing out all the good he's done as well and assisting them yet again by offering them his air ship. He does this from a luxurious prison cell that he had made just for him because he knew he'd go to jail one day, a cell from which he later makes a stylish escape from the moment he sees the opportunity using a hang-glider which he just happened to have smuggled into his jail cell in the event an aerial escape opportunity presented itself. Throughout the season Varrick manages to be surprisingly ingenious in his plots, Crazy Prepared for any eventuality, and genuinely affable to the Krew even as he's manipulating them or screwing them over for his own interests.
      • When he's next seen in Book 3, it's in Zaofu, being treated as a guest of honor and going completely unpunished for any of his actions. Su Yin trusts him and believes him reformed. Come Book 4, he promptly proves her wrong as he helps Kuvira conquer the Earth Kingdom and then subverts that refusing to build Kuvira's weapon of mass destruction, even blowing up the supply of its power source. He is later vital to destroying Kuvira's Humongous Mecha and defeating the Earth Empire. His Character Development even leads to a marriage with Zhu Li in the Grand Finale.
    • Kuvira in Book 4, like Amon, is a Dangerously Genre Savvy Chessmaster Villain with Good Publicity who has so far managed to outmaneuver anyone who's challenged her. She even breaks Amon's record and earns her status in one episode! In "The Battle of Zaofu" she anticipated that Suyin would try to attack her and set up a clever Batman Gambit to capture them making it look like they were the aggressors while maintaining her Villain with Good Publicity status. That forced Korra to challenge her to a one-on-one duel for Zaofu, which Kuvira wins (though granted, the fight was full of Idiot Ball moments on Kuvira's part and she only won due to something she couldn't have planned on). She then attempts to kill Korra, which works out either way because it would either eliminate the Avatar or force Jinora and Opal to violate the duel. The latter gives her just the excuse she needs to invade Zaofu. And though Bolin and Varrick managed to escape, Bataar Jr. has seen enough of the spirit vine experiment to restart the project with Zhu Li's help. In other words, she won decisively. And then there's "Kuvira's Gambit" Kuvira knows that Republic City has been warned of her coming attack, so she moves up the schedule to one week instead of two. In addition, they believe that she is transporting the cannon by rail, so they attempt to disable rail transport; anticipating this, she deploys the cannon on a Colossus instead. And when presented with a Sadistic Choice of leaving Republic City or never seeing Bataar Jr again, her response is to (though not without a great deal of regret) Shoot the Hostage.
  • Nerissa from W.I.T.C.H. Can also be considered a Manipulative Bastard, as can Prince Phobos. Cedric too, especially in the original comic series.
    • Nerissa is hands down the best manipulator in the television series. Her schemes have spanned over ten years to complete her goal of universal conquest to unite all words, Nerissa takes on multiple false identities to help defeat Meridian's evil dictator by posing as a castle servant to pass information to the rebels.
    • Conceived a child who she never raised to lead that same army. Manipulated minor villains to distract the heroes under the guise of wanting to assist them while she worked behind the scenes. After the rebellion won, she maintained her disguise as a loyal servant of the queen, only to steal her powers for herself.
    • Posed as a trusted ally to the main characters, and ultimately fooled God! Kidnapped the main character's boyfriend to transform him into a hate fueled demon to psychologically screw with Will, and commits murder right in front of the 14-15 year old Guardians! Enslaves her former friends by finding their emotional weakness, including one who was a ghost! Nerissa is one planner!
      • Nerissa only really lost because she became obsessed with power and started making stupid mistakes in pursuit of more of it, in addition to Will becoming something of a Magnificent Bastard herself by releasing Phobos from prison with a binding magical promise to not keep Elyon's power for himself. It would have worked, too, except for Cedric guessing the plan and turning on Phobos just before he fully broke the promise.
  • The Aladdin TV show has Mozenrath, comparable to Jafar from the Aladdin movies. (See also the film example section.) Even though the confidence was always there, Mozenrath was able to back up his smugness from the get-go. His very first plan involved using Genie as bait for a magic-devouring monster, in order to make Aladdin capture it for him, thus setting up a simple but yet effective Xanatos Gambit. While it didn't last for long, Mozenrath did indeed end up with the beast under his control. Aladdin and his friends did face many capable enemies during their adventures, but Mozenrath was the one who really made them sweat, always pulling something from his sleeve to put the odds back in his favor. If that wasn't enough, the lad was also blessed with a silver tongue that really got our heroes on the nerves. Really, he spends one episode just sitting on his throne, snarking and gloating to a locked up Aladdin, and it still didn't end in a complete loss for him. After all, there's a reason why he's the only villain to ever hear Aladdin say the words "You win".
    • Mozenrath was, in fact, so dangerous, that Aladdin and Jasmine once tried to sneak into his fortress without asking for Genie's help or even telling him about it. (The reason being, the place had powerful anti-magic defenses, and they knew Genie would have blown their cover badly.) As you might expect, Genie finds out and tries to help anyway... Aladdin and Jasmine's precautions were not without merit.
  • Dogbert on the series Dilbert whose "religious belief" is "that everyone exists for the sole purpose of entertaining me." On one episode, he sets up a carnival booth where you "knock a street urchin off a beam with a baseball and win a toy." In another, he convinces Congress to abandon all holidays in favor of National Dogbert Day (The traditional Dogbert Day feast: the bald eagle. He wanted something special) for the sole purpose of being annoying. (The same reason he invented Secretary's Day.) Also, the aptly named Bob Bastard, the caped and hooded company tester on a quest to crush the hopes and dreams of engineers.

Dilbert: I'm sorry Alice, but he's the embodiment of all that's horrid and loathsome in this world.
Alice: Just because it's written on a bathroom wall doesn't mean it's true.
Dilbert: He wrote it!

  • Tombstone in The Spectacular Spider-Man proved himself to be this upon his very first encounter with Spider Man. He floors the webhead in one swift move, antagonizes him by telling him how he is fighting a losing battle, uses it as an attempt to get Spider Man to do what he wants and finally makes Spider Man look bad in the eyes of the cops. All in around five minutes.
