MK Dons slipped to only their second home defeat of the season as three goals of remarkable quality boosted the survival hopes of financially-struggling Plymouth.
Karl Robinson's hosts were forced to come back from a couple of first-half belters from Onismor Bhasera and Kari Arnason, and managed a reply before the break when Bhasera slid in a Danny Woodards' cross.
But their hopes of recovery stalled in the second half as Peter Reid's determined Pilgrims kept them at arm's length, before Chris Clark finished the job with a wonderfully-taken third.
Though Plymouth were only relegated from the Championship last season and still boast of a squad of considerable quality, defeat will come as a disappointment to Robinson's men, who were in search of a fourth straight win at stadiummk.
And with four successive home games to come, the Dons will need to add to their brace of wins on the road this season if they are to maintain their position in the top six.
Dan Powell&nbsp;passes Plymouth scorer Onismor Bhasera
With former Pilgrim Mathias Kouo-Doumbé strapped up to protect a head wound picked up at the weekend, Robinson unsurprisingly kept faith with the side that started Saturday's 2-0 win over Tranmere, though Sean O'Hanlon and Mark Carrington were passed fit to make up a full compliment on the bench.
With want-away leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips left out of the travelling party, Plymouth boss Peter Reid made two changes from the side that lost to Oldham at the weekend - Rory Fallon returning from a loan spell at Ipswich to lead the attack and Stephane Zubar preferred at right-back to Karl Duguid.
The hosts searching for a fourth straight home win and the visitors trying to avoid a fourth straight defeat, the opening exchanges followed a predictable pattern - the Dons doing their best to pass and probe and Plymouth equally determined to break up their rhythm.
It proved a source of frustration for the Dons, who were unable to use in-form striker Jabo Ibehre as a pivot in attack, which starved the creative influence of Lewis Guy and the attacking instincts of Daniel Powell.
Danny Woodards takes on Plymouth's Chris Clark.
Subsequently, Plymouth's confidence grew and they took the lead on 22 minutes through a wonderful individual effort from their Zimbabwean full-back.
Powell was caught on his heels as Stephen Gleeson tried to play into his feet on halfway and Bhasera stepped in to intercept before feasting on the space Gleeson had vacated.
On he drove at rapid speed, suddenly cut loose from his defensive responsibilities, charging into the box before ramming a fierce drive past David Martin - beaten for sheer pace at his near post.
It was the first goal the Dons had conceded in nearly five hours of football at stadiummk, and the one that followed it eight minutes later was every bit as spectacular.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe competes the ball in the air.
Icelander Arnason had very little on when he received possession 35 yards from goal, but needed no invitation as he crashed an unstoppable drive past the helpless Martin via the underside of the crossbar.
It was a strike that brought applause from all sides of stadiummk and one that shook the Dons into life as they mounted a response in the build-up to half-time.
Powell moved into a more advanced role and Guy began to raid in from the right, changing the method of attack as Robinson switched to a 4-4-2.
It seemed to do the trick as both wingers drifted off their flanks on 38 minutes - Chadwick producing some great work inside, Guy cleverly dummying his pass and Woodards' subsequent cross turned into his own net by Bhasera.
Bhasera turns Woodards' cross into his own net.
The comeback was nearly completed in first-half stoppage time when Peter Leven's corner from the right was met by the towering head of Ibehre, but Bhasera completed an eventful half by heading off the line.
The home side started the second period with typical purpose - Ibehre having more success with the ball into feet and Powell looking far more menacing in his advanced role.
But it was Plymouth who fashioned the next sight of goal - Joe Mason setting up Yannick Bolasie for a near-post shot Martin was quickly down to before Mason himself was smothered for the rebound.
In defence, Plymouth were showing Championship-like resistance, shutting out Dons advances from both flanks and dealing with those deliveries that were allowed into their box.
Jabo Ibehre heads into Plymouth territory.
Gleeson adjusted well to volley just over from a Woodards cross on 58 minutes and Powell threatened to get in behind for a moment before Marcel Seip headed his cross to safety, but sustained periods of home pressure were lacking.
Plymouth looked as likely to add to their lead as the Dons did to cut it - Yannick Bolasie heading wide from an excellent Clark cross as Martin flew out to challenge him.
And ten minutes from time they produced another goal of outstanding quality to finish the contest and secure the points.
Bolasie's charge into Dons territory looked to have seen off by a retreating Dons defence, but the ball broke back to the Congolese winger, whose back-heel found substitute Jim Paterson bursting down the left.
The low cross was slightly behind the two green shirts in the middle, but Clark checked his run intelligently to rifle left-footed into the top corner from 16 yards.
It provided some much-needed cheer for an Argyle faithful that have seen their financially-stricken club tumble from the second flight to within the reaches of League 2 in less than 12 months.
The Dons must recover quickly as they prepare to start a run of four straight away games that could define their season.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Woodards, MacKenzie (O'Hanlon 83), Kouo-Doumbé (Chicksen 79), Lewington (c); Gleeson, Leven; Powell, Guy, Chadwick (Vine 61); Ibehre.
Subs not used: Searle, Carrington, Hamann, G. Baldock.
Goals: Bhasera og 39
Booked: Woodards, Gleeson
Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): Button; Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Bhasera (Paterson 46); Clark, Arnason, Fletcher (c), Bolasie; Fallon, Mason (Patterson 90).
Subs not used: Larrieu, Duguid, N'Gala, Peterlin, Stephens.
Goals: Bhasera 22, Arnason 30, Clark 80
Attendance: 7,189 (613 away)
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne &amp; Wear)