I'm looking for something different from Word for “to use someone's own tactics against them”. I'm considering a scenario in which one intends to use a certain tactic to defend oneself against some enemy. However, before the tactic can be used, it is stolen by the enemy and used against the person him/herself.

Example: Alex told the plagiarizer he'd sue them unless they delete the video. However, that only prompted the plagiarizer to ______ with a defamation lawsuit.

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    The answer could perhaps be "pre-emptive strike" but you haven't given any context. Could you give a description of a realistic scenario. What sort of tactic are you talking about? Is this in a war? Is it an argument with a neighbour or a spouse? – chasly - reinstate Monica Jan 9 '19 at 13:35
  • Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein (People who set traps for others get caught themselves.) -Proverbs 26:27 – Tushar Raj Jan 9 '19 at 14:32
  • Isn't the "enemy" just using someone's own tactic against them? I'm not sure what real difference the distinction is besides point of view... I think this answer works pretty well. – Skooba Jan 9 '19 at 21:14

Beat to the punch

to do something before someone else does it.

I wanted to have the new car, but Sally beat me to the punch. I planned to write a book about using the new software program, but someone else beat me to the draw.

  • McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

In this case, you can say that the enemy was planning to using a tactic, but you beat them to the punch.

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  • Thanks for the answer! However, "beat to the punch" suggests the two parties are equals and both aware of the tactic from the get-go. I've edited my question to illustrate the scenario I had in mind, to which this doesn't quite apply. – user46652 Jan 10 '19 at 5:57

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