    • Dr. Octopus as "The Master Planner" has also obtained this status. He operates his plan, for the most part, from a mental ward, has Gwen Stacy kidnapped and then has her father betray the law in exchange for her safety, damn well nearly takes over the world in the end... all while managing to casually sit back and drink coffee out of a mug labeled "Evil Genius".
    • Norman Osborn is also up there, playing both sides throughout season 1--getting paid to make supervillains to fight Spider-Man, and then getting paid to come up with the systems to contain them. In season 2 this continues, plus in "Accomplices" he carries out a beautiful Xanatos Gambit wherein he gets the competition to demolish each other fighting over what is, ultimately, a worthless chip--earning himself half a billion dollars with literally no risk or effort. Oh yeah, and he was the Green Goblin all along, willing to break his son's leg to fool Spidey.
  • Danny Phantom has an intriguing one: Vlad Masters/Plasmius. He wants to marry Danny's mom, adopt Danny and kill Jack, not exactly in that order. A lot of his lesser plans work, but the main ones probably would if he had better control of his emotions and kept his priorities straight.
    • For a more straightforward example, there's "Reign Storm" where Vlad's biggest plan then succeeded in spades, manipulating nearly everyone to get what he wants.
    • For even more examples, it can take several rewatches of the show to understand Vlad's plans and just how many of them he has. Some great examples include the fact that Vlad actually sent many of the ghosts Danny fought shortly after gaining ghost powers and the surveillance footage he received from Valerie's suit to clone Danny.
  • Darkseid from the Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League. Even though Superman usually won the day, he took every defeat (and victory) with the same steely expression. Even when Darkseid was beaten on his own planet, Superman threw his body to his slaves on Apokolips and said they could do whatever they wanted to with him. The slaves began to pick up their cherished leader and take care of him. While being carried off, Darkseid gave a confused and horrified Superman a parting line:

"I am many things, Kal-El, but here...I am God."

    • Arguably just as impressive (even if it didn't succeed) was his brilliant Evil Plan in the Justice League episode, Twilight: Playing Both Sides in the conflict between Superman and Brainiac. He successfully manipulates both Superman and Brainiac into believing he's on their side, pitting them against each other and playing both sides. He boxes them both into this even though both Superman and Brainiac know that they can't trust him and know that he'll betray them. But appealing to Superman's (and the Justice Leagues') sense of morality and Brainiac's self-preservation he does it. By the end, Superman is incapacitated and Brainiac is under Darkseid's control with him moments away from achieving his ultimate goal. Only the last minute arrival of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Orion (which nobody could've forseen) foiled him.
    • Lex Luthor from the same series tends to shift between Magnificent Bastard and Smug Snake constantly, usually depending on his current plan. He was clearly in the Magnificent Bastard zone in Justice League Unlimited, where he secretly finances Project Cadmus to be a constant thorn in the Justice League's side while also running a fake presidential campaign to personally rile up Superman, culminating into open warfare between the two factions. Luthor uses that conflict as a cover for his real plan: steal Cadmus technology and upload his mind in an immortal android body. When Brainiac took over his body as its new vessel, Luthor convinces the Kryptonian AI to share control and become a god together. After being defeated and exposed as a criminal, Luthor joins the Legion of Doom as Gorilla Grodd's subordinate, only for him to quickly usurp leadership after Grodd's plan to turn mankind into apes fails. To solidify his authority, Luthor creates secret contingency plans for each Legion member. In the series finale, when his plans accidentally revive Darkseid, Luthor and his followers team up with the Justice League to stop the New God's conquest of Earth. At the climax of battle, Luthor is able to convince Metron to lead him to the forbidden Source Wall. Despite the dangers, Luthor survives the ordeal and returns to Earth with a prize in his hand: The Anti-Life Equation. Knowing that Darkseid could not refuse the offer, Luthor is able to take the Lord of Apokolips with him into the Source Wall, thus putting an end to Darkseid's reign forever and saving the universe in the process.

Lex Luthor:"President? Do you have any idea how much power I'd have to give up to be President? That's right, conspiracy buff. I spent $75 million on a fake presidential campaign. All just to tick Superman off."

    • Just as ruthlessly efficient as her comics counterpart, Amanda Waller is one of the few to stare Batman down without being remotely intimidated. Waller repeatedly acts to keep the League and other superpowered beings under control, creating multiple countermeasures and plans against them, even designing disposable superheroes with short lifespans as Project Cadmus's own personal attack force. Even in old age, Waller manipulates the implantation of Bruce Wayne's DNA into a man to father a child who will be Bruce's son, while planning to have the parents murdered to recreate Batman for the future.
  • In Justice League Doom, Vandal Savage, the Big Bad, steals all of Batman's plans aimed at incapacitating the Justice League should they ever turn to darkness or prove too dangerous, taking them and making them far more lethal and dangerous. Recruiting his very own Legion of Doom, Vandal has them lure the League into traps before putting the countermeasures into placing, nearly killing every single member of the League in a single night. Vandal reveals his true plans to cause a solar flare to strike earth so he may cause the conflict that he feels is necessary for human advancement and cause the world to submit to his rule, offering to share the rulership with his new Legion. A charming, sophisticated villain, Vandal shows he has surpassed the savagery he has born into, nearly completely erasing the League in one fell stroke with the world falling perilously close to Vandal's utter victory.
  • Surprisingly enough, The Riddler of the Batman: The Animated Series universe tiptoes around this trope. Especially in his Start of Darkness episode, he shows several traits of magnificent bastardry: he delivers an ominous riddle to his former boss knowing he'll come after him, and forcing Batman to choose between Robin's life and said boss', knows the hero will choose the former; he has the dynamic duo leave their utility belts behind; and finally, even though his plan is thwarted, manages to avoid capture and emotionally scar his target forever. And in his third and last episode, he almost kills Batman! Two times out of three, the Caped Crusader is able to overcome his adversary thanks to some convenient object at his disposal (namely a micro-computer and an explosion-resistant safe). To top it off, he's voiced by Lionel Luthor himself, John Glover!
