There are two kinds of people - ones who make use of others and ones who get used.
~ Swartz stating his philosophy to White Woz.
Pawns are villains who are being manipulated or used by a major villain. Usually after the pawn is betrayed by the major villain, one of three things can happen: they are either killed (be it by heroes or other major villains), team up with the hero, or form their own faction. Sometimes the pawn is extremely important to the true villain or even more powerful and merely killing the pawn can ruin the true villain's plans.

There are several forms in which a pawn can take:

  • The Fake Mastermind: Individuals who believe they are in control of everything and have planned it all, when unbeknownst to them, they are doing something someone else wants them to do via manipulation be they aware of the mastermind or not. Examples are Shimrra Jamaane and the Council of Disney Villains.
  • The Expendable Right Hand and/or Henchmen: High-ranking individuals or right-hand men who believe their boss or master has one plan, but has another plan in store that does not involve them, or they can be killed when their boss or master has found someone better at the job. Examples are Count Dooku and Shang Tsung.
  • The Hypnotized, Brainwashed and/or Possessed: Individuals who do the bidding of someone else because they have been hypnotized, brainwashed, or are being possessed by someone. Examples are Rinzler and Henry Bowers.

Most times, they never know of the major villain's existence, true motives, or that the major villain is merely using them, believing they might become partners or are simply corrupted through some other means, or they may think they are in control of everything and do not know they are doing something someone else wants them to do until the end when they are discarded after becoming useless for the major villain's plans or killed by the hero.

In rare cases, however, a pawn (or pawns) may turn out to become a bigger threat to the heroes (or other villains) after the major villain is defeated, thus taking his/her place and become just as dangerous than anyone would expect. Makuta TeridaxHerrscher of the Void, Brixton Lore, Quan ChiLight Yagami and Erich Ludendorff are four perfect examples of pawns who are also Purely Evil.

There are also rare cases where a villain can be a pawn of the hero (e.g. Lind L. Tailor and Chosen One).

Pawns are the evil opposite of Pawn of the Villain.

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