1- About Tony being the Villians' Favorite: CW happened and they get access to footage of the Siberia fight and they realize that cap could have killed Tony and they're like "how dare you???? Who do you think you are???" and at this point it's not even about who is going to kill Iron Man anymore, it's because Tony is the only one able the keep up with them, he gives them a good challenge, he has the best sarcastic answers for all the villian monologue, they don't even want to harm people anymore
2- they want to fight Tony to see who has the best weapons, who is smarter (it’s always Tony) so the rogues come back and they realize something: the bad guys barely attack Tony, they go out of their way to avoid attacking Tony and antagonize team cap and when confronted with this they say “well someone has to defend Mr Stark since all his supposed friends wouldn’t hesitate on turning their backs on him for some spoiled hydra agent who doesn’t know how to control their anger but sure knows how
3- how to control their anger but sure knows how to fuck up people’s mind” (and they keep getting her name wrong, they call her wilma, wendy, marta omg i love this headcanon where no one gets her name right)
Why thank you for this brilliant headcanon, darling! (I love that mixing up Wanda’s name post too, wasn’t there one where Thor always got it wrong and played stupid? It’s brilliant)
I just really like that the villains enjoy fighting Iron Man because he’s as much of a drama queen as they are–he knows how to put on, and more importantly how to appreciate, a good show, you know? Fighting Iron Man is like playing a really challenging game of chess, where they take each other’s weapons and minions out without hesitation, but even when the king loses, he’s never actually taken off the board (yup that metaphor sucks, I apologise to every chess player out there).
And well, of course it’s also about pride. Everything is about pride. The villains who most frequently engage with Iron Man in combat obviously keep a score. They keep an eye on who gets the most hits in, who deals the most damage, who does a strategical retreat and so on. They also keep track on which Avenger is the most likely to interrupt their fun, so they know whom to take out in the beginning of a fight.
Only then one of them gets their hands on footage of a certain Siberian bunker and this shit suddenly gets serious. Iron Man could’ve been taken out (worth 150 points) by someone who isn’t even recognises as an official player and THAT CAN NOT STAND.
(It’s got nothing to do with the fact that maybe Tony Stark isn’t all that bad, you know, for a superhero. Nope. It’s all about the game and wanting those 150 points to themselves. Their professional pride is on the line here, okay. It’s not because of feelings. Feelings aren’t a part of the villain manual.)
So, they adapt. They’re villains, they’re used to it. Admittedly usually because the hero pulls some impossible stunt at the last second because they stubbornly refuse to die, but that’s neither here nor there.
First, they assign someone to keep track on Stark. It’s not a protective duty. It’s just…an insurance. To make sure no outside influence becomes a serious threat to their fun. Besides after all this time they’ve invested into fighting Iron Man, should he ever actually lose, they all agree they have earned this honour. Not some lucky upstart or fucking turncoat.
Second, certain forces need to be taken out. Officially it’s destroying the competition–a perfectly acceptable, villainous goal–, unofficially some people take their hatred for Iron Man a little too far. And when you already have to watch out for the supposed heroes, you can’t afford some crazy nutcase to pop up every time you turn your back on Stark.
Then the Rogue Avengers come back. The villains have dragged it out for as long as possible, an obscene amount of bribes have gone into ensuring the Congress isn’t too forgiving too quickly, but Stark is determined to get the Rogues pardoned for whatever reason, and that’s not a battle they can win in the long run.
And that’s a problem. The Rogues have access to Stark in ways they have not. Thankfully at least Stark doesn’t stay at the Avengers’ compound anymore. That gives them a small reprieve.
(They don’t worry. Villains do not worry. It’s not in their genetic code, nor their moral codex for that matter.)
There’s a very serious discussion about grazing the stupid compound into the ground, but in the end they decide not to do it. For one, the risk of the Rogues being granted access to the Stark Tower is just too great. For another, it’s convenient to have a return address they could graze into the ground, should the Rogues ever cross a certain line.
Next, the villains create a time table. Whereas the media used to joke about the ‘weekly villain attacks’ back in the day, there are now carefully scheduled weekly attacks for real. It helps them to vent some of their frustration, at the right target no less. It also has the added benefit of keeping the Rogues busy.
Of course Iron Man joins in on the fun more often than not, but he isn’t the main target like he used to be, isn’t singled out. If anything it’s the Rogues that are being singled out, and they always bear the brunt of the fight.
(They do not go easy on Iron Man. They do not. They have simply shifted the focus of their game. Damage dealt to the Rogues is now worth way more points than before, and since every villain wants to take the lead, it’s only rational they concentrate on the most worth-while targets. That’s all there is to it.)
The first time one of them makes Wanda Maximoff scream in rage is an accident. To their great shame it’s not even a real villain who accomplishes it, it’s a fairly new minion who interrupts the shouting match between his boss and the witch with an annoyed, “Oh, shut up, Wen–Vick–Wally, whoever the fuck you are, I’m trying to concentrate here!”
It becomes a running gag then, to never call the witch by her name, and the longer they keep the joke alive, the more frustrated the witch becomes.
(The minion gets a well-earned raise.)
Eventually the Rogues catch on. Eventually they begin to ask questions. Giving them more ridiculous answers every time becomes another running gag. Inevitably though Rogers eventually runs into Cross Bones who has a tendency of taking his fights with Captain America too personal.
“Well someone has to defend Mr Stark since all his supposed friends wouldn’t hesitate on turning their backs on him for some spoiled hydra agent who doesn’t know how to control their anger but sure knows how to fuck up people’s mind!” he snaps. Then uses the frozen state of the stunned Captain to his advantage to break the man’s nose with a very satisfying crack. Because, hello, villain.
(He then promptly dives to the side to push a crying kid out of the way a crumbling building. Not because he cares about who gets hurt of course. Villains don’t care about this stuff. But everyone knows Tony Stark cares about it.)
He gets twenty-five points for breaking Roger’s nose. He also gets a “I don’t know why, but if a guy like Cross Bones decides to save a kids’ life I’m not gonna sit around complaining about it.” and a thumbs up from Tony Stark in that night’s talk show.
(He does not care more about the thumbs up than about the points. His fellow villains are not jealous.)
There are a lot of villains-saving-civilians-and-innocent-bystanders incidents after that.
(Not that anyone cares what Tony Stark thinks. The saving people thing simply earns them bonus points. Bonus points are important.)