    • The urbane, sophisticated Ra's Al-Ghul is acknowledged by Batman as his greatest and most deadly adversary. Forming the worldwide, powerful League of Shadows, Ra's secretly tests Batman with a series of clever plots to determine if he is worthy to be his heir in the League and inherit Ra's own wish to save the planet. When Batman refuses, Ra's decides to enact a plan to wipe out most of humanity for the betterment of the world, and each time returns to drive Batman to his limits. Even after his seeming death, Ra's survives by ordering his daughter Talia, Bruce's onetime lover, to allow him to possess her body, so he may rejuvenate and possess Bruce himself in the future. Time and again, Ra's shows exactly why Batman himself calls him his greatest enemy.
    • And of course, there's also The Joker, particularly for his actions in Mask of the Phantasm and Return of The Joker.
  • Slade from Teen Titans normally falls on the Smug Snake side of things, due to his overconfidence and habit of grabbing the Villain Ball at inopportune moments, but in the three-part season finale "The End" he graduates to full Magnificent Bastard by orchestrating the downfall of a nearly all-powerful demon at no real cost to himself, getting his humanity back (which was his main goal all along) and doing it with style. Of course, being voiced by Ron Perlman helps.

Demon Warrior: "Fool. You cannot hope to defeat pure evil!"
Slade: "Actually, I'm not such a nice guy myself." (activates hidden explosive and blows demon to cinders) "Don't bother getting up. I'll let myself out."

  • Bizarrely, Zim from Invader Zim can be this on occasion, in episodes like "Future Dib." Usually he's Too Dumb to Live.
    • A more straightforward example would be Tak, who would have succeeded if the Villain Ball hadn't made her brag to Zim.
  • Derek Powers from Batman Beyond. Manipulated an entire city with his company, and only grew more deadly when he gained radioactive powers. Using his money, intel, and connections, he kept people under his thumb and proved to be a deadly opponent for the new Batman.
    • His son Paxton also qualifies, arranging for his father's exposure to the public and eventual demise despite Batman's best efforts to stop him. He does next to nothing for the entirety of Season Two, but then again, why bother? He had already won in his first appearance!
  • V.V. Argost from The Secret Saturdays. Bold, manipulating, cunning, and brilliant, he often wins by the end of the episode and has proven to have a large array of technology and knowledge in his goal to Take Over the World. Oh, and his voice is modeled after Vincent Price.
  • Heloise from Jimmy Two-Shoes has traits of this. She's normally on top, even outwitting her boss on multiple occasion, one of which drove him to a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Mojo Jojo can be this at times. While his plans tend to be hair-brained, sometimes he's shown enough savvy and manipulation to casually perform things that people rarely notice until they happen (the "Powerpuff Girls Rule!" special is a fine example.) The movie played this straight.
  • Eric Cartman from South Park is this in a few episodes. While he acts like a Smug Snake or a Too Dumb to Live idiot many times, he displays an uncanny level of charisma and social savvy. Very often, he is shown to be capable of manipulating hordes of people into going along with his latest audacious plan, whether they are aware of it or not, and treat it like sheer child's play. A few shining examples can be found where he staged the utter ruining of a teenager who scammed him out of sixteen bucks and manipulating Cthulhu itself into siding with him just to get back at people who pissed him off.
    • Wendy Testaberger is no slouch at this either when she puts her mind to it. After all, she sent a substitute teacher into the sun because she'd caught Stan's eye. Nevermind that she didn't show any interest in return.

Kyle: Wendy - you didn't!
Wendy: I told her... Don't. Fuck. With. Wendy. Testaberger!

    • Lennart Bedrager, Big Bad of Season 20. He's actually an American internet troll who rose to power in Denmark and created Troll Trace in order to troll the entire world by sending it into World War III. He knew that when people had the power to look up anyone's internet history, everyone would become paranoid and everyone would hate each other when they see what they did online. And why did he do it? Because it's fucking hilarious!
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Pirate leader Hondo Ohnaka seems like a drunken, idiotic pirate at first. However, so far he's managed to capture the very powerful trio of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Count Dooku in an attempt to ransom them to the Republic. Dooku never truly explains how he was captured (only warning the Jedi that Hondo's more clever than he looks), and Hondo manages to drug Anakin and Obi-Wan even after they are aware he's trying to do so and take measures to avoid it. During their attempts to escape, Hondo keeps his jovial personality and insists that it's nothing personal, and that once he has his money they can all go back to being friends.
    • How about Palpatine? He's responsible for engineering this entire massive war and will win regardless which side triumphs, either with the Republic as the Chancellor or the Separatists as Darth Sidious, with a powerful new sith follower (either Dooku or Anakin) as icing on the cake.
    • Cad Bane is a master of this from the get-go, managing to successfully take the Galactic senate hostage, break Ziro out of prison, and get away completely scot-free in his first episode. From that point onwards, his plans get crazier and clever as they go on, from disguising himself as a clone trooper and hiding aboard a dropship of actual clones, leading two Jedi masters into a booby-trapped space station, to breaking out of prison again by instigating no less than Boba Fett himself into starting a riot... Every time he appears, he one-ups his previous insane plan, and almost every time, he gets away.
    • Maul earns the title in "Eminence". Over the course of a single episode, he goes from near-death in the void of space to commanding a veritable army of criminals through little more than words and a careful application of force. He definitively earns the title in "Shades of Reason", successfully concocting a plan that allowed Pre Vizsla to conquer Mandalore with the public's support, then using Vizsla's pride to manipulate him into a duel that ended with Vizsla dead and Maul, as per Mandalorian tradition, as the new leader of Death Watch, and, through a puppet Prime Minister who Maul himself installed, ruler of Mandalore.
    • Barriss Offee' plan in the Season 5 finale qualifies her as one. If it hadn't been for Ventress (and a moment of Bond Villain Stupidity in leaving Ventress alive), Barriss would have gotten away with bombing the Temple while Ahsoka was executed for the crime.
    • Count Dooku during "Rise of Clovis" and "Crisis At The Heart". He and Darth Sidious are both working on the scheme, but he's the one that carries the plan out and plays Clovis like a flute the whole time.
  • In Star Wars: Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn pulls it off with style while making his transition out of the Star Wars Legends universe. He runs an operation for the entire length of Season 3 that effectively manipulates the Lothal cell into revealing their base to him, shows off some excellent combat skills, and uses a Sherlock Scan on multiple occasions to figure out exactly who he's fighting and then puts that knowledge to use to defeat them. If it weren't for the interference of the Bendu, a being he had absolutely no knowledge of and therefore no ability to plan for, he'd likely have succeeded in killing or capturing the entire Rebel cell.
  • Rataro from Thundercats 2011. Elegant, sophisticated, and tyrannical, Rataro has his own agenda for domination and couldn't care less about Mumm-Ra, who may also be a strong contender for this trope.
  • Ed Wuncler Sr. from The Boondocks is a combination of this Complete Monster and The Chessmaster. And keep in mind this is a fat, rich old man, who would normally not be the least bit threatening but let's look at all the shit he's done shall we?
    • He opened a restaurant using illegal workers and Robert as his Unwitting Pawn, knowing full well the restaurant's food was so addictive it would turn the nearby park into a cesspool of crime, thus lowering the property values so he could buy the land cheap.
    • He tricked Jazmine, a 10 year old girl who started a lemonade stand, into being partners with him and then made it so that she ended up owing him money and allowed him to sell his own cruelty free lemonade.
    • He had his dumbass grandson Ed III, and Ed's friend Gin Rummy break into people's houses so they'd buy his security system.
    • He not only had a girl fake a serious injury so Huey would quit the kickball team, thus restoring the curve, but then blackmailed him to play again.
    • Finally, he had Ed and Rummy set up a bomb in one of his buildings, and then calmly reveals when Huey and super agent Jack Flowers foil this plot that it was designed to inspire patriotism, sell merchandise, and make a movie about an obnoxious security guard who would have died in the explosion. And to top it off, when Flowers counts down 3 seconds before he shoots him, Wuncler calls PRESIDENT FUCKING OBAMA to stops him, then calmly tells them to let themselves out. And does all of this just by being crafty, evil and obscenely wealthy. Magnificent Bastard indeed.
    • Rollo Goodlove, the self-serving black liberal activist, also qualifies. In his first appearance, he manages to come out on top in his first appearance, when he is revealed to be partners with Ann Coulter, who plays the part of a conservative nemesis to get "redneck money". In his second appearance, he hijacks Huey's anti-BET campaign to promote himself, and then received a job from the network.
  • Carmen Sandiego. In the mid-90's cartoon version, Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, she was as slick and suave as a female James Bond, but would steal priceless artifacts either just for the thrill or for a huge not-so-evil plan (in one episode, she stole several rare statues to make the worlds largest chess game) and would constantly bait and taunt the two detectives trying to catch her, all for the sport of the hunt (even though she was the prey.) And said detectives actually greatly respect her for this!
    • Her eviler counterpart, Maelstrom, also qualifies. To put it clearly, he was for Carmen in her ACME detective past what Carmen herself is to ACME detectives now.
  • Chase Young from Xiaolin Showdown, mostly during the second season in which he debuted, would meticulously manipulate events so that even if the monks won, Chase would benefit from it, mostly with regard to his plans to corrupt Omi. This lead to him, on several occasions, helping the monks in order to gain Omi's trust, as well as manipulating other villains to force Omi into situations where he would have to resort to underhanded tactics not approved of by his friends.
  • Alejandro from Total Drama World Tour; at least by the usual standards of Total Drama. He manipulates more successfully than other antagonists in the past, and is responsible for more eliminations than anyone else. Declaring to take the contestants down "one by one", Alejandro first targets Team Victory, playing on Harold's sense of honor to get him to quit and leaving Bridgette stuck to a flagpole. When Team Victory dwindles down to only DJ, he easily wins over DJ's trust after painting a fake Egyptian symbol on Irene, in an attempt to make him believe his animal curse has been "lifted", before "accidentally" confessing that the whole thing was fake. When Duncan returns, Alejandro wastes no time exposing Duncan's infidelity, putting a target on Duncan's back as well as weakening Team Amazon. Making it to the finale of the season, despite being Out-Gambitted by Heather. Alejandro makes up for it in All Stars by stealing her immunity idol, turning her own manipulation of the team against her. Charming, devious and ruthless Alejandro's Villain Song; This is How We Will End It, fittingly depicted him as a puppetmaster pulling at everyone's strings to the end.
    • Total Drama's original manipulator, Heather, as mentioned above, is the only one who is able to match him (and beat him, in the US ending) in the same series.
  • In The Simpsons, the organized crime community as a whole shows signs of this, but outside of the organized crime community there's also Sideshow Bob, and the Springfield Cat Burglar.
    • The Springfield Cat Burglar, from "Homer The Vigilante," though a one-shot character, arguably qualifies as this. He manages to steal from several homes very sneakily, (the in-story newspaper states that he struck at least 15 homes) and is implied to have done so without waking up any of their occupants; he also distracts the pets with food. He leaves a Calling Card, too, and yet this doesn't lead back to him. His identity is revealed when Abe Simpson finds a suspiciously large gem on Malloy's coffee table, but that he would even think to look could probably be attributable to "mistaking" Malloy coming into his room for the cat burglar coming into his room earlier on. Also, once caught, he returns the items he stole and speaks very kindly about the rest of Springfield. He gets put in jail anyway, and tells the police that he buried millions of dollars' worth of money under a big T. Idiotically enough, the police as well as the whole town rush to the site, not bothering to leave anyone behind to supervise his cell. As such, when they get to the big T, instead of finding the money, they find a letter stating that the money isn't really there and that he's used this time to escape from jail.
    • Sideshow Bob, however, is arguably the most obvious Magnificent Bastard in Springfield. His schemes are considerably clever, and typically just so happen to get thwarted by circumstances. Examples include:
      • Krusty Gets Busted, in which Bob frames Krusty for armed robbery, and takes over Krusty's show. He manages to convince almost everyone of Krusty's guilt, except for Bart and Lisa, who just so happen to uncover the whole scheme when Sideshow Bob says he has big shoes to fill.
      • Black Widower, in which after being released from prison, Sideshow Bob convinces every Simpson except Bart that he has reformed. Bob then marries Selma Bouvier, who has made a lot of money in the stock market, so as to inherit her money. Bob also finds out that Selma tends to smoke after watching MacGyver, and that she has an impaired sense of smell. So he then decides that one day, to get the money, he will get up and leave while she is watching MacGyver, and leave the gas valve open so as to fill the room Selma is in with natural gas, without her noticing, such that when she lights up to smoke her cigarette when the show is over, the ignition will blow up the room she is in, killing her and leaving him with her money. The only reason this does not work is that Bart, who was already distrustful of Bob, also knew these things about Selma and managed to guess what Bob's plan was.
      • Cape Feare, in which Sideshow Bob manages to convince the parole people that he has reformed. Upon hearing of his release, the Simpson family flees Springfield to a houseboat in Terror Lake, but Bob manages to find their houseboat anyway. While the family is asleep, Bob disconnects the boat from the dock, and ties up all the Simpson family except Bart, including the pets. Then, cornering Bart at the edge of the boat, Bob is just about to kill Bart until Bart convinces Bob to sing the entire score to H.M.S. Pinafore first. By the time Bob is finished singing, the boat arrives in Springfield, where the police are waiting for Bob and have him arrested.
  • Between all the Organ Theft, kidnapping and extortion, Murdoc definitely has his moments.
  • The Evil Manta from The Little Mermaid series surpasses even Ursula at being a formidable, manipulative, and very efficient nemesis.
  • Taurus Bulba was the closest thing that Darkwing Duck had to this trope. He managed to run an operation from behind bars, and make his escape by turning his prison cell into a mobile aircraft. Like the Evil Manta mentioned above, Tim Curry providing the voice really helps matters.
  • Wicked Cultured Diabolical Mastermind Valmont from Jackie Chan Adventures was a contender in the first two seasons, prior to his Villain Decay.
  • Rava from Galtar and the Golden Lance. When she's assigned to take down Galtar, she actually succeeds in capturing him, and only ultimately loses because she also used the assignment to set Tormack up, she tried to pull an I Have You Now, My Pretty and imprisoned Galtar when he refused, and Tormack and Galtar pulled an Enemy Mine to restore the status quo. In a series where the villains tend to be generally a touch more credible than most similar action cartoons of the age, Rava is by far the most dangerous.
  • Loki from Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes, first established during flashbacks in his first appearance and cemented when he explains how pretty much the entire twenty-six episode season was the result of his plotting during the Season Finale.
    • The second season features the machinations of the Skrull Captain America, who really utilizes people's trust in Cap well in order to further the Skrulls' plot for Earth. Preying on the Avengers' trust in the real Cap to keep them under surveillance without Iron Man to get in the way of plans, as well as dealing with the Hulk by having him voluntarily revert to Bruce Banner and letting Gen. Ross's Hulkbuster units detain him are two instances of this star-spangled phony's magnificence in bastardry.
  • Discord from the opening episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic season 2. He's as old as-possibly older than-both Luna and Celestia and the Avatar of Disharmony that ruled Equestria in an endless maelstrom of anarchy and madness and led to the discovery of the Elements of Harmony; yet he's also one of the Largest Hams available, while still being incredibly sneaky and evil. By the end of the first episode, he's played everyone for fools without even trying, all the while enjoying every second and relishing in the mayhem and suffering he causes. It helps greatly that he is both apparently inspired by and shares actors with another magnificent bastard, Q.
    • Queen Chrysalis is a more straightforward example. She shapeshifts into the exact lookalike of Princess Cadence in order to marry then bump off Prince Shining Armour so that she can rule Equestria. She's also an Emotion Eater who possesses the ability to gain power from other people's love. When her true identity is exposed she reveals her Xanatos Gambit: using the power she's gained from Shining Armour's love to defeat Celestia and take Equestria by force.
    • Lord Tirek made a claim for this with his dealing with Discord. When Discord is sent by Celestia to stop him from attacking Ponyville, Tirek appeals to both his bad side and his good side in order to talk him into working with him. He does the former by stating that the "friendship" the ponies have offered Discord was nothing but tricking him into a different type of imprisonment, one where he's willingly imprisoned himself and is kept from exploiting his chaotic powers to their fullest extent. He does the latter by implying, but never stating, that he is now Discord's true friend, even to the point of giving him a relic that once belonged to his brother, Scorpan. It turns out to all be an act so that Discord could help him reach full power before he then turns on Discord and drains his magic, revealing to him that he considers friendship, and his brother for that matter, to be worthless to him. He becomes more reliant on brute force afterwards, but his skills as a manipulator were surely impressive enough if they had even Discord fooled.
    • Probably the biggest example is Adagio Dazzle from the spin-off movie Rainbow Rocks, who's something of a Princess Azula Expy. She proves herself with a simple plan and manages to adapt quickly to manipulate everyone else to leave the Dazzlings on top. Adagio plays the "Master manipulator" to perfection - she never reveals her full hand, never plays every card right away. She has that deadly combination of being both dangerously cunning and incredibly patient, like a spider weaving her web while lying in wait for her prey to come to her. In the final battle, she Won't Work On Mes the usual One-Hit Kill (Having ALREADY manipulated the Humane Six into letting her drain most of its energy for her OWN use.) and it's only by bolstering up for a second shot that the Humane Six don't lose outright. Afterwards, she still manages to flee the scene relatively unscathed. To sum it up, her plan is to Take Over the World using the power of Awesome Music. That alone is magnificent.
  • Skipper from The Penguins of Madagascar qualifies. He happily has outmoded gender stereotypes, is openly speciest, prefers violence to solve everything, has willingly admitted that his ideal future is a post apocalyptic scenario that involves roving bands of irradiated mutants, and his team WILL succeed in whatever it is they are doing. This has ranged from escaping a zoo, preforming a good deed for a day, stealing fish while disguised as King Julien, and defeating a giant MP3 player with the power of musical mind control from taking over the city with an evil dolphin at the helm. Unlike most of the rest of the entries, Skipper is the hero of the story.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series gives The Kingpin and The Red Skull this treatment. The former is a crimelord who is behind almost every godawful thing that happens in-series, mastermind The Syndicate and the Insidious Six from the shadows, consistently evading incarceration, and frustrating Spider-Man at every turn. The latter's a Nazi spymaster who has backup plans for every situation, anticipates every contingency, and is only taken out via Captain America's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The Hobgoblin retains his status as one from the comics as well. In his introductory two-parter, he's a hired mercenary working for Norman Osborn using goblin tech that Osborn created, and assigned to take out the Kingpin. Hobgoblin then doublecrosses Osborn in favor of working for Kingpin against him instead, but then is revealed to be a double agent still working for Osborn. But then he quadruple-crosses both Osborn and the Kingpin, taking over Kingpin's HQ and holding Harry Osborn hostage as leverage so that Norman couldn't stop him. And that's not getting into how effortlessly he plays with circumstances in order to derail Herbert Landon's project in the X-Men crossover two-parter or how he almost gets his hand on the dimensional transporter due to planting a spy in Kingpin's organization ahead of time, or even almost gets Felicia Hardy to marry him so that he can cease her wealth and resources. He unfortunately becomes subject to Villain Decay and The Worf Effect when up against the Green Goblin, but his run was good while it lasted.
  • Jerry Mouse in Tom and Jerry can be this depending on the situation and how his actions are presented. Other times, he's a Guile Hero.
  • While The Hacker suffered from Villain Decay, a new villain named Ledge becomes this when he tricks the Cybersquad, and Hackerizes them (minus Inez) and he Hackerizes almost all of the citizens in Sensible Flats, all to impress Hacker. And, that he succeeded in hurting the Cybersquad more than Hacker ever did made him a dangerous foe.
  • In Class of the Titans, the Big Bad Cronus, lord of Time and the king of the Titans, is the ruthless villain who plots his own escape from Tartarus and promptly asks the Oracle of Delphi for what can stop him. Upon learning of the young would-be heroes, Cronus repeatedly showcases new plans that put him close to completely dominating the world with the young heroes struggling to match him. Cronus takes hostages to lure others into traps, including gods and even fakes his own defeat to take over the underworld. Rarely at a loss, Cronus always rebounds from his defeats and even ends the series defeated but alive and powerful as ever, plotting to weaponize the now unknown future to complete all his plans and dominate the world.
  • XANA wasn't initially much of this, but four seasons of evolution through Jeremy's abuse of the Return to the past made it gradually smarter and more powerful, turning him into a Chessmaster, then a Manipulative Bastard, and eventually going toward Magnificent Bastard territory. His status is best shown when he succeeds at destroying the core of Lyoko and takes possession of new Lyoko warrior William Dunbar to serve as his personal avatar to carry out his plans in the final season.
    • And just how do we know that all those times it caused all those calamities which forced Jeremy to use Return to the past weren't part of a Batman Gambit to make itself more powerful in the first place?
  • Belphegor, the main antagonist of the Belphegor French animated series could qualify as one. He's a Diabolical Mastermind, good at manipulating people and anticipating everything that's thrown at him, so he's never once caught or his identity revealed. You have a trap door in your house that he's conveniently standing over? Well too bad, he knew and had already made it unresponsive to your device! It helps that he has cameras installed almost everywhere in Paris, uses his mooks to spy, steal and kidnap for him (in the few cases he doesn't just do it himself), and apparently has enough money and access to high-tech gadgets and top secret, untested military technology, that can make a mad scientist drool at the thought. To actually make him lose his cool, you have to do something pretty terrible or disruptive to his plans, that could cause a really angry response. Otherwise, everything you do is met either with boredom, slight amusement or mild annoyance on his part.
  • Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century fits the trope beautifully. He's the Man Behind the Man, the Diabolical Mastermind, and the Evil Genius... but doggone if he isn't smooth about it! He fully embodies a Victorian gentleman and a ruthless criminal, and he practically purrs when he has the upper hand.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Professor Pericles — the show's Big Bad — definitely qualifies. Every episode he shows up in, he gets exactly what he wants, usually at the expense of the gang. He's only finally Out-Gambitted in Season 2, Episode 13, when the gang pulls a Batman Gambit on him and the rest of the original Mystery Incorporated to get them to reveal the location of their pieces of the planeospheric disc, leaving Pericles and his comrades with nothing. However, he rebounds big-time, unleashing genetically mutated creatures of his creation upon the area in order to draw out his enemies, successfully claiming the disc, ensuring that his partner Ricky is unable to turn on him, and holding the entirety of Crystal Cove in his talons so that the way to the cursed treasure, and his master the Evil Entity, is paved for him.
    • The only other Scooby Doo villain who qualifies is Ben Ravencroft, the charismatic book author descended from a witch from "The Witch's Ghost" movie. He has two things in common with Pericles: his status as this trope, and the fact that his downfall comes from his success in his ultimate goal. Oddly enough, he bears a striking resemblance to David Xanatos. Also, he's voiced by Tim Curry.
  • Generator Rex gives us Black Knight. From posing as a Reasonable Authority Figure, keeps her own true power hidden to use at later date when necessary, plays politics with the Consortium, and pulling off a success starscream to gain supreme power. She even admits that she wants power, believing that you have to admit it to yourself to get it. Throughout it all, she shows absolute Nerves of Steel, is soft-spoken, polite, acts as a Friendly Enemy despite being a ruthless foe, and so forth. Even when defeated, she ultimately escapes and becomes a Karma Houdini.
    • Big Bad Van Kleiss also managed this during the series finale where he hijacks Black Knight's plans. Unlike Black Knight, though, he does not come out unscathed.
  • Ghostfreak/Z'Skayr of Ben 10 falls into this category. He rode the DNA of another alien into the Omnitrix so that he could manipulate whoever ended up with it into doing his dirty work. It was heavily implied that he was behind the transformations that Ben didn't choose, a large amount of which resulted in Ben turning into . . . well, him; Ben acted meaner whenever he was transformed into him, which means that Ghostfreak was influencing him to some degree. He ended up summoning his minions to Earth while Ben was transformed into him (presumably controlling him entirely, which it was revealed he could do) with a plan to bring him back to life and turn Earth into a world of darkness just so that he could roam the planet without having to wear his outer skin. In the end, it was only his sheer arrogance that got him killed (twice) by exposing himself to sunlight without his outer skin, and the second time he went back into the Omnitrix while leaving his body to die. Oh yeah, and he played Vilgax in Alien Force, taking control of his planet just so he could get another chance to take Ben completely. The only way for him to be permanently destroyed was for the Omnitrix to be destroyed, which Ben did after getting the Ultimatrix.
    • Vilgax was not this in the original series (he was more something in the vein of The Juggernaut), but got turned into one in Ultimate Alien to make up for the Villain Decay he had suffered in Alien Force. Having lost his empire, he impersonated an Eldritch Abomination amongst human adorators, manipulated them into leading him to said Abomination's heart, faked submission and eventually Out-Gambitted the creatures, taking its power for himself. And when Ben still successfully defeated him and took the power from him, he attempted to convince Ben into going Knight Templar using the power. He almost succeeded.
    • Also in the running are Aggregor in Ultimate Alien, who was underhanded and competent enough to succeed in his plans prior to his transformation into Ultimate Aggregor, and Princess Attea in Omniverse, who ends up a Karma Houdini after successfully ousting her father from power and taking complete control of her own planet through intricate planning, and had come dangerously close to claiming Earth too!
    • Proctor Servantis, the creepy yet charismatic leader of the Rooters, is also a qualifier considering just how far and how long his master plan spanned.
  • Greg Weisman, responsible for the above Magnificent Bastards of W.I.T.C.H., The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Gargoyles, has also produced The Light of Young Justice, a Legion of Doom note to erase any conception of the Legion of Doom as campy or incompetent. Vandal Savage and Lex Luthor in particular stand out as this trope.
    • Vandal Savage is the leader and founder of the Light. Intending on creating a secret group to counter the Justice League, Savage directs most of its greatest moves, such as forming alliances with various villain factions, continuously using fronts and proxies so when the League defeats them, the Light remains undetected. Making alliances with alien groups like the Reach and Apokolips, Vandal engineers the near downfall of the world and at one point completely enslaving the Justice League and sending them off-world to fulfill the Light's purposes, framing them as criminals on another planet. Bent on creating a world of conflict where humans will be forced to evolve and adapt, Vandal constantly shows why he is worthy of being the head of the Light.
    • Lex Luthor is as charming and intelligent as ever. Forming Project Cadmus to create Superboy with his own DNA, Lex constantly stays a step of the heroes, even filling Superboy himself with doubt over his true place. Organizing a peace treaty between the countries of North and South Rhelasia, Lex manipulates events so both will unite under the Light's guidance and constantly proves invaluable in assisting Vandal with the best of the Light's schemes. Upon realizing the danger of the Reach, he and Vandal help to form counter measures against them, ending the second season by escaping completely free of their own crimes and proving why they're a match for any adversary.
  • Abraham Kane of Motorcity. He's a Villain with Good Publicity and lots of money, usually able to talk to the Burners through a screen (to make himself appear larger) rather than face to face, which makes him look impressive. The Duke of Detroit is also this at times, although more of a Friendly Enemy. As he's a Large Ham, he often likes to oppose the Burners in style, particularly with lots of lights and music, as well as firing at the Burners with limousines as ammo.
  • In an episode of Archer, Lana decides to get even on Cyril for cheating on her by having sex with everyone else in the office. At least that's what she tells Cyril. In reality, she makes all the guys pay her for the privilege of saying they had sex with her. Gillette flat out calls her a "magnificent bastard" for this.
    • From the same show, Malory Archer is another anti-heroic example. She has a natural gift for playing both sides of a conflict in such a way that her actions only ever have consequences for other people. The only time it ever failed her was when Pam beat her up at the end of "El Secuestro".
  • Rick Sanchez of Rick and Morty. In spite of being a drunken, selfish mess, is perhaps the multiverse's most brilliant mind. He always bests his adversaries in all matters except affairs of the heart, to the point that he gets Satan to attempt suicide.
    • Evil Morty got to this from his opening episode where it's revealed that he was the mastermind behind the serial killings of multiple Ricks and Mortys across the multiverse, and used an android of Evil Rick's as a puppet. Then in The Ricklantis Mixup he one-ups C-137 Prime!Rick by winning the Presidency of the Citadel of Ricks, gaining a large percent of the Rick vote despite being a Morty, and on taking power, murders The Illuminati who had been in charge of the Council of Ricks that had merely been the front and becomes unquestioned master of the Citadel.
  • In TRON: Uprising, we have General Tessler. Legitimately, his tactics should earn him a 0% Approval Rating, but his Faux Affably Evil persona and carefully cultivated bag of half-truths leave Beck as a Hero with Bad Publicity, and earned him the loyalty of Paige even after he slaughtered her friends from the medcenter.
  • The Choten from Kaijudo. Few tropes could better define The Choten. He is an extremely sick person, but there is no doubt about him being incredibly badass. As he shows at various points in the series, but especially the first season finale, he knows how to roll with defeat like a real Chessmaster too.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy has a very surprising case in the episode "If It Smells Like An Ed." The Eds spent the episode trying to find the culprit who framed them for stealing a paint brush, wiping off Plank's mouth, and ramming a hockey stick through a giant paper mache heart. In the end, they don't clear their names and get humiliated. Then they find out who concocted this whole scheme: Jimmy. Just because Eddy gave him a wedgie at the start of the episode. Oh, and Ed and Edd did absolutely nothing to him, but were punished anyway. And then Jimmy sends them to the Kankers. He gloats at them as he leaves...then slips on a banana peel and cries for Sarah to come help him.
  • Gravity Falls gives us Bill Cipher, a seemingly omnipotent being who has his grand apocalyptic plan completely mapped out from the start, has been putting the pieces into place for years, and doesn't allow any apparent defeat to be a setback, only a delaying of the inevitable. Bill is fond of making deals with people in which he gives them something they want or think they need, and in return, they can be used and likely screwed over by him later so that he can reap even better benefits. As it's said, he would use or possess anyone in order to get what he wants, shown clearly when while possessing the time traveler Blendin, he takes advantage of a distraught, emotional Mabel and tricks her into giving him a dimensional rift belonging to their uncle, and then smashes it, creating the tear between the two worlds, bringing about Weirdmageddon. He rarely appears, but his presence is felt even when he's gone, and while undeniably diabolical and sadistic, he's also hilarious and great fun to watch and speculate about.
  • In Star Vs The Forces Of Evil we have the evil, slick, cool-headed Patrick Bateman-esque lizard monster known only as Toffee. First he gets Ludo to hire him simply by making him believe that he did hire him, and proceeds to advise a fairly competent Evil Plan that's clearly truly intended to test the capabilities of both Star and her wand. He then skillfully manipulates the events of "Mewnipendance Day" resulting in Ludo firing Buff Frog. Furthermore, he manipulated Ludo's army into throwing Ludo out after a situation arranged as to make Ludo look especially bad, and becomes their leader instead. And it's implied that he'd been waiting a while for Ludo to put on the display of weakness he needed to convince the monsters to rebel. During all this time he also made sure to stay out of Star's way so that she wouldn't notice him, and the fact that Marco and Star aren't even aware of his existence until the Season 1 finale proves he's savvy enough to keep himself a secret until his presence needs to be made known. At the end of Season 1, Toffee gets what he wants: the wand is destroyed, and is only partially reformed thanks to a heroic unicorn, but with one broken shard still the grasp of his hand!
    • Season 2 makes him an even bigger example of this trope: it's revealed that Toffee had his spirit transported to the Realm of Magic, a space linked to the split shards of the wand's crystal, and began corrupting all the magic there, also using that magic to create a new wand for Ludo to find. As Ludo exploited the wand's corrupted magic all while Star was having trouble with her own wand, it created a "fritz" where all magic in Mewni began getting drained, corrupted, and absorbed into Toffee, and were he to become all powerful with this magic, the dark magic spell cast at him by Queen Moon long ago would lose effect and there'd be no one else who could wield magic to use against him ever again. Star's wand had also been tainted and it re-created his missing finger that he hoped to restore to his hand. Speaking to Ludo through his wand, Toffee had Ludo swipe Star's magic spellbook along with it's genie, Sir Glossaryk of Terms, and told Ludo to read from the Eclipsa chapter to enact a dark spell that allowed him to overtake Ludo's mind and possess his body. With this, not only does Toffee transform the wand into a new arm and hand for himself (with the crystal shard grafted into it) and use his new magic power to dominate Queen Moon and the Magical High Commission in battle, but he takes ownership of the spellbook away from Ludo, fully counting on Ludo getting so enraged by his inability to use the book that he burns it, which is exactly what ends up happening. Afterwards he has Ludo ravage the kingdom of Mewni with his rat army and take over Butterfly Castle, luring Star to them so that the wand can be cleaved back together in his hand, but when Star instead casts the Whispering Spell to destroy Ludo's wand, sealing herself into the same space where Toffee is, Toffee improvises and, speaking through Ludo, coerces Queen Moon into giving him back his finger so that he can fully regenerate himself, but he doesn't return Star to life like he promised he would. With seemingly no more magic to be used against him and his revenge on Moon seemingly taken, as well as his finger and full strength restored, Toffee would now presumably raise a new army of monsters to conquer a land already in shambles from his actions. Had Star not saved the last fragment of pure magic and then come back more powerful than ever to destroy Toffee for good, he would have won.
  • La Sombra the river pirate in Hey Arnold The Jungle Movie. He took over the group that Arnold's parents' friend Eduardo worked for in order to arrange the Rigged Contest for the San Lorenzo field trip, naming the PS-118 class the winners when he sees Arnold is with them. He impersonated Eduardo himself to take the kids on his riverboat, manipulating Arnold into confiding in him and keeping the knowledge of La Sombra being after him a secret from his friends, and when a boat carrying men working for the real Eduardo came in pursuit, he claimed they were La Sombra and his crew and that he was changing course to get the class to safety when it reality he was luring them into his pre-arranged trap. When Arnold, Gerald, and Helga escape from their imprisonment, La Sombra had anticipated this happening and had already placed a tracking device on Arnold. As he and his crew followed the kids' trail, La Sombra anticipated all the booby traps and had his crew members take all the blows instead. He very nearly succeeded in taking the Corazon of the Green-Eyed People for himself, even narrowly averting a Disney Villain Death (at first) and prolonging his own death by poison just for one last shot at taking it.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Prince Lotor quickly ascends to the position after his father's disappearance, easily besting Throk in battle and also a master of portraying himself as a benevolent ruler who many planets would prefer to risking rebellion with Voltron. He goes on to launch a highly audacious Xanatos Gambit involving a parallel reality, and sure enough one of the ways he could win pans out.